Category Archives: Holidays

Carrot Cake Fudge

You know me- I love me some carrot cake!

And we all love fudge.

Two rights make a RIGHT. Thus, this has to be good. And trust me, it is. Epicly so. It’s like carrot cake in a teeny tiny, sweet little package. It can be made vegan. And it looks so cute in an Easter basket! Another suggestion? Cut it small enough to be hidden in those plastic eggs.

That‘s a prize worth hunting for.

Carrot Cake Fudge

2 12 oz. packages of white chocolate chips (vegan as necessary)

¾ cup shredded carrot

½ cup shredded coconut, toasted

¼ cup chopped walnuts

2 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp vanilla extract

pinch of sea salt

1 cup sweetened condensed milk (for a vegan alternative, try this– it works fantastically!)

Mix all the ingredients except the chocolate chips in a saucepan over medium heat. Continue stirring until the milk starts to bubble. Let it simmer for a minute, using a spatula to scrape the sides of the pan so nothing burns. Remove from heat, and stir in the chocolate chips. Pour into a 11 x 3 pan lined with greased aluminum foil. Sprinkle a bit of cinnamon on top, cover with plastic wrap and let it firm up in the fridge or freezer before cutting into squares and serving.

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Cadbury Creme Eggs

Oh my god. Obsession.

Like, to the point that I used to steal them from my other family members’ Easter baskets every year. They never figured out who did it. (Sorry, guys. But not really.)

Aside from marzipan, Cadbury eggs might be, in my humble opinion, the best candy ever invented. The Europeans just understand chocolate. Scientific act.

Enough abbreviated sentences. Let’s get down to gooey, chocolate-y, VEGAN business. #OhYesIDid

Vegan Cadbury Creme Eggs

1/2 cup corn syrup or agave nectar

1/4 cup Earth Balance

3 cups vegan powdered sugar

2 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 tsp salt (do NOT omit)

yellow and red food coloring

semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 tbsp coconut oil

You can get fancy with egg shaped chocolate molds, but I went without and they still turned out adorably, and more importantly, phenomenally delicious. It’s just a little messier.

Cream together the corn syrup and Earth Balance until light and fluffy with an electric beater. Add the powdered sugar, scraping the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula, a little at a time until completely incorporated. Mix in the vanilla extract and salt. The texture should be as thick as possible while still being slightly pourable, like  the middle ground between batter and dough. Separate into two containers, and in one, add a few drops yellow food coloring and just one drop red. Place both containers in the freezer for about 20 minutes.

Grease a mini muffin pan and spoon a heaping spoonful of the white “dough” into as many cups as possible. Add a a smaller spoonful (the “yolk”) of the yellow “dough” on top of each. Cover with plastic wrap and let firm up in the freezer for another 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the chocolate (I used a 24 oz bag of semi-sweet) in a microwave safe bowl with the coconut oil in 10 second intervals, stirring in between each until chocolate is finally melted.

Once the “dough” in the muffin pan is firm, remove it from the freezer and prepare a large sheet of waxed paper near the bowl of melted chocolate. Remove an “egg” from the pan, and form it into an egg shape before quickly dipping it in the chocolate and placing it on the wax paper. Repeat with each egg. You may need to do it in small intervals as the dough starts to warm up and becomes stick again (if this happens, but the pan back in the freezer for a couple of minutes.) Make sure the chocolate coating is thick enough that the filling won’t ooze through once at room temperature- you may need to dip a couple of times even after the chocolate has hardened for this reason. You can also add fun designs with a toothpick while the chocolate is still slightly soft.

See? A little messy, but SO WORTH IT. Enjoy!

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Strawberries and Cream French Toast

Happy Valentine’s Day!!!!

Are you spreading the love today? How about starting with breakfast? Spread it with some delicious homemade jam and cream. There’s a reason they say a way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. And in my opinion, that’s not exclusive to men. Just sayin’.

As I said before, I hope your day is a tad saucier than mine. I have a paper due tomorrow. SCORE. Seriously, professor, WHERE IS THE LOVE?

Well, I guess there’s nothing like cutesy heart food to cheer me up. And I hope it makes you smile as well.

Strawberries and Cream French Toast

¼ package silken lite tofu

¾ cup almond milk

2 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp vanilla extract

pinch of salt

pinch of stevia

2 slices whole wheat bread

walnut cream

strawberry jam

Blend tofu, almond milk, cinnamon, vanilla, salt, and stevia in blender until smooth. Pour into a bowl and dip the slices of bread in the mixture until coated and soaked. Heat skillet over medium heat and spray with a bit of cooking oil. Place slices on skillet and cook evenly on each side, until bread is crispier and no longer soggy. Remove from skillet. Swirl walnut cream and strawberry jam onto one of the slices. If desired, cut out heart shape in the other slice and place on top, or just place on top whole. Serve and enjoy!

Spread a little love today. Happy Valentine’s Day to you and yours!

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Filed under Breakfast, Eat, Gluten Free, Holidays

Cookie Monster

The presents have been assembled and wrapped, and the treats have all been made…

So without further ado, I would like to introduce you to the cookie platter table that will be making its debut tomorrow:

By platter…

Cookie Platter #1:

  1. Pistachio Amaretto Bars (adapted from Food Gal)
  2. Seven Layer Cookies (family recipe)
  3. Alfajores (Dulce De Leche Sandwich Cookies) (from Saveur)
  4. Toffee Diamonds (from Gourmet Magazine, 2009)
  5. Shortbread (family recipe)
  6. Lebkuchen Pretzels (my own recipe)

Cookie Platter #2:

  1. Lemon Poppyseed Cookies
  2. Cranberry White Chocolate Chip Cookies
  3. Sambuca Cookies (from Gourmet Magazine, 1999)
  4. Chocolate Hugs Thumbprints (family recipe)
  5. Bon Bon Cookies (family recipe)
  6. Snickerdoodles (from How Sweet It Is)
  7. Sour Cream Cookies (family recipe)
  8. Toffee and Bark Platter:
  1. English Toffee (adapted from several recipes across the internet)
  2. Cinnamon Granola Bark
  3. Black and White Coconut Bark (family recipe)
  4. Crack Toffee Bark
  5. Salted Caramel Bark (my own recipe)

Fudge Platter:

  1. Maple Candy
  2. Mocha Coconut Fudge (from How Sweet It Is)
  3. Chocolate Fudge (family recipe)
  4. Spiked Eggnog Fudge
  5. White Peppermint Fudge
  6. Brown Butter Fudge (my own recipe)

BAM. Done. And someone will have to forklift me out of here on December 26th.

Happy last minute baking and cooking!

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Cinnamon Granola Bark

Meet the Hippie of Christmas treats.

I love love love this because it’s a more delicate kind of bark but the flavors are so nice. It reminds me of yogurt and granola. Cinnamon-y perfection. And it’s vegan! And if you want, gluten free!

Cinnamon Granola Bark

24 oz. white chocolate chips (vegan if necessary)

1 tbsp ground cinnamon

2 cups granola (your choice! The kind I used was honey almond and it was fabulous)

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spray with a bit of cooking spray. Gently melt white chocolate chips in intervals in the microwave or over a double boiler until almost completely melted. Remove from heat and stir in cinnamon until smooth. Spread about half of the mixture in a thin layer over the baking sheet. Sprinkle granola throughout. Pour the remaining chocolate/cinnamon mixture over the baking sheet and spread so that it covers most of the granola. Let set in the fridge or in a cool place (I put it outside on the back porch).

Peace, love, and granola.

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Spiked Eggnog Fudge

I make like 15 kinds of fudge for Christmas.

Why not? It’s easy to make, you can try any flavor profile that you set your mind to (this might be next on my list), and makes a great gift. If you want to share, that is.

I probably won’t bore you with anymore fudge recipes after this one, though I’ve made a couple more in addition to peppermint fudge and the one I’m about to show you. You will get a glimpse when I show you the final cookie platter though. Maybe it will be a preview for next year?!

One of the best parts of this recipe is that it is not kid friendly. More for you. With a healthy dose of rum, these bring the party.

Naughty or nice? Both.

Spiked Eggnog Fudge

1 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk

24 oz (about 4 cups) white chocolate chips

1 tbsp vanilla extract

3 tbsp dark rum

1 tbsp ground nutmeg

1 tsp ground cloves

1 tsp cinnamon

Pour milk and white chocolate into heavy small saucepan. Heat over very low heat, stirring constantly and scraping with a rubber spatula to be sure that the chocolate isn’t sticking and burning. Continue until white chocolate chips are almost completely melted. Remove from heat and stir until completely melted and smooth. Stir in extracts, rum, and spices until combined. Pour into a 10 x 9 inch pan lined with greased aluminum foil. Let set in the fridge or freezer until firm before slicing into cubes.

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Crack Toffee Bark

Okay, I feel like the content of my blog lately may warrant a little disclaimer.

No worries, The Pursuit of Hippieness is not changing over from a healthy lifestyle blog to “Desserts Only”. There’s just an abundance of more indulgent recipes this time of year because, let’s face it: it’s the perfect time to indulge!

And trust me, this is worth every calorie.

It’s a kind of everything-but-the-kitchen-sink recipe. But everything works together AMAZINGLY. Salty, sweet, caramel-y, nutty, chocolatey. A.k.a perfection. There’s a reason why I named it “Crack”… it’s ridiculously addictive.

We’ll be back to regularly scheduled [healthier] programming soon enough. In the meantime, soak in the season.

Crack Toffee Bark

2 cups pretzels broken into small pieces

2 cups pieces of peanut butter cups

1/2 cup white sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 1/2 tsp corn syrup

1 cup butter (or Earth Balance)

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp salt

24 oz. semi sweet chocolate chips (tempered if you would like)

Line a large baking sheet with greased parchment paper. Disperse pretzel pieces and peanut butter cup pieces into a square area.

In a heavy saucepan, gently heat butter until melted. Mix sugars and corn syrup in a separate bowl. Add this mixture to the saucepan when butter has melted. Add 2 tbsp water, and stir with wooden spoon or plastic spatula until sugars have dissolved completely. Raise heat to medium high, and clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pot. Stir constantly to make sure the butter and sugars do not separate, and continue to scrap down the sides of the pot so the sugar does not crystalize. Once the temperature reaches 260, lower the heat and continue cooking and stirring until the temperature reaches 300. Remove from heat immediately, and add vanilla and salt. Stir in, and pour toffee over the pretzels and peanut butter cups and spread.

If you’re having trouble spreading it thin, you can pop it in the oven for a few minutes at 400 degrees. Be careful not to let it burn!

Let cool completely until hardened.

Temper chocolate, or just melt over a double boiler. Spread half of it over the top of the toffee/pretzel/peanut butter cup mixture.

Let set, and cover with greased parchment paper. Place a cutting board on top and grab hold of the cookie sheet. Carefully flip. Peel the parchment paper off of the bottom of the toffee (which will now be facing up). Spread the remainder of chocolate, and let set.

Break into pieces and keep in an airtight container in the fridge for 7-10 days.

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Maple Candy

Aaaaandddd…

LET THE HOLIDAY BAKING BEGIN!!!!

I can actually hardly contain myself; I’m just so excited!!!

Before I delve right in, a look at my breakfast this morning…

Another festive choice… Eggnog Smoothie in a Bowl! Greek yogurt, almond milk, silken tofu for extra protein, sweetened with stevia and flavored with vanilla, a drop of almond extract and a tsp of ground nutmeg. SO YUMMY. And in my Christmas bowl, obviously.

I literally thought to myself as I uploaded this, “OOOO I should have a holiday themed Breakfast of the Day for every day this month!!” but then I realized that would be reeeeealllyy difficult to come up with on a daily basis, especially towards the end. So maybe every few days or a breakfast of the week? What do you all think? Regardless, if you like seeing my breakfast posts I’m happy to post it every day, even if it’s not a new recipe or mix.

Moving on…

Yes! Holiday Baking!

I thought this would be a great inaugural post for the season since in theory, it’s quite simple… one ingredient. And a tutorial in candy making is perfect for this time of year! Trust me, it’s super impressive when you offer up molded candies at your holiday party; not to mention they make beautiful gifts. However, candy making can be very tricky, so this is a great introductory recipe.

While you do only need one ingredient for this recipe, a candy thermometer is completely necessary. They’re like $7 at places like Michael’s or even Kmart, and they make your life that much easier. You can also use them for things like melting chocolate and other kinds of baking. Molds are also helpful and will make your candy look very pretty, but you can definitely make do without them. Still, the plastic mold I got was literally $2 at Michael’s.

It might take a couple tries to become a pro at making these candies. You do have to work quickly, but once you get the hang of it, it’s like the easiest recipe ever. So go for it!

Maple Sugar Candy

2 cups maple syrup

In a large heavy-bottomed saucepan, bring the maple syrup to a boil over medium heat stirring occasionally.

Make sure the pan is deep because the syrup will foam up a lot. Boil until syrup reaches 238 degrees F (110 degrees C) on a candy thermometer.

Remove IMMEDIATELY from heat and cool to 175 degrees F (80 degrees C) without stirring (5-10 minutes or so).

Stir mixture rapidly with a wooden spoon for about until the color turns lighter and more opaque, like caramel. As SOON as this begins to happen (and it happens VERY QUICKLY), pour into lightly greased candy molds or a parchment paper lined pan. Work very quickly as the mixture will become very thick very quickly. If using a pan (not molds), score into squares while the hardening syrup is still a little soft.

Set aside to cool. Once cool, unmold candy. Store in airtight containers up to 1 month.

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Filed under Eat, Gluten Free, Holidays, Sweets