Posts Tagged ‘dark chocolate’
Chocolate French Toast

At the end of January I wrapped up a brutal project and work and decided that I needed to get out of dodge for a little while. That’s when I decided to go to my favorite city in the world, Paris. Despite the bitter cold of one of the coldest winters in recent history, I had a wonderful time. As Hemingway wrote, “When we came back to Paris it was clear and cold and lovely.” I spent hours wandering around the streets, stopping often in cafes to warm up with a mug of vin chaud, and I even experienced roasted chestnuts for the first time in my life. I hiked to the top of the Eiffel Tower while the bitter cold stung at my nose and ears despite my best efforts to shield myself against the wind. I sat underneath the heaters at Deux Magots, soaking up the Hemingway nostalgia as well as warming myself with a glass of amazing red wine. I cruised down the Seine on the coldest night of the year, drinking champagne and wishing that the boat had more than one working space heater. It was cold for sure, but it was also still and calm and beautiful in a way that my vacation pictures don’t really do justice. I’m so glad that I was able to make the trip during the off season, because it gave me a real feel for what it must be like to live in the city and experience it as a local.

I was also fortunate enough to stay once again at the Gentle Gourmet, Paris’s only vegan Bed and Breakfast. My hosts could not have been more wonderful, especially considering that I was their only guest. Deborah’s daily breakfasts were so delicious that I cannot wait to go back to Paris and visit their all new cafe. There is nothing more amazing than French toast made with fresh French bread, or so I thought. One morning she improved upon it with berries and an amazing chocolate sauce, and told me that sometimes she actually puts a piece of dark chocolate INSIDE of the bread before dipping it. That’s right guys, INSIDE of the toast there is CHOCOLATE and it erupts like a volcano of deliciousness when you slice into it. My god this woman is a genius. I cannot stress enough that everyone needs to try their new cafe as soon as it opens, and I encourage you to plan your trip in such a way that you can take all three meals with them. My delicious recipe is after the jump.

Vegan Easter

For vegans, some holidays can be a challenge. On the one hand, you want to savor the tastes of the season,  but you still want to maintain your commitment to cruelty-free living. For me, easter wouldn’t be the same without a basket of chocolate on easter morning, but I was not about to go out and buy snickers eggs, milk chocolate peanut butter cups, and marshmallow peeps. Instead, I spent last weekend doing something that I have always loved: making candy. I boxed up some of these treats and distributed them to friends, both vegan and non, and saved some for myself. I’ve dutifully kept said candy stored in the freezer so that I would be able to enjoy a basket on easter morning.
The chocolate eggs pictured are just dark chocolate chips melted with a tiny bit of earth balance and then poured into candy molds. I also made delicious haystacks, peanut butter truffles, and vegan cream cheese mints. Everything came out really nicely. I found the cream cheese mint recipe here, and substituted tofutti vegan cream cheese instead. The peanut butter truffles and haystacks, however, were all my doing. They came out great, and I am pleased to be able to share both recipes after the jump.
Peanut Butter Pretzel Eggs

  • 3/4 c. unsalted organic peanut butter
  • 3/4 c. powdered sugar
  • 1/2 c. ground pretzels (either pulse them in a food processor or put them in a ziploc bag and pound them with a rolling pin)
  • 1/2 lb. dark chocolate

In a double boiler (or just a frying pan on top of a pan of boiling water), melt the dark chocolate until smooth, stirring often.
Using a paintbrush, paint a thick layer of chocolate in the bottom of candy molds. Let these set in the freezer for 5 minutes.
Heat the peanut butter, sugar, and pretzels in a frying pan. 
Spoon the peanut butter mixture into the candy molds, drizzle additional chocolate on top until the molds are full. Give them a good shake to let everything settle and freeze for 30 minutes or until the candy can be easily popped out.

Vegan Haystacks

  • 1/2 c. peanuts 
  • 1/2 c. orange flavored dried cranberries
  • 1 c. pretzel sticks, broken in half
  • 1 bag of dark chocolate chips

In a double boiler or microwave,  melt the chocolate chips until smooth, stirring often.
Mix in the peanuts, cranberries, and pretzel sticks.
Drop by rounded teaspoons onto a baking sheet covered in wax paper.
Refrigerate for about an hour or until firm. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.

Special Times

I stumbled onto an absolutely sinful recipe on for dark chocolate fondue. It’s not healthy or good for you by any means, except in the sense that it uses animal-free ingredients. Chocolate on its own has a lot of calories. When you add earth balance, corn syrup, and liquor into the mix, you end up with a dessert that is really delicious fattening.
However, there are certain times in a woman’s life when she just needs chocolate. These can include: after a breakup, Valentine’s Day, certain times of the month, or whenever Breakfast at Tiffany’s or Steel Magnolias is on.
This fondue is perfect for those special times. I usually serve mine with quartered strawberries, apples, and orange slices. The last time that I made it, I also included some graham crackers for dipping.
I’m all about multi-purposing recipes. In addition to being great for those days when all a girl wants to do is wear sweatpants, this recipe is also great for a romantic date. The original recipe calls for Kahlua, but I had amaretto on hand anyway and decided to try it instead. I’ve been meaning to see how this would turn out with a ribbon of peanut butter instead of the liquor. If anyone out there is brave enough to try it, I would certainly like to hear about the results.

Vegan Chocolate Fondue

  • 1/4 cup vegan margarine
  • 8 ounces vegan chocolate chips or dark chocolate
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1/2 cup corn syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 tbsp soy milk
  • 1/4 cup Kahlua or other flavored liqueur (optional)

Melt margarine, chocolate, and soy milk together in a sauce pan.
Once melted remove from heat and stir in the rest of the ingredients.
Serve warm with oranges, strawberries, apples, pretzels, graham crackers, papaya, etc.. You name it, you can dip it.

Words to Live By

Sometimes you have to show a little skin. This reminds boys of being naked, and then they think of sex. Alicia Silverstone graced the silver screen in Clueless, a movie that spoke to the mid-90′s zeitgeist. Alicia is one of my favorite vegans, and I really do need to get out there and buy her new book, The Kind Diet. Alicia touts the benefits of veganism, including weight loss, improved health, and general good karma. I think that it’s great that she is using her notoriety to promote a plant-based lifestyle, especially when there are so many celebrities who are happy to plug fast food restaurants and soft drinks.  I could gush for days about Alicia, but this is my blog (her’s is here).

Two foods make my life worth living: chocolate and peanut butter. After my vegan month, I have no taste for milk chocolate. I crave the intense flavor of dark chocolate. This is great for me, because it takes much less to satisfy my monthly chocolate cravings. Another thing that I love is peanut butter. I love it so much that I can’t keep it in the house, because an entire jar can disappear in three days. However, I am a big believer that any successful, long term diet needs a little room for indulgence. So, I was very excited when I came across Alicia’s recipe for vegan peanut butter cups. This recipe uses earth balance, organic peanut butter, and dark-chocolate to create a dessert that is sinfully delicious. It makes a dozen peanut butter cups, so it would be perfect to give as a gift, or to bring into the office. Or I suppose you could eat all 12 yourself, but then you would pretty much be done eating for the day, just like when you get a chipotle burrito.

For sweetener, I used organic raw sugar, but you can tweak it to whatever your dietary restrictions might require. I used organic unsalted peanut butter and one of those huge 1 lb dark chocolate bars from Trader Joes (which is the cheapest way to buy dark chocolate). I ran into one hang up while melting the chocolate. Mine was very thick and did not easily pour over the peanut butter. I added a few extra tablespoons of soy milk, which seemed to do the trick. I love the idea of graham cracker crumbs in the peanut butter filling, because it perfectly mimics the taste and texture of Reese’s peanut butter cups.

The Kind Diet: A Simple Guide to Feeling Great, Losing Weight, and Saving the PlanetThis recipe was super easy to make, but the peanut butter cups look very impressive. I was very excited to serve these at my Valentines Day tea party, which featured a wide assortment of vegan baked goods. I crunched the numbers and my finished product had 160 calories per peanut butter cup. Like I said, these are good for a once in awhile treat.

The recipe can be found here: Alicia Silverstone’s Vegan Peanut Butter Cups