Adopt a Gluten-Free Blogger: Cranberry Cashew Chocolate Bars and Chili-Roasted Carrots

Posted by on March 3, 2011 | 30 Comments

At last, my first month joining in the Adopt a Gluten-Free Blogger Event (started by Sea at Book of Yum, but hosted this month at Lexie’s Kitchen). For the event, I pick a fellow blogger to “adopt” who either blogs completely gluten-free or has a gluten-free category or gluten-free recipe index for quick location of the goods, and I make at least one recipe from their blog.

I’m not strictly gluten-free myself (dairy-free, yes), but do dabble in GF cooking and baking and would say that we eat a gluten-low diet. Plus, I love a challenge and the wonderful bloggers in the gluten-free community. They are awesome. Okay, but let’s get going with the recipes and such and stop rambling on, shall we?

This month I adopted Valerie of  City|Life|Eats. Valerie is a pretty healthy gluten-free chick, and I always love the recipe ideas and flavor pairings she comes up with. This whole adoption gig finally gave me an excuse to trial a couple of her recipes …

I started with her Chili-Roasted Carrots. Now, I have a bit of a problem when it comes to any roasted vegetables … I can’t stop eating them. I will eat the entire batch in one day (sometimes one sitting) no matter how large. So I cut Valerie’s recipe into a fourth, which seemed like a reasonable serving for one (4 medium carrots, approximately). Other than that, and the fact that I used parsley instead of cilantro (not something I keep on hand), I followed the recipe exactly … and oh was I glad I did!

The addition of freshly squeezed lime juice just before serving was brilliant! I’d never thought to brighten roasted vegetables in this way, but what a fantastic idea. Thanks Valerie …

I ended up stirring the carrots into some leftover wild rice, and this was breakfast #2 …

Want these carrots? Go now to Valerie’s Chili-Roasted Carrot Recipe.

Okay, moving onto dessert … yes, you knew there would be at least one sweets recipe didn’t you? I am so predictable. But, to clarify, Valerie’s sweets recipes aren’t loaded with sugar. She’s a mostly sugar-free maven, and her recipes reflect it. Of the semi-sweet recipes that she offers, I picked the Cranberry Almond Bittersweet Chocolate.

Now this isn’t simply melted dark chocolate with fruit and nuts thrown in, no sir-e-bob. This is my favorite kind of chocolate, dairy-free and made from scratch! I did make a few changes. I know, you are supposed to follow the recipe as closely as possible, but hear me out …

  • Valerie wanted to try this recipe with cocoa butter instead of coconut oil, so I gave it a go. I’m happy to report that cocoa butter works wonderfully, but you do have to work more quickly, as it sets up within minutes at room temperature.
  • Valerie uses 1/2 cup of cocoa powder, but I stopped at 6 Tablespoons (2 Tablespoons short) as it was already getting a bit too intensely cacao for my taste. I liked the less sweet aspect, but prefer the taste of cocoa butter to cacao. To my taste buds, this was a perfectly dark bar. Her version makes a true bittersweet bar for you purists!
  • I added chopped cashews instead of almonds, and tossed in some raw cacao nibs for fun … I thought Valerie would approve of that addition. Of course, the extra chunks made this more like a fruit ‘n nut bark than a chocolate bar, but yummy nonetheless.
  • I used the agave / stevia combo, except that I used honey for the agave.
  • I added a pinch of salt … no idea why, it just seemed right at the time.
  • I used silicone muffin cups for the molds rather than making a bar shape in a pan … I’m a bit lazy that way.

Ready to make your own chocolate? Head to Valerie’s Cranberry Almond Bittersweet Chocolate Recipe.

I love the recipes at City|Life|Eats, and am looking forward to trying more! I’ve also got her Chocolate Milkshake Smoothie and Chipotle Shrimp recipes on my agenda to trial soon. Valerie’s recipes tend to be simple, whole food-oriented, and require relatively few ingredients … my favorite.


Filed Under: Alisa's Recipes

Comments (30)


  1. Katie says:

    What is cocoa butter? Am I a moron?

    I love the look of these cups. I want them.

    • alisa says:

      Um, is that a trick question? 🙂

      Cocoa butter is the creamy part of chocolate. They basically take a cacao bean or chocolate liquor and divide it into the fat (cocoa butter) and the solids (cocoa or cacao). Some people get all sophisticated and write cacao butter, but it actually is cocoa butter (like you get in some lotions, only pure and food grade) …

      You need this ingredient in your life. Thought I would inform you of this.

    • It’s dangerous stuff… I bought a huge bar of it- like a pound- and I have more than half left still (it’s been like a year or more). It’s amazing for making homemade (raw or vegan) chocolates! Super fattening though. 😉

  2. O-M-G I am so honored 🙂 And so glad you enjoyed the recipes. I am so glad the cocoa butter substitute worked too 🙂 And can I just tell you – your dairy-free book and recipes (both from your blogs and the book) have been so important in my figuring out how to eat completely dairy-free, so I am so glad my gluten-free dairy-free recipes could provide some tasty eats in your kitchen. Thank you thank you 🙂

    • alisa says:

      Aw shucks, you are too sweet! I am so happy that you are finding the info I provide helpful and I’ve been really enjoying your blog too!

      Definitely get your hands on some cocoa butter too. I usually make homemade chocolate with coconut oil, but the cocoa butter took it to a new level. Not sure if that’s why I needed less cocoa powder, or if you just like that stuff insanely dark 🙂

  3. I think I do like my chocolate insanely dark, though apparently cocoa butter intensifies the flavor too, so maybe it’s a bit of both?

  4. Yay! You found my dinner menu tonight! I have to make those carrots. How original… and wonderfully enough, I have all of the ingredients for them sitting in my fridge screaming, Make Me into Chili-Roasted Carrots! 😉

  5. The carrots look incredible! I am in need of some good comfort food this weekend…these are going on my list to make!

  6. Evan Thomas says:

    That chocolate looks to die for! Working with cocoa butter is something I want to do more, but it’s so much more rash than coconut oil.

  7. Be still my beating heart! Both recipes sound divine!

  8. The chili roasted carrot recipe sounds divine. I love a bit of zip in sweet veggies like carrots. Think I might use coconut oil instead, but I’m definitely inspired to try this one. As for the dark chocolate, that’s on my list as well. I agree with Valerie, dark chocolate should be “insanely dark.” =) Great post. Love the combo!

  9. Hannah says:

    I too have a roasted veggie addiction… I usually just do them with olive oil, salt, and pepper though. I like the idea of spicing things up a bit!

  10. Both of these recipes look amazing! Oh, I’m so like you on roasted veggies, Alisa. I know I definitely would be with these tasty carrots. Lime juice can do wonderful things to dishes. And, the chocolate treat … yes, PLEASE! Great adoption. Valerie is a dear and so creative in the kitchen!


  11. Hannah says:

    Thank you for leading me to a new blogger, and one who seems to post recipes right up my alley too. Hurrah!

  12. Maggie says:

    Alisa I too love roasted veggies. So much. When we roast rutabaga it rarely makes it to our plates. We eat it while we’re finishing up and plating 🙂 I am also a big fan of insanely dark chocolate. Thinking I might have to buy some cocoa butter – I didn’t know you could! How do you use it?

  13. Wow! These recipes look awesome. i am thinking that I can totally make that carrot recipe for dinner tomorrow night – I have every ingredient! And that chocolate? I like my chocolate really intense, so i would probably throw in the whole kit and kaboodle of the 8 TBSP! Yum! I do not have any cocoa butter though, so I will have to pick some up before trying those. What a great adoption post! I love Valerie’s recipes!

  14. Wow. That’s all I have to say. Thanks for making me hungry right before bed. Thinking about eating this chocolate before bed is going to give me nightmares 😉 In a good way though

  15. […] Alisa over at Alisa Cooks also posted some amazing recipes. I am especially salivating over the Cranberry Almond Bittersweet Chocolate she adopted from City Life Eats. It’s Gluten-Free and not loaded with […]

  16. Joanne says:

    I love the idea of adopt-a-blogger. And, not gonna lie, you picked a really great one to adopt because her food sounds insanely delicious! I mean, anyone who can make me drool over carrots has some serious skillz.

  17. The carrots sound so tasty and that is a great looking chocolate, will have to check out the recipe!

  18. Shannon says:

    ooh, the lime juice on those roasted carrots is a fabulous idea! and that chocolate… yum!

  19. Kiersten says:

    I love roasted carrots, I’ll have to try them with lime juice next time. Despite the fact that I just ate breakfast, that chocolate picture is making me hungry.

  20. alexis says:

    Hi! Wow, thanks for the chocolate recipe I’ve never thought of making my own before! I made it with coconut oil because I didn’t have cocoa butter … it was good but I think I’d like it a little sweeter (I didn’t add the fruit, just almonds). Do you think it would be best to add more agave or stevia or both? Thanks!

    • alisa says:

      I would go with the agave, but the stevia (drops) probably wouldn’t be bad either as stevia tends to work fairly well with chocolate. Glad you enjoyed!

  21. sea says:

    What a lovely adoption post! You made both of those recipes sound amazing. I will have to try the carrots- and now I want cocoa butter! Where did you buy yours? I looked on Amazon a bit and got overwhelmed by my options!


    • alisa says:

      I got some of it from a company that shall remain nameless as the cocoa butter is good, but the company, not so good. I got a ton more from Blue Mountain Organic. I actually saw cocoa butter in the raw food and packaged bulk nuts section at Whole Foods for a price that was competitive with online, though I haven’t tried there’s yet. When I run out (which will be a while!) I plan to try that one.

  22. Iris says:

    I love Valerie! Her lunchboxes always look so yummy! And your photos of her recipes are absolutely gorgeous!

  23. Mary says:

    Wow! Those carrots are to die for! YUMM! I love carrots anyway, but roasted with chili? MMM.

    Nice adoption, Alisa, I’m happy to meet you and Valerie!


  24. Alta says:

    I need to get some cocoa butter. That chocolate looks amazing.

Leave a Reply

Get New Posts via Email

Enter your email address:

Grab A Button

Alisa Cooks

Other Hangouts

Featured Author
Featured Author
view my recipes
Featured Author