Mushroom Nut Loaf

This recipe is relatively flexible in terms of the nuts and herbs. I love swapping the pecans and almonds for walnuts and heartnuts, and adding savory and sage to the other herbs, as well.

nut loaf

Mushroom Nut Loaf

2 tablespoons (30mL) extra-virgin olive oil
2 small onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups (480mL) chopped cremini mushrooms
1 cup (240mL) almonds, chopped (see Note)
3/4 cup (180mL) pecans, chopped (see Note)
1 tablespoon (15mL) fresh thyme
1/2 tablespoon (7mL) fresh rosemary
1/2 cup (120mL) apple cider
1/4 cup (60mL) sorghum flour
Sea or Himalayan salt
Freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9×5-inch loaf pan.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet. Add the onions and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, mushrooms and nuts. Cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Stir in the herbs, apple cider, and sorghum flour. Mix until smooth, cooking until the mixture has thickened, about 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper.

Use a spatula to scrape the mixture into the prepared pan. Bake for 30 minutes, until firm and lightly browned. Let stand at least 20 minutes before turning out of the pan. Serve warm.

Note: Finely chop most the nuts, leaving a couple tablespoons  in tact for a nice crunch. (This is easily done in a food processor). The finer chopping aids in a loaf that stays together when slicing. Similarly, if you unmold it too soon, it will not stay together when slicing.

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Peanut Butter-Maple Cereal Bars

With a hint of maple and a smooth chocolate topping, these cereal bars are a twist on the traditional rice crisp square. Not a fan of peanut butter? Try any natural nut or seed butter, such as hazelnut, almond, or sunflower seed — they all work just as well.

peanut butter cereal bars

Peanut Butter Maple Cereal Bars

3 cups O-shaped cereal (I used Nature’s Path Whole O’s)
3 cups brown rice crisp cereal (I used Nature’s Path Brown Rice Crisps)
3/4 cup salted, dry roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped
1 heaping cup natural peanut butter
1 cup dark pure maple syrup*
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt or pink Himalayan salt
1/2 cup semi-sweet nondairy chocolate chips (I use Enjoy Life)
2 teaspoons coconut oil (I use nonvirgin for these ones)

Line a 9-inch square pan with waxed paper.

Put the cereals and peanuts in a large bowl. Mix to combine.

Put the peanut butter and maple syrup in a saucepan. Bring to medium heat and cook, stirring until the mixture is creamy. Turn to medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Boil for 90 seconds. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract and salt.

Pour the mixture over the cereal mixture. Mix until well-coated. Press the mixture snuggly into the prepared pan (careful, it will be quite warm). Refrigerate or freeze while making the topping.

To make the topping, put the chocolate chips and coconut oil in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat in 30 second intervals on medium-power, stirring between each one, until melted and smooth. (You can also use a double boiler here).

Remove the bars from the refrigerator or freezer and spread the chocolate on top. Refrigerate until it is set. Cut into portions. Eat many. Store “leftovers” in the refrigerator or freezer.

[Note: Any pure maple syrup works, but dark is best for adding that maple flavor. Even better, you can get it locally at White Meadows Farm.]

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Rum Raisin Cookies

This recipe is based on an old-fashioned raisin cookie that I have written down from a pile of magazines from the past. This mash-up of rum, eggnog, and raisins delivers a soft cookie with holiday-inspiration, but can be made any time of year using nondairy milk instead.

gluten-free vegan rum raisin cookies

Rum Raisin Cookies

Cookies
1 cup raisins
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup rum (I used Bacardi, the white one, which I called and confirmed it was safe to use)
1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
1 cup sorghum flour
1/2 cup tapioca flour
1/4 cup quinoa flour
1 1/4 teaspoons xanthan gum
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
3/4 cup unrefined cane sugar
1/2 cup nondairy margarine/vegan buttery spread
3 tablespoons nondairy milk/vegan egg nog

Glaze
2 tablespoons rum
Icing sugar, as needed

Position an oven rack to the lower third of the oven. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Put the raisins, water, and rum in a small saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, until the liquids have been completely absorbed, about 30 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in the flaxseed.

Put the sorghum flour, tapioca flour, quinoa flour, xanthan gum, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk until well combined.

Put the sugar and nondairy margarine in a stand mixer or large bowl. Using the stand mixer or a hand mixer, beat until well combined, about 2 minutes. Turn to low speed. Add the flour mixture and 2 tablespoons of the nondairy milk. Beat until combined. Add the raisin mixture. Beat until just mixed.

For each cookie, scoop out 1 rounded tablespoon of dough and drop it onto the lined baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough, leaving about 2 inches for a bit of spreading.

Bake for 9 to 11 minutes, until the edges are firm and starting to turn golden. Let cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes. Carefully remove the cookies from the baking sheet and put them on the cooling rack. Let cool to room temperature before glazing.

For the glaze, put the rum in a small bowl and add enough icing sugar so it is a thick, but drizzly, texture (unfortunately, I didn’t measure it). Drizzle it over the cookies. Let harden before serving or storing.

These cookies are good the day they are made, but they are even better after the sit awhile and before more rum-like in flavor.

Rum Raisin Cookies (gluten-free, vegan)