Vegan-Blueberry-Apple-Mini-Muffins

VEGAN Blueberry Apple Mini Muffins

Recently, we relocated from Chicago to Philadelphia because ST got a job with a new company. In Chicago, he had 5 coworkers, so it was difficult to get a true gauge of how well people liked my baked goods. His new office has over 60 employees, so not only does that allow me to step up my production game, but I get to hear how much people like them from a huge crowd. I get so excited to make them Monday Morning goodies, or TGIF cookies, and they seem to get excited as well. I had just gotten a new mini muffin pan, and decided to make Blueberry Apple Mini Muffins!

If you have met me, or read my blog, you know that I really enjoy making vegan goodies that actually taste AMAZING. I have no idea why, but vegan baking is just SO fun. My passion for it started out about two years ago. I had a vegan coworker, who was a very strict vegan–like no regular old granulated sugar vegan. I loved to bake, this guy didn’t like sweets because he rarely finds any that are vegan and are delicious. ‘CHALLENGE ACCEPTED,’ I thought to myself. Thus began my journey into vegan baking. Which reminds me, I still have a recipe for the most amazing vegan banana brownies. I will have to post that soon! Also, be on the lookout for my vegan baking tips post–coming soon to your computer screen!

Anyway, thankfully I knew my way around substitutions pretty well. These muffins were not originally going to be vegan. I had every intention of putting egg, milk, and butter in them. I started baking around 9pm, this happens far too often for me. Upon setting out all of the ingredients I noticed I did not have eggs, or butter. ‘What’s a girl to do,’ I thought?! Then it hit me. I had coconut oil. I had some bananas that were basically begging me to use them before being thrown out the next day. And, I had almond milk. PERFECT! VEGAN BLUEBERRY APPLE MINI MUFFINS with a hint of banana :) here I come!

 

Vegan Blueberry Apple Mini Muffins (yields about 48 mini or 18 large muffins)

For these mini muffins, you will need:

  • 3 cps + 1 ½ Tbsp Unbleached All-Purpose Flour (divided)
  • 1½ Tbsp Baking Powder
  • ½ tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon (divided)
  • ½ cp Coconut Oil (solid state)*
  • ¼ cp Ripe Banana-mashed (about ½ medium size banana for me)
  • ¾ cp Sugar–I use sugar vegan cane sugar
  • 1⅛ cp Almond Milk
  • 1½ tsp Vanilla Extract
  • ¾ cp Blueberries (fresh)**
  • ¾ cp Apples (unpeeled and chopped)

To make:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, salt, and ½ tsp cinnamon.
  3. In a large bowl, beat together the coconut oil and sugar, until light and fluffy (2-3 min).
  4. Beat in the banana until thoroughly incorporated.
  5. Fold in the almond milk and vanilla.
  6. Carefully add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. I did this in thirds, just to avoid making a mess. Be sure not to over mix this as it will cause your muffins to be tough. Stir just until combined, mixture will be lumpy!
  7. In a separate bowl, mix the remaining ½ tsp cinnamon and 1½ Tbsp of flour until combined and toss the blueberries and apples in it just until they are coated.
  8. Gently fold in the blueberries and apples into the mixture.
  9. Line and spray a mini cupcake pan.
  10. Drop mix by the spoonful into muffin cups about ¾ full.
  11. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown. Do the good ole toothpick/fork trick to make sure they are done. Leave them in the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire cooling rack.
  12. Repeat steps 9-11 for the second batch.

Vegan-Blueberry-Apple-Mini-Muffins

ENJOY! :)

*You can use liquid coconut oil, but it wont combine with the sugar correctly and won’t get light and fluffy as you beat it. If your coconut oil has melted into liquid state, I would pop that jar in the refrigerator for about an hour and it should solidify back up.

**You can use frozen blueberries, but DO NOT thaw them before using. This will cause them to bleed–then your muffins will turn green. Unless you have having a St. Patty’s Day or Hulk party, that is not desired.

 

 

 

 

Salted Rolo Cookies

Salted Peanut Butter Rolo Cookies

Salted Peanut Butter Rolo Cookies

Is there any combination better than caramel, chocolate, and salt?  I say no, but perhaps you disagree–thats okay, more cookies for me! I found this recipe for Salted Peanut Butter Rolo Cookies at over at Mountain Mama Cooks, and made a few minor adjustments. These cookies are pretty tasty! I think that next time I will try to use a chocolate cookie base instead of peanut butter. That will allow to focus to be on the turtle aspect of them.

You Need:

  • 1 ¼ cp all-purpose flour
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  •  ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 cp brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cp peanut butter
  • ¼ cp semi-sweet mini morels
  • ¼ cp pecan pieces
  • 1- 8oz bag of mini Rolo candies
  • coarse sea salt for sprinkling on top

 

To Make:

  1. Preheat over to 350°
  2. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt together in small bowl.
  3. Mix together butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  4. Add egg, vanilla, and peanut butter. Beat until completely combined.
  5. Slowly add dry ingredients, until fully incorporated.
  6. Stir in chocolate chips and pecan pieces.
  7. Roll into 2 in balls and place on baking sheet 2 in apart.
  8. Place 2-3 mini Rolos on top of the balls, then gently push down with the bottom of a glass until flattened to ¼ in.
  9. Sprinkle with sea salt to desired taste.
  10. Bake for 10-12 minutes.
  11. Let set for 2-3 minutes, then move to wire cooling rack.

 

ENJOY!

crispy chewy sugar cookie

Chewy and Crispy Sugar Cookies

My favorite cookies are either ones that are jam packed with chocolate, or a classic sugar coated cookie. I am not a huge fan of iced sugar cookies, but if you have a sugar cookie that is coated in sugar crystals, and is chewy inside and crispy on the outside, then please sit next to me my friend!

The key to making sugar cookies that are crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside comes down to a few key things. SUGAR–the type of sugar you use can greatly impact the overall texture of your cookie. Brown sugar can aid in providing a chewier texture, where as white sugar generally is used to help with crunch. Another factor that can attribute to crunchy or chewy texture is setting time. If you pull a cookie out of the oven before it is golden brown, and let it continue to bake on a baking sheet for a few minutes, before cooling, it will have a crunchy outer texture, while maintaining its almost uncooked delicious gooeyness inside.

This is my FAVORITE sugar cookie recipe so far.

For these cookies you will need:

  • 2 ¼ cups of unbleached all purpose flour
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 ½ cp of brown sugar
  • 2 oz cream cheese, cut up into smaller pieces
  • 6 tbsp melted butter, still warm
  • ⅓ cp canola oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tbsp skim milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • ⅓ white sugar for rolling + some gold sugar sprinkles to make them pretty

To make:

1. Preheat oven to 350º and move rack to center of the oven.

2. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.

3. Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl and set aside.

4. Cream the brown sugar and cream cheese in a large bowl.

5. Melt the butter, by heating it in the microwave for 10-15 sec intervals. Once melted, pour the warm butter over the cream cheese and sugar.

6. Whisk in oil, egg, milk, and vanilla until smooth.

7. Sprinkle in flour mix in 2-3 parts using a rubber spatula, stir until completely combined.

8.  In a shallow bowl or tray, pour in ⅓ cp of white sugar, and add sugar sprinkles if you want to.

9. Roll dough into 2 tbsp sided balls with your hands, then roll into the sugar/sprinkles bowl.

10. Flatten dough balls until they are about 2 inches in diameter.

11. Sprinkle with more sugar.

12. Bake for 10-12 minutes.

13. Remove tray from oven BEFORE they are golden brown, and let sit on cookie sheet for an additional 5 minutes, then move to cooling rack.

 

ENJOY!

peanut butter criss cross cookies

Peanut Butter Criss Cross Cookies

Peanut Butter Criss Cross cookies were a staple in my childhood home. Not only are they completely irresistible, but super easy to make.

When I was a little girl, I used to love helping my mom make these cookies by whipping out the fork and imprinting the criss crosses–okay, okay it is still my favorite part! One thing that makes this recipe super delicious is the use of brown sugar, instead of granulated sugar. This helps provide a chewy texture inside.

Also, I choose to chill my dough for a few hours. I have found that chilling the dough results in a better butter taste, a great crispy outside texture with chewy goodness inside, and beautiful coloration/shape. For this batch, I chilled the dough for about 24 hours, because I ran out of time yesterday and couldn’t get to baking them. However, it is not ABSOLUTELY necessary if you are on a time crunch. I get it, when you get a hankering for some cookies, you can’t always wait!

—————

PEANUT BUTTER CRISS CROSS COOKIES

Yields: About 24 cookies

Total Time: About 3 hours–this includes at least 2 hours for chilling the dough

Bake Temp: 350°

—————

What you need?

1 stick of unsalted butter (softened)

1 cp brown sugar

½ cp creamy natural salted peanut butter

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp almond extract

1½ cp unbleached all purpose flour

½ tsp baking soda

½ tsp salt

1 cp granulated sugar (I use cane sugar–I just like it better)

—————

To make:

  1. Cream butter, brown sugar, and peanut butter in a large bowl using a hand mixer on medium low.
  2. Beat in egg, vanilla extract, and almond extract until well combined.
  3. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium sized bowl.
  4. Using a rubber spatula, pour dry ingredients into wet ingredients in 2-3 parts until completely combined.
  5. Cover with plastic wrap, or lid if you have it, and place in the fridge for 2 hours–you can totally leave this in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
  6. Watch a few shows, or run a couple of miles, take a shower, whatever you need to do to keep your mind off those darn cookies for 2 hours.
  7. Preheat the oven to 350°.
  8. Roll dough into little 1 inch balls, roll in granulated sugar, and place on cookie sheet 2 inches apart.
  9. Take a fork and press down vertically and horizontally to smash them to be about 1½ inches wide–don’t worry no one is going to measure you on this and it won’t mess anything up if you prefer them bigger/smaller. 
  10. Bake for 12 minutes, leave on baking sheet for about 5 minutes, then move to wire cooling rack.
  11. Pour a glass of milk (or almond milk compliments them nicely) and ENJOY!

You can add some jelly to these bad boys if you so choose. You can either add the jelly before baking by putting a dime size amount on the rolled balls of dough, then press down with a fork to mash the jelly into the dough, or you can just add a dime size amount of jelly after baking–the latter is my preferred method, but my husband enjoys the jelly baked in. I have added pictures of both for you to reference.

peanut butter cookies with jelly

With Jelly After Baking

peanut butter criss cross cookies baked with jelly

Baked with Jelly

peanut butter criss cross cookies baked with jelly

Baked with Jelly

Pink Champagne Cupcakes!

Pink Champagne CupcakesYay 2013!! This is my first New Year’s Eve in Chicago and I am soo extremely excited to celebrate it! I got a bunch of new baking tools for Christmas and was so jazzed to break them in. I had to make something festive, so I of course chose Pink Champagne Cupcakes (AKA princess cupcakes). New Year’s Eve and weddings are the only times I really drink champagne, so why not indulge in this holiday! I was able to use y new 9 speed Kitchenaid mixer (thanks MOM!), and my new decorating gun, and I also adapted the Champagne Buttercream Frosting recipe used by the ladies over at Georgetown Cupcake.

Now, let’s pop some bubbly and get this party started!

 

 

 

 

Here is what you need for the cupcakes:

  • 1 1/2 sticks of unsalted butter (room temp)
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 6 egg whites
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 cups unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 2 cups rosé champagne
  • Pink food coloring

For the delicious Champagne Buttercream Frosting you need:

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter (softened)
  • 4 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp heavy cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup rosé champagne

To make them:

1. Preheat oven to 350.

2. Cream together butter, sugar, and vanilla on medium/high speed until light and fluffy.

3. Slowly add egg whites into the mixture and scrape sides as needed.

4. Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a separate bowl.

5. Alternate adding dry ingredients and champagne to the butter mixture.

6.  Add as much pink food coloring as desired.

7. Pour into cupcake lined muffin pan about 2/3 way full and bake for 18-22 minutes or until spongey/springy to the touch.

To make the frosting:

1. Put the butter into a medium size bowl and slowly add the confectioner’s sugar and beat on medium until incorporated.

2. Slowly add the rest of the ingredients and then beat on high for 5-7 minutes.

3. Fill into frosting gun or piping bag and set aside.

Once the cupcakes are finished, cool on cooling rack and when they are cool to the touch on top, frost them however you want. Don’t forget to add sprinkles and fancy them up a bit!

 

 

 

 

CHEERS!

 

Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies

Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies

Hi party people!!

I found mint/dark chocolate chips at the store the other day and had to buy them. I decided to make chocolate mint chocolate chip cookies!! They ended up being soooo good! They almost taste like Andes Mints, and who doesn’t love those?!

The mint chips came in a package by Tollhouse with mint and dark chocolate chips combined. I just used almost an entire package for this recipe.

For these you will need:

  • 2/3 cup of crisco shortening
  • 1 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 2 cups Nestle Tollhouse Mint/Dark Chocolate Chips
  • Powdered sugar for sprinkling on top
  • Red sprinkles for festiveness

To make these delicious after dinner mint cookies:

1. Preheat oven to 375, and lay foil sheets down on the counter to cool the cookies on after they are out of the oven.

2. Cream together the crisco, brown sugar, and vanilla until smooth.

3. Beat in eggs on medium speed until combined.

4. In a separate bowl, combine flour, cocoa, salt, and baking soda and mix completely.

5. Combine wet and dry ingredients thoroughly.

6. Gently stir in chocolate chips.

7. Bake for 7-9 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit on cookie sheet for about 5 minutes, then remove and place on foil to continue cooling/baking a little longer.

8. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and sprinkles.

ENJOY!

Delicious Turtle Brownies

Turtle Brownies are my absolute favorite type of brownies (EVER)! I am extremely addicted to pretty much any type of sweet that contains chocolate and caramel. In my mind, the two just compliment each other soo much and they make me (and my TUMMY) super duper happy. These are so easy to make and only contain 6-7 ingredients–depending on if you want to include pecans, which you probably should to make them official ‘turtle brownies.’

I REALLY dislike box cake mixes, unless used to create a dessert other than its intended one. This recipe calls for a box of German Chocolate Cake Mix. I have found that it works better than any of the brownie/cake recipes I normally use. German chocolate is exactly the right chocolate for this recipe.

Here is what you need:

  • 1 box of German Chocolate Cake Mix
  • 1/2 cup evaporated milk (divided)
  • 3/4 cup butter (melted)
  • 1 bag of caramels
  • 1 cup semi-sweet mini morsels
  • 1/2 cup pecans (optional)

To make these little turtles:

1. Preheat oven to 325

2. Combine cake mix with 1/4 cup of evaporated milk and butter

3. Spread 1/2 of the batter into a greased 13×9 casserole dish

4. Bake for 15 minutes

5. Cool for 15 minutes-while you it is cooling, unwrap caramels and melt down with remaining 1/4 cup of evaporated milk over medium heat, stirring constantly.

6. After 15 minutes, pour melted caramel sauce over the batter and sprinkle the chocolate chips and pecans evenly on top.

7. Lightly smash individual spoonfuls of remaining batter on top–or use your fingers BUT don’t forget to wash your hands!!

8. Bake for an additional 15 minutes, then allow to cool completely (typically overnight) before attempting to cut into squares.

9. ENJOY! and be careful–it is SOOO easy to eat like an entire tray of these. They are SO good!

-K

Vegan Carmelitas

Since there are a few vegans at my work, it give me plenty of practice on my vegan baking. Whenever I make something now, I typically try to make the vegan version as well. So, when I made Carmelitas, I of course had to also make Vegan Carmelitas. Although I personally did not find these to be as AMAZING as the non-vegan version, they were stil pretty darn good. Also, it was fun for me to experiment with vegan baking. These were approved by both vegans and non vegans at my workplace, so you should give them a shot. For the vegan version, I only made an 8×8 tray of them.

For these you will need:

  • 2 Earth Balance Buttery sticks softened and divided
  • 3/4 cup vegan brown sugar***
  • 1 cup unbleached flour***
  • 1 cup of oats
  • 1 tsp baking soda***
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 6 oz carob chips
  • 1/4 cup agave nectar
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 cups white sugar***

To make these:

1. Preheat oven to 350 and grease and 8×8 Pyrex dish

2. Combine the white sugar and agave nectar in a small saucepan. ]Stirring constantly, bring to boil, then turn down to low heat and cook for about 10 minutes. Combine 2 tbsp of buttery sticks, salt, and the coconut milk together in a glass measuring cup. Slowly add the mixture into the saucepan. Be carefully, because it wil bubble up. Stir until smooth (about 5 minutes). Set this aside as it will thicken up while it cools down. I stuck mine in the freezer for about 5 minutes to help cool/thicken.

3. Cream together buttery sticks and brown sugar.

4. Combine flour, oats, baking soda, and salt into a medium bowl.

5.  Add flour mixture to brown sugar mixture and hand stir until combined.

6. Pour half the mixture into the greased 8×8 casserole and bake for 10 minutes.

7. After crust is set, remove from the oven and sprinkle carob chips evenly over the crust.

8. Pour caramel sauce over the top.

9. Crumble the remaining oat mixture over the top and stick back into the oven.

10. Bake for an additional 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat, and allow to cool completely before cutting. I put mine into the freezer for an hour to save time.

ENJOY!

-K

***I find it extremely important to fully commit yourself to vegan baking. If you are going to make something vegan, don’t skimp out. Yes, most vegans do not pay attention to sugar, or baking soda, but you might as well go all out and make sure that every part of your delicious treat is vegan. It is a challenge and it is fun to know that you made something that could be certified ‘Vegan.’ That being said I purchased all the vegan ingredients at Whole Foods as it is the place most likely to have everything you need.

Why is sugar not considered ‘vegan?’ This is because during the filtration process, they sometimes use animal bone to break down and granulate the sugar. Why is baking soda not considered vegan? PETA has listed Arm and Hammer as a company that tests baking soda on animals. So, this being said although these ingredients do not contain any animal by products, they are not cruelty-free. So, know the vegans you are baking for, if they are not concerned with this type of stuff, then use whatever ingredients you wish to use, but if you are making a truly vegan dessert, you might as well go all out and make the real thing. That is my spiel. Thanks!!

 

Carmelitas!!

 

Hiiii guys! Apparently, I was a little late on the carmelitas craze. However, I think it is never too late to enjoy these delicious little things! I also decided to make a vegan version, which I will post separately here. I adapted this recipe from Lulu the Baker’s recipe.

Here is what you need:

  • 64 unwrapped caramel squares
  • 3/4 cup evaporated milk
  • 2 sticks butter softened
  • 3 cups brown sugar, packed
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 cups oats
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1-12 oz bag of semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup pecans (optional)

To make them:

1. Preheat oven to 350 and grease a 13×9 casserole dish.

2. Cream together butter and brown sugar.

3. Combine flour, oats, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl.

4. Add flour mixture to butter/brown sugar mixture, and mix by hand (or on a low speed) until well combined.

5. Scoop 1/2 the mixture into the 13×9 and spread flat against the bottom of the pan. You can also make edges for a little bit of a crust if you want.

6. Bake for 10 minutes and remove from the oven.

 

7. While that is baking, melt down caramels in the evaporated milk on the stove on med0low heat and stirring constantly. Remove from heat once caramels are completely melted and you have a thick sauce.

8. Once the pan is out of the oven and your crust is set, sprinkle chocolate chips (and pecans if you used pecans) evenly over the crust.

9. Pour the carmel sauce over the chocolate chips/nuts.

10. Sprinkle remaining crumb mixture over the top and put back into the oven for 15-20 minutes.

11. Remove from oven once the edges are golden brown, and allow to cool completely before cutting. I threw mine into the freezer for about an hour. They cut easily after that. I also stored mine in the freezer because I love frozen treats!!

Enjoy!

-K

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Pumpkin Maple Cream Cheese Icing

pumpkin cupcakes

I absolutely love Fall and fall baking ingredients!! Fall and winter are hands down the BEST seasons for baking! There are so many great shapes of cookies, so many delicious pies, creative (and spooky) desserts this time of year.

For work, I decided to of course use pumpkin because it would be wrong to not bake something  involving pumpkin in October. These turned out so deliciously. You can eat them with or without the icing. So, I guess they could be pumpkin muffins too! However, I recommend not skipping over the icing. The icing was a maple/pumpkin cream cheese icing and it was SOOO good. We used the leftover icing on cinnamon rolls and it was so yummy!

 

 

Here is what you need to make 24 cupcakes:

For Pumpkin Cupcakes:

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup softened butter (1 & 1/2 sticks)
  • 2 cups brown sugar (lightly packed)
  • 3 eggs
  • 15 oz canned pumpkin (divided)
  • 1 cup milk

For Maple Pumpkin Icing:

  • 1 1/2 blocks cream cheese
  • 3/4 cup softened butter (1 1/2 sticks butter)
  • 4 tbsp maple syrup
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • Remaining pumpkin

1. Preheat oven to 350 and line a muffin pan with liners and lightly spray with crisco.

2. Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg until well combined.

3. Make sure butter is thoroughly softened. Then cream together butter and brown sugar.

4. Lightly beat eggs and then add to butter/sugar mixture.

5. Next, measure out 1 1/2 cups of pumpkin and add to the wet ingredients.

6. Once well combined, add dry ingredients to wet ingredients alternately with milk.

7. Pour evenly into muffin pan, about 2/3 full. Bake for 17-22 minutes. Test using the toothpick method. Let sit in muffin pan for a few minutes before removing and putting on cooling rack.

For the icing:

8. Cream together the cream cheese and butter.

9. Slowly add the maple syrup, remaining pumpkin (should be around 1/2 cup, but it doesn’t matter it is just to add some of that flavor).

10. Carefully add in the powdered sugar and beat until smooth.

11. Add a dash of any spices used in the cupcakes, or sprinkle a little on top for decoration. (optional)