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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Spring has finally won out in the weather where I live. Warmer temps have caused flowers to burst out, so I thought it would be nice to do an homage to the Earth’s beauty. Thinking it would be fun to decorate flower cookies, I got a cookie cutter in the shape of a tulip and went on the hunt for a sugar cookie recipe.
Truth be told, I haven’t done roll-out cookies in forever. I am more of a drop cookie gal, but this was about cookie art. So, I found a recipe that was already vegan to make things easier. The only alterations I had to make were to add water for dryness at high altitude, and to switch some of the tapioca flour to all-purpose flour because the extra water makes very fine flours turn to wallpaper paste. I chose a large Wilton cutter to have a greater backdrop for decorating, but it also made the work go faster. Use any cookie cutters you like; the bake time is a range from small to large sized cookies.
Spring Sugar Cookies adapted from Veg News
1.5 cups vegan margarine
1 cup vegan sugar
6.5 TBS water
1 TBS vanilla
4.75 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup tapioca flour
1/2 tsp salt
Frosting of choice
In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together margarine and sugar until light and creamy. Add in water and vanilla and beat again. Add flours and salt and mix well to form a smooth dough. Cover and chill for 1 hour or until firm.
Preheat oven to 350F. Divide dough in half and work with one half at a time; keep remaining dough covered. On a floured work surface, roll dough out to desired thickness (1/8” for crispy cookies, 1/4” for soft), cut into shapes, and transfer cookies with a spatula to ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 8-24 minutes or until lightly browned around edges. Cool slightly before transferring to a rack to cool completely. Decorate with frosting once fully cooled. Makes 3-6 dozen cookies.
With spring comes … bunnies, and … carrots. With spring also comes carrot cake. And this carrot cake was such a delight to make because it turned out great the first time I adapted it. Even my chocoholic hubby came back for more. It’s light and fresh, just like spring, and its filled with good-for-you ingredients. If you don’t add the glaze it’s even refined-sugar free.
The first step in adapting this recipe for high altitude was to find a slightly smaller pan size to avoid a crater in the middle of my cake. The sparkling water was already in the ingredients as the egg substitute, and it helped keep the cake from crashing in the center. Next, I sifted the dry ingredients to incorporate more air and loft. Last, I reduced the baking soda. All of these actions made for a lighter than air cake which made me so happy as I had feared the carrots would weigh everything down.
So, without further ado, I give you:
Carrot Cake with Icing adapted from TheWholeServing.com topping
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cups oats cake
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup + 1.5 TBS all-purpose flour
scant tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
2 cups shredded carrots
1 tsp orange zest
1 cup almond milk
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup canola oil
1/2 cup sparkling water icing
1 cup powdered sugar
2 TBS almond milk
Preheat oven to 350 F and lightly grease a 10×10” pan. In a bowl combine brown sugar and oats for the topping. In a large bowl sift together flours, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Place carrots and orange zest on top of dry ingredients in bowl. In another bowl whisk together milk, maple syrup, vanilla and oil. Mix in sparkling water. Gently fold wet ingredients into dry and mix until well combined.
Transfer mixture to baking pan and spread evenly in pan. Sprinkle topping over surface of the batter. Bake for 26 to 28 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. For the icing, mix together powdered sugar and milk until well combined. When cake has cooled, drizzle glaze over cake. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.