21 jul. 2015

Peanut Butter Ice Cream

Ice cream every single day please. I have been on a serious ice cream kick this week (actually since the first day that started to feel like summer) and it was about time to publish an ice cream recipe!
There are still so many frozen desserts ideas I wrote down months ago waiting to become a reality but I've been so focused on deadlines regarding my collaboration with El Granero Integral that I had to put on standby certain things. Luckily I'm all done with the savory recipes I make for them until autumn so prepare yourself for a good overdose of ice creams, pops and refreshing things. Truth be told, I've tried several new ice cream recipes but I couldn't take any picture because said ice creams were gone in one sitting. Blame it on this heat wave...and my uncontrollable sweet tooth. ;-p
Feels good to have more time to try new recipes in my kitchen without stress and deadlines, the results are always better when you are inspired and in a positive state of mind.
This peanut butter ice cream (making my own PB has open a brand new world of possibilities) is ridiculously easy to make and delicious, very very delicious to be honest. To make it even more 'peanutified' I put chocolate-covered peanut chunks into the base and it was a pretty damn good idea. Want more lusciousness? I got you covered! I also made a coconut chocolate shell, because chocolate...and because summer.

Peanut Butter Ice Cream

- For the ice cream:
2/3 cup natural peanut butter.
2 cups plant-based milk.
1/2 cup organic brown sugar.
1 tsp pure vanilla extract.
Pinch of cinnamon.
Pinch of nutmeg or allspice (optional).
Chocolate-covered peanuts, cut into halves.

- For the coconut chocolate shell:
100 g (3.5 ounces) dark chocolate, chopped.
1 tablespoon organic coconut butter.
Pinch of salt.

In a medium saucepan mix together peanut butter, milk, sugar and vanilla extract. Heat over medium heat, stirring constantly so the peanut butter is well incorporated and bring the mixture to boil.
Remove from the heat and let it cool completely. Store in the refrigerator until very cold, I recommend to age the ice cream mix overnight to help develop a more intense flavor. 
Once the mixture is very cold, churn following your ice cream maker instructions, around 30 minutes. Add in the chocolate peanut chunks during the last minute of churning.
Immediately transfer the ice cream to an airtight container, cover the ice cream with plastic wrap before putting the lid on.
- For the coconut chocolate shell:
Chop the chocolate into medium/small chunks and melt it using the double boiler method. Once almost all of the chocolate has melted remove from heat, add in the coconut butter and the pinch of salt and stir slowly until incorporated. Keep the sauce melted until ready to use; if you are not going to use it immediately you should store it in the fridge and melt again.
Serve the ice cream with a generous drizzle of the chocolate sauce, it will harden a bit in a few seconds but still tender on the inside, just the way I like it. :-)

13 jul. 2015

Fancied-up Energy Bites

This week has been pretty hectic and I'm so exhausted right now I can barely keep my eyes open. But I wanted to share this quick and easy recipe with all of you before I log off tonight and get some well-deserved rest.
I haven't slept well these past nights due to the heat wave that we have in Spain, actually some nights I only managed to sleep for 4 or 5 hours. July is the hottest month of the year here in my city but, oh man! this summer we've broken some records!
I truly love summer, like I've said many times before it's my favorite season but the high humidity in Barcelona makes you sweat...so...much! Thankfully I have air-conditioning at home but leaving the AC running while I sleep makes me sick (plus the electric bill is so high!) so yeah, I've felt pretty exhausted, grumpy and in need of so many ice creams.
Needless to say my workout routine has been affected too, I've been doing shorter HIIT sessions but luckily it's already feeling like a normal spanish summer, which means that it's super hot but not to the level of so-scorching-hot-I-can-not-breath.
I love (well, who doesn't!) having nutritious and yummy on-the-go snacks and these energy bites are the perfect ones because of their size and also cause they are stored in the fridge so they are always fresh and available whenever you need to boost your energy or simply to satisfy those mid-morning or mid-afternoon cravings.
I've published this recipe before but this time I made a few changes, added some extra ingredients and, like the title of this post says, I fancied them up a little bit using different toppings...and that makes them even more irresistible! They are like a guilt-free version of the classic truffles.

Receta en español próximamente en la web de El Granero Integral.

Fancied-up Energy Bites
(makes 18 balls)

1/2 cup dates, pitted and cut in halves.
1/4 cup dried figs, chopped into quarters.
2 tbsp almond butter.
1 tbsp coconut oil.
1 tbsp cocoa powder or raw cacao powder.
1 tbsp chia seeds.
1 tsp ground cinnamon.
2 tbsp flaxmeal.
1 tbsp blend of milled flaxseed, cocoa and berries.*
1/2 tbsp maca powder.
1/2 tbsp pea protein powder.

- Toppings:
Cocoa powder.
Ground pistachios.
Shredded coconut.

* I like to use this prepared blend by Linwoods, but if you can't find it simply replace it with more flaxmeal.

Place all ingredients (minus the toppings) into a high-speed food processor and blend until smooth. Stop a few times and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula. Keep processing until a sticky ball of dough forms.
For each ball, scoop out 1/2 tablespoon of dough and use your hands to shape them into balls.
Finally roll in the cocoa, pistachios and coconut (6 balls for each topping).
Place in the fridge (inside an airtight container) so they harden a bit, for at least 20 minutes before eating.
Store refrigerated.

30 jun. 2015

Whole Wheat Banana Muffins with Dates & Figs

Who would turn on the oven on the hottest day of summer? Yep, me! Call me crazy, fool or simply call it a food blogger thing...I was seriously craving for tender, sweet muffins and had a couple frozen bananas waiting for me in the freezer, so nothing couldn't stop me. Not even this heat wave.
Truth be told, I needed one (or were too?) of my sangria pops to cool down but today I woke up to these super big, fluffy and deliciously sweet muffins. This is such a great way to start your morning off right.
Muffins, pancakes and french toasts are my favorite breakfast foods and it was about time to try something more hearty, these are made with organic whole wheat flour and panela. For those who haven't heard about panela before, (panela in spanish, also known as rapadura in portuguese), it's unrefined whole cane sugar, it has more nutrients, vitamins and minerals and can be used as an alternative to refined white sugar. It's easy to find it at organic food stores or at the healthy section of your local supermarket; however, if you can't find it Sucanat is quite similar so you can use it too. These whole wheat muffins are also very fruity thanks to the addition of bananas, dried figs and dates. Yummy combination yet not as overwhelmingly sweet as some may think because panela has a more toasty flavor but if you like them on the less-sweet side I'm pretty sure they will taste as good using less sugar.
Now it's time to relax, enjoy a tall glass of my super refreshing watermelon gazpacho (will post the recipe on my Facebook page, btw) and see what's cooking in the blogosphere.

Receta en español próximamente en la web de El Granero Integral!

Whole Wheat Banana Muffins with Dates and Figs

(yield: 6 jumbo muffins)

250 g frozen banana slices (around 2 medium bananas), thawed.
1 cup almond meal.
1/4 cup mild-tasting extra virgin olive oil.
3/4 cup soy milk.
1/2 cup panela (unrefined whole cane sugar).
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract.
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour.
2 tablespoons potato starch.*
2 teaspoons baking powder.
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt.
40 g (1/3 cup approx.) dates, chopped.
40 g (1/3 cup approx.) dried figs, chopped.

*Note: you can use cornstach instead of potato starch.

Mash banana well with a fork until smooth. Chop dried figs and dates into small chunks.
Preheat oven to 180 ºC (350 ºF) and line a jumbo muffin pan with paper liners.
In a large mixing bowl whisk together the almond meal, oil, milk, panela and vanilla until smooth and no large lumps are visible.
Sift the flour in a separated medium mixing bowl and add in the potato starch, baking powder and salt. Stir in the chopped dates and figs, to make sure the fruit chunks are well distributed and don't stick together or sink to the bottom, toss them a bit with your hands.
Stir the dry ingredients into the wet mixture until combined.
Fill cups to the top (don't worry, the batter is rather thick so they will rise beautifully and you'll have nice tall muffins, they won't overflow).
Sprinkle each muffin with a bit of panela or your preferred sugar.
Bake for 30 minutes approximately or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Let muffins cool in the pan for 5 minutes on a wire rack and carefully remove them later so they cool completely.
Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

25 jun. 2015

Sangria Pops

I couldn't let this week past (the first week of summer, woohoo!) without sharing one of the first pops recipe of the season. This hot and sunny weather calls for frozen desserts like ice creams, all kind of ice creams (cones, sandwiches...), cold and refreshing drinks like horchata, lemonade or one of my latest obsessions: agua fresca de sandía which is a mexican drink that in spanish translates to watermelon water, you should try it cause it's great to cool off on a hot summer day, healthy and alcohol-free.
Even though some days the humidity here makes it quite difficult to function like a normal human being I still love this time of the year; makes me feel happy to know that the sun is still shining while I'm preparing dinner, I don't have to rush to shoot the pictures for my recipes before the sun goes down at 5pm, I go every morning to my rooftop garden to pick tomatoes when they are perfectly ripe so I can make watermelon gazpacho (my family loves it!), I don't have to blow-dry my hair, I wear brighter colors and my favorite sandals. The list of advantages could be endless but let's kick off summer with these boozy pops! Sangria + popsicles, life is good.

PS: after shooting the photos for this recipe I made a yummy refreshing sangria slushy with the almost-melted pops. :-p 

Sangria Pops
(makes 6 pops approx.*)

1 cup red wine.
1 cup orange juice.
1 tbsp lemon juice.
3-4 tbsp coconut sugar, or more to taste.
Orange slices.

Squeeze oranges and lemon.
In a medium mixing bowl whisk together wine, orange juice and lemon juice. Gradually add in the coconut sugar and taste it to get the right level of sweetness for your taste buds. I added 3 tablespoons of coconut sugar but you can use your favorite type of granulated sugar or even agave syrup, though I'm sure agave will make this sangria taste quite different than the classic one.
Whisk until all the sugar is dissolved.
Insert a thin orange slice into each ice pop mold. Pour in the sangria and place in the freezer. If you're using a mold that doesn't include the sticks then you'll have to wait an hour or so to insert the wooden sticks, otherwise they will float.
Freeze until firm, preferably overnight.
To remove popsicles run hot water over the outsides of the molds for a few seconds and carefully pull the sticks.

*Notes: I made 6 pops but depending on the size of your molds you'll get a couple more or less.

16 jun. 2015

Burger Buns

I love to prepare special dinners at home, specially on weekends...and I don't mind spending the whole afternoon cooking while others are going out. When you get pretty damn good results and you can stuff your face with a delicious homemade burger it's all worth it.
I'm not a strict vegan but you will never see me eating a burger at certain fast food restaurant, thanks but no thanks! Homemade = better.
One thing I've been searching with zero success all these years is a good and dairy-free burger bun: the bakeries in my city make them using non-organic butter and/or other fats (aka junk) that my body doesn't really need...plus the ones you can find on the supermarket shelves are quite tasteless and packed with additives, super refined oils...etc, etc.
We all know that the taste of homemade bread (oh! and the smell!), the sense of accomplishment when you take your freshly baked bread out of the oven and how de-stressing is to punch the dough are priceless. So why don't we make our own burger buns at home?...and now that the oven is on, let's make some sweet potato fries and potato chips! Hell yes!
I had such a delicious 'fast-food'-inspired dinner. These homemade burger buns are hands down one of the best breads I've ever baked; they are incredibly tender (and I do mean tender), they don't take up a lot of hours to leaven and the tase is so much better than any store-bought burger buns.
This recipe yields four big buns (go big or go home) which have the perfect size for a main dish, but you can divide the dough into five equal parts so the buns will be smaller.
They make a great sandwich bread too and taste really good with something sweet like strawberry jam or chocolate spread for breakfast. Though I'd suggest to make the smaller version (dividing the dough into 5 or 6 buns) in this case.
By the way, have you seen the short video I published on Instagram and Facebook? If you did, you already know how hard I punched that dough! Kneading bread at home is a great workout for the arms! :-p

Receta en español pronto en la web de El Granero Integral.

Burger Buns

(yield: 4 big buns)

1 cup lukewarm water.
1 1/2 tbsp molasses.
2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast.
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour.
1 1/2 cups white spelt flour.
1 tsp salt.
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil.
Black sesame seeds, to sprinkle on top.

In a small bowl stir together water, molasses and dry yeast. Let it sit for 5 minutes, until the yeast activates and small bubbles appear on the surface.
Mix together flours and salt in a large bowl using a hand whisk.
Transfer the flour mixture to the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Add in yeast mixture and olive oil. Start mixing on low speed and increase the speed a few seconds later. Mix until a soft ball of dough forms, around 6 minutes.
Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead by hand. Working the dough for 10 minutes approximately will be enough if you aerate the dough well: push it down, stretch it and fold the top half back towards you. Repeat the process and sprinkle the dough with more whole wheat flour if it's too sticky; it should be more humid than the average bread dough but shouldn't stick too much to your fingers and/or the working surface.
Shape the dough into a ball, transfer back to the bowl and cover well with plastic wrap. Let it rise in a warm place for 1 1/2 hours, until the dough is puffy and doubled in size.
After this first rise, divide the dough into 4 equal portions and shape them into round burger buns; tap them gently to deflate the dough.
Place the buns on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and remember to leave enough space between them. They will puff up again after the second rise so it is very important to leave that space.
Loosely cover the baking sheet with plastic wrap (or a dump cloth) and let it rest for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400º F (200ºC) after the first 15 minutes have passed (approximately).
Uncover the baking sheet, brush the tops of the buns with a bit of vegan milk and sprinkle with the black sesame seeds. Bake for 15 minutes, until they look golden on top and sound hollow when you gently tap the bottoms with your knuckles.
Let cool on a wire rack.
To store the buns and make them stay fresh and tender for a longer time I recommend to wrap them in plastic wrap once they are completely cool and also place them inside an airtight container.