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Thin Mint Ice Cream

thin-mint-ice-cream

I posted a recipe for Thin Mint Ice Cream over on Seitan Beats Your Meat! Use vegan Girl Scout Cookies or homemade Thin Mints from The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur.

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Book cover: Cheers to Vegan Sweets!

I’ve been posting dessert photos and alluding to this book for quite a while, and now I have tangible internet proof and a cover image to post! Published by Fair Winds Press, Cheers to Vegan Sweets!: Drink-Inspired Vegan Desserts: From the Cafe to the Cocktail Lounge, Turn Your Sweet Sips Into Even Better Bites! will be hitting the shelves November 2013. The book contains 105 recipes and 45 full-color photos for desserts based on drinks like Apple Cider Donuts, Mexican Coffee Truffles, Margarita Ice Cream, and Shirley Temple Cupcakes. It’s divided into chapters like “The Café”, “The Lemonade Stand”, and “The Cocktail Lounge”, so there’s something for everyone’s tastes, whether you’re looking for treats for a kid’s party, or a boozy dessert. The book is clearly so awesome that it got an exclamation point in the title and two subtitles, and the designers at Fair Winds did an amazing job making the book really beautiful, so I’m really excited for you all to see the final product!

In the meantime, the book is available for pre-order on Amazon and many online retailers through the publisher’s website. Just as I did with The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur, I’ll be selling signed copies on the blog and perhaps setting up a book signing in your city, so you can buy books packaged with love directly from me! Get updates on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and Instagram, and follow Fair Winds Press on Facebook and Twitter! Feel free to email me with any inquiries! Thank you so much to everyone involved in this project! I’m looking forward to the release date and all the awesome people and opportunities that will come along with it!

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Weekend Baking

As the temperature hit the single digits over the weekend, it seemed absurd not to have the oven on constantly as a source of comfort food and extra heat. I’m not crazy about snow or arctic-inspired seasons unless accompanied by holidays and a break from school and work, so January and February (and sometimes March, April, and May in the Midwest) are all about biding time until peeling off winter coats and scarves in the sunshine of spring is a reality. After a few forays into the icy cold streets and waiting in the wind chill for late buses (living without a car in a medium-sized city will crush all illusions of happy public transportation in due time!), baking cookies and tending a warm, crusty loaf of bread seemed like a much better plan.

In 2009 and 2010 I lived without a real kitchen for about 8 months and the majority of my diet was PBJ and Peanut Butter Panda Puffs, so not surprisingly, I was not so into peanut butter after that. I’ll eat a PBJ if absolutely necessary, but it’s never my first choice for lunch anymore. But of course, desserts are another story, so sometimes peanut butter cookies sound like an absolutely fantastic idea. This weekend I reached for the Soft Peanut Butter Cookies recipe from The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur, which is my go-to peanut butter cookie recipe.

I was looking to make a standard whole wheat bread, but while flipping through my recipe binder I came across a molasses rye bread with caraway and raisins (recipe here). I made the bread pretty much as directed, except I couldn’t find raisins in the cabinet and left them out.

Still craving regular bread, I made a standard whole wheat bread recipe. I like to replace 1/2 cup flour in any given bread recipe with wheat gluten flour (the kind you use to make seitan) because it makes the bread fluffy and soft. While searching through the cupboard for some kind of seed or herb to add to the bread, I came across my giant bag of sunflower seeds and dumped some in the dough at the last minute while kneading. They made a wonderful addition for a little toothsome crunch throughout the loaf. I ended up using this loaf for BBQ seitan sandwiches with ginger sesame red cabbage slaw.

Stay warm, everyone! Bread and cookies are the answer to snow and subzero temperatures. Unless you’re in a warm climate, and in that case, I am extremely envious!

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Flavors of summer

I just took a bike ride in a hoodie, the AC has been off for two days, and the leaves are starting to look crunchy (and not just the ones on the plants in my windowsill that I can’t keep alive for the life of me). School has been busy for the past few weeks and I brought out the bunny slippers this afternoon. All signs are pointing to fall! Between the colors, sunshine that doesn’t melt you, and the cool breezes that call for just a light jacket, it’s my favorite season. However, the transition is not yet complete, especially in my kitchen! While pumpkin bread, hearty stews, and apple pie sound delightful, I’m still clinging on to summer flavors for a little while longer.

Here are a few new summer recipes from the test kitchen:

Watermelon Fresca Sorbet
Fresh mint, watermelon, and lime juice are whirled through the ice cream maker, creating a cool, refreshing treat.

Rosewater Lemonade
Airy lemon rose cupcakes topped with a fluffy rose buttercream makes for a light, but decadent dessert.

Cherry Bourbon Fried Pies
Cherries and bourbon wrapped up in a deep fried Southern indulgence!

The start of fall desserts will be here soon enough! What kinds of sweets have you been enjoying this summer?

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Grandma’s birthday cake

A few weeks ago my grandma celebrated her 75th birthday. Determined to find inspiration for a cake, I took a seat next to a giant box of old photos, rifling through hundreds of envelopes. I settled on one of her and I somewhere around 1993, complete with a “Happy New Year!” headband (which would be changed to Happy Birthday for our purposes). I popped in some DVDs and got to work, painting with gel food coloring atop a fondant disk.

The cake is strawberry almond amaretto with strawberry filling. With the intention of preservation, we slid the fondant off the top of the cake before eating to keep the portrait in the freezer.

While digging through those photos, I scanned in a few of them to share.

Baking funny shaped cakes since ’98:

Painting everything but paper was one of my earliest hobbies:

As was blogging (thought it would be a few more years before I understood that writing a letter and putting it on the table next to the computer would not “send it through the phone line and email it”):

And of course, petting animals!

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Piña Colada Tres Leches Cake

It’s, like, a heatwave. Burning in my heart.

I’m staying near Chicago most of the summer for an internship in the city during the week, and access to a full kitchen and people to eat lots and lots of dessert the rest of the time. The temperature has been hovering around 105°F for the past week, and it’s deliciously humid, so this weather is perfect for basking on the couch in a house with central air, watching TV, and making summery treats. A few steps outside is more than enough to reverse any showering attempts. It’s a tropical paradise.

So, I’ve decided to live vicariously through cake. Piña Colada Tres Leches Cake, a sturdy vanilla coconut cake drenched in “tres leches” cream syrup, and topped with chopped pineapple and whipped coconut cream.

This “beach” may just be a slightly overexposed crispy yellow lawn with an over-saturated blue-tinted bike path in the distance, and I may have burned my bare feet on the deck while sweating all over my camera during this photoshoot in my pajamas. But I’m going to pretend I took this photo at a fabulous beach party in a temperate climate while lounging out eating cake and fruit salad. Then splashing around in the ocean, because that’s way more fun than laying out in the sun, anyway. Life’s a beach.

Lastly, I made a Pinterest! If you like food, art, photography, food styling, and internet comics, follow me. Let’s be friends!

Follow Me on Pinterest

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I got an ice cream maker!

And it’s quite possibly the best kitchen toy ever, especially in the summer.

Margarita Ice Cream
A creamy orange lime tequila ice cream served in a salt-rimmed glass.

Rosy Peach Green Tea Ice Cream
Matcha infused ice cream with peach puree and rosewater.

Tequila Sunrise Ice Cream
Orange tequila pomegranate ice cream with tequila grenadine syrup.

Bananas Foster a la Mode
A simple vegan version of this classic flaming dessert with brown sugar butter rum sauce.