Almost Vegan Pumpkin Cookies

I made this original pumpkin cookie recipe in college and today is really feelin like Fall so of course, I wanted to make something pumpkin-y, cus ’tis the season. However I wanted to make these  a little healthier so I made some substitutions et voila. I still used an egg but if you really want these to actually be vegan you can try a flax egg instead!

{makes 10 cookies}

      • 1 cup pumpkin puree
      • 1 cup coconut sugar +a little extra for sprinkling
      • 1/3 cup coconut oil
      • 1 tsp vanilla extract
      • 1 large egg (or flax egg)
      • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
      • 1 tsp baking soda
      • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
      • 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
      • 1/2 tsp salt
  • spiced cashew cream frosting:
    • 1 cup cashews
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract
    • 2 tsp pumpkin puree
    • 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
    • 1 tsp each cardamom and cinnamon
    • a couple splashes almond milk
    • pepitas or another nut of your choice for the topping
  1. pre-heat oven to 350°F and line a cookie sheet (or 2, mine are pretty small) with parchment
  2. in a large mixing bowl combine flour, baking soda, sugar and spices
  3. add egg, vanilla, pumpkin puree and melted coconut oil, stir until combined
  4. spoon cookies onto baking sheet and bake for 12-14 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean
  5. remove from oven and let cool
  6. meanwhile soak cashews in hot water until the start to get soft
  7. in a small food processor blend all frosting ingredients, adding more almond milk as needed
  8. once the cookies have cooled slightly spread frosting over and decorate with pepitas and a little sugar (optional)
  9. great with chai tea. or red wine, as is everything

© 2018, domenicadreamsofcalamari. All rights reserved.

Banana Ice Cream with Date Coconut Caramel

I’d been wary of banana “nice cream” for a while but I decided to give it a try the other night when I had an ice cream hankering but no ice cream. It turned out pretty good! It’s all about the toppings though.

{serves 1}

  • 1 banana, sliced and frozen
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp date coconut caramel
  • dark chocolate chunks
  1. take bananas out of the freezer and give them a quick minute to soften slightly
  2. in a small food processor blend bananas and vanilla extract
  3. blend until they reach a smooth soft serve kind of consistency but not too much, you don’t want it to turn into a smoothie!
  4. then scoop out and top with your favorite toppings! mine are date caramel and chocolate chunks ATM

© 2018, domenicadreamsofcalamari. All rights reserved.

Healthyish German Chocolate Cake

My mom kept dropping hints about wanting German Chocolate Cake for her birthday so I thought I would make the best German Chocolate Cake she’d ever had! I used Smitten Kitchen’s recipe for the most part but free styled my own “frosting” with dates and subbed out the sugars for coconut sugar. I also used slightly bigger pans so I increased the cake ingredients by half. I don’t have 6 inch pans and I figured probably a lot of people don’t. You’ll probably have leftover date-coconut paste but it’s great for a cheese accoutrement or on banana ice cream! Since the cake was pretty much shades of brown I topped with some berries 🙂

{serves 8}

  • 3 oz bittersweet chocolate (I used scharffenberger chunks)
  • 1/4 + 1/8 cup hot coffee (I used Lion Coffee)
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 3 large eggs, seperated
  •  1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 + 1/8 cocoa powder
  • 1 1/8 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 + 1/8 tsp salt
  • 20 medjool dates
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened coconut
  • 3/4 cups pecans
  • 1/2 tsp coconut extract
  • sea salt
  • berries for garnish (optional)


  1. heat oven to 350ºF, line the bottoms of two 8 inch cake pans (or somewhere close to that size, I used heart shaped pans) with parchment paper, coat the bottom and sides with butter
  2. pit dates and soak them in hot water in a big bowl
  3. in a medium sized bowl whisk together chocolate and hot coffee until the chocolate is all melted. whisk in buttermilk; set aside
  4. in another medium sized bowl beat egg whites until stiff using (I highly recomend using an electric beater!)
  5. in a large bowl (use the same beaters, no need to clean them), beat butter, sugars and salt together until fluffy. beat in yolks and vanilla until smooth, then buttermilk/coffee/chocolate mixture
  6. sprinkle baking soda over and beat well to combine again. scrape down sides, add cocoa powder and flour and beat until just combined
  7. fold in a quarter of the egg whites to loosen batter. fold in the rest gently until fully combined
  8. divide between the baking pans, bake for 24-26 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. set out to cool


  1. line a small baking sheet and spread coconut and pecans out evenly, bake for 10ish minutes, stirring occasionally until toasty and fragrant, let cool
  2. chop pecans coarsely
  3. in a small food processor blend dates, coconut, pecans, coconut extract and a dash of sea salt until paste-like

© 2018, domenicadreamsofcalamari. All rights reserved.

Amped Up Oatmeal Raisin Cookies!

We’ve been buying these h-amazing raisins at the Encinitas Farmer’s Market and I’ve been craving a good oatmeal raisin cookie. Oatmeal raisin cookies get a bad rap but I’m a big fan- when they’re good. These are not only good, but they’re also pretty healthy! No added sugar hurr AND they’re vegan. I didn’t do this on purpose it was just kind of a happy accident. They’re also super fast to make and require few ingredients so get bakin.

{makes 12}

  • 2 cups oats
  • 1 apple sauce container
  • 1 1/2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp almond butter
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • dash cinnamon
  • dash nutmeg
  • 5 baby bananas 
  • handful dark chocolate chips
  1. pre-heat the oven to 350º F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper
  2. in a large mixing bowl mix oats, apple sauce and raisins
  3. melt coconut oil in microwave or over the stove
  4. if your almond butter is on the drier side add some the coconut oil into it and melt that as well
  5. mix melted coconut oil and soft almond butter into the oat mixture
  6. add a generous dash of nutmeg and cinnamon and the chocolate chips
  7. slice the baby bananas and add those too
  8. then roll into small balls and space out evenly on the baking sheet
  9. bake 10-12 minutes and enjoy! great w/ wine or coffee

© 2018, domenicadreamsofcalamari. All rights reserved.

Greenies (Matcha Blondies)

Not blondies, not brownies but GREENIES! I love love love matcha and I have a bunch right now so I’ve been trying to come up with some healthy-ish desserts to use it. I found a recipe for some super healthy matcha blondies but they had all these ingredients that I didn’t have/ didn’t want to buy so I substituted and simplified and cut out a lot of sweetener. Matcha isn’t sweet at all, actually it’s kind of grassy but I like to taste that flavor and not overpower it with excess sugar.

These came out a bit crumbly but very tasty and they’re healthy!

{makes 9}

  • 1 cup almond meal
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 4 tsp matcha
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp stevia
  • 1/3 cup toasted coconut milk -or just regular coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup coconut butter
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 container apple sauce (about 3/4 cup)
  1. pre-heat oven to 350º F and line a 9″ 9″ baking pan (you can use smaller if you want them to be thicker, you could also do it in muffin tins just adjust the cooking time)
  2. in a large bowl mix together almond meal, coconut flour, matcha, baking powder, salt and stevia
  3. in another bowl, stir together coconut milk, melted coconut butter, melted coconut oil, the vanilla extract and the apple sauce to your best ability
  4. then pour the wet mixture over the dry mixture and incorporate thoroughly
  5. then spread it into the pan and bake for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick in the middle comes out clean and the edges are starting to brown and you’ve got some greenies!

© 2017, domenicadreamsofcalamari. All rights reserved.

Ginger, Hazelnut, Cherry Granola


My mom’s been making iterations of this granola for as long as I can remember. The oats-oil-honey ratio is the same but she likes to mix up the dried fruits and nut combinations. Crystalized ginger is one of my favorite add ins. Hazelnuts and dried cherries are also super yummy and go well together but you can play with your own combos.

  • 5 tbsp coconut oil
  • 6 cups oats
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 crystalized ginger
  • 1/4 cup coconut flakes
  • dried cherries
  • 1 cup slivered almonds (raw)
  • 1 cup hazelnuts
  1. pre-heat oven to 350º F
  2. in a big bowl mix oats, melted coconut oil, honey, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg
  3. spread on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes
  4. meanwhile, slice crystalized ginger and halve or quarter cherries
  5. after 15 minutes, pull the granola out of the oven and stir a bit then return to oven to bake for another 15 minutes
  6. remove from oven, stir again then spread slivered almonds and whole hazelnuts on top and continue baking for 8 minutes to toast up the nuts
  7. remove from oven again and add coconut on top and bake again for 1 minute or until the coconut starts to brown
  8. remove from oven and cool, add fruit in when it’s cool enough

© 2016, domenicadreamsofcalamari. All rights reserved.

Chocolatey Date and Banana Breakfast Bowl


This one goes out to the late Beach City Burrito. Which closed a long time ago and has been many things since but still haunts my memory with its date shakes. When I was learning to surf as a youngin with my dad, the mention of a date shake was a sure fire way of getting me out there even in the worst conditions. They came in big styrofoam cups and were so creamy! What was their secret? We’ll never know. And I’m sure they were nowhere near healthy.

Well, life goes on so I guess I’ll just work on perfecting my rendition. This really wasn’t anything like ye old BCB date shake but it had dates and bananas and tasted really really good so.. there’s a connection.

  • 3 dates
  • 1 1/2 frozen bananas + a couple slices of a non-frozen one for garnish (optional)
  • 1/2 tbsp cocoa powder (unsweetened)
  • a few dashes cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp greek yogurt
  • 2 tbsp sunflower seed butter (or your nut butter of choice)
  • a splash water
  • chia seeds/ flax seeds
  1. pit dates and cut one in quarters for garnish (optional)
  2. in a blender blend frozen bananas, yogurt, sunflower seed butter, cocoa powder and some cinnamon and some water
  3. add water as needed for your desired consistency
  4. pour into a bowl (or cup, whatever floats your boat) and top with more cinnamon, seeds, banana slices and the last date

© 2016, domenicadreamsofcalamari. All rights reserved.

Matcha Pound Cake with Orange and Coconut Glaze


I don’t know when I discovered matcha but I’ve been hooked ever since. When I visited my cousin in Vienna last summer, there was a traditional Japanese tea house that specialized in matcha. They would make each drink by hand with a whisk in a delicate little china bowl. It was always the same three women working, wearing beautiful silk and you could watch them, expertly whipping up the frothiest, creamiest matcha lattes I’ve ever seen. My mom made matcha shortbread cookies for Christmas for a couple years and they were delicious. Recently I saw this Food & Wine article about all the things you could do with matcha and it’s been on my mind ever since. Luckily, my mom’s friend owns a specialty tea company that carries some incredible matcha powder and she shared some with me for experimentation. This is my version of the Food & Wine pound cake recipe. I used coconut oil, coconut milk and coconut sugar to make it a little healthier and give it a coconutty twist. It is very dense, I’d recommend enjoying it with tea, white wine or a hoppy beer.

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 tbsp matcha powder
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup coconut milk


  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 5 tsp coconut milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • shredded coconut (for sprinkling)
  • 1 tsp cardamom (optional)
  • 2 tsp orange zest
  1. preheat the oven to 350°F and line a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan with parchment paper
  2. in a small bowl whisk together the flour, salt and matcha powder and set aside
  3. melt the butter and coconut oil then beat in the sugar, don’t worry if it doesn’t completely emulsify, it will when you add it to the dry ingredients
  4. add the eggs one at a time and the vanilla extract, beating after each addition
  5. beat in the dry ingredients and the milk in a few additions; scrape down the bowl as necessary
  6. pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 30 minutes or until the top is golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean
  7. let it cool in the pan for 10 minutes
  8. to make the glaze, pour milk into a small bowl and slowly whisk in powdered sugar as needed, until it is a glaze consistency, add orange zest, cardamom and vanilla extract. Pour the glaze over the warm cake and sprinkle the coconut on top


© 2015, domenicadreamsofcalamari. All rights reserved.

Cardamom Coffee Cake


This cake isn’t for the faint of heart. I have an unusual affinity for cardamom, unearthed through my addiction to Lofty Bean‘s killer cardamom lattés. If you don’t (or haven’t discovered it yet), you may want to scale down the cardamom in this recipe. It’s also not very sweet so you may want to scale up the sugar or honey. I’m not a precise baker. At all.

Don’t be put off by the chick peas. You’re probably saying what are legumes doing in your coffee cake, but they don’t have a very strong flavor and actually meld really well with earthy spices (cardamom!) or nuts (that’s for another post). That said, don’t expect a spongy, traditional coffee cake. This version is pretty dense but tasty and packed with protein.

  • 1/2 can chick peas
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk
  • 4 tsp cinnamon
  • 3 tsp cardamom
  • 2 cups roughly chopped walnuts (reserve 1/2 cup for streusel)
  • 1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 2 1/2 tbsp greek yogurt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 heaping tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp coconut sugar (or brown sugar)
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  1. pre-heat oven to 350°F
  2. blend chick peas until smooth in a food processor
  3. add greek yogurt, honey and coconut milk and blend until incorporated
  4. transfer to a bowl and mix in 2 tsp of cinnamon, cardamom, 1/4 cup of the shredded coconut, baking powder, flour and salt
  5. transfer the gooey mixture to a lined loaf pan
  6. bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean; meanwhile, in another small bowl mix together the other two tbsp cinnamon, 1/4 shredded coconut, sugar and 1/2 cup chopped walnuts for the streusel
  7. remove bread from oven when ready and spread the streusel over the top and continue baking for 4 minutes (keeping an eye on the walnuts so they don’t burn)

© 2015, domenicadreamsofcalamari. All rights reserved.

Guava Macadamia Nut Muffins

summer bulgur-heirloom tomato saladWhen I was born, our neighbors gave my parents a guava tree and now 20 years later it’s grown into quite the fruitful little tree. I absolutely love guavas and when I came home from school last week, I found at least 30 ripe guavas in the yard. They were everywhere, but my parents hadn’t noticed since the tree is in the back corner of the yard. There was no way we could eat them or give them away fast enough so I cooked them down and thought up this recipe. We always get guava macadamia nut cookies when we go to Hawaii so I thought I’d try and recreate that tropical taste profile. These are super moist and dense and not too sweet. If you don’t happen to have an excess of ripe guavas, you can use store-bought juice.

  • 25 ripe guavas (or 1 pint store-bought guava juice)
  • 1 cup almond meal/flour
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups raw macadamia nuts

summer bulgur-heirloom tomato salad

  1. turn oven to 350°F and spread macadamia nuts on a lined baking dish
  2. toast for 7 minutes or until just starting to turn golden brown
  3. halve and scoop the guavas into a medium pot and simmer on low with the lid askew for an hour (skip steps 3-5 if using store bought juice)
  4. push the guava paste through a sieve or strainer with medium size holes, as long as the seeds can’t get through
  5. let the juice cool
  6. whisk the egg and the sugar
  7. slowly alternate mixing the flours and the guava juice
  8. add the baking powder, baking soda and vanilla extract
  9. roughly chop the macadamia nuts and add to the dough
  10. pour into a lined loaf pan or cupcake tins
  11. bake at 350°F for 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean

© 2014 – 2015, domenicadreamsofcalamari. All rights reserved.

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