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Chocolate

Vegan No-Churn Chocolate Coconut Banana Ice Cream

Vegan No-Churn Chocolate Coconut Banana Ice Cream

We’ve been sweating through a major heat wave here in Philadelphia, and with 97-degree temps set for well into next week, it doesn’t look like the ice cream weather is stopping anytime soon.

That’s alright with me. As just mentioned, it’s perfect ice cream weather. Or should I say, Nice Cream weather.

Vegan No-Churn Chocolate Coconut Banana Ice Cream

I’ve been watching the “Nice Cream” trend spread over the past few weeks, keeping it on my to-make list for some time now. I love ice cream. I love niceness. I knew I’d probably love nice cream, too.

A no-added-sugar, vegan, cool summer treat? Count me in.

And so, on a temps-nearing-90-before-8AM morning, I set off in the kitchen to make my own version.

Vegan No-Churn Chocolate Coconut Banana Ice Cream

 

What was awesome about this ice cream is that it came together with a quick 2-minute assembly and a spin in the blender. From there, all the work was left up to the freezer. No ice cream machine needed, no fancy ingredients. Nor too many ingredients that’ll weigh you down on a hot day.

Dates and bananas add the sweetness. This did provide a noticeable, but not overbearing banana taste. If you’re opposed to that, you can play around with cutting down on the banana and maybe even adding additional dates.

It gets its creaminess from coconut milk, also lending an element of richness you want in an ice cream, dairy-free or not.

Enjoy after three hours in the freezer for a soft-serve-like consistency. If you leave it in there much longer, then you’ll want to sit it out for a few minutes before serving and dip your ice cream scooper in hot water. And be sure to finish it with whatever crunchy, salty and fresh toppings your heart desires!

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Vegan Dark Chocolate Mousse

Vegan Dark Chocolate Mousse

Spring weather is starting to creep in, which clearly calls for celebration. Chocolate mousse anyone?

Even if you’re still freezing your butt off wherever you might reside, it’s hard to say no to that question.

Chocolate mousse, for the win. Always.

Vegan Dark Chocolate Mousse

This particular vegan variation feels like a favorable surprise. Inside lays a whole carton of tofu yet, its taste goes undetected. Instead, the tofu bestows a wonderfully silky texture, so creamy that you’d swear there was actual cream in this recipe.

But alas there is not, nor do you need any cream to make this mousse feel as rich as any of its dairy-filled counterparts.

Let’s celebrate that, too.

Vegan Dark Chocolate Mousse

Heavenly chocolaty and smooth, this mousse is a winner. Throw it in the freezer an hour before serving, and it becomes even better. Finish it off with some fruit to lighten up its richness, and voila.

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Vegan Dark Chocolate Mousse Phyllo Cups

Chocolate Mousse Cups

Valentine’s Day rarely contributes much normalcy to my life. One year, I ended up at a Tex Mex themed bar in the middle of the ghetto. While neon-colored margheritas were ubiquitous, not a soul was dining on any food. Regardless, my date insisted we stay for dinner. The music was so loud it was hard to object.

The next year, I went out for pizza with one of my best friends. A boy, who would later become my boyfriend, ended up joining us out. Towards the end of the dinner, my friend accidentally tipped over her cup of ice water, which then went all over the boy’s lap. It was below freezing outside, but thankfully he took it well. There were no first kisses that night.

Last Valentine’s Day, I came home to a huge package in the mail. I was given a large bouquet of flowers, a box of chocolate, and an assortment of pastries from a local bakery. All sounds fantastic, right? Sure it was fantastic, but unfortunately the friend zone conversation I had to have with my admirer didn’t go over so well. He no longer speaks to me anymore.

This year? This year I’m flying solo with no plans in mind, and I’m fairly certain it will be the most normal Valentine’s Day I’ve had yet. Although, living in a city, you never know what could happen. If Valentine’s Day does end up as just another Thursday night with a square or two of dark chocolate and a good beer to myself, and maybe a phone call with a girl friend to BS about life, I’ll be 100% okay with that. Sometimes normalcy is fine by me.

Phyllo DoughPhyllo Cups

If you are, however, looking for something a little out of the ordinary to celebrate V-day, might I suggest this recipe. Chocolate mousse is a classic, and loved by all. But this definitely isn’t your classic mousse. While it tastes every bit as rich as the real deal, here, heavy cream is swapped for silken tofu to create a much lighter version of this chocolaty treat. Scooped into phyllo cups, whether its for your best friend or your lover, these are bound to impress your date. And trust me, unless you tell them, they’ll likely never guess the secret ingredient. If you want to keep the whole recipe vegan, simply ditch the phyllo cups for a graham cracker based crust. Make mini tarts for an equally adorable treat.

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Salted Caramel Stuffed Chocolate Cookies

Chocolate Caramel Cookies

Chocolate cookies stuffed with caramel—that’s a sight and sound that will inevitably lead to a taste. Or at least a longing for a taste. You can’t tell me that looking at these cookies doesn’t make you want to try one. And if you can, I’d rather not be friends. (Just kidding.)

But seriously, chocolate and caramel is a match made in candy heaven. This recipe from The Comfort of Cooking doubles the pleasure of this pairing by stuffing an already delicious classic into even more chocolate. Behold, a cookie that looks and sounds every bit as decadent as it tastes.

Given all of that, these are surprisingly simple to make. It was probably more difficult trying to convey how awesome these are through the viewfinder of my camera than it was to actually bake them. The dough comes together quickly and after just a short rest period in the refrigerator, they bake up even quicker. Make sure to include the salt, which makes these cookies the addictive delights that they are. I actually amended the original recipe to add a 1/2 tsp. to the dough. I would suggest sticking with this, as outlined in the recipe below, because salt really does wonders to enhance the richness of both caramel and chocolate. Besides, we all know these were never meant to be healthy. Delicious and crowd-pleasing, on the other hand, are these cookies’ destiny. In my kitchen, sometimes that’s all a good dessert recipe needs.

Chocolate Caramel Cookies
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Lentil And Eggplant Chili Mole

This was the first mole I’ve attempted in my own kitchen, inspired by a desire to use up a bag of lentils and the arrival of local eggplant. Luckily it turned out well because the results were plentiful. Even after gifting some to a special someone, I was eating this hearty vegetarian dish nearly everyday for lunch. By the end of the workweek, my lunch felt like part of my job. Fortunately, I like my current occupation. Though if for some reason that statement doesn’t ring true for you, rest assured this dish is packed with way too many spices to ever feel like a chore to consume. Even if you’re eating it consecutively.

My main point here, this lentil and eggplant mole makes a great dish to cook up for a crowd, and a hearty one too. It’s not too heavy on the cocoa side like some moles I’ve had, but it’s definitely packed with flavor from the list full of spices that get melded into one pot. It also makes use of eggplant’s innately creamy texture when its cooked down. I chose to pair that creaminess with rice, which I could also imagine getting wrapped up together with this in a tortilla. Make sure not to forget the parsley. It adds the right finishing touch of freshness to this spice-rich dish.

Click here for recipe…