Carob Filled Cookies

Who doesn’t like chocolate cookies and marshmallow? But those of us with chocolate and egg allergies have long given up such things. Here’s a delicious alternative. Like most allergic friendly recipes, this takes a little more effort than the “normal” but it’s well worth the effort.

For the cookies, line a large cookie sheet (or 2 smaller ones) with parchment paper and preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a small bowl whisk together:

1 tablespoon ground flax

3 tablespoons aquafaba

Let sit for at least 5 minutes. In a medium bowl mix with a hand mixer:

1/2 cup vegan shortening (or margarine) softened

3/4 cup date sugar

1 tablespoon date syrup

Blend until smooth and slightly fluffy. Add the flax gel and

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Beat until smooth. Add to this mixture:

1/3 cup brown rice flour

1/4 cup sorghum flour

3 tablespoons arrowroot

1 tablespoon potato starch

1 teaspoon xanthan gum (or guar gum)

2 teaspoons Ener-G egg replacer

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 cup carob powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

Mix until blended, dough will be crumbly. Add, one tablespoon at a time:

Non-dairy milk (I only used 1 but add another one or two if your dough doesn’t come together with the first one)

Form the dough into balls, about 1 tablespoon of the dough for each ball. Flatten them into disks making sure all the disks are the same depth so that they cook evenly. Also make them about the same size since we’ll be putting two of them together with the frosting. Bake about 8 minutes, do not overbake or they will be dry. Cool on tray for a few minutes before moving to a cooling rack.

To make the frosting, in a double boiler (or heat proof bowl over a pot of water if you don’t have a double boiler), mix together over the boiling water:

1/4 to 1/3 cup agave nectar (depending on how sweet your family likes things, remember agave is much sweeter than cane sugar)

1/3 cup aquafaba

1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

Using a hand mixer on high, beat the mixture for 7-10 minutes until very fluffy and the frosting forms ribbons when whipped. Remove from heat and continue to whip for 2-3 minutes. Add 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and beat another minute. This should be very thick, like marshmallow! I know, when I started making it, I thought this is never going to work, but after about 6 minutes the mixture actually started to form ribbons and after 9 minutes, it was thick and creamy. Continuing the whipping off the heat will make it even thicker. Chill while the cookies cool completely and it will set up even more.

Spread about a tablespoon of the frosting on the bottom of one cookie and let sit until frosting sets up a little before placing a second cookie on the top. Repeat with the remaining cookies. This recipe will make 6-8 pairs.

Prune and Carob Squares

Here’s another bar that’s downright delicious! Not something to eat with fingers, there’s too much soft, gooey filling in them for that. Of course, if wanted, other dried fruit (like dates or figs) would work just as well as prunes and be equally tasty. And like the raspberry bars, refrigerating the baking dish overnight or even for several hours before cutting will help the crust firm up and make removing them from the dish easier.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line the bottom of a 9×9″ baking dish with parchment paper or spray with a non-stick cooking spray. Blend in a food processor:

1/3 cup pumpkin or sunflower seeds (lightly roasted)*

1/4 cup date or coconut sugar

1 cup gluten-free organic old fashioned oats

1/3 cup millet flour

1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum

1 tablespoon cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon sea salt

Pulse until the oatmeal mixture resembles ground nuts or cornmeal. Add:

1/2 cup avocado oil or 1/2 cup melted vegan margarine, or melted coconut oil

Pulse until the mixture begins to form clumps. If the mixture is too dry and doesn’t clump add:

up to 1/4 cup water, 1 tablespoon at a time

Remove from the food processor and add:

1/2 cup gluten-free organic old fashioned oats

1/4 cup hemp hulls (or if nuts are possible, ground nuts)

Stir to combine. Pour half the mix into the bottom of the prepared baking dish and press down to make a firm bottom. Reserve the other half for the top of the bars. In the food processor bowl blend:

1 16 ounce drained can of beans (whatever kind you like, I used chickpeas but any bean will work)

2 cups prune puree**

Blend until the beans are creamy so the softer the bean used, the less time and creamier this mixture will be. Add:

1/4 cup carob powder

1/3 cup date or coconut sugar (if using dates, this added sugar isn’t necessary)

1/8 sea salt

2 tablespoons ground flaxseed

1 tablespoon lemon juice and zest from 1/2 lemon (optional)

Pulse until the mixture is combined. Scoop out and spread on the crust in the baking dish. Cover with the remaining oat mixture and bake 35-40 minutes until the top is browned. Remove and cool on a cooling rack until no heat is felt on the bottom of the baking dish. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight before slicing.

*To roast seeds or nuts, heat oven to 350 degree, place seeds on a dry baking sheet and roast until you smell them, usually not more than a few minutes.

**To make prune puree (or puree with any dried fruit), place the fruit in a saucepan large enough to hold the fruit and enough water to cover it. Bring to a boil over medium heat and then reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for 15-30 minutes depending on how much fruit used. When the fruit begins to dissolve into the water when stirred, it’s sufficiently cooked. Turn up the heat and boil, uncovered, several minutes to reduce the liquid until, when stirred, very little liquid is visible. If a smooth puree is needed, use an immersion blender. For this recipe, that’s not needed since the mixture will be going into the food processor.

Mint Double Carob Chip Cookies

I revamped this recipe because chocolate and mint is a combination that my grandson absolutely loves! And I have to admit, they are pretty good. Be careful or you won’t have any batter to cook, the raw dough is that tasty!

Makes 24-30 depending on the size.

Preheat oven to 350 degree. Put parchment paper on the bottom of 2 cookie sheets (unless you have a large one that will hold 2 dozen at a time). Lightly spray with non-stick cooking spray.

In a small, heat safe bowl, soak 16-18 dried prunes in boiling water (approximately 1 cup should be enough). Be sure all the prunes are covered. Let sit for at least 5 minutes. While they are soaking, put together the flour mixture in a gallon food storage bag mix:

1 2/3 cups millet flour

1/3 cup sorghum flour

2/3 cup chickpea flour

2/3 cup arrowroot

2/3 cup potato starch (NOT flour)

Seal the bag and shake to thoroughly mix the flours. Be sure to refrigerate the unused flour mixture.

In a medium size food processor add:

Prunes

2 tablespoons of the prune soaking water

1/2 cup date or coconut sugar

1/3 cup agave, honey, date or coconut syrup

1/2 teaspoon mint extract (or about 2 dozen fresh mint leaves torn)

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 teaspoon vinegar

Blend until the prunes are smooth and the mixture has combined. Don’t worry if the prunes are entirely smooth since they will continue to blend with the next steps. Add:

1/3 cup avocado, sunflower, palm, or coconut oil (melted)

Blend again until the mixture is smooth. If the food processor is large enough add (if not scrap the prune mixture out of the food process and into a medium size bowl and add the dry ingredients):

1 1/2 cups gluten free flour mix (see above)

1 teaspoon xanthan gum

1/4 cup carob powder

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Pulse until the flours are combined. Remove the dough from the food processor and stir in:

1/4 to 1/3 cup unsweetened carob chips

Mix thoroughly. Using a tablespoon measure or small cookie scoop, measure out the dough and form into approximately 1 inch balls (although slightly sticky, it’s easy to shape into balls using damp hands). Place the balls on a cookie sheet approximately 2 inches apart and, again with a slightly damp hand, flatten them to about a 1/2 inch in depth. Bake for 8-10 minutes; 8 minutes will give you a chewy, fudgy, softer center while 10 minutes will be chewy but not as fudgy in the center. Cool on the sheet for a few minutes before moving to a cooling rack.

Pumpkin Chai Snickerdoodles

Get the feeling I’m really into pumpkin right now! I think it may be because I haven’t been feeling very well and knowing pumpkin can aid in calming an upset stomach, I’m turning to it to help me deal with stomach issues.

I’ve never had a snickerdoodle! Now that I’m allergic to chocolate (actually the caffeine in chocolate), I’m expanding my cookie horizons. Found this recipe on-line and thought it easily adjustable however, the cookies are not the easiest to make, especially if you’re new to cookie baking or don’t have a stand mixer like me. Treat them much like you would a peanut butter cookie – roll in sugar and then use a fork to flatten the balls.

Make Chai Sugar by mixing together:

1/3 cup date sugar

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ginger

1/2 teaspoon allspice

1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

Set aside. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper. In a large bowl mix:

1/3 cup aquafaba (if you don’t have a can of garbanzo beans handy or powdered aquafaba, substitute water)

2 tablespoons ground flaxseed

Let sit for several minutes to form flax gel and then add:

1/2 cup vegan shortening or margarine (I use Spectrum shortening)

1 cup date sugar

With a hand or stand mixer, beat on low/medium until the mixture is combined and almost fluffy. Add:

1/2 cup pumpkin puree

1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix to combine and then add:

1 cup all purpose gluten free flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon allspice or nutmeg

1 teaspoon xanthan gum

Mix to combine before adding:

1 cup all purpose gluten free flour.

At this point, unless you have a stand mixer, it’s best to continue mixing with a large spoon or even, if you’ve washed your hands or are wearing gloves, with your hands. Mixture will be quite crumbly until all the flour is worked into the dough. The consistency reminds me of gingerbread cookies or sugar cookies. I used my hands and found the mixture combined quite easily. Scoop out by tablespoonful and roll into a ball (so you have to use your hands anyway!). The mixture shouldn’t be at all sticky but if it is, add a little more flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the stickiness is gone.

Roll each ball as you make them into the chai sugar mixture and place 1-2″ apart on the cookie sheet. When the sheet is full, using a fork, press down each ball into a flat disk.* Bake 8 minutes then check. If the cookies have puffed up (domed), flatten more with the fork. Bake an additional 2-3 minutes until the outside of the cookies are firm while the inside is still slightly underdone. Cool on sheet for several minutes before moving to a cooling rack.

*If you prefer, bake the balls for 8 minutes and then flatten them with the fork. Their appearance differs and I found the ones I flattened before baking were chewier. The smoother ones were flattened before baking (on the right) while the ones flattened after baking were rougher looking (on the left).

Pumpkin Seed Butter Cookies

Peanut butter cookies are one of the most popular cookies on the planet but not for those of us with nut allergies. If you can use pumpkin seeds, this may be a cookie for you to try. I’ve been using pumpkin seed butter now for several years. It’s a very different taste, very nutty and earthy. I prefer the butter made from roasted pumpkin seeds but raw is also available; as one might expect, the roasted is brown while the raw is green in color. I haven’t been able to find pumpkin seed butter in a store so I order it online from Amazon where they have several varieties available. I’m sure a google search would find it available elsewhere online if you prefer not to use Amazon.

Just like regular peanut butter, pumpkin seed butter is available in sweetened and unsweetened forms. I prefer the unsweetened which is what is used in this recipe. If sweetened is used, reduce the amount of sugar in the mixture. Makes about 12 cookies.

You’ll need:

1/2 cup date sugar

1/4 cup warm water

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup pumpkin seed butter (room temperature)

1/4 cup ground flax seeds

1/2 cup brown rice flour

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/4-1/3 cup carob chips (or if you can use them chocolate chips)

Prepare a medium size cookie sheet by covering with parchment paper sprayed with non-stick spray. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a medium size bowl, mix together the date sugar and the water, stir until sugar is dissolved. Add the vanilla, whisk until smooth. Add the pumpkin seed butter, flaxseed, flour, salt and mix until combined. Add the chips and blend. Scoop out the dough by tablespoons and shape into balls and then flatten. Place about an inch apart on the cookie sheet and bake for approximately 10-12 minutes. These cookies won’t raise or spread much. Store in an airtight container or freeze if there are any left!

Upside Down Cake with Fruit

One of my mother’s favorite cakes was pineapple upside down cake. Since I can’t eat pineapple anymore, I used a different fruit for my upside down cake – pears. Turned out quite delicious and moist since pears are full of liquid which drained pineapple doesn’t have. Any fruit can be used for this cake and can be arranged decoratively – I just tossed mine in the bottom of the spring form pan but feel free to make one that’s prettier.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a small bowl, whisk:

1/4 cup ground flax seed

1/2 cup aquafaba

Let sit while you get the baking pan ready. Using a 10″ spring form pan, or if authenticity is desired, a cast iron Dutch oven, spray the bottom with non-stick spray and add a round to fit of parchment paper. In a small sauce pan melt:

1/4 cup vegan margarine

Pour into the prepared pan and sprinkle with:

1/2 cup fine date sugar (the courser sugar doesn’t work as well here – you could use the date syrup squeeze bottle to squeeze 1/2 cup of syrup over the melted margarine instead)

Peel (if desired) 2 large pears, 2-3 apples. Also could use 1 1/2 cups mixed berries or pineapple rings. I also shaved a fresh piece of ginger and grated about 2 teaspoons on top of the pears. Cinnamon or allspice could also be sprinkled over the fruit in the pan.

Arrange the fruit on top of this mixture and set aside. In a medium bowl mix:

1 1/4 cups all purpose gluten-free flour

1/2 cup fine cornmeal

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon xanthan gum or guar gum

In the smaller bowl, add to the flax gel:

3/4 cup date sugar

1 cup dairy free milk mixed with 1 teaspoon vinegar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Whisk until well mixed and then add to the flour mixture and either mix with a hand mixer or a spoon until combined. Do not over mix. Let sit for 5-10 minutes before pouring over the fruit (or pour over the fruit and let sit). Bake for 30-40 minutes and then reduce heat to 325 degrees and bake another 10-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan at least 15 minutes before removing from pan onto plate. Remove parchment paper.

Carob Chip Cookies

I think this is the third recipe I’ve put up on the blog for carob (or chocolate) chip cookies. This one is very easy to make and tastes great. I cooked mine for 15 minutes and they were caky, so stick to 10-12 minutes for a chewy cookie. It should make 18-20 cookies so if you have dough left over, increase the size of each cookie. If smaller cookies are wanted, bake them for only 7-10 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a large cookie sheet (to hold all the cookies at once).

In a small bowl, soak 8-10 medjool dates or 1 cup of diced dates in 1 cup boiling water for 10-15 minutes (this is the longest part of the process!)

Pour the dates and the water into a food processor (I actually used my Vitamix) and process for 1-2 minutes until the dates are pureed. Scrape back into the small bowl. Whisk in to the dates:

1/2 cup avocado or melted coconut oil

2 teaspoons vanilla

In a medium bowl combine:

2 cups brown rice flour

1/2 cup tapioca flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum

1/4 teaspoon salt

Pour the date mixture into the flour mixture along with 1/2 cup unsweetened carob or chocolate chips. Mix until combined. Take 2 tablespoon to 1/4 cup of the dough and shape by hand into a ball, then flatten, and put them on the greased cookie sheet. Don’t worry about putting them close on the cookie sheet because they won’t spread much although they will puff up slightly when baked.

Cool on cookie sheet for a few minutes before moving them to a cooling rack. Store in an airtight container.

Easy Fudgy Brownies

Oh my goodness! This is one of the richest, most delectable brownies I’ve ever eaten. It’s the third brownie recipe on my blog and I think the third one was the charm! Such a decadent mouthful, there’s just nothing to compare with a really fudgy brownie. This one fits the bill and is so easy to make. In fact, it takes longer to assemble the ingredients and scoop it out of the food processor into the baking dish than it does to make them!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9×9″ baking dish with non-stick spray (I use the Chosen Foods 100% Avocado Oil spray). Add to the bowl of a food processor:

Pulp from 1/2 a small avocado or about 1/3 cup avocado pulp

3/4 cup date sugar

1/3 cup agave nectar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/4 cup avocado oil or other light tasting oil

1 tablespoon ground flaxseed

1/3 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk

2 teaspoon instant coffee

Blend until combined. Add:

3/4 cup gluten-free all purpose flour

1/2 cup oat flour

3/4 cup carob powder

1 tablespoon psyllium husk flakes

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

By hand, mix in:

1/4-1/2 cup unsweetened carob chips, chocolate chips if you can use them, chopped walnuts (again if you can use them), or 2 tablespoons hemp hulls OPTIONAL

Scoop out of the food processor bowl and spread out evenly in the baking dish. I found it easiest to scoop it all out first and then using a large wet spoon to spread the mixture evenly in the baking dish. It is very thick!

Bake only 20 minutes turning once at 10 minutes. If using a smaller baking dish, bake for 25 minutes. DO NOT OVERBAKE OR YOU’LL HAVE DRY CAKE BROWNIES! Cool for at least an hour before cutting. In fact, it works well to cool for a half hour and then refrigerate them. They need to be cold before cutting into nine (or more) pieces.

Cinnamon Swirl Sticky Buns (dairy-free, gluten-free, egg-free, refined sugar-free, soy-free, nut-free)

I love cinnamon rolls! In fact, I won the winter carnival for my junior class in high school with my sticky buns. Back then I didn’t worry about gluten or dairy, didn’t have any allergies then. My son recently asked me, after the cinnamon swirl bread, if I could make some rolls instead. Here’s what I came up with. The recipe makes a 12-15 rolls.

This a a very tender, soft dough and doesn’t rise as much as traditional yeasted dough.

In a large bowl mix:

1/2 cup warm water (around 100 degrees; my Nana always told me the key to yeast was to make sure the water didn’t feel hot or cold on your wrist, just wet, then it’s the perfect temperature, like a baby’s bottle should be)

1 teaspoon date sugar

1 package (2 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast

Stir to dissolve the yeast and then let sit for 5-10 minutes until it bubbles. Throw it out and try again if it doesn’t bubble or foam, that means its not working.

Warm over a very low heat in a small sauce pan:

1 cup non-dairy milk

1/4 cup honey, agave or coconut nectar

2 tablespoons oil

Be sure not to get this liquid hotter than the water was for the yeast or it will kill the yeast mixture when you pour it into the bowl. When the honey is melted, pour the milk mixture into the yeast and add:

1 cup whipped potatoes (don’t want any lumps in the dough!)

1 1/4 cups brown rice flour

1/2 cup tapioca flour

1 cup all purpose gluten-free flour

1 teaspoon xanthan gum

1 teaspoon salt (be sure the salt goes in last so it doesn’t affect the yeast)

Mix thoroughly. Add more brown rice flour if the mixture is too wet. You want a dough that you can handle and roll out. Grease a bowl and add the dough, put in a warm place, covered with wax paper or a clean small towel and let rise for 1- 1 1/2 hours.

For the filling you need:

1/4 cup avocado oil, coconut oil, or vegan margarine

1/4-1/3 cup date sugar

2-3 teaspoons cinnamon (more or less to taste, I was rather generous with mine and probably used more like 2 tablespoons)

Prepare a 9×12 baking dish by greasing. Remove the dough and place on a floured surface where you can roll it out to approximately a 24×30″ rectangle. You may need to add some flour to the top of the dough to keep it from sticking. Once rolled out, rub the dough with 1/4 cup of avocado or coconut oil (or a vegan margarine), sprinkle with 1/4-1/3 cup date sugar and several teaspoons of cinnamon. Beginning on the longer end, slowly roll the dough (you may need to loosen the dough from the counter with a butter knife if stuck). Tuck the ends into the roll and make sure the last side is securely attached to the rest of the roll. Cut into 1″ slices and place in the prepared baking dish. You don’t have to leave much space between the rolls because they won’t rise much at this stage. Cover with a clean towel or waxed paper and put in a warm place to rise again. (I turned my oven to 170 degrees (the lowest setting it would go) and turned it off after 5 minutes of warming so that it was approximately 100 degrees and used that to let the dough rise. Worked well.) This should only take about 1 hour.

Remove the dough from the oven and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Make the Honey-Bee Glaze like we used on the Cinnamon Swirl Bread (1/2 cup date sugar, 1/4 cup non-dairy milk, 1/4 cup agave or coconut nectar, 1/4 cup oil, 1/2-1 cup hemp hulls, sunflower, or pumpkin seeds – if too thick to pour, add a little more milk) and pour it over the rolls before baking them in the oven. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into a middle roll comes out clean.

Spicy Pumpkin (or Sweet Potato) Quick Bread (dairy-free, gluten-free, egg-free, soy-free, nut-free, refined sugar-free)

I really enjoy baked items that I can make without pulling out my stand mixer or even my hand mixer. This is one of those. Takes two bowls but otherwise a very easy bread to make. It’s a dense loaf but moist and tender. Perfect as a side for a salad or toasted with some non-dairy cream cheese for breakfast with your favorite protein.

Makes 1 loaf

Preheat oven to 400 degree. Generously grease a 9×5 bread pan. Mix in a medium to large bowl:

2 1/4 cups brown rice flour

1/2 cup tapioca flour

1 cup date sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoons xanthan gum

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg or allspice

1/2 teaspoon salt

Mix until combined. In a separate smaller bowl whisk together:

1 can pumpkin puree

1/4 cup water

1/3 cup oil (I used avocado oil but any oil you have will work)

2 teaspoons vanilla

Add wet ingredients to dry and mix until combined. Before combining you might add one or several of the following:

1/2 cup chopped dates

1 cup chopped nuts

1/2 cup hemp hulls

or 1 cup dried fruit such as currents, raisins, cranberries, etc.

Spoon into the prepared pan, smooth over the top and place in the middle of the oven. Bake 45-50 minutes. Cool in pan or on cooling rack.