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!
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!]
It’s Farm Sanctuary rescued pigs eating pumpkins, how cute are they!? Eat those pumpkins, you little maniacs!
Recipe: Pumpkin butter is so easy, why aren’t you making it already? »
It’s the simplest thing in the world; you barely need a recipe. Let me walk you through it.
Take a sugar pie pumpkin. Halve it, gut it. Line a baking dish (NOT A COOKIE SHEET) with parchment paper and put your twin pumpkin halves in it.
Bake at 350 for an hour or so, until your pumpkin looks like this:
I poked mine with a knife a few times to check for doneness. It’s like baking any squash; you want it to be soft but not mushy, lest it melt.
Allow to cool a bit, then scrape all the pumpkiny flesh from the skin and deposit it in a food processor (not a blender, unless you have a VitaMix or similar super-machine). You can add something like lemon juice as a contrast/preservative, or do what I did, which was add some homemade apple butter, which isn’t nearly as sour as lemon juice and may contribute to the depth of flavor. Blend some more.
Now add your sugar. I used a brown sugar, about 1/2 cup to 4 lbs. of pumpkin, but it’s really to taste. This is your pumpkin butter! I also added a whole bunch of garam masala (more interesting that “pumpkin pie mix” plus cheaper because you can buy it in a bag in the “international foods” section near all the dried chiles), some vanilla, a little salt. Blend until smooth, adjusting the ingredients for taste. If it won’t blend, add water until it does. Don’t worry.
Move your pumpkin butter from the food processor to a pot. Bring to a boil, then turn the fire down low, cover it with a nice mesh splatter screen, and let it cook down. Depending on how much liquid you had to add, and how thick you want it, the mixture can take from 30 minutes to many hours to cook down. Again, don’t worry.
Once it’s achieved optimal thickness, take it off the stove and let it cool. Put in in jars, and take vanity pictures for the internet.
Congratulations, you have homemade pumpkin butter! Which you made by mostly applying heat!
Finally, a tip if, like me, you add too much lemon juice/sugar/whatever and fuck it all up: Just bake a new pumpkin, blend it up, and add it to the weird stuff in a bigger pot. Apply heat, adjust for taste. Eventually, instead of a single batch of not-right pumpkin butter, you will have a double batch of delicious pumpkin butter. Foist it on your friends and family if you’re afraid you won’t eat it all (you will). Look, you are a genius at fall foods!
Fall in love with autumnal vegan recipes! »
We’ve got an insanely delicious Pinterest board that’s teeming with a ridiculous amount of perfect-for-fall vegan recipes! There are breakfasts, lunches, breads, drinks, and desserts galore. If you don’t attempt to eat your computer screen, there’s something wrong with you and you should check yourself into the nearest psych ward immediately.
Buttery, cream-cheesy pumpkin cookies with cinnamon drizzle, just right for fall!
Our pal Meagen of Vegan Food Addict wrote us all, these cookies are delicious, and we looked and drooled and went to the grocery store for supplies.
Click through for the recipe! Then you can bake these cookies, share them with friends, and make them all wish they were as skilled in the ovenly arts as you clearly are. Thanks, Meagen!
The other day I was bemoaning the sudden prevalence of gourds on the food blogs, like even though it’s been around 90 every day at home, and San Francisco is finally having objectively warm afternoons, September must mean “autumn” so let’s all pretend we’re ready for ovens again. Nonsense, I said. Do not come to me with your pumpkin projects until October.
Then I saw this squash chart.
Now, who wants to share their favorite cold-weather squashy recipes? We know Laura’s all over this pumpkin mac ‘n’ cheese! I just got this julienne peeler and have been making noodley zucchini-and-carrot salads, but what if I julienne-peeled a butternut and made, like, squash hashbrowns? Or potatonut pancakes? Kind of brilliant, right?
Fall food porn!
I followed Tofu666’s recipe for delicata squash with onions, and I served it over collard greens that I’d cooked covered on medium-low with salt and water for five minutes, then uncovered with a splash of lemon juice on medium-high for maybe two minutes. SO GOOD. No duh, right?
I really love What the Hell Does a Vegan Eat, Anyway, but often I feel like their recipes are wayyyyy too complicated and fancy for me. They’re so gourmet! I don’t think I’m right to be so intimidated, though, this was extremely simple and ridiculously tasty.
A vegan dinner party in the New York Times! »
If you look at Melissa Clark’s New York Times archive, you’ll see articles about London broil steak, clam sauce, pork cutlets, and “How to Spatchcock a Chicken,” which term is not in my browser’s dictionary but is in my computer’s (it sounds filthy). However, on Oct. 14, she wrote about a vegan dinner party, with a menu that sounds pretty amazing. Great job, Melissa Clark!
She uses lots of early autumn produce, and makes a delicious two-appetizer, four-course meal. The menu:
Hummus with Crisp Maitake Mushrooms, served with Sesame Flatbread
Crisp Kale Chips with Chile and Lime
Farro and Fresh Tomato Soup with Basil
Dandelion Salad with Garlic Confit Dressing
Harvest Tart with Pumpkin, Roasted Red Peppers and Olives
Roasted Pears with Coconut Butterscotch Sauce and Toasted Coconut
Yes, those are links to all of the recipes. Who’s making what this week? I am all about savory tarts—please veganize Zwiebelkuchen for me and then make it for me and serve it to me, I will do so many things for Zwiebelkuchen, it’s undignified, but oh—and reading about that pumpkin-red pepper-olive concoction is making me so hungry, oh man.
Go read the article, and maybe tell the Times how happy you are to read a lovely article, complete with recipes, on the delights of eating vegan. Because it is delightful, and one of our post-VVCon projects is to recognize and express appreciation for positive things, such as “sincere praise for vegan food in the New York Times.”
Guest recipe: Pumpkin brownies! »
What up, my sexy vegan ladies (and dudes, y’all are welcome, too)? It’s getting to be fall here in the Midwest, which means I’m arbitrarily dumping pumpkin into everything I’m baking. This week, it’s dark chocolate pumpkin brownies. I’m giving you the recipe as a half-batch (because I have no self control and eat the entire pan, so, you know, I’m being healthy this way, right?), but the times for a full batch are included. Let’s bake, bitches!
1/2 cup vegan butter
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup pumpkin (I buy the canned stuff, but you can be fancy and cook your own, too)
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cinnamon
3/4 to 1 cup flour
1/2 to 3/4 cup roughly chopped dark chocolate
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Melt your butter, and mix the ingredients in order, making sure each is well combined before moving on.
Grease and flour an 8x8” baking pan, pour the batter in, and bake for 26 minutes. If you’re hungry (or you have to share), double everything, pour into a 9x13” pan, and bake for 32 minutes.
Cool, cut, devour. Goes best with coffee.
Lisa Holmes is a vegan art student living in Missouri. Her free time is spent baking, swing dancing, singing a capella music, and building things out of stained glass. Find her on Twitter at @labelledinosaur.
Pumpkin Madness! »
Just because Halloween is past us, doesn’t mean it’s time to put the pumpkin away just yet. After all, it’s still decorative gourd season! Here are just a few of the seasonally available pumpkin-flavored goods you can be sure of enjoying until January at least.
For me, the season was inaugurated not with changing leaves, but when I first noticed the return of Starbucks' beloved Pumpkin Spice Latte. Get that shit with soy milk, no whip—with or without a shot of espresso as your mood dictates—and you’re golden. I ask you, is there a better way to enjoy these coming cold(ish) months than with a steaming hot cup of corporate good cheer?
UPDATE: Scrooge came early this year! Against our better judgment, we believed the word of a Starbucks employee and didn’t examine the ingredients label for ourselves. The PSL is not vegan, even with soy milk—we are very bummed! Mea maxima culpa. SOLUTION: Make your own with this easily veganizable recipe.
Peet’s Coffee also has a pumpkin-flavored latte available, but it’s not as good as Starbucks’ version. Consider it the lesser of the two. Unlike Starbucks, however, these are definitely vegan.
Clif Bar features a “Spiced Pumpkin Pie” flavor as one of three seasonally available flavors. The others, just so you know, are “Spiced Gingerbread” and “Cranberry Orange Nut Bread.” I can’t vouch for cranberry yet (it’s new), but the others are delicious (for Clif bars). AND they will give you vitamins and energy to keep you going on the…trail…or whatever.
For those marginally more inclined towards making something themselves, Trader Joe’s brings us their Pumpkin Bread and Muffin Mix. This stuff is the shit. We’ve already shown you how to hack their bread mixes. The important takeaway is: substitute 1/2 cup of canned pumpkin for the eggs! After all, why would you want to dilute your bread with anything that’s not MORE pumpkin?
Now available at Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s is Buffalo Bill’s pumpkin ale. This is a relatively decent beer which earns unaccountably low marks from sites such as Beer Advocate. They must know something I don’t! Side note: Buffalo Bill’s brewery is located just over in Hayward, and their menu actually has a vegan pizza listed. Granted, it’s just veggies and no cheese, and it’s the only vegan item they have, but still! They might be getting a visit from me soon!
Superior to Buffalo Bill’s by all accounts (including mine) is Dogfish Head’s Punkin Ale. This is for “real” beer drinkers only, and comes with a price tag to match. Available at Whole Foods and City Beer Store, this is what I’ll be pouring over my head in between Pumpkin Spice Silk rinses, all holiday season.
What’s your favorite vegan pumpkin food product? Seriously, I would love to know: I won’t be happy until I’m eating nothing but pumpkin in its various forms.