30 de mar. de 2015

Vanilla Cupcakes with Avocado Dark Chocolate Frosting

Who said you can't enjoy eating a delicious cupcake made with healthy, wholesome ingredients? Some people automatically think about 'tons of refined sugar' when they hear the word cupcake but oh! boy they were so wrong...or maybe they just didn't taste the luscious cuppies I made today to celebrate Easter.
These beautifully golden vanilla cupcakes frosted with my healthy avocado chocolate frosting will make you think "why didn't I try this before??", yep, they are seriously good and you won't have to feel much guilty at all. They have sugar and chocolate, so don't expect these to be 100% guilt-free if you're on a strict diet; but I used coconut sugar (a healthy one) and 70% cacao-dark chocolate, plus organic whole wheat flour and organic spelt flour. No refined sugars, no refined grains and dairy free...see? You really can have your cupcake and eat it too!
When it comes to desserts Easter is all about chocolate, chocolate and...more chocolate! Well, at least to me since we have a strong tradition here in Catalonia to celebrate Easter eating chocolate treats and chocolate cakes (I talked about this tradition last year). So obviously I knew I had to prepare something chocolatey, tempting but on the healthy side.
Maybe you'd frown upon the idea of using avocados to make a chocolate frosting but trust me, you won't notice the avocado flavor at all. This is a thick, rich frosting that will remind you of a chocolate mousse. It's so delicious! I've been adjusting the quantities until my taste buds were completely satisfied but you can try with more or less dark chocolate or a little bit more of milk and a different sweetener. I find this frosting the perfect one to fill and cover a cake so you will see it again in the near future! ;-)

- You will have plenty of frosting to fill a big pastry bag and decorate your cupcakes with big swirls or whatever form your desire.
- If you make the frosting the day before decorating the cupcakes and it has firmed up too much, I'd suggest you to let it soften a bit at room temperature 5 to 10 minutes depending on how warm your house is. Mine was a tad bit too cold and I ended up breaking the last of my piping bags! So, after a couple minutes of cursing and yelling, I had to use a small plastic bag and tried my best to pipe the frosting using a Wilton 2D tip.

Receta en español aquí!

Vanilla Cupcakes with Avocado Dark Chocolate Frosting
(makes 12 cupcakes)

- Cupcakes:
3/4 cup almond milk.
1 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar.
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp white spelt flour.
1/2 cup whole wheat flour.
1/2 cup coconut sugar.
1 tsp baking powder.
1/4 tsp baking soda.
1/2 tsp fine sea salt.
1/4 cup sunflower oil.
1 tbsp vanilla extract.

2 ripe avocados.
1/2 cup roughly chopped dark chocolate (70 % cacao).
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder.
1/4 cup agave syrup.
1/4 cup almond milk.
1 tsp pure vanilla extract.
A pinch of salt.

- To make the cupcakes:
Preheat oven to 350º F (180ºC) and line your cupcake pan with paper liners.
In a small mixing bowl whisk together milk and vinegar until foamy. Let it sit for 10 minutes until the milk curdles.
In a large mixing bowl sift together all the dry ingredients: flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix well with a hand whisk.
Pour the oil and vanilla extract into the curdled milk bowl, mix just until combined. Add in to the dry mixture and whisk until there are no lumps in the batter.
Fill each cupcake liner half full and bake 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Transfer the cupcakes to a wire rack and cool in the pan for 5 minutes. After that, remove from pan and let cool completely.
Remember that cupcakes must be cold before piping the frosting on their tops. I'd suggest to refrigerate them for a couple of hours (or overnight) and make the frosting while they are cooling.

- To make the chocolate avocado frosting:
Melt the dark chocolate using the double boiler method: place a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and make sure the hot water doesn't touch the bottom of the bowl. Stir chocolate a few times as it softens. When almost all chunks are melted remove from the heat and, with the residual heat, stir a bit until smooth. Let it cool a bit before incorporating into the bowl of the food processor.
Mash the avocado using a fork and place it in your food processor with the rest of the ingredients: cocoa powder, agave syrup, vanilla extract, almond milk, salt and melted chocolate.
Process until well blended, no small chunks of avocado are visible and the mixture looks like a thick mousse.
I like my chocolate frosting to taste not too sweet and with a strong chocolate presence; however if you want it sweeter simply taste and add more agave syrup.
Transfer to an airtight container and let it chill in the fridge for 15 minutes approximately.

Here are more Easter recipes for you!
- Chocolate Easter Cake.

- Easter Cupcakes.

- Millionaire's Banoffee Tarts.

25 de mar. de 2015

Sacher Torte

Yes, I know I've published the Sacher Torte recipe before...twice, actually: the classic recipe and the vegan version. But seriously, the Vegan Sacher Torte is so unbelieveably delicious and cute that I had to share some pictures with you.
So technically this is not a recipe post, though it's a good opportunity to let you know that if you try this recipe and want to use a smaller cake pan it will came out equally nice. That proves 'Vegan Chocolate', the book from which I made the recipe, it's one of the best cookbooks I've ever bought: every single recipe is a guaranteed success. Two thumbs up for Fran Costigan and her team!
For the first time I doubled the recipe and used two 8-inch/20 cm round pans and this time I made one recipe and baked my cake in a single 6in x 4in/15cm x 10 cm round cake pan; it's a smaller but taller pan so the Sacher cake looked super cute.

Some people like to bake layer cakes in multiple pans so they don't have to divide and cut the cake but if you let this cake cool completely at room temperature and let it set in the fridge for several hours (I'd recommend overnight) you won't have any problem to cut the cake in two layers.
Only thing to keep in mind is that this cake has a very tender crumb so it's better if you plan ahead and bake the cake the day before assembling and glazing. I know it's pretty tempting to cut the cake once it comes out of the oven cause you can't wait any longer to see how good the inside looks, plus the mesmerizing smell of chocolate that is filling the entire house makes it even harder, but hold your excitement and trust me: chilled cake equals perfectly cut layers.

One more tip, this time about the dark chocolate ganache: miss Costigan suggests to use 2 teaspoons of (mild tasting) extra-virgin olive oil though it's an optional ingredient. Add it! It gives such a great glossy finish to the ganache. I'm sure you won't resist the temptation to dip a spoon into this luscious ganache before you start glazing the cake.
This is mom's favorite chocolate cake ever and obviously I had to bake it for her birthday last week. It was gone in two sittings and everybody wanted a second slice!
Here's to many more years baking Sacher cakes for my mother!!! <3

Texto en español aquí.

11 de mar. de 2015

Grant Loaf

Today has been a very shitty day, one hell of a stressful long ass day. I've spent half the day at the tax office trying to solve a problem that some incompetent police officer caused and later I had to run some errands and buy the gifts for my mom's birthday (which is in two weeks and I need to rearrange mu schedule and squeeze in a birthday cake between my already planned blog recipes).
I'm finally at home, sitting on my couch after a well deserved shower, in front of the laptop and with a warm cup of oat milk by my side. Plus I've prepared a delicious overnight oatmeal for tomorrow's breakfast to ensure myself the day is off to a good start. No place like home. *Sigh*
Talking about starting the morning off right, the bread I bring you today is perfect to make toasts and sandwiches: I love the taste of the crust when it's toasted and pairs so well with avocado, a generous layer of homemade almond butter and chopped nuts (if you add a drizzle of maple syrup then you'll be in heaven!).
This kind of no-knead bread is called a Grant Loaf and was accidentally created by Doris Grant back in 1944, she was a true believer of the benefits of wholemeal flour and found out that this quick bread was surprisingly good and, being heavier than regular breads, perfect for toasts.
The original recipe calls for whole wheat flour and muscovado sugar but I made some changes and used whole spelt flour and white spelt flour (both organic) and molasses.
So now when you're craving for homemade bread but don't have the time to knead or wait this is your recipe. It stays fresh for three days or so and you can make toasts with the leftovers, which is what I did because the recipes yields one big bread (I weighed it and mine was a bit more than 1kg!/around 2 pounds).

Receta elaborada para El Granero Integral. Próximamente disponible en su web.

Grant Loaf
(yields 1 big bread)

350 g organic whole spelt flour.
350 g organic white spelt flour.
1 1/4 tsp salt.
15 g fresh yeast.
600 ml lukewarm water.
1 generous tsp molasses (or honey).
Optional: black sesame seeds to sprinkle on top.

In a large mixing bowl, combine together the flour and salt; make a well in the center.
In a small bowl, crumble fresh yeast with your fingers. Add in molasses and stir in around 150 ml of the warm water. Mix everything together until smooth and well combined. Let the yeast mixture rest for 10 minutes approximately until it starts to foam (small air bubbles appear on the surface). If the yeast doesn't bubble it's because the yeast is either expired or the water was too warm.
Add this yeast mixture and the rest of the water (450 ml) to the center of the flour-salt mitxure.
Using your own hands mix all ingredients vigorously moving the hands from the sides of the bowl to the center. Work the dough (inside the bowl, this is a no-knead recipe) for 3 minutes or so until the dough feels elastic and doesn't stick too much to the sides of the bowl. It should be way more humid than regular bread dough so don't be afraid if it sticks to your hands, actually it should!
Transfer the dough into a lightly greased big loaf pan, cover with a damp cloth and let it rise in a warm place for 35 minutes. 
Meanwhile preheat oven to 200 ºC (392 ºF).
Once the dough has risen, sprinkle black sesame seeds on top and bake (rack in middle position) for about 35 to 40 minutes.
The bread should be ready when it looks golden and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.
Remove from the pan and transfer to a cooling rack.
This bread stays fresh and tender for around 4 days but if you aren't going to consume the whole bread you can freeze it up to one month (or freeze separate slices which is much more handy).
Leftovers are perfect to make toasts! :-)

4 de mar. de 2015

Chickpea Flour Crèpes

I'm happy to begin the month and this post with some good news!
No, I'm not thinking about writing a cookbook (yet) but I can finally announce that this month begins my collaboration with one of my all time favorite spanish organic food brands: El Granero Integral. It made me so happy that they loved my recipes and wanted me to be a part of their team!
They have a wide range of wholesome, good products, all certified organic (so many different flours, cereals, grains, sugars, nuts, dried fruits and many more things!).
I will write both sweet and savory recipes for them, the sweet ones will also be included here at Cinnamon Girl and it's gonna be a new challenge for me since I've always wrote about desserts and this time I will take myself out of my comfort zone and start exploring the world of appetizers, main courses, dressings, sauces, etc.
Like I said my blog won't change: this is my special little corner in the blogsphere where you will always find all things sweet, decadent, indulgent, luscious. I will always be a baker cause my sweet tooth has no boundaries!
For those who also follow me on Facebook and doesn't speak spanish: if you ever stumble upon one of my savory recipes for El Granero Integral and you are really interested to get the recipe in english, please don't hesitate to contact me or drop me a comment and I will translate it for you as soon as possible. Just keep in mind that the ingredients I use are from that brand and you might have to change or adapt the recipe a little bit and use the ingredients available in your country.
Now let's talk about the first recipe of March!
I love crêpes almost as much as pancakes and since I bought a special pan for crêpes last year, I've been experimenting with many different recipes to find one that is healthy and close to the delicious, original french-style crêpes.
I must say that these ones are totally guilt-free and yummy: no refined sugars, no butter and a good dose of proteins thanks to the chickpea flour! Plus they are filled with my homemade banana chocolate hazelnut butter, which tastes heavenly good and so chocolatey! When it comes to crêpes or pancakes I think bananas play an important role, I don't know about you but I always end up throwing some slices of bananas on top of my pancakes or, like this time, adding them to the filling.
Let me tell you a secret: while I was making this hazelnut butter I couldn't stop digging the spoon into the glossy, soft mixture.
Next time I will make a bigger batch of this chocolatey nut butter so I can add it to my smoothies and breakfast oatmeals. Yum.

Receta elaborada para El Granero Integral.

Chickpea Flour Crêpes
(makes four 10-inch crêpes)

2 free range eggs.
1 cup oat milk (you can use soy or almond milk too).
2 teaspoons sunflower oil.
Pinch of salt.
1 cup chickpea flour.
2 tablespoons whole cane sugar.
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract.
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon.
- For the filling:
2 medium ripe bananas.
4 tablespoons pure cocoa powder.
4 tablespoons homemade hazelnut butter.

* Salt, chickpea flour, agave syrup, whole cane sugar, cocoa powder and walnuts courtesy of El Granero Integral.

- To make the crêpes:
In a medium bowl beat together eggs, milk, oil and salt until smooth and a bit fluffy.
Add in chickpea flour and mix well and make sure there are no lumps. I highly recommend you to do this using a high speed blender so you will get a smooth batter in no time. If you don't have a blender you can mix by hand, just make sure the batter is smooth and very liquid.
Lightly grease with coconut oil a 10-inch crêpe pan and preheat.
Pour 1/4 cup of batter for each crêpe, quickly tilt the pan with a circular motion so that the batter spreads evenly across the pan, it should be a thin layer. Cook for 30 seconds, flip and cook the other side for 30 more seconds approximately, until the edges start turning brown.
Remember that crêpes cook quickly!

- For the banana chocolate hazelnut butter:
In a medium bowl chop bananas and mash them until pureed. Transfer to the cup of your food processor.
Add in cocoa powder and hazelnut butter (you can use almond butter or peanut butter instead). 
Process all ingredients together until a smooth, glossy butter (with no lumps) forms.
If the butter is not used immediately I recommend to store it in the fridge.

- Serving the crêpes:
Spread some generous tablespoons of the chocolate hazelnut butter all over each crêpe, pretty side down, and fold them into quarters.
Serve with a drizzle of agave syrup, maple syrup or your favorite chocolate sauce on top. Dust with confectioner's sugar and some fresh berries.
Crêpes are best served when still warm.

23 de feb. de 2015

Spiced Raw Truffles

Last week was a very weird week, you know when you want to do a million things but you feel like 24 hours ain't enough. I was sleepy but couldn't sleep straight through the night (my brain likes to be more creative when I should be sleeping), I wanted to catch up on things that have been in my to-do list for way too many weeks...and usually when I don't get to do what I planned I end up grumpy and irritable.
But first thing's first and I couldn't let the week pass without a new recipe. If you remember one of my last posts from January then you know that I said I was planning on making more raw and bite-sized desserts. Well I didn't want to wait too much so today I bring you this easy, quick and healthy recipe with really good results. They look like true rich truffles but actually what you get in each ball is a lot of good nutrients, energy, healthy fats and plant protein. Don't ever begin to doubt about their tastiness, they are really good, rich, super tender and sweet!
Yes to all the healthy desserts that taste amazingly good and makes your belly happy without feeling guilty! 
By the way, I still can't tell you anything but hopefully soon I will have some good news to share with all of you!

Receta en español aquí!

Spiced Raw Truffles
(makes around 21 truffles)

3/4 cup (100 g) raw, shelled almonds.
2 tbsp raw cacao powder.
10 Medjool dates, pitted and roughly chopped.
3 tbsp pea protein powder.
2 tbsp blend of milled flaxseed, walnuts, almonds, Brazil nuts and Q10. 
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice.

- If you can't find raw cacao powder you can use regular dutch process cocoa powder.
- Not very keen on dates? Try using dried figs instead.
- Pea protein powder is quite easy to find at organic/health food stores and even at the organic/health section of lots of supermarkets. It has a neutral flavor so don't worry, it won't affect the taste. However, if you can't find pea protein you can use Maca powder, hemp protein or whey protein. 
- I buy the bags from Linwoods that contain the prepared blend of seeds and nuts. You can use only flaxseed or a different mix.

Place all ingredients in your food processor and start blending at low speed. Stop frequently to scrap down the sides of the bowl.
Blend for one minute until a wet flour forms and there aren't big chunks of dates. If your processor is not very powerful and the mixture looks a bit dry then give it a break and add in 1/2 a teaspoon of coconut oil.
Blend until a sticky dough forms.
Scoop out 1/2 teaspon for each truffle and use your hands to roll the mixture into balls.
Place in the fridge for 5-10 minutes. Take each ball and roll it around in cacao powder so it's fully dusted.
If not serving immediately store in the fridge.