Saturday, May 28, 2011

Chocolate Chip Brownies

Brownies, who doesn't love them. I thought I'd make these for my boyfriend as a nice surprise, since brownies are his absolute favorite. I added 1/2 cup of chocolate chips for an extra something. This batter is really easy to make and there is hardly any work needed. Eat these alone or with a big scoop of vegan vanilla ice cream as the ultimate dessert.

* 1 cup semisweet vegan chocolate chips, divided
* 1/4 cup non dairy milk
* 3/4 cup sugar
* 1/2 cup canola oil
* 2 tsp vanilla extract
* 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
* 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
* 1/4 tsp baking powder
* 1/2 tsp baking soda
* 1/4 tsp salt

1. Preheat the oven to 325 F. Lightly grease a 9x13 inch baking pan.

2. Melt 2/3 cup of the chocolate chips, either using a double broiler or by placing them on high in a microwave safe bowl for 30 seconds. Stir the partially melted chocolate chips and microwave again for 30 seconds.

3. In a large mixing bowl, combine the non daily milk, sugar, canola oil and vanilla extract. Mix on high speed for 1 minute.

4. Sift in the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir until well mixed. Then mix in the melted chocolate chips.

5. Fold in the remaining 1/2 cup of chocolate chips. Spread the batter in the baking pan. Bake for 25 minutes.

6. Remove from the oven and let cool. To serve warm, allow to cool for about 30 minutes. Slice and serve.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Peanut Butter Cups

This was my third time making these bad boys and by far the easiest. In the past I've followed what others had said and made them using cupcake wrappers as my mold. But today I took a little trip to Michaels ( a large craft store here in the US ) and saw that they sold candy molds for under $2. I found the same molds here, if anyone is interested in purchasing. So much easier and the result was far better than using the cupcake wrappers.

As for the recipe, I've seen some people use confectioners' sugar, shortening and even butter. I like to keep it super simply with only chocolate chips and peanut butter as my ingredients. No need for the extra sugar or fat, these taste just as great. I didn't plan on blogging these but was so impressed by the results of the molds that I just had to. I plan on making more of these very soon, so I promise to post step by step pictures within the next few days.

Makes about 30 peanut butter cups

* 2 cups semi-sweet vegan chocolate chips
* 1/2 cup softened peanut butter

1. Melt chocolate chips using a double broiler. If you do not have a double broiler, I like to fill a small saucepan with water, bring it to a boil and then place a glass bowl over the saucepan so that the water barely touches the bottom of the glass bowl. Lower the heat to the lowest setting and slowly stir the chocolate chips until all are melted.

2. Once all the chocolate chips are melted, fill each candy mold about 1/3 of the way full and then using a small paint brush, spread the melted chocolate all the way up the mold's sides. It should be a coating about 1/8 of an inch thick.

3. Place the chocolate covered molds in the freezer until it has hardened, about 5 minutes.

4. Place about 1/2 tsp of peanut butter in each mold. Lastly, cover the peanut butter layer with about 1/2 tsp of melted chocolate. Spread to make sure its covered completely. Freeze until firm, about 10-15 minutes.

5. Carefully flip over and gently press each peanut butter cup out of the candy molds. Store refrigerated.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Southern Beef-Less Stew

I thought I'd make my favorite stew one last time before summer arrived. I love this stew because it is packed with veggies and is a little different from the stews I normally make. I've been using these Gardein Beef-Less Tips in so many recipes. They are so yummy and work wonderfully in recipes such as this. If you aren't a fan, 1 1/2 cups of chickpeas would be a great substitute.

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* 1 Tb all-purpose flour
* 1 package Gardein Beef-less Tips
* 1 Tb extra virgin olive oil
* 1 medium yellow onion, cut into medium dice
* 2 stalks celery, cut into medium dice
* 1/4 tsp salt
* 1/4 tsp pepper
* 8 ounces button mushrooms, quartered
* 1 Tb minced garlic
* 1 bay leaf
* 1 tsp chopped fresh or dried thyme
* 1 tsp chopped fresh or dried rosemary
* 1 cup dry red wine
* 2 1/2 cups vegan "beef" broth ( try Better than Bouillon brand ) or vegetable broth
* 2 turnips, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
* 2 parsnips, peeled and cubed
* 2 cups chopped collard greens
* Brown rice, for serving

1. Add the olive oil to a large pot and heat over medium high. Add the beef-less tips and cook, stirring occasionally for 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a plate and set aside.

2. Add the onion, celery, mushroom, salt and pepper, stirring, until vegetables are softened, about 3 minutes. Add the flour, stir to well and cook an additional minute.

3. Add the garlic, bay leaf, thyme, rosemary, red wine, "beef" broth. Bring to a slow boil, reduce heat to low and simmer covered for 40 minutes.

4. Add the parsnips, turnips and collard greens, stir well, and cover once again. Simmer an additional 30 minutes or until turnips and parsnips are softened. During the last 10 minutes stir in the beef-less tips.

5. Remove bay leaf and serve over brown rice.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Vegan Mounds

When I went vegan, I knew not being able to have Mounds or Almond Joys anymore was going to be hard. I don't know why I haven't thought about making them for myself until now. The process was really easy, although you do need a little muscle to scoop out the frozen coconut mixture and form them into rectangles. By the end of the batch my arms were a little tired.

If you do not have coconut oil, I know it can be a little pricey, canola oil will work as well. And if you want to save time on melting the chocolate chips, you can place them in the microwave for 30 seconds on high. Remove and stir well until melted.

To make these into Almond Joys, place one almond on top of each coconut rectangle and press down firmly before placing them in the freezer for the second time.

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Makes 24


* 2 1/2 cups sifted powdered sugar
* 1 Tb plus 1 1/2 tsp light agave nectar
* 2 Tb soy milk
* 1 Tb melted coconut oil
* 1 tsp salt
* 1 tsp vanilla extract
* 1 3/4 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
* 2 cups vegan chocolate chips

1. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

2. In a large bowl, combine 2 1/4 cups of the powdered sugar, the agave nectar, soy milk, coconut oil, salt and vanilla and stir with a rubber spatula until incorporated.

3. Add the shredded coconut and stir until fully combined.

4. Dust a work surface with the remaining 1/4 cup of powdered sugar. Place the coconut mixture on the sugar and roll it around to coat it.

5. Transfer the mixture to one of the baking sheets and, using the palms of your hands, press down until the mixture is about 1 inch thick. Chill in the freezer for 20 minutes.

6. Using a melon baller, scoop the coconut mixture into your palm one scoop at a time. Form the mixture into a small rectangle and arrange it on the second baking sheet. Repeat until all the coconut mixture is used. Return the coconut squares to the freezer for 20 minutes more.

7. Meanwhile, put the chocolate chips in a double broiler and melt over low heat. Using two forks or chopsticks, roll each coconut rectangle around in the chocolate to coat. Put the mound back on the baking sheet and repeat with the remaining coconut and chocolate. Refrigerate for 30 minutes and serve.