Saturday, December 23, 2006

Mmmm, chocolate (and other stuff too)

This post is going to be quick--just an update on the goodies I have been baking. Bob and I are at my parents' house near Savannah, Georgia, and will be here through Christmas day. I may post again between now and then, if anything particularly exciting comes up.

Baked oatmeal, from Fatfree Vegan. The only changes I make are to use applesauce instead of shredded apples, and to use frozen blueberries instead of fresh. It's pictured here with some vanilla soy yogurt on top--yum.


The peppermint cookies I said I wanted to try, from Fueled By Popcorn (scroll down). WOW! Delicious. I love any manifestation of peppermint + chocolate, and I think in this recipe the peppermint to chocolate balance is just perfect. The candy canes were a huge mess--I have never wanted a mortar and pestle more than I did when I resorted to banging on a bag of candy canes with my rolling pin! But really... Try these, if you like this sort of thing. They're very good and pretty easy.


And then, of course, an army of my gingerbread men that I love oh so much. Dip them in coffee or hot apple cider or hot tea...

On to candy-making...

Truffles like the ones Vivacious Vegan made. The original recipe is here, and I think I stuck to the original recipe a bit closer than Crystal did (although her version using coconut milk in place of the water certainly sounds decadent!!!). I didn't have any bittersweet chocolate, so I used 3/4 semisweet and 1/4 unsweetened, and it seemed to work out right to me. I was seriously AMAZED at the use of cashew cream--I never would have thought of such a thing, but it worked in the recipe so well. I added a bit (about 3 tablespoons) of amaretto liqueur. I halved the recipe and got 26 truffles--a perfect number, because that meant we could give 25 to his aunt for Christmas and there was one left for "quality control." :) This really is a messy project, though, so don't attempt unless you really want to get your hands dirty!

Two kinds of chocolate bark:

Peppermint bark (1/2 bag semisweet chocolate chips, 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract, candy cane pieces to fold in and to sprinkle on top). It was really easy and is very tasty, but I had to go about the loud and sticky business of smashing up candy canes again.

Cherry almond bark (the other 1/2 bag of chocolate chips, 1/2 teaspoon almond extract, dried cherries and toasted almonds for folding in and for topping). This was an experiment--I'd never tried it before, but I am glad I did.

Of course, I made another batch of the Double Chocolate Almond Explosion Cookies from Vive!. Here is a sampling of all the vegan cookies hanging out around here at the moment:


We have shared our treats (except the bark) with our family, and it has all been a big hit. Bob's family really put a dent in those peppermint cookies yesterday. And my mom professed that Dreena's almond cookies are the BEST cookies she's ever had, and has commissioned me to make some more before I go home. Bob's aunt and uncle (and everyone else) thought the truffles were wonderful, and we tried to have them guess the secret ingredient (cashews). But no one was able to guess it. I wouldn't have either...

Well, I guess this post has been longer than I expected, but that's okay. Every one of you, have a WONDERFUL holiday and relax and have fun and be blessed. You are all very special people!

9 comments:

Urban Vegan said...

All those sweet treats look insanely delicious. All the love and work you put into them mae them the best kind of gift to share with loved ones.

Merry Xmas, Laura!

Melody said...

wow! you've been busy. Everything looks amazing.. and I love those gingerbread men.

Vivacious Vegan said...

Your treats look delicious. I need to start halving/quartering recipes more frequently so I can try more things. Since it's just hubby and me, it usually takes us a long time to get through them. Glad you're able to spend time with your family. Merry Christmas!

Anonymous said...

Isn't my wife just amazing? I can't believe all the baking she's been doing lately. If you tasted those truffles you'd have to try hard to convince yourself that the only had cashews and water to replace the cream. And I love Dreena's chocolate almond cookies; the almond extract with the chocolate is just wonderful, and so's my Laura. I love you.

Midwest Vegan said...

AWWW - what a sweet message from your hubby in the comments. Now that's a Christmas gift in itself.

All your goodies look great. Those truffles are on my list to make as soon as I can find some raw cashews.

Have a blessed Christmas!

theONLYtania said...

Wow.. everything looks really great. Do you have a food processor? That's what I use to crush up those candy canes for cookies! I've been meaning to make bark lately too.. it looks excellent!

Johanna3 said...

All your goodies looks amazing, i really need to try to make bark, and find raw cashews.
what a sweet husband you have!

God bless your home in the Holidays!

funwithyourfood said...

look at all that baking!!

Kate said...

Looks like you made a lot! Good for you. The ginger bread men are so cute, did you put faces on them or just left them blank? I think the peppermint cookies look the best, very christmasie. Hope you had a great holiday.