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.

Super Seedy Crackers

What are they like? 

- Hearty

- Packed with nutrients

- Full of flavor
 

The cracker on the right is a variation of crisp bread with the seeds on top. The recipe below is all seeds!

The cracker on the right is a variation of crisp bread with the seeds on top. The recipe below is all seeds!

 

Recipe

This recipe is adapted from Oh She Glows Everyday by Angela Liddon. In her book they are called “Endurance Crackers”. They are packed with nutrients, flavorful, and calorie dense.

Serves 10, Prep 10 min, baking 30-40 min 

1/4 cup chia seeds, 40g
1/4 cup sunflower seeds, 40g
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds, 30g
1/4 cup sesame seeds, 35g
scant 1/2 cup warm water, 70g
1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt, plus more for sprinkling

optional:
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp chili powder
1 1/2 tbsp honey
1 tbsp lime juice, plus zest of one lime (can substitute lemon)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F/175C.

  2. Mix all of the ingredients together in a large bowl, adding the warm water last. Stir to combine.

  3. Allow the seeds to rest while they absorb the water. Oil three pieces of parchment paper.

  4. When the seeds have absorbed all of the water, divide the mixture between two pieces of parchment paper. Place the third piece of parchment paper oil-side down onto the mixture. Using a rolling pin, roll out the mixture as thin as possible, 1/8-1/4 inch thickness. Repeat with the rest of the mixture.

  5. Slide each of the the rolled out crackers onto a cookie sheet and bake for about 30 minutes. Then using a spatula, carefully flip the crackers and bake for about 20 minutes or until they are golden*. Note that it is easy to burn these crackers so it is better to take them out early and rebake them later if needed. Allow the crackers to cool completely and then break them up into desired sizes. If they are not crunchy, put them back into the oven for a few more minutes. Store in an airtight container for one week.

*At this point, you may want to tear the crackers up into large pieces to help them cook evenly. However, they are hot so be careful.


Buttery Crackers

What are they like? 

- Buttery & Crispy

- Excellent solo, dipped in nut butter, or served with hors d'oeuvre
 

These crackers can be made thin or smaller and thick. If they are thick, you’ll want to cut them out before baking. If you like, you can press seeds or spices into the top of the dough prior to baking.

These crackers can be made thin or smaller and thick. If they are thick, you’ll want to cut them out before baking. If you like, you can press seeds or spices into the top of the dough prior to baking.

 

Recipe

These crackers are delicate, rich, and crispy. I think of them as a fancier cracker but that doesn’t mean they are harder to make than other crackers—quite the opposite. This recipe was adapted from Smitten Kitchen; and their recipe was adapted from King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking cookbook. The glaze is delicious and recommended but they are also good without it. These crackers are delicious solo or served with dips or nut butters.

Serves 4, Prep 10 min, baking 20 min 

3/4 cup flour mix (96g) OR 3/4 cup brown rice flour, plus 1/2 tsp psyllium husk powder or xanthan gum
1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp oat flour, 36g
1 1/2 tbsp sugar, 20g
1/2 sea salt, 3g
1/4 teaspoon paprika
4 tbsp unsalted butter or buttery spread such as Earth Balance, 55g

2 tbsp cold water, 30 ml

Glaze (optional)
1 1/2 tbsp maple syrup, 23g (or other honey/syrup)
1/4 tsp molasses
1/8 tsp fine sea salt
1 tbsp hot water

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350F/ 175C. Place a piece of oiled parchment paper on the back of a cookie sheet. Spray a second piece of parchment paper.

  2. In a medium sized bowl whisk together the dry ingredients: the flour mix, oat flour, paprika, sugar, and salt.

  3. Work the cold butter or vegan spread into the mix using your hands, fork, or a food processor until the mixture resembles cornmeal with some larger pieces of butter.

  4. Start by adding 1 1/2 tbsp (or 20ml) cold water. You may need to add more. Add just enough water until the dough forms a ball when pressed together. You want the dough to form a ball but you don’t want it to be too sticky or too dry and crumbly.

  5. Place the dough on the parchment paper on the back of a cookie sheet. Place the second piece of oiled parchment face down on the dough and using a rolling pin roll the crackers out as thin as possible 1/8-1/4 inch.

  6. Slice the crackers using a knife or pizza cutter. Dock the crackers using a fork. If making the glaze, mix tougher the ingredients in a small bowl and using a pastry brush, brush the liquid onto the dough.

  7. Bake them for about 20 minutes until the edges brown or until they are lightly golden on top. Allow the crackers to cool completely before eating as this will ensure that they are crunchy. If the cooled crackers are not crispy, they can be put back into the oven and baked for additional time.

Once cooled, store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Notes: 
Crackers can easily be undercooked or overcooked so watch them carefully once they start to brown. You want them to be cooked enough to be crisp but not burned. You may need to remove the outer crackers midway through baking if they become too browned.