Blondies – easy, healthy, vegan, gluten-free, and very yummy!

Blondies!

My kids and I love the blondies from Simple Pleasures bakery which is inside a gluten-free Indian buffet restaurant that we love, Earthen Jar, here in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Out of love of their blondies, I started experimenting with making my own blondies at home.

These are very easy to make, healthy, vegan, gluten-free, and delicious! And they mix up really, really quickly!

They are very gooey and dough-like when they first come out of the oven. Later on in the refrigerator they firm up a bit.

I haven’t tried making a nut-free version, but you should be able to replace the nuts with soybutter or Wowbutter. If you do that, please post here about how it worked! Sometimes nut-free nut-butters turn baked goods green (!!) , so you would want to try baking this first for people who don’t mind unexpectedly green food. Or bake it for Halloween or Saint Patrick’s Day.  :)

You can use other beans in this recipe instead of the white beans. Darker beans taste fine, but they visually look chocolatey, and if your eaters think that these look like chocolate but actually they aren’t, that sets them up to be disappointed. Chickpeas in this recipe taste a bit like hummus, and, while I love hummus, it is decidedly strange in blondies, so I don’t recommend using them here. So my suggestion is to use white beans, but it’s definitely okay to experiment.

This recipe is loosely based on Flourless Chocolate Chip Chickpea Blondies with Sea Salt from Ambitious Kitchen. I’ve changed which type of beans to use, removed salt, added ground flaxseed to make the blondies more cohesive, and removed baking soda and baking powder. Whew!

Yum!!!

On another topic: If you do a web search for “Valerie’s Recipes,” Google can’t find it. I think the problem is that too many websites have similar names. So I am thinking about renaming this blog to have a more unique name that Google might find. Maybe “The Painted Lentil” — or “The Lentil Rainbow” — or “The Rainbow Lentil”? What do you think?

Blondies - easy, healthy, vegan, and gluten-free!
 
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Oooey gooey Blondies! Healthy, flourless, gluten-free, vegan, quick to make -- and totally delicious!
Author:
Recipe type: dessert
Cuisine: American
Serves: 16 blondies
Ingredients
  • 1 15-ounce can white beans, such as cannellini, great northern, or navy beans (or 1 1/2 cups cooked and cooled white beans -- cooled because you don't want the batter to melt the chocolate chips) (don't use chickpeas unless you want your blondies to taste like hummus)
  • 1/2 cup of pecans, or other nuts, or nut butter such as almond butter or peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup real maple syrup or agave nectar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1-2 tablespoons ground flaxseeds (optional - helps keep the blondies from falling apart)
  • a few drops of oil, or some gluten-free cooking spray
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips such as Equal Exchange (which are fair trade and organic)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Spread a few drops of oil around in an 8x8 inch pan (I like to use a silicone pastry brush for this) or spray on some gluten-free oil.
  3. In a food processor or blender, mix all ingredients except for the chocolate chips.
  4. Stir in the chocolate chips.
  5. Spread the mixture evenly in the prepared pan.
  6. Bake for 25-30 minutes.
  7. Variation: Make mini-muffins by putting pieces of dough the size of ping-pong balls into an oiled mini-muffin tin, and bake for 14 minutes.
  8. Serve warm (which is super yummy, but they will fall apart) or after refrigeration (also good, and much more cohesive).

 

Pi Pie – gluten-free, vegan, delicious, and covered in Pi

Pi Pie

 

To use a plastic bag to decorate the pie, first tape the edges

To use a plastic bag to decorate the pie, first tape the edges

 

Happy Pi Day! March 14th can be written as 3.14, which is the first three digits of pi. We are geeks at my house, so we always celebrate Pi Day with Pi Pie — that is, a pie with lots of digits of pi written on it.

This pie recipe is creamy and chocolatey and delicious. Yum!

For writing with frosting, I like to use a ziplock bag. I add pieces of scotch tape to reinforce the seams and edges, then cut off a corner and (optionally!) add a frosting tip. Put the frosting in the bag, try writing

Then put tape diagonally, near the corner.

Then put tape diagonally, near the corner.

a letter on a plate to make sure that everything is working okay, and then start writing on your pie!

This pie tastes amazingly yummy at any time of the year, whether or not you draw any digits on it. Don’t wait for Pi Day!

 

 

 

Fold down the ends of the tape. Put another piece of tape in the same place but on the bottom, and fold down its ends too. Cut off the corner of the bag.

Fold down the ends of the tape. Put another piece of tape in the same place but on the bottom, and fold down its ends too. Cut off the corner of the bag.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Put in a frosting tip. If you don't have a frosting tip, tape and cut closer to the end of the bag, so the opening is smaller.

Put in a frosting tip. If you don’t have a frosting tip, tape and cut closer to the end of the bag, so the opening is smaller.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Add frosting to the bag, and you are ready to decorate! Draw a test letter on a plate first, before writing on the pie.

Add frosting to the bag, and you are ready to decorate! Draw a test letter on a plate first, before writing on the pie.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My son James, wearing a Pumpkin Pi shirt and eating Pi Pie. :)

My son James, wearing a Pumpkin Pi shirt and eating Pi Pie. :)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here is a Pi Pie from last year, decorated with cashew cream digits instead of frosting digits.

Here is a Pi Pie from last year, decorated with cashew cream digits instead of frosting digits.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pi Pie

 

Pi Pie - gluten-free, vegan, delicious, and covered in Pi
 
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This healthy vegan Pi Pie recipe is as delicious as it is cute!
Author:
Recipe type: dessert
Cuisine: American
Serves: 1 pie
Ingredients
  • 1 chocolate brownie crust from the recipe for Fresh Fruit Pie with Chocolate Brownie Crust
  • 1 batch of chocolate mousse
  • something to write digits with, such as a batch of cashew cream (6 tablespoons cashews and 3 tablespoons of water) blended extra-smooth and maybe even sifted through a strainer so that it won't clog the decorating tip. (For the pie in the picture, I used homemade frosting, but in the refrigerator the mousse dissolved it, so I recommend decorating with cashew cream, not frosting)
Instructions
  1. Make the chocolate brownie crust according to its directions.
  2. Make the chocolate mousse according to its directions.
  3. Place the mousse in the pie crust and carefully smooth it out flat with a spatula.
  4. Use your favorite approach to writing with frosting to write digits of pi on the pie.
  5. Refrigerate for a few hours to let the filling firm up. (It is hard to wait!)
  6. Possibly helpful: Here is a website that has a million digits of pi .

 

Cookie Dough Dip – healthy, gluten-free, vegan, safe to eat, and awesomely yummy!

chocolate chip cookie dough dip

cookie dough dipThe original person to think up the idea of making edible healthy cookie dough is Chocolate Covered Katie — a blogger who specializes in healthy vegan desserts and who makes amazing recipes!

I have simplified her recipe and made it even healthier. This recipe takes five minutes to mix up. You need a good food processor or blender. And then you can eat (safe) raw cookie dough! Yum!!!!!

The dough that this makes does not taste exactly the same as cookie dough. But the color is right, it’s sweet, and it has chocolate chips, so as far as I’m concerned it’s good! My kids and I really love this recipe.

chocolate chip cookie dough dipThis afternoon, after I took the photos for this recipe, I asked my kids, “Who wants to eat the photo models?” They knew I was making cookie dough dip, so they came running.  :)

Cookie Dough Dip - healthy, gluten-free, vegan, safe to eat, and awesomely yummy!
 
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Healthy, vegan, gluten-free cookie dough that you can eat raw -- in five minutes! Awesomely delicious!!
Author:
Recipe type: dessert
Cuisine: American
Serves: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • 1/4 cup dates (about six), no pits, and check for (and remove) any dried bits of stem on them
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 15-ounce can white beans, such as cannellini beans, great northern beans, or navy beans
  • 1/3 cup of chocolate chips (I like Equal Exchange organic semi-sweet chocolate chips)
Instructions
  1. Put all ingredients except for the chocolate chips into a food processor or blender. Blend until a smooth dough forms, which will take several minutes. Depending on your blender, you may need to add extra water to get everything to blend evenly.
  2. Stir in the chocolate chips, and serve!
  3. For serving, you can eat it with a spoon like a pudding, or dip in graham crackers to eat it with.

 

Dessert Nachos – healthy, vegan, gluten-free, and awesomely yummy!

Dessert Nachos

Dessert NachosHappy Birthday to this blog! Today it is three years old!

Recently I was flipping through cookbooks and I spotted a recipe for “dessert nachos” — where you thinly slice up an apple as the chips, then add caramel as the sauce and sprinkle on toppings.

That got me to thinking about trying it with the healthy vegan caramel sauce from the recipe for Banana Claw ice cream.

I tried making some, and my daughter and I liked it so much that I have been making it again every morning lately. It is a little addictive.

The best part is that it is so healthy that you can eat it for breakfast.

YUM!

I thought about saving this recipe to post in the autumn, since apples are not in season right now. But it is too good to wait.

For recipes that are in season now, I long all year for Chocolate Chip Fresh Cherry Bread. There’s also Zucchini Brownies. Also, Fresh Fruit Pie With Chocolate Brownie Crust is in season now and totally awesome!!! Yum!!!!!

Dessert Nachos - healthy, vegan, gluten-free, and awesomely yummy!
 
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Great as a dessert -- and healthy enough to be breakfast! Thinly slice up an apple as the chips, then add healthy vegan caramel as the sauce and sprinkle on toppings. YUM!!!
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert or Breakfast
Cuisine: American
Serves: 4 small servings or 2 medium ones
Ingredients
  • 1 apple
  • 5-6 dates (with no pits or hard bits of stem)
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons almond butter (for a nut-free version, try sunflower seed butter or soybutter instead)
  • 2 teaspoons canola oil
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 3/8 teaspoon salt (optional but really good!)
  • Toppings such as 2 tablespoons chocolate chips, coconut bits, pomegranate seeds, etc.
Instructions
  1. In the smallest jar of a reliable blender, using a nut-butter blade if you have one, put the dates, almond butter, oil, water, and salt. Blend until very smooth. If the mixture isn't getting smooth easily, add a couple of teaspoons of water and blend again.
  2. Slice the apple into many thin slices.
  3. Divide the apple among four plates (for small servings) or two plates (for bigger servings). Add the caramel sauce on top, then sprinkle on the toppings.

 

Tiramisu in 14 minutes – healthy, gluten-free, dairy-free, and can be vegan

Tiramisu
cake slices

Chocolate chip pumpkin bread, cut into twelve “ladyfinger” sticks for this recipe.

Last August my kids and I visited Toronto.

Usually when we travel, I am fanatical about planning ahead so that we will always have gluten-free food available. But this one time my teens talked me into winging it. We had the impression that every street corner in Toronto had one of those restaurants where you order a bowl of plain rice and then pick three toppings from one column and four toppings from the next column, and many of this type of restaurant can make safe gluten-free food. So in the morning we went to the Royal Ontario

cake after dipping

Cake after dipping

Museum. In the afternoon we planned to go see Castle Loma. Our map made it look like these places were about three blocks apart, so we decided to walk from the museum to the castle, eating lunch at a bowl-type restaurant along the way. Alas, our map was not to scale. It was far more than three blocks from one place to the other. We walked for a really long time through an endless residential neighborhood that had no stores or restaurants of any kind. Finally we found a tiny grocery store. Hungry and tired, we bought mainstream GMO-filled potato chips and ate those for lunch sitting on the sidewalk outside the store, occasionally interrupted by people

Cake with cashew cream added

Cake with cashew cream added

who needed us to move out of the way so that they could get in or out of the building. Definitely not our best meal ever!

When we started walking again, we almost immediately found an organic gluten-free mostly-raw restaurant called Live Organic Food Bar. It looked intriguing, so my kids and I went in. Having just gorged on potato chips, we weren’t very hungry, but I really wanted to try the food there, so we ordered desserts. I ordered an expensive little tiramisu that was AMAZING!!!! It had been maybe fifteen years since I last ate tiramisu, and

Finished tiramisu

Finished tiramisu

getting to have it again was a real treat.

Weeks later, at home again, I kept thinking about that amazing tiramisu. It wouldn’t be easy to go back to Toronto for more, so I decided to create my own. I had a tiramisu recipe that I had loved many years ago, so I used that as a starting point.

To my surprise, the tiramisu that I invented is very fast to make, over-the-top healthy, and over-the-top delicious!!!

Tiramisu in refrigerator

Tiramisu in refrigerator – these glass containers are great for making tiramisu. You can pop on the lid and store it easily in the refrigerator.

Traditional tiramisu is made with ladyfingers — long, thin cakelike cookies that are shaped like very large fingers. In this recipe you can use a wide variety of baked desserts cut into finger shapes, as the ladyfingers. I think cookies would work well too. I suggest using something that is not all-chocolate — though actually that too might be interesting. I have done this with Corbin’s muffin bread, and with chocolate chip pumpkin bread, but you could also use storebought cookies or cake or banana bread. Also I have seen gluten-free ladyfingers available at the store, though they don’t look at all healthy. The finished tiramisu will taste like whatever baked good you choose, so you should choose a baked item that you think would taste good inside tiramisu.

TiramisuIn the pictures, I used the super-healthy version of chocolate chip pumpkin bread — the second recipe on that page. That version has no refined sugar, and I add a lot of veggies, so in the pictures you may notice that the cake part looks a little green. That’s kale. It made an awesomely healthy tiramisu that tasted fantastic to me, but if you or your eaters are at all skeptical about kale in tiramisu, you can totally make this with some other baked item. Not everybody is as crazy about kale as me, and I completely respect that. You can make a very excellent tiramisu with this recipe without any kale, if that’s what you prefer.

Anyway, I hope you will try this recipe.  It makes an amazing tiramisu!

Tiramisu in 14 minutes - healthy, gluten-free, dairy-free, and can be vegan
 
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This tiramisu takes only 14 minutes to make. It is delicious, and can be healthy, vegan, and gluten-free. Yum!!! Warning: Addictive!
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: gluten-free
Serves: 3 servings
Ingredients
  • 4 slices of baked goods, such as cookies, banana bread, Corbin's muffin bread, or chocolate chip pumpkin bread, or about 3 cups of cookies
  • 3/4 cup cashews
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 5 dates, pits and any bits of stem removed
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 mug of coffee or espresso (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon brandy or cognac (optional - I leave it out)
  • 1 tablespoon baking cocoa powder
Instructions
  1. Brew a mug of coffee. (I have an ancient one-cup-at-a-time coffeemaker that makes it easy to brew just the right amount.)
  2. In a good blender, mix the cashews, water, dates, vanilla extract, and optional brandy or cognac. Blend until creamy-smooth. When the coffee is ready, add 1/2 tablespoon of coffee and blend until mixed.
  3. If you are using baked goods from a loaf, cut each of the four slices crosswise into three sticks, so that you end up with twelve finger-shaped sticks of baked goods. If you are using cookies you can skip this step.
  4. Pour the coffee into a small bowl, such as a cereal bowl. Have a fork and a loaf pan handy.
  5. A few at a time, put half of the baked goods into the coffee (that would be six "ladyfingers" or half of the cookies), then immediately use the fork to scoop them out again and put them crosswise into the loaf pan.
  6. Evenly pour half of the cashew mixture on top.
  7. Sprinkle 1/2 tablespoon of baking cocoa evenly everywhere on top.
  8. Make a second layer: Dip the other half of the baked goods in the coffee, put them into the loaf pan, spread on the rest of the cashew cream and sprinkle on the rest of the baking cocoa powder.
  9. In theory you should refrigerate this for a few hours at this point, but it is really hard not to just dive in and start eating. It firms up a bit in the refrigerator, but even when it is liquidy from being freshly made it is still good.

 

Zucchini Brownies “Zeebies” – gluten-free, dairy-free, and healthy!

Zucchini Brownies


tower of zucchini browniesHappy Zucchini Season!!!

I have been making this recipe for years: Brownies that are full of zucchini!!! My kids clamor for more! All four of us love them, zucchini and all!

I love zucchini. All three of my kids hate zucchini, but all three kids love these brownies!

If you use the version of the recipe that is sweetened with dates instead of refined sugar, then this is one healthy recipe. I even ate it for breakfast this morning. Yum!

The initials for Zucchini Brownies are ZB, so my family calls these “Zeebies.”

The original recipe that this is based on is Cassie’s Zucchini Brownies from allrecipes.com, though my version is fairly different. I big pan of zucchini browniesmade it gluten-free, added lots more zucchini, replaced the walnuts with chocolate chips, removed the salt, and added an option to sweeten it with dates instead of refined sugar.

Tip: These brownies look much better if you use a classic green-colored zucchini in them. Yellow summer squash tastes fine too, but looks a little alarming.

Here is the recipe!

Zucchini Brownies "Zeebies" - gluten-free, dairy-free, healthy, and can be vegan!
 
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My zucchini-hating kids adore these brownies. They are healthy and delicious, gluten-free, and can be vegan. YUM!!!
Author:
Recipe type: dessert
Cuisine: American
Serves: 24 brownies
Ingredients
  • EITHER 2 cups of all-purpose flour, or 2 cups of gluten-free flour mix (I use 1/2 cup each of: teff flour, quinoa flour, potato starch, and garbanzo bean flour -- but any flour mix should work)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • EITHER 1 cup of white sugar OR 1 cup of dates, pits removed
  • EITHER 2 eggs OR 2 flax eggs
  • 2 to 6 cups grated zucchini -- don't salt it or drain it or anything, just grate it. A food processor is perfect for speedy grating.
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil, such as canola
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. If you are using flax eggs, mix those up first, and let them sit for a couple of minutes.
  3. Oil the bottom and the bottom inch of the sides of a 9x13 inch baking pan -- a "lasagna pan".
  4. If you are using dates as the sweetener, put them into a food processor together with the eggs or flax eggs. Blend for several minutes, until it looks like a creamy and smooth mixture with some bits of date-skin in it. Then add the oil and blend just until mixed.
  5. Now put all of the ingredients, including the dates (if you are using them) and eggs or flax eggs, into a large mixing bowl. Stir until everything is mixed thoroughly. Check for pockets of unmixed flour, and stir those in too.
  6. The wetness of the mixture should be someplace between a dough and a batter. If it seems too stiff, stir in some water, a couple of tablespoons at a time, until it has the wetness of a dough.
  7. Put the mixture in the greased pan. Smooth it out with a spatula, so that the surface is flat and the mixture evenly covers the whole bottom of the pan.
  8. Bake for 35 minutes.
  9. Let cool, or serve hot -- just beware that when it comes out of the oven it is really molten hot, so I suggest letting it cool for at least a few minutes to stay safe.
  10. Cut into squares or bars.
  11. Tastes great either warm or at refrigerator temperature.

 

Hamentaschen – gluten-free and can be vegan!

Hamentashen

Hamentashen are a traditional Jewish cookie, served at the holiday Purim. They are shaped like the three-cornered hat of Hamen, the villain in the Purim story.

Oh today we’ll merry, merry be.
Oh today we’ll merry, merry be.
Oh today we’ll merry, merry be.
And nosh some Hamentaschen.  :)

How to shape the dough

How to shape the dough

Years ago, I wanted to try making gluten-free Hamentaschen. So I searched the web and found a recipe by someone named Ellen Switkes. It works great! I have been making this recipe for years. The Hamentashen come out tasting a bit more like cookies and a bit less like bread dough than traditional Hamentashen — they are very yummy.

This year my daughter and I tried making this recipe vegan. The Hamentashen came out great that way too!

Hamentashen

Hamentashen after baking

The one thing that I will do differently next year is that this year I used some teff flour in my flour mix, and teff makes dough look brown and whole-wheat-y. So next year I plan to use a flour mix next year that doesn’t have any teff in it, so that the Hamentashen come out looking more of the color of traditional Hamentashen.

 

 

Twice I have made Rainbow Hamentashen. Someday I will post the recipe! The batch in the picture below was particularly neat because all of the coloring was done with food: beets, cocoa powder, and spinach. Yum!

 

 

Ellen Switkes says: Don’t wait until Purim.

rainbow hamentashen

Hamentaschen - gluten-free and can be vegan!
 
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Hamentashen are a yummy traditional dessert food for the Jewish holiday Purim. These are gluten-free, and optionally vegan. Happy Purim!
Author:
Recipe type: dessert
Cuisine: Jewish
Serves: 29 Hamentaschens
Ingredients
Dough
  • 2 eggs or 2 flax eggs
  • 2 1/4 cups flour mixture (for example 3/4 cup each quinoa flour, garbanzo flour & potato starch - or whatever flour mix you prefer)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon xanthan or guar gum (only if you used gluten-free flour, and only if it doesn't already contain this)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder (or 2/3 teaspoon baking soda + 2/3 teaspoon cream of tartar)
  • 1/2 cup oil (eg. organic canola oil)
  • 1/2 teaspoon gluten-free vanilla extract
Filling
  • chocolate chips, or other traditional Hamentashen filling such as jelly or stewed dried apricots
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. If you are using flax eggs, mix them up and let them sit while you mix the rest of the ingredients.
  3. In a mixing bowl, mix all dry ingredients, to prevent lumps.
  4. Add the wet ingredients, including the eggs or flax eggs. Stir well.
  5. The dough should have the consistency of fabulous fresh playdough, straight from the can. If it is wetter or dryer than that, add some flour mix or a tablespoon of water and stir again, and repeat until you have a dough with the perfect consistency.
  6. Break off a blob of dough that is about 1 inch in diameter. Roll it into a ball, then pat it into a flat circle on a fabulously non-stick cookie sheet. The circle should be about 2 1/2 inches wide. Carefully pat any raggedy edges together, so that you end up with edges that are perfectly smooth and round.
  7. Put 1-2 teaspoonfuls of filling in the middle of the circle. Less filling works better than more -- you can always add another dab of filling after the cookie is shaped if you want to. Then carefully fold each of the three sides upward, forming a triangle. Pinch the corners together, so that it will hold its shape. If it cracks, just pat it back into shape, seal the crack, and it should be fine.
  8. Bake for 10 minutes.
  9. Yum!
  10. Ellen Switkes says: Don't wait until Purim.

 

Chocolate Mousse – gluten-free, vegan, raw, awesomely healthy, quick, and my kids love it!

Chocolate Mousse

When I first tried this recipe, I wrote in the cookbook, “Drop-dead FABULOUS mousse!!!!!

Because it is!!!!!

It is also easy to make, healthy, vegan, and my kids and I love it. What more could you ask of a recipe? :)

The pictures show the mousse with fruit. I like to use the mousse as a topping for fruit. My kids like plain mousse without fruit added. That’s perfectly fine — the mousse itself is made of fruit, so it is healthy even if you don’t add more fruit to it.

In addition to fruit, my favorite way to serve it is with a pinch of cardamom on top. I love cardamom — it is a magical addition to this mousse.

The original version of this recipe came from the cookbook “Raw Food Made Easy for 1 or 2 People” by Jennifer Cornbleet. (I have linked to a newer edition of the book than the one that I have — an edition that I have never seen.) I changed the recipe by replacing maple syrup with more dates, and by increasing the quantities in the recipe so that it uses two avocados instead oChocolate Moussef one and a half.

A food processor works much better than a blender for this recipe. And you need a good sturdy food processor for this. I have a Braun Multiquick food processor that I really adore. I am convinced that Braun makes the best food processors, much better than any other brand, because theirs are sturdy and have a lot of attention to important details. Like for example, I used to have a KitchenAid food processor where the edges of the lid fit onto the outside of the bowl, which meant that splatters all ran down the outside of the bowl. The Braun has a lid that fits inside the bowl — which means that any splatters run down inside the bowl, which is where I want them. Best of all, the bowl on the Braun has no hole where the blade connects to it, so you can put easily twice as much food into the Braun compared to the KitchenAid. Anyway, I can go on and on about why I like Braun food processors, but I won’t ask you to wade through any more about it. The link from this blog to Amazon will send me a tiny percentage of the purchase price if you buy what I linked to, but other than that I have no relationship with Braun except as a satisfied customer. But so far my total income from Amazon for this blog has been exactly zero, so this is not exactly a get-rich-quick undertaking. :-P

This recipe uses dates. Dates vary a lot, from tougher dry ones to wetter soft ones, but any dates should work fine in this recipe. Make sure to remove the pits, if yours have pits, and check every date for bits of stem to remove, because sometimes a date will still have a collar of hard stem attached to it. Also, even pitted dates sometimes still have a pit, so it’s helpful to check for that, too.

Too much chocolate can keep me awake at night, so I often replace half of the cocoa powder in this recipe with carob.  I like Foods Alive organic carob powder. This recipe tastes almost exactly the same when it is made with half carob and half cocoa powder — and it is much less likely to keep me awake at night.

The most important ingredient in this mousse is perfectly ripe avocados. If you have never tried a recipe like this, using avocados in this way may sound very strange to you. But it works really well in this recipe. There is no green color or avocado-y flavor. The finished mousse tastes like a rich, chocolate dessert.

To check the ripeness of an avocado, do not poke it with your finger. That will leave black spots inside the avocado. Instead, hold it in your hand and see what the avocado’s skin feels like. If it feels hard, the avocado is not ripe. If it feels soft and smooth, like touching human skin, then the avocado is ripe. Also the skin of most avocados turns black when it is ripe, so that is another way to recognize one.

Avocados go quickly from ripe to overripe, so once you have ripe avocados it’s necessary to use them within about a day, or you will lose them to overripeness. You can put ripe avocados in the refrigerator to delay this process — they can last for up to a week there.

Variation: To make this recipe chocolate-free, I have replaced the cocoa powder with a little ground cardamom — maybe 1/4 or 3/8 teaspoon. This makes a bright green mousse that my kids won’t touch, because of the color. But I love it that way. And if the kids won’t touch it, there is more for me!  :)

Chocolate Mousse - gluten-free, vegan, raw, awesomely healthy, and my kids love it!
 
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A rich, fabulous chocolate mousse, made from entirely healthy, raw, vegan ingredients -- mostly fruit! And only four ingredients! Even my picky eater kids adore this recipe.
Author:
Recipe type: dessert
Cuisine: French
Ingredients
  • 2/3 cup dates, with pits removed -- also check each date for any hard stem pieces and remove them
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 2/3 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 perfectly ripe avocadoes -- remove pits, skin, and any black spots
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder -- or 1/4 cup cocoa powder and 1/4 cup carob powder
  • optional: fruit or berries, such as cherries, blueberries, or strawberries
  • optional: a pinch of ground cardamom for each serving
Instructions
  1. Put the dates and water into a sturdy food processor. Blend for several minutes, until they form a smooth syrup. You will still be able to see bits of the skins from the dates, but the syrup itself should be smooth. Depending on your food processor and your dates, you may need to add a little extra water to get this to blend. Tip: I start blending this at slow speed, then raise the speed to high, to cut down on splashing and noise inside the food processor. The most important step to getting the mousse to come out really smooth is to blend this mixture until it is really smooth, even if it takes several minutes.
  2. Add all other ingredients to the food processor -- except for the optional ones.
  3. Blend until smooth.
  4. Serve plain, or with fruit, and/or with a pinch of ground cardamom on top.

 

Fresh Fruit Pie with Chocolate Brownie Crust – gluten-free, raw, vegan, beautiful and yummy!

Fresh Fruit Pie With Chocolate Brownie Crust

Fresh Fruit Pie with Chocolate Brownie Crust This summer when the market was full of beautiful fruit and berries, I bought lots and made them into a series of beautiful pies. These pies take about 20 minutes to make, need no baking, look gorgeous, and taste delicious. Yum!!!

I fell in love with this recipe this summer, so I made it again and again, all summer long.

The chocolate brownie crust is adapted from a recipe in Chocolate Covered Katie’s cookbook.  And the cardamom cashew cream filling is adapted from a recipe in an older edition of the cookbook Raw Food Made Easy for 1 or 2 People by Jennifer Cornbleet. I love cardamom and think that the hint of it in the cashew cream really makes this pie recipe over-the-top amazing.

Two more pictures and then the recipe!

Fresh Fruit Pie with Chocolate Brownie Crust

Fresh Fruit Pie with Chocolate Brownie Crust

 

5.0 from 1 reviews
Fresh Fruit Pie with Chocolate Brownie Crust - gluten-free, raw, vegan, beautiful and yummy!
 
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This beautiful pie is raw, gluten-free, vegan, dairy-free, free of refined sugar, quick to make, totally delicious, and full of fruit!
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Serves: 1 pie
Ingredients
Crust ingredients:
  • 1 cup dates, with pits and any bits of stem removed
  • 1 1/3 cups nuts (for example 1/2 cup walnuts, 1/2 cup pecans, and 1/3 cup of almonds)
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon water
Cardamom Cashew Cream Filling Ingredients:
  • 1 cup cashews
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cardamom
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 dates, with pits and any bits of stem removed
Fruit Ingredients:
  • strawberries, perfectly ripe mangoes, blackberries -- or whatever fruit you have handy, cut into chunks
Instructions
  1. Place all of the crust ingredients in a food processor. Blend until you have tiny bits, much smaller than the head of a pin. The mixture should have tiny bits of nuts visible in it but be soft and mashable. Don't blend it for so long that you turn it into nut butter!
  2. Empty the food processor into a pie plate. Use your hands to press down on the mixture, to flatten it. Push some of it against the sides, too, so that there is an even coating of crust pushed down all over the bottom and sides of the pie plate. I usually don't put the crust on top of the edges of the pie plate, because on a raw foods crust that tends to fall off during serving. Take the time to make sure that the crust is pushed down into the corners of the pie plate and that the edges are finished off neatly. I usually make the edges a tiny bit taller than the pie plate, so that the pie can be deep. If you press down on the pie crust on the insides of the pie plate, the crust will get taller and do exactly this.
  3. Place all the ingredients for the cardamom cashew cream in the food processor. (You don't need to wash it out after making the crust.) Blend until you have a very smooth cream. It should look and taste smooth. I usually let cashew cream sit in the food processor while I work on other parts of a recipe and then come back to it to re-blend it once the blended bits of cashews have had a chance to soften.
  4. Wash the fruit and cut it into chunks. If you are using strawberries, cut out the stem from each strawberry and then cut it in half. You can leave blackberries whole. For a mango, imagine a mango pit with a piece of paper on top and another piece on the bottom, lying down flat. Now imagine that pit inside a whole mango, and use a knife to cut where each piece of paper is, so that you end up with two mango hemispheres, and an oval of mango left behind that includes the pit. Now on each hemisphere, cut 2-3 lines through the flesh in one direction, cutting down to the skin but don't cut through the skin. Now cut 2-3 lines across in the other direction, across the first cuts, making a grid. So you should have a mango hemisphere with its skin still intact and the mango flesh scored into about 12 squares. Then use a dinnertable tablespoon to separate the mango flesh from the skin, so that you end up with about 12 cubes of mango. Repeat on the other mango hemisphere.
  5. Re-blend the cashew cream (which is still in the food processor) until it is super smooth, then put it into the pie crust and spread it evenly over the bottom.
  6. Arrange the fruit prettily on top of the cashew cream, to fill up the pie crust. Tip: A ring of cut strawberries interlocks really nicely, like Lego. :)
  7. Voila! One quick and yummy fruit pie!

 


This recipe is entered in Gluten-Free Fridays, Allergy-Free Wednesdays, and Meat-Free Mondays!

Chocolate Chip Fresh Cherry Bread – gluten-free, dairy-free, and addictively amazing!!!

chocolate chip fresh cherry bread


I wait all year for fresh cherries to appear in stores, so that I can make this recipe. I long for this recipe all winter long. It is that good.

This may be the most amazing and wonderful recipe in this entire collection!

Years ago now, I was thinking that a loaf with chocolate chips, fresh cherries, and some cardamom woChocolate chip fresh cherry breaduld be really amazing. So I searched the web to see what I could come up with. I found this recipe for Fresh Cherry Bread, from www.recipesource.com. The recipe credits the newsletter of King Arthur Flour – The Baking Sheet for the original version of the recipe. I modified it by adding chocolate chips, adjusting the amounts of cardamom and vanilla extract, and making it gluten-free.

The one thing I don’t love about this recipe is that it uses refined sugar. I have experimented with making a version of it that is sweetened with fruit, and I will post that someday. But for now, this is the reliable original version of the recipe — and it does use refined sugar.

I hope you will try this recipe — it is soooo good!

Chocolate Chip Fresh Cherry Bread - gluten-free, dairy-free, and addictively amazing!!!
 
Prep time
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A dessert loaf made with chocolate chips, fresh cherries, and cardamom. I long for fresh cherry season all year so that I can make this awesome recipe!
Author:
Recipe type: dessert
Cuisine: American
Serves: 1 loaf
Ingredients
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 3/4 cup gluten-free flour mix, or regular flour (for example, today I used 1/2 cup of teff flour, 1/2 cup of quinoa flour, 1/2 cup of tapioca starch, and 1/4 cup of garbanzo bean flour)
  • 1 teaspoon xanthan gum or guar gum (omit if you are using regular flour)
  • 1 teaspoon cardamom, ground
  • 1 tablespoon gluten-free baking powder (or, instead, 1 teaspoon baking soda + 1 teaspoon cream of tartar)
  • 2 eggs - or, for a vegan version, use 2 flax eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup cherries (about 1/2 pound), pits removed and cherries cut into quarters or eighths
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Oil a loaf pan, and flour it (for gluten-free, I like brown rice flour for the flouring).
  3. Put all dry ingredients into a mixing bowl. Stir well.
  4. Add all wet ingredients. Stir well, making sure you find all the pockets of dry flour and get them mixed in. The batter will be thick, like cookie dough.
  5. Pour the batter into a loaf pan. Smooth it flat with a spatula.
  6. Bake for 55 minutes.
  7. Let cool, then refrigerate.
  8. Best served at refrigerator temperature.
Variations:
Mini-muffins: Use one medium cookie scoop (1 1/2 tablespoonfuls) for each muffin, and bake for 13 minutes. Makes about 24 mini-muffins.
Muffins: use 1 1/2 to 2 scoops (2-3 tablespoons) of dough for each muffin, and bake 15 minutes. Makes about 16 muffins.
Muffin-bread: Multiply recipe by 1 1/2. Use a spatula to smooth out the whole batch of dough onto a very nonstick cookie sheet, and bake for 18 minutes.