Chocolate-Orange-Almond Shortbread Cookies with Dried Cherries and White Chocolate Chips and Cherry- Cream Cheese Glaze (vegan & plant-based)

As much as I love to bake cakes and cheesecakes, that is just a lot to deal with and there are only two of us here, one of whom eats a dramatically different diet than I do.

So, my latest passion is to try to take all of the flavors that I would have put in a cake or cheesecake and put them into a cookie with far less calories than a slice of cake, far less mess, and ease of tucking into a friend’s purse or hand as a little love gift.

I wanted to make these super simple by rolling them into logs, chilling, and slicing before baking. I learned the hard way that there are too many delicious chunks in the dough for them to slice without breaking apart, so I don’t advise trying it!

Yield:1 dozen

1/2 cup vegan butter
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
Zest of 1 medium blood orange or regular orange
Juice of 1/2 medium blood orange or regular orange
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup toasted slivered almonds, broken or roughly chopped
1/4 cup dried cherries
1/4 cup vegan white chocolate chips
Cherry Glaze (recipe follows)
Garnishes: orange zest, dried cherries, and/or slivered or sliced almonds

Cream together butter and both sugars. Beat in extracts, zest, orange juice, and cocoa powder. With mixer on low, beat in flour about 1/4 cup at a time, scraping down sides as necessary. Stir in nuts, cherries, and white chocolate chips. Roll tablespoons of dough into balls, place two inches apart on cookie sheet, and press to about 1/2 in thick with the bottom of a sturdy glass. You may need to use a spatula to remove, but you can coat the bottom of the glass with a little cocoa powder.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with Silpat or parchment paper. Slice cookies 1/4-inch thick with a sharp knife and place 2-inches apart on lined baking sheet. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until set and just starting to brown. Transfer to wire rack, cool completely, and ice with Cherry-Orange Glaze. Garnish as desired.

Cherry-Orange Glaze

1 1/2 teaspoons vegan butter, softened
1 1/2 teaspoons vegan cream cheese
1/2 teaspoon maraschino cherry juice
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup powdered sugar

In a small bowl, whisk together all ingredients except powdered sugar until smooth. Then whisk in powdered sugar until no lumps remain. Pop in freezer for 10 minutes or so to stiffen slightly.

#veganshortbread #plantbasedshortbread #veganrecipes #veganfoodshare #veganfoodporn #plantbased #plantbasedrecipes #plantbasedfoodshare #plantbasedfoodporn

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Blooming Black Forest Cake (vegan & plant-based)

Yield: 1 6-inch layer cake (double recipe for an 8-in layer cake)

I finally created a plant-based Black Forest Cake with which I am completely delighted!

Unless you are a recipe developer–professional or amateur counts–you cannot imagine the research, the brainstorming, and the trial and error–mental and actual–to arrive here. I spent many wee hours on Pinterest obsessing.

There were certain things that I wanted from this special cake and certain things I didn’t. For instance, I didn’t want a buttercream frosting, but I also didn’t want pure whipped cream. A favorite dessert from childhood that combined cream cheese, powdered sugar, and whipped cream topped with a layer of cherry pie filling proved to be the inspiration. My recent discovery of Silk brand whipping cream made this luscious filling and frosting possible.

Wanting a deeply chocolate, very moist, and somewhat subtly complex flavored cake, I experimented quite a bit. I wanted the rich fudgyness of a brownie, but more of a cake like consistency. And ultimately, though I love cherry liqueur, I didn’t want the cake to taste too boozy. You can certainly brush the layers with cherry liqueur if you choose But I put a small amount in the batter along with some concentrated coffee and “buttermilk” because cakes made only with coffee, water or other thin liquids, line soda, don’t quite have the structure that I desired. The cake is sturdy, yet moist.

For decoration, I love chocolate shavings and chocolate curls, which are traditional on Black Forest Cake, but I didn’t want this to be fussy, so I used simple chocolate-dipped fresh cherries and toasted slivered almonds.

What can I obsess about now In the wee hours of the morning?

Cake
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup non-dairy milk curdled with 1 to 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons concentrated coffee
2 tablespoons cherry liqueur or more concentrated coffee
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
Whipped Cream & Cream Cheese Filling/ Frosting (recipe follows)
Approximately 3/4 cup canned cherry pie filling
1/4 cup toasted slivered almonds
6 fresh cherries, pitted and halved
4 cherries with stems intact, dipped in about 2 tablespoons vegan chocolate chips melted for 1 minute in microwave

Preheat oven to 350°. Grease and flour a 6-inch cake pan or spray with baking spray. Place metal mixing bowl and whip attachment in freezer for preparing filling.

In large bowl, whisk together all dry ingredients. Make a well in center, add wet ingredients, and whisk together for about 50 strokes until smooth. Transfer batter to prepared pan and bake approximately 35 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in pan on wire rack and then invert. Cool completely covered with a dish towel. Using a serrated knife, cut cake in half horizontally. Place bottom layer on serving platter, spread with half of filling, and top with half of cherry pie filling. Place second layer on top and repeat. Decorate with cherry halves, toasted slivered almonds, and chocolate dipped cherries. Store in refrigerator.

Whipped Cream & Cream Cheese Filling/Frosting
1/2 cup vegan cream cheese, softened at room temperature for an hour or so
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup Silk brand whipping cream

Place cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla and well-chilled mixing bowl and cream together until smooth. With mixer on medium-high, slowly drizzle in whipping cream. Filling should be sick, but it will likely not be stiff enough to pipe through a pastry bag.

#veganblackforestcake #plantbasedblackforestcake

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

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Chocolate Chip, Bourbon, Pecan and Macadamia Nut Cookies (vegan & plant-based)

Yield: 1.5 dozen

I think of these cookies as deeply southern and deeply satisfying with their bourbon and pecans. And anyone who has had a chocolate bourbon pecan pie knows that those three flavors are a trifecta. The molasses and maple syrup are not enough to make the cookies taste like molasses or maple cookies, only enough to give them rich deep caramel notes. And the macadamia nuts strike another buttery note. My super simple method for shaping the cookies will yield that sought-after bakery look.

1/2 cup softened vegan butter

1/2 cup vegetable shortening

1/4 cup pecan butter (you may substitute almond butter, but nothing replicates the flavor of pecan butter)

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/2 cup natural sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

2 tablespoons molasses

2 tablespoons maple syrup

2 tablespoons bourbon

1 teadpoon baking soda 1 teaspoon sea salt

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour or white whole wheat

1/2 cup vegan chocolate chips

1/2 cup broken pecans

1/2 cup halved macadamia nuts

18 pecan halves

Preheat oven to 350° and line 2 baking sheets with silpat or parchment paper. In large bowl of electric mixer, cream together butter, pecan butter, vegetable shortening, both sugars, molasses, maple syrup, bourbon, and vanilla extract. With mixer on low, beat in baking soda and flour, 1/2 cup at a time, scraping down sides of bowl as necessary.

Using a small scoop (2 tablespoon), make nine mounds of dough on each cookie sheet, using half of dough. To get that bakery look, place another scoop of dough right on top of first scoop pressing down slightly. Repeat for all 18. You will have a scoop or mound nestled inside another. Press a pecan half firmly into the center of each double mound, pressing down slightly. Bake 15 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheet on wire rack and then store in an airtight container.

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

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Vegan Single Microwave Chocolate-Walnut Cookie

Yield: 1 delicious cookie

You knew it was coming, right?  A chocolate version to add to my growing repertoire of single-serving microwave cookies.

These cookies are all are ideal when you have a craving that needs satisfied pronto with almost no mess to clean up.  Plus they won’t leave you with a whole batch hanging around testing your willpower.

Vegan Microwave Chocolate-Walnut Cookie

1 tablespoon vegan butter (I use earth Balance), melted or not (melted is a little easier to mix)
2 tablespoons Demerara sugar
3 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons all-purpose flour  (I use white whole wheat)
2 teaspoons cocoa powder ( I used Hershey’s Special Dark)
1 teaspoon non-dairy milk
1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 to 2 drops almond extract
2 tablespoons broken walnuts (or other nuts) + 1 walnut half for garnish

In a very small bowl or cup, mix together the butter, sugar, flour, and extracts with your fingers. Mix in the nuts. Shape into a cookie about 1/2 inch thick in the center of a microwave-safe plate. Microwave for about 60 seconds. Check for doneness in center. If it needs a bit more, microwave for another 20 to 30 seconds. You can enjoy it warm and it will be somewhat soft, or you can let it cool a bit and it will be firm enough to lift.

Note: all microwaves are different, so you might want to start out with just 45 seconds and continue to cook in 10 second increments. Cook’s choice.

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

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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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