We’re into sweets right now. I think it’s because we just realized we can bake things that taste great AND are good for us. Really good.
A couple of years ago, we started swapping oil in our baking recipes for apple sauce. We tried 1/2 oil and 1/2 apple sauce and went from there. It makes fat free baking a lot easier. If vegan baking scares you, try just the applesauce trick. It’s an easy change, and all those little steps to healthier living add up.
Now, without sugar or salt, we’re learning again. We started doing dates instead of sugar and that’s been an experience to get the proportions right – all trials with only a couple errors. We mostly just forget the salt and not worry about it.
A word on sweetness – You train your taste buds and body on how to handle sugar. You teach yourself what is sweet and what isn’t. If you’re eating the Standard American Diet, you are likely eating a TON of sugar. If you eat processed foods, just about everything has some form of sugar even if you don’t think you can taste it. This means your tastebuds need extreme sweet to taste it. After a month on this diet, things that used to be blah are really sweet! We don’t use sugar AT ALL. If you really want some more sweetness, up the dates. If you really want to challenge yourself to just enjoy the natural sweetness in life, start cutting down your sugar intake now! Don’t up the dates, don’t touch white sugar, and stop eating processed foods! When you have your first bite of delicious dark chocolate that you’ve always thought tasted bitter, you can think of me 🙂
- Vanilla Cupcakes
- Cashew Coconut Icing
Vanilla Cupcakes – Makes 4 Cupcakes, so it’s perfect for a sweet tooth. Based loosely on Post Punk Kitchen’s Recipe here especially the little vinegar and milk trick.
- 1/4 c. Unsweetened Almond Milk (or plant based milk)
- 1/4 Tsp Apple Cider Vinegar
- 4 Tsp Unsweetened Apple Sauce
- 1 Tsp Vanilla Extract
- 1/4 c. or 4 Medium Dates (soaked in water for at least 30 minutes if really dried)
- 1 Tsp additional liquid (see instruction)
- 1/3 c. Gluten Free All Purpose Flour (or wheat flour)
- 1/4 Tsp Xantham Gum (omit if using wheat flour)
- 2 Tsp Corn Starch
- 1/4 Tsp Baking Powder
- 1/8 Tsp Baking Soda
Preheat oven to 350 F. If dates are really dry, soak dates in enough water to cover them. This can be done the day before, several hours before, or 30 minutes before. They can keep like this for several days to use in other recipes if you do a bunch. Do not drain until ready for use. Reserve water to use as a natural sweetener (or in the next recipe).
In a blender or food processor, mix almond milk and vinegar and let stand for 5 minutes. Add apple sauce, vanilla, dates, and 1 Tsp date water if they had to be soaked or 1 tsp regular water or plant based milk, and blend wet ingredients until pureed.
In a separate bowl, mix the rest of the dry ingredients. Add to wet ingredients. Can be mixed by hand, in the food processor, in your blender if it’s powerful, or in a mixer.
Fill 4 cupcake liners to about 2/3 full. If using silicone, use nonstick spray on the inside. Bake for about 20 minutes or until a knife comes out clean.
Variations: For chocolate, add 3 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa or more to reach desired flavor.
Cashew Coconut Icing – This is a delicious alternative to icing. It is spreadable, but not exactly the texture of icing. Basically, it’s different, but still really good considering there is no sugar. Makes about 1 c. icing.
- 3/8 c. Cashews (Soaked overnight or at least 1 hour. The longer the soak, the creamier the cashew. )
- 3 Tbsp Water Reserved from Soaking Dates or Almond Milk
- 6 Medium Dates (soaked in water for at least 30 minutes if really dried)
- 2 Tbsp Plain Soy Yogurt
- 1/2 Tsp Vanilla
- 2 Tsp Dried Coconut (Can be omitted)
Blend cashews and water until really smooth. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Add dates and blend until smooth. Add all other ingredients until smooth and refrigerate until ready for use.
Variations: For chocolate, add 1 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa. For blueberry, add 1/2 c. blueberries. For peanut butter, add PB2. Get creative! This is just a base!