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I don’t know about you, but Christmas just wouldn’t be Christmas without delicious treats. Christmas baking has always been one of my favourite aspects of the holiday season – it’s something I’ve always shared with my mom and always looked forward to. This year, I wanted to include more dairy-free/allergy friendly recipes.

Whether you’re allergic, sensitive, vegan, or just looking for healthier alternatives (believe it or not, dairy is actually not healthy!) this recipe is one of my new favourites. I thought it would be perfect for Blogmas day 10 (I posted it 4 minutes past midnight, so technically it went up on the 11th. Sue me, I’m a busy gal)

You get rich, decadent, fudgy brownies without all the refined sugar and guilt.

Surprisingly, not eating dairy or reducing your dairy intake doesn’t mean you have to give up chocolate! It just means switching to different types of chocolate – real chocolate with higher percentages of cocoa or cacao rather than milk. Many types of dark or semi-sweet chocolate chips are already dairy free!

There are a ton of ways this recipe can be customized – for example, using a gluten free flour, omitting the nut butter for anyone with allergies (and instead replacing it with banana or applesauce) amongst many others!

This recipe is incredibly easy, yet ridiculously delicious! I hope you enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup organic sugar or coconut sugar (regular sugar is fine too, but I like coconut sugar or organic brown sugar for a healthier/cruelty free version)
  • ¾ cup cocoa powder
  • ¼ cup melted coconut oil (for a creamier brownie, add 1-2 extra tbsp)
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1-2 tsp vanilla extract (depending on your taste preference! I love vanilla, so I usually do 2 tsp)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ almond butter (natural, pure. You can also switch this for banana or applesauce!)
  • 2 flax eggs (2 tablespoons ground flax + 6 tablespoons water. Mix together then let sit in the fridge for about 10-15 minutes until it forms a goopy “egg” texture!) 
  • ¼ cup flour (If you prefer a thicker, more dense brownie then add an extra 2 tbsp!
  • ½ cup dairy-free chocolate chips (I use the Presidents Choice Semi Sweet Chocolate chips, but many brands have them.  Just make sure to read the ingredients!

 

Instructions: 

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Line an 8×8 baking pan with parchment paper
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the sugar, maple syrup, almond butter, and melted coconut oil. Whisk together until mixed – it will almost look like caramel!
  3. Add cocoa powder in small amounts at a time, whisking until it looks smooth. Add Vanilla and salt, then keep mixing until just combined.
  4. Gently pour in the flax eggs, whisking until well mixed. In small amounts at a time, whisk in the flour. It will thicken and get more difficult to mix, so switch to a wooden spoon or rubber spatula!
  5. Gently pour in the chocolate trips, folding to mix. Smooth the mixture with your rubber spatula until it’s all evenly spread.
  6. Bake for 25-30 mins. Let cool for approximately 1/2 hour to 1 hour (if you can wait that long! I usually can’t!)
  7. If desired, sprinkle with powdered sugar for a snow effect and some added sweetness

 

“What I Eat In A Day” videos are one of my favourite type of videos to watch – especially since I’ve recently switched to a mostly plant-based diet (currently vegetarian, easing into transitioning to vegan)

I just find them to be so inspirational and calming, they really help inspire me to cook and try different recipes! I absolutely love cooking, and do the majority of cooking for my mom and I.
I decided to start occasionally doing What I Eat In A Day videos, to hopefully help inspire others and show how versatile and delicious plant-based eating can be!

I hope you enjoy!

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What would Blogmas be without some sort of recipe? For day 17, I thought I would include a recipe that I’ve recently been experimenting with and obsessing over.

After seeing a million different variations of chocolate bark on Pinterest, I thought to myself “how hard can it be?” So I decided to channel my inner Martha Stewart (sans jail time, obviously) and experiment in the kitchen.

On hand, we had dark chocolate, semi-sweet chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, and mini toffee pieces. We also had snacks like pretzels and graham crackers. I decided to make a sweet and salty bark with all these yummy things – and boy oh boy, is it addictive.

It’s so unbelievably easy and quick – not to mention it’s utterly delicious. I now definitely understand why bark is so popular to make! It’s truly perfect for any occasion, especially a last minute gift or tasty treat!

There are a million different ways you can customize this, with a million different ingredients to add. I tried to pick flavours that would compliment each other, such as the butterscotch, toffee, and pretzel. It’s both sweet and salty, and seriously addictive. It’s perfect for when you can’t decide whether you have a sweet tooth or a salty craving!

Another super yummy combination is white chocolate and peppermint, as often seen in the very popular peppermint bark! Or you can make a healthier version, using all dark chocolate and topping with crushed nuts and/or oats!

You’ll need:

  • A baking sheet or cookie pan (one safe to be refrigerated!) I used a 17 by 11 flat cookie sheet.
  • Parchment Paper – enough to cover the cookie sheet!
  • Chocolate – any kind will do! The amount needed depends on how much you want to make, and how many kinds of chocolate you want.
  • Toppings – of your choice! I find crumbled or crushed toppings work best especially for a thinner bark, but really you can include whatever you want! I used small toffee pieces, crushed pretzels, and crushed graham crackers.
  • Microwaveable safe bowl (1 separate bowl for each type of chocolate you want to include)
  • A rubber spatula
  • A butter knife

Prep and cooking takes about 10 minutes max, and they should cool for about an hour, or until hardened!

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For my recipe, I used: 

(the amounts are approximate, you can add more chocolate for a thicker bark, or more/less toppings to taste!)

  • 1 Cup chocolate (dark and semi-sweet chocolate chips). You can use any kind you like, but I just used what I could find in my pantry.
  • 1/4 cup butterscotch chips
  • 1-2 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup crushed pretzels
  • 1/4 cup toffee pieces (Hershey Chipits Toffee Bits)
  • 2 tablespoons crushed graham crackers (you can add more to taste if you wish, or skip this all together)

Instructions: 

  1. Line your baking sheet with parchment paper (you want extra paper, rather than cutting it to fit perfectly, This makes it easier to pull it out to break apart the bark once it’s cooled!)
  2. Crush your toppings, and set aside so they’re ready to go.
  3. In a microwave-safe bowl, microwave your chocolate. If you’re wanting to layer chocolate or marble chocolate together like i’ve done, melt separately. Melt slowly, at intervals of about 30 seconds each, stirring in between.
    1. So for my recipe, I melted the dark and semi-sweet chocolate chips first in a bowl together, spread on the baking sheet, then added the second kind of melted chocolate right over top.
  4. Spread your first type of chocolate (the kind you have the most of) onto your parchment-lined baking sheet. Smooth out with rubber spatula, so you have a mostly even, flat layer. For this first layer, you don’t want it to be too thick otherwise the bark will be too rich! I suggest no thicker than 1 mm.
  5. Melt your second type of chocolate (for my recipe, I melted 1/4 cup of white chocolate chips and 1/4 cup of butterscotch chips together). You want to work quickly when melting both types, so that the chocolate is still melted enough to be marbled together.
  6. Spoon your second type of chocolate onto the first type, drizzling it over top.
  7. Using a butter knife, begin to draw lines vertically  from one end to the other, about 1 cm in between. (This is just like marbling, and it creates a really nice design!) Then draw lines horizontally, using the same technique. You can create any design you’d like, but I think marbling this way is the easiest!
  8. Sprinkle your toppings! I like to start with the pretzels, sprinkling evenly over the whole area. I then follow with the toffee bits, and finally the graham crumbs. If you’re using large pieces or toppings, gently press them into the melted chocolate so that they will remain attached when it hardens!
  9. Place in refrigerator and let cool for approximately 30 minutes to an hour – or until hardened.
  10. Lastly, all you have to do is break up the bark! It looks much cooler than cutting. I like to break them into assorted sizes.

It really is that simple – once you make it, you’ll see how easy it is!