Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Chocolate Roasted Almonds

I love this recipe for several reasons.  The almonds are soaked & then roasted or dehydrated, which reduces the phytic acid (see my tab "why soak").  There is no refined sugar in it, only maple syrup or honey.  And the best reason to like it is that I can reach for them when I'm having a chocolate craving, but it gives me protein also.  These would also be a unique & yummy "no clutter" gift to give to someone.
Chocolate Roasted (or Dehydrated) Almonds
2 cups almonds
1 1/2 tsp. salt

Place almonds in a bowl or container and cover with water.  Add salt & swirl around to mix.  Cover and allow to soak for at least 8 hours or overnight.  After soaking, drain and allow to air dry for 2 hours.

1 Tbsp. oil (olive or coconut oil)
2 Tbsp. maple syrup or honey (I used honey)
1 Tbsp. cocoa powder

Combine the rest of the ingredients in a medium bowl and add almonds.  Stir to coat completely.  Place on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet.  To roast, bake at 250 for one hour or until nuts are crunchy, not soft.  Or alternately, you can dehydrate these at lower temperatures for longer periods of time.  Allow to cool completely before storing in an airtight container.

I dehydrated these using the lowest temperature setting on my oven for several hours during the day, then I turned off the oven and allowed the nuts to stay in the warm oven for several more hours.


this post is a part of Tuesday Twister

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Sourdough Pumpkin Cinnamon Roll Bread

A few weeks ago I decided I should start baking some pumpkin recipes to try to get myself into the "season" more.  You see although I come from Washington state, where winter has been in full swing, in Rwanda everyday is pretty much the same weather: 70 to 80 degrees and sunny except when the rainstorms come in.  It's been hard for me to convince myself that the holiday season is fully here, because my surroundings keep telling me it's summer!

I found out they do grow pumpkin here, so I decided to make my own puree to bake with.  Of course nothing is exactly the same as what we're used to: the pumpkins are green (other things that are green even when ripe here: mandarins, lemons, apples, and starchy bananas called matoke).  The flesh of the pumpkin was very pale & did not have as strong of a flavor as what we get from our pumpkins in the US, but it still worked.  One of the recipes I tried with my puree was this Sourdough Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls recipe from the Coconut Mama blog

Instead of the cinnamon & pumpkin pie spices recommended in the recipe I used something that's sold in every store here: it's called tea masala.  It's a spice blend they use to make African tea (a spiced milk tea that we would call Chai).  The tea masala ingredients are: ginger, cinnamon, cloves, cardamoms, black pepper, and nutmeg.  I love it & it worked great in this recipe! 

Sourdough Pumpkin Cinnamon Roll Bread
3/4 cup sourdough starter
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
3 3/4 - 4 cup flour
5 Tablespoons coconut oil or butter, softened
3 Tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
2 Tablespoons coconut oil or butter, softened
2 Tablespoons raw sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice or chai spices* or a combination!

Combine flour, salt, and spices in a large bowl.  Add 5 Tablespoons coconut oil or butter, honey, pumpkin and sourdough starter and mix well.  Knead dough for 10 minutes (add more flour as needed to make a smooth dough).  Cover bowl and let dough rest for 6 to 8 hours. 

Knead dough for 5 minutes then roll out into a rectangle shape of about 1/2" thickness (thinner for more rolls, thicker for less).  Spread with 2 Tablespoons coconut oil or butter.  Mix together sugar & spices and sprinkle on top. 

Starting at one of the short ends of the rectangle, roll the dough up with the spices inside.  Using a sharp knife or plain dental floss*, cut through the dough about every 1 to 2 ".  Place in an oiled or buttered pan (I used two bread pans to make cinnamon roll pull-apart bread).  Rolls should be just gently touching each other.  Cover and allow to rise for another 2 or 3 hours.

After the dough is done rising preheat the oven to 375.  Bake for about 20 minutes.

My family enjoyed just pulling off a roll when we wanted a snack.  Because it was a snack food & not a sweet dessert I didn't feel the need to add any frosting.  If you want frosting, The Coconut Mama recommends 8 ounces of soft cream cheese mixed with 4 Tablespoons of honey.

*Did you know dental floss works great for cutting rolls?  Just take a piece about 8 inches long, slide it under the log of dough, pull the ends across to the opposite side like you're going to tie it, and pull until the floss cuts all the way through.  I always make sure I use unflavored floss though!

*To make your own Chai (tea masala) spice mix, combine:
1/2 teaspoon cardamom (ground)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (ground)
1/2 teaspoon ginger (ground)
1/4 teaspoon allspice (ground) and/or nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon cloves (ground)
pinch black pepper (ground)

Mix well & store in an airtight container.  Besides adding to your tea or coffee, try using it in baking wherever you would use cinnamon, and even in your oatmeal!

This post is a part of Monday Mania.