06 April 2012

Vegan desserts are the best on earth

I have a major sweet tooth. Always have and always will. So when I switched to a vegan diet I sought out every junk food alternative I could find to avoid feeling deprived. For a brief period I swear I lived off of Go Max Go candy bars (jokerz is a million times more tasty than it’s dairy-laden counterpart snickers) and Sweets from the Earth cookies and cakes.

This quickly proved very unkind to my wallet and waistline, so I vowed to learn to make my own delicious vegan desserts at home. I picked up a copy of Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World by the dynamic duo Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero, and locked myself in the kitchen for a weekend. I was a little apprehensive at first, being as far from Betty Crocker as they come, but it turned out to be a breeze once I learned what swaps to make. It’s really as simple as using Earth Balance instead of butter, flax seeds in place of eggs, and the best vegan chocolate chips I’ve ever tasted courtesy of Enjoy Life brand!

The wide array of vegan desserts that can be made are endless and bookstores are filled with entire cookbooks devoted to satisfying a sweet tooth. My friend David, who I met while acting in a production of Norm Foster’s Looking has made it a tradition to make chocolate chip cookies on opening night of a show. To my delight these cookies were gluten-free and vegan and were the best darn chocolate chip cookies I have ever eaten!!

 He has generously offered to share his recipe with all of you. I plan on keeping these on hand so the next time someone raises an eyebrow skeptically when told vegan desserts are the best on earth, I’ll have undeniable proof!

 Gluten-Free Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies: (Recipe by David Straus) 

2 tbsp hot water
1 tbsp flax meal
½ cup vegan shortening or soft (room temp) coconut oil
4 tbsp unrefined sugar
4 tbsp sucanat or brown sugar
½ tsp vanilla
1 cup
2 tbsp gluten free flour
½ tsp baking soda
1 cup Enjoy Life brand chocolate chips 
Small amount of gluten free flour to dip cookie batter scoop into

DIRECTIONS: Boil water Mix 1 tablespoon of flax meal with tablespoons of hot water, set aside (this is the egg substitute) Using a pastry cutter mix: -Half a cup of vegan shortening or soft coconut oil -4 tablespoons unrefined sugar -4 tablespoons sucanat or brown sugar -½ teaspoon of vanilla Stir together with flax/water mixture Sift these dry ingredients into mixture: -1 cup and 2 tablespoons of quinoa flour (other non-gluten possibilities: amaranth, rice, buckwheat, millet. I generally mix two kinds together.) -1/2 teaspoon of baking soda Mix in 1 cup of dark chocolate chips Preheat oven 375 degrees Spoon cookie batter onto greased cookie sheets (using shortening or coconut oil), lightly flattening each scoop using the back of the spoon dipped into flour is best--dipping the utensil in floor keeps the batter from sticking. It’s about a tablespoon of batter for each cookie. Cook for 5 minutes then take the cookies out and let them sit on the cookie sheet for 5 minutes. Please note: when the cookies are starting to brown around the edges, they are starting to burn. They will appear undercooked, but they will finish cooking while sitting on the hot cookie sheet. Transfer to a wire rack to cool for 5 more minutes. If the wonderful aroma of fresh baked cookies is too tempting to wait, then dig in! Just have a nice cool glass of unsweetened almond milk on hand to wash them down.

Jessica Grosdanof | Bio | Website
Toronto, Canada Jessica is a Toronto based actress who has been working in film, television, and theatre for the past seven years. She has recently taken a leap of faith and co-founded Empty Suitcase Theatre, a company that strives to produce shows that put strong women front and centre. She is a proud Canadian, vegan, and crazy cat lady.

Photo credit: Andrea Nicola