Vegan Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Happy Friday! This work week ended with a generous helping of delicious vegan chocolate chunk cookies for me and my coworkers. When I’m not writing about food or managing Vitamin Valentine, I’m working a full-time job as a community nutritionist for a nonprofit organization. At our office this week we celebrated the month of march (which also happens to be national nutrition month) with healthy baked goods. Yes, there is such a thing as a healthy baked good. Although I wouldn’t advise anyone to go on a diet consisting of only muffins, cookies, or cupcakes, baked goods can be made a little healthier with a few simple substitutions. I try to use whole wheat or whole grain pastry flour in place of white flour, which adds a little more fiber and b-vitamins. Using applesauce and almond milk in place of large amounts of oil or butter also helps cut down on calories and fat. There are many other ways to make ordinary cookies a little healthier with some creativity. These vegan chocolate chunk cookies were a big hit and I hope you enjoy them too! Each cookie clocks in at just under 150 calories and makes around 14-16 large, fluffy cookies.

Vegan Chocolate Chunk Cookies

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Ingredients:

  • 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 cup brown sugar (unpacked)
  • 1/4 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 cup apple sauce
  • 2/3 cup Earth Balance buttery spread (or, use 1/2 cup coconut oil)- softened
  • 1 cup Enjoy Life vegan semi-sweet chocolate mega chunks

Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray a cookie sheet with nonstick spray and then put a sheet of parchment paper on top
  • In a large bowl, mix softened earth balance or coconut oil with brown and white sugars, add vanilla extract. Mix with a spoon until uniform in consistency.
  • In a separate bowl, add flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda together until mixed
  • Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, then add the almond milk and apple sauce and mix
  • Add the chocolate chunks and mix well
  • Using your hands, mold the dough into balls and then flatten. This recipe will make about 14-16 medium-large cookies, or 20-24 smaller cookies
  • Bake for 10-12 minutes. For larger cookies, time may be longer.
  • Allow to cool, share with your friends, family, or coworkers, and enjoy 🙂

-Jess

Healthy-ish Oat Pear Pie

Greetings! I haven’t written any recipes in over a month but if you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you may have noticed that I tend to write less when I’m busy with school. In addition to being a full-time grad student, I also started a new job in september as a nutritionist! All of my work seems to be paying off and it’s a great feeling. I’m a big believer in occasionally celebrating achievements with healthy baked goods. I’m also a big fan of local produce. Combine these two you get my latest recipe: Healthy-ish Oat Pear Pie. I’m calling this recipe “healthy-ish” because pie isn’t the healthiest food in general, but I did make a healthier version of pie by using whole wheat flour and less (vegan) butter than found in some recipes.

Healthy-ish Oat Pear PieIMG_7578

Ingredients

Pie shell:

  • 2.5 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1.5 sticks of  3/4 cup Earth Balance spread (melted)
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • 1 tbsp. nondairy milk

Filling:

  • 4-5 medium sized, locally grown (if available) bosc pears, peeled, cored, and sliced
  • 2 tbsp. maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp. agave
  • 1 tbsp. lemon
  • 2 tbsp. cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp. cinnamon

Topping:

  • 1/2 cup old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar

Directions

For the pie shell:

  • Measure and mix dry ingredients. Melt the butter and add into the dry ingredients, mix well. Add the nondairy or regular milk along with the cold water into the mixture, slowly. If the mixture becomes too moist, add a little more flour by the tablespoon. Set aside and refrigerate for 30 minutes to an hour. After time has elapsed, spray a round pie pan/tin with nonstick spray. You can either roll out the dough using a rolling pin coated in flour so that the dough can easily be placed and spread into the pie pan OR you can use your hands to transfer the dough to the pan and mush it into the pan so that it is completely covered on all sides (I used the second method). Add any extra dough to the upper sides of the pan to create a thicker crust.

For the filling:

  • Peel, core, and cut the pears. Pears should be cut into small pieces, but not diced. Place the pears in a large bowl, and add the maple syrup, honey, sugar, lemon juice, and stir in the cornstarch so that it dissolves into the liquid. Mix well. Add the cinnamon and mix. Transfer the filling into the pie crust that lines the pie pan.

For the topping:

  • Sprinkle oats and brown sugar on top of the filling.

Preheat the oven at 375°F. Bake for 40-50 minutes, until the edges of the crust are browned and a knife can be inserted cleanly into the center of the crust. Remove from the oven after baking and allow to cool before cutting. Serve with ice cream, soy ice cream, sorbet, or hot cider. As always, enjoy!

-Jess

Fall in Love with Pumpkin Bread

Fall is my favorite season, partly because I love crisp, cool weather, but partly because there is just so much pumpkin-flavored food to enjoy! Last fall I made pumpkin spice muffins, which were good, but I needed to tweak the ratio of spices. This time I think I’ve mastered it, however, I made a pumpkin bread instead of muffins because I wanted to change up the recipe a bit more.

Pumpkin Bread

IMG_7359

Ingredients:

  • 1 15.2 oz can of pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie mix–the two can look similar)
  • 2/3 cup dark agave syrup
  • 1/3 cup dark maple syrup
  • 1 cup of unsweetened apple sauce
  • 3.5 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1.5 tbsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cloves
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened, plain almond milk
  • 3/4 cup safflower oil
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

Optional Icing Ingredients:

  • 2-4 tbsp. almond milk, or any non-dairy milk of your choice
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tbsp. earth balance spread
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F
  • In a large bowl, measure and mix together the pumpkin, oil, applesauce, and liquid sweeteners (agave & maple syrup)
  • Add vanilla extract
  • In a separate bowl, measure and mix the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and spices
  • Add the wet ingredients into the dry, and as you’re mixing, mix in the almond milk until the mixture is uniform
  • Grease a baking pan (I used a square pan, but you could use whatever shape you want)
  • Transfer the mixture to the pan and put in the oven
  • Allow to bake for 35-40 minutes
  • Cool sufficiently before icing
  • To make the icing: mix non-dairy milk, earthbalance , and vanilla on low heat, add powdered sugar and mix with a whisk. Remove from heat when uniform and allow to cool. Refrigerate if necessary.
  • Using a spoon, transfer a thin layer of icing to the pumpkin bread. You can either cut each piece individually and then put the icing on, or put it on the entire bread and then cut. It’s up to you.
  • Enjoy!

FullSizeRender-12

-Jess

Mad About Muffins

Greetings readers! I’ve been busy with school, yoga teacher training, and a bunch of other stuff (like jewelry making
but I’ll discuss that a little later) hence why I haven’t posted much lately. One might think that being busy means that there’s no time to create healthy, delicious recipes, but cooking and baking is a priority for me. Not only because making healthy food is a necessity, but also because I’m a firm believer in doing activities that bring me joy, so even when I’m busy I try to make some time to play around in the kitchen. Tonight I made two really healthy muffin recipes that I’m sharing here. Both recipes are vegan, oil-free, and can be made gluten-free.

Blueberry Oat Muffinsphoto 1.PNG-2

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups whole wheat, spelt, or brown rice flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/3 c. sugar
  • 1 cup apple sauce
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk (or more. Aim for thinner than cookie batter but thicker than pancake batter)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup oats
  • 1 cup blueberries

Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Measure dry ingredients and add together in a large bowl
  • Measure and mix in wet ingredients
  • Line a muffin tin with paper muffin cups, or use spray oil to prevent sticking of batter
  • Using a spoon, scoop batter into each cup and bake for 20-25 minutes
  • Remove from oven, let cool, and enjoy!

Banana Walnut Muffins

Indulging in a banana walnut muffin as I type this post!

Indulging in a banana walnut muffin as I type this post!

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups whole wheat, spelt, or gluten-free flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/3 c. sugar
  • 1 cup apple sauce
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk (or more, depending on the consistency. Aim for thinner than cookie batter but thicker than pancake batter)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 bananas, chopped up or pureed
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon

Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Measure dry ingredients and add to a large bowl
  • Measure wet ingredients (I included bananas and walnuts in here, even though technically they’re “dry”. What can I say, I live my life by my own rules 😉 )
  • Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients in a bowl
  • Line a muffin tin or use muffin cups and transfer muffin batter to the tin/cups using a spoon
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes
  • Remove from oven, allow to cool, and enjoy!

As I mentioned above, I’ve been making a lot of beaded jewelry as of late (I find doing crafts to be a great way to procrastinate and a pretty decent stress-reliever!), so if you love both delicious food pictures and are interested in buying some of my crafty creations, follow me on instagram @vitaminvalentine

Healthy Vegan Pumpkin Spice Muffins

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I’m obsessed with pumpkin flavored things, so this weekend I created a healthy, flavor-packed vegan pumpkin spice muffin! This recipe is not very sweet (because I didn’t use that much sugar) so it can be eaten alongside something sweeter or with a savory stew or soup. These muffins pack a punch of vitamin A and a good helping of fiber, so enjoy and know that it’s possible to make a truly healthy muffin.

photo.PNG-13

Ingredients (makes 12 muffins)

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour, or another whole grain flour (such as spelt, brown rice flour, etc.)
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil (melt in microwave)
  • 15 oz. canned pumpkin (nothing added, unsweetened)
  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or other milk alternative)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2.5 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. ginger
  • 1 tsp. cloves

Directions

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F and either spray a muffin tin with nonstick spray or use paper muffin cups/wrappers
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine measured dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and spices)
  • Create a well in the dry ingredients and add the canned pumpkin, applesauce, vanilla extract, almond milk, and melted coconut oil (melt the coconut oil in the microwave before mixing for about a minute)
  • Mix dry and wet ingredients until mixture is uniform in consistency
  • With an ice-cream scooper or large spoon, spoon portions of muffin batter into muffin cups/tin
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes (cooking time may vary, so use your judgment and keep an eye on the muffins during the last 5 minutes)
  • Remove from over, allow to cool down a bit and serve
  • Enjoy!

-Jess

Chocolate Chunk Banana Bread

photo 2-14

Having some overripe bananas in your kitchen is a great “excuse” to make this healthy, vegan, banana bread. This recipe is equal parts nutritious and delicious, especially for summer. Bananas are high in potassium and with increased sweating comes an increased need for electrolyte replenishment. Eating bananas (in whatever healthy form appeals to you) is one way to achieve this! I consider this a “treat” to be eaten in moderation, but it’s a healthy one which is a plus. If you’re on a gluten-free diet, feel free to substitute the whole wheat flour for gluten-free flour or almond meal. Also, keep in mind, when using coconut oil in a recipe like this (and in brownies or bar-shaped baked goods), you may want to eat this heated up since coconut oil is solid at room temperature and will harden after cooling.

Chocolate Chunk Banana Bread (vegan)

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups whole wheat flour (or another whole-grain, or nut-based flour)
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1.5 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3 overripe bananas (the bananas I used were completely brown)
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup coconut oil (I used about 3/4 cup. My final product was super moist, but coconut oil is high in calories, so you can adjust this based on your preferences and it’s not going to have a huge effect on the taste).
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 16 oz. dark chocolate chunks (or chips).

Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit
  • In a large bowl, mix flour, baking soda, baking powder, and sugar together
  • In a smaller bowl, mash bananas
  • Melt the coconut oil in the microwave (in a microwave safe dish) for a minute (it will harden quickly if it’s cooled, so do this step shortly before adding to the rest of the ingredients)
  • Add the applesauce, vanilla extract, and melted coconut oil to the dry ingredients in the larger bowl
  • Add the mashed bananas to the large bowl
  • Add in chocolate chips and cinnamon
  • Stir together until well-mixed
  • Grease a baking tin or pan (I used a Farberware 9″ square baking pan)
  • Add the ingredients to the pan and heat for 25-30 minutes (or until a toothpick is inserted and comes out clean)
  • Allow to cool for a bit, cut, and enjoy!

photo 3-10

 

-Jess

 

Double-Chocolate Brownies Fit For A Dad

Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there! I’ve decided to make this post short and sweet because it’s beautiful outside and I want to spend as much time with my family as possible today. If you haven’t noticed, my go-to gift strategy for loved ones is baking something delicious, so this morning I woke up early and made a new brownie recipe. If you haven’t yet gotten your dad a gift, consider whipping something up in the kitchen. Baked goods from the heart are always sure to please!

Father’s Day Double-Chocolate Browniesphoto 1-10

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce
  • 1/2 cup soy milk
  • 2 tbsp. melted coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup. soy milk + 1/2 cup raisins (mix together in a food processor to make a thick liquid)
  • 1 cup chocolate chips

Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cocoa powder).
  • Combine 1/4 cup soy milk and 1/2 cup raisins in a food processor to make a thick liquid
  • Make a well in the dry ingredients and add apple sauce, soy milk, melted coconut oil, and soy milk-raisin mixture
  • Stir, and then add in chocolate chips
  • Grease a brownie pan/tin and heat at 350 degrees F for 25 minutes.
  • Allow to cool, then cut and serve

 

Have a great, chocolate-filled Father’s Day, and Happy Father’s Day to my Dad, who always encourages me to work hard and follow my dreams!

-Jess