Friday, December 14, 2012

Fancy Vegan White Chocolate!

Last year for the holidays, I made tree ornaments for friends / family. It was fun, inexpensive, and personal. They were also small enough that they were easy to ship all over the place. :)

This year, I wanted to make something again! I decided to get crazy and make vegan white chocolate. I found a recipe online and decided to just go with it!

The main ingredient in white chocolate is cocoa butter. How on earth do you find that stuff? Well, you can find it at some health stores, but I ordered mine online. If you go to amazon and search for it, you can probably find a good pound of it for 10 - 12 bucks.

So you'll need these things:

2.1 ounces of cocoa butter
1 tsp soy milk powder
1/4 cup + 1 tbsp powdered sugar
Pinch of salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

I got really fancy and used vanilla bean instead of vanilla extract! ;)

So anyways, here are the instructions:

1. To ensure your chocolate is as smooth as possible, run the soy milk powder through a rotary coffee grinder. Sift the soy milk powder, powdered sugar and salt into a medium mixing bowl and set aside.

2. Add the cocoa butter to a small saucepan and melt over medium heat. Alternatively, the cocoa butter can be melted in the microwave. Transfer the mixture to a double boiler and whisk until smooth. Whisk in the soy milk powder, powdered sugar and salt mixture followed by the vanilla extract. Continue whisking until smooth.

3. Temper the chocolate. Bring the mixture up to 120F (49C) while whisking frequently. Remove the bowl containing the mixture from the double boiler. Place the mixture in the refrigerator periodically and whisk occasionally to allow the mixture to reduce to 79F (26C). Now place the mixture back on the double boiler and bring it up to 87F (31C). If you overshoot and the temperature goes past 89F (32C), start the tempering process over.

4. Pour the mixture into your preferred chocolate mold. You can order chocolate bar molds online or get creative pour the chocolate ½ inch high in paper cups. Lift your mold up about an inch or so and drop it onto the counter top a couple times to release excess air bubbles. Allow the chocolate to solidify at room temperature overnight if possible to allow it to crystallize properly. If your kitchen is too hot for the fat to solidify then place it in the refrigerator after about 30 minutes. Remove the white chocolate from the mold and store it in an air tight container for up to 6 months in a cool, dark place. Makes 3.5 ounces.

So I did it!

I also think the addition of the vanilla bean added a nice flair....


Deliciousness: 4/5 
It's tasty, for sure! It's really sweet, of course, because it's sugar and cocoa butter. But it's yummy. :)
Ease of Preparation: 2/5
Easier than other candy projects I've tried. But you realllllllllllly need a digital thermometer, a lot of patience, and a good sense of humor for this project. You will make messes, you will probably burn things. It's all part of the fun.
Prettiness: 5/5
Little gems of vanilla bean white chocolate! Cute.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Even Better Than? The Best Pumpkin Muffins

I took this recipe from The PPK and adapted it.

It's certainly hard to top THE BEST pumpkin muffin, but I'm ready for the challenge...

I have been trying my hardest not to use white sugar lately. I have a legitimate problem with sugar, and I'm hoping making homemade treats with organic / all natural white sugar alternatives will help wean me off the seductive white powder. ;) So I mixed up some of the proportions / substituted agave and brown rice syrup for the original recipe's sugar.

I've also been trying to put different flours into my baked goods to get some whole grains in there, and to add diversity to my diet.

Here's my recipe! Mwahahaha!

1 cup all-purpose unbleached flour
3/4 cup spelt flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 cup brown rice syrup
3/4 cup agave nectar 
1 1/2 tbsp Trader Joe's Pumpkin Spice (Best purchase I've made this holiday season...)
1 cup pureed pumpkin (My fresh pumpkin puree I made a few weeks ago! Yay!)
6 tbsp coconut milk (stuff from a can!)
2 tbsp Frangelico's hazelnut liqueur
2 tbsp molasses
1/2 cup unroasted / unsalted sunflower seeds

1. In a medium-sized bowl, mix the brown rice syrup and agave together. The brown rice syrup is VERY thick and pasty, so the agave mixed into it will liquefy it a bit.
2. Mix pumpkin, coconut milk, Frangelico's, and molasses into sweetener mixture. Set aside.
3. In a large bowl, mix flours, baking powder, salt, and spices. Pour pumpkin mixture into flour mixture. Mix well, then mix in the sunflower seeds.
4.Grease the insides of a muffin pan. This is very important! I wish I'd done these without the paper cups, because they stuck like a mofo to those things.

5. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 13-18 minutes.
6. Eat. Eat them all now.


Deliciousness: 6/5 
I actually think I'm going to dare to say that these muffins are even better than the original recipe. They are more moist and spicy. I think the Trader Joe's spice is the BOMB, though, so that could be why. As for the moistness, I'm gonna bet that that sticky-sticky brown rice syrup is the reason for such delightfulness. Yum.

Ease of Preparation: 4/5
Easy baking recipe. :)

Prettiness: 4/5 
The sunflower seeds poking through the muffin tops add a nice touch, and the goldeny pumpkin color is always ever-so-festive. Fuck yeah.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Frangelicos Lollipops (Merry Holidays!)

I wanted to make some stuff that was vegan friendly and easy / relatively cheap to send out to friends for the holidays.

I found this amazing recipe from Leite's Culinaria for liquor lollipops.

I decided that if the sugar I use is vegan-friendly, and the liquor I use is as well, then my vegan buddies will be thoroughly gifted for the holidays.


  • 1/4 cup plus 1 teaspoon hard liquor, such as bourbon, tequila, or rum
  • 2 tablespoons cold water
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons corn syrup
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon food coloring of your choice (optional)
When deciding on what liquor to use, I wanted to choose something holiday-y, but vegan friendly. So bailey's was out of the question. As was pumpkin creme liqueur.
But...according to, Frangelico's is definitely vegan friendly! Hooray! 

And hazelnut liqueur is kinda holiday-y, right? I hope so.
So now, you got your instructions:

1. Mix together 1/4 cup of the liquor, and the water, sugar, corn syrup, and salt in a 1- or 2-quart saucepan until all of the sugar is wet. If sugar crystals cling to the sides of the pan, dissolve them away with a wet pastry brush.

2. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally and gently with a heatproof spatula until all of the sugar is dissolved. Then boil to 300°F (149°C) without stirring.

I'd like to take a moment to interject and tell ya'll just how fucked up my lollipop making experience was.

A) My candy thermometer wouldn't go past 240. I got confused. Suddenly the syrup was BURNING. I threw that batch away.
B) Second round, I just fucking ignored my thermometer because that bitch is a liar. I did everything totally fine and stuff, but the lollipops weren't quite hard enough. I was so scared of burning them that they were just a litttttttttttle too soft.
C) I poured the remaining syrup I didn't use out into the sink. I tripped on myself (like the dumbass I am) and got it all over my hand. Much screaming, crying, and burning ensued. 


And we continue....

3. Remove from the heat, and, working quickly, mix in the remaining 1 teaspoon liquor and food coloring, if using. Still working with haste, drop the syrup into either lollipop molds or onto a silicone mat.

Since I was using a silicone mat....

4. Quickly drop the syrup onto the silicone mat so that it forms 2-inch disks and immediately after plopping the syrup on the sheets place a lollipop stick in the center of each disk and twist it 180 degrees so that it’s fully covered in syrup. Let cool completely.


Deliciousness: 4/5
Only 4 points because I didn't get them hard enough! Still lollipops, but they stick to your teeth if you suck on them for too long. Other than that, the Frangelico's gives it a lovely taste. :D
Ease of Preparation: 1/5
A nightmare from hell. Fuck this lollipop shit.
Prettiness: 4/5
They're little lollipops! 

Hipster Beer Bread

It's been awhile.

But the good news is that I keep cooking and baking stuff lately. And it keeps being fun.

So I'm gonna start blogging about it, since I can! :)

I have a recipe for beer bread that is adapted from a variety of other beer bread recipes. First of all, since not all beer is vegan, it's important to check to see if your bottle is animal-safe.

I had a ton of leftover PBR (which is fortunately vegan-friendly) so that's what I stuck with.

Plus, who doesn't want a slice of PBR hipster bread?!


2 2/3 cup flour (white flour is my personal choice for a good soft beer bread flavor, but I've also had success with spelt and whole wheat)
2 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
12 fl oz of beer
3 tbsp brown rice syrup

1. Mix all dry ingredients together.
2. Pour bottle of beer into dry ingredients. Mix until just combined.
3. Mix in brown rice syrup. This is a thick sweetener, so mix well! You don't want a clump of sweetness in your otherwise unsweet bread.
4. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 45 minutes, until golden brown and cracked on top.



Deliciousness: 4/5
Tastes like good ol' beer bread! Always improved with a slab of vegan butter. It would probably be fun to experiment with different beers, too....lighter beers have always worked well for me with beer bread so I bet a kolsch would be nice.
Ease of Preparation: 5/5
Few ingredients, mix it all together. Bake it. Like an easy-bake-oven, man.
Prettiness: 4/5
Looks all rustic and lovely with the cracked golden top!