Tag Archives: mocha

Mocha Date Brownies

There’s a little health food store I go to whenever I’m feeling like I have way too much money and would like to get rid of a bunch of it.  They always give me a complimentary copy of a magazine called

alive, Canada’s natural health and wellness magazine

which contains lots of information on ways to go broke in the pursuit of health.  But that’s not all.  Along with the nice pictures of supplements and protein powders and smiling people with healthy immune systems there are recipes with random ingredients I’ve never heard of and promises of great results that are disgustingly good for you.

If you would like to go directly to alive.com and the mocha date brownie recipe you will miss all the incredible photos of my brownie baking experience.  I’m sharing them here because I feel like everyone should know that not everything I bake goes directly into the compost bin.

Here’s the list of ingredients (with my substitutions and helpful comments in brackets):

1 1/2 cups (350 mL) whole dates
1 cup (250 mL) fresh orange juice (I think the stuff from a jug is fresh enough)
1 Tbsp (15 mL) vanilla extract
2 large free-range eggs (I used ordinary eggs)
1/2 cup (125 mL) cocoa
1 1/2 tsp (7 mL) espresso powder (I do not know what this is exactly or why anyone would have it in their kitchen at all times, so I used a couple of packets of Starbucks Via ready brew.  It’s all coffee, right?)
1/2 tsp (2 mL) baking powder
1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt
1/2 cup (125 mL) unsalted butter (my butter is salted, so I used that and left out the above 1/2 tsp of salt)
1 cup (250 mL) all-purpose flour (I am trying to go mostly gluten-free, so I used gluten-free brown rice flour)
1 cup (250 mL) chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325, line a square baking pan with parchment paper.  Check.  So far, easy peasy.

Simmer dates with orange juice until tender.  Looks like lumpy brown sludge, but smells good.

brownies 002
Purée to a smooth paste.

brownies 005Look ma, no more date lumps.  Well, hardly any.  Use the same saucepan to melt the butter, and then pop this goop back in with it and stir it until it’s warm and bubbly.  Still looks like sludge only smoother and more oily.

brownies 006
Okay! Now you’re supposed to whisk the eggs with cocoa, espresso powder, baking powder, and salt (if you added the salt.)  I took them seriously when they said to use a large bowl.

brownies 003
before…

brownies 004…after.  You know what?  Using an actual whisk for this was a big mistake.  The reason there’s a knife in the picture is because using it was the only way I could get this stuff unstuck from between the blades of the whisk.  Just stir it with a fork.  No one will know.

Next you add the date mixture to the chocolate mixture, and then fold in the flour and the chocolate chips.

brownies 009I forgot to take a picture of this all mixed up, but you’ve probably seen brownie batter before and it’s not that exciting.  You’re supposed to smooth the top when you put it in the baking pan, and now I know why.  I also didn’t take a picture of the oven ready stage, but it’s okay because it came out of the oven looking pretty much the same as it did when I put it in there, unsmoothed top and all.

brownies 010Yes, this is baked.  It takes 30 to 35 minutes, which, if you’re anything like me, is about how long it takes to clean up the colossal mess you just made in the kitchen.

brownies

I would like to take credit for this last photo, but it’s from the magazine.  Let’s just pretend mine were identical to these.  The brownies are dense and rich (even though there’s no added refined sugar in them!) and they’re soft and chewy and really, really good.

They are also all gone.

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Know Your Coffee Because Your Coffee Knows You

Why does this feel like a Doppio day?  And where’s the sweetener?
IMG_0156

what-your-coffee-says-about-you

Picture from positivemed.com

My favourite is strong coffee mixed with one of those creamy ridiculously bad for me sweet flavoured whiteners which have no nutritional value whatsoever but boost my mood from blah to zing.  Let’s call it Lazy Canadiano.  If you like this kind of coffee you are smart but disorganized, cheerful and animated (after coffee, not so much before), scatter brained and yet easy-going because you don’t care.  And you get things done on sugar highs.

Novel Plot Brainstorm

Drinking coffee

Brainstorm? With only one brain? It’s just me and my cup of coffee here, and he’s not so big on conversation. Espresso yourself, good buddy, I might say. And he might answer –

“How’s this for a novel plot – an old Italian guy named Macchiato Cappuccino travels to Americano to start a new life (because, you know, better latte than never) where he opens up a (SURPRISE) coffee shop in a town named Java, meets a wonderful lady, the beautiful Melya Kopi Tubruk whose love of Irish Coffee presents Macchiato with his only really big challenge in the story, that of converting her to Ristretto and of course winning her heart in the process.”

That’s the lamest thing I’ve ever heard.

“Well, wait till you hear this, then. Outside the shop he hangs a gigantic hand painted sign that says DRINK COFFEE: DO STUPID THINGS FASTER WITH MORE ENERGY: YOU CAN SLEEP WHEN YOU’RE DEAD: Double shot hammerheads Oliang $1.00 “.

Gawd. Talking coffee mugs. The one brain I’ve been blessed with is seriously malfunctioning.

“Yep, your brain is pretty much completely freeze-dried today. I’m standing my grounds. My shot in the dark may be breva but it’s got more frappe than a Madras Lungo, and you have yet to come up with anything at all, so mocha good luck with that; I’m done.”

Good. Your plot was dull as dirt.

Stupid au lait.

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