Wheatless Wednesday – Flourless Chocolate Brownie Cookies

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Flourless Chocolate Brownie Cookie1

Chocolate is one of the world’s favorite foods and GoodMotherDiet  is not immune.  Sometimes we need a break from cauliflower, quinoa and butternut squash.  Can dark chocolate really be part of a healthy diet (and not just wishful thinking)?   There are reputable claims  that dark chocolate is good for your heart (lower blood pressure +),  brain (improved cognitive function), blood sugar (what?), teeth (no way!) and even your cells (antioxidants). Dark chocolate is also high in vitamins and minerals (copper, potassium, magnesium and iron).  For specific nutritional data (or if you don’t believe me that dark chocolate is good for your teeth) click here:  http://www.fitday.com/fitness-articles/nutrition/healthy-eating/6-health-benefits-of-dark-chocolate.html

Sometimes we do know what we need.  So now the question is Cookies or Brownies?  Why choose?  These tasty morsels are a cross between a fudgy brownie and a chewy chocolate chip cookie. Need I say more?  They are also flour free and gluten free (as long as you are using a powdered sugar that doesn’t have flour added for fluffiness – yes they do that so check the label).  Should I go on or do you just want to make them now?

Flourless Chocolate Brownie Cookie

  • Servings: 24
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Flourless Chocolate Brownie Cookie2

3 cups powdered sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp kosher salt
2 large egg whites
1 large egg
4 oz. bittersweet chocolate or 2/3 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
3 Tbsn dark chocolate (70% or higher cacao)
 
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  • Chop chocolate into small pieces.
  • Mix powdered sugar, cocoa powder and salt in a large bowl, then whisk in egg whites and egg.

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  • Fold in chopped chocolate.

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  • Spoon batter by the tablespoonful onto parchment-lined baking sheets, spacing 2″ apart.
  • Bake  at 350 degrees until cookies are puffed, cracked, and set just around the edges, 14-16 minutes.
  • Transfer baking sheets to wire racks and let cookies cool before removing them from parchment.

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Wheatless Wednesday – Bittersweet Chocolate Mousse

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This week it’s all about Valentines Day, which means………………chocolate!

Dark Chocolate is known to make people happy by releasing hormones that create euphoria.  Chocolate can relieve a host of ailments, including depression, fatigue, pain and PMS, as well as rev up your sex drive!  Sounds like something we should be eating every day!  So make this decadent dessert for your sweetie and feel free to indulge knowing its all good…

Bittersweet Chocolate Mousse was the first fancy dessert I ever made.  Back in the 80’s  I signed up for a series of cookbooks from Time-Life, Great Meals in Minutes.  I received a different cookbook every month through the mail, each with a theme and wonderful, quick and easy to follow recipes.  I really enjoyed thumbing through each new book and getting great ideas. (This was before we could google everything). As a new cook, I learned how to put together a complete meal and end up with everything ready at the same time, which is really the biggest challenge in cooking. Looking up the recipe again was a bit of a walk down memory lane.  The page is now adorned with a big circle of chocolate, as if a young cook in a hurry put the Cuisinart lid down on top of the open cookbook. Another page with a favorite pasta recipe is splattered with red wine vinegar, remnants from a meal long past.

Many of the recipes I still use came from these books even though over the years I’ve made them my own.  I rarely go back and follow a recipe twice (unless I’m baking and every drop and crumb makes a difference). The Bittersweet Chocolate Mousse recipe by Helen Witty came from the Great Meals in Minutes, “Pasta Menus” cookbook.  I was a newlywed at the time and figuring out what to cook for my new husband.  I came from a large family where chili and casseroles were king and he grew up with meat and potatoes.  To make it even more of a challenge, he doesn’t like foods with mayo or any kind of cream, so it was hard to find recipes that worked for him that were still yummy to me.  I remember feeling lucky to find a dessert recipe at all that isn’t loaded with heavy cream or cream cheese.  I have made this bittersweet mousse several times since then when I’m looking for a special dessert.  It has a nice creamy texture and wonderful flavor.  It looks very elegant, yet it’s deceptively simple.
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Although this recipe needs several hours in the refrigerator to chill, you can prepare it in just a few minutes with a food processor or blender. The recipe only makes about 2 1/2 cups (2 large or 4 small servings) so chocolate lovers may want to double the recipe.  When I made this so many years ago, I used regular semi-sweet chocolate chips, because that was what was available,  and it was delicious.   You can use regular chocolate chips but a dark chocolate with at least 60% cacao will make it even more divine, as will using real vanilla and a good quality coffee or espresso.  There are so many high quality chocolates available now, Green & Black’s, Divine, CocoaVie and one that is perfect for Valentine’s Day, Chocolove xoxox that even comes with a love poem inside (to name only a few of the many).  Ghirardelli now makes a 60% Cacao bittersweet chocolate chip that is perfect for baking. I made this mousse twice, once with Ghirardelli 60% chips and then with Green & Black’s Dark 85% bar (3.5oz).  Both batches were pretty good but the Green & Black mousse was slightly less sweet and a little more bittersweet.  My taste testers this time (the Zubers) declared the first better with fruit and the second with a bit of whipped cream.  This recipe goes fast so I would recommend having everything pre-measured and ready at room temperature, especially the eggs which are more elastic and create more volume at room temperature.

This mousse would be delicious in a regular dessert dish, but the proper presentation will elevate it to something special.  You can make an exquisite dinner  but slop it on the table and it won’t get the credit it deserves, or conversely, you can beautifully arrange a few random things you have in your kitchen into a pretty nice looking tray for an impromptu gathering and people will think you’re an amazing hostess.  For this romantic and sentimental holiday, I have prepared my husband’s dessert in one of the wedding goblets in which I served the original mousse and mine in one of the beautiful crystal and gold dessert cups that I recently received from my mother in law.  These beautiful crystal dishes belonged to my husband’s grandmother, Nana Rosella and  I thought it perfect, in a time of love to remember  “Big Nana” as she was called among our family, even though she was  4’10” on a good day, because she was very generous and loving and we keep her in our hearts. As we all know, Valentine’s Day is a holiday of hearts.

Bittersweet Chocolate Mousse

  • Servings: 4 small
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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Bittersweet Chocolate Mousse

 2 Tbsn sugar
1 1/2 Tbsn unsweetened baking cocoa
2 tsp powdered instant coffee or espresso
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate pieces or dark chocolate bar, chopped
1/2 cup boiling water
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 eggs
strawberries or raspberries for garnish
pirouette cookies (optional)
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  • Pre-measure everything and have sitting out at room temperature, including the eggs.  Get a couple of cups of water boiling

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  • In this order, place sugar, cocoa, coffee powder and chocolate pieces in blender or food processor.  Flick motor on and off until ingredients are completely powdered.

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  • Turn motor on, then pour boiling water through opening in cover and process until it shows no solid bits

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  • Turn on motor again and add vanilla and eggs.  Process about 15 seconds.

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  • Pour mousse mixture into 4 individual glass dessert cups.  Cool, then chill about 3 hours or until firm.

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  • To prepare strawberries, wash and dry keeping the stem intact.  Turn it on it’s stem and make three slices, vertically, not cutting all the way through the stem.  Gently spread into a ‘flower’ shape.
  • To serve, garnish with berries and a pirouette cookie, if desired.

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Happy Valentine’s Day!

 

Meatless Monday-White Bean & Swiss Chard Soup, Arugula Salad and Dark Chocolate Bark

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White Bean and Swiss Chard Soup

Looking for a great NFL Playoff Game dinner idea? I had the pleasure of trying this lovely soup at a football party last week, compliments of Barbara McCrum. It was really delicious.  I know I went back for seconds! Barbara served the soup with an arugula salad with toasted marcone almonds and crumbled goat cheese tossed in vinaigrette. To top it off, Dawn O’Dell made the most decadent dark chocolate bark with coconut, dried fruit and sea salt.  We were all licking every last bit of chocolate off our fingers, it was that good.   I am off to Cuba this week so will not be in my kitchen, however, I am featuring Barbara and Dawn as my guest chefs today.  Thank you Barbara and Dawn for sharing!

The White Bean & Swiss Chard Soup is vegan, low fat and loaded with nutrients and protein. It is surprisingly creamy even though there is no milk or cream (due to pureeing some of the beans). You can substitute any dark leafy green for the swiss chard.  The chocolate bark is also vegan and using a 70% chocolate makes it super rich in antioxidants and considered a superfood.  The nuts and fruits add good oils plus vitamins and minerals, so this is a yummy dessert you can feel good about eating!

Of course after that fun party and delicious meal, I had to run out and buy the cookbook that both of these recipes came from, “It’s All Good” by Gwyneth Paltrow. This is a great cookbook for those on special diets, like vegan, gluten free or elimination, or even just for people who want to eat well.  It is not vegetarian but features really healthy and fairly simple but delicious recipes.  If we can all look like Gwyneth Paltrow, even better!   I’m sure GMD will be seeing more from this cookbook…

White Bean and Swiss Chard Soup

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
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2 Tbsn olive oil

2 leeks, thoroughly washed and finely chopped

1 large yellow onion, finely diced

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 bay leaf

Coarse sea salt

4 cups vegetable stock

14 oz can cannellini or gigante beans

1 bunch swiss chard, leaves roughly chopped and stems discarded

Freshly ground pepper

  • Heat the oil in a large, heavy pot over medium heat.  Add the leeks, onion, garlic and bay leaf along with a heavy pinch of salt and cook, stirring now and then, until softened but not browned, 10 minutes.
  • Add the vegetable stock and the beans to the pot and turn up the heat.  Once the soup comes to a boil, lower the heat and simmer until everything has completely softened and the soup is wonderfully fragrant, about 20 minutes. Remove and discard the bay leaf.
  • Carefully puree 2 cups of the soup in a blender or food processor and return it to the pot.  Add the swiss chard and cook over medium high heat just until they’ve wilted, about 3 minutes.  Season the soup with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Serve with a fresh tossed salad.
White Bean & Swiss Chard Soup

White Bean & Swiss Chard Soup

Dark Chocolate Bark

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Chocolate Bark

Dark Chocolate Bark with Coconut, Almonds & Sea Salt

7 oz good quality dark chocolate (like Green & Black’s 70% bars), roughly chopped

2 Tbsn sliced almonds, roasted

2 Tbsn combination dried apricots, cherries and golden raisins, chopped

2 Tbsn unsweetened coconut flakes

1 tsp Maldon sea salt

  • Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and set aside.
  • Bring a small pot of water to a boil, then lower to a simmer.  Put the chocolate in a glass or stainless steel bowl and set it over the pot of water.  Stir the chocolate until it’s completely melted and immediately pour it onto the prepared pan.
  • Evenly sprinkle the rest of the ingredients over the chocolate.
  • Put the pan in the freezer until the chocolate sets, about 15 minutes.  Break the chocolate into pieces and eat immediately, or store at room temperature in an airtight container if your house is cool or in the refrigerator if its summertime.

Chef’s Tip:  The more you stir or whisk the chocolate, the shinier it gets.  Feel free to use other dried fruits and nuts like cashews, hazelnuts, dried cherries, spicy red chili flakes,

etc.