Browsing Tag

chocolate

Candy, Christmas

Caramel Peanut Butter Cups

December 5, 2014

‘Tis the season for holiday get togethers! And this weekend we have three – three – all of which we’re hosting (or co-hosting). I secretly love having holiday parities. I think it’s because neither Adam or I have a ‘staff party’ of sorts to go to, so I feel like we miss out. Since I’m a teacher on call, though I work everyday, I’m at different schools all the time. I don’t have my ‘own’ school that I belong to, which if fine by me because I love being a substitute right now. With Adam working out of town, there isn’t a staff party for his crew (although I’m not sure they could if they wanted, seeing as how there are a few hundred of them there). 

And hosting a party means I get to bake up a storm – oh, and decorate. The house is wrapped up in decorations.

Tonight we have a neighbourhood party that we’re co-hosting with friends, tomorrow we have another party at our house with friends, and sunday we are having an early Christmas get together with our  family because we will be in BALI for Christmas! I can’t even believe we’re actually going! T-17 days!!!!

These Caramel Peanut Butter Cups are little bites of heaven – a dark chocolate shell, sprinkled with sea salt or crushed peanuts, and filled with a creamy, caramel-y silky peanut butter centre. It’s the grown up version of the beloved peanut butter cup. It’s almost as if a Rolo and a Peanut Butter Cup had a baby – this is what it would be. Only healthier, made with dark chocolate, natural peanut butter and dates as a sweetener. 

I made about 4 dozen of these for a holiday bake exchange last weekend. They’re great because they require no baking, and very little prep. I use a mini muffin tin, which can hold 24 liners at a time. This makes for a fast production line. 

You can also make the other version from last year,  Salted Almond Butter & Pretzel Cups.

 

Caramel Peanut Butter Cups
Yields 24
A decadent grown up version of the peanut butter cup - naturally sweetened with dates, sprinkled with sea salt.
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Ingredients
  1. 1 cup of dark chocolate chunks/chocolate chips
  2. 1 tsp coconut oil
  3. 1/2 cup natural smooth peanut butter
  4. 4-5 Medjool dates
  5. sea salt (optional)
  6. crushed peanuts (optional)
Instructions
  1. 1. Line a mini muffin tin with mini cupcake liners, set aside.
  2. 2. Melt dark chocolate and coconut oil in doubler boiler, or place in small bowl on top of shallow pot of simmering water, until completely melted, stir.
  3. 3. Drop a teaspoon full of melted chocolate into bottom of mini cupcake liner. Repeat for all liners, tap pan slightly to evenly spread out chocolate. Place in fridge to chill for a few minutes until hardened.
  4. 4. In a food processor add medjool dates along with a Tbs. of water. Pulse until the dates make a paste. Add in the peanut butter and pulse again to mix.
  5. 5. Remove muffin tin from fridge and, using pastry bag, fill the peanut butter mixture into the centre of the chocolate disk. Alternatively you can spoon it in.
  6. 6. Spoon enough of remaining melted chocolate on top of peanut butter centre until completely covered. Sprinkle tops with coarse sea salt. Return finished tray to the fridge to chill completely.
  7. These can be stored in the fridge for up to a week, or frozen for late night cravings. They are even better cold.
Notes
  1. Note: if not using medjool dates, soften your dates in hot water for 5 minutes, drain.
b a k e a h o l i c http://www.bakeaholic.ca/
 

Christmas

Holiday Baking Roundup 2014

November 30, 2014

There is something so magical about the first snowfall of the season. 

Friday night while watching a movie with one of my friends, and snacking on our charcuterie board (the best), the soft white flakes began falling down. We took a peak outside and were happily surprised to see how much had accumulated over the past couple hours. 

As a kid it was always so exciting when the first snow fell – waking up to a winter wonderland was everything.  And, if you knew it was supposed to snow, you would leap out of bed and tear open the blinds to see if it really had snowed. You’d race to get your snow gear on and bound out to the fresh mounds of snow to make snowmen and snow angels.

Now, as an adult, I get equally as excited about the first snowfall. However, for much different reasons. First, I’m happy it was on a Friday night so I didn’t have to get up and drive to work the next day because, lets face it, people freak out at the tiniest bit of snow. And second, instead of running out to enjoy the snow, I am happier to stay indoors, cozy up with a warm cup of tea, a good book or show and watch the snow fall around outside. 

What better way to spend a snowy day inside than by baking. I’ve rounded up a few of this past years favourite holiday recipes. Some new, some old and some gluten free and/or vegan! Something to please everyones taste buds :)

1. Italian Pizzelle Cookies – crisp, light and delicately sweet.

2. Vegan Brownies - bake them in a larger pan, cut into smaller squares to please a crowd. 

3. Personalized Gingerbread Cookies - monogrammed cookies means everyone gets one :)

4. Flourless Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars – fluffy and light, gluten free. 

5. Fudgey Raspberry Brownies – dense, and deliciously decadent. 

6. Christmas Toffee Crack(le) – addictive, salty and sweet – amazing 

7. Flourless Almond Brownies – made with almond meal, dense and fudge-like

8.  Almond Butter Blossom Cookies – an almond-butter take on the traditional thumbprint classic

9. Nanaimo Bar Bites – one of my favourite holiday treats, just dressed up a little different

10. Salted Almond Butter & Pretzel Cups – just like their peanut-y partner, these almond butter cups are a bite of heaven.

11. Pumpkin Biscotti – a seasonal twist on another italian classic – drizzle in chocolate for an extra treat.

Bars & Squares, Pumpkin

Pumpkin Chocolate Chunk Squares {Dairy-Free, Grain-Free, Flourless}

October 16, 2014

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip SquaresPumpkin Chocolate Chip Squares

I’d like to think I’ve been pretty good at not going overboard when it comes to halloween this year – the only decorations I’ve purchased this year are a couple bats from the dollar store. I love halloween, it’s one of my favourite holidays to prepare for. However, we only have so much storage space in our closets and garage that can hold all of our decor items. I’ve also been trying not to spend any more money on home decor items; Adam already cut me off from purchasing any more pillows this year -luckily there’s only a few months left til next year ;) With that said, I’ve been patiently waiting to take the decorations out for halloween, including going to get pumpkins. 

With Adam being away I’ve been itching to go to the pumpkin patch, and hopefully next weekend when he’s home we can venture out to our favourite little farm in Ladner on Westham Island and pick up a wagon full.

One thing I haven’t been able to keep away from, however, is pumpkin puree. It seems to have found its way into my basket and into my baked goods. I was pretty disappointed to see that on Thanksgiving long weekend Wal-Mart had no cans of pumpkin puree in the entire store. Shocking. So, luckily I ventured over to my favourite store (& my very first job) Thrifty Foods. They had an abundance of pumpkin puree selection, and it was on sale, even better! So, I stocked up my basket incase of a pumpkin shortage, and can happily bake pumpkin goodies to my hearts desire this fall. 

I couldn’t believe when I stumbled upon this recipe how easy it looked, and how delicious the outcome was. A pumpkin square that looks like a decadent wheat-laden goody, that is in fact dairy-free, flourless and even grain-free. You’d never know it because the end result is a fluffy, moist square like any other cake.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip SquaresPumpkin Chocolate Chip Squares

Pumpkin Chocolate Chunk Squares
Yields 16
A fluffy, light pumpkin bar made with no flour or added sugar.
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Ingredients
  1. 1 cup pumpkin puree
  2. 1 cup almond butter
  3. 4 eggs
  4. 1 tbs. ground flax
  5. 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  6. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  7. 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  8. chopped dark chocolate or chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 and line an 8x8 baking pan with parchment paper, or spray with coconut oil.
  2. Combine all of the ingredients in a medium sized bowl and blend with handheld beater or standup mixer until well blended.
  3. Add in the chocolate chips and fold using spatula.
  4. Transfer the batter to the prepared baking dish, and bake at 350 for 25 minutes, until edges are brown and toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  5. Allow to cool completely in the pan, then remove, cut and serve.
  6. Best kept on countertop, can be refrigerated.
Notes
  1. Can be refrigerated, or left on counter covered for 3-4 days. I used raw crunchy almond butter, but you can use regular almond butter. If you like the added crunch, you can add in some chopped almonds.
Adapted from food renegade
Adapted from food renegade
b a k e a h o l i c http://www.bakeaholic.ca/
 Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Squares