Monday, March 19, 2012

Vegan Almond Butter Oatmeal Sandwich Cookies

It's that time again. Secret Recipe Club time. Once a month a bunch of food blogger's get together, are secretly given someone else blog to cook from, then blog about it.

This month I was given a lovely blog called The Boys Made Me Do It (Such a cute name!). Blogger Cara has a husband and three young boys which  is where the inspiration for the name comes from. Go check out her site. She has lots of great recipes and usually does a weekly menu planning post letting you know what she is cooking for the week. I love this idea.

I had a bunch of great recipes from Cara open, trying to decide which one to cook but something about these cookies kept calling out to me. I made some changes to the recipe to make them vegan. Also the original recipe uses peanut butter but since P hates peanut butter I used almond butter instead. The cookies turned out really yummy but I decided to fill them with just plain almond butter rather than a frosting. I will definitely be making these again (I think they are the perfect texture to make ice cream sandwiches).

Vegan Almond Butter Oatmeal Cookies
recipe adapted from The Boys Made Me Do It

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup vegan margarine, softened
1/2 cup smooth almond butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1 Tbsp molasses
1 Tbsp ground flaxseed mixed with 3 Tbsp water
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup oats, quick cooking or old fashioned

Preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Sift together with a whisk.

In a large bowl, cream together the margarine, peanut butter, sugar and molasses until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.

Add in the flaxseed and water mixture and vanilla extract. Add the dry ingredients and mix  just until incorporated. Stir in the oats until evenly blended.

Use a small cookie dough scoop to portion out the dough (about 2 teaspoons), rolling each portion into a ball, and place them on the prepared cookie sheet, a couple inches apart. Bake about 10 minutes.The cookies will look very soft but let them cool on the baking sheet 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cook completely.

To turn the into sandwiches layer some regular almond butter between two cookies and enjoy with a glass of almond milk!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Vegan Grapefruit & Olive Oil Cake

I really love olive oil cakes. I find they are always moist and have a really lovely flavour. Usually I see them paired with lemon or orange but I have been on a huge grapefruit kick this winter so I thought I would give the combination a try. I used pink grapefruits but once they cooked up they looked just like oranges! The idea for this recipe came from The Gluttonous Vegan blog.

Vegan Grapefruit & Olive Oil Cake
Adapted from The Gluttonous Vegan

3 cups flour
2 tsps baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup olive oil
3/4 cup soy milk
1 tsp grated pink grapefruit zest
1/2 cup fresh pink grapefruit juice
1 thin skinned pink grapefruit, sliced very thin for the top (Optional)

Prepare a 9 inch cake pan with some oil and flour.

In a large bowl mix dry ingredients, including the sugar, together. Add the olive oil and soy milk to the dry ingredients and mix. Then add the grapefruit juice and zest. Mix thoroughly and pour batter into prepare cake pan.

Top the cake with the thinly cut grapefruit slices and bake in a 350 degree oven for a least 30 minutes. (Mine was closer to 40). Let cool then slice and enjoy.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Vegan Sea Salt & Caramel Popcorn

I made this caramel popcorn as a treat to bring into work. I couldn't believe how easy it was to make and how absolutely delicious it turned out. Seriously give this a go if you like salty sweet things. Seems like a lot of work and will definitely impress people.

The recipe below might look like it has a lot of steps. It really is not complicated but you need to read the recipe BEFORE trying to make it. It is easy to do but you need to be quick about it so read first then make.

Vegan Sea Salt & Caramel Popcorn
6 - 8 cups of freshly popped popcorn (1/2 cup un-popped kernels)
1 1/4 cup sugar (I used organic)
3 Tbsp Earth Balance (or other margarine)
1 tsp sea salt

Firstly pop your popcorn. Personally I make my popcorn on the stove in a Whirly Pop (This contraption makes sure your popcorn doesn't burn) But it is super easy to do in a large soup pot. Once you make it on the stove you won't go back to microwave popcorn. It honestly takes the same amount of time and is so much tastier.

Once your popcorn is ready put it into a very large bowl and set aside. At the same time put a sheet pan out and cover with parchment paper.

Now it is time to make the caramel. I don't have a candy thermometer (I know a Whirly Pop but no candy thermometer!) so I put a glass of ice water and spoon beside the stove so I can test the caramel and make sure it gets to hard candy stage.

In a small pot put the sugar and margarine in. Place on medium low heat and eventually the margarine will melt and mix with the sugar. Stir frequently with a wooden spoon.

Whatever you do - DO NOT LEAVE THE STOVE. You need to stand there and watch the caramel very carefully so don't answer the phone or put a few dishes away or anything. Just stand there and stir frequently.

After about 5 - 7 minutes the sugar will be getting a deep rich brown colour. Now take your little spoon and grab a little caramel and dunk it into the ice water for 15 - 20 seconds. If the caramel has reached hard candy stage it will completely harden on the spoon. This is what you are looking for. If the caramel is still soft in the ice water keep cooking it and test it again in a few minutes.

DO NOT TOUCH THE CARAMEL - It will seem very tempting and look delicious and you will want to stick your finger in the pot or grab the spoon and put some in your mouth but trust me the caramel is about 5 million degrees and will then stick to your hand or mouth while burning you intensely. Just be patient.

Add the sea salt to the caramel and stir. It will fizz and crackle so be careful. Now quickly pour the caramel over the popcorn and stir the popcorn so the caramel coats it. You will need to move quickly as the caramel will harden fast.

Now pour the popcorn onto the sheet pan and spread out. You may want to break up some of the larger pieces. Let the popcorn cool on the sheet pan and then store in an airtight container for up to a week.