Chocolate Chunk Cookies…. gluten-free and vegan of course!

ImageIt all began with one question….. can I make a dairy free milk chocolate? And indeed…. I can! A while ago I was discussing with someone that I wanted to try making my own chocolate… but once the dairy had to go from my diet I wasn’t sure what to do. I myself enjoy dark chocolate, but my husband and kids don’t…. and either I make stuff all for them and do not partake, OR find a solution to the problem. You can purchase dairy free chocolate chips… usually they are semi-sweet… and usually cost about $5/ bag. I’m fairly budget conscious and those two things made chocolate chips seem out of reach. But…. then I got the itch…. the burning desire to overcome… the curiosity too strong to be quenched. And I ordered some cocoa butter…. bought some natural cocoa…. and found (after a great deal of searching locally) some soy milk powder. (There was another dairy free milk powder option, but I didn’t know what half the ingredient list was and it was a long list, so I decided to go with soy.)

So, chocolate came first. I used “weight” format for some because it was easier with the cocoa butter and powdered sugar…..

In a double boiler melt the cocoa butter. Add the cocoa and mix til completely disolved. Add the salt. Then add in the soy milk powder and lastly the sugar. Remove from heat. Cover a pan with wax paper, pour chocolate onto wax paper and chill in the fridge until solid. Break into chunks to use in baking…. or pour the chocolate into molds and make non-dairy milk chocolate bars!

100grams cocoa butter
6 TBLS natural cocoa
2 pinches of salt
4 TBLS soy milk powder
100 grams powdered sugar

ImageOnce I had the Chocolate Chunks…. I was ready to put them into a recipe!
So, the Chocolate Chunk Cookie was put to the test… and turned out AMAZING!!!

ImageImage Here is the Recipe:
Preheat oven to 375*.  In a mixing bowl beat the margarine, oil, and sugars. Add in the baking soda and salt. Mix in the Flax Eggs and vanilla. Add in the different flours 1/4C at a time. Add in the chocolate chunks just until incorporated into the dough.  Drop onto cookie sheet and place in the oven for 8mins. Remove from oven, allow to cool for a few minutes. Remove cookies from pan with a spatula and let cool on a baking rack. They will be gooey when they are warm and fall apart easily, but once cooled they are divine!! Eat them with a glass of non-dairy milk!!

Ingredients:
3/4 C Earth Balance
1/4 C Vegetable Oil
2/3 C Brown Sugar
1/3 C Granulated Sugar
1 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Salt
2 Flax Eggs (4 TBLS water, 2 TBLS Ground Flax mix and let sit til consistency of egg whites)
1 tsp Vanilla
3/4 C buckwheat flour
3/4 C Brown Rice Flour
1/4 C Chickpea Flour
1/2C Potato Starch
1/4C Tapioca Starch
2 C Diary-free Milk Chocolate Chunks

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Deviled Tomatoes

So, I went through my pinterest boards and deleted all the old recipes and food ideas that no longer apply to my life. It wasn’t sad… I’m okay with it. I’ve come to accept I will never again (intentionally) eat gluten. (thank celiac for that). And that I would rather be migraine and daily headache free and will not miss dairy…. and that I enjoy not having an upset stomach all the time and there is no earthly reason to add eggs to anything….. so…. I started new boards, new ideas to fill up my thoughts with.

Today’s revelation came when I was making lunch. I timed it by the way…. it took 16 mins from starting to make a vegan “egg” salad, to wrapping it up and eating it on lettuce leaves with the kids, to looking thoughtfully at my tomatoes, to executing the thought, to taking the pic. So, vegan egg salad comes together quite quickly in comparison to having to boil eggs if you have things prepared ahead of time. I had made this on Friday…. so I had the cashew based “mayo” ready to go, and last night I was working on a hummus recipe using chickpea flour and cooked it too long and it got quite firm…. so… I decided it would be chickpea tofu! And it worked.

Here are my “deviled tomatoes” they would make such a cute little appetizer for a party or a potluck…. and in a few more months we will certainly have loads of tomatoes to use up! So, I’m not really into typing up recipes… I just like to use them as a jumping off point… but the gist of this is, crumble up tofu, add some mayo, add some mustard, add some celery, some peppers, some onion powder, some garlic powder, some chili powder, some cumin, some paprika, salt to taste, scoop out some tomato halves lengthwise (either large grape or small romas) fill them, and sprinkle the top with some paprika aaaaand serve. 😉 Image

My Birthday Cake

I’ve made some fun things the past few weeks…. none so fun as my very own gluten-free vegan birthday cake! DSC_0911I used a recipe for the cake from The Gluten Free Vegan. The frosting I just did my own thing….. I have long been decorating cake and have my own concoction for frostings…. I just used earth balance margarine and coconut milk in place of butter and milk. Then, for the chocolate I just made chocolate using coconut oil since I didn’t have cocoa butter….. and then I used almond milk…. but probably using a dry milk would be best. Anyhow, it was delicious and it worked out. DSC_0913

I was, however, in a very big hurry…. and did not let the cake cool all the way (scandalous) so, my frosting on the side kind of began sliding when I added the warm chocolate frosting to the top…. not to mention it was a little hot and humid in the house…. nevertheless….. it was still a beautiful birthday cake! (and it was for me…. and I said I didn’t care, lol)
DSC_0914

Vegan Cheesecake

vegan cheesecake take 1

This is the yummy dessert I made for Father’s Day. Everyone around here just kind of humors me and my dietary needs…. the truth is…. I never would’ve imagined I’d be into vegan foods even 4 months ago….. Learning to live gluten free was a huge paradigm shift for me. But, learning the ropes with all the new and fun flours to play with, learning that I can’t tolerate gums well introduced me to all the wonders of flax and the fact that I really don’t need eggs in baking with it. It opened up new doors. I kept thinking for a while that if I just made my own yogurt, or my own cheese…. or drank raw milk, I could tolerate dairy….maybe? Finally accepting the bitter truth that I can’t tolerate dairy (at all, we’re talking more than a lactose issue) was another blow. (and as of the present, I still can’t handle GF oats OR too much corn…. popcorn makes me sick, I feel like that’s unfair somehow.) And being a vegetarian… hmmm…. what do we call a vegetarian that can’t eat dairy? So, my world was turned upside down and because I refused to become some type of raging carnivore giving up my belief that our culture over-indulging on meat is the cause of abuse and inhumane treatment, I embraced it…. Gluten Free Veganism it is! And that’s the way it’s been for me since about late April.

Turns out…. it’s kind of like an exciting new world (unless we go out to eat, then it’s a small nightmare trying to order something without annoying the staff). So many foods I never would have made have found their way into our kitchen, such as this vegan “cheese” cake.

I followed this recipe from veganbaking…. pretty closely. I was running low on maple syrup and didn’t add any additional “sweetness” but it really could’ve used it. If anything, I might add a little MORE syrup than what is called for in the filling. I REALLY like the “crust” I said, “I think this would be the perfect crust for an rice cream cake.” and my husband laughed and said, “Oh yeah? You want a rice cream cake for your birthday?” (He still makes fun of me.)

All and all though…. I was impressed. I served it with fresh raspberries and coffee and everyone liked it. I said something to my husband, “See! Isn’t it nice to eat a cheesecake and not feel super ill afterward?” And he said, “Well….. see…. I don’t feel super ill when I eat cheesecake…. but I’m glad you were able to enjoy this with us!” (a few weeks ago we had a dinner to go to and we did just bring a normal cheesecake but I had to sit there with my coffee and fruit like an idiot while everyone asked me a million questions about my diet….that’s really embarrassing by the way…. I’d rather people just perceive I was a super health conscious hippy, it’s half true, so it’s believable…. just without the discussion of just how often I have had to endure diarrhea, migraines, sinus headaches, etc etc. “Yes, yes…. I’m a crazy hippy, THAT’S why I am now a vegan… who can’t eat gluten…”) 😉