Thursday, February 12, 2009

Valentine's Day Events and Love Bites

Okay, I'm pretty busy keeping a lot of balls in the air right now, but I'm so proud of this gluten-free cake recipe that's so moist and delicious you can serve it to anyone and they'll ask for another slice, and these Love Bites which are as ubiquitous in my house around Valentine's Day as bunnies and chocolate eggs are for Easter or flags and grilling are for Independence Day. They're the definitive sign that Valentine's Day is upon us. So I'm reposting the recipe for you to enjoy.


Or, if you're in Austin, you could save the baking for another day and come out and buy a few Love Bites from The Natural Epicurean's 5th Annual Bake Sale. I'm leading the baking this year, and I planned the menu as well as created most of the recipes. We'll have three different kinds of Love Bites, including a chocolate mint mousse version, Cheesecake with Chocolate Hazelnut sauce, Blood Orange Coulis, Blackberry Coulis and Pineapple Ginger Coulis, and Hello Dolly Bites, all of which will be vegan, gluten free, and free of refined sugar, plus Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Cashew Créme Cheese Icing, Baklava, and Spanakopita, which will be vegan and free of refined sugar. Some of our items will also be soy free. The bake sale will be on the Casa de Luz Campus at 1701 Toomey Rd., Saturday, February 14, 10:00 am - 2:00 pm or until we sell out.

I won't be able to attend the whole bake sale, though, as I'll be teaching a the Annual Aphrodisiacs: Cook to Love, Love to Cook class, where Rachel Zierzow and I will be making showing how to make a luscious and seasonal meal of: Artichokes with Lemon Butter, Porcini Mushroom Soup with Chestnuts, Tempeh Italiano and Toasted Pine Nuts over Seasonal Greens, Risotto Milanese, Maple Roasted Winter Squash with Apples and Fennel, Chocolate Amaretto Mousse with Almond Tuile and Kumquats.

The class is Saturday, February 14th, 9:00 am - 12:00 pm at Casa de Luz in the Cielo Room, and the cost is $55.00 for a single attendee and only $27.50 for a friend or family member who enrolls and attends with you. Per couple, it is $82.50. To register, please call (512) 476-2276.

Love Bites
Christina Terriquez

Yields: 20 servings

Valentine’s Day is a perfect special occasion to indulge in something really decadent with your loved ones. However, one of the biggest problems with indulging is the indigestion and feeling of heaviness that accompanies most baked goods. Nothing ruins romance like an upset stomach or feeling bloated and too-full.

These Love Bites are gluten-free for easy digestion. They have a complex yet classic combination of flavors which is rich and satisfying, yet their petite size makes them a perfect end to your meal, that won’t leave you or your sweetheart’s tummies feeling overstuffed.

Ingredients
1 recipe Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake
1 recipe Crème Anglaise for garnishing, optional

1/4 cup organic juice sweetened raspberry preserves, diluted
with 1 or 2 teaspoons of water

3/4 cup organic unsweetened non dairy milk, like soy, oat,
coconut, almond, rice, etc.
1/2 cup chocolate chips*

organic fresh raspberries for garnishing, optional

Directions
Prepare Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake and Crème Anglaise according to recipes.

Place chocolate chips in a heatproof bowl. In a saucepan, heat soymilk over medium-high heat until soymilk just begins to boil. Pour hot soymilk over chocolate chips and let stand for two minutes. Whisk soymilk and chocolate together until a smooth homogeneous texture is achieved.

To assemble Love Bites:
Place a wire cooling rack over a cookie sheet.

Cut off any crisp or tough edges of Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake and set aside for other uses. Cut remaining cake into individual servings using a small heart cookie cutter, or cut into 1 inch squares. If using a cookie cutter, make sure it is no more than 2 inches by 2 inches.

Cut heart in half, so that you have doubled the amount of hearts.

Spread 1/4–1/2 teaspoon of thinned raspberry preserves over the top of half of the hearts, then place another heart on top, creating a sandwich.

Place heart sandwiches on a wire rack/cookie sheet set up. Slowly pour chocolate sauce over each heart, allowing some chocolate to flow down the sides of each heart If chocolate has thickened, heat it or whisk in a tablespoon or two of more nondairy milk. Decorate hearts with raspberries while chocolate is still soft, if desired.



Place chilled and whipped Crème Anglaise in a small plastic bag and cut the very tip of one corner off the bag. Use the bag to gently drizzle crème over each heart.

Allow chocolate and crème to set up. Share with your loved ones.

Notes
*
If you are not gluten free, you can use grain-sweetened chocolate chips. If you are gluten free, but not avoiding sugar, you can use gluten-free chocolate chips. If you are avoiding both refined sugar and gluten, you can use unsweetened chocolate chopped into small chunks and sweetened to taste with agave nectar.

Variations
Try using a different flavor of preserves or Cashew Crème.

Substitute your favorite cake recipe for the Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake.

Add 1/4 teaspoon of almond extract to soymilk before boiling.




Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake
Christina Terriquez

Yields: 9–16 servings

1/3 cup organic quinoa flour
1/4 cup organic chick pea flour
1/4 cup organic white rice flour
1/3 cup organic, free-trade cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon organic ground cinnamon, optional
1/4 cup organic safflower oil
5/8 cup organic unsweetened soy milk or coconut milk (1/2 cup
plus 2 tablespoons)
1 1/2 teaspoons organic white wine vinegar
1/2 cup organic agave nectar
1/8 teaspoon unrefined sea salt, Lima or SI brand recommended
1 tablespoon organic ground flax meal
1/4 cup filtered or spring water
1/2 teaspoon organic vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon organic almond extract, optional

Directions
Preheat over to 350° F.

Prepare one 8 inch square cake pan by lightly brushing with safflower oil, then lining with an 8x16 inch piece of unbleached parchment. Set aside.

In a medium sized bowl, sift flours, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon together.

In a large bowl, mix remaining ingredients together. Add dry ingredients and gently mix to incorporate.

Pour into prepared pan and bake for 30–50 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.

Allow cake to cool completely on cooling rack. Run a knife along the edges of the cake, and use long ends of parchment to gently remove cake from baking pan.

Variations
Double this recipe for a two–layer 8 inch square cake.

Frost with Creamy Chocolate frosting, chocolate ganache, Tofu Cream Icing, Cashew Creme, or serve with Orange Blossom Syrup.

Garnish with a fruit sauce made with fruit sweetened preserves diluted in apple juice or water and thickened with kuzu.

Crème Anglaise
Christina Terriquez

3/4 cup organic unsweetened soymilk
2 tablespoons agar flakes
1 organic vanilla bean
1/3 cup organic coconut milk
1/4 cup organic light agave nectar
1/4 cup organic amasake
1 tablespoon organic vanilla extract
1 tablespoon organic coconut oil, optional

Directions
In a medium saucepan, combine soy milk and agar flakes and let rest for 10 minutes.

While agar and soymilk are resting, split vanilla bean in half lengthwise. Scrape the tiny black seeds from each half, and put vanilla seeds and pod into soymilk.

Add remaining ingredients to saucepan and simmer for 10–15 minutes, until agar flakes have dissolved and sauce has thickened slightly. Remove vanilla pod from sauce. Remove from heat and blend in blender or with immersion wand once again. Use immediately for glazing.

If using sauce for garnishing, cool until set. After sauce has set, purée in blender or with immersion wand. Sauce should be soft custard consistency.

Notes
Crème Anglaise is usually made with cream, refined sugar, egg yolks and vanilla beans. This vegan version is much healthier for your heart.

Store it in a squeeze bottle (this is a perfect use for your agave nectar bottles when you've used all the agave inside), and use it to garnish any other desserts you make that week.

Make a double or triple batch and put it in an ice cream maker for a rich, French Vanilla-style ice cream.

4 comments:

Tracey said...

These vegan bites look great! My sweetheart is lactose intolerant, so I like how they are dairy free! Also, I was wondering if I could post this recipe on my company's website? I have some customers that are interested in dairy-free and gluten-free deserts. Feel free to email me at tracey@singingdogvanilla.com


Thanks again!
Tracey

Celluloid 'Pixie' Darling said...

These are beautiful! And so are you, love; great job babe.

aTxVegn said...

Wow, Christina, these are amazing! You know I appreciate a gf version of cake. I'm sorry I was nowhere near Casa on V-day. I'll bet your class and bake sale were both fabulous.

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