Friday, March 27, 2015

gluten free vegan blackberry cheesecake

Dreamy, creamy cheesecake. Yes, that's the dessert for me! You all know how much I adore my cashew-based dairy free cheesecakes. From the very first one I made, I've been hooked. My family also loves them and anytime there is a celebration, mom's no-bake cheesecake is their first requests!

How many of you have been baking with coconut sugar? Are you enjoying the taste and texture? I have been a fan for years and was so excited when Bob's Red Mill came out with their organic coconut sugar! It gives just the right amount of sweetness and is similar in taste to brown sugar (my fave). You can use it in your recipes as a 1-to1 replacement. Another tasty refined-sugar alternative. 

Getting back to this blackberry cheesecake, shining in all it's glory. This is not just any blackberry cheesecake. It's a raw, no-bake, refined-sugar free, dairy free, egg free and gluten free cheesecake. That's a whole lot of "free" and a whole lot of amazing flavor. A cheesecake that you can feel good about eating. An almond flour crust and a creamy filling that's loaded with healthy fats and fresh berries. Many of you mentioned cheesecake as being a must-have dessert on Easter. Well, here is a one that will surely steal the show!

gluten free vegan blackberry cheesecake

serves 10-12

almond crust 
  • 1 1/2 cups Bob's Red Mill almond flour/meal
  • 1/4 cup Bob's Red Mill coconut sugar
  • dash sea salt
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup

blackberry cheesecake filling
  • 2 1/2 cups raw cashews, soaked overnight or 3-4 hours
  • 1/2 cup So Delicious full-fat culinary coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup Bob's Red Mill coconut sugar
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup fresh blackberries
  • additional 2 cups blackberries

Prepare 9-inch springform pan by lightly spraying with nonstick cooking spray and lining bottom with parchment paper. To make crust, stir together almond flour, coconut sugar and salt. Add melted coconut oil and maple syrup. Mix until well combined. Press crust mixture into bottom of cheesecake pan. Place in refrigerator to chill and become firm. 

Place soaked cashews (soaked in water and drained) in high-powered blender or food processor. Add coconut milk, coconut sugar, melted coconut oil, lemon juice and maple syrup. Blend on high 1-2 minutes, until creamy (add additional tablespoon of coconut milk if needed). Add 1 cup blackberries, lemon zest and vanilla. Continue to blend until blackberries are well blended. Pour filling over chilled crust and smooth out evenly. Place cheesecake in freezer, 2-3 hours or until firm. Transfer cheesecake to refrigerator and cover lightly with plastic wrap.

When ready to serve, remove cheesecake from springform pan and place on serving plate. Top with remaining fresh blackberries. Slice and serve chilled. Store cheesecake in refrigerator.

Thank you to the wonderful Bob's Red Mill for sponsoring this post! For more delicious recipes and a coupon for $1.00 off any product, visit Happy Easter and happy baking!

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Tuesday, March 24, 2015

gluten free vegan chocolate-dipped macaroons and pascha chocolate giveaway!

One of the hardest things for me to find with all of my food allergies...CHOCOLATE! Not just any chocolate, but good quality chocolate. Chocolate that left me satisfied and wanting more. I'm a baker so not only do I love to eat my beloved dark chocolate, I love to bake with it too. It's an essential part of life. Chocolate and baking. They just go together.

I can't even tell you how excited I was when I discovered Pascha Organic Chocolate at the Food Allergy Bloggers Conference last year. Blown away! Their chocolate is not only organic and non-GMO, but it's free of the top 8 allergens. That's right, no dairy, gluten, nuts, eggs or soy. I was probably most excited about their semi-sweet dark chocolate chips. Made of only 4 simple ingredients...sugar, cocoa mass, cocoa butter and vanilla. All organic, all allergen free. They are seriously magically creamy and delicious!

Pascha Chocolate recently sent me a little chocolate care package and asked me to bake away! I had my heart set on making these chocolate-dipped macaroons for months so I knew just what to make. Baking chewy coconut macaroons without eggs is easier than you think and my friends, they are mighty tasty too. A perfect Easter treat to fill up your Easter basket or pass out to friends. 

Have I intrigued you with this AMAZING chocolate? Pascha Organic Chocolate also has their chocolate bars and they are my new favorite. I can literally eat the entire bar, especially the one with coffee. No guilt. No shame. You can find out more about Pascha Organic Chocolate on their website, as well as facebook and twitter. I love finding brands that take pride in making their products from the best ingredients and also taking into consideration those with food allergies. Way to go, Pascha!

gluten free vegan chocolate-dipped macaroons

makes 10-12 macaroons

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. In small saucepan, stir together coconut milk, cane sugar, maple syrup and vanilla. Add shredded coconut and flour. Mix until fully combined. Simmer coconut mixture over low heat for 2-3 minutes, just until it thickens. Remove from heat.

Using cookie scoop, place scoops of coconut mixture onto baking sheet. Bake for 16-18 minutes, until golden brown. Place macaroons on cooling rack to cool. While macaroons cool, melt chocolate chips in  microwave-safe bowl on low for 30 seconds or over double broiler. When almost melted, remove from heat and stir until completely melted. Dip bottoms of macaroons into chocolate, tapping off excess. Set on parchment paper to set. Store in air-tight container.

Pascha Organic Chocolate will be sending some of their amazing chocolate to one of you! Enter in the widget below and be sure to leave a comment. Tell me, "what is an Easter dessert or dish that is a must at your family celebration?" You can receive extra entries by liking Pascha Chocolate on facebooktweeting about the giveaway or sharing on instagram. The last day to enter is Sunday, March 29. Winner will be chosen on Monday. Happy Easter and happy baking!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Friday, March 20, 2015

gluten free vegan mini graham crackers

Well, aren't those the cutest little graham crackers you ever did see? Bite-size and snackalicious! It's important for me to give my kids snacks that I know every ingredient that is in them. Thankfully there are a lot of healthy options at the grocery store now. However, they can be pretty pricey. I know it takes a bit of time to make homemade cookies or crackers, but you will feel so great about feeding them to your kids!

I'm happy to say that these mini graham crackers are gluten, egg, soy, nut and dairy free. Perfect for those with food allergies. They are also refined-sugar free too! One batch makes about 60 crackers so your kids will be set for the week. I like to use the crinkle-edge circle cookie cutters to make my graham crackers, but tiny animals or hearts would be fun too. You could also make a batch of these to grind up in the food processor for a delicious graham cracker crust!

gluten free vegan mini graham crackers

makes 55-60 graham crackers

  • 1 1/2 cups Sarah's gluten free flour blend
  • 1/3 cup coconut sugar or brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup or honey
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

In food prosessor, add flour blend, coconut sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Pulse until blended. Add coconut oil, water, maple syrup and vanilla. Continue to blend until dough comes together. Add an additional tablespoon of water, if needed. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill in refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Place chilled dough onto piece of plastic wrap on counter. Top with another piece of plastic wrap. Roll dough until 1/6-1/8-inch thick. Using small circle or square cookie cutter, cut out dough. Use fork to poke hole into crackers (optional). Place onto prepared baking sheet. Bake crackers for 15-17 minutes, or until edges begin to brown. Remove from oven. Allow to cool on pan for 15 minutes. Cool crackers completely on cooling rack. Store in airtight container.

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Friday, March 13, 2015

gluten free vegan mint chocolate chip cupcakes

I know a good combination when I see one. Mint and chocolate. They just go together. I think that's why I love mint chocolate chip ice cream so much. So cool and creamy. An ice cream that makes my heart happy!

Let's talk cupcakes now. My beloved gluten free vegan chocolate cupcakes. The ones that many of you know and love. I baked up a dozen and decided it was time for a transformation. A dairy free mint chocolate chip buttercream kind of transformation. Yeah, a totally good idea. These cupcakes taste just like my favorite ice cream and would be a hit at any celebration!

gluten free vegan mint chocolate chip cupcakes

makes 12 cupcakes

chocolate cupcakes
  • 1 1/4 cups Sarah's gluten free flour blend
  • 1/2 cup good quality cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 cup So Delicious Dairy Free unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup organic cane sugar
  • 1/2 cup organic brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup sunflower seed or canola oil 
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

mint chocolate chip buttercream
  • 1/2 cup Earth Balance vegan butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup Spectrum organic non-hydrogenated shortening
  • 3 1/2 cups organic powdered sugar, sifted
  • 2-4 tablespoons So Delicious Dairy Free coconut milk coffee creamer
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure peppermint extract
  • 1-2 drops green food coloring (optional)
  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips, finely chopped

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line cupcake pan with paper cupcake liners. Sift together flour blend, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside. In large mixing bowl, stir together coconut milk, water and vinegar. Add sugar, brown sugar, oil, and vanilla extract.  Slowly whisk in the flour mixture. Beat for 1 minute. The batter will become smooth. Pour batter into prepared cupcake pan. Bake for 16-18 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center of cupcake comes out clean. Place cupcakes on cooling rack and cool completely.

To make buttercream, beat together vegan butter with shortening for 1 minute in large bowl of standing mixer. Add sifted powdered sugar and 2 tablespoons coffee creamer.  Beat for an additional 2 minutes. Add vanilla, peppermint extract and green food coloring, until desired color is reached. If needed, add another 1-2 tablespoons creamer. Continue to beat buttercream until light and fluffy. Gently mix in finely chopped chocolate chips. Place buttercream in piping bag with large round tip and frost cooled cupcakes. Best enjoyed within 1-2 days (if they last that long).

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Tuesday, March 10, 2015

dairy free acai berry smoothie bowl

I've finally joined the smoothie bowl bandwagon. I don't know why I waited so long! They're my new favorite. Extra thick smoothie, topped with crunchy toppings and you can eat it with a spoon. Brilliant. Move over bowl of cereal, the smoothie bowl is here to stay.

I recently started buying this Sambazon Acai Berry Juice from Costco. This one is reduced sugar too. Hooked. I just love acai berries. Overflowing with antioxidents and omegas. Super tasty superfood. My three favorite smoothie bowl toppings would have to be raw walnuts, unsweetened coconut and hemp hearts. Ever had hemp hearts? They're a nutty, amazing source of plant-based protein. Another great topping would have to be my homemade gluten free granola. So crunchy and delicious!

dairy free acai berry smoothie bowl

serves 1

  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 cup frozen mixed berries
  • 1/2 cup acai berry juice
  • 1/2 cup So Delicious unsweetened coconut or almond milk
  • 2 tablespoons chopped walnuts
  • 1 tablespoon hemp hearts
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened shredded coconut

Add banana, berries, acai juice and coconut milk to high-powered blender. Blend on high until smooth and creamy, 1-2 minutes (will be thick). Add an additional 1-2 tablespoons acai juice if needed. Pour smoothie into bowl. Top with walnuts, hemp hearts and coconut. Enjoy!

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