August 31, 2010

Vegan Maple Cupcakes with Vegan Maple Buttercream Frosting

The first time I made these cupcakes, people went crazy for them. They likened them to maple bar donuts and gobbled them up. When I made them this time, I had been doing homework all night and didn't have time to do the sugared walnuts. Then I forgot to double the recipe so there would be enough cupcakes for everyone in my class. I tried a vegan maple cream cheese frosting, but it didn't turn out as well as the buttercream I used in the recipe below. But, I did at least take a photo this time! You'll just have to imagine the fancy sugared walnut on top.
Re-post from recipe archives, originally from 12/21/08

There are a number of vegans in my life and they have happily introduced me to the art of vegan baking. Up until a few years ago, I'd been under the impression that 'vegan' automatically meant no tasty desserts. Oh, how very wrong I was.

My friend Audra lent me and Natalie a snazzy little book called Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. Between the two of us, we've made a nice array of delicious cupcakes--and people are definitely surprised to find out they are vegan.

I've had numerous people tell me that the little treats from this book are the best cupcakes that they've eaten--ever. But this recipe in particular really takes the cake...
Vegan Maple Cupcakes

For the Sugared Walnuts:
  • 1 cup walnut halves
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • Dash of salt
  • Dash of cinnamon
  1. Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Spread the walnuts on a pan and bake for 6-8 minutes. Toss after 4 minutes and keep a close eye on them so they don't burn. Remove from oven and place in a bowl to cool. Prepare a lightly greased piece of parchment paper to use in just a minute.
  2. Pour sugar, maple syrup and salt into a large, heavy skillet. Heat on medium, stirring with a wooden spoon until the sugar melts and the mixture is thick and smells caramel-ly.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in the walnuts and cinnamon. Stir to coat each nut. Immediately spread coated walnuts on the parchment; use a spatula to keep them from clumping. Cool completely before handling.
For the Cupcakes:
  • 1/2 cup soy milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/3 cups flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 1/4 maple extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup sugared walnuts (from above recipe)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line your cupcake pan with liners. (Recipe only makes 12 cupcakes.)
  2. Whisk together soy milk and vinegar in a large bowl. Set aside for a few minutes.
  3. Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and nutmeg into a separate bowl and mix. Whisk the maple syrup, oil, brown sugar, vanilla and maple extracts into the soy mixture.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir until lumps dissolve. Fold in the sugared walnuts.
  5. Fill cupcake liners 2/3 full. Bake for 20-22 minutes. Cool completely before frosting.
For the frosting:
  • 1/4 cup non-hydrogenated shortening
  • 1/4 cup room temp. margarine (Earth Balance is the best!)
  • 1 3/4 cups powdered sugar (sift it for silky smooth results)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons maple extract
  • 1/4 cup soy milk
  1. Beat the shortening and margarine until well combined and fluffy. Add the sugar and beat for 3 minutes. Add the maple extract and soy milk. Beat until fluffy--5-7 minutes.
  2. Frost cupcakes and top with the remaining sugared walnut pieces.

August 24, 2010

Robin's Enchiladas

You must try these enchiladas! I say that because once I start telling you about them, I feel like you might be less inclined to try them, but that would be a huge mistake. They are amazing and very flavorful in the most perfect enchilada-y way.

Here's the thing: these enchiladas are made with tofu. WAIT! Don't go. Don't give up on these enchiladas just because I said the world tofu.  You may like tofu, but maybe you think an enchilada is no place for tofu. You may not even like tofu. BUT, let me tell you. You will like these enchiladas. My mom has even gone so far as to not tell people they are tofu until after they've devoured them, just to prove a point (tofu can be delicious). I wouldn't necessarily recommend that, but it does illustrate my contention. These are fantastic enchiladas (that just happen to be made with tofu). Trust me on this one.

Be sure to use El Pato brand enchilada sauce. I am normally a fan of green sauce, but this red sauce is wonderful. If you are feeling feisty, go spicy hot instead of the mild. Look for it at a grocery store that has a good Hispanic foods section (like Food 4 Less). These can easily be made vegan, too!

The filling can be made days in advance and either refrigerated or frozen until you are ready to assemble the enchiladas. In fact, the longer the flavors get to sit with each other the better. I'd recommend making the filling a day before you want to serve these for the tastiest results.

Robin's Enchiladas
~Print Recipe~
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon (or more to taste) minced garlic
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 4 green chiles (such as Anaheim), chopped
  • 1 can pitted and sliced (or chopped) black olives
  • 2 lbs. firm tofu, drained
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon thyme
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 large cans of El Pato brand enchilada sauce
  • 2 1/2 cups mixed jack and cheddar cheese, grated
  • 24 fresh corn tortillas*
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Heat oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add garlic, onions and green  chiles and saute until transparent. Meanwhile, squeeze any remaining water out of the tofu and crumble it into a large bowl.
  3. Add the onion mixture to the bowl with the tofu. Add olives, oregano, cumin, chili powder, thyme and salt. Mix well. 
  4. Heat tortillas in small batches in the microwave (20 seconds or so) until pliable. (Or, quickly fry them in oil if you prefer.) Pour some of the sauce on a small salad plate. Dip the warmed tortillas in the sauce, covering both sides completely. Cover the bottom of a baking pan lightly with enchilada sauce.
  5. Set the tortilla in the baking pan and fill with tofu mixture and sprinkle with cheese. Roll the up the enchilada, leaving it seam-side down in the baking pan. Repeat with remaining tortillas. Pour a little more sauce on top and sprinkle with cheese. 
  6. Bake for 20 minutes. Let stand for about 5 minutes before serving. Top with guacamole, sour cream and/or garnish with cilantro.
Serves 12
*Fresh tortillas are less likely to tear when you try to roll them up!