Vegan Millionaire’s Shortbread Bars

I have big news for you all: I HAVE A BLENDER!


Shout out to mummy for recognising the struggle that was my culinary life without a blender. I honestly don’t care how broke I am in college, as long as I have a blender to cuddle at night.


I think it’s only fitting that the first vegan dessert I attempted with the blender was this millionaire’s shortbread. This has always been one of my favourite desserts to make so it was only natural that I attempted a no-bake version. If you follow my Instagram @thefoodscientistblog then you’ll know that I’ve been cooking a storm with this vegan caramel (tomorrow guys!). For now, let’s sit back and enjoy this lush dessert.
Vegan Millionaire’s Shortbread

For the crust:

  • 2 cups rolled oatmeal
  • 1 cup almonds
  • 3 pitted medjool dates, soaked in hot water for 10 minutes
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup

For the vegan caramel sauce:

  • 2×14 oz can coconut cream (just leave a tin of coconut milk in the fridge overnight)
  • 1 and ½ cups brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 cup cashews, soaked overnight
  • ¾ cup maple syrup

For the topping:

4 ounces vegan chocolate

Start by making the vegan caramel sauce:

In a medium saucepan, combine the coconut cream and brown sugar over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is at a rolling boil. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla essence and salt. Add to a glass jar and refrigerate for an hour. Will keep for a week in the fridge.

Then move on to the base:

Line a loaf pan with parchment paper. Add the oats and almonds to a food processor and pulse until it forms a fine, crumbly meal. Add the dates and maple syrup and process until you get a thick, dough. Press the dough into the bottom of a loaf pan in an even layer. In the same blender, process the vegan caramel you made earlier with the cashews and maple syrup. Pour the caramel layer over the base and freeze for 4 hours, or until solid. Slice into bars, and let chill at least 5 minutes at room temperature before consuming. Enjoy!

Advertisements

Vegan Sticky Praline Pull Apart Bread

As Easter is this week, I’ve felt inspired by all sorts of sweet breads and chocolatey desserts, it’s like Christmas- but in April! It has been a while since I’ve done any sort of homemade bread so this week, I decided to roll with this idea of praline. And boy, oh boy did it turn out to be a gem. 
I had a packet of pecans lying around that I had to use soon, and nothing beats ye olde combo of caramel and pecans. At this point, I had also started craving cinnamon rolls but there was no way that I would break apart these 2 culinary lovebirds with that common tart cinnamon. So, pecans and caramel, rolled up to look like cinnamon rolls? Sure, let’s go with that.

At the last minute I decided to use up the almonds that were hogging my shelf space, and as I had a jar of vegan caramel sauce in the fridge, I thought it might be fun to incorporate that too. And ta-da, the outcome was this masterpiece! Fresh out the oven, this could not be any closer to oven. Despite the use of caramel and extra brown sugar, this bread manages not to be overly sweet, and the use of buttermilk over regular milk makes it super soft. Do your family a favour and make this for Easter- I only advise you to make 2 batches as it probably won’t last long!


Vegan Sticky Praline Pull Apart Bread

For the vegan caramel sauce:

  • 1×14 oz can coconut cream (just leave a tin of coconut milk in the fridge overnight)
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • ½ tsp salt

For the bread:

  • 2 cups vegan buttermilk (2 cups non dairy milk+2 tbsp vinegar)
  • 2 tsp dried active yeast
  • 2 tsp granulated sugar
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 3 and ½ cups self raising flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup pecans
  • 1 cup almonds
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup of the vegan caramel sauce

Method

Start by making the vegan caramel sauce:

In a medium saucepan, combine the coconut cream and brown sugar over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is at a rolling boil. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla essence and salt. Add to a glass jar and refrigerate for an hour. Will keep for a week in the fridge.

Then move on to the bread:

  1. Heat the buttermilk to about 30°C (or the recommended temperature on your yeast packet) and dissolve the yeast and brown sugar in the warm buttermilk. Let sit for 10 minutes or until the mixture is bubbling and foaming.
  2. Sift the flour and salt into a large bowl, make a well in the centre, and pour the buttermilk mixture and vegetable oil into the middle. Stir with a wooden spoon until the dough comes together then remove to a floured surface and knead until the dough is soft and elastic. If the dough is too sticky then add flour in, one tablespoon at a time until it holds. Set aside and allow to rest 30 minutes, whilst you prepare the filling.
  3. Add the pecans and almonds to a large roasting pan and roast at 200°C/400°F for 15 minutes, or until darkened and very fragrant. Allow to cool at room temperature before crushing to small pieces using either a food processor or a meat hammer. Add to a small bowl along with the brown sugar. Reserve a ¼ cup of this mixture for topping the dough.
  4. Line a 9×13 baking pan with parchment paper. Once the dough has rested and you’ve prepared the filling, roll the dough out into a large rectangle about 9×13 (I just eyeballed it and made the dough slightly smaller than the baking pan). Spread the vegan caramel over the surface of the dough, leaving a ¾ inch border. Sprinkle the nut/sugar mixture over the surface of the dough in an even layer.
  5. Starting at the longer end, roll the dough into a long cylinder, as if you’re making cinnamon rolls. I would advise that you transfer the dough to the baking pan you’re using at this point. Use a paring knife or a pair of kitchen scissors to make incisions in the dough, every 1 inch. Be careful not to cut all the way to the bottom of the log. I just pulled and twisted any loose ends, but you don’t need to do any more as far shaping the dough goes.
  6. Once you’re done shaping the dough, sprinkle the extra brown sugar/nut mixture you’d set aside earlier over the dough. If desired, you can also drizzle any extra caramel sauce you have left over the dough. Bake the bread in an oven at 180°C/350°F for between 35 and 40 minutes, or until deep golden brown. Let sit for at least 10 minutes at room temperature before slicing and serving. Best served warm and on the same day that it’s baked.

Chocolate Banana Nut Swirl Muffins

There are more bananas in my house at this moment than I know what to do with. As a result I’ve been baking banana breads and making nana ice cream like it’s my full time job.


Fun fact: I cannot stomach bananas. Eating the fruit raw makes me feel sick to my stomach. But give me nana ice-cream, banana pancakes or banana bread and you’ll make me a happy gal. I guess my stomach can only take it when the taste is masked by a ton of sugar and chocolate?


That is the subject of today’s recipe: these soft, yummy muffins. These are best made in a batch on a Sunday afternoon and eaten all through the week as a power snack. Score!

Chocolate Banana Nut Swirl Muffins                                             makes 12 muffins
Ingredients

  • ¾ cup butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup castor sugar
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature
  • 3 ripe bananas, mashed (approximately 1 cup)
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt (may sub buttermilk)
  • 1 cup self raising flour
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 cup chopped pecans and/or chocolate chips

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 180°C/350°F. Grease 9 spaces in your muffin tin and line with wrappers.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Crack in the eggs and mix well to combine. Add the mashed bananas, vanilla essence and Greek yogurt and whisk until incorporated.
  3. Sieve in the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Use a rubber spatula to gently fold the dry ingredients into the wet, being careful not to overmix. Add the chocolate chips and pecans and gently stir to distribute. Remove half of the batter to a small bowl.
  4. Add the cocoa powder to half of the muffin batter and stir until incorporated. Add a tablespoon of the yellow batter followed by a tablespoon of the chocolate batter to the lined tins, filling them ¾ of the way to the top. Gently use a toothpick or the tip of a knife to gently swirl the yellow batter into the chocolate batter. Top with chocolate chips or pecans if desired.
  5. Bake in the preheat oven for 17-20 minutes to until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool completely before devouring. Will keep in a sealed container for 5 days, or frozen for up to a month. Eat as an easy breakfast on the go!

Raw Vegan Passionfruit White Chocolate Cheesecake

Today is a monumental day. Why? Car aujourd’hui I bring you the first vegan dessert to be published on this blog.

To be frank, it was about time anyways. Through the many cheesecakes we’ve shared, the soups we’ve slurped and the burgers we’ve devoured, I decided that it was time to switch it up a bit.


As I’m sure you all know, I have decided to permanently cut meat out of my diet. With the full knowledge of the atrocities that are committed everyday in the animal farming industry coupled with the significant impact on the environment that meat consumption is responsible for; I decided that enough was enough and it was time for me to act. I couldn’t stand by and support/ignore what was happening, whilst being fully aware of what was happening. So I stopped eating meat. As the goal is to eventually cut animal products out of my diet and my closet, I decided to pay tribute to veganism today with this cheesecake.

If you’ve never made a vegan dessert before, then fear not! The process is ridiculously simple. Start by preparing your vegan chocolate and your passionfruits.

You’ll need 2 cups of soaked cashews for this recipe, they should be left for at least 8 hours, but if you don’t have time then you can soak them in boiling water for an hour.

The almonds, pecans and oats are then blended to create a coarse meal. Maple syrup is drizzled in and that forms your base! The base is then frozen for 15 minutes to firm it up.

All the cheesecake ingredients are then pulsed in the blender, poured on top of the base and this is frozen for 4 hours. You take the cheesecake out of the freezer, spread it with the passionfruit pulp/sauce, let it sit for 15 minutes at room temperature and you’re good to go! Happy cheesecaking friends!


Raw Vegan Passionfruit White Chocolate Cheesecake          

makes one 9 inch cake or 15 cupcakes

Ingredients

For the base:

  • 2 cups rolled oats (uncooked)
  • 1 cup almonds
  • 1 cup pecans
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • ¼ cup maple syrup

For the cheesecake:

  • 1 and ½ cups cashews, soaked overnight in cold water or for 1 hour in boiling water
  • 1×14 ounce tin of coconut cream or 1×14 ounce tin of coconut milk refrigerated overnight
  • 250g of vegan white chocolate, melted (may replace with an extra cup of soaked cashews if you’re not into white chocolate)
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • ½ tsp ginger

For the passionfruit topping:

  • 1 cup passionfruit pulp (from about 12 passionfruits)
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp cornflour + 2 tsp water

Method

  1. Start with the base. In a food processor, pulse the oats, almonds and pecans until you have a coarse meal. With the motor running, pour in the maple syrup and pulse until the meal starts to bind together. Switch off the machine and dump the base into a 9 inch springform pan or add a tablespoon of base to 15 cupcake holders (no need to grease it first). Pat the base down into an even layer and freeze for 15 minutes.
  2. Move on to the cheesecake filling. Add all the cheesecake ingredients to a food processor and pulse until creamy and no large chunks of cashews remain in the mixture. Scoop on top of the frozen base and use a rubber spatula or the back of a spoon to smooth into an even layer. Return to the freezer and freeze for 3 hours.
  3. Finally make the passionfruit topping. Add the pulp and the lemon juice to a medium saucepan on low heat and bring to a boil. Pour the dissolved cornflour into the mixture and stir until thickened. Remove from heat and let cool.
  4. When ready to assemble, release the cheesecake from the springform pan to a cake stand. Use a spoon to smooth the passionfruit topping on top of the cheesecake. Let the cheesecake sit for 15 minutes to defrost aaaaaand you’re ready to cut and serve! Store leftovers in the freezer, but make sure to leave it at room temperature for 15 minutes before you slice and serve each time.

Shortbread Lemon Curd Bars

Ah lemon curd, an old favourite of mine. I find myself going back to you over and over again. It’s almost like we’re drawn to each other, aren’t we?


Let’s not call it an obsession. If you look through the blog archives, you’ll have noticed that I used lemon curd in these crepes and these mini cheesecakes and I modified it to produce this passionfruit curd that I coincidentally also served with shortbread. Huh, strange.


This time I decided to switch it up a bit by cutting my bars into triangles because that’s so mainstream, move with the times guys! The non uniform size looks edgy and adds a new dimension to the basic lemon bars that we have come to know and love from the neighbourhood granny. These make a lovely addition to your 4 o’clock tea, but can also be served as a light dessert by giving it a quick burst in the microwave and serving with a dollop of cream or a big scoop of ice cream. Winning.


Shortbread Lemon Curd Bars

Ingredients

  • 3 cups plain flour
  • 1 cup icing sugar, plus extra for dusting
  • 1 and ½ cups softened butter
  • 3 tbsp rolled oats, uncooked
  • 2 cups homemade lemon curd, or storebought is fine too

Method

Preheat your oven to 180°C/350°F. Grease an 8×8 baking pan and line with parchment paper. In a large bowl, sift together the flour and icing sugar. Rub the butter into the dry mixture until you have a soft crumbly dough. Reserve 1 cup of the mixture, and dump the rest into the baking pan and press down into an even layer. Prick all over with a fork and bake 15 minutes or until it has just started turning golden brown.

Meanwhile, add the oats to the reserved shortbread and rub into the mixture. Once the base is done baking, remove from the oven and spread the lemon curd over the surface in an even layer. Layer on top with the remaining shortbread mixture. Bake for another 40 minutes, or until the top is golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool completely before dusting with icing sugar and serving. Enjoy!

Cheesy Pull Apart Pizza Bread

There is nothing more beautiful on this earth than stretchy melty cheese. Anyone who wants to disagree can fight me in the comments.



Typically whenever I need a cheese fix, I go for pizza or a grilled cheese. So this week I strayed and went for this pizza/bread hybrid. And OHMYGOSH it was the most wonderful thing I’ve ever tasted in my entire life. I took this to my friend’s leaving barbecue (so sad literally everyone I know is off to university) and it got rave reviews from everyone there. This was honestly the best way for me to distract from the “OHMYGOSH you’re a vegetarian, what do you even eat?!” conversation. 

Along with a game of monopoly that turned violent way too quickly 😆. This recipe is super quick, 30 minutes from start to finish unless you decide to go the noble route and make your pizza dough from scratch (I did). Here’s the link to the recipe I posted for pizza dough that includes a non-yeast option that works very well whenever I don’t have time for the dough to rise. Go forth, make cheesy bread and be merry my friends! 


Cheesy Pull Apart Bread

Ingredients

  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese, grated
  • ½ cup frozen butter, grated (It’s important that the butter is frozen otherwise it will start melting whilst you’re trying to work with it)
  • ½ cup white cheddar, grated
  • ½ red onion, diced
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
  • ½ tsp dried basil
  • ½ tsp dried thyme
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • ½ tsp each salt and pepper
  • ½ pound cold pizza dough, homemade or storebought is fine

Method

Preheat your oven to 180°C/350°F. Grease a skillet or baking dish. In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients except the pizza dough. Toss lightly with your hands to evenly distribute the ingredients. Remove about ¼ cup of the cheese mixture and keep separate. Use a sharp Chef’s knife to cut the pizza dough into ½ inch cubes. Add the pizza dough to the larger portion of the cheese mixture and toss with your hands to make sure that the dough is completely covered in the cheese mixture.

Lay the dough pieces in the bottom of the skillet in a single layer and bake 15 minutes in the preheated oven. Remove and top with the remaining cheese mixture and bake for an extra 5 minutes. Serve immediately!

Ooey Gooey Warm Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough 

To be honest with you, this was totally not planned. It just happened, you know?


It was a glorious Thursday afternoon and I had just come home from a 5k run. After taking a quick dip in the pool, I decided to dig through the fridge to find something to replenish my energy. A bowl of quinoa and lentils later, I felt like a goddess. To be completely and utterly honest with you all, this is not me everyday. The girl who exercises diligently and eats nutritiously? That’s me, occasionally. Sometimes I get out of bed at 10 and subsist on potato crisps. Other days I thrive on green smoothies and noodle bowls. It’s called balance.


To balance out the extremely healthy lunch I had, I decided to go for a snack. That snack in particular was cookie dough. You see, I visited England a couple of years ago, and no trip is complete without a trip to Pizza Hut. A gazillion bottomless sodas later, it came time to order dessert. The warm chocolate chip cookie dough looked irresistible and I promise you, it was everything I could have ever wanted and more. It’s absolutely genius, underbaking your cookies such that the top is a hard cookie shell, and the bottom is warm, gooey, decadent cookie dough. I think it’s simply marvellous and it is for this reason that I have decided to share this with you today.

Ooey Gooey Warm Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough

Ingredients

  • 2 cups cookie dough, homemade or storebought
  • ¾ cup chocolate chips (omit if you have chocolate chip cookie dough on hand)
  • ¼ cup Smarties or any other chocolate candy
  • Vanilla ice cream and hot fudge sauce for serving

Method

Grease 4 ramekins and preheat your oven to 200°C/400°F. Prepare your cookie dough and add to a medium bowl. Add the chocolate chips and the Smarties and use a rubber spatula to fold into the dough, making sure the candies are evenly distributed. Add ½ cup of cookie dough to each ramekin and bake 8 minutes, or until the dough has risen and is just starting to turn golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool for 2 minutes before topping with vanilla ice cream and hot fudge sauce. Indulge immediately!