Chocolate-Covered Pumpkin Candy

bunchI LOVE autumn!  It is without a doubt my favorite season and I never tire of seeing the gorgeous foliage which reminds me how magnificent nature is.  As soon as that fall crispness hits the air, I start making all my favorite fall recipes and even start planning my Thanksgiving menu.  Fall comfort foods are definitely my favorite (disclaimer – coconut ice cream is not just for summer) and I practically worship stuffing with gravy and roasted sweet potatoes.  This year, since I have begun to obsess over raw desserts, I wanted to try to make something with pumpkin, the ultimate mascot of edible fall.  This pumpkin candy is so fabulous.  It melts in your mouth and makes me completely forget about those chemical, pus infused, cruel and awful for your health snickers, milky ways and kit kats.  Seriously, once you start eating raw desserts, you lose interest in the artificial crap with refined sugar.  This is what chocolate is meant to  taste like.  And this recipe is so very simple to make.  This is a treat you can feel great about sharing with your loved ones!

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Crust:

  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 1/2 cup dates (about 8 medjool)
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 T cocoa powder
  • 2 T maple syrup
  • pinch salt

Filling:

  • 1/2 cup dates (about 8 medjool)
  • 1 1/2 cup raw cashews
  • 1 1/2 t vanilla
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 3/4 t cinnamon
  • pinch salt

Chocolate:

  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/8 t salt
  • 1/4 t vanilla
  • 1/2 cup agave nectar

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Place all crust ingredients in food processor and process until it forms a large ball.

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Roll into about 50 little balls and then place on aluminum foil and flatten each with 2 fingers.  They should be about the size of a US nickel.  Place in freezer while making the filling.

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Place all filling ingredients in processor and process until smooth.

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Place 1/2 t filling on each disc of crust and place in freezer again for at least an hour.

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Note – You will have extra filling and could probably get away with halving the filling ingredients, but I love having extra.  I keep it in the fridge for 5 or so days and always find ways to enjoy it.  My favorite is to put a scoop on my oatmeal in the mornings.  What a heavenly breakfast.

Once at least an hour has passed, melt the coconut oil in a large glass bowl in 10 second increments in the microwave until liquid.  Add remaining chocolate ingredients and stir until smooth.

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Drop each disc in the bowl and roll in the chocolate to thoroughly coat.

Place back on the aluminum foil and freeze.

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Ready to enjoy immediately.

Store in the freezer and defrost a few minutes before eating or store  in the fridge.

Makes 50 pieces.

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Bac’n, Cheddar, and Onion Omelette

DSC_0540So – how about a great brunch idea for a holiday weekend?  I know there is a lot of controvesry over even having a holiday named after Columbus, but all that aside, who isn’t happy for a day off and another excuse to have brunch?  I love brunch – it’s my favorite meal!  And I always loved omelettes with all the fixings and oozing with cheese.  Think vegans can’t have that?  Think again!  Enter the chickpea omelette.  There are lots of recipes online for chickpea omelettes and they are all wonderful!  I tweaked them and came up with this recipe that incorporates all of my son’s favorite things.  Since he was home from college for the weekend, I decided to make his idea of a perfect omelette.  You can put anything in the omelette that you like.  Mushrooms, peppers, tomato, capers, spinach – anything really!  While tofu scramble may technically taste more like eggs, because this is so reminiscent of the look and shape and texture of an omelette, it is amazing and it tastes great as well!  It is also so easy and quick to make!!

  • 1/3 cup chickpea flour
  • 1/4 t turmeric
  • 1/2 T nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 t baking powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/3 cup + 2 T water
  • 2 t oil for cooking
  • 2 T chopped onions
  • 2 T chopped tempeh bac’n
  • 3 T shredded vegan cheddar, such as daiya

Combine first six ingredients in a small bowl.

Heat oil over medium high heat in an 8″ non-stick pan.

Pour batter into pan.  Sprinkle onions, bac’n, and cheese on top.

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Cook 5 minutes.

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Fold in half and cook another 2 minutes.

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Serve immediately.

Serves 1

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Chocolate Cherry Cups

cherryMaking raw desserts is so much fun and making raw candy is particularly satisfying!  When I first made raw peanut butter cups I was blown away at how incredibly delicious they were.  I have to give a shout out to the wonderful person behind the www.glutenfreevegangirl site – because her recipe is perfection!  It was also the inspiration for these chocolate cherry cups which I simply adore.  I have noticed that for some reason, there is only about one month per year when I can get frozen organic cherries.  I know this because I start missing the fresh ones that were around over the summer and I stock up on the frozen ones.  But one month from now, they will be hard to find.  So, I make lots of delicious desserts with cherries until I can no longer find them at all and have to wait for summer to come around again.  These candy cups are easy and fun to make and they taste great!  I like to keep them in the freezer because they defrost quite quickly.  I have been known, however, to be impatient and eat them frozen as well!

Chocolate layer:

  • 2 cups pitted dates
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 T cacao powder
  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 2 pinches salt
  • 1 1/2 cups walnuts
  • 1 T water

Cherry filling:

  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk – not low fat
  • 1 T maple syrup
  • 1 t coconut oil
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 3/4 cup frozen cherries
  • 2 small pinches salt

In a food processor, process the walnuts and the water until it is the consistency of peanut butter.  Add the remaining chocolate layer ingredients to the walnut butter.  Process until it comes together.

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Line 3 mini muffin tins with paper liners (makes 36).

Divide chocolate into thirds.  Reserve one third.

Roll the remaining 2/3 into balls and then flatten in the palms of your hands.  See photos for size.

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Place one flattened ball into each liner and press into bottom and up sides.

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Place all ingredients for filling in food processor and process until creamy.

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Spoon 1/2  t of filling into each liner.

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With the reserved one third dough, roll and flatten smaller balls and place on top of each cup.

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Freeze until hardens, usually at least an hour.

Store in freezer.

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Raw Nocello Cream Pie with Cinnamon Chocolate Glaze and Candied Maple Walnuts

nocelloRaw desserts are rocking my world!  Wow!  I never knew anything could be so delicious without refined carbs and unhealthy oils.  And so easy to make as well!  I can’t stop making them.  This one came out so delicious I couldn’t wait to share it.  It does have a small amount of alcohol in it that is obviously not cooked out, so please keep that in mind.  Nocello, walnut liquor, is so incredible it may be my very favorite after dinner drink.  It was my inspiration for this dessert and that is why I added the pear, because walnut and pear pair perfectly (see what I did there?), and the candied walnuts for garnish.  I guess I don’t need to tell you that I enjoyed a slice of this yumminess with a glass of warm Nocello.  Perfection.

crust:

  • 1 c walnuts
  • 10 soaked, pitted dates
  • 1/4 c cocoa powder
  • 1/2 c soaked cashews
  • 2 T maple syrup

Process all together in food processor and then press into the bottom of a lightly greased 8” springform pan.

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filling:

  • 1 ripe pear, peeled
  • 1 1/2 c soaked cashews
  • 4 T coconut oil
  • 1/4 c nocello (or kahlua or frangelico)
  • 1/4 c maple syrup
  • 1 t vanilla

Place all filling ingredients in blender and blend until smooth.

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Pour over crust and freeze for 30 minutes.

glaze:

  • 1/2 c cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 t cinnamon
  • 1/2 c coconut oil, melted
  • 1/8 t salt
  • 1/4 c maple syrup
  • 1/2 t vanilla

Whisk together all glaze ingredients.

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After 30 minutes, pour glaze over hardened filling.

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Freeze 60-90 minutes more.

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candied walnuts:

  • 1 c walnuts
  • 3 T maple syrup
  • pinch salt

Place nuts, syrup and salt in a dry pan and cook over medium high until sticky, about 3-5 minutes.

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Let pie defrost for about 15-20 minutes before slicing and serving.  Store leftovers in freezer.
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Chunky Monkey Mini Muffins

DSC_0455When I used to work in Manhattan, each morning I would get off the train at Grand Central Station and stop at Zaros to get coffee and the most delicious muffin ever before heading up the escalator to the Pan Am building (now the Met Life building).  Every day I would think about which kind of muffin I was going to get as the train was pulling into the station.  I loved blueberry, apple spice, chocolate chip, and banana.  Each one was practically the size of a baseball and I loved eating them so much until I read that there was over 1,000 calories per muffin.  That was over 20 years ago, and I have not had one since,   To this day, however, one of my favorite breakfast foods is a muffin.  I love them for breakfast and as a snack, and they are so delicious they even serve as dessert!  I also love to make them and keep them in the freezer for my kids to pop in the microwave for a fast and nutritious breakfast on those school days when there is no time to make anything else (just about every day).  I wanted to make a muffin that was not only healthy, but also tasted great.  I think I have accomplished that here.  Honestly, even if  the Zaros muffins magically became vegan, I would choose my muffin instead!

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  • 3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 3/4 cup spelt flour
  • 1 1/2 t baking soda
  • 1 1/2 t cinnamon
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 2 T ground flax mixed with 5 T water.  Combine and let sit 5 minutes.
  • 1/2 cup agave nectar
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 2 t vanilla
  • 1/3 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup vegan chocolate chips plus optional 1/4 cup extra
  • 2 bananas, mashed

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Preheat oven to 350.

In a small bowl, combine first five ingredients.

In a large bowl, combine the flaxseed and water mix, agave, oil and vanilla.  Add walnuts, banana and chocolate chips.

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Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix until just incorporated.

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Lightly grease muffin tins.  Recipe makes 42 mini muffins or 12 muffins.

Spoon batter to fill tins 2/3.   If you really love chocolate, you can sprinkle a couple of extra chips on top of each muffin.

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DSC_0417Bake 10 minutes for minis and 18 minutes for regular sized muffins.

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