Frozen Strawberries and Chocolate Delight!

Summer is the best time for enjoying ice cream bars. Aldi’s may be the best place to buy them! I got a four pack of strawberry ice cream bars there last week. They are fruity, creamy and covered with dark chocolate; a triple play of yumminess! Two are gone…the other two will be devoured soon enough. They also come in coconut; not tried it yet; soon….

strrawberry fruit bar

Nutritional report: only 180 calories; not bad for a sweet treat. 18 grams sugar; not quite so good and 20 of sodium; minimal. A few grams of fat. Overall; for a somewhat processed ice cream bar: pretty okay on the nutritional scale of things.

On the flavor scale; about a 9.5; darn yummy. About $3 for four of them; darn cheap. Hardest part is planning so I am able to go right home from Aldi’s before these beauties melt even a tiny bit in the insulated bag they are packed in for travel. Go gettem!

Chocolate Chip Banana Nut Muffins

I love trying new versions of things; a few years ago I cam up with this magical idea: I combined my chocolate chip muffins with my classic banana nut muffins.  Muffin heaven is here and I baked this afternoon so there are a couple in my muffin jar for snacks!  The rest go in the freezer to stay fresh for a sweet chocolatety banana muffin treat.

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They are perfect in texture, moisture and totally yummy. I put a streusel topping on them but a good measure of it fell off; do try to press it in firmly, I guess I wasn’t firm enough!  They are good even without the streusel topping if you like less on top, could instead sprinkle with chunky sugar for a nice finished appearance.  And if you only have one kind of chocolate chips I am sure they will still be fantastic. I just loved the contrast of big dark chips with small semi-sweet ones.

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Chocolate Chip Banana Nut Muffins

2 cups brown rice flour mix (see below)

2/3 c granulated sugar or coconut palm sugar

1 tbsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

¾ tsp xanthan gum

¼ tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

3/4 c packed ripe mashed banana

½ c coarsely chopped walnuts

¼ cup mini chocolate chips

¼ cup dark chocolate chips

2 lg eggs beaten

½ c milk plus 2 tbsp extra if you use coconut sugar, 1 or 2 percent

½ c canola oil

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Topping

½ cup oats

¼ cup brown sugar

2 tbsp. almond flour

½ tsp. cinnamon

2 tbsp. butter

Mix topping dry ingredients, rub butter in with your fingertips.

Or just use 1/3-1/2 cup gf oats sprinkled on top; this lower calorie topping is my go to these days.

 

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Muffin directions:

Heat oven to 350 degrees, placing the rack in middle of oven.  Spray muffin pans with cooking spray.  One batch makes about 16 or 17 muffins.

Mix all dry ingredients in bowl of stand mixer or big bowl.

Add bananas and walnuts; stir to coat them with dry mix, then add the chocolate and stir briefly.

Combine milk and oil.  Add liquids and the two eggs to bowl. Stir on low until well blended.

Fill muffin pans 2/3 full.  Sprinkle with topping and press in carefully if you do the streusal. Bake 20-24 min until golden brown. Do not overbake or they get dry.  Remove from oven and let cool 2-3 min before gently turning them out from the pans to cool on a rack. I use a butter knife to release them by running it around the edge once before tipping them out. They freeze well for up to 3 weeks.  They keep in my ceramic muffin/cookie jar for a few days. muffins 001

Brown Rice Flour Mix *same as King Arthur’s GF flour blend
2 c brown rice flour

2/3 c potato starch

1/3 c tapioca flour

Note: This muffin recipe is my version of the muffins from Annalise Roberts’s wonderful cookbook: Gluten Free Baking Classics.

Post originally put up by me in 2015, minor changes to text.

Chocolate Cloud Pie…Oh My!

 

I have a fantastic cookbook, all pies, nothing else. By Farm Journal, published in 1981 but it has the vibe of the 1950’s. Lots of interesting combo fruit pies and chiffon pies like you never heard of. I found this recipe for a chocolate rum pie. The pre-made cookie crust could sub in for a traditional pie crust which the recipe called for. I had all the ingredients except the crust ….but I thought it sounded tasty and worth a trip to the grocery store for the crust cookies, gluten free of course!

chocolate pudding

It was not hard to make either. I threw it together in three easy steps. It was one of those recipes where the sum of the ingredients is far tastier than the components would lead one to believe. Everyone devoured their slice. People took slices home. My mom was eager to keep a second slice….for tomorrow. This enthusiastic audience caused me to mention it on facebook. I got all these likes and a few hungry comments. The buzz of happy responses led me to decide to share my version of chocolate rum pie. I have renamed it Chocolate Almond Cloud Pie. That was four years ago….

The name came from the fact that it is as light as a fluffy cloud and from my love for my older sister who died five years ago. Margie’s love of pie was renown in our family and I am absolutely sure she would have adored this pie. Whip some up this week and woo your family with chocolaty goodness that should please everyone. choco cloud pie slice (2)

Notes: I used french brandy instead of rum as I was out of dark rum. I think cognac would be nice too. .I used 3/4 cup almonds as that’s all I had; worked great; I put 2 Tbsp. aside for topping and rest went on top of the baked cookie crust. You can just buy a crust.

I posted this back in the spring of 2014 and hadn’t made it since; a matter of just forgetting how amazing it tastes.  Like eating a chocolate cloud….with puffs of cream and the crunch of toasted almonds. I used a hybrid crust when I made it yesterday; I was tired of my gf oreos; so I scraped out and discarded the filling and crunched up the cookies, I thought I was a bit short on cookies so I added 7-8 gingersnaps I still had from my last cookie crust. Crunched up and mixed with butter, baked into what became a flavor delight of a cookie crust! One of the best pies I have ever made. And I make a lot of pies….

 

Chocolate Almond Cloud Pie

Ingredients
1 pre-made chocolate cookie crumb crust, GF
1 pkg chocolate pudding, the kind you have to cook
2 cups whole milk
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 tbsp cocoa

1 tbsp dark rum
1 cup slivered almonds, divided
1 1/3 cup heavy cream, divided

4 Tbsp. powdered sugar

Pour the almonds into a frying pan, no oil and toast them, stirring constantly. Alternately you could do this in the oven at a low temperature but I prefer the frying pan. Stop when they are medium brown, try not to let too many get black on the sides.

Cook the filling; put 2 cups whole milk into a medium sized and heavy sauce pan, Then add the dry pudding mix, the corn starch and the cocoa. Stir with a whisk as it heats. Once the mixture is bubbling all over the surface turn off the heat and add the rum. Pour into a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and chill until cooled. Take ½ cup heavy cream and whip. Add this to the pudding and whisk until blended. Take 3 tbsp of almonds and set aside for garnishing the pie later. Sprinkle the rest of the toasted almonds over the chocolate pie crust Gently spoon the filling into the pie shell on top of the toasted almonds. Chill at least 2 hours until set and cold. Whip the rest of the heavy cream in a chilled bowl, adding the sugar near the end of the whipping. Gently put dollops of it all over the pie top. Sprinkle the reserved almonds on top. Enjoy!

choc cloud pie

Originally posted March 2014. No changes to recipe.

Chocolate Egg Cream – Thirst Quencher

Sometimes I want something chocolaty but I don’t want a brownie, chocolate pudding or ice cream or even a chocolate bar.  I am simply thirsty.  Hot days like today make a cool tall drink a life saver.  Those are the times I reach for my bottle of U-bet Chocolate Syrup.  Lickity split I can make an old school drink that is low sugar, low fat and thirst quenching; the venerable chocolate egg cream.  Funny thing is, there is no egg in it and often no cream.  I sometimes do use half and half but you can make this with any sort of milk you like, even one or two percent.  I do discourage the use of skim or non fat milk, at least a little richness is required. My favorite is whole milk.

The chocolate egg cream is allegedly from Brooklyn, NYC.  The New York Egg Cream is a variation of the milkshake popular back from the 1880s which had an egg beaten in it.  This version I have replicated became popular partially because it was cheaper for soda fountains to make because it had no egg.  I am not a big fan of raw eggs in my drinks so I am happy indeed that this “modern” version is sans egg!

I have been making it for years, one of my sisters taught me how.

This is such a simple recipe; get a tall glass, pour in ½ inch depth of some sort of milk, your choice of richness squirt about 1-2 tsp. of chocolate syrup on top, I used to use Hershey’s until I discovered U-Bet syrup which I think has a superior flavor.

 ubet syrupI never measure; just enough to flavor the milk, maybe two tsp.?  Stir them together well with an ice tea spoon, Add 3-6 ice cubes and fill the glass with well chilled seltzer water. Stir it again. I favor flavored seltzer, the raspberry or cranberry are particularly good for this drink as they add quite a bit of flavor and complexity to this simple little thirst quencher! Recently I tried watermelon seltzer and today, some mango seltzer.  A fresh bottle makes the foamiest egg cream so I recommend you splurge and start with a new bottle for your drink preparation. choco egg cream

Be sure to use a tall glass, it just won’t taste the same in a stubby little one!

So, next time you are longing for a light refreshing soft drink but one with a touch of chocolate, make a chocolate egg cream and smile because it is delicious, has no added sugar and if you use u-bet syrup and one percent milk it is pretty darn low fat!

 

Dark Drizzled Kettle Corn

Aldi’s has something so yummy I am loath to share it with all of you for fear you will buy it all and I will be then crying the blues.  It is their Dark Drizzled Kettle Corn.  Lightly drizzled with dark chocolate, and not that sweet. Perfection in popcorn form. An addictive snack. It combines my deep love for dark chocolate with my frequent enjoyment of kettle corn. A one ounce serving has 140 calories. The label says GF.  It also says limited edition, so get a few bags and tell the staff to tell the boss to keep ordering it and maybe, just maybe Aldi’s will keep it around! kettle-corn-001

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies

Freshly baked chocolate chocolate chip cookies for dessert and snacks.  What is not to like?  Especially if they are gluten free and thus safe for me to eat.  Doublely good if they are totally yummy.  Triple great if they are a simple mix you can stir together in a few minutes and drop onto cookie sheets in ball shapes that spread into perfect round tasty chocolate treats that look like you bought them at a bakery. And: they freeze well, important if you can’t eat them in a couple of days…. Did I say chocolate? And chocolate chips?  I did!

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This picture is actually of cookies I had frozen; I couldn’t find the shot I swore I had taken of them freshly baked; so I was reduced to this pile of cold, yet still yummy, cookies!

Where can you get these delights? Aldi’s of course, and for $4 for the box which made nearly 30 cookies. Good deal.  I bought them about 3 months ago and then made them up for a special birthday party I was going to the other weekend.  It was way too hot to spend hours concocting cookies from scratch.  But I wanted something totally delish for everyone who was there.  And they were.  Simply scrumpers! Some folks could hardly believe they were gluten free.  People seem to have gotten the idea that all gluten free baked goods are mediocre or worse.  I am here to tell you that such is not the case.  In fact, some of my scratch gf versions of classic cookies are actually better gluten free! Like Russian teacakes, aka Mexican wedding cookies.  They are incredible gf.  Don’t get me wrong, there are still a number of cookies I haven’t been able to figure out gf but I will be trying…..

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So if you need a chocolate cookie fix, by all means, bake up a batch of these dark flavorful treats.  No one will believe they are gf but you!

Chocolate Egg Cream, Frothy, Flavorful and Fun

Sometimes I want something chocolaty but I don’t want a brownie, chocolate pudding or ice cream or even a chocolate bar.  I am simply thirsty.  Those are the times I reach for my Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup.  Lickety split I can make an old school drink that is low sugar, low fat and thirst quenching; the venerable chocolate egg cream.  Funny thing is, there is no egg in it and often no cream.  I sometimes do use half and half but you can make this with any sort of milk you like, even one or two percent.  I do discourage the use of skim or non fat milk, at least a little richness is required.

The chocolate egg cream is allegedly from Brooklyn, NYC.  The New York Egg Cream is a variation of the milkshake popular back from the 1880’s which had an egg beaten in it.  The version I have replicated became popular  many decades ago, partially because it was cheaper for soda fountains to make because it had no egg.  I am not a big fan of raw eggs in my drinks so I am happy indeed that this “modern” version is sans egg.  I have been making it for many years, one of my sisters taught me how.

This is such a simple recipe; get a tall glass, squirt about 1-2 tsp. of real Hershey syrup on the bottom, no store brand substitute will do.  I know about other syrups but hey, I am in Pennsylvania so Hershey’s it is!

hersheyI never measure; just enough to cover the bottom.  Then pour in ½ inch depth of some sort of milk, your choice of richness.  Stir them together well with an ice tea spoon.

 choc drink

Add 3-6 ice cubes and fill the glass with well chilled seltzer water. Stir it again. I favor flavored seltzer, the raspberry or cranberry are particularly good for this drink as they add quite a bit of flavor and complexity to this simple little thirst quencher!  A fresh bottle makes the foamiest egg cream so I recommend you splurge and start with a new bottle for your drink preparation.

choco egg cream

Be sure to use a tall glass, it just won’t taste the same in a stubby little one!

So, next time you are longing for a refreshing low sugar soft drink but one with a subtle touch of chocolate, make a chocolate egg cream and smile because it is delicious, has no added sugar and if you use one percent milk it is pretty darn low fat.  Light, refreshing, the egg cream is a wonderful “throw back” drink you can enjoy any day of the week!

PS: I hear U-bets Chocolate Syrup from NY is the bomb in a chocolate egg cream. I have to get some 🙂

Originally posted September 2014 but I know you are thirsty so here it is again!