Monday, June 30, 2014

Sugar-Free Mocha Mousse

You'll need...

4 oz Unsweetened Baking Chocolate Squares

2 Cups + 2 tbsp Whipping Cream

5 ½ tbsp + 1 tsp Xylitol

3 Egg Yolks

       Set a medium saucepan into a larger saucepan of simmering water or use a double broiler to melt together bakers chocolate, two tbsp whipping cream, and one tsp xylitol, stirring often until smooth.  Remove from heat and let cool slightly.

     In a small saucepan, whisk together the egg yolks, espresso powder (I personally use a single pack of Starbucks Via, as I haven’t found a better, bolder flavor in an instant espresso) , four tablespoons xylitol, and ¾ cup of the heavy cream.  Over medium heat, whisk constantly for about three to five minutes.  Do not allow this to boil.

       Strain the mixture into the melted chocolate to eliminate any lumps and whisk until smooth.  Refrigerate until completely cooled, about 30 minutes should do the trick.

      Using an electric mixer, beat the remaining 1 ¼ cups heavy cream and 1 ½ tablespoons powdered xylitol together until stiff peaks form.

In three separate intervals, fold the whipped cream into the chocolate mixture, mixing well until fully combined. 

       You could also experiment with the basic recipe and add peppermint extract or coconut extract or anything else you fancy.  I'll bet this would be amazing with the addition of some powdered peanut butter as well.  Let us know any changes you make and how it turns out for you in the comments below!  Enjoy!


Friday, June 27, 2014

Lavender Scones With Spearmint Clotted Cream

Who doesn’t love to sit down and have a delicious scone with a hot cup of coffee or tea?  
 Continuing on with our floral theme this week, I decided to take a very traditional recipe and add a bit of a twist to it.  The first flavor that popped into my mind was: Lavender!  I know, I know, you're thinking "Um, I don’t want to eat something that tastes like my mom’s shower gel, thank you very much." But fear not! I had my closest (and most honest) friends try this scone and they all loved it!  Then with the addition of the spearmint cream...mmm. 
Not to sound smug, but the word “perfection” did escape the lips of one of my friends, while another said, “I feel so English!"  So I hope you enjoy and let us know what you think in the comments below. 

 What you’ll need...

1/3 Cup Sugar

2 Cups Flour

2 tsp Baking Powder

1/4 tsp Salt

6 tbsp Butter, softened

2 Cups + 2 tsp Lavender Flowers

½ tbsp Lavender Water (optional, recipe below)

1/2 Cup Milk

1 Egg

 Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Prepare a cookie sheet by lightly greasing it.


Lavender Water:

In a saucepan over medium heat, bring to a boil one cup of water and two cups of lavender flowers.
 After it has come to a boil, reduce the heat and allow it to simmer for 30 minutes.  Strain off the lavender flowers and allow the water to cool.  
You’ll have about one cup of liquid after this process. 

 For this recipe, we will only be using a half tablespoon, so the remaining water you can store in the fridge or freeze in an ice cube tray. 

If you measure a half tablespoon of the liquid into each cube, you will have perfectly sized portions that you can conveniently pop out next time you want to make this recipe. 

The lavender ice cube would also be delicious added to a cup of green tea!  You can get creative and experiment to see what you like.


In a mixing bowl, combine sugar, flour, baking powder, and salt.  Mix well.  Cut in butter until fully combined and the mixture is crumbly.
Add in the remaining two teaspoons of lavender flowers, milk, egg, and lavender water if you choose to use it (I do highly recommend it for maximum flavor, however you can always substitute plain water or milk).  
Mix thoroughly until batter is moist and slightly tacky.

Drop spoonfuls onto greased cookie sheet.
Sprinkle with sugar.  This is optional, but it does give the top a wee bit of a crunch which adds a nice texture.
Bake for 10-13 minutes or until the tops are a beautiful golden brown.
Transfer onto a cooling rack and allow to cool slightly before serving
Spearmint  “Clotted” Cream
4oz Container of Mascarpone
1 Cup Heavy Whipping Cream
2 tbsp Powdered Sugar

In a chilled metal bowl, whip the heavy cream until stiff peaks form.  Spoon the mascarpone cheese into the whipped cream in three separate intervals, whipping well between each addition.  Then whip in the powdered sugar and spearmint oil

Now, I normally don’t suggest using essential oils in recipes, but in small amounts, it can occasionally be done.  I searched near and far for an actual spearmint extract with no success.  So, I made do with what I had on hand and I was pleasantly surprised by the results.  The five drops of oil was just enough to be refreshingly delicious without being too overpowering!


Serve the 'clotted' cream with a warm lavender scone and enjoy!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

What Did You Say!

How many times have you had to say this?
I’m not so sure I could count it all on one hand.
I came across this art on etsy…What and AWESOME item!
If you liked it enough that you wanted to buy It I have included the link below.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Gluten-Free Hibiscus Jelly Cookies

Just recently, I read an article that discussed the health benefits of consuming flowers.  Maybe they didn’t mean you should eat your flowers in cookies or scones but…the thought of cooking with flowers seemed like a fun idea. 
 So this week, I challenged myself to make a gluten-free and sugar-free cookie that uses hibiscus as the floral element.  I hope you enjoy!

 You’ll need the following…
  Thumbprint Cookies:

 Makes about 15 cookies

 1/3 Cup Tapioca Flour

1/3 Cup Almond Meal 

1/3 Cup Coconut Flour

3 tbsp Honey

1/4 Cup Unsweetened Applesauce

1 tbsp Ground Chia Seeds 

1/2 tsp Almond Extract

  Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

 In a small bowl, mix together the arrowroot, almond meal, and coconut flour.  Set aside until needed
  In a medium sized bowl, using an electric mixer cream together ghee*, honey, applesauce, almond extract, and ground chia seeds.  I buy the milled ground chia seeds from Nutiva.

 *In case you are not familiar with Ghee, it is a type of clarified butter traditionally used in Indian cuisine and has a long history of being used medicinally in traditional Ayurveda medicine.

 Slowly add in the dry ingredients to the creamed mixture, beating well after each addition.
Roll the dough into balls and place on the prepared cookie sheet.

Use your thumb to create an indentation in each cookie and fill it with the hibiscus jelly.

Hibiscus Jelly

1 Cup Hibiscus Flowers

1/3 Cup Water

2 tbsp Chia Seeds

¼ Cup Xylitol

2 ½ tsp Arrowroot Powder

1 tbsp Tapioca Starch
In a saucepan, bring to a boil the water and hibiscus flowers. Once brought to a boil, lower temperature medium-low heat and simmer for 30 minutes.  
 Allow to cool and strain out the hibiscus flowers so you are left with a hibiscus tea.  Then add the chia seeds to the flower water and set to the side for 30 minutes, which will allow the chia seeds to absorb some of the liquid and become gelatinous.

 In a coffee grinder, grind the xylitol to a fine powder and then add it to the chia/hibiscus combination. I have found that not all xylitols are made the same be sure to find birch tree sourced xylitol not only is it healthier for you than corn sourced, I also have found it grinds into a powder texture much better with no grittiness left unlike others I have tried.

 Stir in the arrowroot and tapioca starch.  Place on the stove over medium heat and stir the mixture continuously, slowly raising the heat until the mixture begins to thicken and develop a thick, gummy texture.
Remove from heat and spoon a small amount into the thumbprint indentations.
As another option, if you’d like to make this to use as an regular jelly instead of a filling, you can just eliminate the arrowroot and add in only the tapioca starch then cook it on a lower heat so it won't turn as gummy.

 Bake for approximately 15 minutes but watch them carefully after the first 10 minutes.

 Let cool, serve and enjoy!  Let us know how they turned out for you by leaving us a comment!

Friday, June 20, 2014

Almond Delights –Little Bites of Bliss-

 Who doesn't love a good butter cookie?
I know I do but I am also a personal believer in taking a standard recipe and tweaking it to make something a little more fun and delicious.
This time, almond was the name of the game so this recipe is an adaptation of a butter cookie amped up with the savory, sweet flavor of almond!

Here’s what you’ll need…

1 Cup Butter Softened (not melted)
½ Cup Powdered Sugar
¼ Cups Flour                                             
3/4 Cup Cornstarch
1 tbsp Half and Half                                     
1tsp Vanilla Extract
½ tsp Almond Extract
In a bowl, cream butter and powdered sugar until smooth.
Slowly add the flour and cornstarch, mixing well.  Next, add the half & half, vanilla extract, and almond extract. Mix thoroughly.
Cover bowl and allow to chill for thirty minutes. This is a good time to make the almond crème (recipe below).

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. 
Prepare cookie sheet by greasing it or by lining it with parchment paper.
  Using your clean hands, roll dough into little balls about one inch in diameter and place on prepared cookie sheet.

Bake for 15-20 minutes. Keep checking to make sure they don’t get too brown. We want them to have a nice light golden brown color.
Once they have been removed from the oven, allow to cool completely on the tray.
Almond Crème
¼ Cup Softened Butter                
1 tsp Salt
2 tsp Almond Extract                 
2 Cups Powdered Sugar
I usually prepare this mixture while the cookie dough is chilling in the fridge.
 In a mixing bowl, cream together the butter, salt, and almond extract. Keep blending for several minutes. Then whip in the powdered sugar one cup at a time, mixing thoroughly between each cup.
 A quick story while you are that is a good reminder to always be prepared in the kitchen! I have a great electric mixer that I love, but during the process of making the crème for these cookies, the whipping attachment met it’s end!
Let’s just say this made an absolute mess in the kitchen. Almond crème flung everywhere  all at once. In fact, I’m pretty sure there is still some on my kitchen ceiling. Luckily, I always try to have a back-up plan so I dug out a (barely used) manual whisk. Let me just say, this is not the most fun thing to use when you’re whipping really thick cream. But at least it worked so I manually finished whipping the mixture together. 
On the upside, this is a great arm workout
Anyway, back to the recipe. Once you’ve whipped the crème ingredients completely (and hopefully not by hand), set the mixture in the fridge to chill.  
 Meanwhile, roll out the cookies and then bake them.
Once the cookies have completely cooled, remove the crème topping from the fridge. It will be very stiff and seem too hard to use as a frosting but never fear because now we can just smash it around for a few minutes with a sturdy fork to make it more pliable. Then once again using clean hands, take a small amount of crème and mold it into the perfect size to top the flat side of the cookies.
 You can use the crème topping on the rounded tops of each of the cookies but I liked the unique look of not having the tops covered by frosting.  
Also, if any of the cookies became a little too brown on the bottom while baking, this technique is a great way to cover up the mistake.  Bonus!  Alternately, you can make little cookie sandwiches if you prefer.   
 Continue to take each cookie and press the crème either on the bottom or the top until all of the cookies have been frosted.
You can really have fun with this recipe and go wild with the flavor and topping combinations.  So get creative and experiment then let us know in the comments if you made any unique changes that  made these little bites of bliss even better!  Enjoy!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Chocolate Indulgence Cookies

 This is the  recipe if you’re looking for a chocolaty, indulgent treat that is also guilt-free!  I adapted this recipe from the very first dessert I ever learned how to bake (or I should say not  bake).  
The first recipe I ever made on my own was no-bake cookies.
When I was trying to come up with a healthy recipe that would be vegan, gluten-free, and sugar-free, I thought ,"Why not go back to the beginning?"   

Chocolate Indulgence Cookies

1 ½ Cups Xylitol       

2/3 Cup Natural Peanut Butter

½ Cup Coconut Oil

1 tsp Vanilla Extract

½ Cup Coconut Milk          

3 Cups Rolled Oats

4 tbsp Cacao Powder        

1/3 Cup Cacao Nibs

Measure and set aside the cacao nibs, vanilla extract, peanut butter, and rolled oats.  I buy a wonderful freshly ground peanut butter with no salt or any other added ingredients from my local health food store, but nowadays there are several great all-natural options available at regular grocery stores as well.
Next, in a saucepan over medium-low heat, combine the xylitol, coconut oil, coconut milk, and cacao powder.   

I used Thai Kitchen canned full-fat coconut milk for this recipe. 

I lightly shook the can before use but not enough to completely combine the thick cream and the watery milk and then I used the creamy part of the coconut milk for the 1/2 cup called for. 

For the cacao, I personally use and recommend Navitas Naturals Cacao Powder and Cacao Nibs. Of course it is not a requirement to use this brand, but it's the one I prefer to bake with because of the consistently great results I have gotten with their products.

Continue to mix over medium-low heat until mixture begins to boil.  Allow to boil for about three minutes, stirring continuously.
Once the mixture has boiled for three minutes, remove from heat and stir in the peanut butter, vanilla, and cacao nibs.  Then slowly add in the oats, stirring constantly to make sure all the ingredients are fully mixed.  If you don’t stir thoroughly, you’ll find some of the oats will not be coated in chocolate and we certainly do not want that!
On ungreased cookie sheets, drop tablespoon-sized amounts of the mixture about an inch apart.  Allow to set up for ten minutes before moving into the fridge to fully harden. 
 Unlike traditional no-bakes, these cookies do need to be refrigerated to completely set up.  But since these cookies are totally healthy and delicious, they are well worth taking up a little extra space in the fridge for awhile.  ENJOY!