Almond S’mores Bars

Almond S'mores Bars

dig into Almond S’mores Bars

You may be thinking, “What, another s’mores recipe?” Yes, it is, but it’s just in time for American Labor Day picnics. Besides, the combination of chocolate, marshmallow and graham crackers is the quintessential summer treat. So, what better way to say goodbye to summer than with s’mores bars?

The recipe I found was a riff on the typical s’mores, but to make it vegan I needed to make a vegan sweetened condensed milk. It sounds odd, yet it’s very simple to make. Although you will probably want to plan ahead because it takes awhile. My vegan version also used vegan margarine instead of unsalted butter.

It didn’t need a high altitude adjustment, but I did adjust the recipe for what was in my kitchen. I am not a fan of peanut butter chips, so I decided on nut butter. Almond butter was in my cupboard, and so were almonds, so I nixed the overly sweet chips and the cocktail peanuts and used my almond items instead. Say so long to summer with these s’mores.

Almond S’mores Bars based on Peanut S’mores Magic Bars
18 graham crackers, gluten-free if desired
8 TBS vegan margarine, melted
2 cups vegan sweetened condensed milk (recipe below)
1/2 cup almond butter
1 cup roasted almonds, chopped
2 cups vegan chocolate chips
One (10-ounce) bag vegan marshmallows
Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350F. Line a 9-by-13-inch broiler-proof baking dish with foil, leaving a 2” overhang on both sides. Grease the foil with margarine. Pulse 14 graham crackers into fine crumbs in a food processor. Combine melted margarine and graham cracker crumbs in a bowl with your hand (mixture should hold together when squeezed). Transfer mixture to prepared baking dish and press into the bottom in an even layer. Combine sweetened condensed milk with almond butter and pour over the crumbs.
Sprinkle almonds then chocolate chips over top. Break remaining 4 graham crackers into chunks and sprinkle evenly over top. Bake until sides are golden brown and begin to pull away from baking dish, 30 to 35 minutes. Remove from oven, and turn broiler on. Scatter marshmallows over top of bars and put dish under broiler until marshmallows are dark golden and toasted, 3 to 4 minutes. Let cool completely then refrigerate to set, about 1 hour. Using foil liner as handles, pull s’mores out of baking dish and remove foil. Cut into bars.
Vegan Sweetened Condensed Milk from The Complete Guide to Vegan Food Substitutions
6 cups soymilk
2 cup vegan sugar
Put both in a pot and simmer over low heat until liquid reduces to 2 cups. Strain before serving.

Until next time, happy baking!

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Coffee Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Sandwiches

 

coffee chocolate chip ice cream sandwich

coffee chocolate chip ice cream sandwich

World Plant Milk Day is coming up on August 22. In its honor, and because I’d received recipes from Vegan Dairy Fair, I wanted to make vegan Ice Cream. But, you might think, does ice cream have anything to do with a baking blog? It doesn’t, until you put it between sandwich cookies. Now I had an excuse to buy another specialty baking pan.

The cookie recipe I found was made specifically for ice cream sandwiches, reminiscent of that dense chocolate goodness. The altitude changes were to use less baking soda and add liquid. For veganizing, I opted for vegan margarine and soymilk. The ice cream recipe was from The Vegan Scoop, with the addition of chocolate chips. I also added Vapor Distillery’s Arrosta Coffee liquor. It not only added a depth of taste, but alcohol helps to keep non-dairy ice cream from getting icy. So go ahead and celebrate – World Plant Milk Day or just a hot summer’s day.

Coffee Chocolate Chip Ice Cream
1 cup soymilk, divided
2 TBS arrowroot powder
2 cups soy creamer
3/4 cup fresh, strong coffee
3/4 cup vegan sugar
1 TBS vanilla extract
2 TBS Arrosta coffee liquor
2/3 cup mini vegan chocolate chips
In a small bowl. combine 1/4 cup soymilk with arrowroot. Set aside. Mix soy creamer, remaining 3/4 cup soy milk, coffee and sugar in a saucepan and cook over low heat. Once mixture begins to boil, remove from heat and add arrowroot cream to thicken the mixture in the pan. Add vanilla extract. Refrigerate mixture until chilled, about 2-3 hours. Freeze according to your ice cream maker’s instructions. In the last few minutes of churning, add coffee liquor and chocolate chips. Store in freezer.

Chocolate Sandwich Cookies adapted from the blog at King Arthur Flour
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup dutch-process cocoa powder
scant 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sea salt
6 TBS vegan margarine, softened
1/2 cup vegan sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup soymilk
Preheat oven to 350F, with a rack in the center. Lightly oil an ice cream sandwich pan. In a bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. In a large bowl, place margarine, sugars, and vanilla. Beat at high speed until well combined. The batter will be thick and sticky. On low speed, add half the flour/cocoa, then the milk, then remaining flour/cocoa, scraping bowl between additions.
Dollop batter into prepared pan using spatula to smooth out. Bake for 10-12 minutes until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Remove pan from oven, let cool for 5 minutes, then remove cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. When cooled, place one cookie on a plate. Spread with ice cream. Top with a second cookie, top side up. Wrap and store in freezer.

Until next time, happy baking and churning!

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!

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!

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!

Flourless Fudge Cookie Failure

chocolate cookie failure

chocolate cookie failure

When I write blog posts, they usually include a few words about how the baked good was altered and include a recipe. Well, not this week. I have spent 8 hopeless days trying to produce an egg white based flourless cookie by using Aquafaba (the bean liquid from chickpeas). The substance makes a wonderful meringue cookie and is supposed to act in other eggy ways. I’ve used it in my super flegg egg substitute, but never as a stand-in for egg whites. It’s apparently going to require quite a few more trials.

The recipe for a flourless fudge cookie sounded like a challenge, but not as great a one as it turned out to be. The recipe called for whisked egg whites. I replaced them with whisked aquafaba and got an ooey gooey un-cookie like substance. Next I thought to whip up the chickpea water in the stand mixer to get more volume, but was still unsuccessful. Then I tried switching brands of canned chickpeas and discovered that the included brine varied immensely and a thicker liquid got me closer to a cookie but not exactly. The baked cookies were a bit gooey and rubbery at the same time, although my hubby thought they were good dipped in espresso.

So, today’s post will not include a recipe. This egg white substitution is still a failure and requires more testing. And more research. I plan to get it right one day, just not today.

Superfood Earth Day Pudding

Earth Day pudding

Earth Day pudding

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.

Until next time, happy non-baking!