Mango Mint Fruit Bars

Mango Mint Fruit BarI wanted to call these popsicles. But I think of popsicles as juice and these are more like fruit bars. Whole fruit blended then frozen. Just two ingredients making the hardest part of this recipe the cutting up of the mango.

I love the combination of mango and mint. It feels and tastes fresh in my Mango Mint Salsa. When you blend and freeze them together, it’s just pure awesome on a popsicle stick. It makes the crazy hot Summer days after cool Fall-like days more bearable.

The recipe made three bars in my Zoku so adjust accordingly for your popsicle molds/maker and mouths to feed.

Mango Mint Fruit Bars – makes 3 bars

1 mango, rough chopped

1-3 sprigs mint, leaves pulled off the stems

Place mango and mint in a blender and blend until the mango is mostly pureed. Pour into popsicle molds and freeze.

 

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Review: Coracao Confections

Almost too pretty to open. Almost.

Almost too pretty to open. Almost.

It’s not often I will do a product review anymore. I rarely buy packaged goods and ordering treats is…well…a treat. And what a treat I discovered with Coracao Confections. The company is based in Emeryville, California and they source their raw cacao from farmers using sustainable practices. Their confections are free from gluten, dairy, soy, corn, artificial additives, and refined sugar.

I ordered the 22-piece Deluxe Box and a Raspberry Blondie Bar. Ice packs were included in the box because I chose ground shipping (it’s the cheapest and takes about a week). Despite the heat, the chocolates arrived without anything melted. I kept the box on the coffee table and they kept well at room temperature.

The Deluxe Box I received was filled with Almond Coconut Dream, Raw Fudge Truffle, Raspberry Fudge Truffle, Mayan Spice Truffle, Espresso Ganache Truffle, Tangerine Bee-Pollen Truffle, Peppermint Patty, Hazelnut Mousse Truffle, Chai Truffle, Caramel Cups, Rawmond Butter Cup, Live Almond Heart, and a Baby Bar. I was amazed by the creamy texture of the truffles and balance of flavors used so ingredients didn’t overpower each other. My favorites were the Rawmond Butter  and the Chai Truffle. I’m not a caramel lover and I found myself enjoying the Caramel Cups.  The Mayan Spice Truffle was the big surprise for me. Every other chocolate I’ve tried with cayenne was a disaster. Usually the cayenne is front and center and I feel like I just ate straight cayenne powder. Coracao Confections does it right. The cayenne is subtle and balanced well by the raw cacao. It had a surprising after kick for me that I enjoyed.

As we say back home, broke da mouth!

As we say back home, broke da mouth!

I adored the Baby Bar. I ate it all in one sitting, which isn’t hard to do because as the name indicates it is small. It was better than the name brand I keep in my pantry for chocolate fixes and use in baking. Again, the key to it is the balance of ingredients as well as the lack of extraneous ingredients.

The Raspberry Blondie was a little too sweet for me with all the shredded coconut. It did remind me of Raspberry Zingers if they were dipped and drizzled in chocolate. That alone was worth it. If I decide to order it again it will be to eat one bite, one day at a time. And maybe with a side of coffee to help me manage the sweetness.

Take away all my food allergies and put a box of Coracao Confections and a box of Godiva Truffles in front of me, I’ll take the former every time.

Java Chunk Ice Cream

Java Chunk Ice CreamThree years ago, I told my friend, Caity, I would come up with a dairy-free version of her favorite ice cream, Java Chip. She was worried at the time that she would need to go dairy-free because she was still having problems after her Celiac diagnosis. You see, her lifelong long battle for health started at a young age when food made her sick but she didn’t know how to communicate what was going on inside her. The only thing that didn’t make her sick was milk and ice cream. I bought her two pints of her favorite for her visit and she ate both before leaving. With all the craziness I kept abandoning the recipe then going back to it. Now after sticking with it for the last three weeks I think I found the key to a good dairy-free ice cream without using gums or eggs to keep it from freezing all the way through.

It’s my new best friend in the kitchen. Agar agar powder. The stuff I use in baked goods in place of eggs most of the time. It thickens the ice cream and gives it the same texture as real ice cream.

I tried the coffee several different ways. I used it as it was from the container. I cold brewed it overnight. I ground it down as fine as I could. Using it as it was from the container was too gritty. The cold brew didn’t have enough flavor and all I could taste was the the coconut milk and the raw cacao I used. That flop worked out because it fell on National Root Beer Float Day. Could you imagine a root beer float with this ice cream? I can’t. Grinding the coffee down some more in my coffee/spice grinder not only gave me the same flavor as not grinding it down, but it didn’t feel as gritty. I recommend using an espresso or a bold roast. I used both in my trials and those gave me the best results. And before you complain about the caffeine, I used decaf. Problem solved.

If you don’t have an ice cream maker and try to freeze this, it will freeze solid and will be more of an icy texture than ice cream texture.

Java Chunk Ice Cream

1 can full-fat coconut milk

2 tablespoons espresso/coffee, ground fine (I used Starbucks Decaf Cafe Verona in the final product)

1 tablespoon agar agar powder

1/2 cup raw local honey or Grade B maple syrup (or other sweetener of your choice)

1/2 cup chocolate chunks or chips (I used Lindt 85% Chocolate bar)

Place all ingredients except for the chocolate in a blender and blend until all ingredients are incorporated well, scraping down the sides if needed. Pour into a prepared ice cream maker and churn for about 20 to 30 minutes. Add the chocolate at the end and let it churn for about two minutes to mix the chocolate well.