What do you get when you combine peppermint fudge and chocolate cookies? These delicious bites. They are a rich fudge spread over a cookie crumb shell to make them a decadent and elegant treat. And there is no baking involved. Decadent and easy – no need to say more.
The recipe I adapted these from was already non-dairy so I didn’t need to make those types of changes. No baking meant it didn’t need high altitude adjustments. The changes I made were to help them stick together for easier eating and presentation. I added coconut oil to the cookie shell for stability, and I added more milk to the fudge for pourability. Also, I made them in paper cups and in a muffin tin. They both worked out, but I find the paper cup is more festive and easier to hold if you are sharing them with others. If you’re not sharing, then you can just mash them up and eat them. I don’t judge.
Peppermint Fudge Cookie Bites based on Chocolate Mint Fudge Tartlets
1 TBS + ½ cup vegan chocolate chips, divided
4.5 ounces gluten-free crunchy chocolate cookies, processed into fine crumbs
1 TBS coconut oil, melted
¼ cup + ½ tsp almond milk
¼ tsp peppermint extract
Melt 1 TBS chocolate chips over a double boiler. Put cookies crumbs in a bowl with melted coconut oil, then add the melted chocolate. Stir until thoroughly combined and mixture resembles wet sand. Divide cookie crumb mixture between 12 lined mini muffin cups. Drop a spoonful of crumb mixture into each cup and press into bottoms and lightly up the sides.
Melt remaining 1/2 cup of chocolate chips. Turn heat off but leave the bowl of melted chocolate over the hot water. Whisk milk and peppermint extract into the bowl. Pour chocolate-mint filling into cookie crusts. Freeze for 15 to 20 minutes. May be stored in a covered container in refrigerator for up to 1 week.
A friend once told me that my Valentine’s Day treats weren’t sweet enough. She thought that the holiday deserved something really sweet, not really healthy. Thus began my search for the decadently sweet. The cookie I found was based on a very ripe banana to produce a sweet chocolatey goodness. In this cookie that overly ripe banana is as much a star as the chocolate. The two combine to make sweets for my sweetie.
For high altitude I used fewer oats because they soak up moisture and could leave a dry cookie. I looked to add more liquid but there wasn’t one in the original recipe so I included vanilla extract. I then swapped out the oat flour and used all purpose because oat flour is best used when a doughy-type of chew is desired, such as in my Cinnamon Roll Muffins.
Banana Chocolate Cookies based on Chocolate Chunky Monkey Cookies
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup Navitas cacao powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
generous 1/4 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup mashed ripe banana
1/4 cup canola oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup quick oats
3/4 cup vegan semi-sweet chocolate chunks
Preheat oven to 350F. Place flour, cacao powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl and whisk to thoroughly combine. Add sugar, banana, oil, and vanilla to a stand mixer bowl and mix until creamy, about 1 minute. Pour dry ingredients into wet and blend until smooth. Blend in quick oats. Stir in chocolate chunks with a spoon.
Scoop dough by the large spoonful and place on baking sheets. Bake for 19 to 21 minutes, or until they appear just baked. Let cool on baking sheets for 5 minutes before removing to wire racks to cool completely. Makes 22 cookies.
After last week’s post on baking bread, I was craving cinnamon bread. But, as I mentioned, I don’t do yeast products. So, when I was scouring my recipe collection, one stood out – muffins based on cinnamon rolls. I could get my cinnamon cravings satisfied without proofing and kneading. Immediately I set out to make the rolls because they sounded easy and good. How good? Have you ever licked a (vegan) batter off of your fingers and then scooped more out of the bowl to eat? Yep, that good.
The recipe was already vegan (I did say it was easy) so all I had to do was adapt for altitude. I added flour and milk while reducing the baking powder. I also used less topping so it wouldn’t suffocate a muffin trying to rise at high altitude. Because I had vanilla flavored yogurt, I reduced the vanilla extract. I didn’t want to crowd out the cinnamon flavor. They seemed to turn out pretty good, but I should taste test another one or two to be sure.
Cinnamon Roll Muffins based on Cinnabon Muffins Topping:
1 TBS coconut sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon powder Batter:
1 1/2 cups + 1 TBS all purpose flour
1/2 cup oat flour
1 1/4 tsp cinnamon powder
1/4 scant tsp sea salt
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup vanilla cashew yogurt
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup + 1 1/2 TBS almond milk
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 TBS raisins
Preheat oven to 350F and put paper liners in 11 cups of a regular muffin tin. In a small bowl, mix together topping ingredients and set aside. In a large bowl, sift together flours, cinnamon, salt, baking powder and baking soda. In a medium bowl, whisk together yogurt, milk, maple syrup, and vanilla. Stir in raisins. Add wet mixture to dry, stirring until just well combined.
Distribute batter evenly between 11 muffin cups. Sprinkle topping on each. Bake for 18-19 minutes, until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow to cool on a cooling rack.
Yeast scares me. When a recipe includes yeast it also includes hours of time until you actually get to eat. Instant gratification is much better. I can go from gathering ingredients for cookies to eating them in less than 1/2 hour. But I understand that many people love the meditative qualities and joy of baking bread. In order to help those bakers out, I have delved into the science of bread baking at high altitude.
According to Taste of Home, “High altitude (over 3,000 feet) affects bread baking because the lower air pressure allows the yeast to rise 25 to 50 percent faster, and the drier air makes the flour drier. If the dough over-rises, the results might be a heavy, dry loaf or misshapen or collapsed loaf.” The lower air pressure and dryness affects all baking but may have a more drastic effect on bread. I would eat a dry chocolate cookie, but dry, leaden bread … never!
Cultures for Health includes other specifics that affect high altitude bread baking, including adjustments to time. Increasing baking time is important. “The amount of extra time depends on the exact elevation. The easiest way to judge when a loaf of bread is finished baking is to use a thin-tipped instant-read thermometer inserted into the bottom of the loaf. A temperature of 195°F is a good goal, but temperatures all the way up to 205°F should be fine.”
They mention that proofing time should also be changed. “Rising time decreases as altitude increases. Keep in mind that the longer the rise time, the more complex the flavors will be, usually a desirable goal. Try rising at cooler temperatures and giving the dough a second rise. When the dough has doubled, punch it down and let it double again.”
These all seem like good tips to ensure a beautiful loaf of bread. I’ll stick with quick breads for now, but I’m hoping my favorite taste tester can use these recipes to create his perfect cinnamon roll. I look forward to being his taste tester.
It seems that when I bake cupcakes they are always chocolate. It’s kind of the norm. So when I decided to make cupcakes this week, I went in search of a vanilla cupcake recipe. What I found was a recipe for cupcakes with chocolate chips and knew it would be perfect.
To adapt for high altitude I added milk and a little flour. I then reduced baking powder and oil. They were already vegan so that was simple, but I did add more chocolate chips and a drizzle so they wouldn’t seem too un-chocolatey. They weren’t the usual, but they were pretty good.
Chocolate Chip Mini Cupcakes adapted from Vegan Chocolate
1 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
3/4 cup + 2 tsp almond milk
1/2 cup + 1 TBS all purpose flour
1/2 cup + 1 TBS whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup + 1 tsp organic sugar
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1/4 cup less 1 tsp canola oil
1 TBS vanilla extract
1/2 cup mini vegan chocolate chips, divided
melted chocolate for decoration
Position a rack in upper third of oven and preheat to 350F. Line a mini cupcake tin with paper liners. In a small bowl, mix vinegar and milk. Set aside for 10 minutes to clabber. Place a wire mesh strainer over a medium bowl. Add flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt to strainer. Stir with a whisk to sift ingredients into bowl. (If any small bits remain in strainer, add them to bowl.) Whisk to aerate the mixture. Whisk oil and vanilla into clabbered milk. Add wet ingredients to dry and whisk until batter is smooth. Stir half the chocolate chips into batter.
Divide batter evenly between cups, filling each halfway full. Sprinkle remaining chocolate chips on top of batter, dividing evenly between cups. Bake for 11 to 13 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean or with a few crumbs. Cool tin on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Lift cupcakes onto rack to cool completely. Drizzle with melted chocolate. Refrigerate cupcakes in a covered container for up to two days. Makes 28-30 mini cupcakes.
Sometimes when I am searching for a baking recipe, I base it solely on an ingredient in my arsenal. I recently got Coconut Sugar from Navitas Naturals so that became my inspiration for this week. Upon scouring my cookbook collection, I found a cookie recipe that suggested coconut sugar as a swap for dark brown sugar.
The recipe was already vegan so that part was accomplished. For altitude I had but to slightly reduce the amount of sugar and oil. I also chose to add jam on top to complement the peanut butter flavor. What I discovered after they baked was that they rose quite more than expected, especially as they were baked at high altitude. The cookbook describes them as a cookie, but I am inclined to see them as a marriage between a cookie and a muffin. That brings me to my new breakfast creation – the muffin-cookie, or mookie.
Peanut Butter Jam Mookies based on Crunchy Nutty Peanut Butter Hemp Cookies
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
scant 1/3 cup refined coconut oil, softened
1/2 cup Navitas Naturals coconut sugar
1/4 cup organic sugar
1/2 cup almond milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/3 cup plain hemp protein powder
3/4 tsp salt
several TBS jam
Preheat oven to 350F and lightly oil a standard muffin tin. In a stand mixer, beat together peanut butter, coconut oil, sugars, milk, and vanilla until smooth. In a bowl, whisk together oats, flours, protein powder, and salt. Mix dry ingredients into wet ingredients with a spatula. Fill muffin cups 2/3 full. Use a spoon to make an indent in the top of each and put jam in the indents. Bake for 14-17 minutes, or until firm. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack in the muffin tin. Store in a loosely covered container. Makes 12 hearty mookies.
For my New Year’s Eve Celebration I had to come up with something special. Something chocolate. And champagne. And strawberry. I saw pipette kits for infusing cupcakes with liquid and knew I had my solution. I just had to bring it all together.
My standby chocolate cupcake recipe was the base so I didn’t need to make adjustments there. I added powdered dried strawberries to the frosting to complement the champagne that would be imbued into the cupcakes. I now had a decadent dessert worthy of ringing in the New Year. Happy and Decadent 2017 to all!
Strawberry Champagne Celebration Cupcakes cupcakes
1 cup almond milk
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
3/4 cup organic sugar
1/3 cup canola oil
3/4 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup + 1 TBS all-purpose flour
1/3 cup Navitas Naturals cacao powder
generous 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt frosting
1/2 cup nonhydrogenated shortening
1/2 cup nonhydrogenated margarine
3 1/2 cups organic powdered sugar, sifted if clumpy
1 TBS powdered freeze dried strawberries (I used Just Strawberries)
3/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup almond milk decorations
champagne For Cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350F and line a 12-cupcake pan with paper liners. Whisk together the milk and vinegar in a large bowl, and set aside for a few minutes to curdle. Add sugar, oil, and vanilla to the milk mixture and beat until foamy.
In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add in two batches to wet ingredients and beat just until no large lumps remain. Pour evenly into liners, filling three-quarters of the way. Bake 18-19 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Transfer to a cooling rack and cool completely. For Frosting: Beat shortening and margarine together until well combined and fluffy. Add powdered sugar and beat for 3 more minutes. Add dried strawberries, vanilla and milk and beat for another 5-7 minutes until fluffy. For Decorating: Frost cooled cupcakes. Dip pipettes into champagne and draw some liquid up into the bulbs. Insert pipettes into cupcakes without squeezing; you will squeeze them just before eating.