Healthier homemade vegan funfetti muffin cupcakes

At last, it’s what you’ve all been waiting for: healthier funfetti cupcakes minus sprinkles! Just kidding–I know you haven’t been waiting. Also, these have sprinkles. But not too much.

For some time, I’ve been wanting to create a wholesome, all-natural version of funfetti cupcakes. It took awhile to actually get down to it, because I don’t actually really like funfetti cupcakes. But, my lovely friend Hannah does, and it’s a birthday tradition for her to have them. Her sweet girls make her the real deal, tempting with glorious color bursts. This year I wanted to try my hand at a lighter version…the kind you could even eat for breakfast if you scraped off the frosting. 

It may seem too embarrassing to admit, but some nights I found myself waking up, brain wrinkled with a torrent of unlikely sprinkles replacements. Would it be very finely grated and chopped beets, and carrots? Little dots of injected purple cabbage juice? Um, no. At least to the cabbage juice. 

When I really got down to the business of funfetti play, I couldn’t bring myself to exclude sprinkles altogether, although I am sure somebody has/will with delectable success. But on this occasion I couldn’t help but conclude, aren’t the sprinkles the fun in the fetti? 

This is not to say a compromise didn’t emerge. One did. With it being the holiday season, I’m going to call it Christmas magic, though it was actually obvious and convenient. For this batch of funfetti cupcakes–which, truly, could be muffins– I used just 1/4 cup of sprinkles ( a little more for decoration), and enhanced the look and flavor with chopped cranberries and raspberries. Orange juice works as well as non-dairy milk of choice; in fact, I think I prefer it. In any case, it’s worth the experimentation. Trial by error yumminess. 

Happy New Year!

Healthier vegan funfetti cupcake muffins
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Ingredients
  1. 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  2. 1/2 cup maple syrup or brown sugar
  3. 2 teaspoons baking powder
  4. 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  5. 3/4 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk (I used almond) or orange juice
  6. 2 tablespoons melted coconut oil
  7. 1/4 cup aquafaba (chickpea liquid) or 1 beaten egg, if not vegan
  8. 2 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
  9. 1/3 cup finely chopped cranberries
  10. 1/3 cup chopped raspberries
  11. 1/4 cup rainbow sprinkles plus additional for decoration
  12. vegan frosting of choice (I like making one with powdered sugar, tofu, and melted dark chocolate)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan.
  2. Mix together flour, maple syrup or sugar, baking powder, and baking soda in a medium mixing bowl. Stir in non-dairy milk or orange juice, coconut oil, applesauce, aquafaba or egg. Mix until well blended. Stir in cranberries, raspberries and sprinkles. Spoon into baking cups, filling about 2/3 of the way full.
  3. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of cupcakes comes out clean. Cool completely and frost.
Happy Apple Natural Kitchen http://www.happyapplekitchen.com/

Vegan Cookie Trio

So, we’re at three days till Christmas! Probably two by the time I actually share this quick post. Why am I so continuously surprised? We’ve been eagerly whittling away at the advent calendar all month long (F has a Lego one this year, and it is AWESOME…though, of course I would say that about anything our winsomely giddy-for-Christmas four-year old enjoys so gleefully). We’ve counted up, we’ve counted down, we’ve compared which was more–closed or open doors. And yet, why do I find myself repeatedly experiencing mini moments of panic, find myself daily exclaiming with the same genuine shock, “How is this possible?!”

Maybe it’s the busyness. Despite all the messaging this time of year to slow down and enjoy, we don’t live in a society that actually follows through in that regard. Maybe it had something to do with the unseasonably warm weather. Until recently, that is…because yesterday, it SNOWED! And it got COLD! Crisp, festive cold, not dank, under your skin and into your bones cold. Which makes this holiday weekend the perfect time to fit in one more bout of cookie baking. 

Once again, I can’t waffle on the way I’m apt to or would like to–because I’m still too busy and so are you. But here are three of my favorites (featuring the awe-inspiring curiosity which is aquafaba, of course) for this holiday season, hopefully in time to make it into yours, too. Or, if not, then next year. Or even next week, because while the gingerbread cutouts may be Christmas-stamped (at least for those of you who like to keep things in their place, e.g. no Christmas mugs past December), the other two are– or can be tweaked to be–most welcome any time of year. Happy baking, and happy holidays!


Another year, another attempt to make a healthier, vegan version these gluten-free cinnamon toffee blondie bars I made for Ancient Harvest…and this year’s experiment is so far my favorite! Only thing is, they’re not toffee blondies anymore. It’s kind of hard to veganize toffee chips. Which is fine, because I realized finally that I don’t actually even like toffee chips. Or toffee. So these cinnamon spicy blondie bars with dark chocolate chips suit me just fine and then some. Very heartily kid-approved!

Vegan gluten-free cinnamon chip bars
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Ingredients
  1. 1/2 cup liquid coconut oil
  2. 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  3. 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  4. 1/2 cup aquafaba (drained chickpea liquid)
  5. 2 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
  6. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  7. 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  8. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  9. 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  10. 1 cup Ancient Harvest quinoa flour
  11. 3/4 cup Ancient Harvest quinoa flakes
  12. 1/2 cup almond flour
  13. 1 cup dark chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare an 8-inch square pan with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a lsaucepan, mix coconut oil and sugars on medium low until combined. Add the aquafaba and vanilla and stir until combined.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the quinoa flour, quinoa flakes, almond flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Add the sugar mixture and stir to combine.
  4. Stir in chocolate chips.
  5. Spoon batter (will be thick) into prepared pan and spread out until smooth and even. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes, or until edges are slightly puffed and browned and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Happy Apple Natural Kitchen http://www.happyapplekitchen.com/

These are those same chocolate cookies I posted the other week–which are an adaptation of these chocolate cookies featuring aquafaba. Chef Felix made the call to add crushed candy canes, and tada! Successful transformation into Christmas cookies!

Vegan gluten-free double chocolate peppermint cookies
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Ingredients
  1. 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  2. 1/2 cup maple syrup of honey
  3. 1 teaspoon baking powder
  4. 1 teaspoon baking soda
  5. 1/3 cup chickpea flour
  6. 6 tablespoons aquafaba
  7. 1/2 cup of natural almond or peanut butter
  8. 2 tablespoons powdered sugar (optional)
  9. 2 teaspoons vanilla
  10. 1/3 cup vegan chocolate chips
  11. 1/2 to 1 candy cane, crushed
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Combine aquafaba, honey, and nut butter in a mixing bowl. Stir until combined.
  3. Mix cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and chickpea flour together with a whisk.
  4. Combine the wet ingredients and dry ingredients and mix thoroughly until dough forms.
  5. Add the chocolate chips and crushed candy canes to the dough and continue stirring until evenly distributed.
  6. Roll dough into balls or drop by tablespoon an inch apart onto a baking sheet lined with parchment or silicone. Press down slightly with a fork.
  7. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Cool and enjoy!
Happy Apple Natural Kitchen http://www.happyapplekitchen.com/

These vegan gingerbread cutout cookies are slightly modified Cookie And Kate awesomeness, testing out aquafaba. They are as fun as play dough to make and as pretty…and far more delicious. 

Vegan whole wheat gingerbread cutouts
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Ingredients
  1. 3 cups sprouted whole wheat flour (I use One Degree Organics) or whole wheat pastry flour
  2. 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  3. 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  4. ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  5. ½ teaspoon baking soda
  6. ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  7. ½ cup melted coconut oil
  8. ½ cup blackstrap molasses
  9. ½ cup brown sugar
  10. 5 tablespoons aquafaba (drained chickpea liquid)
  11. 1 tablespoon chopped crystallized ginger
  12. 1 - 2 tablespoons orange juice, as needed
  13. Additional flour, for rolling
Instructions
  1. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, baking soda and baking powder with a whisk.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the coconut oil and molasses and stir to combine. Add the brown sugar and aquafaba and stir to blend.
  3. Pour the liquid mixture into the dry and mix to form a ball of dough. Add orange juice by tablespoon as needed.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 Fahrenheit with racks in the middle of the oven. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or silpat. Lightly flour your working surface and roll out one of your discs out until it’s ¼ inch thick.
  5. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or to desired crispness (the aquafaba tends to extend cooking time). Place the baking sheets on cooling racks to cool.
Adapted from Cookie and Kate
Adapted from Cookie and Kate
Happy Apple Natural Kitchen http://www.happyapplekitchen.com/

Aquafaba “play date”: holiday roundup 1

I’m finally getting around to sharing specifics on recent, aquafabalicious aquafaba “play date”! I’ll try not to ramble too long. There will be plenty of more opportunities to rave about the science-meets-magic of the stuff, as indicated by the number 1 heading this post. 

What is aquafaba? Simply put, a vegan dream. Also a vegan-ish delight. A frugal cook’s simple pleasure. And let’s not forget a platform for potions for any curious chemist-in-the-kitchen.

For those who appreciate specifics, aquafaba is the viscous canned chickpea liquid you usually dump down the drain. It’s a translucent, thick liquid resulting from soaking or cooking chickpeas (and possibly other legumes or beans) for an extended period of time, and it resembles an egg white. Turns out, it can also be used in place of an egg white, or an egg. It can even be whipped up, transforming into beautiful, peaked meringue without a hint of chickpea flavor! It takes a little longer (maybe 10 minutes or so, quicker with a pinch of cream of tartar added), but we’re talking minutes. 

How does it work, actually? Of course I really don’t know. It’s been theorized that during the cooking process, the starches in legume seeds are gelatinized, setting up conditions allowing for soluble parts of the seed to go back out into the cooking water. What I do know is that, so far, it bakes beautifully in many a holiday treat. Here’s a sampling so far, to be continued soon. 🙂

Gluten-free vegan  double chocolate chip cookies. Just lightly crispy on the outside, chewy in the inside, these gooey treats could easily be made as brownie bars. Before our our aquafaba “play date”, Sarah and I separately made these amazing cookies. I altered the recipe a bit, stretching the batter further with the addition of a little chickpea flour, adding a bit extra cocoa powder, and replacing the sugar with a lower amount of honey. These are great for giveaways, on-hand freezer treats, just about any occasion. I don’t have a picture to show you right now because I lost them somehow–but I will have occasion to take more and update very soon. If I had to pick a favorite among these recipes, if would be these based on the intended frequency of baking.

Double chocolate chip cookies
1/3 cup + 2 tablespoons organic cocoa powder (if available) 3/4 cup organic coconut sugar 1/2 tablespoon of organic baking soda 4 tablespoons aquafaba from organic chickpeas 1/2 cup of organic almond butter 2 teaspoons organic vanilla 1/3 cup vegan chocolate chips
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Ingredients
  1. 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  2. 1/2 cup maple syrup of honey
  3. 1 teaspoon baking powder
  4. 1 teaspoon baking soda
  5. 1/3 cup chickpea flour
  6. 6 tablespoons aquafaba
  7. 1/2 cup of natural almond or peanut butter
  8. 2 tablespoons powdered sugar (optional)
  9. 2 teaspoons vanilla
  10. 1/3 cup vegan chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Combine aquafaba, honey, and nut butter in a mixing bowl. Stir until combined.
  3. Mix cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and chickpea flour together with a whisk.
  4. Combine the wet ingredients and dry ingredients and mix thoroughly until dough forms.
  5. Add the chocolate chips to the dough and continue stirring until evenly distributed.
  6. Roll dough into balls or drop by tablespoon an inch apart onto a baking sheet lined with parchment or silicone. Press down slightly with a fork.
  7. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Cool and enjoy!
Adapted from Global Healing Center
Happy Apple Natural Kitchen http://www.happyapplekitchen.com/


Vegan, light molasses cookies. 
These bite-sized delights were an experiment and a pleasant surprise! Just crisp on the outside and just soft on the inside, they taste like lightly sweetened, ginger-flavored biscuits that also happen to double up as fantastic holiday pie crust in lieu of graham cracker crumbs.

Vegan light molasses cookies
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Ingredients
  1. 1 3/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  2. 1 teaspoon baking soda
  3. 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  4. 1/2 teaspoon ginger root
  5. 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  6. 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  7. 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  8. 1 tablespoon crystallized ginger, chopped (optional)
  9. 1/4 cup brown sugar
  10. 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
  11. 1/4 cup molasses
  12. 6 tablespoons aquafaba
  13. coconut sugar for rolling, optional
Instructions
  1. Combine dry ingredients, flour through spices and brown sugar, in a mixing bowl.
  2. Add remaining ingredients to bowl, stirring to combine.
  3. Shape dough into 24 balls, about 1 tablespoon each. Roll balls in remaining coconut sugar; if desired.
  4. Place 1 inch apart on baking sheets covered with parchment paper or silicone. Bake at 350° for 12 minutes or just until set.
Happy Apple Natural Kitchen http://www.happyapplekitchen.com/

Vegan pumpkin pie. We made this scrumptious pumpkin pie with fresh roasted pumpkin, and so added a bit of flour to the mix to help it firm up, but that shouldn’t be necessary with canned. And even if you were to get a custard middle, this would be worth it. Tastes so deceptively decadent. Gorgeous, especially topped with coconut whip.

Vegan pumpkin pie
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Ingredients
  1. 1 15-ounce can pumpkin puree or 2 cups fresh cooked, pureed pumpkin
  2. 6 tablespoons aquafaba
  3. 1 cup evaporated coconut milk (full fat coconut milk works, too)
  4. 1/2 cup maple syrup
  5. 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
  6. 1 tablespoon crystallized ginger, chopped
  7. 2 tablespoons molasses or brown sugar
  8. 1 prepared pie crust, fresh or frozen and blind baked
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Combine all filling ingredients in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk.
  3. Pour filling into prepared crust.
  4. Bake for one hour or until mostly set. Chill at least two hours.
Happy Apple Natural Kitchen http://www.happyapplekitchen.com/

Pumpkin meringue tart. I’m not going to type up a recipe for this, because I’d have to guestimate completely. This was a winging-it creation Sarah put together, and it was suprt scrummy! You can figure it out: basically, crumble some of the molasses cookies, above, with a little added coconut oil to make pressed crust. Pour over a layer (thinner than a pie) of pumpkin filling (above), and bake until set. Whip up some aquafaba meringue and broil a few minutes until lightly browned. This is amazing. (Superb, Sarah!) One of us needs to make again and write down specifics. 

 

 

 

Vegan gluten-free pumpkin gingerbread

Remember that time–like ten days ago–when I waxed on a little about Pumpkin Spice Love? You know, pumpkin cheer, pumpkin chili, pumpkin bread, soup, pie…you name it. Well, this pumpkin gingerbread marries all that pure pumpkin sentiment with two of my other favorite things to dive into and borderline obsess over: the holiday season, and aquafaba.

Whether or not you’ve heard of it, you have been aware of aquafaba for a long time. It’s the briny liquid left when you drain canned or cooked chickpeas, and it’s a vegan dream. As well as a vegan-ish dream, apparently, since I suppose that is really the more appropriate term in our household. I was recently introduced to it by my friend Sarah, when she innocently asked me if I’d heard of it. Since then, not only have Sarah and I been indulging in a text frenzy of parallel yet distinct experimental aquafaba journeys, I seem to be making it an unconscious mission to spread the fever. Case in point, quick glimpse of text thread with my cooking queen friend Kristin yesterday:

 

I could, and will, ramble on much longer about aquafaba awesomeness, but not yet. Because, today Sarah and I pulled off a super efficient and productive aquafaba playdate, yielding five glorious festive creations highlighting supercalegumerific exgarbanzolisciousness. And I’ll need a little time to type that up. In the meantime, consider the warm spice and richness of pumpkin gingerbread that happens to be pretty low sugar (maple syrup and molasses sweetened), easily tweakable, vegan and gluten-free. 

This was inspired by a beautiful pumpkin gingerbread from Oh She Glows. I expect you could pull off any favorite flour or gluten-free blend, but I do think that the 1/2 cup coconut flour and 1/2 cup almond flour mix for half of that makes for a really nice, almost custard-like texture that works. I used 1/2 cup chickpea flour and 1/2 cup sprouted rice flour for the remainder, but only because I had a bunch of remnants in bitty bags that were cluttering my cupboard. The combination was just right, but so could have been others. Try and see.

On that note, remember that time–also ten days ago, that same time I was talking about before–when I implied I would make an effort to post recipes I wanted to record even if there wasn’t time to say a whole lot about them? This is me attempting to follow through on that. Happy Thanksgiving!

Pumpkin gingerbread (GF, vegan)
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Ingredients
  1. 1 cup canned pumpkin
  2. 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
  3. 1/4 cup blackstrap molasses
  4. 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  5. 6 tablespoons aquafaba (chickpea water)
  6. 1/2 cup almond flour
  7. 1/2 cup coconut flour
  8. 1 cup gluten-free flour blend of choice (I used 1/2 cup chickpea and 1/2 cup sprouted rice)
  9. 2 teaspoons baking powder
  10. 1 tsp baking soda
  11. 2 teaspoons ground cinnamonm
  12. 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  13. 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  14. 1 tablespoon chopped crystallized ginger (optional)
  15. 1/3 cup raisins
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Combine first five ingredients (pumpkin through aquafaba) in a medium-sized mixing bowl and blend well.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients. Add the wet mixture to the dry, and stir well.
  4. Stir in raisins and chopped ginger, if using.
  5. Pour the batter into a loaf pan coated with cooking spray or lined with parchment paper. Bake for approximately 55 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
Happy Apple Natural Kitchen http://www.happyapplekitchen.com/

Felix’s 4th Birthday Vegan Ice Cream Cake

This recipe has it all. It’s divine. It’s simple. It’s quick. It can be tailored to taste in seconds according to whim. What it doesn’t have–in this post, I mean–is a selection of pictures to accompany it and do it justice.

I didn’t expect to feel compelled to post this dreamy concoction…little F’s turning four-years-old dream birthday cake. There are so many things I didn’t expect to be mulling over lately. Most of all, despite being perpetually nostalgic and overly conscious of time, I didn’t expect quite how much it would floor me that my baby is now FOUR. I didn’t expect to find myself still freelancing, out of the classroom, at this point. Somehow over the years opportunities have kept emerging that have allowed me to keep juggling and prioritizing a flexible schedule I’ve loved. Somehow years of being steadily conditioned to flux hasn’t kept me from being any less surprised when things appear, nor any less disappointed when they end. But somehow the flow keeps going, and it’s all OK.

More than OK. Four is FABULOUS. Four is imaginative, bold, cuddly but increasingly self-assured. Four is taking initiative and sharing the play, wonder and discovery. Four is forming opinions with innocence and genuine reflection. Four deserves this birthday cake…and so does any age after. There is no doubt this cake method is the base of new evolving traditions in our house.

This recipe is owing hugely to this amazingly scrumptious recipe and post from the brilliant Minimalist Baker. And a very liberal take/modified version of this incredible chocolate banana bread turned cake from Chocolate Covered Katie bliss. I short-cutted the simple method even further by laying down three slim layers of the cake/bread mixture in three identical loaf pans lined with parchment paper and baked all at once. All you do after the layers cool is lay down a slightly softened layer of vegan ice cream of choice, top with the second cake layer, then another ice cream layer, then final cake layer; cover with foil or container lid and freeze. When it’s time to serve, let soften enough to invert out of the pan on a plate. I topped with rich, gooey melted dark chocolate with a little bit of coconut milk. Add a candle on top…absolute birthday decadence guaranteed to bring on lasting satisfaction from the wide-eyed appreciative reaction alone. (By the way, our choice of ice cream was a layer of So Delicious almond milk cookies and cream ice cream and another layer of So Delicious coconut milk oregon berry ice cream…swoon!)

This cake was the perfect way to round out a perfect birthday week for one very excited four year old. From waking up to a spangly decorated house on birthday morning to windblown first-time Go Kart excitement as a family in the afternoon to a special 2nd annual birthday hiking party with lovely little friends on the weekend following…everything about turning four has been pretty much magical. This cake complements all that–layers and layers of joy you just want to sink your teeth into and linger over.

Of course, my heart is overflowing and sometimes achy. Because, four came–and will go– so darn fast. Some days I want to sob my heart out with the kind of ice cream diving dose worthy of any respectable rom-com. This cake is good for that, too. 

Vegan ice cream cake
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Ingredients
  1. 3 very ripe bananas, peeled and mashed
  2. 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  3. 1 tbsp vinegar
  4. 1/4 cup almond milk
  5. ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
  6. ½ cup dark chocolate chips, melted
  7. 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  8. 1 tsp baking soda
  9. 1 tsp baking powder
  10. 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  11. 2 pints non-dairy ice cream of choice (We loved mixing So Delicious Coconut Milk Oregon Berry with So Delicious Almond Milk Cookies and Cream)
  12. 1 cup dark chocolate chips
  13. ⅓ cup almond milk
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F and line three 9×5 loaf pans with parchment paper.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine first six ingredients, mashed bananas through melted chocolate. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda baking powder, and cocoa powder. Pour dry into wet, and stir until just evenly combined. Transfer to the loaf pans and spread out evenly.
  3. Bake approximately 18-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into loaf layers comes out clean.
  4. Top one of the cake layers with ice cream (keeping in the pan). Carefully remove second layer from parchment and place on top of ice cream layer. Top with another layer of ice cream and place the final cake layer on top.
  5. Cover and freeze at least one hour. Let soften 20 minutes before serving.
  6. Melt dark chocolate with coconut milk in a saucepan over medium low heat, stirring until smooth. To serve, invert onto a serving plate and top chocolate sauce.
Adapted from Minimalist Baker
Adapted from Minimalist Baker
Happy Apple Natural Kitchen http://www.happyapplekitchen.com/

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