Tag Archives: Chocolate

Cookies Dessert Gluten-Free

Dark Chocolate Meringue Cookies

Valentine’s Day is on Sunday! Travis and I never typically go out to eat on the actual day because we try to avoid the restaurant madness (and fixed-price menus!). So Travis and I have plans to go out on Saturday night instead, and then we’ll likely stay at home and cook together on Sunday night.

Dark Chocolate Meringue Cookies -- www.littlechefbigappetite.com

Every year I like to bake something for Valentine’s Day, but baking for Travis can be tricky because he only likes cookies (or chocolate-covered strawberriesand he only will eat cookies that are either gluten-free or made with whole wheat flour. I have a healthy, healthy guy on my hands, friends!

Travis was away this past weekend, so I spent some time in the kitchen experimenting with different recipes. Meringue cookies are gluten-free by nature, so I decided to make dark chocolate meringue cookies. Boy, did they turn out well!

Dark Chocolate Meringue Cookies -- www.littlechefbigappetite.com

Whether or not you have a special Valentine in your life, you have to try these cookies. All you need is six simple ingredients, all of which I already had in my pantry and fridge and I’m sure you do, too!

Dark Chocolate Meringue Cookies -- www.littlechefbigappetite.com

One important piece of advice: don’t microwave the chocolate. The best way to melt chocolate for baking is with a double boiler.

If you don’t have one, they are incredibly easy to make at home using existing kitchen equipment.

Dark Chocolate Meringue Cookies -- www.littlechefbigappetite.com

Hope you guys love these delicious chocolatey cookies and Happy (early) Valentine’s Day!

 

What do you have planned for Valentine’s Day (or weekend)? Do you prefer to go out to eat or stay at home?

 

Dark Chocolate Meringue Cookies
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 16-18 cookies
Ingredients
  • 2 egg whites
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon lemon juice
  • pinch salt
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • 6 oz. 50-60% cacao dark chocolate, melted and cooled
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries, separated and not stuck together
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Use a hand mixer or stand mixer (fitted with a whisk) to beat the egg whites, vanilla, lemon juice and salt until foamy. Slowly add in the sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. Fold in the melted chocolate and cherries (Make sure none of the dried cherries are in clumps).
  3. Scrape the batter into a one gallon plastic bag. Cut a one half-inch hole in one corner of the bag. Pipe cookies into 2 inch rounds on the prepared baking sheets, leaving about 1 inch of space in between each cookie.
  4. Bake for 15 minutes, or until the outside of the cookies is set and dry. Allow to cool completely on the baking sheets, about 15 minutes. Use a spatula to remove the cookies from the baking sheet and store in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
 

Cookies Dessert Gluten-Free

Gluten-Free Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies with Chocolate Chips and Raisins

Is this the longest cookie name ever?

I really couldn’t shorten it – these cookies have ALL THE INGREDIENTS.

Gluten-Free Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies with Chocolate Chips and Raisins Recipe

If you follow me on Instagram, you might have seen a few photos of these cookies over the weekend.

I hadn’t made a new cookie recipe in awhile, because I usually just stick to our two favorites: my amazing Whole Wheat Dark Chocolate Chips Cookies and these Gluten-Free Almond Butter Cookies.

But this weekend, Travis was begging for cookies (rare!, so I jumped on it) and I was feeling creative.

Gluten-Free Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies with Chocolate Chips and Raisins Recipe

After a bit of experimenting in the kitchen, I came up with these bad boys. Like all LCBA recipes, I aimed to make these healthier than a traditional cookie by reducing the amount of butter and added sugar. But don’t worry – they still get plenty of flavor from the peanut butter and sweetness from the chocolate chips and raisins.

And a side note, I know you might be thinking, “Chocolate chips and raisins in the same cookie?”

Just trust me on this one, would’ya?

Gluten-Free Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies with Chocolate Chips and Raisins Recipe

To guarantee these cookies are gluten-free, make sure your rolled oats are certified GF (some are not).

Next time, I may change these up a bit: dark chocolate or milk chocolate chips instead of semi-sweet or golden raisins in place of regular.

Gluten-Free Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies with Chocolate Chips and Raisins Recipe

Serve these cookies with a cold glass of milk and happy dunking, friends!

 

Gluten-Free Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies with Chocolate Chips and Raisins
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 2 dozen
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • ½ cup natural peanut butter (smooth or crunchy)
  • ½ cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¾ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1.5 cups gluten-free rolled oats
  • ⅓ cup + 1 Tablespoon semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • ¼ cup raisins
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl combine the butter, peanut butter and brown sugar. Beat until creamy. Add the egg, vanilla, cinnamon, and baking soda. Mix well.
  3. Stir in the rolled oats, chocolate chips and raisins.
  4. Drop by the teaspoon onto the lined baking sheet, placing the cookies about 1.5 inches apart. Bake for 10 minutes, until the edges begin to brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the baking sheet for 1 minute. Use a spatula to remove the cookies from the sheet and place on a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
Notes
* Cookies are best eaten the same day.
 

Breakfast Smoothies Vegan

Mint Chocolate Protein Smoothie

This post is sponsored by Almond Breeze Almondmilk. The recipe and all opinions are my own.

 

Hi guys! How is your week going so far? I have a deeeeeelicious smoothie recipe to share with you all today.

In my last job, I had to wake up very early in order to squeeze in some gym time before work. Given that my time in the morning was limited, I was always searching for fast breakfast options that I could inhale in under 2 minutes or easily bring in the car on the way to work. Protein smoothies quickly became my go-to, especially in warmer weather. I loved that I could prep everything the night before and the next morning I would have a nutritious breakfast in under one minute – no cooking required!

Mint Chocolate Protein Smoothie Recipe l www.littlechefbigappetite.com

Currently, I am very fortunate that my new job allows me a lot more time in the morning. I now have time to cook myself a meal for breakfast (usually eggs or protein pancakes) so protein smoothies have gone to the wayside.

Two weeks ago, I found my protein powder buried far back in my pantry and realized how long it’s been since I’ve made one of my favorite smoothies. The next day this Mint Chocolate Protein Smoothie was born. If you love mint chocolate chip ice cream (like me!), this smoothie is right up your alley! Fresh mint is key here. I’ve tried this with peppermint extract and it not nearly the same (that version tasted very artificial).

Mint Chocolate Protein Smoothie Recipe l www.littlechefbigappetite.com

A handful of spinach lends this drink its bright green color, but I promise you won’t be able to taste it at all! The mint are chocolate are the flavors that really shine through.

Try this smoothie for breakfast or even dessert! If you don’t have any chocolate protein powder on hand, I think 1/2 cup greek yogurt and some cocoa powder would be a good substitute. You may need to add a bit of stevia for extra sweetness.

Enjoy!

 

Mint Chocolate Protein Smoothie Recipe
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Serves: 1
Ingredients
  • 1 cup Almond Breeze Almondmilk Coconutmilk
  • 1 scoop Chocolate Protein Powder
  • 1 handful fresh spinach (about ⅓ cup)
  • ½ frozen banana
  • 3-4 fresh mint leaves, to taste
  • ½ Tablespoon almond butter
  • 2 ice cubes
  • cocoa powder (optional)
Instructions
  1. Place all ingredients in a blender and blend on high until smooth. Garnish with fresh mint leaves and cocoa powder.
 

Dessert Tips and Tricks

Perfect Dark Chocolate Covered Strawberries

You may remember from a few weeks ago that I made Travis Dark Chocolate-Covered Strawberries for Valentine’s Day.

Perfect Dark Chocolate Covered Strawberries Recipe

Over the last few years, I’ve made these strawberries numerous times and they are secretly SO easy. Even though Valentine’s Day is over, there is no reason you can’t make these for another occasion – that is why I wanted to share them on the blog today.

Perfect Dark Chocolate Covered Strawberries Recipe

I love Chocolate Covered Strawberries because are a relatively  healthy dessert and this version is made with just TWO ingredients, so they come together in no time!

The biggest trick to perfecting your strawberries is all in how you melt the chocolate. For years growing up I watched my mom melt chocolate in her fancy glass double boiler.

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(Stock Image)

In college she bought me my own double boiler, but when I was packing up my things to move across the country to LA, I decided it was just too big and not worth shipping. I’ve survived the last year and a half without one because of one very nifty trick that I will show you today.

The purpose of a double boiler is to melt chocolate slowly without burning it. If you melt it too quickly (i.e. in the microwave or directly in a pot on the stove) then you will run the risk of nasty burnt bits that won’t look very appealing on your strawberries. With a double boiler the steam from the simmering water below the chocolate is what causes it to melt, as opposed to direct heat.

If you don’t have a double-boiler at home, here is what you do:

First, find a small sauce pan and a glass dish. The base of the glass dish must be large enough to SIT ON TOP of the sauce pan without falling in. Fill the sauce pan with 2 inches of water, place it on the stove and bring the water to a boil.

Perfect Dark Chocolate Covered Strawberries Recipe

Once the water boils, bring it to a simmer and place the glass dish on top of the sauce pan. Put the chocolate in the glass dish and stir the chocolate constantly until it is melted.

Perfect Dark Chocolate Covered Strawberries Recipe

Constant stirring ensures that the chocolate closest to the bottom of the dish does not burn. Your goal is velvety-smooth chocolate.

Perfect Dark Chocolate Covered Strawberries Recipe

Once the chocolate is melted and smooth, remove it from the heat immediately.

You must move quickly here because you cannot let the chocolate harden, which will happen if you allow it to sit for awhile untouched.

Perfect Dark Chocolate Covered Strawberries Recipe

Next, pick up your washed strawberries by their stems. Dip them in the chocolate, twisting in a circle as you remove them to ensure that the chocolate coats all the way around the strawberry. Lay the dipped strawberries on a large plate or dish lined with wax paper.

Perfect Dark Chocolate Covered Strawberries Recipe

That’s it! Then you just let the strawberries cool and harden at room temperature for about 30 minutes. Good luck waiting. They sure are tempting…

Perfect Dark Chocolate Covered Strawberries Recipe

Store the strawberries in the fridge so they do not melt. I think they taste delicious cold!

Perfect Dark Chocolate Covered Strawberries Recipe

You can make these strawberries for someone special or you can make them just for yourself! Everyone needs to spoil themselves once in awhile, am I right?

Dark Chocolate Covered Strawberries
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 20-25
Ingredients
  • 20-25 medium Strawberries (washed and dried)
  • ½ cup Dark Chocolate Chips (or 1 bar of good quality dark chocolate)
Instructions
  1. Wash and dry your strawberries thoroughly with a paper towel. The chocolate won't stick if they are wet. Put aside.
  2. Using a double boiler, melt the chocolate until it smooth and velvety, stirring constantly. Immediately remove the chocolate from the double boiler.
  3. Pick the strawberries up from their stems and dip them in the melted chocolate, twisting as you remove to ensure the chocolate coats all sides. Place the dipped strawberries on a large plate lined with wax paper. Allow the strawberries to cool and harden for 30 minutes. Store in the refrigerator.
 

 

Dessert

Healthy Blondies

Recently, my friend from elementary school, Ben, reached out to me on Facebook after seeing my blog (Hi Ben!). I hadn’t heard from him in years, so when he asked me if I ever made my mom’s congo bars it brought back a flood of memories. I hadn’t thought about my mom’s beloved congo bars in ages. In fact, I couldn’t even recall that last time she made them.

But when i was growing up, my mom used to always make Congo Bars. By the way, if you’re sitting there scratching your head, wondering what the heck a congo bar is, then think of it like a blondie. In fact, I don’t even know if there is a discernible difference between a congo bar and a blondie. Is there?

Healthy Blondies Recipe - Little Chef Big Appetite

Whenever I had friends come over for playdates, study sessions, sleepovers, etc. there seemed to always be a batch of ooey-gooey melty congo bars.

Ben, in particular, loved my mom’s congo bars. In fact, he loved them so much that he made up a song and dance about them.  No joke. My mom loved this, of course, so just about every week she asked me if she should make a batch of congo bars just for Ben (my mom is one of the most thoughtful, generous women you will ever meet and if she knows you love one of her baked goods, she will make sure to always bake it for you).

Ben’s comment got me craaaaaaaaaaaaaving one of my mom’s congo bars. So, I set out a healthier version of my beloved childhood treat.

Healthy Blondies Recipe - Little Chef Big Appetite

In this version we’re using chickpeas.

Yup, chickpeas. No flour. These are gluten-free. In fact, they’re vegan, too (unintentionally, but hey now I am just pleasing loads of different diets!)

Healthy Blondies Recipe - Little Chef Big Appetite

And what goes better with chickpeas then peanut butter, am I right!?

*Crickets*

I’m kidding. I’ll admit we’re doing weird things with these blondies. It is completely strange combination, but it works, so just hang in there a little while longer, would’ya?

Healthy Blondies Recipe - Little Chef Big Appetite

You’re going to need a food processor or a very good blender. Everything gets thrown in and blended up all nice and smooth. You just let that food processor do alllllll the work.

Healthy Blondies Recipe - Little Chef Big Appetite

I may or may not have eaten 1/3 of the batter before it went into the pan. I mean, there was no egg in it, and it was calling to me….so what’s a girl to do – just let it sit there??

Healthy Blondies Recipe - Little Chef Big Appetite

See if you can exercise a little more self-restraint than me and get the batter into the pan sooner than I did. In the end you’ll have some pretty delicious congo bars / blondies / whatever the heck you want to call them.

You would never in one million years know these contain chickpeas…OR they’re gluten-free and vegan. Next time I may try adding an egg to the batter and see if they come out more “cakey” as opposed to fudgey. It’s all about experimenting.

 

Healthy Blondies
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Ingredients
  • 1 15oz. can unsalted chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • ⅓ cup natural unsalted peanut butter or almond butter* (See note below)
  • ¼ – ⅓ cup maple syrup (to taste)**
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 bar good quality dark-chocolate, chopped
  • ¼ cup chocolate chips for sprinkling (optional)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8×8 baking pan.
  2. Combine all ingredients besides the chocolate in the bowl of a food processor. Process until smooth (about 45 seconds). Gently fold in the chopped dark chocolate.
  3. Pour the mixture into the baking pan. Sprinkle the top with additional chocolate chips (optional). Bake for 25 minutes or until the edges begin to harden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. The blondies will harden as they cool, so be careful not to overcook them. Cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes. Be careful not to cut them too soon, or you will just get blondie mess instead of nice squares!
Notes
*Peanut Butter will provide a noticeable peanut butter taste and almond butter will be mild and less detectable.

**You can substitute honey, but they will no longer be vegan.
 

Cookies Dessert Gluten-Free

Gluten-Free Almond Butter Cookies

Anyone who knows me well knows that I am obsessed with Peanut Butter. Now, we need not delve into the details of this obsession because it is safe to say you would be completely disgusted by the amount of Peanut Butter I can comsume in one sitting.

I like any kind of Peanut Butter. Natural, Crunchy, Smooth, and sadly even the kinds with High-Fructose Corn Syrup (yes, Skippy, I will always love you).

Gluten-Free Almond Butter Cookies Recipe - Little Chef Big Appetite

This past summer, I decided to branch out and try Almond Butter as a healthier alternative. Now I am just as obsessed with AB as I was with PB.

I eat with it everything. Bananas, toast, smoothies, pancakes, eeeeeevvvvvverrrrrryyyyyyything. But, I will only eat one kind. The “grind your own” from Whole Foods. It is delicious, perfect, and totally overpriced. But WHO CARES. It’s THAT good.

Gluten-Free Almond Butter Cookies Recipe - Little Chef Big Appetite

Now, I bring you Almond Butter cookies. They are Gluten-Free. No flour. Nada. Just a whole lot of Almond Butter goodness.

Gluten-Free Almond Butter Cookies Recipe - Little Chef Big Appetite

And plenty of dark chocolate chips for good measure.

Gluten-Free Almond Butter Cookies Recipe - Little Chef Big Appetite

Oh, and did I mention there is no butter or oil? Yeah, they’re low-fat, too.

BOOYAAAAAH!

Gluten-Free Almond Butter Cookies Recipe - Little Chef Big Appetite

Healthy, nutty, chewy, chocolatey, yummy.

You know you want to take a bite.

 

Gluten-Free Almond Butter Cookies
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup almond butter (I prefer the fresh stuff from Whole Foods, but any will do)
  • ½ cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 Tablespoon agave nectar (honey or maple syrup are fine, too)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup slivered roasted almonds (optional)
  • ½ cup dark chocolate chips (or a good bar of dark chocolate, chopped)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together the almond butter and brown sugar. Add the egg, baking soda, agave, vanilla, and salt and mix well. Then add the almonds and dark chocolate.
  3. Using a Tablespoon, scoop out small scoops of dough and roll in your hands to form a ball. Place the balls on the baking sheet, making sure to allow at least 1 in. of space between the cookies (they spread a lot in the oven). Bake 9-10 minutes until lightly browned. Remove from oven and let cool on the baking sheet for 2 minutes. Then, using a spatula, transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.