Softest Goey Pumpkin Cookies

Tomorrow marks 4 weeks vegan for me! Though I’ve been “vegan” on and off before, this is my longest stint to date & this time it feels permanent, which is AMAZING. Clearly, this is cause for celebration & what better way to celebrate than with two of my favorite things: pumpkins & cookies. I adopted this recipe from “Melt In Your Mouth Pumpkin Cookies” posted on Crissy Page’s blog Parent Pretty found here (http://parentpretty.com/pumpkin-cookies-recipe/).

cookies1The original recipe was not vegan, but easily veganized by a few swaps: vegan buttery sticks for dairy butter, banana for eggs (helps keep them even more moist), and soy milk for dairy milk. I also used real pumpkin – from an actual pumpkin squash ~ oh my! – instead of the canned crap. My pumpkin yielded what I guessed was close to 3/4 of the 15oz can they suggested, so I reduced the other ingredients by 1/4 as well. I also chose to use less frosting than the recipe yielded, because my cookies would have been drowning in frosting if I’d used the entire batch. Yikes! All in all my recipe yielded about 40 cookies at around 160 calories a piece with frosting. How’s that for a miracle?!

If you’re limited to a toaster oven – like me – try halving the batch… otherwise you’ll be doing many, many trays in and out of the oven. Another helpful tip: place your butter on your stovetop/toaster oven while it preheats (or while you bake your pumpkin) to help soften it!

As always, comment, share, and most importantly… enjoy!

Softest Goey Pumpkin CookiesSnip20151027_2

Yield: 40 cookies

Ingredients (Cookies):

  • 1.5 cups vegan butter (3 sticks), softened
  • 1.5 cups granulated sugar
  • 1.5 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1.5 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1.5 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 small to medium sugar pumpkin
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour

Ingredients (Frosting): 

  • 1/4 cup vegan butter (1/2 stick)
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/8 cup soy milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1.5 cups powdered sugar
  • ground cinnamon sprinkled on top (optional)

Directions: 

  1. Preheat oven or toaster oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Slice sugar pumpkin in half & remove strings & seeds with a spoon, being careful not to scrape out the flesh. The seeds can be washed & roasted with salt & pepper for a tasty snack – don’t waste them!
  3. Place the pumpkin halves cut side down on a baking sheet lined with tinfoil. Roast at 350 degrees for approx. 40 minutes. The pumpkin flesh should come out very soft, you may need to check it periodically if you’re using a toaster oven or if your oven cooks faster. When the pumpkin is ready, pull it out & set the tray aside so the pumpkin can cool. Keep the oven on to bake your cookies.
  4. Mash the 1.5 cups of butter with a fork until smooth. Add granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg & beat until combined.
  5. Beat in banana & vanilla until combined. Then, using a spoon, scoop out pumpkin flesh from skins & combine with batter until smooth.
  6. One cup at a time, beat in flour until it’s reached a non-lumpy consistency.
  7. Drop dough by heaping tablespoons onto uncreased cookie sheets, about 2 inches apart.
  8. Bake 10-12 minutes or until browning just slightly then remove & place on a cooling rack.
  9. For the frosting, place 1/4 cup of butter & brown sugar into a saucepan. Heat until melted & smooth.
  10. Pour butter/sugar mixture into a medium bowl & add milk & vanilla, mixing well. Add powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time, stirring until well combined & smooth.
  11. When cookies are cooled, drizzle a dollop of frosting over each & top with a sprinkle of cinnamon, if desired.

Baked Apple Skins

I made an apple pie earlier this week that called for peeled & cored apples. Not wanting to waste the peels, I decided to simply bake them with some cinnamon & brown sugar. What a delicious snack!

Baked Apple SkinsSnip20151027_6IMG_0933

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of leftover apple skins (about 8 apples’ worth)
  • 2 tsp. brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper
  3. Combine apple skins, brown sugar & cinnamon in a bowl, tossing to coat
  4. Bake 20-30 minutes for soft apple skins or bake 40 mins for crispier apple chip skins

Vegan Cadbury Cream Eggs

Finished & halved egg - so you can see inside!
Finished & halved egg – so you can see inside!

I made these a couple days ago & they are TO DIE FOR. I find that when I fall off the vegan bandwagon, it’s often for sweets… so it’s very important to me to make vegan sweets to have around so I don’t run into trouble! I scored this recipe from Pinterest (original post- http://hellyeahitsvegan.com/vegan-cadbury-creme-eggs/) & the only things I really changed were swapping out the food coloring for turmeric & not using any sort of egg mold/skewer. I tried the skewer bit & it was just not working out… So mine look a little lopsided, but taste amazing. If you really want that “perfect” egg shape, try skewering the fondant & dipping it in chocolate or using an egg mold by coating the mold with chocolate, inserting the fondant ball & covering with more chocolate. As for taking out the food coloring: it doesn’t make the recipe much healthier, but it does swap out SOME of the synthetic-ness for a natural spice without changing the taste whatsoever.

I used parchment paper, but I think wax paper would have worked a little better because my fondant balls wereNL_cadbury sticking to the parchment just a little too much. I also didn’t put my balls in the freezer because I didn’t have room. I just stuck them in the fridge until they were cold enough to work with & they turned out great!

These are a must have for vegans (or anyone) on Easter & I’ll definitely be making another batch (or two) soon. Be wary that even though they are vegan, that does NOT mean that they are healthy in any way. These are packed full of sugar & chocolatey goodness, but hey – it’s Easter! Don’t you deserve to treat yourself? 😉

Disclaimer: of course you don’t have to celebrate Easter to eat these yummies! They came out so well, I’ll probably just eat them year-round anyway…

My version made about 15 pretty big eggs, but I “tested” the batter quite a few times before they were finished. I’d suppose that this recipe should yield at least 20 eggs.

Vegan Cadbury Cream Eggs

Ingredients:

Forming the delicious insides...
Forming the delicious insides…
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup non-dairy butter, softened
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1-2 tsp. turmeric
  • 10-12 oz vegan chocolate chips
  • 2 tsp. vegetable shortening
  • wax or parchment paper

Directions:

  1. In a medium bowl, mix together corn syrup, softened butter and vanilla.
  2. Beat in powdered sugar, one cup at a time, until smooth.
  3. Place 1/3 of the mixture in a small bowl.
  4. Add turmeric to the small bowl until you’ve achieved the desired yellow color
  5. Tightly cover both bowls and refrigerate for at least an hour.
  6. Line two cookie sheets with wax or parchment paper.

    Eggs almost fully made, right before their last hardening!
    Eggs almost fully made, right before their last hardening!
  7. Using a teaspoon and your hands, form balls out of yellow mixture (fondant) and place on lined cookie sheet.
  8. Place cookie sheet in freezer or fridge.
  9. Using a tablespoon and your hands, form white fondant into balls & place on the other lined cookie sheet in fridge/freezer for 30 mins or until firm enough to mold.
  10. One at a time, flatten white balls into discs, then place a yellow ball in the center & fold white fondant around it. Roll in your hands until you have a large ball of white with the yellow in the center.
  11. Repeat with remaining fondant, placing balls back on cookie sheet, then place balls in freezer/fridge for another half hour.
  12. In a double boiler or microwave, slowly melt together chocolate chips and shortening, stirring until completely smooth.
  13. Place a dollop of chocolate mixture onto wax/parchment paper, then place fondant ball in the center of it. Spoon chocolate over the ball to cover completely. Repeat with remaining fondant & chocolate mixture.
  14. Place coated balls in refrigerator to harden fully.
  15. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

I know it’s awfully close to Easter, but I hope you still give these a try! They are really simple & amazingly delicious. Make sure to let me know how they work out for you!

Fruit Pulp Cupcakes

NL_pulpcupcakeThough not the most appetizing name in the world, these cupcakes really hit the spot! I’m always looking for recipes to incorporate the leftover pulp I get after juicing. I love juicing, but don’t want to waste all the fiber & nutrients leftover in the pulp. Using the recipe here, that pulp provides your cupcakes with added nutrient density & ensures that they stay moist even days later.

I used PETA’s recipe (http://www.peta.org/living/food/easiest-vegan-cupcake-recipe/) for “Easiest Vegan Cupcakes” and essentially just took out some of the sugar and added pulp. When I made this batch, I used leftover pulp from juicing blueberries, apples & cantaloupe. The flavors turned out really well in the cupcakes & I’d definitely try it again using other fruits/veggies.

Let me know if you try these out for yourself!

Ingredients:

Finished product!
Finished product!
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 & 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1 cup unsweetened plant-based milk (I used vanilla almond milk)
  • 1 Tbsp. vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp. vanilla extract (optional, depending on pulp used)
  • 1/2 – 1 cup of fruit/vegetable pulp

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 & line two pans with cupcake liners
  2. In a large bowl, mix together sugar, flour, baking powder, baking soda & salt
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together oil, plant milk, & vinegar
  4. Whisk pulp into wet mixture before adding to dry bowl
  5. Mix wet & dry ingredients until just combined, then fill cupcake liners 3/4 full with batter
  6. Bake 15-18 mins or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of a cupcake comes out clean