Autumn Harvest Pie with Apple Cider Punch

This really is the perfect autumn combo. The pie has is warm and comforting with a bold flavor. The punch is light and woodsy. Enjoy them by a campfire in flannel pants like we did, and you have a picturesque fall evening. I always think that throwing out the fruit from Sangria is a big waste, but this one especially struck me, since the flavor they soaked up was so perfect. This way, you have no waste, and get TWO great treats. Happy October!

  • 2 apples diced
  • 1 lemon sliced
  • 2 pears diced
  • 1/2 c pomegranate seeds
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 c apple cider
  • 1/2 c apple whiskey
  • 1/4 c brandy

Place ingredients in a large pitcher. Let soak at least overnight, up to 3 days. Remove apples, pears, and pomegranate seeds. Add 2 tbsp of cornstarch and toss to coat in a large bowl. Prepare pie crust.

Meanwhile, add 1 1/2 c of sparkling wine to the apple cider mixture. Pour over ice and garnish with cinnamon stick.

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
  • vegan butter and course sugar to top
    *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. brush with vegan butter and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. bake for 20 minutes, then lower temp to 375 and continue to bake for another 40-50. 

tips/things I would change:

  • I would start the pie off with tinfoil and remove 15 minutes before done
  • Adding vanilla or some extra cinnamon to the fruit would add some good flavor
  • Make sure the fruit you use is ripe, unripe pears don’t bake well

Cookie Muffins

This was one of my completely spontaneous recipes; I literally made it as I went along. I had some cookie dough that was a little dried out from being in the fridge. I didn’t want it to go to waste, but knew it wouldn’t make the best cookies on it’s own. I’m so glad this happened, because these “muffins” ended up being a great treat! They have a good crunch on the outside, but are supper fluffy on the inside. The base is not overly sweet, but the cookie dough pieces and Oreo at the bottom provide a nice pop of sweetness and flavor. And to answer everyone’s question, yes, normal Oreos are actually vegan.

Base:

1 1/2 c flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

1 tbsp flax + 3 tbsp water mixed

1.5 tsp vanilla

1 c vegan butter

1 c sugar

1/4 c + 2 tbsp c almond milk

12 oreos

cookie dough crumble (below)

Mix flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Beat vegan butter and sugar together in a large bowl. Add flax mixture, vanilla, and almond milk until incorporated. Fold dry ingredients into the wet mixture. Set aside. Fold 3/4 of the cookie dough crumbles into base batter. Line/Grease a cupcake tin. Place an Oreo in the base of each cupcake liner. Top each muffin with remaining dough crumbles. Bake for about 22 minutes, or until lightly browned on top.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Crumble:

1/4 c coconut oil

1/2 c brown sugar

2 tbsp sugar

2 tbsp almond milk

1 tsp vanilla

3/4 c + 2 tbsp

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 bars of dark chocolate chopped (amount by personal preference)

Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Mix coconut oil and sugars until fluffy in a large bowl. Add almond milk and vanilla. Fold dry ingredients into the wet mixture. Use your hands to break the dough into crumbles. Feel free to make ahead and leave in the fridge until ready to use.

Tips/Things I would Change:

  • Use store bought/premade cookie dough to save some time if you’d like
  • The base of these are pretty unique, but I think it would actually be good with a fruit filling, also.
  • You can also make this into a loaf, just place the Oreos side by side at the bottom.

Cinnamon Roll Croissant Loaf

This loaf is the pinnacle of fall treats. It’s warm, comforting, sweet, and cinnamony. Anyone who knows me knows I LOVE cinnamon. It’s one of my favorite flavors, and this time a year I put it in everything from desserts to breakfast to soup to roasted veggies. For such a complex concept, it’s super easy to make. Don’t let the folding intimidate you! It’s got all the best parts of some of the best desserts: the soft texture and sweet flavor of a cinnamon roll, the flakey layers of a croissant, and the convenient loaf shape.

  • 3/4 c + 2 tbsp c warm almond milk (+ more for brushing)
  • 1/2 tbsp instant yeast
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 1/2 c flour
  • 1 tsp salt 
  • 4 tbsp room temperature vegan butter
  • 1/2 c cold, thinly sliced vegan butter
  • 1/4 c sugar
  • 1/2 tbsp cinnamon

Mix almond milk, yeast, maple syrup, flour, and salt in a stand mixer fitted with a dough attachment for 4-5 minutes until well combined. Add 3 tbsp room temperature vegan butter and mix for 2-3 minutes. The dough should pull away from the edges of the bowl. If not, add up to a 1/2 c flour. Cover and place in the oven with he light on for an hour. Remove and roll out into a 12×18 rectangle. Similar to the method in the morning knots, think of the dough as three parts (like a fancy science fair poster). Layer the cold butter in the middle section and press together, so you have a thick butter coating. See the picture below for help. Fold the right side over, so that none of the butter is showing, then fold the left side back over. You should have 3 layers of dough. Roll the dough out into another large rectangle and repeat the same folding method. Wrap in plastic wrap and freeze for 20 minutes. Mix cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl and grease a loaf pan. Roll the dough out into another large rectangle. Spread final tbsp room temp butter and sprinkle cinnamon sugar all over. Roll the dough into a long pinwheel. Cut the log into 10 rolls and place in pan. Cover for 15 minutes and preheat oven to 350. Brush loaf with almond milk before placing it in the oven for 35-40 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes and optionally flip pan to remove loaf.

Tips/Things I would Change:

  • You can slice this and use it as bread, or pull apart the rolls. It’s great both ways
  • The loaf stores well covered with tinfoil, but it’s amazing served warm
  • You can replace the room temperature Vega butter with coconut oil, but I think it’s better to use vegan butter for the cold layer because it adds more flavor
  • This would make an amazing base for french toast

Healthy Blueberry Breakfast Muffin Tops

I’m not going to lie, I ate like 16 of these at once. They’re addicting and delicious, but also packed with nutrients. The recipe is from one of my favorite youtubers, Ellen Fisher. I have both of her e-cookbooks, and I use both of them frequently. They’re full of fun whole food recipes like this one to keep healthy eating fun and enjoyable. These are kind of pancake-esque in texture, but have the bursting flavor of a blueberry muffin. They’re a great snack or quick breakfast on the go. They’re also super easy to make!

2 small bananas

4 small pitted dates

1 1/2 tbsp nut butter

heaping 1 /4 tsp baking soda 

heaping 1/4 tsp baking powder 

3/4 tsp cinnamon

1 1/2 tsp vanilla

1 1/2 tbsp applesauce 

1 1/2 c oats

3/4 c water

3/4 c blueberries 

1/4 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 425 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper/silicon mat. Set aside the blueberries and half the oats. Blend remaining ingredients until completely smooth. Use a spoon to make small rounds of batter on the baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes and let cool for 10. Enjoy!

Tips/Things I Would Change:

  • I soaked my dates before blending them, but I think it made the batter runny, so I wouldn’t do it again
  • I used fresh berries, but feel free to use frozen ones if that’s what you have (or a different berry)
  • I might try using tinfoil to crisp up the bottoms

Mel’s Lemon Macarons

My family recently had our 2nd macaron baking showdown. I won’t lie, I kind of went off the grid and didn’t use a scale for my recipe, so it was not my best work. I thought I’d share my sister’s recipe instead, as she thoughtfully made hers vegan, too. Macarons are one of our favorite treats, since they are one of the few treats we can both enjoy (gluten free and vegan). We may have destroyed the kitchen in the process, but we had a bunch of fun and made some great macarons. Shoutout to my friend Veronica for ambitiously baking for the first time ever during this challenge. Veronica you didn’t burn the house down, and for that I’m very proud.

107 g almond flour

171 g powdered sugar

9 tbsp aquafaba

81 g granulated sugar

1 tsp Lemon zest

Preheat oven to 300 and line 2 baking sheets with silicon mats. Sift almond flour and powdered sugar into a large bowl, discarding what won’t sift. Sift 2-3 times more, switching bowls if necessary. Whisk aquafaba and sugar together in the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat with whisk attachment for 2 mins on level 4. Beat for 2 more minutes on level 6. Beat for 2 more minutes on level 8. Add lemon zest and any food coloring/flavor extracts that you desire. You should have very stiff and glossy peaks. Sift the dry ingredients into the aquafaba and fold together using a figure 8 motion. Transfer batter to a piping bag and pipe an even number of circles onto the baking sheets until no batter is left. Drop baking sheet on flat surface 2-3 times to release air bubbles. Let rest for 30 mins. Bake for 20-24 minutes, or until they are well risin and set. Let cool completely before lifting off the mat and filling. In the mean time, make buttercream.

Buttercream:

1/2 c Earth Balance

3 1/4 c powdered sugar

4 1/2 tbsp lemon juice

4 tsp lemon zest

Beat Earth Balance for 2 minutes on medium speed until creamy. Reduce speed to low and add remaining ingredients until incorporated. Increase speed high and beat for 3 more minutes.

Tips/Things I Would Change:

  • Batter should be a lava consistency when you’re ready to pipe
  • Using a scale is really best for this recipe
  • The macarons shouldn’t stick to your finger by the time they are done resting before going in the oven
  • Don’t bake on bottom rack, they will explode. Bake sheets one at a time if necessary.

The runner-ups:

Crispy Blueberry Cake Donuts

My dad’s birthday recently passed, and we are still quarantining, so I wanted to make him something special, since we couldn’t go out. He’s not a huge cake person, so blueberry donuts were it. I have never deep fried anything before, but let me tell you, it’s not as easy as it looks. I actually only got like 3-4 good donuts out of the batch I made because of the learning curve. I tried 2 different recipes to make sure I got the best result. This version’s spice mixture and addition of flax offered a flavorful dough that was easier to work with. Serve with the glaze and a hot cup of coffee, and you’ll have a great birthday treat.

  • 1 1/2 c flour
  • 1/4 c sugar
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp melted vegan butter
  • 1/4 c almond milk
  • 2 tbsp flax + 6 tbsp water mixed
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 c blueberries
  • enough oil/shortening to make a thick layer in pan/deep fry

Whisk dry ingredients. Add melted butter and whisk so that small crumbles form. Add milk, flax mixture, vanilla, and blueberries. Use a wooden spoon to stir until a dough forms. It may seem dry at first, but give it a minute and it will moisten up. Take a clump of dough and roll it out on a clean surface into a very thin rope and form circles (or use a donut cutter if you have one). If the dough starts acting up and not sticking together, let it sit for a few minutes before trying to work with it again. Heat a 2 in layer of oil/shortening in a pot/pan over a medium flame for about 4-5 mins. Fry for about 1 min 30 s- 2 minutes on each side. Use a slotted spatula/spoon to move to a wire rack too cool. Dip in/pour on glaze.

glaze:

  • 1 1/2 c powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • enough water/almond milk to make pourable

Sift powdered sugar into a medium bowl, and add vanilla and water. Whisk until smooth.

Tips/ Things I Would Change:

  • I used shortening and olive oil to fry the donuts. Shortening really helps add a crunch to the outside if you’re into that.
  • The blueberries make it hard for the dough to stay together. I recommend getting used to making regular donuts (unless you’re already skilled at frying) before trying to add fruit.
  • I tried using the air fryer for a few of them, but they came out more like biscuits. I would stick to frying.
  • Make sure you make the donut rings very thin, like thinner than you think. They puff up while frying, and won’t cook all the way through if they are too thick.
  • If you find the doughnuts keep burning, turn the heat down to medium low.

Cookie Breakfast Sundaes

I won’t lie, ice cream for breakfast is a longhand tradition in my family. It’s not the healthiest option, but we love it, especially when we’re in Maine. This year I couldn’t go to Maine because of the pandemic, but I still wanted enjoy my favorite treat. This recipe gives you all the fun of ice cream for breakfast, while still fueling you for the day ahead. The cookies are soft and chewy with a slight crisp to the edge, and the nice cream is sweet and full of potassium. It’s filling, nutritious, and delicious!

Cookies:

1/2 c nut butter

1/4 c maple syrup

1/4 c coconut sugar

1 tsp vanilla

1 tbsp flax seed + 3 tbsp water mixed

1/2 c + 2 tbsp oat flour

2 tbsp almond flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/3 c chopped dark chocolate

Preheat oven to 350 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper/ silicon mat. Whisk nut butter, maple syrup, coconut sugar, vanilla, and flax mixture until well combined. Fold in flours, baking powder, baking soda, and chocolate. Form 9 balls of dough on the baking sheet and flatten into cookie shapes. Bake for 10 minutes.

Nice Cream:

1 c frozen overripe bananas

1 tsp vanilla extract

splash of almond milk

Cacao Nibs/Sprinkles/Coconut Flakes/Fruit to top (optional)

Blend bananas, vanilla, and almond milk. You may need to stop the blender and shake/stir it a few times. The less almond milk you add, the more creamy nice cream you’ll get. Be patient with the blender. Top with your favorite toppings and a cookie.

Tips/Things I Would Change:

  • You can blend whole oats and almonds to make both flours
  • The smoother your nut butter, the smoother the texture of the cookie
  • You can mix in 1 tbsp cacao powder to make chocolate nice cream, or a scoop of vanilla protein powder to enhance the vanilla flavor
  • You could also use this recipe to make nice cream sandwiches!!

Quick & Easy Staple Brownies

These brownies don’t need an introduction. They are fudgy, have a crackly top, and store very well. Don’t be intimidated by the boiling water; it just melts the chocolate, so that you get maximum fudginess. I believe everyone needs a really solid brownie recipe. Brownies are a classic, no matter what the event or season is. They are the perfect staple for any gatherings, a bake sale, or as a quick chocolate fix. This is my favorite brownie recipe I’ve tried so far, and a real crowd pleaser. The batter is as good, if not better than the actual brownies, but try not to finish it all before it reaches the oven (I struggle with this).

1/2 c coconut oil

2 c AP flour

1 tsp baking powder

3/4 tsp salt

1 c boiling water

6 oz 70% dark chocolate, chopped

3/4 c cocoa powder (you can also use cacao or special dark, whatever you have)

1 1/2 tsp espresso powder

2 1/2 c sugar

1/2 tbsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350, and line a 13×9 baking dish with tin foil, so that the ends hang off. Boil the water. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Place dark chocolate, cocoa powder, and espresso in a large bowl. Pour in boiling water, and stir until the chocolate melts, and everything is cohesive. Mix in the sugar and vanilla. Fold in the dry ingredients. Spray your pan with oil, and pour in batter. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until the top is crackly and a toothpick comes out predominantly clean. Let cool in pan for two hours, then use tinfoil to remove from pan. Let cool for at least 1 more hour. Cut brownies into squares and serve.

Tips/Things I would Change:

  • Feel free to add nuts, more chocolate chips, Oreos, or any filling you’d like. I wanted to keep them simple.
  • Pro Tip: If you mess up cutting the brownies, or something happens during the transfer out of the pan, powdered sugar will hide any imperfection.
  • The brownies get better as they sit out, so feel free to make ahead.

Classic New Jersey Crumb Cake

Every year my family visits the Jersey Shore for two weeks at the beginning of the summer. We always get hard rolls, donuts, and amazing crumb cake from the bakery down the street. This year we only got to go for a week at the beginning of the summer, but now we are back. To celebrate, I veganized the classic crumb cake. It’s just like I remembered- with a springy layer of sponge, a mile high layer of crumb, and an avalanche of sweet powdered sugar. It’s super messy to eat, but well worth it (especially when you can pick off chunks of crumb throughout the day when you walk in the kitchen). The perfect treat for the last week of (real) summer!

Cake

  • 2 1/4 c ap flour
  • 3/4 c almond milk
  • 1/4 c sugar
  • 1 tbsp flax + 3 tbsp water
  • 2 1/4 tsp yeast
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 6 tbsp softened vegan butter
  • powdered sugar to coat top

Preheat oven to 350 and grease a 13×9 baking dish. Knead flour, almond milk, sugar, flax mix, yeast, and salt together for about 2 minutes in a stand mixer with a dough attachment. Add vegan butter 1 tbsp at a time, then increase speed and knead for 6 minutes. The dough should be sticky and have some spring to it. Press the dough into the greased dish and cover with a towel at room temp for an hour. 10 minutes before the dough is done rising, make the crumb. Place crumb on top and bake for 35 minutes. A toothpick should come out clean and the edges should be browned. Let cool and cover with powdered sugar.

Crumb

  • 1 c + 2 tbsp melted vegan butter
  • 3/4 c sugar
  • 3/4 c brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 c cake flour

Whisk melted butter, sugars, cinnamon and salt together in a large bowl. Add flour and fold. Let sit to soak for at least 10 minutes.

Tips/Things I Would Change:

  • If you don’t have cake flour, you can use 3 1/2 of AP flour and 1/2 c cornstarch blitzed in a blender
  • I might add a little less flour to the crumb, and maybe add a splash of almond extract
  • I would let the crumb soak for 20 minutes instead of 10

Strawberry Orange Morning Knots

I looove a good pastry and we had a bunch of oranges to use, so I was excited to make this recipe. They’ve got a nice blast of citrus and are a perfect way to wake yourself up with a cup of coffee or tea in the morning. The shape is really fun, and everyone in my house really enjoyed them. The shape looks intimidating, but if you think about the rectangle of dough like one of those science fair posters with three parts (look it up if you don’t know what I’m talking about), it’s not bad at all. Filling covers the whole thing, then you fold one part in. You add sugar to the part you just folded in, and fold the other side on top. This results in three layers of dough and no filling showing on the outside.

  • 3 1/2 c flour
  • 2 1/4 tsp yeast
  • 1/4 c sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 c almond milk
  • 1/4 c vegan margarine
  • 1 tbsp flax + 3 tbsp water mixed
  • filling (below)
  • orange sugar (below)

Whisk 2 c flour, yeast, sugar, and salt in the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with a dough attachment. Heat milk for 1 min in the microwave. Add this, the margarine, and the flax mixture. Knead until a smooth ball forms (it shouldn’t be dry, but shouldn’t stick to your fingers). Place in a greased bowl in the oven with the light on until doubled (see picture below), about 40 mins. When you press the surface, it should spring back up. Flour a clean surface and role out dough into 12×18 rectangle. Spread filling, leaving 1 inch around each edge. Fold 1/3 of the dough over itself. Sprinkle orange sugar on top of the side without filling. Fold the final edge over, so that there is plain dough on top. Use a rolling pin to gently seal the layers by rolling out once more. Use a pastry cutter/ sharp knife to make 12 1 inch strips. Stretch out each strip and tie into a knot. Place on lined baking sheet and let rise for 25 mins under a dish towel. Preheat oven to 350. Brush rolls with more margarine. Bake for 30 mins. Enjoy warm, or let cool and sprinkle with powdered sugar.

filling:

  • 1/3 c strawberry jam
  • 1/3 c orange juice
  • 2 tsp orange zest

Stir in a small saucepan over medium heat until orange juice is mostly evaporated and mixture is thick.

orange sugar:

  • 1/4 c sugar
  • 2 tsp orange zest

Blitz together in a blender/food processor.

Tips/Things I would Change:

  • Actually leave 1 inch with no filling around the edges. When you seal the dough, the filling will get everywhere if you don’t.
  • It’s okay if the filling gets a little all over the buns, it bakes well.
  • It may look like you don’t have enough filling, but you do, just spread it out well.
  • I might try adding brown sugar to the filling and almond extract to the dough for some extra flavor.

This was my dough doubled