Dark Chocolate Pumpkin Torte

Chocoholics, such as myself, tend to get a bit overlooked at Thanksgiving.  Most the desserts following the Best Meal of the Year focus on pumpkin, pies, apples and spices of the season.  While I’m certainly not one to turn my nose up to a piece of homemade pumpkin pie, if given the choice, I’d much prefer something chocolate.  The problem with most chocolate desserts is that they don’t lend themselves to the traditional Thanksgiving themes.  That’s why I was literally over the moon to stumble upon the inspiration for the torte in the most recent issue of Eating Well magazine.

torte drizzled with chocolate

A sinfully dark chocolate torte, sweetened with maple syrup, spiced with the traditional pumpkin pie spices and topped with a creamy, maple pumpkin whipped cream.  It’s fudge-like texture and intense chocolate flavor is perfect for the chocoholics sitting around the table secretly hoping that someone slipped some chocolate chips into the pecan pie.

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It is universally true that people like free stuff.  Especially free stuff that tastes awesome.  Well, you lucky folks are in for quite a treat!  In honor of Fair Trade Month, the good people over at Fair Trade USA have put together an amazing gift box for one lucky reader.  How lucky are you?

I’m not usually one to promote specific products or use this space for anything other than sharing awesome recipes, but when I was contacted by the Fair Trade folks I couldn’t resist.  Fair Trade Certification is something that I support wholeheartedly and I couldn’t be more thrilled to share these delicious goodies with one lucky reader.

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Carrot Cake Cookies

Carrot Cake Cookies

Fall is in the air and I couldn’t be more excited!  The weather has that perfect crispness to it, football is taking over my weekends and I’m starting to dream about all things warm and spicy.  It’s the time of year for pumpkin scones, spiced pumpkin bread and pumpkin pie bites.  It’s pretty clear that my fall repertoire tends to revolve around that picture perfect, round orange squash.  How about we mix that up a little?

carrot cake cookies

A warmly spiced, raisin studded carrot cake cookie.  Moist, tender and sweetened with real maple syrup these cookies evoke all your favorite carrot cake flavors in a handheld, perfectly portable version.  These cookies are made with whole wheat flour, oats and sweetened only with raisins, maple syrup and agave nectar, making them a fall treat you can feel good about feeding your family.  Don’t worry, I didn’t leave out the best part … these cookies are topped with a delicious, naturally sweetened cream cheese icing!

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double chocolate banana bread

When I was a kid, my parents used to buy those giant trays of softball-sized muffins at Costco. The trays came with a combo of blueberry muffins, poppyseed muffins and the most indulgent double chocolate muffins you could imagine. Of course, the chocolate mufffins were always the first to vanish. They would disappear almost immediately and we’d be left with weeks of poppyseed muffins that I’m not sure anyone really liked. We’d work our way through the leftover muffins simply so we could hurry up and get another tray and start the chocolate muffin scramble all over again.

banana bread slices

Those chocolate muffins were nothing more than decadent chocolate cake dressed up in breakfast-suitable attire. Chocolate cake wrapped in a muffin liner which was suddenly an acceptable option at eight o’clock in the morning. Sign me up! This double chocolate banana bread is my ode to those muffins of my youth. If you aren’t paying attention, you could easily mistake this whole wheat, naturally-sweetened, chocolate studded banana bread for a devilish dessert. Fortunately for you, unlike those muffins, this bread actually has enough nutritional value to qualify as a suitable option at eight o’clock in the morning. Don’t worry, we don’t have to tell your taste buds.

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Oh people, I have to apologize in advance for this recipe. If you are a lover of anything sweet and salty, you will need an exit strategy for these blondies. Have friends and family standing by to take the extras off your hands. I’m giving you fair warning, these little beauties are a Level 10 addictive. Something about the combo of salty peanuts with sweet chocolate chips makes them utterly irresistible. Have you ever been able to eat just one chocolate covered pretzel? Same principal applies here. They are crazy good.

peanut butter blondies

Imagine a soft peanut butter cookie studded with crunchy, salted peanuts. Now mix in a good helping of chocolate chips. Perhaps an extra sprinkle of salt for good measure and you’ve got the best salty and sweet combo around. Oh, and did I mention that they are made with whole wheat flour, naturally sweetened and completely vegan? This is the kind of dessert where you need a cold drink to wash it down as you reach for a second … or third!

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Chocolate Almond Pie

I haven’t been particularly inspired by a recipe in a while.  Wedding planning has suddenly consumed my life and we’ve been subsisting on an awful lot of turkey burgers, tacos and pizzas.  I haven’t been pulled off the couch and into the kitchen with a new recipe in ages … until I ran across an idea for a healthy, no-bake chocolate pie in the recent issue of Eating Well magazine.  The concept was so intriguing that it sent me immediately to the internet to research this idea. A healthy, no-bake dessert that still tastes good? Is that even possible?

chocolate almond pie

A rich and creamy chocolate pie.  No baking required if you use a pre-made pie crust and only calling for the most minimal 15 minutes of oven time if you venture to make your own.  No added processed sugar, totally dairy-free and only a handful of ingredients.  Oh and did I mention the entire thing takes almost no time at all to make?  Can you say Perfect Summer Dessert?

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