Chestnut cookies with almond drizzle

ChestnutCookies

I love chestnuts and eat them throughout the fall and winter. They work in savoury dishes such as my stuffed acorn squash and in sweet dishes, like these cookies.

Roasting your own chestnuts is charming and also dangerous and labour intensive – a lot like dating. So I buy my chestnuts already roasted. You can find these chestnuts in 100 gram bags at grocery stores and even the dollar store. Aurora is one well known brand.

These cookies are not too sweet and dangerously addictive.

Ingredients

Cookies

100 grams roasted chestnuts (about 9-11 chestnuts)

1/3 cup pecans

2 Tbsp flax or chia seeds

6 Tbsp plant-based milk (I use almond)

1 cup flour

½ teaspoon cinnamon

¼ tsp each of ginger and allspice

¾ tsp sea salt

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp vanilla extract

¾ cup brown sugar lightly packed

¼ cup melted coconut oil

Almond drizzle

¾ cup icing sugar

½ tsp almond extract

1-2 Tbsp plant based milk

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

In a small bowl or cup, mix the chia or flax seeds and 6 tablespoons plant milk. Combine to create 2 flax or chia“eggs”. Set aside.

Grind the chestnuts and pecans and 1 tablespoon of the flour in a food processor until you have a mealy consistency.

In a mixing bowl combine the chestnut/pecan mixture with the flour, spices, baking powder, salt and brown sugar. I recommend sifting in the flour, spices and baking powder.

Add the vanilla, oil and “eggs” and mix everything together. I find it’s easiest just to combine everything with my hands. You will have a ball of slightly oily-feeling dough when you’re done.

Pinch off a bit of dough and roll it into a ball about the size of a walnut. Place the ball on an ungreased cookie sheet and press the ball down slightly to flatten it. Repeat. You should end up with 24 cookies.

Bake for 6-10 minutes. Let cool.

To make the icing drizzle, combine the 3 ingredients in a small bowl or cup. Start with one tablespoon of milk and add more if needed, but be patient. You’ll feel like the sugar is never going to turn into icing and in a blink of an eye, it will transform.

When the cookies are cooled, use a spoon to drizzle the icing over the cookies. The drizzle will set in about 30 minutes.

Enjoy!

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Thai one on – Coconut curry soup with noodles and tofu

coconutcurrysoup

I love to Thai one on now and then and find that Thai cuisine is especially amenable to being veganized, if it’s not already vegan.

Here is a spicy, flavourful coconut yellow curry soup that’s a complete meal in a bowl thanks to my addition of tofu and glass (a/k/a bean thread) noodles.

The beautiful thing with this dish is that, because you make this soup from scratch, you can change it up any way you want. Make it hotter, spicier, veggier, no-carb-i-er – whatever suits you.

Here’s the version that suits me, closely adapted from The Thug Kitchen. This makes 3 pho-sized (i.e. very big) bowls of soup.

This recipe is easy to make and comes together quickly. You can be sitting down to a fragrant big bowl of coconut curry heaven in less time than it takes delivery food to arrive.

Ingredients

2 tsp coconut oil

½ large onion coarsely chopped

4 cloves garlic minced

1 large carrot cleaned and sliced in thin coins (I used a box grater’s slicing side)

1 yellow pepper coarsely chopped

1 cup broccoli florets cut into spoon-sized pieces

3-4 cremini mushrooms sliced

I packed cup spinach leaves

1 15oz can coconut milk (I use Arroyo-D)

4 cups vegetable broth

A thumb size piece of ginger root, peeled and grated (approx. 2 Tbsp)

2 Tbsp soya sauce or tamari

2 Tbsp sriracha or other hot sauce. Okay, I used that AND added two hot chilis but that’s just me

Juice of one lime

1 Tbsp yellow curry powder

2 Tbsp yellow curry paste (I used Thai Kitchen brand)

¼ cup fresh basil chopped – if you don’t have it, leave it out.

¼ cup fresh cilantro chopped – if you don’t like it, leave it out.

6 oz plain tofu, cut into cubes

2 bundles (about 4 oz) bean thread (a/ka/ glass) noodles. If you don’t have/want these, you could add 1 cup of cooked rice or 4 oz of cooked spaghetti (about 1 cup cooked) or just leave omit this starch component. You are going to add already-cooked noodles or rice to the pot, so in the case of the glass noodles – rehydrate them by soaking them in hot water for 5 minutes and drain.

If you had kaffir lime leaves, it’d be awesome to throw one or two in as the soup simmers.

Directions

In a large pot, saute the onion and garlic in the coconut oil until the onion is transluscent. If you are adding extra chilis, add them at this stage.

Add the carrot, pepper and mushrooms and saute for maybe a minute. Keep your veggies crisp because they will cook more in the broth.

Add the ginger, curry powder and curry paste and stir around to incorporate and let the spices get fragrant.. TIP – never use your curry powder in any dish without letting it have this cooking step. It will give your dish a finished flavour.

Add the broth, soya sauce, coconut milk, broccoli, basil and cilantro. Bring everything to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 3-5 minutes (depending on how mushy you want that broccoli). If you are using lime leaves, add them at this stage.

Add the lime juice, srirachi sauce, and spinach and stir in. Add the tofu and noodles. Let simmer one more minute to give the spinach time to wilt.

Remove the lime leaves. Taste and adjust flavours to suit yourself. Because I used homemade broth, my soup was not salty at all so I added more soya sauce.c

Raw, vegan, carrot cake cupcakes with cashew frosting

September marches on and it’s still hotter than sin. It’s enough that we’re cooking outside; I’m not going to cook inside too. But a gal’s gotta eat. These cupcakes are all raw so require no heat. My carrots this year are especially sweet and juicy; perfect for these delicious treats.

CarrotCake

For the frosting

1 cup raw cashews soaked overnight (8 hours) and drained

1 Tbsp maple syrup

½ Tbsp melted coconut oil

1 tsp vanilla

1 Tbsp lemon juice

½ tsp salt

In a food processor, blend all the ingredients. Spoon the frosting into a piping bag for piping onto the cupcakes. I don’t have a piping bag, so I used a plastic ziplock bag with the corner snipped off to do my piping. You don’t get a fancy result, but you get results. J

For the cupcakes

2 cups shredded carrots

½ cup walnut pieces

½ cup dates, pitted and soaked in hot water for about 15-30 minutes

½ cup raisins (if you don’t like raisins, try diced dried apricot)

¼ cup unsweetened shredded coconut

2 Tbsp maple syrup

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp nutmeg

½ tsp ground cloves

Pinch salt

Put the dates, walnuts and maple syrup in a food processor and blend. It’ll look ugly but persevere.

In a large bowl, mix all the ingredients together and then scoop into cupcake liners. Top with the frosting and keep in the freezer. Let thaw about 10 minutes before eating.

I think the cupcakes are delicious on their own without the frosting and could see making these into carrot cake balls rolled in ground walnuts.