http://www.givinggiftsthatgive.com/images/homemade.jpg

Without a doubt I have a Sweet Tooth. I've tried to swear off the sweet stuff, but, but, but... Sometimes all I crave is something rich, sweet and decadent, and no piece of fruit is a suitable substitute.

Even Food Guru Michael Pollen says that you can eat 'junk' food as long as you make it yourself. What he means is 'naughty' foods are allowed once in a while, for a special occasion, not as a daily part of your diet. He insists that we bother to make it ourselves since it's a time consuming activity, and ready made junk is simply too easy, too accessible and too tempting. (So, no hiding boxes of 'Devil Dogs' in the back of your pantry.)

http://www.thefiftybest.com/content/wine/the_wine_detective/images/desserts.jpg

To tell you the truth, sometimes I'm nearly satisfied just reading dessert recipes and devouring the pictures of chocolate cakes... Certainly, there are many better-for-you desserts to indulge in, which do satisfy the sweetness craving.

Add your most 'sinful' dessert recipes here. Either totally hedonistic or surprisingly healthy. My mouth is already salivating....

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Rich Chocolate Vegan Brownies
posted by Healthy & Green Living Editors - Feb 24, 2010

We stumbled upon this brownie recipe in The Vegan Family Cookbook by Brian P. McCarthy (Lantern Books, 2006) that wowed us. Not only does it negate the need for animal-based ingredients, but it gives the option of including whole wheat flour–hurray!

The only caveat for us here is that is calls for granulated sugar. We’re not big advocates of refined sugar, and recommend replacing the sugar with a natural sweetener. Sucanat works perfectly with chocolate recipes like this because it gives baked goods a rich flavor.


1 cup flour (you can use half whole wheat flour here, if you prefer)
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 1/4 cups sugar (or Sucanat, as noted above)
1/8 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cups chocolate chips
1/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
1/3 cup soy milk
1/3 cup extra light olive oil
1/4 cup silken tofu
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. In large bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, sugar (or Sucanat), baking powder, salt, walnuts and chocolate chips.
3. In a blender, blend the soy milk, oil, tofu and vanilla.
4. Add blended mixture to the flour mixture in the large bowl and stir until just combined. Batter will be thick.
5. Spread batter out evenly into an 8-inch square, oiled baking dish.
6. Bake for 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

I haven't yet tried this vegan delight... Maybe tonight?


http://www.care2.com/greenliving/best-chocolate-recipes.html?&p...


Dark Chocolate Zucchini Cake

The secret ingredient that makes this cake so utterly moist and delicious is a secret no longer: yes, the wonderful zucchini makes this single-layer cake a real standout. Your friends and family will never know they’re getting a healthy serving of veggies with their dessert; they’ll be too busy experiencing chocolate ecstasy.

INGREDIENTS

3 ounces good-quality dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup canola oil
1 1/4 cups sifted all-purpose unbleached flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) butter, softened
3/4 cup organic sugar, or less, according to taste
2 eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 cups grated zucchini or summer squash


1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 9-inch cake pan and dust with some unsweetened cocoa powder.

2. Melt the chocolate along with the oil in a double boiler or in a saucepan over low heat, taking care not to scorch.

3. Sift together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a medium mixing bowl.

4. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition, then beat in the vanilla. Add the flour mixture and buttermilk, beating until combined, then fold in the chocolate and oil mixture, and the zucchini.

5. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool the cake in the pan for about 10 minutes on a wire rack, then invert it on the rack, remove the pan, and cool completely.

5. May be served plain, iced with your favorite icing, dusted with organic confectioners’ sugar, or with fresh raspberries nestled around it.

Serves 8 to 10.

Inspired by The Classic Zucchini Cookbook, by Nancy C. Ralston, Marynor Jordan, and Andrea Chesman (Storey Books, 2002).

http://www.care2.com/greenliving/best-chocolate-recipes.html?&p...
I'm happy with my one square of 85% dark cocoa each night along with some cinnamon disks which help my throat feel better.
Cinnamon Cardamom Snickerdoodles

"The recipe is pulled from Niall’s book, Sweet! in which he explores recipes using all different kinds of natural sweeteners (this is one of the few recipes using white sugar) such as agave, honey, and muscovado sugar. He aims to improve familiar recipes by varying the sweeteners to avoid processed sugars and blood-sugar spikes. I’ll be honest. I wasn’t drawn to this recipe for any of those reasons. I simply love cardamom and had never considered using it with a classic snickerdoodle recipe. The result is quite magical."

"Cardamom is a spice that’s used in a lot of Indian and Middle Eastern dishes for it’s complex, aromatic, spicy-sweetness. It dresses up these cookies like nothing else. If your typical snickerdoodle is good afternoon snacking fare, these are racier–more apt for late night kitchen forays. Now snickerdoodles are tough to muck up. So I hope you decide to give these a try."


Cinnamon-Cardamom Snickerdoodles
Slightly adapted from: Sweet! by Mani Niall

While this was an excellent recipe just the way it was, I did adapt it slightly using just a dash less cardamom. I like the subtle warmth the spice brings to the cookies, but I found 1 1/2 tsp. sufficiently conveyed that. I also used ground cardamom instead of grinding my own like Niall suggests. She raises an important point that spices lose their freshness quickly, but I had just purchased the cardamom and it was used so sparingly that I’m happy with the results. If you’d like to use fresh cardamom, grind the seeds from 20 cardamom pods in an electric spice grinder, mini food processor, or mortar/pestle and use immediately.

Ingredients:

2 2/3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tsp. cream of tartar
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. fine sea salt
16 Tbsp. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

For Spiced Sugar:
1 1/2 tsp. ground cardamom
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp. ground cinnamon

Directions:
Position oven racks in the center and top third of the oven and preheat oven to 375 F. Line two baking sheets with parchment or a silicone baking mat. Sift together the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt (This is important, to completely combine the cream of tarter and baking soda, and to break up any clumps). Beat the butter and sugar in a medium-size bowl with an electric mixer at high speed until the mixture is light in color and texture, about 3 minutes. One at a time, beat in the eggs, then the vanilla. Reduce the speed to low. In four equal additions, add the flour mixture, beating the dough until it’s smooth after each addition.

To make the spiced sugar, combine the ground cardamom, sugar, and cinnamon in a small bowl. Using a level tablespoon of dough for each cookie, roll the dough into walnut-size balls. A few at a time, toss the balls in the spiced sugar to coat, and place about 2 inches apart on the cookie sheets. Sprinkle the tops of each cookie with a bit of the spiced sugar.

Bake until the edges of the cookies are crisp and lightly browned, but the centers are still a bit soft, 8-10 minutes. Rotate the cookie sheet halfway through baking. Cool on the sheets for a few minutes, then carefully transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. The cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.

Makes: 30-36 cookies

http://asweetspoonful.com/2010/02/cinnamon-cardamom-snickerdoodles....


Denise’s Pieces (For the more ambitious cook...)

Denise is infamous for her English Toffee and sends out fifty pounds each holiday season. Her Aunt Betty taught her the recipe twenty-five years ago and she’s been perfecting and adapting it ever since.

Now if you’ve never made toffee or candy before, it does take a bit of initial patience. You need a good candy thermometer and buy a few extra sticks of butter in case you have to heave the first batch…it does take a little practice to gauge what the “hard crack” stage looks like. But really, I promise, this recipe’s easy. You can do it. And once you do, you’ll never want to have another holiday without.

Denise’s Pieces (or English Toffee)


Equipment:
5 glass Pyrex round pie pans *
Candy Thermometer (stay away from the glass ones as they get quite hot)
2 Copper-bottom saucepans or (or similar quality)
Wax Paper
Wooden Spoon, Spatula

Ingredients:
2 ¼ cups sugar
5-6 cups Chocolate Chips (not exact—may need a little more or a little less)
½ cup water
4 sticks high quality sweet cream butter
1 pound bag walnuts (or your preference of nuts), crushed

Directions:
Butter your Pyrex pans using one of the sticks of butter and set aside (don’t worry, you’ll have a little less than 4 sticks for the recipe after this step, but that’s o.k). Put the chocolate chips in one of your pans and heat on very low heat to get them melting. Once melted, turn heat off and allow them to hang out—you’ll use it to top the toffee later.

Place sticks of butter in saucepan with candy thermometer fitted on side. Heat slowly on low-medium heat and stir constantly until you reach 170 degrees. Slowly dribble the water into the butter, stirring as you go and then bring the temperature back up to 170.


Add the sugar very slowly, stirring in between each addition. Then, simply continue stirring until the mixture reaches a “hard crack” stage of 300 degrees. This should take roughly twenty minutes depending on your stove and cookware. When you reach about 275 degrees, the heat will stay right there for quite sometime. Don’t worry. Keep stirring. If things are going well the mixture should be increasing in volume, about 2x what it looked like originally. Look for the color to be changing to a nice, caramelly brown.

When you reach the “hard crack” stage, pull the pan off and pour into the Pyrex in a circular motion, hitting the center last (this will prevent you from pouring it all into the center of the pan and having it sit in a clump there—you’re going for a nice even layer). Wait about 5 minutes for toffee to cool (you don’t want to melt the wax paper) and then loosen the candy from the Pyrex gently with a knife using a circular motion. Set on wax paper and blot with a napkin to get rid of any extra butter (which would make it difficult for the chocolate layer to stick).


Check on your chocolate and make sure it hasn’t firmed back up (if it has, give it a quick heat on the stove). Spread melted chocolate on the surface with a spoon or spatula and sprinkle nuts generously. Gently press nuts into the chocolate so they’ll stick and flip toffee over. Repeat on other side. Then layer toffee onto a cookie sheet and put in fridge to cool and set completely—24 hrs is ideal.

After completely set, break up into pieces and arrange in tins or plates.

Makes roughly 2 pounds Toffee (Denise does such big batches, she doesn’t usually portion it out this way, so this is an estimate…but a pretty good one, I think).


*You may certainly use a larger 9 x 13 pan, but Denise had a difficult time flipping the toffee when she did so. I opted to stick with what works for her… that being said, any round pie plates you have will probably work just fine.

http://asweetspoonful.com/2009/12/an-epic-afternoon.html#more-4


Vegan Red Velvet Cake

This vegan-friendly recipe for red velvet cake, complete with the buttercream frosting, is the perfect finish to any meal.

SERVINGS
8 to 10

INGREDIENTS

For Cake Batter:
3 1/2 cups (440 g) unbleached all-purpose or whole-wheat pastry flour
1 1/2 cups (300 g) granulated sugar
2 teaspoons (9 g) baking soda
1 teaspoon (6 g) salt
2 teaspoons (9 g) cocoa powder
2 cups (470 ml) nondairy milk (soy, rice, almond, hazelnut, hemp, or oat)
2/3 cup (155 ml) canola oil
3 tablespoons (45 ml) red food coloring
2 tablespoons (30 ml) distilled white vinegar
2 teaspoons (10 ml) vanilla extract
Ground pecans, for topping (optional)

For Buttercream Frosting:
1/2 cup (112 g) nondairy, nonhydrogenated butter (such as Earth Balance), at room temperature
3 cups (300 g) confectioners' sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons (8 ml) vanilla extract
2 tablespoons (30 ml) nondairy milk (soy, rice, almond, hazelnut, hemp, or oat) or water
Assorted food colors (optional)

DIRECTIONS
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F; (180 degrees C, or gas mark 4). Lightly oil two 8-inch (20 cm) round cake pans.

To make the batter, in a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking soda, salt and cocoa powder. Create a well in the center, and add milk, oil, food coloring, vinegar and vanilla, and mix until thoroughly combined.

Divide cake batter evenly between prepared cake pans. Place pans in the oven spaced evenly apart. Bake for about 35 minutes, rotating 45 degrees halfway through. When the cakes pull away from the side of the pans and a toothpick inserted into the center of each comes out clean, they are ready.

Let cakes cool for 10 minutes in the pans, then run a knife around the edges to loosen them from the sides. One at a time, invert cakes onto a plate and then reinvert onto a cooling rack, rounded-sides up. Let cool completely.

To make the frosting, with an electric hand or stand mixer, cream butter until it is smooth and begins to fluff. With the mixer on low speed, add confectioners' sugar and fluff for another few minutes. Add vanilla, milk and food coloring (if using).

Once all ingredients are well-combined, beat on high until frosting is light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Add 1 or 2 tablespoons more milk to achieve the right consistency. Cover the icing with plastic wrap to prevent it from drying out until ready to use. Rewhip before using.

To frost cake, place one layer, rounded-side down, on a plate or cake stand. Using a palette knife or offset spatula, spread some frosting over top of cake. Carefully set other layer on top, rounded-side down, and repeat. Cover entire cake with remaining frosting. If desired, sprinkle with pecans.

Excerpted from The Vegan Table by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau. © Fair Winds Press 2009

Read more: http://www.thedailygreen.com/healthy-eating/recipes/vegan-red-velve...
THE BEST CARROT CAKE EVER!!! (?)
JANE LOUISE


"Going back to my vintage recipes that have been in my family for years, I spotted an old recipe from the 40's for carrot cake. It was titled THE BEST CARROT CAKE. Well, I figured it was now the 90's at the time and was sure someone probably had come up with a better recipe since then. I was wrong. To date, I have not tasted better carrot cake ever. It's easy and the outcome is amazing. "

Difficulty: Serves: 15
Cook Time: 1 Hr 10 Min

Ingredients
2 c sugar
1 1/4 c oil
4 large eggs
2 c flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 Tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
3 c grated carrots
1 c chopped walnuts

FROSTING

12 oz powdered sugar
2 3 oz. cream cheese room temp
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp milk

1. In large bowl, beat sugar and oil. Add eggs and beat well.

2. Sift together flour, soda, cinnamon, and salt into egg mixture; mix well; fold in carrots and nuts.

3. Place batter in greased 9x13 pan; bake 1 hour and 10 miniutes in a 350 oven. (Check once because of oven variances)

4. FROSTING: Beat together powdered sugar, cream cheese, vanilla, butter and milk; spread on cooled carrot cake.
COOKIES, COOKIES, LOTS OF DELICIOUS COOKIE RECIPES HERE:
http://www.barefootkitchenwitch.com/the_barefoot_kitchen_witc/recip...

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