Hot fudge peanut butter pie

Hot fudge peanut butter pie

I stayed up later than usual last night and went for a longer than long run this morning (it was 55˚F and glorious at 6AM), and I had every intention of coming back and editing the post I wrote about the peanut butter brownie sundaes I ate in the alley with the homeless guys who hang out back, but then I thought, Who wants to read something that long over the holiday weakend? No one. At least that’s what I told myself to get out of editing it. So I have another list for you. One that includes (but is not limited to) things I want, things that make my heart happy, and things that induce deep belly laughs. Enjoy your extra day off, folks!

Are you a morning person? (Petite lady boss with the mouth of a sailor might be the best and most accurate way anyone has ever described me.)

I love a company who listens to their customers.

The best jeans I’ve ever owned.

What Thom wants to name our first kid.

My response to what Thom wants to name our first kid.

Three ingredient peanut butter mousse

If Thom wouldn’t kill me for spending $2,500 on bookshelves, I’d buy these in a heartbeat.

OWNED

I always knew I liked Robin Williams.

My favorite YouTube video. What’s yours?

This is what happens when you let a 4 year old doodle in your sketchbook.

Farmers + urban farming

I’ve always said I’ll never run a marathon but then I found this one and it somehow made its way to the top of my bucket list.

I can’t stop reading this book.

Speaking of books, I’ve been cooking from this and this, lately. And I can’t wait to get my hands on this.

Drink, drank, drunk

Crumbly pie doughWhite chocolate chipsCreamy peanut butterCalifia Farms almondmilkCoconut whipped creamHot fudge peanut butter pieHot fudge peanut butter pieHot fudge peanut butter pieHot fudge peanut butter pieHot fudge peanut butter pieHot fudge peanut butter pie

Notes: I should probably warn you that this pie crust is the crumbly sort and will not cut perfectly clean like your typical pie crust. If you want something more traditional, go this route. Or maybe you’d prefer a graham cracker crust? Pretzel? If you don’t have a scale to weigh the chocolate, you can use just a tad over 1 cup of finely chopped white chocolate or white chocolate chips. If you’d prefer to make this with dark chocolate chips, I think it’d be delicious and I have plans on trying it. The toppings are totally optional, but I really enjoyed the pie loaded with the works (whipped cream! hot fudge! peanuts!). If you’d prefer to steer clear of coconut milk, just drizzle the chocolate over the top of the pie and sprinkle with chopped nuts. Or just eat it plain, if that’s your thing. If you don’t use a deep tart pan, you will have leftover crust and pie filling.

This post is sponsored by Califia Farms. All opinions are my own, and I think Califia rules.

HOT FUDGE PEANUT BUTTER PIE

Crust
1 1/2 cups unbleached flour
1/4 cup dry roasted peanuts
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
2 tablespoons Califia Farms original almond milk

Peanut butter filling
6 ounces vegan white chocolate chips
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup Califia Farms original almond milk

You’ll also need
Coconut whipped cream
Hot fudge sauce
Dry roasted peanuts, chopped

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Line the bottom of an 8-9″ tart pan (mine was 2″ deep) with parchment paper and spray with oil; set aside. In a food processor fitted with the S-blade, blend the flour, peanuts, and brown sugar until the peanuts are finely ground. Drizzle in the coconut oil and pulse until sandy. Add the almondmilk and pulse for 30-45 seconds, until the dough is crumbly but sticks together when pressed between your fingers. Pour the crumbs into the prepared tart pan and press it into the bottom and up into the sides. Poke the bottom of the crust with a fork at least 10 times then bake at 350˚F for 14-15 minutes. Transfer crust to a cooling rack until ready to use.

In a double boiler over medium heat, melt the white chocolate chips then off the heat and stir in the peanut butter. Using a hand mixer on medium speed, mix in the almond milk and whip for 1-2 minutes. To speed up the rate at which the pie sets, you can set the double boiler insert over a bowl filled with ice and beat for 4-5 minutes, or until the mixture starts to cool and thicken. Pour peanut butter filling into the pie crust then transfer to the refrigerator to chill for at least 6 hours, but overnight is best.

When you’re ready to assemble the pie, top with coconut whipped cream, drizzle with hot fudge (it’s easiest to transfer to a plastic bag and snip the corner), and top with chopped peanuts. Transfer back to fridge to set for an additional 30 minutes, then slice and serve. Pie will keep refrigerated, in an air tight container, for at least 3 days.

Yield: 8-12 slices

Double chocolate almond butter trail cookies

Double chocolate almond butter trail cookies

The mountains have been calling for weeks. Months. Since we returned from our Europe trip. And thanks to a two week break that required zero commitments on our behalf, we’ve been able to spend a decent chunk of time away from the Mile High City. After visiting the Sangre de Cristo Mountains while my not-so-little brother was in town last week, we decided to spend this week in Telluride, where we’re currently nestled within the San Juan Mountains with a hike of one of its tallest checked off of our list. And as you read this, we’re summiting Handies Peak because we can’t leave the area with only one of its 14ers under our belts.

Cacao nibsRaw almondsUntitledDouble chocolate almond butter trail cookiesVanilla bean almond butter

Whether I’m traveling into the mountains, to campus, or around the globe, I like to bring snacks of the homemade variety because buying them is always so ridiculously expensive. And the other problem? Packaging tends to be bulky. Empty containers get in the way and take up unnecessary room once the snacks have been devoured. So my solution has always been the same: Cling wrap. Although there are a variety of ways to store your food to keep it fresh, cling wrap is undoubtedly my go-to when it comes to traveling because it a) allows delicate snacks to maintain their structural integrity, b) keeps them fresher longer than alternative food storage solutions, and c) takes up no more room in my bag than the food itself. I, admittedly, used to be the type who would buy the off-brand cling wrap because I tend to be unnecessarily frugal at times but, at some point, Thom talked me into spending a few extra bucks on the quality stuff and I haven’t reached for the $2 roll, since.

So these cookies. I had them freezing in a double layer of Glad‘s trusty cling wrap for upwards of three weeks, then we packed them up and brought them across the state where they provided energy during our insanely difficult summit of Mt. Sneffels. If you paid me ten thousand dollars to do it again, I probably wouldn’t because I have literally never been as terrified as I was while scrambling to the top of that mountain. When we made the summit I wanted to cry because, truthfully, I didn’t think we had it in us (especially not with Thom being as sick as he is). But instead I pulled two of these cookies from the front pocket of my pack and devoured them within minutes (after taking a few photos, of course). And then I caught my breath, calmed my nerves, and soaked up the immense beauty that resulted due to millions of years of activity in the Earth’s lithosphere.

High fives for plate tectonics, mountain adventures with the one you love, and double chocolate cookies.

Room with a viewWild flowersDouble chocolate almond butter trail cookiesView from Mt. SneffelsMt. Sneffels Southwest RidgeTrail cookie at high altitudeThom making the summit

Notes: I think the first thing I should get out of the way is the fact that these cookies are not exactly fitting for dessert. They’re just barely sweet and are a bit on the dense side, making them great to have for breakfast or as a post-workout snack. The best part about these cookies has to be their versatility – you can replace the chocolate chips with your favorite dried fruit, the maple syrup with your preferred liquid sweetener, the oat flour with buckwheat flour or a gluten free blend, and the rolled oats with rolled kamut or quinoa. If you want to load these up with protein, you can replace 1/2 cup of the oat flour with an equal amount of your favorite protein powder (I’ve used hemp with delicious success), but you’ll want to increase the almondmilk measurement by 2 tablespoons.

DOUBLE CHOCOLATE ALMOND BUTTER TRAIL COOKIES

1/2 cup vanilla almond butter, recipe follows
2 tablespoons refined coconut oil, melted
6 tablespoons Grade B maple syrup, room temperature
1/4 cup almondmilk, room temperature
1 1/4 cups oat flour, divided
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup rolled oats
2 tablespoons cacao nibs
1/4 cup chopped dark chocolate
1/4 cup raw almonds, coarsely chopped

Preheat oven to 325˚F. Line a large baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper; set aside. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the almond butter, oil, and maple syrup. Once combined, whisk in the almond milk. Add 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons of the oat flour, sea salt, and baking soda, and stir with a wooden spoon until a thick dough forms. For cookies that are a bit on the dense side (how I like them) add the 2 remaining tablespoons of oat flour and mix until combined. Add the oats, cacao nibs, chopped chocolate, and almond pieces; mix until evenly distributed. Wrap bowl with cling film and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Using a 1/4 cup cookie scoop, drop the dough onto the prepared sheet then flatten with your hands. Bake at 325˚F for 14-15 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool. Store cookies in an air tight container or on a plate covered with cling wrap, for up to five days. If you’d prefer to freeze the cookies, wrap each individual cookie in a piece of cling wrap large enough that you can triple wrap it. Allow cookies to thaw for 4 hours before eating. Will keep frozen, wrapped in plastic, for at least three weeks.

Yield: 9 large cookies

VANILLA BEAN ALMOND BUTTER

1 cup raw almonds
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup, optional

In a food processor fitted with the S blade, blend the almonds into a fine meal, then scrap in the vanilla bean. Continue processing mixture until the almonds turn into a thick paste (this maybe take 7-10 minutes). Add the maple syrup and continue mixing until the almond butter is at your desired consistency – the longer you blend, the more oil released by the nuts and therefore the runnier the almond butter. I prefer mine to be rather thick, so I blend it for only a few minutes longer after adding the maple syrup.

Yield: 1/2 cup almond butter

208px-Glad_logo.svg This post is sponsored by Glad in effort to save good food from going bad. Freshness, wrapped up. All opinions are my own.
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Salted chocolate pretzel ice cream cake

Salted chocolate pretzel ice cream cake

I think it’s safe to say that the stress of the wedding was making me certifiably insane. Not the wedding itself, and not the details involved because I pretty much had every tiny detail planned. Right down to our first dance to Jose Gonzales’ Heartbeats that the DJ would scratch about 56 seconds in – a surprise to Thom – because as long as I can remember he’s talked about how epic it’d be to have a “first dance” to Ginuwine’s Differences. And so we would.

There was a grand entrance to Beirut’s Postcards from Italy. And although we weren’t going to get married under willow trees, we were going to get married under trees and the big, blue Colorado sky. I was going to dance down the aisle with my dad, but was working on getting him a djembe so that he could opt out of the whole dancing thing, if he wanted. There was going to be a family-style feast with seasonal, organic eats and so much booze that everyone would be completely shitfaced by the end of the night. This was everything I wanted for a good six months. Rather, everything I convinced myself I wanted because there are certain expectations that come when you decide to make a lifelong commitment to another human being. Expectations to focus on, not only your relationship and the love and devotion but, the people involved who have supported and carried and helped you trudge through the bad and coast through the good. I do not doubt the importance of these people but for me, the significance of a wedding has always been to solidify a pact we made so many years ago. It has always been about us.

After crunching the numbers and looking at the total cost for the wedding, which was only a few grand shy of the amount we saved to spend four months in Europe (insert seriously horrified emoji face), I came to my senses and he did, too. One early spring morning before we were both heading our separate ways we laid across the bed and talked about our dream wedding. What would you do if no one else mattered? Turns out we wouldn’t get married in Denver. We wouldn’t even get married in the States. So I let out a heavy sigh followed by a questioning, Thom, what the fuck are we doing?

Churnin'Califia Farms AlmondmilkSalted chocolate ice creamIce cream cake makin'Coconut whipped  creamFudge swirlSalted chocolate pretzel ice cream cakeSalted chocolate pretzel ice cream cake

Four years ago we spread Thom’s dad’s ashes near a little island in County Fermanagh, Ireland. I never met his father, unless you count the time I had to help identify him at the morgue then, well, I guess I did. I always joke with Thom when he gets down about us never meeting that, We did! Chuck was just reaaaaally quiet. It’s a pretty terrible joke but I think if you can’t make light of a heavy situation, you’re not doing it right.

Besides, he laughs every time.

So anyway, I planned a surprise trip to Ireland, contacted members of Thom’s Clan, secretly smuggled the remains of what would have been my future father-in-law onto a plane (there’s a really funny story about that but.. another day) (maybe), and next thing I knew we were having a Gaelic ceremony in the middle of Ireland with people who welcomed us and took us in and loved us like their own. After we spread Chuck’s ashes I gave Thom some time at the end of the dock to say his goodbyes. I remember looking at him in his dark gray suit, watching the way the hazy sunlight flickered and danced on the surface of the water around him, and the way my heart completely shattered because laying your father to rest, after a very unexpected and tragic accident, might be up there with One of the Most Terrible Things a 26 Year Old Has to Do. So I stood there watching him, heart breaking but my love for him deepening and I told myself – and I think I even said it out loud – I will marry this man, in this spot, one day. I will commit to love and protect and ground him, as long as we’re both alive. And I will do so right here, with the powdery speckles of Chuck that have since become one with the land.

And so we are, on 20 June 2015. We’re taking a plane and inviting our favorite humans (plus our beloved wedding photographer) and getting married on that little Island. And afterward we’re hauling everyone back to Dublin for a feast at one of our favorite restaurants, followed by a pub crawl where I expect my ivory gown will get heavily stained with Guinness and Jameson-gingers. But it’ll be worth it.

As for me? The wedding is no longer making me certifiably insane. In fact, I’m over the moon and anxious, counting down the days and laughing at the fact that I tried so hard to go against my instincts when I knew better. Trust that gut, folks. It’ll never steer you wrong. Now, how about some ice cream cake?

Salted chocolate pretzel ice cream cakeSalted chocolate pretzel ice cream cakeSalted chocolate pretzel ice cream cake

Notes: I went back and forth debating whether I wanted to make this with pretzel or graham cracker crumbs, but in the end the pretzels won out because I had two big bags of them in the pantry. However, graham cracker or cookie crumbs would work just the same. Or maybe even waffle cone crumbs? Someone please make this with finely ground waffle cone crumbs. I should note that if you’re not into sweet/salty desserts, you probably will not like the pretzel crust. The hot fudge recipe makes just enough to swirl the top of the cake, but I tripled it because I like to keep a jar of fudge in the fridge. If you want to do the same, it will keep for 2-3 weeks. Although the cake looks over the top and complicated, many of the components are made beforehand, making the assembly process ridiculously easy. But I cannot stress enough: Make sure your ice cream is soft and spreadable (but not runny). If it’s not, assembling the cake will be a huge pain in the ass.

This post is sponsored by Califia Farms. All opinions are my own, and I think Califia rules.

SALTED CHOCOLATE PRETZEL ICE CREAM CAKE

Pretzel crust
1 1/2 cups finely ground pretzel crumbs
2 tablespoons cane sugar
1/3 cup unrefined coconut oil, melted
2 tablespoons Califia Farms unsweetened almondmilk

Hot fudge
2 ounces good quality dark chocolate
2 tablespoons brown rice syrup
2 tablespoons Califia Farms unsweetened almondmilk
Pinch of flaky sea salt

You’ll also need
Salted double chocolate ice cream, thawed (1.5x recipe)
Coconut whipped cream (2x recipe)
Pretzel pieces

Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper then set a round 8″ cake ring (at least 3″ deep) in the middle. Line the cake ring with a piece of round parchment paper and set aside. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the pretzel crumbs and cane sugar then mix in the coconut oil until combined and mixture is sandy. Add the almondmilk and mix with your fingers, just until it’s combined. Take a couple of handfuls of the mixture and press it into the cake ring. The thickness is up to you, but I prefer the bottom layer to be no more than 1/4″ thick. Layer with 1/3 of the softened ice cream and gently use a spoon to spread it over the pretzel crumbs. Don’t press too hard or else you’ll crack the crust. Take a few more big handfuls of the pretzel crumbs (I like this layer to be the thickest) and sprinkle them over top of the ice cream. Transfer the cake and batch of softened ice cream to the freezer for at least 45 minutes, but remove the ice cream 15 minutes before the cake. When the cake has chilled, spread remaining softened ice cream over the pretzel crumbs then add the rest of the pretzel crumbs in your bowl. Cover cake and freeze for at least 6 hours.

Prepare the hot fudge sauce by melting the chocolate in a double boiler over medium heat (microwaving would work, as well – but microwaves freak me out so we don’t own one). Once the chocolate has melted, stir in the rice syrup, almondmilk, and salt, then remove from heat. Transfer to a small jar and refrigerate until ready to use.

To finish assembling the cake, heat the chilled fudge in a hot water bath (put it in a bowl with boiling water up to the fudge line and let sit for 10 minutes). Top cake with coconut whipped cream, then transfer the hot fudge to a small plastic bag and snip the corner of the bag, making a small opening. Squeeze over coconut whipped cream then drag a knife through it to swirl. Top with pretzel pieces, if desired.

Place the cake back in the freezer and let the whipped topping firm up for 20-30 minutes. To remove the cake from the ring, heat it using a blow torch or wrap the ring in a hot, wet towel for 2-3 minutes. Use a hot knife to slice the cake and serve immediately. Cake will keep in a freezer safe, air tight container for up to four weeks. Let thaw for 30 minutes before serving a cake that’s been freezing longer than 24 hours.

Yield: 12-14 slices

No-bake chocolate-raspberry tart + a giveaway

No-bake chocolate-raspberry tart

The world – my world – feels all sorts of crazy and overwhelming and unapproachable at the moment. Which, in turn, makes me crazy and overwhelmed and unapproachable. I blamed it on the moon and Capricorn and the feelings that come when the astrological forces are strong, but in all actuality it had nothing to do with the supermoon in Capricorn – my world has been chaotic because I’ve done nothing to make it otherwise. So when I woke up this morning at 4AM, unable to fall back asleep with a racing mind and pounding heart – and too burnt out to continue my ritualistic morning reading of GristMother Jones, and NPR Environment - I walked out to the bookshelf and grabbed the first thing that caught my eye, which happened to be the bright orange binding of Eat, Pray, Love. I picked it up, laid on the couch, and before I knew it, it was 7AM and I was nearly finished with the most quote-worthy piece of literature I think I’ve ever read.

Aside from this chocolate-raspberry tart and a giveaway, today I have a quote for you. One I think will serve us well as we step into a new week. I’ve said it before, but I think one of the biggest misconceptions running rampant through our culture is this idea that happiness is a fortuity; that it’s something we stumble upon if we’re in the right place at the right time or if we wake up on the right side of the bed. I’ve also said this before: I think we’re fools to think this way. And I think maybe Elizabeth Gilbert thinks we are, too.

•    •    •

Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it. You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings. And once you have achieved a state of happiness, you must never become lax about maintaining it. You must make a mighty effort to keep swimming upward into that happiness forever, to stay afloat on top of it. If you don’t, it will eat away your innate contentment. – Elizabeth Gilbert

Crust ingredientsGanache ingredientsCrust + Raspberries(Almost) raw chocolateThe Vibrant TableNo-bake chocolate-raspberry tartUntitledNo-bake chocolate-raspberry tartNo-bake chocolate-raspberry tartNo-bake chocolate-raspberry tart

If you haven’t gotten your hands on the beautiful cookbook that is The Vibrant Table, now is your chance because Anya‘s publisher was kind enough to send me a second copy to giveaway to my readers. Although the book is not vegan, a majority of the recipes are and the ones that are not can easily be converted (honey to maple syrup, eggs to flax eggs, etc.). To enter to win a copy of The Vibrant Table, leave a comment telling me your favorite summer treat and why you love it so much. Because I’m feeling generous, this giveaway is open to the whole damn world, through the end of the week. Giveaway is closed and winner has been notified. Congrats, Erin!

Notes: Anya’s original raw chocolate recipe calls for agave nectar and maca powder, but I didn’t have either on hand so I substituted maple syrup and lucuma powder. As a result of the maple syrup, the chocolate recipe isn’t ‘raw’. The mesquite is pretty crucial to give the chocolate it’s deep flavor, but if you don’t have any just substitute equal parts of cacao powder – no big! I used a small loaf pan lined with parchment paper to stand in as a chocolate mold, but if you have a mold I recommend using that as the parchment method doesn’t exactly make for the most photogenic bar or chocolate. If you’re not into the almond + oat based tart crust, this recipe would be delicious with a no-bake sweet biscuit or graham crust. And for those who have an aversion to nuts, use 2 cups of rolled oats in the crust and increase the non-dairy milk to 1/4 cup.

NO-BAKE CHOCOLATE-RASPBERRY TART

Crust
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup raw almonds
Pinch of fine sea salt
6 medjool dates, pitted
2-3 tablespoons non-dairy milk

Chocolate ganache
1/2 cup cacao powder
1/4 cup unrefined coconut oil
1/4 cup pure maple syrup

You’ll also need
1 pint raspberries
Anya’s (almost) raw chocolate, recipe follows

Line the bottom of an 8-9″ tart pan with parchment paper and spray with oil; set aside. In a food processor fitted with the S blade, blend the oats, almonds, and salt into a super fine meal. Add the dates and blend just until combined. Add the non-dairy milk (two tablespoons first) and blend until the dough is crumbly but sticks together when pressed between your fingers. If it doesn’t work after two tablespoons, add the third. I do not recommend adding a fourth or else you’ll get a really tough dough. Once you’ve reached the desired consistency, press dough into the prepared tart pan and set aside (do not refrigerate just yet).

In a small bowl, stir together the cacao powder and one tablespoon of the coconut oil. Stir until all clumps are dissolved then stir in the maple syrup. Once combined, whisk in remaining coconut oil and pour directly into tart shell. Top with raspberries and Anya’s homemade chocolate (recipe follows) then transfer to the refrigerator to set for at least an hour. Tart will keep refrigerated in an air tight container for up to one week, or in the freezer for up to six.

Yield: 10-12 slices

ANYA’S (ALMOST) RAW CHOCOLATE

Recipe adapted from Anya Kassoff’s The Vibrant Table

1/2 cup shredded cacao butter
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
1/4 cup cacao powder
2 tablespoons mesquite powder
1 tablespoon lucuma powder

Line a small loaf pan with parchment paper; set aside. In a double boiler over medium heat, melt the cacao butter until liquid then stir in the maple syrup and remove from heat. Sift in the cacao powder, mesquite powder, and lucuma powder and whisk until smooth. Pour into prepared mold and freeze until set.

Yield: 1 small bar of chocolate

Salted double chocolate ice cream

Salted double chocolate ice cream

You never realize how heavily you lean on someone until you kiss him goodbye and find yourself trapped in a running shower with no one to grab the face wash you always leave above the bathroom sink. When your bike tire goes flat and you’re forced to wheel it a mile and a half to the bike shop because you still don’t know how to replace a tube (and you’re too stubborn to take the bus). Or when you decide to paint the very small, 30 square foot entry way and not even a quarter of the way through taping the trim you give up because This is far too much work for one person (but really it had more to do with the fact that I picked an awful shade of Benjamin Moore sea green). I lean on him. I lean on him so heavily. Part of me wants to apologize for what appears to be a minor codependence, but part of me is over-the-moon thankful for the newfound appreciation.

On his first night out of town, I went to the mall. But it only took about 20 minutes of being surrounded by people walking aimlessly and more people with kids on leashes (seriously, WTF?) for me to realize that I didn’t need anything, I was just filling a void. So I left and took some of the money I saved at the mall and spent it on almondmilk and granola. I’m not usually the granola buying type because, not only is it insanely expensive, it’s stupidly easy to make at home – but I was feeling particularly lazy and I had a fierce granola craving, so I caved. I took the rest of the money I saved and spent it on a big bag of dirt and an assortment of overpriced succulents. Succulents my black thumb will probably end up killing within a matter of months, but that’s ok because I’ve learned to accept this cursed thumb as an inherent part of my being. And before you try sending me links on how to keep these hardy creatures alive: There is no amount of plant education capable of turning my thumb green. I’ve tried everything. Literally, everything.

I rode home with all my new plants and almondmilk and recently-mended tire, and I shoved handfuls of crunchy granola into my face as rain fell from the heavy sky. I parked my bike in the garage then hurried through the front door, where my first instinct was to shout HEY MISTER! but the absence of his favorite pair of Zuriicks quickly reminded me that I was alone. It was just me and the succulents and the flat screen, tonight.

Salted double chocolate ice creamWaffle conesCalifia Farms vanilla almondmilkSalted double chocolate ice creamSalted double chocolate ice creamSalted double chocolate ice cream

We put the television in the bedroom so that we’re less tempted to watch reruns of The Office or Rick Steves Europe. That’s a lie. We put the television in the bedroom because a) that 46” black mass is a total eye sore and b) we have an unusually large bedroom so it was only natural to turn part of it into a sitting area. We made a rule – rather, I made a rule – that we wouldn’t watch it in bed but what did I do the first night I hooked it up? I watched TV in bed. Shamelessly. I gathered all the pillows from around the house and threw them onto the freshly washed sheets, then climbed in with my recently shaved legs (shaved legs + clean sheets = heaven) and sat the bag of granola where Thom’s body would be and a bowl of ice cream went right in my lap. And my god, it was the most gloriously indulgent and relaxing night I’ve had in I don’t know how long. To be able to lay down the middle of the bed and not have to share the granola or ice cream or remote with anyone else? It was nice.

But now it’s Monday and I’d very much like to have Thom back home because there have been four straight nights of eating ice cream in bed. And although I could probably get used to it, I’d like to kiss him and thank him for leaving so that I could come to the realization that a) I can’t do everything on my own (although many times I prefer to think otherwise) and b) it’s ok to lean on someone, as long as you’re letting them lean on you, too.

Salted double chocolate ice creamSalted double chocolate ice creamSalted double chocolate ice cream

Notes: Using Califia Farms almondmilk is a pretty crucial component to this recipe, as they make their milk by pressing the almonds, not by blending them with water. This makes for an extremely smooth, ice crystal-free ice cream, which has not been the case when I’ve attempted frozen treats with other plant based milks. The number of dates you add will determine the sweetness of the ice cream. While I prefer it on the less-sweet side, some people may want something a bit more sugary so add up to six dates if you’d like. Or, if you’d prefer to avoid the whole date situation, replace the dates with 3-4 tablespoons of pure maple syrup. If you don’t have full fat coconut milk, you can replace it with 3/4 cup of raw cashew pieces that have been soaked for at least four hours (although overnight is best if you’re using a normal blender). Simply add the soaked cashews to the blender at the same time you would add the coconut milk, but instead of blending the mixture for 15-30 seconds, you’ll want to blend it for upwards of 2 minutes (or until the mixture is completely smooth).

This post is sponsored by Califia Farms. All opinions are my own, and I think Califia rules.

SALTED DOUBLE CHOCOLATE ICE CREAM

Ice cream base
4 ounces good quality dark chocolate, broken into pieces
2 cups Califia Farms vanilla almondmilk
1 can full fat coconut milk, refrigerated overnight
4-6 medjool dates, pitted

Mix ins
1 ounce good quality dark chocolate, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons cacao nibs, optional
1/4 teaspoon flaky sea salt

In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the chocolate and almondmilk. Cook until chocolate is completely melted then add the dates and cook for one additional minute. Transfer mixture to the base of a high speed bender, such as a Vitamix, then scoop the thick, white layer of coconut milk fat off the top of the can of refrigerated coconut milk and add that to the base; blend on high speed for 15-30 seconds. Transfer to a large bowl, cover with plastic, and refrigerate for at least four hours, or until thickened and chilled. Once ready, transfer the mixture the the bowl of your ice cream maker and mix according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Once the ice cream starts to really thicken, add the mix ins and let the ice cream machine do it’s thing for another 5 minutes. Serve ice cream immediately  or transfer to a freezer safe container. Thaw for 15-20 minutes before serving.

Yield: 1 1/2 pints