Dairy-free Chocolate Orange Ice Cream

When I was thirteen or so I spent a few sunny Saturdays at Golden Gate Park.  A typical Bay Area weekend destination, right?  I’d agree, except my days weren’t spent riding the carousel, climbing the beautiful Strawberry Hill, or watching the buffalo graze.  Instead, I was at the casting pond with my dad, learning how to fly fish (or, more accurately, f*&king around with a rod and fishing line and biding my time until we could drive past the buffalo again.)

I remember going back to the casting pond at least a handful of times, though.  No, it wasn’t because I developed a passion for the sport.  I think you’d be hard-pressed to find any thirteen year old girl eager to fly fish.  My return to the pond was built upon the promise of post-casting visits to Swensen’s, an old-fashioned ice cream parlor.  Apart from the kitschy atmosphere, Swensen’s offered one thing that you wouldn’t find elsewhere: the coveted Swiss Orange Chip flavor, reminiscent of those foil-wrapped chocolate oranges you find during the holidays.  So, while my dad never instilled in me a passion for fishing, he did pass on his good taste in ice cream flavors.

Though there’s no ice cream maker involved, this simple dessert sets up beautifully.  The bit of fat from the coconut milk allows it to retain its creaminess in the freezer.

If the chocolate orange flavor profile isn’t your thing, change it up!  Leave out the orange and/or chocolate, add a different type of fruit, or drop in a few spoonfuls of peanut butter for my favorite classic variation.  I know banana ice cream has been featured just about everywhere, so there’s no lack of ideas around the internet.
Chocolate Orange Banana “Ice Cream”

  • 4 ripe bananas, sliced and frozen
  • 3 or 4 tbsp cocoa powder
  • zest of one orange
  • 1/4 cup full fat canned coconut milk
  • pinch of salt
  • optional: chocolate chips and sweetener – sugar, agave, stevia (Depending on your tastebuds and the ripeness of the bananas)

1.  Place all ingredients in food processor and grind until smooth and creamy.

2. If too thick, add more coconut milk.

3. Taste and adjust sweetener to your liking

This can be eaten immediately or stored in the freezer.  After freezing, allow the ice cream to sit out for 5-10 minutes to thaw out a bit, as it will be difficult to scoop straight out of the freezer.


Vegan German chocolate cake

Sometimes the tastiest things aren’t the most beautiful.  Case in point: this cake.  I had visions of the most perfectly constructed mini layer cake with flushly aligned edges over which I would spread thick, sweet ganache, enrobing the cake in a smooth chocolatey blanket.  Instead I ended up with a cake that looked eerily similar to Gloppy, resident of Candyland.

After some time in the freezer, the ganache firmed up and I was able to make the cake look presentable.


(recipes printed below)

  • Chocolate cake
  • Coconut frosting
  • Chocolate ganache

1.  Once all three elements are prepared and properly cooled, begin assembly

2. Slice cake according to desired layers/shape.  I baked this in a loaf pan, cutting the cake in half widthwise and then slicing each half into two layers

3.  Spread coconut frosting on top of each layer before stacking the next.  Do not spread on top layer

4. Cover entire cake in ganache.  If ganache is too runny, let sit in freezer for 20 minutes.

Chocolate cake

I adapted the cake recipe found here, reducing the amount of sugar and oil in anticipation of the two rich frostings that would envelop the cake. I also used coconut oil rather than canola

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
  • 2 -3 tablespoons non-dairy milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
  • 1 cup water

1. Preheat oven to 350 F.  Grease your baking pan (I used a loaf pan so that I could make a mini layer cake.  You could also use a 9″ circular cake pan or make cupcakes)

2.  Sift dry ingredients (first five listed) together

3. Add in coconut oil, vanilla, vinegar, milk, and water.  Mix until smooth, adding a bit more milk as needed.

4. Bake for 40-45 minutes, until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.  Adjust baking time for type of pan you’re using.

Coconut (pecan) frosting

I used this recipe as a base, but decreased the amount of frosting made.

  • 1/3 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/3 cup canned coconut milk (light or otherwise)
  • 1/2 cup sugar (I used half brown and half white)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch mixed with 1.5 tablespoons water until smooth
  • 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts (pecans are traditional, but I only had walnuts on hand)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

1. In a saucepan over medium heat, bring milks, sugar, and vanilla almost to a boil.  Add in cornstarch mixture and continue to cook, stirring constantly to prevent burning, until thickened.  Remove from heat and add coconut, nuts, and salt.  Cool before frosting cake.

Chocolate ganache

  • 8 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup non-dairy milk or creamer

1. Heat chocolate chips and milk over medium high heat, stirring until completely smooth.  Cool before frosting cake.

Vegan Triple Almond Scones

I used to bake all the time, but was more inspired when decorating cupcakes than trying to develop a recipe for a delicious treat.

Exhibit A:

It was fun and all, but who really wants to eat cupcakes that look like a Swanson dinner? No one in my household, that’s who.  Those sat on the counter to be looked at for a good four days, as if they were on display in the Museum of Edible Things That Look Like Other Edible Things That No One Really Wants to Eat (That’s a legit museum, right?).  After a while that got really boring and cooking replaced baking as my hobby of choice.  I’ve fallen back in love with baking, but in a whole new way.  Now, I’m much more concerned with what’s going flavor-wise and am, obviously, getting into vegan baking.

For the base recipe, I adapted these.  I love anything and everything almond flavored or scented, but baked goods with little pillows of almond paste in them are my absolute heaven.  So, I picked up a log of almond paste to supplement the almond extract and sliced almonds waiting in my pantry for a full-on almond-packed bakefest.


For Scones:

  • 1 + 3/4 cups flour (whole wheat or otherwise)
  • 1 tbsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup Earth balance or coconut oil (I usually use half of each)
  • 1/2 cup almond milk (wait, does that make it Quadruple Almond Scones?)
  • 1/3 cup organic sugar
  • 1 tsp. almond extract
  • 6 Tbsp almond paste, cut into small chunks

For Glaze:

  • 1 c. organic powdered sugar
  • 3 T. almond milk
  • 1/2 tsp. almond extract
  • pinch of sea salt


  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds

(step zero: preheat oven to 350 F; ignore the awful photos that make it blatantly apparent that I was baking at midnight)

1. Cut butter into small cubes and place in freezer for a few minutes

2. Combine flours, baking powder, and salt in mixing bowl

3. Add butter into flour mixture and mix together with (clean!) fingertips (my favorite mixing tool) until crumbly

4. Combine sugar, almond milk, and 1 tsp. almond extract in a bowl; stir until incorporated

5. Add chunks of almond paste to flour mixture until evenly distributed

6. Add sugar/milk mixture to flour/butter bowl and stir until dough forms

7. Roll dough out to about 1 inch and cut into equally sized triangles (I made two circles, each yielding 6 scones); Place scones on baking sheet

8. Bake for 16-18 minutes, until slightly golden; let cool

9. Mix powdered sugar, 3 T. milk, 1/2 tsp. extract, and pinch of sea salt.

10.  Drizzle glaze over cooled scones and sprinkle with almond slices! (or add slices almonds to the glaze and drizzle all at one to simplify.) If you’re feelin’ it, sprinkle a little more sea salt over the top of the glazed scones.

MMM Almond paste

I can’t post a picture of those cat oven mitts without referencing this:

Vegan Tollhouse Cookies

I have had the Tollhouse chocolate chip cookie recipe memorized since I was ten or so.  I’ve tried other recipes, and I really don’t think any one of them makes a cookie that compares to this classic.

One year at summer camp, we had a competition with another cabin to make the better chocolate chip cookie without a recipe.  I was entirely confident in my ability to bring my team to victory because I knew exactly how much flour, sugar, butter, etc. to use.  My certainty waned when we were told there were no measuring cups at our disposal.  It turned out to be a narrow victory, after the counselors told us that ours was slightly more “edible” than the other team’s cookie.  Oops. I guess I’m not as good at eyeballing measurements as I am at memorizing the numbers.

I wanted to bake something to bring to my coworkers tomorrow, and I didn’t feel like making it complicated or running out for special ingredients.  I had a tub of Earth Balance in the fridge and decided to just veganize the whole recipe instead of adding eggs.  The cookies turned out absolutely beautiful, and they’re equally as delicious.


– 1 cup Earth Balance or other butter substitute, room temperature

– 1 tsp. vanilla extract

– 3/4 cup organic (vegan) white sugar

– 3/4 cup brown sugar

– 2 flax “eggs” (2 tablespoons ground flax + 5-6 tablespoons warm water; let sit for 5 minutes to thicken/gelatinize; fresh ground flax works best)

– 1 tsp. salt

– 1 tsp. baking soda

– 2 1/4 cups flour

– 1 package dairy free chocolate chips (I used this brand, from Whole Foods)

1. Preheat oven to 375 F

2. Cream butter, sugars, and vanilla together until incorporated

3. Add flax “eggs” to butter mixture and beat together

4. Combine four, baking soda, and salt; stir together

5. Add flour mixture to butter mixture about 1/4 cup at a time

6. Drop cookies by spoonful or roll and place onto baking sheets lined with parchment.  I used about 1.5 tablespoons of cough per cookie

7. bake for 9 to 10 minutes, until golden brown

Flax “Eggs”

Along with the gorgeous bay area weather today, these cookies took me right back to summer camp, though they’re far beyond just “edible”.