Saturday, February 25, 2012

Vegan Fried Apple Sundae

There is little else that is as enjoyable as a big family gorge-fest meal. Tonight, my brother and I cooked big pans of veggies and meat (I cooked the meat, D cooked the veggies) and we made fajitas. It was pretty delicious. But, if I do say so myself, my favorite part was dessert.
That's right, I made that...
D is vegan, and has been for a long time. We're all pretty used to it, and really only ever give him a hard time because, well, he's my brother and that's what we do. But, whenever we get together, we always make sure the meal, especially dessert, is vegan-friendly. And that's what this is. And it's actually super easy, too.

First, I baked some flour tortillas in large muffin tins to make bowls. After they were done, I decided they wouldn't be big enough and I ended up breaking them open anyways, but you could bake them another way to make larger bowls. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees, and bake until they're crispy golden brown.


The fried apples were the easiest part. I just used my standard fried apple recipe, and instead of using real butter, I used vegan butter. My favorite is Earth Balance. Now, this recipe made sundaes for 6.5 people, so you may want to adjust accordingly.

4 apples-skinned, cored and given a rough chop
4 tablespoons vegan butter
4 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons cinnamon
pinch of salt 

Heat your skillet and melt the butter. Once it's melted add in the rest of your ingredients, stir and make sure the apple chunks are all coated. Saute until your apples reach your desired done-ness. We went for still crispy.

It's's healthy...right?

Next, I made a vegan caramel sauce. Again, this is a pretty standard recipe, just replace your dairy ingredients with vegan replacements.

Cinnamon photo-bomb
1/2 cup vegan butter
2 cups brown sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened soy milk
2 tablespoons arrowroot (arrowroot is a thickening agent similar to cornstarch, however, it is gluten-free and it thickens at lower temperatures than flour and cornstarch)

First, combine 1/4 cup soy milk with the arrowroot and set it aside.
Melt the vegan butter in a saucepan, stir in the brown sugar. Add the remaining 1/2 cup soy milk. Bring to a boil and boil for about 4 minutes, stirring. Make sure to avoid burning or boiling over.

Take the pan off the heat and immediately add the soy milk/arrowroot combo. This sauce will keep in the fridge for about a week. If it lasts that long. 

This, of course, screams for vanilla ice cream. D's favorite is Purely Decadent brand. It's made with coconut milk. So get your tortilla cup, spoon in some fried apples. Add a scoop..or several..of ice cream, and then top with your caramel sauce!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

The Bestest Chocolate Chip Cookies Ever

I've been pretty sick the past couple of days, but I've graduated from a lump in the bed to a lump at my computer. Such progress. Being sick always makes me feel down and depressed, so I thought I'd leave you all something that always cheers everyone up - Chocolate Chip Cookies.

I love to cook, but I really love baking. The way the house smells when you've got some kind of delicious treat in the oven always gives me such a happy, loving feeling.
I've been baking chocolate chip cookies for as long as I can remember. Every time I baked them, I'd tweek the recipe just a bit until I found The Perfect Recipe. Also, in my opinion, ingredients are key. 

Most of my ideas came from this recipe, and I give credit where credit is due.

Blue Ribbon Chocolate Chip Cookies

Here is my final, and pretty darn perfect, chocolate chip cookie recipe. I hope you enjoy.

*4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
*2 teaspoons baking soda
*2 cups unsalted sweet cream butter, softened
*1 1/2 cups packed dark brown sugar
*1/2 cup white sugar
*2 (3.4 ounce) packages instant vanilla pudding mix
*4 eggs
*2 teaspoons vanilla extract
*4 cups milk chocolate chips
You can add nuts if you like them in your cookies, but I never do.

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Mix the flour and baking soda, set aside.
2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar. Beat in the
instant pudding mix until blended. Stir in the eggs and vanilla. Blend in the flour mixture.
Finally, stir in the chocolate chips. Drop cookies by rounded spoonfuls onto ungreased
cookie sheets.
3. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes in the preheated oven. Edges should be golden brown.

Here are my tips and tricks:

-Get unsalted sweet cream butter and dark brown sugar. The richness of both ingredients
make a huge difference in the flavor of the cookies.
-Because of the richness of the cookie batter, I prefer to use milk chocolate chips rather
than semi-sweet. But that flavor profile is up to you.
-Only bake the cookies until the very edges are golden brown. The cookies will stay soft
much, much longer that way.
-Adding the instant vanilla pudding mix is what finally did it for me. It helps keep the
cookies soft and chewy and adds a little something extra to the flavor of the cookie.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

On the Bandwagon

So, I've been toying with the idea of getting a blog for awhile. Always stopping me...who on earth could possible want to read my ramblings. Well, I finally decided - I just don't care. I don't know how much this will be used for documenting everyday, mundane life. But...I would like a place were I could post stuff. Upload my recipes so I have them collected somewhere (free). Post things that I find funny. And so on.
And so I begin with a recipe. A friend gave me this, and I've tweeked it here and there till it's just the way I love it. Hubs adores it, and it always seems to be gone whenever I'm packing up the crock pot to go home. So here it is.