Vegan Valentine’s Day Treats

Instant Chocolate Chia Pudding_2

Chocolate Chia Pudding from Plant-Powered Families

This chia pudding sets up quicker than other versions, since the seeds are blended first. It sets up in just about 30 minutes, making it almost instant!

Makes 2-3 servings

Ingredients

1/2 packed cup pitted dates (see note)
3 tablespoons black or white chia seeds
1 1/2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/8 rounded teaspoon sea salt
1 cup plain or vanilla nondairy milk (see note)
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2-3 tablespoons unsweetened shredded coconut, plus more for garnish
2 tablespoons mini nondairy chocolate chips (optional)

Steps

  1. Add the dates, chia seeds, cocoa powder, sea salt, milk, and vanilla extract to a blender. Blend for a minute or more (depending on your blender), until the seeds are pulverized. Taste, and if you’d like it sweeter, adjust with more dates or sweetener (see note).
  2. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl or dish, stir in the coconut and chocolate chips, and refrigerate until chilled, about 1/2 hour or more (it will thicken more with chilling, but really can be eaten straight away—especially if using the dates, as they also thicken the mixture).
  3. Serve, sprinkling with more coconut, and topping with fresh berries or other fruit if desired.

Sweetener Note: I wasn’t sure I’d like the dates as much as using something like maple syrup to sweeten, but I love them here! If you’d like extra sweetness, you can puree in another 2-3 dates, adding a splash of extra milk if needed to blend, or a couple of teaspoons of maple syrup.

Milk Note: I typically use unsweetened milk when I make this pudding. If you are using a sweetened vanilla or chocolate milk, you may want to remove 1 or 2 dates. You can always adjust to taste, bumping up the sweetness after.

Serving Suggestion: On its own, this pudding serves two people. But, if paired with fruit or layered in a parfait with another pudding, or nondairy yogurt and fruit, it can be stretched to serve 3-4. Try pairing with fresh berries or pitted fresh cherries!

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Nut Butter Brownies from The PlantPure Nation Cookbook

These are extra-moist brownies that are whole grain and have no added oil. The nut butter and applesauce give it a fudge-like texture for an extra-special chocolate treat.

Makes 12 brownies

Ingredients

2 tablespoons flax meal
6 tablespoons warm water
1/2 cup Sucanat
1/2 cup agave nectar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup nut butter
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup vegan semisweet chocolate chips

Steps

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9×9 inch pan with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together the flax meal and water. Let stand for 2 minutes.
  3. In a separate bowl, blend the Sucanat, agave, vanilla, nut butter, applesauce, and flax meal mixture until smooth.
  4. In a third bowl, combine the flour, baking cocoa, baking powder, and salt. Add to the Sucanat mixture and stir to combine.
  5. Fold in the vegan chocolate chips.
  6. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan.
  7. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  8. Let cool on a wire rack before slicing.

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Fresh Mint Chocolate Hearts from Love Fed

I use heart-shaped molds to make these delectable candies. Molds can be purchased from a candy supply store, cookware store, or online. I use mini hearts—perfect for portion control—however, larger molds will do just as well. You’ll just end up with fewer hearts. If you don’t have molds, see the instructions for using a heart-shaped cookie cutter, below.

Makes 48 small hearts

Ingredients

1 cup cacao powder
1 cup melted cacao butter (see note)
1/4 cup agave nectar
1 1/4 teaspoons mint extract
3/4 cups fresh mint leaves, for garnish

Steps

  1. Place the cacao powder, melted cacao butter, agave nectar, and mint extract in a medium bowl and whisk until smooth. Pour into heart molds or cookie cutters (see note).
  2. Garnish each chocolate heart by pressing a mint leaf into the top.
  3. Place in the freezer until set, approximately 20 minutes.
  4. Flip the mold over onto a clean surface and remove the chocolate hearts. Arrange on a plate and serve or store in the freezer.

How to Melt Cacao Butter: Using a grater, shave cacao butter into the top of a double boiler or a heatproof bowl. Place the double boiler or bowl over a pan of gently boiling water, stirring the cacao butter until melted.

Note on Heart Molds: If you don’t have heart molds, use a small heart cookie cutter. Instead of pouring the chocolate into the molds, line a shallow 11×18 inch rectangular dish with parchment paper. Pour the chocolate into the dish and place in the refrigerator until slightly firm but still soft enough that pressing a cookie cutter into the chocolate leaves an impression, about 10 minutes. Using the cookie cutter, stamp 48 hearts. Remove the chocolate scraps (as you would when making cookies) and continue as directed.

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