I was perusing the shelves of Whole Foods on a recent shopping trip, searching for ingredients, flavors, and beverages to translate into dessert. I tracked down a bottle of chocolate stout hiding in the corner of the cooler and immediately, a few ideas crossed through my mind. I checked the vegan-friendliness of my finding (Young’s Chocolate Stout), and headed to check out.
Whether you’re looking for another socially acceptable way to drink before noon, or just want to give your brunch a little extra something, coconut chocolate stout pancakes are the way to go. Most of my pancake recipes are built off of my basic recipe, a vegan version of the pancakes I’ve been making since I was a kid, unchanged for the past several years. I supplemented this recipe with chocolate, a few different forms of coconut, and chocolate stout. Coconut and chocolate stout is not the most common combination, but the two flavors go together like PB+J. Google confirmed that I was on to something, because coconut chocolate stout does exist! I haven’t been able to confirm the veganness of any of those stouts, so I guess marrying the flavors in pancake form will have to do for now.
The rest of the bottle went into cupcakes (don’t worry, I got two!). Besides translating s’mores into pies, cakes, cupcakes, cookies, and a myriad of other treats, the flavors and components of the s’more have remained relatively unchanged in the culinary world. Perhaps a bit of peanut butter makes its way into the campfire treat occasionally, but more often than not, we’re dealing purely with marshmallows, chocolate, and graham cracker. I decided to go with a grown-up take on the s’more with this cupcake by infusing the batter with chocolate stout and coconut, then topping it with buttercream, marshmallows (toasted, of course!), and a homemade toasted coconut graham cracker cut into the shape of a heart.
I declare the chocolate stout experiments a success. The creaminess of the stout makes for a wonderful rich flavor that pairs well with other chocolate elements, and provides a bit of leavening in a cake. I’m hooked! Earlier today I was baking with oatmeal stout. What are your favorite ways to incorporate chocolate stout or other beers in baked goods or cooking?
Valentine’s Day was just another normal day for me, but with some truffles that boast the classic combination of chocolate and red wine. After a day of essay writing and poetry about how I’m going to live alone with 17 pets for the rest of my life (it was a homework assignment, I swear!), I left the house just once to represent the take out bag toting population of February 14th. Rest assured, I returned to the comfort of my couch to indulge in some Pad Thai, watch Veronica Mars season 2, and listen to my upstairs neighbor sing badly. So badly. Hold the red wine though. I was a little disillusioned because the previous night I learned that I’m ace at cleaning Cabernet out of carpet. It was really just all the magic of Googling “how to clean red wine out of carpet” (also does wonders for coffee). I’m avoiding wine for a while though because the glass in the photo below decided to slip out of my hand and shatter in the kitchen sink as I was cleaning up after this shoot. Sticking to neutral colored beverages seems to be a better plan from now on.
Because red wine truffles are the breakfast of champions, I brought some to my 8am class today to share and a whole host of ball jokes ensued. I finished rolling the rest tonight and set them up on a cute little cherry plate with some pink and red hearts I cut out of paper and a glass of wine I will later accidentally shatter in the sink. Ta-da!
The chocolate flavor is balanced by just the right amount of wine flavor and creaminess from the margarine.
I’m leaving you guys with the recipe because this is what you need to make when you want some Merlot chocolatey balls ASAP. It gets a little messy, but rolling truffles in cocoa is WAY easier than making the chocolate dipped-variety. Cocoa is a very smooth complement to the filling and cuts the sweetness of the chocolate a bit, for when chocolate on chocolate sounds like a bit too much. The recipe directions are quite long, but they’re just thorough! The most time consuming part of the truffle making process is rolling them into balls.
Red Wine Chocolate Truffles
Makes 15-20, depending on size
2 cups chocolate chips
½ cup wine
2 tablespoons soy milk
¼ cup margarine
2 bowls: one for the ingredients and one for a water and ice bath
Cocoa powder for rolling
Melt the chocolate, wine, and soy milk together, then pour into the first bowl. Stir until completely smooth then set aside to cool off. It doesn’t need to be cool, as it needs to be whipped up when still liquid-y, but too warm will melt the ice and make the process take longer than necessary, with unnecessary breaks and refilling the ice bath.
Fill the other bowl up with ice and water. 7-8 cubes will do. As for the water, you don’t want so much that it spills over the side when you place the other bowl in the water, but too little will not cover the entire surface of the bowl where the chocolate is and it will whip unevenly. Try putting the other bowl in the bath and adjust the water level as necessary.
Place the bowl filled with the melted chocolate into the ice bath. Using electric beaters on high speed (but not the highest. slightly less than the most powerful setting is perfect), start whipping up the chocolate evenly around the bowl. Add the margarine and continue whipping. You will see bubbles forming everywhere and the chocolate mixture will start to thicken up to the consistency of heavy cream after a few minutes. Continue whipping until the consistency becomes very thick. Now STOP. Over whipping could cause the filling to become soft and collapse, or become grainy.
Place the bowl in the refrigerator and let chill and thicken. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment or a silicon mat and pour some cocoa powder into a shallow bowl. Remove the mixture from the refrigerator and begin rolling. Using a small cookie scoop, make balls that are about an inch in diameter, then roll in the cocoa powder and place on the baking sheet. If the truffles are coming out a wonky shape or you don’t have a cookie scoop and you must use your palms, make sure they are a little wet so that your hands won’t be covered in chocolate-y goo when the balls make contact with the heat of your palms. Place the tray of rolled truffles in the refrigerator for at least one hour, then eat! Keep stored in refrigerator in an airtight container. They will last at least a few weeks before they start to taste funky.
True cookie fans don’t stop baking when the holidays are over! Not even in the summer when it’s sweltering hot and turning on the oven may cause you to melt from the heat. Endure!
Well, to cap off the craziness of the holiday season, I used up the last of my candy canes in a batch of giant double chocolate chip cookies as an add-in. I also added 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract to the dough for a full-bodied peppermint chocolate flavor. Eat while sipping on hot cocoa, peppermint chocolate soy milk, soy nog, or your seasonal drink of choice. Mmmm.
A couple weeks ago I made the Creamy Horchata from Terry Romero’s new solo book, Viva Vegan! I cannot wait to delve deeper into this book and indulge in Latin recipe delight. Naturally, horchata cookies were on the mind. This recipe isn’t completely perfected, but it has bursts of spicy and citrusy flavors all in one crispy little cookie. They’re an adaptation of the powdered cream cookies with horchata instead of soy milk, lime, cinnamon, and freshly toasty almonds added to the dough.
Hey Bay Area!
I’m coming for a visit next week and there is a book event planned in Berkeley at the Saturn Cafe. It’s Saturday, January 15th from 6-8pm! RSVP on the Facebook event if you can make it. I can’t wait to meet you guys! There will be cookies and I will be selling books and signing copies.
To keep updated on signings, the events page at the top of the blog is kept updated with upcoming events!
I have quite a few things crammed into this post! And they’re all very exciting!
#1. A couple weeks ago, I went to my friend’s school to talk to his classes about veganism, baking, my book, and art. They seemed very interested, and thought I was HILARIOUS after accidentally uttering the words “shit” and “titties” during my speech. Hah.
We ended the day by baking Giant Bakery Style Double Chocolate Chip Cookies.
Teaching kids about baking and getting in the kitchen with them is something I’d be very interested in doing again in the future! It was so much fun, and they had a blast!
#2. If you’re in the Milwaukee area and would like to order cookies from me for an event, I now am advertising catering services. Click the link at the top of the page for more information! Cookies and prices are currently on a case-by-case basis, but I will get more concrete information up as soon as I can! I’d love to bake for your holiday parties coming up next month, or anything at all, so send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org!
#3. Oh hey, I have a contest for a signed copy of The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur, starting NOW!
Write me a haiku
All about vegan cookies,
My lovely readers
If your poem wins
I will bestow upon you
Vegan cookie book
[I’m sure you can write a more eloquent haiku about vegan baked goods that sounds less like caveman speak.]
I am doing a giveaway of a signed copy of The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur, right here, right now! To enter, write a vegan haiku about cookies and post it as a comment on this blog entry!
The contest closes this Thursday at 2pm CST! I’ll select finalists and a panel of judges comprised of awesome vegans will vote on the winner.
I will make a post with the winner and the winning haiku on Friday or Saturday! If it’s you, please send your mailing address ASAP to email@example.com and I will ship your book on Monday.
**US entries, only please.**
**CONTEST IS CLOSED**
I had the pleasure of testing out a couple of cookie recipes in advance for Carla Kelly’s upcoming cookbook, Quick and Easy Vegan Bake Sale.
After Carla sent me the recipes for her Rocky Road Bars and White Cookies, I got my hands on some Dandies vegan marshmallows and got to work. The rocky road bars are made of a sweet chocolate-y dough with all the add-ins of the favorite ice cream flavor: chocolate, marshmallows, nuts, and cherries. The white cookies are a sweet vanilla-flavored cookie with marshmallows and white chocolate chips. I didn’t have white chocolate, so I upped the amount of marshmallows in the cookies for a sweet and sticky treat.
Both recipes listed a drizzle of ganache as an optional addition. I’m not one to pass up a chocolate-y variation, especially when both recipes I made were calling for it.
Yum! Carla’s book is coming out in January 2011. Check it out on Amazon!:
This is the basic soft and delicious oatmeal cookie recipe from the book, with the addition of dried blueberries and dark chocolate, chopped up. This cookie is the canvas for many different possibilities for additions, and sweet delicate blueberries are the perfect complement. If you’ve never had the pleasure of trying dried blueberries, I recommend it. They’re a little on the pricier side, but they’re a wonderful treat and probably my favorite dried fruit.