Some days a treat is a really good thing– it could be a celebratory treat, a consoling treat, a seasonal treat. In my childhood home, my mother considered sweet treats to be a really good thing every day– we literally always had a platter in the kitchen with fresh baked chocolate chip cookies, brownies, fudge, cake or chocolates from Van Duyn’s– and an occasional apple pie. Each of the seasons had their own special treats– the first of October was the time for Kraft caramels, of course. My sister and I could pack a “goodie” into our lunch bag, have a goodie after school for snack, and for dessert every night. The only rule was “don’t pig out”. One of the good things about this tradition was we learned discretion and temperance– not to eat a treat whenever we saw one as they were always readily available.
Today I know is going to be a crazy day at the start of a crazy week, and my daughter and her partner are due to arrive for a short visit too– so this morning as I made my coffee and breakfast I decided it was a fine time for me to quickly make this nurturing treat. It’s easy to make, and comparatively healthy for a dessert– far healthier than Kraft caramels’ ingredients of corn syrup, sugar, and palm oil– and no one will know it’s made with tofu unless you tell them.
12 full graham crackers
5 oz melted butter
14-16 oz silken tofu
12 oz 72% dark chocolate
1 1/2 t honey
1/4 c Kahlua
Preheat oven to 350F. Finely grind the graham crackers in a food processor, then add the melted and slightly cooled butter and honey. Press into a 9 inch springform pan or pie dish. Bake 5-6 min, then cool.
Melt chocolate gently over a double boiler, stirring frequently. Remove as soon as melted, while still shiny– do not overheat. Cool slightly. Using a clean and dried food processor bowl, blend tofu to smooth consistency, then add melted and slightly cooled chocolate, honey, vanilla, and Kahlua; mix for about 1 minute until consistent color. Do not over mix. Pour into cooled pie crust. Refrigerate 1-2 hours before serving.
Yesterday I saw a facebook post from a friend out for a cool treat– an awesome looking seriously chocolate mousse-like cake with an icy adult beverage topped with whipped cream. Oh my, taste bud envy! Mindful of the impact of a super cold and sugary ice cream treat on the gut, I reflected on what would be a healthier option to satisfy my sweet tooth as this heat wave wears on and on… and remembered this recipe. Ginger, coconut and lemon tropical cool sweetness! I’ll make this again, and keep looking for new treat options… Here’s that recipe as originally posted:
Dinner and dessert at my friend Sharon’s house led to my discovery of the Living Candida Free cookbook by Ricki Heller, PhD, RHN…. and thus to this, my first attempt making my own modified version of her Carrot Balls recipe. Yum! My guests and I devoured these fast, and I think even my hardcore chocolate loving, non-vegan, non-gluten free, unabashedly desert centered sister would like these. A lot.
3/4t fresh ginger root, finely chopped
1 c raw unsalted sunflower seeds
1 1/2 t cinnamon
1/8 t cardamon
2 t ground flaxseeds
2 T coconut for balls, plus additional 6-8 T coconut for rolling balls in.
1 T plus 1t lemon zest
3 t lemon juice
1 1/2 t blackstrap molasses
1 t water, as necessary or skip the water and increase the lemon juice
6-7 T fresh finely grated carrot
Using a food processor, finely chop fresh ginger root, then add sunflower seeds, spices, ground flaxseeds, and coconut. Process until medium fine. Then add finely grated lemon zest, lemon juice, and molasses until it just comes together as dough– it will be rather heavy. Add carrot and pulse to mix evenly. Don’t be frightened by its dense texture! Form into small balls, then roll each ball in a small bowl of the additional coconut to coat well. Refrigerate in an airtight Tupperware type container until firm and chilled. Makes 18-20 balls, with 2-4 balls being a perfect dessert serving.
My guests and I all thought these were a great dessert. I think they’d be wonderful too for a light breakfast snack if I need a little energy before going to an early morning yoga class.
A phone call this morning with invitation to a Seder celebration makes me think to look up this recipe from long ago, from Maida Heatter’s Book of Great Chocolate Desserts, which I modified a bit many Passovers ago. Some of my favorite childhood memories at the beach include the best ever chocolate macaroon cookies from Seaside Bakery. I was so sad they quit using the same fabulous recipe when the bakery was sold years ago. The magic of those macaroons was that they were made without either flour or sugar, were instead sweetened and moistened by chopped dates… as are these macaroons too.
5 oz Trader Joe’s 72% dark chocolate plus 1T butter. (She calls for 4 oz Baker’s German’s Sweet chocolate plus1 oz unsweetened chocolate)
3 egg whites, from grade large or extra large, at room temperature
pinch of salt
10-12 dates, chopped very fine (use food processor to turn to paste, a generous 1/4 cup of date paste (she calls for 1/2 c granulated sugar)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract- or 2 if needed to adjust moisture. Or plus
1 teaspoon almond extract
7 oz (or about 2 to 2 and 1/4 cups, loosely packed) shredded coconut
Preheat oven to 350F with two racks adjusted to divide oven into thirds for even baking. Break up chocolate and melt it with 1T butter in top of double boiler over moderate heat, covering until partially melted. Then uncover and stir until completely melted and smooth– but do not overcook. Remove the top of the double boiler and set aside uncovered to cool to room temp.
In a small bowl, beat the egg whites with the salt until they hold a firm peak when the beaters are raised. Add the vanilla and finely chopped dates, beat until the meringue is stiff but only just so. Scrape the bowl with a rubber spatula and efficiently beat in the cooled chocolate, softly only until mixed. Then using only the spatula, gently mix or fold in the coconut. Batter will be rather crumbly, a little dry as you are mixing all together well. But it shouldn’t be too dry, so add the coconut judiciously.
Using a moderately rounded teaspoonful of the mixture for each cookie, form 12-16 small ball cookies on each parchment covered cookie sheet. This is when you could top each with a single almond sliver if you’re so inclined. Bake for about 10-12 min, reversing the sheets top to bottom and front to back once mid-way to ensure even baking. When the macaroons are done they should look just-edge-of-dry on the outsides, but remain soft in the centers! With a wide spatula transfer the macaroons to raised racks to cool so the bottoms will cool to be firm and dry, but the cookies will be still moist inside.
This recipe uses ground flax seed instead of eggs so that we can eat the batter raw with impunity. I use the standard toll house recipe with a few modifications, including reducing the sugar, substituting peanut butter for 3-4T of butter, and adding oatmeal, for better tasting and chewier cookies, also healthier.
1 cube plus 5T fresh butter, at room temp
4-6 T Adams natural chunky peanut butter or fresh ground, without salt
1/2 c brown sugar
1/2 c white sugar
2 T ground flax seed
2 t vanilla
1 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
scant 3/4 cup rolled oats
1t baking soda
1/2t baking powder
1/2t sea salt (skip if use salted PB)
12 oz semi sweet chocolate chips
Grind flax seed in coffee or spice grinder, then measure 2T into small glass. Add approximately 4T fresh cold water and stir with fork, adding water slowly until is consistency of stirred egg, then set aside (where it will thicken a little.) In a large glass bowl, beat together butter, sugar, and vanilla, then add peanut butter and beat until creamy. Stir flax seed again with fork, adding several additional drops of water as necessary until is consistency of stirred egg, then beat into butter/sugar mixture. Stir together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt, then add with oatmeal and chocolate chips to bowl, mixing well but only as much as necessary to moisten all together well. Bake on ungreased cookie sheets or– our method– transfer to a long sheet of waxed paper, forming three logs. Cover with another sheet of waxed paper, wrap up well, and store in a ziplock baggie in the freezer until you want a tray of freshly baked warm cookies– or a bite of uncooked cookie dough. Yum.
3/4 of one stick of sweet butter, at room temperature (a full stick is 1/2 cup)
12 oz 72% dark chocolate (or 12 oz semi sweet chocolate chips)
1 t vanilla
3 cups whipping cream
3 T white sugar
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Grind 36 oreos in Cuisinart to very fine crumbs, then add soft butter and process until evenly moist. Lightly butter bottom and sides of a spring-form pan, then press crumb mixture into pan evenly across bottom and up sides of the pan. Bake 5 minutes, then cool completely.
Combine chocolate, vanilla and pinch of salt in Cuisinart and process until fine. The fineness of the chocolate dictates the smoothness of the mousse. Gently bring 1 cup of whipping cream to boil, then add it slowly to the processor while running until chocolate is melted and smooth. Beat 2 cups of the whipping cream and sugar until forms soft peaks. Gently fold in chocolate mixture until just uniformly mixed (but dont over stir). Spoon and gently spread evenly into completely cooled crust. Cover top of pan lightly (without touching top of mousse filling) with wax paper if available, place in refrigerator for at least one hour before serving. Store in refrigerator (or tastes fabulous frozen! Freeze in Tupperware style container).