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Posts Tagged ‘yum’

Here in northern California, we’ve been experiencing the full wrath of Mother Nature, who is clearly fed up with the overall lack of respect and abuse humankind has given her. In addition to devastating fires and intense heat, we’ve had seriously bad air quality since mid-August. Well, we did have a few days reprieve last week, where we all went outside, rubbing our eyes unaccustomed to bright sunlight, looking like people emerging from underground bunkers after a blitzkrieg.

Unfortunately, the reprieve was short-lived, another fire sprang up, and we find ourselves advised to stay indoors once more. It’s also very warm, again, so I’ve been hesitant to use the oven. It’s not like I can just open the windows to cool down the house at night—due to the bad air quality, and since hot temperatures are historically unusual for my area, almost no one has AC in their homes.

I try to cook dinner in a skillet whenever possible, and we’ve been consuming a lot more salads. Good news is, I have several new favorite salad recipes to share! However, those salad recipes will need to wait because right now, I want to share a delicious recipe for peanut butter and chocolate rice crispy treats! My kids–like so many others, love traditional rice crispy treats, but I can’t stomach all the sugar found in regular recipes nor do I like the fact that there is nothing remotely beneficial in them.

I’ve been tinkering around with making a peanut butter chocolate version, but was struggling to get the flavor profile right along with the right “glue” to hold the rice cereal together. One version used honey, which overpowers in flavor. One version had the chocolate blended in with the peanut butter, which helped to hold the rice cereal together, but I prefer it when the chocolate gets to hold its own, so if you’re a peanut butter and chocolate lover like me, you get two distinct flavors. I also wanted a recipe where you make your own chocolate layer from scratch instead of just melting down a bunch of chocolate chips. For one, you can better regulate how much sugar is in the chocolate.

These bars are super easy to make, super yummy, and they don’t require you to turn on your oven!

Ingredients

3/4 cup creamy organic peanut butter

1/4 cup coconut nectar

1/4 cup plus 3 Tbsp pure maple syrup, divided

2 tsp pure vanilla extract, divided

1/4 tsp sea salt, divided

4 cups organic brown rice crisp cereal

1/2 cup raw cocoa

1/3 cup full-fat coconut milk

1/4 cup coconut oil

Preparation

Line a 9-inch x 11-inch baking pan with parchment paper, folding the paper in the corners and making sure the paper comes up the sides.

In a large bowl, whisk together the peanut butter, coconut nectar, maple syrup, 1 tsp of the vanilla, and 1/8 tsp sea salt. Fold in the cereal and stir until thoroughly combined. Scoop the mixture into the pan and press it down firmly and evenly. If you don’t press enough, the the bottom of the bars may crumble when you’re eating them. Place the pan in the fridge.

In a small saucepan, over low heat, whisk the raw cocoa powder, coconut milk, and coconut oil until everything is smooth and glassy. Add a little more coconut milk if the mixture looks too thick to spread over the cereal mixture. Remove from heat and whisk in the vanilla extract and 1/8 tsp salt.

Spoon the chocolate over the cereal mixture and spread evenly with a rubber/silicone spatula. Return to the fridge until the chocolate is hardened. Cut into squares–I usually cut mine into 9-12 squares. You can store these cookies for 4-5 days in an airtight container in the fridge.

Enjoy!

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Do you ever get a sudden inexplicable craving for a particular dish or flavor? When I get stressed, I start craving pickles (the really crunchy dill kind) and salami–basically anything really strong in flavor. Often sauerkraut or kimchi will do in a bind. I also regularly crave almond flavor, and I’m not talking about the flavor you get from a handful of almonds. I’m talking about that super strong flavor you get from almond extract.

My mom used to make these delectable almond butter cookies using white flour, loads of butter and sugar and almond extract. They were flaky, sweet and super almondy, and while I haven’t attempted to recreate them gluten-free, I’m often nostalgic for that flavor.

I recently discovered some pears in my fruit bowl that had become very ripe, and since they were too ripe to slice into a salad, I thought why not bake them into an almond cake? Who doesn’t love the combination of pears and almonds? The added spices make this version more flavorful and a little more “sophisticated” in case you’re serving it to guests (or leaving it on a friend’s doorstep during the COVID-19 restrictions).

Like most of my recipes, this one is super easy to make. After all, who needs more challenge and stress in their lives right now? You can make this using any variety of pear, but I prefer to use Bartlett or Packam.

 

Ingredients

1 cup all-purpose gluten-free flour (I like this brand)

1 cup almond flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground ginger

1/4 tsp ground cloves

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 cup butter, softened or 1/2 cup mild-tasting olive oil

1/2 cup sugar

2 large eggs

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1 tsp almond extract

3 Tbsp nut milk

2 ripe pears, peeled, quartered and cored, and cut crosswise in 1/4-inch slices

 

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease and flour a standard 8-inch cake pan or springform pan. Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit the bottom.

In a medium size bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients.

In a larger bowl, beat the butter (if using) with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula until its a smooth, even consistency. Beat in the sugar. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, blending well. Add in the extracts and nut milk, and blend. Add the dry ingredients to the wet, and fold in just until blended. Fold in the pear slices. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and gently smooth the top using the back of a spoon or rubber spatula.

Place in the center of the oven and bake for 55-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean and the cake has turned golden brown.

Allow the cake to cool completely and serve with a dusting of powdered sugar and a sprinkle of cinnamon.

Enjoy!

 

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