Friday, June 24, 2011

Raw Carob-Almond Truffles (Vegan, Gluten-Free)

I have so much carob powder in my pantry!  I came across this super quick, no-bake, three-ingredient recipe, and I was immediately captivated.  The three main ingredients recommended by the recipe are: walnuts, raisins, and carob powder.  I decided to use almonds and dates instead, and I am pleased with the results. 

These cookie-truffles are so adorable and totally versatile.  Next time I make these, I am considering using other ingredients.  Salted pistachios?  Sunflower seeds?  Unsweetened coconuts flakes? Dried blueberries?  I am so excited!


Yield=about 13 truffles
-1 cup pitted dates (another type of dried fruit can be substituted, is desired)
-3/4 cup raw almonds (another type of nut or seed can substituted, if desired)
-1/4 cup carob powder (unsweetened cocoa powder could alternatively be used)
-1 Tablespoon water, optional

Throw the first three ingredients into a food processor and grind until a cohesive ball is formed (about 5 minutes).  Add the optional tablespoon of water if the mixture is a bit dry and is not sticking together.

Using your hands, form the mixture into tablespoon-sized balls.  Slightly flatten each ball with your palms, and place an almond in the center of each ball.  That's it!

Enjoy immediately.  Refrigerate the truffles if they will be out for over a day.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Cinnamon Graham Crackers (Vegan)

I do not think I know anyone who dislikes graham crackers.  They are delicious.  Unfortunately, many commercially-made graham crackers contain high fructose corn syrup, refined flours, and are rarely 100% whole-wheat.  The man who invented the graham cracker, Reverend Sylvester Graham, intended it to be a healthy treat.  Our society has morphed the graham cracker into a sweet cookie that is frequently eaten with chocolate and marshmallows.  There's nothing wholesome about that!  What a shame! 

When I came across Isa's beautiful and wholesome recipe for graham crackers I was so happy.  Graham would be proud to eat these crackers.

I pretty much adhered to Isa's recipe.  All I did differently was reduce the sugar from 1/3 to 1/4 cup, reduce the salt from a scant 1/2 teaspoon to  a full 1/4 teaspoon, and increase the cinnamon from 1/2 teaspoon to 1 teaspoon.  The result is a less sweet more cinnamon-ish cracker.  The crackers are only subtly sweet, but still taste great--especially with a glass of cold soy milk.  Below is Isa's recipe with my slight alterations. Enjoy!

Yield= approximately 12 crackers

-1 1/2 cups 100% whole wheat flour
-1/4 cup sugar or sucanat
-1/2 teaspoon baking soda
-1 teaspoon cinnamon
-1/4 teaspoon salt

WET INGREDIENTS-1/4 cup canola oil
-2 tablespoons molasses
-1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
-1/4 cup soy milk OR water (add more if needed)
Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Mix all of the dry ingredients in a large bowl with a fork.  Make a well in the center, and add all of the wet ingredients to the well.  Briefly whisk together all of the wet ingredients (in the well), then incorporate all of the ingredients together.  The dough is ready when it forms a cohesive ball.  It may be easier to mix everything with your hands towards the end.

Knead the dough several times on a clean, floured work surface.

Roll out the dough to a thickness of 1/8" with a rolling pin.  Trim the edges with a pizza cutter or sharp knife.  Cut the dough into small rectangles (about 2" x 3").  Gently transfer the crackers to the parchment paper-lined baking sheet with your hands.  Combine dough scraps, roll out, trim ends, cut crackers, and transfer to baking sheet.

*At this point, all of your dough should be used, and all of the crackers should be on the baking sheet.*

Prick each cracker several times with the tines of a fork.  The tines do not have to be pushed all the way through the crackers to the baking sheet.  The crackers only have to be pricked half-way.

Bake graham crackers 12-14 minutes.  The longer you bake the crackers the crispier they will be.  I baked mine for 14 minutes and I am very satisfied with their level of crispiness.
Let the crackers cool to room temperature on the baking sheet.