I like cookies!

This is the full episode of Spaced: Gatherings (Simon Pegg, Jessica Stevenson, Nick Frost). When I make cookies, I do a bastardized version of the “I like cookies!” dance. Might as well throw this episode on and make some cookies.

Gluten – Free Chocolate Chip or “My new favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe”.

Looked pretty much like this.

Dry ingredients:
1 1/4 cups oat flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

Wet ingredients:
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup canola oil
1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
1/4 cup soy or almond milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup chocolate chips

Bake at 375 F.

1. Mix up the dry ingredients.
2. Whisk together flaxseed and soy milk.
3. Add sugars and then add oil and vanilla, Whisk vigorously until it emulsifies. It takes a while but it will have the texture of a whisked egg/sugar like mixture.
4. Mix wet ingredients into the dry using a spatula fold ingredients together. Again, it’ll take some time but it makes them a bit fluffier in the end.
5. Using a tablespoon, drop batter onto an ungreased baking sheet. Keep them about an inch apart.
6. Bake 15-18 minutes, but I like them on the crunchy yet gooey side of things. Start checking them after 10 to 12 minutes.
7. Let them cool for 5 minutes on a cooling rack before transferring them to your mouth. Let the rest cool on the rack and frankly these cookies are great a day or two after you bake them.

Note: Making a double batch next time.

Oh and big props to my new favorite vegan cookbook: Veganomicon by Isa Chandra Moskowitz. Last week I made two chocolate chip cookies recipes (see one of them above), mashed potatoes, and this amazing stew with biscuit casserole dish. Her spices need tweaking sometimes but her cooking science and flavor combinations are pretty sound.

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Vegan Party Food!

I tested a few recipes yesterday and let me tell you…. super delicious!

Since I am bit tired and recovering from our annual party, this time around, click on the photo to take you to the recipe.

“Cheese” Ball – It was hit with vegans and non-vegans alike. So good and looks exactly like what my grandmother makes every year. I rolled it in walnuts.

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Porcini-Pecan Pâté – Good recipe, bit of a pain but I ignored some of the over-the-top instructions (de-gill the mushrooms…really? not me). Next time I may combine this and another recipe to get more of a creamy texture,

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Roasted Red Pepper-Walnut Dip – These is going in my party food collection for sure. It is delicious. It;s a Martha Stewart recipe so the webpage takes forever to load.

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Hummus (not pictures) – From Alton Brown – Great recipe and one of the few that tells you how to cook chickpeas to perfection in a crock pot. Find it here.

Fudgy Wudgy Raspberry Brownies (not pictured because they went too fast!) – A total hit! I had several people say “These are the best brownies EVER.” This recipe is from Isa Chandra’s Veganomicon and originally calls for blueberries; My husband loves raspberries and chocolate and I think that was the perfect suggestion. You can find the recipe here. My other suggestion is to bake them and then let them sit 30-45 minutes before cutting. They will still be warm and gooey when you are ready to serve them.

Happy eating! Merry Christmas! Happy Solstice!

How to make a Volcano Cake

I realized now that I did something that I HATE when bloggers do it. I posted a beautifully decorated cake without instructions on how to make said cake.

So here is how to make THIS CAKE:

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WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

– Chocolate “rocks”

– Graham crackers, crumbled until they are basically powder

– Triple recipe of “Poverty” Cake (one batch will be for 12 cupcakes and a double batch for the volcano)

– 1 batch of vanilla frosting from the same post as “Poverty Cake”, divide the batch into two bowls, roughly 1/3 and 2/3, Medium consistency (essentially medium peaks).

– 14 plastic dinosaurs PLUS one large dinosaur for the birthday boy/girl

– Cupcake liners

– Board for the volcano

– Candles (found ’em at the grocery store)

– Wilton tips: 233 (grass/fur tip) and 45 (flat tip)

– Decorating bags

– Icing Colors: Lemon Yellow, Kelly Green, Christmas Red.

IF you use only standard food coloring to tint your icing, it will fade under lights/sun in short period of time, and the colors will look weak to begin with and they may not blend entirely. Use icing colors.

– Wilton Color Mist food color spray in red and orange OR airbrush made for cake decorating (optional)

– edible glitter (optional)

SPECIAL PANS:

– Cupcake tin

– Wilton Wondermold ® Pan ($4-$20 depending on where you get it, you DO NOT need the instruction booklet, that is available as a PDF free from WIlton) Wondermold pan has 4 parts in total that make up the pan (pan, base, center pole and nut).

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– Bake 1 batch of poverty cake as 12 cupcakes. Allow to cool but cover well (I put them in sealed bags) until ready to decorate.

– Bake a double batch of poverty cake in the Wondermold pan, following the directions of Wondermold pan. Allow to cool but cover well (plastic wrap) until ready to decorate.

– Tint 2/3 of the white frosting green: Use a clean toothpick and dig out some color from the Kelly Green icing color jar and put it in the frosting. Mix (I just do this in my KitchenAid stand mixer). Keep using a CLEAN toothpick each time you get more color from the jar and mix until it reaches the desired color. Sometimes a clean knife if needed if it is really thick and tacky.

– Tint the remaining 1/3 of icing yellow: Same process as the green. Don’t worry about adding red for now but have it nearby with clean toothpicks. Add a little edible glitter to the yellow frosting now until it has a bit of a shimmer. The shimmer will help make it look wet like it’s flowing.

– Set up and clean your airbrush if using.

Make it so…

The Cupcakes:

– Frost all the cupcakes with a thin layer of green frosting

– Place a pile of graham cracker powder in the middle of the cupcake and smooth out into a circle but stop about 1/2 inch from the edge.

– Using the 233 grass tip in a decorator bag full of frosting, apply grass all the way around the edge that doesn’t have graham cracker on it (won’t stick very well if it does). I did longish but not piled high grass. Don’t know how to use the tip? Step-by-step instructions are available from Wilton.

– Chocolate “rocks” hide all decorating sins. Apply freely and wisely.

– Mini-dinos will sit in the middle of the cupcake. Place these once the cake is at it’s final destination.

The Volcano:

– Place on decorating board, I think I used a 12-inch round (might have been 10-inch).

– The volcano will have lines radiating out of the top that will look like lava. The color will alternate yellow/red/yellow/red. You don’t need to stick to this 100% because it supposed to look random. Same with the length of the lava pouring out, you decide what looks best.

– Using a 42 tip in a decorating bag full of yellow frosting, start at the top of the volcano and work down to about 1/3 to 1/4 of the way making a smooth line. If you use a 45 degree angle to the cake surface, slight back and forth motion, slow movement down and a steady pressure you should be able to make nice fat lava like lines. If you are unsure, practice  on a pan before you frost the cake.

– You will do 3-4 evenly space around the top of the volcano.

– Dump all the frosting back in the mixing bowl and add Christmas Red frosting color and mix until you have a nice orange-red. Remember to use a clean toothpick every time.

– Fill in in between the yellow lines with now orange-red lines using that same 42 tip. If there is red in the yellow or yellow in the red, don’t worry, it’ll look marbled. Use a spatula to mix the “lava” on the very top of the volcano.

– Bust out the airbrush or Color Mist if using and add layers of red and orange to blend the colors together and give the lava a “lavay” look.. Don’t come to close with the spray or it will pool up. If it looks wet, STOP, let it dry and then add another layer. Remember to check things out at different angles and make sure you’ve got everything blended.

– Add grass and rocks to the base of the volcano and cover up the board as much as you can.

– Add Dinosaurs and candles and do a happy dance!

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Pumpkin Muffins!

PumpkinMuffins

A yummy perfect breakfast pastry.

Isa Chandra’s original recipe can be found here.

If have never baked a pumpkin, I highly recommend it if you have a way to puree it such as a food processor (it works in the blender if you do it in small batches).. It is cheaper than canned and the quality is fantastic. Pumpkin baking instructions are available here.

Bad-Ass Pumpkin Muffins:
Dry ingredients:
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon Baking Spice (from Savory) OR 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger, 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice, 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

Wet ingredients:
1 cup pureed pumpkin
1/2 cup soy milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons molasses

Add-ons:
1/2 cup of walnuts

1. Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.
2. Mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl and make a divet in the center of the dry ingredients
3. In a separate bowl mix together all the wet ingredients.
4. Pour the wet ingredients into the divet in the dry ingredients.
5. Fold and mix gently until everything is incorporated and add walnuts if using.
6. Fill muffin tins (either greased or lined) 2/3 full of batter.
7. Bake 18-20 minutes. A toothpick stuck in the center of a muffin should come out clean.

These are great warm and topped with Tofutti cream cheese or a little melted margarine for a little extra decadence.

Tempeh Bacon

BLT

I hadn’t posted this recipe yet because my husband wings it each time; therefore this recipe isn’t measured out but is done to taste.

You’ll need a block of tempeh cut into bacon-sized slices about 1/4 of inch(ish) thick.

The critical ingredients in the marinade are:

– garlic powder

– onion powder

– soy sauce

– sesame oil (just a drop or two)

– tomato paste or tomato powder

– powdered liquid smoke (available at Savory) or a dash or two of liquid smoke

1. Mix up the marinade, taste it, re-season if needed. It will a be a tomatoey, salty, smokey goodness flavor.

2. Put the tempeh slices in a baking dish (we use a 9X13 glass pan) so that the slices are flat and not touching.

3. Pour the marinade over the tempeh slices, make sure to coat both sides of the slices and marinade overnight (or at least 4 hours).

4. Pan fry the slices until they are crisp, the longer you cook, the crispier they get.
You don’t need to cook it all at once, marinaded tempeh keeps great in the fridge until you are ready to use it.

Great for fake BLTs, breakfasts, cooked and crumbled in any recipe that calls for or could use bacon! (stuffed squash anyone?)

EAT YOUR DAMN BREAKFAST: Pt. 2

This article from the Huffington Post, Healthy Oatmeal Toppings, has some tasty looking and interesting combinations including savory oatmeals. Eggplant seem weird but I bet it would work, the pistachio one would kill me due to an allergy but I could see that being tasty; a lot of different ideas to make oatmeal less boring.

Here are a couple more smoothie recipes to complete a nice breakfast.

Berry-Cantaloupe smoothie:

We got a melon every week from our CSA so we started making a super tasty smoothie every morning.

1 1/2-2 cups of ripe cubed cantaloupe or musk melon

10-12 frozen strawberries or 1 cup frozen blueberries

2-3 Tablespoons of hemp seeds or 1-2 Tablespoons of chia seeds (note: hemp has more protein)

1. Throw it all in a blender and blend until smooth.

2. Enjoy!

Serves 2

Chocolate Protein Smoothie (adapted from a recipe I got at work):

I add extra protein to this with some Chocolate Amazing Meal powder, it does add a slightly bitter flavor but you can offset that by adding a touch of sweetner at the end. This is a very filling smoothie and a good protein boost in the morning.

1 cup of plain soymilk

1 banana

2 Tablespoons of peanut butter (preferably non-sweetened like MaraNatha)

1 Tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa powder

1-2 handfuls of ice

2 scoops of chocolate protein powder (like AmazingMeal) (optional)

2-3 Tablespoons of hemp seeds (optional)

1. Throw everything in the blender except the ice and blend until smooth.

2. Add ice to blender and use ice crush mode until smooth.

3. Enjoy!

Serves 2

“Poverty Cake” – Best Chocolate Cake!

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Throw away your box mixes. This cake is super easy (so much so that I have been known to  whip up a batch of cupcakes just for the hell of it).

This recipe dates back to the Depression Era – hence why it is called Poverty Cake, no one could afford eggs or butter. I got this recipe from my dear friend Beth, via her Aunt Joan.

I have posted the original recipe and then below my variations including cupcakes, layer cakes, funny shaped pan instructions and the Mexican chocolate poverty cake. Also below are chocolate and vanilla frosting recipes.

The cake pictured was for my nephew’s 5th birthday, it is the poverty cake recipe and the vanilla frosting recipe listed. We decided to make it vegan because our youngest nephew can’t have soy, dairy or eggs. (It was a hit! He ate his cupcake using the plastic dinosaur as a fork… so adorable! Love that kid!)

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Poverty Cake (original recipe):

Dry ingredients:

1 2/3 cup flour

1 cup sugar

1/4 cup cocoa

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda

Wet ingredients:

1 cup water

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1 tsp white/cider vinegar or lemon juice

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup chocolate chips (optional)

1. Mix all the dry ingredients together thoroughly in an 8×8 glass pan. You do not need to grease the pan. Yes, really.

2. Mix all the wet ingredients in a separate bowl or Pyrex measuring cup (which makes the next step easier).

3. Make three divets in the dry ingredients and pour the wet ingredients into the divets.

4. Carefully fold the mixture until all of the dry ingredients are absorbed. Make sure to get the edges, bottom and corners of the pan all incorporated. Add chocolate chips during the folding if using. DO NOT OVER MIX.

5. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes. Test the center with a toothpick, if it come out clean, you are good.

IT IS A VEGAN CAKE SO IT WILL DRY OUT QUICKLY. I live in a dry state so this happens faster than most places. This cake is best the day of or the day after but be sure to store in air tight containers or cover with a tight layer of plastic wrap.

Okay so an 8×8 is great but what about a layer cake? Batch o’ cupcakes? T-rex pan?

The original Poverty Cake recipe is the equivalent of a one-layer 8/9″ round cake.

If you are using an odd pan, follow the directions of said odd pan – ie. The Wondermold pan (aka barbie skirt pan) used as the volcano above took a double recipe of poverty cake and I followed time and temperature on the pan instructions. I haven’t had an issue with doing this with various odd sized or shaped pans, comes out perfect every  time.

VERY IMPORTANT: No matter which pan I am doing, I always follow three rules for a perfect poverty cake:

1. Baking pans other than an 8×8 glass pan get a spray of non-stick baking spray.

2. Always make 3 divets in the dry no matter how many recipes worth I am making.

3. Fold fold fold and do not over mix.

Below is a chart for cupcakes and rounds, amount of recipe and time needed to bake (this is all done at 350 degrees):

RECIPE AMOUNT TIME TO BAKE
12 cupcakes 1 18-24 minutes
24 cupcakes 2 18-24 minutes
two, 8″ or 9″ rounds 2 30-40 minutes

Mexican chocolate poverty cake:

Replace 1/4 cup cocoa with a 1/4 cup Mexican cocoa (available at Savory)

FROSTING! These lovely frosting recipes are from Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. These taste better than the damn Wilton frosting recipe or tub o’ frosting, plus they work well for decorating and are easily made soy-free if needed.

Vanilla frosting (single recipe, enough for 12 cupcakes):

1/2 cup shotening

1/2 cup margarine

3 1/2 cups confectioner sugar*

1/2 Tbsp vanilla

1/4 cup soymilk/soy creamer or other dairy-free milk (hazelnut milk works really well)

Chocolate frosting (single recipe, enough for 12 cupcakes):

1/4 cup shotening

1/4 cup margarine

1/2 cup unsweetned cocoa powder**

2 1/2 cups confectioner sugar*

1/2 Tbsp vanilla

3 Tbsp soymilk/soy creamer or other dairy-free milk (hazelnut milk works really well)

1. In a mixer with the whisk attachment or with a hand mixer, whip together shortening and margarine.

2. Add all the other liquid ingredients.

3. Slowly add confectioner sugar (and cocoa if doing chocolate frosting) in small batches.

4. Once all the sugar is incorporated, set your mixer to high. This will add air and create the super fluffy creamy frosting.

*to make your own confectioner sugar (commercial confectioner sugar is not vegan): add one cup of granulated sugar and 1 Tbsp of cornstarch in a coffee grinder – grind on finest mode – empty in container and repeat until you have enough confectioner sugar – then clean out your coffee grinder so your husband isn’t upset over the mess you made. 😉 Store any extra in an air tight container.

**for Mexican chocolate frosting replace 1/2 or all of the cocoa powder with Mexican cocoa.

Other things I have made with these recipes are Ho-Ho Cupcakes with a whipped coconut cream filling and topped with a chocolate ganache and a 4-layer Mocha Cake with Chocolate Crumble.

ENJOY!

FOR HOW TO MAKE THE CAKE LISTED ABOVE GO TO: https://goodveganfood.wordpress.com/how-to-make-a-volcano-cake