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Mini Halloween “Oreo” Truffles

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My sister was visiting last week! We some big plans (going to an aquarium) and some not so big plans (eating snacks). We had a night full of popcorn experiments, and then the next day we wanted to make something special for Halloween. We brainstormed for a while and then decided on these Oreo truffles in Halloween shapes. We realized that our cookie decorating skills aren’t the best, but we had fun (and isn’t that what matters?)! Plus, these cookies do not need to be baked, so even though we cut out and decorated each tiny cookie the time commitment was not huge, and there weren’t a bunch of cookie sheets that needed to be washed! Recipes that don’t result in a million dirty dishes are usually my favorites!

Have you had Oreo truffles before? They are a Christmas tradition for my family. My Dad and I used to make them on Christmas Eve and bring them to our family festivities. My family has always had the job of providing all the different cookie varieties. There was a year when my Dad and I decided to switch it up and replace the Oreo truffles with something else. Well, no one liked that! A few family members said that they wait all year for those cookies!

Making Oreo truffles is so simple. Mix Oreos, or GF oreos in the case of this recipe, with cream cheese in a food processor. To make regular truffles you roll the mixture into balls and then coat them with melted chocolate. Instead of making balls, we rolled the dough out to cut out Halloween shapes.

I rolled the dough out on wax paper, for easy clean up and less sticking. Since I don’t have any Halloween cookie cutters we improvised with a bottle cap and a dough cutter.

Making spiders is simple; you just cut out a circle with a bottle cap. We made the legs by piping on melting chocolate. The ghosts we a bit more complicated. First, I cut out a half circle using the bottle cap.

Next, use the pastry cutter, or a pizza cutter, to extend the cut straight down.

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If you want, you can leave the ghost in this shape or use the pastry/pizza cutter to cut a few diagonal lines.

One all of the cookie shapes were cut we just “frosted” and decorated  them with melted chocolate and white chocolate. Hopefully our finished cookies resemble ghosts and spiders. I have not spent a lot of time frosting and decorating so this project was a stretch for me! I’m sure many of you out there have great decorating skills and could use this same idea to create some really amazing looking cookies. Looks aside, these cookies taste decadent, and since they a mini you don’t have to feel badly if you eat a few!

Mini Halloween Oreo Truffles

 
Ingredients
  • 1 package (10.5 oz) gluten free oreo cookies (I used Glutino brand)
  • 2 oz cream cheese
  • 4 oz white melting chocolate
  • 4 oz chocolate chips
Baking Directions
  1. Combine oreos and cream cheese in a food processor. Mix for a few minutes, until fully combined. The mixture will look brown.
  2. Roll or pat out the dough to about a 1/8″ thick.
  3. Cut out cookie shapes from the dough (see post above for how to make ghost and spider shapes using a bottle cap).
  4. Put the dough in the freezer to firm up, 5-10 minutes will be enough.
  5. Melt both chocolate varieties according to package directions.
  6. Top the ghost cookies with the white chocolate and spiders with regular melted chocolate. Use the opposite colors for eyes and mouths.
  7. Using a ziplock bag or a pastry bag, pipe melted chocolate off of each spider body to create legs.
  8. Once all decorating is done return cookies to the freezer again. Store in the freezer until you are ready to serve.
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Spiced Sweet Potato Muffins (GF)

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There muffins are good AND they are healthy!

No refined sugar.

No oil.

Grain free.

It sounds like these would also be taste – free, but they are not! The sweet potato + the spice combination is surprisingly delicious. Case in point: My husband, who usually dislikes the taste of healthy baking, actually asked if he could eat another one! He said “I can tell it has healthy stuff in it, but it tastes good!” I actually had to cut us both off from eating any more until I snapped a few photos.

Three notes about the recipe: First, this calls for mashed sweet potato. The easiest way I’ve found to prepare that is to boil the sweet potato in chunks. First, peel a sweet potato, then cut into one or two inch chunks. Boil until you can feel they are soft when poked with a fork. Drain and mash, using a blender, food processor, or immersion blender. I’ve found that one medium sized sweet potato usually gives me about a cup, mashed.

Second note: These muffins bake up to be very moist and soft, as written. If you prefer firmer muffins, increase the almond flour.

Finally, this recipe calls for garam masala, which is a spice blend, mostly composed of cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and cardamom. I get it at a Mediterranean food market, but I know it is also available in some upscale grocery stores. I’ve found so many uses for this spice blend. I add it to hummus, curries, and a variety of baked goods. I use this spice all the time, so I’d suggest to just go buy a bottle if you don’t have one, but in a pinch you could also sub in some of the spices listed above.

Spiced Sweet Potato Muffins

 
Ingredients (makes 12 muffins)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 c sweet potato puree (directions for pureeing are in post)
  • 1/4 c creamy peanut butter
  • 1 Tbs plain Greek yogurt
  • 3 Tbs pure maple syrup
  • 1 c almond meal/flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 c chocolate chips or cacao chips
Baking Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk the two eggs with a fork until they are a bit frothy.
  3. Stir in sweet potato puree, peanut butter, yogurt and maple syrup.
  4. Add in all remaining ingredients except the chocolate/cacao chips. Once all the dry ingredients are combined stir in the chips.
  5. Line a muffin pan with muffin liners (I used silicone muffin liners, which I love), and fill each muffin tin. These muffins expand some, but not a lot, so you can fill them almost to the top.
  6. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. I rotate the pan once, halfway through the cooking.
  7. Let cool in the pan before eating.

Healthy Chickpea Chocolate Chip Cookies

I’ve been trying to make a safe for eating and not funky tasting GF cookie dough. Not to turn into cookies, just to eat or use as cookie dough. There must be other people who miss cookie dough ice cream! I’ve had a number of dessert ideas that involve safe to eat GF cookie dough, but I really needed a cookie dough that didn’t have that weird GF flour flavored aftertaste before I could make those.

I’ve been experimenting and testing different ideas for this cookie dough with no really good results. I’m just getting funny flavors across the board. That is exactly what happened when I tried to turn this Chocolate Cover Katie recipe for blondies into cookie dough. I had high hopes, but it tasted funny! Maybe it was the flax, or maybe it was the chickpeas. It didn’t taste badly (I actually did enjoy it eating the dough!), but the taste did not scream “cookie dough”.

I don’t like wasting food and I couldn’t use the strange tasting dough in my recipe so I decided to bake it. Novel idea for a dough, I know, right? I had a small batch since I was testing, so I plopped some cookie shapes onto a cookie sheet and threw it in the oven for 10 minutes. I wasn’t expecting much, honestly. My cookie experiments end poorly about 75% of the time. So, when I opened the oven door, and there appeared to be real looking cookies on the baking sheet, I was quite pleasantly surprised.

Yes, that is a half eaten cookie.

I let the cookies cool, and ate one. Actually, I think I ate three. They are surprisingly good. They are soft, like I think cookies should be, and there is no funny aftertaste. Baking win!

Making these cookies is simple. You throw all the ingredients in the food processor. For thicker cookies, you’ll refrigerate the dough overnight. For thinner cookies, you throw them on the cookie sheet and bake them right away. You will literally have warm, soft, chocolatey cookies in under 20 minutes.

Thick cookies (chill dough overnight)

Thin Cookies (no chilling required)

Oh, and did I mention, these are healthy?! Just look at the ingredient list – its a lot healthier than a normal cookie recipe! So many good things in one cookie 🙂

Healthy Chickpea Chocolate Chip Cookies

 
Ingredients
  • 15.5 oz. can chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
  • 2 Tbs creamy peanut butter
  • 2 Tbs ground flax
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 c + 2 Tbs (or 1C – 2 Tbs) brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/3 c chocolate chips (or more)
Baking Directions
  1. For the smoothest result, take the thing clear shells off the the chickpeas. This will take a while, FYI. It’s also not necessary, and will only change the texture of the cookie slightly.
  2. Combine all ingredients except the chocolate chips in the food processor, letting it run until a smooth, uniform dough forms.
  3. Stir in the chocolate chips.
  4. For thicker cookies, chill the dough in the refrigerator overnight, before moving on to next step. (Note: you may have an easier time with shaping the dough into cookies if you refrigerate it for even 15 minutes before baking.)
  5. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Put a silpat (or parchment paper) on a large baking sheet.
  6. Run your hands under cold water, and then scoop up about a tablespoon of dough, roll in into a ball, and flatten the ball onto the prepared baking sheet.
  7. Repeat with the rest of the dough, wetting your hands when the dough starts to stick to them. Leave space on the cookie sheet for the the cookies to expand.
  8. Cook for 12 minutes.
  9. The cookies will be very soft. Let them cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes and they will firm up.

Recipe Inspiration: Healthy Chocolate Chip Blondies from Chocolate Covered Katie

Chocolate Coconut Oatmeal (GF)

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Oatmeal is my breakfast obsession right now. It was only a few months ago that I discovered the idea of preparing oatmeal with mashed banana, but I was immediately hooked. This breakfast is healthy, filling, affordable, and there are tons of different ways to flavor it. How great is it to start off the day with a guilt free meal that will keep you full until lunch?! There’s something about just making a healthy choice that puts me in a good mood!

All of my oatmeal breakfasts start with three things: oatmeal, banana, and liquid (even just those ingredients, with a little cinnamon, is delicious on its own). These are real, healthy, whole foods. They are going to fill you up and give you strength and fuel for your day! The banana acts as a natural sweetener. The result is not going to taste quite as sweet as oatmeal sweetened with sugar but it is going to be significantly healthier. Once you eat banana sweetened oatmeal a few times you won’t want to go back! This banana sweetening technique is also a great way to sneak some fruit into a picky person’s diet.

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My favorite oats are Trader Joe’s brand. Their regular rolled oats are $3.99 for a one pound bag and they are certified gluten free oats! I love, love, LOVE when I can eat the regular version of a given food and don’t have to pay extra for the gluten free version. I also use Bob’s Red Mill gluten free oats on occasion, which are equal in quality, but double in price. Bob’s Red Mill makes several varieties of oats, not all of which are gluten free, so if you use those just make sure the package says gluten free.

This recipe I’m giving you today is for banana oatmeal with chocolate and coconut. It’s like eating dessert for breakfast! This is one of just many flavor options for banana oatmeal. I’ll continue to post some of my favorite healthy oatmeal recipes here, but if you find you love this breakfast you’ll probably be eager to try other flavors more frequently. Check out The Oatmeal Artist blog for SO MANY different oatmeal variations. Or, get creative! Look around your pantry, pull out your favorite ingredients and add them to your oatmeal. Let me know what you come up with 🙂

By the way, I’m all about pairing my coffee flavor with my oatmeal flavor. You gotta try the Green Mountain Island Coconut flavor! Yum! Coconut coffee + coconut oatmeal = a really good morning.

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Chocolate Coconut Oatmeal

Ingredients
  • 1/2c gluten free oats
  • 1/2c water
  • 1/2c skim milk (or other milk of your choice)
  • 1 banana, mashed
  • 1 Tbs cocoa powder
  • 2 Tbs coconut flakes
Cooking Directions
  1. In a small saucepan combine the oats, milk, and water. Heat to a boil.
  2. While the oatmeal and water are heating up, stir in the cocoa powder.
  3. When the liquid is boiling, turn the heat down to medium and stir in the mashed banana.
  4. Let the oats cook until they have reached your desired consistency. (I take mine of the heat once the mixture starts to stick together when stirred, but you can eat it more or less liquid-y).
  5. Stir in the coconut flakes, and maybe top with coconut flakes, too.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies (GF)

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These cookies are by far the simplest GF cookie I make. There’s no rolling out dough, no messing with multiple flours and only half a dozen ingredients. Even better, these cookies don’t taste gluten free. You know what I mean – that funky texture or taste you get from swapping out wheat flour for any one of the gluten free flour options. Even people who are on a non GF diet will find these cookies not just acceptable, but delicious.

This recipe is not really an original of mine. There are multiple versions all over the web (and I’m not surprised – these are too good not to share). There are different tweaks you can make – brown sugar vs. white sugar (or sweetener of your choice), crunchy peanut butter vs. smooth, semi-sweet chocolate chips vs. dark chocolate chips . . . you get the idea! This recipe is my favorite combination. Give it a try, I think you’ll love the result!

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Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients (makes about 2 dozen cookies)

  • 1c crunchy peanut butter
  • 3/4c brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4c semi-sweet chocolate chips
Cooking Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
2. Mix the first five ingredients (you can do this by hand or in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment).
3. Stir in chocolate chips.
4. Roll a spoonful of dough (about 1-2 tablespoons of dough) into a ball in the palm of your hand. Place cookie dough balls onto a baking sheet. Either a non-stick baking sheet or a greased regular baking sheet should work just fine. 
5. Bake for 8 -12 minutes (watch for the bottom edge of the cookies to start to brown). Let the cookies sit on the sheet for a couple of minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack or plate (or eat).
6. Repeat with any remaining dough. 
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