Gluten-free Vegan Peanut Butter Cookies

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Oh. my. This recipe makes the yummiest peanut butter cookies I’ve ever had, and I insist…. of all the recipes on here, this be the one you try. (Unless you have a peanut allergy, and then…. well…not you.)

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Gluten-free and Vegan Peanut Butter Cookies: (makes about 60)
preheat oven to 375*

1 C Peanut butter
1 C chopped cashews
1/2 C Earthbalance (vegan margarine)
1 C Raw Sugar
1/3 C Brown Sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp Vanilla
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1 C sorghum flour
2/3 C Rice flour
2/3 C tapioca starch
2 TBLS ground flax
1/3 C Vegetable oil
1/6-1/3 C water

Extra raw sugar for rolling.

Preheat oven to 375* and in a stand mixer, mix peanut butter, cashews, softened earthbalance, sugar, and brown sugar. Mix til nice and creamy. Then, add in baking soda, baking powder, vanilla, flours (1/3 cup at a time), flax and oil. Lastly add in the water. Add enough to get the dough to clump together easily, but not so much that it gets too soft. (You want it stiffer)

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Roll 1″ balls into the raw sugar and place on baking sheet. After the sheet is full, press down with a fork in a criss cross pattern. Bake for 7mins. Cool on pan, use a spatula to remove when cooled. EAT!!! The textures…. especially with a warmed middle…. are indescribably magnificent. The large Raw sugar granules…. the saltiness of the cashews…. the melty peanut butteriness…. it’s just delicious! The only think you will want is a glass of your favorite cold non-dairy milk.
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Raw Sugar can become brown sugar and powdered sugar in less than 5 minutes.

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Did you know….. while standing in the aisle of sugars scratching your head figuring out which kind to buy…. that regardless of what you end up bringing home, you can use it to create your own “powdered” sugar and “brown” sugar in a matter of minutes?

It really helps to know these things if you are in the midst of a baking escapade and suddenly run out.

I feel slightly overwhelmed in the world of sugar options…. so I buy washed raw sugar and call it a day. One day I’m sure information will begin filtering options down a bit…. but for now…. raw sugar just feels like a safe bet. I don’t use cane sugar in EVERYTHING…. a lot of things get sorghum syrup, maple syrup, fruit juice, etc etc….. but I bake and make EVERYTHING for our family of 6, and well, sugar happens.

But, being able to grab a few of the same bag and come home and turn it into three products feels…… simple. I like simple.

So, here’s what I do. Brace yourself….. I open the first bag and pour it into it’s canister. I then open the next bag and pour it into my high powdered blender…. turn it on high for 3 mins or so and voila…. powdered sugar. (Now, granted, it’s not as perfect and smooth as the bag stuff, but it WILL make some yummy frosting and it will make chocolate for me…. and that’s about all I need it for.) Pour that into the “powdered sugar” canister. Now, I simply take two cups out of the first canister and toss that into the blender…. add 2-3 TBLS of some yummy sorghum syrup and pulse until mixed in. Aaaand I have brown sugar. (molasses works too, but I kind of have a love affair with sorghum since it gives me my favorite flour.)

All done. Three pretty sugars. (The brown sugar is practically like a candy by itself.)

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Birthday Cake! (Gluten-free, Vegan)

I have made this cake…. oh…. 4 times this summer? Yes. I have. And I can tell you…. it works. YOU can bake a gluten-free AND vegan layered birthday cake. AND you can frost it! How cool is that? I have had friends, family, neighbors….. all try this cake and join us in various celebrations and have yet to have anyone say, “Yes, I can totally tell this is gluten free.” In fact…. all these people who are not on a crazy diet like me…. think it tastes just like cake, and they like it. I can tell….. but I’ve also baked a lot of cakes, lol. But it works, serves it’s purpose, and doesn’t make me sick…. so I will keep on baking this cake!
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So, the recipe is HERE from this wonderful lady….  I make a few changes…. mostly because I like to have quite a few flour varieties…. so I do 1/2 cup Sorghum, 1/2 brown rice, 1/2 cup sweet rice. (In place of the 1 1/2 cups brown rice.) and in place of applesauce…. I use 1 large banana. And then I also toss in about 1-2 TBLS of ground flax for good measure.

I prepare my pans with crisco (not the best stuff in the world…. but it serves it’s purpose for lining cake pans.) and then flour the pans with rice flour. (make sure to tap all the way around so every bit of that crisco is covered and every interior surface is covered. Then…. after I bake, let it cool for about 10mins…. then flip out the cake onto a cooling rack. I have yet to have one NOT come out cleanly or break on me, they’ve all cooperated. Then, after about 30mins, I move my cooling rack to the freezer to speed the process…. I am usually on a time restriction and need to get frosting.

For frosting….. let’s just make this easy on everyone. I can look up a frosting recipe in any book or anywhere and adapt it. And so can you. Use Earthbalance in place of butter. Crisco if you absolutely feel it’s necessary for shortening…. like it’s 90* in your house or something….. and if it’s maybe not 90* but 80*…. I add in a little coconut oil to make sure my frosting doesn’t melt off. Any milk it calls for, I use soy or almond…. maybe even coconut. That’s it. Just get the consistency right. I usually add a pinch of salt to my frostings to cut the sweetness a bit…. but I mean…. it’s one of the easier things to do. 😉

Now…. go bake a birthday cake!!!

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Dairy-free Chocolate Chips!! (with a patriotic flare)

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I set out to do a lot of things today. Woke up early, got breakfast for the kids, got the dishes done, collected laundry, got that started, made my bed, planned out the next week’s menu… typed up my grocery list….got the kids cleaned up and ready to go…. went to the grocery store, came home, got lunch…. and because I rarely experience a day where things actually go smoothly, I realized I was way ahead of schedule. The meeting we were hosting wasn’t until 7pm… I didn’t have to have dinner ready til like 5-6ish… which meant a whole 5 hours of playtime!!

What would anyone do with 5 hours of free time except attempt to make colored white chocolate chips from a dairy-free chocolate they just whipped together! I wanted some type of fun snack mix… but there are just no dairy-free m&ms to be found… and this was all I could think of…. sprinkles could’ve been an option, but that usually requires coating things with some type of corn syrup/ heavily fatted up substance and that wasn’t part of my plan either….

So, after a little fanagling with some food colors (another story for another time, but, I am thinking that I am on to the next phase of my cake and cookie decorating using only natural food dyes… they work quite well and I want to make some of my own so we’ll see how that goes.) This is what I got! I don’t have pictures of the process, I wasn’t even sure it would work out… but it did, and they’re super cool. I used a pastry bag and a tip and just went to town making dots and flicking the tail to look like a “chocolate chip”. It really wasn’t that time consuming… maybe 10 mins per tray? (only two trays).

For the white chocolate recipe:
100g cocoa butter
40g confectioners sugar
1.5 TBLS soy milk powder
.5 tsp vanilla extract

using a double boiler, melt the cocoa butter. Measure your sugar then mix in the soymilk powder. Add the sugar/ powder mixture to the cocoa butter and whisk all together until completely incorperated. Remove from heat, add in the vanilla and perhaps a pinch of salt. Let cool enough to have a thicker consistency before attempting to make chocolate chips. (To color, I divided into different bowls and added the coloring and mixed it up maybe 5 mins after removing from heat.)

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Oh! And if you’d like to make this yummy “trail mix” It’s just Gluten free Chex, mixed nuts, raisins, and yummy dairy free chocolate chips. I also decided to throw in some coconut for a confetti-esque flare, but that happened later.

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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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)
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Vegan Cheesecake

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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…”) 😉