Posts Tagged ‘vegan’

I’ve been debating whether or not to share this recipe for an entire week.

Do you ever do that with new recipes you’ve come up with? Struggle with the decision to share it or keep it as a secret recipe to yourself?

I haven’t ever had such a hard time with a recipe as I’ve had with this one. But it turned out better than I thought it would.

I knew I couldn’t keep it a secret for long.


This vegan toffee tasted spot on: buttery, rich, sweet and salty.

And while making toffee seems like such a hard thing to do, it’s actually really easy. You just need to have the time to get it cooked to the right temperature and the rest will take care of itself.


Just remember I warned you to use a candy thermometer and don’t go by the color like I did.

Yours will probably turn out even better than mine if you do things the right way.


Put Earth Balance, sugar, water, and salt in a saucepan and heat on medium high heat until melted.



Bring to a boil and let cook until mixture reaches a hard crack stage (about 290-300 degrees).


Nick and I have made regular (non-vegan) toffee as Christmas gifts the past two years and have found that going by the color is better than the temperature. We burned our very first batch, but again – the temperature is the best way to do it! Just make sure you’re also paying attention to the color and smell of the candy.

This part will take 10-15 minutes.



Once your toffee is to the right temperature (or color), take off the heat and stir in the vanilla.


The mixture will bubble up quite a bit when you stir in the vanilla – that’s okay!


After the vanilla is mixed in, pour your toffee onto a parchment lined baking sheet and spread out into an even layer.


Let the toffee sit 20-30 minutes or until hardened.


Heat chocolate in microwave and spread onto toffee.


Once the chocolate has set, break toffee into bite size pieces.


Chocolate Covered Toffee – Vegan!

  • 1 cup Earth Balance
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chunks
  1. Put Earth Balance, sugar, water, and salt in a saucepan and heat on medium high heat until melted.
  2. Bring to a boil and let cook until mixture reaches a soft crack stage (about 285 degrees). This will take 10-15 minutes.
  3. Once your toffee is to the right temperature (or color), take off the heat and stir in the vanilla. The mixture will bubble up quite a bit when you stir in the vanilla – that’s okay!
  4. After the vanilla is mixed in, pour your toffee onto a parchment lined baking sheet and spread out into an even layer.
  5. Let the toffee sit 20-30 minutes or until hardened.
  6. Heat chocolate in microwave and spread onto toffee.
  7. Once the chocolate has set, break toffee into bite size pieces.

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I’m not sure what it is, but I am obsessed with coconut right now.

Maybe all this winter weather is simply too much for me, and, in response, I’m making things that remind me of the light and airy days of summer.

Whatever the reason, I’m okay with it.


First there was the Banana Pina Colada Muffins. Then German Chocolate Cupcakes.

And now…something I’m calling German Chocolate Cookie Bars.

But I guess they could also be called “I made too much German Chocolate icing and need something else to use it in” bars. Or “those cupcakes disappeared too quickly and we need a new sweet treat in the house” bars.


Even if you don’t have a good reason to make these, do it anyway. You won’t regret it.


German Chocolate Cookie Bars


  • 1/2 cup Earth Balance
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1.5 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Icing (see this post for icing directions):

  • 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

Chocolate Topping:

  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate
  • 1 tsp coconut oil



Cream Earth Balance/butter and sugar.


Beat in flour, vanilla, and salt.


The crust will be ready when the mixture is combined but still crumbly and when it clumps up when you press it together (like above).


Dump crust into 8×8 baking dish and press into an even layer.


Bake crust at 350 for 25-30 minutes or until set and golden around the edges. Let the crust cool completely.


Once the crust is cool to the touch, spread on your cooled icing into an even layer on the crust.



To make the chocolate topping, put your dark chocolate and coconut oil in a microwave safe bowl and heat for 1 minute, stirring every 20-30 seconds or until chocolate is melted and smooth.


Dump chocolate on top of icing and smooth out, covering the entire dish.


Let sit at room temperature until chocolate layer is set.


I cut these into 16 pieces (from an 8×8 dish), and I’m glad I didn’t cut them any bigger!

These bars are delicious, but very rich, thanks to the coconut icing.


But the richness didn’t stop me from having two of them right away.

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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


  • 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


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


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


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


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


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


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.









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.


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


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



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


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.


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.


It’s more fun that way.


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Winter is not leaving anytime soon. I normally don’t mind this season but this winter is not getting any better.

I am ready for a break.

The snow is pretty but I hate when it gets slushy and murky.

Cold weather itself isn’t horrible, but I would like the –4 degree wind chills to be gone.

Basically, I need a little warmth and there’s only so much hot tea I can drink.


Thankfully, I had some bananas waiting on the counter, just for this reason!

If I can’t get to the tropics this winter, I’m going to bring them to me.

Banana Pina-Colada Muffins – Vegan!

  • 3 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1/2 cup crushed pineapple
  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil (I used Tropical Traditions)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut (I used unsweetened, but either type would be fine)

Streusel Topping:

  • 1 Tbsp whole wheat flour
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp Earth Balance
  • 2 Tbsp coconut
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In large bowl, mash bananas.
  3. Stir pineapple, coconut oil, and vanilla into bananas.
  4. Add brown sugar to banana mixture.
  5. Mix in dry ingredients (flour through coconut) until just combined.
  6. Fill muffin tin 3/4 full.
  7. In small bowl, mix together streusel topping and sprinkle streusel on top of muffins.
  8. Bake 25-27 minutes or until golden on top and toothpick comes out clean.

I knew these would be good as soon as I smelled the bananas with the pineapple and coconut oil.



And I’m not sure about you, but I’m a sucker for a streusel muffin. I don’t know what it is about that crumbly, buttery topping, but it’s addicting in the best way.


If you can’t make it to an island this winter or have no plans to lay on a beach until June, you probably need these, too.



It may still be winter outside, but your kitchen will smell like summer.



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Tis the season for cookies!

I’ve never participated in a holiday cookie swap, but I hope to do that next year. Between a surgery next week and moving into our new house, I’m not going to have much time to bake around the holidays.

But I was thinking of the fun cookies and treats I’ve made this year.

I know most cookie swaps or holiday cookie trays include the more traditional items: gingerbread, molasses, snickerdoodles, chocolate chip, frosted sugar cookies.

Maybe it’s time to revamp that cookie table!

Here are some of my favorites from 2010:

These aren’t even a baked good, but I think they were my favorite new item of the year.


Frozen Chocolate Dipped Cookie Dough – bonus! They’re whole wheat and vegan…and you can hide them in your freezer.


Chocolate Mint Cookies. Need I say more? Mint is a requirement around the holidays (for me, anyway), and I’m a sucker for the green chips.



Want to make something outside the cookie jar? These Cream Cheese Brownies are rich and tangy and will look great on that holiday table.



Even if you don’t make molasses cookies or gingerbread, don’t pass on the ginger. I love the warmth it brings to baked goods, and combining it with dark chocolate is always a good idea. This Gingered Applesauce Cake with Dark Chocolate is one way to do just that.


What about you – are there certain cookies or baked goods your family always makes during the holidays? I want to hear them! Everyone can always use some new ideas.


Don’t forget to donate and help Holly  + me raise money for Jovenes en Camino, an orphanage in Honduras for abused, homeless and orphaned children. Tis’ the season!


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I realize that just showing you those molasses cookies last week without a recipe wasn’t very nice.

I mean – it’s almost the holiday season! People want cookie recipes.

So I made up a new one to share that uses two of my favorite fall flavors: pumpkin and molasses.


The cookies are stuck together with a fluffy vegan buttercream filling that is incredible. It’s probably a good thing I didn’t know how good it could be until now – I could see myself getting into trouble with extra icing in the fridge.



Molasses Cream Pie Cookies – Vegan!

  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 flax “egg” – 1 Tbsp ground flax mixed with 1-2 Tbsp water
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cloves
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  1. In large bowl, mix oil, pumpkin, sugar, flax “egg”, and molasses.
  2. Add in spices and baking soda.
  3. Mix in flour, a little at a time, until everything is combined.
  4. Cover the bowl and chill the dough for 30 minutes.
  5. While dough is chilling, preheat oven to 375.
  6. Pour 1 Tbsp into small bowl/plate and set aside.
  7. Take dough out of fridge, roll into tablespoon-sized balls and dip the tops in sugar.
  8. Place on baking sheet, 2-3” apart.
  9. Bake 8-12 minutes.
  10. Let cool completely before icing.

Vegan Buttercream – Vanilla and Chocolate


  • 1/2 cup Earth Balance, softened
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1.5 cups powdered sugar
  1. In large bowl, beat Earth Balance until soft and creamy.
  2. Mix in vanilla and half the powdered sugar until combined.
  3. Add in the rest of the sugar and beat until icing is smooth.


*For the chocolate icing, I just took half of my vanilla buttercream, added in 1 Tbsp cocoa powder and mixed.


If you’re like me, you used to love those Little Debbie Oatmeal Cream Pie snacks.

These are like the best version of those, with a molasses twist. The cookies are soft with a sugar crust on top and the buttercream is fluffy and sweet.


I think I like my version even better than the Little Debbie cakes.

These would make a great addition to your holiday spread, a nice twist on the normal molasses cookie.


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