Vegan Peanut Butter Fudge

Peanut butter-chocolate base topped with a layer of chocolate ganache. Do I even need to say anything else? 🙂

fudge

This makes about 3 dozen 1” squares.

16oz good quality semi-sweet chocolate (I used four 4oz bars), chopped into small-ish chunks
1 cup smooth, unsweetened peanut butter
2 Tablespoons maple syrup
½ teaspoon salt
2/3 cup of plant-based milk
1 teaspoon coconut oil

Line an 8×8 inch baking pan with foil or parchment paper so that it hangs over the sides a little. You’ll need to be able to lift the fudge up and out of the pan once it has set.

Heat a double boiler over medium until the water is just simmering. If you don’t have a double boiler, you can bring 2 inches or so of water to a simmer in a saucepan and place a metal or glass bowl over the top of the pan. Add 1 cup of the chocolate chunks and stir until melted and smooth. Keep stirring to make sure the chocolate doesn’t burn. Remove from the heat (but keep the water simmering because you’ll be using the double boiler again). Stir in the peanut butter, maple syrup, and salt until well mixed. It will be relatively thick. Add the mixture into prepared pan and press down well, so that you have an even bottom layer.

Now for the ganache! Heat the rest of the chocolate chunks (there should be about 1 ½ cups left, maybe a little more) in your double boiler, along with the coconut oil and milk. Keep stirring to make sure the chocolate doesn’t burn. Once everything is melted and the chocolate has a shiny look (this should take about 3 minutes), pour over your peanut butter layer and let cool for about 30 minutes. Refrigerate overnight or for at least 8 hours.

Lift the fudge up out of the pan using the edges of the foil or parchment paper and cut it into squares using a large knife (a bread knife works well). Store in a cool, dry place, preferably the fridge. This fudge will hold up well at room temperature at a party, but it’s best to store it in the fridge when not “in use.” 🙂

Merry Christmas!

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Vegan Cornbread Dressing & Thanksgiving Gravy

It’s Thanksgiving folks! Time to stuff our faces like the world’s about to end, and hopefully, through all the munching, mention a few things we are thankful for.

My absolute favorite can’t-have-thanksgiving-without-it dish is dressing. NOT stuffing. Cornbread dressing. This is the South, y’all. : ) Even though it’s essentially a bread casserole, people are very particular about how they like their dressing/stuffing. People put all sorts of strange things in it like oysters or sausage, and while some people like to add sage, others think that’s absurd. I’ve discovered in recent years that dressing can be a lot simpler than people make it and that the eggs are totally unnecessary, so it’s super easy to veganize. They’re not needed as a binder or for moisture. I’m starting to realize this about a lot of recipes that are traditionally made with eggs!

We had this with this amazing green bean casserole, sweet potato casserole, savory mac-n-cheese, cranberry sauce, and Thanksgiving gravy. If you’re looking for a more traditional “main,” I recommend these chickpea cutlets with gravy or the Field Roast brand’s Celebration Loaf or meatloaf. You could also just add chopped Gardein Chik’n Breasts or Field Roast’s Apple Sage Sausage to the stuffing and have that be a more substantial main dish.

For the Dressing:
1 batch of cornbread (make this a day or two ahead of time so it will dry out a bit – omit the cheese and jalapenos for this recipe)
4 slices day-old or stale bread (I used frozen Ezekiel bread, so I just dried it out in the oven on 350 for 5 minutes and then left it out for a day)
2 Tablespoons Earth Balance buttery spread
2 cups celery, finely chopped
2 cups onions, finely chopped
2 medium carrots, finely chopped
1 1/2-2 cups no-chicken broth (I used Better Than Bullion’s No Chicken base)
1 teaspoon dried, rubbed sage
1 1-2 teaspoons dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon marjoram
Salt and pepper

I realize probably no one in the world uses carrots in their dressing, but it’s a nice pop of color and you won’t taste them. Feel free to omit. : )

Crumble the cornbread into a large bowl and then tear the bread into tiny pieces add it to the bowl.

Sauté the onions, celery, and carrots in the Earth Balance over medium heat for about 7 minutes, then add to the mixture.

Add in the spices and salt and pepper to taste. Pour 1 ½ cups of broth over the mixture and toss until everything is moist, but not soggy. Pour into a lightly greased 9×13 casserole dish and press everything down really well with a spatula. At this point, you can leave the mixture overnight if you want. When you’re ready, bake at 350° for 45 minutes. Add more broth as needed about half-way through if it’s looking dry, especially around the edges. You want it moist, but again, not soggy.

For the gravy: (makes 1 ½ cups)
1 cup plant-based milk, unsweetened
1/2 cup no-chicken broth (or just use vegetable broth or more milk)
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried rubbed sage
Salt (if needed) and pepper to taste

Add the nutritional yeast and flour into a saucepan and turn the heat on medium. Let these dry ingredients sort of “toast” for a minute or two.

Whisk in the milk and broth. Increase the heat slightly, add in the rest of the ingredients, and bring to a gentle boil. Keep whisking until the gravy thickens and then serve over everything!

There was no time for food styling with all this food waiting to be devoured, so these pics were quickly taken before we got our nomnom on! Happy Thanksgiving!
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Thanksgiving

Christmas Morning Oatmeal

I hate cold breakfast in the winter (here’s looking at you cereal!).  When I’ve burned myself out on things like grits & muffins, I turn to oatmeal, but I wanted something really different.  Oatmeal with cinnamon and apples or blueberries gets dull.  The warm cloves and sweet figs in this recipe pair well together and the pecans are a nice textural change.  The whole house smells amazing while this is cooking!

This oatmeal can be enjoyed anytime, of course, but the ground cloves in it make me think of Christmas.  I got the figs from the bulk bin section at Whole Foods, but if you can’t find them, I think chopped dates would make a good replacement, or even raisins!

3 ½ cups vanilla coconut milk  (not the canned stuff, but the milk in the cartons, sold in the refrigerated section near the regular milk)
2 cups rolled oats
Pinch of salt
10 dried black mission figs, quartered
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2  teaspoon ground cloves
Agave nectar, to taste

Bring the oatmeal, salt, and coconut milk to a boil and then cover and simmer for 5 minutes.  Stir in the rest of the ingredients and serve. 
(Serves 4)

Sweet Potato Casserole

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and one thing I am grateful for is Sweet & Sara marshmallows (yes, I am easily excited by things like that).  Gelatin is gross and these marshmallows rock!  I made this last year and everyone loved it.  I’ve had many people say the Sweet & Sara marshmallows are better than regular ones!

  • 5 medium sweet potatoes, peeled & cut into bite-sized cubes
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup or amber agave nectar
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon cloves
  • 2 tablespoons Earth Balance (or other vegan margarine)
  • 1/4 cup non-dairy milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Put the sweet potatoes in a large pot of water (enough to cover the potatoes) and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for about 15 minutes.  The sweet potatoes should be easily pierced with a fork.

Drain the water off the potatoes and add the milk and margarine.  Mash with a potato masher.  Mix in the rest of the ingredients and spread into your prepared casserole dish.  Bake for 25-30 minutes.

While the casserole is baking, slice the marshmallows in half length-wise. (You only need to do this if you are using Sweet & Sara marshmallows as they are quite thick.  Cutting them in half will save you money, as you will use less marshmallows.)

About 10 minutes before the casserole finishes, take it out of the oven and top with the marshmallows.  Return the casserole to the oven and peek in on it every few minutes to make sure the marshmallows are browning ok.  Once the casserole is done, if you want the marshmallows toasted more, place the casserole under the broiler until the marshmallows are as dark as you want them (you MUST watch the marshmallows under the broiler CAREFULLY as they will burn very quickly!).

P.S. Chicago Soydairy also makes Dandies marshmallows, which are vegan as well.  They make the mini ones that you can put in cocoa and you may prefer to use these in this recipe so you can eliminate the cutting-in-half step.  I haven’t used Dandies in a casserole before though, so just make sure you watch them so you don’t wind up with blackened marshmallow topping! 

Both Dandies and Sweet & Sara marshmallows roast up nicely over a fire and work well in rice crispy treats, just like their gelatin-laden counterparts.