Sprig and Vine – New Hope, PA

Laura and my birthdays were both in the last month, so we decided to jointly celebrate by going to dinner at Sprig & Vine, a vegan restaurant in New Hope, PA. The chef/owner used to work at the now closed Horizons in Philly. The atmosphere was nice – quiet and relaxed even though the food is fancy.

They have a lunch, dinner, and brunch menu. As tempting as brunch was, we decided to go for dinner. I ordered the blackened tofu, and it was really yummy. It came with sweet potatoes mashed with coconut (milk, I think). It’s not a combo I would have thought of, but the flavors really work well together.

Sprig & Vine - Blackened Tofu

Laura got the Parsnip and White Sweet Potato Ravioli. As good as my tofu was, I think the ravioli dish was the star of the show! The ravioli filling has a lot of fennel in it giving the ravioli a slight taste of licorice, which we both really liked. The cashew cream sauce was really good as well.

Sprig & Vine - Ravioli

Try as we might, we couldn’t leave without dessert! We don’t eat out at restaurants much any more, so we decided to treat ourselves. Laura got vegan tiramisu, which was really good! I love tiramisu and haven’t tried making a vegan version yet.

Sprig & Vine - Tiramisu

I ordered the Chocolate Mousse Pie with a black cocoa crust which turned out to be my favorite. It came with a little scoop of sesame tahini ice cream and was drizzled with salted caramel. The mousse was smooth and creamy and not overly sweet. The salted caramel added a little extra sweetness and saltiness. And the caramel with the sesame ice cream was a really amazing combo. Sesame is one of my favorite flavors, and I don’t know why I never thought of making sesame ice cream before! I will definitely have to make this at home.

Sprig & Vine - Chocolate Mousse

It was a great way to celebrate our birthdays! We’d been wanting to go for a while, and it was really worth the wait. If you find yourself in New Hope, you should definitely give it a try!

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Vegan Shoofly Pie

My girlfriend, Laura, grew up in Central Pennsylvania, and she has PA Dutch roots going back to the 1600’s. Her favorite pie is Shoofly pie which is a traditional PA Dutch recipe featuring molasses. I had never had shoofly pie before, but wanted to try making a vegan shoofly pie like the ones she had growing up. There are different variations on the shoofly pie including wet bottom and dry bottom. Laura said this pie is very similar to the ones she grew up with and that it falls somewhere between a wet bottom and a dry bottom shoofly pie.

Shoofly Pie

Having never had shoofly pie before, it tasted similar to gingerbread minus the ginger since the molasses bottom and crumb topping merge and create a cake-y layer in the middle. Although pies are usually best warm, I actually liked this pie better after it sat in the fridge for a day or two. The molasses firm up and I like the texture after the layers have settled a bit. This makes it a perfect recipe to make a day ahead of time for Thanksgiving or Christmas! The molasses give it a flavor that just seems to fit with the fall/winter months when gingerbread, gingersnaps and other recipes with molasses are popular.

Shoofly Pie

Before we get to the recipe, I also wanted to share a list of upcoming craft shows where I will be selling my handmade fused glass including pendants, earrings, bracelets, pins, and ornaments. My brother, Don Morrison, will also be at these shows with me selling his fused glass and metal jewelry and glass dishes. It would be great to see you at a show! If you don’t live in the area, check out the jewelry I have posted on my Etsy Shop – The Creative Kat. I have many more pendants, earrings, and bracelets than I can list on Etsy, so if there’s something in particular that you’re looking for or you want to see other colors or designs, let me know!

K.Morrison.Flyer

And now, back to the Shoofly pie!

Ingredients:

Pie Crust – make a full batch – you won’t need all of it, but half a batch wasn’t quite enough
1 1/4 cups flour
3 Tbsp Earth Balance vegan butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp baking soda
2/3 cup boiling water
3/4 cup molasses
1 1/2 tsp Ener-G Egg Replacer Powder + 2 Tbsp warm water

Directions:

  • Prepare the pie crust following this recipe. Place the dough in the refrigerator for an hour before assembling the pie.
  • Preheat the oven to 375°.
  • Roll out the pie crust on a floured surface to about 1/4 inch thick. Place it in the pie plate, remove the excess dough, and crimp the edges. Set aside.
  • Break the vegan butter into small chunks. Prepare the crumb topping by combining the flour, brown sugar, and butter. You can use a stand mixer or mix it by hand using a pastry cutter. Mix it until it starts to stick together and look crumbly. Over-mixing will turn it into dough, so keep an eye on it.
  • Whisk together the Ener-G Egg Replacer powder and warm water and set aside. Bring the water and baking soda to a boil. Remove from heat and whisk in the molasses and egg replacer mixture.
  • Pour the molasses filling into the crust. Then sprinkle the crumb topping evenly over the filling. Most of the crumb will sink into the molasses filling, but some will stay dry on top. This is what creates the layers of molasses, cake-y middle, and crumb top.
  • Bake the pie for 45-55 minutes. Let it cool and serve warm or cold based on your preference. Enjoy!

Vegan Caramel Candies and Caramel Sauce

Sorry for not posting much over the last two weeks! I was away in Portland and California for a week and a half and am currently in the midst of a move. I’m taking a break from schlepping boxes downstairs to share a new post with you. This was a recipe I made a while back and never got around to sharing. One thing that seems hard to find is caramel that’s vegan. I decided to try making some myself. It turned out really well and definitely satisfied my caramel craving!

Vegan Caramel

Making caramel seems intimidating at first because you need to use a candy thermometer and monitor the temperature of the caramel. Once you understand how it works and the texture that each temperature produces, it’s really not so hard to make!  Whether you end up with a syrup, a caramel, or a hard candy is dependent on how much water evaporates out of the mixture, in other words, how concentrated the sugar is. The temperature will rise as the water slowly evaporates. Here’s a handy guide on the Exploratorium’s Science of Cooking page.

I found this recipe on Group Recipes, but it originally came from The Glad Cow Cookbook. With this recipe, you can make firm caramel candies or a caramel sauce to drizzle on vegan ice cream. I made both out of one batch and they were equally delicious! And I should mention, it’s always a good idea to be extra careful when making caramel. You definitely don’t want to spill the hot sugar on yourself!

CaramelWrapped

Ingredients:

1 cup vegan butter
2 cups sugar
2 cups soy milk
1 cup light corn syrup
1 tsp vanilla

Directions:

  • Line an 8×8 inch baking pan with parchment paper and grease the parchment paper.
  • Place the vegan butter, sugar, soy milk, and light corn syrup in a large pot and cook over medium heat stirring often. The mixture should come to a boil.
  • Monitor the temperature of the mixture using a candy thermometer.
  • If you would like to make caramel sauce, heat the mixture until it reaches 230°. Stir in the vanilla, then carefully pour it into a jar and store it in the fridge. You can warm it by running the jar under hot water before serving.
  • If you would like to make caramel candies, heat the mixture until it reaches 245°. Stir in the vanilla and pour the mixture into the parchment lined baking dish. Allow the mixture to fully cool, then use kitchen scissors or a knife to cut the candies into small squares. Wrap each individual piece in a square of parchment paper and twist the ends to seal. Store the candies in the fridge.

Note: You can make some caramel sauce and some candies from the same batch. Once the mixture reaches 230° pour out the amount of caramel sauce you would like, adding the vanilla to the sauce and placing it in the jar. Continue to heat the remaining caramel until it reaches 245°, then follow the steps for making the candies.

Fourth of July Rhubarb Peach Crumble

Happy Fourth of July! It kind of snuck up on us this year. Since it’s been raining nearly every day for the last month it doesn’t feel like summer yet. It’s been hot, but it feels like an extended rainy spring. I can’t believe it’s July already!

Rhubarb Peach Crumble

We made a rhubarb and peach crumble to celebrate the holiday. If you’re looking for a last minute dessert recipe, this one is really yummy and pretty simple to make. The peaches and rhubarb provide a sweet and tart combo (like strawberries and rhubarb) that compliments the sweet crumble topping.

Rhubarb Peach Crumble

If you’re looking for something more patriotically colored (and chocolatey) try my Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie with Fresh Berries. Add a little vegan whipped cream or vanilla ice cream and you’ll have red, white and blue!

Filling Ingredients:

3 fresh ripe peaches (about 2 1/2 – 3 cups)
3-4 stalks of rhubarb (about 3 cups)
1 lemon (juice and zest)
3/4 – 1 cup of sugar
1/4 cup flour

Crumble Topping Ingredients:

1 cup flour
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 – 3/4 cup vegan butter

Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 350°. Lightly butter the bottom and sides of an 8 inch baking pan.
  • Peel and chop the peaches into about 1 inch pieces. Chop the rhubarb into small pieces. Zest and juice your lemon.
  • Place the fruit, lemon juice, and lemon zest in a mixing bowl. Add the sugar and flour and mix until the fruit is evenly coated. I started with 3/4 cup of sugar and then tasted the mixture. It seemed pretty tart so I added a little more. Adjust the sugar to your own tastes. The sugar and flour will started to mix with the juices from the fruits.
  • In a separate mixing bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon for the crumble topping. Add the vegan butter in small chunks. Use a pastry blender or fork to cut the butter in. (Sometimes your hands work well too!) The topping should come together in a crumbly consistency, but not as a big ball of dough.
  • Place the fruit mixture in the baking dish. Sprinkle the crumble topping evenly over the fruit.
  • Bake the crumble for 40-45 minutes until the fruit filling is bubbly and the crumble topping is golden brown.

Jewish Apple Cake

When I was in college, I spent summers working in a bakery at a farmer’s market. We made all kinds of baked goods…pies, cookies, muffins, sweet breads. However, my favorite recipe from the bakery was the Jewish Apple Cake. It wasn’t a vegan bakery, and I wasn’t vegan until the end of my time working there. Luckily though, the Jewish Apple Cake is easily veganized by using Ener-G Egg Replacer Powder instead of eggs. The cake didn’t rise up quite as much as it would have with eggs, but the texture was still just like the original.

Jewish Apple Cake

As I was enjoying this cake I realized it would probably work really well with other fruits. Peaches came to mind since they’ll soon be in season. I will definitely be trying this out soon with a peach filling! This recipe makes a big cake, so it’s perfect for sharing. The cake stays moist in the middle and has a nice crispy top from the cinnamon sugar. It’s really a simple, old fashioned recipe, but sometimes the simplest things are the yummiest!

Jewish Apple Cake

Jewish Apple Cake Recipe:

6 Granny Smith Apples
1 tablespoon cinnamon
5 tablespoons sugar
2 3/4 cups flour, sifted
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups sugar
1/4 cup orange juice
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
2 Tbsp Ener-G Egg Replacer Powder mixed with 8 Tbsp warm water

  • Preheat the oven to 350°. Grease and flour a 9 inch Bundt pan.
  • Peel, core, and thinly slice your apples into wedges.
  • In a small bowl combine the cinnamon and sugar and set aside.
  • In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. In a separate mixing bowl whisk together the Ener-G Egg Replacer Powder and the warm water. Then whisk in the oil, orange juice, sugar, and vanilla.
  • Mix the wet ingredients into the dry until well combined.
  • Pour a third of the batter into the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle a generous layer of apples on the batter. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar on top of the apples. Layer another third of the batter on top, then another layer of apples and cinnamon sugar. Spread the remaining batter on top. Place just a few apple pieces into the batter and sprinkle the top with cinnamon sugar.
  • Cover the Bundt pan loosely with tin foil. Bake for 1 hour. Remove the tinfoil and bake for another half hour until the top is golden brown and a skewer or cake tester inserted into the cake comes out clean. Covering the cake for the first hour helps to keep the apples on top from burning.
  • The cake slid out of my Bundt pan pretty easily, but if you can’t get it out, you can always serve it from the pan. It does make a nice presentation when it’s out of the pan though!

Vegan Brownie Recipe

I’ve tried various vegan brownie recipes that I haven’t been thrilled with… I know, how do you mess up brownies? But the texture would always be off, or they were crispy and I couldn’t get them out of the pan. I had a chocolate craving the other night though, and I finally found a recipe that actually came out pretty well.

Brownie

I might tweak it next time by using a bit less oil. I ended up adding a little extra cocoa powder because they seemed too wet from oil, but otherwise they turned out well. They were easy to get out of the pan, and they were fudgy and soft like a brownie should be. The recipe came from All Recipes. They were so yummy I didn’t wait to get a photo of the whole pan as you can see. We just dug right in! If you have a favorite vegan brownie recipe, share it in the comments!

Pan of Brownies

Ingredients:

2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
2 cups vegan white sugar
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 cup water
1 cup vegetable oil (I’d cut this to about 3/4 cup next time – maybe even 1/2 cup)
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup chocolate chips (optional)
1 cup nuts (optional)

Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 350°.
  • In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. Then add the water, vegetable oil, and vanilla. Stir until the batter is completely combined.
  • Add the chocolate chips and nuts if desired. I just used chocolate chips in this batch, but I like walnuts in brownies too.
  • Pour the batter into a 9×13 inch baking pan and smooth it out.
  • Bake the brownies for 25-30 minutes until a knife poked in the center comes out clean. Let them cool down a little before cutting them up or they’ll fall apart. Enjoy!

Virtual Vegan Potluck – Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie with Fresh Berries

Welcome to the third Virtual Vegan Potluck! It’s been great to see this grow so much each time! In case you just happened upon my blog and don’t know what the Virtual Vegan Potluck is, it’s a blog circle of recipes by vegan and vegan friendly bloggers. You can start at the beginning by going to Vegan Bloggers Unite, or see the blogs before or after me in the potluck by following the Go Forward and Go Back links at the bottom of this post. I’m excited to be participating again, and I’ve brought one of my favorite dessert recipes to share!

This recipe originally came from Vegetarian Times many years ago, and I’ve made a few modifications to it over the years. This pie is pretty easy and quick to make, and it’s perfect for sharing! Who doesn’t love peanut butter, chocolate, and berries? I wish I could give each of you a slice in real life!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie

I make the crust from scratch because many store bought graham cracker crusts aren’t vegan. Most graham crackers contain honey, but Nabisco Originals don’t. Making a graham cracker crust from scratch isn’t too hard and doesn’t take much time. I think they’re tastier than the store bought versions too! You can also use ginger snaps, vanilla or chocolate wafer cookies, or any other type of cookie or cracker that is dry and crumbly to make a crust. That’s one of the things I like so much about this pie, it’s easily customizable. In addition to changing the flavor of the crust you could substitute almond butter or cashew butter for the peanut butter, and you could top the pie with anything you like – nuts, vegan whipped cream, bananas, etc. Make it your own!

Graham Cracker Crust Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (about 10-11 whole crackers)

1/4 cup sugar

dash of salt

1/2 tsp cinnamon

5 Tbsp melted vegan butter (Earth Balance or organic Smart Balance)

Graham Cracker Crust Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 375°.
  • Place the graham crackers in a ziploc bag and seal it shut. Use a rolling pin or a wooden spoon to crush the crackers into crumbs.
  • Pour the crumbs into a mixing bowl and add the sugar, salt, and cinnamon to the crumbs. Stir until combined.
  • Melt the vegan butter and drizzle it over the crumbs. Mix it with a fork until combined.
  • Pour the crumbs into a 9 inch pie plate. Press them into the bottom of the pie plate and up the edges. They should stick together. If any holes form, make sure you fill them in.
  • Bake the crust for about 10-15 minutes. If the sides of the crust slouch down after baking, gently use the back of a spoon to push the crust back up the sides of your pie plate. Let the crust cool fully before putting the filling in.

Ingredients for Pie Filling:

  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 12-oz. container silken tofu
  • ½ cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • berries for the top

Directions for Pie Filling:

1. In a food processor or blender, combine the silken tofu and maple syrup and blend until smooth. Add the peanut butter and blend it again until it’s smooth.

2. Melt the chocolate chips, either using a double boiler or heating it in 30 second intervals in the microwave until melted. Stir the chocolate frequently as it melts. Add the melted chocolate to the food processor or blender and blend until smooth. Pour the filling into your cooled graham cracker crust. Smooth the top out and refrigerate the pie at least 20 minutes to firm up.

4. Place the berries on top (or use your topping of choice). You can use fresh berries when in season or thawed frozen berries other times of the year. Keep the pie refrigerated. Enjoy!

Be sure to check out the rest of the potluck by following these links! The blog before me is Mama et de Bebe Hawk and the blog after me is Deerly Beloved Bakery. You can also start at the beginning by visiting Vegan Bloggers Unite!

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