Home-Made Chunky Dark Chocolate Butter


ChocolateButterDesert

UPC’s Crunchy Dark Chocolate Butter

I love indulging. Some of my favorite indulgences, as we’ve covered here in this blog, are life’s simple pleasures. This is obviously not a complete list, but certainly these items will make the top of my list: chocolate, bacon, chocolate bacon, smoked salmon, good wine, good tequila, good rum, sleeping soundly and waking up refreshed, and staying up all night just to watch the sun rise. As far as I’m concerned, the above list of indulgences should be on EVERYONE’S list! Ok, fine, I’ll give that some people just don’t like salmon. My wife doesn’t like salmon, and smoked salmon is even worse to her. While this is intriguing to me, particularly as a pleasantly munch down on some spicy smoked salmon, and she makes faces at me, I don’t particularly mind. That just means I get to keep it to myself! Fortunately, we share interest enough of our other indulgences that this has never been an issue. So, today’s recipe, hopefully, will become a regular indulgence for you all as it has become for me.

I’ve been working on this recipe for months now, and while you’ll see that it is quite simple, putting the pieces together has been a real challenge! Chocolate is amazing, in all it’s forms. It can be a real challenge to work with, though, because getting your recipe just a little bit wrong can result in it being quite bitter. While I love chocolate, and even really really dark chocolate (I eat the good baking chocolate bars straight – but only the good ones), I don’t love bitter. There are definitely some recipes that bring out the bitter in chocolate more than others. Not this one though. This recipe produces the kind of indulgent decadence that I can really look forward to!

UPC’s Crunchy Dark Chocolate Butter; What you’ll need:

  • ChocolateButterDesert_CocoaNibsAndChocolatePowder1 tablespoon Cocoa Powder
  • 1 tablespoon Carob Powder
  • 2 tablespoons Cocoa Nibs
  • 2 tablespoons Coconut Butter
  • 2 tablespoons Coconut Oil
  • 1 Storage Jar (a nut-butter jar?)

Serves: Umm… Only 1!!! 🙂
Prep time: 10 minutes.

1. Mix the cocoa powder, carob powder, and cocoa nibs thoroughly.

2. Pour the mix into the jar, then add the coconut butter and the coconut oil on top, in that order.

ChocolateButterDesert_PreMixed

As the coconut oil melts, it will loosen up the coconut butter for stirring.

3. Close the jar and place it somewhere warm so that the coconut oil can melt, and the coconut butter will soften.
Note: If you can’t think of a good warm place to put it; you can easily just throw it in the oven on the lowest heat setting for 5-10 minutes.

4. Let it sit until the coconut oil has completely melted, then begin stirring.

ChocolateButterDesert_Mixing

Start to stir after the coconut oil has fully melted.

Serving:

Since it’s warmer now, it’s the optimal time to serve it over your favorite fruit! This will be amazing over nearly any fruit, but particularly strawberries, raspberries, mangoes, and pineapple.
If you’d prefer to eat it in a more solid state, just let it sit at room temperature for a while, then dig in! It will be thick, like coconut oil or macadamia nut butter, and perfect for eating with a spoon!

ChocolateButterDesert_Spread

Freshly made, still warm Crunchy Chocolate Butter over Starfruit!

Questions:

  • Do you like your indulgences?
  • What are your 3 favorite indulgences?
  • If you could take one of your non-food indulgences, and compare it to a food, which food would it be most comparable to?
  • Are there any indulgences that you used to enjoy but don’t anymore?
  • Why don’t you enjoy them anymore?
  • Do you miss them? Or have you replaced them?

Chocolate Apricot Paleo Energy Bar


Choc_Power_Bar

This is an excellent recipe, which has been sitting in my queue to share with you all for a long time! I made these some time ago and wrote it up as a guest post on http://www.carlmason-liebenberg.com, and the original post is here if you’d like to see it. Actually, once you’ve had a chance to read through this post, I recommend loading up the previous version. It’s a lot more wordy, and I was using a completely different recipe writing style back then (amateur…), so it may be quite interesting to take a peak at what my writing looked like in the early days of UPC. Maybe you’ll decide you liked it better, and ask me to post like that again from time to time… who knows!

Choc_Power_Bar-Ingredients

Chocolate Paleo Energy Bar; What you’ll need:

  • 1 & ½ cups pitted dates, finely diced
  • 1 cup dried apricots, finely diced
  • ½ cup sliced raw unsalted almonds, sliced (soaked, if possible)
  • ½ cup raw unsalted pecans, sliced (soaked, if possible)
  • ½ cup shredded coconut
  • 1/3 cup dark chocolate cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt

Prep time: About 1 hour (15 minutes if you use a food processor)
Choc_Power_Bar-Pre-MixedServes: 6-10

1. Dump all of the ingredients in a mixing bowl, and shake it around a bit to start combining them.
Note: When I have time, I buy the almonds and pecans whole so that I can soak them for a day. To save time (like I did in the above picture), you can use the pre-sliced versions.

Choc_Power_Bar-Mixed2. Using your bare hands (please wash first…) thoroughly mix the ingredients, kneading it in the mixing bowl like you would knead bread.
This is challenging because you’re trying to mix the dried fruit with powdered chocolate and other dry ingredients. This tends to be quite gooey, and not easy to mix.

3. Continue kneading it until you can roll it up in to a mostly uniform-looking ball, leaving no ingredients behind in the mixing bowl.

4. On an oiled cutting board, carefully press that chocolate ball out to a square-shape approximately 1 & ½ inches thick (about 4 centimeters thick), and as wide and tall as it needs to be to get that thickness.
Mine was about 7 inches square (about 18 centimeters square).

Choc_Power_Bar-Pre-Cut

5. Cut 1-inch (2-3 centimeters) thick bars, no more than 4 inches long (10 centimeters).

Serving:

This will definitely help you replenish lost salt after a workout (or during) – and it will make you thirsty. So when you eat this, make sure you have some water handy!

Choc_Power_Bar

Desert Bar Modifications:

Use this instead of the same ingredients above:

  • 3 tablespoons cocoa powder (instead of 1/3 cup)
    Note: More cocoa powder will give this more cocoa flavor – I like my cocoa dark and rich, so I use the full 1/3 cup. If you prefer more of the other flavors and ingredients; use the reduced amount suggested here.
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt (just enough)

Add this:

  • Heat ½ cup coconut cream (add honey as desired) for 5 minutes on medium-low
  • Pour heated coconut cream over bars
  • Let bars cool in refrigerator for at least 1 hour before serving

If you’re going to make this as a desert bar, please follow this recipe ahead of time and try it yourself. Know what you’re making, and be sure that this is the right recipe for your audience. It is for any party that I’m invited to, that’s for sure!

And finally, enjoy!

Coconut Crusted Chocolate Covered Lychee


CoconutChocolateLychee

UPC’s Coconut Chocolate Lychee

I was given this idea by Hari Qhuang, of Hari’s Got Tales!” in a comment he posted on my blog not too long ago. I was so excited by the idea that I asked him how it was done. He responded that he didn’t really know, and gave me “creative license” to go and try my own version of it. Well, this is what happens when you give UPC some Creative License! Let that be a lesson to all you who are considering asking me to come up with a way to make this or that!

CoconutChocolateLychee-Background

CoconutChocolateLychee-LycheesCoconut Chocolate Lychee; What you’ll need:

  • 10-15 Lychee Fruits, peeled, halved and pitted (bonus points if you can get the pit out without cutting the Lychee in half!)
  • 4 oz Dark Chocolate (Only the best! I used Organic Nectars 70% Dark)
  • 1 cup Shredded Coconut (Organic please!)

Serves: Umm… 1? 2? 5? It depends on whether you let other people taste it before you do!
Cook and Prep Time: 120 minutes, at least.

1. Peel, half, and pit the Lychees. Put these on a plate to dry for an hour.
Note: If you have the patience: put them in a dehydrator for the hour, or in the oven at 150 or so for the hour. If you can’t do that, it’s ok. I just let them sit, and the recipe works fine if they can air-dry for an hour.

2. Put a thick bed of shredded coconut on a large plate.

3. Heat up the chocolate bar in a pot and let it cool for 5-10 minutes until the chocolate is thick, like molasses.

CoconutChocolateLychee-ChocolateAndCoconutChocolate4. Drop the now-dried (or air-dried) lychee halves in the chocolate and roll the chocolate around to cover them with a thick coat of chocolate.

5. Rest the lychee halves on the shredded coconut carefully.
Note: I used chopsticks to pull the chocolate-covered lychee halves out of the chocolate; tongs likely will work well too.

6. Cover the chocolate covered lychee halves with a copious amount of shredded coconut, pushing the coconut up around the outside of the lychee. You should have little mounds of shredded coconut on your plate, with the chocolate covered lychee  in the middle.

7. Cover the plate (lightly!) with tin-foil or wax paper, and put it in the fridge to let the coconut-chocolate-lychees cool and harden.

8. After about an hour, take them out and “break up” the shredded coconut mounds, and brush off the extra coconut from the chocolate covered lychee halves. There will be quite a bit of leftover shredded coconut (for you to munch on, of course!).

9. (Optional) Use the leftover chocolate as a “garnish” on the chocolate covered lychee halves.

Now serve, and enjoy!!

CoconutChocolateLychee-FinishingTouches

Dessert Recipe: Chocolate Raspberry Chia Pudding


ChocolateRaspberryChiaPudding

UPC’s Chocolate Raspberry Chia Pudding

It’s been a while since I did a dessert recipe for you. You’ll have to forgive me to for not putting together very many desserts; I think this may only be the third one I’ve posted. The truth is: I really don’t eat a lot of desserts. 95% of the time, if I’m looking for something to round out my relaxation after a meal, I’ll turn to chocolate or dried mango. Obviously those count as a dessert, but there’s just not much to blog about with those, so I usually focus more on my meals. And since I don’t eat desserts often, I don’t have very much material to share! But that doesn’t mean that the few times I am inspired to whip up something special I won’t take pictures of it and let you all know how to make it work, now does it? So today’s recipe: Chocolate raspberry chia pudding!

ChocolateRaspberryChiaPudding-Stirring

UPC’s Chocolate Raspberry Chia Pudding; What you’ll need:

  • 1/2 pint Organic Raspberries (preferably fresh; but frozen will work)
  • 1 tablespoon Cocoa Powder
  • 4 tablespoons Organic Chia Seeds
  • 1 tablespoon Raw Honey
  • 1/2 cup Coconut Water

1. Put the raspberries in a large mixing bowl and mash them thoroughly with a potato masher.

2. Add the chia, coconut water, and honey to the bowl, and continue to mix and mash thoroughly.

3. Finally add the cocoa powder, and stir slowly and thoroughly with a spoon for at least 60 seconds, but up to 2 minutes if you can stand it.

4. Let the mush stand on the counter for 20 minutes, stirring thoroughly every 5 minutes.

5. Transfer the mush to a jar of appropriate size, and put it in the refrigerator for a day. For best results, shake the jar vigorously a few times throughout the day.
Serve and enjoy!

ChocolateRaspberryChiaPudding-Jar

Possible variations:
This will be quite good if you eat it the same day; but far better after a day of sitting. So if you need to make it before dinner to serve after dinner, it will still be just fine!
If you’re interested, you can put a light coating of coconut oil in a cup, pour some of the pudding in, and freeze it for a frozen dessert or an after-workout treat! The coconut oil will make it really easy to pull out, and won’t make it any less delicious.

Questions:

  • What kinds of desserts do you normally eat?
  • Do you make any of your own desserts? Is there a special recipe?
  • How many of your desserts are “multi-purpose” desserts?
  • Would you like to see more UPC desserts?
  • Do you want more pudding? More like the Coconut Delight that I made months ago? Or maybe like the Chocolate Energy Bar that I made as a guest post?

Paleo Treats


ChloesSoftServeFruitCo-TangerineAndPineapple

I don’t eat a lot of sugar. In fact, I don’t eat a lot of anything that contains sugar. I probably eat less sugar-containing food, in total, in a week than the average American eats in a day. The truth is that, at the end of the day, I simply don’t need any sugar. I get along just fine without it. I wake up fine, I work out explosively, I enjoy my food and drink the way nature intended it to taste, and I don’t have any trouble falling asleep. The few times that I choose to have a sugar-laden treat, I choose carefully, and I make sure that I choose those treats based on how much joy they will bring to me. And Chloe’s Soft Serve Fruit Company really fits the bill!

Their treats are made from real fruit blended with water and a bit of organic sugar. A quick look at their nutrition facts confirms that they’re filling their treats with mostly fresh delicious fruit, and not very much sugar. On a hot day, their treats are a godsend, and the perfect pick-me-up from the heat. And there has been some SERIOUS heat in the NYC area recently!

They do a 4-flavor rotational menu, where the 4 flavors that they are serving on any given day are not necessarily the same 4 flavors as the day before. Over the past two years I have personally tried their pear, banana, mango, raspberry, strawberry, pineapple and tangerine fruit flavors, as well as their chocolate. The picture above is Tangerine and Pineapple, an amazing combination with the fresh raspberries on top!

So, if you’re hanging around 14th street of NYC and it’s a hot day like today, make some time for a mid-afternoon treat at Chloe’s Soft Serve Fruit Company!

Umm… This is not an advertisement. I guess when I sing the praises of something I’ve enjoyed as much as Chloe’s, I should point out that I am doing as I have always done on this blog: share my experiences. So far (although, I would be delighted if someone changed this!!) no one has ever offered me any kind of payment for my blog posts, including a free meal. I paid full price for the frozen fruit in my picture, and would again!

Questions:

  • What kinds of treats do you indulge in?
  • Do you indulge often? And if not often, do you have a regular indulgence? Like, every Friday night you do ice cream and a movie (no, I do not)?
  • When you indulge, what are your favorite treats?

Paleo Ginger Sweet Potato Puffs


GingerSweetPotatoMuffin-CloseUp

Paleo Sweet Potato Puffs

Have you ever made a meal, which you were fully planning on photographing for your blog’s show-and-tell later, but smelled so good when you finally got it out of the oven that you forgot to get the photo of it on a plate? Well, fortunately for me, this was so delicious that I will most definitely be making it again! I’ll get the artistic “plated” shot on the next go-round, hopefully. For now, we’ll make due with the shots I took as I was pulling it out of the oven.

What you’ll need:GingerSweetPotatoMuffin-Oven

  • 3 Medium Sweet Potatoes
  • 4 Inches Ginger
  • 3 Tablespoons Coconut Butter
  • 4 Eggs
  • Cinnamon, Allspice, Nutmeg

Serves: 6
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Bake Time: 90 minutes
Bake Temperature: 350
Total Cook Time: 2 hours

Chop the Sweet Potato in to 1/2 inch chunks, put it in a pot, cover with water, and boil. The more finely you can stand chopping the sweet potato, the less you will have to mash it later. With the 1/2 inch chunks, I found that just stirring it was enough to mash the sweet potato fully, and I didn’t use a potato masher at all. Also, to make this recipe slightly sweeter, you can peel the sweet potato – leave the peel on for the extra nutrients. As this is starting to heat up, add the coconut butter to the pot. Once the butter has melted, stir it in.

GingerSweetPotatoMuffin-BoilingSweetPotatoDownWhile the sweet potato is cooking, dice the ginger finely, and add to the sweet potato. Most recipes will call for peeling the ginger. I have found that using ginger in this way will make the peel mostly irrelevant – since we’re going to add it to a boiling pot and cook it down with the sweet potato. So, dice the ginger as finely as you have patience for, and add it to the pot. 4 inches of ginger is a lot, so it may be easier to do 2 inches at a time, making the dicing easier.

Let the pot boil down, stirring regularly, until there is no liquid left. The sweet potato should, at this point, be mostly mashed all by itself. If you elected to use larger chunks, or a little less water, then grab a potato masher and finish mashing. The final mash should have very little liquid in it. Let it cool on the stove-top for at least 10 minutes, until the mash is below 90 degrees (the temperature of the pot should be comfortable to touch). Start pre-heating the oven once the mash has boiled down and is cooling.

GingerSweetPotatoMuffin-Held

Add the eggs. Either crack the eggs in to a mixing bowl to whisk separately, or add them directly to the sweet potato mash. In either case, stir the eggs in to the sweet potato mash thoroughly. Using a bit of coconut oil, grease the muffin cups. Pour the final mixture in to the muffin tin. Put the tin on a middle-rack in the oven. As usual, do not fill to the top of the tin. Even though these contain no yeast, the egg will still expand during the baking.

GingerSweetPotatoMuffin-CloseUpOvenServing:

These are best served hot – piping hot! As with other baked confections – this will need to be “lifted” out of the tin. If you greased properly (there doesn’t need to be much oil) then they should fall out pretty easily. Just place your cutting board over the top of the muffin tin, flip everything over, and tap the bottom firmly to help the puffs fall out. These will be delicious on their own, or you could serve them with something vanilla, like a thick vanilla coconut cream poured over the top (I will have to try that next time!). And finally: Enjoy!!

A Coconut Lover’s Treat – Coconut Delight


CoconutDelightServedStyled

Coconut Delight Ingredients:

  • 1 bag shredded coconutCoconutDelight1Ingredients
  • 2 cans coconut cream
  • 7 egg whites
  • 6 tablespoons coconut mana (or coconut butter)
  • 6 tablespoons coconut sugar
  • 4 tablespoons honey
  • 3 envelopes gelatin powder
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil

Raisin Sauce Ingredients:RaisinSauce1Ingredients

  • 2 cups raisins
  • 4 tablespoons coconut flour
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 cups favorite red wine

Prep and cook time: about 1 hour

As a note: this recipe is best after it has aged for a day; so when possible, prepare a day ahead of time.

Serve at room temperature.

CoconutDelight2MakingSweetCoconutCreamStart by preparing the sweetened coconut cream. Preheat the coconut mana until it is soft, and then stir it vigorously to mix it up, otherwise all the oil and coconut meat will have separated out. Now, pour 1 can of coconut cream in to a pot, and turn the heat on to a low setting, 2 or 3 out of 10. As it heats up, add the coconut mana, and stir slowly but constantly. As the coconut mana begins to mix in, add the coconut sugar and honey to the mix.

CoconutDelight4CoconutCream

This will turn the mixture a light brown, because of the color of the coconut sugar. This is ok – it will not show in the final product. Keep stirring the mixture until everything is evenly blended, and the warm mixture now stirs easily, then turn off the heat and let cool.
CoconutDelight3MakingSweetCoconutCream2In a large mixing bowl, put your egg whites and whip them until they are fully white and foamy (recommend using a machine whisk for this). In a second large mixing bowl, add the sweetened coconut cream, the remaining can of coconut cream, the shredded coconut, and the vanilla, and mix thoroughly.
CoconutDelight6ShreddedCoconut


 Now it’s time to prepare your cake pan or pie pan which you’ll be letting the base sit in to cool and thicken. Take it out, and completely coat the inside surface with coconut oil. It should not be thick, but it needs to cover the surface entirely.

CoconutDelight8BeforePouringIn a clean pot, put the gelatin powder and a cup of water, and turn the heat on a low setting again. Stir these constantly until warm and steaming; do not let it boil. Once the gelatin mixture is warm and steaming, it to the coconut cream mixture and stir quickly, trying not to spill, for 20-40 seconds. Now add the foamed egg whites, and again stir vigorously for 20-40 seconds.

CoconutDelight9AfterPouring

CoconutDelight10CoveredForCoolingNow quickly pour the mixture in to the cake or pie pan. Cover the pan completely to keep the fridge air out, I use aluminum foil, and place carefully in the refrigerator on a flat surface to let it cool and thicken.

Now it’s time to make the raisin sauce.

RaisinSauce3Blender

Put the 1 cup of water and 2 cups of raisins in a blender. Blend them completely. As a note: to avoid overworking your blender motor, I recommend starting on “Chop”, and slowly increasing the blade speed through “Blend” to “Puree”. Take the pureed raisins and add them to a large pot on the stove with the heat on a low setting (2 to 3 out of 10). Let this warm up a bit before adding the flour; you’ll know it’s ready when it starts steaming, but do not let it get to a boil. Stir constantly but slowly.

RaisinSauce4AddCoconutFlourandHeatAdd the coconut flour while stirring, I recommend one half tablespoon at a time so that it does not clump. As soon as the coconut flour is fully absorbed, and you have made certain that there is no clumping, turn off the heat, take the pot off the burner and let it cool to room temperature.

Once it has cooled to room temperature, add the wine to the sauce, and mix thoroughly. Now store this in a container in the fridge, also to be served at room temperature.

 

RaisinSauce5TheWine

About 30 minutes before you will be serving the dish, remove both dishes from the fridge. Place them on a counter top which will not be in the way, and let them sit, still covered, to warm up to room temperature. Once it’s time for desert, serve the coconut base first, and then drizzle the raisin sauce over the coconut base. Now enjoy another urbanpaleochef special!

CoconutDelightServing