Happy President’s Day – Cocoa Almond Coconut Granola

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Happy President’s Day!! I have always enjoyed learning about our presidents and especially in the food arena.  I don’t think there is anything that ties us all together more than food.  Sure, the President puts his pants on one leg at a time, but does he enjoy a juicy bacon cheeseburger and a milkshake?  Does he crave fried chicken and biscuits?  Perhaps a piece of chocolate cake is more up his ally? In doing a bit of research in the spirit of President’s Day, I learned more about past President’s food preferences.

A lot of them preferred simple meals, over and over.  Many were very influenced by where they grew up: Kennedy loved New England clam chowder, Bush Sr. and Jr. enjoyed tex-mex and spicy food and Carter requested grits and biscuits. Many presidents also liked a strong cup of coffee, a request I make daily.  Some Presidents had less appealing cravings, for example James Garfield’s favorite was “squirrel soup.”

Old George Washington like nuts and ordered them by the barrelful and several other Presidents preferred to snack on nuts as well.  I think they would enjoy this granola.   A bit sweet, a bit salty, chocolaty and totally snackable, with protein packed almonds scattered throughout, it’s easy to munch on this granola and tide oneself over to the next meal.

I experimented a little with the fat in this recipe and used coconut oil instead of vegetable oil and it turned out quite well.   Supposedly, this stuff lasts a few weeks but I have never had it last that long in my house.  Happy Snacking!!

Print Recipe

Cocoa Almond Coconut Granola

Source: http://joythebaker.com

Course: Breakfast

Ingredients

  • 4 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1 cup raw whole almonds
  • 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Place racks in the center and upper third of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, toss together oats, almonds, coconut, cinnamon, cocoa powder and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a medium saucepan combine sugar, honey, oil and butter. Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves and mixture begins to bubble. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
  4. Pour the warm sugar mixture over the oat mixture and toss with a wooden spoon. Toss until all of the oats and almond bits are at least moistened by the sugar mixture. Spoon mixture onto prepared baking sheets and place in the oven.
  5. Bake granola for 30 minutes, removing from the oven to toss and stir 2 to 3 times during baking. Granola is done when it is toasted around the edges and fragrant.
  6. Remove from the oven and cool completely. Store in an airtight container, at room temperature, for up to 2 weeks.

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Dairy-Free Chocolate Coconut Ice-Cream

What up, ya’ll?!  Are you gearing up for the holiday weekend?  I lament the end of summer.  It is my favorite season.  Why?  It’s my birthday (yep, I’m a Leo, hence why I have a blog and need lots of attention, Look at MEEEEE!).   As a person who commonly has blue fingertips, the summer provides me with much needed Vitamin D and sunshine so I can defrost my cold little body.  Also, my favorite holiday, the Fourth of July occurs,  and provides an amazing excuse to grill, go to the pool and watch explosives in the sky.  Also, summer gives us amazing fresh produce, sundresses, wedges, white jeans and beach trips.  Oh, I could go on and on.

Follow me on Instagram at @jessicaisbaking !

So, my Momma gave me an ice cream maker* for Christmas and I was sort of scared of it.  My fear was that once I started making ice-cream in it, I wouldn’t be able to stop and I would be eating ice-cream for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Hmm, now that I put that into words, that isn’t a problem at all.  However, the practical part of me knows that much dairy can be a lot to handle.  However, the best thing about the ice-cream maker is, like most other home-made foods, I can put exactly what I want to put into it!   Insert solution: coconut milk.  Coconut milk is a miracle.  Unless you don’t like coconut, something of which I have no concept.  Anyway, while this is no health food, it is a great way to have ice cream without the dairy.

This ice-cream is amazingly creamy and super chocolaty.  The quality of cocoa definitely matters.  My current favorite is King Arthur’s Deep Dark Cocoa*.   Also, it is highly important that you use full fat coconut milk as that is crucial for flavor and I’m guessing something sciencey.

Chocolate Coconut Ice-Cream
adapted from Food & Wine

3 cups coconut milk (full fat!)
3 tablespoons agave syrup
1 1/4 cups sugar
2/3 cup cocoa
3 large egg yolks
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1.  In a large saucepan, whisk the coconut milk and agave syrup over moderately low heat until warm.

2.  In a medium heatproof bowl, whisk the sugar and cocoa powder. Gradually whisk in 1 cup of the warm coconut milk until smooth, then whisk in the egg yolks.

3.  Scrape the cocoa paste into the saucepan and whisk until blended. Cook the custard over moderate heat, whisking constantly, for about 6 minutes, until very hot and slightly thickened; do not let it boil.

4.  Immediately strain the custard into a bowl in an ice water bath and stir in the vanilla. Stir the custard until cooled a bit and then put in the refrigerator to chill completely.

5.  Freeze the custard in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturers’ directions. Transfer the ice cream to a large plastic container and freeze until firm, at least 4 hours or enjoy as soft serve right away with a sprinkling of unsweetened shredded coconut, if you please!

Enjoy and Happy Labor Day.  Enjoy the fruits of all of your labors!

*King Arthur, Amazon and Cuisinart have no idea who I am and did not compensate me in any way, they just make stuff I like to buy.

Martha Stewart Cupcake Calendar: Devil’s Food Cupcakes

I tried to refrain from saying it but I can’t help it.  It’s April.  Whaaaaat?!!  April, for me, means doing a ton of work because finals are the first week of May.  I wouldn’t say I am a stress-eater per se, but I am never going to turn down an chocolatey treat.  These cupcakes hit the spot.  So far, three months into my Cupcake Calendar project, these are the best.  (Sure, I am a chocoholic, so I am biased.)

I cannot stress how important a quality ingredient like the King Arthur’s deep dark cocoa is going to impact a dish you make.  Everyone says it, but it is absolutely key.*  Once again, I halved the recipe, which was perfect for us.  Watch the cooking time, I could have probably taken them out of the oven a minute earlier, don’t make my mistake!!  The ganache was tricky.  I have never found that to be the case but Martha always knows how to make things complicated.  It ended up working out and after frosting the cupcakes, I couldn’t stop taking spoonfuls of the ganache.  Creamy, chocolaty and a wonderful consistency, almost like mousse.

Devil’s Food Cupcakes
adapted from Martha Stewart
makes 11-16

Cupcakes
Ingredients
6 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
6 tablespoons hot water
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 + 1/8 teaspoons coarse salt
3/4 cups unsalted butter
1 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup sour cream, room temperature

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Whisk together cocoa and hot water until smooth. In another bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  2. Melt butter with sugar in a saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring to combine. Remove from heat, and pour into a mixing bowl. With an electric mixer on medium-low speed, beat until mixture is cooled, 4 to 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Add vanilla, then cocoa mixture, and beat until combined. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in two batches, alternating with the sour cream, and beating until just combined after each.
  3. Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three- quarters full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool 15 minutes; turn out cupcakes onto racks and let cool completely. Cupcakes can be stored overnight at room temperature, or frozen up to 2 months, in airtight containers.

Chocolate Ganache
Ingredients
1/2 pound good-quality bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 1/6 cups heavy cream
1/8 cup corn syrup

Directions
  1. Place chocolate in a large heatproof bowl. Bring cream and corn syrup just to a simmer over medium-high heat; pour mixture over chocolate. Let stand, without stirring, until chocolate begins to melt.
  2. Beginning near the center and working outward, stir melted chocolate into cream until mixture is combined and smooth (do not overstir).
  3. Refrigerate, stirring every 5 minutes [sometimes I let it go 10 minutes, this takes longer than this recipe implies], until frosting just barely begins to hold its shape and is slightly lighter in color. Use immediately (ganache will continue to thicken after you stop stirring).

*King Arthur’s doesn’t know who I am, they just sell some great quality ingredients and I buy them!

Chocolatey Chocolate Caramel Cookies

Hey!  It’s me here!  Sorry for the no talky lately.  I have been busy with a paper, new job and some entertaining on top of that!  I feel lucky to be busy with what I have.  It means life is going pretty well.  Unfortunately, I am also battling a leeeeetle sinus infection so what happens when one’s face hurts?  Make cookies!!

I had been craving cookies for a while so I am glad I finally got to my oven.  I have had several bags of Kraft Caramel Bits squirreled away from Christmas baking and they were calling to me.  I wanted to make a caramelly cookie with them.   I also had a bar of chocolate leftover from Christmas that I chopped into chunks to add into these gems.  I used my Deep Dark Cocoa from King Arthur’s which in hindsight, probably overpowered the caramels but these hit the spot anyway.  I think my sinus infection is dissipating!

Chocolatey Chocolate Caramel Cookies
Adapted from Rookie Cookie

Ingredients
2 cups flour
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup caramel bits
1 1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chunks

Directions
Set oven to 350°F.
Stir together flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Set aside. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter, sugar. Add eggs and vanilla until fluffy. Gradually add flour mixture, beating well. Stir in caramel bits and chocolate chunks. Drop by rounded tablespoons onto parchment lined cookie sheets.