Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Holiday Cookies

leaves and flours vegan eggnog snickerdoodles

Tonight and tomorrow are some of the busiest cookie-making days of the year. There's not too many days besides Christmas Eve that absolutely require a plate of cookies. Since I'm not working in a bakery mass-producing thousands of cookies this year, I decided to switch up the standard mix of gingerbread, snickerdoodles, spritz, and sugar cookies to include my favorite winter flavor: soy nog! I made these eggnog snickerdoodles from Amy's Healthy Baking using Silk Nog and adding some extra spices to both the batter and the spiced sugar because that's how I roll (insert bad joke drum roll here). I have a half a carton of soy nog left, and I'm hoping to make another soy nog cheesecake before I slowly sip away at it in the middle of the night.

leaves and flours vegan gingerbread cookies

I also decided that I couldn't forego classical cookies all the way, especially when making a new recipe (I mean you gotta have a fail-safe) so I made gingerbread mittens with my top secret recipe. My lips are sealed on this one and I don't think I will ever share it, but the recipe from the PPK is a very solid option if you don't have a top secret recipe of your own yet. Decorating gingerbread cookies is easily the best part of the holidays, so make sure to gather all your nearest & dearest to frost, sprinkle & snack. Happy holidays everyone!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

S'mores Puppy Chow

leaves and flours vegan S'mores Puppy Chow

It's crunch time! There's just a few more days left to get all those presents bought and wrapped for locals, and if you haven't gotten everything in the mail than you better overnight it to get there in time! In the craziness of the holidays, maybe you don't have time to bake anything super special but want a treat for an evening with friends or family. This s'mores puppy chow from Sally's Baking Addiction is easy peasy to veganize. Just grab a bag of Dandies mini marshmallows and everything else is pretty straight forward. You'll have your crunchy, sweet treat in less than 20 minutes.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Everything but the Kitchen Sink

leaves and flours vegan

Post-move I have been trying to reduce the amount of baking supplies I hoard. I found a pre-made Oreo crust at the very bottom of my box of supplies and knew it had been there for so long that I didn't remotely have a clue how old it was. A chocolate cookie crust called for one thing, pudding pie. Chocolate pudding pie is a tried & true classic. I have blogged about it before, so it's not enough to warrant a new post. However this time around I used So Delicious's new coconut whipped topping. While I think it tastes remarkably like Cool Whip, the texture was a little off for me. It was very heavy and quite hard to spread on top of the pie even though I had let it thaw overnight in the fridge & then beat it for several minutes to try to make it fluffier. I think if it were something that I was going to pipe whipped cream onto, it would be perfect for that & probably hold it's shape remarkably well. I have another tub in the freezer and a few more ideas for what I am going to do with it next.

leaves and flours vegan

Every year in DC my friend's host a vegan Thanksgiving dessert potluck. After 9pm once we have all gotten through dinners with our friends & family and maybe foraged through the meal to find the bits & bobs that are vegan, we get together to eat dessert together. Since I spent the last few years up to my knees in pie every holiday season, I decided to take a new route for the dessert potluck this year. I made an apple gingerbread bundt cake, tweaked from the apple cider cake recipe on Pickles & Honey. It went too quickly for me to photograph well. However, in my post-food coma I was wise enough to grab a few of the cookies I made to snap a photo of the next day. I saw these maple walnut cookies during Vegan MoFo on Shannon's blog. I decided to fore-go the frosting since there would be so many desserts and opted for a maple glaze & sprinkles instead.

leaves and flours vegan leaves and flours vegan

Greg was in Europe for two weeks and while he was kind enough to bring me back German chocolate bars that are more amazing than I could have even expected, I also got a little stir crazy. I used that momentum to buy a bus ticket to New York and convinced my friend Melanie to go with me. Despite walking around in the pouring rain for almost 8 hours in a city that neither of us are fond of, we had a pretty nice day. I got an amazing hot dog made solely of root vegetables and then topped with more pickled vegetables and a kale caesar salad from Yeah Dawg. But most importantly and the sole purpose for the trip, I got a dozen macarons. Sweet Maresa's released her winter flavors, and I knew I needed to try them. Pictured are hot chocolate, gingerbread, black licorice, carrot cake, caramel pecan, and pistachio. All phenomenal, but I think the gingerbread macaron is one of my new favorites.
I have also fallen pretty under the spell of copper lately. I bought my first copper pan because it was beautiful and not too expensive. Greg's mom, who is an amazing hunter of antique & vintage goods, was kind enough to buy me these copper pots & pans. Just look at that double boiler! A very good start to my newest collection.

leaves and flours vegan

And almost a whole year after they were posted in Kristy's cookie swap, I finally made the gluten free turtle cookies I bookmarked. Considering that we are now almost halfway through this year's cookie swap, one could say that I am a little behind in my pleasure baking. I'm going to an in-life cookie swap this weekend, and I am struggling to try and figure out what I want to make. I have tossed around many ideas. Traditionally I feel like I should make gingerbread or snickerdoodles or maybe some snowflake & mitten sugar cookies. But I think I might mix it up. Maybe eggnog cookies? I made a batch of pistachio pudding cookies that I want to tweak and make a little better, so that might be a good option. The pressure of making something with no restrictions whatsoever. It's almost overwhelming.

leaves and flours vegan

One of my main routines since my move to Philadelphia has been drinking too much coffee and eating doughnuts. Dottie's Donuts has been growing super rapidly. Originally wholesaling on the weekends to a few coffeeshops, they have now expanded to 6 days a week and are being carried at so many shops! While my favorite is the classic cinnamon sugar, Dottie's really specializes in their interesting flavor combinations. The donut shown here was a Little Baby's exclusive with a glaze of Little Baby's smoked cinnamon ice cream, chocolate drizzle, and waffle cone chunks. Other favorites have included horchata, apple cider, and sweet potato. But they just keep cranking out amazing flavors like Silk nog and cranberry tangerine. If you are in the Philly area and haven't tried these doughnuts yet, you are really messing up.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Caramel Apple Puppy Chow

Memory works in mysterious ways. I have always been a person who associates a specific event or person or book with a food. While some of this might make sense, let's say associating waffles with Parks & Recreation. I mean it's not possible to watch more than two or three episodes of Parks & Rec without craving a waffle, am I right?! However, some of these associations are a little more ambiguous. For example, I associate Gilmore Girls with puppy chow. Puppy chow, muddy buddies, sweet minglers, whatever you call it. I don't make this link because Lorelai or Rory ever ate puppy chow or mentioned puppy chow ever in seven years of the show, but solely because I ate a whole batch of it while I watched the last episode of Gilmore Girls at the end of my freshman year of college. So when Gilmore Girls got added to Netflix, I started craving puppy chow. I restrained myself for a few weeks or maybe even a few months, but I finally caved and fell back in love with the crunchy, sickeningly sweet, totally addictive snack. If you haven't ever made it, you need to because it's simply & satisfying & combines three of my favorite things: chocolate, peanut butter, & breakfast cereal. Here's the Chex official recipe for basic puppy chow.

leaves and flours vegan puppy chow muddy buddies

Once I knew that I was heading to the store solely to stock up on boxes of Chex cereal and towards that slippery snack slope, I started stumbling around the internet looking for variations on puppy chow. I found this recipe for caramel apple puppy chow from The Smart Kitchen Blog. I knew I had vegan butterscotch chips tucked away in my baking supplies and decided it was time to pull it out. If you haven't ever had the need for butterscotch chips before, the King David brand is vegan & can be found here. I modified her recipe a bit. Leaving out the coconut oil and adding peanut butter like classic puppy chow. This made the coating really thick and helped cut the cinnamon flavor on the cereal a tiny bit more. I am not entirely sure that this puppy chow is caramel apple flavored. But it's great, so don't question it and just go with it. I mean just look at the picture below. That bowl was all that was left in the morning after a movie spree. And I had to turn a few of those leaves over because I got powdered sugar on them picking pieces that "didn't look right" out of the bowl while I was snapping the pictures.

leaves and flours vegan caramel apple puppy chow muddy buddies

Caramel Apple Puppy Chow

1 box Apple Cinnamon Chex cereal
10 oz butterscotch chips
1/3 cup peanut butter
1/2-3/4 cup powdered sugar to coat

Pour your cereal into a large mixing bowl. In a saucepan, melt the butterscotch chips and peanut butter. Add this mixture to the cereal and fold until covered. Allow cereal to cool for a few minutes. In a larger tupperware container or in gallon ziplock bags, combine the cereal and powdered sugar. Shake really well. Let totally cool and then try to not eat the whole batch in one sitting. It's easier if you aren't watching Gilmore Girls.