Pumpkin Donut Holes

The other day made pumpkin bread, and we had some leftover batter. We decided to experiment a bit and make some pumpkin bread bites. Once we tasted them, we realized quickly that they were actually more like pumpkin donut holes. Also our very pedantic daughter told us they were donuts, and who can argue with a stubborn two year old who is busy licking chocolate off as many treats as she can get her hands on?

Pumpkin Donut Holes: A Treat Whose Time Has Come

It’s pumpkin season, as we all know. I’ve heard that being into pumpkin stuff is “basic,” but those scare quotes should tell you that I’m old enough to not fully understand what basic means. Also, I don’t care because pumpkin stuff is delicious. Please also hold off on criticizing yoga pants and scarves and whatever else you might feel other people are enjoying too much.

Where was I? Oh, right: pumpkin donut holes. If the name isn’t enough to convince you that you want these, then just look at a picture of Jocelyn putting some chocolate on them.

Pumpkin Donut Holes

These came out great. They’re soft and crumbly and delicious. If you like pumpkins or chocolate or things shaped like acorns (note: do not eat actual acorns, they’re pretty gross), then these are for you.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cup pumpkin purée
1 cup coconut sugar
1 Tsp vanilla
1 Tsp pumpkin pie spice
2/3 cup coconut oil, melted
1 Tbsp chia seeds mixed with 3 Tbsp water
1 1/2 Tsp baking powder
1/2 Tsp baking soda
1/2 Tsp salt
2 1/2 cup spelt flour

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350° F. Mix all of the ingredients together in a medium bowl. Place into a prepared tray (ours was a fall-themed cakelet/mini-muffin pan). Bake for 30 minutes.

Chocolate Tahini Cookies

We had chocolate. We had tahini. Buckle up for some chocolate tahini cookies, y’all.

Chocolate Tahini Cookies are Very Good

We like to take the opportunity to make food with our kids, especially when it’s fun food. Watson and Vivi love to each get a bowl full of ingredients to mix. They make an ungodly mess, but it’s adorable and who cares? You don’t have to clean the floor.

Watson has been very into Halloween lately, so he wanted to use his ghost cookie cutter to make some ghostly cookies. That didn’t work very well, since these cookies are very crumbly and fall apart pretty easily. They’re really better in a lumpy mound configuration.

Let me go on a short digression about tahini, if you will: tahini is great, you guys. It makes great sauces, it’s great in these cookies, it’s great in hummus, etc. Get some. Use it. Love it.

These are not cookies for folks with an extreme sweet tooth. They’re way more on the savory side. But they’re super tasty, and since they’re pretty crumbly, they offer a lot of delicious crumb-collecting fun once you’re done with all of the bits that hold together.

Chocolate Tahini Cookies

Ingredients:

1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup tahini
3/4 cup coconut sugar
1 Tsp baking powder
1 Tbsp vanilla
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup almond meal
1 c flour of choice (we’ve used both spelt and rice flour with success, although the rice flour makes for a crumblier cookie)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425° F. In a large bowl, mix together all ingredients. Place tablespoon sized balls of cookie dough on a lined baking sheet, and press them down flat (but not too flat) with the heel of your hand. You can try rolling them out and using cookie cutters, like Watson wanted to do, but these cookies are pretty crumbly. The thinner they are, the more easily they fall apart once they’re baked. Bake each batch for 10 minutes and let cool on a wire rack.

Apple Vegan Donuts with Peanut Butter Glaze

We’ve featured vegan donuts on the blog before, because donuts are the most delicious. They’re beautiful and perfect. The donut, that glorious torus, reminds us that mornings can be joyful, and not just something we have to slog through on our way to quitting time.

Vegan Donuts: All the Flavor, No Regrets

I don’t know about you guys, but I always feel awful after I stop at a drive thru donut store on the way to work (note: this does not include the exquisite Duck Donuts, which just opened a location near us). Don’t get me wrong, the donut is always delicious while I’m eating it. Endorphins explode in my brain. For a collection of moments, there is only chocolate and glaze and all is right with the world. But mere seconds later, regret sets in. I didn’t really need that donut, did I? And even though it tasted good, I knew my stomach wouldn’t feel that good afterwards, didn’t I?

To solve that, we simply make some delicious donuts at home without the ingredients that make us regret them elsewhere. What you see below is a vegan, gluten free apple donut with peanut butter glaze. That’s right, I said peanut butter glaze. It’s an amazing miracle.

Apple Vegan Donuts with Peanut Butter Glaze

Ingredients:

Apple Donuts:

1/2 cup dried apples, finely chopped and soaked in hot water for 10 minutes
1/2 cup almond meal
1/2 cup brown rice or spelt flour
1 Tbsp flaxseed
3 Tbsp water
1 Tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
1/3 cup applesauce
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 Tsp cinnamon
Generous grating of nutmeg
1 Tsp vanilla

Peanut Butter Glaze:

1/4 cup peanut butter
2 Tbsp coconut oil
2 Tbsp maple syrup

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350° F. Mix together all donut ingredients in a large bowl. Pour batter into a donut baking pan and bake for 30 minutes. Take out and let cool in the pan for a bit and then transfer onto a wire baking rack to fully cool.

While the donuts are baking, combine glaze ingredients in a small saucepan until well combined. Allow glaze to cool. When everything is cool, pour glaze over donuts. Serve immediately, or chill in the fridge and serve within a few days. As though they’ll last that long.

Vegan Cupcakes – Fudge, Beets, and Sprinkles

Vegan cupcakes with beets, you say? Forsooth, you must think us madmen. But no. We are not mad. Nay, the scales have been lifted from our eyes.

Vegan Cupcakes – Nature’s Vegan Cupcakes

We told you on Monday about the beautiful beet cake we made. This time, with the assistance of our son and daughter, we made a tray of delicious vegan cupcakes, again based around beet puree. These ones are gluten-free, and so while they’re a little more crumbly than cupcakes with wheat flour tend to be, they make up for it by being absolutely delicious. And our kids agreed!

Vegan cupcakes with rainbow sprinklesA two year old contemplates the wreckage of her vegan cupcakesVegan cupcakes can still make for messy hands!

Ingredients:

Cake:

1 cup almond meal
1/4 cup rice flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 Tsp baking powder
1/4 Tsp baking soda
1/4 Tsp salt
2/3 cup beet puree*
1/4 cup coconut oil, softened
1 Tbsp flaxseed meal
3 Tbsp water
1 Tsp vanilla
2 Tbsp maple syrup
1/4 cup coconut milk
2 oz chocolate, melted

Frosting:

3/4 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup coconut cream**

*To make beet puree, roast beets wrapped in aluminum foil at 425° F for 60 minutes, and then peeling and pureeing.

**Coconut cream comes from putting a can of coconut milk in the fridge, letting the components separate, and then scooping off the solid part.

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350° F. Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl until well combined. In another bowl, mix the wet ingredients until well combined. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix together, being careful not to overmix. Distribute into cupcake tins and bake for 30 minutes.

For the frosting, heat the coconut cream in the microwave for 1 minute,\ and pour it over the chocolate chips. Mix until everything is melted. Place in the fridge until cooled, then remove and whip with a hand mixer. The frosting will lighten in color and the consistency will become familiar if you’ve ever had frosting before, which, come on.

Once the cupcakes are cooked, let them cool on a wire rack. Once cooled, frost them. Top them with rainbow sprinkles if you think it might convince your three year old to eat the whole cupcake instead of just licking off the frosting, even if in your heart of hearts you know it will never be.

Vegan Dessert – Coconut Walnut Beet Cake

Hungry Harvest* gave us some beets this week, and we’re never sure what to do with them. They taste too earthy, and in a way that’s hard to mask. We were also aching for a new vegan dessert, and coming up blank on how to use those beets, so we arrived at two (count ’em, two!) separate beet-based dessert recipes. This is the first one, and man, it’s a beauty.

*The link above is a referral, and if you click it and order, you and we will both receive $5 off of our next Hungry Harvest order!

We made the crumb topping from coconut sugar, coconuts, and walnuts, and it’s sweet and delicious. The cake itself is sweet and subtle and gorgeous to look at. I honestly just want to bring this cake to my room and look at it for a couple of hours because of how pretty it is. We’ve made a lot of vegan dessert by now, and this is definitely one of the best.

One thing we’ve noticed with a lot of gluten free recipes is that breads, cakes, etc., tend to be far more crumbly than their gluten-laden counterparts. We had come to accept this as a sad but inevitable truth of the gluten-free vegan dessert game. Friends, I have come to tell you that this beet cake is proof that what I had taken as an iron law of gluten-free vegan dessert is simply not so. The cake was moist, the crumbs had just the right consistency, and above all else, everything was absolutely delicious.

A tiny, gorgeous vegan dessert cake made from beets

Ingredients:

Cake:

1 medium sized beet
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup walnuts
1 cup brown rice flour
1 Tsp baking powder
1/4 Tsp salt
1 Tbsp flaxseed meal
3 Tbsp water
1/4 cup maple syrup

Topping:

1/4 cup coconut sugar
1/4 cup walnuts
1/4 cup coconut

Directions:

Wrap the beet in foil, throw it in the oven at 400° F, and literally forget it’s in there until an hour or two later when your husband asks what that thing in the oven is. Once cool, peel the beet and pop it in the food processor with the coconut oil and walnuts, process until smooth. Mix the flaxseed meal and water to form “egg”. Stir the rest of the ingredients for the cake and then dump in the beet purée and flax. Pop into a small cake pan and bake for about 30 minutes at 400° F. Stir topping ingredients together and after that 30 minutes turn on the broiler, sprinkle on the topping and go to town until it’s browned like a good crumb topping should be. Eat warm from the oven straight out of the pan with a fork. No judgement and no regrets.

Vegan Chocolate Passionfruit Macaroons

Have you ever had an actual, real deal passionfruit? They’re weird and shrivelly and full of seeds and goop. Looking at them, it amazes me that anybody ever decided to eat them.

 

But man, I’m super glad they did!

 

That weird seedy goop, it turns out, is absolutely delicious. It’s sweet and tart and just delightful. I only just tried it for the first time a few months ago, and it’s already one of my favorite fruits.

 

Jocelyn was looking for some fun desserts to make when Hungry Harvest* added passionfruit to its list of add-ons, and she leapt at the chance. We’d tried making passionfruit macaroons in the past, but they wound up a total mess (though still somehow delicious), and Jocelyn was eager for redemption.

 

*The link above is an affiliate link, and if you sign up for Hungry Harvest through it, you’ll get a discount and so will we!

 

Boy, did she ever deliver! These chocolate-dipped macaroons were not just delicious, they were beautiful! A perfect couple of indulgent bites meant that eating one didn’t steer our day completely away from healthy. Best of all, they’re vegan and gluten free, so everybody can enjoy them!

 

 

Ingredients:

 

1 1/2 cup shredded coconut

1/4 cup passionfruit goop

1/4 cup brown rice syrup

2 Tbsp coconut oil

3/4 cup chocolate chips

 

Directions:

 

Preheat oven to 350° F. Mix the coconut, passionfruit, brown rice syrup, and coconut oil in the food processor until well combined. Form into small balls (we used a cookie dough scoop, about the size of a rounded tablespoon) and place on a lined baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes. The tops of the balls should be getting a little brown when you take them out.

 

In a medium bowl, melt the chocolate chips. Carefully dip each macaroon into chocolate and place on parchment paper, chocolate side down. When they are all complete, place in the refrigerator to harden.

 

Eat. Savor. Delight.

Proletariat Shortbread

Once upon a time there was a dessert called Millionaire Shortbread. We wanted to make a version that was healthy and vegan and gluten free, but it felt wrong to give such a hippie dessert a name glorifying the most rapacious abusers of capitalism, especially on Labor Day, of all days. We workshopped the name. The People’s Shortbread? From Each According to His Abilities, to Each According to His Needs Shortbread? Ultimately we settled on the unglamorous, functional Proletariat Shortbread. It’s not fancy, but it gets the job done, just like the workers of the world. And I don’t know how successful we were on the healthy front, but this was certainly delicious.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup almond meal
1/4 cup spelt flour
2 Tbsp + 1 Tsp coconut oil
1 Tbsp maple syrup
1/4 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup brown rice syrup
1/2 cup coconut milk
3/4 cup chocolate chips

Directions:

Mix together almond meal, spelt flour, 2 Tbsp coconut oil, and maple syrup. Press into the bottom of a small oven safe baking dish. Bake at 350° F for 15 minutes.

Mix peanut butter, brown rice syrup, and remaining 1 Tsp coconut oil in food processor until smooth. Spread over cooled crust.

Heat coconut milk in the microwave for a minute. Pour over the chocolate chips in a medium bowl, wait a minute, and then stir up. Pour over caramel and cool in the fridge. Top with berries or whatever you need to make this feel healthier.

Vegan Mini Ricotta Cheesecake 

We like to dream up desserts that aren’t overly sweet, aren’t too big, and are still pretty healthy, but still satisfy our cravings for a little treat now and then. This mini cheesecake recipe definitely does the trick. It turned out even better than we could have imagined, and it definitely quieted our desire for a dessert that would have been way less healthy. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

1/2 cup pretzels

1/4 cup almond meal

1 Tbsp coconut oil

1 1/2 Tbsp maple syrup

1/4 cup almond milk ricotta

1/2 cup soaked raw cashews

Juice of 1/2 lemon

1 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)

1 Tbsp coconut sugar 

1 Tbsp chia seeds

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350° F. Combine pretzels, almond meal, coconut oil, and 1/2 Tbsp maple syrup in food processor until the mix has the texture of bread crumbs. Press into the bottom of ramekins and bake for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, place ricotta, cashews, lemon juice, and remaining 1 Tbsp maple syrup in the food processor and process until smooth. Once the crusts are done baking, scoop the ricotta mixture into crusts and bake 18 minutes.

While the cheesecakes bake, cook the blueberries and coconut sugar in a small saucepan until super liquidy and juicy, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in chia seeds. Let cool completely. The texture should be like really thick jam. Spread as much or as little as you like on the finished cheesecakes. Save any left over for kids to lick off of peanut butter sandwiches or for you to eat with a spoon. 

Vegan Gluten Free Chocolate Fig Tart

Hungry Harvest recently offered us some fresh figs, and we leapt at the opportunity to try some fun stuff with healthy ingredients we don’t use very much. We have a fig tree in the back yard, and this year it started flourishing, but it’s still not yielding much fruit. When it does, you can be sure we’ll be making some of these vegan, gluten free chocolate fig tarts, because they’re delicious.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup almond meal

1 Tbsp Coconut oil

1/2 Tbsp maple syrup 

A pinch of salt

1 cup fresh figs, chopped finely

1/4 cup coconut sugar

Juice of 1/2 lemon

1/3 cup dark chocolate chips

1/4 cup coconut milk

Directions:

Mix almond meal, coconut oil, maple syrup, and salt until they start to stick together and look like wet sand. Press into a mini tart pan. Bake at 350° F for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Place figs, sugar, and lemon juice in a pot and cook over medium-low heat, stirring frequently until sugar is dissolved and fruit has a thick jammy consistency.

Heat coconut milk in the microwave until bubbling hot. Pour over chocolate chips. Let sit for a minute before stirring.

To assemble: scoop jam into cool tart shell, reserving a tablespoon or so. Spread chocolate ganache over jam. Place sliced fresh figs on top. Mix reserved jam with a bit of water and brush on top of sliced figs. 

Cookie Jamboree – Vegan, Gluten Free Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Over the weekend we decided to do some testing with three different vegan, gluten free peanut butter chocolate chip cookie recipes, and we let Watson help. The first was more coconut based, the third was fit-based, and the second is below. It’s hard to argue that chocolate chip cookies are healthy, per se, but these ones are certainly more healthy than standard recipes!

When everything had baked and cooled, and the kids had had ample opportunity to taste plenty of cookie dough (parenting win!), we had a completely unscientific taste test and determined which of the three was the best, and we bring it to you now!

Ingredients:

1/2 c maple syrup
1/2 c peanut butter
1/4 c applesauce
1/4 c coconut oil
1 tbls flaxseed plus 3 tbls water
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 c almond meal
1 c spelt flour
1 c gluten free mini pretzels chopped up pretty fine (We used a food processor)
As many chocolate chips as feels right

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350° F. First combine the flaxseed and water in a small bowl and let them gel. In a medium bowl, mix the maple syrup, peanut butter, applesauce, coconut oil, and vanilla. In another medium bowl, combine the baking powder, baking soda, salt, almond meal, spelt flour, and pretzels. Finally, combine the wet and dry ingredients with the flaxseeds and chocolate chips in a large bowl and stir until incorporated.

Put tablespoon size balls on a lined baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack until ready to put in a jar or serve to hungry kids eager to taste test.