Russian Teacakes

Russian Teacakes

Russian Teacakes

Have you ever had the chance to enjoy a light and fluffy Russian Teacake cookie during Christmas? If you haven’t, this cookie is perfect since it only uses a handful of ingredients and goes well with any cup of coffee or tea. In thinking back to when my mother would make these, id always manage to sneak a few that were freshly rolled in the powder sugar and slightly warm! Boy oh boy were those the best.

Russian Teacakes

Yields 36 cookies


1 cup vegan butter

1/2 cup powdered sugar

1 tsp. vanilla extract

2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 tsp. Vitacost Himalayan Fine Pink Salt

3/4 cup finely chopped pecans

powdered sugar to roll

Russian Teacakes


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. In a kitchen-aid mixer, cream together the butter and sugar for 1-2 minutes.
  3. Add the vanilla, salt and slowly incorporate the flour into the mixture until the cookie dough forms. Then add the pecans until combined.
  4. Roll the dough into 1-in diameter balls and place onto a non-stick cookie sheet.
  5. Bake for 10-12 minutes until set, not browned.
  6. Remove form oven and roll the warm cookie into the powdered sugar. Take out of the powder sugar and allow to cool.
  7. Once cooled, place the cookies back into the powder sugar and re-roll to coat.
  8. Serve with coffee or tea.

Chef’s tip: If you’d like, you could also make this recipe with hazelnuts. Just roast them and crack them open!

Cuque de banana (Banana Cake)

Cuque de banana (Banana Cake)

Cuque de banana (Banana Cake)

This recipe was shown to me by a coworker who wanted to challenge me to think outside my comfort zone and bring a childhood memory of hers back to life. Cuque de Banana is a classic Brazilian banana cake that is normally made with eggs and milk, so I decided to create my own plant-based version. Essentially, it’s a cross between crumb cake and banana bread and it’s super addicting. This dish makes a wonderful breakfast or even an after dinner treat. Whichever you decide, just know that a hint of Brazil has touched your kitchen.

Cuque de banana (Banana Cake)



3 Tbsp. Bob’s Red Mill Egg Replacer + 6 Tbsp. filtered water

2 Tbsp. vegan butter, softened

1 cup plain almond milk

1-1/2 cup organic sugar 

2-1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1 Tbsp. baking powder

1 tsp. vanilla extract

4 bananas

1/2 tsp. Vitacost Himalayan Fine Pink Salt

Crumb Topping:

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1/3 cup organic sugar

1 Tbsp. ground cinnamon

4 Tbsp. vegan butter, melted

1/4 tsp. Vitacost Himalayan Fine Pink Salt


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a mixing bowl, coming the sugar and butter. Mix well until smooth, add the eggs and stir until combined. Mix in the almond milk and vanilla, set aside. 
  3. In another mixing bowl, sift flour, salt, and baking powder. Pour mixture into into wet ingredients and stir to combine.
  4. To make the crumb topping: pour all ingredients into a bowl and mix well. Set aside until you are ready to assemble. 
  5. Take your cake pan and line it with parchment paper and grease it with butter and pour cake batter in. 
  6. Slice bananas in half and then in half long ways. Place the bananas on top of the cake and top with the crumble mixture.
  7. Bake cake for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  8. Allow cake to cool slightly before serving. 

Chef’s tip: When using the toothpick to check on the cake, make sure you do not get a banana chunk. This will make you think the cake is not finished cooking, when it could be done. 

Pumpkin Spice French Macarons

French Macaron Shell

This airy and fluffy “cookie” is one of my favorite treats to indulge on. Being able to create a French macaron recipe in my own kitchen is something I have always wanted to do. So here we have my pumpkin spice French macaron filled with a pumpkin buttercream. One of the most interesting things that you will learn from this recipe (other than patience) is in the power of food alternatives. Using chickpea liquid and sugar as your meringue base really goes to show that you can still create these delicious desserts, without diary or the use of eggs. With that being said, I hope you enjoy this recipe and bon appétit!

French Macaron MerengueFrench Macaron

Yields 36 macaroons



1/2 cup concentrated aquafaba, (chickpea liquid)

3 Tbsp. fine granulated sugar

100g Vitacost almond flour

200g Vitacost powdered sugar

1 tsp. pumpkin spice


3/4 cups Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks, room temperature

2 1/4 cups Vitacost powdered sugar

1 3/4 tsp. plain almond milk

1 1/2 Tbsp. organic pumpkin puree, homemade

1/8 tsp. Pumpkin spice seasoning 

French Macaron


Aquafaba concentrate
1. In sauce pan over medium-high heat, pour in both cans chickpea liquid AKA aquafaba (save chickpeas for my hummus recipe). Reduce liquid until 1/2 cup remains. Pour liquid into container and cool in refrigerator overnight (this step is very important).


  1. In food processor, pulse almond flour and powdered sugar until super fine. Add pumpkin spice, pulse and set aside.
  2. To make meringue, use stand mixer to whip cold aquafaba concentrate for 10-15 minutes until medium peak forms. Slowly add sugar, a little at a time, until incorporated. Mix again for another minute or two until sugar mixes in fully. (This is ready when you can turn bowl upside down and meringue stays put.)
  3. Using spatula, fold almond mixture into meringue. To fold, carefully bring spatula through middle of bowl toward you. Scraping sides of bowl, fold bottom layer onto top portion. Continue until mixture is fully incorporated and fluid (like molten lava). Note: If you do not properly fold batter, you will end up with cracked or hollow shells. Making sure the air is evenly distributed and the consistency is just right is very important. To test consistency, scoop batter with spatula into “8” shape. One clean swoop, means you’re ready to pipe!
  4. Fill piping bag with mixture. On parchment-paper-lined baking sheet, draw 2-in. circles or dispense even amount of dough. To eliminate air bubbles, slam tray onto kitchen counter. Smooth out any “nipple” that formed from piping. Allow shells to sit for 90-120 minutes or until outside is no longer sticky to the touch.

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.

  1. Bake 14 minutes, checking frequently toward the end. You should be able to peel shells off parchment paper without sticking.
  2. Using spatula, carefully lift macaron shells off parchment paper. Transfer to cooling rack.


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. If making homemade pumpkin puree, slice small baking pumpkin in half and lightly drizzle with oil. Place halves onto baking sheet, flesh side up, and roast for 40 minutes or until tender.
  3. Once done roasting, add chunks of cut pumpkin into food processor (skin removed) and blend until smooth. (Use remaining purée for future recipe.)
  4. In mixing bowl, beat room temperature butter until fluffy and white in color. Add powdered sugar, almond milk, pumpkin spice and either canned or homemade pumpkin purée and mix until frosting forms; about 3-4 minutes.
  5. Spoon buttercream into middle of macaroon shell and top with another shell; carefully wiggling the two halves together. Once all are assembled, place into refrigerator for 24-48 hours or freeze up to 3 months.


Chef’s tip: To prevent a major macaron fail, avoid substituting ingredients or altering measurements.

Apple Cider Donuts

Apple Cider Donut

Apple Cider Donut

With apple season upon us, now is a great time to get a head start on all things apples, included this easy plant-based donut! To get started, you can use store bought apple cider or you can take a homemade approach and check out my recipe below. A secret tip to add a boost of Vitamin C is to add some fresh squeezed orange juice to freshen it up even more. Overall, these donuts bring back awesome memories of apple picking and other fall activities.

Apple Cider Donut

Yields 12 donuts



3 1/2 cups King Arthur organic flour 

3/4 cup sugar 

1/2 tsp. baking soda

2 tsp. baking powder

1/4 cup butter

3/4 cup Apple cider, concentrated

2 Tbsp. Bob’s Red Mill Egg Replacer + 4 Tbsp. filtered water, mix and set aside 

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. nutmeg

1 tsp. Vitacost Himalayan Pink Salt 

Topping mix:

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 Tbsp. cinnamon

1 Tbsp. Palate Cinnamon Sugar Cookie

2 tsp. pumpkin spice seasoning


  1. In a mixing bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients: flour, sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. 
  2. In a kitchen-aid mixer, mix together apple cider and butter. Then add egg replacer. Slowly incorporate the dry mixture into the wet, on a slow speed. Once dry incredients have combined, pour onto a floured counter top.
  3. Knead dough until it is not so sticky. Roll out until it is about 1/2 in thick, make sure not too thing or they won’t puff up as well. With a circle cutter, cut out your donut shape and use a cutter to make the hole in the middle of the donut.
  4. In a large pot, full with 2 1/2 cups of oil and bring to around 325 degrees to 350 degrees F. Add donuts into oil and bake for 2-3 minutes or until both sides are brown and puffed. 
  5. Immedietly remove donuts from oil and place into bowl with topping mixture. Roll around to coat and place on baking rack to cool.

Chef’s tip: You can always finely chop up peeled apples and add them to the dough. 

Cardamom Butter Cookies

Cardamom Butter Cookies

Cardamom Butter Cookies

These cookies pack an amazing flavor combination with the saffron, lemon, and cardamom! Although I added saffron to the recipe, the cardamom is still the main flavor (I just love how the saffron compliments the other spices). These cookies are a great way to end any meal or dinner party, so cozy up with a nice fire and enjoy this amazing light and airy treat.

Cardamom Butter Cookies

Yields 15 cookies


1/2 cup Earths Balance Vegan Buttery Stick, cubed

1/2 cup Woodstock organic cane sugar

1 Tbsp. Bob’s Red Mill Egg Replacer + 2 Tbsp. filtered water , combined

1/2 cup + 3 Tbsp. King Arthur organic flour (1-3/4 cup)

1/2 cup + 3 Tbsp. whole wheat flour

1/4 tsp. Vitacost Himalayan Fine Pink Salt

1/2 tsp. ground cardamom

1/4 tsp. saffron

2 Tbsp. lemon juice


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 
  2. In your Kitchen-aid stand mixer, combine the butter  and sugar until creamy, about 2-3 minutes.
  3. In a medium glass bowl, combine sifted flour with cardamom, lemon juice, and salt.
  4. Add mixture to the butter and sugar slowly until dough has formed.
  5. On a baking sheet, spray with oil or use baking mat so cooking don’t stick. Using a cookie scooper, dispense cookie from scooper or roll up the dough into 1″ rounds and flatten surface into a disc shape.
  6. Bake cooking for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown.

Chef’s tip: Chill your butter and if you do not want to use a half and half mixture for the flour, you can use 1-3/4 cups of wheat flour.

Rhino’s Pumpkin Roll

Pumpkin Roll

Pumpkin Roll

Have you ever tried making a thin pumpkin cake, only to later roll it around in a white plant-based cream cheese filling and topped with dusted powdered sugar? If you haven’t then you are in for a real treat! This simple pumpkin roll will not only wow all of your family and friends, but you will surely impress yourself with this restaurant-style dessert made in the comfort of your own home. The best part about any Swiss roll cake is that you can keep it in the freezer for any surprise guests that drop by or you can take it to a gathering or give it as a tasty gift during the holiday season. This recipe is so good that you may need to make two at a time!

Pumpkin RollPumpkin Roll

Yields 1 cake; around 10 slices



1 cup granulated sugar

4 Tbsp. Bob’s Red Mill Egg Replacer + 8 Tbsp. Water, (in 2 batches)

1 cup homemade pumpkin purée

1 cup King Arthur all-purpose organic flour

1 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. Vitacost ground cinnamon

1 Tbsp. pumpkin spice seasoning

1/2 tsp. Vitacost Fine Himalayan Pink Salt

1/8 cup Vitacost powder sugar, for dusting

1 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)

Cream cheese frosting:

4 Tbsp. Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks, room temperature

8 oz. Kite Hill Cream Cheese

1 cup Vitacost powdered sugar

1 Tbsp. Vitacost pure maple syrup



  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and lightly grease with cooking spray or vegan butter.
  3. In a stand mixer, beat the already combined egg replacer and water with the sugar for 1-2 minutes or until it thickens. Add the pumpkin puree; mix till combined.
  4. Add the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, pumpkin spice, salt, and baking powder into the batter. Mix together until flour is combined and switch to using a spatula. This way you can get a few more stirs in without over mixing the batter.
  5. Pour the batter onto the 10×15 baking sheet and bake for 15-17 minutes or until the cake springs back after you touch it. Prepare your dish towel while it bakes by dusting it heavily with powdered sugar. This will prevent the cake from sticking.
  6. Once the cake springs back after toughing it, remove it from the oven and immediately (and carefully) flip the cake pan on top of the towel and remove the parchment paper slowly (there will be a massive cloud of powder sugar so prepare yourself).
  7. Begin to roll the towel with the cake into a log shape and allow to cool on a cooling rack until room temperature. Make sure that you do not let the cake cool for more than an hour, or it can cause the cake to crack when you go to unroll it.


  1. In a mixing bowl, beat the butter and cream cheese for 2-3 minutes on a medium speed until well combined.
  2. Then add the powdered sugar and maple syrup (or flavoring) and mix; set aside.

Pumpkin Roll


  1. Carefully unroll the log and spread the frosting in a single layer. Cover the frosting with the walnuts at this time (optional).
  2. Re-roll the cake back up into a log shape..
  3. Place into the refrigerator for 1-2 hours to allow cake and frosting to firm up a bit (set overnight for best results).
  4. Remove from the fridge and dust top with powdered sugar.
  5. Serve and enjoy.

Chef’s tip: Move quickly when cooling this cake, or it will crack and break when you go to roll it. You can also use pecans instead of walnuts.

Homemade Apple Crisp

Apple Crisp

Apple Crisp

Thinking back to this simple yet delicious dessert brings back memories of apple picking at Patterson’s Fruit Farms in Chesterland, Ohio. The warm apples mixed with cinnamon and a hint of nutmeg always pairs perfectly with a heaping scoop of cold vanilla ice cream. Pro Tip: For a crisp crunchy top, be sure to clump your oat mixture up in your hands before placing it on the apples. So get out to your local farm and pick up a bag of fresh apples so you can whip up this apple crisp!

Apple Crisp

Yields 10-12 servings


8-9 apples, peeled and cored

1 Tbsp. lemon juice

1/2 cup sugar

2 Tbsp. King Arthur organic flour

1/8 tsp. nutmeg


1 1/4 cup King Arthur organic flour

1/2 cups whole rolled oats

3/4 cup butter, melted (about 10 Tbsp.)

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 tsp. Vitacost organic ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp. Vitacost Himalayan Pink Salt

1/2 cup walnuts, chopped


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. To prepare your apples, first peel, decore, and slice all apples into wedges- slice again to make wedges more thin. Add the lemon juice and using your fingers, mix apples to coat evenly. Next, add the sugar and nutmeg. Set aside.
  3. In a glass mixing bowl, combine oat flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, butter, salt, and walnuts. Mix until topping mixture has formed.
  4. In a casserole dish, pour apple and evenly place the topping mixture over the apples.
  5. Bake for 45 minutes or until bubbly and top is brown.
  6. Serve immediately with a side of ice cream or a whipped cream topping if you choose.

Chef’s tip: You can add 1/2 tsp. vanilla to the apples if you’d like before baking for added flavor.

Raw Blueberry Cheesecake

Blueberry Cheesecake

Blueberry Cheesecake

This light and fresh “cheesecake” will blow you and your friends away when you bring this over to your next family gathering or party. Made by soaking cashews over night and blending into a creamy mixture with aromatic flavors like lemon and fresh blueberries.

Yields 10 slices



3 cups cashew, soaked overnight

3/4 cup filtered water

3/4 cup maple syrup

1/2 cup coconut oil, melted

1/4 cup lemon juice, reserved for half of the mixture

1 cup fresh blueberries

1 tsp. vanilla extract


2 cups almonds

1 Tbsp. Butter

8-10 mejdool dates

1/2 tsp. Simply Organic almond extract

1/4 cup oats

Pinch Vitacost Fine Himalayan Pink Salt


  1. Spray and line with parchment paper the bottom of a round springform pan. Set aside for later.
  2. In a food processor, add the crust ingredients and process until it starts to form a sticky-like dough. Once clumped together, transfer to your springform pan and press it down evenly. Place in the freezer to set for 30 minutes.
  3. In a blender, take your soaked cashew, water, maple syrup, coconut oil, lemon juice, and vanilla and blend until very smooth.
    • Option** Cut mixture in half and add fresh blueberries. Blend until smooth. Pour 2 cups of filling on to almond crust, allow to firm up in freezer for 10 minutes. Then add the 2 cups of blueberry filling on top.
  4. Pour mixture on top of the almond crust and smooth down with back of a spatula. Place back into the freezer to set fully, about 5-7 hours (best results overnight).
  5. Allow cheesecake to thaw at room temperature for at least 20-30 minutes before serving.

Chef’s tip: You can either mix all of the filling ingredients together or if you want, you can split the mixture in half and add 1/2 cup of blueberries to the mixture.

Coco’s Macadamia Nut Cookies

Photo Cred: Ivy Becker

These gooey and crunchy cookies will leave your mouth watering, once you smell and taste how good they are! Recently, I created this recipe for a good friend of mine who wanted a cookie with macadamia’s and dark chocolate- so what did I do? Made her this recipe! So get ready to impress your friends and family with these awesome nutty cookies!

Photo Cred: Ivy Becker

Yields 24 cookies


1 cup Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks, room temperature

1 cup Nutiva organic unrefined coconut sugar

2 1/2 cups King Arthur organic flour

2 Tbsp. Bob’s Red Mill Egg Replacer Gluten Free + 4 Tbsp. Water, mixed

2 tsp plain almond milk

1 tsp Simply Organic almond extract or vanilla extract

1/4 tsp Simply Organic ground nutmeg

1/2 tsp Vitacost Himalayan Fine Pink Salt

1 tsp baking soda

1 cup Enjoy Life Real Chocolate Chips Morsels Dark Chocolate

1 cup Royal Hawaiian Orchards Natural Macadamias Unsalted, coarsely chopped

Optional Caramel Sauce:

1/2 cup Vitacost organic light brown sugar – non-GMO

1/8 cup plain almond milk

1/2 tsp vanilla

1/2 tsp coarse rock salt


  1. Preheat oven to350 degrees.
  2. In a mixing bowl, combin sugar and butter and cream together.  Add the egg replacer into the creamed sugar mixture until well incorporated.
  3. Pour the flour, baking soda, almond milk, almond extract, salt, and nutmeg into the bowl and stir until dough has formed. Gently fold in the dark chocolate and chopped macadamia nuts.
  4. Roll dough into 1 inch balls and place onto a baking sheet. Bake cookies for 12-15 minutes or until slightly golden brown.
  5. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
  6. Drizzle cookies with caramel sauce or smear over the top. Cool and serve or store in container.

Chef’s tip: For an extra crunch, make sure to add some almond slivers or chopped walnuts to the dough mix!

Chef’s tip: Substitutions** If you do chose to use a gluten free flour, you may have to press the cookie down with a fork to flatten. You may also switch out the organic cane sugar for coconut sugar, pure maple syrup, or any sugar of your choice.

Zesty Key Lime Pie

Key Lime Pie

Don’t let its gourmet presentation trick you. This half-baked dessert is actually one of the easiest recipes you’ll ever make. Simply create the creamy base by blending soaked cashews with fresh, aromatic ingredients for a tangy, yet oh-so-sweet, treat. Full disclosure: the first time I made this pie was for a housewarming party and just moments after placing it down on the buffet table, it was devoured. Trust me, this light, guilt-free dessert is ideal for any occasion.

Yields 8 slices



1 cup Vitacost organic whole raw cashews, soaked

1/3 cup Vitacost organic maple syrup

1 can full fat coconut milk

3/4 cup lime, juice

5 Tbsp. organic corn starch

1 Tbsp. lime zest, to garnish

1 tsp. Simply Organic Madagascar pure vanilla extract


2 cups almonds

3 Tbsp. Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks

3-4 mejdool dates, pitted

1/2 tsp. Simply Organic almond extract

1/4 cup oats

1 tsp. Simply Organic Madagascar pure vanilla extract

Pinch Vitacost Himalayan Fine Pink Salt



  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Melt the butter and pour into a food processor with the crust ingredients. Pulse until well combined.
  3. Press crust mixture down into sprayed cheesecake pan until evenly distributed.
  4. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown (careful not to burn).


  1. Mix all ingredients together in a blender. Then pour into a sauce pan and bring to a boil on medium-high heat.
  2. Stirring constantly, allow to boil for approx. 8 minutes or until it has thickened (if any lumps form, you can always smooth it out in the blender again).
  3. Once thickened, pour into pre-pressed pie crust. Place in to the refrigerator to set for 4-6 hours or store in freezer overnight for best results.
  4. Serve with vegan whipped cream and lime zest on top.

Chef’s tip: Depending on your preference for tartness or sweetness, you can always add more lime juice, zest, or maple syrup.