Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Best Chocolate Mousse Tart


My entire life I have loved to dance. My Dad says that I used to kick my feet in time to one of the songs that his band played while I was still in the womb (my Mom was also in this band and I have never even thought to ask her about this, odd since it was her that would have noticed). I used to make up dances in my living room for hours and then subject my Mom's friends to "recitals" when they would come over. My even got my friends involved in dancing with me.

I took a few dance classes over the course of my life and have always had difficulty with them because they require that you perform movements that someone else feels go to the music and frequently I disagree. 

When I was in high school I took up going to monthly swing dancing at the Mission Mill in Salem, Oregon. This really fun Big Band would play and all these people who were in high school would take the floor next to a group of people who probably learned when flappers were a big thing. It was great. I danced with so many partners and ALWAYS had fun. 

My best friend Margaret and I used to dance together anytime the mood struck which pretty much meant whenever a swing song came on the radio. Which in the years between 1995 and 1999 was pretty often actually because the Cherry Poppin' Daddy's (Eugene based band) had gone national, as had a few other bands that made it onto mainstream radio channels like: The Brian Setzer Orchestra, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, and the Squirrel Nut Zippers.  

We painted some houses one summer for Margaret's father and played a lot of this music and took a few breaks to dance to the songs even though it was pretty sweltering. We did some swing dancing in Hawaii after attending a hula dancing show put on for the many many bands participating in the International Music Festival and Contest of Pacific High School bands. We most likely were made fun of by many high school students from around the world who viewed us as they were dispersing. We also danced at her wedding. Her in her wedding dress and me in my maid of honor dress.
Swing dancing with Margaret at her Wedding



I have been sad to see dancing slip from my life over the years. In college I did take some dance classes, three or four semesters of African dance which was a blast and three semesters of ballet which was good in its way. Unfortunately for me, my husband is completely resistant to dancing. I mean he did dance with my once at each of most weddings we have attended, but other than that nothing. 

I have found some other ways to fill my dancing need: going to 80s Video Dance Attack a few times, dancing with my kids, and of course dancing by myself in my living room when no one is looking. My husband started telling me I should just go swing dancing by myself and he was sure I would find someone willing to dance with me. Well I have started to think I might just take him up on that and then enter some new friends Brian and Megan. 

video
 Can't you tell my little guy enjoys dancing?

Brian and Megan also really enjoy dancing. Megan also used to make up dances for hours in her living room and disliked classes as a kid because the teachers were expressing their vision for the song and her's was ignored. They have started to break Tommy (my husband) down. He actually agreed to learn with us. To a video. In our living room. So a few weeks ago Brian and Megan came over with a video and we all learned the first eight beats of foot work for the Lindy Hop. Wow, it was harder than I thought! 

Tommy was really good, he picked it up really quickly and stuck with it for about 45 minutes. When we stopped he swore up and down that this was the last time (we'll see about that). 

Now getting to the point of the story (finally) Megan had brought Tommy some sweet treats as a reward for sticking with it. She is vegan and so she thought she would introduce Tommy to some things that he can still have (now that allergy testing shows he can't have wheat, dairy, or eggs). She brought a fantastic chocolate tart thing by Hail Mary which is a great product if you don't have the desire to make this totally check them out. They make this thing that is sort of chocolate mousse like but it is vegan and grain free and raw. It also happens to be AMAZING.

I tried it and thought this is really good and I bet I can make it. Well I did. Mine are not as cute because I don't have a pan that is right for it but they taste amazing, they are creamy, rich, crunchy, and oh so chocolatey. I have lots of ideas for flavoring this thing in the future. So if you like chocolate mousse or chocolate you will LOVE this. Really I think this is the most general public friendly, vegan and paleo, recipe I have come across. 

Chocolate Mousse Tart: Vegan and Paleo

Muffin Tin (I molded tin foil to the cups so I could just pull the tarts out at the end and then pull the tin foil off, you could probably use muffin tin liners for this)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees if you want a crispy but non-raw crust. 

For the Chocolate Cookie Crust:


 1 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon  almond flour/meal
4 tablespoons cocoa powder 
4 tablespoons maple syrup
4 tablespoons coconut oil
1/8 teaspoon salt

Mix all ingredients well. Divide evenly, about 2 tablespoons of the mix into the bottom of each muffin cup. Press it down to flatten it and cover the bottom evenly, if it seems too thick (more than 1/4 inch) press some of it up against the edges to create a small cookie bowl. 

For a crispy crust:
Bake these for about 11 minutes and then let cool for about 10 minutes.  

For a Raw Crust but not crispy:
Set aside do not bake.

While the cookie crust is baking (or not) make the filling:


The Mousse Filling:


2 cups coconut oil melted
2 cups cocoa powder
1 cup maple syrup (works best if room temp)
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract (we use alcohol free)

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl until well incorporated. This should be quite runny if you used the oil melted. 


Putting it together: 


Pour the mousse filling into the muffin tins over the cookies to fill them about another 1/2 inch. If there is mousse left feel free to add more to each tin. Refridgerate for about 10 minutes or until solid. Once they are totally solid you can remove the tinfoil from the tins and peel the foil from the mouse. Then you can serve them. I like to allow them to sit for just a few minutes so they are softer. These could be left in the tin foil and stored in the fridge for a few days before serving them. 

Also you could use a better pan like a tart pan to make this. I may try out my spring form pan next time and see if I can just make one large one to cut up.


For your listening enjoyment: 



Monday, February 18, 2013

Chocolate Chip Cookies: Dairy, Egg, Grain, and Sugar Free

About 3 weeks ago my husband and son got results to some allergy testing back. I was fully expecting the diary and wheat allergy but the egg allergy took me by surprise. My husband took all of the results very hard. We have taken all of these things out of our family's diet but my husband really wanted a few things to help him through the transistion. One was pizza and the other was cookies. I tried a califlower pizza crust and that failed horribly. So then I took on the cookies because I knew I had good results with some I had tried before.

I wanted to do a chocolate chip cookie and after finding a few recipes that were close to what I was looking for ended up with this:



Grain, Egg, Dairy, and Sugar Free Chocolate Chip Cookies (Super good and nice and chewy):

1 1/2 cups ground cashews (grind very finely in a food processor, they will start to almost become cashew butter)
1/2 cup almond flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup melted virgin coconut oil
1/4 cup ground mejoul dates (I used six large ones, pit them, put in the food processor with the coconut oil)
1 tablespoon vanilla (alcohol free is our preferance)
1 tablespoon full fat canned coconut milk
chopped dark chocolate (check for diary free/gluten free)

Mix everything, except the chocolate, in the food processor until very smooth. Stir in the chocolate.

Place the dough in the fridge while you preheat the oven to 350 degrees and either line a cookie sheet with a non-stick mat or lightly grease (coconut oil works really well for this). Scoop out about a table spoon (or two for larger cookies) of the dough and place on the cookie sheet. Squish them down so they are flatened and look like a cookie, these do not melt down or expand much if at all while baking.

Bake for about 11-13 minutes.

I recently got a Nespresso machine and Aeroccino Milk frother/steamer. I have been really enjoying the quality of coffee that it makes, I am pretty picky about that. I am also amazed that with ALMOND MILK it can froth so well. The picture above is done with almond milk. Wow!