December was quite a busy month and I didn’t get to bake as much as I would have liked, but I did make some satisfying seasonal treats!
Winter 2011 brought so many different options of nog from Earth Balance, So Delicious, Silk, Rice Dream, and Vitasoy, so it was no surprise that nog taste challenges were all over vegan blogs. Everyone named their favorites, tested which variety tastes best served with rum, and professed excitement that there was nog made with milk other than soy, like rice and coconut.
With all these nogs circulating vegan blogs and drink-themed desserts in mind, I wanted to try it out in some baked goods. Cupcakes were the obvious choice, so I wanted to try out something a little adventurous (even though I did end up making cupcakes too)…truffles! Some googling revealed the truffle idea has been done a few times, but I wanted to find the best formula and make it vegan. I ended up with a white chocolate truffle full of rum flavor and freshly grated nutmeg, dipped in semisweet chocolate.
And I had to make some cupcakes too, so these are chocolate nog cupcakes with rumnog buttercream, sparkly edible glitter, and a mini candy cane.
Peppermint bark. Super easy to make! A layer of semisweet chocolate with a bit of peppermint extract topped with a layer of white chocolate and crushed candy canes.
I also made peppermint candy cane chocolate chip cookies, which ends up happening pretty much every year.
The nog truffles and cupcakes, as well as some peppermint chocolate cream bars, went to December Milwaukee Vegan Bake Sale!
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 had the pleasure to not only attend, but give a baking demo, at Chicago VeganMania 2010 this year! The whole week before, Vegan Week: The Ultimate (which I made a huge blog post about on Seitan Beats Your Meat, here), was leading up to this giant vegan party!
Estimated number of cookies baked during that week: 25 dozen, or 300
To kick off the cookie baking for the week, Isa asked me to make cookies for her demo at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Culinary Activism: Becoming a Baketivist and Beyond. I was totally up for it, of course, and spent Wednesday evening making Ginger Cookies, Chocolate Peppermint Creme Bars (recipe here), and Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies.
Jamming out while baking.
There were some leftover chocolate peppermint creme bars that were quickly hidden from everyone, so they went home with Lindsay. Look how happy she is! And that was before she got all the bars!
After a fun-filled Thursday at UWM, Friday was devoted to baking. Louzilla flew in from Pennsylvania, so her and I, and my friends Ryan and Corey prepared for Chicago VeganMania.
I put them to work sticking labels on postcards for the demo.
Whole Foods in Milwaukee carries a giant 2lb tub of Earth Balance, so we just HAD to get it for this mass cookie-baking.
This is what 2lbs of Earth Balance looks like!:
By 2:30am, I finally got mostly everything planned out. Everyone else was asleep. Then it was time for bed.
Set up for baking demo the next day:
All the cookies. Chai Cookies (made by Louzilla and Corey), Chocolate Peppermint Creme Bars, and Hypnosis Cookies.
Then it was the day of Vegan Maniacs. Chicago VeganMania 2010!
I got up at 6am (a whole 3 hours of shut eye!) and got ready quickly, knowing the clock was ticking.
Upon arriving, the first person I ran into was Fran Costigan, then the super sweet Gina showed us to the kitchen to store our supplies for our demos.
Marla the Vegan Cupcake Fairy was floating around making sure everything was going smoothly! The first time I met Marla was at the Chicago Diner last July where she asked me if I would be interested in doing a demo at VeganMania. Of course I was!
A few days earlier, she posted about these adorable bottlecap necklaces on the VeganMania Facebook page, so I asked her where they were being sold so I could get one of my own.
Turns out, the one I picked she made herself! ❤
In a couple weeks or so, the necklaces (as well as shirts) will go on sale on the website to raise money for next year's VeganMania! Follow their Facebook page (posted above) and check the website to get your very own necklace or shirt and donate to veganism!
Shortly after getting situated, we made a few rounds at the exhibitor hall, then got really HUNGRY. On the way to get food we found Isa and John. We had a brief discussion about our honeymoon plans. See, we’re getting married in Maui next year.
Luckily Soul Veg was there to take care of our hungry vegan needs, and we took ourselves outside to sit and eat for awhile before Isa had to get ready for her first presentation.
Mac n cheese, greens, and BBQ seitan (which I, of course, spilled on my shirt and had to change my shirt twice. good thing I brought extra clothing!).
Isa also did her Baketivist presentation at VeganMania.
Bake sales, ft. PDX PPKers!
All these people (and more!) had their eyes fixed on Isa and were listening attentively. She’s so goddamn awesome at what she does AND pretty: cooking abilities and mainstream appeal!
They’re starstruck. Louzilla and Isa.
Lou, Ryan, Corey, and I got Gyood ice cream, then went to Isa’s demo, pumpkin bisque!
This is pumpkin ice cream! So much pumpkin all at once.
Isa demo-ing and John and the amazing VeganMania volunteers preparing samples.
After the demo, we walked around more, saw a few more people, and then decided we needed to step out and take a breather! It was 3pm at this point and my demo was at 4:45pm.
Lou, Ryan, Corey, and I walked over to Veggie Bite and got coffee shakes. I was already in a food coma and for some reason, thought it would be a good idea to get a large. Couldn’t finish it!
Ryan just got cheeze fries, but I let him try my shake. He promptly got up and ordered one of his own.
It was time to go back to the kitchen and prepare for my demo(!!). This would be my first baking demo/speech of the vegan persuasion, so this is how I got pumped.
Then it was demo time! I got set up with the help of Louzilla, Ryan, Corey, Ellie, Isa, and John.
Photo by Ellie Johnson
Isa introduced me before the demo. I almost got teary eyed before I even got started!
Photo by Louzilla Ryan
Photo by Ellie Johnson
In my presentation I discussed how my book came about (and made a really bad Hannah Montana joke…Louzilla and Ellie laughed!), substitutions when veganizing a recipe, demonstrated chilling and rolling hypnosis cookie dough, melting chocolate, and set up a food porn shot and explained my process of food photography.
This is the photo I took during the demo. Did I follow my own instructions? Note: I would recommend doing something about the condensation if this photo was going to be for real.
The demo ended with a Q&A session.
Photo by Christine Gurnik
This ending marked the end of VeganMania (well, for us at least. the after party was 21+). We all relaxed in the square until it was time to leave.
I promise, we were happier than we look.
Photo by Ellie Johnson
Luckily life didn’t go back to “normal” until Monday morning because Louzilla was still staying with me til then. We went and got food at the Riverwest Co-op and Comet Cafe to make sure Vegan Week: The Ultimate didn’t end too abruptly.
This was the best week ever, ever. So much great food, even better company. I finally got to meet Isa after nearly 5 years of PPKing and cooking from the books (and in the process, destroying my copy of VwaV. it’s held together by tape now.), and she is even more amazing and wonderful in person. I met a few new vegans, and had an absolute blast! I think the equivalent to VeganMania and Vegan Week: The Ultimate would be cuddling in bed with a bunch of puppies and eating vegan cupcakes.
Thank you to everyone who made this such a wonderful experience!
Hey everyone! I have some exciting news!
Has the scorching heat this summer left you put off by the idea of turning on the oven to bake up some delicious treats? Never fear!
I’ve decided to start doing a “mail order cookies” type deal here from time to time, directly from the blog for the time being. An array of delectable 100% VEGAN cookies delivered to your doorstep, or that of a loved one, contained in a cute little gift box. I’m offering a package with three different kinds of yummy gourmet cookies. I’m starting out small this time with a group of guaranteed crowd pleasers, but maybe there will be themed packages with pick and choose options or different sized quantities in the future!
All that talk and no mention of what enticing treats will be contained within the pretty packaging. For the first round, I will be making an assortment of cookies that will make even the most hardcore omnivores weak at the knees:
Chai Cinnamon Roll Cookies
If allergies or any other preference is a concern, I’ll be happy to swap out the portion of any of the cookies, as long as its one listed above. Please include instructions at check out. Otherwise, there will be 6 of each cookie in every order.
Your packages should start arriving a the end of July or first thing in August! The cost for a package of 18 cookies (6 of each kind) will be $18.00, shipping included. Order below through PayPal (sorry, I’m currently just taking orders from US addresses). If you would like your cookies delivered to a different address than on file in your PayPal account, please include it at checkout. Also include any other specific instructions and if you’d like me to include a gift tag (and the information that should go on it). I’ll also slip one of the sweet postcards of the book cover that my publisher printed up in each order.
THE LAST DAY TO ORDER IS JULY 27TH, 2010! Don’t hesitate to email with any questions: firstname.lastname@example.org
-ORDERING IS CLOSED. THANK YOU!-
Here are some pictures of what you’ll be getting!:
Chai Cinnamon Roll Cookies
Vegan Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies
The Milwaukee Vegan Meetup group did lunch today at Beans and Barley, so afterward I shopped around a bit in the grocery section and bakery. This was the only kind of vegan cookie they had today, but it was lovely. I liked that it was soft, chewy, fresh, and chocolatey with a hint of peppermint.
Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
From East Side Ovens again. I thought this was a chocolate chip cookie (they don’t label them at the student union, so I’ve been guessing!), but it turned out to be peanut butter, which was a nice surprise because it was crispy and I’m not a huge fan of crispy chocolate chip cookies. A lot of their baked goods have a bit of a “healthy” twinge to them, but these and their dumplings are an exception. They’re not super sugary or greasy, so a break from that decadence is good every once in a while.
P.S. I promise I’ll never take photos in my dorm room anymore. The lighting is terrible.
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
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!