Gingerbread Drizzles and Snow

Not many people at my school share this sentiment with me, but as a born-and-bred Minnesotan, I absolutely love snow.It has mostly been gross and rainy here in Ohio, but this morning I looked out my window, saw everything coated in a sparkling white blanket and then did a little happy dance (only slightly embarrassing). I just really love snow. 

The problem with the first snow is that is gets me completely into holiday mode. All I want to do is wrap presents, listen to christmas music, sit by the fire with a mug of hot cocoa, and of course, bake something warm and delicious. Too bad instead I get to read three books, write two papers, take two exams, finish an art project, wait tables, and choreograph a dance. Yay. Looks like my Christmas spirit will have to be on hold for the next three weeks... 

If, unlike me, any of you lucky people out there have some time on your hands to begin your holiday preparation, nothing says Christmas morning better than the smell of gingerbread fresh out of the oven. I made these cookies during my Thanksgiving break and after one bite I was ready to break out the Christmas carols. They are perfectly chewy and slightly crispy on the outside- beware, they will launch your holiday spirit from zero to ten.

Gingerbread Drizzles 

makes about 2 dozen cookies

Cookies (thank you to Oh, Ladycakes for the recipe):

1/2 cup earth balance
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup dark molasses
3 tbsp vegan sour cream (Tofutti brand is my favorite)
1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

White Icing
(I had a bunch of extra icing, which I ended up using on another recipe coming soon, but if you only want enough for the cookies I would cut this recipe in half)

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2 tbsp vanilla soy milk
1/4 tsp vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350º and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. 

2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, sugar, molasses, vanilla and sour cream. Whip vigorously until light and fluffy. Stir in the spices and baking soda, then add the flour and mix until combined.

3. Spoon batter onto your cookie sheet in tablespoons. Depending on your cookies preferences, either flatten or leave in balls- they don't spread that much. I left mine round. Bake for 10 minutes.

4. While the cookies are baking, prepare your icing by whisking together the sugar, milk and vanilla until it is the perfect drizzling consistency. You may need to add some extra sugar.

5. Once the cookies are done,let them cool for at least 5 minutes, then drizzle with the white icing. Let the icing set for about 10 minutes, then eat your heart out!

Enjoy these cookies with a mug of coffee (or tea), a good book and this song.


Because One Pie is Never Enough

Here is the second pie I made for Thanksgiving this year! I have never actually had pecan pie before and figured my switch to veganism would completely rule it out for me, but then I found this recipe. My dad, who loves pecan pie, says it's the best he's ever had. My mom, who hates pecan pie, went back for seconds, and my brother and my aunt will love any pie as long as it's drowned in whipped cream. This pie was the overall favorite dish at my family's dinner- which is saying a lot, because we ate some amazing food! 

Maple Pecan Pie (recipe from here)

1 9-inch pie crust

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup pure maple syrup

1/4 cup nonhydrogenated margarine

6 ounces extra-firm silken tofu (1/2 of a tetra pack)

1/4 cup cold, unsweetened, plain nondairy milk

2 1/2 tbsp cornstarch

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

2 cups pecan halves

1. In a medium saucepan, mix the sugars and maple syrup. Heat on medium-low and stir occasionally until bubbles begin to form, then stir constantly for 10 minutes. DO NOT let it boil too much, or you will end up with this. It should turn into a thick, syrupy caramel. After 10 minutes, stir in the margarine. Remove from heat and pour into a bowl to cool.

2. Crumble tofu into a food processor then add the milk, cornstarch and salt. Puree until smooth.

3. Preheat oven to 350º. Once the caramel is cooled (it can still be warm), add the tofu mixture and vanilla and stir. Fold in the pecans and pour it all into your prepared crust.

4. Bake for about 40 minutes, let cool and store in the refrigerator until you're ready to serve!

Crispy and filled with maple custard- the perfect winter treat.


Perfect Pumpkin Pie

I can't even count how many things I am thankful for in my life, but on my long list of friends, family, health and other gifts, pumpkin pie is most definitely included. Pumpkin is a flavor that always reminds me of the holidays and sitting around a fireplace with the people I love most. It encompasses fall and the inner warmth that comes with colder seasons. Maybe that's a lot to put on one dessert... but I think this pie can handle it!

This is the first time I've tried this particular recipe for vegan pumpkin pie and it was amazing! The texture is perfectly silky smooth and it is just bursting with flavor. My whole family absolutely loved it. It's also super easy to prepare, especially if you have a store-bought crust like I did.

Pumpkin Pie (recipe from here)

1 9-inch pie crust (I used Whole Food's whole-wheat vegan crust)

1 15-ounce can of pumpkin (or about 2 cups fresh cooked)

1 cup vanilla soy milk

3/4 cup sugar

3 tbsp cornstarch

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp ginger

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp cloves

1/4 tsp nutmeg

Preheat your oven to 350º. Mix all of the ingredients together in a food processor or blender, pour into the pie crust and bake for 60 minutes. Once it is out of the oven, let cool for about 10 minutes then stick it in the refrigerator for about an hour, or until you're ready to eat. Serve with vegan whipped cream, soy ice cream, or just eat it plain! Enjoy!

Creeping Cat


Happy T(of)urkey Day!

See what I did in the title there? Tofurkey? Hah. This is my first completely vegan thanksgiving! My house smells wonderful right now- onions and garlic, pumpkin pie spice, brown sugar, and sweet potatoes. Because I am now the official baker in the family, I have been put on pie duty. Tomorrow I'll post all the recipes and tell you about the whole delicious dinner, but here's a sneak preview while we prep everything...

All ready to go in the oven!

Onions and garlic and peppers for the vegan meatloaf.

Oops... I already had my first baking mishap. See that sugar above? Yeah, that's supposed to be caramel sauce for my pecan pie. I think I just let it boil too much. Luckily it worked the second time I tried!

Mmm caramel. Problem solved. 

How is YOUR thanksgiving experience going? 
Check back for recipes tomorrow!


Countdown to Cookies

Oh, killing me softly

and I'm still falling

still the one I need,

I will always be with yooou

This is what I was singing the whole time I baked this weekend. Is anyone else as addicted as I am? The video is also super adorable.

I have another thing for you to get addicted to- more cookies. This has been kind of a stressful week for me. I've been trying to register for classes for next semester plus I'm in a dance show that just opened last night! Thank goodness for chocolate.

Not only have I been on a quest for the perfect vegan pancake, but I've been searching for the perfect vegan chocolate chip cookie as well. I think I got it. They are crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside and the molasses adds an amazing richness to the flavor. These cookies are killing me softly. Just like Beyonce.

The Best Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies (recipe slightly adapted from here)

makes about 20 cookies
2 cups flour

1 cup brown sugar

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup dark chocolate chips/chunks (make sure they're vegan!)

2/3 cup vegetable oil

1/4 cup soy milk

1 tsp vanilla

1 tbsp dark molasses

1. Preheat oven to 350° and lightly grease two cookie sheets.

2. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder and soda, salt and chocolate chips.

3. In a medium bowl mix the oil, soy milk, vanilla and molasses.

4. Combine wet and dry ingredients. It works best if you use your hands!

5. Roll dough into balls and flatten onto the cookie sheets. Bake for about 10 minutes. Let cool and enjoy!



Oatmeal Choco-Banana Cookies

My friend's class was having a potluck the other night and since I will take any excuse to bake for a bunch of people, I decided to make cookies for her to bring. I didn't have much time or supplies, so I scrounged together the random ingredients I had and actually came up with something pretty delicious! She said everyone loved them. The only problem is they dry out a little the next day if you don't seal them up really well- they're best eaten the day you make them.

Oatmeal Choco-Banana Cookies (adapted from Vegan Cookies Take Over Your Cookies Jar)

Makes about 2 dozen

1 ripe banana

1/3 cup oil

2/3 cup sugar

1 tsp vanilla

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/3 cup cocoa powder

2 cup quick oats

optional if on hand: chocolate chips or walnuts

1. Preheat your oven to 350° and grease two cookies sheets.

2. Mash up the banana really well in a large bowl, then mix in the oil, sugar and vanilla.

3. Add in the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and cocoa. Stir until combined, then add the oats. Add a little water if the dough is too crumbly.

4. Roll dough into balls and flatten them onto your cookies sheet. Bake for about 10 minutes- do not over bake or they will dry out!

Mmm these ingredients make such a great cookie combination!


Sunday Pancakes

When I was little, having pancakes on a Sunday morning was always the most exciting thing in the world. It didn't happen very often, so you knew it was an extra special day when you woke up to the smell of butter sizzling on the griddle.

Confession time: Now that I'm in college and I have more control over my own meals, I have pancakes at least every other weekend. Somehow though, the novelty still hasn't worn off. They're still a super exciting prospect to wake up to. My friends and I usually go to this great brunch place in town, The Black River Cafe, that has incredible vegan pancakes, but this past weekend I decided I didn't feel like spending the extra money, so we made our own!

I have had the most difficult time coming up with a good vegan pancake recipe- I'm on a quest for the perfect one. The recipes I've made in the past were either too cakey, chewy or just plain ugly looking. This easy little recipe, however, is getting much closer to the perfect pancake. I will continue to tweak it in the future and let you all know how they turn out, but for now try this one! It's great!

Sunday Pancakes (adapted from Kirsten's Kitchen)

Serves 2

1 1/4 cups flour

1 tbsp baking powder

1 tbsp sugar

pinch of salt

1 cup soy milk

1 tbsp canola oil

1 tsp white distilled vinegar

Mix all the ingredients in a medium bowl, then ladle batter into circles onto a heated and greased pan. Cook over medium-low heat for about 1-2 minutes each side.

I love how versatile pancakes are. Feel free to slather them in syrup, like I did, or else applesauce, peanut butter, and jelly are all great toppings. You could also mix anything into this batter; chocolate chips, bananas, berries, whatever your taste-buds desire!