The Great CriFSMas Food (and More) Roundup, 2013 edition!

Saturday, January 4th, 2014

It felt like I did a ridiculous amount of baking this Christmas – so, when I went and looked back at last year’s roundup, I nearly fainted in disbelief. (Full disclosure: there may have also been a food coma involved, due to the copious amounts of sugar I’ve been ingesting.) Did I seriously make a dozen plus batches of cookies last year? Little old me?

Fun story: after feeling super-smug and self-satisfied over my achievement of baking FIVE WHOLE BATCHES of cookies in one day, I headed on over to tumblr – where some lady posted about the 40 donuts and multiple trays of cookies she baked in one afternoon. Whoops! There goes my self-confidence!

So anyway, here’s the Great CriFSMas Food Roundup, 2013 edition! But with bonus x-mas presents and vegan pop culture observations.

First up: the noms. As per usual, let’s start with dessert, shall we? All the cookies are from Kelly Peloza’s The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur, a review of which I’ll probably have for y’all soon. Unless. Maybe I need to try out a few more recipes? You know, for the love of science and books and all that is holy and sugar-dusted.

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Glazed Rum Raisin Cookies – With their copious amounts of liquor and strong rummy taste, these cookies aren’t for kids. Very tasty and easy to bake, though I opted to make my glaze into more of an icing, so as not to risk the cookies sticking to one another during storage. If you go this route, start out with less rum. I ended up with way more icing than I could use. Or drink! (Yes, I actually tried that.)

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Chewy Caramel Pecan Cookies – SO GOOD! Caramel and pecans, what’s not to love? Well, the cookies’ inherent stickiness, for starters: I had to refrigerate the sheet of cookies for about ten minutes before I was able to peel them from the parchment paper without tearing the cookies to shreds. I wonder if my batter was too wet; the caramel pecan mix didn’t get especially thick, which resulted in a very sticky cookie dough. Further experimentation may be required.

Also, pro tip: these cookies have mad spread, so space them far, far apart. As in four cookies to a medium-sized tray. No kidding!

(More below the fold…)

Vegan Junk Food French Toast Mashup!

Tuesday, January 15th, 2013

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This leftovers mashup dish combines the best of two worlds, both of which hail from the Lane Gold Vegan Junk Food ‘verse: the prep method from her Sticky Caramel Baked French Toast, paired with the flavors of her nearly-as-awesome (fried) Eggnog French Toast with Butter Rum Sauce.

After I made the Eggnog French Toast last month, I ended up with a ton of extra Butter Rum Sauce. For a while I used it as a dipping sauce for a half batch of gingerbread cookies I’d made (the leftover dough from the Gingerbread Cookie Dough Ice Cream; hello, old recipes!). Then I got to thinking: why not use it in place of the Caramel Sauce to make Baked Eggnog French Toast? After all, both mixes contain the same basic ingredients, namely sugar and margarine. And for the top sauce, I used straight-up So Delicious coconut milk nog in place of soy milk (cutting down on the thickening agents appropriately), for more of that sweet Christmasy eggnog taste.

And it worked! Sweet, sticky eggnog french: IN THE OVEN! No hot oil required.

So here’s how you do it.

 

Baked Eggnog French Toast

Ingredients

1-2 cups vegan butter rum sauce (I used the recipe in Vegan Junk Food, but you can find similar recipes online, e.g.); make sure it’s thick, like maple syrup
6 thick slices of Italian bread
1 cup So Delicious Coconut Milk Nog
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
2 teaspoons flour
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
a pinch of salt

Directions

1. Lightly grease a 9″x12″ baking pan. Pour in the butter rum sauce – about a cup, or just enough to coat the bottom of the pan. Arrange the sliced french bread in the pan, so that no pieces overlap.

2. In a small bowl or measuring cup, combine the nog, nooch, flour, cinnamon, and salt; whisk well to combine. Pour the nog mix over the bread. Let sit in the fridge for at least an hour prior to baking.

3. Bake at 350F for about 30 minutes, or until most (but not all) of the nog has cooked away and/or thickened into a syrupy consistency. Serve immediately!

 

The Great CriFSMas Food Roundup, 2012 edition!

Sunday, December 30th, 2012

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A basket of chai cookies, oatmeal cream pies, and eggnog cookies for our neighbors.
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You guys, I did so much baking this holiday season! Instead of buying my family the customary vegan treats from etsy, I had the bright idea to make everything my own bad self. (“Make everyone’s presents by hand, she said. It’ll be fun, she said.” reads a mid-December entry in my journal.) Several weeks and a dozen or so batches of cookies later, and I am wiped out. Good thing I have extra cookies to keep me going, eh?

Many of the recipes are from Kelly Peloza’s The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur, which I’m quickly growing to love. My mom gave it to me a Christmas or two ago, but given my awful track record with cookies and other baked sweets, I hadn’t gotten much use out of it. (Until now!)

Much to my surprise, everything came out wonderfully! Not a single burned cookie in the bunch. I think the secret is in the parchment paper. I’ve been resistant to using the stuff in the past, because it feels like I’m wasting paper or something. But it really works! Pro tip: as long as they haven’t picked up any cookie residue, you can reuse sheets of parchment paper several times to save money and resources. This is especially helpful if you’re baking multiple batches of cookies in a single day.

Without further ado, here’s a rundown of all the holiday goodies to pass through my kitchen (and gullet! yay the imagery!) this month. Mostly cookies, but also fancy nuts, truffles, ice cream, pizza, and pasta!

 

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Chewy Spiced Molasses Cookies from The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur (page 228) – Mine didn’t come out quite as plump and chewy as the ones pictured in the book, but I think that’s because I made the cookies a little smaller than suggested.

Actually, that was a trend pretty much across the board – I ended up with more, slightly smaller cookies vs. fewer, larger cookies (the latter being the norm for me). It was all good though, because the smaller cookies were a better fit for the tupperware I used to pack and ship them. Score!

Chewy or not, these were still super-delish, though not nearly as nommy as some of the other cookies I tried.

(More below the fold…)

Nog for breakfast!*

Tuesday, December 11th, 2012

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I have been waiting nearly a year to try this recipe, people!

(Seriously! Though VJF was released last December, I didn’t get a copy until February – a month or two after the stores stopped selling vegan nog. THE TORTURE.)

It’s the Eggnog French Toast with Butter Rum Sauce from Vegan Junk Food. While ooey, gooey, and totally nom-worthy, it’s not quite as noggy as I’d hoped: the flavor of the Butter Rum Sauce totally overpowers the nog batter on the french toast.

I bet this would taste even more amazing topped with a nog-inspired icing instead. Maybe swap out the water for nog in this recipe, or use an eggnog extract instead of vanilla here. (Is eggnog flavoring vegan? I have no idea. Must investigate further!)

Still a pretty awesome french toast recipe, though the Sticky Caramel Baked French Toast will forever be my favorite. Key word: BAKED. Hot oil splatter be gone!

* Actually I had this for dinner but who’s counting?

Christmas, squared. Also: shaken and stirred.

Saturday, December 8th, 2012

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So what you’re looking at here is a Chai Nog Milkshake: two scoops of homemade chai ice cream plopped in a glass of chilled So Delicious coconut milk Nog and stirred ever so gently. Truthfully, this was a leap of faith – I wasn’t quite sure how it’d taste, since the nog is thick and rich enough on its own – but it just so happens that it’s (wait for it) un-freaking-believable. So good! Like someone liquefied Christmas and put in a tumbler. Or on tumblr, which I shall do shortly.

In other news, did y’all know that Silk isn’t making the Pumpkin Spice flavor this year? It’s true! We tried to special order a case from our local natural foods co-op and, after a week of waiting, were told that NO ONE’S getting Pumpkin Spice this year. What is this fuckery! What am I supposed to put on my cereal? In my tea? This is a tragedy of epic proportions.

Word on the street is that So Delicious also makes a Pumpkin Spice flavor, but as of yesterday it’s unavailable. At least that’s what Green Acres’s distributor says (sob).

Ugh, why won’t anyone just shut up and take my money!?!

It’s just not x-mas without Pumpkin Spice!

Celebrate the holidays year-round with this Coconut Milk Nog Ice Cream!

Tuesday, February 7th, 2012

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You guys, I did it! I figured out how to turn So Delicious’ Coconut Milk Nog into a rich, creamy, honest-to-goodness ice cream!

My first attempt, you might recall, resulted in a sorbet-like concoction. Assuming that the nog was thick enough as is, I just dumped a chilled quart of the stuff into my ice cream machine and let it do its thing. Apparently there’s a higher concentration of water in the nog than I realized, because the finished product, when completely frozen, is rather hard and full of ice crystals. Delicious, but difficult to eat and not especially ice creamy. (Seriously, you have to let that block defrost on the countertop for a good half hour before you can shave a spoonful off of it!)

So this next time around I tried a different approach. Not only did I add some arrowroot “slurry” to thicken the batter up (a standard procedure in soy milk-based ice cream recipes), but I simmered the rest of the nog on the stove top for a bit, so that some of the excess water evaporated. And it worked! Once it was chilled, the batter had the consistency of pudding (that’s good!), and the frozen dessert is rich, thick, and creamy – much more like ice cream than Italian ice!

If you’re anything like me, you stocked up on nog while it was in season and now have a fridge full of drinks set to expire. (I have three more quarts, all dated February 8!) Ice cream to the rescue! Freeze that deliciousness and enjoy it all year long. Errr, not that it’ll last long enough for you to celebrate Christmas in July. Probably you’ll polish it off well before spring – it’s Coconut Milk Nog Ice Cream, yo! But still, one can dream.

 

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Seen here with a chocolate, raspberry ganache-filled heart from Rescue Chocolate!
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Coconut Milk Nog Ice Cream

(Makes about 2/3 of a quart.)

Ingredients

1 quart So Delicious Coconut Milk Nog, divided
2 tablespoons arrowroot powder

Directions

1. Pour 1/4 cup of the nog into a small mug or bowl. Add the arrowroot powder and whisk briskly with a fork. Set aside.

2. Pour the remaining nog into a medium-sized sauce pan. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer for 30 to 45 minutes, stirring or whisking the liquid every few minutes so as to prevent burning. When done, increase the heat and bring the liquid to a boil. Remove from the heat and immediate add the arrowroot slurry. (You may need to whisk the slurry again before doing so, in case the powder has settled to the bottom of the mug.) This will cause the batter to thicken noticeably.

3. Cover the container and chill the batter in the fridge for three to six hours or more. (I prefer to make the batter the night before, and let it chill in the fridge overnight.) When cold, process according to your ice cream machine’s instructions. Enjoy immediately as soft serve or chill in the freezer for a half hour or more for a firmer ice cream. When kept in an airtight container, you can store homemade ice cream in the freezer for months at a time!

 

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FYI: This process would probably also work well with other seasonal nondairy drinks, such as Silk’s Pumpkin Spice, Nog, and Chocolate Mint flavors. I usually have good luck making ice cream with Pumpkin Spice and arrowroot powder, but the Nog and Chocolate Spice produce an icier dessert. Simmering them on the stove top first (as outlined above) could help fix this problem, I think.

Vegan Soy Nog Ice Cream! (Need I say more?)

Thursday, December 31st, 2009

Yeah, I didn’t think so.

Vegan Soy Nog Ice Cream

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Inspired by this Egg Nog Ice Cream recipe at VegWeb.

Ingredients

2 tablespoons arrowroot powder
1 cup soy milk (divided into 1/4 and 3/4 servings)
3 cups soy nog (I used Silk)
1 teaspoon nutmeg
3 tablespoons brown sugar

(More below the fold…)

Must be right?

Wednesday, November 14th, 2007

Man, it feels so wrong to be enjoying my very first hot cup o’ Soy Nog of the season when it’s, like, 50 degrees out.

Damn you, global warming/ridiculously extended holiday season!

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