Spring is finally here even though it still may not feel like it on the east coast! The flowers are beginning to bloom, including the cherry blossoms here in D.C.. I’m just hoping the wintery chill we’ve been experiencing doesn’t wreak havoc on them like last year.
Speaking of blossoms, while on my way home from Whole Foods the other day, I saw some pretty pink blossoms on the tree that looked similar to the famous Yoshino Cherry Blossoms, which should peak in a couple weeks. I thought they would look perfect on top of the spring-themed cupcakes I was planning to make, and they did! And yes, they are edible.
I included some tips below on how to recreate the same Easter/Spring vibe design I created here. It’s actually pretty simple, so read on!
This super moist, crumbly, flavorful vanilla cupcake recipe will not disappoint. It can be decorated to fit any occasion.
1/2 cup – vegan butter at room temp. (I recommend 1 stick of Earth Balance. Dot not use the buttery spread for this)
1 ¼ tsp – vanilla extract
1 tsp – apple cider vinegar
1 cup – vegan milk (I used coconut. Almond, soy, and cashew work as well or better due to their thicker consistency)
1 ¼ – cup all-purpose white flour
1 cup – granulated sugar
¼ tsp – salt
3 tsp – baking powder (or 2 tsp baking soda)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In your mixing bowl, combine apple cider vinegar and milk and whisk together while adding in the vanilla extract and salt. The mixture will chemically react and slightly froth, helping the batter to rise while baking.
Add the stick of butter into mixture and use use mixer to blend into a cream.
Add in sugar and flour and blend all ingredients on medium to high speed until all clumps are out.
Stir in vegan sprinkles
Pour into 14-15 cupcake holders, each approx. ¾ of the way full.
Place pans in the preheated oven and bake 25-30 minutes until the top begins to turn golden. Test cupcakes at 25 mins with a toothpick and remove the cupcakes from the oven if the toothpick is clean of batter.
Let them completely cool before frosting. At least 30 minutes for best frosting results.
**vegan food coloring and sprinkles also available at Whole Foods and other health food stores
If homemade, use mixer to thoroughly blend all ingredients together in bowl.
Divide frosting into 4 separate cereal-size bowls. Add the following drops of color for each color and use mixer to thoroughly blend. If using store-bought, this steps also help whip and fluff the frosting for piping.
Start icing the cupcake beginning and the very outer edge and slowly move toward the center un a swirl motion, covering entire cupcake. After each individual cupcake, immediately complete steps 5, 6 and 7.
So, I did a little Instagram survey yesterday and the results showed that most of you thought that mixing avocados with chocolate sounded a bit weird. I was a little shocked at these results, since I have heard a lot about avocado puddings, mousses, brownies, and ice creams over the last few years, even though I, myself, never tried it until this past weekend.
I had decided to make a decadent pudding because it just seemed like a cute recipe to make to V-Day, especially when garnished with a bit of red fruit, like raspberries. I actually intended on making a mousse, but by the time I kept adding in chocolate, it became denser like a pudding.
What I liked most about this recipe is that it’s so simple and quick to make. Most of the ingredients can be found in your pantry and if you have some avocados laying around that need to be eaten up, this is the perfect recipe for you. Just throw everything in, blend, and voila – you have a pudding.
Check the recipe out and if you have any feedback or suggestions, comment below! I’m curious as to what you all think after trying the avocado-chocolate combo!
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (Ghirardelli, Trader Joes or Enjoy Life)
3 ripe avocados
1/2 heaping cup coconut sugar (or sweetener of choice with varied results)
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 heaping teaspoon fine salt
Splash of coconut, soy or cashew milk
Fresh raspberries for garnish.
Peel and pit avocados.
Simmer chocolate chips on stove or in microwave (30 seconds increments) and stir.
Blend avocados, vanilla extract, sugar and salt into a processor or into a bowl if using a hand mixer.
Add in melted chocolate and continue to blend until all the avocado lumps smooth out.
Add the splash of milk as mixture thickens so it doesn’t turn into a thick frosting.
With Valentine’s Day right around the corner (giving me yet another excuse to indulge in sweet treats), I figured I would share my fave sugar cookie recipe with you all. The recipe uses pumpkin puree as an egg substitute and it surprisingly works great! The recipe states that you can use apple sauce instead with varied results, but from my past experiences, I would suggest sticking with the pumpkin in this case. Apple sauce works best for moist bakes goods, like muffins and cupcakes; whereas, pumpkin puree makes cookies tender and chewy. Just be sure not to over-bake them, which is I’ve noticed is easy to do for most people. My mom has always told me to slightly under-bake all cookies… pulling them out of the oven as soon as they begin to get a golden hue. Works every time!
If you have the time to spare, the recipe includes instructions for how to make homemade frosting. However; if you’re short on time like I tend to be, you can honestly just use most Pillsbury or Duncan Hines frostings (the vanilla flavors are usually vegan), but make sure to double check the ingredient lists. I prefer to use natural ingredients when it’s not too complicated, so I like the idea of making my own frostings and food colorings (beets for red color). If you’re the same way, the recipe link below contains a sub-link to homemade natural food-coloring. Sometimes I cheat and get my frosting from the local Whole Foods. The brands Wholesome, Simple Mills, and Miss Jones are all vegan organic and can be found at pretty much any natural foods market.
Below is the before and after of the heart-shaped sugars cookies I made last year. I free-handed these hearts with a knife, but feel free to shape them how you please, depending on the occasion. The recipe is linked below, so check it out!
Polvorones or in other words “Mexican Wedding Cookies,” “Russian Tea Cakes” and “Snowball Cookies” are the perfect balance of sweet, salty, and nuttiness that melt and crumble in your mouth, similar to a shortbread cookie. It’s a fairly simple recipe and requires few ingredients, which is a plus during the hectic holiday season.
I first heard of this cookie recipe way back in my 7th grade Spanish class when we were asked to choose one Mexican or Spanish recipe to prepare and bring in for a Christmas potluck. I wasn’t a huge fan of nuts at the time (this recipe contains nuts), but decided to give this one a shot and it immediately became one of my favorite Christmas cookies. The recipe I was given in 7th grade contained butter, but I have been subbing plant-based alternatives for dairy butter and it has no effect on the taste or texture of these cookies. Hope you enjoy them just as much as I do!
1 cup butter (I recommend using Earth Balance buttery spread)
2 cups all-purpose white flour
1/2 cups confectioners sugar
< 1/4 tsp table salt (slightly below measure — a heaping measure once ruined my cookies).
1-1/3 cup crushed pecans (or nut of choice) Dislike nuts? Sub with mini choc. chips (Ghirardelli semi-sweet, Trader Joe’s semi-sweet or Enjoy Life variety).
Cinnamon and nutmeg to taste (I use about 1/2 tsp each).
Confectioners sugar set aside for dusting
Pre-heat oven at 350 degrees.
Cream butter and vanilla until fluffy.
Add sugar, creaming well.
Mix in flour and salt.
Stir in Pecans.
Lightly form dough into approx. 1-inch balls and place on ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake at 350 for 10-12 mins.
Once lightly golden on top, remove from oven. Cookies should appear slightly gelatinous as though they need to cook longer, but should firm up once cooled.
Let cool for 5 minutes then, roll in confectioners sugar. Set aside to cool another 5 minutes and then roll a second time.