Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cupcakes

It is a shame that pumpkin is used only in the fall. With such availability it has in grocery stores in canned form, the sweet, spicy fruit can, and should be enjoyed all year round. Not to mention fruit purees have the added benefit of upping the vitamin and mineral content of any baked good.

While the pumpkin-chocolate combination is usually found in muffins, (and I won't deny it, this recipe produces one of the more dense cupcakes in "Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World"), with a bit of Cinnamon Icing this makes the perfect dessert on any night. Of course it isn't too bad for breakfast either.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cupcakes
makes a dozen

1 cup canned pumpkin

1/3 cup oil

1 cup sugar

1/4 cup soy milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Stir pumpkin, oil, sugar, soy milk and vanilla. Sift in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Stir with a fork until just combined. (Don't overstir!). Fold in chocolate chips. Fill liners 2/3 of the way full. Bake 22-24 minutes.

Cinnamon Icing

1/2 cup confectioners sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

2 tablespoons Earth Balance margarine, melted

1 tablespoon soy milk

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Whisk together all ingredients until the mixture is opaque and dark brown. Once the cupcakes are cooled, squiggle the icing across the top in decorative patterns.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Mocha Cupcakes!

More often than not, it can be a daunting challenge to find a vegan cookbook with solid recipes that do not call for obscure, expensive ingredients. Though I love agave nectar and brown rice syrup as much as the next vegetarian, they are extremely pricey and often times, hard to find. (Although many supermarkets are now noticing the trend in wholesome eating and including a natural foods section).

However, after recently coming across vegan culinary genius Isa Chandra Moskowitz's cookbook, "Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World", I was astounded with the goldmine of relatively easy, creative recipes that use ingredients found in any home, vegan or not. From your basic Chocolate Cupcake to a very promising Mucho Margarita Cupcake, there is literally a tasty little treat for everyone.

The recipe below is for the Mocha Cupcake, which appealled to me due to my love of mocha lattes and chocolate covered espresso beans. These are topped with a decadent chocolate ganache, which reminds me of the chocolate drizzle my favorite barista pours over my latte!

Mocha Cupcakes
makes around 12 cupcakes

1/2 cup soymilk

1/2 cup cold coffee

1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

3/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon almond extract

2 tablespoon instant espresso powder

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin tin with foil or paper cups.
Whisk soymilk, coffee, and vinegar in a large bowl. Let curdle. Add sugar, oil and extracts. Whisk until frothy.
In a separate bowl, sift flour, salt, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and espres powders together. Add to wet ingredients.
Beat until there are no large lumps.
Fill liners 3/4 of the way full. Bake 18-20 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Chocolate Ganache

3 tablespoons soymilk

2 1/2 tablespoons powdered sugar

3 chunks of unsweetened chocolate

Heat soymilk in the microwave about 20 seconds. Whisk in powdered sugar. Drop in chocolate. In 20 second intervals, heat and stir mixture until all the chocolate has melted and the consistency is smooth. It should be thick and very chocolatey, adjust ratios of ganache accordingly. Spread or drizzle on cooled cupcakes.