Perfect. Toll-House-Style. Vegan. Chocolate Chip Cookies.

I love chocolate chip cookies. I love chocolate chip cookie dough even more. And in an honest, yet disgusting unveiling of my inner glutton, I love when you cream the butter, vanilla, and sugar together to make chocolate chip cookies. When I was a kid I used to try to steal dollops of the creamed mixture when my mom wasn’t looking. It was so good. I am glad I didn’t know about salmonella poisoning back then or the fat content of whole butter. Luckily with vegan baking, that salmonella is never a problem so yea… eat all the cookie dough you want! Also my brother is coming for Thanksgiving Dessert with his wife and my first and only nephew Baby Nolan and he (my brother) is a cookie monster, so I wanted to be able to make him chocolate chip cookies that I could also eat and so could any of my dairy intolerant family. My brother loves cookies so much I got him a replica cookie jar from our childhood for Christmas last year and it was not easy to find an owl cookie jar either! This will definitely be an experience thanks to my cookies ūüôā

That being said here is my chocolate chip cookie recipe that I have been working on for ages. Every time I start I become uninspired by dry cookie dough (which every vegan can relate to due to the lack of eggs) and of course the ones that crumble or the ones that don’t taste quite right. These are not any of those. They are gooey and crunchy on the edges and melt until they are just thin enough but still soft inside. If you love cookies… you will also love me after you make this recipe.

 

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Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies

  1. 1 cup of earth balance organic buttery spread
  2. 2-3 tablespoons of maple syrup
  3. 3 flax eggs (3 tablespoons of water and 1 tbsp powdered flax per egg)
  4. 2 tablespoons of vanilla extract (I use Penzey’s Mexican)
  5. 1 and 1/4 cups of vegan sugar (try half brown sugar if you have it for a richer flavor)
  6. 2.5 cups of all purpose unbleached flour
  7. 1-2 teaspoons of salt (I use kosher)
  8. 1 cup of vegan semisweet chocolate chips (I used Kirkland (Costco brand) this time instead of Whole Foods)

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*Optional: 1 cup of walnuts or pecans

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MIXING TIME!

  • Place all dry ingredients (except chocolate) in a medium to small bowl. Mix until well combined.
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  • Cream butter and sugar together in a larger bowl with a mixer. Then place all wet ingredients into the bowl and mix until well combined.
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  • If you have never made a flax egg all you do is place warm water in a bowl and pulverize flaxseeds in a coffee grinder until powdered and stir. It’s that easy.
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  • Slowly add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix until a dough forms. I use my hands but a mixer works well too.
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  • Last toss in chocolate chips and any nuts and knead into the dough. It will be a little oily.¬†
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BAKE:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Place a silpat or parchment on your baking sheet. These cookies WILL STICK OTHERWISE! This is very important.
  • Once the oven is completely preheated, place balls of cookie dough on the silpat or parchment lined cookie sheets.
  • Bake for 20-22minutes.
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  • Remove let sit for 5-10minutes and then transfer to a cookie cooling rack.
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  • Makes 3 dozen. Enjoy!
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FOOD IS LOVE.

The Hippie Gypsy

Top 25 Must Have Vegan Grocery and Pantry Items

Inspired by a recent post I read on “The Kind Life” blog regarding Alicia’s top 20 ingredients (http://thekindlife.com/blog/post/alicia-silverstone-20-vegan-essential-kitchen-ingredients) I decided to place my top 25 grocery/pantry needs:

  1. Earth Balance Products: Buttery Sticks or Tub Butters/Margarines and their new cheese puffs!
  2. Organic Soy Milk or Almond: Chocolate, Vanilla, or Plain (I rarely use unsweetened)
  3. Cashews (Raw)
  4. Daiya: The havarti blocks are a god send but all of them are great.
  5. Galaxy Foods Vegan Parmesan (It is the best parm substitute, Parma brand doesn’t taste anything like actual cheese)
  6. Tofutti Products: I love their sour cream, sliced american cheese, and cream cheese. They are a great go to brand even for ice creams.
  7. American Flatbread Company: Vegan Harvest Pizza
  8. Tofurky: Their sliced deli Meats, crumbles like chorizo for tacos, and their grill friendly brats are amazing! You will forget they are fake. The deli meats have a weird odor in the package but on a sandwich it goes away. The chorizo will stain so handle carefully but it tastes just like taco meat.
  9. Miso Mayo: Dill flavor.
  10. Veganaise: It tastes like a cross between mayo and deviled eggs.
  11. Canola and Olive Oils
  12. 365 Brand Vegan Chocolate Chips: Just like Tollhouses but no milk!
  13. Flaxseeds: I buy them in a bulk bag and place them in the freezer.
  14. Nutritional Yeast: You will learn this helps cheesify anything.
  15. Canned Coconut Milk
  16. Whole Foods Vegan Sugar
  17. Beans: black, lentil, navy, garbanzo, and canneloni
  18. Canned Pumpkin or Squash
  19. Whole Wheat Pasta
  20. Farro, Quinoa, or Couscous
  21. Rao’s Tomato Basil Sauce
  22. Herbs/Spices: Kosher Salt, Basil, Thyme, Garlic, and Sage Fresh
  23. Potatoes: All kinds from sweet to purple to russet.
  24. Kale or Greens
  25. Canned and Fresh Tomatoes

 

I shop at my local grocery store for most items but the hard to find things like Daiya and Nutritional Yeast I go to two places: Whole Foods or VeganEssentials.com. Vegan Essentials delivers but requires you to cold ship perishables so check their shipping schedule (right now it is Tuesdays) and the extra cost for the cold packs!

Happy Shopping and Happier Munching!

Banana Walnut Chocolate Chip Muffins: The Joy of Vegan Baking Adaptation

So I love muffins and chocolate and bananas and my “Joy of Vegan Baking” Cookbook so when I saw a recipe for Banana Walnut Chocolate Chip Muffins I passed out in a heavenly rush on my kitchen floor! All jokes aside the recipe was easy and yummy and hit the spot. I could make a ton of them for a work related early morning meeting or just to snack away at throughout the week for the whole family. I even brought some to my neighbor’s house last night for the kids and they became the “best muffin I ever ate” by the 8year old omnivore at the house. So that being said, I knew I had to throw the adapted recipe up. The “Joy of Vegan Baking” calls for more chocolate chips which I am usually game for but in this case they were crumbling apart from the chips so I cut them in half and it was perfect. I also added a little more vanilla and some flaxseed powder. The muffins keep well and are pretty good ingredient wise with nuts, seeds, and 4 bananas. Can’t beat a semi-healthy muffin! Enjoy!

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INGREDIENTS:

2cups All Purpose Flour (I use unbleached from Trader Joe’s)

1 1/2 teaspoons Baking Soda

Pinch of Kosher Salt

1 Cup Vegan Sugar (Whole Foods has a good one)

1/3cup Canola Oil (Vegetable will work but Canola is better)

4 Bananas ripe or brown (deep yellow work best although brown are a little sweeter)

1/4 cup water

1 tbsp Mexican Vanilla Extract

1/2 cup Vegan Semisweet Chocolate Chips (green package at whole foods)

1/2 cup chopped raw walnuts

OPTIONAL: Add 2 tbsp powdered flaxseed for a little extra goodness, it won’t effect the flavor or texture!

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LET’S BAKE!

Place paper in muffin tins. You can use folded parchment or just any good old cupcake paper wrapper. I have tons of old Christmas ones so red and green it is!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Get two bowls to mix in. One for wet ingredients one for dry. The larger one for the wet ingredients as you will add the dry to this mixture later.

Flour, Baking Soda, and Salt in on bowl (optional flaxseed powder). Lightly whisk to combine everything well.

Next, in the larger bowl or the “wet” bowl mix the oil and sugar until it looks like a yellow slushy.

Mash in the bananas to the “slushy” mix. Then add water and vanilla. Combine well.

Now sift the dry mix into the wet mix slowly. I would add about 1/8 at a time then stir in completely and sift in the next bunch to avoid those bubbles of lumpy dry mixture.

Once all is combined well stir in chocolate chips and walnuts.

I did not add walnuts to one batch at the request of my neighbors kids the other day and the muffins were still deemed the “best muffin she has ever had”. 8 year old approval is a good thing especially an 8 year old omnivore! So nuts or no nuts they are A-OK. Moving on…

Scoop mixture into cupcake pan/cups. I use a 1/4 cup measuring cup if my Ice cream scoop is unavailable.

Back for 25minutes in a gas oven it may take closer to 30 in an electric oven.

Take out, cool, and eat.

Half Homemade: Chocolate Dipped Strawberry Cupcakes

So today is my husband’s birthday. HAPPY BIRTHDAY JEFF!

Excitement aside. We had a mostly vegan BBQ, my husband is an ominivore¬†so I let him have his¬†steak¬†tips and¬†hamburgers¬†(because everything else he¬†ate was vegan and he¬†was very forgiving of my mood swings when I was detoxing off dairy and meat, I cried over Mac n Cheese once, It was pathetic).¬†¬†But vegan-wise… ¬†I made vegan beer brats, vegan hot dogs, chili, rice, baked russet potatoes, steamed veggies, a nacho dip, and a spinach artichoke dip with all the edible dipping tools one could ask for. I will try to post my recipes for those dips later this week as they are delicious!

So for dessert, what room there was left for dessert, was filled with the smell of warm milk chocolate and freshly chopped strawberries. I usually add guava with his chocolate cake and a dash of cinnamon but the store didn’t have any. So, I made a delicious half homemade milk chocolate cake with a spruced up strawberry frosting. I took plain white frosting that was “accidentally vegan” and added strawberry preserves from a local farm and freshly chopped strawberries.

The only issue I ran into was I could smell them baking in the oven nearly tasting the melted chocolate¬†chips when I snuck a peak¬†and saw the tops of them exploding and chocolate chips oozing over the top. I panicked for about 10 seconds contemplating pulling them out as they seemingly deflated and then said to my inner self “just wait until the time is up and they are cooked and test them”. When¬†I brought them out it was like magic! The chocolate had formed a crunchy layer across the top similar to a carmelized¬†creme brulee and the inside was soft and moist with little pockets of melted chocolate. The best mistake ever.

S0, I will now share the recipe of my delicious mistake with you!

Cake Ingredients:

Organics Chocolate Cake Mix by Dr. Oetker (follow recipe on back with below substitutions):

  • 2tbs powdered flaxseed (to sub for 2 eggs)
  • 1 egg worth of egg replacer¬†mixture (1 1/2tsp¬†egg replacer¬†powder whisked with 2 tbs warm water)
  • 2tbs¬†Water for egg replacer
  • Soy Milk instead of Dairy Milk (according to box directions)
  • Canola Oil for “Oil”

1/2cup- 2/3cup of vegan chocolate chips

Frosting Ingredients:

1 large container of white frosting (vegan or accidentally vegan options are at every grocery store it seems, just read the label)

1/2 cup small diced fresh strawberries

3/4  container of strawberry preserves 

COOKING:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

So I started by making the frosting which one would think would be the last step since the cupcakes take about 25 minutes however, due to the heat lately, I needed to refrigerate the frosting so it would firm up.

First combine the white frosting and the preserves then after it has a good flavor (testing is the best part) and is well mixed add the fresh cut strawberries until they are evenly mixed in. Refrigerate. The flavor will intensify as it sits.

Next, make the egg replacer mixture in a small teacup or mixing bowl.

Then in a large mixing bowl place in Chocolate Cake powder mixture.

Grind the flaxseed powder in a coffee grinder and add to the Cake Mix.

Next, add soy milk and oil to the cake mix.

After it starts to get wet and combined add the egg replacer mixture to the cake mix.

Once everything is well combined and a little thick, add the chocolate chips. Mix well.

Finally start placing the cupcake batter into the lined tins. I use cupcake paper cups so that the chips don’t stick to the pan and make my cupcake fall apart.

Place first tray of cupcakes in the oven for between 20-25 minutes.

When taking them out use a fork to slide down the side of the cupcake between the paper and the pan to lift them out and place on a cooling tray or rack.

 Let cool at least an hour before frosting as the chocolate chips will explode onto the top forming a delicious crunchy layer that is more like lava at first! My cupcakes got a little melty with the frosting because of the weather being about 95 degrees and the cupcake being warm still.

Frost and Enjoy!

 

PS If you want to get fancy for a holiday add a heart-shaped strawberry slice on top for Valentines Day or a Chocolate Dipped Strawberry for an Anniversary or a Strawberry Lollipop in the Center for a Little Girls Birthday or Baby Shower!

Traveling Vegan: Snacking your Way to Athleticism

I was athletic prior to my vegan days. I ran a half marathon just months before being given, what I felt at the time was, a life sentence of veggies. My life has turned around for the better since that event over a year ago and it is about to change again! This week I will be allowed to begin my athletic streak again! The doctors gave me the A-OK to start running or cycling or whatver-ing! I was so excited I joined a gym with free spin classes and yoga! Then I got a call from my new trainer and her question about my diet hit home. I have never been an athlete while vegan. No more lean chicken breast or broiled fish or hard boiled eggs. What should I be eating before my Saturday training session?

So I started first by cutting my calories this month. I was consuming far too many. I use the Calorie Count app on my phone www.calorie-count.com and it is great, Weight Watchers is another great option www.weightwatchers.com but costs about $15 a month for their online food logging service. I prefer the free¬† calorie count online or app service, it even gives you a letter grade on your eating habits. Now the tough part is what calories are good for this new athletic lifestyle? I have talked to some friends, fellow runners, my old trainer, and referenced some sites. The best advice I was given: more protein less oil. So I went on a hunt for a new protein shake and since I tried one I liked at “The Seed” conference in NYC, I am going to start there and itemize how my training goes or adapts with it. So here is my recipe for the protein smoothie that will start of my travels to the gym, pre-run, and anywhere else I go!

1 packet or serving Vega Vanilla Chai Protein Powder (available at Whole Foods or online)
1 serving frozen tropical fruit blend (again whole foods has a banana, strawberry, mango mix I love)
1 banana
1-2 cups of milk (the suggestion was Rice but I only had unsweetened almond milk or vanilla coconut)
1 tbsp freshly ground flaxseed powder

I place it in the blender with the milk, powder, flax, and banana on the bottom and the frozen fruit is like ice on top. I like a little more milk because it is not as thick but my friend likes it thick so it melts over a period of time in the morning. This is a dense treat so remember it is a whole meal not just a snack! Enjoy!

PS I will keep you updated on how this works at Saturday’s training session!

Traveling Vegan: Fourth of July Trifle

In preparation of the Fourth of July I have found I need two things 1. Produce and 2. A Sharp Knife.

It has been a hot summer here in the Boston area and knowing this I always prepare lots of cut fruits and veggies that are placed in glass containers in my fridge for snacking or for easy food preparation. After going to the grocery stores and Costco yesterday I came home to chop all my new finds up. I have 3 containers of cucumbers, 1 very large container of tomatoes, 12 chopped apples in a mixing bowl with lemon juice¬†for pie, and 3 containers of strawberries. I felt good about this because when traveling over the fourth of July and surrounding days I see a need for cool raw items like fruit and cutting it up just makes it more accessible. The other day I went through 2 cartons of chopped strawberries from Saturday’s farm stand because of a Graduation party. If they had not been so accessible I may have just gone and lazily bought something. Instead my vegan version of a Fruit Trifle went over so well it was empty within 1 hour. The grocery store cake was barely missing a third of its frosting. So with that I am going to give you my trifle recipe and hopefully you will take that to the next fiesta you get invited to this summer as well as my tips to remember¬†to “chop, contain, and take away” all those delicious fruits and veggies you buy each week. The 30 minutes it takes to do them all after shopping saves so much time later that week when you are in a hurry!

 

Ingredients for Marscapone:

1 8oz container vegan cream cheese

1/3cup vegan sour cream

1/3cup vegan powdered sugar

Ingredients for Whipped Cream:

2 cans chilled Coconut Milk

4 tablespoons Coconut Flour

1tbs Vanilla Extract

1-2cups Vegan Powdered Sugar

Ingredients for Cake:

1 lemon cake mix (try Organics by Dr. Oetker)

2 tablespoons freshly ground flaxseed powder

1 egg worth of egg replacer (I use Ener-gee Egg Replacer and buy it at Whole Foods)

Vegetable/Soybean Oil

Water

Ingredients for Fruit Filling:

4 cups chopped fresh strawberries

4 cups fresh blueberries

START: Make the yellow cake per the box specifications adding 1 egg worth of egg replacer and 2 eggs worth of powdered flaxseed (2tbsp). I use two circular cake pans and fill each half way. Bake until slightly browned and allow to cool before starting trifle.

 

CREAMS: In separate bowls, begin mixing the ingredients outlined above for each of the marscapone and whipped creams. For the whipped cream take only the white coconut cream substance from the can draining away any liquid before it goes in the bowl.  You can double either recipe for more thick creamy layers to the trifle if you have a larger trifle bowl. Whip both until thick and place into the refrigerator while you wait to prep the  rest of the trifle.

 

FRUIT: Chop the strawberries into small squares about the same size as a large blueberry. Blueberries can remain as is for layering.

 

MAKING THE LAYERS: I start the bottom layer with lemon cake. I trim the edges that are crusty off first and then slide to the bottom of the trifle bowl. I then top it with 1/2 of the marscapone cream. The next layer is of 1/2 of the blueberries. Then 1/2 of the whipped cream on top and last a layer of 1/2 of the chopped strawberries. Then repeat the whole set of layers. I save a few blueberries to sprinkle with the strawberries on the top layer as well since it is exposed.

Refrigerate until it is time to serve. Enjoy!

 

PS: This was a crowd pleaser to even non-vegans (since I am the only one that was at this party). They were whispering about it outside and talking to my mother about how talented I was. It is too simple to be talent so sneak around telling everyone you are an amazing chef and whip this up tomorrow morning for your Independence Day party!

Busy Weeks Call for Pancakes… Banana Pancakes!

When I was a kid my father would travel on business a great deal. My mother got in the habitof giving us pancakes for dinner one of those nights when he was away. Usually the night he left. It was about comfort and fun. My brother and I were always beyond excited. She made these enormous, fluffy, bisquick pancakes with a big glass of milk ororange juice and it was like heaven. Since I have been out on my own I realize that when stuff isn’t so fun and life is stressful or when a friend comes in to visit and they arrive late at night, I make pancakes. Then the vegan thing happened and I did not know what to eat. Pancakes were butter, milk, and eggs in my head. Then I went online and googled my life away. PETA has agreat site helper called “accidentally vegan” that lists foods you can eat that already happen to be vegan. They have a standard one and teen site with this. And guess what is on it? BISQUICK!

That being said after a long stressful week I am looking forward to pancakesand not just any pancakes I am going all out and making banana pancakes. My non-vegan stepkids love them and occassionally right before I flip them over I will add a few vegan semi-sweet chocolate chips!

Ingredients:

2 cups Bisquick

1/2 cup Almond Milk (plain unsweetened)

1/2 cup Vanilla Coconut Milk (or vanilla soy milk) + 1/4 cup

2tbs flaxseed (ground fresh in coffee grinder)

2 brown frozen bananas

Optional: vegan semi-sweet chocolate chips

Note: To double the recipe you do not need to double the bananas, I usually just add one more.

 

 

First thing, place the 2tbsp whole flaxseed into the coffee grinder, grind until a fine powder.

In a large mising bowl mix 2 cups of bisquick and the ground flaxseed together until blended.

Add the 1/2 cup of both milks to the pancake powder.

Stir until thick and sticky. It will be very tough to mix and look more like bread dough than traditional pancake mixture.

Place browned frozen bananas in microwave for 30secs and then flip and do another 30secs. They will be liquidy so do not remove right away.

Add extra 1/4 cup of milk now into the pancake dough.

Last add the hot bananas. I rip them down the side over the mixing bowl holding them with a potholder and dump them into the bowl. They will be soupy but this is a good thing!

Mash them into the mixture until well blended.

Heat the griddle or pan until a bead of water dances on the griddle or pan.

Then spray or oil the pan.

Scoop pancake mix onto the pan and seperate it using a utensil or you fingers if you are feeling brave until a flattened circle is formed. This may take some practice. If the dough is took thick when you flip it over just press down and flip back after the second side is down to ensure it is cooked through. You won’t die if its not but because there is no worry of food poinsoning but it gets a weird texture.

Flip when you see bubbles start to form around the edges. This is the “flip me” signal for those that may not cook alot.

Last place them in the oven on warm or about 200-250 degrees until you are ready to serve them all.

I top with nuts, berries, heated rice syrup mixed with earth butter and cinnamon, margarine and maple syrup, shredded coconut and sliced bananas, etc.

ENJOY!