Category Archives: Recipes

Lalalavender!

This post is dedicated to my most magnanimous friend James, who has actually had a hand in a lot of my blog posts over the past year or so since I met him at Hamlin dog park in Roscoe Village.

He encouraged me to make peace-offering cookies for my new neighbors when I moved and my dog was being a whiny baby.

He gave me a set of knives (no specific post associated, but I use them a lot).

He split a Groupon to Paulina Meat Market with me.

He gave me a cast-iron skillet!!

In return, I make him the victim of my vegan baking experiments, like these cookies and this bread, etc.

So when he told me that he was having trouble sleeping, I jumped at the chance to finally christen my oven and make him something that employed one of my favorite things.

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Fo’sho. I love lavender. In my soap, in my lotion, I even use a few drops of lavender oil in my humidifier. I’ve never used it in cooking before, but, as I said, I like to make James the victim of my experiments. I think I just googled “vegan lavender dessert” and found this great-looking vanilla lavender cupcake recipe from veganivore. Also props to Epic Spices up there, a tiny little spice shop in Ukie Village. The product is excellent, the right price, and the owner complimented me for my chosen flavor combo: “Now I’m not up on all my magazine subscriptions, but there must be some lavender citrus trend going on, because people keep coming in here wanting to make some lavender orange simple syrup for their next cocktail party or whatever, so good for you.”

The cupcake recipe I followed to a tee (save for the almond milk, I used vanilla soy). Apparently the original recipe is from the famous Isa Chandra Moskowitz, and it’s a good one. Very moist.

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and fluffy!

 

The frosting recipe I had a little more trouble with because the directions are to steep 1/4 cup lavender flowers in 2 tablespoons of water. That seemed, like… impossible. I did the reverse.

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Except then the resulting lavender water probably wasn’t as concentrated as it was meant to be, so I ended up adding more of it to the frosting mixture to really get the lavender scent, which threw the whole consistency off and I ended up having to dump a load of cornstarch in so that it would set.

I mean “vanilla lavender cupcake” just sounds pretty, doesn’t it? I didn’t want it to end up being another sloppycake mess.

sloppycakes

amateur hour

 

The cornstarch did the trick though, and with some red and blue food coloring, the result was possibly the most photogenic thing I’ve ever made.

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The original recipe also calls for agave syrup drizzled on top so the lavender flower buds stick, but I just used a toothpick to gently push them into the frosting. Then I put the cupcakes in the fridge for additional setting.

I personally felt like I could taste the massive load of cornstarch in the frosting, but it was still pretty good, and James enjoyed them 🙂 . And since I still have a good amount of lavender left, I could probably try my hand at the frosting again at some point…

 

Or maybe just save it for a craft cocktail.

lavender martini, anyone?

lavender martini, anyone?

 

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Cornmeal Lime Shortbread Cookies

I’ve been baking more often than I’ve been posting, but like I mentioned earlier, I prefer to only post the recipes of things I’m happy with.

I made these bacon-soynut butter cookies, which were just a bit too greasy and had an odd texture… there was no flour in the recipe, just sugar, bacon and soynut butter, pretty much.

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Decidedly not vegan.

Then I made some potato onion poppy seed loaves. And supposedly those were pretty good, and the batter was good but I never actually got to taste the finished product so no, I cannot endorse it yet!20130819-195846.jpg

But anyway, since I can’t ever make normal things and I have a big ol’ box of cornmeal in the pantry, I looked up “cornmeal cookies” and found this cornmeal lime shortbread cookie recipe, from Vegan Mother Hubbard. Small alterations of mine included mixing by hand as opposed to a mixer, and using margarine as opposed to earth balance.

I think mine were about 2.5 inches in diameter, and that made 22 cookies.

Pleased to announce that this recipe’s a keeper. The cornmeal gives it an interesting flavor, and goes well with the lime, but there’s enough fat in there so that the texture isn’t overwhelmingly grainy. Good stuff.

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#nofilter

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Assorted goods, perfectionism

I’ve actually been baking a lot since school’s been over-

School is over! Maybe forever! I have a master’s degree!

Anyway, since I don’t have to spend the evenings and weekends in academia land, I’ve had the free time to experiment with new recipes. None of which have been written about individually because I wasn’t 100% satisfied with them (except for maybe the cornbread, which I didn’t take a picture of anyway, go figure). That’s not to say that anything was totally awful or unappreciated – I just don’t feel like posting the recipe for something if I wouldn’t recommend it for someone else to try.

Especially not chocolate chip cookies.

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tastydough

They’re one of those standard goods that I feel anyone who’d call themselves a baker needs to have go-to recipe for, and I haven’t found mine. I tried making some a few weeks ago, and while the dough was delicious, they came out flat, crunchy and very greasy – not what I was going for. Therefore, I am not posting the recipe. My mom did give me a couple tips on how to get a fluffier texture, so I’ll probably make another attempt soon.

These lemon cake things were another taste-good, texture-not-so-much effort:

lemonrocks

lemonrocks

Don’t let the glaze fool you, these came out dry and dense, and I honestly could’ve used them as weapons a day later. The recipe said to bake at 350 for an hour, which I think was far too long.

Buuuuut last weekend I made margarita cupcakes, and I was actually pleased with how they turned out!

neondelights

neondelights

This recipe is apparently from “Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World,” which is by Isa Chandra Moskowitz, of Post Punk Kitchen fame. She knows what she’s doing. These are moist and delicious and didn’t even require an egg replacement. Your kitchen will smell like tequila (added bonus?)

Cupcakes (makes 12)

  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 1 1/2 tsp lime zest (1 lime)
  • 1 cup vanilla soymilk
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp tequila
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
Boozy Frosting
  • 1/4 margarine
  • 1 tbsp soymilk
  • 3 tbsp lime juice
  • 1 tbsp tequila
  • 2+ cups confectioners’ sugar (as much as needed for desired consistency)
  • 2-3 drops green food coloring (optional, I suppose)

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Fill a 12-cup muffin tin with liners.

2. In a large bowl, mix together lime juice, lime zest, soy milk, oil , tequila, vanilla and sugar.

3. In a small bowl, mix together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add to lime mixture and stir until just combined, then spoon into muffin tins (this is low-viscosity batter, it will be messy).

4. Bake for 20-24 minutes, until a tester comes out clean and the cakes spring back when lightly pressed.

5. Turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

6. For the frosting, cream together margarine, soymilk, lime juice, tequila, and 2 cups of confectioners’ sugar.

7. Add in more sugar as needed to make frosting stiff, but spreadable. I added some cornstarch, as I ended up running out of sugar.

To be honest, you could probably halve all the liquids for the frosting and be all right. No matter how stiff it looks in the bowl, it will spread out over the cupcakes just the same, so you don’t need a lot of it (you can see I added too much to the top two in the photo and had to wipe away the excess). Enjoy!

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Date Bars

As in the fruit, date. Perhaps not as approachable as say, apples or raspberries, at least as far as dessert fillings go. Which I get, I mean they’ve got a pretty strong flavor. But every spring I actually get mild cravings for them, probably because my mom’s version of charoset always had dates in it. And the tastes pairs up well with oats. So, a few weeks ago, I took a stab at these oatmeal date bars.

Recipe stolen and tweaked from the Rollin’ Oats Market and Cafe website. I omitted the walnuts and added cornstarch, since the dates weren’t thickening up their own (maybe nuts are a thickening agent?)

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups Medjool dates, coarsely chopped (this seemed roughly equivalent to a 12oz package, maybe slightly less)
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • Pinches of nutmeg and cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 cups white flour
  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 cup margarine or non-dairy butter alternative

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a saucepan, combine dates, WHITE sugar (I used the brown by mistake at first, it was annoying to fix), and water and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, and add spices and cornstarch. Stir occasionally, 10-15 minutes, until dates are soft & mixture is thick.
  2. In a large bowl, combine flour, oats, brown sugar & baking soda. Knead in margarine until dough forms. Press half of dough evenly in the bottom of a 13″x9″ pan. Bake 15 min. until lightly golden.
  3. Spread date mixture evenly over hot crust. Sprinkle remaining oat mixture on top. Bake 25 minutes, until golden. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack before cutting.

NB: Again, make sure you use white sugar for the date mixture, brown sugar for the crust. Also it helps if you can sharpen your cutting blade before pitting and chopping up the dates – that step is probably the most time consuming.

datebars

And voila! They came out really well. I have no clue what the serving size is for date bars, so we’ll just say this recipe makes however many servings you want it to make, depending on your appetite.

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Dog-friendly cupcakes!

Classic midterm avoidance procedure: write a blog post.

Anyway, the dog has been doing much better, and I owe that in part to my lovely new friends over at Hamlin Park dog park. I try and take him there at least 3 times a week so he can run around and be social. It’s kinda become a zen place for me too.

So to thank everyone for being so nice and welcoming to us, I decided to make some dog-friendly (and vegan, of course) cupcakes. Recipe stolen and modified from here and here.

Cupcake Batter

1 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup soynut butter
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup shredded carrots
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup applesauce

In a medium sized bowl, mix together the flour and baking soda. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well until combined. Put liners in a mini cupcake pan. Ball up a rounded teaspoon of batter and drop into each cupcake cup. Bake for 15 minutes (until firm and beginning to brown). Should make around 24 cupcakes.

Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.

Frosting

2 cups mashed banana
2 tbs peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla
3 tsp flour (add more as needed for desired consistency)

Mix until combined, add honey to taste. Pipe frosting onto cupcakes and top with shredded carrots.

NB: I used creamy soynut butter, so that plus the 1/4 cup oil was a little too much for my liking. If using creamy peanut/soynut butter, I suggest using only a couple tablespoons oil.

All fancy-like.

All fancy-like.

They came out very well and the dogs loved them. And now I’ve learned my lesson and will never bring a bunch of mini-cupcakes to a dog park ever again. Sorry guys, it seemed like a great idea in theory…

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Fudgy Peace Offering Cookies

So I forgot about this blog for a little while I’ve tried settling into the new apt. The dog didn’t immediately adapt well either, and had one particularly bad weekend of whining/yelping/attacking the coat rack. I was actually pretty petrified that the neighbors would complain to the landlord and I would get evicted or something nightmarish. But one of my friends suggested making all the neighbors cookies and just being upfront about the situation. So that’s what I did! I didn’t take pictures, but this recipe is pulled from the Food Allergy News Cookbook, from the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network. My mom used to make these for me, but we found the original formula a little oily. So these are her modifications:

7 T cocoa powder

7 T margarine

1 1/2 T non-dairy milk, 1 1/2 T oil, 1 t baking powder, mixed together

1 cup sugar

1 t vanilla extract

1 3/4 cups flour

1 t baking soda

1/4 t salt

sugar for sprinkling

Combine cocoa and margarine, stir. Add water/oil/baking powder mixture and sugar. Add vanilla extract and stir until mixed. Add flour, baking soda and salt, and mixed until combined. Then refrigerate 30 mins. A note here, I felt like the dough wasn’t coming together enough, so I added some splashes of soymilk and ice water as needed. Of course, when I baked ’em, the cookies all flattened out into each other and I had to cut them apart. Like brownie-cookies (browkies? crownies?)

Preheat oven to 375. Shape dough into 1-inch balls, and place on cookie sheet (doesn’t need to be greased). Sprinkled extra sugar over cookies as desired and bake 8-10 minutes or until set. Remove and cool on wire racks.

We always flattened these with forks after rolling them into balls, but that might not be a good idea depending on how much extra liquid you added.

Anyway, they were definitely fudgy and delicious. Neighbors were appreciative and dog is settling down. So it’s all looking up! It definitely felt good to bake again. That’s something that’s always made me feel productive and useful, so it was like a defining THIS IS MY KITCHEN BITCHES moment.

Although I’m still getting used to the fact that the sink is like 10 feet away from the prep area and behind the fridge…

This picture has nothing t do with the recipe. It came up on a google image search for "peace offering cookies."

This picture has nothing to do with the recipe. It came up on a google image search for “peace offering cookies.”

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Apple Pie 2012

Same pie crust as last year, which is stolen from Kathy Patalsky of the Lunch Box Bunch blog. I always mix by hand with a pastry cutter.

Chef made the filling and drizzly topping, which he stole from epicurious (apple ginger pie with cider-bourbon sauce).

The drizzle is delicious (there’s a shot of bourbon in it, and it is not cooked off) and so is the filling (bourbon in there too). But like last year, the apples weren’t mushy enough after baking for our tastes. The epicurious recipe doesn’t call for cooking the apples down beforehand, but I think we’ve resolved to do that no matter what the recipe says for the next time we attempt this.

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