October, 2012

  1. sugar cookies

    October 31, 2012 by Angie

    Happy Halloween! Week 44’s challenge of Reddit’s 52 Weeks of Baking is Halloween. I bought these adorable Halloween cookie cutters on sale last year and have been wanting to try them out. The best thing for cookie cutters is, of course, sugar cookies.

    I used this recipe from VeganBaking.net. This was the only vegan recipe I could find that didn’t call for vegetable shortening. The cookies have a great taste. They are buttery and slightly sweet. They’re very sturdy and would make a good foundation for some serious decorating, if you’re into that sort of thing. I did some lame decorating on a few of the ghosts then sprinkled cinnamon and sugar on the rest of them.

    They’re great little cookies but they made a gigantic mess of my kitchen! The powdered sugar explosion I had to clean up rivaled even the Great Chocolate Milk Spill of 2003. I then made another mess during the rolling and cutting phase. Sugar cookies are a lot work compared to drop cookies and, while they’re tasty and allow for fancy decorating, I personally much prefer their chocolate chip drop cookie cousins.

    Dough rolling & cookie cutting fiasco

    Cookies ready for the oven. I got 47 cookies from this recipe!

    The brown flecks are ground flax meal. That makes these healthy, right?

    Here are some of the cookies cooling after baking.

    I decorated a few of the ghosts with decorating gel I had leftover from Robbie’s birthday. I’m not big on decorating, can you tell?


  2. dark chocolate pistachio sea salt bark

    October 25, 2012 by Angie

    The challenge for Week 43 (can you believe there are only 9 weeks left in 2012?!) of Reddit’s 52 Weeks of Baking is candy. Ever since I made those awesome cashew turtles with salty agave nectar “caramel”, I’ve been really into the combination of chocolate and salt. I was searching for vegan chocolate bark recipes when I found this one for dark chocolate bark with pistachios and sea salt. Delicious.

    It’s incredibly simple to make this. I already had a bag of pre-shelled pistachios so I coarsely chopped a 1/4 cup of those. I bought two 3.5 ounce 70% cacao dark chocolate bars at the grocery store. I broke the bars up along their scored lines into a microwave-safe bowl. I nuked the dark chocolate for 25 second intervals, stirring each time. Once it was a smooth liquid I poured it into a square glass pan lined with parchment paper. It didn’t cover the entire bottom of the pan, but I was okay with that. Next, I sprinkled the chopped pistachios onto the melted chocolate and repeated with tiny handfuls of sea salt.

    I put it in the fridge for about an hour then cracked the bark into pieces with my hands. So good!


  3. chocolate chip cookie dough truffles

    October 22, 2012 by Angie

    Week 42 of Reddit’s 52 Weeks of Baking challenge was coatings. Chocolate coated anything is generally a safe bet so that led me to this recipe for Chef Chloe’s chocolate chip cookie dough truffles.

    These truffles are ridiculously decadent. They’re good but the dough is so sweet that it’s almost like a frosting. I suspect the threshold for “wow, that’s sweet” is lower for Robbie and me than it is for the general population, but if I made it again I’d use my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe for the dough or cut the brown sugar by quite a bit.


  4. birthday scarf

    October 16, 2012 by Angie

    I made this little scarf for my friend’s birthday on Friday. I thought it would make sense for an October birthday but her birthday has come and gone and it’s still in the high 80s around these parts. I hope she’ll get a chance to wear it, you know, ever.

    I followed this pattern from Ravelry. I bought the oversized P hook for this and it still didn’t come out as holey as the pattern creator’s scarves did, but I’m happy with the results. Maybe I crochet too tightly? If I make this again I will go with an even bigger hook to try to get that holey look.

    It’s my first scarf with fringe. It’s easy to do and adds a little something fancy.


  5. pumpkin crumb cake with cashew streusel

    October 16, 2012 by Angie

    Week 41 of Reddit’s 52 Weeks of Baking Challenge is pumpkin. I made a fall favorite from Veganomicon. It’s pumpkin crumb cake with cashew streusel and I love it very much. I made this last fall as well and I’ve been craving it ever since. I’m so glad it’s pumpkin season again!

    A kind Internet person has typed out the recipe for you here but I really do encourage everyone to buy the cookbook because there’s a lot more greatness where this came from. The original calls for chopped pecans but I switched it to cashews because I’m not allergic to those. I used a smaller loaf pan than recommended so I got five muffins out of this recipe as well but had to bake a little longer.

    First step is making the cashew (or pecan) streusel.

    Step two is get all of the cake ingredients out and ready.

    I mixed the wet ingredients by hand.

    Then carefully mixed in the dry ingredients and poured most of the batter into the loaf pan.

    And finally I spread an even layer of cashew streusel on top and baked at 350 for about 50 minutes.

    Delicious!

    Here’s a closeup of the star of the post: the sweet, nutty, streuselly goodness.

    This is a five star recipe in my opinion. Several of our friends have tried it and really love it. It might be my favorite recipe from 52 Weeks of Baking.


  6. vegan cafe mocha cheesecake

    October 9, 2012 by Angie

    Week 40’s challenge is pie. I debated whether or not cheesecake is pie and decided that yes it is. I figure a pie is any baked good with a crust and filling therefore cheesecake counts. I found this recipe in a book called Vegan Pie in the Skyso that’s Exhibit A. This is the second vegan cheesecake I’ve made from this cookbook, the other being this pumpkin cheesecake.

    Here are the nice things I have to say about this recipe. The graham cracker crust is stellar. I also give the recipe kudos for staying together really well, as this can be a problem with vegan versions of foods that normally call for a few eggs. Unfortunately, one of the awesomely effective binders in this recipe is banana and I gotta say that causes the whole cheesecake to taste like banana to me. I taste the banana more than the chocolate or coffee flavors and I don’t think it’s supposed to overpower everything else. It’s not bad, and in fact the taste grew on me as I was eating it, but it makes this more like a chocolatey banana pie with hints of coffee instead of a cheesecake. I’d make the pumpkin one again but probably not this one. Like I said, it wasn’t bad, just not what I was hoping for. I got some use out of my springform pan and some marbleization practice so overall a win anyway!

    You can kinda see the marbleization on the top. It was a lot more apparent and pretty before baking.

    I’m looking forward to this week’s challenge: pumpkin. Yes!


  7. embroidered name quilted pillow

    October 5, 2012 by Angie

    I finally finished making the second, smaller, embroidered name quilted pillow for our younger niece. The first pillow I made for our older niece is just too shameful to blog but hey I’m learning! I tried to scale down the instructions to accommodate this smaller pillow form that I already had. It didn’t go so well at first. I had to make a lot of adjustments as I went along to get everything to fit together properly. As a result, I learned how to sew on borders which I’m sure will come in handy for future quilting projects. I also learned a lot about what not to do with embroidery. I can see my mistakes but it was good practice and hopefully little Mia still likes her pillow.


  8. swift gift hat

    October 4, 2012 by Angie

    The first presidential debate was last night. I knew I would be parking in front of CNN right after dinner and staying there for several hours so I started this crochet project to work on while I watched with Robbie. I finished this cute little hat before the debate was over!

    I’m really psyched about it because my last few hats were pretty much failures. After several years of churning out and gifting well-loved, great-fitting hats, I started having serious problems with size/fit. Determined to get my crocheted hat groove back, I did some reading online and realized that in the eight or so years that I’ve been crocheting I have completely ignored the importance of yarn weight and selecting the hook recommended for that particular type of yarn. Oh, and I wasn’t using a hat pattern. Knowing is half the battle! Did I know this once then forget or was I just lucky with the successful hats?

    See? It fits!

    If I gave you a way too big or very tiny, ear-smushhing hat in the past few years, I apologize. I’m armed with yarn knowledge and ready to make you a properly fitting one – just ask!


  9. pistachio crusted tofu

    October 4, 2012 by Angie

    I want to tell y’all about another new favorite from FatFree Vegan Kitchen, this pistachio crusted tofu. I’ve made it four times now and every time it has been so incredibly delicious. It’s really pretty too! I feel like we’re eating dinner at a fancy restaurant when we have this. I can never take photos that do it justice in my dark kitchen so you may have to use your imagination a little. We like to eat it with a big salad or roasted asparagus spears.

     

     


  10. minestrone soup

    October 3, 2012 by Angie

    It’s soup season! Bring out the slow cooker and make some minestrone soup. This recipe is from my favorite slow cooker cookbook Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker by Robin RobertsonThere is an option to add noodles (I made Dreamfields macaroni) and pesto at the end. I add it to the individual servings so I can store everything separately for leftovers. If you skip the store-bought pesto or make your own without cheese, this soup is vegan. Robbie and I really like this one because it tastes so healthy and delicious and the cooking and cleanup effort is minimal.