Inspired to Bake Vegan!

I’m so excited to share with you that today I baked vegan cookies successfully!!  It was my first time too!

I was inspired to give it a try after reading my dear blogger friend Celeste’s Orange Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe.

I followed Celeste’s amazing recipe step by step with a few substitutions/additions to make it gluten-free and nut-free for an Easter celebration.

Please click here to see Celeste’s recipe: http://honkifyourevegan.com/2014/04/17/orange-chocolate-chip-cookies-vegan

I love reading Celeste’s blog (http://honkifyourevegan.com), as she writes about so many interesting and diverse topics on veganism, has fabulous ideas and  yummy recipes, and shares her personal plant-based diet journey along the way.  Check her blog out when you have time, and I guarantee you’ll be better informed on veganism and inspired by her! 🙂

 

If you like to make these cookies gluten-free and nut-free, here are the ingredients I used:

2 tablespoons ground flax seeds

6 tablespoons water

2 cups gluten-free all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon xanthan gum

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 cup coconut oil, softened

1/2 cup pure maple syrup

1 cup packed brown sugar

3 tablespoons orange zest

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

6 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1/2 cup vegan chocolate chips

 

*I baked the cookies for 10 minutes so they are soft and chewy.

 

Here is a close up of these delicious Orange Cranberry Chocolate Chip  Cookies:

The combination of orange, cranberries and chocolate makes this cookie very refreshing! :)

The combination of orange, cranberries and chocolate give these cookies a delicious refreshing taste!

 

Thank you for the vegan baking inspiration dearest Celeste! 🙂  You totally rock!!

 

I wish you all a beautiful week ahead and if you celebrate Easter, Happy Easter! 🙂

XO,

Violet

 

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Cinnamon Sugar Cookies (Gluten-Free)

I feel like I haven’t posted a recipe for a long time, so to match with today’s freezing cold wintry day (where I live), here’s a scrumptious, soft and sugary but healthy bite sized cookie to go with a nice hot cup of tea or coffee!

Also, I have it on good authority that children love eating these cookies as a healthy snack, so I’ll say this recipe is kid-friendly too! 😉

Here is my Cinnamon Sugar Cookies recipe, adapted from Bulk Barn’s Sugar Cookies recipe.  Enjoy! 🙂

Cinnamon Sugar Cookies

Makes: 24 cookies

Preparation Time: 10 minutes

Bake Time: 13-15 minutes

Total Time: about 25 minutes

 

Ingredients:

4 eggs

1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon brown sugar

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

1/2 cup melted coconut oil

1 cup organic coconut flour

2 teaspoons cinnamon

 

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.  Line 2 baking trays with parchment paper.
  2. Mix eggs, 1/2 cup sugar, salt, vanilla and oil together.
  3. Stir in coconut flour and leave batter for 5 minutes so it can thicken.
  4. Combine cinnamon with 1 tablespoon sugar in a little bowl.
  5. Take 1 tablespoon of dough and roll it into a ball.
  6. Roll ball into cinnamon mixture completely.
  7. Put on cookie sheet and flatten ball a little bit.  Cookies should be placed 1 inch apart.
  8. Repeat steps 4-6 until dough is done.
  9. Bake for 13-15 minutes.
  10. Let cookies cool completely or enjoy a warm one after waiting for about 10 minutes! 🙂

 

Special Note:

-Cinnamon: This sweet and fragrant spice has a lot of health benefits.  To name a few: it regulates blood sugar, reduces pain linked to arthritis, is anti-microbial so may help to stop the growth of harmful bacteria or fungi, and has fibre, calcium and manganese which are all good for the body.

 

Resources on Cinnamon:

http://www.care2.com/greenliving/10-surprising-health-benefits-of-cinnamon.html?page=1

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=68

http://www.livestrong.com/article/22014-cinnamon-health-benefits/

Healthy Holiday Baking Recipe #2: Mint Chocolate Chip Christmas Cookies (Gluten-Free)

When I went shopping for baking ingredients, I got inspired by the mint chocolate chips and Christmas-coloured chocolate chips (red, green and white) at the store.  Therefore, I couldn’t resist buying both to create these yummylicious and fun Christmas cookies!

As promised, here’s the second recipe to my healthy holiday baking.  These gluten-free and light cookies are perfect for anyone who is health conscious but loves chocolate, or the combination of mint and chocolate!  My sister-in-law, who is one of the fittest person I’ve ever known, came over last night and ate about ten of these.  Trust me, you eat about 6 of these, and you won’t feel bloated or guilty overindulging! 😉

XmasMintCookies

Makes: 24 cookies

Preparation Time: 10 minutes

Bake Time: 13 minutes

Total Time: about 25 minutes

 

Ingredients:

Dry Ingredients

2 cups gluten-free all purpose baking flour (I used Robin Hood’s Nutri Flour Blend Gluten Free: http://www.robinhood.ca/Products/Nutri-Flour-Blend-Gluten-Free)

1 teaspoon xanthan gum

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

 

Wet Ingredients

3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

3/4 cup organic coconut palm sugar

2 organic eggs

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

 

Extra

1/2 cup mint chocolate chips

1/2 cup Christmas chocolate chips

 

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.  Line 2 baking trays with parchment paper.
  2. Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl.
  3. In another bowl, mix olive oil and sugar until well combined.
  4. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  5. Add vanilla.
  6. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix well.
  7. Slowly add chocolate chips into batter, making sure both mint and Christmas chocolate chips are evenly distributed.
  8. With damp hands, roll 1 tablespoon of the batter into a ball, place it on the baking sheet and flatten it slightly.  Continue until batter is gone, spacing the flattened balls 2 inches apart.
  9. Bake the cookies for 13 minutes.
  10. Enjoy! :)

 

Special Notes:

Extra Virgin Olive Oil:  used in replacement of butter/margarine because it’s not only healthier (cuts back on cholesterol and saturated fat content) and dairy-free, it also makes the baked goods lighter and moister!

Here’s a good site for more information and it even has a butter/margarine to olive oil conversion chart for baking: http://thepassionateolive.com/wp/baking-with-olive-oil-instead-of-butter/

Organic Coconut Palm Sugar: I’m really loving this new natural sweetener I discovered recently for baking.  As mentioned in my previous post, this natural sugar has a low glycemic index; it also has a high nutrient profile (to name a few: iron, zinc, calcium, and potassium).  To learn more about it, read this very informative article about it: http://authoritynutrition.com/coconut-sugar/

-To reduce the sugar, you can decrease amount of sugar and chocolate chips to your liking.  Also, you can replace chocolate chips with same amount of dried cranberries, raisins and/or nuts.  Be creative! 🙂

-If you don’t have mint chocolate chips, you can replace it with crushed candy canes to give it a minty taste.

 

Wishing you all love, peace, joy, hope and light this wondrous holiday season with your family and friends! 😀

xoxo, Violet 

Up for a Sugar-free Cookie Challenge!!

At the special request of  my mother and grandmother, who are both diabetic, but still have a thing for cookies, I decided to rise to the challenge of baking some real “sugar-free” cookies for them.

They gave me specific criteria of what they want in their sugar-free cookies.  They wanted the cookies to be sugar-free, healthy (as in loaded with fiber, which they want to aid in digestion), and have almonds.

Well, it was very fun to experiment in the kitchen and to come up with the perfect sugar-free almond cookie just for them!

I would like to share the following recipe with you.  These cookies are great for those who are diabetic or health conscious (especially those who do not prefer sweets or sugar too much).  I have it on good authority that they are delicious when paired with a cup of steaming coffee or tea!  My mother brought them to work, and her coworkers liked them so much that they asked me for the recipe.

I hope you will enjoy making them as much as I did, and find joy in feeding them to the people you love!

VIOLET’S ALMOND & AVOCADO SUGAR-FREE COOKIES

Oatmeal Avocado Almond Sugar Free Cookies Photo

Makes: 24 cookies

Preparation Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: about 1 hour

Special Notes: Avocado is used in replacement of butter.  It’s a healthier option as it’s naturally creamy and rich already.  Also, to give that extra almond flavour, almond meal/flour, unsweetened almond milk, and almond extract are used in addition to the chopped almonds.  When the cookies are done, they should have a “cakey” or “biscuity” texture.

Ingredients:

2 cups rolled oats

1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour

1/2 cup almond meal/flour

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Half an avocado or 1 small avocado

1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk

2 large egg whites

1 tablespoon almond extract

1 cup chopped almonds

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.  Line 2 baking trays with parchment paper.
  2. Mix oats, whole wheat pastry flour, almond meal/flour, cinnamon, and baking soda in a medium bowl.
  3. Mash the avocado or put it into a blender if you want it to be creamy.
  4. Blend avocado with almond milk, egg whites and almond extract in a large bowl with a wooden spoon.
  5. Stir in the oat mixture until just moistened.
  6. Finally, stir in the almonds.
  7. With damp hands, roll 1 tablespoon of the batter into a ball, place it on the baking sheet and flatten it to about 1 cm thick; don’t let the sides crack.  Continue until batter is gone, spacing the flattened balls 2 inches apart.
  8. Bake the cookies for about 15 minutes or until golden brown.
  9. Let the cookies cool completely.
  10.  Bon appétit!!

Special Information on Almonds:  Almonds is another superfood, and it is not only tasty but nutritious as well!  There are many health benefits to eating almonds on a daily basis.  To name a few, they…

-protect against diabetes

-build strong bones and teeth

-reduce heart disease/attack risk

-provide healthy fats and aid in weight loss

-provide good brain function

-help prevent gallstones

-provide a good source of protein

-give energy

If you’re interested in reading more about almonds, here are the websites I visited:

http://www.care2.com/greenliving/8-health-benefits-of-almonds-king-of-nuts.html

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=20

http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/benefits-eating-almonds-daily-5007.html

What do you think of these cookies?  Would love to hear from you!

Thanks & Love, Violet

Craving for Chocolate Chip Cookies!

Even though I’m a chocoholic at heart and have a sweet tooth, I have cut down on my sugar intake greatly (through eating chocolates and baked goods) in the past 6 months.  After I began seeing my naturopathic doctor, I am now more aware of the importance of eating right, and how it is connected to my overall health and wellness.  Healthy eating is truly a reflection on how you feel.  In the past 6 months, at the advice of my naturopathic doctor, I have reduced sugar and dairy from my diet, and increased my fruit and vegetable consumption.  I also tried my best to cut down on eating processed food.  The wondrous discovery from eating healthier is that I find my energy level has increased and I no longer feel bloated or sluggish anymore!

However, about 2 months ago, I had this craving for my favourite chocolate chip cookies.  I knew clearly that I shouldn’t buy them from a package as I used to, since it’s processed food, and the thought of eating homemade chocolate chip cookies made from butter and white/brown sugar seemed unappetizing.  Suddenly, I was inspired to google and see if there was such a thing as a healthy homemade chocolate chip cookie out there!  To my joy, I found this website (see below), and realized that I can eat my chocolate chip cookie without feeling yucky.  After experimenting with and baking a successful batch of cookies, using healthier ingredient substitutions, I learned that “balance” is the key to sweetness in life, even when it pertains to baking and eating!

Below you will find my version of healthy chocolate chip cookies, inspired by http://www.eatingwell.com/healthy_cooking/healthy_cooking_101_basics_techniques/kitchen_tips_techniques/how_to_make_chocolate_chip_cookies_healthier.  It is a very big hit with my health-conscious family!

VIOLET’S HEALTHY OATMEAL PEANUT BUTTER WALNUT CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

My Version of Healthy Chocolate Chip Cookies!

Makes: 24 cookies

Preparation Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: about 1 hour

Special Note: This version tastes less sweet than the classic chocolate chip cookie, but still tastes delicious with a nutty flavour, and is a healthy source of fiber, protein, omega-3, and calcium!

Ingredients:

2 cups rolled oats (I like using Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Rolled Oats)

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour or whole wheat flour

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

½ cup tahini

2 tablespoons organic creamy peanut butter (replaces butter)

2/3 cup manuka honey (replaces sugar)

1 large egg

1 large egg white

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

½  cup semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips

½ cup chopped walnuts

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.  Line 2 baking trays with parchment paper.
  2. Mix oats, whole-wheat flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl.
  3. Blend tahini and peanut butter in a large bowl with a wooden spoon.
  4. Add manuka honey, and continue mixing until well combined.
  5. Beat in egg, then egg white, and then vanilla.
  6. Stir in the oat mixture until just moistened.
  7. Finally, stir in chocolate chips and walnuts.
  8. With damp hands, roll 1 tablespoon of the batter into a ball, place it on the baking sheet and flatten it to about 1/2 inch thick; don’t let the sides crack.  Continue until batter is gone, spacing the flattened balls 2 inches apart.
  9. Bake the cookies for about 15 minutes or until golden brown.
  10. Let the cookies cool completely or if you can’t resist the freshly baked cookies while it’s still warm, wait about 10-15 minutes to eat it.  Bon appétit!!

What is your version of the healthy Chocolate Chip Cookie?  I would love to hear from you and try out your recipe!

Thanks & Love, Violet