While hanging around the house this afternoon with the boys, I decided to make a dessert using the hazelnuts I had picked up at Costco a few weeks ago. I decided to make a cookie bar that included both chocolate and hazelnuts. Since the hazelnuts were natural (as in not roasted), I decided to roast them a bit to bring out their nuttiness. I roasted them at 350 degrees for about 12 minutes and then placed them in a dish towel to rub off their skins. It was fairly simple to do. After they cooled, I chopped them to go into my Chocolate Hazelnut Cookie Bars. They turned out delicious. I love the combination of chocolate and hazelnuts together -- it reminds me of the sugar riddled "Nutella" I used to enjoy in my former life. These bars, however, did not contain added sugar (other than the sugar contained in the organic Green & Black's 70% bar that I chopped to use as chocolate chips). Even more amazing is that these cookie bars were made using my sugar free "Sweetened Condensed Coconut Milk"...yes, sweetened condensed coconut milk that contains NO sugar. Instead, it uses my favorite natural sugar free sweetener to bake with...Swerve!!! I used Swerve in both the crust for the cookie bars, as well as in the "sweetened condensed coconut milk" that I use to make them. Do you know HOW many doors to other decadent recipes this one little sugar free recipe for sweetened condensed coconut milk opens??? It opens LOTS of doors and possibilities! It's liquid gold...especially with the upcoming baking season upon us. On of the ingredients in my sweetened condensed coconut milk is vanilla extract, but this afternoon, I decided to make it using a vanilla bean (I split it lengthwise with a sharp knife and scraped out all the little vanilla seeds to add to the coconut milk) and in addition to adding the vanilla bean seeds, I tossed in the pod, too, so it could simmer with the milk and infuse vanilla flavor as it reduced. It gave an awesome vanilla flavor to the condensed milk and you can see all the little vanilla bean seeds just like you can in vanilla ice cream. If you happen to have a vanilla bean hanging around the house, you might want to try that, too...otherwise the extract works just fine. I snapped a few photos of my decadent bars below, as well as posted the recipes for both the Sweetened Condensed Coconut Milk and the Chocolate Hazelnut Cookie Bars. This was a really "sweet" way to end the Labor Day weekend! P.S. -- if you haven't yet entered to win a Weber grill as well as some free Swerve in my Swerve Giveaway (courtesy of Swerve)...make sure you check out the details on how to enter below. Enjoy!
|Freshly roasted and skinned hazelnuts...waiting for chop-chop time!|
Look closely and you can see the tiny little specks of vanilla beans in the coconut from the Sweetened Condensed Coconut Milk I made using a vanilla bean instead of extract
*Note: Chocolate Hazelnut Cookie Bars use only 1 cup of Sweetened Condensed Coconut Milk -- this recipe makes 2-1/2 cups. If desired, the above recipe for the sweetened condensed milk can be halved.
|This morning's breakfast with the boys!|
|My Easy Cheddar Black Pepper Biscuits...if you haven't tried them...why not? ;-)|
|Tonight's quick and easy Chicken-Broccoli Stir-Fry|
5 days Left to Enter the Swerve Giveaway!
The kind folks at Swerve recently contacted me and have allowed me to offer Gourmet Girl Cooks' followers a chance to win an exciting "Celebration to Summer's End Giveaway"! One lucky follower will win a: Weber 22.5” Silver One-Touch, Kettle Grill AND a Three-Pack of Swerve (see below). As most of you that follow me already know, I have been using Swerve for almost a year now and it is my favorite "zero calorie" natural sweetener to bake with. It tastes great and measures cup-for-cup just like sugar, which makes it super easy to substitute in recipes...no calculations involved! It contains no artificial ingredients and comes in both granular and confectioners (powdered) versions. With the upcoming Labor Day weekend ahead, I will be posting some delicious "end of summer" recipes using Swerve...so stay tuned! Ready, set....GO! Begin entering now!
P.S.-- if you are already a Swerve lover like I am, and your supply is getting low...Swerve is currently running a special through Tuesday, September 3rd, for $9.99 each (for a 16-oz bag) or you can grab 6 packs of Swerve for $49.98 ($8.33/each + free shipping). You can click here to grab this special ---> Swerve
HOW TO ENTER:
The winning contestant will be chosen at random (must be a U.S. resident). To enter a chance to win, all you need to do is: Leave a comment here on my blog and include the words "Swerve BBQ Contest" (1 entry per person per day). Contest ends Friday, September 6, 2013 at Midnight EDT. The winner will have 24 hours after being announced to contact Gourmet Girl Cooks (by email at GourmetGirlCooksBlog @ gmail.com) with their shipping address. If no response is received in 24 hours, a new winner will be selected.
*The product provided in this giveaway is contributed by and will be sent directly to the winner by Swerve.