All my life I’ve dreamed of a working blender or food processor. And thanks to Amazon Prime day, my dream has become a reality at last, and I can now part ways with my $12 Food Network brand mini food processor from Kohl’s circa 2009. This major upgrade has helped bring me (and you) this incredibly easy raw vegan cheesecake.
Now. Raw cheesecake is something I’ve wanted to make for…oh I don’t know basically forever. But my old mini food processor was so small, dull, and crappy, that it could barely dice a ripe banana.
I’ve dreamt about making raw cheesecakes and smooth hummus and nut butters for years but never had the right equipment to properly execute these desires.
Enter new Ninja blender. Enter happiness. And freedom and inspiration to make ALL OF THE THINGS. Stay tuned!
You know what I adore? Fruit. And sweet graham cracker munchies. Like Teddie Grahams or Trader Joe’s Cinnamon School Book Cookies. Yum. Give me all the sweet (but not too sweet) carbs. And what better to dip all of these carbs in than Vegan Peanut Butter Fluff? Nada, that’s what.
This super easy Vegan Peanut Butter Fluff dip was inspired by fluffy fruit dips from my childhood. I remember raging on fruit and graham crackers with this mysterious white sweet fluffy dip and wondering what the heck it was.
I have an [extreme] obsession with waffles. There is something about those airy rectangles that create such a pleasurable experience for my mouth. To me, texture is a huge part of the enjoyment of food, and there is something truly magical about those airy, repetitive rectangles that never fail to please my mouth. Maybe it’s the maximum surface area for browning. I love browning. Food that’s a lil burnt is totally up my ally…especially when it’s something sweet’n’carby.
If you want to get all food science-y, (too bad if you don’t, because I’m finna) this is called the Maillard Reaction, which is the reaction between amino acids and their reducing sugars that gives foods that distinct brown color and flavor. This is what happens to your toast, cake, the cripsy parts of your potatoes, your roasted veggies (yes, vegetables are carbohydrates!), caramel making, and that gorgeous golden crust on all your breads.
Long story short, the Maillard Reaction = protein + carbohydrate + heat = brown.
Bottom line of story: Maillard = delicious.
Now back to waffles. With all that surface area for Maillard to go down, there’s lots of crispy browning. And then there’s the glorious crunchy edges that contrast oh so beautifully with the fluffy inside.
I really, truly, love waffles. Toaster waffles are a staple in my life. Any place I’d put bread, I will other times put toaster waffles. Yes, your pb+j just got better. As did your sandwich. Just buy the whole wheat kind and they aren’t too sweet for even your saltiest creation. Trust me on this one. You will thank me later.
Beyond the freezer, there are homemade waffles. If you got a few extra minutes they are always worth making, even just for the fragrance that will waft through your house all day long after. I recently got a new waffle iron because my old one went MIA when my mom moved, and I have been spending some quality time making waffles for myself in batches, freezing some, and eating them all week long.
But why just make waffles in a waffle iron? I thought to myself. Why not cookies? And thus, the chocaffelie was born. Just rolls off the tounge, doesn’t it? No. No it does not. It does taste good though.
I had to try this recipe a few times before I got it right. The first time I just tried to bake regular cookie dough in the waffle iron. It didn’t work so great. It tasted nice, but was all sticky and crumbly. So I hybrid some various aspects of the cookie and the waffle and ended up with this. I also realized that for best results, smaller chocolate pieces are needed to prevent them from sticking to/burning on the waffle iron. Thus, I recommend you chop your chocolate chips. This would also be a wildly appropriate place for mini chips. But you know. Work with whatcha got.
1 cup chocolate chips, chopped (or 1 cup mini chips)
1. Plug in your waffle iron and set it to a medium-high heat.
2. In a bowl, combine flour, oats, baking soda and salt. Mix.
3. Separate egg into yolk and whites. Whip the whites up with an electric mixer. Add half of the granulated sugar (so about ⅛ cup or a few tablespoons) to encourage the stiff peaks to set. Set both aside.
4. In a large bowl, beat the butter, remaining white sugar, and all of the brown sugar together until nice and fluffy. This will take a minute or two. Next add the egg yolk and vanilla and whip a little more until combine. Lick the whisk. Or at the very least, appreciate its beauty or try to prevent your dog from hopping up and stealing it from you.
5. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix gently until combined.
6. Fold in the chocolate chip pieces or mini chips. Finally, very gently fold in the egg whites.
7. You can place a spoonful of batter in each of the four corners of the waffle iron, or place a big glob right in the center, depending on what kind of end product you want.
8. Close the iron and allow the cookie to bake for about 2 minutes, or until brown and crispy and beautiful.
9. Using a fork or knife, gently remove from iron and set on cooling rack to cool.
10. Eat. And/or post to instagram and prepare to be bombarded with texts demanding you share. It’s up to you.
As long as I’m rolling out candy recipes, (Kit Kats earlier today, Take 5 Bars with Graham Cracker and Sea Salt yesterday,) I thought I’d also post my homemade Twix and homemade Almond Joy bars. These were also part of my DIY Candies piece for NYU Spoon and were featured on The Daily Meal. I gave Kit-Kats their own post because Kit-Kats are a godly food in my eyes so I felt they deserved it. I’m combining Twix and Almond Joy because they’re also in my top 5 favs, but I’m also kind of lazy right now and I think my pup has to poop so I’m anxious to finish this post so we can go on a walk. And you know what? My blog my rules. *whip crack* Anywhoo, I feel like everyone loves Twix. I do too. I also feel like a lot of people think of Almond Joy as “old people” candy. It’s not. It’s great. Don’t judge my love of it and think I’m an old grannie. Even though ever since I turned 22, I’ve been going to bed progressively earlier. It’s fine trust me, I just like my bed a lot.
I feel like it is my responsibility to clarify, while I categorize all these homemade candies as “easy,” I should also mention that they’re all putsy. (ie: you got to have a bit of patience because it’s a lot of repetitive handling and spreading of chocolate etc). But spreading chocolate and being putsy is fun when you get delicious end results. At least in my eyes. Give these a whirl. And just like the Take 5 Bars, I reccomend Sea Salt. Also that Real Salt brand Sea Salt is dank monies. You should buy it. It’s like $6 for that bag, but so, so, so worth it. Last night I ate some food just so I could have a vessel for the salt. I do that a lot with hot sauce too. And salsa. And then I need a sugary chaser, like these bars. Life is all about balance, people!
1 small box butter shortbread cookies
1 9 ounce bag baking caramels
1 12 ounce bag chocolate chips
sea salt (optional)
1. Place parchment paper or aluminum foil onto a large plate or baking sheet, and place it next to your work space.
2. Unwrap caramels and place in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave on high in intervals of 30 seconds until melted, stirring between each interval.
2. Spread caramel onto shortbread cookies using a knife. Place each caramel covered cookie onto the prepared sheet. Sprinkle with sea salt if you’re fancy.
3. Allow caramel to cool on cookies. This should take about 20 minutes.
4. Empty the chocolate chips into a large microwave safe bowl. Place in the microwave and microwave in increments of 30 seconds, stirring after each increment, until chocolate is melted. Be careful not to burn chocolate.
5. Use a knife to spread chocolate on all four sides of the caramel coated shortbread cookies and place back onto prepared pan.
6. Place cookies in the refrigerator until chocolate has set, about 30-60 minutes.
4 cups sweetened flaked coconut
7 ounces sweetened condensed milk (half of a small can)
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 12 ounce bag chocolate chips
1/2 cup raw almonds
1. Line a 9×9 pan with parchment paper or grease with butter or nonstick spray.
2. Pour sweetened condensed milk into a medium sized bowl and add powdered sugar. Mix until smooth and well combined. Fold in sweetened coconut.
3. Pour coconut mixture into prepared pan. Spread and pat it down evenly with a spatula.
4. Place almonds in rows on top of the coconut mixture. Press each one into the coconut just a lightly, until each nut is about half submerged in coconut.
5. Place pan in the refrigerator for about an hour until coconut is set and firm.
6. Grease a sharp knife with cooking spray. Cut the coconut mixture in rows following the pattern made by the almonds, and then into individual 2-inch bites.
7. Place parchment paper or aluminum foil onto a large plate or baking sheet, and place it next to your work space.
8. Empty the chocolate chips into a large microwave safe bowl. Place in the microwave and microwave in increments of 30 seconds, stirring after each increment, until chocolate is melted. Be careful not to burn chocolate.
9. Using hands, dip each 2-inch bite in chocolate and use a knife to coat chocolate evenly. Place on lined baking sheet.
10. Place almond joys in fridge for 30-60 minutes until chocolate is firm. Keep cold until serving. Nom it up and defend these beauties as young AND old person candy.
I got home a little over a week ago. Since then I’ve somehow ended up working back at Yo Mama, a local froyo shop doing a million different things. Like working in their new “Party Room.” And helping out in the back making froyo cakes and chocolate dipped rice krispies and pretzels and pizzelle cookies. When I’m working with the pastry stuff I can’t believe I’m getting paid to do it because it’s like getting paid to do my hobby. Hours whizz by and I barely look at the clock. When I’m scrubbing cookie dough off the floor or cleaning the bathrooms I feel slightly differently.
Along with seeing how much work and planning goes into opening and running a food shop,this week I was lucky enough to learn the valuable life skill that is ice cream cake making. Let’s be honest – who doesn’t love ice cream cake?
There’s the ice cream layers.
And there’s the crust.
And there’s the fudge layer.
And that frozen frosting.
It’s just too good. Such a good combo of crunchy, gooey, and cold and creamy in every bite. It’s like, perfect. And as much as I love fine pastries and cakes, you better believe I go ape-shit when I see a DQ cake.
And now I know the process of how to make them. It’s not necessarily difficult, it just kinda takes a lot of steps. It’s time consuming. Not really a set-it-and-forget-it type thing. Kind of like croissants. Just a lot of steps. Anyways if you want an ice cream cake, I can do dat for ya. Please don’t hesitate to ask 🙂
I also made really really really wonderful whole-wheat blueberry muffins this week. They were not-too-sweet. Perfect for breakfast. I almost have the recipe *perfected* and I think a key was apple sauce and greek yogurt. HOLY FLUFFY! Recipe soon.
I posted this pic to my Instagram (@katherinebaker4) and infatuation (#eeeeats) liked it. I felt momentarily cool. Then embarrassed for feeling cool and back-hashing the eeeeats thing. How lame. All photos in this post were taken with my iPhone. I’ve yet to whip out my DSLR since being home. Not sure why. I think it’s still packed somewhere. I’ll find it. I have the day off today. I’m probably gonna do a lot of baking and cooking and blogging and puppy hanging. I’m pretty jazzed about this.
Speaking of puppies, I had some good times with Millie this week. We went to a park with my mom (her grandma) and my family dog, Sasha. A good time was had by all. Sasha is nearly 14. She’s a sweetie-pie and melts my heart. I’m very lucky to have such great dogs in my life. Millie is exploring this whole new world that is nature. She still usually chooses to pee and poop on concrete over grass (a true city-pup for sure) but is really enjoying chasing birdies and butterflies and seeing trees and open grassy fields and whatnot. Such adventure! Many wonders!
Millie and I also went to Panera to dine al-fresco. It was fun. Except some lady outside didn’t like her and had to give us a dirty look and move inside. That’s her problem though b/c Millie’s frickin’ awesome. I feel like you can learn a lot about people by how they treat animals. Very telling.
I ended up working a lot this past week, and it broke my heart to leave lil nugget home alone so much. According to my mom this is how it feels to be a working parent. Lord help me. I worry myself sick about my pup (even when her grandma is watching her!), I’m not sure how I’ll handle real children. I’ll cross that bridge when we get there. In like, 5ever. Anyways, her grandma watched her yesterday when I worked a long shift. Apparently after I left, she howled and cried and peed on the floor in protest of my leaving. *guilt* Seems I’m working too much for her liking. She’s become quite a spoiled lady. Looks like we’ll be having a mommy-daughter day today. She’s currently curled up in my feet. Not a bad start to the day.
Other than that this week I’ve just been talking to people and picking their brains about life as I try to figure out my own. Post-grad life is pretty awkward for most people. More on this later. For now, I need a nugget walk and maybe a trip to Alterra (or collectivo or w/e you call it). Happy Monday everyone!