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!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Cream Puffs

leaves and flours vegan Cream Puffs

When I think of the dessert that I probably miss the most since going vegan, it is definitely cream puffs. I have never had an acceptable version without all the eggs & cream. I remember eating cream puffs larger than my oversized mug of coffee my freshman year of college. I have missed them since. But not any longer!
After the little bump that was my eclair failure, these cream puffs were smooth sailing. I found the recipe last month while reading Quick & Easy Vegan Bake Sale. The steps in the choux recipe are fairly similar to that in the eclairs, but using a chia egg instead of flax. They puffed up quite nicely and I filled them with the same cream from Miyoko's eclair recipe. I dipped them in a gianduia ganache that I thinned out a wee bit too much. I will definitely be making these cream puffs again!

leaves and flours vegan Cream Puffs

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Cashew Cream & Cherry Baby Strudel

I really intended to make a regular sized strudel. But then when I unrolled my thawed phyllo, I realized that most of it was broken in half. So I just decided to work with it and make little baby, single serving strudel. Keep your chin up, and MoFo on.
Cherries and cream are really the best combination I can think of. Tart cherries and cream is the only superior combination. I know that people have trouble finding them sometimes. Recently I have seen them in jars at Whole Foods and in cans at Giant. So you could check in those sorts of places. If you can't find tart cherries, than fresh cherries (quite the splurge this late in the season) or frozen cherries should work. If you don't use jarred/canned cherries that are already in some sort of sugary syrup you might want to toss your cherries in simple syrup so they ooze a little in baking. I'm just saying. We want the cherry juices flowing. If you happen to have cherry pie filling lying around (I am also this sort of person), than you could obviously use that here as well!
leaves and flours vegan
Cashew Cream
makes approximately 1 1/2 cup cream

1 cup cashews, soaked overnight
1/4 cup canned coconut milk
3 tbl agave
1 tsp vanilla extract
water as needed
Cashew cream is one of the those things that you don't need a recipe before. You really just blend and taste until it fits what you want. This is where I started. I added a bit more water to really get it moving easily in my blender, since I don't have a VitaMix and I am scared of killing my Ninja. Having it a little thinner helps to get the cream really smooth, plus since I am baking it that process thickens the cashew cream anyways.

Cashew Cream & Tart Cherry Baby Strudel
five tiny strudel

10 sheets phyllo dough
2-3 tablespoons Earth Balance, melted
1 1/2 cup tart cherries
one batch cashew cream above
Preheat oven to 375. Take your phyllo sheets and cut them in half, so you now have 20 pieces. Place two sheets on a clean work area and lightly brush with melted Earth Balance. Add another sheet and brush either Earth Balance. Top with a final 4th sheet. Add a few tablespoons of cashew cream and spread it over the lower fourth of your phyllo. Add a thick row of cherries, approximately a half cup. Starting from the end with the filling roll the phyllo up tightly. Set on a parchment lined baking sheet with seam on the bottom. Brush top with Earth Balance and sprinkle with a bit of sugar if you desire. Repeat 4 more times. Bake 20-25 minutes until the phyllo is golden and crisp. Serve with whipped cream.

leaves and flours vegan

This is probably one of the easiest things I have made this month, but also easily one of the most satisfying. It's got all the right flavors and textures. And it's a dessert that you can eat a large portion of without feeling sick, because there isn't too much sugar. Maybe it's just my love affair with cherries. I am considering also making this with an almond cream, because that sounds like it would be super dreamy as well!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Eclairs (or not)

leaves and flours vegan eclairs
Miyoko's eclair recipe from this month's VegNews!

I was waiting in a line at the grocery store that I work for when I first saw the cover of this month's VegNews. There's a beautiful crepe cake. I thought about how badly I wanted to be eating a slice of that instead of the salad I was buying. But then it caught my eye, "classic French food veganized" & "custard filled eclairs". I sat down with that magazine and don't have a faint idea of what the salad was like. I read all of the recipes multiple times daydreaming about those eclairs.
I put them on the schedule for the month with my heart full of hope. But it didn't quite work out as planned. While Miyoko's recipe sounds perfect, I think my trouble came with the flax egg whites. After boiling them for the minimum amount of time they were practically un-strainable and impossible to accurately measure since it was almost a solid instead of a gel. I proceeded ahead anyways hoping for the best, but knowing that it probably wouldn't work. My eclairs tasted great. But they never rose and stayed quite doughy and instead of staying the shape I piped them sort of spread out into fat ovals. I tried to bake them for longer just to see if I could save it, so they turned into cookies. Which I still sandwiched together with pastry cream & dipped in chocolate, because why not?! It was almost like I intentionally made milano cookies.
I will definitely be giving this recipe another chance. And I did enjoy her pastry cream recipe, so you should at the very least try making that. I haven't made the crepe cake that initially reeled me in to the cover, but I am sure it is only a matter of time!

leaves and flours vegan eclairs

Baklava Cheesecake

leaves and flours vegan Baklava Cheesecake leaves and flours vegan Baklava Cheesecake

Heather at Sprinkles Bakes makes the most unbelievable desserts all the time. Some of my favorites have been her hibiscus poppyseed shortbread cookies, Edgar Allen Poe inspired red velvet cake, and all of the recipes she shares on the Etsy blog. Everything she makes is beautiful and flawless. Her cookbook SprinkleBakes: Dessert Recipes to Inspire Your Inner Artist is one of my favorites. Her perfect execution of recipes inspires me to keep practicing, and hoping that I develop an artistic eye half as decent as her's. She made a baklava cheesecake at the end of May, that I have been stuck on since. Once I successfully made vegan baklava, I knew the cheesecake was the next step. It also fell perfectly into position. It wraps up cakes & ties in with my last theme for the month, pastry! I am definitely someone saves the best for last.

leaves and flours vegan Baklava Cheesecake

Vegan Baklava Cheesecake

one 8" cheesecake, veganized from this recipe on Sprinkles Bakes

Cinnamon "Honey" Syrup
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown rice syrup
1/2 cup agave
1 1/3 cup water
1 tsp cinnamon

Bring sugar, syrups, & water to a boil. Simmer for 25 minutes. Stir in cinnamon & allow to cool.

7 oz walnuts, chopped into tiny pieces
1 tsp cinnamon
pinch sea salt
1/3 cup warm water
3 tbl Ener-G
24 oz vegan cream cheese
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup Earth Balance, melted
15 sheets phyllo dough

In a small bowl, combine 5 oz of chopped walnuts, 1/2 cup of the "honey" syrup, the cinnamon, and salt & set aside. Whisk together water and Ener-G and let sit until it thickens. In a mixer, combine cream cheese with thickened egg replacer, sugar, & vanilla. Beat until smooth.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Place a piece of parchment paper on the base of your springform and then reattach the top of the pan (as Heather shows in her more detailed directions). Take each sheet of phyllo and lightly brush with Earth Balance. Fold in half. Lay in pan so that it is in the middle, and then hanging over the edge. Repeat many times so that each piece of phyllo is overlapping the last. Pour in half of cream cheese filling. Add a few blobs of cinnamon walnut mix, then top with rest of cream cheese. Add remaining nuts, and swirl.
Fold the overhanging phyllo on top of the cheesecake. I added another sheet of phyllo to the top of the cheesecake to fully cover all the filling to keep any of the syrup from burning. Bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes. Once your cheesecake has finished baking, turn oven off, open a few inches and allow to cool for an hour. Place cheesecake in fridge and allow it chill for 4 hours or overnight.
Bake a few of the remaining phyllo sheets at 350 for 10-20 minutes until golden. Sprinkle on top of cheesecake. Add remaining chopped walnuts and drizzle with some of the "honey" syrup.

leaves and flours vegan Baklava Cheesecake

I am going to warn you. This cheesecake is messy. Next time I would consider putting a piece of parchment inside of the springform pan ring after I lock it as well. The syrup does ooze as the cheesecake is baking. While most of the syrup stayed on the bottom piece of parchment, I found that a bit did also spill onto the sheet tray I placed under the springform. Next time I might just line the oven rack with aluminum foil, because the sheet tray kept the bottom bits of phyllo from browning the way I wanted them too.
The mess is totally worth it though. This cheesecake is amazing. It's rich and just sweet enough to add a more syrup to the top without it being too much. It also looks beautiful with minimal effort. Really once you pile the extra phyllo & walnuts on top, it just looks amazing. The way the phyllo wraps around the edge of the cake and then has extra height in the middle reminds me of a wrapped package. One that I can't wait to open until it is totally cooled.

leaves and flours vegan Baklava Cheesecake

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Hummingbird Cake & Pineapple Flowers

leaves and flours vegan Hummingbird Cake & Pineapple Flowers

While my original intention was to only bake things I have never made before, I snuck in hummingbird cake (my personal favorite) by topping it with dried pineapple flowers. I have seen these beautiful little cupcake toppers floating all over the blogosphere, but never really thought I would actually do it. As I was wondering around the grocery store after work, I decided it was time to put it to the test. I found this quick set of guidelines on The Tasty Bite Blog when I got home & set to it.
I probably should have thought it through a little bit better and maybe read some directions before I bought the pineapple. Because I recently learned how to pick a ripe pineapple (you just grab one of the leaves on top in the middle and if it pulls out easily, then it's ripe!), I put my new knowledge to use & bought a ripe pineapple. Because it was so ripe, it was actually a terrible choice for making dried pineapple flowers! It was so juicy and that makes it even more difficult to cut. I also haven't sharpened my kitchen knife in far too long, which made it even trickier. I didn't get any paper thin slices because I was a bit too pre-occupied with not slicing my fingers open. These ended up baking for almost 2 hours, and many of them were still not actually very dry but I couldn't wait any longer. Now I know?! Enough of them were cute that it was still worth it, plus I ate all the pineapple that was too thick to attempt to bake for breakfast.

leaves and flours vegan Hummingbird Cake & Pineapple Flowers leaves and flours vegan Hummingbird Cake & Pineapple Flowers

The hummingbird cake recipe is from Nikki at the Tolerant Vegan. It's terrific in every way. Don't even think twice about roasting the bananas. It's a total must to get the caramel-y flavor which adds another great note to the cake. Some people like to throw some shredded coconut in their hummingbird cake, but it's just not my thing. Don't get me wrong I love coconut, but the texture of shredded coconut isn't something I want in my cake. Not that you can see the frosting since the point of these cupcakes were to decorate them with flowers, but they are topped with cream cheese frosting.
Red velvet and coconut might be the most recognizable Southern cakes, but hummingbird was the most popular recipe request from Southern Living Magazine until the last few years. In 1978 by a lady from North Carolina submitted the first recipe to Southern Living, and it became infamous. She never shared the name's origin story, but I have heard several theories over the years. That the cake is sweet enough to attract hummingbirds, the people flock around the cake like hummingbirds around a flower, that the flavors originate from Jamaica where the national bird is hummingbird… I'm liking folks flocking around the cake like birds around a flower, because of the way I decorated these little babies, but who really knows?!

leaves and flours vegan Hummingbird Cake & Pineapple Flowers

Red Velvet Cake

leaves and flours vegan Red Velvet Cake

This is what a cake looks like when I start to decorate it at 10:30pm. This is what a cake looks like when I should already have gone to bed for the evening, but I can't because I am so angry and frustrated that there is no way I will be able to sleep. This is what happens when I start to frost it, but then stop 4 minutes in because I am over it. And then of course the next morning the icing is set and hardened and you can't really make it look any better than those initial few minutes of effort. I have been sort of blown away by how terrible people have been recently. Working with people, you expect to come across plenty of jerks. But sometimes the level of asshole I come across is mind boggling. Last week a woman special ordered a 6" chocolate gluten free cake with raspberry filling & raspberry frosting. She got to the bakery and refused to pay & take it home because it was "too small". I was sort of dumbfounded. Has she ever looked a ruler?!

leaves and flours vegan Red Velvet Cake

Then on Friday a woman called the bakery asking about special ordering a cake for that day. She wanted it in two hours, which I told her was impossible but that I could do it in four. I told her about the pricing and she was shocked. I gave her price comparisons to other vegan bakeries, and she refused to believe me. I told her that most places would also not do a cake with less than 24-48 hours notice without a rush fee. She called another shop, and immediately called back. She berated me about the price a little more, and told me to "try to make it look nice". When she arrived at the store, she was rude to me in person as well. I gave her the cake. She told me it was "awful big" for an 8" cake?! But luckily she paid for it and left. I was so happy it was over with.
That night I got an email that she wanted to return the cake for a full refund. The next day she brought back the other half of the cake that was "too big" claiming that it was stale. It's literally impossible for you to have a stale cake that has only been out of the oven & frosted for less than an afternoon. And to top it off, we didn't get paid for rearranging the baking for the day or me dealing repeatedly with this terrible human.

leaves and flours vegan Red Velvet Cake

So this is my cake. It's neither too big nor too small. It's just a normal cake. I used the red velvet recipe from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World and the cream cheese frosting I shared when I made the pumpkin cupcakes. I don't even like red velvet cake, but it doesn't matter. I needed to prove to myself that I could make a cake I didn't even like and know it tasted great. And I think it worked.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cinnamon Sugar Pumpkin Seeds

The cool mornings are finally here. I have broken out the cardigans and the thicker socks. I have been drinking hot coffee & craving oatmeal in the mornings instead of smoothies or fruit. I think year round is pumpkin time, but most people would argue with me. Now I think it's an acceptable time to break out the pumpkin cupcakes. I know MoFo was moved a month earlier to help avoid some of the pumpkin flavored things, but you just can't deter someone as committed to pumpkin as me. For the cake I used Claryn of Hell Yeah It's Vegan's slight twist on the pumpkin cupcakes in Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. The cream cheese frosting is my own twist, with slightly more cream cheese than most of the popular recipes call for. I personally love the taste of Tofutti. If you aren't a fan of the "nuanced" flavor of vegan cream cheese, than you might want to head towards a recipe with a little more margarine & shortening to balance it out.

leaves and flours vegan Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cinnamon Sugar Pumpkin Seeds

Cream Cheese Frosting
more than enough for generously piping one dozen cupcakes

3 tbl Earth Balance
3 tbl shortening
3 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup Tofutti cream cheese
1 tsp vanilla extract

Cream Earth Balance and shortening for several minutes until fluffy. Add powdered sugar in halves, beating until fully incorporated both times. Add cream cheese and vanilla extract and beat for several minutes until smooth.

Cinnamon Sugar Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

3 tbl Earth Balance, melted
3 cups pumpkin seeds
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp sea salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt Earth Balance and toss pumpkin seeds in melted margarine until completely covered. In a small bowl combine 1/3 cup sugar with cinnamon & sea salt. Pour half of the cinnamon sugar on the pumpkin seeds and toss until coated. Pour on a parchment lined sheet and bake for 12-15 minutes, stirring frequently. Allow seeds to cool. Toss in remaining cinnamon sugar. Add additional sugar if desired!

leaves and flours vegan Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cinnamon Sugar Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin seeds are one of my favorite snacks. I think they go perfectly in granolas & trail mixes, but I also love eating them by the handful. Plenty of people make Old Bay or nice nooch-y savory versions, but this sweet version is what I am all about. It also makes a nice sparkly topping for cupcakes if you can restrain yourself from eating it all.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013


I read Real Snacks quicker than anything else in my cookbook challenge. The book is written well, each recipe has gluten free & vegan options, & it's chock full of healthier versions of the snacks that most of us grew up eating. The recipe that caught my eye the most was for twinkies. While I am sure that I ate some growing up, I have no real recollection of ever eating them. To be honest, the first things that come to mind when I think of twinkies is the movie Zombieland. I just remember reading an interview that talked about the set designers having to make vegan twinkies so that Woody Harrelson (who's totes vegan!) could eat them for one of the scenes.
Anyways, back to the cake! While I put a little plastic tag on the page with the twinkies, I wasn't sure I would actually ever get around to making them. I mean, I certainly didn't need to spend fourteen or fifteen dollars on another piece of bakeware that was going to set around my kitchen and get used once every year or two. Welp. I happened to get a coupon in the mail for $10 off my next purchase at Sur la Table. And then the pan was on sale and combined with my "professional" discount, I ended up with a snack cake pan for all of 35 cents. So, these twinkies were destined to happen. The sponge cake recipe in the book is top notch, but I really didn't enjoy the cream so I made my own! Also don't you dare even consider skimping on the millet flour in the sponge cake. It's totally what gives the cake it's eerily reminiscent flavor & consistency!

leaves and flours vegan twinkies
Cream Filling
more than enough for filling 10 twinkies & eating a few spoonfuls

1/4 cup shortening
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2.5 oz Ricemellow cream

Beat shortening and powdered sugar until combined. Add Ricemellow cream and beat on high speed for several minutes until fluffy. I used all shortening because I wanted the cream to be bright white like in the traditional snack cake. If you want the cream to taste even better, you can easily replace 2 of the 4 tablespoons of shortening with Earth Balance, but it won't have quite the same bright hue.

leaves and flours vegan twinkies

Cute anecdote: I never realized that twinkies were filled by inserting cream in three spots in the bottom of the cake. I somehow missed this memo in the recipe from Real Snacks. So I started filling all of the cakes like you would a donut, through the edges of the cake. Greg came home and told me I was doing it wrong, so I added additional cream in the places it should be! So ignore the little dots of cream you see on the ends of the twinkies in these pictures. It definitely should not be thereeee.
It seems like this is the year of re-making other trademarked, not vegan foods. The girl scout cookies went over well. The oatmeal cream pies & compost cookies were both a huge hit. What's next? Butterscotch krimpets? Zebra cakes? I think the cake from the twinkies and the recipe for the cream filling above would be perfect for those! It's basically just a different shaped twinkie with some poured fondant right?!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Almond & Vanilla Pound Cake

leaves and flours vegan almond vanilla strawberry pound cake

Sometimes when I stop and think about it I can see myself slowly becoming an adult. When I get a bonus at work or have a friend ask me to make a birthday cake, my first though isn't "oh great, I can go buy new shoes" anymore. Now it's "oh I can put a little extra money on the principal of my car loan this month". I have a budget (that I actually follow?!) and renter's insurance and have resisted from adopting a dog because I couldn't even keep a terrarium alive for a year. I am adult enough to know that I am not yet ready to be relied on by another life, no matter how badly I might want a Bernese puppy to run up to me when I get home from work.
Pound cake is not something I ever would have found myself craving a few years ago. But somehow when I came home with a few containers of fresh strawberries I knew it was what I wanted to bake. I decided to make Isa's almond pound cakes since I had a can of almond paste sitting around as well as a regular vanilla version for comparison.

leaves and flours vegan almond vanilla strawberry pound cake leaves and flours vegan almond vanilla strawberry pound cake

Vanilla Pound Cake
6 oz extra firm silken tofu
1/2 cup almond milk
1 tbl vanilla extract
1/2 cup Earth Balance
1 1/2 cup sugar
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
one pinch sea salt Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9x5″ or several mini loaf pans. Puree silken tofu with almond milk and vanilla extract. Cream together butter and sugar with a mixer for several minutes, until fluffy. Add tofu puree and mix until combined. Add first cup of of flour and mix fold in gently. Add remaining cup of flour and baking powder. Mix until uniform. Pour batter in pan and bake 50-55 minutes for a full loaf or 35-45 minutes for mini loaves.

leaves and flours vegan almond vanilla strawberry pound cake

As far as looks go, there wasn't much difference between the two. The cake on the chartreuse plate (see look at that adult word) is the almond, while the others are the vanilla. The almond cakes were a tiny bit more golden on the crust and cracked a little bit more too. The vanilla cake really allowed the whip cream & ripe strawberries to shine, but I love almond everything so it didn't surprise me that I liked the flavor of Isa's recipe a bit more. If you don't have any almond paste around, you could probably replace half the vanilla extract in my recipe with almond to get a little extra oomph.
Are you a pound cake kind of person? Is your favorite ice cream flavor vanilla? I understand that we need these classics. They are like a little black dress. But I just need more flavor than that normally. I'm not really the girl to just wear a little black dress. You can bet I will pair that with bright red lip stick or floral patterned tights or studded sandals. After all, I did just find a way to use potato chips, sprinkles, pretzels, and malt powder as base ingredients in a few of my favorite sweets. I may be an adult, but I'm not boring.

leaves and flours vegan almond vanilla strawberry pound cake

Monday, September 16, 2013

Garam Masala Sweet Potato Muffins

leaves and flours vegan Garam Masala Sweet Potato Muffins

I am not a muffin roll. After I made the garam masala snickerdoodles, I had the craving to use more of the spice mix in my baking. When I stumbled upon the garam masala sweet potato muffins in Whole Grain Vegan Baking, I knew you were just gonna have to deal with the fact that I made two muffin recipes from the same cookbook back to back. These were great. They weren't very sweet, I actually found them to be a little more on the savory side. I feel like I might tweak the recipe to include a little corn meal or corn flour and serve them with chili the next time around.

leaves and flours vegan Garam Masala Sweet Potato Muffins

Time keeps slipping by me. I almost forgot to finish writing this! Next year I really have to get more planned & prepped before MoFo starts. There's just no time to actually bake something several days a week. I feel like I am missing out on a lot of small things in my life, which is definitely not the point of MoFo. I shouldn't let it stress me out so much, but I am obsessive about committing to things 100% once I sign on. Hopefully I will have a little time to catch back up this week!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Blackberry Allspice Muffins

The last seven days have been a little rough. Something really heavy fell on my foot and left me unable to put on a shoe for a few days. And then I got in a minor car accident on my way home from work yesterday. It's weeks like that that help us keep things in perspective. Occasionally my days might be a little boring or tedious, but at least they are generally pretty swell. After all who can complain about lazy, sleepy mornings off with muffins & tea?

leaves and flours vegan Blackberry Allspice Muffins

Whole Grain Vegan Baking is a cookbook I bought as soon as it was released. It sat on my shelf for a few months before I finally spent some quality time sifting through it. If you haven't picked up a copy yet you definitely should. You can also enter to win a copy on Joni's blog Just the Food if you hurry! My favorite recipe from the book is the speculoos doughnuts, which I made last year. These muffins are my second favorite so far. They make a terrific breakfast. I used fresh blackberries, and I think it was worth the splurge.
Are there any recipes from the book that you have tried yet & would recommend I add to my to-bake list? It's already getting quite long with all the MoFo recipes I have been bookmarking, but what's the harm in building it back up now that I have worked my way through so many recipes this month?!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Almond Biscotti

Another simple cookie that I have somehow never made before. Biscotti! Twice baked, Italian cookies. I love everything almond, so I decided to tweak a recipe from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar for maximum almond flavor. Between the almond extract, almond meal, and sliced almonds there's all sorts of lovely nutty flavor. I often see biscotti dipped in chocolate, but I prefer to drizzle for maximum chocolate to cookie ratio per bite. Of course these flavors are perfect for dipping into coffee. You should probably keep in mind when you are dipping your biscotti into coffee what time of day it is. If it's 5pm and you were just craving a snack, you might not want to dip them. Otherwise you will be wide awake until 3am wondering why you aren't tired even though you need to be up in three hours. This might have happened to me this week. I am not sure where my brain was when I decided to order a cup of coffee while I was catching up with a friend. Hopefully I can keep this in mind next time and just order a nice cup of herbal tea instead.
leaves and flours vegan Almond Biscotti
Almond Biscotti
adapted from cranberry white chocolate biscotti in Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar

1/3 cup almond milk
2 tbl golden flax meal
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 tsp almond extract
1 1/3 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup almond meal
2 tbl arrowroot
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup sliced almonds
2 oz dark chocolate for drizzling

Preheat oven to 350. In bowl of standing mixer, beat almond milk and flax meal for one minute. Add sugar and extracts and mix until combined. Add flour, almond meal, arrowroot, baking powder and salt and mix until a stiff dough forms. Fold in sliced almonds. On a baking sheet form dough into a a long rectangle, only 4" wide. Bake for 27 minutes. Allow to cool for 30-40 minutes.
Heat oven to 325. Using a heavy kitchen knife cut into 1/2" pieces using one solid motion pushing down. Tip the biscotti onto one of the freshly cut sides. Bake for 14 minutes. Flip onto other cut side and bake for the remaining 14 minutes. While the cookies are cooling, melt your chocolate. Drizzle to your content and allow to cool to room temperature.

leaves and flours vegan Almond Biscotti

Friday, September 13, 2013

Momofuku Compost Cookies Veganized

leaves and flours vegan Momofuku Compost Cookies Veganized

Easily the most inspiring cookbook I read in August was the Momofuku Milk Bar book by Christina Tosi. The food photography is stunning. Every recipe is totally original and innovative. The whole book is beautiful from cover to cover. While many of the recipes would be a tad bit tricky to veganize with all the gelatin and milk powder and what not, the compost cookies caught my eye right away. All the flavors and textures are magical. I didn't make them the way suggested since I had already just filled my rice crispy treats with potato chips, so I upped the amount of graham cracker crumbs and pretzel bits. I am glad I didn't make a half batch like I normally do with cookies, because these flew off the sheet tray almost before I had time to properly photograph them. It doesn't matter what you have in your pantry, it will work in these cookies.

leaves and flours vegan Momofuku Compost Cookies Veganized
Momofuku Compost Cookies Veganized
original recipe here!

1 cup Earth Balance
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup light brown sugar
1 tbl corn syrup
1 Ener-G egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/3 cup flour
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup mini chocolate chips
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
3/4 cup crushed graham crackers
1 1/3 cup crushed pretzels
1/3 cup rolled oats
1 1/2 tsp malt powder
pinch of ground coffee

Beat Earth Balance, sugars, and corn syrup in a mixer until combined. Add prepared Ener-G egg and vanilla extract. Beat several minutes until fluffy. Add flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda to mixer bowl. Beat until just combined. Add all the mix-ins. Using a large ice cream scoop, portion out the cookie dough & slightly flatten the tops. I piled all the scooped cookies into a tupperware lined with parchment. Chill the dough overnight. Bake at 375 for 18 minutes or until the edges of the cookies are firm & browned.

leaves and flours vegan Momofuku Compost Cookies Veganized

If you haven't heard of Mind of a Chef yet, it's a PBS show (also on Netflix)featuring David Chang, who opened Momofuku Noodle Bar. While some of it's really interesting, the show has a lot of footage revolving around meat so I tend to skip through them when something comes up I don't want to watch. Towards the end of the season Christina shows up in the show. She makes a burnt miso apple pie in episode 13 (Soy), and all of episode 14 (Sweet Spot) is centered around her recipes! It's worth watching for just her techniques. It really makes me want to invest in acetate strips for making layer cakes. Look at this beauty! There's a few other Milk Bar recipes I think I might make my way to eventually. Those blueberries & cream cookies sound pretty great. And an Arnold Palmer cake! I highly suggest checking out the cookbook if you are looking for a little inspiration or if you are thinking about opening your own bakery someday. Her story will motivate you.

leaves and flours vegan Momofuku Compost Cookies Veganized

Thursday, September 12, 2013


leaves and flours vegan rugelach

Today I bring to you rugelach from The Joy of Vegan Baking. It's by no means a new cookbook, but Colleen has created one of the most comprehensive vegan baking books so it stands the test of time. I've made several things from it before always with great success. I am by no means a rugelach expert. I remember eating them as a child, but I can't tell you what they were like. These were a wee bit doughier than I expected. I am fairly certain that rugelach are suppose to be crisp and flaky. Mine were a little bit oilier. Maybe it was a bit too much fat or the Earth Balance and cream cheese weren't quite the right temperature when I tried to make the dough? I might have blended it too much or too little? I haven't figured it out yet. Sometimes it's hard to know what's gone wrong when you're teaching yourself. I'll have to try it again. Do you have a rugelach recipe you love? Maybe even a family recipe you've veganized to perfection?!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Viennese Whirls

leaves and flours vegan Viennese Whirls

After my shortbread mishap yesterday, I thought I would follow it up with a perfect shortbread recipe. These cookies are just great. Buttery and crisp. They pair well with the sweet frosting and tart jam. As soon as I found this recipe on the BBC I broke out my trusty scale & piping bag, & gave it a shot. I would suggest piping the rosettes a wee bit smaller than suggested. I think they would be really dreamy if they were bite size. You also want to try to pipe them as flat as possible or you will have difficulty with the sandwiches staying together when sitting on the plate like I did with a few of them.

leaves and flours vegan Viennese Whirls

I just started watching Boardwalk Empire. I needed something to watch while I bake and edit pictures and type all this stuff up. It was a really solid choice. I know I am about four years late to the craze, but somehow it just slipped by me. I am in love with the set design and all the fashion. There have been a few times now that I have looked up from what I was doing and when I finally looked back down it was 20 minutes later. So maybe it's not all that conducive to my productivity. I can't quite put my finger on it, but there's something about the lighting and this tea cup really reminds me of Boardwalk Empire. That's what started this whole tangent.

leaves and flours vegan Viennese Whirls