Category Archives: Recipes

The Ultimate Goddess Dressing

If you’ve had it before, you’ll know exactly why this is the best salad dressing/dip/spread of all time. Goddess dressing is a vegan-by-default tahini and parsley based dressing that is just magical. This stuff will turn any salad-hater into a ruminant. It’s easy to make it wrong, though, and most store-bought varieties just don’t do the trick. The best store-bought one is Annie’s – but it’s incredibly annoying to find it, at least here in Vancouver. None of my little mom and pop retailers carry the stuff.

Luckily, after some false starts, I landed upon the best recipe I could find online – which is, funny enough, at about.com. I modified the recipe a bit and now I really think it’s the ultimate dressing. Make it for yourself and tell me what you think!

hoover in the goddess dressing
This is my cat, Hoover, adding his own “special ingredient” to the dressing: cat hair.

Start out with a food processor. This is a bit big for a Magic Bullet, but if you’ve halving the recipe you could use that little guy. I’ve not made it in a blender, but if you’re experienced in emulsifying in a blender, go for it. I like my food processor because it has an insert in the top that I can fill with oil and it slowly drips in, making emulsifying a bit easier.

If you’re new to making your own dressings, emulsifying is the process by which oil is mixed in with a liquid resulting in a creamy, opaque dressing. It’s the same process by which mayonnaise is made.

The Ultimate Goddess Dressing (UGD), according to Malloreigh

1/2 cup tahini – note that oil/solid contents vary in tahinis, which could affect the end result of your UGD
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar – I like the organic unfiltered kind with the mother
1/4 cup soy sauce – for a gluten-free UGD, use GF tamari
1 tbsp lemon juice, about half a lemon’s worth
1/2 tsp salt – use more if you’re using kosher salt
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp – 1/2 cup water – depends on the liquid content of your tahini. Start small and add more if it’s necessary to blend.
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped and packed, or use 2 tbsp dry parsley
1 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp (6 tbsp total) sunflower, canola, grapeseed, or other light oil

Combine all ingredients except for the oils in your mixing apparatus of choice and blend until mixed thoroughly. Mix the oils together and very slowly pour in in a thin stream. My food processor has a “pusher” that goes in the access hole in the top. One of the compartments has a little hole at the bottom – so I can just pour my oil in there and it’ll slowly stream in, saving minutes of labour that I can then spend having a glass of wine or petting the cat.

Enjoy as a vegetable crudité dip, salad dressing, or sandwich spread (if it’s thick enough – mine never is).

Due to the vinegar and lemon juice content, this will probably last in the fridge for a while, but I’ll never find out because I always use it so quickly.

Some housekeeping: if you’ve been following this site for any time before this post, you’ll notice a new look. Please let me know if you run into any broken images or other issues. The look has changed due to some WordPress updates that were incompatible with my custom theme.

Shakshuka and a Vegan Poached Egg

Yesterday was the Vegan Cookoff – the theme was Middle Eastern and North African food. I just had to make shakshuka, a pepper and tomato stew that originated in Tunisia and is popular across the MENA region. It’s often served for breakfast with poached eggs swimming in the thick, sweet sauce, and what a great opportunity to discover some new vegan egg tactics while using some of my old favourites.

shakshuka
Before tomatoes, after peppers and spices

SHAKSHUKA

I based this shakshuka recipe after Yotam Ottolenghi‘s, with a few elements from other shakshuka recipes I found online – I subbed out Yotam’s cayenne for fresh jalapeno, and had (surprise!) run out of saffron so I did not use that. I also didn’t have fresh cilantro/coriander on hand so went with dried. Ottolenghi didn’t use garlic, and I chose not to use thyme. The balance in my shakshuka was perfect, but you wouldn’t lose using his recipe either.

1/2 tsp cumin seeds
200mL extra virgin olive oil – use the good stuff because you will really taste it
2 yellow onions, sliced
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 red bell peppers, seeded and sliced into 1cm wide strips
1 yellow and 1 orange bell pepper, prepared as above
2 jalapenos, roughly chopped
2 tbsp organic raw sugar
2 bay leaves
1.5 tbsp dried coriander
Handful fresh parsley (be generous)
4 large or 6 small tomatoes, roughly chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

In your largest, deepest cast iron frying pan (or use a saucepan if you don’t have a cast iron), dry toast the cumin seeds on high for about 2 min until they are brown in colour. Add the olive oil and turn the heat down to medium-high. Once the oil is hot, add the onions and cook for about 2 – 3 minutes until they start to soften, then add the garlic and cook for another 3 – 5 minutes until the whole mixture is looking dewy. Add all of your peppers, sugar, and spices and cook for 10 – 20 minutes, stirring regularly, until the peppers soften and the whole thing is taking on a red-orange colour. Add tomatoes and cook for another 10 min, then taste. Add salt and pepper and adjust everything else for spice if you need to; remove the bay leaves at this point as well, if you can find them.

If you’re adding the eggs, ensure your stew is nicely broken down first – it should have a thick consistency, a nice level of sweetness and a gentle heat.

Vegan Poached Eggs

1. WHITE

The recipe for the white is based off of one from Chel Rabbit which the author used in their shakshuka.

either 1/2 cup soaked raw cashews, pureed into a cream, or 1/4 cup vegenaise
1/4 lemon worth of zest
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp black salt aka kala namak (i get this at buy low in the indian spices section)
i also added 1/8 tsp asafoetida aka hing, another indian spice that i don’t expect anyone else to have – because i didn’t have onion powder
soft organic tofu – don’t use the vacuum packed kind!
Combine all ingredients except for tofu and blend til smooth.

2. YOLK

If you’re a Vegan Mischief follower, you’ll be familiar with this yolk recipe – I found it on a website called The Airy Way and adapted it here for Vegan Mischief.

1 tbsp vegenaise
1 tbsp carrot juice or v8 (this is just for colour)
4 tbsp vegetable broth
2 tbsp earth balance
2 tsp cornstarch

This recipe is designed to be “poached” in a stew. You could probably also use it in other contexts but you’d have to alter the preparation a little bit.

Make holes in your stew for your eggs – I made 5. Spoon in a tablespoonful of the creamy white mixture and smooth it into the hole. Scoop out a tablespoonful of soft tofu and place it on top. This is going to be the texture of the white, while the cream is the taste. Let your stew simmer with the white in it for 8-10 minutes so the flavours combine – don’t stir, of course, or you’ll wreck your eggs.

In the meantime, prepare your yolk. If you have a microwave, this is a bit easier, but I have done it on a stovetop before as well. Combine all of the ingredients in a small bowl or small skillet and melt – in a microwave, zap for 20 seconds and then whisk. On a stovetop, melt and then whisk. Now, the key is to warm it and whisk it until it is a creamy bechamel or egg yolk consistency, and then IMMEDIATELY remove it from heat because if it gets past that point it will separate. If it separates, it still tastes good but it looks gross. In the microwave, zap for 5 second increments, whisk, and then put it back in if you still need to. On the stovetop, warm gently while whisking until it’s perfect.

Scoop a teaspoonful of yolk into the centre of each white. Turn the heat off and serve. Shakshuka is usually served straight out of the cast iron – bring it to the table with some fresh toasted flatbread and a big serving spoon and let your dining companions feast on it in the messiest way possible!

superbowl vegan artichoke and spinach dip in a bread bowl

i looked up so many spinach and artichoke dip recipes and just could not find what i wanted. i didn’t want low-fat, i didn’t want a complex multi-day cashew soaking process, and i didn’t want fake cheese. i ended up just throwing some ingredients together and wound up with a simple, delicious, and satisfying dip that was exactly what my friends and i were craving for our superbowl-themed movie watching party.

1 bag washed fresh spinach OR 1 package frozen spinach, thawed and drained
1 can artichoke hearts packed in water
2 cloves garlic, fresh
about 1/4 cup vegan mayonnaise
about 1/4 cup vegan sour cream
about 1 tsp paprika
salt and pepper to taste
one round loaf of bread, any kind you like (optional)

preheat oven to 350f if you will be eating this right away.

if you are using fresh spinach, throw it into a dry skillet heated to medium-low and let the water steam off until it wilts. press the spinach up against the side of the pan to release the water and allow it to steam off. if you are using frozen spinach, thaw it and drain it well.

combine all ingredients in a food processor and process til blended. if you don’t have a food processor, mince everything and mix it well.

using a bread knife, cut a circle around the top of the bread and hollow it out. chop the hollowed bread into cubes. place the bread bowl and cubes on a baking sheet and fill the bowl with the mixed dip. bake for 15-25 minutes based on how hungry you are.

for a gluten-free dip, bake it in a small baking dish or large ramekin and use tortilla chips.

i can’t believe this is all i did. i don’t normally have vegan sour cream in the house but someone left some in my fridge from a cookoff recently. and i DO always have vegan mayonnaise and so should you because it’s the best. vegenaise specifically.

trini doubles, yum yum yum

Hello there, friends and vegans! It’s been a while since last I posted; I’ve been working full time AND going to school full time, so I hope you’ll forgive me.

Anyway, I wanted to post about my entry in the last vegan cookoff. Just to refresh your memory, the cookoff is a monthly event some friends and I have been doing for four (count em, FOUR) years solid. Everything has to be vegan, and these days, nut-free as well, and it suits the purposes of the aspiring winner to offer a gluten-free entry or option as well, as we have three gluten-free participants. The theme, date, and location is chosen the month before. Everyone brings the components of their dish, assembles on location, and serves small portions to all of the attendees. At the end, everyone who’s eaten votes in each of five categories, and a winner is crowned.


The photo of mine hasn’t been uploaded yet, so here’s one from Tried and True Favourite Recipes!

Our last competition was Caribbean-themed. I made Trini doubles – a street food dish from Trinidad involving chana masala (my favourite Indian dish made with island flavour) stuffed into deep-fried bread dough. It’s simple and it’s delicious. I chose to serve mine with a fresh salsa made of mango, cucumber, lime, jalapeno, and cilantro. The whole thing was quite hot, but so delicious!

Chana Masala for Doubles

Now, I’ve tried to make chana many times before and have never made an authentic-tasting one. This was my first success with a chana masala that tasted like I’ve had it in restaurants.

2 tbsp sunflower/canola/veg oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 tsp caraway or coriander seeds, whole
4 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
1.5 inches thick ginger or 2 inches thin, grated
2 tbsp+ masala mix or chana masala mix powder (NOT garam masala, NOT thai red curry, etc.)
2 cans chickpeas, or 3 cups cooked chickpeas
1 small can or 1/2 large can diced tomatoes (ensure you get ones without extra spices)
1 bay leaf

Heat a medium-sized pot on just under medium heat on a burner. Add oil and let it heat for a minute before adding the onions. They should sizzle slightly, but if they spit at all, turn the heat down. Stoves vary a lot, so it’s best to know whether your stove runs hot or cool. Mine runs hot, so I saute my onions on heat 2 or 3 (electric). Gas ranges often run hotter than electric because of the direct and instant heat.

Stir the onions to ensure they don’t get stuck or burnt. While your onions are cooking, in a small bowl, combine the minced garlic, grated ginger, and dry masala. Add a splash of water (I like to use warm) and mix it all together so it combines into a paste.

Once the onions are softened, add the caraway or coriander seeds. Ensure there’s enough hot oil in there to coat the seeds – stir it together and cook until they are toasted. Then, add your spice paste and stir it all together to toast the spices and cook the garlic and ginger.

While this is happening, drain and rinse your chickpeas. Add them to the pot next and stir to coat everything equally in the spices. Next, add the diced tomatoes. This provides some liquid to cook the chickpeas further til they’re soft. If it looks dry, add a little water. Add the bay leaf now and stir.

Bring it to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Put a lid on and let it go for at least 20 minutes, better at an hour or even more. Continue to stir it every so often and ensure there is enough liquid; you don’t want it to burn to the bottom but you also don’t want it to come out too liquidy at the end. You need to scoop it up with fry bread!

Note on curry powders

Holy mackerel are there a LOT of curry powders out there. There’s Japanese curry, Thai curry, Indian curry, Island curry, and so on, and within each type of cuisine there are a number of variations as far as spice combination goes. For a successful chana masala, you will want a MASALA MIX or a CHANA MASALA MIX. Look for a spice mix that contains coriander, clove, cinnamon, chili, turmeric, and ginger. Chana masala should be heavy on ginger, coriander, and – believe it or not – lemon! You don’t want any lime flavour, nor cumin. If you want to make your own spice mix, use those listed above. A little cardamom wouldn’t hurt either. The “pie spices” complement the chickpea and tomato in chana masala. If you want to vary the spiciness of your dish, making your own spice mix is a great idea. You can chop fresh chilies in with the garlic and ginger, or add chili powder or cayenne with the dry spices.

Fry Bread

This part is super easy. While your chana is simmering, make some bread dough. My bread yeast was dead, so I used instant pizza yeast and actually just made a pizza dough. You don’t have to spice it – just salt it. You don’t need much, either. When you fry the dough, it’ll puff up and bubble so you can cut it open and put chana inside it. YUM.

To deep fry, choose a deep pot with a small diameter. Fill it with about 2 inches of oil with a high smoke point (sunflower/canola/veg oil) and heat it on high. Ensure you have a plate next to the stove with paper towel on it to drain, as well as a metal or silicon (NOT PLASTIC) slotted spoon, tongs, etc. You’ll know it’s ready when you put a wooden spoon in, touching the bottom, and little bubbles immediately rise from the wood. BE VERY CAREFUL if you are new to deep-frying! Tear off little chunks of bread dough and toss them in – do no more than three at a time so the oil doesn’t lose too much temperature. Watch them turn golden, turning if necessary, and then pull out to drain. Serve hot.

Oh, and I won the cookoff with this dish.

Lavender Snickerdoodles

I thought I had posted this recipe here but when I came back to the website to search for it I didn’t find it! What an oversight on my part – this is one of my most famous recipes ever. I infused these snickerdoodles (sugar cookies with cinnamon) with lavender after smelling my lavender hair conditioner and cinnamon-sugar soap at the same time in the shower. True story! Anyway, I’ve been making these for years. Add more lavender flowers if you really like the flavour – up to double the amount will simply make them more fragrant and delicious.

These cookies are quite crumbly, soft, and dry when baked according to the directions. I am working on altering the recipe to produce a moister cookie that is easier to form.

Vegan Lavender Snickerdoodles

1.5 cups flour
1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon lavender flowers, dried and crushed
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon maple syrup, agave nectar, or brown rice syrup
1 egg substitute (I use 1 tsp ground flaxseed whisked with a scant 3 tbsp apple juice, non-dairy milk, or water)

Cinnamon sugar mixture to coat

Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl. Mix wet ingredients in a medium bowl. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix together until an even dough forms.

Cover the bowl and set it in the refrigerator for half an hour.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Roll one-inch cookie dough balls in the cinnamon sugar mixture and place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Flatten each with a fork.

Bake for 6 – 7 minutes. Watch closely – you want the cookies to be golden but soft. They take exactly 6 minutes in my oven but have taken 8 – 10 in someone else’s.

Makes 20 cookies, give or take, depending on how much dough you eat.

Sticky Rice Risotto Balls

I made these sticky rice risotto balls for one of our vegan cookoffs. Everyone loved them!

sticky rice risotto balls
Photo by Jen

For the risotto

4 shallots
2 tbsp sesame oil
2 tbsp veg oil
2 cups shiitake mushrooms
2 cups glutinous (sticky) rice
1/2 cup sake, soju, or white wine
7 – 8 cups hot miso broth
1 tbsp tamari or soya sauce
1/2 cup green onion or chive, chopped
Salt, to taste

I tend to go overboard on oil when I make cookoff entries, so you could potentially half this. Heat a large, deep skillet or saucepan over medium heat, then add the shallots. Stir often with a (preferably slotted) wooden spoon until soft. Add chopped shiitake mushrooms and saute, stirring often, until soft. Add the tamari to the broth. Add the rice and sake/soju/wine; stir and let come to a simmer. Once the level of the liquid has gone down, add a cup of broth, stir, and let come to a simmer; let the liquid get low, then add another cup broth. Repeat, stirring often, adding liquid every 5 – 10 minutes, until the rice is cooked – this should take 30 – 40 minutes. Test for al dente and remove from heat. Add salt and green onion, stir to incorporate, taste for flavour, and add more soy sauce or tamari if it’s lacking.

Now you will want your risotto to cool. If you have heaps of time, you can just leave it out, but I put mine in the fridge for about an hour.

Once it’s cooled, lay out some wax paper and start forming them into balls. You can do these whatever size you like.

To stuff

I made a mixture of silken tofu, Daiya, miso, and tamari, but it might be better with some nicely marinated tofu inside, chopped into small pieces. You also don’t need to stuff them at all.

To stuff, flatten a risotto ball, put a small amount of stuffing on top, wrap it up like a purse, and close with a pinch of your fingers. Re-roll gently into a ball.

To crust

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup panko
1 tbsp sesame seeds
for the egg wash:
1 tsp ground flax
3 tbsp hot water

Mix the flax and water for an egg wash. Put the flour in a shallow bowl or saucer; do the same for the panko, but add the sesame seeds and mix. Dip each ball first into flour, then into the flax mixture, then into the panko and sesame seeds.

To fry

Enough oil to submerge your risotto balls in; you are deep frying. If you don’t want to do that, feel free to bake them. They are still delicious this way.

Heat the oil at medium until dropping a piece of rice into it sets it to rolling and fizzing. Fry each ball til it’s golden brown – BE CAREFUL – and remove gently with heat-safe tongs to a plate covered with paper towel to drain.

I served these with a swipe of creamy Japanese sesame-citrus salad dressing. This will do, or a rice vinegar-soy sauce, plum sauce, or any other dip. Eat with chopsticks or place each one on a toothpick for party-friendly finger foods.

Barbecue Sunchokes (Jerusalem Artichoke)

Photo taken from http://tinyurl.com/7pyo3p5

Ingredients:

5 medium sized Sunchokes  (sliced)

1/2 Tsp Cumin

1/2 Tsp Caraway

Salt

Pepper

1/2 C Your choice of delicious bbq sauce

3 Tbsp Oil

– Heat oil over medium heat in a sauté pan and add sunchokes covering with a lid in order to steam them through.

– Add Cumin, Caraway, Salt and pepper and toss. Continue to cook and keep covered for approx 2 minutes.

– Add 1/4 c bbq sauce. Toss and keep covered for 5-8 mins. Toss constantly.

– Add the remainder of the bbq sauce and salt and turn up the heat. Toss and caramelize the sunchokes making sure they have nice brown edges. Remove from heat and serve.

 

Caramelized Apple Sticky Buns

We made these for our most recent brunch to rave reviews. Warning: if you are going to make these, be prepared to use a LOT of Earth Balance, a LOT of sugar, and a LOT of flour. These are by no means healthy, despite the inclusion of fruit. Oh, and prepare to spend about 4 hours on them.

The base is the VeganYumYum Perfect Cinnamon Buns dough. We had used it before and it worked perfectly. For brunch I doubled the recipe, but making a single recipe should work just fine. Yield is 12 big buns.

Dough

The original VeganYumYum recipe for the dough comes with great step by step photos, so head over there if you’d like.

Yeast Mixture
4 tsp Active Dry Yeast (a little less than 2 packets)
1 tsp Sugar
1 Cup Warm Water

Dough
1 Cup Non-dairy Milk
2/3 Cup Sugar
2/3 Cup Earth Balance Margarine
2 tsp Salt
2 Egg Replacers, prepared, optional (I used 2 tsp ground flax and 6 tbsp warm water, stirred in a small bowl and let to sit for a couple of minutes)
Yeast Mixture, from above
6 Cups All Purpose Flour, more for kneading

Filling

Raisins, optional
1/4 cup Raisins
1/4 cup Whiskey
2 Cinnamon Sticks

1/3 cup Walnuts, broken into small pieces
1/2 cup Earth Balance Margarine
1 & 1/4 cup Sugar
2 tbsp Ground Cinnamon

Sticky Sauce

1 – 2 Apples
1/2 Lemon or 1 tbsp Lemon Juice
1/2 cup Earth Balance Margarine
1/2 cup Sugar
1 tbsp Maple Syrup (agave works too)
2 tbsp Non-Dairy Milk

Dough

Mix together the ingredients in the yeast mixture in a non-reactive bowl. Let the yeast mixture sit for about ten minutes to proof – you’ll know it’s ready when it’s nice and foamy.

While you’re doing that, in a saucepan, combine the non-dairy milk, sugar, margarine, salt, and egg replacers over medium-low heat. Heat until the margarine is melted, mixing together. You don’t want it to be hot – if it’s too hot, it’ll kill the yeast. Test by putting a bit on the back of your wrist.

Add the yeast mixture to the milk/margarine/sugar mixture and stir.

In a large bowl, combine 4 cups of flour with the wet ingredients and stir to combine. Add the remaining 2 cups of flour and mix in partially. Turn out onto a clean, dry, floured surface and knead together until the dough is smooth and elastic, or 8 – 10 minutes. Use extra flour to keep the dough from sticking to your hands.

Once the dough is ready, place it in an oiled non-reactive bowl, cover it with (oiled) plastic wrap, and leave it in a warm place to rise for 90 minutes.

Now you’re ready to start preparing your filling.

Filling

If you’re doing the raisins, follow these steps. Break up the cinnamon sticks. In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, combine the raisins, whiskey, and broken cinnamon sticks. If the whiskey doesn’t cover the raisins, add water. Allow this mixture to heat until it’s simmering; simmer 10 minutes and then remove from heat. Allow the raisins to continue to soak.

Toast the walnuts in a small dry skillet over medium heat, flipping often so they don’t burn. You’ll want to toast them until they have darkened/goldened slightly and are fragrant. If you really wanted to go decadent here, you could candy the walnuts.

At about the 70 minute mark, peel the apples and chop them into cm x cm cubes, approximately. Sprinkle them with lemon juice to avoid them browning while you take care of the other steps.

At about the 80 minute mark, when your dough is just about finished rising, throw the raisins into a food processor or blender, or use a hand blender. Alternately, cut them with a knife. You want to purée them a bit so they are spreadable, almost like a jam.

Sticky Sauce

In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the margarine, sugar, maple syrup, and milk. Stir together until the Earth Balance is melted.

Pour the sticky sauce into the bottom of your lasagna pan. Add the chopped apples.

Dough – rolling and filling

You’ll know your dough is finished rising when you can press a finger into it and it doesn’t spring back.

Preheat your oven to 350F. Find your lasagna pan. Oil it.

Remove the dough from the oiled bowl and roll it out into a 15″ by 20″ rectangle on a clean, dry, floured surface. The more perfect the rectangle, the more perfect your buns.

Melt the Earth Balance for the filling and brush it evenly across the dough rectangle. Add the sugar, sprinkling evenly, and the cinnamon.

Now, starting at one horizontal edge (I prefer the one closest to my edge of the counter/table), spread the raisin mixture along the edge. You want to fill up about the bottom 5cm of the rectangle. This will fill the centre of the rolls with yummy whiskey raisins.

Sprinkle the toasted walnuts evenly across the dough rectangle.

Now it’s time to roll your buns up. Start at the bottom edge and roll nice and tight until you get to the top. You will now have a long, skinny tube. If possible, you will want to cut them with thread or fishing line so you don’t squish them. I used my thread to make marks along the length of the tube so I would end up with 12 evenly sized buns. Don’t worry – these will continue to rise afterward; they won’t really be as small as they look.

Again, for more details, check out the step by step photo guidelines at VeganYumYum.

Once your rolls are sliced, place them in the pan. They will be swimming in sauce by the end, which is good. Cover them and let them rise some more – I let them rise overnight in the fridge, but you can also just let them rise in a warm spot for another hour or 90 minutes.

Bake 25 – 30 minutes or until golden. We had a bit of an issue with the bottoms not being fully cooked due to the overwhelming wetness of the apples and sticky sauce. If this happens to you, put a piece of tin foil over the pan to avoid burning the tops and bake for another 20 minutes in the oven.

Let them cool for about 5 minutes before you eat them. Pull ’em out, flip ’em over, and eat with a fork. Add candied walnuts on top, or icing sugar, or fresh apple. Yum!

Nanaimo Bars, courtesy of A Dash of Compassion

I’ve made these nanaimo bars twice and have had great success both times. They were more perfect the second time – it is PIVOTAL that you take your time making these for them to succeed – but they were delicious both times.

Original recipe here.

I’ve always used tapioca or corn starch in place of arrowroot. It can also be made with success without the vanilla bean seeds, which not everyone can afford or even find, but do add more vanilla extract (another teaspoon should do it) to replace it. I made a double recipe of the cinnamon graham cookies when I made them the first time and ended up with enough cookie for three batches… and these cookies are not sweet enough to be eaten on their own. It’s great if you want to have a cache of graham crumbs, though.


Photo courtesy a Dash of Compassion.

I’m reposting this recipe simply because I cannot stand the idea of losing it!

Nanaimo bars from A Dash of Compassion

Ingredients
Bottom layer:
1/2 cup vegan butter (I use Earth Balance)
1/4 cup organic cane sugar
5 tbsp cocoa powder, sifted
1/4 cup almonds
1 tbsp ground flax + 2 tbsp warm water
1 1/2 cups cookie crumbs (see recipe below)
1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes

Middle layer:
1/2 cup vegan butter
2 tbsp nondairy milk (I use coconut)
1 tbsp arrowroot
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
Seeds of 1 vanilla bean
2 cups vegan powdered sugar

Top layer:
4 oz. dark chocolate
2 tbsp vegan butter

Instructions

Bottom layer:
In a medium saucepan, combine the vegan butter and sugar and cook over low heat until melted. Add the cocoa and whisk until smooth. Remove from heat.
In a food processor, process the almonds to a fine meal. Add the flax mixture, cookie crumbs and coconut flakes and pulse to combine.
Add the chocolate sauce to the dry ingredients in the food processor and process until thoroughly combined.
Press the mixture into the bottom of an 8 x 8-inch square pan. Set aside.

Middle layer:
Using an electric mixer, beat the vegan butter until light and fluffy.
In a small bowl, whisk together the nondairy milk, arrowroot, vanilla extract and vanilla bean seeds. Add the mixture to the butter and beat until well combined.
Gradually add the powdered sugar and beat for a few minutes until light and fluffy.
Spread the mixture evenly over top of the bottom layer using an offset spatula and place in the freezer until firm, about one hour.

Top layer:
Melt the chocolate in a double boiler over medium-low heat and then stir in the vegan butter. Remove from heat.
Remove the pan from the freezer and then sit for about 10 minutes. Then spread the chocolate evenly over the top using an offset spatula. Work quickly or else the chocolate will start to harden. Place the pan in the freezer for at least an hour to set. See above for tips on cutting the squares without breaking the chocolate.

Cinnamon graham crackers

Ingredients

1/2 cup + 2 tbsp whole wheat flour
1/4 cup unbleached AP flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
2 tbsp nondairy milk
1 1/2 tbsp sunflower or canola oil
1 1/2 tbsp molasses
2 tbsp pure agave nectar

Instructions

In a large bowl, whisk together the whole wheat flour, unbleached flour, cinnamon, salt and baking soda.
In a small bowl, whisk together the nondairy milk, oil, molasses and agave nectar.
Add the liquid mixture to the dry mixture and stir to combine.
In between two pieces of parchment paper, roll out the dough into a rectangle about 1/4-inch thick. Transfer the dough to a cookie pan lined with parchment paper (no need to cut them into squares since you’ll be processing them into crumbs after baking). Bake at 350 degrees for about 12 to 15 minutes. Let cool completely.
Put the cookies in a food processor and process into crumbs. This should make about 1 1/2 cups, enough for the Nanaimo bar bottom layer.

Vegan biscuits are for lovers!

We’re making a little vegan brunch tomorrow for some 41 friends and family to the theme of “Vegan brunch is for lovers”, and our red-and-white benny will be sitting atop these cute heart shaped biscuits. Recipe below.

We modified from this recipe. This was all Kaylie, except for the cutting, which I did.

Two tablespoons shy of 1 cup unsweetened almond or other non-dairy milk
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
2 cups all purpose flour plus more for rolling
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2/3 cup Earth Balance margarine, cold
1/3 cup garlic confit or roasted garlic in oil – if not soft, chop beforehand

Heat the oven to 450 F. Prepare two baking sheets by greasing or lay down parchment paper.
Combine the milk and vinegar and set aside to curdle.
Mix the dry ingredients together in a bowl; flip lightly with a fork to simulate sifting, or sift.
Cut in the margarine – use a pastry cutter or two knives or a large fork. Your aim is to have chunks of margarine holding the flour together to give the biscuit its flakiness.
Pour in the milk mixture and add the garlic – it should be soft and easy to cut with a fork. Mix together but do not overmix or you will end up with tough biscuits.
Roll the dough out until it’s about 1cm thick or slightly thicker on a clean, lightly floured surface and cut with a cookie/biscuit cutter or use a knife and cut into squares.
Put in the oven. Check after ten minutes – you want the bottoms to be lightly browned and the biscuits firm.