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sweet

Entries in sweet

(6)

Saturday
Jul022011

Peaches, berries and summer fare

It’s our last morning of a week-long retreat in the mountains of Lake Tahoe. As I type, sitting in front of a wide, sun-lit window, I am gazing out over the calm, glassy lake and marveling in the stillness of nature. 

I have had plenty of time to cook and bake this week. Somehow, whenever I’m on “vacation,” I am not only hungrier but I crave sweet treats much more often. I am definitely not one to ever skip dessert, but since my family is so active I wanted to make something that wouldn’t weigh us down. 

This had me grabbing peaches and berries by the armful. Fruit makes such a wonderful dessert. Inherently sweet, and you don’t need much to dress it up. I used the fruit all week long in so many ways!

Juicy peaches and blackberries made a quick cobbler. A great topping is the one here, or you could simply toss some oats with maple syrup and butter (or coconut oil) and sprinkle over.

Baked oatmeal always tastes so indulgent for breakfast. Like cold pie on the day after Thanksgiving. This one, based on the recipe here, used peaches, blueberries and almonds.

Plump and delicate raspberries were the stars of these unbelievable bars. The crust is based on the one I use for Pecan Pie Squares, only with maple syrup instead of brown sugar. With only a handful of ingredients necessary to throw them together, along with their ability to be served warm, at room temperature, or cold, I’ll be making these all summer long. 

Stay tuned for recipes in the coming posts. With the holiday weekend upon us, these next few days are sure to find me feasting some more. I’m anxious to know: What summer fare will grace your tables?

Saturday
May072011

Today, just this

We picked up our first basket of the season’s strawberries this morning at the farmer’s market, and naturally I couldn’t wait to put them to good use. A chocolate smoothie for lunch, laced with a subtle tart-sweet tang from the fresh berries. Enjoy.

Strawberry Chocolate Smoothie :: Serves 2

1 cup nut milk or water

1 Tbsp ground flaxseed

5 Tbsp cacao powder

1 scoop protein powder, optional

1 banana, fresh or frozen

6 fresh strawberries

3 Tbsp coconut cream (from the top of a can of full-fat coconut milk)

– Place all ingredients in a blender, in the order listed. Blend on high speed until completely smooth, then serve.

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.

Saturday
Apr022011

Meals for two

I’ve prided myself on maintaining a slight veil of anonymity here on The Chocolate Fig. Few mentions of family and friends, only a picture here and there and sparse personal details, not wanting to compromise anyone’s privacy (including my own). I’m sure many of you fellow bloggers can relate, as certain risks come with writing in such a public forum. I’m a very discreet person by nature, and so I tend to over-worry about things like this.

All of that is changing though. Those of you who know me personally probably realize that my boyfriend and I are now roommates in a spacious studio apartment in San Francisco, making life much easier for me, giving us the autonomy we so desperately crave, and making social isolation obsolete. As such, most of the meals I’ll be making are meals for two; most of my cooking will be done for and with him. And since accounts of my cooking are what appear here, it’s only natural that I finally and formally introduce you to one another.

Readers, meet Elliott. My muse, my inspiration, my sounding board and reality-checker. Born and raised in the same town as I, on the same street as some of my best friends. We didn’t meet until ages 19 and 23, when I guess you could say we had settled into ourselves. Over the time we’ve known each other, he and his family have been the patron saints of recipe-tasting, never hesitating to offer suggestions and inspirations. Even when I preface a batch of cookies with, I tried something new, I didn’t follow a recipe, I have no idea how they’ll taste, please don’t hate me… Hands are reaching into the bag with enthusiasm. For this, I am endlessly grateful.

So, with this post, the veil I had drawn over my personal life has been lifted slightly and now you know a bit more about us. Along with this big life transition, the content of this blog will shift accordingly as I navigate a new kitchen and learn how to grocery shop and cook for a grown (and hungry!) man. Any tips you have on this will be welcomed with gratitude.

Instead of my own solo adventure on this blog, you can now expect to hear about these two youngin’s trying to weave our way through life’s complexities, one meal at a time. 

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).