Cranberry Orange Butter Cookies

  • 1 1/2 c vegan butter/coconut oil
  • 1 1/4 c powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 3 c flour
  • 1/4 tsp + 1/8 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 c chopped dried cranberries
  • 3 oranges worth of orange zest
  • 1 c sparkling sugar to roll dough in

Beat butter for about 2 mins until creamy. Gradually add powdered sugar and vanilla. Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt. Add to butter mixture on low until combined and dough looks even. Fold in dried cranberries and orange zest. Divide dough in half and form two 9×2 in rectangles. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Line 2 baking sheets and preheat oven to 350. Roll dough logs in sparkling sugar and slice 1/4 in thick cookies. Bake 1 sheet at a time for 10-12 minutes until lightly browned. Cool on baking sheets for 5 mins, then transfer to wire rack to cool.

Tips/Things I Would Change:

  • These cookies freeze really well in the log shape. Just place in the fridge overnight to defrost and continue to slice and bake as directed.
  • I would like to try using fresh cranberries instead of dry. I’m not sure how it would effect the texture, but I think it would offer a nice pop of flavor.
  • I would also experiment with browning the butter or using coconut oil to add depth to the flavor.

Brown Butter Caramel Centered Chocolate Chip Pretzel Cookies

Merry Christmas Eve! I’ve been on a cookie baking frenzy lately. I made about 10 dozen cookies in the last week, no exaggeration. I’ve been giving them out as gifts (and of course sampling along the way). These cookies are decadent, bursting with flavor, and not as hard as they look to make. They have to be my favorite I’ve made this season, so here’s my gift for you if you’re trying to spice up Santa’s cookies this year. I honestly think it would be your automatic ticket to the nice list. Pair with a cold glass of almond milk and you’re set.

  • 1 3/4 c AP flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 14 tbsp vegan butter/coconut oil
  • 3/4 c dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp flax+3 tbsp water mixed
  • 1 tbsp applesauce
  • 1 1/4 c chocolate chips
  • 2 heaping handfuls of pretzels
  • 8 coconut milk caramels cut in half

Line 2 baking sheets and preheat oven to 375. Melt 10 tbsps of butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Whisk constantly for about 1-3 mins, until starting to turn brown and developing a nutty smell. Transfer to large bowl and add remaining butter until melted and incorporated. Add brown sugar, white sugar, vanilla, and salt and whisk until combined. Add flax mixture and applesauce and whisk rigorously for about 30 seconds. Let stand for 3 minutes, then repeat mixing for 30 seconds. Repeat process two more times. Mixture should be smooth and shiny. Use a rubber spatula to fold in dry ingredients. Fold in chocolate chips and crush pretzels into mixture. Create 16 three tablespoon size dough balls. Wrap each one around each of the caramel halves. Place on 2 lined baking sheet 2 in apart. Bake for 10-14 minutes until browned on the bottom and firming up top.

Tips/Things I Would Change:

  • I used Cocomel Caramels, but feel free to use whatever you have
  • The cookies don’t flatten too much since they are filled, so don’t be worried if they look a little thick. As long as the bottoms are browned you should be good.
  • These are just as great out of the oven as cooled in my opinion, just an FYI

Red Velvet Cake Bites

These cake bites were actually one of those happy mistakes I always talk about. I was originally making a regular cake, but I wasn’t happy with how my frosting job was going and I was in a bit of a time crunch to get them done. I made a quick decision to turn them into cake bites, and I’m so glad I did! They are so cute, fun, festive, and full of flavor! Perfect holiday party treat, or an alternative to cookies for Santa.

  • 1 1/2 c ap flour
  • 3 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 2/3 c sweetened soy milk
  • 1 1/2 tsp white vinegar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3/4 tsp red gel food coloring
  • 2/3 c coconut oil
  • 1 1/4 c coconut sugar
  • 1/2 c applesauce
  • frosting

Preheat oven to 350. Grease cupcake pan, 3 6 in. cake pans, or 2 9 in. cake pans. Whisk flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk soy milk, vinegar, vanilla, and food coloring. In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, beat coconut oil and coconut sugar on medium high until fluffy. Reduce speed and add apple sauce. Beat for 2 more minutes, then alternate adding dry ingredients and and soy milk mixture. Pour into pans and bake for about 16 minutes. Transfer pan to wire rack too cool. Once cooled, crumble into a large bowl. Add just enough cream cheese frosting to make a dough come together. Move the rest of frosting to a microwavable bowl to melt. Make 16-24 balls of cake dough. Dip each in the melted frosting, place on a parchment lined baking sheet, sprinkle with extra crumbled cake or sprinkles, and put in the fridge to set. Let fully chill and serve.

frosting:

  • 8 oz package vegan cream cheese
  • 3 3/4 c powdered sugar
  • 1/4 c coconut oil melted and cooled
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp salt

In a stand mixer with a paddle, beat vegan cream cheese for 2 mins until fluffy. Reduce speed to low and add powdered sugar gradually. Add coconut oil, vanilla, and salt. Beat for 1-2 more minutes until desired consistency is reached.

Tips/Things I would Change:

  • You could make these into cupcakes/cakes by not crumbling the cake and piping the frosting on top. Or just pop in some sticks and make them cake pops.
  • Vegan cream cheese is sold at most grocery stores. I used Kite Hill brand, but feel free to use whatever you have available.
  • If you don’t like cream cheese frosting, I have a good vanilla frosting recipe in my mini pumpkin cake recipe.
  • I think swapping the coconut sugar for regular/brown sugar might provide a better flavor.

Pecan Pie

Soooo… we had 3 pies for 3 people this Thanksgiving. My mom ordered blueberry from Whole Foods, which was very good, but I couldn’t help myself and also made two more. For my family, Thanksgiving wouldn’t be complete without apple pie, see last week’s recipe. However, I also really like pecan pie, and I’ve never made a full one before. Long story short… 3 pies. Pecan pie is pretty versatile, so I thought it would be a nice Christmas or New Years option, too. It’s decadent and has a nice crunch. And don’t be afraid of the sweet potato, you can’t taste it. My dad is an avid sweet potato hater and he couldn’t tell at all.

Crust:

  • 1 1/4 c ap flour
  • 1 heaping tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tbsp shortening
  • *1/4 c coconut oil/ vegan butter
  • 4 tbsp ice water
  • soy/almond milk to brush crust
    *freeze for 15 mins before use (and your cutting utensil if you’re feeling pro)

whisk dry ingredients. cut in shortening until coarse. add coconut oil and cut until no piece bigger than a dime remain, (chunks are good, though). add ice water 2 tbsp until mixture is just moist enough to bring together. fold about 6-10 times (or until just combined) and form a disk. immediately place in fridge for at least 2 hours (maybe make filling during this time). roll out until about 13 in in diameter. roll onto floured rolling pin and flop into standard pie dish. place in fridge while rolling out second disk. fill base with toasted pecans, followed by filling, brushing crust edges with soy milk to finish. place in fridge for 10 minutes for a final set. bake for 45-50 minutes.

Filling:

  • 1 c baked sweet potato flesh (the inside, not the skin)
  • 3 tbsp cornstarch
  • ¼ cup vegan butter
  • ¼ cup plain unsweetened soy/almond milk
  • 1 c sugar
  • 1/2 c dark corn syrup
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 2 c pecans

Preheat oven to 350. Place almonds on a baking sheet and toast for 6-8 minutes. Combine sweet potato and cornstarch in a small bowl. Heat vegan butter, soy milk, vanilla, and salt in a saucepan on medium heat. Transfer sweet potato and vegan butter mixture in a blender and blend until smooth.

Tips/Things I Would Change:

  • If you don’t like pecans all throughout the pie, I would reduce the amount to 1-1 1/2 c.
  • Make sure you let this pie fully cool before serving, it needs time to set.
  • I adapted this recipe from Sweet Potato Soul Cookbook. It has amazing recipes, so feel free to check the original recipe out, as well as a bunch more amazing finds ( really like the Jambalaya and Sweet Potato granola).

Breakfast Apple Crumble

This is such a great breakfast treat recipe. It is super easy to make ahead and serve to a large group, especially during the holiday season. It’s like having apple pie, but before dinner instead of after! You could also serve this as a lighter dessert, but I usually opt for my Autumn Harvest or Coconut Custard Pie for that. Either way, it’s a crowd pleaser for sure, and is very hearty and filling. I hope you love it as much as I do!

filling:

3-5 apples

large drizzle of maple syrup

tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp allspice

1 tbsp apple butter

crumb:

1 c oats

1/4 c almond flour

large drizzle of maple syrup

2 tbsp applesauce

1 tbsp melted coconut oil

Preheat oven to 375. Mix filling ingredients together in a large bowl until full coated. Mix crumb ingredients in a separate bowl and mix until well combined. Pour filling into baking dish and top with crumb. Bake for about 15-20 minutes, or until apples are soft and topping is lightly browned. Let cool, or enjoy straight out of the dish.

Tips/Things I Would Change:

  • you can swap the apple butter for more apple sauce if you don’t have
  • I didn’t peel my apples, but if that freaks you out you can peel yours
  • feel free to add other fruit and adjust the proportions to your tastes, this recipe is really forgiving
  • You can make this ahead and store in the fridge for a day or two before you bake

The BEST Apple Pie

Happy belated Thanksgiving. This apple pie is one of my specialties, and Thanksgiving wouldn’t be complete without it. It’s piled high with crisp apples. I hate when pies feel like 90% crust 10% filling when I would rather it have it the other way around. It’s tart, yet still sweet and juicy. The crust is decadent and crisp. It only gets better as it sits, so you’ll actually enjoy having leftovers, though don’t be surprised if you don’t have any. I adapted the recipe from King Arthur’s Baking, so feel free to check out the original recipe and all the other amazing ones the have on the site!

Crust:

  • 2 1/2 c ap flour
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • *1/3 c shortening
  • *1/2 c coconut oil/ vegan butter
  • 8 tbsp ice water
  • soy/almond milk to brush crust
    *freeze for 15 mins before use (and your cutting utensil if you’re feeling pro)

whisk dry ingredients. cut in shortening until coarse. add coconut oil and cut until no piece bigger than a dime remain, (chunks are good, though). add ice water 2 tbsp until mixture is just moist enough to bring together. fold about 6-10 times (or until just combined) and form 2 disks (one twice as large as the other). immediately place in fridge for at least 2 hours (maybe make filling during this time). preheat oven to 425. working one disk at a time, roll out until about 13 in in diameter. roll onto floured rolling pin and flop into standard pie dish. place in fridge while rolling out second disk. use pizza cutter/ sharp knife to cut strips. fill base with filling and carefully lattice top with strips, brushing with soy milk to finish. place in fridge for 10 minutes for a final set. bake for 20 minutes, then lower temp to 375 and continue to bake for another 40-50. 

Filling:

  • 8 heaping c peeled & sliced apple
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 3/4 c sugar
  • 2 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp cinnamon 
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 1/4 c apple butter
  • 2 tsp vanilla

Mix apples and lemon juice together. Whisk sugar, flour, cornstarch, salt, and spices together in a small bowl. Sprinkle into apples and stir. Add apple butter and vanilla until all apples are coated.

Tips/Things I Would Change:

  • Miyoko’s brand European style vegan butter is the best I’ve ever used. If you’re willing to make the splurge, it’s definitely worth it.
  • Feel free to adjust the spice proportions to your liking. I’m not a huge nutmeg person, so I might reduce it.
  • I usually make the filling and crust ahead separately, so that the apples can soak in the spice mixture overnight. I think that it boosts the flavor, but it’s not necessary.

Zebra Banana Bread

I adapted this recipe from the blog peanutbutterpluschocolate, which is gorgeous if you’d like to check it out. I’ve had it saved on instagram for quite a while now, but I just got the chance to make it. I love the marble look of it and the contrast between the flavors. It is the perfect comfort food for breakfast, and it makes the house smell amazing. I love a good classic with a twist, so I will definitely be making this again.

  • 3 large, ripe bananas
  • 1/4 c + 2 tbsp applesauce
  • 1/2 c + 2 tbsp almond milk
  • 1/4 c melted coconut oil
  • 3 tbsp flax + 6 tbsp water mixed
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 c brown sugar,
  • 2 c AP flour 
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 c cacao/cocoa powder

Grease a loaf pan and preheat the oven to 350. Mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. In a large bowl, mash the bananas. Add 1/4 c of the applesauce, 1/2 c of the almond milk, coconut oil, flax mix, vanilla, and brown sugar. Whisk until well combined. Fold in dry ingredients. In the medium bowl, pour out half of the batter. Add remaining apple sauce, remaining almond milk, and the cacao powder. You should now have a bowl of half the batter plain, and a bowl with half the batter with chocolate. Alternate pouring plain and chocolate batter in the loaf pan, about 1/4 c at a time. Bake for 45 minutes; then cover with tinfoil and bake for 15-20 more minutes. Let cool, slice, and serve.

Tips/Things I Would Change:

  • I used cinnamon apple sauce, which I liked a lot for fall.
  • I used coconut sugar instead of brown sugar, but I wasn’t too big of a fan of the taste. I would experiment with using maple syrup instead.
  • I might try increasing the cocoa amount because I like a strong chocolate flavor.
  • I think almond extract would add a nice flavor.

Chai Cupcakes with Apple Spice Frosting

The flavor of these cupcakes is out of this world. The cake is tender and the frosting is sweet and indulgent. Another great choice for non-pie eaters during the holidays, or just to add another option; they pair prefect with a hot mug of tea or cider. I used Trader Joe’s Apple Cider Jam in the frosting, which is absolutely amazing and worth ever penny, but feel free to use anything similar you have lying around. Big thanks to Sprinkles cookbook for this idea!

Cake:

  • 1 1/2 c flour
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp cloves
  • 1/4 tsp cardomom
  • 2 grinds of fresh black pepper
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2/3 c almond milk
  • 1/2 c vegan butter/ coconut oil (see tip at bottom)
  • 1 c sugar
  • 2 tbsp flax + 1/4 c water mixed
  • frosting (see recipe below)

Preheat oven to 325 and line a cupcake pan. Whisk flour, spices, salt, and baking powder in a medium bowl. Beat vegan butter in a stand mixer for 2-3 mins until fluffy. Reduce the speed and add flax mixture until the consistency is creamy, about a minute. Add half the dry ingredients, the almond milk and vanilla, and then the other half of the dry ingredients. Beat until just incorporated. Pour batter into liners. Bake for 19 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool completely and frost. Top with a dollop of apple jam.

Frosting:

  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp allspice
  • 1/8 tsp ginger
  • 1/8 tsp cardamom
  • 1 grind of fresh black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/2 c vegan butter/ coconut oil (see tip at bottom)
  • 1/4 c brown sugar
  • 1 c powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tbsp almond milk
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4-1/2 c apple jam/butter (to taste/consistency)
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch

Beat vegan butter/coconut oil with brown sugar in for about 2 minutes on medium. Mix cinnamon, allspice, ginger, cardamom, black pepper, and salt in a small separate bowl. Reduce the speed to low and add powdered sugar, followed by the almond milk and vanilla. Start with 1/4 c apple jam and beat in on medium. Taste and add more as necessary. If runny, add 2 tbsp cornstarch.

Tips/Things I Would Change:

  • I actually think my favorite combo is to use vegan butter for the cake, but coconut oil for the frosting. Surprisingly, coconut oil cuts some of the sweetness of typical frostings, which lets you taste the flavor more.
  • If you are missing any of the spices, replace it with more allspice (unless that’s what you’re missing, then sub cinnamon). For example, I was missing cardamom, so I added 1/4 tsp more allspice instead.
  • If you don’t have apple jam, you could try apple sauce, or make your own. I’ll try to make a recipe for one soon.

My Cauliflower Steaks

I love cauliflower… like reallllly love cauliflower. It’s one of my favorite foods. I enjoy eating it in almost any way possible, but cauliflower steaks have grown quite a bit of popularity as a go to vegetarian dish in restaurants. I’m not exactly sure why, since I wouldn’t say a slice of cauliflower constitutes a meal, but I’m not in any position to complain about a good piece of cauliflower. The way I make mine is a little more filling, and a lot more delicious. It seems daunting, but it’s really easy when you get the hang of it.

1 head of cauliflower

a couple tablespoons of paprika

salt and pepper to sprinkle

olive oil to drizzle

1 tbsp vegan butter

1/2 c vegetable stock

1 clove garlic

1 tsp miso

1 tbsp lemon juice

2 tbsp sesame oil

Remove the leaves from your cauliflower without removing the steam of the head. Place an ovenproof skillet (cast iron is best) over medium heat. Place your cauliflower floret side up and make 3 clean cuts using a large, sharp knife. The middle two sections will serve as your steaks. See the image below to see where you should cut. If the middle slabs seem too thick, you can add an additional slice, just make sure each of the widths are even. Boil/microwave cauliflower from either ends (the stuff not connected to the stem) with the garlic until fork tender(7ish minutes). Drain and set aside. Pour a drizzle of olive oil on a baking sheet. Rub each of your steaks in the oil, then sprinkle both sides with paprika, salt, and pepper. Rub the seasonings in. Drizzle olive oil on your skillet, and add your steaks. Cook for about a minute and a half on each side, or until slightly browned. Add vegan butter and let melt and start to brown. Spoon over steaks, so that they can soak it up on all sides. Add broth and let boil. Cook until the cauliflower has browned and is fairly tender. Place in the oven at 350 for about 10-15 minutes. The stem should be fork tender. While the steaks are baking, blend boiled cauliflower, garlic, miso, lemon juice, sesame oil, and black pepper until smooth. Dollop half on each plate. Place steak on top, and serve.

Tips/Things I Would Change:

  • You definitely want to double the recipe if more than 2 people are eating. You may want to even if you have 2 hungry people with sides that aren’t very filling.
  • Run hot water over your knife to get an easier slice.
  • If you like spice, add a little cayenne to each steak.

Mini Pumpkin Cakes

Happy belated Halloween! I wanted to get this recipe out yesterday, but better late than never. Plus, I think this would be a really cute centerpiece/dessert for the Thanksgiving season, especially if you have a select few non-pie eaters. I made the recipe small batch, so you’ll get 3 mini pumpkin cakes. The cakes are tender and spicy, not too much pumpkin at all. They are much easier to make than they look, and well worth the effort. Big thank you to Preppy Kitchen for this amazing recipe inspiration! Also, check out my amazing pumpkin family in the background of that picture, I’m obsessed!

  • 1 c flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch of ginger
  • pinch of allspice
  • pinch of ground cloves
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • 3/4 c granulated sugar
  • 1 + 1/2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp + 2 tsp melted coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp + 1 tsp vegetable oil
  • 1 heaping tbsp apple sauce
  • about 5 oz pumpkin puree
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp flax + 2 tbsp water mixed
  • 1 c pb/chocolate spread/jam/frosting/marshmallow cream (see note at bottom)

Grease a mini bundt pan (6 holes) and preheat oven to 350. Mix flour, baking soda, baking powder, spices, and salt together in a medium bowl. Beat oils, sugar, and apple sauce together in a paddle fitted stand mixer until creamy. Slowly add flax mix and beat until fully incorporated. In 3 batches, alternate adding in dry mix and pumpkin puree, letting fully incorporate in between. Transfer batter to a piping bag and fill each hole 2/3 of the way. Bake for 20 minutes. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then remove cakes and move to wire rack to fully cool. Once fully cooled, use a serrated knife to slice the bottoms off of the bundts (the flat part that was facing up in the pan). Place your desired filling in a pastry bag and pipe 3 of the cut off tops. Top with the remaining 3 cakes. Use the scraps you cut off before to stuff the holes in the middle. Make frosting.

frosting:

  • 5.4 oz confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/3 c room temp coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp + 1 tsp soy milk (or whatever milk alt. you like)
  • splash of vanilla extract
  • orange food coloring
  • cinnamon stick

Beat coconut oil until creamy. Sift in powdered sugar and beat until incorporated. Add soy milk and vanilla and beat until your desire consistency is reached. Add food coloring. Transfer to a piping bag and roughly cover each cake. Place in fridge for about an hour. Take out, and with a small bowl of warm water, dip clean fingers into water to easily shape the the pumpkins. Place back in fridge to set. Cut a cinnamon stick into 3 sections and place on the tops of cakes as stems.

tips/things I would change:

  • I used nutivia’s chocolate hazelnut spread, but it did get messy as I was trying to frost. I may use something else in the future, although it did taste really good.
  • You may want to make a little extra frosting if you’re new too shaping. I just barely had enough, and I’m pretty sparing with buttercream.
  • Make sure you trace the ridges when you’re shaping to get an authentic look
  • Really, really make sure you let the cakes cool. They are extremely tender and won’t hold up well if you try to rush this. I let mine cool overnight.