Chocolate-Covered Pomegranate Clusters

2013-02-14 20.55.07

This past Valentine’s Day was spent making…SAM_4978

Wait for it! You’ll never guess what.

Making desserts, of course!

You know me too well by now. I recommend, however, getting to know this incredibly easy recipe for chocolate-covered pomegranate candies. Normally melting chocolate and waiting for it to harden is a cooking task I avoid. I don’t like the mess and the fast-moving pace of melted chocolate, but this one is so easy. It’s almost too good to be true. SAM_4989

Ingredients

1 cup pomegranate arils

6 oz. dark chocolate

Directions

Lay a dry paper towel across a ceramic plate (light-colored plastic ones may stain due to the dark color of the pomegranate juice). Spread arils across this and let them “dry off” for an hour or so.SAM_4987

Once they’re dry enough–and let them be as dry as possible because moisture causes chocolate to seize, leading to ugly candies, uglier messes–start working on the chocolate.

To prepare the chocolate, you can try a double-broiler technique. I’m always in a hurry, though, so what I did was break the chocolate into smaller pieces.

Microwave on high for about 45 seconds. Stir. Microwave another 15-20 seconds. You’ll know the chocolate is melted enough when there are a few chunks left that can be stirred out. This is a good consistency to achieve since chocolate that melts entirely in the microwave may start to burn.

Now you have to move fast! In the chocolate bowl, gently fold in arils until mostly covered. Take a spoon and begin scooping them out in clusters and transferring to a wax-paper-covered cookie sheet. When all the arils have been scooped out. I recommend transferring them to the freezer for about fifteen minutes.

I like them served chilled, but gnosh on this dripping-in-chocolate delicious fruit candy however you please.

 

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Instant Deep-Dish Oatmeal Cookie

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A lot of you say you read my recipes but never actually try them because it looks like they take too long to make. I often get told, “Yes, that sounds healthy and delicious, but why would I want to make just one? I’d make a whole batch instead… I don’t like getting all those ingredients for one little treat… Too much work… I’m tired…”SAM_4890

I’m not going to say those are excuses in my book, but I will give you a no-excuses recipe I think you’ll like. But first, a few reasons:

1. Do it for your bank account! Single servings save you money.

2. Do it because few leftovers are ever as good as their original selves.

3. Do it to save resources. How much of the materials and ingredients used to make multiple-serving recipes just end up stale and in the trash?SAM_4483

4. Do it for portion control. The one Americans understand the least.

5. Do it because it’s fun! I love to experiment with cooking/ baking, and single-serving recipes let me try lots of new types of cuisine. Some fail. Some are delicious.

On to the super simple deep-dish cookie…

Ready for this?

IngredientsSAM_4493

1 packet of oatmeal

1-2 T almond milk (or regular milk or yogurt)

optional: dash of baking powder, vanilla

and whatever mix-ins you like (I like cinnamon + peanut butter, and chocolate chips on top)

Directions

Empty out the oatmeal into a microwave-safe dish. Mix in milk or other substitute (you should add in about half of whatever the oatmeal directions specify so it’s not runny.SAM_4888

Mix well, but again, make sure it stays firm and wet, not soupy. If you’re not feeling too lazy, you can add in the dash of baking powder and vanilla. Top with whatever mix-ins you like. Microwave as directed. If not completely firmed up like a cookie, press sides together with the side of a spoon and microwave a tad longer or pop it into the broiler for a crispier finish.

It’s essentially like some of my baked oatmeal recipes and it’s delicious.

So, no excuses! Try it. I dare your lazy bones… 😉

Peanut Butter & Chocolate Chunk Gingerbread Cookies

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Santa’s going to eat a lot of cookies this evening, right? Why not treat him to something totally different? Don’t get me wrong; we all love the classic choc-chip cookie, but maybe Santa wants a cookie with a little more protein every once in a while. Or antioxidant-packed dark chocolate and ginger…

This cookie recipe for one (one Santa or one lucky snacker) is nothing but helpful and yields quite a few cookies. It features some seasonal flavors–ginger and molasses–plus some chocolate and peanut butter for richness. I adapted it a bit from Chocolate-Covered Katie’s group-sized version.

Hope it brings you some holiday cheer!

Makes 6 small or 4 good-sized cookies.

Ingredients

  • 2 T peanut butter
  • 2 t stevia
  • dash of baking soda
  • heaping dash of powdered ginger
  • 1 T molasses
  • 3 T flour
  • optional: pinch of salt if desired (I omitted.)
  • 2 T applesauce (cakier cookie) or 1 T coconut oil (chewier cookie)
  • splash of pure vanilla extract
  • dark-chocolate chips

Directions

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a cookie sheet. Set aside.

-In a small bowl, combine all the dry ingredients. Push to one side. Add in applesauce; then vanilla. Mix in remaining wet ingredients (molasses and peanut butter).

-Optional: refrigerate for 30 minutes for a better cookie.

-Roll dough into small bowls. (I was able to make six!) Press the dark-chocolate chips into the tops of the cookie. You could try a crushed candy bar or a Hershey’s kiss, too. Bake for about 7-9 minutes or until cookies are baked but still soft. Remove from oven and let stand for a few minutes. Top with a peanut-butter cream frosting if you want to find a little something extra under your Christmas tree.

You can gobble them up while they’re still warm or wait for the big man to come down the chimney. Either way, you won’t be let down.

Secret Ingredient Cookie Dough Dip

Santa can’t be getting enough nutrients eating cookies all the time. Maybe the big guy should try some fiber and protein in his cookies for a change…

If you’re on Pinterest, you’ve seen this recipe. Everyone and their brother has added it to their token food boards.

And one can understand why. Chocolate-Covered Katie, my all-time favorite healthy dessert blogger, never fails to impress.

This recipe is pretty good. It reminded me a lot of her other bean-based cookies I’ve tried on this site.

But there’s something less appealing to me about this dip for some reason. It’s not the unconventional ingredient or the fact that everyone pins it over and over again. I think, instead, well… Just read through my single-serving version and when you get to the end you’ll see how I ate this instead.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup low-sodium chickpeas or white beans, drained and rinsed
  • pinch of salt and baking soda
  • splash of pure vanilla extract
  • 1 T nut butter or vanilla yogurt (depending on which you’d prefer a scant taste of
  • 1 T nondairy milk
  • 1 T stevia
  • 2 T oats
  • as many chocolate chips as you like
  • optional: dash of cinnamon
 Directions
-In a blender, puree the chickpeas. Then add in the remaining ingredients, except the chocolate chips.
-Blend once more until smooth dip forms. Once finished, whip up the dip in a cute bowl, and prepare whatever dipping sticks you’d like.
I actually ended up treating my dip more like a dough and baking it into cookies, but you can dip banana rounds, apple slices, large nuts, whole-grain graham crackers…
Maybe even actual cookies!?
Or you could really take yourself on a culinary trip and serve atop a chocolate cake…
Oh, the possibilities. Cooking is always better when it’s creative.

Snow-Powdered Brownie Softies

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Oh, the weather outside is frightful,SAM_4468

but a powdered brownie would be delightful.

Since we’ve know place to go,

let us bake, let us bake with a new dough…

Brownie cookies. Need I say more?

Have fun decorating these however you like. You can press the dough balls into the chips. You could also try this with another candy or coconut flakes would be delicious. Because I was serving these at a potluck, I tossed mine in powdered sugar for a sweet snowy effect.SAM_4476

Ingredients

  • 2 T spelt flour (or whole-wheat white flour)
  • 1 T cocoa powder
  • tiniest dash of  baking powder, salt, baking soda, pure vanilla extract
  • 1 T stevia
  • 1 T coconut oil
  • 1 T + 1 t almond milk
  • optional: dark-chocolate chips

DirectionsSAM_4465

-Combine all dry ingredients; blend in wet, but don’t overmix. Shape into dough balls and refrigerate for half an hour.

-Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Lightly grease a cookie sheet. Set aside.

-Bake cookies for about 8 minutes. They should come out gooey. They’ll stiffen up a bit after baking. Let cool. (Or if you’re like me, gobble them up while they’re still warm and soft!).

Deep Dish Mug Cookie for One

I’ve made lots of things in mugs…

Into the microwave!

Carrot Cake in a Mug,

Muffins in a Mug,

even Macaroni in a Mug!

But it’s time for a cookie.

A deep dish cookie–perfect for the holiday season.

Ingredients

  • 1 t vegan butter, at room temperature
  • 3 T spelt or whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 T stevia
  • pinch of cinnamon, baking soda, & salt
  • 1 Tbsp beaten egg, preferably organic
  • splash pure vanilla extract
  • 1 T non-dairy milk
  • 1 T dark chocolate or karob chips

Directions

How can something so delicious be baked in a microwave?

-In a small mug or ramekin, mix the dry ingredients. Cut in butter, and then mix in vanilla, milk, and egg. Fold in chips.

-You can bake in the same bowl if you like. Or you can transfer to a new dish, one that is lightly greased for easy removal.

-Microwave for about 45 seconds. Let cool a bit, and enjoy!

Dark Chocolate Cherry Scone

One of the most calorific sweets out there is the scone. What makes it so wonderful is all the butter, sugar, and oil it requires to taste delicious–enough even to make Paula Deen proud.

And enough to make your physician pale at the very thought of such ingredients.

But you can have your scone and your chocolate, too. You just have to have the right ingredients.

Check out this recipe I’ve adapted from Healthy Green Kitchen. It makes one very big scone that would pass even the highest pastry chef standards.

Ingredients

6 T white whole wheat flour (or wheat pastry flour)

1 T steel cut oats

1 T stevia (or light organic brown sugar if you’re feeling devilish)

a pinch of baking powder and baking soda

optional: dash of cinnamon

4-5 cherries, diced

1.5 t vegan butter

2 T nondairy milk

splash of lemon juice and pure vanilla extract

1-2 T dark chocolate chips

Directions

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a baking dish or sheet. Set aside.

-In a small bowl, combine all dry ingredients. Then push to one side.

-On the other side, mix milk with lemon juice. Then mix in vanilla and begin blending in dry mix.

-Cut in butter and mix ’til well blended.  At this point, gently fold in your cherries and dark chocolate chips.

-Form into a triangular scone. Place on prepared baking dish and bake for approximately 11-13 minutes or until golden brown.

Serve warm (right out of the oven is always best).