apple pie latte

Traditions and Additions

It wouldn’t be November without pumpkin taking over; pumpkin pie, pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin muffins, porcupines eating pumpkins.  While we here at Sticky Fingers love a good pumpkin (fill in the blank), we feel that it is best used to add flair and flavor to a traditional favorite. Pumpkin pie?  Sure thing, though we use a non dairy cream cheese  like Go Veggie!  or Tofutti brands for the base. Still loaded with spice and baked into a sweet and flaky crust, just how you remember.   Pair it with this adult milkshake, and impress your guests.

From our baking book ‘Sticky Fingers’ Sweets; 100 Super Secret Vegan Recipes’

Single Sweet as Pie Crust

Yield: Makes 1 shell

1 cups (4 ounces) all-purpose flour

2 1/2 tablespoons (1.13 ounces) sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

213 cup (2.5 ounces)

non-hydrogenated vegan margarine (recommended: Earth Balance), cold, cut into 1/4"pieces

1 1/2 tablespoons cold water

 

1. In a food processor fitted with a metal blade, pulse together the flour, sugar and salt until

combined.

2.Add the margarine pieces and pulse 5 to 7 times until the mixture becomes crumbly

3. Add the cold water and pulse 5 to 7 more times until mixture just comes together.

4. Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface. All the dry ingredients may not be

incorporated, but that is okay. Briefly knead the dough until all the dry ingredients are

incorporate, about 30 seconds. Do not over mix or over knead the dough. The pie crust will

be tough if you work it too long.

5. If you do not have a food processor, work the margarine into the flour mixture with a dough

cutter. Sprinkle the water over the mixture and gently toss with a fork, until all the dough is

moist and you can form it into a ball. Be careful not to overmix it and do not knead it.

6. Wrap the dough tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use.

 

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Yield: Makes 1 cheesecake

1 1/2 cups (12 ounces)

non-hydrogenated vegan cream cheese (recommended: Tofutti or Go Veggie!)

2 1/2 cups canned pumpkin

1/2 cup evaporated cane sugar

1/3 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon allspice

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon lemon juice

 

1.Preheat the oven to 350º F.

3.In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix the cream cheese with the paddle attachment until

soft and smooth, about 3 minutes.

4.Add the pumpkin to the cream cheese and mix until well combined, about 2 more

minutes.

5.Add the sugars and combine.

6.Add the flour, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg and salt and combine.

7.Add the lemon juice and mix until combined and smooth.

8.Pour the filling into the prepared Pie Crust and bake for 40 to 50 minutes,

or until the top is set.

9.Cool completely and serve.

Pumpkin Spice Milkshake

1 cup vanilla frozen dessert; So Delicious soy or coconut frozen dessert

8 oz So Delicious Pumpkin Spice Coconut Milk

Or

8 oz soy or coconut milk

¼  tsp cinnamon

¼ tsp nutmeg

¼  tsp allspice

 

1.5 oz dark Rum (optional)

 

Put all ingredients into a blender.  Mix until smooth and serve in your favorite cocktail glass.  Garnish with cinnamon stick.

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photo-4This is our shake machine.  For years folks told us to make shakes, and I thought; 'We already have a soft serve machine, who needs shakes?  Besides,  we'd have to change so much to the front of the shop to fit it in anywhere. '  Then, about a year ago the ice cream machine bit the dust.  Ice cream is that 'thing' that has always been a nice addition to the sweet mix, the cold dessert always on tap in the hot summer, and ready for a quick, icy pick-me-up in the afternoon.  There was a void.  A cold, cold void.  And again, we started dreaming of shakes. After doing all of the oh-so-fun mini business plan, return on investment, architectural scheme and contractors plans, we decided to do an overhaul and prepare for a new beginning; a shake menu.

I won't bore you with details of endless afternoons filled with chocolate, spice, and pint after pint of ice cream.  I won't tell you about the sugar high, the weight gain, and the peanut butter fudge shake that was so thick no one could get it through the straw.  I surely won't tell you about the cupcake shakes that are so shameful we had to taste them with the lights off.

I will tell you that our shake menu and recipe list is growing out of control.  And with the frozen insanity that is So Delicious, these shakes are richer than we ever could have dreamed.  With our liquor license approval and cocktail menu launch only days away (think boozy shakes, coffee drinks with a nip, and a Bloody Mary loaded with whiskey) we can't stop the shake.

Here is Ilana's latest crav-ention; apple pie ala mode shake, inspired by our very own recipe for Apple Pie.

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Apple Pie Ala Mode Shake

9 ounce vanilla ice cream (So Delicious Coconut or Soy Frozen Desserts)

4 ounces non-dairy milk (So Delicious Coconut Milk)

¼ tsp cinnamon

¼ tsp nutmeg

¼ cup organic apple sauce

Garnish with cinnamon or apple wedge

1.5 ounces Dark Rum (optional)

In a blender or shake-maker, add ingredients and blend until smooth.  Garnish with an apple slice or cinnamon stick, and enjoy immediately.

 

 

 

While we wait for photos, here is the recipe of the cake made at this year's Green Fest at the Washington Convention Center.  Thank you to everyone who came to watch, taste,  participate, and purchase books. Cooking demos are always fun and even better with sticky samples of cake.  Yum. This recipe is adapted from our winning recipe on Cupcake Wars; Gilbert Ganachfried chocolate coconut spice cake, combined with the coconut creme from our Cocnut Creme Pie Recipe.  You can find both of these and more featured in our baking book, Sticky Fingers Sweets!

Frostingless Chocolate Spice Cake with Coconut Coulis

First, start with your cake.

1 cup sugar

1 cup flour

1/3 cup cocoa

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon fine salt

3/4 cup seltzer water

1/4 cup coffee, brewed strong, cooled

1/3 cup oil

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon vinegar

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

Line a standard cupcake pan with 12 cupcake liners. Sift the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt into a medium-size bowl. Set the bowl aside. In a small bowl, whisk together the seltzer water, coffee, oil, vanilla, and vinegar. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and whisk until just incorporated. Do not over mix the batter.

Fill the 12 standard cupcake cups 3/4-full and bake for 19 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into each cupcake comes out clean. Cool the cupcakes completely.

Now, the Coulis

2 cups coconut milk, canned

3 tablespoons cornstarch

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup flaked coconut, toasted

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 tablespoon non-hydrogenated vegan margarine (recommended: Earth Balance) or coconut oil

In a small bowl, whisk together 1/4 cup of the coconut milk with the cornstarch to make a slurry. Set aside.

In a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the remaining coconut milk, sugar and salt and heat until bubbles begin to form at the edges.

Slowly pour in the cornstarch slurry while whisking. Continue to whisk while cooking for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a metal spoon. Do not bring to a full boil.

Remove from heat and stir in the coconut, vanilla and margarine.

Top each layer or cupcake with coconut coulis  and coconut, and add any chocolate, fruit, or coconut if you wish.

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  Have you seen us in your local Whole Foods, MOM's, Roots, or co-op?

cookiesfudge browniescarrot cake

Yep, that's us!   Just a few miles away you'll find out items being manufactured in a 30,000 square foot, multimillion dollar kitchen.  Sounds fancy, right?  Well, it is. And some days I wish it was our very own kitchen, but alas it is not.  Our Vegan Cowvins, brownies, cakes and cookies are simply part of the 24 hour production day.  Some folks are surprised to find out that everything isn't made in our little 600 square foot kitchen in Columbia Heights.  Well, we did when we started  back in 2010 and Roots Market was our only outlet. When Whole Foods approached us a year later, there was no way we could add another store, let alone 39.

Ezra playing 'wheels on the bus' to help motivate and raise moral.

As I began looking into sharing a kitchen with the Breadery in Maryland, I stumbled upon this notion of 'co-packers'; having a third party manufacture and distribute your product without having to build out your own facility.  There are kitchens around the globe dedicated to just that, and make multitudes of product from many different companies.  The upside; not having to invest millions of dollars into building a warehouse kitchen while also trying to secure enough business to support it.  The downside; not being hands on in the kitchen producing our recipes and products in a shared kitchen.

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I found a local small company who had been in the DC area for ages.  Clements Pastry Shop is a family run business which started as a retail bakery in Downtown, DC.  They moved their operation to Hyattsville, MD in 1998 and became a dedicated wholesale facility, delivering daily sweets area wide.  I went in to see their operation and talked about the opportunities, the options, the ideas I had for Sticky Fingers.  Part business chat slash vegan 101 lesson and marketing overview of the natural foods industry, we decided to partner in the process rather than a traditional co-packer/producer/owner agreement.

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Why?   Having an investment in the product meant adhering to our standards, ingredients, and company mission.  From cleaning equipment between batches to avoid cross contamination, to building relationships with our vendors and retailers, Sticky Fingers and Clements are working together rather.  Over the years as a 'boss' and an employee, I learned that this type of relationship is much more enjoyable for everyone involved, especially when trying to run a mission based business. If it was simply about $$ and making cookies, then maybe I'd do things a little differently.  But having a non-vegan local business (who's owners could barely pronounce the word 'vegan' before I came along) now sourcing ingredients, coming up with new recipes, experimenting and even converting some of their existing recipes into vegan ones is priceless.

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photo 5Sometimes you can have one of the most delicious ideas ever, but that doesn't mean they will translate well to production baking. You have to take into consideration things like timing, batch size, customer demand, affordability and shelf life for ever component of every product.  What I mean is that just because you have a recipe that makes an amazing 12, doesn't mean it will make an amazing 24, 48, or 75.  Mixing a batch of 75 takes the same amount of time to mix as a batch of 12, therefore bringing down the cost of your product, so we always try to find ways to make the most out of labor, the most expensive ingredient in any kitchen. This is what has been happening with our donuts.  Our baking team took months testing their recipes, making adjustments, tasting, and retesting before we had a batch that had everything we wanted; fluff, flavor, fill-ability, and look good too.  Ramon Osorio, baker extraordinaire worked religiously on this.  The rest of the staff worked diligently, tirelessly tasting, comparing, and glaze tweaking.  It was hard work, but we prevailed.

In July we launched our donut menu, and much to our surprise we had some immediate issues.  Suddenly, our dough was rising before we could get them cut out.   Overproofing can cause flopping making the donut flat, and act like a sponge in the fryer.   This could make one think that this donut was made improperly, or even worse, stale.

Nothing had changed.  The ingredients were from the same manufacturers and name brands.  We hadn't changed any protocol.  What was going on in our kitchen???

photo 1

This is where I come in.  When I'm not cleaning a bathroom, sweeping a floor, balancing a spreadsheet (I know all glamor, right) I fix things.  And today it wasn't about a broken soap dispenser or leaky faucet, it was the donut dough.

Donut Forensics started at 5 am.  Toner got in bright and early to start the first batch of donuts, Ilana came in to learn her hand at the mastery, and I was there to take notes and watch.   Our batches make about 60 because of this speedy rise, all have to be rolled, cut, and fried within about 40 minutes.  Could we slow this process down a bit based on a simple adjustment so that we could increase the batch size, frying donuts thorough the day rather than all at once?

donut 8

Temperature plays a huge roll in baking before anything ever gets into the oven.  For instance yeast begins to react once it's mixed with water.  Too hot, and you kill it.  Too cold and it sits still.   Too much sugar shocks it and not enough makes the activation process take longer.  Baking powder begins to react once liquid is introduced, and again once heated.  Friction makes heat, a danger of overmixing.

Being in a kitchen with sugar and flour everywhere, as in floating in the air as 'dust', controlling sugar activation can be uncontrollable.  Ambient temperature can't be controlled, as July in DC is quite balmy.  Mix that with a grill, 3 ovens and open flame and it's a bit toasty back there.  But what we can control is liquid temperature, timing of adding levening agents, overmixing, and dough temperature. Using the fridge can impede overproofing.  So while forensic baking is happening, there is also a mad rush to get batch 1 out and in the case for the morning donut'ers.

photo 2donut 3

donut 4 photo 3photo 4

 

First we tried making the dough and putting it in the fridge.  At 6:50 am we placed in it a steel bowl and covered it with a plastic bag.  The plan was to check it every 30 minutes.  In 20 it had doubled in size, the indicator that the dough was ready.  Do over.

donut 10

This time I decided to start with colder liquids. Water at 80 degrees F will begin to activate yeast.  Lower and you risk not dissolving your yeast.  Eighty degrees it was, and then I placed the mixture in the fridge while I mixed the rest of the batter.

Next up was melting the shortening.  The recipe called for melting the  shortening (Earth Balance, of course) in the non-dairy milk in the microwave or double boiler, then adding leavening agents.  Wait-Could this be it?  Is this the problem?

I heated the shortening  and milk and measured the temperature.  A whopping 140 degrees!  Not only would this melt shortening but once added to the dry ingredients it would activate any leavening with liquid and with the scorching heat.  Do over.

I melted the shortening in the microwave and then added it to the room temperature non-dairy milk.    This made little balls of hardened shortening throughout the mixture.

"Gross!", I initially thought.  But then I started to think about the roll of shortening in yeasted dough.  It's purpose it to help expand the bubbles of air or carbon dioxide when heated, and then it melts coating the little bubbles with soft supple fat adding to the mouth feel, flavor, and stability of the donut.  The goal was then to get as many little balls of fat as I could.  So I used the emulsifying blender, and voila.

Proceeding to the next steps of mixing, I was careful to mix the dough on low but only until everything was absorbed and came together, and not a second longer.  I separated the dough into four balls and placed in the fridge.  I took it's temperature and it was at a beautiful 80 degrees, a low temp for yeast activation.

donut 12

It's been 4 hours and the refrigerated dough is at 60 degrees.  We've thrown a few test blobs in the fryer and they are working nicely.  Suddenly, I miss New York in the fall.  Not because of  the weather, the changing leaves, or the theater.  I miss St Anthony's Feast, with the loads of zeppole trucks frying little balls of  dough, then dropped lava-hot into a brown paper bag filled with 1/2 pound of powdered sugar.  Back to the donuts....  We are on our way to bigger batches and freshly fried donuts all day long rather than running out before the lunch crowd.  Zeppole truck, you've got nothing on us...

 

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Ruben_mobileThere are times when you can analyze the sales, crunch the numbers, make the most educated guess based on the information before you and still make a mistake.  That is what I did with the Ruben. I though that the sales going to drop during the summer months and that salads would be more of a draw.   With our kitchen being as tiny as it is, it was impossible to expand offerings without refining some as well; the Ruben has 4 ingredients that are only offered in that sandwich as there isn't much else to creatively make with Russian dressing, sauerkraut, and rye bread so it was removed from the menu, albeit temporarily.

What I learned is that vegans hate change and have an extreme passion for marinated tempeh.  And they get really mad when you take away their comfort foods.  So, it's back.  At least for now, and through the cooler months.  Until the numbers prove me wrong...

How to Make Your Own Ruben (makes 4 sandwiches)

2 pounds tempeh (makes 4 slices per pound)

8 floz apple cider vinegar

2 Tbsp black pepper

½ cup brown mustard

½ cup Worcestershire sauce

2/3 cup hot water

2 cups of sauerkraut or slaw

Combine all ingredients (minus kraut/slaw) in a mixing bowl and stir until combined.  Slice tempeh in half and longways.  Place tempeh in a shallow glass baking dish or container. Pour marinade over tempeh and let marinate overnight.

Russian Dressing:

1 cup Veganaise

1/2 cup Ketchup

2 tbsp relish or capers

Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl. Place in airtight container or squeeze bottle.

You can grill, pan fry or bake the tempeh;

Bake at 400 (f) for 20 minutes

Grill or pan fry on medium heat 12 minutes

Build; The Two-Faced Ruben

Toast two slices of rye bread per sandwich.  Cover one side of each piece with Russian Dressing, approximately 2 tablespoons total.

Place 1/4 cup or your favorite sauerkraut or slaw on top of each dressed slice

Place grilled Tempeh slice on top of slaw, and serve hot.

*Cheese option; Daiya slices or shreds

 

cookies 3The best part about running a food business is the food itself.  If I'm having one of those days where I'm elbow deep in paperwork, hours in on phone calls, eyeballs blurry from editing, I make sure to stop and taste our wares to remind myself of who we are. The food is the foundation. Cliche but true!  Never mind the details, the day to day, the grind.  Its the food; the ingredients, the flavors, the sweet smells, and of course the presentation.  Then come the details like operations, management, leases, and forecasts.  But first, it's about the food.  Sometimes, you have to bring it back home to remember 'why'.  I choose to remind myself with  a double chocolate cookie-fest in my personal kitchen with my son, Ezra. Stop what you're doing and go make this recipe.  Then come back and read a bit more.  Everyone enjoys a snack while reading, especially chocolate snacks.

Double Chocolate Cookies

Yield: Makes 24 to 30 cookies

3/4 cup (6 ounces) non-hydrogenated vegan margarine (recommended: Earth Balance)

1 cup plus 3 tablespoons (8 ounces) evaporated cane sugar

1 cup (7 ounces) brown sugar, lightly packed

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup soymilk

1/2 cup oil

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

 

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the margarine, sugars and vanilla with a paddle attachment until fluffy, about 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape the bottom of the bowl and mix again to ensure all ingredients are combined, about 30 seconds more.

 

  1. In a separate bowl, whisk together the soymilk and oil. Slowly add soymilk mixture to the sugar and mix to combine.

 

  1. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, oat flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add to the wet ingredient and mix until combined.

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  1. Scrape the dough from the bowl onto a clean work surface. Roll the dough into a 12-inch log. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours.

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  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F.
  1. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment or spray with pan spray.

 

  1. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and roll into 1" balls.

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  1. Place the balls on the baking sheet at least 2 to 3 inches apart. Press down into uniform size and Bake for 9 to 11 minutes (softer cookie, less time.  crunchier cookie, more time). The tops will look dry when done.

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wedding cake, vegan baking, I thought it would be fun to give a description of what it's like to run our business. You know, a little insight into the day to day, the technical details of the book-keeping and analytics, operations, management, budgets and goals.  You're salivating, right? Nothing more delicious than pie charts and profit and loss statements.  Top that with some cash flow and a sprinkle of costing, yummmM!  How often do you think about the details behind the kitchen doors, the structure that we build upon and the employees that keep it together?  My guess is that once you bite into that sandwich, sip that shake, crush tat cupcake or dig into that donut you don't think about the details.  While it was severe sugar cravings that got me baking, it's the business details that keep me busier in a way that I've never imagined, and completely fascinated, in love, and thirsty for more.  What started out as simply offering food options that happened to be vegan has blossomed into a quest for more information, more knowledge, and more impressive options. Originally I thought; 'if we make sure that vegan counterparts taste as good as non-vegan, then surely folks will eat more vegan food, therefore reducing the suffering of animals everywhere'.  Yes, a business built with good intentions and a mission.  This is still the original mission and why we do what we do.  However, in the business world times are changing.  Simply having a reason, passion, and goal is not enough to keep it running and keep folks interested.  What I'm trying to say is that if you want to own a business that is ethically based, you better know how to run that business according to industry standards.

There are exactly one-cabillion apps available to measure stats, social interest, purchasing trends, and public perception, your inventory, who purchased with a visa card, demographics, and flavor trends. What has stayed pretty consistent is that if you are going to run a business that has staying power then it better offer something that people have constant interest in.  And in our case, it better taste good. Don't forget cash flow, book keeping, budgets, pricing, costing......

The best thing about strawberry picking is how the scent of the sweet little heart shaped berries follows you around for days; your car, your clothes, your kitchen, and your fridge.  It's almost too much, but it's never enough. My local farm growing up was Greg's Farm in Red Hook, New York.  Every sunny summer weekend was spent hunched over, row after row, picking the ripest of the bunch and leaving some to ripen for next weekend.  My mom always said they should have weighed he kids before and after and charged accordingly.  I have a hunch they should've weighed the parents too.

So we're adding to the strawberry fun with our strawberry lemonade whoopie pies; lemon-y cakes filled with strawberry frosting.  Available all month in our shop, or make your own at home.  Here's how;

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Strawberry Lemonade Whoopie Pie

 

Yield:  Makes 12 large or 24 small whoopie pies

 

3 1/2 cups (17 ounces) all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup (8 ounces) non-hydrogenated vegan margarine (recommended: Earth Balance)

2 cups (14 ounces) sugar

Zest of one lemon

1 tablespoon egg replacer (recommended: Ener-G)

1/4 cup water

2/3 cup lemon juice

1 teaspoon vinegar

Strawberry frosting, recipe to follow

 

  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F.

 

  1. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.

 

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and baking soda and set aside.

 

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the margarine and sugar with the paddle attachment until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl.

 

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg replacer and water.

 

  1. Add egg replacer and lemon zest to the sugar mixture and mix until well combined.

 

  1. Combine the lemon juice and vinegar and add to the mixture, alternating with the dry ingredients, and mix until incorporated. Do not over mix.

 

  1. Using a small ice cream scoop with a release mechanism, drop heaping tablespoons of dough onto prepared baking sheets, about 1 inch apart.

 

  1. Transfer to oven and bake until cookies are just starting to crack on top and a toothpick inserted into the center of each cookie comes out clean, about 15 minutes. Let cool completely on pan.

 

Strawberry frosting:

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons non hydrogenated vegetable shortening (recommended: Earth Balance)

2 tablespoons non-hydrogenated vegan margarine (recommended: Earth Balance)

1 1/4 ounces strawberry puree, store-bought or homemade*

1 1/2 cups 10x powdered sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice

 

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, whip shortening and margarine until completely combined.  Scrape the bottom of the bowl to ensure that all ingredients are mixed thoroughly.

 

  1. Add the strawberry puree and mix until incorporated. Scrape the bottom of the bowl.

 

  1. On low speed, slowly add sugar a little at a time.

 

  1. Add the lemon juice and mix to combine. Scrape the bottom of the bowl, and mix on medium-high speed until all ingredients are combined and frosting is fluffy, about 2 minutes.

 

To assemble:

Transfer filling to a pastry bag. When cookies have cooled completely, pipe a large dollop of frosting on the flat side of half of the cookies. Top with the remaining cookies, pressing down slightly so that the filling spreads to the edge of the cookies.

 

*For homemade puree:

1  cup strawberries, hulled, fresh or frozen

  1. In a medium, heavy-bottomed sauce pan, heat strawberries on medium high heat, stirring constantly until they break down, about 15 minutes.

 

  1. Remove from heat and blend with an electric hand emulsifier.

 

  1. Return to heat and cook down until most of the liquid is evaporated, about 15 minutes.  Let cool completely before using.

 

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Chocolate and mint area  lively combination. The little caffeine kick from the cocoa, and the tingly chill from the mint give me the boost I need to make it through the last few days of winter.  Add a touch of green to the frosting, and you'll be reminded of those little mint sprigs waiting for you in your garden, beneath the frosty cold of the season about to pass.  Never mind that ground hog, these cookies say that spring is just around the corner.  

Mint Chocolate Sandwich Cookies
 
Yield: Makes 12 sandwich cookies
 
1/2 cup (4 ounces) non-hydrogenated vegan margarine (recommended: Earth Balance)
3/4 cup (5.5 ounces) evaporated cane sugar
2/3 cup (4.9 ounces) brown sugar, lightly packed
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
1/4 cup soymilk
1/3 cup oil
2 cups (10 ounces) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (2.1 ounces) cocoa
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
Mint Frosting, recipe to follow
 
1. Preheat the oven to 350° F.
 
2. Line two baking sheets with parchment.
 
3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the margarine, sugars and peppermint extract with a paddle attachment until light and fluffy, about 2 to 3 minutes.
 
4. In a separate bowl, whisk together the soymilk and oil. Slowly add soymilk mixture to the sugar and mix to combine.
 
5. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix until a dough forms.
 
6. Scoop the dough onto the baking sheets with a spring-loaded ice cream scoop (#20 scoop is 4 ounces). Leave 2 to 3 inches between each cookie and gently pat down with your fingertips.
 
7. Bake for 11 to 15 minutes or until tops of cookies begin to crack.
 
 
Mint Frosting
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons non hydrogenated vegetable shortening (recommended: Earth Balance)
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons non-hydrogenated vegan margarine (recommended: Earth Balance)
4 1/2 cups 10x powdered sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/2 teaspoons mint extract
2 to 4 tablespoons soymilk, as needed
1-2 drops of green food coloring, optional

 

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Who would have thought that dark beer would bring out the flavor of chocolate?  After a stint working for a local brewing company, the chocolate stout was always enticing--and smelled delicious. We thought we'd give it a shot and it's been one of our favorites ever since.  Of course, sourcing vegan beer can be a challenge, but thanks to Barnivore, finding vegan options has never been easier.  Currently, we're using Old Rasputin, but Brooklyn Brewery has great choices as well.   One of the best things about using carbonated beverages is the direct introduction of carbon dioxide.  It adds lift and fluff without extra added baking soda and powder.  Dipped in dark chocolate ganache made with stout, as well,  bringing the rich flavors to the forefront of this cake.  The tuft of light, sweet frosting takes the edge off, unless you decide to add some bourbon or whiskey to it, like we have. Then it just makes it extra delicious.

Chocolate Stout Cake

Yield: Makes two 9” round cake layers or 18 cupcakes

1 3/4 cups (8.6 ounces) flour

1 1/2 cups (9.6 ounces) sugar

1/2 cup (2 ounces) cocoa powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup water

1/2 cup stout

1/2 cup oil

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 tablespoon vinegar

 

  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F.
  2. Grease and flour 2, 9" pans
  3. Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, and salt into a medium-size bowl. Set the bowl aside.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together the water, stout, oil, and vanilla.
  5. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and whisk until just incorporated.
  6. Fold in the vinegar until you begin to see streaks. See page 0000 for reference. Do not over mix the batter.
  7. Distribute batter evenly between the two pans. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until cake springs back to the touch.
  8. Place the pans on a cooling rack to cool. Once the cakes are completely cool, run a knife or a plastic dough scraper around the edges of the pan to loosen the cake from the sides. Turn the pan upside to remove the cake.

For cupcakes: fill lined cupcake tin 3/4 full and bake for 16 to 19 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Bottoms Up  Vanilla Bean Frosting

Yield: Makes enough frosting to frost a 2-layer 9” cake or 18 cupcakes 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons non hydrogenated vegetable shortening (recommended: Earth Balance)

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons non-hydrogenated vegan margarine (recommended: Earth Balance)

4 1/2 cups 10x powdered sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or vanilla bean seeds

4 tablespoons bourbon or whiskey

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, whip shortening and margarine with the paddle attachment until completely combined.  Scrape the bottom of the bowl to ensure that all ingredients are mixed thoroughly.
  2. On low speed, slowly add sugar a little at a time.
  3. Once the sugar is incorporated, add the vanilla paste and bourbon and mix on low until the liquids are incorporated.
  4. Scrape the bottom of the bowl, and mix on medium-high speed until all ingredients are combined and frosting is fluffy, about 2 minutes.

 

Ganache:

8 ounces good quality chocolate

4 ounces room temperature Stout/Dark beer

 

On medium heat, heat the beer on the stovetop in a double boiler until steaming. Do not boil. In a separate bowl, pour the hot beer over the chocolate and let sit for 30 seconds. Whisk until the chocolate is melted and the two ingredients are completely combined. The ganache should be thick, but still pourable. Set aside.

Yield: approximately 1 cup

 

Now for the build;

Cupcakes: Once cooled, dip the tops of the cupcakes in the slightly cooled yet still liquid ganache.  Let the ganache set, then top with a dollop of Bottoms Up Vanilla Bourbon frosting.

Cake: Once cooled, spread about 1/4 cup of frosting on the top of a cake layer.  Add the second layer, then spread frosting on the top and sides.  Now, while ganache is slightly cooled yet still liquid, pour on top and and spread to the sides of the cake, letting it drip over the edges.  Let set and slice.

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A year ago, we made it through the first round of Cupcake Wars All-Stars with this sweetie, and ultimately took home the win.  We owe you one, Brown Sugar. Thank you, Rolling Stones for coming up with such a delicious and catchy tune.  The lyrics are, shall we say, a bit dated, but no one can deny the deliciousness of brown sugar cake topped with Rum frosting and brown sugar brittle.  Have fun, enjoy, and let us know what you think.

Rolling Stones Brown Sugar Cupcake with Coconut Custard Filling, Spiced Rum Frosting and Cracked Brown Sugar Brittle

Recipe courtesy Sticky Fingers Bakery, Cupcake Wars, 2011

 

1 1/2 cups unbleached flour

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

9 ounces brown sugar

4 ounces non-hydrogenated vegan margarine (recommended: Earth Balance)

1 1/2 tablespoons egg replacer, (recommended: Ener-G)

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoon water

3 teaspoons vanilla

1/2 cup soy milk

1/2 teaspoon vinegar

Coconut Custard, recipe follows

Spiced Rum Frosting, recipe follows

Brown Sugar Brittle, recipe follows

Special equipment: an electric kitchen scale

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

 

Line a standard cupcake pan with 12 standard cupcake liners. Sift the flour, baking soda, and salt into a medium-size bowl. Set the bowl aside. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, cream the brown sugar and the margarine with the whisk attachment, about 5 minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. In a small bowl or cup, combine the water, egg replacer and vanilla and stir to dissolve the egg replacer. Add the egg replacer to the sugar and mix until combined. In a small bowl, combine the soymilk and vinegar and set aside. Turn the mixer speed to low and slowly add the dry ingredients and the soymilk, alternating between the 2, ending with the soymilk.

 

Fill the 12 cupcake liners 3/4-full with batter and bake for 19 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into each cupcake comes out clean. Cool the cupcakes completely.

Coconut Custard:

2 cups full fat coconut milk, canned

4 ounces sugar

1/4 cup cornstarch

 

In a medium heavy-bottomed sauce pot, stir together 1 3/4 cups of the coconut milk and sugar.  Heat on medium-high until the mixture begins to bubble around the edges.  In a small bowl, mix the remaining coconut milk and cornstarch into a slurry.  Slowly add the cornstarch mixture to the hot sugar mixture while whisking. Cook for 2 more minutes while stirring. Remove from heat and let cool completely. Put the cooled Coconut Custard into a piping bag and cut 1/4-inch off the tip.

 

Yield: 2 cups

 

Spiced Rum frosting:

8 ounces non hydrogenated vegetable shortening (recommended: Earth Balance)

8 ounces non-hydrogenated vegan margarine (recommended: Earth Balance)

1 pound 8 ounces 10x powdered sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon allspice

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 cup dark rum

 

In the bowl of a stand mixer, whip shortening and margarine until completely combined.  Scrape the bottom of the bowl to ensure that all ingredients are mixed thoroughly. On low speed, slowly add sugar a little at a time. Add the spices and mix. Scrape the bottom of the bowl. Add rum and mix to combine. Scrape the bottom of the bowl and mix on medium-high speed until all ingredients are combined and frosting is fluffy, about 2 minutes. Put the frosting into a pastry bag and cut 1/2 inch off the tip.

 

Yield: 2 quarts

 

Brown Sugar Brittle:

1 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup corn syrup

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup water

1 teaspoon non-hydrogenated vegan margarine (recommended: Earth Balance)

1 teaspoon baking soda

 

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside. In a medium heavy bottom sauce pan, boil the sugar, corn syrup, salt and water, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Place a candy thermometer into the pan and cook on medium heat until the mixture reaches 300º F. Remove from heat and stir in the margarine and baking soda. Pour the mixture into the prepared cookie sheet and quickly spread the hot mixture thinly on the sheet. Let the candy cool completely and break it into small pieces with your fingers.

 

To assemble:

With a plastic drinking straw or a small paring knife, make holes in the center of each cupcake. Squeeze the Coconut Custard in the center of each cupcake until filled but not overflowing, about 1 tablespoon per cupcake. Pipe a dollop of Spiced Rum Frosting onto each cupcake and garnish with a few pieces of the Brown Sugar Brittle.

 

Prep Time: 60 minutes

Cook Time: 60 minutes

Inactive Prep Time: 10 minutes

Ease of Preparation: Intermediate

 

 

 

 

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Celebrate World Vegan Month with a Coupon and Tasty Recipe

November is World Vegan Month and to celebrate, GO Veggie!, formerly Galaxy Nutritional Foods, wants to share a little something special with Sticky Fingers followers and fans. It’s a coupon for $1.50 off their new GO Veggie! Dairy Free cream cheese so you can try it out this holiday season. Link to Coupon Offer:

This vegan cream cheese has a great taste and a wonderfully creamy texture. Try it out in our Pumpkin Whoopie Pies (*recipe below).

What are you waiting for? Go claim your coupon and get cooking. If you want more from GO Veggie!, including the inside scoop on new products like their new dairy free and vegan shreds and slices (!!!) be sure to like them on Facebook, and follow them on Twitter. Enjoy!

Recipe: Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

Yield: Makes 12 large or 24 small whoopie pies

3 cups (15 ounces) all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon baking powder 1 teaspoon baking soda 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon 2 teaspoons ground ginger 1 teaspoon ground cloves 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg 1/2 teaspoon allspice 2 cups (14 ounces) brown sugar, packed 1 cup vegetable oil 3 cups canned pumpkin 1 tablespoon egg replacer (recommended: Ener-G) 1/4 cup water 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract Cream cheese frosting, recipe to follow

1.      Preheat the oven to 350° F.

2.      Line two baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.

3.      In a large bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg and allspice.

4.      In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix together brown sugar and oil with the paddle attachment until well combined.

5.      Add pumpkin puree and mix until combined.

6.      In a small bowl, whisk together the egg replacer and water.

7.      Add egg replacer and vanilla to the pumpkin mixture and mix until well combined.

8.      Add the flour mixture to the pumpkin mixture, about a cup at a time, and mix until fully incorporated.

9.      Using a small ice cream scoop with a release mechanism, drop heaping tablespoons of dough onto prepared baking sheets, about 1 inch apart.

10.  Transfer to oven and bake until cookies are just starting to crack on top and a toothpick inserted into the center of each cookie comes out clean, about 15 minutes. Let cool completely on pan.

Cream Cheese Frosting: 1/3 cup non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening (recommended: Earth Balance) 4 ounces non-dairy cream cheese, softened (recommended: GO Veggie!) 1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice 1 to 2 drops of lemon oil (optional)

1.      In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the shortening until smooth.

2.      Add cream cheese and beat until well combined.

3.      Add confectioners' sugar, vanilla, lemon juice and lemon oil and beat just until smooth. (Frosting can be made in advance. Cover and refrigerate, but let stand at room temperature to soften before using.)

To assemble: Transfer filling to a pastry bag. When cookies have cooled completely, pipe a large dollop of filling on the flat side of half of the cookies. Top with the remaining cookies, pressing down slightly so that the filling spreads to the edge of the cookies.