Monday, March 10, 2014


Stained Glass Cookies
{vegan option}



I became a fan of stained glass cookies back in ...2008? 2007? Maybe before then? My memory is crap but the point is, they've been on my favorite list for a long time now. I immediately had to try 'em out after spotting them in a Martha Stewart magazine and I've been making them ever since to include in my Christmas Cookie Box. 

Geez...I've never really thought about how many times I've made this cookie. It's been quite a few times. Always experimenting with different sugar cookie recipes and different candies, but always ending up with a tasty end result.  


Now even I have to admit that I can only eat about one whole cookie and then for the next cookie (shutup. like you eat just one!), I usually eat around the candy so I don't have to worry about it getting stuck in my teeth. Yup, that would be one of the many annoying concerns I now have as I get closer to 30. Dental health. How lame is that? I mean not that I never cared before but I miss the days of eating candy without a second thought.

Responsibility blows.  

But you know who couldn't care less about getting candy stuck in their teeth? Kids and grown men. You're probably thinking, yeah I get why candy cookies get the kids all amped but grown men? Yeah, I don't get it either and it caught me off guard but I speak the truth. Grown men love candy cookies. Some grown men just don't care about cavities. 


I've experimented with a few different candies other than jolly ranchers. I've tried life savers, lemon heads, butterscotch, and candy canes to name a few. Not all of these candies are on the accidentally vegan list so if you want to keep them vegan double check the list or just trust me and stick to the jolly ranchers.



NOTES: You can make these into whatever shape you want. I love thin sugar cookies but the thinner you go the more difficult your cookie can be to work with and you risk having candy splatter marks along the edge of the inner shape. I stick with about 1/8-1/4 inch thick.

The orange juice is optional but I do recommend adding some kind of citrus like lemon or lime. I went with orange juice since they are in season.

Depending on your shape you may need to crush the candy. For the shape used on the cookies pictured, I had a very easy time just placing the candy as is in the middle. If you are using a more intricate shape with more detail and nooks, crush the candy by placing it in a plastic bag and hitting it a few times with a hammer or rolling pin. You can do a tie-dye effect by adding different colored crushed candies!



I have two versions of this recipe for you today! Both delicious, one vegan. If you live in Austin you may have caught me on Fox7 showing you how to make these cookies! My armpits were sweating like you wouldn't believe the entire time I was recording this segment but it was fun!!



Stained Glass Cookies
makes about 30-5" inch cookies

2 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
3-4 tbsp fresh orange juice

In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt-set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer on medium speed, beat sugar, butter, and vanilla until light and fluffy-about 3 minutes. Add eggs one at a time beating well to combine. On low speed, add flour mixture. Add fresh orange juice.
Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least 45 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350. Roll cookies to about 1/8-1/4 inch thick. Cut out inner shape. Place candy in the middle of the cookie shape and bake for about 10-13 minutes or until corners are lightly browned. Let cool on the pan for 5-8 minutes before placing them on a cooling rack.

{Vegan version}
makes about a dozen 5" cookies
1 1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup sugar
4 tbsp vegan margarine
1 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp ground chia seed + 3tbsp water
3 tbsp fresh orange juice

Mix ground chia seed and water in a small bowl and set aside. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt-set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer on medium speed, beat sugar, butter, and vanilla until light and fluffy-about 3 minutes. Add chia "egg" and mix to combine. On low speed, add flour mixture. Add fresh orange juice.
Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least 45 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350. Roll cookies to about 1/8-1/4 inch thick. Cut out inner shape. Place candy in the middle of the cookie shape and bake for about 10-13 minutes or until corners are lightly browned. Let cool on the pan for 5-8 minutes before placing them on a cooling rack. Check and make sure the candies you are using are vegan!!

Enjoy!!

Thursday, February 13, 2014


Chocolate Lover's Dream Cake
{Happy Galentine's Day!}


'Tis the season for chocolate covered strawberries, hearts on everything, pink & red, hugs & kisses. Orrrr...'tis the season for all that annoying lovey-dovey crap. Regardless of your mindset, if you're in a relationship or single, Hangin' with the girls or hangin' with your cats, Valentine's should be handled the same way... With cake!

While chocolate cakes are not my personal first choice, when it comes to cake requests in February- chocolate trumps all. And when I think of a Valentine's Day cake, this cake here is what pops into my head. I know putting chocolate covered strawberries on top of a chocolate layered cake isn't the most original idea, but I think this is the type of cake that will never be dated. It's simple, classy, & elegant.


 And whether you're a sweets person or not, chocolate covered strawberries are always tempting! 


This cake is made up of moist chocolate cake layered with ganache and all wrapped up in a smooth chocolate buttercream frosting. Then topped with milk chocolate covered strawberries. Like the name says, a Chocolate Lover's Dream Cake.


 Chocolate Lover's Dream Cake
makes 4- 6" cakes
or 3- 8" cakes

2.5 ounces bittersweet chocolate,  chopped
2.5 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
1 3/4 cup + 3 tbsp all purpose flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup brewed hot coffee

Preheat oven to 350. Line pans with parchment paper and grease/flour. Melt bittersweet & semi-sweet chocolate in a double-boiler. Beat butter, sugar, and vanilla on medium-high speed until light & fluffy-minimum of 3 minutes. Add eggs one at a time until well combined. Add melted chocolate. In another large bowl, sift together flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Alternating with the dry ingredients and the buttermilk, add each to the butter mixture starting and ending with the dry ingredients. Slowly add hot coffee, mixing until combined. Distribute among pans evenly and bake for 28-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out with a few crumbs. Cool pans on wire racks for 10 minutes. Remove cakes from pans. Once cooled, wrap in plastic wrap and stick in the freezer. This helps with flavoring and handling for decorating but is not a mandatory step.

Ganache Filling
10 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips
1 1/4 cups heavy whipping cream

Heat whipping cream in a small saucepan over medium-high heat until bubbles form around the edge of the pot. Place chocolate in a large bowl. Pour hot cream over the chocolate and whisk until smooth and bump free. Let sit for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, to cool and thicken enough to use as filling.

Chocolate Buttercream

2 sticks butter, softened
1 3/4 cup confectioners sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla
2-3 tbsp milk or milk substitute

Cream together the butter and sugar. Gradually mix in the cocoa powder. Add vanilla and just enough milk to reach the consistency for easy spreading.

Enjoy!
Melissa

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Roasted Tofu & Winter Greens Vermicelli Salad


Woah! I did not intend to be away from the blog for this long. I've missed it!! Though not intended, I'm not surprised. It's usually already the middle of January before I get my act together and do all the things I should have done on the 1st, like writing down my yearly goals and organizing for a fresh new start. I'm lazy and getting my butt of the couch after a few holiday breaks from work is near impossible. Just let me sit with a bag of hot cheetos, a warm blanket and leave me be. But a few "snow days" here in Texas scored me some unexpected days off from work & I took full advantage. Lists have been made, goals have been set, the art/work room is the most organized and functional it's ever been, the pantry received some extra love, and everything is clean and ready for me to mess up all over again!