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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Mini Chocolate Chip Bundts

Mini Chocolate Chip Bundts

Mini Chocolate Chip Bundts

Specialized baking pans fascinate me. I sit in the store, staring, and wonder what I will create in them. My mini bundt pans have been calling to me since I bought them a few months ago. They came to mind when I decided I needed a treat that would bake in far less time then a full sized cake. A quick bread recipe seemed perfect to adapt to the mini bundts.

To veganize the recipe, I used the vegan equivalents of butter, eggs, and yogurt. For high altitude I added non-dairy milk for a bit of moisture. To make the recipe healthier I used mostly whole wheat flour. To then make the recipe tastier I added chocolate chips because chocolate is always welcome in my baked goods. The mini bundts turned out adorable, but if you don’t collect pans (as I do) you can make standard-sized muffins and bake them at 350F for 26 to 30 minutes.

Mini Chocolate Chip Bundts adapted from Mini Yogurt Tea Breads
2 TBS flaxseeds
6 TBS water
1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup + 1 TBS all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
4 TBS vegan margarine, melted
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup vegan sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 TBS non-dairy milk
1 1/4 cup plain non-dairy yogurt
2/3 cup chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 325F. Spray mini bundt pan with cooking spray. Whisk together flaxseeds and water and put aside to gel. Sift together flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a large bowl, whisk together melted margarine, oil, sugar, vanilla and milk for 30 seconds. Whisk in flaxseed slurry. Whisk in yogurt in 3 additions, alternating with additions of flour mixture. Stir in chocolate chips.
Divide batter in prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted comes out clean, 14 to 16 minutes. Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then remove mini cakes from pan and cool completely on a wire rack.

Until next time, happy 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!

Peach Streusel Muffins

Peach Streusel Muffins

Peach Streusel Muffins

This recipe was inspired by what I had in the cupboard and fridge. First I realized that I didn’t get blueberries at the store as planned for blueberry muffins. Then I saw that I had only a little non-dairy milk and vanilla. But the craziest thing was that I couldn’t find any flax seeds for a flax egg – they’ll probably fall at my feet tomorrow because I know they’re in there somewhere. I came across this recipe and saw that it could be adapted by what I had at hand and it gave me a chance to try chia egg as a replacer.

To make these vegan I used non-dairy milk, vegan margarine, and a chia egg for the non-vegan ingredients. For high altitude I added flour and milk and reduced baking powder. To make it healthier I used whole wheat instead of all purpose flour, and I made a streusel with dates instead of sugar. And, because I discovered I had frozen peaches, I used those for the fruit. The muffins turned out not too sweet and perfect for breakfast.

Peach Streusel Muffins adapted from Oatmeal Berry Streusel Muffins
for the streusel
1/4 cup oats
2 dates, pitted
1/8 cup walnuts
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
for the muffins
1 TBS chia seeds, ground
3 TBS warm water
1.5 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup oat flour
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup vegan margarine, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup + 2 TBS non-dairy milk
1 cup fresh or frozen chopped peaches
Preheat oven to 375°F. Line 12 cups of a muffin tin with paper liners. In a small bowl, whisk together chia seeds and warm water to make a chia egg. Set aside for 10 minutes to gel. In a food processor, pulse oats, dates, walnuts, and cinnamon until you have a crumbly texture. In a large bowl, whisk together flours, baking powder, and salt. In a medium bowl, cream margarine and sugar. Beat in chia egg, vanilla and non-dairy milk, and mix well. Add liquid ingredients to dry ingredients. Mix until dry ingredients are just moistened. Gently fold peaches into batter.
Distribute batter evenly into muffin cups and top each with streusel. Bake for 22-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in center of a muffin comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack.

Until next time, happy baking!

Decadent Baked S’mores

decadent s'mores

decadent s’mores

Don’t you just want to reach through the picture and grab one of these? Yes, they are that good. But I digress. Last week’s American holiday barbecues had me dreaming of S’mores. During the summer I do become infatuated with that wonderful combination of chocolate, marshmallow, and graham crackers. But I needed to find a way to make them less messy and more decadent. Enter – baked s’mores.

The recipe I found was already vegan so no changes were necessary on that front. The bars didn’t need high altitude tweaking either. What I altered was to make them more decadent by adding a layer of raspberry jam. This did make them sweeter so only one square is necessary for melty marshmallowy chocolatey bliss.

Decadent Baked S’mores based on S’mores Bars
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup vegan margarine
3/8 cup vegan sugar
3 TBS seedless raspberry jam
3/4 cup vegan dark chocolate chips
6 large vegan marshmallows, cut in half
Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8×8” pan with parchment paper. Combine graham cracker crumbs, flour, margarine, and sugar in a food processor and pulse until a dough forms. Press crust into pan and bake for 15-18 minutes. Remove pan from oven and change heat to broil. Spread jam over crust, sprinkle on chocolate chips, and then add marshmallows. Broil for a few minutes, until chocolate is melted and marshmallows are golden brown. Let cool a little before slicing.

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!