Mindy’s Pistachio Halva Bites

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Pistachio Halva Bitess
From Mindy Miner

The recipe is from a book by Douglas McNish called Raw, Quick & Delicious. I made one modification because I can’t find bulk sesame seeds anywhere close by and it’s too expensive to use the bottled version. Also, I doubled the recipe for last night’s crowd. Here goes…

1/2 cup whole raw pistachios (I bought shelled ones)
1 cup raw sesame seeds, divided (I used 3/4 cup raw, sliced almonds and enough sesame seeds to roll the balls in)
1/4 cup tahini
1/4 cup agave nectar
1 tsp. vanilla

1. Process pistachios (and almonds, if using) in a food processor until roughly chopped. Transfer to a bowl.
2. In food processor process tahini, agave and vanilla until smooth. Add to nut mixture and stir until it forms a large smooth ball.
3. Using a tablespoon, scoop up about 15 equal portions. Roll each portions in the palm of your hand and then in raw sesame seeds.
4. Place balls on plate or baking sheet covered with parchment paper and place in the freezer for 10 minutes. Serve immediately or transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 7 days.

Enjoy!

Jeremy’s Super Delicious Raw Chocolate Cake

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Behold! Jeremy Kuhn of Deliciosity frosting his raw chocolate cake. During our February Supper Club, Jeremy talked us through how to make the cake and demoed his lovely frosting…

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Raw Chocolate Cake
3 c. almonds
5 c. walnuts
2 c. dates
1 tsp. vanilla powder
1 ½ c. cacao powder
2 T. coconut sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon

Grind the almonds into a fine powder using a food processor. Transfer almond flour to another container. Coarsely grind walnuts. Overprocessing will release too much of the oils and eventually create a butter. Combine all ingredients in food processor, reserving the dates for last. The mixture should start to hold together. If it’s too crumbly still, add a few more dates.

Press the mixture into a 9×13 pan, lightly greased with coconut oil.
Refrigerate until ready to add frosting.

Chocolate Frosting
1 c. dates, soaked for at least an hour
2 avocados
½ c. date soak water
2/3 c. coconut sugar
¼ c. grapefruit juice
½ c. coconut oil
8oz. cacao butter ( ½ c. melted)
½ c. cacao powder
¼ c. carob powder
½ tsp. vanilla powder

Dissolve coconut sugar in grapefruit juice to create a syrup. Place jar of coconut oil in pot of hot water to melt the oil. Chop cacao butter and melt over double boiler. Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Frosting will need to be placed in a refrigerator or freezer until set. This can be done before putting it on the cake, or after.

Katie’s Gluten-free Chocolate Almond Cherry Cookies

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The lovely Katie Williams (pictured above) brought these delicious cookies to our September Supper Club. Below, she demonstrates how she made them more healthy and vegan! It’s a great example of how easy it is to transition recipes. Thank you, Katie!

Katie’s Gluten-free Chocolate Almond Cherry Cookies
Ingredients
• 1 1/4 cups almond meal
• 1/4 cup chopped dark chocolate (I used cacao nibs)
• 1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
• 1/2 tsp baking powder
• 1/4 teaspoon salt (I used sea salt)
• 1/3 cup brown sugar (I used Raw Coconut Sugar)
• 1 egg (I used 1 Flax egg; 1 Tbsp flax meal + 3 Tbsp water)
• 3 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
• 1/2 tsp vanilla
• Handful of dried cranberries (optional)

Directions
1. In a large mixing bowl, stir together almond meal, dark chocolate
chips, coconut, baking powder (raw coconut sugar), salt and sugar.
2. In a separate bowl, beat egg (flax egg) until uniform in color and
doubled in volume.
3. Whisk in the coconut oil and vanilla, then add to dry ingredients and
mix until just combined.
4. Chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes or even overnight.
5. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
6. Shape dough into 1-inch balls, place on baking sheet with 1-1/2 inch
space in between each. Press down slightly to flatten a bit.
7. Bake until edges begin to brown, 7-10 minutes.
8. Remove from oven and let cool before serving.

A Late Summer Stunner

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There was something so arresting about this beautiful simple dessert brought by Andrea Hensen and her creative collaborative of food arttists to our recent supper club.  When they first skimmed the skin off the long watermelon, someone thought it was a ham!  But oh no!  It was a glorious watermelon cake.  Cut a long seedless watermelon in half and remove the skin.  Shape each half into a cake shape by cutting a smooth bottom and top.  Set it on a serving plate and slather the top in coconut cream.  See a tutorial for that here.

Then, if you are an artist–like Andrea and her friends–you find your inspiration in sliced fresh fruit, coconut and edible flowers.  I could say more, but a picture is worth a thousand words.

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Gluten-free Potluck Cookies

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Do you want to make some new friends? Bring some plant-based, gluten-free cookies to your next potluck. There are bound to be people who are either choosing or must eat gluten and/or dairy or egg-free. And you’re going to be their new best friend. Especially if they are four years old. For me, the occasion was the farewell party for Treehuggers in Grand Rapids. This progressive vegan, package-free grocery was the brainchild of Angela Topp, who worked tirelessly to bring us inventive recycling and packaging solutions, in addition to beautiful recycled gifts and products.

I wanted to make Terry Walters’ peanut butter teff cookies, but sadly I didn’t have many of the ingredients. So I used her basic proportions and took it off-road. The cookies don’t look anything like the ones pictured (I didn’t photograph them…and I call myself a food blogger). They are more mounded and craggy, but they are surely delicious. And very easy to whip up. All the fans of these cookies should try Terry’s version, too.

Make Some Friends Potluck Cookies
Makes 2 dozen cookies

Ingredients:
2 1/4 cup super fine brown rice flour
1 1/4 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. fine sea salt

1 cup smooth raw almond butter
1 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup brown rice syrup
2/3 cup plain soymilk

3/4 cup vegan mini chocolate chips

Directions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Stir together the raw almond butter, soy (or other dairy alternative milk), maple syrup and brown syrup in a small bowl. Whisk the superfine brown rice flour, baking soda and sea salt in a larger bowl. Make sure that baking soda is nicely distributed, then form a well in the center and pour the liquid ingredients into the dry, stirring carefully until just combined. Stir in the vegan chocolate chips. Scoop onto cookie sheet in rounded teaspoon-fulls. Bake for 12 minutes.

Retreat Chocolate

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So, I needed one of those desserts that would help the organization holding an afternoon luncheon and work retreat at my house say–wow, I’m never usually this alert, imaginative and creative at 3:30! Think Grand Rapids Coffee Roasters coffee and something chocolate… maybe double chocolate. And throw in some sugar–and some dates, too, in case the sugar doesn’t do the trick.

Most of the time, I’m cooking for health, but this time it’s pure chocolate decadence. A feast day! (Lunch was super healthy… I’ll post about that tomorrow.)

One of my go-to books for this kind of treat is “Sweet Vegan” by Robin Asbell. I didn’t modify the recipe much, so I had my fingers crossed that it was on the web already and, yes indeedy, it is my lucky day–or yours, depending on how you feel about chocolate brownies. You have to go to page three of this article to get it, but it’s worth it.

You will be able to tell from my photo that I didn’t crush the pistachios and create a layer (I wanted to, but I did not have the time–plus someone was not into nuts in the group). I would definitely do that next time as I love pistachios. I also didn’t make the ganache topping (see aforementioned reason). There’s a ton of chocolate in this already. I don’t think it’s necessary, but it is a lovely touch.

And, when Robin called for a tablespoon of baking soda, I balked. I live in fear of my baked goods tasting like baking soda. I put in two scant teaspoons and they rose just fine. You have to make these far enough ahead so that you can cool them and chill them to cut them. But she recommends you serve them at room temperature.

The salty, dense, super-chocolatey treat went over very well!

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German Chocolate Cake

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Happy Vegan Month of Food! Let’s start with some cake.

This cake is so good and so easy.  There are a million recipes for the cake.  Those Depression-era recipe testers have given us great egg-less, dairy-free chocolate cakes.  I have lots of variations, but for the base of this cake, please refer to either this one given to me by friend, Caitlin,  Or this one that I modified from a recipe in Bon Appetit.

I love making this cake for birthdays–and it is also my birthday cake of choice.  I made it for our last supper club to celebrate friend Beth Leeson’s birthday, and I got several requests for the recipe.  After you make and bake your chocolate cake of choice, here’s the topping (which I have modified slightly) from the Chicago Diner cookbook to use less Earth Balance and more other ingredients than called for.  If you don’t have barley malt (which I didn’t recently), see the substitution below.

The big trick here is to quickly spread this on your cake.  It really does firm up quickly, so have everything ready.  You can use the chocolate frosting provided in Caitlin’s recipe on the outside of the cake, or you can choose to be more authentic and just use the coconut-pecan topping.  Either way it is delicious.

German Chocolate Cake Topping (adapted from Chicago Diner)

Ingredients
3 T soy margarine (or coconut oil)
1/2 cup Sucanat (or other raw sugar)
1/2 cup barley malt (or 1/3 cup brown rice syrup and 1/4 cup molasses)
1 cup unsweetened coconut
1 cup chopped pecans
2 eight (or nine) inch chocolate layer cakes, cooled

Directions:
In an iron pan, dry toast the coconut by placing it in the pan and stirring over medium heat. Stay around and watch it. When it begins to turn brown and you smell a nice nutty aroma, remove from pan and set aside.
Melt margarine in a small heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Add sugar and barley malt and stir until incorporated and sugar is melted.
Add other ingredients and stir until well mixed. Divide in half and smooth half over each cake layer. Start by mounding in the middle and spreading outward. This requires a delicate touch so you don’t tear your cake, but it’s the only challenging part. You can do it! Especially for this delicious result.

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Thank you, Chicago Diner! We love you!

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