Vegan Date Squares

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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.

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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.

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

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

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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.

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

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Espresso Banana Bread with Chocolate Espresso Glaze

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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:

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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.

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

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Add the dry ingredients and pulse until just combined.

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Fold in the chocolate chips with a rubber spatula.

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

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

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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.

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

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Apple Pear Crisp

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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.

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

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

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

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

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Cinnamon Sugar Blueberry Banana Bread

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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.

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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.

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

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Add flour mixture and pulse until just combined.

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

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Bake for 60 minutes.

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

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Funfetti Cake with Vanilla Buttercream and Cookies and Cream Frosting

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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.

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

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

Alternate adding flour and milk.

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

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Fold into batter with sprinkles.

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Pour evenly into three pans.

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

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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.

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

Blueberry Loaf

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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.

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

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Add the flour mixture and pulse until just combined.

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Fold in the blueberries with a rubber spatula.

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

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Bake for 65 minutes.

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

Super Soft Pumpkin Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting

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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.

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

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

Add the flour and mix well.

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

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

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

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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.

 

Pumpkin Pecan White Chocolate Biscotti

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I have to admit, I over-baked these a little (you can tell from the colour) but dip them in your morning coffee or a glass of milk and they are perfect!

Ingredients:

2 tbsp butter
1 1/4 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup white chocolate chips, separated

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350˚F.

Melt butter in a saucepan and add chopped pecans. Stir consistently on medium heat until browned. Set aside and allow to cool.

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In a large bowl mix flour, brown sugar, baking powder, salt and pumpkin pie spice.

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In a separate bowl combine pumpkin puree, eggs, and vanilla extract. Add to dry ingredients.

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Knead dough on floured surface.

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Add pecans and 1 cup white chocolate chips. Knead well.

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Cut dough in half and shape into two logs.

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Bake for 25-30 minutes.

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Allow to cool for 15 minutes. Cut with a serrated knife.

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Place back on cookie sheet with one cut side down. Bake for 8 minutes. Flip and bake for an additional 8 minutes.

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Drizzle with melted white chocolate.

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Brookies (Max Style)

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I decided to make a different style of brookie as well. I even took to instagram to take a poll of how to name them. I personally voted for Crownie, but sadly brookie won.

I made these after trying a similar dessert in Jimmy’s coffee.

Ingredients:

2 sticks of butter, room temperature
1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp baking soda
3 cups flour
2 cups chocolate chips
6-8 Large Brownies, chopped into small pieces (like the ones I made a few weeks ago)

Directions:

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

In bowl of stand mixer, mix butter and sugars for two minutes. Add eggs, vanilla, salt and baking soda and mix well. Scrape the sides of the bowl well. IMG_3894.jpg

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Slowly add flour and mix well.

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Stir in the chocolate chips.IMG_3897.jpg

Scoop out 1-2 tbsp of dough. Flatten and put a few pieces of brownie in the middle. Roll into a ball and push a couple pieces of brownie into the outside.

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Bake for 9-11 minutes until golden brown. Allow cookies to cool.

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Brookies (Marvin Style)

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Adapted from allrecipes.com, this is the perfect combination of brownie and cookie.

Ingredients:

Cookie layer:

½ cup unsalted pareve margarine, softened
½ cup brown sugar
¼ cup granulated sugar
½ tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 large egg, room temperature
1 ¼ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
½ tsp. kosher salt
½ tsp. baking soda
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Brownie layer:

1 cup granulated sugar
½ cup unsalted pareve margarine, melted
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1/3 cup cocoa powder
½ cup unbleached all-purpose flour
¼ tsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. kosher salt

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350F and line a 9×13-inch baking pan with parchment paper sprayed with cooking spray.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the margarine, sugars, and vanilla until creamy.

 

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Add the egg and beat until light and creamy, about 2 minutes.

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Whisk flour, salt, and baking soda together in a bowl.

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Gradually stir flour mixture into margarine mixture until dough is combined.  IMG_4761.jpg

Stir chocolate chips into dough.

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Spread dough into the bottom of the prepared pan to cover completely.

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Stir sugar, melted margarine, and vanilla together in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.

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Add eggs and beat well.  Mix cocoa into margarine mixture until well combined.

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Add flour, baking powder and salt and mix until just combined.

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Pour brownie batter over cookie dough and spread to cover completely.

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Bake for 25 minutes and cool completely before cutting into bars.

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