Sunday, October 26, 2014

Vegan Twinkies

I was given this recipe by a dear friend.  Her name is Melanie and she loves food as much as me.  As a matter of fact, that's all we ever really talk about, food and our girls.  This recipe comes from a lovely site called  Vegan Lunch Box.  These cupcakes are vegan and very delicious.  My family loves them.  I often make the Fluffy White Cupcake recipe below for birthday parties, etc.  I love this recipe.  

I bought myself a Snack Cake pan that looks like the famous Twinkie.  I loved Twinkies as a kid and they are finally back.  When they went out of business, I made this recipe a lot.  Anyways, I do eat my Twinkies, but I like this alternative as well.  Enjoy!

Fluffy White Cupcakes
from Vegan Lunch Box
Makes 22 cupcakes

1 TB apple cider vinegar
1 ½ scant cups plain soy-milk
2 1/8 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. kosher salt
1 1/8 cups sugar
½ cup oil
1 ¼ tsp. vanilla extract
½ tsp. coconut extract

Preheat the oven to 350ยบ. Spray 22 muffin cups with nonstick spray or line with paper cupcake liners (I like to spray the inside of the muffin papers with nonstick spray to help the cupcakes release). Set aside.

Place the apple cider vinegar in the bottom of a liquid measuring cup and fill the cup with soymilk to equal 1 ½ cups. Stir well and set aside (the mixture will curdle).

In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In another mixing bowl whisk together the soy milk mixture, canola oil, vanilla, and coconut extract. Add the wet to the dry ingredients and beat until smooth using a hand-held mixer, stopping once to scrape down the sides of the bowl.

Fill each muffin cup  or snack cake pan with ¼ cup of batter. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until a cake tester inserted in the middle of a cupcake comes out clean.

Let cool in the pans for 5 minutes, then remove cupcakes from the pan and place on a wire rack. Let the cupcakes cool completely before frosting.

1/4 cup non-hydrogenated shortening
1/4 cup non-hydrogenated margarine
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 TB barley malt powder,  not to be confused with malted milk powder
Beat together the shortening and margarine with a handheld beater or stand mixer. Add the powdered sugar and beat until completely light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the vanilla and malt powder and beat for another 2 minutes.

Fill the pastry bag and poke and squeeze out about one tablespoon into three locations in the underside of each cake.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Cherry Kuchen

 This is a fairly simple recipe that uses can pie filling.  It's great for coffee get togethers with friends.  

Cake Ingredients:
2 sticks butter
2 cups sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
pinch salt
3 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
3 cups all purpose flour
1 can 21ounce cherry pie filling

1 cup powder sugar
1 tsp. almond extract
milk  (approx. 3 tsp.)  as needed to get a thin glaze consistency

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a separate bowl add flour, salt and baking powder.  Sift ingredients, set to side.  

In mixing bowl beat butter and sugar until creamy about 3 to 4 minutes.  Add eggs and vanilla and continue to beat until creamy and smooth.   Slowly add flour mixture until mixed well. Do not over beat after the mixture is combined well.  Remove about 1 1/2 cups of dough and set to side.  Spread remaining dough onto a greased 15x10x1 inch baking pan.  Spread evenly and bake in oven for about 15 minutes.  Remove from oven spread pie filling onto dough.  Add remaining dough into small golf size mounds onto pie filling.  Place back in oven and bake for another 30 minutes, until golden brown on top. Place pan on a cooling rack and cool in pan.  Drizzle glaze over Kuchen and cool completely before cutting into bars.  Enjoy.  

I have tried different pie fillings and they are all delicious.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Cream Cheese Crumb Bars

Love these classic bars.  I make them all the time. I received this recipe years ago at a potluck and I made a few changes, adding sour cream and butter.  It adds a richness that reminds me of German Cheesecake. 

Cheese Cake Bars

Crust and Topping Ingredients:
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup soft butter
2 1/4 cups flour

Cream the brown sugar and butter until smooth and creamy.  Add the flour until crumbly.  Remove approx. 1 cup for topping.   Place the rest in a 13x9 inch baking pan.  Spray with baking release and press down to make crust.  Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.  Remove from oven to cool.

Ingredients for filling:
4 8 ounce bars of cream cheese, softened
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
4 eggs, room temperature
8 T. sour cream
1 stick butter, room temperature
2 T. lemon juice
1/2 tsp. vanilla

In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and sugar until creamy.  Add the eggs, milk, lemon juice and vanilla and beat well.  Pour the cream cheese mixture over the crust and spread out evenly.  Sprinkle the reserved flour mixture on top of cream cheese filling.   Bake 350 degree oven for approximately 25 minutes.  Cool and refrigerate.  Cut into bars and enjoy.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Sweet Potato Cookies

I came up with this recipe several years ago.  I have such admiration for the humble sweet potato.  It is a golden gem.  I love it in pies, whoopie pies, breads, casseroles, baked, fried, salads and of course cookies.  It may seem weird to some folks using sweet potato in a cookie, but why not.  We use pumpkin in cookies.  I use it in cakes and muffins as well.  They are moist, soft and will remind you of a cozy, cold day in fall, sitting next to a warm fire with a cup of joe, tea or hot cocoa.  My hubby and daughter just adore them.  They know when fall comes a calling, these cookies will be baking in the oven.

Recipe: approx. 18 to 22 cookies
Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Wet ingredients: 
2 sticks margarine ( do not use butter) room temperature
1 packed cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 medium eggs room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup mashed sweet potato ( I baked 2 medium size potatoes and scooped out the inside to equal one cup)

Sift dry ingredients 
3 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 of whole nutmeg, grated

Cream butter and sugar for 5 minutes in stand up mixer, add eggs continue to beat until light and fluffy, add vanilla, add potato and continue to beat until incorporated, add sifted dry ingredients.  Let cookie dough rest for 20 minutes in bowl.  Use small spring loaded ice cream scooper on a silpat lined cookie sheet.  Bake for about 12 minutes. 

Cream Cheese Glazed: 
4 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
2 cups powder sugar
3 T. of water, add more to thin out for a creamy, but not runny glaze.

You can use a mixer or do by hand with a whisk or wooden spoon.  Mix all ingredients until a smooth.  Dip tops of cookies into glaze and put on a baking rack to drip.  Sprinkle with cinnamon.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Almond Cake

It's a great gluten free cake and is quite elegant.  I served it with balsamic strawberry sauce but it would be lovely with stewed apples, peaches or blueberries.  Go with what is in season.

Almond Cake

Serves 8
3 T. unsalted butter, room temperature
5 cups sliced almonds
1 3/4 cups plus 2 T. confectioner's sugar
6 large egg whites, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest 
1 teaspoon almond extract ( I put it in)

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Coat the bottom and sides of a 9 by 2 inch cake pan evenly with the butter.  Do not use spring form pan, butter will leach out onto oven.  Add 3/4 cup of the almonds.  Rotate the pan to coat the bottoms and sides.  Turn pan upside down and tap lightly to remove any nuts that do not cling.

2.  In a food processor, grind the remaining 4 1/4 cups almonds and 1 3/4 cups of the sugar to a powder.   Place the mixture to a medium bowl.

3.  In a large bowl, beat the egg whites until foamy and frothy.  Continue beating, adding the remaining 2 T. sugar slowly, until the whites hold firm peaks when the beaters are lifted.  Beat in the vanilla, almond extract and lemon zest until just mixed.

4.  Add the almond mixture to the egg whites half a cup at a time, folding gently just until combined.  Do not over mix.  The batter will be dense.

5.  Put he batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top.  Bake in the middle of the oven until the top is browned and the center springs back when touched lightly, 35 to 40 minutes.  Remove from the oven and cool in the pan on a rack.  Turn out onto a serving plate.  Serve accompanied by the Strawberries in Balsamic Vinegar and Chantilly Cream.

Balsamic Strawberries
4 pints strawberries, 1 pint hulled, 3 pints hulled and sliced
1/4 cup sugar
2 T. water
1 T. balsamic vinegar

Chantilly Cream
2 cups heavy cream
3 T. powder sugar
2 t. vanilla extract

Whip cream to soft peaks, add powder sugar and vanilla, continue to whip until firm peaks hold.Note:
This cake is so moist it keeps well for up to 5 days. You can prepare the berries and toss them with the sugar, water and vinegar 4 hours before serving. This is a wonderful cake to serve with afternoon tea. The strawberries are a wonderful accompaniment, but any type of fruit will be just fine. I also love this cake plain with a little powdered sugar. As it ages, it gets even better. It is very European in style and taste. I also love to serve this cake after a wonderful Italian dinner and an aperitif of amaretto! It is divine!!!!

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