Saturday, December 21, 2013

last post of 2013, on holiday, breaking my vegan diet & vegan chocolate chunk w/ almond cookies

I'm officially on Christmas holiday abroad and on hiatus from my vegan diet. This will also be my last post for 2013 and thank you all for following me!!! So for the next two weeks I'll be consuming all dairy products in moderation, but I'll end this year with delicious vegan chocolate chunk with almond cookies.

The first time I made these vegan cookies by Baker Bettie I followed the exact recipe. The second time I made them I added my own twists and I have to admit that these are pretty darn good vegan cookies. The recipe only makes a dozen cookies, it's quick and easy and when you're jonesing for cookies, this recipe is for you! Vegan or not, make these cookies!!!

Vegan Chocolate Chunk w/ Almond Cookies
adapted from Baker Bettie's blog
makes 12 cookies

1/4 cup vegan butter ***I used Earth Balance.***
1/4 cup vegetable shortening ***You can use vegan butter here also.***
3/4 cup dark brown sugar ***Baker Bettie uses dark muscovado sugar here but use whatever sugar you have in your pantry. Preferably light or dark brown sugar.***
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3 tablespoons soy milk ***Plain old water is OK too.***
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup + 4 tablespoons of all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt plus a little more for sprinkling on top of cookies
1 cup vegan chocolate chips/chunks ***The only vegan chocolate I had on hand was a one pound bar of Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate w/ Almonds. I chopped it up and added it to my recipe and it tasted great!!!***

Preheat your oven to 375ºF. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

In your bowl of your stand mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, whip vegan butter and veg shortening with dark brown sugar until it's doubled in volume and light and fluffy. Roughly about 3 - 5 minutes on medium-high speed. Scrape down the sides of your mixing bowl.

In a small bowl, whisk/mix together cornstarch, baking powder and soy milk. Add to butter and sugar mixture along with the vanilla. Mix until thoroughly combined. Scrape down sides again.

With the mixer on low speed, gradually add the flour and kosher salt. Do not over mix and stop the mixer at the point to almost all of the flour is mixed in. Add the chunks and mix for a few seconds. ***If there is still flour visible, gently fold mixture by hand with a large spatula.***

With a cookie scoop (I think mine is a 2 ounce scoop) evenly scoop out 12 cookies onto your prepared cookie sheets. Leave a couple of inches a part because cookies will spread a little bit. Bake for 8 minutes, sprinkle a little kosher salt onto each cookie, rotate cookie sheets and bake for another 8 minutes. 

Remove from oven and cool on sheets for 5 minutes until transferring them to a wire rack. Cool completely. Cookies will keep in an airtight container for about 1 week.

This is one of our views from our flat in De Pijp neighborhood in Amsterdam.

Breaking my vegan diet with hazelnut yogurt and a chocolate covered gingerbread man cookie for breakfast.

Happy Holidays!!!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

vegan pumpkin cranberry walnut muffins

Leftover pumpkin puree, fresh cranberries, plus a few pantry staples can easily be mixed and baked into something yummy. I don't mind having Thanksgiving leftovers of these two fall super star ingredients, because I can turn them into a delicious breakfast or afternoon treat. 

I'm still on my vegan train, so I searched for the best vegan pumpkin muffin recipe to make. I found a recipe from PPK which after a little personal taste tweaking, these muffins were so tasty that I've almost convinced a few more people to be vegan. Almost.

If you're not a fan of cranberries or walnuts, just leave them pumpkin. I added cranberries to my recipe and they gave a little surprise burst of tartness in almost every bite. I also threw in some chopped walnuts because something crunchy is always good in my book.

Vegan Pumpkin Cranberry Walnut Muffins
slightly adapted from the recipe on PPK's blog
make 12 muffins

1 cup all-pupose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour ***Or all-purpose flour***
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg***Freshly grated if you can.***
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon all spice
pinch of ground cloves
1 cup pumpkin puree
3/4 cup dark brown sugar ***Light brown sugar is OK too.***
1/2 cup soy milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons molasses
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup fresh cranberries - reserved 12 berries for the top of the muffins
1/2 cup walnuts - roughly chopped - reserve 2 tablespoons to sprinkle on top

Preheat oven to 400ºF. Line a muffin tin with cupcake liners and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour/s, baking powder, kosher salt and all of the spices. In another bowl, whisk together pumpkin puree and dark brown sugar. Add the soy milk, vegetable oil, molasses and vanilla. Mix thoroughly to combine.

Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and gently fold together. Try not to over mix/fold your batter because it will overwork the glutens in the flour and your muffins will be tough. Stop mixing/folding a little before all of the ingredients are incorporated. Toss in your cranberries and walnuts and gently fold into your batter.

With a large scoop, divide batter into your lined muffin tin. Top each muffin with your reserved cranberries and sprinkle with reserved walnuts.

Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick/tester comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for 5 minutes before removing them from the muffin tin. Cool completely on wire rack or devour when still warm.