Pink Hearts and A Chocolate Mustache
First of all, let me just say that it’s been Valentine’s Day for me every day around here since I started blogging again. I am making my usual blog food messes, but get so caught up in my picture-taking, tidying, food preparation, and watching the kitchen timer that sometimes I don’t even realize until I finish a project and turn around to wash my dishes that my funny Valentine has already done them. It’s crazy great! I’m so thankful for the help. Because he has been so giving and helpful (and feeling lucky to be one of my three taste testers) I didn’t mind finishing my day by making a variety of GAPS friendly Valentines Day treats for him and my boys. There will be no exchanging of the traditional velvet covered box of chocolates this year. I had to see what I could come up with.
Meringue hearts are a little cliché but they seemed like the perfect solution. There were a couple of problems concerning them, however. I am only using honey right now and wasn’t sure if the meringue would whip and hold with the addition of the extra liquid rather than granulated sugar. Also, cream of tartar is not technically allowed on GAPS. My husband really is healing, too. I didn’t want to slow his progress. Finally I decided that since I was only planning to use a pinch, there was very little chance the cream of tartar could negatively affect our digestive healing processes.
The honey did prove problematic. I whipped up a batch of perfectly pink meringue, disgustingly sweet Valentine’s/baby shower pink. I baked the meringues for one hour at 250 degrees. They turned brown. I growled a little about having to repeat the entire process. Then…I tasted the golden meringue hearts. Oh my! Like caramel or perfectly toasted marshmallows! My husband tried one and said that he couldn’t wait to nibble them with coffee. GAPS friendly biscotti? Oh, yes! Piped into strips, maybe? Not long after, when I chopped almonds and melted chocolate for my other planned Valentine goodies, I decided that these ingredients could only make the darker meringue hearts more special. So I started dipping them and decorating them.
I baked the second batch of Sweet ‘n’ Low pink meringues for two hours at 200 degrees. The honey in them still turned them a bit, but only to a more golden hue of pink.
1 egg white
Pinch of salt
1 and 1/2 tablespoons raw honey
A touch of Wilton Rose Petal pink food color gel, just the tiniest bit on the end of a toothpick.
Pinch of cream of tartar
Turn oven to 200 degrees. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
Whip the eggs on medium speed with an electric mixer until they are frothy.
Sprinkle in the cream of tartar and salt. Whip on high speed and drizzle in the honey and color.
Keep whipping until the mixture holds a soft peak.
Spoon into a piping bag with no tip. Press the tip of the bag to the paper and squeeze to make a dollop of meringue. Lift to release, making a point or half a heart. Repeat alongside to make the other half of the heart.
Bake for 2 hours.
To make the darker meringues I unintentionally baked (I meant to do that. ), turn the oven to 250 and leave them in for 1 hour. Boy. what a difference 50 degrees makes!
As soon as they are cool, store them in an airtight container.
The idea for my second Valentine sweet creation came from Cara at Health, Home, & Happiness. She has been my GAPS guru through the last few weeks. I can hardly wait each morning for her latest news to pop up in my inbox. Her recipe for GAPS Friendly Chocolate truffles has had me in a tizzy for days and wondering if I would I would be able to wait until Valentine’s Day to try them. I did it! And though it’s around 3a.m. and technically Valentine’s Day, I can wait until this evening for sampling them with my sweetheart.
I changed the ingredients a bit but they turned out beautifully. Some I added an entire almond to, then rolled into a ball before coating in chopped almonds. Others I dipped in 85% Lindt chocolate which is dairy and soy free but contains a touch of turbinado sugar. A true GAPS cheat that hasn’t been hurting us since we added it in a couple of weeks ago. As a nod to my favorite chocolate shop, French Broad Chocolate Lounge, I sprinkled a hint of Himalayan salt on a few (The sea salt caramels in the shop make me drool, though I’ve yet to sample one.), and a pinch of cayenne on a couple of others.
1 cup of cocoa powder
1/4 c. melted coconut oil
1/4 c. honey
Pinch of Himalayan salt
1/4 c. almond milk
I just melted the coconut oil over very low heat.
I mixed in the almond milk and honey, then stirred in the cocoa until no lumps remained.
I found that I didn’t even have to chill it as recommended, but was able to start rolling and dipping. The only problem with that was that the cocoa that I rolled some of the truffles in was absorbed by the room temperature coconut oil. I will have to re-dip them after dinner before serving.
And, wow! I was sure after all that dipping and decorating and sampling as I went along that I was sporting a chocolate mustache and goatee. Very romantic on Valentine’s Day. Pretty. But no, just a mustache.