Spring and Easter Sweets and Treats!

Some of the things that I enjoy most about Spring are that we have more daylight, warmer weather, fruit trees and flowers in bloom, and Easter. In celebration of Easter or the magical wonders of the Spring season, I want to share a few of my favorite sweets and treats that have been proven to please everyone, vegans and non-vegans alike!

The first dessert is my husband’s favorite.  It is reminiscent of a New York-style cheesecake– my Vanilla Bean “Cheese”cake with Mixed Berry Compote.  It looks sinfully delicious and, yet, there is nothing really sinful about it.  Unlike the original, cholesterol-ridden version of this “cheese” cake, my version is vegan, gluten-free, and raw.  It does not contain any cholesterol and its powerful vitamins, minerals, and enzymes still remain intact.  Eating a slice of this is like eating a healthy handful of nuts and fruit.

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Another favorite of mine is my Nutty Creamy Chocolate Cake.  My non-vegan friends are awestruck when they take a bite into this silky smooth piece of deliciousness– they cannot believe there is not one drop of dairy in this luscious, creamy cake.  I have been told many times that this tastes like a decadent truffle cake.  At some point, I may even change the name to “Chocolate Truffle Cake” since it is so fitting.

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These Dreamy Creamy Vegan Berry and Vanilla “Cheese”cake Tartlets are the size of cupcakes, and they are even better than cupcakes.  The combination of the vanilla and the berry cream with the sweet date and nut crust in these tartlets is incredible.  I gave these as gifts to some friends who aren’t vegan, and they raved about how amazingly delicious they are.
photo-117As you can probably tell from my favorite sweets so far, raw vegan cashew “cheese”cakes, are high up on my list.  I have yet to meet one person who doesn’t appreciate the silky smooth, decadent, and delicious vegan “cheese”cake!  This next recipe is basically a raw vegan cashew-pistachio “cheese”cake with a whisper of rose and kiss of cardamom.  I made this beauty, filled with popular Middle Eastern flavors: rose, pistachio, and cardamom– for my in-laws who are Persian-American.  They not only were impressed by the aesthetics, but loved the flavors and textures.  I call this a Creamy Pistachio Rose Dreamcake.

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I’m a big lover of chocolate, so of course, I need to add a chocolate brownie to my list of favorites.  These are my favorite Black Bean Brownies.  If you make them for your loved ones, play the guessing game.  Have them try your vegan and gluten-free brownie first, then tell them to guess what the secret ingredient is!  Best served chilled as a stand-alone treat or served with a scoop of vanilla ice “cream” for brownie a la mode.
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My next favorite are Raw Goji-, Cranberry, and Coconut Truffles.  They are the quickest to make, and they go fast–either in your fridge at home (by you) or displayed in front of a crowd of guests.  These truffles are chewy with the perfect amount of sweetness from coconut, coconut nectar, cranberries and goji berries.  I am shocked that the pickiest of eaters will pick one of these up and go back for seconds and thirds.  These are great to give out as gifts, too, packaged in recycled jars, tied with pretty ribbon.

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Thin Mint Cookies are loved by all.  My friends and family, and my readers who have made them for their families have told me they are even better than the original Girl Scout version.  Within the snappy chocolate coating lays a crisp chocolate mint cookie.  They are minty fresh.  If you and your loved ones enjoy mint and chocolate, you will be in heaven with these cookies!

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My Yayfair Chocolate Candy are a delight, and are a lot of fun to make, too.  This is my vegan version of what used to be one of my favorite nuts and chews candies from See’s Candy Store– the Mayfair candy.  This recipe tastes like the real thing, only it’s not bad for you.  No cholesterol or refined sugar.  It’s simply chocolate candy with dried cherry, walnuts, hemp seeds and vegan date “caramel.”  It’s raw and such a wonderful, guilt-free treat!          IMG_6522

Last but not least, everyone’s favorite, the classic Chocolate Chip Cookie or Chocolate Chai Cookie.  These are easy to make and they are divine.  Amazingly, the texture of these cookies is soft, like a Keebler soft-batch cookie. The key ingredients are the garbanzo flour and coconut sugar– the combination of the two helps achieve its soft, chewy texture.  I love the flavor of the Chocolate Chai Cookie and must warn you that they are addicting.  Since they are so popular among my readers and within my circle of friends and family, I usually give these cookies as gifts.

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I hope this post has given you some good ideas for what to cook up this weekend!  If you haven’t tried any of these sweets and treats, a good time to try them is now!

I love seeing your My Eclectic Kitchen recreations!  Please continue to tag #myeclectickitchen and @yvonne_deliciously_vegan on Instagram, or tag ‘My Eclectic Kitchen’ on Facebook when you post photos of your re-creations!  Who knows, I may feature your post on Instagram and Facebook!

One last thing, if you are interesting in an Instagram shout-out, don’t forget to enter my Instagram Shout-out Contest!  Ends this Friday, April 18th.  Simply:

1) repost any of my photos

2) follow @yvonne_deliciously_vegan and tag #YvonnesShoutoutComp

I hope you are having a wonderful week so far!

In Love and Health,

Yvonne

 

 

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Chocolate Candy With Dried Cherry, Walnut, Hemp Seeds and Vegan Caramel

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In the United States, there is a popular candy store called See’s Candies, which can pretty much be found in any busy shopping mall.  Growing up, my parents would receive many boxes of See’s Candies Assorted Nuts and Chews chocolates for the holidays, hide them, and every so often take a box out for all their six children to enjoy.

Looking back, I can see how being the youngest in my family could have shaped my taste in chocolate candy, specifically See’s Candies chocolates. My sisters, older and bigger than me, would move swiftly toward the chocolate box and strategically choose candies of their choice leaving me with the undesirable ones.  This explains my exuberant passion for the candies that my sisters considered revolting.  For example, just this past holiday season, I noticed that my two favorite candies from See’s Candies happened to be the ones that were left in the box and untouched–Scotchmallows and Mayfair chocolates.  The Scotchmallows are “a layer of caramel with a layer of honey marshmallow covered in rich, dark chocolate.”   The Mayfair chocolates are “creamy soft center with walnuts, cherries and vanilla covered in smooth milk chocolate.”  I don’t quite understand why my sisters find those two flavors undesirable.   To me, they are awfully delicious and fun to eat!  In my pre-vegan days, I would stop in at See’s Candies just to buy one piece of either the Scotchmallow or Mayfair chocolate.  So good!

Most recently, I went to the mall and when I walked past See’s Candies I was reminded of my beloved Mayfair candy.  Since See’s Candies does not offer a vegan variety, I decided to create my own version.  I’m calling it Yayfair because my name starts with a ‘Y’ and I like the word “yay!”   This recipe tastes like the real thing, only it’s not bad for you.  No cholesterol or refined sugar.  It’s simply chocolate candy with dried cherry, walnuts, hemp seeds and vegan date “caramel.”  It’s raw and such a nice, guilt-free treat!

Here’s the recipe. I hope you enjoy it!

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Yayfair Chocolate Candy

Makes 9 – 10 candies

V, GF, GFV, ND, R

Ingredients

Filling:

4 large and soft medjool dates (if not soft, soak in filtered water overnight in the refrigerator and drain the water), pitted

1  1/2 tablespoon almond milk

1/2 tsp almond extract (or vanilla extract, no alcohol)

pinch fine sea salt

1/2 cup dried cherries

1 cup walnuts

2 Tbsp hemp seeds

 

Coating:

7 Tbsp cacao powder

3 Tbsp coconut oil, melted

3 Tbsp cocoa butter, melted

1 Tbsp maple syrup

4 drops liquid Stevia and more, as needed

 

Decoration:

1/4 tsp hemp seeds

 

Directions

1. Place the dates, almond milk, sea salt, and almond extract (or vanilla extract) in the food processor. Process until smoothish, somewhat like caramel. Taste the mixture. Adjust the almond (or vanilla flavor), if you wish.

2. To the food processor, add the walnuts, dried cherries and hemp seeds and pulse a few times. You will still want texture from the nuts and cherries, so be careful not to over-process.

3. a) Scoop mixture into a silicone ice cube tray, adding just enough of the mixture to each mold to make a cube with equal sides. Flatten and level the top with your fingers.

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b) Alternatively, if you don’t have a silicone ice cube tray, line a loaf (bread) pan with parchment, using cooking spray to keep the parchment in place. Add the mixture to half of the pan and flatten, smooth out the top.

4. Place the candies in the freezer until frozen, about 3-4 hours or overnight.

If you are placing the candies in a loaf pan, remove from the freezer after 30 minutes and cut into 9 – 1  1/2 inch cubes, or however many cubes you wish.   Place back in the freezer to freeze completely.

5. When the candies are almost frozen, make the chocolate coating. In a small bowl, mix together all of the coating ingredients and adjust sweetness by either adding more stevia or maple syrup.

6. Prepare for coating the candies with chocolate:

a) Line a small sheet tray (1/4 sheet tray) with parchment paper.

b) Take out a fork and a large spoon to assist you with coating the candies with chocolate.

c) Remove the candies from the freezer and quickly punch out the candies from the silicone ice cube mold.  Alternatively, remove the cubes from the bread pan and parchment.

Note: When you start coating the candies, you will need to move quickly since the frozen candy will freeze the chocolate almost immediately.

7. If you’re right-handed, hold the fork in your left hand (opposite if you’re a lefty). Place the candy on the fork. Hold the spoon with your left hand. Quickly dunk the bottom of the candy in the chocolate. Wipe the bottom with the back of the spoon and very quickly, spoon chocolate all over to coat the candy. Remember, to work quickly or you will see layers of chocolate coating. Quickly, place the candy on the lined sheet pan and sprinkle hemp seeds lightly on top of the candy before the chocolate sets. Repeat until you are done coating the candies with chocolate. If the coating chocolate in the bowl starts to set, gently heat it so it’s easier to work with. If you run out of chocolate, make a little more.

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8. Store in refrigerator to set and until ready to serve.

Enjoy!

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