Chef Fran Costigan

Passover or anytime Vegan Chocolate-Dipped Macaroons

 

Chocolate Dipped Coconut Macaroons suitable for Passover

Chocolate Dipped Coconut Macaroons, photo by Lisa Pitman

Regardless of the weather, the springtime holidays of Passover and Easter start next week. Offer a recipe from Vegan Chocolate: Unapologetically Luscious and Decadent Dairy Free Desserts for Passover or Easter. I’ll be posting the Easter recipe, which is really cute, in a couple of days.

The recipe I chose as my Passover recipe offering is the Chocolate Dipped Macaroons. These taste great and  are healthier than  the the egg-white and white-sugar based Pesach macaroons my grandma Ida and my mom, bought. They are more compassionate too!  My vegan version has triple coconut goodness: unsweetened dried shredded coconut, coconut flour and coconut milk beverage. Chia seed gel replaces the egg whites. Until I was writing this post, I missed another major positive! These cookies are made without added fat! They contain no oil! Wonder how I missed that until now?

The photo of the macaroons was taken by vegan superstar, Lisa Pitman, when she was testing recipes for Vegan Chocolate. Lisa is  co- author of author of the gorgeous ebooks, Tiny Treats and Edible Gifts and blogs at the The Vegan Culinary Crusade.

Chocolate-Dipped Coconut Macaroons

Passover, like all of my family’s gatherings, was food-centric, and dessert was no exception. After dinner, we always had two kinds of Passover macaroons on the table: a bakery version and a canned version. The ones from the bakery were certainly better than the canned, but I admit to favoring the latter as a child. Today, I make a delicious, preservative-free version of that canned cookie that appears on virtually every Seder table. But it wasn’t easy. Replacing the egg whites found in every macaroon recipe proved a tough puzzle to solve. Commercial egg replacer and starches made a cookie that tasted powdery with a texture not even close to what I was after. One afternoon, wondering what to do with the bowl of white chia gel I was whisking, I thought, “Egg white!” In short order, I had made a cookie too good to eat only on Passover, and one that you certainly don’t have to be Jewish to enjoy. I used Bobs Red Mill Shredded Coconut and Coconut Flour and So-Delicious Dairy Free Coconut Milk Beverage. (I was lucky enought recently to test the new carageenen-free beverage and it’s great). Use any quality brand you like of course.

Note: 1 1⁄2 teaspoons / 4.5 grams whole white chia seeds yield the 1 tablespoon ground seeds needed for the recipe, but that is too small a quantity to grind. Grind at least 3 tablespoons / 30 grams and store the ground chia in a small covered jar in the refrigerator for up to 6 months.

  • 7 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons / 99 grams organic granulated sugar, divided
  • 1 tablespoon / 10 grams ground white chia seeds
  • 3 tablespoons / 45 ml water, at room temperature
  • 1⁄4 cup / 33 grams coconut flour
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder
  • 1⁄2 cup plus 2 tablespoons / 52 grams toasted shredded coconut, divided
  • 3 tablespoons / 45 ml plain or vanilla coconut milk beverage
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 ounces / 85 grams dark chocolate (62 to 72%), melted and kept warm in a water bath, for dipping
  1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 375°F / 190°C. Line a rimmed baking sheet with a sheet of parchment paper.
  2. Lightly grind 7 tablespoons / 91 grams of the sugar in a blender and set aside until needed.
  3. Put the ground chia in a small bowl. Pour the water over the chia. Set aside for 5 minutes undisturbed and then whisk hard. The chia gel will be lumpy at first but will smooth out as it hydrates. Whisk a few more times while you sift the dry ingredients. (You can make the gel ahead of time and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Whisk vigorously before using.)
  4. Place a wire mesh strainer over a medium bowl. Add the coconut flour, the 7 tablespoons of ground sugar, and the baking powder to the strainer and stir with a whisk to sift the ingredients into the bowl. (If any small bits remain in the strainer, add them to the mixture in the bowl.) Stir 1⁄2 cup / 40 grams of the shredded coconut into the dry ingredients.
  5. Whisk in the chia gel. Use a silicone spatula or your hands, if necessary to get the gel thoroughly mixed into the flour mixture. Add the coconut milk beverage and the vanilla extract and mix with a silicone spatula, pushing hard on the dough until it holds together when squeezed in your fingers.
  6. Form the macaroons. Use a 1-teaspoon measure to scoop out rounded teaspoons of dough. Squeeze the dough hard in the palm of your hand so that it sticks together, and then roll into balls.
  7. Coat the macaroons. In a small bowl, mix the remaining 2 tablespoons / 12 grams of coconut and 2 teaspoons of sugar. Roll the dough balls in the coconut- sugar mixture. Press each ball on the baking sheet to flatten the bottoms.
  8. Place the baking sheet on the middle rack of the oven and immediately reduce the heat to 350°F / 180°C. Bake for 14 minutes until the bottom of the macaroons are lightly browned.
  9. Set the baking sheet on a wire rack. After 3 to 4 minutes, lift the macaroons off the baking sheet onto the rack. Cool the macaroons to room temperature and then refrigerate until cold before dipping the bottoms.
  10. Dip the bottoms of the cold macaroons in the melted chocolate. Set the coated macaroons on an acetate sheet, plastic wrap or parchment lined tray and refrigerate until the chocolate is set.

You’ll find three variation of the recipe: Chocolate-Covered, Coconut Almond and Chocolate Chip Coconut Macaroons in Vegan Chocolate: Unapologetically Luscious and Decadent Dairy-Free Desserts

* Other perfect for Passover recipes in Vegan Chocolate include the the Dukkah-Spiced Chocolate Covered Matzoh, and the Mendiants. 

* I think that favorite holiday desserts have to do as much with our own personal traditions as the actual sweet, so to be able to veganize ‘tradition’ feels wonderful to me, and very natural. I’d love to hear about your traditions and favorites. Would you please share them?  

* Check out my newsletter later this week for Baking Tips and an Easter or Anytime Dessert.

* If you like Vegan Chocolate: Unapologetically Luscious and Decadent Dairy-Free Desserts, would you please consider helping to spread the word with tweets, facebook posts,  a blog post, or a review on Amazon.com! Thank you so much.

Warmly,

Fran

Test the final consistency of Ganche

Testing Chocolate Ganache

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Pistachios, White Chocolate & Matcha

White Chocolate and Matcha Mousse Pudding

 

My Facebook feed informed me this morning that I’d missed National Pistachio Day (February 26) by one day. I really like pistachios and so does my granddaughter Georgia Lili.  Her dad, my son Michael, is the one in the family who likes white chocolate and he likes matcha tea too.  Personally, I find white chocolate too sweet, but I got to thinking that matcha and some serious citrus plus crunch might just make a fabulous small portion dessert. Now you have an idea about how I come to develop recipes––it’s definitely not always a straight line. The White Chocolate and Matcha Mousse Pudding in my book, Vegan Chocolate: Unapologetically Luscious and Decadent Dairy Free Desserts, Running Press started just this way. As Georgia and Michael tried their best to cheer me up today after a cup of coffee was spilled on my backup but very much used Macbook Pro, I’m dedicating this blog post to them.

White Chocolate usually contains little cocoa mass (except for cocoa butter) and almost always contains milk or cream powder, which makes it unsuitable for vegans. Vegan White Chocolate Chips, which are admittedly low quality, can be found in kosher marts and at online retailers, such as the Vegan Store and Amazon.com.  I have sampled some good raw white chocolates in Europe and Organic Nectars in the U.S. makes a Golden White Chocolate that sweetened with coconut sugar, thus golden in color and that can be a consideration.

Matcha is a premium green tea powder unique to Japan that is used for drinking as tea and as an ingredient in recipes. The complex flavor is slightly bitter, vegetal, and astringent, but when used as an ingredient, sparingly, the flavor becomes subtler. Matcha adds a lovely light green hue and unique flavor to a dish. Pistachios have unique green color and flavor. Buy nuts in the shell. Do not use the  dyed red ones.

I served this mousse at Fashion Loves Animals last year with the thinly sliced kumquat garnish and extra pistachios, and it was a great success. I also served it at my book signing party at the Natural Gourmet Institute, when kumquats were out of season. We garnished instead with dragon fruit. pictured here. Stunning!

MOUSSE

This mousse/pudding is quite easy to make. If you double the recipe, make it in a food processor. Taste as you go. I actually prefer a bit more matcha. (Matcha may be like cilantro insofar as people seem to love it or loathe it but I think you’ll  really love it here.)  .. But,  this started as a post about National Pistachio Day.  

Here’s the recipe as it appears in Vegan Chocolate.

White Chocolate and Matcha Mousse Pudding 

The tart citrus flavor of the kumquat is a good foil for the rich, sweet unusual cream, and the pistachios add crunch and color. A chewy crispy mochi waffle is an optional but delightful component. The matcha adds an astringent note, but the pudding is sweet. Small portions are the way to go.

Makes 4 to 6 small servings

Note: Vegan white chocolate chips do not fit into the category of high-quality chocolate, but sometimes these chips are the only thing that will do. Like most chocolate chips, they will take longer to melt, so the procedure for melting the chocolate in this recipe does not follow the standard water bath procedure. Dissolving matcha in boiling water makes it taste bitter, so use very hot water instead. 

  • 6 ounces / 171 grams vegan white chocolate chips or another vegan white chocolate
  • 1⁄4 cup / 60 ml almond milk or coconut milk beverage
  • 4 ounces / 116 grams silken tofu (one third of a 12.3-ounce/ 349 gram aseptic box), drained
  • 1 tablespoon / 3 grams matcha 2 tablespoons / 30 ml very hot water (steaming, not boiling)
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 to 3 thinly sliced kumquats, for serving
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons / 28 grams chopped pistachio nuts, for serving
  • 4 to 6 (1-inch / 2.5-cm) pieces mochi, for garnish (optional)

Put a small heatproof bowl into a skillet and pour enough water into the skillet so that the water reaches halfway up the bowl. Put the chocolate into the bowl.

Bring the water to a simmer over medium-low heat. Reduce the heat to low, adjusting the heat as needed to keep the water at a bare simmer. When the chocolate looks softer and glossy, stir with a silicone spatula until it is completely melted and smooth.

Add 1 tablespoon of the almond milk or coconut milk beverage, stirring slowly and constantly until incorporated. The chocolate may look curdled as the milk is added but will smooth out as you stir. Repeat with the remaining milk. Turn off the heat. Keep the bowl of white chocolate in the skillet while you prepare the other ingredients.

Put the tofu into a small bowl and mash with a fork.

In a separate small bowl, dissolve the matcha in the hot water. Pour the dissolved matcha over the mashed tofu and stir to combine. Add the tofu mixture and the vanilla to the melted white chocolate.

Using an immersion blender, purée the white chocolate-tofu mixture in the bowl until absolutely smooth. Stir to check for any orphan pieces of tofu and purée again if necessary.

Pour the pudding into individual 4-ounce / 120-ml glasses (you will have enough for 4 to 6 glasses) and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight until softly set. The flavor of the matcha will continue to develop as the pudding chills.

Serving: Garnish each pudding with sliced kumquats and a sprinkling of the chopped pistachio nuts. Set a piece of mochi waffle, if using, into each glass on an angle.

Keeping: Refrigerate in the individual serving glasses or in a covered container for up to three days.

Check out my Blog Calendar and my Facebook page for current list of events. *EVENT This Weekend, Saturday and Sunday, March 1st and 2nd*

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Enter VEGTASTIC at Checkout. The special may still be available. NYVEGFOOD FEST is where you will find vendors selling and sampling all kinds of items, food, books, clothing, and more, dynamic speakers including author and director of Main  Street Vegan Academy®, Victoria Moran, and Cro-Mag, Triathlete, Author John Joseph McGowen  plus cooking demos sponsored by the Natural Gourmet Institute, home of the Costigan Vegan Baking Boot Camp Intensive®  My demo is Sunday at 1pm following Chef Jay Astafa. Sunday brings the team from Vedge, Chefs Kate Jacoby and Rich Landau. Read about my first time at Vedge in V for Vegan here. 

Fran and Victoria at the Academy. Come say hi to us this weekend. We’ll have information about next winter’s Main Street Vegan Academy and Wellness Cruise®. 

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I’ve got two questions for you.

If you could name a FOOD HOLIDAY, what would it be.

Do you consider White Chocolate eating chocolate?

Thanks.

Until soon, warmest wishes

Fran

PS WordPress isn’t letting me preview this post. After the computer debacle today, I’m pretty clear without google that there is a retrograde. So fingers crossed as I hit publish!

 

 

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It’s Still Chocolate Day!

Chocolate Olive Oil Glaze for Chocolate-Dipped Anything LR

Celebrating Valentine Day with a sweetie or celebrating yourself, you migh tjust  find this 5 minutes to make Valentine Dessert to be the just thing to add tonight, or to make tomorrow. It’ll be Saturday after all!   Here it’s the salty crunchy things getting the Chocolate Olive Oil Glaze for Everything  dip but you certainly can dip some fruit too. Try this on mandarin sections and on other citrus too. I recently served grapefruit slices dipped in this glossy Glaze and the platter was emptied before I could grab my  Iphone.

Here’s the recipe: If you don’t want to wait for the chocolate glaze to set, just dip and eat!! 

  • 6 ounces / 170 grams dark chocolate (70 to 72%), finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons / 30 ml mild tasting extra-virgin oil or neutral vegetable oil
  • 2 pinches flaked sea salt (optional)

Recommended Items For Dipping:

  • Long-stem or standard strawberries
  • Blueberries, raspberries, blackberries
  • Cherries on the stem
  • Citrus segments (mandarin oranges or grapefruit, cleaned of all pith and “string”)
  • Dried fruit
  • Pomegranate seeds
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Potato chips
  • Pretzels

Line a sheet pan with a piece of plastic wrap, acetate, or parchment or a Silpat baking mat.

Melt half of the chocolate with the olive oil in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water (make sure the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl), stirring a few times until the chocolate is just melted. Add the rest of the chocolate and stir until melted.

Remove the bowl from the saucepan. Wipe the water from the bottom of the bowl. Crush the salt (if using) between your fingers and add it to the chocolate, stirring until the chocolate is completely melted and the glaze is smooth.

To dip larger items: hold by the end or stem. Dip each piece two-thirds of the way into the chocolate. Lift up and allow the excess chocolate to drip back into the bowl. Set each piece on the lined sheet pan and push forward just slightly, so the chocolate doesn’t puddle too much. (Don’t worry if it does.) Allow the chocolate to set at room temperature for about 15 minutes, then refrigerate on the tray until set.

To dip smaller pieces, such as nuts or seeds, plunk a bunch at a time into a shallower bowl of chocolate and push them around with a fork until coated. Remove with a large fork or slotted spoon and allow the excess chocolate to drip back into the bowl. Place on the lined baking sheet to harden and then refrigerate.

Refrigerate until serving. The chocolate-dipped “anythings” will peel off the acetate, parchment, or Silpat when the chocolate has hardened.

Recipe from Vegan Chocolate: Unapologetically Luscious and Decadent Dairy-Free Desserts, by Fran Costigan, Running Press

Photo credit:  © Kate Lewis 2013

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All You Need Is Love & Some Chocolate

Simple & Simply Must Do

Simple & Simply Must Make

Valentine’s Day is just a few days away, but its not too late to make a simple but unapologetically luscious real chocolate dessert. This year thoughts of Valentine Day started early for me while I was watching the CBS special, The Beatles at 50. Fifty years? I liked foil-wrapped waxy chocolate kisses before I became a chocolate aficionado who considers the source of the chocolate. I was a vegetable illiterate who transformed into an enthusiastic whole foods plant-based vegan. I’m ready to toast Feb 14 2014 with peace, love and compassion for all.  And, to eat a yummy chocolate dessert. Are you with me? I modified the Spicy Ginger Truffle (pictured here) from Vegan Chocolate  and surprisingly, they are faster to make than the rolled truffles. Use any truffle ganache you like.

All You Need Is Love.  Ladies and Gentlemen…The Beatles is a fantastic multi-media show at the Lincoln Center Library for the Performing Arts. Is it possible that it’s 50 years since I went with my friend Ella to see the Beatles at Forest Hills, Aug 1964. I still remember the excitement when the helicopter carrying them landed! Times have changed dramatically and my own life has changed, with twists and turns I could never have imagined.

I was not vegan then. I didn’t know any vegans or even vegetarians. I didn’t eat organic foods, and I had not ever heard of the foods I eat today. (Kale? Wild

Ringo, Paul, George and John

Ringo, Paul, George and John

Mushrooms? Tofu? Ginger?)  Believe me, I could not have predicted how much I love vegetables, or that the girl who didn’t know how to brew a cup of coffee (seriously I couldn’t boil water) would learn to cook, love to cook, find she was good at it too. I couldn’t imagine how much vibrant good health and satisfaction was possible simply by enjoying a whole foods plant-based, compassionate diet. Or, that I would be living this dream of a life where my “work” is  teaching cooking and baking classes, helping people get back into their kitchens and eat more healthfully,  and writing books about food. For these profound blessings, I am very grateful.

& Some Chocolate… (That chocolate, a food I eat every day is a bean, is mighty special too!!) Vegan Chocolate: Unapologetically Luscious and Decadent Dairy-Free Desserts, Running Press,  is filled with Chocolate Recipes that anyone can make, from beginners to pros, with or without dietary considerations, and from vegan to omnivore. “Fran Costigan’s Vegan Chocolate is the holy grail of sweet, plant-based treats! This cookbook is destined to be a treasured baking classic for all kitchens.”—Kris Carr, New York Times bestselling author of Crazy Sexy Kitchen 

Ethical Chocolate: As I write in Vegan Chocolate, I choose to use organic and ethical, wholesome ingredients, but of course, the choice is yours.  Around Valentines Day, when chocolate reigns supreme, it is a good time to consider that tragically today slavery / forced labor is still a factor in the production of chocolate and sugar, and much of it is child slavery. Find up to date information about ethical chocolates, and those that are not at http://www.foodempowermentproject.com.  You can even download a free app and take the list with you.

It comes as a surprise to many people that, unless there is a party happening, my preference for Valentine Desserts is Chocolate Quick, Easy and Lighter,  instead of the more elaborate and heavier  triple chocolate types of desserts.  Following are my picks for this year, Feb 14, 2014. (All recipes are from Vegan Chocolate). What are your favorite chocolate desserts for Valentine Day?  

Almost Instant Chocolate Pudding [Find the recipe at http://www.bigcityvegan.com/blog/food-and-drink/almost-instant-chocolate-pudding-recipe-from-vegan-chocolate-cookbook ]

Quick and Creamy

Quick and creamy

Mendients   Find the recipe at http://relish.com/recipes/mendiants/

Fancy looking but its use what you have.

Fancy looking but it’s use what you have.

Spicy Ginger Truffles  with Valentine Variation (Recipe follows)

Heart cutter, Ginger Powder, Melted Chocolate

Heart cutter, ginger powder, melted chocolate

This morning, I decided to try using a small cookie cutter to stamp out heart shaped truffles from Spicy Ginger Truffle Ganache. It worked like a charm. The little hearts looked so pretty, I decided that instead of dusting them with cocoa powder or enrobing them in melted chocolate, I’d see how they looked simply brushed with ginger powder, standing in for the gold luster dust and then waved a fork of melted chocolate over some.  See for yourself. (Remember, so far, I am an iPhone photographer).  Later I did enrobe a few in melted seed tempered chocolate using my new gadget, the Wilton Chocolate Pro Electric Melting Pot. I was a doubter, but I use it often to melt smaller quantities of chocolate, and find it’s a good place to store leftover melted chocolate too. I use the “warm” setting instead of the “melt” setting, by the way.

The pungent ground ginger cooked into coconut milk to flavor these ultra creamy truffles elicited this comment from my friend @TheVeganLisa (Vegan Culinary Crusade), who is an accomplished cook and author from Toronto: “Not only are these exquisite, they are perfect for sharing when you want to spice things up with a certain someone.” How you spice things up is up to you, but make sure you add enough ground ginger to ensure that at least these truffles are up to the task. Remember: bittersweet chocolate will temper the flavor of the ginger. Using coconut sugar adds a subtle  caramel note to the spiciness, but mixing organic granulated sugar and whole cane sugar works just as well. Either way, just follow the recipe carefully and your reward will be luxurious truffles.

Set a fine mesh strainer over a heatproof liquid measuring cup for straining the heated milk. Add the chocolate to a heatproof bowl and set aside while you heat the milk.

Pour the milk into a small saucepan. Add the sugar, 1 1⁄2 teaspoons /3 grams of the ground ginger, and the salt. Cook over medium heat, whisking a few times, to a low boil.

Immediately remove the saucepan from the heat. Cover the saucepan and let the milk sit for 10 minutes to infuse with the flavor of the ginger, stirring a few times. The heat of the ginger should be pronounced, so taste the milk now. If not, add more ginger to taste and let the milk infuse another few minutes.

Pour the milk through the strainer into the measuring cup. Discard any solids.

Wash and dry the saucepan. Return the spiced milk to the saucepan and cook over medium heat until small bubbles are visible around the sides.

Pour the hot milk over the chocolate all at once. Gently rotate the bowl so the chocolate is completely submerged. Cover the bowl with a plate and let stand undisturbed for about 4 minutes.

Add the vanilla and olive oil and whisk from the center out only until smooth and glossy. Keep the bowl of ganache at room temperature while you test the final consistency. A properly made truffle ganache is firm enough to scoop and shape but still tastes creamy. Dip a teaspoon into the ganache, set the coated spoon on a small plate, and refrigerate for 10 to 15 minutes. After chilling, the ganache on the spoon should be smooth and firm, but still taste creamy. It is unlikely, but if the glaze is too firm, add a tablespoon of room temperature milk and repeat the test. Add a second tablespoon if needed.

Cool the ganache in a shallow dish at room temperature for 30 minutes. (The ganache sets up fastest and most evenly in a 9-inch / 23-cm glass pie pan or similar dish.) Refrigerate uncovered until the surface is no longer soft, then place a piece of parchment paper or plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the ganache, covering it completely, and refrigerate for at least 3 hours, or until very firm. The ganache can be refrigerated at this point for up to 1 week in an airtight container.

Make The Truffle Centers: Line a shallow container with parchment. Remove the ganache from the refrigerator. Use a spoon to scoop out 1-inch pieces of ganache and another to push the ganache off the spoon into the container. (If you prefer more uniform truffles, use a 1⁄2-tablespoon scoop.) When a half dozen or so are made, roll and press the pieces into irregularly shaped rounds. Repeat until all the ganache has been used, washing and drying your hands as needed. (If at any time the ganache becomes too soft to shape, refrigerate until cold and proceed.) Cover and refrigerate the truffle centers in layers separated by parchment paper for 15 to 25 minutes before finishing with the cocoa coating.

Valentines Day Variation: Make sure the ganache is cold but not brittle. Press a heart shaped cutter into the ganache and push the heart out of the cutter onto a parchment lined sheet pan. Repeat until you have made as many hearts as your heart desires. You can refrigerate or freeze any remaining ganache, or roll the rest into rounds.

Finish The Truffles: Choose one of the following three methods from the chapter introduction (page 36) to suit your time or taste: roll in cocoa powder, the remaining ginger, and flaked sea salt; coat in melted chocolate and cocoa powder (the hybrid method); or enrobe in tempered chocolate. Place the coated truffles in refrigerator to set for 30 to 45 minutes. Sprinkle the truffles with a pinch of ginger powder and a few grains of flaked sea salt just before serving, or press a small sliver of candied ginger into each.

Valentines Day Variation: Sprinkle either the shiny or matte (bottom) of the heart with ginger powder or edible gold luster dust. [I prefer the ginger for added zing]. Stop here or place the hearts close together and wave a fork loaded with melted chocolate over the hearts, creating a random design. Or, enrobe the hearts in melted chocolate and dust lightly with gold or ginger. Add a red berry [I used a freeze dried cranberry on the heart pictured]

Remember, I’d really like to know what  dessert you like on Valentine Day.  Will you make dessert or buy dessert or — will you skip it? Do you associate chocolate with Feb 14th?

With love and appreciation,

Fran

P.S. Remeber to sign up for my newsletter if you’d like to stay updated on my events and more. You can do that simply right at www.francostigan.com or from  Facebook or directly on my SIGN UP page.

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Thanksgiving Desserts

It was cold and windy in New York City last night. I’d had a lovely weekend in the country, and was now faced with piles of papers to organize and otherwise “move off my plate.” Wanting a warm, chocolaty, not too sweet treat, I decided to make the quick and easy, but fancy sounding, Chocolat Chaud, which is one of the five Hot Cocoa / Hot Chocolate recipes in Vegan Chocolate. This recipe, inspired by my son Michael’s college year in Paris, seemed just right to share now, since I’m doing the shopping list for the Thanksgiving desserts I’ll make at Michael and Linda’s home in California later this week.

Photos saved as medium

Michael and Linda met in Paris that college year and became good friends. They have been married for 10 years now and are the parents of my granddaughters, the Costigals. Vegan Chocolate trailer_bkIf you’ve seen my Vegan Chocolate book trailer (click on image here), you know I’ll be baking in a great kitchen. It’s theirs.

As a long time vegan, meat has not been on my plate for a very long time, and while there are plenty of good tasting vegan mains, the sides and desserts have always been the best part of the holiday meal, are still what I crave.  Among my favorites dishes are mashed root veggies, cranberries in some form, grains and greens, simply grilled tempeh or a pot of beans, and to start the meal, a cup of squash soup served with mini Good Cornbread or Spiced Pumpkin Muffins from my previous book, More Great Good Dairy Free Desserts Naturally.

My son and daughter and their partners and children sent their list of have-to-have Thanksgiving desserts. I added mine. What follows is our collaborative roundup of old and new favorites. The challenge now is to decide which to make in addition to the standards, Chocolate Pecan Pie and Perfect Pumpkin Pie.

Holiday Desserts From Vegan Chocolate

  • Chocolate Pecan Pie [ recipe in Newsletter - November 24 ]
  • Raw Chocolate Fudge and Mandarin Orange Tart
  • Lemon Tartlets
  • Chocolate Cranberry Pecan Coffeecake
  • Intensely Chocolate Trifle
  • Chocolate Orange Sesame Truffles
  • Ginger Truffles
  • Almond Anise Biscotti
  • Chocolate Ginger Ice Cream (My mother-in-law Wini served ice cream for Thanksgiving)

Holiday Desserts From More Great Good Dairy-Free Desserts Naturally

  • Perfect Pumpkin Pie with Candied Pecans
  • Cranapple Maple Pie
  • Sweet Apple Streusel Pie
  • Applesauce Galette
  • Pear Cranberry Slump (stovetop)

 Do you get or make requests for particular dishes?  What are they?

Do you play with tradition or leave it as is?

I believe that Chocolate makes Thanksgiving Desserts better. Do you?

I’ve got a favor to ask. If you’ve been making and enjoying recipes from Vegan Chocolate: Unapologetically Luscious and Decadent Dairy-Free Desserts, would you write a review on Amazon and / or post on social media?  It really helps sooo much. And, if you don’t have a copy of this book yet, I hope you’ll consider buying one for yourself and more as holiday gifts. And if you like this blog, please share with a friend.

Here’s the recipe for my go-to pie crust. You will find the Chocolate Pecan Pie Filling and directions for baking the pie in my Newsletter. I’m wild for this update to a classic pie: sweet but not cloying, gooey yet fudgey, make-ahead, magically yummy warm, at room temp or frozen.

Use a prepared crust if time is tight, but make the recipe if you can. You’ll get a tender, flaky crust every time, and it’s easy.  You do need to plan your time, as you would when making any pie dough. Proper handling and careful attention to the directions are essential to its success.

Tender Olive Oil Pastry Dough
Tender Olive Oil Pastry Dough LR

photo © Kate Lewis 2013

A tender pie crust requires oil that is icy-cold but still liquid.

-  Measure the amount of oil you need at room temperature and pour it into a small freezer-proof container.

Cover and freeze for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the oil has become slightly thicker.

Check the oil as it chills; you do not want it to get so cold that it solidifies. Don’t be fooled by the consistency: frozen, solidified oil will not mix into the flour mixture properly.

If the oil has chilled too long and is solid, allow it to liquefy at room temperature (this will take 20 minutes, more or less) and chill it again. Remember to set a timer!

Note: After the ingredients are mixed, the dough rests for 45 minutes to 4 hours—but after 4 hours the dough will be too greasy to use and will have to be discarded.

Makes one (9 to 9 1⁄2 -Inch / 23 to 24-Cm) Pie Crust, Tart Crust, Or Freeform Tart

  • 3 ⁄4 cup plus 1 tablespoon / 108 grams organic all-purpose flour
  • 3 ⁄4 cup / 103 grams organic whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 ⁄2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 ⁄4 cup plus 1 tablespoon / 75 ml mild tasting extra-virgin olive oil, ice-cold, plus more at room temperature to grease the pie pan
  • 1 teaspoon / 5 ml apple cider vinegar
  • 2 to 2 1 ⁄2 tablespoons / 30 to 38 ml ice water

1. Place a wire mesh strainer over a medium bowl. Whisk the flours in their containers to aerate, and measure the all-purpose flour and pastry flour into the strainer using the “whisk, dip, and sweep” method (page 63). Add the salt to the strainer and stir with a wire whisk to sift the ingredients into the bowl. (If any small bits remain in the strainer, add them to the mixture in the bowl.) Whisk to aerate the mixture.

2. Drizzle the cold oil over the flour mixture. Using a silicone spatula, toss until the oil is coated with flour. Do not break up the irregular fat pieces that form. These lumps are equivalent to the solid shortening used in conventional recipes and help to create a flaky crust.

3. In a small dish, stir the vinegar into 2 tablespoons of the ice water. Drizzle the liquid over the mass of dough and shake the bowl; this will get the water into the dough without extra handling. Handling as little as possible is one of the important rules of making pie dough. Toss gently, using the spatula, until all the flour is moistened and a rough mass of dough holds together. Do not over mix. It is unlikely that more water will be needed, but if it is, use only as much as needed so that the dough holds together. Do not squeeze or press the dough into a round at this point.

4. It’s easier to roll half the dough at a time (and easier to find refrigerator space for 2 smaller pieces.) Turn half the dough at a time onto a large piece of plastic wrap. Enclose the dough lightly, al- lowing enough space for it to move freely. Pass a rolling pin over the dough until it is about 1 inch / 2.5 cm thick. Repeat with the other half. If you have extra-wide plastic wrap, you may wrap the dough in one piece. Rest the wrapped dough in the refrigerator for 45 minutes or up to 4 hours.

5. Shape the crust: Unwrap the dough but do not dis- card the plastic wrap. Cut off small pieces of dough with a sharp knife. (The pieces do not have to be uniform in size.) Scatter the pieces over the bottom of the pan and on the sides.

6. Cover the pan with a piece of plastic wrap. Flatten the pieces of dough with your fingertips by spreading them out until they form an even layer that covers the bottom and sides of the pan. Patch with extra dough as needed. Even out the dough by pressing on it with a flat-bottomed 1⁄2-measuring cup.

7. If using a pie pan, flute the edges. If using a tart pan, press the dough straight up the sides. Press lightly on the top edges of the pan with the cup to smooth the top ridge. Clean the outside of the pan of any dough. Wrap the dough in the pan lightly in plastic and refrigerate for 40 minutes or up to 4 hours be- fore baking. Set a timer, and don’t let it go longer than 4 hours.

8. Blind bake the crust: Preheat your oven to 425 ̊F / 220 ̊C while the pie dough rests in the refrigerator. Position one rack in the lower third of the oven and another in the center.

9. Put the pie or tart pan on a baking sheet and remove the plastic wrap. Do not prick the dough. Cut a square of parchment paper slightly larger than the pie pan. Crumple the paper to make it more flexible, and place it on the pie dough. Put a piece of heavy duty foil on top of the parchment paper, shiny side down, and fill with pie weights or dried beans used for this purpose.

10. Bake on the lower rack for 17 minutes. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and very carefully remove the beans in the foil and the parchment. Unless the dough is completely dry, without any shine of oil, return the dough to the oven for 5 minutes. Do not bake longer or the crust will crack. (Should this happen, brush a little melted chocolate over the cracks to seal when the pie crust is cooled.) Remove the pan from the oven and cool completely on a wire rack before filling.

Keeping: The baked crust can be kept loosely wrapped overnight at room temperature.

 

Blessings for a healthy, happy holiday season from my home to yours.

Fran

“Are you swooning yet? You will be when you dig in to the luscious recipes in this book: they’re downright delectable and simply the best chocolate treats you’ll ever experience. . . They’re not only crazy-delicious, but they’re good for the soul!”
 -Kathy Freston, New York Times bestselling author of The Lean and Veganist

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Bittersweet Chocolate Truffles

If you read my Nov 13th Newsletter, you know I used “Swap Outs” in my Vegan Chocolate cooking class at the Cooks Warehouse, Decatur, GA, and at the Atlanta Veg Fest. I had to have ganache that was ready to shape into truffles since the class was 2 1/2 hours, and included several recipes, and the VegFest demo was 45 minutes. Thinking about the “game plan” or mise en place before you get started making desserts, makes the process easy, easy when you are making component desserts. It’s so important to me that I included Suggested Game Plans in many of the recipes in Vegan Chocolate: Unapologetically Luscious and Decadent Dairy-Free Desserts.

Guests at my Moo Shoes book party, Wednesday 11/13 and Watchung Booksellers book signing on Sunday 11/17th, will be hearing about making truffles and tasting them too! If you can’t get to either event, you can make and enjoy your own truffles!

I’ve added the italics to the recipe to highlight the timeline. I’m no geek or scientist but thinking ahead works. Read the recipe all the way through and you’ll see that while the ganache is very quickly made, it does have to rest and then chill before it can be used. The good news is that 0nce made, the ganache can be refrigerated for a week, or frozen for a longer time.

Use any chocolate you like tasting out of hand, as long as you stay within the percentages listed.

Use any chocolate you like tasting out of hand, as long as you stay within the percentages listed.

 Bittersweet Chocolate Truffles

Classic chocolate truffles are sinfully indulgent, melt-in-your-mouth, bite-sized confections made from ganache (an emulsion of chocolate and heavy cream). Truffles sometimes include butter, as well as spices, coffee or tea, liqueurs, nuts, and even fruit purées for flavor. Vegan truffles, also based on ganache, are just as luxurious, velvety smooth, and indulgent—but not sinful. A variety of nondairy milks replace the heavy cream and no butter is added. And here is the best part: After making and tasting hundreds of truffles made with nondairy milks, I am convinced they taste more intensely chocolaty than their heavy cream–based cousins.

Makes about 30 (1-inch/ 2.5-CM) Truffles

8 ounces / 227 grams dark chocolate (70 to 72%), finely chopped

3 ⁄4 cup plus 2 tablespoons / 210 ml unsweetened organic almond milk or soymilk

2 tablespoons / 26 grams organic sugar

1 ⁄8 teaspoon fine sea salt

1 teaspoon / 5 ml pure vanilla extract

2 teaspoons / 10 ml mild tasting extra-virgin olive oil

A few pinches of flaked sea salt, for coating and serving (optional)

Dutch-process cocoa powder for coating

 

1. Add the chocolate to a heatproof bowl and set aside while you heat the milk.

2. Pour the milk into a small saucepan. Add the sugar and salt. Cook over medium heat, whisking a few times, to a low boil.

3. Immediately remove the saucepan from the heat. Pour the hot milk over the chocolate all at once. Rotate the bowl so the chocolate is completely submerged. Cover the bowl with a plate and let stand undisturbed for 4 minutes.

4. Add the vanilla and olive oil and whisk from the center out only until smooth and glossy. (If the chocolate is not completely melted, refer to page 36 for instructions on using a water bath to melt the chocolate.)

5. Keep the bowl of ganache at room temperature while you test the final consistency. A properly made truffle ganache is firm enough to scoop and shape but still tastes creamy. Dip a teaspoon into the ganache, set the coated spoon on a small plate, and refrigerate for 10 to 15 minutes. After chilling, the ganache on the spoon should be smooth and firm but still taste creamy. It is unlikely, but if the glaze is too firm, add a tablespoon of room temperature milk and repeat the test. Add a second tablespoon if needed.

6. Cool the ganache in a shallow dish at room temperature for 30 minutes. (The ganache sets up fastest and most evenly in a 9-inch / 23-cm glass pie pan or similar dish.) Refrigerate uncovered until the surface is no longer soft, then place a piece of parchment paper or plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the ganache, covering it completely, and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or until very firm. The ganache can be refrigerated at this point for up to 1 week in an airtight container.

Make The Truffle Centers

Line a shallow container with parchment. Remove the ganache from the refrigerator. Use a spoon to scoop out 1-inch / 2.5-cm pieces of ganache and another to push the ganache off the spoon into the container. (If you prefer more uniform truffles, use a 1⁄2-tablespoon scoop.) When a half dozen or so are made, roll and press the pieces into irregularly shaped rounds. Repeat until all the ganache has been used, washing and drying your hands as needed. (If at any time the ganache becomes too soft to shape, refrigerate until cold and proceed.) Cover and refrigerate the truffle centers in layers separated by parchment paper for 15 to 25 minutes before finishing with the cocoa coating.

Recipe reprinted with permission from VEGAN CHOCOLATE © 2013 by Fran Costigan, Running Press, a member of the Perseus Books Group.

Photo Credit: ©Kate Lewis 2013

 

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A Bloom and A Bath

I used a lot of chocolate ( at least 100 pounds and maybe more) when I was writing Vegan Chocolate: Unapologetically Luscious and Decadent Dairy-Free Desserts, Running Press.  I wanted to inventory the bags of chocolate in my pantry one morning. Among the treasures, I found two bags of “bloomed” chocolate. This just means that the chocolate is mottled with a dusty whitish or beige coating. There is nothing wrong or “old” with bloomed chocolate–– it’s just a cosmetic thing.

photo of bloomed chocolate

In order to use the bloomed 85% chocolate, I melted it slowly over a water bath, which is a nothing more than a homemade double boiler. Here’s how to safely melt chocolate.

Pour a few inches of water into a saucepan and heat the water to the lowest simmer. Set a heatproof bowl on the pan, making sure the bottom of the bowl sits above the water. Chop the chocolate and put it into the bowl. Place the bowl on the saucepan.

Wait until the chocolate has melted halfway to the center and start stirring with a silicone spatula. Remove the bowl from the heat when the chocolate is nearly, but not completely melted and stir gently until the chocolate is fully melted.

  chocolate in water bath

Sure enough the bloom was gone and now I had lots of nice dark melted chocolate.  I poured the melted  chocolate onto a parchment- lined quarter sheet pan, and rotated the pan until the chocolate was spread evenly. The sheet pan went into the freezer briefly to allow the chocolate to set. I broke the cold chocolate into shards and placed then in an airtight container, where they will stay fresh and bloom-free  in the freezer for up to 3 months. Serve them on puddings, cakes, ice cream, etc, or just nibble.

I treated some bloomed 55% chocolate the same way, except I poured a thicker layer and mixed in a lot of  raisins. (It was now 6:30am, and I was thinking oatmeal with raisins.) What I got was a chunk of Raisinettes that I cut into pieces and froze. Full disclosure. There are very few pieces left.

This is a treats version of eating down the fridge. Use what you have.  Waste not; want not.

Chocolate with Rasins

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