Vegan Date Squares

IMG_1809.jpg
This adapted Smitten Kitchen recipe is a great way to use dates in a dessert or breakfast square/bar. Dates are very sweet and therefore very little sugar is needed in this vegan recipe.

Ingredients:

Ingredients for the filling:

3 cups pitted dates, chopped
1 ½ cups water
Zest of a mandarin/clementine/orange

Ingredients for the crumbs:

4 tbsp. demerara brown sugar
½ cup raw or turbinado sugar
1 cup olive or coconut oil
1 ½ cups large flake oats
1 ½ cups plus 4 tbsp. whole wheat flour
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. dried nutmeg
¼ tsp. ground cloves
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. kosher salt

Directions

Preheat oven to 400F and line a 9×13-inch baking pan with parchment paper sprayed with cooking spray.

In a medium saucepan, combines dates, water and zest over low heat, simmering for 10 minutes, until liquid has absorbed and mixture has thickened.

IMG_0405.jpg

IMG_0406.jpg

Set aside while you make the crumbs.

In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade, process the sugar and oil together.

IMG_0407.jpg

Add the oats, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, baking soda, and salt and pulse until the mixture forms a coarse rubble.

IMG_0408.jpg

Press half of the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan.

IMG_0409.jpg

Dollop the date mixture over it and use a small offset spatula to spread the mixture smoothly over the crumbs.  Sprinkle remaining crumbs over date layer and press lightly to cover.

IMG_0410.jpg

Bake bars for 25 minutes, or until light brown at the edges.  Cool in pan and then cut into squares.  These freeze well.

IMG_0411.jpg

Carrot Oat Muffins

IMG_1799.jpg

This recipe is originally from Canadian Living. I altered it to be made in one bowl in the food processor and non-dairy. This muffin is easy to make, and a nice lighter alternative to carrot muffins found in coffee shops. These also make a great grab and go breakfast.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/3 cup salt
1 cup milk (almond milk if non-dairy)
1 egg
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 large carrot, grated

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375˚F.

In the bowl of a food processor with a blade attachment, mix dry ingredients (flour, oats, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt).

IMG_0002.JPG

Add milk, egg, oil, and vanilla.

IMG_3516.JPG

Mix well.

IMG_3580.JPG

Switch blade attachment for the medium size grater. Grate the carrot into the mixture.

IMG_3015.JPG

Mix with a spatula.

IMG_7229.JPG

Divide into 12 lined muffin tins (about 1/4 cup each).

IMG_3850.JPG

Sprinkle the tops of the muffins with oats and turbinado sugar (raw sugar)

IMG_5584.JPG

Bake for 20-25 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.

IMG_7899.JPG

This recipe makes 12 muffins. They freeze well and can be stored in the freezer for 3 months, or an airtight container for two days.

It can also be made as a loaf (bake 35-45 minutes)

Espresso Banana Bread with Chocolate Espresso Glaze

IMG_0852.jpg

This is a large loaf cake which makes good use of leftover bananas. Definitely a pick-me-up snack with the great combination of coffee and chocolate. Freezes well when wrapped with a layer of plastic wrap followed by a layer of aluminum foil.

Ingredients:

For the cake:

3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. instant espresso powder
3 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
¾ tsp. kosher salt
3 bananas
2/3 cup coconut/grapeseed/olive oil
½ cup brown sugar
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
½ cup almond/soy/coconut milk
1 ½ tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

For the glaze:

2 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
½ cup confectioners’ sugar
3 tbsp. freshly brewed espresso

Directions:

IMG_0842.jpg

Preheat oven to 350F and line a 9-x5-inch loaf pan with parchment paper sprayed with cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, espresso powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

IMG_0843.jpg

In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade, combine the bananas, oil, sugars, eggs, milk and vanilla and well processed.

IMG_0844.jpg

Add the dry ingredients and pulse until just combined.

IMG_0845.jpg

Fold in the chocolate chips with a rubber spatula.

IMG_0846.jpg

Transfer the batter to the pan and bake for 60 minutes.

IMG_0847.jpg

IMG_0848.jpg

Allow to cool for 20 minutes in the pan then transfer to a plate.

IMG_0849.jpg

Melt the chocolate in a microwave over 60-90 seconds. Add the confectioners’ sugar and brewed espresso and stir until it becomes a pourable glaze.

IMG_0850.jpg

Coat the cake with the glaze and spread over the top.

IMG_0852.jpg

Apple Pear Crisp

IMG_1333.jpg

With winter arriving in the form of snowstorms, it is time to swap the peaches and blueberries for apples and pears.

This topping recipe is thanks to my friend EG. It is delicious, but can be swapped with the version from the Peach Blueberry Crisp. Special thanks to LR for her help making this and cutting the apples and pears perfectly.

Ingredients:

 

For The Fruit Base:

4-5 apples (I used Granny Smith)
4 pears (I used Bosc)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon

For the Topping:

1 cup rolled oats
1 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 cup butter, cut into small pieces
1/8-1/4 cup melted butter

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350˚F.

Peel and cut apples and pears into cubes, put in a bowl filled with water.

IMG_1319.jpg

Mix all ingredients for topping in a bowl. Combine with fork or pastry blender.

IMG_1321.jpg

IMG_1325.jpg

Drain water from bowl of apples and pears. Move to pyrex. Add flour, sugar and cinnamon.

IMG_1322.jpg

IMG_1324.jpg

Put all of topping ingredients on top of the apples and pears.

IMG_1326.jpg

Bake for 40 minutes. Brush top with melted butter and bake for 10 more minutes. This will help the top crisp up.

IMG_1330.jpg

IMG_1335.jpg

 

Eva’s Apple Cake

IMG_1543.jpg

Ingredients:

5 large eggs
2 1/4 cups granulated sugar, divided
1 1/2 cups grapeseed oil
3/8 cup orange/apple juice
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
6 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling out dough
3 tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
3 ½ lbs Spy/Granny Smith apples (approximately 9 apples), peeled and thinly sliced
3 tsp. ground cinnamon, divided

Directions:

IMG_1529.jpg

Preheat oven to 350F. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade, combine eggs, 1 1/2 cups sugar, oil, juice and vanilla and mix well.

IMG_1532.jpg

In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt;

IMG_1530.jpg

Add to food processor and pulse until dough begins to form.

IMG_1534.jpg

The dough will be very sticky. Remove dough from bowl and place on flour-covered surface. Knead dough until it no longer sticks to surface (add flour as necessary).

IMG_1535.jpg

Separate dough into 1/3 and 2/3 portions.

IMG_1536.jpg

Roll out crust (2/3 portion) to ¼-inch thickness and using the rolling pin, transfer the dough to the bottom of 9-x13-inch pyrex pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Trim edges as necessary.

IMG_1538.jpg

Combine apples, ½ cup sugar and 2 tsp. cinnamon in a bowl and place onto crust of pan.

IMG_1531.jpg

IMG_1539.jpg

IMG_1540.jpg

Roll out remaining 1/3 portion of dough to ¼ inch thickness and cover the apple mixture, trimming edges as necessary.

IMG_1541.jpg

Gently slice into 40 small squares using a serrated knife to score them and to allow for some venting during the baking process. Sprinkle the entire cake with 1 tsp. cinnamon combined with ¼ cup sugar.

IMG_1542.jpg

Bake for 1 ¼ hours.

I doubt that anyone will find a proper version of this cake in any traditional cookbook. Eva is a Holocaust Survivor in her 90s who is an expert cook and baker like no other on food network television shows. I watched Eva make this, took copious notes and still couldn’t make it as perfectly and as easily as she makes it look. I’ve adapted her recipe to make “extra” dough to make this experience more “forgiving.” This is a recipe that needs to be passed on from generation to generation as there is really quite nothing like this delicious homemade apple cake with a cookie dough like crust and topping. Hint: the reason to make it in a clear pyrex dish is so that you can check if it’s done by checking the bottom (Eva’s trick).

“Anything But The Kitchen Sink” Cookies

IMG_1142.jpg

These cookies were based on a recipe from The Silver Platter. I decided to add some extras to these, to make them an “anything but the kitchen sink cookie”. My first change was adding white chocolate (because it goes perfectly with craisins). After that I figured I should throw in some pecans to round out the cookie flavours. Lastly I decided to add pretzels because I love a good sweet and salty snack.

I made these because I wanted to bring a snack to my tutorial group. I saw the original recipe and I figured I would give it a shot. With these changes the cookies were very well received, so I highly recommend you give them a shot.

Ingredients:

3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cup chocolate chips
2/3 cup white chocolate chips
2/3 cup pecans
2/3 cup crushed pretzels
2/3 cup craisins (dried cranberries)

Directions:

In a large bowl/electric mixer, beat oil, sugars, eggs and vanilla until well mixed.

IMG_1130.jpg

Add flour, baking soda and salt and mix until blended.

IMG_1131.jpg

Add all the “fixin’s” and mix well (by hand).

IMG_1133.jpg

Refrigerate dough for 45 mins (can be kept up to 2 days).

IMG_1134.jpg

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper.

Roll out dough into balls about the size of a golf ball.

IMG_1136.jpg

Bake for 13-15 minutes.

IMG_1137.jpg

 

Cinnamon Sugar Blueberry Banana Bread

IMG_1333 2.jpg

Blueberries and bananas marry together in this delicious quick bread.  The cinnamon sugar sprinkle puts it over the top.  This recipe has been adapted from Giada De Laurentiis.  Makes 2 loaves or alternatively bake 1 loaf and 12 muffins.

IMG_1320.jpg

Ingredients:

3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. kosher salt
2 tsp. ground cinnamon, divided
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
4 ripe bananas
2 ½ cups granulated sugar, divided
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup coconut/grapeseed/canola/olive oil
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
3 cups blueberries, tossed in ¼ cup unbleached all-purpose flour

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350F and line two 9- by 5-inch loaf pans with parchment paper sprayed with cooking spray.

Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, 1 tsp. cinnamon and nutmeg in a bowl.

IMG_1322.jpg

In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade, combine bananas, sugar, eggs, oil and vanilla.  Process until smooth.

IMG_1324.jpg

IMG_1325.jpg

Add flour mixture and pulse until just combined.

IMG_1326.jpg

Fold in blueberries.  Divide batter between the 2 loaf pans or 2 muffin tins.

IMG_1327.jpgCombine ½ cup sugar with 1 tsp. cinnamon and sprinkle over the loaves/muffin tins.

IMG_1321.jpg

Bake for 60 minutes.

IMG_1332.jpg

If you use the batter for muffins, bake 12 muffins at 375F for 23 minutes.

IMG_1331.jpg

Funfetti Cake with Vanilla Buttercream and Cookies and Cream Frosting

IMG_5973.JPG

IMG_5513.JPG

So.. you have a celebration coming up and don’t know what to bake? Well, We’ve got you covered. This cake is perfect, and is sure to impress a crowd. This comes from Sugar Spun Run and was a little more complicated to make, but well with the effort. Also – a tip for you, don’t double this recipe because it will not fit in your electric mixer. I learned that the hard way.

Ingredients:

For the Cake:

1 stick + 1 tbsp butter, softened
3 cups sugar
1 cup canola or grapeseed oil
4 tsp vanilla extract
4 cups + 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
4 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cup milk
9 egg whites (use the package of egg whites)
1/2 cup sprinkles

For the Frosting:

1.5 cups butter, softened (3 sticks)
6 cups powdered sugar
1-2 tbsp milk
2 tbsp heavy cream
8-10 oreos, crushed

Directions:

For the Cake:

Preheat oven to 350˚F and spray 3 8 inch round pans with canola oil spray.

Cream butter.

IMG_3541.JPG

Add sugar and oil and mix until well-combined and creamy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add in vanilla.

IMG_1641.JPG

In a separate bowl combine flour , baking powder and salt.

Alternate adding flour and milk.

IMG_8195.JPG

In the bowl of an electric mixer, whisk egg whites until they form stiff peaks.

IMG_7095.JPG

IMG_0669.JPG

Fold into batter with sprinkles.

IMG_6323.JPG

IMG_4750.JPG

Pour evenly into three pans.

IMG_3444.JPG

Bake for 35-45 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean and cakes are light golden brown.

IMG_9201.JPG

Allow cakes to cool completely before frosting.

For the Frosting:

In bowl of electric mixer cream butter and slowly add powdered sugar. If too thick, add milk.

Transfer out 3/4 of icing into a separate bowl.

Add heavy cream and crushed Oreos. Mix well

Putting it Together:

Trim the edges of the cake to ensure that they are all the same size.

Place a little bit of icing on the bottom to hold the cake in place.

Place the first layer down. Put a layer of cookies and cream icing on top. Place the second layer down. Put another layer of cookies and cream icing. Put the third layer on top.

Cover in a thin layer of the plain icing.

IMG_9366.JPG

Freeze for 15 minutes. Add another layer of icing on top and smooth with an icing spatula.

Blueberry Loaf

IMG_5622.jpg

Adapted from a recipe given to me by my friend, Elaine, this cake takes just minutes to prep and freezes well.

Ingredients:

2 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup coconut/grapeseed/olive oil
2/3 cup orange juice
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 ¾ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. kosher salt
2 cups fresh blueberries, tossed in 1 tbsp. unbleached all-purpose flour

For the topping:

Option of 3 tbsp. turbinado sugar sprinkled over batter or a combination of ¼ cup brown sugar and 1 tsp. cinnamon, blended and then sprinkled over the cake.

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350F and line a 8 ½- by 4 ½-inch loaf pan with parchment paper sprayed with cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.

IMG_5629.jpg

In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade, process the eggs, sugar, oil, juice and vanilla.

IMG_5630.jpg

Add the flour mixture and pulse until just combined.

IMG_5627.jpg

Fold in the blueberries with a rubber spatula.

Spread the batter in the pan and sprinkle with your choice of topping.

IMG_5626.jpg

IMG_5625.jpg

Bake for 65 minutes.

IMG_5624.jpg

Alternatively bake for 24 minutes if using the batter to make 12 muffins.

Super Soft Pumpkin Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting

IMG_7152.JPG

Tis the season for pumpkin spice, so here’s another pumpkin recipe to contribute to your fall baking collection. This recipe comes from Gimme Some Oven. It was super quick to make, and I modified it slightly so it only required one bowl (for the cookie).

Ingredients:

For the Cookie:

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/4 cups canned pumpkin puree
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp salt
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

For the Frosting:

1 brick (8 oz) low-fat cream cheese, softened
3 tbsp butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups powdered sugar

Directions:

For the Cookies:

Preheat oven to 350˚F.

Cream butter and sugars in the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat until light and fluffy for 1-2 minutes.

IMG_9935.JPG

Add pumpkin, egg and vanilla and beat again. Scrape down the sides as needed.

IMG_9995.JPG

Add the baking powder, pumpkin pie spice and salt. Mix until combined.

Add the flour and mix well.

IMG_8652.JPG

Transfer to lined cookie sheets using a tablespoon or small ice cream scoop. The scoops should be smaller than a golf ball.

IMG_2547.JPG

Dip your finger in warm water and flatten the scoops of cookie dough.

IMG_5359.JPG

Bake for 13-17 minutes. Allow to cool completely before frosting.

IMG_7843.JPG

For the Frosting:

In the bowl of a stand mixer beat cream cheese, butter and vanilla until smooth. Gradually add powdered sugar on low speed. If the frosting is too thick, add milk, or too thin add more powdered sugar.

Either spread frosting on cookies or drizzle on using a piping bag/ziplock with the end.