Katie Higgins is the face behind the incredibly popular vegan dessert blog ChocolateCoveredKatie.com and the author of the bestselling cookbook Chocolate-Covered Katie: Over 80 Delicious Recipes That Are Secretly Good for You. She was named “The queen of healthy desserts” by Glamour Magazine and has been featured in countless publications such as Women’s Health and Shape Magazine. She also appeared on The Today Show, CNN, Fox, Dr. Oz, The Huffington Post and ABC’s 5 O’Clock News. One recipe at a time, Katie is showing her millions of readers how much the vegan dessert world has to offer.
Hers was one of the very first vegan blogs I came across when I first went vegan in 2011 and I was instantly both impressed and inspired by her mouthwatering and (surprisingly) healthy chocolate covered creations. To this day, it is one of the first blogs I recommend to anyone interested in going vegan. Adopting a vegan lifestyle doesn’t mean having to give up on enjoying delicious desserts and treats and Katie’s blog and book are proof of that. In “In The Kitchen With…”, Katie shares one of her delicious recipes, The No-Bake Peanut Butter Pie, with us and in our bite-size interview, we talk about how she started her blog, her tips and tricks in the kitchen, why she went vegan and how living in Asia when she was younger influenced her culinary skills.
BITE-SIZE INTERVIEW: Meet Katie
Kim-Julie: Can you tell us a bit more about how you started your blog chocolatecoveredkatie.com?
Katie Higgins: My friends and I started blogs–back in the days of Myspace–as a way to keep in touch when we went off to college. Chocolate Covered Katie wasn’t originally supposed to be a food blog at all. Somehow, this full-time-food-blogger thing just happened, and I’m so glad it did!!!
KJ: What was the most fun part about writing your first book?
KH: Without a doubt, creating recipes was the most fun. There were days when I stayed in the kitchen basically all day, just eating chocolate.
KJ: When and why did you go vegan?
KH: An animal lover even before I went vegan, I often gave money to an organization called Best Friends Animal Sanctuary. One day when I was 14 years old, they sent me something in the mail about animal testing… It was the first time I had ever heard of such a thing, and I was shocked and horrified. I spent hours on the internet, looking up cruelty-free cosmetics. And it was during this research process that I learned about factory farming. I pretty much went vegetarian on the spot. My two favorite foods were cheese and ice cream, and veganism was definitely NOT a mainstream idea back then; I had absolutely no intention of going vegan, and I thought vegans were crazy.
However, a year later my family moved to China, where they eat very little dairy. No longer could I go to Baskin & Robbins every day after school for a chocolate milkshake or Outback Steakhouse for my favorite macaroni and cheese. I was eating vegan by accident… and was feeling better than I ever had in my entire life!
KJ: Who/What inspires you?
KH: My mom inspires me. She is the most selfless person I know.
KJ: If you had to choose 5 words to describe yourself, what would they be?
KH: Intense, passionate, creative, outgoing, and (just a little bit) crazy.
KJ: What are your top five favorite plant-based ingredients?
KH: Any kind of chocolate (!!!), coconut butter, peanut butter, banana, and lately tahini.
KJ: The kitchen tools and utensils you use the most?
KH: I love my food processor. A lot.
KJ: You used to live in Japan, China and other parts of Asia. How has that influenced your culinary skills and/or the way you view food in general?
KH: In Japan, the artistic aspect of a recipe is highly valued, as is the ambiance surrounding the meal. Both of these are very important to me when I serve a recipe. Simplicity and balance are also important. And the Asians have been using beans in desserts for years!
KJ: What advice would you give to beginners who want to start veganizing their favorite desserts?
KH: Especially when just starting out, there’s no need to overcomplicate things. Find a non-vegan version of your favorite dessert, then follow the recipe using a plant-based milk, oil or Earth Balance for any butter, and substitute ener-g or flax eggs for any eggs called for. Alternatively, just google “recipe for vegan _______,” writing your favorite dessert in the blank, and probably a hundred vegan bloggers will have already come up with vegan versions.
RECIPE: No-Bake Peanut Butter Pie
[1 pie, 10 minutes]
1 cup peanut butter or allergy-friendly alternative (230g)
3 medium bananas (300g)
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/8 tsp salt, plus pinch more if using unsalted pb
1/4 cup virgin coconut oil, melted (Can sub with 1/4 cup extra pb; the texture will just change) (50g)
stevia extract to taste, or 3-4 tbsp powdered sugar, or pure maple syrup
Blend everything together very, very well. (I used a Vita-mix for this.) Pour into a prepared pie crust or springform pan–this pie can easily be crustless!–and freeze until firm. (If not using the coconut oil, just chill in the fridge instead.) Pie should be kept cold; I keep it in the freezer. Just thaw before eating, and the mousse-like texture will come right back! If you want a deeper-dish pie, use: 1 1/2 c peanut butter, 4 1/2 bananas, 1 tbsp vanilla, a little over 1/8 tsp salt, 1/4c plus 2 tbsp coconut oil, and stevia to taste or 5 tbsp powdered sugar.
[Recipe as posted on chocolatecoveredkatie.com]
[Click here to read Katie’s blog post about how she turned her passion into a full-time job while she was still in college]
Get Katie’s Book The Chocolate Covered Katie Cookbook (click on the image below)