20 April 2010

Nutbutter Truffles

Oh, the glory that is the truffle! So I'm a bit obsessed at the moment, but when you find such an amazing gluten-free/dairy-free treat, you don't let go of it that easily. I decided to expand my truffle repertoire with other nutbutters: cashew and peanut butter. I busted these out for Easter with the help of my trusty sidekick (Note: four hands are better than two sticky, chocolate-covered hands all alone). The results were a smashing success. I was glad to help the Easter Bunny out with the food allergy crowd.

Coconut Cashew Butter Truffle
*gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan

1 cup cashew butter
1/2 cup agave syrup (or honey)
1/2 cup shredded coconut, unsweetened
1/4 cup creamed coconut
1 Tbsp flax meal
1 Tbsp sesame seed
1 tsp vanilla
4-6 oz semi-sweet vegan chocolate chips
shredded coconut
or chopped nuts for topping

Mash all the ingredients except chocolate chips together. Chill mixture for about an hour so it is easier to work with. Once chilled, roll the cashew mixture into teaspoon-sized balls (or bigger depending on whether you like bit-sized or larger) and place on parchment. Place balls in the freezer until cold and hard. If you try to roll them in the chocolate unfrozen, they will fall apart.

Covering the truffles:
Melt chocolate chips in the microwave, 30 seconds at a time until smooth. Set out clean parchment and any additional toppings. Remove balls from the freezer. One at a time, dip cashew balls in the chocolate and roll them between your palms. It gets really messy, but the more chocolate on your palms, the more even the coverage. You can then roll the truffles in shredded coconut or chopped nuts or whatever you desire (this is where it is helpful to have a truffle-making partner). They are also delicious plain and simple. Place truffles on parchment and let the chocolate solidify. Keep in refrigerator until you're ready to eat. Best eaten at room temp.

Makes about 40+ small truffles

Alternative Flavor:
Chocolate Peanut Butter Truffle

1 cup natural peanut butter, salted
1/2 cup honey (or agave syrup)
1/2 cup peanut or almond meal
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 Tbsp flax meal
1 Tbsp sesame seeds
1 tsp vanilla
4-6 oz semi-sweet vegan chocolate chips

Follow directions above. The peanut butter mixture ends up a little more dry than the cashew one; no need to freeze.

01 April 2010

Belated St Patrick's Day

I love making a meal centered around a common theme. I should try to do it more often, but holidays always provide the perfect excuse to be thematic. Okay- so hot dogs aren't exactly Irish, but we had already had pot roast that week and I didn't have any corn beef on hand. I'm sure the Irish can appreciate a good hot dog. We did have the soda bread, colcannon and beer (or hard cider in my case). And all the veggies came straight from our CSA share! Of course it was a dairy-free, gluten-free St. Patrick's event. And my roommate used the leftover colcannon to make an amazing quiche crust! Check out my recipes below:

Vegan Colcannon
*gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan
(adapted from
1 bunch of kale, rinsed and chopped into small pieces
1 pound potatoes, cut into 1" pieces
2 onions, chopped
1 lrg carrot, shredded
1 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup Earth Balance "butter"
salt and pepper to taste

In a large saucepan, steam kale until tender. Set aside and keep warm. Boil potatoes until tender. Remove from heat and drain. While potatoes are boiling, simmer onions in coconut milk until they are soft. Season and mash potatoes well. Mash in butter. Stir in cooked onions and coconut milk. Blend in the kale and carrots and heat until warm. Serve it up! (For quiche crust: Grease pie pan and pat in a layer of colcannon. Prebake until browned and then add egg mixture.)

    I also attempted a g-free/d-free Irish soda bread. I think it was a little crumbly so I might add another egg next time, but it was delicious none the less. Unfortunately, most of my roommates have an aversion to raisins, golden or otherwise. You either love 'em or you hate 'em! And this house is apparently a Raisin-Hostile Zone.

    Irish Soda Bread  
    *gluten-free, dairy-free
    Adapted from the Gluten-free Goddess and the Gluten-free Girl

    1 cup millet flour
    1/2 cup sorghum flour
    1/2 cup potato starch (not flour)
    1 Tbsp sugar
    2 tsp xanthan gum
    1 tsp baking soda
    1 tsp baking powder
    1 tsp salt
    1 cup golden raisins, soaked in hot water for 15 minutes and drained
    1 cup Milk-alternative, with 1 tsp lemon juice (buttermilk replacement)
    6 tablespoons Earth Balance, melted
    1 egg

    Preheat the oven to 350°. Grease a small souffle dish for a round loaf or nine-by-five-by-three-inch loaf pan (the standard size) for a square loaf.

    Put all the dry ingredients into a large bowl and stir them together until you have a consistent mixture.

    In a second, smaller bowl, mix all the wet ingredients together. Make a small well in the dry ingredients, then slowly pour the wet ingredients into the well, then stir until just combined. The dough will be quite sticky, but it should not be too dry.

    Scoop dough into the pan and spread evenly. The Gluten-free Goddess suggests "using a sharp knife [to] slice a criss-cross into the dough and wiggle it a bit to make a wider dent [because] according to Irish folklore, the criss-cross discourages the mischievous fairies from messing with your humble loaf of bread."

    Bake for thirty minutes or so, or until a butter knife inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean. Let cool on a wire rack for 10 minute or so before serving. Cooling time helps the bread to settle and tends to be a little less crumbly.