Friday, May 17, 2013

Dairy-Free Mini Chocolate Chip Cookies

I have been craving these classics in a major way. Even more so, the delicious cookie dough right out of the bowl. I decided to try out some dairy and soy free chocolate chips from the Enjoy Life brand, and they came out ever so well!

They are husband and friend approved as well. Again, no one noticed a difference. Success. Sorry for the cell-phone photo!

  • 1 bag Enjoy Life Mini Semi Sweet Chips*
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup dairy-free (or dairy-soy free) Earth's Balance Butter Alternative
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 and 1/4 cup flour sifted
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda 
  1. Preheat oven to 375
  2. Beat butter, sugars, and vanilla until creamy in mixing bowl.
  3. Meanwhile combine dry ingredients in separate bowl
  4. Add eggs and beat
  5. Add dry ingredients and mix on low only until combined well.
  6. Add chocolate chips and mix on low until combined.
  7. Using a small cookie scoop, make balls of dough about an inch apart on greased cookie sheets.
  8. Bake for 7-9 min until just slightly browning on edges
  9. Let rest for a few mins on cookie trays then transfer to cooling rack.
  10. Enjoy!!!
*Trader Joes also makes dairy-free chocolate chips, but they contain soy.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Dairy-Free Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Icing

Yeah, that's right. I said dairy-free cream cheese icing. It can be done and you won't know the difference!

The BEST Carrot Cake Recipe EVER can be found over here at Pinch of Yum. I followed the instructions for the cupcake version. I also mixed the wet and sugar ingredients first, then saved the dry ingredients for last. Tip for success: always sift your flour and after you add the dry ingredients, only mix enough to combine, on low speed.

 Dairy-Free Cream Cheese Icing Recipe

8oz Dairy-Free Cream Cheese Alternative (I used Tofutti Brand, but it is soy based)
1/4 lb Dairy-Free Butter Alternative (I use Earth Balance Brand)
2 tsp bourbon vanilla paste
1 lb = 4 cups powdered sugar (give or take)

Make sure cream cheese and butter are the same temperature. Beat on high speed in mixer until combined. Add vanilla and sugar until desired consistency is reached. Increase speed of mixer to high until combined. (I like a thicker icing so that the form holds on cupcakes. If I were icing a cake, would go softer.)

Using pastry bag, pipe onto cupcakes, starting from exterior perimeter moving inward and spiraling up. The key is more squeeze, less movement.

Decorations on top are by Wilton.

I made these for my dear friend Libby's going away party. She is a fellow dairy avoider ;) I will miss you friend!

Vegan Vanilla-Mint Chocolate Whoopie Pies!

I knew I was making progress when my husband tasted one and said, "I can't even tell there is no dairy in these!"

The key to success in dairy-free baking with icing is fake butter. I am currently using Earth Balance products. They do make a soy-free version as well. Found it at Whole Foods, it has red on the label. While I was there, I also found baking sticks, which makes it MUCH easier to measure (but has soy). So far, I have substituted it for butter in some of my favorite icing recipes and no one can tell the difference!

I needed to go to the store the other day, but was craving sweets in a major way. So I browsed my cupboard, and looked up some recipes on Go Dairy Free. I came across these Fudgy Chip Vegan Cookies and made them immediately! I had everything but the chocolate chips and nuts. So, I made a basic chocolate cookie. Scooped them out in a mini scoop, pressed down before baking with a spatula, and baked for 12 min. Key to a successful, moist cookie? Fight every urge inside of you and pull them out before they look done!

From there I decided they were too plain, so why not make them into mini whoopie pies? Lets take it up a notch and make some vanilla mint buttercream icing!

Dairy-Free Vanilla-Mint Whoopie Pie Frosting:
2 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup dairy-free butter alternative
1 tsp mint extract
1 tsp bourbon vanilla paste
2 tbs almond milk (or other dairy-free milk substitute)

Mix all ingredients except for the almond milk together and beat until creamy. Add milk until you reach desired consistency.

Add a dollop of icing to cooled cookies and make sandwiches! Remember, it takes 2 cookies for one whoopie pie so don't be disappointed when your numbers are cut in half. Make a double recipe of cookies if needed!

Bucket List: Cake Baking Class

We housed our dear friend Nate while he was transitioning his family to C'ville this winter, and in return, he and his wonderful wife Marge signed me up for a local cake baking class. I think I had a bit of a girl crush on our instructor, as she lives out in the mountains and raises her own chickens for fresh eggs. She got down to the nitty gritty science of baking, and I picked up a TON of great tricks. I was taking notes like a mad woman.
And at the end, when I created an even, meticulous cake structure, that did not self implode, I cried a bit. Yup, real tears of joy in my eyes. Could also have been that it was my first time away from these two partners in crime!

Here is the result! I spent a lot of time on the structure and not enough time on the decorating, but I'll eventually work on it. Practice makes perfect! Happy Birthday John!

Best tip from the class: Put your baking soda and baking powder in mason jars. This way they stay fresh and don't absorb moisture or smells around the kitchen.
Wishlist items added: Quality cake knife, cake spinner.