Homemade Sustainably-Sourced Chocolates. Easy To Make and Delicious.

I stopped buying those cheap, junky chocolate Easter eggs from the dollar stores a few years ago. They are probably made in China, and definitely not all natural or sustainably-sourced. When my kids get treats, I like them to be at least made with safe ingredients. Even better, from reliable sources that aren’t damaging both the natural environment and the people who are growing and processing the cocoa beans.
Last year I bought sustainably-sourced chocolate bars, broke them into squares, and wrapped them in aluminum foil. This worked fine… but was kind of boring. This year, I made my own. It turned out to be a fun, rewarding experience, and was simple enough to have the children help out!

I made several different recipes, but found these two to be the best:

The recipe by Wellness Mama is made with sustainably-sourced cocoa butter and cocoa powder, raw honey and vanilla. Nothing more, nothing less. The recipe by Cupcake Project can also use sustainably-sourced, organic ingredients. One of the batches of chocolates I subbed 3/4 of the powdered sugar for raw honey and it turned out really well. In another batch I added a tbsp. of cashew butter to the white chocolate recipe for a nutty treat. If you can’t find organic powdered sugar you can make it yourself from this recipe from Whole New Mom using certified organic cane sugar and arrowroot powder to avoid the typical GMO sugar and GMO corn starch.

 


Both provided easy-to-follow instructions, used ingredients that can be sourced sustainably, and created a delicious product that I’ll be working with in the future! Think… dark chocolate with sea salt and butterscotch… white chocolate hazelnut… the possibilities are now endless! And what great gifts they would make!

If you make some, please let me know how they turned out, and if you varied the ingredients with great success! Enjoy and Happy Easter!

Easy Homemade Marshmallows Recipe

Marshmallows are a fun treat.  People roast them over bonfires, melt them in hot chocolate, make s’mores with them, make rice crispy squares with them and so on.  But have you ever read the ingredient list on a bag of Jet Puffed marshmallows?  It isn’t very pretty.

Corn Syrup, Sugar, Dextrose, Corn Starch Modified, Water, Gelatin, Tetrasodium Pyrophosphate A Whipping Aid, Flavor(s) Artificial, Color(s) Artificial (Blue 1)

Corn syrup is super-concentrated, highly processed, and made from GMO corn.  Sugar is made from GMO sugar beets.  Corn starch is made from GMO corn.  Tetrasodium pyrophosphate A is… well, a chemical used as a thickener, and if ingested in large doses requires immediate medical attention.  It is also a skin and eye irritant.   Yum.  Artificial flavor and color (color?  In white marshmallows?!) is self-explanatory.  So basically, they are trash.  I don’t want my kids to eat them, period. But wait!  You CAN make them at home with safer and natural ingredients.  Easily!  You don’t have to forever ditch marshmallows!  And they taste better than store-bought ones. Let me just say this first: everyone should make marshmallows at least once.  Partly because it is a fun, tasty treat, but also to demonstrate first-hand how much sugar is in a marshmallow.  It is rather astonishing, and proves that marshmallows should, indeed, be a once in a long time treat, even if you make them with safe ingredients.

Easy Homemade Marshmallows Recipe
Author: 
Recipe type: snack
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 24 marshmallows
 
Simple, delicious homemade marshmallows without the artificial ingredients, color, additives or GMOs.
Ingredients
  • Butter, for greasing the pan and parchment paper
  • 4 envelopes unflavored gelatin
  • 3 c. granulated sugar (I used organic white cane sugar)
  • 1¼ c. raw honey
  • ¼ tsp. sea salt
  • 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1½ c. confectioner's sugar (icing sugar)
Instructions
  1. Grease a 9x13 inch cake pan with butter. Add parchment paper on top of the buttered pan, and carefully fit it inside the pan. Allow 1 inch overhang on each side. Grease the paper well. Set aside.
  2. Put sugar, honey, salt and ¾ c. water in a small pot. Heat and stir until sugar is dissolved. Turn off heat.
  3. Put ¾ c. cold water in mixing bowl and then add gelatin. Stir well and let sit for 5 minutes.
  4. With a mixer, whisk water/gelatin mixture and add honey/sugar mixture slowly. Increase speed and whip on high until mixture is thick, white and forms peaks. Whip in vanilla. This could take 10 minutes.
  5. Pour into prepared baking dish, scrape bowl and smooth the top with buttered spatula.
  6. Set aside uncovered until firm, about 3 hours.
  7. Sift 1 c. icing sugar onto counter top. Grease your hands and a knife. Flip set mixture onto icing sugar on the counter top. Cut into squares.
  8. Dip marshmallows into remaining icing sugar on all sides and set on a plate.
  9. Serve immediately or store for up to a week in an airtight container.

The recipe is above.  For more details and photos please read below. Notes:

  • It is very important to grease your hands and utensils before touching the marshmallows once the mixture is combined or you may be permanently stuck to the marshmallows!!
  • The marshmallows are slightly softer than store-bought ones.  The more days you let them sit, the firmer they become.
  • If using on a bon-fire, be very careful… they melt faster than store-bought ones and may fall off the stick if you don’t watch closely.
  • Unless you are using certified organic confectioners sugar you will be using GMO sugar with GMO corn starch added.  You can easily make your own confectioners sugar using organic white cane sugar and arrowroot powder by following this recipe.

1. Grease a 9×13 inch cake pan with butter. Add parchment paper on top of the buttered pan, and carefully fit it inside the pan. Allow 1 inch overhang on each side. Grease the paper well. Set aside. 2.Put sugar, honey, salt and 3/4 c. water in a small pot. Heat and stir until sugar is dissolved. Turn off heat. 3.  Put 3/4 c. cold water in mixing bowl and then add gelatin. Stir well and let sit for 5 minutes. 4. With a mixer, whisk water/gelatin mixture and add honey/sugar mixture slowly. Increase speed and whip on high until mixture is thick, white and forms peaks. Whip in vanilla. This could take 10 minutes. 5. Pour into prepared baking dish, scrape bowl and smooth the top with buttered spatula.  Set aside uncovered until firm, about 3 hours.   6. Sift 1 c. icing sugar onto counter top. Grease your hands and a knife. Flip set mixture onto icing sugar on the counter top. Cut into squares. 7.  Dip marshmallows into remaining icing sugar on all sides and set on a plate.  Serve immediately or store for up to a week in an airtight container.  

 

 

The Best Homemade Hot Fudge Sauce Ever!

Nothing beats a hot fudge sundae… unless it is a hot fudge sundae made with homemade ice cream and homemade hot fudge sauce. Most hot fudge sauces contain artificial flavor and color, preservatives, high fructose corn syrup and thickeners, making it a treat not worthy of it’s calling. Thankfully it is easy to make with all natural ingredients, and tastes far better than any product you could buy. This recipe is coming to you just in time for Valentine’s Day! Bring on the sundaes!  This recipe is adapted from Smitten Kitchen’s Hot Fudge Sundae Cake recipe.

 

5.0 from 1 reviews
The Best Homemade Hot Fudge Sauce Ever!
Author: 
Recipe type: Condiment
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2 cups
 
All Natural Homemade Hot Fudge Sauce. Can we -almost- say healthy?
Ingredients
  • ⅔ cup heavy or whipping cream
  • ½ cup honey
  • ⅓ cup packed dark brown sugar
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 1 cup chocolate chips, divided
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. In a heavy saucepan, bring cream, honey, sugar, cocoa, salt and half the chocolate to a boil.
  2. Reduce to a low and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in remaining chocolate, butter and extract.
  4. Stir until smooth.
  5. Cool to room temperature to thicken, then serve on homemade ice cream and fresh or canned sour cherries. Mmmm!

 

Whole Wheat Sour Cream Cake Donuts. Mmmmm Good!

I love donuts, and always have.  I don’t love the fact that they are generally fried in trans-fats, made with white flour, and covered in white sugar that is almost guaranteed to be made from GMO sugar beets.

How about some donuts that are made using whole wheat flour, fried in coconut oil, and dipped in organic cane sugar?  Are they healthy?  They are still high in sugar so they aren’t exactly healthy, but in my opinion they beat regular donuts hands down. Nothing beats them for flavor, quality ingredients, and lack of preservatives, artificial color or flavour, and GMOs.  We all need a treat once in a while.  Try a quality treat like these!

While experimenting with recipes, I tried making 100% whole wheat donuts.  They tasted ok, but they might have worked better as hockey pucks than donuts.  I cut back to half white and half whole wheat to give them the nutty goodness of whole grains, and the extra lift from white flour.  Frying them in coconut oil gave them an amazing fragrance, a slightly tropical flavor, and eased my conscience where oil was concerned.

As with all my recipes using whole wheat, I now use freshly milled whole wheat flour ground by my Wonder Mill grain mill.  Whole wheat flour from a bag has been milled who knows how long ago.  The natural oils have gone rancid by the time you use the flour. The comparison between freshly-milled and bagged flour is incomparable.  Gone is the slightly rancid, slightly bitter flavor that I had so long associated with all whole wheat flour.  Instead, a healthy, nutty flavor is found and the bread rises better.

Give them a try!  Let me know what you think!

Notes:

Learn to make your own powdered sugar from non-GMO sugar or other sweetener here.
To make your donut-making experience better, buy a donut cutter here.

This recipe was adapted from The Messy Baker: Sour Cream Old Fashioned Doughnuts.

Whole Wheat Sour Cream Cake Donuts. Mmmmm Good!
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert, Snack
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12
 
Delicious, nutty-flavored, whole wheat donuts that are made with organic sugar and freshly-ground flour, then fried in coconut oil.
Ingredients
  • For Donuts:
  • 1¼ c. white flour
  • 1 c. whole wheat flour, freshly ground
  • 1½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • ¾ teaspoons ground nutmeg
  • •1/2 c. organic cane sugar
  • •2 tablespoons butter or lard
  • •2 large egg yolks
  • •2/3 c. sour cream
  • •coconut oil for frying
  • For Icing:
  • 3½c. icing sugar
  • 1½ teaspoon maple syrup
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ⅓ cup plus 1 tablespoon hot water, (plus more if needed)
Instructions
  1. For donuts:
  2. Mix flours, baking powder, salt and nutmeg together well in a medium sized bowl.
  3. With a mixer, mix sugar and butter together until gritty.
  4. Add eggs, one at a time, until well-mixed.
  5. Combine flour mixture with egg mixture. Stir just until combined.
  6. Dump contents of bowl onto floured counter top and kneed a few times to make a ball. Cover ball with plastic wrap and store in fridge for an hour or overnight.
  7. Roll dough on flour-dusted countertop to about half an inch thick.
  8. Cut donuts out of dough using a donut cutter or a large, round cookie cutter, using a bottle cap to cut out donut holes.
  9. Heat about 2 inches of coconut oil to 325F in a frying pan.
  10. Carefully place donuts into frying pan for a few seconds, and then flip when golden on one side. Donut is done when golden on both sides. This takes only a few seconds: watch them carefully!
  11. Remove from oil and place on cooling rack. When cool enough, Dip in icing and allow to cool fully. Serve.
  12. For icing:
  13. Mix all ingredients together and whisk until smooth.
  14. Dip top of donuts into icing and allow to dry on cooling rack.
Notes
The time stated to make the donuts does not include the chilling time. When you are considering making these donuts remember that they need to be chilled for 45 minutes or more before rolling out and frying.

 

 

This post has been linked up to Small Footprint Friday #51 and From The Farm Blog Hop.

Healthy and Delicious Hemp Heart Cookies. Gluten-Free!

I am always looking out for healthy snacks for my kids’ school lunches.  I can’t send peanuts to school and incorporating a healthy protein into their lunches is sometimes a challenge.  So what if I told you that you can make a cookie that is high in omegas, high in protein and gluten-free?  And that the kids go gaga over?  Alright, here it is.

Hemp hearts are the hulled seeds produced by the hemp plant.  They are very high in protein and omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, vitamin B and folic acid.  And if you are unfamiliar with hemp hearts but familiar with marijuana, NO they do NOT contain any THC and will NOT make you high :)  The hemp plant is grown legally for the food and textile industry whereas marijuana is grown for the illegal drug industry. Just thought I’d throw that in there just in case you were wondering.

Hemp hearts have a mild, nutty flavour.  They can be added to salads, any baking, smoothies and just about anything else.  Try some!  Find them at most natural food stores or purchase through my Amazon store here.

Thanks to my good friend Leah for sharing her recipe!

Healthy and Delicious Hemp Heart Cookies. Gluten-Free!
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12 cookies
 
Ingredients
  • ⅔ c. brown cane sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • ½ c. butter, melted and cooled.
  • ½ c. gluten-free flour (coconut, almond, rice or wheat flour)
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 c. hemp hearts
  • ½ c. dried cranberries
  • ½ c. dark chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Mix together sugar, egg and butter.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix together flour, cinnamon, hemp hearts, cranberries and chocolate chips.
  3. Combine and mix well.
  4. Drop, in spoon-sized amounts, onto ungreased cookie sheets.
  5. Bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes or until just baked through.
  6. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes before using a flipper to remove from cookie sheet. Cool completely on wire rack.

 
This recipe was shared on Waste Not Want Not Wednesdays #48.

Amazing Whole Wheat Cinnamon Buns With Maple Pecan Glaze!

Cinnamon buns are a family favorite around our house. We don’t have them on a regular basis, but when we need a warm, sweet treat I often whip up a batch. I used to make cinnamon buns with, at most, 50% whole wheat flour and 50% white flour. I couldn’t imagine a cinnamon bun tasting good with just whole wheat flour. Until now.  I have had the good fortune of being given a Wondermill Grain Mill. I have tasted the difference and I’ll never go back!

I finally have discovered the secrets to getting 100% whole wheat flour to rise as well as white flour, without any additives. I have been making my own 100% whole wheat sandwich bread for years now and have been employing secret number 1. It is quite simple, really: you soak half the flour in the liquid the recipe calls for, for half and hour (or more). This helps release the gluten from the whole wheat and enables it to rise beautifully. Secret number one is vital. Secret number two is the icing on the cake.

My children eat the bread dough raw from the bowl. I remember doing that when I was young, and loving it. Now, as an adult, I actually don’t enjoy the flavour of raw bread dough. There is a bitterness to it that I don’t remember being there when I was a kid. When I received my grain mill from Wondermill I expected a difference, for sure. How could there not be a difference between flour that was milled who knows how long ago, and flour that was milled minutes ago? What I didn’t expect was that the bitterness I was tasting in the raw dough would disappear completely. That bitterness, then, must have been a slight rancidity that is in previously milled whole wheat flour. The freshly milled flour contained none of that bitterness. This could only make the bread taste better! And so, secret number two is the freshly milled flour.

When I received the Wondermill I decided I would attempt 100% whole wheat flour cinnamon buns. I began playing around with my recipe, and quite frankly, I have created THE perfect whole wheat cinnamon recipe for you. It is sweet, moist, tender and full of whole grain flavour without any bitterness. They rise like white flour, they have the nutty flavour of whole grains, and they are soft and incomparable. I am in love! And you will be too.

100% Whole Wheat Cinnamon Buns
Makes 2 batches, or one can be made into a bread loaf.

Ingredients

  • 8 c. freshly milled whole wheat flour, divided into 3 cup and 5 cup portions.
  • 2 c. warm water
  • 1/3 c. plus 1 tbsp. honey, divided.
  • 1/3 c. butter
  • 1 tbsp. yeast
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 egg

Cinnamon bun filling (per pan of buns):

  • 2 tbsp. butter, softened
  • 2 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 3/4 c. demerarra sugar or other dark cane sugar

Glaze (per pan of buns):

  • 1/2 c. maple syrup
  • 1/2 c. butter, melted
  • 1 c. toasted pecans (optional)

Directions:

  1. To make sponge add yeast to 1/4 c. warm water with 1 tbsp. honey in a 2 cup glass measuring cup. Mix well and set aside.
  2. Add 3 cups flour to 2 cups water. Mix well and set aside.  This is your flour soaking, releasing the gluten.
  3. Melt butter and 1/3 c. honey together and set aside until room temperature.
  4. In half an hour, add yeast mixture to flour mixture and mix well.
  5. Add butter and honey mixture and mix well.
  6. Add salt, egg and remaining flour (one cup at a time) and mix well.
  7. Once dough is of the right consistency (neither wet nor dry but tacky) kneed dough for 10 minutes.
  8. Set dough aside in a large bowl, cover with a damp tea towel and allow to double in size. (1-2 hours).
  9. When dough is doubled, kneed it briefly, divide into two, then roll out onto floured counter top.

For cinnamon bun filling:

  1. Spread butter over the dough with your fingers or a pastry brush.
  2. Sprinkle cinnamon and sugar evenly over the dough.  Roll dough up and pinch closed.  Slice into evenly sized buns
  3. Place buns in greased baking dish with a small bit of space around each bun. Cover with a damp tea towel.
  4. Allow to rise until doubled in size: 1 hour or so.
  5. Once buns have doubled in size, bake at 350F for 30 minutes or until lightly browned on top.

For glaze:

  1. Melt butter and maple syrup together.
  2. Toast pecans in oven on broil for a few minutes, until lightly toasted. WATCH CAREFULLY! It is really easy to burn them on broil!
  3. Add toasted pecans to butter and syrup.
  4. Drizzle liberally over the cinnamon buns.
  5. Serve warm!