Tag Archives: dessert

Carrot Cake Smoothie

19 May

It’s no secret that a great deal if us have what we lovingly refer to as a sweet tooth. We crave sugar, which is a carbohydrate that our bodies convert into energy. The most beneficial forms of sugar to consume are unrefined sugars that occur naturally, such as in fruits, sweet vegetables, and liquid sweeteners such as raw maple syrup.

Cake happens to be one of my favorite desserts. With its sweet flavor and moist, soft texture, I find myself craving it…and often. When I want cake but not the guilt, I typically choose something like carrot cake; this way I am getting a serving of vegetables. One medium-size carrot contains approximately 2.9g sugar, which is a little over 1/2 teaspoon (source). With their low glycemic index, carrots are excellent for those who are watching their blood sugar levels. For more information on the health benefits of carrots, check out my Whole Wheat Carrot Zucchini Muffins post.

Below is a recipe for a healthier carrot cake in smoothie form. Made with pecans for a hearty texture and sweetened with maple syrup, this smoothie can be enjoyed any time of day, especially as an after-dinner treat. Enjoy!

Carrot Cake Smoothie

Carrot Cake Smoothie
Yields approximately 2 servings

1-1/2 cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk
3 tablespoons maple syrup, or to taste
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 (16-ounce) bag carrots, peeled and sliced with ends discarded
2/3 cup whole pecans
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt

Combine all ingredients in a high-speed blender* and puree until smooth.

*If you do not own a high-speed blender (i.e. Blendtec or Vitamix), first process carrots and pecans in the bowl of a food processor until finely chopped. Pour mixture into a blender and add remaining ingredients, pureeing until smooth. Add extra almond milk for a more liquid consistency.


Nearly Raw Lemon Cheesecake Bars

22 Mar

The lemon, said to be a hybrid between sour orange and citron, is an evergreen tree native to Asia. Forever prized for its sour flavor, a lemon tree’s fruit juice is approximately 5-6% citric acid, therefore making it a great source of Vitamin C (source).

When used in desserts, the flavor of lemons is brought to a whole new level. I found this delicious and easy recipe on Pinterest the other day and it inspired me to make my own version. Utilizing a mixture of cashews, macadamias and coconut oil to achieve its creamy consistency, my Nearly Raw Lemon Cheesecake Bars have just the right amount of sweet and sour notes to please your palate.

Not only does this dessert contain Vitamin C, both the almonds and cashews contained within have high amounts of Magnesium. This mineral helps prevent asthma, diabetes, osteoporosis, heart attacks, strokes, and even relieves constipation. What’s more, Magnesium alleviates the symptoms of fibromyalgia, premenstrual syndrome and migraines (source). One cheesecake square provides approximately 28% DV Magnesium*, so eat a couple, if you please, and enjoy them without the guilt!

* Sources: almonds, Deglet Noor dates, cashews, macadamias, lemon

Nearly Raw Lemon Cheesecake Bars

Nearly Raw Lemon Cheesecake Bars
Yields approximately 9 servings

1-1/2 cups raw unsalted almonds
12 pitted Deglet Noor dates
1/2 rounded teaspoon salt
1-1/2 teaspoons water

1/2 cup melted refined coconut oil*
1/2 cup raw agave nectar
zest and juice of 1-1/2 organic lemons (approximately 1/3 – 1/2 cup juice)
1/4 cup water
3/4 cup raw unsalted cashew pieces
1/2 cup raw unsalted macadamias**
1/8 rounded teaspoon salt

Begin with the crust by combining almonds, dates and salt in a food processor or high-speed blender. Process just a few seconds, or until almonds and dates are finely chopped. Be careful not to process too long or the result will be similar to almond butter.

Add water and process a few seconds longer until clumps start to form.

Scoop crust mixture into an 8-inch square baking dish, flattening evenly with your fingers or the back of a spoon. Set aside.

Next, place all filling ingredients in a high-speed blender and puree for 30-60 seconds, or until smooth. If using a regular blender, puree for 1-2 minutes, stopping occasionally to stir.

Scoop filling into dish and spread evenly over crust. Refrigerate for 6-8 hours, or until set. Slice into squares and serve.

* If you enjoy the aroma and flavor of coconut and want to make this recipe completely raw, you may substitute unrefined coconut oil instead of refined coconut oil.
** Raw macadamias can be a little tricky to find, not to mention expensive. Should you prefer, dry-roasted salted macadamias may be used instead. Simply follow recipe as directed but omit the salt in the filling.

Mini Apple Streusel Pies with Peanut Butter Drizzle

10 Nov

November brings with it one of the biggest fall holidays, which are often filled with more sweets than you can shake a spoon at. A favorite dessert during this time is, no doubt, homemade apple pie.

Dating back to the year 1381, apple pie was enjoyed by the English and often included figs and raisins, in addition to using saffron as a coloring agent. Many pies during this time were not sweetened using sugar, but instead were sweetened by fruit. Since then, apple pie has evolved to become an American staple, including actual sugar, and should a dutch apple pie be preferred, cinnamon and lemon juice (source).

These Mini Apple Streusel Pies are made in a cupcake pan and are perfect eaten with a dollop of non-dairy whipped cream or ice cream. Enjoy!

Mini Apple Streusel Pies

Mini Apple Streusel Pies with Peanut Butter Drizzle

1-1/2 cups all-purpose or white whole wheat flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup butter-flavored solid vegetable shortening
4-6 tablespoons cold water

Streusel Topping:
1/2 cup all-purpose or white whole wheat flour
1/2 cup oats
1/4 cup vegan buttery spread
1/4 cup powdered sugar

Apple Filling:
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3 Fuji, Gala or Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and diced
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Peanut Butter Drizzle (optional):
3 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
1 tablespoon refined coconut oil

Preheat oven to 375º F.

Begin with the crust by combining flour and salt in a large mixing bowl. Cut in buttery spread and mix until pea-sized pieces form. Add cold water, 1 tablespoon at a time, to mixture and stir just until dough comes together.

Pour dough out onto a clean, flat and floured work surface and roll into a circle approximately 1/8-inch thick. Cut 3.5-inch circles out of dough, combining dough scraps, then rolling and cutting out additional circles until remainder of dough has been used. You should end up with 12 circles of dough.

Place one circle of dough in each spot of a cupcake pan, flattening dough against bottom and sides. Place pan with dough in refrigerator until ready to use.

For the streusel, combine all ingredients in a small bowl and mix with a fork or pastry blender until pea-sized pieces are formed; set aside.

For the filling, combine cornstarch and lemon juice in a medium-size bowl. Add remaining filling ingredients, mixing to combine.

Remove cupcake pan from refrigerator and fill each spot with apple mixture, dividing evenly among the 12 spots. Sprinkle streusel topping evenly over top of each, then bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

For the peanut butter drizzle, combine both ingredients in a small bowl, and using a fork, drizzle over top of pies.

S’mores Crispy Treats

7 Jul

The S’more is said to have first been printed in a 1927 publication entitled “Tramping and Trailing with the Girl Scouts.” Assumed to be short for “some more,” the s’more is a popular campfire treat among Americans and Canadians consisting of marshmallows and chocolate sandwiched between two graham crackers (source).

The thought of s’mores and crispy treats brings me back to my childhood. Both were two of my favorite desserts growing up, and now that I’m vegan, this doesn’t mean I can no longer enjoy them. Luckily for us, there is a plant-based version of nearly everything out there, and that includes marshmallows. Chicago Vegan Foods creates Dandies, which act almost exactly like traditional marshmallows, whether you roast them over a fire, or melt them over the stove.

Enjoy these S’mores Crispy Treats and try not to eat the entire batch in one sitting!

NOTE: Many grocers carry original Nabisco grahams, which come in a red box and are vegan.


S’mores Crispy Treats

1/4 (14.4-ounce) box vegan graham crackers
1/4 cup + 1/2 cup softened vegan butter, divided
1 (10-ounce) bag vegan marshmallows
5 cups crispy rice cereal
1/2 cup semi-sweet non-dairy chocolate chips

Lightly grease a 9-inch square baking dish and set aside.

Place graham crackers in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until a crumb texture is reached. Add 1/4 cup softened butter and pulse another few seconds until mixture begins to stick together.

Pour graham cracker mixture into prepared baking pan and spread evenly, flattening with your fingers or the back of a spoon. Refrigerate while you prepare the marshmallow mixture.

Place 1/2 cup butter and marshmallows in a large pot. Heat over medium, stirring often, or until butter and marshmallows have melted, approximately 5-7 minutes.

Turn off heat and quickly stir in rice cereal, mixing until combined. Pour out into prepared baking dish and flatten with the back of a spoon. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or until cool.

Remove crispy treats from refrigerator and slice into squares. Remove from pan with a spatula so as not to break apart the graham cracker crust. Carefully turn upside down and place on a cooling rack or plate with the graham cracker crust side facing up.

Meanwhile, melt chocolate chips in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring often. Dip a fork into melted chocolate and drizzle over crispy treats.

Raw Nut Butter Cookie Balls

19 May

Having a sweet tooth doesn’t mean giving into unhealthy desserts. The big not-so-secret secret is using fruit to satisfy your cravings. Naturally sweet and unrefined, dates are a very popular fruit used to achieve the level of sweetness we crave. According to Dr. Michael Greger M.D., though dates are 80% sugar, they have no adverse affects on blood sugar or weight, and actually improve triglycerides and antioxidants (source). In addition, Medjool dates, in particular, contain a variety of essential nutrients such as Copper, Manganese and Potassium (source).

Ready for a sweet treat? Say goodbye to the guilt and make yourself a batch of these Raw Nut Butter Cookie Balls. Not only are they raw, they are delicious and healthy with added protein and a touch of cinnamon.

Raw Nut Butter Cookie Balls

Raw Nut Butter Cookie Balls
Yields approximately 9-10 balls

1 cup raw, unsalted cashews
1/2 cup uncooked quick-cooking or old-fashioned oats
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 cups pitted dates
4 tablespoons raw nut butter of your choice

Combine cashews, oats and cinnamon in the bowl of a food processor and process for 30-60 seconds, or until the consistency of cornmeal is reached.

Add dates and nut butter and pulse until mixture is combined, stopping occasionally to scrape sides. Mixture should be moist enough to form into balls and hold their shape. If not, add an additional teaspoon nut butter and mix. Repeat if necessary.

Using approximately 1 tablespoon of the mixture at a time, roll into balls and place in an air-tight container and refrigerate until ready to eat.

NOTE: Due to the nature of preservative-free foods, these cookies are best if eaten within one week, otherwise they may be frozen until ready for consumption.

Green Tea Coconut Cookies

11 Mar

Matcha is a finely milled, high-quality green tea common in Japanese culture. Used not only to flavor various foods and beverages, this form of tea is also utilized as a dye because of its rich green color. It is produced by first growing tea plants under the cover of shade. These plants take longer to grow which causes their leaves to turn a darker shade of green. Once the desired point of maturity is reached, the leaves are stripped away and laid flat to dry. They are then de-stemmed, de-vained, and finally, stone ground to produce the powder known as matcha (source).

These melt-in-your-mouth cookies are fashioned after the ever-popular Russian Tea Cakes, also known as Mexican Wedding Cookies, Butterballs or Snowball Cookies (source). With the addition of matcha and coconut, these green beauties boast an exciting flavor and various health benefits, and are an excellent St. Patrick’s Day treat.

Due to a high amount of Epigallocatechin gallate (an antioxidant), matcha helps protect against cancer and HIV, and is said to protect against bad breath and assist with weight loss. In addition, matcha is a good source of the amino acid L-theanine, which is said to provide an anti-stress and relaxing effect (source).

Green Tea Coconut Cookies

Green Tea Coconut Cookies
Yields 24 (1-1/2 inch) cookies

1/2 cup vegan buttery spread
1/2 cup unrefined coconut oil (not refined)
2 tablespoons matcha green tea powder
1/4 cup + 1/2 cup powdered sugar, divided
1/4 cup sweetened shredded coconut (optional*)
2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 400º F.

Cream together buttery spread, coconut oil, green tea powder and 1/4 cup powdered sugar until smooth. Add shredded coconut and flour and mix until combined. Mixture will be somewhat crumbly but should stick together.

Roll dough into 24 balls, approximately 1-1/2 inches in size. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake in preheated oven for 10-12 minutes or just until set.

Meanwhile, place 1/2 cup powdered sugar in a wide, shallow dish; set aside.

Remove cookies from oven and allow to cool for 10-15 minutes. Roll each cookie in powdered sugar and set aside until completely cooled.

* If you prefer to use unsweetened shredded coconut, increase ¼ cup powdered sugar to 1/3 cup and proceed with recipe as directed.

Green Tea Coconut Cookies

Pumpkin Cookies with Cinnamon Drizzle

7 Oct

Well friends, it is officially Fall again. And what does that mean? Pumpkins!!! These lovely orange beauties are part of the squash family and are thought to have originated in North America. Approximately 1.5 billion pounds are produced in North America each year, and approximately 95% of those intended for processing are grown in Illinois (source).

The recipe below features, you guessed it, pumpkin. Complimented by sugar and spice, and everything nice, these moist, soft cookies are perfect for those upcoming Autumn-inspired festivities. This recipe provides nearly 30 cookies, excellent for sharing with multiple people.

While you’re waiting for these sweet treats to bake, check out some of the health benefits of pumpkin here and enjoy yourself a Pumpkin Spice Martini while you’re at it!

Pumpkin Cookies with Cinnamon Drizzle

Pumpkin Cookies with Cinnamon Drizzle
Yields approximately 28 cookies

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
pinch salt
1 cup granulated sugar
½ cup vegan buttery spread
1 (8-ounce) container imitation cream cheese
¾ cup pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup powdered sugar
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1½ teaspoons vegan buttery spread, softened
3-4 teaspoons regular unsweetened almond milk
½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350º F. Lightly grease two large cookie sheets and set aside.

For the cookies, combine flour, cinnamon, baking powder, ginger, nutmeg and salt in a small bowl; set aside.

In a larger bowl, beat sugar and buttery spread together until smooth. Mix in cream cheese, pumpkin and vanilla. Slowly stir in dry ingredients and mix until combined.

Place approximately 2 tablespoons dough, 1-2 inches apart on prepared cookie sheets. Bake in preheated oven for 16-18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cookie comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Transfer cookies to wire cooling racks and allow to cool completely.

Meanwhile, for the icing, combine powdered sugar and cinnamon. Add buttery spread, milk and vanilla and beat until smooth. Using a fork, drizzle icing across tops of cooled cookies.

Vegan Milwaukee

10 Aug

Wisconsin, known as “America’s Dairyland” isn’t laden with all the dairy-filled cities you might expect. Cities like Milwaukee make Wisconsin a lovely vegan-friendly state to visit. Though it is most well-known for its beer and cheese, Milwaukee has an abundance of vegan options, and delicious ones at that! Though the following list is far from comprehensive, it highlights the handfull of vegan and vegan-friendly bakeries, restaurants and shops I stopped by on my last visit. There are so many more left to try! Should you visit Milwaukee, I highly recommend roaming the Bayview neighborhood as it is packed with lots of excellent places.

Corned Beef Style Seitan Reuben from County Clare

County Clare
Though this Irish restaurant isn’t even 100% vegetarian, I’m told that the head chef himself is a vegetarian, hence why County Clare has a separate menu just for vegetarians! Luckily this menu includes a handful of vegan options as well, which are clearly marked. Other items can be made vegan by omitting cheese and other animal products. Having wanted to eat like true Irishwomen, my sister and I ordered the Seitan Corned Beef and Cabbage, and the Corned Beef style Seitan Reuben. While I appreciate eating vegan Irish food, I must say that these two items were lacking in flavor. The only thing that helped was the prepared horseradish that was served on the side. Now if you have a sensitive tongue, I do not recommend horseradish as it will burn the heck out of your sinuses. Other than that, I would recommend getting one of the other vegan items on the menu as I’m hopeful that they are more enjoyable.

Riverwest Co-Op & Cafe
A cute co-op grocery store with attached cafe, Riverwest Co-Op  is not to be judged by its small size. While small, both cafe and grocery store are bursting with goodies sure to satisfy. The cafe boasts a 100% vegetarian menu with most, if not all, items veganizable (Is that a word? If not, I’m making it one). Serving breakfast, lunch, dinner and smoothies, there is plenty to choose from. The Breakfast Biscuit (veganized) was delicious. With scrambled tofu, spinach, onion, tomato, soy sausage and vegan mayo on a buttery biscuit, it was an awesome start to my day. Their pancakes (with the option of adding chocolate chips, blueberries and other items), and granola and bananas are also delicious. Both pancakes and granola came studded with almonds which added an excellent crunch and added nutritional value. Having enjoyed our food so much, we returned again a couple of days later and ordered the Biscuits & Gravy (veganized) and French Toast. I can honestly say everything was delicious and left me wishing I could eat enough food for 5 people so that I could try everything. The next time I’m in Milwaukee, I’m planning on indulging in their sure-to-be fabulous lunch!

Classic Slice
This hip pizza joint has two locations in Milwaukee. Having heard about Classic Slice’s football-sized calzones, we had to indulge. Opting for vegan cheese, sausage and black olives as our filling, the calzone came out of the oven piping hot and smelling delicious. Though the width and height of the calzone was football-sized, the depth (or thickness if you want to call it that) wasn’t. I could’ve used a bit more filling as the calzone seemed to have a lot of air filling, but it was still decent! A couple of days later we tried the breadsticks (opting for whole wheat) with vegan cheese and pesto, and a lemon lavender cupcake filled with fresh lemon curd. I’ve got to say, the breadsticks were tasty and smelled amazing. Where else can you get vegan pesto breadsticks!? And the cupcake? Delectable. From what I understand, Classic Slice also sells homemade cinnamon rolls in the colder months.

Curry Tofu Wrap from The Eatery on Farwell

The Eatery on Farwell
A more upscale establishment with both indoor and outdoor seating, The Eatery on Farwell offers a few vegan selections, most of which are clearly noted on their menu. We began our meal with the Onion Strings (veganized). Basically sliced onion rings battered and fried, these puppies were delicious. It was nearly impossible to keep from shoveling the entire plate into my mouth. Delicious but regretfully not healthy. That’s what vacations are for though, right? For the entrees, we enjoyed the Portobello Linguini and Curry Tofu Wrap. The linguini came with sliced portobello, diced zucchini, yellow squash, red pepper and Japanese eggplant and was served with a side of basil toast. The sliced portobello tasted as though it was marinated in wine, which is a good thing, but it could have used a little more flavor, perhaps a pinch of salt or even some vegan buttery spread to kick it up. Perhaps what would have made it even better was adding a side of Field Roast Italian Sausage. Always a winner! The Curry Tofu Wrap is described on the menu as “Curry breaded tofu, dried cherries, granny smith apples, spring mix & a vegan ginger aioli wrapped in an herb tortilla”. Sounds delicious, doesn’t it? It was refreshing with the mixture of sweet and savory flavors. A great dish to have in the summer months.

Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Sandwich from Babe's Ice Cream

Babe’s Ice Cream and Dessert
Offering a nice variety of vegan options, Babe’s Ice Cream carries multiple flavors of soy ice cream, in addition to shakes and vegan ice cream sandwiches. They even sell made-to-order vegan ice cream cakes! I want one….now. Unfortunately I only had the pleasure of trying an ice cream sandwich, and as you can see from the photo at right, it was a handful and quite delicious!

Cold Spoons Sorbetto from Cold Spoons

Cold Spoons
With an entire case filled with delicious vegan sorbetto, Cold Spoons did not disappoint. Lucky for us, we happened to stop by on Upgrade Tuesday, meaning we enjoyed large sorbettos for the price of mediums! The flavors being offered that day were avocado, blackberry, black plum, cantaloupe, coconut, cucumber mint, green apple, pear, pineapple, pink grapefruit, pomegranate and prickly pear melon. After trying nearly half of the flavors (avocado is surprisingly good), between the two of us, we decided on black plum, cantaloupe, cucumber mint and pineapple. The great thing about this place is that you can choose up to three flavors which are squeezed into a little cup. This place is so awesome on a hot day, or just any day you need something sweet and refreshing. Highly recommended if you’re craving that sweet, creamy treat!

Started by the same folks whom own Comet Café, Palomino, and various other establishments, Honeypie is a must for vegan cupcakes. If you enjoy big, beautiful, super sweet cupcakes, you’ll dig these! Baking different flavors every day, we enjoyed their chai, pistachio and red velvet flavors. Honeypie also sells breakfast, lunch and dinner. Though not all their offerings are vegan, those which are, are clearly marked. During our Milwaukee visit, we only had time to eat at Honeypie once, and, being that I am such a big breakfast fan, that is what meal we enjoyed. We chose the Breakfast Burrito (veganized) and Two Eggs Any Way (veganized). The burrito came chock full of tofu, roasted corn and bell pepper relish, black beans and poblano salsa. The Two Eggs Any Way were modified by using scrambled tofu with the addition of various veggies and served with breakfast potatoes and toast. Not too shabby although honestly I felt the food could use a little more flavor.

Centro Cafe
This intimate, dinner-only establishment is a must if you want to enjoy a nice, intimate Italian meal. Centro Cafe is a popular place so it is recommended that you get there early as they do not accept reservations. To start off, we had Centro’s Trio Spreads, featuring Bruschetta, White Bean Dip and Tapenade, and served with grilled bread and crackers. The appetizer was fresh and delicious. For dinner we chose the Capellini al Pomodoro and Vegan Meatball sandwich. The capellini, tossed with fresh tomatoes, basil, garlic and olive oil was refreshing and boasted a fresh, healthy flavor…something you feel satisfied eating, and without the guilt. It had a nice, natural flavor to it. I enjoyed the sandwich even more as I was pleasantly surprised by their homemade vegan meatballs. Described on the menu as having tofu mixed in, I was a little hesitant to order the sandwich at first, as usually, meat and dairy-based restaurants often have not mastered the art of tofu. Needless to say I’m glad I ordered the sandwich! Also included in these meatballs are mushrooms, onion, carrots, vegetable protein and herbs and spices. The meatballs are then topped with marinara and served on a baguette. YUM. Highly recommended!

Doughnuts from Larsen Bakery

Larsen’s Bakery (Racine, WI)
A 45-minute drive from Milwaukee sits Larsen’s Bakery, known for its Danish kringle. Lucky for us, the bakery makes not only vegan kringle but vegan doughnuts as well, and if you call and order ahead, you’ll have fresh, delicious goodies ready to devour within a day or two. At the time of my order, Larsen’s had a few doughnut options to choose from: chocolate iced, vanilla iced,  jelly-filled, boston creme and long john. Needless to say I ordered a couple of each (begrudgingly I shared), and let me tell you, these are some of the best vegan doughnuts I’ve had. Now if only Larsen’s would create even more flavors for us to enjoy. *cough* apple fritters! *cough* Their vegan kringle is also delicious, tasting almost exactly like the animal-based version I grew up on, with flavors like almond, pecan, cherry, apricot, apple, raspberry and cranberry nut. I’m no stranger to this and get it every time I am in Milwaukee!

Health Hut (West Allis, WI)
Just a short 15-minute drive away from Milwaukee sits one of Health Hut’s three locations. Having visited the West Allis location, I was pleasantly surprised at what a nice variety of food and household items the store carried. Nowhere else have I found treeless paper towels and toilet paper! Very cool. Health Hut also has a great variety of dried bulk food items, frozen and packaged foods, pet food and various household items. I don’t recall seeing any fresh produce but who cares! This store was great! I recommend this store if you want to find some unique items.

Outpost Natural Foods
Don’t want to drive to Racine to stock up on Larsen’s vegan kringle? Go to Outpost! They have Larsen’s kringle in stock, just waiting for you to devour. With four locations (one in Wauwatosa), Outpost is the place to go for groceries. Though not a 100% vegan establishment, the store still has so much to offer including groceries and household items, as well as a little deli area where they can whip up some delicious vegan goodies, fresh for the taking. I highly recommend Outpost. This is a store I frequent any time I am in Milwaukee.

“Cream Cheese” Cookies with Chocolate Icing

19 Jun

Cream cheese in a cookie? Yes, please! This recipe was inspired by an Italian cookie that I used to make before I went vegan. It called for ricotta cheese, so instead of using that, I thought, “Why not use cream cheese?” These cookies are versatile as they can be made buttery or sweet.

“Cream Cheese” Cookies with Chocolate Icing
Yields approximately 30 cookies

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter-flavored shortening (for sweeter cookies, use regular shortening instead)
1 cup sugar
8 ounces imitation cream cheese
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1-1/2 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tablespoons unsweetened almond milk
1 tablespoon butter-flavored shortening, softened

Preheat oven to 350º F. Lightly grease a cookie sheet and set aside.

Begin with the cookies by combining flour, baking soda and salt in a small bowl; mix and set aside. In a larger bowl, beat shortening, sugar, cream cheese and vanilla until smooth. Slowly stir in dry ingredients and mix until combined. Refrigerate for 20 minutes, allowing for easier handling. Roll chilled dough into 1½ inch balls and place 1-2 inches apart on prepared cookie sheet. Bake in preheated oven for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted near the center of a cookie comes out clean. Allow to cool 5-10 minutes before removing from cookie sheet.

For the icing, combine powdered sugar and cocoa powder. Add shortening and almond milk, stirring until smooth. Place approximately 1 teaspoon icing on top of each cooled cookie and allow to drip over the sides. Let sit for 5-10 minutes, allowing the icing to harden slightly.

Chocolate Cream Cheese Cookies: add 1/4 cup cocoa powder and prepare recipe as noted above.

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