Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas Cake

I am thoroughly enthralled with light blue this Christmas. I made this cake for a party I went to on Saturday night. It was a two layer "Basic Chocolate Cupcake" recipe from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World made into cake instead of cupcakes frosted with a super yummy tofutti sour cream based frosting (below) and decorated with cute little lollipops and crushed blue candy canes.

I also made the "Gingerbread Cupcakes" from VCTOTW. Those puppies are freaking amazing. They are my new favorite cupake. Period.

Sour Creem Frosting
6 oz (half a tub) of Tofutti Better than Sour Cream
1/2 cup (1 stick) Earth Balance
1 tbsp vanilla
Almost 2 pounds of powdered sugar

Cream together margarine ans sour cream until fluffy. Add in vanilla. Add in powdered sugar, one cup at a time and mix until desired consistency, Add a few drops of food coloring if desired. Keep refrigerated unti ready to use.

Yield: Enough to frost this 2 layer cake plus 12 cupcakes!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Amazing All Purpose Sugar Cookie!

I love sugar cookies in all of their glory. Naked, as drop cookies. Rolled out and cut out. Iced and purty with sprinkles, or rolled up and sliced. There are so many ways to enjoy the delicious, ambitious sugar cookie.

Every Christmas I make them. This year I got smart and whipped up 6 batches of dough, and put it in the fridge so that I could manipulate it into what ever I wanted...when ever!

Here is my recipe for basic sugar cookie dough:
Sugar Cookies
2 sticks margarine (I use Earth Balance Buttery Sticks)
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup soy yogurt (vanilla, or plain)
1 tbsp vanilla extract
3 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

With an electric mixer, cream together margarine and sugar until fluffy. Add yogurt and vanilla extracts. Sift in flour, baking soda and salt. Mix until well combined. Divide into 4 equal pieces, wrap with plastic wrap or wax paper and refrigerate at least one hour. Use as desired.

Christmas Cutouts
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roll out dough onto a well floured surface and cut into desired shapes with cookie cutters. Bake on a nonstick baking sheet (or line with parchment or a silicone baking mat) for 10-12 minutes. Remove from oven, let cool 5 minutes, transfer to cooling racks to cool completely. Allow to cool before icing.

Chocolate Dippers
Make one recipe of dough above. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Divide into 4 equal pieces. Roll out to 1/8" thick. Use a 3 inch round cookie cutter (or a pint glass) to make round cookies. Bake for about 10 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. In a double boiler, container melt 12oz chocolate chips along with 1/2 bock (2oz) baker's wax (parowax.) Dip one half of the cookie into the chocolate and then set on wax paper to cool and harden. You can sprinkle on broken candy canes for extra Christmassy goodness.

Chocolate Peppermint Pinwheels
Vegan or not, we all love to watch the Food Network. I especially love to watch during the holidays. All the specials!!! The other night I was watching Alton Brown making Christmas Cookies for the big guy (Santa) himself. I totally stole this idea from him! GENIUS!

Make one recipe of cookie dough above. Divide dough in half. In one half, knead in 1 cup of crushed candy canes. In the other half, knead in 1/2 cup melted chocolate chips and 2 tsp peppermint extract. On a floured surface roll out the chocolate dough to a rectangle about 1/4 inch thick. Set aside. Repeat with the peppermint dough. Place one on top of the other and roll it up. Wrap in plastic wrap or wax paper and put it back in the fridge for at least an hour. When you are ready to bake them, preheat oven to 350. Line a baking sheet with parchment or a silicone mat. Slice the log into 1/4 inch slices. Place on cookie sheet 2 inches apart. Bake for 12-15 minutes. Allow to cool on cookie sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Candy Cane Sugar Cookies
Make one recipe of dough above. Divide dough in half. In one half, mix in red food coloring. Roll dough into ropes about 1/2 inch thick and 6 inches long. Twist together one white and one red rope and shape into a candy cane. Bake 10-12 minutes. Allow to cool completely before removing from cookie sheet.

Cook Your Way To Good Karma

I rec'd this article from a PR representative. I thought it was interesting and that one of you out there in the blogosphere could win a new kitchen! I know most of the Pillsbury products aren't vegan, and many of you don't support companies that make both, but there are a few...

Cook Your Way to Good Karma

When you give to others, you get so much in return. Here’s a great way for people to bake their way to a new kitchen this holiday season, which includes a $5000 donation to a charity to help end hunger. This is incredibly timely given reports of a drop in donations to food pantries across the country. Here’s what’s up…

Until December 31, 2008, the Pillsbury® Make America Sweeter contest invites consumers to share how they make things a little sweeter with Pillsbury Cake, Brownies, Quickbread, Frostings, or Flours. The winner will receive a $5,000 kitchen makeover and runners-up will receive products from KitchenAid® and Pillsbury. Plus, a $5,000 donation will be made to Feeding AmericaTM to help end hunger in the country.

How Can Your Readers Enter the Pillsbury Make America Sweeter Contest?
Submit an essay on how you make America sweeter with Pillsbury baking products (Cake, Brownies, Quick Bread, Frostings, or Flours) – like bringing treats to seniors or hosting a bake sale at your house of worship
Include a photo or short video illustrating your sweet gesture
Entries can be submitted online at
www.pillsburybaking.com/campaign or by mail to Pillsbury Make America Sweeter Contest, P.O. Box 8501 , Prospect Hts., IL 60070.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Candy Cane Bark

Chocolate and peppermint. A holiday combo made in heaven.

Candy Cane Bark
24 oz (680g) semi sweet chocolate chips (2 bags)
4 oz (116g) parowax (1 block)
10 oz (288g) crushed candy canes (24 normal sized canes), divided
1 tablespoon peppermint extract

Melt chocolate chips and parowax in a double boiler. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment or wax paper. Mix about three quarters of the candy canes and peppermint extract into the chocolate. Spread half of the mixture on each of the baking sheets. Sprinkle the remaining candy canes on the top of the chocolate. Allow to cool completely (you can put it in the fridge.) Once completely hardened and cooled, break into pieces and package for gift giving!

Old Fashioned Amish Mashed Potato Candy

Yep. Candy made from mashed potatoes. Actually, there is so much sugar in these, no one would ever guess that you made them from mashed potatoes. This is an old family recipe that has been passed down for generations. It's naturally vegan, so no subs were necessary. It's a fun way to use up your leftover mashers, or you can whip up some fresh ones just for the occasion.

For years, my mom and I have been making it according to the following recipe:

"Mix powdered sugar with mashed potato to form a dough. Roll out dough and spread on peanut butter. Roll up and slice."

That really is all you need to know. You can use instant mashed potatoes for these too. Today's batch used almost 6 pounds of powdered sugar. It made about 200 pieces.

For those of you who need a bit more instruction, here it is, using instant potato flakes:
3 cups (8oz or 227g) dehydrated potato flakes
2 cups (474 ml) water
1 cup (237 ml) vegan milk like soy, rice, almond, or coconut (vanilla or plain)
6 pounds of powdered sugar
Peanut butter for spreading

In a LARGE mixing bowl, add potato flakes. Bring water and soy milk to a boil. As soon as it begins to boil, remove from heat and mix into potato flakes. Stir well, and allow to cool. Mix in powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time (6 pounds equals roughly 18 cups) using an electric mixer. As the "dough" begins to thicken, you will have to abandon the mixer and knead with your hands. Keep adding sugar until your dough is workable, and no longer sticky. Once you achieve a workable dough, divide it into 10 pieces.

On a well sugared surface, roll out one piece at a time.

Spread on the peanut butter.

Roll it up.

Slice and enjoy! I like to wrap mine up individually in squares of wax paper to give them that old fashioned home made look.

Yield: 200 pieces

Christmas Baking Begins!

It's raining and cold. I have today off work. Seems like a perfect time to get going on all of that holiday baking!

These are Peanut Butter and Jelly Thumbprints.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Thumbprints
2 cups peanut butter*
2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup of your favorite flavored Jam or Jelly
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Additional Jelly or Jam for topping

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prep a cookie sheet by either lining with parchment or a silicone baking mat. In a mixing bowl, sift together flour, baking soda and baking powder. Add in peanut butter and jelly. Mix well. Make sure all ingredients are well incorpaorated. Using 2 tbsp of dough, roll into a ball and then flatten slightly, into a disc shape. Repeat and place on cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for 8 minutes. Remove from oven and make a depression in each cookie (I like to use my measuring spoon, the tbsp size, because it has a nice round, deep well.) Fill depressions with one teaspoon of additional jelly or jam. Bake an additional 8 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

*Every type of peanut butter yields a different moisture content. If your peanut butter is very wet, you may need a little extra flour. If it is very dry, less. This recipe was made with store brand creamy peanut butter.

Yield: 30 cookies

STAY TUNED! More to come shortly!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

As if I weren't busy enough...

...with finishing up the burger book.

I, along with my awesome partner in crime, Celine Steen of Have Cake Will Travel, am proud to announce that we are in the process of testing for, and writing "500 Vegan Recipes" to be released by Fairwinds Press, publisher of The Joy of Vegan Baking as well as many other cook books, to be a part of their "500" series!

Please check in to both of our sites regularly for teaser photos and recipes to whet your appetite. You can also check out the Flickr Group to check out pics from Celine, Me, and the testers!

I mean, seriously, 500 recipes? This book is gonna be HUGE!

(Rumor has it to be slated for release in January of 2010.)

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Talk to me people...

Since you all were so, ahem, blunt about the cover...I ask you now...what about this one?

A full wrap around cover:

The front, isolated:

The back, isolated:

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Jamaican Jerk Seitan Burgers

Here's a teaser recipe from the Burger book for you.

Spicy, spicy, spicy! Yet, strangely sweet. Traditional "Jerk" needs Scotch Bonnet peppers. These are a bit hard to find, and EXTREMELY HOT! If you cannot find, or do not want to find , Scotch Bonnets, you can reduce the heat a tad by using habaneros, or even more by using jalapenos. But, even with jalapenos, these will be spicy.

Serving Suggestion
Serve on a soft white bun with a schmear of mayo, topped with a grilled pineapple (or baked with the pineapple on top) and topped with Pineapple Orange Pomegranate Relish. (Recipe Below.)
Ingredients (makes 8 patties)
24 oz seitan, roughly chopped
1 medium (6-8oz) white onion, roughly chopped
1 recipe jerk sauce (see below)
8 pineapple rings (reserving the juice if using canned), optional
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a food processor, add the onion and seitan and process until crumbly. Mix together with the Jerk Sauce and form into patties. Place a pineapple ring on top of each patty before baking if desired. Bake for 45 minutes at 350.

Jerk Sauce
This sauce can also be used to rub onto tofu or tempeh before baking or grilling.
Ingredients (makes about 2 cups)
5 oz green onions (about 2 bunches)
1/4 cup ground all spice
1/4 cup pineapple juice
8 garlic cloves
6-8 Scotch Bonnet peppers, seeded and cored
1 tbsp dried, ground thyme
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
Place all ingredients in a food processor and process until a paste forms.

Pineapple Orange Pomegranate Relish
This relish adds a tropical touch to anything you top it with.
Ingredients (makes about 3 cups)
1 cup pineapple juice
1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup crushed pineapple
1 cup pomegranate seeds
1/2 cup green onions, finely chopped
Salt and Pepper to taste
Bring pineapple juice, orange juice, olive oil and crushed pineapple to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and simmer for 2o minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in pomegranate seeds, green onions and add salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate until ready to use.



Monday, December 1, 2008

And so it begins...Part 2

Thanksgiving is behind us, and for most of us that means...IT'S CHRISTMAS TIME! With only 23 days left before the big guy stuffs his big belly down the chimney, and even less time before we have to package up those cookies and treats for loved ones far, far away, it's time to start prepping for the holiday baking season!

It really is my most favorite time of the year. This week, I will bring out the decorations and create a few different Christmas Music stations on Pandora to keep me in the spirit. I'll be wearing my jingle bell earrings and santa hat to work, but most importantly I will be getting together my lists and recipes for my favorite holiday treats, as well as try out some new recipes to share.

So I invite you all to don that tacky sweater, and head out to your local dollar store, and stock up on cello bags, trays, baskets and gift tags, to get the best bang out of your buck when it comes to home baked gift giving this year!

This year at the Dollar Tree I scored 25 packs of Cello Bags for $1 a piece. I am foregoing baskets and tins this year, and opted for the cute Christmas trays instead. Yep, $1 a piece! A few packs of Christmas themed Zipper bags, and a couple of packs of gift tags and this girl is DONE with her Christmas shopping!

You see, my entire family has decided to give up presents this year, except for the little children, of course. So instead of stressing out about what useless thing-a-ma-jig to get for cousin so and so, I can concentrate on pumping out the sugary goodness!

2012 Copyright/Permissions/Disclaimers

All recipes written by me, Joni Marie Newman, unless otherwise noted. Please feel free to refer to or link back to any of my recipes, but please ask for permission, and remember to give credit when reprinting recipes in their entirety. I do provide links to affiliate programs (such as Amazon) in which I receive a small commission for items purchased. I do not provide paid reviews. All reviews done on products or books are of my own unsolicited opinion. On occasion I may receive a book or product to review. I will note when this is the case, but rest assured, it will not affect the authenticity of my review. Thanks!--Joni