Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Cookie Dough Cheesecake (vegan and gluten free)

This is it: my best recipe yet. You can order cocoa butter online, or you can find it in stores (sometimes you can find it in the personal care section by lotions; as long as it's 100% pure cocoa butter you can use it for cooking), but if you really don't want to you can probably replace it with more coconut oil, though you might need to cut the water a little. You can find cashew butter in the natural food section of some grocery stores, or in more specialty stores like Whole Foods; this is much easier and faster than soaking cashews and then blending them yourself.

Cookie dough
1 Tbsp ground chia seeds + 1/4 c water
1 c white rice flour
1/2 c oat flour
1/2 c millet flour
1 tsp salt
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp xanthum gum
1 c white sugar
1/2 c brown sugar
1/2 c vegan butter, room temperature
2 tsp vanilla extract
about 1 c mini chocolate chips

Cheesecake filling
1 c cashew butter
2 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla extract
pinch salt
6 Tbsp agave
2 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
2 Tbsp cocoa butter, melted
3 Tbsp water

1) Preheat oven to 325. Prepare an 8" round cake pan by spraying it with nonstick spray and lining the bottom with parchment paper (use a square of parchment paper, trace the outside of the pan with pen, cut just inside the line)
2) Prepare the cookie dough:
      a) Mix the chia seeds and water with a fork in a small bowl
      b) Whisk the flours, salt, baking soda, and xanthum gum in a medium bowl.
      c) Measure the sugars and butter into a large bowl. Mix thouroughly with a study spoon. Add the vanilla extract and mix to combine.
      d) Add the chia seed paste to the sugar mix and stir to combine.
      e) Add the flour to the sugar mix and stir, then use clean hands to knead the dough together.
3) Divide the dough into thirds. Add about 1/3 c of chocolate chips to one third, then using your hands press it into the bottom of the cake pan, spreading almost all the way to the edges.
4) Bake the cookie crust for 18-20 minutes, until it puffs up and feels firm to the touch on top. Pull out and place in the fridge to cool.
5) (Optional) Take a small amount of the remaining cookie dough (about 1/6 of the original batch) and add chocolate chips. Spoon out 1 tsp cookie dough balls onto a lined cookie sheet, and bake 8-10 minutes; these mini cookies can be used to decorating the top of the cheesecake.
6) Take the remaining cookie dough (without chocolate chips) and roll into 1/4 to 1/2 tsp balls, place on a cookie sheet, and put them in the freezer to harden.
7) Make the cheesecake filling: Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until thoroughly mixed.
8) Pour the cheesecake filling mix into a medium bowl. Add the frozen cookie dough balls and remaining chocolate chips and stir; the mixture will firm up as the frozen cookie dough causes the oils to start to solidify.
9) Pour the cheesecake filling on top of the cookie crust. Smooth with a spatula or the back of a spoon. Place mini cookies on top for decoration.
10) Refrigerate the cheesecake overnight (or place in the freezer for a few hours). Once it's set, take it out and go around the edge with a butter knife to separate the cheesecake from the pan. Flip the pan over onto a plate or cutting board and tap until it falls out. Peel off the parchment paper from the bottom.
11) Cut the cheesecake with a large knife. Refrigerate leftovers.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

After several tries, I think I've found my new go-to chocolate chip cookie. Though I call them oatmeal cookies, they're more like cookies with oats; you could just as well omit them, but I like the texture they add.

2tbsp flax meal plus 1/4c water
1tbsp potato starch (or tapioca starch, or Ener-G egg replacer)

1c vegan butter
3/4c sugar
1/4c pure maple syrup
2tsp vanilla extract
1tbsp molasses

1/2c sorghum flour
1/2c brown rice flour
1c oat flour
3/4tsp xanthum gum
2tsp baking powder
pinch salt

2c gluten free rolled oats
1c chocolate chips (add more or less, depending on your taste)

Preheat the oven to 350. Stir together the flax meal and water in a small bowl and set aside for a few minutes. Melt the butter, then stir in the sugar, maple syrup, vanilla and molasses. Add the flax meal mixture and potato starch. Mix together the flours, xanthum gum, baking powder and salt. Add the flour to the butter mixture and stir. Add the rolled oats and chocolate chips and knead with your hands to combine. Scoop the dough in 1tbsp portions onto sprayed or parchment-lined cookie sheets, flatten them with your hands (wetting them helps the dough not stick). Bake them for 8-10 minutes, or until they are slightly brown around the edges.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Protein-Packed Spinach Sauce

In case you didn't already know, I am vegan, and gluten-free as of last summer. Lately I've also been avoiding soy  for health reasons. It hasn't been that hard, but without eating soy or gluten (think seitan) I've had to work extra hard to make sure I get enough protein. This is an exceedingly simple and delicious recipe that packs a good protein punch. It's great as a sauce for pasta, veggies, or pizza.

Protein-Packed Spinach Sauce

16 c raw spinach leaves (we bought the largest box of spinach at Whole Foods and used the whole thing)
1 1/3 c frozen green peas
1 T olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 tsp rosemary
1 tsp oregano
1 serving protein powder*

1) Saute the onion and garlic in the olive oil for a few minutes, then set aside.
2) In a blender or food processor, blend the spinach leaves and peas. I used a vita-mix, but you could also blend small portions and combine them in a big bowl.
3) Add the onion and garlic with oil and spices and mix or blend to combine with the sauce.
4) If using, add the protein powder and blend or mix.
5) Serve over pasta or veggies, or on pizza.

*Since I've been struggling with protein, I've started to add protein powder to some foods, but you can easily omit it. Currently I'm using Sunwarrior classic raw vegan protein, which I got at whole foods. It's made from sprouted brown rice, and has 17g of protein per serving, but it does add a graininess to foods similar to rice flour.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Quinoa, White Bean and Kale Stew

This hearty soup is modified from Appetit for Reduction.

Herb blend
1tsp marjoram
1tsp thyme
1/2tsp rosemary

1 leek, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 large carrot - medium dice
1 large parsnip - medium dice
4c low-sodium vegetable broth
4c water
1c dry quinoa
3c potatoes, cubed
1 small bunch of kale - remove stems and tear into small, bite-sized pieces
1 can white beans

Chop the leek, carrot, parsnip, potato and garlic. Saute the leek and garlic in a bit of water or oil for 3 minutes, then add the carrot, parsnip and herbs and saute for another minute. Add the broth, water, potato and quinoa. Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes while you cut the kale. After 15 minutes add the kale and beans, cook for 5 minutes stirring frequently, then cover and let the soup simmer for another 5 minutes.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Caffeinated Brownies

I made these during finals (shocker). A variation of my plain brownie recipe, each serving contains as much caffeine as a cup of black coffee (from the chocolate and the espresso). I was more focused on the caffeine than the taste, but they're actually pretty good. You could always add slightly less espresso and just eat more to get your caffeine kick.

1tbsp flax meal in 3tbsp water

1c chocolate (70% - the higher the cocoa content, the more caffeine!)
6tbsp vegan butter

1c nondairy milk
1/4c plus 1tbsp instant espresso powder

1 1/2c sugar
1tsp vanilla

1 1/4c flour*
1/8tsp baking soda
pinch salt

*I used 1/2c oat flour, 1/2c sorghum, 1/4c millet and 1/8tsp xanthum gum

Preheat the oven to 325. Stir the flax meal and water together in a small bowl. Microwave the chocolate and butter until the chocolate melts, and mix them together. Microwave the milk for a minute or two, then add the instant espresso powder. Combine the chocolate and espresso, then mix in the sugar and vanilla. Mix together the flour, baking soda and salt, then combine the flour with the chocolate mixture. Spray a muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray. Scoop batter into the muffin tins in 1/2c portions, and  bake for 10-15 minutes, until they are slightly crisp on the outer edges and a toothpick comes out clean. If they're too crisp, try lowering the temperature and baking them longer.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Puppy Chow!

For a fundraiser, me and my friends whipped up eleven batches of this stuff. It works well, and tastes great. Note: this is NOT food for dogs; I was surprised by how many people didn't know what "puppy chow" is.

Equipment: One mixing bowl, one large bowl with plate for shaking, one microwaveable containers, measuring cups (1 C, 1/2 C, and one more for measuring servings), two rubber spatulas (or large spoons), bags for portions.

1 box (13oz) rice chex
1/4c vegan butter
1/2c peanut butter
1c chocolate chips
1tsp vanilla
3c powdered sugar

Microwave the butters and chocolate in the microwave until the chocolate is mostly melted. Add the vanilla and mix. Pour one box of cereal into a bowl, then pour the melted chocolate mixture over it and gently fold until it's well mixed. Dump the cereal into the large bowl, add the powdered sugar, use the plate as a lid and shake well.

Large-scale directions
12 boxes rice chex
5 2# bags of powdered sugar
1 6# jar of peanut butter
2 1# boxes of Earth Balance vegan buttery sticks
2 3# bags of chocolate chips
Ziploc sandwich bags - 120 count

Follow the same directions as above, but in an assembly line - one person measures and microwaves, one mixes in the cereal, one person shakes the powdered sugar, one person measures 1c servings into sandwich bags. We ended up making 120 servings from 11 boxes, and sold each for $1. The original ingredients cost about $70, so we made an extra $50.

Sunday, June 16, 2013


I've done it! Vegan, gluten-free brownies!This is one of those difficult recipes that just didn't want to work for me.  Based on this post from Oh She Glows, I've tweaked and tested it more times than I can count, and will probably continue to do so. Contrary to my natural instincts, I recommend that you follow the recipe and directions as closely as possible. It is essential to bake these in a thin, metal pan, NOT glass, unless you want a strange, goopy mess.

1 1/2 tbsp flax seed meal in 3tbps water

1c dark chocolate - I use 1.5 bars of 70% Divine chocolate
6tbsp vegan butter
1/2c nondairy milk

1c sugar
1/4c agave (you can use more sugar if you prefer)
1tsp vanilla extract

1 1/4c flour*
1/8tsp baking soda
3/8tsp xanthum gum

Flour mixture
These are the mixes that I've used that worked
1/2c oat flour, 1/2c sorghum, 1/4c millet
1/4c each of sorghum, brown rice and quinoa; 1/2c oat flour

Preheat the oven to 325

Mix the flax meal and water in a small bowl and set aside for a few minutes. Microwave the chocolate, butter, and milk until the chocolate is melting. Stir the chocolate mixture, then stir in the sugar, agave, and vanilla. Add the flax mixture and mix well. Mix together the flour, baking soda, and xanthum gum, then add the flour to the chocolate. The batter will be thick; I've successfully baked it as is, but I also added some extra milk without problems. Spray a thin metal pan - not glass - or a metal muffin tin. Scoop the batter into the pan and bake for around half an hour (I never actually time things; just bake until the top looks done and a toothpick comes out clean). They tend to be fragile when still warm, but they stick together better when they're cool.