Vegan MoFo 2017 Day 15: Behind the Scenes: Rainbow frosting tips

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This is the final day of the second week of Vegan MoFo, where the theme is “behind the scenes.” So far this week, we’ve talked about picking the best unicorn cookie cutters, vegan sprinkles, given you a behind the scenes aquafaba video on Instagram, shared a pitch for the cookbook I am writing, and a look at a rainbow layered unicorn cake.

Today is all about frosting, unicorns practically subsist on the stuff!

Our favorite frostings tend to be like buttercream but veganized to exclude real butter or even palm-laden margarine and vegetable shortening by using solid coconut oil instead. I’ve sort of perfected the recipe, but want to wait a bit to share it.

Today I’ll talk about how to get a real rainbowy look out of whatever vegan frosting you most prefer.

You can use any type of colorant you want, but I’m partial to beet powder for red (or using a fruity powder too, such as freeze-dried strawberry or raspberry powder), turmeric for yellow, matcha for green (tastes way better than spirulina in a frosting, trust me!), butterfly pea tea powder for blue, and either acai or a mix of a red and blue powder for purple.

I have found it easiest to get results like what was pictured above with only 3 colors of the rainbow rather than them all. The reason for this is actually, that if you mix all of the colors of the rainbow together, you get a muddy, ugly, poopy brown. And not the beautiful colored poop of a unicorn, either.

The easiest way to swirl the three colors together is to use a pastry bag with a frosting tip attached (these things always confuse me, so read the directions if you don’t know how to properly set this up). Mix in the colors into frosting placed in three separate bowls or however you want to do it, just keep it separated somehow. Then take a rubber spatula, and spread a big glob of frosting down one side of the bag. Then take the other color, and place a globby stripe of frosting down the next side. Repeat until the bag is filled up with all the colors. They should touch each other and extend down towards the frosting tip.

Then, squeeze out the frosting to the desired amount you like on your cupcakes, using the picture I posted as a guide, or not. They may not all look the same depending on how you layered the frosting colors in the bag. I think it’s more magical when each one looks unique.

They also sell a kit at craft stores from Wilton which is designed to help you make rainbow-swirled frosting more “easily” but I found it more of a pain to use than this option.

Enjoy and have fun!

 

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Vegan MoFo 2017 Day 14: Behind the Scenes: Cake Test

Fluffy here-

For this week, the theme is behind the scenes. Today, we give you a behind the scenes look at Laura’s test run of her birthday cake, as she has a birthday coming up at the end of October. However, since we’re now starting to get overwhelmed by so much cake and desserts we’ve been prepping in advance for MoFo, I think Laura has sadly decided to not make her own birthday cake on her actual birthday. She also felt a little disappointed in the way the outside of cake looked, and I’m trying to work my magic to help her feel better.

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Cake decorating is not, as the saying goes “a piece of cake.” It’s actually pretty challenging! Laura’s goal was to make a cake that could show it’s easier than it looks, but now she’s not so sure since she struggled so much with it. These are important lessons for her to go through though, as it makes her stronger and helps her solve problems.

She had a great idea to make the unicorn’s hair out of cotton candy. The cotton candy is moldable and an edible version of fuzzy, fluffy hair!

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She did use something that made making the five rainbow layers much easier. You can find them being sold lots of places now. They come as a set of 5 smaller cake pans for layer cakes. You only need one batch of cake (or a cake mix) to fill them all up.

She also made the decision to make an exception for using unnatural food colors this time. We wish natural colors were as vibrant and easy as these ones were. Sometimes you may want to give in and take the easier route,  and as long as it’s still vegan, you’ll be okay.

unicorn cake 3 of 5The inside of the cake sure is a beauty! Tommorrow we’ll be sharing some of our best tips for making rainbow frosting effects.

My vegan donuts

I’ve been all forlorn because there are now two places in my city that have vegan donut options, but I am essentially too broke to buy them. Everyone I know that’s vegan seems to be posting them on social media, and it made me want donuts SO BAD.

So, I made up my mind to make some of my own.

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I used this recipe for the donuts but substituted the shortening for coconut oil (using 1 1/2 tbsp).

I fried them up, choosing to make them without holes because I thought I might add a filling inside. I used Chloe Coscarelli’s recipe for chocolate ganache as a topping.

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On half of them, I applied some vegan sprinkles from Sweetapolita’s shop.

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On the other half, I used Chloe’s filling frosting in the recipe above (made with half coconut oil and half veggie shortening I’m trying to use up), and separated it into three bowls, colored it with my natural food colorings (red, yellow, green), and then got super frustrated trying to use this icing bag contraption I bought that’s supposed to make it easier to pipe out multiple colors at the same time. I don’t think it was that easy, but it did come out very nice.

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I think next time it’d be better if I fill the insides with the frosting and don’t color it. It got really melty on top because it’s summer and I ended up refrigerating them.

BUT THEY ARE SO GOOD! They helped me wake up early this morning because I knew they were waiting for me, and I was able to get a ton of humane education work done because I was up so unusually early. 🙂

 

The most perfect gluten free vegan chocolate chip cookies

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I basically honed my baking skills as a kid by making chocolate chip cookies from an alphabet cookbook for kids. It was the only recipe I used, and they always came out perfect. I thought my mom had thrown out the cookbook, but I recently found it and I had to veganize them and make them gluten free. The result was so perfect I was astonished!

Here it is:

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup white vegan sugar
  • 1/2 cup organic brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup melted Earth Balance or refined coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp flaxmeal
  • 3 tbsp warm water
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 cup Bob’s Red Mill All Purpose Flour
  • 6 oz vegan chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Whisk flaxmeal with water in a small cup. Let sit and whisk several times until gelled.
  3. Mix together the sugars, melted Earth Balance or coconut oil, and flax egg.
  4. Stir in flour and baking soda.
  5. Add in chocolate chips.
  6. Form dough into small balls and place onto an ungreased cookie sheet. The recipe should make about 24 cookies.
  7. Bake for 10-12 minutes.
  8. Let cool and place on a cooling rack shortly after they come out of the oven.
  9. Enjoy ! I know I will!

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Holiday Recap and a Soy Curl Potpie Recipe

I’ve been so busy lately. Between graduate school, taking an improv comedy class, the holidays, my grandmother dying, etc., I’ve barely had time for cooking. I was able to create two Youtube videos in the beginning of the semester, which you can see here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCIGj10TPGenVBNH6vySDPpw! I hope to make more videos on Youtube in the coming year.

I’ve also been regularly updating my blog’s new(ish) Instagram account, which you can follow @bananacurlvegangirl

If you’re not on Instagram or following along here, I’m going to do a quick photo recap of some of the food I made for the holidays.

For some homemade gifts, I made my famous sour cream and onion kale chips, green tea, goji, and coconut superfood energy bars (adapted from this recipe), vegan and gluten-free marshmallow wreaths, and chocolate peppermint patties from a recipe that’s basically this (not pictured).

 

We had 4 relatives staying with us from Christmas Eve day until yesterday. My aunt and uncle and cousins have a tradition at their house of making appetizers on Christmas eve. So, I made lentil faux chopped liver dip, a spinach and artichoke dip, and we made mini potato latkes because it was also the first night of Hanukkah and my dad celebrates the holiday and loves having latkes. Instead of using eggs, we used the Neat egg for the first time and it worked out really well! There was also a salad made that I was able to eat.

 

For dessert, I had these gluten-free, vegan sugar cookies I made from a recipe on Minimalist Baker. Check the recipe out here.

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For Christmas morning breakfast, everyone else was having bagels. My mom was nice enough to go to a local gluten-free bakery and pick up some vegan and gluten free bagels. I topped them with Kite Hill chive cream cheese, my papaya lox, and capers.

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For my dinner later that day, I made gluten-free, vegan stuffed shells with Kite Hill almond ricotta and pesto. I forgot to take a picture of them. We also had my favorite vegan caesar salad ever, which I also forgot to photograph, but believe there are previous posts on this blog about it.

It was a sweet Christmas! I hope you had a very merry one yourselves! As a thank you for reading, here is a picture of my three cats, that my brother photoshopped for a card.

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However, the best Christmas present is that I have a new recipe! For a soy curl chickun potpie that is soooo good!

WordPress has a new feature here, so I’m going to try to see what happens when I upload a word document of the recipe.

soy-curl-chickun-potpie (link to a downloadable recipe? or something)

Soy Curl Chickun Potpie

Vegan and Gluten-free

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups soy curls
  • ½ cup frozen peas
  • ½ cup frozen corn
  • 1 medium potato, chopped
  • 6-8 baby carrots chopped into rounds
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • one small onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
  • 1 tsp dried rubbed sage
  • ½ cup vegan no-chicken broth, divided
  • 1 tbsp vegan butter or coconut oil
  • 3 tbsp garbanzo flour
  • 1 cup unsweetened plain coconut milk
  • 1 no-chicken bouillon cube
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 gluten-free, vegan pie crusts, homemade or store bought

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Soak soy curls, corn, and peas in a bowl with enough warm water to cover. Let sit for at least 10 minutes and drain. Set aside.
  3. Steam potatoes and carrots in a steamer basket for 10 minutes.
  4. Place olive oil, celery, onions, and garlic in a skillet on medium heat and sauté until soft. Add in the soy curls, corn, peas, nutritional yeast, sage, and ¼ cup broth. Mix in the potatoes and carrots. Stir and heat until the soy curls are warm.
  5. To make a gravy for the pie, place the vegan butter and garbanzo flour in a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk until crumbly and beginning to brown. Slowly add in the coconut milk, continuing to whisk. You may need to lower the heat. Add the remaining ¼ cup broth and the bouillon cube. Keep whisking until the bouillon melts and the gravy is thick. You can add salt and pepper to taste once you turn off the heat.
  6. Add the gravy into the soy curl and vegetables.
  7. Spoon into a bottom of a pie crust. Place the top of the pie crust as you like it. Make slits in the top to allow steam to escape. You may have some leftover filling that you can eat separately or make into other dishes.
  8. Bake for 30 minutes or until the crust is golden in color.
  9. Allow to cool slightly before serving.
  10. Bon Appetit!

Enjoy the new year festivities if I don’t post before then (but I do have several posts lined up!) Happy Holidays from Banana Curl, Vegan Girl!

 

Italian Rainbow Cookies Veganized

During Christmas, I had this bad habit of being at the grocery store and looking at the ingredients of the Italian Christmas cookies hoping some of them would be vegan. Not a chance. I’ve been craving these all season.

After Christmas, I looked up some recipes for this type of cookie. I wasn’t sure what they would actually be called, but it was easy enough to find. I found this recipe, which I knew I could veganize with the magic vegan ingredient, aquafaba.

I was so worried I’d really mess up making these a lot earlier on. The parts I thought would fail were not as difficult as I thought. The hardest part was cutting it after I put the chocolate on top, which ended up crumbling a bit and making it not as pretty as I would have liked. The recipe makes it sound much more complicated and some of the steps are needlessly complicated, so I’m re-writing the recipe in the way I did it with the vegan substitutions.

This recipe also required making vegan almond paste (with aquafaba as well!)

That is the first step to making these babies.

Vegan Aquafaba Almond Paste

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups blanched almonds
  • 1.5 cups vegan powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons aquafaba (chickpea water/brine from a can)
  • 1.5 teaspoons almond extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions:

  1. In a food processor, blend the almonds until smooth and pasty.
  2. Add the powdered sugar, aquafaba, extract, and salt.
  3. Process again until smooth and dough-like (it should form into a big ball).
  4. You may need to scrape the sides down frequently throughout the process.
  5. When finished, set aside 3/4 cup for your Italian Rainbow cookies. You can save the leftovers, it’s super yummy!

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Veganized Italian Rainbow Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 2 sticks plus 4 tablespoons Earth Balance sticks
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup almond paste (recipe above)
  • 3/4 cup vegan sugar plus 2 tablespoons
  • 4 tablespoons aquafaba (liquid from a can of chickpeas)
  • 12 tablespoons aquafaba
  • 2 tablespoons vegan sugar
  • food coloring method of choice (red and green)
  • 15 oz Apricot Jam (not the kind with clumpy pieces in it, you want it to be smooth)
  • 10 oz vegan chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Place parchment paper on three jelly roll pans or rimmed cookie sheets and spray parchment with cooking oil.
  3. In a stand mixer bowl, place the almond paste and 3/4 cup with 2 tablespoons of sugar. Mix on the medium speed setting until crumbly.
  4. Cut the Earth Balance into small pieces and place into the the mixture while beating together until all the Earth Balance is in there and the batter is smooth.
  5. Sift 2 cups of flour and 1/2 teaspoon salt into a bowl. Add into the mixer slowly and continue to mix until combined. Do not over mix.
  6. In a large metal bowl, using a handheld electric mixer, place the 12 tablespoons of aquafaba. Whip until foamy. Slowly add in the 2 tablespoons of sugar while continuing to whip on the highest setting. Stop when you have created firm peaks (if you take out the whisks from the meringue, and place them upside down, it will not drip down).
  7. Add 1/3 of the meringue into the batter and fold in with a rubber spatula. Add the rest of the meringue and mix until fully incorporated.
  8. Place the batter evenly into 3 bowls. 1 bowl keep plain, and then add green and red to the other two bowls.
  9. Transfer the batters onto their respective cookie sheets one at a time with a wet rubber spatula . My sheets were too big to be able to spread out the batter entirely, so I tried my best to make the most even shaped rectangles on each cookie sheet so they’d match up when layered together after baking.  Don’t worry too much about it, you’ll cut the edges so they’re prettier when it’s all assembled anyhow. Just worry about making relatively even thickness rectangles for now.
  10. Bake for 4 minutes, rotate the pans around in the oven so that one pan is not on the bottom rack the whole time, and bake for another 4-6 minutes until the edges are slightly browned.
  11. Allow to cool completely.
  12. Spread a thin layer of apricot jam on top of the red layer.
  13. Cut any excess parchment paper from around the white layer. Holding the bottom of the cookie with both hands, carefully line up and flip the white layer onto the red.
  14. Spread another layer of jam. Repeat step 13 with the green layer, but do not place anymore jam on top.
  15. Cover with plastic wrap. Place a clean cookie sheet on top to press down the layers. Place something heavy and even (like two cans on either side) on top of that, and place into the refrigerator for at least 4 hours.
  16. Take off the cans, cookie sheet, and plastic wrap. With a sharp knife, trim the uneven sides into a clean rectangle shape. Let sit for a moment or a few.
  17. Melt the chocolate chips in a double boiler or microwave.
  18. Spread over the top layer and sides with a spatula.
  19. Allow to set, and then cut into smalls squares.
  20. Place in a container and store in the refrigerator or at room temperature.

Enjoy! I know I certainly will!

 

 

Vegan MoFo Day #23, Post #16: Autumn Equinox Eats and GF/V COOKIE BUTTER!

Today’s MoFo Prompt is Autumn Equinox Eats. Lately I’ve become aware of a lot of people hating on everything pumpkin. Honestly, I will eat pumpkin all year round if I feel like it (from a can when it’s not in season). I think apples may not get quite as much credit these days though.

To make up for it, I’ve been quite enthralled by juicing 2 apples and shaking the juice together with 1/4 tsp. It is seriously amazing.

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If you’re like me and actually enjoy pumpkin for Fall (and the occasional apple, squash, and sweet potato recipe), then take a look at all these delicious vegan fall recipes I have compiled on my Pinterest board for this purpose. And I know some people also loathe the idea of Pinterest as well…but what’s with all the negativity? It’s where I find the best online vegan/gluten free recipes from blogs and such actually, aside from MoFo.

Also TODAY I MADE HOMEMADE VEGAN GLUTEN FREE SPECULOOS COOKIE BUTTER! I cannot contain myself in not sharing it. The recipe is from Allyson Kramer. Here’s some pictures of the process.

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Before they were baked

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After baking

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After being made into cookie butter!

Yay! I’m sorry, I’ve been slacking a bit with MoFo, but I’m so close to being done with my bachelor of science degree it is ridiculous! So I’m focusing more on that.

Vegan Mofo Day #20, Post #15: Old family recipe veganized: Nana’s sugar cookies

This recipe can be found in my zine, Childhood Favorites Veganized that you can buy on Etsy and see more recipes I veganized from my childhood and the stories behind them.

According to my mom, this was my great grandmother’s “signature” cookie.

PS: In the zine on the page this recipe is on there is a picture of me with a face covered in chocolate frosting as a child (pictures of me with my food covered face are a common theme in my childhood photo albums). Awhile ago, as part of the zine, I decided to recreate these types of pictures but with a twist–I’m not a kid anymore…

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and because I wanted literal banana curls:

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Doesn’t quite have the same effect as the childhood photos, haha!

On to the cookie recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening
  • 1/2 cup vegan margarine such as Earth Balance
  • 1 cup vegan white sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 1 1/2 tsp Ener-g egg replacer, 2 tbsp water whisked together
  • Extra sugar set aside in a shallow bowl for finishing the cookies

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Mix ingredients together.
  3. Roll into balls.
  4. Dip a fork in the sugar in the bowl. Press down with the fork onto the ball of dough, making an imprint. Repeat in a criss-cross pattern.
  5. Bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes.

Vegan MoFo Day 11: Post #8

Okay, I’m trying to juggle everything I’m doing with school and all that and also not feeling the last few days’ prompts. I had told myself a few days ago that even if I didn’t like the prompt, I would still write a blog entry because the point of MoFo is more about posting as many days as humanly possible for the month.

Today’s prompt was to “focus on a nutrient.” Who eats nutrients? 😛

So I’m going to do a Flashback Friday post! Since I probably have some new readers here now because of MoFo, I figured I’d flashback to a recipe I posted last MoFo! And, it just so happens I am actually making the recipe tonight! Because tomorrow my neighborhood is having a block party bbq thing, and I want to impress them with my cupcake skills (sadly I personally can’t eat them now because they have gluten in them).

Remember my raspberry lime rickey cupcakes? Well, that’s what I’m making. They were seriously my favorite before I had to give up gluten (at least I can still eat my favorite part though…the frosting!!).

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I did an especially good job making the batter tonight. Sometimes I take too long and the coconut oil solidifies a bit while I’m mixing it. The trick I guess is to not use really cold almond milk and also to have everything ready and measured before I start making them (I’m impatient, what can I say?).

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They look like they baked well too.

And here’s a picture from when I made them awhile ago.

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Also, for my graduation speech thingy, I made these, as well as a cake made out of the batter because I forgot how much batter this makes and had doubled the recipe. Woops, but tasty.

Oh I also wore a tank top to the gym today that said “Bake the world a better place” which is so fitting for me. I didn’t take a picture though, and it’s too gross now to try and take one by putting it back on and taking one now. Haha. I will have to remember another time.

Making vegan Macarons for the first time!

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French macarons (not to be confused with coconut macaroons) are a meringue based sandwich cookie with almond flour. They are quite popular and come in all different kinds of flavor combinations. They are supposedly difficult to make even when not vegan. Vegan macarons were once believed to be impossible to make, because there was no good vegan alternative to meringues. But now there is!

You may recall my post about magical bean juice (also referred to as aquafaba in vegan circles) for making meringue cookies. You can do the same thing with these! I didn’t make up my own recipe since I’ve never made these before, but I still want to share the recipe I used and my results.

This is the recipe I used but I changed the flavors, colors, and frosting recipe. It worked perfectly for me, even on my first try. I personally feel like it it might have had a lot to do with the weather, it was a great sunny day. I found this recipe from a group all all about making vegan meringue and using aquafaba.

I chose to make lavender agave frosting and used a super fruit jelly in the middle from Trader Joe’s.

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The texture came out so great. The frosting I made was a little runny, so the recipe I am including here is changed to account for it to be better.

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The recipe for the frosting is as follows:

  • 1 tbsp agave
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp lavender extract
  • 3 tbsp almond milk

You just need to mix everything together.

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in the oven almost done

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out of the oven

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close up of the feet

I absolutely loved these, and the best part is they are automatically gluten free!

I’m deep in the midst of making food for volunteers at Girls Rock RI this week, stay tuned for a post about that soon!