Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies / loveandlemons.com

Happy Saturday! Here’s a sweet little (vegan) weekend treat.

I just realized, for as much as I love to bake cookies, this blog is seriously lacking recipes to show for it. And then I realized why – the camera can hardly snap fast enough before Jack reaches his hand in and they all disappear. Waiting for me to arrange warm cookies nicely on a plate is just not something this guy I’m with has patience for.

Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies / loveandlemons.com

These cookies are made with coconut oil instead of butter. I like using it because it’s a great healthy non-dairy fat that’s less processed than vegan butter substitutes. A flax “egg” holds these together but if you’re not vegan and don’t have flax – you can just use an egg.

Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies / loveandlemons.com

You’ll notice, this is sort of a small batch. This recipe makes 12 cookies, so just double it if you are making cookies for your family. For Jack and I (who will eat these all in one day), less is just more. 

Loaded Sweet Potato Avocado Toast

Loaded Sweet Potato Avocado Toast / loveandlemons

I know – avocado toast is SO over, and even if it weren’t, you don’t need a recipe for it. This trend might be on it’s way out, but you’ll still find me (and pretty much everyone else on Instagram) happily smashing & snapping away.

I usually keep mine simple – avocado, lemon, salt, pepper and a sprinkle of hemp seeds. It’s a perfect combo that doesn’t need to be messed with, but since this was “dinner toast” for us one night last week, I thought I’d get a little fancier with the toppings. (Also, Jack is still claiming that he doesn’t like avocado, but if I hide it a little, no complaints).

Loaded Sweet Potato Avocado Toast / loveandlemons

This chart of ingredients looks a little fussy, but most of these are pantry staples and items that I happened to have on hand. For example, the adobo sauce (our favorite addition here) comes from a leftover can of chipotles that I had previously opened for this chili recipe. So feel free to use and re-use whatever you like. Send me your winning combos and, together, let’s keep this trend alive!

Loaded Sweet Potato Avocado Toast / loveandlemons

Millet Cakes with Carrots & Spinach

Millet Cakes with Spinach & Carrots / www.loveandlemons.com

I don’t know about you, but I’ve spent a lot of time trying to get quinoa to stick together to form cohesive patties. With eggs, without eggs… I’ve made countless variations, some more successful than others but now I have just one word: millet.

It turns out that millet is sticker than quinoa so these little guys bind together really easily. They’re packed with carrots and spinach and spiced with curry and garlic. This recipe is so delicious and foolproof… as it should be since it comes from America’s Test Kitchen’s new book: The Complete Vegetarian Cookbook.

Millet Cakes with Spinach & Carrots / www.loveandlemons.com

Because I knew this recipe was well tested, I messed with it anyway. I knew many of you would ask if these can be made vegan, so I tried these 2 ways – half (as written) using an egg and yogurt to bind the patties, and half using flaxseed and almond milk to vegan-ize them. Guess what – both ways worked! The sticky millet was enough to bind the cakes together, with or without eggs.

The only other instruction I didn’t follow, was that I baked mine instead of pan frying them as they recommended. They were delicious baked, so I can only imagine that they’d be extra tasty if you were to pan fry them.

Millet Cakes with Spinach & Carrots / www.loveandlemons.com

So back to the book – you’re going to want this one in your kitchen. It’s packed with 700 recipes, vegetable cooking tips, ingredient explanations, step-by-step chopping how-to’s and more. It’s a great resource for vegetarians or anyone who just wants to incorporate more meatless meals into their lives. Many of the recipes are also vegan and gluten free. Buy it here, or leave a comment below telling me: what’s your favorite meatless meal? One lucky winner will win a copy. Giveaway is open to U.S. & Canadian residents only and will end March 13th.

The Complete Vegetarian Cookbook by America's Test Kitchen

Valentine’s Molten Chocolate Cakes

Valentine's Molten Chocolate Cakes / loveandlemons.com

Happy almost-Valentine’s Day! Jack here reporting on my first baking love – molten chocolate cakes. See, way before this blog, I pretty much had one staple “date night” dish. That dish was seared scallops and it was always a hit. Well, one Valentine’s Day, I decided to kick it up a notch and shoot for the moon… by trying out molten chocolate cakes.

I had never made anything like a molten cake before, and for those unfamiliar, it’s a cake that spills out chocolate sauce when you cut into it. It’s a great show when it works. My first time making the cakes, I pulled them out of the oven, flipped the pan and a gush of chocolate sauce poured out. So what did Jeanine and I do? What anyone would do – licked the plate clean and tried again.

On the second try, I flipped the pan, plated the cakes, we cut in and PERFECTION. Chocolate oozed out, and we ate our second set of molten cakes for the night. Seeing how impressed Jeanine was made all of the effort worth it.

So it’s Valentine’s Day – go for it. It’s a blast when you get it right, it’s still fun when you don’t, and no matter what you’re still eating chocolate with the one you love. There are worse ways to spend a night.

Anyway, on to the making…

Valentine's Molten Chocolate Cakes / loveandlemons.com

Avid readers may notice that this is similar to another molten cake post. Well it’s the same. But with new photos and better instructions.

The prep for this recipe is super simple. The first step is tempering the chocolate and butter on a double-broiler.

Valentine's Molten Chocolate Cakes / loveandlemons.com

After that, you simply whisk the eggs, incorporate sugar, then chocolate (cooled to room temp – you don’t want to cook the eggs!), then flour, one thing at a time until it’s all mixed. Then you pour the mixture into your oiled muffin tin, 3/4 full for each cup.

Cook times can be a bit all over the place (depending on your oven) – it can be anywhere from 5-8 minutes. You’ll know when it’s done when the middle of each cake starts to puff up at the end. (Don’t cook it much longer than that or your molten center will over bake).

Valentine's Molten Chocolate Cakes / loveandlemons.com

After removing the tin from the oven, you need to flip it, and here’s the easiest way: Place the muffin pan on a cookie sheet, put another cookie sheet on top, grab both sides (squeezing the muffin pan) and flip it.

You want to lift the muffin pan and try to tap out the cakes as you go. Note that a few cakes may not come out. Ignore those and concentrate on the ones that do drop. Transfer them to a plate, put ice cream on top, cut them open and enjoy!

Valentine's Molten Chocolate Cakes / loveandlemons.com

harissa spiced fall veggie pitas

harissa spiced fall veggie pitas / @loveandlemons

I make a lot of impromptu tacos. We not only have taco Tuesdays around here, but sometimes taco Wednesdays and/or taco Thursdays. When I’m looking for something quick I usually reach for tortillas, no matter what day of the week it might be. I keep them in the freezer so they’re always ready.

Except this particular night – no tortillas, but I had some sprouted pitas. This wasn’t originally going to be a post, but these turned out so pretty and delicious. And who doesn’t need a quick dinner idea?

harissa spiced fall veggie pitas / @loveandlemonsharissa spiced fall veggie pitas / @loveandlemons

I roasted chopped sweet potatoes and zucchini and tossed them with dried harissa spice. If you can’t find dried harissa (I have a jar of it from Whole Foods) you can use it in paste form. If that’s not convenient for you, see the notes at the bottom of the recipe for some other alternatives.

I mixed in diced avocado because I just love avocado… and a sprinkle of hemp seeds for protein. I also made a quick spiced yogurt sauce to bring it all together.

harissa spiced fall veggie pitas / @loveandlemons