Gluten-free (as long as your oats are gf) with no added oil, these bars are insanely moist and deeply flavorful. Plus they go together in a snap in the bowl of your food processor. Rich and decadent tasting, they are packed with protein, vitamins, and fiber, but bear no resemblance to health bars.
You can substitute almond butter for pecan butter, but why would you?! Pecan butter is the perfect autumnal complement to the other fall flavors.
1-15.5 ounce can chickpeas 1 cup canned pumpkin 2/3 cup sugar 1/2 cup pecan butter 1/2 cup almond flour 1/4 cup rolled oats 1/4 cup maple syrup 2 tablespoons cornstarch 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice or to taste (or substitute a mixture of ground cinnamon and ground ginger) 2 teaspoons vanilla extract 1 teaspoon baking powder 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 1/2 teaspoon salt Optional topping: 2 tablespoons sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8″ square pan. Process all ingredients except topping in food processor until smooth, scraping down sides of bowl as necessary. Transfer batter to prepared pan, smooth top, and bake for approximately 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center has only a few moist crumbs clinging to it. Remove from oven and sprinkle liberally with remaining 3 tablespoons of sugar.
This recipe is a new iteration of a longstanding Thanksgiving favorite: Cranberry Crumble. I use the same crumble, only I add a smidgen of ground ginger and switched out pecans for sliced almonds. Then I substituted my Apricot-Cream Cheese Filling–with its hint of fresh lemon and almond extract–for the original cranberry filling. Now I have an easy, delectable, and very pretty–in a rustic sort of way–favorite bar for the cool months and the summer months.
Apricot-Cream Cheese Filling:
1 tablespoon flaxseed meal
3 tablespoons lemon juice
8 ounces vegan cream cheese
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 cup plump dried apricots (about 12), chopped (I get about 6 to 8 pieces per apricot)
In a small bowl or cup, whisk together flaxseed meal and lemon juice. Set aside to thicken. In a medium or large bowl, beat cream cheese with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add sugar and almond extract, and continue beating until creamy. Beat in flaxseed meal and lemon mixture until fully and fully incorporated. Fold in dried apricots. Set aside while you make crust/topping.
Crust and Topping:
½ cup vegan butter, melted 1 cup packed light or dark brown sugar 1 cup all-purpose flour 1 cup old fashioned or quick-cooking oats ¼ teaspoon baking powder ¼ teaspoon baking soda ¼ teaspoon salt ½ cup sliced almonds
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 8 inch square baking pan with non-stick spray, line with parchment paper or foil, pressing smooth, and spray again with non-stick spray. In a medium bowl, mix together all ingredients, except almonds, with a fork. Spoon half of this mixture into prepared pan patting gently into place. Pour filling over and spread to cover all the way to the edges. Mix almonds with remaining pastry mixture and sprinkle evenly over filling. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until nicely browned. Cool completely on a wire rack and cover and chill for several hours before lifting out of pan and slicing with a serrated knife.
Somewhere between what we used to call a snacking cake and a bar, this vegan treat is quick, easy, moist, and delicious. The texture and rise are just right and, though it needs nothing, not really even a dusting of powdered sugar, it would be decadent with a vegan cream cheese, caramel or praline frosting.
2 cups all-purpose flour (I use white whole wheat)
3/4 cup natural Demerara sugar
1 teaspoon molasses
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1-15 ounce can pureed pumpkin
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 to 2 tablespoons water, if necessary
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease 8-inch pan. In a large bowl, whisk together dry ingredients. Add pumpkin, oil, and water, if desired, for a smooth consistency, and stir together just until completely combined. Transfer to prepared pan and gently smooth top. Bake about 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack, slice, and serve. Keeps well tightly covered.
Yield: 16 browniesBe prepared to have your world rocked. While there’s not a thing in the world wrong with a baked brownie in my partially-raw world, I have enjoyed experimenting with raw foods this summer, and enjoy not having the oven and stove on. Plus it’s just an exciting new culinary world to explore. I think you’ll agree.
To date, I had mastered a (practically) raw carrot and a coconut cake–yowza!–and these brownies are definitely on a par. And they slice beautifully with little effort save some pressure on a serrated knife. Next up are donut holes, so stay tuned. In the meantime, I am delighted to share this recipe. These are fantastic cold and amazing heated for about 20 seconds in the microwave and served with your favorite softened non-dairy ice cream.
Note: Since I am not a raw vegan, I am not concerned about whether all ingredients in my recipes are raw for myself, BUT I am concerned with accurate representation for those who are strict rawtarians, as I respect that choice. So, the only non-raw ingredients in the brownies are the extracts and the Allemande. Simply substitute water for completely raw brownies. However, the frosting is not raw, period. I am not a nut butter frosting fan, but if you want a raw frosting, that is probably your best bet.
1 cup raw slivered almonds
1 cup raw cashew pieces
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
2 1/2 cups mixed dates, dried apricots, and dried figs, but at least 1 1/2 to 2 cups dates (use only pump and moist dried fruit)
2 tablespoons Bailey’s Allemande or water
1 teaspoon almond extract or water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or water
Vegan Fudgy Ganache Frosting (recipe follows)
Garnish: 16 walnut halves
Spray an 8-inch square baking pan with non-stick baking spray and line with parchment paper. (So as not to have crinckled corners, I like to line the pan with two scant 8-inch wide pieces of parchment, lying them vertically and horizontally and spraying both on the bottom and in between.)
In a food processor, process together nuts, cocoa powder, and salt, Temporarily transfer mixture to a small bowl. In same bowl of food processor, process dried fruit, Allemande, and extracts (or water). Temporarily transfer this mixture to a small bowl. Return nut mixture to processor and, with motor running, drop walnut-size pinches of fruit mixture through the chute until mixture is homogenous and a dough like consistency when pinched together. Press evenly into pan, cover, and refrigerate while you make the frosting.
Spread frosting evenly over brownies and place walnut halves in 4 even rows, 4 to a row. Cover and refrigerate several hours. When ready to serve, lift out of pan, and slice with a serrated knife. Serve immediately or package for gift giving. I like to place each square in a parchment cupcake or muffin paper and stack them 2-deep in a square covered food storage container stored in the fridge.
Vegan Fudgy Ganache Frosting
3 tablespoons unsweetened soymilk (or the nondairy milk of your choice; a little sweetener won’t hurt a thing)
2 tablespoons Allemande (or substitute the liqueur of your choice or even more soymilk)
In a small bowl, heat soymilk and Allemande in microwave. Add chocolate chips and vegan butter, and let sit for a couple of minutes. Whisk until melted and smooth. Whisk in extracts and powdered sugar until very smooth and creamy. If too thick, add a bit more soymilk or Allemande; if too thin, adjust with more powdered sugar.
Wanting to try a blondie or cookie recipe with the white beans in my pantry, I searched and searched online but couldn’t find a recipe that quite suited me: they had to look beautiful, contain basic wholesome ingredients, and be the ideal texture. So I decided to create my own.
These blondies are truly fabulous–everything you would want in the perfect Blondie–and get my very picky “omni” partner’s two thumbs up of approval.
I substituted 1/4 cup of mashed white beans + 1/4 cup of Bailey’s Almande liqueur, along with baking soda and baking powder, for an egg. But feel free to use another liquid, even non-dairy milk, or a different liqueur.
8 tablespoons vegan butter
1 cup demerera or lightly packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup drained and mashed white beans
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup all-purpose flour (I use white whole wheat)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup liqueur (I like Bailey’s Almande)
1 cup vegan chocolate chips (white or dark)
1 cup chopped nuts (almonds, walnuts, black walnuts, pecans, or cashews)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8-inch metal pan or spray with nonstick sray. Line in one direction with a 4 or 5-inch strip of foil or parchment paper folded over top edges for ease of blondie removal.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until blended. Add the beans, vanilla, and almond extract, and continue to beat until smooth. Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and liqueur, and mix on low speed until fully incorporated. Do not over beat. Add chocolate chips and nuts and blend on low speed to evenly distribute.
Spread the batter evenly in lined pan and bake 25 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out relatively clean. Cool completely and then cut into 16 bars.
So sorry this is too late for the just-passed holidays. But there is always next year’s celebration…or no celebration at all, just a craving for a delicious, beautiful sweet. Thanks to one of my newest creations, I need no longer stare longingly at these bars in the bakery case at Starbucks every morning on the way to school:
While I have found that most of my baked goods don’t require an egg substitute, something told me that these might in order to get just the right texture. And something told me to try Follow Your Heart Vegan Egg. I think the results speak for themselves.
3/4 cup vegan butter, melted and still warm
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup Follow Your Heart Vegan Egg (powdered substitute)
1/2 cup water
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (I use white whole wheat)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup dried cranberries, coarsely chopped
6 ounces vegan white chocolate chips
8 ounces vegan cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
6 ounces vegan white chocolate chips, melted
1/2 cup dried cranberries, coarsely chopped
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9×13-inch baking dish with nonstick spray.
Combine warm melted butter and both sugars in the large bowl of an electric mixer. Let cool to room temperature. In a small bowl, whisk together egg replacer and water. Beat into butter mixture on medium speed, along with vanilla, just until combined. Beat in half the flour, just until combined, followed by the remaining half of flour, plus baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Stir in the cranberries and white chocolate chips (the batter will be thick). Spread the batter into prepared pan.
Bake for 18 to 21 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Do not overbake. Cool completely on a wire rack.
Meanwhile, in the large bowl of an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and powdered sugar on medium speed until fluffy. Gradually add half the melted white chocolate, beating until well-blended. Frost the bars, sprinkle with cranberries, and drizzle with remaining melted white chocolate. I use a pastry bag fitted with a small round tip for this task.
Store, covered, in refrigerator until 30 minutes before serving. Remove from refrigerator and allow to sit, uncovered for about a half hour. Cut into squares and then triangles to serve.
After spending most of my vegan life trying to perfect a recipe for chewy, fudgy vegan brownies, along came Bob. His preference is for cakey.
My tasty solution was to meet somewhere in the middle. I have removed my other “best” brownie recipe because this one tops it by alot. For the easy recipe, scroll to the bottom of this post. For the backstory, keep reading.
I am so ashamed that I have seemingly ignored The Blooming Platter since August 12. This is becoming the same-old-asking-for-forgiveness song.
However, you have been on my mind. My latest excuse is a good one; I hope you’ll agree. First, there was my art exhibiton, “Losses and Linkages” at the World Trade Center in Norfolk, VA, on which I had worked for a year. It broke all records, I was told, opening with 250-300 people in attendance. What a beautiful, humbling, once-in-a-lifetime, life-changing experience.
Second, though, you may recall that I had plunged into Match.com in July, a year after my husband’s passing, and the results were, well, we’ll just say “mixed.” Indeed I met some very nice, handsome, interesting men–including some I knew or knew of outside of Match, but didn’t know were “available”–yet I experienced none of that magical chemistry. Eclipsing all else, including what we’ll just call one “bridge” relationship, is the rejection dished out on both sides…wow. Of course, I only remember what was served up to me, including ghosting which, I’m here to tell you, is a “thing.”
To make a very long story short–which I may decide to share at some point–I “found” Bob the Sunday night after my show opened (September 16) during a window of a few hours when he lost his mind and thought he might be ready for Match. By Monday morning, he had realized that he wasn’t ready to date and had “hidden” his profile. But he had responded to me, so we could still email each other through the site. I had nothing to lose, so I asked if he had removed his profile because I had reached out. He quickly responded that, no, it was not me, it was him, and–after I shared my frustration with men who verbalized their belief that I wasn’t “ready to date”–offered his real name and his cell phone number in case I wanted his male perspective on online dating. I did send him a follow-up text which read something like, “Thank you for your kind offer, but I won’t be reaching out to you because you have made your position very clear.” However, after school, I checked my phone, and there was another message from him. Several days of intense texting ensued with my thinking all the while that we were just going to be texting “friends,” yet realizing I wanted to meet this man.
Within a week, we had decided that, indeed, we should meet, first schedulinlg a date for the next Sunday and then, because we couldn’t wait, later that Saturday after my evening plans with a girl friend. After three dates in two days–including to The Chrysler Museum for an artist’s talk and an interview I needed to conduct (Bob busied himself elsewhere)–the rest is, as they say, history. We have been together every day since. I’ll leave it at that, but suffice it to say that we are in a deeply committed, loving, and fun–if fast forming–relationship. Learning how better to love this amazing man is one of the great joys of my new life. But it hasn’t left a lot of time for my beloved blog.
Much of my time has been spent trying to figure out how to feed vegan foods to this carnivore that he will actually like. He could never be accused of eating the healthiest diet, so I started with daily vitamins. But I also bake weekly treats. Here, I offer “Bob’s Brownies.” Even if they weren’t baked with a huge helping of love, as mine are–and yours too–they would be delicious. Enjoy!
1 cup all-purpose flour (I use white whole wheat for everytihng)
I cup granulated sugar (I use demerera)
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I love Hershey’s dark chocolate variety; but use any unsweetened cocoa powder)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup vegetable oil (I use canola, but any with a neutral flavor is perfect)
1/2 cup applesauce
1/4 cup non-dairy milk (I use unsweetened soy)
1 nteaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1 1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts (or your favorite nut; my favorite “nut” loves walnuts)
1/2 cup vegan semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips (optional)
1/2 cup coconut chips or shredded coconut (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. *Grease an 8-inch baking pan with non-stick spray and, if desired, line with an approximately 4-inch wide strip of parchment paper, and spray again. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. Make a well in the center and add the oil, applesauce, non-dairy milk, and extracts. Stir or whisk to combine, about 50 strokes. Fold in nuts and optional chocolate chips and coconut chips or shreds. Transfer the batter into the prepared baking pan, gently smoothing the top, and bake approximately 37-40 minutes or until the center is set and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow the brownies to cool for 30 minutes before slicing and serving.
*Note: parchment is optional; you will have no trouble removing thee from the pan whether you use it or not.
Picking a favorite of my Vegan Valentine’s Recipes to post would be like picking a favorite dog. So, I want you to pick.
From a breakfast of Red Velvet Pancakes to Red Velvet Brownies for kids or a little savory “Heart Tart” for lunch or dinner–plus lots of sweets, including mints and truffles that are perfect little heart-felt gifts from your kitchen–I think you’ll find something here to love.
These are the perfect fall treat: chocolate always understands and pumpkin is just the perfect personification of everything appealing about autumn.
1 box or bag of brownie mix that calls for only 1 egg, and contains no dairy products in the mix (I use Marie Callender’s “Restaurant Style” 10-0unce Chocolate Fudge Brownie Mix, sold locally at our Dollar Tree)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon espresso powder or instant coffee
1/4 cup canned pureed pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
Pumpkin Cheesecake Layer:
3/4 cup canned pureed pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
4 ounces (1/2 cup) vegan cream cheese
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (or pumpkin pie spice)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup non-dairy creamer (like soy or coconut)
4 to 5 ounces vegan chocolate chips
Spray a metal 8 x 8-inch baking pan with non-stick spray. (Optionall: cut a 3-inch wide strip of parchment paper long enough for ends to overhang sides of pan, press into bottom and up and over sides, and spray again with non stick spray.) Make brownie layer: in a medium bowl, whisk together all ingredients until well-combined and then whisk for 50 strokes. Spread evenly into prepared pan. Make pumpkin layer: place all ingredients into the bowl of a food processor and process until smooth, scraping down sides of bowl as necessary. Gently smooth pumpkin mixture over the top of the brownie layer, spreading to cover. Using a skewer or a knive, make narrow zig-zag lines through both layers from side to side, turn pan one-quarter turn, and repeat to make perpendicular lines. Bake for 25 minutes or until brownies are set and no longer glossy on top. Cool completely on a wire rack. In the meantime, make ganache: heat creamer in microwave or a saucepan until very hot or just begining to bubble (about 1 minute or so in microwave). Whisk in chocolate until melted. Allow to rest at room temperature while brownies cool; mixture will thicken as it cools (speed process by refrigerating for a few minutes, if desired). Gently pour and spread ganache over pumpkin layer of brownies. Refrigerate for a couple of hours or until set before slicing and serving.