Black Forest Greek Yogurt Parfaits

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“……even if you don’t know anybody, and you don’t know what’s gonna happen next, you should have your box of chocolates with you. You should eat your bowl of cherries. And that is what life is.”
―    C. JoyBell C.

(Becky, the Mama.)

By the amount of Greek yogurt occupying grocer’s refrigerator shelves these days, I’m not the only one in love with its rich, creamy, tart texture and taste. I don’t even buy sour cream anymore and honestly can’t tell the difference.  The 2% Fage brand is my favorite; so smooth with just the right amount of fat so that no one misses the cream.

Two of my favorite foods are sweet dark cherries and chocolate. (I agree with Dave Barry who says, “Your hand and your mouth agreed many years ago that, as far as chocolate is concerned, there is no need to involve your brain.”) So it is no surprise that Black Forest Cake is one of my favorite treats, but alas, it doesn’t have many redeeming nutritional assets. So I come up with this quick, easy, decadent Black Forest Parfait, using my favorite Greek yogurt in place  of a pudding.  It was love at first bite.  In fact, I  just made a batch of them  for everyone in our family as snack, to a happy chorus of “mmm.. mmms…yum,  that’s good!”

It’s a dessert you can feel good about enjoying and sharing because the chocolate adds antioxidants, the yogurt is a great source of calcium and protein, and cherries are in the top 20 foods with the highest amount of antioxidants. Also, cherries are one of the few foods that have melatonin in them, for a restful night’s sleep. Finally, by starting with unsweetened yogurt, you can control the sweetness to your own taste.

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Black Forest Greek Yogurt Parfaits

Makes 2 parfaits

Ingredients

1 1/3 cups plain unsweetened Greek yogurt (Vegans can substitute So Delicious Coconut Milk “Greek Yogurt”)

1/4 c. Hershey chocolate syrup, plus a little some for decorating parfait tops (Vegans need to use a milk-free chocolate syrup)

Agave nectar to taste

2 T. mini chocolate chips (vegans use vegan chocolate chip)

1/2 c. dark sweet cherries (frozen, pitted; if they are large, cut them in half)

2 T. cherry preserves I love Bonne Maman French preserves, now available in most grocery stores. They do not have any corn syrup and are full of fruit!

Directions:

In one bowl mix yogurt with chocolate syrup.  Add agave nectar if you like until it is as sweet as you prefer.  In another small bowl mix the cherries and preserves.

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In a tall clear mug or parfait glass, put about 1/3 cup of chocolate yogurt mixture, then put a layer of the cherry mixture on next, about 1/4 cup. (Reserve about a Tablespoon to decorate top).   Follow this with another layer of chocolate yogurt (about 1/3 cup) and  a nice squiggle of chocolate syrup. Top with 1 T. mini chocolate chips and a dollop of cherry mixture for decoration on top.  Repeat in another mug or parfait glass.

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The Title:Black Forest Greek Yogurt Parfaits

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This was printed from: We Laugh, We Cry, We Cook


Double Chocolate Berry Nut Muffins

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(Becky, the Mama.)

Food memoirist Alyssa Shelasky described her mother as being a strict health-nut (who’d never eat anything that would “tick off Michael Pollan”), before being green and organic was cool. Alyssa’s school lunches were healthy leftovers like chicken salad and fruit, with notes of hand-written inspiration tucked into the brown bag. Nary a Dorito or Slim Jim in site.  And yet, even this Whole Foods Mama had a daily vice.  Every morning alongside with her cup of milky white tea, she ate a chocolate packaged snack cake filled with goopy marshmallow cream. Yes, she ate a Devil Dog.

In her defense she ate one and only one.  Every single day.  For  sixty years.  Without guilt.

Later in the day, Alyssa’s mom would  walk to the Farmer’s Market, loaded down with fresh veggies, enjoying every antioxidant-filled bite.

Now that Hostess has gone out of business, a box of Devil Dogs can be found on the internet for about $35.00 a box.  “Freshness guaranteed.”   (Presumably because they are so rich in chemicals, they are guaranteed to last forever.)

Though I draw the line at Twinkies and Devil Dogs for breakfast (even if I could afford such luxuries), I’m all in favor of making Chocolate a breakfast food.

To that end, I offer you this recipe for  Double Chocolate Berry Nut Muffins.  If I’d had blueberries or dark cherries on hand, I would have used those in this muffin. What I did have on hand was strawberries and kiwis, so improviser that I am… into the bowl they went. I’ve never let lack of correct ingredients stop me from whipping up a recipe.  I once made a carrot cake without any carrots, subbing zucchini and crushed pineapple.  It was delicious.

The result of my experiment was a just-right sweet muffin made moist from the coconut oil, Greek yogurt and fruit, chocolaty from cocoa and chocolate chips, with a nice crunch from chopped pecans.  I used white whole wheat flour  (which has the same nutritional value as whole wheat flour, but is made from white instead of red wheat);  and organic unprocessed sugar to ease my conscience even more.

So, okay, I’m not ready to declare these chocolate muffins a “health food.”  But hey, they are no Devil Dogs.

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Double Chocolate Berry Muffins

Makes 2 dozen regular muffins, and one pan of miniature muffins

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Ingredients

2 ¼ c whole wheat white flour ( I used King Arthur brand)

1 ¼ c.  organic sugar

½ c. unsweetened cocoa powder (if you like extra dark chocolate use dark chocolate cocoa)

2 t. baking power

1 t. baking soda

¾ t. salt

1 cup Greek Yogurt, plain

½ cup milk or almond milk

1/3 cup coconut oil, melted if it is solidified

2 eggs

1 t. vanilla or almond extract

1 cup berries (blueberries don’t need chopped, but strawberries, cherries, raspberries or blackberries will need to be diced into about ¼ inch pieces.)

1 cup chocolate chips

½ c. to 1 c. chopped nuts

Directions

Sift and stir together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a separate large bowl, and make a well in the center; set aside.

Whisk together the yogurt, milk, coconut oil, eggs, and almond or vanilla extract in a bowl until evenly blended. Pour the yogurt mixture into the well, then stir in the flour mixture until just combined. Fold in the berries, nuts, and chocolate chips. Spoon into prepared muffin cups, filling half full. (I used cupcake liners.)

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Bake until a toothpick inserted into centers comes out clean, about 20 minutes.

Try with a little smear of Nutella;  or a slice of banana and peanut butter, or a spoon of cherry or strawberry preserves.  Heaven….

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This was printed from: We Laugh, We Cry, We Cook
The site URL: http://welaughwecrywecook.com
The Title:Double Chocolate Berry Muffins
The URL: http://wp.me/p1UwM9-RT
This was printed from: We Laugh, We Cry, We Cook


Strawberries Romanoff

When my daughter Rachel was about three or four,  I jotted down some of the adorable phrases and words that I loved to hear her say.  “Tears” were called “cwy dwips” (cry drips), and a “suitcase” was a “cuse box.”  Her  word for “strawberries” was “STA-biddies” which I still remember her saying, her whispy blond hair blowing around her as she bit into the ripe fruit, grinning while sweet red juices rolled down her chin.

Well, “sta-biddies” are in abundance now, and on sale today!

When I saw them overflowing the grocery display, my mind drifted to  Strawberries Romanoff, a delectable concoction of strawberries served under a creamy fluff of brown-sugar cream, spiked with brandy, rum or bourbon.   I first tasted this summer dream treat at La Madeleines, a wonderful French cafe, popular in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area.  Whenever I visit Rachel in Texas,  we do our best to go to lunch at La Madeleines and I always order Strawberries Romanoff for dessert.

Last summer,  when my mom was visiting Denver,  I tweaked and combined a few recipes I found online and produced this version of Romanoff cream  which we like even better than the dish from La Madeleines!  Mom and I sat around the kitchen counter and licked the bowl completely clean!

It only takes about five minutes to make the sauce, making this an easy, refreshing and beautiful dessert for these long Spring and Summer evenings.  It looks oh so elegant, too.

Becky’s Strawberries Romanoff

Serves 6

Ingredients

1 c. whipping cream

6 T.  powdered sugar

1 c. Greek Yogurt, plain (may also use sour cream)

6 T. brown  sugar (Plus a T. more for garnish)

2 T. bourbon (or scotch, rum, brandy or your favorite liquor; or 1 T. vanilla or rum extract if you prefer non-alcoholic)

2 pints fresh strawberries, hulled and rinsed (You may keep them whole, or slice them, your preference. If they are tart, you may want to sprinkle a bit of sugar on them as well to sweeten them up some.)

Directions:

In a medium mixing bowl, whip cream into soft peaks, slowly adding powdered sugar to the whipped mixture.

In a separate smaller bowl, whisk together Greek Yogurt, 1/3 c. brown sugar and bourbon.

Add yogurt mixture to whipped cream and fold in until well combined.

To serve, spoon strawberries into martini glasses, about 2/3 full, place generous dollop (about 1/3 c.)  of Romanoff sauce over top of each.   Sprinkle a little bit of brown sugar over the sauce for garnish.  

Variations:   You can also layer the strawberries and sauce in parfait like fashion.   Big wine glasses, or pretty bowls can also work in place of martini glasses.  The powdered sugar helps  the cream hold its shape so that it will keep for a couple of days in a sealed container.  One of the reasons I always used powdered sugar instead of granulated when I make whipped cream.

Veganize This: Try coconut milk “whipped cream” and any of the many varieties of plain non-dairy yogurt.

This was printed from: We Laugh, We Cry, We Cook
The site URL: http://welaughwecrywecook.com
The Title: Stawberries Romanoff
The URL:http://welaughwecrywecook.com/2012/03/23/strawberries-romanoff/
© Copyright 2012 – All Rights Reserved


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