virtual vegan potluck! My dessert table

Today's the big day! Today my blog is part of a global conversation. Virtual Vegan Potluck!  What does that mean exactly? Virt...

Today's the big day! Today my blog is part of a global conversation. Virtual Vegan Potluck! 

What does that mean exactly?

Virtual Vegan Potluck is the beautiful brainchild of Annie of the blog An Unrefined Vegan, Somer of the blog Vedged Out, and Jason of the blog The Veganauts. 

It is a blog-linking phenomenon that takes place only a few times per year. Hundreds of vegan bloggers from around the globe are participating today, including me! 

Each blogger signs up to prepare a dish (or dishes) for a particular course of the virtual potluck meal. They share their plant-based recipe with the world on their own blog, linking to the next REGISTERED blog offering at the end of their post. This creates one massive chain of blog posts and one incredible virtual meal!

Predictably, I signed up Baking Backwards to share a DESSERT.  Ahem, DESSERTS!  

 I tried to pick just one recipe to share today but I couldn't make up my mind at all. In fact I've been racking my brain for weeks trying to choose what to make today. Once it was confirmed that I was participating in this virtual event, I knew I needed to step up my game a little and share a few recipes to please different palates. 

I did a little research to see what some of the most popular desserts are. Several online sources say that the top 10 most popular desserts (in order) are:

1. Fudge
2. Chocolate cake
3. Chocolate chip cookies
4. Brownies
5. Ice cream
6. Apple pie
7. Carrot Cake
8. Jello
9. Cupcakes 
10. Cheesecake
I actually only enjoy about half of the desserts on this list. Fudge is #1? Really? There was no way I was going to make them all but I took some cues from this list for sure.

The weather in Toronto this week was balmier than usual. It was in the 20s Celsius and everyone has been walking around in shorts and tees. Ice cream season has arrived and the thought of turning on the oven for long periods of time in my tiny kitchen is not too appealing.

The desserts I am sharing today are easy to throw together, involve next to no time (in some cases no time at all) in the oven. They are all totally vegan, fruit-sweetened and gluten-free. 

Those of you who know my blog already know that all of the above are pretty standard descriptions of my recipes on Baking Backwards. That all being said, these recipes are healthy for you and delicious too! They even taste decadent.

The recipes below are designed as ideal potluck desserts -- served in small and pretty portions. I designed my desserts today in this way so that guests could hypothetically taste several desserts without having to make tough choices or leave the party too full. These desserts are all light enough for Spring and Summer menus.

Welcome to My Virtual Dessert Table:

 Drunken Peach Crumble Jars
Mini Molten Cakes
                                  Overnight Raspberry Ice Cream &
Instant Whiskey-Banana-Date-Raspberry Soft Serve
Chili Chocolate Fudgesicles
  OR Milkshakes

Molten Cakes in Mini-Mason Jars (gluten free and fruit-sweetened)

Mini Molten Cake Batter Ingredients:
  • 1/3 cup and 1 heaping tsp cocoa powder
  • 1 heaping cup pitted Sayer dates
  • 3 tbsp amaranth flour
  • 3 tbsp millet flour
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp chocolate extract
  • 3 tbsp pear sauce (unsweetened)
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 4 tbsp frozen olive oil or vegenaise
  • 1/2 cup + a little over 1/2 cup water
  • 2 dashes coarse sea salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vinegar (apple cider or white)
  • 1 tbsp baking soda
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder

 Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease 5 mini mason jars (tiny jars) with a piece of parchment paper and a little frozen olive oil.

Pulse then blend first 1/2 cup of water with all ingredients except millet and amaranth in a food processor until smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides and blend again. Add millet and amaranth flour and blend until smooth. Add additional 1/2+ cup water and blend thoroughly. Taste! Add extra tsp cocoa if not chocolatey enough. Add extra water if too thick. Add extra dates if too bitter. The batter should be the texture of chocolate pudding.

Carefully spoon cake batter into mini-mason jars and fill each jar 2/3 full. Wipe the edges clean if you get batter on the rims of the jars to avoiding burning. Place mason jars in a DIY bain marie and bake 20 minutes in 350F oven until the top forms a thin crust but the middle is only loosely set. They should look risen dark tops with  but not quite baked like a cake. DO NOT OVERBAKE!  Serve immediately either plain or with a scoop of homemade ice cream (2 homemade vegan ice cream recipes below).

Note: These little molten cakes are best baked in a bain marie. A Bain Marie is a good idea when you are baking small portions of something delicate or finnicky as the water bath creates even heat. To create a bain marie grab a large lasagne dish and fill it bottom of the pan 1/2" high with water. Place your cake batter-filled mason jars in the large water dish and then carefully place the lasagne dish into your preheated oven and bake. You want to be careful not to splash the water into your jars as you transfer the bain marie to the oven. If the jars slide too close together as you transfer them to the oven rack, space them out once you set the pan down in the oven and bake. Bain maries are very useful when preparing desserts such as souffles and cheesecakes.

Instant Whiskey-Banana-Date-Raspberry Soft Serve
(instant and coconut-free recipe)

  • 3 very large frozen bananas
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 big dash sea salt
  • 10 small pitted Sayer dates (I buy Parnoosh brand ``honey dates``) (about 70g)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • squeeze of organic lemon juice (about 1 tsp)
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp gluten free Whiskey (Jack Daniels or Maker's Mark)
  • 1/2 cup frozen raspberries ( I like Stahlbush Farms brand) 

In a food processor, pulse and then blend bananas, dates, vanilla, sea salt, baking soda and baking powder, lemon and chia together until smooth and mixture resembles soft serve with small chewy bits of dates throughout, scraping down the sides with a spoon occasionally. Add whiskey and blend to incorporate. Add frozen raspberries and pulse briefly 3 times to marble the ice cream.

Serve immediately or pour into a plastic tupperware container and seal shut. Freeze sealed container until ready to serve.

Overnight Creamy Raspberry Ice Cream 
(overnight recipe that contains coconut)
Overnight Raspberry Ice Cream Ingredients:
  • 1 package frozen raspberries, about 220g ( I like Stahlbush Farms)
  • 1 very small cans of coconut milk, chilled in fridge
  • 2 frozen bananas
  • 1.5 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 dashes sea salt
  • 11 small pitted Sayer dates (I use Parnoosh honey dates), or 5-6 large pitted medjool dates
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • squeeze of organic lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tsp baking soda

Reserve 2 tbsp of frozen raspberries in a bowl. In a food processor, pulse then blend bananas, the rest of the raspberries, dates, vanilla, sea salt, baking soda and baking powder, lemon and chia together until smooth and mixture resembles soft serve, scraping down the sides with a spoon occasionally. Do not shake the can of coconut milk before opening. Open and scoop out thick cream from the top and add to banana mixture. 

DO NOT ADD THE COCONUT  WATER AT THE BOTTOM. Puree until smooth. Add reserved berries and pulse once. Add extra tsp baking soda and puree until smooth. Pour into a plastic tupperware container and seal it. Freeze 1 hour. Put back into food processor and blend until smooth again. Scrape back into tupperware, seal and freeze another 2 hours or longer. Serve.

Drunken Peach Crumble Jars
Recipe Note: Don`t like peaches? Replace them with equal amounts of peeled green or gala APPLES!  This recipe can me made into a great Apple Crumble for National Apple Pie Day, Monday April 13th, instead! I promise it will be just as delicious!

These crumble jars are delicious hot or cold after some time in the refrigerator.

Date Crumble Topping
  • 1/4 cup amaranth flour
  • 1/4 cup millet flour
  • 1/2 cup pitted Sayer dates (I use Parnoosh honey dates)
  • 1/3 cup quinoa flakes
  • 1/3 cup amaranth flakes
  • 1/4 tsp coarse sea salt 
  • dash coarse sea salt
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp lemon zest and big squeeze of lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp frozen olive oil
  • 1 tbsp my recipe for Date Caramel sauce (You could use maple syrup in its place but my date caramel sauce is way better for you and tastes better too)

Pulse the dates and sea salt, and vanilla in a food processor until they break into little pieces and form a ball. Remove and set aside in a bowl.

In your food processor, add flours, flakes, dash sea salt, lemon juice and zest and spices together and pulse until evenly incorporated. Add frozen olive oil and date caramel/maple syrup and pulse briefly. Add the date paste you made earlier, first breaking it into smaller spoonfuls, then pulse the spoonfuls of paste into the flour mixture until evenly incorporated. Scrape down the sides and pulse once more briefly. The mixture should look like a crumble topping now, not smooth but full of clumps.

Spread mixture out thinly over a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake in 350F oven until fragrant and lightly golden brown, 18 minutes.
Remove and spoon on top of prepared peach or apple filling.

Drunken Peach Crumble Filling

  • 1 SMALL pack frozen PEACH slices OR 6-7 FRESH small organic peaches (if you don't like peaches, substitute peeled, cored and chopped green or gala apples to make an awesome APPLE crumble)
  • 1 tbsp frozen evoo
  • tiny pinch chilli powder
  • squeeze fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 3 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 dash coarse sea salt
  • 1/2 cup of my recipe for Date Caramel sauce (You could substitute maple syrup or brown sugar for this but the date caramel tastes way better and is healthier too)
  • 1.5 tbsp gluten free whiskey (Jack Daniel's or Maker's Mark are gluten free)
  • 1 tsp chia seeds
  • 1 tsp baking powder

Heat oil in a large stirfry pan (not non-stick ideally) over medium high heat. Add spices and saute 20 seconds. Add peaches and saute for 1 minute. Add vanilla and whiskey and chia and let alcohol simmer for 2 minutes, stirring often. Add lemon juice and zest, and date caramel sauce and let simmer, reduce heat to medium,stir often letting it simmer until liquid has reduced in half and mixture is thick, about 10 minutes. Stir in baking powder and simmer additional 1 minute.

Spoon into small jam jars or mini-mason jars (filling 2/3 full). Top with 1-2 tbsp warm or cold crumble topping. Serve immediately or with a small scoop of ice cream on top. These crumble jars are also delicious cold after some time in the refrigerator.

Chili Chocolate Vegan Milkshakes AND/OR Fudgesicles

  • 3 tbsps unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 dashes coarse sea salt
  • 1.5 tsp chilli powder
  • 1.5 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 small frozen banana
  • 5 small pitted sweet Sayer dates (about 35-40g) (I use Parnoosh honey dates)
  • 1.5 tbsp chia seeds
  • 2 cups water
  • 1.5 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp chocolate extract
  • 2.5 tsp soy free vegenaise
  • 1 small very ripe red Bartlett pear
  • 3.5 tbsp pear sauce
  • 1 tsp pear butter
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1.5 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp maple syrup

Add all ingredients to a food processor or high speed blender. Pulse ingredients together then scrape down sides and blend again on high speed until smooth. I blended for about 5 minutes in my food processor. Taste! Adjust sweetness by adding more dates if necessary. Add extra cinnamon and chilli powder if not spiced enough. If not chocolatey enough, add extra cocoa and blend. 

Taste! If satisfied, serve mixture either as 2-4 milkshakes immediately, OR spoon mixture into either 4 large popsicle molds or 8 smaller popsicle molds and chill in freezer until frozen. Enjoy.


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