Thursday, November 24, 2011

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cupcakes with Maple Buttercream Frosting: gluten free, dairy free, vegan

"Mom, what can I bring to Thanksgiving this year?" I ask. Mom says, "Could you please bring a dessert for the Intolerants?" That's what she calls those of us who can't have this or that.
I hang up the phone and start to ponder. Do I go with making a gluten and dairy free version of the pies that will already be there, or do I come up with a dessert that goes with the Thanksgiving theme, but is it's own happy little dessert. Cupcakes! Everyone and their mother, sister and brother are making everything in cupcake form these days. I pulled out my Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World cookbook for some inspiration. I love all of the creative cupcake ideas in this book but have yet to bake out of it. This cookbook series lured me in because it's so adorable, with other titles like Pie In The SkyIsa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero have some really great cookbooks that you can get on

Like with any cookbook, I still need to make some modifications with it. As I flip through the pages my eye catches the Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cupcakes with Cinnamon Icing. Yum, pumpkin and chocolate, two of my favorite things. I review the recipe. Let's see here; I'll use less oil and add applesauce, instead of soy milk I'll use coconut milk, instead of all purpose flour I'll use gluten free flour, then I'll add some flax meal to make up for the missing gluten. I like the taste of ginger in pumpkin, so I'll add a bit of that too. Instead of Cinnamon Icing, I'm going to create a vegan maple buttercream frosting. So, here's my take on their recipe.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cupcakes with Maple Buttercream Frosting: gluten free, dairy free, vegan and nut free
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1 cup pureed pumpkin
1/3 cup apple sauce
3 tsp canola oil
1 tbsp flax meal
1 cup organic pure cane juice sugar
1/4 cup So Delicious Vanilla Coconut milk
1 tsp vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups Bob's Redmill Gluten Free Flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 and fill your cupcake tin with cute cupcake papers.
In a bowl or mixer combine all wet ingredients and mix.
In a seperate bowl, combine all dry ingredients and wisk together.
With the mixer on low, add your dry ingredients to your wet until well combined.
Add the chocolate chips and stir by hand so you don't break your chocolate chips with your mixer.
Fill your cupcake paper lined cupcake tins with 1/4 cup of batter in each.
Bake in your oven on 350 for 25 - 28 minutes.
The cupcakes are done when a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
Immediately and carefully remove the cupcakes out of the cupcake tins.
Cool your cupcakes on a cooling rack.
Frost when completely cooled.

Maple Buttercream Frosting: gluten free, dairy free, vegan, nut free

1 lb. powdered sugar
2/3 cup - 1 stick Earth Balance
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup + 5 tbsp 100% pure maple syrup

In your mixer, combine powdered sugar, Earth Balance, vanilla,  and salt.
Mix starting on low, then moving to high speed.
Go back to low speed and slowly add the maple syrup until well combined.
Bring mixer speed back up to high and whip your frosting for a good couple minutes.

Use a piping bag or a plastic sandwich bag with a small bit of the end cut off to pipe your frosting on your cupcake. Here I added a blob to the center of the cupcake.

With a kitchen knife, I patted the frosting as I moved the cupcakes in a circle. I then finished it off with a swirling motion with the kitchen knife. Thanks for the tip, Mom. :-) I topped them with a few chocolate chips to give you an idea of what's inside.

Serve them up to those you are thankful for.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Banana Muffins or Banana Bread: vegan, gluten free, dairy free, and nut free

As I type, my house is filled with the aroma of freshly baked banana muffins. My son is happily enjoying a banana muffin as his after school snack, while watching his favorite episode of Curious George. He usually eats bananas every time he watches that show, so why not banana muffins, right?
He got off the bus this afternoon and was hungry, as usual. He asked for banana bread, "like at the coffee shops", he said. As we walked home, I told him that I could try to make some really quickly. What was I saying? Really quickly? I realized that I hadn't come up with my own banana bread concoction yet, so I thought I'd give it a try.
I'm trying to use healthy oils, but in small amounts to create a low fat result. I'm also trying to use less sugar and more fiber. I need these to be healthy for my whole family and not be something that's trouble on my waistline. I use flax meal to not only replace eggs but to add fiber. I just started experimenting with xylitol. In this recipe I used half organic sugar and half xylitol and got great results. I'm super happy with how they turned out. I made them in my Vitamix, poured the batter in my muffin tins, baked them up and in less than 30 minutes, had healthy and delicious banana muffins. I'd call that really quick.

My son said that he liked this particular muffin the best because he thought it looked like a Rock Star. Just as I was taking a picture of it, a little hand suddenly appeared, and took another muffin.

Banana Bread or Banana Muffins:
vegan, gluten free, dairy free, and nut free
By: Kendra Hubbell

2 bananas (or about 1 1/2 cups mashed banana)
4 tbsp flax meal mixed with 6 tbsp warm-hot water (stir together separately before adding)
2 tbsp coconut oil (or olive oil or Earth Balance)
1 cup organic sugar or xylitol (or 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 cup xylitol)
2/3 cup So Delicous Vanilla Coconut Milk (or other non-dairy milk plus 1 tbsp vanilla)
1 tbsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp cinnamon
2 cups Bob’s Redmill Gluten Free All Purpose Flour (or other Gluten Free Dairy Free flour mix)

Add wet ingredients in Vitamix, (or blender or mixer of your choice) followed by the dry ingredients and blend well. If you don’t have a mixer, you can mix the wet ingredients in a bowl with a whisk. 
Add all dry ingredients in another bowl and stir to combine. Then combine the wet with the dry and mix well. Put ¼ cup of the batter into muffin tins that have been sprayed with your favorite gluten free vegan cooking spray or muffin and cupcake papers.
Bake in a 350 degree oven for 12 – 15 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
To make bread instead of muffins: Bake your batter in a bread pan. Your baking time will be longer, about 25-30 minutes or until inserted toothpick comes out clean.