Italian Rainbow Cookies Veganized

During Christmas, I had this bad habit of being at the grocery store and looking at the ingredients of the Italian Christmas cookies hoping some of them would be vegan. Not a chance. I’ve been craving these all season.

After Christmas, I looked up some recipes for this type of cookie. I wasn’t sure what they would actually be called, but it was easy enough to find. I found this recipe, which I knew I could veganize with the magic vegan ingredient, aquafaba.

I was so worried I’d really mess up making these a lot earlier on. The parts I thought would fail were not as difficult as I thought. The hardest part was cutting it after I put the chocolate on top, which ended up crumbling a bit and making it not as pretty as I would have liked. The recipe makes it sound much more complicated and some of the steps are needlessly complicated, so I’m re-writing the recipe in the way I did it with the vegan substitutions.

This recipe also required making vegan almond paste (with aquafaba as well!)

That is the first step to making these babies.

Vegan Aquafaba Almond Paste

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups blanched almonds
  • 1.5 cups vegan powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons aquafaba (chickpea water/brine from a can)
  • 1.5 teaspoons almond extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions:

  1. In a food processor, blend the almonds until smooth and pasty.
  2. Add the powdered sugar, aquafaba, extract, and salt.
  3. Process again until smooth and dough-like (it should form into a big ball).
  4. You may need to scrape the sides down frequently throughout the process.
  5. When finished, set aside 3/4 cup for your Italian Rainbow cookies. You can save the leftovers, it’s super yummy!

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Veganized Italian Rainbow Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 2 sticks plus 4 tablespoons Earth Balance sticks
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup almond paste (recipe above)
  • 3/4 cup vegan sugar plus 2 tablespoons
  • 4 tablespoons aquafaba (liquid from a can of chickpeas)
  • 12 tablespoons aquafaba
  • 2 tablespoons vegan sugar
  • food coloring method of choice (red and green)
  • 15 oz Apricot Jam (not the kind with clumpy pieces in it, you want it to be smooth)
  • 10 oz vegan chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Place parchment paper on three jelly roll pans or rimmed cookie sheets and spray parchment with cooking oil.
  3. In a stand mixer bowl, place the almond paste and 3/4 cup with 2 tablespoons of sugar. Mix on the medium speed setting until crumbly.
  4. Cut the Earth Balance into small pieces and place into the the mixture while beating together until all the Earth Balance is in there and the batter is smooth.
  5. Sift 2 cups of flour and 1/2 teaspoon salt into a bowl. Add into the mixer slowly and continue to mix until combined. Do not over mix.
  6. In a large metal bowl, using a handheld electric mixer, place the 12 tablespoons of aquafaba. Whip until foamy. Slowly add in the 2 tablespoons of sugar while continuing to whip on the highest setting. Stop when you have created firm peaks (if you take out the whisks from the meringue, and place them upside down, it will not drip down).
  7. Add 1/3 of the meringue into the batter and fold in with a rubber spatula. Add the rest of the meringue and mix until fully incorporated.
  8. Place the batter evenly into 3 bowls. 1 bowl keep plain, and then add green and red to the other two bowls.
  9. Transfer the batters onto their respective cookie sheets one at a time with a wet rubber spatula . My sheets were too big to be able to spread out the batter entirely, so I tried my best to make the most even shaped rectangles on each cookie sheet so they’d match up when layered together after baking.  Don’t worry too much about it, you’ll cut the edges so they’re prettier when it’s all assembled anyhow. Just worry about making relatively even thickness rectangles for now.
  10. Bake for 4 minutes, rotate the pans around in the oven so that one pan is not on the bottom rack the whole time, and bake for another 4-6 minutes until the edges are slightly browned.
  11. Allow to cool completely.
  12. Spread a thin layer of apricot jam on top of the red layer.
  13. Cut any excess parchment paper from around the white layer. Holding the bottom of the cookie with both hands, carefully line up and flip the white layer onto the red.
  14. Spread another layer of jam. Repeat step 13 with the green layer, but do not place anymore jam on top.
  15. Cover with plastic wrap. Place a clean cookie sheet on top to press down the layers. Place something heavy and even (like two cans on either side) on top of that, and place into the refrigerator for at least 4 hours.
  16. Take off the cans, cookie sheet, and plastic wrap. With a sharp knife, trim the uneven sides into a clean rectangle shape. Let sit for a moment or a few.
  17. Melt the chocolate chips in a double boiler or microwave.
  18. Spread over the top layer and sides with a spatula.
  19. Allow to set, and then cut into smalls squares.
  20. Place in a container and store in the refrigerator or at room temperature.

Enjoy! I know I certainly will!

 

 

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Peanut Butter Ice Cream Sundaes!

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In my honest opinion, peanut butter and chocolate is the best combination of flavors in the world. So, I was looking in one of my mom’s cookbooks recently to veganize a Chinese Chicken Salad recipe, and found a recipe for peanut ice cream. It calls for egg yolks (which I veganized with aquafaba) and cream and all kinds of non vegan stuff, so I adapted it quite a bit. It came out quite good. Here’s the recipe:

Peanut butter ice cream sundaes

(Adapted from a non-vegan recipe in the Silver Palate Good Times Cookbook)

Ingredients:

For peanut butter ice cream:

  • 1 can full fat regular coconut milk
  • 1 can Trader Joe’s coconut cream (you can use another can of coconut milk if you don’t have a nearby trader Joe’s, it may not come out as creamy but it will still be good.)
  • 1 15 oz can’s worth of drained chickpea liquid (also referred to as aquafaba)
  • ½ cup vegan sugar
  • 2/3 cup powdered peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup smooth natural peanut butter

For fudge sauce:

  • ¾ stick Earth Balance (6 tbsp)
  • ¼ pound block of dark chocolate, chopped
  • 2/3 cup vegan sugar
  • 1 tbsp instant coffee
  • 1 cup coconut milk from a can
  • ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Directions:

For ice cream:

  1. Drain the chickpeas and set aside the liquid. Place in a small saucepan and heat on low until fizzy and reduced to 1/3 cup. Allow to cool for 10 minutes.
  2. Place the chickpea liquid into a ceramic mixing bowl along with the sugar. With an electric mixer, beat for about 5 minutes until peaks form and ribbons fall off the beaters.
  3. Pour the coconut milk and coconut cream into a large saucepan. Whisk a bit by hand until the clumps come out of the coconut cream and it is smooth. Heat on the stove until hot but not boiling.
  4. Take off the heat and add in the chickpea liquid/sugar mixture and whisk by hand until combined.
  5. Place on heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. It is ready to go when the liquid coats the back of the spoon.
  6. Allow to cool for at least a half hour off the heat. Add in the peanut butter and peanut butter powder and transfer to a blender. Blend until combined.
  7. Place in a container and refrigerate overnight.
  8. Follow your ice creamer maker directions and then stick in the freezer after it’s ready for at least another hour before serving.

For fudge sauce:

  1. Melt the Earth Balance in a medium sized saucepan.
  2. Shut off the heat once melted, and add all ingredients except vanilla.
  3. Heat over medium heat until boiling while stirring constantly.
  4. When boiling, turn to low and stir for an additional 5-10 minutes until smooth and thick.
  5. Take the pan off the heat and add in the vanilla extract.
  6. Allow to cool briefly and serve while still warm on top of ice cream. You will need to refrigerate and reheat (try steaming with a double boiler) when using again.
What the chickpea liquid and sugar should look like before you add it to the coconut

What the chickpea liquid and sugar should look like before you add it to the coconut

The ice cream when done

The ice cream when done

The chocolate sauce when done

The chocolate sauce when done

Top your ice cream and fudge with peanuts and coconut whipped cream (that is if you can master it! I haven’t been able to for some reason…go figure).

Making vegan Macarons for the first time!

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French macarons (not to be confused with coconut macaroons) are a meringue based sandwich cookie with almond flour. They are quite popular and come in all different kinds of flavor combinations. They are supposedly difficult to make even when not vegan. Vegan macarons were once believed to be impossible to make, because there was no good vegan alternative to meringues. But now there is!

You may recall my post about magical bean juice (also referred to as aquafaba in vegan circles) for making meringue cookies. You can do the same thing with these! I didn’t make up my own recipe since I’ve never made these before, but I still want to share the recipe I used and my results.

This is the recipe I used but I changed the flavors, colors, and frosting recipe. It worked perfectly for me, even on my first try. I personally feel like it it might have had a lot to do with the weather, it was a great sunny day. I found this recipe from a group all all about making vegan meringue and using aquafaba.

I chose to make lavender agave frosting and used a super fruit jelly in the middle from Trader Joe’s.

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The texture came out so great. The frosting I made was a little runny, so the recipe I am including here is changed to account for it to be better.

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The recipe for the frosting is as follows:

  • 1 tbsp agave
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp lavender extract
  • 3 tbsp almond milk

You just need to mix everything together.

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in the oven almost done

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out of the oven

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close up of the feet

I absolutely loved these, and the best part is they are automatically gluten free!

I’m deep in the midst of making food for volunteers at Girls Rock RI this week, stay tuned for a post about that soon!