Fan Friday – CocoaNymph Edition

As you might have guessed from last week, I am a big fan of supporting local business. And another local business that I am totally in love with makes one of the things that makes the world go round: chocolate.

Fan Friday Presents…CocoaNymph!

I discovered cocoa nymph a couple of years ago, after a visit during Vancouver’s Hot Chocolate Festival. It was the first time I had drinking chocolate, and it’s safe to say it changed my life. It is the tonic to my worries, the balm of my bad days. I know it’s probably not good for me, but I love it anyway. The best part is, sub in some coconut (or almond) milk, and the dark drinking chocolate is vegan. That’s right, I didn’t have to give it up in the transition–it was one of the things I was most scared about losing.

Image borrowed from YVRBCbro on Urbanspoon — I would’ve taken my own picture, but it’s always gone too quickly for that!

I had some of the deliciousness this week and thought that it was the perfect Fan Friday post, and then I discovered that CocoaNymph has a kickstarter. Which made it even more perfect. So, especially if you’re in the Vancouver area, go check them out. Fall in love for yourself!

Let’s share the love around–where’s your favourite chocolate?

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Cookie Balls (aka What to do With Soft Cookies)

I made cookies the other day (shocking, I know). When they first came out of the oven, they were quite tasty, almost like mini cakes, but as they cooled they turned into crumbly messes. Sad and confused, I wondered what to do with these messy little failures.

Then I thought, you know what makes everything better? Chocolate! Yes, chocolate makes emotional wounds better, as well as all sorts of food.

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Chocolate Covered Cookie Balls

  • approx. 10 large soft cookies
  • approx. 1/2 c nut butter (I used peanut butter)
  • 1/2 c Semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 2 tsp Canola oil

In a medium bowl, mix with a spoon (or your hands, that’s what I did):

  • 10 large soft cookies
  • 1/4 c nut butter

Add more nut butter as needed until mixture can be squished into 1″ balls and not fall apart.

Place 1″ cookie balls on a plate or some other flat surface, I recommend using parchment paper or other non-stick mechanism between the cookie balls and the plate. Put plate in the fridge for about 10 minutes.

In a double broiler, melt

  • 1/2 c semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 2 tsp canola oil (the canola oil will keep the chocolate soft at room temperature, instead of it turning into a hard shell)

Pull cookie balls out of the fridge and move them to one side of the plate. Dip and roll each cookie ball in the melted chocolate until it is completely covered, then place back on the other side of the plate. When all are coated, return to the fridge for another 15 min or until the chocolate coating is hard.

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And that’s it! How to turn a baking mistake into a delicious chocolate covered cookie ball.

Don’t have a soft cookie recipe? My applesauce snickerdoodles will work decently. Oh, you want a vegan recipe? How convenient! I just happen to have a way too soft vegan applesauce snickerdoodle recipe handy.

Too-Soft Vegan Applesauce Snickerdoodles

Mix together thoroughly …

  • 1/4 + 1/8 cup melted vegan butter
  • 1/2 + 1/8 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 Ener-G egg

Sift together and stir in …

  • 2 cup bread flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Sugar Mixture

  • 2 tbsp white sugar
  • 2 tsp cinnamon 

Chill dough (required). Roll into balls the size of walnuts. Then roll each ball in the sugar mixture before placing about 2 inches apart on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 400ºF until lightly browned but still soft, approximately 8 – 10 minutes.

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I used candycane bits instead of cinnamon sugar for this batch — it was season-appropriate at the time, I swear!

 

These cookies really weren’t that great as cookies, so consider yourself warned. I promise I will post a vegan applesauce snickerdoodle recipe as soon as I come with one!

Happy baking!

What are your fixes for baking mishaps?

Black Forest Cookies

It’s that moment we’ve all been waiting for…a new cookie recipe! Took me long enough, I know, but life has been surprisingly busy lately (I wonder why). But last night the urge to bake hit me and out came something delicious. And, applesauce-ified.

 

This recipe is based on the Joy of Cooking’s chocolate chip cookie recipe, modified to be a bit healthier and, of course, the addition of cocoa and cherries.

Black Forest Cookies

Whisk together:

  • 1 c plus 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda

Beat in a large bowl until well blended:

  • 1/4 c unsalted butter
  • 1/2 c packed brown sugar

Add and beat until well combined:

  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 c unsweetened applesauce

Stir in the flour mixture until well blended and smooth, then stir in:

  • 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 c chocolate chips

Grease a cookie sheet and drop the dough by heaping spoonfuls about 2 inches apart.

Now take out an equivalent number of maraschino cherries (my batch made 19 cookies) and squeeze them between some paper towel to get the excess liquid out. Push one cherry into the center of each cookie.

 

Bake for about 10 minutes at 375°F, until cookies spring back when poked OR a toothpick inserted comes out clean (except for chocolate chips, of course).

So, how were they? Extremely tasty! They have that same cake-y texture as most of the applesauce substitute cookies I have tried, but don’t seem to have that baking soda flavour. The dough itself is not very sweet, but the cookies (and cherries) definitely make up for it.

Enjoy!

P.S. I love feedback! If you make one of my recipes, please leave me a comment saying what you thought of it!

Strawberry Chocolate Banana Bread

It has been a very busy few weeks, and even when we were actually in town, there were still tons of things to catch up on from when we weren’t in town. I think we are almost caught up now though–I even had time to get my hair done last weekend! I now look like I’ve actually been on the beach this year (without the requisite sunburns).

But enough about hair, let’s talk about yumminess. Most important part about catching up is that I had time to bake again! And the weather cooled down enough that using the oven wasn’t going to mean sleeping in one. There were a couple of very ripe bananas lying around which can mean only one thing: banana bread!

I started with the recipe “Banana Bread Cockaigne” from Joy of Cooking, and made some tiny mods based on what I had available. Here is the end result:

That’s right, there are chocolate chips and strawberry pieces in the banana bread.

Strawberry Chocolate Banana Bread

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease an 8.5″ x 4.5″ loaf pan.

Whisk together in a medium bowl:

  • 1 1/2 c all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Beat in a large bowl at medium speed until creamy:

  • 2/3 c white sugar
  • 6 tbsp butter, softened
  • 1/2 tsp lemon juice

Beat in:

  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 c mashed ripe bananas (approximately 2)

Add the dry ingredients in about 3 parts, beating until smooth after each addition. Then fold in:

  • 1/2 c strawberries cut into 1/2″ pieces (make some a bit larger)
  • 2/3 c semi-sweet chocolate chips

Pour/scrape the batter into the greased pan. Bake until a toothpick (or chopstick, if you don’t have any toothpicks handy) inserted in the center comes out clean (about an hour). Cool slightly, then remove from the pan and leave to cool on a rack. Slice after the loaf has cooled completely.

What did I think? Delicious! I was extremely surprised about how light coloured the bread was, I am used to banana bread that is much darker. It also, while still very dense, does not have the greasy feeling that banana bread usually has either. It is possible that perhaps I could’ve gone a little lighter on the chocolate chips……kidding! There’s no such thing as too much chocolate.

Enjoy!