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4 ounces / 113 grams dark chocolate (70 to 72%), finely chopped
Finely minced zest of half a medium organic orange
3 tablespoons / 45 ml freshly squeezed orange juice
1⁄4 cup / 60 ml agave syrup
1 tablespoon / 15 ml raw or roasted tahini, stirred
3 tablespoons / 26 grams natural sesame seeds, lightly toasted, more as needed

Chocolate Orange Sesame Truffles

from Vegan Chocolate: Unapologetically Luscious and Decadent Dairy-Free Desserts (Running Press 2013)

Put the chocolate into a small heatproof bowl.

Mix the orange zest and juice and agave in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat just to a boil.

Reduce the heat to low and add the tahini, whisking vigorously. The mixture will thicken immediately. Do not be concerned if it looks broken or curdled. It will smooth out as you whisk. Simmer the mixture for 30 seconds until it is shiny and smooth. Remove from the heat.

Wait about 30 seconds until the mixture is no longer steaming and pour it over the chocolate. Cover the bowl with a plate. Wait 1 minute and then stir until the chocolate is completely melted. Remember: the ganache will not be perfectly smooth.

Cool to room temperature, stirring a few times with a silicone spatula.

Spoon into a small shallow container and refrigerate uncovered for about 2 hours until the ganache is firm. The ganache can be covered and refrigerated at this point for up to 1 week.

Make The Truffle Centers
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. When half the ganache has been used, roll the pieces into logs about 1 inch long, 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 for 15 to 25 minutes to set for before shaping and finishing with the sesame seed coating.

Coat The Truffles
Mix the sesame seeds in a small bowl. Sprinkle about 2 tablespoons / 18 grams on the bottom of a shallow container. Put a few logs at a time into the bowl of sesame seeds and roll until lightly coated. Pinch the ends to form the oval quenelle shapes. Place the finished truffles in the refrigerator to set for 35 to 45 minutes.

Serve at room temperature.

Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to four days or freeze up to one month,

Copyright © by Fran Costigan. All rights reserved.


1/2 cup dried cranberries
Zest and juice of a medium organic orange
3/4 cup pecans, roasted and cooled, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup rolled oats, toasted and cooled
1/2 cup organic whole cane sugar, ground in a blender until powdered
2 tablespoons mild tasting extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons vegan chocolate chips

1 cup organic all-purpose flour
3/4 cup organic whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
1/3 cup organic granulated sugar
1 teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon mild tasting extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 cup pure maple syrup, Grade B or dark amber
3/4 cup any nondairy milk
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1/8 teaspoon pure orange oil (optional)
1/3 cup vegan chocolate chips

Tip: text

Chocolate Pecan Cranberry Coffeecake
Makes one (9-inch) cake, 10 to 12 servings

from Vegan Chocolate: Unapologetically Luscious and Decadent Dairy-Free Desserts (Running Press 2013)

What is a coffee cake? Is it cake to be eaten with a cup of coffee at breakfast or as a snack on your coffee break? Food historians generally agree that the concept of coffee cake (eating sweet cakes with coffee) most likely originated in Northern/Central Europe sometime in the seventeenth century. Coffee cakes are typically single-layer cakes flavored with cinnamon and other spices, nuts, and fruits, with a streusel or crumb topping, often glazed lightly. In a previous cookbook, I called a recipe the “Uncoffeecake,” but I think I was trying to conquer my coffee habit at the time. That cake won the blue ribbon at a county fair, proving that no matter what you call them, coffee cakes are delicious. I wouldn’t be surprised if this recipe won a ribbon, too. Enjoy a slice with coffee, tea, or a glass of wine.

Cranberries, pecans, and oats are health-promoting foods, and I prefer them in this recipe. But feel free to use any combination of dried fruit and nuts you like. As a beach lover, my visual cue for the crumb, which needs to be moistened but not wet, is the consistency of damp sand.

Make the Crumb
1. Mix the cranberries and orange juice in a small bowl and soak for 10 minutes, or until softened. (The amount of time needed depends on the dryness of the fruit.)
2. Drain the cranberries reserving 1 tablespoon of the juice. Return the cranberries to the bowl, and add the pecans, oats, whole cane sugar, zest, and oil. If the crumb is dry, add the reserved tablespoon of juice. Think damp sand. Stir the chips into the crumb and set aside while you make the cake.

Make the Cake
1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350˚F. Oil the sides and bottom of a 9-inch round cake pan and line the bottom with a parchment circle (or paper cut to fit). Do not oil the paper.
2. Place a wire mesh strainer over a medium bowl. Add the all-purpose flour, pastry flour, cocoa, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt 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.) Whisk to aerate the mixture.
3. Whisk the oil, maple syrup, nondairy milk, vanilla, vinegar, and orange oil (if using) in a separate medium bowl until completely combined. Immediately pour into the dry mixture and whisk until the batter is smooth. Stir the chocolate chips into the batter.
4. Pour about half the batter into the prepared cake pan. Sprinkle with half the crumb, going light on the center. Pour the remaining batter over the crumb, using a small spatula or thin knife to spread batter to the sides of the pan if necessary. Sprinkle the remaining crumb over the batter, again keeping the center relatively light on crumb.
5. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, or until the cake has begun to pull away from the sides of the pan and a wooden toothpick or skewer inserted into the center comes out clean or with just a few moist crumbs.
6. Cool the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Place a piece of parchment on top of the cake and invert. Remove the pan and carefully peel off the parchment paper. Invert the cake again, top side up on the rack and cool to room temperature before cutting and serving.

Serve the cake at room temperature, or warm slices in the oven at 325˚F for 5 minutes.

Store the cake in a covered container overnight at room temperature. Refrigerate wrapped tightly for up to three days.

Copyright © by Fran Costigan. All rights reserved.


1⁄4 cup oats, toasted and cooled (use gluten-free oats for gluten free cookies)
1⁄4 cup whole almonds, toasted and cooled
1⁄4 cup brown rice flour
1⁄4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1⁄4 teaspoon baking powder
1⁄8 teaspoon nutmeg
pinch sea salt
3 tablespoons any neutral vegetable oil
1⁄4 cup pure maple syrup, Grade B or dark amber
1⁄4 cup brown rice syrup, at room temperature
11⁄2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1⁄2 teaspoon almond extract

Crisp and Chewy Lace Cookies
Makes about 3 dozen 3-inch cookies

This recipe, to be honest, resulted from a mistake in measuring. During a recipe testing session, my assistant Kevin noticed the cookies had spread too much—they looked terrible. To our amazement, less than five minutes out of the oven the cookies set and became ultra-thin, lacy, chewy-crisp sensations. Sometimes you get lucky, and we were lucky that morning!

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and another rack above it, and preheat to 325 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Grind the oats in a blender until fine. Add the almonds and process until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Pour into a medium bowl, and add the rice flour, cinnamon, baking powder, nutmeg, and salt. Stir to distribute the ingredients.

Whisk the oil, maple syrup, rice syrup, and vanilla and almond extracts in a small bowl until well blended. Pour into the dry mixture and stir until the batter is smooth. (It will resemble soft, chunky peanut butter.

Scoop up scant half teaspoons of batter and drop onto one of the prepared baking sheets, leaving 4 inches between cookies. These cookies spread a lot.

Bake for 10 to 13 minutes. Set the baking sheet on a rack and cool completely (this will take 2 to 3 minutes). The cookies will release easily from the paper when they are completely cool. Store the cookies in a tightly closed jar or tin for two days. These cookies freeze well.

from More Great Good Dairy Free Desserts Naturally (Book Publishing Co. 2006)

Copyright © by Fran Costigan. All rights reserved.


Peanut Butter Mousse
1 (14- to 16-ounce) package firm tofu
(2 cups), blanched and drained
1 cup maple syrup
3⁄4 cup smooth peanut butter, at room temperature
3⁄4 cup light natural cane sugar, or more to taste
3⁄4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
1⁄2 teaspoon salt

Chocolate Candy Cups
8 ounces nondairy chocolate chips

Tip: Admittedly, this is a time-consuming process, but chocolate cups can be frozen for up to a month in an airtight container, so make them when you have time to play.

Peanut Butter Mousse in Chocolate Candy Cups
Yield: 4 cups mousse

from More Great Good Dairy Free Desserts Naturally (Book Publishing Co. 2006)

I practically lived on peanut butter cup candies one semester at college. I don’t know why I was so drawn to them, but I do know it wasn’t a good thing. Tofu and organic peanut butter, both healthful foods, are the main players in this more healthful version of the popular treat, but it’s still not okay to eat too many. Of course, if peanut allergies are an issue, you can use another nut butter in its place.
To make the Chocolate Candy Cups, you’ll need paper candy cup liners or small cupcake liners (mini cups) and a clean, small watercolor paint brush, small pastry brush, or spoon. A pastry bag will be needed to fill them with the mousse.

1. To prepare the mousse, crumble the tofu into a food processor and process 1 minute. Add the maple syrup and process 1 minute. Add the peanut butter, sugar, cocoa, vanilla and almond extracts, and salt, and process until the mixture is perfectly smooth and creamy. This can take up to 5 minutes. Stop the processor a few times to clean the sides of the bowl.

2. The mousse is ready to use, but can be refrigerated in a covered container for up to two days. Bring to room temperature when ready to use.

3. To prepare the chocolate cups, fit the paper liners into mini muffin tins or place on a baking sheet lined with plastic wrap. Melt the chocolate in a small heatproof bowl placed over a saucepan of barely simmering water. Stir occasionally until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Do not overheat. Remove the bowl from the saucepan.

4. Spoon some melted chocolate into each cup. Use the brush to coat the liners as thoroughly as possible. Make sure to coat the inside rim; you want to prevent it from breaking when the paper is peeled off the chocolate.Wipe off any chocolate that drips onto the outside of the rim. Refrigerate or freeze the cups until the chocolate has hardened; this will take 10 to 30 minutes depending upon how cold your freezer is, and how thick a layer of chocolate you have made. Place the bowl of melted chocolate back on the saucepan and keep it warm over barely simmering water.

5. Check the cups for thin spots. Add another layer of chocolate, coating the thin spots more generously. The chocolate doesn’t have to be smooth; the cups will be filled. Chill again until hardened.

6. Slowly and carefully peel the paper off in a spiral motion; don’t pull straight down, or the rim may break. (You may find it easier to peel the paper from the cups after you have filled them. Test one or two and decide which method works better for you.)

7. To assemble the candy cups, spoon or pipe some peanut butter cream into each cup using a pastry bag fitted with a plain or star tip. Refrigerate or freeze until ready to serve.
Copyright © by Fran Costigan. All rights reserved.

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