Category Archives: Coffee

crunchy chocolate quinoa bars

A while ago I was at a little coffee bar on Spadina for one of their most excellent Americano’s and I picked up a little chocolate bar for a bite.  This little bar was full of crunch and was otherwise solid, melt in your fingers chocolate.

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I learned of this coffee bar, Sense Appeal, from a friend of a friend after a discussion about where to get good coffee in Toronto. There are so many delicious coffee bars in town who roast their own beans that it is incredibly hard to say which is the best, but some of them definitely stand out.  Sense Appeal is one of those and I’ve been missing it terribly since my office relocated from that area about a year ago. (Although, we moved to a new area with a different terrific coffee roaster just up the street!) However, this post is not about coffee so back we go to the chocolate.

If I were to have a cookbook, there would be a whole category called Heaven and it would contain this recipe , among others, all catering to the tastes of chocolatophiles everywhere.

So here is my version of the toasted quinoa bar.

Toasted Quinoa Bar (By Sense Appeal, as modified by me!)

Ok, this recipe is more of a guideline as I wasn’t very specific with many of the measurements.

Ingredients
10 oz dark chocolate (70% is a good place to start)
1-1/2 tbsp coconut oil
1 cup toasted quinoa

Other suggestions:
chia seeds
pumpkin seeds
sunflower seeds
dried fruit – I’ve used dried raspberries, apricots, cranberries, prunes and dates – chopped
shredded coconut
cocoa nibs
smashed coffee beans

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These are all things I keep in my pantry so you can substitute for anything you like based on your current supplies.

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Dry toast the quinoa in a frying pan over med heat – keep watch and swirl the pan to keep them from burning.  They are finished when they are crackling and jumping and smell like toasted grain.

While you are toasting the quinoa, melt the chocolate until smooth in a double boiler or heat poof bowl and set aside. Stir in coconut oil. You will add all your ingredients to this bowl.

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I didn’t want to overwhelm the bar with quinoa but you want to use enough to get the crunch.  I filled in space with the chia seeds. They add a second level of crunch more like that of crispy rice. I used plenty of chia seeds.

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After those two main ingredients just add the others in a ratio favourable to you. I added a handful of each and stirred until it was a smooth mix of everything. There should be more than enough chocolate to coat everything but the mixture should be lumpy.

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Pour into a 9×9″ pan and refrigerate until solid. Sometimes I top it with some toasted coconut.

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aDSC06809and here is one I made with toasted coconut on the top.

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The Ultimate Chocolate Cake

Does your other half ever go into such intense chocolate cravings that they inspire you to make the biggest baddest chocolate cake you can? Mine does.

She would see the Duncan Hines Devil’s Food Cake box at the grocery store and stop me “Sweetie, can we make one of those?” “No no, I’ll make you a chocolate cake”.

This is the result of that adventure in chocolate.

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It’s deliciously rich without being too sweet. To die for? Yes.

Cake Ingredients:

2 cups brown sugar
1 3/4 cups flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 large eggs
1 cup warm espresso
1 cup milk
1/2 cup coconut oil
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).  Butter 2 9″ cake pans and line the bottom with parchment.

In a large bowl combine the sugar, flour, cocoa, bakings powder and soda and salt.

Whisk together the eggs, coffee, milk, oil and vanilla in a separate bowl.  Add to dry ingredients and whisk until combined.

Divide the batter between the two pans – I weigh them to make sure.  Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the toothpick comes out clean.

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Cook on a wire rack for 10 minutes and then remove from pan to cool.

Place one cake on a large plate.

Ganache:

10 oz dark chocolate
10 fl.oz whipping cream
1 tsp vanilla

Coarsely chop chocolate and place in a large bowl.

Bring cream just to a boil and pour over chocolate.  Let sit for 5 minutes. Add vanilla and stir until combined.

I separated about half of it to cool faster in the fridge. When it was solid enough I whipped it until light and fluffy.  Spread this over the cake on a plate. I tried to spread the surface flat with the chocolate, but I probably should have just flattened the cake but cutting the dome off. 😛

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Top with second cake.

If the other bowl of chocolate is still warm enough, pour it over the middle top of the cake and let it spread over the edges. Reheat it over a pot of hot water if it isn’t melty enough. Let cool.

Cut yourself a slice. Devour.

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Cut yourself a second slice.

 

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Together at last!

Cheese and coffee. Two of my favourite things on this planet have been combined and the result is amazing.

The wonderful people at Beehive Cheese Co. have created a delicious slice of heaven with their award winning Barely Buzzed.

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I don’t have any picture of my own sample because it didn’t last long enough.  It is so creamy and tastes of caramel and chocolaty coffee. I need more. Which is a problem because I haven’t managed to find it locally, but I’m sure its out there. It will be found! 😀

Hovering Espresso

Hovering Espresso

Found these adorable espresso cups on my wander down Queen on Friday, and the little spoons too! Had to have them.

Would you believe…

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… That this is a pulled pork sandwich?

It was amazing.

from: SenseAppeal

Coffee and Cheeses and Bread, Oh My!




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Went for a nice Sunday afternoon walk down my street.

Returned home with:

Coffee:

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  • organically decaffeinated guatemalan dark roast coffee – tastes like dark chocolate
  • a limited edition blend called Twisted Sister from Peru – smells fruity and a little chocolaty.

Cheese:

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  • dutch goat gouda (which goes excellently with the Inniskillin wine from last nite!)
  • reblochon de savoie
  • Gorgonzola – which doesn’t equal the gorg from Italy, although it is quite nice and smooth

Bread:

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  • Organic sourdough

Currently, I’m enjoying a little of each while watching an episode of Star Trek:TNG. It is all incredible.  I have a ton of stuff to get done today, but with food like that in my kitchen it’s hard not to just eat all day.

…liquid gold…


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