{Recipe} Chocolate, Raspberry and Walnut Cupcakes

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Just over a week ago, the school-aged tiny vegans were invited to three birthday parties (between them) in one weekend. Clearly, they have a busier social life than I do. I count myself lucky if I meet a friend for coffee once a week. ūüôā

I baked a batch of simple muffins as substitutes for the non-vegan birthday cakes. I chose a chocolate, raspberry and walnut combination, using my ‘tried and tested’ chocolate cake recipe as a guide.

Mat and 7-year-old Tiny Vegan took two muffins to the first party of the weekend.

I decided to complicate matters by whipping up a chocolate icing for the remaining muffins – thus, transforming them into cupcakes. I finished with a flourish of vegan 100s and 1000s.

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Children love sprinkles.

On the other hand, I was delighted by the taste of rich chocolate, hints of raspberry and a crunch of walnut. OK….I was charmed by the sprinkles as well. ūüôā

I have to be honest with you.¬†After a month of gluten-free baking for Vegan MoFo, I thoroughly enjoyed returning to gluten-loaded baking. It felt comfortable and safe. Importantly, I could toss my frozen raspberries into the batter with wild abandon, without worrying that the batter would freeze. ūüôā

chocrasp3Ingredients

(yield – 15 cupcakes or muffins)

2 cups plain wholemeal wheat flour

1 cup raw sugar

1/3 cup raw cacao powder (or cocoa powder)

1 1/2 tsp baking soda, sifted

1 1/2 Tbsp white vinegar

1/2 cup sunflower oil

1 1/4 cup cold water

2 tsp pure vanilla extract

1/4 cup chopped organic frozen raspberries

1/3 cup chopped raw walnuts

vegan 100s and 1000s (sprinkles) for decoration

For the frosting:

2 cups pure icing sugar, sifted

3 Tbsp raw cacao powder (or cocoa powder)

1/4 cup coconut butter

1 Tbsp organic extra virgin coconut oil

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

2 Tbsp hot water

2 Tbsp tinned coconut cream

Method

1. Pre-heat oven to 350F/180C (160C fan forced oven). Arrange silicone baking cups on a baking tray, or grease muffin tray(s).

2. To a large mixing bowl, add flour, cacao powder, sugar and baking soda. Mix well.

3. In a small mixing bowl, add water, oil, vanilla and vinegar. Mix well with a fork.

4. Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl of dry ingredients. Mix until ingredients are well combined. Gently fold in the raspberries and walnuts, using a spatula.

5. Scoop batter into silicone baking cups (or muffin tray).

6. Bake cupcakes for approximately 14-16 minutes. To test whether they are cooked, insert a skewer into the centre of a cupcake. If the skewer comes out clean, or with only a couple of dry crumbs attached, they are ready. Allow the cupcakes to cool for 10 minutes before removing them from the cups (or tray). Allow the cupcakes to cool completely on a cooling rack before putting them into large, colourful patty pan (paper) cases, and applying the icing.

7. For the icing: To a medium mixing bowl, add the icing sugar and cacao powder. Mix well.

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

9. Beat the mixture with an electric beater until the ingredients are well combined. The mixture will appear clumpy at this stage.

10. Add the coconut cream. Use a spatula or metal spoon to stir the icing to a smooth consistency. Add additional coconut cream, one teaspoon at a time, if you prefer a runnier consistency.

11. Apply the icing to each cupcake, using a small knife. Sprinkle the cupcakes with 100s and 1000s before the icing sets.

Store leftover cupcakes in a sealed container. I don’t refrigerate my cupcakes, but you may decide to do that if your kitchen is very hot and you are worried that the icing may melt.

***

If you prefer an icing that is free of coconut-based ingredients, refer to the chocolate icing recipe listed here.

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Every Monday, I feature a delicious vegan recipe that is enjoyed by my own family. I hope your family enjoys it too! 

Ally¬†ūüôā

{Recipe} Pecan Date Nibblers | Cinnamon Date Slice

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Both of these recipes feature dates. One is raw, one is baked. Both are suitable for school lunchboxes, or an afternoon snack. Cinnamon Date Slice is gluten free and refined sugar-free, with an oil free option. My children adore this slice.

Pecan Date Nibblers are wheat free, oil free, and refined sugar-free. There is a variation to make them gluten-free. They are very popular in my household.  The recipe lists lemon or orange zest as optional. I always use orange zest. I think it should be compulsory! The orange flavour is very appealing.

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Pecan Date Nibblers

Recipe from: Let them Eat Vegan by Dreena Burton (yes, another Dreena recipe!).

Quantity: 12-15

Recipe available here.

***

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Cinnamon Date Slice

Adapted from a recipe in Fresh Blends, the book that accompanied our Blendtec blender.

Quantity: 20 squares

Ingredients:

2/3 cup raw almonds

2/3 cup raw macadamia nuts

1 cup ground flax seeds 

1 1/2 Tbsp cinnamon

1/8 tsp sea salt

1/2 cup date paste, store bought or homemade (recipe below)

1/3 cup sultanas

1/4 cup walnuts, chopped

1 Tbsp agave syrup (or maple syrup)

Topping: 2 Tbsp ground almonds, 2 Tbsp shredded coconut, 1-2 Tbsp sunflower seeds, 20 walnut pieces.

Method

1. Add almonds, macadamia nuts, cinnamon, and sea salt to a food processor, and process until nuts are ground.

2. Add nut mixture and ground flax seeds to a large mixing bowl. Mix well.

3. Add date paste and agave (or maple) syrup to the mixing bowl, and stir until incorporated.

4. Add sultanas and walnuts. Mix well.

5. Line a large baking dish with baking paper* (parchment) and scoop the mixture into the dish. Flatten the mixture with the back of a large spoon.

6. Sprinkle the top with ground almonds, shredded coconut, and sunflower seeds.

7. Refrigerate (or place in the freezer) for a few hours before cutting into 20 squares. Place a walnut piece on each square. Store slice in fridge or freezer.

Date Paste

Quantity – approximately 1 cup

Ingredients:

10 dates, pitted

2 Tbsp agave syrup (or maple syrup)

2 Tbsp coconut oil (optional, but the slice is drier without it)

1/4 cup dried apricots

1 cup of water (for soaking dates)

Method

1. Soak dates in water for 1-2 hours. Reserve 1/4 cup of the soaking water for step 2.

2. In a small food processor, add ingredients in the following order: soaking water, dates, agave (maple) syrup, coconut oil, and dried apricots.

3. Process until smooth.

Store the leftover date paste in the fridge. Date paste is yummy on bread or crackers, with macadamia butter.

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* I had run out of baking paper on this occasion. It is much easier to extract the slice from the dish if you use baking paper, but it is not essential.

Each Monday, I feature a couple of delicious vegan recipes that are enjoyed by my own family. I hope your family enjoys them too!

Ally

{Recipe} Tamari-roasted Chickpeas | Nutty Veggie Burgers

My eldest children returned to school last week after 7 weeks of summer school holidays.

We spent the last week of the holidays at Burleigh Heads, on the Gold Coast. One highlight of the holiday was a ‘sky walk’ at North Tambourine in the Gold Coast hinterland.

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The walk commences on an elevated steel ‘bridge’, entering directly into the middle and upper canopy of the rainforest (photo, top left). It gradually descends to the rainforest floor, where we followed a designated track until we reached a creek (which was flowing fast after recent heavy rain; photo below).

creek

A highlight of the walk is a free-standing cantilever – 30 metres above the creek bed.

The cantilever sways from side to side as you walk out to the farthest reaches (hence why Mat is holding onto the railing in the photo above). This precarious swaying provides excitement for kids and adults!

After our skywalk adventure, we returned to Cardamon Pod Vegetarian for a late lunch of raw desserts and smoothies. The photos speak for themselves, but I have to tell you – the Tiramisu is amazing!

We spoke to the staff member who made the raw desserts. She told me that she uses coconut oil to ‘set’ the cheesecakes. She uses agave, dates and coconut sugar to sweeten the desserts. ¬†The Tiramisu contains ground coffee beans.

I also ordered a Byron Chai smoothie but while I was distracted talking about raw desserts, Mousse Boy launched in and devoured most of it. I barely got a sip, let alone a photo! The desserts were served with fruit and coconut milk ice cream.

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***

I apologise for tantalising you with pictures of mango cheesecake and mousse. How can a veggie burger compete? Even¬†if it is a Dreena Burton veggie burger! In fact, both of today’s featured recipes are delicious Dreena Burton creations.

Back to School

The end of the school holidays signals the return of a ubiquitous feature of daily school life – The Lunchbox. Oh, how I relished a 7 week break from preparing school lunches.

Today, I am highlighting two recipes that are suitable for lunchboxes – Tamari-roasted Chickpeas and Nutty Veggie Burgers.

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Tamari-roasted Chickpeas

These chickpeas are very moreish and scrumptious – I enjoy snacking on them. They are quick and simple to prepare, and delicious eaten by the handful or tossed into a salad.

You can use canned chickpeas, but I prefer to use dried chickpeas that I have soaked and cooked. The recipe is gluten-free and has an oil-free option (I omit the oil).

This scrumptious recipe is available  here.

***

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Nutty Veggie Burgers

Gluten-free

Yields 5-6 large patties or 10 small patties

Recipe available here.

Amendments that I make when preparing these burgers:

  • I double the quantities of dried sage and dried thyme (I don’t use poultry seasoning).
  • I use salt-free tomato paste rather than tomato sauce (ketchup).
  • I use 1 cup of rolled oats.
  • I omit the garlic.

The Tiny Vegan’s Verdict

My daughter enjoys these burgers. ¬†They can be eaten hot or cold. When I pack one in her lunch box, I include a small container of hummus. I pack the burger on a bed of baby spinach, accompanied by ‘vegie sticks’ – carrots, capsicum and cucumber (not photographed). Unfortunately, our Least Adventurous Eater isn’t keen on these burgers. He prefers marinated tofu.¬†Little Baker likes them broken into small pieces. Easy and tasty finger food!

Mat raves about these veggie burgers. I agree, they are very tasty.

Occasionally, I double the recipe and freeze a batch of uncooked patties. Healthy fast food!

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Every Monday I post a delicious vegan recipe (or two!), that is enjoyed by (most of!) my own family  РI hope your family enjoys it too!

Ally

[edited on 20 August 2013, to provide link to nutty veggie burgers recipe.]

{Recipe} Nut Roast with Lemon and Garlic Stuffing

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Nut Roast with Lemon and Garlic Stuffing is a versatile, cruelty-free dish for Christmas.  It serves 4-6 people, and is delicious accompanied by a homemade tomato-based sauce. It can be frozen cooked or uncooked. Nut roast can be enjoyed hot or cold.

This nut roast is adapted from a recipe in the pages of the very first vegan cook book that I owned. The book was pre-loved when it came in to my life in the mid-90’s. The Vegan Health Plan: A Practical Guide to Healthy Living by Amanda Sweet was published in England in 1987 (this book is now out of print):

The Vegan Health Plan

As you can see, my copy is very well-loved and well-worn. Held together with masking tape!

I have been making this nut roast for Christmas day lunch for over a decade. Mat enjoys it, as do two of our children. Unfortunately, our Least Adventurous Eater is not susceptible to the charm that is nut roast. Suffice to say, it is popular with vegans and non-vegans alike.

On Friday morning, I awoke to rain and a mild day. Perfect weather for using the oven. I knew it was my nut roast day! After dropping the kids at school, I carted my ingredients and my two littlest boys to my parents’ house for a morning of cooking.

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Ingredients

225g/8oz  finely ground nuts (I use a combo of pecan, walnut, almond. I use a food processor to grind raw whole nuts, but you can take a short cut by purchasing nut meal if you prefer.)

100g/3.5oz wholemeal breadcrumbs (I process slices of wholemeal bread in a food processor)

1 medium onion, chopped

1 heaped Tbsp wholemeal flour

150 ml non-dairy milk (I use soy or almond)

150ml vegetable stock (I use half a Massel salt-reduced vegetable stock cube dissolved in150ml water)

1Tbsp tamari or soy sauce

1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg

Black pepper

for the stuffing:

75g/2.5oz wholemeal breadcrumbs

50g/1.5oz vegan margarine, melted

1/2 small onion, finely grated

2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley

1 clove garlic, minced

1 tsp lemon juice

1/2 Tbsp lemon zest

Method

1. Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees C/350 F. Grease and line a  loaf tin with baking paper.

Make the nut meat mixture first:

2.  In a large saucepan, saute the onion in a tablespoon or two of water, until soft. Add the flour, stir and cook for 1 minute.

3. Remove saucepan from heat and gradually add the milk and stock, stirring continuously to avoid lumps. Return to the heat and bring to the boil, stirring continuously until the sauce has thickened.

4. Add the tamari (soy sauce), nutmeg and pepper. Stir well.

5. Add the nuts and breadcrumbs to the saucepan and mix thoroughly to form a thick but moist mixture.

6. Prepare the stuffing: In a medium mixing bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients, then add the wet ingredients, and mix well.

7.  Put half of the nut meat mixture into the loaf tin and press down firmly with your hands or a spatula. Pile the stuffing on top and press down with your hands or a spatula. Lastly, put the remaining nut meat mixture on top of the stuffing and smooth the top.

8. Bake for approximately 60 minutes until the loaf is brown and firm (in my oven, it is ready at the 55 min mark). Cool slightly in the tin before removing.

9. Turn the nut roast out onto a board or plate, upside down (ie. the bottom of the nut roast when it was in the loaf tin, is now the top).  Garnish with lemon wedges and parsley sprigs.

If freezing the nut roast, ensure that you thaw it before baking.

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Each Monday, I feature a delicious vegan recipe Рone that is enjoyed by my own family. I hope your family enjoys it too. 

Ally

[post updated on 13 Nov 2013]

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