Tahini Carob Chip Cookies (dairy-free, gluten-free, refined cane sugar-free, egg free, vegan)

Remember those chewy, nutty peanut butter cookies from our younger days? These are very reminiscent of those but are healthy and so easy with just five ingredients. Feel free to substitute any nut or seed butter you can use such as sunflower or pepitas.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Put in your food processor:

  • 1 cup tahini (or any nut or seed butter), use a thicker tahini rather than a runny thin one or your cookies will not come out chewy
  • 1 cup date sugar
  • 4 tablespoons of aguafava (or 1 egg if you can use eggs)
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla

Process until smooth and then remove from food processor into medium bowl and stir in 1/2 to 1 cup of unsweetened carob or chocolate chips. Scoop by tablespoon onto prepared cookie sheet, flatten with damp fork (or spatula) and bake for 10-15 minutes depending on the size of your cookies. You want them crispy on the outside but chewy in the middle so when the middle is set and the outside browned, they are done. Makes 10-15 cookies.

Triple Carob Glazed Donuts (dairy-free, gluten-free, egg-free, refined sugar-free, vegan)

Sometimes you just want something “good” for breakfast instead of the usual smoothie.  This is one of my go-to recipes when that happens to me.  This is not a very sweet donut so if you like your donuts sweeter, just increase the amount of monk fruit powder in the recipe.  But I find that the glaze gives it all the sweetness it needs. This recipe makes six donuts.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Grease a donut pan (be sure to grease the center as well so your donuts don’t stick in the middle.

In a medium bowl combine:

  • 1 cup all purpose gluten-free flour
  • 1/4 cup tapioca (or arrowroot) flour
  • 1/4 cup sweet sorghum flour
  • 1 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 cup carob (or cocoa) powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon monk fruit powder
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup unsweetened carob (or chocolate) chips

In a second small bowl combine:

  • 1/2 cup non-dairy milk of choice
  • 2 tablespoons olive or avocado oil
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1/2 cup club soda
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix by hand until combined (be sure to scrap the bottom of the bowl so that you get all the dry ingredients mixed in; I only say this because I frequently find when I scoop out the dough into the gallon zip bag that there’s dry on the bottom of the bowl).  Scoop the dough into a gallon ziplock bag.  Cut off a bottom corner and pipe into the prepared donut pan.  Bake at 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes.  Try to make all the donuts the same size so that they all cook at the same rate.

Remove the donuts from the oven and let sit on the counter for a couple of minutes while you prepare the ganache (see recipe under Sauces…).  Loosen the donuts from the pan and turn onto a cooling rack.  Dip each donut into the ganache to coat the tops.  

TIP:  You’ll probably have some ganache left over — make some truffles letting the ganache firm up in the refrigerator and then roll (about a tablespoon or two) into a ball and then roll in ground nuts, flax and chia seeds, hemp hulls, coconut, or carob powder.  

Carob (or Chocolate) Ganache (dairy-free, gluten-free, refined sugar-free, vegan)

If you want a quick and easy, but still very tasty, topping for ice cream or cake, here’s a simple carob ganache recipe.  If you like things a little sweeter, add a little more monk fruit powder.

Heat in a small saucepan:

  • 1/2 cup non-dairy milk of choice 

Put in a small bowl:

  • 1 cup unsweetened carob chips
  • 1 teaspoon monk fruit powder

It only takes a minute to heat up the milk.  When it is hot, pour it over the chips.  Stir vigorously for a couple of minutes to melt the chips and incorporate the milk.  Add:

  • 1 tablespoon vanilla

Stir to combine.  Your ganache is ready.  Use quickly as it will harden up in just a few minutes.  To use as “Hot Fudge Sauce” simply increase the milk to 3/4 cup.

Carob Fig “Truffles” (dairy-free, gluten-free, sugar-free, vegan)

I made filled chocolates for over fifty years until a few years ago when I realized that no one in my family or circle of friends could eat them anymore for one reason or another.  So now I cover different flavored Oreos with chocolate for my grandson and my great-nieces.  I have a friend, however, who asked me to please find a recipe for a candy that she can eat that’s healthy but still decadent enough to call candy.  Here’s what I came up with.  Don’t like figs?   Not a problem, use dates (don’t soak them) or prunes instead.  If you use dates, the mixture will be much sweeter.  If the figs or prunes aren’t sweet enough for your family’s taste buds, add a few dates to sweeten it up.

You’ll need:

  • 12 ounces of dried figs (or you can use fig paste or jam made with fresh figs in season; no need to soak those)
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup protein powder
  • 1/4 cup carob powder (if you can have chocolate, feel free to use cocoa)
  • 1/4 cup tahini (or if you can have it any nut butter will work)
  • zest of 1/2 an orange
  • juice from 1/2 orange (around 2 tablespoons)
  • pinch of salt
  • hemp hulls, coconut flakes, carob or cocoa powder, toasted sesame seeds, for rolling the truffles in
  • Remove the stems from the figs and put in a bowl, cover with hot water and let soak for around an hour.  Drain and put in a food processor along with the protein powder (start with 1/4 cup), carob powder, tahini, zest and juice, and salt.  Blend until smooth.  If mixture is too wet, add the remaining protein powder.

Scoop out tablespoons full and with wet hands, roll them into balls (I had a small bowl of water next to where I was working so that I could wet my hands as needed).  We want these the size for one to two bites so if a tablespoon is a little big, reduce the amount for each ball.  I would say I used around 2 teaspoons per ball.  Place them on parchment or waxed paper as you roll them out.  It should make between 16 and 24 balls.  Roll each ball in your choice of hemp hulls, coconut flakes, carob or cocoa powder, or toasted sesame seeds.  Refrigerator for up to a week.  

I found these very dense and rich so I could only eat 2 at a time.  And, of course, oh so delicious and gooey.  A great substitute for candy with all that sugar.  Sweet and gooey without any sugar except the one naturally found in the fruit.  

Variations:

  • 12 ounces of prunes instead of figs — these don’t need to be soaked
  • 12 ounces of dried mango — cut into small pieces before soaking and don’t add any additional liquid to the food processor
  • 12 ounces of dried sweet dark cherries — again, no need to soak these but may need a few tablespoons of water to loosen the mixture (I covered these with chocolate ganache)
  • 12 ounces of dried dates, pitted of course — don’t soak them but again they may need a few tablespoons of water if too thick
  • 12 ounces of dried apricots — soak and again, don’t add any liquid to the mixture (I rolled these in ground almonds)

Carob Buttercream Frosting (dairy-free, gluten-free, refined sugar-free, egg-free, vegan)

One of the most difficult parts of making a cake or cookies that need frosting is making a frosting without confectioners sugar.  Here’s the perfect answer!  So smooth and creamy as well as delicious.  You can, of course, substitute chocolate if desired.

In a medium sized bowl mix:

  • 1/2 cup sweet potato puree (I used canned)
  • 1/2 cup date sugar
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup, agave or coconut nectar, OR 1/2 teaspoon stevia powder OR 1/4 teaspoon monk fruit powder
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup carob powder OR cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup tahini or, if you can use it, nut or seed butter
  • 2 tablespoons shortening such as Spectrum OR solid coconut oil OR vegan margarine or butter

Using a hand mixer, blend until smooth and well blended.

Carob or Chocolate Cheesecake (dairy-free, gluten-free, egg-free, sugar-free, vegan)

I’ve been making a dairy-free and gluten-free cheesecake for years; the issue has always been how to get rid of the eggs that are essential to setting the cheesecake since its so similar to custard.  I think I’ve finally found the answer – a combination of aquafaba and xanthan gum in the mix.  This one turned out very rich and decadent, smooth and creamy with a soft, crumbly carob or chocolate crust.  The recipe makes 4 small cheesecakes or 1 8″ cake.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Crust:  In a food processor or bowl with hand mixer combine:

  • 1/2 cup vegan margarine such as Earth Balance
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons aquafaba
  • 1/2 cup date or coconut sugar

Process or mix until well blended.  Add:

  • 1 cup gluten-free all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup carob or  cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • Dash of sea salt

Mix or process until combined.  Batter will be very thick and sandy.  Press into the bottom of an 8″ springform pan or 4 individual springform pans.

Cheesecake:  Melt over a double boiler:

  • 1 tablespoon vegan margarine
  • 5 ounces unsweetened carob chips or 100% chocolate (unsweetened baking chocolate)

Set aside once melted and let cool slightly. Mix in a medium bowl:

  • 3/4 pound softened non-dairy cream cheese

Beat until smooth.  Gradually beat in chocolate mixture.  Add:

  • 1/2 cup thick non-dairy milk such as hemp or soy
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix until smooth.  Add while mixing:

  • 1 cup date or coconut sugar, 1/4 cup at a time

Be sure to scrap down the sides of the bowl as you mix in the ingredients.  Add:

  • 2 tablespoons carob or cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons all purpose gluten-free flour
  • 1 teaspoon xanthan gum

Mix until combined.  Set aside.  Beat in a separate bowl (with clean beaters):

  • 6 tablespoons aquafaba
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

Beat until stiff peaks form.  Fold into the carob mixture.  Pour into springform pan(s). Bake in middle of oven for 30 minutes (for one 8″) or 20 minutes (for 4 small).  Reduce heat to 325 degrees and bake an additional 30 minutes (for one 8″) or 20 minutes (for 4 small), or until there is just a slight jiggle in the middle of the cheesecakes.  Turn off oven and crack open the door and leave the cheesecakes in the oven to cool for 1 hour.  Remove from oven and let sit on the counter for another 30 minutes.  Remove side(s) of springform pan(s).  Put in the refrigerator and cool until totally cold (about 4 hours).  Remove bottoms of springform pan(s).

Chickpea Brownies (dairy-free, gluten-free, egg-free, nut-free, soy-free, sugar-free)

These are probably the best brownies I’ve ever eaten.  Fudge brownies are good but difficult to master when you’re making gluten-free and egg-free brownies.  These are always moist, unless you really overcook them, as well as rich and oh so decadent while they are still so good for you!  Unbelievably good.  Instead of using a baking pan, I put some parchment paper on a cookie sheet, spray it with my olive oil spray and spread the batter on it.  It makes a thinner brownie that bakes faster and I’m less likely to overcook it.

In your food process add:

  • 1 drained 12 ounce can of garbanzo beans
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup tahini (or you can use any nut butter if you can have nuts)
  • 1/2 cup protein powder
  • 8-12 pitted dates OR 1 teaspoon monk fruit powder OR 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 cup carob powder (or cocoa if you can have it)
  • 1 cup of cold water, after adding 3/4 cup, add a little at a time (1 tablespoon) until you have a smooth, mashed potato like consistency — if you use the honey, you’ll have to use less water

Process until smooth and then process for a couple more minutes.  I’ve found that even when I think all the garbanzo beans are processed, there are still some larger pieces in the mix; and if the garbanzo beans are reduced, the dates may still have some large pieces.  So keep processing it even when you think its done for at least 2 more minutes.  During these last couple of minutes add:

  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 2 tablespoons hemp hulls
  • 2 tablespoons ground flax

Spread your batter in your prepared pan; either cookie sheet or large 9×12″ baking dish.  I like to sprinkle carob chips on top but that’s optional.  Bake 20-25 minutes if you’re using a cookie sheet and 35-40 minutes for a baking dish.  Cool before cutting.

Fudgy Brownies (dairy-free, gluten-free, soy-free, nut-free, egg-free, sugar-free)

I am a brownie lover; its the only baked good where I’ll actually eat the batter as well as the baked goods.  The only technical thing with brownies is not overcooking them and this is the one thing you really have to watch out for with gluten-free brownies.  I baked mine 22 minutes and they were dry instead of fudgy.  Still very rich and decadent but I’ll probably make hemp cream sundaes out of them instead of eating them plain.  So watch the clock closely when you make these.

Grease an 8×8″ baking dish.  Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium size bowl mix:

  • 3/4 cup avocado oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon monk fruit powder
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/2 cup aquafaba

When they are well mixed, add:

  • 1 cup buckwheat flour
  • 3/4 cup carob powder (you can use cocoa if you want)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup protein powder
  • 3/4 cup club soda

Beat just until mixed; don’t overbeat.  You can also add 1/2 cup of carob chips (or chocolate if you can have it) and some hemp hulls (or nuts if you can have them).  Batter will be very thick.  Spread evenly in your baking dish and bake for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out with some crumbs but not raw batter.  Cool and cut into 9-12 pieces.

Tahini Cheesecake with Chewy Brownie Crust

What a wonderful combination!  Who can resist a rich, decadent, chewy fudge brownie topped with a nutty creamy cheesecake.  This is not one of my quick, easy desserts; it takes some doing but not a great deal of skill, other than folding the brownie dry ingredients into the meringue.  Well worth the trouble.

First make the brownies.  Heat oven to 350 degrees; grease 8×8″ pan.  In a medium size bowl, combine:

  • 1/2 cup aquafaba (bean water)*
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

Whip the aquafaba and cream of tartar to stiff peaks and then continue whipping for several more minutes.  Slowly beat in the monk fruit powder and then the date sugar and continue beating for 2-3 more minutes.

  • 3/4 teaspoon monk fruit powder
  • 1/3 cup date sugar

Sift:

  • 3/4 cup carob powder (or cocoa if you can use it)
  • 1/2 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/4 cup tapioca flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • dash of salt

Pour into the meringue.  Add on top of the dry ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup avocado oil
  • 3 tablespoons hemp milk (or soy or rice milk) [If you use almond butter in the cheesecake, you could use almond milk here]
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Using a folding mix technique (using a spatula, bring the meringue from the bottom middle out to the edge in a sweeping motion; turn the bowl 1/4 of the bowl and repeat until the mixture is well mixed) mix the dry and wet ingredients into the meringue.  It will deflate somewhat.  Pour into the baking dish and spread out in an even layer.  Bake 12-15 minutes, remove from oven and top with the cheesecake mixture.

For the cheesecake mixture, combine in your food processor:

  • 12 ounces non-dairy cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup tahini (or nut butter if you can have one)
  • 1/2 cup agave nectar (or 1 teaspoon monk fruit powder, or 1/2 cup date sugar)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice (optional)

Blend until smooth.  Pour over brownie in an even layer.  Return to oven and bake an additional 25-40 minutes depending on your oven.  If you have some sugar free chocolate or carob chips, you can sprinkle them on top of the cheesecake mixture before baking.  Turn off oven and open door and let cool for a half hour before removing from the oven.  Cool on draft-free counter for an hour before placing in the refrigerator.  This will keep the cheesecake layer from splitting.  Serve ice-cold, if you can keep your family from eating them sooner!

*Aquafaba is the liquid you drain from a can of beans and usually discard.  It is a great substitute for eggs.  Usually used is garbanzo bean liquid.