Hey everybody! This is Christine, the NMA’s little sister. I’m so excited to be writing this guest post! After all, I have been a busy bee following this blog, commenting, sharing it on Facebook, working on the logo, and trying out the recipes for myself. Now it’s my turn to share what I love: desserts! As Matt has mentioned, I work as a baker for a vegetarian restaurant. Before that, I worked for two years as the head baker at a boutique style cupcakery.
For the next month, I will be checking in each Friday with a new healthy recipe to satisfy your sweet tooth! I find people are unnecessarily intimidated by baking mainly from what I believe are poorly written recipes and most of all inaccurate baking times. So for this first recipe I thought we could ease into it by keeping the oven off. Hopefully we can enjoy some awesome desserts that encompass the same real-food (not health-food!) values we apply to the rest of our meals.
The idea for this series of dessert posts occurred to me after reading Matt’s article on the two faces of vegetarianism (the soy “not dog” versus the fabulous fresh goodies from the farmer’s market). I was making a vegan blackbottom cheesecake, and while it looked pretty and tasted yummy, the ingredients were nagging me. All I could think about were all the different varieties of soy product that went in it. Often a vegan dessert is just a copy of a traditional dessert, really no different than a not-dog copy of a hot dog. It just seems like an odd choice when we put so much into planning our meals the rest of the day.
I guess that explains the guilt that people usually associate with eating dessert. Even traditional non-vegan desserts have a guilty stigma; think about how often they are described as sinful. That’s probably because in every other meal we choose canola oil over butter, wheat flour over white, etc. Then in one sitting we eat more butter than we normally would have all week.
I know, I know, a dessert is supposed to be a treat (especially for people who are vegan) so just ease up, right? Sure, I do believe we deserve to indulge, I just think there is a better way. We are going to get creative using natural sweeteners, flour alternatives, and healthy fats. You like pumpkin pie right? Carrot cake? Zucchini bread? Those are a couple of examples of veggies we’ve already accepted into the dessert world; now it’s time to introduce some more, starting with the avocado. (Oh wait, an avocado’s a fruit!)
Let’s get started with this week’s NMA dessert: chocolate peanut butter mousse! (Shh it’s made from avocado!)
I have heard of using avocado and chocolate together (chocamole, anyone?) but I was wary of it tasting healthy in a contrived way, without any of the fun indulgent part. Boy was I wrong! I developed this recipe just starting with the avocados and chocolate, tasting it as I went and deciding what it needed it terms of sweetness and chocolatey goodness. For the chocolate I used Baker’s brand which is made only from chocolate, sugar, cocoa butter, an emulsifier, and vanilla. Unfortunately it shares equipment that processes milk, so if you want true vegan go with Tropical Source semi-sweet chips. The addition of the peanut butter really sealed the deal on making sure there was no avocado aftertaste. The end result was so creamy and delicious. People will be amazed when they find out the secret! Here’s what I came up with:
Chocolate Mousse with Avocado Recipe
4 oz semisweet chocolate
1 tbs canola oil
2 tbs cocoa
2 tbs pure maple syrup
2 tbs honey (if you don’t eat honey, agave nectar or more maple syrup is fine)
2 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt
1/4 cup natural peanut butter
Put the chocolate in a microwave safe bowl and stir to coat with the canola oil. Microwave for 45 seconds. Stir, then microwave for 30 seconds. Repeat with decreasing times until the chocolate is melted and smooth. In a separate bowl, mash the avocado roughly with a fork or pastry cutter, then whisk to get the lumps out. You can use a food processor if you’d like, but I just beat the crap out of it with a hand whisk. Combine the melted chocolate with the smooth avocado. Add the remaining ingredients except for the peanut butter. (Measure the syrup and honey with the same spoon you used for the oil so that it slides right out.) Use a spatula to force the mousse through a fine mesh strainer to seriously get any last lumps out. Then add the peanut butter. Makes four servings. Small but rich! Top with sprinkles, fruit, or anything your heart desires and dig in.
Hope you enjoy this chocolate peanut butter mousse and feel good about eating it too! I really was nuts for it. It’s delicious room temperature or chilled. I was particularly stoked about how well it firmed up in the fridge overnight- I’m thinking with a few alterations it has potential for delicious (and healthy) icebox pie filling! But that’s for another post…
Until next Friday, stay sweet!