Chocolate pumpkin tart

Chocolate pumpkin tart

I’d be lying if I said I’m sad to see VeganMoFo come to an end. Becuase I’m not. I’m ecstatic. Ecstatically dancing half naked in my kitchen. Because I’m just that happy. As much as I enjoyed posting 21 pumpkin recipes this month, I am wiped the eff out. And since I’m not one of those people who turns to alcohol to help me cope with the things that make me straight up crazy (although I should probably consider it), I’m going to deal with the pumpkin overload by taking a nice, long run. Which, admittedly, has less to do with the month of food and more to do with the fact that I’m putting off completing my studies until the last possible minute.
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This chocolate pumpkin tart is scrumptious as is, but if you’d prefer a plain tart crust, substitute an additional 1/4 cup unbleached flour for the cocoa powder (you may need to add an additional tablespoon of cold water, too). If you’d rather this be a cheesecake tart, simply swap the tofu with equal amounts of vegan cream cheese and voilà! chocolate pumpkin cheesecake tart. I’ve got to warn you, though – once you remove the foil, the tart can over bake within a matter of minutes. I over baked mine by just a few, and as a result the edges started to crack. And don’t worry if the center’s not set; it will set during the cooling/chilling process.

CHOCOLATE PUMPKIN TART

1 c. soft silken tofu
1 3/4 c. pumpkin puree
1/2 c. brown sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 tbsp almond milk
2 tbsp tapioca starch
1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1 c. unbleached flour
1/4 c. almond meal
1/4 c. dutch process cocoa powder
1 tbsp cane sugar
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
1/4 c. vegan butter, cold
1/4 c. shortening, cold
3-4 tbsp water, ice cold

In a high powdered blender (such as a Vitamix), blend together the pumpkin puree, tofu, sugar and vanilla extract. In a small bowl, whisk together the almond milk and tapioca starch. Add the tapioca mixture to the blender along with the pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon and salt; blend until smooth. Transfer pumpkin mixture to an air tight container and refrigerate until ready to use.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, almond meal, cocoa powder, sugar and salt. Using a pastry cutter, or two knives, cut in the butter and shortening until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Place the bowl into the freezer for 10-15 minutes to get the ingredients cold. Once chilled, add water 1 tablespoon at a time; knead the dough with your fingers. Pat the dough into a smooth ball, wrap with plastic and refrigerate for at least 60 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350˚F. Lightly grease a round 8″ tart pan (with removable bottom); set aside. Line a flat surface with parchment paper and sprinkle lightly with cocoa powder. Roll the dough into a 12″ circle; if needed, coat your rolling pin with cocoa powder so the dough doesn’t stick. Gently drape the piece of dough over the prepared tart pan and shape it to fit the pan; press the edges around the bottom and press the dough into the fluted sides. Using a rolling pin, roll across the top of the pan to remove the excess dough. With a toothpick, poke 30-40 shallow holes in the bottom of the tart. Bake at 350˚F for 5 minutes. Remove from oven and fill with the chilled pumpkin mixture; tap the pan on the counter to release any air bubbles. Cover with foil and bake at 350˚F for 25-30 minutes. Remove foil then bake for an additional 10-15 minutes. Cool on a wire rack then chill in the refrigerator before serving. If you want to do the chocolate decoration, simply melt 4 ounces of dark chocolate with 1 tablespoon of shortening; drizzle over tart.
Yield: 1 round 8″ tart

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Pumpkin soft pretzels

Pumpkin soft pretzels

This is another one of those recipes that makes people all looney and shit. Probably because most people have only ever known those rubbery, imitation soft pretzels you get in movie theaters. And those things are gross, so I really can’t blame them. A pretzel is supposed to be crunchy on the outside, and a soft, pillow of goodness on the inside. Not rubbery. Ever.

I have a love/hate relationship with this recipe becuase a) it’s a lot of work, and b) people are always asking for more. One time we had an Oktoberfest celebration and I wound up making these pretzels (sans the pumpkin) far too many times to keep count. I literally spent the entire party in the kitchen making pretzels for a bunch of drunk people. In hindsight, it worked out favorably becuase I woke up the next morning feeling like a normal human being while they were all nursing super massive hangovers. Chalk one up for the lady who partied in the kitchen all night!

Pumpkin soft pretzels

I’m not going to lie, shaping the dough is a total b- i- t- c- h-. Which is why I eventually resorted to rolling the pretzels into tiny balls. But all of the work is so worth it once you bite into a warm, homemade pretzel you just pulled from the oven. So freaking worth it. I ate two for breakfast and two for lunch. And I have yet to see the repercussions. Which means the gluten gods must love me today.

PUMPKIN SOFT PRETZELS

2/3 c. pumpkin puree
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 c. warm water
, divided
2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
1 tsp fine sea salt
4 c. unbleached flour

Baking soda
Coarse sea salt

In a small saucepan over medium heat, whisk together the pumpkin puree, sugar and 3/4 cup of the water. Bring to a light boil then remove from heat; set aside and let cool for 20 minutes. In a small bowl, combine the yeast and remaining 1/4 cup of water. Sprinkle with a pinch of sugar then let set for 10-15 minutes.
Lightly coat a large mixing bowl with oil; set aside. In a stand mixer fitted with the hook attachment, combine the pumpkin mixture and yeast mixture. Add flour 1 cup at a time, scraping down the bowl as needed. Once you’ve added 3 cups of flour, add 1/4 cup at a time just until the dough starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl (I used the full 4 cups). Allow the mixer to work the dough for an additional 5-6 minutes. Place dough in the prepared bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm area for 90 minutes.
Preheat oven to 450˚F. Line two large baking sheets with silicon mats or parchment paper; set aside. In a large saucepan, prepare the baking soda water bath by combining 2 teaspoons of baking soda with every 1 cup of water (i.e. for 10 cups of water you’d add 20 teaspoons of baking soda). Bring the mixture to a boil. Tear off pieces of dough about the size of a lemon, roll into a long, skinny rope between your hands and the counter (a little thicker than a sharpie) and twist into a pretzel shape. Submerge into the baking soda bath for 10 seconds then transfer to the prepared baking sheets. Sprinkle with coarse sea salt, if desired. Bake at 450˚F for about 10 minutes, or until lightly golden. The pretzels are best served right away, but you can store them in an air-tight container for a day or two and reheat them in the oven as needed. You could also bake them for 3-4 minutes, let them cool then store them in the freezer until ready to bake completely. 
Yield: 8-10 pretzels

Pumpkin spice bread

Pumpkin spice bread

I debated whether or not to post this becuase it didn’t last long enough to photograph properly. And you know how crazy I am over my photos and the lighting – and don’t even get me started on the fact that you can’t even really tell what this is. But then I came to my senses and realized the fact that the bread didn’t last long enough to photograph is reason enough to share it. Because this bread is delicious; super flavorful, super moist and it will probably do super things to your ass. But who cares, right? That’s why you run some variation of this more than a couple times a week. And eat whatever the hell you want.

PUMPKIN SPICE BREAD

3/4 c. canola oil
3/4 c. cane sugar
2 tbsp unsulphured molasses
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 c. silken tofu
3/4 c. pumpkin puree
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp fine sea salt

1/2 c. almond meal
1 1/4 c. unbleached flour
1 c. whole wheat flour
1/2 c. soy cream
Frosting
1/2 c. vegan cream cheese
2 tbsp vegan butter
3-4 tbsp powdered cane sugar
1 tbsp unbleached flour
1/2 vanilla bean
, split and scraped

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Lightly oil two loaf pans; set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together the oil, sugar, molasses, vanilla extract, tofu and pumpkin puree. Stir in the pumpkin pie spice, baking soda, salt and almond meal. Whisk in the flours and soy cream, alternately. Divide batter evenly between prepared pans. Bake at 350˚F for 30-35 minutes. Transfer to cooling rack then store in an air tight container for up to three days.
To make the cream cheese frosting, beat the butter and cream cheese with an electric mixer, on high speed, for 15-20 seconds. Sift in the powdered sugar and flour, then scrape in the vanilla bean; mix. Spread a thin layer over cooled loaves.
Yield: 2 loaves or 4 mini loaves

Pumpkin chocolate chip cookies

Pumpkin chocolate chip cookies

This is one of my favorite cookie recipes ever. Not becuase I think it tastes delicious (although it does), but becuase people get so happy when I show up with a plate of these. In fact, everywhere I’ve ever worked, people have gone absolutely crazy over this recipe. Literally, bat shit crazy. Like, WHEN ARE YOU GOING TO MAKE THOSE PUMPKIN CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES? THEY ARE SOOO GOOD. MAKE THEM NOW. Then I have to remind them that it’s the middle of March. And that it’s not nice to yell at the person who will decide your pumpkin chocolate chip cookie fate.
Side note: These cookies are only made during the months of October and November, which, I think, is what adds to the hype. Becuase really, they’re just you’re average pumpkin cookie – but when you restrict their availability to only 16.67% of the year, people get a little looney.

Pumpkin chocolate chip cookies

I tweaked the original version a bit, but only by adding an additional 1/2 cup of flour so the dough would be firm. If you’d prefer to use a cookie scoop (instead of rolling out the dough), omit 1/2 cup of the wheat flour and flatten the rounds before you put them into the oven. If you want to significantly reduce the sugar (to 1/4 cup) and replace the butter with applesauce, these make a really scrumptious breakfast cookie. Also, Cara, these are so simple to de-glutenize by substituting the flour with gluten-free flour and a bit of xanthan gum. See? I love you.

PUMPKIN CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES (GFO)

1/2 c. vegan butter
3/4 c. cane sugar
2 tsp unsulphured molasses
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
3 tbsp soft silken tofu
1/2 c. pumpkin puree
1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 1/4 c. unbleached flour
3/4 c. whole wheat flour
1/2 c. rolled oats, optional
1/2 c. vegan mini chocolate chips

In a large bowl, mix the butter, sugar, molasses and vanilla extract with an electric mixer, on high speed, until creamy (15-20 seconds). Mix in the tofu, pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, salt and baking soda; mix on high speed just until combined. Stir in the flour, 1/2 cup at a time, with a wooden spoon.  Mix in rolled oats, if using, and chocolate chips.
Preheat oven to 350˚F. Line a large baking sheet with a silicon mat or parchment paper; set aside. On a flat surface lined with parchment paper, roll out the dough until it is 1/4″ thick; cut dough using a round, 2.5″ cookie cutter. Line rounds on the prepared baking sheet and chill in the freezer for 10 minutes. Bake at 350˚F for 9-10 minutes. Store in an air-tight container for up to 3 days.

Pumpkin stuffed crêpes

Pumpkin stuffed crêpes

I became obsessed with crêpes shortly after returning from Paris last fall. Everywhere we went, Parisians were stuffing their faces with these flat, little foldy-thingies that were filled with strawberries and chocolate ooze – and I wanted to eat one. Bad. But I couldn’t, becuase they were fait avec du lait et le beurre. Did I say that right? So, instead of beating myself up about the fact that I went to Paris and couldn’t eat a crêpe straight from the source, I came home and made my own version. And my next plan is to move to Paris and open a vegan/gluten-free crêperie. Because I’m sure that will go over really well.

Pumpkin stuffed crêpes

These were originally going to be pumpkin cream cheese stuffed crêpes, but since I don’t care much for overly processed foods, I used yogurt instead. It’s light and tangy, and pairs perfectly with sliced fruit (especially bananas). If you want to replace the yogurt with cream cheese, go right ahead. And don’t beat yourself up if you can’t create a perfectly round crêpe – I’ve been making them for damn near a year and just finally mastered the art of round crêpes without using a crêpe pan.

PUMPKIN STUFFED CRÊPES (GF)

1 c. gluten free flour
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
3/4 c. almond milk
3/4 c. water
1/4 c. soft silken tofu
2 tbsp vegan butter, melted
2 tbsp cane sugar, optional
Filling
1 c. pumpkin puree
1 c. plain soy yogurt
2-3 tbsp powdered cane sugar
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
2 bananas, thinly sliced

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and salt. Mix in the almond milk and whisk until the clumps dissolve. Stir in 1/2 cup water, tofu, butter and cane sugar (if using); whisk until combined. If the batter is not super thin, add the remaining 1/4 cup of water – sometimes I need it, sometimes I don’t.
In a small bowl, whisk together the pumpkin puree and yogurt. Sift in the powdered sugar then stir in the vanilla bean and pumpkin pie spice; set aside.
Using a paper towel, lightly coat a large, non-stick frying pan with oil and heat over medium heat. Pour about 1/4 cup of batter into the pan and swirl it around just until the bottom is covered. Cook the crêpe until it starts to bubble, then flip and cook the other side (usually 2-3 minutes total). Smear with pumpkin filling and bananas. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Serve immideately.
Yield: 8 crêpes

Raw pumpkin doughnut holes

Raw pumpkin doughnut holes

Doughnut or donut? I can never decide. But regardless of how you choose to spell it, I think we can all agree that doughnuts are a gift from the gods. Raw doughnuts especially because, unlike their fried counterparts, they don’t leave you feeling sluggish after you’ve eaten five too many. Which I have a really bad habit of doing. They’re best straight from the freezer, and you can enjoy them plain or coated in raw powdered cinnamon sugar. Just don’t be surprised when the entire batch has magically disappeared at the end of the day. They’re kinda, sorta addictive.

RAW PUMPKIN DOUGHNUT HOLES (GF)

1 c. raw cashews
1 c. oat groat flour
1/2 c. flax meal
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
6 medjool dates, pitted
1/4 c. pumpkin puree
1/4 c. agave nectar

In a food processor, blend the cashews into a fine meal. Add the flour, flax meal and pumpkin pie spice; process until combined. Add the dates, pumpkin puree and agave nectar; process until the mixture forms a thick dough. Using a medium cookie scoop, drop the dough onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper; using your hands, roll the dough into perfectly round balls. Freeze for 45 minutes then transfer the doughnut holes to an air tight container and store in the freezer. If you want to coat them with powdered cinnamon sugar, coat them just before serving.

Yield: 30 doughnut holes

Pumpkin chocolate chip soft serve

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Remember that exam I took yesterday? Remember how I owned it? Becuase I did. Totally kicked it’s ass from my professor’s desk and back. Then I went out and celebrated with friends and mimosas. Which probably wasn’t a good idea because I spent the rest of the afternoon in an unproductive haze. But that unproductive haze involved ice cream (and tequila), so I don’t think it was really all that unproductive after all. Just a little slower than usual.

You can find another delicious version of this ice cream here.

PUMPKIN CHOCOLATE CHIP SOFT SERVE (GF)

1 c. frozen banana chunks
4-5 tbsp almond milk
2 tbsp pumpkin puree
2 tbsp vegan mini chocolate chips
Pinch pumpkin spice, optional

In a high powered blender (such as a Vitamix), blend the banana chunks, almond milk and pumpkin puree on high speed for 20-30 seconds (or until smooth). Add the chocolate chips and pumpkin spice, if using; blend for 10-15 seconds. Eat immideately.

Yield: 1 serving