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

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.