Thursday, April 30, 2009

Peanut Butter Cup Cake

Peanut Butter Cups are by far the very best candy around. There is nothing that can top the smooth, melt-in-your mouth interior of the peanut butter when combined with the first solid, and then gooey ridges of the chocolate. In an effort to recreate the iconic candy in cake form, I experimented with making a peanut butter frosting. 

About 98% of the recipes I encounter for vegan frosting include ingredients such as non-hydrogenated vegan margarine, such as Earth Balance. While this may have the same consistency of butter, I think using butter-substitutes is cheating. My theory about vegan eating is eliminating the unnecessary chemicals and animal products from a diet. Who wants to eat something that is processed and definitely not found in nature? 

The cake itself is very vegan, very chocolate, and very tasty. I apologize for the lack of picture, but I smoothed the frosting on only the top of the cake when it was completely cooled, and sprinkled it with slivered almonds. It looked gorgeous if I don't say so myself!

Peanut Butter Cup Cake


1 cup cold water

1 1/2 cups flour

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 cocoa powder

1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/3 cup olive oil

1 tablespoon vinegar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk the dry ingredients except sugar together. Combine the wet ingredients including sugar in another bowl. Add both mixtures together and stir. 
Bake for around 30 minutes in a round cake pan. This time will be 15 minutes if you are making cupcakes. 


1 cup of smooth peanut butter

1/2 cup powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

equal parts oil and water

Combine the peanut butter, sugar and vanilla extract together. Add equal parts oil and water in small increments to the mixture until the consistency is smooth but will hold. 

When the cake is completely cooled, spread the peanut butter frosting on only the top of the cake, sprinkle with slivered almonds. Crushed peanut butter cups would be delicious also, but keep in mind that they are not vegan. 

Friday, April 10, 2009

Abbe's Apple Crunch Delight

The following recipe is a creation from my fellow-dancer friend Abbe. 

It is no secret that the combination of nuts and apples is such a classic and time-tested duet of flavors. (Just think of peanut butter and apples). By adding a smidgen of cinnamon sugar and honey, there is a pleasant sweetness drawn out of the apples that makes the perfect healthy dessert. A bit of oats makes this reminiscent of an apple pie, without the guilt inducing butter. 

Abbe's Apple Crunch Delight 

2 cups of mixed nuts (pecans, cashews, almonds, pumpkin seeds)

1 cup oats

1/4 cup almond milk

4 squares of graham crackers

Extra oats

3 tablespoons honey

2 chopped Fuji apples

3 tablespoons cinnamon

3 tablespoons sugar

Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
Pulse topping ingredients in a blender or food processor to a mush-like texture. 
Take apple chunks and coat in the cinnamon and sugar.
Grease a 9 inch cake pan with cooking spray. Pour apple mixture into the pan. 
Pour the "mush" over the apples. Top with "Drizzle" ingredients. 
Place the cake pan in the oven and bake for around 40 minutes, or until the apples are tender and browned. 

Serve warm and a la mode. 

Chocolate Orange Scone Cookies

In an effort to prepare for the upcoming Easter weekend, I wanted to get a head start on my sweet tooth mania. After acquiring a delicious bag of Dove dark chocolate nuggets and a big bag of quick cooking oats,  I decided to do a little improvisation on a recipe from Vegan With a Vengeance. 

The result was a hybrid between a cookie and a scone, hence, the creation of the scone-cookie. The baked good is not as dense as the traditional scone, but definitely as flat as a cookie. I do enjoy the hard, crunchy coating because it easily allows the eater to pull off the top, much like a muffin cap, (which everyone knows is the best part). 

Though these are peculiar goodies, I think they are an eclectic addition to any brunch get together, and will have guests pondering with amazement how such a texture could have been achieved. 

Chocolate Orange Scone Cookies
makes around 15 

 2 cups all purpose flour

3/4 cups almond milk

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1/3 cup raw sugar

1/4 cup quick oats

1/4 teaspoons salt

3 tablespoons grated orange

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup applesauce

2 tablespoons baking powder

1 cup chopped dark chocolate

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a cookie sheet. 
Add the almond milk and the lemon juice together. Let sit for 5 minutes. 
In large mixing bowl sift flour, sugar, baking powder, oats and salt. Add the milk-lemon mixture to the dry ingredients. Add orange zest, vanilla extract, oil and applesauce. Stir in dark chocolate. 
Place tablespoons of batter onto the cookie sheet about 2 inches apart. Sprinkle the tops with sugar. 
Bake around 20 minutes, until golden brown. Keep an eye on them so the bottoms do not burn!
Bake for around 20 minutes. 

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Mexican Wedding Cookies

It is rare that any type of butter is ever in my refrigerator, let alone a large block of it staring me in the face. Leftover from the Birthday Frittata ingredients, I wanted to use up the butter in a delicious, tried and true cookie recipe. 

After researching several recipes, I thought, who better to create a butter-based cookie than Food Network's one and only Paula Deen! I was partial to Mexican Wedding Cookies not only because of their melt-in-your mouth texture, but because they require very few ingredients. Her recipe calls for 1 cup of finely chopped pecans, but I omitted them so nothing would get in the way of them dissolving in my mouth. 

Don't you feel more Latin already? Ole'!

Mexican Wedding Cookies
yields 2 dozen cookies

1 cup butter

1/2 cup confectioners sugar plus more for rolling

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 3/4 cups flour

Preheat oven to 275 degrees. 
Cream the butter and the sugar. Add in the vanilla while stirring the mixture. Gradually add in the flour and stir until combined. The dough should be sticky, but mine was a little too dry at this point so I added a tiny splash of milk. 
Form 1 inch balls from the dough, and place on a greased cookie sheet. They hardly spread so they can be spaced relatively close together. 
Bake for around 40 minutes until golden. 
When they are cool enough to handle but still warm, roll in confectioners sugar to coat. 

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Bacon Cheddar Birthday Frittata

Although I advocate baking vegan,  sometimes a full on indulgence is a very good thing! My roommate is not very into sweets, so for his birthday my friend Abbe and I decided to make him a bacon cheddar frittata! Although this was my first time making both bacon and a frittata, it turned out to be quite a success! Both savory and fluffy, this egg-based dish will hopefully hit the spot whenever my roommate pines for something delicious. 

Happy frittata-ing!

Bacon Cheddar Frittata
serves many!

1 dozen eggs

1/2 cup whole milk

1/2 a red onion

4 baby yukon potatoes 

1 package of bacon

1/4 cup cooking oil

6 tablespoons butter

2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, plus more for sprinkling on top

1 1/2 tablespoon sea salt to taste

1 tablespoon pepper

Grease a casserole dish VERY well with cooking spray and butter. 

Heat the oil and 3 tablespoons butter on medium high heat in a large skillet. Place bacon strips in the oil and fry until golden brown and crispy on the edges. Remember to flip them during the cooking process so they are evenly browned. Remove strips with a spoon and let drain on paper towels. 

Crack all of the 12 eggs into a large bowl. Whisk in the milk and add the cheddar. Whisk all the ingredients together until well blended. Add salt and pepper to the mixture. 

Pour out some of the bacon oil, and add the remaining butter. Chop the onions and potatoes into bite-size pieces and add to the skillet. Saute for about 15 minutes, or until the potatoes have browned and crispy edges. 

Add the potato-onion mixture to the egg mixture. And then pour everything into the casserole dish. Place dish into a 350 degree oven. Bake for around 30 minutes, until the cheese is golden brown and the egg has set. 

Serve while still hot!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

New Baking Technique for Vegan Brownies!

I was extremely excited earlier this week when I discovered a new technique for baking vegan goodies on one of my favorite blogs, Cookie Madness. So intrigued was I with this new method that I immediately went down into my kitchen, took out my baking supplies, and tried it out, no matter that this was at 8 o'clock in the morning, and I was nearly late to my class.

While these bars are more cake-like than brownie-like, they come out rich in chocolate, and are relatively healthy due to the lack of eggs, milk or butter in them. In fact, baked in a round pan and slathered in frosting, the recipe could easily double as a birthday cake!

Without further ado...

Vegan Brownies (Adopted from Cookie Madness)
serves around 16

2 cups all purpose flour

1 cup water

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup white sugar

1 teaspoon salt

3/4 cups unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 cup vegetable or olive oil

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup nuts (optional)

1/2 cup vegan chocolate chips (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a brownie pan very well. 

(The new technique part comes next)

Place 1/2 cup of flour and the 1 cup of water in a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk until the mixture becomes thick and gluey. 

Stir together the sugar, salt, cocoa powder and baking powder. Add oil and vanilla and stir until well mixed. Add the gluey flour mixture and stir. Add the rest of the flour and nuts and chocolate chips if desired.
Pour the mix into the pan and bake for around 25 minutes. 
Let cool and cut into bars!