Bonus Iron Chef!: Chocolate Chip Brownies with Coconut Buttercream Frosting

Saturday, October 22nd, 2011

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What! You didn’t think that I’d be able to stay away from sweets entirely, did you? Coconut and chocolate, chocolate and coconut – they go together like…well, like me and pizza! Or me and dogs! Or me and pizza dogs! (And that, my friends, is how magnets work.)

Anyhow, enough with the silliness. Desserts are a serious biz. And this one hits the coconut trifecta: coconut milk, coconut extract and shredded coconut (in the brownies, frosting and garnishments, respectively), all without overpowering the dessert. For this Iron Chef Challenge, I started with one of my favorite brownie recipes, replacing the soy milk with coconut milk. As it turns out, this didn’t make a huge diff, as the original recipe only calls for 1/4 cup of soy milk. If you want the brownies to have a stronger coconut flavor (or any coconut flavor at all), try adding in a teaspoon or two of coconut extract. (Likewise, if you don’t have any coconut milk on hand, just use soy or almond!)

In contrast, 1/2 a teaspoon of coconut extract goes a long way in the buttercream frosting, giving it a sweet – but subtle – taste of coconut. Top it all off with sweetened, shredded coconut and chocolate sprinkles (vegan, of course!) and you’ve got yourself a triple coconut, triple chocolate masterpiece.

Also: a sugar hangover headache the next morning. BUT SO WORTH IT!


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Chocolate Chip Brownies with Coconut Buttercream Frosting


…for the brownies

1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup coconut milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon coconut extract (optional)
1/2 cup unbleached white flour
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup vegan chocolate chips

…for the buttercream frosting

1/4 cup nonhydrogenated shortening
1/4 cup nonhydrogenated margarine
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon coconut extract

coconut shreds and chocolate sprinkles to garnish

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Barks and Buttercreams

Sunday, July 31st, 2011

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A ginormous chocolate cupcake topped with raspberry buttercream frosting and a single plump raspberry. From Mud Pie Vegan Bakery and Coffeehouse, so you know it’s made with love instead of animal parts. Delicious!

So psyched to have a new vegan eatery in Kansas City!*

Also: old dogs rock. Exhibits A and B:

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and Kaylee. Case closed.

* See also: Cafe Seed, FÜD and Eden Alley.

vegan nomz roundup!: ice cream ed. (with a recipe for peach ice cream!)

Tuesday, June 7th, 2011

Remember the eye-popping vegan pizza nom roundup I posted a few weeks back? (No? LUCKY YOU, HERE IT IS!) Well, now it’s ICE CREAM’S turn!

Mostly I’ve been blogging ice cream recipes as I make them – Vegan Vanilla Buttercream and Vegan Vanilla & Chocolate Buttercream Swirl, holla! – but the odd few have slipped through the cracks, mostly because I’ve no recipe to accompany them. And just posting a photo without a recipe seems a wee bit cruel, dontchathink? (Posting them all in one big fat roundup? The ultimate tease!)

What makes this ice cream binge extra-sweet is that I recently received the results of my blood work, and I do not – in point o’ facts – have hypoglycemia or diabetes.* SO BRING OUT THE ICE CREAM AND PIZZA!** Ditto: the pasta, potatoes, bread and chocolate! Of course, this begs the question of my actual dysfunction, but I shall worry about that later. Preferably with a pint of ice cream in tow.

Caramel Ice Cream

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Caramel ice cream topped with caramel sauce! (Note my super-adorable, dinosaur-themed Welch’s jelly jars. Coming at you straight from the 1980s!)

Upon seeing the caramel extravaganza spread in the December 2010 issue of VegNews, I decided that I had to give the caramel ice cream a try. After combing the local grocery stores for brown rice syrup to no avail (what’s up with that, Price Chopper?!), I finally ordered it online and got down to biz. I started with a batch of the soft serve caramel, which you mix into a quart of vanilla ice cream to make caramel ice cream. Pretty simple, right? Alas, I never could get the caramel to set properly; it was more like sauce than soft serve candy (as you can see in the photo – the “sauce” is really some leftover “caramels”). Also, the taste seemed a little off and wacky. Could be I’m just fussy; you won’t get any argument from me. Either way, not a big fan.

The good news is that the caramel tasted divine when combined with the vanilla ice cream! The ice cream recipe in VegNews calls for coconut milk – which I didn’t have on hand – so I went with a soy-based recipe from Wheeler del Torro’s The Vegan Scoop instead. Delicious and relatively easy to make. (Cleanup, not so much.)

If you don’t have access to either of these recipes, you can use this recipe for caramel sauce from the Spooky Vegan, along with A Vegan Ice Cream Paradise’s vanilla ice cream formula, which is nearly identical to del Torro’s. Or just sub in your own favorite caramel sauce/candy and vanilla ice cream recipes – it’s hard to fuck up caramel ice cream, as I think I’ve demonstrated!
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Vegan Vanilla & Chocolate Buttercream Swirl Ice Cream, Perfected!

Wednesday, April 6th, 2011

So remember last week when I shared that super-awesome Vegan Vanilla Buttercream Ice Cream recipe? And I suggested that, for maximum nom, you should add the buttercream to the ice cream batter near the end of the cycle? Or, better yet, stir it in later? Well, I have to confess … I WAS TOTALLY GUESSING, Y’ALL. (Probably this means that you should NEVER FOLLOW MY ANY OF MY RECIPES, EVER! JOKING!)

You see, with that first, experimental batch, I added the frosting in the middle of the cycle, giving the machine enough time to blend ice cream with frosting – all smooth-like, little beads of fat excepted. (I encountered a similar phenomenon with the cookie dough ice cream from Wheeler del Torro’s The Vegan Scoop, fwiw.) Like I said before, weird but delicious.

Anyhow, after that snafu, I merely ASSUMED that adding the buttercream to the ice cream after it was done processing would better help preserve the integrity of each. ASSUMED but not CONFIRMED, at least not prior to blogging the recipe. So it’s a good thing that yesterday’s experiment CONFIRMED it! IRREFUTABLY! (Or else I’d be a LIAR LIAR YOGA PANTS ON FIRE!) Just look at those amazing swirls of awesomeness!

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Instead of vanilla buttercream, I tried chocolate – both because the contrast in colors highlights the swirls, and also ’cause I’ve never made chocolate buttercream before! But again, you can go with any ice cream/buttercream flavor combination: green tea and matcha! vanilla and strawberry! chocolate and almond! cherry and carob! USE YOUR IMAGINATION, PEOPLES! And your fancy flavor extracts!*

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Vegan Vanilla Buttercream Ice Cream

Monday, March 28th, 2011

I first had the idea for this dessert several weeks ago, probably while snacking on some vegan vanilla buttercream frosting (left over from my first and only batch of VEGAN TWINKIES!!!, natch). As sugary sweet and headache-inducing as it can be, that shit is ADDICTIVE. (Even more so when you’re scooping it up with bits of chocolate bark, all tortilla chips -n- salsa styley! I know sick right!) And yet I don’t think I’ve seen a buttercream-flavored ice cream, like, ever. Clearly Big Ice Cream has been criminal in its oversight! Luckily, I’m on the case. Agent Garbato, NNU. Neglected NOMZ Unit.

This recipe is not for the faint of heart, people. Even though I made a slightly less sugary ice cream base than usual, the cup of powdered sugar in the frosting more than makes up for it.

I stuck with a basic vanilla ice cream recipe (a variant of that found in Wheeler Del Torro’s The Vegan Scoop, which is similar to A Vegan Ice Cream Paradise’s own concoction), but you can just as easily use your own favorite recipe. I can’t imagine that vanilla buttercream would taste gross when blended with chocolate, strawberry or green tea ice cream, you know what I mean?

The buttercream recipe is the same I used for the Twinkies – i.e., the Cream Filling from Shmooed Food – but again, feel free to sub in your own favorite recipe and flavor. Vanilla ice cream with strawberry cream swirls, anyone?

I was able to fit a full dish of frosting in my machine but you can always mix in any extras later – or use it as a topping. Along with plenty of cherries and sprinkles, of course!

Whatever you do, send me your ice cream not-porn!: fuck yeah vegan ice cream.

Please and thank you.

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VEGAN TWINKIES! (and a Twinkie Kit Review)

Friday, February 25th, 2011

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Holy guacamole, I did it! I totally made Vegan Twinkies®! And so can you – just follow this recipe from Shmooed Food! It’s easy, yo! And delicious. Soooooo delicious….

All you need is a canoe pan (also useful for making vegan corn dogs!) and icing injector. Hostess packages these together as a Twinkie set, but you can find generic versions online as well. (More on that later.)

For the especially frugal among us, a few regular ol’ cupcake pans and a pastry bag set works just as well. In fact, the recipe actually makes 16 Twinkies – but since I only own one eight-cavity canoe pan, I ended up making a dozen+ cupcakes too.

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Tip: for extra creamy goodness, inject the cream into your Twinkie horizontally (side to side) vs. vertically (bottom up). Ram a chopstick completely through the Twinkie before injecting the cream; this will allow for maximum fill. Sideways (at three points) is easier than lengthwise, especially if you’re working with a blunt instrument. If yer doin’ it rite, you should be able to see the top of the Twinkie puff up with cream. If you’re especially lucky, some cream will even make it all the way through and spurt out the other side. It’s like a volcano of yum, y’all!

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Also, whereas the recipe for Fluffy White Cupcakes says that you should fill each cupcake cavity just 1/4 full with batter, this makes for a rather flat cupcake. I recommend upping it to 1/2 full, since a taller cupcake means more room for cream! Plus, it’s next-to-impossible to punch holes through an inch-high cupcake without causing a crumbly mess. Truuuust me.

Of course, you can add a dollop of cream on top, too: replicate the iconic Twinkie swirl, smother it like a true cupcake, paint it with a smiley face – whatever your heart desires. Just make an extra batch of cream so that you have enough, kay? (Methinks the leftovers would taste delish in an ice cream recipe – but then I think the same of all my leftovers!)

In case you’re wondering how much I adore my Twinkie set, here’s the review I posted on Amazon. If you find that it’s helpful, hop on over to Amazon and say so. Please and thank you!

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