peach crumble

Peaches, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways. Fresh off the vine. Rustic peach galette. Drunken peaches au sirop d’erable. And I could go on. Add this peach crumble coffee cake to the list to celebrate one of summer’s finest, tastiest, juiciest fruits.

For the cake:

1 cup soy milk

1 tsp apple cider vinegar

1/2 cup cane sugar

1/3 cup melted coconut oil

1 tsp vanilla

1 1/4 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp sea salt

1 cup diced ripe peaches

For the crumble topping:

3/4 cup unbleached, all-purpose flour

1/3 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

1/8 tsp sea salt

4 to 5 tbsps solid coconut milk

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil a 8- or 9- inch square or circular baking dish.

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, vigorously whisk together the apple cider vinegar and the soy milk until the mixture is frothy. Allow it to sit for a few moments. Mix in the sugar, coconut oil, and vanilla.

In a large-sized mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until they are just combined. Fold in the diced peaches and pour the batter into the baking dish.

To make the crumble topping, place the flour, sugar, walnuts, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in a small mixing bowl. Work in the oil with your fingers, one tablespoon at a time. Continue working until large crumbs form.

Distribute the crumble topping over the coffee cake. Bake for 35 – 40 minutes, or until the topping is nicely browned and a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.

banana bread

It’s Easter and Easter screams chocolate and baking and special treats. This is Bekah’s almost vegan chocolate chip banana bread, that she got from Food52 who got it from fiveandspice. It’s super tasty and is almost vegan. More macrobiotic which, depending on who you listen to, allows eggs once/month. I figure Easter is as good a time a month as any to make that egg exception. So cut me a slice and bring it on. And let’s toast spring, new beginnings, rebirth, and daughters who bake really well. I know what I’ll be saying thanks for today

3 very ripe bananas, mashed well

1 large egg, at room temperature (the temp here is important because a cold egg will congeal the oil/butter

2 tablespoons sour cream (or rice / soy yogurt)

2 ounces shot of espresso (or absurdly strong coffee)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon instant espresso granules

1/3 cup melted coconut oil

3/4 cups granulated sugar

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour (whole wheat pastry flour would also work well)

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon sea salt

Heat your oven to 350°F and grease a 9X5-inch loaf pan. In a medium-large mixing bowl, stir the mashed bananas together with the egg, sour cream, espresso, and vanilla extract, until everything is well combined. Stir in the instant espresso granules.

Next, stir in the melted oil until it is completely incorporated. Follow this by stirring in the sugar until everything is well mixed.

In a small bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Dump this mixture into the wet ingredients and stir just until there are no dry streaks left. The batter will still be lumpy. Scrape the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake in the oven until a tester inserted into the loaf comes out clean, about one hour.

Remove from the oven, allow to cool in the loaf pan for 10 to 15 minutes, then gently run a knife around the edge of the bread and turn it out of the pan. Finish cooling the bread on a cooling rack.

chocolate chip cookies

August 18, 2013


I got this recipe from oh she glows who got it from someone who got it from someone who got it from someone else. The one thing I love about these food blogs is that these ideas – fantabulous ideas like vegan chocolate chip cookies – are like seeds being scattered across the planet taking root in the unlikeliest of places. Only to grow and be scattered once again. Like a dandelion. In fact, we got the tip from Andrew’s project manager who hails from the UK but is working here in Toronto bringing vegan chocolate chip cookies that his girlfriend made to work. I never would have imagined – back in the day when I was cooking up a batch of the non-vegan version every week to share with friends, crushes, and other motely sorts – that such a thing would be possible. But possible it is now in 2013. And you have to love it. So thanks to oh she glows and to the long list of others who have tried these, perfected them, passed them on, and so on and so on.

cookie dough

1 flax egg: 1 tbsp ground flax seed and 3 tbsps water

1/2 cup earth balance veggie shortening

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup cane sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

3/4 cup all purpose flour

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Mix the ground flax seed and water and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl blend the shortening and two sugars until well mixed and fluffy. Add the vanilla and flax seed “egg.” Blend well. Add soda, salt, flours, and cinnamon. Blend until well mixed. Stir in the dark chocolate chips.

Scoop dough in cookie-sized portions onto a baking sheet lined with parchment. Bake cookies for 8 – 10 minutes until nicely browned. Cool on a wire cooling rack and watch them disappear.


chocolate rice crispy

My childhood was filled with Rice Krispies squares made by my mother, my grandmother, friends’ mothers, the camp cook, school-fundraisers, church ladies – they were really all-pervasive in their ooey-gooey-sugar-gelatin-corn-syrup kind of way. Well, thanks to Food52 they’ve had an upgrade that’s as pleasing as punch. In this version, they are filled with natural super foods like maple syrup, almond butter, and organic dark chocolate. Who can argue with that? Or resist? Or not take a second one? Or try to hide the last one in the cupboard so no one else will find it? They are lip-licking good and healthy to boot. Try these for the kids’ next lemonade stand – now that it’s spring – and you’ll have a line-up down the street.

1/2 cup maple syrup

1/2 cup brown rice syrup

1/2 cup almond butter

1/2 cup organic bittersweet chocolate, chopped

2 tbsps coconut oil

1/4 tsp sea salt

4 cups rice crispies

2 tbsps coconut oil

1/2 cup organic bittersweet chocolate, chopped

1/4 cup toasted sliced almonds

1/4 tsp flakey sea salt

Line an 8×8 square pan with a sling of parchment paper. In a large saucepan, bring the maple and rice syrups to a rolling boil for 1 minute, stirring frequently with a heatproof spatula or wooden spoon (be careful not to let it boil over). Remove from the heat and stir in the nut butter, 1/2 cup chocolate, 2 tablespoons coconut oil, and 1/4 teaspoon fine salt until everything is smooth and the chocolate is melted. Fold in the rice cereal and pack the mixture firmly and evenly into the lined pan (damp fingers can help here).

In a double boiler, or a metal bowl over a pot of boiling water, melt the remaining 1/2 cup of chocolate and 2 tablespoons coconut oil together over very low heat, stirring constantly just until melted. Pour the chocolate mixture over the rice mixture, spreading it smooth. Sprinkle the nuts and flaky salt over the top.

Let the bars set at cool room temperature (about 2 hours) or in the refrigerator (about 1 hour) until firm. Lift the sling out of the pan, trim away the edges if you like, and cut into 16 squares.

chocolate sea salt tart

March 10, 2013


Did you know that chocolate is considered  a brain stimulator and cough preventor, and that it has anti-diarrhoeal and anticancer agents? Some also say that it’s an aphrodisiac. The Aztecs and Maya must have know all of this as they have been using chocolate in food and drinks since about 1100 B.C. Chocolate played a special role in both Maya and Aztec royal and religious events offering chocolate to the deities and serving chocolate drinks during sacred ceremonies.

That’s what we did last night for my mom’s 75th birthday – well, the serving chocolate at a ceremony; not the offering chocolate to the deities. Although we probably should have because it was so delicious and rich and other-worldly. I found this recipe in Joseph Shuldiner’s Pure Vegan cookbook – it calls for lots of good quality chocolate and packs a massive punch. Beware, this is more like a truffle than a torte so cut very thin slices and feed the masses. It goes a long way and puts a satisfied smile on each and every face.


Cocoa Tart Shell

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup powdered sugar

2 tbsps cocoa powder

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 cup cold vegan shortening, diced

1 – 3 tbsps ice water or more as needed


1 1/4 pounds good quality dark chocolate, coarsely chopped, including some espresso chocolate if you can find it

2 1/2 cups unsweetened plain soymilk

1 tsp salt

Fleur de sel for garnish


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a food processor, combine the flour, powdered sugar, cocoa powder, salt and shortening and pulse until the mixture is evenly blended. Add the water 1 tablespoon at a time while continuing to pulse. Stop as soon as the dough starts to come together. Test by pinching a bit of the dough with your fingers. If it sticks together, it’s ready. If not, add more water.

Transfer the dough directly into a 9-inch tart pan and gently press it into the pan. Begin by building up the sides to form a 1/4 inch thick wall of dough. Then distribute the remaining dough evenly over the bottom of the pan and press firmly so the dough is packed down. Prick the bottom of the tart shell with a fork 12 to 15 times to prevent the crust from puffing up during baking. Cover the crust with a clean tea towel and refrigerate for 15 minutes.

Line the tart shell with parchment paper and spread pie weights or dried beans over the paper, pushing the bulk of the weights to the edges of the shell. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove the weights and bake for 4 to 5 minutes, until the bottom of the shell is firm and dry. Remove from the oven and let rest while you prepare the filling.

For the filling, put the chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl. In a small saucepan, heat the soy milk over medium heat until it begins to steam and almost comes to a boil. Add the salt and stir until dissolved. Pour the soy milk over the chocolate and let stand for 1 minute, then stir until the mixture is smooth and the chocolate is entirely melted.

Pour the filling into the baked tart shell and use an offset spatula to spread it evenly. Give the tart a gentle but firm rap on the counter to settle the filling and remove any air bubbles. Let the tart cool to room temperature, which should take about an hour. When it’s completely cool, sprinkle the fleur de sel evenly over the top and serve.

raspberry thumbprint cookies

January 12, 2013


My friend Quinn added these cookies to her holiday repertoire and festive they are. But now it’s January, holidays are over, and we’re all getting over our holiday hangovers. But with these cookies – packed full of almonds, honey and flax – you need not worry. They are tasty, nutritious, light, and surprisingly simple in all their (almost) vegan glory. They do have honey in them which, if you are a hard-and-fast-vegan, you might not like. But find happy honey where the bees are treated right or substitute with agave nectar. The original recipe comes from Andrea Sarjeant who is a holistic nutritionist based out of Toronto. She also makes them with ½ teaspoon of ground ginger and peach or apricot jam instead of raspberry. Whatever tickles your fancy.

1 cup almond meal (or almond flour)

1/4 cup almond butter

3 tbsp raw unpasteurized honey

1 tbsp ground flax

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

½ tsp cinnamon

Naturally sweetened jam

Preheat oven to 350. In a large bowl, combine the almond meal, almond butter, honey, flax and cinnamon. You may need to get your hands in there to thoroughly mix everything! Test the dough’s stickiness by forming a small ball. If it’s too crumbly and won’t hold together, add one to two tablespoons of water.

Using a tablespoon to measure, scoop out some dough and form it into a ball. When the ball looks tight, put on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and make an indent with your thumb. This is where you’ll put the jam. Repeat with the rest of the dough, then add the jam to each indent.

Bake in the oven until the cookies are browned, around 10-12 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool before eating, as the jam will be very, very hot.

Makes around 18 cookies.

gingerbread cookies

December 20, 2012


This recipe is from the fabulous food blog FOOD 52. I’m re-posting it in its entirety, including their photo (full disclosure) because a) it looks super yummy and b) my life is crazy busy this week and, alas, it’s going to be a race to the finish to make it to Christmas morning. We all need short-cuts once in awhile. And I’ll add a c) which is that I’m happy to promote, share, and support other creative people in their endeavours to bring you healthy, happy, delicious recipes to enrich your life. I’m dreaming of making these with my kiddies over the holidays after a long winter’s nap. What could be better than that?

2 2/3 cups all purpose flour (plus extra for rolling)

1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup molasses

1/2 cup melted coconut oil

1/2 cup demerara sugar, coconut sugar, or evaporated cane juice

1/4 cup almond milk, soy milk, or rice milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees farenheit.

Sift dry ingredients together into a large mixing bowl. Whisk together the oil, molasses, sugar, milk, and vanilla extract. Mix wet ingredients into dry, using a whisk, an electric hand mixer, or your hands, till uniform. Flatten the dough into a disk and refrigerate, wrapped in saran, for 30 minutes (or overnight).

Dust a clean surface with flour. Roll the dough out till it’s a scant 1/4 inch thick. Cut into desired shapes. Bake cookies for 8 minutes, or until the edges are just browning. Let cool before serving.


There’s a lot of stuff going down in our little abode … teenage angst and sadness and coming to terms with life and love and things like that. What’s a mom to do? Not a whole lot you can do really. I once read a book by a well-known family therapist that said the best thing a parent can do is make sure the door is always open and there are chocolate chip cookies awaiting. So, that’s what I’m doing – making chocolate peanut butter timbales laced with icing sugar and gold flakes filled with love and understanding and unconditional support.


4 ounces bittersweet baking chocolate, coarsely chopped

1/2 cup unsweetened soy milk

2/3 cup Kahlua or other coffee liqueur

1/2 cup chunky peanut butter

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup powdered sugar, plus more for dusting

1 1/2 tsps baking powder

1/3 organic cocoa powder

1/2 sea salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Put the chocolate in a medium sized mixing bowl. In a small saucepan, heat soy milk until it just begins to steam and almost comes to a boil. Pour the soymilk over the chocolate, then add the Kahlua, peanut butter, and vanilla. Let stand for 1 minute, then stir until the mixture is smooth and the chocolate is entirely melted.

Sift the flour, powdered sugar, baking soda, cocoa, and salt together into a large bowl. Add the chocolate mixture and stir gently until just combined. Transfer the mixture to a pastry bag without a tip or a resealable plastic bag with one corner snipped off.

Pipe the batter into timbale moulds, filling each about 2/3 full. Bake for 15 minutes, until the tops are firm but the inside is still slightly soft (test with a skewer or toothpick, it should come out a bit messy and gooey). Transfer the moulds to a wire rack and let cool for about 5 minutes, then invert the moulds and let the timbales cool completely, about 15 minutes. Dust the timbales with powdered sugar and, if you really want to whoop it up, some gold flakes. Serve with soy ice cream.

This recipe is a slightly amended take on Joseph Shuldiner’s Chocolate Tahini Timbales from his new cookbook, Pure Vegan.

Breakthrough!!! I’ve found vegan baking a little difficult. It’s been the one transition that’s been harder than the rest. I guess it’s because when you are brought up in a house with  a mother, grandmother, aunts, and sisters who are all super-bakers of the egg, butter, and sugar sort, it’s a big shift to coconut oil and xantham gum. But yesterday I was wanting to make a special cake for a special baby shower and opened up Angelica’s Home Kitchen from the Big Apple and found this fantabulous lemon poppyseed cake. And it worked. And it was delicious. And it was full of super foods like poppyseeds and maple syrup. And I ate it last night as dessert. And I ate it this morning as breakfast. And everyone loves it. Crumbs and all. So mark this day, this 17th day of September 2011, as my v:baking breakthrough day and celebrate by pulling out your mixing bowls. Turn on that oven, get out that loaf pan, and bake away.

2  cups pastry flour

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tbsp plus 1 tsp baking powder

2 tsps baking soda

1/3 cup poppy seeds

1 tsp sea salt

1/2 cup lemon juice (juice from approx 2 lemons)

1/3 cup water

1 cup apple cider or apple juice

1 2/3 cups maple syrup

2/3 cup olive oil or sunflower oil

2 tsps vanilla extract

4 tbsps lemon zest (zest from approx 2 lemons)

1 cup super fine sugar

Juice from 1 lemon

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly brush 8 x 12 baking pan with oil. Add several tablespoons of flour and shake to coat evenly. Invert pans and knock against the counter to rid them of excess flour.

Whisk the flour, baking power, baking soda, salt, and poppy seeds together in a medium-size mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the lemon and apple juices, maple syrup, oil, vanilla, and zest. Using a wooden spoon, stir the wet mixture into the dry to form a batter. Do not overmix. Transfer batter to the baking pan and bake on the middle rack of the oven for 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 30 minutes before removing.

Meanwhile, mix together the super fine sugar and lemon juice. Once cake is removed from the pan, place on a serving dish and drizzle with the lemon sugar icing.

Strawberries and cherry tomatoes? Sound like strange bedfellows I know. But these two fruits of summer make exquisitely sweet partners in this scrumptious salad. Good for a starter  or a dessert, they come together in a marriage bed of mint, basil, and balsamic vinegar. My neighbour, Karen, gave me some of her home-grown violet jasper tomatoes which I used, but experiment with any cherry tomato and take full advantage of summer’s best flavours. Together. Forever.

Handful of strawberries, halved

Handful of cherry tomatoes, halved

2 tsps aged balsamic vinegar

2 tsps fresh squeezed lemon or orange juice

small bunch of mint and basil leaves, minced

twist of pepper from the pepper mill

Mix the strawberries and tomatoes together in a bowl. Toss with balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, minced herbs, and pepper. Serve before or after dinner with a nice crisp white wine.