Chocolate Roll-Out Sugar Cookies

Chocolate Roll-Out Sugar Cookies

Chocolate Roll-Out Sugar Cookies

This is the time of year for bake sales. Recently, a gluten-free friend asked me to contribute to the bake sale for my local Humane Society. How could I say no? I decided that a cookie would be easiest, and in her honor I tackled a gluten-free version. Admittedly, cookies don’t have to rise much so I figured they would be an easy stab at gluten-free at high altitude. They were. The toughest step was the rolling and cutting, but I worked through that for a good cause.

To combat the dryness at altitude I used extra non-dairy milk. I also strayed from the original recipe by adding a sprinkling of powdered sugar over the top instead of a glaze to make transport easier. In hindsight, the star shape was not the best for traveling with the cookies but that just meant that I had to eat the ones where the points broke off. Oh, darn.

Chocolate Roll-Out Sugar Cookies based on Gluten Free Vegan Halloween Chocolate Sugar Cookies
1.75 cups gluten free flour
1/2 cup dutch processed cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1.5 cups organic powdered sugar, plus extra for dusting
1/3 cup refined coconut oil, softened
1/3 cup + 1 tsp unsweetened non-dairy milk
1.5 tsp vanilla extract
crushed candy canes
In a bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together powdered sugar, coconut oil, milk, and vanilla until creamy. Add flour mixture and mix until combined. Split dough into two discs and wrap each in plastic wrap. Let dough rest in fridge for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 350F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
On a flat surface, lay out a large piece of plastic wrap. Place cookie dough in center and top with another piece of plastic wrap. Roll with rolling pin until dough is 1/4″ thick. Cut dough using a cookie cutter. Place cookies on baking sheets. Bake cookies for 9-11 minutes; the centers will still be soft. Remove cookies from oven and place on a cooling rack to cool completely. Once cooled, dust with a mix of powdered sugar and crushed candy canes. Store cookies in an airtight container.

Until next time, happy baking!

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Coffee Ice Cream Pie

coffee ice cream pie

coffee ice cream pie

While writing this post I learned a few things: 1) my husband does not like whipped topping, and 2) you can make a fantastic vegan caramel sauce without coconut (coconut, ewww). I had been determined to find a recipe for a yummy caramel sauce for years. In my search I also ran across many chocolate sauce recipes so I decided to make them both. The question was – what to do with them? I grabbed the Coffee Chocolate Chip Ice Cream I’d made over the summer and combined everything into a frozen pie. That’s where my husband’s lack of desire for whipped topping came to light. So, my pie has no vegan whipped topping, but if you want to garnish your pie with some then you go right ahead.

Let’s start with the sauces …

Caramel Sauce adapted from GoDairyFree.org
3/4 cup plain almond milk
3/4 cup vegan sugar
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 TBS water
1 TBS arrowroot powder
2 TBS vegan margarine
1 tsp vanilla extract
Place milk, sugar and maple syrup in a small saucepan and whisk well to combine. Cook over medium heat, while whisking occasionally, for 3 minutes. In a bowl, whisk together water and arrowroot, and then whisk mixture into pan. Cook mixture, while whisking constantly, an additional 2 to 3 minutes or until it thickens. Remove pan from heat and whisk in margarine and vanilla. Store in an airtight container in refrigerator.

Chocolate Sauce adapted from KitchenTreaty.com
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup vegan sugar
1 cup cold water
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1 TBS vanilla extract
In a medium saucepan, whisk together cocoa powder and sugar until blended. Add water and salt, and whisk over medium heat until boiling, stirring constantly. Continue boiling until mixture thickens, for 3-4 minutes. It will still be fairly thin. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Cool. Store in an airtight glass container in the refrigerator. It should keep for at least a month.

Now we put it all together in a chocolate shell …

Coffee Ice Cream Pie
1-1/2 cups vegan chocolate wafer cookie crumbs (can use gluten-free, if desired)
3 tablespoons vegan margarine, melted
4 cups vegan coffee chocolate chip ice cream, softened
1/4 cup caramel sauce (see recipe above)
2 TBS chocolate syrup (see recipe above)
In a small bowl, combine cookie crumbs and margarine. Press into bottom and up the sides of an ungreased 9” pie plate. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Spoon ice cream into crust. Spread caramel sauce over top. Drizzle with chocolate syrup. Freeze until firm. Remove from freezer 10-15 minutes before serving.

Until next time, happy unbaking!

Almond S’mores Bars

Almond S'mores Bars

dig into Almond S’mores Bars

You may be thinking, “What, another s’mores recipe?” Yes, it is, but it’s just in time for American Labor Day picnics. Besides, the combination of chocolate, marshmallow and graham crackers is the quintessential summer treat. So, what better way to say goodbye to summer than with s’mores bars?

The recipe I found was a riff on the typical s’mores, but to make it vegan I needed to make a vegan sweetened condensed milk. It sounds odd, yet it’s very simple to make. Although you will probably want to plan ahead because it takes awhile. My vegan version also used vegan margarine instead of unsalted butter.

It didn’t need a high altitude adjustment, but I did adjust the recipe for what was in my kitchen. I am not a fan of peanut butter chips, so I decided on nut butter. Almond butter was in my cupboard, and so were almonds, so I nixed the overly sweet chips and the cocktail peanuts and used my almond items instead. Say so long to summer with these s’mores.

Almond S’mores Bars based on Peanut S’mores Magic Bars
18 graham crackers, gluten-free if desired
8 TBS vegan margarine, melted
2 cups vegan sweetened condensed milk (recipe below)
1/2 cup almond butter
1 cup roasted almonds, chopped
2 cups vegan chocolate chips
One (10-ounce) bag vegan marshmallows
Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350F. Line a 9-by-13-inch broiler-proof baking dish with foil, leaving a 2” overhang on both sides. Grease the foil with margarine. Pulse 14 graham crackers into fine crumbs in a food processor. Combine melted margarine and graham cracker crumbs in a bowl with your hand (mixture should hold together when squeezed). Transfer mixture to prepared baking dish and press into the bottom in an even layer. Combine sweetened condensed milk with almond butter and pour over the crumbs.
Sprinkle almonds then chocolate chips over top. Break remaining 4 graham crackers into chunks and sprinkle evenly over top. Bake until sides are golden brown and begin to pull away from baking dish, 30 to 35 minutes. Remove from oven, and turn broiler on. Scatter marshmallows over top of bars and put dish under broiler until marshmallows are dark golden and toasted, 3 to 4 minutes. Let cool completely then refrigerate to set, about 1 hour. Using foil liner as handles, pull s’mores out of baking dish and remove foil. Cut into bars.
Vegan Sweetened Condensed Milk from The Complete Guide to Vegan Food Substitutions
6 cups soymilk
2 cup vegan sugar
Put both in a pot and simmer over low heat until liquid reduces to 2 cups. Strain before serving.

Until next time, happy baking!

Vegan No Bake Mini Blackberry Cheesecakes

no bake mini cheesecakes

no bake mini cheesecakes

The motivation for this post was the August Baking Challenge by Tessa of Handle the Heat. Tessa presented a recipe for bakers to make and share. It wasn’t vegan but that was simple enough to change. And, because there was no baking involved, high altitude adjustments were not necessary.

The vegan substitutions I made were to use vegan margarine in place of unsalted butter, vegan cream cheese for the cream cheese, and soy creamer instead of heavy cream. Another alteration I made was to put the cheesecakes in jars. Vegan dairy substitutes are often runnier than their dairy counterparts and make goopy cheesecake. I created a few in small mason jars where all they would require the eater to have was a spoon. The rest ended up in shot glasses for a fun party treat.

Vegan No Bake Mini Blackberry Cheesecakes adapted from Handle the Heat
For the crust:
1 sleeve (9 crackers) graham crackers (gluten-free, if desired)
4 TBS vegan margarine, melted
For the cheesecake:
12 ounces vegan cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup vegan sugar
3/4 cup soy creamer
1 tsp lemon juice
1/4 cup seedless blackberry preserves
For the topping:
1 cup blackberries
1 TBS vegan sugar
2 tsp lemon juice
Blackberries, for garnish
For the crust: Place graham crackers in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until finely ground. Add in melted margarine and pulse until moistened. Divide mixture among jars or glasses. Firmly press into the bottom of each cavity.
For the cheesecake: In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat cream cheese and sugar on medium-high speed until creamy and well combined. Add in creamer, lemon juice, and preserves and continue beating for 2 to 3 minutes, until well combined and thickened. Pour mixture over crusts and cover with plastic wrap. Chill until firm, at least 4 hours or overnight.
For the topping: Combine berries, sugar, and lemon juice in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until pureed. Top each cheesecake with a dollop of sauce. Garnish with whole fresh blackberries.

Until next time, happy non-baking!

Fruit and Oat Cookies

Fruit and Oat Cookies

Fruit and Oat Cookies

Have you ever wanted to make a quick cookie because guests were on their way? Or maybe you were craving something sweet now? These cookies fit both those requests, and they have very few ingredients so a swift run through the pantry and you are ready to bake. They come together so quickly that I had them ready before the oven came up to temp, and that never happens.

I didn’t have to make any changes for vegan or high altitude, so I let my creativity run with the ingredients. The original recipe contained dates but I used dried apricots, cherries and blueberries for more depth of flavor. You could try any dried fruit, such as cranberries or currants for a tart twist. To add even more layers of flavor, I added spices, but including spiced applesauce would make it simpler. So, not only are these treats easy but they are healthy and will satisfy my gluten free friends, too.

Fruit and Oat Cookies based on Banana-Oatmeal Snack Cookies
2 ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 1/2 cup quick cooking oats
1/2 cup finely ground walnuts
1/2 cup finely chopped dried fruit (such as apricots, cherries and blueberries)
1/8 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Combine bananas, applesauce, oats, walnuts, dried fruit and spices in a bowl until evenly blended. Using a 1 TBS scoop, scoop out cookies and place on prepared baking sheet. Flatten slightly with a spatula. Bake 30 minutes or until lightly golden. Cool on a wire rack. Store cookies in an airtight container for up to one week. Makes 18-20 cookies.

Until next time, happy baking!

Raw Red, White and Blue Cheesecake

Raw Red, White and Blue Cheesecake

Raw Red, White and Blue Cheesecake

Lately it has been too hot to turn on the oven, but I had to make something patriotic for this week’s American Independence Day. My search came up with a no cook cheesecake with wonderful ripe summer fruit. It sounded like a perfect way to celebrate without heating up the kitchen or myself.

The recipe was already vegan, so that box was checked off. No bake meant no high altitude changes. So, to put my spin on the recipe, I made it a bit healthier by replacing white sugar with dates and agave syrup. I also made it multi-layer and added blueberries for the blue. I know they can look more purple than blue when blended, so I kept the blue holiday theme by arranging blueberries on top in the shape of a star.

Raw Red, White and Blue Cheesecake adapted from Raspberry Lemon Yogurt Cheesecake
2 cups plain, non-dairy yogurt
7 large dates
1.75 cups walnuts
1/4 cup agave syrup
1.5 TBS fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup + 10 fresh raspberries
1/2 cup fresh blueberries, with extras for garnish
Place yogurt in a cheesecloth-lined strainer set over a bowl. Let drain in fridge for 10 hours or overnight. Discard the strained liquid. Pour boiling water over dates and soak for 10 minutes. Drain and remove pits. Place dates in a food processor with walnuts. Mix until they come together in a sticky ball. Press this mixture into the bottom of an 8” springform pan. Place in refrigerator. In a bowl, stir together strained yogurt, agave, lemon juice and vanilla. Divide yogurt mixture into 3 equal portions and put each portion in its own bowl. Crush 1/2 cup of raspberries and stir into one of the bowls. Leave one bowl as is. Take the final bowl and put its contents in a blender. Blend with 1/2 cup of blueberries.
Slice the 10 raspberries. Remove crust from refrigerator and spoon in raspberry yogurt mixture. Scatter sliced raspberries over the top. Place cake in freezer for 10 minutes to help to keep the layers from blending together. Spoon in the plain layer. Place cake in freezer for 10 minutes. On the top, spoon in blueberry layer. Place remaining blueberries on top of cheesecake in a star pattern. Cover tightly with plastic wrap, and chill for at least 4 hours, or overnight.

Until next time, happy non-baking!

Berry Chocolate Bundles

Berry Chocolate Bundles

Berry Chocolate Bundles

When I get together to see friends I always bring a tasty treat. A gluten free pal and I were going to the movies but it was too hot to whip something up using the oven. We both love dark chocolate, so I found a recipe that was no bake and gluten free and loaded with chocolate. If you take this with you when going out I do have a recommendation – have wet naps nearby. Movie theaters hate when you leave sticky chocolate handprints on their seats.

This recipe was already vegan and didn’t require high altitude baking, so it was a snap to prepare. The only change I made was to add more berries and a variety of them. They are delicious superfoods so I figured it was a good idea. As a matter of fact, all of the ingredients below are superfoods. So, indulge away.

Berry Chocolate Bundles adapted from Cherry Chocolate Almond Clusters
8 oz dark chocolate, broken or chopped into small pieces
1 TBS creamy unsalted almond butter 
1 cup quick cooking rolled oats
1/3 cup raw unsalted almonds, chopped
1/2 cup dried cherries and blueberries, chopped
To a heat-proof bowl over a pot of gently simmering water, add chocolate and almond butter. Stir occasionally for 2-3 minutes, until chocolate has melted. Remove from heat and stir in oats, almonds and dried berries. Drop by rounded teaspoonful onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Place in refrigerator until set, 20-25 minutes. Makes 2 dozen.

Until next time, happy non-baking!