Old Fashioned Chocolate Chip Cookies w/ Gluten Free Options!

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Ever since I was little, I always loved to bake. My mom would let me help in the kitchen and taught me how to follow recipes but I often saw her adapt them and add her own twist. My Dad loves dessert (and I've got his sweet tooth) and the best part of baking was seeing my Dad enjoy the sweets. When I went vegan more than two decades ago, the first dessert recipe I adapted was good old fashioned chocolate chip cookies, my Dad's favorite. I've been baking this recipe for pot lucks, house warming parties and birthdays for years. It's tried and true and it will satisfy vegans AND omnivores alike!

Ingredients

2 cups all purpose flour (substitute for Bobs Red Mill Gluten Free Baking Flour)

1 tsp Baking Powder

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1 tsp Baking Soda

1/2 tsp Salt

3/4 cup organic fine turbinado sugar

3/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup Earth Balance Buttery Spread

1 tsp vanilla

2 Egg Replacer Eggs  (I use Ener-G Egg Replacer Powder)

1/4 - 1/2 cup vegan chocolate chips (I use Enjoy Life mini chips)

 

Preheat oven to 350 & Line a large baking sheet with Parchment paper.

Mix Flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and set aside. In a large bowl or stand mixer mix brown sugar, white sugar and buttery spread until fluffy. Add vanilla and egg replacer eggs and mix until smooth. Gradually add and mix the flour mixture until thoroughly combined. Carefully mix in chocolate chips.

Use a scoop or a spoon to drop dough onto the parchment paper. Leave 1-2" in between each scoop and if you like thinner cookies, gently press each dough ball down. Bake 8-10 min. For softer style cookies take them out of the oven when bottoms are slightly brown but tops appear undercooked. For crispy cookies wait until tops appear slightly brown to remove.

Let cool on cookie racks and store in airtight container.

 

Pancake Muffin Donuts

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Yes it’s true, I’ve got a sweet tooth. This recipe emerged out of the want for all three things in it’s title, Pancakes, muffins and donuts. Essentially these yummies have the flavor of pancakes with the texture of muffins and the shape of donuts. I’m also always looking for how to incorporate a little protein and nutrients into my sweet tooth satisfaction which is why I chose to use a Paleo pancake mix. So there you have it, take it for what it’s worth, a strange but delicious concoction that my husband (also my taste tester) was pleased with and did not leave us with a sugar high!

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Ingredients

1 cup flour

2 cups Bob’s Redmill Paleo pancake mix (this is a vegan and gluten free mix)

1/2 cup turbinado sugar (could be cut to 1/4 cup for you health freaks)

1 tsp baking soda

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

2 tsp Vietnamese cinnamon

1 tsp vanilla

1/4 cup vegetable oil

3 tsp egg replacer powder

1/2 cup almond milk unsweetened

1/2 cup natural applesauce unsweetened

Preheat oven to 350

Grease a donut baking pan. Mix all ingredients thoroughly and scoop into a zip lock bag. Snip corner off bag and squeeze mixture into donut cups.

Bake for 10-12 min or until golden brown

Drizzle with glaze, dust with powdered sugar or drizzle with maple syrup and serve warm

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Sweet & Smoky Cashews

Serve cashews in a ripple bowl! Part of our “Seaside” Collection!

Serve cashews in a ripple bowl! Part of our “Seaside” Collection!

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We are cashew obsessed in our household. We always have roasted salted cashews on hand for a quick snack and I love playing with raw cashews and incorporating my own flavors. This is a super simple way to make a tasty snack. Eat them on their own or toss them in a salad or savory trail mix!

Ingredients

3 cups raw cashews

2 Tbl maple syrup

3 tsp liquid smoke

2 Tbl molasses

1 tsp fine salt

Toss all ingredients in a bowl until well combined and cashews are completely coated with mixture.

AIR FRYER: Air Fry at 350degrees for 10-12min shaking the basket or flipping the cashews every five minutes (THIS IS IMPORTANT! if you don’t flip them or toss them around they may burn!) They should appear dark molasses brown when done and they may be slightly sticky while hot. Spread them on parchment paper to cool and store in a mason jar or airtight container once completely cool.

STOVETOP: In a non stick skillet roast the cashews over low/medium heat stirring often to avoid burning until cashews are nearly dry. They may be slightly sticky while still hot. Spread them on parchment paper to cool and store in a mason jar or airtight container once completely cool.

*create your own concoction! Add a touch of siracha or cajun seasoning for some heat!

Sweet or Salty Pretzel Bites

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Dough

1 ½ cups warm water

1 Tbl organic sugar

2 tsp active dry yeast or 1 package

1 ½ tsp salt

3 Tbl coconut oil

3 ½ -4 cups all purpose flour

 

Bath

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5 cups water

3 Tbl baking soda

 

Sweet Coating: mix

¼ cup sugar or coconut sugar

2 ½ tsp Vietnamese cinnamon

¼ tsp salt

 

Salty Coating

Coarse sea salt

In a large bowl add the warm water and add sugar and mix until dissolved. Add yeast, cover and let sit for 10 min to activate yeast.  Once the yeast is foamy add salt and coconut oil then slowly mix in flour. Knead the dough on a clean floured surface 3-5 min and shape into a ball. Place the dough in a large oiled bowl and cover and set in a warm place to rise for 15 min.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 450. Heat the water for the baking soda bath in a large soup pot. Once the dough has risen cut it into 8 triangles like a pizza. Roll each triangle into an 18” long rope and cut 1-2” bites. When the water boils add the baking soda and stir. Add about 20 dough bites to the bath at a time and let soak for 30 seconds and then remove with a slotted spoon and place on parchment paper. Don’t overcrowd. Bake at 450 for 10-12 min until tops are nice and brown.

Brush bites with coconut oil once they have cooled and toss into sweet coating. Or sprinkle with salt.

Oatmeal Raisin & Chocolate Chip Cookies

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These cookies are super simple and perfect for dipping in your alternative milk of choice!  Add or omit raisins/chocolate or any other add-in you prefer!

Ingredients

makes 24, 3" cookies

1/2 cup melted vegan butter (I use Earth Balance)

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 tsp salt

oatmeal raisin chocolate chip cookies

1 tsp Baking Powder

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground cloves

2 egg replacer eggs

1 tsp vanilla

3 cups whole oats

1 cup flour

1/4 cup mini vegan chocolate chips

1/2 cup organic raisins

Preheat the oven to 350. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars. Once blended, add egg replacer and vanilla. In a separate bowl combine flour, cinnamon, cloves, salt, oats and baking powder. Add the dry mix to the wet and mix thoroughly. Add the chips and raisins and mix until well combined. Drop spoonfulls of dough mixture onto a cookie sheet and flatten a bit with the back side of a spoon.

Bake 10-15 min or until lightly browned on top. Cool on a rack and store in an airtight container (if they last that long!)

Chai Tea Concentrate

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I've been a chai tea lover for years and I've tried all the store bought concentrates which tend to be pricey and filled with sugar, not to mention they often lack the real spicy flavor I'm craving in a good chai. Despite being obsessed with hot drinks all year round the hot New England Summer has left me wanting something cool. I looked at a bunch of recipes for chai concentrate before concocting my own version which leaves out the controversial star anise. Let's face it, anise is a love it or hate it flavor and my hubby hates it so I left it out of this recipe.  If you love it, skip to the bottom for *suggestions. This recipe makes about 6 cups (or 3 pint sized mason jars full) and can easily be halved, but why bother when it keeps in the fridge for several weeks or makes a great hostess gift for a summer soiree! 

Ingredients

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10 cups water

2 inches fresh ginger peeled

8 cinnamon sticks

16 tsp loose black tea

16 whole cloves

10 cardamom pods

24 black peppercorns

30 allspice berries

3/4 - 1 cup coconut sugar

muslin bag OR cheesecloth and cotton cord OR strainer

Put the 10 cups of water into a large pot and boil while you prep the ingredients for steeping the tea. I used a piece of cheesecloth folded over several times into a 8"x8" square to make a large teabag for this recipe but you could just add everything to the water and strain it with fine mesh when you're done. 

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Crack the peppercorns, allspice, cardamom and cloves with the back of a heavy knife and add them to the cheesecloth.  Slice the vanillla bean lengthwise and use a knife tip to scrape out the seeds adding them to the cheesecloth. Add the loose tea to the cheesecloth and lift up the corners and twist to make a large tea bag, secure the sachet with cotton cording.  Peel and rough chop the ginger and set it aside.

Once your water comes to a boil add the loose ginger, cinnamon sticks and the sachet with all other ingredients into the water and turn heat down to simmer uncovered for 20 min or until the liquid is reduced by 2 cups. Remove the sachet if using one and add your coconut sugar to taste, I used approx 3/4 cup. Stir to dissolve. Strain the remaining liquid and jar when cooled.

To use your concentrate:

I use 1/3 concentrate to 2/3 almond milk. It depends on how spicy you want your mixture. You could also do a 50/50 ratio.

Suggestions:

  • This is great cold OR hot!
  • For a decaf version, use Rooibos loose tea instead of black
  • Add a cinnamon stick to a hot version for a bit more spice
  • Try it with coconut milk or soy milk!
  • Add in 1 or 2 Star Anise (no need to crack these just toss them in)
  • Add in 1-2 tsp cacao nibs for a chocolate chai!
  • Make your own version of dirty chai with 1/3 coffee, 1/3 chai, 1/3 milk of choice
  • Add seeds from a second vanilla bean for smoother/sweeter tones
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1 Cup Gratitude, 2 Cups Joy

Big News! My blog has been transported to my new website which now supports my new and improved online pottery shop!  (just click the SHOP button on the top menu bar to see what's for sale) I've got an 'in store pickup' option for the locals and orders placed by December 19 will ship in time for Christmas!  I'm super excited to continue to post items up for sale and I've got a few things up my sleeve to create a special moment when your shipment arrives so order up!

November was a whirlwind, but December, I'm savoring! My annual pottery sale is over, pottery classes are winding down for the year at the studio, twinkling lights are up on lamp posts and storefronts in my neighborhood and the weather has been mild! The blessings are abundant!  I have however, eaten entirely too many Italian holiday cookies but who can resist the family favorites?!  Despite the temperate climate I've still felt the urge for hot chocolate season....and yes my recipe is below.

Of course you may want a new mug to drink your hot cocoa from, in which case you should make sure you enter my monthly giveaway by clicking the button on the cover page of my website. But don't stop there....follow me on Instagram @TheVeganPotter as I've started giveaways there too. Comment on this post and let me know what items YOU would love to see me offer in a future giveaway.

Added bonus for reading to the end of this post......use code JOY at checkout when you purchase from my online shop now until December 25 and receive 15% off your order!  Thank you for supporting me and my clay obsession and if you own a mug that you purchased from me and you fill it with the cocoa from the recipe below, be sure to post a pic and tag me on Instagram, FB or shoot me an email with a pic and I'll enter your name into January's giveaway twice! Have a safe, healthy and joyous holiday season! 

Lyndsay's Choco-holic Hot Cocoa

1 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk

2 Tablespoons Cacao Powder

1 tablespoon Raw Cane Sugar or 2 TBL maple syrup

Dash vietnamese cinnamon

Dash almond extract

Pour the almond milk into a small saucepan and heat over medium heat stirring with a whisk. Mix cacao powder with a tablespoon of water until a liquid and then add to the warm almond milk. Stir. Add cinnamon and extract and continue to whisk over low heat until heated through. Pour into your favorite mug and enjoy! I like to adorn mine with almond milk foam and cinnamon or vegan marshmallows for an added treat!



Sweet Satisfaction

I have had a terrible sweet tooth since childhood. I like to blame this weakness on the fact that I was raised on a healthy diet that did not include sugary foods, soda or candy. My Father however, suffers from the same affliction and so I suppose it could also be hereditary. My Mom typically could care less about sweets, so the ‘sugar gene’ surely comes from Dad. I have very vivid memories of staying with my grandparents for overnights (my mom’s parents that is……so here’s when the ‘sugar gene’ theory fails to explain….) and Grampi (yes, Grampi and Grammi) would let me sneak fluffernutter sandwiches by the pool. On a hot day I would raid the fridge for the individually wrapped American cheese slices (which we also never had at my house) and nibble at them like a rabid mouse. There was always a candy drawer at my grandparents house, filled with mini snickers bars….(I would sneak them and eat them under the dining room table) and peanut butter cups (I have a raw, vegan recipe for these below!) . It was a virtual Charlie and the Chocolate Factory experience when I stayed with my grandparents and I ate as much junk as I could before I went back to my house where ‘golden grahams' (I’m dating myself here, because not everyone will know this cereal…) were considered too sugary to have for breakfast, so they were a once in great while treat.

My secret sugar addiction did not let up in high school or college for that matter, I would look for the seasonal candies that were my favorite throughout the year, Red hots around Valentines Day, Candy Corn at Halloween and so on. The problem became my lack of consciousness while indulging and I could easily eat an entire bag of candy corn (yes there are some vegan versions!) I gave up store bought sugar and began to bake my own muffins, cakes, pies and other desserts figuring there were fewer chemicals; less sugar and they had to be healthier. As it turns out, it doesn’t matter if I buy it or make it myself, I still have a hard time not over-indulging. Moderation is the key to everything I think. I’ve experienced 20 and even 30 pounds of weight gain at times in my adult life and conventional dieting methods were never the answer for me. I would rather turn to the concept of calorie intake vs. caloric output and eating a variety of plant based foods, whole grains and keeping the sugar to a bare minimum has been a key component for maintaining my weight loss.

I’m much more likely to eat frivolously or when I’m not hungry at high stress times, or when I’ve not prepared my meals ahead. The past two weeks of working very long days teaching pottery and yoga to kids and adults has been a catalyst for a few backslides when I’ve not thought ahead enough for my own food intake. A lot of people ask me what a typical day’s food intake looks like for me and it varies seasonally but, on a good day,currently looks like this:

Morning: Fruit and protein powder smoothie

Snack: Apple with peanut butter or homemade granola bar

Lunch: Big salad (like one of the ones in earlier blog posts)

Dinner: Brown Rice and veggies, grilled, roasted or pan-fried

Snack: Popcorn with nutri-yeast and garlic salt or a homemade sweet treat

peanut butter cup I could easily eat all day long, I’m a grazer and I love snacks. I do supplement my B12 intake and I do try to drink lots of water (although I’m never thirsty so I find that the hardest thing to do!) Even still, the battle over my sugar addiction continues. Since the detox in the spring (see post 1) I’ve eliminated refined sugars and when I do need a sweetener I stick to coconut sugar, maple syrup or brown rice syrup. So in support of my own habit I often concoct raw, vegan versions of my favorites. If you have a sugar addiction, try weaning off of harsh white refined sugar in favor of lesser evils as I mentioned above. Sometimes a craving can be as simple to conquer as just changing your perspective (get up if you’re sitting down etc.), or distract yourself by diving into an activity that requires your hands! (when my hands are covered in clay I can’t snack on crap!) Whatever your thoughts are on sugar, moderation is still the key, so don’t go making this recipe and eating the whole batch!

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Raw Vegan Peanut Butter Cups



1 1/4 organic creamy peanut butter (I prefer to grind my own whenever possible at our local co-op)

2 cups shredded unsweetened coconut

1 tsp. vanilla extract

cacao butter 1 cup raw cacao butter (I ordered mine from Amazon Prime)

½ cup raw cacao powder (Navitas is my favorite)

6-8 Tbl coconut sugar (this is to taste if you like your chocolate bitter or sweet)

Line a muffin tray with liners. Mix up the coconut, vanilla and peanut butter and press a few tablespoons into each muffin cup, place the tray in the freezer while you deal with the chocolate.

melted cacao butter Grate or finely shave the cacao butter into a glass bowl or glass measuring cup and place into a pan with water, melt on low until completely liquid, then add your coconut sugar until it melts, take off the heat and add in cacao powder. Pour over frozen peanut butter cups and place back into the freezer to harden.

I prefer to keep these in the freezer in the summertime, as they are then a refreshing AND sweet treat!

Enjoy!