Vegan Chocolate Coconut Pie

When I was a kid, my mom would always make us a frozen chocolate pie for the holidays. This is my own remake of a childhood favorite. I have tried this pie with several different types of crust. If I’m feeling lazy, I’ll just pour some granola and chopped nuts on the bottom of a pie pan. I’ve also tried lining the bottom of the pie pan with a layer or two of banana slices, which works great. If I’m particularly ambitious, I’ll make a flaky pie crust (I use the recipe from the cookbook “Vegan Vittles”). One that works particularly well with this pie is a homemade granola crumble crust that I make, which I will post the recipe for below. But know that pretty much anything will taste amazing with this chocolate coconut pie filling. So, without further ado, here is the recipe!

Chocolate Coconut Pie

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Pie Filling
Ingredients:

2/3 cup Silk French Vanilla Creamer (or coconut milk or soymilk)
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 1/2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 12-ounce package of silken tofu
1/2 cup agave nectar
1/4 cup + 1 1/2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoons salt
Stevia to taste (optional)

Whisk together the non-dairy creamer and cornstarch and boil until thick. Add the coconut oil and stir together, with the heat turned down to low. Blend the mixture on the stove with the rest of the ingredients in a blender or food processor. Pour the chocolate filling into a prepared pie pan on top of a crust and freeze. For more of a mousse consistency, take it out after a couple of hours and transfer to the refrigerator. I prefer to eat the pie when it is frozen all the way, which will generally take 8 hours or more.

Granola Crumble Crust
Ingredients:

1 cup oats
1 1/2 tablespoons white whole wheat flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
Dash of salt
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1/4 cup agave nectar

Stir together the dry ingredients. Melt the coconut oil and pour it along with the sweetener into the dry ingredients and mix them all together. Spoon the mixture onto the bottom of your pie pan and bake at 325 until it reaches a light golden brown color.

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Potato Pelmeni (Delicious Vegan Dumplings)

I tried my hand at making pelmeni at the request of my boyfriend, Andrew. He used to eat potato pelmeni regularly at one of his favorite restaurants. After doing a little research, I used elements of several different pelmeni recipes to create the following vegan dumplings. And boy they were delicious.

They were a big hit with Andrew, our resident pelmeni connoisseur, as well as my family. The cilantro-infused potatoes inside of the soft dumpling exterior make for a really excellent meal. These dumplings are especially fun to make with friends and family or on a date as they require a lot of rolling out, filling and folding. Though it could prove tedious to make them alone, as an activity it can be really fun to form these into their adorable little dumpling shapes. Just recently, I made these with my dad and two siblings and had a blast. So put on a little Christmas music, pull out a rolling pin, and get ready to feel like the cast of a Hallmark movie as you bond with your loved ones while making dumplings.

Potato Pelmeni

Ingredients:

pelmeni-1Dough:
3 1/4 cups white whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups warm water4 Tbs. ground flaxseeds (flaxmeal)
1 tablespoon canola oil or Earth Balance
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons agave nectar

Potato Filling:
4 large potatoes
2 to 4 tablespoons Earth Balance or canola oil
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 of a medium red onion (chopped)
1 to 2 teaspoons dill
1 to 2 teaspoons curry
salt and black pepper to taste

Begin steaming, boiling or baking the potatoes.

Then, make the dough by whisking together the warm water, ground flaxseeds, oil, salt and honey. Add the flour, stirring with a spoon until the dough becomes thick enough to knead. Knead briefly and then let the dough sit while you make the potato filling (ideally, the dough should rest for at least 15 minutes).

Put the cooked potatoes in a medium-sized bowl with the other ingredients and mash them until they reach a coarse consistency.

Begin boiling water in a medium sized saucepan. Now, you’re ready to assemble your pelmeni. You can roll out a large piece of dough on a floured surface and cut out circles with a mason jar.

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Alternatively, you can roll out small balls of dough one at a time.

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Either way, be sure to roll out the dough as thin as you can. For the next step, place about a tablespoon of the filling in the middle of each dough circle.

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Fold the dough over the filling to make a half circle, sealing the edges (you may need to use a few drops of water to seal the edges if the dough is on the dry side).

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Next, fold the edge of the dough upward so that your dumpling resembles a crescent moon.

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And then fold the ends over each other, sealing with water if necessary.

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When you have six or seven, put them into your pot of boiling water. Set a timer for three minutes. As you continue forming more dumplings, be sure to check on your cooking pelmeni regularly. As soon as they float on the surface of the water (typically after about three minutes), pull them out with a slotted spoon and place them in a colander to dry.

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Continue to form and cook your pelmeni until you’ve used up all your dough and potatoes. You should be able to make 55 to 65 dumplings. If you don’t need that many for dinner, simply freeze the uncooked dumplings and boil them another day.

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Serve with Tofutti sour cream and hot sauce. In the following picture, I served them with a sauce made out of vegan mayo, hot sauce and horseradish mustard. They’re also delicious plain.

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Vegan Banana Bread + Baby Muffins

Tonight something happened in my household that rarely occurs: a surplus of ripe bananas. Normally, we go through bananas like water thanks to my brother, N. I decided to take advantage of this unprecedented plethora of bananas and bake a banana-themed dessert. This recipe is one of my favorites because of its simplicity, and because it lends itself so well to vegan baking. Bananas are a natural binder, which makes them an ideal replacement for eggs in baking. Also, the bananas add a really nice level of sweetness so you don’t have to go overboard with the sweetener. Oh, and did I mention that the finished product tastes fantastic? I hope you enjoy this incredibly simple recipe for healthy, delicious banana bread or muffins. (All photo credit goes to the amazing Tori Johnson).

Vegan Banana Bread + Baby Muffins

Ingredients:Vegan Banana Mini Muffins

4 ripe bananas
1 to 1 1/4 cup honey or agave nectar
1 tablespoon applesauce
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 1/4 cups white whole wheat flour
2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cinnamon
Optional: blueberries or walnuts

Preheat the oven to 350. Mash the bananas in a medium-sized bowl. Stir in the rest of the wet ingredients and mix well. Stir together the dry ingredients in a separate, smaller bowl. Mix the dry ingredients with the wet mixture. Add blueberries or walnuts, if desired. Measure into bread pans or muffin pans and bake until done (the time varies greatly depending on whether you are baking muffins or bread).

I’ve found that this recipe works best in mini bread pans or a muffin pan so the inside can bake thoroughly without the outside getting too brown. My absolute favorite thing to make with this recipe? Baby muffins. As Jim Gaffigan would say: “I’ll just have one or twelve.”