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!

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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!

Strawberry Tea Bread

Strawberry Tea Bread

Strawberry Tea Bread

Just in time for Sunday brunch – I needed bread that would go great alongside eggs and mimosas. Strawberries are available everywhere so they were my first choice to flavor a bread. A short search of my files revealed a recipe for a vegan quick bread that incorporated these lovely berries.

For altitude I reduced sugar and baking soda. I added milk, although there was none, to help with dryness at altitude.To make it a little healthier, I took out some regular flour and put in whole wheat. The last change was substituting ginger for cinnamon, but that was merely to please my own taste buds. Add vegan cream cheese and fresh strawberries to a slice, and you’re set.

Strawberry Tea Bread adapted from Strawberry Quick Bread
1 1/4 cups sugar
2/3 cups canola oil
1 TBS arrowroot powder
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 TBS unsweetened non-dairy milk
1 1/2 cups mashed strawberries with their juice
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 tsp powdered ginger
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 cups all purpose flour
Preheat oven to 400F. Grease 3 cavities of a mini loaf pan. In a large bowl, mix sugar and oil. In a small bowl, combine arrowroot and applesauce, then add to large bowl and stir. Stir milk and strawberries with juice into sugar mixture. Add baking soda, baking powder, and lemon juice, and whisk to combine evenly, without lumps. Stir in vanilla and ginger. One cup at a time, add flours and stir to incorporate into a smooth batter.
Pour batter into prepared loaf pan. Bake for 30-33 minutes until tops turns golden brown. Remove to a wire rack and run a knife around the edges of each loaf. Allow loaves to cool for at least 10 minutes before turning them out to cool completely on a wire rack.

Until next time, happy baking!

Chocolate Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

Chocolate Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

Chocolate Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

Once in a while I get lucky. I find a recipe that’s already vegan that doesn’t need much changing for altitude, and it works when I bake it! This recipe was one of those. My gluten free friends deserved a treat so I went searching and found this cookie recipe that didn’t need much finesse from me.

The adaptations I made were mostly due to the fact that it was a “pre-make the dry ingredients and dump” recipe. I altered the directions to make a smoother batter when the ingredients were added individually. The one nod I made to high altitude was to add more water to account for dryness, and the fact that I swapped the coconut for more oatmeal and it loves to soak up moisture.

Chocolate Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies based on Double Chocolate Coconut Oatmeal Cookies
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 cup gluten free flour blend
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 TBS unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup vegan buttery spread
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup + 1 TBS water
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1.25 cups gluten free old fashioned oats
3/4 cup dairy free chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. In a bowl, mix together cocoa powder, flour, baking soda, and salt. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream applesauce, buttery spread, vanilla, and water. Add in both sugars and beat until creamy. Add in cocoa powder mixture and beat again. Stir in oats and chocolate chips by hand.
Let dough rest for 10 minutes so it will absorb the liquids. Drop spoonfuls of dough onto prepared cookie sheet. Bake for 17-19 minutes. Makes about 24 cookies.

Until next time, happy baking!

Lavender Granola

Lavender Granola

Lavender Granola

My usual breakfast of oatmeal with nut butter and fruit was getting old. It needed a facelift, and I remembered that I used to love granola when I was in college. The brand I ate had dried blueberries and oats and it got me through many a sleepy morning. I gathered up bits and pieces of many granola recipes I found, but especially liked one that included lavender. That would add something different to breakfast and make granola more decadent.

Granola is inherently vegan, unless it has honey, so no changes were made for that. It also doesn’t have high altitude issues. The only changes made to the ingredients are by you when you bake it. Pick any nuts and seeds, leave out the lavender, choose your favorite dried fruit. It all works. For baking the granola, I discovered a variety of cooking styles: higher temp, lower temp, stir, don’t stir. I went with the directions given by Alton Brown because he’s a food scientist so I imagine he’s worked his recipe to perfection. All I know is that it smelled heavenly while it baked and I couldn’t wait for morning.

Lavender Granola
2 cups rolled oats (gluten-free, if desired)
3/4 cup nuts (I used almonds, cashews and walnuts)
1/2 cup seeds (I used hemp and pumpkin)
2 TBS amaranth
2 TBS flax seeds, ground
3 TBS lavender flowers, food-grade
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cardamon
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup vegan margarine or coconut oil, melted
3/4 tsp vanilla
pinch salt
1/2 cup dried fruit (I used blueberries)
Preheat oven to 250F. In a large bowl, combine oats, nuts, seeds, amaranth, flax seeds, lavender, cinnamon and cardamom. In a small bowl, combine maple syrup, margarine, vanilla and salt. Combine both mixtures and pour onto 2 sheet pans. Cook for 1 hour and 15 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes to achieve an even color. Remove from oven and transfer into a large bowl. Add dried fruit and mix until evenly distributed. Cool and store in an airtight container.

Until next time, happy baking!

Donut Mini Muffins

Donut Mini Muffins

Donut Mini Muffins

In the past, I have tried (unsuccessfully) to make baked donuts. I even bought a donut pan but donated it after the utter failure of my baked creations. But I am still drawn to the idea of making donuts. It’s strange, really, because I am not a big fan of donuts. However, this week I delved into that arena again, this time changing a batch of mini donuts into mini muffins.

The recipe I uncovered was already vegan but I went one step beyond – I used aquafaba as the egg replacer. It worked beautifully, making light and fluffy muffins. The change I made for altitude was to use less baking powder. Besides that, I had fun using different donut themes for my muffins. I filled some with jam and smeared chocolate on top. Others I dipped into chocolate and then added sprinkles. I could have added powdered sugar to a few but the idea of only chocolate flavoring won out, as usual.

Donut Mini Muffins based on Vegan Mini Baked Donuts
Dry Ingredients
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup vegan sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp nutmeg
Pinch ground cinnamon
Wet Ingredients
1/2 cup almond milk
1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup aquafaba
4 TBS vegan buttery spread (not buttery sticks)
Toppings
2 TBS vegan sprinkles
3 ounces vegan chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350F. Put paper cups in 24 spaces of a mini muffin pan. In a bowl, combine dry ingredients with a whisk to mix thoroughly. Combine wet ingredients in a pan over medium low heat and mix until buttery spread is melted. This should not get too hot; just slightly warm. Add wet ingredients to dry and mix until just combined. Scoop into muffin cups. Bake for 12 minutes until almost browned on top and a tester comes out clean.
Cool completely on a wire rack before decorating. To decorate, put sprinkles on a plate then melt chocolate chips over a double boiler. Dip minis one-by-one into chocolate then into sprinkles. Makes 24.

Until next time, happy baking!