Archive for June, 2010

Blondies, Re-Tried, Perfected

Last summer, I made Hannah Kaminsky’s Butterscotch Bars, from her book My Sweet Vegan, and I loved the blondie taste. Deliciously sweet, with a vanilla aftertaste and spiked with chocolate chip morsels in every bite. I made them again this summer, but with one change: Last time I made them, these blondies were cakey and fluffy – I was looking for something more fudgey. So, this time, I left out the baking powder in the recipe, and they came out perfectly. Not too dense, but with a more brownie-like texture. Summer is definitely here, and brownies and blondies are calling my name, to be ready for all the picnics I plan on going on during these beautiful blue-sky worry-free days. I can’t wait to try all of Hannah’s blondie recipes from her new(ish) ebook!

Rosemary Lemon Sugar Cookies

This recipe, for rosemary butter cookies, was originally from my Martha Stewart cookie cookbook. I made it vegan, and added lemon. Crispy and sweet, with the herby rosemary taste light on the palate, all I can say is Thank you, Martha.

Rosemary Lemon Cookie Ingredients:

1 cup Earth Balance margarine, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg’s worth of Ener-G Egg Replacer, blended till frothy
1 tsp. vanilla
1 Tbsp. fresh rosemary, finely chopped
2 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
2 1/4 cups flour
1/4 cup almond milk (for brushing)

Beat the Earth Balance and sugar together in a stand mixer or with a spoon until pale, light and fluffy. Add the egg replacer and vanilla and mix until well blended. Add the rosemary, lemon zest, and flour and mix well.

Divide the dough in half and shape them into logs and place on a piece of parchment paper. roll the logs about 1 1/2″ in diameter. Chill in the fridge or freezer for at least an hour (more is fine).

Preheat the oven to 375º F. take the logs out of the fridge, brush with almond milk and roll in sugar. Cut the logs into 1/4″ slices and place on a parchment covered baking sheet. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the edges are golden brown. Cool on a wire rack before eating.

Takin’ It Easy

I’m on vacation in New York, which means I am taking it a little easy with the postings (sorry) but of course I am still baking up a storm! Sadly, I did not bring my entire cupboard of gluten-free flours across the country with me, so we improvised a little when we wanted to make gluten-free cupcakes…and (gasp!) we used a gluten-free vegan cake mix! Because I am who I am, I had to drastically adapt it, but it started with a cake mix and therefore I can’t share the recipe with you. But, I can tell you what flavors were included in these cupcakes, which were scrum-diddly-umptious.

The cake mix was for a golden vanilla gluten-free cake. My friend Becca and I added about 2 cups of coconut milk instead of the 3/4 cup of water it called for, we used coconut oil instead of canola, and we added a handful of dried shredded unsweetened coconut to the batter. We had very coconutty-vanilla cupcakes, to say the least! After baking and cooling, we piped on an airy vanilla buttercream frosting, and sprinkled chopped thai basil and coconut chips over the top. The cupcakes were so fluffy and moist and the thai basil really complimented all the coconut! I have learned two lessons: 1. Baking from a boxed mix works. Very well. 2. Thai basil is my favorite cupcake addition. I might just be adding it to more cupcakes in the future!

Peach Cupcakes with Brown Sugar Frosting

Happy (belated) Birthday, Sari!!!

One of my favorite cookie blogs is Smitten Kitchen – I am always drooling over Deb’s fabulous recipes and gorgeous pictures. However, for some reason, I haven’t made many of them for myself. For my friend Sari’s birthday, I knew we needed to bring in Summer with style! Deb’s Peach Cupcakes with Brown Sugar Frosting were right up that alley, and I hopped right to it and whipped them up. They are simple and have such a light fruity and wholesome flavor to them, and they satisfy all dessert cravings. They were perfect for the picnic party.

To veganize the recipe, I used:

1 1/2 cups of unsweetened almond milk mixed with 1 1/2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar — instead of buttermilk

2 1/2 Tablespoons of cornstarch blended with 1/4 cup water — instead of both eggs

Earth Balance margarine — instead of butter, in equal proportion

I added about 1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice and 1/2 cup of extra powdered sugar to the frosting to get the consistency and flavor I liked best.

Deb, thank you for this recipe! Yum!

Lime Frosting Forever

When I made about a zillion cupcakes for the Vegan Cupcake Competition (as posted about previously, here), I made about a zillion batches of Lime Buttercream Frosting as well. I thought I would need that much…But in the end I didn’t even use half of it! I had a ton left over, and a birthday party to attend, so what better idea than to bake a birthday cake and frost it with Lime Buttercream?! The birthday girl approved, and I began brainstorming about what kind of cake I should make. Forming the idea primarily around the frosting was exciting. So many flavor combinations could go well with lime…But what would be best? I settled on the most unusual that I could think of. It turned out to be by far the best idea I’ve had recently, and incorporated all the fruity flavors of lime, avocado, and apricot.

In October, I made an Orange Chocolate Cake that had avocado as a central ingredient. However, it was a secret ingredient, because you could not see or taste any evidence of it in the baked cake! My friend Rachel made a version of the cake for her own birthday, leaving out the orange flavor, and radically leaving out the chocolate as well! The cake was tinted a very slight green, and retained a hint of the avocado flavor. This seemed like a brilliant idea, and I decided to make Zoe’s birthday cake this way too.

In between the three layers of avocado cake, I spread a thick layer of apricot jam and drizzled a dark chocolate ganache (melted semi-sweet chocolate, mixed with a little bit of unsweetened almond milk to keep it soft and creamy). I slathered the whole cake with Lime Buttercream Frosting (recipe here) and topped it with a heavy pile of sliced fresh strawberries. This was an incredible and zesty cake, and all the flavors worked together perfectly.

Happy Birthday, Zoe!

Green Avocado Cake Ingredients:
Makes 3 thick 9-inch rounds

4 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
4 Tblsp. cornstarch
3/4 tsp. salt
3 tsp. baking powder
3 tsp. baking soda
3 cups granulated sugar
3/8 cup canola oil
3/4 cup soft avocado, well mashed, about 1 1/2 medium avocados
3 cups water
3 Tblsp. apple cider vinegar
1 Tblsp. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350º F. Grease and flour three 9-inch round cake pans. Set aside.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, cornstarch, salt, baking powder, and baking soda.

Add all the wet ingredients into a blender (oil, avocado, water, apple cider vinegar, vanilla). Blend until smooth. Add sugar into the wet mix and stir until it is incorporated.

Make a well in the dry mix, and pour all of the wet mix into it. Beat by hand with a whisk until smooth – be careful not to overmix.

Pour batter into your greased and floured cake pans. Bake for 30-40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Let cakes cool in pans for about 15 minutes, then turn out onto cooling racks to cool completely before filling with apricot jam and chocolate ganache, and slathering with Lime Buttercream Frosting. Top with sliced fresh strawberries.


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Vegan, Gluten-Free, Refined Sugar-Free Maple Raspberry Cake

Vegan, Gluten-Free, Refined Sugar-Free Maple Raspberry Cake

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