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MTF: Vegan & Macrobiotic friendly Chocolate Bundt Cake

It's good. It's really good. It's for sure Macro Treat Friday (MTF) approved.

Enough said.

MTF: Chocolate Bundt Cake // vegan & macrobiotic friendly

This cake got the 2 thumbs up from T, who enjoys cake that tastes more like cake than something really healthy. I was super happy because the texture reminded me of a cake we enjoyed as a family when I was growing up. It felt truly, like a treat. In any case, it's chocolate cake. It's good. There is a fair amount less oil and sugar (in fact, no sugar, just maple syrup) than traditional chocolate bundt cakes, making it more macrobiotic friendly, and of course it's vegan. This is a great cake for special occasions!  If you don't have a bundt pan, don't worry, you can also bake this in a "9 x 13" inch pan too.

Ingredients

Dry

  • 3 cups flour [ I've used whole sprouted spelt flour, and whole wheat pastry flour - the whole wheat pastry flour was my favourite of the two, but both were good, and I want to try it with whole spelt pastry flour next ]
  • 3/4 cup natural cocoa (non-alkalized)
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • pinch of sea salt
  • sprinkle of cinnamon

Wet

  • 2/3 cup brewed coffee (or grain coffee, or water)
  • 1 cup maple syrup
  • 1.5 cups water
  • 3/4 cup oil. I used sunflower (and I also tried with 1/2 sesame & 1/4 EVO blend), but avocado or grapeseed would be good too.
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla

Optional (but highly recommended)

  • 1/2  to 1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
  • 1/2  to 1 cup dark chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 350F. Oil a bundt pan. Feel free to lightly flour or cocoa the pan as well (I haven't tried that yet).
  2. Whisk dry ingredients in a large bowl.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix wet together, and add to dry.
  4. Stir together until just combined. It'll be a really runny batter, but don't worry, and don't overmix :) lightly stir in the nuts and chocolate chips, if using.
  5. Bake for 45 - 55 minutes. Check with a toothpick at 45 - mine usually takes 55.
    If baking in a 9 X 13 dish, it will take less time - check at 30 minutes, if not before.
  6. Let rest for at least 10 minutes before inverting (says the directions that came with my bundt pan)...but I've read that it's best to place the bundt pan on a wire rack, let it cool completely, then tap a few times before inverting.
  7. If you desire, you can try some of the frosting suggestions below! I have enjoyed it both with, and without frosting.

Frosting

Option 1: Coconut Whipped Cream - I followed these steps HERE

  • this is what I used as it is simple, and not so sweet, so I could dress the cake up with berries

Option 2:  TOFU WHIPPED CREAM

  • Using an immersion blender, blend 2 package of lite silken tofu with 4 TBSP maple syrup, and 2 tsp vanilla until very smooth. Place in the fridge for a few hours to let it firm up. I haven't used this on the cake yet (but I have on other treats), so you might need to make even more to cover the whole cake.

Option 3: CHOCOLATE GLAZE

  • Melt 4 oz. very dark or semisweet chocolate in a double boiler with a tablespoon of coconut oil.
  • When melted, pour into bowl and add in 6 TBSP coconut milk, brewed coffee, or almond milk
  • Add in 1 tsp vanilla, and up to 1.5 cups of confectioners sugar (to sweetness). I have made once before, my own "maple sugar icing sugar" by blending in a highspeed blender maple sugar until really fine and powdery. It worked - not quite as well, but it did.
  • Pour over cake / spread over cake while while glaze is warm. Let glaze cool and harden before serving.
  • This one is straight up delicious - but very intense - decadent, sweet and rich.

Β 

Now...Celebrate!!
Buy some berries and perhaps some vegan icecream, make some cake, invite some friends over, and sit outside while you celebrate the wonderfulness of life, and enjoy your treat  <3

MacroTreat Fridays: Valentine's Day Macrobiotic-Friendly Brownies

Yep, chocolatey sweet treats 2 weeks in a row. You're welcome <3

Macro-friendly Brownies

Very decadent vegan, oat-flour, maple sweetened Brownies.
Quick & Easy to prepare.
Makes 12 muffin cup brownies.

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As you'd expect from the word brownie, these are decadent and rich - not an everyday treat. Although, they're so tasty you may indeed find yourself thinking about these daily.
I was going to make them like usual, in a pan, but discovered than I did not have parchment paper, but I did have muffin liners...so the brownie batter went into the muffin tin, and these guys emerged :)

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup natural  cocoa powder (this is non-alkalized cocoa)
  • 100 grams dark chocolate (if you can find grain sweetened, then all the better) - I used 1 bar of Lindtt 90% - broken into small pieces
  • few generous pinches of sea salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • couple pinches of cayenne
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 3/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup maple sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/3 cup high quality vegetable oil - unrefined sesame, grapeseed, avocado etc.
  • 2 cups + 2 TBSP oat flour
  • 2 TBSP flax
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • Optional: 1/2 cup chopped nuts like pecans or walnuts.

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F
  2. In a bowl, combine flour, flax & baking soda. I whisked it briefly with a fork to combine.
  3. In another bowl, add the cocoa powder, salt, cinnamon & cayenne.
  4. You can do the next part in 2 different ways, take your pick:
    Method 1: Add the chocolate pieces to the cocoa/spices. Then add the boiling water, and stir with a spoon until it gets all icing / fudgey like - not runny - but all mixed together into a heavenly chocolate paste. Most of the chocolate should melt, but if there are a few pieces left, no biggie. For this batch I used this method.
    Method 2: Alternatively you could melt the chocolate in a double boiler, and add it to the cocoa & spices. You may not need to any boiling water here, to get the icing like texture - when I tried it this way, I added just under 1/4 cup boiling water one time, and another time I didn't need any water at all.
  5. Add in the maple syrup slowly, mixing with a spoon until combined.
  6. Stir in the oil.
  7. Add in the maple sugar, again, stirring with a spoon.
  8. Add in the vanilla.
  9. Stir in the flour/flax/soda mixture. And then the nuts, if using. The batter will be really thick, not runny in the slightest.
  10. Scoop out some batter, and drop into lined muffin tins (or a parchment paper lined 8X8 baking dish). Using your fingers or the back of a spoon, press the batter down into the pan or muffin cup.
  11. Bake for 20-25 minutes if using a muffin tin, or 30-35 minutes if using a pan. They are done when a toothpick comes out clean.
  12. Let these guys cool in the pan for about an hour, then transfer to a wire rack. Do not cut into slices until cooled. AND, if humanely possible, I think they taste better the next day, after spending the night in the refrigerator...but if you don't like your brownies on the colder side, then simply keep them on the counter in an airtight container. YUM!
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I make brownies only a few times per year...mostly because I don't often think of them! This has been my go to recipe for the past few years though, and it has never failed me. I hope you enjoy it as much as T & I do.

Happy Valentine's Day friends!

MacroTreat Fridays: Vegan {Macro-ish} Nutella.

There are moments in life you'll remember forever, such as buying your first house or having your first child. You know, those big things you can check off. Well, for the time being, those things aren't on my list - as I'm not certain I want them to be! So instead, for now, I'll choose to happily remember the day when everything worked in my favour.

It all started with a random craving at the grocery store, that I successfully dodged.
Then I came home and realized that not only did I have access to a Vitamix for a few more days, but that I needed to use up food in the pantry & fridge because we were moving. I took one look and saw that I had exactly 1 3/4 cups of hazelnuts, 1/3 cup of cocoa, a few splashes of maple syrup, and a half carton of almond milk in the fridge.

And there it was: vegan nutella.

Oh yes. I did.

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I used alchemy and fate to create this insanity. I seriously just started throwing in random ingredients into the vitamix until it became a miracle. I believe the words "I have now achieved god like status" may have been said. Um yeah. I take chocolate seriously. <3

MacroTreat Friday: Vegan Nutella (Macro-ish)

Okay, so this is definitely playing in the very outer fields of Macrobiotics, seeing as how cocoa/chocolate isn't really a regular macrobiotic food (it's pretty stimulating). But hey, I love chocolate. So I did what I could to macro-ify it up.

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I prefer my chocolate to be more cocoa-ey, and not quite as sweet, so that's how this turned out. You'll see that I used one of my favourite macrobiotic-friendly sweeteners here, maple syrup, in place of the sugar. And almond milk + a bit of sunflower or grapeseed oil takes the place of  processed oils and milk powders. If you want it sweeter, sub some of the almond milk with more maple syrup. The rest is simply magic. Silky, smooth, chocolate & hazelnut magic.

Makes 1.5 - 2 cups.

Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 cups whole hazelnuts
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder (I used organic fair trade dutch process cocoa, as it's what I had on hand)
  • few pinches of natural sea salt
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 5 Tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 2 Tbsp veggie oil of choice - I'd recommend sunflower, grapeseed, or avocado oil
  • 2/3 - 1 cup almond milk or soy milk (I recommend Eden brand).
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Directions

  1. Set oven on to 400F.
  2. Place hazelnuts on a parchment lined cookie sheet, and bake for 6-10 minutes, until golden brown and fragrant. Keep an eye on these guys, and carefully shake the pan after about 4 minutes or so, to rotate them. Once roasted - mine took 8 minutes - remove pan from oven. Let the hazelnuts cool for about 5 minutes.
  3. Grab a towel and carefully (they may still be hot!) place some of the hazelnuts inside it, making kind of a pouch, and then rub the nuts together. Yep, that's what I said. I have about 100 jokes lined up for you, but you'll have to use your imagination here. Anyways, we're rubbing the nuts to remove the skins. (oh dear. must type. can't laugh). Just do your best, as it won't all come off. Place them into a bowl to cool, while you work on the rest of the hazelnuts. If you don't want to use a dishtowel, you can use a papertowel...but it didn't work as well for me.
  4. Throw the hazelnuts into a food processor, or high-speed blender. Blend slowly, starting on a low setting then moving higher, until you have hazelnut butter. You'd better try that ***t. It's good. {If you're using a vitamix, you'll probably need to the use the tamper a few times, and don't be afraid to let the blender rest - blend for a few seconds, rest, blend & continue}. At first it'll just look like crumbly hazelnuts. Then all of a sudden you will find amazingly creamy hazelnut butter. High-five yourself.
  5. Stir in the cocoa powder and salt. Blend again for a few minutes. You may need to use the tamper or a spoon to get it going.
  6. Add the oil and vanilla. Blend.
  7. Add the almond milk slowly, staring with 1/3 cup. Blend. Add more if you so desire. I ending up using 2/3 cup + 1 TBSP almond milk for my desired texture (it was smooth and perfect, btw).
  8. Now do everything you can to actually get the nutella into jars, and away from your mouth - you probably want to check a mirror before answering the door, because if you're anything like me, well...you'll have chocolate alllllll over your face. You're glorious though. Always remember that.

And while the recipe possibilities are endless now that I have vegan nutella in my pantry...for now, I've kept it simple :)

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Ask yourself if there is anyone in your life worth giving some of this away to. Either way, it's a win win ;)

<3 <3 <3 Happy MacroTreat Friday friends.

MacroTreat Fridays: Vegan Chocolate Chip & Pecan Oatmeal Cookies

Yes.

MacroTreat Fridays.

It's now a thing. Expect to see more treats, on more Fridays, so you can end your week & start your weekend with something a little extra sweet.

I decided to go for a classic on this first MacroTreat Friday: the cookie. Really, I mean it didn't take too much thinking, as Fridays + cookies = a fast-track to happiness. Macrobiotic cookies = an even faster track.

chocolate chip pecan cookies 11-4.jpg

These cookies are more like regular cookies than some of my other recipes, as they use maple sugar in place of maple syrup, and also use flour, not just rolled oats, which gives them a more familiar texture. These cookies are full of chocolate chips, which makes them a pretty decadent treat when paired with the pecans. That being said, they also aren't just like regular cookies, as they don't have eggs, dairy, white sugar (depending on the chocolate chips you use), or white flour in them. So, this means that they are definitely Macrobiotic friendly, just a tad more on the more treaty-side. Give them a try; you won't regret it.

Macrobiotic Friendly Chocolate Chip & Pecan Oatmeal Cookies

chocolate chip pecan cookies 21-1.jpg

Vegan, whole-grain, chocolate chip & pecan oatmeal cookies.
The secret ingredient in these guys is pumpkin, used to replace most of the oil, but without giving any pumpkin taste. Pretty tricky.

This recipe makes a lot, about 45 cookies (1.5" diameter).

Feel free to play with halving it, or simply enjoy giving some away to friends or stocking up your freezer for those "I.need.a.cookie.now" moments. I made the whole batch because I wanted to use a whole can of pumpkin.

Ingredients

  • 398 ml. can of pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil (other veggie oil should work as well)
  • 2/3 cup maple sugar or other granulated sweetener of choice
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla
  • 4 cups rolled oat flakes
  • 2 cups flour of choice (I've tried these with whole oat flour, and sprouted spelt flour - both successful, but I prefer the texture when using the sprouted spelt)
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 4 TBSP ground flaxseed
  • 1 & 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips (or carob chips, or dark chocolate chunks, or grain-sweetened choc. chips or raisins or something else fun)
  • 2/3 cup pecans (break them up into tiny pieces)
  • ~1 cup milk of choice (I used unsweetened almond)
chocolate chip pecan cookies 1.jpg

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Mix the first 4 ingredients together in a bowl, with a mixer, until nicely combined.
  3. In another bowl, mix oats, flour, salt, flax, baking powder & soda. Make sure it's combined well so as not get pockets of baking soda/powder :)
  4. Add dry to wet slowly, mixing with a spoon at first, and then the mixer.
  5. IF it looks way too dry to you, begin slowly mixing in some almond milk. I ended up adding in 1 cup total, when using the sprouted whole spelt flour.
  6. Mix in the chocolate chips & pecan pieces.
  7. Prepare cookie sheets with parchment paper. Optional step here is letting the dough chill for 30 mins in the fridge first. This can make your cookies rise a bit more. I skipped this step and they still turned out great.
  8. Using hands, roll dough into balls, and place on the cookie sheet. Then flatten slightly with your hand or a fork.
  9. Bake for 12-17 minutes, depending on the size of your cookies and your oven. I prefer these baked a bit longer, as the pumpkin makes them quite moist, so I baked them all for at least 15 mins. Look to see that they are nice and brown on the bottoms.
  10. Let cool, and devour. They will firm up as they will cool.
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NOTES:

  • The texture will vary depending on what kind of flour you use (duh). I really enjoyed the whole sprouted spelt flour.
  • These become more cookie-texture and less cakey, as they cool and set up.
  • These cookies are very very modifiable - I have played around with no leaveners at all (still worked!), and I've also tried using a bit more than the above amounts, all with success. You can try swapping the flour to oats ratio, and play around there too, and with swapping the pecans for other nuts/seeds.
  • Feel free to spice these guys up. I usually throw ceylon cinnamon in, but simply forgot this time.
  • I would imagine you could substitute the coconut oil with a nut butter, and of course you can substitute it with another vegetable oil like sesame or olive oil.
  • I tried freezing these, and they froze pretty well - because they are a bit lower-oil, they won't freeze as well as full-on regular cookies.
  • To make sure these cookies do not get soft when stored, keep them in a glass container, or a tin. I actually just left mine out on the counter uncovered, and they seemed to do just fine. Storing them in a plastic bag is fine, but be warned, they may lose a bit of their cookie texture.
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Ok friends. Enjoy a cookie, with a cup of tea, and high-five for yourself for making it to the weekend.

Have a good one.

xo Jess

Snack attack.

Fell in love with these beauties the other day:

Dark chocolate baking discs filled with: 
Artisana's Cashini butter (cashew + tahini).
Best kind of sandwich, if you ask me!
What have you been snacking on lately?

It happened again.

Ok. maybe I have just been eating cake.
Dark Chocolate Hazelnut Rice Cooker Cake
Vegan & Wholegrain & lightly sweetened with stevia
Dry
1.5 cups flour (I ground up 1 cup rolled oats and 1/2 cup raw buckwheat groats)
1/4 cup + 1 T cocoa powder
1/4 t baking soda
20 grams chopped hazelnuts
20 grams chopped 70% or higher chocolate, or use chocolate chips
~1.5 t stevia powder (or to taste...I'd use a bit less next time)
cinnamon
cayenne pepper
Wet
400g tofu (I use the type that isn't in water... I think it's like silken back home?)
2 t  olive oil
1/4 c. pumpkin soup (this one I bought...turns out it has some sugar added and I didn't like it as soup)- 
         pumpkin puree would be great too...or any other puree.
~1/2 cup almond milk
Mix dry.

Blend Wet.
Mix together.

Line rice cooker with parchment paper.
Cook in the rice cooker for about 40-50 minutes. You don't want it to be dry.
It will firm up a bit when it cools.
If you divide into 8 pieces, each piece clocks in around ~170 cals.
Did I mention that the chocolate gets all melty?


Success.

I'm sure you knew that...

I wouldn't only make one cake, after my last one was so delicious, right!?
Well, I think I have a bee in my baking bonnet, because I feel liked a deranged cake beast...
Who ever knew that my rice cooker would become SO useful... hahaha ;)
(Just kidding. I make brown rice in it EVERYDAY, amongst other things).
So yep, onto the new cake.
This was my rice cooker version of the lovely  Carrie's Tofu Brownies
Dark Chocolate Coconut Cake 
It's vegan, wholegrain, and very dark and delicious.
Dry
1 cup of ground up rolled oats
0.5 cups of ground up buckwheat groats
3/4 t baking soda
1/4 c shredded coconut
1 t cinnamon
pinch of cayenne
Wet
400g silken like tofu
~20 stevia drops
2 teaspoons olive oil
~1/2 cup almond milk
Mix dry. Blend wet. Add wet to dry.

Pop in the parchment paper lined rice cooker.
I cooked mine for 40 minutes, then 20 minutes more. 
I think next time I would do it for a bit less....so maybe 50 minutes overall?
Try not to eat it while it cools.

Devour.
I did
In typical dainty pig fashion:
Crumbled up in a bowl of almond milk topped with frozen raspberries!
What's your favourite way to eat cake?
I love berries....so berries on any cake pretty much make it better.

Do you like chocolate cake?
Like I said before, I'm not much of a cake girl...but as it is currently my only 
baking option, I'm learning to appreciate them.

A (not so) sweet treat.

When I first discovered chocolate covered cocoa nibs, I was sure I had finally found the peak chocolate experience. I like dark chocolate, not so sweet, but rich. The nibs on their own are good. But throw a bit of dark chocolate on top, and it smooths everything out. I used all my restraint, and made it through the little tin. A few weeks later, I went back to my cute little local chocolate shop back home in Canada, and they were all out of the nibs. Tears were shed, I tell you.

But, after wiping my eyes, I realized that they had dark chocolate covered whole cocoa beans. The beans were so fresh, with a light coating of smooth dark chocolate, and then rolled in some of the best cocoa powder I have ever tasted. At that moment I knew, the search for my favourite chocolate treat was over.

Now, what's a girl to do when the cost of shipping these beans to my door in Japan costs well more than I am willing to pay?
You realize, you can make your own
5 minute dark chocolate covered cocoa beans

First of all, you have to discover a bag of cocoa beans sitting in your cupboard.


( bought from iherb here )
In a moment of inspiration melt a bar of lindt 85% (not my fav, but it's what I had) using a double boiler (or be classy like me and throw a stainless steel bowl on top of a regular saucepan).
Add in 1-3 tsp of coconut oil, depending on how thick you want the coating.
Once everything is mixed in, dump in a whole bunch of the beans. Stir around until evenly coated. Then using your fingers (like me... but of course, if you have tongs, go for it), drop the beans into some cocoa powder. Roll them around, then place on wax paper.
I put them in the freezer to harden up a bit.
Then I stored them in the fridge and enjoyed all week.

Oh, and if you have leftover melted chocolate like I did, you can make Angela's amazing chocolate covered raisins. I just threw some raisins in the leftover chocolate, and was not disappointed.
Have you tried cocoa nibs or beans? Favourite ways to eat them?