Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel Pie (a mouthful—but a delicious one)

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Vegan chocolate peanut butter pie

A little quiz

  1. For undisclosed subversive actions, you have been exiled to a desert island for the rest of your miserable days. You may bring a lifetime’s supply of one comestible (you will be secretly filmed by the producers of said comestible and become the oblivious star of an online reality television show/ infomercial). You choose:
    1. Peanut Butter—finally you can have a whole jar to yourself and plunge your hands in without guilt
    2. Tofu—the entire food pyramid in one gelatinous block
    3. Chocolate—one is never truly alone when one has chocolate, the angels of bliss fill the skies…uh oh, you’re already undergoing islohallucinosis
  1. You have been unanimously elected Grand Poobah of the Intergalactic Pretzel Society. Your first motion as G.P. is:
    1. A moratorium on all crispy salty snack foods not designated “pretzels” (according to IPS regulation #113).
    2. A constitutional amendment requiring every dish designated as “dessert” (according to IPS regulation #1652.c) to include minimum one pretzel-derived ingredient.
    3. An executive act declaring pretzels an essential food group and revising the IPS dietary recommendations accordingly.
  1. Matchmaker, matchmaker, make me a match! Which epicurean civil partnership is most likely to survive the next decade?
    1. Peanut Butter + Chocolate
    2. Chocolate + Pretzels
    3. Pretzels + Peanut Butter

If you answered any of the questions, this pie is for you.

Vegan chocolate peanut butter pie

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel Pie

Pantry

  • 1 ½ cup pretzels
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 2 tablespoons nondairy milk
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 12 oz. package Mori-Nu silken firm tofu
  • ½ cup smooth peanut butter
  • 2/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon nondairy milk
  • salt to taste
  • 4-5 oz. package chocolate covered pretzels

Method

Combine the pretzels, oil, 2 tablespoons nondairy milk, maple syrup, and cocoa powder in a food processor. Blend, adding more milk if necessary to reach a clumpy consistency. The crust shouldn’t be sticky but it should hold together well. Pat the crust into a pie tin, starting from the center and working your way up the sides. Chill the crust while you prepare the filling.

Wipe off the food processor blade and bowl (no need to thoroughly clean), then fill it with the tofu, peanut butter, sugar, and milk. Blend until silky smooth. Add salt to taste. Smooth the peanut butter filling into the crust. Scatter chocolate covered pretzel pieces over the filling, forming a broken shell over the pie.

German Apple Cake

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Vegan German Apple Cake

They say we have a rainfall deficit of over 19 inches, but they are measuring the wrong rain. In my backyard, the downpour hasn’t let up since late July. Apple rain.

El Niño is a fickle fellow, but my apple tree is so reliable that I hardly have need of a calendar. In April she peeps coquettish from beneath her veil of peplum blossom. In May she sprawls verdant, the drowsy queen a-maying with her courtiers—the simpering sparrows. In June she secrets away tea green orbs amongst the fringe of her mantle. In July the rising sun peaches the wan apple skins. In August comes the apple monsoon.

We live under incessant bombardment. The blushing bombs explode on the brick patio, worm-trailed flesh erupting. How to dispose of the bodies?

In a metal-walled recipe box sturdy as a bunker hides Auntie Dorothy’s German Apple Cake. Her cake presided over the buffet table whenever the loosening family knot pulled tight once more. By the time I sprouted up, the aunt, the cake, and the gatherings had disintegrated. But we still have the recipe card, looping letters entwined in gentle embraces, the perfect penmanship of Dorothy’s little sister, my Granny.

Homegrown Apples

German Apple Cake

Adapted from Auntie Dot and Sugar and Cinnamon

Pantry

  • 2 tablespoons ground flax seeds
  • 5 tablespoons water
  • 3 cups apples chopped into thin triangles
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup applesauce
  • ¼ cup maple syrup, agave, or honey
  • ½ nondairy milk

Method

Preheat the oven to 300° F and grease an 8-inch round cake tin or similar.

Stir together the flax seed and water, set aside to gel.

Chop apples and toss with brown sugar.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and salt.

In a separate bowl, mix the oil, applesauce, syrup, milk, and flax mixture until smooth. Add wet to dry, stirring just until combined. Fold in the apple slices.

Bake for 45-55 minutes or until the cake begins to pull away from the sides of the pan and the middle springs back when you gently nudge it.

 

Bluebeard’s Blackberry Pie

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Vegan blackberry pie

This is my bliss / Stepping into the storybook / Before daybreak rising / Basket over my arm / Over the river and through the woods / Hyaline panpipes of mo(u)rning doves / Dawn’s eye dews everything with divinity / Don’t stray

Where urchins scrawl their names and flames in poison paint / By the once-creek / Brambles guard their prize (prisoners) with desiccated limbs / Spiniform sentinels

Minutes lose meaning / I operate on blackberry chronometrics / Juicy drupelets by the handful

Exquisite torture / Bluebeard wraps my fingers around the key of my own unraveling / Open on abandoned stream banks of berries / Mine / If only I could reach them / I claw at crowblack clusters / The clusters claw back / I am scathed by my own inquisition

Bluebeard draws me close / Shreds my shirt / Punctures skin / Thorns blossom blood

Escape / I wrench myself from vining arms / From briered nails

I leave threads of long hair spooling from thorny spindles / Vagrant spiders hitch a ride as I plunge away / I clutch a basket of blackblooded berries

Basket of blackberries

Vegan blackberry pie

Bluebeard’s Blackberry Pie

Pantry

  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/3 cup chilled vegan butter
  • 4-5 tablespoons water, vodka, or marsala wine
  • 5 cups blackberries, washed and picked over to remove stems and detritus
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • ¼ cup flour
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • zest of an orange
  • juice of half an orange
  • 1-2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary

Method

Work the butter into the flour with your fingers until you have the classic pea-sized lumps. Stir in the water or alcohol, just until a dough forms and peels off the sides of the bowl (you may not need all the liquid). Cover the dough and chill for an hour or so.

Preheat the oven to 450° F. Toss the blackberries with the sugar, flour, cinnamon, orange zest and juice, and rosemary. Allow the berries to macerate as you roll out the piecrust. Transfer the rolled out crust to a pie pan, prick the bottom, trim and crimp the edges as you like.

Heap the berries into the crust and bake at 450° F for 10 minutes. Lower the heat to 350° F and bake for 40-50 minutes or until the crust is golden and the berries are bubbling.

Miniature Deep Dish Peach Pie

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Vegan peach pie

I have discovered how to put summer in a crust. I expect Willy Wonka’s hot air balloon to curtsy down in my backyard any moment now. The recipe is his, on the condition that he grants me skinny dipping rights in his chocolate river.

Summer, it just so happens, can be distilled into sweet peaches and basil. How convenient, since the blushing fruit it tumbling from farmer’s crates faster than I can eat it, and the herb is a splash of green fireworks blotting out my box garden.

Peaches + Basil are rather like Petra + Biff holding hands the summer before high school. Petra, rounding out, a little softer each day. Biff, spurting up, hemlines receding from his wrists and ankles. Fast-forward a few summers. Petra and Biff snooker the lock on Biff Senior’s study and find the iridescent army of bottles in the armoire. Their chemistry is ethanolized. They feel all grown up as they totter out, hand in hand.

Lacking a Biff Senior armoire to plunder, I snitched Mama’s cooking Marsala and tossed a couple tablespoons into the pastry dough. I had heard that a splash of vodka makes piecrust tender as teenage hearts, but Marsala was the only intoxicator in the house, and I have not yet reached my drinking birthday.

Hypothesis: Marsala can be substituted for vodka to create perfect piecrusts.

Result: Oh frangible flakes! Marsala is the new queen of Crustistan.

So Petra and Biff settled down together in a crusty cottage with Marsala’s blessing. The walls were peeling off in golden flakes but they were too entwined with one another to notice. And summers came and summers went.

Vegan peach pie

Miniature Deep Dish Peach Pie

Pantry

Pastry
  • 1 cup flour
  • ½ – 1 tablespoon sugar
  • scant 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 1-2 tablespoons water, vodka, or Marsala wine
Filling
  • 3 peaches
  • 1 tablespoon thinly sliced fresh basil leaves, packed
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

Method

Preheat oven to 425° F. Whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt for the pastry. With a spoon, mix in the vegetable oil until the usual pea-sized bits form. Stir in the water or alcohol one tablespoon at a time, just until the dough sticks together and peels off the sides. Press into a ball and chill, covered, in the fridge.

Submerge the peaches in boiling water for ten seconds, then transfer to a bowl of ice water. Peel the peaches (the peels should slip off like little coats in your fingers). Slice the peaches into thin crescents. Stir together the sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, and salt. Toss the peaches and basil in the sugar until well coated.

Roll out the dough between pieces of parchment paper. When the slab is about ¼ inch thick, cut two rounds, one slightly larger than the 5-inch pie tin and one of the same circumference as the tin. Fit the larger circle into the tin and prick the bottom with a fork. Tightly layer the peach crescents, working in circles until the peach dome climbs almost as high above the rim of the tin as it descends below it. Slash the upper crust with a knife and set it over the peaches, crimping together the top and bottom crusts. Decorate with extra dough as you desire.

Bake for 40-45 minutes or until the crust is golden and the fruit is bubbling (set a cookie sheet beneath the baking pie to help catch drips).

Molten Chocolate Cake

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Vegan molten chocolate cake

Molten Chocolate Cake. A dangerous name. Perilous as the high seas where I took my first bite. In the ship’s grand dining room where they bring dish after dish until you bloom round as a rescue ring. On the first evening, Mama ordered one for its dangerous name. On the second evening, we each ordered one. Then we ordered seconds. On the third evening…only the waiter’s scribbles will tell, and, praise Poseidon, those pages were swallowed by the sea.

Dangerous. Chocolate so pure that my throat burns, not a thermal burn, but a chemical burn, tracing the acidic effusion of magmatic chocolate down my esophagus.

Dangerous. A double serving of lava simmering in my stomach, sea-tossed and storm-wrenched.

Delicious. Delectable. Deliquescent. Deliriant. Do it.

At sea everything is grander in scale. The waves. The wind. The sky. The ship. The sweets.

Acquiesce. A volcano is indomitable. Be swept away on a tide of chocolate rapture.

Vegan molten chocolate cake

Molten Chocolate Cake

Adapted from The Real Meal

Pantry

  • 1 ½ tablespoons vegan butter
  • 3 ounces bittersweet chocolate (I use 70%)
  • 2 tablespoons silken tofu
  • ¼ cup nondairy milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ¼ cup powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • ½ tablespoon cornstarch

Method

Preheat oven to 425° F. Lightly butter an 8 ounce ramekin.

Melt the butter and chocolate, being careful not to let them burn. Stir until smooth.

Blitz the tofu, milk, and vanilla in a food processor or blender until smooth. Stir the tofu mixture into the chocolate.

Whisk together the sugar, flour, and cornstarch. Mix the wet ingredients into the dry, whisking with a fork until well combined.

Pour the batter into the prepared ramekin and bake for 12-15 minutes. Remove from the oven when the edges are barely set and beginning to crack like the top of a traditional cake. The center will be quite jiggly.

Let the ramekin sit on a cooling rack for a few minutes, then run a knife around the edge and invert onto a plate. Sprinkle with powdered sugar or cocoa powder and serve.

Boardwalk Brownies

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Vegan Boardwalk Brownies

Dice click midair, shatter apart, splatter across the board, spill over the edge. Snake eyes. Park Place’s wrought iron elevator grill splits under your aquiline nose—that living fossil of two centuries’ eugenic machinations, sharp as the rim of a crystal champagne flute. Sidle over Luxury Tax, advance token to Boardwalk.

Brash. Opulent. Unapologetic. Boardwalk brownie turns heads and heads can’t turn away. Rich as a Mafioso. Dense as the cerebrum of hired muscle. Dark as deals made under Draconis rising. Thank your slithering stars. A monopoly on the northeastern neighborhood for full immunity and 50% rent payments on Marvin Gardens? Done.

I land on New York Avenue double hotel megalopolis, but two theobromalicious bites of brownie dissolve the pain, if not the debt. Chocolate nuggets the size of hotel tokens materialize in each mouthful, unexpected and welcome as Chance: You inherit $100.

I once believed the brownie game would be won with one, decisive recipe, but I see now it’s all a matter of deals and dice. This round chooses oil for Earth Balance. Tofu for flax. A roll of the black-eyed cubes and I land on Boardwalk. But a quarter angle’s gyration to the throw, a 1.7% increase in humidity, and these could very well have been Reading Railroad brownies.

Vegan Boardwalk Brownies

Boardwalk Brownies

Adapted from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar 

Pantry

  • 3 ounces firm silken tofu (I used ¼ package of Mori-Nu)
  • ¼ cup nondairy milk
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 cup flour
  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 3.2 ounce bar of semisweet or bittersweet chocolate (I used 65%), roughly chopped into large chunks

Method

Preheat oven to 325° F. Line an 8×8 baking pan with parchment paper, covering the bottom and sides.

Blend the tofu, milk, and oil in a food processor or blender until satin smooth, occasionally scraping down the sides with a spatula. In a large bowl, thoroughly combine the tofu mixture and sugar with a fork. Stir in the vanilla.

Sift the dry ingredients over the wet and sprinkle in the chocolate chunks. Gently fold the batter with a spatula until just combined. Smooth the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 30-35 minutes. The top should be dry and cracking but a toothpick inserted into the center will come out rather gooey. Brownies will set as they cool.

Lemon Pudding Cakes or How to Make a Heroic Mess

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Vegan lemon pudding cake

“It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child.”

— Picasso

 

7th grade. Just as the pimples began their colonization of my T-zone, I developed the facility to produce a reliably edible sugar cookie whenever my sweet tooth demanded. (Query for further research: Does a causal connection obtain between acne and sucrose-craving?)

Ticking off recipe steps, point A never led anywhere but to point B. I was no longer baking like a child.

Will I spend the rest of my lifetime clawing my way back to the flour-faced, batter-splattered abandon of the child baker?

But lemon pudding cakes offer at least an excellent study in wanton juvenile culinary heroics. Beat up a batter, don’t mind the streaks. Plop it in a hastily greased dish. Dump sugar on top. Sugar you massaged with lemon zest, licking half of it off fingers crystal-encrusted. Slosh lemon juice over all. Don’t hold your breath as the acidic moat licks the ramekin’s rim. Courage. Shoot it into the oven, a doughy, piebald mangle. And for the love of the Inner Child—do NOT wash the dishes.

Soon the syrup will be effervescent as Charybdis, hissing and spitting as you navigate the plump cakes from the oven to the cooling rack. Only now must you restrain the child baker. Patience. Patience. Let the bubbling quagmire fizzle itself into silence. Let the pudding congeal at the bottom. Let the aerated cake sink into the mire.

Then dive in. Preferably with a miniature spoon.

Vegan lemon pudding cakes

Lemon Pudding Cakes or How to Make a Heroic Mess

Adapted from Garden Therapy

Pantry

  • Zest of one lemon
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup lemon juice (about two lemons)
  • ¾ cup water
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ cup nondairy milk
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Method

Preheat oven to 350° F. Lightly grease two 8 ounce ramekins and place on a rimmed baking sheet.

Massage the lemon zest into the sugar and let sit for several minutes to infuse.

Combine the lemon juice and water in a small saucepan over medium high. Bring to a boil and turn off the heat.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and ¼ cup of the zesty sugar. In a separate bowl, whisk the milk, oil, and vanilla. Incorporate the dry ingredients into the wet in two installments, stirring just until combined.

Divide the batter between the ramekins. Sprinkle half of the sugar over each. Pour half of the lemon juice over each. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until cake is golden and syrup is burbling merrily around the rim. Let the pudding set for 15 minutes before diving in. Or, chill, covered, for an equally delightful treat.

Lime Tartlets

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Vegan Lime Tartlets

I am a hypochondriac who never falls ill.

The mercury hasn’t limped past 98.6° F since Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire flashed across cinema screens. The Potter flu hit me hard and swift as an entrail-expelling curse just hours after I left the theater. By some charm I managed not to spew my Fenton’s sundae (the Muggle’s equivalent of a Florean Fortescue spectacular) down the front of my black robes.

So when I feel a cactus in my throat, or cobwebs in my sinuses my self-pity comes tied up in a green ribbon of secret delight. I relish my sick days. I pamper myself with the paradoxical hope that my ministrations will both relieve the discomfort and prolong the malady.

Vegan Lime Tartlets

Today was a cactus-throat day (something is slinking through the office­­­, it’s kept the executive editor under blankets for two days, but I know my herculean immune system too well to get my hopes up*). First I flushed my breathing tubes with the mentholated breeze of coastal dawn. Then I melted into indulgence—skipping the phlegmatics of NYTimes Section A and languishing in the linguistics; savoring the last of the throat coat tea; magicking up a jar of cookie butter from leftover grahams; letting the hammock cradle me under the cyan canopy of larksong.

And we mustn’t forget the tartlets. Itsy-bitsy, treat-yourself lime tartlets that leap off the fork with citrus spunk and vitamin C zing.

*Update: Low and behold, I did fall prey to the office’s viral villain. My sinus faucets leaked for a week!

Vegan Lime Tartlets

Lime Tartlets

Pantry

Crust
  • 10 digestive biscuits (or Hansel and Gretel’s grahams)
  • 2 tablespoons vegan butter, melted
  • 2-3 tablespoons nondairy milk
Filling

Adapted from Fat Free Vegan

  • 3/8 cup lime juice (about two limes)
  • zest of two limes
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup + 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ cup + 2 tablespoons nondairy milk

Method

Preheat the oven to 375° F. Place the digestive biscuits, melted butter, and two tablespoons of nondairy milk in the food processor and run until the mixture is pasty. Add an additional tablespoon of nondairy milk if necessary. You should be able to gather the dough into a ball without it crumbling to bits. Pat the dough into two miniature pie tins. Prick a few holes in the bottom of the crust and bake for 10-15 minutes, or until a lovely biscuity scent wafts up when you open the oven door and the crust feels dry to the touch.

Whisk together the sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a large saucepan. Add the water and milk and cook over medium heat, whisking frequently to prevent clumping. When mixture comes to a boil, cook for five minutes, stirring often. The mixture should be quite thick and gel quickly when sampled on a spoon.

Transfer the pudding to a glass or ceramic bowl. Using a non-metal utensil, stir in the lime zest, and gradually incorporate the lime juice. Fill the pastry shells with the lime curd and chill until set. Leftover filling can be stored in a jar in the fridge for toast and biscuits and other morsels in need of some limey spunking up.

Hansel and Gretel’s Grahams

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Grahams

A recipe that veered from the graham crumbs and was lost in the woods.

How promisingly it all began once upon a time, with whole-wheat pastry flour roasting in the oven, a whiff of Lebkuchen traipsing through the kitchen. How bakerly I felt, roasting flour, a preparation lazy stepmothers would surely skip. How diligently I sifted the dry ingredients, just to prove my mettle.

And then the little voice said: Molasses. Blackstrap Molasses.

One oughtn’t listen to the little voices. One ought to scarper when one hears:

Knupper, knupper, Kneischen,

Wer knuppert an meinem Häuschen?

♦♦♦

Nibble, nibble, gnaw

who is nibbling at my little house.

But I nipped up the bait without half a second’s thought.

Graham crackers became something more akin to gingerbread or Pfefferkuchen, baked brown as the ovened witch.

So wander off the trail with me, into the molasses mire. With these bronzed biscuits you are sure to ensnare any nibbler who meanders by your cookie jar. And the grahams would make tempting roof tiles for your candy cottage in the woods, too.

Grahams

 

Hansel and Gretel’s Grahams

Strayed from Vegan Miam

Pantry

  • 1 ½ cups whole-wheat pastry flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • ¼ cup blackstrap molasses
  • 2 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2-4 tablespoons water

Method

Preheat the oven to 350° F. Spread the flour on a piece of parchment paper in a rimmed baking sheet. Toast the flour for 10 minutes.

Sift together the flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. Whisk to combine.

In a separate bowl whisk together the oil, molasses, and vanilla. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry (the mixture will be crumbly). Add two tablespoons of water and mix until well distributed. Let the dough sit for five minutes to allow maximal liquid absorption (this is a good time to start in on the dishes!). Add additional water one tablespoon at a time until dough readily forms a ball but is not wet to the touch.

Roll out the dough between parchment paper until dough sheet measures ¼ inch thick. Slice into whatever shapes tempt your fancy. Transfer cookies to a baking sheet and reroll the dough for another round of slicing. Prick the cookies with a fork before placing in the oven for 10-11 minutes. Rotate the pan halfway through baking time. Cookies are ready to be removed from the oven when the tops are dry and the bottoms are beginning to brown. Let cool on a wire rack.

Bonus recipe! Cookie butter! Cookie butter!

Not Potter’s Peppermint Humbugs

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Peppermint humbugs

I am still waiting for my owl.

I imagine she was blown off course in the polar vortex. I expect she will be blustering down the chimney any day now, disheveled and discombobulated. I will keep some owl treats by the hearth just in case she needs a wee morsel before she spirals off with my enthusiastic acceptance.

I am already hungry for the start of term feast. That cornucopia of anglospheric delicacies cascading over miles of table. Surely the oaken planks must be buttressed by magic to bolster them against collapse under the rhinocerial weight of the entrées, each more potatoed than the next, a cow’s worth of butter dripping from every course.

It is a logophile’s feast. I wolf them down, for I am a gourmand of the fricasseed fricative and the glacéed glide. Kippers, Cornish pasties, crumpets, spotted dick, treacle tart, trifle, chipolatas, chocolate éclairs, and for some strange reason, peppermint humbugs.

To an eleven-year-old of Islington such words would bloom with familiar flavors and aromas. But this child of rice-a-roni and mac-n-cheese had only exotic syllables with which to construct her image of the feast. Peppermint humbugs evolved minty innards, sheathed in a dark chocolate exoskeleton. They are glossy beetle-like creatures that might skittle off your saucer if you didn’t pin them with the oyster fork. In a pinch, they can replace lost pawns in a game of wizard’s chess. At the end of term, their frangible remains are often found under the hand-me-down socks in your trunk, where they curled up to hibernate during the blizzards.

I have for you here a recipe that skeined from my mind like memories into a pensieve. No, it is not the traditional British sweet of boiled sugar. It is the peppermint humbug of my logophagus imagination.

Peppermint humbugs

Not Potter’s Peppermint Humbugs

Pantry

  • 1 ½ cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon nondairy milk
  • ¼ teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 4 ounces dark and/or semisweet chocolate
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil

Method

Combine the sugar, milk, peppermint, and 1 tablespoon coconut oil in a bowl (if the oil is not quite soft, heat it briefly). Stir until a pasty dough forms. Pinch off a nibble and add more peppermint if taste demands. The mixture may seem crumbly, but when you work it gently with your hands it should readily form a ball as your body warmth heats the oil. If not, add a touch more oil.

Place the ball between two sheets of parchment paper and roll the dough into a sheet ¼ inch thick. Cut small rounds from the dough (I used a miniature jam jar with a mouth diameter of 1 3/8” in lieu of a cookie cutter). Re-roll the scraps and continue cutting rounds until all the dough is used up. Place the rounds on pieces of parchment paper, layer in a flat-bottomed container, and freeze until firm.

Melt the chocolate with the remaining oil, stirring frequently. Remove the peppermint rounds from the freezer. One by one, submerge the rounds in the chocolate, using a fork to remove and place on parchment paper. Transfer the parchment paper pieces to a baking sheet and freeze until the chocolate is set. Store the peppermint humbugs layered on parchment paper in the freezer.

*Bonus recipe!*

Some of your peppermint centers might crumble at one stage or another. Do not despair. There will also be a few spoonfuls of leftover melted chocolate. Combine the chocolate with the mints in a cup of nondairy milk, heat, stirring occasionally, and magic! The most splendid cup of cocoa outside the halls of Hogwarts or Honeydukes.

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