Friday, August 11, 2017

Jumbo Chocolate Chunk Cookies

By Lori Boss

Vegan, gluten-free
These vegan and gluten-free chocolate chunk cookies will blow your mind! The cookie dough is sweetened with pure maple syrup—you'd never know they don't contain any granulated cane or brown sugar (aside from the chocolate, of course). Almond butter, oats, almond flour, and a small amount of coconut oil form the hearty and nutritious base of these irresistible cookies. Prepare yourself for an addiction. We love these warm, but they're also great straight from the freezer or fridge!

12-13 jumbo (4-inch) cookies Prep Time
20 Minutes Cook time
10 Minutes
For the wet ingredients:

1/2 cup (120 g) natural smooth almond butter (no subs)*
1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons (105 mL) pure maple syrup
3 tablespoons (45 mL) virgin coconut oil, softened but not hot**
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For the dry ingredients:

1/2 cup (50 g) gluten-free rolled oats
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (50 g) gluten-free oat flour
1/4 cup (33 g) arrowroot flour/starch
1/4 cup (25 g) almond flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon pink Himalayan salt
(150g) 55% non-dairy dark chocolate (about 1 1/2 bars)*** or dark chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C) and line a very large (approx. 21 by 15 inch) baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, stir together the wet ingredients (almond butter, maple syrup, oil, and vanilla) until completely smooth.
Stir the dry ingredients (oats, oat flour, arrowroot, almond flour, baking soda, and salt) into the wet mixture, one by one, until thoroughly combined. The dough will be a bit wet/oily, but this is normal.
Chop the chocolate into small chunks. Set aside 3 tablespoons (for topping the cookie dough later), and stir the rest of the chocolate into the batter until combined.
Using a large retractable cookie scoop (or simply a spoon and your hands), scoop mounds of dough (about 2 1/2 tablespoons of dough per cookie). Add each onto the baking sheet, about 3 inches apart, as they'll spread a lot while baking.
Press the remaining 3 tablespoons of chocolate onto the tops of the cookie dough mounds, evenly distributed. (Reshape the cookie dough mounds if they flatten a bit.)
Bake for 8 to 10 minutes (I prefer 8 1/2 to 9 minutes for gooey and soft cookies), until the cookies are spread out. If you prefer a crispy cookie, bake for about 12 minutes.
Cool the cookies directly on the baking sheet for about 5 to 6 minutes. The cookies will be super delicate until they are cooled. Using a spatula, gently transfer each cookie directly onto a cooling rack for another 10 minutes, where they'll firm up even more. (It's normal to have a small amount of oil on the bottom of the cookies due to the almond butter. If this bothers you, simply place them on a couple sheets of paper towel.) Serve and enjoy! Allow the cookies to cool completely before storing.

* It's important to use natural smooth almond butter that has a fairly "drippy" consistency. Be sure to stir it very well before measuring and avoid using the dry/hard nut butter at the bottom of the jar as it's too difficult to mix with the other wet ingredients. Some readers have also said that using peanut butter resulted in cookies that didn't spread out and didn't hold together, so I wouldn't recommend subbing the almond butter.
** What is softened coconut oil? During the warm summer months, coconut oil is the perfect "softened" consistency at room temperature; it's neither solid nor completely melted. If you do need to use melted coconut oil, just be sure that it's not hot/warm or it could melt the chocolate.
*** I prefer Camino 55% dark chocolate bars in this recipe, but feel free to use the chocolate of your choice.
Tip: These cookies spread out a lot and are fairly thin. If you prefer a thicker cookie you can try chilling the dough before baking. (I haven't tried this yet myself.)


Chinese Chicken Salad

Chinese Chicken Salad *50 servings
from Lori Boss

10 c. cooked, shredded chicken
3/4 c. slivered almonds
5 heads cabbage, finely sliced (1/2 lettuce or some purple cabbage or napa cabbage, if desired)
6 pkg. dry flavored noodles
1 bunch green onions
3/4 c. sesame seeds, toasted
4 c. sliced pea pods (or edamame)
4 c. slivered or shredded carrots
7 red peppers, finely slivered 

** Homemade Dressing:
2 3/4 cups rice vinegar 
2 3/4 cup soy sauce (use gluten-free if needed)
4 Tablespoons honey or sugar
3/4 cup sesame oil
1 1/2 cup light olive oil
12 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
6-7 Tablespoons finely chopped fresh ginger

Blend dressing in a blender till combined. Combine with salad and let sit for up to 3 hours (without dry noodles in. Add them at the last minute.) Serve.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Chocolate Souffle

4 ounces of butter
4 ounces of sifted flour
1 pint of whole milk
7 large eggs
8 ounces of sugar
8 1/2 ounces of dark chocolate, chopped

In a medium size sauce pot melt the butter and then whisk in the sifted flour. Slowly whisk in the milk until the batter is a smooth consistency; transfer this batter into a mixing bowl and whisk in the egg yolks until well mixed. Stir the chocolate into the warm batter until the chocolate is completely dissolved. Allow the batter to cool.

Whip egg whites in a mixer until they start to thicken and become fluffy, at which time the sugar will be slowly incorporated into the white. Continue mixing the egg whites until they form a stiff, but not dry, peak. Gently fold the whipped egg whites - one third of the whites at a time - into the chocolate batter until all the whites have been incorporated.

Butter each individual shuffle dish and sprinkle a bit of sugar around the edges and bottom of each dish. Fill the prepared dish up to 3/4 with the souffle batter. Bake the souffles on a sheet pan that has a 1/4 inch of water in it at 425 degrees for approximately 20-25 minutes. If you bake in a convection oven decrease the temperature to 350 degrees and bake for 15 minutes.

Serve the souffles with vanilla bean sauce, whipped cream or raspberry sauce. This souffle with vanilla bean sauce is our favorite dessert!!

Vanilla Bean Sauce

2 1/2 c. milk
2/1/2 c. cream
1/2 c. sugar (or a little less)
1/4 vanilla bean

1/2 c. sugar (or a little less)
8 egg yolks

Heat cream milk, vanilla bean and the first 1/2 c. sugar in a double boiler. (To prepare vanilla bean: split vanilla bean open down the middle with the point of a sharp knife. Use the back or dull side of the knife to scrape out the small vanilla beans and put them into the mixture.)

In a stainless steel bowl, mix together the other 1/2 c. sugar and egg yolks.

Once cream mixture comes to a boil, pour a little into the yolk mixture, continuously whisking. Pour the yolk mixture back into the pan and continue to cook until the sauce coats the back of the spoon.
Optional - Once ready, pass the sauce through a fine chinois and cool down over ice. (I have never done this step and it turns out great.)

FYI - Some members of the family prefer drinking the sauce instead of using it to accompany chocolate soufflé, berries, brownies or any other delectable dessert. This recipe really is fabulous!!