Tag Archives: chocolate

Chocolate Banana Protein Pancakes with Maple-Peanut Butter Sauce (gluten free)

1 Mar
Lawd have mercy!

Lawd have mercy!

It’s been a long time. A long, long time. Suffice it to say that I’ve been very busy and that I never thought I’d find myself writing another post, certainly not now anyway. Since I last wrote, I’ve moved to central NY, taken a job at a farm animal sanctuary where on a daily basis, I care for about 600 rescued cows, chickens, pigs, turkeys, goats, sheep, and waterfowl–animals who have suffered tremendous agonies and have been lucky enough to end up in the safest place possible. And yet, they make up only a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of those who will never know the things we all want and need regardless of our species: to be respected, to be loved unconditionally, and to feel safe. It’s been quite the experience.
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Nanaimo Bar Cheesecake

12 Jul

Canada Day may have come and gone, but it still lives on in my heart…and stomach. If you’ve been following along, you’ll recall that I made Nanaimo bars a few weeks ago for a Canada Day celebration. Well, at this shindig, I found out that one of my very favorite Canadian persons, Peter, like-likes Nanaimo bars. It just so happens that I like-like Peter so, of course this news was exciting. It also “just so happens” that the past few Saturday nights have become dinner date nights and, since both Peter and I are vegan and like to cook, we’ve taken it upon ourselves to try and impress each other food-wise. I don’t know how or why I ended up being the baker, all I know is that it’s quite the challenge. So, with the new information that Peter really, really likes Nanaimo bars, I started scheming and decided to make him a Nanaimo bar cheesecake. Sometimes, I can be a sweetheart, I guess.

This recipe is a bit time consuming — I’m just going to put that out there, nice and honestly. If you want to make something quick for dessert, make Nanaimo bars or cookies. But this is also delicious and pretty. So, really, you get a lot out of it. And, you get to show off a vegan cheesecake. That’s bound to drop some jaws. You will have to make the cashew cream for this. Cashew cream is very easy to make and can be used in many recipes, but it requires soaking cashews for several hours or overnight. Like I said, this recipe is involved. But it’s worth it, trust me. I also really recommend using Mori-Nu Firm Silken Tofu if you can find it at a natural foods store or in an Asian market. It really does wonders for consistency. If you can’t, any other brand is fine as long as it’s silken tofu. Other brands may not be as firm and may have a higher water content. This will just mean that you may have to bake it longer and that the consistency will lean more towards a custard type of cake. It will still be very good (and likely, smoother) so don’t worry.

According to Peter, a true Canadian, what makes Nanaimo bars what they are — which is indulgently delicious — is the middle vanilla layer. So, you want this to be very vanilla-y. I do recommend using a vanilla bean, as directed below, but they can be kind of expensive so, if you can’t afford it, just use as much extract as you need to to make up for it. What I really like about Nanaimo bars is the coconut-chocolate crust. Please, use Newman O’s or any other “Oreo” type cookie that is explicitly vegan and unsweetened coconut flakes as these don’t contain refined sugar. If you really like coconut, you can even add an 1/8 of a teaspoon of coconut extract to the crust. I bet it would be delicious!

Whatever happens, indulge, enjoy, and keep eating until it’s all gone! Vive le Canada!

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Nanaimo Bars

3 Jul

On July 1st, 1867 the three British Colonies to the north of the United States (Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and the Province of Canada) united to form the country we all now know and love called, Canada. On July 1st of every year, the anniversary of Canada’s birth is celebrated all over Canada in a similar fashion to how the United States celebrates their Independence from the British: food, fireworks, parades and sensational nationalism. This day, formerly known as “Dominion Day,” is now simply called, “Canada Day” or, if you’re French Canadian, “Fête du Canada.” Whatever you call it, it’s an excuse to throw a party, eat, drink, and generally be merry — even if, like me, you aren’t the tiniest bit Canadian.

Canadians are great at many, many things. Don’t ask me what those things are, though because I haven’t the slightest clue — I’m American. I’m a New Englander. We are basically raised to think that English speaking Canada isn’t really a “big deal.” But here’s what I do know about Canada: they are better at providing healthcare for their citizens, many great bands are from there, they are good at hockey even though they lost the Stanley Cup to the Boston Bruins this year. Most relatedly though, their cuisine is somewhat of a hodgepodge of the beauty of French cuisine, the drabby goodness of English cuisine, and the “whateverness” of American cuisine.

Over the past few months I have been fortunate enough to befriend some real live Canadians. Well, I mean, as “real” as one can be when they’re from Niagara Falls, which is practically upstate New York. I’m just being cheeky. Jokes about their hometowns and funny accents aside (they actually really do pronounce things properly — PS: that’s a word they seem to like to say a lot), these Canadians are pretty great and proper folks. And lucky for me, they’re all vegan! So, when I was invited to a small, impromptu gathering centered around celebrating this wonderful country’s birth with authentic persons, I gladly accepted. And I agreed to do something pretty scary — feed Canadians something Canadian. I thought, “Well as long as I center the dish around sugar, nothing can go wrong.” And so that’s what I did. I baked, rather — un-baked, because Nanaimo bars, one of Canada’s most famous desserts, don’t require baking.

I’m not sure I can tell you very much about Nanaimo bars other than that they are easy to make, fun to make, fun to eat, deliciously messy (see photos) and very hard to resist. Basically, they’re a three layer bar of glorious unapologetic indulgence. The bottom layer is a chocolate, cookie, coconut, and nut base, the middle is a layer of sweet vanilla pudding, the top is just all-out chocolate. Yeah, it’s like celebrating Canada Day in your mouth. The best part is, you don’t even have to be skilled at Canadian cuisine to make them or enjoy them and it doesn’t have to be Canada Day! I can’t really testify to much else about how amazing these bars are so, you’ll just have to make them and see for yourself! I can say this though: there were six of us and less than half were left after 5 minutes. You do the math.

Because vegan graham crackers are hard to find, I used vanilla snaps that happened to be vegan. You could use ginger snaps, but the flavor might be a bit too overpowering. I adapted this recipe from the Joy of Baking website. There is a helpful video there that walks you through the process (pronounced “PRO-cess” if you’re Canadian). Don’t be misled that this is “hard to make” because there’s a video. It’s quite the opposite. Happy un-baking! And an extended Happy Canada Day to all!

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Easy Peanut Butter Cream Pie with Chocolate Cookie Crust — aka “The Cow Farmer” Pie

27 Apr

I’ve had this pre-made chocolate pie crust for what seems like…ever. But really, it’s only been a few weeks. Lately, I’ve been going back in forth on how to use it. I had my “a-ha!” moment yesterday when an old friend posted something on my Facebook wall that reminded me and reinforced to me, just how awesome she truly is. When I was in high school, this girl loved Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. She loved them so much that she wore a bright orange Reese’s t-shirt pretty much any chance she could. That’s how I mostly remember her.

She was vegan (we called her “Cow Farmer” or “Cowf” for short), and I remember how she lamented that Reese’s weren’t. I remember that it was the only non-vegan food item she couldn’t give up. Eventually, knowing that the pleasure of a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup does not outweigh the horror that goes into making it, she gave them up. Yeah, she’s pretty cool like that. She also speedily stepped in for me last week when I really needed her help. So, in honor of her past and present awesomeness, I have made a Reese’s inspired peanut butter cream pie with a chocolate crust.

I wish this pie could really encompass how amazing this girl is, but it just can’t because…it’s a pie. Still, it’s pretty damn close.

But I suppose I should tell you a little about the pie…

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S’mores Pops!

4 Feb
Now all you need is a flashlight and some ghost stories.

It’s been snowing like crazy this winter and it’s seriously making me feel like summer is never going to get here, let alone spring. One of my favorite activities every year is camping and canoeing with friends along the Saco river in Maine. It always ends up being a memorable time, and part of that good time and any camping trip is: the s’more. So, in a fit of nostalgia and wishful thinking I decided to make a version of the delicious, gooey dessert treat you would eat on a sandy bank along the river or in the deep dark woods of bear country. And let’s face it, who doesn’t like eating food on a stick? It’s virtually mess free! That being said, this is a great treat for kids! Continue reading

Banana Almond Butter Iced Pudding with Banana Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookie Dough

29 Jan
Remember those Banana Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies from my last post? Of course you do. Well, this is what happens when you only need to make a half batch, but you make too much and have extra cookie dough left over and don’t want to just eat it all for breakfast (even though you secretly do). Make cookie dough ice cream! Or rather, ice cream without an ice cream maker – ice pudding. It sounds weird, I know, but I swear it’s really good! It’s not the most decadent of desserts, but if you like desserts that hit the spot without being overwhelmingly sweet, you’ll like this.
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Banana Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

29 Jan

This is what happens when banana bread, chocolate chip cookies, and oatmeal get together for a drink at the bar and then go home together. Madness! I’m sure Martha Stewart wouldn’t print that as the intro to this recipe in her magazine, but this is the vegan version of her cookie and as such, I’m allowed to be a bit saucy!

These cookies have everything I love about baking rolled into one sweet treat! Enjoy!

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