Thursday, October 27, 2011

Vegan Vanilla Bean Cupcakes with Vanilla Frosting

These past few weeks, a few friends and I hit a huge milestone. We all turned the big 3-0! While most people see it as a big deal, I didn't see it that way. I really am one of those that feel like 30 is the new 20, and my life and adventures have only just begun. If anybody looked at Gary and I, we definitely don't look like we're already in our 30s! These are the same folks I celebrated 2 years ago at the sausage fest party.

A bunch of my friends are ones that I've known since elementary school, as early as kindergarten. I think it's great that we've still kept in touch all these years. Even though we've all hit 30, we decided to go do something fun and kiddy - Laser Tag! I've never gone before, so better late than never!

We went out for an early dinner at a Shanghai Restaurant and I brought cupcakes. I made two flavors, this vegan vanilla one being one of them. I actually bookmarked this recipe a while ago, and I decided to make it for this occasion since I had almost everything on hand. I didn't have many eggs left, and I had some soy milk to use up. I didn't have to go the vegan route, but I did. To be honest, I think vegan cupcakes are pretty easy to make, and seem less messy.

If you think there's no way these cupcakes can stand up to regular ones, well they can! Nobody knew they were vegan until I told them!

Vegan Vanilla Bean Cupcakes with Fluffy Vanilla Frosting
adapted from Vegan Cupcakes Take over the World, as seen on their blog

1 cup unsweetened soy milk (or almond milk and omit the almond extract)
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 TBSP cornstarch
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup canola oil
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and scraped

frosting (half the original recipe)
1/4 cup non hydrogenated shortening
1/4 cup vegan butter (rec: Earth Balance)
1 3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 TBSP soy milk

make the cake:
Preheat oven to 350° F. Line muffin pan with cupcake liners.

Whisk the milk and vinegar in a measuring cup and set aside for a few minutes to curdle.

Sift the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl and mix to combine.

Beat together the milk mixture, oil, sugar, vanilla extract and vanilla bean in a large bowl. Sift in the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, and mix until no large lumps remain. (batter will be thin)

Fill cupcake liners two-thirds of the way and bake for 20 to 22 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack to cool.

prepare the frosting:
In a stand mixer, beat together the shortening and butter until light. Add sugar a little at a time and beat for 3 minutes until no lumps remain, scraping down the sides as necessary.

Add vanilla and milk and beat for another 5-7 minutes until light and fluffy.

Scoop frosting into a piping bag or heavy duty zip top bag and pipe from the outside in.

Makes 12 cupcakes

Pin It

Monday, October 24, 2011

White Chocolate Pumpkin Kiss Ice Cream

Just because it's a little chilly out, doesn't mean the ice cream goes away. It's a great time for the fall flavors to come out. Since I'm not a huge ice cream person, I mostly make dairy free ice creams for Gary. The ice cream maker investment has paid for itself through the cheaper quarts of ice cream I can make him.

I on the other hand have only made ice cream a handful of times for myself. Although I love pure vanilla and pistachio ice creams, The crazy flavors are the ones that get me all riled up. If only this Dexter ice cream were real, I'd be all over it! :D

With that said, I had some heavy cream and some Hershey's pumpkin spice kisses on hand. The pumpkin spice kisses are a funny thing. Once you try one, you either love them or you hate them. I for one love them, and I wanted to use both up, but I wasn't sure how. Heavy cream would be perfect for ice cream, so I wanted to integrate the candy somehow.

I decided to ask a few of my cooking buddies to get an idea of what ice cream would pair well with pumpkin spice kisses. White chocolate won by a landslide! I'm glad the consensus was white chocolate. It was a recipe I wanted to try already and it didn't have any added sugar to make it overly sweet. Since the kisses have a white chocolate taste and consistency to them, it worked well together.

Although I only chopped up some candy to mix in, I might end up melting some next time to see if making a swirl would work. If you don't like the pumpkin spice kisses, leave them out! The white chocolate ice cream alone is well worth it as well.

White Chocolate Pumpkin Spice Kisses Ice Cream
ice cream base adapted from The Ultimate Ice Cream Book

1 cup whole milk (I only had 1¼ cup heavy cream, so I upped this by ¼ cup)
2 large eggs
12 oz white chocolate, chopped (or white chocolate chips)
1 ½ cup heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla
¾ cup roughly chopped pumpkin spice kisses (about 20)

In a medium saucepan on low heat, bring the milk to a simmer. Remove from heat and slowly pour and beat it into the eggs in a medium bowl.

Pour entire mixture back into the saucepan and whisk over low heat with a wooden spoon, until you feel that it's thickened slightly (do not bring to a boil or the eggs will scramble).

Remove from heat and add the chocolate. Mix well until the chocolate melts entirely.

Strain the mixture into a large measuring cup using a fine sieve colander. Allow to cool slightly then stir in the heavy cream and vanilla.

Cover and refrigerate until cool, or overnight.

Pour custard mixture into ice cream maker and freeze per the manufacturer's directions. Transfer ice cream to a bowl and fold in the chopped kisses. Freeze for a few hours until ice cream has firmed up.

Makes about 1 ½ quart.

Pin It

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Vegan Multigrain Waffles

Lately when Gary isn't asking for pancakes, he's heating up a few frozen waffles for breakfast. His latest addiction is quinoa waffles. He loves the nutrients and protein it gives him, and it gives him more energy for whatever he needs to do. I haven't found a quinoa waffle recipe yet, but if you have one let me know.

I did decide to make this multigrain version to try out as an experiment. You see, I "borrowed" my sister's waffle maker a while back, and I don't plan on returning it anytime soon :). These came out great, and I liked the wholesome nutty taste the oatmeal added. Overall, this recipe is a keeper as a basic waffle that will fill you up all morning.

This was an easy recipe to whip up in the morning. My 15 yr old waffle maker heated each batch up in about 7 minutes.

Vegan Multigrain Waffles
source: Vegan Visitor

1 cup whole wheat flour
2/3 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup quick cooking oats
1/3 cup ground flax seed meal
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 TBSP white sugar
2 cups soy milk
2 TBSP vegetable oil

Preheat waffle maker according to your manufacturer's directions.

In a large bowl whisk together all the dry ingredients (flour through sugar). In a mixing cup, add the oil to the soy milk. Whisk the milk into the dry ingredients. Mix until just combined, and most lumps are gone.

Spray or brush the waffle maker with oil. Pour enough batter into waffle maker and cook per the waffle maker's instructions. Mine took about 7 minutes each batch of 2 waffles. Repeat until batter is used up, spraying/brushing more oil as necessary.

*make sure you don't cover after removing from the waffle maker, otherwise it will get soggy
*toast the waffles to make them extra crispy
*store leftovers in a freezer bag and reheat in toaster for a quick morning breakfast!

makes about 8 waffles (more or less depending on your waffle maker)

Pin It

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Apple Upside-Down Cake

APPLES! I had a lot, and between the free ones I eat at work and the 5lb bag I bought for home, I was up to my ears in apples. I've been enjoying them with peanut butter at work everyday, but there's so many apples a girl can eat before I get sick of them. Then came this recipe. I saw this upside down apple cake and thought it looked delightful.

I trust King Arthur and their recipes, even if they have recipes that require their specialized products. One of the ingredients this recipe called for was a few tablespoons of boiled cider. I haven't tried it, and I'm sure it's great. HOWEVER, since I will probably never use it other than the few tablespoons for this recipe, I decided to sub apple cider. I think it worked out fine. If you need an apple cake, this one turns out moist and dense, what a perfect fall cake should be.

One note is that a 2" high pan needs to be used. I didn't have one and used a leakproof springform pan. That was probably why some of the brown bits on the bottom stuck to the pan. It may also be because I forgot the grease the pan. Please don't make that mistake if you're using a regular pan.

Apple Upside-Down Cake
adapted from King Arthur Flour

2 medium apples (or 3 small apples), peeled, cored, and sliced (reserve one apple top)
4 TBSP butter (I used Earth balance)
3/4 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
2 TBSP apple cider
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup light corn syrup

3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
2 TBSP apple cider
2 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 cups All-Purpose Flour
1 large apple, peeled and finely chopped (or 2 small)
3/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts, optional

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9" round cake pan at least 2" deep. Line the bottom with parchment, and grease the parchment.

Slice the top, including the stem, off one of the apples and set it aside before peeling and slicing the rest of the apples into 1/4" thick wedges. (an apple peeler corer was very helpful here!)

Place the apple top, stem side down, in the middle of the pan, and overlap the rest of the apple wedges in a ring around it.

Prepare the topping by heating the butter, sugar, apple cider, cinnamon, and corn syrup together over low heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved.

Pour 1/2 cup of the syrup mixture into the prepared pan, and set the rest aside.

make the cake:
Beat the oil, brown sugar, apple cider, eggs, spices, and salt together for 2 minutes at medium speed

Mix the flour with the baking soda, and stir it into the batter.

Add the chopped apple and nuts, and mix until just blended.

Drop scoops of the batter atop the apples in the pan, gently spreading to cover.

Bake the cake for 50 to 55 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted near the center comes out clean.

Remove the cake from the oven, and run a thin spatula around the edge to loosen. Let the cake cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then turn it out onto a serving plate, bottom side up. Scrape out any sauce that remains in the pan, and spread it over the cake.

Reheat the reserved topping. If butter starts to separate as you reheat, add water by the teaspoon and stir until the butter rejoins the rest of the sauce.

Pour the sauce over the cake. Serve cake warm or at room temperature, with whipped cream if desired.

Pin It

Friday, October 7, 2011

Caramel Apple Tart

It's that time again! The time my home gets a little chilly, but the heat doesn't turn on until November...the joys of renting! Times like these, I'm so glad that I love baking, and it's the time for fall recipes!

I participate in recipe swaps every so often, and this week's theme is fall recipes using apples or pumpkin. I got this caramel apple tart from So Tasty, So Yummy. At first, I was wondering how I would adapt the entire thing to be dairy free so Gary can have it as well. I didn't. Oh well. He doesn't have to be my guinea pig for every recipe I try.

I ended up bringing this over to my parents when we went over for dinner. My cousins loved it! I particularly liked the crust, and especially the caramel. Oh, the caramel. Let me tell you, I was eating this by the spoonful  and I didn't even wait for it to cool down. I was lucky I had any left over to drizzle over the top!

I was also happy that I was able to roll out the dough without many issues. I let it rest on the counter after taking it out of the fridge, since it was practically rock solid when I took it out. That made the dough more pliable and much easier to work with. Other than that, everything pretty much went without a hitch.

Remember to check out Sarah's blog for the full roundup of recipes from the swap!

Caramel Apple Tart
adapted from So Tasty, So Yummy, originally from Martha Stewart & Bon Apetit

2 ½ cups flour
1 TBSP sugar
1 tsp kosher salt
2 sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into 1//2 inch cubes
3 to 4 TBSP ice water

caramel sauce:
¾ cup dark brown sugar
¾ cup heavy whipping cream
3 TBSP unsalted butter
1 TBSP corn syrup

2 TBSP sugar
1 TBSP unbleached all purpose flour
5 firm baking apples, peeled, cored, cut into sixteenths (I used gala, original recipe used granny smith)

prepare the crust:
Pulse flour, sugar and salt in a food processor until combined. Add butter and process until mixture resembles coarse meal, about 10 seconds. With the machine running, add ice water in a slow steady stream until mixture just begins to hold together. Shape dough into a disk, wrap in plastic and refrigerate 1 hour or up to 3 days, before using.

make the caramel sauce:
Bring sugar, cream, butter and corn syrup to boil in heavy medium saucepan over medium-high heat, whisking constantly until sugar dissolves. Boil, whisking often, until caramel thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon thickly, about 8 minutes. Caramel sauce can be made up to 5 days ahead. Remove from heat, cover and chill. When ready to use, whisk over low heat until warm.

make the filling:
Preheat oven to 375° F.

Whisk flour and sugar in large bowl to blend. Add apples and toss until evenly coated.  Remove dough from fridge and let rest for 10 minutes. Roll out dough on lightly floured surface to 13-inch round. Transfer to 9-inch-diameter tart pan with removable bottom. Cut overhang even with top of pan sides. Arrange apple slices in circle around outer edge of pan, fitting snugly. Arrange remaining apples snugly in the center.

Bake tart until apples are tender, about 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes. Remove tart from oven and brush with some of the caramel sauce. Cool tart to room temperature. Rewarm remaining caramel sauce. Drizzle tart lightly with sauce.

Pin It

Monday, October 3, 2011

Vegan Orange Cinnamon Rolls

When I saw this recipe in the Vegan Diner book, I knew I had to try it. I was always intimidated from making cinnamon rolls, because it had ingredients and steps I hate the most...yeast, and rolling out dough. When I read the instructions for this recipe, I thought it was pretty simple, so I gave it a try. I'm so glad I did, because this came out beautifully! The dough rose as instructed, and it rolled out nicely as well!

I've only seen recipes for cinnamon rolls that included milk, so I would end up having to adapt it. This recipe called for soy milk powder, which I always have on hand anyway. I use it when I make bread recipes in the bread machine, so this recipe was right up my alley. I usually purchase it at Whole Foods, but if you can't find it, you can omit it and sub the 1/2 cup of water with soy milk.

Vegan Orange Cinnamon Rolls
adapted from Vegan Diner

1/4 cup agave nectar
1/4 cup orange juice
1/2 cup water, room temperature
zest of one orange
1/4 cup hot water (110°-115°F)
1 tsp granulated sugar
3 3/4 - 4 cups unbleached all purpose flour (start off with 3 3/4 cup and add as needed after kneading)
2 TBSP soy milk powder
1 tsp fine salt
2 1/4 tsp instant yeast

3 TBSP vegan butter (rec: Earth Balance)
2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

2 cups powdered sugar
3 TBSP orange juice (fresh from the orange you zested)

Spray or liberally coat a 9x13 baking dish with oil or shortening. Set aside.

In a large measuring cup, measure and whisk together agave, orange juice, 1/2 cup lukewarm water, and orange zest. Set aside.

Place in the bowl of a stand mixer, add hot water and sugar. Then add flour, soy milk powder, salt then yeast last. Turn on mixer on low to stir and combine.

Add liquid ingredients slowly while the mixer is on to form a ball. Replace with the dough hook of the mixer and knead for 3-5 minutes until the dough is smooth. If it's still sticky, add more flour 1 TBSP at a time.

Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm area and let rise for 1 hour, or until doubled in size. (I turn my oven to warm for 5 minutes, shut it off, then put the bowl in the oven to rise.)

Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface and roll out to a 16x12 rectangle. Brush on softened butter/margarine while leaving a 1/2 inch border. Sprinkle brown sugar on top and spread evenly. Then sprinkle cinnamon on top of the sugar. (I sprinkled out of my spice jar and didn't measure.)

Rolling along the long edge, form a spiral, jelly-roll style. Pinch the edges to close up the seams. Using a sharp knife or bench scraper, cut into 12 even pieces. Place the pieces into the prepared baking pan and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise again for 30 minutes until almost double.

Remove plastic wrap and bake in preheated oven at 350° for 30-35 minutes until firm to the touch and lightly golden. Remove from oven and let cool slightly.

For the glaze, whisk together powdered sugar and orange juice in a medium bowl. Drizzle over warm cinnamon buns and serve.

Makes 12 cinnamon buns.

Pin It