Category Archives: tofu

Deepest Darkest Crepe Cake!

Deepest Darkest Crepe Cake!

This was a Daring Bakers challenge I completed back in April of 2007. It was a fun challenge and I just wanted bump this post up incase you missed it.

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I was actually really excited when I saw this challenge, especially after reading all of the comments everyone had. It seems that they all had some trouble with the crepe recipe. Luckily, being vegan, I get to try it with a different recipe since I don’t eat milk or eggs. As long as you expect the first couple of crepes to be trial runs that are fit for snacking but not the actual cake, you should be fine.

Continue reading Deepest Darkest Crepe Cake!

Daring Bakers for May 2011

The May 2011 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Emma of CookCraftGrow & Jenny of Purple House Dirt. They chose to challenge everyone to make a Chocolate Marquise. The inspiration for this recipe comes from a dessert they prepared at a restaurant in Seattle.

THE DARING BAKERS’ MAY, 2011 CHALLENGE: MARQUISE ON MERINGUE

All vegan recipes were created by Ashlae of Ladycakes.

Mandatory Items: The marquise & the meringue are mandatory items. All other components are optional, but really do make this a complete (& outrageously decadent) dessert.

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Vegan Recipe Variations:

Our vegan recipes come from Ashlae (http://ladycakesbakes.blogspot.com/), who we’re going to call our little vegan miracle-worker. Ashlae took a look at all of our recipes and went to work adapting and testing – & finally came up with some amazing substitutions that neither Emma nor I would have been capable of doing. She’s offered 3 recipes below, a chocolate pudding that can be frozen, a meringue that torches beautifully, & a caramel sauce for drizzling.

Vegan Chocolate Pudding

(http://ladycakesbakes.blogspot.com/)

1 package Mori- Nu soft silken tofu (approximately 12.3 oz.)

1 cup vegan chocolate chips (approximately 6 oz.)

1 Tablespoon vegan butter (approximately ½ oz.)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. In a food processor, blend the tofu until it is creamy & lump-free; keep in food processor and set aside.

2. In a double boiler over medium heat, melt the butter into the chocolate chips until smooth. Once melted, remove from heat & cool for 10 minutes.

3. Pour chocolate mixture & vanilla extract into food processor; blend with tofu until combined.

4. Pour into molds & freeze for at least 2 hours, or overnight.

  1. Continue with step 9 of the Chocolate Marquise recipe, substituting the appropriate recipe for your meringue & caramel sauce.

  2. When you’re ready to plate, remove the marquise from the freezer at least 15 minutes before serving.

  3. While it’s still hard, remove it from the pan by pulling on the parchment ‘handles’ or by flipping it over onto another piece of parchment.

  4. Cut it into cubes & roll the cubes in cocoa powder. These will start to melt almost immediately, so don’t do this step until all of your other plating components (meringue, caramel, spiced nuts, cocoa nibs) are ready. The cubes need to sit in the fridge to slowly thaw so plating components can be done during that time. They don’t need to be ready before the cubes are rolled in the cocoa powder.

  5. Plate with the torched meringue & drizzled caramel sauce, & toss spiced almonds and cocoa nibs around for garnish. You want to handle the cubes as little as possible because they get messy quickly & are difficult to move. However, you want to wait to serve them until they’ve softened completely. The soft pillows of chocolate are what make this dessert so unusual and when combined with the other elements, you’ll get creamy & crunchy textures with cool, spicy, salty, bitter, & sweet sensations on your palate.

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I used a snowflake shaped silicone muffin pan for the Marquise.

Notes: Make sure you do not use water-packed tofu, it will not work with this recipe Mori-Nu is available at Whole Foods & on Amazon. If you like an intense chocolate flavor, try using 1 ½ cup chocolate chips (or 9 oz.) instead of 1 cup. Also, make sure you do not instantly pour the hot chocolate into the tofu – it will make it curdle.

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Vegan Meringue

1 cup water, cold

1/2 cup + 2 Tablespoon EnerG egg replacer

1 teaspoon agar-agar powder

1/2 cup powdered sugar

1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract

1 teaspoon lemon juice

 

1. In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine ¾ cup water and the egg replacer; beat on highest speed for 6-8 minutes, or until stiff peaks form.

2. While the base is mixing, combine the remaining ¼ cup water and agar-agar powder in a saucepan over medium heat; stir constantly, just until the mixture starts to thicken (this should only take1-2 minutes).

3. Once the base mixture forms stiff peaks, pour in agar-agar mixture, vanilla extract and lemon juice; mix until combined.

4. Turn off mixer & sift in powdered sugar. Resume mixing on high speed until the stiff peaks return.

  1. Transfer to piping bag & use immediately.

  2. When you’re ready to plate the dessert, spoon the meringue onto a plate (or use a piping bag) & use a blowtorch to broil.

This made way more meringue then I needed, so I used the rest to make meringue kisses for munching later. I also don’t have a torch at all, so I had to use a lighter to torch the meringues a bit, it worked, somewhat 🙂

For the Vegan Caramel Drizzle, I made a vanilla caramel.

Spiced Almonds

Servings: Makes about 1 cup of spiced almonds

1/2 cup (4 oz.) sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon cayenne

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 ½ tsp egg replacer whisked together with 2 TBSP water

1 cup (145 grams/ 5 oz.) blanched whole almonds

Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper or foil. In a small bowl, combine the sugar, cinnamon, cayenne, & salt. Add the spice mix to the egg replacer mixture & whisk to combine completely. Toss in the nuts with a spoon. Spoon the coated nuts onto the parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes, or until they turn light brown. Allow the nuts to cool completely and they will get very crunchy. Set aside until ready to serve.

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April 2011 Daring Bakers Challenge

The April 2011 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Evelyne of the blog Cheap Ethnic Eatz. Evelyne chose to challenge everyone to make a maple mousse in an edible container. Prizes are being awarded to the most creative edible container and filling, so vote on your favorite from April 27th to May 27th at http://thedaringkitchen.com!

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Our April Challenge: Maple Mousse in Edible Containers

With this challenge, they tried to reach people who have a sweet and salty tooth by combining bacon and maple syrup. They also realized that not everyone wants to use bacon, they also gave us the option of nut cups or tuile cups. We could also incorporate a meringue topping if we chose. Since we did meringue last month, I chose to leave it off. Obviously I chose the nut cup with their vegan mousse option. This was my first time using agar agar and found it really easy!

Recipe Source:

Nut Crust were taught to me by a friend, no source, but posted at Cheap Ethnic Eatz

Vegan maple mousse was inspired by this recipe at Suite 101

We had to do one of the maple mousse recipes given and make an edible container.

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Nut Bowls:

1 1/2 cups crushed nuts of your choice such as almonds, hazelnuts or walnuts

1 egg, beaten, at room temperature

2 tablespoon sugar

1/2 cup dark chocolate pieces

1. Use a food processor or a zip-lock back with a rolling pin to crush your nuts if whole, use about 1 cup of whole nuts to get 3/4 cups crushed. You want it somewhat coarse. (I used my spice grinder)

2. In a bowl mix the nuts with the beaten egg and the sugar.

3. Take 6 small ½ cup capacity Pyrex cups or a similar container and line the inside with aluminum foil. Spread ¼ cup of the mixture in the bowl, all the way up to the sides making sure you have a thin and even clean layer all around. (I used a muffin pan and parchment paper)

4. Bake at 350 degrees F/175 degrees C. until the nuts are golden and fragrant (about 15 minutes). Let cool completely before unmoulding.

5. Melt chocolate (either in the microwave or over a double boiler). Dip the rims of the cooled nut bowls in the chocolate. Place in the freezer for at least 15 minutes or until the chocolate has hardened and is set.

*I used 1 ½ tsp egg replacer mixed with 2 TBSP water for the egg, coconut sugar for the sugar and walnuts for the nuts.*

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Vegan Maple Mousse: I made as written

1 package (12 oz.) soft silken tofu

¾ cup (14 fluid oz.) pure maple syrup

2 teaspoon agar-agar

1. Let tofu come to room temperature. Using a food processor, blender, or hand mixer, blend tofu until just smooth.

2. Sprinkle agar-agar on the maple syrup and let it rest for 10 minutes. Heat maple syrup on the stove to a boil and then let it simmer 5 minutes until the agar-agar has dissolved.

3. In a food processor, blender, or a large bowl, blend the tofu with the maple syrup until creamy.

4. Refrigerate for at least one hour. Remove from the fridge and divide among your edible containers.

January 2010 Daring Bakers


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The January 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Lauren of Celiac Teen. Lauren chose Gluten-Free Graham Wafers & Nanaimo Bars as the challenge for the month. The sources she based her recipe on are 101 Cookbooks & www.nanaimo.ca.

I’m finally back doing the Daring Bakers Challenges after a couple of months off. I am very glad to be back. Our challenge this month was Gluten-Free Wafers & Nanaimo Bars, a Canadian Bar Dessert.

Lauren tells us that “Nanaimo Bars are a classic Canadian dessert created in none other than Nanaimo, British Colombia. In case you were wondering, it’s pronounced Nah-nye-Moh. These bars have 3 layers: a base containing graham crackers, cocoa, coconut & nuts, a middle custard layer, & a topping of chocolate.”

Recipe Source: Graham Wafers — 101 Cookbooks (http://www.101cookbooks.com/archives/000126.html) I adapted it to be gluten-free. The adapted recipe can be found at www.thedaringkitchen.com Nanaimo Bars — City of Nanaimo (http://www.nanaimo.ca/EN/main/visitors/NanaimoBars.html)

Here are my adaptations & whoops.

For Gluten-Free Graham Wafers
1 cup Sweet rice flour (also known as glutinous rice flour)
3/4 cup Tapioca Starch/Flour
1/2 cup Sorghum Flour
1 cup Dark Brown Sugar, Lightly packed
1 teaspoon Baking soda
3/4 teaspoon Kosher Salt
7 tablespoons Earth Balance (Cut into 1” cubes & frozen)
1/3 cup Honey, Mild-flavoured such as clover.
5 tablespoons Soy Milk
2 tablespoons Pure Vanilla Extract

1. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade, combine the flours, brown sugar, baking soda, & salt. Pulse on low to incorporate. Add the butter & pulse on & off, until the mixture is the consistency of a coarse meal. If making by hand, combine aforementioned dry ingredients with a whisk, then cut in butter until you have a coarse meal. No chunks of butter should be visible.
2. In a small bowl or liquid measuring cup, whisk together the honey, milk & vanilla. Add to the flour mixture until the dough barely comes together. It will be very soft & sticky. Okay, this is where my whoops came in. For some reason I had 1cup stuck in my head, so I added 1 cup of soy milk, well, it was only supposed to be 5 tablespoons (¼ cup + 1 tablespoon). Soooo…. I had to add more rice, tapioca & sorghum flour & a little more brown sugar. It was still a little soft, but was workable.
3. Turn the dough onto a surface well-floured with sweet rice flour & pat the dough into a rectangle about 1“ thick. Wrap in plastic & chill until firm, about 2 hours, or overnight.
4. Divide the dough in half & return one half to the refrigerator. Sift an even layer of sweet rice flour onto the work surface & roll the dough into a long rectangle, about 1/8“ thick. The dough will be quite sticky, so flour as necessary. Cut into 4 by 4“ squares. Gather the scraps together & set aside. Place wafers on 1 or 2 parchment-lined baking sheets. Chill until firm, about 30 to 45 minutes. Repeat with the second batch of dough.
5. Adjust the rack to the upper & lower positions & preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
6. Gather the scraps together into a ball, chill until firm, & reroll. Dust the surface with more sweet rice flour & roll out the dough to get a couple more wafers.
7. Prick the wafers with toothpick or fork, not all the way through, in 2 or more rows.
8. Bake for 25 minutes, until browned & slightly firm to the touch, rotating sheets halfway through to ensure even baking. Might take less, & the starting location of each sheet may determine its required time. The ones that started on the bottom browned faster.
9. When cooled, place in a large ziplock bag, force all air out & smash with a rolling pin until wafers are crumbs.

Nanaimo Bars

For Nanaimo Bars — Bottom Layer
1/2 cup Earth Balance
1/4 cup Granulated Sugar
5 tablespoons Unsweetened Cocoa
1 tablespoon ground flaxseeds whipped with ¼ cup water
1 1/4 cups Gluten Free Graham Wafer Crumbs (See previous recipe)
1/2 cup Almond flour
1 cup Coconut (Shredded, sweetened or unsweetened)

For Nanaimo Bars — Middle Layer
12 oz silken tofu, firm
2 tablespoons Vanilla Pudding Mix (mori nu)

For Nanaimo Bars — Top Layer
4 ounces (115 g) Semi-sweet chocolate
2 tablespoons (28 g) (1 ounce) Earth Balance


1. For bottom Layer: Melt butter, sugar & cocoa in top of a double boiler. Add egg & stir to cook & thicken. Remove from heat. Stir in crumbs, nuts & coconut. Press firmly into an ungreased 8 by 8“ pan.
2. For Middle Layer: Cream tofu & pudding mix until smooth. Refrigerate until firm. Spread over bottom layer.
3. For Top Layer: Melt chocolate & butter over low heat. Cool. Once cool, pour over middle layer & chill.


Additional Information: These bars freeze very well, so don’t be afraid to pop some into the freezer.

The graham wafers may be kept in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

These were really good!  I should’ve used extra-firm tofu for the pudding ‘cuz it was a bit squishy, but sooo good.  I am so making these again.

Recipes To Rival


Recipes To Rival – August 2009 Challenge

I am so excited to hosting the August 2009 challenge. I had a hard time deciding which recipe to choose. I finally decided on:

Asparagus & Lemongrass Risotto

by Isa Chandra Moskowitz & Terry Hope Romero from Veganomicon

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Risotto is a traditional Italian rice dish. It is also one of the most common ways of cooking rice in Italy. Its origins are in North Italy where rice paddies are abundant. While this is not a traditionally prepared risotto, it is pretty close. You really want to use Arborio rice, but you can substitute any short grain rice and get a similar dish.

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I did make some very selfish restrictions this month – there were no animal products allowed & everyone had to make their own broth. Why? Well, for one, it doesn’t need it. I was watching an episode of No Reservations & he had some risotto that consisted of broth and rice, period. I did indicate the optional ingredients that could be added or left out, or substituted, their choice. I also included a side dish, but they could make whatever they wanted to go with it. I wanted to do a challenge that everyone would be able to eat. All of the soy in the recipe is easily omitted for those who are allergic.

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Asparagus and Lemongrass Risotto

Time: 1 hour 20 minutes Serves 4-6

This one does have peanuts in it, so if you are allergic, just leave them out. Personally, I liked pine nuts in it best. Fresh lemongrass is available in most grocery stores, but if you can’t find it, you can use dried. If using dried, you will want to use a cheese cloth or tea strainer. Place the dried lemongrass, ginger and garlic. Don’t worry about the heat of the serrano pepper, it only adds a nice hint of flavor.

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Lemongrass Broth:

3 cloves garlic, whole and unpeeled

1” piece fresh ginger, sliced into ¼” slices

1 small stalk lemongrass, or 1 TBSP dried, chopped lemongrass

3 cups vegetable broth

3 cups water

3 TBSP tamari (or soy sauce)

Risotto:

½ cup cooking sherry or white wine (D’Aquino Pinot Grigio is a good choice)

1 lb asparagus

2 TBSP vegetable broth

1 cup basil leaves (Thai, if you can find it), sliced into thin strips

2 TBSP chopped fresh mint

6 large shallots, thinly sliced

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 serrano red chile, sliced very thinly (or ½ – 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes)

1 ½ cups Arborio rice

1 tsp sugar (optional)

2 TBSP lime juice

Chopped roasted peanuts and lime wedges, for garnish (you can use pine nuts or sliced almonds instead of the peanuts)

  1. If using fresh lemongrass, peel away and discard any brown stems from the stalk. Slice the stalk in half lengthwise and cut into 3” to 4” lengths, then julienne.

  2. Give the garlic and the ginger a could whack with the side of your knife, keeping them whole. Prepare your herb pouch, if using.

  3. Place all of the broth ingredients in a large stockpot and bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Strain the broth, discarding the vegetables and herbs. Pour the broth back into the pot, cover and simmer over as low a heat as possible to keep warm.

  4. Slice the asparagus into ½” pieces, removing any tough parts from the bottom of the stem. Separate the tips from the stems and place each in separate bowls.

  5. In a medium-sized heavy-bottomed pot, saute the asparagus in 1 TBSP vegetable broth over medium heat until bright and crisp tender, 5 to 6 minutes. Add the basil and mint, saute for 30 seconds, remove from heat and set aside.

  6. Add the remaining tablespoon vegetable broth to the pan. Saute the shallots and garlic, stirring occasionally, until shallots are very soft, about 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in the serrano and rice, saute for about 8 minutes, until the rice smells slightly toasted. Add the cooking sherry (or white wine) and stir constantly until the liquid is absorbed.

  7. Now, time for relaxation and stirring. Get a glass of your favorite beverage, turn on some soothing music, or a good movie. Ladle about ½ cup of the broth at a time into the rice, stirring constantly until each addition is absorbed. Stir and cook until the rice is creamy but still somewhat firm in the center.

  8. When the broth is almost gone, stir the sugar and lime juice into the remaining broth before adding it to the risotto. You may add more water or vegetable broth in ¼ cup increments if needed. This will take about 35 minutes.

  9. Stir the asparagus stems into the risotto and cook for another 5 to 10 minutes, until the asparagus has reached desired tenderness.

  10. Garnish each serving with the asparagus tips, chopped roasted peanuts, and lime wedges.

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Tangerine Baked Tofu

Time: 1 hour Serves 4

You can sub orange juice, oranges, tangelos, or clementines for the tangerines.

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1 lb extra-firm tofu, sliced width-wise into eighths.

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Marinade:

1 tsp tangerine zest

1/3 cup freshly squeezed tangerine juice (2-3 tangerines)

3 TBSP lime juice

2 TBSP tamari (or soy sauce)

1 TBSP agave nectar or pure maple syrup

¼ tsp ground cumin

1/8 tsp ground allspice

Freshly ground pepper

2 TBSP dark rum (or 1 tsp rum extract)

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

  2. In a shallow 11” X 7” glass baking dish, whisk together all of the marinade ingredients. Place the sliced tofu in the marinade. Using a fork, poke a few holes into the cutlets, flip them over, and do the same on the other side.

  3. Bake the tofu for 30 minutes, flipping several times, about every 15 minutes or so. The tofu is ready when the marinade is reduced. Spoon any remaining marinade over the tofu before serving.

I cooked mine for 45 minutes & my marinade was all gone. The tofu tasted great, even without the extra marinade.

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A very yummy plating disaster with the Daring Bakers


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August’s Daring Bakers’ Challenge has been chosen by Lorraine of Not Quite Nigella & me, Angela of A Spoonful of Sugar. We have chosen the famous Dobos Torta, a Hungarian speciality.

The August 2009 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Angela of A Spoonful of Sugar and Lorraine of Not Quite Nigella. They chose the spectacular Dobos Torte based on a recipe from Rick Rodgers’ cookbook Kaffeehaus:  Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Caffés of Vienna, Budapest, and Prague.

A Dobos Torta is a 5-layer sponge cake that is filled with chocolate buttercream & topped with caramel wedges. There can be up to 24 layers in a Dobos Torta, just in case you were wondering. The Dobos Torta was invented in 1885 by Jozsef C. Dobos who was a Hungarian baker. Check out the full recipe & everyone else wonderful creations at http://www.thedaringkitchen.com.

I halved the recipe to make 2 small round Torta’s.

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Dobos Torta

For the sponge cake layers, I made Hannah Kaminsky’s recipe in My Sweet Vegan.

For the chocolate buttercream

6 oz coconut yogurt, chocolate flavored

¾ cup sugar

4 oz dark chocolate

1 stick Earth Balance

2 TBSP silken, firm tofu

I whipped them together in my kitchen aid until combined.

Caramel topping

  • 1 cup sugar

  • ¾ cup water

  • 2 TBSP lemon juice

Finishing touches

  • 6 whole macadamia nuts

(from our hosts) Directions for the caramel topping:

1.Choose the best-looking cake layer for the caramel top. To make the caramel topping: Line a jellyroll pan with parchment paper & butter the paper. Place the reserved cake layer on the paper. Score the cake into 12 equal wedges. Lightly oil a thin, sharp knife & an offset metal spatula.
2.Stir the sugar, water & lemon juice in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over a medium heat, stirring often to dissolve the sugar. Once dissolved into a smooth syrup, turn the heat up to high & boil without stirring, swirling the pan by the handle occasionally & washing down any sugar crystals on the sides of the pan with a wet brush until the syrup has turned into an amber-coloured caramel.
3.The top layer is perhaps the hardest part of the whole cake so make sure you have a oiled, hot offset spatula ready. I also find it helps if the cake layer hasn’t just been taken out of the refrigerator. I made mine ahead of time & the cake layer was cold & the toffee set very, very quickly—too quickly for me to spread it. Immediately pour all of the hot caramel over the cake layer. You will have some leftover most probably but more is better than less & you can always make nice toffee pattern using the extra to decorate. Using the offset spatula, quickly spread the caramel evenly to the edge of the cake layer. Let cool until beginning to set, about 30 seconds. Using the tip of the hot oiled knife (keep re-oiling this with a pastry brush between cutting), cut through the scored marks to divide the caramel layer into 12 equal wedges. Cool another minute or so, then use the edge of the knife to completely cut & separate the wedges using one firm slice movement (rather than rocking back & forth which may produce toffee strands). Cool completely.

Angela’s note: I recommend cutting, rather than scoring, the cake layer into wedges before covering in caramel (reform them into a round). If you have an 8” silicon round form, then I highly recommend placing the wedges in that for easy removal later & it also ensures that the caramel stays on the cake layer. Once set, use a very sharp knife to separate the wedges.

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Assembling the Dobos

1.Divide the buttercream into 6 equal parts.
2.Place a dab of chocolate buttercream on the middle of a 7 ½” cardboard round & top with one cake layer. Spread the layer with one part of the chocolate icing. Repeat with 4 more cake layers. Spread the remaining icing on the sides of the cake.
3.Optional: press the finely chopped hazelnuts onto the sides of the cake.
4.Propping a hazelnut under each wedge so that it sits at an angle, arrange the wedges on top of the cake in a spoke pattern. If you have any leftover buttercream, you can pipe rosettes under each hazelnut or a large rosette in the centre of the cake. Refrigerate the cake under a cake dome until the icing is set, about 2 hours. Let slices come to room temperature for the best possible flavour.

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All frosted, doesn’t look too good though.   Okay, now it really looks funny.  Is it supposed to fall over???

We were able to vary the shape, buttercream flavor, & nuts that we used for this recipe. I stayed with all the flavors they gave us except for the nuts. I have discovered that I just don’t like hazelnuts, not sure why. I keep trying to like them, but… I had some macadamia nuts on hand, so I used those.

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Verdict: Great flavor, but I totally tanked on the plating, it completely fell over. I did miss how to do the caramel. We were supposed to cover the top layer of cake, which I did, then cut those into 12 triangles to use on top as decoration. Well, I just covered the top layer & placed it on top of the cake, not as pretty, but since it fell over anyway…um…, I guess it didn’t matter?

I do recommend this Torta, very yummy & really not that hard to make. Thank you so much for such a wonderful challenge.

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Double Daring Bakers

For the Double Daring Bakers Challenge this month I got to tackle a Lemon Meringue Pie!!!  It was actually, pretty easy!

Lemon Meringue Pie (from “Wanda’s Pie in the Sky” by Wanda Beaver)

Daring Bakers Challenge #15: January 2008 Host: Jen (Canadian Baker)

The pies had to be lemon, but other than that, we could play a bit. I made mine just like normal, except veganized it. I was really worried about how to make a vegan meringue, but I was able to find one online while looking for vegan marshmallow recipes. So, here is what I did:

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Lemon Meringue Pie

Makes one 10-inch (25 cm) pie

For the Crust: I made an Oat Pie Crust

2 TBSP warm water

1 tsp ground flax seeds

½ cup old fashioned oats, ground

3 TBSP rice milk

½ tsp vanilla extract

2/3 cup whole wheat pastry flour

¼ cup sugar

1 tsp freshly grated lemon zest

¾ tsp baking powder

¼ tsp salt

For the Filling:

I used Colleen Patrick – Goudreau’s lemon filling recipe for Lemon Bars on page 126 of The Joy of Vegan Baking

For the Meringue: I used the Vegan Meringue recipe from Dave Soleil

To Make the Crust:

Whisk together the warm water & flax seeds, set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9” tart pan with a removable bottom with parchment paper.

In a small bowl, combine the rice milk & vanilla. In a large bowl, whisk the ground oats, flour, sugar, lemon zest, baking powder & salt. Drizzle the flax mixture onto the dry ingredients & stir with a fork until crumbly. With the fork, stir in the milk mixture, one tablespoon at a time until the dough just comes together.

Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface & knead 7 to 8 times. Wrap in plastic wrap & refrigerate for 20 minutes.

Roll the dough out to an 11” circle, dusting with flour if necessary. Transfer to prepared pan, pressing to fit. Trim edges.

Line the tart shell with a piece of parchment paper & fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until set. Remove weights & parchment paper & bake for 8 to 12 minutes more, or until lightly browned. Cool in the pan on a wire rack. (The shell will keep, loosely covered with foil, for up to one day.)

To Make the Filling: See page 26 of The Joy of Vegan Baking

Before the Meringue:

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To Make the Meringue: Check out his recipe

For the Crust:

Let’s see, I didn’t get to make this while alone in the kitchen, so my many mistakes are

  1. Forgot the pie weights & parchment paper during the blind baking.

  2. Baked it for 20 minutes before remembering it.

  3. Didn’t refrigerate the pie crust before rolling out (hence, how think it was).

For the Filling:

Since I messed up on my crust baking times, I had to adjust my cooking method for the filling. So, I cooked it on the stove top while my crust was cooling. I cooked it for about 10 to 12 minutes, stirring constantly until it set. Oh, I also added 2/3 cup lemon juice instead of 1/3.

After Baking the Meringue:

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Okay, so my oven cooks hotter in the back then the front:

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Sliced:

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Verdict: YUM! Everything came out great, well, except for the crust being too thick. I will definitely be making this again.

Daring Cooks

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Our Host: Sketchy, from Sketchy’s Kitchen

The Challenge: Skate, traditional flavors powdered (slightly altered) This is a dish from Grant Achatz, found in the Alinea cookbook – page 230. Skates are part of the family of rays (think manta ray or sting ray). Our challenge this month was based on molecular cuisine.

You can find the original recipe here: http://thedaringkitchen.com/  as well as to see how everyone else did.  Below I have put my changes.

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Skate, Traditional Flavors Powderedwith changes

In place of the skate, I made Tofu Fish Sticks from Vegan Lunchbox.

  • *150 fresh green beans

  • sea salt/kosher salt

  • ¼ banana

  • 75g cilantro

  • 75g parsley

  • 50g dried banana chips

  • 150g better than milk powder

  • 50g cup minced red onion

  • 100g capers (brined, not oil)

* For green beans, slice each beans into very thin rounds (2 mm)

Powders – prepare ahead of time
caper / onion
garlic powder
cilantro/parsley powder
‘brown butter’ powder

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Powders
once dried, all powders should be pulsed in a coffee grinder/spice mill/morter & pestle then passed through a chinois or fine mesh strainer.

cilantro/parsley powder
75g cilantro
75g parsley

I actually found freeze dried cilantro & parsley, so I used that.

garlic powder (my addition)

75g freeze dried garlic

onion powder
50g cup minced red onions

again, used freeze dried
pulse in coffee grinder.

Caper powder
100g capers (get the ones packed in brine/vinegar)

run the capers under cold water for two minutes to remove some of the brine.
I microwaved the capers on a paper towel for 1 minute, then let it sit for a minute. I repeated heating them in the microwave for 30 seconds and resting for 1 minute until they were done. They were in the microwave for a total of 4 minutes.

Once dry, pulse and sift the powder. Mix it with the onion powder.

Brown Butter powder

50g Dried banana chips (unsweetened if possible – many are coated in honey – the freeze dried ones would be brilliant) – I could only find sweetened
150g spray dried cream powder

I did not toast the cream powder.

grind the banana chips in a coffee grinder and mix with the toasted cream powder. Pass this through a chinois and reserve.

* For green beans, slice each beans into very thin rounds (2 mm)

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Plating
Take the tip of a small spoon and make a small mound of the citrus powder, the onion-caper powder, and the cilantro parsley-powder. Swirl these around in a hurricane type pattern. I found that it is easier, and you get finer lines if you lightly shake the plate to flatten out the mounds, then swirl the spoon through it to get the pattern. (I need to work on my swirl work, mine is pitiful) I served this with a side salad & boiled potatoes with garlic pepper.

peel the remaining banana into very think slices (3mm) fan three slices on the plate, place green beans on top and place skate wing portion on top. On the tall edge, sprinkle the brown butter powder.

Verdict: While this challenge was definitely a challenge & I learned a lot, I would not make it again. Hubby did give it a good try & liked the tofu fish sticks & the salad & potatoes that I served with it. He tried the sticks with each of the powders, as well as banana & green beans with each bite, he wasn’t sold on it. The bananas actually complement the raw green beans very well. The tofu fish sticks turned out really good. I would use more kelp granules next time though. Thank you so much Sketchy for this interesting challenge, it was something very new for me. It was nice to learn how to make the powders. This is an adventure, it is fun to try.

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Just wondering how subbing potatoes would work with this?

Daring Cooks #1!

 flame_w125×125.jpg Yes, I have joined another group! The Daring Cooks. The Daring Bakers have branched off into the savory & I jumped at the chance (I know, like I need one more thing to do). So, what is the amazing first challenge?

 

Ricotta Gnocchi!

Our hosts this month are none other than our fearless leaders: Ivonne of http://www.creampuffsinvenice.ca/ and Lisa of http://llcskitchen.blogspot.com/

They chose a recipe from the stunning cookbook by Judy Rodgers, named after her restaurant, The Zuni Café Cookbook.

“On the surface, this is a very straightforward recipe. The challenge is in the forming & handling of the gnocchi. What you do with the recipe, in terms of variations, is up to you.”

For those of us that are Alternative Daring Cooks , Shelly from Musings From The Fishbowl is here to lead us, encourage us, & answer our questions. Thank you so much Shelly! On to the recipe:

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Zuni Ricotta Gnocchi

Source: From The Zuni Café Cookbook.

Yield: Makes 40 to 48 gnocchi (serves 4 to 6) mine made about 30

Prep time: Step 1 will take 24 hours. Steps 2 through 4 will take approximately 1 hour.

Tips:

– If you can find it, use fresh ricotta. As Judy Rodgers advises in her recipe, there is no substitute for fresh ricotta. It may be a bit more expensive, but it’s worth it.
– Do not skip the draining step. Even if the fresh ricotta doesn’t look very wet, it is. Draining the ricotta will help your gnocchi tremendously.
– When shaping your gnocchi, resist the urge to over handle them. It’s okay if they look a bit wrinkled or if they’re not perfectly smooth.
– If you’re not freezing the gnocchi for later, cook them as soon as you can. If you let them sit around too long they may become a bit sticky.
– For the variations to the challenge recipe, please see the end of the recipe.

Equipment required:

– Sieve didn’t use
– Cheesecloth or paper towels didn’t use
– Large mixing bowl
– Rubber spatula
– Tablespoon
– Baking dish or baking sheet
– Wax or parchment paper used a silpat
– Small pot didn’t use
– Large skillet used 2 small ones
– Large pan or pot (very wide in diameter & at least 2“ deep)

For the gnocchi:

1 pound (454 grams/16 ounces) fresh ricotta (2 cups) used 1 lb super firm tofu
2 large cold eggs, lightly beaten used Ener-G Egg Replacer
1 tablespoon (1/2 ounce) unsalted butter used 1 tsp
2 or 3 fresh sage leaves, or a few pinches of freshly grated nutmeg, or a few pinches of chopped lemon zest (all optional) used basil & nutmeg
½ oz Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated (about ¼ cup very lightly packed) used nutritional yeast
about ¼ teaspoon salt (a little more if using kosher salt)
all-purpose flour for forming the gnocchi

For the gnocchi sauce: didn’t use, used homemade spinach pesto & a store bought mushroom marinara

8 tablespoons (227 grams/¼ pound/4 oz) butter, sliced
2 teaspoons water

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Step 1 (the day before you make the gnocchi): Preparing the ricotta.

If the ricotta is too wet, your gnocchi will not form properly. In her cookbook, Judy Rodgers recommends checking the ricotta’s wetness. To test the ricotta, take a teaspoon or so & place it on a paper towel. If you notice a very large ring of dampness forming around the ricotta after a minute or so, then the ricotta is too wet. To remove some of the moisture, line a sieve with cheesecloth or paper towels & place the ricotta in the sieve. Cover it & let it drain for at least 8 hours & up to 24 hours in the refrigerator. Alternatively, you can wrap the ricotta carefully in cheesecloth (2 layers) & suspend it in your refrigerator for 8 to 24 hours with a bowl underneath to catch the water that’s released. Either way, it’s recommended that you do this step the day before you plan on making the gnocchi.

I skipped this step & made it all on the same day.

For the ricotta, I used the Basil Tofu Ricotta from Vegan With A Vengance. I highly recommend this recipe, it was great! I followed Shelly’s advice & added ¼ cup of vital wheat gluten to the tofu mixture, it really helped to hold it together.

Step 2 (the day you plan on eating the gnocchi): Making the gnocchi dough.

To make great gnocchi, the ricotta has to be fairly smooth. Place the drained ricotta in a large bowl and mash it as best as you can with a rubber spatula or a large spoon (it’s best to use a utensil with some flexibility here). As you mash the ricotta, if you noticed that you can still see curds, then press the ricotta through a strainer to smooth it out as much as possible. (didn’t drain or press the tofu, just used super firm, as is)

Add the lightly beaten eggs to the mashed ricotta.

Melt the tablespoon of butter. As it melts, add in the sage if you’re using it. If not, just melt the butter & add it to the ricotta mixture. only used 1 tsp

Add in any flavouring that you’re using (i.e., nutmeg, lemon zest, etc.). If you’re not using any particular flavouring, that’s fine. used basil & nutmeg

Add the Parmigiano-Reggiano & the salt.

Beat all the ingredients together very well. You should end up with a soft & fluffy batter with no streaks (everything should be mixed in very well).

Step 3: Forming the gnocchi.

When forming the gnocchi using tofu, you don’t have to be gentle with it at all. You need to use a firm hand. I didn’t test one, just dropped them all in (I was hungry). I used a 1 TBSP cookie scoop, dropped into flour, & shaped.

Fill a small pot with water & bring to a boil. When it boils, salt the water generously & keep it at a simmer. You will use this water to test the first gnocchi that you make to ensure that it holds together & that your gnocchi batter isn’t too damp.

In a large, shallow baking dish or on a sheet pan, make a bed of all-purpose flour that’s ½” deep.

With a spatula, scrape the ricotta mixture away from the sides of the bowl & form a large mass in the centre of your bowl.

Using a tablespoon, scoop up about 2 to 3 teaspoons of batter & then holding the spoon at an angle, use your finger tip to gently push the ball of dough from the spoon into the bed of flour.

At this point you can either shake the dish or pan gently to ensure that the flour covers the gnocchi or use your fingers to very gently dust the gnocchi with flour. Gently pick up the gnocchi & cradle it in your hand rolling it to form it in an oval as best as you can, at no point should you squeeze it. What you’re looking for is an oval lump of sorts that’s dusted in flour & plump.

Gently place your gnocchi in the simmering water. It will sink & then bob to the top. From the time that it bobs to the surface, you want to cook the gnocchi until it’s just firm. This could take 3 to 5 minutes.

If your gnocchi begins to fall apart, this means that the ricotta cheese was probably still too wet. You can remedy this by beating a teaspoon of egg white into your gnocchi batter. If your gnocchi batter was fluffy but the sample comes out heavy, add a teaspoon of beaten egg to the batter & beat that in. Test a second gnocchi to ensure success.

Form the rest of your gnocchi. You can put 4 to 6 gnocchi in the bed of flour at a time. But don’t overcrowd your bed of flour or you may damage your gnocchi as you coat them.

Have a sheet pan ready to rest the formed gnocchi on. Line the sheet pan with wax or parchment paper & dust it with flour.

You can cook the gnocchi right away, however, Judy Rodgers recommends storing them in the refrigerator for an hour prior to cooking to allow them to firm up.

Step 4: Cooking the gnocchi.

Have a large skillet ready to go. Place the butter & water for the sauce in the skillet & set aside.

In the largest pan or pot that you have (make sure it’s wide), bring at least 2 quarts of water to a boil (you can use as much as 3 quarts of water if your pot permits). You need a wide pot or pan so that your gnocchi won’t bump into each other and damage each other.

Once the water is boiling, salt it generously.

Drop the gnocchi into the water one by one. Once they float to the top, cook them for 3 to 5 minutes (as in the case with the test gnocchi).

When the gnocchi float to the top, you can start your sauce while you wait for them to finish cooking.

To sauce the cooked gnocchi, I added the pesto to one small skillet & the marinara to another, then just dropped the drained gnocchi into the sauces & gently stirred. It is best to let it sit a bit, to let it firm up.

Place the skillet over medium heat & melt the butter. Swirl it gently a few times as it melts. As soon as it melts & is incorporated with the water, turn off the heat. Your gnocchi should be cooked by now.

With a slotted spoon, remove the gnocchi from the boiling water & gently drop into the butter sauce. Carefully roll in the sauce until coated. Serve immediately.

Variations: For the gnocchi, you can flavour them however you wish. If you want to experiment by adding something to your gnocchi (i.e., caramelized onion, sundried tomato), feel free to do so. However, be forewarned, ricotta gnocchi are delicate & may not take well to elaborate additions. For the sauce, this is your chance to go nuts. Enjoy yourselves. Surprise us!!!

Freezing the gnocchi: If you don’t want to cook your gnocchi right away or if you don’t want to cook all of them, you can make them & freeze them. Once they are formed & resting on the flour-dusted, lined tray, place them uncovered in the freezer. Leave them for several hours to freeze. Once frozen, place them in a plastic bag. Remove the air & seal the bag. Return to the freezer. To cook frozen gnocchi, remove them from the bag & place individually on a plate or on a tray. Place in the refrigerator to thaw completely. Cook as directed for fresh gnocchi.
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Verdict: I was a little nervous about the texture. I have had things with vital wheat gluten in them before that hasn’t set up & the texture was awful!!! So, I was a little nervous, but I had nothing to worry about, it was great! I let it sit for about 15 minutes before we ate it. My hubby actually had 2 helpings, that is saying something. I liked the pesto better, hubby liked the marinara. Thanks to Ivonne & Lisa for this great challenge & to Shelly for all the great tips! I served this with a side salad & some baked pita chips.

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Daring Bakers for February 2009

The February 2009 challenge is hosted by Wendy of WMPE’s blog and Dharm of Dad ~ Baker & Chef.
We have chosen a Chocolate Valentino cake by Chef Wan; a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Dharm and a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Wendy as the challenge.

Wendy is at wmpesblog (Arizona) and Dharm is at Dad – Baker and Chef (Malaysia). They both are passionate about baking for our families. 

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For the Love of Chocolate Daring Bakers’ February 2009 ChallengeChocolate has many associations – godliness, health-giving, mood altering, & addicting. Bless the ancient Mayans & Aztecs for developing the cocoa bean into the delicious luxurious chocolate drink that the Spanish explorers brought back to Spain. How the Spanish kept chocolate a secret for 100 years is a mystery that perhaps can only be explained by the lack of the internet!
It is no wonder that February, the month for honoring love on St. Valentine’s Day, is best represented first by the heart & then by chocolate or better yet a chocolate heart. The potency & power of chocolate can only be rivaled by vanilla, & then they make a wonderful combination!
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February’s challenge is a Flourless Chocolate Cake, Chocolate Valentino, inspired by Malaysia’s “most flamboyant food ambassador”, Chef Wan. Recipe comes from Sweet Treats by Chef Wan
What we Want You to Do:
-Use
the following recipe
-Serve with – The original recipe calls for the cake to be served with whipping cream. BUT we decided to make this more of a challenge & ask you to make your own Ice Cream. You can choose any flavour you want & any recipe. But we are giving you a little freedom here & will allow whipped cream as a topping as well or of course non-dairy whip. Be as creative as you want with your topping. Any fruit puree or sauce would be lovely with this cake.
– Use your favorite chocolate – the finished cake will taste exactly like the chocolate you use. Be creative with your chocolate, if you like a sweeter cake use milk chocolate or a combination of the semisweet & milk chocolate. If you like bittersweet chocolate use that & add sweetness by mixing the semi sweet with bittersweet. If you are daring, try white chocolate.
– A higher cocoa percentage increases the bitterness of the chocolate.
-Equipment – it is optional to use a heart shaped pan. For a real Valentino, bake it in a heart shaped pan or cut it out into a heart shape. An 8” spring form pan works with great results as do smaller pans or ramekins.
-An instant read thermometer highly recommended.
Note on recipe – the recipe consists of 3 simple ingredients & how you interpret them is part of the challenge. The simplicity of this recipe gives credit to the ingredients much in the same way of French baguette.
-This recipe comes together very quickly with a hand mixer.
-This is a very decadent cake that will sink a little as it cools but will still hold its shape.
-Very dense & fudgy cake that tastes divine.
-The top forms a light crust kind of like a brownie
Chocolate Valentino
Preparation Time: 20 minutes

16 ounces (1 pound) (454 grams) of semisweet chocolate, roughly chopped
½ cup (1 stick) plus 2 tablespoons (146 grams total) of unsalted butter
5 large eggs, separated

1. Put chocolate & butter in a heatproof bowl & set over a pan of simmering water (the bottom of the bowl should not touch the water) & melt, stirring often.
2. While your chocolate butter mixture is cooling. Butter your pan & line with a parchment circle then butter the parchment.
3. Separate the egg yolks from the egg whites & put into 2 medium/large bowls.
4. Whip the egg whites in a medium/large grease free bowl until stiff peaks are formed (do not over-whip or the cake will be dry).
5. With the same beater beat the egg yolks together.
6. Add the egg yolks to the cooled chocolate.
7. Fold in 1/3 of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture & follow with remaining 2/3rds. Fold until no white remains without deflating the batter. {link of folding demonstration}
8. Pour batter into prepared pan, the batter should fill the pan ¾ of the way full, & bake at
375F/190C.
9. Bake for 25 minutes until an instant read thermometer reads 140F/60F.
Note – If you do not have an instant read thermometer, the top of the cake will look similar to a brownie & a cake tester will appear wet.
10. Cool cake on a rack for 10 minutes then unmold.
I used Hannah Kaminsky’s Vegan Flourless Chocolate cake recipe with a couple of changes. Her is her link: http://bittersweetblog.wordpress.com/2008/12/30/a-matter-of-luck/

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Lucky Chocolate Cake Adapted from Epicurious

2 Cups Cooked Black-Eyed Peas I used 1 15-oz can black beans
1 12-Ounce Package Extra-Firm Silken Tofu
3/4 Cup Granulated Sugar
1 1/2 Cups Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
1/4 Cup Natural Cocoa Powder
1 Teaspoon Instant Coffee Powder omitted
3/4 Teaspoon Baking Powder
1/4 Teaspoon Baking Soda
Pinch Salt

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, and lightly grease a 9×5 loaf pan.

Toss both the black-eyed peas and the tofu into your food processor or blender, and let it run until the mixture is completely smooth. Give it a good long time to work, since it would be rather unpleasant to find any whole beans in your cake. Add in the sugar and coffee powder, and pulse to combine.

Separately, melt the chocolate and stir well until smooth before adding into the food processor, and then let it run for a minute until fully incorporated. Scrape down the sides to make sure you aren’t missing anything, and give it another minute to process. Finally, add the cocoa, coffee powder, baking powder, soda, and salt, and pulse to combine.

Spread the mixture into your prepared pan, leveling off the top with your spatula as best you can. Bake for 60 – 70 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out mostly clean. I know that’s a bit vague, but it will still be ever so slightly wet since it’s such a moist cake- Just make sure it doesn’t look like it’s covered in raw batter. Let it cool completely in the pan before serving.

This came together quickly and easily & tastes GREAT!!! Thank you so much to Hannah sharing the recipe. Don’t worry, you can’t even taste the beans and they give you healthy fiber and nutrients.

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I debated on what kind of ice cream I wanted to make. One DB’er made a ginger ice cream, another made an Earl Grey & Honey. But in the end I decided on making a Vanilla & Red Hots, & boy am I glad I did. It tastes sooooo good! I started with this base, and just added ¼ cup of red hots. Oh, & thank you to Vegan Ice Cream Paradise for the recipe: http://veganicecream.blogspot.com/2006/10/two-vanillas.html

Fancy Pants Vanilla

2 c. soy creamer (or any non-dairy milk)
2 c. soy milk (or any non-dairy milk)
1 vanilla bean
¾ c. sugar
2 T. arrowroot

Mix ¼ cup of soy milk with the 2 tablespoons of arrowroot and set aside.

Mix the soy creamer and soy milk together in a saucepan. Slit the vanilla bean lengthwise, and scrape the seeds into the milk. Drop the bean shell into the milk too. Bring to a slight boil, then lower the temperature and simmer very gently for about 30 minutes.

Remove the vanilla bean shell. Stir in the sugar, and bring to a boil again. When the mixture has just started to boil, take off the heat and stir in the arrowroot slurry. This should immediately cause the liquid to thicken (not a lot, but a noticeable amount; it will be thicker when it cools).

Set the ice cream mixture aside to cool. Freeze according to your ice cream maker’s instructions.

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Okay, so I made the ice cream and put it into my ice cream maker and an hour later, it still hadn’t set up. Mine usually only take 20 – 40 minutes. I was making this at night, and was getting tired, so I didn’t want to wait any longer. I think the problem was that I didn’t have enough ice. Well, I put the mixture into a container & into the freezer it went. I ended up staying up for another 2 hours, stirring the mixture every 20 – 30 minutes & hoping for the best. It actually set up nicely, so you really don’t need a fancy machine to make ice cream (but it usually is faster).

This is a totally make again recipe (the cake & ice cream!), as well as being somewhat healthy.