Vegan Reduced-Calorie Caramel-Cashew Popcorn with Chocolate Drizzle

Let’s be honest…this is an outrageously delicious occasional splurge, not health food, despite being vegan. I have reduced the calories by using Skinny Pop, Stevia Baking Blend and Smart Balance Light, but I am not going to share the calorie count because it is still alot. Make a batch and enjoy a little to satisy your craving, but then share small bags with friends, as I did.

4.4 ounce bag Skinny Pop popcorn
1 cup roasted and lightly salted cashew halves and pieces
1/2 cup roasted and lightly salted almonds
3/4 cup Smart Balance Light (made with Flaxseed Oil–other SB are not necessarily vegan)
1 cup Stevia Baking Blend
2 tablespoons molasses (not blackstrap)
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Chocolate Drizzle
1 cup vegan dark chocolate chunks or chips
1 teaspoon vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 275 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with waxed paper, parchment paper, or Silpat and set aside on wire rack.  Combine popcorn and nuts in large roasting pan.

In medium saucepan, combine Smart Balance, Stevia, molasses, corn syrup, and sea salt.  Bring to a boil over medium heat, reduce heat to a simmer and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.  Drizzle over popcorn and nuts, stir to combine, and bake for 50-60 minutes, stirring every 15.  Spoon onto prepared baking sheet and cool completely.

Melt cocolate with oil in microwave safe bowl in microwave in 30-second intervals, whisking after each. Transfer melted chocoalte to sandwich bag, seal, snip corner, and drizzle over caramel corn in a zig-zag motion. You may alternatively use a reusable pastry bag fitted with circular tip.

Let sit at room temperature about 3 hours or until chocolate is set. Store in an airtight container or sandwich bags.

#vegan#veganrecipes#veganfood#veganfoodshare#veganfoodporn#plantbased#plantbasedrecipes#plantbasedfood#plantbasedfoodshare#plantbasedfoodporn

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Single Vegan Microwave Oatmeal – Chocolate Chip Cookie

Single Vegan Microwave Oatmeal-Chocolate Chip Cookie!

It is ready in under 5 minutes, including 1 and 1/2 minutes of microwave cooking time.

It took three attempts over three days, but I finally got it right. Recently I posted my recipe for a single vegan microwave chocolate chip cookie, but wanting something with some more healthful ingredients in it, I decided to try an oatmeal version.

Bob, my fiercest critic and greatest supporter, said the first one tasted good – a far cry from his “not bad” –  but crumbled into a heap. So I tried it again and created an oatmeal-chocolate chip pancake.

Today’s version, however, was perfect: delicious, cookie-like in texture, and sugar-free because I made it with stevia, though you could use Demerara sugar if you prefer.

Recipe:

2 tablespoons flour (I use white whole wheat)
2 tablespoons old fashioned oats
2 tablespoons Stevia or Demerara sugar
1 tablespoon vegan butter
1 teaspoon Chia or flax seed meal
1 teaspoon non-dairy milk (I use soymilk)
2 drops vanilla extract
1 drop almond extract
1 tablespoon vegan dark chocolate chips or small chunks
1 tablespoon broken walnuts

Sea salt

In a small bowl, mix together all ingredients with your fingers. Pat into a cookie shape about 1/2 inch thick on a microwave-safe plate. Cook at full power for one and a half minutes. Depending on your microwave’s power, you might have to adjust cooking time. Sprinkle with a few grains of sea salt and let cool slightly before devouring.

#vegan #veganrecipes #veganfood #veganfoodshare #veganfoodporn #plantbased #plantbasedrecipes #plantbasedfood #plantbasedfoodshare #plantbasedfoodporn

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Vegan 4-Ingredient Chocolate-Banana Ice Cream
(its base is frozen bananas!)

Yield: 4 servings

Calories: app. 130/serving (however, you can eat the whole recipe for  only 520 calories which is equal to or less than a small meal!)

This recipe was inspired by one making the rounds via video on Facebook.  A while back, lying in bed very early one morning, I watched how it was made with the sound off–Bob was asleep–and then just went for it last night, propelled by this oppressive heat and humidity.  Around here, we call the heat index the “misery index.”

The original recipe called for 4 bananas and what appeared to be 2 tablespoons of peanut butter and 2 of cocoa powder.  I’m not a big peanut butter and chocolate fan.  My aversion dates from a childhood incident that resulted from eating way too many peanut butter-and-chocolate eggs out of my Easter basket on the heels of blueberry shortcake.  I nonetheless added one tablespoon thinking it might be necessary for texture.  It wasn’t.  For the chocolate, I used  Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa Powder, but if you prefer a more reddish-brown color, then just use regular cocoa powder.

But whatever you do, peel your bananas before freezing them.  I don’t know what I was thinking, but when I pulled four banana-shaped ice cubes out of my freezer, I realized my mistake.  So, I thawed them, peeled them, cut them into chunks and refroze them.  The texture was still silky and glorious.

My two additions to the recipe are quick, easy, and absolutely necessary in my opinion.  After I tasted the ice cream, I felt it seemed a little flat or one-note.  I tend to like more complex flavors,though not fussy ones.  So, I added a hint of both almond and vanilla extracts and that did the trick.  However, I look forward to experimenting with other extracts like mint, orange, and perhaps rum or brandy.

If your summer promises to be as hot and humid as ours in Eastern, VA, this recipe is likely to become a staple.  A friend said that his daughter used to make a version and eat it for breakfast.  It is certainly more nutritious than most of what I see folks eating for breakfast.

Whenever you decided to enjoy a couple of scoops, I hope you will enjoy it as we do.

4 large bananas, peeled, cut into 2-inch chunks and frozen

2 tablespoons regular or Special Dark cocoa powder

1/4 teaspoon almond extract

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Optional garnishes: walnut halves and mint sprigs

Blend all ingredients in a food processor until smooth and creamy.  Enjoy right away or freeze in an airtight container.  Thaw for two 30-second intervals in the microwave before trying to scoop.  Top, if desired with walnut halves and mint sprigs.

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Vegan Hazelnut-Orange Sandwich Cookies
with Chocolate Ganache Filling
a gorgeous gourmet gift from your kitchen

These stunning cookies are simple to make but will impress the most serious gourmand in both flavor and appearance.

I like to package them two to a cellophane bag, tied with raffia through a hole punched in my cute (if I do say so) business cards.

Vegan Hazelnut-Orange Sandwich Cookies

3/4 cup sugar (I use demerara)

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (I use white whole wheat)

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon ground allspice

Pinch of ground cloves

1 cup plus 6 tablespoons vegan butter, softened

3 tablespoons orange liqueur (like Triple Sec) or 2 to 3 tablespoons fresh orange juice

6 ounces vegan semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

Preheat oven to 325°.  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or Silpat. Spread 1/4 cup hazelnuts in a skillet or pie plate and toast for about 3 to 5 minutes or until lightly golden brown.

In a food processor, pulse the remaining 1/2 cup hazelnuts with 2 tablespoons sugar intil finely ground. Add the flour, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, salt, and the remaining 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar and pulse to combine well. Add 1 cup butter, broken into hunks, and orange liqueur and pulse until the dough comes together.

On a lightly floured surface, working with half of dough at a time, roll the dough out to about 1/4 inch thick. Using a 1 1/2- to 2-inch cookie cutter, cut cookies out as closely together as possible. Place cookies on baking sheet, about 1/2 inch apart. Repeat with remaining half of dough, gently kneading in scraps from first half. Gather scraps from second half, gently knead, and reroll scraps from second half.

Bake the cookies for about 20 minutes, until the bottoms are lightly colored but the tops are still fairky light, rotating pans after 10 minutes. Transfer the baking sheets to wire racks and allow to cool.

In a medium saucepan over low heat, melt the chocolate with the remaining 6 tablespoons butter, whisking until smooth. Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl and let cool for 10 minutes.

Turn half the cookies over and spoon a small dollop of the chocolate in the center of each of those. Dip the remaining cookies halfway into the chocolate and position over the filled bottoms, pressing gently to seal. Sprinkle the remaining chopped toasted hazelnuts onto the chocolate, pressing gently if necessary, and let the sandwich cookies stand for about 30 minutes until the chocolate is set.  Chill if packaging or transporting.

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Vegan Nutella and Puff Pastry Christmas Tree

I can’t see Santa’s Forest for these adorable trees.

Apparently they are all the rage this year, but I was evidently a little late to the pastry tree party.  Make yours with pizza dough or puff pastry and spread with the sweet or savory filling you most crave. Just be sure to include a creamy base to adhere the layers together.

My version is sweet–but not too–uses only three ingredients and, after the pastry thaws, is ready to devour in under 30 minutes.  I left a Middle Eastern dinner and this tree last night for our dog sitters (yes, we are those dog owners) while we joined friends for their Christmas Eve Eve tradition: a salad and sip of wine followed by a Christmas light-lit walk over to the Naro, an independent film house, to see “It’s a Wonderful Life.” The twins left some of the tabouli salad but not a crumb of the pastry. It was a huge hit with these 19 year olds.

My take on this new classic was inspired by its key ingredient: Rigoni di Asiago’s Nocciolata Oraganic Dairy-Free Hazelnut & Cocoa Spread, generously sent to me for product review purposes. With a deeply nutty and chocolatey flavor–its richness undiluted by dairy–and a thick and creamy–but spreadable–texture, this product is tops in my pantry (it needs no refrigeration).  It is also gluten- and palm oil-free.

Recipe

1 box Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry (2 sheets), thawed according to package directions

4.5 to 5 ounces vegan Hazelnut-Cocoa spread (1/2 jar Nocciolata)

1 to 2 tablespoons non-dairy milk

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. On baking stone or parchment- or Silpat-lined baking sheet, stack the two pastry sheets.  With a sharp knife, cut into a triangular tree shape with a 1-inch or so wide trunk at the bottom. Remove top sheet, spread bottom sheet with hazelnut-cocoa spread, replace top sheet, lining up edges, and press down gently.

Cut 1 star from scraps and whatever other shapes you like fir nibbling or to serve as croutons on salads. Place pastry shapes on a separate stone or lined baking sheet.

Make 3/4-inch wide horizontal cuts from outer edges of triangle toward the center, stopping even with outer edges of trunk leaving a 1-inch or so wide trunk up the center. Twist each long cut strip twice and the shorter ones once, pressing tips firmly against baking stone or sheet.  Brush very lightly with non-dairy milk, press star onto top point, and brush star with a tiny bit more non-dairy milk.  Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown, but remove shapes cut from scraps after 10 or 15 minutes or they will burn. Remove baking sheet with pastry tree from oven, cool slightly, and slide tree onto serving platter. Serve warm or room temperature.

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Vegan GLUTEN-FREE Chocolate Cookies
with White Chocolate Chips

Yield: 1 dozen cookies (recipe easily multiplies)

I am not sensitive to gluten–at least not in any noticeable way–so I created these cookies for two reasons: 1) for folks who are, and 2) because I have a summer crush that is quickly turning into a long-term affair with brown rice flour.  It lends to these cookies and, presumably, other baked goods, an ever-so-slight “sandy” texture that reminds me of the commercial Pecan Sandy cookies of my childhood.

To create this recipe, I started with my late mother, Sallie Gough’s, recipe for Chocolate Crinkle Cookies.  I adored both my mother and her cookies.  The recipe scribed in her distinctive hand-writing on a badly stained file card is a testament to the central role Chocolate Crinkles played in my young culinary life.  When my cousin, Dan, would make his annual summer visit from Texas to our home in Mississippi, baking these cookies–dark, almost black, balls rolled in powdered sugar that baked up into flat-ish white cookies with dark rivulets through them–was always on the itinerary along with box sliding on Sewer Hill and epic neighborhood games of Kick the Can.

Note that, since I am not gluten-sensitive, the “trace” of gluten that “may” have been present in my vegan white chocolate chips did not pose a problem for me.  If you are baking for gluten-free cookie lovers, make sure a possible trace is not an issue or look for a brand “without a trace.”

1 cup brown rice flour

1 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup cocoa powder

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 cup apple sauce (this flavor is not detectable)

1/4 cup vegetable oil (canola or sunflower is fine)

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup vegan, gluten-free white chocolate chips (may subsitute vegan, gluten-free chocolate chips)

12 pecan halves.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line cookie sheet with parchment paper or Silpat.  In a large bowl, whisk together all dry ingredients except white chocolate chips and pecan halves.  Make a well in the center and pour in applesauce, vegetable oil, and vanilla.  Whisk together wet and dry ingredients until completely combined and the consistency of any other cookie dough.  Stir in chips.  With a small scoop or tablespoon, scoop up rounded tablespoons of dough and place about 3 inches apart on prepared cookie sheet.  Top each with a pecan half, pressing down gently to ever-so-slightly flatten the cookie.  Bake 12 minutes or until completely set.  Remove from oven and allow to cool completely on cookie sheet placed on wire rack. Store in airtight container.

 

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Vegan (Practically) Raw Chocolate Chip Cookies
(Gluten-Free)

Yield: 6 cookies

1 cup raw cashews
1 cup coconut flour
12 juicy dates
2 tablespoons coconut oil
2 tablespoons water
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 cup cacao nibs or chocolate chips (chips are not not raw)
1/4 cup broken pecans

In a food processor, process the cashews until a flour-like texture.  Add remaining ingredients except cocoa nibs or chocolate chips and pecans. Process until the texture of a nice dough, but not a nut butter.   Transfer the dough to a medium-size bowl and fold in the cocoa nibs or chocolate chips and pecans.

Shape the cookies by flattening six scoops of dough onto a foil-, wax paper-, or parchment paper- lined cookie sheet.  Freeze for 20 minutes and keep refrigerated in an airtight container.

Note: though these cookies are packed with wholesome ingredients, they are also packed with about 330 calories each. Make them half this size for a dozen cookies with a calorie count that may be easier to swallow.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Betsy’s Best Vegan Blondies

Yield: 16 bars

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.

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Vegan German Chocolate Shortbread Cookies

Yield: 5 dozen cookies

I hope my sweet, stubborn, late paternal grandmother, Mam-ma, is not “rolling over” at what I’ve done to one of her four iconic Christmas cookie recipes, mailed to us wherever we might be if not with her and Pap-pa, packaged in waxed-paper lined tins with the faint aroma of mothballs.

It is hard to improve on perfection and her roll and slice cookies were indeed perfect.  So, my version is not better, just different.  If you want to make Mam-ma’s, simply dispense with the chocolate, topping, and garnish, and enjoy plain, buttery, almond-infused cookies, perfect with tea.

Cookies:

1 cup vegan butter, softened

3/4 cup powdered sugar

3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

2 cups all purpose flour (I use white whole wheat)

Vegan Coconut, Pecan and Dried Cranberry Filling (recipe follows)

Pecan halves or large pieces

 

Cream together in an electric mixer butter, powdered sugar, and cocoa powder.  Turn off mixer and add extracts, and 1/2 cup flour, and incorporate into butter mixture on low speed.  Gradually add remaining flour on low speed, scraping down sides of bowl as needed.  Divide dough into fourths, roll into logs about 1 1/2 inches in diameter, wrap in waxed paper, and chill for 20 minutes or until firm.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Slice each log into 1/4-inch diagonal slices and place slices 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet, preferably lined with Silpat or parchment paper.  Bake for 8 to 12 minutes (my family likes them a little more “done.”)  Remove the cookie sheets to a wire rack and cool completely. Top each cookie with a teaspoon of filling and garnish with a pecan half.

Vegan Coconut, Pecan and Dried Cranberry Filling:

1 cup unsweetened soymilk (plain, vanilla or vanilla lite would also be good)
1/3 cup coconut milk
1 ¼ cups granulated sugar (I use demerera)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼-1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2 tablespoons cognac or bourbon
Juice of one lemon
½-1 teaspoon of lemon zest
1/3 cup cornstarch
¼ cup water
2 cups sweetened flaked coconut
1 ½ cups pecan pieces or chopped pecans
½ cup (generous) dried cranberries

In a medium saucepan, mix the soymilk, coconut milk, sugar, extracts, cognac or bourbon, and lemon juice and zest. Whisk the cornstarch together with the water and add to soy milk mixture. Cook, stirring constantly, over medium-high heat until mixture boils and thickens. Cook and stir for one minute after it boils. Remove from heat and stir in coconut, pecans and dried cranberries. Cool to almost room temperature before spreading on layers.

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