Easy Vegan Apple Crisp

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Week Four: Memories and Traditions

It was perhaps inevitable that apple crisp would make an appearance during this tradition-based week. I’ve reminisced about the spicy, buttery dessert before, I’ve got a recipe for a quick unbaked version, and I’ve made the classic recipe countless times — including a few nights ago.

Easy vegan apple crisp // govegga.com

Truth be told, I just follow the Betty Crocker recipe, subbing Earth Balance for butter. So simple. Don’t get cute like I did and increase the number of apples without also increasing the pan size and the topping amount, or you’ll end up with a sub-optimal apple-to-topping ratio. You want a thin layer of apple slices so they cook through and absorb all that buttery, sugary goodness, resulting in a gooey, pie-like filling. Bake it longer than you think you need to, till your apples are on the verge of disintegrating into a mushy mess. Don’t worry about appearances — this dish is all about taste.

What’s your favorite apple crisp recipe?

Vegan Brownies Galore!

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Week Three: Rainbow Week

Today’s prompt is “Goth Day – Blues, purples, blacks? Let your dark side shine.” So because it’s the weekend and I had to get up at 5 am to pick up Steven from the airport and I’m sleepy, I’m going to share a simple roundup of brownie recipes. Brownies: dark and delicious. (Plus, many of these are from MoFos past — it’s like a trip down memory lane!)

Fudgy Black Bean Brownies

First up, these black bean brownies I developed a few years back, when I was sharing nutrient-rich recipes for Vegan MoFo 2014. Although I still think putting beans in dessert is a bit of a precious foodie trend, these were surprisingly fudgy and tasty. Plus, you get 7 grams of protein in each square. Win!

Next, how about the brownie recipe showdown from Vegan Mofo 2011? Yeesh, that was five years ago. The world of vegan baking has evolved pretty substantially since then, with the introduction of new commercial egg substitutes, lots of new plant milks, and the discovery of aquafaba (praise be unto you, bean juice!).

In fact, my current favorite brownie recipe takes advantage of black bean aquafaba and is incredibly rich and delicious — you can find it here. I’ve subbed out other neutral oils in place of the coconut oil to no ill effect. This recipe is particularly great if you want a crackly top. Mmm.

Close-up of a blue plate piled high with three thick, fudgy brownies. They have noticeable bits of raspberry, and there are a few raspberries surrounding them on the plate.

Undeniably fudgy.

Or perhaps you want something with a little fruit. How about Isa Chandra’s raspberry truffle brownies? Somewhere between fudgy and cake-y, these brownies are oil-free as written… but I cheated and used an oil/applesauce blend when I blogged about them during Vegan MoFo 2012.

So… what’s your favorite brownie recipe?

 

Sweet Potato Pie in a Pecan-Date Crust (Vegan and Gluten-Free)

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Week Three: Rainbow Week

A few years back, the phrase “sweet potato pie” would’ve made me pull a face and retch theatrically. I became a sweet potato fan in my early to mid twenties, after side-eying them dubiously for much of my life. (That ol’ sweet-when-it-should-be-savory distaste again.) But after going vegan and encouraging myself to try foods I thought I didn’t care for, I found that with the proper preparation, even previously off-limits ingredients like squash and sweet potatoes could be quite enjoyable.

So today I’m bringing a beautiful toasty orange color into rainbow week with a creamy sweet potato pie ensconced in a nutty pecan crust. Sweetened by dates and maple syrup, this pie elevates the humble sweet potato to Thanksgiving dessert status. If time isn’t on your side or you’ve got someone with a nut allergy at the table, feel free to substitute your favorite regular ol’ pie crust. (And pardon my cake tin in the photos below — I don’t have a “real” pie pan!)

Gluten-Free Vegan Sweet Potato Pie with a Pecan-Date Crust // govegga.com

This pie comes together surprisingly easily after you’ve measured out the ingredients and pitted the dates. You actually won’t need any mixing bowls: the crust ingredients are whizzed up in the food processor, while the pie filling gets combined right in your blender. The hardest part is probably waiting for it to cool! But make sure you do; you want it to solidify so it cuts well and doesn’t melt onto your plate.

Bonus: Assuming your oats and cornstarch are certified gluten-free, you’re on your way towards making a beautiful vegan, gluten-free sweet potato pie sure to please everyone.

Serve with your favorite vegan whipped cream (coconut, aquafaba, Soyatoo) for a decadent treat. <3

Sweet Potato Pie in a Pecan-Date Crust

For the crust
  • 1 cup pitted medjool dates (about 16 dates)
  • 2/4 cup pecans
  • 1/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1 T coconut oil (solid)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
For the pie
  • 2 cups sweet potato, baked and mashed (measure after baking)
  • 1/3 cup aquafaba
  • 4 medjool dates, pitted
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 T coconut oil
  • 2 T cornstarch
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 – 1 tsp ginger (depending on how much of a kick you like)
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • Dash cloves

Method

Preheat the oven to 350˚F.

First, make the crust. Add all ingredients to a food processor and process until crumbly. The mixture should hold together if you scoop it into a ball and press it between your hands. Prepare a pie pan by spraying liberally with oil, then use your hands to press the crust into the pan, pushing it up the sides by 1/2″ to 3/4″.

Next, prepare the filling by blending all ingredients in a high-speed blender. (A regular one will likely work, but I’d recommend soaking the dates first.) Pour into the crust and use a spatula to spread evenly, then bake for 45 minutes, or until the top is set. Chill for at least three hours before serving.

Notes

  • If maple syrup breaks the budget, feel free to substitute agave nectar instead. Brown sugar would also likely work, though I haven’t tried it.
  • I recommend baking the potatoes a day in advance to save time. Just put them in the oven alongside anything else you’re cooking, then on the day you make the pie, they’ll be cool and easy to pop out of the skins.
  • I got the idea to use aquafaba from another blogger who made a pumpkin pie using it, but I can’t recall who it is. Thanks for the tip!

PIN IT

Gluten-Free Vegan Sweet Potato Pie with a Pecan-Date Crust // govegga.com

Note: This post contains an affiliate link. If you purchase something through my link, it costs nothing extra for you, but I get a few pennies. I’m not looking to make a fortune, just to cover hosting costs. :)

Welsh Cakes — Vegan Welsh Griddle Cakes

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Week Two: International Week

After featuring an Irish recipe on Monday and an English recipe on Tuesday, I figured it was incumbent upon me to hit all the nations of the British Isles. Today we go to Wales for a disarmingly simple treat: Welsh cakes. Traditionally baked on a cast-iron griddle over a fire, these subtly sweet biscuits typically feature currants. Given my lack of an open flame (well, other than my living room fireplace!) and dislike for raisins, I opted for dried apricot-filled cakes baked on the stove in a cast-iron pan. Close enough? Close enough.

Vegan Traditional Welsh Cakes // govegga.com

Many traditional recipes also use a smidge of mixed spice, a spice blend not too common in the United States. Since the amount of spice in these recipes is so small (1/4 – 1/2 tsp), I opted instead to use a dash of a few spices. If you’re the type of person who panics when you see “a dash” or “a pinch” in a recipe, use a 1/8 teaspoon and fill it about halfway. If you don’t have all of these spices, again, no worries. Just use what you’ve got.

I’m ashamed to say I’ve never been to Wales — it’s my last UK nation to visit, and trust me, it’s on my list! (Hello, have you seen how beautiful this country is?!) I’ll have to find some vegan Welsh cakes once I get there.

Vegan Welsh Cakes

Makes 14-16 cakes

  • 1 2/3 cup unbleached all-purpose flour (measured loosely)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • Scant 1/4 tsp salt
  • Pinch each of ground ginger, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, and mace
  • 1/4 cup vegan butter
  • 3 T vegetable shortening
  • 1/4 cup vegan sugar
  • 1/3 cup dried fruit (I used dried apricots, chopped small)
  • 1 Ener-G egg made according to package instructions, then whisked  with scant 1/4 C almond milk

Method

In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, salt, and spices. Using a pastry cutter, a fork, or your clean fingers, rub in the vegan butter and shortening to make a crumbly mixture.

Next, stir in the sugar and dried fruit, then add the egg and milk mixture. Combine to form a stiff dough, kneading with your hands if necessary. Tip onto a clean, floured surface and roll until about 1/4″ thick. Use a biscuit cutter or glass to cut out cakes.

Preheat a cast-iron pan on medium-low and add a small pat of butter. When melted, add 5-7 cakes (depending on the size of your pan) and cook for about 3 or 4 minutes, until golden-brown. Flip and cook for the same amount of time on the other side. Make sure that your cast-iron pan doesn’t get too hot and be sure to adjust the temperature between batches. If the cakes cook too fast on the outside, the middle will still be doughy.

Best eaten piping hot off the pan, with butter and a little sugar drizzled on top.

Notes

  • I opted for a commercial egg replacer (Ener-G) in this recipe because it seemed like a flax egg would be too obtrusive. Feel free to give it a try, though!
  • I used a vegan butter and shortening blend because some Welsh cake recipes require both butter and lard, and I wanted to provide a few different types of fat. (I like Spectrum Naturals shortening.) You can use vegan butter only, if you’d like.
  • Don’t let my personal issue with raisins/currents prevent you from trying the more traditional dried fruit!

PIN IT

Vegan Traditional Welsh Cakes // govegga.com

Note: This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase something through my link, it costs nothing extra for you, but I get a few pennies. I’m not looking to make a fortune, just to cover hosting costs. :)

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Vegan Blondies

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Week One: Treat Yourself (and others)!

This past Sunday was full of frustration… and cookies. I’ve had a specific cookie concept in my head for a few weeks now, and I decided to work on the recipe this weekend. The first attempt failed, leaving Steven and I with a Tupperware full of cookies that were more like puffy biscuits. (Steven wasn’t complaining.)

Back to the kitchen I went, hoping some modifications would help. Nope. The second batch spread too thin and crumbled horribly, leaving us with a Tupperware now full of biscuit-y cookies and crumbly cookies (Steven still wasn’t complaining).

After that, I gave up — I’ll return to the concept soon, but I couldn’t bear a third failure in one day.

That’s the rub, when it comes to recipe development: you’ve gotta be okay with failure. As a semi-reformed perfectionist, I still get frustrated when things don’t go my way. I’m learning to be okay with it, and to learn from it, but it still grates on me.

So a few nights ago, when another idea surfaced in my MoFo-inspired mind, I headed to the kitchen with just a little trepidation. I knew what I wanted: rich, chewy vegan peanut butter blondie bars that would almost melt in your mouth, studded with chocolate chips for a slightly bitter counterpoint to the sweetness. I melted, mixed, tasted, and finally put them in the oven, hoping my baking mojo had returned and that the curious alchemy of cookie-creation was in my favor that night.

Vegan peanut butter chocolate chip blondies // govegga.com

It was — though I didn’t think so at first. As I tried the blondies, my initial reaction was disappointment. They weren’t sweet enough! I had failed! I kept chewing, though, and soon realized that they did indeed have a perfectly pleasant sweetness; a few tablespoons of maple syrup add complexity and mean that the sweetness grows slowly on your tongue. And you wouldn’t want them much sweeter — these are rich, buttery blondies; too much sugar would render them cloying and unpleasant to eat.

And so! With much relief, today I bring you vegan peanut butter blondies, an indulgent treat that’s supremely easy to whip up. I baked mine in my favorite Le Creuset ceramic 9×9” square dish, and they came out beautifully with just a spray of oil lining the pan. If you’re using a more persnickety dish, feel free to line with parchment paper for easy removal. (And keep your fingers crossed for another cookie recipe coming soon — I think I’ll crack it yet!)

Vegan peanut butter chocolate chip blondies // govegga.com

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Blondies

Makes 9 squares

  • 1/3 C Earth Balance, melted
  • 1/2 creamy natural peanut butter
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 C brown sugar
  • 1/4 C white sugar
  • 2 T maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 T ground flax
  • 1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350˚F and oil a 9×9″ baking dish.

In a large mixing bowl, stir together the melted Earth Balance, peanut butter, and vanilla extract until well combined. Add the sugars and maple syrup and incorporate, then stir in the salt, baking powder, ground flax, and flours. (You might want to add the flour a little at a time for easier mixing.) Fold in the chocolate chips. The mixture should be similar to cookie dough.

Add the dough to the prepared baking dish and use a spatula to spread evenly. Bake for 23-25 minutes, just until a skewer or knife comes out clean. Do not overbake. Cool for at least 10 minutes before slicing and enjoying.

Notes

  • I’m sure you could omit the white whole wheat flour in favor of more all-purpose flour — though you might need to add a few tablespoonfuls more.
  • Feel free to substitute mini chocolate chips or even white chocolate chips.
  • These would probably cook up well in an 8×8″ pan — just cook for a couple minutes longer.

PIN IT

Vegan peanut butter chocolate chip blondies // govegga.com

Looking for a slightly healthier dessert option that’ll still leave you feeling like you’re treating yourself? Why not try my fudgy black bean brownies, a treat from MoFo 2014?

Chewy Vegan Coconut Cookies

Let’s not talk about the fact that Labor Day weekend has come and gone, okay? Instead, let’s talk about chewy, melt-in-your-mouth rich vegan coconut cookies. The kind of cookies you could bring to a gathering of even the staunchest omnivores and feel good about. The kind of cookies that you just want to keep on eating and eating and eating, even when your stomach groans in protest.

I’ve made these cookies three times in the past few weeks, twice to share at events, and they haven’t let me down. I’ve basically veganized this recipe, toned down the fat and sugar just a bit, and tweaked a few other things to my taste. I highly recommend using shredded (not flaked!) coconut — it seems to melt into the cookies, providing them with coconutty goodness, without those noticeable flaky bits that might distract from your eating pleasure. (I buy it at Wegmans, but Amazon also carries shredded coconut from Bob’s Red Mill.) Adding the coconut early on helps it soften up and become infused with the creamed sugar and butter. The result is a true delight.

chewy vegan coconut cookies

 

Almost as good as the final product? The fact that this recipe is so, so easy — you can make it in a single bowl, plus a small one for mixing up your flax egg. I use my KitchenAid stand mixer, but a hand mixer or even good old-fashioned elbow grease will do the trick.

If you’re feeling decadent, I bet these would be amazing drizzled with chocolate… but I’ve been too impatient to try that!

Chewy Coconut Cookies
Makes ~18 cookies

  • 6 T Earth Balance buttery sticks, softened
  • 1/2 C brown sugar
  • 1/4 C white sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 flax egg (1 T ground flax mixed with 3 T warm water)
  • 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 350˚F and have two cookie sheets ready to go. (You can line them with parchment paper if you’d like; it’s not necessary, but if your sheets are finicky, feel free to try it.)

First, make the flax egg by whisking the ground flax with the water until combined. Set aside.

In your stand mixer (or using a hand mixer or your own brute strength), cream together the Earth Balance, sugars, and vanilla until well combined; it should take two to three minutes. Pour in the flax egg and mix for another 15 seconds or so.  Add the shredded coconut and mix on low until it’s folded in to the creamed butter and sugar.

With the stand mixer (if using) off, add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, then mix on low until all ingredients are incorporated. It should take just a minute.

Scoop rounded tablespoonfuls of dough onto your cookie sheet, leaving about 2″ between each cookie. Press down slightly. Bake for 10 minutes, and let cool for another 5 before removing from the cookie sheet.

Enjoy!

chewy vegan coconut cookies

Note: This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase something through my link, it costs nothing extra for you, but I get a few pennies. I’m not looking to make a fortune, just to cover hosting costs. :)

Fusion Challenge: Pumpkin Biscuits for Humans and Dogs

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Day 30: Fusion Challenge!

Oh boy, I am taking some LIBERTIES with this prompt.

Typically, “fusion” food combines elements of two (or more) culinary traditions — like curry burritos or Thai pineapple pizza (!). I’m all for merging the best of the best to create super-delicious meals with bold flavors. I even recipe tested for Joni Marie Newman’s fusion-inspired cookbook, Fusion Food in the Vegan Kitchen. But I’m looking at fusion food from a different lens today… the lens of “combining human and dog food.”

HEAR ME OUT.

Backstory first. Working at The Humane Society of the United States means that I get to bring my dogs to work. We have a strong Pets in the Workplace policy, along with a committee that governs it. It’s a win for humans and dogs alike, in so many ways. But a few weeks ago, we learned that at least one office dog had bordatella, a highly contagious bacterial infection. On the advice of our staff veterinarians, the committee temporarily suspended the PIW policy. For two weeks, our canine companions stayed home, and we humans remembered what it’s like to work somewhere that doesn’t allow dogs. I missed the frequent excuses to get outside, the sound of the occasional bark from somewhere in the building, and the morning rituals when my coworkers (dogs and humans!) greet each other. Of course we all appreciated the caution that prompted the suspension, but it was no fun. And I wished I could explain to Moria and Luna that we weren’t abandoning them at home; they’d be able to return eventually.

Pups

My babies!

Tomorrow, though, the dogs are back! And I couldn’t be more excited. I knew I wanted to bake some dog treats to give out to any pup I see tomorrow, and then I thought… why not make some people treats, too? The ultimate fusion food!

(Am I stretching it? Eh. Too bad.)

Dog and People Biscuits

My strategy was to create a base dough that’s then separated in half and flavored for each species. The human variety has sugar and spices, while the dog variety has oats and extra molasses. Note that although you can definitely eat your canine companion’s biscuits, she shouldn’t eat yours — at least not if you include the nutmeg, which isn’t good for pups. And no, these aren’t the most exciting human biscuits, but I have a secret love for chewy, doughy, mildly flavored things I can snack on!

Ed. note: Okay, this is embarrassing. The human biscuits are… not great… the day after baking, so I can’t really recommend them. Instead, you can double the dog-biscuit ingredients and make a LOT of dog treats, or halve the first set of ingredients. I’m sorry!

Pumpkin Biscuits Two Ways
Makes many tiny biscuits

  • 1 15 oz. can pumpkin puree
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil, softened
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup wheat germ
  • 1 1/2 T blackstrap molasses
  • 1 T cinnamon

For the human biscuits (not recommended)

  • 1 cup + 1 T all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp cloves

For the dog biscuits

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cup rolled oats

Combine the first set of ingredients in a large bowl, then split the dough and move one half into a new bowl. Preheat the oven to 350˚ and oil two cookie pans.

This second bowl will be your human-biscuit bowl. Add all the human-biscuit (HB) ingredients and mix until well-combined; it will take a few minutes to come together. Refrigerate this dough while you prepare the dog-biscuit (DB) dough. To do that, mix in all the DB ingredients. Refrigerate that dough while you roll out the HB dough.

Roll out he HB dough on a well-floured surface with a rolling pin. Using your favorite cookie cutters, cut the dough into shapes. Repeat the process with the DB dough. If your cookie cutters are vastly different sizes, try to group the small biscuits on a single sheet and the large biscuits on another sheet.

Bake small biscuits for about 15 minutes and larger ones for about 18. They’ll harden as they cool, so don’t worry if they’re soft when they come out of the oven.

~~~

And with that, I say goodbye to Mofo 2015! I’ve been a little burned out this past week, so honestly I’m not sorry it’s over! But I do like the prompts — Steven and I are already musing about ways to incorporate fun/surprise prompts into my blogging practice, and I have some good ideas. Stay tuned!

…and now I’m gonna go eat some roasted potatoes and Gardein tenders. Night, y’all!

Soft-Batch Tahini Snickerdoodles

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Day 11: Focus on a nutrient

Today’s prompt was my theme for last year’s VeganMoFo! I focused on the nutrients that omnivores enjoy grilling us vegans about, like protein, calcium, and iron. I’ve got a lot of great, nutrient-rich recipes in that tag, so you should check ’em out!

So given my near-expertise (heh) in matters of vegan nutrition, would it surprise you that I’m sharing a cookie recipe today? It shouldn’t! As I learned last year when I investigated protein and where to get it, my conclusion was that protein is in lots of unexpected places. Like cookies. Especially cookies made with chickpeas and tahini! Enter these dreamy soft-batch Tahini Snickerdoodles. With 4 grams of protein per cookie, they’re a modest but not insubstantial source of natural protein. Each cookie also contains 2 grams of fiber, and since the RDV is 15 grams, you can fulfill nearly 1/3 your daily requirement just by eating two cookies! :D

If you’re worried about putting chickpeas in cookies, here’s what Steven said when I told him about this unexpected ingredient: “Really?! Holy sh*t! You can’t taste it at all!” And Steven is quite discriminating when it comes to “healthy” ingredients in desserts.

Soft-Batch Tahini Snickerdoodles

Soft-Batch Tahini Snickerdoodles
Makes 16 cookies

  • 1 can (15 oz) chickpeas, shelled/skinned if you’re so inclined (save the liquid!)
  • 1/3 cup tahini
  • 1/4 aquafaba (chickpea liquid), whisked briskly for 30 seconds or shaken in an airtight jar for 10 seconds
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup or agave nectar
  • 2 T melted coconut oil
  • 2 T brown sugar
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 T ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt

For rolling

  • 1 1/2 T white or turbinado sugar
  • 1/2 T ground cinnamon
  • 1 T sesame seeds, white or black

Preheat the oven to 350˚F.  Prepare a cookie pan by oiling it or lining it with parchment paper.

Using a blender, combine the chickpeas, tahini, aquafaba, liquid sweetener, coconut oil, brown sugar, and vanilla extract. Blend for about 30 seconds or until everything is smooth.

Add the remaining dry ingredients (excluding the rolling sugar) to a mixing bowl and stir to combine. Pour in the wet ingredients and use a wooden spoon or plastic spatula to mix. The dough will be very thick, so use that elbow grease to get it all incorporated.

Next, stir the rolling sugar mixture together in a small bowl. Use your hands to roll 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoon balls of dough, then roll them in the sugar. Flatten them slightly and place them on the prepared baking sheet.

Bake for 14 minutes and allow to cool for 5 minutes before eating.

Notes

  • I’ve become a chickpea-skinning convert. It makes hummus SO much creamier, since the chickpeas are more easily blended without those pesky skins. So now I always skin my chickpeas. It takes a few extra minutes, but it’s an oddly satisfying feeling to have those little skins slip right off in your fingers.
  • Aquafaba! Have you tried it? It’s probably not strictly necessary in this recipe, but it provides a great texture.
  • These are not particularly sweet cookies, so if you have a bigger sweet tooth than I do, add a few tablespoons more brown sugar.

Tahini-Maple Cookies (and, I’m shaving my head!)

While scrolling through my recent blog posts a few days ago, I realized with not a small amount of shock that I haven’t shared a dessert recipe in quite a while. What’s more, my recipe page has a quickly growing collection of savory foods. Time to get back to the sweet stuff starting today, with a cookie recipe I really love. Tahini-Maple Cookies But first, a request. This Saturday, I’m shaving my head. I’m doing it as a fundraiser for children’s cancer research, as part of a St. Baldrick’s event in Baltimore. As someone whose naturally curly hair has elicited hundreds of compliments throughout my life, I’m not sure what it’ll be like to get rid of one of my most defining physical characteristics. But it’s so, so worth it. My extended family has been hit by childhood cancer more than once, and the effects are — needless to say — brutal. So I’m shaving my head in memory of the kids who didn’t have a choice about going bald, and to help fund crucial research. Before looking into St. Baldrick’s, I had no idea that cancer affects children and adults very differently, and that research and treatments are not the same for both groups. Yet, tragically, childhood cancer research is appallingly underfunded. I want to help. I’ve already surpassed my $350 fundraising goal thanks to my wonderfully generous friends, coworkers, and family. And now I’m thinking, maybe I can double it! Even a $5 donation will help. If you can spare it, please donate to my page. Thank you! <3 Okay, request over!

Now to the cookies. I dreamed up these tahini-maple cookies while trying to fall asleep a few nights ago. I wasn’t sure how well the tahini flavor would play in a dessert. Would it be overpowering? Not at all noticeable? Unpleasant?! I shouldn’t have worried: it’s both pronounced and pleasant, any hint of a bitter edge tempered by the caramel-y maple syrup. Tahini lends such a nuanced flavor, deeper than that of other nut butters. These are great grown-up cookies indeed, perfect for a special occasion. (Because, let’s be real, tahini and pure maple syrup aren’t exactly cheap!) They’re also lovely dipped in your afternoon coffee. If you’re feeling especially decadent, go ahead and add some chocolate chips. I prefer them without the chocolate (gasp), but the combination is great. Tahini-Maple Cookies Tahini-Maple Cookies Makes a baker’s doze (13)

  • 1/3 cup tahini
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 3 tablespoons sunflower or canola oil
  • 1-2 tablespoons almond milk
  • 1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon black sesame seeds
  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350˚ and oil a baking sheet or line it with parchment paper. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk the tahini, maple syrup, oil, 1 tablespoon almond milk, and the vanilla extract. Once the wet ingredients are combined, sift in the dry ingredients (except for the sesame seeds). Using a plastic spatula or wooden spoon, stir to combine all the ingredients. If the dough is still crumbly (i.e. if it doesn’t stick together in a single ball), add the additional tablespoon of almond milk. Fold in the sesame seeds (and chocolate chips, if you’re using them). Once the dough is combined, scoop heaping tablespoonfuls onto the baking sheet and flatten slightly. Bake for 11 minutes, remove from oven, and let cool for at least 5 minutes before eating.

~~~

Note: If you want a lower-fat option, you can replace the oil with 1/4 cup applesauce. Do not add any almond milk until you’ve combined all the other ingredients; the dough will be wetter and might not need it. Bake for 15 minutes instead of 11. These cookies will be puffier and a bit less rich, but still yummy!

Blueberry-Red Wine Sauce for Crepes and More

There’s no easier way to make your breakfast game fancier than by whipping up a sweet sauce for pancakes, crepes, or scones. Using freshly picked blueberries (or frozen blueberries you picked yourself during warmer months!) makes your breakfast even more special.

Blueberry-Red Wine Sauce

This blueberry sauce employs red wine to provide a slightly acidic undertone, while cardamom adds a spicy note. It only takes a few minutes to come together, so you can keep watch over it while you’re flipping pancakes or crepes. I like to serve it with the crepe recipe from The Urban Vegan, but any neutral pancake, crepe, or scone recipe will benefit with a spoonful of this sauce! Serve it with a dollop of coconut whipped cream for an extra-indulgent treat.

Blueberry-Red Wine Sauce
Serves 3 or 4

  • 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 2 tablespoons cane sugar
  • 2 tablespoons red wine (Malbec or Merlot work well!)
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon cardamom

In a small pot, whisk together the wine, water, cornstarch, vanilla, and cardamom until the cornstarch is mostly dissolved. Turn the stove to medium and add the sugar and blueberries to the pot. Heat the sauce, stirring frequently, until it begins to bubble, then turn the heat down to low. (If you’re using frozen blueberries, make sure they’ve thawed through before turning down the heat.) Simmer for an additional 4-5 minutes or until the sauce thickens. Serve immediately.

Blueberry-Red Wine Sauce