Sunday, August 28, 2011

Cinnamon Coconut Milk Yogurt Fruit Dip

I use to make this recipe with cow’s milk yogurt, but haven’t made it in a long time.  Until, that is, our most recent summer visit to Connecticut.  My sister needed something to bring for ‘snack day’ at work.  I gave her a few options, and wouldn’t you know… she loved the sound of everything.  So I chose my old favorite and it was settled.  I was in the kitchen for the rest of the evening preparing snack for tomorrow’s ‘snack day’. Oh don’t feel bad - we all know the kitchen is my favorite room to be in!

The Results? When she came home from work the next evening, she was so excited to tell me how much people loved the snacks.  Especially the fruit dip she brought! I was beaming as she told me how they ate every last bit.  They even resorted to dunking the brownies in the dip when the fruit was all gone! Not a bad idea actually.   

Anyhow, I was so thrilled about my sister’s reviews, that I decided to make it again for an upcoming family BBQ.  Only this time, I ‘veganized’ it by using the coconut yogurt.   The results? Well, when I went to pick up my plates at the end of the day – there was nothing left.  That’s a great sign! 
Now I really don’t believe we need to add sweeteners to fruit - it’s already so sweet and delicious by itself!  But sometimes, I like to change things up a bit and make them even more special.  Well, this is the dip that does it!  Enjoy. 

What you need:

1 cup of coconut milk yogurt
2 tbs brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
Lots of fresh fruit

Mix ingredients well and chill in the refrigerator for 2 hours. Serve with lots of fresh fruit.
*If you can’t find coconut milk yogurt you can substitute with soy yogurt.

**If you are interested in making a simple homemade raw vegan coconut yogurt, here is a link from a newly discovered favourite blog that’ll tell you how.

Vegan Strawberry Shortcake

I wanted to make something special for my daughter’s 2nd birthday.  People just expect cake or cupcakes at a party but I wanted to create something people would not expect.  I’d been craving Strawberry Shortcake for a while and since strawberries are in season this time of year it seemed like the perfect choice.  But how was I going to make this traditional dessert, vegan.  That was my mission and I successfully completed it.  It doesn’t just look amazing it, tastes amazing.

What You’ll Need:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbs. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
4 Tbs. cold vegan margarine (we like Earth Balance), cut into small pieces
2 Tbs. sugar
3/4 cup cold soy milk or almond milk
1 pint strawberries

Cashew Crème (recipe follows) or other vegan whipping cream

What You’ll Do:
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.

Put flour, baking powder, salt and sugar in a large bowl and mix.

Cut the vegan margarine in small pieces into the flour mixture.

Using your hands work in the butter into the flour mixture.

When the mixture has become the texture of sand it is ready to add the soy or almond milk.  Mix large spoon.

Place the dough on a lightly floured workspace and gently kneed to a soft consistency. You may need a little more flour if it is too wet.

Now roll your dough to a 3/4-1 inch thickness and cut out your biscuits, should make 10-12 medium sized biscuits Place them on a baking sheet lined with baking parchment and bake 10-15 minutes or until lightly golden.

Meanwhile, clean the strawberries, set a few aside for garnish. Chop the remaining strawberries.  No need to add sugar to the chopped strawberries, they are naturally sweet.

When the biscuits are ready, remove from the oven and allow them to cool. 

Assemble your shortcakes by slicing each biscuit in half and placing in on an individual plate. Place a generous amount of strawberries on the bottom piece of shortcake. Add the part and top with Cashew Crème or other vegan whipping cream or vegan ice “cream”.

Garnish with sliced berries.

Cashew Crème

What You’ll Need:

4 1/2 cups raw cashews, soaked for about an hour and rinsed
1 lemon juiced
Pinch sea salt
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup agave
1 1/3 cup water (+/-)

What You’ll Do:

Blend Cashew Creme ingredients in Vitamix until smooth and creamy. Taste and adjust as needed. Remember that salt and lemon juice bring out sweetness. I know it sounds counter-intuitive, but if you need it a bit sweeter, try adding a tiny bit more sea salt or lemon juice.