Yield: 2 dozen cookies
These buttery cookies are so pure and simple, the perfect hybrid of crisp and tender.
Wherever we were for Christmas as a family of four–our home in Richardson, TX, our maternal grandmother’s in Dallas, or Mam-ma’s and Pap-pa’s in Houston–Mam’ma always made sure these and three other kinds of cookies, perennially the same, were there too, packed in wax paper-lined metal holiday tins.
The crackley paper, the aroma of sweet butter, vanilla, and almond–none of her cookies were spiced–and the shapes: slices, balls, Santas, reindeer, stars, bells, Christmas trees, and more, are the embodiment of Christmas for me.
Though Mam-ma probably creamed the butter by hand, I use my Kitchen Aid mixer, except when including my addition of nuts and dried fruit. Then I use a food processor as it does the chopping for you. But feel free to chop the ingredients and fold them into the dough made by hand or with a mixer.
Russian Almond Cookies (with Pistachio and Dried Cherry/Cranberry Variation) [vegan & plant-based)
1 cup vegan butter
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1/4 cup pistachios
1/4 cup dried cherries or cranberries
Place all ingredients, including optional nuts and fried fruit, in a large food processor. Pulse until well combined and dough comes together in a ball. Divide dough in half, roll each into a log about 1 1/2 inches in diameter, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate 20 to 25 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line 2 baking sheets with Silpat or parchment paper. With a thin sharp knife, cut each log diagonally into 1/4″ thick slices, and place about 1-inch apart on prepared sheets, as they won’t spread much at all. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly golden brown. Cool on wire racks.
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Yield: 1 serving (easily multiplies)
A holiday gift of a homemade sourdough loaf on the counter, So Delicious Dairy Free Nog in the fridge, and chickpea flour in the freezer inspired this divine and ready-in-a-flash Eggnog French Toast.
And because I am on winter break from school, I just might have made a warm topping with a 2 to 1 ratio of maple syrup and Bailey’s vegan Almande.
For each serving:
1 tablespoon chickpea flour
1/4 cup So Delicious or Silk dairy-free nog
1-1 inch slice sourdough bread, preferably homemade or artisanal
Almande-Maple Syrup (recipe follows) or maple syrup
Optional: chopped nuts and a sprinkling of powdered sugar
Whisk together chickpea flour and nog in a small bowl. Place bread in bowl and press down on one side, flip over and repeat. Allow to soak for as much time as you have up to 20 or so minutes. Even 5 or 10 will be delicious. Flip bread once or twice while it soaks. Then, either melt a tablespoon of vegan butter in a large skillet or simply spray skillet with nonstick spray as I did and place over medium low heat. Remove bread from nog mixture, lay in skillet, and cook 2 to 3 minutes on each side, or until golden brown and custard is set. Serve topped with the syrup of your choice plus optional chopped nuts and a sprinkling of powdered sugar.
Almande-Maple Syrup Optional:
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tablespoon Bailey’s Almande
Whisk very well, as Almande wants to float on top, and heat in microwave for 10 or so seconds. Careful or it will boil over.
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Yield: 4 quarts (16 cups or 1 gallon)
Every Christmas, my late mother made traditional Chex Mix. She would not be at all happy with my messing with tradition.
With apologies to my mother, this year’s vegan Sichuan Chex Mix is inspired by my Chinese obsession from Judy’s Sichuan in Virginia Beach, VA: Tofu Braised in Hot Chili Oil. Redolent of garlic, ginger, and chilies, this dish features 4 other key ingredients: fried tofu and stir fried jalapeños, red and green bell pepper, and peanuts over Jasmin rice.
I think, though I am not certain, that an elusive flavor in the dish is lent by Sichuan Peppercorn which I purchase st the Asian market and grind myself. Warm, but not hot (to me), this seasoning also adds a very temporary, characteristic, and pleasant lip numbing sensation. The Chex mix is delush with or without.
1/2 Cup vegan butter
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons Soy Sauce
2 tablespoons Fried Chili in Oil (sold in a jar on Kroger’s Asian aisle)
2 teaspoons grated ginger (I purchase it in a squeeze jar)
1 tablespoon Garlic Powder
1 tablespoon Onion Powder
Optional: 1 to 3 teaspoons ground Sichuan Peppercorn
7 cups Rice Chex cereal
5 cups pretzel sticks
*3.5 ounces crispy fried onions in bag, carton, or can
*3.5 ounces crispy jalapeños in a bag
*3.5 ounces crispy red bell pepper or beets in a bag or carton
4 ounces roasted and salted edamame
1 cup roasted and salted peanuts
*I use Fresh Gourmet brand from Kroger. I wanted bell pepper, but couldn’t find them in two stores, so the beets added that red, sweet, and earthy element I wanted.
Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Melt butter in large roasting pan in preheating oven. Stir in remaining Seasoning Mix ingredients followed by all Cereal Mix ingredients, coating evenly. Bake 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Cool completely and package in airtight containers.
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Yield: 1-10-inch Bundt cake or 24-2 inch mini Bundt cakes
Red wine is not just for drinking anymore!
My latest creation–whipped up in one bowl (and one for the gorgeous glaze)–can easily and quickly be yours: Red Wine-Chocolate Bundt Cake with Red Wine Glaze (and chocolate and coconut chip garnish)!
I made the large version as a gift given in a cake box tied with a gorgeous ribbon and the minis for my annual Christmas, Chanukah, Curry and Cakes Party.
Merry, Merry, everyone!
Red Wine-Chocolate Bundt Cake
2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups natural sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 egg substitutes (I used 3 tablespoon Neat Egg– it is flaxseed meal and tapioca starch; I used just flaxseed meal for mini Bundts)
1 1/2 cups red wine (I used Cabernet Sauvignon)
1 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup non-dairy milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
Red Wine Glaze (recipe follows)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a regular or mini Bundt pan with baking spray. In a large bowl, whisk together all dry ingredients. Make a well in center, and pour in all wet ingredients. Whisk together until batter is smooth. Pour into prepared pan. Bake 45 minutes for large/30 for minis or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes. Invert onto wire rack, cool completely, and then glaze.
Red Wine Glaze
2 to 3 tablespoons red wine
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup vegan chocolate chips
1/4 cup coconut chips or shaved coconut
In a medium bowl, whisk together red wine, vanilla, and powdered sugar, adding more red wine or powdered sugar to reach desired consistency. Place cake on wire rack in shallow pan to catch drips and pour glaze over. Decorate with chocolate and coconut chips.
#Vegancake #plantbasedcake #veganholidaycake #plantbasedholidaycake #redwine #vegan #veganrecipes #veganfoodshare #veganfoodporn #plantbased #plantbasedrecipes #plantbasedfoodshare #plantbasedfoodporn
You will love this no-fail, no-egg recipe that I have had since I was an adolescent growing up in a small town in south-central Mississippi. There, Quinn’s, the local pharmacy, was virtually the only place to purchase cosmetics. Just beginning to experiment with make-up, one year, I was seduced around the holidays by “gingerbread” flavored lip gloss which was sold complete with a gingerbread cookie recipe printed on an accompanying card.
I first made them for one of the attorneys with whom my mother worked. He loved them and, thereafter they became known as “John’s Gingerbread Cookies.” I made them frequently but I haven’t made them for a long time. However, this holiday season I saw a mason jar filled with miniature gingerbread boy and girl cookies and tied with a bow. I was smitten, yet I never had an opportunity to make them during the winter holiday season. But, with my partner Bob struggling with several weeks of pain from bulging disks in his neck, I decided he needed a treat so I made a half batch shaped as hearts. He ate half of them in half a day.
The only ingredient that needed to be substituted to make the cookies vegan was butter. Thank goodness for Earth Balance. The rest is a piece of cake, er, bite of cookie. And your home will smell divine.
Best and Easiest Vegan Roll-and-Cut Gingerbread Cookies
1 cup softened vegan butter
1 cup sugar (I like to use demerara, available at Kroger)
1/2 cup maple syrup
2 teaspoons fresh grated ginger or ground ginger (I like the pungency and brightness of the fresh, but I purchase it in a jar for ease and convenience)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves (the original recipe called for 1 teaspoon, which I found too strong)
3 cups all-purpose flour (I use white whole wheat)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or, my favorite, Silpat (silicone baking mats). In large bowl of electric mixer, cream together vegan butter and sugar at medium-high speed until fluffy. Beat in maple syrup, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves until completely combined. Don’t worry if mixture looks slightly curdled. Then, with mixer on low, beat in flour, 1/2 cup at a time, just until incorporated and dough comes together. Add water, a teaspoon at a time, if dough seems too dry. Avoid over-mixing or cookies will be tough. Working with one-fourth of dough at a time, roll it out on a lightly floured board to a thickness somewhere between 1/8 and 1/4″. Cut into desired shapes, place close together on prepared baking sheet, and bake 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly golden brown. Cool slightly and then remove to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat with remaining dough.
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.
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.
If a traditional pecan pie–with even more pecans–is what you crave, this pie is perfection and as easy as, well, you know.
Most recipes call for 2 cups–or even just 1 1/2 cups–pecans. Why? Mine calls for 3 for the best filling-nut ratio. This is no time to skimp.
A week ago, I published my other favorite pecan pie, though that one has a more custardy texture, as it is made from a tofu and cornstarch-based custard. Bob the omni liked that one but he much prefers this one, which he eats with his chocolate ice cream that is always in the freezer. He did admit that another flavor of ice cream would be optimal.
So serve either pie with vegan vanilla ice cream and/or vegan whipped cream–perhaps a little drizzle of brandy or bourbon–enjoy, and then let us know what you you think. Happy Holidays!
Note: If you eschew booze, just replace it with 3 tablespoon water and 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice, as Veganegg has a somewhat pronounced, slightly savory, flavor that needs countered with the assertive flavor of alcohol or with an acid.
1 prepared vegan pie crust, homemade or purchased
1 1/2 cups pecan pieces
1 1/2 cups pecan halves
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
6 tablespoons Veganegg
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup brandy or bourbon
3/4 cup maple syrup
1 cup demerrera sugar
3 tablespoons melted vegan butter
2 tablespoons molasses (not blackstrap)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Topping: vegan vanilla ice cream, vegan whipped cream like So Delicious Cocowhip
Set out pie crust if frozen. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread pecans in a single layer on a baking sheet, spray with nonstick spray, sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, and toast for 3 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.
In a large bowl, whisk together Veganegg with water and brandy or bourbon. Whisk in all remaining ingredients. Set aside 32 pecan halves and spread all the rest into pie crust. Sprikle with sea salt remaining on baking sheet. Place pie pan on baking sheet, pour filling evenly over the top. Decorate the top with concentric rings of pecan halves and bake for one hour. Pie will seem quite “loose” but will firm up as it cools. Because of this, you may need to gently reposition some of your decorative pecan halves.
Cool completely, cover, and chill for a couple of hours. Serve topped as desired.
I got inspired AFTER Thanksgiving to experiment with pecan pie. The one at our repast was not vegan, so I couldn’t partake.
On a recent trip to Duck, NC, Bob had a scrumptious pecan tart with bourbon ice cream and salted caramel sauce which I had to taste for research purposes. I felt the caramel sauce was overkill. And I knew I wasn’t going to make ice cream just due to time, so I added the booze to the pie and served the slices with purchased vegan vanilla ice cream. Yes, please.
The question for vegan pecan pie bakers is silken tofu or no? I say yes, as I was never a fan of syrupy pecan pie. So, I like the slightly more custardy texture of this one, which slices beautifully. I hope you do too.
As I mentioned, this pie is addicting served with softened vegan vanilla ice cream. And while I deemed the caramel sauce too much of a good thing, everyone will look the other way if you drizzle a hint more brandy or bourbon over the top.
- 1 prepared vegan crust
- 3 cups whole pecans
- Coarse sea salt
- 6 tablespoons vegan butter
- 1 cup demerrera sugar
- ¾ cup maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon dark molasses
- 4 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons flour
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 3 tablespoons brandy or bourbon
- Juice of half a medium-large lemon (about 1 1/2 teaspoons)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 cup soft silken tofu
- Optional: a few vegan chocolate chips
- Flaky or coarse sea salt
Heat oven to 350 degrees. If pie crust is frozen, remove from freezer. Spray a baking sheet with non-stick spray, spread pecans in a single layer on sheet, sprinkle very lightly with sea salt, and roast in oven for 3 minutes. Set aside, but leave oven on.