Also from the Vegan Slow Cooker: Creamy Polenta with Mushroom Ragu & Warm and Fudgy Bread Pudding

I started writing this in October and for some reason just realized it was still a draft so I finished it up :)

I finally broke away from the soups in Fresh from the Vegan Slow Cooker by Robin Robertson.

This week I tried a main dish and a dessert.  I couldn’t find any links for the recipes for you, but they are both part of the Google preview if you haven’t worn out your privileges with this book yet.  If you have, maybe you should just buy it, eh?  (It happens to be on sale right now)

The one thing I found surprising about this book, is that the methods for everything aren’t what I would consider a traditional slow cooker meal.  You can’t just toss everything in, be gone for 8-10 hours (or in my case nearly 12) and come home to a complete meal.  Some are like that, but be aware that they aren’t all.  Neither of these are that way.  But they worked out nicely.

On Sunday morning before I started getting ready for church, I put in the polenta so it was timed perfectly with my return for lunch.  As a southern girl, these “grits” were the perfect consistency.  They weren’t stuck together, but you could get away with eating them with a fork.  I do fear though that using broth that they would have been way too salty if I had added the salt called for in the recipe.

The Mushroom Ragu sauce didn’t even hit the slow cooker so this was a half-n-half slow cooker meal. But, using the Trader Joe’s classic organic marinara, it was delish. I added some fresh arugula for a little extra nutrition and had a delicious comfort food lunch.

Creamy Polenta and Mushroom Ragu - Fresh From the Vegan Slow Cooker


And then there was the Fudgy Bread Pudding.  Oh my word.  The picture does more for this chocolatey goodness than words ever could:

Warm and Fudgy Slow Cooker Bread Pudding

I added about an extra 1/3 cup of non-dairy milk (almond in this case).  For the bread, I used the brown rice bread from Food for Life.  Since bread pudding is ideally made with stale bread, this heavier bread worked perfectly.  I cooked it for about 2.5 hours and we ate it warm.  It was decent cold, but the bread lost its softness.  Heating it back up in the microwave brought it back to it’s original texture.

Gluten Free Peanut Butter Chocolate Pillows

Ok, it’s time for some cookies up in here.  Honestly, it’s surprising it has taken me four days.  I’ve been eyeing the Peanut Butter Chocolate Pillows from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar since the day I got the book.  For some reason though, I’ve been intimidated by them, and had yet to try them.  Until now.  Why, oh why, did I put these off?

They are a little bit more labor intensive than your typical cookie.  But, they aren’t your typical cookie. They are arguably the best cookie I’ve ever made.  I sent a few with my sister to our hair stylist.  They were immediately requested (read: demanded) to be added to this year’s Christmas cookie basket.

The original version is over on The Post Punk Kitchen blog, but here is my gluten-free version.  They look a bit different, but they are still pb/chocolate perfection.

Gluten Free Peanut Butter Chocolate Pillows | Veg-am

Gluten Free Peanut Butter Chocolate Pillows

(makes 2 dozen)

Chocolate dough:

  • ½ cup canola oil
  • 1 cup sugar (I used turbinado, but any sugar should work)
  • ¼ cup pure maple syrup
  • 3 tablespoons almond milk
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup sorghum flour
  • ½ cup Brown Rice Flour
  • 3 Tbsp Arrowroot
  • 1 Tbsp Tapioca Starch
  • ¾ tsp xanthan gum
  • 1/ cup + 2 tablespoons unsweetened dutch processed cocoa powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt


  • ¾ cup creamy salted peanut butter (I used the no-stir Skippy Natural)
  • 2/3 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 3 tablespoons almond milk
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract

In a large mixing bowl combine oil, sugar, maple syrup, almond milk and vanilla extract and mix with a fork until smooth, about 2 minutes.  Using a fine mesh sieve, “sift”  in flours, xanthan, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. (don’t use a real sifter – they’re nearly impossible to clean once they’ve had xanthan in them).  Mix to form a moist dough.  As with a lot of gluten free cookie doughs, this will probably be a bit stickier than what you’d expect from a traditional cookie dough.  If you add flour to the expected consistency, you will end up with a dry, crumbly finished product.  To make it easier to work with, refrigerate the chocolate dough while making the filling.

Make the filling: In another mixing bowl beat together peanut butter, confectioner’s sugar, almond milk and vanilla extract to form a moist but firm dough. If peanut butter dough is too dry (as different peanut butters have different moisture content), stir in another tablespoon of almond milk. If dough is too wet knead in a little extra powdered sugar.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line baking 2 sheets with parchment paper.

Shape the cookies. Create the centers of the cookies by rolling the peanut butter dough into 24 balls. To keep the chocolate dough as cold as possible, only pull out about a quarter of it at a time.  Working on waxed paper,  using a generous tablespoon of chocolate dough, flatten into a disc and place a peanut butter ball in the center. Fold the sides of the chocolate dough up and around the peanut butter center and roll the chocolate ball into an smooth ball between your palms. Place on a sheet of waxed paper and repeat with remaining dough.

Gluten Free Peanut Butter Chocolate Pillows | Veg-am

Flatten the cookies a little (This was an optional step in the original recipe, but I found that it gave me a better distribution of peanut butter in the gf version. I did try it both ways.)

Place dough balls on lined baking sheets about 2 inches apart, and flatten the cookies a little (this was an optional step in the original recipe, but I found that it gave me a better distribution of peanut butter in the gf version)

Gluten Free Peanut Butter Chocolate Pillows | Veg-am

Bake for 12 minutes.  Remove sheet from oven and let cookies for 5 minutes before moving to a wire rack to complete cooling. Store cookies in tightly covered container.

I’m not usually a big fan of warm baked goods, but these are super good while still warm.  They are also good at room temperature.  And frozen.

If you like your cookies warm, the original recipe says they’ll heat in the microwave in about 10 seconds.  I haven’t tried it, but it sounds about right.

Warm cookies.  Cold almond milk.  You’re welcome :)



Classics are Classics for a Reason: Chocolate Chip Cookies

In the tv world, the classics are in re-runs. Really…what could be better than Wally borrowing the Beav’s “turtle dirt” to make it look like they had taken a bath?

Today has just been one of those days.  I had three different options of what I wanted to post today (which means you get at least 3 more classics when I get them done) and none of them worked out for today.

So in true classic style,  I’m going to do a re-run from 2008.  It’s one of the few things I made in 2008 that I haven’t really changed.  They are a staple in my party attendance, party hosting and Christmas cookie baskets.  Besides, what discussion of food classics would be complete without a chocolate chip cookie?

For the last couple months I’ve been desperate for a good chocolate chip cookie. It’s not that chocolate chip cookies are really a need, but when you haven’t had one in over a year, it surely seems that way. I finally found a recipe I thought I could work from! The 
original recipe was posted by Isa on the ppk

I deglutenized and changed a couple other things to meet my needs/preferemces. I usually have to try a recipe a couple times before I get the flour substitution just right, but I hit a winner first time with this one. My friend Sherry is often very hesitant about trying my cooking for fear that I will make her try something weird. When she tried these, she told me she didn’t really care what was in them and not to change a thing. Then she packed up a few and took them home.

Chocolate Chip Cookies
Makes about two dozen two inch cookies (I actually got 21)

Flour mixture:
1/4 cup sorghum flour
1/2 cup garfava (garbanzo and fava bean) flour
1/2 cup tapioca starch/flour
1/4 cup arrowroot
1-1/2 tsp xanthan gum

3/4 cup turbinado sugar
2/3 cup canola oil
1/4 cup unsweetened rice milk
1 tablespoon tapioca flour
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cups chocolate chips (I use Enjoy Life chips – they are vegan and soy/gluten free)

Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly grease two large metal baking sheets.

In a small bowl, mix together the flour mixture with a whisk or a fork. Be sure to combine them really well so the xanthan will be evenly mixed through. Set aside.

Mix together sugar, oil, milk and 1 Tbsp tapioca flour in a mixing bowl. Use a strong fork and mix really well, for about 2 minutes, until it resembles smooth caramel. There is a chemical reaction when sugar and oil collide, so it’s important that you don’t get lazy about that step. Mix in the vanilla.

Add 1 cup of the flour mixture, the baking soda and salt. Mix until well incorporated. Mix in the rest of the flour. Fold in the chocolate chips. The dough is a little sticky, so you’ll probably have to use your hands to get the chips really mixed in. For most of the cookies I’ve made, the gluten free version is much different from a “regular” cookie dough (less stiff, gooey-er) — they will still work.

For about 2 dozen two inch cookies roll dough into walnut sized balls and flatten to about 1 1/2 inches. They will spread just a bit. Place on a baking sheet and bake for about 12 minutes* until they are just a little browned around the edges. Let cool on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes then transfer to a cooling rack.

The only little tweak I’ve made since 2008, is that now  I flatten them a little before they bake.  It’s more of an aesthetic thing, so it’s not necessary, but they look more like a classic chocolate chip cookie and less like a little pillow. 

A recommendation: So Delicious Mint Chocolate Coconut Milk

I’ll be working soon on a post about my weekend visit to Richmond. But I just wanted to give you a heads up of this holiday edition of coconut milk by So Delicious.

So Delicious gluten-free, soy-free, vegan substitutes for all manner of dairy items. Unfortunately, I also have a crazy allergy to chemical forms of magnesium. I rarely mention it because I’ve only ever heard of a couple other people with it and it doesn’t affect whole foods, just products. Anyway, my point is that So Delicious uses Magnesium Phosphate in a lot of stuff.

I am thankful that this is an exception to that practice:

Obviously, I lifted the picture fromtheir website. I hope since I’m recommending their product that it’s ok.

I’ve only tried this straight-up and cold. And it is fabulous!! I’m also thinking of mint chocolate milk shakes, mint chocolate mochas, hot mint chocolate, and most definitely the mint chocolate tapioca pudding recipe they have on the carton. If you have access to this beverage, I would highly recommend that you purchase and enjoy!!


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