Vegan Carrot Cake with Cashew Cream Frosting

 

 

This easy to prepare cake is full of carrots, pineapple, raisins and walnuts. It is super low-fat, yet it is sweet and moist; topped with a frosting that rivals anything I have made in the past. I was a pastry chef at one time, so I have a fair means of comparison! Continue reading “Vegan Carrot Cake with Cashew Cream Frosting”

Chocolate Mousse Pie

IMG_0860

Here’s a recipe that will impress your sweetie pie, or heck– just impress yourself!  A no-bake chocolate cookie crust filled with super easy, super rich and delicious chocolate mousse.

The secret is buying the best darn vegan-friendly chocolate you can afford! This is a dessert I pull out every so often for a special occasion or to share with non-vegans who doubt whether a non-dairy dessert can measure up to what they are used to.

IMG_1646

Personally, I never truly appreciated chocolate until I enjoyed it without dairy and additives and the other junk it is often processed with.

Chocolate Mousse Pie

Adapted from “The Joy of Vegan Baking” by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau

Ingredients:
1 cup nondairy semisweet chocolate chips, chunks or bar cut into small chunks
12 oz silken tofu (soft or firm)
½ cup nondairy milk
½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Pinch sea salt

Vegan cookie pie shell, homemade or store bought

Melt chocolate in double boiler or in microwave until smooth and pourable. Puree tofu, milk, salt and vanilla in food processor until well blended. Stream slightly cooled but pourable chocolate into the tofu mixture and blend immediately until fully incorporated. Transfer to pie shell and refrigerate at least 4 hours.

Vegan Creme Anglaise with Cinnamon Walnut Crumble (gluten and soy free)

IMG_1323

 

Looking for a company-ready dessert for your next dinner party? This is a simple, sweet and delicious one that will please everyone!

Coconut Creme Anglaise with Cinnamon Walnut Crumble

1 recipe coconut creme anglaise

1 recipe cinnamon walnuts

3 gluten-free, soy-free vegan spice muffins, crumbled (optional) (here’s a good recipe)

Layer all ingredients in a dessert dish, starting and ending with crumble. Serve chilled. Serves 4.

Coconut Creme Anglaise (4 servings)

  • 1/4 cup Sugar
  • 3 tbsp. Cornstarch
  • 1/8 tsp.  Salt
  • 7 ounces Coconut milk
  • 1 cups almond milk
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla

 

Stir together sugar, cornstarch and salt in saucepan.:
Stir in soy and coconut milks. Bring just to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly.:
Remove from heat and stir in extract(s). Refrigerate until chilled.:

Walnut-Cinnamon Crumble

  • 1/2 cup walnuts, toasted
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • pinch salt

 

Pulse ingredients just until crumbly

IMG_1321

 

Vegan Frangipane-Raspberry Strudel

IMG_3159

I got to thinking about frangipane and how I hadn’t enjoyed it since way back in my culinary school days. I remembered fondly the rich, creamy sweetness wrapped in a crisp pastry pillow encrusted with sugared almond slices.

I was inspired by this memory to try my hand at a vegan pastry with all the flavor but none of the dairy contained in the classical French preparation.

I was in a hurry to put my theory into action, so I picked up ready-made (accidentally vegan) puff pastry sheets from my grocer’s freezer and set to work.

I let the sheets thaw at room temperature (about 75 degrees) for 45 minutes, until they could be handled easily, but not completely soft. I set my oven to 400 degrees and started making my filling.

I just needed a creamy ingredient to loosen up the almond paste and make it  spreadable, so I chunked the paste  into my food processor with a bit of cashew cream I happened to have leftover in the fridge.

IMG_3141

I processed the two ingredients until very creamy, the consistency of soft frosting.

IMG_3142

I spread a nice thick layer of the frangipane then topped it with raspberry pie filling. I made a second pastry, for good measure– topping the filling with chocolate chips.

IMG_3146

 

IMG_3148

My pastry forming skills are more than a little rusty but I managed it into a shape that looked right, then dabbed a bit of soy milk on top, followed by sliced almonds and sugar. The most important goal, for me, was getting it into the oven 🙂

IMG_3152

I allowed the pastry to bake for 30-40 minutes, until brown and crispy on top and bottom.

IMG_3154

It turned out every bit as good as I had imagined.

IMG_3161

Pepperidge Farm Frozen Puff Pastry sheets, although not exactly a health food, are one of those accidentally vegan products that comes in handy for creating a special treat on the fly.

The frangipane filling was tasty and sweet, but not overly so due to the addition of the unsweetened cashew cream (about 1/2 cup altogether). If I had it in the cabinet I might have bumped up the almond flavor just a bit with some extract, but all in all this quick and easy pastry was a great success!

 

 

Vegan Creme Brûlée

 

IMG_4288.jpg

Yes, you read that right. Creme brûlée. Silky smooth and creamy sweet. And can I just mention, so easy that I memorized the recipe after the first time I made it?? Now I can just whip it up at the drop of a hat, using pantry staples. Sound to good to be true? Well, it’s true. So, check this out…

Vegan Creme Brûlée 

adapted from a recipe by Chloe Coscarelli

1 can full-fat coconut milk (14.5 oz)

1/2 cup sugar

pinch salt

1/8 tsp. ground turmeric (for color)

1/4 cup non-dairy milk, unsweetened

1/4 cup corn starch

1 tsp. vanilla

4 tsp. brown sugar (optional)

Method:

Stir together coconut milk, sugar and salt in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, whisking occasionally to make sure sugar is fully dissolved.

Meanwhile, whisk together in a small bowl the cornstarch and milk. When coconut milk mixture comes to a boil, reduce heat to low and slowly add the cornstarch mixture, whisking constantly until custard is thick. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.

Transfer to dessert dishes and chill at least 3 hours before serving.

If you want to dress to impress, sprinkle a coating of brown sugar on top of each serving and caramelize with a kitchen torch until a crisp shell forms on top. Enjoy!

img_4281

 

 

Gingerbread Cut-Out Cookies

IMG_4481.jpg

These are the best gingerbread cookies I have ever baked, vegan or not! The flavor and spices are perfectly balanced, the cookie is soft and slightly chewy, and the dough is easy to work with. Did I say the best?? Yes, absolutely. There’s still time to try this wonderful recipe and impress family and friends this holiday!

Gingerbread Cut-Out Cookies

(Recipe courtesy Isa Chandra Moskowitz)

Makes about 16 cookies (depending on the size of your cutters)

1/3 cup canola oil
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup molasses
1/4 cup plain soymilk

2 cups whole wheat pastry flour or all-purpose flour (or a mix of both)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

spice blend:
1/2 teaspoon each ground nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger

Directions
In a large bowl whisk together oil and sugar for about 3 minutes. Add molasses and soymilk. The molasses and soymilk won’t really blend with the oil but that’s ok.

Sift in all of the other dry ingredients, mixing about half way through. When all of the dry ingredients are added, mix until a stiff dough is formed. Flatten the dough into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap and chill for an hour or up to 3 days in advance. If you chill longer than an hour you may want to let it sit for 10 minutes to warm up a bit before proceeding.
Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly grease your cookie sheets or line with parchment paper.

On a lightly floured surface roll the dough out to a little less than 1/4 inch thick. Cut out your shapes with your cookie cutters and use a thin spatula to gently place on cookie sheets. If you are using them to decorate a tree or something, remember to punch a hole in their heads (!) before baking. Bake for 8 minutes.

Remove from oven and let them cool for 2 minutes on the baking sheet then move to a cooling rack. Wait until they are completely cool before icing.

IMG_4496.jpg

 

Vegan Pecan Bars

IMG_0385

Oh, my gosh! Scrolling through my reader the other day I came across this delicious recipe from Kaitlyn at myconsciouskitchen.com and was immediately inspired! I dropped everything and made it my mission to not only bake these sweet, nutty, layered cookie bars, but to photograph the process and post about it!

First, I preheated my oven to 325 and  gathered my ingredients for the bottom layer (the cookie part). I decided I would double up and make this part a bit thicker, kind of like a shortbread crust.

IMG_7531.jpg

Simple, simple. All stuff from the pantry. For the shortening, however, I substituted Earth Balance Buttery Stick.

IMG_7537.jpg

I mixed all the dry ingredients together with the fat, like a biscuit dough, then added the cool water, just until it was well-combined then pressed it out into an 8 x 8 inch pan, lined with a sheet of parchment paper and oiled with cooking spray. I baked it until the crust was firm and lightly browned, like a cookie, then set it aside to cool for about 20 minutes.

IMG_7534.jpg

Next, the ingredients for the filling. The flax egg takes a little forethought, but again, super-simple to put together while the crust cools.

IMG_7545.jpg

I mixed together everything with a whisk, folded in the chopped pecans, then straight in the oven.

IMG_7547.jpg

After 40 minutes, I checked it, then gave it another 5 minutes. It looked perfect. I allowed the pan to cool on a rack for a  couple of hours so I would get nice, clean slices.

IMG_7549.jpg

I ran a knife edge around the inside of the pan before carefully lifting out, then cut into servings.

IMG_0385.jpg

The verdict: Sweet and sticky and delicious! Like a combination of pecan pie and your most tender, buttery shortbread cookie. Perfect served warmed with a scoop of non-dairy vanilla, or as-is. We particularly enjoy a square straight from the freezer!

This one is definitely a keeper! Thanks so much, Kaitlyn! Find the full recipe HERE

 

Vegan Pumpkin (or Sweet Potato) Pie

IMG_0344.jpg

This is hands-down the best pumpkin pie recipe out there! The sweet, creamy filling is firm without being dry, and simple as a smoothie to put together. Perfectly spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves, this pie will be the star of your holiday table!

Vegan Pumpkin Pie

(recipe courtesy Isa Chandra Moskowitz)

Ingredients:

3 cups pumpkin or sweet potato puree ( I used sweet potato here)

1/2 cup maple syrup

1/2 cup soy or other non-dairy milk

4 tsp. canola or other vegetable oil

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. ground ginger

1/4 tsp. nutmeg

pinch ground cloves

1/4 – 1/2 tsp. salt

2 tbsp. cornstarch

1 tsp. agar powder (see note below)

Pastry for 1 single-crust pie

Method:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit.

IMG_7473.jpg

Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor and combine until very smooth.

IMG_7474.jpg

Spread evenly into pie shell and bake in middle of center oven rack for 60-65 minutes.

IMG_7478.jpg

IMG_7479.jpg

Let cool for at least four hours before cutting to allow filling to set. Perfect!

IMG_7491

*Note: Agar powder is a vegetarian substitute for gelatin. If you can’t find it at your local natural foods store, grab it online through amazon.com

 

 

 

 

Vegan Apple Crisp

IMG_3343.jpg

I remember when I first became aware there was such a thing called apple crisp. And it wasn’t at home. It was in my elementary school lunchroom. This exotic dessert was warm and sweet and cinnamon-y, with this outrageously crispy topping…so way over and above apple pie. It made an impact on me!

I am sure the recipe originated in somebody’s grandma’s kitchen. Most warm apple desserts do 😉 But, I was ever after held captive by that crispy sweet crust of oats and pecans and brown sugar atop those sweet-tart warm apples.

I hope you enjoy this version, from America’s Test Kitchen, slightly modified by the substitution of vegan margarine for the butter called for in the original recipe:

Apple Crisp

Topping:

¾ cup all-purpose flour
¾ cup pecans, chopped fine
¾ cup oats, rolled
½ cup brown sugar, light
¼ cup sugar
½ tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. salt
8 tbsp. Earth Balance, non-dairy baking stick, melted and cooled

Filling:
1 ½ cups apple cider
1 tbsp. lemon juice
4 pounds apples, golden delicious, peeled, cored, halved and cut into 1/2 inch-thick wedges
⅓ cup sugar
¼ tsp. cinnamon
2 tbsp. Earth Balance, non-dairy baking stick
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees fahrenheit . Set oven rack in middle position. Mix together topping with margarine until moistened and crumbly.

IMG_4590
2.Bring cider to simmer in 12-inch skillet over medium heat and cook until reduced to 3/4 cup, about 7 minutes. Transfer to liquid measuring cup and stir in lemon juice.

IMG_4594.jpg
3.Toss apples with sugar and cinnamon in bowl. Melt butter in now-empty skillet over medium heat. Add apples and cook, stirring often, until they begin to soften and become translucent, 10 to 15 minutes. (do not fully cook apples). Off heat, gently stir in cider mixture.

IMG_4598.jpg

4.Transfer apple mixture to 13 x 9 inch casserole dish (or individual dishes as shown), sprinkle evenly with topping, breaking up any large chunks.

IMG_4601.jpg

Bake until fruit is tender and top is deep golden brown, about 20 minutes.

IMG_4607

5.Reheat in 425 degree oven until slightly warm, about 5 minutes.

Serving suggestion:  Top with vanilla non-dairy ice cream and this fantastic

vegan caramel sauce

from our fellow blogger, Larice at feedingyourbeauty.com.

IMG_4613.jpg

Oh, yeah!!!

IMG_3361.jpg

Dutch Apple Pie

This is a re-post of a recipe that has received a lot of attention from readers over the past five years on my blog, and well worth sharing again, I think! I hope you enjoy it.

One of my favorite comfort foods that instantly brings to mind the holidays is warm apple pie. That cinnamon, brown sugar goodness just takes me right back to my Nana’s kitchen.

This recipe is a fusion between my favorite filling recipe and my favorite topping recipe. This fruit dessert is not meant to be healthful. It is meant to be decadent. It’s the holiday after all! Big sweet, crunchy buttery crumbs atop a spicy filling of tart and sweet apples and brown sugar. This is my idea of pie perfection.

Dutch Apple Pie

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees

Ingredients:

Unbaked pie shell for 1-crust pie ( I use Wholly Wholesome Organic Whole Wheat Pie Shells from Whole Foods Market)

Filling:

5 medium apples, (I used 2 Granny Smith and 3 Jonagold) peeled, cored and sliced thin

¾ cup sugar

2 T flour

2 T cornstarch

1 T lemon juice

1 t vanilla

Streusel Topping:

2/3 cup chopped walnuts

½ cup packed brown sugar

½ cup all purpose flour

¾ t cinnamon

½ t nutmeg

5 T Earth balance margarine, cut into 1 inch pieces

Bake at 400 for 20 minutes, then reduce to 350 and slide cookie sheet underneath. Bake another 30 minutes. Tent with foil to prevent over-browning.

Pumpkin Spice Muffins

muffinsThese tasty muffins are standard in my seasonal recipe rotation. They are moist and richly flavored with cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and ginger.

mix

This is a quick and easy recipe, too, from my favorite vegan chef, Isa Chandra Moskowitz of The Post Punk Kitchen. Here is a link to the recipe, Best Pumpkin Muffins.

I like to bake the muffins and let them rest for a few hours. It actually seems to more fully develop the flavor of the spices. These also freeze very well. Enjoy!

Roasted Pumpkin Mousse

 

IMG_4072.jpg

Here’s a little something special to spice up your next vegan feast!

Roasted Pumpkin Mousse

15 ounces PUMPKIN PUREE
1 tbsp. SUGAR,CANE
⅔ cup BROWN SUGAR, LIGHT, packed
1 tbsp. ARROWROOT POWDER
1 tsp. CINNAMON, GROUND
½ tsp. AGAR-AGAR POWDER
⅛ tsp. GINGER, GROUND
⅛ tsp. SALT, KOSHER
⅛ tsp. BLACK PEPPER, GROUND
¼ tsp. LEMON ZEST, FINE
pinch NUTMEG
pinch CLOVES
pinch CARDOMOM
15 ounces COCONUT MILK
½ tsp. VANILLA

1.Preheat oven to 325. Spread pumpkin on parchment-lined sheet tray. Sprinkle cane sugar over top and bake 15-20 minutes or until pumpkin has dried on surface and has cracked appearance.:

2.Spoon pumpkin into food processor. Let cool to room temperature.:

3.Combine brown sugar, arrowroot, cinnamon, agar-agar, ginger, salt, pepper, lemon zest, nutmeg, cloves, and cardomom in a medium saucepan and whisk to combine. Stir in the coconut milk and vanilla.:

4. Set pan over medium heat and bring to a gentle boil, whisking constantly. Cook to thicken, until the mixture is thick and gel-like, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and transfer the mixture to bowl of food processor with pumpkin. Scoop into large bowl and chill.:

5. Serve with whipped cream and candied pecans (optional)

img_4070

Salted Chocolate Chip Cookies

IMG_6243.jpg

This is one of those ‘I can’t believe it’s vegan’ recipes! Looking for ways to apply my new discovery, Maldon Sea Salt Flakes, I stumbled  upon this recipe: click heresalted  vegan chocolate chip cookies on Food52.com.

Turns out, these are the tastiest vegan chocolate chip cookies I have ever baked! I believe the secret is in chilling the dough overnight. Also, I decided to bump up the flavor with a teaspoon of vanilla and reduce the water by one teaspoon.

IMG_6211.jpg

Here’s the other thing: Unlike many, many vegan cookie recipes, this one uses no egg substitutes, no flax, or mashed banana or xanthan gum, or arrowroot powder or any  exotic ingredient that would send you digging through the shelves at the health food store.

IMG_6213.jpg

Just simple ingredients. The cookies taste just the real thing, because they are!! Procedurally, this recipe is fantastically simple, too. A real gift. Wet into dry. That’s it.

IMG_6215.jpg

The only real challenge? The wait. But I handled that. I let the dough chill for about four hours then scooped out and baked just four cookies. I had to know if they would suffer for the shorter time in the fridge.

IMG_6230.jpg

Turns out, they were delicious. A bit puffy, but still very, very good. Kind of like Chip’s Ahoy.

IMG_4847.jpg

The next day, however, I baked four more cookies from the fully chilled dough, pressing each scoop with my fingers to flatten a bit before baking. This batch turned out more like homemade Toll House cookies. The flavor was deeper, the cookie more crisp and brown-sugary. So delicious. So, was it worth the wait? Definitely.

I formed the remaining cookies and froze them on a sheet tray. Afterward I stored them in a covered container in the freezer. Now anytime I want a cookie or two I can just pop them in the oven. This recipe’s base seems to lend itself to variations as well. I look forward to creating more flavors in the future.

I hope you give this one a try.

IMG_6243

 

 

Depression-Era Chocolate Cake with Cocoa Buttercream

IMG_4791.jpg

During the Great Depression, a time of severe worldwide economic struggle–which took place in the 1930’s and lasted almost a decade– many couldn’t afford milk, eggs or butter, so recipes abound from this period that are accidentally vegan.

I came across this recipe for chocolate cake and just had to give it a try. I made a couple  small tweaks, adding a tablespoon of crushed espresso powder to bump up the cocoa flavor and spread raspberry jam between the layers for that little extra something special.

I also chose the classic Hershey’s Cocoa One-Bowl Frosting Recipe from the side of the cocoa can, handed down by my grandmother when I was a little girl learning to bake in her kitchen. I simply substituted Earth Balance buttery baking sticks for the butter to veganize.

Depression-Era Chocolate Cake

Ingredients:
3 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking soda
10 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa (or 1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp)
2 tsp. vanilla
3/4 cup vegetable oil
2 Tbsp. vinegar
2 cups cold water

Instructions:
Sift dry ingredients together in a large bowl then add the wet and combine until completely mixed. Pour into two 8 or 9 inch greased and floured cake pans and bake at 350-degrees for 30 minutes.

 

 

Notes: Careful not to over-bake. Check cake for doneness at around 25 minutes by sticking a toothpick in the center.

IMG_6114.jpg

Don’t skimp on the jam!!

IMG_6115.jpg

Also, this cake freezes really well. Cut into individual portions and freeze on a sheet tray, then transfer to covered container or ziplock bags. Easy!

IMG_6122 (1)

 

 

 

 

 

Chocolate Raspberry Ganache Cake (gluten and soy free)

 

IMG_1245
Image courtesy Steve daPonte http://www.dapontephotography.wordpress.com

I’m all about taking a good thing and making it better. That’s what I did with this classic chocolatey favorite. Rich, dark and decadent chocolate cake can now be enjoyed by those with gluten and/or soy intolerance. Add a layer of tangy, sweet raspberry preserves and you just kicked it way up to an elegant special occasion or company dessert.

Chocolate Raspberry Ganache Cake

(adapted from Audrey Snowe’s Gluten-Free Vegan Cupcakes)

¾ cup + 2 tbsp superfine brown rice flour

⅓ cup + 2 tbsp potato starch

2 tbsp tapioca starch

½ tsp xantham gum

¼ tsp salt

2 tsp baking powder

6 tbsp cocoa powder

¾ cup light coconut milk (the canned type)

1 tsp apple cider vinegar

1 tbsp maple syrup

¼ cup grapeseed oil

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1 cup sugar

3/4 cup raspberry preserves

Chocolate Ganache (recipe below)

Method:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 inch cake pan and set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together brown rice flour, tapioca starch, potato starch, xantham gum, salt, and baking powder. Add cocoa powder and mix until all ingredients are combined. In a large mixing bowl, mix together coconut milk, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, grapeseed oil, and vanilla extract. Add sugar and mix once more until sugar is blended in. Add flour mixture to wet mixture and mix all ingredients together. Be careful not to over-mix. Spoon batter into prepared pan. Place in the oven on center rack and bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out dry. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

When completely cool, split cake into two layers and spread with the best quality raspberry preserves you can find. Assemble the cake and pour chocolate ganache over the top to coat. Refrigerate until about 15 minutes before service time.

Serves 8-10

Chocolate Ganache Recipe

Two-Ingredient Chocolate Sauce

IMG_5873.jpg

Here’s a recipe I almost forgot I had in my collection. This one is from way back in my culinary school days. A smooth as silk, ultra-fast to prepare sauce that turns a plain slice of cake into a work of art!

Chocolate Sauce

Ingredients:

4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped (or morsels)

2 1/2 ounces boiling water

Method:

Place chopped chocolate in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Pour boiling water over chocolate, just until you can see the water seeps through from underneath. Do not cover completely with water or it will be too runny. Whisk until all chocolate is melted and smooth, adding a bit more water if needed.

Use immediately or store covered in refrigerator. Reheat gently in a stainless steel bowl over a small pot of simmering water or on low in microwave until pourable consistency.

Note:

Add a dash of vanilla and a pinch of sea salt for a little flavor counterpoint. You won’t regret it.

Double Chocolate Brownies

brownies

My very favorite dessert is and has always been chocolate brownies. This recipe takes the cake! I finally found a rich, fudge, dark chocolate brownie experience spiked with coffee, that rivals even conventional recipes. I am serious. Try this recipe for yourself!

Dark Chocolate Brownies

Recipe courtesy The Sticky Fingers Bakery Cookbook

by Doran Petersan 

Ingredients:

  • ⅔ cup Coffee, brewed
  • 1 tbsp. Earth Balance non-dairy margarine for baking
  • 2 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
  • 19.6 ounces sugar, weighed
  • 4 ounces Cocoa, weighed
  • 1 ½ teaspoons Sea salt
  • ⅔ cup Canola oil
  • ⅔ cup Water
  • 1 tbsp. Vanilla
  • 11 ounces All-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¾ cup chocolate chips

mise

1. Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9 x 13 inch baking pan.:
2. Using a double boiler, heat coffee, margarine and dark chocolate, stirring until chocolate is melted and ingredients are thoroughly combined.:
3. In bowl of a stand mixer, combine sugar, cocoa powder and salt and mix together with paddle attachment.:
4. Add oil, water and vanilla and mix to combine.:
5. Add coffee mixture and mix to combine.:
6. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour and baking powder. Stir in the chocolate chips. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until ingredients are incorporated.:
7. Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan and bake for 45-55 minutes until toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely before cutting.:
Yield:  12 really big brownies or 24 small

 

Banana-Chocolate Bread Pudding

BreadPudding.jpg

The comfort food trend continues…hey, it’s that time of the year! Never one to eschew tradition…but nowadays my choices are a bit more enlightened.

This is a fantastic recipe that is quite easy to make and takes me back to many a childhood holiday feast. Enjoy!

BANANA-CHOCOLATE BREAD PUDDING

recipe courtesy Isa Chandra Moskowitz

6 CUPS CUBED STALE BREAD
1 CUP CHOCOLATE CHIPS
3 BANANAS, RIPE, SLICED 1/2 INCH THICK
2 ¼ CUPS NON-DAIRY MILK, UNSWEETENED
3 TBSP. ARROWROOT POWDER
⅔ CUP MAPLE SYRUP, OR AGAVE NECTAR
1 TSP. VANILLA EXTRACT
½ TSP. CINNAMON, GROUND
¼ TSP. NUTMEG

1.PREHEAT OVEN TO 325 CONVECTION/350 CONVENTIONAL AND GREASE 9 X 5 INCH LOAF PAN WITH SOFTENED MARGARINE.:

2.IN A SMALL BOWL, WHISK TOGETHER 1 CUP MILK AND ARROWROOT POWDER UNTIL NO LUMPS REMAIN.:

3.ADD REMAINING MILK, SWEETENER, VANILLA, CINNAMON AND NUTMEG AND WHISK TO COMBINE. :

4.POUR OVER CUBED BREAD AND STIR TO COAT EVERY PIECE. ALLOW TO SIT FOR AT LEAST 15 MINUTES FOR LIQUID TO SOAK INTO BREAD. ADD MORE MILK IF NEEDED, SO THAT BREAD IS COMPLETELY SOAKED WITH A BIT OF LIQUID LEFT OVER.:

5.MIXTURE SHOULD LOOK MUSHY AND WET. FOLD IN CHOCOLATE AND BANANAS, MASHING THE BANANAS SLIGHTLY THROUGHOUT.:

6.POUR MIXTURE INTO LOAF PANS, PATTING DOWN TO MAKE AN EVEN TOP. BAKE 28-35 MINUTES, UNTIL TOP IS PUFFED, SLIGHTLY BROWN AND FEELS FIRM. ALLOW TO COOL SLIGHTLY BEFORE SLICING AND SERVING OR SCOOPING WITH ICE CREAM SCOOP.:

(Servings: 8)

Key Lime Icebox Pie with Mango-Ginger Coulis

key lime.jpg

Here’s a little something different for you, dear readers. A delicious creamy, no-bake dessert that is sweet, but not overly so–with the tangy influence of key lime juice and a hint of ginger.

Key Lime Icebox Pie 

3 ½ cups cashews, raw, soaked
¾ cups key lime juice
¾ cups agave nectar
1 cup coconut oil
½ cup water
2 teaspoons vanilla
½ teaspoon salt
1 recipe gingersnap cookie crust

Method:

Blend all together and freeze overnight. Move to fridge for at least an hour. Serve chilled.

Gingersnap Cookie Crust

2 cups ginger snap cookies, finely crushed
1 tbsp. sugar
4 tbsp. vegan margarine, melted

Method:

Blend all together and press into 9-inch pan

Mango-Ginger Coulis

8 ounces mango puree
1 tsp. ginger, fresh, grated
1 ounce sugar, powdered, sifted
1 tbsp. non-dairy creamer, vanilla

Method:

Combine all ingredients. Refrigerate 1 day ahead.

 

 

Raw Chocolate Brownies

IMG_4698

If you’ve been reading my blog for awhile you may have noticed that when I do chocolate it’s never in a small way. I like it rich and dark and decadent. These brownies are all that–plus they are psychologically satisfying in that they are almost good for you, albeit highly caloric.

I discovered Laura-Jane, The Rawtarian, quite by accident, but I can’t say enough good things about her website and her recipes. Her site offers free how-tos, videos and recipes–she will even email you a beginner’s guide to raw food in pdf format. Cool lady, cool content–I dove right in and I’m still exploring her recipes, looking forward to my next raw foods culinary caper.

IMG_4668

Serve these brownies in small pieces, because they are very rich. One thing I have learned since going vegan–dishes made from whole foods tend to fill you up quickly as they are identified by our bodies as nutritious fuel. Although these are meant to be a treat, they are filled with organic raw pecans, dates and coconut–plenty of real, whole foods; no  grains or starches. Enjoy!

Raw Brownies

from  www.therawtarian.com

Top Ten Vegan Dessert Recipes

 

Chocolate Ganache Cake

You asked for it and here it is! The Monster List of Vegan Desserts! Enjoy!

 

ganache  Dark Chocolate Ganache Cake

IMG_4153 Best Chocolate Chip Cookies

Dutch Apple Pie Dutch Apple Pie

IMG_4164 Key Lime Pie

IMG_3330 Chocolate Brownies

IMG_4841 Vanilla Cake

IMG_0860 Chocolate Mousse Pie

IMG_3989 Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

cake Carrot Cake (reduced fat, sugar)

brownies Dark Chocolate Brownies (reduced fat, sugar)

 

 

Best Chocolate Chip Cookies

IMG_4153.jpg

When I Google a recipe I narrow my search by starting with the word “best”. When it comes to vegan recipes this strategy has always turned out really well for me. Within mere seconds, I discovered this excellent recipe from Daily Rebecca and now it is the only one I use for chocolate chip cookies.

IMG_4143.jpg

I made just one modification by adding one flax egg (1 tbsp. ground flax meal and 3 tbsp. water, let stand for 15 minutes in fridge).

IMG_4149.jpg

These freeze perfectly and in fact taste pretty delicious frozen, too!

 

Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

IMG_3989

Sometimes life seems upside-down, but I’ll tell you what puts everything in perspective: a new baby!! I have the honor of baking the cake for my daughter’s baby shower this weekend and this is what she requested–cravings and all 😉

Like most people, when I need a recipe fast–even though I have a collection of cookbooks I go straight to the great Google in the sky. Unfortunately, this time, I didn’t find any vegan versions of this classic cake that made me want to go out on a limb and try an unproven recipe. Some of the photos I found were downright horrific!

Okay, so I put on my thinking cap: What’s so special about pineapple upside-down cake? Well, of course, it’s the syrupy sweet brown sugar and pineapple on top.

I went straight to Paula Deen for this part of my cake. She is the reigning expert on good old-fashioned southern cooking in my book. It’s so simple:

Sprinkle a good quantity of dark brown sugar ( about 3/4 cup) on the bottom of the cake pan.  Melt 1/4 cup of Earth Balance non-dairy margarine and drizzle over. Lay down pineapple rings and maraschino cherries to cover surface area.

IMG_3979.jpg

Ok, I got that part. Next, for the cake. What’s so special about the cake part? Well, as I recall the cake isn’t especially rich, it’s more like a lightly sweet sponge. I took my favorite vegan almond sponge cake recipe from Chloe Coscarelli and substituted pineapple juice for the water and voila!

IMG_3982.jpg

I set out to test my theory.

First of all, the scent of this cake in the oven was intoxicating. I LOVE almond flavor and in this recipe it really permeates the cake. As promised, the recipe yielded a lightly sweet but delicious sponge cake balanced by the ultra-brown sugary, buttery topping.

IMG_3988.jpg

The result: Absolutely delicious! I can’t wait to make it for our guests to celebrate the impending arrival of Baby Cora!

Almond Sponge

Source: Chloe Coscarelli
(Servings: 8)

1 ½ cups Flour
1 cup Sugar
1 tsp. Baking soda
½ tsp. Salt
¾ cup Water (substitute pineapple juice)
½ cup Canola oil
2 tbsp. Vinegar (white or ac)
1 tbsp. Almond extract

Lightly grease 9 inch round. Wet into dry, whisk just until combined. Bake at 350 degrees for 28-30 minutes, rotating halfway through. Note: with the topping, I found it took an extra 10-15 minutes to bake all the way through.

 

DSC07726.jpg
Kat, Brandon and Baby Rayna

 

Chocolate Mousse Terrine

platedHere is a rich, elegant, special occasion dessert that is pretty easy to assemble, believe it or not. Fudgy brownie layered with creamy chocolate mousse enrobed in smooth chocolate ganache. I have garnished this slice with a chocolate-dipped strawberry and Tru-Whip non-dairy whipped topping. It’s also nice served with raspberry sauce.

Chocolate Mousse Terrine

1 recipe chocolate brownies (here’s a link)

1 recipe chocolate mousse (here’s a link)

1/2 recipe chocolate ganache (here’s a link)

Whipped topping, berries, mint (optional)

Method:

Bake brownies in a jelly-roll pan for about 20 minutes and cool completely. Line a loaf pan  with plastic wrap to extend with enough excess to cover when finished layering.

While brownies are baking, whip up the chocolate mousse and chill in the refrigerator. When brownies are completely cooled, cut into three wide strips to fit the interior of the loaf pan.

Press a layer of brownie into the loaf pan. Spread a thick layer of mousse then top with a second layer of brownie. Repeat layering, ending with brownie. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze at least 6 hours or overnight.

When ready to glaze your terrine, prepare the ganache recipe. Place a metal rack on a wax or parchment paper-lined rimmed sheet tray. Flip the frozen terrine out of the loaf pan and unwrap. Set cake right side up and place on the rack.

ganache

Pour ganache over cake, making sure to cover  the top and sides completely. This can be best achieved by pouring quickly and from a height above the cake that allows the glaze to flow rather than just to rest on the surface. If you can, try to avoid spreading the glaze with a knife or spatula, as it creates imperfections and bubbles on the surface.

Return the cake to the freezer to allow the ganache to firm up well. Make sure the cake is on a non-stick surface such as waxed paper or parchment.

You may wish to give the cake another coat of ganache, depending on the thickness of the glaze. If so, make sure the ganache is warmed very slightly to a pourable consistency. Return cake to freezer, but do not wrap until completely frozen, if at all.

cake

It is easiest to plate this dessert in advance. Pull from freezer, Slice with large, sharp knife dipped in hot water and cleaned in between slicing. Garnish as desired and keep plates refrigerated until service time. Enjoy!!

production

Easy Chocolate Ganache

ganacheA rich, creamy coating of chocolate ganache makes a grand impression on a special dessert! Here is a simple recipe for glazing cakes, dipping strawberries or truffle-making.

Chocolate Ganache

1 can (14.5 ounces) full-fat coconut milk

16 ounces non-diary chocolate, chopped (or chocolate chips)

scale

Method:

Place chocolate in large bowl. Heat coconut milk to almost boiling. Pour slowly over chocolate in bowl.

chips

Cover bowl with plastic wrap for about 5 minutes. Remove plastic and with a whisk, slowly blend chocolate and coconut milk. The idea is to get a smooth ganache and avoid bubbles.

stir

Use immediately or refrigerate, covered, for later use.

cake

Vanilla Cake

IMG_4841

Here is a basic vanilla cake recipe that is as suitable for a dressed-down potluck as for a formal wedding.

Vanilla Cake

recipe courtesy Chloe Coscarelli

3 cups Flour
2 cups Sugar
2 tsp. Baking soda
1 tsp. Salt
1 ¾ cups Soy milk
1 cup Canola oil
¼ cup Apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp. Vanilla

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 350. Grease two 9-inch cake pans lightly and line bottoms with parchment.:

2. Whisk together dry ingredients in a large bowl and set aside.

3.  Whisk together wet ingredients and add to dry, mixing with a spoon just until well-blended.

Bake 20-25 minutes, until pick inserted in center comes out clean with just a few crumbs adhering. Invert and cool completely on wire rack.

Buttercream Frosting

Recipe courtesy Isa Chandra Moscowitz

½ cup Vegetable Shortening
½ cup Earth Balance Non-Dairy Margarine
3 ½ cups Confectioners Sugar
1 ½ tsp. Vanilla
¼ cup Soy milk

Method:

1. Beat fats together in stand mixer. Add sugar and beat 3 minutes.
2. Add soy milk and vanilla and beat 5-7 minutes until fluffy.

IMG_4844

Ginger Spice Cookies

cookies

I found an excellent recipe for sweet, chewy, spicy ginger cookies at my fellow blogger’s site, Don’t Switch off The Light. They call them biscuits where Thom comes from, but over here we call them cookies 🙂

Thom is an intelligent, compassionate vegan and his blog is one of my favorites,  featuring many great recipes and articles of interest.

ingred

I love a simple, no nonsense recipe that gets right to the point. That way, we can get to the cookies faster! This one is so easy.

mix

Just mix the dry ingredients in one bowl, the wet in another, then combine  together!

pannedScoop out the dough, flatten and press tops into turbinado sugar for a wonderful crunch!

flattened

I followed Thom’s recipe faithfully, except I sized mine twice as big!! I baked them about 15 minutes and they turned out perfectly chewy and soft in the middle.

IMG_0982

Here’s the recipe:  Vegan Ginger Biscuits

from Don’t Switch off the Light

Fudgy Vegan Brownies

Here is a simple no-fail brownie recipe I use regularly. It’s made with handy pantry staples and whips up in no time. I hope you enjoy it and see the video below for detailed demonstration.

Fudgy Vegan Brownies

Recipe courtesy Brian McCarthy

1 ¼ cups Flour
1 ½ cups Sugar, scant
¾ cups Cocoa
¾ teaspoon Cornstarch
⅜ teaspoon Baking powder
1 ⅛ teaspoons Kosher salt
¾ cups Non-dairy milk
¾ cups Canola oil
1 ½ teaspoons Vanilla

Set oven to 350  degrees fahrenheit. Combine wet ingredients in large mixing bowl. Whisk dry ingredients separately then add them to wet, blending well. Pour into parchment-lined 8 x 8 inch baking pan and bake for 30-45 minutes.

Here’s a video I put together to demonstrate the recipe:

 

Vegan Chocolate Mug Cake

 Chocolate Mug Cake

Adapted from The Happy Herbivore Cookbook by Lindsay Nixon

4 tbsp all purpose flour

2 tbsp brown sugar

2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa

1⁄4 tsp baking powder

1⁄4 c canola or olive oil

3 tbsp nondairy milk

1 to 2 drops vanilla extract

2 to 3 tbsp vegan chocolate chips

pinch salt

Mix all ingredients just until blended. Smooth into lightly greased microwave-safe mug.

Microwave at 80% power for 2-3 minutes, until almost fully baked (should be slightly soft in center). Serve warm with non-dairy ice cream or as is.

Note: Microwave cooking time based on 1,000 watt microwave.

Here’s a quick little demonstration video I made:

 

Chocolate Bourbon Pie

IMG_0250Here’s a delicious, EASY vegan chocolate pie demonstration video I filmed this week. The recipe comes from Chloe Coscarelli’s “Chloe’s Vegan Desserts”.

Chocolate Bourbon Pie

Source: Chloe Coscarelli
(Servings: 8)

¾ cup Flour
¾ cup Sugar
1 tsp. Baking powder
½ cup dairy-free margarine, melted
¼ cup Bourbon
1 tsp. Vanilla
1 cup Walnuts, chopped
1 ¼ cups dairy-free chocolate chips
1 Pie crust, 9 inch

1. Preheat oven to 350. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar and baking powder. In a separate bowl, whisk together melted margarine, bourbon and vanilla.:
2. Pour wet into dry and whisk until just combined. Fold in walnuts and chocolate chips. Spread into pie crust and bake for about 55 minutes. Let cool slightly before serving.

 

 

 

Almond Ginger Cookies (Gluten and soy free)

IMG_1745

Finally! A moist, chewy, gluten-free cookie made with whole, natural ingredients. I love this recipe because it is simple and easy–no science project here, just straightforward mix and bake.

IMG_1732

IMG_1742

I found this recipe video by Emily Phares online and it made me laugh. The girls were so cute, I just had to give it a try

 

Carrot Spice Cake with Cashew Cream Frosting (gluten and soy free)

IMG_4545As we know, traditional birthday cakes are a nutritionally bankrupt prospect. Why not celebrate life by creating a memorably delicious cake filled with healthful ingredients? This recipe just skirts the fringe of being virtuous, because it does contain organic brown sugar. But it has so much good going for it–I urge you to give it a try!

Carrot Spice Cake with Cashew Cream Frosting

Adapted from a recipe by Allyson Kramer (www.allysonkramer.com)

Cashew Cream Frosting

2 cups raw cashews

1 1/4 cups almond milk

8 pitted dates (soak in hot water to remove skins)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon salt (optional, but recommended)

Soak cashews in water at least 4 hours (longer is better). Drain and place in blender with 1 cup of almond milk and remaining ingredients. Blend until smooth and creamy. Remember the consistency should be spreadable, so less is more when it comes to liquid. You may or may not need the remaining 1/4 cup of almond milk. Refrigerate until needed.

Carrot Spice Cake

1 cup applesauce (unsweetened)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon blackstrap molasses
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/3 cup + 2 tablespoons besan/chickpea flour
1/2 cup superfine brown rice flour (reg. works too)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup nondairy milk
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, 1/8 teaspoon allspice and 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

2 1/2 cups peeled and grated fresh, organic carrots

1/2 cup raisins

1/2 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped (for garnish)

Preheat oven to 350 ºF. Grease a 9-inch cake pan and coat lightly with brown rice flour. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the applesauce, olive oil, vanilla extract, molasses, salt and sugar until well blended. Gradually add in the rest of the ingredients, one by one, except carrots and raisins– in the order given. Mix vigorously using a whisk about 100 strokes, or until very well mixed. Gently fold in the carrots and raisins with a wooden spoon or spatula.

Bake in prepared pan 25-30 minutes, until toothpick inserted in center comes out almost clean, with a few crumbs attached. Allow to cool for about 10 minutes on a rack before removing from pan. Allow to completely cool, then split into 2 layers. Assemble cake with frosting between layers and garnish with chopped walnuts and a sprinkle of cinnamon, if desired. Serves 8-10.

IMG_4539

Orange Pound Cake (soy free)

IMG_1512

Once in awhile I come across a recipe that hits me like a ton of bricks and I just have to make it as soon as possible. I happily completed my mission with this delicious vegan version of sweet and citrus flavored pound cake from fellow blogger Dina over at bitesizeme.wordpress.com.

Vegan Orange Pound Cake 

More photos of this moist, delicious cake below:

IMG_1563

IMG_1542

Peanut Butter Pie (gluten and soy free)

IMG_4530

Here’s a sweet treat you can feel pretty good about! A light, creamy, no-bake peanut butter pie drizzled with melted chocolate. Sweetened naturally with bananas and a bit of maple syrup, why it’s almost virtuous!

No-Bake Peanut Butter Pie

recipe courtesy whatsonourmenu.wordpress.com

Cheater’s Chocolate Cake

IMG_4331

When I’m in the mood for a warm, gooey chocolate experience, I don’t want to waste any time. This recipe is quick, easy and every bit as rich and chocolatey as your favorite brownie, maybe even better!

Cheater’s Chocolate Cake

Adapted from The Happy Herbivore Cookbook by Lindsay Nixon

4 tbsp all purpose flour

2 tbsp brown sugar

2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa

1⁄4 tsp baking powder

1⁄4 c canola or olive oil

3 tbsp nondairy milk

1 to 2 drops vanilla extract

2 to 3 tbsp vegan chocolate chips

2 tbsp brown sugar

2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa

pinch salt

IMG_4320

Coat a microwave safe coffee mug or soup cup with non-stick cooking spray. Mix all ingredients well and smooth into mug.

IMG_4321

Microwave at 80% power for 2-3 minutes, until almost fully baked (should be slightly soft in center). Serve warm with non-dairy ice cream or as is.

Note: Microwave cooking time based on 1,000 watt microwave.

 

 

Rice Crispy Treats

IMG_4284

Did you think you would never eat rice crispy treats again once you found out the gelatin contained in conventional marshmallows is derived from animal sources? Well, cheer up, because now you can enjoy the exact same treat–cruelty free!

Using the classic Kelloggs Recipe, I created these delicious little crispies with puffed brown rice cereal, non-dairy margarine and vegan marshmallows (purchased from Whole Foods). I dressed them up with a nice coating of melted chocolate, but they are fine on their own. Enjoy!

IMG_4265

IMG_4268

IMG_4270

IMG_4283

Key Lime Pie with Mango-Ginger Coulis

IMG_4171

I challenge you to tell the difference between the flavor and texture of conventional key lime pie and this dairy-free, decadent delight! This recipe yields a sweet, tart, creamy filling–exactly what I was looking for to top off my Sunday barbecue. Best of all, the preparation is simple, just blend and bake!

Dressed up with a swirl of sweet mango-ginger coulis, this dessert makes an elegant presentation for a dinner party as well.

Vegan Key Lime Pie

adapted from a recipe by Jolinda Hackett

2- 8 ounce containers Tofutti Better than Cream Cheese (non-dairy cream cheese)
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup key lime juice
2 tbsp cornstarch
1 pre-made graham cracker crust, pre-baked and cooled completely

IMG_4136

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Blend all ingredients in a food processor until very smooth.

IMG_4139

Pour into cooled pie shell and bake 40-45 minutes until set. Cool on a rack, then chill for at least 4 hours before serving.

IMG_4146

Mango Ginger Coulis

1 cup mango puree

1/4 tsp. finely minced ginger

2 tbsp. vanilla soy creamer

Combine all ingredients and refrigerate at least 2 hours to allow flavors to blend.

 

Gluten-Free Carrot Cake with Vanilla Buttercream

plate

Yes, all you gluten-free vegans, you CAN have your cake and eat it too! They said it couldn’t be done, but here it is–a delicious, moist, sweet carrot cake, that tastes in my opinion, even better than conventional.

Here’s the secret–superfine brown rice flour. I know it’s pricey, but trust me it’s worth it. The texture is light, not the least bit grainy like regular brown rice flour. I purchased a 3 lb. bag through Amazon.com for about $15.

Gluten-Free Carrot Cake

from “Gluten-Free Vegan Cupcakes” by Audrey Snowe

1 cup plus 1 tbsp. Superfine brown rice flour

1/3 cup plus 2 tbsp. Potato starch

2 tbsp. Tapioca starch

1/2 tsp. Xanthan gum

2 tsp. Baking powder

1/4 tsp. Salt

2 tsp. Cinnamon

1/2 cup Almond milk

1 cup shredded Carrots

1/3 cup Orange juice

1/4 cup canned pureed Pumpkin

1/2 cup unsweetened shredded Coconut

1/2 cup chopped Walnuts

1/2 cup raisins (optional)

1 tbsp. Maple syrup

2 tbsp. Canola oil

1 cup sugar

mise

Method:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare 12 muffin cups. Whisk together dry ingredients except sugar and set aside. Combine all wet ingredients well then add the sugar and whisk until thoroughly combined. Gently fold the DRY into the WET ingredients careful not to over mix.

Fold in the nuts, coconut and raisins, if using.

mix2

Scoop batter in muffin cups with an ice cream scoop. Bake in the middle oven rack for 20 minutes–using the toothpick test. It should have just a bit of crumb adhering to it. Be careful not to over bake.

bake

Meanwhile prepare the frosting.

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

Recipe courtesy Isa Chandra Moskowitz

1/2 cup Non-dairy margarine

1/2 cup Shortening

1/2 cup Powdered sugar

1 1/2 tsp. Vanilla

1/4 cup Non-dairy milk

Pinch of salt

Method:

In a large electric mixer bowl with paddle attachment, cream the shortening and margarine together until smooth and well combined. Next, incorporate the powdered sugar about 1/2 cup at a time, until well blended. Be sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl so there are no lumps hanging around later. Beat in the milk and vanilla with a pinch of salt until smooth and fluffy.

Makes plenty of frosting (about 4 cups) for 12 cupcakes with some leftover for next time. This frosting freezes very well in an airtight container. Just make sure it is completely thawed before using.

IMG_3867

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Brown Sugar Blondies

IMG_7306

These are classic–brown sugary goodness with the addition of chocolate chips, pecans and just a touch of bourbon. A delicious change of pace from traditional brownies, these are guaranteed to create a stir!

Blondies

from Chloe’s Vegan Desserts

by Chloe Coscarelli

IMG_3641

  • 1 cup All-purpose flour
  • ¾ tsp. Baking powder
  • ½ tsp. Cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. Salt
  • 6 tbsp. Vegan margarine
  • ¾ cup Brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp. Vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp. Dark rum or bourbon
  • ⅓ cup Semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • ⅓ cup Walnuts or pecans, chopped

IMG_3643

1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease an 8-inch square pan and line with parchment paper long enough to overhang the edges.:
2.In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt until combined. Set aside.:
3.Using a stand or hand mixer, beat the margarine, brown sugar, vanilla and rum or bourbon, if using, until combined. Slowly beat in the flour mixture. Once the flour mixture is incorporated, add chocolate chips and walnuts. The batter will be thick.:
IMG_3645
4.Evenly pat the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 25 minutes, until lightly browned around the edges. Once cooled, lift the parchment paper to release the blondies from the pan and unmold. Using a sharp knife, cut into 2-inch squares and serve.:

IMG_3646

Carrot Cookies with Orange Icing

canister

One thing you may not know about me is that I have a great fondness for food nostalgia and vintage cookbooks. I like to attempt now and then to give a vegan makeover to a classic recipe from my childhood.

I chose one of my very favorite cookies my mom used to make. Whenever we saw that Tupperware canister on the counter, we knew what we would find inside. And they always went too fast.

card

I substituted Earth Balance dairy-free products and flax eggs. I bumped up the health value by just a little bit, substituting whole wheat pastry flour and Sucanat for the sugar. The result is a tender, crisp little cookie cake topped with sweet orange frosting. I actually like them better than the original. Don’t tell Mom 🙂

Carrot Cookies with Orange Icing

adapted from The Betty Crocker Recipe Card Library 1971

1/2 cup dairy-free buttery stick, softened

1/2 cup vegan shortening

3/4 cup Sucanat ( or sugar)

*2 flax eggs (other other egg substitute)

1 cup mashed cooked carrots

2 cups whole wheat pastry flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt, depending on whether the butter substitute contains salt

3/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut

Orange icing (recipe below)

mise

Heat oven to 400 degrees.

*If using flax eggs, whisk together 2 tablespoons ground flax meal and 6 tablespoons water. Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes while preparing remaining ingredients. This will create an egg-like consistency.

1.  Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

2.  Cream together the shortening, butter substitute and sugar until smooth. Add egg substitute then  carrots and stir until well blended.

mix

3.  Stir in flour mixture then fold in coconut.

add

4.  Drop by teaspoonfuls about 2 inches apart onto lightly greased cookie sheet.

spoon

5.  Bake 10-12 minutes or until no imprint remains when touched lightly. Immediately remove from baking sheet to cool. Frost with orange icing. 4 dozen cookies.

Orange Icing

3 tablespoons soft butter substitute (such as Earth Balance)

1 1/2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar

2 teaspoons grated orange peel

1 tablespoon fresh squeezed orange juice

Blend butter and sugar. Stir in orange peel and juice. Beat until smooth.

cookies

Chewy Peanut Almond Butter Cookies

cookies

Do vegans suffer a life of selfless denial? I should say not–with all the fantastic recipe sites at our fingertips, not to mention all the inspiring blog posts we enjoy on WordPress!

I found this yummy recipe at food.com. It turns out a rich, sweet, chewy cookie. The almond butter is a nice addition–and I used dark brown sugar, but you could use either light or dark.

prep

Ingredients:

1/3 cup peanut butter
1/3 cup almond butter
1/3 cup margarine
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons Ener-G Egg Substitute
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons soymilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C). Mix water and egg replacer together in a small bowl, set aside.

In big mixing bowl cream together peanut butter, almond butter, sugar and margarine.

Mix in soy milk, egg replacer and vanilla.

Sift in flour and baking powder into mixture. Add in salt.

Place cookies 2 inches apart onto lightly greased cookie sheets.

Bake for 8 to 15 minutes in the preheated oven, or until edges are lightly browned, but center is still a bit soft, as it will harden as cookies cool.

bake

Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

IMG_2390

Every once in awhile, I am moved to pull out  various appliances and put them to work, such as the waffle iron, pasta machine, ice cream maker. It’s a fun weekend endeavor, when I have time, to enjoy the satisfaction of making something “from scratch” that I usually buy.

With the convenience of every flavor under the sun available at our local Whole Foods Market, making ice cream at home may seem like quite the ambitious undertaking.

vanilla

It is actually as easy as making a smoothie or anything else you might run through the blender, if you have a quality ice cream maker. Nothing else provides that essential smooth, frozen consistency.

I always keep my freezer bowl frozen for those times when an ice cream recipe will catch my attention. This recipe from “Crazy, Sexy Kitchen” by Kris Carr looked so simple, and I had all the ingredients on hand, so I just had to give it a try.

machine

I adapted the recipe slightly by substituting four medjool dates for the agave nectar. In the end, though, I added  a squirt of agave to give it just a bit more sweetness.

Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

1 can coconut milk

1/2 cup raw cashews

1 vanilla bean, scraped (or 1 tablespoon vanilla extract)

1/3 cup agave nectar (or five medjool dates, pitted and sliced)

1/2 cup water

Pinch sea salt

datesMethod:

Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Cover and  refrigerate until very cold and to soak the cashews (at least four hours, overnight, if possible). Make sure your ice cream maker’s freezer bowl is completely frozen.

Pour mixture into a blender and puree until very smooth. Taste for sweetness and add more agave to suit your taste, if desired.

start

Before

Freeze mixture in ice cream maker, according to manufacturer’s instructions.

done

After

Chock-Full of Chocolate Cookies

IMG_1954If you’ve been reading my blog for awhile, you know there is no need for deprivation in a vegan lifestyle. Holiday treats are no exception to this rule.

Now, don’t get me wrong…I come up against plenty of temptation, with most of my family members and many other individuals in my daily life that are non-vegan. It seems everywhere I turn there is a plate or basket of some sort of cookie or candy or festively decorated sugary doodad being generously offered at this time of year.

And like a lot of vegans–I wasn’t born this way. I have my share of pleasant holiday food memories. But there are so many reasons to say no to those foods that contain animal secretions. I simply refuse to endorse or support the dairy industry, no matter how small a role it may be as simply the consumer of a cookie. That is how a vegetarian became a vegan. If you want to know why I feel so strongly about this, check out the following website:  http://www.chooseveg.com/dairy.asp

IMG_1957

Decadent, sweet, chocolate treats are essential in my enjoyment of the holiday season. These cookies fit the bill, without breaking the caloric bank. They have a little less fat than some recipes out there, but they are easy to make with common pantry staples, they contain plenty of delicious chocolate and are absolutely egg and dairy-free.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

from “Vegan Planet” by Robin Robertson

2 cups unbleached, all purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

1/4 cup pure maple syrup

1/2 cup corn oil

Egg replacer for 2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups semi-sweet vegan chocolate chips

1/2 cup chopped nuts of your choice (optional)

Method:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly oil two baking sheets.

In a medium bowl, combine wet ingredients and brown sugar and mix until well blended. Set aside. Combine dry ingredients, then add half of dry ingredients to wet, mixing just until combined. Add remaining dry ingredients, then fold in the chocolate chips and nuts (if using). Drop by spoonfuls onto prepared baking sheets, about 2 inches apart.

Bake until golden brown, 15-18 minutes. Let cool completely before storing in an airtight container. Makes about 2 dozen cookies, depending on the size of your spoon.

Hot Fudge in a Hurry

Spoon

 

So we are watching TV the other night and during the commerical break I stand up and announce that I’ll be right back. As I head toward the kitchen, Steve asks, “What are you doing?” “Oh, I’m just gonna make some chocolate sauce.”

Yes, you can just about make this sauce during the commercial break. It’s that quick and easy, provided you use the right ingredients. And that’s what you get, Steve, for marrying a chef. Homemade dark chocolate sauce at 9 p.m. Poor thing.

HotFudge

Hot Fudge in a Hurry

2/3 cup Sucanat (dried cane juice)

2/3 cup water

2 heaping tablespoons high quality cocoa (the best you can afford)

2 tablespoons almond butter

1-2 tablespoons vegan chocolate chips

Pinch of sea salt

Splash of vanilla extract or other flavoring (optional)

Combine sugar and water in a small sauce pan and stir to dissolve over medium high heat.  Bring to boil and allow to bubble for about 5 minutes. Careful not to let it boil over, whisking occassionally. Reduce heat if necessary, but keep it boiling. This will help reduce the liquid to a nice smooth syrup.

Cook

Remove from heat and whisk in cocoa until well blended. Add almond butter and blend well, returning to low heat if needed to melt thoroughly. Off the heat, add the chocolate chips and stir to melt. Add a pinch of salt.

Apply liberally wherever you need warm, dark chocolate sauce.

Makes about 1/2 cup of fudgy goodness.

 

Dark Chocolate Brownies

This is by far the best vegan brownie recipe I have found. I’ve been through a lot of cookbooks. To put it best…I judge a cookbook by the strength of its dessert section. I believe a diet must always allow for sweets and never be too restrictive.

When I come across a cookbook with all fruit desserts, I snap it shut and move on. That’s just me. I will always eat healthy, but I will never be overly virtuous.

Rip Esselstyn gets it! The recipes in his cookbook, The Engine 2 Diet provide a great balance between good sense and enlightened indulgence.

His recipes are extremely low fat and no-fat, but in the case of this recipe, thankfully, he allows for an abundance of naturally occurring cocoa butter in the form of a most generous allotment of chocolate chips. Thank you, Rip!

These beauties are everything a brownie should be: moist and fudgy with a dark cocoa edge that refuses to take a back seat to sugar.

When it comes to chocolate, vegans must be ever so cautious in label reading, because even some of the brands we trust have slipped milk fat into their formulas. A final note: Never pinch pennies when it comes to chocolate. You won’t regret it.

 Dark Chocolate Brownies

Ingredients

Makes about 20 brownies

1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed

1/2 cup raw sugar

1 cup unsweetened applesauce

1 tbsp egg substitute mixed with 1/4 cup water

1/4 cup + 2 tbsp soy milk

1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar

1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour

3/4 cup cocoa powder

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp sea salt

1 1/2 cups (dairy-free) 60% chocolate chips or chunks (Ghirardelli offers a dairy free 60% product)

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 deg F. Combine the sugars and applesauce with an electric or handheld mixer. Beat in the Ener-G mixture, soy milk, vanilla, and vinegar. Combine the dry ingredients (except chocolate chips) in a separate bowl. Gradually add the dry mixture to the wet ingredients, then stir in the chocolate chips. Pour the batter into a sprayed 9×13 inch baking dish. Bake for 16-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Warm Apple Crisp

Fall is my favorite time of the year. I look forward to the cooler temperatures,  anticipating the fun of preparing for the upcoming holidays, my birthday, and the food–the glorious food!

I especially love the warm flavors that mark the fall holidays. The smell of pumpkin, cinnamon and cloves, toasted nuts, vanilla. Kitchen aromas can be so evocative, full of fond memories of holidays past.

I am a big fan of warm apple anything: pie, crumble, cobbler, brown betty…you name it. A crisp is an easy, low-fat way to indulge my craving. This one is kicked up with a splash of Calvados, just for fun!

Warm Apple Crisp

Filling:

4 medium apples, peeled, cored and sliced ( I use 2 granny smith and 2 golden delicious)

2 tablespoons water or apple juice

1 teaspoon cinnamon

2 tablespoons sucanat

1 1/2 oz Calvados  or other apple brandy (optional)

Topping:

5 vegan graham crackers (Nabisco original in the red box is vegan)

1/4 cup rolled oats

1/4 cup raisins (soaked for at least 1/2 hour in hot water, covered)

2 tablespoon walnuts, toasted and finely chopped (optional)

1 tablespoon sucanat

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Method:

Filling: Heat water or apple juice in non-stick skillet on medium high heat. When it starts to bubble, add apples and saute for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Carefully, off the heat,  add brandy then return and cook until liquid is reduced by half. Sprinkle in the cinnamon and sugar, and reduce heat, stirring and allowing sugar to melt and become syrupy. Add a bit more water or juice if needed.

Transfer apples to a 1 quart casserole or 8 x 8 baking dish, VERY lightly coated with non-stick spray.

Topping:  Crumble crackers into a food processor and pulse a few times to grind into crumbs. Add the oats, cinnamon and sucanat and pulse once more just to combine. Finally, add the drained raisins and process just until mixture comes together to form a streusal-like texture.

Crumble topping evenly over filling and bake for 10-15 minutes. Serve warm or cold.

Suggested accompaniment: Vanilla Hemp Ice Cream

 

Blueberry Cheezecake

One of the foods many vegans reluctantly let go of is cream cheese–most eventually finding consolation for the morning bagel in the form of hummus or any one of a dozen different kinds of nut butters available on the market.

One food that’s seemingly impossible to duplicate, however, or find a suitable whole food replacement for,  is cheesecake. It makes me realize how truly decadent that dessert is.

Now, I know there is this substance called “Better than Cream Cheese”. However, it is off the deal, due to it’s high fat content and it is full of additives. I prefer to stick with more natural ingredients. Enter the Golden Cheesecake from fellow blogger, Playful and Hungry

I added a graham cracker walnut crust and a sweet, organic blueberry topping and voila! Of course it tastes nothing like traditional cheesecake, but in my opinion plant-strong recipes always end up tasting better all around. And I get the bonus of knowing that I just ate real food that will fuel my body.