dessert

Mexican Coffee Truffles

Treat your Valentine, or get over the winter doldrums, with these Mexican Coffee Truffles!

– Linda Nelson

Mexican Coffee Truffles

Ingredients:

1/3 cup full fat coconut milk in the can
1 1/2 cups vegan chocolate chips (I use Equal Exchange)
1/4 cup cocoa powder
3 tablespoons coffee liqueur
1 tablespoon tequila
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon coffee extract
extra cocoa powder for rolling

Directions:

Melt the coconut mild and the chocolate chips in a double boiler over medium heat, or use the microwave. Stir until the mixture is smooth.

Add the cocoa powder, coffee liqueur, tequila, cinnamon, and coffee extract. Cover the pan, and refrigerate for five or six hours or overnight.

Remove the truffle mix from the fridge, and scoop tablespoons of the mixture out, and form into balls. Roll the balls in cocoa powder, and store in the fridge.

These are adapted from Kelly Peloza’s Cheers to Vegan Sweets.

Cranberry Tart

cranberry tart
The third entry in our holiday recipe series is a jewel-toned tart made with cranberries.

It is easier to make than a more traditional pie, and we think it will earn you rave reviews at your Thanksgiving, Christmas, or Festivus
gathering.

– Linda Nelson

Cranberry Tart

Ingredients:
1/4 cup vegan butter
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 twelve ounce bag cranberries
zest of one orange or one lemon
One single pie crust

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350. Grease a nonstick cake pan well.

Mix the vegan butter, brown sugar, and salt in a small sauce pan and stir until the butter has melted. Pour into the cake pan and place the cranberries on top evenly. Sprinkle the orange zest or lemon zest over the cranberries.

Roll out the pie crust and arrange it over the cranberries tucking the edges in around the pan rim. Cut into the crust to allow for venting. Bake for 40 minutes or until the crust is lightly golden. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for five minutes.

Run a knife around the edge of the pan to loosen the crust. Place a large plate over the tart and flip it over and out. Tap the cake pan before removing it to loosen any stuck bits. Make sure to flip while it is still warm.

This is adapted from Pies and Tarts with Heart by Dynise Balcavage.

Mom’s Ice Box Cookies

One thing my siblings and I could always count on in our school lunches was home baked cookies. I used to trade them for bags of potato chips. I’ve grown wiser since then.

This is my vegan version of my mom’s old recipe. She always called them “ice box cookies” which really tells you something about how long I’ve been around!

– Linda Nelson

Mom’s Ice Box Cookies

Ingredients:

1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup vegan butter, softened
egg substitute equal to one egg (I used ground flax seed though, egg replacement powder would also be a good choice)
2 cups flour
1/2 cup ground pecans
1/2 cup apricot jam
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 tablespoon coconut oil

Directions:

Mix the sugar, butter, and egg replacer. Stir in the flour and nuts. Shape into a 12-inch log. Wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for four hours or overnight.

Heat oven to 350. Slice the log in 1/4 inch slices. Place about 1 inch apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for about 15 minutes or until lightly golden. Cool.

Spread 1/2 teaspoon of jam on each cookie. Melt the chocolate chips with the coconut oil over low heat or in the microwave. Drizzle the chocolate over each cookie.

Gluten-Free Pecan Sandies

Here is the promised gluten-free Pecan Sandies recipe. This is from the very talented, Cara Reed‘s Decadent Gluten-Free vegan Baking book.

I bake a great deal though gluten-free goodies are not my forte. This excellent book may change all that.

Gluten-Free Pecan Sandies

Ingredients:

1 1/4 Cara’s All-purpose blend
1/2 cup toasted pecans, chopped
3 Tablespoons maple syrup
3 Tablespoons shortening
2 Tablespoons vegan butter
1 Tablespoon nondairy milk
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
powdered sugar for dusting

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 325. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Mix everything together with a fork in a medium bowl until dough begins to form. It might be crumbly: simply place the dough on a piece of parchment paper and gently knead until a smooth ball is formed. Roll between 2 pieces of parchment until 1/4 inch. Cut into circles with 2 inch cookie cutter. Place on baking sheet and lightly dust with powdered sugar.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Allow to fully cool.

Thank you, Cara, for making gluten-free, vegan baking such a pleasurable experience. The eating is even better!

Pecan Sandies

Though I’m not proud of it, I can remember a time back in high school when I would demolish a bag of Pecan Sandies in two days.

My eating habits have changed remarkably over time and cookies are not a big part of my life, but now that I’ve made a veganized version of this old favorite, I may be in trouble.

They are really good! Be careful!

Pecan Sandies

Ingredients:

3 half-cup sticks vegan butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon pure almond extract
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups small diced pecans, toasted

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the small diced pecans in a single layer on a cookie sheet with a silpat or a piece of parchment paper. Toast the pecans for four to seven minutes. It really depends on how accurate your oven is. The last thing we want is burnt pecans, so check for toasty goodness at four minutes, unless you know your oven very well. When the pecans are done, you can turn off the oven, but just don’t forget to preheat again, closer to the time you’ll be rolling out your dough.

Cream the vegan butter with the sugar with a hand mixer, a stand mixer, or a wooden spoon. Add the extracts, and mix in well.

Sift in the flour and the salt, and mix to combine. Add the pecans. I used my hands at this point to incorporate the flour and pecans.

The dough will be crumbly with all of those pecans, but don’t worry.

Form two or three balls of dough, and flatten them with your hands to form disks. Cover them with plastic wrap, and chill for about 30 minutes. Preheat the oven during the last half of your chilling time.

Take the chilled dough, and place it on a floured surface. Since the dough is crumbly, I used both a floured rolling pin and my hands to roll and pat the dough to 1/2 inch thickness. Cut out shapes of your choosing, and place the cookies on a cookie sheet with a silpat or parchment paper. The dough is delicate, and it may be break apart. Just piece it back together with a few pats, and know that it will stay together after it is baked.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes in the center of the oven until the edges are beginning to brown. Allow to cool on the pan before you dig in. Enjoy with a big glass of non dairy milk or a cup of tea.

Mocha Mousse

If you want or need dessert in a hurry, this Mocha Mousse is for you. It takes minutes to whip up and only an hour or so to chill.

My non-vegan brother once ate two servings while we were discussing just what vegans eat. He railed on and on about just how much he hated tofu. You can probably imagine my glee when I said, “You’re eating it now. Would you like a third serving?”

– Linda Nelson

Mocha Mousse

Ingredients:

1 cup vegan chocolate chips, melted
1/2 cup cold coffee
1/2 teaspoon coffee extract
1 12.3 oz. package silken tofu (It must be silken to get the mousse’s creamy texture. It comes in an aseptic carton, and it doesn’t much matter whether you choose soft or firm.)

Directions:

Melt the chocolate chips in a double boiler or in the microwave in 25 second intervals.

Add the tofu, coffee, extract, and melted chocolate to a blender or food processor, and blend or process until the mixture is smooth, scraping down the sides once or twice.

Pour into containers of your choice, and chill for about an hour, if you can wait that long!

Easy Chocolate Vegan Fudge

Here is a very easy, gluten-free fudge recipe that you can whip up in minutes.

Easy Chocolate Vegan Fudge

Ingredients:

2 cups vegan chocolate chips (I use Equal Exchange)
1/2 cup coconut cream (do not use coconut milk)
1/2 cup nondairy milk (I went for extra decadence and used non dairy soy creamer)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped walnuts, dried cherries, or chocolate chips (any of these things are optional)
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Directions:

Line a 8 x 8 pan with wax paper.

Melt chocolate chips along with coconut cream, non dairy milk or creamer, and salt in a heavy saucepan over low heat until the mixture is smooth. Remove from the heat, and stir in your optional ingredient/s.

Chill at least two hours. Peel off the wax paper, and cut into shapes of your choosing. Store in the refrigerator.

Adapted from Cara Reed’s Decadent Gluten-Free Vegan Baking

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread

zucc1

Now that zucchini are in season, we feel it almost a duty to make vegan zucchini bread. Zucchini (and other summer squash) have a multitude of uses, fresh or cooked or baked into things, but I always feel a little special when grated zucchini works its way into a loaf of bread. Zucchini bread can be kind of tricky to get right; I have made far too many “loaves” that ended up being pudding bread. The end result will almost always be moist, but this recipe turned out well and mighty tasty.

– Justin Van Kleeck

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons ground flax seeds
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup vegan sugar
1/3 cup canola oil
1/2 cup non-dairy milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups freshly grated zucchini
1/2 cup vegan chocolate chips

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Lightly grease a 9″ loaf pan.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, ground flax seeds, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and ground cinnamon. In another bowl, whisk together the sugar, oil, non-dairy milk, and vanilla extract until well combined.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry, along with half of the grated zucchini. Mix until well combined, then fold in the remaining zucchini. Fold in the chocolate chips.

Transfer the batter to the loaf pan and bake for 70-75 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. (It is a good idea to check the bread after about 55-60 minutes, just to make sure it is not getting too done on top.) Remove from the oven and allow to cool before serving.

Blueberry Crumble Bars

Alan and I went blueberry picking after a mama deer and her baby ate every berry from our new bushes. We came home with 10.5 pounds of berries!

We froze some, I baked a pie and muffins, and I made yummy, easy bars. I can’t imagine our ever growing tired of anything and all things blueberry! I really do understand why our deer friends cleaned off our bushes so well.

– Linda Nelson

Blueberry Crumble Bars

Ingredients:

1 cup sugar (you can use all vegan white sugar, or brown, or a combination)
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup cold vegan butter (2 sticks or 8 ounces)
1 flax see egg (2.5 tablespoons ground flax seeds mixed with 3 tablespoons water, whipped with a fork)
1/4 teaspoon salt

Zest and juice of one lemon
4 cups fresh blueberries
4 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a 9×13 inch pan.

In a medium bowl, stir together 1 cup sugar, 3 cups flour, and baking powder. Mix in salt and lemon zest. Use a fork or pastry cutter to blend in the vegan butter and flax seed egg. Dough will be crumbly. Pat half of dough into the prepared pan.

In another bowl, stir together the cornstarch, lemon juice, and cinnamon. Gently mix in the blueberries. Sprinkle the blueberry mixture evenly over the crust. Crumble remaining dough over the berry layer.

Bake for 45 minutes, or until top is slightly brown. Cool completely before cutting into squares. Store in the refrigerator.

Crunchy Creamy Coffee Cheesecake

If you’re looking for an easily transportable dessert for upcoming July 4th celebrations or summer potlucks, this recipe may be for you. Spooned into 4 ounce canning jars, this creamy, crunchy dessert is ready to go with a twist of the lid. It has the added advantage of being fast and no bake so no one needs to suffer from the heat of the oven.

If you don’t like coffee flavored cream, feel free to change this up. Use your imagination to come up with your favorites. I did get inspiration from Vegan Desserts in Jars by Kris Holechek Peters but I changed things around to suit myself. Just use your imagination! I once made this cream using my favorite rosewater extract. It was fragrant and wonderful!

– Linda Nelson

Crunchy Creamy Coffee Cheesecake

Ingredients:
3 cups crumbled salted pretzels
1 (12.3 oz.) package silken tofu – it must be silken, folks!
1 (8 oz.) container vegan cream cheese – Trader Joe’s makes a palm oil free brand.
1/2 to 2/3 cup sugar – depending on just how sweet your tooth is
1 teaspoon coffee extract
1 tablespoon Kahlua or to taste

Ganache recipe
1/2 cup vegan chocolate chips
1 tablespoon refined coconut oil or vegan butter
2 tablespoons non dairy milk or Kahlua

Coarsely crush the pretzels, and distribute them into the bottom of six 4oz. canning jars.

Make the ganache by putting all ingredients into the microwave or a double boiler. If using the microwave, heat in small increments (25 seconds) until the chips are melted. Stir to make it smooth. If using a double boiler remember to leave a gap between the simmering water and the pan container the ingredients to allow the steam to melt the chocolate.

Spoon the ganache over the pretzels, and place the jars in the refrigerator. As the ganache cools it will form a seal to keep the cream from seeping into the pretzels. We want them to keep their crunch!

Place all ingredients for the cheesecake cream in a food processor or blender, and process or blend until smooth. Spoon the cream over the firm ganache, seal the jars with the lids, and place in the refrigerator until you are ready to enjoy. I topped mine with some vegan dark chocolate covered coffee beans.