Dairy-Free Espresso and Chocolate Panna Cotta – Project Healthy in Italy

The Italians have a love affair with espresso, or what they just refer to as “coffee”.

( I can’t wait to learn more about this when I go to Italy for my new project ” Project Healthy in Italy read here)

I love this small, strong brew just as much as the Italians do, and have an espresso maker that makes the best espresso (and aroma) in my very own kitchen. You can see the actual maker in my photo below. 🙂

Coffee is a good source of antioxidants. And as long as you don’t overdue it, and hydrate as well, it is actually a healthy staple to add to your diet. Of course, without added sugar or cream…

Panna cotta on the other hand means “cooked cream” in Italian and is a classic Italian dessert from the region of Piedmont. You have probably made it before, or at least tasted it somewhere. It is basically just cream, sugar and gelatine.

My version however ( Italians, please don’t be mad at me!;))is a healthier  panna cotta and is made without dairy or refined sugar.  I also use antioxidant-rich raw cacao and brewed espresso for a flavour twist and for a nutrient boost. My panna cotta is actually vegan, healthy, and yes; tasty!

You get the best of Italian flavours and traditions, but with better building blocks for your body. Recipe below…

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I serve my panna cotta with an orange and mint syrup and something crunchy on top like an almond brittle( fine chopped almonds, roasted with maple syrup and a touch of salt) or such. But you can easily serve it just as is.

 

For the panna cotta you will need( Makes 2 portions):

  • 100 grams (1 cup) soaked, natural cashew nuts. (Non roasted or salted nuts that you soak in water for at least 8 hours then rinse before using.)
  • 7 tbs. (organic) maple syrup
  • 2 tbs. raw cacao
  • 2 dl (3/4 cup) espresso
  • 1 ts agar agar fine powder. (A vegan gelling agent made from a type of algae. Found in health food stores or finer super markets)
  • Pinch of salt (I only use Himalaya salt)

 

How to:

  1. Brew the espresso and mix with the agar powder in a pot. Bring to boil and let simmer for 2 minutes to activate and dissolve the agar. Set aside.
  2. Place the rest of the ingredients in a blender or food prosessor and add the espresso mixture. Blend until completly smooth and creamy. This may take a couple of minutes depending on the strength of your machine.
  3. Pour into moulds and set in the fridge for at least 2 hours.
  4. To make an orange and mynt syrup, reduce the juice of two oranges with a handfull of fresh mint and 1 tbs. of sweetner, such as honey or maple syrup. Reduce in a pan until about half the portion is left and it has turned into a syrup. Strain before serving.

 

Buon divertimento! Enjoy!


Get Your Espresso On! Healthy, Vegan Espresso Cookies.

Today I am going to share with you one of the recipes that I developed for my plant based cooking exam. I recieved top scores for these so you can rest assure they taste great!

There are a few steps but they are so fun to make and look great. They may remind you more of a french looking macaron or a whoopie pie. To save time, you can skip making your own chocolate and simply melt some high quality chocolate for dipping. But here is the full recipe for your holiday cooking…

Espresso cookies:

1 cup whole grain spelt flour
3 tbs. unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup coconut sugar
1 tbs. finely ground coffee/ espresso
2 espresso flax eggs ( 2 tbs. ground flaxseeds and ½ cup brewed espresso)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup extra virgin coconut oil (room temperature, but not melted)

Garnish:

Lemon chocolate dip
1/ 2 cup pistachios (toasted)

How to:

Sift all the dry ingredients including the ground coffee into a bowl and mix together. Combine the ground flaxseeds with the brewed espresso and vanilla extract to make the flax eggs. Let sit for about 5 min until it thickens. Add and mix into the dry ingredients. When combined, work the coconut oil into the mixture until dissolved.

Place the cookie dough on a baking tray lined with parchment paper and using your hand or a rolling pin flatten the dough until it is about 0,5 cm thick. Bake for 5 min. at 180 degrees.

When baked use small cookie cutters to make the cookie sandwiches and let cool on a rack.

When cool dip half of the cookie in melted chocolate and sprinkle finely chopped pistachios. Leave to set in a cool place.

Espresso cashew cream

½ cup soaked cashews
1 tbs. water
1 tbs. espresso
½ ts. vanilla extract
1 ½ tbs. maple syrup
Pinch of salt

How to:

Soak the cashews overnight in a bowl of water. Blend the cashews in a blender or food processor with the water, adding more if needed. It should have the consistency of whipped cream. When smooth add the rest of the ingredients. Add more honey if desired.

Raw lemon Chocolate

1 cup melted cocao butter
3 tbs cocoa powder
3 tbs honey
1 tbs lemonjuice
1 tbs lemon zest

How to: Combine all the ingredients and mix well. Set aside.

Assembly: Take two cookies and fill one of them with the cashew cream using a piping bag, making sure to not overfill the cookie. Make a sandwich of the two pieces.

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Carina’s Guilt- Free “Low Gluten” Chocolate Cupcakes!

Are you like me; you like to have your cake and eat it too? That is why I had to develop a guilt-free chocolate cupcake using healthy and clean ingredients!

These cupcakes are “low gluten” meaning there is only a smaller amount of gluten in them and a different kind of gluten as I only use spelt flour. The gluten in spelt is different from the gluten found in wheat. Therefore if you are gluten sensitive, like me, your body can handle spelt much better.

I have also used almond flour to get a rich and moist texture and I only use coconut sugar or an organic maple syrup when making sweets as they are not refined, have more nutrients, are more blood sugar friendly and taste great as well.

The frosting is made from soaked cashews so they are dairy free as well and when combined with fresh orange juice and zest the taste is amazing. 🙂 I hope you enjoy!

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Carina’s Guilt- Free “Low Gluten” Chocolate Cupcakes (serves 8-10)

You will need for the cupcakes:

  • 100 grams almond flour
  • 70 grams whole grain spelt flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 ts. Himalaya salt
  • 2 tbs. chia seeds
  • 25 grams chopped walnuts
  • 4 tbs. raw cacao powder
  • 60 grams coconut sugar
  • 4 tbs. meltet coconut oil
  • 2/3 (1 dl) almond, cashew or coconut milk
  • 2 ts. baking powder

How to:

  1. Mix all the dry ingredients before adding all the wet ingredients. Mix well and add the chopped walnuts.
  2. Add the mixture to cupcake molds and bake at 200 degrees celsius for 12- 15 minutes depending on the size.
  3. Let cool before frosting.

 

 

For the frosting:

  • 260 grams about 2 cups of soaked cashews.
  • 4 tbs. maple syrup
  • 7 tbs. fresh orange juice
  • Zest from one orange
  • 2 tbs. melted coconut oil
  • 5 tbs. fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup ( 5 tbs) almond, cashew or coconut milk
  • Pinch of Himalaya salt

How to:

  • Soak the cashews in water for 6- 8 hours. Rinse well.
  • Add to a high speed blender and add the rest of the ingredients. Mix until completely smooth.
  • Let set in the fridge before adding to a piping bag.
  • Garnish with orange zest, chocolate, cacao nibs or walnuts.
  • Enjoy! 🙂

 

 


Dairy-free (vegan) chocolate ice cream

I love ice cream, but my body and health does not love diary… Therefore I had to develop a dairy- free, healthy and delicious alternative because who wants to live a life without ice cream?!

The store bought kind is also full of additives, colouring and things I really don’t want to put into my body, and especially when I know how easy and fun it is to make my own at home.

This recipe i vegan, easy to make as well as loaded with antioxidants when you use a high quality, raw cacao powder and add cacao nibs and walnuts.

Best results are achieved when using an ice cream machine, but of course you can make it using a freezer, a bowl and a fork to whip air into it about every 30 min.

 

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Dairy free, antioxidant-rich chocolate ice cream!

You will need:

  • 500 ml full fat coconut milk
  • 4 tbs. raw cacao powder
  • 6 tbs.maple sirup
  • 1 ts. vanilla extract
  • A pinch of Himalaya salt
  • 2tbs. Maizena corn starch
  • Cacao nibs
  • Walnuts

How to:

  1. Mix all the ingredients, except for the corn starch, in a pot and bring to boil, taking care to stir all the time so it doesn’t burn.
  2. When the mixture is boiling add the corn starch and let simmer for a couple of minutes.
  3. Add to a bowl and let cool before refrigerating for at least 3 hours to chill and let set before adding to an ice cream machine or the freezer.
  4. Add the cacao nibs and chopped walnuts following the instructions for the ice cream machine or when the mixture has started to freeze if making manually.

 

Watch how I make my chocolate ice cream in my video. I speak Norwegian but it is subtitled in english:)

 

 


Raw chocolate with balsamico and sea salt.

Chocolate can really be an immune boosting food if chosen wisley, especially raw chocolate. Raw means the cacao has not been heat treated therefore it contains all the nutrients. It really is a powerhouse full of antioxidants, magnesium and healthy, fat burning fats.

Perhaps best of all is that it is really easy to make. I developed this recipe after being inspired by my trip to Modena, Italy where real balsamico is made. You can read about my trip here.

The recipe is posted below but take a look at my video of me making the chocolate. I do speak Norwegian but it is subtitled in English:)

A real good quality balsamico is naturally sweet and goes great with Maldon sea salt which enhances the chocolates flavour. You will also find this recipe in my latest book Carina’s Healthy Kitchen. (Currently only in Norwegian). You can purchase it here.

Raw chocolate with balsamico and sea salt.

You will need…

  • 100 grams of cacao butter
  • 0,25 dl ( 2 tbs) maple sirup
  • 3 tbs. raw cacao powder
  • 1 tbs. good quality balsamico
  • Maldon sea salt or other unrefined sea salt flakes.
  • A  silicon chocolate mold

How to:

  1. Rouphly chop the cacao butter and add to a glass bowl.
  2. Melt the cacao butter in a water bath (slowly) making sure the bottom of the bowl does not touch the boiling water. This will scorch the butter.
  3. When melted remove from heat and add the rest of the ingredients except for the sea salt. Mix well.
  4. Pour into a silicon mold and sprinkle a little sea salt on top. Let cool before setting the fridge for 2- 3 hours.
  5. Serve and enjoy.

 

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Healthy chocolate! Food styling and photo: Carina Hultin Dahlmann/Carina’s Healthy Kitchen.