28 October 2010

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

Who doesn't love a good whoopie? I mean really even if you haven't ever enjoyed the indulgent-y goodness of a whoopie pie the word alone fills one with unencumbered joy. I think I may have mentioned in the last year of blogging my absolute idolatry of pumpkin anything. Pumpkin pancakes, smoothies, pies, cakes, pasta and even a pumpkin black bean enchilada have graced my taste buds and tummy since my transformation from vegetarian caterpillar to a beautiful vegan butterfly. Thus it seemed only reasonable that when the newest King Arthur Flour catalog arrived at my door with a recipe for pumpkin whoopie pies I needed to veganize it...and quick. Since that fate-filled day I have made these whoopie pies 6 or 7 times and each time I am discovering how to improve the recipe so they work with vegan ingredients. The first take was a mess, instead of whoopie pies I ended up with whoopie discs, quite crispy and thin. Yikes! A change here, a change there and finally I have something I can be proud of.

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

1/2 cup Earth Balance, room temperature
1/2 cup canola oil
2 cups packed light brown sugar
2 T. molasses
1 tsp. baking powder
1 Tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. sea salt
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ginger
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. cloves
2 tsp. ground flax
2 T. water
1 can pumpkin
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Using a stand-up mixer cream Earth Balance, canola oil, and brown sugar until most of sugar is dissolved making a brown goo of sorts. Add molasses, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves. In a small bowl whisk flax and water with a fork until a bit frothy, then add to batter. Mix for about 1 minute to get everything well combined the add pumpkin and mix for another 30 seconds. Finally add it flour 1/2 cup at a time and mix well until you get a light, fluffy whipped batter.

I discovered the best thing to use when baking these is a silpat or parchment paper, a greased pan will cause the whoopies to spread...eek!

Using a pastry bag and tip #5PT pipe small circles (for mini bite sized whoopies) or larger 2 inch diameter circles (for normal sized whoopies)

Pipe about two inches apart from one another. Place in oven and bake for 13 minutes (for minis) to 16 minutes (for regular). Remove from oven and let cool. Once cool pipe frosting on one whoopie and top with another creating a delicious pie!

1/2 cup Earth Balance
1/2 cup vegan cream cheese or shortening (either make for a great flavor)
2-3 cups powdered sugar (I never measure this, you just want to make sure the end result isn't too soft or runny, so increase powdered sugar until a nice thick but soft frosting emerges)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tsp. ground ginger

In stand up mixer cream together the Earth Balance and cream cheese. Add in powdered sugar until desired consistency then add vanilla extract and ground ginger. When frosting is complete put into a piping bag and using a star tip pipe into a circle on one whoopie and then top with another whoopie then shove into your face and great elation. Yep, it is that good!

27 October 2010

Thirty Days of Rikki Cupcake: Day 30

My favorite song:

Trying to narrow down my favorite song is incredibly complicated. There are numerous songs that make me smile, accompany me when I cry, play softly in the background when I make love, encourage me to be playful and happy when I bake, and also songs that provide enough energy for me to propel myself forward and often in whimsical circles on my bike. Trying to think of just one is impossible. Instead I will list the first five that pop into my head...

1. The Beatles-For No One, this is one of the saddest songs and I adore it so very much.
2. Jets to Brazil- Sweet Avenue, because the line "Budding at my fingertips, touching you I start to bloom" makes me smile every single time I hear it
3. Alkaline Trio- Radio because I remember fondly a time when I was driving my car with five or six passengers all squished in and this song came on and all of us started singing it as loud as we could. It was great.
4. Jeff Buckley- Hallelujah, I know Leonard Cohen wrote this song but Mr. Buckley's version gives me the chills. His voice is beautiful and haunting.
5. Sam Cooke- You Send Me. This song is simple and is my favorite love song.

19 October 2010

Potato Leek Soup

Some days I am a machine, I will wake up at 2:30 in the morn' bike 15 miles to work and bake my little heart out, only to bike 15 miles home to clean the house or bake for another event in my evening hours. Then there are days when I sleep in until 6am (yes that IS sleeping in) I will pour a bowl of cereal and read, then eventually fall back asleep and wake up again at 9am or so and just lallygag all day until Timmy comes home to occupy my bored and weary brain. Yesterday was one of those days I spent loitering around the house doing the bare minimum so I wouldn't feel like such a sloucher. I washed a dish or three, did a load of laundry and then made a soup so delicious Timmy barely noticed how I destroyed the the kitchen in the soup making process.

Now, I haven't had potato soup in years, in fact the last time I think I had it was as a child and it was always served with bacon. My grandmother made the best soup ever, always from scratch and always the perfect flavor. She even put an ice cube or two in it for me so it wouldn't burn my little tongue.

I hope as these cooler months sweep in this soup recipe will be utilized the warm up all of my favorite people who pass by this blog. It is easy to make and so very tasty. Also the ingredients are easy to come by, so no confusing market searches.

Potato Leek Soup

20-25 small red potatoes (wash really well and leave the skins on)
1 T. olive oil
1 large leek, washed and chopped
6 cloves of garlic, cut into small chunks
1 cup chopped celery
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
6 cups water or vegetable broth
1/4 cup Braggs Liquid Aminos
1/3 cup white wine
1 tsp. ground pepper
1 tsp. sea salt
2 tsp. dried rosemary
1 1/2 tsp. dried thyme

Fill a large pot 3/4 way full with water and boil potatoes until soft, about 45 minutes. Strain the potatoes and let cool until cool enough to handle. Meanwhile start chopping and peeling all of your vegetables. In a large pot place 1 T. of olive oil and turn heat to medium. Toss in your leeks and saute for about five minutes, then add the garlic and saute for another three minutes. Add pepper, salt, rosemary and thyme and stir around.

At this point your kitchen is going to smell heavenly. Pour white wine and Liquid Aminos in the pot with leeks and such and turn heat down to a medium low. At this point add in the celery and carrots and cut up potatoes into chunks and add in as well. Lastly pour in your water or vegetable broth and cook the soup on low for about an hour.

Using a food processor or a reliable mixer remove about 1/2 of your soup and blend until you get a smooth creamy mixture. Pour the mixture back in with the rest of the soup and cook for another hour or so on low. I like to have my soup cook all day, but really it is not necessary. I served our soup with grilled cheese and pepper sandwiches.

If you try this recipe let me know what you think of it. This amount made 6 hearty bowls of soup and is great for a family on a budget, because all of the ingredients are fairly inexpensive.

18 October 2010

Hooray, I am so excited!!!

I just got featured on the Phoenix New Times Chow Bella blog, if you have a moment please check it out!

Rikki Cupcake

Ask A Vegan Pt. 18

It has been quite some time since I have done an Ask A Vegan post and I apologize. As I mentioned before there were a lot of changes going down in the world of Miss Rikki Cupcake and now I think things are settling down enough where I can focus on my Ask A Vegan project. I am pleased to say that after Manny's interview today that there are many more waiting in the Yahoo inbox. Manny is the first raw foods vegan featured on here and I am very impressed that a 19 year old would invest so much time and effort into preparing his delicious foods. I remember being 19 and what did I eat? Taco Bell. Yep, I was a fan of the bean burrito. When I think of it now, it is almost embarrassing that I, at one time, thought of Taco Bell as real food. Manny is a rare kid and I am very happy to share him with all of you.

Name: Jesus Maldonado But I like to be called by my middle name, Manny
Age: 19
Location: Brooklyn, New York
Website: Givingyouhealth.com

How long have you been Vegan?
3 ½ - 4 years

What made you decide to go Vegan?
Mainly health reasons, but now that I’ve learned a lot I do it for the animals, for my health, and for spiritual reasons.

How do you feel health wise with this diet choice?
I feel great, much better then I did before I went on this diet. Feeling better as time passes.

Are you open about your Veganism?
If so, are you involved in any activism i.e. protests, leafleting etc…
I am very open with being a vegan, everybody who knows me knows that I am a vegan and I am proud to be one. I am currently not involved in any activism but I would like to be in the near future.

What do your family, friends, co-workers think about your diet?
Many of them think it is pretty crazy and weird, but by now they are used to it.

What advice would you give those interested in becoming Vegan?
I would let them know that it is best to become educated about Veganism so that they may understand what a vegan eats, because nowadays many people are calling themselves Vegans just because they have stopped flesh yet they still eat crap. Take it slow and transition at your own pace, because everybody is different and let no one pull you away from your goals. I would also give them a few of my delicious Vegan recipes ;)

Would you eat at Mc Donald’s if they carried a Vegan burger?
No I do not eat at any fast food joint’s unless it were a strictly vegan fast food joint.

Do you have a Vegan celebrity that you find particularly dashing?
Honestly, I do not know of many vegan celebrities so I couldn’t say.

marinated vegetables

Do you have a favorite Vegan blog or website that you follow?
I like to support all Vegan blogs and websites but the only one that comes to mind is Dherbs.com. It’s run by Djehuty Ma’at Ra, a expert on herbs and health. Great website with products and info about all types of health issues. I would recommend anyone and everyone to check it out.

What is your least favorite question that you are asked about your diet?
Well I really like when people question me about my diet. It allows me to educate others about my lifestyle and I love to hear the new things people ask about it. If I were to choose one though, I’d have to say it would be the famous “where do you get all your protein?”.

What is your favorite dish?
Well since I’m eating only Raw Vegan at the moment, my favorite homemade dish would be my famous Raw soft shell tacos with mock meat and sourcream and my favorite restaurant dish would be lasagna from Rockin’Raw, a Raw Vegan restaurant in Brooklyn.

homemade almond milk

What do you typically eat at Thanksgiving?
I’ve just recently turned Raw so I’ve yet to have a Raw Vegan thanksgiving, but in the pass years I’ve had rice with beans, vegetable chille, vegetable pasteles, mash potatoes, yams, macaroni salad, and other goods that I can’t remember at the moment. Did I mention that I love to eat? ;)

If I could make you any flavor cupcake in the world what would it be?
Strawberry short(cup)cake

Please share your favorite Vegan recipe.
Unfortunately my favorite Vegan recipe is done by eye, I never took the time to write any of it down =(
So I’ll write down one of my fav desserts.
Raw Vegan Chocolate Brownies
1 cup cashews
½ cup dates(add more if needed)
1 TBSP cocoa powder
Food process until a huge ball forms. Flatten the ball on a tray and sprinkle some crushed walnuts on top if you’d like. Freeze for about an hour or until nice and solid and enjoy with a cup of VeganNog.
3 cups water
1 cup almonds
½ cup dates(add more if needed)
1 tsp vanilla powder
2-3 bananas
Blend almonds with water until smooth then strain with a nutbag or cheesecloth. Put liquid back into blender and add the rest of the ingredients then blend until smooth, chill and enjoy with your brownies. Freeze the almond pulp, it can be used in many vegan recipes so don’t let it go to waste.

Thirty Days of Rikki Cupcake: Day 29

In the last month what have I learned?

Oh gosh, really? This question? I guess I figured out that I could quit my job of almost five years and not really care. I thought that I would have been devastated to leave Trader Joe's but instead felt like nothing had changed. I have also as of last night fully understood the term "work friends" as in I quit my job and had a gathering to celebrate and no one showed up. I guess as long as I don't wear the stupid Hawaiian shirt any longer I am not considered a "friend." It was a bit disappointing but I guess that is what to expect of most people. That made me really appreciate the real friends that I have, the one' that call me when I forget to call them. Maybe I will have another celebration and invite friends only. (:

12 October 2010

Thirty Days of Rikki Cupcake: Day 28

A picture of me from last year and how I have changed...

1. I have a new occupation and quit my job of almost five years
2. I acquired new tattoos
3. I have a blog! (:
4. I have a new bike that I ride daily
5. I am happier
6. My hair is longer
7. I gained an obsession to Voodoo Donuts

I am sure there is a ton more stuff buuuuuut I can't think of any right now.

08 October 2010

Pumpkin Pom Poms take 2

here are the photos, and one of Ellie too because she is just too darn cute!

ready to bake

after being frosted

04 October 2010

Pumpkin Pom Poms

At Pomegranate we have gotten into the fall mood and have been making some heavily fall inspired desserts, we have our maple cake available daily, our cranberry biscotti, pumpkin seed chai cookies and out pumpkin pom poms. The pom poms are really a cookie but they have a fun shape and calling them pom poms is just plain cute. I had the recipe in my book o' recipes that are all hand written and mostly original and some are recipes I found on the internets and veganized. The pumpkin pom pom recipe was written without bake temperature or bake time and was written so quickly I can barely read my own writing, but once deciphered I winged it and came out with a great little treat. The cookie itself is a little plain but with the addition of a lemon glaze on top this cookie is incredible!

Pumpkin Pom Poms

1 can organic pumpkin
1 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup apple sauce
3 cups oats
1 1/2 cups spelt flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees and grease a cookie sheet. Place pumpkin, sugar and applesauce in a bowl and beat with mixer until completely combined. In separate bowl mix oats, spelt flour, baking soda, and spices. Add the wet mixture to the dry and fold all ingredients together with a spoon until completely mixed. Use an ice cream scooper and scoop out dough onto cookie sheet. You can either leave in a ball shape or flatten with your hands. I like the ball shape. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Let cool for ten minutes then top with lemon glaze.

Lemon Glaze
1/4 cup Earth Balance
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
zest from one lemon
1 cup powdered sugar

Beat in mixer until you get a thin icing. Dip cookies into icing or smooth on with a spoon. Enjoy!

I was just about to add a picture of the pom poms and realized that I didn't have a photo! When I work next I will take a photo I promise!

03 October 2010

Thirty Days of Rikki Cupcake: Day 27

Why am I doing this 30 day challenge?

I really have no idea. Kelly started it and it looked kinds fun so I went for it, and like a lot of things I started slacking after day 12 or somewhere around there. My thirty day mark should have happened over two weeks ago...oh well. I was very productive today (I think). I baked over 100 cupcakes for an event tomorrow, I went on a bike ride with Timmy, bought my nephew some pretty sweet t-shirts and Ellie some Halloween dog pajamas, went grocery shopping and found an incredible Lance Armstrong lunchbox at a garage sale in my neighborhood. I feel pretty accomplished and deserving of the eight hours of sleep I am about to partake in. Sweet, sweet sleep. Goodnight everyone and thanks for reading my blog. I have a fun and tasty pumpkin cookie recipe to share, but that will be coming tomorrow. Sleep tight!

Rikki Cupcake

01 October 2010

I Suck

I have been a very bad blogger as of late and I apologize. On the plus side I have started a job baking at a vegan/vegetarian restaurant and it is going great. Everyone I work with is very friendly and the customers are very kind. Yesterday I was interviewed by the Phoenix New Times for a segment called "Sweet Talk" and it should be streaming on the interwebs in about a month, I will keep everyone posted on that bit of radtastic-ness. Also this past Monday, Timmy and I went to see the Drums and Surfer Blood and the Drums blew me away. Their performance was very energetic and fun and the singer Jonathan was very sweet. I have a few photos from the show, I hope you enjoy, and please let me know if you have gone to any good shows lately. Surfer Blood The Drums

Heart, Rikki Cupcake

Thirty Days of Rikki Cupcake: Day 26

What do I think of my friends?

I think Carrie said it best last week, "All of your friends I have met are sooooo nice." She is right, my friends are nice, they are good, caring and passionate people. I choose my friends carefully and if you are someone close, know it is because you are truly amazing and you inspire me daily.

Harry would be nothing without his friends