Category Archives: Dessert

Raw Pecan Pie

Hello, everyone! Yes, I’m alive, but make no promises as to the frequency of my posts henceforth. I’m never going to be a super regular blogger – I’m just too much of a space cadet. Wait, what was I talking about?…just kidding. But yeah, I’ll post from time to time when I have something worth showing you! Also, I’ve decided to transition my blog into more of a general healthy living blog. My main interest in blogging is to have a place to display my photography, whether it’s food, pets, friends, travel, you name it. So that’s that.

I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving! This year marked the first time that I celebrated with only my immediate family, so mine was quiet, but honestly, that is exactly what I needed after a rough midterm #3 in O-Chem. Despite the fact that there were only four of us – well six, counting the two dogs (yes, I said TWO dogs…my sister just got a new puppy, who I’ll introduce you to soon!) – we somehow ended up making at least ten different dishes. In fact, so many dishes that we lost track of them and my sister ended up completely forgetting to serve her coconut milk creamed corn. #FirstWorldProblems.

Of course I whipped up a batch of my famous mashed cauliflower, but the sweetest (in both senses of the word!) thing I made was Kimberly Snyder’s Raw Pecan Love Pie. I don’t really eat sugar anymore, but I’ll make an exception for a date- and maple syrup-based raw dessert on special occasions and holidays. I’ve followed Kimberly’s blog for years, and always thought this pie looked cute. Well, it turns out it is as delicious as it is cute…

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The only change I made to the original recipe is that I used Brazil nuts instead of walnuts in the crust since Oh! Nuts had kindly just sent me a bag of their jumbo raw Brazil nuts to sample. I love the unique flavor of Brazil nuts. Plus, who doesn’t want to get like 500% of their daily value for selenium while eating pie?

Another fun fact: the dates I used were from my friend Cody’s family date farm in California! They are so much moister than the dates you can buy at the health food store.

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Back to my regular sugar-free routine of course, but I’m glad I had the chance to indulge a little with this lovely pie! Try it yourself this holiday season (link is above) if you’re into dessert, but not so into gluten, eggs, dairy, and sugar.

Caramel Baked Apple(s)

The recipe was for Caramel Baked Apples plural, but I just made one. Not very economical, but kind of cute nonetheless.

My family was having baked apple pancakes for a special breakfast – delicious, I’m sure, but also full of gluten (which I don’t really eat anymore)! I’m not one to be left out of a party though – especially when that party involves food – so I had to find a suitable replacement: apple-based, but totally decadent. I immediately remembered the recipe for Caramel Baked Apples from Celine and Joni’s new book, The Complete Guide to Vegan Food Substitutions, and I knew that’s where my breakfast destiny lay.

You can’t really go wrong with a recipe described as, “Lots and lots of caramel to cover something healthy, therefore making it, well, not so healthy anymore.” Plus, making your own caramel from scratch makes you feel like a total culinary badass. And being vegan is awesome. So making homemade vegan caramel is just like…wow, too cool for school.

Caramel whipped up, I filled my Granny Smith with the called-for Sucanat/almond/cinnamon/raisin mixture, popped it in the oven, and was greeted 50 minutes later with a natural package of caramel-y bliss.

I don’t think this is the kind of apple a day that keeps the doctor away.

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies

And  gluten-free, no less! The first time I made these chocolate chippers, I knew that a special place in my plant-based heart had been filled. They were the best. Not the best gluten-free; not the best vegan; but the best chocolate chip cookies I’d ever had, period.

This was my second time making these precious morsels of chewy-crispy-chocolate-vanilla bliss. Being wintertime, canned pumpkin seemed more fitting to me than the applesauce called for in the recipe (it also didn’t hurt that I hadn’t the tiniest dollop of applesauce in my pantry, despite having six – count ’em, six – different types of seaweed in there). So pumpkin it was! It could just be my mind playing tricks on me, but I could swear, it endowed the cookies with an even lovelier golden hue. If the first time around had produced the so-called “best” chocolate chip cookies, then I didn’t even know what to call this batch!

These cookies are crispy and caramelized around the edges and soft and chewy in the center, with that rich, buttery flavor that your mommy’s chippers always had, thanks to a healthy amount of coconut oil. They spread and crinkle perfectly.

So, for the gluten-free child inside you, here’s the recipe for the famousBabycakes Chocolate Chip Cookies, with my adaptation included:

Chocolate Chip Cookies
(Adapted from Babycakes)
Makes 36

1 cup coconut oil
6 tablespoons canned unsweetened pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups evaporated cane juice
2 cups Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free All-Purpose Baking Flour
1/4 cup flax meal
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons xantham gum
1 cup vegan chocolate chips

Preheat the oven the 325 F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, mix together the oil, pumpkin, salt, vanilla, and evaporated cane juice. In another medium bowl, whisk together the flour, flax meal, baking soda and xanthan gum. Using a rubber spatula, carefully add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture and stir until a grainy dough is formed. Gently fold in the chocolate chips just until they are evenly distributed through the dough.

Using a melon baller, scoop the dough onto the prepared baking sheets, spacing the portions 1 inch apart. Gently press each with the heel of your hand to help them spread. Bake the cookies on the center rack for 15 minutes, rotating the sheets 180 degrees after 9 minutes. The finished cookies will be crisp on the edges and soft in the center.

Let the cookies stand on the sheets for 10 minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack and cool completely before covering. Store the cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Happy Halloween, Babycakes

I can’t decide which is scarier: Halloween, or how long it’s been since I last posted.

For once, I have a valid excuse though. I’ve only just returned from a two-week long adventure (and I mean adventure) in India – the first trip organized through the cooperation of VegNews and VegVoyages!

Of course, I have an epic Indian food post in the works, but in the meantime, allow me to show you how magical gluten-free vegan bakeries celebrate everyone’s second favorite autumnal holiday. (We’re all on the same page about Thanksgiving, right?!)

Like most of you, I celebrated “All-Hallows-Even” with my friends on Saturday night; I mean, Sunday’s not exactly the most convenient night to have a ghoulishly good time, is it?

Come the evening of true Halloween, I found myself facing a lonely six-hour drive back to Tempe (did I mention that my friends live in LA?). Being the strict observer of holidays that I am, this plan posed a bit of a problem. I wasn’t about to let a long drive get between me and a good time.

So, I did what any self-respecting, gluten-hesitant vegan would do. Donning my baby-pink piggie hat, I headed over to Babycakes NYC in downtown LA to stock up on sugary treats for the road.

A chocolate “cake ball” here…

A powdered blueberry donut there…

And a few spookies (spooky cookies, of course!) to bring home to share…

By now, you probably have an image in your head of me, sitting in my car, wearing a pig hat, and stuffing my face with a dinner’s worth of gluten-free baked goods. That is actually a pretty accurate description of how I spent my 385-mile-long Halloween. I assure you, the irony of the situation was not lost on me.

Oink oink oink.

Leftover Almond Butter Shake

I presume you are all familiar with “oats in a jar” (if not, see the bottom of this post). The idea is to use your steaming hot oats as a convenient means of melting and absorbing the hard-to-get nut butter at the bottom of the jar.

Well, what about when you make homemade nut butter – in this case, roasted almond butter? Perhaps the only thing more frustrating than nut butter stuck at the bottom of a jar is nut butter stuck at the bottom of a blender, cached on the bottom of the blades. And if you didn’t want to waste the dregs of your store-bought nut butter, you sure as hell don’t want to waste your homemade dregs!

Spare your rubber spatula a blade-induced beating and let your trusty blender do the hard work! You just sit back, relax, and work on that cushion you’ve been embroidering. Or if you don’t live in an Austen novel, you can just stop at relax.

“Bottom of the Barrel” Nut Butter Shake

Frozen banana
Cinnamon
Non-dairy milk/water
A few ice cubes
Nut butter-coated blender or food processor bowl

Just throw your ingredients in and blend away. This isn’t so much a recipe as it is a template for a fun way to save your precious nut butter, so throw in whatever (and as much) you want. Berries, pumpkin, coconut, chocolate, whatever! The important part is that you’re being resourceful.

Note: drinking your leftover nut butter shake from a glass dharma straw makes it taste better. Just like eating oats out of a jar makes them taste better. Trust me.


Testing in the Raw

It’s not as intense as it sounds, I swear – actually, it’s pretty warm and fuzzy.

I’m lucky enough to be testing recipes for my favorite cookbook author (and friend), Dreena Burton! (You’ve seen me rave about her soups here…) Well, it turns out, she makes pretty darn good raw desserts too.

I’ve tested two of these delectable delicacies thus far. Chocolate Avocado Mousse, because you’re worth it. Oh wait, is that slogan taken?

I’ve had variations on chocolate avocado pudding before, but I’ve never made it myself; my Vitamix inspires me to reach new heights, what can I say?

I’m not at liberty to disclose the ingredients of this dreamy whipped mousse, but let’s just say it’s simple and healthy! Plus, the mousse is thick enough that it could even work as a frosting, methinks.

If veggies in pudding frighten you – they shouldn’t, but I’m not judging! – fear not. Dreena’s upcoming book will still satisfy your raw taste buds. Only Dreena Burton could create raw, non-dairy cream cheese frosting. Genius.

Raw Banana Nut Squares with Coconut “Cream Cheese” Frosting. These “buttery” bars – on a base reminiscent of graham crackers – are loaded with healthy fats and homestyle taste. With flavors much more complex and familiar than your run-of-the-mill raw dessert, these babies were a hit at the party my mom brought them to. Even skeptical omnis couldn’t resist.

More Dreena testers to come!

Sweet Treats

Just a little Friday afternoon pick-me-up!

If you live within a reasonable distance of any vegan donut and milkshake vendors, I highly suggest that you stop reading and promptly head over to such a place. If not, I hope my photos of these Pacific Northwest treats will suffice. :)

Sip. The infamous vegan milkshake cart that beckons weary grocery shoppers on their way in and out of Portland’s People’s Food Co-Op. There’s nothing cuter, really. My sister opted for the classic Cookies & Cream shake…

While I–somewhat predictably–got Chocolate Peanut Butter. Technically, it was chocolate coconut peanut butter because I decided Coconut Bliss ice cream was worth the extra $1.50. There’s something about an overflowing milkshake in a old-school diner glass that really tugs at your heartstrings, isn’t there? Or maybe that’s the peanut butter…

In my humble opinion, shakes > donuts, but that doesn’t mean I wasn’t a veritable kid in a candy shop when I stepped into Seattle’s Mighty-O Donuts. Actually, I was a 22-year-old in a donut shop; but my eyes lit up the same way, I swear. I think my sister could attest to the truth of that statement.

Not only is that a French Toast donut; it’s an organic French Toast donut that was thoroughly enjoyed alongside a wonderful soy latté on a cloudy Seattle day.

Chomp. Chomp. Chomp.