Category

Holiday

Buckwheat Hazelnut Shortbread

Other than being gluten and dairy free, this is the kind of shortbread that your mom used to make, the kind that melts in your mouth and leaves the kitchen covered in a dusting of powdered sugar! I am making these cookies as part of a Christmas cookie exchange and just have to share the recipe! I made my own buckwheat flour, grinding raw buckwheat groats to a powder in my vita mix, however you can purchase it already ground. I powdered organic white sugar as well in my vita mix but you can also use icing sugar or powdered coconut sugar. I chose the white sugar to keep them lighter in colour. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that if you freeze them you won’t eat them! They freeze beautifully and taste just as delicious frozen!

 

Ingredients:

makes 20 cookies

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

  • 1/2 cup coconut oil (room temperature at 21 degrees C.)
  • 1/3 cup of powdered organic cane sugar or powdered coconut sugar (ground to a powder in a high speed blender)
  • pinch of pink himalayan salt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup of buckwheat flour
  • 1/2 tsp. of baking powder
  • 1/2 cup of ground hazelnuts
  • 1-2 tbsp. almond milk
  • good quality dark chocolate for dipping
  • toasted hazelnuts to sprinkle on the chocolate

In a medium sized bowl cream the coconut oil and powdered sugar with a hand mixer. Add the vanilla and salt and beat to combine.

 

 

Beat in the ground hazelnuts.

 

 

Add the baking powder and the buckwheat flour, just beating to combine. The mixture should still appear crumbly.

 

 

Add a tbsp. or two of almond milk and beat briefly. The mixture will still appear crumbly but you should be able to form it into a ball.

 

 

Roll into 1 in balls and then press gently with a fork to flatten slightly.

 

 

Bake for 20 min. at 325 degrees F.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool fully before dipping.

To dip:

In a double boiler melt your chocolate.

 

Dip 1/3 of each of the cookies into the melted chocolate and then sprinkle with toasted, chopped hazelnuts.

 

Cultured Cashew Curry Cheese Log

This Cashew Log was a huge hit at a local Christmas market that I recently participated in! Flavoured with curry powder and then studded with chopped cranberries, crystallized ginger, and lightly toasted pecans, it has the texture of cream cheese but is made entirely with cashews and a bit of coconut oil. Keep in mind that you will need to start the process three days prior to serving. It involves very little hands on time but requires time to ferment and firm up in the fridge.

 

 

Ingredients:

  • 11/2 cups of raw cashews soaked overnight in plenty of water
  • 1 tsp. of probiotics (capsules emptied)
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
  • 2 Tbsp. nutritional yeast flakes
  • 2 Tbsp. of softened coconut oil
  • 2 tsp. of miso paste (chickpea, barley or any lighter coloured miso)
  • 1 tsp. of garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. of onion powder
  • 1 tsp. pink himalayan salt
  • 1 tsp. curry powder (or more to taste)
  • 1 tsp. of sambal (or lacto-fermented hot sauce)
  • 1/4 cup of chopped dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup of chopped crystallized ginger
  • 1/2 cup of lightly toasted pecans, chopped

Day 1.

soak your cashews overnight, drain and rinse.

Day 2.

In a high speed blender, blend the cashews until silky smooth with as little water as possible to help it along. Add the probiotic powder. Blend again briefly to combine. With a spatula scoop the mixture into a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit on your counter for 24 hours to ferment. When it is ready it will have a slightly sour odour to it and a fluffier texture.  The warmer you kitchen the faster the mixure

 

 

 

 

 

Day 3.

In a food processor fitted with a metal blade, combine the fermented cashew mixture with the 2 Tbsp. of lime juice, 2 Tbsp. of nutritional yeast, 2 Tbsp. of coconut oil, 2 tsp. of miso, 1 tsp. each of garlic and onion powder, 1 tsp. of curry powder, 1 teaspoon of sambal and the  1 tsp. of salt. Process until well combined, taste to adjust seasonings if desired.

 

 

 

 

Spoon the mixture into a bowl and set it in the fridge to firm up for a few hours.

 

Spoon the mixture onto a sheet of plastic wrap and form it into a log shape.

 

 

Wrap it up to smooth it out and set it back in the fridge until just before you are ready to serve it.

 

 

Combine the chopped ginger and cranberries on a flat surface.

 

 

Add the chopped pecans to the mixture, distributing them evenly throughout.

 

 

Gently roll the cashew log over the mixture several times to ensure that it is evenly coated. You can press the dried fruit and nuts onto the end of the log with your hands.

 

 

Refrigerate until ready to serve. Serve with fresh fruit and/or berries and whatever crackers you like. I find it goes well with Mary’s gluten free crackers.

 

Raw Panforte with Marzipan

 

Panforte is a traditional chewy Italian Tuscan dessert loaded with dried fruit and nuts that dates back to 13th century Sienna. I brought back a few wedges from a recent trip to Italy and reproduced a sugar and gluten-free version that makes a lovely Christmas gift wrapped in parchment and twine.  A slice with a cup of tea or coffee makes for a nice dessert or a  nutrient dense snack out on the trail! I used a mixture of cranberries, raisins, dried pineapple and candied ginger but feel free to come up with your own variations of dried fruit. (2 cups in total)  Just make sure you are buying organic and un-sulphured!

 

Equipment needed: Food Processor, two 8 in. spring form pans

Ingredients: The Base

  • 2 cups of soft pitted dates (medjool)
  • 2 cups of ground almonds ( you can either process raw or sprouted and dehydrated almonds to a flour or purchase ground almonds)
  • 1/4 cup softened coconut oil
  • 1/4 tsp. himalayan pink salt
  • 3/4 tsp. of nutmeg
  • 3/4 tsp. of freshly ground cardamom
  • 2 tsp. true cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. of pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1 cup of lightly toasted hazelnuts
  • 1/2 cup chopped crystallized ginger
  • 1/2 cup dried pineapple
  • 1/2 cup cranberries
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup of candied orange peel or 1 tsp. of organic orange zest

In a food processor combine the pitted dates with the ground almonds, coconut oil, salt, nutmeg, cardamom, cinnamon, vanilla and maple syrup. Process until a thick but soft batter forms.

 

 

Spoon the batter into a mixing bowl and with your hands mix in the coconut flour. The flour will absorb moisture from the batter allowing you to knead it into a smooth ball.

 

 

 

 

Add the dried fruit and hazelnuts to the batter and work in thoroughly with your hands. Divide it in two.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Line your spring form pans with plastic wrap. Press the dough evenly into the plastic lined pans pressing down with a spoon to smooth it out evenly.

 

 

Set aside while you prepare the marzipan.

Marzipan:

  • 4 cups of ground blanched almonds (you can either buy blanched almonds and grind your own or purchase almond flour)
  • 1/2 cup of agave or raw honey (just make sure you use a liquid sweetener without colour)
  • 2 tsp. of pure almond extract

In a food processor combine the ground almonds with agave or honey and almond extract to form a play dough like consistency. If it isn’t coming together add a bit more liquid sweetener.

 

 

Divide it in two and smooth onto your prepared bases.

 

 

Set in the fridge to firm up nicely. Top with freshly grated nutmeg and a sprinkling of coconut flour to resemble powdered sugar. To give as gifts, cut the Panforte into quarters or eighths, wrap in saran wrap and then in unbleached parchment paper and hemp twine.

 

Half Moon Maple Almond, Buckwheat and Oat Biscuits

Reminiscent of shortbread, these cookies make a nice Christmas Gift. They are gluten free and loaded with healthy ingredients! A smear of melted good dark chocolate creates the half moon effect. Ground hazelnuts can easily be substituted for almond flour if desired.

 

 

Makes 36 cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of almond or hazelnut flour (either purchased or ground fine in a food processor or blender)
  • 1 cup of oat flour (11/2 cup of gluten free oats ground fine in a blender)
  • 1 cup of buckwheat flour
  • 1/2 tsp. of true cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup of maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup of avocado oil
  • 3/4 cup of organic dark chocolate chips or chunks

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

In a medium sized bowl combine the almond flour, oat flour, buckwheat flour, and cinnamon. Stir to combine.

 

 

Mix the maple syrup and avocado oil together by hand in a measuring cup. Add to the dry ingredients stirring with a spoon and then with your hands to mix thoroughly.

 

 

 

 

The mixture will be moist but shouldn’t be sticky. Feel free to add an additional tbsp. or two of buckwheat flour to the batter if it is sticky. Lightly dust your work surface with oat flour. Divide the batter in half. Working with half of the batter to begin with, with a lightly floured rolling pin, roll  your ball of cookie dough into a 1/4 inch round. Using a 3 inch round cookie cutter cut into rounds. Gather up the scraps and roll out again until all of the dough has been used.

 

 

 

Arrange cookies on the parchment lined cookie sheet.

 

 

Bake for 12 minutes or until the bottoms are lightly browned. Remove from the oven and set on a cooling rack.

 

To coat with chocolate:

Set up a double boiler on your stove with a medium sized pot filled with a few inches of water, topped with a stainless steel bowl. Bring the water to a boil and then add your chocolate chips or chunks to the stainless steel bowl. Stir with a spatula until melted. With a spoon smear half of the cookie with melted chocolate and set aside to set. Cookies can be stored in the fridge for several weeks or you can make the cookies and freeze them before topping with chocolate just before serving!

 

 

 

Pumpkin Mousse with Candied Ginger and Maple Almonds

When my family requested a curry for Thanksgiving I wanted to come up with a festive but lighter dessert that would sit well on top of a heavy curry! This fluffy mousse was perfect topped with a small scoop of cashew ice cream (I love the So Delicious brand), a few slivers of candied ginger, and a smattering of toasted maple almonds.

 

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of raw cashews soaked in water for 2 hours
  • 1/2 cup of melted coconut oil
  • 1 large can (796ml) of organic pumpkin puree or the equivalent amount of pureed roasted fresh sugar pumpkin.
  • 2 tsp. of pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 tsp. of cardamom powder (ground fresh from the whole pods is always best) *
  • 1 tsp. of true cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. of vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp. of maple syrup
  • several chunks of crystallized ginger to garnish
  • one recipe of maple almonds (recipe follows)

 

*  If using whole cardamom pods, gently crush the pods with a pestle to expose the seeds.

 

 

Remove the husks and then crush the seeds with your pestle into a fine powder.

 

 

 

Drain and rinse the soaked cashews.

 

 

 

In a high speed blender combine the cashews with the melted coconut oil until smooth and creamy.

 

 

 

 

Add the pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, cardamom powder, cinnamon, vanilla, and maple syrup to the cashew cream and blend until smooth and well combined.

 

 

Spoon the mixture evenly into 6 1/2 cup mason jars or 12 1/4 cup mason jars.

 

 

Place the filled jars in the refrigerator to set while you prepare the almonds.

To make almonds:

You can either dehydrate these for 12 hours prior to preparing the mousse or just toast them on a parchment lined baking sheet in a 350 degree oven.

  • 1 cup of raw almonds (soaked overnight and first dehydrated if you are going for the dehydrator option, otherwise just raw almonds is fine.)
  • a few tablespoons of maple syrup
  • a pinch of sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp. true cinnamon

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. In a small bowl combine the almonds with maple syrup, sea salt and cinnamon. Mix well to coat. Spread the maple coated almonds onto a parchment lined baking sheet and bake until the almonds are toasted and the maple syrup has mostly evaporated. (about 25 min.) Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Once cooled, chop into smaller pieces. If using the dehydrator, spread the mixture onto a teflex sheet and dehydrate at 117 degrees F. for 12 hours.

 

 

To serve, add a scoop of ice cream of your choice, a sprinkling of maple almonds and a tsp. or so of chopped crystallized ginger!

 

 

Chewy Chocolate Ginger Cookies

 

Chewy, chocolatey, gingery and gluten free! I think I have perfected this gluten-free version of my favourite Christmas cookie! Ground oats and almonds replace the flour and chia gel replaces the eggs and gives these cookies just the right amount of chewiness! You can grind your own almonds to make almond flour, however; it is sometimes difficult to get a consistent grind in a food processor so I often purchase almond flour by Bobs Arrowhead Mills.

 

 

img_2436

 

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup of almond flour (finely ground almonds)
  • 21/2 cups of gluten free rolled oats ground to a fine flour in a blender
  • 11/4 sp. ground dried ginger
  • 1 tsp. of cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1 Tbsp. of cocoa powder
  • 1 Tbsp. of ground chia or flax seeds mixed into 3 Tbsp. of water
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil at room temperature (otherwise it will not mix)
  • 1 Tbsp. freshly grated ginger
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1 tsp. baking soda mixed into 1 Tbsp. boiled water
  • 11/2 cups of dark chocolate chips or chunks
  • 1/4 cup organic granulated sugar to coat

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. No need to pre-heat the oven at this point as the cookie dough needs to cool in the refrigerator for an hour prior to baking. Sift the almond flour, oat flour, dried ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and cacao together into a medium sized bowl.set aside.

In a separate bowl beat coconut oil together with 1 Tbsp. of fresh ginger and the chia gel with a hand mixer.

 

img_2300

 

Add the coconut sugar and molasses. Blend well.

 

img_2302

 

Add 1/2 of the dry spice and flour mix along with the baking soda mixed in hot water to the wet ingredients.  Mix until well combined and then add the remaining dry mix. Mix well. Stir in chocolate chips or chunks until well combined.

 

img_2304

 

Place the bowl in the refrigerator for an hour to set up a little bit. Roll into 11/2 inch. balls and coat with the organic granulated sugar. Place on the cookie sheet leaving space for them to expand as they bake.

 

img_2305

 

Bake at 325 F. for 12-14 min. Cool on a wire baking rack before removing from the cookie sheet.

 

 

img_2439

Quinoa Pomegranate Salad with Roasted Pecans

This protein rich salad jewelled with pomegranate seeds is perfect with a bowl of soup or as an accompaniment to a holiday meal.  This salad only takes half an hour to prepare once you learn the trick of whacking a cut open pomegranate with a wooden spoon to remove the arils!

 

img_2298

 

Ingredients:

serves 4-6

  • 11/2 cups of uncooked quinoa
  • 2 tsp. of pink himalayan salt
  • 1/3 cup of extra virgin olive or avocado oil
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp. dijon mustard
  • arils from one or two pomegranates
  • 3/4 cup of roasted pecans, chopped coarsly *
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 3/4 cup of flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • lots of fresh cracked pepper

 

* To roast the pecans bake at 350 for 6-8 min. on a cookie sheet.

Combine the quinoa with 2 cups of water and the 2 tsp. of salt in a small saucepan. Cooking the quinoa with the salt ensures that it is distributed evenly. Cover, bring to a boil and then simmer for 15 min. Allow to sit for 10 min. before fluffing with a fork. While the quinoa cooks, prepare the rest of the ingredients.

The dressing:

Whisk the oil, balsamic vinegar and mustard together in a small bowl. Toss the dressing with the warm quinoa in a medium sized bowl. Allow it to cool to room temperature while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

To prep the pomegranate:

Score the outer skin of the pomegranate in 1/2 with a knife.

 

img_2285

Pry it apart with your fingers and then gently pry each half apart slightly to loosen the arils.

 

img_2290

 

Holding the pomegranate half over a bowl, whack the outside of it with wooden spoon. The arils will all pop out into the bowl!

 

img_2291

 

Remove any little bits of the yellow membrane that may have fallen into the bowl as well.

 

img_2292

 

Add the arils, roasted pecans, green onion, and parsley to the dressed, cooled quinoa.

 

img_2293

 

Mix well and top with plenty of fresh cracked pepper!

 

img_2294

Raw Drinking Chocolate

This basic raw chocolate ganache blends up in minutes and lends itself to a variety of flavourings. I have experimented with dried ancho chilies, and essential oils of peppermint, orange, lavender, and rose, a perfect Valentines gift packaged in 250ml mason jars!

It can be blended with warm or hot water ( depending on how fussy you are about it remaining completely raw) and a little coconut oil  to create a rich and creamy dairy-free treat. I like to serve it in smaller espresso-like cups by the 1/2 cup because it is so rich!

Raw Cacao contains more vitamins and minerals than its roasted counterpart and rumour has it that Aztec Emperor Montezuma would consume 50 cups of cacao before visiting his harem!

 

IMG_0621

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup clear raw agave syrup
  • 3/4 cup raw organic cacao powder
  • 1/3 cup chopped raw organic cacao butter, melted over low heat
  • 1/8 tsp. himalayan pink salt
  •  tsp. raw wildcrafted vanilla powder ( or 2 tsp. of pure vanilla extract)

 

IMG_0614

 

Flavour options:

  • 1 small dried ancho chilli, stemmed, seeded and ground to a powder in the blender, and 1 tsp. of ground cinnamon
  • 5 drops of either, orange, peppermint, lavender, or rose essential oil. (make sure that your oils are high quality, food-grade)

Blend the agave, cacao powder, melted cacao butter, salt and vanilla in a high seed blender until smooth. Add your choice of flavours and blend again to incorporate. Spoon into a 1 cup mason jar or two 1/2 cup jars to give as gifts!

You can store it in the refrigerator for an extended period of time however; it is stable at room temperature for up to 1 month.

To make the hot chocolate:

Combine 11/2 tbsp. of your raw drinking chocolate ganache with 1/2 cup of warm or hot water and 1 tsp. of raw coconut oil in a high speed blender. Blend until smooth and frothy. Serve in a small coffee or espresso cup.

IMG_0617

Chaga Chai Latte

In the winter I always have a batch of this chai concentrate on hand to create a warming elixir. Simply mix it with equal parts fresh almond milk (or milk of your choice) before heating to serve! I like to keep it caffeine free for an after dinner treat, (all of the spices are digestive tonics) however; you can add a bag of organic black tea to the mix as it brews if desired.

IMG_0554

David Wolfe refers to Chaga as “King of the Medicinal Mushrooms” It is truly a remarkable mushroom that grows on living birch trees. It is an adaptogen which is a metabolic regulator that increases an organism’s ability to adapt to environmental factors and resist stress. It is also known for its cancer fighting and immune boosting properties and is known to tonify the digestive tract, promote longevity and protect DNA. It is readily found, ground,  in most natural food and herb stores.

IMG_0548

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups of water
  • 1 tsp. ground chaga mushroom
  • 1/2 tsp. whole fennel seeds
  • 6 slices of fresh ginger
  • 2 whole star anise
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 4 whole cardomom pods, crushed
  • 1/8 tsp. finely grated nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract or a pinch of vanilla powder
  • a pinch of freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup or honey

Bring all ingredients except for the maple syrup to a boil. Turn the heat down to simmer for 1/2 an hour. Add the maple syrup or honey. Pour into a 1 litre mason jar along with all of the spices. The flavours will continue to intensify if you keep the spices in with the concentrate. Allow to cool before storing in the refrigerator.

To brew:

In a small saucepan combine equal parts chai concentrate and almond milk. Heat to serve!

Note: see the Nut Nog recipe for almond milk instructions.

Nut Nog

This “Nut Nog” is made with fresh almond milk and fresh frozen Thai Young Coconut Meat! This vegan nog is thick, creamy, and delicious all on its own but a splash of brandy or rum is  also a tasty addition.

Making your own nut milk is not only satisfying but also much more nutritious and cost effective than buying the watery store bought milks. Frozen thai young coconut can be purchased at your local natural foods market. You can also use fresh thai young coconuts if they are available.

 

IMG_0532

 

Ingredients:  Serves 4

IMG_0533

  • 1 cup of thawed or fresh Thai Young coconut meat
  • 2 cups of fresh almond or hazelnut milk
  • 1/4 tsp. grated organic orange rind
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • a pinch of ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp. fresh ground cardamom
  • 1 Tbsp. maple syrup or more to taste
  • a pinch of vanilla powder or a tsp. of pure vanilla extract
  • a pinch of turmeric powder to give it an authentic egg nog colour
  • freshly grated nutmeg to garnish

To make the nut milk:

  • 1 cup raw almonds or hazelnuts, soaked overnight
  • 4 cups of water
  • 3 pitted medjool dates
  • 1/2 tsp. of soy lecithin granules or sunflower lecithin (optional, keeps it from separating)
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Strain the soaked nuts. Combine in a high speed blender with 4 cups of water, dates, vanilla, and lecithin if using.

Blend until smooth. Line a bowl with a nut milk bag. Pour the contents of the blender into the bag and twist the top to prevent the pulp from getting into your strained milk. Gently squeeze the bag over the bowl until all of the liquid has been extracted. The pulp can be frozen or dehydrated and ground into nut flour for later use.

Store the prepared nut milk in a sealed bottle or mason jar in the fridge. It will last about 4 days.

IMG_0524

IMG_0528

To make the nut nog:

Combine the coconut meat, nut milk, orange rind, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, maple syrup, vanilla, and turmeric in a high speed blender until smooth and frothy. Serve topped with fresh finely grated nutmeg and a splash of rum or brandy if desired!

 

 

IMG_0534

Follow

Get the latest posts delivered to your mailbox: