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Small Batch Coconut-Chocolate Chunk Cookies {Vegan}


This month my Secret Recipe Club blog assignment was to Delicious Existence.  (Gotta love that blog title!)  On Twitter, Danielle (that’s my sister’s name, I love her already!) describes herself as a social worker, holistic health coach, lifestyle motivator and kitchen magician.  And after perusing her blog, I’d have to agree with the last two–all her wonderful vegan recipes are definitely motivating and magical!  Although not a vegan myself, I have mad love for their choice and actually try to eat vegan or vegetarian at least once a week, which isn’t too hard for me since I prefer fat and carbs (the good and bad kind :)) over meat anyway.  Over time I’ve been so wonderfully surprised how delicious & satisfying a completely meatless, dairy-free, and egg-free meal can be.

Don’t believe me?  Check out Danielle’s Herb Pinwheels, Jalapeno Popper Panini, Triple Chocolate Lust Cookies (I’m so making these!), Zucchini, Onion & One Pepper Stew, and Cinnamon Raisin Oatmeal Pie with Dark Chocolate Drizzle–just a few of the contenders for the recipes I marked to try.  I have gone vegan before and found it challenging to find enough variety, but Danielle is clearly a master.  Definitely go to her blog to get some inspiration!

I chose her coconut-chocolate chunk cookies to make for this month’s reveal, which is totally random, I know.  If it was December, they’d fit right in since that’ s the month everyone starts baking hoards of them to give away.  And these would be a great addition to your cookie tins this year!  But it’s the week of Thanksgiving and there’s not a speck  of cinnamon or pumpkin or even sweet potato in the recipe I chose.  I’m sorry, but you guys know about my obsession with coconut oil.  Did you really think I could pass up a recipe for cookies that contained not only my beloved coconut oil, but chocolate as well?  I think not.

You guys, these are so good.  Crazy good.  So good that I’m glad I kept it a small batch recipe so I could only eat a dozen at a time.  OK, so I didn’t really eat them all myself…but I did eat quite a few.  Both times I made them.  Yes, I made them twice this month, and will be making them again in a larger batch in December.  They’re so good!

The coconut flavor is perfectly balanced with the semisweet chocolate, IMHO.  You just would not believe how wonderful the coconut oil makes these cookies taste.  So much better than using an extract!  The cookies are sticky-crispy on the outside and the middles are soft & chewy-my favorite texture for a cookie, and I believe the corn syrup helps with it.  The original recipe did not call for corn syrup, but I wanted to use ingredients that most people would have in their kitchen so instead of making a flax seed egg (mixing flax meal with water creates a binder similar to egg), I decided to use something else that was sticky to bind the cookie together.  (You could also use agave nectar for a more natural cookie.) I used more corn syrup in the first batch and the cookies were a lot more chewy and a lot more crispy at the edges, and I think I’ve improved them by subbing a tablespoon of the corn syrup for milk (I used almond milk but coconut would obviously work great here), making the cookies softer but still crispy-chewy.

Whether you’re vegan or not, if you like coconut, I think you’re going to love these cookies!  If you don’t believe me take my friend Kevin’s word for it (it was his birthday and I gave him some, along with an accidentally egg-less version of this banana bread)–he cracks me up!

I call Kevin “Obiewan,” thus his Star Wars reference. :)

Thank you Danielle for sharing your fabulous recipe!  It pleases Jedi masters and padawans alike. :)

Coconut-Chocolate Chunk Cookies {Vegan}

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1/4 cup (1 7/8 oz / 52 g) virgin coconut oil, melted & cooled slightly (measured solid)
1/3 cup ( 2 ½ oz / 72 g) packed light brown sugar
1 tablespoon corn syrup or agave nectar
1 tablespoon milk of choice (I used almond)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
¾ cup (3 oz / 85 g) all-purpose flour
¼ cup shredded sweetened coconut
1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chunks

Preheat oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment or a silpat mat.

In a small mixing bowl combine the coconut oil, brown sugar, corn syrup, milk, and vanilla. Stir until blended, then add the baking soda and salt and stir well. Add the flour and mix well, using your hands if necessary, then stir in the coconut & chocolate, again using your hands to combine. Roll the dough into 12 (1-inch) balls, making sure there are three chocolate chunks per cookie. Place on prepared baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes, or until golden at the edges. As soon as you remove them from the oven, use a spatula to push any misshapen cookies into place so that they retain a round shape. Allow to cool on baking sheet for five minutes, then remove to a cooling rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container or Ziploc bag.

Makes 1 dozen cookies.

Recipe source: adapted from Delicious Existence

I learned this trick from fellow SRC members Katrina & Liz–to whip any misshapen cookies back into shape, as soon as they’re out of the oven, scoot them into a round shape with your metal spatula.  Easy peasy and looks so much better!

To check out the other Group C SRC recipes, click the linky man below!  As always, thank you for being the bestest hostess with the mostest Miss Debbi!



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Coconut Oil Coffee


Growing up, my Mom used to go through “nervous break downs” in the summer when we were home from school and one summer, her breakdown took on a whole new level of crazy when she went entirely mental for raw garlic.  This was obsession, I tell you.  You couldn’t get her to shut up about the garlic, and she’d be talking to you about the benefits of raw garlic while rubbing a clove that had been cut in half on the soles of her feet.  It was definitely an aromatic summer as she seemed to be convinced that rubbing her entire body in garlic cloves 24/7 was the cure to all her ills.

I love this photo of Mom! The huge glasses! The t-shirt without pants! The totally rad high top tennis shoes with neon orange laces! Caught her in all her glory, and as you can tell, she was thrilled.

That’s kinda how I feel about coconut oil.  I’m obsessed with it in an eat it, drink it, rub it all over my body kind of way.  It started with my first jar of extra-virgin organic coconut oil.  Oh mah goodness, have you ever tasted pure unadulterated extra-virgin organic coconut oil?!  You can just eat a spoonful of it straight and the delicate & pure coconut flavor is heaven and the solid oil melts instantly in your mouth–it’s like candy to me.  But I only allow myself half a spoonful a day and unlike real candy, it’s not addictive so I don’t have to keep going back for more.

I also have been using a teensy bit on the dry parts of my face and it works better than any moisturizer and it absorbs without leaving a greasy shine behind.  I’ve also taken to rubbing it into my hair and sleeping in a shower cap from time to time and my hair is always so soft and silky after washing it the next day.  And I know it sounds so weird, but I use it to scramble my eggs.  I know coconut and eggs sound so wrong together, but my Grandpa cooked them that way for us when he visited last summer and although weird, I loved it and now don’t use any other oil to cook my eggs.

Grandpa cooked us eggs to show off his porcelain skillet. He says nothing sticks to it, and it’s safer than regular non-stick pans.

Needless to say, when I ran across this recipe for coconut oil coffee, I knew I had to  have it immediately!  Whose ever heard of putting coconut oil in their coffee, right?  So weird! But hello, I have a family obligation to be a freak!  Is being weird going to stop the woman whose mother once rubbed her entire body with raw garlic for a week? I think not!

So try it I did.  Love!  Blending the coconut oil into the hot coffee makes it so creamy…without any cream!  I mean look at that cup up there, that was black coffee, and look how creamy it is with the coconut oil blended in.  Love the frothy top & the coconut flavor too.  :)  With a little stevia, this was so much better than any Starbucks $$$ cuppa, IMHO.  So good, you guys.  I hope you try it!  Just don’t use refined coconut oil, that stuff doesn’t have the health benefits of extra-virgin, nor the flavor (you can read the original post where I found this recipe to learn all about the health benefits).

Coconut Oil Coffee

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1/4 cup Cold-Brewed Coffee + 3/4 cup hot hot water or 1 cup hot brewed coffee
1 tablespoon organic extra-virgin coconut oil
Stevia or another sweetener, if desired

Place all ingredients in blender and blend!

Recipe source: The Veggie Nook

I love my CW! Thanks for teaching me all the best ways to embrace the crazy. :)

Breadless Breading

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Pictured: Chicken in Basil Cream, using Breadless Breading

This is a fabulous low-carb, gluten-free substitute for breading that can be used as a coating for things you’re either going to be baking or frying.  I use it on both chicken and fish (it’s best for mild white fish, though it’s pretty good on salmon too) and have even added it to meatloaf*.  I prefer this tremendously over any other coating I’ve used, as it has so much flavor in comparison to even seasoned breadcrumbs.  The first time I used it on fish, my husband said, “this is like…onion ring-fried fish!!”  While this breading isn’t overly onion-y (in my opinion, it is perfectly seasoned), I will say that if you like onion rings, you’re going to love it as it does lend a similar flavor and texture experience to your meal.  I hope you enjoy!

Breadless Breading

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2 (3.75 oz) jars (2 cups) dehydrated minced onion
2 teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon ground sage
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 teaspoon dried coriander
1 teaspoon dried thyme
½ teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon paprika
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 bay leaves, crushed
1 ¼ cups grated Parmesan cheese

Place dehydrated onion in food processor bowl and process for 1 minute. Add remaining ingredients except the cheese and process 30 seconds. Add Parmesan and pulse to blend. Store refrigerated in an airtight container.

Recipe source: adapted from Suzanne Somers’ Fast & Easy Bake & Fry Mix

*This doesn’t replace bread crumbs in meatloaf because there is nothing in it to absorb moisture the way real bread can, but it does add great flavor!  For a gluten-free meatloaf, you can add in quick-cooking oats along with some of this breadless breading.  You will not need to add onions to your meatloaf if you use this breading because it adds plenty of flavor, but I added a red pepper to mine and it was really good!

A quick and easy meal: coat one side of fish (this is swai) with breadless breading and fry in olive oil until golden.  Flip and cook until the fish flakes easily.  Enjoy your Onion Rings-Fried Fish!

Carrot Cake Protein Muffins {Vegan}

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You may remember these from the roundup of all my fair entries.  The challenge was to make a heart-healthy muffin using at least one soy product (the contest was sponsored by the Kansas Soy Commission) and I created these beauties using four: soy flour, soy milk, tofu, and soy “cream cheese.”

These were so delicious, I had high hopes of coming home with the $75 prize for first place.  There was just one problem.  Two, actually.  I didn’t notice, until it was too late, that these were supposed to be “fruit muffins” and one of the judging criteria was “ease of preparation.  I gave a sigh of relief over the “fruit muffin” thing because although these are mostly a vegetable muffin, there are raisins in them and so they might pass the “fruit muffin” test.  My heart sank at the second oversight, however, because these really aren’t simple to prepare.  They’re not horribly difficult, but you don’t look at a list of ingredients this long and with this many steps and call it “easy.”

Well, that’s exactly what the judges wrote on my judging paper.  “Very healthy ingredients.  Wide variety of ingredients.  They taste wonderful & attractive.  We are looking for ease of preparation & thought this muffin, though wonderful, has too many ingredients.”

Shoot.  The real kick in the butt was my soy yeast bread, though (pictured above).  It didn’t rise as well as I would have liked, and thought the judges must have found it too dense because it didn’t place.  Well, this is what they wrote on that paper: “Beautiful bread-the cinnamon with the raisins is fantastic. I loved it!  HOWEVER: due to the facts listed in the State Fair Rule Book, this entry was to be entered on a “sturdy white plain paper plate” & had to be disqualified.  I am sorry.  Please pay close attention to the listed rules.” (Wasn’t she sweet about? Aw!)

I entered my bread on a foil-wrapped piece of cardboard because that is what I used for all my other breads for the regular contests.  But the special contests apparently have special rules too. DRAT!  Oh well, maybe next year I’ll get it right.

One thing I did get right is the moisture (so moist!) and taste (like dessert!) on these muffins.  They are just SO good you would never guess they don’t have any eggs or dairy–even the soy “cream cheese” filling tastes nothing like soy.  Honestly, they hardly even taste “healthy” because they are so good.  I froze the leftovers and have been enjoying them slowly.  I have only a precious few left and even after almost two months in the freezer, they are still as wonderful as the day I made them!

Carrot Cake Protein Muffins

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Filling
8 oz. Toffutti Better Than Cream Cheese
2 tablespoons granulated sugar

Muffins
1 cup white whole wheat flour
¾ cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup soy flour*
½ cup rolled oats
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 ½ tablespoons cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ginger
1 ½ teaspoons salt
16 oz. silken tofu
½ cup orange juice
½ cup soy milk
¼ cup agave nectar
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 tablespoon orange zest
1 ½ cups finely shredded carrots
½ cup chopped walnuts
½ cup raisins

Topping
¼ cup chopped walnuts
2 tablespoons brown sugar

Mix the filling ingredients together until smooth; set aside. Line 24 muffin cups with paper liners and set aside. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, rolled oats, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Set aside. In a blender, combine tofu, orange juice, soy milk, agave nectar, and canola oil. Blend until smooth, then add the orange zest and pulse once to combine. Pour into the bowl with the flour mixture and stir until moistened. Fold in the carrots, walnuts, and raisins. Divide half the batter between prepared muffin cups, then spoon about 1 ½ teaspoons of the filling mixture over the centers before covering with the remaining batter. Bake for 20-22 minutes or until the center no longer looks wet and feels done when touched in the middle (a toothpick will not come out clean because of the filling so go by the look and feel). Remove to cool completely on a wire rack.

*There’s no need to go out and buy soy flour if you don’t have it, just use a full cup of all-purpose flour and omit the soy flour.

Recipe source: adapted beyond belief from Healthy Happy Life

Wacky Pumpkin Spice Cake {Vegan}

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Yes!  Another wacky cake!  I’m on a roll.  :)  (If you’re new to my blog and have no idea what a wacky cake is, I explain that here.)  I’ve been hanging onto a Wacky Spice Cake recipe that my friend, Rhonda, shared with me two years ago.  I kept forgetting about it until mid-summer, for some odd reason, when spice cake was the last thing I wanted baking in my oven.  Thankfully I remembered it on time this year, but I seem to have a problem following recipes exactly and had to add pumpkin.  The resulting cake, like any wacky cake, is very moist.  And delicious!

For more wacky yumminess, try my Wacky White Cake and the original Wacky Cake!  Faith of An Edible Mosaic has a red velvet wacky cake recipe, so I don’t know how many more versions need to be covered.  Wacky Caramel Cake, anyone? :)

Wacky Pumpkin Spice Cake

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3 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
1 tablespoon cocoa*
2 tablespoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 (15 oz) can pumpkin puree
1 ½ cups water
½ cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons white vinegar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Maple-Cinnamon Glaze
1 cup powdered sugar
¼ cup real maple syrup
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
½ teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 10” bundt pan (I used Miracle Pan Release) and set aside.

In a large bowl mix together flour, sugar, cocoa, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, salt, and baking soda. In a separate bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, water, oil, vinegar, and vanilla. Whisk the wet ingredients into the dry until thoroughly combined. Pour into prepared pan and bake for an hour, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Place on a cooling rack and allow the cake to stay in the pan for five minutes, then invert onto cooling rack and allow to cool completely. Once cool, put on a plate, blend the glaze ingredients together and pour over the cake.

*Honestly, I have no clue why the cocoa is an ingredient, unless the person that created the recipe wanted it to be a darker spice cake.  I will omit this next time because I don’t think it added any flavor, and I prefer my pumpkin cake to look more orange and less dark.  If anyone omits it, please let me know your results!

Recipe source: adapted from Rhonda C.

Secret Recipe Club

Wacky White Cake {Vegan}

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I recently had a request on facebook for a vegan white cake recipe from a lady whose daughters both have extreme food allergies.  Since I don’t have one, I decided to try making one up, and unlike many baking experiments, this one turned out great the first time!  I combined my recipe for Wacky Cake with the Dairy-Free White Cupcakes recipe and although the resulting cake is heavier than a regular white cake, it is very moist and has a great flavor.  I have no pictures of the whole cake because I hate a whole row of the cake while it was still warm.  Oops!

Wacky White Cake

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3 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
1 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon vanilla extract (use clear to keep the cake white-I didn’t)
2 teaspoons almond extract
1 cup cold water

Preheat oven to 350. Spray a 9×13 pan with cooking spray and set aside. Sift all dry ingredients together into a large bowl. Make three wells and put the oil in one, the vanilla & almond extract in another, and the lemon juice in the last. Pour water over it all and mix until well blended. Pour into prepared pan and bake 30-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. Frost with white celebration frosting, or your favorite recipe. (I made a simple glaze with lemon juice, water, and powdered sugar.)  Serve at room temperature.

Dairy-Free White Cupcakes

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My husband and I don’t have an allergy to dairy, but we typically don’t keep milk in the house because we prefer coconut or almond milk beverages.  So when I decided to send some cupcakes to work with my husband to welcome his boss, who lives in Colorado and was coming to Wichita for the first time to stay for a week, I decided just to make them completely dairy free and see how they turned out.  I was really impressed with the results!  I’ve never made white cake without using a box mix, and I was quite pleased with how crazy moist these were, and they did not have a hint of coconut flavor, despite all the “dairy” coming from coconut.  They tasted just like regular white cake, and they were a hit with the boss and co-workers.

I wasn’t sure if these would turn out, so I made this recipe for a dozen cupcakes instead of the usual two dozen.  If you would like to make two dozen, or a two layer cake, just double the recipe.

Dairy-Free White Cupcakes

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½ cup coconut milk beverage*, room temperature (I used Silk Pure Coconut Original)
3 large egg whites, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons aluminum-free baking powder*
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup refined coconut oil, room temperature*

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line cupcake tin with paper liners; set aside.

In a 1-cup measure, mix together the milk, egg whites, and extracts; set aside.  In large bowl, mix remaining ingredients, except for the oil. Add the oil and mix until incorporated and there are moist crumbs, with no powdery streaks remaining.. Add all but ¼ cup of the milk mixture and beat at medium speed for 1 ½ minutes. Add remaining milk mixture and beat 30 seconds more.  Stop mixer to scrape the sides of the bowl, then beat again on medium for 20 more seconds.

Using an ice cream scoop, divide batter between prepared muffin cups.  Bake for 15-17 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs.  Cool in tin on a wire rack.  I prefer to turn mine out onto the rack after a few minutes to finish cooling so the pan doesn’t bake them too much by retaining the heat.

Once cupcakes are completely cool, frost with White Celebration Frosting, or your favorite dairy-free frosting.

Makes 12 cupcakes.

*Notes: you can use canned coconut milk and unrefined coconut oil, but this will give your cupcakes a distinct coconut flavor. If you want them to taste like white cake, please follow the recipe as written. Also, I recommend using Rumford, or another aluminum-free baking powder in recipes calling for more than a teaspoon, as the aluminum can give a very strong, unpleasant aftertaste.  This is especially true in cakes with milder flavors, like white or yellow.

Recipe source: adapted from Cook’s Illustrated

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