Entries Tagged as 'Sweets'

Chocolate & Toasted Coconut Olive Oil Cake [with vegan option]

Posted on: April 14, 2014

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Every year our local radio station puts on an all day music event in the park. To me, it always marks that first day of true spring in Bloomington. It is often times the first Saturday that its warm enough to grill out and enjoy a picnic in the park while listening to some wonderful local and national music. It also usually lines up with being the first Saturday that the outdoor farmer’s market is in full swing.

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This year’s event was this past Saturday and the spring fever did not disappoint. I started the day with a walk to the farmer’s market and enjoyed smelling all the budding trees along the way. The sun was out and we welcomed temperatures above anything we’ve felt in 6+ months. I spent the afternoon planting wildflowers and playing around in the kitchen with the sun streaming in (oh what a difference it makes!).

We grilled out for dinner and I whipped up a cake for our guests. Ha, I know – a cake for a grill out? You can tell I’m rusty since a well disciplined griller would have found something that could be made over the hot coals. Unfortunately, it’s still a little early for berries and our citrus bounty has long since disappeared so cake it was! Delicious, moist, chocolatey cake – I must add!

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Rosemary Walnut Ice Cream // A Recipe From Scoop Adventures

Posted on: April 4, 2014

 

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Well, we are finally past the ‘polar vortex’ phase of the year and have officially started moving into spring (which means constant thunderstorms and luscious greenery popping up everything for us Midwesterns). What better way to welcome spring than with an earthy ice cream flavored with rosemary, honey, and chunks of walnuts? My ice cream maker has been accumulating dust since I got it for Christmas and it’s about time we wore this puppy in.

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This recipe is from Scoop Adventure, a new ice cream book by Lindsay Clendaniel that takes you around the country to all the best ice cream parlors. I was so excited to open up this book and find my own hometown ice cream parlor, Hartzell’s, featured for the state of Indiana. This rosemary walnut ice cream isn’t the Hartzell recipe and I’m not even going to tell you what it is, so your just gonna have to pick up this book for yourself. Heck, I bet your town is in there..or maybe a town you grew up in or went to on vacation…I bet some ice cream shop you love is featured and you won’t even know until you pick up this 192 pager.

 

 

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Tell me you’ve made homemade ice cream before, right? Good. So then you know what I’m talking about when I say that homemade ice cream has the most wonderful fresh and creamy texture that you’ll never find in a carton of Kroger brand cookies and cream. It’s rich while tasting light and every bite is bursting with the flavors of your choosing.

 

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The honey I used in this recipe was a jar we picked up in Marco Island during our little adventure earlier this spring. It’s saw palmetto honey, which has a very distinct flavor profile to it. The distinct flavor reminds me of relaxing on a white sand beach in the everglades. That means I taste a little bit of adventure with every spoonful.

 

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Baked Vegan Maple Bacon Donuts

Posted on: March 10, 2014

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I’d like to think I live in a pretty progressive town for it being smack-dab in the middle of cornfields (also known as the ‘meat-and-potato region’). Bloomington, Indiana is home to around only 40,000 people (80,000 if you count the students from the university) yet we have 4 co-op grocery stores, an entire street dedicated to ethnic restaruants, a vegan diner, numerous international grocery spots, a bike trail that runs the length of the city, and bakery dedicated to only serving vegan goodies.

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I bring this up because our local vegan bakery specialized in baked (or cake? I’d like to think they are the same thing but my boyfriend said this is 100% false) donuts. Theres always an array ranging from traditional toffee to more unique lavender-lemon. My usual go-to (after the huge cinnamon rolls and buckeyes) is always their maple bacon donut. They are wonderfully sweet with a hint of smoke from the coconut bacon.

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Honey Roasted Citrus & Thyme Popsicles

Posted on: February 23, 2014

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As mentioned in my previous post, we’ve been in Florida for the last week as an attempt to relieve ourselves from the negative temperatures that the Midwest can’t seem to shake. The week has been filled with lazy mornings at the beach, afternoons by the pool, and early evenings were spent exploring the Everglades.

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More on our adventures later this week after I finish editing all the photos I managed to snap. As for now, I tried to spend the whole week relaxing but couldn’t resist the urge to document these popsicles to share with all of you. I received both an ice cream maker and popsicle molds for Christmas and although I’ve played around with a few recipes, the Midwest ground has been covered in snow since December and our home has maybe seen the sun half a dozen times since the new year. Thus, ice cream cravings have been at a standstill (well, at least until last week when we headed to the coast).

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Naturally Dyed Pink Meringue Cookies with Blood Orange Curd [Valentine's Day Edition]

Posted on: February 2, 2014

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Last year I waited until the very last minute to do a Valentine’s day post so I figured we’d just get this out of the way this year. Yup, it’s February so it’s totally acceptable to start talking in the rhythm of a haiku and dreaming in red and pink.

 

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I’m starting to feel like this sweets thing is never going to end. There was the month long baking marathon of festive cookies that leads up to Christmas. And then my boyfriend and best friend both had birthdays in January (which means 2 cakes each. Hey, it’s the one month out of the year I have an excuse to make a cake so I tend to go a little overboard). And now it’s february which is yet another excuse to eat chocolate covered everything and pink tinted sugar.  So, I guess what I am trying to say, is that after this Valentine’s Day post I’m going to cool it on the sweets. No, I’m not doing it for you – I know you enjoy every sugar laden treat I post on here. I’m doing it for myself because you can’t feel in control of your health when you are on a constant sugar high. Ya know?

 

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I’m jumping all over the place with this intro but there is so much to cover in such a short amount of time (+an over-share of photos = an unnecessarly long post so stay with me!).

There was so much inspiration from all over for this recipe. First off, I’ve been dying to make Linda’s Blood Orange Curd that she posted on her site The Tart Tart since the blood oranges finally started pouring into the Midwest.  I halved the recipe and manipulated it a little bit to fit with the amount of egg yokes leftover from the meringue. All I can say is…Damn, I am SO bummed I halved that recipe. It was the perfect amount to fill the meringue bites but I really wish there was leftovers to lather all over pancakes or toast or oatmeal or whatever else would be within reach. This was my first try at curd (and my first experience tasting it homemade) and I’m completely hooked. It’s a wonder I’ve gone all these years without it. Move over jam – citrus curd is my new #1.

 

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Currently Lusting: Pink Patisserie

Posted on: January 9, 2014

Currently Lusting is a bi-weekly series which features blogs that VV finds particularly inspiring / creative / beautiful or probably all three. Although we’d like to pretend that all ideas spring from these wonderful brains of ours, that is just simply not the truth. We pull so much inspiration and ideas from other blogs that I think it’s really important to acknowledge these people and the hard work they put into their virtual spaces. Want to create a truly gorgeous blog? One of the biggest steps is having an inspiring set of other blogs that constantly makes you want to make yours better.

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Pink Patisserie is one of those blogs that I’ll have pinned 4 of her photos and be struck by how delicious a recipe looks before even realizing where it came from. Then I’ll be going through my blogfeed later on, see those photo and be like ‘ah ha! Of course this was the work of Maria!’. This has happened at least a half a dozen times. I can usually pin point a photo from most of my favorite blogs because they stick to a similar aesthetic… but not Pink Patisserie. Maria is constantly surprising me with her ever growing photography talent and each photo I stumble upon seems to only be more gorgeous than the last. Just when I think she’s mastered it, she creates a new post with even more inspiring photos and recipes. And that is what keeps me always coming back to Pink Patisserie.

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Chocolate & Spiced Chai Biscotti

Posted on: December 24, 2013

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MERRY CHRISTMAS [EVE] (or, to all of you who don’t celebrate Christmas, HAPPY TUESDAY!). I love Christmas eve just as much as I love Christmas day. This is because, growing up, my parent’s were divorced so we always had Christmas with my Father ‘s family on the 24th and then had ANOTHER Christmas with my mother’s family on the 25th. I never could relate to those kids who were so excited to get to open ONE present on Christmas Eve to hold them over – I always received DOZENS of gifts on Christmas eve followed up lots more gifts on Christmas day. As I’ve aged, I’ve toned down a little (just a little!) on my excitement for a double dose of gifts but have learned to find joy in so many other wonderful aspects of having two Christmases in a row. Double the santa cookies. Double the Christmas movies. Double the Yule log playing in the background on your tv (speaking of that, I’ll be playing Lil Bub’s yule log video this year – if my family doesn’t think thats too weird).

But, to be completely honest, this biscotti has nothing to do with Christmas and I really just chatted about Christmas Eve because I’m just so darn excited its finally here. This biscotti is actually about having 11 days off of work in a row – which is the longest vacation time I’ve had in 2013. It’s about finally having lazy mornings after lazy mornings of sipping coffee in bed and enjoying a favorite magazine while munching some biscotti. It’s all about mastering the technique of getting the biscotti soggy enough in your coffee that it doesn’t crumble all over your sheets but firm enough that it’s still crunchy when take that first bite. But don’t worry, it’s okay if it takes you a few days to master this technique – we’ve still got loads more days off ahead of us!

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Gingerbread Syrup /// DIY Gifting

Posted on: December 9, 2013

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Yikes, another sweets recipe? The holiday season has once again taken over and I can’t seem to get my mind to focus on anything else. I feel a little guilty about how sugar-laden VV has been over the past month (I’m not exaggerating. don’t believe me? Look here. and here. and even here). I feel like I’m setting a bad example after I went on that long rant last week to you guys about how switching to a vegetarian lifestyle is a healthy choice. So, I guess, what I’m trying to say is that for every sweets recipe I post on here, there are 10 salads being eaten in the days between which are not getting photographed / recorded. And that being a vegetarian is not an excuse to skip dinner because there is meat in it and jump right into dessert. But… do you know what is an excuse for that? The holidays! And they are here – so why don’t we just indulge for a little longer? Come on – what do you say? Well stuff our faces with fresh lentil soup and kale smoothies come the New Year – I promise!

My initial thought when deciding to make this syrup was that I could use dates as the sweetener and do a little bit of healthy twist on it. But I also wanted to make this syrup for far-away friends and I was worried about the dates not being able to travel halfway across the country without spoiling, ya know? What an awful greeting to an old friend – ‘Hey! Here is a package of spoiled baked goods for you! Enjoy! Hope ya don’t get too sick’. It just didn’t seem worth the risk. So, instead, I stuck to the good ‘ole fashion recipe that we’ve been making every year around this time. Silky and sweet – so you only need a few teaspoons. Perfect in your hot cocoa or morning cup of coffee. A great addition to a festive cocktail or to drizzle over baked goods. When deciding that I wanted to make some festive care packages for old friends, I couldn’t think of a more versatile gift.

In addition to this syrup, I’m including some homemade vanilla extract (that has been aging for 5 months now), my Sweet & Salty Curry Molasses Popcorn, and Baker Royale’s Cookies & Cream Bark (which was really just an excuse to buy another package of Newman-Os) in the goodies I’m sending to friends.

Next up – family packages! What are you DIY gifting this year? I need some more inspiration!

***REMINDER: Don’t forget to enter to win the book bundle I am giving away! Entries will be accepted until next Sunday so hop on over here and sign up!***

 

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Milk Stout & Sea-Salt Caramels

Posted on: November 25, 2013

 

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To speak the obvious, the holidays are upon us! We’ve got Thanksgiving and the start of Hannakuh this week. And Christmas is exactly a month from today. Are you ready? Yeah, me neither. So even though I have not got around to getting gifts and roasting a giant tofurkey, at least I won’t come empty handed because I’ve got these caramels!

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These little candies are the perfect accompaniment for all your holiday gatherings. Going to a Thanksgiving where the host has already agreed to make EVERYTHING? Bring these instead of (or along with) that bottle of wine – it’ll be more personal and they are so perfectly petite that you don’t have to feel guilty about munching a few down before the big feast.

Or these would be wonderful to have on the table during a winter gift wrapping party (am I the only one who has those? It’s really the best excuse to make mulled wine and listen to Christmas records with friends). Or to bring to that ugly sweater party. Or really just to have out on the table all December long while you prep for the holidays.

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Hosting A Vegetarian Thanksgiving

Posted on: November 21, 2013

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(Although I wish this was my own feast that I was muchin’ down on, it is not. As a change of pace on VV, I’ve borrowed most of the photos in this post so please click on the images to check out more beautiful photos from the original authors)

 

I’m a total planner. Anytime my boyfriend mentions he’d like to go on a trip somewhere, I’ll have a full day by day itinerary wrote up and emailed to him by the following evening. He usually has forgot he even mentioned anything by the time he receives the email but I know he has to smirk a little in that moment he opens it to find days (usually by the hour) planned out with restaurants, museums, sights, road stops, forests, and campsites. At least, I know I smirk a little when I re-read those emails. I don’t realize I’m doing it but I’m being exactly like my father in those moments. He would take us all (my brother, my three cousins who lived with us, and my step-mother) on a two week vacation every August when I was growing up. For the months leading up to it, he would pull out the atlas after dinner and compare tourist books (this was before the internet was a real big thing) to what was along the route. I remember how playful he always was in those planning moments and he’d tease me with comments like ‘should we go gambling in Vegas or take that 7 mile hike all uphill to see the rock that resembles a monkey head?’ (as if either of those things were appealing to a 10 year old).

Most of these trips I plan are just ideas – tucked away in email folders – never to actually be carried out. Sometimes I wonder if I have more fun planning adventures then actually taking them. There is just something comforting about these plans being there – comforting in the sense that if we did ever decide to sneak away to the Smoky Mountains or Lake Powell or Montreal at the last second, we wouldn’t miss a thing because I’ve got an itinerary for that!

Anyhow, I bring this story up because I planned out Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is sort of like a trip – you spend months planning and prepping only to have it carried out in one big meal. The funny thing is I’m not even hosting Thanksgiving this year. We always have Thanksgiving at my parent’s house up north and all I do is pick out a few recipes to make the day of and demand a Tofurky. However, even though I’m not hosting Thanksgiving, I still made a Thanksgiving menu. You know, just in case I ever feel like throwing a Thanksgiving dinner on a non-Thanksgiving holiday or something? Okay, that sounded crazy. I just mean that I did it because I enjoy planning. Planning can be a hobby, right?

So, to get to the point, if you are looking to host a Vegetarian Thanksgiving this year or just still need a few ideas on some sides, here is how I envision the perfect Vegetarian Thanksgiving:

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Caramelized Cranberry & Brie Pull-Apart Bread

Posted on: November 12, 2013

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Are you guys ready to talk about Thanksgiving? Excellent because it’s been on my mind a whole bunch lately and I am wearing my excitement on my sleeve. Holidays weren’t something I truly appreciated until I moved away and spent months upon months away from my family (it also helps that, in the more recent years, I’ve become obsessed with food as well). These days, it seems like I get more and more excited about the holidays sooner and sooner. Hell, I was ready to start talking about stuffing at the end of September!

 

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Maple Apple Bars /// Apple Picking

Posted on: October 27, 2013

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I know, I know. Every food blog out there right now has gorgeous pictures up of them apple picking. But what’s one more?

Apple picking is a sign that the air has become crisp and the days shorter. We usually go apple picking at the same place every year but found this new gem of a farm this fall. It’s huge with windy isles filled with dozens and dozens of apple flavors. We adventured right around dusk while the lighting was magical and the the farm was void of families.

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Pumpkin Pie with Salted Molasses Créme Fraîche /// Let’s make Pumpkin Puree from Scratch

Posted on: October 7, 2013

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 Think caramel is the only sweet topping you can salt? Think again. Imagine this salted molasses as the darker-spicier-brunette sister to the blondie we know as salted caramel. It also has that addicting sweet / salty flavor profile but with a bit of a richer flavor. I’m really not sure why caramel gets all the attention and why we don’t salt more sweet syrups. Why not salted honey? salted molasses? salted date syrup? Salted agave nectar? Based on how this pie tasted…I think I’m on to something here.

 

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Besides the salted molasses, the other secret ingredient that really sets this pie apart is the use of vanilla beans. Vanilla extract is great when you want to infuse your baked goods but there is nothing better than speckles of fresh vanilla seeds. I stuck them in both the custard filling and in the molasses drizzle. If your local grocery store doesn’t carry vanilla beans (I know many don’t – shame on them!) then I highly suggest hopping over to J. R. Watkin’s site and picking up some of theirs. They were kind enough to send me some samples a few weeks back and I was legitimately blown away. I’m the kind of person who usually buys the beans in bulk and these beans put all of those to shame. These beans were some of the freshest I’ve ever baked with (and I, weirdly enough, have a lot of experience baking with vanilla beans. Check out here and here and here and here and here and here for written proof of it).

 

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Nutmeg Banana Carrot Muffins /// Some Words on Sugar Substitutes

Posted on: September 29, 2013

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Today is Sunday, September 29th. Today is a very very special day. Or should I say tonight? Yes, tonight is a very very very special night. Tonight is the season finale of Breaking Bad. It is when three (four?!) years of pain-stakingly frustrating tension is finally resolved (or at least we hope it will be). There is only one problem: we don’t have cable. How did we watch all the other 61 episodes then, you ask? Well you can stream them on the network’s website the followig day after an episode has aired. Which I am usually totally fine with. But this is the season finale of the whole series. And I can’t stop thinking about it. I don’t want to go into work tomorrow and have to keep my ears shut the whole day. Or spend the next 24 hours avoiding my newsfeeds on facebook and twitter. I want to experience it along with the rest of America.

So, how will I do this, you ask? Well, I’m not sure. But I sure as hell want to be prepared with baked goods when I figure it out. I’m thinking…bribing frineds with these muffins? Or the bartender to turn it to AMC with these little handheld cakes. Or maybe even going over to our new neighbors house and using these muffins as a ‘welcome to the neighborhood’ peace treaty right when the show is starting (that way I can peep in the door and see if they are watching it. ‘OH! You guys are watching Breaking Bad?! We were just about to put it on. Maybe we should all watch it together. I also have some local cider and whiskey I can bring over, if you’d like….’). You know, those kinds of things.

 

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Oh no. This post was supposed to be a distraction from thinking about Breaking Bad. Okay, what were we talking about before I so rudely changed the subject to a drug-ring-themed-pop-culture-television-drama? Oh yeah, muffins. And not just any muffins – muffins exploding with nutritional benefits like dates (fiber, iron, calcium), bananas (potassium, vitamin B6, vitamin C), nutmeg (iron, magnesium, calcium), and carrots (vitamin A). These are nutritional enough for breakfast but satisfying enough for dessert. And even scrumptious enough to bribe your friends with.

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Vanilla Bean & Fig Shortbread Drizzled with Honey Glaze

Posted on: September 8, 2013

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This past week has been wonderful. It was my birthday on Wednesday and I’ve been spoiled silly by so many wonderful people. Packages in the mail, trips to the city, visits from my mother, late night dinners. All this positive attention reminded me that I can also spoil myself a little -I decided I was entitled to as much sangria and shortbread as I please during this week. I whipped up a big batch of sangria and peach shortbread last Sunday and spent the week picking away at it. Heck, I even ran out of shortbread by Wednesday and whipped up another batch; this time I whipped up these fig shortbread bars.

Sometimes you are kind of nervous about getting older and the only cure is large amounts of butter and sparkling wine. Oh and having amazing people in your life.

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VV Turns 2 /// Spicy Double Chocolate Cookies with Cappuccino Frosting

Posted on: August 17, 2013

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Yay – today Vegetarian Venture’s has officially been around (and active!) for two years! It seems both unreal and yet two years doesn’t seem that long. I can’t remember my life without this creative outlet and can’t imagine what I did with all my time before baking, cooking, photography, styling, and playing with food?

The world as I know it has changed drastically since 2011. Two years ago, this guy didn’t exist:

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And I didn’t live in our blue house with this guy:

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Two years ago I was going to school part time and working at a local co-op grocery store. The co-op had this wonderful shelf in the fridge called the ‘chump shelf’ and was filled with any sort of unsellable item that were up for grabs – day old baguettes (perfect for french toast), pints of berries with one moldy piece, two day old tabbouleh (everyone know it’s better after it’s aged a bit), blemished organic produce, bulk bags of grains that people bagged up and then decided against buying, etc. As a student trying to live cheapily and still obsessed with food, this was the most amazing shelf for me. I would come home beaming every night with bags full of free food and feed my entire house full of college roommates. The food I brought would often times be a weird mix of ingredients and that was what sparked searching through recipes and blogs and eventually starting VV to document my adventures.

Two years later and I do not still work at the co-op (but still live right down the street from it and shop their almost everyday), have graduated college, and don’t have a house full of roommate to feed. I do, however, still love blogging and spend most of my free time cooking for my boyfriend / boxer.

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Searchable Saturdays

Posted on: June 29, 2013

…And time for some inspiring links from around the web:

       

1. ADVENTURING // Headed to the west coast at the end of July to join a friend on her cross country road trip. I’ll be tagging along on the part from San Fran to Portland which means I’ve been going a little crazy with planning. We are definitely hitting up the Redwoods and ocean. Anyone have any recommendations for San Fran / Portland / anything in between?!

2. INSPIRING // Look at this salad from Gourmande in the Kitchen! Don’t all the wonderful colors, textures, and shapes make you want to eat this for every meal? Love Love Love feeling inspired by vegetables. Now, the only problem I need to get over is my dislike for beets…they are so beautiful…why can’t I just like them?!

3. CREATING // I’ve been familiarizing myself with dreamweaver and Issuu a lot lately in hopes to start making my own VV online magazine / zine. This has triggered hours and hours of flipping through magazines and online design books in the name of “research”.

4. CRAVING // Milkshake Strawberry Banana Cake?! Yes, please. This ‘milkshake turned baked goods’ trend has been popping up all over Pinterest but no one has done it quiet as beautifully as Hungry Rabbit.

 

Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend planned! I’d like to do some adventuring to the lake but the forecast calls for storms all weekend. It might be a sign that I’m overdue for a day getting lost in the kitchen…

Homemade Raw Vegan Fudgsicles

Posted on: June 20, 2013


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Anyone who is familiar with raw “cooking” will find the ingredients in this recipe as no surprise. But for those of you who aren’t, stay with me. I’m looking at people like you, Mother. The kind of people that scoff at green smoothies and kale salads (“Ew. You don’t actually drink those, do you?” my mother ALWAYS says when green smoothies are brought up.) The reason this recipe may seem weird is because the word ‘fudgsicle’ usually congers up images of pre-packed, ice cream laden, milky wonderfulness. But what if I told you that we could achieve that creaminess without the ice cream? Without even the milk. In this recipe, we use avocados as the “cream” base but still load it (of course) with chocolate and [natural] sugar (delicious delicious agave).

The cocoa does a wonderful job of taking over the flavor AND color so you don’t have to worry about trying to force feed your friends a weird greenish looking ice pop. In fact, they probably won’t even be able to taste the avocado at all if you don’t mention it!

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Oh… and did I mention that these little pops are HEALTHY?! Forget that post-dairy bloatedness that often comes with consuming a pint of ice cream. These little pops are loaded with omega 3 fatty acids, vitamin B6, and vitamin E (just to name a few wonderful things found in avocados). So instead of feeling guilty about reaching for that popsicle in the fridge after dinner, you can get excited about getting an extra punch of nutrients while eating your dessert!

I rolled my popsicles in coconut, chopped pistachios, and sprinkles but feel free to have fun with it. Use whatever nuts you have on hand or roll them in something you know your boyfriend will love (butterscotch chips? chopped hazelnut? dried blueberries? potato chips?).

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Raw Vegan Fudgsicles

Makes 4 large fudgsicles (this will vary depending on the size of your popsicle molds)
  • 2 large ripe avocados (3 if they are small)
  • 2/3 cup cocoa powder (most are vegan but double check before purchasing)
  • 1/2 cup agave nectar
  • dash of vanilla extract
  • ~1/4 cup water

Topping suggestions: 

  • chopped pistachios
  • shredded coconut

Use a mixer to blend together the avocados, cocoa powder, agave nectar, vanilla extract, and water. Blend until light and fluffy – if stiff then add a little more water. Divide among popsicle molds and let set in the freezer for at least 5 hours (I let mine sit overnight… just to be safe).

Enjoy once frozen or roll slightly softened popsicle in nuts, coconut, or both.

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Poached Plums WIth Vanilla Bean Greek Yogurt & Dulce de Leche

Posted on: June 4, 2013

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Being an aspiring baker is hard. Sometime I wonder if it’d be easier to just hide the sugar from myself instead of whipping up a batch of 4 dozen cookies on impulse. What single couple needs FOUR DOZEN cookies? I usually eat 1 and a half followed by Wyatt and the dog eating maybe another 4. Such a sad sad waste. This also sometimes ends up being the case with pies – it’s hard to make a portion controlled pie when you have a pan that comes in large and X-large.

Portion control is one of the main reason I’ve been so in love with poaching and roasting fruit lately. It’s super easy and simple to just poach a single plum and add more if someone happens to drop in. No worrying about who I’m going to give an half eaten pie to anymore or if I’ll have to throw away those stale cookies from two weeks ago.

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Have you ever had Dulce de Leche? But have you had it homemade?? It’s an Argentinan caramel that can be made with only one ingredient. Yup, one ingredient. There are about 20 billion (exaggeration) ways to make it according to google. These methods vary from using the microwave, stove-top, or the oven. Even one method is called “The Bomb” in which you put an entire can into the oven and cook (I would cautious against using this method..). I don’t own a microwave so that option was out of the equation for me. I was into doing the stove-top method but many recipes called for anywhere between 2 and 6 hours of stirring and well…I wanted Dulce de Leche like.. now. I chose the oven method because it’s the fastest and most hands off. It’s actually as simple as making a sauce can get – pour everything into an oven proof pan and bake. Boom. Easy.

Lastly, I have to admit something. I could not decide on a name for this recipe. I knew it was going to be long and filled with wonderfully sweet words but I couldn’t settle on which ones. At my day job I have to be very particular and consistent in my writing. This means I’m over being consistent and will do whatever I want on my blog..because well… I can. So call it whatever you want but just remember that in the end it’s a big plate full of bright fruit, irresistible dulce de leche, creamy yogurt, and loaded with spices like vanilla and cinnamon.

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Poached Plums With Vanilla Bean Greek Yogurt & Dulce Le Leche

Serves 2
  • 2 plums, sliced in half and pits removed
  • 1 cup Chobani plain or honey yogurt
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 vanilla bean, sliced lengthwise and split in half
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 14 ounce can condensed milk

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place the condensed milk in a glass oven-safe pan and cover with aluminum foil. Then place that pan in a large oven-safe pan. Fill the larger pan with water so that the condensed milk pan is submerged – leave room in the pan for the water to boil but make sure it’s filled up enough that it’s above the milk level.

Cook for an hour to an hour and a half. Check frequently and add more water as needed. Mine took close to 1 1/2 hours but my oven is slow so I’d recommend checking it after an hour. Carefully remove from oven once it turns a light caramel color and stir. Set aside.

Fill a small saucepan with just enough water that the plum halves will be submerged. Add the cinnamon stick and half the vanilla bean. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and add the plums. Let them only cook for about 2 minutes (time will vary depending on ripeness) – enough to soften but not so much that they become mushy. Once poached, remove using a slotted spoon.

Remove the vanilla beans by scraping out the inside of the other half vanilla pod with a knife. Discard the pod and transfer vanilla beans to a small bowl with the Chobani yogurt, cinnamon, and honey. Whisk until combined.

To assemble: Scoop a dollop of yogurt over the plums and drizzle with dulce le leche.

If the dulce le leche has hardened then use a double boiler to re-melt.

 

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Maple Almond GORP // The Adventure’s Food

Posted on: May 31, 2013

As mentioned on Tuesday, we spent last weekend exploring the forest wonders of Wisconsin. We went hiking and can0ing and swimming (Yes, Wyatt’s brother has cheetah hair)…

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It was a beautiful and relaxing adventure. However, traveling with a group of Midwestern families, I was nervous about the eating situation. There are still many places that don’t realize ‘vegetarian’ means not eating fish or chicken. And Midwest fast food doesn’t necessarily cater to vegetarians with their bland ice burg lettuce salads and sugar drenched parfaits. I decided to take the situation into my own hands by whipping up some homemade chex mix, stuffing as many sparkling water cans into my purse as possible, and baking a pan of GORP.

Why GORP? I don’t have fond memories of preparing it at summer camp or munching on it during Girl Scout outings. We never backed it during family road trips or enjoyed a big bowl at 4th of July. I guess this lack of GORP in my childhood made me curious of what I was missing out on. Plus, a friend told me that my Cinnamon Quinoa Granola reminded them of GORP – portable, high-protein granola? I’m in.

Say hello to my new favorite road trip snack. This stuff lasted me the whole four days since a big scoop is pretty filling. I would suggest this for anyone going on a long car ride, camping trip, hiking, or anyone in need of a high-protein snack. I put coated chocolate in this recipe (hey, I was on vacation after all) which I found helped the chocolate from melting. Feel free to adjust this anyway you see fit. For me, I’m not a big raisen person so I snuck dried cranberries in there instead.

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MAPLE ALMOND GORP

  • 1 1/2 cups oats
  • 1 cup almonds
  • 1 cup cranberries
  • 1/2 cup coconut flakes
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1 vanilla bean, sliced in half
  • 1 cup candy coated chocolate or chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place the maple syrup with the split vanilla bean in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and let the vanilla bean steap for ten minutes. After ten minutes, remove vanilla bean.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the coconut flakes, almonds, oats, cranberries, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Pour maple syrup mixture over everything and stir to combine. Transfer to a baking sheet and cook for 15 minutes.
Let cool completely before folding in chocolate. Store in an airtight container or plastic bag and adventure away!

 

 

Mini Strawberry Chocolate Tart with Whipped Goat Cheese & Basil Micro Greens

Posted on: May 19, 2013


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Let’s talk about micro greens. Do you eat them? Do you grow them? To be perfectly honest, I had not had much experience with them before this spring. After planting my two gardens, I was still left with tons of seeds until I rememberd an article my Grandma sent me a few months back about using extra seeds to make micro greens. The process is simple and only takes between 7 and 14 days to grow. So while you are sitting around waiting for those tomato plants to produce fruit three months down the road, you could have already harvested six rounds of micro greens!

 

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For this recipe, I used basil micro greens which complimented the strawberries wonderfully. It tasted like summer in every bite. I’ve found the basil micro greens to be the most flavorful so far but the swiss chard is the prettiest. With tiny strips of pink, yellow, and red…it’s hard to resist not topping everything with them. If you are into the idea of making your own micro greens, check out Claire’s post on it here or hop on over to Organic Gardening for their step by step tutorial.

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Also, on the topic of new things, I was at the farmer’s market earlier today and my friend mentioned how her boyfriend eats the strawberries with the stems on. I immediately asked if she had told me he wasn’t supposed to do that and she laughed. She then went on to tell me that although it’s not standard, it’s in fact totally okay to eat the stems and that she has no right telling him not to do it. I didn’t believe her. After much research (aka – hopping on my iPhone), I discovered that I was completely wrong.  MIND BLOWN. AND…this was a game changer! I loved sliced strawberries but they are so much more beautiful whole. Hence the reason i kept them whole in this recipe…you can totally dig into the ENTIRE strawberry. BUT, if that is too weird for you (it’s okay, I totally understand) then feel free to chop the strawberries into thin slices or chunks.

If you’d like to just make one regular pie size version instead of two miniature, just double the recipe below.

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Strawberry Rhubarb with Ginger Crumb Pie [Vegan]

Posted on: May 12, 2013

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I had making a pie on the mind all week. I don’t get this urge very often (mostly because making a pie for two is just plain irresponsible) but decided to let myself indulge this time. My original thought was a blueberry basil pie but I was going to be open to whatever the farmer’s market would supply me. The only fruit I ended up finding at the market were strawberries and I knew I had to get them. They were petite and had the irresistible rustic appearance that wild strawberries often times have. This led to an internal struggle though…what other flavor combination would I use with strawberries? There was no basil at the market so that was out. I knew that rhubarb was the right choice (being in season and because strawberry rhubarb makes everything taste like a fruit roll up – in a good way) but I didn’t want to admit it at first. The ground breaking culinary discovery that rhubarb and strawberries were made for each other happened long before VV came around. What would make my pie different from the 100 million other recipes out there?

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After racking my brain & running through every spice and herb imaginable in my head, it clicked. Ginger. Ginger had become my BFF over the winter (when I was constantly warding off a cold with Ginger Lemon Tonics). I immidetely imagined a gingerly zing hitting the tongue moments after the strawberry rhubarb kicked in for a second layer of flavorings. And you know what? I was right. I am SO glad I was right. Thank you, ginger. Strawberry Rhubarb pies will never be the same.

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Strawberry Rhubarb Pie with Ginger Crumble

Adapted from Vegan Pie in The Sky

For the Crust:

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 cup cold vegetable shortening
  • 4 Tablespoons ice water
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar

For the Filling:

  • 2 1/2 cups rhubarb, cute into 1/2 inch chunks
  • 3 1/2 cups strawberries, cut into 1/2 in chunks (fresh or frozen)
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

 

For the Crumb Topping:

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons white sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoons nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
  • 1/3 cup Earth Balance (or other vegan butters or regular butter if not wanting to make vegan)

 

For the crust: Combine the sugar, flour, and salt in a bowl. Using a pastry cutter (or your clean hands) cut in the shortening to the mixture until  coarse crumbly dough as formed.

In another small bowl, combine the ice water with the vinegar. Drizzle 1/3 over the water over the flour mixture and stir. Drizzle another 1/3 over the mixture and stir again. Drizzle the rest of the water over the dough and form a soft dough ball. If the mixture hasn’t come together, add another tablespoon of ice water. If it’s too wet, add a tablespoon of flour. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap or parchment paper. Let sit in the fridge for an hour.

For the filling / crumb: Combine all the filling ingredients in a bowl and set aside. For the crumb, combine the flour, sugar, salt, ginger, and nutmeg. Drizzle in the butter with one hand and swish around the mixture with a spatula with your other hand. Mix until large crumbles form.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Roll the dough out on floured parchment paper (this will help you transfer it to your pie to the pan). You’ll want to make a 12″ circle with the dough. Quickly flip the dough into your pie pan and remove parchment paper. Add filling over dough and then spread the crumble evenly over the top.

Cover with aluminum foil and poke a few holes to let steam escape. Bake for 20 minutes and then lower heat down to 350 degrees. Remove foil and let cook for another 30 minutes or until the topping has browned.

Let cool for 20 minutes before serving.

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Baklava Ice Cream

Posted on: May 4, 2013

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This was my first time making ice cream from scratch. I borrowed my Mother’s ice cream maker with the promise of returning it alongside a delicious pint of frozen goodness. My ice cream making interest peaked a few weeks back when I was enjoying a particularly irresistible piece of baklava with a side of ice cream. Scooping both chunks of baklava and the ice cream into my mouth, my tastebuds were trying to grab the flavors as one. Which is when my mind realized I should just combine the two..into a delicious baklava ice cream.

I had a plan – I was going to find a simple vanilla ice cream recipe and customize it with baklava ingredients. However, when I got home and started looking at recipes, I began to feel overwhelmed. So overwhelmed I wondered if it would have been better to just go and buy a pint of ice cream at Kroger. I mean do I use whole milk or heavy cream or eggs? Do I let the mixture sit for an hour in the fridge or overnight?

This wasn’t the kind of  kitchen tool that I grew up watching my family use. I was totally clueless and, for the first time in years, the internet seemed to be throwing too much information at me to process. I sat on the idea of making ice cream for a few days. Comparing online recipes with my recipe books until I came onto a decision. I’d just wing it…like I’ve done with so many successful (but also…some unsuccessful) recipes in the past. I chose to go with heavy cream AND milk and to let the mixture sit overnight (just in case).

 

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And let me tell you – I am SO glad I didn’t give up and run to Kroger for a pint instead. All the worry and reluctance was so worth it. This ice cream is like nothing I’ve ever had before. Better than store bought and better than my local ice cream stand. It’s creamy and tastes fresh and full of cinnamon-walnut-honey-baklava amazingness.

 

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Baklava Ice Cream

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup milk (I used 2% but whole would work well too), divided
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/8 teaspoons salt
  • 3 Tablespoons cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup + 1 Tablespoon honey, divided
  • 1 vanilla bean, split in half
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 3/4 cup walnuts, finely chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 8 sheets phyllo dough, thawed
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted

 

In a small bowl, whisk together 1/4 cup milk with the cornstarch. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the cream cheese and salt. Set aside.

Combine the cream, remaining milk, vanilla bean, and cinnamon sticks. Bring to a simmer (just until tiny bubbles start to form around the edges) and let simmer for three minutes. Remove from heat, stir in the honey and cornstarch mixture, and return to heat. Bring to simmer, stirring constantly, and let cook until thickened (one or two minutes). Remove from heat, whisk in the cream cheese mixture, and chill the mixture overnight.

The night day: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix together the walnuts, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves and transfer to a baking sheet. On a separate baking sheet, place 4 phyllo sheets down and brush with butter. Place the other four on top of those and brush with butter. Mix any remaining butter with the walnut mixture. Cook both in the oven for 25 minutes or until the phyllo has browned and the walnuts are giving off a nutty aroma. Remove from oven and let cool completely. Break the phyllo dough into large chunks.

Remove the cinnamon sticks and vanilla bean from the chilled cream mixture. Prepare the ice cream according to your ice cream maker’s instructions (mine has me stick the cream mixture into the ice cream maker for 20 minutes). 1 minute before the ice cream is done churning, add in the nuts and phyllo dough.

Enjoy right away or transfer into an airtight container in the freezer to enjoy later.

 

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Dark Chocolate Chunk Angel Food Cupcakes with Brandied Strawberries

Posted on: April 20, 2013

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If you are a regular around here you may have noticed my usual ‘Searchable Saturday’ post missing these last two weeks. I am currently re-vamping that weekly column and will hopefully have it back in the coming weeks. To hold you over until it’s back, feel free to find my weekly inspirations over on Pinterest.

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I learned all my baking techniques backward. Instead of learning the basics right off the bat – I dove right into vegan baking after moving into my first kitchen. This means I can whip up a Vegan Chia Latte cupcake like no one’s business but often times still feel lost when trying to make a traditional cake…like one that involves 4 sticks of butter and 3 pounds of powdered sugar (do people actually put that much butter in a single recipe?!).

I’ve begun working backwards and am try to get a grasp on as many aspects of baking as possible (branching out from vegan and gluten free). So, while wondering through the bakery section of my co-op the other day, I realized I’ve never made angel food cake from scratch. It’s something that has always been so easily accessible to me going up that I never really gave a thought to where it came from. Perhaps from a box? Or from the grocery store bakery? But what about homemade – had I ever really had homemade angel food cake? I was beginning to doubt I had. And something needed to be done about it.

I began doing research (AKA searched google) and discovered my challenge for making angel food cake would be whipping the egg whites until ‘soft peaks formed‘. I had read that term before and only accomplished it one other time – when making The Butterscotch Roll Up Cake for this little blog’s birthday. I remember being SUPER intimidated by this term and watching many youtube videos before trying it myself. I had successfully accomplished making those ‘soft peaks’ but had pretty much steered clear of any recipe with this step in it since. However, the rest of making angel food cake seemed SO simple with its few ingredients and minimal steps that I knew I could shy away no longer.

In the end, the soft peaks term was nothing to fear. I used this handy visual guide from TheKitchn to make sure my egg whites were whipped properly and boom – the cupcakes turned out light and fluffy! Oh, and delicious. The chocolate chunks sank to the bottom because of the light batter but it made an amazing angel food sandwich – with dark chocolate on the bottom, boozy strawberries on top, and angel food cake in the center.

 

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Dark Chocolate Chunk Angel Food Cupcakes with Brandied Strawberries

Brandied Strawberries:

  • 1/2 pint strawberries, sliced
  • 1 Tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/2 Tablespoon brandy

For the cupcakes:

  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar, divided
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 5 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 dark chocolate chunks (or regular chocolate chips)

For the frosting:

  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 Tablespoons milk

 

Slice the strawberries and place them in a bowl with the brown sugar and brandy. Cover and place in the fridge while you prepare everything else (try to let them sit in their for at least an hour).

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and slightly grease a 12 muffin pan.

In a small bowl, combine the flour and 1/4 cup powdered sugar. Set aside.

Add the 5 egg whites to your stand mixer bowl and beat until foamy. Next, add the cream of tartar and salt and turn the mixer up to high. Gradually add in the remaining 1/2 cup of powdered sugar and then vanilla extract. Beat until soft peaks form.

Next, fold in the flour mixture in three additions. Try to keep the batter as light and fluffy as possible and doing it in three additions will help not to weigh it down. Keep folding until everything is incorporated.

Transfer batter to the prepared muffin tins and bake for 15 to 18 minutes. You can tell they are done if the center is browned and bounces back slightly when you touch it.

Remove from heat and transfer to a cooling rack (I’ve read that you should place them face down on the cooling rack so they don’t sink – I didn’t have a problem with them sinking but would recommend you do this step just in case).

To make the frosting: Use a mixer to beat the butter until creamy. Next, add in the powdered sugar and vanilla and continue beatings on medium speed. Add milk a tablespoon at a time until the desired consistency is reached.

Drain the strawberries of any excess sugar liquid (or reserve it to drizzle on top).Once the cupcakes are cooled, frost them and top with brandied strawberries.

 

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Baked Blueberry & Lemon Donuts

Posted on: February 27, 2013

Okay, so I totally lied to you guys. I told you that I would have this donut recipe for you yesterday and it did not happen. It’s not my fault – Tuesdays are my downfall and I should have known I wasn’t going to have the time to post about donuts. I’m sorry. Forgive me? Cool.

What I won’t apologize for are these donuts. Yes, they are chocked full of sugar and flour. BUT, they are ALSO full of blueberries (antioxidant heaven), cinnamon (regulates blood sugar), lemon zest (vitamin C), and are BAKED. See, why not look on the positive side here before you get worried about starting your day on a sugar high. But really, if you are concered, these make great afternoon snacks, lunchtime dessert, 2nd breakfast treat, and nightime dessert. So versatile too – I know! Crazy.

These donuts are a product of what was once a breakfast loaf. Filled with lemon and blueberries (as mentioned above), I topped these little guys with cinnamon and sugar to give it that streusel style topping. Pretty much irresistible anytime of the day, I’d suggest whipping up a batch of these the next time you get a sweets craving.

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Baked Blueberry Lemon Donuts

Makes 6 baked donuts (or 12 small baked donuts)
  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • dash of salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 4 Tablespoons butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)
  • zest from 1 lemon

 

topping:

  • 3 Tablespoons sugar
  • 3 teaspoons cinnamon

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a donut pan. In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In another bowl, whisk together the egg, sugars, and vanilla extract.  Add the dry ingredients to the wet ones and stir until just combined. Add in the melted butter and then fold in the blueberries and lemon zest.

Baked for 20 minutes or until the tops have browned (baking time will vary greatly depending on the size of the donuts / your oven). Once browned, remove from oven.

Mix together the sugar and cinnamon for the topping. Dip the donut tops in the sugar/cinnamon mixture while they are still warm. Serve and enjoy!

 

 

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