Healthy Dark Chocolate Rice Crispy Squares

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I desperately needed my chocolate fix this week that was toned down a notch. The summer has us on terraces, at BBQ’s and generally enjoying life too much to notice the sugar intake. I’m taking a more active approach to my diet because I know this will only get harder with Thanksgiving, Halloween and Christmas around the corner.

I love any chocolate dessert with a crunch, and who doesn’t love rice crispy squares? So here’s a hybrid without the processed sugar and butter that normally goes in. All natural, therefore friendlier to the waist line, and delicious as ever!

RECIPE

3 cups rice crisps (preferably brown rice)

1/2 cup nut butter (I used almond, make sure to buy the one with only nuts and without extra ingredients, or make your own)

1/2 cup maple syrup

1/4 cup cacao powder

DIRECTIONS

Mix the nut butter, maple syrup and cacao powder together in a medium pot and heat over medium. Once the mixture is smooth and melted together poor it over the rice crisps in a large bowl. Line an 8x8 square tin with waxed paper and press the rise crispy mixture down firmly. Refrigerate for an hour and enjoy.

That easy.

 
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Banana Bread For Breakfast

Now and then you see a few bananas in your kitchen with an unappealing brown colouring. What do you do when life gives you ripe banana’s? Make banana bread!

There are actually plenty of good things you could make with ripe bananas, but I was craving a good old banana bread.

I researched a few moist options but there was always butter and/or processed sugar added. I love to cheat using butter but it really doesn’t have to be that way. With these tweaks I was able to get a moist, sweet, delicious banana bread that is healthy enough to eat for breakfast!

RECIPE

2 cups whole wheat flour

1 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

4 (medium size) ripe bananas

2 large eggs

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1/2 cup maple syrup

3/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce

Dark chocolate chips.

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Prepare a loaf pan and set aside, I use coconut oil and a dusting of flour.

Whisk the flour, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, mash the ripe bananas. Add the apple sauce and mix together. Next add the eggs and mix. Lastly, add the vanilla and maple syrup.

Add the wet mixture to the flour bowl and mix until just combined. No not over mix. Fold in the dark chocolate chips.

Bake for 50 minutes or until the loaf is nicely browned and a toothpick comes out clean.

Enjoy!

 
 

Whole Wheat Apple Pancakes

 
 

I made these on a Wednesday and didn't feel any remorse eating a pancake breakfast mid week, when normally I stick to yogurt, fruit, nuts and eggs. With so many great substitutions this was a no brainer! Almond milk for 2%, whole wheat flour for white, coconut oil for butter and natural apple sauce which gave all the sweetness needed! Indulging doesn't have to be a dirty word when it comes to dieting or clean eating.

RECIPE

1 cup whole wheat flour

1/4 tsp salt

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tbsp melted coconut oil

1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk

1 egg

1/2 tsp vanilla

1 1/4 cups natural unsweetened applesauce

DIRECTIONS

Sift the flour, salt and baking powder.

Whisk the coconut oil, almond milk, egg and vanilla.

Mix the wet ingredients with the dry and once integrated add the applesauce.

Grease a pan with coconut oil and cook for about 2 minutes per side over medium heat or until you get a nice colour.

All of the beautiful dinner ware thanks to Linen Chest.

 
 
 
 

Maple Syrup Meringue

I made this recipe on a whim, just to see if it would really work, and when don't you have eggs, salt and maple syrup on hand? I couldn't believe it worked this well. What's so nice about this recipe is that the maple syrup just melts on your tongue. They're also so pretty... These could make a great gift!

RECIPE

2 room temperate egg whites

Pinch of salt

1/2 cup maple syrup

Cinnamon (optional)

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 200 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Use a double boiler to whip all ingredients for 3-5 minutes. The mixture should be warm to the touch.

Transfer to a mixer and mix on high until stiff peaks form, about 3 minutes. Tip: You’ll know it’s ready when you can turn the bowl upside down and nothing moves.

Pipe or dollop the meringue onto the parchment paper, they can be close as they won’t rise.

Bake for approximately 1 hour. The original recipe I found said up to 2 hours but I found 1.5 was too long. The cookies were a little too dark on the bottom and a touch too crispy. Tip: For bite size you may want to check on them even earlier.

Sprinkle with Cinnamon.

The beautiful plate is thanks to Linen Chest.

 
 
 
 

Paleo Orange and Chocolate Marzipan Treats

 
 

It's a wonder why I haven't tried this earlier!

My family has always indulged in Marzipan, a cake for each of our birthday's and a load of marzipan sweets in our stocking at Christmas. I've made it from scratch as well which is just as good as from a bakery. Though I stumbled across this healthy version which falls under a Paleo diet and is so lovely. A little more difficult to handle than when using confection sugar but a truly wonderful result and easy on the waist! Also beautiful on the eyes.

RECIPE

Marzipan

1 cup blanched almonds

2 tbsp of raw honey

1-2 tsp of almond extract

1/2 tbsp orange rind

Chocolate coating

4 ounces of unsweetened bakers chocolate

2 tbsp of honey (or to taste)

1 heaping tbsp of coconut oil

DIRECTIONS

Marzipan

Place all of the ingredients in a food processor and process for 1-2 minutes until fully incorporated and mouldable.

If you’ve made marzipan the usual way (with confection sugar) you’ll notice this mixture is much more crumbly and oily. To help with this I compacted the mixture and let set in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Roll into balls and garnish with an almond (as you wish).

Chocolate coating

Melt the ingredients together on the stove top, medium heat, mixing continuously so not to burn the chocolate.

Make sure the mixture is somewhat thick, add more chocolate and honey if too watery.

Drizzle the chocolate over the marzipan and let set in the fridge for about an hour.

Serve as is (or poor more fresh chocolate on top) and enjoy!

 
 

Eggnog Tart, Hazelnut Chocolate Fudge, Chai Old-Fashioned

Now that wedding season 2016 is over I couldn't wait to get back to baking and I'm loving the Christmas season. I've always been a little Christmas crazy. To celebrate everything above I've put together a Christmas special combo!

We have an Eggnog Tart, that is best saved for the weekend (or any time in December, it's the holidays!), a very conscious and equally incredible hazelnut chocolate fudge (my favourite), and a favourite cocktail of mine, the Chai infused Old-Fashioned.

Special thanks to the originators of these great recipes, some of which I've slightly tweaked. LCBO for the tart, Texanerin for the fudge and the Artful Desperado for the Old-Fashioned. Also a large thank you to Linen Chest for the always classy kitchenware used for this shoot.

Egg nog tart

 
 
 
 

Recipe:

Pastry

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup Icing sugar

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup chilled unsalted butter

1 large egg

Filling

1 cups whipping cream

4 tbsp bourbon

1 cinnamon stick

1 tsp clove powder

3 large eggs

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp grated nutmeg

Pinch of salt

Directions:

Pastry

Combine flour, icing sugar and salt in a bowl; sift together. Cube the chilled butter, add to the bowl and cut into the butter with your hands until the consistency is like bread crumbs. Add the egg and mix with your hands until the dough forms a ball. Wrap in waxed paper and chill for 30 minutes. Roll out pastry and fit into a round pastry pan (with a removable bottom). Trim the excess and chill for another 30 minutes. Preheat the oven in the meantime to 425 degrees C.

Place the tart on a baking sheet. Weigh the dough with aluminum foil and pie weights so the dough does not rise in the oven. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove the weights/aluminum and bake an extra 5 minutes. Note: my dough shrunk on the edges, perhaps it might help if you perforate the dough with a fork before baking.

Filling

Turn the oven temperature down to 350 degrees C.

Combine the whipping cream, bourbon, cinnamon stick and clove powder in a pot over medium heat. Remove right when it begins to boil and let steep for 10 minutes. Remove cinnamon.

Whisk together eggs, sugar, vanilla, nutmeg and salt. Poor cream mixture in with the egg mixture, slowly while whisking constantly (to avoid eggs cooking). Add mixture to tart shell, sprinkle with nutmeg and bake for ~20 minutes. The tart should be set and wobble slightly in the centre.

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Fudge

 
 
 
 
 
 

Recipe:

2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips (use paleo/vegan/dairy-free chips)

1/3 cup full-fat canned coconut milk

1/4 hazelnut butter (make your own or buy a jar that is made with only hazelnuts)

4 tbsp of maple syrup. Note: I found these sweet enough so you could put less if desired.

1/4 tsp vanilla extract

Pinch of salt

3/4 cups toasted hazelnuts (skins removed)

Directions:

Prepare a square 9x9 pan lined with a piece of parchment paper.

In a saucepan, mix everything together except for hazelnuts over low heat, stirring often. Once melted. Remove from heat and stir most of the hazelnuts. Poor into pan. Sprinkle remaining hazelnuts on top.

Let sit for 20 minutes and chill in the fridge for 2 hours or overnight.

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Old Fashioned

 
 
 
 

Recipe:

Bourbon, your desired brand

Chai tea (the real whole leaf tea)

1 tsp honey

Rinds from 1 orange

Angostura bitters

Club soda

Directions:

Combine 1 cup of bourbon with a tea bag worth of chai tea to steep for approximately 2-3 hours. Not much longer or it with be too strong / competitive with the bourbon.

Add 2 oz of infused bourbon, honey, 1 piece of orange rind, 2-3 dashes of bitters to you shaker and shake well.

Poor over ice and top with club soda (if/as desired). Garnish with an orange rind. Note: I added cranberry and cinnamon sticks for the photos though this isn’t necessary.

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Happy Holidays from Oats & Honey!