Tag Archives: dessert

Black and Purple and Full of Spiders

Sounds appetizing, right?

Oh it is.

I was insane to make these – I had no free time last week and the two hours I did have were devoted to being in the kitchen.  I used my old tried and true frosting recipe:

Ingredients

1/2 C Earth Balance

1/2 C Vegetable shortening

1/4 C cocoa powder

3 C powdered sugar

1 tsp vanilla

2 T soymilk

Directions

  • Mix the Earth Balance and shortening together until thoroughly combined
  • Mix in cocoa until incorporated
  • Mix in powdered sugar in small batches until completely incorporated
  • Add the vanilla and soymilk and mix until fluffy
  • Store in the fridge until using or use immediately.  If you store it for later, let the frosting sit at room temperature for a half hour or so before using.  Re-mix it too.  Ya know.

For the cake, I used Dreena Burton’s recipe for Chocolate Sin-nammon cake in Eat, Drink, and Be Vegan.  Hooray!

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Oh yeah, and how ’bout that President Obama?

Cookie Party!

Luckily, cookies with faces and appendages are still vegan.  And they apparently have the added bonus of hallucinatory qualities!

Last week, I came down with the “Welcome to New York, Here’s Your Deathly Seasonal Illness.”  It was charming.  And by charming I mean soul-sucking and beastly.  I had no appetite for a good five days, and all I could imagine eating were comforting cookies.  After day four of being sick, I ventured out to the grocery store and managed enough oomph to bake not one but TWO kinds of cookies.  I brought them all in to work (after eating as many as possible) and assured everyone of my adamant hand-washing during the baking process.  So here’s what I managed:

Dreena Burton’s Homestyle Chocolate Chip Cookies

(Wheat-Free! – I used spelt flour)

Recipe

Ingredients

1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour (see note)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1⁄2 teaspoon baking soda
1⁄4 cup unrefined sugar
1⁄4 teaspoon sea salt
1⁄3 cup pure maple syrup
1⁄4 teaspoon blackstrap molasses
1 – 1 1⁄2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1⁄4 cup canola oil (a little generous)
1⁄3 cup non-dairy chocolate chips

Directions

Preheat oven to 350°F (176°C). In a bowl, sift in the flour, baking powder, and baking soda. Add the sugar and salt, and stir until well combined. In a separate bowl, combine the maple syrup with the molasses and vanilla, then stir in the oil until well combined. Add the wet mixture to the dry, along with the chocolate chips, and stir through until just well combined (do not over-mix). Place large spoonfuls of the batter on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and flatten a little. Bake for 11 minutes, until just golden (if you bake for much longer, they will dry out). Let cool on the sheet for no more than 1 minute (again, to prevent drying), then transfer to a cooling rack.

Note: Unbleached all-purpose flour or spelt flour produces a more classic cookie taste and texture, but you can use whole-wheat pastry flour and still get a delicious cookie. For a wheat-free version, use spelt flour, but add an extra 2-4 tablespoons of the spelt flour to the dry mix (the amount needed varies with brand of spelt flour and whether you are using a refined spelt flour versus a less processed spelt flour).

Note: If, as you are mixing together your batter it appears quite floury and thick, simply mix together a couple of teaspoons more canola and maple syrup and incorporate it into the batter. Sometimes humidity, type of flour used, and other factors can affect the density of the batter and so a touch more liquid may be needed.

Makes 9-12 large to average sized cookies

© Copyright 2005 Dreena Burton

Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies

I’m normally a chocolate chip cookie gal, but I really loved these.  They are the perfect autumn cookie.  Hands down.

Ingredients
2 cups flour
1 1/3 cups rolled oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1 2/3 cups sugar
2/3 cup canola oil
2 tablespoons molasses
1 cup canned pumpkin, or cooked pureed pumpkin
1 teaspoon vanilla
optional: 1 tablespoon ground flax seeds

1 cup walnuts, finely chopped
1/2 cup raisins

Directions
Preheat oven to 350. Have ready 2 greased baking sheets.

Mix together flour, oats, baking soda, salt and spices.

In a seperate bowl, mix together sugar, oil, molasses, pumpkin and vanilla (and flax seeds if using) until very well combined. Add dry ingredients to wet in 3 batches, folding to combine. Fold in walnuts and raisins.

Drop by tablespoons onto greased cookie sheets. They don’t spread very much so they can be placed only an inch apart. Flatten the tops of the cookies with a fork or with your fingers, to press into cookie shape. Bake for 16 minutes at 350. If you are using two sheets of cookies on 2 levels of your oven, rotate the sheets halfway through for even baking. You’ll have enough batter for 4 trays.

Remove from oven and get cookies onto a wire rack to cool. These taste best when they’ve had some time to cool and set. They taste even better the next day!

Another Cake, What is Wrong With You!??!!!?

Clearly there is some demon compelling me to turn on the oven in 90 degree weather.  Demon, thy name is birthday month.  Everyone is born in August.  There is some surplus in baby-making that goes on around the holiday season and results in subsequent massive cake consumption in the month of August.

So, what up Chocolate Mocha Cake with Strawberries and Chocolate Buttercream Icing?

Cake Recipe can be found in Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World.  Isn’t it about time you own that?  I multiplied the recipe by 1.5 and filled two 8 inch cake pans with the batter.  I also added some instant espresso powder just for kicks.  I’ve heard that espresso gives chocolate a deeper flavor.  Mmm.

Icing

1/2 C vegetable shortening

1/2 C margerine

4 C powdered sugar

1/4 C unsweetened cocoa powder

2 T maple syrup

Directions

  • Mix the shortening and margerine together until combined and creamy.
  • Add in the powdered sugar and whisk until thoroughly incorporated.
  • Add the cocoa powder and mix until color is even throughout.
  • Stir in the maple syrup until thoroughly combined.
  • Chill in the fridge until ready to use.

I added the maple syrup because I felt like the icing needed something to make it richer.  Since the cake wasn’t too sweet, the icing flavor wasn’t cloying.  I thinly sliced up strawberries and added them in with a layer of the buttercream between the two cake layers.  As the cake set up in the fridge, the strawberry juices soaked into the cake and added even more moistness.  Awesome.

We had the cake at a restaurant in Silverlake to celebrate my friend Greg’s birthday.  Our waitress was so nice that we gave her a big piece.  So … the cake was eaten Monday night.  It’s now Friday night and I’m still getting compliments on how good it was.

Those people aren’t singing “Happy Birthday.”  They are singing “Thank You Sweet Baby Jesus In Diapers For Inventing This Cake” to the tune of the Hallelujah Chorus.  And the birthday boy with his eyes closed?  He’s not laughing – he’s having an out-of-body cakesensory experience the likes of which human minds cannot conceive.

Cakejoy.

Sorry about the blurry nighttime pictures.

Daring Bakers June Challenge

The “Danish Braid”

Hooray!  While staying with some family friends I was able to finagle my way into the kitchen and complete this challenge!  We were at the beach for my mom’s best friend’s daughter’s wedding (that’s a mouthful) and stayed with the bride’s family in their beach house for a week of vacation.  It was so relaxing – I would sit on the back porch every morning with a cup of coffee and watch all kinds of wildlife take over the marsh.  Every now and then I’d also catch a dunking contest held in the pool basketball court:

Not the best picture (macbook photobooth) but you get the idea.  And check out that pedicure sunset!

I digress.  Back to business.

Much thanks to Kelly of Sass & Veracity and Ben of What’s Cookin’? for hosting this month’s challenge.  And a challenge it was!  Not to say that the process was painful, but it took me a good two days to get through the entire process.  When you read the recipe, you’ll see why:

Original Recipe from Sherry Yard’s “The Secrets of Baking”

(Please not that this recipe does not include my alterations – I’ll discuss those further on.)

DANISH DOUGH

Makes 2-1/2 pounds dough

Ingredients
For the dough (Detrempe)
1 ounce fresh yeast or 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1/2 cup whole milk
1/3 cup sugar
Zest of 1 orange, finely grated
3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 vanilla bean, split and scraped
2 large eggs, chilled
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
3-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt

For the butter block (Beurrage)
1/2 pound (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour

DOUGH
Combine yeast and milk in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mix on low speed.  Slowly add sugar, orange zest, cardamom, vanilla extract, vanilla seeds, eggs, and orange juice.  Mix well.  Change to the dough hook and add the salt with the flour, 1 cup at a time, increasing speed to medium as the flour is incorporated.  Knead the dough for about 5 minutes, or until smooth.  You may need to add a little more flour if it is sticky.  Transfer dough to a lightly floured baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Without a standing mixer:  Combine yeast and milk in a bowl with a hand mixer on low speed or a whisk.  Add sugar, orange zest, cardamom, vanilla extract, vanilla seeds, eggs, and orange juice and mix well.  Sift flour and salt on your working surface and make a fountain.  Make sure that the “walls” of your fountain are thick and even.  Pour the liquid in the middle of the fountain.  With your fingertips, mix the liquid and the flour starting from the middle of the fountain, slowly working towards the edges.  When the ingredients have been incorporated start kneading the dough with the heel of your hands until it becomes smooth and easy to work with, around 5 to 7 minutes.  You might need to add more flour if the dough is sticky.

BUTTER BLOCK
1.    Combine butter and flour in the bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and beat on medium speed for 1 minute.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl and the paddle and then beat for 1 minute more, or until smooth and lump free.  Set aside at room temperature.
2.    After the detrempe has chilled 30 minutes, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface.  Roll the dough into a rectangle approximately 18 x 13 inches and ¼ inch thick.  The dough may be sticky, so keep dusting it lightly with flour.  Spread the butter evenly over the center and right thirds of the dough.  Fold the left edge of the detrempe to the right, covering half of the butter.  Fold the right third of the rectangle over the center third.  The first turn has now been completed.  Mark the dough by poking it with your finger to keep track of your turns, or use a sticky and keep a tally.  Place the dough on a baking sheet, wrap it in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
3.    Place the dough lengthwise on a floured work surface.  The open ends should be to your right and left.  Roll the dough into another approximately 13 x 18 inch, ¼-inch-thick rectangle.  Again, fold the left third of the rectangle over the center third and the right third over the center third.  No additional butter will be added as it is already in the dough. The second turn has now been completed.  Refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes.
4.    Roll out, turn, and refrigerate the dough two more times, for a total of four single turns.  Make sure you are keeping track of your turns.  Refrigerate the dough after the final turn for at least 5 hours or overnight.  The Danish dough is now ready to be used.  If you will not be using the dough within 24 hours, freeze it.  To do this, roll the dough out to about 1 inch in thickness, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and freeze.  Defrost the dough slowly in the refrigerator for easiest handling.  Danish dough will keep in the freezer for up to 1 month.

APPLE FILLING
Makes enough for two braids

Ingredients
4 Fuji or other apples, peeled, cored, and cut into ¼-inch pieces
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 vanilla bean, split and scraped
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
4 tablespoons unsalted butter

Toss all ingredients except butter in a large bowl.  Melt the butter in a sauté pan over medium heat until slightly nutty in color, about 6 – 8 minutes.  Then add the apple mixture and sauté until apples are softened and caramelized, 10 to 15 minutes.  If you’ve chosen Fujis, the apples will be caramelized, but have still retained their shape. Pour the cooked apples onto a baking sheet to cool completely before forming the braid.  (If making ahead, cool to room temperature, seal, and refrigerate.) They will cool faster when spread in a thin layer over the surface of the sheet.  After they have cooled, the filling can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.  Left over filling can be used as an ice cream topping, for muffins, cheesecake, or other pastries.

DANISH BRAID
Makes enough for 2 large braids

Ingredients
1 recipe Danish Dough (see below)
2 cups apple filling, jam, or preserves (see below)

For the egg wash:  1 large egg, plus 1 large egg yolk

1.    Line a baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper.  On a lightly floured  surface, roll the Danish Dough into a 15 x 20-inch rectangle, ¼ inch thick.  If the dough seems elastic and shrinks back when rolled, let it rest for a few minutes, then roll again.  Place the dough on the baking sheet.
2.    Along one long side of the pastry make parallel, 5-inch-long cuts with a knife or rolling pastry wheel, each about 1 inch apart.  Repeat on the opposite side, making sure to line up the cuts with those you’ve already made.
3.    Spoon the filling you’ve chosen to fill your braid down the center of the rectangle.  Starting with the top and bottom “flaps”, fold the top flap down over the filling to cover.  Next, fold the bottom “flap” up to cover filling.  This helps keep the braid neat and helps to hold in the filling. Now begin folding the cut side strips of dough over the filling, alternating first left, then right, left, right, until finished.  Trim any excess dough and tuck in the ends.

Egg Wash
Whisk together the whole egg and yolk in a bowl and with a pastry brush, lightly coat the braid.

Proofing and Baking
1.    Spray cooking oil (Pam…) onto a piece of plastic wrap, and place over the braid.  Proof at room temperature or, if possible, in a controlled 90 degree F environment for about 2 hours, or until doubled in volume and light to the touch.
2.    Near the end of proofing, preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Position a rack in the center of the oven.
3.    Bake for 10 minutes, then rotate the pan so that the side of the braid previously in the back of the oven is now in the front. Lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees F, and bake about 15-20 minutes more, or until golden brown.  Cool and serve the braid either still warm from the oven or at room temperature.  The cooled braid can be wrapped airtight and stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 days, or freeze for 1 month.

My Alterations

For the butter, I substituted Earth Balance vegan spread.  I considered using half margerine and half vegetable shortening to achieve flakiness, but I was too lazy awesome to buy shortening.  I really think it would have improved the texture since the danish was rather bread-y and dense.  For the whole milk I used soy creamer, but I think regular soy milk would have been just fine.  I wasn’t able to use cardamom or vanilla beans because at $15.00 a jar for each I may as well have handed my credit card over to the cashier and asked her to just keep it.  For the eggs I substituted corn starch.  Yeeeah not the most genius move, but I was on an island and the grocery store didn’t even have soy yogurt (which I would have LOVED).  I am curious what would have happened with a flax meal substitute too.  The process involved a lot of hanging around, waiting for things to chill and proof.  It was pretty exciting seeing how much the dough rose during the two hours of proofing – kind of like watching plants grow in hyperspeed.  Oh, and let’s discuss what a squidgy mess the beurrage turned out to be.  There were buttery guts all over the counter throughout my dough-baby’s various turns.  Beside the buttery gore, everything came together pretty painlessly.

For the filling, I used the normal apple recipe with an almond frangipane and. it. was. AMAZING.  I would have just ladled that stuff into my mouth all day without a care for filling anything had I no sense of responsibility.  I have half a sense of responsibility, therefore I only ate half the recipe.  Oops?  I also made a few croissants and pinwheel danishes with the leftover dough and filled some with raspberry jam, frangipane, and some with chocolate.  Nomnom.

My gracious hosts put up with me hoarding their kitchen utensils and banging pots and pans for two days and graciously devoured the danish when the kitchen returned to peace.  So the recipe had a great response!  I can’t wait to check out what my fellow vegan bloggers did with this recipe and how it turned out.

She’s Such a Tart

In the midst of a week break from travelling, I was graciously put up by my boyfriend’s parents in their New York apartment.  I was given free reign in the kitchen!  I ate gloriously!  One of my favorite things (that I actually managed to get pictures of) that I made was a raw fruit tart/pie.  I got the idea somewhere on the internet, but I essentially tossed a bunch of stuff together.  Hopefully I can remember how all this went down.

Raw Fruit Tart

Recipe

Ingredients

1 8 inch pie pan

2 C almonds

1 C chopped medjool dates

2 mangoes

1/4 C coconut flakes

About 2 C halved strawberries – enough to cover the top of the tart

Directions

  • Blend the almonds and the dates together a handful at a time in a chopper – I used some sort of crazy Cuisinart chopping device I found lurking in a cabinet.
  • Press almond/date mixture down into the pie pan, making sure to cover the sides of the pan.
  • Peel, chop, and blend mangoes until they have an even consistency.
  • Stir coconut flakes into mango.
  • Scoop mango mixture into your pie crust, spreading it out evenly with a spatula.
  • Place sliced strawberries (or any fruit of your choosing) decoratively over the tart.
  • Chill the tart in a refrigerator for at least an hour before serving. Best served chillllled out.

After much struggle with grinding almonds and dates together – this was the end result.  Hooray!  It was delicious, and I didn’t have to feel bad about eating it for breakfast the next day.  Yessss.  I also managed to make an AMAZING pasta-less lasagna (casserole?) with eggplant, spinach, and mushrooms.  I made the dish twice and didn’t get a good photo of it either time – thanks night time photography.  However, check out this dip I made for some crusty olive bread:

That’s some roasted garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, olive oil, and pepper – I let it marinate in its own sauciness before serving it and it was gooood.

The City Stole My Blog

Sorry to all for the abrupt halt in my blogging – this job and this city take up a lot more time than I expected! I haven’t had my camera on me to take pictures of meals at restaurants out of vanity’s sake. I feel like lugging around my huge camera will be quickly followed by large maps, shorts with socks and sneakers, and a nice hot pink fanny pack. I have, however, been making my rounds on the vegan spectrum of New York City. I’ve been to Sacred Chow, Gobo, and Caravan of Dreams. Also, the Whole Foods near me has a (really really exciting) shelf of vegan desserts that change every day. Please behold my favorite breakfast since I’ve been in the city – Sweet & Sara Peanut Butter Smore.

Nothing like some real power fuel for a run through Central Park.  It was wonderful!!  As a kid, I was really gross and would make s’mores in the microwave.  That’s right.  So I clearly have some kind of addiction to the chocolate, marshmallow, graham cracker combination.  Add peanut butter into the mix and you have me, face down on the floor, in a foodjoy coma.  Sweet & Sara slammed me down on first bite.  The chocolate coating was thick and had a great bite to it.  The graham cracker was pretty crumbly, but the gooey marshmallow held on to all the crumbs.  If anything, I would ask for more (moremoremore!) peanut butter, but the thin layer inside added a decadence to the whole shebang.  Sure, it was a pricey endeavor (almost 5 dolla bills y’all), but it was worth every swoon bite.

A Pie By Any Other Name Tastes Just As Sweet

Aw, nuts.

So here’s the deal. In Kentucky, my official homestate, there’s a Derby. A horse race. A gathering of people in large hats holding mint juleps. This all goes down at Churchill Downs in Louisville. There are several recipes originating from Kentucky, including the Kentucky Hot Brown, Burgoo, and Kentucky Bourbon Balls. None of these recipes hold a candle (at least in my mind) to the gooey, rich, sticky mess that is Derby Pie.

BUT WAIT!

I am not allowed to call this recipe Derby Pie. No one is. No one except for the sweet people at Kern’s Kitchen in Louisville. These clever folks managed to PATENT the recipe originating at the Melrose Inn of Prospect, Kentucky. They have a pie, yes a PIE, registered with the Commonwealth of Kentucky. It’s really kind of incredible. So thanks to the creators of this pie, I bring you a veganized version of:

Chocolate Pecan Bourbon Pie

Nom nom nom

Recipe

Ingredients

1/2 batch of Pate Brisee or your favorite pie crust

2 C chopped pecans

1 1/2 C vegan chocolate chip

1/4 C soy milk

2 eggs worth of egg replacer (I just used corn starch since I was away from home and my kitchen full o’ goodies)

1/4 C bourbon

3/4 C maple syrup

1/2 t salt

Directions

  • Prepare your pie crust and let cool for several hours.
  • Preheat your oven for 350 degrees.
  • In a large mixing bowl, whisk together soymilk and egg replacer.
  • Throw into the soymilk mixture the bourbon, syrup, and salt, and mix thoroughly.
  • Fold in the chocolate chips and nuts and pour into your pie crust.
  • Bake until pie sets. It should take 40-45 minutes.

I am used to traditional recipe for this pie, and damned if this wasn’t as good or better than that! I might be cruisin’ for a bruisin’ with that statement, but California is a long flight from Kentucky and I doubt anyone is going to hop on a plane to come ‘git’ me. I did learn some valuable information from making this pie:

  • I don’t need eggs
  • I don’t need butter
  • I don’t need sugar
  • I don’t need milk
  • … to put myself into a sweet pie induced coma.

Luckily I got to serve this thang to a bunch of vegans in Olympia at a wonderful potluck hosted by the generous Jayne. I had a really rough couple of weeks, work-wise, and was invited to spend some chill time at my parents home in Washington – so I flew up for a long weekend. I had the pleasure of forcing my way into a PPK Potluck while there! I have come to the broad generalization that vegans are great people. Period. Everyone brought food that was SO GOOD and I somehow managed to sample almost everything, as is made obvious by this red handed moment:

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Cake! Donuts! Twix! Peanut butter chocolate chip bars! Tofu scramble! Mac n cheeze! Shortly after this picture was taken, I developed a massive headache from indulgance – so worth it. Apparently, I missed out on a Scrabble game by leaving early which means the day was not AS awesome as it could have possibly been, but it was up there. Meeting everyone was great – it’s good to know other West Coast-y vegans are out there.

I’ve got a stockpile of photos and recipes I need to post so expect to be bombarded in the coming week.