Desserts

Say it with Chocolate! Healthy Chocolate Hazelnut Tartelettes

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I was the grinch of Valentine’s Day. Truth. I absolutely recoiled in the festivities surrounding this date. It wasn’t about the sentiment or meaningfulness of cupid’s holiday or anything along those lines. It was just the cheesy, completely over-the-top decor & frilly heart garlands hanging everywhere. From the packed, noisy restaurants dimly lit in an attempt to create a mood- all the way to the marked up menus; I found everything annoying and all too conspicuous. Pretty much an over saturation of red & pink imagery everywhere I looked. It was just plain old Valentine’s that I found lack lustre & a bit over done. That’s exactly it. It was over done. Even when I was in relationships; I was just a “let’s stay in & cook something together” kind-of-gal.

The only person that ever “got it” was my husband. He’s much cheesier than I am, by the way. The best Valentine’s Day I ever had was in a castle, sort of. My husband wanted to do something for me that wouldn’t feel annoying, cliché or overcrowded. He booked a delicious brunch inside the stunning library of Toronto’s Casa Loma. Yes, the man knows I am obsessed with books as much as am obsessed with food. He also knows that am a serious brunch enthusiast, oh yes… my brunch game is strong! Brunch over dinner, always! And so we had a long, carefree brunch inside the most beautiful old library in Toronto’s only standing “castle”. I am not sure what I liked more; the great catered food or the sight of all those shelves filled with the most magnificent collection of books. I’ll say both. But hey, I still held a little “hatred” towards Cupid… just saying!

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That changed right about when my kids were born & my son started at his Montessori preschool. Have you ever witnessed a 3 year-old saying: “Happy Valentine’s Day, Mama! Do you want to be my Valentine?” My heart just about exploded. Twice. They sound SO cute, giddy, and they are oh so excited about it. He asked me to make cards for his friends at preschool, as they all exchange little candy grams or pencils & stickers on that day. And there was the former Valentine’s dissenter, now happily cutting away heart garlands, hanging them in his room and making little loot bags to hand out to his classmates. I now like to bake heart shaped sugar or shortbread cookies for them, and I dye/tint white icing w/ fresh or frozen raspberries to create a bright red hue. It tastes pretty good, too! If you want it to look a little pink, add a little less raspberries & you get a much lighter shade.

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And so the Valentine’s grinch underwent a full transformation & now looks forward to making this day special for both; my kids & husband every year. The kids are all about the decor and cookies & he’s all about the food; simple enough for me! This year I was reminiscing about past food obsessions and it wasn’t long before Nutella came to my mind. Oh yes, to the very forefront of my mind. I lived and breathed for chocolate hazelnut spread (AKA Nutella). Nutella is the inspiration behind this easy peasy dessert that involves a super easy pie crust and fresh strawberries for garnish. So good & much healthier for you because it’s made entirely from real food ingredients, it has a gluten-free crust that could fool anybody & it’s also dairy-free! So there you have it: Vegan Mousse!

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Chocolate Hazelnut Tartelettes

Ingredients (For the Filling)

  • 2 large ripe Hass avocados
  • 1/2 cup of Navitas raw cacao nibs (I purchase the cacao nibs from Whole Foods, but you could also use organic, semi-sweet chocolate chips or chunks)
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup ( I really enjoy amber grade maple, works well w/ this!) If you have a sweeter palate, use 1/2 cup instead.)
  • 1/3 cup of unsweetened almond OR coconut milk *carrageenan free
  • 1 tsp of pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp of hazelnut extract
  • 1/3 cup raw cacao powder
  • 1/3 cup of hazelnut butter
  • fresh raspberries and/or strawberries for garnish (optional)

Ingredients (For the Crust)

  • 1 package gluten free Graham crackers (I love “KinniKinnick S’moreables”)
  • 6 aluminum foil mini pie crust molds or a large pie crust mold- it’s entirely up to you!
  • 4-5 tbsp of melted coconut oil (or grass-fed butter if you don’t follow a vegan diet)
  • 2 tbsp of coconut sugar or brown cane sugar

Notes: (If you’re making this to serve the next day) a pinch of sea salt (helps preserve it for up to 2 days in your fridge) about 1/4 teaspoon. Remember that avocado oxidizes and turns brown pretty quickly otherwise.

Instructions

  1. For the crust: throw in crackers, coconut sugar and coconut oil into the food processor. Let it thicken into a paste. Press w/ clean hands onto the pie moulds & bake for about 7 mins at 350F so that it browns a little bit & becomes nice & crunchy
  2. Place the raw cacao nibs or dark 70% dark chocolate chips on a heat-proof bowl on top of a saucepan with water simmering on low heat. Allow the nibs or chips to melt & stir often
  3. Slice the avocados in half and discard the core and peel. Place them inside the food processor and add the almond milk, raw cacao powder, maple syrup, hazelnut extract and pure vanilla extract. Blend on high for 30 seconds to 1 minute or until evenly smooth.
  4. Add the 1/3 cup of natural hazelnut butter and blend until well integrated
  5. Slowly add the melted chocolate nibs into the mix that’s in the food processor, mixing as you go. Blend on high for 30 seconds and voila! Refrigerate for at least 2 hours prior to serving, it tastes better cold!
  6. Garnish with fresh raspberries or strawberries, bananas also work really well!

Notes: (1) This keeps well in your fridge for up to 2 full days. After that, the avocados start tasting funny. Don’t pour the filling over the pie crusts until 10 mins before serving. If you have the filling in the pie crusts too far in advance, they turn soggy. (2) If you can’t find hazelnut butter at the store (which is the best all-natural shortcut method for this recipe), you can try making your own! Check the recipe for the Minimalist Baker’s: “Simple Hazelnut Butter.” I find it’s the one that works the best out of all the ones I’ve tried. I just omit the cinnamon the recipe calls for because cinnamon does not work well for this particular dessert.

Tartaletas de Chocolate y Avellanas

Ingredientes (para la base)

  • 1 paquete de galletas Maria o galletas Graham libre de gluten (lo suficiente para llenar mas de una taza cuando ya han sido procesadas)
  • 4-5 cucharadas de aceite de coco natural o mantequilla organica
  • 2 cucharadas de azúcar de coco o azúcar morena natural

Ingredientes (para el relleno)

  • 2 aguacates maduros
  • 1/2 taza de trozos de cacao natural o 1/2 taza de chips de chocolate amargo 70% cacao natural
  • 1/3 taza de cacao natural en polvo
  • 1/3 taza de leche de almendras sin endulzar
  • 1/3 taza de jarabe puro de maple como endulzante natural (si son de paladar dulce, usen 1/2 taza)
  • 1/3 taza de mantequilla de avellanas
  • 1 cucharadita extracto de vainilla
  • 1 cucharadita de extracto de avellanas
  • para decorar: frambuesas o fresas frescas

Notas:(1) Este relleno se mantiene muy bien en el refrigerador por 2 días. No viertan el relleno sobre el pie crust (o la base) hasta que estén a punto de servirlo! Me gusta preparar el relleno el día anterior y el pie crust el día que los voy a servir. (2) Si no pueden encontrar mantequilla de avellanas, pueden hacer la suya siguiendo una receta super fácil, que es la mejor que he encontrado: The Minimalist Baker tiene una titulada “Simple Hazelnut Butter”, eso si, yo siempre omito la canela que requiere su receta pues no va bien con este postre.

Instrucciones

  1. Para hacer la base: mezclar el azúcar de coco, las galletas graham o Maria y el aceite de coco en procesador de comida hasta obtener una mezcla uniforme y algo espesa.
  2. Presionar con las manos un poco de la mezcla sobre cada molde de aluminio para pie (se usan aprox 6) o también pueden usar un molde grande para pie si no quieren hacer pies individuales.
  3. Se hornean a 350F por aproximadamente 7 mins para que asienten y se doren un poco. Al hornearlos la base se hace crujiente, ese es el objetivo!
  4. Sobre una sartén llena a la mitad de agua y a fuego lento, se colocan en un tazón a prueba de fuego los trozos de cacao o chips de chocolate amargo para que se derritan.
  5. En el procesador de comida, poner los aguacates (cortados por la mitad y sin semilla o cascara), la leche de almendras, el cacao en polvo, el jarabe de maple, el extracto de vainilla y el extracto de avellanas. Se pulsan/mezclan hasta obtener una mezcla uniforme.
  6. Dejar caer la 1/3 taza de mantequilla de avellanas y mezclar en “High” hasta integrarla.
  7. Poco a poco, se deja caer el chocolate derretido hasta integrarse, también. Si notan la mezcla un poco espesa, pueden agregar una pizca adicional de leche de almendra. Tiene que tener la consistencia de un mousse; concentrado y espeso pero ligero a la vez.
  8. Que los disfruten!! Yo llamo esta receta “mi substituto de Nutella”. Es deliciosa! Y mejor en términos nutricionales pues no lleva azúcar blanca refinada o lácteos o aditivos que no son naturales.