We all know that I clearly have no illusions about this being a “healthy” blog. Despite common misconceptions, just because something is vegan does not mean it’s healthy. Now can we all please pass this message on to the blogosphere and/or the internet/world in general? To be perfectly honest, I’m sure more people would come over to the “dark side” (and by that I mean the delicious dark chocolate side obviously 😉 ) if they didn’t see it as simply a smorgasbord of alfalfa sprouts, carrot sticks and hummus.
Also – completely side rant, so prepare yourself (or feel free to skip this paragraph – there’s truly no hilarity here, I just need a rant outlet, and you’ve received the unenviable task of being my captive audience….BWAHAHAHAHAHAH!!! 🙂 ) – vegan does not mean gluten free!!!! (can you tell this one is really starting to irk me?) Please get the word out on that. I truly have nothing against gluten free, but it has most definitely happened to me many a time where someone (with the best of intentions) will point out to me that I can “…eat [insert item x] because it doesn’t have any gluten in it!” ummmm…great? While I appreciate the attempt to try and be helpful, often said item will also be filled with butter and cream, sooooo…not actually vegan 🙁 . Now I’ve eaten (and baked) many a tasty vegan + gluten free treat, so I’m not trying to knock it. However, vegan means no animal products. So unless we’re now considering wheat a living being to which we take our children so that they can observe the crazy antics that those wacky wheat stalks get up to, I think we’re good here (although I could actually imagine that being weirdly soothing 😉 . Wheat you talkin’ ’bout Willis? 😉 ….ugh, terrible. That pun needs work *head shake*).So, lesson for this week? I’ll let you in on a little secret – here’s my own personal test for determining if something’s vegan – does the ingredient in question come from a source or is a source that could run away from you if you chased it? No? Vegan stamp of approval. Yes? Not-so vegan stamp of approval (disapproval? Whatevs, you see what I’m saying here). In fact, speaking of veganness not necessarily meaning healthy, if you think about it, in some ways it’s even less healthy and completely supports laziness and/ or sitting on the couch. “I could eat chicken for dinner, but then I’d have to go outside, chase after a squawking, fast bird, who, when I finally do catch it, will probably scratch me and/ or take a crap on me, possibly giving me avian flu (? I have no idea how that works or what I’m talking about 🙂 ). Then I have to cook it because we all know the dangers of eating raw chicken. That sounds like a lot of work and I am way too lazy for that. Hmmm…you say that fruit tree/ vegetable plant will just sit there and take it while I tear it from its roots and immediately stuff it in my face?!! They’ll never survive Darwinism with that attitude, but I’ll take it!” And that my friends is how the underground world of produce bullies were born 😉 .Now that rant of fury actually came about not because of a gluten free incident or anything. Weirdly, it was because I decided I wanted to make something using toasted quinoa for the delicious crunchy texture it would provide. To get ideas, I started Googling dessert ideas using toasted quinoa. Apparently though, although incorporating quinoa into a dessert is totally a thing, you can only do it (according to the interwebs) if you’re intention is to make something good for you. Go ahead, Google it for yourself. I’ll wait. If you’re too lazy, I’ll give you the low down. Essentially, you get a heck of a lot of “It tastes just like a [dessert item that’s known for being super delicious], but it’s healthy and doesn’t have any sugar in it!” or “Trick your friends and family with this healthy dessert for which they will never guess the secret ingredient/ that’s it’s not the real thing.” Spoiler alert – in a lot of instances, they will not be fooled and it does not taste “just like x”, and you will thus not be helping your cause at all. Le sigh.
I just don’t understand why we’re all totally cool with taking vegetables and fruit and making them terrible for you (strawberries? Pssshhhtt!! Dip those in some chocolate, then I’ll eat them. Broccoli? Not without a thorough dousing in various cheeses – if I even see a speck of green, I’m out of here. Who eats potatoes if they’re not either deep fried or covered in sour cream, bacon, and chives? Pure nonsense 😉 ), but any foods that have achieved this recent halo of being a “superfood”, must only be consumed for health purposes. Anyway, after all that, you think I’d be here to tell you that I’ve managed to turn quinoa into something horribly bad for you. Well….that’s not completely true (*embarrassed face*), but they’re definitely less healthy and more desserty than any other quinoa internet fare I could find. These still have icing sugar in them, and they’re filled with a straight up combination of vegan butter, honey, sea salt and icing sugar. So take that internet! Amber for the win!!!! “Uh….Amber? I think you’re vastly overestimating your winningness he-” “FOR THE WIN!!!!” (*Amber runs away through a wheat field laughing like a lunatic while stuffing her face with salted honey quinoa peanut butter cups. She was never seen again….until next week anyway 😉 ).
Yield: 2 dozen cookies
- 1/4 cup vegan butter
- 2 tablespoons honey (substitute for maple syrup, agave or vegan honey if desired)
- 1-2 teaspoons coarse sea salt
- 2 tablespoons icing sugar
- 3/4 cups toasted quinoa
- 1/2 cup peanut butter
- 1 tablespoon cacao butter
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- 2 tablespoons honey (or maple syrup or vegan honey)
- 1 tablespoons coconut milk powder (or other non-dairy milk powder)
- pinch of sea salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 3 tablespoons chopped peanuts, divided
- To make the salted honey butter filling, combine butter, 2 tablespoons of honey, sea salt (add this slowly to taste, maybe start with 1/2 teaspoons and slowly increase to your liking). Place in the fridge or freezer while making the “dough” for the cups.
- To toast quinoa: heat a sauce pan to medium heat. Once warm, place quinoa in the pan and lightly stir or shake until you start hearing a slight popping sound and quinoa starts to brown. Remove from heat and place in a medium sized bowl.
- Line a mini muffin tray with 2 dozen mini muffin liners.
- In a microwave safe bowl, or small saucepan, combine peanut butter, cacao butter, coconut oil, and honey. Either place in the microwave for 1-2 minutes, stopping to stir occasionally until melted, or on medium heat on the stovetop until smoothly melted. Remove from heat and pour over toasted quinoa.
- Stir in coconut milk powder, sea salt, vanilla and 2 tablespoons of chopped peanuts stirring until combined.
- Remove salted honey butter from the fridge/freezer (it should be a bit more solid at this point – doesn’t need to be completely set, but more like a regular butter consistency, you don’t want it melty. If it’s not set, return to the fridge/freezer until it is.)
- Place a heaping teaspoon of peanut butter quinoa batter in the bottom of each muffin cup (FYI – this batter isn’t very “solid” and that’s totally fine for now). Place a 1/2 teaspoon of salted honey butter in the center of each cup. Top with more batter until it reaches the top of the muffin cup, or at least to cover the filling. Sprinkle chopped peanuts on top.
- Place in the freezer until set.
- Although these are ok to keep in the fridge, they’re better in the freezer, so I recommend storing them there.