I’m sure you’re sick of hearing about hospitals by now. Believe you me; I’m sick of writing about them. Luckily, after this post, I shouldn’t have to do so again for a long time (knock on wood, knock knock knock). Two of my grandparents will soon move into rehab wards, and the third grandparent has been out of hospital for over a week now. Recovery is on the horizon, and my family and I thank you all from the bottom of our hearts for your support over the past two months. We really appreciate it.
However, there’s been one aspect of this Wayfaring Chocolate Family Hospital Saga that I haven’t mentioned. I’m not quite sure why. Maybe because I felt less sure of what was going on, maybe because I was scared, and maybe because I simply didn’t want to think about it.
Over the past two months, my dad has also been in and out of Emergency several times.
On Tuesday this week, I took a day off work as Carer’s Leave so that I could visit my grandparents while my mum took my dad in for his last round of testing. In the spare hours of that day, as I waited to hear various medical reports, I found myself in my parents’ kitchen reaching for the butter, the caster sugar, and the white flour.
Then I stopped. I thought about all the treats I’ve made for or shared with Dad lately. Black Forest Cupcakes. Caramel Mud Cake. Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake in a Mug. Magic Bars. Chocolate Cherry Ripe Cookies. I love baking such sweet happiness for my father, because he shares my predilection for desserts.
But then I realised that I also love having my father around. A father who hikes in Japan and bushwalks in Thredbo, who builds and fixes things, who laughs with me and hugs me. I thought about my knowledge of nutrition, and my ability to make treats that are both delicious and have redeeming nourishing qualities.
And so I made my dad, my mum, and myself this Almond, Cherry, and Dark Chocolate cake (or slice), which is rich in heart-healthy almonds, free of processed sugars and butter, gluten-free and dairy-free and, most importantly, utterly, utterly scrumdiddlyumptious.
Dad’s tests came back all clear.
Go you good thing, Dad. I’ll be making you many more heart-healthy treats in future.
Almond, Cherry, and Dark Chocolate Cake
Adapted from this recipe at Elana’s Pantry
Gluten-free and dairy-free
Makes 9 fantabulous squares, or 12 – 16 squares that you’ll wish were bigger
- 2 cups (240g) almond meal
- 1/2 tsp good quality salt (I used pink Murray River salt)
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 cup agave syrup
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 2 eggs
- 3 tsp (15ml) vanilla extract
- 1/3 c (50g) dried cherries (the sour-tart kind)
- 1/3 c (45g) high-quality dark chocolate, chopped
- Preheat oven to 160°C (325°F), and line a 20cm (8 inch) square baking tin with baking paper.
- In a large bowl, combine the almond meal, salt, and baking powder. (Erm, I just realised that Elana’s recipe used baking soda. What kind of a difference would that have made, O Knowledgeable Science-y People?)
- In another bowl, whisk together the agave, maple syrup, eggs, and vanilla. Stir this into the almond meal mixture.
- Gently stir in the cherries and dark chocolate, and then pour into the baking tin.
- Bake for 30-40 minutes (I did 32 minutes! Because I’m crazy like that), until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean.
- Cool, then serve to people you love.
I’m submitting this to this week’s round-up of Slightly Indulgent Tuesday!