This is an old recipe that has been tweaked and changed many, many times at this point. Along with the occasional peanut butter cookies, these were a regular in our house while I was growing up. These are also the first cookies that I ever learned how to make. From start to finish, they don’t disappoint. I have always been one of those weird people who almost enjoys the dough more than the finished product, and these cookies are no exception. On more than one occasion, I have made a whole batch of this cookie dough just for the sake of eating.

I could be wrong, but it’s possible that this recipe originally started from the back of a Nestle’s chocolate chip bag. Since then, it has been tweaked with the addition of oats, an adjustment of sugar and a combination of butter and shortening. Aside from replacing the eggs along with general veganizing, I have also switched the flour from white to whole-wheat.

Most surprisingly of all, these cookies taste just as good as I remember them. I might think I was crazy if it weren’t for the rave reviews they have been receiving from even the non-vegan testers. They are thin and crispy, with the perfect balance of chocolate chips and chopped walnuts. They’re buttery, but not too oily, and just sweet enough without overdoing it. Even Peter’s definitely-non-vegan, somewhat-skeptical dad couldn’t help himself from having more than one when he came to visit. Now, if you ask me, that’s saying something.  :)

Plain and simple, these cookies are a hit. A recipe has to be pretty good for me to stick to it and keep making it again, and these cookies pass the test.

Enjoy!

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup vegan Earthbalance butter, 1/2 cup vegan shortening
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 smashed banana OR 2 Tablespoons ground flax seed mixed with 6 Tablespoons water (equivalent of 2 eggs)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or a little more!)
  • 1 cup whole-wheat all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 cups oats
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts (or a mix of nuts)
  • 1 16-oz package vegan chocolate chips

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Stir/beat together the butters, sugars, vanilla, baking soda and salt until light and fluffy.
  3. Beat in the egg replacer. Stir in flour and then oats.
  4. Stir in the chocolate chips and the nuts last.
  5. Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls onto an un-greased cookie sheet.
  6. Bake for 9-10 minutes (mine were done closer to 12-15 minutes when using the banana).

Warning! This recipe makes about four dozen good-sized cookies. Making a half-recipe yields a pretty good amount, especially if you like your cookies on the smaller side.

This page from the Post Punk Kitchen offers some great tips for vegan baking and for replacing things like eggs, milk and butter. The next time you’re trying to veganize something, check it out!

So, I know this soup sounds a little weird. When I first mentioned it to Peter, he was not enthused. Yogurt soup with Barley and Spinach? I mean… what? And I know that the picture can only add so much. Yes, it’s a yellow-greenish colored soup. But really, this soup is good. It’s warm and hearty, and packed with flavor. I made a giant batch and ate it every day for lunch for a week until it was gone. A piece of good crusty bread makes the soup even better.

This is another one of those recipes that I used to love as a kid, but haven’t had for years now. It’s also something that definitely wasn’t vegan. That’s okay — I love a good challenge, and this soup turned out to be surprisingly easy to veganize. The key is to find some really good plain soy yogurt. For me, this meant using stuff that was home-made. If the yogurt is sweet at all, I really don’t think it would work. I’m not sure which cookbook this recipe originally came from, but here’s my version:

(Vegan!) Yogurt Soup with Barley and Spinach

Ingredients

  • 7 cups vegetable stock
  • 1/2 to 1 cup pearl barley, rinsed and drained
  • 1 lb spinach or 1 (10 oz.) package frozen spinach (you could also use a mixture of greens)
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 2 cups plain soy yogurt (1 pint)
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/4 cup vegan butter or olive oil
  • 1 medium-sized onion, chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint, or 4 teaspoons crushed dry mint
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • lemon wedges to squeeze over individual bowls of soup

Preparation

  1. Bring stock to a boil over high heat; add barley. Cover and cook for one hour, or until tender. Meanwhile, defrost the spinach (if using frozen), and cut into strips.
  2. In a small pan, blend the cornstarch and water. Stir in the yogurt and sugar. Stir over medium-high heat until it boils, then remove from heat and set aside.
  3. Melt the butter or oil in a saucepan, add the onion and garlic and sauté until soft but not brown.
  4. Stir in the mint, and mix into the soup. Add the spinach when the barley is tender, stir in the yogurt mixture and bring to a boil. Cook for three more minutes.
  5. Thin the soup with more stock or water if needed, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the onion butter or serve on top of each individual bowl.
  6. Don’t forget the lemon wedges!

 

This Mixed Mushroom Soup is a recent recipe from 101 Cookbooks that also features barley. Unfortunately, with mushrooms being one of the main ingredients, I’ll have to make it when Peter’s not around. We’ll see…

Homemade Granola

November 11, 2010

This is something that I’ve been wanting to make for a long time now. Ever since my dad became gluten-free a few years ago, Wendy has been making him homemade, gluten-free granola, with gluten-free oats, dried fruit, and nuts and seeds galore. Besides eating it for breakfast with soy yogurt, soy milk, or even heated up in the microwave as hot cereal, I can’t help snacking on it straight out of the jar whenever I’m home.  The stuff is just that good. Sometimes, when I time things just right, I happen to be home when Wendy actually makes the granola. There is nothing better than waking up in the morning to the smell of cinnamon and nutmeg drifting up the stairs from a fresh batch of granola in the oven.  Those are the times when I get to bring back an entire bag of granola all for myself.

I got the recipe from Wendy awhile ago, but it always seemed like somewhat of a daunting endeavor. It involved so many oats, and so much chopping of dried fruits and nuts… and for some reason, I had it in my mind that it would need to bake for hours in the oven. Luckily, I was wrong. Making granola was both surprisingly quick and easy. Who would have thought?

I pretty much followed Wendy’s recipe, but changed a few things here and there.  Mostly, I just added a little bit more oil to make it crispier, as per Peter’s request.  Here it is:

Homemade Granola

Ingredients:

  • 5 cups oats (preferably multi-grain, rolled, and NOT the quick-cooking kind)
  • 1/4 cup canola oil (I also sprayed some on and mixed it in while the oats were baking.  Maybe add 2 extra tablespoons instead?)
  • 1/2 cup honey (I used a mix of honey, brown sugar, and agave nectar, heated in the microwave so it would pour and mix in easily)
  • 3 tablespoons molasses
  • 1/3 cup apple juice
  • 1/3 cup wheat bran
  • 1/4 cup flax meal
  • 1/2 cup coconut flakes, unsweetened
  • 1+ cup any or all: walnuts, pecans, almonds, hazelnuts, etc. (I chopped them just a bit)
  • 3/4 cup any or all: flax, sunflower, pumpkin seeds, etc.
  • 2 tablespoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon dried, ground ginger
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries, raisins, chopped apricots, plumbs, etc.

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients (except dried fruit).
  3. Stir in all wet ingredients so that the dry ingredients are equally covered (think of tossing a salad).
  4. Evenly spread the granola mixture onto a rimmed baking sheet and put into the oven.
  5. Bake at 250 degrees F. for 30-45 minutes (or until lightly toasted), stirring every 10-15 minutes so that it doesn’t burn.
  6. About five minutes before taking the granola out of the oven, add the dried fruit and fold it in to the granola.
  7. Done!

Next time, I think I’ll try Heidi’s Big Sur Power Bars Recipe from 101 Cookbooks.  Check out her awesome video!

Mexican Home Fries

November 6, 2010

In my search for some international news about Mexico (to fulfill my assigned blog post topic for the week), I had a hard time finding something non-violence or drug related. However, after looking a bit deeper, I found a great little blog post on The New York Times.com about el Dia de los Muertos, which occurs each year on November 2. For all of the non-Spanish-speaking Americans out there, that translates to the Day of the Dead. Dia de los Muertos is a Mexican tradition that dates back to pre-Hispanic times and celebrates the annual return of those who have died. In Mexico, the celebration is held in cemeteries where dead family members are buried.

Aside from tacos, corn, hot chocolate and pork with pineapple, traditional food includes sugar skulls and Pan de Muerto, or Bread of the Dead. People place sugar skulls on alters after writing the name of the person who died on them, and round, cinnamon-flavored Pan de Muerto represents the circle of life, with sesame seeds to symbolize the tears shed when a loved one dies.

Here’s a photo I found of a sugar skull. Look how small it is!

This year’s main alter honored those who fought in the Mexican Revolution and the Mexican War for Independence. Those who go to the festival put photos of deceased family members on the alter and light candles, placing them alongside fruits, flowers, sugar skulls, Pan de Muerto and marigold flowers.  The smell of marigold flowers is believed to guide the dead to the site.

Lots of marigold flowers. :)

Now, on to more interesting things. Mexican Home Fries! This was one of my all-time favorite recipes as a kid. Until now, the last time I had it must have been almost ten years ago now. Recently, I found the original recipe, and was excited to see that it could easily be veganized just by leaving out the cheese, and substituting creamy plain soy yogurt for sour cream.

Mexican Home Fries

Ingredients

  • 6 to 7 small potatoes
  • 4 to 6 corn tortillas
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 head garlic (chop very large cloves into smaller pieces)
  • 1 heaping cup onion, minced
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt (or more, to taste)
  • a generous amount of black pepper
  • 1 bell pepper, cut into small strips (or a combination of red, yellow and green bell pepper strips)
  • 1/2 cup chopped, pitted black olives (or sliced or left whole for more texture)
  • 1 tomato, chopped (cherry tomatoes work great, too)
  • 3/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • plain soy yogurt, for garnish
  • minced fresh cilantro, for garnish (I left this out since I didn’t have any, and it was still great without it)

Preparation

  1. Scrub the potatoes, and slice thin.
  2. Tear the tortillas into small, 1 or 2-inch pieces, or cut them into wedges.  Set aside.
  3. Heat the oil in a large skillet.  When it is hot, add sliced potatoes.  Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring over medium-high heat, then add the garlic cloves and onions.  Keep the heat medium-high, and use a spatula to move the potatoes around until they are brown and crisp.  This takes about 15 more minutes.
  4. Add cumin, salt and pepper.  Stir until seasonings are well-distributed.
  5. Add bell pepper strips, tortilla pieces, olives and tomato.  Cook and stir about 10 to 15 minutes, until everything is well blended the tender.
  6. Stir in crushed red pepper and lime juice.  Taste and adjust seasonings as needed, and keep stirring until potatoes reach a desired crispiness.
  7. Serve hot, with plain vegan yogurt and minced cilantro on top.

Preparation time: 1 hour

Makes: 4 to 6 main-dish servings.

Surprise!  Peter made cookies again. I have to say, I am still somewhat amazed that he is able to just throw ingredients together and come up with something edible. While this has worked well for him in terms of cooking, I warned him about the chemistry involved in baking, and of the dangers of deviating too much from original recipes. So far, he has pretty much completely ignored my advice. We’ll see…  I still have my doubts as to how long he can keep it up.  While normally I might be worried that I was starting to lose my place as Supreme Baking Queen of the house, my fears were calmed when I realized that while Peter may have a talent for making recipe-less cookies, he lacks confidence in baking anything with an already established recipe. I discovered this about a week ago:

“You should make snicker-doodles!” I suggested when he offered to make cookies.

“But I don’t know how to make those,” he replied, a little sheepishly.

“Oh, that’s okay,” I said. “Make whatever you want then.”

As long as I know that I’m still the true baker of the house, I can enjoy Peter’s cookie-making skills without fear.  With that being said, these most recent cookies of his are probably my favorite ones to date.  :)

Oh, and of course, for everyone’s enjoyment, I’ve posted the recipe as it was written in Peter’s own words. It just wouldn’t be the same otherwise.

Chocolate Sandwich Cookies

Sandwich Cookie Recipe

Dry Ingredients

  • 1+ cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • dash of salt (this wasn’t part of the original recipe, but Peter thinks it needs some for next time)

Wet Ingredients

  • 1-inch slab vegan butter (warmed)
  • < 1/4 cup peanut oil (that means “less than 1/4 cup”)
  • < 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1+ tablespoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup water
  • a good, 1-second squeeze of agave nectar
  • 1/2-second squeeze of maple syrup

Chocolate Filling Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 cup semi-sweet vegan chocolate chips
  • 2+ teaspoons vanilla
  • 3+ tablespoons soymilk

Preparation (makes both cookies and filling at the same time)

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Mix dry ingredients for cookies in a bowl.
  3. Put chocolate chips into a small pot with 1+ tablespoon soymilk. Turn on stove burner to low/very-low heat, and let chocolate chips sit for about 2 minutes, then begin to stir lightly for about 10 seconds.
  4. Mix wet ingredients for cookies in a separate bowl.
  5. Check the chocolate chips.  Add 1 teaspoon vanilla; stir. You want the melting process to be very slow and gradual so that the chocolate doesn’t burn.
  6. Mix wet and dry ingredients.  Check chocolate chips again; stir.
  7. Spoon dough onto cookie sheets.  Put both sheets into oven for 6 minutes.  Rotate cookie sheets after 6 minutes from top to bottom to ensure that cookies bake evenly.
  8. Right after sheet rotation, add 2 tablespoons soymilk and 1 teaspoon vanilla to chocolate chips; stir. The chocolate chip filling should be a “frosting” consistency.
  9. Take out cookies after 6 more minutes (12 minutes total baking time); let cool on cookie sheets.
  10. Spread chocolate chip filling onto one cookie and sandwich with another.

Makes 12 giant sandwich cookies, which Peter recommends cutting in half once they’re done.

After doing a quick Google search for “vegan sandwich cookies”, the first thing that popped up was The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur.  I’ve never heard of her before, bit it looks like this Kelly Peloza girl might know a thing or two about quality vegan baking.  Check her out! I’ve got my eye on her recipe for Bakery Style Crispy Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies (with A Hint of Maple). Best of all, she even managed to shape each cookie into a heart.  :)

Once again, I was unable to take a photo before Peter ate the majority of the batch. Oh well!

There’s been a big tub of frosting in the fridge for awhile now, way back from when I made a birthday cake for one of Peter’s friends a few weeks ago.  While Peter has slowly been eating the frosting straight out of the container, I have been thinking of the perfect recipe to use it in.  I have never made sandwich cookies before, and this was just the excuse I needed to give them a try.  Plus, there’s a vegan sugar cookie recipe that I’ve been determined to get right.  The first time I made the cookies, they came out way too crispy.  I have a tendency to over-bake things, mostly just out of fear of under-baking them.  I also had used whole wheat flour, and this is one of those times when white flour really does make a difference.  In the end, they turned out more like tooth-breaking biscuits that soft, tasty sugar cookies.

I wasn’t going to make the same mistakes again — at least, I thought I wouldn’t.  I dutifully used all-white flour  instead of whole wheat, and I kept a close eye on the cookies while in the oven.  Sadly, my over-baking tendencies still won over, and the cookies were significantly more crispy than they needed to be.  Overall though, they were still good, and I would definitely use the recipe again.  NEXT TIME, I will not over-bake them.  WILL NOT!  Please help me, god.

Both the cookie and the frosting recipe originally came from The Joy of Vegan Baking Cookbook.

 

Sugar Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour (this is a time NOT to use whole wheat!)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup vegan butter, room temperature (I used Earthbalance)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Ener-G Egg Replacer (equals 1 egg)
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preparation:

  1. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a bowl, combine flour and baking powder, and set aside.
  3. In another bowl, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 to 4 minutes with an electric mixer. Add the egg replacer, water, and vanilla extract.  Beat for at least 1 minute, then add the flour mixture and beat until the dough is smooth.
  4. Divide the dough in half and wrap each half in plastic wrap.  Refrigerate for about 1 hour, or until firm enough to roll.  When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  5. Take out half of the chilled dough from the refrigerator and roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface.  It should be about 1/4 inch thick (thicker is better than thinner here).
  6. Cut out the cookies using cookie cutters (or a glass turned upside-down) and place on the prepared baking sheets.  To prevent cookies from spreading and losing their shape, put the baking sheets in the fridge for 10 to 15 minutes.
  7. Bake cookies for 12 to 15 minutes (probably closer to 12), or until they begin to brown around the edges (seriously, RIGHT when you see brown, TAKE THEM OUT BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE!).
  8. Remove from oven and let cool for a few minutes on the baking sheets, then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.

Makes 20 cookies

Chocolate Frosting

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup vegan butter (I used 1/4 cup Earthbalance butter, and 1/4 cup Earthbalance shortening)
  • 3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons water or nondairy milk, or more as needed.

Preparation:

  1. Cream the butter until smooth (an electric mixer really helps here).
  2. On low speed, add powdered sugar, and cream for about 2 minutes.
  3. Add the cocoa powder, vanilla extract, and milk, and turn mixer on high once all ingredients are relatively well-combined.
  4. Beat on high speed until frosting is light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  5. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons more milk if it’s too dry, and cover with plastic warp until ready to use (so it doesn’t try out).

This should be more than enough for sandwich cookies – it makes enough for an entire 9-inch cake.
Enjoy!  :)

Red Lentil Soup

October 23, 2010

I realize that it was only a day or two ago that I posted Peter’s incredible ‘Lil Bit O’Errrthing’ Cookies, but in order to make my J452 deadline, I have to write two posts per week, and Sunday is fast approaching.

I have to say, one of the best things about my J452 Strategic Public Relations Communications class is that it actually does force me to keep up on my blog – something I love doing, but that easily gets tossed to the side when my schedule gets busy.  J452 has also given me a new understanding and appreciation for social media communications.  While I have been a capable and regular user of Facebook for the past couple of years, microblogging has been something that until recently, I’ve stayed away from.  Hopefully, that can be something that changes this term.  At this point, I have a basic (but admittedly still limited) understanding of how to use Twitter.  For awhile I was restricted to simple re-tweets, but I am proud to announce that I now know how to post my own updates, send DM’s (Direct Messages), use @Replies and hashtags.  Maybe someday I’ll figure out how to sent out blog updates via Twitter.  It can’t be that hard, right?

Anyways, here’s the latest recipe.  As usual, this soup was inspired from a recipe I found on 101Cookbooks.com.  I’ve been wanting to make something with red lentils for a long time, and this recipe was a perfect one to use.  This soup is creamy, hearty, and delicious.  It’s extremely simple, and definitely healthy.  Could there be a more perfect combination?

Red Lentil Soup

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 shallots, chopped (I bet green onions would be fine)
  • 1/2 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
  • 6 cups vegetable stock (or water)
  • 1 1/3 cup red lentils, rinsed
  • 1/2 cup brown rice, rinsed
  • salt to taste (instead I added a big teaspoon of Marmite, but I realize this might be hard to find if you haven’t been to England recently)
  • slivered almonds, toasted (optional)
  • kalamata olives, chopped (optional)
  • avocado, chopped (optional)
  • fresh tomatoes, chopped (optional)

Preparation:

  1. In a big soup pot, combine the olive oil, onion, green onions, and red pepper flakes.  Heat on medium until onions turn brown and caramelize a little bit, stirring occasionally.
  2. Stir in the broth, bring to a boil, then stir in the lentils and rice.  Simmer for about 30 minutes, or until the rice isn’t too crunchy anymore.
  3. Serve each bowl topped with almonds, tomatoes, olives, avocado, and a slight drizzle of olive oil if you want.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

By the time I could take a picture, there were only four cookies left. They're that good!

When I got home from Washington D.C. Tuesday night from the PRSSA 2010 National Conference, I was greeted with a multitude of surprises.  Thanks to my wonderful boyfriend, the kitchen was clean, there were fresh flowers on the table, and a matching set of green and yellow gloves, scarf and hat – all individually wrapped in the previous day’s Oregon Daily Emerald newspaper.  On top of all that, there was a fresh batch of chocolate chip cookies on the counter.  I could not have been more happy to come home.

Before I get to the recipe, I should say that this is the first batch of vegan cookies that Peter has ever made – and possibly the first batch of cookies in general that he has ever made.  Not only are they vegan, but I was told that they are healthy too.  Not only did he make up the recipe by himself, but the cookies actually turned out good.  They are giant and crispy, with flavors of toasted hazelnut coming together with cinnamon and nutmeg that are just perfect for fall.

I have to say though, the best part the cookies was reading Peter’s recipe after I had him write it down for safe-keeping.  In Peter’s words, here it is:

Lil’ Bits O’Errrthing Cookies

Dry Ingredients:

  • 1+ cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup turbinado sugar
  • 30-40 hazelnuts, shelled, crushed (by hand) –> then toasted/baked in toaster oven for 2 1/2 minutes.
  • 2 handfuls chocolate chips
  • some sprinkles, to taste
  • some oatmeal, to taste
  • little bit of baking powder
  • little pinch of nutmeg
  • 2 little pinches of cinnamon
  • 1+ teaspoon salt

Wet Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 3/4 to 1-inch slab of vegan butter (EarthBalance)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 egg from happy chicken (not in original recipe, but recommended for next time to make cookies less dry)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1+ teaspoons molasses

Preparation:

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Mix together dry ingredients, form depression in the center once mixed.
  3. Mix wet ingredients; egg last.
  4. Pour wet ingredients into depression in dry ingredients; mix.
  5. Mold into ‘spheres’, place on cookie sheet.
  6. Put into oven, flip cookies AND trays (top-to-bottom) after 5 minutes.  Take out after 4-ish more minutes.  (I wanted to clarify this – basically, after 5 minutes, rotate the two cookie sheets, and yes, flip over each individual cookie).

Makes 24 decent-sized cookies.

Lemon-Poppy Seed Muffins

September 17, 2010


These muffins came about by a need to use up some questionably old soy yogurt.

A little over month ago now, I discovered a big tub of soy yogurt at The Kiva, after many a long search through the more common grocery stores of Eugene.  Then it was time to leave for Europe.  The trip was over two weeks long, and I knew the chances of coming home to un-molded yogurt were thin.  As friends and family will tell you, letting food go to waste is something that I simply don’t let happen.  It’s like throwing money straight into the trash can.  It completely kills me.  And this yogurt was not cheap, let me tell you.  I was desperate.  So I took a risk.  I decided to freeze the yogurt.

Well…   Let’s just say, I’m never doing that again.  Next time, I’ll risk leaving it in the fridge.

But that still hasn’t stopped me from trying to use it in the most creative ways possible to disguise it’s new curdled, nasty texture.  So far, no one has gotten sick.  So I really think it’s okay.  And as of tonight, the freezer yogurt is used up and gone for good.

In the end, these muffins turned out surprisingly good.  They are light and fluffy, and not too sweet.  It’s 9:18pm, and Peter has had four so far.  And he said he didn’t like lemon in baked things…  :)

This recipe was inspired by Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s Vegan with a Vengeance cookbook.

Lemon-Poppy Seed Muffins

Ingredients:

  • 1 c. whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 c. unbleached, all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 c. sugar
  • 1 T. baking powder
  • 1/4 t. salt
  • 1/3 c. canola oil
  • 3/4 c. soy milk (or other non-dairy milk)
  • 3/4 c. (or 1 6oz. container) soy yogurt, plain or vanilla
  • 1 1/2 t. vanilla extract
  • 2 T. finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 t. lemon juice
  • 1 T. poppy seeds

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

In a large bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the oil, soy milk, yogurt, vanilla, and lemon juice.  Add the lemon zest to the wet ingredients.  Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ones.  When they are half-way mixed in, fold in the poppy seeds.

Spray a muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray.  Fill each cup about two-thirds of the way full.  Bake for 20 to 25 minutes (mine only needed 20 mins).  Check to see if they’re done by inserting a toothpick into the center – it should come out clean.

These muffins are best served warm.

Makes 12 little tiny muffins.

Strawberry Cupcakes

September 11, 2010



I realize it’s been awhile since I’ve posted anything.  But I’m back.  And this time, I have a kitchen of my own.  After buying a rather disappointing carton of organic strawberries from Safeway, I decided to try and make the most of it.  The solution?  Strawberry Cupcakes, of course.  :)

Originally, this recipe came from The Joy of Vegan Baking cookbook.  As usual, I’ve made a few changes.  I only had enough strawberries to make a half recipe – 6 cupcakes, but I’ll post ingredients for a full set of 12 cupcakes.

Surprisingly, these cupcakes are incredibly delicious, and I even made them low-fat!  They scored high marks with the non-vegan boyfriend, who was ready to eat all six in one sitting.  :)

Strawberry Cupcakes (Low-fat!)

Ingredients:

  • 1 c. whole wheat flour, 3/4 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 t. baking soda
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 1/3 c. apple sauce
  • 2 t. canola oil
  • 1 T. white distilled vinegar
  • 1 t. vanilla extract
  • 8 oz. fresh (or frozen) strawberries, crushed or pureed
  • 1 recipe Buttercream Frosting
  • 12 whole strawberries, stemmed (or 6 strawberries, cut in half)

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Lightly grease standard muffin tins, or fill with paper cupcake liners (my cupcakes stuck to the paper ones, so I would advice not using them for this recipe).

Mix together the flour, baking soda, and sugar in a bowl.  In a separate bowl, combine the applesauce, oil, vinegar, and vanilla.

Add the strawberries and stir to combine.  Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients, and add the wet ingredients.

Stir to combine, but don’t over-stir.  Pour the batter into the prepared muffin tins.

Bake for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool.  When cook, frost with frosting and a strawberry.

Buttercream Frosting

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 c. vegan butter (Earthbalance, NOT the super soft SmartBalance vegan butter)
  • 2 c. powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 1/2 t. vanilla extract
  • more flour or powdered sugar if needed to thicken

Preparation:

With an electric mixer (or by hand), cream the butter until smooth.  With the mixer on low speed, add the powdered sugar and vanilla.  Beat on high speed until the frosting is light and fluffy (3 or 4 minutes).  Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of soymilk if the frosting is too dry.  Cover with plastic wrap, and keep in the fridge until ready to use on the cupcakes.  My frosting was very runny, even after being refrigerated.  I’m guessing it was because I used the soft SmartBalance butter instead of the usual Earthbalance.

Makes 12 cupcakes.