Dark Chocolate for BREAKFAST! :D

This is a very adjustable recipe, since it’s basically just melt shit in pot of chocolate and call it ‘breakfast’ so feel free to make adjustments!

  • 1 lb good dark chocolate (preferably chips or chunks, not a solid brick)
  • 8-10 slices bacon, cooked crispy and chopped/crumbled
  • 1.5 c. plain granola, gluten-free and so forth
  • 1/2 c. “sweet-spicy” pecans or almonds – make your own or try Trader Joe’s
  • 1/2 c. chocolate-covered espresso beans
  • 1/8 c. cocoa nibs
  • 1/3 c. dried fruit of choice (raisins, cranberries, etc. – or chop larger dried fruit, like apricots or dates)
  • 1/4 tsp hickory smoke flavoring (can use own spice blend for this, or a bottle)
  • 1/8 tsp chipotle powder (or more to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • sea salt to sprinkle on top

Sub-Steps:

For good, baked bacon: (the problem with this is that is uses the oven, and your kitchen should be cool when working with the chocolate, not warm, so do this step ahead of time if possible)

  • Line a baking tray with foil; place bacon in a single layer.
  • Put in cold oven; set temperature to 380 F; set timer for 20 minutes.
  • Remove tray and drain fat.  If desired, sprinkle bacon with seasonings (ex. cumin, chipotle powder, etc), then flip each piece over.
  • Return to oven for another 10-15 minutes, or until crispy.
  • Drain fat again if necessary – bacon must be crisp!  Set slices on paper towels & dab off excess fat.  Let cool completely, then crumble.

For DIY flavored nuts: See my post about “rosemary roasted nuts” and just replace the rosemary with other spices, like some brown sugar and paprika or cumin or cinnamon or allspice or whatever strikes your fancy.

For DIY ‘plain’ granola: You can get some premade at the store, but if you want to make your own…

  • 2 c. oats
  • 1/3 c. honey
  • 1/3 c. vegetable oil of choice
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Combine all ingredients in a bowl; mix until all oats are moist.  The whole mixture should be a bit clumpy and wet.  If you like clusters, add a splash of water (1-2 tsp) to help some of the oats clump together.   Spread into a thin layer on a baking tray lined with foil; bake about 20 minutes (stir halfway through baking to ensure none of it gets too dark).  It will harden as it cools, so don’t dry it completely in the oven.

For good, tempered DARK chocolate: (the temperatures are a bit different for milk chocolate)

  • Use microwave method to melt chocolate, rather than a double-boiler, to eliminate any chance of getting water in your good chocolate!
    1. Put chocolate in glass bowl; microwave on high 30 seconds; stir & wipe down sides with clean spatula.
    2. Microwave another 30 seconds, stir, 30 seconds, stir (total of 3x).
    3. Microwave another 15 seconds, stir, 15 seconds, stir, repeat until chocolate reaches 100 F.
    4. Microwave another 10 seconds, stir, and repeat until chocolate reaches 115 F (about 5x).
    5. Remove from microwave and cool by stirring occasionally, until chocolate cools to 95 F.
    6. Add other ingredients until chocolate cools to 90 F.
    7. Test the temper of the chocolate by spreading a small amount in an even layer on a metal surface over an ice pack.  It should set within 3 minutes, and be shiny and streak-free.
    8. If necessary, use a hair dryer to keep the chocolate at 90 F while working with it.

Actual Directions: 

  • Lightly butter bottom and sides of 8×8 square pan.  With one long-ish strip of parchment paper, line the bottom and two sides, creating a makeshift sling.  Re-grease top of parchment paper.
  • Follow directions 1-5 for tempered dark chocolate.
  • In step 6, add all the other ingredients; mix well.  Keep chocolate at 90 F while incorporating the other ingredients.
  • Pour / Spoon mixture into pan.  Let sit on counter until solid (or, if necessary, place in refrigerator 10-20 minutes).
  • When set, loosen sides with a butter knife and lift out the chocolate with the ‘sling’ handles.  Cut into desired pieces with a sharp knife.

OTHER TIPS:

  • Cover your work area for easy clean-up. 
  • Make sure everything you will need is already out and easily accessible.
  • Make sure the ambient temperature of the room is a bit chilly.  Wear a sweater; don’t turn the heat or the oven on. 
  • Use a larger bowl lined with a dish towel to place chocolate bowl in while working (the ‘snuggle’ effect helps it keep warm).
  • Only put chocolate in refrigerator if necessary, for a max of 10-20 minutes (to prevent condensation).
  • Keep finished items in an airtight container in the coolest room of the house.

Final Note: To make this fructose-free, use dried blueberries instead of other fruit, and make sure the granola you use doesn’t have any hidden fructose!

Chocolate Bar Source: http://julesfood.blogspot.com/2013/10/dark-chocolate-breakfast-bar.html
Granola Source: http://www.tinyurbankitchen.com/2010/04/homemade-granola.html

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Rosemary Roasted Nuts

The recipe originally called for cashews, but I used almonds and just cooked them a smidgen longer, so I’m working on the assumption this is adaptable to any and all nuts.

  • 1 lb nuts, unsalted
  • 1 Tbs unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 Tbs salt
  • 2 Tbs fresh rosemary, minced
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne (or 1 tsp paprika)
  • 2 tsp brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Spread nuts in single layer on foil-lined baking sheet.

Toast nuts in preheated oven for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt butter in large bowl (big enough for the pound of nuts).

Add salt, rosemary, pepper, and sugar to butter; stir.

Remove nuts from oven; use foil to make a funnel to pour nuts into bowl.

Toss nuts in rosemary butter mixture until evenly coated.

Return nuts to foil-lined baking sheet; return to oven for 3 minutes.

After 3 minutes, cashews should be done; for almonds, stir and then return to oven for another 3 minutes.

Serve warm! 😀

Adapted from: http://familyspice.com/recipes/recipe/?recipe_id=282

Strawberry Shortcakes

These are THE SHIT, bro.  I cringe when I see those little “shortcake” things that are like the shallowest bowl ever to put your strawberries in… ugh.  Mine won’t act like a bowl, but it is about 9000% more delicious, without being too sweet.  This is the recipe I always make for friends who don’t like desserts that are “too sweet” or “too rich” – this is just right for everyone.

Approximately. 😛

  • 1.5 c. flour
  • 1/4 c. sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/3 c. cold butter
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 c. dairy sour cream
  • 2 Tbs milk
  • 5 c. sliced strawberries
  • 3 Tbs sugar
  • (optional) whipped cream

Preheat oven to 400 F.  Lightly grease baking sheet; set aside.

Decide now if you want to use a pastry cutter (aka pastry blender, aka that thingy like a whisk had an affair with some brass knuckles) or an electric mixer, and subsequently whether you want to use a large mixing bowl or electric mixer bowl for the next step.

In the bowl you just decided to use, combine flour, 1/4 c. sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Incorporate butter in manner previously determined, until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

In small bowl, combine lightly beaten egg, sour cream, and milk.  Add to flour mixture; stir with fork until just moistened.

Drop dough into 8 large mounds on prepared baking sheet (you could make them smaller, I guess, but this way everyone gets one giant … scone blob thingy for themselves).  Bake in preheated oven for 12-15 minutes, or until edges become golden.  Transfer to wire rack and let cool.

Meanwhile, in large bowl, combine 4 c. strawberries and 3 Tbs sugar.  Using a potato masher, mash berries SLIGHTLY and set aside.

When ready to serve, halve shortcakes like you’re going to use it as a hamburger bun, and then put the strawberries inside like a raw, oozing hamburger of delicious sweetness.  Add whipped cream if you want to stretch this analogy to include “cheese” as “a sweeter and fluffier dairy product”.  Top with extra sliced strawberries if any remain.  Or don’t.  You’re the boss.

Strawberry Dream Cookies

This recipe is from another wordpress blog, vegetarianinvegas, and it’s FABULOUS!  She has pictures, and it’s her original recipe, so go read hers at http://vegetarianinvegas.wordpress.com/2013/06/05/recipe-strawberry-dream-cookies/ .  I’m retyping the recipe to clarify some of the directions, and because I like having a centralized location to search for recipes, rather than just a giant folder of bookmarks that’s hard to search through.

  • strawberries
    • frozen strawberries – 2 c. thawed and chopped (if you’re careful and gentle, can give you white cookies with red spots)
    • fresh strawberries – 2-and-a-bit c. hulled and chopped (will give you pink cookies with red and white spots)
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 c. plus 1 Tbs sugar
  • 2 c. flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp coarse salt
  • 1/2 c. cold butter, cut into small pieces
  • 2/3 c. whipping cream
  • 1/2 c. white chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 F.   Cover baking sheet with foil.

In medium bowl, combine strawberries with 2 Tbs sugar and 1 tsp lemon juice.  Stir well; set aside.

In stand mixer bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, salt, and remaining 7 Tbs sugar.

Cut in the butter with paddle attachment or pastry cutter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

Add cream until dough starts to come together, then add strawberry mixture and white chocolate chips.

Spoon onto baking sheet; bake 10-20 minutes (depending on size of scoops and amount of juice in strawberries) until edges are golden and lift easily from pan.

Fructose-Free: check the label on the white chocolate chips, but I think this recipe can be fructose-free! 🙂

Source: http://vegetarianinvegas.wordpress.com/2013/06/05/recipe-strawberry-dream-cookies/

Chocolate Almond Angel Food Cake

OMG this is fantastic…”chocolate” “almond” and “angel food” are all things I like separately…so this is amazing!

  • 3/4 c. flour (3 and 1/8 oz)
  • 1/3 c. cocoa (3/4 oz)
  • 1.5 c. sugar (10.5 oz)
  • 12 large egg whites
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 1.5 tsp cream of tartar

Preheat oven to 325 F.

In medium-sized bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, and 3/4 c. sugar; set aside.

In bowl of stand mixer, beat egg whites until frothy.  Add salt, vanilla, almond extract, and cream of tartar.  Continue beating until whites form stiff, glossy peaks.

Add remaining sugar, 1/4 cup at a time.  Fold in the dry ingredients, also 1/4 cup at a time.  A wire whisk is best to not deflate the egg whites.

Scoop batter into ungreased tube pan.  Bake 40-45 minutes.  Remove cake from oven.  If your tube pan has legs, invert cake onto those and cool for an hour and a half.  If your tube pan does not have legs, invert it over a bottle to cool.

Once cake is THOROUGHLY cooled, loosen the edges with a knife, including around the center tube. Turn cake back over and shake gently onto serving plate.

To serve cake, take two forks and pry pieces apart (cutting downwards with a knife just squishes the cake).

Source: King Arthur Flour http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/chocolate-almond-angel-food-cake-recipe

Copycat Cranberry Bliss Bars

oooh alliteration! 😀

These are a copycat recipe of Starbucks’ C.B.B., which I love, so I’m definitely excited to try this recipe so I can have them year-round and not just at holidays!

Bars

  • 1 c. butter, softened (2 sticks)
  • 1 c. brown sugar (or only 2/3 cup if you’re trying to cut back on guilt)
  • 1/3 c. regular sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tsp orange or vanilla extract (why not both? I did 2 tsp vanilla, 1 orange)
  • 2 c. flour
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 3/4 c. dried cranberries (I used the orange-infused cranberries from Trader Joe’s and they were great!)
  • 3/4 c. white chocolate chips

Frosting

  • 3 oz. cream cheese, softened (I ended up using more like 5 oz)
  • 2 Tbs butter, softened
  • 3 c. powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp orange extract (I wouldn’t recommend vanilla here; the orange is important)

Topping 

  • 1/3 c. dried cranberries, chopped
  • 1-2 Tbs orange zest (grated orange rind)
  • 1/3 c. white chocolate chips
  • 1/2 tsp canola oil
  • (to be honest, I skipped this step completely and just ate it with the cream cheese frosting)

Preheat oven to 350 F (or 325 for a glass or dark pan).  Prepare a 10×15″ ** pan by lining it with parchment paper or non-stick cooking spray.

In bowl of stand mixer, beat together softened butter, brown sugar, and regular sugar for 3-5 minutes.

Gently blend in eggs and extract (don’t overbeat eggs).

Add flour, baking powder, and ginger; beat briefly.

Add cranberries and chips; stir just until incorporated.

Spread thick batter in prepared pan.  Bake for 20-24 minutes ** until light brown AT EDGES and toothpick test comes back clean. Don’t overbake!

Let cool completely.

In bowl of stand mixer (yes you’re gonna hafta wash it) blend cream cheese and butter until fluffy.  Add orange extract and powdered sugar; beat until frosting is fluffy and spreadable (add 1 tsp milk if needed).  Spread evenly over COOLED bars.

Sprinkle orange zest and chopped cranberries over frosted bars.

In glass measuring cup, heat white chocolate and canola oil.  Microwave 15 seconds, stir; repeat until chocolate chips are completely melted. Use fork or whisk to drizzle white chocolate diagonally over bars.

Allow one hour for white chocolate to set before cutting and serving.

** = If using a 9×13″ pan, bars will be thicker and will need 26-28 minutes to bake.

Note: I’m not 100% positive this is fructose-free, but I don’t see anything that ISN’T fructose-free… oranges are citrus fruit, and cranberries are berries (but are they “vining berries”? I dunno)… let me know if this tag is incorrect!

Source: http://www.food.com/recipe/cranberry-bliss-bars-starbucks-copycat-203229

Pumpkin Yeast Bread

Pumpkin yeast bread?!? I HAVE to try this… 😀

It suggests using it as sandwich bread for turkey & cranberry sauce sandwiches… *drool*

  • 1/2 c. warm water
  • 2 Tbs active dry yeast
  • 2/3 c. warm milk
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1.5 c. canned pumpkin (one ingredient)
  • 2 Tbs vegetable oil
  • 6.5 c. (approximately) flour
  • 1/2 c. brown sugar
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom

In bowl of stand mixer, stir yeast into water (by hand) to soften.  Add milk, eggs, pumpkin, oil, 4 c. flour, brown sugar, salt, ginger, and cardamom to yeast mixture (with dough hook).  Beat vigorously for 2 minutes.

Gradually add remaining flour, and incorporate well, until you have a dough stiff enough to knead.  Turn dough out onto a floured surface.  Knead, adding flour as necessary, until you have a smooth, elastic dough.  (This section of directions seems to be for making it by hand – can I continue using the dough hook for this step?)

Put dough into oiled bowl.  Turn once to coat entire ball of dough with oil.  Cover with towel and let rise until doubled, about ONE HOUR.

Turn dough out onto slightly oiled work surface.  Divide dough in half.  Shape dough into loaves and place in 2 well-greased 10×5″ pans, OR, shape one half into a loaf and the other half into 12 large dinner rolls.  Whatever you want to end up with, obviously.

Cover with towel and let rise until almost doubled, about 45 MINUTES.  Set oven to preheat to 375 F sometime during those 45 minutes.

Bake loaves about 30 minutes, rolls about 20.  If you’re fancy enough to have an instant-read thermometer to check the internal temperature, 190 F means the bread is done.

Immediately remove bread or rolls from pans and cool on wire rack to prevent crust from becoming soggy.  For a shiny crust, brush tops of bread/rolls LIGHTLY with vegetable oil (or delicious, delicious butter?)

Source: Mmmm King Arthur Flour… http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/pumpkin-yeast-bread-recipe

think this is fructose-free… pumpkin’s okay, right?

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