Goodbye Hottest Summer Ever…

Hello, not-quite-as-hot summer!

A balmy 180 degrees Farenheit in my car. Photo by mollyjade. Licensed under creative commons

Today is (I hope) the last 100-plus-degree day of summer. In celebration, I cooked (melted?) in my car. Using some goodies from Vida Vegan Con, I made smores! It’s hard to find good vegan graham crackers. Nabisco graham crackers in the red box are vegan, but they’ve got the dreaded transfatty acids.

Smores made in the car. Next time, I’m adding peanut butter! Photo by mollyjade. Licensed under creative commons

So I went upscale and made my smores on Biscoff (aka speculoos) cookies. You can find these at specialty stores and CVS, too. I used Chocolove chocolate, and Dandies vegan marshamallows. The small size of the Dandies goes perfectly with the Biscoff cookies.

Pop ’em under the back windshield facing the sun, and you’ll have melty chocolate goodness in about ten minutes.

I Need a Sugar Intervention

I think I’ve had more desserts in the past year than the rest of my life put together. When you hold the intervention, be gentle. And bring cupcakes. To soften the blow.

Whiskey Peach Cobbler with Pecan and Maple Ice Cream from Hyden Park Supper Club. Photo by mollyjade. Licensed under creative commons
Mocha Boba Tea from Toy Joy. Photo by mollyjade. Licensed under creative commons
Vanilla cupcake with strawberry frosting. Photo by mollyjade. Licensed under creative commons
Mango Chile popsicle from Mom and Pop at the Burnet Road Farmers’ Market. Photo by mollyjade. Licensed under creative commons
Guiness Extra Stout float with Nada Moo vanilla ice cream. Yes, Guiness Extra Stout (and ONLY Guiness Extra Stout) is vegan. Photo by mollyjade. Licensed under creative commons
Red Rabbit Coop coffe donuts from a Texas VegFest meeting. Mmm…meetings… Photo by mollyjade. Licensed under creative commons
Peach Kolache from Sinfull Bakery in Houston. Photo by mollyjade. Licensed under creative commons
Gluten-free chocolate chip cookie from the Happy Vegan Baker. Photo by mollyjade. Licensed under creative commons
Cocomel coconut milk caramels. I got these at Vegan Freak in Denton. Seriously, try to get your hands on these. Photo by mollyjade. Licensed under creative commons
Homemade strawberry milk. This one might not count. Right? Photo by mollyjade. Licensed under creative commons
Shortbread cookies for the Austin Bakes for Japan bake sale. Photo by mollyjade. Licensed under creative commons
Poppyseed Hamentaschen cookies my grandmother and I made for Purim. Photo by mollyjade. Licensed under creative commons
Two practice cakes made by Kristen of Sugar Skull. If these were practice, imagine what the real deal look like. Photo by mollyjade. Licensed under creative commons

If anyone needs me, I’ll be over here trying not to think about dessert. What’s that you say? A couple of famous vegan chefs are working on a pie cookbook? And there’s an Austin Food Bloggers Alliance pie contest later this month? Oh, dear.

Vegan Sweets

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!!)

Address: 110 E. North Loop
Austin, TX 78751

More Info: vegnartistnetwork@gmail.com 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 vegnartistnetwork@gmail.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

Special Features: Bake sale will take place during our open house. There will also be crafts and jewelry.

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.

Pineapple Empanadas


I love hitting up my grandmother for fun recipes—especially when those recipes are accidentally vegan…well, mostly. Instead of egg wash, I used agave nectar so my empanadas could glisten like Grandma’s. Enjoy these gems hot or cold, and chase ‘em down with a good cup of café con (soy) leche!

Pineapple Empanadas

2 cups unbleached white flour
2 tablespoons evaporated cane sweetener
2 teaspoons sea salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/3 cup palm oil shortening
1/2 cup water
1 jar pineapple preserves
agave nectar

In a large bowl, mix flour, sweetener, salt, and baking powder. Add shortening and use fingers to mix thoroughly. Add water and knead together.

Cover dough and place in refrigerator for about 5-10 minutes.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

Roll out dough on a large floured surface and cut circles about 3 ½ inches in diameter (roughly 12 circles).

Place filling in the center of each circle and lightly dab the edges with agave nectar. Seal edges together with a fork.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and bake for 15 minutes. Remove sheet from oven and glaze empanadas with agave nectar. Set sheet back in oven and broil empanadas until they are golden brown.

Valentine’s Day Events and GF Chocolate Love Bites Recipe

(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.

Love Bites
Christina Terriquez

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.

Ingredients
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

Directions
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.

Variations
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
Christina Terriquez

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

Directions
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.

Variations
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.

Crème Anglaise
Christina Terriquez

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

Directions
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.

Notes
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.

Vegan danishes, cupcakes, and brownies now available at Bouldin Creek in Austin

Okay, okay – so I haven’t been there yet. But Crystal and I are going! We are!

I am thrilled to announce that South Austin veg*n hotspot Bouldin Creek Coffeehouse is now offering a range of fresh items from Lone Star Plate contributor Crystal and Chris’s bakery, Always Baked! Be sure to check out her fantastic homecooking blog, too – it just won ApartmentTherapy.com’s Homie award for Best Home Cooking Blog of 2008!

Austin’s newest vegan bakery

Austin vegans can officially come out of mourning now. There’s a new vegan bakery in town!

Sugar Tooth
South Austin Vegan Bakery

photo courtesy Sugar Tooth Bakery – more here

According to their MySpace page:

We are in the process of getting things together to be South Austin’s only ALL-VEGAN bakery!

In the meantime, we will take personal orders!
Cakes
Cupcakes
Cookies
Vegan Baked Donuts
for any and all occasions!

Traditional & pretty, Crazy or silly…We’ll make you a vegan cake for any Birthday, Event or Wedding! From a neon-hued boombox for an 80’s party to a floral motif for granny’s 75th, We’ve got you covered!

Prefer cupcakes? Done and Done!

Want a box full of Vegan Donuts for your party?

If you’ve got a food allergy or special dietary need, we can accommodate you there too! Just let us know.

Email us with further questions at sugartoothbakery@hotmail.com or right here on myspace.

Whatever it is your sugar tooth desires, we will be happy to create it!

Location in(South Austin) coming soon!