Sweet Potato Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Sweets Frosting (vegan, oil-free)

Yes, a long recipe name. Worth every syllable, because this cake is a PPF sensation!

I know I’ve posted quite a few sweet treats lately. But, we are leading up to the holidays, and I’m still involved in the Earth Balance Holiday Bake-Off. So, dessert it is, kids!

So, what’s special about this chocolate cake?

I mean, it’s yet another chocolate cake. How many do we need?

Chocolate Sweet Potato Cake with Chocolate Sweets Frosting #vegan #wfpb #oilfree #dessert #cake #chocolate www.plantpoweredkitchen.com

You could say this one is special because it’s vegan, whole-grain, oil-free… and has nutrient-dense sweet potatoes in both the frosting and cake. But, I think it’s special in that the whole is far more than the sum of its parts. And, it’s special because of how readers are embracing it, and celebrating special family times with this recipe.

I was pretty fond of this recipe when I created it. My family was too. But, I truly didn’t know how all of you would feel about it. It’s not a classic chocolate cake with a hefty dose of sugar and fat. So, I wondered how well it would be accepted.

Chocolate Sweet Potato Cake with Chocolate Sweets Frosting #vegan #oilfree #cake #dessert #chocolate #dairyfree www.plantpoweredkitchen.com #plantbased

I had a fair idea through recipe testing, when one of my (very) oil-free-skeptical friends tried it for the first time. He didn’t know it was oil-free, and said he was shocked because it was one of the best chocolate cakes he had tasted! Then, other reports came in from testers – and now from many of you. Our facebook group has been posting pic after pic of this cake, and it’s become a bit of a sensation in the group!

That’s it, I couldn’t resist any longer. The recipe is now yours, all yours. 😀

I hope you love it! Don’t forget to enter the EB bake-off if you are thinking about it.

Thanks for your continued support of Plant-Powered Families and your generous reviews on amazon.

Dig in, guys! x Dreena

Chocolate Sweet Potato Cake with Chocolate Sweets Frosting #vegan #dairyfree #cake #dessert #chocolate #oilfree #plantbased www.plantpoweredkitchen.com

Chocolate Sweet Potato Cake with Chocolate Sweets Frosting

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This cake is sweetened partially with cooked sweet potato, which also adds moisture
and a tender texture. Pair it with the Chocolate Sweets Frosting (below), and you have a cake fit for a special occasion! Makes 1 cake layer (double the batch for a 2-layer cake).

3/4 cup peeled, cooked, and cooled orange sweet potato (see note)
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon water, divided
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup whole-grain spelt flour
1/3 cup coconut sugar
1/4 cup mini or regular nondairy chocolate chips
1/2 scant teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 scant teaspoon baking soda

Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly coat an 8” x 8” brownie/cake pan or a 9” round cake pan with coconut or other oil, and fit the bottom of the pan with a small piece of parchment paper. In a blender (or using a handheld blender and a deep cup or vessel), puree the sweet potato, 1/2 cup of the water, maple syrup, balsamic vinegar, and vanilla extract until completely smooth. In a large bowl, combine the flour, coconut sugar, chocolate chips, and sea salt, then sift in the cocoa, baking powder, and baking soda. Add the wet ingredients to the dry (be sure to scrape out all the blended ingredients with a spatula, and use the remaining 1 tablespoon of water to rinse the blender jar and get out any remaining puree). Mix until just well incorporated. Transfer to the prepared pan, bake for 21–23 minutes, remove, and let cool on a cooling rack.

Sweet Potato Note: Orange sweet potato is a little sweeter and also a little looser than yellow sweet potato. I prefer orange in this recipe, but if you’d like to use yellow, add another 1–2 tablespoons of water, and another 1 tablespoon of maple syrup to
the wet ingredients to loosen slightly.

Chocolate Sweets Frosting

Yes, this frosting is made with cooked sweet potatoes! Once blended with rich nut butter and other  ingredients, it turns into a thick, irresistible frosting! Makes about 2 1/4 cups.

1 loosely packed cup peeled, cooked, and cooled sweet potato (see note)
2/3–3/4 cup coconut sugar or other unrefined sugar(see note)
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 scant cup raw cashew butter or almond butter
1/4 rounded teaspoon sea salt
2–5 tablespoons nondairy milk (see tip)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Place the sweet potato, coconut sugar, cocoa powder, cashew butter, sea salt, 1–2 tablespoons of the milk, and vanilla extract in a blender or food processor and puree until very smooth. It’s best to use a blender or processor (versus a stand mixer) if using orange sweet potato, to fully smooth out the potato. Taste, and add more sweetener if desired, and also another 2–3 tablespoons of milk if needed to thin to preferred consistency (you may need more milk using yellow sweet potato as they aren’t quite as moist as the orange). Puree until smooth, scraping down the blender/processor bowl as needed. Puree until as smooth as possible. Transfer to a container and refrigerate until ready to use. Or, get a spoon and dig in!

Sweet Potato Note: I prefer using yellow sweet potato in this frosting, but this is still ridiculously delicious with orange sweet potato.

Coconut Sugar Note: Because coconut sugar does not have a fine texture, it’s useful to first process in a blender to make it powdery. If you have a high-speed blender, simply pulse a cup or more until powdery (reserve the extra for another use). If using a regular blender, process 1 1/2–2 cups of sugar with 1–1 1/2 tablespoons of arrowroot powder, until it becomes powdery.

Kitchen Tip: This is a thick frosting. If you want to thin out, add more milk. After refrigerating, you can also transfer to a mixer with a whisk attachment to add the milk and fluff up the frosting.

Idea: Add 1–1 1/2 teaspoons of orange zest or 1/2 teaspoon of pure almond extract for a slight cherry flavor.

Vegan Pecan Pie

In my last post I announced I’ll be judging the pies category for the Earth Balance Holiday Bake-Off. So, it’s only appropriate that I share a pie recipe with you all, yes?

Before I do, I want to clarify my role with this bake-off. I am not being compensated by Earth Balance to judge or promote this bake-off. I did receive some sample products (peanut butters, snacks), but I’m not receiving any financial compensation. I didn’t disclose this in my last post, and want you all to know that I’m supporting this bake-off to (1) help encourage people to move into vegan baking, and (2) also to encourage you all to enter the contest. Please do!

Dreena's Pecan Pie (from "Let Them Eat Vegan") #vegan #dairyfree #holidays #pies #plantbased #glutenfree

With that, I’ll share my recipe for Dreena’s Pecan Pie. This is a recipe from Let Them Eat Vegan. I loved pecan pie in my pre-vegan days. Did you?

Dreena's Pecan Pie (from "Let Them Eat Vegan") #vegan #dairyfree #holidays #pies #plantbased #glutenfree

With this version, I keep the pecan topping more distinct from the custardy filling. I like having that contrast with the creamy filling and the pecans maintaining crunch (rather than plumping through baking). This is delicious on its own, but oh-my-heavens, pair it with a vegan vanilla ice cream or whipped cream for dessert bliss!

Dreena's Pecan Pie (from "Let Them Eat Vegan") #vegan #dairyfree #holidays #pies #plantbased #glutenfree

Dreena’s Pecan Pie

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1½ tbsp arrowroot powder
½ + 1/8 tsp agar powder
1 can (400ml) full-fat coconut milk (not light), using only thick cream and discarding watery portion (this is about 1 cup + 2 – 4 tbsp of cream)
¼ cup plain unsweetened non-dairy milk (almond or soy preferred)
½ cup brown rice syrup
1/3 cup agave nectar (can substitute maple syrup but filling will be darker in color)
1 ½ tbsp flax meal
¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
¼ tsp (rounded) sea salt
2 tsp pure vanilla extract

1 ¼ – 1 3/4 cups pecans (whole or pieces, see note)
1 ½ – 2 tbsp unrefined sugar (for topping)
2 tsp coconut butter (warmed through to melt; can sub 1-2 tsp coconut oil)
couple pinches sea salt

1 prepared pastry pie crust (I use Wholly Wholesome brand), or can use “Rustic Pie Crust” or “Gluten-Free Pie Crust”, both in Let Them Eat Vegan.

In a saucepan, first whisk together the arrowroot and agar with a small amount of the coconut milk or non-dairy milk (about ¼ cup). Once incorporated, whisk in the remainder of the milks, as well as the brown rice syrup, agave nectar, flax meal, nutmeg, and salt. Bring mixture to a low boil over medium-high heat, whisking frequently. Once at a boil, remove from heat and whisk in vanilla. Transfer mixture to a bowl and let cool in refrigerator to a cooler temperature (can still be fairly warm), stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, mix together the topping ingredients. Set aside and preheat oven to 375 degrees. Once filling is cooled somewhat, pour mixture into the pie shell (scraping out all you can!) Bake (without pecan topping) for 15 minutes. After that time, reduce heat to 350, sprinkle on pecan mixture, ever so gently patting into surface of filling. Bake for another 15 minutes, then carefully remove and let cool on a cooling rack. Once pie is fully cooled, it will set (refrigerate if desired). Slice and serve. Serves 6-8.

Serving Suggestion: Serve with “Lemon-Scented Whipped Cream” from LTEV, or a scoop on vanilla non-dairy ice cream.

Pecan Note: If using whole pecans, it’s helpful to roughly chop them before using in the recipe. It’s easier to cut the pie with the pecan pieces broken up rather than kept whole. I prefer this pie with just 1¼ cups of pecans, but if you really love plenty of pecans in your pecan pie, use the full 1 3/4 cups. If using the greater amount of pecans, then also use the greater amount of sugar and oil to toss through the pecans.

Dreena's Pecan Pie (from "Let Them Eat Vegan") #vegan #dairyfree #holidays #pies #plantbased #glutenfree

All photos done by Marika Collins, madcapcupcake.com

So guys, what do you think? Is this a recipe you might make for the holidays? Or, have you already made it? Share your thoughts! I love hearing from you. :)

Enjoy… x Dreena

Gingerbread Granola (vegan, gluten-free, oil-free)

This weekend I began the very first of my holiday baking! I’m packing up boxes of Christmas gifts for our parents in Newfoundland and my best friend in Ottawa, and decided to sneak in some homemade granola!

I’ve had this Gingerbread Granola recipe in my pocket for a couple of years. My recipe testers have already tried it, as I was going to include the recipe in my newest cookbook. i opted to include a different recipe, and instead post this granola in time for you to enjoy for the holidays.

This vegan granola was a hit with my testers. It’s crunchy, flavorful, and yields some good clusters. It’s also made without added oil, and sweetened only with maple syrup and brown rice syrup. It’s perfect for Christmas and the holidays, and especially wonderful for gifting! Normally I use mason jars to gift granola, but for shipping back to family I packed in small ziploc bags and then into festive gift boxes. How do you package granola for gifts? Have any ideas to share?

I’m keeping this short and sweet today as I have a “Jingle Bell walk” to join at school and have to get these boxes in the mail! So, let’s wrap it up! (I’m fully of the puns today.)

I hope you enjoy the granola, and for more gingerbread love, check out my Chocolate Gem Gingerbread, Gingerbread Folks, and Gingery Cookies!

x Dreena

Gingerbread Granola - #vegan #glutenfree #oilfree by Dreena Burton

Gingerbread Granola

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Bring the beauty and aroma of freshly baked gingerbread into a granola that is perfect for breakfast, snacking – or for gifting during the holidays! Makes about 4 1/2 cups, depending on how ‘clustery’ you keep it!

3 cups rolled oats (use certified gluten-free for that option)
1/3 – 1/2 cup chopped pecans OR 1/4 cup hemp seeds (see note)
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
3/4 tsp ground allspice
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1⁄4 tsp sea salt
3 tbsp cashew butter or almond butter
3 – 4 tbsp pure maple syrup (adjust to desired sweetness)
1/2 tbsp blackstrap molasses
1/4 cup brown rice syrup
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup dried cranberries or other dried fruit (optional, can omit, see note)

Preheat oven to 300 degrees and line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl, combine the oats, pecans or hemp seeds, spices and salt in a large bowl. In another bowl, first combine the nut butter with the maple syrup and molasses, stirring to fully blend. Then, add the brown rice syrup, and vanilla to the maple/molasses mixture and stir through. Add wet mixture to dry mixture, and stir through until well combined. Transfer mixture to your lined baking sheet and spread out to evenly distribute. Bake for 27 – 30 minutes, stirring a couple of times throughout baking to ensure the mixture browns evenly. Remove from oven, stir in dried fruit if using, and bake for just another 2-3 minutes. Remove from oven again. At this point the granola may not look completely dry. Do not overbake it, as it will dry more as it cools. Let cool completely, and then break up into clusters. Once cool, store in an airtight container. Eat straight, or with non-dairy milk or to top fresh fruit or non-dairy yogurt.

Nuts Note: Feel free to substitute 3-4 tbsp of pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds in place of the nuts or hemp seeds.

Spice Note: For a more ‘everyday’ version of this granola, simply reduce/cut some of the spices. Omit the ginger, allspice, and cloves. Reduce the cinnamon to about 1 tsp, and you can also add a few pinches of freshly grated nutmeg if you like. Also reduce the blackstrap molasses to about 1-2 teaspoons.

Dried fruit Note: I don’t always add dried fruit to granola, as I sometimes like the sweetness as is. So, you can choose to add some or not – and you can also try adding a few tablespoons of finely chopped crystallized ginger instead of cranberries or raisins! It will add a definite flavor kick!

photo credit: thanks to Nicole Axworthy

Chocolate Gem Gingerbread

Chocolate and gingerbread. Delicious on their own, but when paired together – a quintessential holiday treat. For many years I made chocolate-ginger-almond-cranberry bark for Christmas gifts, and later I began a new tradition making Chocolate Gingery Cookies (from LTEV). With those goodies in mind, I created this new whole-foods Chocolate Gem Gingerbread!

Chocolate Gem Gingerbread #vegan by Dreena Burton


This gingerbread is delicious without the addition of the chocolate. So, if you are a gingerbread purist, the chocolate can certainly be omitted. I sometimes make it without the chocolate myself. Shocking, yes… but true! Or, try substituting currants or raisins for the chocolate chips. If you do use the dried fruit in the loaf, I’d recommend not adding the crystallized ginger topping. The crystallized ginger is balanced with dark chocolate chips, with the raisins it’s too much.

This whole-foods vegan gingerbread is moist and flavorful thanks to the addition of almond meal. It’s also not too ‘spicy’ for young palates. My girls don’t enjoy crystallized ginger, so I often omit it or add to just a portion of the loaf. If you enjoy more ginger kick, use the full 1 1/2 teaspoon of dried ginger in the loaf, along with the crystallized ginger for the topping.

With the holidays almost here, you can add this to your menu as a brunch/tea treat. Or, if you pair with a vanilla non-dairy ice cream, it can be transformed into dessert!

Enjoy, guys. Do share any feedback in the comments, as well as sharing any of your favorite chocolate-ginger combinations.

(p.s. I announced my new book on facebook this week, if you missed it, link through. You can count on a more detailed post about the book right here, in the new year.)

x Dreena

Chocolate Gem Gingerbread by Dreena Burton #vegan #holidays

Chocolate Gem Gingerbread

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1 cups whole-grain spelt flour
1 cup + 1 tbsp oat flour (or 1 cup more spelt flour; but I prefer spelt/oat combo)
1/3 cup almond meal
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1⁄4 tsp sea salt
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 – 1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp allspice
1/2 tbsp blackstrap molasses
1/2 cup unsweetened organic applesauce
1⁄2 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 cup plain non-dairy milk
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
options: 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips or currants/raisins
optional toppings: 2 tbsp finely chopped crystallized ginger (omit if using raisins) OR 1-2 tbsp coconut sugar mixed with 1/2 tsp cinnamon OR 2 tbsp chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350°F (176°C). In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients, sifting in the baking powder and baking soda. Stir through until well combined. In another bowl, first combine the molasses with the apple applesauce and then whisk/stir in the maple syrup, non-dairy milk, and vanilla, and mix together. Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture (as well as raisins or chocolate chips, if using). Gently fold and mix through, until just combined (do not overmix). Transfer mixture to a lightly oiled loaf pan (lined with a strip of parchment also useful). If using any optional toppings, sprinkle those on. Bake for 37-40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove, and transfer (keeping in pan) to cooling rack. Let cool completely, then remove from pan and slice. Makes one quickbread.

Ginger Note: I typically use 1 tsp ginger, that keeps it mild enough for the kiddos. If you love ginger, feel free to bump it up!

Chocolate Gem Gingerbread by Dreena Burton #vegan #wholefoods #plantbased

Photo credit: Shout-out to Emma Potts for assisting with all these food photos! Thanks Emma. x

“Cinnabon” Muffins!

Before I get to the food today, I want to start with a note of gratitude. Thank you for all of your heartfelt comments here, and on FB, about Sarabi. It helped to read your beautiful experiences and kind comments. My sincere thanks.

"Cinnabon" Muffins by Dreena Burton #vegan #nutfree #wholefoods

Now… not too long ago, I hinted about these Cinnabon Muffins. Ok, more like teasing. Here and on instagram. Today, they are yours!

This recipe came almost effortlessly. Apart from the retesting, the idea just manifested! Literally standing in the kitchen with an itch to bake (please tell me I’m not the only one that is drawn to baking for no particular reason), and wanting an intense hit of cinnamony goodness. Next thing, these mini-muffins are baking up and diffusing the most irresistible aroma through the house!


"Cinnabon" Muffins by Dreena Burton, Plant-Powered Kitchen #vegan #nutfree #wholefoods #plantbased

They remind me of Cinnabon… which is rather peculiar because I’ve never had Cinnabon. But they are what I imagine Cinnabon to taste like, made vegan and more wholesome! Given I’ve never tasted Cinnabon, I’ll count on your votes whether this recipe is close.

My family LOVES these muffins. They disappear fast, but when I can squirrel a few away, I tuck them into packed lunches. They make a special treat for lunch, and great for school as they are nut-free.

I like to make the mini-muffin version best, but I’ve offered both size options for you in the recipe. Bake up, and let me know what you think!




"Cinnabon Muffins" by Dreena Burton, Plant-Powered Kitchen #vegan #wholefoods

Cinnabon Muffins

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1 1/2 cups whole-grain spelt flour
1/2 cup oat flour
1 1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 scant tsp sea salt
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup plain or vanilla non-dairy yogurt
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 cup plain or vanilla non-dairy milk
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 TB raisins or chopped dates

1/3 cup chopped dates
2 tbsp coconut sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp sea salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and prepare a mini-muffin pan. Using a paper towel, wipe a smidgen of oil around the inside of each muffin cup. (Alternatively, you can prepare a regular size pan (see size note) with non-stick liners.)

To make the batter: In a large bowl, combine the flours, cinnamon, salt, then sift in the baking powder and soda.  Mix well.  In a small bowl, combine the yogurt, milk, maple syrup, vanilla and raisins or dates. Add wet mixture to dry, stirring through until just well combined (without overmixing).

To make the cinnabon topping: In a bowl, mix together all topping ingredients. Use your fingers to work the mixture together until sticky/crumbly.

Transfer batter into muffin cups. I like to use a mini-muffin pan (see size note), filling 22-24. Dollop about a teaspoon or two of the topping on each. When finished, sprinkle any remaining topping/cinnamon over the muffins. Bake for about 13 minutes, until set to the touch. Remove from oven, transfer to a cooling rack for a few minutes, then remove muffins and let cool fully on cooling rack.

Size Note: If you’d like to make regular size muffins, you can fill 11-12 cups. Baking time will be longer, about 20 minutes.

"Cinnabon" Muffins by Dreena Burton #vegan #nutfree #wholefoods

A+ Healthy Baking Recipes for Back-to-School (nut-free)

During the school year, I rely on a few key baked goods to put into lunch rotation for the girls’ lunches (and also for hubby’s work lunch). These snacks are all nut-free, so perfect for school snacks. People always ask “what do you pack for lunches”. (To answer that question, I included a chapter on packing lunches in Plant-Powered Families, so get all of my tips there.)

Last year I posted my top 10 recipes for packing school lunches, and today I’m sharing my A+ List of Healthy Baking Recipes for Back-to-School!

Top Healthy Baking Recipes for Back-To-School! #nutfree #vegan

1) Maple Banana Bread Muffins: These are a long-time family fave, and I cannot tell you how many tweets and notes I get saying something like “omg those muffins are wicked“. They really are good. And easy!  So, go bake them. :)

Maple Banana Bread Muffins by Dreena Burton, #vegan #oilfree


2) Apple-Hemp Muffins: I love these because they pack a good dose of nutrtient-dense hemp seeds in a fragrant, tasty muffin. Kids can be a little fussy about eating hemp seeds, they won’t even know they’re in these muffins!

Apple Hemp Muffins by Dreena Burton, #vegan #oilfree


3) Pumpkin Seed Chocolate Chip Oat Bars: These are the bars I make when I want a snack that will “hold up” well (ie: it won’t get squished in a pocket during a field trip!) These are dense, chewy, bars that are a much healthier alternative to storebought granola bars – and far more satisfying. I usually double the batch and freeze half! These are from my PP15 ebook, and if you don’t have a copy, I offered a special on my FB page last week. I’ll extend the offer, use code PP15school at checkout for 25% off!

Pumpkin Seed Chocolate Chip Oat Bars by Dreena Burton, #vegan #glutenfree #oilfree

Oh, and this particular photo of the bars was taken by Tami of Nutmeg Notebook. She shared on Instagram, and I’ve reposted a few times since!

4) Oat Snackles: (Pictured in background, on dishtowel) These are what I bake when I feel like I have literally 10 minutes to get something in the oven. If you make them enough times, I bet you can meet that time! The kids love them, and you can customize with dried fruit, chocolate chips, seeds, etc.

Oat Snackles, by Dreena Burton #vegan #oilfree #glutenfree

5) Power Cookies: These are a cookie treat, but still quite healthy. I’ll be putting this new cookie in rotation this year. For the kids… right. 😉

Power Cookies by Dreena Burton - #vegan #glutenfree #nutfree #oilfree


6) BF Blueberry Muffins: These I make a little less often just because the prep is a wee bit longer (not much, just slightly). When I do make them, the girls think they are quite the treat!

BF Blueberry Muffins by Dreena Burton, Plant-Powered Kitchen


7) Berry Scuffins: When you want a baked berry fix that’s a little quicker, this is your recipe! For the fall and winter, you can use frozen berries or substitute apple or pear (toss in a little lemon juice first to help prevent discoloring).

Berry "Scuffins" by Dreena Burton, Plant-Powered Kitchen #vegan #oilfree


8) Banana Oat Bundles. I’ve been making these since my 13 year old was a wee babe! They are the perfect grab ‘n go snack, for lunches or anytime of the day. (And the added chips, always welcome.)

Banana Oat Bundles by Dreena Burton, Plant-Powered Kitchen #vegan #glutenfree #oilfree


10. Cocoa Cookie Dough Balls. Ok, technically not a baked good, but certainly a healthy school treat (with a nut-free option) and most definitely a favorite for kids!

Cocoa Cookie Dough Balls by Dreena Burton #vegan

There you have it! My favorite, wholesome, baked snacks for packing into lunches. All of these recipes freeze well, so if you are energized to double batches, go for it!

Oh WAIT. I have another… these CINNABON MUFFINS...

Cinnabon Muffins by Dreena Burton #vegan

Brand new! Bit of a teaser, I have another round of testing to go, then I will share up. Promise!

What is your go-to baking recipe during the school year? Share what works for you!

POWER Cookies for Back-To-School

My wee girl starts full day kindergarten this year. It’s her first time in full-day school. And my first time with ALL my girls in full-day school! For the last 13+ years I’ve been with kiddos. So, it’s a big change for her, an even bigger change for me.

Once school starts, that is… our teachers are on strike here. But, eventually school will start again. Maybe I’m feeling the stress of the change, because I’ve been baking a lot. Ok, I bake a lot most days! But, it seems I’m baking more than usual – Berry Scuffins, Raisinet Cookies (from LTEV, I’ll try and post soon), and these new delicious Power Cookies.

Power Cookies by Dreena Burton - #vegan #glutenfree #nutfree #oilfree


These are the kind of cookie that satisfies a sweet tooth but also offers some nutritional punch. For a cookie, it’s pretty darn healthy, made with whole-grain oat flour, coconut, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, and tahini. I use tahini so the cookies can be nut-free for school lunches. Most schools are nut-free zones, and that can be tricky planning school snacks. Many commercially-prepared snacks that happen to be nut-free tend to have dairy, eggs, or made with overly processed ingredients. So, it’s always useful to have a few nut-free goodies in your repertoire!

If you don’t have to make them nut-free, you can substitute another nut butter. I don’t always enjoy tahini in plant-based cookies, but here it works! I do prefer a very mellow, good-quality tahini (suggestions in recipe). If you can find a good brand, it’s worth it. But, you will forever be tahini-spoiled! Once you taste the good stuff, you don’t want to go back. (Just a heads up!) 😉

If you follow my Instagram posts, you may have seen this pic of Go Raw watermelon seeds. When I did my final test of these cookies, I was out of sunflower seeds. I thought “why not try the watermelon seeds“? They worked fabulously! They certainly aren’t essential, however. If you don’t have them, sunflower and pumpkin seeds work just fine. (As a side note, the watermelon seeds taste lovely on their own. They have a mellow seeds flavor, somewhat like sunflower but milder-tasting – and the sea salt used is minimal.)

Think you need a cookie close up. Zoom in on the chips!

Power Cookies, by Dreena Burton, plant-powered kitchen #vegan #glutenfree #nutfree #oilfree

Got it?

Nope, that’s a raisin on the left, There… to the right!

Power Cookies, by Dreena Burton, plant-powered kitchen #vegan #glutenfree #nutfree #oilfree

Yeahhhhh, that’s it.

Now bake… :) Enjoy, enjoy my friends!


Power Cookies, by Dreena Burton, plant-powered kitchen #vegan #glutenfree #nutfree #oilfree

Power Cookies

ReciPage to print/share recipe
My wee girl is a bundle of high energy! I created these vegan cookies to give her bite-sized nutrition to fuel her non-stop pace!

2 cups oat flour (use certified gf for gluten-free; see note)
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/4 – 1/3 cup non-dairy chocolate chips (I like mini-chips; can substitute raisins or currants)
1/4 cup sunflower seeds or sprouted watermelon seeds
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp sea salt (lightly rounded)
2 1/2 tbsp tahini (or raw almond butter if not needing nut-free, see note)
1/2 cup + 1 tbsp pure maple syrup (see note)
2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine flour, coconut, chocolate chips, seeds, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt. In a medium bowl, whisk the tahini (or almond butter) with the maple syrup, and vanilla. Add the wet ingredients to the dry, and stir through until well combined. Place scoops (about 1 – 1 1/2 tbsp in size) on a baking sheet lined with parchment. Bake for 10-11 minutes, until just set to the touch, then remove from oven and let cool for a minute on sheet, and then transfer to a cooling rack. Makes about 15-18 cookies.

Oat Flour note: Don’t substitute an equal amount of another flour (like spelt)_ here – it has a different volume and requires more liquid to come together. If you want to sub another flour, use less to start, about 1 2/3 cups, and add in any extra as needed after bringing together the wet and dry ingredients. If it’s too wet/sticky, add a touch more flour.

Tahini note: Tahini brands vary in taste and textures. If possible, use a mellow-flavored tahini (ex: Baron’s, Achva, Alwadi)

Maple syrup note: The mixture should come together nicely, but if it’s quite thick and not combining, add another 1/2 – 1 tbsp of maple syrup mixed with another 1 tsp of nut butter or tahini.

Berry “Scuffins”

With the kids going back-to-school, I bake healthy snacks at least a few times a week. Usually a variety of nut-free muffins, or my pumpkin seed oat bars, or snackles. Whatever the choice, most days it’s got to be fuss-free. I want to get those ingredients into a bowl, mixed and into the oven. I try to find ways to be inventive with new flavors and textures without adding extra steps.

Berry "Scuffins" by Dreena Burton, Plant-Powered Kitchen #vegan #oilfree

Enter Scuffins. I love the idea of scones, but they are a little more fussy to make. I have a recipe in ed&bv for Raspberry Chocolate Chip Scones. They’re delicious – not difficult to make – but they take just a little more time than I have right now. (It seems I’m always talking about how busy it is… maybe when our girls are all in full-time school this year that will change. I feel a post brewing on that one!)

I wanted to make something like those scones and started experimenting. I was pretty chuffed with the results. These Berry Scuffins aren’t exactly like a scone – they aren’t quite as hefty and rich – bubluet they are darn close. Plus, they are incredibly quick and simple to make – and darn tasty!

Berry "Scuffins" by Dreena Burton, Plant-Powered Kitchen #vegan #oilfree

I first made them with frozen blueberries. I prefer the small wild blueberries as they produce more even baking than the larger berries, but use what you have (you can always bake another minute). Fresh blueberries can also be used.

Without blueberries one day, I use fresh (chopped) strawberries. Delightful! The smell while baking is intoxicating, and the scuffins are so tender and fresh-tasting. Our girls devour them. Well, two of our girls. 😉 (I sometimes bake a couple without berries, I’ve accepted it.)

Berry "Scuffins" by Dreena Burton, Plant-Powered Kitchen #vegan #oilfree

I think these Scuffins are best fresh out of the oven or enjoyed the same day, so I’ve created the recipe yielding a modest batch. Enjoy on their own, with a slather of nut butter or berry jam, paired with a hot tea or cool glass of almond milk! Although, since these are nut-free, they make another terrific snack to pack for back-to-school (you may want to make extra if you have a couple of kiddos because they disappear fast)!


Wishing you a sweet close to August, and sure hope you love the scuffins. Please share your feedback, let me know which berry version you prefer and how YOU best enjoy them!



Berry "Scuffins" by Dreena Burton, Plant-Powered Kitchen #vegan #oilfree

Berry ‘Scuffins’

ReciPage to print/share

What do you get when you cross a scone with a muffin… a scuffin, of course! These are easy to make, and just delightful during berry season – but you can make them with frozen berries through the winter.

1 1/2 cups oat flour
3/4 cup rolled oats
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 tsp lemon zest (use organic)
1/2 cup plain non-dairy yogurt (see note)
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
3-5 tbsp non-dairy milk (see note)
1/2 cup blueberries, strawberries (cut in pieces), or raspberries (see note)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients (including zest). In a small bowl, whisk together the yogurt, maple syrup, and milk until well combined. Add wet mixture to the dry, folding through until just nicely combined. Add blueberries, and gently/quickly fold in so they don’t bleed too much color. Using a scoop, place mounds of the batter (about 3-4 tbsp each) on your baking sheet. You should have about 9-10 ‘scuffins’. Bake for 15-16 minutes, or until set (gently touch one in the centre, it shouldn’t sink to the touch). Remove, let cool for a minute or two on the pan, and then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely. Makes 9-10.

Milk note: How much milk you use will depend on the consistency of your brand of non-dairy yogurt. Some brands are quite dense and thick, so I find I may need another 1-2 tbsp of milk. Other vegan yogurts are much looser, and you may need just 3 tbsp of milk. Start with 3 when whisking the wet ingredients, and then with folding through, if the mixture is very stiff, add the 1-2 tbsp of extra milk.

Berry Note: If using frozen berries, baking time may be a little longer. Test, and give another minute or two if needed to set. With raspberries, the color will bleed a little more, but flavor is delicious!

Yogurt Note: If you only have vanilla yogurt, you can use it, but reduce the maple syrup so the scuffins aren’t too sweet. Use 1/3 maple syrup, and use the extra couple tablespoons of milk.

Dreamy Baked Bananas: Featured Recipe from “The China Study All-Star Collection Cookbook” (plus giveaway)!

Many years ago I read The China Study. It was before social media, before the surge of blogging, before the “rise” of the plant-based world. Yes, we are still quite a minority as vegans, but things are drastically different than they were 10 or even 5 years ago. Vastly different than 20 years ago when I began this journey. There is more awareness, more products, more online support, and more acceptance.

I remember feeling quite ‘alone’ as a vegan and a plant-based mom at that time. There was indeed information to support a plant-based diet for health, but nothing like the information available today. I was blogging, and did have that built-in community. But, in my day to day life and beginning to raise vegan children, I felt quite isolated in my choices. Nevertheless, I felt it was the best dietary choice. Not just for me, but for our growing children.

Then, I picked up a copy of The China Study. I read it whenever I could. I remember watching our eldest swim, indulging in another few pages every lesson. It was the most powerful book on plant-based nutrition that I had read. It solidified all of my beliefs, and empowered me to continue with my work. I recommended it to countless people through personal conversations and emails and on my blog (and still do). I felt everyone needed to read this book (and still do).

To this day, The China Study is a meaningful book for me. I hope to meet Dr. Campbell one day, because his work has certainly inspired my recipes, and influenced my evolution as a cookbook author.


You can imagine my delight when I was asked to contribute recipes to the new China Study Cookbook: All-Star Collection… I was STOKED! I have contributed some brand new recipes in this collection, as well as a few “oldies but goodies”. It’s quite an honor and privilege to be included in this cookbook. (Confession: There’s also a little piece of me that believes Colin and I are now BFFs. Shhh, don’t tell him!) :)

This book is by Leanne Campbell, author of the original TCS cookbook. In this second book, Leanne invites a selection of “all-star” plant-based chefs to contribute recipes. This offers quite a diverse range of dishes and recipe styles in one whole-foods, vegan cookbook. Flipping through the book, I’m in awe of the creative spirits we have in our plant-based world. You’ll find wonderfully delicious and nutritious recipes from folks like Ani Phyo, Chef Del Sroufe, Christy Morgan, Mary McDougall and John McDougall, MD – and more! The book features over 100 whole foods plant-powered recipes, with color photography throughout.

Here is a glimpse of a few of my recipe contributions, expertly photographed by Nicole Axworthy:

Mellow Lentil Sniffle Soup_1

Gingerbread Granola_4-crop

Creamy Fettucine_3


Today I’m sharing one of my newbie recipes in TCS All-Star Collection. One that I think you’ll really enjoy – my testers sure did!

Dreamy Baked Bananas. Baked bananas have always been appealing to me, irresistible in fact. They are typically baked in wads of butter (or margarine), and with so much sugar they can be sickly. This is a much healthier version, and possibly (albeit oddly) more decadent than traditional recipes. Whenever I make these, our girls squeal, and they try to wriggle in the kitchen to lick out the dish. Of course, I won’t have any of that behaviour! That dish is MINE. 😉

And now, it’s yours…

Dreamy Baked Bananas by Dreena Burton

Dreamy Baked Bananas

reprinted from The China Study All-Star Collection — link to print/share

It seems silly that something so basic, so “real,” and so effortless can taste so impossibly dreamy. But dessert food dreams do come true, and this one is especially memorable in the morning if paired with a nondairy ice cream. Serves 2-3

2 tablespoons macadamia nut butter (or raw cashew or raw almond butter)

1/4 cup nondairy milk

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (optional)

1/8 teaspoon sea salt

3 ripe bananas (but not overripe)

2 tablespoons raisins or chopped dates (optional, can substitute or add chopped nuts)

1–2 tablespoons coconut sugar for sprinkling (optional)

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. In a bowl, whisk together the nut butter, milk, lemon juice, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. It will be thick but should be smooth.
  3. Transfer to a baking dish or glass pie plate.
  4. Peel the bananas and slice in half lengthwise.
  5. Place banana slices in the mixture, then gently flip so both sides are coated.
  6. Sprinkle on the raisins or chopped dates, followed by the coconut sugar, if using.
  7. Bake for 17–20 minutes. Serve hot or warm preferably. While still good cooled, this dessert is definitely best a little warm—ice cream prefers it that way!

TIP: When I make this recipe, our girls polish off the entire dish in a blink. So I’d say it can serve three, but more likely two… or maybe that’s just in my house!

Before you zip off to bake those nanners, you have a chance to win a copy of TCS All-Star Collection! Leave a comment to enter, tell us what recipe you’d like to try from this cookbook. Or, if you’ve tried some recipes already, share your favorites! Contest rules noted in the Rafflecopter widget. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Vegan Pumpkin Muffins (with chocolate chips!)

Welcome December! Any other moms feeling just a little overwhelmed? It’s not even shopping for the kids, right? It’s all the other stuff that comes with being a mom and the holidays. Cue: bake sales and craft fairs and field trips and projects and concerts and gingerbread houses and school parties and activity parties and decorating and secret santas and... etc etc. Run-on sentence fully intentional. Whew.

Pumpkin Oat Muffins by Dreena Burton, Plant-Powered Kitchen #vegan

This fall has been particularly busy for our family. Busier than any other year. So, I’m further behind this December than any other year! No decorations up, no lights, no tree, have some of my gifts but overall – not ready. Plus, our 4-year old has had a witch of a cold this past two weeks. Not sure if it was one cold that morphed into some awful beastly secondary life of the first, or two separate viruses. I always found the start of four-year preschool and kindergarten hit our kiddos’ immune systems the hardest. She sure had a tough run these past couple of weeks.

Where was I going with this? Oh, right: overwhelm!

While I know I should probably direct myself to some yoga and meditation to manage stress… instead I bake. And it typically involves chocolate. #nojudging

Pumpkin Oat Muffins by Dreena Burton, Plant-Powered Kitchen

I’m still loving pumpkin, and from all the amazing feedback on my last pumpkin recipe, I gather you are too! So, let’s deal with our holiday stress and bake some Pumpkin Muffins with Chocolate Chips. Shall we?

This recipe is originally from LTEV. I’ve posted some pics this week on IG and twitter and know many of you have already tried (and love!) these muffins. Thank you!

I decided to test out an oil-free version for any plant-strong folks reading. There wasn’t much oil in the recipe to begin with, so the substitutions were easy and worked beautifully. The muffins are just as light and tender – and delicious! Below I have posted the original version with the oil-free modification. Enjoy!

Pumpkin Oat Muffins by Dreena Burton, Plant-Powered Kitchen

Pumpkin Oat Muffins with Chocolate Chips Recipage link to print/share

Bring the enjoyment of pumpkin pie into delicious whole-grain muffins!

Topping (optional, not included in these photos):

2 tbsp unrefined sugar

1 tsp neutral-flavored oil (omit for oil-free version)

pinch sea salt


1 cup spelt flour

1 cup oat flour

1⁄2 cup rolled oats

2 tsp baking powder

½ tsp baking soda

1⁄4 tsp sea salt

1⁄2 tsp cinnamon

1⁄4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg

1/8 tsp allspice (optional)

3 tbsp coconut sugar or other unrefined sugar

1/4 – 1/3 cup mini non-dairy chocolate chips (optional… but really!)

3 tbsp pure maple syrup

1 tbsp flax meal (or 1/2 tbsp ground white chia seed)

3⁄4 cup plain or vanilla non-dairy milk

1 cup pumpkin pie mix (I use Farmer’s Market Organic brand)

1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 ½ tsp pure vanilla extract

3 tbsp organic safflower, avocado, or other neutral-tasting oil (omit for oil free version, and add another 2-3 tbsp non-dairy milk and 1 tbsp maple syrup)

Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a small bowl, combine the topping ingredients and set aside until batter is ready. In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients, sifting in the baking powder and baking soda. Stir until well mixed. In another bowl, first combine the maple syrup with the flax meal, and then add the remaining wet ingredients and stir until well mixed. Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture, and gently fold and mix until just combined (do not overmix). Spoon the mixture into a twelve-cup lined muffin pan (filling 12). Sprinkle a little of the topping on each muffin. Bake for 21-24 minutes (around 20-22 minutes for oil-free, they can dry out more quickly), until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven, let cool for a couple of minutes in the pan, and then transfer the muffins to cool on a cooling rack. Makes 12 muffins.

Adult-Minded: Bump up the allspice, add 1⁄8 to 1⁄4 teaspoon of ground ginger for extra spice, and try adding 1⁄4 to 1⁄2 cup of chopped walnuts or pecans.

Do you also stress-bake? Don’t leave me all alone! 😉 Seriously, what things do you do to keep the stress in check during the holidays? Any tips to share? Or favorite stress-baking goodies?