As the holidays are fast approaching we are all looking forward to one thing that brings most families together. Whether it is your Christmas feast or simply a family party, food is one thing that helps families and friends bond. However, it can be challenging for all members to participate, especially if they have dietary restrictions. Personally, it was always a bit challenging for me to fully enjoy Thanksgiving and Christmas with my family and friends as I prefer mostly vegan foods and between traditional Hungarian and American holiday foods, you find very little that is free of meat or animal products. Today I’m sharing my top 5 vegan desserts that are sure to please everyone.
5. Vegan Gluten-Free Gingerbread Men
Starting off the list is the adorable and modern take on the gingerbread men. Run Run Run as fast as you can… you will want to catch him (pun intended) because these adorable little cookies will get eaten by your family, even if they aren’t vegan. Not only are these cookies festive, but they serve a double purpose of vegan and gluten free. They are sure to leave you with a smile this holiday season. Special thanks to the Minimalist Baker for providing the picture and recipe you see here.
1 flax egg
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup almond butter
3 Tbsp. molasses
1/4 cup vegan butter, softened
3/4 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp cinnamon
optional: 1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/4 - 1 3/4 cups gluten-free baking / pancake mix
In a large mixing bowl, prepare flax egg by mixing flax and water and letting rest for 5 minutes.
Add softened butter, molasses, almond butter, brown sugar, salt, spices, baking soda and beat on a low with a mixer, or vigorously whisk.
Add gluten free flour to the wet ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon. Stir until well combined. Your dough should hold its shape when pressed, but not feel dry. I found that 1.5 cups were about the perfect amount, but this will depend on your blend.
Cover and chill dough for at least one hour, preferably overnight.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees (176 C).
Carefully roll out dough to a little thicker than 1/8 inch between two sheets of plastic wrap or parchment/wax paper, generously sprinkling the bottom layer and the top of the dough with white or brown rice flour before rolling. You don't want it too thin or they'll be too crisp.
Remove top sheet and, working quickly, dip your cookie cutters in rice flour and cut out shapes. Next, lift the plastic wrap (with all the dough) and place it on a baking sheet or large plate and freeze for 5 minutes to let them firm up. This will make them easier to transfer to your baking sheet for baking.
Next, use a lightly floured spatula to carefully transfer the cookies to a baking sheet, working quickly. Leave 2 inches for spreading.
Bake for 8-10 minutes or until they appear only slightly browned on the edges. They'll continue firming up as they sit on the pan. Let rest on the pan for 2-3 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack.
Once cooled, decorate with frosting or sprinkle with powdered sugar. I think a perfect, simple frosting option is piping on a mix of 2 cups icing sugar, 1 Tbsp. melted butter, and 1-2 Tbsp. almond milk. Just make sure it's on the thicker side so it doesn't run.
Store covered at room temperature for several days. Freeze for longer term storage. The batch should make between 25-35 cookies, depending on the size of your cookie cutter / or if you decide not to cut them and roll them into balls.
*If you don't want to cut them out into shapes (as it is a bit onerous with the dough being so tender), after chilling, simply roll 1 Tbsp. amounts of dough into balls, freeze for 5 minutes, then bake for 10-12 minutes.
4. No bake chocolate almond cheesecake
This recipe is a triple threat. Not only is it vegan, but it is also easy to make, and is full of chocolate. Cheesecakes are always a crowd pleaser, especially when it combines beautiful ingredients like chocolate and almonds. If you find that you do not like crust you can always create your own with different crackers and cookies. This holiday treat is brought to you by The Vegan 8, who provided the recipe and photo.
2 heaping cups raw whole cashews (10 oz., 280g)
1/4 cup sliced almonds or 2 heaping tablespoons almond butter
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup raw agave nectar (or maple syrup, 120 mL)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup water (236 mL)
For the swirl: 6 oz. jar Rawmio Chocolate Almond Butter (a 1/2 cup) mixed with 3 tablespoons water (or you can eliminate or use another chocolate spread
3 heaping cups sliced almonds, not whole (11 oz., 310 g)
3 tablespoons raw cacao (18 g)
4 1/2 tablespoons raw agave nectar
pinch fine sea salt
Please note that weight measurements are also listed for accuracy in the result. Also, if you do not have the Dastony chocolate almond butter, you can just melt some chocolate chips mixed with some almond butter. Just make sure it is a thick consistency and then swirl that into the cheesecake.
Add almonds and cacao to a food processor and pulse into fine crumbs. Add the agave and pulse again until mixture clumps together and holds its shape when pressed together between your fingers. Take an 8x8 square pan, spray with nonstick spray and line with plastic wrap hanging over the sides for easy removal later. The spray helps the plastic wrap from moving. Press the mixture evenly around with your fingers, not forgetting about the corners. You can add a little cacao powder to your fingers to help it not stick.
If you do not have a high-powered blender such as a Vitamix or Blendtec, simply soak the cashews for 5 hours in a bowl covered with room temperature water. Drain, rinse, and then proceed with the recipe.
Add all filling ingredients (except the chocolate almond butter) to a high-powered blender and blend until smooth and creamy, a couple of minutes.
Pour over the prepared crust.
Mix the chocolate almond butter with 3 tablespoons water until smooth. Drop spoonful’s all over the cheesecake and pull with a knife to make swirls. Do not overdo it or you will lose the swirl effect.
If desired, add almonds, cocoa nibs, shaved chocolate, or chocolate chips on top. Note: cocoa nibs aren't very sweet, so taste them before placing them as a topping, to make sure you want to use them. Place in the freezer for several hours or overnight until firm. Let sit at room temperature about 10-15 minutes before trying to remove the cheesecake with the plastic wrap. You should be able to pull it out with the plastic wrap after it has sat out a bit. Then slice and serve. Cover with foil and return to the freezer to keep it firm.
3. Vegan Pumpkin Coffee Cake with Pecan Streusel
This recipe puts a holiday twist to traditional coffee cake. It is already delicious and inviting on its own, but when pair with a cup of coffee after dinner, it will wrap you in a warm hug. The recipe is super simple and can be made with most of the things in your pantry. This beautiful picture was brought to you by My Darling Vegan who also published the recipe.
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup chopped pecans
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3 tablespoons vegan butter, cut into small pieces
Pumpkin coffee cake
8 tablespoons (1 stick) vegan butter (I use Earth Balance)
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup apple sauce
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon allspice
1/8 teaspoon cloves
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
Preheat the oven to 350. Oil and flour an 8x8 baking pan and set aside.
To make the streusel combine the flour, sugars, pecans, and cinnamon in a large bowl. Cut in pieces of the vegan butter and break it apart with your fingers until the streusel is clumped into small pea-size pieces. Set aside.
To make the coffee cake
In a stand-up mixer, cream together vegan butter and sugar. With mixer on, add pumpkin, applesauce, and vanilla, scraping down the sides of bowl as needed. The batter will curdle at this point; don't worry, it will come back together.
In a small bowl mix together flour, baking powder and soda, and spice. With mixer on low speed, add flour mixture to butter/sugar mixture in 3 batches, stopping to scrape down the sides of the mixture in between. Blend until just combined.
Pour the batter into the prepared 8x8 baking pan, top with streusel, pressing down lightly, and bake for 45-50 minutes or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Remove from oven and let cool for 20 minutes before cutting and serving.
2. Double Chocolate peppermint patties
These are one of the best peppermint patties you will ever try. It even beats the silver wrapped patties with is super fudgy texture. Although not a traditional dessert, this sweet treat is sure to have your relatives asking for the recipe. Plus, these patties don’t have an artificial ingredient you might find in other recipes. Shout out to NUTRITIONICITY who made the recipe and shot photos of these amazing chocolates.
1/3 cup raw cashews
1/4 cup macadamia nuts (roasted and unsalted)
1/4 cup coconut oil (melted)
1/4 cup coconut nectar
3 tablespoons nut milk at room temperature (I used cashew)
1 1/2 teaspoons peppermint extract
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla
3 tablespoons unsweetened baking cocoa
2 tablespoons arrowroot
3/4 cup semi sweet vegan chocolate chips (I use Enjoy Life Mini Chips)
1 tablespoon coconut oil
Place cashews and macadamias in a bowl and cover with one cup hot filtered water. Let stand until water is cool (about 30 minutes). Drain water and cover nuts again with one cup hot water. Let soak another 30 minutes, then drain, rinse and blot dry with a towel. Alternatively, nuts can be soaked 8 to 12 hours overnight in the refrigerator in one cup of cold filtered water.
In a food processor combine soaked nuts, coconut oil, coconut nectar, nut milk, peppermint, and vanilla. Mix well until smooth while stopping occasionally to scrape the sides (about 2 minutes). Add cocoa powder and mix, then add arrowroot and mix until all ingredients are combined.
Place dough in small bowl in the freezer until firm (about 50 minutes). Remove bowl from freezer and cover two baking sheets with parchment paper. Using a small scoop, form dough into small balls and then press into patties (about 1-1/2-inch diameter) on parchment paper. Return to freezer to firm up (about 20 minutes).
For the topping, melt together chocolate chips and one tablespoon coconut oil. On the stovetop, melt over a low heat (or in the microwave on power 6 or 7 at 20 to 30 second increments). Stir frequently. Chips will complete melting after removed from heat or microwave.
Dip patties in chocolate with a fork or spoon, allow excess chocolate to drain off then return to baking sheet. If chocolate dip begins to thicken before you are finished dipping simply return chocolate to heat for a moment. Once all patties have been dipped, return baking sheets to freezer, and allow to firm up (about 15 minutes). Once firm, store in refrigerator or freezer in an airtight container until ready to serve. This recipe will yield about 20 1-1/2-inch patties
1. Mini Vegan pumpkin pie cheesecake
This is a modern twist on traditional pumpkin pie and cheesecake. This is my absolute favorite and fits perfectly into the holiday spirit. Like our chocolate almond cheesecake, it also requires no baking. This simple dessert is beautiful and full of holiday spirit. And like with all cheese cakes, the filling can be used with different crusts if it isn’t to your liking. Many thanks to The Glowing Fridge for this amazing recipe and photos.
1.5 cups raw pecans
1 cup medjool dates (soaked in warm water for 10 minutes)
pinch of sea salt
Pumpkin pie filling
1 cup cashews (soaked in hot water for 1 hour)
1/2 cup light coconut milk
1/2 cup pumpkin purée (not pumpkin pie filling)
1/2 cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted (or olive oil)
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
juice of 1/2 lemon
Start by soaking the cashews for one hour and soaking the dates for 10 minutes.
Line a muffin tin with plastic wrap or liners. Make the crust in a food processor. Blend the pecans until ground, then add the soft dates and sea salt. Pulse until well combined and sticky. Transfer the mixture into muffin tin and press down until a crust is formed. The crust is super sticky and it helps if you run your fingers under warm water before pressing down the crust. Place tin in freezer for 15 minutes.
In a high-speed blender, blend all the ingredients for the filling until smooth and creamy. Remove tin from freezer and pour the filling over crust. Top with a few extra pecans and freeze for about 4 hours, or until firm
Store any leftovers in the freezer.
If you make any of these recipes this holiday season, share them with us. Enji loves seeing and hearing back from our loyal fans. Happy Holidays everyone.