Thursday, June 24, 2010

Summer Sweets

I love the fresh fruits and berries of summer. I love all the fresh veggies too. Growing up in Maryland in between Baltimore and DC, summer meant crab feasts and fresh fruit. My dad had a bit of an orchard in our yard. I remember sitting under the cherry tree and eating till I felt sick. The neighborhood kids and I used to pretend we were surviving in the wilderness and eat blueberries off the bush.

So when I saw that our County Extension sold blueberry bushes every spring, I just knew I had to have some. Last summer the birds and squirrels ate ALL of my blueberries. This year I wised up and moved all the bird feeders out to the front yard. Happily we have started harvesting about a cup a day and really it's only one bush producing at the moment. For breakfast this morning I made us some good old fashioned oatmeal sweetened with maple syrup, topped with pecans and fresh blueberries. It was so good, I think I will have it tomorrow too.

Dinner tonight was pasta with Mild Italian Chicken sausage, homemade tomato sauce, and a salad. I was craving some yellow cake with chocolate frosting for dessert. The girls were complaining that we didn't have any junk in the house. I don't often buy cookies and cakes because they usually have butter, milk, and/or soy in them. Plus I think they are better for me and my family if we make them from scratch.

I am quite accustomed to making cake dairy/soy free. My struggle has been frosting. I've made a delicious boiled frosting with egg whites. It whips up beautifully and looks almost like marshmallow cream. It tastes great however tonight, I wanted good old fashioned chocolate frosting. I did a quick Google search and managed to find traditional frosting recipes that had just subbed the butter with fake butter or shortening. With my trusty Better Homes & Gardens cookbook, I could have figured that out.

On a whim, I set out to make up my own. What I ended up with is a creamy, rich, almost buttercream frosting like confection that met all of my dessert demands. It has no dairy, no soy, no shortening, and doesn't taste synthetic. Following is my recipe for all to enjoy!

Non-Dairy, Soy free, Vegan Chocolate Frosting

1 Cup Vegan Chocolate chips (Whole Foods are SO good)
2 tbsp canola oil
1 tsp vanilla
2-3 C powdered sugar
3-4 tbsp regular almond milk or water

In a microwave safe bowl combine chocolate chips and canola oil. Microwave for 1 min. or until chips are melted. Add 1 tsp vanilla and 2 cups of powdered sugar. Mix with a handheld mixer until crumbly. Add 2 tbsp. almond milk and mix. Continue adding almond milk and powder sugar until it reaches a nice creamy spreadable consistency. Makes enough for one 13x9 sheet cake.

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