Vegan Salted Coconut Milk Caramel

Caramel! Do you say it “CARA-uh-mel” or “CAR-uh-muhl” or “KAR-mul?” I say it “delicious,” and something I enjoy swirled into my ice cream or as a dipping sauce for a hot doughy pastry (hello, mini churros).yummy-vegan-coconut-milk-caramel

So once upon a time I found and fell a bit infatuated with these vegan caramels made from coconut milk. Me being me, I instantly starting working on how I could recreate something similar.

I typically make my vegan caramel from dates, which is delicious, but this was a fun new challenge and I can’t wait to bake with this stuff and incorporate it into other fun desserts and treats.coconut-milk

What are you up to right now? As I’m typing up this post, I’m watching Vanderpump Rules. It’s the best worst show ever.

Life is still a bit of a doosey for me lately. I’m experiencing multiple transitions and am exploring new platforms for freelance, and in the meantime I find I have a lot of create energy and am unsure where to place it. It feels like I’m going to pop creative juice all over the carpet. So when this happens I end up baking breakfast cookies and making homemade vegan caramel. I need a life. Or a friend who will eat my food that isn’t my dog.vegan-coconut-milk-caramel

In other news, I am experiencing a really adorable adult acne breakout. This acne does not help me in the she-looks-like-a-teenager-don’t-take-her-seriously-department. Which is starting to get a wee bit frustrating. But that’s okay. I recently read a tweet from a vlogger I follow about letting people who doubt you and try to take advantage of you be your motivation to succeed. So I’m going to try to go this route. Which I guess means caramel, among other things.

Enough of my talking. On to the caramel:delicious-vegan-coconut-milk-caramel

It’s easy, delicious, and has a lovely coconul undertone. It’s wonderful swirled into yogurt, on top of ice cream, AND in the recipe I am going to post next (stay tuned ~ I’m really excited about this one).

Oh, and if you’d like the mini vegan churros recipe here it is: 1) Go to Trader Joe’s. 2) Buy frozen mini churros. 3) Eat.

Prep Time:  2 mins
Cook Time: 35-40 mins
Total Time: ~40 minutes
Servings: ~1/2 cup caramel sauce

Ingredients:

  • 1 can full-fat coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar or coconut sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt

Method:

  1. In a small saucepan, combine coconut milk and sugar.
  2. Heat mixture to a boil over medium heat. Maintain slow boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until sauce has thickened, roughly 35-40 minutes. Stir in coconut oil and vanilla and remove from heat.
  3. Transfer caramel sauce to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Enjoy!

Best Ever Banana Bread {with Flax} – Vegan & Gluten-Free

Holy buckets I have not blogged in quite a little bit! This may be the longest blog break I’ve taken in a year! Wowza. Where oh where have I been?

Vegan & Gluten Free Banana Bread with Flax

Welp, the month of July was insanely busy. In one short month I managed to go to New York, Chicago, Quebec City, attend two weddings, helped out with a fabulous bridal shower, attend Accepted Student’s Day at Columbia University in the City of New York (yup, that’s right, I’m heading back to NYC for grad school!) and spend a surprise night at a Ramawada Inn in Newark, NJ due to a clusterfuck of a travel situation heading back from Quebec.

Banana Bread with Flax - Vegan & Gluten Free

When I wasn’t traveling, I was working working working! I’ve been trying to work at Trader Joe’s as much as I can while still establishing a balance for free time/sanity, which between travel and some other freelance projects I’ve had this month, has been quite the juggling act. But exciting things are coming and happening and it’s been a busy but fun month – despite the fact that it completely flew by!

Vegan & Gluten Free Banana Bread

So today, July 29th, I had off. Free of all obligations, duties, travel agendas, work, and any other sort of obligation that would require me to be wearing real pants at a certain time and place. Aka utter BLISS.  Millie (bless her soul) of course decided woke me up at 5:34am on the dot. 5:34 am seems to be her favorite time to wake mommy up to go to the bathroom, eat breakfast, and promptly climb back into bed, leaving me up and awake for the day.

Vegan & Gluten Free Banana Bread

I’m naturally an early riser, but sometimes, sometimes, I fantasize of sleeping in til 6am on my days off. I guess I should just keep dreaming, right?

Getting up early isn’t always a bad thing – I’m most awake and productive in the early morning and it allows me to get things done before the rest of the world wakes up to distract me. The only downside is that often times I want to get errands done but things like the post office and Target aren’t open until several hours after I rise (-__-). Sometimes this leaves me time to do other things. Like bake.

Banana Bread with Flax. Vegan & Gluten Free

This morning, I baked some banana bread. Can I tell you a secret? For YEARS I have had the hardest time perfecting banana bread. I just couldn’t do it! I don’t know why. It was always too dry, too wet, too clumpy, or the texture simply wasn’t correct.

Banana Bread - Easy, Vegan & Gluten Free !

I know, I know how can this be? I can make homemade Cronuts and elaborate cakes with my eyes closed, and I’m a well-known banana fiend, but for reasons beyond my explanation, I couldn’t make a decent banana bread to save my life. Well, recently, I am happy to say, I conquered the banana bread beast. Yes, I won. I won at life.

Banana Flax Bread - Vegan & Gluten-free

This recipe is several years and about 200 loaves of mediocre or failed banana bread in the making. But here, right in front of your eyes, is the best-ever, hearty, moist, pleasantly filling / not junky vegan and gluten-free banana bread. I think two major keys to perfect banana bread are almond flour and coconut oil. I really have tried this recipe with peanut butter and almond butter, but to me, texture and flavor wise, coconut oil (though boring) reigns supreme.

Banana Bread w: Flax. Vegan & Gluten Free

Winning at this recipe was a major hurdle for me to overcome in my life. I finally feel like a huge weight has been lifted off my culinary shoulders. In a sense, accomplishing this banana bread was a pleasant reminder that if I bust my butt hard enough, I can overcome any life obstacle. Which, when you’re moving halfway across the country again to throw yourself into grad school after some relaxing time off, is a pretty good reminder.

Vegan & Gluten Free Banana Bread with Flax

Onwards and upwards, friends! Happy banana bread to you. 😀 And in the words of Apu from the Simpsons, “Hallelujah, we have banana bread.”

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Bake Time: 60-80 minutes
Level: easy

makes one 12 inch loaf, serves about 10-12

Ingredients:

  • 3 large very-ripe bananas
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted (can sub peanut butter or almond butter, but I like coconut oil best)
  • 1/3 -1/2 cup maple syrup (can substitute 1/2-3/4 cup brown sugar or raw sugar)\
    • adjust amount based on desired level of sweetness
  • 1 cup almond milk (or other nondairy milk)
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar (any kind will do)
  • 1 1/4 almond flour / almond meal (can sub oat flour)
  • 1 1/4 cup oat flour
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats (can sub more oat flour)
  • 1/4 cup ground flax seed (can sub more rolled oats)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 cup walnuts (optional, but highly recommended)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 F.

2. In a cup, combine almond milk and vinegar and set aside to curdle, at least 10 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, melt coconut oil or nut butter in a large bowl. mash bananas and add to melted coconut oil. Stir will. Add maple syrup. Mix well.

4. Add almond flour, oat flour, flax seed, baking powder, cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice. Fold into banana mixture. Add almond milk mixture and 1/4 cup walnuts and fold into batter. Mix until just combine.

5. Pour batter into a greased loaf pan and top with remaining 1/4 cup walnuts, and bake for 60 – 80 minutes, or until bread becomes browned and until a toothpick inserted in the center of the bread comes out clean upon removal. Allow to cool and serve with coconut oil, jelly, or more nut butter :-D.

Cherry Almond Vanilla Granola

Homemade granola makes me so happy. It’s so easy and fast and sounds impressive, but is a super quick thing to throw together and munch on all week long.

Vanilla Cherry Almond Granola. Vegan && Gluten-free

I would categorize granola as something that definitely is worth making at home. There are certain things I think are definitely easier to buy. An example of this would be hummus and almond butter. I try my best, but I can never get the texture as good as the ones from Trader Joe’s. I’ll keep working on this. In the meantime, I’ll keep cranking out granolas by hand, whether they be of the Puppy Chow variety, Nutty Gingerbread Granola, or Carrot Cake Granola. Or, in this case, Cherry Almond Vanilla Granola:

Vanilla Cherry Almond Granola. Vegan & Gluten-free!

But homemade granola is noticeably better than store-bought. First off, it just tastes so darn fresh and wonderful. It’s also easy to customize. I like that I can add a boatload of nuts because I like a  boatload of nuts in my granola. I can also make it extra-cinnamony and not-too-sweet. And it’s wonderful and perfect and has a magnificent crunch and makes the house (or studio apartment) smell absolutely wonderful. It’s actually a staple of mine to snack on and keep around the house, which is why when the Recipe Redux challenge for May was to share a DIY household kitchen staple, I knew I had to share a recipe for granola. Easy to make, more than worth the effort, and always a delightful snack to have on hand. Yums.

Vanilla Cherry Almond Granola. Vegan and Gluten-free

Today I was running very low on maple syrup because my mom used like, all of mine without my knowledge. I try to remind myself that she paid for my food for 18 years of me growing which couldn’t have been cheap. But then I’m usually still sad because I am emotionally attached to all of my foods. Regardless, I ended up trying to use applesauce to replace some of the syrup. I actaully really liked the result. It gives it a nice texture and good clump-age (sounds sexy, right?) and acts as a wonderful binder without giving too much sweetness to the stuff. I’d do it again.

Vanilla Cherry Almond Granola. Vegan and Gluten-free!

So in a way it ended up being a good thing that I was low on maple syrup. Except then I ended up at Trader Joe’s on an off day (again) which is getting embarrassing. Sometimes a girl just needs to get her homemade granola fix.

Vanilla Cherry Almond Granola. Vegan && Gluten-free

So here we go with this Cherry Almond Vanilla Granola. It’s a great combination of flavors. I really love almonds and cherries and they pair together quite well. Vanilla adds a warmth and sweetness to tie it all together.

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Bake Time: 30 minutes
Level: Easy

makes about 4 cups granola

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cups almonds  (I used slivered, because it was what I had, but you can use whatever)
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup apple sauce
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup (can sub honey)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. In a large bowl, combine oats, optional coconut shreds, and salt. Mix well.

3. In a small bowl, combine coconut oil, apple sauce, brown sugar, vanilla and maple syrup. Mix well.

4. Pour wet mixture over dry mixture and mix until well combine. The oats should all be a little wet. Transfer to a parchment-lined or nonstick baking sheet. Place into the oven for 30-35 minutes until nuts and oats have browned. Add cherries and almonds about 15 minutes into baking and mix well (this is optional, if desired you can add them from the get-go, I just prefer my nuts and dried cherries a little less toasted, especially if the nuts are slivered, but you can easily add them before baking). When it is done, it will still be sticky. Take it out of the oven anyways. It will harden as it cools. Enjoy 🙂

Vanilla Cherry Almond Granola. Vegan & Gluten-free!

For more DIY Kitchen Staples from fellow Recipe Redux members, click around below:

Banana Bread Baked Oatmeal for One

This title of this recipe should come as no surprise to those who know me. I love bananas. I love oatmeal. Boom: it’s a Banana Bread Oatmeal Bake for One. YUM.

BananaBread Baked   Oatmeal for One Vega

What’s more surprising than the title of this recipe, and the fact that it was nearly 70 degrees today and I actually started sweating while outdoors (which hasn’t happened in approximately 6 months) is the fact that I’ve never put this recipe on my blog. This is strange because I eat it all.the.time.
Banana Bread Baked Oatmeal    for One Vega
It’s a longtime favorite. A best friend in the breakfast department. A midnight post-all-day-study-marathon-at-Bobst meal. A lunch-time go-to when I feel like breakfast for lunch. A second breakfast when my typical 5:30am breakfast doesn’t hold me over til noon. In essence, I eat this baby several times a week, yet I’ve never shared it. Today, that changes.
Banana Bread Baked Oatmeal
Allow me to describe my BFF breakfast to you: It’s hot, fluffy, satisfying, creamy, filling, and tummy-friendly, and the whole thing tastes like you’re own personal hearty loaf of banana bread goodness.
Vegan Easy Banana Bread Baked Oatmeal for One
Bonus: it makes your kitchen smell amazing and takes less than 2 minutes to throw together. Then you let it bake up nice and quick in the oven, and the smell of sweet, sweet banana bread will waft all throughout your house, tickling your nostrils and getting your tummy oh-so-ready to eat it all up. It’s also vegan and gluten-free, making it highly allergen-friendly to you and your kin. I don’t know why I just referenced a Christmas song. Anyways…
Easy Vegan Banana Bread Baked Oatmeal for One
I really hope anyone looking to mix up their breakfast or late-night-snack routine gives this baby a whirl. It’s never let me down, and I believe it won’t let you down either. You can add syrup, sugar, or honey to the top if you desire, but I find the sweetness of baked bananas to be plenty. I like it best fresh out of the oven, covered with a splash of almond milk to cool it down, and drizzled with ooey gooey almond butter that gets all melty when it hits the hot oatmeal bake. But that’s just me. You do you. And you eat dem oats, homie.
Banana Bread Baked Oatmeal for One Vegan
 …because as my BFF Jake Tully’s senior quote reminds us all, “It’s a whollllleee lotta oats.” 😉

Prep Time: 2 minutes
Bake Time: 18-25 minutes
Level: easy

serves one, easily doubled

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 2 tablespoons oat flour or other flour (can sub additional oats if desired)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons nut butter or coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup almond or other non-dairy milk
  • 1 banana
  • 1-2 teaspoons honey, or maple syrup to top (optional, I think it’s perfect without it)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400 F. In a small bowl, combine oats, oat flour, baking soda, and cinnamon. Mix.

2. Cut banana in half. Mash half of the banana and add to the bowl. Add nut butter or coconut oil and non-dairy liquid. Mix well.

3. Transfer to an oven-safe ramekin or dish. Slice remaining half of banana on top of oatmeal mixture. Place in the oven for 18-25 minutes, until fluffy, browned, and liquid has all absorbed. Serve with almond or other non-diary milk, non-dairy yogurt, and syrup or honey as desired.

Banana Bread Baked Oatmeal for One Vegan

Vegan Triple Coconut Cookies with Chocolate Chunks

I feel as if kbaked has had a bit of a cookie lag recently. Like, I haven’t posted a cookie recipe since nearly two months ago when I made these Easy Vegan Oatmeal Raisin Cookies. Da fucks is up with the lack of cookies, amiright?

Triple Coconut Chocolate Chunk Cookies Vegan  Gluten-free Kbaked

For some reason, I’ve been on a kick of putting up more “real food” on my blog. You know, like this Simple Lemon Pasta, Hummus Barley Bowl with Sweet Potatoes, Kale & Chickpeas, this DANK Black Bean Black Rice Beet Burger, or this Broccoli Parmesan Pasta, etc etc. Just more lunch and dinner stuff. This has been fun and awesome and I really enjoy doing this posts, as they show a snapshot of things I like to eat and realistically make on a daily basis. I hope you’ve enjoyed them as much as my tummy has! #nomnom

Triple Coconut Chocolate Chunk Cookies Vegan Gluten-free Kbaked

So that’s part of the reason for the cookie lag. I suppose the other part is that I have been insanely busy the last like, 7 weeks or so. Between starting a new job at Trader Joe’s (which I <3), volunteering, writing for Spoon, doing some freelance work, and grad school applications and admissions tests, I have not been baking up as many cookies!

Triple Coconut Chocolate Chunk Cookies Vegan Gluten-free Kbaked yum

I decided that had to change. The idea of Triple Coconut Cookies has been floating around in my head for a few days. How are these “triple” you ask? Coconut oil, coconut chips, and coconut flour. If you use coconut milk as your non-diary milk of choice, I suppose you could even consider then Quadruple Coconut Cookies. What a mouthful. Of yum.

Triple Coconut Chocolate Chunk Cookies Vegan Gluten-free Kbaked #cookies !

I added chocolate to this conception of Triple Coconut because in my humble opinion chocolate makes almost everything better. And also tastes #awesome with coconut. These cookies are loosely based off an ANCIENT post of mine, these Almond Joy Cookies I made way back when kbaked.com was in its wee infant stage.

Triple Coconut Chocolate Chunk Cookies Vegan Gluten-free Kbaked

It’s always fun for me to look back at how much my blog and I have changed since we started off. Young adulthood or adolescent-hood or w/e has been a journey inside the kitchen and out, and it’s been oh-so-fun to document tidbits of my life on my blog.

Vegan Triple Coconut Cookies Chocolate Chunks

These cookies are a thank you from me to you for staying tuned. They are full of coconut flavor, and have an interesting, heartier texture from the coconut flour than your average cookie. If you want ’em a lil lighter and fluffier, sub a bit of the coconut flour for more oat. And don’t be afraid to add more coconut chips or shreds and/or chocolate if you desire. I encourage this, because I think there’s always more room for texture/crunch/chocolate/coconut in cookies and/or on top of ice cream.

Triple Coconut Chocolate Chunk Cookies Vegan Gluten-free Kbaked 2

Enjoy des babies. Eat as many as you like and share with all your friends, because they are vegan, gluten-free, and tree-nut free. HooRay! Cookies for all. Go coconutZ. #terriblepunintended

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Bake Time: 15 minutes
Level: easy

makes about 18 cookies
Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup almond milk or coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon ground flax seeds or chia seeds
  • 1 cup coconut flour
  • 1 1/2 cup oat flour (can sub whole-wheat pastry flour, and/or regular flour)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup coconut chips or shredded coconut (I used Trader Joe’s Coconut Chips)
  • 3/4 cup dark chocolate chunks or chips

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, melt coconut oil until it just turns to liquid; this usually takes about 30-60 seconds in the microwave.

Vegan Triple Coconut Cookies Chocolate Chunks ingredients

2. Add sugar to coconut oil and mix. In a separate bowl or cup, combine almond/coconut milk and flax/chia and allow to sit.

Vegan Triple Coconut Cookies Chocolate Chunks 2

3. In a medium bowl, combine flours, baking soda and salt. Mix well.

4. Add flour mixture to coconut oil mixture. Mix gently until just combined. Add almond/coconut milk and mix again. If the dough feels loose and runny, place in the fridge to allow to set and harden a bit for about 5 minutes.

Vegan Triple Coconut Cookies Chocolate Chunks 3

5. Roll cookie dough into 1-inch balls and place on an ungreased baking sheet, spacing about 1-2 inches apart. Place in the oven until lightly browned and puffed, about 12-15 minutes. Enjoy~!

Triple Coconut Chocolate Chunk Cookies Vegan  Gluten-free Kbaked

Vegan Chocolate Silk Pie with Coconut Almond Cream

Are you sitting down? Because if not, I think you should for what I’m about to say: this pie was possibly one of the best pies I’ve ever made, let alone eaten. This is a serious statement considering how many pies I’ve sampled and/or birthed in my lifetime. It was that good. Like, need-to-keep-eating-past-uncomfortably-full-ness-good.

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Creamy. Silky. Chocolately. Coconutty. Almondy. A little crunchy thanks to the graham cracker crust and the shredded coconut. Yet fluffy thanks to the whipped topping. Sweet, yet rich and bitter. Delectably chocolately. Thick. Luscious. Smooth. One of those pies where you finish your slice and wonder where it went and proceed to lick your plate and fork and the serving utensils and then go back for another slice. What dreams are made of.

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Here’s a plot twist to make this dessert even more flawless: it’s one of the easiest pies you can possibly make. It’s no bake, minimal ingredients, minimal mess, and few ingredients.

And just when you thought this pie could not be any better, it proves you wrong. It’s like this pie the Beyonce of pies. Okay are you ready for this? It’s ridiculously healthy. And you’d never guess. Ever. I make a lot of “healthier” versions of desserts or meals or snacks and a lot of the times they do taste, well, healthier. I like this, but not all people do. You could feed this to the most anti-health-food glutton and they’d never know it was healthy, let alone vegan, or in a million years guess a main ingredient is tofu. You really really can’t tell. My mom agreed: she said she would have never guess and that it was one of the best pies she’s ever had.

I made this pie spontaneously for Thanksgiving. No it is not a typical Thanksgiving pie. This year, it was only my mom and I for Thanksgiving and so we did our own atypical vegan Thanksgiving and made some traditional food like rolls and Brussels Sprouts and roasted vegetables, and some interesting other random stuff, like an Italian-Asian Braised Boy Choy dish and Rosemary-Infused Cranberry Sauce and tempeh.

Screen Shot 2014-11-28 at 3.53.48 PM

We had already had a “classic” style Thanksgiving meal with all the fixings a few weeks earlier, so this was more our play-time and excuse to try new things.

So since I had already made a pumpkin pie this year (I made a pie inspired by Minimalist Baker’s Vegan Pumpkin Pie and it turned out great), but with graham crust because I love graham crust and have always thought it’d go well with a pumpkin pie. So since pumpkin and apple and pecan pies have already been on my plate in the past few weeks, I wanted to try something else. And yesterday, I really really wanted chocolate. And graham crust. And a layer of fluffy whipped goodness. With coconut. And almond. I wanted all these things. So I combined them into this perfect, precious, beautifully delicious and wonderful pie.

Protein and fiber and B vitamins from the tofu. Extra protein and fiber and flavonoids from the cocoa powder. MUFAs and PUFAs from coconut fat. The almond extract and sugar don’t add much nutritional value, but they add boat loads of flavor and taste, and compliment the rest of this basically-super-food pie. Ugh. Stop being so flawless, pie. I can’t stop staring/eating.

You must make this. Like I said, it’s the Beyonce of pies. Ridiculously delicious. Coincidentally healthy, and vegan, and almost too easy to make to believe. But one bite, and you will believe. And come knocking at my door thanking me for this recipe, which might be one of my favorites to date.

Screen Shot 2014-11-28 at 3.50.46 PM

Enough talking, I need to polish off the remaining sliver of pie currently sitting in my fridge. Wouldn’t want that one piece to be lonely, now would I? And with that, I leave you with this message: EAT ALL THE PIE! 😀

Screen Shot 2014-11-28 at 3.50.14 PM

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Bake Time: 0 minutes, but needs at least 1 hour to set in the refridgerator

Level: Easy

Screen Shot 2014-11-28 at 3.31.30 PM

Ingredients – Crust:

  • 10 graham crackers (about 1 + 1/2 sleeves)
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 6 tablespoons coconut oil, melted

Ingredients – Chocolate Filling:

  • 12 ounce package silken tofu
  • 3/4 cup high quality cocoa powder (I used Godiva)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup almond milk

Ingredients – Coconut Almond Cream:

  • 1 can full-fat coconut milk, left in refrigerator overnight (if you’re short on time and/or not vegan, using a container of regular or non-dairy cool-whip topping would also work well)
  • 2 teaspoons almond extract
  • 1/2 cup coconut shreds, divided (1/4 cup for topping, 1/4 cup for garnish)
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar (omit if using cool-whip topping)

Directions:

1. Break graham crackers into small pieces and create crumbs from the crackers by either pulsing them in a food processor or mashing them with a large spoon in a plastic zip-lock bag. I like to leave mine a little crumbly, instead of pulsing to a fine powder. I dig texture/the crunch. But you can do what you want. Dump graham crumbs into a small bowl. Melt coconut oil for a few seconds in the microwave and add to the graham crumbs. Add sugar, and mix until all crumbs are moist and the mixture adheres to itself. If you need to add more melted coconut oil, go for it.

2. Press crumb crust mixture into a lightly oiled pie pan, covering the bottom and the edges. Set aside.

Screen Shot 2014-11-28 at 3.31.53 PM

3. In a food processor or blender, combine tofu, cocoa powder, sugar, and almond milk. Puree until smooth. Pour into pie pan on top of crust. Cover and set in the refrigerator.

Screen Shot 2014-11-28 at 3.33.04 PM

4. Open can of coconut milk. Drain off top half and save for another use (great for smoothies, stir-frys, on oatmeal, etc). There should be a solid mass at the bottom of the good fatty stuff. Remove this and place in a bowl. To this, add almond extract and powdered sugar. Whip with electric beaters until light and fluffy. Fold in 1/4 cup coconut flakes. Spread fluffy mixture all over chocolate pie. If you are using a cool-whip substitute instead of coconut milk, simply fold in 1/4 cup coconut flakes and almond extract. This option will also be tasty.

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 5. Garnish with remaining 1/4 cup coconut shreds, and extra shredded chocolate if desired. Eat pie. Try to remember to breathe. Eat more pie. Enjoy life. 🙂

Blackberry Fruit Dumplings

The Fruit Dumplings from East Side Ovens are things of beauty. It’s this little pocket that sort of looks like a rounded out star / mini hand pie, filled with delicious, sweet, fruity goo in the most perfect flakey crust. It’s what dreams are made of.

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East Side Ovens sells them in local farmer’s markets and grocery stores. They don’t advertise themselves as being vegan at farmer’s markets, but after stumpling into a sampling promotion at the Health Hut last month, I learned that all of their products are totally dairy free! #win. I wonder why they don’t advertise this way at markets. My guess is so that people who aren’t particularly open-minded about vegan baked goods don’t automatically skip over their delicious goodies. Which I’m sure, sadly, a lot of people would. But no one does! These babies sell like HOT CAKES every place they’re available. Which is awesome for the little local business, and proves that if people aren’t told any different, many don’t even know they’re eating something vegan when secretly they are. #tricky

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Last Monday I was having a good day, even after work. I was in a happy pants mood and wanted to celebrate so I popped on into Health Hut to celebrate. Because I reward myself with health-food grocery shopping because it’s like my favorite hobby. I know, right? I’m the coolest and most exciting human you’ve ever met.

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I bought these cherry dumplings from East Side Ovens while I was at the Health Hut. They also have really good rhubarb ones. And many other kids. But last Monday, all Health Hut had was cherry. And cherry is one of my top 5 favorite fruits of all times. So cherry it was!

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I brought them home and ate one that night. I saved one for Tuesday and looked forward to it allllll afternoon while I was working. I could not wait to get home and make coffee and have my cherry dumpling. So I got home from work and got my coffee going and put my dumpling on the counter. Then I went upstairs to pee and get my phone charger. Five minutes later I return downstairs. And like, certainly more than half of my fruit dumpling had mysteriously vanished. I’m not pointing any fingers but I’m 100% certain it was Pita. OOF.

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I was sad, but still savored what was left of my little dumpling. Actually, in retrospect, I’m lucky she didn’t eat the whole thing. And like honestly, if she did, I couldn’t have blamed her. They’re just so yummy. Perfect combo of crunchy/flakey crust, gooey sweet fruity filling, and sweet crunchy frosting glaze white stuff. Heavenly. I made her promise we return the the Health Hut soon to get more and just to go gawk at the Health Hut because it’s so beautiful and has so many fine, healthy, delicious food products. Wow I love grocery shopping. I really need a social life.

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Anyways, this event also sparked me to want to make my own fruit dumplings, so on Sunday Funday I gave it a whirl and whipped up these babies. I used blackberries, because we had leftover frozen blackberries in the freezer from when I made these wonderful wonderful Blackberry Cornmeal Pancakes (seriously, make them). You can use whatever berry or fruit you’d like. Frozen berries worked really well in this dish, as you cook ’em down anyways.

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The end result was much like the Fruit Dumpling experience from East Side Ovens, with a few differences: you still get the crunchy meets gooey/fruity/sweet. Except these are a little less, puffy, I guess you could say. Next time I’m going to try layering the dough to make it puffier and flakier. We’ll see. These are more like a crispy tart. Still wonderful and delicious in its own right, just a slightly different crust texture than the OG. But cooking is all about making things your own anyways! So next time you want something delicious that will fill your heart and soul with joy and your kitchen with wonderful wafts of fruity pies, whip up a couple of these babies. Not only do they sort of look like stars, they taste like them, too. 😉 #cheesy #corny #gowithit

xoxo, kbakes !

Prep Time: 1 hour

Cook Time: 20-30 minutes

Level: Easy

Makes 2 small fruit pies [serves 2]

Ingredients – Crust:

  • 1/4 cup cold coconut oil or non-dairy spread such as Earth Balance
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/3-1/2 cups cold water

Ingredients – Filling:

  • 1 cup fresh or frozen blackberries (or any berries/fruit!)
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon vanila extract

Ingredients – Glaze:

  • Either drizzle 1/2 cup vanilla coconut milk yogurt (that’s what I did)
    • OR combine 1/4 cup nondairy spread at room temperature (such as Earth balance) with 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar using a hand mixture or kitchen aid mixture until well-combined. Add almond milk and/or more powdered sugar as needed until desired consistency is reached

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. In a food processor, combine whole wheat pastry flour, all purpose flour, salt, and sugar. Pulse until mixed well. Cut up coconut oil or non-dairy spread into pieces, sprinkle into the food processor, and continue pulsing until well slightly combined. Add 1/4 cup cold water and pulse until a loose crumbly dough begins to form. If needed, add more water, 1 tablespoon at a time.

3.  Removed dough from food processor and form into a ball. Wrap or place in a small bowl and place in the refrigerator.

4. Meanwhile, combine blackberries, sugar, flour, vanilla, and lemon juice in a small saucepan. Bring to a low boil, stirring constantly, then reduce heat and allow to simmer, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has reduced and the fruit mixture is the consistency of a loose jelly.

5. Remove dough from refrigerator. Cut in half. Roll each half into a thin circle.

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6. Place half of fruit mixture in the center of each circle of dough.

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7. Fold over one edge of the circle like an envelope so that the crust covers about 1/4 inch of the fruit, but the majority is still in the center. From the top of this fold, fold over the two sides diagonally to make an obtuse angle covering the right and left corner of the top fold.

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8. Repeat at the bottom; this time fold the dough inwards so that the center is exposed but the edges are framing the fruit. Press down dough to seal any potential points of leakage (such as the edges) as necessary.

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9. Repeat with second circle. Place dumplings onto a parchment-paper lined baking sheet and place in the oven for 22-30 minutes until the crust has browned and the bottom easily releases from parchment paper if you try to peak at/lift up a corner. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

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10. If desired, add as much or as little glaze or icing as you’d like. Enjoy ! 🙂 I used coconut yogurt, but if you want to make a vegan buttercream, simple combine 1/4 cup non-dairy vegetable spread with 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar using a hand mixture or kitchen aid mixture until well-combined. Add almond milk and/or more powdered sugar as needed until desired consistency is reached. Decorate to your heart’s content.

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