Chocolate Souffle Cake Topped with Sweet Strawberries

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The usual strawberry shortcake goes chocolate and gluten/dairy-free.  Top with fresh mint and coconut  cream”whip” laced with honey or maple syrup.

Chocolate and strawberries are always a treat. Inspired by Nigella Lawson’s olive oil cake, I freshened up the recipe by using grapeseed oil and coconut palm sugar, and a few extra touches like dark chocolate.

This dessert will please a crowd especially when native strawberries are plentiful in early summer!

  • 1/4 cup cocoa 
  • 1/4 cup hot water
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup grapeseed oil
  • 1 cup coconut palm sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla 
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 cup almond meal/flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

Preheat oven to 340 degrees. Mix together water and cocoa till smooth. Microwave the chocolate chips a minute or two, until they melt, being carefully not to overheat and burn. Stir till smooth. Mix the chocolate mixtures together and set aside to cool a bit.

In a stand alone mixer or hand held, beat eggs, oil, sugar and extracts for 2 to 3 minutes until fluffy.  Add almond flour, baking soda, and chocolate mixture and blend well.

Pour batter into oiled half fill muffins tins lined with parchment paper. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until puffy and set in the middle. Run a knife along the edge of each cake and invert the muffin tins when cooled onto a flat cookie sheet. Cakes will fall flat when cooled. Remove parchment paper and top the bottom side of the cooled cakes with whipped coconut cream  sweetened with maple syrupto keep this dessert non-dairy. Add fresh sliced strawberries and finish with a mint sprig if desired. Makes about 2 dozen.

Chocolate Chunk Maple Almond Teff Cookies

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You’ll want to eat every crumb! Photo by White Point Imaging.

These lightly sweetened cookies laced with maple syrup are made with teff flour, a naturally gluten-free artisan grain.

Inspired by Shiloh Farms’ peanut butter cookie recipe, I made my own dark chocolate chunk version substituting almond butter and adding almond flour for a yummy tea-like cookie-biscuit.

1 cup almond butter
1/2 cup maple syrup
3 ounces grapeseed oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 1/2 cups teff flour
1/2 cup almond meal
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips or chunks
pinch sea salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pulse wet ingredients in a food processor until thoroughly mixed. Place in a bowl and mix in dry ingredients. Form dough into balls and place on parchment lined cookie sheet. Lightly flatten dough with a spatula to cookie size and bake for 12-15 minutes. Cookies are crumbly when hot. Carefully transfer to a wire rack to cool. Makes approximately 2 dozen.

Chocolate Zucchini “Cupcakes”

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Zucchini in cupcakes never tasted so YUM!

To keep up with the cupcake rage, I adapted my chocolate zucchini bread recipe with artisan spelt and sweet rice flours topped with non-dairy coconut whip.

Although I try to avoid baking with refined sugars, I found that flavor is sacrificed if using less sugar or substituting with honey or maple syrup. Instead try unrefined coconut sugar which adds a deeper molasses taste and see what you think.

The nuetral taste of grapeseed oil lets the nut oil shine through. Of course, if you don’t like nuts or need a nut-free recipe, omit walnuts and walnut oil and increase grapeseed oil by 1/4 cup.

3 eggs
1 3/4 cups sugar
3/4 cup grapeseed oil
1/4 cup walnut oil
2 1/2 cups zucchini, grated
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups spelt flour
1 cup sweet white rice flour
3/4 cup pure coco powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking power
3 teaspoons cinnamon
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup dark chocolate morsels

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare muffin tins by brushing surface with extra grapeseed oil and filling tins with large paper baking cups.

Sift flours and set aside. In a stand up mixer add eggs and sugar and beat with whip attachment until thick and light yellow.  Add oils and vanilla. Change to paddle attachment and add zucchini. Then add flours, coco powder, salt, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon in batches until consistency is like cake batter.  Remove bowl from mixer and add walnuts and chocolate morsels with spatula. Fill baking cups 3/4 full and bake 15 – 20 minutes or until tester comes out clean. Cool.

“Frost” cupcakes with sweetened whipped coconut cream and finish with sifted coco powder on top.

Matcha Chocolate Truffles

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You’ll love these green chocolate jewels made with stone ground Japanese matcha powder

A superfood tea, matcha is finely ground whole leaf green tea. So it’s loaded with good stuff!

Personal preference will decide whether you dredge each truffle in matcha or sprinkle it lightly on top. Coconut milk is used instead of dairy. Stay vegan by choosing chocolate chips free of dairy  or soy, and also gluten free. And yes, go ahead and substitute your favorite liqueur for the vanilla if the mood strikes you. For the best truffles, choose only the finest chocolate.

One further note.  As a reformed purist, I made an exception to my rule of not using microwaves. You’ll get the same results melting the chocolate in a double boiler, but this is one dish requiring minimal time in the micro and the results are perfect every time. I guess some rules are made to be broken.

10 ounces dark chocolate chips (60% cacao)
1/4 cup coconut milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
matcha powder

In a glass measuring cup, melt chocolate chips and coconut milk in a microwave on high heat for 1 minutes and 30 seconds. Even though the top may appear watery, stir chocolate thoroughly up from the bottom until incorporated into a thick, melted chocolate mixture.  If chips are not quite melted, microwave for 30 more seconds, being carefully not to overheat or chocolate can burn. Add vanilla and stir until smooth and fully blended.

Transfer to a medium glass container with a wide top so that chocolate mixture is at least 1/2 inch thick. Cool for 15 minutes then cover with plastic wrap. Place in the refrigerator for 3 hours to solidify, but still soft enough to roll into balls. Scoop chunks of chocolate in between your palms and mold into 1 inch truffle balls.  Sprinkle on top , lightly coat or dredge truffles in matcha powder and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Makes about 2 dozen truffles.

Chocolate Bread Almond Butter Stack

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Gooey and messy, but oh so good with almond or peanut butter!

Chocolate bread is my non-dairy low sugar version of chocolate pound cake. A treat on it’s own, but as a stack resembling your favorite nut butter cup, it’s a winner!

Keep refined sugars and flours at bay with raw almond butter spread on slices of chocolate bread made with turbinado sugar and artisan spelt flour.  Banana slices wedged in between the layers completes the stack.

Chocolate Bread

1 1/2 cups spelt flour
1 cup white or brown rice flour
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (splurge for the best!)
3/4 cup turbinado sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
dash of sea salt
1 cup unsweetened organic applesause
2 ripe banana’s, mashed
1/3 cup canola or grapeseed oil
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/2 chopped walnuts, pecans or almonds
Optional: chocolate chips (I like dairy free mini-chips by Enjoy Life)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease oven proof glass loaf pan. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl and still until combined. Batter should be wet and incorporated. If too gooey, add a bit more flour. If it’s too dry, add a little more coconut milk.  Transfer batter to loaf pan and bake for approximately 1 hour or until a tester comes out clean. Cool before slicing.

GLUTEN FREE: Substitute all purpose gluten free flour for spelt.