Brokenhearted: The Story of a Doughnut

It was a fresh, snowy Valentine’s Day morning when I decided to make a special batch of heart-shaped doughnuts to celebrate the holiday.

I should have known that it would all go terribly wrong.

I should have taken a picture of my first batch of doughnuts–hugely swollen over the edges. Golden and crispy. And completely stuck to the pan. When I flipped them–blam!–doughnut crumbs everywhere. I was too sad to document it.

After I got home from work, I decided to try it all again. I will have doughnuts! I didn’t buy this new pan for nothing!

Boo! They were super crispy–almost fried–with no cake-y texture at all. They were gluten free! That’s what gluten free baked goods do best: density. Oh well. I still glazed and sprinkled them. And ate three.

I’m not even going to talk about lighting the brownies on fire. That’s a story for another day.

Recipe from Cybele Pascal, who seems to know something about doughnuts that I don’t.

Sweet, Sour & Spicy Meatballs

Isn’t it funny when you make something as an afterthought, and it ends up being the best part of the meal? I’d planned on making Orange Scented Broccoli and Scallion Potato Pancakes from Appetite for Reduction, but I couldn’t think of a third item for the plate. Our meal needed a little more protein, but I was stumped. I didn’t feel like tofu, seitan, or beans. What was I to do?

On our weekly trip to Trader Joe’s, I purchased both chickenless chicken nuggets and meatless meatballs. When I got home, I realized the nuggets had egg in them (bummer!) but the meatless meatballs were indeed vegan. I’d been thinking of making orange “chicken” as the missing piece of this meal. But–no dice. So, sweet, sour, spicy and altogether wonderful meatballs to the rescue! I literally threw this sauce together in 5 minutes, shoved the meatballs in the toaster oven, and that’s about it. And they were awesome. Amazing. Almost indescribably perfect. Really! I suppose that sounds like I’m tooting my own horn, but for all the effort I put into these, I think this recipe came from Divine Providence instead of my own brain.

Does God give out awesome meatball recipes? I guess so!

Sweet, Sour & Spicy Meatballs (makes enough sauce for 12-15 meatballs):

  • 12-15 vegan meatballs (you can cook the Trader Joe’s ones from frozen, check your recipe or other brand for different info)
  • 3 T Bragg’s Liquid Aminos (or low sodium soy sauce or tamari)
  • 2 T dark brown sugar (maple syrup would also work)
  • 1 T sweet chili sauce
  • 1 T ketchup
  • 1/4 tsp habanero hot sauce (or any sweet hot sauce will work)
  • 1 tsp chili garlic sauce
  • sesame seeds for garnish

Mix all the ingredients except the meatballs in a small mixing bowl. Add the meatballs and stir to coat. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Pick up individual meatballs on a fork and place on a sheet of foil on top of a cooking sheet. You want them to be coated, but not dripping, with sauce. Save the rest of the sauce in the bowl and set aside.

Bake meatballs for 10 to 12 minutes, then return to the bowl. This time, you can pour out the sauce and meatballs together back on the same piece of foil, and return to the oven for another 2-3 minutes. This gives the sugar a chance to get really gooey, and make a nice thick coating on the outside of the meatballs. Garnish with some pretty little sesame seeds.

If you want to make a ton more, I’m pretty sure this recipe will expand out make as many meatballs as you want. However, I’d caution about adding a lot more liquid aminos/soy sauce. That can get pretty sodium-filled pretty fast. You can always use water or veggie broth if you need the sauce to stretch a bit further. Just use common sense, because too much water could make it bland.

If you were wondering about the other parts of dinner–they were great! I made the broccoli completely incorrectly (I added basically everything at the wrong time) and it seemed pretty fool-proof. The scallion cakes should have probably been thinner, but I’m hoping that they toast up nicely for lunch tomorrow.

Happy Halloween! Pumpkin Spice Latte Cupcakes

I suppose the “latte” part is misleading, because these are really Happy Herbivore‘s Vanilla Chai Cupcakes with a Pumpkin frosting/glaze of my own design. My child was a cupcake for Halloween this year, so she asked that we also make special cupcakes to celebrate. Can do, kiddo.

The cupcake has a very dense texture, but I don’t know if that was partly my fault for over-stirring, or the nature of fat-free baked goods. Whatever the case, it tasted great, and really did have a great chai latte flavor. The pumpkin glaze I made is runny, but it’s also fat-free and super easy, so you take what you can get.

Pumpkin Glaze (for 8 cupcakes):

  • 3 T pureed pumpkin
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla

Stir ingredients until combined. Then, place mixture in freezer, checking periodically to stir and make sure the mixture is setting up properly. When as it’s as firm as you’d like (but not frozen) dab a spoonful on each cupcake. The mixture spreads quickly, so you won’t need to worry about making it look pretty. Sprinkle with cinnamon for even more fun.

 

Cherry Almond Scones

I guess that 8pm isn’t a great time for taking scone photos. So, this looks a little funky, but trust me, it tastes great.

I used the recipe from Vegan Brunch, which you can find on the PPK’s website in a slightly different version. Instead of lavender and marionberry, I used dried bing cherries and almonds (1/4 cup of each). I also upped the vanilla to 2 teaspoons, though I frankly could have added more. OH! And I changed one more thing–I was out of shortening, so I just used all canola oil. Just make sure to get it all nice and crumbly like you would normally. As a matter of fact, oil seems to be a lot less work for about the same results.

I’m sure this is just the start of my scone frenzy. I have a can of pumpkin in the cabinet just waiting to get sconed!

Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies

Funny, isn’t it? I’ve been trying out different recipes, testing out different theories about what makes a good chocolate chip cookie, and the answer was there all the time. This is pretty much my same exact recipe for chocolate chip cookies, just with two easy switches to make it vegan. And it’s perfect. Sure, that sounds like bragging–but you’ll see!

Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies (makes 2 dozen):

  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 T maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 3 T umilk
  • 1 T ground flax seeds
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 and 1/3 cup flour
  • 1 T baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt (you can use 1/2 tsp, if you like saltier cookies)
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

First, mix your unmilk and flax seeds together in a small cup, and set aside. Then, in a medium mixing bowl, combine sugars, maple syrup, canola oil and vanilla. Really stir them together–for two minutes or until your arm hurts. Then, add the flax and unmilk. Add the flour, baking powder and salt to the bowl and mix until dough forms. Here’s a tip to know if you’ve added the right amount of flour: the dough should appear wet, but isn’t sticky if you pinch off a bit. If it sticks to your fingers, add a little more flour–about 2 T. Now, add the chocolate chips, stirring to combine.

Now, make little individual dough balls about the size of a walnut, and flatten gently onto your parchment-lined cookie sheet. Bake on a cookie sheet for 8-10 minutes (depending on the size of your cookie) in a 350 degree oven. I usually just make cookies in small batches, and keep the dough in the fridge. However, I’ve noticed this dough gets sorta crumbly as it gets cold, so if you want good looking cookies, I would either let it get back to room temp, or just make all the cookies at once.

But yeah, they are seriously awesome. And no fussing with cornstarch! Or tapioca starch! Hooray!

(Okay, I just realized that I posted virtually this same EXACT recipe before, but the results were completely different! How weird is that? Anyway, check it out!)

Mexican Hot Chocolate Snickerdoodles!

One of my husband’s beloved co-workers had her last day at work on Friday, so I made these very spicy cookies from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar. One, we didn’t tell anyone that they were spicy, so that was pretty funny. Two, these are amazing! I will cut back on the cayenne next time I make them–they were a little too hot for me. But they would make the best ice cream sandwich cookies in the world.

Basically, imagine a cookie that has the taste and texture of a very thin brownie. Then make it sugary crunchy on top, with a hint of cinnamon. Then, put it in your mouth. Aaaaah.

 

 

Blackberry Lemon Bread

It’s no secret that I love baked goods. Muffins, cakes, pies, cookies…you name it. But there’s something about a loaf of bread–yeast or quick–that gets me. And this Blackberry Lemon Bread takes the proverbial cake. I just threw it together this morning for breakfast because we had leftover blackberries and leftover lemons from this week’s cooking. So good!

Blackberry Lemon Bread (makes 1 loaf):

  • 2 cups flour (I use a blend of white and whole wheat)
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 T baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup almond milk
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 2 tsp lemon zest
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 generous cup of blackberries

Heat oven to 350 degrees and grease a loaf pan. In a medium bowl, combine all the dry ingredients. Then, add the milk, lemon juice, applesauce, oil, zest and vanilla. Gently combine until most of the dry ingredients are incorporated. Then, fold in the berries. Spoon mixture into loaf pan and bake for 40-50 minutes, checking frequently after 30 for doneness (when a toothpick comes out clean).

This recipe was adapted from the Lemon Poppy Seed muffin recipe in Vegan Brunch.