Thursday, October 28, 2010

Embrace the Camera: October 28, 2010

There's been a lot of baking going on. But now it's time to embrace the camera. I missed last week. It was a truly hectic week! But, we're back :) This past weekend we met up with our photographer. Here is one of the family shots from our "sneak peek" --

And I must also share this picture because it captures my children so perfectly --

Embrace your camera!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Cookie Dough Scoops

Last night J left on a business trip. That means two full days (and nights) of just me and the kids. I knew I had to whip up something for myself and fast! I chose a no-bake, egg free, chocolate chip cookie dough - that will certainly do the trick!

Cookie Dough Scoops {for eating, not for baking!}
Makes a little over 2 dozen "cookies"

1 C dark brown sugar
2 TB sugar
1/4 C nondairy milk (unsweetened, original almond milk)
1/2 C nonhydrogenated margarine, softened
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 3/4 C AP flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 C chocolate chips

  1. In a large mixing bowl, use electric beaters to combine the sugars and the milk until the sugars are moistened. Beat in the margarine and vanilla, creaming the mixture until combined. Add the flour and salt and beat to form a soft, fluffy dough. Use a spatula to fold in the chips.
  2. Place a sheet of waxed paper onto a baking sheet that will fit in your freezer. Use a small ice cream scoop to scoop out balls of dough onto waxed paper. Freeze 1 hour. Let the cookies stand 5-10 minutes before serving. Store cookies loosely covered in the freezer.
{Recipe courtesy of Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar}

Carrot Cake Cookies

The proper name for these is "Carrot Raisin Spice Chewies" but I like to call them Carrot Cake Cookies because they contain many of the same ingredients of carrot cake and, well, I love alliteration!

From Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar --

Carrot Cake Cookies
{Makes 2 dozen Cookies}

1/3 C nondairy milk (I used unsweetened, original almond milk)
1 TB ground flax seeds
1/2 C canola oil
1/3 C dark brown sugar
1 C sugar
1/2 tsp finely shredded orange zest
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 3/4 C AP Flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1 C finely shredded carrots, lightly packed
1/2 C shredded coconut (I used sweetened; it does not specify)
1/2 C chopped walnuts
1 C raisins
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, beat together the milk, flax, oil, sugars, zest, and vanilla. Sift in the flour, powder, spices, and salt. Stir to moisten ingredients and fold in the carrots, coconut, walnuts and raisins. Dough will be sticky and moist.
  3. Drop generous tablespoons of dough onto cookie sheets, leaving about two inches between each cookie. Bake for 14-16 minutes until the edges are brown and the tops are firm. Let the cookies rest on the sheet for 10 (I don't think I waited that long) minutes then transfer to wire racks to cool completely. 
Lemon Glaze
1 1/2 C sifted powdered sugar
2 TB lemon juice (1 lemon should suffice)
1/2 tsp finely grated lemon zest

  1. Whisk together all ingredients until smooth. Drizzle over cooled cookies with a fork or pastry bag.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Chocolate Fudgy Oatmeal Cookies

This week's non-dairy baked goods are...cookies! These particular cookies are such a tasty snack. The description in the book - "Add oatmeal to almost anything and suddenly it's healthy" - couldn't be more true. These seem wholesome but, of course, they're not. ;-)

Lately, I've been categorizing my desserts. Some things (like last week's vegan seven layer bars) need to be devoured slowly after the children are in bed so that you can really savor every morsel. These cookies, however, fall into the category of "I need a pick-me-up in order to even make it to bedtime!" I'll be honest with you, though. I had one after my coffee, before my breakfast this morning. Then I had one two after lunch. And I plan on eating another one after the kids are in bed tonight. I guess that technically throws my theory of "categories" out the window. I eat all of these treats whenever I feel like it - a luxury I don't feel too badly about while I'm avoiding dairy and eggs for the sake of my nursing baby. Anywho, here's the picture to get you started. It's not staged, my daughter really was strapped in her high chair reaching for the cookies. It just happened to make a sweet picture.

Chocolate Fudgy Oatmeal Cookies

2 C quick oats
1 2/3 C AP Flour
2/3 C cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 C sugar
2 TB ground flax seeds
2/3 C nondairy milk (I used unsweetened, original almond milk)
2/3 C canola oil
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract
3/4 C chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. 
  2. In a medium sized bowl, stir together oats, flour, cocoa powder, soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. 
  3. In a large bowl, beat together (a whisk is sufficient) sugar, flax seeds, and milk until smooth. Add the oil and vanilla and almond extracts. Fold in half of the flour mixture to moisten, then fold in the remaining half. Just before the mix is completely combined, fold in the chips.
  4. For each cookie, drop 2 generous tablespoons of dough onto the sheet, leaving about two inches of space between each cookie. Bake for 10-12 minutes until they are firm and risen. Let them rest on the sheet for five minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely. Store in a tightly covered container.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cupcakes with Cinnamon Glaze Icing

I almost didn't make these. The title just wasn't calling my name. I think I was afraid they wouldn't hold a candle to my regular pumpkin bread or pumpkin scones. But, because we're in pumpkin season and I had some left-over pumpkin (that's the last time I'll say pumpkin), I gave them a try. They're so easy and so good! I feel like a lot of you might be thinking "yeah, they're probably vegan good but not dairy and eggs and butter good." But, really, they're just as good! Even the man of the house agrees.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cupcakes with Cinnamon Glaze Icing
Courtesy of Isa Chandra Moskowitz {Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World}

1 cup canned pumpkin
1/3 cup oil
1 c granulated sugar
1/4 cup soy milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350. In a medium bowl, stir together pumpkin, oil, sugar, soy milk and vanilla. Sift in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Stir together with a fork -- don't use a mixer, as it will make the batter gummy. Once well combined, fold in the chocolate chips. Fill cupcake liners two-thirds full. Bake for 22 to 24 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let fullly cool before icing.

Cinnamon Icing
1/2 C. confectioners sugar
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 T. margarine, melted
1 T. soy milk
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Place sugar & cinnamon in small bowl. Add margarine, soy milk & vanilla and stir with a fork until smooth. Keep at room temperature until ready to use. The mix should look opaque and honey brown; if it's glistening a lot or looks too liquid, add a little more sugar. Put the icing in a small sandwich bag and cut a hole in it (or use a pastry bag). Pipe icing on in stripes or zigzags or swirls.

Embrace the Camera: October 7, 2010

Today we captured one of our daily activities - the wagon ride. We got some vitamin D and good exercise. And though we only go around the block, it takes about half an hour because we pick up every single dandelion and crunchy leaf along the way. These wagon rides play a vital role in keeping us all sane during the week. Colby never makes a peep while in the wagon (he's been whining a lot lately). And Zoe gets the required exercise needed for her daily nap (which is crucial to ME!) Colby is also sitting up like a big boy in there now which is totally cute.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Magical Coconut Cookie Bars

From Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie we have "Magical Coconut Cookie Bars" which are, essentially, vegan seven layer bars. They are amazing.

Zoom in on this baby, I dare you.
These bars require a good overnight chilling to really firm them up before slicing, so plan accordingly.

Tip: Press the graham cracker crumb crust like crazy into the pan; the more you pat it down the firmer the resulting crust will be.

One 14 oz can (regular or lite) coconut milk (about 1 3/4 cups)
2/3 cup dark brown sugar
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup melted margarine
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips or chocolate chunks
2 cups flaked, sweetened coconut
1 cup walnuts, chopped

In a large saucepan whisk together coconut milk and brown sugar over medium high heat. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Mixture may form a thin skin on the surface; just stir it back into the liquid. Remove from heat and let cool while preparing the crust.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 13 x 9 x 2 inch baking pan with parchment paper. In a large bowl combine graham cracker crumbs, melted margarine and sugar; mix well to moisten crumbs completely. Firmly press mixture into prepared pan, pressing evenly from center to sides of pan.

Pour warm coconut milk mixture evenly over crumb base. Top with an even layer of chocolate chips, flaked coconut and nuts, in that order. Firmly pat everything down until coconut milk mixture soaks upward into the toppings. Bake for 28-30 minutes or until coconut is deeply golden and filling is bubbling, remove from oven and let entire pan cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Transfer pan to the refrigerator to completely cool and firm up for at least 4 hours, even better overnight or until very firm. Use a sharp, heavy knife to run along the edges of bars, slide bars on parchment paper out of pan onto a cutting board then to slice into 24 squares.

Store in a covered container in the refrigerator. These also freeze well, tightly wrapped and allowed to thaw for 20 minutes before serving.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Golden Vanilla Cupcakes

I came across a wonderful little cookbook during my search for non-dairy desserts - Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. It's worth checking out, even if you're not vegan. Rotating milks (cow, rice, almond, soy, etc.) is actually good for our bodies, says my nutritionist. "Rotation, rotation, rotation." Anyway, the Golden Vanilla Cupcakes are a great basic. They are delicious and can be topped with various frostings. This time I or, rather, Johnnie chose the chocolate buttercream frosting and we piled it high. Mmmm. Here's the recipe:

Vegan Golden Vanilla Cupcakes
1 C. soy milk
1 tsp. apple cider vinegar 
1 1/4 C. AP flour
2 TB. cornstarch
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt (increase to 1/2 tsp. if you're using oil instead of margarine)
1/2 C. margarine, softened, or 1/3 C. canola oil (oil is easier!)
3/4 C. sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. almond, caramel, or more vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350. Line muffin pan with liners. Whisk the soy milk and vinegar in a measuring cup and set aside for a few minutes to get good and curdled. 

{If using margarine} Sift the flour, cornstarch, powder, soda, and salt into a large bowl. In a separate large bowl, use a mixer at medium speed to cream the margarine and sugar for about two minutes until light and fluffy. Beat in the vanilla and other extract, then alternate beating in the soy milk mixture and dry ingredients, stopping to scrape the sides of the bowl a few times. 

{If using oil} Beat together the milk mixture, oil, sugar, vanilla, and other extracts in a large bowl. Sift in the flour, cornstarch, powder, soda, and salt and mix until no large lumps remain. Fill cupcake liners two-thirds (seriously, only two-thirds, you don't want muffin tops) of the way and bake for 20-22 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool completely before frosting. 

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
1/4 C. margarine, softened
1/4 C. shortening
1/2 C. unsweetened cocoa powder (sifted if there are clumps)
2 1/2 C. icing sugar, sifted
3 TB. soy milk 
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract (pure!) 

Cream together the margarine and shortening until well combined. Add the powder and incorporate well. Add the sugar in 1/2 C. batches and beat well, adding a little splash of soymilk after each addition. When all ingredients have been well combined, add the vanilla and beat until light and fluffy. 

This is such a bad picture, but it's better than no picture.
 Obviously, I have not figured out how to post in my "recipes" section. If anyone out there wants to give me a tutorial, I'd appreciate it :)