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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Lately I’ve been seeing recipes for chocolate bark everywhere. It’s no surprise because it’s tasty and makes a great gift. But I have also come to realize that bark should use tempered chocolate to have the right snap and be done properly. Not wanting to spend the time required to temper, I looked to haystacks which are treats with melted chocolate gluing them together. In today’s recipe I morphed those two delights to come up with my own version.
Because no baking was involved, these require no altitude changes. And as long as you use dark chocolate with minimum additives, then they are already vegan. The alterations that I made were in the basic recipe. Feel free to do the same by picking and choosing what you coat the chocolate with, such as seeds, dried fruit, dried coconut pieces, and the like. I did find that the small amount of salt on the pretzels rounded out the flavor nicely.
Chocolate Haystack Bark
8 oz dark chocolate, chopped
1 cup whole unsalted almonds, roasted
1/2 cup lightly salted gluten-free pretzels, broken into large pieces
1/2 cup brown rice cereal
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a bowl set over a pan of gently simmering water, heat chopped chocolate, stirring occasionally, until it is just melted. Put almonds, pretzels and cereal into a large bowl. Pour melted chocolate over mixture and stir to combine. Let cool a minute and then pour onto baking sheet. Place sheet in fridge for 30 minutes until bark hardens. Invert bark onto a work surface and break into pieces.