Chocolate Chews

A couple of weekends ago, Trip and I went to a Chocolate Festival.  They gave you tickets, and you got to go to all the different vendors and try their products in exchange for a ticket.  And here is what I took away from the festival.  (I still have chocolate yummies left 2 weeks later!  I am savoring this!)

 

My Haul

My Haul

 

It was hard to not get inspired when trying these different treats.  Like this Snickers bar!  Wish I could make this!

A "snickers" bar

A “snickers” bar

 

Last week, I got this great idea.  I have been snacking on Bark Thins lately.   I was like, “I can do this!”  All I have to do is melt chocolate and put nuts in it and I am good.  Right?

Sounds so easy in theory……..

Ingredients:

  • 24 ounces of dark chocolate chips (I used this because I got them on sale for 20 cents a bag!)
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4c almond milk
  • 1c chopped pecans
  • coarse sea salt for sprinkling on top

First thing is to melt the chocolate.  You are *supposed* to do it using a double broiler.  BUT…..since I don’t have one, I just melt it on really low and constantly stir.  Place chocolate, butter, vanilla, and almond milk in a pot.  Put on low (or use a double broiler) and constantly stir until melted.

IMG_2400

It should look smooth when it is ready.   Take the chocolate off the burner and add the pecans.  (You could also use any other type of nut that you like, or mix it up!)

Pour the chocolate nut mixture evenly out over two parchment lined cookie sheets.  This is where I messed up.  I thought that one cookie sheet would be enough…..boy was I wrong!  When I only used one sheet, the chocolate didn’t get “thin”.  It was a pretty thick mixture.  So, make sure that you use at least two to get it thinner.  But if you don’t mind the chocolate not being thin, you can use one sheet.  (Either way….it will come out great!)

 

IMG_2401

Sprinkle sea salt over the chocolate.  Put in freezer until the chocolate is set.  Which is about 45 minutes.

Using a sharp knife, cut the chocolate.  Store the chocolate in the fridge or freezer.  It needs to be kept cold when not eating it, or else it gets really soft.

Chocolate Chews

Chocolate Chews

 

As you can see, the chocolate pieces are not thin like the Bark Thins.  However….they taste amazing!  I liked how soft they are even with being in the freezer.  I still store mine in the freezer.  It did not harden up like you think it would.

You shouldn’t cut them in really big pieces though.  It tends to be rich, even though it was dark chocolate.  The salt does help cut down on some of the sweetness while enhancing the chocolate flavor.

Just one of these squares hits the spot for me when I have a chocolate craving!  It has even been approved by several people at work and by the boyfriend!  Hope you enjoy it too!

Awesome Nut Pie

Yep.  you read the title correct.  I made Nut Pie.  I can not take credit for the naming of this dish.  I have been making it for several years.   I found the recipe here on Pinterest.   To me and my Paleo friends, we call it “Cheese-fake cake”.  But Trip HATES it when I call it that.  Something about “it’s not a cake” and “there isn’t any cheese in it”.  Well, DUH!  That’s why it’s called a “cheese-fake cake”!  Moral of the story is….this will now and forever be called “Nut Pie”.

You may ask….why is this called “Nut Pie”.  Well….it’s made 90% of nuts!  Sounds about right for a pie that is called Nut Pie.

Ingredients:

Crust:

  • 3 cups raw pecans
  • 1/4c brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 6 tbsp cubed butter

Filling:

  • 3 1/2 cups cashews (soaked in water overnight)
  • 2/3c agave nectar
  • 2/3c melted coconut oil
  • 1 lemon juiced
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

 

First thing is to soak the cashews in water overnight in the refrigerator.  That’s easy.  This makes them blend up nice and creamy.

Now that the cashews have been soaked, you can make the crust.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Take all the ingredients and put in your food processor.  Pulse until all the ingredients are well mixed.  Then press them into an 8in springform pan.  If you don’t have one, it’s ok.  You can use a regular pie pan.  Make sure that you grease the pan before putting the crust in so it doesn’t stick.

Put crust into the oven for 10-14 minutes.  You want to make sure that the crust is set.

Pecan crust

Pecan crust

 

While the crust is cooking, you can make the filling.  Drain the water from the cashews before putting them back in your food processor.  I like the blend the cashews by themselves for about 30 seconds.  Add the rest of the filling ingredients.  Blend until smooth and creamy.

Cashew Filling

Cashew Filling

 

Make sure that the crust is cooled before you add the filling.

IMG_2361

Put the Nut Pie into the freezer for at least 4 hours.

Remember to take the pie about 30 minutes before you want to eat it.  Slice the pie and enjoy!  You can add fresh fruit, chocolate sauce, or just eat it plain. IMG_2363

This is an almost Paleo dessert.  There isn’t a lot of sugar in it.  There are similar recipes that use dates instead of brown sugar.  But I prefer how the dates tasted in the crust, so I use the brown sugar.  This is my favorite crust to use in a lot of recipes.  It goes great with pumpkin pie!  Can’t wait for Thanksgiving to post my pumpkin pie with pecan crust!  It’s amazing!  But until then….enjoy your Nut Pie!  🙂

Almond Flour Banana Bread

Something that I greatly miss eating since starting Paleo has been banana bread.   This was one of my favorite things to eat as a kid, and I even entered it in the county fair in elementary school.  My mother would have to make mini loaves because I could literally eat a whole loaf in one sitting!  I have tried several Paleo recipes before, but they either didn’t turn out right, or didn’t live up to what I remembered growing up with…….until today!

I found this recipe on Pinterest (credited to http://www.thewac.com) and thought I would give it a try.  It has 8 ingredients, 9 if you include pecans!  (And why would you not include Pecans?  Banana bread is so plain without them!)

Recipe:

  • 3 overly ripe bananas
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 4 Tbsp Honey (recipe called for 1-2, but I had a feeling that it wasn’t enough, so I added more)
  • 1/4c melted coconut oil
  • 2c almond flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2c chopped pecans

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Take the bananas, eggs, vanilla, honey, and coconut oil and put them in a food processor.  Pulse for about 45 seconds to 1 minute.

IMG_2299
Next, add the almond flour, salt, and baking powder.  Pulse until well combined.

IMG_2300

This is where you can add the pecans.  I stirred in the chopped pecans.

Pour into a well greased bread pan.

IMG_2297

Bake for 50-55 minutes!   Toothpick should come out clean when it is stuck in the middle of the bread.  Let it cool, slice, and enjoy!

Nothing beats fresh warm banana bread!

Nothing beats fresh warm banana bread!

I knew that this was going to be tasty before it even came out of the oven!  The first bite was exactly how I remembered it tasting growing up.

The hard part with fresh out of the oven banana bread, is not eating all of it!  Thank goodness I have learned self restraint!  Or else this would have been gone!  🙂

Chocolate No Bake Cookies

I have been craving cookies recently.   And Trip’s Oreos have been looking really tasty, I have been resisting.  So, last night I whipped up these “No Bake Cookies”.  I remember loving these in elementary school, but wanted to see if I could make them a bit healthier without so much added sugar.

I think I succeeded.  Unfortunately, these are not Paleo, but they are gluten free.   And the best part, they only take 15 minutes to make!

Ingredients:

  • 9 ounces of dark chocolate
  • 1/2c coconut milk
  • 1.5 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 2 big spoonfuls of almond butter
  • 1/2c coconut flakes
  • 1/3c chopped pecans
  • 1c gluten free quick oats
  • sea salt (optional)

 

Put the chocolate, coconut milk,and coconut oil in a pot and melt over low heat stirring constantly.  When the chocolate is almost melted, add the almond butter and continue to stir until it is mixed.  Once it is all mixed, add in the coconut flakes, pecans, and quick oats.   Stir until all the ingredients are coated with chocolate.  Remove from heat.

Cover two cookie sheets either with parchment paper or aluminum foil.  Take a spoon and drop spoonfuls of cookie mixture onto the covered cookie sheet.  (I sprayed my covered cookie sheets with some coconut oil cooking spray.)   If you want, you can top the cookies with a bit of sea salt. The salt will help cut down some of the sweetness.

 

IMG_2098

Put the cookie sheet into the freezer or refrigerator.  Leave in the refrigerator or freezer until set.  I put one sheet in the freezer and one in the refrigerator.  The cookies will be ready faster if they are in the freezer, but they set just fine in the refrigerator.  Both work, so it just depends on how fast you want to eat your cookies!!

IMG_2106

What I like about these cookies is that you can make them really small.  A lot of the time I don’t want a big cookie, I just want a little bite of something sweet.  These quick “cookies” are just enough to satisfy those chocolate cravings!

 

 

Chocolate Chip Pecan Cookies

Cookies!  If you know me, you know that I LOVE cookies!  I have not met a cookie that I didn’t like.  And cookies are like potato chips…..you can’t just eat one!

I have experimented with several different recipes, and finally found the one that is my favorite.  I got this recipe from Oh, Hopscotch!  I originally found it off of Pinterest, and is my go to chocolate chip cookie recipe.  People who follow the Paleo diet lifestyle are hooked on these cookies, and even my boyfriend is like, “these taste like real cookies!”.   Well my love, that’s because they are REAL cookies!

Note: I have adjusted some of the amounts from the original recipe.

Ingredients:

(dry)

  • 4 cups blanched almond flour  (I use Honeyville Blanched Almond Flour)
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/2-3/4 cup chopped pecans (optional)

(wet)

  • 11 tbsp room temperature unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup agave nectar (or honey, but I use agave nectar)
  • 1-1/2 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 3 tbsp full fat canned coconut milk

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Combine your dry ingredients (almond flour, baking soda and salt) and set aside.

Cream together all wet ingredients using a stand mixer or a hand held mixer.  Slowly stir in the dry flour mixture until fully combined.   You can use the mixer, but I tend to do it by hand.  Then fold in chocolate chips and pecans.

Cookie Dough
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or you can use a baking mat.   My friend Scott got me this awesome Fox Run baking mat for my birthday and I highly suggest getting one!  Spoon the cookie dough onto the pan.

IMG_1820

Bake for 8-10 minutes.  Cool and try not to eat them all in one day!

IMG_1821

 

What I also love about these cookies is that they stay soft for days!

 

 

IMG_1822

Enjoy this tasty Healthy Cheat!  I know I do!