Chocolate Donuts with Strawberry Topping

chocolate donuts with strawberry topping
chocolate donuts with strawberry topping

Is it donut season? Everyone is making donuts right now. My inbox and social media feeds are overflowing with pictures of chocolate, vanilla, and spiced varieties. They come glazed or dipped or sprinkled, and all of them look mouth-watering. So, it’s time to dust off the donut pan and dive in.

I wanted to bake chocolate donuts, naturally. My recipe search revealed a vegan version with a chocolate glaze. As good as that sounded, I knew that a strawberry topping would be perfect. For high altitude baking, I added a bit of liquid and reduced the leaveners. Next, aquafaba was added for good texture.

The non-dairy milk I chose for my treats was from Take Two Foods, a new kid on the block. They upcycle spent barley by turning it into delicious plant milk, thus helping to reduce food waste. You can find out more about them here.

Chocolate Donuts with Strawberry Topping adapted from Vegan Double Chocolate Donuts

for the chocolate donuts
2/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon Take Two original flavor plant milk, or other non-dairy milk
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
3/4 cup less 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
1/3 cup dutch process cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon espresso powder
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
3 tablespoons salted vegan butter, melted
2 teaspoons aquafaba
vegan sprinkles for garnish, optional
for the strawberry topping
1/2 cup frozen strawberries
2 tablespoons coconut oil, solid
1 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon non-dairy milk

Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease the six cavities of donut pan.

Add the non-dairy milk and apple cider vinegar to a 2-cup glass measuring cup. Whisk and set aside.

Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, espresso powder, baking powder, and baking soda in a large bowl. Add the brown sugar, melted butter, and aquafaba to the curdled milk in the measuring cup. Stir the wet mixture, then pour it into the dry ingredients in the bowl. Stir until just combined.

Transfer the thick batter to a pastry bag or large ziplock bag. Snip off the bottom corner of the bag. Pipe the batter into the cavities of the donut pan. Spread the tops of the donuts flat with the back of a spoon.

Bake for 14-17 minutes. The donuts should be puffed up, and a toothpick inserted into a donut should come out clean. Cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then remove the donuts from the pan and place on a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the strawberry topping, heat the strawberries up in a small pan set on medium. When they have softened, add the coconut oil. When the oil has melted, remove the pan from the stove. Mash the mixture with a fork, then stir in the powdered sugar and milk. Stir until well combined, then let sit until cool.

Spoon the topping over the cooled donuts. Decorate with sprinkles, if desired. Eat immediately. Cooled and undecorated donuts can be stored in an air-tight container at room temperature for 2 – 3 days.

Until next time, happy baking!

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Cookie Sandwiches

peanut butter chocolate cookie sandwich
peanut butter chocolate cookie sandwich

Gluten-free baking is scientific, with lots of math involved. When attempted at high altitude it also involves laborious recipe testing. Okay, that kinda sounds fun to me but it is not something I usually attempt. I start with tried-and-true gluten-free recipes and tweak then just a bit to compensate for altitude. Not today. Today I threw caution to the wind and made every type of substitution possible … all at once … with fingers crossed. Luckily I was successful.

The massive changes I made were based on science, so that dialed down the luck factor. I started with a gluten-free cookie recipe from Bob’s Red Mill then used America’s Test Kitchen cookbooks as a reference for substitutions. I didn’t have all of the flours listed in the recipe so, armed with knowledge from the Test Kitchen, I made swaps based on what was in my cupboard. I added aquafaba and soy milk powder for enhanced vegan structure, as well was guar gum. Granulated sugars were used instead of liquid sweetener so the cookies wouldn’t be too mushy. The last step was to sandwich my cookies with a rich chocolate filling, because life can always be more decadent.

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Cookie Sandwiches loosely based on a recipe from Bob’s Red Mill Everyday Gluten-Free Cookbook

for the cookies:
1/2 cup teff flour
1/4 cup brown rice flour
1/4 cup tapioca starch
1/3 cup potato starch
1 teaspoon soy milk powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 teaspoon guar gum
1/2 cup + 2 TBS creamy peanut butter, salted but unsweetened
1/2 cup vegan sugar
1/2 cup vegan light brown sugar
1/2 cup neutral-tasting vegetable oil
1 tablespoon aquafaba
3 tablespoons non-dairy milk
for the chocolate filling:
1/3 cup vegan margarine
3 cups vegan powdered sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-3 tablespoons non-dairy milk

For the cookies: Whisk the flours, starches, milk powder, baking soda, salt, and guar gum together in a medium bowl. In a large bowl, whisk together the peanut butter, sugars, oil, aquafaba, and 3 tablespoons milk. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir to combine. Cover the dough bowl with plastic wrap and put aside for 30 minutes to rest.

Meanwhile, line two large baking sheets with parchment paper. Place oven racks in the upper-middle and lower-middle positions, and heat the oven to 350F.

When the 30 minutes rest time has passed, scoop out small balls of cookie dough, 2-3 teaspoons in size, and place them about 2 inches apart on the baking sheets. (The dough will be moist and slightly sticky.) Flatten the dough balls with the palm of your hand.

Bake the cookies until golden brown and firm, 14-16 minutes, rotating the cookie sheets halfway through baking time. Let the cookies cool on the sheets for five minutes, then remove to wire racks to fully cool. Repeat with remaining cookie dough.

For the filling: Place the margarine in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat on medium speed for 1 minute. Add the powdered sugar, cacao powder, and vanilla and beat for another minute. Keep beating, adding milk as needed, until the filling is light and fluffy. Fill a pastry bag with the filling.

To assemble the cookie sandwiches: Place half of the cookies upside down on a tray. Pipe filling onto the center of each cookie. Top each with a remaining cookie, pressing down gently until the filling spreads to the edges. Store assembled cookies in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Until next time, happy baking!

Chewy Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

chewy chocolate crinkle cookies
chewy chocolate crinkle cookies

Several readers have been asking for this recipe, and here it is (drumroll, please). Let me present … Chewy Chocolate Crinkle Cookies. My post The Magic of Crinkle Cookies chronicled my experiments with different crinkle ideas, and now I offer you the delicious cookie that arose from those tests. This chocolatey cookie is moist and chewy with notes that are sweet with a hint of salty. The fissures in the cookie’s crust are brought out by a slight dusting of sugars. This cookie took me back to my childhood and made me smile. I hope it makes you smile, too.

Although I borrowed parts of many recipes, the base of my creation was from a cookbook called A Good Bake. To make their cookie vegan, I swapped the dairy butter for Flora plant butter, and I used aquafaba in place of an egg. I kept the brown sugar because it has more moisture (for chewiness) and is more acidic (for its reaction with baking soda to help the cookies rise), but I used light brown sugar for a more subtle flavor. Before baking, I rolled the dough balls in granulated then powdered sugar to ensure I would get that snowy look that crinkles have. I am glad that I took the time to sort these tasty treats out because now they are a part of my regular cookie repertoire.

Chewy Chocolate Crinkle Cookies adapted from A Good Bake

2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder (not dutch-process)
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
16 TBS unsalted vegan butter, softened (like Flora)
1.5 cups light brown sugar, packed
3 TBS aquafaba
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup vegan sugar, for rolling
1/4 cup vegan powdered sugar, for rolling

Preheat oven to 350F with a rack in the middle. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside. Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt into a medium bowl.

Put the butter and brown sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat on medium speed for 3 minutes, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula once or twice, until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add the aquafaba and vanilla, and beat until well combined, 2 minutes. Add the dry ingredients and mix on low speed until no visible flour remains, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.

Pour the vegan sugar in one shallow bowl and the powdered sugar in another. Use a 2 TBS cookie scoop to get a lump of dough, then roll it in your hands to form a ball. Roll the dough ball first in the bowl of vegan sugar then in the powdered sugar, and place on a prepared cookie sheet. Repeat until all dough is used, leaving 2” between each cookie.

chocolate crinkle cookie defies gravity
chocolate crinkle cookie defies gravity

Bake cookies, one sheet at a time, for 13-15 minutes, rotating each baking sheet from front to back midway through the baking time. Remove cookies from the oven and let them cool on the sheet for 5 minutes. Use a spatula to transfer them to a cooling rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week. Yield: 24 cookies.

Until next time, happy baking!

Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Raspberry Filling

dark chocolate cupcakes with raspberry filling
dark chocolate cupcakes with raspberry filling

It’s a long holiday weekend in the U.S., and that calls for a special dessert. Special doesn’t mean complicated, but maybe more than a plate of cookies. That got me thinking … hmmm, cupcakes are still easy … but, FILLED cupcakes are easy and noteworthy. Now, to decide on the flavors … raspberry and chocolate are always a hit. Armed with my choices, I came up with a delicious dark chocolate cupcake and then an easy-but-tasty raspberry frosting.

Admittedly, I had a lot of changes to make. To veganize the cupcakes, I made buttermilk from soy milk and apple cider vinegar. Then I replaced the butter with canola oil, and the eggs with aquafaba. For high altitude, I reduced the total amount of leaveners and increased the flour. The frosting was easier, as I swapped out dairy items with their non-dairy counterparts. Although I may not have needed to make the frosting. As fantastic as these were filled, my hubby loved them without frosting. That’s okay; more raspberry frosting for me!

Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Raspberry Filling adapted from Food & Wine and Food Network

for the cupcakes
1/2 cup soy milk
1.5 tsp apple cider vinegar
3/8 cup natural cocoa powder (not Dutch process)
1/4 cup boiling water
1/4 cup canola oil
3 TBS aquafaba
3/4 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup + 1 TBS all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp sea salt
3/4 cup vegan granulated sugar
for the filling / frosting
6 TBS cold vegan butter
2 TBS vegan shortening
3 cups vegan powdered sugar, sifted
2 tsp non-dairy milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3 heaping TBS raspberry fruit spread

Preheat oven to 350F with a rack in the middle of the oven. Line a standard muffin tin with paper cups and set aside. Place soy milk in a jar and add the apple cider vinegar. Place the lid on the jar and shake gently to combine. Let sit for 15 minutes to curdle.

Put cocoa powder in a large heatproof bowl. Add boiling water and whisk until a smooth paste forms. Whisk in curdled milk, oil, aquafaba, and 3/4 tsp vanilla until combined. In a medium bowl, sift flour with baking soda, baking powder, salt, and granulated sugar. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, and stir to combine.

Spoon the batter into the muffin cups until they are half full. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out with just a few crumbs. Let cupcakes cool in the tin for 5 minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.

Meanwhile, make the filling. Place the vegan butter and shortening in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat until smooth. Add the powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time, alternating with the non-dairy milk and 1/2 tsp vanilla, until it is smooth and creamy. Add the raspberry fruit spread and beat until creamy.

Spoon the filling into a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip. Holding a cupcake in your hand, plunge the tip into the top of the cake, pushing it halfway in. Gently squeeze the pastry bag to fill the cupcake, withdrawing it slowly as you squeeze. Repeat until all cupcakes are filled. Use the remaining filling to pipe tiny rosettes on the tops of the cupcakes. Store frosted cupcakes in the refrigerator in an airtight container.

Until next time, happy baking!

Custom Muffins with Glazes

custom muffins with custom glazes
custom muffins with custom glazes

I ran across a recipe for a customizable muffin and it intrigued me. The concept was to have a “base” that you can vary any way you like. Berries could be stirred in, or nuts, or chocolate chips, or candies … you get the idea. It seemed like a fantastic way to make multiple flavors at one time without baking dozens of muffins at once. You could make a variety pack for yourself, or have several flavors to give as treats. I wanted to so something special for my neighbors, so I decided that four different muffins might put smiles on their faces. And, since I can’t leave well enough alone, I opted to make a different flavored glaze for each muffin flavor.

To veganize the recipe, I curdled cashew milk as a stand-in for buttermilk. In place of regular unsalted butter, I used Flora unsalted plant butter. Lastly, aquafaba was my egg substitute. To account for high altitude, I reduced the amount of baking powder and the oven temperature. Despite all of these changes to the original recipe, the muffins turned out tall and beautiful. My neighbors said they were great, and I enjoyed the diversity of the ones I saved for me.

Custom Muffins with Glazes adapted from Ultimate Muffins

4 TBS unsalted vegan butter (like Flora plant butter)
1 cup + 1 tsp non-dairy milk
1 TBS apple cider vinegar
2 cups all purpose flour
2.5 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1/4 cup vegan sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
3 TBS aquafaba
1 tsp vanilla extract
Custom mix-ins:
blueberries, fresh or frozen, drained if needed; 4 – 6 per muffin
chopped berries, fresh or frozen, drained if needed; 4 – 6 pieces per muffin
chocolate chips, regular or minis; 2-3 TBS
Custom glazes:
3 TBS powdered sugar, sifted
up to 1 tsp non-dairy milk
flavored extracts (such as vanilla, coffee, chocolate, lemon, orange)

Preheat oven to 375F. Line a standard muffin tin with paper cups and spray the cups with nonstick cooking spray. Melt vegan butter in a small saucepan and set aside to cool. Place non-dairy milk in a jar and add the apple cider vinegar. Place the lid on the jar and shake gently to combine. Let sit for 15 minutes to curdle.

Into a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add the sugars and whisk to combine. In a medium bowl, whisk together the melted butter, curdled milk, aquafaba, and vanilla. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir just until combined. Remove 1/2 cup of batter to a bowl. Scoop the remaining batter into separate bowls, one per flavor. (I made 4 flavors, 3 muffins each, so I scooped 1/4 of the remaining batter each into its own bowl). Add the mix-ins, one flavor per bowl, and fold in gently. (I added 18 small blueberries to one bowl of batter, 12 bits of chopped cherries to one bowl, 15 bits of chopped raspberries to one bowl, and 2 TBS of mini chocolate chips to the last bowl).

Divide the 1/2 cup of reserved plain batter between the 12 muffin cups, as a layer on the bottom of the muffin cup. (This keeps the mix-ins from sinking to the bottom of the muffin). Next, fill the muffin cups 2/3 full with the flavored batters, one flavor per muffin cup. Bake for 18-20 minutes, rotating the muffin tin halfway through baking, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few crumbs. Move the tin to a wire rack to cool for 5 minutes. Once cooled slightly, tip the muffins out onto the rack to finish cooling.

baked custom muffins, 4 flavors
baked custom muffins, 4 flavors

While the muffins cool, make the glazes. Add the powdered sugar and 1/2 tsp nondairy milk to a bowl. Add more milk, one drop at a time, as needed to dissolve the powdered sugar without making it too runny. Divide the glaze base into individual bowls to make separate flavors. I added vanilla and coffee extracts to put on my chocolate chip muffins, vanilla extract only for the raspberry muffins, chocolate and vanilla extracts for the cherry muffins, and lemon extract with a sprinkle of lemon zest for the blueberry muffins). When the muffins have cooled, drizzle the glazes over the tops of the muffins.

Until next time, happy baking!

The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie

perfect chocolate chip cookie

the perfect chocolate chip cookie

You’re probably thinking … does she really need another chocolate chip cookie recipe? Yes, I do, because I found a new plant-based butter and it’s a game changer. This new butter, called Flora Plant Butter, consists mostly of plant oils. But it also contains faba bean protein, a component of aquafaba. Aquafaba is used by bakers to bind things together, and in my cookies this protein seemed to keep the butter from separating and getting oily. When vegan butter or margarine separates it can lead to greasy cookies, and I do not like greasy cookies.

I tried this new butter on a recipe of mine, Chocolate Chip Shortbread, so I didn’t have to worry about making vegan or high altitude changes. I did alter my original recipe to make it look, feel, and taste more like a classic chocolate chip cookie. If you like your cookies slightly chewy with crispy edges (like I do), then you will love these!

The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie

1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1/2 cup Flora Plant Butter
1/2 cup slightly ground organic sugar
1/2 cup organic brown sugar, packed
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 TBS aquafaba (bean water)
1/2 TBS non-dairy milk
1 cup vegan chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350F. In a medium bowl, sift together the flours, baking soda, and salt. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugars together until light and fluffy. Add in the vanilla, aquafaba, and non-dairy milk and beat again. Add in the sifted dry ingredients one cup at a time, beating between each addition. With a spatula, stir in the chocolate chips.

Flora plant butter

Flora plant butter

Using a scoop, portion out balls of dough onto two cookie sheets. Flatten each ball slightly with the heel of your hand. Bake for 14-16 minutes until the edges are firm. Let pans cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then move cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. Makes 24 cookies.

Until next time, happy baking!

Star-Spangled Berry Parfait

star spangled berry parfait

star spangled berry parfait

Happy 4th of July! Okay, it’s actually the 5th. But 4th of July, known in the United States as Independence Day, is a weekend long celebration. So, if you have not yet made a red, white, and blue dessert to go with tonight’s dinner, then try out this patriotic parfait.

For the conclusion of my holiday feast, I wanted a treat that echoed red, white, and blue in berries and cream. Parfaits are a wonderful way to achieve this look. I started with a box of vegan jello mix that I had on hand, and got fancy with a vegan cream recipe I rustled up. I added fresh berries then, admittedly the toughest part, a vegan meringue to complete my layered dessert. Altitude had no effect on any component, and each part was vegan, so no changes needed to be made. I’ve merely gathered the pieces together for you to enjoy.

Star-Spangled Berry Parfait with thanks to Rouxbe Online Culinary School

for the gelled layer
1 packet Simply Delish Jel Dessert in strawberry or raspberry
for the cream layer
3/4 cup raw cashew pieces, soaked for 3-4 hours to soften
1/2 cup water
5-6 tsp maple syrup or agave nectar
1 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of sea salt
1 cup rough chopped fresh strawberries with stems removed
for the meringue layer
1/2 cup unsalted chickpea liquid, previously reduced and chilled *
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
4 ounces caster sugar
1 tsp non-alcoholic vanilla extract
1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice
for the fruit layer
1-2 cups fresh blueberries, or a combination of blueberries and sliced strawberries
for the garnish
several fresh blueberries or sliced strawberries

For the gelled layer: Prepare Jel dessert per instructions on the box. Pour into a heat-resistant glass bowl. Let cool on the counter for a few minutes to allow condensation to evaporate. Place the bowl in the fridge to cool completely and set up.

For the cream layer: Place cashews, water, maple syrup, vanilla and salt in a high speed blender. Process on high until very smooth, scraping down the sides of the blender as needed. Add strawberries and blend well.

aquafaba meringue on whisk

aquafaba meringue on whisk

For the meringue layer: Place the bean liquid and cream of tartar in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Beat the mixture on low speed until the cream of tartar is incorporated and the liquid is semi-opaque. You may need to stop the mixer and stir the contents at the bottom a few times to get it fully mixed. Increase the speed to high and beat for an additional minute, or until opaque. Reduce the speed to low and begin adding the sugar 1 tablespoon at a time. After the first addition, raise the speed to high, beating for 1 minute after each addition. After all of the sugar has been added, continue to beat for 10 minutes on high speed, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a spatula once or twice. The meringue should be stiff, white, and glossy. If not, keep beating until it is.

Reduce the speed to medium and slowly add vanilla and lemon juice. Immediately raise the speed to high and beat for another 3 minutes, or until the meringue is stiff, white, and glossy and resembles marshmallow fluff. The total time needed depends on your mixer and the brine used. You cannot over beat aquafaba, so don’t worry. * Success Tips: Heat the bean water on the stove to reduce it by 1/3, then chill it before making the meringue. It should be thick and resemble egg whites. Also, vegan meringue keeps its loft best when prepared with a non-alcoholic extract.

To assemble: Take the bowl of set up gelled dessert out of the fridge. Add an even layer of blueberries for the fruit layer, extending to the edge of the bowl so the berries can be seen from the side. Pour the cream over the berries, leaving space at the edge of the bowl to allow berries to be seen through the glass. Either add dollops of meringue over the top, or put the meringue in a pastry bag fitted with a star tip to pipe a decoration over the top. Garnish with fresh berries.

Until next time, happy non-baking!

Chocolate Chip Banana Cake Pan Cake

Chocolate Chip Banana Cake Pan Cake

Chocolate Chip Banana Cake Pan Cake

The very ripe bananas on my counter were calling my name. Although I do love my Chocolate Chip Banana Bread, I wanted something more decadent and more banana-y. A banana cake seemed appropriate. With plenty of mashed bananas in an easy cake pan form, the recipe I found sounded perfect. I just had to make it vegan and high altitude friendly.

To veganize it, I used whipped aquafaba instead of eggs. I also traded butter with Earth Balance Original Buttery Spread. (Note: I did not use the sticks because I wanted the lighter texture of the spread.) To help counter the affects at altitude I added more liquid and flour. However, vegan banana baked goods can be heavy so I added apple cider vinegar and a smidgen of baking powder to boost the lift.

Chocolate Chip Banana Cake Pan Cake adapted from Banana–Chocolate Chip Snack Cake

1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup non-dairy milk
1/3 cup aquafaba, cold (the liquid from canned chickpeas)
2 cups + 1 TBS all purpose flour
3/4 tsp salt
scant 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup vegan buttery spread (see note above)
1 cup + 3 TBS vegan sugar
1 cup mashed bananas (2 to 3 bananas, very ripe)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup vegan chocolate chips

Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat oven to 350F. Grease and flour an 8 x 8” baking pan. Stir apple cider vinegar into the non-dairy milk and set aside. Add aquafaba to a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and whisk for 5 minutes. Place whipped aquafaba in a separate bowl, and replace the whisk attachment on the stand mixer with the paddle.

Whisk the flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder together in bowl. Using stand mixer fitted with paddle, beat the buttery spread on medium-high speed for a minute. Add the sugar and beat for 2 more minutes. Fold in whipped aquafaba. Add bananas and vanilla and beat until incorporated. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with milk in 2 additions, scraping down bowl as needed. Stir in half of the chocolate chips with a rubber spatula.

choose very ripe bananas

choose very ripe bananas

Transfer the batter to prepared pan and smooth top with the spatula. Sprinkle remaining chocolate chips evenly over top. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes, rotating pan halfway through baking. Let cake cool completely in pan on wire rack. The cooled cake can be wrapped in plastic and stored at room temperature for up to 2 days.

Until next time, happy baking!

Chunky Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars

chunky chocolate peanut butter bars

chunky chocolate peanut butter bars

For those of you who follow my blog, you may have noticed that I have been missing for a while. I was packing, then moving, and then unpacking. Now my new (awesome) kitchen is set up and I am back in baking action. To commemorate the event, and to have dessert to bring to a party, I made these bars with the delectable combination of peanut butter and chocolate.

With a delicious recipe in hand that I found on the blog “Handle the Heat,” I set out to veganize it. Vegan margarine was used instead of butter, and I substituted aquafaba for the eggs. To be more health conscious I swapped some of the all purpose flour with whole wheat flour. Then, for altitude, I used a bit less baking powder. The party guests gobbled them up and my husband is already asking for more.

Chunky Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars based on Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Bars
1 stick vegan margarine
1 3/4 cups light brown sugar
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
7 TBS slightly reduced aquafaba
1 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 ounces vegan chocolate, cut into chunks
Preheat oven to 350°F. Create a parchment paper sling by lining an 8 x 8” metal baking pan with parchment in both directions, with a slight overhang. You will grab the overhang later to remove the cooked brownies.
In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the margarine. Add brown sugar, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat and stir in peanut butter. Add aquafaba and whisk until well combined. Allow to cool. In a large bowl, whisk flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Once peanut butter mixture is cool, add vanilla and stir. Pour peanut butter mixture into flour mixture and stir to create a thick batter. Fold in 3/4 of the chocolate chunks, reserving the rest for sprinkling on top.
Transfer batter to prepared pan, spreading evenly to edges. Sprinkle with remaining chocolate chunks, lightly pressing them into batter. Bake for 30 minutes, or until top is golden and edges are slightly browned. Allow to cool in pan. Use parchment sling to remove the bars before cutting into squares. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

guittard chocolate

Guittard chocolate

Until next time, happy baking!

Donut Mini Muffins

Donut Mini Muffins

Donut Mini Muffins

In the past, I have tried (unsuccessfully) to make baked donuts. I even bought a donut pan but donated it after the utter failure of my baked creations. But I am still drawn to the idea of making donuts. It’s strange, really, because I am not a big fan of donuts. However, this week I delved into that arena again, this time changing a batch of mini donuts into mini muffins.

The recipe I uncovered was already vegan but I went one step beyond – I used aquafaba as the egg replacer. It worked beautifully, making light and fluffy muffins. The change I made for altitude was to use less baking powder. Besides that, I had fun using different donut themes for my muffins. I filled some with jam and smeared chocolate on top. Others I dipped into chocolate and then added sprinkles. I could have added powdered sugar to a few but the idea of only chocolate flavoring won out, as usual.

Donut Mini Muffins based on Vegan Mini Baked Donuts
Dry Ingredients
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup vegan sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp nutmeg
Pinch ground cinnamon
Wet Ingredients
1/2 cup almond milk
1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup aquafaba
4 TBS vegan buttery spread (not buttery sticks)
Toppings
2 TBS vegan sprinkles
3 ounces vegan chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350F. Put paper cups in 24 spaces of a mini muffin pan. In a bowl, combine dry ingredients with a whisk to mix thoroughly. Combine wet ingredients in a pan over medium low heat and mix until buttery spread is melted. This should not get too hot; just slightly warm. Add wet ingredients to dry and mix until just combined. Scoop into muffin cups. Bake for 12 minutes until almost browned on top and a tester comes out clean.
Cool completely on a wire rack before decorating. To decorate, put sprinkles on a plate then melt chocolate chips over a double boiler. Dip minis one-by-one into chocolate then into sprinkles. Makes 24.

Until next time, happy baking!