Friday, November 28, 2014

Sea-Going Sweets

January 1, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Laura Theodore on boat photo by Andy Ebberbach

Summer is now in full swing, which makes sweet seasonal breezes welcome.  And what better way to do that than by sharing good eats with friends and family while cruising?

Enjoying good food onboard is always great fun, especially when a tantalizing dessert is on the menu. After all, being on the boat is already a treat, so why not have sweets worthy of the adventure? Often dessert is last on my mind when I am preparing sea friendly fare, but this season I am making it a priority!

The recipes here all taste great on land or sea, making a scrumptious finish to any casual summer meal. These three delightfully delicious baked treats are from my newest cookbook, Jazzy Vegetarian Classics, Vegan Twists on American Family Favorites. Each recipe in this tempting trio is easy to prepare, totally tasty, and perfectly portable. I have included a fresh take on the traditional macaroon, a jazzed-up version of the classic chocolate chip cookie, and a simple-to- make, sweet and spicy mini-muffin.

I love being out on our boat when summer feels like it will never end and every hot, steamy day is time to rejoice. So here are my top three sea-going sweet treats for celebrating summer.  Happy cooking!

Coconut Vegaroons

Makes 24 cookies

Flaxseeds stand in for the egg whites in this recipe, while garbanzo flour helps to bind them. The result is a flawless macaroon that is egg-, dairy-, and gluten-free! Now that is jazzy.

2 tablespoons golden flaxseeds
¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon filtered or spring water
1 ⅓ cups raw unsweetened shredded dried coconut
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons maple sugar
2 tablespoons garbanzo bean (chickpea) flour
⅛ teaspoon sea salt
1 ¼ teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons nondairy milk

Preheat the oven to 325oF. Line a large baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper. Put the flaxseeds in a high-performance blender or grain mill, and process into a very fine flour. Transfer to a small bowl. Stir in the water and whisk vigorously to combine. Let the flaxseed mixture stand for 10 minutes while prepping the rest of the ingredients.

Put the coconut, maple sugar, garbanzo bean flour, and salt in a large bowl, and stir with a dry whisk to combine. Add the flaxseed mixture, vanilla extract, and nondairy milk, and stir until well blended. For each cookie, drop one heaping tablespoonful of the dough onto the lined baking sheet, with a cookie scoop or rounded spoon, spacing them about one-inch apart. Flatten each macaroon slightly using a flat spatula. Bake for 15 minutes. Decrease the temperature to 300 oF and bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until slightly golden brown.

Put the baking sheet on a wire rack. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for five minutes before transferring to a serving platter to cool completely. Stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator, the cookies will keep for four days.

Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Makes 20 to 24 large cookies 

Chewy and chocolaty, these tasty treats will surely satisfy your cookie cravings. If nuts are not part of your diet plan, simply leave them out. These baked delights will still be delicious!

2 cups whole-wheat flour
1 cup maple sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon sea salt
1 cup pecans, roughly chopped
1 cup vegan chocolate chips (grain-sweetened variety works well)
1½ cups fresh apple purée (see note)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
⅓ cup plus 2 tablespoons nondairy milk

Preheat the oven to 375o F. Line a large baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper.

Put the flour, maple sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl and stir with a dry whisk to combine. Add the pecans and vegan chocolate chips, and stir with the whisk to combine. Stir in the apple purée, vanilla extract, and nondairy milk, and mix just until incorporated. If the dough seems overly wet, stir in a bit more flour, one tablespoon at a time. Alternately, if the dough seems overly dry, stir in a bit more nondairy milk, one tablespoon at a time.

For each cookie, drop about 2½ tablespoons of the dough onto the prepared baking sheet. Flatten slightly using the back of a flat spatula. Bake 15 to 18 minutes, or until slightly golden around the edges. Remove the sheet from the oven and let cool for two minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire rack. Cool for about 10 minutes. Stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator, the cookies will keep for two days.

Note: To make the apple purée, peel and core three very large or four medium apples. Rough chop the apples. Put the apples in a blender and process until the consistency of smooth applesauce is achieved. Be careful not to liquefy!

Cinnamon-Maple Mini-Muffins

Makes 12 mini-muffins | Nut free 

The quintessential quick bread, these cinnamon beauties pair well at any meal and at snack time, too! A bonus is that they are so easy to prepare!

1 cup whole-wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
⅛ teaspoon sea salt
½ cup raisins
⅓ cup plus 1 teaspoon nondairy milk
⅓ cup maple syrup
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

Preheat the oven to 375o F. Oil a 12-cup mini-muffin tin.

Put the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl, and stir with a dry whisk to combine. Stir in the raisins. Stir in the nondairy milk, maple syrup, and olive oil, and mix just until incorporated. The batter will be quite thick. Don’t over mix or the muffins will be tough.

Divide the mixture among the prepared muffin cups. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, or until golden and a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean. Put the muffin tin on a wire rack. Let cool for about 15 minutes. Carefully remove the muffins. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Laura Theodore is a television and radio host, vegan chef, award-winning jazz singer and actor, and author of Jazzy Vegetarian Classics: Vegan Twists on American Family Favorites and Jazzy Vegetarian: Lively Vegan Cuisine Made Easy and Delicious. Season three of “Jazzy Vegetarian” airs on WLIW 21 Saturdays at 1:30 pm. More information: jazzyvegetarian.com

By Laura Theodore

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