i know i’m diverging a bit from my usual path, but i decided to interrupt your regularly scheduled outfit post for something a little different. i can count the number of times i’ve posted about food on this blog with one hand, which is actually pretty funny considering the fact that i’m a certified pastry chef. that’s right, in another life long ago before i ever had a blog, i went to culinary school and worked as a cake decorator. it was a pretty fun time in my life, but i eventually moved on because i was young and still wanted to try out a few more things before settling on a profession.
fast forward a good many years and i’ve decided to have some fun in the kitchen again. mostly thanks to a great deal of persuasion from my sister, who’s convinced me to share some of our collective culinary prospects here on the blog. she’s been itching to spend more time preparing home cooked meals, and now that adam is getting a little older, i would really like to do the same. it’s a much healthier lifestyle because we tend to be a bit more conscientious about what we buy at the grocery store and put into our own meals than they do at the local burger joint. case in point: i suggested we try making some of our favorite candies for halloween. not exactly the healthiest idea, but once we started perusing recipes online, we pretty much knew that we wanted to try out healthier alternatives. we made almond butter cups with dark chocolate and no added sweeteners, and our own version of almond joy using agave-sweetened coconut flakes.
you’ll have to forgive us while we iron out the kinks, but hopefully these first two recipes will make a little bit of sense!
dark chocolate almond joy (adapted from tasty yummies)
- 1 1/2 cups unsweetened coconut
- 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
- 2 tablespoons agave
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 10 ounces of dark chocolate
simply toss all of the filling ingredients into a bowl and mix. the original recipe calls for less coconut, but i ended up adding more because my filling turned out too thin. i also ran mine through a quick whirl in the food processor because the coconut i bought was rather chunky. i then set the bowl aside in the refrigerator while i melted the chocolate.
for the chocolate coating, i melted 16 oz. of guittards dark chocolate (i used more than the recipe calls for because i was also making almond butter cups at the same time). i bought little pastilles that are designed for melting, but chocolate chips or a chopped chocolate block will also work. you just melt it in a double-broiler on low.
once the filling is cool, it will be more solid so you can roll it into little balls. i used a tablespoon to measure them out evenly and used my hands to roll them into shape. then simply dip them in the chocolate with a fork and place them on a wire rack so the excess can drip of. top each one with an almond and you’re ready to enjoy!
dark chocolate almond butter cups
- 1 cup almond butter
- 4 tablespoons melted coconut oil
- 10 oz dark chocolate
- sea salt (optional)
i browsed around for healthy almond butter cups and found a lot of recipes that called for a weird ingredients like protein powder or almond meal. i finally came to the conclusion that you really don’t need all of that stuff. so for ours, i simply mixed almond butter with coconut oil. i will tell you now that the brand we used (maranatha) is not my favorite nut butter. if you can, go to your local health foods store and get freshly ground nut butter. i find that texture to be the most pleasing and flavorful. once you mix the filling, it will be a good consistency for spooning into the cups.
set aside the filling at room temperature while you melt the chocolate in a double-broiler. for this step, i placed my paper cups into an appropriately sized baking dish so that they would hold their shape. it’s not necessary, but i think it helps. then simply spoon about a teaspoon of melted chocolate into each cup and use your finger to coat the bottom and sides of the cup evenly. place them in the refrigerator for a few minutes until the chocolate hardens. then spoon in the nut butter mix leaving about 1/8″ of room at the top. place them back into the fridge until the filling is solid, then top them off with more melted chocolate. i finished some of mine with pink sea salt to taste. then back into the fridge until they are ready to serve!