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.

17 de feb. de 2015

Homemade Peanut Butter

I thought this recipe had to wait in the 'Drafts' folder for a long while because my food processor almost died yesterday while making this homemade peanut butter. After several minutes of chopping and blending I suddenly noticed a weird smell...something wrong was going on. "Oh no! My food processor has died!", I thought. Luckily I gave my poor food processor a break and the peanut butter finally became smooth and spreadable. At that point there was no turning back so, being the stubborn I am and how badly I wanted all-natural homemade peanut butter, I decided to push my processor to the limit and see what happened. Either way the weird burning smell was still present and I was very angry cause my brand new machine disappointed me, so I went for the kamikaze option.
Starting the week with an almost broken food processor wasn't my ideal plan but I learned the lesson well: it is VERY important to invest in a powerful food processor if you want to make your own nut butters, creams and raw desserts. Guess it's time to stop buying nail polishes, lipsticks and kitchen props (they're my addiction!) and save money; all donations are greatly appreciated! ;-)
Making homemade peanut butter or any other nut butter is ridiculously easy if you have a little bit of patience, because it takes several minutes to turn your freshly roasted nuts into smooth, rich, spreadable butter. But believe me, after a few minutes you'll start to see the magic happening! 
All you really need is like 2 cups of raw peanuts, then you can roast them if you want to enhance the flavor: most people roast the nuts in the oven but I think it's kind of a waste of time and energy cause you can get the same results by using a frying pan lightly coated in coconut oil. I prefer this method cause it allows me to control the exact level of roastiness and you know how quickly nuts can burn from one second to another when they are in the oven!
After getting the final butter the fun part begins cause you can put as many add-ins as you wish like salt, a touch of sweetness, spices, chopped peanuts for a crunchy finish or even cocoa powder (or raw cacao powder) to make a chocolatey version! 
I personally like to add a tiny bit of salt and a couple tablespoons of pure maple syrup to get the perfect balance of salty and sweet. So good and so addictive I could dig my spoon and eat it straight out of the jar...or dip apple slices in it! ;-)

Homemade Peanut Butter
(makes about 1 1/2 cups)

2 cups raw, shelled peanuts.
1/4 teaspoon salt.
2 generous tablespoons pure maple syrup, more to taste.*

* You can also use honey or molasses.

First of all, I recommend to roast the peanuts for a deeper flavor. Simply lightly coat a frying pan with coconut oil and toast the peanuts until they look lightly golden and release a toasty aroma.
Let them cool a bit to prevent the bowl of your food processor from over-heating.
Pulse the 2 cups of freshly roasted peanuts for one minute, until ground. At this point you will have to run the food processor for one minute, stop and scrape down the sides and eventually give your processor a break cause it will get really, really hot.
Don't panic if you see that the gritty butter suddenly starts to clump together and become a ball of dough. Just keep processing, the peanuts will release their natural oils and a few minutes later you will have soft, glossy peanut butter. 
Finally add 1/4 teaspoon of salt and your sweetener of choice (I like to use pure maple syrup for the healthiest version). 
Taste and add more salt or other add-ins like cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, whatever you desire. 
Transfer the peanut butter to a jar, cover and keep refrigerated. 
The butter will firm up in the fridge but if you take it out of the fridge a few minutes before serving it will soften and look glossy again. Nut butters taste better at room temperature.

8 de feb. de 2015

Valentine's Day: Chocolate Raspberry Cake

Wether you celebrate Valentine's Day, loathe this day or simply you are not in the mood for love (wait, wasn't that the name of a movie?!...oh yes! Google says it's a movie directed by Wong Kar-Wai back in the year 2000) you should treat yourself with this luscious, rich and decadent cake!
Because we chocoholics don't need to find an excuse to eat this always-tempting bean, but sharing a few slices with that special someone, our loved ones or the cute neighbor that just moved next door might makes us feel less guilty; don't you agree with me?
Okay, reasons apart. I madly fell in love with this Chocolate Raspberry Cake right after the first forkful; boy I do love the chocolate-fruity combination but if you give a scent of raspberry to the frosting then you take the whole cake experience to the next level.
I made my go-to chocolate cake recipe, divided in three layers and filled with raspberry jam and raspberry cream cheese frosting. This time I went for the naked cake style, something a bit more rustic yet elegant and super luscious. To make the top layer frosting more beautiful I dusted it with lyophilized raspberry powder which also was the natural coloring of the frosting.
You can find 100 % natural raspberry powder at almost every cooking supply stores or also you can buy a bag of whole lyophilized raspberries and crush them with your food processor to a fine powder (which is what I did this time, since I had an already open bag from making breakfast oatmeal).
Do you like the heart shaped balloons I bought specially for the photoshoot? They're now running around the house and probably will stay here until V-Day, then I will grab my cake tester and pop them like there's no tomorrow while yelling "I will be a crazy cat lady for the rest of my life!".
For the love of cake, please try this recipe at home and let yourself go. ;-)

Receta en español aquí!

Chocolate Raspberry Cake
(makes one 4-inch/10 cm diameter cake)

- For the chocolate cake:
One recipe of my go-to chocolate cake, or your favorite chocolate cake recipe.
- Filling:
24 ounces (680 g) cream cheese* frosting, cold.
1 cup powdered sugar.
6 teaspoons (approximately) powdered lyophilized raspberries.
Raspberry jam, to taste.
- Decoration:
Fresh raspberries (optional).
Raspberry powder.

* If you want to make your cake 100 % vegan use the same amount of vegan cream cheese.

I suggest to make the chocolate cake and the frosting one day before assembling and store both in the fridge, this way the cake will firm up and it will be easier to cut it into layers and frost it. The cream cheese frosting will also firm up nicely in the fridge, thus more pipeable and easier to work with the offset spatula.

- To make the chocolate cake:
Make one recipe of my chocolate cake here, follow the same directions and once it's completely cool wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and store in the fridge until the next day. Remember that you will have to make just one recipe, so you will need one 6 in x 4 in (15 x 10 cm) round pan.
- To make the raspberry cream cheese frosting:
Place a big handful of lyophilized raspberries inside your food processor and crush them until they are finely powdered. Set aside.
In the bowl of your stand mixer beat together the cream cheese with the icing sugar at low speed until the sugar is incorporated. Stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl and paddle. Add in around 6 teaspoons of the powdered raspberry to give a pale pink tone and increase the speed to high and continue beating for 3 to 4 minutes, until fluffy and smooth. Store in the fridge until ready to use. Note: It can be stored in the fridge for up to one week.
- To assemble the cake:
Divide the cake in three layers and generously coat with raspberry jam and cream cheese frosting each one.
Finally cover the top of the cake with double the amount of frosting used in the lower layers and dust with leftover raspberry powder on top. Garnish with fresh raspberries if desired.

4 de feb. de 2015

Coconut Banana Loaf

One of my favorite things to do on winter when the temperature drops and I feel like a hermit is to sit on my couch, wrapped in my blankie and enjoy a warm cup of tea with a big slice of a freshly baked loaf or pound cake. Actually any baked treat that pairs well with a hot beverage will work for me; but there's something special about loaf cakes...dunno, maybe is that rustic look they usually have with those impromptu cracks on top, they kinda scream 'homemade & cozy' to me.
It's been a while since the last time I baked a loaf cake and sincerely I should've done it before cause my family has been asking for it way too many times! But when you are a food blogger one of the first things you strive for is variety: as much as one can love, for example, cookies, your readers could die of boredom if they see the same type of recipes every single week.
Finally all the cravings of my loved ones have been satisfied: Coconut Banana Loaf to the rescue! With the sweet and irresistible tropical touch of banana and coconut, this loaf will warm you up and lift your spirit even on the coldest days. Made with whole wheat flour and a good dose of fresh orange juice, this hearty cake is more than a simple banana bread.
...and now I'm off to prepare my Valentine's Day recipe. Stay tuned!

Coconut Banana Loaf
(recipe adapted from 'Whole Grain Vegan Baking')

1 cup shredded coconut, unsweetened.
3/4 cup organic brown sugar.
1/4 cup sunflower oil.
1 1/4 cups fresh orange juice.
4 ounces (113 g) mashed banana.
1/2 tsp salt.
2 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour.
1 tbsp baking powder.

Preheat the oven to 350 ºF (180 ºC).
Lightly coat an 8 x 4-inch (20 x 10 cm) loaf pan with cooking spray. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper.
In a large mixing bowl combine coconut, sugar, oil, orange juice, mashed banana and salt. Add in the flour and baking powder, stir just until combined.
Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and bake for 60 minutes. Be careful that the top of the loaf doesn't brown up quickly. If so, place the loaf on a lower rack (not the lowest!) or reduce the temperature a little bit.
To check if the loaf is done baking insert a toothpick in the center, it should come out clean.
Place on a wire rack, still in the pan, for about 15 minutes before transferring directly to the rack.
Let cool before slicing.
Store in an airtight container.

29 de ene. de 2015

No-Bake Chocolate Energy Bites

These past weeks I've been looking for a recipe that allows me to test out my new food processor and see how powerful it really is. I got it for Christmas and I couldn't wait any longer to play with my new little toy. Good news is that my small Kitchenaid food processor hasn't disappointed me, I made a perfectly smooth almond butter in less time than expected (honestly I was a bit scared at first cause I've read everywhere that making homemade almond butter can take up a lot of time). By the way, this post is not sponsored by Kitchenaid, my sister bought me this food processor as a Xmas gift and I'm so happy I'm finally able to make homemade nut butter that I wanted to share my excitement with the world. :-p
So after clearing things up and telling you how important it is to invest in a good food processor if you like to cook everything from scratch like me, let's talk about food. That almond butter I made was actually one of the main ingredients for this recipe: No-Bake Chocolate Energy Bites made with superfoods and packed with lots of nutrients. They make the best healthy snack to keep you satisfied between meals, bursting with vitamins, plant protein and good fats, plus they don't have refined sugars. I love to eat a couple of these balls half an hour before a workout cause they give me such a good energy! I don't need any food supplement filled with nasty chemicals to make me feel strong.
These bites are not only good for you, they actually taste amazingly good and, I warn you, they can be so addictive...I can't help but eating small spoonfuls of the batter when I'm preparing them. They're super rich and even if you're not very keen on dates you'll love them cause the cocoa powder and the almond butter are here to the rescue!
I'll come back with more variations of this recipe soon with different options to satisfy everyone's tastes!

¡Receta en español aquí!

No-Bake Energy Bites
(makes 16 small balls)

12 Medjoool dates, pitted and cut in half.
3 tbsp almond butter.
1 1/2 tbsp unrefined coconut oil.
1 1/2 tbsp pure cocoa powder.
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract.
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon.
2 1/2 tbsp ground flaxseed.
1 1/2 tbsp blend of milled organic flaxseed, sunflower & pumpkin seeds.*
Unsweetened shredded coconut, for coating.

* I always use this mix from Linwoods but you can try using a different mix that contains at least two different ground nuts/seeds.

Place all ingredients (minus the shredded coconut) into a high-speed food processor and blend until smooth. Stop a few times and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula. Process until a sticky ball of dough forms.
Roll the ball of dough into a rope and divide it into 16 equal portions. Use your hands to shape them into balls and finally roll in the coconut.
Place in the fridge so they harden a bit, for at least 20 minutes before eating.
Store letfover balls refrigerated in an airtight container.