Vegan since 1975, I decide to answer the question, "What DO you eat?" These posts tell about some meals and recipes my family and I have enjoyed over the years.


Friday, November 25, 2011

Mince Moons

Whether as Mince Pie or Mince Moons, vegans can enjoy this traditional treat with no fear of anything scary lurking in the mix. It is easy to prepare, and, if it lasts, can sit out for several days with no problem. My daughter named the little pies Moons, because they are crescent shaped. A lattice crust is pretty to weave on the Mince Pie.

Filling for One Deep Dish Pie
1 ½ cups – raisins (I used to chop them, but have decided it's not necessary.)
4 – apples, pared, cored, chopped
1 – organic orange, juiced, and then rind chopped finely
½ cup – cider

Cover these ingredients and simmer until the apples are very soft. Then stir in:

¾ cup – Sucanat (brown sugar)
½ tsp each – cinnamon and clove powder or allspice
3 Tbl. Finely crushed pretzels or crackers, or arrowroot powder (this last is to help it bind, but I like the way the crackers fool the eye and make you wonder, “What is that??”

This mixture can be made ahead. I often make it and the pumpkin filling on the Sunday before Thanksgiving, and then it is easy to fill pie shells and bake them the night before.

For the MINCE MOONS: roll out crust (look elsewhere on this blog for my crust recipe), and use a five inch round thing (I happened to have a crumpet tin, but a plastic container would work) to cut out as many rounds as you can. Bunch the remaining dough with some more dough and do it again. I had about eleven of the rounds altogether. Spoon a bit of the filling (heaping tablespoon) on one side, fold the circle in half, and press it together. You can bend them into crescent shapes. Bake at 425 degrees for thirty minutes.
For the MINCE PIE: roll out one crust, lay it in a pie plate, and fill it with the filling. You can pour four Tablespoons of brandy over it at this point if you want, but it isn't necessary. With the second crust, cut it in half inch wide long strips. Lay down one across the width of the pie. Lay another across it perpendicularly. Then weave more strips in, lifting the alternating strips so you get a latticework. It really isn't hard, and I will leave it to you to figure out. Crimp the edges together to neaten it up. You can bake this the same as the mince moons, at 425 degrees for half an hour, or until just beginning to brown slightly. Or you can bake either of them in a preheated 450 degree oven for ten minutes, then reduce the heat to 350 degrees and bake for twenty minutes. Your choice.

I feel like I only made the one pie filling but still had enough for the moons and a flatter mince pie. If you double the recipe, you could freeze half of it for a later holiday pie.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Cacao Nib Cookies

I wanted to make chocolate chip cookies, but I only had some organic cacao nibs on hand. Would they work? It turns out they did. Cacao nibs are not at all sweet, but have a strong chocolate flavor. Someone wondered what the little nuts were in these cookies. I thought they meant the rolled oats, but they showed me the little brown nib. I pulled out my foil package of Frontier Cacao nibs to show him what they were.

These roasted bits of the whole cacao bean are full of flavonoids and antioxidants, which, not to bore you, are just generally good for you. They help in the release of seratonin and endorphins in your body, which will improve your mood, and they are a good source of A,B,C, E, beta-carotene, magnesium, zinc, iron and calcium. They also taste good, along with the other ingredients in these CACAO NIB COOKIES.

Dry ingredients
2 cups—whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup—rolled oats
½ cup—Sucanat
½ cup—cacao nibs
2 tsp—baking powder
½ tsp—salt
½ tsp—cinnamon
Wet ingredients
¾ cup—sunflower oil
¼ cup—maple syrup
2 Tbl—water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Stir together the dry ingredients. Add in the wet ingredients. Adjust the wetness until everything is moistened, but it is still a thick moldable mass. Form into eighteen balls and bake on two cookie sheets for fifteen minutes. You could also try pressing them down, instead, but I liked the little round balls. They would cook faster if they were flatter, keep in mind.

Cacao nib cookies are a good alternative to chocolate chip cookies if you don't have chocolate chips, or are looking for a healthier alternative.