Vegan Oatmeal Cream Pies

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Oatmeal Cream Pies have a special place in my heart. As I child, I was sent to Tennessee on occasion to visit my grandparents in the summertime along with my younger brother. This wasn’t exactly a warm, happy time in my Huckleberry youth. Don’t get me wrong. My grandparents were wonderful people, but the Tennessee summers were humid and the town of retirees where they lived was boring and my grandfather would frequently complain that we wouldn’t feel so much like strangers if my parents could afford the airfare for visits more often… like my cousins enjoyed.

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Perhaps more trying than the humidity or the emotional distance that was then blamed on my parents was the food. While I was repeatedly assured that my grandmother was once a cook of notable talents, the unusual concoctions she set before us at every meal was a daily lesson in the many trials of the human condition. My brother and I would exchange glances over sandwiches made from Wonder Bread with cold, smushed-up hot dogs spread throughout the center, daring each other to take a bite while internally gauging our hunger to determine if we finally reached that point where we would actually “eat anything.”

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The one saving grace on those summer trips was a convenience store located behind a short stretch of woods at the edge of my grandparents’ yard. After canned milk and wheat bricks for breakfast, and before smushed-up hot dogs or plain soggy egg noodles churched up with a can of tuna fish arrived for dinner, we would sneak through the woods for glass bottles of orange soda and oatmeal cream pies.

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There was something very unifying for my brother and me in these summer jaunts. Despite all the bickering we engaged in back home, out here we were in this together. Together, we rationed the money our mom gave us before we got on the plane. Together, we would journey through the woods which, for two desert rats, was a spooky place of strange bugs and poison ivy and maybe even bats. Together, we would negotiate the strange accents of rural Tennessee to finalize our purchase of pop and oatmeal cream pies. And then we would head back, pausing under some picturesque tree or seated together on a felled tree long enough to enjoy the spoils of our adventure.

Oftentimes, it was just about twenty-four hours since the last food we both chewed and swallowed. The sun was warm but nothing like the blistering Arizona heat we were accustomed to as we devoured Orange Crush and Oatmeal Cream Pies. I can still call to mind that flavor combination during those sticky summers in Tennessee.vegan-oatmeal-cream-pie-3

I honestly thought nothing could supplant that perfect memory in my mind. Those thin disks of chewy oatmeal cookies encasing a rubbery layer of  sugary “cream”. Well, turns out, Dana has something even better. She managed to take that corner store classic and fancy it up for a dessert worthy of guests.

Fresh baked (vegan) oatmeal cookies sandwiched around a delicious layer of cinnamon cream. For her oatmeal cookie recipe, Dana modified an oatmeal raisin cookie recipe found in this awesome cookbook: Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar. Then she added her special cinnamon cream to the middle to really make this treat pop.

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Dana prefers using Frontier’s Organic Vietnamese Cinnamon and suggests having some pastry bags on hand (always a good idea for bakers).

And, last but certainly not least, a special note from Dana: “One great thing about this recipe is that you can make these any size. Mini pies, giant pies, you name it.”

Vegan Oatmeal Cream Pies

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Vegan Oatmeal Cream Pies

Ingredients

    For the Cookies:
  • 2/3 cups 'milk' (I used coconut milk)
  • 1/4 cup ground flax seeds
  • 1 1/3 cups brown sugar
  • 2/3 cups canola oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp cinnamon (more or less to taste)
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 cups quick cooking oats
  • For the Cinnamon Cream Filling:
  • 1 3/4 - 2 cups shortening (I like Spectrum brand)
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1-2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk milk and flax seeds together until well combined. Whisk in oil and brown sugar until it is caramel-like. This takes a few minutes, so don't give up! Once oil and sugar are well mixed, add in vanilla.
  3. Sift in dry ingredients and mix as you go. Once everything is well incorporated, fold in the oatmeal.
  4. Line baking sheet(s) with parchment and spray with non-stick spray of choice (if using). The cookie dough will be kind of sticky. I like to use gloves and try to form a ball (or something close to it), drop it onto the sheet and flatten it a bit. If you don't have gloves, just drop tablespoons of dough onto the sheet and flatten. (Flatten as much as you like to achieve the size you want, as these don't spread out much when baking.) Bake 10-12 minutes. Once out of the oven, let sit for a few minutes, then transfer to cooling racks.
  5. While cookies are in the oven, you can begin to make the filling. (Of course, you can make this while cookies are cooling, too).
  6. Place room temperature shortening in a large bowl. With a hand mixer, whisk it up until it has a creamy consistency. Add powdered sugar about 1/2 cup at a time. Add cinnamon and vanilla. The filling should be the texture of what you might use as cupcake frosting. If it seems too dry, add a (very) small splash of 'milk'. You can adjust the amount of sugar and cinnamon to your liking. Over time, you'll figure out how to get it just right for YOU.
  7. Once the cinnamon filling is ready and cookies are cooled, you're ready to put these pies together. Spoon or pipe filling onto the bottom of one cookie, then top with another. Presto! You're done!
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Vegan Chocolate Cream Pie

05doneanddecorated2Guys, guys, guys… you know how last week, I told you that if you worked on that Coconut Whipped Cream, we’d find a way to put it to good use? Well, this is it! Vegan Chocolate Cream Pie! I still hope you’ve been enjoying that whipped cream in the meantime whether on top of your desserts or hot chocolate or spooned directly into your mouth.

Dana’s Vegan Chocolate Cream Pie will satisfy all the needs of your mortal being. Most of them, anyway. The name says it all. Vegan. Chocolate. Cream. Pie.

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Now, chocolate and I have a difficult past. I have a rare, and difficult to pronounce, seizure-related neurological condition. As a result, Chocolate is not my friend but I loved her in years past. Oh yes, I did. The breakup was traumatic – more for me than her, I’m afraid. We still meet up twice a year to remember old times: once on Halloween when I eat a mini Peanut Butter Snickers and once more at an arbitrarily selected time when I decide that I need chocolate.

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I try to postpone this Glorious Chocolate Moment for as long as I can during the year and usually can make it until June, at the very least. Perhaps it goes without saying that since I was introduced to Dana that everyone of these Glorious Chocolate Moments were brought on by items she prepared.

Don’t believe me? Allow me to recount them for you now…

2013: Dana’s salted chocolate chip cookie. (Oooh, I should definitely make her share this recipe.)

2014: Dana’s Vegan Chocolate Cream Pie

2015: Dana’s Chocolate Mint Cupcake (We need this recipe too.)

2016: Dana’s Raspberry Swirl Brownies (I think at this point we should, as a group, demand a chocolate-themed month of recipes.)

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And now, in a momentous turn of events, I decided I’m going to skip the Snickers entirely this year and just eat this pie. Maybe all of it. Probably not all of it. After all, I live with other people. I can’t just eat an entire pie in front of them in good conscious. No, I’ll share, but I’ll do so with resentment. And, as much as I hate to admit it, sharing might save me a trip to the hospital. So… there’s that too.

To make this pie, you’ll either need to procure or produce your pie crust. I suggest Dana’s Vegan Pie Dough for all your pie crust needs. This crust will add a rich and subtle flavor that won’t detract from the sweetness of your chocolate cream filling. And, of course, you can top your slice with a dollop of Coconut Whipped Cream for a desert that will make you write home. Best of all, everything is vegan!

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And Dana has some suggestions if you want to get sassy with your Vegan Chocolate Cream Pie. She says, and I quote, “This pie is really versatile if you like to mix it up with different flavors. Add orange zest for a tasty chocolate orange pie! Add cayenne and cinnamon for Mexican hot chocolate pie! Stir in fresh berries while pudding mixture is cooling for a super delicious, best-of-both-worlds kind of treat. It’s all delicious!”

Once you have the basics of this Vegan Chocolate Cream Pie down, you really can’t lose. You can change it up to suit your mood. And, right now, my mood says “Chocolate!”

Vegan Chocolate Cream Pie

Ingredients

  • Pie dough/crust for one 9" pie (Pie Dough Recipe Here)
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/4 cups almond milk (or milk of choice)
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1/3 - 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Roll out dough and bake for 10-12 minutes. This is the only baking the crust will get, so be sure it's nice and golden!
  3. In a medium sized saucepan, whisk together dry ingredients. Once those are well mixed, whisk in both milks. Whisk well to get out any lumps.
  4. Heat to a boil, whisking frequently until mixture thickens. (Be sure to get in there and scrape along the bottom of the pan since the cornstarch likes to settle down there with the cocoa powder). Once is reaches the consistency of pudding, remove from heat and stir in the chocolate chips and vanilla.
  5. Pour mixture into pre-baked crust, let cool 10 or so minutes, then put in fridge to cool. Give it a good 2 hours to set up for best results and easiest slicing.
  6. Once pie is cooled, top with coconut whipped cream, chocolate sprinkles, fresh fruit, or nothing at all. Slice it up and enjoy!!
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Dana’s Vegan Pie Dough

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Well, folks, it’s been a busy month. We hope you’ve enjoyed the recipes we’ve brought you thus far. It was certainly exciting to see some bakers out there tackling Dana’s Strawberry Jalapeno Pie. Please feel free to post pictures of your completed projects in the comments below and don’t forget to tell us about your modifications. We love hearing about all the food fun!

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In hindsight, we probably should have started with this recipe. After all, Dana’s awesome Vegan Pie Crust is an elemental component in every pie she makes. And, in the interest of transparency, it was her pie crust that first sparked my foodie bond with this baker.

The crust is rich despite the lack of butter; melting in your mouth to fuse with the flavor of the filling. Dana limits the sugar so the pie crust isn’t overly sweet – that’s what the inside is all about!

The trick is to get a nice, pebbly texture when you’re mixing the dough. You can see that in the picture below. If you’re crust is too dry, add a little extra dollop of Earth Balance. Some flours are more absorbent than others.c4e04916-6c9d-4e13-95eb-5a244f2fa833

We have quite a few pie recipes lined up for you this year so this is a great recipe to print out and keep on hand. You can make this pie crust ahead of time and freeze it for future use. Or you can store it in your refrigerator for a few days.

Dana’s Vegan Pie Dough

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 3 Cups flour
  • 3TBSP sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4-6 TBSP vegan butter (Earth Balance is preferred), cold
  • 3/4 - 1 cup vegan shortening (Spectrum brand is preferred), cold
  • 1/4 Cup ice water
  • 2 TBSP apple cider vinegar

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar and salt. I like to give them a quick whisk.
  2. Add half of the cold butter and shortening, about a tablespoon at a time. Incorporate butter and shortening by cutting it into the flour mixture with a pastry cutter or with fingers. I prefer the hands on approach, so I use my hands for this part.
  3. Combine until the mixture is a bit sandy and pea sized bits of dough begin to form.
  4. Add remaining butter and shortening, and cut into the flour. Use cutter or fingers to work into flour mixture.
  5. At this point, the dough should be starting to come together. Drizzle in the ice water/apple cider vinegar and knead a bit until the dough begins to hold together. Use as much or as little as needed. Remember not to overwork the dough, or you will end up with a tough pie crust.
  6. Divide the dough into 2 balls. Wrap in plastic and flatten into discs.
  7. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  8. Take dough out of refrigerator about 15 minutes prior to use or rolling out. Don't let it get too warm, just warm enough to be pliable. Keep it as cool/cold as possible until it's ready to go into the oven.
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Strawberry Jalapeño Pie

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We’re based out of Arizona and, for those of you who don’t occasionally zone out to the weather channel, that means we live in the mouth of hell four months out of the year. Literally, the Mouth of Hell (here’s proof).

This year we’re facing record-breaking temperatures. As a result, our dog park adventures are severely restricted and we’ve all taking to hiding from the sunlight as much as our schedules will permit.

But we won’t let this rapid submersion into the Sixth Circle of Hell get us down. No, we refuse to be daunted! Summertime means more than diabolical heat. It’s also the season for fresh berries, arugula, cherries, corn, melons, peaches, and, of course, chili peppers.

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Dana, our resident baker, combines some of these fresh summer offerings to achieve a symbiosis between sweet and spicy. Yes, I’m talking about strawberries and jalapeños.sjpie

Ripe strawberries provide the sweet while the plump jalapeños add a little kick. You can adjust the number of jalapeños to your own particular palate. This pie, like our home state, is meant for the daring, not the weak in spirit.sjpie2

 This vegan Strawberry Jalapeño Pie is the perfect addition to backyard BBQs and other summertime gatherings. Dana’s recipe was originally featured in Phoenix Magazine so you know it’s a big hit within the pie-loving community. Try it today. And don’t forget to check back next week for our new recipe!

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Strawberry Jalapeño Pie

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 35 minutes

Total Time: 55 minutes

Yield: One 9" Pie

Strawberry Jalapeño Pie

Ingredients

  • 2 discs of pie dough, one for the bottom, one for the top!
  • 4-5 Cups strawberries, quartered
  • 2-3 Jalapenos, seeded and diced
  • Juice of one lime
  • 1-2 Tablespoons tequila (optional)
  • 2-3 Tablespoons sugar or agave
  • 2 Tablespoons flour
  • 2 Tablespoons tapioca starch or cornstarch
  • 2-3 Tablespoons melted vegan butter/margarine (Earth Balance is preferred)
  • 2 (or more) Tablespoons turbinado sugar
  • Several Tablespoons flour (for dusting)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Roll out dough onto a floured surface into 12" round and maneuver into a pie pan. Fold the overhanging dough under itself, crimp the edges, or any other method that strikes your fancy. Poke holes generously throughout the bottom with a fork.
  3. Pre-bake bottom crust for 10 minutes.Set aside to cool.
  4. In a large bowl, combine strawberries, jalapenos, lime juice, sugar, and tequila (if using). Stir together until strawberries begin to release their juice. Stir in flour and tapioca starch (or cornstarch) until filling mixture thickens.
  5. Pour filling into pre-baked crust.
  6. Roll out second round of dough for the top. Drape over filled pie for a traditional pie crust (don't forget to cut a few slits in the top with a sharp knife!), or cut shapes with cookie cutters for a cute, decorative crust.
  7. Brush top crust with melted butter/margarine. Sprinkle with turbinado sugar.
  8. Bake for 30-35 minutes at 350. Allow to cool thoroughly, slice and enjoy!
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