Sunday, January 29, 2012

My Favorite Cook Books

Well... at least for now.  I wanted to share with you a list of my top 5 favorite cook books.  Here they are in no specific order.

Babycakes Covers the Classics  by Erin McKenna made this list by offering up some goodies like wonder buns, thin mints, and doughnuts.  It is a vegan cookbook so it is naturally free of milk, egg, fish, or shellfish ingredients, but this book goes beyond that and is also gluten free and I haven't made a recipe yet that uses soy. It is free of 6 of the top 8 allergens which is great.  Be forewarned, there is a lot of coconut products used here.  My daughter was given the ok to use coconut, but check with your doctor to see if it's safe for you.  Coconut is categorized as a tree nut according to the FDA but since it is processed in a different manner than other nuts the fear of cross contamination is not so great (still check your products though) so she was tested for coconut and passed!

The Vegan Scoop by Wheeler Del Torro is all about ice cream.  There are 150 recipe's of dairy free deliciousness.  There are plenty of allergens in this book including, peanuts, tree nuts, coconut, and lots of soy.  If you can't have soy or are against it this is not the book for you.  I think the book is worth it, because I just skip the nut recipe's and go on with it.  Ice cream is something we always had around before allergies came into the picture and it is great to have it back.

Food Allergy Mama's Baking Book by Kelly Rudnick covers all your baking basics.  There are quick breads, muffins, waffles, bagels, and breads.  Then, of course, come the cookies, cakes and pies.  My favorite is the blueberry buckle but the caramel corn is awesome too.  It is free of milk, eggs, and nuts.

The Divvies Bakery Cookbook by Lori Sandler is also milk, egg, and nut free.  She also offers bread, pie, cake, and cookie options.  In addition there is a fudge recipe, a few drinks, granola bars, snacks, and more.
Our favorites from her are mini marshmallow chocolate clusters and cookie smores.

Vegan Brunch by Isa Chandra Moskowitz will wrap this list up.  Yes, it is vegan so there is no meat in there.  Add some if you want, but they are pretty good as is.  Lets face it when you can't have milk or eggs it really screws with breakfast.  This book gives you the opportunity to have waffles, french toast, and crepes, along with muffins, scones, biscuits, and scrambles.  My favorite is english muffins.  She also provides a section on sauces, creams, and spreads.  This book is free of milk, egg, fish, and shellfish.  It is not an allergy free book, so you will probably have to make some substitutions occasionally.  We all know it's easier to make one substitution than it is three or four, so this book has already done most of the hard work for us.

That's it for me.  Hope you get a chance to look at a few of these books.  These books are all in the $20-$30  range, so if that seems to be a bit much for you, check the library.  I live in a town of about 50,000 and our library has an excellent variety of allergy friendly (and vegan) cook books.  I just picked up Licking the Beaters 2 by Siue Moffat from my library.  There are a lot of no no's in this book, so I'm not buying it, but there are also some great ones in there like butterscotch fudge, caramel,  maple sugar candy and a few more. If you are willing to spend some time searching through vegan cook books there are a ton of great recipes to be found.  Happy hunting!

Saturday, January 28, 2012


It has been a long week in the kitchen for me.  I have been working on a lemon cake and it seems to have a bitter after taste no matter what I try.  I have switched from soy milk to rice milk and it was still a flop, and I also tried a new egg replacer that failed miserably.  So, after 3 tries I gave up on it for this week.  I will figure it out though!  So instead of lemon cake or lemon blueberry loaf I am going to pass along a quick and easy recipe that works great.  I love those cinnamon bread sticks from a certain pizza chain, you know the ones with the creamy frosting drizzled on top.  I threw this together on a whim one night and the entire cookie sheet got eaten at once!

One tube of Pillsbury pizza dough (classic not thin)
Sugar and cinnamon mixed together
one stick of earth balance butter
powdered sugar
whichever milk replacement you use ( I used soy milk)

So I covered a cookie sheet with parchment paper because I always seem to burn the bottom of the canned dough. I put the earth balance in a bowl and microwaved it until it was melted.  In a separate bowl I combined the cinnamon and sugar.  Just mix it to your taste.  Now, pour the butter onto the cinnamon sugar mix.  Just enough to make a thick sludge.  If its too runny it will all melt off during baking.  Pop the can of pizza dough and roll it out on your cookie sheet.  Next dump the contents of the bowl on top and spread the mixture evenly over the dough.  Bake according to the instructions on the can.  While the dough is baking, mix powdered sugar, what ever milk replacement you like, and a bit of vanilla to make a glaze.  Once your dough comes out of the oven drizzle the glaze on top.  Don't be shy, put on as much as you like as it does kind of absorb into the dough.  Enjoy!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Nieman Marcus Cookies

So, a few years ago my grandma gave me her mom's cook book.  This is a handwritten ledger pad of all her favorites.  From what I know of her, she was a great baker and could make some awesome food.  Obviously I was thrilled to have the book handed down to me.  Well, I was looking through it the other day and in the back was a letter from her doctor that detailed what an "appropriate diet" should be and attached was a list of some healthy choices like broccoli, carrots, fresh fruit, whole grains and in her handwriting the last item on the list was 1 Lb. of chocolate.  Some day I'm going to frame that and hang it in my kitchen.  Well, folded up with this letter was a copy of a recipe titled " Nieman Marcus $250.00 Cookie recipe"  and tonight I decided to give them a try. They are great and will more than likely be my go to recipe for chocolate chip cookies.

1 c. butter ( I used blue bonnet light)
1 c. sugar
1 c. brown sugar
2 Tbsp. flax meal mixed with 6 Tbsp. water (let sit 2 min.)
1 tsp. vanilla
2 c. flour
2 1/2 c. oatmeal blended into powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 c. chocolate chips ( I use enjoy life)

Preheat your oven to 375*F.  Cream butter and both sugars until smooth.  Add in the vanilla and flax mixture and stir until combined.  Mix in the dry ingredients and then finally add the chocolate chips.  I have to tell you, I didn't measure the chocolate chips.  I just dumped them in until it looked goo to me.  I used about 3/4 of the bag.  I spooned them by the Tablespoon full onto parchment lined cookie sheets.  The recipe says bake for 6 minutes but it took mine 9.  I got 36 cookies out of it.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Ho Ho and Twinkie Cupcakes

Well, I was inspired this week by the food allergy mama blog.  A while back she posted a recipe for oatmeal cream pies, and it made me think of some of my other formerly favorite snacks.  I made a cream filling and it tastes pretty good but be forewarned, it is ugly! It has that curdled look that mixtures take on when you combine milk substitute and soy butter but it will be inside, so no worries.  This recipe also calls for cake flour.  I haven't been able to find cake flour here that isn't made on peanut equipment, so I make my own.  Just combine 1/4 c. corn starch with 1 3/4 c. flour and sift it.  I make a big batch of it and keep it on hand in the pantry.

Twinkie Cupcake
3 c. cake flour
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. baking soda
1 3/4 c. sugar
2/3 c. butter ( I used earth balance)
2 T. vinegar
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 1/4 c. milk ( I used soy milk)

Preheat oven to 350*F.  Combine the cake flour, baking powder, and baking soda in a bowl and set aside.  In a separate bowl, cream the sugar and earth balance.  Then add in the vanilla, soy milk, and vinegar.  Finally combine the wet and dry ingredients and stir to combine.  Be careful not to over stir as you will lose the leavening from the baking soda/vinegar mixture.  Spoon into paper lined muffin tins filling only about half way. They will rise considerably.  bake until just golden on top.  It took mine 16 minutes.

Ho Ho Cupcake
1/3c. canola oil
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. white sugar
1/2 c. applesauce
1/2 c. soy or rice milk
1 1/2 c. flour
1/2 c. cocoa
1 tsp. baking soda
3/4 c. enjoy life chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350*F.  Mix the canola oil, both sugars, apple sauce, and milk replacement.  Add in the dry ingredients and mix until blended.  Spoon into paper lined muffin tins, until they are about 2/3 full and bake until done.  It took mine 18 minutes.

Cream Filling
1 c. milk ( I used soy milk)
5 Tbsp. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. shortening
1/2 c. cold butter ( I used blue bonnet light)
1 tsp. vanilla.
2 c. powdered sugar (or enough to make it thick)

mix flour with milk and boil until thick.  Mine was all lumpy so I called my mom who said you are supposed to mix the two slowly to make a paste, then just keep stirring and mixing to get a smoother cream.  Any-who... Mix the flour and milk in a sauce pan and bring it to a boil until it gets thick (like pudding thick)  Then let the mixture cool completely, I put mine in the fridge overnight.  Once cool beat it with an electric mixer until it gets fluffy.  Add in the rest of the ingredients one at a time, beating well.

Time for assembly

For the Ho HO cupcakes I used a cupcake corer.  I saved only the top crust of each core.  I filled each center with the filling and then placed the crust back over the hole.  For the Twinkie cupcakes I used a squirt bottle, that looked very much like a restaurant ketchup bottle.  I just put the tip through the top and squirted.  I stored these in the fridge in air tight bags and we have been munching on them all week.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Almost Rocky Road Ice Cream

Ok, well my adventures in ice cream didn't start well.  I went to the store to get some soy creamer and found two options.  Silk, which had a "may contain tree nuts" or Organic Valley, which didn't say anything.  So I took it home and called the company to check for possible cross contaminants.  The lady who answered told me they make it in the same factory as egg nog, so I ask "is it on the same equipment?"   The lovely woman's response "I don't know!  There is no way for me to tell you that!"  followed by a giggle.  Thanks so much Organic Valley.  Now I'm on my own.  I really do have to make this ice cream from scratch!  It is very thick and ridiculously creamy.  Be forewarned, you will need a blender and an ice cream machine.  Here it is.

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Marshmallow Ice Cream

 1 1/8 c. soy milk + an additional 1 cup
1/4 c. canola oil
2 Tbsp. maple syrup
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 Tbsp. arrowroot
1 c. sugar
1/3 c. cocoa powder
1/2 c. chocolate chips + an additional 1/2 c.
1/2 c. mini marshmallows torn in half
First mix 1/3 c. soy milk and the arrowroot and leave setting.  Now get your blender out and pour in 1/8 c. soy milk and blend until a bit frothy.  Continue blending and pour the oil in slowly, followed by the maple syrup, vanilla, and finally a cup of soy milk.  Once thoroughly blended, pour this mixture into a pan along with 2/3 c. soy milk, cocoa, sugar, and 1/2 c. chocolate chips.  Bring it to a boil on the stove (it takes forever) and then take it off the heat and add the arrowroot/soy milk mixture and stir, stir stir.  It will become the consistency of pudding.  Put it in the fridge until it is cold then place in your ice cream machine and follow its directions.  Add in the final amount of chocolate chips and little marshmallows with 10 minutes to go on your machines cycle.  I was a bit impatient the first time around and only waited until the mixture was mostly cool.  Of course it didn't set up but on a positive note it made some pretty tasty pudding.  Next time I'm going to make a caramel sauce and fold it in after the machine is done.  Enjoy!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Cinnamon Flop

If you don't know I am totally addicted to sugar.  I woke up this morning and really wanted sweets, so off to the internet to find something suitable for breakfast.  I came across something called cinnamon flop and well, if it has sugar and cinnamon I'm probably going to love it.  So I took 2 recipe's and adapted them and came up with something in between.  It had cinnamon and it was a flop......literally.  So I tried again and this one is much better.  It has a different texture, almost egg like.  I would akin it to french toast in texture, but not taste.

For the cake
1/2 c. sugar
1c. flour
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. baking soda
1 c. soy milk
1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar ( you can use white if you don't have apple)

For the Topping
3 Tbsp. butter ( earth balance)
1/4 c. brown sugar
2/3 c. flour
1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 c powdered sugar
1 Tbsp. soy milk

First preheat your oven to 350*F and grease and flour a 9" cake pan.  When you use baking soda and vinegar for leavening, you have to mix them at the last moment and get it into the oven right away.  I learned this lesson the hard way(many times) before I had it figured out.  That being said, I make the topping first. melt the earth balance and then add the brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon and mix until combined.  It will be dry and crumbly.  For the cake, mix all the dry ingredients in one bowl and then pour the soy milk and vinegar on and stir it quickly, but gently.  The thing is, when the baking soda and vinegar react, they immediately start bubbling and if you stir it too much you will end up with a really flat flop.  So pour the batter into the pan and sprinkle the topping on top and bake for 30 minutes.  For the glaze mix the powdered sugar and soy milk,  it will be a bit lumpy.  Then drizzle it on top of the cake after you pull it out.  Let the flop cool a bit before pulling it out of the pan.  I just ran a knife along the edge, lifted it with a fork and it slid right out onto the plate.  I would serve this warm.  It is way better that way.