Let me start this post with an UPSIDE DOWN smile :( Okay now that I have that out of my system, lets focus on the title of this post: I Bought The $10 Mast Brothers Chocolate Bar, So Why Am I Not in Chocolate Heaven. What the hell is that suppose to mean right? Well, this is what it means. I sooooo badly wanted to LOVE, I mean butterflies in my belly, love this Chocolate Bar. Why why chocolate fairy did you still my joy!
Let me start at the beginning. I was in the big NYC for a little work and a whole lot of Loving (wishful thinking I know) a few weeks ago. I started off the visit by seeing my friend Dan, who has an office just around the corner from the newish Ace Hotel in Manhattan. Yeah, that cool hip salvation army looking hotel chain. The one out of Portland Oregon. It’s an awesome place and they even have a Portland styled espresso bar just off the main lobby of the Hotel. Since we were so close, we decided to make the Ace our morning espresso destination. Wow, it did not disappoint. The entire lobby is a wifi free hang out zone, featuring a completely black 40 foot ceiling with massive roman style white columns holding up the place.
I think I must have passed out. When I woke, there was a large chunk of this dry bitter bar still stuck to my tongue.
We headed into the espresso bar and order up a few soy cappuccinos. As I am paying for our brews, what quirky little thing catches my eye on the counter? The one and only Mast Brothers Chocolate Bars. I couldn’t believe it. I just wrote a post on the Mast Brothers a week or so before heading to NYC. The post included a few amazing videos about the two brothers and their dedication to the old world craft of chocolate making. Their Brooklyn based store in the videos looked like a mini chocolate heaven to me. So, seeing these Willy Wonka type bars right there, on the counter was just too much to resist, I grabbed one and told the barista, add this to my bill. First words out of his mouth were, are you sure, they are $10. The number echoed in my head. $10 Doooollllaaarrrssssss. Time seemed to stop. Everything was in slow motion. I could hear the hiss of the steam escaping the espresso machines, the slurping sound from all the hipsters sucking down their espressos and my own breath rushing out of my lungs… and then these words leaving my lips, of course, no problem, let me have it. And oh did he! $20 or so dollars later Dan and I strolled out with two espresso’s and my new shiny heaven in a bar of Mast Brothers Espresso Dark Chocolate.
A quickie kind of post, for a quickie kind of recipe. However, these are so gosh-darn good, that they really don’t need much of an explanation. I’m addicted. Remember thin mints, the ones you ate as a kid? Well this is my Raw/Vegan version of the Thin Mints. A must try! Continue Reading / See Additional Photos
Now, I am not really a hard alcohol drinker, I would say I am more of a lover of wines. But when I was reading my Bon Appetit magazine a few years ago, I came across this recipe and couldn’t pass it up. I mean, chocolate liqueur. Damn. Yum! And it also makes a wonderful gift. Just be sure to make it about a month ahead of time so the flavors will have time to infuse.
This decadent Blackforest Chocolate Cheesecake by Vanessa Sherwood drew quite a knockout reaction when she posted it on the forum. I’m sure you can see why. It is bursting with sweet cherries layered between a chocolate crust and a creamy chocolate cheesecake filling. Vanessa advised the members of the forum they can purchase raw cacao butter and coconut oil for great prices at Organic Living Food. She also said it can be replaced with a dark Green and Black’s chocolate bar. I know what some of you will be making your loved ones this Valentines!
I don’t think I know a single person who doesn’t love chocolate. Do you? The only thing better than a really good organic dark chocolate bar, would have to be a dessert created with a really good organic dark chocolate bar! Am I right or what?
That is what I have created here. I took a few of my favorite ingredients (almonds, chocolate, dates, oranges) and combined them to create, little bite size pieces of heaven in a dessert. You get a little sweetness from the dates, crunch from the almonds and mmmness from the chocolate. Not to mention the un-expected hint of orange, cinnamon and nutmeg. This one is definitely monkie approved!
I think it’s about time we pour something warm down our throats, it’s freakin cold outside. Yes, I know what you RAW folks are sayin’…“you are heating the almond milk and so this ain’t RAW gurrrl!”…well, yes, BUT you are just heating the milk a wee bit in order to infuse the flavors and everything else is raw so…it’s all about balance…right… :)
There are some people who will cook and bake outside of their “diet philosophies” for family and friends. I’m definitely not one of those people. That may sound stubborn, but really it’s not about being difficult. I just figure if I could make the “same” thing AND be able to eat it, too, why not? It’s easy to go buy any full-fat “normal” dessert. It is not always easy to make a gluten-free vegan birthday cake.
My tradition among close friends and family, is to bake a special treat for them. I usually ask what their top 3 favorite desserts are, then I’ll create a unique recipe for them based off their response. Unfortunately for me, that answer is usually chocolate. No, not “chocolate cake” or “brownies,” just “anything chocolate.” Now, I like chocolate, don’t get me wrong. I can appreciate a good brownie or truffle, but it’s definitely not my first choice. I was always the odd one out among my sisters requesting “vanilla” instead of “chocolate.” I remember refusing birthday cake as a young kid because it was chocolate! My indifference is heightened among the many many chocolate lovers I know.
This tart was so delicious, I actually started laughing upon the first bite.
I had almost 4 friend’s birthdays in a weeks span of time. I knew I had to find something everyone would love. This time, I decided to not just go for my Cocoa Carob Brownie Bites, or homemade truffles, but something I could even like. This tart was so delicious, I actually started laughing upon the first bite. It’s rich chocolate and I like it!
I am warning you now, this is quite a decadent dessert. It is rich, creamy and nutty thanks to an amazing buttery almond meal crust. This will surely make someone feel special on any day, chocolate lover or not.
I need a badass raw Valentine’s Day tart and I need it pronto. I looked around in thee ole cabinets for some nuts and I am sad to say, I was out of luck. Then I remembered, I froze some of the left over almond pulp from the nut milk I made last week. Yeah, thats it, I can defrosted the almond pulp and try it out for the crust.
And now, I am very very happy to report that it worked out perfectly! Of course, if you have some fresh pulp, you can use that or you could sub straight up finely ground nuts too. The only difference you might notice is the consistency of the crust. The pulp is lighter and I would say fluffier than straight raw nuts.
Oh and the filling…. As I said, I didn’t have any nuts but then again I didn’t have hours to spend soaking them either, so I thought, nut butter to the rescue! I wanted a rich, thick pudding in minutes and YUM, I got that and more!
Happy Valentines everyone! I hope your getting your fill of love “bites” on this special day! :)
This is a decadently delicious wheat free cake. The chestnut flour adds a divine depth and a touch of nuttiness and has quickly become on of my favorite gluten free flours to bake with. Serve this cake alone, with cashew cream or some homemade Ice Cream and you and your guest will never think this is vegan. Oh and your chocolate fix will be…ummmm…fixed.
The brownie universe isn’t exactly full of surprises. The combination of sugar, butter, flour, chocolate, eggs, a few extraneous ingredients, plus a little oven time, inevitably leads to some form of brownie action. Of course, the resulting degree of deliciousness is all in the details — just talk to the adamant nut-adders, the chocolate chip enthusiasts, or the “fudgy” versus “cakey” people that can seemingly never agree. Yet, by and large, the language of brownies is pretty much the same: delicious chocolate squares that just about everyone loves. Including me.
But I have a secret. With the exception of chocolate (which can be profoundly beneficial in its unprocessed form), I don’t use any of the “conventional” ingredients in my homemade brownies. In fact, I don’t even bake them. (I know — what a rebel.) Instead, by using exclusively natural, whole foods, the inherently gorgeous flavor of each healthy ingredient does all the sweet singing — without needing the crutch of sugar or butter. Undercover health benefits like antioxidants, good omega fats, potassium, magnesium (and more) nutritionally rank this dessert as more of an energy bar than an “extra 20 minutes on the treadmill indulgence.” Best of all, five ingredients plus five minutes is all it takes to go from zero to brownie.
I have to admit, as a natural food enthusiast, Halloween and the entire holiday season ( Thanksgiving, Christmas ) really puts me in quite a quandary. On one hand, I love the mild madness that ensues around this time of year. The costumes, the parties, the creativity, the (idea of) candyland-come-true . . . clearly there’s some serious residual little-kid excitement in full force here. The irony is that much of what Holidays is about (conventional candy . . . and lots of it) is basically my nemesis. It’s not a matter of fun-size package denial, it’s a matter of reality: hydrogenated oils, high fructose corn syrup, red #5, or any ingredient made in a labcoat for that matter, generally equates to things humans should not consume.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not here to pull a scrooge moment. I understand this isn’t the time of year to tout the benefits of things like toothbrushes, raisins, or a nice apple. But don’t you worry; I’ve got plans for us. Better plans. Plans like, ahem, chocolate hazelnut plans. And while these chocolate hazelnut plans may still totally reside in the treat category (aka – don’t eat the whole recipe in one serving . . . everyday), this dessert is billions of times more beneficial than traditional holiday candy fare. Aside from using clean natural ingredients, it’s full of superfoods too. Raw cacao powder lends its copious antioxidant content and abundant minerals, and the chocolate coating utilizes the natural sweetness of mesquite powder (the milled mesquite pods from a low-lying South American shrub) making the exterior especially low in sugars. I’ve even snuck a little bit of optional adrenal-supporting maca powder into the filling of these candies, perhaps as a preemptive healthy strike against any conventional sugary “incidents.”
This dessert is billions of times more beneficial than traditional holiday candy fare.
Needless to say, these candies are an all-around “yes.” The exterior chocolate coating will remain solid at room temperature, and the inside pocket is a soft, sweet blend of cacao and hazelnuts. You can use ice cube trays for as molds for these, or get fancified and use real-deal candy molds with deep vessels to properly contain the filling. If using candy molds, double the amount of chocolate coating that the recipe calls for (the filling will remain the same). Short on time? Simply melt down a dark chocolate bar and use as the exterior coating instead of the raw chocolate recipe below.