Chocolate Pumpkin Brownies

Chocolate Pumpkin Brownies

Fall desserts often involve pumpkin and warming spices, but who says you can’t work a little chocolate into the mix? These Green & Black’s Organic chocolate brownies topped with pumpkin almond butter are the perfect blend of two favourite desserts, pumpkin pie and brownies. With Thanksgiving fast approaching, there’s no better time to try them out than for your holiday meal!

*Recipe courtesy of Regina Braun in collaboration with Green & Black’s

Chocolate Pumpkin Brownies
 
Ingredients
  • 4 ounces Green & Black’s Organic 85% Dark Chocolate
  • ⅓ cup butter or coconut oil
  • 1-1/2 cups coconut sugar or unrefined sugar
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup white whole wheat flour (or regular whole wheat flour)
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • Pumpkin Almond Butter Frosting:
  • ¼ cup almond butter
  • 2 tablespoons pumpkin puree
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1-3 tablespoons almond milk (or milk of choice)
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 350° F. Line an 8 or 9-inch square pan with parchment paper.
  2. In a sauce pan melt Green & Black’s Organic 85% Dark Chocolate and butter/coconut oil on low heat while stirring regularly.
  3. Once melted, stir in the sugar and pumpkin puree, then eggs and vanilla extract.
  4. In a separate bowl whisk together flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, and sea salt. Add the dry to the wet ingredients and fold in without over mixing.
  5. Pour the brownie batter into prepared pan and bake for 30-35 minutes. For fudgy brownies a toothpick inserted into the centre should come out with just a few wet crumbs attached.
  6. Let the brownies cool before frosting and cutting.
  7. For the frosting, stir together all ingredients in a small bowl. Add more milk to achieve desired consistency. Thicker frosting has to be spread, while thinner icing can be drizzled.

 

Holiday Cooking on a Budget

Holiday Cooking on a Budget

No time of year warrants sticking to a budget quite like the holidays, yet December is probably the most difficult month to be a penny-pincher; especially when it comes to food. First you’ve got the turkey. A good one will set you back at least $60-70. Then you’ve got to figure out what sides to pair with it. Everyone has their favourites so there really aren’t any you can eliminate. You can’t forget dessert either. Christmas chocolates? Yes please. But $15 for a box of Quality Street or Turtles, say what?

Thankfully good food doesn’t have to be expensive. Here are 3 dishes you can prepare to serve up to 6 people, for less than $30. If I did my math correctly, that’s less than $5 per person.

Your friends and family may throw a fit if you don’t have turkey for the holidays, so instead of cooking a whole bird, try opting for legs instead. They are dirt cheap – between $2.50 to $3 per leg – and braising them ensures they stay moist and tender, unlike that dry breast meat that no one likes.

For a side, try making a chickpea salad. Beans and legumes are a great way to add bulk to your meal and are a blank canvas to add a plethora of other flavours. The red and green colours of pomegranate and brussels sprouts scream “holidays” to me!

Finally, dessert is required at all holiday meals, regardless of how full you are. Grandma’s coconut snowballs are the easiest treats you will ever make in your life. You don’t even have to turn the oven on. Still they are a crowd favourite year after year.

I don’t know about you but that’s one tasty sounding budget meal right there. It will have everyone at your table saying “Merry Christmas”, your wallet included!

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BRAISED TURKEY LEGS

Serves 4-6 – costs $14.50

Ingredients

  • 4 turkey legs
  • 1 sweet onion, chopped
  • 3 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2-3 cups chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp. dried herbs (I used a combination of rosemary, thyme and oregano)
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. Season the turkey legs with salt and pepper and brown them in a large skillet over medium-high heat. You are just looking to sear them, not cook them through.
  2. Remove the browned turkey from the skillet and place it in a large, oven-proof dish.
  3. Add the vegetables and dried herbs to the same skillet you browned the turkey in. Deglaze with chicken stock and bring to a boil.
  4. Pour the vegetables and stock over the turkey legs. Cover with foil and bake at 350F for 3-3.5h, or until tender. You can then use the braising liquid to make a gravy if you like, or you can serve the turkey as is. The turkey can also be braised a day ahead of time and just warmed up when you are ready to serve.

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CHICKPEA SALAD WITH BRUSSELS SPROUTS AND POMEGRANATE

Serves 4-6 – costs $5 total

Ingredients

  • 1 14 oz. can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed thoroughly
  • 1 cup pomegranate seeds
  • 1 1/2 cups raw brussels sprouts, shredded
  • 1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp. honey
  • 2-3 tbsp. white wine vinegar
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. To make the dressing, whisk together the mustard and honey until smooth. Whisk in the vinegar and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Combine the chickpeas, pomegranate, and brussels sprouts in a bowl. Pour in the dressing and stir to combine.
  3. This salad is best eaten after a couple of hours because it allows the dressing to marinate the chickpeas and brussels sprouts. You can ever make ahead of time to serve the next day.

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COCONUT SNOWBALLS

Makes 20 balls – costs $7.50 total

Ingredients

  • 2 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 6-8 oz. chocolate chips (about 1/2 of a typical 350g package)
  • shredded coconut, as needed (about 1-1 1/2 cups)

Instructions

  1. Stir together all ingredients except the shredded coconut.
  2. Roll the mixture into bite-sized balls and coat each with coconut.
  3. Refrigerate if not eaten immediately.
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Marble Chocolate Bundt Cake

A couple weekends ago we celebrated Thanksgiving here in Canada. But not only did we get together for the holiday, all of my family came from out of town to celebrate by parent’s 25th wedding anniversary. 25 years come November, can you believe it? Well I’m sure you can, but as their child, it makes me feel old! Man imagine what it feels like for them!
Chocolate Bundt Cake
In this day and age where everyone seems to be getting divorced left, right and centre, it’s really an impressive feat. They met in high school which means they were even younger than I am now. Even at 19, I cannot picture meeting someone and spending the rest of my life with them.
Needless to say, my parents have always been role models for me in terms of what I want out of a relationship and how you should treat your significant other. Happy early Anniversary to you both, I love you more than words could ever describe.
For our little celebration, I helped plan everything from a scavenger hunt to a nice dinner out. Last minute we were going to buy a cake to surprise them. But I thought to myself, “Mallory, you cannot buy a crappy cake from Safeway for your parent’s 25th anniversary. It’s just not happening”. And thus, I guilt-tripped myself into making one from scratch. Except that I had to do it all in secret. While they were off on the scavenger hunt I put it all together. We were staying out at our condo in Canmore so I had to make the batter in our place and then run over and bake it off in my cousin’s room. Cake is not overly discrete in terms of the smell it leaves behind! Then we had to sneak it into the restaurant without them noticing. We pulled it off though.
Thank goodness for bundt pans! I could have never made a layer cake in that time frame. Let’s face it, I don’t have the patience to make a layer cake on the best of days. I had actually made this recipe once before for my birthday probably 5ish years ago. So easy to put together and it’s guaranteed to be a hit. Because it is part chocolate cake and part white cake, there is a little something for everyone. Unless of course you are eating it with me, in which case I hoard all of the chocolate pieces for myself. Let them eat cake! But only the white stuff.
*Sorry for the poor quality pictures. I didn’t have enough time to do a photo session before we got to the restaurant so the lighting was not the best for photography purposes!
Chocolate Bundt Cake
Chocolate Bundt Cake
Chocolate Bundt Cake

MARBLE CHOCOLATE BUNDT CAKE
Adapted from Anna Olson
Makes 1 bundt cake
Ingredients
1 cup butter, softened
2 cups white sugar
4 eggs
2 cups light sour cream
4 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
100g dark chocolate, melted
1 cup dark chocolate chips
1 cup white chocolate chips
½ cup white chocolate chips, melted
½ cup dark chocolate chips
3 tbsp. heavy cream, heated
Instructions
1. Heat your oven to 300F. Liberally grease a bundt pan and line it with flour, shaking to remove any excess.
 
2. Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. You can do this with a mixer or by hand.
 
3. Add the eggs and beat until smooth, then add the sour cream and do the same.
 
4. Then add the flour, salt, baking powder and soda. Stir until just incorporated.
 
5.  Divide the batter in half, adding the melted chocolate to one of the portions. Stir the dark chocolate chips into the white batter and the white chocolate chips into the dark batter.
 
6. Dollop the batter alternately around the bundt pan. Swirl a knife through it to create a more marbled effect if you like.
 
7. Bake at 300F for 60-75 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
 
8. Cool for 20-30 minutes before flipping the cake out onto the plate or platter of your choice.
 
9. Once it has cooled to room temperature, drizzle it with melted white chocolate. Mix the dark chocolate chips into the hot cream and stir until combined. Drizzle this ganache over the cake as well.
 
10.  Slice and serve!

Chocolate Bundt Cake
Chocolate Bundt Cake