Tag Archives: vegan baking

Gorgeous Green Muffins

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Ready to get more greens into your diet? Us too! After seeing kale doughnuts out there in the world, we figured we could make a green baked good of our own. Something easy and nutritious with plenty of phyto-nutrient awesomeness to fuel us through these dreary winter days.

This recipe is easy to make swaps in ~ for example, any plant-based milk works (soy, cashew, rice, etc.). Trade maple syrup for agave or brown rice syrup if you prefer. Not into gluten free flour? Just use whole wheat! You can use kale instead of spinach, too.

Gorgeous Green Muffins

Gorgeous Green Muffins

2 Tbs. egg replacer with 4 tbs. warm water (we used Ener-g)

6 oz. bag fresh spinach

1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce

1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk

1/4 maple syrup

2 tsp. vanilla extract

1 banana

2 tsp. baking powder

2 tsp. green powder (we used Sunfoods Sun is Shining Supergreens)

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. baking soda

pinch ground cloves

pinch nutmeg

2 cups gluten free flour mix (we used Bob’s Red Mill 1:1)

Preheat oven to 375. Line 12 cupcake tins with liners or coat with non-stick spray.

Mix together egg replacer and warm water. Set aside.

Combine all wet ingredients in a blender or food processor (spinach, applesauce, almond milk, maple syrup, vanilla); puree until spinach is well broken down. Add banana, baking powder, green powder, cinnamon, baking soda, ground cloves and nutmeg. Mix until creamy. Then add two cups of gluten free flour and pre-mixed egg replacer. Puree again until smooth, scraping sides at least once to incorporate all ingredients.

Pour into muffins tins equally and bake 20 minutes at 375 until a toothpick comes out clean. Makes 12 muffins.

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Baked: Tiramisu Gingerbread Sandwich Cookies

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When I was  a college student at NYU in the early nineties, tiramisu was all the rage. Funny thing, I believe plenty of folks are still raging over the traditional Italian treat. It’s usually a casserole-ish dessert made with ladyfinger cookies, coffee, mascarpone cheese and chocolate with some kind of liquor for accent. Different sources site different booze as the “traditional” variety- rum, amaretto or marsala wine. Really though, wouldn’t any one of them be delicious?

Over the years, we’ve had various vegan tiramisu desserts, all of which were wonderful. But it’s usually a messy dish and not portable, especially for sharing at the holidays. So we decided to give it a new spin. Why not a cookie sandwich?  And why not with a little holiday flavor? Our version uses a chocolate gingerbread cookie and has a vegan cream cheese filling, with coffee and amaretto extracts. So you’re getting all the usual tiramisu yum, but it’s easier to hold in your hand. Um… it might be a little itsy bit messy, though we suspect you will welcome the chance to lick your fingers!

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Tiramisu Gingerbread Sandwich Cookies

Dry ingredients:

2 cups all purpose flour

1/4 cup cocoa powder

1 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

2 1/2 tsp. ground ginger

2 tsp. cinnamon

pinch ground cloves

pinch ground allpsice

pinch ground nutmeg

pinch salt

 

Wet ingredients:

1/3 cup non-dairy milk (we used soy milk)

1 tsp. apple cider vinegar

1 Tbs. ground flax meal

2 Tbs. warm water

1/3 cup molasses

1/3 cup sugar

1/3 cup brown sugar

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 tsp. instant coffee powder

1/2 cup vegan margarine, softened to room temperature (we use Earth Balance)

 

Filling:

4-oz.  vegan cream cheese, softened to room temperature (1/2 of a container, we used Toffuti)

3 Tbs. vegan shortening (we used Spectrum)

2 cups powdered sugar

1 tsp. arrowroot starch powder

1/3 tsp. coffee extract

1/3 tsp. amaretto extract

 

Decoration/Optional:

melted chocolate, chocolate covered espresso beans, as desired

 

Preheat oven to 350. Cover two baking sheets with parchment paper or reusable silcone baking mats; set aside.

In a small dish, stir together non-dairy milk and apple cider vinegar. Set aside to curdle into “vegan buttermilk.”  In a large mixing bowl, stir together flax seed meal with warm water; set aside to congeal as this will be the binder.

Sift together dry ingredients in a second bowl.

In mixing bowl with flax seed and water, add molasses, sugar, brown sugar, vanilla, instant coffee powder, softened vegan margarine and curdled milk/vinegar. Whip together with electric beaters until smooth. Add dry ingredients and combine until just mixed; do not overwork or cookies will become tough.

Form into 1 -tablespoon scoops on prepared cookie sheets. Bake at 350 for ten minutes; allow to cool for 15 minutes on cookie sheet before transferring to a cooling rack. Makes about 40 cookies.

Before filling the cookie sandwiches, cool the cookies completely.

To prepare filling, whip together room temperature vegan cream cheese and shortening with an electric mixer or stand mixer until fluffy. Add powdered sugar and mix on low, so it doesn’t poof all over your kitchen. When powdered sugar is moistened, turn power to medium or high, and combine thoroughly. Finally add arrowroot powder, coffee extract and amaretto extract. Whip filling until all ingredients are smooth and incorporated.

To assemble cookies as in the photo, dip 20 cookie bottoms in melted chocolate and allow to cookie. Top the other 20 cookies with a dollop of filling. Nestle a chocolate-dipped cookie onto the filling, chocolate-side down. Drizzle the top with more melted chocolate in any pattern desired and place a chocolate-covered espresso bean into warm drizzle.

Allow all chocolate to set/cool before serving. Store in fridge – if you have any left long enough!

Need a shortcut? Skip all the melted chocolate and just smear filling between too cookies. It’s still tasty, just not as pretty. Or chocolatey!

Cook’s Notes: Don’t know how to melt chocolate? We use a double boiler method. Basically, we place a glass bowl on a saucepan filled with water. Place of low heat and add chocolate to the glass bowl. The chocolate should never touch the water or steam – it will seize and you’ll have to start over again. Stir frequently until chocolate is smooth and velvety.  This also works in the microwave, using just a glass dish. Microwave on low power a minute at a time, stirring between each heating until smooth.

Wondering why we used coffee and amaretto extracts? In a test, we found that the extracts had more concentrated flavor for the filling. Adding more liquid with real coffee and amaretto made the filling too runny. Feel free to experiment, though!

Sweet Summer Squash Bread

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It’s that time of year… summer squash is plentiful and you’re looking at a pile of it right now, trying to figure out what to do with all those little yellow cuties. We recently ended up with a bunch of summer squash from our friend Alicia, who only has one squash plant in her yard. And yet, she had more squash than she could handle!

We took some home and came up with Sweet Summer Squash Bread. You can say it’s sweet because summer is sweet or because the bread is sweetened. Or both! Basically, we remade a zucchini bread recipe to be more, well, blonde. Just like our friend Alicia, who is also blonde!

Enjoy the bread and hope you find lots of fun ways to use up your summer squash – you know, besides all those endless stir-fries!

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Sweet Summer Squash Bread

1 cup grated summer squash

1/2 cup applesauce

3/4  cup sugar

3/4 cup non-dairy milk (we use unsweetened almond milk)

1 lemon, zested

1 tsp. vanilla

1  cup all purpose flour

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1 tsp.  baking powder

1/2 tsp, baking soda

pinch salt (optional)

pinch cinnamon

1/2 cup golden raisins (optional)

 

Preheat oven to 350. Spray a loaf pan with non-stick spray and sit aside.

In a large bowl, combine applesauce, sugar, non-dairy milk, lemon zest and vanilla. Sift in all purpose flour, whole wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Fold in grated summer squash and golden raisins.

Pour batter into prepared loaf pan and bake 45 to 50 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Cook’s Notes: Want to try this another way? Add a pinch of ginger or nutmeg instead. Or instead of golden raisins, go with chopped almonds, dried cranberries or walnuts. Some summer squash has tougher skin;  you may want to peel it if that’s the case. The same goes for larger summer squash with big seeds. If your squash is seedy, so to speak, scrape the seeds before grating.

St Patty’s Irish Soda Bread

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Today is St. Patty’s Day. It’s the wearin’ of the green, the drink’ of the beer and a general celebration of Irish life. We’d like;y to humbly throw our contribution into the mix.

This recipe for Irish Soda Bread is really easy. Even a beginner baker can make it. We use vegan “buttermilk”, which is non-dairy milk curdled with apple cider vinegar. It doesn’t look awesome, but in this bread it tastes great, so please stick with the recipe. You won’t be disappointed!

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Irish Soda Bread is a traditional quick bread made without yeast. In Europe, soda breads began to appear in the mid-19th century when bicarbonate of soda (i.e., baking soda) first became available for use as a raising agent. Soda breads  meant that people who didn’t have an oven—and virtually nobody had an oven then—could make bread. They cooked the bread in  big cast-iron pot with a lid on it that would have been put right onto the fire. The great thing about baking soda is that it wasn’t as perishable as yeast, and it would have been relatively inexpensive.

SodaBread2DH_lrOur recipe for Irish Soda Bread is cross-posted on  Sister Eden. So click on over and whip up a batch today. We love it smeared with jam or jelly, and it’s a perfect way to begin celebrating St. Patrick’s Day!

Easy Baking Projects

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One of the most common questions we are asked is for EASY vegan baking ideas. Well, we’ve got TWO for you. Both are simple and use familiar ingredients. They’re also super for kids to help with and as the days grow cooler, what is more comforting than the wonderful aroma of home-baked treats from your own oven?  First, try Chai Spice Rolls.

To make these, you’re going to use crescent-style dough in a tube. Yes, that’s right. I said crescent-style dough in a tube! Believe it or not, most brands of crescent-style dough, including Pilsbury, Giant and Trader Joe’s, are all vegan! (I bet you are doing a happy dance right now, imaging the return of crescent-style rolls to your vegan holiday table. )

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Chai Spice Rolls are a snap to put together. They’re also tasty enough to serve to company or at Sunday Brunch. There is a delightful surprise on the inside when you bite into a creamy filling, flavored with exotic chai tea, ginger and maple syrup. This is also a great recipe to have kids help with, or to serve to guests who are spending a long holiday weekend at your house! Click on over to Sister Eden for the recipe now.

 

Want more easy vegan baking? Try Peach Whirligigs! This original recipe comes from our pal Kristin at The High Impact Vegan, who veganized a  family recipe. And with good reason. It’s freaking delicious! This time the easy baking secret is Bisquick. Yes, that’s right, old school Bisquick is vegan, too! There are even three kinds of Bisquick – original, heart-smart and gluten-free. So take your pick!

Peach Whirligigs are usually made with fresh peaches, however, in the winter when they’re not in season, we have found that canned peaches work just fine. The flavor is simple and bright, and really, this is like sunshine on a plate.

 

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This is another recipe we have cross-posted to Sister Eden, so please hop over there to check it out. And while you’re surfing the internet, be sure to visit Kristin’s vegan blog, too. You’re going to enjoy this – serve it for breakfast, brunch or dessert! These are excellent with vegan ice cream! Pile on the vanilla So Delicious! Yum!

Flaky Breakfast Biscuits with Beyond Meat Herbed Gravy

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Growing up in Tennessee, biscuits and gravy were a staple for the Dirty Hippie. Early into our relationship, I mastered a biscuit recipe he loved, but have been experimenting with gravies for years. This one strikes the ideal balance – the herbs and tamari make it salty and savory, and the Beyond Meat Crumbles are the perfect hearty bite to satisfy your morning appetite.

Serve this to any southerner – or southerner at heart – with a side of steamed greens and tempeh bacon for an amazing breakfast! Also a great option for brunches if you have company staying with you over the upcoming holiday season.

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Flaky Breakfast Biscuits

1/3 cup warm water (not boiling!)

2/3 cup plain almond milk, room temperature

1 packet active yeast

1 Tbl. sugar

2 1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1 1/2 Tbl. baking powder

1/2 cup cold vegan margarine (we used Earth Balance)

Combine water and almond milk in non-reactive dish (like glass or plastic). Add sugar and yeast packet, stir gently and allow to bloom in a warm area for 10-15 minutes. Mixture will be foamy and bubbly.

In a large non-reactive bowl, sift together flour and baking powder. Using a pastry cutter or fork, cut the cold vegan margarine into the flour until you achieve the texture of course sand – it will be like a crumb topping. Don’t overmix the margarine, a few chunks are fine and will give the biscuits a delicious taste and texture.

When yeast has bloomed, gently stir it into the flour/margarine combo until just combined. Don’t overwork, or the biscuits will be tough. Allow to rise in the mixing bowl for 30-40 minutes. This step is crucial to getting a light, airy biscuit!

After rising, preheat oven to 400. Turn biscuit dough onto a floured surface and press down to about one-inch flat. There’s no need to use a rolling pin, the rustic look of doing things by hand is perfect for biscuits! Use a ball jar, drinking glass or cookie cutter to make round biscuit shapes. Cut into 12 to 15 round biscuits and repeat with any leftover dough until it’s all used up.

Transfer biscuits to a parchment-lined cookie sheet and bake for 20 minutes at 400. When done, the biscuits will have doubled in size and turned a golden brown color. Allow to cool 5 minutes before serving.

These biscuits can also be made a day or two ahead and re-warmed in the oven or toaster oven to make serving easy! Just store in a container or bag in the fridge until ready to serve. Also, if you like jams and jellies, these biscuits go well with sweet breakfasts, too – or even work as dinner rolls!

 

Beyond Meat Herbed Gravy

Cooks’ Note: Before you start this recipe, you need to know about kuzu root starch. It’s our favorite thickener and will show up flour roux, arrowroot and cornstarch any old day of the week in gravies, pies and other recipes. But, it’s not easy to find. Eden foods makes it, and you can buy it on Amazon or at most Whole Foods locations. It’s important to follow the directions, though. If you don’t dissolve it in cold water first, it won’t work!  Can’t get your hands on kuzu root starch? No worries. You can still make this with cornstarch or arrowroot, which are widely available at any grocer. Just mix  3 Tbl. cornstarch or arrowroot with 4 Tbl. water instead and follow the directions below.

1 Tlb. whole fennel seeds

1 Tbl. tamari or soy sauce (we use San-J brand)

1 tsp. powdered dry sage

1 tsp. marjoram

1/2 tsp. dried thyme

1/2 tsp. dried tarragon

1/2 tsp. white pepper

pinch cayenne, optional

pinch nutmeg, optional

1 package Beyond Meat Beefy Crumbles, thawed

4 cups vegetable stock

3 Tbl. kuzu root starch, dissolved in 4 Tbl. cold water

Over medium-low heat, add fennel seeds to a large pot. Toast fennel seeds about 1 to 2 minutes, until just fragrant; do not brown or burn seeds. You can skip this step if you are in a hurry, however, toasting will really change and maximize the flavor.

Add tamari sauce,  sage, marjoram, thyme, tarragon, white pepper, cayenne and nutmeg to the pan with entire pack of Beyond Meat Beefy Crumbles. Over low heat, allow herbs to flavor Beyond Meat for about 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally.

In a small bowl, combine kuzu root starch with cold water. Stir briskly to dissolve and set aside.

Add vegetable stock to the pot with herbs and Beyond Meat. Simmer about 2 to 3 minutes, until broth is warmed through, then add the kuzu root starch in water. Bring gravy to a low boil, stirring frequently. It will thicken up in about 3 to 5 minutes. When it reaches your desired thickness, take it off the heat and serve over warm biscuits!

This gravy is also delicious over mashed potatoes!

 

To try Beyond Meat, check out their latest coupon at this link!

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ExpoFinds: the Neat Egg

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Last year (2013) at the Natural Products Expo East we found and fell in love with Neat. It’s plant-based “meat” made from pecans, chickpeas & oats, and the company is local to us, based in Lancaster, PA. At the time, they had three varieties of Neat: Italian, Mexican and Original. We tried all three and have been loyal customers ever since. “Neatballs” are a favorite around here on spaghetti-night, and our non-vegan family and friends also give these meat replacements the thumbs-up. It’s exciting – we’ve seen their company grow from Neat being available only online to being carried at Wegman’s and MOM’s locations. Awesome!

This year at EXPO, the nice folks from Neat were showcasing their newest item – the Neat Egg!NeatEgg_lr

The Neat Egg is a powdered egg replacer for baking and cooking. It’s made of chia seeds and chickpea flour, and works in any recipe that uses egg as a binder. You can’t make it like a scrambled egg or omelette, but it’s great for quick breads, muffins and things like that. It also works well in Neatballs – as the original Neat mixes need a binder to form into balls, loaves and patties.

We haven’t had a chance yet to create a new recipe using the Neat Egg, but we’re used chia seeds in baked goods before and they work well, so this product looks like yet another winner from the Neat company! As soon as we have a moment to test this out, we promised to post a recipe! Till then, be sure to check out the Neat Egg and the rest of the Neat line!

Baked: Thick Cookie Sandwiches

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Hardworking people deserve hardworking treats. Like our friend Lisa at Burleigh Manor Animal Sanctuary. Seven days a week in rain, snow, heat and whatever, she cares for her rescued farm animals. Horses, pigs, goats, chickens, sheep, mules, donkeys, bunnies, cats, a dog and a cow.  And each one needs attention and care daily.

Because Lisa is so awesome and took in all these beautiful creatures, we thought she deserved some cookies that work as hard are she does. This sandwich has it all – flax seeds, oats, peanut butter and decadent chocolate filling. If you know someone who deserves a special reward, try these cookies. Or reward yourself. These are great for sharing at parties, potlucks or picnics, too!

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Thick Cookie Sandwiches

Cookies:

1 Tbl. ground flaxmeal

1/2 cup vanilla soy milk

2 cups oats

2 cups all purpose flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp. baking powder

pinch cinnamon

pinch salt

3/4 cup chunky peanut butter, warmed slightly to make soft

1/2 cup sugar

3/4 cup brown sugar

1 tsp. vanilla

2 cups mini chocolate chips (we used Enjoy Life)

 

Soak ground flaxmeal in soy milk. It will become thick and gooey.  Preheat oven to 350 and line two baking sheets with Silpats or parchment paper.

Combine dry ingredients: oats, flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. In another bowl, beat peanut butter, sugar, brown sugar and vanilla until smooth. Add the flax meal/soy milk to the liquid ingredients and fold into the mix.

Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in peanut butter mixture. Incorporate the wet and dry ingredients until throughly mixed and slightly crumbly. Add the mini chips by hand until evenly dispersed.

Dough may be crumbly; if needed add a few drops of water until it holds together. Form 20 large cookies and  place on baking sheets. Bake for about 15 minutes, until cookies are firm and lightly browned. Allow to cool on cookie sheet for 20 minutes. Before making the sandwiches, be sure to cool completely to room temperature, or allow to cool overnight.

Filling:

1/2 cup Earth Balance, room temperature

1 container vegan cream cheese, room temperature (we used Tofutti)

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted

3 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted

2 Tablespoons chocolate soy milk

1 tsp. vanilla

Cream together Earth Balance and vegan cream cheese until smooth and well-combined. This is easiest in a stand mixer, but a hand mixer or a wooden spoon & lots of effort also work. Add sifted cocoa powder and beat well until mixed. Next, add in the powdered sugar in 1-cup increments, being careful to avoid making a cloud of sugar with the beaters. Finally, add in chocolate soy milk and vanilla, and beat several more minutes until fluffy and creamy.

If the filling is too thin to smear on cookies, add more powdered sugar; if it’s thick, add a little more chocolate soy milk. Filling can be made in advance and stored in fridge for a few days.

 

Assemble:

First, make sure you have an even number of cookies, as each will need a sandwich top and bottom.

Using a butter knife or icing knife, smear a heavy coating of filling on half of the cookies. Try to use about the same amount on each cookie. Top with the un-frosted cookie and you’re done!