COCONUT WHIPPED CREAM
1 can full fat coconut milk, refrigerated overnight
2 tbsp powdered cane sugar
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extractOpen the can of coconut milk and scoop the top layer of white, fatty goodness into a decent sized mixing bowl (discard the coconut water or save it for smoothies). Blend the chunks of coconut milk with a hand mixer on high speed for 15-20 seconds, just until the mixture turns to liquid. Sift in the powdered sugar and mix until combined. Add the vanilla extract and blend on high speed for 1-2 minutes, until light and creamy. Whipped cream is best served immideately, but can be stored in an air tight container for up to three days. It will harden in the fridge, so when ready to serve, simply blend with a hand mixer on high speed until creamy again.
Yield: about 1 1/4 cups
Friends, I’ve been saying it for years: the best way to a man’s heart is, without a doubt, through his stomach.
SINGLE SERVING DEEP DISH APPLE PIE
1/2 cup unbleached flour
1/2 tsp cane sugar
Pinch of fine sea salt
3 tbsp vegan butter, cold
2-3 tbsp water, ice cold
4-6 tsp cane sugar
1 tsp potato starch
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
One medium apple, peeled and chopped
1/2 tsp lemon juice, optionalPreheat oven to 350˚F. Lightly oil a 4″ deep dish tart pan; set aside. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt. Cut in the butter, using a pastry cutter or two knives, until the mixture resembles coarse meal with a few larger chunks. Add two tablespoons of the water and mix with fingers until a smooth dough forms. If the dough feels a little dry, add a bit more water. Knead the dough for 1-2 minutes then wrap with plastic and let rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.To make the filling, stir together the sugar (I used 5 teaspoons), starch, and cinnamon. Add the apples and lemon juice; toss to coat and set aside. Line a flat surface with parchment paper and sprinkle with flour. Roll the dough into a circle about 1/4″ thick. Fit to prepared tart pan, making sure it’s pressed into the bottom into the scalloped edges. Roll a rolling pin over the top of the pan to remove the excess dough. Fill with apples. Roll the remaining dough scraps, cut with a mini heart shaped cookie cutter (dip in flour if sticking to dough), and arrange on top of pie. Brush with a bit of soy milk and sprinkle with sugar, if desired. Bake at 350˚F for 35-40 minutes (if you notice the hearts starting to brown, put a piece of tin foil over top of them after about 25 minutes). Let cool for 10 minutes then serve. Can be refrigerated in an air tight container for up to two days.If you’d prefer to assemble the pie and save it for later, remove the pie from the freezer when ready to bake and let it thaw for about 20 minutes. Follow baking instructions above. Unbaked pie will keep frozen for up to 6 weeks in an air tight, freezer proof container.
Yield: 1 4″ pie
Thom‘s words of wisdom during a time when I felt as though my entire world was crumbling beneath my feet. If your world is crumbling (or even if it’s not), just remember – you are King Midas.
SALTED CHOCOLATE-PRETZEL PEANUT BUTTER COOKIES
1/4 cup non-hydrogenated shortening
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup cane sugar
1/4 cup sucanat
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 flax egg
2 tbsp non-dairy milk
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup unbleached flour
1/2 cup finely ground pretzel crumbs
1/4 cup vegan mini chocolate chips
Coarse sea salt, for toppingPreheat oven to 350˚F. Line two large baking sheets with silicone mats or parchment paper; set aside. In a large mixing bowl, cream the shortening, peanut butter, sugars, and vanilla extract using a hand mixer on high speed for one minute. Add the flax egg and milk; beat until incorporated. Stir in the salt, baking soda, flour, and pretzel crumbs with a wooden spoon; mix until combined then stir in the chocolate chips.
Using a 1 1/2 tablespoon cookie scoop, drop the dough onto the prepared baking sheets and flatten with a fork. Sprinkle with coarse sea salt. Chill baking sheets in freezer for at least 15 minutes – this helps the cookies retain their shape, so don’t skip it. Bake at 350˚F for 10-12 minutes (one sheet at a time). Transfer to wire rack to cool then store in an air tight container. Will keep for up to three days.
*Frozen cookies can be stored in the freezer and baked as needed.
Yield: about 30 cookies
Despite the streak of awesomeness that accompanied my special day, it wouldn’t have been a birthday celebration without cake (or pie, if you’re Thom). So I’m here to share the recipe for the best (seriously) (no, really) vegan yellow cake with chocolate frosting – and if you’re skeptical, I’ve got about 20 people who can back me up on that claim. I’m also here to tell you about HOW AWESOME IT IS when you finally work up the courage to get all of your random groups of friends together in 400 square feet of living space; the entrepreneurs, the ones who just moved from Ohio, the feminists, the ones who don’t drink, the bacon eaters, the ones with big people jobs, the ones who don’t have jobs – you get the picture. For a long time I hesitated amalgamating all of these people because, well, it seemed like a recipe for disaster. And I don’t know about you, but I’m not a fan of disasters.
I trucked through the final day of celebration just fine until about 8PM when we settled into our seats at the show. After 30 minutes of waiting patiently, Sigur Rós came on and the voice of one thousand angels sang me into a 15 minute slumber. Which leads me to believe that maybe the secret to getting tiny humans to sleep is to play them ambient post rock instead of lullabies. Because if that shit can knock out a grown woman – upright in an uncomfortable plastic chair, at a concert – I’m pretty sure it’ll soothe a milk drunk babe into evening hibernation.
YELLOW BIRTHDAY CAKE WITH CREAMY CHOCOLATE FROSTING
1 cup minus 1 tbsp non-GMO soy milk
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 cups unbleached cake flour
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
Small pinch ground turmeric, for color
3/4 cup cane sugar
6 tbsp non-GMO canola oil
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp pure almond extract
1 cup vegan butter
1/2 cup non-hydrogenated shortening
1/4 cup non-dairy milk
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups powdered cane sugar
3/4 cup cacao powderPreheat oven to 350˚F. Line two 6″ spring form pans with parchment paper; set aside. In a small mixing bowl, stir together the milk and vinegar; set aside for 10 minutes. In another small mixing bowl, sift together the flour, starch, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and turmeric; set aside. In a large mixing bowl, combine the oil, sugar, and extracts. When the buttermilk has formed, alternate between mixing the flour and buttermilk into the sugar mixture in halves. Add the flour first, then the buttermilk. Once all of the flour has been added (but you’re still left with 1/2 of the buttermilk) whisk the crap out of the mixture until most of the clumps have disappeared. (Don’t whisk too much or else you’ll overwork the gluten.) Whisk in the remaining buttermilk.Divide the batter between the prepared pans and bake at 350˚F for 24-26 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow the cakes to cool in their pans for about 15 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack. Once the layers have cooled, cover with plastic and refrigerate until you’re ready to frost (cold cakes are easier to frost).While the cakes are cooling, prepare the frosting by creaming the butter, shortening, milk, and vanilla extract on high speed until fluffy. Sift in the powdered sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, and mix until fluffy. If you’re going to pipe the frosting on the cake, you’re going to want something a bit thicker. If you’re just going to spread it on, add a tablespoon or two of non-dairy milk and beat until fluffy. Cover the frosting until ready to use.To ice the cake, line a cake stand (or plate) with four pieces of parchment paper that overlap at the ends; set aside. Remove the cake layers from the freezer (level if needed) and place one of the layers in the middle of the prepared cake stand. Spread 1/2 cup of frosting onto the top of the cake, then sandwich with the second layer. Spread about 3/4 cup of frosting on the top of the cake and smooth it out to cover the cake with a light crumb coat. Refrigerate the cake for 45 minutes, until the frosting is solid. Once solid, spread the remaining frosting onto the cake. I like to do a second coat, covering the cake completely, then I refrigerate it for 30 minutes. Once the icing is hard, I use the remaining frosting to cover the cake and use the back of a spoon to create the appearance of a messy cake. Cover cake with plastic until ready to consume. Cake will keep for 3-4 days.
Yield: 6-8 slices
So, for the next 90 days I’m going to be constantly reminding myself that in the very near future I’m not going to be able to eat my typical vegetable heavy diet or wash my hair with my favorite shampoo, just because I like the way it calms my natural waves. I won’t be seeing familiar faces, spending early mornings lifting heavy things, or keeping up with the demands of taking a bunch of vitamins I don’t really know if I need, but I swear make me feel better. I’m trying to prepare myself for the fact that I’m going to be showering in flip flops, sharing rooms with strangers, and eating a bunch of food I probably wouldn’t touch if we were still in Denver (pizza marinara, I can’t wait to get my hands on you). But despite any impending difficulties or metaphorical bumps in the road or having frizzy hair every single day of the trip, I think I’m going to experience four of the most spontaneous and adventurous months of my life. Europe, I can’t wait to see you.
RAW LEMON GOJI BERRY BITES
2 cups raw almonds
Pinch of Himalayan salt
10 medjool dates, pitted and soaked for 15 minutes
Juice and zest of two meyer lemons
1/2 cup goji berries, chopped
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut, optionalIn a food processor fitted with the S blade, blend the almonds and salt into a fine meal. Add the dates and lemon juice/zest; pulse until combined. Transfer the mixture to a small mixing bowl and mix in the goji berries and coconut with a wooden spoon. Using a 1 teaspoon cookie scoop, drop the dough onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Roll into round balls, if desired. Freeze for 30 minutes then transfer to an air tight container. Will keep in freezer for several months but I doubt they’ll last that long.
Yield: about 85 bites
I kid, but the man likes his butter. And who am I to tell him to eat less of something that’s capable of clogging his coronary arteries and starving one of the most vital organs in his body of blood and oxygen? I have a lot of nerve, caring about the overall health and well being of the man who will eventually become the grandfather of my children. But that’s not the point. This is about my brother and his plans to visit Ireland, remember? Well, the plans fell through once he realized he had prior obligations with work. Which annoyed the shit out of me because he works a lot and I don’t get to see him as often as I’d like. He loves what he does so I shouldn’t complain, but sometimes I do because I like spending time with my brother more than twice a year. Which means I should probably go back to Ohio more often. But who really wants to go back to Ohio more often?
Anyway, this is no longer about my brother. This is about us and how we got into Dublin at 8AM Friday morning, with a Thom who was adamant about getting a SIM card before we left the airport. So after he ran my dad around Terminal 1 looking for the Vodafone store, he came back with a working mobile device and we were on our way, in a taxi with a gray haired Irish man who has never stepped foot off the island. (I think it’s worth noting that he has plans of visiting the US in a few years, so it’s really not as pitiful as it seems.) He dropped us at our B&B and we were told by the head lady that she could hold our bags, but our rooms wouldn’t be ready until noon. I was a little irritated, but it was my fault as I’m the one who dropped the ball on informing her of our early arrival.
Thom had other plans, anyway. Plans that involved a long walk through the city, around Stephen’s Green, and to a side of Dublin I had never seen before. We passed four or five establishments that looked like they’d be able to feed a person with dietary restrictions such as my own, and I started getting grumpy because I needed food. And coffee. And just when I was about to be all SERIOUSLY DUDE WE’VE BEEN WALKING FOR 25 MINUTES AND I’M TIRED AND MY FEET HURT AND I REALLY NEED SOMETHING TO FILL THIS EMPTY BELLY, we rounded the corner to see my brother standing in front of Cassidy’s Pub with luggage and the biggest, stupid grin on his face.
In typical girl-who-grew-up-with-five-brothers fashion, the first thing I did was stop and shout NO FUCKING WAY! And just when I was about to start crying (sleep deprivation, hormones – you know the deal) I ran toward him and went in for a hug, and thought about how he deserved a good ass kicking for lying to me. But also the Brother of the Year Award because he got me. He got all of us (with the exception of Thom) good.
SWEET POTATO CINNAMON ROLLS WITH BOOZY CARAMEL GLAZE
2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water, 105-110˚F
1/4 cup vegan butter
1/2 cup cane sugar
3/4 cup sweet potato puree
1/4 cup non-dairy milk
3 1/4 cups unbleached flour, plus more for rolling
1 tsp fine sea salt
3 tbsp vegan butter, softened
1/2 cup sucanat
2 tbsp ground cinnamon
1 can full fat coconut milk, refrigerated overnight
1/2 cup sucanat
1-2 tbsp Irish whiskeyLightly oil a large mixing bowl; set aside. Add the water to a small bowl and lightly stir in the yeast; add a pinch of sugar and set aside until foamy (15-20 minutes). In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter, then stir in the sugar, sweet potato and milk just until warm and sweet potato has dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool for 10-15 minutes (if you don’t let it cool, the heat from the mixture will kill the yeast). Add 3 cups of the flour and salt to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the hook attachment; mix for 10-15 seconds. Add the sweet potato and yeast mixture, then mix dough on medium-high speed for 6-7 minutes. If the dough is not pulling away from the sides of the bowl, add additional flour, 1 tablespoon at a time. I achieved a perfect dough with two additional tablespoons. But if you live in a humid climate, it’s likely you’ll need to add the full 1/4 cup. Once the dough has finished kneading, transfer it to the prepared mixing bowl, cover with a towel, and store in a warm part of your house until the dough doubles, about 2 hours.Lightly oil two 6 cup jumbo muffin pans; set aside. Line a flat surface with parchment paper and sprinkle with flour. Roll the dough out into an 18×12 rectangle. Spread with butter then cover with brown sugar and cinnamon. Starting at the long end, tightly (seriously, I said tightly!) roll the dough into a log, then cut it unto 12 even pieces. Transfer the rolls to the prepared pan, leaving even space between. Cover pan with a towel and allow the rolls to rise for one hour. Bake at 375˚F for 12-14 minutes. Allow to cool in pan.To make the glaze, start by opening the can of coconut milk and separating the thick, white milk fat from the water. Add 1/4 cup of the coconut water to a small saucepan set over medium-high heat. Whisk in the sugar and bring to a boil. Boil for 5-6 minutes, whisking only a few times, then stir in 1 cup of the coconut milk fat (you may have more or less, depending on your can of coconut milk – that’s ok). Reduce the heat to medium and boil the mixture for 5 minutes, whisking every minute or so. If you added less than 1 cup of coconut milk fat, you’ll want to cook the mixture for an extra minute or two. Off the heat and stir in the whiskey. Transfer the glaze to a glass jar and drizzle over warm cinnamon rolls. You can store the rolls in an air tight container for up to three days (I recommend not drizzling with glaze until ready to consume). Glaze can be kept in the refrigerator for up to one week.
Yield: 12 rolls
He didn’t disown me (thank goodness) but he did write back saying how much he wished he could have been there with us, and that it was his dream to drink a Guinness at the top of the Storehouse on St. Patrick’s Day. I remember the words like it was yesterday: You’re living my dream.
Is Sharebear even going to like Ireland? I asked. Who cares, we’ll get her drunk, said Thom.
Their faces? Priceless. So here we are heading back to Ireland for our 2nd biennial St. Patrick’s Day trip, but this time with my other favorite man in tow. And for you? Well, I have a delicious post lined up next week – but for now I’ve got boozy cupcakes.
UPDATE: Apparently North American bottled Guinness extra stout is no longer considered vegan due to suspicion that bottlers practice a filtration process that uses the bladders of some fish.
CHOCOLATE STOUT CUPCAKES WITH IRISH WHISKEY GANACHE + IRISH CREAM FROSTING
1 1/4 cups unbleached flour
1/2 cup Dutch processed cocoa
1 cup cane sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp fine sea salt
1/2 cup non-GMO canola oil
1/2 cup Guinness extra stout
1/4 cup non-dairy milk
6 tbsp soft silken tofu, blended
4 oz good quality dark chocolate, chopped
6 tbsp non-dairy milk
2 tbsp Irish whiskey
1/2 cup vegan butter
1/4 cup non-hygrogenated shortening
2 1/4 cups powdered cane sugar
1 tsp cocoa powder
1/2 tsp espresso powder
1/4 tsp unsulphured molasses
2-3 tbsp Irish whiskeyPreheat oven to 350˚F. Line a 12 cup muffin pan with paper liners; set aside. In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda, and salt; whisk and set aside. In a small mixing bowl, stir together the oil, stout, milk, and tofu. Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients; whisk just until combined. Do not over mix. Fill cupcake liners with 1/4 cup of batter. Bake at 350˚F for 16-17 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.While the cupcakes are cooling, prepare the ganache by adding the chocolate to a small mixing bowl; set aside. In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring the milk to a boil then pour it over the chocolate. Let stand for 2-3 minutes, then whisk until smooth. Stir in the whiskey and set aside.Once the cupcakes have cooled, use a grapefruit spoon (or cupcake plunger if you’re fancy) (I’m not) to remove a small circle from the middle of each cupcake. I made mine big enough so they held about 2 teaspoons of ganache. Fill the centers with ganache then transfer cupcakes to a rimmed baking sheet and refrigerate for 30 minutes.While the cupcakes are chilling, prepare the frosting by creaming the butter and shortening on high speed for about 15-20 seconds. Sift in the powdered sugar, cocoa, and espresso powder then continue mixing, on high speed, for 30-45 seconds. Mix in the molasses and whiskey; blend on high speed until light and fluffy. If the frosting is still a bit soft, sift in 1-2 tablespoons of tapioca starch. Or more sugar, but I’m not a fan of overly sweet frostings.Once the cupcakes are ready to be frosted, spoon about 3 tablespoons of frosting onto each cupcake and smooth with the back of a spoon. Store in an air tight container for up to three days. Cupcakes made with flax eggs will only keep for two days.
Yield: 1 dozen cupcakes