Black Onyx Brownies - The Clean Gourmet

Black Onyx Brownies

Black Onyx Brownies - The Clean Gourmet

These brownies are for grown ups.  They are not chewy and cloyingly sweet but, they are richly flavored of chocolate and their texture is velvety smooth.  If you’re a lover of super dark chocolate, these are the brownies you’ve been waiting for.

Black onyx cocoa powder is ultra Dutch processed (a.k.a. alkalized), which neutralizes the bitterness and acidity in cocoa, while also reducing fat content (not that I’m against fat- it’s important to be aware of fat content though when baking, as it affects texture and how much oil or butter your recipe will require).  Black cocoa’s flavor is very chocolatey, which is why I love it for non sugar laden brownies.  You get tons of flavor without all of the sugar traditionally found in brownies.

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Black Onyx Brownies

Note: This about half the amount of a standard batch of brownies.  If you want enough for a 9″x 9″ pan, double the recipe.

Makes 8 brownies

Ingredients:

4 ounces unsalted butter (1/4 cup)

50 grams natural cocoa powder

13 grams black onyx cocoa powder

35 grams all purpose flour (ideally sprouted)

1 teaspoon instant espresso powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs, room temperature

37 grams cane sugar or maple crystals

43 grams dark brown sugar (light is a fine substitute)

To serve:

whipped coconut cream or raw cashew butter

berry preserves

What to do:

Gently melt butter in a small saucepan over low heat.  Set aside to cool.

Preheat oven to 350ºF and grease a standard loaf pan.

Sift or whisk together natural cocoa, black onyx cocoa, flour, espresso powder, and salt in a medium mixing bowl.

In a smaller bowl, whisk eggs with cane sugar and brown sugar.  Drizzle in melted and cooled butter.  (It’s important the butter not be too hot, or else you’ll end up with scrambled eggs!)

Fold wet ingredients into dry ingredients until fully incorporated, but being careful not to overmix.

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake 15-18 minutes, until a cake tester or toothpick comes out clean.

Allow to cool 30 minutes in pan before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.  Top with whipped coconut cream or raw cashew butter and berry preserves.

Adapted from: http://www.davidlebovitz.com/salty-deep-dark-chocolate-brownies-brownie-recipe-ovenly-bakery-brooklyn/

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Black Onyx Brownies for Valentine’s Day


Pumpkin Hazelnut Espresso Muffins - The Clean Gourmet

Pumpkin Hazelnut Espresso Muffins

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Pumpkin is still going strong!

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Kefir is a cultured milk product similar to yogurt, except it has different, more potent strains of bacteria, and is thin enough to drink.  It’s a great alternative to buttermilk in baking and pancake recipes, thanks to its similar consistency and acidity to buttermilk.  Kefir is also a perfect base for smoothies!

Maple Hill Creamery arguably produces the best kefir, because they use the highest quality milk from third party certified 100% grass-fed cows.  Not only is grass-fed dairy better for you, as I discussed here, supporting grazing cattle also promotes the natural ecology of the planet and preserves various perennial grass species, which are at risk of extinction.  Grass farmers (the farmers who raise grass-fed cattle) have a vested interest in using a variety of grasses to support the cows’ health.  These cows then preserve these perennial grasses  by clipping them at the right moments so that the grasses can form deep roots.  The cows are also responsible for aerating the soil with their hooves, which allows water to penetrate the soil more effectively.

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Also, Maple Hills flavors cannot be beat. Maple, Strawberry, and Vanilla, to name a few, are naturally flavored and only gently sweetened.  Of course, Plain is a classic option if you prefer something more neutral.

Now about these muffins.  They’re a sophisticated twist on pumpkin spice with hazelnut and espresso.  However, if you don’t like hazelnuts, almond flour should be a fine substitute and if you don’t want caffeinated muffins, you can easily substitute with decaffeinated espresso or espresso powder.  Just try to look for water processed decaf, rather than chemically processed so that you’re not exposing yourself to unnecessary toxins.

If you prefer a loaf or bundt, go ahead and bake this in a loaf or bundt pan.  Just add extra baking time and check it until a knife or toothpick comes out clean.

Ingredients:

1 1/4 cups spelt flour or gluten free flour mix (1/2 cup arrowroot + 3/4 cup brown rice flour is a great ratio.  Cup4Cup and ATK all-purpose mixes are great too.)

3/4 cup hazelnut meal/flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 3/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (DIY: 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg + 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon + 3/4 teaspoon ground cloves)

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

4 teaspoons instant espresso powder or 1 shot of espresso

3/4 cup pumpkin purée, room temperature

1/2 cup Maple Hill Creamery 100% Grass-Fed Plain, Vanilla, or Maple kefir, room temperature

1/3-1/2 cup coconut sugar (more or less depending on preference for sweetness)

1/4 cup coconut oil (liquid) or neutral oil (avocado is best)

1 large egg, room temperature

2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar

Raw pecans, for topping

What to do:

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.  Grease or line a standard muffin pan with 9 muffin liners.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flours, baking soda, baking powder, pumpkin spice, and salt.

In a large bowl, combine pumpkin, kefir, coconut sugar, oil, egg, and espresso powder. Mix until well combined.

Add the dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture and mix gently until just combined.

Spoon the muffin batter into the prepared muffin cups. Sprinkle pecans over the batter in each muffin cup.

Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean, 20 minutes.

Allow muffins to cool in pan. Remove and store in an airtight container for up to one day, or in refrigerator for up to one week.

Pumpkin Hazelnut Espresso Muffins - The Clean Gourmet


Tahini Apple Snack Cake

I have to share this adaptation of a recipe from one I saw on Thrive Market’s blog last year, as I get this requested at least once a month by clients and friends.  I’ve reduced the sugar, subbed buttermilk with grass fed yogurt, and I use apple instead of pear since pear ripeness is so unpredictable.  I also like baking in mini loaf pans, as it’s easier to share and bakes much faster.

So here you have it!  A perfect balance of nutty and a hint of sweet, it’s a unique way to savor fall.

Tahini Apple Snack Cake

Makes 3 mini loaves or 1 regular loaf

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour or gluten-free all-purpose mix (plus 1 tablespoon, separated)

1 cup blanched almond flour

2 tablespoons sesame seeds (sub 1 tablespoon with black sesame seeds if you can find), plus a little extra for sprinkling on top

2 teaspoons aluminum-free baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 cup softened butter, coconut oil, or avocado oil

1 cup + 1 tablespoon unbleached sugar

1/2 cup tahini (if you keep yours in the fridge, bring to room temperature)

1 large egg

1 large egg yolk

3/4 cup European style grass fed yogurt

1 large apple, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2-inch cubes

What to do:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit and grease one 9x5x3-inch loaf pan or 3 mini loaf pans with butter, oil, or nonstick spray.

Toss apple chunks with 1 tablespoon flour in a small bowl and set aside.

Whisk flour, almond flour, sesame seeds, baking powder, baking soda, and sea salt together in a medium bowl.

In a large bowl, whisk butter or oil with sugar until fluffy, about 1 minute.  Add egg and egg yolk and mix again until pale and light, about 1-2 minutes.  Stir in tahini and yogurt.

Fold in dry ingredients with a rubber spatula until halfway incorporated.  Add apple chunks and fold gently, being very careful not to overmix, until the dry is fully incorporated with the wet.

Pour batter into prepared pan/pans and sprinkle with sesame seeds for garnish.  Bake for about 1 hour and 20 minutes for large loaf, or 45 minutes for mini loaves, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Tahini Apple Snack Cakes - The Clean Gourmet

Adapted from: https://thrivemarket.com/blog/nutty-tahini-complements-delicate-pear-in-this-light-tea-cake


Mesquite Banana Bread

No, this is not barbecue flavored banana bread.  Mesquite powder (or “flour”) is what boosts this banana bread.

Mesquite powder is made of dried and ground pods from the mesquite plant.  It has a toasty, sweet flavor, yet it’s extremely low on the glycemic index.  Renowned for its nutrition density, mesquite is high in protein, magnesium, potassium, iron, and zinc.  Also, thanks to its high proportion of fiber, it actually reduces the glycemic load of whatever you’re adding it to (baked goods, smoothies, oatmeal, etc.), giving you sustained energy and fewer snack cravings.

This banana bread is loaded with flavor and nutrition.  Aside from the addition of mesquite, it’s gently sweetened with bananas and a hint of coconut sugar, and is made with whole wheat and almond flours for extra fiber and minerals.

Mesquite flour tends to have stubborn clumps, so make sure to sift it, or else you’ll end up with pasty clumps of mesquite flour in the finished product.

To make it pretty, top with banana slices or pecan halves before placing in the oven to bake:).

If you find you love mesquite as much as I do, I highly recommend you try Warm Pecan Mesquite Milk– perfect for cozy fall and winter nights, it’s essence of mesquite in a mug.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup mesquite flour

1/2 cup almond flour

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 ½ teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Scant 1 cup mashed banana (about 3 medium bananas)

1/3 cup grass fed butter or 1/2 cup coconut oil

1/3 cup coconut sugar

1/2 cup European style yogurt (preferably grass fed cream on top) or buttermilk

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

1/4 cup pecan halves, broken into pieces

What you need:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line a standard loaf pan with parchment paper (alternatively, makes 2 mini loaves).

Sift flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium mixing bowl. Beat butter and coconut sugar in a large bowl.  Add eggs, mashed banana, and yogurt.  

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, mixing with a large spatula until just incorporated.  Fold in the pecans.  Bake for 40-50 minutes (30-35 minutes for mini loaves), or until a knife or toothpick comes out clean.  Cool in the pan 20 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely.


“Mocha” Oat Bran Pudding (Budino di Crusca d’Avena al Caffè d’Orzo)

While living in Italy, I discovered “caffè d’orzo”, a barley-based coffee substitute that is by default caffeine-free.  It’s a very common drink there, but virtually unheard of in the U.S.  After doing some research, I found that it does exist here under the name “grain coffee”.  While it’s more difficult to find here than in Europe, there are a handful of brands available in health food stores and on the Internet.

Grain coffee is almost always barley based and sometimes has rye and chicory added for flavor as well.  I get the kind that dissolves when stirred into water, but some are meant to be brewed in a coffee pot, just like regular coffee grounds.  Not only does it have a similar taste and aroma as coffee, but grain coffee has a maltiness that reminds me of mocha- the combination of coffee and chocolate.  Try mixing it with warm almond milk on winter nights as a “grown-up” alternative to hot chocolate!

In the summer, I like to make this raw porridge as a cooling alternative to traditional oatmeal (perfect for an AC-free New York City apartment!).  If you don’t have grain coffee, the base of oat bran, flaxseed and nut milk can be the starting point for limitless other variations (mango-brazil nut, berry-almond, apple-walnut-cinnamon…)!

“Mocha” Oat Bran Pudding:

Serves 1

Ingredients:

1/4 cup oat bran

1 tablespoon freshly ground flaxseed

1 cup nut milk of choice, preferably homemade

1/3 banana, thinly sliced

a few raisins

pinch salt

2 teaspoons grain coffee powder (water soluble kind)

1 teaspoon honey

1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract

walnuts, for topping

What to do:

Mix all of the ingredients (except for walnuts) in a mug or small bowl, cover and let sit 4 hours or overnight in the refrigerator.

Remove from fridge a few minutes before eating so it’s not ice cold and top with crushed walnuts.

"Mocha" Oat Bran Pudding - The Clean Gourmet

Budino di Crusca d’Avena al Caffè d’Orzo:

1 porzione

Ingredienti:

4 cucchiai di crusca d’avena

1 cucchiaio di semi di lino, macinati

ml latte di mandorle, preferibilmente fresco

1/3 di banana, tagliata a fette sottili

un pò d’uvetta

pizzico di sale

2 cucchiaini di caffe d’orzo in polvere (quello solubile nell’acqua)

1 cucchiaino di miele

piccolo goccio d’estratto di vaniglia

delle noci, per servire

Cosa fare:

Mischiate tutti gli ingredienti (tranne le noci) in una tazza o in un scodella piccola, coprite e lasciate in frigo per almeno quattro ore.

Tirate dal frigo qualche minuto prima di mangiare, così non è freddissimo, e sbriciolate le noci sopra.

"Mocha" Oat Bran Pudding - The Clean Gourmet


Matcha Chia Pudding with Toasted Coconut

Matcha is green tea for people who think they don’t like green tea.  It’s bright, fruity and slightly grassy.  While, personally, I like it all- sencha, silver leaf, gunpowder, genmaicha, etc., matcha is special.  Matcha is a powdered form of green tea, which dissolves in water, milk or any other liquid, which means you get more nutrients since you’re eating the whole leaf.  Also, it’s easy to cook with!

Matcha Chia Pudding with Coconut - The Clean Gourmet

I like matcha in my morning chia pudding because not only do I get an extra boost of energy on top of my morning cup of brewed green tea, I reap more of the tea’s benefits, because I’m ingesting the whole leaf.  Some of the purported benefits include, but are not limited to: lowered cholesterol, strengthened immune system, increased metabolism, stress reduction and sustained energy that does not end with a crash.

Matcha Chia Pudding with Coconut - The Clean Gourmet

With matcha, quality is especially important if you want that bright, zingy flavor.  It should be very bright green and organic. Do not use “culinary” grade, even if you do plan to cook with it (junk in, junk out).  Instead, look for “ceremonial” or “imperial” grade organic matcha.

Serves 1-2 

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons chia seeds

1 teaspoon honey (you can always add more if you need to)

1 teaspoon matcha powder

pinch salt

6 fresh raspberries, cut into small pieces OR 2 dried apricots, cut into smaller pieces

1 cup coconut milk, whole cow’s milk or fresh almond milk

2 tablespoons dried coconut flakes, toasted

Matcha Chia Pudding with Coconut - The Clean Gourmet

What to do:

To toast the coconut flakes: In a small pan over low heat toast coconut flakes, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes.  Do not walk away.  Remove flakes from pan to cool, as there will be carry over heat in the pan, which can cause them to burn.

Combine all ingredients, except for coconut flakes, in a small bowl or cup and refrigerate 6-12 hours.  You should end up with a pudding-like consistency.  Top with toasted coconut flakes before serving.

Make the night before if you want a healthy and satisfying breakfast or midday snack.  Best consumed within 24 hours, but will keep for three days.

 

Matcha Chia Pudding with Coconut - The Clean Gourmet

Mise-en-place bowl courtesy of OK Ceramics.


Vegan Pistachio-Coconut Ice Cream (Gelato Vegano di Pistacchio e Cocco)

This is a recipe I devised to satisfy a certain family member’s ice cream addiction without having to experience feelings of guilt for watching him eat such artery-clogging, acidifying food… Thus, while it requires full-fat coconut milk (light coconut milk will become icy when frozen), at least the fat is plant-based and is argued to have many metabolic benefits, unlike milk fat.  Also, the sweetness is derived from the coconut milk, banana and agave, not cane sugar.

I wish I had an ice cream maker to try using for this recipe, but after some trial-and-error I got it to work sans the appliance.  By using not only “whole” coconut milk,  throwing in a banana gave extra natural sweetening power, along with preventing the “ice cream” from becoming too hard in the freezer.

While this vegan version of ice cream is much better for you than the traditional cream version, I would still eat this as an occasional treat.  Enjoy!

Vegan Pistachio and Coconut "Ice Cream" - The Clean Gourmet

Ingredients:

1 can coconut milk

1 very ripe banana (the browner, the better)

1/2 cup plus 3 Tbsp raw, shelled pistachios

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

1/4 cup honey, light maple syrup, or agave

2 tablespoons chia seeds (optional)

What to do:

Blend the coconut milk, banana, 1/2 cup of the pistachios, vanilla, agave, and salt in a blender for about 1 minute, or until there are no pistachio chunks remaining.

Vegan Pistachio and Coconut "Ice Cream" - The Clean Gourmet

Vegan Pistachio and Coconut "Ice Cream" - The Clean Gourmet

Pour in freezer-safe container or bowl and fold in the 3 Tbsp of pistachios and the chia seeds (if using).

Vegan Pistachio and Coconut "Ice Cream" - The Clean Gourmet

Cover and place in freezer for 4-6 hours before serving.  If possible, stir once or twice to “churn” during the freezing process.  If you freeze longer than 6 hours, remove from freezer about 20 minutes before serving and stir well.

Vegan Pistachio and Coconut "Ice Cream" - The Clean Gourmet

Gelato Vegano di Pistacchio e Cocco:

Ingredienti:

1 lattina di latte di cocco intero

1 banana, molto matura (più marrone, meglio è)

1/2 tazza, più 3 cucchiai di pistacchi crudi e sbucciati

1 1/2 cucchiaini d’estratto di vaniglia

1/2 cucchiaino di sale fino di mare

75 ml di sciroppo d’agave o di sciroppo d’acero

2 cucchiai di semi di cia (facoltativo)

Come Fare:

Frullate il latte di cocco, la banana, la metà tazza di pistacchi, la vaniglia, lo sciroppo d’agave e il sale in un frullatore per circa un minuto, o finché non ci siano più pezzi di pistacchio rimasti.

Versate in un contenitore adatto per il freezer e unire i pistacchi interi rimasti e i semi di cia (se ne volete).

Coprite e mettete in freezer per 4-6 ore prima di servire.  Se possibile, agitate una o due volte mentre si congela.  Se lo lasciate in freezer per più di 6 ore, toglietelo dal freezer circa 20 minuti prima di servire e agitate.

 


Fruity Chia Pudding (Budino di Semi di Cia alla Frutta)

Chia in many ways outdoes flax; first of all, chia does not need to be ground up in order to absorb all of its benefits, which include: as much protein as flax (but, unlike flax, is a complete source of protein), twice the phosphorous, more than double the calcium, and less fat.  Also, chia is packed with gelatinous fiber, meaning it is especially effective for lowering cholesterol, and it alkalizes the body.

Besides adding chia to smoothies, yogurt and salads, this pudding is a great way to introduce a good dose of chia into your diet.

*Note:  Matsu was not around during the action, so the in-process photos are mine and way inferior!  I hope you enjoy his lovely pictures of the finished product though 🙂

Serves 1-2 

Ingredients:

1/2 nectarine, 1/2 banana, a few figs or other fruit, mashed

2 tablespoons chia seeds

2/3 cup almond milk, coconut milk or any other milk

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (or you can have fun and do 1/4 teaspoon vanilla, plus 1/4 teaspoon coconut, ginger or some other extract)

1 teaspoon honey, agave or maple syrup

pinch salt

What to do:

Mix all of the ingredients in a small bowl (not too small, as the mixture will double in size) and let sit in fridge for 4 hours or more,  stirring once to ensure all chia seeds come in contact with liquid.

Mix again before serving.

Fruity Chia Pudding - The Clean Gourmet

1-2 porzioni

Ingredienti:

1/2 nettarina

2 cucchiai di semi di cia

2/3 tazza di latte di mandorle, latte di cocco o qualsiasi tipo di latte

1/2 cucchiaino di estratto di vaniglia (oppure 1/4 cucchiaino di vaniglia, più 1/4 cucchiaino di estratto di cocco, zenzero o qualsiasi altro tipo)

1 cucchiaino di miele, agave oppure sciroppo d’acero

pizzico di sale

Cosa fare:

Mescolate tutti gli ingredienti in una scodella piccola (ma non troppo piccola, perché la mescolanza raddoppierà) e lasciatelo in frigo per almeno 4 ore, agitando una volta.

Agitate un’altra volta prima di servire.

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