Clementine Cupcakes

Slowing down is one of the hardest things for me to do. I'm so used to having every minute of my day filled up and even though I get stressed, I kind of enjoy it. I like having purpose. So now, having time to just sit at home and do nothing is really bizarre. It was an adjustment at first, but now I'm finally relaxing into just reading a book, doing crossword puzzles or listening to music while I can! I started a new book- Tinkers- and it's amazing so far. New Years Resolution: read more books for fun.

With all this spare time, I can finally experiment a little more with baking! I'm not exactly sure why, but my family tends to go crazy buying clementines in the winter. I decided I would put them to better use than just sitting in the fruit bowl...

These cupcakes are the perfect mixture of sweet and tart and are just so pretty! Because of the usual holiday overload of decadent sweets, I decided to make these super low-fat. However, if you don't like the texture of low-fat desserts (think less fluffy but more moist), you're welcome to sub out the applesauce for more canola oil.

Clementine Cupcakes with Clementine Vanilla Glaze

2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 tbsp clementine zest (about 4 clementines)
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups soy milk
1 tbsp egg replacer
3 tbsp applesauce
1 tbsp canola oil
3 clementines, peeled
1 tsp vanilla

1. Preheat oven to 350º and line or grease a cupcake tin. 
2. In a large bowl combine the flour, sugar, zest, baking powder and soda and salt.
3. In a cup, whisk 3 tbsp of the soy milk with the egg replacer. Puree the three clementines in a blender until liquified, then pour only 1/4 cup of the puree into a small bowl and mix it with the "egg," milk, applesauce, vanilla and oil.
4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir until just combined. Spoon the batter into the cupcake liners- about 3/4 of the way full. Bake for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.


1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup clementine puree
2 tbsp soy milk
1/2 tsp vanilla

1. Combine the wet ingredients in a bowl and slowly add in the powdered sugar. Whisk until smooth.
2. Once the cupcakes are done baking, dip just the tops into the glaze for about 10 second each so that they can absorb the sugary goodness. Let cool on a baking sheet and serve with a clementine slice on top.*

*I attempted to make caramelized clementines by slicing them and coating them with 2 tbsp of oil and 1/4 cup of sugar and baking them in the oven for about 20 minutes at 400º. I'm not sure if they ended up completely caramelized, but they taste delicious and look good on top of the cupcakes! You can try this if you want and maybe vary the method a little.

These would be excellent to bring to a New Year's Eve Party! It's always good to bring your own dessert if you are vegan, because otherwise you just have to cry silently in the corner while everyone else eats cake. It's pretty sad. These will save you, I promise.


Monkey Bread

Okay I'll admit, I still get ridiculously excited on Christmas morning and tend to wake up at 6:30 or 7am to go open my stocking with my brother. Maybe slightly embarrassing, but hey, I'm not sure if the Christmas morning magic ever fades. My dad lights a fire in the fireplace, we turn the tree lights on, and take our sweet time enjoying each and every present we unwrap. 
Our beautiful Christmas tree!

Christmas loot

Continuing with the theme of tradition in the last post, our holiday breakfast tradition is to make monkey bread- a delicious twist on traditional cinnamon rolls. Of course we're all in a sugar coma by lunch time, but it's totally worth it. Again, we had never tried making this vegan before, but my mom and I made a few adjustments and everyone agreed it was actually the best we had ever made!

Monkey Bread with Caramel Glaze (adapted from the Martha Stewart Holiday Magazine 2002)

1/4 cup warm water
1/4 cup granulated sugar, plus a pinch for the yeast
1 package yeast
2 tbsp earth balance
3/4 cup soy milk, warmed
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup applesauce or 1 egg replacer
3 1/4 cups flour

1/2 cup earth balance, melted
3/4 cup light brown sugar
2 tsp cinnamon

Caramel Glaze
1/2 cup brown sugar
5 tbsp earth balance
6 tbsp soy milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup powdered sugar

1. Put the warm water and a pinch of sugar in a small bowl and sprinkle the yeast over the top. Stir and let it sit for about 5 minutes.
2. Place the earth balance, warmed soy milk, salt and applesauce in a large bowl. Grease a medium bowl.
3. Once the yeast is foamy, add it to the bowl and mix well. Slowly add the flour and knead for 5 minutes. Put the dough in the greased bowl, cover with plastic and let it rise for 20 minutes.
4. To make the coating, pour the melted butter in a bowl and combine the cinnamon and sugar in another. Grease a bundt pan.

5. Divide the dough into 4 sections and roll each section into a long rope, about 1/2" thick or less. Cut the ropes into tiny pieces and roll them into balls. Dip each piece first in the butter, then coat it in cinnamon sugar and place in the bundt pan. Repeat until all the dough is used up.

6. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and let the dough rise for about an hour. 
7. Preheat the oven to 350º and bake bread for 30 to 35 minutes. Let it cool for 15 minutes in the pan before turning it onto a plate.
8. Make the caramel glaze by combining the brown sugar, 2 tbsp of earth balance and 2 tbsp of soy milk in a sauce pan. Cook over low heat until dissolved, then cover and cook for 3 more minutes. Take the cover off and let it simmer without stirring. 
9. Turn of the heat then stir in the remaining ingredients. Drizzle it over the monkey bread right before serving. 

It's a little labor intensive, but can be really fun if you get family and friends involved in rolling up the dough balls. I guarantee this bread will give you a great reason to wake up in the morning, even if it's not Christmas!

This post was featured on Sweets for a Saturday!


Christmas Eve with Mr. Cookie Baker

Christmas is my absolute favorite holiday- full of great company, perfect presents and of course, delicious food. My family is not religious, so our Christmas is always more about being together, being thankful for each other and everything we have, and generosity. This movie just about sums it up.

We also tend to stick to old childhood traditions, like watching Muppet Christmas Carol on Christmas eve and eating crab for Christmas eve dinner. The Muppets continue to live on, but the crab tradition had to be thrown out the window this year since we now have two vegans in the house. Instead, I decided to make a seitan roulade with mushroom and walnut stuffing. I was a little skeptical at first about making my own seitan, but it ended up delicious! You can get the recipe here, but I used dried cherries instead of cranberries and took out the onion and garlic because my dad's stomach is super sensitive. Everyone loved it, even my carnivore brother. 

Our other tradition is to make Christmas cookies and decorate them together. I'm pretty sure we've used the same recipe every single year. We found it in the back of a children's book- Mr. Cookie Baker- that my brother and I used to read over and over when we were little. Actually this book is the reason I wanted to grow up to be a baker (and look at me now!)

Of course we had to veganize the recipe this year, but they still ended up buttery, delicious, and so much fun to make!

Mr. Cookie Baker's (Vegan) Cookies

makes about 3 trays full of cookies 

5 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup earth balance
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs worth of egg replacer or 1/2 cup applesauce
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp maple extract 
1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp non-dairy milk

1. Mix together 2 cups of the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl.
2. In a large bowl, cream together the earth balance and sugar. Then beat in the egg-replacer, vanilla, maple and non-dairy milk.
3. Stir the dry into the wet and gradually add enough remaining flour until the dough is stiff enough to roll out. 
4. Form the dough into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least 1 hour. 
5. Preheat the oven to 375º and roll out the dough on a floured surface to about 1/8" thickness.

6. Cut out into pretty shapes, then re-roll and repeat until all the dough is used up!

7. Bake the cookies on an un-greased cookie sheet for about 10 minutes or until lightly browned.


2 tbsp earth balance
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup soy milk

1. Combine all of the ingredients in a food processor and mix on high until smooth and creamy.
2. Divide into separate bowls and mix a couple drops of food coloring into each bowl.

Once the cookies are completely cool, decorate them with frosting and sprinkles and place them on parchment paper to let the frosting set.

These are great to share with your family and friends! Mr. Cookie Baker has never let me down. I hope everyone had a great holiday! Does anyone else have any fun family traditions?


Here Comes the Sun

Just like true hippie parents, my mom and dad raised my brother and I to celebrate the solstice every year. We do Christmas as well, of course, but we would always have some sort of party or special event to mark the shortest day of the year. For the past 6 years or so, we've started a tradition of making gingerbread sun cookies with our own special flair.

Each person in my family is an artist in some way- my dad paints and composes music, my mom is a children's book illustrator, my brother draws and performs in a youth circus, and I dance and take photos. The combination of all of these creative talents makes for some very fun and unique cookies. 

Gingerbread Solstice Cookies

makes 4 large suns

1/3 cup earth balance
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup molasses
3/4 cup water
6 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp cloves

1. Cream together the margarine, brown sugar, molasses and 1/2 cup of water in a large bowl.
2. sift flour, baking soda, salt and spices in another bowl and then add the dry ingredients to the wet. Add more water if dough is too crumbly.
3. Turn the dough out of the bowl and form into 4 equal balls. Wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
4. Preheat oven to 350º and grease two baking sheets. Roll out the dough and cut or mold each piece of your sun. 
5. Bake suns for about 10-12 minutes or until puffy and slightly browned. 

You don't have to just make suns with the dough- you can also roll it out and make cut out cookies! But just look at how gorgeous these turned out.

Clockwise from top left: My sun, my dad's, my mom's and my brother's fish/sun.

This is such a great family tradition. We put on some carols, shape our suns, then watch a Christmas movie or just sit around the tree and chat while the heavenly smell of gingerbread baking wafts through the house. It keeps us cozy on the shortest, darkest day of the year. 

Only one more day until Christmas! Can you believe it? Today is going to be full of so much last-minute baking and cooking. I will be posting my family's all-time favorite Christmas cookie recipe soon, so stay tuned!


Lemon Ginger Scones

Home for the holidays at last. I survived finals week! I think they all went really well in the end, so now I just get to sit back, relax, and bake all day if I feel like it! Although, because I've been so wrapped up in school I completely forgot that Christmas is in 3 days. I can't completely relax- I need to do some serious Christmas shopping.

My first pre-Christmas present to my family, however, was to make them something yummy for breakfast. I've been wanting to try out vegan scones for a while, so I veganized a basic recipe from this really old cookbook we have laying around and they turned out great! Perfectly buttery, flakey and not too sweet. The lemon and ginger flavor is pretty subtle, so they're best served with jam or some extra earth balance. 


Lemon Ginger Scones

makes 8 scones

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup (4 tbsp) cold earth balance 
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/3 cup soy creamer
zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp fresh grated ginger

1. Preheat your oven to 425º and lightly grease a 9" round pan.
2. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder and salt. Using a fork, add in the earth balance and chop it up until crumbly.
3. Mix in the applesauce. Then stir in the creamer, lemon zest, lemon juice and ginger. You may want to use your hands.
4. On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough for 2 minutes or until smooth. Stretch the dough out into a circle and press it into the 9" pan so that it covers the whole surface. 
5. Cut the dough into 8 slices and separate the edges slightly so they are easier to cut later. Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes or until the tops just start to turn golden brown.

This is great scone base- if you take out the lemon and ginger, you could add anything you want! Fruit, nuts, chocolate... whatever your heart desires. These would be great for christmas morning :)

Also I just finished watching this movie, one of my favorite holiday classics! 
What's your favorite holiday movie?


One More Final to Go...

...and then it's home for the holidays! I can't wait. It will be great to see family and old friends again and actually have a real kitchen to bake in!

In the meantime I'll cram for my history final while I cram my face with cinnamon sugar rolls.

My boss at the pizza restaurant I waitress at is a perfectionist about the consistency of his pizza dough and usually ends up throwing a bunch away at the end of the night. I hate to see decent food wasted, so yesterday I offered to take some home and see what I could do with it!

You absolutely cannot go wrong with dipping something in butter, sugar and cinnamon. I melted some earth balance, rolled the dough balls in cinnamon sugar and baked them at 350º for about 20 minutes or until the tops turned golden brown. Then I decided that this was the perfect opportunity to whip out the last of my leftover cream cheese frosting. Thanks to these babies, my friends and I had a very productive and very delicious study session.

Sorry for the mediocre lighting in these, we made and ate them all between 10pm and 1am.

This is me once I'm all done, wearing my super awesome "vegan" shirt:

Wish me luck!


Virtual Vegan Holiday Dinner: Holiday Crescent Rolls

Remember when I got really excited about the first snow? Well that only lasted about an hour, then it all melted and we haven't had any since. It's so hard to believe that it's almost Christmas when it looks like Spring outside! 

I guess I'll just have to get into the Christmas spirit through lots of carols, hot chocolate and a Virtual Vegan Holiday Dinner! I was so excited when Marley invited me to be a part of this. Other bloggers and I have all made our own delicious recipes so that when you put them all together, you get an amazing vegan feast. Go to the bottom of this post to see the full list of what everyone is bringing to dinner!

Because nothing relieves finals stress better than baking bread, I volunteered to make the dinner rolls! These rolls turned out amazing. They are sweet, buttery, flakey and made my whole dorm smell like fresh-baked bread. 

Sweet Crescent Rolls

makes 6 rolls

1/3 cup soy milk
1/4 cup earth balance
1/4 cup warm water
1 package active dry yeast
1/4 cup sugar (can be cut down if you want your rolls less sweet)
1 tbsp ground flax seed
3 tbsp water
1/2 tsp salt
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tbsp canola oil

1. Pour the warm water in a large mixing bowl and sprinkle in the yeast. Stir, then let it sit and get foamy for 5 minutes.
2. Warm the soy milk in a small saucepan over low heat, then add the earth balance and stir until melted. Remove from heat.
3. Combine the flax seed with the 3 tbsp of water in a small bowl to make a "flax egg." 
4. Add the warm soy milk mixture to the yeast. Stir in the sugar, flax egg and salt. Then add 1 1/2 cups of the flour and stir until smooth.
5. Add in some of the remaining flour until you can easily form the dough into a ball. Save the rest for kneading the dough.
6. Knead the dough for 5-10 minutes on a floured surface, adding more flour to the dough if it becomes sticky. You should end up with a smooth ball that springs back if you poke it.
7. Pour the oil into a large bowl and roll the dough ball around to coat it completely. Cover with a towel and let it rise until it doubles in size, for about 45 minutes.
8. Punch down the dough, then divide it into 6 pieces. Form each piece into a triangle, then roll it into a crescent shape. Place the rolls two inches apart onto a greased cookie sheet.
9. Cover the dough again and let them rise for about 30 minutes more on top of the oven as you preheat it to 350º.
10. Bake the rolls for about 15-20 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown.

Enjoy these along side your holiday dinner, with a big bowl of soup, or for breakfast with some raspberry jam!

Here's the rest of the vegan feast!

Diet, Dessert and Dogs: Carrot Pate

Pea Soup Eats: Winter Warmer Cocktail

Main Dish:
Namely Marley: Vegan Holiday Casserole

Side Dishes:
Love, Veggies and Yoga: Cranberry and Orange Ginger Mango Chutney
Vegan Good Things: Sweet Potato Puree with Maple and Sour Cream

-Lunch Box Bunch: Four Ingredient Pumpkin Pie
-The Tolerant Vegan: Pear Gingerbread Cake
-Your Vegan Mom: Chocolate Pecan Cookie Pies
-Manifest Vegan: Eggnog Cheesecake

Cinnamon Bun Cupcakes

Since I'm still in the thick of studying for finals, it's sometimes even hard to find time to eat! This cupcake is the perfect solution: breakfast and dessert all in one. I just need a big cup of coffee and I'm set. Who needs healthy meals like lunch and dinner... right?

Don't worry, I'm actually eating real food too. I just wish I could eat one of these for every meal- they're that good. I brought a plate of these cupcakes over to a dancers potluck and they were a hit. I was sneaky and didn't tell anyone they are vegan, but no one even guessed!

Cinnamon Bun Cupcakes

makes 1 dozen

Cinnamon cupcakes (adapted from Vegan Cupcakes Take over the World):

1 cup almond milk (or any other kind of non-dairy milk)
1 tsp vinegar
1 1/4 cups flour
2 tbsp cornstarch
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup canola oil
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2  tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon

1. Preheat the oven to 350º and line a cupcake pan.
2. Combine the almond milk and vinegar in a large bowl and set aside to curdle for at least 5 minutes.
3. Sift together the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in a medium bowl. 
4. Add the oil, sugar and vanilla to the almond milk mixture and stir well.
5. Add the dry ingredients into the wet and stir until just combined. Then fill up the cupcake tins about 2/3 of the way full.
6. Bake for about 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Make the frosting while they bake. Let cool for at least 15 minutes before frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting:
1/4 cup vegan cream cheese
1/4 cup earth balance
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla

1. Cream together the cream cheese and earth balance in a medium bowl. Stir in the vanilla.
2. Slowly add in the powdered sugar, whisking as you go until it is smooth and fluffy. You could either use an electric mixer or good old-fashioned elbow grease, like my friend and I did!

Mmm just look at that melt-in-your-mouth frosting.

These were definitely worth the extra-long study break!

If you're in the midst of finals like I am, here are a couple of my favorite relaxing study songs: 

Does anyone else have good suggestions for study music?