Tempting Fudge “Ice Cream” with Magical Peanut Butter Shell

Posted by on August 19, 2010 | 31 Comments

Ah, the things I do to taste the latest dairy-free foods. Cooler box packed into the car, we headed down to Reno, and the nearest Whole Foods. Of course, the trip to a town that is 45 minutes (and an “over-the-mountain” trip) away was about more than Whole Foods, we had errands to run. But I never pass up the chance to stop in to buy a few things since we visit less than once a month.

On this trip, I opted to pick up some hemp-based ice cream. I was leary when I first heard about it, but it seems to be getting rave reviews, even from dairy-consuming columnists. We decided to get two pints, and I let my husband pick. He chose Mint-Chip (yes!) and Chocolate Fudge (Really? Are you sure you don’t want the Vanilla Bean?).

Tempt Dairy-Free Hemp Ice Cream

After silently whining about his choice for a few minutes, I realized I could dress up the chocolate ice cream with … hmmm, some peanut butter perhaps?

As it turned out, this stuff tastes pretty awesome, so I really didn’t need a topping. It has a rich fudgsicle flavor with a pleasant chocolate fudge ribbon throughout. Ours did melt slightly in transit, so I think it was more hard packed than a freshly purchased pint. But even so, not the least bit of ice … this stuff was truly dense and rich!

Of course, a hard-shell topping of sweet peanut butter never hurts, and this combo was magically delicious …

Chocolate Fudge Temp Dairy-Free Hemp Ice Cream with Peanut Butter Magical Shell

Alisa’s Magical Peanut Butter Shell

Recipe adapted from my book, Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook.

This is a mini-version of a recipe in my book. I make little batches most of the time because I always forget about leftoveres like this. If you opt to make more, it should actually keep on the counter for a couple of days. If you store it in the fridge, simply reheat to melt when ready to use.

This recipe is Vegan, Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Gluten-Free, Soy-Free, optionally Peanut- and Nut-Free, and optionally Refined Sugar-Free.

  • 2 Teaspoons Creamy Peanut Butter or SunButter (for nut-free)
  • 1.5 Teaspoons Coconut Oil
  • 1 Tablespoon Powdered Sugar or Powdered Coconut Sugar (I ground coconut sugar in my spice grinder)
  • Few Drops of Vanilla Extract (optional)
  • Tiny pinch of salt (omit if using salted PB or SunButter)

In a small dish, melt together the peanut butter or SunButter and the coconut oil (I just place them in the microwave for 10 to 15 seconds if needed). With a fork, whisk in the sugar, vanilla, and salt, if using.

Scoop ice cream, drizzle PB mixture overtop. Watch the magic happen.

Yields enough for 2 ice cream sundaes

Chocolate Fudge Temp Dairy-Free Hemp Ice Cream with Peanut Butter Magical Shell

Chocolate Explosion Oatmeal Cookies

Posted by on July 23, 2010 | 23 Comments

I was in a baking mood and my husband was in a cookie eating mood, so I whipped out my copy of Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar for a little inspiration, and to give the book another go. So far, it has been a little hit and miss … the hits scoring big points, and the misses still tasting okay, but often a bit too sweet and lacking in the performance category.

Fortunately, the Chocolate Fudgey Oatmeal Cookies were a hit with the husband … and I liked them too! I omitted the fruit, and added in more chocolate. Craving perhaps? Anyway, these are the chocolatiest oatmeal cookies I have ever tasted … almost like an oatmeal-spiked brownie.

chocolate explosion oatmeal cookie

I made a few adjustments to the recipe including an ingredient swap or two, but stayed true to the concept. Here is my modified version …

 

Chocolate Explosion Oatmeal Cookies

Recipe adapted from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar. This recipe is Vegan, Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Nut-Free, and Soy-Free.

  • 2 Cups Quick Oats (not instant)
  • 1-2/3 Cups Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
  • 2/3 Cup Cocoa Powder
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 3/4 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1-1/2 Cups Sugar (I have to admit, plain white sugar (organic if you can) is a standout in chocolate cookies and brownies, but if you want a wholesome alternative, feel free to experiment here with evaporated cane juice or granulated palm sugar)
  • 2 Tablespoons Ground Flaxseed
  • 2/3 Cup Unsweetened Milk Alternative (I used coconut milk beverage)
  • 2/3 Cup Olive Oil (extra-light or regular)
  • 2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Cup Chocolate Chips (I used the mini-chips from Enjoy Life Foods)

Preheat your oven to 350ºF.

In a medium-sized bowl, combine the oats, flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the sugar, flax, milk alternative, oil, and vanilla. Stir or mix until smooth.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet, and stir until combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Drop the batter by the heaping spoonful (a couple tablespoons) onto your baking sheets (I lined mine with a silpat). Shape and flatten the cookies slightly, they only spread a wee bit.

Cook for 10 minutes, or until the tops are no longer shiny. I prefer them a little soft in the middle, and 10 minutes seemed to be spot on for this.

Yields 12-16 brownie-like pillows

choc explosion oat cookies

Thick Mexican Chocolate Smoothie

Posted by on May 25, 2010 | 16 Comments

Do you ever associate things in your head that may or may not actually be related? I really have no idea what a classic “Mexican chocolate” type of recipe would entail, but when I think of cinnamon, almonds, and chocolate the label just fits. If your version of Mexican chocolate needs a kick, I suggest a little ginger (fresh, powdered, or crystalized), rather than cayenne, to keep with the sweet smoothie theme.

Dairy-Free Mexican Chocolate Smoothie / Shake

Since I make this beverage so thick, you could call it a shake. But for me, if it is virtuous enough to consume for breakfast, it gets a smoothie title. Shakes are dessert in that rule-oriented brain of mine. Regardless of how you classify it, this is my entry into this month’s …

 

Thick Mexican Chocolate Smoothie

Recipe adapted from Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living.

This is a very flexible recipe and the results will vary depending on the amount of fruit you use, how ripe your fruit is, and how thick you want it. If it comes out too thin, add some more frozen banana, too thick … thin with more milk alternative. Also, for a sweeter option from the get-go and more of  a dessert shake, feel free to use a regular chocolate milk alternative rather than the unsweetened.

This recipe is Vegan / Vegetarian, Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Gluten-Free, Peanut-Free, Soy-Free, Sugar-Free, and Low in Fat.

  • 1 Very Large RIPE Banana (or 1.5 medium bananas), broken into chunks and frozen
  • 3/4 to 1-1/4 Cups Unsweetened Chocolate Almond Milk
  • 1/2 Ounce “Raw” Almonds, ground in a spice grinder (if your blender is really powerful, you may be able to skip the pre-grind)
  • 1 to 2 Teaspoons Cocoa Powder
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
  • Sweetener to taste (optional)

Combine the frozen banana and 3/4 cup of the almond milk in your blender, and pulse to combine. Add more milk alternative as needed to get the consistency you are looking for. I like mine really thick (and spoonable) so I use as little as I can get away with while still getting a smooth blend.

Blend in the ground almonds, cocoa powder to taste (I like just 1 teaspoon, but 2 will give it a richer flavor), and cinnamon.

Since I wait until my bananas are really ripe, I rarely need any added sweetener in this. But give it a taste test, and add in a little of the sweet stuff if desired. You can use stevia, maple syrup, agave nectar, brown sugar, white sugar, sucanat, palm sugar, etc. or for an all-fruit concoction, blend in a fresh date (pitted of course!).

Yields 1 cool and creamy serving

Dairy-Free Mexican Chocolate-Almond Shake

Marvelous Maple Cashew Chocolate Chip Cookies (Gluten-Free & Vegan!)

Posted by on March 22, 2010 | 27 Comments

Unfortunately, an onslaught of review requests these past few months kept me from getting to one of my newest gems, The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook by Alissa Segersten and Tom Malterre. But ever since I finally cracked it open, I haven’t put it down. It is dusted with flours and splattered with oil, and already deemed a staple in my kitchen.

Since this is a recipe blog, not a review blog, I only share those cookbooks here that inspire some delicious recipes, and this one certainly has. Beyond helping me with my new CSA load with a recipe for Balsamic Roasted Beets and another for Collard Wraps, I quickly gained appreciation for the healthified desserts in this cookbook .. and in typical Alisa-fashion, I jumped straight to the cookies!

Gluten-Free and Vegan Maple Cashew Cookies

The Cashew Coconut Cookies were the first to catch my eye. My husband isn’t a big fan of coconut, but I knew an easy swap for chocolate chips would win him over. And as I taste-tested the dough (come on – you always have to taste test the dough, right?!), I thought it was very good, but perhaps just a touch too healthy for our current cravings. The dough had a mild shortbread sweetness, while we were both craving a sweeter treat. So I made a few adjustments and additions, and viola! My slightly less healthy, but still quite virtuous Maple Cashew Chocolate Chip version.

Just so you know – I did try to “gluten” these cookies in a second batch, since I know that many of you don’t have a problem with wheat (all of the recipes in The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook are gluten-free), and may not have the flours and xanthan gum on hand. I replaced the brown rice flour with whole wheat pastry flour and removed the xanthan gum. I kept the starch since these are egg-free. The cookies worked, but just weren’t as good in my opinion; they were a wee bit too sweet and spread a bit more. I actually really like them the gluten-free way. But, if I were to trial them again with wheat, I would probably switch to cornstarch or arrowroot for the tapioca (it seems those starches yield a softer product) and would reduce the maple syrup by a tablespoon or two. It was a bit overpowering with the wheat, but a nice contrast with the brown rice flour. Just wanted to give you a heads up on that, in case you feel like experimenting!

Here is a pic of my wheaty results – I split the wheat batch, trialing some with raisins (pictured), some with cranberries, and some with chocolate chips – the chocolate chips won hands down.

cashew wheat maple cookies

And yes, even though there are no known problems with wheat/gluten in my household, I always keep various gluten-free flours and starches on hand. It started several years back with some recipe-testing for a few gluten-free / casein-free companies … but I quickly learned that the different flours offer new textures and flavors that are yummy in their own right. So, I just sort of kept stocking them. Fortunately, brown rice flour, tapioca starch (see my sub note above) and xanthan gum can now be found in most major grocers with ease.

 

Maple Cashew Chocolate Chip Cookies

I adapted this recipe from The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook by Alissa Segersten and Tom Malterre. These cookies have a unique but addictive flavor that is maple-rich. Once allowed too cool, they are very cohesive, particularly for gluten-free gems, yet they still have a nice cookie dough-esque texture that I simply adored.

This recipe is Vegan, Dairy-Free, Wheat-Free, Gluten-Free, Soy-Free, Peanut-Free, and Refined Sugar-Free.

Preheat your oven to 350ºF.

Place the nuts in your spice grinder (or food processor) and pulse until you get a powdery /coarse flour-like consistency. It is okay if a few little cashew bits remain, but if you go too far with the grinding, the cashews will turn into a nut butter.

In a mediume bowl, combine the cashew flour, brown rice flour, tapioca, baking powder, xanthan gum, and salt. Briefly set aside.

In a mixing bowl, blend the oil, maple syrup, sugar, and water. Blend in the flour mixture until you get a nice dough. Stir in the chocolate chips.

The dough may seem a bit sticky / greasy, but I still found it fairly easy to loosely shape into balls and place on the cookie sheet (I line mine with a silicone baking mat). If the dough is just too much to handle, pop it in the fridge for about 10-15 minutes, it will firm up quickly. Flatten the dough balls a bit – these cookies don’t spread much as they cook, so what you see is what you get.

Bake the cookies for 12 minutes. Remove them to a wire rack to cool for at least 15 minutes. If your husband’s greedy hands try to pop them off the baking sheet while hot, they will be crumbly, but they do firm up quite a bit as they cool.

Yields 18 to 20 cookies

gluten-free vegan maple cashew cookies

Hearty Oat Chocolate Chippers (Gluten-Free & Vegan)

Posted by on June 25, 2009 | 16 Comments

Though I have finally migrated from the “Lite Bites” section of Cookies for Everyone! to the “Drop Cookies,” I still went straight for the Hearty Chocolate Chippers. My cookie cravings lately seem to be intertwined with my body’s call for nutrition. But a cookie is a cookie after all, and still a worthy indulgence in my book. 

Oaty / Hearty Chocolate Chippers

As you can see, my cookies are a bit on the toasty side. Not burnt by any means, and still utterly delicious, but about 2 minutes past their prime. I believe there is a slight faux pas in the original recipe, which calls for too long of a cooking time (me thinks the 2’s should be 1’s). Luckily, I caught them before they turned into hockey pucks, and while they were still tender and delicious! I have adapted the recipe below to reflect the correct cooking time and any of my minor ingredient changes. Enjoy!

Hearty Oat Chocolate Chippers

Adapted from Cookies for Everyone! by Leslie Hammond and Betsy Laakso

This recipe is Vegan, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free*, Egg-Free, Peanut-Free, Tree Nut-Free, Soy-Free, Wheat-Free, and relatively Low Fat. See ingredient links and notes for best options to keeping this “free-from” profile.

  • 1 Cup Brown Sugar, Packed
  • 1/4 Cup Grapeseed, Canola, or Vegetable Oil
  • 1/4 Cup Water or Milk Alternative of choice (plain or vanilla)
  • 1/2 Cup Unsweetened Applesauce
  • 1/4 Cup Flax Meal
  • 1 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Cup White or Brown Rice Flour [I used brown. keepin’ them hearty!]
  • 1/2 Cup Oat Flour* [original recipe calls for sorghum flour]
  • 1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
  • 2 Cups Rolled Oats**, Quinoa, or Rice Flakes [I used oats]
  • 1 Cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips

Preheat your oven to 350ºF (180°C, or gas mark 4).

With a mixer or by hand, cream together the brown sugar, oil, water or milk alternative, applesauce, flax, and vanilla until smooth.

Add the remaining ingredients except for the oats and chocolate chips, and mix until dough is well combined.  Add the oats and mix again until all ingredients are combined.  Stir in the chocolate chips.

Use a small ice cream/cookie scoop or drop dough by rounded tablespoon onto the baking sheet.  Flatten slightly.

Bake for about 15 to 18 minutes, or until the cookies are lightly browned and semi-soft to the touch in the middle.  Let cookies sit for a few minutes before removing from baking sheet.  Remove from baking sheet to a flat surface (like a large plate) or wire rack to cool completely before enjoying.

* To make oat flour (gluten-free or regular), place some oats in your spice grinder and whiz for about 30 seconds, or until they are pulverized into a flour.

** To keep these cookies gluten-free, use certified gluten-free oats or use the sorghum flour and choose quinoa or rice flakes over the oats.

Yields 3 dozen medium-sized chippers

heartychocolatechippers

Giveaways This Week:

Don’t Forget Mom!

Posted by on April 30, 2009 | 2 Comments

The clock is ticking … just over a week until Mother’s Day. I am doing my best to plan ahead so I don’t end up in a last minute panic calling a local florist where my mom lives. In fact, I gathered together some of my top Mother’s Day Foodie Picks, including recipes for homemade gifts and awesome premade gifts for purchase. All of the “to purchase” items are ones I have sampled myself and consider worth the money rather than overpriced bundles monopolizing on the necessity of this special day. Nuf said.

[Note: All of my picks are “friendly” for lactose intolerance and other milk-free dieters, as well as vegans and other special diets; but seriously, they are just plain awesome, free-from diet or not!]

I had planned on doing something homemade. Definitely including dark chocolate and almonds, since my mom loves both. But … after getting a gander at the Mom’s Day Box from Premium Chocolatiers, I may not be able to resist sending her this …

Premium Chocolatiers

Premium Chocolatiers

My article on Mother’s Day Picks included Premium Chocolatiers, but that was even before I saw this new heart box filled with “milk” and dark chocolates. From a value perspective, I am still loyal to their traditional truffle box. But, when that extra-special packaging and a few more truffles are required, this may be worth the step up. In case you hadn’t heard, Premium Chocolatiers runs a dedicated dairy-free and nut-free facility … and their chocolates are deee-lish-us!

Okay, with all of that over-indulgence out of the way, I will be back tomorrow with a healthier post and this weekend with a giveaway!

Gifts from the Kitchen: Gingerbread Granola

Posted by on December 22, 2008 | 6 Comments

The baking bug hit me this weekend, so I decided to prepare some treats to give to friends this holiday season.  I was a bit torn on what to make since I would be shipping some of the items, when the weekly email from Meatout Mondays arrived suggesting holiday granola.  Brilliance!  Unable to stop with one flavor, I baked three different kinds, and while those were in the oven, I whipped up some truffles too!  It was an all-day venture for the amounts produced, but relaxing and fun. Now, onto the granola and a recipe …

Granola Flavor #1: I made my tried and true Home Baked Granola from Go Dairy Free, my cookbook/guide; it is a maple, cinnamon, raisin type flavor.  I stayed faithful to my recipe but opted to go all walnuts for the nuts.

Granola Flavor #2: Some slight modifications to my original recipe produced a delightful Vanilla Cranberry Almond Granola.  For those of you who have Go Dairy Free, simply increase the oats in the Home Baked Granola by 1/2 cup (to 4 cups) and use 1 1/2 cups of sliced almonds for all of the nuts.  Then, swap the maple syrup for honey (I did try agave nectar, but both my husband and I agreed it tasted a bit “off” in this recipe), increase the vanilla extract to 1 tablespoon, and substitute 1/2 t ground nutmeg for the cinnamon (or you can stick with the cinnamon if you like) and dried sweetened cranberries for the raisins.

Granola Flavor #3: My husband is not a ginger fan, so I have kept my desires for a ginger granola locked away in a vault. But, with the holidays upon us (and some ginger-loving friends), it seemed like the perfect opportunity for me to break loose and finally create that Gingerbread Granola I had been dying to try out!  This really is an all new recipe, quite different from my traditional one, so I am very happy to share it here (recipe below).  Thus far, from us ginger lovers, it has received 2 thumbs up, and the smell is awesome when it is baking!

Gingerbread Granola

This recipe is Vegan, Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Soy-Free, Peanut-Free, and Wheat-Free. You can make it Nut-Free by using your favorite seeds in place of the cashews and Gluten-Free by using those trusty Gluten-Free Oats, if they work for you.

4 Cups Rolled Oats
1/2 Cup Unsweetened Coconut (shredded or “chips”)
1 Cup (5 ounces) Raw Cashews, Coarsely Chopped
1/2 to 2/3 Cup Light or Dark Brown Sugar, Firmly Packed
1 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
1 Teaspoon Ground Ginger
1/2 Teaspoon Ground Allspice or Nutmeg
1/4 Teaspoon Ground Cloves
1/4 Cup Molasses
1/3 Cup Grapeseed, Extra-Light Olive, or melted Coconut Oil (or your baking oil of choice)
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
1/3 Cup Finely Minced Crystalized Ginger (optional) – I actually used the “uncrstalized” ginger from Trader Joe’s, which is still sweetened and gummy-like, but doesn’t have sugar crystals coating it; I liked the uncrystalized version best 

Preheat your oven to 250ºF (120ºC). In a large bowl, combine the oats, coconut, cashews, brown sugar, and the spices, stirring everything together until well distributed. In a separate bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients, except for the crystalized/uncrystalized ginger. Stir this wet mixture into the oats and nuts, until everything is very well coated. Spread the mixture into one or two large, ungreased glass baking dishes (I use a 9 x 13-inch). Bake the granola for 60-75 minutes, checking in to give it a stir every 15 minutes. When done, transfer the granola to a large bowl and stir in the minced ginger, if using. Since the ginger will be a bit sticky, make sure you mix it up well to separate. Once cool, store it in an airtight container.

Nut-Free Option: Substitute the cashews with any combination of additional oats, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, soy nuts, and/or additional coconut.

My notes on baking time: I have tried turning up the heat to shorten the time, but without fail, it burns.  This slow bake process produces a better granola in my opinion, and you have much more control over the doneness.  If you use metal pans, I find that the granola browns much more quickly, so keep a sharp eye!

My notes on sugar: I use a very firmly packed 1/2 cup, but if you want a sweeter, more dessert-like granola, you can up it a bit.

As for the truffles, I made the Peanut Butter “Truffles” and the Bittersweet Truffles (vegan and soy-free too!), both recipes from Go Dairy Free. For the Bittersweet ones, I made a plain vanilla variety, some with chocolate coating and some with a dusting of both cocoa powder and powdered sugar.  But, I couldn’t resist making a “Hint O’ Mint” batch too.  I chocolate coated those and put candy cane bits on top to help identify them. If you want to try the mint version, I added 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons of mint extract (I can’t remember which! But you can taste-test to your desired amount) and 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract to the whole batch.

Note the bags of granola in the background … it was easy to get carried away!

Frugal Foodie Notes & Tips:

I am a big believer in homemade gifts, as that is what I would prefer to receive.  It just means so much more when you know the work and love that wen into it.  Of course, it also saves a bundle …

Granola Cost: Approximately $2.00 per 30-ounce batch

The granola made 3 10-ounce bags to give as gifts (or consume at home!).  I purchase the oats in bulk ($.99/lb for organic, $.69/lb for regular – I stock up on either when on sale), the coconut in bulk (usually $2/lb or less) and I get the cashews in a 1 lb bag (raw) from Fresh & Easy for $5 (I believe they are also a good price at Trader Joe’s). I then use a coupon at the store for $4 off $20 or $6 off $30 (often available on the Fresh & Easy website) to bring the overall cost of my shopping trip down a bit more. I do buy organic brown sugar at Trader Joe’s, as I find the taste to be far superior, and it comes in a ziploc bag, which is a must for the dry conditions here that immediately turn brown sugar into a rock. I stocked up on Grapeseed oil at Fresh & Easy when they were blowing out large bottles of it for just $3!  I also buy the spices in bulk and the vanilla at Trader Joe’s. I calculated the cost of each batch previously and it comes out to about $2 for the full 30 ounces, and trust me, home baked granola tastes way better (and way more fresh) than store bought!

Truffle Cost: Approximately $4.00 for 4 dozen truffles

As for the truffles, Fresh & Easy had a great discount on their big 1lb plus dark chocolate bars for $1.99 per bar (it is OEM’ed from Scharffenberger).  I made the entire batch of truffles (4 dozen!) for about $4 … and they were awesome!  Beat that Godiva!

 

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