Ginger Cake Squares

Ginger Cake (1)

Instead of more traditional gingerbread cookies, we made ginger cake this year. This cake will make your whole house smell like Christmas as it bakes!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Earth Balance butter, melted
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 cups blackstrap molasses
  • 2 vegan eggs
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons ground ginger
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 cups boiling water
  1. In a bowl, whisk together the melted butter, sugar, molasses, and vegan eggs of your choice; set aside.
  2. In a second bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, stirring until combined.
  3. Add the boiling water and whisk until well blended.
  4. Pour into a greased 9×13-inch baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees F for 45 to 50 minutes; a wooden pick inserted in the center should come out clean.
  5. Cool in the pan for at least 15 minutes on a wire rack, then serve warm or cool completely.
  6. We love this dolloped with non-dairy whipped cream for serving! And yes we’re going to leave one piece out for Santa!

GInger Cake (2)

Chewy Chocolate Coconut Treat

Mochi Treat (3)

Our original plan was to bake a chocolate mochi treat, using a recipe from Veronika’s latest High Five magazine, but we couldn’t find sweet rice flour at the store. In a pinch, we tried coconut flour and up with this delicious chocolatey treat!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup coconut flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 and 1/2 cups coconut milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 vegan eggs
  1. In a bowl, combine the coconut flour, sugar, cocoa powder, and baking powder.
  2. Add the coconut milk, vanilla, and vegan eggs of choice, stirring to combine; the batter will be thick.
  3. Pour into an 11×7-inch baking dish lined with parchment paper and bake at 350 degrees F for 25 minutes. Let cool completely, then cut into squares to serve.

Mochi Treat (2)

We left our treat plain, but a dusting of powdered sugar would be pretty on top!

Mochi Treat (4)

Squiggle Cookies

Squiggle Cookies (5)

Let’s face it: any food that has a silly face is infinitely more fun for kids to eat. This “cookie” recipe from High Five comes together so easily, and turned out to be a fantastic sibling project that both my kids adored!

To start, I prepared a batch of vanilla frosting, then divided it among three zip-top plastic bags. The kids’ job was to add drops of food coloring, then seal and mush with their hands until all the color was incorporated. I loved watching big brother Travis coach Veronika through this step.

Squiggle Cookies (1)

Next, separate graham cracker sheets into individual rectangles. Travis decided we should leave some of the sheets intact so we could have a family: Big mommy and daddy rectangles, and smaller baby ones!

Squiggle Cookies (2)

Snip a small hole in the bottom corner of each frosting bag, then pipe the frosting onto the cookies. This step was tricky for Veronika, but Travis loved being in charge while she got to take an early taste test.

Squiggle Cookies (3)

Raisin eyes were the finishing touch.

Squiggle Cookies (4)

Travis proudly added the decorations to the Daddy Rectangle.

Squiggle Cookies (7)

It’s hard to say which part the kids enjoyed more: making these cookies or eating them!

Squiggle Cookies (6)

Dessert Map

Cookie Map (5)

Maps were a big topic in Travis’s First Grade classroom last year, so as he transitions off to Second Grade, we decided to put a delicious endnote on the curriculum. This cookie dough map not only offered a little late summer learning, but made for a delicious dessert, too!

To start, prepare the dough from two boxes of chocolate chip cookie mix. You can also use refrigerated dough from the store or your favorite homemade recipe. Either way, it’s a great excuse to bake together!

Travis helped press the first batch of dough down onto the a baking sheet as a giant island.

Cookie Map (1)

He then used the second batch of dough to make topographical features, constructing mounds that could be mountains or hills and adding smaller cookie “islands” along the rim of the sheet. Bake according to package directions.

Cookie Map (2)

Once the cookie cooled, it was time to add a few more geographical features. Chocolate sauce was perfect for oceans, rivers, and mountain lakes. Travis got a bit impish with this step, drowning his land in goopy syrup.

Cookie Map (3)

He wanted to add chocolate sprinkles, too, which were more for fun than a specific geographical element. Perhaps they were plants or people on his island! Either way, it was time to dig in for the delicious result.

Cookie Map (4)

Note: Because this cookie is likely to be much thicker than a standard cookie (thanks to all those mountains!), you may find that it doesn’t bake all the way through. You can also expect the mountains to spread down and out as the cookie bakes. As a result, we found that the most delicious part was our edges and low-lying islands, while the rest was really more for fun than for eating.

Cookie Map (6)

Banana Nice-Cream Sundae

A base of frozen bananas makes this decadent “ice cream” sundae almost healthy. The same can’t necessarily be said of the toppings, though!

To start, peel and chop 4 bananas and freeze. Transfer the banana pieces to a blender and puree until smooth, along with 2 to 3 tablespoons water.

We spooned the banana “ice cream” into bowls, then set up a buffet bar of toppings! Travis and Veronika chose from a mix of: chocolate rice cereal, non-dairy whipped cream, chocolate sauce, sprinkles, and maraschino cherries. Kids can pile on the works, or just pick their favorites.

If you want to stick with healthier toppings and the fresh fruit theme, try adding raspberries or other berries instead. Thanks to High Five magazine for this delicious idea!

Blueberry Granita

This fresh fruit sorbet is the perfect treat on a summer day!

Ingredients:

  • 1 and 1/2 cups fresh blueberries
  • 1/2 cup lemonade
  • 2 tablespoons apple juice
  1. Combine all the ingredients in a blender and process until smooth. Pour into a freezer-safe container and freeze.
  2. Every two hours or so, scrape with a fork, then return to the freezer. Ours was the perfect consistency after about 8 hours.

Broiled Pineapple with Vanilla Yogurt

The contrast between warm broiled pineapple and frozen vanilla yogurt makes this dessert a treat for the senses!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup non-dairy vanilla yogurt
  • 2 cups pineapple, cubed
  1. Spoon the yogurt into a freezer-safe dish and freeze for one hour. Stir, then freeze for an additional 30 minutes or so.
  2. Meanwhile, arrange the pineapple cubes in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with foil. Broil for 5 to 10 minutes, to desired tenderness. The edges should be lightly browned.
  3. Spoon the frozen yogurt over the warm pineapple. For maximum contrast in temperature, this dish is best served immediately.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Icebox Pie

Cookie Icebox Pie (3)

This chilled dessert feels just right on a hot night, just layers of vegan whipped topping and chocolate chip cookies. For something truly decadent, use double the ingredients listed below, and repeat the layers!

Ingredients:

  • 1 (10-ounce) container frozen non-dairy whipped topping, thawed
  • 6 ounces vegan chocolate chip cookies
  • Mini chocolate chips, for garnish
  1. Spread half of the whipped topping in the bottom of a 9-inch pie plate. Top with the cookies, breaking into smaller pieces as necessary to evenly cover the surface.
  2. Top with the remaining whipped topping. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 6 hours, and up to 12 hours.
  3. Just before serving, decorate the rim of the pie with mini chocolate chips.

Cookie Icebox Pie (2)

Orange Coconut Sorbet

Orange Sorbet (2)

This icy treat is a cinch to make, with just three ingredients and a little time in the freezer.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups orange juice
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons agave nectar
  1. Combine the orange juice, coconut milk, and agave in a bowl, stirring with a whisk.
  2. Transfer to a freezer-safe container and freeze. Every 2 hours or so, fluff with a fork and then return to the freezer until the mixture reaches desired consistency. We loved ours after about 8 hours, when it was almost like an orange slush. Give it closer to 10 or 12 hours for a smoother sorbet.

Vanilla Maple Rice Pudding

Here’s the perfect warm dessert for those evenings that need just a little dose of extra coziness.

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups plain unsweetened soy milk
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup Arborio rice
  • Blueberries, for serving (optional)
  1. Combine the soy milk, maple syrup, and vanilla in an oven-proof pot over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, then stir in the rice.
  2. Cover the pot and transfer to the oven; bake at 325 degrees F for 1 hour, stirring about halfway through.
  3. Serve warm, with blueberries on the side if desired!