Monday, June 29, 2009


I know this name is a bit odd, but I think, if you try these out, you will find it to be quite appropriate. I recently stumbled across this recipe for gingerbread bars on epicurious and was inspired to make something similar. I love ginger, but it often seems like more of a winter flavor. The recipe changed all that for me. The color is lighter than traditional ginger flavored breads and treats and it has the perfect texture of a brownie. It rises worrisomely high in the oven but quickly falls and the cracks all across the top just like a brownie. 

If you wanted, this would do quite nicely with a simple vanilla frosting topped with some candied ginger bits. But I like it the way it is–an intensely ginger scented blondie, or a gingerie. 

Makes 9 large bars. 


2 cups - 2 tbs. wheat free flour
1 1/2 tsp xantham gum
2 1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup vegan margarine
1/4 prune puree
6 tbs white sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup molasses
2 tbs ground fresh ginger
2 egg replacement


In a mixer, mix together the margarine, both sugars, prune puree, molasses, and fresh ginger. While this is blending, whisk together the flour, soda, xantham gum, and all the spices. Sift this mixture into the molasses mixture and mix together completely. Make your egg replacement and stir it in. Pour the batter into a 9x9 baking dish lined with tinfoil. If you like, sprinkle the top with 2 tbs sugar stirred together with 1 tbs rice flour. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean from the centre. Allow to cool completely in the tin and then cut into squares. 

Store in an airtight container for up to a week. 

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Wheat Free Vegan Blueberry Muffins

These are the muffins I keep in the freezer when I have to eat breakfast on the go. I just defrost them and nibble at the streusel top while locking the door and then impatiently wait to devour the rest when I next have a quiet moment. They are quite moist and intensely blue-berry flavored so they don't need any jam or butter. When muffins for breakfast became a bit of a trend, nutritionists reacted by pointing out their horrifically high calorie numbers and that most of them were essentially cupcakes without (usually) icing. Fortunately, bagels became the next big coffee shop breakfast item and we could all stop reading articles in the morning paper about exactly how many servings of sodium we were digesting while we tried to enjoy a breakfast muffin. I don't know how much sodium are in these, but I am willing to argue not much. 

I am sure that any homemade muffin is bound to be much better for you than something you purchase at a cafe in the subway, which is where I previously got my muffin fix. So, maybe not an everyday affair, but certainly okay for any morning where what you really feel like is a cupcake, but know you shouldn't, if only to feel a bit better when you read the paper. 

Makes 12 muffins. 


2 cups wheat free flour
1 cup brown sugar + 1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/3 cup vegan margarine
2/3 cup apple sauce
1/4 melted coconut oil
1/4 soy milk  mixed with 1 tbs lemon juice (or whichever type of milk you like)
2 eggs replace 
dash of vanilla
2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
1 cup wheat free oatmeal
5-6 tbs canola oil
2 tsp cinnamon
1/3 cup dried blueberries


In a small bowl, combine the dried blueberries, oats, 1/2 cup brown sugar, cinnamon, and canola oil. Using your hands, work the mixture together to form a crumb. You may need a little less or a little more oil. Set this aside

Place the blueberries in a sieve and gently coat in a few tablespoons of flour. This will prevent them from sinking to the bottom.  In a large bowl stir together the milk, apple sauce, margarine, coconut oil, 1 cup sugar, egg replacement, and vanilla. In another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and xantham gum. When thoroughly whisked, sift the dry mixture into the wet and stir with a spoon until just combined. Carefully add the blueberries. Don't stir too much or your batter might turn blue!

Line your muffin tin and grease the top of the pan for any batter that might stick on the top. Place a heaping tablespoon of batter in each liner and then place a teaspoon of crumb on each pat of batter. Add additional batter until muffin liners are three quarters full and then place a little crumb on top, patting it down to make sure it stays while the muffins bake. Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 15 minutes. 

Monday, June 22, 2009

Summer Cake

This cake was actually a charming accident, made from a failed icing recipe and an excessive harvest of strawberries. The result is a combination of as close as I can recall to an ice cream flavored icing and an extremely moist banana cake. I made it for a birthday party and didn't tell anyone that it was 'everything-free' until they had all had a bite. They all swore they couldn't tell the difference! It was quite exciting! The only piece of advice that I can give you, other than to never try the recipes these first came from, is to assemble it all on the same day. Otherwise, the icing and cake can be made the day before. 

The icing recipe makes enough to generously ice the top and middle layer but might be a bit tight if you wanted to go around the whole thing. 

Makes 1 two layer cake. 


3 large bananas, very ripe, and mashed 
1/2 cup apple sauce
2 tbs prune puree
1 tbs molasses
1/3 c cup canola oil
splash vanilla
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2 cups wheat free flour 
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp xantham gum
2 eggs/egg replacer


Grease and line two 8 inch cake pans. In a large bowl, blend the banana, molasses, canola oil, vanilla, sugar, and prune puree. While this is whirring away, in a separate bowl whisk together thoroughly the flour, baking soda, powder, and xantham gum. Sift this mixture into the wet mixture. Add the egg replacement (as per package instructions) last. Pour the batter evenly into the prepared pans and bake at 350 degrees for twenty minutes, rotating half way through. Allow to cool in pans, as these cakes are so moist a cooling rack might leave horrible scars across the pretty, spongy top. If not using the same day, wrap in plastic wrap and place in tupperware containers (separately, so that one does not get crushed). 


1/2 cup soy milk or other milk
1 tbs cornstarch
2 tbs dried soy milk powder
vanilla seeds from one vanilla pod
2 cups icing sugar (aprox.)
squirt of lemon juice
dash of vanilla extract
1/2 cup melted coconut oil, melted and room temperature-ish

In the mixer, whir together the milk and coconut oil. Add the milk powder, vanilla extract, lemon juice, and cornstarch. Whir until combined. Add the icing sugar slowly until the mixture is the consistency of frosting. You may need more or less icing sugar for this. Add the vanilla seeds and stir to combine. Place the frosting in the fridge until ready to use. 

To assemble the cake, place one layer on cake plate and spread 1/2 cup frosting on top. Place cut strawberry on icing and then spread another 1/2 cup of icing on top. Place second cake layer on top of icing and use the remaining frosting for the top. Any left over frosting will last in the fridge for about a month. Keep cake in the fridge until ready to serve. Dot any excess strawberries around the side of the cake plate. 

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Gluten Free Chocolate Mint Vegan Fudge

My childhood treat choices are dominated by a love for chocolate mint, beat only by my boyfriend's, who considers himself a "chocolate mint connoisseur." I must admit my affection for the combination has waned with the popularity of the more recent coupling of sea salt and caramel, but I still carry a torch for this Baskin Robbins flavor standby. 

This recipe is a variation on the many fudge recipes that dot the internet. My chief aim was to make something that didn't turn into icing when left out of the fridge for too long. The addition of Vegan rice fluff is absolutely not traditional, but many simple fudge recipes call for marshmallows and it gave me the idea. 

I added some chocolate cookie crumbs I had left in the freezer because I love the crunch, but you can leave it out of course. And, while mint was an obvious choice for me, I've made this with a 2 tablespoons of strongly brewed chai tea and some cinnamon, vanilla bean seeds, and just plain chocolate with tasty results. 

One last important note: Use natural peppermint extract. Otherwise, this fudge will taste less like your childhood and more like a trip to the dentist. 

This recipe yields aprox. 8 squares.


1/2 cup + 1/2 cup vegan fluff
7 tbs + 2 tbs coconut butter
3 tbs + 4 tbs soy milk
1/2 cups vegan white chocolate
1 cup + 1/4 cup icing sugar
1 tbs peppermint extract
1 drop green food coloring (optional)
1/2 cup vegan chocolate chips
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup chopped cookie crumbs (optional)


Grease a loaf pan and set near your work station. Over very low heat melt 3/4 fluff, 5 tbs coconut butter, 3 tbs soy milk, and white chocolate until completely melted and combined. Turn off the heat and add 1 cup icing sugar. You may need to return the pan to low heat to combine the sugar. Add the peppermint and food coloring if using and adjust to your preference. Pour the ingredients into the pan. 

In a clean pot, melt the remaining fluff, coconut butter and soy milk with the chocolate chips. Add the vanilla and icing sugar. Remove from heat and add the cookie crumbs if using. The fudge should be thick and pourable. Dot the chocolate on top of the mint fudge and swirl using a skewer. Or make into two layers. Place the pan in the fridge to firm up, about 1 hour. 

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Wheat Free Vegan Oatmeal Cookies

My sister and I have been baking this recipe for so long, I am not sure where we got it from anymore. She makes it so often she knows the recipe off my heart (along with my mother's recipe for pie dough and baking soda biscuits). When I stopped cooking with dairy and wheat, this recipe was great for experimenting with. Oats, I found, are forgiving to other types of flour and moisture and the cookie's soft chewiness covers all kinds of baking substitutions.  

Some people with gluten sensitivities have difficulties with oats, making these cookies impossible to enjoy. If you can't find gluten free oats, (try Bob's Red Mill) you could easily substitute something else here: various gluten free granola cereals, coarsely chopped, or simply replacing the oats with flour would probably be fine, though less chewy. 

The reason I am posting this recipe today is because this weekend marks the first time I made them with this new (to me) trick for substituting eggs. I often eschew recipes that call for flax because I find the taste too strong. This weekend I whisked 1 tbs of ground flax seed with 3 tbs of water and before my very eyes, the mixture became the consistency of egg whites, perfect for holding all the ingredients together. Of course, if you'd prefer to use a vegan egg replacer or a real egg, that is fine. If you are nervous about the taste of flax, this is a good recipe to experiment on because the molasses and spice compensate for the little seed's most pronounced taste. 

Makes aprox. 2 dozen cookies. 


1 cup coconut oil, melted
5 tbs prune puree
2 tbs molasses
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg replacement
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
1 1/2 cups gluten free all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups gluten free oats
1 1/2 tsp xantham gum
pinch salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 cups vegan chocolate chips (or to taste)


In an electric mixer, beat the coconut oil, molasses, prune puree, and sugar until combine. Add the egg and vanilla. While this is all whirring together, in a separate bowl sift together the wheat free flour, baking soda, salt, xantham gum, and spice. Add this flour mixture to the wet ingredients slowly. When combined, remove bowl from mixer and stir oats and chocolate chips in my hand with a wooden spoon. Drop 1 tbs sized blobs of dough onto a greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for eight minutes. The cookies will be soft for three to five days and can be frozen. 

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Wheat Free Vegan Cherry, Pistachio, and Chocolate Icebox Cookies

These cookies are so tasty, I wish I could think of a better name for them. Even though icebox cookies are supposed to be easy and simple to make, this recipe does take a little time: but it is worth it. The idea for the recipe came from a package of Pistachio Almond Paste that I had bought at Dean & Deluca last weekend on our trip to nyc (along with many other tasty looking ingredients). I wanted to make something fancy enough to use marzipan, but that was super tasty and retained some of the lovely, nutty texture of marzipan. The cookies are soft and moist from the cherries and the almond's oil and the chocolate cookie is an even textured match. The sugar in the marzipan adds an amazing caramel flavor to the cookies. 

Although all the freezing time may look like alot, it really isn't; because there are several steps most of the time the dough is chilling, you can be getting the next level ready or tidying up a bit. 

The white chocolate was added because the first time I made these, they fell apart a little and I really wanted to eat them not as scraps, but as the dainty cookie I had imagined. After some slight recipe adjustments, the cookies hold together on their own, but I liked the addition so much I've included it here. 

Also, I've used a cherry jam because they are in season, but strawberry would also be good and if you were making these at Christmas cranberry would be appropriate. To let people know what they are getting into, shopped pistachios sprinkled on the white chocolate could provide a tasty hint.

Using regular marzipan with ground pistachios processed I imagine will produce a similar result, though a different texture.


1 cup pistachio marzipan
1/2 cup melted coconut oil
1 egg substitute
4 tbs. brown sugar
1 1/4 all purpose flour substitute + 1/2 cup 
1/2 tsp xantham gum
6 tbs cocoa powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup dried cherries
1/2 cup vegan cherry jam
1/2 tbs corn starch whisked into 1 tbs of water
1/2 cup vegan white chocolate, chopped


In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the marzipan, sugar, coconut oil and egg substitute. Beat until completely combined. Add the baking soda, xantham gum, and flour substitute. Remove 1/3 of the dough and add an additional 1/2 cup of four substitute using a wooden spoon. Pat into a large, thin rectangle between two layers of plastic wrap. Place in the freezer. To the remaining dough, add the cocoa powder and beat to combine. Pat the chocolate dough into a larger, thin rectangle between two pieces of plastic wrap and freeze. 

While the dough is firming up, combine the dried cherries and jam in the food processor until uniformly mixed. Heat this mixture until boiling. Remove from heat and add corn starch and water mixture, stirring to thicken. Allow mixture to cool. 

Take one patty of dough out of the freezer and, with a rolling pin, roll the dough out as large as you can. I find this much easier with the pistachio dough than the chocolate one. Place the first dough back in the freezer and roll the second. 

When the dough is hard again and the cherry jam is cool. Cut a piece of chocolate dough about 7 inches long and 1 1/2 wide. Spread a tablespoon of jam mixture on top and then top with an equal sized piece of pistachio dough. Repeat and finish with chocolate. No worries if your pieces are not quite the same size, you can always trip these before you slice them. You should be able to create two 7 inch long stacks. Wrap the stacks in plastic wrap and return to the freezer. When they are quite firm (about 1/2 hour) slice into 1/4 inch slice and place on a greased cookie sheet. If there are any globs of cherry poking out of your slices, remove them at this point. Bake for 8 minutes at 350 degrees. 

When the cookies have cooled, in a microwave or double boiler, melt the white chocolate. Carefully dip each cookie in and allow the chocolate to harden up. Help the chocolate along with a knife, as it tends to be thicker than regular chocolate. 

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Wheat Free Vegan Cookie Dough Candy

I love chocolate chips cookies, but it is a well known secret that what I really like is the dough. Usually by the time the cookies are baked, I am so full that I can't enjoy them and shudder every time I pass whatever made it into the oven cooling on the counter. However, in addition to the raw egg, there are several other ingredients in cookie dough that I try to avoid these days - namely, flour and butter. Wheat free and vegan cookies have taken me quite a while to master, and even now I consider it a work in progress; cookie dough, on the other hand, I accomplished quite early.

Now, eating raw cookie dough out of the bowl with a group of friends is completely appropriate and something my college roommates and I did quite often, but for something slightly more dignified I've made these cookie dough candies. These were inspired by an offering at Dylan's Candy Bar in New York City.

The genius of this recipe is that it handily avoids so many of the pitfalls of vegan and wheat free baking. Nothing needs to rise, the dough needs to only barely cling together, and eggs are purposely avoided.

If you are an organized person, or are making a large batch over several days, I have found that chilling the dough makes the flavor of the dough incredible (see NY Times article). You can chill the dough after you've coated the balls in chocolate or before, which will also make them easier to coat. These little candies will last about a week and can be stored at room temperature, though many say they prefer them cold or even frozen especially over ice-cream.

Makes aprox. 30 candies.


1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 melted coconut oil
1 cup all purpose flour substitute (or a combination of flour and ground oatmeal)
1/4 tsp baking soda (optional)
pinch of salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup chocolate chips, chopped into smaller pieces (optional)
1 cup chopped good quality vegan chocolate for the coating


In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda if using, salt, and brown sugar. Add the vanilla and both oils. You may need slightly more or slightly less oil. If you love chocolate, add the chopped chocolate chips. The mixture should be crumbly, but a bit oily so the dough stays moist. Shape the dough into little balls and refrigerate.

To coat the chocolate you need to temper it. This will ensure that your chocolate is shiny and doesn't get all over your hands when you're eating it. Ina Garten (the Barefoot Contessa) tempers her chocolate in the microwave and if you have one, it makes the treat quite easy. Melt half of the chocolate in a microwave bowl at 5 second intervals, stirring in between to make sure the chocolate is melting evenly. When it is all melted, add the remaining chopped chocolate and stir until melted. Alternatively, you can melt the first half of the chocolate in the top of a double boiler. When your chocolate is tempered, drop the balls of cookie dough in and carefully remove to dry on a piece of waxed paper or on top of a drying rack. If your tempering doesn't look quite right, and mine often doesn't especially if I've made several dozen, then a drizzle of melted chocolate will promptly restore the candy's appearance and confidence in yourself.

Small Note: I am not sure about the dietary properties of edible wax but if you want a truly professional look to your candies, this is what professional bakeries often use.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Wheat, Yeast, & Dairy Free Vegan Cinnamon Danishes

The recipe I've created here is really a hybrid of a bun, a danish, and a muffin. There are the necessary swirls of cinnamon between pastry, but the treat is baked in a mini-muffin tin. In a nod to sticky buns and a cinnamon danish I had once, there is also a honey glaze. While some might argue that a second vanilla icing is redundant, I think it is decorative, but feel free to omit it. 

I like to serve these warm at a brunch in a small basket. I use a mini muffin tin, but if you rolled the dough thicker a larger tin can easily be used. The tricky part here is keeping the dough from sticking. It is important not to add too much water and that all of the utensils are cold. The shortening should also be cold. When you roll the dough out, do so on a piece of wax paper that has been floured. You can use the paper to help you guide the dough along. 

Makes aprox. 24 mini treats.


1 3/4 cups gluten free flour
1 tsp xantham gum
pinch of salt
2/3 cup cold shortening
1 tbs cold coconut oil
3 tbs ice water

1 cup brown sugar
4 tbs vegan margarine
10 tbs cinnamon

1/4 honey
1/4 corn syrup

4 tbs + 2 tbs soy milk
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup icing sugar


In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, 1 tbs cinnamon, and xantham gum. Using a pastry cutter, break in the coconut oil and shortening. When the dough resembles a course meal, add the ice water and quickly combine all ingredients with a wooden spoon. Add more water if needed to create a dough that barely holds together. With flour on your hands, shape the dough into a ball and place into the refrigerator for 1/2 hour. 

Flour a large piece of wax paper and a rolling pin. Working quickly, roll the cold dough into a large oval. Depending on how thin you would like your pastry, you may need to do this in two batches. Spread the margarine on the flattened dough. Pat the brown sugar and 8 tbs of cinnamon on the buttered dough. Working from the longer end, carefully roll the dough inwards, creating a spiral. Using a sharp knife, cut the rolled dough into pieces just larger than your muffin tin. Plop each roll into your tin. I like to use liners, but it is not imperative. Bake the rolls at 350 degrees for about twenty minutes or until golden brown and the sugar is bubbling. 

While they are baking, make the honey glaze. In a sauce pan over low eat, combine the honey, 1 tbs cinnamon, corn syrup, and 2 tbs soy milk. Stirring constantly, gently warm the glaze and allow the ingredients to combine. When you remove the sweets from the oven, allow to cool for a few minutes and, if not using liners, remove from pan. Place a tablespoon of glaze on each roll, encouraging it to pool around the sides and become absorbed by the pastry with a pastry brush. The glaze will give the buns a lovely, shiny look.  

In a small bowl, combine the remaining soy milk, vanilla, and icing sugar with a whisk. Drizzle the glaze onto the buns. These are best enjoyed in the first few days, but can easily be frozen and defrosted. 

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Wheat and Dairy Free Vegan Nanaimo Bars

Nanaimo Bars are as Canadian as Whoopie Pies are American. I don't think I've ever eaten a Nanaimo Bar outside of Canada where, aside from the occasional bake sale they are not even that common. The first time I had one was on the ferry ride to Nanaimo in British Columbia. I would like to say that trip was my first 'research trip' for this blog, but it was really just a trip to visit a friend who lives on Vancouver Island, where Nanaimo is located. My friend's mother-in-law is a fantastic baker and she introduced me to these treats and directed me to this recipe

I was a bit nervous to share the recipe I've posted below because, upon further research, I've discovered that Canadians seem to be quite opinionated in their interpretations of Nanaimo Bars. In one recipe I found, former food editor for the Vancouver Sun, Barbara McQuade, wrote pointedly "Many different versions exist – mocha, mint, etc., but the original is still the favorite." The above link to the Nanaimo government website uses equally strong words to discredit a similar dessert called New York Slice. I haven't adjusted the official recipe too much, but there were some obvious limits to the original for those who are avoiding wheat and dairy. Another adjustment I've made allows these bars to be eaten at room temperature. Most recipes suggest keeping them in the fridge until ready to serve and can be quite messy to handle if they get too warm. 

One final note to those with dietary concerns: Feel free to adjust this recipe, especially the bottom layer, according to your needs. I've kept the original ingredient list (more or less), but if someone feels (and someone has) that a bar with maraschino cherries in the base and the jar's juice in the filling still deserves to be called a Nanaimo bar, then I think anything you omit in order to partake in enjoying these little goodies is fine too. The graham cracker crumbs will likely pose the largest obstacle and I encourage you to try cereals or other plain crackers.

Makes aprox. 12 bars


1/2 cup vegan margarine + 1 tbs margarine (divided)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
5 tbs cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups gluten free vegan graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
1/2 cup finely chopped nuts (I usually use walnuts)
2 tbs. Bird's Custard Powder
2 cups confectioner's sugar
5-8 tbs soy milk or other milk substitute
4 oz semi sweet chocolate
1 tbs corn syrup


Over medium heat, melt 1/2 cup margarine with the cocoa, sugar, and vanilla. When this mixture has thickened (about ten minutes) turn off the heat and add the crumbs, coconut, and nuts. Press this mixture into a 9x9 pan that is lined with tin foil. Pop this layer in the fridge and let it cool. While this is cooling, you can get started on the next layer. 

In a medium bowl, whisk together the custard powder with 5 tbs of soy milk. Add the icing sugar a 1/4 cup at a time and add milk as necessary. The mixture will be quite thick. Pat this layer on top of the base making it as smooth as possible. Place the tin in the freezer while you work on the last layer. In the double boiler, melt 1 tbs margarine, corn syrup, and chocolate until a smooth mixture forms. Pour this over the cold layers. Allow the chocolate to firm up for about 1/2 hour before you cut it into squares.