Thursday, October 31, 2013

Vegan Maple Salted Caramel Popcorn


Vegan Maple Salted Caramel Popcorn

Caramel is always a comfort food when induldging and mixing with your favorite movie snack, you can't go wrong. But what if you added to that already amazing flavor. This recipe shows you how to take caramel popcorn and not only make it vegan, but seasonal. This seasonal flavor of maple will give you a hint of awesome and make you crave this treat everyday. Serve by itself or add pecans or walnuts to bulk it up even more with a nice crunch. Your family will love that they are partacking in this homemade treat and forget that they have eaten half the bowl. Always a bonus to save money on the non-vegan version too...try NOT to sneak this into your next movie trip. Enjoy!

Vegan Maple Salted Caramel Popcorn

Ingredients

-7 Quarts or 28 cups plain air popped popcorn, favorite brand or grain
-2 cups organic brown sugar
-1/2 cups organic maple syrup
-1 teaspoons salt
-1 cup vegan butter or margarine, 2 sticks
-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
-1 to 2 teaspoon maple syrup extract

Optional
-2 cups pecans or walnuts, if desired (or other nuts of your choosing) 

Directions

Heat oven to 250 Degrees

In batches pop the air popped popcorn into a VERY large bowl or 2 large bowls (enough to have room to toss popcorn with caramel later). Combine peanuts (if adding them) after all the popcorn is popped at this point.


Place a medium sauce pan, on medium heat. Combine brown sugar, maple syrup, maragrine, maple syrup, and salt. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring enough to mix all ingredients together. Once the mixture begins to boil, cook for 5 minutes, while stirring constantly. 



Remove the mixture from the heat and stir in baking soda and extract. The caramel with be light and foamy, don't get nervous about the violant foam.


Next CAREFULLY (very hot) pour caramel over your popped popcorn & peanuts and stir to coat all the popcorn pieces. 



Once mixed completely, carefully devide the caramel corn to 2 lightly greased cookie sheets and bake for 1 hour, remove and give the caramel popcorn a good stirring every 15 minutes. 



While the caramel corn is baking, line your stove or counter with wax paper. When the caramel popcorn is done, dump it onto the wax paper and allow to cool down completely (if you can resist). This stores well in plastic resealable zip-locks or an air tight container. Enjoy! 


-Amy

Bloody Vegan Witches Finger Cookies


Bloody Vegan Witches Finger Cookies

Halloween is that one time a year where the skies the limit. You can go completely over the top with everything from costumes, decorations, pranks, and even our food. While planning those fun and special items, its great to be creative and turn our everyday treats into enjoyable Halloween themed sweets. Witches are one of the ultimate Halloween characters and a lot of fun to play around with and create treats around them. This recipe shows you how to take your everyday sugar cookie and turn it into a vegan witch themed dessert. With these "bloody" cookies, you will be sure to make anyone (young or old) smile with the magic that is Halloween. A great after dinner dessert before going trick or treating, perfect for Halloween parties, and even great to send into school for a fun Halloween dessert. Make the experience even more fun by including the family in making and decorating the cookies. Nothing will make your Halloween more enjoyable than the fun that comes with creating festive dishes to go along with it. Store the cookies in a cold location in Tupperware or plastic bags, they can also be frozen for later use. Serve with your Halloween punch or a big glass of vegan milk for that comforting and spooky treat. Enjoy!

Bloody Vegan Witches Finger Cookies
(Yields: 45-50 Cookies)

*For a smaller batch, half the recipe to suit your needs.

Ingredients

1 cup vegan butter, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon The Vegg with 1/2 cup got water
1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract (other extracts can be used)
5 1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt

-Green Food Coloring, to desired color (Optional)

Optional
1/2 cup almond slices (Decoration)

Frosting Recipe Below

Directions

Dough
Using a stand mixer, cream the vegan butter and the powdered sugar together. Add the extract and The Vegg to the butter mixture and whisk in to combine.



In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Once your butter mixture is combined, Add the food coloring (optional) and then the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix until smooth.



Remove the now cookie dough and place into 2 Ziplock Bags or plastic wrap. Place the dough in the refrigerate for 30 minutes. This helps the dough hold together and firm for later molding. You also don't want your butter to melt in your hands when working, cold butter in the dough makes for a perfect cookie. 


*At this point you can store the dough in the fridge over night or for later use, place in the freezer. Great to make ahead for parties or treats later on. 

When you dough has chilled and your ready to bake, heat your oven to 325 Degrees

Baking

When you are ready to bake, you will need to mold the cookies. (You can either free style the mold by hand or find a mold to help the process. I was able to find molds at the Dollar Store or local party supply stores. Great find, sometimes comes in silicone for easier molding.)

With your hands, roll a heaping tablespoon of dough into a finger shape or press into the molds (for each cookie) to create a finger-like shape.

Mold I found & used for the Cookies
Shape and thicken the middle of the cookie to form a knuckle. You can also add lines and a divot for the nails to the cookie to show more detail in the cookie.

*Keep cookie dough fingers a little on the medium-thin side as the cookie will puff and grow slightly while baking. You can use your own finger as a guide, same length and thickness (obviously a easy way...get it finger/finger cookies)




If dough gets sticky or warm and hard to work with, place back in the refrigerator for a little while. I took one bag out at a time and left the other in the fridge while I molded the dough. Again, you don't want the dough to get warm.

Place fingers on a baking sheet, either plain or lined with parchment paper or silicone baking mat. 


Bake 20-25 minutes, until fingers are slightly golden on the bottom and its edges. When the cookies are cooked, remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack or lined table for 8 to 10 minutes to cool slightly.



Decorating
When cookies have completely cooled. You can go the edge step and decorate the cookies by adding a "nail". Do this by either placing jam or frosting underneath an almond and applying to the tip of the finger. As seen in the recipe, I created a severed edge or "blood" by using red frosting and sprinkling with red crystal sprinkles. Once done decorating, place on cooling rack to dry. The frosting will harden over time. 

Vegan Red Sprinkles (Crystal)
Homemade Red Frosting (Recipe Below)
Dip "severed" edges & Sprinkle with Crystals
*The almonds are optional, if nut allergies are a problem, leave out. You could always use another item to sub in for the "nail". Fruit leathers (cut into small triangles) is a great substitute as well. 

Once the cookies are decorated and the frosting has hardened, serve. These cookies are great for Halloween, parties, events, or just a fun treat for the kids. A great recipe for them to help with and be creative, a great use of family time. Enjoy!
 
"Bloody" Vegan Frosting

Ingredients

1/3 cup vegan butter or vegan shortening at room temperature
2 cup powdered sugar
1 1/2 to 2 Tablespoons vegan milk
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract\
Red Food Coloring, to desired color

Directions

In the stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the vegan butter and the extract on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 1 minutes, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Turn the mixer to low (stir setting), add the powdered sugar, mix until incorporated. Increase the speed to medium high and beat until fluffy while adding in the vegan milk, about 2 to 3 minutes, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl.


Once the frosting has combined, switch the mixer to low, gradually add in the food coloring. You can add as much or as little to get to the desired color that you want. Beat on on medium high until the frosting is airy and thoroughly mixed (stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed). Once the frosting is mixed, you are ready to decorate. Enjoy!



-Amy

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Homemade 'Breaking Bad' Themed Hard Candy


Homemade 'Breaking Bad' Themed Hard Candy
Halloween is almost here and what is more fun than a theme. When you have a theme, you can make a lot of treats geared around it and make it a lot of fun. Candy is a great way to show your creativity and make it delish all in the same recipe. 'Breaking Bad' is a well known show today and a familiar theme is threw the show, if you've ever seen it. This recipe shows you how to not only make hard candy but also follow a theme to the very popular show 'Breaking Bad'. These candies play into the show and it makes your Halloween party a little more fun. Perfect for a last minute idea, only takes you a small amount of time to make. You could also make it fancier by making lollipops for the kids. Don't forget to take aggression out later when you get to smash it. Halloween is all in fun and make it more fun with these candies. Enjoy!

'Breaking Bad' Themed Hard Candy

Ingredients

1 cup organic raw vegan sugar
1/2 cup organic light corn syrup (brown rice syrup, agave, maple syrup, etc can be used)
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 teaspoons raspberry extract or your choice (vanilla, mint, cinnamon, coconut, etc)
Light Blue Food coloring (optional)

*Lollipop molds and sticks (Optional) 
Directions

Prepare your baking sheet by greasing them. You could also do molds for parties or easier eating.

Combine the sugar, corn syrup, and water in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Once boiling, insert a candy thermometer. Allow to boil, without stirring, until candy reaches 295 Degrees Fahrenheit.

Once the candy reaches 295 Degrees, remove it from heat. Allow it to sit until it stops bubbling completely. Stir in the extract of your choice and food coloring.

Pour the candy liquid out onto the greased cookie sheet. As thin as you want, not too thin, you want to have pieces. After pouring, allow it cool completely and remove once hardened.

*At this point you could pour into mold instead and insert sticks for hand held version.

When the candy hardens completely, use a mallet or hammer to break into pieces. Store the candy in an airtight container at room temperature, for up to a month. Enjoy!


-Amy

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Homemade Vegan Orange Hostess Cupcakes

Homemade Vegan Orange Hostess Cupcakes


Homemade Vegan Orange Hostess Cupcakes

Growing up we all have had those favorites in our lunch that made the day a little more enjoyable to look forward to or the end of our meal extra special. Whether it was cookies, cupcakes, etc. we love to indulge from time to time. But what if we can feel better about even those treats we indulge in? I know, impossible right...No, its never going to be calorie free, but I at least think we can feel better about it. Chemicals and processed foods really are what worry me with kids, they are mystery ingredients that scare me. We don't know what they are or what they are there for. So why would we eat them? Yeah I know, I don't know either.

Homemade scratch recipes change that image of our dessert a bit, it may be a treat but its natural and that makes it comforting. We won't ever cut out all or guilty pleasures but we can make sure that those recipes are the best they can be for our family and friends.

Hostess cupcakes are a traditional dessert that most of us recognize from our childhood. With its Curly-Q pattern on top and its rich and decadent layers, it makes you want an ice cold vegan milk before you can even put it to your lips. With back to school, we are going to want to treat our kiddos with a little extra love on those special days. Homemade cupcakes can do the trick for either after school snacks or lunch period breaks.

This recipe shows you how to take that traditional store bought cupcakes we all recognize and turn it into a comforting homemade treat. With its Curly-Q's and orange layers, you can realize that even being vegan can mean getting your cake and eating it too. You won't be disappointed about any lost treats here, you just have to make sure you share them from time to time with your love ones, they may want one too. Store the cupcakes in the refrigerator until ready to eat. Serve them with a big glass of vegan milk and a smile. Great for school lunches, after school snacks, parties, Halloween, or even a special dinner with friends and family. Enjoy!

Gone Vegan!

Homemade Vegan Hostess Cupcakes

Yields: 20 to 22 Cupcakes

Ingredients

Cake

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon fine salt
1 1/2 cups plain vegan milk
1/2 cup Vegan butter or shortening, at room temperature
1 1/3 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1/2 cup orange juice

1 teaspoon fresh orange zest, finely minced
3 "eggs", I used The Vegg (2 tsp & 1/2 hot water) OR Egg Replacer Powder (optional) 

Creme Filling
1/4 cup vegan butter or shortening, at room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups Vegan Marshmallow Creme (Recipe Link)
Orange Glaze
2 cups confectioners' sugar
4 Tablespoons strained fresh orange juice
1 Tablespoon orange exact 
1 teaspoon vegan butter 
Orange food coloring (optional)

White Icing

1 cup Confectioner’s Sugar
1 teaspoon vegan syrup (brown rice, agave, maple, etc.)
1 teaspoons (at a time) Water, until you get the consistency that works
Directions

Cake

Heat Oven to 350 Degrees


LIBERALLY grease top cupcake pans (just top not in the cups) and place wrappers inside, set aside to use later.

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.


In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the shortening and sugars on high speed until light, approximately 3 to 5 minutes. Add extracts, zest, and then mix well. Combine the vegan milk, orange juice, and vinegar.


On low speed, add the flour mixture and the vegan milk mixture alternately one at a time, beginning with the vegan milk mixture and ending with the flour mixture. Mix the batter only until blended. Scrap sides as needed through the process.




Using a large ice cream scoop, scoop 1/3 to 1/2 cup of the batter into the prepared cupcake baking pans. You want the cupcake wrapper to the top.



Bake in the center of the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean and cakes springs back. Cool to room temperature before glazing.
 

Filling

Using a mixer, the butter until light and fluffy. Beat in confectioners’ sugar and beat until smooth. Once combined, beat in the vegan marshmallow creme until its all mixed together and smooth. 


Orange Glaze

Place the sugar, juice, extract, and butter in a stainless medium stainless steal pot over medium-high heat. 
While the ingredients are melting, whisk or stir constantly until smooth. Once smooth and glossy, remove from the heat. You can use this right away when ready. When it cools it hardens, so you need to glaze once ready. 


White Icing

Combine ingredients and warm to approximately 105 degrees. Adjust the consistency with water. It should flow freely from the pastry bag or squeeze bottle. 


You don't want it to be too running or too thick like a paste. I test as I go and if you don't get it there add more water or powdered sugar as needed to reach the desired consistency.




Assembly

Spoon the filling into a pastry bag with a medium star tip. Insert the tip into the center of each cupcake top, fill until the cupcake is heavier and they plump up (do not overfill). 

*It's OK if some of the filling overflows out a bit, it will be covered by the chocolate frosting in the end.



Once the filling has been done you are ready to cover with glaze. Beginning by getting everything you need set up and ready to go.

When your ready, spoon or dip cupcakes in the glaze, repeat on each cupcake and lightly spread with an offset spatula or a knife if needed. When each cupcake has been covered, chill for at least 15 minutes in the fridge until the glaze solidifies. It happens rather quickly.






Lastly, when the glazed tops have solidifies you are ready to top with icing. Take your now prepared icing and spoon it into a pastry bag with a small tip or a confectioner squeeze bottle (I used a a bottle). On each cupcake, pipe onto the cupcakes to decorate in the traditional Curly-Q swirl pattern. If you feel uncomfortable at first, practice on a plate until ready to decorate. This doesn't have to be perfect, it will all taste the same in the end.






Store the cupcakes in the refrigerator until ready to eat and place back while not eating them. Serve them with a big glass of vegan milk and enjoy as needed. Great for Halloween/BDay parties or a special dinner with friends and family. Enjoy!



-Amy

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

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