Success!

standard November 20, 2011 1 response

If I could only make one holiday treat each year, it would be fudge. Specifically, my mother’s peanut butter chocolate fudge. It is not Christmas without it. I made sure that I learned how to make it properly, so I would know how to make it on my own each year. Mom drilled into my head that the ingredients had to be specific. You HAVE to use Parkay margarine. You HAVE to use creamy Skippy peanut butter. She had tried other brands, and it didn’t turn out.  Following her recipe exactly was the only way to ensure success. So, needless to say, I’ve been TERRIFIED to make a vegan version. Not only would I be using different brands, but completely different ingredients.

So I researched. A lot. And then decided to just wing it and see what happened.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Fudge

Makes about 3 lbs.

Adapted from Mom’s Peanut Butter Fudge

For the Chocolate Layer:

Ingredients:

  • 1 c sucanat
  • 6 T non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening (or Earth Balance)
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/3 c vanilla soy creamer
  • 6 oz vegan chocolate chips
  • 1/2 jar Ricemellow creme
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla

Steps:

  1. Combine sugar, shortening, salt, and creamer in a non-stick pan over high heat. Stir constantly, until mixture comes to a full boil. Reduce heat to medium and stir vigorously for 4 minutes.
  2. Remove mixture from heat, add in chocolate, Ricemellow, and vanilla. Stir quickly until thoroughly combined.
  3. Pour into a 9×13 baking dish lined with parchment paper, and spread evenly.

For the Peanut Butter Layer:

Ingredients:

  • 1 c sucanat
  • 6 T non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening (or Earth Balance)
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/3 c vanilla soy creamer
  • 1/2 c smooth peanut butter (I used Jif Natural)
  • 1/2 jar Ricemellow creme
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla

Steps:

  1. Combine sugar, shortening, salt, and creamer in a non-stick pan over high heat. Stir constantly, until mixture comes to a full boil. Reduce heat to medium and stir vigorously for 4 minutes.
  2. Remove mixture from heat, add in peanut butter, Ricemellow, and vanilla. Stir quickly until thoroughly combined.
  3. Pour on top of chocolate layer.
  4. Let cool completely at room temperature. Cut into squares. Store in fridge or freezer.

The KEY to this coming out is to follow the directions EXACTLY. Time is critical to get each step done right. Since I was changing every single ingredient except the vanilla, I made sure to keep the directions the same. The main problem with this fudge is usually getting the peanut butter layer on top of the chocolate layer before it sets up, because the layers will separate instead of sticking together once they cool. However, the layers on this version melded together perfectly! I am so excited that this came out. It tastes JUST like Mom’s version, too!

Now on to Thanksgiving prep. Since the husband begged for me to make a turkey so he could have cold turkey sandwiches, I decided I might as well go all out and make a full Thanksgiving meal. We have a few friends coming to help us eat all the food, so of course I’m starting to go even more crazy than I would if it was just the two of us. I already have cranberry sauce, cranberry relish, and cranberry bread in the freezer. I  made cranberry-orange dressing for a pear and candied pecan salad. And I’m debating on making a traditional pumpkin pie in addition to the pumpkin brownie pie I was planning on making.  This on top of the mashed potatoes, gravy, and roasted vegetables that are on the menu again this year. At least it’s all easy enough to make in one day!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Snack Time

standard May 25, 2010 Leave a response

Finding a good granola or protein bar can be kind of tricky when you’re only eating natural, unprocessed foods. A few weeks ago when we ran out of Luna bars and Zone bars, I decided to make some myself. I was a little skeptical, but they came out awesome! The recipe made 16 bars and we’re out already so I made another batch this weekend, along with a second recipe to provide some variety.

First up:

Peanut Butter Cranberry Go-Bars

Lightly adapted from MyRecipes.com

Ingredients:

  • Cooking spray
  • 1 c rolled oats
  • 1/3 c oat bran
  • 3 T flax seed
  • 1 c whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 c chopped roasted peanuts
  • 1 c dried cranberries
  • 3/4 c natural peanut butter
  • 1/4 c almond milk
  • 1 T ground flaxseed mixed with 3 T warm water
  • 1/2 c agave nectar or honey
  • Zest of one lemon
  • Juice of one lemon

Steps:

  1. Line a 9×13″ pan with plastic wrap and coat with cooking spray. In a large bowl stir together dry ingredients (through cranberries).
  2. In a stand mixer, beat together peanut butter, milk, flax egg, agave, lemon zest, and lemon juice until well blended.
  3. Add dry ingredients to peanut butter mixture and beat until completely blended. Scrape dough into prepared pan and, with wet fingers or a rubber spatula, smooth to fill pan completely and evenly (dough will be really sticky). Chill dough until firm, about 30 minutes.
  4. Preheat oven to 300. Invert pan onto a work surface, lift off pan, and peel off plastic. Cut straight down lengthwise through middle, then crosswise to make 16 bars, each 1 1/2 inches wide. Place bars about 1 inch apart on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  5. Bake bars until lightly browned and somewhat firm to the touch, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool completely.
  6. Wrap individually in plastic wrap for easy grab-and-go. Store bars in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks or freeze.

Second bar:

Fruit and Nut Bars

Lightly adapted from 101 Cookbooks

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 c whole nuts, toasted & coarsely chopped – I mixed peanuts, almonds, and cashews together
  • 1/2 c dried fruit, coarsely chopped – I used cranberries, raisins, and cherries
  • 2 c high fiber cereal (original recipe calls for 1 c cereal similar to Kashi GoLean and 1 c puffed rice cereal, but I had some Nature’s Valley Blueberry Cinnamon that I used)
  • 1 T Earth Balance
  • 1/4 c sucanat
  • 1/4 c agave nectar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 T wheat bran
  • Pinch of salt

Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 300. Prepare an 8×8″ pan with cooking spray and parchment paper ( the original recipe does not say to do this and mine stuck like crazy!)
  2. Combine nuts, fruit, and cereal in a heat-proof bowl.
  3. Combine Earth Balance, sucanat, and agave in a medium sauce pan and bring to a boil, stirring with a spatula. As soon as the sugar mixture comes to a full boil and the sugar is completely dissolved, remove from heat. This should take about 5 minutes.
  4. Off the heat, stir in the vanilla, wheat bran, and salt. Pour sugar syrup over the cereal mixture and stir everything together. Make sure the nuts, fruits, and cereals are evenly coated. Pour cereal mixture into the pan and press mixture into pan as firmly as possible.
  5. Bake 20 minutes for chewy bars or 30 minutes for crispier bars. Allow the bars to cool completely in the pan. Turn out onto a cutting board and divide into 8 bars with a sharp knife. You may have to chill the bars to firm them up before cutting.
  6. Wrap individually and store in an airtight container or freeze.