Archive for February, 2016

Anytime Oatmeal Cookies

I absolutely love oatmeal cookies! These have nuts, dried fruit, and oats with lots of fiber, protein, and other nutrients, and since the dough is low in fat and sugar, these cookies are also great any time of the day. You can also warm up a small bowl full to eat like regular oatmeal. As these cookies are completely vegan (and therefore eggless), you can safely eat the dough raw. If you like, you can even makes these cookies raw vegan (with raw oats, apples, and almonds) by dehydrating them instead of baking in the oven.

This recipe is so neat! As the dough does not spread out during baking, you can shape the cookies however you like, even into bars, which makes it easier to take them on trips or to work or school. You can completely customize the ingredients too with eggs, milk, and whatever fruit and seed/nut combination you want. If you have problems with fiber, you can choose to leave out the bran entirely or add more, just make sure you adjust the amount of liquids you add. This recipe is 4 5/8 cups of liquid, 4 7/8 cups of oatmeal cookie dough, and 6 3/4 cups of mix-ins, so you will need a very, very large mixing bowl. You can, of course, reduce the amounts to create a smaller batch. There are so many options.

Cosmic Cookies6

Gluten-Free Cosmic Cookies
Adapted from Cosmic Cookies on Wellsphere.
I like these cookies so much that I doubled the recipe to add a greater variety of ingredients.

Yields about 60 cookies

Ingredients
1 1/4 C Warm Filtered Water
1/4 C Chia or Flax Seeds, course ground
1 C + 2 T Hulled Oats
1 C + 2 T Oat Bran
1 C Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour
1 C Almond Flour
1/2 C Sucanat
1/2 C Evaporated Cane Juice
1 T Ground Cinnamon
2 1/4 tsp Sea Salt
1 tsp Xanthan Gum
1/2 C Sunflower Seeds
1/2 C Pumpkin Seeds
1/4 C Hemp Seeds
1/2 C Chopped Walnuts or Pecans, shelled, chopped
1 C Dark Chocolate Chips
1 C Dairy-Free Malted or Regular Carob Chips
1/2 C Sulfur-Free Unsweetened Finely Shredded Coconut
1/2 C Dried Cranberries
1/2 C Golden Raisins
1/2 C Chopped Dried Figs
1/2 C Chopped Apricots
5 T + 1/8 tsp Blue Agave Nectar
1/4 C Sulfur-Free Blackstrap Molasses
1/4 C Filtered Water
1 C Unsweetened Apple Sauce
1 C Almond or Other Dairy-Free Milk

Directions
In a small bowl with a fork, beat ground chia or flax seeds together with 1 1/4 cup water. Set aside for 15 to 20 minutes to allow seeds to gel and soak up the liquid, stirring about every five minutes to avoid clumps.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 2-3 baking trays with parchment paper.

Cosmic Cookies1

Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl.

Cosmic Cookies2

In a medium bowl, combine the wet ingredients, including remaining 1/4 cup water. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry.

Cosmic Cookies3

Use a 1/3 measuring cup to portion out the dough about two inches apart onto baking sheets. Gently flatten cookies with your fingers or a spoon, as this dough will not spread out as it cooks. Bake for 25 minutes or until lightly browned.

Cosmic Cookies4

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Carrot Pineapple Cake Bars

Thankfully, I have my own walnut tree, which I have luckily been able to reshape into an actual tree rather than letting the local “arborists” continue to butcher it into a sad, ugly twig-like thing. For a while, it alternatively looked like an overgrown shrub with leafy English walnut branches on the top and black walnut on the bottom until I learned out to properly trim it. Two years ago, we got only six walnuts and thirteen the following year. Last autumn, I picked over five gallons worth (about two minus husks). Unfortunately due to holiday preparations and other obligations, I could not take care of all of them before they started getting buggy, so I left the unprocessed ones out for neighborhood crows. (I do not recommend this. Leaving the nuts out was a big mistake, since the crows have chased away many other birds. I sincerely hope they have not crammed walnuts between my roof shingles and buried more in the backyard. Note to self: Make time in autumn to process all of the nuts. I might have to minimize the work with a walnut shucking party.)

Double Walnut Tree

As black walnuts are readily available during the autumn harvest season and I had not worked with them before, I was feeling daring and thought I would give them a try. If you are up for a challenge, go for it, but be forewarned: black walnuts are much harder to open than their English cousins, and I recommend using a vice to avoid powdering the meat when trying to remove it from the shells. The labor and time are well-worth the tasty flavor provided by this native variety. Alternatively, you can also buy shelled chopped black walnuts at the store when they are in season. If you are lucky enough to end up with lots of nuts, you can always freeze them for later.

I made a delicious carrot pineapple poke cake as an alternative to chocolate for a friend’s recent holiday party. The original recipe was very glutenous and scrumptious, but I have included a gluten-free vegan version below. If you want frost the cake bars, please see the frosting recipe link below.

Carrot Pineapple Cake Bars

Carrot Pineapple Poke Cake Bars
Adapted from Carrot & Spice Bars in The Great American Cookie Cookbook by Publications International.

Yields 40 – 50 Bars

Ingredients
1 C Unsweetened Plain Non-Dairy Milk
1/4 C Earth Balance
1 C Oat Bran
2 T Flax or Chia Seeds, course ground
6 – 8 T Filtered Water or Pineapple Juice, room temperature
2 1/2 C Pureed Carrot
3/4 C Grated or Pureed Carrot
1/3 C Chopped Raisins
1/3 C Crushed Pineapple, optional
1 tsp Orange Zest
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
2 C Gluten-Free All Purpose or Oat Flour
2 tsp Xanthan Gum
3/4 C Evaporated Cane Juice or Sucanat
1 tsp Baking Soda
2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
1/2 C Pineapple Juice
Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting, optional
1/4 C Prepared Chopped Black or English Walnuts

Directions
In a small bowl, thoroughly beat the ground seeds into six tablespoons of the juice. Set aside for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring every five minutes to prevent clumping. If the “eggs” are too thick, stir in more juice or water, one tablespoon at a time.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and dust 9-inch by 13-inch glass baking dish. Set aside.

In a sauce pan over medium-low heat, simmer the non-dairy milk and spread until the spread completely melts, stirring often. Remove from heat. Stir in the oat bran and set aside for 5 minutes to absorb some of the liquid. Whisk in the “chia eggs.” Add the carrots, raisins, zest, crushed pineapple (if desired), and vanilla.

Combine the flour, gum, sugar, soda, and cinnamon in a large bowl. Add in the carrot mixture, using an electric mixer to thoroughly incorporate the ingredients. Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish, spreading it evenly with a rubber spatula.

Bake the cake for 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean and the cake edges come away from the sides of the dish. Remove from heat. Poke the cake across the top with a fork in one-inch intervals. Pour on the juice evenly over the top. Cool to room temperature on a wire rack. Frost if desired. Sprinkle on the nuts, and lightly press them into the cake. Slice the cake into bars about one by two inches big. Serve and enjoy!

This cake is very moist. Store it in a well-sealed container in the refrigerator.

Carrot Cake with Almond Flour

I love the almond flour recipe book by Elana Amsterdam! It contains so many great recipes (including almond flour pancakes) and inspiring pictures. She also wrote Paleo Cooking and Gluten-Free Cupcakes, which look equally amazing. Elana was diagnosed with celiac disease at least 10 years ago, which caused her to completely change her diet and become gluten-free.

Carrot Cake with Almond Flour Unfrosted

The other day, I happened to stumble upon her website while looking for a gluten-free carrot cake recipe for a girl friend’s birthday. I wanted to ensure there was something I could actually eat and not merely drool over from afar. The carrot cake on her website looked amazing and very similar to the spice cake in her almond flour cookbook but contains raisins rather than chopped prunes. I also really enjoy spice cake, too, by the way, so I shall have to try out this recipe later but with either her Creme Patissiere (also in her almond flour book) or the vegan cream cheese frosting I used on my red velvet cake, not the creme fraiche or the whipped cream that she recommends (I’m allergic).

Gluten-Free Carrot Cake Frosted

Gluten-Free Carrot Cake
Adapted from Elana Amsterdam’s carrot cake recipe from her website, Elana’s Pantry.
Elana topped her carrot cake with coconut cream frosting, but I topped my cake with the same cream cheese frosting that I spread on my red velvet brownies.

Yields 12 Servings

Ingredients
5 T Chia Seeds, course ground
1 C Pineapple Juice
1/2 C Warm Filtered Water
3 C Almond Meal or Blanched Almond Flour
1 tsp Himalayan Sea Salt
1 tsp Baking Soda
1 T Ground Cinnamon
1/2 tsp Ground Nutmeg
1/4 C Unsweetened Apple Sauce
2 T Grapeseed Oil
3 C Raw Carrot Puree
1 C Thompson Seedless Raisins, chopped or pureed
1 C Prepared Chopped Walnuts or Pecans, optional
Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting, optional

Directions
Mix the chia meal, juice and water together thoroughly with fork in medium bowl. Set aside for 15 so 20 minutes to allow seeds to gel, stirring every five minutes to prevent clumping.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease and flour-dust a glass 9″ X 13″ baking dish.

With a fork, mix the flour, salt, and spices in a large bowl, breaking up any lumps.

Mix two tablespoons agave, the apple sauce, and oil into the chia “eggs.” Add in the puree, raisins, and nuts (if you are using them). Mix the wet ingredients into the dry. Add up to the last remaining two tablespoons of agave to achieve your desired level of sweetness.

Pour the batter into the baking dish. Bake the cake for 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. 35 minutes of baking will provide moist, bread pudding-like consistency, whereas cooking off more liquid will lend to a more cake-like confection. Cool completely on a rack away from heat. Frost the top of the cake as desired for a sweet dessert, or exclude the frosting for a delectable anytime treat. Serve and enjoy!