When it comes to certain foods, I admit I am a complete snob. This particularly pertains to chocolate and cream cheese. Due to my dietary restrictions, I have to seriously consider ingredients before eating many foods. I also must determine whether or eating off-limit foods is worth discomfort. If I eat something I know I shouldn’t, it better taste darn good. That being said, I really enjoy a great red velvet cake and buy a gluten-free vegan piece whenever possible, so I decided to treat my folks (and myself) at a recent birthday celebration.
I made my adaption from a recipe at the Gluten-Free Life with Jen, which looked intriguing, but I wanted to make a healthier version. I was a bit leery of the recipe’s large amount of beets and was unsure how potent the the red color or earthy flavor would work compared to the small amount of chocolate. The batter of this first attempt ended up tasting too much like beets but provided a great raspberry-colored hue. It lacked in chocolate flavor but was at least sweet. It needed more chocolate, so I quadrupled the amount of cacao (doubling was not enough). Unfortunately, adding this much made the batter rather thick and a very dark shade of brown. As bright red color faded while baking, it came out not looking red at all, so I left out the food dye in the recipe below. Although these brownies were tasty to me, they might not be to everyone’s liking, as my alterations resulted in an intense dark chocolate flavor. (I prefer dark chocolate and sometimes eat plain roasted cacao beans or 89 to 100 percent dark chocolate bars.)
Roast Beet Purée
Adapted from the roasting instructions for Jessica’s red velvet cake at Desserts with Benefits.
2 Large Beets, scrubbed, trimmed
1 1/2 tsp Fresh Lemon Juice
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Wrap the beats in aluminum foil. Place on a foil-lined lipped baking sheet due to a tendency for the beet juice to bubble over through the wrapping. Roast for an hour or until a fork easily pierces through the flesh. Cool slightly on a wire rack. Unwrap the beets. Be careful not to burn your hands. Quarter them before pureeing in a food processor or high-speed blender with the lemon juice.
Sprinkles and candles make everything more festive.
Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Beet Brownies
Adapted recipe from Jen Cafferty’s recipe at Gluten-Free Life With Jen.
Yields 15 to 20 Servings
3 T Chia or Flax Seeds, course ground
8 T Warm Filtered Water
2 C Cacao Powder
1 1/2 C Unsweetened Apple Sauce
2 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 – 2 C Evaporated Cane Juice or Turbinado Sugar
1 3/4 C Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour
1 1/4 tsp Xanthan Gum
1 1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Sea Salt
1 C Roast Beet Puree (see above)
20 oz Vegan Chocolate Chips
Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting
Red Sanding Sugar, optional
In a small bowl, beat chia or flax seeds and water with a fork until smooth to create “egg” substitute. Set aside for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent clumping.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour-dust a glass 9″ x 13″ baking dish. Set aside.
In a large bowl, mix cacao, apple sauce and vanilla. Set aside.
Into a medium bowl, sift flour, xanthan gum, 1 cup sugar, soda and salt. With an electric mixer, gradually add in cacao-apple mixture. Blend in “eggs” and beets. Stir until fully incorporated. Adjust batter to desired level of sweetness with remaining sugar, mixing in a quarter cup at a time. Fold in chocolate pieces.
Bake for at least 30 minutes (mine took 70) or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool thoroughly on wire rack. Frost and decorate as desired.* Serve and enjoy!
*If you do not want to frost the brownies, they would also taste great accompanied by So Delicious’ Non-Dairy Frozen Dessert (either Vanilla or Cashew Cream) or CocoWhip.
This vegan cream cheese frosting is AMAZING! It tastes and feels like REAL cream cheese frosting! It is sweet, tart, light, and fluffy. It’s not healthy enough to eat by the spoonful but provides a perfect accompaniment to cakes, brownies, and cookies. The original recipe was way too sweet, so I reduced the amount of powdered sugar in my recipe. Feel free to experiment with other dry sweeteners and extracts to create a range of flavors. I do not recommend using liquid sweetener, as powdered sugar absorbed some of the oil in the cream cheese spread and prevented the frosting from becoming too greasy.
I used Daiya’s non-dairy plain cream cheese spread, which already has an incredible taste and texture by itself; it even has the classic cheesy tartness, which is usually difficult to simulate without fermentation. I first stumbled upon their cream cheese while perusing the non-dairy cheese selection of the company’s website. I thought to myself, “With all of the recent progress in the foodie world with gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan foods, someone has to have a created a passable dairy-free cream cheese by now. I wonder if Daiya has one yet….” Lo’ and behold, they do! I really like their other non-dairy cheeses, so I thought I might as well try it. Why not, right?
Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting
I adapted this cream cheese frosting made by Rachel Young of Gladly Gluten Free.
I doubled this recipe from the original, since I planned to make cakes for two different occasions.
Yields 40 to 48 Servings.
16 oz Daiya Plain Cream Cheese, softened
2 C Earth Balance Spread, softened
2 tsp Vanilla Extract
4 C Powdered Sugar, to taste
Combine the cream cheese and spread in a large bowl until fluffy.Thoroughly incorporate the vanilla. Sift the sugar to get rid of lumps, gradually adding four cups of sugar to the cream, using an electric mixer. Adjust the frosting to your level of desired sweetness by slowly adding up to another cup of sugar. Store leftover frosting in a large airtight container, like a glass canning jar, for up to a week; just make sure you let it soften to room temperature on it’s own before attempting to spread it on a cake. If you try to soften it too quickly (like in the microwave), it will separate.
Welcome to Noel’s Noms! I have officially moved my food blog from Three Chicks Talking About Food, which will continue to stay up, but I will no longer be submitting entries there. In addition to migrating my old entries to the new site, I will be posting exciting new recipes and reviews.
I was previously blogging as one of the “Three Chicks”. For a while, there were two authors (one of my girl friends and me) but then just me for a long time. A very long time. I wanted to move to my own space but didn’t know where to begin. I also knew I could no longer keep writing there; the title of the website was no longer accurate, to say the least. I took an extended break when I lost steam and life got busy. I contemplated getting back into writing as well as the new website (where it should be, what it should look like, how it should change). In the meantime, I was still trying new restaurants and food, but I was not sharing my experiences like I was before, which felt wrong somehow. Something was missing. I wanted to write.
I started blogging again in February but was not motivated to regularly. I needed a place to call my own, something that was just mine. I had spoken with my husband about it for a while, weighing options, and last night he helped me start the process of putting together a new site, so here we are. I’m off on a new journey and have a new place! For now, please forgive this little spout of a website as grows into something greater.
Many thanks to my hubby for helping me set up this new site and to the readers who have joined me on this new path.