Sunday, February 14, 2010

Sweet Heart Almond Shortcake Valentines (vegan)

Isn't it lovely when the weekend falls on valentine's day? I mean, every weekend I spend with the love of my life. But to have a cozy weekend at home with your valentine and to celebrate your relationship and love. What a special day! I would venture to say that we need to be reminded of love this time of year. It is the last stretch of winter and we need another reason to just make sentiment abound in our lives. I am so thankful for all the loved ones in my life, my husband, family and friends. Love is a gift!

Love also drives me to the kitchen :) Pure wholesome food also has a way with my heart, I guess it may as well be my love language. Is that shallow? I hope not.

I woke up to bake cookies for my valentine that are healthy and delicious. How about you? Here's a vegan recipe to enjoy again and again, valentine's day or not.

Almond Shortcake Recipe
1 1/2 cup of almond meal (ground almonds in food processor or coffee grinder)
1/2 cup of sweet sorghum flour (and a touch more for dusting).
2/3 cup of sucanat (or unrefined sugar cane juice)
1/3 cup of coconut oil
1/3 cup of raw almond butter with oils
1 TB of unsweetened applesauce
1 ts. of baking powder

Mix all of the above ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. Knead with your hands to get a consistent loaf of dough to then roll out on a floured ( I used more sorghum flour) piece or parchment paper. Roll out a 12 inch by 12 inch circle and start pressing your heart shaped cookie cuter into the dough. If you want to use any other cookie cutter then that is up to you. Today, I am using the heart to make valentine's cookies. But really you can use this with any cookie cutter. You may have to roll out a few more times to use up the rest of the batter. It will make about 20 cookies. You will need to use 2 baking sheets, they actually spread out a little bit, so you make to make sure there is at least an inch between each cookie when baking. Or you can use one baking sheet in 2 rounds of baking.
After you bake them at 375 degrees for 18-20 minutes, let them cool for about 5 minutes before you move from the pan. Let them continue to cool on a cooling rack or parchment paper. I had to try one of course that was looking a little sad and broken. They are tasty from the oven...
Yet, if you are like me, you may want to add a little more luscious love to your cookie. Perhaps chocolate then :) OK, why not.
So I melted a 77% Belgium dark chocolate bar in a bowl over a pan of boiling water. this helps the chocolate melt evenly and without scorching it too quickly. Once the chocolate bar is melted, pull it from the heat and stir with a spoon to decorate the shortbread cookies. I just used a teaspoon to scoop some of the melted chocolate on to each cookie, then spread it out to form a heart shape on my already heart cut cookie. Hmmm, thats more like it, a little chocolate to top the lovely vegan cookie.
The love of my life, my husband Matt, was delighted to find one of his favorite cookies in the kitchen today. We shared them together. I am so thankful for a supportive husband, and so much love in my life. And for little joys found in cookies that nourish. I hope you find joy today and also peace in the true love that finds you in your life.

Some of the other sexy recipes I will be making for a valentine's (or any romantic dinner really). Here are some of the ideas, come of the recipes are morphed from previous posts...

-Pesto pasta with roasted balsamic chicken breasts, with a side of a dressed-up spinach salad with so-in-love brownies for dessert

-or, Chicken "Parmesan" with a side of baked spaghetti and steamed asparagus with chocolate-coconut sauce over fresh berries.

Those are just some of my favorites...

Hope you enjoy and find love in unexpected places.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

So-In-Love Dark Chocolate Brownies

These are melt in your mouth brownies. Gluten-free, and can be dairy-free. There is sweetness and romance in each bite. It is love at first bite, and you won't stop thinking about em' until they're gone, and then once they are gone you will keep dreaming up another pan. Love. It does strange things to people. Love is a powerful energy. Don't run away...just let love take you over.

Valentine's Day is just around the corner, and sometimes you need to be reminded that a gluten-free friend can have a decadent romantic treat as well. You are human after all. It isn't a crime to have a chocolate treat. It isn't a crime to follow your heart. Let's just say I will post the recipe, and if you want to try it, it's there for the taking.

Dark Chocolate Brownie Recipe

4.5 ounces of dark chocolate bar, or chips (60 or 70% or higher cocoa content)
1/2 cup of coconut oil or pasture fed cow butter

Melt together in glass bowl in the microwave for 1 minute and 30 seconds. Stir well with a spatula to mix well and make sure all parts are liquefied.

Mix the other ingredients in another bowl:
1 cup of almond meal (grind in coffee grinder or food processor)
2/3 cup of sucanat (unrefined dehydrated cane juice)
1 ts. of baking powder
1/2 ts. sea salt
2 heaping TB's of cocoa powder
1/2 cup of sorghum flour (or 1/3 cup coconut flour to be grain free)
1 large farm fresh egg
1/3 cup of So Delicious coconut milk beverage (or other non-dairy milk)
1-2 ts. pure vanilla

optional toppings:
1/2 cup of added dark chocolate chips
1/2 cup of a roasted nut, like pecans or walnuts

Mix the melted chocolate and the rest of the ingredients together. Mix well with a spatula and then pour into a greased (with coconut oil or other oil) 8x8 circle pan. You can use any 8x8 or 9x9 pans, circle or square. Both sizes will work fine. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes and check to see if it is still gooey in the middle because you may need to go a few more minutes depending on your oven. Pull from the oven and let cool for a few minutes before serving so to save them from crumbling. Then when it is cooled to cut, Cut into 8 equal slices, or 9 squares. They are perfect with any romantic dinner you have planned with your Valentine, and not to mention, if you are feeding only 2 people, there is definitely room for seconds. Or if you have more than one valentine, there are more to go around.

It is a special treat! I hope you enjoy! Much love to you.