Tomorrow is my 6th anniversary, which means my husband and I have been together about 10.5 years! In that time we have lived in 6 different states, countless houses, tents, and trailers, bought and sold one house, changed jobs about a million times, had two children, and are now preparing to move across the country again! It’s been fun, and I can’t wait to keep living the dream with my amazing, thoughtful, compassionate, hard working, incredible father of a husband. I love you Aspen Gone Wild.
To celebrate I’m making a short list of my husband’s favorites, and maybe, if he’s lucky, I’ll make one for him in the next few weeks:) This year my husband and I will be spending our anniversary celebrating with my sister-in-law for some of her pre-wedding festivities. I wish her the same love, kindness, and respect that I find in my own marriage. Love you J-dazzle!
I posted a recipe for chocolate chip cookies a long time ago; I have been using the same recipe for ages, and it is delicious! However, in the last year I learned a few things about chocolate chip cookies thanks to Food Lab and my BFF Kenji (yes this friendship is all in my head). The two things that I have incorporated into my recipe are the refrigerate the dough overnight, and to finish the cookies with salt. These two simple steps are a game changer. The texture of the cookies is a bit softer, and they develop a deeper flavor. Yummy. The salt, I feel is just the perfect addition to bring out the flavor of the cookie, and as a counter point to the sweetness.
If you are in a rush you can bake these right away, but I would only bake as many as you need and save the rest of the dough for the next day.
Even Better Chocolate Chip Cookies
1/2 cup neutral flavored oil (I use refined coconut oil)
1/2 cup Earth Balance buttery sticks
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup white sugar
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
3 TBL water
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 – 2 cups chocolate chips
kosher salt, or other coarse salt for finishing
In a medium bowl cream together oil, Earth Balance, brown and white sugar, vanilla extract, and water mixing until smooth and creamy.
Add flour, baking soda, and salt giving dry ingredients a stir before combining with the creamed mixture. Mix dry and creamed mixture just until combined.
Add chocolate chips and stir to incorporate.
Place covered mixture in an airtight container and refrigerate overnight.
The next day remove the cookie dough from the refrigerator and allow to sit for about 20 minutes so you can scoop into it.
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Drop cookie dough by the spoonful onto ungreased cookie sheets leaving 2″ between each cookie.
Bake for 8-10 minutes until golden brown.
Sprinkle cookies with salt, just a few grains per cookie, then transfer from cookie sheet onto cooling rack immediately.
Wait a few minutes before eating to prevent burning your mouth on hot chocolate chips.
I’m from the Midwest, you know, land of “hot dish” (casserole), and cookie bars. Yet, somehow I never had carmelitas until my sister-in-law made them when visiting over a year ago. I have only had them that one time, yet they stuck in my brain. This very comforting combination of caramel, chocolate, and almost and oatmeal cookie crust. I attempted one other time to make them vegan and failed miserably. I didn’t try again until recently, after I had found date caramel . This version of carmelitas are vegan, and much lower sugar than your average bar. They are still sweet, very sweet. In fact they are perfect for breakfast dessert with a cup of coffee. mmm, or mid-afternoon snack with a cup of coffee, Be right back…
Vegan Date Caramel Carmelitas
For the Oat Base and Crumble
3/4 cup butter or margarine, melted (I used Earth Balance)
1/2 cup packed coconut sugar (or brown sugar if that’s what you have)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole-rolled old fashioned oats (not instant or quick cook)
1 teaspoon baking soda
For the Date Caramel
8 oz pitted medjool dates (about 2 cups)
1/4 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup water that the dates were soaking in
1 TBL bourbon (or more date water)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
pinch of salt
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips or chunks (vegan if that’s your jam)
Preheat oven to 350F. Grease an 8×8-inch pan and set aside.
Cover dates with boiling water in a heat proof bowl or measuring cup and set aside for 10 minutes.
Combine the melted “butter”, coconut sugar, and vanilla whisking until smooth.
Add the flour, oats, baking soda, and stir until combined.
Add roughly half of the mixture to the prepared pan and smooth it to form an even layer.
Bake for 10 minutes. While it bakes make the date caramel.
7.Combine the soaked dates, coconut milk, soaking water, vanilla, and salt in a food processor and blend until smooth. This will take a few minutes and you will have to stop and scrape the sides a few times.
After the oat base has cooked for 10 minutes remove it from the oven and dollop the date caramel over the base. Smooth with a spoon or spatula to form one even layer. This is delicate work.
Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the date caramel in an even layer.
Evenly crumble reserved oatmeal-sugar mixture over the top.
Return pan to oven and bake for about 15 to 18 minutes, or until edges are lightly browned and center appears to be set.
Allow bars to cool for a few hours in the pan before slicing and serving.
These are best stored in the refrigerator and are delightful cold or at room temperature.
Sometimes you need a brownie. I gooey, deeply chocolaty, fudgy brownie. Perhaps you want to make a special father in your life something for Father’s Day. Maybe, just maybe, you also want to pretend to do something decent for your body. This is the answer. These are delightful brownies in their own right, and they are gluten free, vegan, and made with black beans! You would never guess that there are beans here, and the texture is a delight. These would be a lovely contribution for any party, grill-out, or picnic.
Vegan Gluten Free Chocolate Brownies Made With Black Beans
Tomorrow is Mother’s Day. there are so many ways to celebrate, but as you would imagine, my favorite way is with food. I’m traveling this weekends so I won’t be cooking, but I hope you are! I was lucky enough to celebrate Mother’s Day with my mom and 2/3 of my brothers a few weeks ago when I was visiting “home.” My brothers and I took my mom out without any of our spouses or children. It was a delightfully relaxed meal:)
If you are cooking a Mother’s Day Brunch I have a few suggestions for you, all that I would be more than happy to receive if someone were cooking for me.
I know I just posted yesterday, but this is worth it, I promise. A dark chocolate vegan french toast, topped with buttery bourbon date caramel and crunchy, salted pecans. Oh man, yes you want this. All components are surprisingly easy to make, you know, if you wanted to make someone special a Sunday brunch next weekend…
4 slices bread of choice, I recommend something on the rustic side
Coconut oil for cooking -or other oil
Whisk together the aquafaba, milk, maple syrup, and vanilla in a large shallow bowl until frothy.
Add the cocoa powder and whisk until combined.
Heat a large skillet over medium low heat. I use my cast iron, other’s have recommended a non-stick skillet if you don’t have cast iron.
Dip bread into the aquafaba mixture and let it sit for about 30 seconds to soak up some deliciousness.
Add oil and swirl to coat the bottom of the pan.
Transfer bread to the hot pan (I can cook two pieces at a time in my pan), and cook until the first side is firm and starting to brown, about 3-5 minutes. Flip and cook on the second side until it is also starting to brown and has firmed up.
Serve with bourbon date caramel and chopped pecans.
Bourbon Date Caramel
1/2 cup prepared date caramel
2 TBL vegan butter ( I use Earth Balance)
1/4 cup coconut milk (full fat from a can)
1 TBL bourbon
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
Heat ingredients together in a small pan over low heat stirring frequently.
This perfect delightful, refined sugar free, vegan, paleo, and gluten free. This date caramel would be described as; rich, decadent, sweet, satisfying, and is made from very simple ingredients and comes together in a flash. I have been working on a few ways to use it, but highly recommend this as a start to your favorite dish featuring caramel. Pictured here it is served over sweet potato pancakes with coconut whipped cream. A dish to impress.
For my sweet potato pancakes I used this recipe, but substituted sweet potato puree for the pumpkin, and took out the spices. Your favorite pancakes would also be perfect here, or use this recipe for an guide to find your perfect pancake.
8oz (about 2 cups) dates pitted and halved
Boiling water to cover dates
2 TBL coconut milk (full fat from a can)
2-4 TBL hot water depending on how fresh and juicy your dates are
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
pinch of salt
Pour boiling water over dates, just enough to cover them. Let them sit for 10 minutes or so until soft.
Drain dates and reserve the water.
Place drained dates, coconut milk, 2 TBL of the hot water, vanilla, and salt in a food processor or blender.
Puree until smooth adding hot water a tablespoon at a time until it reaches the consistency you desire.
Pour over just about anything for a delicious treat.
Who wants fresh, fragrant cinnamon rolls? Ohh, I do, pretty much every day! For several reasons I try to save them for special occasions, such as Easter. I have tweaked my recipe a bit to make it a little easier and give more consistent results. I also did some experimentation with various sugar free options, but haven’t perfect them yet. I’m happy to give suggestions if you leave a comment with a question, but I need to make a few more batches before I share the results.
These are soft, pillowy, cinnamon filled, sweet nuggets of goodness. Perfect to make the day before and let rise in the refrigerator overnight and bake off in the morning just in time for breakfast.
Because there are a few steps here that are a bit hard to explain I have made a video.
In the bowl of your stand mixer whisk the egg replacer and water until smooth- set aside
In a small saucepan heat together the milk, Earth Balance, sugar and salt until the butter is almost melted.
Remove from heat and stir until butter is melted. Make sure this mixture is warm, not hot or it will kill the yeast.
Add 3 cups of the flour and yeast to the egg replacer/water mixture.
Add the warm milk mixture and mix with the paddle attachment for 2 minutes. If you don’t have a stand mixer you can do this by hand.
Switch to the dough hook and mix, adding flour 1/2 cup at a time until the dough forms a ball and no longer sticks to the sides of the bowl.
Remove the dough hook and drizzle olive oil over the ball of dough, cover with a damp towel and set aside to rise for 1-2 hours.
Once dough has doubled in size, punch it down then allow it to rest for 10 minutes.
While dough is resting combine the filling ingredients and set aside.
Place dough on a lightly floured surface and roll dough into a rectangle about 18″ by 12″.
Spread the filling mixture evenly over the dough, all the way to the edges.
Roll dough into a log and slice into buns, as large as you like. I like mine to be about 1 1/2″ thick.
Place buns on a rimmed baking sheet or pan close enough to almost touch each other. Line the baking sheet with parchment paper (for easier cleanup).
Let the the rolls rise until almost doubled in size, about and hour. Alternately at this point cover the rolls with cling wrap and store in the refrigerator overnight. They will slowly rise there. In the morning set the on the counter as your oven preheats and proceed as usual.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Bake rolls for 20-30 minutes depending on their size, until golden brown.
While the rolls are cooking combine the confectioners’ sugar, vanilla and milk stirring until smooth.
When rolls are cooked remove from oven and drizzle with icing.
Who doesn’t love green food? Oh, yeah, toddlers. Well, except mine who things it needs to be green to be edible! These yummy muffins are packed with vegetables, take their sweetness from the dates, and are good enough I was sneaking them when my daughter wasn’t looking. These are quite green from all the vegetables and would be perfect to introduce on St. Patrick’s Day if you have a picky eater. Also perfect to bring to work to nourish you throughout the day to prepare you for your evening activities. Spread a little almond butter on these and you have yourself a meal.
Spinach Zucchini Muffins -date sweetened
Makes 12 regular muffins
1/2 cup finely chopped dates (about 5-7 dates)
hot water to cover dates
1 1/2 cups spelt flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup coconut oil
1 packed cup fresh baby spinach
1 TBL chia seeds
2 cups grated zucchini
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 and prepare a muffin pan with paper liners or by lightly oiling the pan.
Place chopped dates in a glass measuring cup, pour boiling water over the top just to cover the dates, and set aside to soften, about 5 minutes.
In a mixing bowl combine all of the dry ingredients, flour through cinnamon.
When dates are soft place them, the soaking water, coconut oil, and the baby spinach in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.
Pour date mixture into bowl with dry ingredients, add chia seeds, zucchini, and vanilla stirring to combine.
Divide the batter evenly into prepared muffin tine and bake 18-20 minutes until tops turn golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center of one comes out clean.
Remove from the pan and allow to cool a bit before eating.