Saturday, January 12, 2019

Hot Chocolate (dairy free)

It took me a while to get this right. Hot chocolate, even instant, has a consistency that it really needs to have to feel like you’re drinking hot chocolate. I originally started out using rice milk and I was never quite satisfied with the results. It wasn’t until I tried the Ripple Half & Half did it taste and feel like real hot chocolate. Feel free to use less or more sugar to get it to your liking. I highly recommend adding the coffee extract or espresso powder. It really enhances the chocolate flavor. That’s why I almost always use it whenever I make something chocolate.

1 ½ tbsp dairy free Dutch processed cocoa powder*
4 tbsp sugar (adjust to your preference)
Pinch of salt
1 ½ cups of Ripple Half & Half (or the milk substitute of your choice**)
½ tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp coffee extract (or espresso powder)

·      Whisk together cocoa powder, sugar, and salt in a small pot. If your cocoa powder is lumpy, you should sift it first.

·      Very slowly whisk in the half & half.
·      Add the vanilla and coffee extracts.
·      Bring to a slow boil.
·      Pour into your favorite mug. This recipe makes enough for 1 huge mug, 2 regular coffee cups, or 3 small cups.

*I prefer using Savory Spice Shop’s cocoa powder.
**If you use a different milk substitute, you will need to add at least ½ tsp of xanthan gum to get the right texture. Add it to the dry ingredients.

NOTE: I receive no compensation for mentioning a specific product. I find I get the best results with these products and I want you to be able to achieve the same results.

Friday, January 11, 2019

Dairy Free New England Clam Chowder

You will not miss the dairy in this soup at all. It’s thick, rich, and creamy. If possible, I would highly recommend using the Ripple non-dairy half & half (original flavor)*. It really makes the difference. If you do not want to use xanthan gum, then just use a little more corn starch. If you can’t use the Ripple non-dairy half & half, then use the diary free milk substitute of your choice and add another ½ tsp of xanthan gum or 1 tbsp more of cornstarch. The xanthan gum really helps recreate the creaminess of milk.

3 slices of cooked bacon, cut into pieces or crumbled
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2¼ cups clam juice (reserved juice and bottled clam juice until you reach the total amount needed)
1 tsp of dried thyme or 3-4 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
2½ cups of chicken stock
½-1 tsp xanthan gum
1 lb diced potatoes (diced hash browns are a great short cut)**
3 cups of Ripple Half & Half original flavor
1 ½ tsp cornstarch
6 cans of minced/chopped clams drained (reserve juice)
¼ cup dry sherry
½ tsp Worcestershire sauce

·      Heat olive oil in large pot.
·      Cut bacon into small pieces and cook in oil until crispy.
·      Add chopped onion. Cook until tender and translucent (about 5 minutes).
·      Add clam juice, chicken stock, thyme, and bay leaf.
·      Add hash browns and clams.
·      Bring to a boil then stir in xanthan gum.
·      Simmer until it starts to thicken.
·      Combine cornstarch with chilled Ripple Half & Half.
·      Stir in Ripple Half & Half/cornstarch mixture, dry sherry, and Worcestershire sauce.
·      Bring to a slight boil and then simmer for 15-20 minutes.
·      Serve and enjoy!

*Do NOT use the vanilla flavored Ripple Half & Half. Below is the picture of the bottle so you know what to look for. It's not my picture. I got it from their website.

**I like using the diced hash browns. It cuts down on a lot of prep time. However, if you really want to use fresh potatoes, go for it. Peel (or not…it’s your choice), dice, and partially cook your potatoes by boiling them. Drain them and add to the chowder instead of the hash browns.

NOTE: I do not receive any compensation from Ripple or any other company. I mention specific brands because they are the ones that I use and I find that they give me the best results or I prefer their taste and/or texture.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

The Ultimate Oatmeal Cookies

1 cup (2 sticks) softened Fleischmann’s Unsalted Margarine sticks
1¼ cups dark brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt

1 ½ tsp cinnamon
1/8  tsp allspice
3 cups oatmeal toasted
7.5 oz (2.5 bars) Dark Chocolate Dream bar by Sunspire
1 5oz. bag of dried tart cherries
1 cup chopped toasted walnuts

  • Preheat oven to 350 F.
  • Toast walnuts for 5-7 minutes.
  • Toast oatmeal for 5 min. then stir. Set timer for another 4 minutes, stir, and set timer for another 2 minutes. Oatmeal should be fragrant and a light golden color.
  • Combine the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and allspice in a medium bowl. Whisk until thoroughly mixed.
  • Chop each triangle of chocolate into 4-5 pieces.
  • Cut cherries into halves.
  • Chop walnuts.
  • Combine 1 tbsp of the flour mixture with the chocolate, cherries, and walnuts in a small bowl. Mix until all the pieces are coated in the flour mixture.
  • In a large mixing bowl, beat softened margarine and dark brown sugar.
  • Add one egg at a time.
  • Add vanilla extract.
  • Add the flour mixture to the margarine mixture.
  • Mix in the oats.
  • Stir (or mix) in the chocolate, cherries and walnuts.
  • On parchment lined cookie sheets, place 1.5-2 tbsp of batter 2 inches apart.
  • Bake for 8-10 minutes. The edges should be just slightly golden for chewy cookies.
  • Cool completely and store in an airtight container.

While I still enjoy the traditional oatmeal raisin cookie, this one just takes it to the next level. Toasting the nuts and oatmeal really brings out another layer of flavor that only enhances the cookie.  Of course, you can substitute raisins (cranberries) or any nut you prefer (or no nuts at all). You can also use Equal Exchange Chocolates semi-sweet chocolate chips if you prefer. They aren’t bad, but my husband prefers the Dark Chocolate Dream chocolate. The Fleischmann’s Unsalted Margarine sticks give you almost the same results as you would get with real butter. It’s the best for baking, hands down! Let me know how you like them.