Earth Day is a fun day – not only do you get to honor the earth, but you can do so with whimsy. I combined cute ideas from a few blogs to come up with my celebration dessert. It wasn’t baked but it was filled with superfoods (cacao and hemp are superfoods) so I honored myself as well.
Because the already vegan dessert wasn’t baked it had no required changes. The alterations I made were to add baking extracts and more cacao to deepen the pudding flavor. Also, the pudding recipe called for cocoa powder but I used raw cacao powder instead to up the nutritional value. I grabbed ideas from a few websites to make my version of a dessert worthy of Earth Day.
Superfood Earth Day Pudding adapted from lovemefeedme.net and godairyfree.org For the pudding:
1.5 cups unsweetened almond milk
1 ripe medium banana
4-5 TBS maple syrup, to taste
1/2 tsp coffee extract
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup + 2 TBS Navitas Naturals raw cacao powder
2 TBS arrowroot For the dirt topping:
2 TBS Navitas Naturals raw hulled hemp seeds
1 TBS Navitas Naturals raw cacao powder
1 TBS Navitas Naturals sweet cacao nibs
Put almond milk, banana, maple syrup, extracts, and cocoa powder in a blender and blend until smooth. Put 1/4 cup of the mixture aside and pour the remainder into a small pot. Heat over medium heat until it begins to boil. Whisk arrowroot into mixture you set aside. Slowly pour this mixture into the pot on the stove and whisk it in. Reduce heat to low and continue to stir for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and pour into 3 or 4 small containers. Let cool for 15 minutes before placing in fridge to cool completely.
While the pudding cools, mix topping ingredients together. Once pudding has cooled, top with a generous sprinkle of dirt topping. You can add an herb sprig or edible flower to your creation. Note: If using a flower pot with a drainage hole in the bottom, line it with foil prior to adding the pudding.
Who doesn’t like coffee cake? It’s good for breakfast, snack, dessert; basically whenever you’d drink coffee. But I was craving a coffee cake with a little difference. The recipe I found included blueberries, but my inspiration took me to add assorted berries for color and flavor. The batter turned a swirling purple color that I enjoyed. Don’t be scared; it gets muted during baking.
The recipe I looked to wasn’t vegan so I got the opportunity to try a different egg substitute – the chia egg. It’s made by adding ground chia seeds to warm water and letting it sit for 10-20 minutes to thicken. The result is gummier than flax eggs, so I can see recipes where it would be a problem but not this one. More substitutes were swapping butter and yogurt for non-dairy versions. For high altitude I reduced the baking powder and added non-dairy milk. So, grab a cuppa joe and dig in.
Berry Coffee Cake adapted from Blueberry Coffee Cake
2 TBS ground chia seeds whisked with 6 TBS warm water
2 TBS plus 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour, divided
1/4 cup light brown sugar
2 TBS vegan margarine, cut into small pieces
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup vegan sugar
1.5 tsp baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup non-dairy plain yogurt
1/2 cup non-dairy blueberry yogurt
1 TBS non-dairy milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups fresh or frozen, thawed and drained blueberries, divided
Preheat oven to 350F. Grease an 8×8” cake pan. Prepare chia eggs by whisking ground chia seeds into a bowl of warm water. Set aside to gel. Put 2 TBS whole wheat pastry flour, brown sugar, margarine, cinnamon and cardamom in a bowl and mix together with a fork until well combined and mixture is in large clumps; set this streusel aside.
Put remaining 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour, all purpose flour, vegan sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl and whisk to combine. In a bowl, whisk together yogurts, vanilla and chia eggs then pour into bowl with dry ingredients and stir until combined. Gently fold in 1 cup berries. Spoon batter into pan and sprinkle streusel over top. Scatter remaining 1 cup berries over streusel and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 30 to 40 minutes. Once cooled, loosen edges of cake and transfer to a plate.
It’s spring and flowers have sprung up. The burst of floral beauty begged to be put into a sweet treat. Chocolate and flowers make a good combination when blended, so I thought I would make some tasty truffles. They would be lovely on a holiday table or in an Easter basket.
The recipe I used was already vegan, so I played around with it. It called for coconut milk, but I also made some with soy creamer. The texture of the soy creamer won me over. I chose to mix and match flowers and spices and decided that the original lavender flowers were fantastic but better when I toned down the spices. The mashup of hibiscus and ancho that I threw together was also a winning flavor. The addition of fruit powders in the coating added an interesting layer. So here’s to chocolate, spring flowers, and happy holidays.
Spring Chocolates adapted from Lavender-Infused Cocoa-Dusted Truffles
1/2 cup plain soy creamer
2 TBS culinary-grade dried lavender flowers or dried hibiscus flowers
1” piece of dried ancho pepper, if using hibiscus flowers
1 TBS agave nectar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 – 1 tsp maca powder
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground cardamom
1 1/4 cups vegan chocolate chips
2 TBS Navitas cacao powder
2 TBS dried berry powder (blueberry if using lavender and Navitas goji berry if using hibiscus)
Place creamer in a small pan over very low heat. Add lavender flowers (or hibiscus flowers and dried ancho) and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Strain out flowers and discard. Put creamer in a bowl. Add agave nectar, vanilla, maca powder, cinnamon, and cardamom and stir well.
Melt chocolate chips over a double boiler on medium heat until consistency is smooth and creamy, stirring once or twice. When chocolate is melted, add bowl of infused creamer and stir well. Place in refrigerator until firm enough to scoop, about 5 minutes. Place cocoa powder and berry powder on a small plate and mix. Using a small scoop, form small balls. Roll around on plate with cocoa/berry powder to cover each ball with a light dusting. Place on a parchment paper–lined baking sheet. Refrigerate until cool. Makes 20 chocolates.
My husband was craving chocolate chip cookies, which is quite the norm. I didn’t feel like churning out the same old cookie so I looked for something I could make into a chocolate chip cookie. The recipe I found was for a bar sugar cookie, but I solved that by baking it in a pie pan. I added chocolate chips and created a big chocolate chip cookie.
For altitude, the only adjustments were less baking powder and more liquid (in the form of added non-dairy milk). The more interesting changes I made were by choosing alternate forms of sugar. The recipe called for powdered sugar, but I found that I was out of the kind of powdered sugar that is used for making frosting. However, I did have several other powdered sugars. They are more expensive but have richer flavors. I tried lucuma powder here for a maltier taste. I also swapped some standard vegan sugar with sucanat for a deeper flavor. I think using mesquite powder or coconut sugar would have equally tasty results. In fact my husband thanked me for the cookie I made him which he took to be a single serving. Or, in his words, “You only made one cookie. What are you going to have?”
Chocolate Chip Sugar Cookies adapted from Vegan Sugar Cookie Bars
2/3 cup vegan buttery spread (not sticks)
3/4 cup vegan sugar
1/4 cup vanilla non-dairy yogurt
1.5 TBS plain non-dairy milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour
2 TBS powdered sugar
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350F. Place buttery spread and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer and mix on medium speed until fluffy. Add yogurt, milk, and vanilla and mix until combined. Sift together the flour, powdered sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add dry ingredients to the mixer bowl and mix. Mix chocolate chips in with a spoon. If dough looks too dry, add a little more milk. Batter will be a little thick but smooth.
Place dough in a 9” pie plate and press batter evenly down. Bake for 27-29 minutes. Cool in pan for 15 minutes then turn out on a wire rack to fully cool. Store leftovers in refrigerator.
Ah, just what Sunday needed – a muffin to go with a mocha. They needed to be filling for breakfast but not so sweet they competed with the latte. I found a recipe with coffee and chocolate flavors that complemented the caffeinated beverage and satisfied my hunger. They are best served warm so the chocolate is slightly melted and the coffee flavor shines.
They were already vegan because sometimes I am too lazy to figure out those substitutions before brunch. I made adjustments for altitude by adding more milk and reducing the baking powder. I also lowered the temperature to slow the rise and, oddly enough, they baked just fine at the same cooking time. To give a nod to healthy, I swapped some of the white flour with whole wheat. Also, because I ran out of chocolate chips, I made my own chunks by chopping up a dark chocolate bar. I recommend you always have dark chocolate on hand, then you can make chunks if you haven’t already snacked on the whole bar.
Mocha Muffins adapted from Cappuccino Chocolate Chip Mini Muffins
3/4 cup + 1 TBS plain dairy-free milk
2 TBS canola oil
2 TBS plain dairy-free yogurt
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup + 3 TBS vegan sugar
2 tsp instant espresso granules
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup vegan chocolate chunks
Preheat oven to 350F. Line a muffin tin with 11 paper liners. In a bowl, whisk together milk, oil, yogurt, vinegar, and vanilla. Let sit at room temperature for at least 5 minutes. In another bowl, whisk remaining ingredients well. Add wet ingredients and stir until just evenly mixed.
Spoon batter evenly among muffin cups so that each is half full. Bake for 14-16 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes before removing from tin.
Pi Day, celebrated on March 14th (3/14), is upon us. And, because I like math and puns, I am making Pie. If you read my Pi Day post last year, you know that I’m not a fan of traditional pie crust. So, I searched for a different type of pie recipe. The one I found sounded too good to pass up because it highlighted peanut butter and chocolate.
This unbaked pie didn’t need any high altitude tricks, and it was vegan so it didn’t require any of those conversions. My additional of milk did make it easier to blend and pour into the pie shell. I may have taken the easy route, but, c’mon – chocolate and peanut butter … in a pie. So here is a simple, albeit time-consuming in the fridge, pie recipe to help you celebrate Pi Day.
Peanut Butter Chocolate Pi Day Pie based on Velvety Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie for the Crust
10 graham cracker sheets
5 TBS melted coconut oil for the Filling
2 cups vegan chocolate chips
1.25 cups smooth peanut butter
1/4 cup almond milk
12 oz silken tofu
banana slices for decoration
Pulse graham crackers in a food processor until they are completely ground up. In a bowl, combine ground graham crackers with melted coconut oil and stir well. Pour mixture into an 8” pie pan and firmly press the crust onto the bottom and sides of pan. Chill in the refrigerator for 2 hours. Meanwhile, melt chocolate chips in a double boiler. Combine melted chocolate, peanut butter, milk, and tofu in the bowl of a stand mixer and blend until smooth. Pour filling into crust and decorate with banana slices. Chill for 4 hours before serving.
Do you ever have a few bananas on your counter that need to get eaten ASAP? That happens too often for me, and I don’t always want to turn them into bread. I was searching for a recipe to use up my browning produce when I came across these breakfast cookies. To polish off the bananas and have cookies for breakfast was a winning situation in my book.
For the dryness at altitude, I not only added milk to the recipe but also used less protein powder. To fend off the oiliness that can happen at altitude, I used less oil. I made a few other minor tweaks, the most notable being the use of einkorn flour instead of gluten-free flour. Einkorn is an ancient wheat that is often tolerated by those avoiding gluten and can sometimes be used instead of a gluten-free blend. And, if you don’t consume gluten, you’ll be happy to know that although buckwheat sounds as if it contains gluten, it is actually gluten-free.
Cookies for Breakfast adapted from Banana Buckwheat Breakfast Cookies in Protein Ninja
2/3 cup well-mashed ripe bananas
2 TBS ground flaxseeds
1/4 cup – 1/4 tsp canola oil
1/2 cup coconut sugar
2 TBS almond milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup buckwheat flour
1/4 cup einkorn flour
1/4 cup + 1 TBS hemp protein powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup mixed nuts and seeds, slightly crushed
1/4 cup small dried fruit, such as cranberries or raisins
Preheat oven to 350F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. In a large bowl, combine mashed banana and flaxseeds and let sit a few minutes. Then add oil, sugar, almond milk and vanilla and mix well. In another bowl, whisk together the flours, protein powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda and salt. Stir dry ingredients into wet. Before dough is completely moistened, add nuts and dried fruit. Stir just enough to moisten everything.
Scoop up dough and drop onto cookie sheets. Bake 11-13 minutes. Cool on baking sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in a loosely covered container.