Saturday, December 21, 2013

Chewy Molasses Ginger Cookies with Dark Chocolate Drizzle (Vegan)

I've always loved molasses cookies. Soft, chewy, spicy, they are the ultimate winter cookie. My brother used to live down the street from this cute little bakery called Ginger Betty's and as I'm sure you can imagine they sold all types of gingerbread cookies. Among the largest population of gingerbread men and women I've ever seen there can be found a stack of the thickest, chewiest molasses cookies. They were no ordinary amazing-looking molasses cookies, no, they are drizzled in dark chocolate. You know how sometimes you don't even realize something is missing something until you see the new version of that something and you suddenly find yourself thinking, "Of course! Why didn't I think of that?". Well, that's exactly what I thought when I saw those cookies.

On Wednesday Sam and I flew into Boston to begin our ten day vacation visiting my family for the holidays. The trip is flying by so far. I can't believe it's already Saturday. Today we're hanging out with my sister and her adorable dog in their New Hampshire cottage before heading back down to Rhode Island in a couple days. It's been a lot of fun hanging out with the Fam. It's been awhile since we've all been together, especially for Christmas. And it's been really great having Sam around this year!

And since I am in New England where I first discovered these delicious cookies I thought it was only fitting to post them today. I found this recipe last year and it exactly the type of cookie I was looking for. I only needed to make minor changes to get it absolutely perfect. This recipe is so good that I had a friend last year buy me all the ingredients so that I could keep baking him more and more cookies. 

Chewy Molasses Ginger Cookies with Dark Chocolate Glaze
Slightly adapted from Lunch Box Bunch
  • 2 cups whole spelt flour
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 1/2-2 tablespoons ground ginger (depending on how spicy you like them)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/3 cup unrefined coconut oil, softened
  • 1/3 cup blackstrap molasses
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup vegan cane sugar
  • 1 teaspoon unrefined coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup vegan dark chocolate chips
Makes 2 dozen cookies.
In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside. In a medium bowl, stir together the coconut oil, molasses and vanilla. Mix the wet mix into the dry until the dry ingredients are completely mixed in. Place the dough on wax paper and form into a log, wrap the paper around it and place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

Once the dough has chilled, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Unwrap the dough and slice it about every half inch and then cut those slices in half. Take the half circles of dough and roll them in to balls and put to the side. Place the cane sugar in the bowl and roll each ball of dough in the sugar and then place the dough on a silpat or greased baking sheet. Flatten the dough slightly. These cookies don't spread too much, I easily fit a dozen on each sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes, the cookies should still feel soft when you pull them from the oven, they will harden as they cool.

Allow the cookies to cool on a sheet of wax paper at least 15 minutes. In the meantime, you can begin melting the chocolate chips and coconut oil in a double boiler or as I usually do, a heat safe bowl over a sauce pan 1/3 of the way filled with water. Be sure to stir frequently so that the chocolate doesn't burn, it also speeds up the process. Once the chocolate is melted and smooth, use the spoon the drizzle the chocolate over the cookies. Allow the chocolate to cool and harden, to expedite this you can place them in the fridge. You will most likely have some chocolate left over, but I'm sure you'll find a way to put them to good use.

Once the chocolate has hardened serve with a glass of your favorite kind of eggnog. Here are some homemade recipes I've been wanting to try:
Vegan Eggnog-Soy Free -Maple Spice
You Gotta Love Raw Vegan Egg Nog -This Rawsome Vegan Life
Healthy Vegan Eggnog -A Baking Girl

Do you have a good homemade vegan eggnog recipe? If so, please share below!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Hazelnut Biscotti (Vegan)

Happy Monday! It seems like it's been forever since I've posted a new recipe. I was busy in the kitchen this past week, unfortunately making a bunch of flops and the experiments that did come out well I managed to get horrible photos of (curse the sun setting so early and leaving me no natural light!). Fortunately, I have an awesome boyfriend who surprised me by building me a photo box! So between that and the Ottlite he bought me, I can take well-lit pictures day or night! Which is great because once I make something it doesn't stick around for long, I don't normally have the luxury of waiting until the next day to take the picture. I have to maintain a now or never mentality. I don't mean any of this as a complaint, I take it as a compliment that my food rarely lives to see the morning light.

Anyway, moving on. I love making biscotti. I'm not exactly sure why, I've always just found it fun. So when I was trying to come up with a Christmas gift to give my boss, I figured what better to give the ultimate coffee lover than biscotti? (I'm also giving he and his wife a bottle of my homemade vanilla extract). I decided to keep with a simple and classic biscotti. Sometimes around the holidays you get so weighed down with such strong flavors it's nice to have something that doesn't overwhelm your senses and of course, pairs perfectly with your morning coffee. For this recipe I again adapted it from A Baking Girl's recipe for her cranberry biscotti. It's just such a great basic recipe! I look forward to many more adaptations! These biscotti are deliciously crunchy and taste fantastic on their own or dipped in a hot cup of coffee or hot chocolate. 

Hazelnut Biscotti
Adapted from A Baking Girl
  • 3 cups whole spelt flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3/4 cup coconut sugar (cane sugar will work as well)
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon unrefined coconut oil, melted
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped hazelnuts
Makes one dozen.
 Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. In a second bowl, mix the sugar, applesauce, vanilla and coconut oil. Add the wet mixture to the dry and stir until just combined. Fold in the hazelnuts.
 Turn the dough onto a baking sheet and form the dough into a flat log that's about 4 inches tall and 1/2 inch thick. Using a butter knife, score the lines of what will be the individual cookies (about every 1/2 inch or so). Bake for 25 minutes.
 Remove the baking sheet from the oven. Allow the dough to cool for 5 minutes then cut the cookies along the score lines and place them on their sides, cut side down. Return to oven and bake another 10 minutes until golden brown, then flip the cookies and bake another 5-10 minutes or until hard and crunchy.
 Allow to cool, then share with a friend over your favorite type of coffee.

What is your favorite holiday beverage?
I'm partial to peppermint mochas or peppermint hot chocolates, heavier on the mint and light on the chocolate.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Raw Brownies with Chocolate Pepppermint Glaze (Vegan, Gluten Free)

I love mint and chocolate together. It's quite possibly my favorite flavor combination. I had been wanting to make a peppermint brownie recipe for awhile now and finally got around to it last week. My original plan was to make it from my nut butter brownie recipe using almond butter instead of peanut butter and adding peppermint extract. But when I went to make them I was suddenly inspired to make them raw instead and I am so glad I did. 'Cause guys, these brownies, they're good.

Plus they're made with only wholesome ingredients. Nuts, dried fruit, oats, cacao and coconut oil. It's a brownie you can feel good about. Yup, I just said that. This is a healthy brownie that does not taste like crap. And don't even think about skimping and leaving out the glaze. It's what makes it, plus that's where all the mint flavor is. So do yourself the favor, take the five extra minutes and dirty a couple more dishes and make that glaze. You deserve it.

Raw Brownies with Chocolate Peppermint Glaze
Makes 1 loaf pan.

For the brownie:
-2 cups raw pecans
-1 cup rolled oats
-8 dates
-1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
-Pinch of sea salt
-2-3  cacao

Place the pecans and oats in a food processor and pulse until it becomes a uniform consistency, it should look like a coarse flour. Add in the dates, vanilla, sea salt and cacao and pulse until it creates a sticky dough.  Scoop out the dough and place it in a loaf pan lined with parchment paper. Press the dough firmly until it evenly covers the pan. Place it in the freezer. Time for the glaze!

For the glaze:
-1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
-2 tablespoon raw agave
-1 1/2 tablespoon cacao
-1/4 teaspoon pure peppermint extract

In a small bowl whisk together all the ingredients until they are evenly combined. Remove the brownies from the freezer. Slowly and evenly pour the glaze over the brownies, use a rubber spatula to even it out if necessary. Return brownies to the freezer, be sure they are on a flat surface otherwise all your glaze will end up in one side. Allow brownies to chill for 15-20 minutes or until the glaze has hardened. Remove from freezer a minute before serving to allow it to thaw slightly. Enjoy your brownie guilt free. Just try not to eat the whole pan, but if you did it wouldn't be the end of the world.

What's your favorite flavor combination?

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Vegan Banana Bread Revisited

Happy Tuesday Everyone! I hope you all had a wonderful long weekend and a fantastic Thanksgiving! My holiday was great, I spent it in the country with Sam's family. His aunt has a beautiful ranch about an hour south of us. We went home that night with a dozen fresh eggs from her chickens, some of her homemade green salsa, at least four pounds of potatoes and a ton of bananas that Sam's grandmother brought. Like, a lot of bananas.

I took this picture after I had already made several loaves of banana bread.
What better way is there to use up a bunch of overripe bananas than to perfect my banana bread recipe? So that is what my weekend consisted of mostly. I even tried making some vegan, gluten-free banana bread, but it just didn't come out right. I have the hardest time baking with coconut flour. I don't know what my problem is. 

Anyway. You may remember I posted my recipe for vegan banana bread back a few months ago. But I posted that from Colorado and the bread didn't rise correctly. Baking at high altitude is not fun. It's frustrating trying to figure out if the recipe is off because the measurements are off or if it's just because you're thousands of feet higher than you normally are. Hence the number of raw recipes I posted while living in Colorado (like this one, this one and this one). I knew my recipe for banana bread was good from the countless times I had made it down at sea-level, but I just didn't like having such flat looking bread in my pictures when I knew that wasn't a true representation of what the bread was like. My initial plan was just to update the photos on the post, but I figured while I had all the bananas I could hope for at my disposal, I might as well experiment a little and perfect the recipe.

After all my experimenting I was very encouraged to find that I really did have a great recipe and it really didn't need to be tweaked too much at all. So I basically ended up just recreating that same recipe, but with some of my new favorite ingredients and simplified it so it only takes one bowl. Less dishes to clean up afterwards is always a good thing.

Vegan Banana Bread
  • 3 Large Overripe Bananas
  • 1/4 Cup Unrefined Coconut Oil, Softened (melted is fine too)
  • 2/3 Cup Coconut Sugar
  • 1/3 Cup Unsweetened Almond Milk
  • 1 Tablespoon Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 2 Cups Whole Spelt Flour
  • 2 Tablespoons Ground Flaxseeds
  • 1 Teaspoon Sea Salt
  • 1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
Makes 1 loaf.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, mash bananas with coconut oil; mix in sugar then the almond milk and vanilla. Add the flour, flaxseeds, salt, baking powder and baking soda to the bowl and mix until combined. Pour the batter into a greased loaf pan. Bake for 40 minutes or until a toothpick can be inserted and removed cleanly and the top feels slightly firm. Allow to cool for 10 minutes. Serve and enjoy!

-As always feel free to mix in whatever you feel like... chocolate chips, nuts, cinnamon, coffee, shredded coconut, berries....the list goes on...

-This recipe comes out fine without being too dry if you choose to leave out the coconut oil, but I highly suggest adding it. I can't remember what it is...baking soda? bananas? flax seed? something in this recipe mixed with coconut oil gives it a buttery flavor that shouldn't be missed. Plus, coconut oil is good for you :-)

How was your Thanksgiving?
What's your favorite "mix-in" for banana bread?

Oh! P.S.- I have a killer banana ice cream recipe coming your way soon. My other favorite way to use up overripe bananas!