vegansaurus!

08/22/2014

VEGAN COOL WHIP IS COMING. And it’s not made from nasty chemical death! It’s made from delicious coconut cream! And it looks EFFING AMAZING OH MY GOD GIVE IT TO ME NOW. (That’s the technical term for how it looks, fyi.)
Via VegNews:

 In four weeks, So Delicious Dairy Free will be launching its brand-new CocoWhip—a vegan coconut-based whipped cream. There really is nothing more to say, is there?

No. No there is not.
(p.s. it’s made with organic coconut milk, is GMO-free and carrageenan-free, and the retail price will be $3.99!)

VEGAN COOL WHIP IS COMING. And it’s not made from nasty chemical death! It’s made from delicious coconut cream! And it looks EFFING AMAZING OH MY GOD GIVE IT TO ME NOW. (That’s the technical term for how it looks, fyi.)

Via VegNews:

In four weeks, So Delicious Dairy Free will be launching its brand-new CocoWhip—a vegan coconut-based whipped cream. There really is nothing more to say, is there?

No. No there is not.

(p.s. it’s made with organic coconut milk, is GMO-free and carrageenan-free, and the retail price will be $3.99!)

07/28/2014

Finally, the white chocolate we’ve all been waiting for (and it’s vegan! bonus!)  »

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Vegan white chocolate, like Santa, the Tooth Fairy, and the Easter Bunny, has historically (yes, HISTORICALLY) been nothing more than a magical lie. A goddamned beautiful magical LIE! And if you could get your hands on it, it tasted like overly sweet white chalk, or worse. I don’t know what’s worse than overly sweet white chalk but if you’ve eaten most vegan white chocolates, you would know. And actually, non-vegan white chocolate, for that matter. That stuff can be FUNKY, and NOT funky FRESH. It’s a hard dish to crack, but it’s finally been done, and for that we should all get down on our knees and praise Easter Bunny. I don’t know where I’m going with this. Let’s get to the candy.

Of course it was that genius Melodi from Obsessive Confection Disorder who successfully veganized white chocolate into the tasty candy it deserved to be. She sent me some to try and it. is. like. WHOA.

It is just … it’s otherworldly. It’s sweet, but not insanely sweet, and oh so creamy, and it melts on your tongue. It is the best stuff on Earth. Order it all now before I do because not only do I want to eat it solo, I want to add it to baked goods and melt it on top of berries. It is the nectar of the gods and you NEED IT. Also, you probably need everything else Melodi makes because girlfriend is a vegan candy GODDESS. Make way for the REAL Tooth Fairy, because she has arrived and she is Good.

03/17/2014

Recipe: Vegan Cream Puffs featuring the Vegg Baking Mix!   »

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Hey everyone! I recently developed a vegan cream puff recipe, using The Vegg Baking Mix, and I couldn’t be more excited to share it with you! We here at Vegansaurus love The Vegg, so of course we wanted the lowdown on this new product! Rocky of Vegg sent me a sample of his new product; Since I am a vegan baker by trade, I asked him if there was anything special he’d like to see done with it. When he said “vegan cream puffs” my first thought was “OH NO, THE HARDEST THING EVER!!!” But after 17 attempts and a very full trash can, I had a success! These delectables are a little cakey, yet still airy, with a flavor that reminds me of the cream puffs from my past omni life. I was determined not to quit until I got them right. My mom and my sister, two very discerning eaters who are not always impressed by my creations or choice of restaurants, request these puffs on a regular basis! That is how I know I’ve succeeded. The pops enjoys them too, but like me, he’s a much easier-to-please and adventurous eater. 

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Alright, enough story-telling, let’s get to the recipe section of this post! One last thing before takeoff: I didn’t have the chance to experiment with anything else besides the cream puffs with The Vegg Baking Mix. If you are curious about it, here is a review by one of our fave vegan bloggers, Bianca of Cooking Crunk! I can’t wait to try that quiche. I haven’t been able to focus on anything except getting my cream puff recipe right! Did I mention I finally watched all the last episodes of Breaking Bad while doing it? That was a trip!

Recipe:

4 tsp The Vegg Baking Mix
1 cup water
1/4 tsp baking soda 

1/2 cup Organic* Earth Balance Buttery Spread
1 Tbsp sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened soy milk or water
1/4 tsp salt

1 1/4 cup flour

1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar

Adjust cooking racks to the bottom half of the oven. Preheat oven to
400F. 

Blend The Vegg, tsp baking soda and 1 cup water until completely smooth. Set aside. This is the equivalent of about four large eggs. 

In a medium sauce pan over medium heat, whisk butter, sugar, soy milk and salt and bring to a boil. Turn heat to low and add flour. With a wooden spoon, stir mixture until it forms one cohesive ball, which should take about 2 - 3 minutes. Turn heat off, remove dough from sauce pan and place in to a large bowl. With a hand mixer, using beater attachments, mix dough on a medium to medium high speed (always start at the lowest and work your way up) just to the point dough isn’t flying everywhere! Slowly add Vegg mixture and beat until fully incorporated. This is the kind of dough that warrants a strong gluten structure, so don’t worry about over-mixing. Turn off mixer, add vinegar, and let sit for a few seconds while it sizzles. On a low speed, mix in vinegar until incorporated. You can also use a food processor fitted with an S-blade for the mixing process, just keep in mind that the dough is sticky and therefore leads to a tedious cleanup. 
 
Line a baking tray with parchment paper, using cooking spray directly on the baking sheet to keep parchment in place. Place 12 rounded tablespoons dough on baking sheet. For uniform puffs, wet a finger and smooth the tops of the dough. Place in oven at 400F for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, lower oven temperature to 375F and bake for another 10 -15 minutes, keeping a close eye on the puffs between the 10 and 15 minute marks. The tops should be golden brown, but you want to keep the bottoms from becoming too dark. 

Let puffs cool completely and decorate!  You can poke a hole through the bottom and fill them with a pastry bag, but I prefer to cut mine in half. My
favorite way to fill them is with a coconut whip cream (if you use the Trader Joe’s canned coconut cream, refrigerated for a few hours, you don’t need to worry about discarding any liquid. Just open the can and go!) You can also use Jello Brand Instant vanilla pudding for the filling! 

Cream puff assembly is pretty straightforward: I cut the puffs in half,
scoop a dollop of whip cream on the bottom layer, place the top back on,
and generously spoon chocolate atop (see ganache recipe below)! As a final option, you can sparingly dust on powdered sugar as garnish! 

Makes about 24 puffs.

Ganache:

1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp non-dairy milk or soy creamer
1 cup vegan semi-sweet chocolate chips

I like to make a homemade double boiler for my ganache. I bring a small to medium sauce pan filled halfway up with water to a boil. I then place a metal bowl atop, lower heat to medium low, then add my chocolate chips and milk. I let the steam melt the two ingredients together, whisking
occasionally. If you do not have a metal bowl, gently warm milk in a sauce pan, being careful not to scald or boil it. Once it is heated, I remove from heat, and add my chips, gently whisking to melt down. 

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The Vegg Baking Mix is available on Vegan Cuts, The Vegg website and at Viva La Vegan in southern California. 

Full disclosure: Rocky sent me The Vegg Baking Mix free of charge to review for Vegansaurus, but I have purchased The Vegg in the past and I plan to do so in the future as well.

*If you’re concerned about palm oil in Earth Balance products and aren’t satisfied with the RSPO certification of their palm oil sources, you may prefer to use their organic Buttery Spread. All of the organic palm oil Earth Balance uses comes from Brazil, an orangutan-less country. 

11/08/2013

Product Review: Eat Pastry gluten-free cookie dough!   »

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Hey everybody! Because I am such a selfless person, I ate vegan cookie dough for you! And let me tell you, purely scientifically speaking, Eat Pastry’s gluten-free, chocolate chip cookie dough (when baked) is absolutely scrumptious! I know gluten-free baked goods can sometimes be a little funky, with lingering odd tastes, but the geniuses behind Eat Pastry have figured out a formula that stands up to the rich and buttery Tollhouse* cookies of my former omni life. I’m a huge fan of this product! I also fed the cookies to my friend Britney and my roommate Dan, both to positive reactions. Dan is trying to cut gluten from his diet, and had bought some non-vegan chocolate chip cookie dough to bake for himself. He expressed disdain for the omni dough he bought and when fed one the Eat Pastry cookie his immediate response was “WHERE CAN I GET THOSE?”

The only thing, and I notice this when I make gluten-free pastries from scratch myself, is that gluten-free dough in it’s raw form is not so tasty. Unbaked, garbanzo bean flour really stands out. In my mind though, this is a good thing! This means that when it comes to raw cookie dough, there are cookies to bake after I open the container (as opposed to half of the raw dough sitting in my stomach like a brick).

When I bought the container of batter to try out, I wanted to do something really special with it. What goes with chocolate chip cookies better than anything? ICE CREAM AND CHOCOLATE SAUCE!

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The ingredients were gathered — it was time to have some fun. 

I decided to make an ice cream sandwich, with Luna and Larry’s Cappuccino coconut ice cream and home-made ganache!

HOW TO MAKE AN AMAZING VEGAN ICE CREAM SANDWICH:

COOKIES:

First I baked my cookies, and to be honest, I ran into a little trouble with the instructions on the Eat Pastry label. It read to heat the oven to 350 degrees and measure out teaspoons of dough onto a cookie sheet. I was unhappy with my first batch, as I thought the cookies were too thin, with the edges a very dark brown and raw centers. When I made my second batch, I measured out a tablespoon of dough and was much happier with the size and bake of my cookies. However in the future, I will probably only heat my oven up to 325 degrees, as the edges still got brown fast. A little bit of a disclaimer though: it is best to bake chocolate chip cookies when they are cold, because they tend to spread at room temperature. The label of Eat Pastry does say to bake them directly out of the fridge, and I had just taken my sweet time walking home from the grocery store, put the dough in the fridge for about 15 minutes, couldn’t wait any longer, and baked them.

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The finished product!

GANACHE:

I made my ganache by putting together a homemade double boiler and melting down 1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips with 5 Tbls coconut milk (any non-dairy milk would suffice). I brought my pot of water to a boil, put my metal bowl of chips and milk atop, turned the heat down to medium-low, and let the steam melt down my ganache.

SANDWICH ASSEMBLY:

To make my ice cream sandwich, I waited until my cookies were completely cool, put a couple spoonfuls of ice cream on the bottom cookie and then a placed another cookie on top. I immediately dipped the sandwich in ganache, sprinkled it with mini chocolate chips, took some pictures and stuck it in the freezer. Britney got to eat the final product, as I had eaten most of the cookies I baked that afternoon and couldn’t take anymore dessert food. She was ecstatic and now you know how I make and keep friends.

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In conclusion: Ice cream sandwiches and garbanzo bean flours aside, I LOVED the gluten-free Eat Pastry chocolate chip cookie dough and will definitely be buying it again in the future!

*Easiest recipe to veganize. Sub Earth Balance and egg replacer—that’s it. Most semi-sweet chocolate chips are already vegan. I have used so many vegan chocolate chip cookie recipes that call for such odd and unnecessary ingredients and fortunately for me, those days are now over.

09/26/2013

Baking with Blue Balls Bakery: gluten-free, pumpkin spice, chocolate chip cookies!   »

Well everyone, fall has officially descended upon us. To tell you the truth, I’m still in denial and I’m not ready to think about squash soups, Halloween OR pumpkin lattes (especially not pumpkin lattes). I’m not ready to lose the glow of my sun-kissed skin for the almost transparent color I get in winter! I WANT IT TO STOP! 

Since I can’t stop the hands of time, denial it is. But wait, what’s this? A charming baking tutorial featuring gluten-free, pumpkin spice, chocolate chip cookies? Yep, and I love it! I’m sure it has nothing to do with the fact it was created by my internet bestie and future vegan bakery co-owner (we love cats and mimosas, the building blocks to any solid friendship), Amber!

Amber, you’ve changed my mind about the arrival of pumpkin season! Okay fall, I’m in! San Francisco is pretty much fall year-round anyway, the sun just goes down at different times depending on the calendar month.

Not only is Amber an extremely talented vegan baker and decorator, she’s super funny and charismatic too! Watching this video, I feel like I’m in the kitchen with her, at least until I’m unable to try one of those delectable looking cookies. But that’s okay, because thanks to her guidance, I can now make my own cookies! Oh my gosh, don’t even get me started on the one-liners! (“Speaking of wet ingredients”, holds up a beer to drink.)

Fingers crossed that with popular demand (you) Amber will start making baking videos on the reg. I heard a rumor (received a text) that a mimosa cupcake tutorial may be in the works… I hope it’s true! 

You can follow Amber on Twitter and Instagram at MonkandMao, and be sure to subscribe to her Youtube channel “Blue Balls Bakery”. 

[Can’t see the video? Watch it on Vegansaurus.com!] 

09/24/2013

Product review: Wholesome Chow’s Big Yummy (gluten-free) Brownie!   »

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Okay, here’s the deal you guys: I’m not the biggest sweets fan. In fact, sometimes when I eat too much sugar, my skin gets red, puffy and really warm.* This just happened at my birthday party, and freaked out my entire family. I finished my cake anyway, but everyone kept touching my red, blotchy arm as if I were a science experiment. 

Being the incredibly talented (as well as good-looking, charismatic and hilarious) professional pastry chef that I am, people are often quite confused that I don’t really eat sweets anymore. I’m like, “good thing you guys, this way at the end of my shift there’s actually prouduct available for the public to buy!” I mean, makes perfect sense to me—I go home and gorge on pizza, so everyone wins. 

Cutting to chase here, I usually pass up on dessert samples for Vegansaurus. However, because of my success with, and complete admiration for, Wholesome Chow’s products in the past, I was not willing to give up the opportunity to try their gluten-free brownies! I was expecting to get a dry mix in the mail that I would then bake, so imagine my delight when I opened a package with three BIG brownies encased. I mean, I’m excited just reminiscing about that evening. 

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Let me tell it to you straight: The Big Yummy Double Chocolate Brownie by Wholesome Chow is not playing around. It took all the willpower I had not to eat all three brownies in one sitting. They’re quite sizable, and everything no brownie in the past has ever been to me. To be honest, I eat cake and brownies as vehicles for frosting, and these babies didn’t even need it. I didn’t miss a side of fudgy chocolate frosting AT ALL. 

I’m someone who stays away from sugar, has never really been a brownie person (I mean, usually they can be SO dry) and doesn’t have to eat gluten-free (though I do feel better when I do). On that note, I crave these. I think about them all time. But where can I find these chocolate sensations, since Wholesome Chow doesn’t deliver them anymore? Well, here’s a handy list for you! (Just try to beat me to Rainbow to buy out their stock, I dare you.) Unfortunately for now, they are only available in California, but maybe you can ask your local natural food store to carry them? Of course you can always buy the brownie dry mix online too, as I’m sure it does not disapoint! Chef Veronica of Wholesome Chow also has a recipe for these decadent treats on their company blog!    

*I did not have any type of reaction to the sugar in Wholesome Chow’s brownies, which may have also been because for once I exerted some amount of will power in not eating all three in one sitting. 

08/20/2013

Product Review: Isabella’s Cookie Company  »

Isabella Cookies are damn fine and come in lots of vegan flavors and some are weird and all are wonderful.

They sent me both the V-Ging, a spicy ginger chewy cookie topped with sweet vanilla icing, and the V-RV, a red velvet cookie with vanilla icing. They were both extremely excellent — homemade tasting and chewy and flavorful and absolutely splendid. You could buy a bag of these and polish them off yourself or bring them to a vegan bakesale and pass them off as your own. Or fool any omnivore with their deliciousness if you were inclined to share. 

In addition to being gifted those flavors for potential review, I also bought the V-Breakfast cookie — “soft maple cookie with crunchy waffles, mouth-watering chocolate chips and vegan bacon”. It’s freaking weird as hell and also tasty as hell. Plus, it’s just really cool that vegans get to have fun weirdo flavor cookies. 

If you’re in the market for store-bought vegan cookies, I highly recommend these ones. You can find them at these places or order them on their site. COOKIES WOO!

07/24/2013

Bring Vegan Ice Cream in Oakland: Curbside!  »

There are few things as implicitly good as an ice cream cone on a warm summer’s day. It’s one of those restore-your-faith-in-humanity kind of joys. I was lucky enough to sample some vegan offerings from a budding Oakland ice cream business, Curbside Creamery. Curbside is still working on funding to build up their brick and mortar storefront (conveniently located in the Temescal Alley, so hip, so posh), but my friend Riley and I were invited to sample some cones and talk with the owner and proprietor, Victoria “Tori” Wentworth.

 While Curbside will have both dairy and vegan options, Tori was inspired to open up her business after visiting the all-vegan powerhouse of deliciousness, Lula’s Sweet Apothecary in New York. Having a delectable vegan option was a high priority to Tori, based both upon her own politics and the dietary preferences of some close friends. “In my personal life, I’ve been vegetarian since 2006, due mostly to a heightened awareness of where meat comes from (or rather what it goes through) these days. Many of my friends over the years have been vegan, so the realities of that diet have always been part of my life in a big way. That’s why I was aware of the real lack of good vegan options… We all know that buying ice cream in a pint from the store is NOT an equal experience to going to a shop with your friends and getting a fresh scoop on a cone.”

While Curbside’s exact process is a trade secret, Tori worked very hard to ensure a good vegan product, toiling with the cashew-base base of the ice cream until she got it just right. Whatever she’s doing with the cashews, it works. We sampled the Valrhona Chocolate and the Chai Tea. Both were a perfect balance of sweet and creamy, and were a delight to eat out of Curbsides mobile tricycle stand. In the future, Tori will cycle through flavors so every concoction will ultimately have a dairy and a vegan version. Curbside also takes cross-contamination very seriously, and has designated scoops and cleaning tubs. This is both for vegans wanting to avoid animal residue and people who come in with nut allergies.

For updates on Curbside visit their website. If you are dedicated to the principal of helping to open a great vegan-friendly ice cream shop right in Temescal, consider donating to their Kickstarter.

Courtney Flynn lives in Oakland and spends way too much time inventing vegan recipes, reading science fiction and crocheting hats for her dog Blender. She sometimes remembers to update her blog, where she likes to write about food, restaurants and products that don’t suck.

07/17/2013

Vegansaurus pal Kelly Peloza is back in action with her super-great blog, Seitan Beats Your Meat, and check out what she’s got: Cherry Canary Melon Sherbet! Doesn’t it look luscious? Just exactly what you want on a sweltering July day.
Kelly is a brilliant gorgeous wunderkind and you should 100 percent be reading her blog, buying her cookbook(s!), and try out all her recipes, which are terrific. Start with this summer-fruit sherbet, it’s sure to treat you right.

Vegansaurus pal Kelly Peloza is back in action with her super-great blog, Seitan Beats Your Meat, and check out what she’s got: Cherry Canary Melon Sherbet! Doesn’t it look luscious? Just exactly what you want on a sweltering July day.

Kelly is a brilliant gorgeous wunderkind and you should 100 percent be reading her blog, buying her cookbook(s!), and try out all her recipes, which are terrific. Start with this summer-fruit sherbet, it’s sure to treat you right.

03/06/2013

Good day, raw little lemon tart with lemon almond poppyseed ice cream from Fragrant Vanilla Cake. Are you an angel descended from heaven to share with us the gospel of lemon dessert? Because I will be your No. 1 evangelizer.

Good day, raw little lemon tart with lemon almond poppyseed ice cream from Fragrant Vanilla Cake. Are you an angel descended from heaven to share with us the gospel of lemon dessert? Because I will be your No. 1 evangelizer.

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