Saintly Layered Reese’s Tart

A year ago you would have found me eating bars of chocolate like Cadbury’s or Hershey’s  was going out of business! I ate out of stress, boredom, and portion control didn’t even cross my mind. My weakness was a big bag of Galaxy Minstrels(yikes!) or a tray of three Reese’s(yikes, again!) and Barry’s Tea at the end of the day. While I still have a sweet tooth, I like to experiment with ways chocolates and sweets can BENEFIT you. And making sweet treats at home allows me to omit sugars and use raw/all natural ingredients.

This Reese’s Tart came A LOT of Date Caramel that I used in a quick snack: Date Caramel Apple Nachos.

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Ingredients

1 cup mixed almonds and cashews

1 cup Date Caramel

1/2 cup mixed walnuts and almonds, roughly chopped

1 cup dark chocolate

Method

Line an 8 inch round baking tin with parchment paper or plastic wrap(the paper or plastic wrap just makes it easier to remove and slice).

In a food processor, add the one cup of almonds and cashews. Pulse until VERY fine. Press into the bottom of the tin. Pop it into the freezer to set for about 7-10 minutes.

Pour Date Caramel evenly over the base, and smooth out. Sprinkle on the roughly chopped walnuts and almonds. Pop it into the freezer for a second time. for a couple of minutes

While the tart is setting, melt the chocolate! You can do whatever is easier: microwave or stovetop. Make sure it totally melted and smooth. Pour the chocolate over the tart, and yep, pop it back into the freezer for about 12-15 minutes or until chocolate is just a little hard.

Slice it up and serve it!

 

 

 

 

 

How-to: Chocolate Nut Butter Cups

Reese’s Cups HAVE to be one of my favorite chocolates. Here’s a quick little ‘How-to’, to make your very own chocolate cups. It’s messy, and you won’t want to stop licking the bowl, and the result is better than store bought!

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You can play around with the quantity of chocolate and nut butter, as I eyeballed the amount of chocolate chips. I used medium cupcake papers, feel free use the mini ones if they’re on hand, and freeze in a muffin tin to better hold the shape. You can use any nut butter you have in your cupboard, and you can omit the sea salt-but it does add that extra something!

You’ll need (*makes three medium cups):

Roughly two and half handfuls of dark chocolate chips

Tablespoon coconut oil

Three-four heaped tablespoons nut butter (I used almond, but cashew would taste great!)

Pinch of sea salt

Method:

  1. Line the muffin tin with the papers.
  2. Melt the chocolate and coconut oil until smooth (this can be done in the microwave or in a bowl over boiling water in a medium pan)
  3. Pour about tablespoon of the melted chocolate into the paper holders, and stick in the freezer just to set. Keep some chocolate to the side, and keep stirring so it doesn’t get hard.
  4. Once set pour a tablespoon of nut butter on top, followed by the rest of the dark chocolate. Follow with tiny drop of the nut butter, and a sprinkle of sea salt.
  5. Set in the freezer, and keep chilled until ready to eat.

Crush these into ice cream, eat them as are, OR add a teaspoon of raspberry chia jam if you love PB&J combo!

Let them Eat Cake!

It’s been birthday season in my family-my Dad’s birthday was earlier this month; my Mom’s birthday was exactly a week prior to his(Halloween); and my brother’s was exactly a week prior to hers. It’s great being around family after these last couple of years abroad. Dinner is our household (about 12 adults and 6 grandchildren!) is a time to: catch up, reminisce, gossip, celebrate; it’s loud; chaotic…BUT I really wouldn’t have it ANY other way! And there’s no shortage of food or wine…ever!

I’m really looking forward to cooking Thanksgiving dinner this month. I’ll be in charge of the main bird itself, as well as the stuffing, the gravy, and the pumpkin pie…but I also have two little recipes up my sleeve for the Day. Last Christmas I cooked the turkey and a few good sides, so I’m not feeling too nervous about cooking the turkey…it’s just deciding what flavors I want to include…

While I brainstorm new recipes, here’s a look at some of the cakes I’ve been making in the San Francisco/family home test kitchen: (Who needs/wants a cake in San Francisco??)

 

 

 

Saintly Rocky Road

I am back in San Francisco (for a little while) after living in Ireland for the good part of just about three years! I hummed and hah-ed about moving home, but now that I’m here I am so happy I packed up and moved back! I’m excited to try all the cafes and restaurants I’ve been craving as well as reading about-pretty spoiled for choice here in SF. I am also just so happy to spend time with family and friends.

Rocky Road is a pretty popular treat in Ireland. I had the duty of making about four slabs daily at a bakery I worked in– up to triple that amount during the holiday season! When it’s made with dark chocolate, it’s really dreamy.

Below I am sharing a cleaner alternative to the traditional Rocky Road: it’s sugar free and vegan friendly. There’s also no baking/ melting chocolate involved with this recipe, all you need is a trusty food processor or blender.

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Carmel’s Saintly Rocky Road

Ingredients

14 dates

Small handful of almonds

Half a cup of your choice of nut butter

Teaspoon of vanilla extract

A couple of drops of water

2 heaped tablespoons cacao powder

Method

Soak the dates and almonds in a bowl of warm water for about a half hour. Then blitz all ingredients together, but NOT until it’s completely smooth. The dates act as the marshmallows, and the almonds act as the hard m&m candies or malt balls typical used. Line a bread tin with parchment paper and press mixture into it. Before pressing it into the bread tin, or casserole dish, you can fold in dried fruits or even more nuts if you fancy. Freeze for about two hours, or even better, overnight.

Keep in the freezer for a more firm texture! If left in the fridge it gets more soft fudge, which would actually be a great sauce for ice cream when warmed up!

Keeps for about a week in Tupperware.

Easy and guilt free treat!

 

Raw Cacao Toasted Hazelnut Milk

A glass of this washed away any Monday blues I had! I also had to to have a little glass to celebrate I only have ONE more physio session for my ankle to attend YYAAYYY, and I can start pilates…this is huge!! Not being able to run has had a huge impact on me physically and mentally, more than I thought. But before I broke my ankle, I was getting back into my fitness; I found running was such a stress buster, it just felt good.

This tastes like Nutella, and I can’t wait to put a big splash in my morning coffee! Toasting the nuts adds that extra element of flavor. And it was a bit of an experiment toasting the hazelnuts but it came out really nicely! IT’S JUST DIVINE!

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Raw Cacao Toasted Hazelnut Milk

Ingredients:

1 cup of hazelnuts

water for soaking AS WELL AS 3 cups of water(the three cups you’ll be putting in blender)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 tablespoons raw cacao powder

pinch of sea salt

Optional: teaspoon or two of agave nectar if you want it sweetened

Method:

I suggest turning this recipe into a two-day project!

Preheat the oven to 180C (360F). On a baking tray, toast the hazelnuts until the skins are blistered(about 12 minutes). Wrap the nuts in a tea towel, and rub until the skin falls off. Let the hazelnuts cool. Once the nuts are cool, in a large bowl, cover the nuts with water. Leave to sit for about 8 hours, or overnight.

Drain the hazelnuts the next day, or after the 8 hours. You can toss the water, as you won’t want to use this in the milk. Give the hazelnuts a little rinse.

Put ALL ingredients (soaked hazelnuts, cacao, 3 cups of water, sea salt and vanilla) in a blender and blitz on high until the hazelnuts are minced!

Strain milk and blitz again if you want it even smoother. To strain: use a VERY fine sieve or cheesecloth. Tip: You can use the leftover pulverized hazelnuts in smoothies or baking! Avoid food waste if you can!

Store milk in sealed container in fridge, and enjoy!