Crossposted from Vegan Vanguard
Austin has a great vegan community and we’re really lucky to have such a wide selection of choices and so many great companies that are not only receptive to us, but work hard to accommodate us. This is a particularly good week for vegan sweets in Austin for two reasons. First, this week marks the end of the World Wide Vegan Bake Sale, which Austin is participating in with two separate bake sales:
Bake Sale #1
Date: Saturday June 27, 2009
Time: 11am – 5pm (or until the baked goods run out; be sure to come early!!)
Venue: Monkeywrench Books
Address: 110 E. North Loop
Austin, TX 78751
More Info: firstname.lastname@example.org and/or get in on the discussion at http://www.veganaustin.org/topic.php?id=3048.
Special Note: We still need bakers! Contact Leslie Ramos at email@example.com if you are interested in volunteering. She can provide recipes and vegan baking tips to those who might need a little help. Each baker will receive a surprise Thank You gift!!
The second Austin bake sale is very special, and is being hosted by Miss Julie’s Learning Center:Date: Friday, June 26
Time: 3pm – 6:30pm
Venue: Miss Julie’s Learning Center
Address: 201 Ranch Road 620 South
Austin, TX 78734
Web Site: www.missjulieslearningcenter.com
Special Features: Bake sale will take place during our open house. There will also be crafts and jewelry.
More Info: firstname.lastname@example.org
Proceeds: Austin Children’s Shelter
The second noteworthy item this week is that Whole Foods’ flagship location has begun offering vegan doughnuts. Let me rephrase that, Whole Foods’ flagship location has begun offering a variety of doughnuts, all of which are vegan! I’ve only been able to try two flavors, but apparently they have a wide range including apple fritter, lemon-filled, raspberry-filled, chocolate, glazed, cinnamon sugar, and coconut glazed. If you go and check out the labels, don’t be surprised if the coconut doughnut is marked as containing eggs and dairy; I’ve been assured multiple times that that label is old and that all of their doughnuts are indeed vegan. They also have a variety of vegan cakes, including Joy’s Vegan Chocolate Cake (which is, unfortunately, terrible), a carrot cake, and a cookies and cream cake. I haven’t tried the latter two cakes, I’m not a fan of either flavor, but I’m very sad that Whole Foods chose to reformulate their Chocolate Mousse Cake and add dry milk powder so that it’s no longer vegan. Please go and try them, but get there early or call first, as they’ve been selling out of the doughnuts daily. If you try them and like them, please send feedback to the store, both the good (how much you appreciate them listening to our requests and responding to us) and the not-so-good (how important it is for those with special dietary needs, religious or spiritual concerns, and allergies that food be properly labeled).
Finding fresh, local vegan doughnuts is especially exciting for me because it enabled me to watch Twin Peaks and eat doughnuts with my unrequited love, Special Agent Dale Cooper. My last attempt to do so was foiled: I had heard by word of mouth and read in the Austin Chronicle that Mrs. Johnson’s had vegan doughnuts, but when I called, no one there even knew what vegan meant, and they told me they used a boxed mix which contained milk powder. This is something that’s been up for much debate on the VRA forums, but I never felt comfortable trying their doughnuts.
In fact, recently, many area vegans have been corresponding with local businesses that have either been less than forthcoming about what is and isn’t vegan, or have possibly been deceptive. This is one reason it’s so important to show appreciation and give feedback when companies are receptive and forthcoming to us. But that’s for another post, this post is for calling out noteworthy vegan sweets.
Sugar Mama’s Bakeshop has been selling vegan cupcakes since October 2008, but they’re one of my favorite places in Austin, and I’ve never mentioned them. They offer a rotating selection of cupcakes, usually having two vegan options daily, and they don’t just relegate the vegan options to plain or predictable flavors, instead they give us Margarita, Dreamsicle, Mint Chocolate, Lemon Raspberry, Pineapple Upside Up, Cookies n’ Cream, Birthday Cake, and Ginger Cookie and prove vegan baked goods aren’t inferior. The cupcakes are petite, but plenty satisfying, very moist, and flavorful and they offer the only non-homemade buttercream-style icing that I’ve ever enjoyed. It’s sweet, but not immediate sugar headache sweet, and creamy without feeling like a mouthful of fat. They also offer pupcakes for your four legged friends and soymilk if you’d like a drink with your treat. They’re committed to being as green as possible using wind power, and compostable, unbleached and recyclable materials and offering discounts if you bring your own box. Did I mention how cute the actual store is? Delightfully adorable! Plus they’re located close to downtown and they have free wifi and a great website which lists their daily flavors. Sugar Mama’s has made a great mark on the community in the short time they’ve been around, even giving out free cupcakes during much of SXSW. They are also prone to selling out early, so call before you go.
Hey Cupcake! offers vegan cupcakes made by Celeste’s Best, unfortunately, I’ve yet to try them, but from all accounts I’ve heard they are moist, delicious and come in unexpected and adventurous flavors like banana walnut with buttercream frosting. Celeste makes other baked goods, including cookies, sweet quick breads and cakes. Visit Celeste’s site to see her menu of goods and a list of other locations where her goods are being sold.
The last vegan sweet I’m going to mention is NadaMoo vegan ice cream. NadaMoo was created by one of my first vegan/macro teachers, Amy Ramm. Amy is unrelenting in her commitment to quality, and it shows. When she first started producing NadaMoo for local businesses she was unable to find chocolate chips that met her standards, so what did she do? She began making her own chocolate chips! As NadaMoo has grown, its recipe has been reformulated a few times, and now, Amy’s found the perfect recipe for smooth, creamy ice cream that’s certified gluten free*, agave sweetened, soy free* and lower in calories and fat than most other varieties of ice cream, vegan or not. NadaMoo is also very involved in the community, sponsering local businesses, and organizations and often giving out free samples at various events around town.
*One flavor may still contain gluten or soy.
(Cross posted from Vegan Vanguard)
Okay, I’m pretty busy keeping a lot of balls in the air right now, but I’m so proud of this gluten-free cake recipe that’s so moist and delicious you can serve it to anyone and they’ll ask for another slice, and these Love Bites which are as ubiquitous in my house around Valentine’s Day as bunnies and chocolate eggs are for Easter or flags and grilling are for Independence Day. They’re the definitive sign that Valentine’s Day is upon us. So I’m reposting the recipe for you to enjoy.
Or, if you’re in Austin, you could save the baking for another day and come out and buy a few Love Bites from The Natural Epicurean’s 5th Annual Bake Sale. I’m leading the baking this year, and I planned the menu as well as created most of the recipes. We’ll have three different kinds of Love Bites, including a chocolate mint mousse version, Cheesecake with Chocolate Hazelnut sauce, Blood Orange Coulis, Blackberry Coulis and Pineapple Ginger Coulis, and Hello Dolly Bites, all of which will be vegan, gluten free, and free of refined sugar, plus Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Cashew Créme Cheese Icing, Baklava, and Spanakopita, which will be vegan and free of refined sugar. Some of our items will also be soy free. The bake sale will be on the Casa de Luz Campus at 1701 Toomey Rd., Saturday, February 14, 10:00 am – 2:00 pm or until we sell out.
I won’t be able to attend the whole bake sale, though, as I’ll be teaching a the Annual Aphrodisiacs: Cook to Love, Love to Cook class, where Rachel Zierzow and I will be making showing how to make a luscious and seasonal meal of: Artichokes with Lemon Butter, Porcini Mushroom Soup with Chestnuts, Tempeh Italiano and Toasted Pine Nuts over Seasonal Greens, Risotto Milanese, Maple Roasted Winter Squash with Apples and Fennel, Chocolate Amaretto Mousse with Almond Tuile and Kumquats.
The class is Saturday, February 14th, 9:00 am – 12:00 pm at Casa de Luz in the Cielo Room, and the cost is $55.00 for a single attendee and only $27.50 for a friend or family member who enrolls and attends with you. Per couple, it is $82.50. To register, please call (512) 476-2276.
Yields: 20 servings
Valentine’s Day is a perfect special occasion to indulge in something really decadent with your loved ones. However, one of the biggest problems with indulging is the indigestion and feeling of heaviness that accompanies most baked goods. Nothing ruins romance like an upset stomach or feeling bloated and too-full.
These Love Bites are gluten-free for easy digestion. They have a complex yet classic combination of flavors which is rich and satisfying, yet their petite size makes them a perfect end to your meal, that won’t leave you or your sweetheart’s tummies feeling overstuffed.
1 recipe Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake
1 recipe Crème Anglaise for garnishing, optional
1/4 cup organic juice sweetened raspberry preserves, diluted
with 1 or 2 teaspoons of water
3/4 cup organic unsweetened non dairy milk, like soy, oat,
coconut, almond, rice, etc.
1/2 cup organic grain-sweetened chocolate chips
organic fresh raspberries for garnishing, optional
Prepare Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake and Crème Anglaise according to recipes.
Place chocolate chips in a heatproof bowl. In a saucepan, heat soymilk over medium-high heat until soymilk just begins to boil. Pour hot soymilk over chocolate chips and let stand for two minutes. Whisk soymilk and chocolate together until a smooth homogeneous texture is achieved.
To assemble Love Bites:
Place a wire cooling rack over a cookie sheet.
Cut off any crisp or tough edges of Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake and set aside for other uses. Cut remaining cake into individual servings using a small heart cookie cutter, or cut into 1 inch squares. If using a cookie cutter, make sure it is no more than 2 inches by 2 inches.
Cut heart in half, so that you have doubled the amount of hearts.
Spread 1/4–1/2 teaspoon of thinned raspberry preserves over the top of half of the hearts, then place another heart on top, creating a sandwich.
Place heart sandwiches on a wire rack/cookie sheet set up. Slowly pour chocolate sauce over each heart, allowing some chocolate to flow down the sides of each heart If chocolate has thickened, heat it or whisk in a tablespoon or two of more nondairy milk. Decorate hearts with raspberries while chocolate is still soft, if desired.
Place chilled and whipped Crème Anglaise in a small plastic bag and cut the very tip of one corner off the bag. Use the bag to gently drizzle crème over each heart.
Allow chocolate and crème to set up. Share with your loved ones.
Try using a different flavor of preserves or Cashew Crème.
Substitute your favorite cake recipe for the Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake.
Add 1/4 teaspoon of almond extract to soymilk before boiling.
Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake
Yields: 9–16 servings
1/3 cup organic quinoa flour
1/4 cup organic chick pea flour
1/4 cup organic white rice flour
1/3 cup organic, free-trade cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon organic ground cinnamon, optional
1/4 cup organic safflower oil
5/8 cup organic unsweetened soy milk or coconut milk (1/2 cup
plus 2 tablespoons)
1 1/2 teaspoons organic white wine vinegar
1/2 cup organic agave nectar
1/8 teaspoon unrefined sea salt, Lima or SI brand recommended
1 tablespoon organic ground flax meal
1/4 cup filtered or spring water
1/2 teaspoon organic vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon organic almond extract, optional
Preheat over to 350° F.
Prepare one 8 inch square cake pan by lightly brushing with safflower oil, then lining with an 8×16 inch piece of unbleached parchment. Set aside.
In a medium sized bowl, sift flours, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon together.
In a large bowl, mix remaining ingredients together. Add dry ingredients and gently mix to incorporate.
Pour into prepared pan and bake for 30–50 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.
Allow cake to cool completely on cooling rack. Run a knife along the edges of the cake, and use long ends of parchment to gently remove cake from baking pan.
Double this recipe for a two–layer 8 inch square cake.
Frost with Creamy Chocolate frosting, chocolate ganache, Tofu Cream Icing, Cashew Creme, or serve with Orange Blossom Syrup.
Garnish with a fruit sauce made with fruit sweetened preserves diluted in apple juice or water and thickened with kuzu.
3/4 cup organic unsweetened soymilk
2 tablespoons agar flakes
1 organic vanilla bean
1/3 cup organic coconut milk
1/4 cup organic light agave nectar
1/4 cup organic amasake
1 tablespoon organic vanilla extract
1 tablespoon organic coconut oil, optional
In a medium saucepan, combine soy milk and agar flakes and let rest for 10 minutes.
While agar and soymilk are resting, split vanilla bean in half lengthwise. Scrape the tiny black seeds from each half, and put vanilla seeds and pod into soymilk.
Add remaining ingredients to saucepan and simmer for 10–15 minutes, until agar flakes have dissolved and sauce has thickened slightly. Remove vanilla pod from sauce. Remove from heat and blend in blender or with immersion wand once again. Use immediately for glazing.
If using sauce for garnishing, cool until set. After sauce has set, purée in blender or with immersion wand. Sauce should be soft custard consistency.
Crème Anglaise is usually made with cream, refined sugar, egg yolks and vanilla beans. This vegan version is much healthier for your heart.
Store it in a squeeze bottle (this is a perfect use for your agave nectar bottles when you’ve used all the agave inside), and use it to garnish any other desserts you make that week.
Make a double or triple batch and put it in an ice cream maker for a rich, French Vanilla-style ice cream.
Since the premature demise of Dhaba Joy, we have to sniff out every other vegan cupcake in Austin. Good news – Sugar Mama’s Bakeshop at 1905 South First now has some! According to their online menu, they are now “rotating flavors every day.” YES.
Their FAQ also invites customers to let them know if more vegan items are wanted. Here’s their email: feedback at sugarmamasbakeshop dot com
And, as it turns out, the vegan miracle-workers from Dhaba Joy have set up a renegade underground bakery.
Nom nom nom
Cross posted from The Vegan Tree House.