Friday, November 25, 2011

"There's No Reason to Let These Cool Completely"

This year my birthday present to my dear friend Leslie was a pan of Bacon-Bourbon Brownies with Pecans. She loves bacon, she loves brownies and I love to bake. It was decided that I would make them over Thanksgiving weekend while I was visiting.

I couldn't actually eat the brownies because I'm a vegetarian and there is plenty of bacon and bacon fat in the recipe. (Les' dog couldn't have a taste either, so both had to sit and watch her eat them.)

Her review: They are thick and fudgy and not too sweet or sugary. "I'm putting bacon and bourbon in everything now."

My version
Photo by the birthday girl Leslie Ryann McKellar

Bacon-Bourbon Brownies With Pecans:

1/2 C. pecans
1/2 pound sliced bacon
8 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1 stick plus 2 T. unsalted butter
1 C. granulated sugar
1/2 packed C. light brown sugar
3 T. bourbon
4 large eggs
1 t. salt
1/4 C. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 C. all-purpose flour

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spread the pecans in a pie plate and toast for about 8 minutes, until fragrant. Let cool, then coarsely chop the nuts.

In a skillet, cook the bacon over moderate heat, turning once, until crisp, 6 minutes. Drain on paper towels and let cool; reserve 3 tablespoons of the fat. Finely chop the bacon.

In a saucepan, combine both chocolates with the butter and stir over very low heat, until melted; scrape into a large bowl. Using a handheld electric mixer, beat in both sugars with the reserved 3 tablespoons of bacon fat. Beat in the bourbon. Add the eggs and salt and beat until smooth. Sift the cocoa and flour into the bowl and beat until blended.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and sprinkle the bacon and pecans on top. Bake for about 50 minutes, until the brownies are set around the edges but slightly wobbly in the center; a toothpick inserted into the center should have some batter clinging to it. Transfer the pan to a rack and let the brownies cool completely.

***I used the 6 tablespoons of cocoa with 2 tablespoons of butter to make the 2 ounces of unsweetened chocolate.
***Leslie cut into them before they were completely cool. Let's be honest, brownies are best warm out of the oven.
***I found the recipe here: Food & Wine

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

I made these - and wow!

In my search for a vegan chocolate chip cookie, I found this recipe. I like Mexican hot chocolate (chocolatey AND spicy) and I love snickerdoodles. What could be better than these?

This recipe is amazing. The cookies are the perfect little crisp on the outside but completely soft and chewy. And the taste! First you get the chocolate flavor and then ever so slightly you get that cayenne spice. So good.

Vegan Mexican Hot Chocolate Snickerdoodles:

For the topping:
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

For the cookies:
1/2 cup canola oil
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
3 tablespoons almond milk (Or your preferred non-dairy milk)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon chocolate extract (or more vanilla extract if you have no chocolate)
1 2/3 cups flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cayenne

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.

Mix the topping ingredients together on a flat plate. Set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, use a fork to vigorously mix together oil,  sugar, syrup, and milk. Mix in extracts.

Sift in remaining ingredients, stirring as you add them. Once all ingredients are added mix until you’ve got a pliable dough.

Roll dough into walnut-sized balls. Pat into the sugar topping to flatten into roughly 2-inch discs. Transfer to baking sheet, sugar side up, at least 2-inches apart. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.

***I added a couple teaspoons of flour to make the dough a bit stiffer. I also rolled the balls of dough in the topping, rather than flattening them out into discs. Like I do with regular snickerdoodle cookies. They all looked great.

***I found this recipe here: Post Punk Kitchen.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Vegan Pumpkin Smoothies!

I had some remaining pumpkin to use. Pulled out the Vegan Planet cookbook, and voila! A pumpkin smoothie. Like a drinkable pumpkin pie - so delicious.

Pumpkin Smoothie:

1/2 C. pumpkin (canned is fine)
1 t. vanilla
3 T. maple syrup
1/2 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. nutmeg
1/4 t. allspice
2 C. soymilk or other alternative dairy (I used unsweetened almond milk)

Blend the pumpkin, vanilla, maple syrup and spices in blender. Add the milk and blend completely. Pour in two glasses and serve.

***This comes from Vegan Planet by Robin Robertson.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

What's For Dinner?

I was contemplating dinner one night this week when this recipe popped up in my email. I had most all the ingredients except the broccoli and rice vinegar. Thankfully there was a Kroger nearby.

This was so tasty and light and easy to make.

Peanut Sauce with Tofu and Broccoli:

1 block extra-firm tofu, pressed, cut into squares
1 T. canola oil
2 t. soy sauce
2 t. mirin
1 head of broccoli florets, steamed
1 carrot, peeled and shredded
Peanuts, crushed (optional)
1 C. dry brown rice

Peanut dressing:
1/4 C. peanut butter
1/4 C. water
1 T. sugar
1 T. soy sauce
1 T. seasoned rice vinegar
1 t. hot chili oil (optional)
1 pinch salt

Start cooking your rice. Mix sauce ingredients until smooth and set aside.

Pan fry tofu in the oil over high heat until browned on both sides. Drain and return to hot pan (turn off the heat). Mix soy sauce and mirin together and pour over tofu, mixing well. It will form a glaze.

Plate rice, add broccoli, tofu, carrot and crushed peanuts. Drizzle with sauce and serve.

***Here is where I got the recipe: Made Just Right.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Chocolate & Pumpkin Together?

Now, we all know that chocolate and peanut butter were made for each other. But chocolate and pumpkin? I was skeptical. Until this recipe.

I made a batch of Pumpkin Quinoa Breakfast this morning, and since there was pumpkin puree left over, I decided it was as good a time as any to try this quick bread.

OH! And it's vegan.

Chocolate Pumpkin Loaf:


1/4 cup applesauce
2 tablespoons coconut oil (or canola oil)
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/3 cup + 2 tablespoons boiling water, divided (see note)
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 and lightly grease an 8-inch loaf pan. Boil some water in a tea kettle (no need to measure yet.)

Put applesauce, coconut oil and cocoa powder in a mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, spices, baking soda and salt.

Measure out 1/3 cup boiling water and pour into the bowl with the chocolate mixture, mixing quickly to make a smooth chocolate sauce. Add pumpkin, sugar and vanilla and mix well.

Dump about half of the flour mixture into the chocolate mixture and gently stir just to incorporate, then measure out 1 tablespoon of boiling water and stir again. Now add the rest of the flour mixture and another tablespoon of boiling water and stir just until smooth. Take care not to overmix. Fold in the chocolate chips.

Spoon the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Bake for 55 minutes to an hour. Stick a steak knife into the center of the loaf to check for doneness. Let cool for 10 minutes, then invert pan and place loaf on a cooling rack to cool most of the way. 

***I guess you could skip the chocolate chips if you don't have any. But why would you do that?

***I found this recipe here: Post Punk Kitchen

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Morning After... Cookies From Halloween Candy

So I had some trick-or-treaters last night. Always fun to see kids dressed up. But what to do with the leftover candy. I can't have this in my house. I searched for a recipe using Hershey Cookies & Cream candy bars. I found this....

My version

Cookies and Cream Brownie Cookies:

4 1/4 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1/2 C. butter
2 eggs
1 1/2 C. sugar
1 1/2 t. vanilla
1 1/2 t. baking soda
2 1/4 C. flour
2 T. unsweetened cocoa powder
12 oz. Hershey's Cookies and Cream candy bar (three 4 oz. bars)
1/2 C. mini chocolate chips

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees and line cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Place unsweetened chocolate and butter in saucepan over low heat while stirring constantly. Once melted, add in espresso granules and stir to combine. Set aside. Place eggs, sugar, vanilla, baking soda and salt in a bowl and mix to combine until glossy about 1-2 minutes. Fold in a slightly cooled chocolate mixture.

Place flour and unsweetened cocoa powder in a bowl and whisk to combine. Fold dry mixture into wet mixture until combined. Add chopped cookie & cream candy and chocolate chip to batter and fold to combine.

Bake for 10-12 minutes. Cool on wire rack.

***For 1 oz. unsweetened chocolate substitute, use 3 T. cocoa and 1 T. butter.
***I skipped the mini chocolate chips because I didn't have them.
***Orignal recipe here: Bakers Royale