No-bake Chocolate Orange Fudge Blondies

Packied with fresh and zesty orange flavour in both the crust and rich fudge frosting these No-bake Chocolate Orange Fudge Blondies offer you a taste of summer in every bite. With only seven ingredients, vegan, paleo, naturally gluten- and optionally refined sugar-free they are a healthy dessert or snack option.

Chocolate Orange Slice

 

Before we get into today’s recipe for these absolutely delicious, summery and mum/dad/colleague-approved No-Bake Chocolate Orange Fudge Blondies I want to share some thoughts on my mind. About just that topic: approval.

Feed them to the neighbour’s chicken.

The above was my mum’s comment on these bars. Ouch. And I was this close to writing the recipe off as a fail though I thought they were really good. What made me redecide? Reminding myself that a) [food] preferences differ and b) my mum is a pretty tough critic. Boy am I glad I didn’t let her words get me down – though the chicken might have been pleased ;). Because my colleagues very much enjoyed the bars, one even saying that if she ever got married she wanted these and these. [I’m actually bad at accepting compliments but that’s a topic for another day.]

Shouldn’t I/we trust our own judgement when it comesto deciding which recipes to share on -our- blogs? I wish I could say I no longer depended on other people’s opinion at all but that’s not entirely true. Compliments are balm for our  [occasionally insecure] souls. Knowing you met somebody’s taste with a homemade treat just feels good. Where I’m getting here? Asking for others’ opinion isn’t always bad unless we can’t make a single decision ourselves anymore without getting somebody else’s approval. That just takes the fun and freedom out of life.

Chocolate Orange Slice_2

Okay, onto the food now. You know how they say ‘When the cake works, bake it in every flavour’? Shoes? You’re saying that was about shoes? Nah. That’s not my kind of business [though dresses are a wholly different story …]. But: cake. Or blondies. No-bake blondies. That is my business. And after the huge success of these brownies in my family it was only natural to adapt them in a different way. A fresher, fruity way. Don’t make me play favourites but oh my … these are good.

With only seven ingredients these are even simpler than the No-bake Chocolate Fudge Brownies. Thanks to the fact the base has some more texture i.e. crunch rather than being very smooth you might not even need a high-speed blender. I preferred it this way but grinding the nuts for longer and in a flour-like consistency would give you just that, too, if that’s how you like your brownies/blondies.

Oh and talking about approval: these blondies got my dad’s which probably is even harder to get than my mum’s – if that’s even possible. Shockingly, even I – remember what I said about that? – liked the crust on its own a LOT. I could totally eat it on its own but sssh: don’t tell the chocolate fudge. But you really shouldn’t make just one part because, well, you don’t just wear a single shoe, right? Some things are simply better together.

Chocolate Orange Slice_5

No-bake Chocolate Orange Fudge Blondies

100 g soft dates
1-2 tbsps of coconut butter [optional but ]

100 g raw cashews
20 g unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 tsp of of orange zest, at best freshly grated from one organic orange

100 g dark chocolate [70 % cocoa or higher]**
1/2 cup of full-fat coconut milk
1/2 tsp of orange zest

  1. Place cashews in a food processor or high-powered blender or food processor. Pulse until ground to your preference – either finely ground and flour-like or with a few more roughly chopped pieces for texture. Remove from the blender and mix in orange zest. Set aside.
  2. Process dates in the food processor until finely chopped/close to paste-like. Remove from food processor.
  3. Add nut meal back to the food processor, turn it on and slowly add the date mixture bit by bit, processing until a thick dough forms. You might want to stop in between, pushing the dates sticking to the sides of the blender/food processor into the blades and to prevent overheating.
  4. Firmly press the nut and date mixture into an 8 x 8-inch pan and put into the fridge to harden [it will be very sticky and soft].
  5. While the base is chilling in the fridge, prepare your ganache layer. Finely chop the chocolate bar and set aside.
  6. Add the other 1/2 a tsp of orange zest to the coconut milk and bring it to a boil either on the stove or in the microwave. Pour over the chopped chocolate and (!!!) let sit for three minutes. Do NOT stir before.
  7. Stir to fully combine all fudge ingredients. Top the chilled base with ganache and refridgerate for at least 45 minutes before cutting into it.

Notes:

**use sugar-free or steva-sweetened for a refined sugar-free version.

Chocolate Orange Slice_4

I’m linking up with Allergy Free Wednesdays#RecipeOfTheWeek,#StrangeButGoodGluten-Free Fridays,Tasty Tuesdays,Healthy Vegan Fridays, Meatless Mondays.

 

Happiness-inducing today: Seeing a person I love laugh. Nothing is more contagious than genuine laughter.

 

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Blondies or brownies?

How much do you rely on others’ opinon – be it in terms of cooking, blogging, fashion …?

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Friday Favourites – 8/21/2015

Every now and then I think I should work out a schedule for my blog … and then I notice I’m better at simply rolling with the flow. Like now. I had no set intentions of writing this post but after reflecting on the past week the idea of talking about some favourites sounded good to me. So here we go!

 

Trainwreck!

Source

This one was a huge positive surprise. My current guilty pleasure has resulted in me watching  [or not watching but waiting until it was over] the trailer of this movie about 456834 times during the past weeks. Combined with the very unfortunate German title [Dating Queen] I was 99 % sure I wouldn’t enjoy the movie. Wow was I ever wrong! It was not the expected [boring] romantic/trying-to-be-funny movie but really good. I won’t add any spoilers here but if you haven’t seen it yet I highly recommend you do! The reason I changed my mind and watched it in the first place?

#2 Quality time with friends. Or better yet one very good friend of mine. She visited her family and we got to meet two consecutive days. One of them was spent just talking. It amazes me how there are people in our lives we can go not seeing for months yet the minute we meet catching up is a breeze because it feels like it had been just yesterday. Do you know what I mean?

Tea

Chocolate. Always among my favourites but this week I can actually introduce you to a new one. Aldi of all places was where we met 😉 . Yes, I’m cheating on my usual addiction. I recently did the math lookin g on my consumption of that one and well, let’s say it’s no surprise I have a hard time keeping a strict budget …

chocolate bars_mint

These, however? A refreshingly minty taste, a lot more affordable and vegan, too. It’s a pity Aldi doesn’t sell these regularly so be assured I stocked up big time. The bars you see above are just a fraction of all packages I bought.

Something that is always a bright spark in my days but especially so during the past that felt like a first taste of [the bad part of] autumn: rainy, grey and all kinds of unfriendly: flowers! While I prefer walking through the garden and take their beauty in my mum randomly brought me a bouquet for my table.

Flowers_vase

I’m obviously not complaining.  And that’s it for my favourites for now as I need to go and pack for a little weekend get-away.

Thanks to Heather and Clare for motivating us to focus on the good things in life every Friday!

Happiness-inducing today: A repeat from above but nothing could beat meeting said friend.

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Do you have a set blogging schedule or fly by the seat of your pants?

If you’ve seen Trainwreck yet: what did you think of it?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Friday Favourites – 7/24/2015

… and just like that it’s Friday again. I’ll break a record keeping this intro shorter than short and get right into some favourites – ending on a little cheeky fun to embrace our inner teenage girl selves ;).

Not saving the best for last here: My favourite happening from the past seven days was meeting Juli. Anticipation makes everything more worthwhile? Possibly. Because – correct me if I’m wrong, Juli – we’ve been planning/hoping for our meet-up for almost a year already. Yes, Germany might be comparably small but living hundreds of kilometers/miles apart still makes finding a time and place a challenge. Our lucky day came about by Juli attending a work conference in Berlin and my brother conveniently offering me his couch.

Juli and I might not have talked about 1000 [lovely] things but we chatted about this and that, walked a lot around Berlin and got along right from the first minute. It’s almost cliché to say but yes, blogging friendships are truly amazing.

Blogger meet-up_Juli

Also high on top of my list of favourite activities are still – will they ever not feature here? – walks/hikes. Once a country bumpkin, always a country bumpkin. Or lover of nature to use a more positive term. One of my recent travels took me to the Saar [Saarland]. I could never imagine living there –conquering steep hills by bike isn’t exactly my idea of fun 😉 – but whenever around I insist on setting out into the forest for a long walk.

Walk_hike_Saar_2

Which might turn into some kind of adventurous hike if your dad claims to know the route yet misses the right path and you need to make your way through the bushes. Add to this that none of us had packed hiking-compatible footwear. Swearing may or may not have happened. The views more than made up for it, though.

Walk_hike_Saar

On a food favourite note I bought these raw chocolate-covered raisins on one of my last trips to Berlin and all I can say is: oh. My. Goodness. I actually am neither too fond of raisins nor raw chocolate –  aside from exceptions – but these might just convert me. If you have any chance to get your hands on them: what are you waiting for???

Source

Here’s a recent favourite to make you smile. Or giggle. Yes, at times I’m all of 15 years old giggling/swooning over pictures like this – as were all of my friends I forwarded this … Really, though, who wouldn’t have approved of a teacher like that? Aside from the fact that concentration would have flown right out the window …

Thanks to Heather and Clare for remindingus to focus on the happy parts of life and talk about favourites on Fridays!

Happiness-inducing today: Having my sister visit for the weekend. We don’t see each other often enough anymore these days.

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What are your plans for the weekend?

Have you met any other bloggers before?

Do you have any not-gone-as-planned hiking stories to tell? Aside from the lost-in-the-woods one above I have another from a hike through the Dartmoor years ago …

 

 

 

 

 

Friday Favourites – 7/3/2015

It’s been a long since I last posted favourites on  a Friday – unless you counted that one foodie favorite – but Luckily it’s never too late to start it up again. The blog community is a forgiving place, no? Yes, you are. You’re also quite awesome and insightful in your thougths on yesterday’s post. Most of you agreed but I like some polite disagreement or demurs in there, too. It’s all helping to broaden my mind – the best part of this community.

Summer finally showing up and especially the sun. Maybe it’s a repeat offender but I am surprised by how much of an effect this has each time anew. Life isn’t perfect – in fact quite far from it in many areas for me at the moment – but loosing a single day channeling Negative Nancy is no option.

Flowers_buttercup

Bike rides. Given I don’t own a car anymore – yes, I said goodbye to my wonderful ride – my bike is the vehicle of choice these days. Technically, I can still borrow my dad’s car for longer commutes but would anybody really want toin this weather [see #1]? Plus, its environmental benefit can’t be denied.  My favourite bike rides have been longer ones in the evenings watching the sun slowly go down. This is especially gorgeous on trails along the riverside. Yes, despite the not-so-wonderful parts of life I’m feeling blessed to live in an area surrounded by the most beautiful sights of nature. I keep warning you I might just post a million pictures of it one day …

On a walk

Strawberries from my mum’s garden. These are a miracle times two. For one because everybody who has tried it before knows produce grown in your own backyard tastes best. On that note I. can’t. wait until kabocha will start to grow! And then my mum actually didn’t intend on growing any Strawberries this year [for the first time ever!] but a very few plants decided to grow nonetheless. Oh does this make me happy. The taste of childhood.

Strawberries_mums garden

Some people apparently don’t like quotes and I’m not one to plaster my place with them, either. But still think it’s not the worst idea to look at some happiness booster every now and then.

Source

Because it can be a lot easier this way around.

And this one is just too good not to share:

So. much. yes.

Okay, now I’d better get out and enjoy the sunshine while it’s still there. Not too long and summer will be over already judging from the speed at whch this year is passing by again.

Thanks to Heather and Clare for inspiring us to share some favourites on a Friday!

Happy Friday! I’ll see you on Sunday with good good links!

Happiness-inducing today: Chatting with my mum while listening to Taylor Swift songs – Juli! –  and both of us just enjoying that end to a hot summer day.

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What are your plans for the weekend?

Do you grow any fruit or vegetables in your garden?

 

 

 

Dessert first?!

Say what?! For the first time in a while I found myself lacking food pictures to show off as part of the What I ate Wednesday and Vegan Wednesday parties. What to do? Start with a dish I ate a while back [think: sometime at the beginning of the month]. Really, though, with this post you’ll know why I was tempted to go with dessert first. But I’ll go the way my parents’ taught me: first the ‘real’ food, then play foods. One of my favourite play foods at that …

wiawloveyourveggiesmonthbutton2

Time for a little bit of truth about my meals at my parents’ place before we get started on food: They’re a lot less exciting and creative than when at my place. Which is due to the fact that I reside in my parents’ guest apartment [they used to let it  to a woman but when she moved out and my siblings got older they moved out of the room we shared. And into ones of their own in said apartment]. The bad part is that the apartment isn’t stocked with any food – think no spices, flours, herbs, … – and borrowing them from my mum’s ktichen and running to and fro while cooking? Not so awesome.  Long story short: I’ve been using very basic ingredients. But nonetheless, I make sure to eat good food and plenty of produce. Hello, mum’s garden. Stuffed mushrooms on a bed of polenta were one of those easy creations.

Stuffed mushrooms

 

Breakfast? Same old, same old. I’m afraid to say goodbye to this after moving into my new apartment. No more grabbing my favourite from mum’s garden. Anyway, no need for a repeat picture here so we’ll skip right to yesterday’s lunch. Which has – thanks to above-mentioned lack of spices – been somewhat of a challenge these past days. Picture my excitement when I saw Davida’s recipe for Baked “Cheesy” Cauliflower requiring only a handful of ingredients. Plus featuring two of my all-time favourite foods: cauliflower and nutritional yeast.

On the mention of Davida: Happy birthday to everybody’s favourite maven! If you haven’t visited her blog and/ or tried any of her recipes yet I highly recommend you do. Stat. Why not start with this one?!

Davida's cheesy cauliflower

Davida will forgive me for adding garlic though it’s not listed in her recipe because, well, hardly a savoury dish is complete without garlic. And: heart-healthy. Which obviously isn’t the reason I’m obsessed with using it but I could always pretend in case of smelling 😉 ! Aside from this I subbed mashed chickpeas for the egg which obviously meant I didn’t get the same puffy texture Davida’s original had but I enjoyed it nonetheless. It’s similar to her cauliflower gratin I first tried way back but I think I like this dish even better.

If you – for non-understandable reasons – happen to dislike garlic [how can you??] I’m sure the sauce would be delicious even without it. You know I still think garlic makes it even better but yes. All of you will also forgive me for saying that while this was really good I was anticipating dessert all the while … Don’t worry. I’m not going to pull the old ‘I scream, you scream – we all scream for ice cream’ joke on you. I’m all for the bad puns at times but some are too old even for me 😀 .

Blueberry Swirl Ice Cream_spoon

What I’m going to say and do instead is give myself a pat on the back let you know I was all giddy while making this. See, I’ve had my ice cream maker for – [insert me trying to remember which Amazon account I used to buy it so I can track back the year] … a long time. Yet I only used it a few times back then – end of summer – and then moved out. The time in between is blurred [think ED and whatnot]. But now I’m reunited with this fine machine and will have it move with me. Homemade ice cream all year round? I’m not entirely opposed. For a start, I made up a Blueberry Swirl creation. No vanilla in there because my mum had run out. Major doozy. We ended up sprinkling it lightly [mum] respectively heavily [me] with cinnamon and that pulled it together. Given it was the first time I ever created ice cream not following a recipe I’m rather happy with how it turned out. Below hand-modelled by mum.

Blueberry swirl ice cream

Remember what I said about not eating dessert until after the ‘real’ meal? Blame my mum for me switching orders here. She came home from work asking for ice cream when I had just put Davida’s dish into the oven. But hey, who says you can’t have dessert first? This picture is solely for mum because ‘you should get one with the flowers!’. So there you go: mum’s flowers. Which yes, are pretty so we’ll ignore the fact the ice cream is more like blurred blueberry in the picture.

Eis_flowers

I hope you’re having a great Wednesday – maybe with a side of ice cream?!

 

Happiness-inducing today: Sitting outside in the sun with mum and dad chatting about everything.

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Have you ever made ice cream at home? Let me know of any awesome recipes or flavour creations!

What are your favourite few-ingredient dishes to make when you’re running low on groceries/ cooking in a not-so-well stocked kitchen?

 

WIAW: It’s the season for…

Seasons… Who exactly decided that Germany clearly has [to deal with] them and people overseas [or at least in the US] don’t? Case in point: Why in the world do people have to post awesome kale recipes right now? Making me long for winter as the season where I’ll be able to get my hands on it again. Okay, I’m not really longing for winter because as hard as staying cool during the heat is at times I’d still rather take that than chilly temperatures. Plus, let’s not forget about summer’s swoon-worthy bounty. Jenn would be proud of how much I’ve been following this [old but good] What I ate Wednesday motto. Kale or not summer is the season for many wonderful things, too …

wiawloveyourveggiesmonthbutton2

It’s [probably not] the season for… stews

With a lot of produce at hand but no idea what to have for lunch – choices, oh choices – I scoured the internet. I browsed an Austrian blog I’d found via Vegan Wednesday and had long meant to cook recipes from – how not with vegan Strawberry Tiramisu being one of them?! Actually,  I had my heart set on lasagna but that’s not the best craving when your [overflowing] pantry is lacking lasagna noodles. Instead, stew it was. Petra’s Arabian bean stew was just what I wanted [lasagna aside]: quick to prepare,  including both vegetables and legumes and delicious.  I used some butternut squash, cabbage, cauliflower and mushrooms.I used some butternut squash, cabbage, cauliflower and mushrooms. Served with a side of polenta [that’s in the pot in the background]. So while stews are technically autumn and winter dishes using [mostly] seasonal vegetables made up for it.

Petzig_Arabischer Bohneneintopf

It’s the season for… all the berries!

Snacks lately have been lots of berries – and how could they not? It was actually the popularity of them all over the blog world that made me give raspberries another chance. Not like I didn’t enjoy them but previously I wouldn’t have minded their absence from my plate too much. Now? Give me all the raspberries – seeds stuck between teeth? who cares, really? – while I can still find them.

July 23rd 019

Yesterday I employed a trick I just picked up from Chelsea: bring my own box. I generally shop with tote bags to avoid plastic but hadn’t thought of skipping the clamshells berries come in at the market. Luckily, the vendor didn’t give me any strange looks for this though I assume none of his other customers brought their own containers. Another bonus was that as he poured the berries into my box there were a few moldy ones at the bottom and he replaced them with a few others.  Win-win!

Raspberries_box

It’s the season for… vegetable-packed versions of classics

Not the prettiest of dishes but SO good and satisfying was this easy-peasy [lame pun fully intended] vegan Gnocchi ‘n’ cheese.  I’ve probably mentioned it before but as a German I don’t feel authorized to judge any vegan Mac ‘n’ cheese for authenticity. What I -do- know,  though, is that this vegetable-packed version was downright delicious. Peas seem like such a classic childhood add-in and I’ve grown quite fond of them lately. I’m sure my mum wished I liked them as much when I was younger. And can we take a short moment to talk about -how- good gnocchi are? I picked up a package of vegan pumpkin gnocchi [for any German readers: by Pasta Nuova] at the health food store on a whim. They are perfect.  Doughy, satisfying little dumplings. And the sauce is [not-so now that I’m telling you] secretly filled with vegetables. My mum should be really proud now. Actually, I feel I need to ask her if she played the ‘hidden veggies’ game at lunch when my siblings and I were little…

Pumpkin-cheesy gnocchi

If you’re looking for another way to up your vegetable intake [I am at times, too] or just want some uncheesy cheesiness look out for the recipe on Friday.

It’s [always] the season for Yogi wisdom

Ending not on a sweet but wise note – yes, the Yogi has been talking to me again. Interpret this in whichever way and if you feel like share in the comments what it means for you in your current situation.

Patience will pay off_Yogi wisdom

Patience pays off.

Either way: Happy Wednesday!

Happiness-inducing today: Sharing my sister’s excitement about a mini vacation she’s taking.

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What’s your favourite mac ‘n’ cheese recipe – vegan or not?

Is there any dish you’ve been eating over and over again lately?

How do you avoid plastic or other packaging when shopping? Share your tricks!