Grahamy Mallow Brownies

You don’t need a campfire to enjoy the delicious trio of chocolate, graham crackers, and marshmallows. While it is less official to make s’more-like treats in your kitchen instead of the wilderness, your happy tummy won’t know the difference. These treats are definitely not the healthiest indulgence, but who cares? Sometimes you need a decadent, sweet, melt-in-your mouth dessert. And besides, these brownies are loaded with whole grains (from whole wheat pastry flour and oat-based graham crackers), hemp seeds (if you use hemp milk), flax seeds, and antioxidant-rich dark chocolate. So there.

Recently, Chicago Soy Dairy sent me two bags of fluffy, puffy Dandies marshmallows as part of a promotional project: folks who received the Dandies agreed to create recipes and post them on their social networking sites (Facebook, Twitter, a personal blog, etc). Since I am working on writing a vegan brownie book, I figured I’d use some of the Dandies for a brownie recipe. Yes, I realize that s’mores brownies are not a new idea, but nonetheless, they are yummy and fun to make.

Grahamy Mallow Brownies

For the graham cracker layer:

1 cup vegan graham cracker crumbs (such as these)
3 Tablespoons vegan margarine (I used Earth Balance), melted
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)

For the marshmallow layer:

1 1/2 cups vegan marshmallows (such as Dandies)

For the brownie layer:

2/3 cup chocolate non-dairy milk (I used Tempt hemp milk)
3 Tablespoons finely ground flax seeds (the finer, the better)
1/2 cup vegan margarine
1/2 cup organic dark chocolate chips
1 cup unrefined sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons pure chocolate extract (optional)
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
Extra graham cracker crumbs for sprinkling on top of finished brownies (about 1-2 Tablespoons)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8×8″ baking pan with parchment paper (bottom and sides). You could also lightly grease the pan but parchment paper makes removing the brownies from the pan MUCH easier, especially if you want clean slices once they cool.

2. In a small bowl, stir together the graham cracker crumbs, first measure of margarine, and cinnamon (if using). Press the mixture evenly into the bottom of your prepared pan and set aside.

3. In a glass measuring cup, whisk together the chocolate milk and ground flax seeds. Set aside to thicken.

4. Place second measure of margarine and the chocolate chips in a large microwave-safe bowl. On medium power, cook the mixture until melted, stirring in 30 second intervals.

5. Add flax mixture, sugar, and extract(s) to the chocolate mixture and stir well.

6. Add whole wheat pastry flour, baking powder, and salt to the bowl and stir until all ingredients are incorporated. The batter will be very thick.

7. Sprinkle marshmallows over the graham cracker crust. Pour brownie batter on top and gently spread with a spatula to evenly distribute. Don’t worry if some of the marshmallows end up on top of the batter.

8. Place pan in the oven and bake for 28-30 minutes. The marshmallows will puff up to at least three times their size while baking, but once out of the oven they will be a nice, melted gooey layer in the pan. There is no need to test for doneness with a toothpick. The brownies will still be a bit jiggly in the middle, but they will set up properly while cooling. Place pan on a cooling rack.

9. Sprinkle the warm brownies with extra graham cracker crumbs. Once completely cooled, place pan in the freezer for a few hours to finish setting the brownies. Then, carefully lift brownies out of the pan (if you used parchment paper to line the pan), slice into squares, and enjoy! Store brownies in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer. They taste delicious right from the freezer – no need to thaw!

Makes 16 small or 9 large brownies.

Many thanks to Chicago Soy Dairy for the Dandies!!

Taking the Teese Challenge, Part II

Guess what? I made my first batch of waffles earlier this month! Utterly shocking, I know. But, Tim is the waffle master in our home. I only become part of the equation when the waffle iron needs to be cleaned. Fair trade considering I get a plate of hot, yummy waffles in return. I’m not really sure why I never tackled waffles; I love cooking and baking. Waffle (and pancake!) territory is a whole different arena for me. In an attempt to tackle my waffle fears, I made two batches of different waffles this month. Plain waffles for the first batch, nothing special, but I love simplicity:

The recipe is in Vegan Brunch, the Chelsea Waffles.

For my second batch of waffles I got a little more creative and used my free log of cheddar-style Teese from Chicago Soy Dairy. The idea for the following recipe has been kicking around in my head for at least a month, yet I never seem to find the time to make floaty-mind-thoughts become food on my plate. Priorities, priorities…

If you read my first “Taking the Teese Challenge” post, you know that Chicago Soy Dairy sent vegan food bloggers free Teese. In return, bloggers were asked to create recipes, photograph the results, and write a blog post showcasing the Teese-centric goodness. Sounds fun, right?!

My second Teese creation was a success! It’s so easy to be skeptical when you consider the ingredients, but trust me, these waffles were absolutely ace.

Buttermilk Cheddar Waffles with Sauteed Apples and Savory Syrup (vegan obviously)

My waffle iron yielded 7, six-inch, crispy waffles.

Ingredients for the waffles:

1 1/2 cups light spelt flour
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 cups plain, unsweetened almond milk (or other non-dairy milk of choice)
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup canola oil
1 1/2 cups shredded vegan cheddar cheese (I used Teese, of course!)

Instructions:

1. Preheat your waffle iron.
2. In a large bowl, stir together flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
3. In a glass measuring cup, add the almond milk and apple cider vinegar. Stir and set aside for about 5 minutes to curdle.
4. Add the oil to the almond milk mixture.
5. Combine wet and dry ingredients and stir gently.
6. Add in shredded cheese and stir to combine, but don’t over mix.
7. Add batter to your waffle iron and cook according to manufacturer’s instructions. I used a 1/2 cup of batter per waffle in my waffle iron, just as a reference.

While your waffles are cooking:

*Core and thinly slice one large apple (don’t peel it!!). Place a skillet over medium heat and add just enough water to cover the bottom of the skillet. Add your apple slices and saute them until they are tender, but still a bit crisp too, 5-8 minutes depending on the size of your apple. Remove from heat and set aside.

* In a small saucepan add 3/4 -1 cup pure maple syrup and 1/4 teaspoon of dried thyme. You can add more or less thyme depending on your tastes (and how much TIME you have… Hahaaaa!). The thyme really complements the apples and the sweetness of the syrup, I promise!!! Bring the contents of the saucepan to a low boil and then reduce the heat and simmer gently for a few minutes. Make sure to stir, stir, stir!! Remove from heat and set aside until the waffles are done.

To serve:

Take a few waffles and put them on a plate. Top with sauteed apples, drizzle with savory syrup, and eat! Yeah!

Extra big thanks to the folks at Chicago Soy Dairy for the free Teese and the fun challenge!

Taking the Teese Challenge, Part I

Recently the fine folks from Chicago Soy Dairy posted a fun challenge on Facebook for vegan food bloggers: receive some free Teese, create a recipe, photograph it, and blog about it (whether your recipe is a sweeping success or a flopping failure). I’ve been in a bit of a funk lately and this was the motivation I needed to force my usually imaginative mind back into action.

Admittedly, I am not a huge fan of vegan cheeses and very rarely purchase or eat them. I even posted about my dislike of Teese once or twice. But, I am always willing to try again, especially when it involves creativity in the kitchen. For me, it isn’t really the taste of Teese, but simply that I don’t miss cheese in my diet and often prefer to fill up on heaps of grains and veggies instead. This challenge yielded a fantastic special meal for Tim and I, the type of meal we don’t normally make, but certainly enjoy from time to time.

Chicago Soy Dairy was very generous and sent two mini logs of Teese (bloggers chose their flavors) out to participants. I chose mozzarella and cheddar. My first recipe was dinner this evening:

Pesto Parsnip Panini

This sammie had homemade hazelnut pesto, roasted red peppers, parsnip, and mozzarella Teese smooshed between chewy slices of local ciabatta bread and grilled. It was delicious!!!! Woohoo!!! My apartment was a smoky mess from the hot grill pan sitting on the stove while I snapped photos, but whatever – Teese Challenge #1 for the win!

Want the recipe?!!!

Here you go!

Pesto Parsnip Paninis -makes 2-3 sammies, depending on the size of your bread

1 batch of hazelnut pesto (recipe follows)

2 small parsnips, peeled, washed, and sliced thinly (about a cup)

1 medium red bell pepper, roasted and sliced into thin strips (about 3/4 – 1 cup)

8 slices of  mozzarella Teese, sliced 1/8″ thick

4-6 slices (about 1/2″ – 3/4″ thick) of good quality Italian-style bread, such as ciabatta

extra virgin olive oil for brushing on bread and pan

Hazelnut Pesto

1/2 cup toasted hazelnuts
3 cups packed, fresh basil leaves (approximately)
2 garlic cloves, crushed
3 T extra virgin olive oil
1/2 t fine sea salt, or to taste
Freshly ground black pepper
Pinch of cayenne if you fancy some heat

Directions for the pesto:

1. Place toasted hazelnuts in a food processor and process until finely ground

2. Add the crushed garlic cloves and process to incorporate

3. Add the basil and process until the mixture comes together nicely

4. Add the olive oil, 1 T at a time, processing well between each addition (you may not need all 3 T or you may need more, depending on your basil)

5. Add salt and pepper(s) and process a bit more until everything is mixed well

***You want the pesto to be a bit thicker than normal pesto so that you can spread it onto the bread***

Assembling/making the sammies:

1. Preheat a cast iron grill pan on your stove over medium heat. If you have a panini press (lucky you!!), plug it in and preheat it (or whatever you are supposed to do with a panini press).

2. Take two slices of bread and brush a bit of olive oil on one side of each slice.

3. Spread about 2 T of pesto (more or less depending on your bread size and taste preferences) on the non-oiled side of each piece of bread.

4. Pile some sliced parsnip on both slices of the bread.

5. Add strips of roasted red pepper to one slice of bread only (otherwise when you sandwich the two slices together it will make a big mess!).

6. Layer some slices of Teese over the pepper strips, overlap the slices a bit. You can sprinkle a bit of nutritional yeast on your sammie at this point if you wish (I didn’t, but Tim did).

7. Take the other slice of bread and quickly sandwich it together with the pepper and Teese topped piece.

8. Brush a bit of olive oil on your grill pan (I know olive oil smokes, but the taste is phenomenal for this sammie, so just open a window and relax a bit!).

9. Place your sammie in the grill pan and press firmly down with something heavy. I used a ceramic pie plate and it fit perfectly inside my grill pan. Just make sure to use a pot-holder when pressing down, because whatever you use as a press will get hot.

10. It will take a few minutes per side for your sammie to grill nicely and heat all the ingredients (and melt the Teese a bit). Flip carefully when the first side is crisp and golden and repeat for the other side.

11. Repeat with remaining sammie ingredients. My batch made 3 sammies, and I had a bit of leftover pesto.

Enjoy!!!

A great big thank you to Chicago Soy Dairy for creating such a fun food challenge!!! And thanks a billion for sending me some free Teese!! Check out their blog for recipes and other fun stuff.

Annnnnnnnd, stay tuned for Part II of my Teese Challenge, a recipe using Cheddar Teese!!

One Hundred!

Oooooh! This is my 100th post!!!!! How dandy is that? I’ll show you…

dandies

…This dandy! These are the mighty delicious Dandies marshmallows from Chicago Soy Dairy. I cannot stop eating them! They are light, fluffy, sweet, vanilla-y, addictive, and just plain amazing. My lack of creative motivation has led me to eat these by the handful one at a time  instead of using them in a baked treat, but it simply doesn’t matter – these are ace. Food Fight will have them available to purchase online soon if you don’t have a place near you that sells Dandies.

I also had the pleasure of indulging in a newish vegan ice cream. Yeah, yeah! It is made with hemp milk and was featured briefly in the latest issue of VegNewsLiving Harvest makes a line called Tempt; they named this frozen treat accurately! I tried the Chocolate Fudge variety and it is incredibly creamy, smooth, chocolaty, and yummy. There are ribbons of fudgy goodness laced throughout each serving. I usually have trouble digesting ice cream and Tempt didn’t give me any troubles! Hooray!!!! There are several flavors to choose from and I look forward to sampling the rest.

tempt

Lastly, Tim and I were recently in Seattle to see a concert and we managed to eat at a few places we had never been to on previous visits.

Cyber Dogs Internet Cafe was our choice for a quick lunch. This cafe is located about nine blocks from the famed Pike Place Market. They have an all vegetarian menu with the option to veganize pretty much any item you choose. The space is very tiny, but colorful and comfy. Tim and I sat on a cushy sofa while we waited for the friendly woman working to prepare our food. There are computers with internet for folks to enjoy while they munch happily on their creatively-adorned veggie dogs. The whole space is filled with knick-knacks and dog-themed stuff. We didn’t have to wait long for our order which was a huge bonus since we were hungry and trying to get back to our car before the meter ran out. Another bonus? Takeout orders are placed in biodegradable containers! Here are some photos of the inside of Cyber Dogs, and also our lunch:

cyber-dogs-1

Lots of colorful fun stuff inside Cyber Dogs (see the Pound Puppy? Remember those?)

cyber-dogs-2

The computers

menu

The menu (for a closer look at the menu, click here, and choose a larger size to view)

california-dog

Tim’s California Dog

plain-jane-dog

My Plain Jane Dog with vegan cheese sauce

We also walked around Pike Place Market. We stopped at Cinnamon Works for a vegan cinnamon roll (after we had eaten breakfast and Mighty O’s…). The cinnamon roll was quite good, a bit doughy, but sweet and filling. It had a nice maple glaze (I prefer plain) and the person who served us kindly warmed our roll in the oven! Nice! They also had some vegan cookies and muffins in the display case (although they looked a bit dry). Cinnamon Works is spendy, our cinnamon roll was $3.50! But I guess the market is a bit of a tourist trap and that’s the way stuff rolls sometimes.

cinnamon-roll

We also ate at a lovely place (right next door to where we were staying) called Chaco Canyon Cafe. I didn’t take photos, but the food was very simple and tasty. The space is bright, open, and lined with lots of windows. The staff is incredibly friendly and the menu is mostly vegan (with lots of raw options). Again, this place was spendy, but since Tim and I rarely eat out, it was a nice treat. If you find yourself in Seattle, please head over to Chaco Canyon Cafe. Your tummy will be so happy! I had an interesting juice blend called The Boost which was made of apple, carrot, ginger and wheatgrass. I also had a raw porridge which I really enjoyed, a lot. Tim had The Elvis Smoothie (banana and PB) and a tofu scramble sammie. His smoothie was so very, very, very smoooooooooooooooooooooooooooth! The sammie was perfectly seasoned and served on what we think was a sourdough rye. Good stuff.