Archive for the 'Gluten-Free' Category



Gluten-Free, Refined-Sugar-Free, Vegan and Delicious Pumpkin Scones

Yes, believe what the title says. It is definitely possible to make delicious vegan, gluten-free, sugar-free desserts. I’m slowly converting everyone I know, and I hope to convert you too, at least to the idea that this is a possible baking feat. I’m so used to adapting regular recipes, and have figured out good proportions of animal-friendly (as well as gluten-free and sugar-free) ingredients to make yummy veganized versions, but this time I found a recipe online that was already perfect and fit all my dietary requirements. Plus, it was already tested and blogged about, and even photographed so I could see evidence that this recipe actually worked. You can find all of that proof, plus the recipe, right here. I followed the recipe to a T, with a tiny addition of half a cup of chopped pecans mixed into the batter and sprinkled on the top before baking. I have to admit – these scones are a little bit muffin-like in consistency (they had a fluffier and a little more cake-like texture than most scones do), but they are so delicious you won’t care at all. You’ll eat tons of them. Especially because they are pumpkin (my favorite flavor), have no gluten, no refined sugar, no dairy and no eggs. So they practically don’t exist or have calories or anything, right?

Autumn Crunch

Fall is in the air – even here, in California, we have beautiful autumn leaves drifting down from the trees and blanketing our yards. They are definitely lots of fun to jump on and scrunch beneath your feet! However, not all the aspects of Fall are that alluring. With the school-based schedule crunch of final papers and projects looming over my head, and as the shorter, colder, darker days continue, I knew I needed something to look forward to and entice me out of bed with…So, using my dried persimmons and all the sweet warm spices I could think of, I created an autumnal breakfast treat to look forward to when I wake up.

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This Persimmon Granola is perfect paired with almond milk for a yummy breakfast, but it also is tasty plain as a snack, and I’m sure it would be good with vanilla ice cream as a crunchy topping.

You can make this granola with any mix of nuts, spices, and dried fruits that you have on hand. I think the persimmons give it a wonderful Fall flavor and color, but raisins or dates would be delicious as well. You can add brown sugar, agave, or honey if you want added sweetness, but I am enjoying the subtle sweetness of the brown rice syrup on it’s own; it really makes the persimmon’s natural sweet taste stand out. And the spices of course are flexible – add whatever you like best. My house was filled with great smells after baking this!

Ingredients:

5 cups oats
2 cups raw almonds, coarsely chopped
1 cup raw walnuts, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup shredded & unsweetened dried coconut
1 Tblsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ginger
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. cloves
1/4 tsp. cardamom
1/2 tsp. salt

1 cup brown rice syrup
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 Tblsp. vegetable oil

2 cups chopped dried persimmons (it is easy to cut them with scissors into bite-sized pieces).

Preheat your oven to 300F. Cover two jelly-roll pans (cookie sheets with sides) with aluminum foil (this will make clean-up easier).
In a very large bowl, mix together the oats, almonds, walnuts, coconut, spices, and salt.
In a small saucepan, heat the applesauce, brown rice syrup, and oil. Stir constantly, till they are smooth.
Mix the heated liquid mixture into the dry ingredients until thoroughly combined, then divide and spread the mixture evenly on your prepared pans.
Bake the granola for about 40 minutes, stirring every ten minutes, until the granola is a deep golden brown color.
Remove the pans from the oven, and cool completely.
Stir your chopped dried persimmons into the granola after it is cool.
Store the granola in a large, airtight container.

Dried Persimmons

I have a large Fuyu Persimmon tree in my front yard, and the fruits are ripe and ready for picking right now. These are the kind that stay hard and crunchy when ripe. They are delicious and sweet and some young friends of mine told me the “look a lot like little pumpkins.” I agree – except when you slice them through the middle horizontally, then I think they look like flowers. Check it out:

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Two years ago when we had our first Persimmon harvest, we had so many. We were eating them with every meal (sliced on top of green salads, mixed into fruit salads, on the side of every dish), and pureeing them and then mixing the mush into all of our baked goods. We ate persimmon cookies, persimmon cake, persimmon bread. You name it, we made it. I think we even tried to make a persimmon pudding, but that’s much better to make with the Hachiya variety of persimmons that get super soft and mushy when ripe. Recently, I’ve been on a sugar-free, gluten-free, vegan diet which, while difficult at first, has gotten a lot easier in the last week or so. I’m pretty comfortable experimenting with my baking, and adapting my recipes to fit any type of dietary restrictions, but honestly I have been baking less since changing my eating habits (also, I’ve had a lot less time to bake because of being in school). So I haven’t yet made any persimmon baked goods. I’ve been eating them raw and whole, like apples. It’s such an easy snack to take to classes with me! But, we have a lot, and I decided to try something new with them.

I started out by drying my persimmons, by slicing them thinly and laying them on metal cooling racks. If you want to do this at home, you can really do it with any type of fruit I think. If you have a dehydrator that would speed up the the process and make it a little easier, but since I don’t have one, I’m using my oven. It just means I can’t bake anything for a few days while the persimmons are drying in there, but somehow I’ll manage.

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I put the cooling racks in my oven (on top of the regular oven racks) and left the oven door a tiny tiny crack open so the air could circulate. I didn’t turn the oven on, but the pilot light kept the oven slightly warm and helped dry out the persimmon slices. I left them in for a day and a half, checking periodically and flipping them over to make sure the sides were drying evenly. You can decide when they’re done by checking to see how dry and crunchy they are – you want them pretty dry but still a little chewy. They’re very sweet and tasty for eating as a snack, but I have bigger plans for these babies. I’m posting these pictures as a teaser, so you’ll have to check in later to see the full recipe for what I’m going to make with them!

Vegan Lemon Curd!

For months, I’ve been trying to come up with a vegan Lemon Curd recipe. I’ve seen versions in a variety of cookbooks and online that just didn’t do the trick. This recipe ended up being perfect and I’m so happy to have it! The Lemon Curd is tangy and is a great cake filling, so that it will contrast with the sweetness of frosting – I’m using it in a coconut cake that I will post about soon, so keep checking back here to see the final reviews.

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This recipe makes about two cups worth of Lemon Curd. It’s delicious. You can certainly use it for anything you’d like; I’d eat it on toast, muffins, scones, or, as it was quite thick, I could see using it also as a filling for Lemon Bars! For that, you might have to let the mixture boil for an extra minute so that it thickens even more – but remember to stir with a whisk the whole time so it doesn’t burn!

Ingredients:
1 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup cold water
1 3/4 cups white sugar
4 Tblsp. cornstarch
3 Tblsp. thinly grated lemon zest (I used 3 large lemons to get this amount), divided
2 Tblsp. Earth Balance margarine
3/8 cup (6 Tblsp.) unsweetened plain almond milk

Combine the lemon juice, water, sugar, cornstarch, and 1 Tablespoon of the lemon zest in a blender. Blend for a few seconds until mixed well.
Pour mixture into a saucepan and add the rest of the lemon zest. Whisk quickly while pot is over medium heat. You want to make sure you are stirring constantly until it comes to a full boil.
Stop stirring and let the lemony liquid boil on its own for 1 minute. It should thicken and turn somewhat clear.
Add almond milk and Earth Balance, and stir in well with the whisk.
Remove pot from heat. Cool the curd in room temperature air, then you can refrigerate it in a covered container until you want to use it.
It will continue thickening as it cools. This should last about 2 weeks while refrigerated and covered.

Rice Crispy Bars

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Rice Crispy Treats hold specific childhood sensory memories for me, and probably for a lot of adults as well. This sticky, sweet, crunchy, crispy, gooey, on-the-go, lick-your-fingers-afterwards, all at the same time experience is what childhood was all about. I got this recipe for a similar treat from my friend Marjorie awhile ago, and hadn’t had quite the right reason to make it till now. Brown rice syrup is much easier for your body to process than the cane sugar and additives that are in most baked goods. Since these rice crispies are stuck together and sweetened with the sweet syrup, they are a much healthier version than the traditional marshmallow dessert. However, these bars definitely don’t taste exactly like the marshmallow version; they aren’t as sickeningly sweet and they have the added tart flavors of dried fruit and the crunch of seeds, as well as the salty nutty taste of tahini. They are not kid-friendly in this sense, unless you have a particularly adventurous child.

This was lucky for me, as Marjorie used to make these and her kids wouldn’t want to eat them, so there were always some left for me to snack on! I would want to devour the whole container while I was at her house, but I’d hold myself back and enjoy these simple flavors and textures slowly. It’s very simple and nutritious – it’s one of those treats that is actually pretty healthy, although you do have to remember it’s a treat still, so you shouldn’t eat too much at a time…It was a perfect treat to take on a hike; it was a bit like an energy bar because it had all the necessary proteins and carbs to give us strength and energy to keep going, it was light and easy to pack and carry, and it satisfied all our sweet and salty cravings. And it was quite filling too!

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You can make it with whatever dried fruits you like best (I think that currants, apricots, raisins, or dried apples would taste delicious) and whatever seeds or chopped nuts you want to add would work too. While I just used crispy brown rice cereal as my base, you could throw in a combination of puffed rice, puffed millet, and puffed rice as well, as long as it equaled the same total amount. It’s a very adaptable recipe.

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This recipe makes 2 dozen squares.

Ingredients:
2 tsp. cold-pressed sesame oil
1/2 cup brown rice syrup
2 Tblsp. sesame tahini (or other nut butter of choice)
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
6 cups plain unsweetened crispy brown rice cereal
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup dried dates, chopped
1/2 cup dried cherries, chopped

In a large pot, heat oil, rice syrup, and tahini; stir until bubbly. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
Add remaining ingredients, mixing well with a wooden spoon.
Spoon mixture into a 13×9 inch pan and press flat. Allow to sit at room temperature until set.
Then, cut into squares and store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Cherry Tomato Cupcake Poppers

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It seems like everyone’s tomato plants are bursting with red ripe tomatoes of all sizes. I’ve been making lots of fresh tomato salads and sauces, and eating them plain right off the vine. What a glorious hot summer treat!

Last year, I made Tomato Cupcakes for a tomato party that I hosted at my apartment. This year, my friends Rachel, Dia, and Kelly hosted their own tomato party, but this time with a little twist; their garden was overflowing with cherry tomatoes, so it was really a Cherry Tomato Party! I’ve been super busy and didn’t feel like I had time to experiment with creating a completely new tomato-based dessert recipe, so I just adapted my Tomato Cupcake recipe from last year. Because of the cherry tomato theme, I baked these in mini cupcake tins, so they were small and cute like the tiny tomatoes that we were celebrating. I also made them gluten-free for one of the hosts.

I based my recipe on the Chocolate Gluten Freedom Cupcakes in Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World, but I adapted the recipe to add tomato into it so it would be similar to the tomato-chocolate cake recipe from one of my favorite children’s books Thunder Cake by Patricia Polacco. In this story, a young girl visits her grandmother’s farm and is frightened by the loud thunder that she hears at the beginning of an oncoming midwest thunderstorm. She hides under the bed in fear, until her grandmother coaxes her out by the promise of baking a delicious chocolate cake. She sends the child around the farm to collect all the ingredients, and she has to count the seconds between thunder and lightning to make sure she’ll get home before the storm really hits. They bake the cake and get to eat it just as the rain starts pouring down outside their cozy farmhouse. It is a very sweet story with a sweet ending – the recipe is included in the back of the book! The secret ingredient in this cake is the tomato puree that they put into it, and I used to make this cake when I was growing up all the time (along with the Lightnight Cake from Joy of Cooking). Last year, I simply veganized it, but this year wanted to make it gluten-free as well.

Unlike many gluten-free desserts, these came out light and fluffy and you couldn’t even tell they were gluten-free. I think this had a lot to do with the tapioca flour, which I’ll be using more since I liked the outcome so much! The cakes were decidedly chocolatey and you couldn’t really taste the tomato in the batter – next time I might work on this a little bit, to see if I can get the flavor to come out a little more. The tomato paste in the frosting has a stronger taste, but it’s sweet and combines with the cream cheese nicely (bagels with cream cheese and tomatoes on top are delicious, why not in frosting form?). The idea of tomato paste in the frosting seems to put everyone off from them before they taste it, but after the first bite they are addicted – I think everyone ate at least two of these little cupcake poppers!

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Gluten-Free Chocolate Tomato Cupcake Ingredients:
2 large ripe red tomatoes
1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup canola oil
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup tapioca flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup white rice flour
1/2 cup quinoa flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt

Tomato Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients:
3 oz. Tofutti cream cheese
1 Tblsp. Earth Balance margarine
3 Tblsp. tomato paste
1 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar
Cherry Tomatoes on Foodista

Preheat oven to 350*F and line muffin tray with cupcake liners, or grease the pan well.
Blend your tomatoes in a blender or food processor. You only need 1 cup of this tomato puree, so you can measure that out and set aside.
In a measuring cup, combine almond milk and vinegar. Set aside to curdle for a few minutes.
In a large mixing bowl, combine 1 cup of tomato puree, canola oil, sugar, and vanilla extract. Mix with an electric mixer on medium speed to make sure the sugar is thoroughly combined. Add the almond milk/vinegar mixture and stir in.
In a medium bowl, combine all the flours, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Sift this dry mix into your wet mix. Mix on medium-high for about 2 minutes. It’s important to mix really well and you don’t have to worry about over-mixing because there is no gluten.
Fill cupcake tins a little over three-quarters full. These won’t rise as much as traditional cupcakes so you can fill them a little more than usual.
If you use a regular muffin tin, then bake for 20-23 minutes. If you used a mini muffin pan, bake for 10-13 minutes, until a toothpick or knife inserted through the center comes out clean. Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool completely before frosting.

To make the frosting, beat the cream cheese and margarine together with an electric mixer on medium speed until creamy and smooth. Add the tomato paste and continue beating. You can add more or less tomato paste, depending on your flavor preference. Add the confectioner’s sugar into the bowl a quarter cup at a time, beating well in between each addition. When smooth, you can spread the frosting onto the tops of your cupcakes. I topped mine with some cherry tomato stems.

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Gluten Free Agave-Sweetened Peanut Butter Cookies

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A lot of people in my life have been trying to cut down on the amount of processed sugars, wheat, and/or gluten in their diets. I’m always excited and interested in baking experiments, and want everyone to be able to have a treat, so I decided to bake some cookies that my friends could eat. I knew that one of them specifically loves peanut butter cookies, and another loves peanut butter in any form, so I decided that more peanut butter baking was the way to go. Usually when I bake gluten-free desserts, I use a mix of rice flour and almond meal, but having neither on hand, I had to get creative. I made a mix of gluten-free flours that was very nutty, and was a little worried that the cookies would turn out too heavy and dense. I used coconut flour and quinoa flour (both protein packed!) and threw in some tapioca flour to lighten it up. In the end, I decided that the coconut flour really complimented the PB very well, so I’m glad I went with that. The cookies were not too heavy and they were chewy just the way a regular peanut butter cookie should be.

While coming up with the recipe, I realized that I’ve never actually baked using agave as my primary sweetener. I planned to use it this time, but when looking through my cupboards I happened to have some dried dates in the house, and had seen some recipes using date paste as a sweetener, so I decided to mix the two in this recipe. I think they gave the cookies a really nice natural flavor, yet they didn’t make them taste too “healthy”.

The cookies had a great reception (and they were even appreciated by friends who eat regular sugar- and wheat gluten-laden desserts! Some even said they couldn’t taste the difference).

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Ingredients:
*This recipe makes 2 dozen cookies

Wet Mix:
1/2 cup plain unsweetened applesauce
2 Tblsp. coconut oil, melted
1 cup unsweetened, natural, peanut butter (try to use a kind where the oil doesn’t separate out)
3/4 cup dried pitted dates
1/2 cup medium agave
1 1/2 tsp. Ener-G egg replacer powder + 2 Tblsp. warm water, blended till frothy
1 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup plain unsweetened almond milk

Dry Mix:
1 1/3 cup coconut flour
1 cup tapioca flour
3/4 cup quinoa flour
3/4 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/3 tsp. salt

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line your cookie pan with a silpat baking sheet.
Place about 3/4 cup dates in a bowl of boiling water, and set aside for a few minutes.
In a large bowl, mix the dry ingredients. Set aside.
Pour out the hot water from the bowl of dates, and place dates in a blender along with about 1/3 cup of new water. Blend on high until it forms a paste (add a little more water if needed).
In a medium bowl, combine the wet ingredients. Pour into the dry mix and stir with a large wooden spoon. You may have to work the dough with your hands in order to fully combine all ingredients.
Shape the dough into 1 1/2 inch balls and place the balls on your prepared pan 1-2 inches apart (these cookies will not spread).
Slightly flatten the dough with a fork in a cross-hatch pattern.
Bake 11-13 minutes. Let cookies sit on pan for 5 minutes to set, and then remove with a spatula and cool on wire racks.

Sweet Summer Sorbets

We’re in the counting-down-stage for the last days (hours even!) of summer. I start school tomorrow to get my teaching credential and Masters in Education. I’m eagerly looking forward to starting classes; I’ve been so interested in teaching, working with children and youth, and reading about pedagogy for so long, and I’m finally going to have a community to discuss and challenge all my ideas with. I have so many reasons to be excited about this school year beginning. But there’s a part of me that is still savoring these last days of freedom, outdoors time, and sun on my skin. I’ve been consciously enjoying all the free time that I have right now, since I’ll be working on overload for the next year (or forever, since teaching is not an easy job!). To celebrate all the summer fruits and flavors that I can get a hold of, and to appreciate summer just a little bit more, I made some refreshing sorbets. There are still beautiful pungent strawberries at the Farmer’s Markets here in California, and peaches and other stone fruits are ripe, juicy, and incredibly sweet, so into the blender and then the ice cream maker they went!

Both of these sorbets had just the right consistency; icy yet smooth, creamy, and sparklingly flavorful. They tasted just like the fruits that were in them, and I can’t think of a better summer snack – in fact, I dare say that these sorbets taste like summer!

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Strawberry Lime Sorbet

Ingredients:
2 lbs. fresh strawberries, hulled
3/4 cup fresh mango, cubed
5 Tblsp. fresh lime juice
1 1/4 cups superfine sugar

Combine all ingredients in your food processor and pulse until smooth. Add more or less sugar and lime till you reach your desired taste.
Place in an ice cream maker and churn as per the directions.
Your ice cream may be very soft when done, and you can certainly eat it that way, but you could also place it in your freezer and it will firm up overnight. If you choose to do this, transfer the sorbet to a freezer-safe container and press a sheet of plastic wrap against the surface. Cover and freeze the sorbet until firm, about 3-4 hours.
*This recipe makes about 3 cups.

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Interesting fact: Did you know that peaches and nectarines, along with almonds, are part of the rose family? Thanks, Wikipedia!

Ginger Peach Sorbet

Ingredients:
2 1/2 pounds ripe peaches and nectarines (I used 4 peaches and 2 nectarines)
1 cup superfine granulated sugar
pinch of salt
1/4 cup water
2 Tblsp. fresh lime juice
2 tsp. finely grated fresh ginger
1 Tblsp. Amaretto liqueur

Pit, peel, and coarsely chop the peaches and nectarines.
Place fruit, sugar, and salt in a food processor and pulse until combined.
With the machine running, pour water, lemon juice, and Amaretto through the feeding tube and process for 1 minute or until the sugar is dissolved.
Refrigerate this mixture until well chilled, about 1 hour.
Pour the chilled fruit mix into an ice cream maker and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
Transfer the sorbet to a freezer-safe container and press a sheet of plastic wrap against the surface. Cover and freeze the sorbet until firm, about 3-4 hours.
*This recipe makes about 3 cups.

Cherry Chocolate Amaretto Crunch Ice Cream

It’s been hot here in Bay Area these past few weeks. Let’s be honest, I’ve experienced some terribly hot temperatures on the East Coast and in the Southern United States, and I’ve certainly heard about the hot temperatures that grace many other countries. But I’m a born and raised Bay Area Native, and my blood is definitely accustomed to our coastal cool foggy mornings and blue-sky-but-still-need-a-light-sweatshirt afternoons. Don’t get me wrong; I love to wear my summer dresses and I’m much happier with flip-flops on my feet than a pair of close-toed shoes. But I don’t happen to live in a year-round hot climate, like many non-Californians often think we do (once, when I was in high school and was traveling, I was asked if I “surf to school”…I chose to ignore that, because aside from any logistical nightmares about carrying your homework on your surfboard through white-capped waves, and how to change clothes from your wetsuit to something cute and fashionable to impress all your high school cliques, I’ve never been on a surfboard in my life).

Warmish temperatures is what my summer is made up of. But, we also get a few weeks of hot sun in August, and there is usually a few weeks of intense heat in September just after school starts, taunting students out of the classroom and onto the playground, or older youth to cut class and go sit in the nearby park or drive out to the beach. However, while this is what I’m used to, I’m reveling in our rare summer heat right now, and making as much ice cream as possible while the heat lasts. Because that is the most sane way to cope with it, and it’s a little painful to think about turning the oven on during the afternoon or evening.

My friend Sasha told me that one of her favorite ice cream flavors is chocolate cherry, and I was having dinner at her house, so I decided to make that for her and her housemates! I used the basic chocolate ice cream recipe from The Vegan Scoop as my base, but I added chopped fresh cherries at the end. This was the second ice cream I’ve made with a purely soymilk base, and I was disappointed with the cream’s thinness before freezing. I probably will not be making any more soy ice creams, but in the future I’ll be adapting recipes from this book to use other non-dairy alternatives. I added a few ingredients to thicken it up (extra dark chocolate melted in!) and Amaretto Liqueur and almond extract to give more body and a flavor kick. I also threw in some chocolate chips at the end with the cherries so there was a nice crunch in every bite. I forgot that adding alcohol would make the ice cream freeze a lot slower, and didn’t account for that time difference when prepping the ice cream; We ended up eating slightly melty ice cream, but it tasted delicious even if the texture wasn’t perfect. I re-froze the left overs and when I checked the next morning, the ice cream had a much harder texture…So if you choose to use this recipe, I would make sure to leave it in the freezer overnight before eating.

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Ice Cream Base Ingredients:
1 cup soymilk, divided
2 Tblsp. arrowroot powder
2 cups soy creamer
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
3/4 cup semisweet dark chocolate chips
2 tsp. vanilla extract

Mix Ins:
1 1/2 cups fresh pitted and chopped cherries
1 cup vegan chocolate chips or chunks
2 Tblsp. Amaretto Liqueur
1/2 tsp. almond extract

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In a small bowl, combine 1/4 cup soymilk with arrowroot powder and set aside.
Mix soy creamer, remaining 3/4 cup soymilk, sugar, cocoa powder, and chocolate chips in a saucepan. Stirring frequently over low heat, melt chocolate chips, then bring to a boil. Once mixture begins to boil, remove from heat and immediately add arrowroot cream. This will cause the liquid to thicken noticeably.
Add vanilla extract.
Refrigerate mixture until chilled, approximately 2 to 3 hours (or stick in the freezer for 30 minutes to speed up the process…You want it cold, not frozen, so make sure to monitor your mixture if you choose to do this). When thoroughly chilled, mix in your Amaretto and almond extract. Then, freeze according to your ice cream maker’s instructions.
In the last few minutes of churning in your ice cream maker, add your chopped cherries and remaining cup of chocolate chips. Freeze overnight, or until hardened, in an airtight container.

PB&J Ice Cream!

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All of you who know me well, know that I love peanut butter. I enjoy all nut butters, but things can get quite dangerous when I’m left alone with peanut butter in particular. I have been known to eat it on/in nearly everything – making peanut sauces for vegetable stir-fries or pasta, mixing into my morning oatmeal, spreading it on rice cakes, baking it into cookies, mixing it with chocolate (or vegan nutella!) and eating it as a dessert, baking it into chocolate peanut butter cakes and cupcakes, mixing it into chocolate ganaches and even adding it to cream cheese frostings, and I’m guilty of even eating it with a spoon straight out of the jar! And of course, I do love my peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I grew up eating them as a child, and when I was in college eating in the dining hall and complaining about the food, my father would tell me “If there’s nothing you like, make yourself a peanut butter and jelly sandwich”…While they may not be the healthiest option, I found myself making these a lot. And loving every bite of them. In addition to these PB&J experiences, I babysit for a fabulous family, and their kids eat a lot of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (cut into fun shapes with cookie cutters!)…Therefore, I have definitely eaten my share of peanut butter and jelly with them. You could say PB&J is my all-time favorite fall-back food, when I have to make a quick lunch or snack, or even just satisfy a nutty craving. Mmm.

I have to give props to my friend Talia for giving me a spontaneous gift of The Vegan Scoop cookbook, and after skimming through every single delicious and creative looking recipe, the first one I had to try was their Peanut Butter and Jelly Ice Cream! Although I’m extremely excited to try most of the flavors in the book, this one was beckoning to me with full force. I made mine with strawberry preserves, which just felt perfect swirled into this childhood favorite food. It was the first soy-based ice cream I’ve tried making – previously I had only made sorbets, and ice creams that were based with coconut milk. While this soy ice cream came out divinely, I am hesitant about eating too much soy, and I’m thinking of ways to adapt the other recipes in this book so I can use almond milk and other heavier non-dairy milks in place of the soy milk and soy creamer. Does anyone have any suggestions?

I also had a silly thought while eating this ice cream; How would it taste on top of bread? My parents once had a Japanese exchange student named Koz staying with them, and he liked to eat ice cream on top of bread (any kind of ice cream, on top of any kind of toasted or untoasted sliced sandwich bread, and I have a vivid memory of him eating vanilla ice cream on top of an onion bagel). He said this was a popular treat in Japan. I always thought it was a little strange, but who am I to make judgements about other peoples’ eating preferences (let’s remember that I’m the one who likes to eat peanut butter plain…). And, since this was peanut butter and jelly ice cream, I thought it might work…So, I tried it! And it was yummy. So Koz definitely gets some major points for this idea! I understand that this is a little silly, but I thought I’d post a picture of it anyway. It is on a plate that my brother designed when he was a wee child!

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