Raw Mint Chocolate Mini Pies

Happy Pi Day! Two years ago, we were travelling and made a chocolate strawberry tart in the RV. Last year, we turned to flaky puff pastry for these apple-walnut hand pies. This year, we’ve strayed from the fruit-based pies and made these decadent, but healthy, mint chocolate mini pies! In my humble opinion, the flavour combination of mint + chocolate is one of the best 🙂

While there’s a time and a place for full-sized desserts, I also appreciate the smaller ones, made for a household of two.

These mint chocolate mini pies are perfect for a few different reasons:

  • They’re easy to make and don’t require an oven, meaning they’re as good to eat during the wet rainy months as the sweltering hot ones!
  • Because they’re raw, there’s no chance of a pastry crust getting soggy as it sits. This means that these pies will keep in the fridge for longer than a day!
  • If you like to keep your sweets to a minimum during the week, you can cut each mini pie in half (or smaller) and enjoy a bite or two each evening.
  • They taste rich and decadent, yet are filled with great-for-you ingredients. With no added sugar and lots of antioxidant-rich ingredients, these pies are basically health food! 😉

ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | No-Bake mint chocolate mini pies

The only tool needed to make these is a good food processor or high-speed blender. The crust is made out of Medjool dates, walnuts, coconut and cacao powder, processed until it forms a sticky ball. We don’t have little tart pans, so our trusty muffin tin becomes the workhorse of our small-batch dessert creations.

A little tip for you:

The crust mixture is VERY sticky. To avoid dealing with the frustration of trying to get the crust to stick to the pan, and not to your fingers, I’d suggest lining the muffin tin with plastic wrap, or parchment paper. I found that one big piece of wrap worked well – you can line 4 muffin tins quite easily, and use the hangover to press the crust mixture into the muffin tin. No messy fingers!

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The filling is made up of soaked (and drained) cashews, maple syrup, cacao powder and peppermint extract. So easy, yet so wonderfully tasty! This gets spooned into the tart bases and everything chills in the fridge until you’re ready to eat them.

I made these a few days ago, and they really do hold up well in the fridge. As they sit, they almost take on a fudgy consistency, which I totally love, yet completely melt in your mouth as you eat them.

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Whether you’re a physics geek or not, I hope you’re enjoying Pi Day as much as we are!

Raw Mint Chocolate Mini Pies
 
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
These Mint Chocolate Mini Pies are raw, vegan and gluten-free, making them great for everyone to enjoy!
Ingredients
For the tart crust:
  • 100 g Medjool dates, pitted (1/2 cup, about 6 dates)
  • 25 g (1/2 cup) unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 35 g (1/3 cup) walnut pieces
  • 2 tbsp cacao powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • Pinch of sea salt
For the filling:
  • ½ cup cashews, soaked in ½ cup water for at least 3 to 4 hours
  • 2 tbsp cacao powder
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • ½ to 1 tsp pure peppermint extract
  • 1 tbsp water, if needed
Instructions
  1. Soak the cashews in ½ cup of water, for at least 3 to 4 hours. When ready to use, drain and rinse the cashews, discarding the soaking liquid.
  2. Make the tart crust by placing all ingredients into a food processor or high-speed blender and pulse together, until you have a thick, sticky mixture.
  3. Line a muffin tin with plastic wrap and evenly distribute the crust mixture into 4 muffin cups. Use wet hands or additional plastic wrap, to press the crust mixture into the bottom and sides of the muffin tin to create a little bowl shape.
  4. Keep the prepared muffin tin in the fridge until you make the filling.
  5. To make the mint chocolate filling, place the drained cashews, maple syrup, cacao powder and peppermint extract into a food processor or high-speed blender and puree until completely smooth. Start with ½ tsp of peppermint extract and taste. Add more if you like a stronger taste. The mixture should be thick but spreadable. Add water, a tablespoon at a time, until you reach this consistency.
  6. Spoon the mixture into the tart shells and refrigerate until ready to eat.
  7. to serve, sprinkle with a good-quality salt (like Maldon) and additional chopped walnuts.
Notes
These tarts will last in the fridge for at least a week, and longer in the freezer.

Enjoy these Mint Chocolate Mini Pies!

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Easy No-Bake Chocolate Mousse

Happy Chocolate Day! Otherwise known as Valentine’s Day 🙂 This chocolate mousse recipe is for all the chocolate lovers out there. It’s Jonty’s creation (my chocolate-loving guy) and he’s made it a handful of times over the last few months. It has 4 ingredients, is super simple to make, and is actually pretty healthy for you! Are you ready?

You need egg whites, good-quality dark chocolate (at least 70% dark), plain Greek yogurt and a touch of sugar. The resulting dessert is so light and airy, and tastes so unbelievably decadent, yet there’s not a drop of cream to be found.

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The first time Jonty made it, we thought it might have been a fluke result, mainly because we were wary about using non-fat Greek yogurt (sometimes things just taste better with fat and cream). But each time he’s made it, the result has been the same – an easy, superstar chocolate mousse!

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ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | Easy No-Bake Chocolate Mousse

Jonty has developed this chocolate mousse using basic ratios:

  • 1 part egg white
  • 1 part dark chocolate
  • 1 part Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 part sugar

So 1 egg white will give you 1 ramekin dessert. If you want turn this into a romantic dessert for two, just use 2 egg whites and scale. You want to turn this into a family dessert for four? Use 4 egg whites and scale. So easy!

This is going to a short and sweet, because the sun is shining, and we’re severely lacking in Vitamin D! So, we hope you’re having a great Chocolate Day, celebrating any way you’d like 🙂

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ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | Easy No-Bake Chocolate Mousse

 

ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | Easy No-Bake Chocolate Mousse

Happy Valentines Day, Galentines Day, Family Day or general Chocolate Day 🙂

Easy Chocolate Mousse
 
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
This almost-raw chocolate mousse is an easy, healthy dessert that will wow all your guests!
Ingredients
  • 2 egg whites (60g)
  • 30 g granulated sugar
  • 60 g good-quality dark chocolate (at least 70% or higher)
  • 60 g non-fat Greek yogurt
Instructions
  1. In a clean, dry bowl, whisk the egg whites until they start to form peaks. While whisking, slowly add the sugar, one spoonful at a time, until it is all incorporated. Continue to whisk the mixture until stiff peaks have formed.
  2. Meanwhile, melt your chocolate. You can either do this in the microwave on the lowest heat setting, or over a bowl of hot water. Once the chocolate is melted, stir in the Greek yogurt.
  3. Fold the egg white mixture into the chocolate mixture and fold to combine.
  4. Spoon the mousse into 2 ramekins and refrigerate at least 30 minutes, or until the mousse has set.

Enjoy this easy chocolate mousse!

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Mini Apple-Blackberry Pies

This is the first week that it is really starting to feel like autumn! The leaves are just starting to change, and the markets are filling up with the local Okanogan apples. When I see the fruit bins overflowing with Honeycrisp and Ambrosia apples, I can’t help but load up my shopping cart. Even after eating them during the week, in salads or on their own, we often have a surplus by the end of the week. And since the weekends are synonymous with baking, we use them up making plenty of tasty treats involving apples, cinnamon and butter.

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We had a few end-of-season blackberries still kicking around and I was craving pie, but not a big pie of the usual size. I wanted something portable, that we could easily enjoy after a climbing day. So I decided to bake these single-serving Apple-Blackberry Pies, in a standard muffin tin. They tasted fantastic, a perfect autumn treat! And besides, who doesn’t love to have their own little bite-sized pie to themselves?

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I’ve made these mini pies a few times now, and they really are a perfect little sweet treat. And I’m convinced that most desserts feel more individual and taste better when they’re bite-sized. Another bonus is that they freeze really well, so bake up a batch to save for those rainy Vancouver days you know are coming!

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Tips for making Mini Apple-Blackberry Pies:

  • Butter the muffin tins really well. I’m serious. Make sure you butter the tops of the pan too. Nothing will anger a wife quicker than having a pie stick to the pan. True story.
  • Make sure to cut up the apples into very small chunks (think thumbnail sized), if you don’t want to pre-cook the apples first. These mini pies don’t take as long to bake as a full-sized pie, so cutting the apples into bite-sized pieces will ensure they soften before the baking time finishes.
  • If you make a full double-crusted mini-pie, make sure to cut a big hole in the top pastry, to release the steam and avoid too much overflow.

The deal with making these mini pies is pretty easy. Roll out the pastry and cut out 6 circles. I used a 10-cm / 4-inch crumpet ring, but I’ve seen suggestions of using the lid of a yogurt container, too. Gently press the pastry into the well-greased muffin tin, fill with the fruit filling, then use any remaining pastry dough to make a top crust, if you’d like. Brush the tops with milk, and sprinkle with a coarse sugar, then pop them into the oven. In less than 45 minutes, you will thank yourself for creating such cute, delicious treats 🙂

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I think these Apple-Blackberry Pies are best enjoyed after a hard climbing day, with a good cup of coffee. Hubby fully agrees 😉

Mini Apple-Blackberry Pies
 
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Inspired by Dessert for Two
Ingredients
For the pastry
  • 150 g all-purpose flour
  • 112 g (1/2 cup) unsalted butte
  • 8 g (1/2 tbsp) granulated sugar
  • 8 g (1/2 tbsp) apple-cider vinegar
  • 3 - 4 tbsp ice-cold wate
For the filling
  • 245 g (~1 large) cored and diced apple (we like Ambrosia)
  • 60 g (~3/4 cup) blackberries, fresh or frozen
  • 10 g (2 tsp) lemon juice or apple-cider vinegar
  • 15 g (1 tbsp) brown sugar
  • 15 g (~1.5 tbsp) flour or cornstarch
Instructions
Making the pastry dough:
  1. In a food processor, pulse together the flour, butter, sugar and apple-cider vinegar.
  2. Add the water, 1 tbsp at a time and pulse until the dough just starts to clump together.
  3. Remove from the food processor, wrap tightly in plastic or place in a container with a tight-fitting lid. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour, up to a few days.
  4. Let sit at room temperature about 15 minutes before you plan on rolling it out, to soften it up a bit.
Making the filling:
  1. Core a large apple and dice into small pieces. Place into a bowl, along with the blackberries.
  2. Add the lemon juice or apple-cider vinegar, brown sugar and flour and toss very gently to combine.
  3. Set aside while you are preparing your muffin tins.
Making the mini pies:
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 F and place a baking tray in the oven, to catch any over-flow.
  2. Grease 6 muffin cups very well, ensuring both the cup and the top edge of the pan are greased.
  3. Lightly flour your counter-top and roll out the pastry dough into a rectangle, about 5-mm thick. Cut out 6 circles, each about 12 cm (4.5 inches) in diameter. Gently press each pastry circle into a prepared muffin cup.
  4. Spoon the apple-blackberry filling into the prepared pastry cups. The filling will shrink down as it cooks, so don't worry if the cups look quite full. Really pile it in!
  5. If you are doing a top crust (there is enough pastry dough), roll out the remaining pastry and cut into your desired shape - either strips for a lattice, or circles for full coverage. Regardless of the shape, make sure you have enough holes in your top crust to let out the steam.
  6. Pinch together the edges to seal. Brush the tops with a bit of milk and sprinkle with a coarse sugar.
  7. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 20 minutes, then rotate and bake for another 15 to 20 minutes, until the tops are golden brown and the filling starts to bubble
  8. Remove from the oven and leave to cool on a rack for 5 minutes. Then gently remove the mini pies from the muffin holders and cool completely on the rack.
  9. While the pies are still hot, use a knife to loosen around the edge of the muffin cups, so that any overflowed filling will not stick to the pan while the pies are cooling.
Notes
The pastry recipe will make enough for 1 9-inch single-crust pie, or 6 double-crust mini pies.
These pies freeze very well.

Enjoy!

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Hot-Cross Cinnamon Buns

First, I can’t believe we’re entering the third week of March already. Second, I can’t believe Easter is this week. I know Easter is early this year, but holy moly, it has come around quickly!

Every year I make a batch of hot-cross buns, but I figured it’s time to shake things up a bit. I’m still on a “small-batch cinnamon bun” run, so I’ve merged my classic hot-cross bun recipe with my small-batch cinnamon buns, and voila – Hot-Cross Cinnamon Buns for Easter!

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I’ve never been a big fan of store-bought mixed peel. You know, those containers of crystalized fruit chunks, sitting in some weird, super-sweet syrup, that never seem to have a best-before date attached to them… But I do like orange zest and fresh-squeezed orange juice! Adding this to the goo-mixtures really gives these cinnamon buns a good spring-time flavour.

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I used my simple small-batch cinnamon bun dough recipe, adding nutmeg, cloves, ground ginger and cinnamon. Already, this smells like Easter to me 🙂

There are a few changes I made for these hot-cross cinnamon buns:

  • I tried raisins in my first batch, then dried cranberries in my second batch. It may not be a classic ingredient, but Jonty and I both loved the sweet-tart flavour of the cranberries!
  • While the dough was rising, I squeezed the juice from one orange and the zest from half the orange into a small bowl. I let the cranberries soak in this mixture, to soften the fruit.

ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | Hot-cross cinnamon bunsClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | Hot-cross cinnamon buns

Like my previous cinnamon bun recipes, I opt for the overnight method. Once the buns are rolled and placed into the tray, I cover them tightly with plastic and place them into the fridge overnight for a slow rise. You can definitely bake them the same day you make them – I’ve done both, and both are wonderful – it’s just a matter of how much time you have spare.

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The goo in the bottom of the pan is a mixture of brown sugar, orange juice and orange zest. It infuses into the dough just enough to make your cinnamon buns taste like Easter buns 🙂

ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | Hot-cross cinnamon buns

With a bit of cream cheese icing piped into a cross shape on the top, I think these Hot-Cross Cinnamon Buns will be a welcome addition to your Easter breakfast menu!

Hot-Cross Cinnamon Buns
 
Recipe type: Breakfast
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Ingredients
For the cinnamon bun dough
  • 200 g (~1½ cups) all-purpose flour
  • 20 g (1½ tbsp) granulated sugar
  • 5 g (1¼ tsp) instant yeast
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp ground all-spice
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ⅛ tsp ground cloves
  • 150 mL warm milk
  • 30 g (2 tbsp) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
For the filling
  • 50 g (4 tbsp) brown sugar
  • 12 g (1 tbsp) white sugar
  • 7 g (1 tbsp) ground cinnamon
  • 40 g (1/3 cup) dried unsweetened cranberries
  • 15 g (1 tbsp) unsalted butter, melted
For the goo
  • 40 g (2½ tbsp) melted butter
  • 50 g (4 tbsp) brown sugar
  • Juice from 1 orange
  • Zest from ½ orange
  • 1 - 2 tbsp water
For the icing, if using
  • 40 g cream cheese, softened
  • 1 tbsp icing sugar
  • 2 - 4 tbsp milk
Instructions
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, sift together the flour, sugar, dried yeast and all of the spices. Add the warm milk and melted butter. Knead with the dough hook attachment for 5 to 8 minutes, until you have a soft, slightly tacky ball. If the dough is too sticky, add more flour, one tablespoon at at time, kneading thoroughly in between.
  2. Remove the dough from the bowl and knead on a lightly-floured surface briefly, then return the dough to a clean, lightly oiled bowl. Cover and leave rise in a warm, draft-free place until the dough has doubled in size, about 30 minutes.
  3. While the dough is rising, place the orange juice and orange zest into a small bowl and add the dried cranberries. This will infuse some of the orange into the cranberries and help to soften them. Mix together the sugars and cinnamon, and set aside.
  4. When you're ready to assemble the cinnamon buns, sprinkle the counter-top with a bit of flour and roll the dough into a long, narrow rectangle. Pour the melted butter over the dough and sprinkle on the cinnamon-sugar mixture, right to the edge of the dough. Remove the cranberries from the orange juice, squeezing out any excess juice, and spread them over the cinnamon-sugar mixture.
  5. Starting at the narrow end, roll the dough into a log shape, as tight as you can make it. Cut the log into 4 equal pieces.
  6. Make the goo for the bottom of the cinnamon buns by melting together the butter, brown sugar, orange juice and orange zest. Add water to reach a pourable consistency. Pour this into the bottom of a 8x8-inch pan. Arrange the four cinnamon buns on top of the goo mixture.
  7. Cover tightly with plastic and either refrigerate overnight, or leave in a warm place to rise (about 1 hour).
  8. When ready to bake, pre-heat the oven to 375F. For the overnight method, leave the buns on the counter for least 30 minutes before baking.
  9. Bake for 22 to 25 minutes, until the tops are golden brown and the goo mixture is bubbling.
  10. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before inverting onto a plate.
  11. If icing the cinnamon buns, beat together the softened cream cheese and icing sugar. Add in the milk, 1 tbsp at a time, until a smooth, pourable icing is achieved.

Enjoy!

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Apple-Walnut Hand Pies

Happy Pi Day!

Being two physicists (by degree) and food-lovers (by taste), we couldn’t let 3.14 go by without a pie recipe for you. Last year we were traveling in the Sprinter van with no access to an oven, so we made a raw Strawberry Tart. This year, we’ve made an equally easy recipe: Apple-Walnut Hand Pies.

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We had a sheet of puff pastry in the freezer that I wanted to use, and the most difficult part of the recipe is remembering to let the puff pastry defrost in the fridge for a few hours before using it!

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Because these little hand pies only take about 25 minutes to bake, you will need to soften the apples first. Add them to a small saucepan, cover and let simmer over medium heat for about 15 minutes, stirring every so often to avoid them sticking to the bottom on the pan. Adding a splash of water to the mix will help.

Once they’ve softened, add some cinnamon, flour, a touch of sugar, a touch of apple cider vinegar, and a handful of toasted walnuts, and stir to combine. Let this mixture cool for a bit before assembling the hand pies.

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If you’ve never used it, puff pastry is surprisingly easy to work with. As long as you keep the worktop surface well-floured (to prevent the pastry from sticking) and work briskly (to prevent the pastry from warming up too fast) the pastry is quite forgiving. Using a rolling-pin, roll out a sheet of puff pastry to about half its original thickness, and cut the piece into 4 equal squares (or rectangles).

Brush the edges with a bit of milk, place 1/4 of the apple mixture onto one half of each square, then fold the pastry over this mixture and crimp the edges together using your fingers or a fork. Brush the tops of the hand pies with a bit of milk, slash to tops with a sharp knife to allow steam to escape, then pop the hand pies into the oven for about 25 minutes.

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While these hand pies are still warm from the oven, I suggest topping them with a scoop of ice cream. The ice cream melts into all the nooks and crannies of the pie, making these seriously delicious. If you live in Vancouver, I urge you to head to Earnest Ice Cream to pick up a pint; there will be no regrets 🙂

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So easy to make, so  tasty to eat!

Apple-Walnut Hand Pies
 
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Ingredients
  • ~200 g / 7oz puff pastry (this was ½ package for the pastry I used)
  • 1 large apple (275 g), cored and diced
  • 25 g (1/4 cup) walnuts, toasted then chopped
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
Instructions
  1. Thaw the puff pastry as directed (usually a few hours in the refrigerator).
  2. Core and dice a large apple. Place into a small sauce pan over medium heat. Add a splash of water, cover and reduce until softened, about 15 minutes.
  3. Toast the walnuts in the oven or in a pan on the stove top until fragrant, about 5 minutes. Chop and reserve.
  4. Once the apples have softened, add the cinnamon, brown sugar, flour, apple cider vinegar and chopped walnuts. Stir to combine, then cool the mixture.
  5. To make the hand pies, roll out a piece of puff pastry on a well-floured surface, to about half its original thickness. Cut into four equal pieces. I cut mine into 12-cm / 5-inch squares.
  6. Brush the edges of the pastry with milk and add ¼ of the apple mixture onto each square. Fold the pastry over itself, and pinch the edges together with your fingers or a fork.
  7. Brush the top of the hand pies with milk and slash a few holes to allow steam to escape.
  8. Place the hand pies on a parchment-lined tray and bake in a 400F oven for 22 to 25 minutes, until the pastries are a deep golden brown.
  9. Cool slightly on a rack before eating.

Enjoy these Apple-Walnut Hand Pies!

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ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | Apple-walnut hand pies