Chocolate Chip Cookies

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We all know it’s true; there’s nothing quite like a chocolate chip cookie. And though there are plenty of recipes out there, finding a truly satisfying vegan version of the quintessential American classic can sometimes be a bit of a challenge. This recipe produces a cookie that is toothsome and chewy with a crunchy exterior, with ground flaxseed serving beautifully as the egg replacer.

Makes about 16 cookies

Ingredients:

  • 3 tbsp ground flaxseed
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 cup nondairy butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 cups chocolate chips

Whisk together the flaxseed and water until a thick, creamy consistency is attained. Allow to sit at least ten minutes.

Preheat oven to 375oF. In a stand mixer cream the butter, sugar, and vanilla. Re-whisk the flaxseed mixture and add it to the stand mixer, continuing to cream until mixture is well combined and slightly fluffy. In a separate bowl combine the flour, baking soda, and salt. Gradually beat the dry ingredients into the wet until a dough begins to form. When dough is almost combined, add the chocolate chips.

Place small balls of dough on cookie sheets and bake 10 to 12 minutes, until golden brown. Allow to cool several minutes before transferring to wire cooling rack.

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Cinnamon Scones

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Oh, I know I’ve been gone forever. But I’m back now! And maybe these delicious scones will help make up for my long absence. These yummy, tender, cinnamon scones are a perfect vegan treat for breakfast, brunch, or a decadent afternoon snack. Not your typical vegan scones here… these are truly exceptional. The key to the success of this recipe is the frozen vegan butter and the blend of vegan “buttermilk” and yogurt or sour cream. I’m betting coconut cream would also work in place of the yogurt or sour cream in this recipe, but I haven’t tried it.

Makes 8 scones

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup non-dairy milk
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp ground flax seed
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 heaping cup brown sugar
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 cup vegan butter or stick margarine (such as Earth Balance), frozen and grated
  • 1/2 cup non-dairy yogurt or non-dairy sour cream
  • extra brown sugar and cinnamon for folding into center and dusting on top

At least several hours beforehand, place vegan butter in freezer. Preheat oven to 400oF. In a small bowl whisk together non-dairy milk, lemon juice, and ground flax. Set aside. In a medium bowl, mix together flour, sugar, cinnamon, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Grate the vegan butter into the flour mixture. Mix the vegan butter into the flour mixture gently, thoroughly coating the shredded butter with flour.

Add the yogurt or sour cream to the soy milk mixture and whisk until well combined. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. When the dough begins to form, use your hands to press together and form the dough. It may seem as if there is not enough liquid at first, but after pressing the mixture together for several minutes a thick dough should form.

Place the ball of dough onto a lightly floured cutting board and press into a disk. Sprinkle liberally with cinnamon sugar and fold in half. Press into a disk 7 to 8 inches in circumference and about 1 inch thick. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar on top. Cut the dough disk into eighths crosswise, as you would cut a pie. Place the 8 scones onto a greased baking sheet, about an inch apart. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes until golden. Transfer to cooling rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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Parisian Apple Bread Pudding with Rum Sauce

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This is a tasty, french-style bread pudding that would be quite healthy if it wasn’t for the decadent rum sauce (which is really a must). Good for dessert… or breakfast…

Makes 6-8 servings

Bread Pudding:

  • 1 1/2 cup soy or almond milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise (can sub a tsp or two vanilla extract)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp rum (dark or golden)
  • pinch sea salt
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 2 apples, peeled and diced
  • 12 oz stale french bread
  • 1 large banana, mashed
  • vegan butter for greasing (can sub canola oil)

Rum Sauce:

  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegan butter or margarine (such as Earth Balance)
  • 1 tsp corn starch
  • 1/2 cup soy milk
  • 1/4 cup rum (preferably golden or dark)
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • a pinch of nutmeg

For the Pudding: Combine milk, sugar, and vanilla in a medium saucepan. Cover and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat and let cool 5 minutes. In a large bowl, combine cinnamon, rum, salt, raisins, milk mixture, and apples. Gently stir in bread. If the bread is dry you can add a bit more milk. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for several hours to an entire day.

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Preheat oven to 350 oF. Grease a ceramic baking dish and sprinkle with sugar. If you used a whole vanilla bean, you should remove it from the pudding before baking and scrape the seeds back into the pudding. Add the banana and stir well. Poor mixture into the dish. Gently level with a spatula and sprinkle with sugar. Bake 35 to 45 minutes, until golden brown.

For the Sauce: Well you bake your pudding, prepare the rum sauce. Melt butter in a medium saucepan. Add sugar. Add cornstarch and milk and gently whisk until cornstarch is incorporated. Add rum, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Cook down until desired consistency is achieved (should be thick and sticky). Serve the sauce over warm bread pudding.

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Asparagus Ravioli with White Wine Mushroom Sauce

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That ever elusive vegan ravioli. Yes. Here it is. This dish has just that little bit of sophisticated something, and it’s tasty regardless of your dietary preferences.  Making pasta dough and rolling it out can be a little threatening and more than a little time consuming until you get the hang of it, but in the end you will have a yummy, tender pasta. Serve this ravioli doused in delicate mushroom sauce for a winning combination of flavors.

Makes about 30 ravioli

Ravioli filling ingredients:

  • 1 lb asparagus, cut into small pieces
  • 6 ounces extra firm tofu
  • 1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp olive oil plus a tbsp or two for roasting
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Ravioli dough ingredients:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 cup to 1 1/4 cup water

Ravioli sauce ingredients:

  • 3 tbsp non-dairy butter (such as Earth Balance)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 8 oz cremini mushrooms (aka “baby bella” mushrooms), sliced
  • sprig of fresh roesmary
  • 3/4 cup dry white wine
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • salt and pepper, to taste

To make the filling, first preheat your oven to 400oF. Toss the asparagus with a tablespoon or two of olive oil on a baking sheet. Add a dash of salt and pepper. Roast in oven for ten minutes or so, until just beginning to brown. Meanwhile, crumble the tofu and mix with remaining filling ingredients. Add salt and pepper to taste. When the asparagus has cooled, combine the asparagus and the tofu mixture.

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To make the ravioli dough, mix together the flour and salt in a large bowl. Form a well in the center of the flour mix and add the olive oil and about 1/2 cup of water. Gradually mix the flour into the water and oil. Once the mixture starts to come together, use your hands to mix and knead the dough together. Slowly add water until you have a workable dough. The dough should not be very moist or sticky. Be patient; it will take some time for the dough to come together. Now, divide the dough into two equally sized balls. Roll out each of these balls into thin sheets of pasta dough. This will take some effort, and you do what a thin dough (around 1/16 of an inch thick). If you have a pasta roller, save yourself the time and effort and use that. If you don’t, never fear, neither do I.

Now you are ready to fill your ravioli. Check to make sure that your two sheets of pasta are the same size. Place small scoops (between a teaspoon and a tablespoon) on one of the sheets of pasta dough, leaving just a bit of space in between each scoop. Place the second sheet of pasta on top. Press down around the little scoops of filling. Cut out squares  (or whatever shape you’d like, really) of pasta around the scoops in the shape you’d like your ravioli to be. If you’ve got one, you can use a ravioli cutter for this. Moisten the tines of a fork and press down around the edges of the ravioli. Trim your pasta to make it a bit prettier.

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Yay! Now all you have to do is boil your ravioli and whip up some sauce. To cook your ravioli, heat a large pot of boiling water. Drop five or six ravioli into the boiling water at a time. After several minutes, the ravioli should float up towards the top, indicating that you should take them out and drain them.

For the mushroom sauce, melt the Earth Balance in a sauce pan. Add the onion and garlic. After a few minutes, add the sliced mushrooms and rosemary. Heat for about ten minutes, until onions are transparent and mushrooms are soft. Add the wine and cook down several minutes. Add the water and cook down by about a third. Whisk in the flour and wait for mixture to thicken. Once the sauce thickens to satisfaction, remove from heat and add salt and pepper to taste.

Cook your ravioli dredged in sauce in a covered pan before serving.

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Did you know that the singular of ravioli is raviolo?


Cinnamon Raisin Swirl Bread

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There’s just something about a soft yeasty loaf filled with gooey cinnamon and raisins. All the joy and wonder of a batch of luscious cinnamon rolls packed into one delightful loaf of bread.

Makes 1 loaf

Ingredients:

Bread:

  • 2 ¼ tsps. (1 pkg) dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 4 tbsp. agave nectar (or 3 tbsp. maple syrup)
  • 3 tablespoons nondairy butter, gently melted
  • 1 tbsp. ground flaxseed whisked with 3 tbsp. water until creamy
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • Canola oil for greasing

Filling:

  • 4 tbsp. nondairy butter, melted
  • 2 ½ tsp. cinnamon
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup raisins

In a large bowl, combine yeast, warm water, and agave. Let stand 5 to 10 minutes. Add melted vegan butter and whipped flaxseed. Whisk well. Add 2 3/4 cups flour and 1 tsp. salt to yeast mixture, and stir until a soft dough forms. Cover and let stand 15 minutes. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes. Slowly add enough flour to form a dough that is very soft and moist, but no longer sticky. Grease a large bowl with canola oil, place dough in bowl and turn to coat. Cover and let rise in a warm place 40 minutes, until doubled in size. If you are rising at room temperature this will take longer (about an hour). Punch dough down and rest 5 minutes. Shape dough into ball, cover, and let rise an additional 40 minutes, until doubled in size. Punch dough down, cover, and let rest 15 minutes. Well the dough rests, mix together filling ingredients. Roll dough out into a rectangle that is approximately as wide as the baking pan you will be using and about twice as long. Gently spread filling mixture evenly over the dough. Roll dough into a log as wide as the baking pan you will be using and gently seal the seam with your fingers. Place log in a lightly oiled baking pan, seam side facing into the pan. Cover and let rise 25 minutes, until almost doubled in size. Preheat oven to 375oF. Bake about 30 minutes. Let cool 15 to 20 minutes before enjoying.

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Samosas

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I love good Indian food. There’s something about the nuanced spicy flavors and aromas that just makes me swoon… And I don’t like to play favorites, but these samosas… well… let’s just say I don’t think I’ve every made less than a double batch.  I don’t claim they’re authentic, but they are utterly delicious. Serve as a main course, as an appetizer, with a traditional Indian meal… I’ve even been known to enjoy the leftovers for breakfast . Though samosas are traditionally deep fried, lightly pan frying and then baking these darlings makes for healthier fare without compromising taste.

Makes 8 Samosas

Dough:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 3 tbsp. canola oil
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2-3/4 cup water

Filling:

  • 1 large russet potato, peeled and diced
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1/4 cup frozen peas
  • 1 tsp. curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp. garam masala
  • Pinch of cayenne (optional, make sure you’re not using hot curry powder if you use)
  • canola oil for frying
  • salt, to taste

Combine the flour, 3 tbsp. canola oil, baking powder, and 1/2 tsp. salt in a bowl. Mix well. Add enough water to make a relatively stiff dough and knead until smooth and elastic.

Steam the carrot and potato about 10 minutes, until tender.

Heat 1 tbsp. of oil over medium heat in a skillet. Add the spices. Stir in the potato, carrot, and peas. Cook about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Salt to taste.

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Divide the dough in half four times to create eight equal pieces. Roll out into small circles. Divide the filling equally among the dough. Moisten the edges with water, if needed to stick, and fold up the corners to seal tightly into little pyramids.

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Preheat oven to 375oF. Heat a tablespoon or two of oil (or vegan butter, if you prefer) in a large skillet and cook samosas on each side until golden. Bake samosas 10-15 minutes until slightly browned.

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I like to serve these with a delicious and unconventional tomato-clove preserve. Any sort of spiced sweet/fruity sauce will really set off the flavors.


Sloppy Joe Goes Vegan

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I’m hesitant to admit that I’ve ever craved something like a sloppy joe… but, well, sometimes you just miss childhood. So, I set out to create a satisfying veggie version, and this isn’t too far from the mark. Whip this up to satisfy those picky eaters in your life… or just as a nostalgic comfort food for yourself.

TVP may sound like an intimidating industrial chemical, but it’s really just dried out vegetable protein. You can keep it in the freezer for pretty much forever… at least I do.

Makes about 8 servings.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 oz green chilies, diced
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp mustard
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 12 oz tomato paste
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 1/2 cups TVP (texturized vegetable protein)
  • 3 tbsp vinegar
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 4 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp ground corriander
  • 1/2 tsp ground pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp vegan Worcestershire sauce
  • liberal dash paprika
  • 1 tsp nutritional yeast (optional)

Saute onion, garlic, and chilies in olive oil about 10 minutes over low heat. Add chili powder, garlic powder, mustard, and cumin and saute for a few more minutes. Add tomato paste, water, TVP, vinegar, soy sauce, corriander, and brown sugar. Bring to low boil and cook, covered, about 20 minutes over medium-low heat. Add remaining ingredients. Dish onto buns and serve. Enjoy!

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