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.
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.
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.
I thought about the components and the process of non-vegan caramel. Heat the sugar/syrup with a bit of butter, and when it’s hot enough, remove from heat and add some cream. It just had to work.
So I tested my academic approach and did not exactly get the reaction I expected. But accidents happen, and this happens to be a good one!
Basically, the hot syrup and the creamer didn’t have the intense reaction that cream and sugar do in the non-vegan recipe (usually it foams up and you have to whisk pretty vigorously). Instead, the creamer kinda just combined itself gently as I stirred. I was worried that this would affect the texture of the caramel. Wrong! It’s a little thicker than regular caramel syrup, but a quick heating up in the microwave softens it up a bit. And I personally like how thick it is when refrigerated- it makes a VERY yummy spread! It tastes great too- proof that dates really are an amazing, natural sugar substitute. I’ll call it a success!
Vegan Caramel Sauce
1 container dates soaked in water for a couple hours
1 tbsp Earth Balance
2 tbsp non-dairy creamer (I used So Delicious coconut creamer, but I think non-dairy milk would work fine, too)
After the dates are done soaking, put them (with the water) in a food processor and blend until smooth. Add to a saucepan, add the Earth Balance, and heat until it starts to boil, stirring constantly. Lower heat and let simmer, continuing to stir, for 3 minutes. Remove from heat, and whisk in the creamer. Use immediately or let cool (I think it tastes great refrigerated!).
Drizzle it over ice cream, use as a spread, or in a latte:
Salted Caramel Mocha Latte
[Sorry I’m not sorry, Starbucks]
2 tbsp cocoa powder
stevia to taste
1 tbsp vegan caramel
1/4-1/2 cup almond milk or non-dairy creamer (amount depends on taste)
mini chocolate chips, vegan caramel, and course sea salt to garnish
Mix the cocoa powder, stevia, and caramel with milk in your coffee cup. Fill the rest with hot coffee, and drizzle vegan caramel on top. Sprinkle with mini chocolate chips and a pinch of sea salt.
I was 9, almost 10; an excited 4th grader who was almost double digits.
I was one of the first kids pulled from school, so when I was called to the main office to go home with my mom for an “appointment” I was confused but giddy about the unexpected day off. Me and a few other neighborhood kids walked home with our parents, who told us at first that we were having a spontaneous continuation of the block party we had the previous weekend.
Skipping home, one of my neighbors ran up and told me that her dad had just told her what really happened. “A plane crashed into the World Trade Center!” Used to hearing them referred to as the Twin Towers, I had to ask what the World Trade Center was.
It’s funny how that part is so vivid, but honestly, the rest of the day was a blur as my 9 year old brain tried to comprehend the weight of the tragedy of what was unfolding. I remember the TV being on for hours. I remember my mom beginning to cry, spurring me to do the same really because I hated (as I still do) to see her upset. I think the first moment that I began to grasp the devastation was the first glimpse I caught of my father’s face when he made it home from the city late that afternoon (he still won’t talk about that day).
I owe so much to a decision that my mother made that day: to take my siblings and I on a hike that took us to the highest viewpoint of all the trails in the park near our home; a view that, on such a crystal clear day as that Tuesday, would all but guarantee a perfect Manhattan skyline, the Towers always the easiest to make out. Instead, nothing but haze and smoky plumes. Another parent might have wanted to shield their children from such a view, but my mom understood that by having us witness it, no matter how far away, with our own eyes, we would never, ever forget just how terrible that day was and what and who were lost. From that clear memory, my understanding of it has never waned. Pulling from a 9 year old’s mind, I think that’s pretty amazing. And since then, I’ve made it a tradition to make that trek every year.
Life goes on, and we have rebuilt the city and ourselves. But regardless, we can never forget. I know I will never ever let myself.
In the meantime, we can continue to make new, beautiful memories with our families and loved ones, because these memories are the ones that help us to heal, and we know now that we can’t afford to waste a second.
Cranberry White Chocolate Chip Cookies
¾ cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
¾ cup brown sugar, packed
½ cup rolled oats
2/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
½ cup butter, softened
2 tbsp soy milk
1 tsp vanilla
½ tsp almond extract
½ cup white chocolate chips
½ cup dried cranberries
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix the flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and oats in a large bowl. Add the butter, one bit at a time, and combine with a pastry cutter or by hand until fine crumbs start to combine a little.
Add the soymilk and extracts, and combine. Add the white chocolate and cranberries and combine until evenly distributed. Drop in rounded tablespoons onto parchment paper lined cookie sheet.
Bake for 7 minutes, until edges are very slightly browned. Let cool on cookie sheet before transferring to cooling racks.
But the truth is, it is perfectly healthy to indulge sometimes. It’s “happy food”, after all. But enough justification from me… these pictures should do that by themselves.
Because these are RIDICULOUS.
An oreo in wrapped in cookie dough baked in a chewy, fudgey brownie? If you question the deliciousness of this, I might have to question your sanity. My only warning: when you make these, you won’t be able to get rid of people for days.