Dessert

Gracious Vegan Pecan Pie

By the Gracious Vegan

After I went vegan, I thought I would never get to eat pecan pie again. I was fine with that--I could sacrifice that easily for the sake of animals--but there was a certain wistfulness in saying goodbye to a favorite dessert. But lo and behold, vegan cooks had been working on it! I found Tofu Mom's site, and she gave me a great basis for this recipe. The crust is one I'd been working on for a long time. I tinkered with the filling proportions and believe I've got it just right. Yum! 

The pie.  Preheat oven to 350°F.

Arrange the pecans in a single layer in the bottom of uncooked crust (see crust recipe below).

Pie crust in 9-10” deep dish pie pan

  • 1 + 1/4 cup chopped pecans (not toasted)

Process the following in a food processor or blender, or mix with a hand-held mixer until very smooth.

  • 3/4 cup firm silken tofu

  • 2 teaspoon arrowroot powder (or cornstarch)

  • 1 cup dark corn syrup

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar

  • 2 Tablespoons melted vegan butter

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

Gently pour mixture over nuts. Bake for 60-75 minutes at 350°F or until it looks like it's starting to solidify - it will set up completely as it cools. You may need to cover the crust so it doesn’t burn (check after 45 minutes). Cool completely before serving.

Crust for dessert pies. Makes 2 crusts – you only need one for this pie – you can freeze the other one in disk form.

Put these in the food processor and pulse a few times to combine.

  • 2 + 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour (I use 1.5 cups whole wheat pastry flour & 1 cup white)

  • 1 Tablespoon sugar

  • ¾ teaspoon salt

Add the fats and pulse as much as needed to get a texture with pea-size pellets of butter/shortening.

  • 1/2 cup vegan butter, cut into ½” cubes (refrigerated)

  • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening refrigerated, then cut into ½” pieces (refrigerated)

Transfer to a bowl. Add water, 1-2 tablespoons at a time, drizzling it around the rim of the bowl. Use a kitchen fork to gently mix the water in, trying to wet as much of the dry mixture wet as possible.

  • 6 to 7 tablespoons ice water, or more as needed

To determine if the mixture has enough water, gather some in your hand and press it against the bowl to see if it will hold together. If not, add more water sparingly, about 1 teaspoon at a time, adding only enough for it to form a mass. Too much liquid and/or overworking the dough will toughen it.

With floured hands, press the dough against the side of the bowl, forming 2 balls. All the crumbs should adhere to the balls and clean the bowl. If not, add a few drops of water. Flatten the balls into two 4- to 5-inch disks.

Wrap each disk in plastic wrap. Chill 30 minutes or longer before rolling out, because the gluten strands need time to relax. After chilling, I let mine sit on the counter for 15-20 minutes before rolling, because otherwise it’s too hard. (You can make ahead and refrigerate for 3 days or freeze for much longer.)

For this pie, roll out one crust and lay it in the bottom of a deep dish 9” or 10” pie dish.

Timing: About two hours, including making and chilling the crust

Nutrition: This isn't a very healthy dish. Let's not kid ourselves

Gluten-free if you make a gluten-free crust

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Creamy Brown Rice Pudding, Date-Sweetened (Instant Pot)

By the Gracious Vegan

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Rice pudding with sugar and white rice is a snap. But I wanted to find out if it was possibly to have a truly appealing rice pudding with brown rice and without sugar or any other unhealthy sweeteners. The answer is “Yes!” Blending the dates until smooth is the trick here, as is blending the dates with soaked raw cashews, which add creaminess to the pudding. With creative toppings (also healthy), you can create a dessert that will be tempting to omnivores as well as plant-based eaters!

Makes about 4.5 cups

Add the following ingredients into Instant Pot (or other pressure cooker). Lock the lid and set the vent to sealing position. Press the Manual button and adjust time to 20 minutes. Cooking will start.

  • 2.5 cups nondairy milk (use 3 cups if you’ll be fully chilling the pudding—it will thicken as it cools)

  • 3/4 cup brown rice (brown short grain or brown jasmine rice preferred)

  • Pinch of salt

Separately, put the following ingredients into the blender container and let them soak together while the rice cooks. 

  • 3/4 cup pitted, halved dates

  • 3/4 cup water

  • 1/3 cup raw cashews

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

When the Instant Pot beeps, allow the pressure to release slowly for 10 minutes. 

While the pressure is releasing, blend the dates, cashews, water, vanilla, and cinnamon until they form a smooth paste.

After the 10 minutes is up, press the Cancel button and open the vent. After it depressurizes, open the lid and stir in the date-cashew mixture. The pudding will thicken as it cools. Serve warm or cold.

Optional toppings: 

Nutrition: 100% whole-food unprocessed; WFPBNO

Timing: About 45 minutes

Gluten-free

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Healthy Chocolate Fudge Sauce (no added sugar, vegan, gluten-free)

By the Gracious Vegan

Makes about 1.75 cups

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If you’re eating healthy and just want some sweetness now and then, this fudge sauce is a life-saver. Dates and cashews give it sweetness and creaminess. Nondairy milk and cocoa powder do the rest. It goes with everything!

Let the first three ingredient soak together in the blender container for at least 20 minutes—better would be 30-45 minutes. (You can skip the soaking if you have a high-speed blender and your dates are soft, but I still like to soak, just to make sure everything will get dissolved.)

  • 1.5 cups nondairy milk

  • 2/3 cup pitted, halved dates

  • 1/3 cup raw cashew pieces

After the soaking time, add cocoa powder and blend all the ingredients together until smooth.

  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder

Pour the mixture into a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook over very low heat, stirring or whisking continuously (because the dates and cashews burn) for about 5 minutes, until thickened. You can thin it out by whisking in water if you need to at any point.

Serve warm or cold. 

Nutrition: 100% whole-food unprocessed; WFPBNO

Timing: About 45 minutes if you soak the mixture for 30-40 minutes

Gluten-free


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Pumpkin Ice Cream Sundaes

By the Gracious Vegan

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This super-healthy pumpkin ice cream (no sugar, no added fat) is a great alternative to pumpkin pie after the Thanksgiving meal. It’s easiest if you make it right before serving — then it’s the texture of soft-serve ice cream. If you freeze it, you’ll need to let it sit out for 30-60 minutes before serving to get it back to the right consistency (it ices up a bit).

Makes 3.5-4 cups of ice cream

Place all ingredients into a blender or food processor (I have better luck with the food processor) and blend/process on high until a smooth and creamy ice cream forms. You may have to stop and scrape down the sides one or more times. 

  • 3 bananas (cut into ½” cubes and frozen well in advance)

  • 2/3 cup pumpkin puree 

  • 1/3 cup nondairy milk

  • 1/4 cup date paste

  • 1.5 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Create sundaes with one or more of the following

  • Vegan Whipped Cream

  • Chopped roasted nuts

  • Dried fruit (cranberries, raisins, chopped dates)

  • Granola

Nutrition: Whole-food unprocessed; WFPBNO

Timing: if you already have date paste and frozen bananas, it take about 10 minutes

Gluten-free

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Vegan Flourless Chocolate Cake

By the Gracious Vegan

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This miraculous concoction has no butter, oil, eggs, or sugar. The almond flour is the key for moisture and texture, and the dates kick in the sweetness. The result is a dense but not gooey cake—to me, that’s perfect.

Preheat oven to 325°F. Grease an 8" round cake pan lined with parchment paper.

Sift these ingredients into a medium/large bowl. 

  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder

Add the flour and salt into the sifted ingredients, stir or whisk them together, and set aside. 

  • 1.5 cups almond flour (superfine or fine is best for the texture)

  • Pinch salt

Place the dates and liquids in a blender. Blend until a smooth paste forms.

  • 1.5 cups packed pitted dates

  • 3/4 cup water

  • 1/3 cup nondairy milk

Blend the following ingredients into the date paste for about 30 seconds so that the thickeners are activated.

  • 1 Tablespoon cornstarch

  • 2 teaspoons vanilla

  • 1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum

Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and stir until smooth. Spread the batter in the pan. 

Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool for at least 10-15 minutes before serving so that it has time to set.

Serve at room temperature or chilled. Serve with fruit, date-sweetened Vegan Whipped Cream, toasted nuts, and/or chocolate banana ice cream.

Timing: About 50 minutes total, then cooling time

Nutrition: Whole-food unprocessed WFPBNO

Gluten-free

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Apple Crisp with Date and Oat Crisp Topping

By the Gracious Vegan

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This very healthy version of apple crisp doesn’t sacrifice taste or satisfaction. You won’t believe there’s no butter or sugar. You have to try it to believe it. 

Preheat the oven to 375°F.
Peel and core apples. Thinly slice them into a large bowl.

  • 3 pounds Granny Smith apples

Sprinkle the flour onto the apples and toss or fold them to coat the slices with flour.

  • 2 Tablespoons whole wheat pastry or other flour

Add the following ingredients into the apples and stir until all apples are coated and the date paste is well distributed. 

  • 1 cup date paste (here’s my recipe for Date Paste

  • 1/4 cup lemon juice (1 large lemon)

  • 1/4 cup water

  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

Spoon the mixture into a casserole dish or a glass baking pan. Cover with foil and bake for 35 minutes. While the apples are baking, make the topping.

Topping. Chop the dates in a food processor until they are in small bits.

  • 3/4 cup dried dates, pitted

Add remaining ingredients and pulse to just combine them. 

  • 1/2 cup oat, whole wheat pastry, or other flour

  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds

  • 1/4 cup cashew or almond butter

  • 1/4 cup rolled oats (instant or old-fashioned) 

  • 1/4 cup flaked or shredded coconut

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

The mixture should hold together enough to make small clumps. If it's too dry, add water, just a tablespoon at a time, to reach a clumping consistency. 

  • 2-4 Tablespoons water

When the apples have baked 35 minutes, remove from oven, spread the topping on the apples, return to oven, and bake 20 minutes, uncovered, or until the filling is bubbly and the topping is golden.

Serve with Vegan Cashew Cream if desired.

Timing: About 70 minutes

Nutrition: whole-food unprocessed; WFPBNO

Gluten-free if gluten-free flour is used

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Date Paste

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Dates are the only whole-food, unprocessed sweeteners that are viable for using in a lot of recipes (as opposed to, say, bananas, which are a great sweetener for some dishes but not as versatile as dates). You can buy date sugar (very tiny chunks of dates), but I prefer date paste, which is just dates and water blended into an ultra-smooth paste. If a recipe calls for sugar, honey, or agave, I generally use double or just less than double the amount of date paste. There are only a few recipes I’ve found where substituting date paste doesn’t work well.

Makes: Amount of date paste made is about the same as the measure of dates you start with

Start with a 3:1 dates-to-water ratio (e.g., 3 cups pitted dates to 1 cup water). Make sure all pits are removed. Chopping your dates (at least in half) beforehand will help. (Do not use commercial chopped dates—the oat flour is not good for date paste.) 

Use a food processor to make the date paste. (I don’t have great luck with a blender, even a high-speed one, but maybe it will work for you.) You may have to stop and scrape down the sides one or more times. Once it’s smooth, you’re done. It can be frozen and will keep for months in the freezer. 

Nutrition: Whole-food unprocessed; WFPBNO

Timing: Under 10 minutes

Gluten-free

 

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Vegan Whipped Cream

By the Gracious Vegan

 Vegan Flourless Chocolate Cake with Vegan Whipped Cream

Vegan Flourless Chocolate Cake with Vegan Whipped Cream

This cashew-based whipped cream has a unique flavor. It’s not the same as dairy whipped cream. Many omnivores like it better. By using date paste, you can make this a whole-food recipe, with no processed ingredients and no added fats or sugar.

Soak cashews in cold water at least 2 hours, or pour boiling water over them, cover, and let them soak 20 minutes. (Even if you have a high-speed blender I recommend soaking the cashews, since you won’t be using a lot of water.) 

  • 1 cup raw unsalted cashews

Drain and rinse the cashews and put them in a blender with the following ingredients.

  • 1/2 cup water (or more, if you use date paste)

  • 5 Tablespoons date paste, or 2 Tablespoons maple syrup

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1/8 teaspoon xanthan gum (you can omit this; it makes the cream a bit stiffer, similar to the effect of gelatin)

  • A pinch of salt

Blend on high for up to several minutes, until smooth and creamy. Transfer to a sealed container and chill in the refrigerator for a few hours to thicken.

The whipped cream will keep in the refrigerator for about a week. It can also be frozen. You may have to whisk or blend it after letting it thaw.

See a brief explanation of xanthan gum.

Timing: About 25 minutes if you use the boiling-water soaking method

Nutrition: Whole-food unprocessed (if you use date paste); WFPBNO

Gluten-free

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Sweet Potato Pecan Pie with Gingersnap Crust

By The Gracious Vegan

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Make this for Thanksgiving and you will be showered with praise. It’s not whole-food unprocessed, but it’s incredibly delicious and can show omnivores how good desserts can be without dairy and eggs.

Makes: 12 slices

Preheat oven to 365° F.

Crust. Use a food processor to break down the gingersnap cookies into crumbs

  • 9 ounces gingersnap cookies

Add the following ingredients and process briefly until incorporated. 

  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger

  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 5 Tablespoons vegan butter, melted

Transfer the crumbs to a 9-inch springform pan and pat with your hands into the bottom and up the sides (about 1 - 1.5 inches). Bake the crust for 5 minutes.

Sweet potato layer. Process the following ingredients in the food processor until smooth.

  • 1.5 cups cooked sweet potato (18 ounces baked or microwaved, skins removed)

  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar

  • 1/2 cup tofu (I prefer firm silken tofu that comes in the vacuum pack) (see more tofu needed below)

  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch

Carefully spread the sweet potato mixture over bottom of pie shell.

Pecan layer. Sprinkle the pecans over the sweet potato layer.

  • 3/4 cup chopped pecans

Process the following ingredients in the same food processor.

  • 1/2 cup dark corn syrup

  • 3/8 cup tofu (same recommendation as above)

  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar

  • 2 tablespoons vegan butter, melted

  • 1 teaspoon arrowroot powder or cornstarch

  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Pour the corn syrup mixture gently over the nuts and smooth it out evenly. 

Bake for 60 minutes or until the top is bubbly and the filling looks almost fully set. Cool on wire rack.

Serve with Vegan Whipped Cream.

Timing: Hands-on time 30 minutes; Total time 90 minutes + cooling

Nutrition: About equal processed and unprocessed ingredients. 

Nutritional information per serving: 336 calories, 13g fat, 3g sat. fat, 52g carbs, 255mg sodium, 2mg fiber, 3g protein 

Gluten-free if gluten-free crust is used

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Gracious Vegan Pie Crust (Savory and Sweet)

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By the Gracious Vegan

I owe the gist of this recipe to Carole Walters. I veganized it, played with the proportions, and adapted it for savory pies (like my Vegetable Pot Pie). This dough is easy to make, easy to handle, and is reliably flaky. If you don't have a food processor, you can use a pastry cutter or a couple of table knives to cut the butter and shortening into the flour. 

Makes 2 crusts

Put these in the food processor and pulse a few times to combine.

  • 2.5 cups sifted all-purpose flour (I use 1.5 cups whole wheat pastry flour and 1 cup white)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar for savory pie OR 1 Tablespoon for sweet pie
  • 1 teaspoon salt for savory pie OR 1/2 teaspoon for sweet pie

Add the fats and pulse as much as needed to get a texture with pea-size pellets of butter/shortening.

  • 1/2 cup vegan butter, cut into ½” cubes (refrigerated)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening refrigerated, then cut into ½” pieces (refrigerated)

Transfer to a bowl. Add water, 1-2 tablespoons at a time, drizzling it around the rim of the bowl. Use a kitchen fork to push the mixture toward the center with each addition.

  • 6 to 7 tablespoons ice water, or more as needed

To determine if the mixture has enough water, gather some in your hand and press it against the bowl to see if it will hold together. If not, add more water sparingly, about 1 teaspoon at a time, adding only enough for it to form a mass. Too much liquid and/or overworking the dough will toughen it.

With floured hands, press the dough against the side of the bowl, forming 2 balls. All the crumbs should adhere to the balls and clean the bowl. If not, add a few drops of water. Flatten the balls into two 4- to 5-inch disks.

Dust the disks with flour. Wrap in plastic wrap. Chill 30 minutes or longer before rolling out. If too hard to roll out, let it sit on the counter for 15-20 minutes.

Storage: The dough will keep for up to 3 days in the refrigerator or several months in the freezer. To thaw, remove from the freezer to refrigerator. Thaw overnight or at least 12 hours.

Timing: About 45 minutes, including chilling time

Nutrition: Crusts have a lot of processed fat, so they are not particularly healthy

 

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Rich and Creamy Vegan Tiramisu

By the Gracious Vegan

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Faces light up when you announce that dessert is tiramisu! This version will please tiramisu lovers and may create some new ones. The cashew cream gives dairy-based mascarpone cheese a run for its money. No sacrifices with this vegan version. 

Makes 10 servings

Cake. Preheat the oven to 350°. Spray two 8” x 8” square pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, whisk together 

  • 1.5 cups all-purpose flour (you can substitute whole wheat pastry flour if desired)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

In a separate bowl, whisk together the following ingredients.

  • 1 cup non-dairy milk
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • ¼ cup applesauce (sweetened or unsweetened)
  • 2 Tablespoons white or apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract

Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture and stir until just combined. Do not over mix.

Fill each prepared pan with batter and smooth. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool the cakes completely before assembly.

“Mascarpone.”  Blend the following ingredients together in a blender until a very smooth, thick texture is achieved. Chill.

  • 2 cups cashews, soaked in cold water at least 2 hours (or pour boiling water over them, cover, and let them soak 20 minutes); even if you have a high-speed blender, I recommend soaking the cashews for this recipe
  • ¾ cup water
  • ¼ cup agave syrup
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon nutritional yeast
  • 1 teaspoon lemon extract
  • 1 teaspoon white miso

Espresso Soak. Stir the following ingredients together in a bowl or measuring cup.

  • ½ cup amaretto liqueur
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 Tablespoons instant espresso powder

Chocolate shavings. Use a vegetable peeler and shave the side of the chocolate bar until you have a pile of chocolate shavings.

  • 1.5-ounce vegan dark chocolate bar 

Assembly. You can make your tiramisu in one large glass or ceramic dish. Or you can make individual servings in ice-cream or other glass dishes, or even make free-form mini-tiramisu’s and serve them on a platter - lovely for a dessert buffet. 

Start with a layer of cake, then spoon some espresso soak onto the cake and let it seep in. Then layer on some mascarpone and then chocolate shavings. Repeating the layers at least once makes the dessert look beautiful. End with mascarpone and chocolate shavings.

Timing: hands-on time 40 minutes, total time 2-3 hours

Nutrition: This isn’t a healthy food – it’s healthier than dairy-based tiramisu, though. 

Nutritional information per serving:           

419 calories, 18g fat, 4g sat. fat, 54g carbs, 44mg sodium, 3mg fiber6g protein

Gluten-free if you adapt the cake recipe and use gluten-free flour

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Gracious Vegan Caramel Sauce

Date-based caramel sauces taste wonderful, especially in raw sweets and as dips (for example, my Caramel Walnut Dip for Fruit Slices). Unfortunately, date-based caramel sauces don't always work well in cooked baked goods like my Oatmeal Caramel Chocolate Bars. So I've had to look around for a solution. I've yet to find a vegan caramel sauce in a jar that I can buy, either in a store or online. I've tried many recipes and finally triangulated several to come up with my own. There are many caramel sauce recipes that use a "dry" technique (heating the sugar without any liquids), but those work best with refined sugar, the kind filtered through animal bone char, which I won't use. So this solution isn't as fancy as caramel sauces using that technique, but it's delicious nonetheless.

Makes about a cup

In a saucepan, combine these ingredients.

  • ½ cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • ½ cup organic cane (white) sugar
  • 1 pinch salt
  • ½ cup unsweetened nondairy milk

Cook over medium heat until sugars dissolve, then allow the mixture to continue to a boil. Let it boil about a minute, but no more. The whole cooking process will likely take somewhere from 3 to 5 minutes.

Remove from heat and stir in the vegan butter. Pour into a heat safe container and use immediately or let it cool. Store in refrigerator, where it will last about a week.

  • 2 Tablespoons vegan butter
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Timing: About 10 minutes

Nutrition: Not healthy

Gluten-free

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Caramel Walnut Dip for Fruit Slices

By the Gracious Vegan

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With no added sugars or fats, this dip has an indulgent flavor that's addicting. You might want to use it on lots more than fruit slices--toast, cake, ice cream, rice cakes... With a nice assortment of fruit it would make a healthy but very satisfying dessert. 

Makes about 1 + 1/3 cup

Add medjool dates, walnuts, and water to the pitcher of a high-speed blender. If you have time, let them sit for 10-30 minutes to soften.

  • 6 ounces dates, pitted and halved

  • 3/8 cup walnuts

  • 5/8 cup hot water

Add the vanilla and cinnamon, if using. Puree on high speed until completely smooth, a minute or two. Add more water, a tablespoon at a time, if needed to keep things moving.

  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)

Nutrition: Whole-food unprocessed; WFPBNO

Timing: 15 minutes (including 10 minutes soaking time)

Gluten-free

 

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Gracious Vegan Fruitcake

By the Gracious Vegan

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Fruitcake without candied fruit, just dried fruit! What a joy! This recipe has been a long journey for me, but it's been worth it. It all started with a "Wall Street Journal" mention of a recipe by Brian Paul, which I can't find online anymore. I had to veganize it, and it took about 5 years (making it once a year) to get right. But now it works incredibly well, and it's delicious.

The Fruit and Rum. Chop everything up into small pieces with a heavy, sharp knife. (The vegan cake batter doesn’t hold large fruit pieces together well; having small pieces is key to the cake not crumbling.) Place in a gallon Ziplock bag. Of course, try your own combination of fruits if you like -- aim for a total of about 2 pounds of dried fruit. 

  • Dried apples (6 oz.)
  • Dried pineapple (4 oz.)
  • Date bits (4 oz.)
  • Dried apricots (4 oz.)
  • Golden raisins, currants, or dried blueberries (4 oz.)
  • Dried cranberries (4 oz.)
  • Dried cherries (4 oz.)

Pour ¾ cup of Myers's dark rum (golden rum also fine) over the fruit bits, close the bag, toss them, and let them sit for a few hours to absorb the liquid. If they absorb the ¾ cup, add more in ¼-cup increments.

The Nuts. 1.5 pounds pecans, well chopped (again, the vegan cake batter has trouble holding large nut pieces together).

The Pans. I use four disposable 8” x 4” aluminum pans, or sometimes 3 of those plus 3 smaller pans (so that I can give them away as gifts). Loaf pans, ring molds, or other pans are fine, too. Coat aluminum pans with cooking oil spray. For others, spray and line with parchment paper. Don't use waxed paper.

The Batter. Whisk these together in a small bowl. Let sit 10 minutes while you prep the next ingredients.

  • ¾ cup warm water
  • 3 Tablespoons ground flaxseed
  • 1 Tablespoon Ener-G powder

Sift together in a bowl or bag

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tablespoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons cloves
  • 2 teaspoons allspice
  • 2 teaspoons nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon mace

Combine these in a small bowl. 

  • ½ cup plain soymilk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Start batter. Cream together 5 minutes or until fluffy

  • 1½ cups sugar
  • ½ cup vegan margarine (room temperature)

Add flaxseed-Ener-G mixture and beat until combined.

Alternate dry and wet ingredients and use low speed to combine without over-beating.  

Put the soaked fruit in a very large bowl—discard (or otherwise dispose of…hint hint) any extra rum that the fruit did not absorb.

Spoon the batter on top of the fruit in the large bowl, then add the nuts. Use a wooden spoon or just plunge in with your hands. Mix it all up. You will have a mixture that is mostly fruits and nuts with just enough batter to hold it together.

Assembly and Baking. Place the finished batter in the prepared pans, pressing down very well to fill in the corners. You can fill the pans almost to the brim because the cake will rise only slightly.

Place the pans in the lower third of a 275 degree oven for about 1 hour and 50 minutes, until a knife or testing stick comes out clean, the top is golden brown, and the fruit on top starts to change to darker colors. Timing is extremely variable. Small cakes will cook quicker, and larger cakes take longer. Test each cake separately and take it out as soon as your tester comes out clean. To paraphrase the old Orson Welles wine commercial: "We will take no fruitcake from the oven before its time."

When the cakes are done, let them cool on racks in their pans. When they are cool, use a plastic knife to loosen any stuck spots as you gently remove the cakes from the pans.

Sprinkle the cakes all over with rum or juice to get the outsides good and moist. Enclose them in plastic bags or, if you use aluminum pans, put them back in their pans and enclose the pans in plastic bags or cover well with plastic wrap or foil.

We like to eat one loaf starting on Day 2, like a Beaujolais wine. Other loaves we let mature in the refrigerator or other cool space for at least a couple of weeks to blend the flavors. If they seem to be getting dry, sprinkle on more liquid, but don't make them wet and soggy. After 3 months or so they lose their tastiness, so enjoy within 3 months.  

For chocolate-covered fruitcake. Slice the fruitcake.  Melt 1 cup chocolate chips and 1.5 Tablespoons vegetable oil. Spoon and spread the chocolate on one side of the slices, laying each on a sheet of waxed paper, then coat the other side and let harden in the refrigerator or at room temperature.

Timing: About equal processed and unprocessed ingredients

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Ultimate Vegan Brownies

By Veganbaking.net

Link to Ultimate Vegan Brownies recipe

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GV comments: I have tested a lot of vegan brownie recipes in my day and this one comes closest to the traditional brownie taste and texture. It's chewy on the inside with a crisp coating on the outside. The chocolate flavor is just the right one. I was amazed at how this brownie "clicked" when I took my first bite. "Now that's a brownie." 

Timing: Because he recommends cooling the brownie completely before eating, this takes 2-3 hours, so you need to plan ahead.

Nutrition: These are not healthy.

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Rum-Raisin Shortbread Cookies

By Martha Stewart

Link to Rum-Raisin Shortbread Cookies here.

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GV comments: Three major flavors pop out one at a time in your mouth when you eat ones of these tiny gems: the buttery shortbread, the rum, and the currants. I use vegan butter, and the results are wonderful. 

Timing: The recipe calls for soaking the currants in the rum overnight and another hour for chilling the dough, so this requires pre-planning. 

Nutrition: These are not healthy cookies. Sorry. 

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Gracious Vegan Linzer Cookies

By the Gracious Vegan

 Photo by  mt 23 on flickr

Based on a non-vegan approach from Fine Cooking, this recipe results in melt-in-your-mouth Linzer gems. The combination of almonds and hazelnuts (instead of almonds alone) is brilliant! And the absence of eggs makes these morsels more like shortbread than many Linzer cookies. That's the right direction to lean. These cookies make amazing gifts at holiday time, because most people don't want to take the time to make them. Everything tastes better when you wish you had the time to make it, then someone else does it for you.

Several hours before baking:  In a food processor, process the nuts and 1/2 cup flour until the nuts are finely chopped. Stop the machine occasionally and feel the nuts with your fingers—make sure they aren’t getting too close to nut butter. Some skin from the nuts is fine.

  • ½ cup sliced almonds
  • ½ cup coarsely chopped hazelnuts
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour

Add the following to the processor and pulse to combine.

  • 1.5 cup + 1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoon lemon zest
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon table salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves

Cut the margarine into ½” cubes and add to the flour mixture; pulse until the mixture looks like coarse meal. Don’t over-process.

  • 7 oz. (14 Tbs.) chilled vegan butter

Transfer to a large bowl. Drizzle the Ener-G "egg" over the flour mixture and toss gently to combine.

  • 1.5 teaspoons Ener-G plus 3 Tablespoons cold water, mixed together separately

The dough should hold together when pinched. (If it seems dry, sprinkle on a bit more water.) Gather the dough into two balls and knead briefly just to blend. Wrap in plastic and chill until firm, 2 to 3 hours.

To bake: Heat the oven to 325°F. Cover your cookie sheets with parchment. Generously flour a work surface. Roll one ball of the dough 3/16 inch thick. (Keep the rest in the refrigerator, and if the dough warms up to the point of being sticky while you’re working with it, return it to the refrigerator.)

Cut out as many 2-1/2-inch rounds as possible, rerolling the scraps to make more rounds. Arrange on the cookie sheets about 3/4 inch apart. Cut 1-1/4-inch holes (or use cute Linzer cutters) in the center of half the rounds. Reroll these center scraps to make more cookies.

Bake until the edges are lightly browned, about 15 minutes. Let cool on the sheets. Repeat with the remaining dough.

To assemble, spread a heaping ½ teaspoon preserves on the underside of the whole cookie rounds.

1/2 cup raspberry preserves

Top with the doughnut-shaped cookies, bottom sides against the preserves. Just before serving, sift confectioners' sugar lightly over the cookies.

Confectioners’ sugar for dusting

Timing: Around 4 hours, most of which is chilling and baking time. 

Nutrition: Significant fat, sugar, and refined flour

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Almond Cookie Dough

By Fine Cooking

Link to Almond Cookie Dough recipe

Almond Cookie Dough.jpg

GV comments: I substitute vegan butter for the dairy butter, and this recipe works perfectly that way. I can't decide on my favorite variation. If I had to, I'd pick the Chocolate Thumbprints, but all three are gorgeous and delicious. This dough comes together very fast in the food processor (under 10 minutes). The longest part is the chilling time (2 hours or overnight). These are fabulous as part of holiday cookie gifts or as part of a holiday buffet. 

Timing: Making the dough, about 10 minutes; it needs to chill for at least 2 hours; then the cookies take 15-25 minutes to bake. 

Nutrition: Not very good for you--mostly vegan butter, white flour, and sugar

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Oatmeal Caramel Chocolate Bars

By the Gracious Vegan

Oatmeal Caramel Chocolate Bars.jpg

These decadent bars won the very competitive family cookie contest last year. I dipped them in chocolate for the contest, but I don't recommend that unless you need a huge win. They are plenty rich without an extra coat of chocolate. The caramel sauce makes the difference between these cookies and other oatmeal chocolate bars. It adds a depth of cooked-sugar goodness that you can't get any other way.

Preheat oven to 350°. Grease or spray a 9" x 13" inch pan. Lining the bottom with parchment is optional if you need an absolutely smooth removal of bars.

Combine the following. The mixture will be very crumbly. Press half of the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan.

  • 1.5 cups whole wheat pastry or all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1.5 cups quick cooking oats
  • 2 cups packed brown sugar
  • ¾ cup (1.5 sticks) melted vegan butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Bake at 350° for 10 minutes.  Let the crust cool slightly (about 10 minutes) then sprinkle the chocolate chips and chopped nuts over the crust. Mix them together before sprinkling over the crust. 

  • 1.5 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup chopped walnuts

Mix the following together and then drizzle over the chocolate chips.

Top with the remaining oatmeal mixture. You will need to break it into small pieces to cover.

Bake at 350° for 15 minutes (until golden). Let the bars cool before cutting.

Timing: Between 45 and 60 minutes plus cooling time. This doesn't count what it might take to make vegan caramel sauce.

Nutrition: Significant fat and other processed ingredients

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Gracious Vegan Easy Apple Tart

By the Gracious Vegan

Gracious Vegan Easy Apple Tart.jpg

I kept adapting this recipe from an old (non-vegan) original. Finally it is right. There are many ways to make apple pies and tarts, but this one remains a favorite because it's so easy. Everything is mixed with a food processor. You don't have to roll out the crust--you just press it into the spring form pan with your fingers. It's easy to tell when it's done by the color of the crust. The taste of the vegan cream cheese (not my favorite food) is masked by what you mix in with it. And, best of all, everyone likes it, vegans and non-vegans alike.

Preheat the oven to 450°.

Crust: Cream together in food processor:

  • ½ cup vegan butter (room temperature)
  • ¼ cup organic cane sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla

Add and process until just smooth:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour

Press this dough with your fingers (floured, if they stick) into the bottom and up the side (2”) of an 8” or 8.5” spring form pan. Make sure to repair cracks so that there are no holes.

Filling: Process in the food processor until smooth:

  • One 8-ounce package vegan cream cheese
  • ¼ cup organic cane sugar

Add and process until smooth:

  • 1/3 cup almond meal
  • ½ Tablespoon arrowroot powder (or cornstarch)
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • ¼ teaspoon almond extract

Pour this mixture into the pastry-lined pan.

Apple Topping: Combine these in a medium bowl:

  • ¼ cup organic cane sugar
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon

Add apples and toss with the sugar mixture (or stir with a spatula)

  • About 3 cups peeled, thinly sliced or chopped apples (2 large or 3 small-medium apples) (I like Golden Delicious, but Braeburn and Granny Smith work well too; avoid McIntosh)

If you chopped the apples, spoon them evenly over the cream layer. If you sliced them, arrange them in a circular pattern.

Almonds: Sprinkle almonds on top:

  • ¼ cup sliced almonds

Bake at 450° for 10 minutes, then reduce to 400° and continue baking about 25 minutes more, until the cream cheese layer doesn’t jiggle. Remove from oven and let cool on a cooking rack.

After at least 30 minutes of cooling, remove the rim and bottom of the pan. For an extra-special touch, after the tart has cooled, warm up a few tablespoons apple jelly and gently brush them over the top, avoiding the almonds.

Timing: About 2 hours, including cooling time

Nutrition: Significant fat and other processed ingredients

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