26 ago. 2015

Vegan Rocky Road Ice Cream

Summer holidays are nearly over for a lot of people and now all I keep hearing (and seeing on Instagram, Facebook, etc) is people talking about kids going back to school, the end of the long nights and the warm weather. Well, here in Spain is still pretty damn hot and let me tell you something: there are exactly 28 days until the end of summer so I refuse to believe that popsicles, ice creams, cold drinks and other refreshing things are officially gone, hell no!
I'm one of those persons that crave for ice cream even on the coldest winter day and runs to the supermarket to buy a big tub of ice cream (and the cashier girl gives me a weird look and tells me 'you will catch a cold!').
I made this vegan version of the classic Rocky Road ice cream flavor for the very first time last week and it certainly won't be the last because it is so amazingly creamy and has three yummy chunks: marshmallows, dark chocolate covered almonds and pecan nuts. I mean, one scoop of this ice cream will make you cry tears of joy...and then you'll want a second and a third scoop. This is pure decadence, it's the best chocolate ice cream I've done so far.
I hope you like it!

Receta en español aquí!


Vegan Rocky Road Ice Cream
(makes 4 servings approximately)

Ingredients
4 cups full fat coconut milk.
1 cup fine whole cane sugar.
4 tbsp coconut sugar.
2/3 cup pure cocoa powder.
2 to 3 tsp pure vanilla extract.
1/2 tsp xanthan gum.
Add-ins:
Marshmallows, cut in small chunks.
Dark chocolate covered almonds, cut in halves.
Pecan nuts, chopped.

Notes:
- When making vegan ice cream I always get the best results when I use canned full fat coconut milk that already has a thickening agent like guar gum. Then I add a bit of xanthan gum and the ice cream becomes super creamy, easy to scoop and has zero ice crystals.
- Add about 1/4 cup for each add-in approximately or change the amount of chunks to fit your taste.
- You can also try combining different nuts or replace the pecan nuts for walnuts or even pistachios (chocolate + pistachio is such a great combo).
- For those who follow a strict vegan diet: read carefully the labels when buying marshmallows and make sure they are vegan.


Directions
At least 24 hours before you plan to churn the ice cream, put the ice cream maker's bowl in the freezer.
In the jar of your blender pour the coconut milk and sugars and blend on high speed until the sugars are well incorporated into the milk. 
Add in the pure cocoa powder and vanilla extract and process again until thoroughly incorporated.
Carefully add in the xanthan gum, stir with a few slow movements with a silicone spatula to make sure the gum won't stick to the sides of the jar. Blend on low speed for a few seconds and then increase the speed to high and blend for 1 to 2 minutes.
At this point I recommend to chill the base of the ice cream for a couple hours (around 3 hours depending on the temperature of your refrigerator). A chilled base will give you a good creamy ice cream later.
Right before churning whisk the ice cream base just in case there are a few lumps. Pour it into your ice cream maker and churn following the manufacturer's instructions. I always churn my ice cream for 30 minutes. During churning the ice cream should increase in volume and look more creamy and fluffy. It doesn't need to double its volume or look like super fluffy cream, so don't panic as long as the ice cream looks dense.
Add the marshmallows and nuts in the last minute of churning. 
Transfer the ice cream to a shallow, flat airtight container. Place a layer of plastic wrap between the ice cream and the lid, pressing the plastic wrap firmly against the entire surface of the ice cream to prevent ice crystal from forming.
Freeze for at least 4 hours until the ice cream hardens.
If the ice cream is too hard to scoop let it soften for around 30 minutes in the refrigerator before serving.
One trick: chill the serving bowls/cups to help keep the scoops firm for longer so your ice cream doesn't melt too quickly and you can enjoy it from the beginning to the very end.





21 ago. 2015

Double Chocolate Brownies

There's no secret brownies are one of my most favorite baked dessert in the whole wide world, I think they're #1 in my top ten list of chocolaty things. As a confessed chocoholic I can't live without brownies for too long BUT for my surprise I've just realized I haven't had a single piece of brownie in almost a year! I was checking all my previous brownie recipes and the last one was the 'Very Fudgy Chocolate Chip Brownies' from last summer (on july 17th 2014, to be more precise). That means I've been really busy trying out new recipes and adding more variety to my blog but I just couldn't wait any longer! I mean, it's been over a year...am I out of my mind or what?! Brownie gods must be very angry with me right now. I know I've had my chocolate (over)dose quite often but nothing compares to the lusciouness of a rich, fudgy and moist brownie.
So this is gonna be my 5th brownie recipe (search for 'brownies' on the right and you will find the rest of recipes) and most probably won't be the last cause I love to try new recipes and compare which one is my favorite...and let me tell you one thing guys, this recipe is so so close to become 'the perfect brownie' recipe to me. These brownies have the perfect balance between cakey and fudgy and for all those who love really moist and luscious brownies I'd recommend to under-bake them a lil' bit.
Now I'm off to enjoy a big bowl of one of my latest new recipes that will be published next week, it is the bomb.com! Keep your eyes peeled!!! 

Receta en español aquí!


Double Chocolate Brownies
(yield: 12 brownies)

Ingredients
85 g (3 ounces) soft tofu.
1/4 cup soy milk.
1/2 cup sunflower oil.
3/4 cup organic whole cane sugar.
1 cup self-raising flour.
1 tbsp potato starch.
1/2 cup pure cocoa powder.
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract.
Pinch of salt.
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped.
1/3 cup dark chocolate chips.

Notes:
- I used soft tofu for this recipe but silken tofu will work perfectly as well.
- If you are not very fond of soy milk use your favorite nondairy milk (I'd recommend almond or oat milk).
- To replace the self-raising flour: 1 cup all-purpose flour plus 1/2 teaspoon baking powder.
- If you can't find potato starch use the same amount of cornstarch.
- Optional add-in: 1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons of instant espresso powder. It will add a nice coffee aroma and enhance the chocolate flavor.
- I always chop my own chocolate chunks but that means you have to plan ahead and have your chocolate chips/chunks ready before really getting into the recipe.


Directions
Preheat oven to 170 ºC (325 ºF) and line a brownie pan with parchment paper; make sure there's enough paper hanging over the edges of the pan.
In a blender puree mix the tofu, milk and oil until completely pureed; you will have to stop a few times and scrape down the sides and get all the tiny tofu pieces blended in the mixture.
Transfer this mixture to a mixing bowl and add in the sugar and the vanilla extract. Whisk vigorously with a hand whisk.
Sift in the flour, cocoa powder, potato starch and salt. Mix everything together using a rubber spatula until smooth and finally fold in the walnuts and chocolate chips. Be careful not to over mix the batter at this point, just stir in the walnuts and chocolate chips with a few circular motions.
Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and smooth out the top. 
Bake brownies for 28 to 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let brownies cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and let them cool completely before slicing into squares.
Store in an airtight container...if there are some leftover portions after the first day. ;-)



13 ago. 2015

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

It was one of those crazy stormy summer days when I made these cookies and I really missed baking though turning on the oven with this heat is the last thing one should have on mind. It's been all about frozen desserts, raw and no-oven-required treats these past weeks and I love it cause summer calls for refreshing things but when the temperature drops a little bit I'm already thinking about baked goods like poundcake and cookies to go with my chai latte. A few clouds, a slight chance of rain and I'm ready to bake!
So it was time for cookies, really delicious cookies with super fine dark chocolate chunks...not the average chocolate chips that you can buy at the store, cause they usually don't have that intense melt-in-your-mouth taste. I had a bunch of chocolate covered peanuts left from my PB ice cream recipe so I threw them into the batter to make the cookies even more irresistible.
A pinch of cinnamon and allspice will add the perfect spicy touch but you can play with other spices and try with a bit of cardamom, nutmeg and of course scrape out some vanilla seeds.
Make these cookies, trust me, they are delicious and will brighten up your day. :-)

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


Peanut Butter Cookies
(yield: 12 cookies)

Ingredients
1/3 cup peanut butter, natural or salted.
1/4 cup panela (unrefined whole cane sugar).
2 tbsp sunflower oil.
1 tbsp pure maple syrup.
1/2 tsp vanilla extract.
1/4 cup dark chocolate chunks.
1/4 cup chocolate covered peanuts, chopped.
1/2 cup whole wheat flour.
1/4 cup oat flour.
1 tbsp cornstarch.
1 tsp baking powder.
1/2 tsp baking soda.
1/4 tsp salt.
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon.
1/8 tsp allspice.
3 tbsp oat milk.


Directions
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and preheat your oven to 180 º C (350 ºF).
In a medium bowl stir together  peanut butter, panela, oil, maple syrup and vanilla using a wooden spoon. Make sure all the ingredients are well combined cause the peanut butter is sticky.
In a separate bowl sift together the flours and cornstarch, and add in chocolate chunks, crushed peanuts, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices. Mix all ingredients with a hand whisk.
Add in the peanut butter mixture and the oat milk. Whisk until you get a smooth dough.
Scoop one rounded tablespoon for each cookie and place them on the prepared baking sheet leaving enough space between them.
I pressed them down only a little bit in order to get taller and cakier cookies but if you like them more crispy simply make them more flat and bake for 2 extra minutes, but always keep an eye on them! We don't want hard and too-brown cookies.
Bake cookies for 17 minutes or until the bottom and edges are brown.
Let cool on the baking sheet on a wire rack until almost completely cool and then transfer to the wire rack again.
Store in an airtight container at room temperature.







5 ago. 2015

Creamy Vanilla and Chocolate Pops

This week I bring you a new summery easy recipe: chocolate and vanilla pops because that's what summer calls for. Popsicles, lots of fresh watermelon, homemade lemonade and ice cream cones (or a cup with a couple big scoops) is what I crave when it's super hot. Btw, talking about ice creams...keep your eyes peeled cause I'm preparing a super delicious recipe! But can't tell you much more right now...so you'll have to be a bit patient. *insert monkey covering his mouth emoji*
These pops are creamy thanks to the combination of silken tofu and cashews, which makes them a healthier alternative to those who have cream, condensed milk or whole milk as a base. The recipe yields 8 pops and I decided to make 4 vanilla flavor and 4 chocolate flavor pops but it's up to you if you want to try just one flavor or even combine both in the same popsicle.
They are a good late-night summer treat and also a refreshing snack or dessert to satisfy your chocolate cravings and will make you feel full.
Last year I published these healthy, non-alcoholic Mojito Pops that were a hit and not too long ago, a bit less than two months ago, I made these Sangria Pops (for adults only, they have red wine). So if you want more ideas there you have them! Wish I could make frozen desserts every single day...*sigh* but it would completely ruin all the hard work I'm putting in my training (someday I'll have a six-pack, lol).
I'm off to sweat it out with an intense boxing workout, send me some strength vibes cause I'm gonna need them, it's insanely hot today! I'll think about my ex-hairdresser every time I throw a punch (read my previous blog post to understand why).

Receta en español aquí!


Creamy Vanilla and Chocolate Pops
(yield: 8 pops)

Ingredients
3/4 cup silken tofu, diced into small cubes.
3 cups light coconut milk.
1 cup ground cashews.
1 tsp pure vanilla extract.
4 tbsp maple syrup.
1 banana, frozen.
- For the chocolate flavor:
Add 4 tbsp of pure cocoa powder to the base.


Directions
In a saucepan over medium heat stir together tofu and milk and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and add in ground cashews and vanilla. Keep stirring and simmer for 5 minutes.
Remove from heat and let cool a bit at room temperature.
Transfer mixture to a blender and add the maple syrup and frozen banana chunks. Process until smooth.
Pour mixture into 4 pop molds and put wooden sticks in place.
Freeze until solid.
- For the chocolate flavor:
Add 4 tablespoons of pure cocoa powder to the remaining mixture, blend again and pour into the other 4 pop molds. Freeze until solid.

* Notes:
- I used light coconut milk but not the one that comes in a can, it comes in carton/boxes and looks as liquid as any other vegetable milk.
- Cut the silken tofu into medium/small chunks before measuring.
- I recommend to chop the banana into chunks when freezing them, this way the blending process is much more faster and easier.






31 jul. 2015

Coconut Milk Pancakes

I'm posting a bit later than usual, but a thousand last-minute things happened (and a couple new recipes that I tested) and so I had to wait until today to finally sit down and write this post. Don't you hate it when you've been planning something for days and that moment never comes because all of a sudden a new thing becomes number one on your ToDo list? I promised myself not to stress over those small things that can ruin your day if you just give them more importance than they really have. Owell, at least I'm trying...and some days it works! Others...I become a grumpy lady that wants to eat dark chocolate the whole day.
Good news is that the weekend is right here and I can't wait to make these coconut milk pancakes again for breakfast tomorrow and start the day off right! These are hands down the best pancake recipe I've ever made, they are so deliciously fluffy, tender and with the right touch of sweetness. Plus the subtle coconut flavor makes them even more tasty. Coconut and non-coconut lovers have tasted them and they all asked for more.
Two important notes:
1- I used organic coconut milk that comes in carton, not the canned one (much more dense) which has a higher fat percentage and, even though is great for ice creams and other desserts, I don't recommend it for this recipe because it will affect the texture.
2- Some of you might think what 'Panela' exactly is. Okay, at first I was tad bit confused too because most of the times each brand tends to label the same product with a different name. Panela is the spanish/colombian name, while in other countries you will find the same type of sugar under the name of 'rapadura' or simply 'unrefined whole cane sugar'. I like to use this sugar in a lot of recipes because it is less processed and gives a nice toasty flavor to my baked goods. If it's hard to find it for you, use your favorite sugar (though I'd recommend muscovado sugar or other 'humid' sugar with a high content of molasses).
So these are officially my new favorite pancakes and I hope you try them and love them as much as I do.
Now I'm off to try to fix the disaster that I had with my (now 'old') hairdresser, she cut way TOO MUCH hair off! And I don't like how my poor hair looks now...I wanted it to keep it long and now I see so many different layers that there's no way to control my thick dark spanish hair! I think that hairdresser should learn what I found at Jean Louis David's website:
“Too many layers in thick hair can result in over-the-top volume that’s difficult to control. But if the layers are well designed, they help to distribute volume and reduce thickness." 
...well, I think it's time to search for a new and more competent hairdresser, wish me luck! 
*Sorry for my rant*

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


Coconut Milk Pancakes
(yield: 8 pancakes approx.)

Ingredients

1 cup all-purpose flour.
1/2 cup white spelt flour.
2 tbsp organic panela (unrefined whole cane sugar).
3 1/2 tsp baking powder.
1 tsp salt.
1 cup coconut milk.
2 tsp apple cider vinegar.
1 tbsp flaxmeal (ground flax seeds).
1/2 cup filtered water.
3 tbsp sunflower oil.
1/2 tsp vanilla.
- Toppings:
Fresh wildberries.
Creamy natural yogurt (choose your favorite type).
Pure maple syrup.




Directions

In a large mixing bowl and using a hand whisk mix together flours, baking powder, panela and salt.
In a separate medium bowl vigorously whisk milk, vinegar and ground flax seeds until the mixture looks foamy.
Add the wet mixture to the bowl of dry ingredients and also add in water, oil and vanilla. Stir until all ingredients are well combined and there are no big lumps.
Loosely cover the bowl and let the batter rest for 10 minutes.
I like my pancakes to be all the same size and shape (yep, I'm an hyper-perfectionist) so I use a small frying pan and cook them one by one, always pouring the same amount of batter.
Lightly coat the pan with coconut oil and to test the temperature pour a small drop of batter and check if it browns too quickly, then you should lower the heat.
Pour 1/3 cup of batter for each pancake and cook for 4 minutes approximately, until air bubbles appear on the top. Flip and cook for another 4 minutes or less, depending on how hot your pan is and remember to always control the temperature. You might need to lower or increase the temperature a few times.
Serve with fresh fruit like wildberries, strawberries, etc. Add a dollop of natural yogurt and a generous drizzle of pure maple syrup.