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chocolate

Entries in chocolate

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Friday
Apr292011

Banana Walnut Fudge

Growing up, Easter morning meant we were each greeted with a basket of jelly beans, chocolates, candies galore and a little toy or two. This breakfast of champions was followed by brunch or egg-hunting with friends, more sweets, and an afternoon sugar crash. 

I have nothing but fond and fun memories of my childhood Easters. But nowadays, if I tried to duplicate a day like that, I’d be on the floor by 10:30am in a sugar-induced coma. Nonetheless, the spirit of Easter persisted this year and a craving for something smooth and chocolaty had me whipping out the mixing bowls. 

 

Since I do my best to avoid sugar these days, this fudge is sweetened entirely with ripe bananas. The fruit puree is held together with walnuts and a bit of cocoa, and… that’s it. Three ingredients for a quick and delectable treat. Keeping with the tradition of years’ past, I ate most of it myself.

 

Banana Walnut Fudge :: Makes 24 squares

2 1/2 cups raw walnuts 3 ripe bananas 6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

– Line an 8×8 glass baking dish with plastic wrap, and set aside.

– In a food processor, pulse 2 cups walnuts until a fine crumb is formed. Add the bananas and process until completely smooth. Add cocoa powder and process again until incorporated. Add remaining 1/2 cup walnuts and pulse a few times, just to chop. Leave them a bit chunky. 

– Spread mixture evenly in the prepared baking dish. Place in the freezer for 3-4 hours, until firm. Slice and serve immediately. Store in an airtight container, or wrapped tightly in plastic, in the freezer.

Sunday
Mar272011

Chocolate Chip Cookies

When it’s been raining for weeks, your mind is exhausted, you barely have time to think and you’ve just signed the lease on your first apartment, there’s really only one thing to do: bake cookies. 

How does one preface the chocolate chip cookie? There’s no real way that hasn’t been done before, so I’ll just jump right in and say that the occasion for these cookies is that I’m in need of some good, old-fashioned comfort food. The past few weeks have been pure insanity, and like I said before, I’m in the middle of a few rather monumental transitions. I need all the help I can get, and what better place to find it than in the kitchen?

 

Show me a childhood that isn’t accented by the sweet, chewy crumb of a perfect chocolate chip cookie and I’ll be baffled. Whether store-bought or lovingly homemade, they have soothed and comforted me in times of distress, come oatmeal-flecked and wrapped in shoeboxes to my Freshman dorm to remind me I have a mother who cares, replaced birthday cake when baked into squares, and somehow taste just as magical no matter how many culinary spins put on them (cranberries, white chocolate, walnuts…).

But because I’m slightly nostalgic for simpler times, the simplest version of cookie it was. The recipe for these cookies came about after I took a cruise around Elana’s Pantry in search of almond flour recipes. Mine is entirely different than hers, but she provided the inspiration I needed to dive into baking with almond flour. Full of protein, healthy fat, vitamins and minerals, blanched almond flour will not only please grain-haters, but will keep you satisfied with fewer cookies. 

At once strong and sweet and delicate, I doubt you’ll miss the all-purpose flour in these gooey treats. Once again, I find solace in the chocolate chip cookie… At least until Monday.

 

Chocolate Chip Almond Cookies :: Makes 24

2 1/2 cups blanched almond flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill brand)  1/2 teaspoon sea salt  1/2 teaspoon baking soda  1/2 cup melted coconut oil (measure after melting. Do not use microwave; double-boiler method does the trick)  1/2 teaspoon almond extract  3 Tablespoons raw honey  1/3 cup water  1 bar dark chocolate, chopped  2 Tablespoons milled golden flaxseed 

  1. Preheat oven to 350’. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Combine almond flour, salt and baking soda in a large bowl.
  3. Stir together the melted oil, almond extract, honey and water until thoroughly combined.
  4. Mix wet ingredients and chocolate chunks into the dry ingredients, folding a few times with a spatula. Batter will slightly runny.
  5. Add milled flaxseed and incorporate. I did this to get the batter to thicken up a bit, so if 2 tablespoons isn’t enough for you, just keep adding a little at a time until batter has reached desired consistency.
  6. Drop by the tablespoon onto prepared baking sheets. Bake for 25 minutes or more, until cookies have spread slightly and are golden on top. Bake longer than you think you need to! Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then serve. Please store in an airtight container in the refrigerator (I actually liked them better after they firmed up in the fridge).