Moderate Midnight Chocolate Cake

Moderate Midnight Chocolate Cake

I do love a good sale, so Black Friday is loads of fun. What does that have to do with baking? For the purchase of baking pans, of course!

Bundt pans are very useful for high-altitude baking, so when they go on sale I scour the internet with glee. There are several 10-cup Bundt pans in my arsenal; it was time to get a more manageable 6-cup model.

With the smaller version in hand, I looked back at favorite Bundt pan recipes. My Midnight Chocolate Cake has always been well-liked, so I chose that for the new pan. Checking the recipes on Nordic Ware led to the tip that you can simply halve a full-sized recipe to use in the more petite pan. Whew! That makes things much easier.

When my hubby saw me making a half-sized version of the cake, he asked why. My response was a query of what would two people do with a large cake. His reply, “Eat it!” With that, I give you my sensibly-sized revision.

Moderate Midnight Chocolate Cake

Shortening, to grease pan
1/2 cup cocoa powder (packed tightly) + extra to dust pan
1 cup + 3 tablespoons boiling water
1.25 teaspoons instant coffee
1.25 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon salt, depending on how salty your butter is
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup vegan butter (at room temperature)
1.5 cups organic cane sugar
1/2 cup pureed silken tofu
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Vanilla pastry cream and crushed peppermint candies, for decoration

Preheat the oven to 350F. Use shortening to grease a 6-cup bundt pan then dust the inside with cocoa powder. Set aside.

Mix boiling water with 1/2 cup cocoa powder and instant coffee and whisk well. Set aside to cool to room temperature.

In a large bowl, sift together the flours, salt, baking soda, and baking powder. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter, sugar, and tofu. Alternate adding cupfuls of dry ingredients then cocoa liquid to the creamed butter mixture. Scrape down the sides as needed. Add vanilla and beat until fluffy.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the cake comes out with a few specks clinging to it.

Let cool for 15 minutes in the pan set on a wire rack. Gently loosen the center and cake edges from the pan using a small spatula. Invert the pan onto a wire rack and let the cake sit for 20 minutes.

To unmold, pick up the rack with the pan on top and lightly tap both on the counter to loosen the cake. Remove the pan from atop the cake and place the rack on the counter to allow the cake to cool completely. Once cooled, decorate the cake as desired.

Until next time, happy baking!

Snicker Bar Sugar Cookies

snicker bar sugar cookies
snicker bar sugar cookies

October means only one thing to some people … Halloween candy! I often make candy to celebrate the season, but I found an idea for a new tasty treat. This was the year for cookies reminiscent of the flavors of a candy bar.

My holiday sugar cookies have a simple dough, so they make a great base for additional flavors. Peanuts, dates, and chocolate can mimic the tastes of a Snicker Bar, so adding chopped dates and peanut pieces to the dough then dipping the cookies in chocolate makes a wonderful cookie-meets-candy-bar.

My recipe was already high altitude and vegan, of course, but I made a few tweaks to accommodate a drop cookie. I also made a chocolate dipping sauce and sprinkled crushed peanuts on the dipped cookie. Halloween candy has nothing on this decadent delight!

Snicker Bar Sugar Cookies inspired by Vegan Snickers Cookies

4 tablespoon non-dairy milk, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon white vinegar
2.25 cups all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1.5 sticks vegan butter, at cool room temperature (I used Country Crock)
1/4 cup organic sugar
1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon brown sugar
1.5 teaspoon vanilla extract
9 soft medjool dates, pitted and chopped
6 tablespoons unsalted peanuts, chopped and divided
3 ounces vegan dark chocolate, chopped
1 teaspoon coconut oil

Preheat oven to 350F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.

Combine non-dairy milk and vinegar. Let sit for 15 minutes to curdle.

Place the flour, baking powder, and baking soda in medium bowl. Whisk together, then set aside.

Place the vegan butter and both sugars into the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat on medium-high speed until well-combined and smooth, about 3 minutes. Add the vinegar-milk mixture and vanilla and beat until combined. Add the flour-leaveners mixture and mix on low until incorporated. Stir in the dates and 4 tablespoons of peanuts.

Place the bowl of dough in the refrigerator for 10 minutes to stiffen. After 10 minutes, scoop out balls of dough the size of walnuts then place them on the baking sheets. Flatten the balls with the bottom of a measuring cup.

Bake for 16-18 minutes, or until cookies are set and beginning to brown on the edges. Let cookies cool for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

While the cookies cool, melt the chocolate and coconut oil in a double boiler set on the stove. Dip the cooled cookies, one at a time, into the melted chocolate. Let the chocolate go halfway up each cookie. Place the dipped cookies on a wire rack set over a piece of parchment paper (to catch the drips). Before the chocolate sets, sprinkle 2 tablespoons of peanuts over the melted chocolate on the cookies. Let the cookies sit until the chocolate has fully cooled. Makes 25 cookies.

Until next time, happy baking!

Vegan Honey Mini Cakes for a Sweet New Year

vegan honey mini cakes
vegan honey mini cakes

This week was a celebration of the Jewish New Year. The tradition is to eat honey cakes at this time to ensure sweetness in the upcoming year. Because honey is not a vegan food, vegan bakers can turn to a honey substitute to have a sweet new year.

I have a honey-like syrup in my files from my “A Sweet New Year Apple Muffins,” so I went in search of a honey cake recipe that I could use it in. What I found was perfect because the spices in the cake would go well with the fruit in the vegan honey. Also, the cake was already vegan, but I amped it up by using my own egg substitute described in “Super Flegg – A Perfect Egg Substitute.”

Next I put the high altitude spin on it by adding flour and liquid (in the form of applesauce), then reduced the leaveners. The batter was divvied into mini cake pans to help with rise issues caused by altitude, but that had an added bonus. I now had several mini cakes so each person could have their own tasty treat to enjoy while ringing in the new year.

Vegan Honey Mini Cakes for a Sweet New Year adapted from Vegan Honey Cake for Rosh Hashanah

for the vegan honey
1/4 cup brown rice syrup
1/8 cup pure maple syrup
1/8 cup agave syrup
1/2 teaspoon vegan sugar
1/2 organic orange, thinly sliced
1/2 organic lemon, thinly sliced
for the cakes
1 tablespoon ground flaxseeds
3 tablespoons aquafaba (the liquid from a can of chickpeas)
1.5 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1.25 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup raisins, optional

To make the vegan honey, combine the syrups and sugar in a medium saucepan with high sides. Place over medium heat and bring to a boil. Add the sliced fruit. Lower the heat and cook at a low boil for 15 minutes, stirring a few times. Adjust the heat as needed to maintain a low boil. Once a syrupy consistency is reached, pour the liquid through a mesh strainer into a heat-safe measuring cup, discarding the fruit. If you do not have 1/2 cup of syrup, then add agave syrup to reach that amount. Set aside to cool.

For the cakes, preheat the oven to 350F. Grease and flour the cups of a mini cakes pan, or a muffin tin.

Prepare the super flegg by putting the ground flaxseeds and the aquafaba in a small bowl and stirring well. Set aside to thicken.

Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves into a large bowl. Place the applesauce, oil, vanilla, vegan honey, and super flegg into a medium bowl and whisk to combine. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir to combine. Stir in the raisins, if using.

Divide the batter among the cups of the pan you are using. Do not fill the wells completely or your cakes will overflow while baking. Bake for 18 to 23 minutes, depending on the pan used, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cake comes out with a few small crumbs. Place the baking pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then tip the cakes onto a wire rack to fully cool.

Until next time, Happy New Year and happy baking!

Vegan Ice Cream Sandwiches

vegan ice cream sandwiches
vegan ice cream sandwiches

While I was shopping recently I decided that it was so hot that I deserved a treat for running errands in extreme conditions. Sauntering over to the frozen foods section, I spied vegan ice cream sandwiches. They seemed like the perfect snack — until I looked at the price. They were over $5 each. Each!

Armed with the ingredients needed to construct them myself, I returned home to my kitchen. A quick recipe search brought up a biscuit that would be soft enough to mold into a sandwich but sturdy enough to contain ice cream. And a look around my cupboard revealed mini chocolate chips for decoration.

Cookies do not generally require high altitude changes, so that wasn’t an issue. However, the recipe I found was not vegan; it didn’t even list ingredients found in an American market. So, I set out to adapt it to my needs. I lightly ground my oats in a food processor to closer resemble the porridge oats called for in the recipe, then I did the same with my vegan sugar so it would be like caster sugar. Vegan versions were brought in for butter and milk replacements.

The final change was to make the cookies a bit larger so they would make decent-sized sandwiches. This meant they needed to cook longer, but I kept an eye on them to see what the new time would be. The result was a wonderfully chewy cookie that was the ideal backdrop for both my vanilla and chocolate ice creams. I’m ready next time the extreme heat rolls in.

Vegan Ice Cream Sandwiches with cookies adapted from Oat Biscuits

for the cookies
75 grams old fashioned rolled oats
50 grams vegan sugar
75 grams vegan butter
1 tablespoon maple syrup
2 tablespoons non-dairy milk
75 grams whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
for sandwich assembly
vegan ice cream
garnishes: mini vegan chocolate chips, vegan sprinkles, or chopped nuts

for the cookies:
Heat the oven to 350F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

Lightly chop the oats in a mini-food processor until the oats are broken down in half. Place the oats in a bowl. Place the sugar in the food processor and grind it until it is less coarse but not until it is powdered. Add the sugar to the bowl of oats and set aside.

Put the butter, maple syrup, and milk in a small pan and heat gently until the butter melts. Take the pan off the heat and stir until the ingredients are combined. Set aside.

Sift the flour into a large bowl. Whisk in the baking powder and oat-sugar mixture. Pour the melted butter mixture into the dry ingredients and stir until well combined.

Place scoops of batter onto the baking sheet and shape it into round cookies. The batter is wet so the cookies need to be coaxed into rounds. The cookies also need to be spaced apart as they will spread a bit more.

Bake for 15-17 minutes or until the sides are firm and the bottoms are golden brown. Move the parchment paper with the cookies to a wire rack. Let the cookies cool for 5 minutes before moving them to a wire rack to cool completely.

Makes 8-10 cookies, depending on how big you want your sandwiches.

ice cream sandwich components
ice cream sandwich components

for sandwich assembly:
Remove the ice cream from the freezer while the cookies are cooling. When the ice cream is soft enough to scoop but not runny, spread large spoonfuls of it onto a flipped over cookie. Place another cookie on top to complete the sandwich. Take a garnish and push it into the ice cream along the sides of the sandwich. Repeat until all cookies are made into sandwiches. Place the sandwiches on a tray in the freezer for 15-30 minutes to firm up.

Until next time, happy baking!

Chocolate Tahini Bars

chocolate tahini bars
chocolate tahini bars

Bar cookies are often rustic looking and are best to grab for a quick dessert. But these bars are different. They are elegant, delicious, and decadent, making them a perfect party treat. They also have no refined sweeteners so they are a healthier option. But if you don’t tell your guests, I won’t.

The original recipe seemed like it had so many ingredients, but it comes together easily. Choosing the tahini option reduced sweetness; they are plenty sweet so you won’t miss it and the layers complement each other nicely. I used Soom’s chocolate tahini to emphasize the chocolate flavors. You can use all regular tahini instead, or try regular tahini with a bit of cocoa powder or chocolate syrup stirred in.

Another bonus to this delicacy is that it requires no baking, meaning you don’t have to heat up the house on a hot summer day. So, the next time you want to make a simple but impressive dessert (maybe for upcoming Father’s Day?), give these a try.

Chocolate Tahini Bars adapted from Triple Layer Tahini Bars

Bottom Layer
200 grams walnuts, chopped
150 grams pitted Medjool dates
2 tablespoons almond butter
pinch sea salt
Middle Layer
50 grams Soom Dark Chocolate Tahini
65 grams sesame tahini
1 tablespoon almond butter
3 tablespoons refined coconut oil, melted
pinch sea salt
75 grams pitted Medjool dates
Top Layer
5 tablespoons refined coconut oil, melted
4 tablespoons cocoa powder
4 teaspoons maple syrup

cocoa nibs, optional

Line an 8 x 8-inch baking pan with parchment, leaving overhang on two opposite sides for removing the bars. Set aside.

Place the bottom layer ingredients (walnuts, dates, almond butter, and salt) into a food processor fitted with the S blade. Pulse until the mixture holds together. Press the mixture into the lined baking pan, spreading it evenly and pushing it down with your hand. Put the filled pan into the freezer while you make the next layer.

Wipe out the food processor with a paper towel; no need to clean it yet.

Take the tahinis, almond butter, and coconut oil of the middle layer and place them in a small saucepan. Heat on low until just blended. Place the mixture in the food processor with the salt and dates of the middle layer. Process until smooth. Remove the baking pan from the freezer and spread this middle layer over the base layer. Return the pan to the freezer for one hour.

Place the top layer ingredients (coconut oil, cocoa powder, and maple syrup) in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir to combine until just melted. Remove the baking pan from the freezer and spread this top layer over the middle layer once it has set. Sprinkle with optional cocoa nibs. Place the pan in the fridge for two hours until the top layer has set.

Take the pan from the fridge and remove the bars by grasping the overhanging parchment flaps. Place bars with parchment cradle onto a cutting board and cut into bars. Serve cool or cold.

Until next time, happy non-baking!

Spring Flower Cookies

Spring flower cookies
Spring flower cookies

Spring has fully sprung. The flowers are popping up everywhere, including my kitchen. These cookies are flower-inspired and are cute for a garden party. (Okay, I’m not the best pastry artist, but you get the idea.)

For my floral cookie, I found a recipe that was already vegan. To adjust for altitude I swapped leaveners and I added more applesauce. I also jazzed up the flavor with the addition of cinnamon and vanilla.

You can leave the cookies thumbprint-style or make an icing to create a flower petal design. If you are better at decorating than I am, you can use different petal patterns and colors to create a festive bouquet.

Spring Flower Cookies based on Vegan Thumbprint Cookies

1 cup + 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 cup unsalted vegan butter
1/8 cup vegan sugar

3/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup jam

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt, then set aside.

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the vegan butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the cinnamon, vanilla, and applesauce and beat until smooth. Add the flour mixture in several batches, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Mix until a uniform dough forms.

Scoop the dough into 12 balls about 1.5 tablespoons each. Place them on the baking sheet and flatten them slightly with the palm of your hand. Make an indent in the center of each with a small spoon, then fill the indentation with jam.

Bake for 15-17 minutes, or until the edges of the cookies begin to brown. Place the baking pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes, then transfer the cookies to a rack to fully cool. Enjoy as is, or decorate with icing.

Until next time, happy baking!

Spring Quiche for Mother’s Day

spring quiche for mothers day
spring quiche for mothers day

The sun is shining and plants are reaching towards it. Yes, it’s lovely springtime. This weekend also happens to be Mother’s Day in the U.S., so I thought I would head to the kitchen and make a celebratory brunch.

To me, the perfect brunch starts with quiche. Next add a salad made up of veggies, fruit, and a bright dressing. Include warm bread slathered in olive oil to complete the meal. You can also serve mimosas to make it more joyous.

My refrigerator had everything for my feast except the quiche, so I dug up a recipe that a friend had shared with me. It was already vegan, and needed no altitude adjustments, but I changed the flavors to suit my tastes and what I found in the fridge. I used fresh asparagus and vegan salami with a bit of dill and parsley and had delicious results. So whether you are celebrating Spring or Mother’s Day, this quiche makes a wonderful brunch entrée.

Spring Quiche for Mother’s Day adapted from Easy Vegan Quiche 2 Ways

crust
2 cups all purpose flour, plus extra for rolling out the dough
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 cup vegan butter, cold from a brief time in the freezer
2 – 4 tablespoons ice water
filling
8 asparagus spears
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 shallot, chopped
1/4 cup chopped vegan salami (I used Renegade Foods)
sea salt, to taste
1/3 cup vegan feta, broken into small pieces (I used Violife)
1 (12-ounce) bottle Just Egg, cold and shaken
2 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon nutritional yeast

For the crust, sift together the flour and salt and place it in the bowl of a food processor. Add the butter and pulse several times until the mixture resembles coarse bread crumbs. Gradually add the ice water, pulsing until the dough just comes together.

Sprinkle a light layer of flour onto a clean surface. Turn the dough out onto the floured surface and use your hands to bring the dough into a ball. Lightly sprinkle the dough with flour, and roll the dough ball out into a roughly circular shape. Keep rolling the dough until it is 3 inches larger than the dish you are making your quiche in.

Carefully lift the dough and place it in the dish. Gently press the dough into the sides of the dish, bringing it up and slightly over the top of the dish. Trim any excess with a knife and crimp the edge with your fingertips. Prick the bottom of the crust with a fork, then place the crust in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, put a baking pan on the center rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 400F. Line the chilled crust with parchment paper and fill the crust with dried beans or pie weights. Place the crust dish on the baking pan in the oven and bake for 12 minutes.

Remove the dish from the oven and reduce the temperature to 325F. Remove the beans and parchment paper and return the dish to the oven for 10 more minutes, or until the crust is slightly golden brown. Place the cooked crust on a wire rack to cool. Leave the oven on with the baking pan still on the center rack.

For the filling, bring a large skillet of salted water to a boil. Place the asparagus in the skillet and blanch for 3 minutes but don’t fully cook it. Rinse the asparagus in a colander under cold running water, drain, then pat dry. Take half of the stalks and trim the ends, placing them aside for the top of the quiche. Take the remaining spears and cut them on the bias into slices 1⁄4 to 1⁄2 inch wide.

Dry the skillet and set it over medium heat. Add the oil. When the oil is hot, sauté the shallots
for about 2 minutes. Add the salami and cook 1 minute more. Season with salt, then scrape into the crust. Add the cooked asparagus over the shallot-salami mixture, spreading everything out evenly. Scatter bits of feta over top.

spring quiche
spring quiche

Place the Just Egg, dill, parsley, and nutritional yeast in a bowl. Whisk together, then pour the mixture into the crust. Artfully arrange the reserved asparagus spears over the top of the quiche. Bake for 60 minutes, or until the center is set. Place on a wire rack for 15-20 minutes to cool before eating.

Until next time, happy baking!

Oatmeal Cookies with Pumpkin Seeds and Ginger

oatmeal cookies with pumpkin seeds and ginger
oatmeal cookies with pumpkin seeds and ginger

In last week’s post, I wrote about prepping a dough and then stashing it in the freezer. Today I present the cookie recipe that I used, with notes on how I baked the frozen dough. You can make these cookies and bake them straight away for immediate gratification, or you can pop the dough into the freezer to make daily fresh baked goodies.

I found a recipe for vegan oatmeal cookies, but I wanted to boost their flavor so I added pumpkin seeds, dried apricots, and ground ginger. The high altitude adjustments were adding more applesauce and vanilla to combat dryness, and reducing the amount of baking soda.

To make the cookies more cohesive I used a trick I just learned — pulse the oats a few times in a food processor to make them a bit smaller so they blend in better. The pumpkin seeds also needed chopping so I added the oats with them in the processor and let my kitchen appliance do the hard work.

My tasters enjoyed these as a midday snack and with tea for breakfast. Hubby even liked them, despite their lack of chocolate, so I knew I had a winner.

Oatmeal Cookies with Pumpkin Seeds and Ginger adapted from Vegan Oatmeal Cookies

1.25 cups old fashioned oats
1/4 cup unsalted pumpkin seeds
3/4 cup + 2 teaspoons all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup diced dried apricots
6 tablespoons vegan butter
6 tablespoons organic sugar
1/4 cup organic light brown sugar
4 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

Place the oats and pumpkin seeds in a food processor and pulse a few times to break them into smaller bits. Set aside.

Sift the flour, baking soda, ginger, and salt together in a medium bowl. Add the oats-seeds mixture and the apricots. Stir with a spatula to mix together and set aside.

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the vegan butter and both sugars. Add the applesauce and vanilla and beat to combine. (Don’t worry if the mixture looks curdled.) With the mixer on low, add the dry ingredients in two batches, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Continue mixing until a cohesive dough forms. Remove the dough and wrap it in plastic wrap. Place the wrapped dough in the fridge for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, set the oven to 375F.

Once the dough has chilled, use a 2-tablespoon scoop to make 22-24 dough balls. Place the balls on the prepared baking sheets, 3” apart. Press each ball down slightly then bake for 9-10 minutes, or until the edges of the cookies harden and the bottoms become golden brown.

Place the baking sheets on wire racks for 5 minutes to allow the cookies to cool slightly, then transfer the cookies to wire racks to cool completely. Store cookies in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

To freeze the cookies then bake later, make the dough balls and place them on the baking sheets. Put the baking sheets in the freezer for 30 minutes, or until the dough balls are firm and solid. Place the dough balls into freezer-safe zipper top bags and store in the freezer for up to two months.

To bake from frozen, preheat the oven to 355F. Place the desired amount of dough balls on parchment lined baking pans with the cookies 2” apart. Bake for 14-15 minutes, or until the edges of the cookies harden and the bottoms become golden brown. Place the baking sheets on wire racks for 5 minutes to allow the cookies to cool slightly, then transfer the cookies to wire racks to cool completely.

Until next time, happy (freezing and) baking!

Experiments with Cookie Dough, Part 2: Freeze Then Bake

Experiments with Cookie Dough
Experiments with Cookie Dough

This post idea started out in the usual way — think of a tasty treat and make it. And I did start to make something yummy until I realized I was too full from dinner to enjoy dessert. In an effort to avoid wasting fresh-baked goodies, I decided to stop in the middle of my cookie preparations.

However, I stalled out wondering what I should do with my prepared cookie dough. Previously, I had worked with baking and then freezing cookies (see The Great Cookie Freezing Experiment.) Now I guess I needed to jump in and try my hand at freezing and then baking the dough itself.

To start, I grabbed my batch of cookie dough and a cookie scoop that made 1.5 tablespoon balls. I portioned the dough out onto small parchment paper lined baking pans. The pans were then placed in the freezer for over 1 hour for the dough balls to become firm. Once solid, the dough balls were put in a large zip-top freezer bag which went into the freezer.

The next day I was pondering again, but this time I had different questions. Did I need to defrost the dough balls? At what temperature should the oven be set? How long should I bake the cookies? Should I bake all the cookies now, or save some for later?

An internet searched came up with the answers, thanks to Handle the Heat. “You can bake from frozen. Here are the steps…

  1. Preheat the oven to about 20 degrees lower than the original recipe temperature. 
  2. Remove however many balls of dough you need from the freezer and place on a parchment-lined baking pan.
  3. Bake the cookies for 2 to 5 minutes longer than the original recipe instructions, or until the cookies are golden at the edges but still slightly ‘wet’ looking at the very center.”

Using the advice above, I did a test of six frozen cookies on a parchment-lined baking sheet in an oven set to 355F instead of 375F. I baked them for 5 minutes more than the recipe stated because I felt my cookies were a little larger than those in the original recipe. My cookies were beautiful golden brown on the bottom and they flattened with minimal dough spread. They were gorgeous, and also delicious.

frozen cookie dough
frozen cookie dough

The tips above even helped answer the question on how many cookies to make. I learned that the dough could be frozen for up to 6 weeks, so I realized I should bake some now but save some for a future cookie craving.

By now are you wondering what cookie I baked? The pictures give a hint, but you will have to wait until next week for the recipe.

Until next time, happy baking!

Spring Brownies with Peppermint Frosting

spring brownies with peppermint frosting
spring brownies with peppermint frosting

Spring is the best time of year. Plants push up out of the ground and crisp scents are everywhere. So, what does this have to do with baking? Well, I’m giving a nod to spring with a treat slathered in minty-fresh, spring-green frosting.

A chocolate brownie is the perfect base for a mint topping, so I have adapted these Spring Brownies from my Quick Brownie Bites. The brownies have a buttercream frosting that is boosted with the addition of peppermint extract and green food coloring.

Even with a swath of frosting, the goodies needed more decadence so I added chocolate ganache. After taking the blog photo, I asked my favorite taster if it looked okay. He replied with an emphatic “yes” so I felt fantastic. That was until I realized he thought I was asking if he would like the plate of brownies. But, his blind faith in my baking skills is good, too.

Spring Brownies with Mint Frosting

Brownies
1/2 cup + 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 cup organic sugar
1/4 cup Dutch Processed cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup neutral flavored vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup + 1 teaspoon non-dairy chocolate milk
1/2 cup vegan mini chocolate chips
Peppermint Frosting
3/4 cups powdered sugar
1.5 tablespoons vegan butter
3-4 teaspoons non-dairy milk
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract (or to taste)
green food coloring
Chocolate syrup or ganache, for garnish

Preheat oven to 350F. Line the bottom of 8 individual cups of a brownie pan with parchment paper squares, then grease the cups and paper with vegan shortening. (You can use a mini muffin tin with liners if you don’t have a brownie pan).

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. In a medium bowl, whisk the applesauce, oil, vanilla, and chocolate milk. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, then stir in the chocolate chips.

Spoon the batter into the prepared brownie pan, filling the cups three-quarters full. Bake for 22-24 minutes, or until set on top. Let the brownies cool in the pan for 15-20 minutes, then turn them out onto a rack to cool completely.

While the the brownies are cooling, prepare the frosting. Beat the powdered sugar and vegan butter together until creamy. Add enough non-dairy milk to make the frosting spreadable. Stir in the peppermint extract and food coloring. Frost the cooled brownies and chill until set, for 15 minutes. Decorate with chocolate syrup or ganache.

Until next time, happy baking!