Fig Coconut Teacakes

Fig Coconut Teacakes

I’ve had some dried figs for quite some time, and was tossing around recipe ideas for how to use them. I used to love fig cookies, and planned on making a gluten-free version, but alas I took the lazy route and made a cupcake. I’m calling these beauties “teacakes” because they go perfectly with tea (or coffee). They are just very subtly sweet, and have a nice light crumb, warm vanilla coconut flavor, and the bite of sweet fig really makes them special.

Fig Coconut Teacakes

Fig Coconut Teacakes
(gluten-free, soy-free, vegan)
yield 24 cupcakes

3/4 cup sweet sorghum flour
3/4 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup almond meal
1/4 cup potato starch
1 tablespoon flax meal
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup coconut sugar (or natural cane sugar)

1 1/2 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup coconut milk yogurt
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1/2 tablespoon zest from a fresh organic lemon
1 teaspoon alcohol-free pure vanilla extract

1 cup shredded coconut (I used sweetened coconut from Trader Joe’s)

9 ounces dried figs, stems removed and chopped
juice from 1 lemon
2 tablespoons coconut milk
1 tablespoon coconut sugar (or natural cane sugar)

Glaze (optional):
1/4 cup organic raw agave nectar
1/2 tablespoons organic corn starch
1 tablespoon coconut oil (or soy-free earth balance margarine)
(For the glaze: whisk together the agave, cornstarch and coconut oil until smooth).

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Farenheit.

Line two muffin tins with paper liners (or grease tins), set aside. Place chopped figs in a saucepan with the lemon juice, coconut milk and sugar. Cook on medium heat for about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and pulse in a food processor. Set aside.
In a large bowl, sift together the flours (sorghum, brown rice, almond, potato and flax); add the baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar and sift well. In a separate bowl, mix together the coconut milk, coconut yogurt, apple cider vinegar, lemon zest and vanilla. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients, and slowly pour and gently incorporate the wet ingredients. When the mixture starts to come together, add the shredded coconut; mix gently until it just comes together.
Half-way fill the cupcake liners with batter, then using a teaspoon, dollop the fig mixture in the center of the batter. Bake 20 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Let the cakes cool in the muffin tins for at least 10 minutes, and then transfer to a baking rack to cool longer.

Fig Coconut Teacakes

When ready to serve, top with a drizzle of glaze (if using), and more shredded coconut and sliced almonds to garnish.

Fig Coconut Teacakes

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Vegan Chocolate Frozen Custard

Vegan Chocolate Frozen Custard

Yesterday was one of the first days where it felt like summer was on its way. It’s been a chilly start to spring in Chicagoland, that’s for sure. But yesterday was pushing 70, the sun felt warm, and it was good to be outside (here’s hoping today is just as nice). If you follow my blog, you know I love to bake and make sweet treats. When it’s too hot outside to bake, that’s when it’s time to plug-in the old ice cream maker and get churning.

Vegan Soy-free Frozen Chocolate Custard

This is my go-to ice cream recipe. It’s easy enough,with only a few ingredients, and you don’t need to cook the base before adding it to your ice cream maker. I call it frozen custard because it’s very rich, thick and creamy (like it’s dairy-based namesake).

VEGAN SOY-FREE FROZEN CHOCOLATE CUSTARD

Chocolate Frozen Custard
makes about 1 1/2 pints

1 2/3 cup chilled coconut cream*
1/4 cup natural/Dutched cocoa blend (such as SACO)
1/4 cup organic raw agave nectar
2 tablespoons almond butter (I used Justin’s vanilla almond butter)
1 teaspoon alcohol-free pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

* To get coconut cream, chill 2 cans of regular, full-fat coconut milk in the fridge overnight. When ready to make the frozen custard, open the cans (be careful not to disturb the contents) and gently scoop off the hardened coconut cream on top. The water from the coconut milk will have settled to the bottom. You can use the leftover coconut milk water for another recipe (or smoothie) within the next few days after opening.

In a stand-mixer, or with an electric beater, mix on medium speed the coconut cream and cocoa until fluffy. Add the agave, almond butter, vanilla and salt and mix until well combined. Pour the mixture into the basin of your ice cream maker and process according to the manufacturers instructions.

Vegan Chocolate Frozen Custard

I use a Cuisinart ice cream maker, and it took about 20 minutes to have thick and rich ice cream. If you don’t have an ice cream maker, you can still enjoy this dessert as a mousse or chilled pudding. Just follow the directions up until the ice cream maker step. Keep the mousse in the fridge until ready to serve. As always, I hope you enjoy (and if you do, let me know)!

Italian-style Bean and Tomato Chili over Corn Penne

Vegan Italian-style Bean and Tomato Chili over Gluten-Free Corn Penne

Need a simple, hearty and comforting weekday meal? I’ve got a good one for you, try my recipe for bean and tomato chili, and serve it over corn pasta. It is so good, and in my neck-of-the-woods, the weather still permits a warm, filling dinner. The red wine vinegar and cilantro add a wonderful zest to this dish. It would also taste great over brown rice or along side a slice of cornbread.

Vegan Italian-style Bean and Tomato Chili over Gluten-Free Corn Penne

This chili is cooked in the crock-pot, so you can start it in the morning and forget about it until dinner time. You may even have most of the ingredients in your cupboard, saving you a trip to the market. Some of my favorite meals are the ones where you don’t have to do a lot of work, but you can enjoy the aroma of the food cooking all day while you go around doing other things instead of cooking. This dish is low-fat, high-protein, hearty and really very delicious (as well as vegan, soy-free and gluten-free – of course).

Italian Bean and Tomato Chili over Corn Penne
(use organic ingredients if you can)

1 – 15 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 – 15 ounce can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 – 28 ounce can peeled tomatoes in tomato puree
4 ounces of tomato paste
1 cup water
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 roasted red pepper, chopped (I used canned red peppers)
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup sweet onion, chopped
3 tablespoons dried thyme
3 tablespoons mild chili powder
1 tablespoon dried basil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (optional)
Sriracha chili sauce to taste (optional)

corn-penne-pasta1 – 16 ounce bag of gluten-free corn pasta, cooked according to package directions in salted water (I used Trader Joe’s brand)

In a slow-cooker, or electric crock-pot, pour in the beans after they have been drained and rinsed. Then add the tomato paste, water and red-wine vinegar. Stir and turn the crock-pot on to the high setting. Then add the remaining ingredients and stir. Cook on high for one hour,  lower temperature to low for another hour or more.

I cook this chili for several hours, about 5, to let all the flavors blend together nicely. When it’s almost dinner time, turn the crock-pot setting to warm and prepare your pasta. I added a touch of olive oil to our penne before covering it with the chili. And that’s that. Another great thing about this dish is that it’s huge! You could feed a small army, or have lunch and dinner again the next day or two.

Italia-style bean and tomato chili

Soft-baked Almond-Butter Orange Snickerdoodles

Soft-baked Almond-Butter Orange Snickerdoodles

May I present, a soft-baked, orange-kissed, almond butter cookie with a touch of sweet cinnamon. I’m calling these Almond-Butter Orange Snickerdoodles, and they are just perfect (I swear). Soft, chewy, with a hint of orange in their almond-buttery goodness, topped with a sprinkle of cinnamon and coconut sugar. These cookies are very versatile, great for toddler hands to hold and nibble, or to pack into lunches, or to serve with tea or coffee.

Soft-baked Almond-Butter Orange Snickerdoodles

On my quest to make delicious, allergy-free goodies for my son, this recipe was born. We had bought (and loved) the Enjoy Life brand of cookies and I wanted to make a homemade version with a similar texture. The store-bought cookies do not contain tree nuts, so if you do have an allergy to tree nuts, try substituting the almond butter with sunflower seed butter, or tahini – and the almond flour with cornmeal. These cookies are for everyone. I promise, no one will be able to tell they are gluten-free and vegan, and making them homemade will save you a nickel or two.

Soft-Baked Almond-Butter Orange Snickerdoodles

Soft-baked Almond-Butter Orange Snickerdoodles
Yield: 24 cookies

1/2 cup organic raw agave nectar
1/3 cup organic canola oil
1/3 cup unsalted almond butter
1/4 cup almond milk
3 tablespoons ground flaxseed
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
1 tablespoon fresh orange zest (about 1/2 of a large organic orange)
1/2 cup almond flour
1/2 cup sorghum flour
1/2 cup brown rice flour
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons coconut sugar, or sucanat (larger crystal sugar)
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 325 degrees Farenheit. Line 2 baking trays with parchment paper.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the agave nectar, oil and almond butter until smooth and creamy. To this, add the almond milk, ground flaxseed, vanilla and almond extracts, and orange zest. In a separate bowl, sift together the almond, sorghum and rice flours with the xanthan gum, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet about 1/3 cup at a time and mix very gently until the dough comes together. Chill the dough for 15 minutes. In a small dish, stir together the cinnamon and sugar, set aside. Remove dough from fridge. Using a cookie scoop (or lightly oiled tablespoon), drop the dough on the prepared cookie sheets, leaving about two inches in between cookies. Sprinkle the tops of the cookies with the cinnamon sugar.

Bake for 12-14 minutes, until tops of cookies are slightly cracked and sides are very light brown. Leave on the cookie sheets for about 5 minutes after baking, then transfer cookies to a baking rack to cool completely.  Store any leftover cookies in a sealed container or plastic bag in the refrigerator.

Soft-baked Almond-Butter Orange Snickerdoodles

My lil’ hawk loved these cookies! They are refined-sugar-free, and full of protein and fiber, so I don’t feel so bad about letting him have one for a snack.  Let me know in the comments if you make this recipe. I’d love to hear from you!

Soft-baked Almond-Butter Orange Snickerdoodles

©mama et de bébé hawk ©Ashley Kizer 2013