Tagged: baking

Vegan Chocolate Tart

Vegan Chocolate Tart
I’ve been dipping my toe into fall. Not ready for the headfirst plunge into chunky sweaters and boots, I am easing my way into the new season. There is an unidentified orange squash on my counter next to a bowl of lingering cherry tomatoes that we just picked from our container garden. Last week I bought a half-gallon of apple cider at the farmers market. I’ll get there. Why rush into autumn?

When I first spotted this vegan chocolate tart, I knew I had to make it. With a touch of cinnamon in the salted oat crust, it felt like the right time to try it out. Thanks to the food processor, the crust came together in minutes, and then the silky chocolate filling, sweetened with agave syrup, followed right after. I loved the rich, smooth chocolate along with the crunchy toasted oats.
Vegan Chocolate Tart
Vegan Chocolate Tart
Adapted from Bon Appetit October 2015

For crust
1-1/4 cups old-fashioned oats
3/4 cup whole-wheat flour
1/3 cup coconut oil, melted & slightly cooled
1/4 cup agave syrup
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

For filling and assembly
1/2 teaspoon instant espresso powder
3/4 cup very hot water
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
7 ounces vegan dark chocolate, melted & slightly cooled
2/3 cup agave syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2/3 cup plus 1 teaspoon coconut oil, melted & slightly cooled
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons old-fashioned oats
1 tablespoon demerara sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. For the curst, pulse the oats, flour, coconut oil, agave syrup, cocoa powder, salt and cinnamon until the mixture resembles wet sand. Press into the bottom and up the sides of a rectangular tart pan with a removable bottom. Bake the crust for 20-25 minutes until golden brown and toasty. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

For the filling, dissolve the espresso powder in 3/4 cup very hot water in the bowl of a food processor. Stir in the cocoa powder and let sit for 5 minutes before adding the melted chocolate, agave syrup, vanilla extract, 2/3 cup coconut oil and salt. Process until smooth and thick, about 30 seconds. Pour the filling into the tart shell. (You may have a little extra which can be used for truffles). Gentle tap the pan on the bottom to remove any air bubbles.

Toast the oats and remaining 1 teaspoon coconut oil in a small skillet over medium heat, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes. Stir in half the demerara sugar. Let it melt before removing from the heat and stirring in the remaining sugar. Cool the oat mixture and sprinkle over the tart. Chill the tart in the refrigerator until the filling is set, at least 1 hour. Slice the chilled tart with a hot dry knife. Let it sit at room temperature for 15-20 minutes before serving. Store covered in the refrigerator.

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Peanut and Jelly Blondies

Peanut Butter and Jelly Blondies
Our three-year-old just started preschool, and with the move from daycare to real school, comes a packed lunch. When I was a kid my mom packed a peanut butter & jelly sandwich, carrots (I only ate a few), and 2 Chips Ahoy cookies. These days such a lunch sounds scandalous from the peanuts to dessert! Of course I think I turned out just fine, and I always love a PBJ.

My son’s lunch has been a smorgasbord of snacks including hummus & pita chips, pineapple, watermelon, cucumbers and even homemade focaccia. It’s a little of this and that. Inspired by back-to-school, I baked peanut butter and jelly blondies that were salty & sweet with honey-roasted peanuts and strawberry jam. Don’t worry, I didn’t pack them in my son’s lunchbox!
Peanut Butter and Jelly Blondies
Peanut Butter & Jelly Blondies
Adapted from Bon Appetit February 2014

Makes 16 bars

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter melted, plus more for pan
1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 large eggs
1-1/2 cups light brown sugar
3/4 cup smooth peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons strawberry jam
1 tablespoon chopped honey-roasted peanuts
Flaky sea salt (I used Maldon.)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper and grease with butter.

In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder and salt. In a large bowl, whisk together the butter, eggs, brown sugar, peanut butter and vanilla extract. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and spread the batter into the prepared baking pan. Dollop the jam on top followed by the peanuts.

Bake for 35-40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the bars comes out clean. Sprinkle with flaky sea salt. Let the bars cool before slicing them into 16 squares. Store in an airtight container.

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Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes

Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes
I don’t think I could get my three-year old to eat zucchini unless I hid it in something—like a cupcake. That’s pretty serious. Sneaking veggies into dessert kind of defeats the purpose and nutritional value, I know. I’m not trying to pretend that these chocolate zucchini cupcakes are anything other than a treat, and that’s absolutely okay.

I do have to give the shredded zucchini credit for the cupcakes’ moist, light crumb. To top them off, I decided on peanut butter frosting. I had planned to pipe swirls, but I was out of piping bags, and I had no luck using a Ziploc. Instead I pulled out a butter knife and did a little spreading and experimenting along with some crushed cookie crumbs.
Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes
Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes
Adapted from Better Homes & Gardens

Makes 24

For cupcakes
2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups shredded zucchini (about 8 ounces), squeeze out excess water
3 large eggs
2 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips

For frosting
1/3 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
1 tablespoon milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar

Chocolate cookie crumbs, sprinkles, optional

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line 24 muffin cups with paper liners.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In another large bowl, whisk together the zucchini, eggs, sugar, oil and vanilla extract. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients along with the chocolate chips. Transfer the batter to the prepared muffin pans. Bake for 25 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out with just a few crumbs.

Cool the cupcakes in the pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

For the frosting, in a large bowl, use an electric mixer on medium speed to beat the butter, peanut butter, milk and vanilla until smooth. Slowly beat in the confectioners’ sugar until it is a spreadable consistency.

Frost the cupcakes and top with cookie crumbs or sprinkles as desired.

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Tahini Swirl Brownies

Tahini Swirl Brownies
We are a family obsessed with brownies. I have my go-to salted fudge brownies, which are always a hit and my husband’s absolute favorite. Brownies are so simple to make with such irresistible results that it’s no wonder they’re the most frequent request I get when anyone at my house is craving chocolate.

Brownies really don’t need any embellishments at all, but I can’t resist doing a little experimenting. I’ve done cream cheese, peanut butter and caramel. This time I tried something new and baked tahini swirl brownies that with a deep sesame flavor. They were wonderfully fudgy and happened to be gluten free.
Tahini Swirl Brownies
Tahini Swirl Brownies
Adapted from Bon Appetit June 2017

Makes 16 brownies

3 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped
3 tablespoons coconut oil
4 tablespoons tahini
2 large eggs
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon light agave syrup

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with 2 overlapping sheets of parchment paper.

In a small bowl, stir together the cornstarch and cocoa powder until fully combined. In a small saucepan over low heat, melt the chocolate, coconut oil and 1 tablespoon tahini, stirring until smooth.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs, granulated sugar and brown sugar on medium-high speed until smooth and doubled in volume, about 3-4 minutes. Mix in the salt and vanilla followed by the chocolate mixture until fully combined. Add the cornstarch, beating on low. Once combined, beat on medium high-speed until the batter thickens, about 30 seconds.

In a small bowl, combine the remaining tahini and agave syrup. Transfer the batter to the prepared baking pan smoothing into an even layer. Dot the top of the batter with the tahini-agave mixture. Use a toothpick to swirl. Bake for 20-25 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center of the brownies comes out with only a few crumbs. Cool before taking the brownies out of the pan and cutting into 16 squares.

Store in an airtight container.

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