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!

Summer Celebration Strawberry Cheesecake

strawberry cheesecakeOn this summer solstice, strawberries are sweet and fresh and make a perfect dessert. A cheesecake would make a beautiful way to present them, or so I thought. I tried several types of recipes – entirely raw, with a cashew cream base, with macadamia nuts – and none of them turned out quite right. I couldn’t get textures and flavors that were reminiscent of a classic cheesecake. Admittedly I had never made a cheesecake before, vegan or not, but I didn’t think it should be this hard.

After much trial and error, which included a gummy dessert that was inedible, I decided to combine the parts of recipes that I liked to make the perfect whole. I chose a baked crust that added hemp seeds for a change of taste and then combined it with a strawberry cheesecake recipe where I replaced vegan items for their non-vegan counterparts. With a few more minor tweaks, including more flour for altitude and blueberries as a colorful garnish, I achieved a cheesecake worthy of a summer celebration.

Summer Celebration Strawberry Cheesecake adapted from a Hemp Hearts Crust and a Strawberry Cheesecake
CRUST
1 1/2 cups + 2 TBS almond flour
1/2 cup hemp seeds, lightly crushed
scant 1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp cinnamon
5 TBS coconut oil, melted
2 TBS agave nectar
STRAWBERRY TOPPING
1 pound fresh or frozen strawberries, washed and stemmed
1/4 cup vegan sugar
1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and seeds scraped
1/4 oz vegan gelatin, strawberry flavored or unflavored
CHEESECAKE
1 pound vegan cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup vegan confectioners’ sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups strawberry topping (see above)
1/2 cup soy creamer
blueberries for garnish
For crust: Preheat oven to 350. Whisk together almond flour, hemp seeds, salt and cinnamon. Stir in coconut oil and agave nectar. Using your hands, spread mixture into a greased 9” springform pan. Flatten using the bottom of a glass. Bake for 12-13 minutes, until golden brown along the edges. Set aside to cool.
For strawberry topping: In a pot, add strawberries, sugar, vanilla bean pod and seeds and 2 TBS water. Cook over medium heat until strawberries are soft. Remove vanilla bean pod and use an immersion blender to puree the fruit. Sprinkle gelatin over 2 TBS cold water in a small bowl. Allow it to sit for 2 minutes. Transfer gelatin to the strawberries and gently cook over low heat, whisking just until gelatin is completely dissolved. Remove from heat. Reserve 3/4 cup strawberry mixture for the cake top.
For cheesecake: In a stand mixer, beat cream cheese and sugar on medium-low speed with paddle attachment until smooth. Add vanilla extract. Add strawberry topping, except reserved 3/4 cup. In a separate bowl, whisk creamer. Replace stand mixer attachment with the whisk attachment. Add creamer to cheesecake batter and whisk until it is all combined. Pour cheesecake into prepared pan. Tap pan gently on counter to bring any air bubbles to surface. Let it sit, uncovered, in refrigerator for 2 hours or until it is set to the touch. Once cheesecake is set, pour remaining 3/4 cup strawberry topping over it. If the topping has set up in pot, gently heat it for a minute, just until it is pourable. Place the cheesecake back into the refrigerator and allow to set, uncovered, for another 30 minutes, or until the topping is set. Decorate with blueberries. At this point it is ready to serve or you can cover the cheesecake with plastic and it can sit in the refrigerator for 24 hours. Before unlocking the springform pan, run a knife around edge of the cheesecake to loosen it.

Until next time, happy baking!