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.

18278273_1529922087019942_9195660891342878963_o

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!

 

 

 

 

 

Avo-Cashew Ice Cream

IMG_4340.JPG

When I made my Protein Cookies earlier this week, I made A LOT of Cashew Buttercream, so I stuck it in the freezer, thinking I’ll use it eventually. I happened to throw about 3-4 tablespoons of it in a smoothie I was making for my sis and I, it was DEELISH! It added such a creamy texture.

I started thinking how this Cashew Cream is such a great starter for an ice cream! I didn’t want to make another banana ice cream, so I reached for avocados! With their good for your fats, avocados make for a great ice cream base.

Ingredients

1 1/2 Cups Cashew Cream

About 1/4 of the avocado- so slice the avocado in half, and then again in half

1/2 cup almond milk (I used unsweetened but whichever you prefer)

1/2 tablespoon of vanilla

Pinch of Pink Himalyan Salt

1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

Optional: Since this sweet treat has a green hue, add a teaspoon or two of peppermint extract for a Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream! Also optional, more than just that 1/2 cup of chocolate chips!

Method

Put the Cashew Cream and avocados in a food processor and blitz until smooth and blended. Add in the vanilla and almond milk and blend until smooth.17796492_1500259119986239_5436749948448470280_n.jpg

Fold in chocolate chips.

Stick it in the freezer, and wait to to eat at least about a half hour-any earlier it will be more like soft serve, which is also a great treat!

 

 

 

Pro tip(s): Freeze your bowl before putting your ice cream in it. I also suggest using a glass, or Pyrex bowl. Be sure to take your ice cream out of the freezer about 7-8 minutes before you plan on serving it, so it does soften.

 

High Protein Cookie Sandwiches

These are really rich, but packed with the good stuff to recovery after a workout! The Cashew Buttercream was just what these cookies needed, as they’re very much a dense cookie otherwise.

IMG_4295.JPG

Ingredients

Protein Cookies

1 cup of nut butter (I mixed half a cup of Tahini and half a cup of Almond)

2 scoops of your favorite Chocolate protein powder

2 teaspoons cocoa powder

1 large egg OR use flax egg*

Optional-walnuts or chocolate chips

Cashew Buttercream

1 cup of cashews*

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1-2 tablespoons maple syrup

 

Method

*Soak cashews for at least 30 minutes in a bowl of water.

*To make a flax egg: Mix 1 tablespoon of ground flax seed with 3 tablespoons water, let sit for 10 minutes

To make the Cookies: Preheat oven to 375F. In a bowl, stir together the protein powder and cocoa powder. Mix in the nut butter until no trace of powders. Then add in the egg, mix well. Fold in walnuts and chocolate chips. It will look just like cookie dough, but the texture will be a but more stiff. Roll dough into balls(about a tablespoon or two) and gently press/flatten down when you place on trays(you can use a fork to make the criss cross pattern). Bake for 10-12 minutes.

Cashew Buttercream: After soaking the cashews in water, put them, along with vanilla and maple syrup in a food processor. Blend until smooth–be sure to scrape the bowl while blitzing to get all of it smooth!

 

 

Cottage Cheese Banana Split

IMG_4213.JPGBack away from the freezer and go for this Banana Split instead! It’s a healthy alternative, and this makes for a great pre or post workout. And SO easy and quick(I’m talking seconds here!)! This is MUCH more tart than the classic ice cream split, so feel free to drizzle some extra honey or maple syrup over the top.

Ingredients:

1/ 2 cup of Cottage Cheese

Teaspoon of vanilla

2 teaspoons of honey

1 banana

A couple of walnuts

A couple of mixed berries

Dark chocolate chips

Coconut chips

Method:

Slice the banana in half length wise. Place on a plate. In a blender, put the Cottage Cheese, vanilla and honey. Blitz the Cottage Cheese until smooth. Scoop the Cottage Cheese on top of the banana. Add your toppings and devour guilt-free!

 

Vanilla Cookie Protein Balls

I was starting to make my Guilt Free Truffles, when I decided to omit the cacao. Two big thumbs up for this vanilla variation! Since hiring a trainer, it’s made me realize how important it is to fuel our bodies with the right foods. Getting enough protein has really helped my body recover quickly after workout sessions. I’ll be snacking on these before and after my upcoming workouts for the next couple of days! I’ve added some flavor variations down below!

IMG_4020.jpg

 

Ingredients:

14 dates pitted (Medjool)

1 cup of cashews

1/2 cup walnuts

2 heaped tablespoons almond butter

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

pinch of sea salt

Method:

Soak the dates in warm water for about 20 minutes. Then drain the dates, and put in your food processor. Pulse until smooth. Take out the pulsed dates, and add your cashews and walnuts to the food processor. Pulse until fine. Add the dates back into the processor, along with the almond butter, vanilla extract, and sea salt. Blitz until everything comes together like a dough. Put the ‘dough’ in the freezer for AT LEAST  15 minutes to firm it up. Then take it out and shape into balls and/or bars! Put them back in the freezer, and take out about a half hour before eating to thaw.

*Add a pinch of cinnamon for a Snickerdoodle flavor (at the same time as the vanilla and sea salt)

*Fold chocolate chips into the dough (or melt chocolate and pour over them!)

*Add oatmeal and top with cranberries or goji berries for a classic oatmeal cookie flavor

 

 

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!

img-20170124-wa0002

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!

Double Champagne Cupcakes

IMG_3992.jpg
I call these my Double Champagne Cupcakes, there is champagne in the Cupcakes and Frosting. These are great for ringing in the New Year, a birthday, or an anniversary–pink champagne would be great for a hen party! Quite easy, but show-stopping for a celebration!
For the Champagne Cupcakes:
-3/4 cup salted butter, at room temperature.
-1 cup of white sugar
-1 tsp vanilla extract
-3 egg whites
– 1 2/3 cups of flour
-1/4 tsp baking soda
-1 tsp baking powder
-1/2 cup of sour cream (or Greek yogurt)
-1/2 cup of champagne
For the Frosting:
– 1 cup of butter (salted)
-1 tablespoon vanilla extract
-4 cups icing sugar
-5-6 tablespoons of champagne
1. Preheat oven to 350F
2. In a small or medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and baking powder. Set aside.
3. In a larger mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
4. Add the vanilla and eggs whites and mix.
5. Then add the flour, but not all at once! You’ll add about half of the flour, then add the sour cream, and mix. Then add the rest of the flour.
6. Fold in the champagne and mix until smooth. Don’t overmix!
7. Fill the cupcake liners a little more than half way-or about three heaped tablespoons of batter. (This batter will make about 14). Bake for about 20 minutes.
While the cupcakes are baking, make the Frosting:
1. Beat butter and vanilla extract until smooth.
2. Add half of the icing sugar and mix until smooth.
3. Add champagne, and mix until smooth. Then add remaining sugar, and mix.
4. Add more champagne if you wish(I added a 2-3 more little splashes!)
Ice the Cupcakes once cool. Decorate with edible pearls or sprinkles.

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.

IMG_3832.JPG

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!

 

How-to: Whipped Ricotta Two Ways

IMG_3803.JPG

Fancy toasts have been on blogs, in cafes, and pictured on Insta for quite some time. Personally I can’t get enough avocado toasts-smashed avocado with a good sprinkle of chili flakes and squeeze of lemon juice. Another variation of these faWncy(pish-posh accent) toasts is using ricotta cheese. It’s my go-to snack as of lately. Sweet or savory, you’ll be making these for yourself for breakfast or lunch on the go, or for the wee ones after school.

I use the Sweet Ricotta on toast or pancakes! I use the Savory mix on toast, bagels, crostini, even as a dip for carrot and celery sticks!

For the photo pictured, I used Irish Soda Bread(my go-to recipe is the one I learned at Ballymaloe!), Irish honey, and wild blackberries that I foraged down in West Cork.

Here is my quick ‘How-to’ for Whipped Ricotta:

 

Ingredients:

All you need is about a cup of ricotta cheese

 

For Sweet Ricotta:

A teaspoon of vanilla (I like to also scrape a tiny bit of the beans out of the pod to add an extra punch of flavor)

Drizzle of honey, agave nectar

Toppings: Berries, coconut shavings, or almond slivers

 

For Savory Ricotta:

A teaspoon of lemon juice

A teaspoon of thyme leaves (dried is totally fine, but fresh is that bit nicer!)

Sea salt and pepper

Toppings: Tomatoes, green olives, smoked salmon

 

What to do:

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the ricotta until fluffy (just about 4-5 minutes). Remove the bowl from mixer and add either your Sweet or Savory ingredients.

It’s that easy! And there are so many ways to mix up the flavors. I even sometimes smash berries into the Sweet Mix, it creates a cool color effect.

 

Enjoy!

Paleo Dutch Baby

Dutch Dutch Baby!

IMG_3775

I had one of my pancake cravings this morning, but was also feeling a little bit lazy. This is just a simple recipe, which I’m sorta feeling this week, after a couple of days…well more like, weeks…of indulgent eating between it being the Regatta Festival in West Cork, my birthday, and taste testing for the eBook. I would also consider this on the healthier side, using all natural fresh ingredients. I see my blog’s recipes taking a healthier, cleaner route,  and my eBook certainly reflects that!

This is definitely a great recipe idea for a brunch with family and friends, served sliced and alongside coffee mimosas and you are pretty much guaranteed a good morning. The little amount of washing up is an added bonus! It’s another recipe of mine that is a great easy go-to.

Paleo Dutch Baby:

Ingredients:

3 eggs

1 1/2 tablespoons coconut flour

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Heaping tablespoon of coconut oil

Small handful of berries

Method:

Preheat oven to about 220C. In a medium frying pan, melt the coconut oil over a medium heat. While it’s melting, beat the eggs then add the other ingredients. Pour into pan, and let cook for about 2-3 minutes. Sprinkle on a couple of berries, and cook for another 3 minutes. It’ll look pale, and almost like it’s curdling. Then pop it in the oven for another 5-6 minutes, and cook through.

Serve with a splash of maple syrup, berries, coconut slivers, or yogurt!