Gothic Granola

Tag Archives: Nuts

Pistachio Cake

Pistachio buns, meet pistachio cake.

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We Need More (Peanut butter) Cookies!

We do. We need some kind of handheld snack to eat while playing with (aka: sorting) our latest LEGO horde, courtesy of TC’s dad.


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Honours Student Breakfast: Museli

Before I had my licence/parents would let me drive, for the super-early National Honor Society morning meetings, Ownie Mom would drive me to school. As usual, she gave me breakfast: a thermos of Earl Grey tea, a pot of Stonyfield Farms organic, low-fat yoghurt (chocolate please!), maybe an apple, and a bag of enhanced trail mix. Trail mix with more stuff became my vice in later years: GORP, M’n’Ms, peanutbutter-filled pretzels, and Quaker Oatmeal Squares. Of course I ate it to stay awake in 2006-2008. I made it for myself and ate it to fill some hunger for the same love and care for my success in 2009-2010.

Reframing and curse-reversing time. I like to eat Bob’s Red Mill GF Museli in green juice (at work, which indicates a hunger for something not-food, I can tell you without a shadow of a doubt). When I kept seeing Nutrition Stripped’s Nourishing Museli on Instagram, I knew I could redo my favourite snack/breakfast.

While not as whole-foods-y as McKel’s original, mine is a healthy indulgence served in the same ways the originator recommends: straight, over a green smoothie, or on vice cream. Hiding GF cereal in museli is a good way to make it more nutritious and more of a meal than it is by itself.


2 cups GF rolled oats
3 cups GF cereal (I used Kashi Simply Maize and Van’s Cinnamon Heaven cereals)
12 GF sandwich cookies, quartered and squashed (I used Kinnitoos Chocolate Sandwich Cremes)
1 cup almonds
1 cup walnuts
1 cup sunflower seeds
1 cup hempseeds
2 cups raisins
1 1/4 cups goji berries (I used up a bag)
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Dash sea salt

Mix it all together and store in airtight containers. Portioning is recommended.

With some Marley Coffee Rawmeal protein powder and ground flaxseed: breakfast!

Come to the Dark Side…we have vegan and gluten-free goodies.

Horton Hears the Vitamix | Chocolate Hazelnut Spread

Today was Hoodie-Hoo Day, according to WellCat.

Alas, I wanted to finish one more thing…and one more thing…and one more thing at work, thus failing to observe it. Next year.

Speaking of observation, I was holding a bag for TC as we got ready to go somewhere the other day. Suddenly, I noticed myself saying the mantra, “May you be free of suffering | and the cause of suffering” in my head over and over again while he tied his shoes or something like that. Mantras are mind protectors, as Ram Dass reminds us in this post. I’m no expert or arhat, but I’ve noticed more and more often that when my mind is scrambling before a transition even as minor as a car trip, I’ll be saying mantras (Buddhist mantras or Catholic prayers) without thinking about it. Kinda cool, huh? Maybe I’m finally learning to self-regulate emotionally.

There are a lot of changes I’m making digitally around here. Pardon the pixel dust. Most of the time reserved for composing this post was instead spent figuring out new features and condensing old ones. Like the blog page on Facebook, yes no?

Today’s recipe was vegan chocolate hazelnut spread. Otherwise known as “vegan Nutella(R).” While I love the Vitamix to bits, this recipe really requires a food processor. The Vitamix simply isn’t wide enough to process 2 cups of hazelnuts, even after toasting them to soften ’em a little. I didn’t want to brick my machine and stopped short of smoothness. I like my peanut butter chunky, my tea black, and my salad undressed, so textured spread isn’t so bad.

I skipped blanching/skinning the hazelnuts. According to this 2012 article, hazelnut skins are one of the best sources of polyphenols. Polyphenols are antioxidants, chemicals which bind to free radicals. Free radicals occur as the body ages. I am going to stop trying to explain chemistry late at night. The point is, the hazelnut skins make the spread taste super-hazelnutty, and with the chocolate, there’s no aesthetic consequence to leaving them on.

Chocolate Hazelnut Spread
Modified from Brown Eyed Baker and Tales of a Kitchen

2 cups hazelnuts
1 cup coconut sugar
1/3 cup Dutch-process cocoa
dash sea salt
2/3 cup non-dairy milk (I used unsweetened coconut-almond; using a blender necessitated this much liquid. Your mileage may vary.)
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil (or other neutral-tasting oil)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Place hazelnuts in a pie plate in a preheating 350 degree oven.  Toast until fragrant, about 15 minutes.

In a small bowl, whisk together coconut sugar, cocoa, and salt.

Add hazelnuts to blender or food processor and blitz until hazelnut meal forms. Add the sugar, cocoa, and salt and blitz to combine. Depending on your machine, you may need to scrape down the sides or loosen up pockets of hazelnuts.  Add the oil and process it in.  Add the nondairy milk and vanilla and process until smooth/desired texture is achieved.  Store in jars in the fridge.

 Super-chocolate, super-hazelnut.

This was the end of the batch; note the hazelnut pockets from the corners of the Vitamix.

There’s gonna be some good fancy oatmeal this week!

Come to the Dark Side…we have vegan and gluten-free goodies.

On Hold: Chocolate Pumpkin Peanut Butter Soup

Whew!  I feel like I’ve been putting my life on hold.  It’s still on hold ’til I write one more final tomorrow.  Until I can answer the call, though, here’s a recipe, which I ate with pumpkin bread.

Pumpkin Chocolate Peanut Butter Soup

22 ounces pumpkin puree (16-ounce can plus about 6 ounces I had frozen)
12 ounces unsweetened almond milk
fresh ginger, grated
1 clove garlic, grated
cayenne to taste
3/4 cup unadulterated chunky peanut butter
1/4 cup Dutch process cocoa
2 cups water
1 16-ounce can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 bunch rainbow chard, beribboned
2 more cups water

In a large saucepan over medium heat, whisk together the pumpkin and the almond milk.  Grate in the ginger and garlic.  Stir in the cayenne.  Bring the mixture to a simmer and stir in the peanut butter until it is completely melted.  Whisk in the cocoa and 2 cups of water.  Bring mixture to a boil.  Add the beans, chard, and more water.  Cook at a pretty high simmer until the chard is wilted, about ten to fifteen minutes.  Add more water if it’s too thick for ya.

It doesn’t photograph well, but hey, it’s the phone camera.  By the bye, my life is literally on hold since I accidentally doused my phone on Monday.  Talk about a wake-up call for learning just how much I appreciate having a smartphone.  Let’s not focus on lack, though; I have gained some lovely, still walks with the freedom found in unreachability.

Come to the Dark Side…we have vegan and gluten-free goodies.

For Convenience’s Sake: Pumpkin Cheezecake


Chococat says, “All this pumpkin cheezecake for me?!”
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Decompressing: Chocolate Pecan Brownie Pie

Hello from Alexandria!  

I have been having a wonder-filled fall break back in the D.C. metro area.  After making excellent time from NJ (3.5 hours!) last Thursday, I made a pumpkin pie as soon as I arrived at my aunt and uncle’s house.

The next day was an ideal day: woke up, did my usual morning thing (morning pages, pray, meditate, exercise), made a smoothie, and then got to work cooking.  I made a Moroccan butternut-lentil stew and chewy peach brownies (for the D.C. Steam Cemetery Potluck).  I also baked two kinds of cookies to give to my brother and my friends: Anzac biscuits

 and sunflower-espresso cookies.  

The idea for sunflower seeds and espresso chocolate going well together came from dorm desperation earlier in 2011.

My aunt put in her dessert requests a while back and requested, among other items, a pecan brownie pie.  I had already figured that “fudgy pecan brownie pie” meant chocolate pecan pie filling in a brownie crust, when I decided to check my aunt’s source, Rachael Ray.  Fudgy pecan brownie pie is brownies with pecans baked in a circle?   No, thanks, I’ll stick with pie.  My mash-up of different recipes makes a decadent pie that is a little outside of my norm for dessert, but, hey, gotta break the mould once in a while.

Chocolate Pecan Brownie Pie

Brownie modified from: Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero, Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar, 138-40.
Filling modified from: Robin Robertson, 1,000 Vegan Recipes,  462-3.

Brownie Crust:
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate (I used a birthday present of a 3.5-ounce bar of Ghirardelli Twilight Delight, 72% cacao—it’s vegan and GF, technically, but sometimes I find I have a lactose reaction to it.  Use your noggin.)
1 cup pureed pure pumpkin (say that three times fast)
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup brown rice flour
1/4 cup Bob’s Red Mill All-Purpose Gluten Free Baking Flour
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/4 cup Dutch process cocoa powder
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

Chocolate Pecan Filling:
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup water
3/4 cup maple syrup
3/4 cup water (no, this is not a mistake to have two different measurements of water)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons vegan margarine
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
2 cups pecan halves, broken into bits

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Though this is pie, it needs to be baked in a metal pan.  Grease a 9” springform pan or line an 8” square with parchment (or line a metal pie plate with a parchment circle; glass is not recommended since the crust needs to be sturdy and brown a bit).

Begin making the filling: in a small bowl, MIX the cornstarch with 1/4 cup water (seriously, blend it up, because you don’t want cornstarch lumps in your filling).  In a medium-sized saucepan, bring the maple syrup, 3/4 cup water, and brown sugar to a boil over high heat.  Boil for five minutes.

While the filling is boiling, melt the chocolate for the crust.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients.  Once the chocolate is melted, stir in the oil and pumpkin carefully so as not to make the chocolate seize (cold pumpkin will do that).  Add wet to dry and mix well.  Dollop the stiff crust batter into the pan and spread to the sides. 

The weight of the filling will hold down the centre so there will be a crust around the edges of the pie, as long as you pour the filling into the middle.  Since this may take more than five minutes to assemble the crust, don’t worry, you can come back to the crust once you tend to the filling.  This recipe is an exercise in multitasking.

Once the filling has boiled for five minutes, stir in the salt and cornstarch mixture.  Continue to cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture becomes shiny, thick, and bubbles break open on the surface.  Turn down the heat and stir in the chocolate, then turn off the heat.  Add the margarine and vanilla and stir to melt completely.  Fold in the nuts and stir to coat.  Finish up the crust and put it in the pan if you haven’t already.  Pour the filling into the centre of the crust.  

Bake for 35-40 minutes or until the crust bounces back when touched, passes the toothpick test (reasonably well; there will be chocolate on the tester but it shouldn’t be wet), and the filling does not jiggle too much in the centre.  Cool completely before refrigerating.  If you used a springform pan, remove the sides of the pan once the whole assemblage has pulled away from the sides in the course of cooling.  Refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight before serving.

Aw yeah.

It also works well baked in a regular pie plate.

Come to the Dark Side…we have vegan and gluten-free goodies.