After the success of my super-chocolatey Best-Ever Beet Brownies, I was super pumped to make a vegan blondie recipe using gold beets, especially since there doesn’t seem to be one online. Fortunately it didn’t take quite as many trials as the brownies to get these right! Where the earthy, deep flavor of red beets enhanced the intense chocolatiness of the brownies, the gold beets also bring a sweet, nutty flavor.
My sister and her boyfriend Brad came down for the holidays with their little wiggly fluff, Resi, and things have been crazy. We went to an amazing Christmas Eve dinner at my cousin Kiera’s – all vegan! We had butternut squash soup, veggie pot pies (YUM) cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes and gravy, mushroom stuffing, and fresh sourdough. I made a Buche de Noel and Brad made my Winter Quinoa Croquettes. It was all pretty stellar. And Kiera’s little ladies were definitely ready to go to sleep – and were excited to see that the elves had swung by and left them some pajamas! It was exciting for us too :)
I always think I love frosting sugar cookies, and then I start the whole process and my perfectionism gets the better of me. This is mostly because I love to look at Sweetopia’s cookie-decorating blog – she makes flawless, gorgeous cookies – fortunately she also has some great easy designs (well, easier) and that’s where I got the idea for these loopy trees. They are so much fun to make, and the “mistakes” just make them look kookier.
I also made a bunny, cuz, ya know. Happy holidays from Chel Rabbit :)
It’s not often that you come upon truly local foods. Sure, there is the black and white cookie (we non-city New Yorkers call them half-moons) or Chicago-style pizza, but you can get those pretty much anywhere in the US.
Update: I will probably never be able to make this again… I couldn’t stop eating it. It’s spicy, gingery, with a crispy, caramel-y top: gone in 2 days. Good luck.
It’s been pretty chilly in Oakland the past few nights. It’s nice to have a reason to cuddle up under a blanket, but it’s also nice to have an excuse to get the oven going and bake something sweet – gingerbread seemed like the perfect choice. Sweetness comes second to the warmth of molasses and spices. The smell of it in your kitchen is almost worth making it on its own.
It’s quick to put together, so make it right after dinner to enjoy warm with some coconut whipped cream or a (generous) sprinkle of powdered sugar. If you want to throw this together even faster, substitute the crystallized and grated ginger for 2 teaspoons ground ginger.
These are really something different – crispy on the outside and dense and creamy within, the mushrooms bringing their savory touch with the sweet citrus notes of marjoram and nutty fried garlic.
Serve these as an appetizer at any special occasion – they would be great served on a dressed salad of arugula, or as is: plated solo with a drizzle of olive oil. Also very important for special occasions: they come together quite quickly and can be made up to two days ahead.
This would also be great as a brunch dish, or even the main dish for dinner, served with a salad, crusty buttered bread and maybe a light tomato sauce.
I’m a sucker for stuffing (dressing, really, since what are we stuffing but ourselves?). It’s a bread casserole, essentially, and my favorite part of the Thanksgiving meal.
This version combines the sweetness of browned onions, stewed pears, and caramelly prunes with a tangy sourdough base. The baguette soaks up the flavors and broth but doesn’t get gummy; this stuffing still has a nice firmness to it and crunches up beautifully on top.
I’m sure my cousin Lea doesn’t ever remember making this soup for me. She’s that kind of cook (scratch that, she’s a real live chef) – one who makes an amazing soup out of nowhere, and then forgets about it, because it comes so easily to her. Of course, her daughter Liv has a discerning palate, too. She’s the kind of kid who would like oyster mushrooms and caramelized onions in her omelette, please. A Tyke Gourmet kind of kid.
Coffee cake might be one of my more favorite baked goods. Especially when it is a bit healthier for you.
This isn’t your standard saccharine-sweet, cardboard-flavored Entenmann’s: pumpkin purée gives this cake a tender, moist crumb without a ton of oil. The best part about coffee cake is the streusel topping (obviously), but the cake itself, flavored with pumpkin and maple syrup, holds its own. It’s also simple and quick to put together, travels beautifully, and tastes even better the next day.
The spices here are crucial: the cinnamon in the cake and crumb topping is the star. If you have a minute, take the time to grind cinnamon sticks yourself using a coffee grinder or microplane grater. Also, be on the lookout for ceylon cinnamon the next time you make it to a well-stocked grocery. Most of the “cinnamon” we buy is actually made from cassia bark, not “true” or “Ceylon” cinnamon. Ceylon cinnamon has a much more intense, spicy flavor — once you smell it you will understand why I’m recommending it!
This is great for breakfast or dessert with coffee (of course) but also as an afternoon snack, with a hot cup of black tea and a book.
- 3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour*
- 5 tablespoons cold Earth Balance or 4 tablespoons melted coconut oil (or canola oil)
- 1/3 cup dark brown sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour*
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 3/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice**
- 1 cup + 2 tablespoons pumpkin purée
- 1/3 cup dark brown sugar
- 1/3 cup melted coconut oil (or canola oil)
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1/4 cup nondairy milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat your oven to 350°F. Lightly grease and flour a 9x9in pan.
- Mix together the flour, sugar, salt, and cinnamon. Cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse sand. If using oil, add one tablespoon and stir, alternating until all oil is used.
- In a large bowl, add together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice. Whisk together until well combined. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the pumpkin purée, brown sugar, maple syrup, milk, vanilla, and melted coconut oil. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix until just combined (see my post on the Whisk Folding Technique). Pour the batter into the baking pan and use a spatula to spread evenly. It will be very thick. Wet the spatula to help spread, if necessary.
- Take handfuls of the crumb topping and pack in your hand, then crumble it evenly over the batter. Press the pieces gently into the batter.
- Bake for 30-33 minutes or until a toothpick inserted an inch from the center comes out clean.
- *Feel free to use all-purpose flour, but whole wheat pastry is a little bit better for you :)
- **Or substitute another 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon along with 1/8 teaspoon each ground ginger, ground clove, and ground nutmeg.
This pumpkin granola is based on a favorite Cooks Illustrated method (cheers to C. Mike here!): pack it down into a thick slab of granola and let it cook and cool undisturbed before breaking it up into chunks. The result: a crispy, crunchy granola with lots of clustery bits. I’ve added nutty quinoa seeds for even more texture. The pumpkin and spice flavors come out best in milk, so I highly recommend breakfasts of granola with milk and banana (a great creamy foil for crunchy granola). Pecans and salted dried cranberries round out the flavor and really give it that can’t-stop-eating-it quality of the best granolas.