For now, let's talk more about the actual baking. I've been honing my gluten-free vegan baking skills, and coming up with some delicious results.
Remember rice crispy squares? Oh yeah.
Crispy, chewy, sticky. Perfect after school snack.
I gave them a makeover, put them through the vegan machine, and here they are in all their glory! No animal hoof marshmallows, no cow's milk butter. Just happy healthy animal-free goodness. And gluten-free to boot.
Delicious. And you know what else is delicious? But decidedly less wholesome and more indulgent....
Fudgy inside, slightly crisp outside, perfectly dense and chocolaty.
With more chocolate on top, of course.
And completely gluten-free and vegan!
I made these for a friend's birthday. She likes chocolate, but doesn't like anything too sweet. So these are filled to the brim with chocolate, and the sugar is not overpowering. I believe it could be scaled back even more, if that's what you prefer. They turned out perfect, a rich birthday treat for a wonderful woman whose friendship has added much richness in my own life.
Wholesome Vegan Rice Crispy Squares
8 cups crispy rice cereal (I use Erewhon Crispy Brown Rice Cereal)
1/4 cup ground flax seed
1 cup brown rice syrup
2/3 cup almond butter
1 tsp vanilla
Lightly grease a 9x13 pan. Set aside.
Place rice cereal and ground flaxseed in a huge bowl and stir together. Set aside.
In a medium sauce pan combine rice syrup and almond butter. Cook over medium heat, stirring, for five minutes. Take off the heat and stir in vanilla. Pour over the rice crisp mixture and stir to coat.
Press into the greased pan. I buttered my hands with some Earth Balance to even it out and press. You'll want to press firmly and make sure it's all evened out. Then cover it with foil and allow to sit in the fridge for one hour before cutting.
I recommend cutting the squares with a long serrated knife, and keeping the ones you don't scarf down immediately in the fridge in the pan. The recipe makes about 12 squares depending on how you slice 'em. They keep in the fridge at least 3 days, probably longer but I didn't get to find out, as they quickly disappeared.
Gluten-free Vegan Rich & Fudgy Brownies
1/4 cup + 2 Tbs oil
1/4 cup + 3 Tbs water
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 Tbs ground flax seed
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 cup gluten-free flour mix (store-bought or homemade)
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 to 1/2 cup nondairy chocolate chips (save for after baking)
Preheat oven to 350 and line an 8 in square pan with parchment.
In a medium bowl whisk oil, water, sugar, flax, and vanilla for one minute and set aside.
In a separate, large bowl add cocoa powder and mash with a fork to remove lumps. Add flour, baking powder and salt and stir to combine.
Stir the liquid mixture once more then pour into the dry mixture. Stir to combine.
Pour into pan (if you've baked gluten-free before you'll know this step is more like "plop into pan") and spread evenly. I use the back of a silicon spatula to spread it out, and if needed I grease my hands to get it in all the corners and get the top smooth.
Bake for 28-30 minutes. The sides will look done, the middle will not be jiggly but may look a touch underdone. That is fine. It will continue to cook in the pan once you take it out.
As soon as you take them out of the oven, sprinkle the chocolate chips on top of the brownies. Then let them cool in the pan for 15 minutes before taking out and cooling another 30 minutes. Cut and enjoy!
This recipe made 9 good sized brownies, and the very middle one went to the birthday girl, who likes the inside pieces. I don't know how long they keep as I believe they were gone by the end of the day.