Vegan Chocolate: Unapologetically Luscious and Decadent Dairy-Free Desserts by the “queen of vegan desserts”, Fran Costigan, offers recipes for chocolate cakes, brownies, truffles, puddings, ice creams, and more that will appeal to every chocoholic — vegan or otherwise. And while committed vegans already know it can be difficult to find truly indulgent desserts that accommodate their diets, this breakthrough book will delight them and unite everyone and anyone who madly, deeply and truly loves chocolate.
Toast the flour: Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350° F / 180° C. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread the flour on the parchment paper and toast in the oven for 10 minutes, stirring a few times. Cool the flour before continuing. (You can reuse the parchment to roll out the dough later.)
Place a wire mesh strainer over a medium bowl. Add the flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt to the strainer and stir with a wire whisk to sift the ingredients into the bowl. (If any small bits remain in the strainer, add them to the mixture in the bowl.) Whisk to aerate the mixture.
Whisk together the oil, maple syrup and vanilla in a small bowl until completely combined. Immediately pour over the dry ingredients and mix with a silicone spatula until the mixture holds together. (It will be too dry to form a pliable ball of dough at this point.)
Mix 2 tablespoons / 30 ml of the water into the dough. Set aside for 5 minutes to allow the flour to absorb the liquid. Add additional water as needed until the dough is pliable when formed into a ball. It should be glossy but not wet.
Roll the dough: Wipe any flour dust from the parchment. Flip it over and move it to the counter. Place the dough on the center of the parchment. Flip it over and move it to the counter. Place the dough on the center of the parchment and use the palm of your hand to pat and press it into a rough rectangle. The shape does not need to be perfect. Cover the dough with a second piece of parchment and use a rolling pin to roll the dough to about 14 x 10 inches (35.5 x 25 cm) and ¼ inch (6 mm) thick. The thickness matters more than the size for the crackers to bake evenly.
Remove the top sheet of parchment paper and trim the edges with a sharp knife to make a neat rectangle. Cut 2-inch / 5-cm) square pieces by making a vertical and then horizontal cuts all the way across the dough. Using a fork or skewer, poke holes all over the top of the dough. Using fork or skewer, poke holes all over the top of the dough. (Think boxed grahams.) Gather the scraps of dough together, press into a ball, and then roll, trim and prick.
Transfer the dough, still on the parchment, to the baking sheet. Run a small sharp knife over the cuts once more. Bake on the middle rack for 11 to 12 minutes, or until the tops are uniformly dry and the bottoms are lightly browned. (Turn one over to check.)
Place the baking sheet on a wire rack. Allow the crackers to cool to room temperature before breaking them into pieces. The crackers will be soft when they are hot and crisp as they cool.
Recipe reprinted by permission from 'Vegan Chocolate: Unapologetically Luscious and Decadent Dairy-Free Desserts' by Fran Costigan. Photographs by Kate Lewis. Published by Running Press, A Member of the Perseus Books Group.
Keeping: The graham crackers can be made up to four days ahead and stored in an airtight tin, or they can be frozen for up to one month in a freezer-proof airtight container.
Variation: Round Graham Crackers Starting close to the outside edge of the dough, cut crackers with a 2-inch / 5-cm round cookie or biscuit cutter, making the cuts as close together as possible. You will get at least 15 crackers. Gather the scraps of dough together, press into a ball, and then reroll and make another 1 or 2 crackers. Using a toothpick or skewer, prick rolls of dots in the crackers. Pricking the dough is necessary for the grahams to bake right, but you don't need to break out a ruler, since these are homemade.
Tips: Make your own and say hello to vegan Moon Pies (page 141, Vegan Chocolate: Unapologetically Luscious and Decadent Dairy-Free Desserts), Magic Cookie Bars with a graham cracker crust (page 142, Vegan Chocolate: Unapologetically Luscious and Decadent Dairy-Free Desserts), or S'mores (page 139, Vegan Chocolate: Unapologetically Luscious and Decadent Dairy-Free Desserts) for all-around good snacking.
Think boxed graham crackers you used to eat as a kid, and how you had S’mores with them. Now this is the real deal: homemade graham crackers and vegan! The vegan graham crackers are pretty tasty on their own with great flavor and texture. The recipe is super easy. I absolutely adore recipes like this that don’t require any egg replacer or vegan butter alternatives. When I made the dough, it vaguely tasted like a soft cinnamon cookie dough. I used a fluted cookie cutter (2 1/2-inch), which yielded about 22 crackers. You can dress them up by making something like alfajores, which are Argentinian cookies with dulce de leche, or try ‘Chocolate Dulce de Leche’ (page 234, ‘Vegan Chocolate: Unapologetically Luscious and Decadent Dairy-Free Desserts’), or by dipping them in ‘Chocolate Olive Oil Glaze’ (page 222, ‘Vegan Chocolate: Unapologetically Luscious and Decadent Dairy-Free Desserts’). The crackers are firm, crunchy, plus the toasted flour is the key to the flavor of these graham crackers. I can’t wait to make these again such as making a graham cracker crust for my vegan cheesecakes, and that it is not entirely chocolate! Miam!
Running Press has been so kind enough to host a giveaway for one copy of Vegan Chocolate: Unapologetically Luscious and Decadent Dairy-Free Desserts to one of my amazing readers. This giveaway is open to US residents only and will run until Thursday, March 6th, 2014 at 12:59pm PST. Please use the box in the end of the post to enter the giveaway. Click here to enter the giveaway!