Hazelnuts. AKA filberts, the base of (vegan) Nutella, and a very delicious flavor to add in coffee. I’d known them as filberts for a long while because I grew up cracking the nuts out of their shell, along with almonds and walnuts, and eating them plain. Then I went vegan and really became passionate about baking and found out, filberts and hazelnuts: totally the same thing! I brought home some hazelnuts and got my hands on a bottle of fancy hazelnut coffee syrup, then got to work in the kitchen and baked up a few distinctly different treats.

For a hazelnutty brunch, I have Hazelnut Black Tea Pear Muffins which, I promise, are far less weird than they sound. Adding the black tea was on a total whim. I was so focused on making pear hazelnut muffins that I completely forgot…drink theme! It would be quite a stretch to say chopped pears and toasted hazelnuts were a part of any drink, so I had to think quick. Hazelnut pear already had this hearty tea shop vibe going on, so the answer was clear. Black tea ended up adding a certain something to the mix! These muffins are great for breakfast, and a little bit more substantial than a cupcake. The pear flavor complements the nuttiness of the hazelnuts and the black tea gives it a complex earthiness. A thin drizzle of dark and white chocolate completes the muffin tops. I’ve been really into adding tea to baked goods by grinding the contents of a tea bag (or loose tea) and adding a small spoonful. This works best with black tea, as in chai cookies.

When I first made these, they were kind of dense. Then on a completely separate wavelength of thoughts, I realized I never put any oil in them, or even took the bottle of canola oil out of the pantry. Shortly after, I put two and two together and facepalmed a little. See, unless I meticulously measure out all my ingredients, these mistakes just happen sometimes all the time. But even so, they turned out yummy!

These are Hazelnut Latte Cupcakes, a recipe by Carla Kelly of Quick and Easy Vegan Bake Sale. I was talking with Carla about my upcoming project and she sent this recipe my way! The cake is infused with coffee, hazelnut syrup, and toasted hazelnut meal (homemade with a food processor), then topped with a fluffy buttercream. I added some of the syrup to the frosting for a touch of flavor.

Hazelnut Salted Caramel Cake. This is basically just my salted caramel cupcakes made in cake pans, with a few generous glugs of hazelnut syrup in both the batter and frosting. Friends and family love the salted caramel cupcakes, so the cake version is one of my go-to cake recipes for birthdays. The hazelnuts are a great addition to the sweet and salty combination. This cake was for my mom’s birthday last month!

There you have it! Three ways to use hazelnuts. Getting the most out of one ingredient is a great strategy to force yourself to be creative in the kitchen and is also quite cost effective. You end up with a few new recipes out of the deal too! What are your favorite ingredients to bake up several different ways? I’m pondering my next move!


Mexican Mojito Wedding Cookies, Chai Baklava

I’ve been keeping really busy lately with recipe writing, research, and behind the scenes work on projects lately. I’m hoping to have lots of new goodies and information to share very soon!
Here are some new recipes that are in the works.

Mexican Mojito Wedding Cookies
A twist on the basic Mexican Wedding Cookie, infused with lime, fresh mint, and a healthy dose of tequila.

Chai Baklava
This was my first time working with phyllo dough. I’m not one to read instructions most of the time, so I jumped right in with a traditional non-vegan baklava recipe for reference. There was definitely a learning curve, but I made an agave syrup baklava infused with chai spices and tea!


Buying cookbooks, MoFo, Bake Sales, and Giveaways!

Hey everyone!
You may have noticed the blog got a little makeover, with a shiny new logo that matches the pattern and colors of the book cover, and links to more pages on the blog, above! Contact info, a list of events (I’m hitting the road! Check if I’m coming near you!), links to all the sample recipes I’ve posted, and most importantly, a link to buy books!
Buying through the blog is purchasing your copy directly from me, so it can be signed and all that jazz. Order your very own copy!
Thanks for supporting vegan cookbook authors! ❤

I’m sure you all know about Vegan Month of Food, or Vegan MoFo, which just kicked off the beginning of this week!
I won’t be MoFo’ing from here, but I’m participating on my other blog, Seitan Beats Your Meat! Click the image below (designed by the talented Amanda Chronister of Will Draw for Cookies) to see the blog lineup and to sign up if you haven’t already!

If you’re in the Milwaukee area, we’re having a bake sale on November 13th from 10am-5pm! Here is the official Milwaukee Vegan Bake Sale website. See what other people are bringing, and sign up to donate baked goods. There is a Facebook group set up as well. Pass the message along to your friends, on Facebook, and Twitter!

Rooooot beer float cookies.

And I’m sure you guys want to see some new cookie pictures, so here are some Cranberry Almond Cashew Chocolate Chip Cookies, a variation on the Cranberry Almond Cookies on page 72.

Last but not least, giveaways! For MoFo, there are many blogs that will be doing cookbook (and other fun stuff!) giveaways. Check out this PPK thread for the official list.
A few bloggers will be giving out copies of the Vegan Cookie Connoisseur, including Miso For Breakfast who will also be giving out a whole bunch of other goodies, and Vegan Appetite!

**I will be doing a giveaway with a signed copy of The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur within the next couple weeks! Keep checking back for the official info on entering. I can tell you this much: it will involve writing haiku about cookies!**


Christmas Cookies, complete with a video demo of how to smash candy canes

I made three types of cookies this year for Christmas (the actual holiday, not including the sugar cookies from a few weeks ago).

I made a huuge batch of chocolate peppermint cream bars (the recipe can be found here). They are a definite holiday crowd pleaser.

I began making Crunchy Toffee from my zine, Vegan Candyland, but let the toffee part cook a little bit too long and the sugar crystallized, which is no good. So I proceeded with the recipe and thought of how I could revamp the fudged up toffee. I was making the chocolate peppermint cream bars right afterward, so I made extra bottom layer dough and baked it in an 8×4-inch bread pan. When it came out of the oven, I crumbled up the toffee and stuck it atop the fudgy brownie layer!

Candy Cane Chocolate Chip Cookies
(recipe below)

Peppermint Candy Cane Chocolate Chip Cookies 

Makes 2 dozen 

These incredibly chewy peppermint flavored cookies are scattered with chocolate chips and studded with bits of crushed candy canes. They are the perfect holiday cookie, but certainly can be enjoyed any time of year. The simplest way to crush the candy cane is in a plastic baggy with a pestle. These cookies don’t really brown, so don’t worry if they look under baked when you take them out of the oven. Plus, the red candy canes and the paleness of the cookies look festive! 

1/2 cup canola oil 

1 1/2 cups sugar

1/2 cup soy milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract 

3/4 teaspoon peppermint extract 

3 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking powder 

1/4 teaspoon salt

8 candy canes, crushed (yields about 1/2 cup) 

2/3 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a large bowl, stir together the canola oil, sugar, soy milk, vanilla, and peppermint extract.

Sift in the flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir in the candy canes and chocolate chips. Add a splash of soy milk if the dough is dry or won’t hold together. 

Drop by spoonfuls, about two tablespoons each, onto a parchment lined cookie sheet and flatten. The parchment is very important because if not used, the candy canes will melt and harden on the cookie sheet. You’ll spend hours scraping it off, then eventually go crazy from all the scraping. Use parchment! Bake for 8-10 minutes until golden around the edges and firm in the middle. Take out of the oven and immediately transfer to a wire cooling rack very carefully.

I made a little video of how to crush candy canes the badass way!


Fruity: Chewy Banana Cookies, Pumpkin Spice, Blueberry. And some PB Grahams

Chewy Banana-Banana Cookies

I’ve been trying to make chewy banana cookies, on and off, for about a year and it finally happened! They’re called banana-banana cookies, rather than banana-oatmeal or banana-nut, because the banana shines in this recipe!

Chewy Pumpkin Spice Cookies

I have a fluffy pumpkin cookie, but here is the elusive CHEWY pumpkin cookie!

Blueberry Walnut Breakfast Cookies

These are completely oil/margarine-free, but don’t taste healthy!

Peanut Butter Graham Crackers

A variation from original grahams.




Dark Chocolate Truffle Cookies

These are super unique with hints of secret flavors.

Chocolate Nut Florentines

Almond Butter Cookies



Oreo Cookie Cookies

Oreo cookies, in cookies!

Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

The same idea, but with the famous peanut butter cups.

Day of Silence Cookies

Dare I communicate that these left people speechless?

Cashew Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Classic and delicious!

Zesty Coconut Lime Mexican Wedding-like hybrid cookies

I invented these for a Spanish class party and they are coconut hater-approved!

Espresso Shortbread


Peanut Butter Molasses Cookies

A Garrick creation.

Cutesy Fruitsy Raspberry Almond Sandwich Cookies

I’m starting to make super creative titles for cookies. This one may be a little too cutesy, but I try. The name is fitting though!