Chai Coconut Mascarpone Cups

This week-end I was craving desserts, in particular yogurt parfaits where you place fruit over yogurt and add nuts, granola or other toppings. I have been experimenting with vegan yogurt, but so far the results have not been to my liking. Yet, I yearned for this rich cream consistency. So, I gathered a few things that I thought would work out and created this!

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Amazingly smooth, rich and thick, this cream is reminiscent of a simple yogurt or mascarpone cheese. I had to add a little bit of excitement to it (even though I was so happy to have cream, I was pretty much already dancing in my kitchen), and so I decided to add some Chai spices: cinnamon, cardamon, black pepper and cloves. This really makes this cream unique and quite spectacular and it reminds me of mascarpone cheese.

Here is what you need for the cream:

  • 250mL of coconut milk
  • 4 tbs of almond powder
  • 4 tbs of coconut oil
  • 2 tbs maple syrup or honey
  • 5 cardamon pods
  • 1 cm piece of cinnamon
  • 1 tsp of black pepper corns
  • 4 cloves
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract (optional)

Topping ideas: Fresh berries, coconut flakes, crushed almonds, shopped dates, chocolate chips, granola, grilled nuts: use your imagination!

Here is what you do for the cream:

  1. In a small sauce pan, heat the coconut milk, oil and sweetener on medium heat.
  2. Crush the cardamon pods in your mortar (or use the back of a spoon). Set aside.
  3. Add the almond powder in the pan and whisk until the mixture starts to thicken up (about 10 minutes).
  4. Add the spices and vanilla extract and let them infuse for 5 minutes or until the mixture is thick to your liking.
  5. Remove from the heat and strain to remove the spices.
  6. Let the cream set and firm up in the fridge for at least 2 hours before serving with your favourite toppings.
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I used some fresh raspberries, coconut flakes and sweet samosas.

I used some of the fruit leather to make sweet samosas (how-to tomorrow). It’s fun and easy! And that cream! So much flavours and the consistency is just smooth and thick and wonderful. Of course, you could avoid using the spices for a mellower flavour. This is a great substitution for yogurt and makes for an easy dessert. Let me know if you try it out and if you like it!

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Homemade Granola: Why didn’t I make some of this sooner?

IMG_0750Since I discovered that Bob’s Red Mill was making gluten-free oats, I have been enjoying my overnight oats every morning. But then, I went to Aux Vivres for brunch with a friend and tried out their granola bowl.

This was so good! It really made me craving granola and its delicious crispiness. I was very happy to see that I could find some gluten-free rolled oats. Add a little bit of maple syrup, some coconut chips, sultana grapes and bam! Cripy awesomeness!

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Here is what you need:

  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 2 cups almonds
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 2 tbs melted coconut oil or oil of your choice (this really makes it crispy! Feel free to skip this however.)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup sesame seeds
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup hemp seeds
  • 1 cup coconut chips (they look like large coconut flakes. I used unsweetened.)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cup sultana raisins

Here is what you do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 300F.
  2. In your food processor (or with a rolling pin and a Ziploc bag), pulse the almonds until they are crushed. I like to keep some bigger pieces for crunch, but adjust the size of the almonds to your own taste.
  3. In a large bowl, mix all the dry ingredients, but keep the raisins out for now.
  4. Add the liquid ingredients and give a good stir.
  5. Spread your granola on a cookie sheet, and put in the middle of the oven. After 20 minutes, take the pan out and stir the granola before putting it back in the oven for another 20 minutes or until the granola is golden to your liking.
  6. Take it out f the oven, add the raisins, and give a good stir. Let cool completely before storing in an air-tight container.

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This is really good! It is also so easy to prepare and personalize! It goes really well with some milk and fresh fruits, or just as a snack on its own. I have to say that my granola has nothing to fear from Aux Vivres’. I actually think its crunchier and more toasted. I also really like how the sesame seeds add a great flavour, while the maple syrup makes it sweet but not overwhelming so.

Let me know what your favourite granola ingredients out; and if you try this out, tell me what you think!

 

Chocolate Sea Salt Nut Bars

Yesterday I saw that I had a Kind bar lying around. After a quick taste test, I realized that they were really good and yet simple in their ingredients.

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However, their version of this chocolate and sea salt bar contains honey, which is not vegan per say. I quickly remembered that my friend La Végé d’à Côté had given me coconut syrup saying that it was even better than rice syrup for making bars. Apparently, rice syrup contains heavy metals that are not good for you, but coconut syrup does not. Huh, here you go!

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So, I went on an adventure and tried to recreate this wonderfully flavorful bar.

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Here is what you need:

  • 1 cup almonds
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 1/2 cup roasted peanuts
  • 1/2 cup hazelnuts
  • 1/2 cup coconut syrup
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup roasted amaranth seeds (this adds a really nice corn like flavour)
  • a few pinches of sea salt

Here is what you do:

  1. In a double-boiler or in the microwave, melt the chocolate and set aside.
  2. In a sauce pan, roast the peanuts if you buy them raw and the amaranth seeds (some of these will pop just like pop-corn!) on medium heat for a few minutes. You know they are ready when they start to brown.
  3. In a large bowl, mix the nuts, amaranth and coconut syrup until everything is well coated.
  4. On a cookie tray lined with parchment paper, pour the melted chocolate and spread until you have an even layer.
  5. On top of the chocolate, spread the nuts and sprinkle with some sea salt (I used Himalayan actually).
  6. Put in the fridge over night before cutting in small bites.

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The result is a chewy, crunchy, sweet and savory bar. The only thing I have to say about it is that it is a little bit sticky, but overall I think it gives justice to the Kind bar.

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Let me know if you try this out and also tell me what’s your favourite “granola” bar recipe.