Tag Archives: Dessert

Recipe: Homemade Chocolate Bark

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This recipe is super simple but creates elegant-looking pieces of chocolate bark that you can serve at a party, give as a gift or use to satisfy a chocolate craving.

It’s also highly versatile so feel free to play around with different mix-ins. If you’re a fan of the popular Peppermint Pretzel barkTHINS for example, you could use chopped pretzels, candy cane pieces and a pinch of sea salt. If you like the pecan-caramel combination, try chopped dates and pecans and a handful of toffee pieces. If you prefer fruit and nut chocolate bars, try adding chopped almonds, peanuts and cashews and raisins.

Enjoy!

Homemade Chocolate Bark
Vegan | Gluten-free | Soy-free | Nut-free option

Makes one large baking sheet of bark

Ingredients:

  • 500 grams good quality dairy-free dark chocolate
    (baking chocolate, molding chocolate and chocolate chips/bars should all work well)
  • 1/2 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut
    (Costco sometimes carries Sunblest brand, which I love because it doesn’t have sulphites)
  • 1/2 cup seeds and/or nuts
    (I wanted a nut-free version so I used sunflower, pumpkin and chia seeds)
  • 1/3 cup dried fruit
    (I used unsweetened cranberries and wild blueberries)

Directions:

  1. Melt the chocolate in a saucepan over low heat, checking it often and stirring frequently so that it doesn’t burn. While the chocolate is melting, prepare 1 large (or 2 medium-small baking sheets) with a layer of wax paper or a silicone baking mat.
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    Start heating the chocolate slowly…

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    … until it’s fully melted.
  2. Once the chocolate is fully melted, remove the pan from the heat and add in your mix-ins. Stir gently until they’re well incorporated.
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    Add all of your mix-ins into the saucepan.

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    Stir gently to combine.
  3. Spread the mixture out onto the wax paper or baking mat, ideally in the shape of a rectangle, so that it’s about half a centimetre thick. Place your baking sheet in the fridge and let the chocolate cool until its hardened (about 30 minutes).
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    Spread the mixture out evenly into a rectangular shape.

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    Chill for about 30 minutes until the chocolate has hardened.
  4. When the chocolate is fully cooled, gently peel it off the mat/wax paper and break it into medium-large chunks. Try to work quickly so that the chocolate doesn’t melt – it needs to stay cool to ‘snap’ nicely into pieces of bark.

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    Break into various-sized pieces to create your ‘bark’.
  5. Store the chocolate in the refrigerator until you’re ready to enjoy. If you’re going to give it as a gift, just package it in some cellophane or a glass jar, add a ribbon and you’re good to go!

The World’s Best Fudge Brownie

As part of my work with the NCVA’s Restaurant Outreach Program, I find or come up with recipes that are suitable for restaurants: cheap, easy to make, not noticeably vegan so non-vegans don’t run screaming, and with a reasonably long shelf life.

One of the restaurants I’m working with asked for two things: a vegan dessert recipe and a vegan pancake recipe. Both had to be indistinguishable from the traditional milk-and-eggs versions, of course.

Today I’ll give you my dessert recipe. It is the “World’s Best Fudge Brownie,” based loosely the “World’s Best Chocolate Cake,” the recipe for which was posted several months ago.

A couple of notes for those who intend to make this exceptional bar.

First, while it is technically a brownie, be warned: it is not the type of brownie with which one muffles the squawks of a saggy-diapered infant. It is not the type of brownie that one sells for 50 cents at a church bake sale to be swallowed in two bites and washed down with instant coffee from a Styrofoam cup.

This is strictly a food snob’s brownie. Dark and rich, it is meant to be savoured with a single estate fair trade brew and a powerful sense of superiority.

Second, this is a finely honed recipe. So don’t start messing around with it and for the love of god don’t try to make it “healthy.” If you want healthy, have an apple. If you don’t like things “too rich” or “too chocolately,” don’t take whatever childhood trauma engendered this weird aversion out on my recipe. Just go away and have an oatcake or whatever your kind regard as dessert.

So, without further ado, here it is:

The World’s Best Fudge Brownie

Brownie Ingredients:

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup raw sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 ¼ cups cocoa powder (Dutch processed)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 ½ teaspoons salt
1 400 ml can full fat coconut milk
¾ cup vegetable oil (anything but olive)
2 tablespoons instant coffee

Brownie Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees
2. Line a 9 x 13 pan with parchment paper. Leave at least one inch of parchment paper sticking out along each of the long edges – you’ll use this to lift the brownies out.
3. Mix wet ingredients
4. Dissolve instant coffee in wet ingredients

Parchment paper "handles"

5. Mix dry ingredients
6. Add wet ingredients to dry and mix only until just combined (I use a pastry cutter – great for blending thick batters)
7. Bake for about 35 minutes. You want to take it out when the centre looks just slightly underdone (i.e. a bit shinier then the outside). Use a baking stone if you have one and remember that, when it comes to brownies, underdone is better than overdone.
8. Allow to cool in pan for 15 minutes; lift out of pan using parchment paper “handles” and allow to cool completely on a cooling rack before frosting.
9. Frost with the chocolate ganache recipe below.

Chocolate Ganache Ingredients

½ cup non-dairy milk
2 cups finely chopped semisweet (55% cocoa) or bittersweet (75% cocoa) chocolate
¼ cup Earth Balance buttery spread

Chocolate Ganache Directions:

Place non-dairy milk and chocolate in a bowl and microwave for 1 minute. Microwave in additional 30-second increments until the chocolate is somewhat stirable. Stir for about 30 seconds. Alternately microwave for 30 seconds/stir for 30 seconds until the chocolate is nearly melted. Add the Earth Balance and stir until smooth. Spread on cooled brownies. Refrigerate for at least an hour before cutting into bars.

These brownies freeze very well and will keep in the fridge for a week or more. They are actually better after a couple of days. To restore them to just-baked freshness, microwave for about 10 seconds.

Erin’s (almost) Award Winning Cupcake Recipe

So, despite my prediction, I did not win the recent VegFest Cupcake contest. I came in second. Now, I could be gracious and accept that my opponent and author of the awesome It Ain’t Meat Babe blog simply bested me with her dark chocolate almond cupcake.

But of course that is crap. What actually happened was that the 0.5 point she edged me out by was somehow rigged by bloodthirsty mafiosos who have a problem with oranges. Or else it was divine intervention by God or Satan or some other jerk just to punish me for being cocky.

But a promise is a promise….So, without further ado, here is the recipe for my Orange Chiffon cupcakes with Raspberry Coulis and Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting.

By the way, I’ll be bringing mini versions to Saturday’s NCVA potluck for those who’d care to try them 🙂

Whoops - I'd already started peeling that front one before I thought to take a photo

CUPCAKES:

Ingredients:

1 cup thawed frozen concentrated (you know what I mean) orange juice
1/3 cup neutral oil like canola or safflower
1/3 cup raw sugar
1 cup pureed sweet potato (I always make my own but canned does exist)
1 cup flour
1/2 cup corn flour (not corn meal, not corn starch – corn flour is yellow but has the consistency of flour)
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line your cupcake pan with paper liners. Using a hand blender (or a regular blender if you are crazy and do not own a hand blender), blend the orange juice, oil, sugar, and sweet potato for about a minute. The mixture will lighten in colour. Make sure there are no lumps of potato!

Whisk the remaining dry ingredients together in a mixing bowl. When you’re sure the oven is preheated, pour the wet mixture into the dry and fold together until just combined. The key to fluffy cupcakes is minimal mixing (use a rubber spatula – it helps). When you’re using baking soda (rather than powder) it’s equally important to get the cupcakes into the oven as soon as possible after the batter is mixed.

Spoon the batter, which should be very “poofy,” into the cupcake pan and bake for 20 minutes. Ovens vary, so keep an eye on them. If you see even a hint of browning, take them out sooner. These cupcakes look and taste best when they are bright orange!

Allow to cool for a couple of minutes before removing them from the pan to continue cooling on a rack.

RASPBERRY COULIS

Ingredients:
2 cups raspberries, fresh or frozen
1/2 cup raw sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
pinch salt

Directions (you can do this while the cupcakes are baking):

Puree all ingredients with hand blender. If you don’t like raspberry seeds, put the mixture through a fine sieve. Otherwise, just put the whole thing in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally to ensure the mixture does not burn. Remove from heat.

COCONUT CREAM CHEESE FROSTING

Ingredients:
I/2 container Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese
1/4 cup virgin coconut oil
5 cups confectioner’s sugar
pinch salt

Directions:
Beat the cream cheese and coconut oil until light and fluffy – it may take a while since the coconut oil likes to stay chunky. Stir in the sugar and salt and beat again until light and fluffy (again, it’ll take 5 minutes or so). Spoon frosting into a piping bag or whatever you use to pipe frosting.

ASSEMBLY:
When the cupcakes are no more than lukewarm and the raspberry coulis is still fairly warm, spread about a teaspoon of the latter onto each of the former. Don’t use too much – the stuff is potent!

When both cupcakes and coulis are completely cool, pipe on the icing and top each cupcake with an inverted raspberry.

Happy Baking!

Note: You can also make this into a cake - just use an 8-inch cake pan and cook for about 30 minutes.

Mint Double Chocolate Chip Cookies

By Amanda

Here is my recipe that I used for the cookies I brought to the GoGreen Expo. Not too sweet but loads of chocolate and mint…what a great combination!

Mint Double Chocolate Chip Cookies
Ingredients:

  • 1 cup vegan butter, softened (I used Earth Balance Soy Free)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoon real mint extract
  • 2 1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 12 oz semi-sweet vegan chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup any vegan milk…soy or almond
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  In a mixer cream sugars and butter until fluffy.   Add liquids…non dairy milk and mint extract.  Combine dry ingredients in a large separate bowl.  Add wet mixture to dry ingredients and mix well.  Fold in chocolate chips.  Roll into small balls onto cookie sheet.  Bake 8-10 minutes.