Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Vegan Frontier

Welp, I finally have a night off and am seated comfortably on the floor of my bedroom, between my bed and wall. This is the spot in my house where my cell phone works best, fresh breezes carrying the scent of grass and shrubs and backyard blooms float in, and blog posts are typed.

I know, I know, I've talked about them several times now but the wait is finally over - vegan cupcakes are here! After 3 batches, a slew of solicited advice, and these new ingredients in my reserves,

they are ready for you! Keep these recipes handy for granolas, animal lovers, and anyone who can't eat dairy.

Jenni's White Vegan Cupcakes
Makes 18, can double or triple.

1 TBS apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 c almond milk
2 c unbleached all purpose flour
1 c white sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 c coconut oil
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
2 c or larger glass measuring cup
small bowl
medium bowl
silicone spatula
a small sauce pan, only if your coconut oil is solid
3 6-cup or 2 12-cup muffin pans
wire cooling racks

1. Line 18 mufin cups with paper liners and set aside (I used these - excellent quality!)
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
*If your coconut oil is still solid in its jar, scoop into saucepan and heat on low, constantly stirring until liquefied*
3. Add the vinegar and almond milk to a glass measuring cup, and set aside until curdled (about 5 minutes)
4. In medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
5. In small bowl, whisk together coconut oil, vanilla and almond extracts.
6. Add the vinegar milk mixture to the small bowl and whisk again.
7. Pour liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir JUST until combined with no dry lumps
8. Spoon batter into the lined muffin cups (a quarter cup measure works just about perfect for me!)
9. Bake for 18 minutes or before any browing occurs
10. Remove from oven and cool pan on wire racks completely
11. Remove cupcakes from pan and frost!
12. Use my frosting recipe below :)

Jenni's Fluffy Vegan Citrus Frosting
Makes enough to frost 18 cupcakes with a tip. If you will just use a knife, cut recipe in half.

1 orange
1 lemon
1 lime
1 c Earth Balance Buttery Sticks room temperature or slightly melted
6 c-ish powdered sugar (more if it's hot or your citrus is extra zesty!)
2/3 c almond milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
a citrus zester or the smallest side of a cheese grater (this is the BEST to zest!)
large bowl
silicone spatula
standing or hand held mixer

1. Wash your citrus well to remove all of the commercially applied wax
2. Zest your cirtus and set aside. Don't know how to zest? Learn here.
3. In large bowl, beat buttery sticks on high speed for 10 seconds
4. Add 2 c sugar and mix on low for 10 seconds, scraping down the side of the bowl as you go
5. Increase mixer speed to high and continue incorporating sugar until smooth
6. Add 1/3 c milk and mix for 10 seconds
7. Repeat steps 3 and 4
8. Add the vanilla
9. Repeat step 4
10. Add the citrus zest and mix on high for a last 30-60 seconds until evenly incorporated
11. Frost your cupcakes!
12. Serve to wedding guests ;)

P.S. For plain 'ole vanilla frosting simply leave out the zest. The frosting will actually set up a bit better and look more like this:

Strawberry pie will is next but now it's time to switch from yoga clothes to pj's, settle into bed with my book, and let the crickets and cicadas send me off to sleep. G'night!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

I Have the Most Awesome Friends

Really. I do. I often times feel like the most fortunate person in the world. And I don't just have one or two. I have a lot. And they are all awesome. I never seem to be able to find enough words or occasions to tell them all how much I love them and how much they mean to me. So I hope some of you read this:

I love you and I wouldn't be complete without you. You are my family and I feel so lucky to know and share this wonderful life with you :)

I have a new VEGAN recipe to post but I'm feeling overly sentimental today, so that will have to wait...

These are some of my friends.
They often times taste my baked creations first. Thank you Acorns for your tummies and taste buds!

Now check out these two.
They got married last weekend. My vegan cupcakes were perfected and presented at their welcome bbq (no, not the ones in these pictures). Aww, aren't they cute?
I think the key to having awesome friends is to only surround yourself with relationships that truly matter. Those based on shared values, shared respect, and shared fun. I think this pair works because they are best friends.
Ha! Obvious, no?

Now go call a friend you haven't talked to in a while. Or make a new one. It will make your day. Promise ;)

Friday, August 12, 2011

Guanella Pass Pancakes

Last weekend, after working at Summit Lake on Mt. Evans, I went camping with Claire and Linnea. We drove up through Georgetown towards Guanella Pass to the sweetest little campground between two creeks. We had an amazing dinner and then turned in pretty early, but not before seeing a spectacular shooting star!

The next morning we had AWESOME pancakes for breakfast. Made over a fire. From scratch. Yummmmmmm :) This recipe is great for car camping. Prepare your ingredients ahead of time for easy cooking at camp, less mess and warmer hands at altitude.

Jenni's Guanella Pass Pancakes
Makes 2-3 servings, can double

1 cup unbleached flour
1 TBS brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 dash salt
1 large egg
1 cup buttermilk
2 small bowls
toppings of your choice
leakproof containers
mess kit
campfire with grate
camping pan

1. Whisk all dry ingredients together in bowl and pack for travel
2. Whisk 1 egg in another bowl and pack in leakproof container
3. Add your dry mix, egg, butter, toppings, buttermilk, mess kit, pan, and spatula to your gear pile.
4. Go camping!

1. Level your fire grate
2. Add some butter to your pan and heat over fire
3. Empty dry pancake ingredients into bowl
4. Add 1 cup buttermilk to dry ingredients and mix with fork, just until combined
5. Make pancakes over the fire!
6. Add a little more butter to the pan between each batch and enjoy.

I cut up 1 quart of organic strawberries and froze them the night before leaving home. By the time we were ready to eat them, they had juiced and thawed and were the perfect topping for these light, fluffy, buttery pancakes.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Dog Days of Summer

It's August already? What happened to summer? Where have all my baked goods gone?

I love white cake and I've been working on some variations. The moist and tender crumb of Linnea's strawberry layered cake was just about perfect, even if it was a bit lopsided.

Casey's 4 layer lemon blueberry cake was practically perfectly stacked and the flavor was sophisticated, but the crumb a bit dry.

Now, you're probably thinking, next she'll say, "Third time's a charm!" But no, it's still too hot. I skipped the stuffy kitchen and tedious layer slicing to make Jason a cool and creamy cheesecake that had a hard time coming out of its pan.

So all in all, I am not yet ready to give you the recipes. They still need some work and my kitchen is still too hot...

Continued yoga and hiking has granted me the ability to eat extra, guilt free baked goods this summer so I have been sampling as many as possible! Thus far the standout has been an almond croissant from the Butterhorn Bakery in Frisco. I was also pleasantly surprised to find a few baked good booths at the South Pearl Street Farmers Market, and MANY samples.

I would never say I could compete with Watercourse but think it would be possible to outdo the cookie and giant cupcake ladies...

My summer has not been filled with long, lazy days. I'm a grownup. But it has been exTREMEly fun. On the counter is homemade pancake mix, made especially for camping, and vegan vanilla cupcakes. Stay cool and stay tuned :)