In about two weeks, I will hit my 18-year anniversary of being vegan. In those almost two decades, I have seen so many changes to the vegan-world, it’s hard to know where to begin, but I want to say – I never thought I’d see the positive place we are in today. Thousands flock to veg-fests nationwide. A former president goes vegan. And on a lesser scale, but no less exciting to me… white chocolate has returned. As a little girl, I have happy memories of making white chocolate candies with my mom for every holiday. It was creamy, smooth – and oh-so-different from “real” chocolate with cocoa. After all, it had no caffeine, so I was allowed to eat it at night. (As a kid, I had issues going to sleep, so no cocoa or soda was allowed with dinner… go figure.)
Many years have passed and white chocolate was an item I had given up. Until attending a vegan event earlier this year… I found several brands of vegan white chocolate. Who knew? I mean, they’ve apparently been around for a bit now and I’m just discovering them. Guess if you haven’t tried it, it’s new to you! We bought two brands – King David, which is vegan and kosher – imported from Israel, and Vegan Sweets by Pangea. Both are available on Amazon.com and both taste just like white chocolate should – sugary, creamy and smooth!
And now, I will have a white Christmas once more… 🙂
After eating a few from each bag, we decided to put King David to the ultimate test – melting. He passed with flying colors and a treat from my childhood was reborn…
White Chocolate Pretzel Candies
2 8-oz. bags vegan white chocolate chips
3 cups pretzels, crushed to bits
1 cup dried cranberries (optional)
about 32-36 small candy papers (like mini cupcake papers)
In a double boiler, melt the white chocolate chips until smooth. Be careful not to get water in the chocolate. (You can also do this in a microwave.) When the chocolate is liquid, stir in the crushed pretzel bits and dried cranberries. Mix well. Drop into candy papers by teaspoon-full. Place in a cool area until they firm up. Eat with delight!
This is a great recipe for kids to help with – especially the messy, fun step of filling the candy papers! I used to love that as a child.
So, we then moved on to the Vegan Sweets white chocolate chips. And came up with… holiday cookies, of course. These chips also performed well and set up perfectly in the cookies, adding a delectable pop of sweetness to the spicy ginger bits. Serve with tea or coffee, next to the fireplace!
Holiday Fireside Cookies
1/2 cup Earth Balance, room temperature
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1/3 cup raw sugar
3 tsp. Ener-G Egg Replacer in 3 Tbls. water
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. orange extract
1 Tbls. fresh orange zest
1 1/3 cups white whole wheat flour (we used King Arthur’s)
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 cup vegan white chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped dried cherries
1/2 cup chopped crystalized ginger (we used Trader Joe’s)
Preheat oven to 350. In a mixing bowl, combine Earth Balance, sugars, extracts and zest. Mix well. Sift in white whole wheat flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Stir together, but don’t over mix or cookies will be tough. Fold in vegan white chocolate chips, cherries and ginger bits.
Drop by tablespoon-full onto parchment-lined cookie sheets. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until cookies have spread and edges are golden brown. Allow to cool 5 minutes on cookie sheet before you transfer to a rack. Makes a little over two dozen.
Wishing you and yours a white Christmas!