Friday, 29 March 2013

Perfect Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

I'm struggling with going gluten free. As in, I keep eating gluten stuff and being like 'oops!' and then wondering why I get a tummy ache...I know, it's terrible. So I'm trying to sort it out! I'm going to try my best to eat gluten free, and I think this cookie recipe is really going to help me along!

To me these are perfect chocolate chip cookies. Crunchy on the outside, soft and chewy on the inside, deliciously flavoured with vanilla, and speckled with generous chunks of dark chocolate.

Not only are they delicious, they are also sorta good for you! They are made using chickpea flour (gram flour) which is very high in protein and iron! Doesn't mean you should eat the whole batch, but you know you are getting something good when you tuck into one of these babies.

Makes 24 medium sized cookies
Recipe adapted from here

1/2C light brown sugar
1/4C white sugar
2/3C vegetable oil
1/4C dairy free milk
1Tbsp cornflour
2Tbsp vanilla extract
3/4C gluten free plain flour
1 1/2-2C gram flour
1/2tsp baking soda
1/2tsp salt
3/4C dark chocolate chips/chunks

In a medium mixing bowl whisk together the sugars, oil, milk, cornflour and vanilla until the mixture is nice and smooth. Add the plain flour and 1 1/2C of the gram flour and the baking soda and salt and mix well. You want the mixture to be quite stiff as you are going to roll it into balls, so it needs to not be too sticky to handle, so add another 1/2C of flour if it is not stiff enough. Fold in the chocolate chips and refrigerate for 30mins. 

Preheat the oven to 350/175. Line a baking tray with grease-proof paper and set aside.

Remove the dough from the fridge and, using an ice cream scoop to portion the dough out, roll into balls and flatten into disks. Place on the baking tray and bake for 12mins, until the outsides are crisp but the insides are still nice and soft. Using a spatula, transfer the cookies from the baking tray onto a wire rack to cool. (Although they are super delicious warm!)

Store in an airtight container for up to a week.

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Strawberry Cheesecake with a Ginger-nut Crust

Now I know what you're thinking. I made another cheesecake. I know. But since making the Chocolate Fudge Cheesecake, I've been dying to make a vanilla one. I haven't been able to bake for a while as I've been ill, so the day I started to feel better I knew exactly what I wanted to bake! And that, my friends, was cheesecake. Vegan cheesecake. I always thought that cheesecakes were really tricky to make, let alone to veganize! But this recipe is really simple and provides fantastic results! The hardest part is having the patience to leave it to set overnight!

A delicately spiced ginger-nut crust topped with a velvety smooth, creamy vanilla filling with a hint of lemon, finished with a sweet and fruity strawberry sauce. Heavenly.

Makes 1 9inch Cheesecake
Recipe adapted from here

For the base
1 1/2C ground ginger biscuits (I used ginger thins)
1/4C sugar
1/4C vegan margarine 

For the filling
3 tubs vegan cream cheese
1C silken tofu
1 1/2C sugar
1/4C cornstarch
Egg Substitute for 2 eggs
2Tbsp vanilla extract
Grated zest of 1 lemon

For the sauce
1 large punnet of strawberries
3/4C sugar

Preheat the oven to 350/175 and fill a baking tray with water, place it in the bottom of the oven.
In a small mixing bowl combine the crust ingredients and stir thoroughly until the mixture resembles wet sand. Grease your springform pan with margarine and press the base mixture firmly into the bottom of the pan, making the base as even as possible.
Bake the base for 5mins and then set aside to cool as you make the filling.

Using an electric mixer or a standalone mixer, beat the cream cheese and tofu on high speed until creamy. Add the sugar and cornstarch and beat again for 2mins. Add the egg substitute, vanilla and lemon zest and beat for another few minutes until the mixture is light and fluffy. Scrape down the bowl and pour into the prepared crust.

Bake in the middle of the oven for 70-80mins, until the edges are set and the center still has a wiggle.
Leave to cool on a wire rack for 2 hours and then place in the fridge for at least 4 hours or overnight until completely set.

Before serving, make the sauce. Chop all of the strawberries in half. Pour one half into a blender (or use a hand blender) and purée. Add the sugar and blitz again until smooth. Mix the sauce into the remaining strawberry halves and set aside for 20mins. 

Your cheesecake will have a high crust, so you can pour the strawberry sauce in the middle without it going over the edges, carefully remove from the tin and serve.

Keep in the fridge, covered, for up to 3 days.

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Oreo Based Chocolate Fudge Cheesecake

I made a cheesecake. A vegan cheesecake. An awesome vegan cheesecake.
I'm in cheesecake heaven right now.

I've never made a vegan cheesecake before, but I've been craving it for a while so I thought I'd better give it a go! And oh my!

PS-don't be put off by the tofu! You won't taste it, I promise!

Makes 1 9inch cheesecake
Adapted from here

For the crust
1 1/2C oreo cookie crumbs (I scraped the cream out of a pack of oreos and then crushed the biscuits)
3Tbsp sugar
4Tbsp dairy free spread, melted

For the filling
1 1/2C sugar
1/3C water
8oz dark chocolate
1 pack silken tofu
1/8C cocoa powder
1 pack vegan cream cheese

Make the crust
Preheat oven to 350. Grease a spring-form tin and set aside.
Mix together all the crust ingredients and press into the pan, making sure the base is even and smooth.
Bake for around 15mins and then leave to cool while you make the filling.

Make the filling
Heat 1C sugar over a medium heat, stirring to heat sugar evenly, until the sugar starts to melt. Stop stirring and cook until a dark amber, swirling the pan to ensure even cooking. Remove from the heat and add the water (the mixture will bubble and hiss, don't be scared!) Return to the heat and stir until the caramel has dissolved and is smooth. Remove from the heat and add the chocolate, stirring until the fudge sauce is smooth and thick. Set aside to cool slightly.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the rest of the filling ingredients and mix well. Then purée until smooth using a hand blender or a food processor. Add the fudge sauce and mix well until everything is combined and as smooth as possible. (The fudge sauce hardens up when you add it to the tofu mixture, but continue to blitz and get it as smooth as you can, don't worry if there are little lumps, they disappear after baking)
Pour the filling onto the base and smooth over with a spoon. Bake in the oven (still at 350) for an hour. The cheesecake should be very shiny on top, but still wobbly. Turn the oven off, with the cheesecake still inside, and leave for a further hour.
Remove from the oven and leave on the counter to cool. Once cooled, refrigerate for 6 hours or overnight.

Before serving carefully remove from the tin and slice.

Friday, 8 March 2013

Cream Cheese Mints with Dark Chocolate

Did you ever make mint fondants as a child? 
One of my fondest memories of my childhood is sitting at the kitchen table making peppermint pigs with my Mum and Sister. It was great fun, and tasty too!

This is a sort of grown up version of that. As you may have noticed, they are not pig shaped. (Although I couldn't resist keeping them pink, for old times sake) 

These little morsels are creamy, sweet and indulgent. Finished with a generous drizzle of bittersweet dark chocolate for good measure.

Makes 70 pieces

1/4C vegan cream cheese
4-5C powdered fondant sugar
1tsp peppermint extract
Dash of vegan red food coloring 

1/2C powdered sugar
1/2tsp silver edible glitter (optional)
50g dark chocolate

In a stand alone electric mixer, mix the cream cheese with the colour and the peppermint extract until smooth. Then add the powdered fondant sugar a cup at a time, continuing to whisk until it is almost too stiff for the mixer. 
Line a chopping board with a sheet of grease proof paper. Mix the glitter into the powdered sugar in a small bowl and set aside. Sprinkle a little of the powdered sugar onto the grease proof paper and plop a heaped tablespoon of the fondant mixture onto the paper. Roll in the sugar to coat, and make into a sausage by rolling it with your hands. Stretch it out until it is about 1/2 an inch thick and then chop into bite sized pieces. Roll the individual pieces in the sugar/glitter mixture and place on a tray lined with grease proof paper.  Repeat until all of the mixture is gone.
Finish by melting the chocolate in the microwave and then drizzling it over the mints. Refrigerate for around an hour and then serve.

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Peanut Butter Oreo Chunk Cookies

This is the simplest cookie recipe. Seriously. 
It's also one of the best flavor combinations ever. 
Peanut butter + oreos = Heaven in a cookie.
I also used olive oil in this recipe instead of that makes them healthy, right!?

These cookies are super chunky, crunchy and chewy. 
They also make your entire house smell amazing.

Makes 16 cookies

1 1/2C plain flour
1C peanut butter (I used smooth but if you like your PB crunchy, that's fine with me)
3/4C demerara sugar
1/4C olive oil
1Tbsp ground flax + 2tsp water
1/4-1/3C cold water
6 oreo cookies

PS: oreos are vegan in the UK now. I know. Just make sure to check the ingredients as all of the old batches may not be sold out yet!

Preheat your oven to 400f/200c and line a baking tray with grease proof paper.
Dump all of the ingredients apart from the oreos into a large mixing bowl and stir until the mixture comes together, adding water if the dough gets too stiff.
Chop the oreos into quarters and fold into the dough. Then using an ice cream scoop, plop balls of the dough onto the baking sheet, pressing a little with your fingers if any crumbs fall off. 
Bake for 7mins, then remove the baking sheet from the oven, squish each cookie slightly with the back of a spoon and return to the oven for a further 3mins until the tops are crispy but the cookies are still rather soft.
Slide off the baking sheet using a spatula and transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely before scarfing them down with a cold glass of almond milk.

Be good, don't eat them all in one go.

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

After Eight Cupcakes

What do you do when you're having a really, really bad day?
You know, one of those days where the universe seems to be working against you, and everything is going wrong, and you end up crying because you can't work out how to turn up the volume on your laptop.
When I'm having a very bad day, cupcakes are the answer.

These cupcakes are, for lack of a better word, ridiculous.
I mean, look at them...they've got green edible glitter on them for goodness sake!
But sometimes needs must.

I loved After Eights before going vegan, and thankfully Divine now do a vegan version! Hurrah!

Makes 12 large cupcakes

1 1/2C self raising gluten free flour (I use Dove's Farm)
1C sugar
1/2C dark cocoa powder
1/3C oil
1C water
1tsp balsamic vinegar
1tsp peppermint extract

1/2C vegan margarine
2-3C powdered sugar
Dairy free milk
1tsp peppermint extract
1/2tsp natural green food coloring

150g dark chocolate
Edible glitter
12 Divine mint thins

Preheat the oven to 175/350. Line a muffin pan with 12 muffin cases and set aside.
In a large mixing bowl combine all the cupcake ingredients and mix until no big lumps remain. Using a tablespoon or ice cream scoop, fill the muffin cases 2/3 of the way full and bake in the oven for 20mins. Place on a wire rack to cool while you make the frosting.

In a stand alone mixer or using an electric hand mixer cream together the margarine, peppermint and coloring. Then add the powdered sugar 1/2 a cup at a time, adding milk when the mixture gets too stiff. Once everything is combined whisk on high speed for around 3mins, until the frosting becomes light and fluffy. Transfer into a piping bag and carefully pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes. I like a lot of frosting on my cupcakes, but you can use as little or as much as you want!

Once each cupcakes is frosted, melt the chocolate in the microwave for around 1 1/2-2mins, and drizzle over the top of each cupcake. Then sprinkle over a little edible glitter and finish each cupcake with a mint thin.