{Recipe; Vegan MoFo} Nutty Cinnamon Bites

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Ingredients

1/4 cup pecans

1/2 cup walnuts

1/4 cup pumpkin seeds (pepitas)

3 tsp raw carob powder (or raw cacao powder)

1 Tbsp organic coconut sweet spread* OR 1 Tbsp smooth nut butter

1/2 cup pitted medjool dates (about 5 large)

3/4 tsp ground cinnamon

Method

1. Add walnuts to a food processor, and process for 10 seconds.

2. Add pecans, pumpkin seeds, carob powder, dates, coconut spread, and cinnamon. Process for about 60 seconds. Do not over-process, as the nuts will release their oils and the bites will be greasy to touch.

3.  Press the mixture into silicone molds and place in the freezer for a couple of hours before serving.

4. Alternatively, roll the mixture into balls and coat in shredded coconut, almond meal or ground sunflower seeds, then refrigerate for half an hour before serving.

I store leftover balls in the fridge, and leftover bites in the freezer.

I use my limited range of silicone molds – hearts and Easter egg shapes – for most of the mixture. I roll the remaining mixture into balls, and coat them in almond meal or ground sunflower seeds.

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My school-age kids are permitted to bring nuts to school in their lunchboxes, but peanuts are prohibited. My son’s pre-school excludes all nuts and peanuts.

For packing in lunchboxes, I prefer to roll the mixture into balls, as they are more sturdy. However, I have packed the bites in lunchboxes (inside an insulated bag), and my daughter assures me that they stay intact until ‘little lunch’ (when she eats them).

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* Organic coconut sweet spread. Ingredients: organic coconut, organic extra virgin coconut oil, organic coconut nectar.

***

Ally

{Recipe; Vegan MoFo} Carob chai-spice cupcakes

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Have you had the misfortune of biting into a scrumptious looking gluten-free cupcake, only to discover that it tasted as flavoursome as a scrap of cardboard? Unfortunately, I have.

I am happy to report that carob chai-spice cupcakes are decadent and delicious – and totally unlike cardboard!

Last week, I baked vanilla banana muffins, using a Dreena Burton gluten-free cake recipe. I was impressed with the texture of the muffins, and the fact that they were still light and fluffy two days after baking. My kids enjoyed the muffins, and they made a great lunchbox treat.

The vanilla banana muffins had a subtle flavour, and I knew that the recipe would make a great base for a range of other flavours. So, in my desire to bake a gluten-free cupcake for a school function this weekend, I used the recipe as a guide. I wanted a stronger flavour, so I added raw carob powder and chai spices, including freshly grated nutmeg and ground cardamon.

The caramel-coloured frosting consists of raw carob powder and cinnamon. The smooth, creamy texture is achieved by combining coconut in three of its varieties – coconut butter, coconut oil and coconut cream.

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Ingredients

(yields 14 cupcakes)

1 cup millet flour

3/4 cup white rice flour

1/4 cup tapioca starch

1/2 tsp xanthan gum

1/2 tsp agar powder 

1/2 tsp baking soda, sifted

2 tsp gluten-free baking powder, sifted

3/4 cup raw sugar

1/2 tsp salt

1 1/2 Tbsp raw carob powder (or raw cacao powder)

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg

A generous pinch of ground cardamon

A generous pinch of ground cloves

1 cup + 2 Tbsp unsweetened almond milk

3/4 cup pureed ripe bananas

1 Tbsp vinegar

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/3 cup sunflower oil

desiccated coconut (for decoration), optional

For the frosting:

2 cups pure icing sugar, sifted

3 Tbsp raw carob powder (or cacao powder)

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 cup coconut butter

1 Tbsp organic extra virgin coconut oil

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 Tbsp hot water

1- 2 Tbsp tinned coconut cream

Method

1. Pre-heat oven to 180C/350F. Grease a muffin tin or prepare silicone baking cups on a baking tray. I use a combination of round and square silicone baking cups.

2. To a large mixing bowl, add millet flour, white rice flour, tapioca starch, xanthan gum, agar powder, baking soda, baking powder, sugar, salt, carob powder and all of the spices. Mix well.

3. In a medium mixing bowl, add the pureed banana (I use an immersion blender to puree the ripe bananas), almond milk, vinegar, vanilla extract, and oil. Mix well with a fork or whisk.

4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Mix well with a spatula, but avoid over-stirring. Stop mixing once the ingredients are combined.

5. Scoop the batter into the muffin tray or silicone baking cups. Use the spatula to smooth the top of each cupcake.

6. Bake the cupcakes for 16-20 mins, until lightly golden. Insert a skewer into the centre of one of the cupcakes to test whether they are baked. If the skewer comes out clean, they are ready. Allow cupcakes to cool for 10 minutes before removing from tray or cups. Then, transfer to a wire rack and allow them to cool completely before applying the frosting.

7. Once cooled, transfer cupcakes to cupcake papers (patty pan papers) for serving.

8. For the frosting: In a medium mixing bowl, add sifted icing sugar, carob powder and cinnamon.

In a small bowl, add the coconut butter, coconut oil, 1 tablespoon of hot water and vanilla extract. Stir well. Then add the coconut butter mixture to the bowl of icing sugar.

Add the second tablespoon of hot water to the bowl, and beat the mixture with an electric beater. Initially, the mixture will appear clumpy.

Add a tablespoon of coconut cream. Put the electric beater aside, and use a spatula to mix the icing to a smooth consistency. You may need to add another tablespoon of coconut cream to reach the desired consistency (I used 2 Tbsp). 

8. Apply frosting to each cupcake, using a small knife. Sprinkle some or all of the cupcakes with desiccated coconut.

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By all means, replace the carob powder with equal amounts of cocoa or raw cacao powder. Chocolate chai cupcakes would be delectable!

I purchased many of the above-mentioned ingredients (including millet flour, carob powder, coconut butter, and xanthan gum) at a local health food store. Other ingredients, like white rice flour, are available in supermarkets. I purchased the agar (otherwise known as agar agar) at an Asian grocery store.

Only one of the Tiny Vegans had the opportunity to taste the cupcakes. She gave them an enthusiastic ‘thumbs-up’.

Ally

{Recipe; Vegan MoFo} Carob Cinnamon Chia Pudding

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I served the tiny vegans a decadent breakfast today. Yes, on a weekday morning. Weren’t they lucky?!

Thanks Vegan MoFo for keeping me motivated and inspired to experiment with new recipes. Even at 7am. 🙂

The tiny vegans usually eat porridge (oatmeal) for breakfast, with soy or rice milk, ground flax seeds, ground chia seeds, and a drizzle of maple syrup. Sometimes they have toast. Occasionally they have porridge, followed by toast. You get the gist. 🙂
chiapud2Today they all had Carob Cinnamon Chia Pudding. I whipped it up in less than 5 minutes in a high-speed blender, and refrigerated it for 20 minutes before serving.

This is my first experience with chia pudding. I was delighted by the simple and quick preparation.*

When I first read about chia pudding, I was a little underwhelmed. But I have since discovered that a mediocre sounding dessert actually makes a fancy breakfast. 🙂

chiapud3The pudding contains almond milk (unsweetened), medjool dates, raw carob powder, cinnamon, vanilla extract, black chia seeds, and white chia seeds.

I made a few changes to Dreena Burton’s Chocolate Coconut Chia Pudding. Her recipe is available here.

The changes include:

  • Using raw carob powder instead of cocoa powder.
  • Omitting the shredded coconut from the pudding mixture.
  • Adding 1/8 tsp of ground cinnamon to the blender jug with the other ingredients.
  • Dividing the mixture between 3 small serving dishes prior to refrigeration, rather than adding it to a single, large bowl.
  • Sprinkling the top of the puddings with desiccated coconut and almond meal prior to refrigeration, and adding sliced strawberries prior to serving.

Also, I opted to use only (medjool) dates to sweeten the pudding, and did not add the ‘optional’ coconut sugar, maple syrup or choc chips. I used a combination of black and white chia seeds.

The recipe makes 3 small (child-sized) serves.  Next time, I’ll double the batch to ensure that the adults don’t miss out. I had to be content with devouring the pudding mixture left behind in the blender jug. 🙂

This is definitely a viable weekday breakfast option, and I am keen to try other flavour combinations.

The Tiny Vegans’ Verdicts

My daughter was the first to discover that chia pudding awaited her on this glorious spring morning.

Her verdict: ‘This is the BEST’!

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Look at that determination!

I gave Little Baker a couple of tablespoons worth (that I pinched from 4-year-old Tiny Vegan’s dish), and he went to work on it enthusiastically.

6-year-old Tiny Vegan requested additional strawberries.

4-year-old Tiny Vegan was thrilled to be given something resembling dessert for breakfast.

6-year-old Tiny Vegan appeared to be taking his time. After eating about a third of his pudding, he announced:

‘Mummy I do like it… but you know when you eat too much of something you like that it starts to taste yucky’.

Perhaps it was too rich for him.

It appears to be quite filling. My daughter and 4- year-old Tiny Vegan did not require additional breakfast.  6-year-old Tiny Vegan had a small bowl of porridge.

Little Baker, his face smeared in pudding, called out ‘more’, ‘more’, so we gave him his brother’s leftovers. That worked out well. 🙂

* The photography took longer than the active preparation stage. 🙂

What mediocre dessert do you regard as a decadent breakfast? 

Ally

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