Miso Blondies

Miso Blondies

I admit, it has been awhile, but these miso blondies are a recipe worth coming back for. Inspired by the current trend toward more savoury desserts (like the miso éclairs at Libertine Bakehouse here in Montreal) and a recent trip to Japan (which I should probably get around to writing about at SOME point), they are the perfect combination of delicious and fool proof. Even chef said that they were some of the best baking he has tasted in a long time, period. Perhaps he knew there would be hell to pay if his review was anything less than positive, but all of that aside, I encourage you to make them and decide for yourself whether or not they are worth adding to your staple baking rotation.

Other than the miso itself, which adds both necessary salt and a touch of je ne sais quoi to these blondies, the real kicker is the addition of Marich Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Cashews baked into the batter. I’ve baked with Marich chocolates in the past and they are easily the best chocolate-coated confections I’ve ever tried. They don’t skimp on the coating and they also use good chocolate, not the crappy stuff that tastes and feels like wax. In a recipe with such few ingredients, it really pays to use only the best quality products you can get your hands on. Marich chocolates fit the bill.

I can’t really think of any negatives when it comes to these miso blondies. You only need one bowl, they take less than 45 minutes to make, all in, and they’re loaded with sweet salty decadence in every bite. I guess the only downside is that you’ll eventually run out and have to make more… Is that really such a bad thing?

Miso Blondies
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 8 blondies
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup butter, melted
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. mugi miso
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup AP flour
  • pinch salt
  • ¼ tsp. baking powder
  • ¾ cup chopped Marich dark chocolate sea salt cashews
Instructions
  1. Whisk together the warm melted butter and miso until incorporated. Whisk in the olive oil. Let stand for about 10 minutes to let all the flavours meld together.
  2. Whisk the egg and brown sugar into the melted butter miso mixture.
  3. Whisk in the flour, salt, and baking powder.
  4. Finally, stir in the chopped chocolate covered cashews.
  5. Pour into a lined or greased loaf pan and bake at 350F for about 25 minutes.
  6. Cool, slice, and enjoy.
Notes
If you make a double batch it is enough to fill a 9X9 pan. You will just have to cook them a bit longer.

**The chocolate used in this recipe was graciously provided by Marich chocolates, however the opinions are my own.

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Water Chocolate Mousse

Water Chocolate Mousse

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I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I’m particularly particular about my chocolate mousse. Chocolate mousse should showcase just that, the chocolate that goes into making it. Chocolate-flavoured whipped cream just isn’t going to cut it. For that reason, I’ve always omitted dairy fat from my mousse recipes. Typically I use all of 3 ingredients: chocolate, eggs, and a pinch of sugar. Well and salt too. Chocolate and salt are like two peas in a pod.

I’m happy to report that I’ve managed to simplify matters even further. Goodbye eggs, hello water. You heard right, water. The immortal enemy of chocolate. Yet despite the fact that even a whisp of steam from a double boiler can cause chocolate to split, somehow pouring boiling hot water over it and whisking like a mad man (or woman), does not. In fact it leads to quite the opposite; a silky smooth mousse that is pure chocolate to boot. I won’t blame you for not believing me, but it’s the whole-hearted truth. If you don’t try and see for yourself, I’m sorry to say you’re missing out.

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Water Chocolate Mousse
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 3-4 servings
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup plus 2 tbsp. boiling water
  • 2-3 tbsp. white sugar (depending on how sweet you want the mousse to be)
  • 1 bar 85% Green & Black's Organic Chocolate
  • Maldon salt, to garnish
Instructions
  1. Bring the water to a boil.
  2. Whisk in the sugar until dissolved. If the mixture cools drastically microwave it briefly to bring it back to a boil.
  3. Break the chocolate into a bowl.
  4. Prepare an ice bath and have 2-3 ramekins ready to portion the mousse in to. It sets up quickly so you want to have everything you need ready to go.
  5. Pour the boiling water/sugar mixture over the chocolate. Whisk until melted and homogeneous.
  6. Place the bowl with your chocolate mixture in it into your prepared ice bath. Continue to whisk until the mixture cools and thickens. It should be the texture of stiff whipped cream.
  7. Portion into ramekins.
  8. Chill and service garnished with Maldon salt.

DSC_0021**Thank you to Green & Black’s Organic Chocolate for supplying the chocolate for this post.

Double Chocolate Mint Cookies

Double Chocolate Mint Cookies

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Ask anyone and they will tell you I’m not a huge fan of mint chocolate. More often than not it ends up tasting like cheap chocolate mixed with toothpaste, and I just can’t endorse that. However, I do like cookies. Especially chewy double chocolate cookies laden with an almost overwhelming amount of chocolate chunks. And if said chocolate chunks happen to have a subtle, natural (read: non-toothpastey) mint flavour, then I can be ok with that. Green & Black’s Organic Mint Dark Chocolate is ideal in this situation. It has just a hint of real peppermint oil so that the chocolate doesn’t get lost in the mix. Plus, if you’re ok with the fact that it *may contain* dairy, but milk isn’t listed as one of the ingredients, then these double chocolate mint cookies are totally vegan as well. I’m not sure you can call me a convert quite yet but these cookies make a convincing case for the viability of GOOD mint chocolate.

Double Chocolate Mint Cookies
 
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Serves: 9-12 cookies
Ingredients
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. baking powder
  • ⅓ cup coconut oil
  • ⅔ cup brown sugar
  • 1 bar Green & Black's Organic Mint Dark Chocolate, chopped
  • 2-3 tbsp. water, as needed
Instructions
  1. Cream together the brown sugar and coconut oil until smooth.
  2. Add in the flour, cocoa power, salt, and baking powder. Mix to combine. If the dough is too dry and doesn't hold together when you squeeze a clump of it in your hands, add water to reach the desired consistency.
  3. Lastly, mix in the Green & Black's Organic Mint Dark Chocolate.
  4. Portion onto a parchment or Silpat lined sheet tray and bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes. The tops of the cookies will lose their sheen once cooked.
  5. Cool and enjoy.

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La Tablette de Miss Choco

La Tablette de Miss Choco

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A mid-afternoon class cancellation on a Tuesday and a chocolate-less apartment can only result in a single outcome in my world, that is, going to hunt down chocolate. By this I don’t mean a quick jaunt to the grocery store to snatch up a couple of Lindt bars that are on special 2/$6. No, what I’m referring to is a trek across the city at all costs in search of the best selection of single origin, bean-to-bar chocolate Montreal has to offer; and I found it!

Enter La Tablette de Miss Choco, a specialty chocolate shop offering bean-to-bar varieties from all over the world. It’s the exact type of place a person like me should never be left alone in for any extended period of time, but with no one to stop me and a minimal desire to exercise control, I decided to risk it. I make it my mission to seek out chocolate wherever I am, home or abroad, and I have never seen this kind of selection in one place. It was, quite frankly, overwhelming (mainly because I knew I wasn’t going to be able to buy THE EVERYTHING, and didn’t want the pressure of having to narrow it down).

Thankfully they were beyond helpful in explaining the layout of the store and offering samples based on what I described that I liked in chocolate. At La Tablette, you can get bars made in Canada, the US, Europe, or ones that are made specifically where the beans were grown (Vietnam, Madagascar, etc.). I loved the fact that I had never seen 90% of the brands before anywhere else. After tasting Peruvian chocolate that was distinctly reminiscent of dried cherries, virgin chocolate that due to the non-roasted beans was mild and subtle, and a bar from Madagascar that melted luxuriously on your tongue and left the most pleasant, citrusy aftertaste, it was time for the arduous task of deciding which ones to buy and take home with me. I opted for the aforementioned bars from Peru and Madagascar, as well as a 70% bar from Vietnam, and some Willie’s Cacao milk chocolate for good measure (which I may or may not have devoured an entire bar of walking around Prague last summer when I was first introduced to it).

Whether you are as much of a chocolate fiend as I am, or want to begin exploring the world of bean-to-bar chocolate, La Tablette de Miss Choco is a phenomenal starting point. Don’t be afraid to tell them what you like – milk, dark, how dark? Straight up chocolate or other ingredients mixed in? Citrusy, bitter notes or robust berry and smoky tobacco notes? – and they can guide you in the direction of what bars you are most likely to enjoy. They also offer various classes on the chocolate making process, history of chocolate, fair-trade chocolate, and more, if you want to up your chocolate IQ even further. Or just go and taste, purchase, and enjoy, because like good wine, good chocolate is meant to be savoured.

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La Tablette de Miss Choco

838 Avenue du Mont-Royal Est, Montreal, QC
514-394-1958

latablette.ca

Vegan Carrot Cake Cupcakes and a birthday dedication

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I’m a planner. If I could pencil in where I’m going to be this afternoon, tomorrow, the day after that, 5 years from now, I would probably do it. I live my life by setting goals and accomplishing them, sometimes at the expense of neglecting to see opportunities that are staring me right in the face, or realizing that the path I’ve set out on isn’t even what I want. Over time I’ve gotten better at adapting to the unknowns that life throws at you, but “going with the flow” is still something I will always have to work on. It’s an ongoing process but I’ve figured out how to balance my “J” qualities with a little bit of “P”, such that I can survive when things don’t work out quite as planned.

After all, sometimes the best things in life are the ones that happen to be the most unexpected. Like reconnecting with someone you haven’t seen in a long time who also happens to reside a world away. Someone who was the most important person in my life for the better part of a year and then gone. Having disappeared as quickly as it fell into my lap, I spent awhile trying to reconcile the fact that maybe fate put him there for a reason, in that place, at that time, but that was all it was ever going to be. It was a reality I tried to accept, and for the most part, succeeded in doing so. But every now and then I would have a random dream, thought, intuition that there was more. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in life, it’s that if your gut is telling you something, it’s probably right. And thankfully, it was.

I’m still as much of a planner as ever, but when life hands you beautiful brown eyes and a smile belonging to someone who is smart, witty, caring, and a continuation of adjectives that will never do the real person justice, you embrace the welcome detour that takes you from Point A, to B, to C, rather than the original journey from Point A to C, and never look back. And when cette individual’s favourite cake is carrot cake, and it just so happens to be his birthday, you dedicate your carrot cake recipe to him. Because what else would you do?

J, whatever serendipitous stroke of luck, fate, or kismet brought you back into the centre of my universe, I thank it every day. You challenge me and make me want to be a better person day in and day out, for you, for me, and for us. You’re right, there’s no earthly way of knowing which direction we are going, but there are 360 degrees of possibility from whatever angle I look at it. I couldn’t have planned it better even if I tried. Happy birthday.

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5.0 from 1 reviews
Vegan Carrot Cake Cupcakes
 
Serves: 12
Ingredients
  • 2¼ cups flour
  • 1 tbsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ½ tbsp. cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. nutmeg
  • ¾ cup shredded coconut
  • ½ cup pumpkin seeds
  • ½ cup sunflower seeds
  • 1 bar Green & Black's Organic Ginger Chocolate, chopped
  • ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 cup non-dairy milk
  • ½ cup canola oil
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 cups grated carrots
Instructions
  1. Line 12 muffin cups with muffin liners and heat your oven to 325F.
  2. Mix together the dry ingredients, from the flour to the chocolate.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the remaining ingredients, whisking or stirring to blend.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until just incorporated.
  5. Portion the batter into the prepared muffin cups. Bake at 325F for 30-40 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.
  6. Cool and top with the frosting of your choice (or just eat as-is).

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