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Posts Tagged ‘Dessert’

I return to you red-faced and ashamed.  Several weeks have gone by with nary a peep from the Outpost, and yet another day would have passed with no updates had I not at the last minute remembered that today is the posting day for the April Daring Bakers challenge.  Happily, I have been scheming and cooking in the kitchen these past few weeks and I actually have quite the menu to share, but today it’s all about the DBers.

This month’s challenge was Chocolate Covered Cheesecake Pops.  No joke.  Since becoming vegan three years ago, I have had no desire to attempt a vegan cheesecake.  You see, the thing is – I just didn’t miss it that much.  I may never have made a vegan cheesecake if it was not for this particular challenge.  For that reason alone, I am so thankful to Elle and Deborah for choosing this month’s recipe from Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey by Jill O’Connor.  My end product was incredible.  Amazing. Delicious.  I laughed. I cried.  It was better than Cats.

I knew from the get-go that I wanted to make a Key Lime Cheesecake.  I was inspired by the famous frozen chocolate covered Key lime pie slice on a stick in Key West.  I used to live in the Keys and, shortly after moving there, I was told that I had to try one of these.  No excuses.  So had one I did.  The entire thing.  It was so good going down, but I had an instant belly ache soon thereafter.  The bellyache was so terrific that I never again had a frozen chocolate covered key lime pie slice on a stick.  That taste, however, really was undeniably delicious and that was what I wanted to replicate with my chocolate covered cheesecake pops (though I make no guarantees that bellyaches will not ensue after consuming massive quantities of these cheesecake pops).

The original recipe for these cheesecake pops calls for 5 packages of Philly cream cheese, 5 large eggs, 2 egg yolks, 1/4 cup heavy cream, and 2 cups of sugar, among a few other ingredients.  This one required a lot of work to make it vegan and slightly less sweet.  I was really pleased with what I came up with.  What I found to be so interesting about this adaptation process is that several other alternative DBers came up with their own versions of the recipe and each of these versions is unique and, I am sure, delicious.   I love the creativity that these challenges inspire!  (Here is where I send a big hug and an enthusiastic high five to my fellow alternative DBers who took on the challenge of cheesecake and emerged victorious with pops in hand and chocolate smeared faces.)

I had an opportunity to make these when I co-hosted a friend’s baby shower several weeks ago.  She is expecting a boy, so I wrapped blue ribbons around the pops to transform them into baby rattles for the party.    They were very cute and festive

Cheesecake Pops
Makes 40 Pops

2 tubs of Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese
2 Packages Mori Nu Firm Silken Tofu
1 ½ cups sugar
¼ cup all-purpose flour
¼ tsp salt
½ cup key lime juice
4 tbsp corn starch
½ tsp vanilla

1 pound chocolate, finely chopped
2 tbsp vegetable shortening

1.    Preheat oven to 325F.  Set some water to boil.

2.    Process the Tofutti and Mori Nu in a food processor until smooth.  Pour the mixture into a large mixing bowl.  Use a hand mixer  and mix in the sugar until smooth.  Next mix in the flour and salt and beat until smooth.

3.    Process key lime juice and cornstarch together in a food processor, blender, or, in my case, small Magic Bullet blender cup.  Beat into the batter.  Finally, mix in the vanilla.

4.    Grease a 10 inch cake pan (or, in my case, an 8 inch cake pan and a loaf pan) and place into a large roasting pan (or two oblong casserole dishes).  Fill the pan(s) with the boiling water until it reaches halfway up the sides of the cake pan(s). Bake until the cheesecake is firm and slightly golden on top, approximately one hour.

5.    Remove the cheesecake from the water bath and cool to room temperature.  Cover the cheesecake with plastic wrap and refrigerate until very cold, at least three hours or up to overnight.

6.    When the cheesecake is cold and very firm, scoop the cheesecake into 2-ounce balls and place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. (I used a spoon to scoop and my hands to roll into a nice little ball).  Carefully insert a lollipop stick into each cheesecake ball. Freeze the cheesecake pops, uncovered, until very hard, at least 1 – 2 hours.

7.    When the cheesecake pops are frozen and ready for dipping, prepare the chocolate (I used Ghiradelli semi sweet chocolate). In the top of a double boiler, set over simmering water, or in a heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water, heat half the chocolate and half the shortening (I like Spectrum non-hydrogenated shortening), stirring often, until chocolate is melted and chocolate and shortening are combined. Stir until completely smooth. Do not heat the chocolate too much or your chocolate will lose its shine after it has dried. Save the rest of the chocolate and shortening for later dipping, or use another type of chocolate for variety.   Alternately, you can microwave the same amount of chocolate coating pieces on high at 30 second intervals, stirring until smooth.

8.    Quickly dip a frozen cheesecake pop in the melted chocolate, swirling quickly to coat it completely. Shake off any excess into the melted chocolate.  (I actually dipped just the top and then spooned and smoothed chocolate over the rest of the pop and this worked out very well for me).   If you like, you can now roll the pops quickly in optional decorations. You can also drizzle them with a contrasting color of melted chocolate (dark chocolate drizzled over milk chocolate or white chocolate over dark chocolate, etc.) Place the pop on a clean parchment paper-lined baking sheet to set. Repeat with remaining pops, melting more chocolate and shortening (or confectionary chocolate pieces) as needed.

9.    Refrigerate the pops for up to 24 hours, until ready to serve.

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Raw Parfait

I must apologize for my long absence from the blog.  My job has seemingly swallowed me whole recently, but I am coming up for air and with me I am bringing one of our favorite dessert recipes (as a peace offering, of course!).

I try to assimilate as many foods in their natural state as possible into our diet.  I don’t track percentages like many people who partake in a raw diet do – I just try to use lots of plant based foods like fruits, vegetables, and nuts because they are so good for us, particularly in their natural, uncooked state.  I have to admit, though, that I am a frequent victim of salad burnout.  This is a good, thing, though, because this blockage against the usual plate of greens and veggies leads to creativity in the kitchen.  There are many raw “uncook” books that I particularly like and often look to for inspiration: RAWvolution, Raw food/Real World,  and I am Grateful.  The recipes in these books are creative, delicious, and most definitely help me to avoid the ever dreaded salad burnout all the while getting my full dose of nutritional goodness from foods in their raw state.

My favorite category of raw cuisine is, hands down, dessert (well, that’s true about all food, raw or not …) I mean, I could eat raw dessert all day and be super healthy!  I would admittedly have to throw some veggies and greens around in there, but what a nice thought that is:  all day desserts.  Yum!  This dessert that I am sharing with you today was heavily inspired by Juliano’s “Whip Cream” recipe, but this is a sweeter version that I like to layer with berries to create an all raw, all delicious, all guilt-free dessert.  I’ll even admit to eating this dessert for breakfast and not feeling the least bit bad about it.

Raw Parfait
Serves 3-4

1 cup cashews
1 cup walnuts
½ cup coconut water
2 dates
1 tbsp agave
1 tsp vanilla

Sliced berries

1.    Soak nuts in water for 2 hours.  Drain well.
2.    Add all ingredients, except berries, to a food processor and process until smooth.
3.    Layer nut mixture and berries in a glass, garnish with a mint leaves (if desired), and serve.

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 Another month, another Daring Bakers challenge. This month’s challenge was cake and, due to a hectic work schedule and then vacation (woo-hoo!) it came down to the wire for me this month and I baked this up at the last minute, unfortunately with no real reason for having a cake on hand. That means that Dan and I are currently staring at a very large party cake with equal parts delight and trepidation … just how is all of that cake going to get eaten? Tomorrow I will have to make the rounds and share some cake with the neighbors.

I had to make some adaptations to the recipe to make it vegan. For the cake I replaced buttermilk (with soymilk and cider vinegar), egg whites (with soy yogurt), and butter (with Earth Balance). The icing was a whole other challenge altogether: a merengue buttercream frosting. Oh my. The one thing I have not yet figured out how to veganize is merengue. Instead of spending hours pulling my hair out trying to figure out how to replicate merengue, I made a lemon buttercream frosting, toasted some coconut and macadamia nuts (becuase I live in Hawaii and have lots of them in the kitchen), and smothered the cake in the toasty goodness.

Overall, this is a very good cake. Dan immediately had a second slice, which is always a good sign as cakes can sometimes prove to be too overwhelmingly sweet for him. The taste is quite good ( I went with the recommended lemon cake and raspberry jam flavor combination), the texture is nice on the tongue, it slices well, and it is very pretty to look at. I would be interested in playing around with different flavor combinations as this cake lends itself well to improvisation. Maybe lime and coconut? Chocolate and raspberry? Chocolate and Grand Marnier? Vanilla and Kahlua? Vanilla and lilikoi? I could go on and on and on …

 

 

 Dorie Greenspan’s Perfect Party Cake

Cake
2 ½ cups cake flour
1 tbsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1 ¼ cups vanilla soymilk + 1 tbsp cider vinegar
½ cup vanilla soy yogurt (or use lemon soy yogurt for a more intense lemon flavor)
1 ½ cups sugar
2 tsp grated lemon zest
8 tbsp Earth Blance, at room temperature
1 tsp lemon juice

Buttercream
5 cups powdered sugar
½ cup Earth Balance
½ cup shortening (I use Spectrum brand)
3 tbsp lemon juice

For Finishing
2/3 cup seedless raspberry preserves stirred vigorously or warmed gently until spreadable
1 ½ cups flaked coconut, toasted (to toast: place coconut in skillet over medium heat and toast for 3-5 minutes, being sure to keep the coconut moving so that it does not burn)
½ cup macadamia nuts, chopped and toasted (to toast, repeat process used for toasting the coconut)

To Make the Cake:

1. Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease and flour two 9 x 2 inch round cake pans.

2. Mix the cider vinegar with the soymilk and set aside.

3. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.

4. Whisk together the soymilk mixture and soy yogurt in a medium bowl.

5. Put the sugar and lemon zest in a mixer bowl or another large bowl and rub them together with your fingers until the sugar is moist and fragrant. Add the Earth Balance and, using a hand mixer, beat at medium speed for a full 3 minutes, until the EB and sugar are very light. Beat in the lemon juice.

6. Add one third of the flour mixture, still beating on medium speed. Beat in half of the soymilk mixture, then beat in half of the remaining dry ingredients until incorporated. Add the rest of the soymilk mixture beating until the batter is homogeneous, then add the last of the dry ingredients.

7. Finally, give the batter a good 2- minute beating to ensure that it is thoroughly mixed and well aerated.

8. Divide the batter between the two pans and smooth the tops with a rubber spatula. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the cakes are well risen and springy to the touch – a thin knife inserted into the centers should come out clean. Transfer the cakes to cooling racks and cool for about 5 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the cakes, and turn them out onto the rack to cool.

To Make the Buttercream:

Beat together the EB and shortening until well mixed, light and fluffy. Then slowly add the powdered sugar and continue beating to mix well. Add the lemon juice and, finally, beat on medium speed for 5 minutes.

To Assemble the Cake:

Using a sharp serrated knife and a gentle sawing motion, slice each layer horizontally in half.

Put one layer cut side up on your cake stand or plate. Spread it with one third of the preserves. Cover the jam evenly with about one quarter of the buttercream. Top with another layer, spread with preserves and buttercream and then do the same with a third layer (you’ll have used all the jam and have buttercream leftover). Place the last layer cut side down on top of the cake and use the remaining buttercream to frost the sides and top.

Press the mac nuts into the center of the cake. Press the coconut into the frosting around the nuts, patting it gently all over the sides and top.

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Linzertorte Cobbler

Every day we here at the Outpost embrace fresh and healthy eating … but we also love dessert. Dan has been requesting cobbler for dessert recently …. but I’ve been wanting to try out the Linzertorte bars recipe in the Williams-Sonoma Desserts cookbook. With such dilemmas on her hands, what’s a girl to do? Why, have her cake (er, Linzertorte) and eat it, too, of course!

I decided to adapt the Linzertorte recipe, firstly to make it vegan and secondly to make it healthier. I upped the amount of nuts in the batter and I swapped all-purpose flour for whole wheat pastry flour. Instead of creating a latticed top for this dish, I spread the preserves on top and baked as is. Rather than serving it as neat slices of tart or bars, I spooned it out of the dish and served in small bowls. In the end, we were all winners: a healthier version of dessert that united the spirit of both the European Linzertorte and the All-American Cobbler. If only world peace were as easy …

(For a little background … According to Wikipedia: The Linzer Torte (or Linzertorte) is an Austrian Tart or Pie made with a very short, crumbly pastry of flour, butter and ground nuts (usually almonds), in two thin layers, with a filling of plum butter or jam (most often raspberry or red currant.) It has a round opening on the top revealing a layer of jam, or it may be covered by a lattice of dough strips. Cobbler, on the other hand, is a traditional dish in the United States. It is usually a dessert consisting of a fruit filling poured into a large baking dish over a batter that rises through when baking. The batter forms as a dumpling within the cobbler as well as a crust for the top.)

Linzertorte Cobbler
Adapted from the Linzertorte Bar recipe in Williams-Sonoma Desserts

1 scant cup walnuts
1 scant cup almonds
3 tbsp brown sugar
1 ¼ cups whole-wheat pastry flour
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp salt
¾ cup Earth Balance buttery spread
½ cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
¼ cup vanilla soy yogurt
1 cup blackberry preserves

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly coat a 13×9” baking pan with cooking spray.
2. Coarsely chop the nuts in a food processor. Add the brown sugar and set aside. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. In another bowl, combine the Earth Balance, the 1/2 cup sugar, and the vanilla. Beat until light and fluffy with an electric mixer on medium-high speed. Add the soy yogurt and beat until fluffy. Reduce the mixer speed to low, add the nut and lour mixtures, and mix until just blended.
3. Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan. Top with the preserves, leaving a ½ inch border. Bake until the jam is bubbling and the crust is firm to the touch, about 40 minutes. Let cool in the pan on a wire.
4. Spoon into small bowls to serve. Suggestions: sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar or cocoa, serve a la mode, serve with vegan whipped cream, etc. Enjoy!

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Happy Valentine’s Day!

To brighten up everybody’s day at work, I made a batch of iced heart shaped cookies. I used my all time favorite Christmas cookie recipe, which I found in an old issue of Vegetarian Times (and it can be found here), and paired it with the royal icing recipe from Vegan With A Vengeance. These cookies marked my first attempt at “flooding” icing, and I couldn’t have been more pleased with the results!

I hope that everyone enjoyed a sweet day!

 

Iced Sugar Cookies

Makes appx. 3 dozen cookies

Cookies
Recipe from Vegetarian Times

2 3/4 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. egg replacer
1 1/2 cups plus 1 Tbs. sugar
1 cup vegan margarine, softened
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extractRoyal Icing
Recipe from Vegan With A Vengeance

2 cups confectioner’s sugar
2 tablespoons soymilk powder
1-2 tablespoons of water
A few drops of almond extract
Food coloring1. Preheat oven to 325F. Coat baking sheets with cooking spray, or line with parchment paper or silpat mat. Combine flour and baking powder in small bowl. Whisk egg replacer with 2 Tbs. water. Set aside.

2. Cream sugar and margarine in bowl with electric mixer until fluffy. Beat in vanilla. Add egg replacer, and beat until smooth. Add flour mixture, and beat until soft dough forms.

3. Divide dough into 2 balls. Roll one ball to 1/4-inch thickness on lightly floured work surface. Cut into desired shapes, and transfer to prepared baking sheets. Repeat with remaining dough ball and scraps.

4. Bake cookies 15 to 17 minutes, or until light brown around edges. Cool 10 minutes on baking sheets, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

5. To make icing, combine the dry ingredients in a bowl. Add 1 tablespoon of water and stir. Add the almond extract and food coloring and stir. Continue to add water a little bit at a time until desired consistency (thick toothpaste) is reached. If it gets watery or drippy, add more sugar.

What I did: I tinted my icing with pink food coloring, and then used my mechanical pastry bag with the #1 tip to draw the heart outlines around the cookies. I let them sit for about 20 minutes. I then tinted the frosting (the same pink frosting used for the outlines) red and added water until it was a runnier consistency (like that of melted ice cream). I used a spoon to place icing in the center of each heart cookie and used the back of the spoon to spread the icing to all of the edges. I then let them sit out overnight for the icing to set (no worries about the cookies hardening – the icing will keep them moist).  Voila! My first attempt at the “flooding technique” with royal icing was a resounding success!

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Small Tarts Have Big Hearts!

Sticking with foods that say “love” this week, I offer a dessert that may just be the perfect ending to that romantic dinner you have planned for your sweetie this Valentine’s Day: tartelettes. I love things in miniature and these are especially fun because they have a deliciously simple base that you can get really creative with.

For the filling I adapted an “old-fashioned vanilla filling” recipe found in the Williams-Sonoma Desserts cookbook. I’ve never made a custard before and was temporarily at a loss as to what could replace the eggs in the recipe without resulting in a thin and runny cruel imposter of a custard. I don’t usually use Ener-G Egg Replacer but I thought that with its potato starch and tapioca flour that it would be just what my custard called for. I wasn’t disappointed – the custard thickened up almost immediately and it turned out beautifully.

You may end up with more crust mixture and filling than you’ll need for the tartelettes – this is not a problem. Just roll up any extra crust into bite sized balls and enjoy them as an easy and energy-filled snack. Save the filling for when all for the tartelettes are gone and mix in whatever fruits you have on hand for a quick and easy dessert. Voila!

Fruit and Vanilla Cream Tarts

Filling
¼ cup flour
2/3 cup sugar
¼ tsp salt
2 cups vanilla soymilk
2 Ener-G Egg Replacer “Eggs”
1 tbsp Earth Balance buttery spread
1 tsp vanilla

Crust
1 ½ cups almonds
1 ½ cup walnuts
¼ cup coconut, chopped
3 medjool dates, pitted
1 tbsp agave nectar

Fruit for garnish

To make the filling:
1. Whisk together the dry ingredients in a small bowl and set aside. In a heavy saucepan bring the soymilk to a simmer. Pour the dry ingredients into the soymilk as a thin stream, constantly whisking so as to avoid lumps. Whisk in the Ener-G “eggs”. Whisk constantly while cooking over medium heat for 7-10 minutes until it boils and thickens.

2. Reduce the heat and boil gently for 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Stir in the Earth Balance until smooth, and then stir in the vanilla until well blended. Pour into a bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap, gently pressing the wrap directly onto the surface so as to prevent a skin from forming. Chill for a few hours.

To make the crust:
1. Combine all of the crust ingredients in a food processor and process until the mixture begins to ball up. The mixture should stick together when pinched.

To assemble:
1. Press the crust mixture into your tartelette pans to create crusts of your desired thickness. Pour filling into each tartelette so that it reaches the rim of the crust. Garnish with fruit and enjoy at room temperature of refrigerate to enjoy cold.

I garnished these tarts with blackberries and papaya but they would be delicious with any berry or tropical fruit. They would also be great with a berry coulis and some fresh mint. Be creative!

I am throwing my tarts into the ring for the Valentine’s Day mini tart contest being hosted by The Mini Pie Revolution Headquarters. Technically, I think that these tarts may be a few bites bigger than what they had in mind, but since I wanted to do a no-bake crust using a mini muffin or a cupcake tin was out of the question – there would have been no way to get the tarts out of the pans without making a huge mess of the tarts. Instead, I used my tartelette pans with the removable bottoms to create these cute little guys. Check the MPRH blog on Valentine’s Day to see how my little tarts fared!

 

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Giant Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake

I first caught wind of this culinary concoction at Culinary in the Desert.   I was in complete and utter awe of the thing and immediately resolved that it would be mine.  I then went to the source, veganized it, and happily paraded it into a room of unsuspecting people – all of whom reacted with wide eyes and mouths shaped into “O”s of wonder.  When I declared it was time to slice and serve the giant cookie cake, I turned my back on the room in order to cut the cake, and when I turned back I was faced with a line of eager people, forks and plates in hand.  Given the enormity of this cake – five layers of chocolate cookies with four layers of frosting – I was shocked that there was no cake left at the end of the party.
The original recipe called for heavy cream, which caused a moment of head scratching.  What in the world would a vegan use instead of heavy cream?  I usually just avoid recipes that call for it as an ingredient.  I decided upon coconut milk, which did the just the trick.  Be sure to only use regular coconut milk and not the lite version – what you’re after isthe fat (and c’mon: you’re making a giant cookie cake – it’s a little late to start worrying about calories!).  Just plan in advance – the coconut milk needs to be refrigerated for at least four hours before being used in this recipe.
Giant Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake
Adapted from Martha Stewart

Cookies
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ tsp baking soda
1 ½ tsp salt
6 tbsp Earth Balance buttery spread, softened
1 ½ cups packed light brown sugar
¾ cup granulated sugar
3 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
½ cup vanilla soy yogurt
2 tbsp canola oil
¾ cup coconut cream (see directions below)
3 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Frosting
1 package Tofutti Cream Cheese
4 cup confectioners’ sugar
1-2 tbsp vanilla soymilk
1 tsp vanilla

1.    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl.

2.    Put Earth Balance and sugars into mixer bowl; mix on medium until pale and fluffy. Mix in vanilla, soy yogurt, and oil.

3.    Remove chilled coconut milk from the refrigerator and spoon out the thickened cream at the top of the can.  Reserve the coconut water for another use (I like to use it to replace some water when making rice).  Alternate adding cream and dry ingredients to the wet ingredients until everything is well incorporated.  Stir in chocolate chips.

4.    Trace an 8 inch circle onto a sheet of parchment paper.  For each of the 5 layers, drop 1 cup of batter onto the center of a baking sheet lined with the parchment (keep unbaked dough refrigerated) and use your spatula to spread the batter into an 8-inch circle.  Bake until edges are pale golden brown, about 18-22 minutes. Remove from oven.  Cool each giant cookie on a wire rack.

5.    For frosting: Mix Tofutti cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla sugar in a medium bowl on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, adding soymilk as necessary to achieve desired consistency.   Spread onto 4 cookies. Stack cookies, placing unfrosted cookie on top.   Enjoy!

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