2014-10-28 14.32.31 (2)

 

When my husband saw the bag of split peas sitting on the counter, his eyes got moist.  He told me he wasn’t sure he should get his hopes up and ask if I planned to make it.  It is his favorite soup, mine not so much.  But because I know he likes it so much, I make it once in awhile.  Split peas are one of those legumes that you can cook on top of the stove and it doesn’t take all day.  If the peas are this year’s crop, it might only take an hour for the peas to break down.  These have been in my cupboard for at least six months but we still had dinner ready in ninety minutes and had time to make a gluten-free cornbread to do with it.  He was in heaven!  All that was needed was a side of Cole slaw made with his favorite prepared poppy seed dressing.

Soup Ingredients

  • 1 lb bag of split peas, picked over for debris, soaked and rinsed
  • 8 cups low or no-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 large organic carrots, cleaned and sliced
  • 2 medium or 4 small organic potatoes, washed and cut in chunks
  • 6 cups of any greens, minced in a food processor
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon no-salt seasoning, like Mrs. Dash (mine came from Costco)
  • 1 tablespoon basil
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke (for a smokier flavor add up to 1 teaspoon)

Directions

Put the clean peas in a large soup pot with the veggie broth.  Place the pot over a medium-high heat.  Allow it to come to a boil and then turn the heat down to low.

In a cast iron or non-stick skillet, dry saute the onion until browned and slightly caramelized.  Add the onions to the soup pot.  Put a little water in the pan to loosen any onions left in the pan and pour into the soup pot.  Cook for about a half hour or until the peas start to break down.

Add the remaining ingredients and cook until the potatoes are soft and the peas have almost but not quite disintegrated.  Taste and adjust the seasonings.

Note: It is really easy to make your own vegetable broth.  In a bag in your freezer, keep the ends of vegetables from food preparation, onion peelings, frozen vegetables that are starting to get frosty, or vegetables in your refrigerator that are past their peak.  When you are ready to make the broth, put in about half a soup pot of these vegetables, cover with water and simmer for an hour.  Strain and use!  I always make a fresh batch for every soup that I make.  If I have any left over, I either freeze it or make another soup!

2014-10-28 14.35.29 (2)

 

Because of a health condition, my husband had to give up eating gluten.  He is so sensitive that he can feel the effects within minutes of eating it.  It is not painful but it is uncomfortable and since adjusting his diet about 3 years ago, his health has stabilized instead of declined.  It has been difficult for me to make the changes because I have always liked to bake and wasn’t sure how to adjust recipes to this new diet.  This year at Veggie Fest, we had a lovely young lady who did two demos on gluten-free baking.  Laurie Sadowski was so knowledgeable that I bought all three of her cookbooks!  This recipe was adapted from her “Maple-kissed Cornbread” recipe in her book, “The Allergy-free Cook Bakes Bread.”  It had a nice grainy texture and tasted great.  It was pretty dense, which I didn’t mind but might not appeal to those who like the fluffy texture that boxed mixes or breads made with eggs will give you.  Thanks, Laurie!  My husband loved it!

Cornbread Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups whole grain cornmeal (I used Bob’s Redmill)
  • 1 cup gluten-free flour (I used Premium Gold Gluten-free Flour)
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 1/2 cups non-dairy milk (I used soy)
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons oil (I used olive, but the recipe called for Canola, which I don’t use)

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly oil a 9 inch square pan.

Mix the dry ingredients together in a large bowl.  Mix the wet ingredients in a smaller bowl.  Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ones and mix just until moistened.

Spread the mixture into the pan and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean.  Let cool for 5 minutes before cutting.  Serve warm.

Laurie Sadowski, Cookbook Author Extradorinaire

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Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

by Mary Pomerantz

2014-10-27 11.47.57 (2)

I love green smoothies.  They are packed with nutrition, easy to make, easy to clean up after and utterly delicious.  And there are endless varieties all with the change of the fruits and flavorings you add.  I decided to make Mondays green smoothie day.  This morning I had a yummy cherry chocolate green smoothie.  I’ll add the recipe another day.  Today I’m giving you Pumpkin Pie Smoothie.  I’ve been seeing recipes for them and wanted to try one.  Boy, am I glad that I did.  I’m having one for lunch and have one in the fridge for dinner.

It will be a very nutritious day.  I googled the nutrition facts and found out that pumpkin is very high in vitamin A and is a good source of vitamins R and C, Potassium, Copper and fiber.  Greens are very high in Vitamins A, C, K and B6, Calcium, Copper, Potassium, and Manganese. They are also a good source of protein, riboflavin, folate, iron, magnesium and phosphorus.  I added an orange, which is very high in Vitamin C but is also a good source of fiber and folate.  I was going to add two oranges but I only had one, so instead I added frozen organic mangoes.  Those are very high in Vitamins A and C and a good source of fiber and Vitamin B6.  Oats added more fiber, magnesium phosphorus, selenium and manganese.  They also helped make the smoothie more creamy.

This recipe makes two quarts and my serving was one quart, which had only 420 calories.  Not bad for so much nutrition!  It could easily serve 3-4 people, though, if this won’t be your entire meal!  I think you will enjoy this unusual smoothie.  It won’t be the last time that I make it!

Ingredients

  • 5 cups packed organic kale & spinach, or any combination of greens
  • 1 can organic pumpkin puree
  • 1 orange, peeled
  • 1 cup frozen organic mangoes
  • 1/2 cup organic quick oats
  • 1 cup coconut water
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 6-8 drops stevia or equivalent sweetener (to taste)
  • water
  • 10-12 ice cubes

Directions

Blend all of the ingredients, adding enough water to make a thick smoothie.  Start with 1/2 cup water and add more if needed.

 

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Whole Roasted Cauliflower

by Mary Pomerantz

Whole Roasted Cauliflower

 

I have been seeing a lot of blog posts about cauliflower these days and have tried a few recipes.  People are making cauliflower steaks, cauliflower rice and whole roasted cauliflower.  I’ve tried the steaks and they were really good but the whole roasted cauliflower intrigued me.  All of the recipes I saw used yogurt, though, and we are a vegan household.  The go-to substitutes for dairy are tofu and cashews.  I didn’t want to use tofu and so I used a combination of raw cashews and chickpea flour or besan as it is called in India.  It is readily available in Indian grocery stores and even in mainstream stores in the Bob’s Redmill section.

As you can see, the finished roast had a nice brown crust and was tender-crisp just the way I like it.  Overall, though, unless I was going to serve it to company I might not go through the effort.  As the crust was just on the top, there wasn’t a lot of flavor.  I have some sauce left over so I’m going to use it up by cutting another cauliflower head into “steaks” and dredging them in the sauce and roasting them.  I think I will like it better!

If you eat dairy and wanted to use yogurt instead, leave out the cashews, water and chickpea flour and substitute 1 1/2 cups of plain yogurt.

Ingredients

  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup raw cashews
  • 1/2 cup chickpea flour
  • juice and zest of one lemon
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Trim the bottom of the cauliflower, removing the leaves.

Blend the remaining ingredients until smooth.  Using a brush or your hands, rub the sauce over the cauliflower.  This is messy and I suggest doing it in a large bowl or on a plate.  Make sure that the cauliflower is thickly covered with the sauce.

Place in a lightly oiled casserole dish or baking sheet.  Bake for 45 minutes to an hour.  I considered it done when the top was brown and I could easily pierce the roast with a knife.  Let it cool for about 10 minutes before cutting into wedges.

I served the roast with a veggie burger and delicata squash that had been tossed with garlic and olive oil and roasted with the cauliflower.

Roasted Cauliflower dinenr

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20141018_132206Fall is my favorite season.  One reason why is that some of my favorite foods are back in the store, like today’s featured vegetable Delicata squash.  It is a very sweet, finely textured, thin skinned squash that you typically only see in October and early November.  I always stock up on them and keep them for at least another month in my refrigerator.  Usually I just cut it in half, turn it upside down and bake it at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes and then scoop it out of the shell, put a bit of butter and salt and pepper on it.  Yum!

This recipe is not as easy but very nice and something to think about serving at Thanksgiving dinner.  You use a mandolin to slice it very thin, skins and all.  Thinly slice the pieces that couldn’t be done on the mandolin.  Then you saute it with onions and garlic until it is soft, about 15 minutes.  It’s very good!  I had never used a mandolin before and I’ve had one since last Christmas, so it was about time!  The trickiest part is cutting the vegetables to be able to fit onto the spiked holder that you push up and down over the blade.  Once you find the right size, it is a snap.

Mandolin

 

Ingredients

  • 1 large yellow onion, sliced thinly
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 2 Delicata squash, sliced between 1/16th and 1/8th of an inch on a mandolin
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • nutmeg to taste (preferably freshly grated)
  • salt and pepper to taste (I didn’t use any)

Directions

Heat a heavy skillet to medium high and add the oil and onions.  Cook until the onions start to brown a bit, stirring frequently.  Add the Delicata squash, the garlic and the nutmeg.  Cook on low, stirring frequently to avoid having the vegetables stick to the bottom of the skillet.

Note

If you have never tried freshly grated nutmeg, I urge you to try it over the bottled variety.  It lasts a lot longer and the smell is heavenly when freshly grated!

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Cast Iron Skillet Stir Fry

by Mary Pomerantz

 

 

 

2014-10-14 21.58.57 (2)

 

I am in love with my cast iron skillets.  For years I avoided them because I thought that they were too high maintenance, keeping them well-seasoned when I don’t really cook with oil.  Boy, was I wrong.  When I had the opportunity to acquire a very old, very well-seasoned chicken fryer (yes, I know, sounds crazy for a vegetarian!), I jumped on it.  I took it home and cleaned it well as it had been used to fry meat and re-seasoned it.  I was so happy with how my meals came out, I bought two more at Costco for the ridiculously low price of $23!  One is bigger and one is smaller than the original pan.

One of the reasons why I wanted to start cooking in cast iron is that I wanted to toss my non-stick skillets.  I’ve been reading too many reports about off-gassing of chemicals and didn’t want to use them as I cook for someone who has a compromised immune system.  The fewer chemicals in our house the better off we both are!  But there are other reasons to love the new skillets:

  1. You can use no oil and still get perfectly browned food.  It has something to do with the heaviness of the pan and the way the heat conducts.  It’s amazing!
  2. They are very inexpensive.
  3. They last practically forever.  I am using the skillet that my Grandmother used!
  4. They are very easy to clean.  I use them for everything.  If something sticks, let it soak for about 10 minutes and then use a stiff brush to clean any remaining food particles.  Dry with a paper towel, put it on the stove to finish drying and rub a little coconut oil in it, wiping most of it off.  I re-wipe before I start cooking to get even more oil out.
  5. If there is an emergency, you can cook with it over any heat source.
  6. Easily bakes in the oven.
  7. Your food absorbs the iron in the skillet, making it a good source of this necessary mineral.

If you haven’t tried these gems before, I invite you to consider using them.  You may give away the rest of your skillets!

STIR FRY

I have been eating very simply for a few months.  Two days a week, I only eat vegetable stir fries with tofu or non-soy, non-gluten proteins.  I find the cast iron skillet to be a good friend for this way of eating.  I start out with onions, browning them and then add vegetables, varying them each time I make this dish.  I often use broccoli, mushrooms and spinach.  Today I used Brussels sprouts, mushrooms and summer squashes.  You could use celery, peppers, carrots, cauliflower, or almost anything that you like.  Add the vegetables to the onions at different times depending on how long it takes to cook them.  You can see what I mean by reading the recipe.

Ingredients

  • 1 large onion, cut in chunky slices
  • 3 cups Brussels sprouts, trimmed and cut in half
  • 1 cup mushroom slices
  • 1 zucchini, cut in slices
  • 1 yellow summer squash, cut in slices
  • 1 tablespoon dried coriander
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne or to taste (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 3 tablespoons tamari (wheat free soy sauce)
  • 4-6 ounces tofu, cut in small chunks
  • salt and pepper to taste (optional – I didn’t use any but I eat low sodium)

Directions

Heat your skillet on medium-high heat and add the onion.  Let it cook, stirring occasionally while preparing the other vegetables. Turn the heat down to medium and add the Brussels sprouts and mushrooms.  Cover and let cook, stirring often.  When the sprouts start to get tender, push the vegetables aside and add the coriander and cayenne.  Let it toast for a minute and then toss the vegetables.  Add the tamari, garlic, tofu, squashes, and ginger.  Toss again.  Cover and cook until the squashes are tender crisp.  Turn off heat and enjoy!

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soyrizo

 

My wife’s heritage is Mexican.  When she became a vegetarian, she was craving some of the dishes that she grew up with.  This is a version of Huevos con Chorizo that has been veganized.  It can be served with or without Pepperjack or vegan Pepperjack and is delicious either way.  When served to some of my in-laws, they thought it was the real thing and wondered if we were no longer vegetarians!  The dish owes much of it’s flavor to Soyrizo found in tubes at Natural Foods Grocery Stores such as Whole Foods.  If you like something spicy and savory for breakfast, you will really enjoy this dish!

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 pound tub of firm tofu (Chinese Style, not silken)
  • Package Soyrizo (soy sausage product found in natural food grocery stores)
  • 3 medium Yukon Gold Potatoes chopped into small cubes
  • 1/2 large red onion chopped
  • Serrano pepper diced
  • 1 tablespoon cilantro chopped
  • 1 to 2 tablespoon Olive Oil
  • Small amount of grated or ground nutmeg, just a pinch or two
  • Teaspoon tumeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon each of thyme, oregano, cumin seed, and coriander seed ground together
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 to 3 Teaspoon V-egg or nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 cup Vegetarian Chicken or Vegetable Broth
  • Salt & black pepper to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

General Directions

 When making this dish I cook the three main components separately.  The potatoes take the longest amount of time.  While the potatoes are cooking cook the soyrizo and then the tofu.

 Potatoes

In a large pan, such as a wok, heat 1-2 Tbsp Olive or Canola Oil over medium heat. Add potatoes and sprinkle about 1/2 to 1 tsp of salt. Cook potatoes, turning occasionally, until soft but still a little firm. When potatoes are finished add nutmeg, black pepper, and more salt to taste. The potatoes should taste good on their own.

 Soyrizo

While the potatoes are cooking heat a non-stick skillet to medium high heat. If needed add a little oil or spray with non-stick spray. Add soyrizo and cook until color darkens and the soyrizo firms up a bit. Turn occasionally to prevent burning. When finished store in a bowl for later use.

 Tofu Scramble

After the soyrizo is finished cooking use the same pan to cook the tofu.  Spray the pan with oil or add 1 tsp of oil. Add the onion, pepper, and cumin seed and sprinkle with salt.  Cook until the onions are soft.  Crumble the tofu into the pan, add about 1/2 tsp salt and cook for a few minutes until some of the water from the tofu is gone, stirring for about 2-3 minutes.  Add the vegetable broth, tumeric, spice mixture, chili powder, and V-egg or nutritional yeast. Stir until well mixed.  Cook for another 2-3 minutes until the broth has cooked down.  The tofu should taste good on it’s own.

 Finishing Off

When everything has finished cooking add the cooked soyrizo, tofu, and cilantro to the potatoes.  Mix together over medium heat until the mixture is warm.  Add more salt and pepper or chili if needed.  Serve with warm tortillas.  Jack cheese or vegan cheese, cilantro and hot sauce are optional garnishes.

 

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Vegan Pad Thai

by Chris Pomerantz

Pad Thai

I love Pad Thai but find it hard to find a vegan version in Thai restaurants and so I decided to make it myself.  Trying to find an authentic sauce took some trial and error.  The taste that I found difficult to duplicate was the fishy flavor that the traditional fish sauce imparts to the Thai dishes.  That is, until I discovered ume plum vinegar.  Umeboshi vinegar (also called ume plum vinegar) is the by-product that comes from making umeboshi.  Umeboshi are those pinkish, pickled fruits used in many Japanese dishes.  The ume vinegar imparts a salty, sour and sweetish flavor to dishes and does a nice job of replacing the fish sauce.  When making this dish, feel free to add or remove vegetables to suit your palate or to use up what you have on hand.  Bok choy, red pepper or mushrooms would all be wonderful in this dish.

INGREDIENTS

Stir Fry

  •  8 oz dried Pad Thai rice noodles, OR enough for 2 people (linguini-width)
  • 1/2 cup soft tofu
  • 4 green onions, white parts sliced and kept separate from green
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon grated galangal OR ginger
  • 1 fresh red or green chili, sliced
  • 2-3 cupsheads chopped broccoli
  • 1/2 chopped carrots
  • 1 cup of zucchini, thinly sliced in half moons
  • 2 to 3 cups bean sprouts
  • 1/3 cup fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup chopped unsalted dry-roasted peanuts, OR substitute cashews

 Sauce

  • 3/4 to 1 1/2 tablespoon. tamarind paste, to taste (available at Asian/East Indian food stores)
  • 1/4 cup vegetable stock (or faux-chicken)
  • 2 1/2 tablespoon soy sauce or wheat-free soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Ume Plum Vinegar
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon chili sauce (to taste), OR 1/3 to 3/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 3 tablespoon coconut palm sugar, or more to taste
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground white pepper

 Other

  • 3 to 4 tablespoons oil for stir-frying
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons vegetable or faux chicken stock
  • Lime wedges for serving

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Bring a pot of water to a boil and switch off heat.  Soak noodles in the hot water for 4-6 minutes, or until limp but still too firm to eat.  Drain and rinse with cold water.  Tip: Noodles must be under-cooked at this stage in order to come out right (they will finish cooking later when they are stir-fried).

2 .  Combine ‘pad Thai sauce’ ingredients in a cup, stirring well to dissolve the paste and sugar (note that if your tamarind paste is thick, only add 1 tablespoon, only adding more if it is too thick.  Note that this sauce should have a very STRONG flavor that tastes sour-sweet first, followed by salty and spicy.  Set aside when thoroughly mixed.

3.  Warm a wok or large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add 1-2 Tbsp. oil plus the white parts of the green onion (reserve the rest for serving), garlic, galangal/ginger, and chili.  Stir-fry 1 minute to release the fragrance.

4.  Add the broccoli plus stock.  Stir-fry 2 minutes, or until the broccoli is bright green and slightly softened.

5.  If pan is dry, push ingredients aside and add a little more oil to the middle.  Add the drained noodles and 1/3 of the sauce.  Add the zucchini.  Stir-fry everything together 1-2 minutes using 2 utensils and a gently tossing motion (like tossing a salad).  Keep heat between medium-high and high, reducing if noodles begin to stick or burn.  Keep adding sauce and continue stir-frying in this way 3-6 more minutes, or until sauce is gone and noodles are soft but still chewy (‘al dente’) and a little sticky.

6.  Add the tofu when you add the last of the pad Thai sauce.

7.  Switch off heat and add the bean sprouts, folding them into the hot noodles.  Taste-test, adding more soy sauce for more salt/flavor.  If too salty or sweet for your taste, add a good squeeze of lime juice.  If too sour, sprinkle over a little more sugar.

To serve, scoop noodles onto a serving platter.  Sprinkle with reserved green onion, cilantro, and ground nuts.  Add wedges of fresh-cut lime on the side.  Serve immediately and enjoy!.  (Thai chili sauce can also be served on the side for those who likes their noodles extra spicy).

Serves 2-3

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World Vegetarian Day

by Mary Pomerantz

In honor of World Vegetarian Day today, you might be interested in reading “Vegetarianism and Spirituality” by Sant Rajinder Singh Ji Maharaj.

http://www.sos.org/explore.html#/book_125

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Tofu Transformation

by Acooba Scott

Without a doubt, one of the best qualities of tofu is its mutability. From omelets and scrambles, to cutlets and sauces, tofu has the magical ability to take on the semblance of whatever it is called to be. One of the things I enjoy is taking one dish, and transforming it into another – very helpful when dealing with leftovers. For today’s magic trick (uhm, transformation), I’m taking Tofu Pate (http://www.sosvegetarianlife.com/savory-tofu-pate/) and transforming it to Tofu Patty!

DSC_1593

Simply take the prepared Tofu Pate (omit the olives and other garnishes, or simply stir into the mixture), and shape into patties. Use about 1/4 cup for a standard size patty (think English Muffin size), and 1/3 cup for a larger patty (think Hamburger Bun size). Pan fry on a lightly oiled, heavy pan (I use a well-seasoned cast iron pan) for 3 or 4 minutes, until browned at the bottom. Flip over carefully and fry the other side until golden brown. Serve atop a salad, alongside rice or potatoes and vegetables, or burger style with all the trimmings. Enjoy!!

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Butternut Squash Muffins

by Acooba Scott

Well, September has turned the corner, and we’re definitely heading into pumpkin season. Although I enjoy everything pumpkin – pie, cake, muffins, coffee, etc. – I like to throw in a little twist now and then. So just to be contrary, here is a recipe for Butternut Squash Muffins. The flavor is a little milder than pumpkin, but it adds moistness and body, is absolutely delicious, and it’s vegan too! Enjoy!

Butternut Squash Muffins

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon dry EnerG Egg Replacer powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt (ok to use 1/2 if concerned about sodium)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2  teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 cup butternut squash puree (can be found canned at health food stores)
  • 2/3 cup cold pressed vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup walnuts (optional)
  • 1/2 cup raisins, dried cranberries, or chocolate chips (optional)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit

Lightly grease muffin tins, or line them with paper muffin cups. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, dark brown sugar, granulated sugar, Egg Replacer powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. Stir well and make a well in the center. Add squash puree, vegetable oil, and water. Stir just until blended. If desired, stir in walnuts and dried fruit or chocolate chips. Fill muffin cups 2/3 full, and bake for 18 – 22 minutes, or until lightly golden brown, and toothpick inserted into center comes out clean (except for maybe melted chocolate! :-))

 

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