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Yesterday there was no Day 4 of 12 Days of (vegan) Christmas cookies and here’s why- Procrastination failed me for the first time ever.

See, as I’ve mentioned before on this blog, Procrastination and I go way back, like Middle School days. I had to write a paper for DARE, waited until the night before and won an award. It was all down hill after that. Making an entire Civil War scrapbook for high school, complete with tea stained pages? Done the night before. Got an A++ (yeah, I was that girl). Final papers in college that were an obscene amount of my grade? Done the night before, hopped up on instant vanilla cappuccinos for the machine. Still got A’s and B’s.

All of these instances turned out great. So when I went to photograph pictures for the carrot cake cookies at the last moment because I didn’t get a chance to photograph them over the weekend, I totally thought I could make it work! Turns out, no natural light and a poorly lit apartment are more powerful than my relationship with procrastination. These are the pictures I got:

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Gah! Bad. Is that corn in there? What is happening? Who would want to eat that?

So I have learned my lesson and will do my best not to procrastinate. And here are some lemon thumbprint cookies that look about a thousand times more edible than that cookie up there.

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Lemon Thumbprint Cookies with Vanilla Blueberry Chia Jam
makes approximately 30 cookies

Jam:
from Oh She Glows

  • 3 cups frozen blueberries
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup, or to taste
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Cookies:
veganized from The Foodie Affair

 

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) vegan butter, like Earth Balance, softened
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 Ener-G eggs (if you are making this non-vegan, The Foodie Affair used 2 egg yolks)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest, grated
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2½ cups all-purpose flour

 

For the jam:

  • Add frozen blueberries and maple syrup into a medium pot and bring to a simmer.
  • After 5 minutes or so, stir in the chia seeds.
  • Continue to cook down the mixture for about 15 minutes, or until thickened.
  • Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
  • Chill in the fridge for a couple of hours to thicken it up even more.

You can serve it as is or if you want it smoother, mash it with a potato masher or use an immersion blender. I used an immersion blender as I don’t like chunky jam. Also, this recipe makes a lot so you will have leftovers. It is great on toast, ice cream, etc.

For the cookies:

  • Pre heat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
  • With a mixer, beat Earth Balance and sugar together in a large bowl until well combined. Beat in Ener-G eggs, lemon zest, lemon juice, and salt.
  • On low-speed, beat in flour just until large moist clumps form. You may need to use your hands at this point to form one large ball. (WV note: I did not have this problem which could be because I used vegan ingredients. I want to leave it in incase it does occur to your recipe or you are making this non-vegan)
  • Roll tablespoons of dough into balls. Place balls on prepared baking sheets about 1 inch apart. Make a deep indentation in center of each ball.
  • Fill the indentations with your blueberry jam.
  • Bake cookies until firm and lightly golden on bottom, about 18 to 20 minutes.

Alternatively, you can wait to fill your cookies after you bake them. Just make your indentation as noted above and bake like that for 18-20 minutes. I preferred baking the jam in the cookie because I found that it helped thicken the jam further, keeping it on the cookie; that it provided a moisture cookie; and when the cookies are baked without the jam, the indentations kind of disappear a bit. But you can make them however you prefer.


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These cookies are definitely an ode to my mom, who loves all things lemon. When I was making my cookie list, my initial list had 12 chocolate cookies with minor variations- chocolate and peanut butter, chocolate and mint, chocolate and chocolate… I realized that I wasn’t exactly providing a wide variety of options so I spiced things up a bit and made sure I included a cookie for the non-chocolate lovers.

Now, I’m thinking of pulling an all-nighter, College style, to complete my Christmas cards for tomorrows. Leave me your suggestions on your favorite holiday movies to get me in the spirit and keep me going through those long hours of gluing.

 

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Living with roommates is hard. Like, really hard. Sometimes, they fill the sink with dirty dishes and take forever to clean them. Sometimes, they don’t do their portion of the chores and the bathroom ends up going weeks without being cleaned. Seriously, three girls with longish hair and one tiny bathroom? I assure you, it gets nasty. Sometimes, they don’t replace commonly use items as quickly as you’d like and you just need olive oil, damnit!! How am I suppose to make popcorn without olive oil!!
Yeap. Living with roommates can be hard.
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Know what can help? Taking deep breaths and reminding yourself that you being the only person in the house putting the toilet on the roll is not the end of the world. You gotta pick your battles, you know?
And if things are still tense in the house? Make cookies. No seriously, make cookies and then share them with your roomies when they’re still warm. Because who can seriously be mad while they are eating soft cookies with gooey chocolate?
Just, you know, make sure you clean up your dishes after you’re done baking.
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The Fluffiest, Softest Chocolate Chip Cookies 
veganized from Apple A Day
makes approximately 20 with a standard cookie scoop
Ingredients: 
3/4 c. unsalted vegan butter, such as Earth Balance
3/4 c. brown sugar 
1/4 c. granulated sugar 
1 Ener-G egg 
2 tsp. vanilla extract 
2 c. all purpose flour 
2 tsp. cornstarch 
1 tsp. baking soda 
1/2 tsp. salt 
1 c. vegan chocolate, I used Enjoy Life Chocolate Chunks (see my original post on alternatives and where to find vegan chocolate)
 
Directions:
1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2.  In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugars until fluffy and light in color. Add Ener-G egg and vanilla and blend in.
3.  Mix in flour, cornstarch, baking soda and salt. Stir in chocolate chunks.
4.  Using a standard-sized cookie scoop or tablespoon, drop dough onto a prepared baking sheet.  Bake for 8-10 minutes, until barely golden brown around the edges.  (do NOT cook longer then 10 minutes. The tops won’t brown and they may look slightly undercooked but that’s ok. They will continue to cook on the pan.)
5.  Let cool, on the sheet, on a wire rack for five minutes.  Remove from baking sheet and let cool completely.
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I can not express how much I love these cookies. They are hands down one of the best chocolate chip cookies to come out of my kitchen, second only to the mint chocolate chip cookies my mom and I make. The chocolate chunks are really a must. They elevate the cookie from a 10 to an 11. In fact, when faced with making a bunch of new cookies for the coming week, I really just wanted to make these again. And then hoard them all. And not share any.
Seriously, go make these cookies and report back to me so we can gush about how good they are.

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Wicked Vegan- Healthy Cookie Dough Bites

Ah, Christmas. The season of cakes, cookies, candies and booze. Dinner parties, luncheons, cookies swaps and way less gym time then you would probably like. There is just so much food everywhere. Clearly, as I am celebrating 12 straight days of cookies, I am not opposed to any of this but it is nice to have a healthier options every now and then. And that is something that I really wanted to keep in mind during this cookie marathon- that not everyone wants sugar-loaded treats. Sometimes, it’s nice to have a little break from the sugar coma.  Which is why for Day 2 of 12 Days of Christmas Cookies, I’m sharing with you healthy cookie dough bites!

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Healthy Cookie Dough Bites
from LaurenConrad.com
Makes 12

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup raw cashews
  • 1/3 cup oats
  • 2 Tbsp agave syrup
  • 1 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup mini chocolate chips or sweet cacoa nibs

Directions

  1. Combine oats and cashews in a food processor and grind into a flour-like consistency.
  2. Add agave, maple syrup, and vanilla, and blend again until smooth.
  3. Transfer your dough into a mixing bowl and stir in chocolate chips by hand.
  4. Chill for around an hour.
  5. Roll the dough into approximately 12 chocolate truffle-sized balls. Enjoy immediately or store in the fridge/freezer for later.

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I really like these cookie dough bites for a treat at home. At work and friends, you are inundated  with sugary treats. When you are home and have down time, it’s nice to have a healthier options, especially since these are best cold. I keep mine in the freezer and tend to reach for them in the evening after dinner.

You can definitely gift them but they tend to get sticky and soft at room temperature so keep that in mind when thinking of presentation. I tried to photograph them at room temperature in a mason jar and they sort of just slowly mushed together. Maybe try a tin and put them in a single layer in mini cupcake liners like a box of chocolate? That would be super cute and a great alternative to cookies for people that are allergic to gluten (just use gf oats), dairy or are just looking for a healthier treat.

Plus, they’re no bake so perfect for people who are allergic to their oven.

Tomorrow, we’ll be back to the sugar, though, so don’t worry if this healthy detour is scaring you. I have plenty of chocolate and peppermint and sugar in store for you.

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Welcome to Day 1 of our 12 Days of Christmas Cookies!! As pumped as I am for the first Christmas event on Wicked Vegan, it took me almost no time to come to the conclusion that this little special is going to involve me eating a LOT of cookies. My plan was to give some away but, well, that is proving better said then done. For instance, this week I baked up 4 types of cookies, all which I photographed today since I was home during the day (Hello, natural lighting!!). Which means, all week, I have had fresh-baked cookies chillin’ in my house, including some of the best chocolate chip cookies I have ever eaten.

Yeah…let’s just say you won’t be seeing the whole batch of those chocolate chip cookies.

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These cookies, though, are just too adorable to keep to myself! I didn’t intend for it to happen but don’t they look a little like christmas wreaths?? So cute! These are just plan ol’ sugar cookies with a little pizzaz thrown in.  Tired of seeing crazy concoction cookies like, bacon, whiskey cookies with artisan chocolate chips or blueberry basil thumb prints with  fresh lemon curd made with the tears of virgins? Yeah, it’s getting a tad out of control. These are great because they are simple and tasty without losing any of the presentation that you may want for gifts or holiday parties.

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Pinwheel Sugar Cookies
veganized from Wiltons Gifts from the Kitchen
makes approximately 21

  • 1/2 c. (1 stick) vegan butter, such as Earth Balance, softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 Ener-G egg
  • 1 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • Food coloring of your choice (Obviously I chose green. I just used some that was in my cabinet from Stop and Shop. If you want an all natural variety, I have used India Tree before and liked them. )
  • about a cup of sprinkles of your choice. I would advice you use a smaller type such as nonpareil. The bigger jimmies I used had a hard time sticking.
  • 1/4 c. vegan chocolate

1. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar using electric mixer. Add Ener-G egg and vanilla extract; mix well. Stir in flour and salt, mixing until well blended.

2. Divide the dough into two equal portions. Add food coloring to one portion; knead to blend. Shape each portion to form 4 x 5-inch rectangles; wrap in plastic wrap. Refigerate dough 45-60 minutes.

3. Remove dough from refrigerator. Roll out colored dough on Parchment Paper (in can be a little sticky if it warms up or is over worked) to form 6 x 11-inch rectangle; set aside. Repeat with remaining dough. Place white dough rectangle over colored dough rectangle. Gently press dough together. Starting on one 11-inch edge, roll up dough jelly-roll style. Wrap roll in plastic wrap; refrigerate 1-2 hours until firm.

4. Preheat the oven to 375 F. Remove roll from refrigerator. Slice roll crossways into 1/4-inch rounds. Place each round onto ungreased cookie sheet, spacing 1 inch apart.

5. Bake 8-10 minutes or until the bottom edges are lightly golden brown. Remove from oven. Cool cookies on baking sheet 2-3 minutes. Transfer cookies to cooling rack; cool completely.

6. Places sparkles in a small bowl and set aside. Place chocolate in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds and give chocolate a stir. Repeat this process every 30 seconds until the chocolate is melted.

7. Spread a small amount of chocolate around the edge of the cooled cookie. Immediately roll edge in sprinkles. Place cookie on parchment paper to set.

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You can’t go wrong with a well made sugar cookie at a party, especially when they are this cute. I also love that you can totally make them your own by switching up the dough color and the sprinkles. Green and red dough with white sprinkles maybe? Blue and white with Cake Sparkles for a more winter or Frozen theme? Totally doable! If you are using a lighter colored sprinkle, I would maybe try switching out the chocolate for a light coating of icing. Something like this may work better. I haven’t tried that but I would imagine it would look a bit nicer.

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PS. How cute is my Christmas count down clock? My mom made it for me after she saw my Halloween one. Crafts and cookies- they are definitely two of the perks of Christmas time!! What cute crafts are you working on this year?

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Wicked Vegan- Stuffed Accorn Squash1

ahh, Thanksgiving. Probably one of the hardest holidays for those with dietary restrictions. Raise your hand if you have been taunted with greasy turkey legs, been asked a million questions about your diet (“But where do you get your protein? Don’t you miss meat? What would happen if you had one bite? Wouldn’t it be funny if I hid meat in your vegetables?!”) and generally felt left out over this holiday. There was definitely one Thanksgiving when I was a vegetarian when my options were mashed potato, rolls and a garden salad. All good things but not super festive, you know? So I feel ya’. I’ve compiled some yummy tidbits from the blog that I think you could bring to your Thanksgiving dinner and not get crap over (“Is this some sort of healthy, vegan food??”). All the below recipes have been tested on meat eaters and received thumbs up.

Actually, that’s a lie…I never tested the Vegan Green Bean Casserole out on my family because I hoarded it all to myself. True story.

bbqpolentabites

BBQ Polenta Bites

Three Pepper Hummus

Buffalo Hummus

Blueberry Salsa

Black Bean Salsa

Hot Pretzel Challah Bread

pumpkinburger

Southwestern Pumpkin Burger

Butternut Squash Apple Soup

Black Bean Quinoa Soup

Green Bean Casserole

Garlicky Brussel Sprouts

Wicked Vegan PB Krispie Treats

Peanut Butter Krispie Treats (these would be so cute with little turkey cookie cutters and sprinkles)

Chai Spiced Cookies

Now, you can probably see there aren’t a lot of main dishes up there. The past few years I’ve eaten Tofurkey but I just wasn’t feeling it this year. Those Tofurkey loaves are a lot for one person! I end up having leftovers for ever. So this year I am trying a stuffed acorn squash. I was SO impressed and happy with the way it came out. I made this recipe while at my parents this weekend and my mom, a meat eater, got to sample everything and was equally impressed.

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Apple, Quinoa and Kale Stuffed Acorn Squash with Tahini Maple Dressing
from Edible Perspective, with mild adaptations
yields 4 main dish servings

for the dressing:

  • 1 garlic clove, peeled + smashed
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons tahini
  • 2-3 teaspoons pure maple syrup
  • salt + pepper to taste

for the squash and apples:

  • 3 tablespoons unrefined coconut oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 1/8-1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 medium acorn squash
  • 2 crispy apples (I used honeycrisps)
  • salt + pepper

for the kale and quinoa:

  • 3-4 teaspoons unrefined coconut oil
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cups water
  • 5-6 cups chopped kale (lacinato/dino was recommended but seriously, I can never find it. Curly green kales works just fine)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • salt + pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 4 – 5 TBSP dried cranberries
  • pecans for garnish

for the dressing: Combine the smashed garlic, lemon juice, and oil in a jar.  Seal and shake vigorously.  Let sit for 10 minutes.  Shake once more then remove the garlic.  Add tahini, maple syrup, lemon zest, and a big pinch of salt and pepper.  Seal and shake until smooth.  Taste and adjust salt/pepper/maple syrup if needed.  Set aside.  Store leftovers in the fridge for up to 1 week.

for the squash and apples: Preheat your oven to 400* F.  In a small pan combine the coconut oil, maple syrup, and cayenne over medium-low heat and stir until melted.  Take off the heat.  Slice 2 acorn squashes in half, remove and toss the seedy middle and coat the flesh with the oil/maple mixture.  Place squash halves cut side down on a baking sheet and roast for about 35-40 minutes until tender.  A few minutes later slice the apples into 1/4-inch thick slices, removing any seeds/core.  Place on a baking sheet and toss to coat with remaining oil/maple mixture.  Place in the oven during the last 7-10 minutes of squash roasting.  Roast for 7 minutes to maintain a nice crunch.

for the kale and quinoa: As soon as the squash is in the oven heat a pot over medium with 2 teaspoons of coconut oil.  Once hot add the quinoa and stir for 2-3 minutes.  Add the water then raise heat to medium-high.  Bring to a boil, stir, then reduce heat to simmer and cover for 15 minutes.  Remove from the heat and keep covered.  After placing your apples in the oven to roast place a large pan over medium heat and melt 1-2 teaspoons of coconut oil.  Once hot, add the garlic and stir for about 30 seconds, then add the kale and stir frequently for about 3-5 minutes until wilted.  Fluff the quinoa with a fork and combine in the pan with the kale.  Sprinkle with a good amount of salt and pepper and add the lemon juice and craisins.  Stir to combine. Once the the squash and apples are complete, dice the apples and combine with the quinoa and kale.

to assemble: Place the roasted squash half on a plate and fill with the quinoa mix. Drizzle with the tahini dressing and sprinkle with pecans.

*NOTE* If you are making this for Thanksgiving, you can make the dressing and quinoa/kale mixture ahead of time (including the apples) and save the acorn squash for the day of. You can microwave the filling after  you pull out the squash. It will save some time and dishes when there is a ton going on in the kitchen. You can also cook and stuff the acorn squash the night before (do not put dressing on) and reheat the next day on 350 for about 40 minutes uncovered (covering may speed the cooking time). Just a few things to keep in mind when prepping for Thanksgiving.

—– other serving option —–

for a salad- style dish: visit Edible Perspectives page and check out how she presents this as a salad dish. This option would be great if you want to make this dish for a large group of people or want to serve it as a side-dish.

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This recipe is so yummy! I love love love the dressing and will most likely be using this as my go to dressing going forward. Also, I am a huge fan of the roasted apples and craisins mixed in. It gives it such a nice sweetness. Plus, it just looks so pretty when plated up!

If you are wondering what I served with it in the picture above, that is the stuffing I will be sharing with you tomorrow. Trust me when I say you are going to want to tune it. It has this challah pretzel bread in it!

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It’s Monday morning and I am starting the week off with a confession. You ready? ok…

I am SO FRICKIN’ EXCITED for Taylor Swift’s new CD.

My roommates were both gone this weekend so in addition to being lazy and binge watching Law and Order: SVU, I listened to the songs she has released so far off her new CD over and over and over again while baking these cookies and dancing around my kitchen. I’m loving the new songs so much. It was kind of the perfect weekend.

Ok, now that I have professed my love for T-swift, I will get to the cookies. These beauties were inspired by Taylor when she posted on her instagram (really? are we even surprised I follow her?) that she had made “chai sugar cookies with eggnog frosting aka christmas in September”. I couldn’t get the idea of chai cookies out of my head after that. Especially when October hit, the weather cooled and my body just wanted to hibernate and drink tea all day. I did a bit of research (by which I mean I internet stalked her) and discovered that she made sugar cookies with chai tea in it. Like, she cut open a chai tea bag and poured it into the batter for sugar cookies. This presented me with 2 problems: 1. For some reason, me and sugar cookies don’t mix. I don’t have a sugar cookie recipe on this blog because I never like the results. So using sugar cookie as a base wasn’t going to happen and 2. I don’t have a bagged chai tea I love. Whatever, call me a snob but I like this version way better. So to put meh tea into a meh cookie base wasn’t going to fly for me. Plus, I was in fall mode and I wanted to add pumpkin some how.

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Thus, this cookie was born. It’s a chai cookie with just a tiny hint of pumpkin, which is exactly what I was going for. Everything is so super pumpkin-y right now that I wanted something a little more subtle. It still feels like fall though with all the warm spices. You just want to cozy up on the couch with a good book, a cup of tea and an obsene amount of these cookies.

Chai Spiced Cookies with Pumpkin
inspired by Taylor Swift
modified from My Baking Addiction

  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 3/4 cups white sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 cup vegan butter (such as Earth Balance), softened
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin (or 1 “Ener-G” egg)*
  • 1/2 a vanilla bean, seeds removed (or 1/2 tsp vanilla extract)

*Using Pumpkin instead of an Ener-G egg with produce a softer, richer cookie. Ener-G will produce a more traditional cookie texture. I kept the pumpkin version of the cookie in for 1 minute longer then the Ener-G because of this.

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.

2. In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

3. In a medium bowl combine sugar, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, and allspice. Remove 1/4 cup of the sugar-spice mixture, set aside to reserve for rolling the cookies.

4. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar-spice mixture until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.

5. Beat in pumpkin and vanilla bean seeds, combine until fully incorporated.

6. Slowly blend in dry ingredients mixing until just combined.

7. Roll dough into balls (about 2 tsps of dough each) and then into the reserved sugar-spice mixture. Place dough balls on prepared baking sheet about 1 1/2 inches apart.

7. Bake in preheated oven for 8 to 10 minutes

8. Let stand on baking sheet two minutes before removing to cool on wire racks.

As I  mentioned in the note above, these cookies will be soft and doughy so be careful not to overcook thinking that they aren’t done.

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These cookies are just so spot on. They are just the perfect fall cookie without being in-your-face pumpkin. One of my friends tried it a few weeks ago and said it may be her new favorite cookie, which is kind of awesome! If you want more of a fall kick, try adding some Pumpkin Spice chips which are out in the baking sections now. I was going to give that a whirl but never made it to Target this weekend.

If you want a pumpkin cookie with chai spice try making this cookie and replacing the 1 tsp of pumpkin pie spice with the spices in the below recipe and omit the chocolate chips. I haven’t tried it yet but I bet it would be delicious!

This actually isn’t my first time baking to celebrate the release of a CD. Back in 2010, Taking Back Sunday released a live album called Live from Orensanz and I baked some  cupcakes to give out at work. It won be a pair of Matt Rubano Macbeth sneakers…which Macbeth NEVER sent me. I emailed them for months to try and get them and they never came. Shady, shady company. Not cool at all.

TBS cupcakes

Have you ever done anything fun for the release of an album or movie or anything? I can’t be the only weird one out there. Share your stories below!!

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DSC_0711 The last few weeks have been hard. Like, I’m-not-even-sure-how-I’m-awake-and-functioning-right-now hard. In an attempt to make ends meet when moving back to Boston, I took a job at a cafe, which was part-time, and worked as a temp through a temp agency. This worked out well for a while but then I landed a 9-5, M-F desk job through my temp agency. Yeah! But since it’s a temp job, I still needed to keep the cafe job. Which is how I ended up working every single day for the past 30 days- Desk job Monday through Friday, Cafe job Saturday and Sunday. Surprisingly, it’s the cafe job that has been the most exhausting. 8 hours on your feet running around, making sandwiches and coffee and being ‘on’ for the customers is a long day. This is why the recipes haven’t been pouring out. Mostly when I come home, I’m putting my energy toward seeing all my friends that I have missed over the past nine months…or I’m sleeping. Ok, it’s mostly sleeping.  Energy for dinner? Does an apple with peanut butter and chocolate chips count? How about left over chips and salsa and pumpkin beer? There’s veggies in salsa! Despite the hectic, hectic schedule I’ve been leading, I have had time to consistently make one thing: Cold brew coffee. Yes, please! It took me a little while to get used to and to work out the proportion of water to coffee I like but it’s so easy. I can prep it on Saturday night, strain it on Sunday night and have coffee all week. It’s perfect. Because clearly, I am running on nothing but caffeine at this point. DSC_0695 So here is the thing about cold brew coffee: there are a lot of different ways it can be made and everyone seems to have a different strategy. Some people suggest freshly grinding your beans but leaving them fairly course- others say to grind them super fine. Some say let your grinds sit in water at room temperature, others say in the fridge. You have to find what you like best. The below recipe is a combo of everything I read and found online and what works for me. What you have to remember though is that this is a concentrate. It doesn’t have the bitter, acidity that traditional coffee has so it may be easy to mistake the smoothness for it not being “strong”. So not the case. There was definitely a day when I didn’t cut the coffee  and boy was I  jittery at my desk! Another thing to note is cold brew coffee is naturally sweeter. American Test Kitchen suggests replacing your sugar with a pinch of sea salt to bring out that sweetness. I haven’t tried that but I can tell you that when I’m not using the below flavored sweeteners (which I use a very little of!) that I’m not adding any sweetener at all. It’s a great way to cut that morning sugar rush out. OK, Enough Talk! Here’s the coffee and flavored syrups I’m loving right now :

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Option 1 for filtering out your grinds: Fine Mess Sieve and coffee filter over a bowl

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Option 2 for filtering out your grinds: Single-serving coffee cone and filter over your storage container. My preferred option.

Cold Brew Coffee Concentrate with Pumpkin Spice Syrup or Chocolate Syrup

Coffee:

  • 1 cup of whole coffee beans, medium roast is ideal
  • 4-5 cups of water depending on your preference (American Test Kitchen recommends 1 cup of grinds:4 cups water. I like 5 just as much and it’s a little cheaper. Stretching that buck!)

Directions:

  1. Grind your coffee beans to a “fine” consistency* (To grind my coffee, I use something like this)
  2. Transfer grinds to a large bowl, french press or mason jar. I use a large 1/2 gallon mason jar
  3. Add your desired amount of water. Give it a quick stir to make sure all the grinds get mixed in. Cover.
  4. Let sit for 24 hours, preferably in the fridge.**
  5. Strain out coffee grinds. If you are using a french press, the french press does the bulk of the work for you. Depending on how fine your grinds are, though, you may still need to filter them. For everyone else, you can line a strainer with a coffee filter or you can use a single-serving drip coffee cone, which is what I use. So cheap and so effective. I’ve also done the mesh strainer/coffee filter combo over a bowl as well and both work fine. See the two photos above for these two options.
  6. Serve over ice or heat up. Either way, Enjoy!

*”espresso or turkish” consistency is how everyone describes it online but seriously? My coffee grinder is the cheapest out there and there aren’t settings. Just grind it really well. According to American Test Kitchen, the fine grinds release more flavor **You can let it sit for longer. I’ve left mine for 36-48 before in the fridge and it was totally fine. Just don’t go less then 24 hours or it will be too weak. Some will argue that letting it sit at room temperature produces better results but I like mine in the fridge because I almost always drink my coffee iced. Try both ways to see if you have a preference. DSC_0703 Chocolate Syrup from Vegan in the Freezer

  • 1 cup of water
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup Unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp of vanilla

Directions:

  1. Bring the water to a boil and add the sugar.
  2. Stir until the sugar dissolves, which should be about a minute.
  3. Stir in cocoa and salt. Reduce heat so the mixture is simmering. Continue to let it simmer for 3 minutes, stirring constantly.
  4. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla.
  5. Let cool. It will thicken as it cools.

DSC_0742 Pumpkin Spice Simple Syrup from The Messy Baker

  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar, light or dark
  • 1 cup of granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves (I used 1/4 cause I don’t love the taste of cloves)
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 1/2 TBS vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. In a medium saucepan, add water and both sugars. Simmer on medium-low until the sugar dissolves, about 4 minutes
  2. Turn the head down to low and whisk in cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, and pumpkin puree. Simmer for 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Do not allow the mixture to come to a boil.
  3. Remove from the heat and strain through a mesh strainer lined with cheese cloth or a very thin, clean tea towel. If you are too lazy/too busy for this (um, me!), then skip this step. The spices and the pumpkin will sink to the bottom of the storage container leaving the syrup at the top to scoop out. You could also give the syrup a stir before using and include the pumpkin and spices in your coffee. I actually don’t mind it like that. I think it’s more flavorful! Just make sure you don’t forget step 4 below.
  4. Allow the syrup to cool to room-temperature before stirring in the vanilla extract. Store in a mason jar or airtight container. The syrup with last for 1 month at room temperature or 3 months in the refrigerate.

DSC_0696 So there are 3 recipes for you! Does that make up for the fact that I have been negligent for the past month? Probably not but I just gave you Pumpkin Spice Simple Syrup so that should count for something! Seriously, these recipes are so versatile! I use the chocolate syrup in hot and cold coffee (though I prefer it in hot I think), drizzled over ice cream or really, drizzled over anything! As for the Pumpkin Spice Syrup, come on! This is about 10x better then that crap you buy at Starbucks. 1. It taste better. A confession for you: I really hate Starbucks PSL. And I love Starbucks and Pumpkin. It taste so chemically to me! This stuff does not, 2. There is actual pumpkin in it! 20 bucks says the PSL does not have real pumpkin and 3. You can also use it in black tea, which is delicious, or over ice cream. Really, you can’t go wrong with either and I think you should go ahead and make these now. Also, if you could send a jar my way that would be awesome. God knows, I can’t get enough coffee lately!

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