Swaying in Fall.

The lights are low. The candles are soft. The music is immediate. Fall is tapping on the windows of our home and yes, I welcome it with a warm embrace. This is the moment the oven is on for the most of the day roasting vegetables, pumpkins, and feta cheese garlic spread. The experimentation of recipes has begun. A fantastic dessert to be shared from Oh She Glows may just be the thing you are looking for this week. It is chocolate perfection, not too sweet, and great to be shared with a fantastic tea, friends, and Dean Martin, of course.

Chilled Chocolate Espresso Torte with Toasted Hazelnut Crust

From Oh She Glows

Makes 1 (9-inch / 23-cm) torte; serves 8–14

For the crust:
¾ cup hazelnuts
¼ cup coconut oil
3 Tbsp. maple syrup
¼ tsp. fine-grain sea salt
1 ½ cups, divided, gluten-free if necessary

For the filling:
1 ½ cups, soaked for at least 4 hours
¾  cup  pure maple syrup
½  cup coconut oil
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/3 cup dark chocolate chips, melted (I used chopped dark chocolate)
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract  
½ tsp. fine-grain sea salt
1 tbsp. espresso powder (optional)
shaved dark chocolate, for garnish (optional)
coconut flakes, for garnish (optional)

How To Play:
1. Make the Crust: Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Lightly grease a 9-inch (23 cm) pie dish with coconut oil.
2. In a food processor, blend ½ cup of the rolled oats on high until you have a rough flour, place a small bowl and set aside. Without cleaning the machine, process the hazelnuts into a fine crumb with the texture of sand. Add the coconut oil, maple syrup, salt, and oat flour and process again until the dough comes together. Finally, add the remaining 1 cup of rolled oats and pulse until the oats are chopped, but still have some texture to them. The dough should stick together slightly when pressed between your fingers. If it doesn’t, try adding a bit more maple syrup or processing a bit longer.
3. With your fingers, crumble the dough evenly over the base of the pie dish. Starting from the middle, press the mixture firmly and evenly into the dish, moving outward and upward along the side of the pie dish. The harder you press the crumbs into the dish, the better the crust will hold together. Poke a few fork holes into the bottom to let steam escape.
4. Bake the crust, uncovered, for 10 to 13 minutes, until lightly golden. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool on a rack for 15 to 20 minutes.
5. Make the filling: Drain and rinse the cashews. In a high-speed blender, combine the soaked cashews, maple syrup, oil, cocoa powder, melted chocolate, vanilla, salt, and espresso powder (if using) and blend on high until the filling is completely smooth. It can take a few minutes of blending to get it smooth, depending on your blender. If the blender needs more liquid to get it going, add a tablespoon (15 mL) of almond milk (or a bit more) to help it along.
6. Pour the filling into the prepared crust, smoothing out the top evenly. Garnish with shaved chocolate and/or coconut flakes, if desired.
7. Place the pie dish on an even surface in the freezer, uncovered. Freeze for a couple of hours, and then cover the dish with foil and freeze overnight, or for a minimum of 4 to 6 hours, until the pie sets.
8. Remove the pie from the freezer and let it sit on the counter for 10 minutes before slicing. This pie is meant to be served frozen.

I can not take credit for this photo, for we ate it before the camera could take a photo!

Chilled-Chocolate-Espresso-Torte-475x315

Photo Credit: Angela Liddon’s Oh She Glows.

Chocolate Zucchini Cake with White Lie Frosting.

I haven’t really been too consistent with my weigh ins.  I weigh myself on Fridays, but this morning I decided to do it today instead.  I was down 3 pounds last Friday and today I am 192. I have 26 more pounds to go! Today was a playdate birthday bash for child 1.  It was chaotic fun.  I was talking to my mom last night, while making the chocolate zucchini cake,  about the time she had told me on my 16th birthday she had made my favorite cake, Chocolate zucchini cake.  I remember thinking then at that moment, “This is my favorite cake? I don’t remember ever eating this before.”  She laughed and told me she thought the recipe sounded good so had just told me that.  Well, now I know.  It wasn’t a childhood favorite of mine after all, just a little white lie to get me to eat it.  Now I am making it and telling 1 it is her favorite cake. Yikes.  Either way, the cake is yum, but I have to be disciplined.  I want to keep this weight-a-going down-a going down!

Chocolate Zucchini Cake with White Lie Frosting…

1 1/2 cups brown sugar

1/4 cup melted butter

3/4 cup grapeseed oil

3 free range eggs

1tsp pure vanilla

1/2 cup buttermilk (I use 2%milk with 1/2tsp vinegar)

2.5 cups grated zucchini

1.5 cups chocolate chips

2 cups unbleached flour

1 cup cocoa, sifted

1/2tsp salt

2tsp aluminum free baking soda

1tsp allspice (I use Masala)

1 1/2tsp cinnamon

WHITE LIE FROSTING:

1 Package Philadelphia Cream cheese

1/4 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup white chocolate

1tsp pure vanilla

3 cups icing sugar, sifted

How to Play:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly grease a 9×13 baking pan.  In a medium bowl mix together the sugar, butter, and oil.  Beat in eggs, one at a time until well incorporated.  Stir in vanilla, buttermilk, zucchini and chocolate chips.  In a separate bowl mix together all the dry ingredients.  Add the liquid ingredients and mix until well combined.  Spoon batter into greased pan.  Bake in the center of the oven for 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. 

For the icing, beat the cream cheese on high until smooth and fluffy.  Lightly blend in vanilla and butter.  Melt white chocolate over a double boiler and add warm melted chocolate to the cream cheese mixture.  Scrape down sides of the bowl to incorporate all.  Mix on high again until smooth and fluffy.  Slowly add icing sugar, scraping down the sides of the bowl occasionally and beat on high until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.

Now, these make for really nice cupcakes, which are great for a homegroup setting or birthday party.  Also, sometimes sprinkled with crushed espresso beans is a nice touch.

Enjoy.