The Foodie Blogroll

Better late than never right?

Around Christmas is when I had stopped blogging for quite some time.  It's not that I didn't enjoy doing it, it's just I wasn't finding inspiration in the things I was doing.  It was nice not having to think before I was going to eat, or when I made desserts to remember to take pictures beforehand.  I guess when it comes down to it, it was pure laziness.  I was still on the computer, looking at fellow bloggers pages, but I just couldn't bring myself to doing so, instead I was enjoying spending time with friends, being with my family, working out and reading.  I realized though it really was something I missed (hence I'm writing this now).  Despite my lack of inspiration there were still a few goodies I did snap some pictures of.  Unfortunately I didn't photograph all my Christmas baking which is rather unfortunate since I made some really amazing sweets this year.
This Christmas had to be the first Christmas that I didn't go overboard.  I made about eight or nine goodies, which really is not that much, and when I was making them, I wasn't doing full batches.  Thankfully for me, this was good; it gave me enough to pack up for friends as gifts, and it left me with a few for me to snack on.  The recipes I'm going to post were the top favourites of the season (decided on by both me and the people who had tried my baking) - I did however forget to photograph a bark that was the top favourite.  Nevertheless, that's not a big deal as I will surely be making a batch for Easter because it got gobbled down the first two days, it was such a hit!

Peanut Butter Pretzel Bites

Recipe taken from here

The first recipe I'm going to post is for something that I had been seeing all over the web.  Back then, just like now, I was really going through a peanut butter kick.  Three quarters of the recipes I made during the holiday season involved peanut butter.  This may not be the traditional holiday flavour, as I usually associate Christmas with shortbread, and peppermint, but not this year, not in my house!  If you are one the fellow pin-a-holics you surely will of seen these cookies - Peanut Butter Pretzel Bites.  If not, basically think of Reece's Peanut Butter Cups sandwiched between two pretzels, dipped in chocolate, and garnished with sprinkles, ahhhh yuuuum!  These were fantastic, especially as they were pretty much bite-sized desserts, so it would allow you to sample more than just one dessert without feeling that "ooooh gosh, I've been such a glutton this Christmas".  Will surely be making these next Christmas, as they were loved by all!
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 2 tbsp softened butter
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar 
Pretzels - 
  • 1 bag  semi-sweet chocolate chips
Combine peanut butter and softened butter in a large bowl with a fork or whisk, or in a stand mixer.  Add the sugars and mix to combine.  At this point if the filling will roll easily into balls without sticking to your hands you’re ready to go.  If not, add a little more of each sugar until you reach a consistency that is easy to roll (I used about 3/4 cup of each sugar).
Use a teaspoon measure to scoop the filling.  Roll each portion into a small ball, then sandwich them between two whole pretzels.  When all the balls are rolled and successfully sandwiched, stick the whole tray in the freezer for about half an hour.
Pour the chocolate chips into a microwave safe bowl and heat at 30-second intervals, stirring occasionally until completely melted.  Remove the pretzel sandwiches from the freezer and quickly dip each half-way into the melted chocolate.  Return to the tray and repeat with remaining sandwiches.  When all are dipped, return the tray to the freezer to set up completely.  Store the sandwiches in the refrigerator until serving time.
S'mores Chocolate Chip Cookies
Recipe adapted from here
Since I've begun baking as a vegan, I haven't made any recipes that require butter.  Of course I have a tub of Earth Balance in the fridge, but I usually opt Earth Balance for oil or applesauce, I'm not sure why, it just became sort of habitual.  When I came across a recipe on Angela's blog I figured why not just use Earth Balance, it's Christmas, and I'm not going to be the only one eating these cookies.  Since most people when they think of vegan baking think dull, bland, or just overall gross, I figured why not add in a flavour that they were are familiar with.  
This dough is so quick to throw together, it's a really great melding dough, and obviously you can adapt it as to how you want.  Over the break I used this recipe, well, more than a few times, just a little less than a handful,  they went really quickly.  My favourite way of using this recipe however was for a S'mores version as well a chocolate covered raisin version, between the two I'm not sure which one I preferred more, although I think at the time I was biased to both.  I was deffffffinitely more than obsessed with chocolate covered raisins, and since kicking gelatin from my diet it's been a good almost two years since I've had marshmallows - I wasn't going to allow that to go on longer however.  I drove to our local organic grocery store and bought myself $12.00 vegan marshmallows, my boyfriend definitely thought I was nuts, but it was so incredibly worth it, every single last cent.  
Two summers ago I tried many, many recipes for chocolate chip cookies, trying to find my favourite, this is it.  This is my go-to recipe when it comes to chocolate chip cookies, I love it.  Crispy edges, soft gooey centre, yup, it's my favourite type, and the fact that it's so easy to make too, bonus!
  • 7 tbsp Earth Balance + 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (or 1/2 cup Earth Balance- see note)
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup cane sugar (or use white)
  • 1 flax egg - (1 tbsp ground flaxed mixed with 3 tbsp water)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 3/4 cup spelt flour
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup vegan Graham Crackers
  • 1 dark chocolate bar
  • Vegan marshmallows - chopped (depends on how many dough balls you get)

Preheat oven to 350 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a small bowl, mix together the flax egg and set aside.

With an electric mixer or in a stand mixer, beat the Earth Balance until fluffy. Add the brown sugar and cane sugar and beat for 1-2 minutes until creamy. Beat in the flax egg.  Beat in the remaining ingredients, excluding the marshmallows and chocolate.

Shape balls of dough and then squish down.  Stuff your flattened dough with chocolate and marshmallow, roll back into a ball and make sure the two ingredients are completely covered, then place on the baking sheet.  

Bake for 10-12 minutes (or up to 14 mins on a Silpat mat). Allow to cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet and then transfer to a cooling rack for another 10 minutes.

Yield: 12-14 large cookies.

... as well, I also made S'mores Marshmallows - all I did here was broiled the marshmallows for a few minutes until they got nice a crisp.  I allowed them to cool down, dipped them in melted chocolate than rolled them around in graham crackers.  I'm not sure what was a bigger hit - these or the cookies, they were fantastic, so simple to make and just incredible for a quick dessert!

Peanut Butter Chocolate Marble Fudge

Recipe taken from here
Now, I have never been a fan of fudge.  I have always found it to be far more sweet than necessary.  I mean, when I finish eating a teeny tiny square of fudge I feel like I've simply been eating sugar with a spoon out of a bag and need to head on over to the dentist.  Now, why would I want to eat a dessert that makes me feel like this?

Over the holidays however, I had seen a few recipes for vegan fudge, some with the standard butter and cream base (obviously using vegan substitutes), some using coconut butter, and then some using nuts.  The one with nuts intrigued me very much so, especially because of the addition of peanut butter, I knew I would certainly have to try out a recipe for vegan fudge that was primarily utilizing nuts.

This is not your traditional fudge.  It is not overly sweet, nor does it have the same texture that you get in your standard, cream, butter, and sugar fudge.  I actually really enjoyed this, and it was a heck of a lot easier to make as well since you didn't have to stand over it, nor did you have to use a candy thermometer which is always a plus in my books.  The result was extraordinary and I would certainly make this again.  The only thing you have to watch out for is that you have to keep it refrigerated, because if you keep it at room temperature for too long it almost starts to lose it form and looks as though it's melting.

Chocolate Fudge:
  • 1 cup cashews
  • 1/4 cup agave nectar or maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • Pinch of salt
Peanut Butter Fudge:
  • 1/2 cup cashews
  • 1/4 cup agave nectar or maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup natural peanut butter
  • 3 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • Pinch of salt

For chocolate fudge - 

Process the cashews in a food processor until it turns into a dense butter (it should look sort of like play-doh but still be crumbly, no nut pieces though!) Then add cocoa and salt. Blend until combined. Add sweetener of choice, coconut oil and vanilla. Blend until thoroughly combined, it should ball up at this point. Take out and set aside on cutting board or clean countertop.

For peanut butter fudge - 

Process cashews the same way as for the chocolate fudge. Add salt, blend until combined. Add peanut butter, sweetener of choice, coconut oil and vanilla. Process until thoroughly combined.

Rip doughs into 4 large chunks so you have 8. Marble fudge by combining the 8 separate pieces together, and knead until you see it marbling. Shape into a flat rectangle a good inch thick. Chill covered in fridge overnight or at least 3 hours. 

And there you have it, I may be a few months late getting on with this post, for who knows why other than pure laziness but I got it done!  As they say better late than never, and I came through ;)


Danguole said...

Any time of year is a good time for peanut butter! I usually find that people are overwhelmed with typical sweets and really appreciate something different, anyway.

Samantha said...

Definitely a great way to look at it, especially when it comes to during the holidays!