Old is new again: Chocolate Olive Oil Bundt Cake.

I don't spend so much time around adults.  Because of this, I find that I carry on whole conversations with myself in my head.  As I'm washing the dishes I think about recipes, where things originate and who changed them to accommodate what was in hand.  I'll waiver my opinion if necessity was the mother of invention, or if times changed and so did palates.  I'll wonder just how many times the same chocolate cake was recycled and made new.  And then I'll revisit my stacks of old timey recipes and see what I would do differently or if I would even bother making half of them anymore.

I don't make nearly as much dessert as I used to (although it would seem that is usually what I end of writing about), and when I do feel the need to make something I slash the sugar mercilessly.  I almost make a point to see how much I can cut before a boy will notice, and to my endless amazement it never happens.  They see chocolate.  They eat.  Maybe that is just the way our brains work.  (That also works with adding vegetables into chocolate covered things: zucchini, squashes, carrots, and beets have all been eaten this way too, none the wiser.)

I might not have a knack for a lot of things, but I have the uncanny ability to remember desserts that were eaten and enjoyed and who ate them and enjoyed them.  My special skill allows me to recall then that the last time I made this recipe, a faded photocopy of a Hershey's chocolate bundt cake that my mom wrote upon in her perfect penmanship her mark of highest approval "very good!", was in 2011 when we had a houseful of my husband's friends over to watch the Pacquaio/Marquez fight.  For that occasion I didn't cut the sugar or use olive oil, I made it pretty much as directed and frosted it with melted chocolate chips.  And it was eaten completely.  But my tastes have changed since 2011, and one thing that I find myself loving even more than less sugar is olive oil and chocolate together.  

olive oil chocolate bundt.

For at least the last year, pretty much every time I see a baked good call for canola or sunflower oil - any "flavorless" oil really -I use olive oil instead.  I never worry about the density or richness of olive oil overpowering things... and maybe because I love the flavor of good olive oil so much it never does.  I am able to find the once elusive California Olive Ranch oil easily now, and it is my baking staple.

This cake lasts well for about 4 days if covered well.  I generally store cake at room temperature, and this one develops better flavor on the second day - although the texture is really very nice the day it is baked.  You would do well to serve this sans frosting and with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, or just dusted with powdered sugar.  I made half of the recommended amount of frosting "glaze", which is glossy when first topped and then dries matte. Beating the batter well causes the cake to dome up (as seen in the picture above), but when inverted it isn't noticeable. 

Chocolate Olive Oil Bundt Cake (adapted from Hershey's)
serves 8-12
  • 1 2/3 c. ap flour
  • scant 1 c. sugar
  • 1/2 c. cocoa powder (I use a blend of natural and dutch cocoa)
  • 1-2 t. espresso powder, optional
  • 1 1/2 t. baking soda
  • 1/2 t. baking powder
  • 1 t. kosher salt
  • 1/2 c. olive oil 
  • 1 1/2 c. buttermilk
  • 1 t. vanilla
 Heat oven to 350 degrees and butter and flour a 12 cup bundt pan and set aside.

Combine flour, sugar, cocoa powder, espresso powder (if using), baking soda, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl.  Measure olive oil, buttermilk, and vanilla into a smaller bowl, and add all at once to the dry ingredients.  Beat on medium-high speed with a hand mixer (or by hand if you like) for a full 3 minutes, making sure the sides are scraped well into the batter.

Pour into prepared pan, and bake in the center of the oven for 50-60 minutes or until a tester comes out clean.  Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes before inverting and allowing to cool completely before frosting.

Chocolate Glaze
(double this amount for a thicker topping)
  • 2 T. sugar
  • 2 T. water
  • 1/2 c. bittersweet chocolate chips
Bring the sugar and water to a just boil in a small saucepan, stirring to be sure the sugar is dissolved completely.  Remove from the heat and stir in chocolate chips, stirring well with a spatula to melt them evenly.  Immediately spoon (or spatula) the thick glaze onto fully cooled cake.

olive oil chocolate bundt.

I have no completed cake picture.  In part because I didn't feel like setting up a tripod in the fading light just before the daylight savings time change... but also in part because I feel the increasing need to only photograph things when I feel like it.  Another thing I think about when washing dishes is if there are any food bloggers that can tell stories without the aid of photography?  While the two go hand in hand, sometimes it's more important to just eat the end results and be satisfied with the enjoyment of cake.  Especially when they have been few and far between.

Chocolate Tahini Tea Cake.

Spring really seems to be taking the time in arriving this year.  We've had more downright cold and rainy days than moderately sunny and mild ones, and just when I think I should be craving more bright and light food, I'm drawn back to rib-sticking, carb heavy, comforting things.  Not that I ever need an excuse to bake.  Even in the hottest part of the year, I brave the lighting of my oven.  No matter the season, baking is akin to life-giving breath for me - especially in the sourdough department.  Quick bread making, however, seems to dwindle in the summer months, becoming much more of an occasional task than a weekly one.  

chocolate tahini bread

I was thankful for a rainy day yesterday to sneak in another quick bread before the world heats up, one that was more of a tea cake baked in a loaf form and healthy enough to be breakfast if so desired.  I had been thinking about making something with tahini all week, remembering this piece that Deena wrote recently highlighting it.  I love sesame, but never really have tahini on hand.  It seems that my co-op only stocks unhulled sesame seeds, which turn into a fairly bitter butter when ground and processed in the Vitamix.  On a recent shopping trip, I discovered they had packaged tahini themselves and I couldn't resist picking up a little container even though it goes against my grain of making things myself.

During the week Deena sent me more tahini links, and I was almost sold on this one for flatbreads rolled with sweetened tahini.  But couldn't shake both the feeling that I needed a quick bread, AND a little bit of chocolate.  I certainly didn't expect to hit that sweet spot on the first go, but I did!  A perfect concoction of not-too-sweet, reasonably healthy, and just a tad elegant.

loaf pan liners.

I used loaf pan liners that my parents brought me back from a trip they made to the UK. They are smaller than the standard 9x5 or 10x4 loaf tins I have, but fortunately a friend gave me a couple of Ziploc brand (they said "made in Italy" on the labels) glass loaf dishes.  They come with plastic lids for storage - and I love making loaves in them because it's like I have built in storage after baking.  This recipe fits perfectly into the 2 lb. loaf mold, it will likely bake faster and look a little more shallow if using a different sized tin.  I might actually seek out a metal tin this size, since I like a smaller loaf cake or quick bread that has some height to it.

As I searched for a starting point for this cake, I ended up "de-veganizing" a recipe I found on have cake, will travel.  I took a cue from the apple-walnut tea cake I love so much and used a shredded whole apple, peel and all.  It translates as near-applesauce bits and almost disappears altogether.  Some additional sesame seeds lend a little toothsome interest, and using raw honey makes me feel good in a way that agave nectar would never.  And of course, no new baking adventure happens lately without the addition of milk kefir...

I made this cake by weight - approximate amounts for conventional measure are also given.

Chocolate Tahini Tea Cake (inspired by have cake, will travel)
  • 40 g. cocoa powder (about 1/2 c.)
  • 180 g. ap flour (about 1 1/2 c.) (I used local Lonesome Stone Milling flour which is more wheat than most ap flours)
  • 1 1/2 t. baking powder
  • 1/2 t. baking soda
  • 1/4 t. fine salt
  • 96 g. tahini (1/4 c. + 2 T.)
  • 210 g. honey (1/2 c. + 2 T.)
  • 113 g. shredded apple, peel and all but core/seeds removed (1 small, 4 oz. apple - or about 3/4 c. shredded)
  • 154 mL whole milk kefir (scant 3/4 c.)
  • 3 T. sesame seeds, divided
 Preheat oven to 350.  Prepare glass loaf tin with a liner or butter generously and flour well.

Sift cocoa powder, ap flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl.  In a medium sized bowl, mix the remaining wet ingredients.  Add the well mixed wet ingredients to the dry and use a spatula to fold together until just mixed and no dry areas remain.  Fold in 2 T. of the sesame seeds, and mix just to distribute evenly.

Transfer mixture to prepared loaf pan, and use a knife to smooth the top evenly.  Sprinkle with remaining 1 T. sesame seeds.  Place in the center of the oven and bake for about an hour until a tester comes out clean.  Remove from oven to a wire rack, and cool for 45 minutes before removing the bread from the loaf pan to continue cooling.  Try to let the bread cool completely, about 2 hours, before slicing.

chocolate tahini bread-2

This bread has such a nice texture, almost "puddinglike" in the way that some British puddings are steamed and then marvelously moist-centered.  It has a satisfying sesame flavor, that if you wanted could be further complemented by spreading a slice with equal parts tahini and sugar (or honey), but that wouldn't really be necessary.  It's good enough to enjoy a fat slice alone, with the company of a cup of coffee or tea.  I've taken to storing the leftover in the refrigerator, as much to prevent myself from eating it too quickly as to protect the dense structure and ample fruit moisture.

I love how a tangent can take over my food life, winding away over a few days and inspiring me more by the hour.  I love having dedicated friends who are up for chatting spontaneously about the best uses for ingredients or which recipe to use or tweak for which occasion... and better yet don't find it the least bit strange when the overwhelming craving for sesame seed hits.

chocolate tahini bread-3

Not sure if I ever officially mentioned it here that I broke down and joined Pinterest.  You can find me under the same name: rcakewalk.  I've been enjoying it, and even more, I enjoy following the whims of my friends and seeing how pins morph and manifest into new inspirations.  I'm doing pretty good at going back over things I've saved for later too.  Unfortunately, I rarely make things more than once (when cooking and not baking, that is), but this social tool is also helping me remember things that were wonderful, and is a quick reference when I try to recall or share.  I probably won't (definitely won't) be adding paper straws to things to photograph, but a pin did lead to my Easter Lamb Cake

Salad Dressing Cake.

I guess it all started when I wanted a tuna sandwich for lunch one day last week.  I love tuna sandwiches, but I hate hate hate the conundrum of purchasing mayonnaise.  I like lacto-fermenting my own, but haven't done that so much since I made the commitment to higher quality olive oils.  I don't have any "neutral flavored oils" in my kitchen arsenal at all anymore; if it can't be made with butter, olive oil, coconut oil or bacon grease, I probably will opt out.  But that tuna sandwich was nagging me, and I recalled this recipe for super quick mayonnaise made with a whole egg and an immersion blender.  Armed with a new bottle of olive oil, I figured I'd give it a go.  I didn't have any purchased mayo on hand, so it was my only option if that tuna sandwich was going to become a reality for me...

salad dressing cake

To the basic mayo recipe, I added a spoonful of dijon mustard and extra lemon juice; the recipe did work (although the texture wasn't quite as lovely as the yolks-only, lovingly hand whisked versions).  My only complaint was that the quality extra virgin olive oil I used made the mayo seem a bit too rich and mineral-y.  It was edible, but I didn't want to go through the trouble of lacto-fermenting it, and I didn't have a good excuse to go all out on a mayo binge to use up the cup or so I had leftover.  I also didn't think I could pass it off on the rest of the family - I have one kid who can't even eat condiments yet, another who won't eat them out of choice, and finally a husband who is a harder sell than I am.

Fortunately I remembered about salad dressing cake.  Salad dressing cake could very well be the first cake I ever made myself, mixing the simple, pantry-staple ingredients with a whole cup of mayonnaise, Miracle Whip actually, which was what we called mayo at my house growing up.  It was proof that miracles do indeed exist.  How on earth could you make a chocolate cake with a cup of sickly sweet and thick Miracle Whip that left no trace on the tongue of mayo?  How could you make a cake that was so perfectly full of moisture, a good keeper at room temperature or in the fridge, and barely messed up the kitchen?  It's magic.  And I'm glad I remembered it now. 

salad dressing cake

You can frost this cake however you see fit, but I can't properly enjoy an everyday chocolate cake at my house without a simple butter infused, powdered sugar based buttercream spiked with almond extract.  I don't ever measure, I just try not to make too much, and if I do, I store the leftover in a glass jar until I need to make another cake - which will then usually happen sooner than later because I have extra frosting.  It's a vicious cycle.

I also encourage you to make immersion blender mayo with 100% olive oil for this recipe.  You get a nuance of olive in the background for those that are interested in tasting it, yet it's subtle enough that the rest of your family won't go noticing it.  They'll just think you made the best chocolate cake ever.

Salad Dressing Cake
makes 1 8x8 inch cake
  • 2 c. ap flour
  • 1 c. granulated sugar
  • 1/2 c. cocoa powder
  • 1/4 t. kosher salt
  • 2 t. baking soda
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Butter a glass 8x8 inch baking dish.

In a 4 cup measure (or medium sized bowl), combine the mayo, cold water, vanilla, and espresso powder if using and stir well to combine.  (I still had a dirty immersion blender from making the mayo, so I used it to blend the wet ingredients.)

In a large mixing bowl, sift or mix well the dry ingredients.  Pour the wet ingredients over the dry and stir until just mixed thoroughly and no dry spots remain.  Use a spatula to ease it into the prepared baking dish, and smooth the top out towards the corners to counteract some of the doming action in the center as the cake bakes.  Bake in the preheated oven for 35-45 minutes, until a tester comes out clean.  Cool completely before frosting.

salad dressing cake

Crackers & Dips: Ivy Manning's Latest Book (And Giveaway!)

Ivy's Skinny Mints

When I think about Ivy Manning's new book, I can't believe that I've been looking forward to seeing the final result since October of 2011.  Time seems both to linger and fly in waves, and looking back over the amount of time that has passed since I first became acquainted with Ivy and was welcomed into cookbook testing with vigor seems oddly surreal.  

Ivy and I have never met; we were introduced online by another online friend who I have actually met in person, Deena Prichep.  Last Thanksgiving, I looked forward to an evening dinner with Ivy as she visited her homeland of Wisconsin, but an unfortunate flu plagued her (and I was iffy about eating, being newly pregnant) and the opportunity slipped by, drowned under the weight of even more passing time.  The good thing about this passing time is that I know Ivy and I will one day finally sit down to supper together, and when dark days hit, I think about this with great anticipation.

I read a lot of cookbooks.  Some year, I should actually keep track and write them all down.  I've talked about this before, how my library was my greatest resource when I was somewhat economically challeged this past year. Kind souls have somehow graced me with copies of books found in thrift shops or book sales, even the occasional author sent me a review copy of a new work I really wanted, when even those $13 meager dollars sent to Amazon were going to be a stretch.  Good things have a way of making themselves available to those who really appreciate it I think...
Amaranth Crackers with Cheddar and Pepitas served with Roasted Tomatillo and Avocado Dip
 (Photo courtesy of Chronicle books.)
While things on the personal finance front are finally looking up, my bookshelves could quickly grow heavy with new titles that are worth owning, and Ivy's newest book is definitely among them.  Crackers & Dips:  More than 50 Handmade Snacks is a DIY foodist's dream: and I should know, because I got to make and taste firsthand quite a lot of the contents.  The books that usually find permanent residence in my house are the ones that I grab not only for inspiration, but because I know that the recipe will work on the first go - if I'm making it for the 20th time, or just last minute for company.  The other necessary criteria for cookbook ownership is beautiful design, and this book is also beautifully photographed and illustrated, a unique combination of photography (by Jenifer Altman) and chalk drawings (by Kristina Urquhart).  There might not be a better book suited for both gift-giving and practical use!  Every recipe in this book is going to work for you, for snacking, appeasing the kiddos, gift giving, or party-going.

A School of Fish Crackers (Gluten-Free!)
(Photo courtesy of Chronicle Books)

I decided that to celebrate the release of this book, I'd make one of the crackers that I didn't get a chance to test: the Skinny Mint Chocolate Grahams.  Billed as a dessert cracker, these would remind you of a much tastier version of the classic Girl Scout classic.  And after reading this article on the suspect ingredients in them, I feel all that much better to have a really good DIY version!

I love baking by weight, since it is much faster than measuring all the ingredients traditionally, and is more consistent.  This book has metric weights for all of the ingredients listed. I know that when doing my portion of the testing, I double checked the volume to metric ratio, so even if you bake by volume, you can be assured of a good result.
Skinny Mint Chocolate Grahams (Ivy Manning, Crackers & Dips: More Than 50 Handmade Snacks)
  • 14 T. (200 g.) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 c. (100 g.) sugar
  • 2 T. honey
  • 1 1/2 t. peppermint extract
  • 1 1/2 c. (185 g.) all purpose flour
  • 1 c. (130 g.) whole wheat flour
  • 1/3 c. (30 g.) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 t. baking soda
  • 1/2 t. fine sea salt
  • 1 c. (170 g.) bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 1 t. canola oil
Preheat oven to 350 f. (180 c.).

Line two baking sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper.  In the bowl of an electric mixer or in a large bowl using a handheld mixer, beat the butter, sugar, honey, and peppermint extract together until fluffy, stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl.

Sift both flours, the cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt into a medium bowl.  Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and mix on low speed until the mixture forms moist crumbs; do not overmix.  Gather up the dough with your hands (it will come together when squeezed), and divide the dough into two equal-size pieces.  Form each piece of dough into a rectangle measuring 4x6 inches, cover in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 days.

Place a piece of parchment paper on a work surface and lightly dust it with all-purpose flour.  Place a portion of dough on the paper, dust it with flour and place a piece of plastic wrap over the dough.  Roll the dough out until it is 1/8" thick, picking up the plastic once or twice to make sure there are no creases in the dough.

Cut the dough into the desired shapes using cookie cutters, and use a lightly floured spatula or bench scraper to transfer the crackers to one of the prepared baking sheets; reserve and chill the scraps.  Prick each cracker a few times with a fork or comb and bake until they are crisp and smell chocolaty, 10-12 minutes, rotating the sheet once from front to back while baking.  Transfer the crackers to a cooling rack.

While the first batch of crackers is baking, repeat the rolling and cutting process with another ball of dough; the chilled scraps can be re-rolled once.

In a small microwave-safe bowl or a double boiler, melt the chocolate chips until smooth.  Remove from the heat and whisk in the canola oil.  Using an offset spatula, spread about 1/2 t. of the melted chocolate mixture over each cracker and place them on a baking sheet.  Refrigerate the graham crackers until the glaze is set, about 30 minutes.  Once the glaze has set, store the crackers in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Ivy's Skinny Mints
Ivy's Skinny Mints

In my whole foods kitchen, I successfully substituted sucanat for the sugar, and olive oil for the canola.  I also like to roll out the crackers directly on a silicone mat with a piece of plastic wrap over the top.  I found that I didn't need to use any additional flour that way.  I also cut the crackers into squares in part because I was a bit lazy, but also because there is less waste that way.  And besides, that way I get to nibble every ragged edge of chocolate mint graham cracker myself.

Ivy's Skinny Mints

So now for the fun part:  I was given a copy of this book to giveaway!  This is the first giveaway that I've had that didn't contain something that I made myself (Pomegranate Jelly or Candied Jalapenos), or something that I bought to giveaway (WMSE Rockabilly Chili Cookbook).  Historically, I am a small blog with a dedicated readership, so your chances to win this beautiful book are very good.  I wouldn't mind if you share the post and the word about Crackers & Dips with your friends however, because I know they would appreciate a homemade batch of crackers too.  To enter, just leave a comment below before midnight next Friday, May 17th.  I'll choose a winner using a Random Number Generator on Saturday the 18th, and post it here and on the CakeWalk facebook page.

I'll leave you with the image of my favorite recipe from the book:  another dessert cracker made with rich olive oil, orange blossom water and aniseed.

Spanish Olive Oil Tortas
(Photo courtesy of Chronicle Books)

This recipe is alone is worth the cover price, especially when you consider that a gourmet, wax papered bag of pretty Ines Rosales crisps costs quite a bit in specialty food markets... and isn't it so much better to make it yourself anyway?

Congratulations to Ivy Manning on a gorgeous accomplishment!

Disclaimer:  I did receive a copy of this book for review, and another to giveaway.  My opinions of this book are my own, well deserved, and are not embellished!

(Magic) Bars. And Paleo Diet.

My state is known as the drunkest state.  It's a fact that I'm not so proud of, and certainly one that bears no bragging rights in my opinion.   My city is founded on capitalizing breweries and brewers, Eastern European immigrants taking advantage of our excellent water resources and creating an environment where it's pretty easy to find a good beer, if not a few too many good beers.

Perhaps working in tandem with the drunkest state moniker are the  numerous corner bars dotting the city.  They give us the feeling of a being larger city than we are, and if you are not participating in the binge culture, there is also a sense of civic pride in our hand-craftiness.  Good things are indeed made in Wisconsin.

Not the least of which are bars of another sort, the cookie type hastily pressed into pans to avoid the more time consuming labors of shoveling drop cookies into and out of the oven every 12-15 minutes.  I assume it's a trend passed down by the same ingenious Midwestern predecessors, that at every church potluck and every summer picnic someone brings a pan of bars.  I think I took this for granted (or maybe didn't even acknowledge it) until a dear out-of-town friend visited years ago with her boyfriend at the time.  He had never been to the Midwest, and it was he who first mentioned the connection about bars and the Midwest to me.  And, wouldn't you know, my mother-in-law came over that very afternoon with a delicious pan of "Hello Dollys", a classic bar cookie for me to serve to my company...  I remember he was thrilled.

Paleo magic bars.

In my own kitchen, where I can't really spend too much time, cookie baking usually rules outright.  But cookies also run the risk of being too easily snatched and hastily eaten by yours truly.  They also have a lot of sugar, usually both white and brown to tame the tenderness issues often plaguing them.  I'm still dutifully trying not to give in to sugary temptations, and this results in not baking so many cookies anymore.  And then there is the business of all that grain...

I am endlessly interested in health as it pertains to staying out of the mainstream medical system.  That is probably the most driving force in my personal sugar reduction:  I know that nothing good can come from sugar.  Lately I see an increasing interest in the Paleo diet, or other similar diets that preach the exclusion of glutenous grains, adopting a more primal way of eating.  In general, I'm never going to subscribe heart and soul to a diet that leaves me devoid of all carbohydrates, especially when I am a baker at heart.  But more and more I can really see the appeal and benefit of these diets to mainstream America.  It's good to spread the gospel of heavy helpings of fruits and vegetables, and it's good to demonize the processed food industry.

So many people are so much busier than I am, and have far less time to soak, sprout, and obsess over what kinds of grain should be eaten.  In these cases, perhaps it is better just to cut grain out altogether?  Most people can benefit from eating more vegetables, and even more quality (well raised and sourced) meats too.  After all, paleo diets really are just whole food diets that focus on raw materials and not packaged cheats - and that is what is most important.  I'll support that type of diet!

Aside from health issues, I find it a great challenge to bake healthy, low or no-sugar desserts that satisfy both my need to bake and my desire for sweets.  I'm finding that desserts labeled "Paleo" fit that bill nicely.  One of my best recent finds has been a Facebook link called Just Eat Real Food.  It is exactly what it purports to be, real food links from across the Internet where it seems I'm spending less and less time.  It's nice to have a resource of links like that, one where I found this recipe for Paleo Magic Bars the other day.  Last night after supper I mixed them up and baked them, and I could barely get the kiddo out the door to school fast enough this morning to finish them up.  Our stormy morning was good for cracking a few more of the in-the-shell pecans my neighbor gave me anyway.

Paleo magic bars

For the date or date/fig paste called for in this recipe, I used leftover from the raw/vegan fig bars I made recently.  To make it, soak dates (and/or figs) in boiling hot water for about a half hour, then run them through a food mill or food pro with a bit of the soaking water until they have a jammy consistency.  I would think a half cup of dried fruit would give you more than enough paste for this recipe.  Also, make sure that your honey is "runny" and not crystallized and you will have an easier time of things.

Paleo Magic Bars (barely adapted from the Healthy Foodie)
makes 1 9x9 inch pan

bottom layer:
  • 1/3 cup date (or date/fig) paste(see note above)
  • 1/2 an avocado
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 T. raw honey
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 2 T. coconut flour
  • heaping 1/4 c. cocoa powder
  • 1/4 t. baking soda
  • 1/4 t. cream of tartar
  • pinch of kosher salt
  • handful (50 g. as the Healthy Foodie suggested) sprouted almonds, medium chopped
top layer:
  • 1 1/2 c. unsweetened, shredded coconut
  • 2 T. melted coconut oil
  • 2 T. softened coconut "manna" or butter (like this, or make your own)
  • 1 T. raw honey
  •  2 egg whites, beaten to soft peaks in a medium sized bowl
chocolate drizzle:
  • 1 T. melted coconut oil
  • 1 heaping T. cocoa powder
  • 1 T. raw honey
  • handful of toasted and chopped pecans for garnish
Preheat the oven to 365.  Brush a 9x9 glass pan with coconut oil, and line with crisscrossing sheets of parchment paper.  (This aids in removing from the pan later.)

In a food pro, combine the date paste, avocado, 3 eggs, honey, and vanilla.  Process until very well blended, about 30-60 seconds.  In a small bowl, mix coconut flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt with a fork until well blended.  Add to the contents of the food pro, and pulse just until combined, about 5 good pulses.  Spread the bottom layer into the prepared pan, taking care to smooth into the corners.

Rinse the food pro container out well, and add the coconut, coconut oil, coconut manna, and honey and process until well blended, about 1 minute.  Add this mixture to the soft peaked egg whites, and fold in gently until well combined.  Spread this mixture carefully in an even layer over the chocolate layer.

Bake in the preheated oven for 22-25 minutes until lightly browned across the top.  Cool on a rack for an hour (until room temperature) then refrigerate overnight or until well chilled (about 6 hours).

When chilled, make the chocolate drizzle by combining the coconut oil, cocoa powder and honey in a small bowl.  Add a little extra coconut oil if it seems too thick, you are looking for a thin drizzle consistency.  Drizzle across the top of the bars, and sprinkle with the pecans.  Store in the fridge, in part so you don't eat them all right away.

Paleo magic bars

These bars are much less sweet than traditional sweetened condensed milk versions of magic bars... but they still really satisfy.  I won't claim that they satisfy as much as a giant wedge of traditional magic bar, but they do not leave you feeling guilty and with a "why-did-I-just-eat-that-whole-thing" kind of feeling.  And, they are made entirely with real, whole foods.  I especially like that my picky kid liked them, and that they sneak in avocado, which is tremendously underused in chocolate bakery...

Paleo magic bars.

So what about you?  Are you also seeing a shift to more healthful, whole foods with less refined carbohydrate emphasis?  I think the Paleo trend is here to stay for awhile, and I am kind of glad.  I'm not about restriction and arguing over the color of my potato (though for the record, I do prefer sweet potatoes), but there are a lot of valid ideas surrounding this more natural way of eating and viewing food.