dark chocolate marmalade loaf


Taking pictures of food is tricky. Have you tried? The strangest thing can look great; other times I feel I've got a real winner on my hands and I can't take a photo that would even convince my mother to make it. This loaf. Exhibit A. First, I can't say how good it is. It's probably too good for it's own good, haha. Frankly, it's chocolate brownie in a pretty healthy disguise. But in the photo, it looks like any other boring loaf with yellowish spots (that's marmalade). 

It's made with lots of dates so it's still a treat, especially if you're avoiding fructose. But a little bit goes a long way. Trust me, there is a cup of butter in there! My version adds homemade marmalade (made with xylitol) but you could try the original recipe and use grated orange peel. 

Ingredients

1 cup dates (I used pitted medjools)
1/2 cup water
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
1 cup (250 mL) butter, at room temperature
2 large free-range eggs
1 tsp grated orange peel (I used 1/4 cup homemade marmalade)
4 oz (115 g) dark chocolate, melted (I used a 100 gram 90% chocolate Lindt bar melted)
1 1/3 cups flour (I used 100% organic whole wheat)
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup boiling water


Instructions


1. Preheat oven to 375 F
2. Simmer dates with water until very tender. Stir in vanilla. Purée in a food processor to a smooth paste.
3. Line 9 x 5 x 3 in (23 x 13 x 6 cm) loaf pan with parchment paper or butter (I used butter).
4. Using food processor, add butter to date purée. Add eggs, one at a time, then orange peel (or marmalade). Remove from food processor and pour mixture into a bowl. Fold in melted chocolate.
5. Stir flour with baking soda. Add half the flour mixture to the wet mixture and combine just until mixed. Add water and mix, and then beat in remaining flour, just until mixed. Batter will be very liquid. Pour into prepared loaf pan.
6. Place on baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes, then reduce heat to 325 F (160 C). Continue baking for 15 more minutes. Not sure what the baking sheet is for but I did it anyway. My loaf needed an additional 10 minutes at 325.  Cool completely before slicing.
Craig had this in his lunch (loved it) and I had a few times for a morning snack (I loooove chocolate in the morning). But it could easily be a very decadent dessert. Versatile in the extreme. Not recommended unless you like dense, chocolatey, moist things (um,?).

P.S. I love my new Abeego food wraps. Have you seen these? It's like reusable plastic wrap but very environmentally friendly.

no-sugar orange marmalade


Have you ever tried making jam? I've made a few over the years, but it seems like nothing can be preserved without the dreaded white sugar. Seriously..., pickles, chutney and jam...all FULL of sugar. But then I found this! Made using xylitol and seriously you can't tell (I've since found & tried this jam too, pricey but delicious). If you are not familiar with xylitol, and you need or like to manage your sugar, it's worth checking out.

This recipe is from Gwyneth Paltrow's cookbook (It's All Good).

Yield: about 3 cups

Ingredients
3 oranges, stem ends trimmed off and discarded (since using the whole orange, recommend you use organic)
juice of 1 lemon
2 cups water
1 cup xylitol

Instructions
1. Cut the oranges in half. Scoop the insides-the flesh, juice and seeds into a food processor and reserve the skins. Puree the insides until smooth and pour into a saucepan.
2. Slice the skins into matchsticks and add them to the pan along with the lemon juice and the water. Turn the heat to high and bring the mixture to a boil.
3. Lower the heat and simmer for 1.5 hours uncovered or until the rinds are very, very soft. Add the xylitol or honey and turn the heat back to high. Boil the marmalade stirring quite often, for 10 minutes or until the marmalade begins to pull away from the sides of the pan.
4. Turn off the heat and let cool before transferring to a jar. Keeps in the fridge for up to a month (mine kept for several months..it also froze beautifully). 
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