This cookie recipe is one from my BHG archives. My mom and I always used their "New Cookbook" (published in the early 90's I believe) for our Christmas cookie recipes back in the day. This cookbook has any type of cookie you could possibly desire with easy and simple to follow recipes. Making their baking recipes into vegan versions isn't so difficult anymore, especially if you use aquafaba. 😋
These cookies are as low maintenance as you can get: one bowl, use your mixer for easy clean up and easy mixing, and no rolling required! As cute as cutout cookies are, they are time consuming and temperamental. This dough comes together quickly with the help of a mixer and paddle attachment, if you have one. Once it's done, chill it for about 20 minutes while you heat up your oven and then use a mini ice cream scoop or teaspoon to portion out cookie drops.
The original recipe (linked at the beginning of the ingredient section) calls for banana butter icing. Instead of going through the trouble of making icing, I decided to make these cookies interesting by transforming them into "chunky monkey" cookies. There are chocolate chips and walnut pieces inside each little cookie, which offer crunch and richness. If you prefer to keep these cookies more simple, you can omit the chocolate and nuts.
Also, these are great to make for a last minute cookie swap or holiday get together if you have a spare banana lying around like I usually do. 😅 Enjoy and grab one for yourself. 💝
Yield: About 24 Cookies
Adapted from: Better Homes and Gardens Banana Drop Cookies
Holiday baking is something that I normally go overboard on...but I feel so behind today! I know it's only the Monday after Thanksgiving, but I feel like Christmas is already here. Lights and decorations are going up all around me and all I have to show are two dish towels with reindeer on them. 😳
#firstworldrpoblems, I guess...
I decided to bake some quick, easy, delicious and somewhat healthy cookies for this post. I'm a huge fan of Chocolate Covered Katie, one of the best dessert blogs I've ever encountered. She makes easy recipes that have accessible ingredients, delicious crave-able flavors, and offers all the substitutions you never knew you needed. Her blog was one of the first ones I read when I started to experiment with vegan baking. I had no idea what stevia was and had no clue that you could bake a cake in the microwave. She showed me the truth and I am bestowing my knowledge unto you now.
Behold! My recreation of a recipe from CCK's cookbook (which you should probably buy):
These pixie cookies are delicate and fluffy drops of cake-like chocolate with a hint of cool peppermint and rolled in powdered sugar to make them look like they've been on a romp in the snow. ❄️☃ These take only 12-15 minutes to bake and they are small, so if you are feeding a crowd of up to 9 people, you're perfectly fine without doubling the recipe. Also, if you have peppermint extract (or peppermint stevia at your own risk), you can whip these cookies up any time because they only use staple pantry ingredients. My rendition has a few minor changes so make sure you check the ingredients in case you need to plan ahead. Otherwise, whip up a batch now and join me in cookie heaven! 🍪🍫😇💖
Mint Chocolate Pixie Cookies
Adapted from Chocolate-Covered Katie
Free from: Gluten, Refined Sugar, Nuts, Soy*
Yield: About 18-24 cookies
I'll spare you the anecdotes and get right to the Thanksgiving food porn. I've listed everything I made for my first Thanksgiving dinner here. I will be seeing my immediate family this weekend where a second feast will take place. I'm blessed to have amazing family and friends who allow my boyfriend and I to bring our own food. I'm also grateful for my mom and dad who make sure that all our sides are vegan so that I can eat everything I want!
I wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving and a festive weekend. I hope for those that work, you take a moment for yourself in any way you can. You deserve it.
Now, feast your eyes...😳😍🍂🍃🦃🍁🌳💝
Purple Sweet Potato Pie Bars
Mini Pumpkin Pies
Vegan Green Bean Casserole
No recipe for this...I literally threw it together. But, if you want a good homemade recipe recommendation, see The Minimalist Baker. We made this version last year and it was delicious. This year, i just approximated everything. It's a very forgiving dish. Also, we used an entire container of fried onions because it's time to feast.
Rustic Mashed Red Bliss Potatoes
Again, no real recipe. I can tell you roughly how I did this:
About two years ago, I made three different types of cake doughnuts to celebrate the fall season. Now, I'm back to make a new incarnation of one of them. I'm taking my pumpkin doughnut and throwing some fun Halloween flavors on top of it! Pumpkin and s'mores always seemed like two things that could be good together. I finally figured out how to successfully integrate them: pumpkin spice vegan marshmallows. 😮🎃
Once i found these precious gems, I knew I had to grab them. I was overcome by the pumpkin spice spell once more. The base recipe of these doughnuts is formulated from Erin McKenna's Babycakes Covers the Classics, which was one of the first all gluten-free vegan baking books I ever bought. It opened my eyes to what would ultimately become my fabulous vegan cake recipe, which I am very proud of! Its origins stemmed from how McKenna bakes at her bakeries. Although it isn't exactly the same, it's similar in the types of flours that I combine together.
I love these doughnuts because they are light and spongey but also moist. I used to be a huge fiend of cake doughnuts growing up. Unfortunately, I only ever had Dunkin's until I was older and discovered wonderful places like Voodoo Doughnut, Dottie's Donuts, The Cinnamon Snail, and Dunwell Doughnuts. Now, I am a doughnut explorer. I try all varieties as long as the flavor suits me. I'm also a fan of fritters. 😜
These doughnuts are safe for those who do not wish to worry about gluten or sugar overload while enjoying a delicious fall treat. The fixins on this doughnut do contain sugar, but the batter itself only calls for coconut sugar. You can also substitute an appropriate amount of stevia at your own risk. I recommend enjoying these with your friends/family/cat/dog and a nice hot cup of something. Enjoy and have a spooky weekend.
Pumpkin S'mores Doughnuts
Free from: Soy*, Gluten, Nuts*
You only need a small amount of ganache to drizzle onto the doughnuts so your marshallow and cookie crumbs will stick. If you have leftover, you can always use it to top ice cream later. 😏
Adjust the amount of milk/chocolate as needed for a thicker or thinner consistency. You can use a thick ganache to dip the doughnuts in for more of a glaze effect or drizzle a thinner ganache on top for a fun texture!
Fall is here!
This October, my posts are going to be Halloween all the way. Candy-themed delights, fun colors, and fall-inspired flavors. I'm kicking it off today with a doozy: Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Cake !
One of my favorite candies growing up were Reese's peanut butter cups. This was a strange anomaly for me, however, because I actually despised peanut butter throughout my childhood and adolescence. It wasn't until college did I finally warm up to nut butters. Being a broke vegetarian responsible for buying food will foster creativity.
I began to try almond butter around this time, which I didn't totally dislike. I think this was mostly because of almond butter's more mild flavor. I also bought all natural almond butter, because it was all I could find at the time. I had grown up finding regular sickeningly sweet and pungent peanut butter horrifying, especially to smell.
Once I decided that almond butter wasn't so bad, I decided to try sunflower butter. That stuff, man. Let me tell you, I became infatuated immediately. It's deliciously sweet, a little roasty, creamy and mild in smell. I loved it and couldn't get enough of it.
After buying a couple jars, I realized that sunflower butter was very expensive. So, I decided to finally give peanut butter another go. This time, I bought creamy all-natural peanut butter with no added sweeteners or oils. I was amazed. The texture was very similar to the almond butter that I used to buy. The taste was a little more pungent than sunflower butter, but it still had the earthy tang that I had grown to love.
I've been a huge peanut butter advocate ever since. Actually, I've grown to love all types of nut and seed butters. I'll try anything that's creamy and spreadable.
But, anyway, back to peanut butter cups!
I've actually always loved peanut butter cups. I'm a big chocolate fan, as many people are. I found the sweet and roasty chocolate a great foil to the peanut butter as a child. The overly-sweet peanut butter icing inside was tolerable just because of how sweet it was. I think if I had never grown to like peanut butter cups, I would still be averted to peanut butter today. So, even though Reese's are certainly not vegan, they did help me to move towards a path of peanut acceptance in my later life. So, for that, I thank them. <3
As for this cake, I've combined my age-old love of chocolate and peanut butter and created a cake that's perfect for celebrating the greatness of anything, weddings, birthdays, Halloweens, Christmases, anything you want! For me, peanut butter cups are almost a symbol of Halloween in today's consumer culture. So, why not play along a little? Except, ditch all the junk. You don't need that cramping your cake style.
I always opt for natural (or if not, organic) peanut butter. I don't really like extra sugar or salt in my nut butters, but if they are GMO-free, they're alright in small amounts. The sugar I used is also organic, to ensure that it contains no animal products or GMO's.
The mousse was fun to make. I very loosely consider it to be a "recipe" here, since I just whipped up some aquafaba and mixed in peanut butter and sweetener. Nothing too complicated, but the result is to die for!
As far as the decoration of the cake, I went for a very simple look. This could also be done as a super lazy sheet or pan cake. After the cake is cooled completely, just layer the mousse on first and spread evenly. Then, pour the melted ganache all over the top to seal it. Let the cake sit in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight and you will have an equally delicious and no-muss no-fuss cake to serve and eat immediately! Alternatively, you can cut, fill and ice it like me. But only if you want to. 😛
Here's to a very delicious October and Halloween! 🎃
Peanut Butter Cup Cake
Preheat oven 350 F.
Again. this is a rough recipe as ganache is pretty easy to eyeball. You want a consistency that is pourable yet thick enough to hold its shape. I'd say a 1 to 1 ratio of chocolate to liquid is a good starting point, and then add more of either to adjust as needed. Definitely let the ganache cool for at least 15 minutes before garnishing your cake. Otherwise, it will run everywhere!
In a small saucepan, melt the chocolate and coconut milk together on low heat. Stir constantly with a rubber spatula. When mixture is fully melted with no lumps, remove from heat and let cool before using, or pour directly onto some ice cream (if you happen to have any). 😜
Assembly and Decoration
For the assembling of the cake, I made a slide show to demonstrate how to put everything together. If you've never iced a cake before, then I suggest you search a tutorial because I haven't got one here just yet!
It's simple, but if you don't want to be bothered, I totally understand. That's the beauty of making cake...you can do it so many ways! Bake in a sheet pan, slap the layers on and be done!
But, if you want to be fancy, here are the steps:
So, I recently made my very first batch of lemon bars.
I'm just one of those people who doesn't particularly favor lemon desserts. I love adding lemon as an accent to a savory dish. Nothing beats a fresh pop of lemon juice in sauces and marinades. I also add lemon to my water and tea when I'm feeling congested. It does wonders!
I guess my main issue with lemon desserts was always that they tasted too extreme for me. I never cared for the intense taste of sour and sweet together. This combination always made me think of Sour Patch Kids or Warheads. My teeth hurt just thinking about it!
However, this past mother's day I decided to put my differences with lemon aside for my grandma. She loves lemon desserts. One of her favorite things is lemon meringue pie, which is definitely not something I care for. I wanted to try to make her something that I could enjoy too. What a challenge!
Luckily, I found a simple and seemingly delicious recipe from the one and only Minimalist Baker blog. I use Dana's recipes all the time if I need to make a quick batch of something for an impromptu meal (biscuits, pancakes, cupcakes, you name it). I love her recipes for their simplicity, short lists of ingredients, and quick prep times. I figured that she would have a trustworthy lemon bar recipe in her archives.
I was definitely right in choosing this one (link below). The texture of these bars is similar to cheesecake, amazingly creamy and refreshing. I used a shortbread recipe for the crust, but I followed the filling recipe as it was. The result was incredible. The lemon flavor wasn't overpowering at all. I also love how the maple syrup provides a mellow and rich sweetness that does not shock your taste buds. Needless to say, the bars were a hit!
And now, for the twist.
When I looked in the pantry the other day, I noticed I had a box of Choice Batter muffin mix. I brought this mix home with the thought of, "Well, I'll keep this on hand in case of emergency." In my mind, muffin crisis is always just around the corner. You need to be prepared.
I also wanted to give Choice Batter a try since I've seen their products many times. Their bake mixes are allergen-free, which means gluten-free, egg-free, and dairy-free! The recipe on the box also calls for just oil and water, which keeps the muffins vegan.
Then I got to thinking, "What if these muffins had cheesecake on top of them?" Well, that was when I channeled my inner Sandra Lee and whipped up a "semi-homemade" lemon bar concoction. I changed the ratio of liquids in the boxed muffin recipe to make them more dense and I added some more lemony essence with the help of freshly squeezed and zested organic lemons.
Then, I made some of Dana's lemon bar filling and poured it right over the muffin batter in a brownie pan. The rest is self explanatory. The finished product is a delicious square of lemon poppy seed and cheesecake goodness. The cheesecake layer is thin so it does not provide a gunky mouth feel, which cheesecake sometimes can in large amounts. The bars are satisfying, bright, slightly sweet, and creamy.
These little squares are great for baking ahead and bringing to your weekend get together or BBQ (hint hint, Memorial Day)! They are also free of many allergens (except cashews!) so they will be a safe treat for almost everyone to enjoy. Also, you technically made these at home, so you can have bragging rights. No one needs to know that Choice Batter gave you a head start. ;) Or, maybe they do! Thank you, Choice Batter! ^_^
Have a great weekend, everyone! Enjoy the sun and the lemons!
Lemon Poppy Seed Cheesecake Bars
Free from: Gluten, Soy*
Yield: about 9 servings
Cheesecake topping recipe adapted from Minimalist Baker Lemon Bars
Happy New Year!
What is my resolution this year? Well, I certainly want to post more often. That was my resolution last year and I definitely succeeded! I'd like to try to top myself this year and try to post even more often. I also want to try to vary my recipes a little more. I did make a lot of cookies this year, by the way. I think it's time to move on. I mean, I'll still make cookies, but just not as many. ^_^'
I usually have a New Year's promise every year to be more healthy. I think I've over done this in the past, however. I tried to be "healthy" by eating more raw foods a couple years ago. I tried to be about 75% raw every day and mostly succeeded. However, my body was not happy. The way I ate was doing a number on my digestive system. I just couldn't handle the amount of raw foods I was eating. I was also eating far too much sugar.
Now that I know what types of foods agree with my body and how much of them to eat, being healthy is a breeze! I haven't felt better in a very long time. I eat what I want for the most part, not too much though, and I drink plenty of water and tea. I use vitamin supplements to keep my health as optimal at possible. I also try to cook simple dishes at home using seasonal ingredients. I try to keep my sugar intake down as much as possible.
That's all I do! I always shake my head when I think about all the time I wasted "dieting" and "cleansing". I felt worse when I wanted to feel better. I think that I've found a way to make things that I want while also making them more healthful and balanced . If you don't consume too much of anything, you won't try to compensate by adding or eliminating anything else! Makes sense, right?
The most flavorful part of these pancakes is the chocolate hazelnut butter drizzle for the top. This is where the bulk of fat and sugar comes from, so use this as much or as little as you'd like to control the sweetness.
I used Justin's chocolate hazelnut butter, which is an all-natural alternative to the very popular yet junky Nutella. Nutella is definitely just frosting that is posing as hazelnut butter. What a strange thing, right?
Well, fear not! If you have a craving for something delicious, creamy and full of chocolate flavor, whip up these pancakes for breakfast, lunch, dinner or dessert! They're small, so sharing is optional. ;)
Chocolate Hazelnut Pancakes
Yield: approx 6-2" round pancakes
Free of: Gluten, Refined Sugar*
Here's to a healthy and delicious 2016!
The highlight of my Christmas baking has and always will be snickerdoodles.
I absolutely love them. I love them so much, that I made them for my very first blog post!
When I first began baking without eggs or dairy, I thought recreating something as simple as a snickerdoodle (my favorite cookie ever) wouldn't be challenging at all. Boy, was I totally wrong! There's something that eggs do in a snickerdoodle recipe that really makes a difference. The puffy, cakey yet slightly crisp texture sets the snickerdoodle apart from its sugar cookie cousin. Sugar cookies are nice, sure, but they're pretty flat in texture. Even if you add baking powder and soda to your recipe, it doesn't come close to achieving the rise that I expect from a snickerdoodle batter.
Since my discovery of aquafaba, I've been curious to see what its effect on cookies would be. I've used it for the first time in my cookies this year and my goodness. I'm hooked! Aquafaba combined with Ener-G egg replacement powder is the best thing to happen to my cookies since coconut sugar. This combination of binding power and rising agent gives cookies the fluff that I was missing so much.
The best thing about using aquafaba for these cookies is that they stay up! My main issue with making snickerdoodles before was that their rise was great in the oven, but deflated once they cooled. Using aquafaba is wonderful because it maintains the cookie's shape in any temperature. These cookies freeze beautifully, too. Feel free to make these ahead of time if you are busy. I totally did that and no one knew! ;)
The greatest thing about this recipe is that it's derived from the recipe that I know and love from my childhood. My grandma used to make these with my sister and I when we were little. I looked forward to it every Christmas. The ones we made were not gluten-free, but the ones I have for you today are!
This recipe does hold up to it's gluten-containing counterpart. I tested the batter by using unbleached all-purpose flour in place of the gluten-free flours (sub 1 for 1) and it's great! The texture changes slightly, but not in a bad way. The gluten-free variation is actually a little more on the moist side, which isn't a bad thing at all!. The gluten-containing version is a little more sturdy and not as soft. Either way, they are absolutely delicious and simple to make.
I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday! New Year's is right around the corner, too, so maybe make these little guys for any shin-dig you may attend/host! They're definitely a crowd pleasing cookie. From my kitchen to yours, Happy New Year! <3 ^_^
Oven 375 F.
I've got another scrumptious cookie recipe for you! These beauties were something that I decided to do at the last minute and I was surprised and delighted when they came out well! These cookies are definitely not as healthy as some of my other recipes have been. However, I think that sometimes a treat is a treat and should be enjoyed for what it is (unless of course you have allergies).
These cookies may be sweet, but they are also rich with dark chocolate flavor. If you use a high quality cocoa powder, you will be baking wonderful antioxidants into your cookies! Those are good for you, right? ;)
The chocolate chips and marshmallows really make these cookies what they are supposed to mimic: a comforting cup of hot cocoa. I used Dandies brand marshmallows, which are wonderful. They also recently updated their packaging and I think it looks amazing! If you are looking for another great vegan marshmallow, try Sweet & Sara. Those are also delicious and a little bit more gourmet since they offer more flavors. If you're gonna go out of your way to get a vegan marshmallow, you might as well go all out, right? ^_^
I'm sorry if I'm pushy in this post. I just really love these cookies and I want you to try them. Now.
Hot Cocoa Cookies
Yield: approx 35 cookies
Free of: Gluten, Soy*, Nuts
*make sure to use soy-free chocolate, non-dairy milk, and marshmallows
I was trying to figure out what type of quick bread to make for the holidays this year. I always gravitate towards the same flavors like carrot, chocolate or date. However, I decided to mix it up this year with a quick bread that I actually haven't made in quite a long time. It's really familiar this time of year, though.
You got it.
Also, this is the second recipe in a row to have the word "crunch" in it. How fun! =P
I haven't made my own gingerbread in a long time, and it's a shame. I love molasses and ginger together. There's a great depth of flavor that molasses brings to the table that I don't indulge in very often. What a shame, right?
In addition to being rich and dark in flavor, molasses has wonderful and unparalleled health benefits that not other sweetener can offer. Just take a look at the Wikipedia page for molasses. There are a variety of important minerals that molasses supplies. These are especially important for vegans, since minerals and vitamins are spread out among all types of plant foods. We have to be a little more mindful in choosing our food in order to supply our bodies with proper nutrients. I find it kind of fun. It gives me a reason to pay more attention to what I'm eating and what ingredients I'm using!
With molasses supplying iron, magnesium and calcium, it's a bit of a superfood! I decided to let the molasses be the star of my gingerbread, so I did not add any refined sugars. I added some maple syrup for a boost of sweetness and maple flavor, but nothing more! If you feel as though you'd like this bread to be more sweet, try added in some coconut or brown sugar to maintain a warm depth of flavor.
We all know that indulgence his high around this time of year, don't we? ;)
My goal with recipe writing these days is to come up with treats that will appeal as something special and festive while also providing health benefits. I like to think that everything I cook or bake has something to offer my body. This recipe shows just that but also feeds my heart with joy and comfort! ^_^
I hope it does the same for you! <3
Maple Pecan Crunch Gingerbread
Oven 350 F.
This is my very first food blog! I post revised conventional recipes of foods that I hold near and dear to my heart. My cooking here is all gluten-free and cruelty-free, but full of flavor and comfort.