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Posts Tagged ‘pecans’

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Three years ago, I made my first layer cake.

To be honest, it was horrible.

The cake itself tasted good (it was a box mix and canned icing, so at least I didn’t mess that up), but it was uneven and the top kept sliding off and I didn’t have an actual cake stand so my upside-down bowl crushed the icing from the sides of the cake.

Thankfully, Nick didn’t really care what it looked like after the first night, and we ate it anyways.

The sad part? That sad, sloppy cake was his birthday cake that year.

I knew I had to make it up at some point. And I think these cupcakes did just that.

See, Nick loves German Chocolate Cake. And so do I! The rich coconut and pecan icing and delicate chocolate cake is one of my favorite combinations.

And while I DO have a real cake stand now, I wanted to try my hand at my own recipe for the cake and icing. Since I was already taking a risk making up a healthier recipe, I didn’t want to chance having another ugly layer cake.

So cupcakes it was!IMG_1112

If you would have told me last year that I would be making up my own vegan recipes, I would never have believed you.

And if you would have told me that not only would my husband love these cupcakes (and not know they were whole wheat and vegan) but also that I could fool coworkers – I might have laughed in your face.

But thank goodness I went through with it. Because these are the best cupcakes I’ve ever made – no comparison.

German Chocolate Cupcakes (Vegan!)

Makes 1 dozen cupcakes

  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 tsp vinegar
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1/3 cup cocoa
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Frosting:

  • 3/4 cup almond milk
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 Tbsp Earth Balance
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 3 Tbsp cornstarch mixed with 2 Tbsp water
  • 1 cup coconut
  • 1/2 –1 cup pecans

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In large bowl, mix almond milk with vinegar and let sit 5 minutes or until milk has “curdled”.

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Whisk sugar, oil, and vanilla into milk mixture until some bubbles stay on top of the mixture.

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Whisk in the cocoa, then whisk in the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

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Once the mixture is smooth, pour into cupcake liners or a sprayed muffin tin, filling each one about 3/4 of the way.

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Bake at 350 for 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

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While the cupcakes are baking, heat the almond milk, sugar, and Earth Balance on the stove top until it comes to a boil.

In separate bowl/dish, mix cornstarch and water together.

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Once milk mixture comes to a boil, put 1-2 spoonfuls into the cornstarch mixture and stir together.

Add cornstarch mixture back to milk/sugar and stir.

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Bring mixture back to a boil until thickened. Take off the heat.

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Stir in the vanilla, coconut and pecans, and let sit to cool.

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Once the cupcakes and icing have cooled, dollop a spoonful of the icing on each cupcake and smooth out to the edges.

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Serve to your family who think they don’t like anything “whole wheat”.

Give some to your friends who freak out when they hear the word “vegan”.

Then just sit back, relax, and watch their reactions.

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And make sure to not tell them that these cupcakes are actually pretty healthy, whole wheat, and vegan until after they’ve had a few.

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It’s more fun that way.

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I hope you’re not sick of pumpkin yet.

I realize that pumpkin recipes have been everywhere the past few weeks, but fall is just starting! Thanksgiving is still a month away, and my pumpkin “season” goes throughout the winter or as long as I can find it.

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Whether or not you’re tired of pumpkin, you can’t deny that this time of year just screams for warm spices: cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger.

And combining those with pumpkin, toasted pecans, and dark chocolate? Even better.

These scones would be great any time of year, but they’re especially delicious on a crisp fall morning or with hot tea as an afternoon snack.

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And please – if you’re making scones, use real butter.

You can health them up any other way, but you have to have butter to get the right texture. There’s nothing more disappointing than biting into a scone that has the texture of a muffin.

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Believe me – butter is necessary.

The great thing is you don’t need a ton of it! And, thanks to the moisture from the pumpkin, you can cut out the usual heavy cream. So while this recipe does call for butter, they’re much lighter than other recipes.

Pumpkin Chocolate Pecan Scones

  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/3 cup quick oats
  • 1/3 oatbran
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 6 Tbsp butter, diced and chilled
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin
  • 1 flax “egg”  – 1 Tbsp flax mixed with 1-2 Tbsp water
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 Tbsp almond milk
  • 2 Tbsp toasted pecans
  • 2 Tbsp dark chocolate chips
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 400.
  2. Mix flour through spices together in large bowl.
  3. Cut in butter (using pastry blender, hands, or two forks) until mixture resembles cornmeal.
  4. Stir in chopped nuts and chocolate chips.
  5. In separate bowl, mix pumpkin, flax egg, vanilla, and 1 Tbsp almond milk.
  6. Pour pumpkin mixture into flour and mix until dough just comes together.
  7. Dump dough onto floured surface and knead 5-10 times until dough holds together.
  8. Pat out to 1/2 – 3/4” thickness and cut into 8 wedges.
  9. Brush tops of scones with other 1 Tbsp almond milk and sprinkle with 1 Tbsp sugar.
  10. Bake 15-17 minutes.

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We’ve been having some strange weather lately: highs in the 70s, strong winds, warm evenings.

But this morning looked like a creepy, foggy fall morning even though it was still in the 50s.

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In fact, the weather has been so mild that I’ve been wanting overnight oats again. Cold breakfasts do not go well with cool mornings, but the past few days gave me a reason to have a few more bowls of overnight oatmeal before the weather truly turns.

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This is definitely “fall in a glass”.

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While working on a few recipes Monday, I cooked up a quick cranberry sauce:

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Bring 1 cup fresh cranberries to a boil with 2 Tbsp maple syrup, 1-2 tsp fresh orange zest, and 1 diced orange. Cook/simmer until most of berries burst, take off heat, and let cool.

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I used this cranberry sauce in another dish but knew I wanted to fit it in with something pumpkin, too.

Introducing, Overnight Pumpkin Cranberry Oats!

Oat base (mix up the night before and let sit in the fridge)

  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1/2 cup vanilla almond milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • pinch salt
  • cinnamon
  • cloves
  • ginger
  • nutmeg
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup yogurt

In the morning, layer:

  • overnight oat mixture
  • cranberry orange sauce
  • wheatberries
  • chopped pecans
  • maple syrup

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I added some wheatberries since I had some extras on hand that were cooked and needed to be used, but you definitely don’t need them!

I loved the crunch of pecans in this, though. It went great with the tart cranberries, the fall spices, and the little drizzle of maple syrup.

Do you use fresh cranberries? What’s your favorite way to have them?

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