One of the things that I've enjoyed about this quarantine period is that I've been forced to get creative with pantry meals, snacks and desserts. My usual recipe development has more come from a place of "this is what I want to make and this is what I need so let's go to the store and get those things." The current situation is very different. We are only making grocery trips when we need to and my husband has been doing all of the grocery shopping so that I stay out of the stores while expecting (although this week I found a local market that is doing curb side pick up and I'm going to go for a drive later today- times are definitely different when getting out into the car feels like an outing).
This brownie recipe was developed with all things in my pantry and I have been using up a bottle of Tahini more lately when I noticed that it's pretty creamy....and I had a small amount of chocolate chips left and I wondered if I could melt the two together for a brownie ganache. It turns out that I can and that it's really good. The brownies are pretty sweet with both white and brown sugar and the tahini ganache sort of balances it out with a nutty flavor. I wondered if my kids would back away from it once they tried them but nope. They each stole an extra brownie when I wasn't looking.
Here's what you'll need:
For the brownie (makes approximately 1 dozen)
-1/2 cup butter at room temperature
-1/2 cup brown sugar
-1/2 cup white sugar
-1 tsp vanilla extract
-3/4 cup flour
-1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
-1 tsp espressor powder
-1/2 tsp salt
-1 tsp baking powder
For the Ganache
-1/2 cup tahini
-1/2 cup chocolate chips
Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees and line an 8 x 8 baking pan with parchment paper. In a large bowl, use a stand or hand mixer to cream together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy (about 1-2 minutes). Add in the eggs one at a time and mix together. Add in the vanilla and mix together. Add all of the dry ingredients on top of the wet ingredients and mix them together with a fork before turning back on the mixer to incorporate them with the wet ingredients. The batter will be thick...almost frosting like.
Pour the brownie batter into the prepared pan and use the back of a spoon or rubber spatula to spread and smooth the batter evenly throughout the pan. Bake at 375 for 20 minutes. This baking time leaves them fudgy and a small amount of batter coming out on a toothpick when inserted. Allow to cool completely in the pan.
Once cooled, prepare the ganache by adding the tahini to a small pot on medium heat. Allow to warm up and then add in the chocolate chips. Stir continuously until the chocolate melts into the tahini and completely blends together. Pour over the brownies and spread evenly with a spoon or spatula. Place the ganache topped brownies in the fridge to chill and set for about an hour.
Lift the parchment paper up and out of the pan, slice into 12 squares and enjoy!
I was really late to the peanut butter game because it just wasn't a thing in Ireland, which is where I was born and lived for a short time until my family emigrated to Canada and then later to the U.S. I could be mistaken but chocolate and peanut butter still don't seem to be a thing on the Emerald Isle and I'm pretty good at scoping out chocolate on each my trips (my last one was late 2017). I don't remember exactly when the good old Reese's Peanut Butter cup first graced my lips but I do know that I'm thankful for it because wow. Those things are dangerous.
It turns out that peanut butter packs some great health benefits, as long as you look for a brand that has minimal ingredients and no hidden preservatives or filler oils. I actually have been a Vitamix owner for years and loooove that blender, but I only made peanut butter from dry roasted peanuts for the first time very recently. I had this idea in my head that it was going to be a madly messy process so I just didn't do it. I was wrong- it wasn't! It took me all of 3 minutes to go from a jar of dry roasted peanuts to a jar of creamy peanut butter and clean up was a snap!
With Valentine's Day around the corner, these dark chocolate bites filled with coconut and peanut butter would make a nice homemade treat. They're rich, decadent and clean eating with no refined sugar or filler ingredients.
Here's what you'll need:
(makes approximately 15-20 chocolates)
-3/4 cup unsweetened coconut (flaked or shredded)
-12 pitted dates
-1/3 cup unsweetened baking cocoa
-1/2 cup peanut butter
-2 TBS maple syrup
-1 x 10 oz package of dark chocolate chips (use a vegan dark chocolate if you want the entire recipe to be plant based)
Place the dates, peanut butter, baking cocoa and coconut into the bowl of a food processor and pulse/process until it begins to come into a crumbly mixture. Then slowly drizzle in the maple syrup while you run the food processor on low until the mixture begins to come together and clean from the sides of the bowl.
Line a cookie tray with parchment paper. Using your hands, roll the mixture into balls approximately 1 TBS in size. Once all of the mixture is rolled, place the tray in the freezer to set for approximately 30 minutes (it's fine if you leave them in longer- you can break up the steps here). Start to melt the dark chocolate in a double boiler about 5 minutes before you plan to take the prepared mixture from the freezer. Roll each ball into the melted chocolate and return to the parchment paper lined cookie tray. Drizzle the extra melted chocolate across the tops and then return the tray to the freezer to set for 30-60 minutes. Store the finished chocolates in the fridge in an air tight container.
I've done it again and been MIA on the recipe front. I've got a good reason for it this time though...I promise! Bundle #3 arrived at the end of September and we've been in the blur and beauty of newborn care since then and I was simply cooked and over tired in the weeks leading up to his birth and I hit pause on recipe creation and food photography. Although I have two other littles, it's amazing how quickly I forgot just how much sleep deprivation is involved in those first weeks of life. Somewhere in the hours of 11PM-3AM I think I will never sleep again and then sometime around 6AM I hit a second wind of energy and think "I've got this..." but then the cycle starts again soon thereafter. And this is why God makes babies cute.
Even though this recipe is finished and pictures edited, I'll be amazed if I finish this post in one sitting, but here goes! This recipe is a healthy, refined sugar free cookie recipe to support new mamas in their newborn weeks. They are loaded with healthy ingredients that support lactation, but I prefer to call these new mama cookies as these ingredients are nutrient dense and are healthy bites of nourishment to grab and go no matter how you choose to or need to feed your little one. Momming is hard enough as it is...can we please just support moms to do the best they can regardless of feeding choices or needs (can you sense a little sensitivity in my tone? Feeding has been a little trying in these first weeks around here and I'm trying to stop beating myself up).
The key ingredients in these cookies include oatmeal, flax seed and brewer's yeast. All of these ingredients are easily found online if needed. What did parents do before the invention of Amazon Prime? There are some complaints that Brewer's Yeast has a very bitter taste, but this is a particular rock star ingredient for boosting milk supply if needed. I ordered this bag from Oat Mama and I don't notice the taste in the cookies (nope, not sponsored...I just found and like the product). Instead of oil/butter and sugar, the cookies are moistened and sweetened by ripe bananas and truvia. These throw together quickly and easily, which is a necessity for mamas of wee ones or an easy little gift to throw together for an expecting friend or family member. Throw them in the freezer before baby arrives- you'll be glad you did!
New Mama Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies
(makes approximately 2 dozen cookies)
-2 ripe bananas
-2 tbs ground flax seed
-2 tbs brewer's yeast
-2 tbs + 1 tsp truvia
-1 tsp vanilla extract
-1 cup spelt flour
-1 1/2 cups rolled oats
-1 tsp baking powder
-1/2 tsp salt
-1 cup chocolate chips
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Mash bananas in a large bowl. Add eggs, vanilla, flax seed, brewer's yeast and truvia. Mix together. Add spelt flour, oats, salt and baking powder. Stir together. Fold in chocolate chips.
Prep a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Scoop out cookies using a small cookie scoop and space approximately 2 inches apart. Bake for approximately 11 minutes. Allow to cool on the pan for a few minutes before transferring to a wire baking rack to finish cooling. Enjoy at 3PM or 3AM...whenever baby is up for a feeding!
New England wife and mom. Faith, fitness, yoga, baking, cooking and constantly cleaning my kitchen.