Allergy-Friendly

Vegan Chocolate Frosting

This easy vegan chocolate frosting is made with just three ingredients! It’s perfect for cupcakes, layer cakes, or anything else that needs a little frosting.

Ready in:

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 3 minutes
  • Chilling time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: About 2 cups

When I’m baking, I love having a few reliable back-pocket recipes that don’t take a lot of fuss (no candy thermometers, please!) and that have an equally fuss-free ingredient list. But a thick and fudgy chocolate frosting that spreads easily and is dairy-free? This has proven to be an elusive thing.

However, I was determined to find a good chocolate frosting recipe to go with my Gluten-Free Chocolate Banana Cupcakes, so I got to work! And I must confess that I’m mighty pleased with the results.

VEGAN FROSTING WITH 3 INGREDIENTS

This frosting comes together thanks mostly to three ingredients: a package of dairy-free chocolate chips, full-fat coconut milk, and powdered sugar. I like Enjoy Life’s 60% dark chocolate chips, but use your favorite or what you have on hand.

Also, be sure to use full fat coconut milk, not coconut cream or low-fat coconut milk, which won’t work the same. Shake the can well before opening so the coconut milk is smooth and creamy.

HOW TO MAKE VEGAN CHOCOLATE FROSTING

As for actually making the frosting, there aren’t too many bells or whistles here: just melt the chocolate, beat in the coconut milk, and then beat in the powdered sugar a little bit at a time until the frosting is thick and spreadable.

Here are a few good things to keep in mind:

  • Use hand beaters or a stand mixer with a whisk attachment. It’s difficult to get everything fully mixed together and achieve the right texture if you’re doing it by hand.
  • When you’re beating in the powdered sugar, you’re ultimately looking for a firm but spreadable texture.
  • Chilling the frosting also helps it thicken, so aim for a fairly soft texture to start, chill the frosting, and then reassess the texture after chilling.
  • If your frosting is too thin to hold its shape when you spread it, add more powdered sugar a few tablespoons at a time until it seems spreadable.
  • If your frosting ends up a little too firm (more solid than spreadable), it’s going to be hard to swoop onto a delicate cake. If this happens, beat in a little extra coconut milk one tablespoon at a time until it’s soft enough to spread easily.

I know this may all sound little fussy, but there’s just so much variance with both chocolate chips and with the fat content coconut milk. It’s really best to take the slow road here and take it one step at a time.

THICK FUDGY CREAMY VEGAN FROSTING!

After you’ve put in the time chilling and mixing, the big question is: how does it taste?!

I’ll tell you: the flavor is bold, but not at all too sweet, and the texture is thick and spreadable yet simultaneously smooth and silky. The frosting is also sturdy enough to pile on top of cupcakes and survive a car ride to the office or your kid’s class room without missing a beat.

A winning combination to be sure.

BONUS TIP

What to do with that leftover coconut milk? I love using mine in smoothies or whisking it into pureed soups or curries.

MORE ALLERGY-FRIENDLY SWEETS

  • Fudgy Gluten-Free Chocolate Brownies
  • Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Skillet Cookie
  • Cocoa Coconut Macaroons

If you end up adding too much powdered sugar by mistake and realize your frosting will be difficult too spread, simply beat in a little coconut milk (I use 1 tablespoon at a time) to loosen up the texture.

This recipe makes enough for one 9×13 cake. Cut the recipe in half if making cupcakes or another recipe that requires less frosting (unless you’re planning to pile the frosting very high!).

Note that the FDA does list coconut as a tree nut, though many people with tree nut allergies are fine with coconut. If you’re not sure if the person or people eating your cookies has a tree nut allergy that includes coconut, check with them before making this recipe.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups dark chocolate chips (10 ounces)
  • 3/4 cup full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups gluten-free powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Special equipment:

  • Hand mixer or stand mixer with whisk attachment

Method

1 Melt the chocolate: Melt the chocolate either in 30 second bursts in the microwave (stirring vigorously between each burst) or over a double boiler until the chocolate is mostly melted with some solid pieces still visible.

Remove from the microwave or the double boiler, and stir until the chocolate is completely melted. Set aside for 5 minutes to cool, stirring occasionally.

2 Mix in the coconut milk: Using hand mixers or a stand mixer with a whisk attachment on low speed, gradually mix the coconut milk into the chocolate until smooth.

3 Start beating in powdered sugar: Using electric hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat in 1 1/4 cup of the powdered sugar a little at a time, followed by the vanilla. Beat until smooth.

At this point, the texture should be firm but spreadable and slightly soft. Next you’re going to chill your frosting, but you may need your hand mixer at the very end, so simply set it aside now to save yourself on dishes!

4 Chill the frosting: Place the bowl of frosting in the refrigerator for 20 minutes.

5 Assess the texture: Remove frosting from the refrigerator and give it a quick whiz with the hand beaters. If it still feels too loose or difficult to pipe or spread, add additional powdered sugar 2 tablespoons at a time. No need to chill after adding additional sugar.

6 Frost your cake or cupcakes! Once frosted, baked goods can be stored for up to 2 days covered and at room temperature. The frosting on its own will keep for up to 5 days, covered, and at room temperature, or up to 7 days in the refrigerator.

Posted by gen_gen - 2019 at 

Categories: Allergy-Friendly   Tags: , , ,

Gluten-Free Fudgy Chocolate Brownies

It is hard to believe these fudgy, dark, and dense brownies are vegan and gluten free, but they are! They’re also easy to make in one-bowl.

Ready in:

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 30 minutes
  • Cooling Time: 2 hours time:
  • Yield: 16 small, 2-inch square brownies

We have a lot of friends on a variety of restrictive diets right now, and as someone who loves to entertain, I wanted to make sure I had a treat that everyone could eat. But first and foremost, it had to be something everyone would actually want to eat.

I began scheming up a super fudgy, no-frills brownie that could be gluten-free, egg-free, and dairy-free — and still leave us all reaching for more. Mission accomplished.

Use Coconut Oil Instead of Butter

First, I like using coconut oil when baking with chocolate because the flavors compliment each other so well, but you could use any oil you’d like here: a neutral-flavored oil like canola or safflower oil would be just fine. The coconut oil, however, isn’t terribly pronounced.

Use “Flax Eggs” as an Egg Replacer

Second, a “flax egg” gives you the benefit of eggs in baked goods—acting as an emulsifier and helping give your baked good some structure—without actually using an egg. It’s a great go-to for much of the vegan baking I do at home.

If flax eggs are new to you, never fear: simply stir together 1 tablespoon of flax meal and 1 1/2 tablespoons of water. Don’t worry. There won’t be any overly earthy flavors or oils imparted to your baked goods; it’s likely no one will ever know you used a substitute!

Use a Gluten-Free Flour with Xanthan Gum

In this recipe, I use a gluten-free flour blend that contains xanthan gum (I prefer Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 Gluten Free Baking Flour Blend). The xanthan gum acts as a binder in baking recipes, helping give structure to your gluten free baked goods.

Check the ingredients in your flour blend, and if it doesn’t contain xanthan gum (or another binding ingredient like guar gum or psyllium husks), I recommend adding 1/2 teaspoon of xanthan gum to ensure success.

Finding Vegan, Allergy-Friendly Chocolate

When it comes to the chocolate, this recipe uses both cocoa powder and bittersweet chocolate. Most cocoa powders will be naturally vegan; they rarely contain any dairy or egg-based ingredients, but it never hurts to double check. I always keep Trader Joe’s unsweetened cocoa powder in stock at home and used it for these brownies.

As for bittersweet chocolate, you’ll definitely need to read the labels here since bar chocolate often has added dairy. (A quick note: If you see “cocoa butter” on your label, that’s not dairy butter. It’s dairy free!)

I used Pascha Organic 70% chocolate, which is vegan and also free of many allergens like nuts, eggs, dairy, wheat, and gluten. If you have kiddos or friends with very serious allergies, you can feel safe that the chocolate wasn’t produced near any such ingredients. Added bonus: it just tastes delicious—pure and dark, but not at all bitter.

Making the Brownies

When it comes to method, if you’ve made brownies from scratch before, this will look familiar, although there are a few things to note. Often, brownie recipes will tell you to stick a toothpick in the center and make sure it comes out clean before pulling them from the oven. That trick doesn’t work here.

These brownies are darn fudgy and they’ll feel quite soft to the touch throughout the entire baking process, so just set a timer and trust me on this one. The tops will be slightly bubbly and will feel wet to the touch when the brownies are ready, although the sides will start to pull away from the pan ever so slightly.

Let the Brownies Cool!

Last but not least, note that these brownies are much easier to slice if you allow them to cool for two hours, so plan accordingly. It can feel like a long time to wait, but I promise it’s worth it: You’re about to meet your new favorite brownie.

More Gluten-Free Treats!

  • Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Skillet Cookies
  • Microwave Chocolate Pudding from Scratch
  • Almond Flour Waffles
  • Cocoa Coconut Macaroons

If you’ve never baked gluten-free before, we highly recommend using Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 Gluten Free Baking Flour Blend for this recipe.

If you’re using a different blend, double check the ingredients. If it doesn’t contain xanthan gum (or another binding ingredient like guar gum or psyllium husks), we recommend adding 1/2 teaspoon of xanthan gum to ensure success.

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons ground flax
  • 1 cup (148 grams) gluten-free flour blend, like Bob’s Red Mill
  • 1/2 cup (40 grams) dairy-free cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil at room temperature, plus more for the pan
  • 5 ounces (140g) bittersweet dairy-free chocolate, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups (300 grams) sugar
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

Method

1 Heat the oven to 350°F and prepare the pan: Line an 8×8 square baking pan with parchment paper, and grease the parchment paper and pan with a little coconut oil.

2 Prepare the flax “egg”: Combine the flax with 8 tablespoons of water in a small bowl. Let stand for 7 to 10 minutes to thicken. (This will be used as an egg replacer in this recipe.)

3 Whisk dry ingredients: In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt.

4 Melt the coconut oil and chocolate: In a small saucepan over low heat, warm the coconut oil and chopped chocolate, stirring until the chocolate is completely melted, about 2 minutes.

5 Add the sugar and vanilla: Whisk the sugar and vanilla into the chocolate mixture, stirring vigorously until combined. The mixture will be a little grainy at this point, which is perfectly okay.

6 Make the batter: Pour the chocolate mixture into a large mixing bowl, scraping everything from the pan. Fold in the flax eggs.

Add the dry ingredients and stir well with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula until well combined. The batter will be quite thick and will gather into a ball—it won’t be loose and thin like many traditional brownie batters.

7 Scoop the batter into the prepared pan, and use a rubber spatula or the palm of your hand to press it into the pan in an even layer.

8 Bake the brownies for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the edges are set and no longer jiggly. The tops of the brownies will still feel very soft and may even be bubbling a little; they’ll firm up as they cool.

9 Cool: Let the brownies cool completely before slicing, 2 to 3 hours. Because these are so fudgy, they really will slice best if you allow them to fully cool.

10 Slice, serve, and store: Using the parchment paper as a handle, lift the cooled brownies up out of the pan and onto a cutting board. Slice into a 4×4 grid (making 16 small squares). Leftover brownies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.

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Categories: Allergy-Friendly   Tags: , ,

How to Make a Flax Egg

Vegan baking need not be mysterious! Flax eggs are made from ground flaxseeds and work as an easy egg substitute for chicken eggs.

Ready in:

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 1 flax egg

You may not be vegan. You may be a real egg lover. But I love dabbling in vegan baking, and last year we discovered that our son Oliver was allergic to eggs, which definitely changed the way we approached breakfast at home—my husband and I are big egg eaters!

Thankfully, he can have eggs if they’re baked into something like a muffin or prepared pasta, but many of his friends can’t, so I’ve gotten good at tweaking baked goods to accommodate everyone at parties and get-togethers.

The number one trick for replacing eggs in a baking recipe—but keeping many of the important properties that eggs contribute—is using a flax egg.

WHAT IS A FLAX EGG?

Flax eggs are a mixture of flaxseed meal (ground flaxseeds) and water. The flaxseed meal absorbs the water and becomes gelatinous, similar to an egg white. These are a great vegan substitute when you don’t want to use a chicken egg in a recipe.

HOW DO I USE FLAX EGGS IN RECIPES?

To substitute for one large chicken egg in your recipe, do a one-for-one swap with a flax egg. Simple!

The recipe below is for a single flax egg, and you can scale up the formula to make however many flax eggs you need for your recipe.

HOW DO I MAKE A FLAX EGG?

To make a flax egg, you first need ground flaxseed meal—the gum in the seed coating is what thickens the “egg” and it works best when the seeds are ground.

You can buy ground flaxseed meal, but you can also buy whole flaxseeds and grind them into meal yourself. Once ground, flaxseed meal can go rancid pretty quickly, so I recommend buying whole flaxseeds, storing them in the fridge, and grinding them as needed for your recipe. (If you do buy ground flaxseed meal, store it in the freezer for maximum shelf life.)

A lot of bakers like to buy golden flaxseeds, which are lighter color and less noticeable in the finished baked good. Dark-colored flaxseeds are fine to use as well, but will give light-colored muffins and quick breads a slightly speckled appearance.

I think the easiest way to grind your own flax seeds is to use a small coffee grinder or spice grinder—just make sure it’s wiped clean so you’re not adding any undesired flavors or aromas into your flax meal from coffee beans or other spices.

Simply add the flaxseed to the grinder and start grinding. Depending on the strength of your grinder, it should take about 30 seconds or so to get make fine meal you’re looking for. It should have the consistency of a chunky powder.

A good rule of thumb to follow is that 1 tablespoon of whole flaxseed will yield about 2 tablespoons of ground flax meal.

HOW THE HECK DO FLAX EGGS WORK?

As with many things in the kitchen, there’s a good bit of science involved here.

Regular chicken eggs do a number of helpful things in a recipe: they act as an emulsifier, a leavener, and a binder. And of course, they add moisture to baked goods.

The gelatinous nature of flax eggs helps emulate the binding action of eggs. They also add moisture, ensuring that your baked goods remain tender and don’t become too crumbly.

How exactly do flax eggs work this magic?! The outer seed coating of a flaxseed contains a gum that becomes really thick—almost gelatinous—once ground and mixed with water. This new, thicker substance has proven to be a great emulsifier and binder, helping with the structure of baked goods.

WHEN CAN I USE FLAX EGGS IN RECIPES?

I’ve used flax eggs in simple baking applications like cookies, muffins, loaf cakes, and pancakes and they’ve all turned out great. I’ve also tried them in meatballs with great success.

This leads me to conclude that flax eggs work for many recipes where eggs are the supporting stars, as opposed to the main actors—flax eggs wouldn’t work for egg-focused recipes such as quiche, crepes, or omelets.

I’d also be hesitant to use flax eggs with very delicate cakes, and a flax egg can’t mimic the role of regular eggs in something like meringue, so sweets like macarons or lemon meringue pie would be out.

But absolutely go to town on your favorite simple baked goods like cookies, bars, muffins and quick breads!

ANY TIPS BEFORE I DIVE IN?

Yes! There are a few helpful tips to know before getting started using flax eggs:

First, while eggs help to leaven baked goods (meaning they help them to rise), flax eggs really don’t do much in this regard.

I know a few vegan bakers who swear by adding a pinch of baking powder to their flax egg once it’s thickened to help give them a leavening boost. I haven’t tried this as most recipes I’ve made with flax eggs already contain baking powder, but it’s a good tip to keep in your back pocket for future baking experiments.

Second, it’s best to use room temperature water and let your flax egg set at room temperature, versus refrigerating it. I find this helps the flax egg to set up, but in addition, many recipes call for room temperature eggs, and I like to remain consistent in my ingredient swaps.

Third, because the flax egg takes about 10 minutes to thicken, mix them up before doing anything else. Mix them before you even crack open your cookbook or think about preheating the oven. I hate having to sit and twiddle my thumbs waiting for the flax egg to set up. If you get distracted or interrupted after you make the egg, keep in mind the longer it sits, the more it gels up. That being said, I’ve left out for up to an hour and it was fine.

RECIPES THAT USE FLAX EGGS

  • Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Muffins
  • Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake Donuts
  • Nut-Free “Peanut Butter” Chocolate Chip Cookies
  • Gluten-Free Fudge Chocolate Brownies
  • Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Skillet Cookies

If you are grinding your own flaxseed meal, 1 tablespoon of whole flaxseeds will make roughly 2 tablespoons of flaxseed meal.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons room temperature water

Special equipment:

    Method

    1 In a small bowl, stir the flaxseed meal and water together.

    2 Let rest: Allow mixture to sit for 7 to 10 minutes at room temperature, until thickened into a gel-like consistency. (It’s ok if it sits for up to an hour if you get distracted!)

    3 Use your egg: Substitute 1 flax egg for every egg called for in your baking recipe.

    Posted by gen_gen -  at 

    Categories: Allergy-Friendly   Tags: ,