The Sweet Potato Brownies

by Anda Mtshemla

It’s become a bit of an obsession of mine to incorporate fruits and veggies into as many dishes as I possibly can– especially desserts. Adding veggies to a vegan sweet treat makes something that already feels guilt-free (since you’ve eliminated the animal products) actually feel good for you, not that I needed any more reasons to eat dessert!

I add sweet potatoes to every variation of brownies that I make (see here), but I especially love it for this baked version because it creates an unreal, fudgy texture that I love in brownies.

You will need:

1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced

3/4 cup cocoa powder

1/4 cup canola oil

1/2 cup almond milk

1 cup all-purpose flour/almond flour if you’re GF

1 cup brown sugar (add more if you prefer a sweeter brownie)

Method:

Preheat oven to 180°C

Line 20cm square baking tin with baking paper and set aside

Boil sweet potato until tender

Drain and puree sweet potato

Add oil and sugar into sweet potato and blend until well combined

Add flour and milk to mixture and blend until combined

Add cocoa powder and blend mixture until smooth

Pour brownie mixture into baking tin and bake for 30-35mins

Once baked, allow to cool, slice into squares and serve with a light dusting of confectionery sugar

 

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Vegan Sweet Potato Brownies made with almond flour and dusted with icing sugar

 

 

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The 3-Ingredient Apple Pie Pockets

by Anda Mtshemla

One of my favourite things about grocery shopping is finding accidentally vegan items. My latest “Not-Made-For-Vegans-But-Perfectly-Suitable-For-Them-To-Eat” discovery is ready-made puff pastry. The stuff famous for being packed with a tonne of butter to produce its flaky texture? Yup, vegan.

While most store-bought variations are vegan, there are some brands that contain animal products so make sure you read the ingredient list.

For this recipe, I’ve used this amazing accidentally vegan find as a shortcut to one of my favourite desserts at the moment and yes, you only need three things!

You will need:

1 cup applesauce

1 roll puff pastry (400g)

splash of soy milk (to be used as egg wash)

Method:

Pre-heat oven to 180°C

Roll and smooth out the puff pastry sheet

Cut the pastry sheet into equal sized rectangles (a sheet this size gets you about 12 rectangles)

Spoon the applesauce into the centre of half of the rectangles, leaving room around the edges

Place the empty pastry rectangles on top of the applesauce filled ones, gently pressing down the edges of each one

Secure the edges of each pie pocket by gently pressing them down with a fork

Lightly score each of the pie pockets and brush generously with soy milk

Place in the pre-heated oven to bake for 12-15mins

Serve warm and enjoy on its own or with a serving of vegan ice cream

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3-Ingredient vegan apple pie pocket

The Hot Cross Cinnamon Swirls

by Anda Mtshemla

With my first Easter as a vegan around the corner, I wanted to create a recipe with the feel of any other Easter, while minimising time in the kitchen and maximising on the long weekend.

While I was never a fan of hot cross buns as a non-vegan, there’s just something about things that you can’t have. So I put my own vegan twist (or swirl) on the classic Easter treat, which combines the ease of a cinnamon roll, using a simple hack, and the unique flavour of a traditional hot cross bun!

You will need:

1kg bread dough (get this fresh from your local grocer)

3 tablespoons coconut oil

2 tablespoons ground cinnamon

1 tablespoon nutmeg

1/2 tablespoon crushed cloves

1/2 cup raisins

1/2 cup sugar

for the “cream cheese” glaze

4 tablespoons icing sugar

1 tsp water

1 tsp lemon juice

pinch of salt

Method:

Pre-heat the oven to 180°C

Halve the dough to make it more manageable

Work the raisins into both sections of the dough

Roll out the dough to about 1-2cm thickness

Cut off the sides to make sure the dough is rectangular in shape

Combine coconut oil, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves in a separate bowl

Spread this mixture evenly onto the sheet of dough then roll the dough into a tight log

Slice the log horizontally into 3-5cm swirls

Pack the swirls into a greased baking pan of your choice, leaving space around the edges

Bake for 20-25 minutes

while the cinnamon swirls bake…

Combine the icing sugar, water, lemon juice and salt in a bowl until the mixture reaches a thick but pourable consistency

Once the swirls have baked, drizzle the cream cheese glaze over them and serve warm

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Vegan Hot Cross Cinnamon Swirls crossed with a “cream cheese” glaze

This article was featured in Joburg Style. Read it here.

The Chocolate Chip Cookies

by Anda Mtshemla

Pre-vegan me enjoyed chocolate chip cookies so much that I  nearly considered not going vegan thinking that I would have to give up my favourite sweet treat. While I did, for a while, because no cookie was cutting close to the decadent, crunchy-outer-soft-centre biccies that I was used to, I gathered inspiration from all over the internet and poked and tweaked and I’ve found it.

They’re so simple, I almost always already have all these ingredients in my pantry so I’ve found myself making these regularly over the past couple of months, which has been quite naughty of me… But since Christmas is coming up and Santa is on his way, I’ve paired the cookies up with some cinnamon oat milk and I’m going to serve this combo up to Santa on Christmas Eve in the hopes that he’ll forgive me!

PREP TIME: 10mins  COOK TIME: 12-15mins  MAKES: 12

You will need:

1 cup dark chocolate chips/1 slab dark chocolate, chopped

3/4 cup soy milk

1 cup sugar

2 cups All-Purpose Flour

6 tablespoons refined coconut oil

1/2 tsp salt

For cinnamon oat milk:

1 cup rolled oats

2 cups water

1 tsp ground cinnamon

Method:

Preheat oven to 180ºC/350°F

Lightly grease/line baking pan

Cream sugar and coconut oil together

Add milk and stir until well combined

 

Add salt to flour and gradually stir into the wet mix

Gently fold in chocolate chips/chunks

Roll a tablespoon’s worth of mixture into ball and place on tray

Pop into the oven and bake for 12-15 minutes

While the cookies cool…

Pour rolled oats and cinnamon into a clean bowl and add water until covered

Leave to soak for 20 minutes or overnight

Once soaked, drain the excess water and pour oats into a blender with 1-2 cups of cold water

Blend for 1 minute

Pass blended mixture through a mesh strainer a few times until only smooth, milk remains

Voila!

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Vegan chocolate chip cookies served with cinnamon oat milk

The Carrot Cake Squares

by Anda Mtshemla

Making vegan desserts can be tough since eggs and dairy are usually the centres of most beloved sweet treats. However, from chia seeds and light oils to apple sauce, you’ll find that nature has provided a number of binders for us to use.

In this recipe for a moist, rich carrot cake, I’ve kept it simple and used ingredients that are within arms reach and it’s so easy, you won’t be able to wait to try it!

PREP TIME: Overnight/20mins  COOK TIME: 25-30mins  MAKES: 10-12 squares

You will need:

2 large carrots

2 cups All-Purpose Flour

1 cup brown sugar

1 tsp baking powder

1 tablespoon of nutmeg

2 tablespoons of cinnamon

Pinch of salt

1 cup soya milk

1/2 cup canola oil/

For cream cheese frosting:

NOTE: This recipe requires you to chill 1 can of coconut milk in the refrigerator overnight. Make sure your coconut milk is full fat and made with the fewest ingredients possible. This will ensure that the coconut milk separates and hardens as the recipe requires.

1 can coconut milk

3/4 cup icing sugar

1 tablespoon of lemon juice

pinch of salt

Method:

Pre-heat your oven to 180°C/356°F

Grease 20cm x 15cm baking pan

Wash, peel and grate the carrots then set them aside

Whisk soy milk and canola oil until well combined

Add sugar and stir until dissolved

Add the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt mix to the wet mix and fold until well combined

Add the carrots and gently fold into mixture

Pour mixture into pan and bake for 25-30 minutes

Cream Cheese Frosting

Remove chilled coconut milk from fridge

Turn the can upside down when opening to allow easy separation of the coconut water and coconut meat

Add the thick, coconut meat to a mixing bowl and whisk until fluffy

Add the icing sugar and whisk again until well combined

Lastly, add the salt and lemon juice and give the mixture a final whisk.

Spread the frosting over the carrot cake once cooled and cut into squares

Sprinkle a mixture of chopped nuts over top if desired, and serve

ENJOY!

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Vegan Carrot Cake Squares with a cream cheese frosting top with an exotic mix of nuts