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Homemade

Candy, Christmas, Dairy-Free, Dessert, Holidays

4-Ingredient Almond Butter Cups (Vegan, Dairy-Free, Wheat-Free)

December 18, 2013

almod butter cups

almod cups

Monday night we had a few of our neighbours over for a holiday get together. We’ve lived in our new house for exactly one year this month and we all kept saying “we should get together!” While we do see some of our neighbours quite often we thought it would be a great time to have everyone over to get to know each other a little better. At the beginning of the month our friends, Josh and Gillian, who live just one row over in our complex came over and we crafted some decorative invitations to leave at doorsteps. There’s just something about a ‘real’ invitation, not a Facebook invite. 

I came home from work Monday and ran around finishing setting up, tidying and getting ready. Gillian messaged me around 5 and asked “what time did we tell people to come over?” I replied “6.” 

Well, they came over just before 6 to get the appetizers going before the guests arrived. At about 10 after 6, we started joking “maybe they’re stuck in traffic” – seeing as how they only live next door to us. When guests still hadn’t arrived at 6:30, we began second guessing what time we actually told people to come – none of us had saved an invitation for ourselves or remembered what time we had told them to come at. 

Sometime just before 7 we realized we probably told our guests to come at 7, while Josh said “Ya know, I remember texting someone about it and saying 7 before..” Yup. We had told the guests to come at 7 – not 6. We had a good laugh, and realized it was probably better we were ready an hour earlier, than an hour late. 

Regardless, we were ready and the night was a success. Lots of great stories, even learning that we have way more in common with some neighbours than we thought (what a small world). In the summer it’s easy to say hi to everyone because we’re all on our decks, walking around outside etc. In the winter we are all bundled up inside and rarely bump into each other so a holiday party get together was perfect. 

lkmlkm

These little cups are my favourite creation. I make them not only at Christmas, but any night that I feel like a little treat. They take practically no time at all, no baking, and only 4 ingredients. 3 Really, because you can definitely omit the coconut oil if you do not have any.  They are vegan (dairy-free), wheat-free, peanut-free and contain natural ingredients unlike the list of processed items listed on a Reese’s PB cup. 

lmm

almond butter cups bakeahlic

4-Ingredient Vegan Almond Butter Cups
Yields 24
Just like the popular peanut butter cups, these are peanut-free, vegan and wheat-free. An Almond butter center nestled between two chocolate layers topped with sea salt.
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Prep Time
5 min
Prep Time
5 min
Ingredients
  1. 1/4 Cup Smooth Natural Almond Butter
  2. 3-4Tbs. Almond Meal
  3. 1 tsp. Coconut Oil
  4. 6-8 squares Extra Dark Chocolate
Instructions
  1. Line a mini muffin tin with mini cupcake liners. If you don't have a mini muffin tin, you can place them on a baking sheet or in a regular sized cupcake tin. You can use regular sized cupcake liners, however the cups will be quite large.
  2. 1. In the top of a double boiler place the chocolate and coconut oil. Stir until melted and smooth. Remove from heat. If you do not have a double boiler you can place a glass or metal bowl on top of a small pot with simmering water. Alternatively, you can melt the chocolate in the microwave in 1 minutes intervals at power level 8 until melted.
  3. 2. Using a small teaspoon, spoon chocolate into bottom of mini cupcake liners, about 1/4 full. Once all are filled place in refrigerator to set while preparing filling.
  4. 3. In small mixing bowl, combine the Almond Butter and Almond Meal until well combined. It will be slightly thick. If the filling is too thin, add more Almond Meal until desired consistency.
  5. 4. Remove cupcake tin from fridge. Spoon small drops of Almond Butter filling onto tops of hardened chocolate. Using remaining chocolate, spoon melted chocolate on top to fully cover almond butter.
  6. At this point, you can top with an Almond or Sea Salt. Place back in the refrigerator to set. Store in Fridge in container for up to a week, can also freeze longer. They are great right from the fridge, or take out about 10 minutes before serving.
Notes
  1. Equipment needed: Mini Cupcake Liners, Mini muffin Tin (optional), Double Boiler (optional).
  2. These can definitely be made without the coconut oil if you do not have it.
b a k e a h o l i c http://www.bakeaholic.ca/
Candy, Valentine's Day

Homemade Marshmallows

February 12, 2013

Now, you really didn’t think I was going to go to all the trouble of making Graham Crackers (ok, they were pretty easy), without making something equally delicious to accompany them into my mouth, did you?

If anyone knows me well, *Ahem Adam’s mom,* you’ll know I have a ridiculous love for S’mores. She even bought me a S’mores Christmas Ornament last year. It’s an obsession, really.

Whenever we go down to Adam’s family’s vacation property in the states, which is quite often, we always have fires. The nice thing about their place is that you are allowed to have open fires, and who doesn’t like a good campfire?

The best part is we always have S’mores supplies on the ready when we go down. I like to get in my fix of S’mores before heading back home.

Again, making marshmallows was something I wasn’t sure I could make. Last year with the release of the Marshmallow Madness cookbook, marshmallows were a big thing. But now that I’ve made them, I instantly regret how easy it is, because this means they can be made whenever a s’more craving strikes.

Naturally, Graham Crackers and Marshmallows go together, like salt & pepper. You can’t have one without the other.

Also, homemade Marshmallows are just plain delicious when fresh. I imagine this would make delicious rice krispy squares too. Or maybe marshmallow creme..

Yup. Fresh marshmallows in the house is going to be a really big problem… when we run out.

When first looking for recipes I found a ton, but many of them had a long list of ingredients and steps. I finally found Alton Browns recipe on Food Network, which seemed simple and straightforward – and it really was.

I also only had golden corn syrup on hand, which gives its a slightly caramel colour, and maple tasting, sweet marshmallows. If you have light corn syrup I would recommend that, because mine were quite sweet – although delicious.

First, heat your sugar to 240 degrees.

Then, pour your hot sugar mixture into your gelatine and whip until thick.

Alas, Marshmallow madness.

Spread into well coated pan and let sit 4+ hours.

Marshmallows
Recipe from Alton Brown via Food Network

Ingredients

  • 3 packages unflavored gelatin
  • 1 cup ice cold water, divided
  • 12 ounces granulated sugar, approximately 1 1/2 cups
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • Nonstick spray

Directions

Place the gelatin into the bowl of a stand mixer along with 1/2 cup of the water. Have the whisk attachment standing by.

In a small saucepan combine the remaining 1/2 cup water, granulated sugar, corn syrup and salt. Place over medium high heat, cover and allow to cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Uncover, clip a candy thermometer onto the side of the pan and continue to cook until the mixture reaches 240 degrees F (I used my meat thermometer that goes to 220 degrees, and left it a minute or two longer after hitting the mark), approximately 7 to 8 minutes. Once the mixture reaches this temperature, immediately remove from the heat.

Turn the mixer on low speed and, while running, slowly pour the sugar syrup down the side of the bowl into the gelatin mixture. Once you have added all of the syrup, increase the speed to high. Continue to whip until the mixture becomes very thick and is lukewarm, approximately 12 to 15 minutes. Add the vanilla during the last minute of whipping. While the mixture is whipping prepare the pan as follows.

Combine the confectioners’ sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl. Lightly spray a 13 by 9-inch metal baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Add the sugar and cornstarch mixture and move around to completely coat the bottom and sides of the pan. Return the remaining mixture to the bowl for later use.

When ready, pour the mixture into the prepared pan, using a lightly oiled spatula for spreading evenly into the pan. Dust the top with enough of the remaining sugar and cornstarch mixture to lightly cover. Reserve the rest for later. Allow the marshmallows to sit uncovered for at least 4 hours and up to overnight.

{I Love you S’more}

Feeling festive? You can always cut out your mallows into hearts.

again, equally adorable bakers twine (a blogger sin)

And now, to dig in.

This is how I S’mores.

Cookies, Valentine's Day

Homemade Graham Crackers

February 10, 2013

You’ve got mail…

Cookie mail.

Well, I guess technically these are crackers and not cookies. Although they seem like a cookie to me. You usually eat them with sweet things, not savoury like a cracker.

However, they are so delicious that I think a slice of goat cheese with some fruit would be a wonderful pairing with these graham cracker cookies.

Graham crackers are something that I enjoy on occasion, and have seen recipes to make your own, but again, it’s something I had not thought of making. Anything homemade is way better than store bought, that’s for sure. Going unprocessed more often means your getting more whole foods. Though, with this being a sweet cracker it isn’t exactly a ‘whole’ food, but homemade sure is better than bought. I can’t remember the last time I even bought a box of cookies, you will never find one in our house, but a week or two ago a student brought in those chocolate chunk type cookies for the class and I ate one – I couldn’t believe how much they tasted like chemicals / preservatives. There was a sort of industrial tinge, really quite disgusting, leaving a sour taste in my mouth. I couldn’t believe how processed they tasted – and quite dry I might add.

I’m definitely going to venture into making more products at home, instead of buying them in store. I actually found a wheat free recipe for graham crackers too (for those with allergies like me), which uses coconut flour and almond flour, but first I wanted to try the regular type (though I couldn’t actually find graham flour).

These come together really fast and easy using only a food processor for most of the work.

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner I thought some graham crackers would be a great staple to try – delicious on their own, customizable or great for other baking – and they look so darling wrapped up in bakers twine (one of the faux-pas of 2012 food bloggers, but since I had it and had not used it I just really wanted to tie something in twine)

I’m not sure what we will end up doing for Valentine’s day this year – I have a midterm the next day! But we’ve been leaving little loves notes / treats in the mailboxes all week long for each other to find in the morning. I know, I know.. cheesy. ‘Tis the season.

If you’re looking for something else to bake this Valentine’s, try my dark chocolate Valentine Cupcakes as well!

I couldn’t decide which shape I wanted, of course my ‘everything at a right angle’ obsession lead me to love the original square shape, but I also made some with a fluted circle, and plain circle cut out.

If you love graham crackers but never made them, do yourself a favour and try it! They are super easy, and so much better than store bought.

Step one – Make the dough

Step two – Chill the dough

Step three – Roll out the dough

Step four – Cut out and bake the dough

You can make any shape your heart desires – all are equally delectable

 And just for fun – the adorable Valentine mailboxes I picked up from Target make a sweet little delivery service

Couldn’t help but use my bakers twine! What a cute little package

His & Hers

Homemade Graham Crackers 

Makes about 3 dozen.

2 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup demerara sugar (I’m sure regular brown sugar, or turbinado sugar would be fine)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup warm water
1/4 cup honey
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Place two cookie sheets in fridge/freezer to chill.

In a food processor add the whole wheat flour,  demerara sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon. Pulse a few times to mix thoroughly.

In glass measuring cup add warm water to equal 1/4 cup. Add the honey until mixture reachers 1/2 cup together (pour in honey and watch the water/honey mixture rise to 1/2 cup mark). Add the melted butter and vanilla to measuring cup and stir gently to dissolve.

Add the honey, water,vanilla, and melted butter mixture to the dry ingredients in food processor. Mix until dough just comes together.

You can pulse a few times until it begins to form – or you can turn it on and watch it take form, stopping it before it makes one large clump.

Divide the dough in half and form each half into a thick disk, wrap with plastic wrap tightly. Chill for about an hour, or until the dough is firm.

Once dough is chilled, take one disk and lightly flour your working surface. I used my Silpat mat and floured it as well, using a piece of plastic wrap on top to roll the dough between the two. You’ll want it about 1/8 of an inch.

Using whichever cookie cutter shape you like, cut out the cracker – re-working the scraps as you go. Place them on chilled cookie sheets and return to freezer for 10 minutes before baking – this will help them stay in shape, as the dough will have warmed up while rolling it out. I highly recommend you chill them once rolled out. I recommend chilling before each batch.

Before placing them in the oven you can use a fork to mark the tops of the crackers.

Bake for 10 minutes at 350 – You want the edges just browned slightly, but the middle to be a light brown colour. They will harden up as they cool. If they look too pale, leave them in a couple more minutes.

Store in container on counter, or can easily be frozen. Note* Do not store in air-tight container, or they will soften up a bit. You want them to be crisp! If they are too soft, leave them out for a day or so to crisp up.

Great for eating on their own, or you can pulse them for graham cracker crumbs for a crust.

 

Altered from Food.com