I acknowledge that this is the second loaf cake that I have posted here in less than a month. The last one, a pear and dark chocolate gem, is perfect as a special occasion treat. While it might look understated, it is a knockout filled with chunks of dark chocolate nestled in a brown butter cake batter. This blackberry apple cake, on the other hand, is for snacking. It’s amazing how two cakes that look so similar can be made up of such different ingredients. While I certainly love making indulgent desserts every once in a while, it’s way more essential for me to have somewhat healthy, homemade snacks that I can eat throughout the day. Every day between meals, I may eat some pickles, nuts, or squares of dark chocolate (sometimes all within the same snacking session). But, the best weeks are when I have prepared something like this blackberry apple snacking cake. It’s a perfect sweet treat that feels extra special and indulgent but that I know is actually made up of pretty great ingredients.
I finally got to go skiing last weekend. There is no other activity that I can think of that gets me outside in the fresh air, for a whole day, during the winter time. I can’t tell you how good I feel to be outside, in the sun and the snow, in the mountains where everything smells good, and moving. It’s such a luxury over these winter months. With skiing comes the need for snacks. Mostly the snacks are needed on the long car ride home when you finally sit down and suddenly realize that you are deeply tired, hungry and thirsty from all of that moving and fresh air. My go-to snack is granola bars. They are easy to keep in my ski jacket pocket, nutritious, filling, and have just the right balance of sweet and savory that I crave at times like those. I have been making versions of these granola bars ever since the Smitten Kitchen cookbook came out. There is a date and almond version in her book but I decided to make some apricot sunflower granola bars this time instead. I have tons of sunflower butter in my fridge and I thought it would be a nice change.
It’s the vegan chocolate mousse battle! You may be asking yourself, why would such a battle ever need to take place? Well, a couple of weeks ago, I was checking out some food videos on YouTube (as I contemplated making more of my own but that’s another story) and came across a Green Kitchen Stories video of some healthy avocado banana chocolate mousse. I was so excited by this healthy chocolate-y treat that I made it immediately (for some of my long time readers, this should come as no surprise to you. I am a total sucker for anything vaguely healthy and super chocolatey). Long story short, I made it, I ate it, and then I fell into an internet search spiral exploring the world of healthy-ish chocolate mousses. There are a lot of recipes. A lot of them go with an avocado base but I was intrigued though by another Green Kitchen Stories recipe that was a chocolate mousse with a black bean base. I was too curious to resist and decided to make that one too.
I’ve been on a bit of a baking spree lately. I actually really enjoy baking but I have very little self-control and try to limit the availability of sweet treats hanging around the house. The other day I was looking for a super healthy cookie recipe and I found this recipe, which was great as a snack, but it did not resemble a cookie in the slightest. It was more of an oat bar. While I appreciated that there were tons of whole, hearty ingredients in them, they didn’t taste like a dessert at all and would never satisfy my mid-afternoon sweet tooth (in retrospect, I think that the “cookie” referred more to the shape of the bar than anything else). Although, on a side note, I did find it hilarious that my boyfriend was enjoying crumbling them into his breakfast cereal until I told him there were beans in them, at which point he was less keen on the “bean cookies”. Needless to say, I was still on the lookout for a healthy-ish cookie. I eventually came across a version of these vegan chocolate almond cookies on My Darling Lemon Thyme. Of course, the chocolate and almond combination immediately caught my eye: they are a match made in heaven. On top of that, I liked how the only non-vegan ingredient in the original recipe was an egg, which is pretty easy to replace. Even though I’m not vegan, I like to have a few vegan desserts in my arsenal to share with friends that are or bring to potlucks.