Chef Fran Costigan

Vanilla Wafer Cookies

Vanilla Wafer Cookies

Several tasters said these cookies reminded them of animal crackers or plain arrowroot cookies. The dough is quite versatile and can be used to make several types of cookies; my favorite variations follow the recipe. 

 

Vanilla Wafer Cookies
Yield: 2 1/2 dozen (2-inch) cookies

 

  • 3/4 cup organic unbleached white flour
  • 1/4 cup arrowroot
  • 1/2 teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3 tablespoons organic canola oil
  • 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup, grade A dark amber or Grade B
  • 2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
  • about 1/2 cup light organic cane sugar, or maple sugar for sprinkling, more or less

Place a wire mesh strainer over a medium bowl. Add the flour, arrowroot, baking powder, and salt to the strainer. Tap the strainer against the palm of your hand to sift the ingredients into the bowl. Stir with a wire whisk to distribute the ingredients.

Whisk the oil, maple syrup, and vanilla in a small bowl until well combined. Pour into the dry mixture and mix with a rubber spatula until the dough is smooth and shiny; it will be soft.

Divide the dough in half, pat each half into a flat disk and wrap each disk in plastic wrap. Refrigerate 1 hour, until the dough is cold enough to roll and cut.

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Spread 1⁄2 cup of the sugar on one of the sheets.

Remove one piece of dough from the refrigerator and unwrap it onto a piece of parchment paper. Cover with another piece of parchment paper and roll the dough with a rolling pin into a round or oval shape, about 1⁄4 inch thick. Press a cookie cutter into the dough, making the cuts as close together as possible. Lift the dough remnants from between the cookies; press together, roll out, and cut more cookies. Lightly press the cookies in the sugar and sprinkle the tops of the cookies with sugar as well.

Carefully lift the cookies, using a wide spatula, onto the prepared baking sheet, placing them 1⁄2 inch apart. If the cookies have become too soft to move to the baking sheet, refrigerate for about 15 minutes until chilled and firm.

Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the cookies look dry and slightly puffed and the bottoms are lightly browned. Set the baking sheet on a rack and cool for 3 minutes, until the cookies are firm enough to move. Transfer the cookies to a rack to cool

Roll, cut, bake, and cool the second piece of dough in the same fashion. Store the cookies in a tightly covered tin or jar at room temperature for up to three days.

 

Sandwich Cookies:
Spread a layer of jam or melted chocolate over the bottoms of half of the cookies. Top each with another cookie (bottom-side down), and press lightly. Refrigerate until the filling is firm, 15 to 20 minutes.

Black and White Cookies:
Dip half of each cookie into melted chocolate. Refrigerate until the chocolate is set, 15 to 20 minutes. Or dip into chocolate first, then into finely chopped nuts or dried, shredded coconut.

Fancy Thins:
Dip the tines of a fork into melted chocolate and allow the chocolate to drip on the cookies, creating a freeform design.

From More Great Good Dairy Free Desserts Naturally, © 2006 by Fran Costigan.

 

 

VVLPButton1-300px

If you liked this post, please share it.

Summer Solstice Recipe & Book Giveaway

Watermelon with Chocolate Seeds

Frozen Granita Needs No Ice Cream Machine

I am known to my friends and family as the odd one who says, “bring it on” of the summer heat in the city but I love summer and don’t mind the heat and humidity!   I drink lots of water, not iced, and eat lots of watermelon– chunked or sliced and preferably with a healthy  squeeze of lime, my favorite watermelon, tomato, arugula salad and I drink watermelon juice. My favorite iced watermelon treat is the easy to make, refreshing and delicious  Watermelon Granita from Vegan Chocolate. Granitas are typically made by freezing fruity liquid in a shallow pan and scraping the mixture with a fork at regular intervals as it freezes. That’s pretty simple, but I didn’t want to be tied to setting a timer and scraping. I had heard about making granita in a food processor using frozen cubes of fruit purée, and I decided to test the process. It worked perfectly. The granita was fluffy and the watermelon taste shone through.

 

RECIPE 

MAKES ABOUT 1 1/2 PINTS / 3/4 LITER

  • 1 1⁄2 pounds / 680 grams watermelon, cubed and seeded
  • 1⁄4 cup / 50 grams organic granulated sugar, ground in a blender until powdered
  • 1 tablespoon / 15 ml fresh lime juice
  • 1 to 2 ounces / 28 to 57 grams dark chocolate (any percentage), chopped into small chunks for the “seeds” (use more if you like)
  • Flaked sea salt (optional)

1. Purée the watermelon cubes in a food processor or blender and pour into a bowl. (You should have 2 cups / 480 ml of juice.) Add the powdered sugar and lime juice to the purée and whisk briskly until the sugar is dissolved.

2. Pour the mixture into ice cube trays and freeze until hard. This can take up to 24 hours.

3. Make the granita: Put a 2-quart container with a lid into the freezer. Transfer the frozen cubes to a food processor. Limit the number of cubes to no more than a double layer at a time so that the granita does not get slushy. Pulse a dozen or so times in 2 to 3-second bursts until the cubes are finely chopped. The number of pulses will depend on your machine.

4. Scrape the granita into the chilled container, cover the container, and return it to the freezer; repeat with the remaining cubes if necessary.

Serving: The granita is ready to eat right out of the food processor. Serve in chilled bowls and garnish with as many chocolate “seeds” as you like. I believe watermelon benefits from a sprinkling of flaked sea salt, and if you agree, sprinkle a bit over each bowl. Keeping: Freeze the granita in a covered container. For the best flavor and texture, eat the granita within one week. Fluff with a fork before serving.

 

Photo © Kate Lewis 2013

 

BOOK GIVEAWAY 

Elizabeth Castoria, author

HOW TO BE VEGAN by Elizabeth Castoria

Elizabeth’s slim but mighty book had me laughing out loud, nodding yes and underlining many passages with my favorite pink highlighter. I particularly liked Chapter 5: Don’t Be A Jerk, which puts a fresh spin on the usual questions, and explains how to be a good vegan guest and a vegan host. The flowchart for sucessful party planning is brilliant!!  In fact, I found all the graphics and charts in the book to be extremely useful and beautifully designed. The colored-coded produce lists make good sense. 

Then, there is the food of course. Elizabeth says, “Enough talk—It’s time to eat”, and has included 50 enticing recipes, all using familiar ingredients, for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks and even dessert. Variations are encouraged.

As the book jacket says, How to Be Vegan “Demystifies, destigmatizes and uncomplicates the vegan lifestyle.”

I highly recommend How to Be Vegan to those who are clueless about veganism, or thinking of transitioning to a vegan lifestyle, to new vegans, and long-time vegans (including any of the you aren’t vegan enough vegans), and to everyone who is just looking for a good read.The book makes a perfect gift to give friends and families of vegans.

Elizabeth’s publisher Avery is giving away a copy of How to Be Vegan. Enter below! Contest ends at midnight eastern time on Friday, July 4th.

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you liked this post, please share it.

Rhubarb and Strawberry Dessert Recipe

Mmmm Good!
Ruhbarb Strawberry Crumble from Fran Costigan

Warm from the oven! Rhubarb Strawberry Crumble

  • Detailed notes for this recipe are in the June Newsletter.
  • Use 4 ovenproof  baking dishes, aka ramekins, with a 1-cup capacity, at least 2 inches deep,  3 -inches wide, or adjust filling and topping amounts for other size baking dishes.
  • My preference is always to use organic ingredients and fairtrade sweeteners, but use whatever you like. All-purpose flour can replace the whole-wheat pastry flour, but do not use whole wheat flour.
  • Be Aware: Do your best to find organic berries. Strawberries are on the Dirty Dozen List of foods.
Almost ready to Bake Rhubarb Strawberry Compote

Macerating Strawberries, ready to top the Cooked Rhubarb Compote

Strawberry-Rhubarb Crumble: Makes 4 serving

Ingredients: The Fruit, Makes 1 – 11/4 cups filling

  • 8 ounces frozen organic strawberries (I buy bags of frozen organic berries)
  • 3/4 cup rhubarb, leaves removed, washed and sliced into 3/4 inch pieces (see notes)
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon organic cane sugar, divided
  • 3 tablespoons organic whole cane sugar (such as Sucanat) or coconut sugar, more to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon ginger powder
  • 8 large organic strawberries, washed, hulled, sliced into large chunks

Prepare the Fruit

1. Put the frozen berries into a non-reactive medium saucepan and set aside until they are defrosted.

Cooking Rhubarb Strawberry Compote

Cooking Rhubarb in Strawberry juice

2. While the berries defrost, combine the rhubarb slices and 1/4 cup of the organic cane sugar, the whole cane sugar, and the salt in a medium bowl. Toss to coat the fruit. Set aside for 15 minutes, stirring ever 5 minutes or while the fruit macerates. The sugar will pull liquid from the fruit. Do not discard the juice.

3. Mash the defrosted berries and their juices. Add the macerated rhubarb and any accumulated juice. Add the ginger powder. Cook to a low boil over medium heat and reduce the heat to an active simmer.

4. Simmer about 6 minutes. Taste a bit of the sauce, (which should be just sweet enough) with a piece or two of the rhubarb. The rhubarb should be softened but retain its shape. It may taste quite tart to you. It will become sweeter as it baths in the syrup, but if the taste is making you screw up your face, add another tablespoon or so of sugar now, and cook until it’s dissolved.

Compote of rhubarb and strawberries

Pectin in the fruit thickens the syrup

5. Remove the saucepan from the heat and cover. Set aside for 10 minutes. This will further soften and sweeten the rhubarb. Cool for 1 hour or refrigerate up to 2 days.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Whole Wheat Pastry Flour Crumble

Whole Wheat Pastry Flour Crumble

Make the Crumble: Makes: 1 cup  Note: Freeze any leftover crumb in an airtight container or bag.

Ingredients: Crumble

  • 3/4 cup organic whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/4 cup organic cane sugar
  • 1/4 cup organic whole cane sugar (such as Sucanat)
  • 3/4 teaspoon ginger powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons mild tasting extra virgin olive oil, neutral vegetable oil, or liquefied coconut oil
  • 7 ounces, about 8 large fresh organic strawberries
  1. Sift the flour, both of the sugars, ginger and salt into a medium bowl.
  2. Drizzle 3 tablespoons of the oil over the dry ingredients and toss with a spatula until uneven crumbs form. Don’t over mix–you want some fat crumbs. It’s unlikely, but add another tablespoon of oil if needed to get a nice damp, crumbly mixture. The crumb is ready to use now. It can be frozen in an airtight container or bag for up to one month.
Getting ready to bake crumble and cobblers, Vegan

Getting ready to bake crumble and cobblers

Bake the Crumbles

  1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350oF.
  2. Remove the compote from the refrigerator, if made ahead, so it can return to room temperature for baking.
  3. Wash, pat dry, hull and cut the fresh strawberries into large chunks. Put into a small bowl and toss with the remaining 1 tablespoon of sugar. Set aside for 15 minutes to macerate, stirring occasionally while you fill the ramekins.
  4. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper to catch any drippy fruit juice during baking.
  5. Fill each ramekin with 1/2 cup of the compote. Divide the macerated strawberries and any accumulated juice among the ramekins. Push down slightly.
  6. Sprinkle about 3 tablespoons of the crumb over each ramekin.
  7. Bake on the center rack for 20 minutes. Adjust the oven temperature to 375 oF and bake another 5 to 8 minutes longer until some of the fruit juice is thick and bubbling.
  8. Remove from the oven. Wait about 5 minutes before serving.

Servng: Eat warm from the oven or at room temperature.  For the most direct Rhubarb-Strawberry experience, I eat my Crumble without adding any toppings. You wouldn’t be alone in wanting to add a scoop of ice cream and there are many good commerical vegan ice creams in the market. Personally, I can see a scoop of Chocolate Ginger Ice Cream, from the Vegan Chocolate book on my next Crumble.

Warm Rhubarb Strawberry Crumbles and Cobblers

Warm Baked Rhubarb Strawberry Crumbles and Cobblers

Variations: I have not yet made the compote in a larger baking dish but it would be very easy to do so. (I’ll be doing so this weekend, but I wanted to get this recipe to you before the weekend.

  • Simply double both of the recipes.
  • Choose a 1-quart baking dish and adjust the baking time.
  • When the fruit juices are thick and bubbling, the crumble is ready.

The Crumbles are amazing. I had trouble not eating two, so I brought one of each of the ramekins to Michael and Ethan, the Vegan Mos.

Note: We agreed that the Crumbles were perfect but that the gluten-free oat-based cobbler topping was pasty and needs work. So “work” on this topping I will and when the recipe is ready for prime time, I’ll post it.

If you’ve got a favorite Gluten-Free Topping, please share your recipe!

More Great Good Dairy-Free Desserts Naturally Book Giveaway:  Leave a comment  about this post on the blog, and if you are on Facebook, on my page, Vegan Pastry Chef Fran Costigan, as well. A winner will be picked at random, and a signed copy of the book will be mailed to you, but you’ve got to comment. The contest starts now and ends on June 29th 12 midnight EST.

Happy June! Next blog has to be an ice cream recipe, don’t you think?

With love and gratitude.
Fran

If you liked this post, please share it.

Late Night Recipe Testing

I was wearing my winter coat, hat, boots and gloves on Tuesday, April 30th in N.Y.C when I took sweet Chloe for her walks. If you follow me on Facebook: Fran Costigan Vegan Pastry Chef, Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest @goodcakesfran, you’ve met Chloe, the shitzu mix who lives full-time with my daughter and her family in a house with a yard. Tracy adopted Chloe ten years ago. I fell in love with the nervous little puppy the first time we met. We’ve watched her learn to trust and play, and now as ten year old(ish) dog, she still looks like a puppy. This year Tracy and I decided to try co-parenting her, so she spends time in the city as well as the country. 
For me, she is a true blessing. Chloe does not like to go out in the rain or cold, so this never-ending winter has been a challenge. Luckily, my building is completely covered by construction scaffolding so we didn’t get soaked these last few rainy days.

Chloe dog in Yardley

Chloe at her country house

Tuesday night, when Chloe and I came in from what was meant to be the last walk of the day, I decided to spend a quick ten minutes inventorying ingredients on the bottom shelf of one cabinet only. It was late but I was eager to do one more thing to move my spring inventory/organizing along.

 What happened next reminded me of my year of obsessive thinking about recipes, which was, of course, the year I spent writing Vegan Chocolate. Ideas would pop into my mind that I just had-to-try-right-now- no matter the time or what else I was meant to be doing. Mostly I stick to a schedule, or nothing would get finished, but this Tuesday night, when I saw the jar of Nutiva Coconut Manna, aka coconut butter that I rarely use, I just couldn’t stop myself from making something right now, even though I had no recipe or even category in mind. Out of the refrigerator came jars of raw almonds, organic rolled oats, and already toasted coconut. I still had no idea what I was after but I couldn’t wait for morning.

Pantry Staples

Ready to recipe test

I did make myself grab my notebook and list the ingredients:  coconut butter, oats, whole raw almonds, shredded coconut, coconut sugar and liquid sweetener  (I opted for agave and rice syrup.) That’s when I “saw” bars or bites.

Making the recipe took 5 minutes. Really that’s all. I didn’t measure the finished mixture, which is something I always do. It  pressed easily  into a neat rectangle, about 7×4 x 1-inch on a piece of parchment.  A sprinkling of chia seeds on a portion of the top, just to see, was the last step.  

Oat and Nut Bar

Oat, Almond, Coconut Slab

The texture was soft and the taste delicious. Wondering if the bar would firm in the refrigerator, or remain soft, be chewy or too hard, I washed the pot, spatula and measuring cups, and entered what I did into a word doc. The bar went into the refrigerator, and I set a timer  for 30 minutes. Chloe and I went out again.

Thirty minutes later, the mixture was still too soft to cut cleanly, although the end piece I ate had almost the right texture. I went to bed. Chloe was already asleep.

In the morning, before I took Chloe out, I pulled the bar from the refrigerator, and took a heavy sharp knife off the magnetic strip. The bar was too hard to cut without shattering. I wasn’t going to risk my teeth to test the chew factor. While I waited to see if letting the bar return to room temperature would make a difference, I answered emails, and posted pictures of the uncut slab on facebook.

In an hour’s time, the bar cut easily and the little squares had that perfect chewy, not sticky, and crunchy from nuts thing going. I cut freehand, into pieces about 3/4-inch without noting how many- another recipe testing no-no. I liked the chia topping. (I did figure the yield today by drawing the measurement of the bar on a piece of paper.)

This confection is seriously delicious. I will make this again. I’m hoping you will make the recipe and let me know what you think. I can see some variations, although these have not been tested. For example, I might swap in maple syrup for the agave, perhaps cut the coconut sugar to 1/3 or so cup, mix in a couple of tablespoons of chia seeds, and add a small amount of cinnamon powder, for taste and health promoting properties. It won’t surprise many of you to know that I think a coating melted chocolate, or  adding some chocolate chunks is a good idea for another time too.

Cutting the oat, almond, coconut bars

Cutting the slab into small squares & my breakfast Kale Berry Smoothie

No-Bake Oat, Almond, Coconut Confection

Yield: 30 to 36 3/4-inch pieces

  • 1/4 cup coconut butter
  • 1/4 cup agave syrup
  • 1 tablespoon rice syrup
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 3/4 cup raw almonds
  • 1/4 cup dried unsweeteend shredded coconut
  • 2-3 tablespoons chia seeds, optional for top but recommended

In a medium heavy bottom saucepan, cook the coconut butter, agave and rice syrups and coconut sugar until everything has melted and bubbles are just starting to appear around the sides of the pan. Stir with a heatproof silicon spatula. You may need to press on the coconut butter to help it melt. Do not touch the syrup; it’s hotter than it looks.

Remove the saucepan from the heat and add the rest of the ingredients. Mix until the dry ingredients are coated.

Line a quarter sheet pan or similar with a piece of parchment paper. (Don’t use plastic wrap- the mixture is hot.) Turn the mixture out onto the center of the parchment, and fold the paper over the top. Press into a slab, about 7 x4 x1-inch. (It’s easy to shape). Sprinkle the top with the optional chia seeds. 

Refrigerate until  firm enough to cut. I think this will take about an hour, but it might be longer. If the bar is refrigerated overnight, wait until it has returned to room temperature before cutting into squares with a heavy sharp knife.

Store in a container at room temperature for a couple of days.

The smoothie on the cutting board was my breakfast on Wednesday, a kale, pineapple, blueberry, hemp smoothie made in my Vitamix 5200. It’s all about balance! I use my Vitamix everyday! It’s a real game changer. Pricy but worth it. i

Buy the books here. 

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

Vegan Chocolate book

Vegan Chocolate book

 

Delicious, Reliable, and Adaptable Recipes, Plus a Virtual Vegan Baking ClassThe Costigan Vegan Baking Boot Camp Intensive® is based on this book.

More Great Good Dairy-Free Dessets Naturally

More Great Good Dairy-Free Dessets Naturally

 

I’ll be running a Giveaway of both of my books on my newsletter, so keep in touch.

In the meantime, remember, there is just about 24 hours left to leave a comment on the last blog, Juicing It in LA to be eligible to win a copy of Robin Asbell’s newest book, Juice It!

 

 

If you liked this post, please share it.

Juicing It in L.A.

 

Robin Anbell's Kale Carrot Bonus Round

Mise en place for a glass of Kale-Carrot Bonus Round from Juice It!

I’m a long time fan of my friend and colleague Robin Asbell’s cookbooks, as well as an avid juicer, so I was excited to receive a copy of her newly released book, Juice It: Energizing Blends for Today’s Juicers. I was eager to start juicing as soon as I saw the bright and cheery cover of the beautifully photographed book. And, I was quite surprised and delighted to read in the dedication:–“I also owe a big plant-based ovation to Fran Costigan for serving me green juices.” Visit me and it’s a given you’ll be offered a juice or smoothie and later, a vegan chocolate dessert. Robin’s smart new book of 65 recipes that include both kinds of juice-based drinks will expand my repertoire. I’ll be trying more of Robin’s combinations and her suggestions for what to do with the pulp, including the Cocoa Pulp Muffins.

It was hard to choose among the appealing recipes, but I decided on the Kale Carrot Bonus Round. Of the four ingredients needed, kale stems are my number one juicing staple, and I liked the idea of replacing my usual lemon with a lime. As I visiting my family in Los Angeles at the time and an abundance of kale and limes, as well as cucumber and carrots were in the refrigerator, I was ready to go, even on a hectic, get-the-girls-to-school-on time kind of morning. While they ate their oatmeal, I made juice in the Breuville juice Fountain Plus (at home I use an older  smaller Breuville  and drank my juice. The Costigals, ages 6 and 8 declined a taste. They prefer Vitamix made smoothies but since Juice It has recipes for blended drinks too, they are covered, as are all of you.

Robin’s publisher, Chronicle graciously gave me permission to share the recipe, straight out of the cookbook–or uncookbook, I suppose, and a book for a giveaway. My notes and book giveaway information follow the recipe.

Enjoy!

Drink your vegetables.

A good glass of vegetable juice from Robin Asbell’s Juice It!

 

Kale-Carrot Bonus Round: Made with Kale Stems–Carrot-Cucumber-Lime, from Juice It by Robin Asbell.

I love cooking with kale, but sometimes I just want the leafy parts in my dish. That’s when I save the stems for juicing. In this hearty juice, the assertive flavor of kale is balanced with sweet carrots and cucumber and a jolt of lime.

Makes about 2 cups/480 ml

  • 4 cups/200 g packed kale stems
  • 6 medium carrots
  • 1 medium cucumber
  • 1/2 lime, peeled

Juice the kale stems, carrots, cucumber, and lime, in that order. Run the pulp through again to extract as much liquid as possible.

Juice It GIVEAWAY:  Do you prefer to juice or blend – or do you do both?

Leave your answer here and/or on my facebook page : Fran Costigan Vegan Pastry Chef and you might win a copy of  Robin’s new book. The contest is open to U.S. residents only and runs from 4/27 to 5/9midnight, EST. The winner will be chosen at random and announced on 5/10.

 

Salut!

 

What else I’m excited about now! The Main Street Vegan Cruise next February. Host Victoria Moran and I have been consulting with the NCL executive chefs and staff! Everyone is onboard to make this cruise very special!! Wellness, well-being, good company, delicious vegan food and plenty of time for FUN!

 

Image 2

Join Victoria Moran, Fran Costigan, Dr. Will Tuttle and Michael Greger, MD for the inaugural Main Street Vegan Cruise on the grand NCL Breakaway from NYC!  Our charitable partner is Farm Sanctuary.

 

Important reminder…. to be a part of the Main Street Vegan group and participate in all our private activities onboard and vegan meal plan, you must book your cabin thru the official RESERVATION number 1-800-828-4813, with our friends at Hartford Holidays. Hope to see you onboard….

Your Cruise Director,  Arie

For more information, follow the links below! (Book and tell them Fran sent you!)

https://www.facebook.com/events/618295934878725/?ref=5&source=1

http://www.hartfordholidays.com/mainstreetvegancruise/Home.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you liked this post, please share it.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you liked this post, please share it.

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*

Image 1

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®. 

photo-5

 

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!

 

 

If you liked this post, please share it.

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

If you liked this post, please share it.

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.

If you liked this post, please share it.

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

If you liked this post, please share it.