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Moving to Prolific Pantry

Thank you to all of my loyal followers for reading my blog. I’m merging swellsweets to be part of my overall food blog, Prolific Pantry. To continue reading my recipes, follow my Prolific Pantry blog.

Blueberry Cashew Bars

A vegan picnic calls for hummus, pita bread, veggies, sweet potato chips, guacamole, apples and peanut butter — but the missing link is the dessert. To add a sweet something to the menu, I made these blueberry cashew bars that were marketed as cheesecake bars but really take on their own nutty consistency. They are full of flavor and delicious to all, regardless of following a raw or vegan diet.

Blueberry cashew bars

The recipe was adapted from Choosing Raw.

~ 1 1/2 cups walnuts
~ 1 cup raisins
~ 1 cup apricots, cut into bites
~ 1 cup blueberries
~ 1 cup cashews, soaked in water for at least 2 hours and drained
~ 1/3 cup maple syrup

1. To make the bottom layer, place the walnuts, raisins and apricots in a food processor and pulse to break the ingredients down. Process until the mixture is ground up and sticking together when you squeeze a little in your hand.

2. Press the bottom layer into a 9 x 9-inch pan that is lined with aluminum foil, and chill.

3. To make the top layer, process the blueberries, cashews and syrup in a food processor until they’re as smooth as possible, about two minutes. Pour the top layer over the bottom layer in the pan. Use a spatular to smooth the top layer evenly.

4. Refrigerate for at least three hours. Cut into bars and serve.

Makes 15-20 bars.

Vegan Almond Apricot Bites

With the new year come new resolutions and goals to live a healthier lifestyle. For many, that not only includes exercising more but also making more conscious decisions about what you’re putting in your body. Just because you promised to watch what you eat and reduce the sugar intake doesn’t mean you have to exclude all desserts. This raw and vegan dessert redefines dessert by providing healthy fats and nutrients that your body needs.

Vegan Almond Apricot Bites

The recipe was borrowed from FitSugar.

~ 1 cup raw almonds
~ 1 cup raisins
~ 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
~ 10 dried apricots, chopped
~ 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

1. Place the almonds, raisins and cinnamon in a food processor. Process until mixed thoroughly into a thick almond paste, about three minutes. Add chopped apricots and pulse for 30 seconds. Add coconut and pulse for 10 seconds.

2. Remove the dough and place it on a piece of plastic wrap. Seal dough in 1/4″-thick rectangle. Place dough in freezer for 30 minutes to solidify.

3. Cut into small squares and store in fridge.

Makes 20 bite-size servings.

Chocolate-Espresso Snowcaps

With a plethora of Christmas desserts in recipe books and on the Internet, sometimes it’s hard to choose which most people will enjoy. Since classic sugar cookies are well, classic, I decided to bake up some chocolate snowcap cookies with a hint of espresso. They not only have a wintery look to them, but a festive taste as well.

Chocolate-Espresso Snowcaps

The recipe was taken from Martha Stewart.

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
~ 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
~ 4 teaspoons instant espresso
~ 1 teaspoon baking powder
~ 1/8 teaspoon salt
~ 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
~ 2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
~ 1 large egg
~ 4 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled
~ 1 tablespoon milk
~ confectioners’ sugar, for coating

1. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cocoa, espresso, baking powder and salt. With an electric mixer, cream butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg until well combined. Mix in cooled chocolate.

2. With mixer on low, gradually add flour mixture; beat in milk until just combined. Flatten dough into a disk. Wrap in plastic, and freeze until firm, about 45 minutes.

3. Preheat oven to 350°.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Pour 3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar into a medium bowl. Roll balls in sugar two times, letting them sit in sugar between coatings.

4. Place cookies on prepared baking sheets, 1 inch apart. Bake until cookies have spread and coating is cracked, about 12 minutes. Cookies will still be soft to the touch. Cool cookies on a wire rack and enjoy!

Peppermint Bark & Chocolate-Peppermint Graham Crackers

During Christmas time, one of my favorite things is baking. To spread my love of baking, this year I made Christmas treats for my neighbors and friends. These treats are delicious and quite simple to make.

Peppermint Bark

Peppermint Bark

The recipe was taken from Noble Pig.

~ 1 pound dark chocolate chips
~ 1 pound white chocolate chips
~ 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
~ peppermint candies, crushed

1. Line a 13 x 9-inch pan with foil.

2. In a double boiler, melt dark chocolate chips. Spread into prepared pan, and refrigerate until just about set, about 20 minutes.

3. In a double boiler, melt white chocolate chips, and stir in peppermint extract. Spread on top of dark chocolate. Sprinkle with crushed peppermint candies.

4. Refrigerate until set, about an hour. Remove from pan and break into pieces.

Chocolate-Peppermint Graham Crackers

Chocolate-Peppermint Graham Crackers

The recipe was adapted from Shugary Sweets.

~ 12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips, melted
~ 12 ounces white chocolate chips, melted
~ peppermint candies, crushed
~ 24 graham cracker squares

1. In a double boiler, melt semisweet chocolate chips. Dip one end of the graham cracker into the chocolate and lay on parchment paper. Repeat with all crackers, and allow to set for 30 minutes.

2. In a double boiler, melt white chocolate chips. Dip other end in white chocolate, and immediately sprinkle with crushed peppermint candies. Allow to set.

Package these treats and deliver them to your friends, family or neighbors!

Chocolate-Dipped Raspberry Macaroons

Macaroons are the under-loved cookie option, always forgotten and pushed to the side in favor of the classic chocolate chip cookie. Yet macaroons offer the same sweet decadence with a different texture. Instead of trying the ordinary macaroon made of coconut, I made a raspberry macaroon and to top it off, dipped it in semi-sweet chocolate.

IMG_1450

The recipe was gleaned from Martha Stewart.

~ 2 cups sweetened flaked coconut
~ 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
~ 1 large egg white
~ pinch of coarse salt
~ 1 cup fresh raspberries
~ 6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
~ 2 teaspoons canola oil

IMG_1444

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Combine coconut, sugar, egg white and salt in large bowl. Mix ingredients together. Add raspberries and mash together until well incorporated. (Alternatively, use a food processor but be sure not to overprocess.)

2. Scoop tablespoons of coconut mixture onto a parchment-lined baking sheet to form mounds.

3. Bake until macaroons are lightly golden, about 25 minutes. Transfer macaroons to a wire rack and let cool.

4. Simmer a saucepan of boiling water, and place chocolate in a bowl set over the saucepan. Stir until melted, then add canola oil and mix.

5. Remove from heat and dip bottoms of macaroons in chocolate, cover half macaroon in chocolate, or dunk completely. Place dipped macaroon to a wax-paper-lined baking sheet. Garnish, if desired, with toasted almonds, sanding sugar or sprinkles. Refrigerate until firm, at least 30 minutes. Serve chilled.

These cookies are a crowd pleaser and definitely a decadent treat for chocolate lovers and fruit lovers alike.

Cranberry Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate chip cookies are a classic crowd-pleaser. Pure semi-sweet chocolate chips are sure to score big, but sometimes a fun variation in the classic can be quite satisfying. Oatmeal chocolate chip cookies have been a huge hit, but my personal favorite is adding dried fruit and nuts. This variation that I made as a gift has dried cranberries and semi-sweet chocolate chips, the perfect combination of tart and sweet.

Cranberry Chocolate Chip Cookies

The recipe was taken from the side of Arm & Hammer Baking Soda.

~ 2 1/4 cups flour
~ 1 teaspoon baking soda
~ 1 teaspoon salt
~ 1 cup butter, softened
~ 3/4 cup granulated sugar
~ 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
~ 2 eggs
~ 2/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
~ 2/3 cup dried cranberries

1. Preheat oven to 375°. In a small bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt.
2. In a large bowl, combine butter, sugar and vanilla extract. Using electric mixer, beat until creamy. Beat in eggs.
3. Gradually add dry mixture and mix well. Stir in chocolate chips and dried cranberries.
4. Drop rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 8 minutes or until lightly browned.

Have fun with these cookies by trying different variations with nuts, dried fruit and types of chocolate. You’ll be sure to find a favorite among your friends and family.

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