Nearly Sugar-Free Muddy Buddies
The Holidays are in full swing and I've been feeling ALL the stress! Between present buying, prepping for the New Year - and my Husband's 30th birthday immediately after, writing my 2nd cookbook manuscript and preparing for yoga auditions at my favorite studio just after the New Year - I've been busy! But we all are this time of year. Wrapping up everything in 2017 up nicely before tearing into the giant gift that is 2018!
Because I'm a totally stress eater, I try to help myself out during this crazy time of year by NOT having tons of sweet treats around to pick at. It's only trouble if I do! That said, it just isn't the Holidays if there isn't some type of snackable chocolate something on the counter! This year I decided to reform my normal chocolate Muddy Buddies recipe and make them something I could snack on - guilt and nearly sugar-free - through Christmas. So I subbed out the powdered sugar for a homemade, sugar-free, monkfruit version, instead! Muddy Buddies are a totally Holiday classic in this house and one of my Husband's favorite things to snack on while watching Christmas movies. The only sugar in these babies are the trace amounts in the cereal and dark chocolate chunks we melted down for coating! We used EnjoyLife's Mega Chocolate Chunks for this recipe since they're allergen-free (and I have all the allergies), but you can use whatever chocolate makes your heart happy. Let's make some muddy buddies!
9 cups Rice Chex (they're vegan - but you can use whatever kind or brand you prefer!)
2 cups powdered monkfruit sweetener OR 1 cup regular monkfruit sweetener (we used Lakanto - but you can also use powdered stevia or even regular powdered sugar here if you prefer)
1 cup vegan chocolate chunks (we used this brand)
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
1/4 cup vegan butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
In a large bowl, measure and set aside the cereal.
If you're using prepared powdered sugar, go on to the next step. If you've got regular monkfruit sweetener and need to make it in into powdered 'sugar', simply place 1 cup of sweetener into a blender or food processor and process for 1-2 minutes, until the sugar has pulverized into a finer, powered sugar. It should double in size using this method. Set aside.
Using the double boiler method (or a microwave!), melt together the chocolate chips, peanut butter, vegan butter and vanilla until creamy, stirring consistently. Pour the melted chocolate mixture over the cereal and use a wooden spoon to gently toss and stir until the cereal is evenly coated. Pour the powdered sugar evenly over the mixture and continue to use the wooden spoon to toss and stir the mixture until the chocolate-coated chex are all evenly covered in a fine layer of powdered sugar. Enjoy or save in air-tight container on the counter or in the fridge for up to a week. Enjoy!
If you prefer regular sugar here, go ahead and use it.
If you find another sugar substitute you prefer, use that instead. I can't guarantee the quantity exchange will be 1:1, but a little taste test should help guide you if you're unsure.
Double Fudge Brownies - grain-free + sugar-free!
IT'S FINALLY HERE! Well, TWO things are finally here! First, I leave for my bachelorette weekend in Palm Springs tomorrow with 14 of my closest friends to spend the weekend poolside - and I'm SO excited! We'll be doing yoga, tie-dyeing, taking selfies on pool floaties, and just generally chilllllling before I have to get back to the stress of wedding planning on Monday. I can't wait! But before I go, I also teased you guys last week on instagram with this recipe, and figured it was only right to share it with you babes before I left on this long weekend adventure. It's a recipe I'm super proud of and super into because it's totally free of ANY sugar (you'll see how!) and all grains, making this the perfect batch of brownies to make for someone with food allergies or who is just crazy strict watching their diet, like I am in prepping for this wedding. (I wanna look badass and feel my best!)
I based the recipe off of the Double Fudge Mint Brownies recipe in my cookbook, Homestyle Vegan, but the original version is full of flour and sugar and all things generally off limits for people with food allergies. Of course, if you need to tweak it to suit your particular preferences please do so, but let us know what changes you make in the comments! It can be helpful for other readers to see what substitutions worked...and which didn't. These are the ultimate fudgy brownies, soft and dense with a chewy outer crust. You can pull them from the oven a few minutes early if you like 'em even fudgier, but either way I think they're best served warm with a glass of almond milk on the side. Anyway, I've got bathing suits and sunscreen to pack, but trust me - you're going to love every second of eating these - and you're going to love how healthy they are even more!
1/2 cup almond flour
1/2 cup oat flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup monk fruit sweetener (we use Lakanto Classic)
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
1/2 cup monk fruit syrup (we use Lakanto Maple Syrup to keep it sugar-free) OR maple syrup OR agave nectar
1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup vegan chocolate chips or chunks
Preheat oven to 350º. Grease or line an 8x8 in baking dish.
In a large whisking bowl whisk together the flours, cocoa powder, monk fruit sweetener, cornstarch, baking powder and salt.
In a separate mixing bowl, combine the melted coconut oil, monk fruit syrup, unsweetened almond milk and vanilla extract. Pour these wet ingredients into the dry ingredient mixture and use a wooden spoon to combing the mixture completely. The batter may be stiff, so feel free to get in there and use your hands if you like. Once the batter is uniform, pour in the chocolate chips or chunks and stir to evenly distribute them throughout the batter.
Press the mixture into the prepared baking dish, using the back of the wooden spoon to press the mixture down evenly into the dish. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out almost completely clean. If you bake them too long, they will become dryer and much more cake-like than fudge-like in texture. Remove the dish from the oven and place it on a cooling rack to cool completely before slicing. For the ULTIMATE fudge brownies, see the tip below. Once cooled, slice and enjoy!
Make these brownies EXTRA FUDGY by refrigerating them after cooling for at least 1-2 hours before slicing. The fridge helps cool the core before it has set completely, resulting in some of the best damn brownies ever!
Leftovers can be left on the counter or in the fridge in an airtight container for up to three days. After that they'll start drying out.
Vanilla Cashew Butter Cups
Guys the countdown is on - I am officially 100 days away from my WEDDING! Don't worry, I'm not freaking out or anything (I'm totally freaking out) and the stress has been minimal (It's all LIES!), so it couldn't be going any smoother (Is it too late to elope?). That being said, I've only got so much control over the outside vendors and other things happening this far out, but I have total control over my workouts and diet, and that may be the only thing keeping me sane. I'm the kind of person who works really well with a goal date in mind, so knowing I want to tone up before the wedding has been fun to work toward. I'm in decent shape, but have been really stepping up my runs and strength-training workouts, and working on cutting out all the sugar from my diet. I've had great results lately, losing inches around my waist and thighs and I think more than the working out, it is due to the removal of sugar from my diet. We've all heard it by now - sugar is AS addictive as hard drugs to the brain. That's right, your brain's pleasure centers can't distinguish the two, they just know it feels great and they want it again. Being a sugar-addict sounds like a silly thing, but in reality most Americans are totally hooked and don't even realize it.
When I officially started cutting out the sugar, about three months ago, it was due to a combo of wedding prep and having rented 'That Sugar Documentary' and realizing it was time to make a change. The doc showed that the USDA recommends about 10% of calories per day come from sugar - this was about 25 grams of sugar per day, for most people - but the doc showed that most people are eating closer to 80 grams of sugar per day. WHAT?! That's more than 3x as much! I was blown away. And I immediately thought, 'Not me!' because of course I wanted to believe I was achieving something better and because we all want to believe that we're being successful. I'm a pretty healthy eater, but that doesn't mean I'm eating healthfully all the time. Pro tip: I WASN'T. When I started recording my eaten sugars I was totally embarrassed - the first day, I hit 36 grams by 3 pm and was still craving dessert all night. There just seem to be hidden sugars everywhere! Now, I'm not a total nut. I eat healthy, normal foods like fruit without checking the sugars, I just eat it in moderation. Because of course pancakes aren't the same as an apple. But not all people know that! So i'm here to give you a heads up. Cut the sugar out! It was a hard two weeks of cravings and a few headaches for me, but overall the withdrawal symptoms weren't as bad as I expected at all and now, I don't get the cravings at all. (Unless I'm on my period - those cravings conquer all.)
So how did I cut the sugar out? Well, I started weaning myself off by making myself some sugar-free and super low-sugar treats to keep in the fridge. It helped hugely! Now when I wanted a sweet treat, I'd have a little nibble off of one of my guilt-free fridge treats instead of a 1/2 pint of ice cream. And it worked! Soon I wasn't craving the sweets as often, and when I did, I had a healthy solution to reach for before I could make an unhealthy choice instead. That's it! No magic pill, just an upcoming wedding and a solid amount of will power. You can do it too! And the perfect way to start is with these - almost TOO easy to make - Vanilla Cashew Butter Cups! They're rich, creamy, and decadent - and you'd NEVER know they had no added sugar. I used the recipe for the Vanilla Cashew Butter from my Homestyle Vegan Cookbook (it's got great reviews on Amazon!), but you could definitely use the nut butter of your choice here instead.
Quick note: The chocolate you buy will affect the sugar in this dessert. If you buy a 70% + Dark Chocolate like I did, the sugar should be under 9 grams per serving, which is reasonably low. You can look for a sugar-free chocolate, but I think real, rich, dark chocolate really works great here. And plus, we don't want to demonize sugar, just eat a ton less of it. Looking for more low-sugar desserts? Find our favorites here. Also, we want to give a shout to Honeycomb Studio in Atlanta for the gorgeous, hand-made, small-batch porcelain plates in the photo. They are almost too pretty to use - we love them!
Vanilla Cashew Butter (from my Homestyle Vegan Cookbook)
2 cups raw cashews
1 vanilla bean, scraped
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of salt
Vanilla Cashew Butter Cups
1 cup cashew vanilla cashew butter
1/4 cup coconut oil (optional)
3 cups dairy-free chocolate chips or chunks
1-3 drops vanilla stevia (optional)
Vanilla Cashew Butter
Preheat oven to 325º. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread the cashews onto the baking sheet and roast for 10-15 minutes, stirring once, until golden and fragrant.
Let the cashews cool completely, then pour them into a food processor with the vanilla bean innards, cinnamon and salt and process until smooth. It might take a while - it took us about 5 continuous minutes of processing to get a super smooth consistency. Of course, if you prefer it a little chunky, you do you - just stop processing while there are still some chunks left. Pour the nut butter into an airtight container and set aside.
Vanilla Cashew Butter Cups
Line a muffin tin with paper liners and set aside.
Using the double boiler method, begin to melt the chocolate chips over medium heat, stirring as they soften. Pour in the coconut oil and stevia, if using, and continue to stir until the chocolate is completely melted and smooth.
Pour about 1 tablespoon of melted chocolate into each lined cup. Pop the tray into the freezer for 5-10 minutes to set. Pull the tray out and scoop about 1 tablespoon of the vanilla cashew butter onto the chocolate layer of each cup, centering it as best you can. Once all the cups have the cashew butter, pop the tray in the freezer for another 5-10 minutes to set again. While it sets, make sure your chocolate it still melty and ready to go.
When set, pull the tray from the freezer again and top each cup with 1-2 tablespoons of the remaining melted chocolate mixture, until the cashew butter is completely covered or 'sealed' within each cup. Pop the tray back in the freezer to set, another 10-15 minutes. Once set, remove the cups from the tray and enjoy! They will soften at room temperature if coconut oil was added, so keep them in a cool place until you'r ready to eat them.
Makes 12-14 cups.
Leftover vanilla cashew butter doesn’t need to be refrigerated, and should keep at least two weeks out of the fridge. It will last indefinitely in the fridge.
Leftover cups are best saved in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer for up to 6 months.
Nearly Sugar-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies
With my new Homestyle Vegan cookbook hitting shelves November 1st, my first book signing event and the Holidays coming up, I've really been doing my best stay low stress and to avoid sugar. Not only do I have wedding I'm trying to look pretty great for, but sugar is just not my friend. It's the number one food that makes me gain weight and really screws with my face, causing breakouts. I really try not to eat much of it as part of my everyday diet. Besides foods with natural sugar like fresh fruit, of which I indulge plenty, I really don't eat it. Except when I'm menstruating - then all bets are off, friends. Then I will fight you for your french fries. Then I will eat an entire pint of ice cream with no regrets. Then I am unstoppable, and Alex knows it's best to just get out of my way and let me eat through the cramps and lower back pain. But since I can be kind of rage-binge-y at that time of the month, I've started combatting later, meaner, hungrier me with some seriously indulgent-tasting, nearly-sugar-free chocolate chip cookies!
They are soft, chewy, sweet, and taste like they should be packed with sugar - but NOPE! Just a couple of optional tablespoons in this recipe, and it doesn't even have to be refined. I've made these cookies maybe 30 times at this point and have gotten the recipe down to an exact science. They are the perfect dessert or sweet treat when you need one, and make a decent meal when you need more like 7. They're stuffed with chocolate chips, which I think helps to totally mask the flavor stevia in the recipe. This is actually the FIRST recipe on this site using stevia because I've always been so hesitant to bake with it. But I am experimenting with it and so far, so good. Even Alex says these cookies pass his 'no after-taste' test, which is good, because a lot of sugar-less sweeteners don't! These cookies taste heavenly and indulgent, but are lighter and way more guilt-free than you'd ever imagine. Plus, CHOCOLATE. So go ahead, have four. You know I'm going to!
1 tablespoon ground flax
3 tablespoons warm water
1 1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour (or AP flour)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup softened coconut oil
2 tablespoons brown sugar, maple syrup, or your favorite sweetener (optional)
3/4 teaspoon liquid vanilla stevia
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (double if using unflavored liquid stevia)
3/4 cup non-dairy chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a medium mixing bowl combine the flax and water, set aside to gelatinize.
In a separate, larger mixing bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt. Form a well in the center and set aside.
In the medium mixing bowl with the flax mixture add the coconut oil, sugar or maple syrup, stevia and vanilla. Whisk to combine completely, then pour the mixture into the well formed by the dry ingredients. Use electric mixers to beat the mixture together until well combined. If not using an electric mixer, mix with a wooden spoon until you can't anymore, then finish it off with your hands. Once combined, pour in the chocolate chips and mix 'em in.
Use a cookie scoop or spoon to scoop 1-inch balls onto a lined or lightly greased baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the cookies are golden. Remove from the oven and move the cookies to a cooling rack. Enjoy!
Makes about 18 cookies.
Leftover cookies save well in a sealed container on the counter for up to a week.
White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookie Bars
I love cookies of all shapes and sizes - I'm not one to discriminate. That being said, there just aren't enough vegan white chocolate macadamia nut cookies around. At least not ready available for purchase...so I came up with my own recipe so I could have them whenever I got a craving. Instead of using a store-bought vegan white chocolate (which is REALLY hard to find. I have found it online, though) in these, I used chopped cacao butter. Cacao butter is the edible vegetable fat extracted from the cocoa bean and it both smells and tastes like chocolate. It's the perfect substitute and is PACKED with antioxidants to help give you healthy hair and skin - so they're basically a health food...right?! 😝
I used maple syrup instead of sugar in this recipe because I prefer the flavor of maple syrup, but substitution info is listed below if you're interested. These cookie bars are thin, a bit crispy on the edges, and packed with yummy, crunchy macadamia nuts. They're SO GOOD and make a taste pretty damn dipped in tall glass of almond milk. So what're you waiting for?! We've got cookies to eat!
1 cup vegan butter OR vegetable shortening
2/3 cup maple syrup
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup vegan white chocolate or cacao butter, roughly chopped
1/2 cup macadamia nuts, roughly chopped
Preheat the oven to 350°.
Using a hand held or stand mixer, cream together the butter, sugar, vanilla and salt until light and fluffy. Add in the flour. When it's fully incorporated, stir in the white chocolate chunks and macadamia nuts.
Pour the cookie dough into a greased 9 X 13 inch baking dish. Press dough very firmly with plastic wrap or a spatula until the top is silky smooth and free of cracks or bubbles.
Bake for 23-28 minutes until slightly golden + crisp on the edges. An inserted toothpick should come out clean. Cool completely, then cut into triangles (or squares!) with a sharp knife. Scoop out the bars and enjoy!
Makes about 16 bars.
You can also sub 1 cup organic sugar for the maple syrup here. The cookie bars will be crispier if you do this.
For thicker bars you can also try baking in an 8x8 inch pan, but the cooking time may need to be adjusted.
Leftovers last in the fridge for about a week!
It's officially feels like summer here in So Cal with temps in the low 90s this week. Ugh. On the plus side, it's been warm enough that we've started planning our first camping trips of the season. And I can't wait! Sometimes dragging all the ingredients for s'mores - the vegan chocolate, marshmallows, and graham crackers, and of course a good stick! - can be a pain in the butt. And often, I end up forgetting at least one of the necessary ingredients! These days, I save myself time and space in the cooler by just pre-making a tray of these fudge, ooey-gooey S'mores Brownies instead. They whip up quickly, taste BETTER (yup, I said it) than the traditional version, and make late-night campfire munching a breeze! Instead of graham crackers, the marshmallows and chocolate chunks are nestled into rich, chocolatey brownie batter - no stick needed. I like to put them in the fridge for a bit before cutting into them for even fudgier brownies. And they couldn't be easier to travel with: they last sealed in a ziplock bag in the car or on the counter up to 3 full days. Pack up the tent and preheat the oven - we've got some s'mores to eat!
1 tablespoon ground flax + 3 tablespoons warm water
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chocolate chunks
1/2 cup vegan marshmallows (we used Dandies!)
Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Grease or line an 8x8 inch baking dish.
In a small bowl which together the ground flax and warm water. Set it aside to gelatinize.
In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the sugar, unsweetened almond milk, vegetable oil and vanilla. Add in the flax mixture and stir well to combine.
In a separate large mixing bowl combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Make a well in the center and pour in the wet ingredient mixture. Whisk together until a smooth batter forms. Fold in the chocolate chunks and marshmallows and pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish.
Bake for 20-30 minutes, until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Let cool completely before slicing. Enjoy!
Makes 12 brownies.
For even fudgier brownies, fridge the cooled brownies at least 2 hours before cutting into them.
Vegan Easter Creme Eggs
Easter is coming up quickly and pretty early this year - it totally snuck up on me! Luckily I don't have kiddos of my own and am not much of church-goer, so my Easter is really all about eating and enjoying sweet treats these days. Last year we celebrated with these Carrot Cupcakes with Orange Vanilla Cream Frosting, two years ago it was veganized Homemade Reese's Chocolate Peanut Butter Eggs...this year? This year we've damn near perfectly recreated a Cadbury Creme Egg - but with completely vegan ingredients! Let me stop you right here - I didn't ditch the sugar and these are in no way 'healthy'. What they are is delicious and a re-creation of one of childhood favorites. And in that sense, we nailed it. We even took the time to add dyed yellow 'yolks', just to be authentic and such. But don't worry, no chickies were harmed in the making of these gems...just my waistline! They were just too good to say no. Which is why you should really do yourself a favor and make these up for Sunday. You won't regret it and you'll impress the Easter Bunny, for sure!
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons hot water
1/4 cup vegan butter
1 tablespoon unsweetened almond milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 cups powdered sugar
a few drops of yellow food coloring (we used this brand)
10 ounces chocolate chips or chopped bar chocolate
8 egg-shaped molds (or any-shaped mold, really!)
Heat a small pot over low heat. Pour in the sugar and water, stirring until the sugar is completely dissolved. Turn off the heat and pour the mixture into a large mixing bowl.
Add in the butter, milk, vanilla and salt and beat the mixture together. Pour the powdered sugar into the bowl about a cup at a time, beating continuously until a thick fondant-like paste forms.
Scoop about 3/4 of the mixture into a small bowl, and the remaining 1/4 into another small bowl. Into the smaller bowl, add a few drops of yellow food coloring and stir until the entire mixture is evenly dyed. Set aside.
Using the double boiler method, melt the chocolate. Pour melted chocolate into the molds, gently turning the mold pan to evenly coat the inner molds. (Obviously we used eggs, but if you only have heart shaped, you 'em! You could probably also just roll the fondant-like sugar mixture into balls and dip it in chocolate, but no guarantees on how they'll look). Tap out the excess chocolate and pop the molds into the fridge or freezer for a few minutes to harden.
Once hardened, fill the molds about 2/3 of the way full with the white fondant mixture (which for us was a little under a tablespoon), then add a small amount of the yellow fondant mixture (a bit under a teaspoon for us) to the middle. You want the eggs nearly full but not so full the you can't easily add the chocolate top layer. Place the molds back into the fridge to set the fondant layer, about 15-20 minutes.
Gently pour melted chocolate over the top of each filled egg mold, using the back of a butter knife or spatula to scrape any excess chocolate from the top of the molds. Pop the molds into the fridge or freezer to set, about 30 minutes. Once the chocolate has hardened and set, you can immediately enjoy the creme eggs! Otherwise see the notes below for saving them.
Makes about 2-inch 16 eggs OR you can get crafty and apply a bit more melted chocolate to the backs of two half-eggs, connecting them to make 8 large creme eggs.
These are best kept refrigerated or kept in a cool place, but are fine on the counter (or in an Easter basket) for several hours. They last up to a month in the fridge or indefinitely if kept in the freezer.
Peppermint Hot Chocolate
The weather - even here in Southern California - is finally getting cold and wintery. Okay cold-ish. And not very wintery. But it still makes me want to put on an extra pair of socks, curl up in bed with a warm mug and a good book and call it a night. Ever since I first whipped this recipe up a few weeks ago I've been coming back to this seasonal sipper on the regular because it's rich, chocolatey, and envelops you in sweet, decadent, Holiday-charged hug. Top it with a few marshmallows and DAMN GINA! You're gonna get just as addicted as I am, I just know it.
We also have an option to make it lighter, if super rich, delicious, chocolatey drinks aren't your favorite. Of course, if those AREN'T your favorite kind of drinks, you're probably hanging out on the wrong blog. I should be eating more greens, but I love a good cup of liquid chocolate and I'm not shy about it. Anyway - you probably have all the ingredients for this drink on hand now, and if peppermint isn't your thing you can easily leave it out or substitute a flavored extract you prefer. Do you. And do this drink, 'cause it's damn good.
On that note, Happy Holidays! We'll be back after Christmas with a new recipe, but 'till then, we hope you get to spend your Christmas in whatever way you want to spend it and that you're taste-testing all of Santa's cookies. He doesn't need to eat 'em all anyway.
Looking for a few last-minute Christmas goodies to munch? Check out our Savory Stuffed Mushrooms, milkshake-like Brandy Alexanders, and Gingersnap Buttercream Cookie Sandwiches!
1- 15 oz. can full-fat coconut milk
1 oz. (about 1/4 cup) chocolate chips OR chopped bar chocolate
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
pinch of salt
mint leaves, for garnish
vegan marshmallows, if you like 'em
In a medium saucepan whisk together the milk, sugar, and salt over low heat until the sugar dissolves. Whisk in the other ingredients and cook until hot - NOT boiling. Pour into a large mug, top with marshmallows and a fresh sprig of mint, and enjoy!
Makes 1 large or 2 smaller mugs of cocoa.
For a lighter cup of hot chocolate, sub your favorite non-dairy milk in place of the coconut milk.
For a plain mug of cocoa, you can leave out the peppermint, or get creative and sub a different flavor like orange or lavender!
If you're looking for something a little different to sip at the Holiday's this year, we've got your back. This recipe (okay, we tweaked it a bit) has been in Alex's family for a long time. I don't know how long exactly, but long enough to have become the Official Owens' Family Drink of the Holidays! When Alex turned 21 he was given the privilege of learning the recipe and making all the batches that Christmas. Batches alternate between he and his younger brother now, but he still loves making them. He even started making this vegan version after he went completely plant-based a few years ago so he could keep with tradition. I don't think it would be Christmas for him without one! His vegan version tastes super similar to the original since he kept the same 3-2-1 formula as the original, and is a great option for parties where people may have food preferences or dairy allergies. We used chocolate liquor, but you could sub in a coffee liqueur like Kahlua and I'm sure it'd be just as tasty. It's kind of like the less thick, much tastier cousin of eggnog...I think you're gonna like it! Oh, and make sure you have a little fresh nutmeg to grate over the top - it makes all the difference. Cheers!
15 oz. can full-fat coconut milk (OR 15 oz. your choice non-dairy milk, though it will be less thick)
10 ounces chocolate liqueur
5 ounces brandy
1-2 cups ice
freshly grated nutmeg, for garnish
In a high-speed blender combine all the ingredients and blend until desired consistency is reached. The drink should be thick but creamy - like drinkable milkshake texture. Enjoy immediately!
The alcohol we used is vegan approved by Barnivore. You can use it to look up ANY type of alcohol to see if it's vegan-friendly.
Like we said above, you can substitute whatever non-dairy milk you have on hand here, though it won't be quite as thick as the original.
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
I'm gonna get really real with you for a second: these are fucking delicious cookies, but they're packed with butter and sugar. Again, SERIOUSLY SCRUMPTIOUS, but not seriously healthy. Just maybe don't eat 6 per sitting? I'm not even apologizing, just a warning for the haters. I usually eat a very healthy diet and rarely sugar splurge, but I'm on my period and I wanted chocolate and sugar and these cookies are heavenly and dreamy and amazing and you will love them. Everyone will! These are 'impress your mother-in-law' cookies. These are celebrating your birthday cookies. They're follow with a glass of champagne cookies. They're decadent and rich and insanely delicious. If you're on a diet, these are not for you. If you wanna have a fall-flavored mouthgasm, then these are definitely for you. Your choice. But let's be honest, with an intro like that, don't you wanna bake up a batch? We'll do it together, share the guilt. Let's eat!
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon pumpkin spice
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup coconut oil or vegan butter, melted
1 cup organic sugar
1/2 cup pumpkin purée
3 tablespoons ground flax
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
In a medium-sized bowl, mix together flour, pumpkin spice, baking soda and sea salt. Set aside.
In a larger mixing bowl whisk melted coconut oil or butter, sugar, pumpkin purée, ground flax and vanilla. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and stir until completely combined, or process in a food processor with the dough blade.
Fold in the chocolate chips until they're evenly distributed in the dough, then use a spoon or cookie dough scoop to place 1-inch balls of dough onto a greased or parchment lined cookie sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until cookies become golden. Let cool on a wire rack, then enjoy! Cookies last in the fridge about a week and in the freezer indefinitely. Makes about 36 2-inch cookies.
You can safely sub in 1/2 of the AP flour for whole wheat flour, if you prefer, but you will get a denser cookie.
Frozen cookies can be defrosted by being placed onto a plate and left on the counter for about 2 hours or microwaving for a few seconds at a time.
You could definitely sub in applesauce or a healthier replacement for some of the oil if you wanted, but I would recommend only subbing in about half the amount to maintain the cookies texture.