Mar 30

Online Bake Sale for Japan – TODAY!

Today is the day, folks! Head on over to The Online Bake Sale for Japan to bid on an assortment of goodies benefitting Second Harvest Japan.

My Vegan Cherry Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies are there, along with dozens of other treats from around the world.

Ingredients: All-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, rolled oats, light brown sugar, Earth Balance, vanilla extract, sea salt, baking soda, unsweetened apple sauce, dried cherries, vegan dark chocolate

The Online Bake Sale for Japan ENDS AT NOON TOMORROW so don’t hesitate! Let’s raise some dough! Haha. See what I did there? Dough…

Mar 23

online bake sale for Japan – march 30

Dear Friends,
On March 30th The Tomato Tart will host an online bake sale to benefit Second Harvest Japan, a food bank in Japan that is providing immediate relief to earthquake victims. More than 90 bloggers from 9 countries are taking part, including myself.

One dozen of my Vegan Cherry Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies (shown below) will be auctioned off, along with numerous other goodies from the blogger community.

Ingredients: All-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, rolled oats, light brown sugar, Earth Balance, vanilla extract, sea salt, baking soda, unsweetened apple sauce, dried cherries, vegan dark chocolate

The devastation in Japan has touched us all. If you feel the urge to help while also filling your tummy with some delicious treats, I encourage you to head on over to The Tomato Tart to bid on Wednesday, March 30th.

And if for some reason you don’t want to purchase anything from the bake sale (What is up with that? Are you on a diet? That’s crazy! You look fantastic! Have a cookie!) you can give directly to Second Harvest Japan by clicking here.

Much love,
Nikki

Mar 22

orange shortbread cookies

Let’s talk about these cookies.

Usually I don’t like to make anything that takes more than 4-5 hours, but these cookies were worth the extra effort. Baking the cookies doesn’t take long at all, but one of the ingredients is candied orange peel, and it took around 1.5 hours of cooking and monitoring to get the peels in shape and another 5 hours waiting for the peels to be cookie-ready. It wasn’t difficult, but it was time consuming. It helped that I did it over two days instead of trying to cram all the work in one day, and in the end I was so glad that I took the time to tackle this recipe.

It’s also great if you happen to love candied orange peel on its own because you can make extra to nibble on in addition to what you’ll need to chop up and bake into the cookies.

Court hates oranges.

Orange Shortbread Cookies
Recipe adapted from Closet Cooking
Makes 24 cookies

Printable recipe

Ingredients:

  • Peel of 2 oranges, sliced into 1/4″ strips
  • 2 1/4 cups vegan refined sugar
  • 8 ounces of Earth Balance, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup vegan confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 1 tablespoon orange juice
  • 1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 ounces vegan dark chocolate

Peel your oranges and slice the peel into strips. Save part of the orange flesh to use for the orange juice you’ll need later on.

Place the sliced orange peel into a small pot of cold water and bring to a boil.

When the water begins to boil, remove from heat, drain the water and repeat the process two more times. After the water is drained the third time, bring the orange peel, 1 3/4 cups refined sugar and 1 cup of water to a simmer. Allow to simmer for 45 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat, drain the water, roll the strips of peel in the remaining 1/2 cup of refined sugar and place on a rack to dry for 5 hours.

When you’re ready to make the cookies, chop the candied orange peel. You should have approximately 1 cup of chopped peel when you’re finished.

Stir together the Earth Balance and confectioners’ sugar in a large bowl. Add in the salt and flour and continue to stir. The dough will start to form clumps.

This is a good thing.

Add the orange zest, orange juice, chopped candied orange peel and vanilla extract to your dough and continue to stir.

Use your hands to form the dough into a log, roughly 2.5″ high x 2.5″ wide

Wrap the log in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for 1 hour.

After an hour, preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Remove the dough from the refrigerator, unwrap and cut the log into 1/4″ slices.

Place the slices on a baking sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes, until the tops are golden.

Remove the cookies from the oven and allow them to cool completely. Once cool, melt the dark chocolate and drizzle over the cookies.

Step back and marvel at the masterpiece that you have created.

Eat your masterpiece.

Mar 10

maple peanut butter french toast

Hi. How’s your day going? It’s pretty rainy here. I like the rain. So I’ve got that going for me. Also, no one invaded my personal space on the F this morning, so that was a refreshing change. Oh and I got lucky enough to snap a blurry photo of Harrison and Sebastian bro-ing out this morning before they began to bite at each others’ faces.

Total win.

My day is going pretty well. The only thing that could make it better is if I had some more of this french toast in front of me.

My husband and I had it for dinner last night. Immediately afterwards, my team won their game in a shootout.

Coincidence, or lucky french toast?

I guess the only way to find out is to eat it before every remaining game of the season, right?

I’m going to need bigger pants.

Maple Peanut Butter French Toast
Recipe adapted from Vegetarian.About.com

Printable Recipe
Makes 3-4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 6 slices of vegan cinnamon raisin bread
  • 2 large or 3 small bananas, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon vegan brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup non-dairy milk (I used vanilla soy milk)
  • 5 tablespoons natural peanut butter
  • 5 tablespoons maple syrup

I feel that the most important ingredient in this recipe is the bread. The cinnamon and raisins compliment the peanut butter in a way that I can only describe as freaking amazing.

I used Ezekial 4:9 Cinnamon Raisin Bread.

If you don’t have cinnamon raisin bread, go ahead and add in a teaspoon of cinnamon (or more) to the batter.

To make the batter, place the bananas, brown sugar, vanilla and milk into a food processor and blend.

Melt some Earth Balance, non-stick spray or whatever you love to use in a skillet over medium heat. Dip both sides of a slice of bread into the batter and place in your skillet. I cooked two slices at a time for 3-4 minutes on each side. If your french toast is browning too quickly, reduce the heat.

While your last slices are on the stove, stir together 5 tablespoons of peanut butter with 4 tablespoons of maple syrup.

Stack your french toast on a plate, smearing the maple peanut butter between each of the slices. Take the last tablespoon of syrup and pour it over the top.

Adjust your pants accordingly.

Mar 01

banana cake with coconut cream cheese frosting

I eat a lot of bananas. I eat a banana and nut butter sandwich almost every morning. I toss frozen bananas into smoothies a couple times a week. I like to pour heaps of chocolate syrup over top of a bowl of bananas and pretend that it’s not bad for me. But I’d never baked bananas into a cake until last weekend. How can that be? Crazy. I know.

Sebastian likes bananas, too.

He likes to snuggle them and rub his face against the edges and roll around on top of them. I’m not sure what his deal is. He was really sad when I ripped open his yellow friends and mashed them to pieces.

His sadness was my joy, though. It’s going to be joyous for you, too. Please make this cake. It’s so wonderful and dense that it doesn’t even need frosting. I mean, I put frosting on it anyway because frosting is delicious. But you don’t have to. You should, though. And throw some toasted coconut on top, too. Oh yes.

Banana Cake with Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting
Cake recipe adapted from Martha Stewart

Printable Recipe

Cake Ingredients:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups vegan refined sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 8 ounces of Earth Balance, melted
  • 3 cups mashed bananas (approx. 8 bananas)
  • 1/2 cup vanilla soy milk (or another non dairy milk)
  • 3 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Frosting Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces vegan cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 cup Earth Balance at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 6 cups vegan confectioners’ sugar

Plus 2 cups of shredded coconut

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit.

Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl.

Peel and mash all of the bananas and place them in a separate bowl.

Add the Earth Balance, milk, vinegar and vanilla extract to the bananas and whisk together.

Combine the wet and dry ingredients and mix on low-medium speed for 1-2 minutes. The batter is going to look a little lumpy, but don’t worry. Those are lumps of delicious.

Pour into two greased 8×8″ cake pans and bake for 35 minutes or until a toothpick can be inserted and removed cleanly.

While the cakes are cooling, toast the coconut. It’s so easy to do. I used the method from Baking Bites. Just spread the coconut onto a baking sheet and toast at 300 degrees fahrenheit for 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes. Keep an eye on it, though. It can burn before you know it.

Once the cakes and coconut have completely cooled, it time for frosting! This is the same frosting that I used with my red velvet cake. Simply mix all frosting ingredients together in a large bowl on low-medium speed for 1 minute.

The great thing about this recipe is that your frosting application technique doesn’t have to be perfect.

You’re about to cover it all in coconut anyway, so who cares what it looks like?

Adding the coconut is easy. Grab a handful of coconut and gently press it into the frosting on the top and sides of the cake. Scoop up whatever coconut bits fall down and continue to press them to the cake until they stick.

What’s easier than that?

Dig in!