HAPPY NEW YEAR! Farewell 2018 and all the delicious food we had; hello 2019 and all the delicious we will be experiencing! I know many people have made resolutions for the new year. I actually stopped making resolutions as I tend to break them before January is over. Instead, I choose a word to live by for the year. The word I’ve chosen for 2019 is “refresh” to indicate it’s ok to start over no matter what.
According to Time Magazine, one of the most common resolutions that is broken is to lose weight and get fit. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve broken that myself ? I’m learning to make better food choices in general and change my relationship with food instead. It’s been a slow but steady process, but I’m definitely figuring out why I crave certain foods and when to say no or when to give in and indulge. I’m also trying to accomplish eating better alternatives. I was on the keto diet for about 8 months before our wedding and it totally works. But it’s so hard to keep up with. So I’m refreshing my eating habits with some of the tips/tricks I learned during keto and making substitutions in the daily things I eat. Craving tortilla chips and guacamole? Radishes with guacamole instead. Really want a carbonara? Let’s make it with leeks instead of pasta.
Sweets are the hardest things to swap out though. There’s not a whole lot of food items to replace sugar. Fruit is an alternative, but even fruit is packed with sugar. I have learned that natural sugars are slightly better then nothing at all. Honey and I became best friends while I was on keto. Same with dark chocolate; it was one of the few guilty pleasures I was able to have and not completely kill my diet. So I thought, what can I make that I could eat when I have a sweet tooth craving without going overboard? I decided to put together my own peanut butter cup but (a) with dark chocolate, (b) with almond butter, and (c) put a twist to it with matcha.
This recipe requires chocolate tempering. To me, it’s pretty hard because it requires precision (and I like to be a mad scientist and throw things together without measuring). Tempering chocolate means to melt the chocolate to a certain temperature and then allowing it to cool and form specific crystal shapes so that the chocolate has a snap in texture and a glossy shine. Tempering chocolate at too low or too high temperatures won’t give you the final texture you’re looking for – so invest in a cooking thermometer! You won’t regret it. For dark chocolate, temper between 86-90F. There are several techniques to bring the chocolate to temperature. I like using a bain-marie. It’s basically a hot water bath; you boil a pot of water and turn off the heat, then place a bowl bigger than the pot opening into it and allow the steam from the hot water to hit the bottom of the bowl and melt the chocolate. Just be careful not to get any water into the chocolate or it’ll seize up.
Dark Chocolate Matcha Cups
- 10-12 ounces of good quality dark chocolate
- 1 cup almond butter
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 1 tablespoon matcha powder
- Mini cupcake liners
- Step 1 Place liners into mini cupcake tin.
- Step 2 In a small bowl, mix the almond butter, honey, and matcha powder thoroughly.
- Step 3 Temper dark chocolate until it is between 86-90F.
- Step 4 Place about 1/2 tablespoon of chocolate into each liner and allow to cool.
- Step 5 When chocolate is completely cooled, place about 1/2 tablespoon of the almond butter mixture into each liner.
- Step 6 Top each liner with another 1/2 tablespoon of chocolate.
- Step 7 Cool completely and allow chocolate to harden.