Happy Thanksgiving from Jojo of vegan.in.brighton! She writes that this year she didn’t want to miss out on all the Thanksgiving fun, and she and her husband really threw themselves into the spirit of the holiday (i.e., gluttony).
“We made the Seitan en Croute from 500 Vegan Recipes, this is quickly becoming one of my favourite cookbooks as everything I’ve made from it keeps turning out perfectly! We also made roast potatoes, mashed maple sweet potatoes, roasted squash, sage & onion stuffing, carrots, corn, and the sage gravy from Vegan Comfort Food. We also had cranberry sauce, which I bought from a shop!
I still can’t get my head around the idea of pumpkin as a dessert so instead I made the Silken Chocolate Mousse Cake from My Sweet Vegan, I love this & am always looking for excuses to make it.”
As we understand it, Brighton is the San Francisco of England, so Jojo if you’d like to do a cultural/sister-city-type exchange some time, Vegansaurus is open to it. That is, after you’ve recovered from devouring that beautiful spread. Happy Thanksgiving!
Project Just Desserts: Veganizing Top Chef! Week three: VEGAN Peanut Butter Krispy Bar and VEGAN Toffee Fudge Brownie! »
Last week, guest veganizer Janet Hudson made gorgeous margarita bombes three ways, a recipe that nicely synced up with our last week of really summery weather. For the third installment of Vegansaurus’ Project Just Desserts: Veganizing Top Chef, we are pleased to introduce Celine Steen! As you know, Celine is the proprietor of the highly regarded Have Cake, Will Travel, and the author of several cookbooks. For her challenge, she needed to recreate the winning recipe from a school bake sale, something particularly suited to her vegan talents.
Celine being a superstar, she decided to veganize both the winning dessert and the second-place dessert, so lucky us, we get two recipes this week! The first is for Eric Wolitzky’s Peanut Butter Krispy Bar, spelled that way because he used fancy brand-name cereal. Also he baked for something like a billion children, which is why the those proportions look insane. Celine cut them down to regular, one-household size for you, of course, but never mind that: Let’s bake some tasty rectangular prisms!
Vegan Peanut Butter Krispy Bar
The first topping will appear darker than the one used on the show, since semi-sweet chocolate is used rather than milk chocolate. If you find affordable and tasty vegan milk chocolate, by all means, this will be delicious too.
Puffed cereal layer
¼ cup nondairy butter
¼ cup water
¼ cup light agave nectar or light corn syrup
⅓ cup granulated sugar
4 to 6 cups puffed rice (or other puffed cereal; quantity may vary depending on the size of the puffed cereal chosen)
1 cup (132 g) semisweet chocolate
½ cup plus 2 Tbs (140 g) natural peanut butter, at room temperature or slightly heated, to combine easily
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbs (140 g) store-bought or homemade vegan hazelnut chocolate spread, at room temperature or slightly heated, to combine easily
1 cup (132 g) bittersweet chocolate
3 Tbs (42 g) natural peanut butter
1 tsp light agave nectar or light corn syrup
Puffed cereal layer
Melt nondairy butter; set aside.
Combine water, agave/corn syrup and sugar; cook to soft ball stage. Whisk melted nondairy butter into soft ball sugar.
Pour over puffed cereal and fold together well. Add enough cereal so that it is coated and moist.
Pour mixture into an 8-inch square pan lined with parchment or wax paper and coated with nonstick cooking spray.
Spread out evenly, press down firmly with more parchment or wax paper to minimize the mess, and let cool.
Melt chocolate using bain-marie method or microwave. Combine with peanut butter and chocolate spread. Pour and spread this mixture over cooled puffed cereal preparation. Let cool to set up.
Melt bittersweet chocolate, peanut butter and agave/corn syrup.
Pour and spread over bars.
Let entire pan cool overnight.
Cut into desired shapes. Stores well in the freezer.
The proportion gigantism continues in the second-place recipe, Malika Ameen’s Toffee Fudge Brownie, aside from which they also look kind of gross. Sure, a cup of heavy cream, that seems, um, reasonable, but 22 eggs? Not while Jack DeCoster’s still Mister Egg USA. Thank goodness for Celine and her mighty veganizing powers!
Vegan Toffee Fudge Brownie
1 cup granulated sugar
½ cup unsweetened coconut cream (makes for a buttery taste; can be found at international markets. Use any other nondairy creamer if desired)
½ cup light agave nectar or light corn syrup
½ pound (227 g) nondairy butter, cut into cubes
Non-stick cooking spray or nondairy butter
3.5 ounces (100 g) 70 percent chocolate
¼ cup plus 1 Tbs (70 g) nondairy butter
3 packed Tbs (39 g) light brown sugar
½ cup plus 2 Tbs (115 g) granulated sugar
½ cup (120 g) blended silken tofu
2 Tbs unsweetened cocoa powder
¼ tsp fine sea salt
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
½ cup (60 g) all-purpose flour
¼ tsp baking powder
¼ sheet of toffee, cut into good-sized chunks*
1. Have a Silpat-lined baking sheet and a large offset spatula handy.
2. In medium saucepan, combine cream, sugar and agave/corn syrup.
3. Over medium-high heat, bring mixture to a boil without stirring. Brush sides of pan with wet pastry brush to dissolve any sugar.
4. Add butter and continue to cook without stirring until mixture becomes light brown.
5. When mixture becomes light brown, begin to stir with a heatproof spatula until it becomes a caramel color and thick enough to be poured without spilling. The whole process may take up to 15 minutes.
6. Carefully pour mixture onto Silpat-lined sheet tray and spread to about ¼-inch thickness.
7. Let toffee cool and store it in the freezer.
1. Lightly grease an 8-inch square baking pan. Melt chocolate with butter over a bain-marie or use the microwave, if you are a soulless baker like me.
2.Transfer into a large bowl and, using an immersion blender, combine with sugars, tofu, cocoa powder, salt and vanilla until smooth. Fold in flour, baking powder and toffee chunks.
3.Bake at 325°F for 20 to 30 minutes. Mine were done after 26 minutes: you’ll know they’re ready when the top is set and the sides pull away from the pan.
There will be leftover toffee, which keeps well in the freezer. The brownies taste great straight from the freezer, too.
*Larger toffee chunks tend to stay whole in the brownies, as opposed to smaller ones that melt almost completely. Regardless, you’ll definitely taste the toffee.
We are so grateful to Celine for veganizing two recipes for us! If you don’t already read her blog, what is wrong with you? She writes recipes for six cookies at a time! Because sometimes you only want to make six cookies! I can’t believe no one’s offered her a deal specifically for one-to-two-person recipes; this is the USA, we are DUMB and LAZY and math is for immigrants and their children. In case you are too lazy to find the link on the left, click here to read the Project Just Desserts archive. Please let us know if you attempt Celine’s recipe’s, or Janet’s margarita bombes, or Laura’s mousse torte, or any of the recipes to come! Send photos! Play along!
Top Chef: Just Desserts, episode three airs tonight, and our third chef is revealed! »
The third episode of Top Chef: Just Desserts airs on Bravo tonight (10 Eastern/Pacific), which means that we’re ready to unveil our third guest chef (see the first two here!) who will veganize the episode’s winning dessert! Have you been able to bear the suspense? We have, but just barely! Ohhhh, puns, can you take it?!
This week’s guest chef is the TOTALLY RAD Celine Steen of the hugely popular and highly delicious Have Cake, Will Travel! If you’ve spent more than two seconds on Have Cake, Will Travel, you know that Celine makes the most ridiculous-looking food EVER. If you haven’t tried to eat your screen while on her site, have your prescription checked, okaaaaay?? Not only that, she co-wrote the fabulous must-own cookbook 500 Vegan Recipes: An Amazing Variety of Delicious Recipes, From Chilis and Casseroles to Crumbles, Crisps, and Cookies. It’s epic. What’s more, she has TWO cookbooks coming out in 2011, The Complete Guide to Vegan Food Substitutions (GENIUS!) and Hearty Vegan Meals for Monster Appetites (MORE GENIUS!). No vegan (OR ANY) kitchen is complete without Celine’s website, cookbooks, and AMAZING food photography.
We love her and are so honored to have her tackle this week’s recipe, however insane/terrifying/complicated it might be. So enjoy Top Chef: Just Desserts tonight (if you want, no pressure, KILL YOUR TELEVISION! Unless you’re me and then IF YOU TOUCH MY TV IMMA MURDER YOU) and then check back with us next Monday to see Celine’s amazing veganization of the winning dish!
And now, your episode preview: Will our veganizer have to make A WEDDING CAKE? Or is this a preview of something completely different?
[can’t see the video? watch it at vegansaurus.com!]