Showing posts with label chocolate. Show all posts
Showing posts with label chocolate. Show all posts

Nov 19, 2016

cranberry bliss bars

Starbuck's, the coffee shop, has a treat called Cranberry Bliss Bars. Although I've never had it (was Starbuck's even around 16 years ago?) because it isn't vegan, I can attest that this vegan version is most certainly delicious.

The original version uses white chocolate chips, and while you are more than welcome to, I find that bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate chips are much easier to find vegan. But if you have them, use them!

The batter is very simple - flour, baking powder, ginger, salt, aquafaba, vegan butter, sugar, chocolate chips and dried cranberries.

Once creamed together, fold in the chocolate and cranberries and press into a 12X12-inch pan, or a 1/4 sheet pan. The size is really inconsequential as long as the batter is about 1/2-inch thick.

While the cookies bake and cool make the cream cheese frosting. If you really don't like it too sweet you can cut the frosting ingredients in half and frost the base very lightly.

After they bake and cool, trim the sides and cut the bars into triangles. Once frosted the bars will soften up a little and the frosting will harden a bit, making stacking possible. If they last that long, these bars are good for up to a week. Enjoy with tea or coffee.



Cranberry Bliss Bars
Makes about 12 bars

1/2 cup vegan butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
5 tablespoons aquafaba**

2 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips

4 ounces nondairy cream cheese
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Pinch salt
2 teaspoons orange juice (zest orange first)
2 cups confectioner sugar, sifted after measuring
2 teaspoons orange zest
3/4 cup dried cranberries

1. Preheat the oven to 325-degrees F. Add the butter, sugar, ginger and salt to a large bowl. Use a hand mixer to cream well. Add the aquafaba a tablespoon at a time to help achieve a homogeneous mixture. Combine the flour and baking powder in a small bowl. Mix well and add to the butter mixture. Mix well using the hand mixer.
2. Add the 1 cup of cranberries and the chocolate chips. Mix well using a wooden spoon. Line a 12x12 baking sheet (or a 1/4 sheet pan) with a silicone mat or parchment paper. Add the dough and press into the pan. The dough should be about 1/2 -inch thick. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes; do not over bake. Remove and set aside for 5 minutes. Remove from the pan and cool on a cooling rack.
3. Frosting: Combine the cream cheese, salt and juice in a medium bowl. Mix well using a hand mixer. Add the sifted confectioner sugar and mix again. Add half of the zest.
4. When completely cool, frost the bars, reserving about 1/4 cup of the frosting. Add the 3/4 cup cranberries on top of the frosting and drizzle the remaining frosting over the cranberries. Add the rest of the orange zest. 
5. Using a sharp knife, trim the edges of the large rectangle. Cut in half and cut each half into 3 rectangles. Cut each rectangle in half diagonally. Allow the frosting to set overnight. If the bars are too crunchy allow to sit uncovered until they soften a bit. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.

** Although aquafaba is best if homemade using the recipe provided in the book, you can use aquafaba from canned chickpeas. Use the organic, low-sodium, canned chickpeas and strain off the liquid into a measuring cup using a fine mesh strainer. Note the amount of liquid you acquired, then add it to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until the liquid reduces by 1/3. Cool the aquafaba completely before using.

© 2016 Copyright Zsu Dever. All rights reserved.

Sep 26, 2016

chocolate sugar cookies (aquafaba recipe)

It is officially fall! And the very first holiday we encounter is Halloween. As someone with children, especially vegan children, Halloween has always been important to me because of all the treats that they encounter that aren't vegan.

I remember when they were very little and we'd go trick or treating; they would go up to the houses, get their "treats" and when we got back to the house, we would trade their non-vegan (or non-vegetarian many times!) with our homemade or online-bought (no luck finding anything in stores at the time) vegan treats.

In a way, it was a double bonus for them because they got two activities for the price of one. As they got older, they went with their friends and traded candy with them instead of us. Luckily for us, they never felt cheated out of all the non-vegan treats; our kids always knew why we were vegan. Of course, at that young age, it wasn't in graphic detail, but simply because eating animals is wrong.

Now that they are older (youngest will be 17 in February) and all in college, the only thing that has changed is that they no longer trick or treat - not that some of them still don't want to! The "treat" part is still on their minds, however, and when the treats are adorable in one way or another, it makes it all the better.

These cookies are just fun enough to treat adults and kids alike - and they go over well with the cook, too. This is a very easy chocolate sugar cookie to throw together, roll and bake.

This is a chilled dough, so it is important to plan accordingly. This batch will make about 30 to 40 cut cookies.

Roll them to be just a tad thicker than 1/4-inch and bake them for about 10 minutes. Cool them on the baking tray until they firm up, about 3 minutes, and cool them completely on a cooling rack before icing.

There you have it! Happy Halloween!

Chocolate Sugar Cookies
Makes about 30 to 40 cut cookies

3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) vegan butter
3 tablespoons aquafaba**
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cocoa, regular or Dutch-processed***
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
Vegan frosting or royal icing, for decoration

1. Combine the sugar and butter in a medium bowl. Cream the ingredients together using an electric hand mixer until homogenous. Add the aquafaba and vanilla and mix again. 
2. Sift together the flour, cocoa, salt and baking powder into a small bowl. Sifting will eliminate the lumps in the cocoa.  Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until well combined. Transfer the batter to a wax paper and fold over well. Chill in the refrigerator until firm, about 2 hours.
3. Preheat the oven to 350-degrees F.  Roll the dough out on a lightly floured work surface to a little thicker than 1/4-inch. If the dough is breaking a bit, set aside to warm up for a few minutes. Cut the dough using cookie cutters and transfer to a baking sheet prepared with a silicon mat or parchment paper. Bake in the preheated oven for 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to firm up on the baking sheet for 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack until completely cool to the touch.
4. Decorate the cookies using frosting or royal icing. If using royal icing, allow to completely dry before stacking. 

** Although aquafaba is best if homemade using the recipe provided in the book, you can use aquafaba from canned chickpeas. Use the organic, low-sodium, canned chickpeas and strain off the liquid into a measuring cup using a fine mesh strainer. Note the amount of liquid you acquired, then add it to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until the liquid reduces by 1/3. Cool the aquafaba completely before using.

*** Dutch-processed cocoa is lighter in color and less bitter because it is alkalized. Regular cocoa will make a darker cookie, but it is a bit more bitter and more harsh in flavor. 

© 2016 Copyright Zsu Dever. All rights reserved.


Aug 24, 2014

"vegan chocolate" cookbook giveaway

First and foremost, "Vegan Chocolate - Unapologetically Luscious and Decadent Dairy-Free Desserts" by Fran Costigan is amazingly all about chocolate. Vegan. From the Chocolate Chunk Banana Bread Pudding (above - we'll get to that later), to the Opera Cake below and anything in between, be it a drink, a frozen dessert or a candy, Fran has got it covered.

When I first received the book, I was stunned (though shouldn't have been) by the photography by the very talented Kate Lewis, who does complete justice to each of Fran's recipes that is lucky enough to have been photographed - and plenty there are, in this book. This is a cookbook of chocolates that Julia Child would be proud of!

A small sampling of the offerings are:

~a complete chapter on Truffles!
~Brownie Pudding Cakelettes (page 79)
~Brooklyn Blackout Cake (page 94)
~White and Dark Chocolate Cheesecake (page 97)
~Intensely Chocolate Trifle (page 110)
~Buche de Noel (page 116)
~Gluten-Free Chocolate Chunk Cookies (page 144)
~Raspberry Chocolate Silk Tart (page 164)
~Chocolate Panna Cotta (page 176)
~Chocolate Jello Shots (!!) (page 193)
~Chocolate Espresso Gelato (page 198)
~Chocolate Dulce de Leche (page 234)
~Hot Chocolate Mexican-Style (page 245)
~Chocolate White Russin (another, yes!) (page 258)

.... you get the picture. If you want to make anything chocolate related, this is the book you want.

Some of the recipes are easy as pie (such as the above Bread Pudding), while some are showstoppers, such as the Opera Cake below.

Beyond the scope of the recipes and the subject itself (chocolate!), Fran writes effortlessly and the recipes are clear and precise. For the more intricate recipes, such as the cake above, she even provides a game plan that makes a traditionally complex dessert seem like a walk in the park, complete with a time table and how long each component of the recipes will keep. This makes holiday baking and dessert making a breeze!

And that is just one chapter in the book! The other chapters contain recipes that range from super easy and quick to intermediate. This book is not just for the novice baker/cook, but also for someone who wants to put something extra special on the table - a truly versatile and long-reaching cookbook.

I chose to make the Bread Budding because my children had been asking me to make one, as they had seen many non-vegan renditions on TV shows and were wondering what all the hype was. Then this book fell in my lap, including a bread pudding recipe. May all our desires be answered so easily!

The recipe was completely delicious and addictive! I really am not one for sweets, but I kept going back for another bite of this. I couldn't resist! Make it yourself and see!

Who wants this book?

I am giving away a copy to one lucky winner (US residents only, please).

Leave a comment and follow me via Twitter, a reader or Facebook. Make sure to leave me a clear way to get in touch with you. Contest ends September 1 (first day of Vegan MoFo - have you signed up yet?)

Without further delay, here is the recipe by Fran Costigan and the photo by Kate Lewis of that scrumptious Chocolate Chunk Banana Bread Pudding. It may be summer time, but one bite and you'll see that heating up the oven is all worth it.

Photo by Kate Lewis

Chocolate Chunk Banana Bread Pudding

The humble origin of bread pudding dates back to thirteenth century England when a “poor man’s pudding” was assembled from stale leftover bread, bits of fruit, and spices moistened with sweetened water. Contrast that lean and thrifty pudding with contemporary recipes often served in expensive restaurants, which are made with egg-rich breads, such as brioche or challah, baked in custards made with three or more eggs, heavy cream or whole milk, and sweetened with sugar. There’s a lot to like about the technique and texture of these modern bread puddings, but clearly a recipe renovation is needed. In my version, cashew cream, coconut milk, and starch make the creamy custard, and a healthy dose of chocolate provides the wow factor. I use protein-rich, easy-to-digest sprouted bread, but any bread you like will do. Serve the pudding warm right out of the baking dish, or make it ahead and warm before serving. If you want to spice up brunch with Ms. or Mr. Sweetie, try the heart-shaped variation at the end.

Makes 8 Servings

      6 slices sprouted wheat bread, or another bread
      1/2 cup raw whole cashews, rinsed and soaked
in boiling water to cover for 1 hour
      1/2 of a 13.5 to 14-ounce can unsweetened full-fat coconut milk,
 well-stirred (do not use light)
      1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons organic granulated sugar
      2 tablespoons pure maple syrup (Grade B or dark amber) or agave syrup
      2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
      1 tablespoon tapioca starch or organic cornstarch
      1 ripe medium-size banana
      3 1/2 ounces dark chocolate (any percentage), chopped into chunks

1.    Cut the bread into roughly 1-inch chunks. Put the chunks into a large bowl and set aside until needed.
2.    Drain the cashews and put them into a blender. Add the coconut milk, sugar, maple syrup, and vanilla. Blend, starting on low and increasing the speed to high for 1 minute or until the liquid is perfectly smooth. (If you have a high-speed blender, this will take about 1 minute. If using a standard blender, blend the ingredients in 2 or 3 batches until perfectly smooth.)
3.    Add the tapioca or cornstarch to the blender and blend for 1 minute. Pour the liquid into a 2-cup measure and add enough water or nondairy milk to equal 1 1/3 cups.
4.    Pour the liquid over the bread and set aside to soak about 15 minutes, stirring gently with a silicone spatula a couple of times, until the bread is soft and has absorbed most of the liquid.
5.    While the bread soaks, position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 375˚F. Oil the sides and bottom of an 8 x 8-inch baking pan.
6.    Spoon the bread mixture into the prepared pan. Coarsely chop the banana and mix into the soaked bread. Sprinkle the chocolate chunks over the top. Press some of the chocolate into the bread mixture.
7.    Place the pan on the middle rack of the oven. Immediately reduce the heat to 350˚F. Bake for 15 minutes or until slightly puffed and firm to the touch. Let cool slightly before serving.

Serve warm or refrigerate until cold. Reheat in the oven.

The bread pudding is best eaten the same day but may be refrigerated in a covered container overnight.

Bread Pudding Hearts: After the pudding has baked and cooled, refrigerate it until firm. About 30 minutes before you are ready to eat, remove the pudding from the refrigerator and cut small heart-shaped portions, or one large heart to share. Place on a baking sheet. Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Set the table while the pudding hearts heat in the oven back to melty, chocolaty goodness, about 15 to 20 minutes.

Recipe reprinted with permission from Vegan Chocolate: Unapologetically Luscious and Decadent Dairy-Free Desserts, © 2013 by Fran Costigan, Running Press. Photo credit: Kate Lewis

Oct 14, 2011

cheesecake factory (MoFo 27)

The first Cheesecake Factory restaurant was opened in Beverly Hills by Evelyn and Oscar Overton's son, David, because he wanted a place to sell his mother's beloved cheesecakes. Although she had been selling her cheesecakes to local restaurants already, most of her customer's weren't thrilled with the prices they were being charged. David thought he could help her out, and that he did.  By 2010, there were 150 Cheesecake Factories in operation. 

Hands down, the most popular dish on their menu, besides cheesecake, of course, is the Chicken Madeira, a sauteed chicken breast, topped with asparagus spears, mozzarella cheese and mushroom Madeira sauce. Veganize! Our mantra of the month!

Tender chicken-like seitan cutlets serve well here, asparagus is already vegan, mozzarella has many delicious non-dairy options and the mushroom Madeira sauce is as easy as finding a suitable Madeira wine. Serve these with mashed potatoes to soak up the sweet, tangy sauce. Vegetables already included. In fact, if I were you, I'd double and even triple the measly 2 spears of asparagus the restaurant offers per serving.

Certainly cheesecake cannot be ignored. Obviously. And here is where a lot can go wrong, and I am not referring only to the quantity of cheesecake that can be consumed in a single sitting. 

This was one of the many dishes that needed a redo. Surprisingly, when the correct chemical concoction for cheesecake perfection is achieved, the process is quite easy and quick. My first attempt was the Key Lime Cheesecake. While it came out tasting awesome, it was not firm and needed a redo. For the second time (not having the heart to ask the family to eat two of the same flavors of cheesecake in a row..what kind of mother would I have been?), I attempted to make the White Chocolate Raspberry Truffle Cheesecake, this time successfully.

I do not like tofu in my cheesecake, so this one is sans tofu, but does use about 3 tubs of Better Than Cream Cheese. Another alteration was needed since I did not have white chocolate and therefore used regular chocolate chips. 

To complete the whole Cheesecake Factory experience, get yourself a can of Soy Whip or some other whip substitute and squirt to your heart's content.. the Factory certainly does.

Seitan Madeira

Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake

Sep 27, 2011

PPK - american vegan kitchen

Post Punk Kitchen has begun their Cookbook Challenge! For the next 11 weeks, they are challenging the veg community to dive into their vegan cookbooks (assigned weekly) and post to their heart's content. Last year I participated in the week that Tami's American Vegan Kitchen was up, and I am doing so again this year. It is a challenge in itself to not duplicate recipes I've already made and posted about, but I will do my best.

Leafing through the book, Spaghetti Pie with Arrabbiata Sauce jumped out at me, mainly because it looked easy to make. If you turn to the page, perhaps that might not be your first thought upon scanning the ingredients list as it spans the left side of the page. On closer inspection, it becomes a relief that one-third of said ingredients are spices, easily and quickly measured and added to the recipe. The spaghetti is put into a pan, the tofu mixture is added on top and the arrabbiatta sauce (spicy tomato sauce) is spread on top of that. The whole thing is baked and then devoured. At least that's what happened at our table.

We only had a slight problem when it became obvious that the pound of pasta, 2 or so cups of tofu mixture and about a quart of tomato sauce was definitely not going to fit in our baking pan and needed to be divided among two pans. When making it yourself use your judgment. It actually turned out for the better; we scarfed one pan and have the other one waiting in the fridge for the weekend.

Since we are challenging ourselves, the kids challenged me to make dessert. Well, why not? I seldom make sweets and AVK has plenty of it. Chocolate Chip Quick Cake was the natural choice, in keeping with the theme. Very quick (Tami's right!) and delicious. It made just the right amount, too. With five of us, there was nothing left over and no one argued about the last slice since there was none. Perfect. 

Spaghetti Pie

Chocolate Chip Quick Cake

Dec 20, 2010

banana chocolate chip muffin


Making one kind of muffin would not be enough for lunch, so I made not only this delectable Banana Chocolate Chip Muffin, but also Vegan 's Tami's Apple Oat Muffins. They looked so good during MoFo that I couldn't pass them up. These happen to be the only oatmeal muffins my kids went for. Not to say they don't like oatmeal, but combining them with something that shouldn't be healthy throws them off a bit, I guess.

The Banana Muffins are Kate's favorite ones and they, too, disappeared with just a few crumbs left. Easy to make, with just a few bananas, flour and sugar and you are good to go. The sugar in this recipe is very adaptable, so you can make it using 1c or just 1/4 c to make 12 muffins.

Cost Breakdown

flour: $2
sugar: $.50
maple syrup: $1
banana: $2
chocolate chips: $1.50
baking powder and soda: $.25
Total to make 24 muffins:

Banana Chocolate Chip

Apple Oat Muffin

Oct 30, 2010

magic coconut cookie bars

Another Lit Group, another cookie. My kids are really digging my new found baking enthusiasm! Kate chose the cookie for this meeting and because the book was "The Witch of Blackbird Pond," another very appropriate selection. These are Magic Coconut Cookie Bars. Another one out of VCIYCJ, by Moskowitz and Romero.

This one had to be gluten and nut free as well, so I had to omit the nuts and I used a ginger snap cookie (not graham cracker - didn't find any GF) that was gluten free for the called-for base. If you are making these gluten free, add another 15 minutes to the baking time. And note that there is a setting time - overnight.

I have no real idea why my ten year-old would choose this for her 'cookie' selection since it doesn't look like a cookie - and the other girls actually gazed with skepticizm at the bars. They did turn out really well, though, and they all liked it.

Cost Breakdown:
ginger snaps: $5
coconut milk: $1
Earth Balance, sugar: $1.50
chocolate chips, coconut flakes: $3.50
Total to make 24 bars:

Oct 29, 2010

NYC black and white cookies

 Lit Group selection this week was "The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" by Robert Louis Stevenson. Given that the protagonist is also the antagonist, it seemed fitting to bake a cookie that embodied close to the same quality. Of course, Jekyll and Hyde are not complete opposites, although many do consider them to be - the good v. the bad, to use a cliche. Hyde is a part of Jekyll, but not an equal part. Therefore, my cookie being half black and half white does not serve the book accurately, but the teens certainly enjoyed them.

These are not small cookies - they each use a 1/3 c of batter, and I made 26. Except for the one I managed to hide in the oven for David, there remained only a lonely half-eaten piece by the time Lit Group was over.

Out of  Moskowitz's and Romero's "Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar " cookbook, another success! These are citrus cookies with chocolate on one side and glaze on the other. And, in case you've missed past cookie posts - no  eggs or egg-replacers are needed. Occasionally some recipes use flax seed as a replacer, but no commercial egg-replacers are used by the authors.

Cost Breakdown:
powdered sugar: $2
chocolate: $2
nut milk: $.50
citrus juice, zest; $1
oil, sugar: $2
flour, arrowroot, baking powder and soda: $1.50
Total to bake 16 large cookies:

Sep 28, 2010

mexican snickerdoodles - gluten free

Not only did I bake cookies that were gluten, nut, dairy and egg free, but I also made them without bean flour! I would love to take the credit, but Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar by Moskowitz and Romero beat me to it. They use a combo of coconut flour, white rice flour, millet flour, cornstarch and flax meal to sub for the gluten.

I love it! No bean flour.

I made the Mexican Snickerdoodles out of the book and while they say to sub the GF flour on a one to one ratio, I found that the batter needed a little more. Next time I will try refrigerating the batter for a bit since coconut flour absorbs liquid very well and giving it some time might help.

The cayenne pepper in the batter was a little too much for the kids, though, so if you are planning on making them with kids in mind, skip the cayenne. I had made two batches for my group, in case the pepper was too spicy.

The kids loved them and I had no complaints. I'm loving this book :)

Cost Breakdown:
coconut, rice flour, millet flour: $2
cornstarch: $.50
maple syrup, cocoa powder: $1.50
sugar, oil, baking soda: $1.50
Total to make 24 cookies:

Sep 26, 2010

milanos cookies

I baked these Milanos cookies for the Lit Group this week. This is a recipe out of Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar by Isa Moskowitz and Romero.

What is fabulous about this book - besides all of the delectable recipes - is that the authors make it clear that not only are eggs not needed in cookie recipes, but neither is the boxed egg-replacer. What a fabulous revelation! No more whipping the egg-replacer! I am free of that extra, annoying step, not to mention the cost involved :)

Starch is the binder or ground flax seeds. In these cookies, it was just cornstarch! I baked 40 cookies - there was not a single one left after the book club - except for the ones I hid for David, who, btw, thought they were very authentic, these having been his favorite cookies.

Have I mentioned how easy they were to make? I don't think I have made an easier cookie, with less ingredients involved, than these 3 batches. A true pleasure and a heartfelt gratitude to those two geniuses. I can't wait to make something else - and neither can the kids.

Cost Breakdown:
flour, cornstarch, baking powder: $1.50
vanilla, almond milk, orange zest: $.50
chocolate: $1.50
Total to make 18 cookies (1 batch):

Aug 28, 2010

banana french toast

The family has loved the 'Fronch Toast' recipe out of Vegan With a Vengeance, so when I saw 'Banana Rabanada' in Vegan Brunch, we had to give it a try. It is French Toast with bananas and cocoa. Now those two are a match made in heaven, so this recipe was bound to be great.

It was. Very simple to make. The only problem I had was with my cast-iron griddle - I should have used a little more fat to keep them from sticking. The sugar in the bananas were caramelizing the toast and making them stick too much.

Cost Breakdown
bread: $3
almond milk: $1
bananas: $1
cocoa: $.25
maple syrup:  $2
Total to feed a family of 5:

Aug 27, 2010

mocha fudge brownies

Every other Fridays we hike. On alternating Fridays I host a Teen Literature Group. On Literature days I have decided to make a treat for the group and today's was brownies. I made Mocha Fudge Brownies and man were they good! It still bewilders me why people put eggs in these; some recipes I looked at call for 4 eggs! I hope I was able to capture how moist, dense and delicious my eggless brownies are.

There is a need to worry about licking the bowl! My kids really appreciate that :) 

Cost Breakdown:
flour: $.50
Earth Balance: $.75
sugar: $.75
chocolate: $2
coffee: $.50
Total to make 16 pieces: