Dairy-Free (and Vegan!) Chocolate Pudding with Candied Orange Slices

Dairy Free (and Vegan!) Chocolate Pudding with Candied Orange Slices | Sarah J. Hauser

My husband and I just finished a Whole30, and I’m trying to ease into other foods gradually. While I don’t have any food allergies or severe sensitivities, I know that diving right into chocolate cake or pizza after having avoided grains and dairy for a month probably wouldn’t be the best decision! (I have to admit it’s tempting, though.)

That being said, Valentine’s Day is just around the corner—which means I at least need a little chocolate. We don’t typically make a big deal about Valentine’s Day, mostly because for the last four years we’ve been too tired or too busy with the kiddos. But, we do enjoy a good date night in at home, a bottle of wine that’s a bit better than what we’d normally buy, and something special for dessert.

This pudding is perfect for just that! It only requires a few ingredients, it’s dairy-free and vegan, and you can make it in advance. (I actually suggest making it in advance since it has to firm up in the fridge and the orange slices have to dry out.) The dark chocolate pairs perfectly with a hint of orange, and the candied orange slices add a fun, creative twist.

I will tell you, too, that this pudding is rich. It may look at first like the recipe doesn’t make very much, but a little goes a long way. You can also add a bit more maple syrup for a slightly sweeter version. (I love really dark, bittersweet chocolate.)

What do you do for Valentine’s Day? Or Galentine’s Day? Do you head out on the town or have a quiet evening in? Let me know in the comments below! I’m always looking for new ideas!

Dairy Free (and Vegan!) Chocolate Pudding with Candied Orange Slices | Sarah J. Hauser
Dairy Free (and Vegan!) Chocolate Pudding with Candied Orange Slices | Sarah J. Hauser
Dairy Free (and Vegan!) Chocolate Pudding with Candied Orange Slices | Sarah J. Hauser
Dairy Free (and Vegan!) Chocolate Pudding with Candied Orange Slices | Sarah J. Hauser
Dairy Free (and Vegan!) Chocolate Pudding with Candied Orange Slices | Sarah J. Hauser
Dairy Free (and Vegan!) Chocolate Pudding with Candied Orange Slices | Sarah J. Hauser
Dairy Free (and Vegan!) Chocolate Pudding with Candied Orange Slices | Sarah J. Hauser
Dairy Free (and Vegan!) Chocolate Pudding with Candied Orange Slices | Sarah J. Hauser
Dairy Free (and Vegan!) Chocolate Pudding with Candied Orange Slices | Sarah J. Hauser

Dairy-Free Chocolate Pudding with Candied Orange Slices
Yields 2-3 servings*
Adapted from Paleo Running Momma

⅓ cup cocoa powder
2 teaspoons arrowroot powder
⅛ teaspoon sea salt
1 cup coconut cream (the hardened cream from a can of coconut milk)*
3-4 Tablespoons maple syrup (plus more to taste)
1 Tablespoon Cointreau (optional)
Coconut whipped cream
Zest of 1 orange
Candied orange slices (see note below)

In a small bowl, sift together the cocoa powder, arrowroot powder, and salt. (Sifting helps prevent lumps in the pudding.)

In a small saucepan, add the coconut cream and maple syrup. Heat over medium-low heat, whisking frequently, until the coconut cream melts. LIttle by little, add in the dry ingredients, whisking after each addition until smooth. Add in the Cointreau if using (it’s optional but adds the perfect bit of citrus flavor to the pudding. Skip this, though, if adults avoiding alcohol or kids will be eating the pudding!) Add additional maple syrup if you want a sweeter pudding.

Whisk the pudding constantly for 3-5 minutes until thickened. Turn the heat off and transfer the pudding to containers for serving. (Ramekins, small mason jars, and other types of dishes work great for this.) Refrigerate until cold and firm, at least a couple hours. To avoid a “skin” at the top of the pudding, cover the top in plastic wrap so that the plastic lays directly on top of the pudding.

Top with coconut whipped cream, orange zest, and a candied orange slice (see below).

*This recipe is very rich, so a little goes a long way!

**Put a couple cans of full fat coconut milk in the fridge for a few hours. The cream will separate and hardened at the top of the can, so you can easily scoop it off with a spoon.

Candied Orange Slices

For the candied orange slices, I followed this recipe from Taste of Home, but I cut the recipe in half. After the slices dried overnight, I dipped them in granulated sugar.

Make sure to keep the orange simple syrup that’s leftover. It’s perfect for cocktails and other fun recipes!

Citrus-Brandy Cocktail

Citrus-Brandy Cocktail - Sarah J. Hauser

Happy Friday, Friends! 

I feel like I’ve been living in a cave until the last few days. We’ve been potty training the twins, which has been going mostly well…not counting the flooded bathroom due to an unnamed toddler stuffing it with toilet paper, the baby who threw up on Day 2, and the time spent cleaning pee off a friend’s floor (including the carpet) last night. But other than that, it’s going great! (You can’t see the facepalm happening right now.)

In all seriousness, though, we've turned a corner despite a few missteps, and I am thankful for that. We had twins before having our third baby, so we’ve never had only one kid in diapers until now. I think that’s reason to celebrate!

I mixed this Citrus-Brandy Cocktail up a few weeks ago as I experimented with drink ideas. The first time I made it, I used blood oranges since they were in season, but you can use any kind of orange (just note the color will be different than these images). I also threw a few sprigs of tarragon in the cocktail shaker. I love the combination of fruit and herbs, but you can leave that out or try other options like thyme or rosemary.

It’s a drink that’s refreshing, rich, and slightly sweet with a bit of tart – and the perfect way to kick off the weekend.

So cheers to the Friday, cheers to potty training, and cheers to whatever milestones you have to celebrate, from the big ones like anniversaries and birthdays, to the small ones you never realized would feel so monumental.

Citrus-Brandy Cocktail - Sarah J. Hauser
Citrus-Brandy Cocktail - Sarah J. Hauser

Citrus-Brandy Cocktail
Yields 1 drink

1½ ounces brandy
¾ ounce Cointreau
1 ounce freshly squeezed orange juice*
½ ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
Fresh herbs, such as tarragon (optional)

Add the brandy, Cointreau, orange juice, and lemon juice to a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Add a few sprigs of torn herbs, such as tarragon, to the shaker if desired.

Shake vigorously for 15 seconds, and then strain into a cold cocktail glass. Serve and enjoy!

*Note: I used blood oranges for the drinks in these images to get the pink color, but you can use Cara Cara, or another favorite kind of orange!

Blood Orange Boston Sour

Blood Orange Boston Sour | Sarah J. Hauser

In addition to the Manhattan, Old Fashioned and a few others, the Whiskey Sour is no doubt one of the quintessential whiskey cocktails. It's relatively simple as far as mixed drinks go, requiring just lemon juice, sugar, whiskey and a cherry or lemon garnish. If you haven't ever tried this classic, I highly recommend it. But of course, I couldn't help but change things up a little. 

Blood Orange Boston Sour | Sarah J. Hauser
Blood Orange Boston Sour | Sarah J. Hauser

This recipe for a Blood Orange Boston Sour finds its roots in the Whiskey Sour, but adds freshly squeezed blood orange juice and an egg white. Yes. You read that correctly. Egg white (which is what makes it a "Boston Sour").

Blood Orange Boston Sour | Sarah J. Hauser

I remember the first time I had a cocktail with an egg white in it. I read the description on the menu of one of our favorite restaurants and was definitely a little weirded out. I took the plunge and ordered it anyway...and I'm so glad I did! Egg whites add a slight fizz and a layer of froth, providing texture to the drink that's hard to replicate with any other ingredient.

And when it's shaken up with lemon, blood orange and bourbon? You've got the perfect balance between refreshing and warming, smooth and effervescent, sweet and tart. 

Blood Orange Boston Sour | Sarah J. Hauser

Blood Orange Boston Sour
Yields 1 cocktail

2 ounces bourbon
1 ounce freshly squeezed blood orange juice
1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 ounce simple syrup
1/2 ounce egg white (requires about 1 small egg)*
Orange slice

Add the bourbon, orange juice, lemon juice, simple syrup and egg white to a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake vigorously and strain into a rocks glass with ice. Garnish with the orange slice. Serve and enjoy!

*Use fresh eggs if possible, or if you prefer to avoid the raw egg, you can leave it out. You won't have the frothiness of a Boston Sour, but you'll still have a delicious Blood Orange Whiskey Sour.

Citrus Baked Oatmeal [that you can eat all week!]

Dairy-Free Citrus Baked Oatmeal | Sarah J. Hauser
Dairy-Free Citrus Baked Oatmeal | Sarah J. Hauser

My kiddos turned a year old this past week. It's been a whole year already. Then again, it feels like it's been about 20 years. I'll admit, the last few months have flown by. But the first eight? They seemed like an eternity.

(Mamas, if you find yourself wondering if your kid will ever leave your womb, hold their head up, sleep through the night or whatever other milestone you're waiting for, and you just can't listen to one. more. person. talk about how fast time if flying because for you time is plodding along at a glacial pace, know that I feel your pain. Feel free to skip reading the rest of this post and vent in the comments. Some days...and months...just drag.) 

Dairy-Free Citrus Baked Oatmeal | Sarah J. Hauser

That being said, the last few months have sped by. Every day, my kiddos are starting to do something knew. They're almost walking (scary!) and mimicking us a lot more (even scarier!). They're wreaking havoc throughout the house, and you can't walk more than a few feet without stepping on a toy, squishy banana or highly crustified piece of mystery food. Please don't be scared away, though. If you want to come over, just give me a heads up so I have ample time to clean/remove/hide/decrustify the aforementioned hazards.

Dairy-Free Citrus Baked Oatmeal | Sarah J. Hauser

As the kids grow and the mess grows, I'm trying to keep up as best I can. I'm also trying to let some things go. My house is not as clean as it used to be, and that's OK (although I do have a limit to how many rotten bananas I can step on before I go completely bonkers). We have times on our calendar blocked off and denoted "do not plan anything" to allow margin in our schedule. I use my slow-cooker more, Google "make ahead recipes" regularly and always make sure to cook enough to have leftovers - especially when it comes to breakfast. 

Dairy-Free Citrus Baked Oatmeal | Sarah J. Hauser
Dairy-Free Citrus Baked Oatmeal | Sarah J. Hauser

I've learned that for me, having breakfast leftovers is essential. A couple weeks ago, I made this Citrus Baked Oatmeal and ended up eating it all week long. I normally like variety in my meals, but sometimes, convenience wins the day. And convenience can still taste good...really good. 

Dairy-Free Citrus Baked Oatmeal | Sarah J. Hauser

I used a mix or oranges for this recipe, mostly because I get inordinately excited whenever blood oranges are in season. You can use whatever fruit you like. You can also swap out the almond butter for another nut butter, change up the cinnamon for your favorite spice or add a splash of vanilla extract and a handful of chopped nuts. It's my favorite kind of recipe - one that's easily adaptable to fit your preferences or pantry stock and good enough to enjoy all week long. 

Citrus Baked Oatmeal
Inspired by The Faux Martha
Yields about 6 servings

Cooking spray or butter for greasing the pan
3 cups rolled oats
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 ½ cups milk
½ cup almond butter (or other nut butter) 
½ cup honey
1 ½ cups peeled, chopped fresh citrus* (remove any seeds as you chop)
1-2 oranges for topping, peeled, seeds removed and sliced
Coarse sugar for sprinkling (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 3 quart (or similar capacity) baking dish and set aside. 

In a medium bowl, add the rolled oats, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs slightly. Then whisk in the milk, almond butter and honey. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until fully incorporated. 

Gently stir in the chopped citrus. Pour the batter into the prepared dish. Top with orange slices, and sprinkle everything with a bit of coarse sugar. 

Bake for 35-45 minutes, or until batter is set and the top is slightly browned. Serve warm with cream, yogurt or your other favorite oatmeal toppings. 

*I stuck to using a variety of oranges (such as naval and blood oranges) for this recipe. You can also try mixing in a little grapefruit, but you may want to serve with additional honey or coarse sugar to balance out the tartness.

Quick Tip: This is also a great meal to bring to a new mama, a sick family member or a friend who could use encouragement. Double the recipe and make two dishes - one for your family and one for someone else!