Before you scroll down to the Maple Coconut Chocolate Cups recipe below, let me ask you a question. If you had to pick the ultimate comfort food, what would it be? Pot pie? A spicy curry? Macaroni and cheese? Or maybe hot cocoa (hot cocoa sounds more comforting than hot chocolate) or a warm brownie topped with ice cream? Winter is just around the corner – though some days it feels as if it’s already here – so my cooking changes from quick and cool to hearty, warm and comforting.
Chili, in almost any form but the ones including meat, is one of my favorite comfort foods. You can put it together quickly and let it simmer gently for hours, plus it tastes better the next day. I recently made the version from In Vegetables We Trust (Slow-Cooker Chili) which includes a hint of unsweetened cocoa to mellow and deepen the beany, peppery flavors.
What’s comfort without cozy chocolate? If you didn’t see this recipe on Somer’s blog, Vedged Out, then you must be hibernating. And I wouldn’t blame you one bit if you were! I mixed up a batch of her Double Chocolate Coconut Pecan Cookies and my belly and I felt contented, satisfied and downright happy despite the flurries blowing outside. In fact, I laughed at them between bites.
For me, rice is one of the most comforting foods around. This may be because when I was a kid my mom made the most delicious rice on the planet – buttery and creamy and heavy on the ground black pepper. When I was a young lass living on my own there were evenings when it was me, the TV and a big bowl of steaming, hot rice. This is why I included AstigVegan’s delicious Kalamansi Coconut Risotto recipe in my comfort food hall of fame. It’s got all the things I love: creamy rice, coconut milk, lemon zing and mushrooms.
If there’s anything more comforting than chocolate, it’s…more chocolate. I made these babies one Sunday afternoon when I needed a heavy dose of comfort. Big fat flakes of snow were flying outside. The foothills of the Wasatch were barely visible in the fog of white. Ike had wisely tucked himself back into his doggy bed and Paul Westerberg provided background music with one of his most plaintive tunes, Here Comes A Regular. The enticing smell of melted chocolate takes the cold edge off of any winter day. I got the original recipe from Things My Belly Likes and I hit the print button before you could say Give me a Mounds bar! I messed around (i.e., made it more complicated than it needed to be) with the recipe and dubbed them Maple Coconut Chocolate Cups. Check out some of my other recipes for easy-to-make chocolate treats.
- Sea Salt Crunchy Chickpeas & Dried Blueberries Chocolates
- Sugar-free Puffed Quinoa & Cacao Nib Chocolate Bars
- Chocolate Apricot Chocolate Truffle Cups
- Chocolate-Covered Mocha Ice Cream Bites
You’ll need Dandy Blend or equivalent for these treats.
- 1 cup refined or unrefined coconut oil
- 1 cup vegan semi-sweet chocolate chips (Lily's Sweets brand is great)
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 heaping Tbsp. Dandy Blend (herbal coffee substitute), optional
- 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2-4 Tbsp. pure maple syrup
- 1/8 cup sweet cacao nibs (plus a little extra for sprinkling on top of the chocolate)
- 1/4 cup toasted pecans, chopped (plus a little extra for sprinkling on top of the chocolate)
- 1/3 cup unsweetened flaked coconut (plus a little extra for sprinkling on top of the chocolate)
- Get your paper or silicon mini muffin cups onto baking sheets and have all of the ingredients ready to go before melting the chocolate and coconut oil.
- Sprinkle pecans into the bottoms of 1/3 of the muffins cups; sprinkle the cacao nibs into the bottoms of 1/3 of the muffin cups. You'll be stirring the flaked coconut into the remaining 1/3 of the melted chocolate/coconut oil mixture - so hold off on sprinkling that into the bottom of the remaining third.
- In a small saucepan, melt the coconut oil and chocolate over low heat Whisk occasionally. Remove from the heat and stir in the maple syrup and vanilla extract. For really smooth chocolate, put the cocoa powder and Dandy Blend through a sieve and add to the melted chocolate. Whisk mixture until smooth and melted.
- Carefully pour chocolate into the pecan- and cacao nib-filled cups, reserving about a third of the melted chocolate for the coconut cups. Now, stir in the 1/3 cup flaked coconut into the remaining melted chocolate and pour into the last muffin cups. Sprinkle the tops of the chocolate cups with the corresponding add-in so that later you know which chocolate you are popping into your mouth.
- Chill the cups until firm.