Sunday, December 29, 2013

Soy Nog Cheesecake with Gingersnap Crust

leaves and flours vegan Soy Nog Cheesecake with Gingersnap Crust

The holidays have finally come and gone. The new year is rapidly approaching. If your past month was anything like mine you probably have ample cookies tucked away in cabinets and half finished containers of nog in the fridge, already starting to get pushed towards the back behind those takeout containers and almond milk. This is the perfect recipe to help you finish off those cookies and nog. I started looking around for recipe inspiration and was really intrigued by Meet the Shannon's soy nog cheesecake, but I didn't have all the ingredients on hand. It was 9pm, I was already in pajamas and was set on making nog cheesecake now. So I took their beautiful recipe and tweaked it to fit my needs.
I made the crust from some gingerbread cookies that I rolled out too thin and baked a bit too long. They were too crisp to put into the cookie baskets I made for our friends & neighbors, so I tucked them away at the time not sure why I was saving them. But low and behold, they were perfect for making cheesecake crust. The spice balanced nicely with the creamy filling, and I didn't have to throw cookies away. One of the utmost offenses known to man. Also, if my cheesecake looks a little soft it's not because the recipe will give you a too soft filling. It's solely because I took the cheesecake out of the oven ten minutes before it was done baking. I suddenly got really tired and decided it was time to turn the oven off and go to sleep. Late night baking: you win some, you lose some. Waking up with soy nog cheesecake, a win. Even if it's a little under baked.

leaves and flours vegan Soy Nog Cheesecake with Gingersnap Crust

13 ounces gingerbread or gingersnap cookies
1/2 cup Earth Balance margarine.
Crush the cookies to crumbs in a food processor. While those are being pulsed, melt the Earth Balance in the microwave. Pour over the cookie crumbs and mix with hands until the butter is fully incorporated. Start with 1/2 cup of melted Earth Balance. If the cookie crumbs still aren't wet enough to hold together when you squeeze it in your hands, then add another tablespoon or two. Press into the bottom and up the sides of a 9 or 10" springform pan. I used a 10" pan.

Soy Nog Cheesecake Filling
3/4 cup Silk soy nog
3 tablespoon EnerG Egg Replacer
28 oz Tofutti cream cheese (3 1/2 tubs)
3 tablespoon coconut flour
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoon flour
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon nutmeg
scraping of one vanilla bean

Heat oven to 350. Warm the soy nog and whisk in the egg replacer. Allow to thicken and slightly cool for several minutes. Meanwhile, in the bowl of a standing mixer with the paddle attachment combine all the remaining ingredients. Add nog and beat until the batter is smooth. Add to springform pan. Bake for 40 minutes or until the center of the cheesecake is only slightly wiggly but appears firm. Allow to cool overnight.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Almond Crescent Cookies

leaves and flours vegan Almond Crescent Cookies

Today marks the first snow day in the District. Luckily I had the day off, so I slept in a little and didn't mind waking up to a sky full of flurries. I tucked myself into an extra layer and laid on the couch watching Love Actually before everyone else woke up. I will never under-appreciate the joy of lazy, quiet mornings. After I was moved to tears a few times even though I have the seen movie roughly nine hundred times, I decided it was time to start baking cookies. What better treat for the first snow then a powdered sugar dusted almond crescent cookie?!
I only had a handful of almonds on hand, and there's no way I was trudging out into the slippery streets or taking off my pajamas, so I used almond meal for the majority of the almonds in the cookies. Most recipes you will look out call for coursely ground almonds, and almond meal is quite a bit finer than that. That means my dough is a little more crumbly than you might expect from another recipe, but it still has the melt in your mouth almond flavor and a bit of a smoother texture.

leaves and flours vegan Almond Crescent Cookies

Almond Crescent Cookies
Approximately 30 medium sized cookies

1 cup Earth Balance margarine
1 cup sugar
2 tsp almond extract
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup almond meal
1/3 cup almonds, ground into small pieces
1/2-1 cup powdered sugar, for dusting the cookies

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Cream the margarine and sugar together. Add extracts and beat until fluffy, approximately 2 minutes. Add flour and almond meal and beat until dough forms. Fold in the ground almonds. The dough will be crumbly, but should hold together when squeezed in your palm. Taking roughly 1 tablespoon of dough, roll it in your hands to form a log while applying more pressure to the ends so they are slightly tapered. Curve the dough into an exaggerated crescent moon shape, as it will be less apparent after the cookies are baked. Bake on parchment covered trays for 14-16 minutes until the edges are slightly golden but the middles of the cookies are still soft to the tough. Allow to cool before either rolling in powdered sugar (more traditional) or dusting with sugar(prettier).

leaves and flours vegan Almond Crescent Cookies

Is there a Christmas movie you watch repeatedly every year? Love Actually is the only one I consistently stick with, but let's be honest, it's the only one I truly need. I adore all of the story lines, but Natalie & the Prime Minister are my favorites. Natalie's got a foul mouth, big thighs, & a sweet disposition. A lady after my own heart. If I was really being true to the movie, I wouldn't have let the snow steer me towards crescent cookies, but would have instead made chocolate biscuits. Good thing there's two more weeks before Christmas, so I can probably watch the movie at least four or five more times by then.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Rocky Road Cupcakes

Thanksgiving is finally over, and everything is back to normal in the bakery. It's easily the biggest week of the year, so Christmas always seems like a piece of cake afterwards. It's easy to keep my chin up from here on out. After almost 400 pies, my fingers were a tiny bit sore from all the dough pinching & dish washing. I was certainly sleepy, but I was happy everything had gone so well. I even came home after three 15+ hour days and made myself two more pies. Because that's totally sane and normal right?!
The holidays are really difficult. My family lives eleven hours and one time zone away. I work the day before and early in the morning after most holidays, so there isn't really any time to go home even if I flew. The best I can offer is exchanging a few pictures and some teary phone calls, at least the digital age provides those comforts to my mom. I just hope she really knows how much I love her, and that I would be there if I could. I know bakery life isn't what you expected for me & that it certainly keeps me away from home for longer than you would prefer. But just know that I am really happy & I am doing what I love. This time might be a little rocky, but it will be worth my effort in the end.

leaves and flours vegan Rocky Road Cupcakes

Devil's Food Cupcakes
one dozen cupcakes

1/2 cup strong coffee
1/2 cup warm water
1 tsp ground flax seeds
1/4 cup canola oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp lemon juice
1 1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup black cocoa powder
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brew your coffee. Whisk together water and flax seeds allowing to thicken for a few minutes. In a small bowl combine coffee, flax mixture, oil, vanilla and lemon juice. In a larger bowl whisk together dry ingredients. Create a well in the center and fold in wet. Mix until just combined. Portion into cupcakes. Bake for 16-18 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.

Marshmallow Cream Filling
1/2 cup Earth Balance margarine
1/2 cup shortening
1 ten oz container Suzanne's Ricemellow Creme, divided
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Beat margarine and shortening until fluffy. Add 5 oz of the Ricemellow and beat again for several minutes. Add vanilla extract and powedered sugar. Beat until combined. Fold remaining half of Ricemellow into the frosting with a spatula. Core the cupcakes using one of my favorite kitchen tools or with a paring knife. Fill the cupcakes with the marshmallow cream!

Almond Frosting
1 cup shortening
1 cup Earth Balance margarine
7 cups powdered sugar, sifted
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbl almond extract
2-4 tbl almond milk, until preferred consistency

In the bowl of standing mixer with a whip attachment or in a bowl with a handheld mixer, combine shortening and Earth Balance margarine and beat until combined and fluffy. Add half of powdered sugar. Beat until incorporated. Add remaining sugar, extracts, and 2 tablespoons of the almonds milk. Beat until fluffy. Add more almond milk if needed. Pipe on top of cupcakes and let chill in the fridge for at least one hour before dipping in ganache.

4 oz semisweet or dark chocolate
1/2 cup canned coconut milk

In a double broiler, combine chocolate and coconut milk and heat until the chocolate begins to melt. Whisk until totally smooth and remove from heat. Allow to cool for several minutes until the ganache is still pourable but not hot to the touch. Invert the cupcakes and rotate the frosting in the ganache in one swift movement. Top the cupcakes with a handful of sliced almonds and Dandie's new miniature marshmallows before the ganache sets.

leaves and flours vegan Rocky Road Cupcakes

I was searching for a devil's food cake recipe, and stumbled across this one from My Vegan Cookbook. The picture didn't look quite dark for me so I modified it a tiny bit with black cocoa powder. The brand I use is Frontier, and it's fair trade and organic to boot. But if you can't find black cocoa, you can replace it with some Dutch processed cocoa to get a nice color & flavor.
I am not a huge cake fan, but this cake is really terrific. They have a light, airy texture but taste rich & flavorful. The cupcakes take a while to bake and assemble, but it's worth your time. They will definitely impress everyone you make them for. People will ooh and ahh, and isn't that why we bake during the holidays?! So bake a big batch, and share them with your neighbors. Especially if they have a Bernese Mountain dog you want to pet. The tactic totally works. That's the main reason my neighbors are getting a cookie basket again this year.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Coconut Horchata Cookies

leaves and flours vegan Coconut Horchata Cookies

I was invited to a taco party recently and wanted to bring something sweet with me. I racked my brain as I was driving home and remembered reading a beautiful post Ashlae of Oh Ladycakes wrote about finding a place that her made happy. In it she had a recipe and a few lovely photographs of coconut horchata polvorones. I steered through the remaining traffic in the District, excited to bake a tiny batch of cookies. Much different than scooping out three hundred chocolate chip cookies from a bowl my arm can barely reach the bottom of, and much more relaxing. I whisked together the flours and cinnamon, and folded in the coconut oil. I was looking forward to leaving my house to catch up with friends over dinner. I didn't even complain too much about how we were eating dinner at almost 9pm which is actually my bedtime. I woke up the next morning quite sleepy from staying out too late and still full from all the rice and beans, but happy that I pushed myself to appreciate time with friends.

leaves and flours vegan Coconut Horchata Cookies

I'm trying to keep balance in mind in these coming weeks. There are 35 days until the holidays over. And while it might seem sacrilegious to most for me to be hoping the holidays end quickly, they probably don't work in retail. For them the holidays are probably still about spending time with their family & friends. But for me, it means being stuck 13 hours from my family baking several hundred pies and thousands of gingerbread cookies. I try to just keep pushing ahead. Knowing that I can probably take a few days off once all the orders have been delivered to customers, and things are back to their normal pace.
I'm trying to stay positive when I wake up in the dark, and come home to darkness, and hate the winter with every fiber of my being. I'm trying to spend those dark hours in the house pouring over new books and playing with rubber stamps. Or curling up on the couch with Greg and watching Dear Mr. Watterson. I've got a long list of errands and things I need to do and things I want to bake. Soon it will be 2014, and I am ok with that.

leaves and flours vegan Coconut Horchata Cookies

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Baklava Donuts & Holiday Gift Ideas

Maybe it's just because I grew up in the South. But I think a lot about food and gifts and gifts of food. There is no way I would go to a dinner at someone's house empty handed. It's just poor form. It's actually unlikely that I will show up at someone's house ever without some sort of sweet or offering in hand, even if it's just a box of tea or a few leftover cookies. Those offerings are so important to me. It's nice to acknowledge someone in the smallest of ways. And it's even better to acknowledge them in larger ways occasionally. With the holiday season rapidly approaching (Hanukkah is less than two weeks away?!), I have been thinking a lot about what to give my friends & family this year.

leaves and flours vegan baklava donuts leaves and flours vegan baked doughnuts for everyone

Ashley of the Edible Perspective just released her first cookbook Baked Doughnuts For Everyone! I made the baklava doughnuts from them with a friend a few weeks ago, and they came together in no time. I think the book would be a totally adorable gift. Cookbooks like this are just destined to be part of a gift basket with a few jars of flours, a doughnut pan & a new kitchen towel. While it's not a vegan cookbook, often those are my favorite kind. I love to look at people's recipes & tweak them to work with my own needs. If you are looking for a vegan cookbook, there are two that came out recently that I would give stellar reviews to: Easy As Vegan Pie & Vegan Desserts in Jars. What can I say? I like pie. I like mason jars & ribbons. I like meringue & whip cream. These two books have everything you need to offer someone this holiday season.

leaves and flours vegan la creuset glitter spatula leaves and flours vegan la creuset glitter spatula

If you're looking for a gift for more kitchen folk in your life, my favorite spatula in the world is Le Creuset. It also happens to come in a glitter version, which I definitely own. It's been with me for a year of heavy use, and it hasn't worn in the slightest. Cuisinart sells a set of mixing bowls that are the perfect sizes for everyday use. I also love that they have lids. Which makes storing things in the fridge much easier, and generally means I get by with washing a few less dishes.
Maybe you need a gift for someone who already has a little too much kitchenware? Pure ingredients are always a really nice start. Good chocolate, spices, & maple syrup, are always a great place to start. There are few things that make me happier than having really amazing food to work with, and I know so many people who feel the same way.
If you're the baker in this side of the equation, you should definitely spoil the people around you with treats this whole season. Vegan Food Gifts is a great place to start for a few ideas. If you already have a specialty, than run with it. The packaging ideas in Joni's book are really terrific. Don't forget to include some serving utensils or a fancy plate for that extra umph! My favorite plates right now are the vintage lace collection from Sur La Table. I just got a salad plate in grey and have been using it for everything!

leaves and flours vegan big chill vintage fridge leaves and flours kitchenaid mixer giveaway
You might be looking for that big gift? The one that really steals the show? You could put a giant bow on it & call it the best gift you've ever given? Big Chill makes new fridges with a vintage aesthetic, so you don't have to worry about the longevity of your classic looking icebox. It might not be the most romantic of gifts. But this Big Chill fridge is not only incredibly practical, it's stunning. And it happens to match my standing mixer making it an automatic winner in my book. Speaking of which! If that someone in your life doesn't already have a standing mixer and they are the sort of person who loves to do anything in the kitchen, then that's should be the gift you're saving up for! Getting a KitchenAid mixer changed my life, and it is still the best gift I ever received.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Pumpkin Rice Crispy Treats

leaves and flours vegan Pumpkin Rice Crispy Treats

I'm gonna say something that isn't going to make me any friends. But I just need to get it off my chest. I love pumpkin. Seriously. I adore it. As soon as there's the first hint of cool weather and changing leaves I will begin putting pumpkin into everything. Cupcakes, oatmeal, curry and soup. But, there are two things that I don't think should be paired with pumpkin. First, coffee. Here's looking at you pumpkin spice latte. I don't understand why you're so hip & cool. Maybe I'm just a purist but vanilla and chocolate are the only flavors I really want mixed with my coffee flavored things. The second combination I just can't get behind is pumpkin & chocolate. It just feels off for me. Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't turn down a free pumpkin chocolate chip muffin but you won't ever see me making one.
Last week there were dozens of bags of Dandies on sale. They had just gone out of date, but I knew they would be totally find for melting into rice crispy treats. So I bought six bags. I stumbled upon a pumpkin rice krispy treat at the Sweet Life, and decided there was no sense in making a single batch when I had so many Dandies to spare. So I doubled it, left out the chocolate, and make some little changes based on the partial can of pumpkin I had left after making a pie.

leaves and flours vegan Pumpkin Rice Crispy Treats
Pumpkin Rice Crispy Treats
tweaked in the most minor of ways from The Sweet Life

8 cups rice cereal
5 tbl Earth Balance
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground gloves
1/4 tsp salt
2 bags dandies

Line a 9x13" pan with parchment or wax paper. Pre-measure the cereal and add it to your largest bowl. In a heavy bottomed stock pot, melt Earth Balance. Add pumpkin puree, vanilla, and spices. Stir until distributed evenly. Add marshmallows and heat over medium heat, stirring frequently until the marshmallows are mostly melted. Fold the pumpkin mixture into the cereal and press mixture firmly into the pan. Let cool for one hour before slicing.

leaves and flours vegan Pumpkin Rice Crispy Treats

These rice crispy treats were very delicious and a total piece of cake. They would make a nice non-traditional addition to a Thanksgiving dinner table or as a snack anytime in the next few weeks. I feel like this recipe would also be terrific if you used sweet potato puree instead of pumpkin, added a cup of chopped of walnuts and some mini marshmallows to pay respects to my favorite casserole. Have you heard that Dandies are coming out with mini marshmallows?!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Banana Cream Pie

leaves and flours vegan Banana Cream Pie

So this pie might not be seasonably appropriate. But this fall has also not been seasonably appropriate. The weather has been all over the place. I never know whether I am going to be searching for a jacket or wishing I had worn shorts by the time I leave the house in the mornings. I feel like this fall has slipped past me quicker than most. Greg and I just went apple picking last weekend. Only to find that the majority of the apples were totally gone. I salvaged a few Granny Smith's from the ground to make into applesauce, but there was little plucking from the tree action. I haven't even watched any Halloween movies yet, which is totally unacceptable. Last year we had cable, so all I had to to do was turn on ABC family at any point I was home and I could watch the Addams Family and Hocus Pocus and Corpse Bride at a whim. This year we have cut it off, and I can't find them anywhere. I have spent a fair amount of time browsing local shops that sell older movies, but I think I am going to have to cave & buy them online so that this tragedy doesn't happen again next Halloween. I have made hundreds of little chocolate bats & black cats and ghost cookies. There's 500 spiderweb cupcakes just waiting to be eaten at the bakery. A few weeks ago I bought a ton of candy and hid it away so my sugar cravings wouldn't annihilate it. Last night I finally picked up a little bowl to put it all in. And resisted to buy a miniature cauldron, because I am running out of space for such things. I'm ready to see all the tiny witches and goblins and super heroes tomorrow, but I'm not ready to let Halloween go yet.

leaves and flours vegan Banana Cream Pie leaves and flours vegan Banana Cream Pie leaves and flours vegan Banana Cream Pie
Banana Cream Pie

one 9" pie shell (I used a shortbread cookie crust)
3 bananas (2 sliced & 1 pureed)
3 cups almond milk
1/4 cup sugar
3 tbl Bird's Custard Powder
1 tbl cornstarch
1 tsp vanilla extract
vegan whipped cream of choice (I love the cartons of Soyatoo!)

Place the banana slices along the bottom of your pie shell. I prefer to have a ton of sliced bananas, but if you don't then you might be able to get away with only one sliced banana. In a small bowl combine 1/2 cup of the milk with the custard powder and cornstarch. In a medium sauce pan bring to a boil the remaining almond milk and sugar. Once boiling stir in the contents of the small bowl and cook until thickened. Remove from heat and fold in one pureed banana and the vanilla extract. Immediately pour into pie shell. Allow to cool at room temperature for fifteen minutes before refrigerating for at least two hours. The pie will develop the banana flavor further overnight. Top with whipped cream and slice.

leaves and flours vegan Banana Cream Pie

Maybe I made this pie because I'm not ready to let summer go yet either. It feels like time just keeps going faster and faster and no matter how little I sleep or how much coffee I drink, I can't quite keep up with it all. I'm ready to dig my heels into the ground and pull things to a halt. Just for a little while. I need some time to clean my bathroom and organize the kitchen without missing out on all the terrific things happening around me. I feel like I have always been pretty good at time management, but now I'm trying to figure out ways to use my time even better. Listening to podcasts and books on tape while I commute. Paying bills and writing blog posts while I am watching tv. Making larger dinners so that I have leftovers to save a little cooking time. Hopefully it adds up and I feel a little less cramped for time soon.

leaves and flours vegan Banana Cream Pie

Do you have any magical tips for enjoying the present but still staying incredibly productive?! Are you doing anything terrific for Halloween? I didn't come up with a costume this year, because it didn't even cross my mind until it was too late. I saw a terrific Scully & Mulder. I think it's my favorite costume so far.
Today it feels like fall finally. It's cool but not freezing. It rained this morning, and there's leaves blowing around the streets. I am going to bake another pie (pumpkin this time, I get it it's fall!) and make a giant batch of soup with some broccoli that I picked at Larriland Farms earlier in the week. I've got a kettle warming up on the stove to make another pot of tea. I feel a little too stressed for it to be a day off, but it's ok. Everything will get done eventually.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

East Coast Ice Cream Roundup

leaves and flours vegan leaves and flours vegan

The best ice cream that I have ever had is the pumpkin sundae from Franklin Fountain. I mentioned it last year, and will definitely be heading back to eat it once more now that it's October again. When we went a few weeks ago, it wasn't quite pumpkin time so I got a cone of their only non-dairy non-vanilla ice cream available, local blueberry. It was pretty good, but definitely no pumpkin sundae. Aside from ice cream cones & sundaes, Franklin Fountain also offers a variety of sodas all made from hand crafted syrups. We tried the lavender and the raspberry, and they were both awesome.
If it's not pumpkin season, I would also suggest heading to Little Baby's! They have ice cream sandwiches that are always stellar. All of their cookies are vegan, and they always have several interesting flavors available. I have gotten molasses peanut chew ice cream with sugar cookies & speculoos ice cream with snickerdoodle cookies. There's always the most interesting flavor selection, like thai peanut and coconut chai. Both store fronts are also super cute, so it's worth the venture to one of their shops.

leaves and flours vegan leaves and flours vegan

FoMu also took me by surprise in Boston. I heard how good it was, but never really believe all the hype until I can try something for myself. I went to both the Allston and the Jamaica Plain shops. Both are overwhelmingly adorable. Maybe it's just because I have a thing for store fronts because I have a bunch of ideas in my head?! The flavor list was also overwhelming. While Little Baby's has lots of interesting flavors, there are only a handful of vegan ones. It's so terrific to walk into a shop and be able to select any ice cream flavor you want from a board. I tried both the rocky road and then I got a banoffee/ peanut butter mud pie double scoop. Coming the banoffee and peanut butter was a totally brilliant move on my part, and I highly recommend it if you are a fan of this flavor combination!
Probably my favorite thing about the shops was the giant case full of pints of ice cream, just waiting for you to take them home. I have never really seen such a thing. It was pure magic. You can also get donuts from Sabertooth Bakery at FoMu! Donut sundae anyone?!

leaves and flours vegan leaves and flours vegan

Everyone and their mother knows about Lula's Sweet Apothecary. While the business was closed for a bit and is now open under a new name that I haven't heard yet, it's still in the same spot with the same recipes and definitely just as good as always. The shop wasn't open when I was in town, but I was able to get a scoop of my favorite flavor, Dream Cone, at Sustainable NYC down the street!
There's obviously all sorts of other places to get vegan ice cream on the East Coast. I didn't even consider all the places with soft serve like Vegan Treats and B2 in Philly. There's really too many to list. But these are a few of my favorites. Are you an ice cream fanatic too?

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Everything But The Kitchen Sink

leaves and flours vegan compost cookies

When I veganized the Momofuku compost cookies for MoFo last month, Greg went a little crazy over them. He really wanted another batch so it was the first thing I baked in October. I kept them fairly similar to the first round, but I added a generous splash of sprinkles because we both are obsessed. As I was making the cookie dough, Greg actually took a swig of sprinkles right out of the jar?!

leaves and flours vegan leaves and flours vegan

I don't often take a whole lot of pictures during the recipe creation process because our kitchen is a little bit dark and doesn't lend well to my use of natural light. I am a wee bit terrified of using lamps and light boxes and what not. I haven't seem to have quite grasped the hang of it, even by the most generous of standards. However as I was making the almond ricotta for the cannoli I created, the kitchen sink where I was peeling almonds and pondering my future was so beautifully lit. A rare and lovely moment indeed. This is also where I wash dishes and look out into my neighbor's yard to see their Bernese puppy, Alice, running around. Remind me to bake them Christmas cookies so I have another chance to pet her for a few minutes?!

leaves and flours vegan sticky fingers donuts

I will always be a donut fan. DunWell is still top notch in my book, but Sticky Fingers recently started making donuts on Tuesday & Thursdays. Luckily a few of my days off lined up with their production schedule last month. The ones on the photo were some of my favorites: tiramisu, boston cream, & peanut butter chocolate. I keep hoping that they will start making them daily, because it's so hard to get there on weekday mornings. It's still nice to know we finally have the option available in DC. Now we just really need an all vegan ice cream shop.

leaves and flours vegan veggie galaxy dessert case

In the summer, Greg and I made a quick trip to Boston. I had never been, and really loved the city. Aside from FoMu, which I will devote more time to discussing on this little blog soon, my favorite spot was Veggie Galaxy! The stuffed french toast was my JAM. I will always be a breakfast person, first and foremost. It is the best meal of the day. But I am also a sucker for sweets, and Veggie Galaxy's dessert case was five star. The lemon meringue stole the show for me. It was tart and bright, the meringue sweet and marshmallowy. I heard a rumor that it was made from pea protein, and my interest is certainly peaked. I will have to look more into that soon. Speaking of lemon meringue, Hannah of Bittersweet just released her third cookbookEasy As Vegan Pie! As the biggest pie fan, I couldn't be more excited. Her lemon meringue looks as perfect as Veggie Galaxy's, and it will be the first recipe I attempt. The cannoli pie will be a close second (maybe simultaneously). What can I say, I like what I like?!

leaves and flours vegan leaves and flours vegan leaves and flours vegan

These were cherry pistachio muffins my housemate Carrie made. They were so good. She couldn't find shelled pistachios at the nearby store, so shelled them all by hand to make the batch of muffins. That's dedication. These were delicious. They had a perfect crumb and the right hint of sweet and salt and tartness. I can't stop thinking about them. Eating a baked good someone else made is really bliss. I could get to use to it. Also, I don't know why I have never made spumoni flavored things before?!

leaves and flours vegan

This last snip-it is a wee bit embarrassing. I really hope that other people's desktops looked like this by the end of MoFo. I am normally so organized and keep all the clutter to a minimum, but with all the constant baking and photographing and writing, all of these pictures just ended up all over the place! I really have to fix it soon.
What is going on with everyone else? I have a busy week coming up, but am looking forward to apple & pumpkin pickin' this weekend and watching Halloween movies with a few friends. I can't believe how quickly this month is already going.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Kerfluffles Marshmallows

leaves and flours vegan Kerfluffles Marshmallows

Over the summer I mentioned how excited I was that Kerfluffles was creating vegan marshmallows. I was happy to test their some of their initial batches (you can read about that here), and I couldn't have been more pleased when some new flavors arrived in the mail a few weeks ago. I was going to blog about it then, but I was knee deep in Vegan MoFo and didn't want to tease you will all the delicious flavors before they were actually available for sale!

leaves and flours vegan Kerfluffles Marshmallows

The pictures you see here are only of the chai tea and cookies n' cream marshmallows, not necessarily because that was all I had (I got to try all the flavors), but because these were the flavors that had enough left to photograph after Greg and I finished our initial taste testing. We might have some problems with our sugar consumption? Greg's favorite was mint chip, but mine was a tie between banana bread & cinnamon roll (what can I say, I like cinnamon?!). They were all great. I don't even like chai tea, and I still ate a handful of the chai marshmallows happily because they were done so well. The french vanilla is the perfect marshmallow for s'mores & rice crispy treats. And I can attest to their meltability & perfect gooeyness in both of those! The cookies n' cream is the only vegan marshmallow that contains gluten, but if you aren't sensitive to wheat than you have to give it a chance.
You should head over to Kerfluffles and try the vegan flavor sampler! You should also read about how their little business got started. It's a super inspiring story, and they are sort of a Kickstarter legend. They stand by their principles in avoiding artificial dyes, chemical extracts, and strive to source organic ingredients. I know that they do it all from scratch, because I may have gotten a Snapchat or two of piles of lemon zest and marshmallow fluff being whipped to perfection.

leaves and flours vegan Kerfluffles Marshmallows

Also I was not paid to endorse Kerfluffles in any way. I did get some free marshmallows for my input on their process, but I am saying all these great things because I genuinely love their sweets. And Jenna.

Sunday, September 29, 2013


leaves and flours vegan cannoli recipe

I went on this date in college. It was with someone several years older, which was really what I was looking for at the time. He was an NPR reporter and seemed to have his life together in a totally attractive way. Somehow on the night that we met I mentioned that since becoming vegan I had really missed eating cannoli, and he suggested that we figure out how to make them. Next thing I knew he bought this set of cannoli forms online. When they showed up I went over to his house for the evening to make cannoli. If you've never made cannoli before, this is a really long process, which was probably (definitely) a terrible idea for a first date. If you have only spoken to someone in a crowd for fifteen minutes, you might not want the next step to be being alone in a tiny apartment kitchen for 6-7 hours. It was all just a little awkward. I remember there were dinosaurs all over his room and then top top it off, he showed me his chainmail collection. He was really sweet and I was really nice the whole time, but I just knew about ten minutes into this several hour process that we were only going to be friends. We made the cannoli from this bizarre recipe I found online using silken tofu to fill them, and they were downright awful. But I pretended it was great and avoided a goodbye kiss, and I ended up walking away with a set of cannoli forms he didn't want to keep.
Flash forward a few years, and I have made vegan cannoli two more times. The first time I got the shell right. But the filling still wasn't quite what I wanted. I knew that I didn't want it to be too sweet or frosting-like, which is how I feel about Vegan Treats cannoli filling. So I decided to try and get as close to possible as a ricotta by making one from almonds. It worked out quite well. I think it would work with cashews too, but I think the almond flavor is a little more subtle.

leaves and flours vegan Cannoli recipe
Almond Ricotta

1 1/2 cup almonds
3/4 cup canned coconut milk
1/4-3/4 cup water

Pour almonds in a bowl and completely cover with several inches of water. Soak overnight. The next day drain the almonds while boiling a few cups of water. Pour boiling water over almonds and allow to sit for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. This is called blanching. Now peel all the almonds, by squeezing them between your thumb and forefinger. This is a tedious task, but a great time for self reflection. Plop all your peeled almonds in your best blender/food processor with the coconut milk. Start trying to process it. Stopping to add more water as need to keep the blades moving and making sure to scrape down the sides frequently. It took me about fifteen minutes to get the ricotta as smooth as I wanted it. The ricotta can be made in advance and chilled for about 4 days before it will start to sour. If you have additional ricotta left over, you can add savory seasonings and use it in pasta dishes!

leaves and flours vegan Cannoli recipe leaves and flours vegan Cannoli recipe
Cannoli Filling

12 oz almond ricotta, recipe above
12 oz vegan cream cheese
2 tbl shortening
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Combine ricotta, vegan cream cheese, & shortening and beat for several minutes until combined. Add powdered sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon and beat for several minutes until fluffy. This should have a very thick, frosting like consistency with a hint of cinnamon and a very subtle sweetness. If you're filling isn't think, it is probably because you needed to add additional liquid when making your ricotta, you can add a little more shortening to thicken it up. Fold in chocolate chips and allow to chill until ready to use. The filling can be made up to 4 days in advance, too much longer and it will start to sour.

Cannoli Shells
makes 15-20 cannoli shells depending on thickness rolled out too

2 3/4 cup flour
2 tbl sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup shortening
2/3 cup marsala wine
2 Ener-G eggs, prepared separately
enough oil for frying, I used around 4 cups.
3 oz of chocolate, optional
powdered sugar for dusting

Prepare one Ener-G egg and let sit to thicken. Combine flour, sugar, and cinnamon. Mix until evenly distributed. Add shortening in small chunks, and begin to mix on a low speed. Add Ener-G egg and slowly drizzle in wine until a thick dough forms. Wrap in parchment and allow to chill for one hour.
Prepare second Ener-G egg and allow to sit. Add oil to a pan that is at least two inches deep. Turn to a medium-high temperature and allow to heat up while you start rolling out the dough. I broke the dough into 6 small portions to make it more manageable. I rolled each portion out between sheets of parchment paper and didn't need to use any flour to keep the dough from sticking. I cut sections of the dough with a 3.5" cookie cutter & then rolled those out in one direction to make very thin,wide ovals. Place your cannoli form at one end and roll it towards the other side. Brush the inside edge with a little Ener-G before placing it on top of the other side of the dough. Fry one at a time until totally golden. Allow to cool for several minutes before trying to pull out the cannoli mold or you will burn your fingertips! I had 4 forms, so normally by the time I got to the last one, I could pull the first mold out of the shell. Repeat until all dough is used. Once cooled dip ends in melted chocolate if desired.
Place the filling in either a piping bag with a large tip or use a ziplock bag or a spoon if that's all you have. Fill it until it can't hold any more filling. You can dip the edges of the filling in chopped pistachios & a cherry if you want to get super Italian. You could dip them in more chocolate chips. I left them the way they were so I could see the beautiful filling I was so proud of. They are fine for 2 days, but are really best eaten immediately.

leaves and flours vegan Cannoli recipe

I had seen a recipe for a baked cannoli bite on Cooking Classy that I knew I also had to try since I was already making cannoli. My shell recipe really didn't taste great baked. I found it to be a little too crunchy and I think the flavor of the oil is pretty essential in giving the dessert their signature taste. However the bites were still super cute. Since making these last week I have been thinking about it quite a bit, and came up with an alternate way to make mini cannoli cups. You could freeze the dough in the mini cupcake pans and then fry them individually! I am 99% sure this will work, and it is definitely on my to try list. That way you don't have to even worry about buying your own molds, unless you too have a date who might buy some for you?!
This wraps up my Vegan MoFo sweets! I wanted to save the best for last, and I really think I did. It's a close call with baklava cheesecake, but I think this is definitely the winner in my book. I hope everyone else had a great month. What was your favorite thing that you made? Did you meet lots of amazing new bloggers too? It's always refreshing to find new people with similar views.

leaves and flours vegan Cannoli recipe

Also if you don't already have a KitchenAid mixer and live in the US or Canada, you have 24 more hours to enter to win this mixer I am helping give away! It's my favorite piece of kitchen equipment, and I can't remember how I made do without it. So enter!

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Pain au Chocolat

leaves and flours vegan Gluten Free Pain au Chocolat leaves and flours vegan Gluten Free Pain au Chocolat

Let's make something totally clear. I am a huge fan of buying rolls of puff pastry. It's not that the stuff is hard to make. It's just that it's really labor intensive, and I generally can think of several other things that I would rather spend my time doing. However, if you have never tried to make puff pastry from scratch I think it's worth the attempt just to have an understanding of how great an invention frozen pastry is. Vegan Dad has a really great recipe and explains the process perfectly.
I wanted pain au chocolat. So I took my prepared puff pastry and rolled it out to a 9x13" rectangle. I pressed mini chocolate chips into around two inches of dough and then cut that into 6 pieces along the 13" side using a pizza cutter so that you have 6 strips, each 2x9" with two inches of that coated in chocolate. Now roll it up starting with the chocolate. Place it onto a parchment lined sheet tray with the seam down. Brush the tops with coconut milk and sprinkle lightly with sugar. I baked them at 400 for about 15 minutes, until they were totally golden and flaky. Let them cool a few minutes before you bite in, or you will burn your tongue on molten chocolate. The temperatures and times will vary on your pastry and oven, but start with whatever the recipe you are following says and then just check your oven frequently to make sure they are browning evenly.
Whatever you do, make sure that your pastries are on parchment paper and not wax paper. I feel like recently I have heard several stores of people spending their whole days making puff pastry from scratch and then putting their croissants into the oven only to have a smoky mess a few minutes later, because they accidentally used wax paper. Don't let this tragic tale become yours.

leaves and flours vegan Gluten Free Pain au Chocolat

I was curious about gluten free pain au chocolat and found a recipe in BabyCakes Covers the Classics. Obviously it isn't a laminated dough so it couldn't be the same, but these were more like cookies to me. I will have to dig a little deeper and find a gluten free puff pastry recipe to give a whirl.

leaves and flours vegan Gluten Free Pain au Chocolat

Also today is the most magical day of the year. It's DC VegFest! So I will be spending my whole day in this beautiful 70 degree weather, eating snacks and talking to all my favorite local businesses and non-profits. If you are in the area, I highly suggest coming out. It's from 11-6pm at Yards Park! I will be at the Conscious Corner table (booth 6) for most of the afternoon if you want to come say hello in person or buy a cupcake!