Another trip down the chocolate aisle has produced two new contenders. I’ll jump right in, starting with the Mahalo bar made by Go Max Go. This is like a vegan almond joy, with smooth milk chocolate coating the sweet, dense coconut interspersed with almonds.
The Mahalo is a definite success, with the chocolate tasting milky and the whole thing not being too sweet but still giving you that candy bar high. A tasty and satisfying find for $3.
Next up are the Golden Smackers peanut butter patties, I had high hopes for these. They taste okay at first. The chocolate is not bad, the peanut flavor is fairly low but then there’s this odd bitter aftertaste. I’m not sure if I got a bad batch, sometimes sesame can taste that way. I would probably not get these again but I’d be willing to give it another try if they were sampling them.
If you and I have anything in common, then I think it might be my love of wandering through grocery stores. And when it comes to gourmet chocolates, I always wonder if they are as delicious behind their beautiful wrappings? Please, I think each time, let this be amazing.
Maison Bouche is a very lovely looking chocolate, clearly French inspired, that comes in gold foil and fancy paper. It comes at a steep price of $8 a bar in stores like Whole Foods. Is it worth it?
It was not my favorite chocolate, being rather sweet, which is not something most Americans mind. It tasted very sweet and slightly silky, with tiny pieces of crunchy toffee. It is milky but not as much as Cadbury’s from the UK (not the fake Cadbury’s here in the US). It would make a great gift for a sweet tooth, being so pretty.
Next up we go to the opposite end of the spectrum, a vegan chocolate made with coconut milk. Does it taste like chocolate or more ‘earthy’? It is a mere $3.25 by comparison and comes in a slim container with lovely dark green foil.
I’m happy to report that this was a bit more to my liking, with a complex dark flavor and bright flakes of coconut. It is not too sweet and would probably not satisfy a typical chocolate lover, but would be great for vegetarians, vegans or people who like more complex desserts.
For some reason I don’t like drinking plain water, but during the summer I definitely need more water. At a charity event, I discovered a delicious drink featuring lemonade + gin + rosemary. I adapted this to make a rosemary lemon water, but you can also use mint, other herbs or no herbs.
20 ounces of water
Juice from 1 lemon
1-2 stems of rosemary
1 tablespoon agave syrup (or other syrup)
Mix lemon juice and agave syrup together until they are well blended
Add the water and stir, then add the rosemary
Slice the lemon and add a few of the pieces
This is a lemony flavored water, if you want real lemonade then use 3 lemons and 3 tablespoons of syrup.
I’m always hesitant to tell people when my baked goods are vegan, because they tend to shy away. But I’ve made these cupcakes a few times now and they are fabulous. They’ll stand up to any cupcake, vegan or otherwise.
My friend and I made this recently with an interesting “textured” frosting – due to our lack of powdered sugar we used granulated. It was quite nice although next time I’d add some powdered sugar too. 🙂
The cupcake recipe comes from the Babycakes book and was shared via Gwyneth Paltrow’s site, http://goop.com/newsletter/49/en/. I didn’t use their frosting recipe, but instead did one more like a traditional buttercream frosting sans butter.
1 cup garbanzo and fava bean flour
1/4 cup potato starch
2 tablespoons arrowroot
1/2 cup cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup coconut oil
2/3 cup agave nectar
6 tablespoons applesauce
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup hot water
Frosting for serving
Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line one, standard 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners and set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, potato starch, cocoa powder, arrowroot, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum, and salt.
Add the oil, agave nectar, applesauce, vanilla, and hot water directly to the dry ingredients. Stir until the batter is smooth.
Pour 1/3 cup of the batter into each prepared cup. This portion will almost fill the cup up entirely.
Bake the cupcakes on the center rack for 22 minutes, rotating the tray 180 degrees after 15 minutes. The cupcakes will bounce back when pressed and a toothpick inserted in the center will come out clean. Remove from the oven.
Let the cupcakes stand for 20 minutes. Transfer them to a wire rack right side up and cool completely.
It’s summer time once again, and that means all the fruit is here. I’m a big fan of quickly pulled together cobblers for dessert now that I can no longer have eggs or cow’s milk. I love combining rhubarb with nectarines or peaches, which are less sweet and traditional than strawberries.
You can eat the poached fruit directly, use it in oatmeal or put a very thin pastry of flour, oats, butter and sugar on top and bake for 25-30 minutes in a 350 degree oven.
1/2 cup white wine (use dessert wine if you want it on the sweeter side)
1/4 cup of sugar
2 tablespoons honey or agave syrup
3 stems of fresh rhubarb, 1-inch across, chopped (if the rhubarb is not chopped into same size pieces, smaller pieces will be more mushy, but still tasty)
2-3 ripe nectarines or peaches, sliced
Mix wine and sugar over low heat
If the nectarines are not fully ripe, add them first and cook for 3 minutes
Add rhubarb and drizzle with honey or syrup
Cook for 15-20 minutes, stirring often, until the fruit is soft (if you’re going to make cobbler, cook for only 10 minutes so it finishes in the oven)
Remove fruit with a slotted spoon (or a potato masher if that’s what you have on hand)
Turn up heat to medium-low and cook for 5-10 more minutes longer to thicken
Strain the remaining liquid and set aside to mix in drinks, yogurt, etc.
I must admit that it’s difficult to do step #7. I end up drinking it straight.