Tag Archives: holiday baking

this one goes out to the ones I love

10 Feb

I am adrift in a sea of templates, CSS and code. Alas, I am making progress on my awesome new improvements to nom! nom! nom! and shall be debuting them soon.

In the meantime, here is a recipe from my upcoming book Have Your Cake and Vegan Too. Out of all 50 recipes, this is definitely in my personal top 5, perhaps even my top 2. It would make a fabulous cake for Valentine’s Day. Your only requirement is that you have to watch the YouTube video below, as it is classic comedy gold, plus the namesake of this mouth-watering treat. If you end up making the cake, you have an obligation to sing the song at least once.

Dad is Great Chocolate Cake

If you’re still freaking out about tofu in dessert do yourself and everyone else a favor and get over it! This loaf cake is delicious and decadent and so very simple. My insanely picky little brother (who lives off of chicken fingers and french fries, no joke) loved it and so I made sure to tease him about the fact that he ate tofu after polishing off his piece. Hehehehe… he never knew.

Cake:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup baking cocoa, sifted
1 teas. baking powder
1/2 teas. baking soda
1/4 teas salt
1 cup milk of choice
1/3 cup oil
1 1/2 teas. vanilla
1/4 teas. mild vinegar
3 tbsp. crushed chocolate cookies, crushed nuts or shaved chocolate to garnish

Chocolate Cream:
1 12 oz. aseptic container of firm silken tofu, room temperature
1 1/4 cups chocolate chips
2 tbsp. brown rice syrup or agave
1/4 teas vanilla

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease and dust (with cocoa powder) a 9×5 loaf pan.

In a small bowl, combine the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In another bowl, combine the milk, oil, vinegar and vanilla. Let sit for a minute. Add the dry to wet in batches, beating until just smooth. Spread the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 40-45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cake cool in the pan for 15 minutes before loosening and transferring to the cooling rack.

While cake is baking, prepare the chocolate cream. In a double boiler over low heat, melt the chocolate until smooth, stirring often. If you don’t have a double boiler, put about 1-2 inches of water in a pot and place a heat-safe bowl over it, making sure the bottom of the bowl is suspended over the water. In the bowl of a food processor or blender, crumble the tofu. Blend for about 30 seconds, until fairly smooth. Add the melted chocolate, brown rice syrup and vanilla and blend until well incorporated, scraping down the bowl or canister as needed. Transfer the cream to a container and chill in fridge for at least 1 hour.

To assemble: Carefully cut the completely cooled cake into thirds using a cake leveler or knife. Spread 1/3 of the chocolate cream on top of the bottom layer and place the middle layer on top. Spread another 1/3 of the cream on that layer then place the top layer on. Spread the final 1/3 on top of the cake. Garnish with crumbled cookies or chocolate shavings.

Store cake in an sealed container in the fridge.

a holiday baking explosion

20 Dec

Happy Holidays!

I have been doing a lot of baking, which I promptly package up and send to work with Jim, lest I sit around eating it all day while hunting for a job. Seriously, dozens of cookies, muffins and bread… it could get bad. But, I love to bake, so bake I shall. How could I not, with my rusty, trusty tome?

In lieu of the holidays, rather than just making a batch of cookies, tossing them into Tupperware and calling it good, I got a little overly excited last week and sort of overdid it. Things will be quiet on these fronts through the holidays, so in the meantime, let your eyes feast upon this bit of food pr0n.

Snickerdoodles

Mocha Stripes

Snickerdoodles and Mochas were joined by Lemon Drops and Fudgie Wudgie bites

Orange Chocolate Chip Mini-Muffins (one recipe makes 3 dozen minis!)

Each department also got a small loaf of my Holiday Bread, infused with orange zest and speckled with dried cranberries- yum!

The whole lot, ready for eating

Here are the recipes for the Lemon Drop Cookies (my favorites!) and the Fudgie Wudgie Brownies. Have a happy and safe holiday, whether you celebrate or whether you eat Chinese food in your pajamas (or whether celebrating includes eating Chinese food in your pajamas)!

vegan fruitcake delight!

15 Dec

I couldn’t resist posting this fruitcake recipe. We never had fruitcake in my family when I was growing up, so I don’t have bad memories of it, but you can’t exist this time of year and not be familiar with the jokes that go along with fruitcake.

This fruitcake, however, is dense, moist and delicious and doesn’t take weeks to cure in the back of you pantry (yuck!). It’s quick and easy and can easily be adapted to meet your fruit cakey preferences (some darker sugar or alcohol, a spike of molasses, etc).

Ah, fruitcake. The butt of many a holiday joke. But no one will give you a hard time about this light cake, studded with dried fruit and nuts. They’ll be too busy stuffing their faces with it. This version is a bit less, um, brilliant than the traditional neon-candied cherries version, but you can feel free to substitute the dried fruit with those familiar favorites if you’d like. The added bonus is that these cakes don’t need to cure, so you don’t have to start working on them in October to enjoy their Yuletide cheer!

1 cup flour
2 tbsp. sugar
1/2 teas. baking powder
1/8 teas. salt
1/3 cup agave
1/2 cup orange juice OR 1/4 cup orange juice and 1/4 cup alcohol (rum or bandy) if going for the boozy taste
2 tbsp. apple sauce
2 tbsp. oil
1 teas. vanilla
1/2 cup chopped nuts of choice
1/2 cup chopped sweet dried fruit of choice (dates, figs, raisins, etc.)
1/2 cup chopped tart dried fruit of choice (apricots, candied orange peel, tart cherries, etc.)
1/3 cup alcohol (same as used in batter) or 1/3 cup apple cider

Preheat oven to 325. Lightly grease and flour 1 loaf pan or 4 mini loaf pans.

In a small bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. In a medium sized bowl, combine the agave, orange juice, 1/4 cup alcohol (if using), applesauce, oil and vanilla. Whisk until combined. Add the dry to the wet in batches, until well combined. Add the nuts and dried fruit and mix until just combined. Spread the batter into the prepared pan(s). For mini cakes, bake for 24-28 minutes and for a full loaf for 45-50 minutes, until lightly golden and a toothpick comes out clean.

Remove cake from oven and set on rack. While warm, poke cake randomly with toothpick to create pin holes. Slowly and evenly pour the remaining alcohol or apple cider over the cakes, a little at at time to allow it time to absorb. Let cakes cool in pan for 20 minutes before inverting and let finish cooling on the rack.

Store cakes wrapped up or in a sealed container in fridge.

cookie, cookie, cookies!

13 Dec

Alright, as promised here is the Chocolate Chip Pecan Cookie recipe, along with another cookie recipe that seems like it will pair perfectly with a cup of tea and some time with loved ones. Fatty sugar alert: these recipes are super not healthy. You have been warned.



Chocolate Chip Pecan Cookies

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teas. baking soda
1/4 teas. salt
1 cup (2 sticks) margarine, softened
1/2 cup organic granulated sugar
1/2 cup organic brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup sugar
1 teas. vanilla
1 teas. cornstarch
1/4 cup milk of choice
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped pecans chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, sift together dry flour, baking soda and salt. In a separate large bowl, cream together sugar, brown sugars and softened margarine. Dissolve the cornstarch in the milk and add to sugar mixtures along with vanilla. Add flour mixture to sugar mixture in batches, then stir in chocolate chips and pecans.

Using a cookie dropper or tablespoon, drop heaping tablespoons of dough onto baking sheet, about 2 inches apart. Bake for 8–-10 minutes, or until edges are slightly golden. Remove cookies from the oven and let cool on the baking sheet pan for 5 minutes, then remove to cool on transfer to a cooling rack. Store cooled cookies in an air-tight container at room temperature.

Yields: 2 1/2 dozen cookies

Spice and Ice Molasses Cookies

These cookies are chewy and deeply flavored. If you like a strong ginger bite, add some chopped crystallized ginger for some extra kick.

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teas. baking soda
1 teas. ground cinnamon
1 1/4 teas. ground ginger
1/8 teas. ground cloves
1/4 teas. salt
3/4 cup margarine, melted
1 cup organic granulated or brown sugar
1/4 cup plus 1 teas. blackstrap molasses
1/2 cup organic granulated sugar

In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, spices and salt. In a large bowl, cream together the melted margarine and the 1 cup of sugar. Add the molasses to the wet mixture and mix well. In batches, add the dry ingredients to the wet until a nice dough comes together. Let chill in fridge for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375 and line baking sheets with parchment, if using. Roll tablespoon sized balls of dough in the remaining sugar to coat well. Place 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 9-11 minutes, until cookies have cracked and spread. Let cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. Store cooled cookies in a loosely covered container at room temperature.

Yields: 2 1/2 dozen cookies

stuff this in your (pumpkin) pie hole

25 Oct

Somewhat recently I was with a friend at Starbucks. Yes, boo Starbucks, whatever, I was there on business. I always like to take a look at their bakery case because they are well loved for their seasonal treats. I have a knock-off of one of their baked snacks they have around Christmas time in my book (a lemon and cranberry bar with lemon icing). What caught my eye this time was a pumpkin muffin with a cream cheese filling. It looked decadent and inviting, so I made note of it.

Being that it’s pumpkin time and I like to put pumpkin in, oh, everything I bake at this time of year, I decided that a vegan version of this muffin was necessary. Like, now. I have no idea what Starbucks’ muffin tastes like, but I can guarantee that these muffins will draw out uncomfortably delighted yummy noises from those who eat them, so beware of the potential for embarrassment if consuming in public.

pumpmuf3

This recipe combines the flavors of two holiday favorites- pumpkin pie and cheesecake. The muffin itself is a moist, pumpkin fest to be enjoyed all the way down to the cheesecake dollop in the middle. As the spices deepen with a little time, I recommend making them the night before eating. These would be perfect to serve the morning after Thanksgiving as you power up to take on Black Friday or whatever it is you do with your family.

I desperately wanted to give them an actual name so here’s what you get when I try too hard:

Cheesecake For Your Pumpkin Pie Hole Muffins

Muffin:
2 1/4 cups flour (I used 1 1/4 white whole wheat and 1 all-purp)
3/4 cup sugar
1 tbsp. baking powder
1/4 teas. salt
2 1/2 teas. pumpkin pie spice
1- 15 oz can pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie mix)
1 cup milk
1/3 cup oil
1 tbsp. molasses
1/2 teas. vanilla

Filling:
2/3 container soy cream cheese (8 oz container, I used Tofutti)
1/4 cup sugar
1 tbsp. plus 2 teas. cornstarch
1/2 teas. vanilla
1 teas. lemon juice

Topping:
1/3 cup pumpkin seeds
2 tbsp. coarse sugar

Preheat oven to 400. Line a muffin tin with liners or grease lightly. Begin by making the filling. In a small bowl, using the back of a fork, mix the cream cheese until creamy. In a small bowl or measuring cup, combine the sugar and cornstarch. Add this mixture to the cream cheese. Add vanilla and lemon juice and mix to combine. Let filling rest in fridge until ready to use.

In a medium sized bowl, combine muffin ingredients starting with flour through pumpkin pie spice. In a large bowl, whisk together pumpkin, milk, oil, vanilla and molasses until smooth. Add flour ingredients in batches until incorporated.

pumpmuf1

Spoon muffin batter into muffin tins until just below the rim. Remove filling from fridge and scoop into a pastry bag with a fat tip. Pipe the filling into the middle of each muffin evenly, pushing tip down into the middle of the muffin and lifting it up as you pipe. Alternately, if you do not have a pastry bag, you can carefully spoon the filling into the middle of each muffin. Sprinkle tops of muffins with pumpkin seeds and coarse sugar.

Bake for 19-21 minutes for regular sized muffins or 27-29 for jumbo muffins, until a toothpick comes out of the side of the muffin clean and cheesecake part is puffy and golden.

Yields: 12 regular sized or 6 jumbo muffins

pumpmuf2