Superfood Chocolates

superfood chocolate

superfood chocolate

It seems I have been slaving over cookie cutters far too much lately, so I went easy on myself with this week’s recipe. Making chocolates is not very difficult and can be quite fulfilling. You can grab whatever is in your pantry to make them savory, healthy, and any taste you choose (I added cinnamon). I also discovered a new recipe twist I had to try – it added probiotics to the mixture for a health-giving extra. Now you can have your sweets and supplements at the same time.

This recipe has no tips for high altitude baking, but I can offer a few insights. In the past I had used Cocoa Butter for making body products. It was from a crafts website and I thought it smelled pretty good because it had cocoa undertones. And then I opened a package of Navitas Naturals Organic Cacao Butter. It was heaven. I wanted to eat the nuggets straight from the bag. They are luscious, but be aware that when the melted butter cools it gets almost as hard and messy as candle wax. Another Navitas Naturals product I tried was Maca Powder. It is dubbed an “Incan Superfood” and it has a caramel-like taste. I chose to roll my bonbons in a mixture of Cacao Powder and Maca Powder for extra nutrients and the caramel overtones. Note: I’m not paid to like Navitas’ products, I just do.

Superfood Chocolates adapted from Sea Salt Probiotic Chocolates in Tasty. Naughty. Healthy. Nice.
1/4 cup melted Navitas Naturals Organic Cacao Butter
1/2 cup raw agave syrup
1/3 cup Navitas Naturals Cacao Powder
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 cup + 2 TBS almond butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
a few grinds of sea salt
2 TBS hot water
1 TBS probiotic powder (I got mine from 16 capsules of Ora Organic vegan probiotic & prebiotic)
1.5 TBS Navitas Naturals Cacao Powder + 1.5 TBS Navitas Naturals Maca Powder, for rolling into
To get 1/4 cup of melted cacao butter, put slightly more than 1/4 cup of unmelted cocoa butter in a double boiler with simmering water beneath. Remove from heat and let cacao butter naturally melt over hot water for 5 minutes. In a food processor, blend agave, 1/3 cup cacao powder, cinnamon, almond butter, vanilla, salt, and hot water. Add probiotic powder and blend again, scraping down sides as necessary. With motor running, slowly add melted cacao butter in a steady stream.
Refrigerate in same bowl, with blade intact, for 1 to 3 hours. If mixture seems too hard, blend it again to loosen it up. Put cacao/maca powder mix in a shallow plate. Roll mixture into bonbons between your palms, then drop into powders. Store in refrigerator. Can be frozen for up to 3 months.

Until next time, happy non-baking!

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Holiday Sugar Cookies

holiday sugar cookies

holiday sugar cookies

For someone who doesn’t have the patience for making roll-out cookies, I have been creating quite a few of them lately. Perhaps it’s my new fascination with shapes that cut cookies, from adorable cookie cutters to water glasses. Or maybe it’s just the season. Whatever the reason, I was excited to enter the #DecemberBakingChallenge at Handle the Heat and come up with a recipe that added a few of my tweaks.

For making vegan cookies, I used vegan buttery sticks for the butter and chose organic sugar. My egg substitute was non-dairy milk with white vinegar added. For the dryness at high altitude I added extra milk to this egg substitute. I draw the line at spending hours to decorate cookies, so if you feel the same way then use any decorations you can find. For me it was frosting and sparkling sugar and sprinkles, oh my!

Holiday Sugar Cookies adapted from Easy Cut Out Sugar Cookies with Icing
5 TBS non-dairy milk, at room temperature
1 tsp white vinegar
3 sticks Earth Balance buttery sticks, at cool room temperature
1 1/2 cups organic sugar
2 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
4 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
icing, food coloring, etc., as desired
Combine non-dairy milk and white vinegar. Let sit for 15 minutes to curdle. In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat buttery sticks and sugar on medium-high speed until well-combined and smooth, about 3 minutes. Add vinegar-milk and vanilla and beat until combined. On low speed, slowly add in flour and baking powder and beat until incorporated. Divide dough into 2 equal portions. Place one dough portion between two sheets of parchment paper and roll out to 1/4” thickness. Repeat with remaining dough. Place sheets of dough, with their parchment paper, on a baking sheet and chill for at least 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 350F. Line large baking sheets with fresh parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Remove dough from fridge and cut into shapes, re-rolling any scraps and cutting more shapes. Transfer shapes to prepared baking sheets. If dough is too warm, freeze for 15 minutes or until firmed again. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until cookies are set and begin to brown. Let cookies cool for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely. When fully cooled, decorate with icing, chocolate chips, colored sparkling sugar, or anything you like.

Until next time, happy baking!

Gingerbread Cookies with Chocolate – Two Ways

gingerbread cookies with chocolate

gingerbread cookies with chocolate

It was time to choose a cookie to bake for Santa, so I asked my husband what he thought about gingerbread cookies. His reply: “They’re okay, if you can add chocolate to them.” So, my spin on the classic holiday cookie was born. And because I couldn’t decide, I added chocolate to part of the batch before they were baked and some cookies were sandwiched in chocolate after they cooled. They are delicious both ways.

Cookies require only a little adaptation for altitude. I added small amounts of flour and non-dairy milk and used less baking soda. For my taste buds I reduced the cinnamon so the spices wouldn’t overpower the chocolate. These cookies are about the gingerbread, but they are very much about the chocolate. Happy Holidays!

Gingerbread Cookies with Chocolate – Two Ways adapted from Food52
2.75 cups all purpose flour (plus extra for rolling)
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp cinnamon powder
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup molasses
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup organic sugar
1/4 cup + 1 TBS almond milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
Vegan chocolate chips
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, spices, and salt. In a medium bowl, whisk together molasses, oil, sugar, milk, and vanilla. Whisk wet ingredients into dry ingredients until uniform. If adding chocolate chips to dough, do so now. Flatten dough into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 1 hour or up to overnight.
To bake, preheat oven to 350F. Dust a clean surface with flour. Roll dough out to a scant 1/4” thick. Cut into shapes, with some cookies having centers cut out if making sandwiches. Bake cookies for 12 minutes or, for cookies with chocolate chips, bake for 16 minutes. Let cool. For sandwich cookies, melt chocolate chips over a double boiler. Pair up cookies so each sandwich has a bottom cookie, without the center cut out, and a top cookie with a cutout. Take bottom cookie and flip it upside down so the flat side is facing up. Spoon melted chocolate into center of cookie and place match on top. Allow to cool. Repeat until all cookies have been sandwiched.

Until next time, happy baking!

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!

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!