Saturday, August 23, 2014

Sofia the First Cake

Sofia the First themed birthday cake I did a little while back!


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Vegan Black Bean S'mores Brownies



Brownies and s'mores are two things I never really thought I would get to enjoy on a vegan diet. But I was thankfully very wrong!! This recipe combines both into one delicious dessert.

Black beans are the main component in the brownie mixture, which may seem odd. But in fact, the black beans have a very mild flavor that lends really well to the rich cocoa powder. The black beans and ground flax seeds are what make it possible for this brownie to be flour and egg free.

The brownies are baked and then topped with vegan marshmallows, crushed graham crackers, and a drizzle of melted dark chocolate.  


Black Bean S'mores Brownies (adapted from The Minimalist Baker)
(Makes 12)

2.5 tablespoons finely ground flax seeds (a coffee grinder works well)
6 tablespoons water
1 15-oz can black beans, rinsed very well and drained
3 tablespoons oil (coconut, melted earth balance, vegetable)
3/4 cup cocoa powder
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Vegan marshmallows (I used Dandies Air Puffed from Whole Foods)
Vegan graham crackers
1/4 cup vegan dark or semi sweet chocolate chips

Preheat over to 350 degrees F.

Combine ground flax and water in a food processor. Let sit for about 5 minutes. The mixture will thicken. Add the well rinsed and drained black beans and oil. Blend until very smooth.

Add remaining ingredients and blend till just combined.

Grease a 12-muffin tray. Divide batter evenly among the tray. Bake for 25 minutes. The brownies will be soft in the center and slightly crisp around the edges. Let cool completely before removing from the tray. 

Top each brownie with the marshmallows. Using a small kitchen torch, lightly toast the marshmallows. Sprinkle on finely crushed graham crackers.

Place chocolate in a small microwave safe bowl. Microwave in 15 second increments until melted. Drizzle over the toasted marshmallow.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Hemingway Daiquiri



Ernest Hemingway loved his alcoholic beverages, and daiquiris were among his favorites. The Hemingway Daiquiri was created in honor of the famed author by Constanino Ribailgua in 1921. My dad is a huge literary buff. So naturally, the Hemingway Daiquiri is one of his favorite drinks. It would not be a complete Rountree Family summer gathering without a round or two of this bright and refreshing cocktail.

Hemingway Daiquiri
(Makes 1 cocktail)

1 1/2 oz. white rum
1/4 oz. maraschino liqueur
1/2 oz. fresh grapefruit juice
3/4 oz. fresh lime juice
3/4 oz. simple syrup

Pour ingredients into an ice filled shaker. Shake well, strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

For the simple syrup, bring 1/2 cup sugar and 1/4 cup water to a boil. Once sugar is dissolved, turn off heat. Let cool.

This cocktail can also be served blended. Just pour ingredients into a blender with about 1/4 to 1/2 cup ice and blend till smooth. 

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Vegan Raspberry Tarts with Vanilla Custard, Tangerine Caramel, and Chocolate Cookie Crust




Tangerine Caramel Sauce

1 cup almond, soy, or coconut milk (I used half almond, half coconut)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup cane sugar
1 tablespoon organic corn syrup or brown rice syrup
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
2 tangerines, zested and juiced.
1/4 teaspoon sea salt.

Combine all ingredients in a medium sized, heavy bottom sauce pan. Bring to a boil over medium heat. You want the mixture to stay at a low to medium boil for about 15 to 25 minutes. The time depends on how thick you want your caramel sauce to be. 15 minutes will give you a drizzly caramel at room temperature. 25 minutes will give you the kind of caramel you need to heat before drizzling. Once you have reached the desired consistency, remove from heat. Add in the tangerine juice, zest, and salt. Stir to combine. If you accidentally take your caramel farther than intended, you can add a little extra almond, coconut, or soy milk to thin it out.

Chocolate Cookie Crust

1/3 cup cane sugar
1/2 cup Earth Balance, room temperature
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (for gluten free, use your favorite all-purpose GF mix)
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons almond, soy, or coconut milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

In a large bowl, cream together the sugar and the Earth Balance, until light. About 3 minutes. Add cocoa powder, flour, and salt. Mix to combine. Add milk and vanilla. You will have a fairly sturdy dough.

Press dough into desired tart pans. I used four 4-inch round tart tins. You can also make one large 9 or 10 inch tart. Using a fork, poke a few holes in the bottom on the crust to prevent air bubbles when baking. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Gently line the unbaked tart shells with foil. Place pie weights, uncooked beans or rice into center of foil lined tart shells to ensure they bake flat. Bake in preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes, depending on size of tart shells. Tarts are done when edges are lightly browned. Let cool.

Vanilla Custard

3 tablespoons corn starch3/4 cup cane sugar
1 cup soy milk
1 cup coconut milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons Earth Balance

Combine corn starch and sugar in a medium saucepan. Slowly whisk in the coconut milk and soy milk. Cook over medium high heat, stirring constantly, for about 7 to 10 minutes. Once the mixture reaches a boil, it will begin to thicken. Cook another minute or so. Add salt, vanilla, and Earth Balance. Stir to combine. Let cool.

To Assemble the Tarts

Spread a thin layer of tangerine caramel in the bottom on each tart shell. Add a layer of vanilla custard on top of the caramel. Top the tarts with fresh raspberries and tangerine zest. Drizzle with more caramel.


Saturday, March 29, 2014

Vegan Vanilla Chocolate Chip Ice Cream (without an ice cream machine!)



Vanilla Cashew Ice Cream Base

Ingredients
4 oz cashews, raw unsalted
2 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup raw sugar
1/3 cup agave syrup
3 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 vanilla bean (split lengthwise, seeds scraped)  or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum (optional, for texture)
1/4 cup chocolate chips (or any other add-ins you would like)


2 different sized large Ziploc bags (1 small enough to fit inside the other)
3-6 cups of ice
1/4-1/2 cup rock, kosher, or table salt

If you have the time, soak the cashews in the water overnight. Alternately, you can simmer the cashews in  the water for 15 minutes, cool slightly. Either way, reserve liquid. I think in this case, I prefer the simmer method. The warmth from the cashew water helps dissolve the raw sugar.

Place cashews, water, sugar, agave, coconut oil, salt, vanilla bean seeds, and xanthan gum in a blender or food processor. Blend on high until completely smooth. I use my Vitamix and it makes the cashew base super creamy.

If you do happen to have an electric powered ice cream machine, you can use this base and follow manufacturers directions at this point. If not...

Pour ice cream base into the smaller of the two Ziploc bags. I could only fit about half of the ice cream base into my smaller bag so I did this in two batches. Remove as much air as possible from the bag and seal it tightly and securely. Place this bag inside the larger zip lock bag. Fill the larger bag with enough ice to surround the smaller bag, with a little bit of room for movement. Sprinkle the ice with the salt and seal the bag.

*The salt actually lowers the melting point of ice, essentially allowing ice to be even colder for longer. Ice cream needs to be surrounded by temperatures lower than 32 degrees F in order to freeze. When you add salt to the ice, the melting point becomes lower than 0 degrees F. Science!!!

Now its time to shake. A lot.

I recommend a round of your current favorite show on Netflix. It helps pass the time while you shake away. This definitely takes a bit of elbow grease and it is nice to have another person to take turns with. My sister and I even tossed it back and forth like a weird game of catch. The bag gets cold. Like REALLY cold. And there is a lot of condensation. Wrap the whole thing in 2 or 3 towels. Gloves make this even easier. But you basically want to keep it moving until the mixture becomes mostly solid. The movement inhibits the formation of ice crystals.

Ice crystals=grainy ice cream.
 No ice crystals=creamy smooth deliciousness. 

This will take anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes. Once it reaches the desired consistency, remove smaller bag from ice and rinse off the salt water. Gently fold in the chocolate chips. You can either leave it right in the Ziploc bag or transfer to an airtight freezer safe container. Place into the freezer for at least an hour to finish the freezing process.  

Monday, February 24, 2014

Vegan Cranberry Apple Mini Pies



The sweetness of apples mixes so well with tart cranberries in these vegan mini pies. They can be fried for a special treat or baked in the oven for a lighter version. Any filling can be used in these; peach, blueberry, cherry. Whatever you want!

For the filling:

1 1/2 cup diced apples
1/2 cup frozen cranberries
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a medium saucepan, combine apples, cranberries, sugar and water. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Reduce to medium low and cook for about 15 minutes until soft. Remove from heat. Add vanilla. Let cool.

For the crust:

1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour*
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup Earth Balance vegan butter, cubed. (very cold)
3 tablespoons ice cold water

In the bowl of a food processor, add flour and sugar. Pulse to combine. Add cubes of cold Earth Balance. Pulse 12-15 times to incorporate the butter into the flour, careful not to over-mix. Add the water while pulsing. The dough should still appear quite crumbly even after adding the water. Squeeze a handful of the mixture in the palm of your hand. If it holds together, you have added enough water. If it doesn't hold, add another tablespoon and then check again.

Wrap the dough and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough to 1/8 inch thickness. Cut out as many circles as you can using a biscuit cutter. You need an even number, 2 for each pie. Any size will work. Place 1-2 teaspoons of apple cranberry filling onto the center of half the dough rounds. Brush the edges with water or soy milk. This will help the top and bottom rounds stick together. Place the other dough rounds on top of the filling. Gently press the dough rounds together, making sure no filling seeps out of the sides. Using your finger, a fork, or the back of a spoon, firmly press the 2 edges together. Using a toothpick or fork, poke a few holes in the top of each pie.

If frying, heat oil to 350 degrees. Fry each pie for about 4-5 minutes, until golden brown. Drain on a paper towel.

If baking, preheat oven to 350 degress. Brush each pie with soy milk. Bake pies for 20-30 minutes, until golden brown.

For both, let cool slightly first. Right out of the heat, the filling is like lava!!! 

*These can easily be made gluten free. Just substitute the regular wheat lour with your favorite all-purpose gluten-free flour, like Bob's Red Mill.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Vegan "Cheezits"

These little crackers pack a surprisingly cheesy punch. I have made these in the past using soy or other types of vegan cheddar cheese which gives that classic bright orange color. But I do try to avoid the artificial vegan cheeses and don't often have them on hand. This recipe is quick and easy. Perfect for when you have a craving for something salty and crunchy. The only part that is mildly time consuming is cutting the dough into 1-inch squares. You can totally make these into large squares to make it easier! But making all those tiny little crackers is quite satisfying if you have the time.

Cashew "parmesan cheese" is something I always have on hand. I put it on anything from pasta, to vegetables, to pizza. I use 4 oz. of this cashew parmesan as the cheese element in these crackers, and the rest can be kept in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Cashew Parmesan Cheese

2 cups raw unsalted cashews
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 tablspoon dijon mustard
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Roughly chop cashews in a food processor. Add nutritional yeast, mustard, soy sauce, and lemon juice. Continue to pulse until the cashew are finely chopped and ingredients are well combined. Careful not to over mix, you are not looking for a paste here. 
 

Vegan "Cheezits"

4 oz. cashew parmesan cheese
4 tablespoons Earth Balance vegan butter, room temp. (I use the soy free, but any vegan butter works)
1 cup all-purpose flour
2-4 tablespoons ice water

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine cashew cheese and butter. Mix on medium for about 1 minute. Slowly add flour. Mixture will be dry. Add the water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until a soft dough is formed. Wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

 On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to a thin "cheezit" thickness. These won't rise too much. Using a knife or fluted-edged roller, cut into 1 inch squares. Place on baking sheet, careful not to overlap. Poke a small hole in the center of each cracker. Spray with a thin coat of olive oil cooking spray. Sprinkle with kosher salt.

Bake for 10-15 minutes. These can go from done to burned very quickly so keep an eye on them. You want them slightly browned for a nice crunch. Let cool completely.