22 mar. 2018

Superfood Cacao Cookies

I made these cookies back in january for the first time and since them I've been baking several batches cause they are seriously delicious (and so easy to make!). Maybe I should have gone for a more spring-like/Easter recipe this week but it still feels like winter here in Barcelona even if the sun is finally out (I'm wrapped in my blankie as I'm typing this post). Talking about Easter, I'm so un-inspired this year! Maybe it's because I'm super busy working on collaborations and can't focus on other things and also my mom's birthday was just a few days ago and we ate too many brownies + vanilla ice cream to celebrate so I don't know what kind of non-chocolate Easter treat to do...I've always done super chocolatey desserts for this holiday but, should I keep eating MORE chocolate?! My chocoholic heart says 'yes' but my brain tells me I should eat more veggies or else that six-pack will never become a reality, lol. Owell, maybe if I just taste a small piece and give the rest to my family so I don't fall into temptation..?
Okay, back to these cookies: they are gluten-free and packed with many superfoods such as maca root powder, ground flax seeds, pure cocoa powder, cacao nibs, and I'd dare to say oats too, because they have so many health benefits that I consider them another superfood. Not only these cookies are quite good for you, they have an almost brownie-like center and taste incredibly good. For this recipe I like to use different nut butters each time but my faves are almond butter and tahini. Last but not least, when these cuties are in the oven the aroma is almost mesmerizing. Hope you enjoy them!

Superfood Cacao Cookies
(yield: 12-14 cookies)

1 1/2 cups rolled oats, firmly packed.
1/2 cup oat flour.
2 tablespoons maca rot powder.
2 tablespoons ground flax seeds.
2 tablespoons pure cocoa powder (or raw cacao powder).
1/2 teaspoon bakingg powder.
1/2 teaspoon bang soda.
A pinch of Himalayan pink salt.
A pinch of pure vanilla powder.
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted.
1/3 cup coconut sugar.
1/3 cup pure maple syrup (or agave syrup).
1/3 cup natural almond butter (or tahini).
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce.
- Optional add-ins (but recommended):
Raw unsalted cashews.
Cacao nibs.

In a large mixing bowl mix together the flour, cocoa powder, maca, flaxmeal, vanilla, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Use a hand whisk to distribute well all the ingredients. Add in the rolled oats and set aside.
In a medium mixing bowl whisk the coconut sugar, coconut oil, syrup, almond butter and applesauce. Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture and combine with a silicone spatula until well mixed.
Transfer the cookie dough to the fridge for 10-15 minutes, this dough is quite sticky so if it's cold it'll be easier to scoop.
Meanwhile preheat oven to 170 ºC (338 ºF) and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Scoop around 2 tablespoons of chilled dough per cookie and roll into balls using your clean hands, transfer to the prepared baking sheets and gently press them down to form discs. Decorate the tops with cashews and cacao nibs.
Bake for 15 minutes approximately, but keep an eye on them cause they brown quite quickly! They will be quite soft straight out of the oven but will harden as they cool.
Carefully transfer the baked cookies to a cooling rack (I recommend using a thin spatula), and cool completely.
Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature.

15 mar. 2018

Chocolate Banana Bread

I love the chocolate and banana combo, wether it is a smoothie, cookie or a yummy toast with homemade chocolate spread (always homemade!) and sweet, ripe banana slices with all the toppings! I made Pumpkin and Banana Pecan bread two years ago but since then I haven't tried any banana-based bread so when you have a bunch of super ripe bananas you know what you have to do, right? I still have two previous recipes waiting to be published but felt like sharing this one with you guys this week cause I'm really happy with how it came out and hopefully you'll like it too.
I highly recommend to serve this loaf with the sweet almond sauce cause it seriously takes this recipe to a whole new level, makes the experience extra juicy and extra yummy. Also, for those days when you want something a lil more decadent try replacing the cacao nibs with dark chocolate chips, the darker the better, preferably up to 70 % cacao. This time I used cacao nibs and chopped walnuts because next weekend we'll celebrate my mom's birthday and there will be tons of chocolate involved...of course I'm in charge of the cake; this year mama Carmen asked for a brownie cake (no wonder where my passion for chocolate comes from...).
Before I forget, this recipe is completely plant-based, refined sugar-free and gluten-free, woohoo! Also, delicious, tender and moist. ;-)

Chocolate Banana Bread
(8 to 10 servings approximately)

- For the banana bread:
1 cup oat flour.
3/4 cup brown rice flour.
4 tablespoons cornstarch or potato starch.
1/2 cup unsweetened pure cocoa powder.
1 teaspoon psyllium husk powder.
1 teaspoon baking powder.
1/2 teaspoon baking soda.
A pinch of pink himalayan salt.
1 1/2 cups banana puree, around 4 ripe bananas.
3/4 cups unsweetened oat milk.
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar.
1/4 cup pure maple syrup.
1 tablespoon unrefined coconut oil, melted.
3/4 cup walnuts, chopped.
1/2 cup cacao nibs.

- For the sweet almond sauce:
4 tablespoons natural almond butter.
4 tablespoons unrefined coconut oil, melted.
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup.

Preheat oven to 170 ºC (338 ºF), lightly grease a loaf tin with coconut oil or nonstick cooking spray and line the bottom and sides with parchment paper.
In a small mixing bowl stir together the milk and vinegar and let it sit for a few minutes while you mix the dry ingredients. The milk will kind of curdle, it's the vegan version of buttermilk.
In a large mixing bowl sift together the flours, cornstarch, cocoa powder, psyllium, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Combine with a wire whisk until well mixed.
In a separate bowl mash the bananas until you get 1 1/2 cups of puree, add in the maple syrup, coconut oil and milk mixture. Gently whisk until combined and add this wet mixture into the dry mixture, mixing with a silicone spatula until thoroughly combined and no flour lumps are visible.
Finally stir in the chopped walnuts and cacao nibs and pour the mixture into the prepared loaf tin. 
Bake for 1 hour approximately or until a fine wooden cake tester inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean.
While the banana bread is in the oven we can prepare the sweet sauce by simply mixing all the ingredients with a fork in a small bowl until well combined. Set aside at room temperature.
Once the bread is ready, let it cool in the tin for 5 minutes approximately, then unmold and cool completely on a wire rack.
Drizzle the top of the bread with the sweet sauce and serve the slices with the remaining sauce.
Store the bread in an airtight container at room temperature. Store the leftover almond sauce in a sealed container, refrigerated. Keep in mind that once it's cold the sauce will become solid because it contains coconut oil, so you will have to place it in a small saucepan over low heat in order to become pourable again.

1 mar. 2018

No-Bake Snickers Bars

Hopefully I'll end this post right before my fingertips freeze because today is officially the coldest day in Barcelona, seriously...I need the biggest mug of hot tea right now. Hot chocolate will work too, thanks! I'm sick of rainy cold days, can't wait for spring and longer days when I don't have to worry so much because there's no natural light and I can't shoot a new recipe. It's a pain in the ass to find a good spot with beautiful natural light during winter, also my old DSLR camera sucks and I'm in desperate need of a new camera to shoot in low light conditions with good results (hello people at Canon! Will you please make a broke food blogger happy and send her a Canon EOS 5d Mark IV???).
Even though I've been instagrammin' these weeks sharing my collaborations with food brands and some quick recipes (like this vanilla chia pudding) it feels really good to be back and do the blogging thing properly. I know there are a lot of food bloggers who lately are using only Instagram to promote and share their works, but even though I love the platform I don't find it as complete and visually attractive as a full blog post with big pictures and clear instructions (bold fonts, text spaces wherever and whenever are needed, etc) . Scrolling down through an endless caption to finally find the recipe with brief and poor descriptions is not my thing. I like to post quick and super easy recipes on IG but you'll always find the rest on my blog, as always.
So to brighten up your day (and mine) here's one of those mouth-watering recipes that I love so much, with a little bit of lusciousness and a little bit of chocolate and caramel. I can't remember the last time I ate a Snickers bars, always been one of my favorite chocolate bars but since I became more aware of my body and what I should put in it I stopped buying that kind of crap. I'm not trying to say that my homemade snickers are super healthy and that you can eat them every day, they are super (super) rich and packed with a good quantity of peanut butter, coconut syrup and full-fat coconut milk so these should be enjoyed with a little bit of self-control (insert laughs here).
Anyways, these bars are so friggin' good, delicious and irresistible I can't blame you if you eat the whole batch in the blink of an eye...I treated myself with one bar after my cardio workout several times last week, lol. One thing's for sure, they are waaaay healthier than the "real" Snickers cause mine are made with REAL ingredients and zero artificial flavorings, corn syrup, palm oil and other hydrogenated fats.

I hope you are all staying warm and cozy! xo

No-Bake Snickers Bars
(makes 12 big bars or 24 mini bars)

- For the nougat layer:
1 cup coconut flour.
1 cup whole grain oat flour.
1/2 cup natural peanut butter.
1/2 cup coconut syrup.
- For the date caramel layer:
5 big medjool dates, pitted.
1/4 cup coconut sryup.
2 tablespoons full-fat coconut milk.
1 tablespoon tahini.
A pinch of pink Himalayan salt.
1/2 cup peanuts, lightly roasted and salted.
- For the chocolate coating:
2 cups dark chocolate ( I use 70 % dark or higher), around 340 g/12 oz.

- You will have leftover melted chocolate but you will need a good amount of chocolate to properly pour it over the bars and get a good coating. No need to throw away that chocolate! I melt again the leftovers, fill a silicone mini ice cube tray, put it in the freezer and have chocolate chunks available whenever I need them.
- To make this recipe 100 % raw: use raw coconut syrup, and raw tahini. The chocolate coating should be like this one. Also, don't roast the peanuts.
- If you want this recipe to be 100 % gluten-free make sure you use a certified GF oat flour.

Start with the date caramel by placing the pitted dates, coconut syrup, coconut milk, tahini and a pinch of salt in the bowl of your food processor and blend until no bits of dates are visible and a silky smooth caramel sauce forms. You might need to stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl a few times; for this particular recipe I like my caramel to be more on the sticky side to create a nice layer.
Store the caramel in an airtight container refrigerated until ready to use.
To make the nougat layer simply put all the ingredients in the food processor and process until a thick paste forms, it should have a similar consistency to energy balls (thick enough to roll into balls). Press down the dough firmly into a single layer, I recommend using a nougat mold or a rectangular pan to get an even layer. Let the nougat layer set in the fridge for a few minutes.
While the nougat layer is setting in the fridge roast the peanuts in a large frying pan lightly coated with coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil, stir frequently with a silicone or wooden spatula until they are golden brown; sprinkle with a pinch of salt while they are still hot and leave them to cool.
Once the nougat layer is firm divide into 12 equal bars or 24 mini bars (depending on the side of your mold or how much you rolled the dough/how thick your layer is). 
Spread around 2 teaspoons of the date caramel for each bar and put the roasted peanuts on top, as much as you want until all the peanuts are used.
Melt the dark chocolate in a double boiler or in a Bain Marie. Place a cooling rack over a lined baking sheet, transfer the bars to the cooling rack and pour the melted chocolate over them until fully coated. Save the leftover chocolate and use for another project or to make chocolate chunks.
Let the bars set at room temperature until chocolate is solid again. Store the snickers bars in an airtight container, refrigerated.
To fully enjoy the texture of the caramel layer and the chocolate flavor in all its deliciousness let the bars at room temperature a few minutes before serving.