This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Earth Balance. The opinions and text are all mine.
Despite the season’s best efforts to woo me with cakes and cookies and pies (even those coming out of my own kitchen), I’ve been doggedly drawn to savories this winter. I crave soups and broths, piles of steaming veggies and stews, anything to stave off the cold (I know, I’m in Los Angeles—but these walls and windows aren’t built for 50º weather!). This weekend, though, the holiday cookie bug snuck its way into my heart. You know the urge, that longing to get cozy with your oven whilst donning your most well-worn sweats and grooving to the best holiday tunes you can find. Yup, that one.
I grew up making two kinds of holiday cookies, recipes that were my mother’s family heirlooms: raspberry linzertorte bars and pecan snowball cookies (or Russian or Mexican wedding cookies, depending who you ask). Suddenly, in the midst of my reigning savory preference, I decided it was high time to make some snowballs. Except I wanted mine laced with the fragrance of jasmine and bright with matcha green tea.
I’ve always been a big lover of tea, but especially recently I’ve been obsessed with Earl Grey. I often find myself getting a nice London Fog instead of a coffee. These cupcakes were only bound to happen. I was struggling to find what to bake for a Christmas party when these suddenly popped into my head.
They were a little bit tricky to nail! I knew that to make these I was going to start out with a vanilla base recipe then add the tea, but HOW is the question. I started out by steeping some extra strong tea and allowing it to cool. I then added some of it to vanilla batter but it then became too runny, so I added a little bit more flour but then the mixture became to glutinous and the flavour wasn’t very strong. They ended up baking okay, they achieved nice domes and the texture wasn’t awful, it was just too dense for my liking and it tasted a little bland. Instead of steeping the tea, I decided to just add the leaves directly into the batter. I used my vanilla cupcake recipe and emptied 4 teabags into the mixture. Once the batter was mixed I was concerned with how they’d come out because I didn’t taste a strong earl grey flavour but the batter consistency was right so I stuck them in anyway. 10 minutes into baking, the most wonderful tea aroma filled my house and I immediately knew they were going to work. The tea just needed some heat to activate the flavour and they turned out so good. I served them at my Christmas party and everyone raved about them. Whenever I bake something, my plan is to make it “not taste vegan”, and these were just that. I also made a vegan cream cheese frosting and infused with with more tea and lavender.
The texture on these is amazing. I used my go to vanilla cupcake recipe and the flavour of the earl grey tea just sank so well into them. They are light, fluffy, and moist. Heres what you’ll need to make them:
CUPCAKES: (makes 12)
1 ¾ cup all purpose flour 1 cup cane sugar 1 teaspoon baking powder 1 teaspoon baking soda 1 cup unsweetened almond milk ½ cup coconut oil 1 tablespoon vanilla extract 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar 4 Earl Grey tea bags Mix the sugar, almond milk, coconut oil, vanilla, tea and vinegar together until smooth. Then add the flour, baking powder and baking soda and mix until just combined. Bake at 350 C for minutes and you’re set!
¾ tub vegan butter (Earth Balance) ½ tub Daiya cream cheese 2 tsp vanilla 4 cups icing sugar Strong brewed tea infused with lavender petals Whip the butter and cream cheese together until fluffy and well combined. Then add the icing sugar 1 cup at a time until the frosting is fluffy and smooth. Then add your vanilla and tea to taste. This will make enough frosting for 12 cupcakes if you pipe a swirl on them like in the picture, but you can half the recipe if you want to spread them on. I sprinkled mine with some dried lavender, but get creative!
- 1 stick vegan margarine
- 1 cup sugar
- ½ cup brown sugar
- ¼ cup smooth soy nut butter
- 3 tablespoons water, 3 tablespoons oil, and 2 teaspoons baking powder (mixed together to sub for 2 eggs)
- 2 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 9 ounces vegan chocolate chips
Roll into balls (about golf ball size) and set on a baking sheet covered in parchment paper. Pop in the oven at 375 degrees for 9 minutes and let cool. Makes about 30 cookies.
These cookies are seriously awesome! They’re soft but with a slight crisp on the outside and they just melt in your mouth 😍 so so good and perfect for the holidays!
This post was created in partnership with Zevia. All opinions are my own.
It’s finally cozy weather here in LA! In point of fact, I am wearing both a sweater AND a jacket at this very moment, and am choosing to completely ignore that it will once again be 80ºF by Thursday. I might even throw a blanket around myself for good measure. Before I cozy up to tell you all about this Zevia- and bourbon-infused sparkling pear sorbet, I want to talk a bit about collective imagination. Our imagination as a country. Our imagination post-childhood playtime. Our imaginative ability to problem solve.
Last Friday, I had the chance to attend Bitten: A Food Conversation, where speakers and audience convened to discuss issues of food, technology, and culture. There were so many exceptional presenters (some of you might remember clips from my Insta Stories), but one talk cut me a bit more deeply than the others.
Maude Standish, a trend forecaster at Fullscreen, spoke to us about futuristic trends in food. She couched the issues in terms of science fiction, but clarified just exactly what that term meant to her.
YOU GUYS. I made you a Thanksgiving pie and it is bonkers good. It’s rich and light and creamy and crunchy and perfectly spicy and just the tiniest bit boozy. It’s a chocolate cream pie with a light spice, smothered with vanilla coconut whipped cream, topped with bourbon pecan crumble and shaved chocolate. In a gingersnap crust. What is even happening. Did I mention it’s vegan?
And I made you a vegan gingersnap chocolate cream pie GIF. Because duh. Vegan cream pies and GIFs go together like bananas and peanut butter. Come to think of it, maybe that should be our next vegan cream pie. But I digress.
This is the perfect pie to grace your Thanksgiving and holiday tables for the following reasons:
1) It’s totally delish.
2) It can be made gluten-free, which would then make it both vegan AND wheat-free, which means that it would probably win some kind of gold award in the hipster pie olympics.
“I used to be weirded out by eggnog when I was little. ‘What were eggs doing in milk?’ I thought to myself. I had never tried non-vegan eggnog, but I’m glad to say that I really enjoy the vegan versions nowadays.
I was shopping at the grocery store the other day and planned on to make French toast when I got home. Then… I unpacked the vegan nog, and the whole plot changed. Eggnog French Toast for the win! Since this recipe is vegan, I used applesauce and flaxseed meal in place of eggs.”
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
(¼ cup raisins)
(1 tsp cinnamon)
(½ tsp nutmeg)
1 ½ cups applesauce
1 cup shredded carrots (about 1 large)
Preheat oven to 350F (180 celsius). Simply mix all the wet and all of the dry ingredients separately and then combine them.
Fill into cupcake molds and bake for 20min or until toothpick comes out clean.
Decorate with whatever you want. I used lemon-icing and coloured coconut with lil marzipan-carrots.
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (you can also use ¾ cup all-purpose flour and ½ cup spelt or whole wheat flour) 2 1/2 teaspoons baking soda 2 tablespoons organic sugar ½ teaspoon salt ½ teaspoon cinnamon ¼ teaspoon nutmeg 1 3/4 cups almond milk 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar ½ cup pumpkin purée 2 tablespoons melted coconut oil, plus extra for the griddle
Whisk the flour, baking soda, sugar, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg together in a large mixing bowl.
Heat a griddle over medium heat, and grease it lightly with coconut oil.
In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together vigorously the almond milk and apple cider vinegar until the mixture is a little frothy. Mix in the coconut oil, the pumpkin, and the vanilla.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix them until the batter is totally smooth. Allow the batter to sit for a few minutes. Use a ¼ cup dry measuring cup to ladle the batter onto your griddle. Once you see bubbles at the top of your pancakes and their edges begin to turn golden, they’re ready to flip. Flip the pancakes and allow them to cook for a few minutes on the other side.
Serve the pancakes with maple syrup, a handful of chopped walnuts, and a sprinkle of pomegranate arils, if you like.
Your Kale & Caramel vegetarian Thanksgiving feast has arrived! If I had a specially dedicated K&C cheerleading squad, I’d have them doing backflips and triple salchows (I know, wrong sport, but STILL) to herald the arrival of this meal. Here’s the rundown:
Shaved Kale, Fennel & Asian Pear Salad (vegan, gluten-free) with maple stoneground mustard vinaigrette
Balsamic Brussels Sprouts with Pomegranate, Feta & Mint (gluten-free) and pomegranate molasses roasted pecans
Rosemary Chevre Mashed Potatoes (gluten-free) with crispy garlic
Brown Butter Citrus Sweet Potatoes (gluten-free) with spiced walnut crunch
Herb Crusted Tofu with Shiitake Mushroom Gravy (vegan, gluten-free) get to know Life-Changing Gravy™
Fennel Spiced Cranberry Sauce (vegan, gluten-free) with cloves, fennel, and star anise
Gingersnap Chocolate Cream Pie with Bourbon Pecan Crumble (vegan, gluten-free optional) and mountains of coconut whipped cream
Read more and get the recipes plus a Thanksgiving countdown schedule here!
Something in the soak, the whir, the whirlpool of nuts becoming pulp becoming liquid, the pour, the strain, the squeeze, the drip, the taste, the flavoring. Something in the delicate flavor of the nut, its inner self exposed, the outer casing discarded, the nut denuded, pure, ready. Something about all this is why I love nut milks. And, for the holidays, this vegan pecan eggnog.
Though you could absolutely serve this chilled and spiked, I love it as a warming winter steamer (spiked or otherwise) to fend off the winter winds—a real phenomena that is actually happening now in LA, where it’s been colder on some days than it is in Manhattan. I’ve taken to whipping up warm mugs of this vegan nog at all times of day. You, too, may find yourself so inclined if your insulation-less Los Angeles apartment has become something akin to an icebox in which you are surviving by the good graces of your winter parkas.*
*I made a pact with myself that I would not complain about the cold after all the whining that happened in this summer’s heatwave; thereby I resist labeling above commentary a complaint. Instead, let us merely call it a descriptive winter prose poem.