Two Hikers on Horseback - Chocolate Amaranth Bars (vegan & paleo)

What are they like?

-deliciously chewy

-packed with cocoa, cinnamon, and pecans

This photo is a picture of traditional Alegria. The recipe below includes cocoa and pecans.

This photo is a picture of traditional Alegria. The recipe below includes cocoa and pecans.

 

Recipe

These bars are are 5-ingredient, vegan, paleo, dairy free, and of course gluten free. They are a variation on the Mexican candy Alegria which calls for popped amaranth. It can be made with different spices, nuts or seeds. It is also generally made with honey and sugar, but the coconut nectar pairs nicely with the chocolate.

Make ahead, 5-ingredient, Paleo, Vegan, Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Nut free, Stove-top, No-bake

2/3 cup amaranth (see note)
1/3 cup chopped pecans (or substitute 1/4 cup sesame seeds for nut free)
1/2 tsp cinnamon (optional)
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 cup coconut nectar or honey*
1 1/2 tbsp cocoa powder

Directions:

  1. Heat a large, deep pot over medium heat until it is quite hot, for about one and a half minutes. Sprinkle one tablespoon of amaranth into the pan and place the lid on the pan. Remove the pan from the heat and swirl every few seconds to keep the amaranth from burning. You will hear the amaranth popping. Once the popping slows down, pour the amaranth into a medium bowl and repeat the process until you have 1 cup of amaranth. Not all of the amaranth will pop and that is okay.

  2. Stir the cinnamon into the amaranth.

  3. Add the coconut nectar (or honey) to a microwavable measuring cup. Heat for about twenty seconds until it is warm. Whisk in the cocoa powder and salt.

  4. Pour the mixture over the amaranth and stir to combine. Stir in the pecans.

  5. Spoon the mixture onto a 12x12 piece of parchment paper or reusable wax cloth. Using your hands and the parchment paper, press the mixture into a square shape about 1/2-inch thick. Allow it to rest two hour to one day. The longer you let the bars rest the better they will hold together. The bars can be stored in a sealed container for about three days.

Notes:
If you’ve never popped amaranth, you may want to have two bowls. The first time I made it, I burned a tablespoon or two and you can pour the burned batch into a separate bowl. You will most likely end up using about 1/2 cup of the amaranth to make 1 cup of popped amaranth.

If you serve these bars an hour after they are made they won’t hold their shape. If you need them to be ready to serve within an hour substitute 1/4 cup sugar for 1/4 cup of the honey. Heat the honey and the sugar in a small sauce pan to 250F/120C before adding the cocoa and pouring over the amaranth.

*Honey is not vegan

Lavender Oat Cookies (Vegan)

What are they like?

-delicate lavender aroma (optional)

-crunchy

-packed with whole grains

Depositphotos_83409202_l-2015.jpg
 

Recipe

These are deliciously crunchy and can be flavored with your favorite extract. They are also not too sweet and packed with whole grains.

Makes about 14 cookies, prep 10 min, cook time ~12 min with two trays

1 1/2 cups whole oats or oat flour, 167g
3/4 cup teff flour, 140g
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup sugar, 92g
1/3 cup rice milk, 82g
1/2 cup olive oil, 95g
1/2 tsp lavender extract, or to taste (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375F/190C.  

  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, salt, baking powder, and sugar. Stir in the oil. Then add the rice milk and extract and stir until incorporated. The dough will be fairly wet. 

  3. Roll into 1 1/2 tablespoon sized rounds. Place two inches apart on a cookie sheet. Flatten the cookies with your fingers or a spatula to desired thickness (about 1/3 inch or 1/2 cm).

  4. Bake for about 10-12 minutes, until the cookies start to brown on the outside and bottom. (Oven temperatures vary so watch them closely.) 

  5. Allow the cookies to cool completely and then store in an airtight container. These cookies are also excellent dipped in chocolate. 

Notes:

If you like, you can substitute another flavor of extract. 

Fluffy Blueberry-Lemon Pancakes - with Buckwheat (Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Vegan, Paleo)

What are they like?

-rich lemony aroma

-fluffy and full of blueberries

-filled with nutrient-dense buckwheat flour

The Best Lemon Blueberry Pancakes Gluten Free Dairy Free vegan paleo
 

Recipe

These pancakes are my favorite. The lemon and blueberry marry so well together that, like me, they may become your go-to pancake. The deeply nutty and aromatic qualities of buckwheat are as satisfying as they are healthy, offering ample nutrients compared to refined grains. Dig in and enjoy!

Makes 12 pancakes, prep 10 min, cook time ~12 min

dry
1 1/3 cups buckwheat flour, 179g
2 1/2 tbsp (30g) brown sugar (substitute maple syrup or date sugar for Paleo)
1/2 tsp cinnamon (optional)
1 tsp baking powder (substitute baking soda for Paleo)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp psyllium husk powder (omit if Paleo)
1/4 tsp salt

Scant 2/3 cup blueberries, 60g, frozen or fresh

wet
2 tbsp olive oil, 26g
1 1/2 (375g/375ml) cups nondairy milk (can use Paleo nondairy milk if you’re Paleo)
1/4 (60g) cup lemon juice, plus zest (about 2 lemons)

Directions:

  1. Place two large skillets on the stove, so they are ready to use when needed (you can use one but I always prefer to cook pancakes with two skillets (see note). It makes it go more quickly and keeps them fluffier.

  2. In a large bowl whisk together the dry ingredients, except for the blueberries. Place the blueberries in a measuring cup and, if using frozen blueberries, sprinkle 2 tsp of the flour mixture over the berries. Jostle the blueberries to fully coat them.

  3. Whisk together the wet ingredients (the nondairy milk, olive oil, and lemon juice) and using a spoon stir it into the dry ingredients. Once the flour is almost mixed in, add the blueberries, and stir just until the flour is all mixed in.

  4. Turn the burners to medium and allow them to heat up for 1 minute before adding a teaspoon of oil to coat each pan. Place mounds of pancake mix into each pan and allow to cook until air bubbles start to pop and the edge starts to look cooked. Turn the burner down a little if necessary. Then flip the pancakes and cook for about 2-3 minutes until done.

These pancakes make excellent leftovers. Enjoy them with nut butter and maple syrup, sliced fruit, or plain.

Notes:

I prefer to turn the burners on right before I add the wet ingredients. This way the pans have 1 minute to heat up before the pancakes are mixed together and ready to cook. When the mixture spends time sitting in the bowl, especially for the paleo version, the baking soda reacts with the acid from the lemon juice causing air bubbles. You want this reaction to happen while they are cooking in the pan! This is another reason to use two pans, it keeps the pancakes fluffier because they spend less time sitting in the bowl.

Rich Walnut Almond Cake

What is it like?

-roasted almonds and walnuts

-a rich crumb

-delicately spicy

walnut almond cake gluten free dairy free recipe
 

Recipe

This recipe was adapted to be gluten free and dairy free from David Leite’s recipe “Russians” Nut Cake from The New Portuguese Table. It’s deliciously moist and has that unmissable aroma of roasted almonds and walnuts. It’s simple to make and stays fresh for several days. It’s a go-to in my home. See note for Paleo.

dry
1/3 cup blanched almond flour, 43g
2/3 cup ground walnuts*, 85g OR grind 1 cup (100g) walnuts with 1 tbsp (23g) flour mix)
1/4 cup flour mix, 31g (OR cassava flour for Paleo)
1 tsp baking powder, 5g
1 tsp (3g) psyllium husk powder or xanthan gum (omit if Paleo)
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground coffee, optional

wet
1/4 cup plus 1 tbsp sugar, 63g (OR date sugar for Paleo)
1/4 cup (47g) olive oil (or preferred oil) OR 5 tbsp butter
3 large eggs
1 tbsp water, 12g

Buttercream
1 cup (225g) butter, at room temperature (or use 3/4 cup Earth Balance for dairy free)
2 3/4 (343g) cups powdered sugar, or to taste
dash of salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F/180C. Grease an 8x8 baking dish.

  2. Grind 1 cup walnuts with 1 tbsp flour mix in the food processor. It’s fine if there are some stray walnut pieces left over as long as most of it is a flour. The walnut pieces are an excellent addition to the cake.

  3. In a large bowl whisk together the dry ingredients.

  4. In a medium bowl whisk together the wet ingredients.

  5. Add the flour mixture to the wet mixture and whisk just until most of the lumps are gone. Pour the batter into your baking dish and bake for about 20 minutes or just until the middle springs back when pressed. Allow to cool completely before frosting.

  6. While the cake bakes, prepare the buttercream. Stir together the powdered sugar and butter. If your powdered sugar has lumps you may want to sift it first. If you like your frosting light, you can use a mixture to whip it on high for a few minutes.

  7. Frost a cake to a thickness you desire. Left over frosting can be frozen for several months.

  8. If you like you can get creative with the frosting. I chose to cut this cake into small squares and then piped a rosette onto each square.

  9. This cake will stay moist and fresh for three days if kept in the fridge.

    Note: If your food processor is large, I recommend grinding twice the amount of walnuts so that they grind finely. The ground walnuts that you don’t need can be frozen and used for another purpose. Or in may case, for another one of these cakes!

The Best Molasses Cookies

What are they like?

-crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside

-warm molasses-spice flavor

the best dairy free gluten free molasses cookies
 

Recipe

These cookies are an adapted version of the molasses cookies from The New Portuguese Table by David Leite. I could say more, but I think I will sum it up this way: they are awesome. They are crips on the outside and chewy on the inside.

dry
2 cup flour mix, 260g
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cloves
1/8 tsp fennel
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp fine sea salt

wet
3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp oil, such as olive or canola, 165g
1 cup sugar, 200g
1/4 cup molasses, 70g
1 large egg, 52g

2/3 cup walnut pieces  

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F/175°C. In a large bowl whisk together the dry ingredients. 

  2. In another large bowl whisk together the oil, molasses and sugar. Then whisk in the egg. 

  3. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix together just until most of the flour is incorporated. Then stir in the walnut piece. Do not over-stir. 

  4. Form balls that are about two tablespoons of dough and place on a cookie sheet three inches apart so they have room to spread. Bake for about 12 minutes, or just until the cookies begin to brown on the edges. This dough is dark so look carefully! 

    Enjoy!