Easy Hazelnut Chocolate Avocado Mousse

While scarfing down lightly munching on a bag of dark chocolate chunks (the type clearly meant for baking) last night, I decided the chunks just weren't cuttin' it. My chocolate craving was a little more sophisticated than I had previously thought. Grow up, Katie! Fine. So I starting thinking of what I could make myself. Should I bake something? Surely not. I'm impatient as hell! That would take much too long. In addition, I didn't want anything that was going to be too involved, or that was going to make a huge mess. And then, there I was pacing around the kitchen like a crazed addict, when I spotted them...my two ripe-ass avocados staring at me, taunting me.

I don't know what it is about these trickster avocados. They're firm when I buy them at the store, and then four hours later they're practically rotting on my kitchen table! My point being; a dessert that doesn't make a mess, is quick, easy, relatively healthy, made primarily of chocolate and uses up my sad, nearly dead avocados is the perfect sweet treat for a lazy Wednesday night.

Produce on Parade: Easy Hazelnut Chocolate Avocado Mousse

Produce on Parade: Easy Hazelnut Chocolate Avocado Mousse

Easy Hazelnut Chocolate Avocado Mousse

Inspired by Giada de Laurentiis (so you know it's good)

Serves 2 but it's so rich maybe more like 4

  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate chunks or chips
  • ripe avocados
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 Tbsp. honey (or maple syrup, molasses etc.)
  • 2 Tbsp. molasses (or maple syrup, honey, etc.)
  • 1 Tbsp. Hazelnut Kahlua (or other liqueur or maple syrup, honey, etc.)
  • 1/4 tsp. pink Himalayan salt
  • 2 Tbsp. almond milk
  • mint leaves, chopped hazelnuts, and/or berries for garnish (optional)

In a small saucepan, add a little water, only so it rises a few inches along the side. Bring to a boil. Place a small stovetop-safe bowl inside the pot and turn the heat down to low, just enough to keep the water boiling. Add the chocolate chunks and whisk intermittently, erasing any clumps and ensuring it doesn't burn.

Produce on Parade: Easy Hazelnut Chocolate Avocado Mousse

While the chocolate is melting, add the remaining ingredients to a food processor, followed by the melted chocolate. Process until silky smooth.

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Pour into two or four bowls, cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight.

Wasn't that easy? As the mousse chills, it will really firm up. I sincerely recommend allowing it to do so if you can. This mousse is certified super, duper rich and super, duper hardcore badass. It's the cure for PMS, a bad breakup or just a really horrific chocolate craving. And for the record, I'm not oblivious to the irony of a dessert that takes 3 hours to chill, versus a dessert that may have taken only 30 minutes to bake. I never said I personally waited the three hours.

Bananas Foster Oatmeal With A Caramel Date Sauce

We're going to get to this delectableness below in a minute, but first... fosterafter

Guess what I woke up to on Saturday, May 4th? Snow! That's right folks, snow, in May. As in May...June...Omg, snow! I was surprised, but above all, excessively excited. It's a spring miracle! I love snow. Gimmie, gimmie, gimmie.

Produce on Parade: Bananas Foster Oatmeal with Caramel Date Sauce

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Can you spot the Bob?

First, some background into this amazingly awesome oatmeal dish. Being a newly-minted vegan, I had a minor vegan panic attack last Friday. Yes, apparently this is a real thing. I was invited to a brunch on Saturday and I had no idea what to bring. I don't do breakfast food typically (odd I know), it's just really not my thing. I was slightly terrified. Here's why...the last vegan food item I brought to a party (my own damn birthday party I might add), everyone hated. For the record, and just so you know, it was delicious. It was a raw chocolate "cheesecake", made primarily from cashews. It happened to be this exact one. The non-vegans thought it tasted like bread. I know this because they had no issue telling me... repeatedly and without mercy. I, however, thought it was super great. And so it was there, sad and frustrated at my own birthday party, that I realized I had made a mistake.

It seems vegans are always trying to replicate some sort of non-vegan food item. Take for example cheesecake, mac and cheese, sloppy joes, etc. These "mock" vegan recipes can be great, and they can certainly help someone whose transitioning into veganism. Hell, the best mac and cheese I've ever had was vegan! Unfortunately, when these mock recipes are introduced to non-vegans, "Hey, try this vegan mac and cheese, it's great!" they'll taste it and disagree. Now that vegan sloppy joe recipe probably really is great, but not when the taste buds are expecting a traditional sloppy joe...you know...made with ground beef and not lentils. Yet, I saw a silver lining in my somber experience, and I decided then and there that I would never bring a "mock vegan version" of anything to gathering again. So with Saturday looming, I conjured this oatmeal.

I had never made it before and I'll admit I was kind of scared it would be spat upon by all the everybody but you know what happened? Everyone freakin' loved it. There was no dreaded, "Hey, this doesn't taste like regular oatmeal!"

To conclude, I will impart upon you this bit of sage newbie veganist advice. If attending a party be sure bring something that is pretty much, in every aspect, almost inherently vegan. Don't bring something like a cheesecake that (surprise) showcases cheese then be all heartbroken when non-vegans rip your baby apart (seriously, I toiled over that cheesecake). Don't make my mistake. Make this oatmeal. It was a total hit, people seriously raved. I wouldn't lie to you dear reader, I just wouldn't. So, another vegan lesson learned. Thank you for letting me serve you.

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Bananas Foster Oatmeal With A Caramel Date Sauce  

Inspired by Oh She Glows and Keepin' It Kind

Serves 8

  • - For the oatmeal
  • 1 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup oat flour (ground oats)
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 6 small ripe bananas, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. coconut oil
  • 2 Tbsp. pure maple syrup (or honey, etc.)
  • 1/4 cup Hazelnut Kahlua (or other liqueur)
  • 1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. butter extract
  • 1 small ripe banana, sliced
  • sprinkling of cinnamon
  • sprinkling of brown sugar
  • - For the sauce (optional)
  • 8 dates, pitted and soaked for 1 hour
  • 1/2 cup almond milk (or milk of choice)
  • 1/4 cup water (from soaking dates)
  • 1 Tbsp. pure maple syrup
  • 1 Tbsp. Hazelnut Kahlua (or other liqueur or additional maple syrup)
  • 1/4 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp. xanthan gum (optional)

First things first, pit the dates and soak them in just enough lukewarm water to keep them covered. Let them bathe for at least one hour at room temperature. Preheat oven to 350F.

Mix the dry ingredients for the oatmeal in a large bowl. Chop up the six bananas. I have an easy way to make quick work of it: Peel down lengthwise only half of the banana peel. Now cut the banana in half, hot dog style and then simply cut slices throughout the banana and you'll have perfect half moon slices! Repeat with the remaining five bananas.

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Once all the bananas are chopped, add the coconut oil, maple syrup, liqueur and extracts to a large frying pan. Stir over medium heat until mixture begins bubbling, then add the six chopped bananas and continue to stir until those yummy bananas have softened. Remove from heat and add dry oatmeal mixture to the banana mixture. Stir to combine.

Grease a large casserole dish (think lasagna pan) and add oatmeal/banana mixture. Slice up one banana and place on top of oatmeal. I choose to be snotty hip and make a fun design, but you can do whatever you want. Lightly sprinkle cinnamon over the entire dish, followed by a generous amount of brown sugar. It will caramelize in the oven on top of the bananas. Scrumptious! Cook in oven for 50-60 minutes.

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fosterbefore

No rest for the wicked. While the oatmeal is baking, it's time to make the sauce. The sauce isn't mandatory. The oatmeal would be great on it's own, but I think the caramel sauce really makes it super special and it's so easy to make...there's really no excuse not to.

If the dates haven't been soaking for at least one hour, continue to let them soak. Once they're ready, drain them while reserving 1/4 cup of the soaking water. Blend all the ingredients in a food processor or blender until silky smooth. The sauce might seem a bit runny, but as it sits it becomes thicker. Pour into a cute little pitcher, cover, and refrigerate until ready to use. Before serving, feel free to warm the sauce up in the microwave, or just let it sit out for a few minutes.

When the oatmeal is finished baking, ideally, it would rest for about half an hour to firm up but it's not mandate. This isn't a dictatorship so do what you want to. The longer it sits, however, the more "sliceable" it will be. I cut mine into eight squares and served it submerged drizzled with the caramel date sauce. Delectable and wholesome. Really a great start to the weekend.

The next gathering you're attending before noon (or evening...present it as a dessert), give vegans and non-vegans alike what they want, and what they want is this Bananas Foster Oatmeal With A Caramel Date Sauce. Be prepared. Have copies of the recipe handy, seriously. It's that good.

 

Unique Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

Velvety, rich dark chocolate combined with salty peanut butter...and inside, surprise goodies of your own, personal choosing. What's better than that?

Produce on Parade: Unique Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter CupsProduce on Parade: Unique Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

But  first, a lesson. It's a simple one. Don't set utensils by the burner! Easy enough, I know, but sometimes a reminder is necessary. This was mine. Out of the corner of my eye a tiny, dancing, red flame.

Wait, a flame?! ... and smoke...oh dear. It was caught soon enough, however, and put out by me frantically waving the spatula about as if I were Ron Weasley trying to cast a spell, with my burning spatula broken wand. A sharp, "eeek!"  And, "No sweetie, nothing's wrong. Don't come in here!"  And then it was all over.

Produce on Parade: Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

I am always putting things in "precarious" positions, as Todd would say. It's his most fervent pet peeve. He has this look, it's a "You have placed that (insert any random household item) in a very precarious position, Katie" sort of look. Think a dinner plate, delicately balancing on a sofa arm. A cup brimming with hot tea, teetering on the edge of the table. Gleaming knives, blade up in the drying rack. A bubbling pot on the stove, handle sticking out, ready to clothesline it's unassuming victim. You get the idea. It's part of my charm though, I am sure of it. Back to this look he has though, it is a very impressive and effective look...as far as looks go. Was my bamboo spatula worth it all? For these Unique Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups, absolutely. They are really very simple and quick, too, provided you aren't having to put out (and cover up) any small kitchen fires.

I love how adaptable these little cups of heaven are to each person's unique taste. Don't like dark chocolate? Use milk chocolate. Not a molasses fan (I love it's earthy profile)? Use honey or agave nectar, instead. Almond butter more your thing? Go for it, or use hazelnut, macadamia or cashew butter for that matter. The Kahula can be replaced with pretty much any extract or liqueur, and as for the add-ins, put in anything that makes you tickled pink! I used matcha powder and loose-leaf chai tea. Crystallized ginger, finely chopped nuts, cocoa nibs, smoked chipotle chili powder, jam, lavender or even wasabi would be delightful!

Unique Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

Adapted from Sprouted Kitchen

Makes 7 cups

  • 3 1/2 oz. dark chocolate
  • 1/4 cup natural peanut butter
  • 1 Tbsp. molasses (or honey, agave nectar, etc.)
  • 1/2 Tbsp. powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp. Hazelnut Kahlua (or vanilla extract, Bailey's Irish Cream, any other liqueur or extract)
  • generous sprinkle of pink Himalayan salt
  • optional fun add-ins (matcha, lavender, crystallized ginger, chopped nuts, jam, etc.)

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- A Note: This recipe makes about seven thinner cups (see image). The recipe can be doubled if a more robust cup is warranted. I think you'll find, however, these are so dark and scrumptious, that a thinner cup is all that is needed to satisfy!

Break up the chocolate in a small stovetop approved bowl. Place bowl over a small saucepan with just enough water so it doesn't quite touch the bottom of the bowl. Bring water below to a boil, then turn low so as to just keep a slight boil. Whisk chocolate intermittently to get rid of any clumps and to ensure the chocolate doesn't burn.

While chocolate is melting, mix together remaining ingredients in a small bowl except for any add-ins you wish to use. Stir with a spoon so everything is well combined and then continue for at least a few more minutes until the mix reaches a tacky consistency that can be formed into a small ball.

When the chocolate is melted and smooth, place a teaspoonful into base of cupcake liner. Tilt the liner around until the chocolate is covering the entire bottom. Next, form about a one and a half teaspoons of peanut butter mixture into a small ball and flatten slightly with fingers. Place in bottom of liner on top of chocolate, and cover with about one teaspoon more of chocolate. Sprinkle salt on top. Continue with remaining cups.

If using any add-ins, sprinkle them on top of the peanut butter ball in the liner and then when covered with chocolate, sprinkle more on top. That way you'll know which ones are which!

Place on a plate and cover with cling wrap. Refrigerate for at least thirty minutes. Keep stored in fridge and take pride in the fact that you never have buy those vastly inferior storebought cups again. Sit back, bite in, and revel in your snootiness.

Produce on Parade: Unique Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups Produce on Parade: Unique Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

Behold the beauty.