Holiday baking!

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!


Apple cider donuts, upcoming events, and activism

Apple cider donuts, quite possibly the most important part of pumpkin and apple picking in the fall. Deep fried, sugary, apple-y goodness in a pastry. Well, I haven’t gone apple or pumpkin picking in years and haven’t had an apple cider donut in at least 8 years (pre-gan), so I’ve been completely missing out. But I’ve made donuts before, so I decided to take on the challenge of making vegan apple cider donuts! After some research, I completely revamped this very poorly written Food Network recipe. See, I have a bad habit of not reading recipe instructions. I just look at the ingredient list and throw the ingredients in a bowl using my best judgment. I definitely should’ve read this recipe more carefully because it does things like combining the cinnamon for the dough and cinnamon sugar coating into one amount, so I put all 2 1/2 teaspoons in the dough right away, which wasn’t supposed to happen. I removed as much cinnamon as I could, but it still was more than the recipe called for. But guess what? I really like cinnamon, and the extra cinnamon in this dough was AWESOME. Joke’s on you, recipe!

This is a variation on the original recipe: apple cider cranberry donut holes, made them as a dessert for Thanksgiving! I blogged the entire feast over on Seitan Beats Your Meat.

Upcoming Events

This Saturday, December 3rd is the 4th bi-annual Milwaukee Vegan Bake Sale and there is still time to sign up to bake! And you can RSVP on Facebook! Give us your money, baked goods, and/or attendance! The proceeds will benefit the Urban Ecology Center and Milwaukee Animal Rescue Center.

Please spread the word! Tweet, Facebook, Google+, and blog about it! Please and thank you!

Not surprisingly, bake sales are my favorite form of activism, hands down. They are a great way to bring a community together, show off your baking skills, make deep-fried sprinkled-coated delicacies in the name of veganism, and raise money for a cause in a positive way. While I truly respect those out protesting and leafletting on the streets, I prefer to take a behind the scenes, non-confrontational approach to activism. Winning over curious omnivores with cupcakes, cookies, donuts, and candy is one of my favorite things to do, so I participate in bake sales whenever possible.

If you’d like to start a bake sale of your own or get involved in food activism, these are a few of my go-to resources: The Vegan Girl’s Guide to Bake Sales by my friend Melisser Elliott, Worldwide Vegan Bake Sale tips, and Let the Donut Do the Talking (pdf), a talk by Jasmin Singer and Mariann Sullivan.

On a similar note, I recently published an article on One Green Planet called Social Media as Positive Activism. Two things inspired me to write this article: I’m sick of seeing pictures of dead, mutilated animals posted on Facebook by vegans and I’m even more sick of charities and fundraisers struggling to meet their goal. Twitter, Facebook, blogs, and other social media sites can be powerful tools for activists if used properly, so this article is all about using these networks in a positive manner and reviewing all the ways you can contribute to a cause when opening your wallet isn’t an option!
And I also made this picture of Gnocchi pretending to type as the featured image, so I automatically win at life. Or Gnocchi does. Yeah, probably Gnocchi. But anyway, go read my article. Thanks!

Finally, another Milwaukee event. Photographer Jessica Kaminski will be hosting an art sale on Sunday, December 11th and I’ll be baking for it! Check out the Facebook event here. Come buy some prints and other gifts, and sample baked goods!


Bake sales and Compassionate Cake

The past month has been very long and very busy, but most of all, very full of baked goods and bake sales! I don’t even know where to begin!

May 4th: Mini Bakery at Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design’s Student Union

I held this sale at my school during finals week. Starting in the fall, I am going to set up a bakery stand monthly or so and sell vegan treats to MIAD students and anyone in the city of Milwaukee who can make it to the Third Ward that day!
I put this sale together in 2 days and baked: Vanilla Cupcakes with Pink Vanilla Frosting, Oreo Cupcakes, Espresso Cupcakes, Chai Spice Cupcakes, Mini Cupcakes, Salted Caramel Cupcakes, Chocolate Russian Cupcakes, Lemon Rosewater Cupcakes, Shirley Temple Cookies, Cinnamon Rolls, Blueberry Streusel Muffins, and two kinds of Snickerdoodles! Phew! When I have more time to prepare, I plan on amping up the display!

The next day was a gallery show at the MIAD Union Erie Street Gallery. I talked more about it in detail on this Seitan Beats Your Meat post, but here’s the cupcakes I made for the show again! Salted Caramel and Mexican Hot Chocolate.

May 14th: Milwaukee Vegan Bake Sale

Unfortunately, I was unable to attend this bake sale, but I dropped off a few baked goods with my friend Stephanie, who runs Milwaukee Vegan Bake Sale.
I made Earl Grey Lavender Tea Cakes…

…and more Salted Caramel (these are getting around lately)!

The Milwaukee Vegan Bake Sale raised $922 for Doctors Without Borders and The Urban Ecology Center! Yay!

May 21st: Cookies4Kids Milwaukee Bake Sale

Cookies4Kids Milwaukee was held to raise money for pediatric cancer. Here’s a great post from Lori of Burp! Blog who organized the bake sale. Over 45 bakers donated, and while the bake sale wasn’t vegan, some local vegan bakers including myself baked for this event so there was a selection of vegan treats at the sale! Bon Jovi was in town that day and only 4 blocks away at the Bradley Center. Despite our massive group of people tweeting at him to come visit, we never heard from Bon Jovi. Even so, $2100 was raised at the end of the day!

Part of the sale, and a vegan section.

The haul I brought home that evening, with special Gnocchi appearance.

While setting up the bake sale, a giant cardboard box was delivered to the sale. Upon opening it, I saw dozens of gorgeous cupcakes inside, each elaborately decorated and neatly packaged. When I looked closer, I saw that they were vegan and immediately got excited (and secretly thought that something so awesome just HAS to be vegan)! These cupcakes are Banana Split, Root Beer Float, Strawberry Balsamic, and Coffee and Donuts, made by Jessica Weisnicht.

I sent a picture to Twitter and everyone showered the cupcakes with compliments. I wondered how I didn’t know this awesome lady yet and decided that we need to be friends.

Meet my new friend Jessica! We met up at the Riverwest Co-op last night to talk cupcakes and for dinner with Stephanie, Lindsay, and Colleen. Jessica of Compassionate Cake does stunning work and I was so glad to see more of it in person and spend several hours talking with her!

Fortune Cookie and Peanut Noodles Cupcakes

The “noodles” are made with peanut butter frosting and the broccoli is fondant with frosting and green-colored non-pareils.

She made all four of us a cake! This is the Napa Valley Chocolate Cake, infused with Merlot and it’s all mine (but I’ll share!). Check out the Facebook page to see the other cakes!

If you need more incentive to come to Mad City Vegan Fest this Sunday, Jessica will be there with cupcakes! Done deal now, right?

The schedule for the festival is posted here. If you’re planning on coming, we’ll see you there! ❤


Recap of Boswell signing, MKE’s Vegan Cookies segment, and Riverwest Co-op signing this weekend!

MoFo is over (just in time for my finals) so this blog will be getting a little more love (and updates!) like SBYM got throughout November.
Thanksgiving break was absolutely crazy! I think the whole weekend comprised of working and homework. It was fun, but I was ready to pass out after it all. I was on the Milwaukee news on Black Friday (video here), then spent the rest of the day in Chicago (nomnomz Diner).

Sunday was a book signing at Boswell Book Company, an awesome local bookstore with a great selection run by super nice people. Support your local bookstores!

For the event, I made hypnosis lollipops, cashew cappuccino nanaimo bars, and thin mints, all in the book of course.

Signing bookz

Over 20 books were sold during the hour-ish and a great mix of people came out to the signing.
Awesome! Thanks, Boswell!

For a new segment of Milwaukee’s Vegan Cookies, I have more East Side Ovens cookies I picked up at the bakery of Outpost Co-op over the weekend.

Chocolate Pecan Sandies
These may be my favorite ESO cookies that I’ve tried. They were decadent, flavorful, and nutty, and didn’t taste “healthy” at all, which is something I’ve noticed in some of their other cookies. They’re still awesome, but I’m partial to the most hedonistic desserts I can find.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip
These were pretty good! Lightly flavored, and bursts of chocolate.

Speaking of co-ops, the Riverwest Co-op in Milwaukee has amazing food. And I’m going to be doing a book signing there this Sunday, December 12th from 11am-2pm! If you’re in the area, I’d love to meet you, so c’mon out, get some delicious brunch, cookie, samples, and a book!
I keep the “Events” page at the top of the blog updated with upcoming events, so check it out! I hope to see you guys in Chicago later this month! (And I’ll post about New York with Melisser once finals week is over and I’m not dead!)


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!**


Vegan Bake Sales for Haiti – Milwaukee Edition

So this is somewhat of a re-post, but this is important! If you’re in the Milwaukee area, there is now a bake sale going on!

Saturday January 30th, 2010 from 12-5pm @

The Riverwest Co-op

733 E. Clarke St.

Milwaukee, WI

For more information or to donate time, money, or baked goods, CLICK HERE. Get in contact with Stephanie for details.

I’ve also made a Facebook event, please RSVP!: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=261586747115&ref=mf

Again, spread the word! But if you are unable to attend or don’t live in the area, there are vegan bake sales going on all over the country. Check out Isa’s blog to see if there’s one near you. If not, try and get one started!: http://theppk.com/blog/2010/01/13/vegan-bake-sales-for-haiti/


Vegan Bake Sales for Haiti

Adorable Bleeding Heart Sandwich Cookies

Hey everyone,

Isa made a blog post about vegan bake sales for Haiti going on around the country. Check out the list to see if there’s one near you, then go support them or see if you can bake, make fliers, or do anything else to help out:

If there isn’t one where you live, find people in your area interested in setting one up and make it happen!: http://theppk.com/blog/2010/01/14/how-to-put-together-a-bake-sale-fast/
(A Milwaukee one may be in the works, so keep checking back here, Facebook, the PPK, etc)

Also, buy a shirt from Herbivore! $15 plus $3 shipping, all proceeds go to groups providing aid to those in Haiti: http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=4960724&id=28960860699&ref=mf