Archive | February, 2012

Healthier Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

27 Feb

Chocolate chip cookies aren’t good for your health.

That’s not what their purpose in life is.

But then again….cookies make you happy. They warm your soul and feed more than just your belly. And those things are good for your health. Soooo….cookies are good for your health.

I’m not a fan of low fat chocolate chip cookies. I don’t like the fact that people try to make them without butter, or with fake sugar. It’s just not right.

Now here’s the part where I go against everything I just said and tell you I’m clearly a hypocrite. I made chocolate chip cookies without butter. I made them with healthy-er sugar! I made them with whole wheat flour, spelt flour and flax meal!

I was SUCH a skeptic.

I didn’t believe.

And then I ate one.

My world was flipped upside down.

This recipe calls for making your OWN chocolate chips.

That must have something to do with it. There’s maple syrup and coconut sugar in here. Oh, and brace yourselves: no butter. So crazy! So out of control vegan. So not what usually constitutes a quality chocolate chip cookie.

These are really really good. I would never say that about a chocolate chip cookie unless it was true. Trust.

Healthier Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

1/2 Cup Icing Sugar

1/4 Cup Cocoa Powder

1 Tablespoon Spelt Flour

1 Teaspoon Almond Milk

1 Tablespoon coconut oil

Cookie

1/4 Cup Plus 2 Tablespoons Whole Wheat Flour

1/4 Cup Plus 2 Tablespoons Spelt

2 Tablespoons Flaxmeal

1/4 Cup Coconut Sugar

1/4 Teaspoon Salt

1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda

1 Teaspoon Baking Powder

1 Teaspoon Vanilla

2 Tablespoons Coconut Oil

5 Tablespoons Maple Syrup
To make the chocolate chips:

      In a small mixing bowl stir together icing sugar, cocoa powder and flour. Then in a coffee cup, mix together oil and almond milk. Pour wet ingredients into dry and stir with a fork until becomes firm and like a chocolate “play dough”. Split the dough in half. Sprinkle working surface with a little cocoa powder and roll one of the halves with your hand until it forms a rod about a quarter of an inch thick. Slice the rod into morsels. Do the second half of dough the same way. Let them freeze for atleast 4 hours. This is so they become good and sturdy so they keep their shape when you mix them into the cookie dough and also to help them keep their shape when baked.

To complete the cookies:

      In a mixing bowl combine ingredients for cookie base. Take chocolate chips out of freezer and mix them into the cookie dough gingerly. We don’t want to damage the chocolate chips.

On a greased cookie sheet pan drop tablespoon mounds 1 -1/2 inches apart. Place cookie sheet in a 350 degree preheated oven and cook until lightly brown on bottom. After baked let cool for 15 minutes before touching them with a spatula.

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Coconut-Cocoa Nib Shortbread Rounds

21 Feb

So Valentines Day has come and gone. This day has never been a day that I look forward to, but I have never dreaded it either. My favourite Valentine’s days were back in elementary school where everyone got cards and candies because it was practically mandatory. Lots of giggling was involved if you got one from someone you liked….even though he just wrote the same thing he did on the same card he gave to everyone else in the class. No big deal. A girl can dream…

So much hype about this day….

I’ve always chosen to keep it simple, whether or not there was a boy.

This year I chose to celebrate the fact that on this day you can bake something and give it to those you love. I extended that to the people I work with and my friends….

I bought a cheap box of Dr. Seuss valentines and baked some cookies. It’s that simple.

Oh, and I got taken out to a hockey game on Valentine’s Day by a boy….ahem….man…but that’s also….no biggie. :-)

These cookies, by the way, are simple but effective. Shortbread rounds with a crunch of cocoa nib and a sprinkle of toasted coconut for good measure. It can’t get better than that. Not unless I had drizzled the top with chocolate icing, but alas there was no time. Feel free to do so if you make these cookies. Take it up a notch and show my cookies up. They won’t mind. They’re pretty cool like that.

Coconut-Cocoa Nib Shortbread Rounds


adapted from here

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt

1 cup unsalted butter

1/2 cup powdered sugar

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup toasted coconut flakes

1/4 cup cocoa nibs

Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl and set aside.

In a mixing bowl beat the butter until light and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar and beat again, scraping down the sides of the mixing bowl once or twice as you are mixing. Beat in the vanilla extract. Add the flour mixture in two additions then add in the extras. Stir until everything comes together into a thick dough.

Turn the dough out onto a countertop and divide into two pieces, there is quite a bit of dough, so cutting it into two pieces just makes it easier to roll out later on. Press each piece of dough out into a flat patty an inch thick. Wrap each piece in plastic and chill completely in the refrigerator – about thirty minutes. When the dough is chilled, use a rolling pin to roll the dough out 1/4-1/2-inch thick. Cut the dough into desired shapes using cookie cutters.

Bake for 7 to 10 minutes, or until the bottoms of the cookies are barely golden.

Makes about 2 dozen cookies.

Vegan Banana Cherry Bread

15 Feb

Banana bread. It’s like the chocolate chip cookie of the quick bread world.

Banana bread is a staple. It’s one of those things that you just have to make every once in a while. No matter what the occasion.
Banana bread turns brown mushy bananas into something worth shedding tears of joy over.

Banana bread is such a beautiful thing, yet it’s such a simple thing. The way it looks, smells and tastes is the epitome of comfort.

Banana bread is something you give; you share it. You use it to nurture and to impress.

Banana bread is my favourite.

I want banana bread. This isn’t a new thing. I love banana bread and would have it all day every day if I could.  Don’t kid yourself, you would too: nothing to be ashamed of!

Anything super tasty and delicious should be craved 24/7. I might just go have a slice of this guy…. I made it vegan, and I threw in some frozen cherries from my picking adventures in the summer. No biggie.

Vegan Banana Cherry Bread

3 medium or 2 large ripe bananas

1/4 cup coconut oil or vegetable oil

1/2 cup brown sugar

2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup frozen cherries

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease and flour a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan. In a large mixing bowl, mash the bananas well. Add the sugar, oil, and vanilla extract, and whisk briskly to incorporate. Sift in the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Use a wooden spoon to mix until the wet and dry ingredients are just combined.  Fold in cherries. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and sprinkle with extra sugar if you’d like.  Bake for 45 to 50 minutes. The top should be lightly browned and a knife inserted through the center should come out clean, or with just a few crumbs. Remove from the oven and let cool for 20 minutes before transferring out of a pan and onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Meyer Lemon Poppyseed Cheesecake

8 Feb

Friends are awesome, aren’t they? My friends are awesome. I also really like the word awesome.

My friends are always there when I need them. They are very forgiving. They are very generous and understanding.

Lots of my friends like to give me food, too. That’s probably why we became friends in the first place….

One of my lovely friends recently gave me some beautiful meyer lemons. She trusted I would use them well.

My mission: make Michelle and her Meyer lemons proud.

I feel like I accomplished this….I mean…just look at how pretty it looks!

I started with a cookie crust. I just happened to have some random logs of checkerboard cookies in my freezer so I used that. No big deal. You can use a plain sugar cookie dough for the crust or even good ol’ graham cracker crust would work extremely well. Graham cracker crust+any cheesecake = best friends.

Do you like poppyseeds? I hope so. They’re the coolest. I totally feel like I’m living on the edge when I consume them too because of that Seinfeld episode where Elaine tests positive for opium. Don’t know which episode I’m talking about? Pfff. Then you don’t deserve to laugh.

Back to poppyseeds: they just deserve to go with lemons. They just need to be together. I put them in the batter along with some lemon zest and vanilla extract. It felt right.

That’s not all folks. Candied meyer lemon slices jumped on top of this cheesecake and I didn’t argue with them.

Meyer Lemon Poppyseed Cheesecake

500g cream cheese, softened

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup sour cream

zest and juice of 2 meyer lemons

4 tbsp poppyseeds

splash of vanilla extract

4 eggs

Beat/cream the cream cheese until light and fluffy. Add the sugar, and beat until smooth.

Stir in the sour cream, lemon juice/zest, poppyseeds and vanilla.

Beat in the eggs, but only JUST until incorporated.

Pour over prebaked crust into springform pan, wrap the pan in foil, and place in a water bath.

Bake at 275F for about 1 1/2 hours or until completely set. Let it cool in the oven for as long as possible before cooling further in the fridge, preferably overnight.

Cover the cheesecake with candied lemon slices….

Candied Lemon Slices

Slice 5 lemons very thinly.

Boil in water for approximately 1 minute until softened.

Pull them out of the water and place immediately in an ice water bath.

Next, simmer them for about an hour in a simple syrup (equal parts water to sugar) until the peel becomes translucent. Place on parchment paper until ready to use.