Cinnamon Rolls

I’m still enjoying a nice little break for the holidays to rest, reset, and reflect on the way I want to run my business. It’s been an incredibly stressful year for me, and just about everyone else. In the new year you can look forward to new menu items from my bakery, and shipping throughout the United States. I’ll also be working on creating a lifestyle section of the blog where you can read about some of Nick and I’s favorite ethical, vegan restaurants and products like skin care, makeup, clothing, and more. Creating new recipes for the blog is a great deal of fun, but it’s also a lot of extra work for me throughout the week when I have a lot to do with the bakery. This way I can continue to provide quality content to help readers learn more about veganism, sustainability, and leading an ethical lifestyle without the added stress of having to cook and bake every minute of my waking life. That being said, I’m having a lovely holiday vacation and excited for New Years, even though I’m a bit bummed out that Christmas is already over. Christmas has always been my favorite holiday. I enjoy finding the perfect gifts for friends and family, and spending time with people I don’t normally see often. This year was a bit different with the pandemic, but it was still fun nonetheless. Nick and I woke up on Christmas morning and enjoyed one of my all time favorite Christmas traditions, next to opening the presents, which is homemade cinnamon rolls.

For this recipe I’ve adapted my Grandma Billie’s recipe for Sticky Buns, and made it into the best cinnamon rolls I’ve ever had. We also crafted a delicious cream cheese frosting to put on top of the rolls right when they come out of the oven. These cinnamon rolls are warm, ooey-gooey, and reminiscent of every delightful childhood Christmas. They’re also incredibly easy to make, and only require a few ingredients. I put them together the day before Christmas, and leave them in the fridge until Christmas morning. I have no interest in making a dough for cinnamon rolls, and waiting for it to proof on Christmas morning, no matter how easy the recipe is.


Cinnamon

  • Servings: 12-16
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Cinnamon Roll Dough

  • 1 cup oat milk
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp vegan white sugar
  • 2 tbsp Bob’s Red Mill Egg Replacer
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tbsp instant yeast
  • 6 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup vegan butter, we used earth balance
  • 2/3 cups vegan brown sugar

Cinnamon Roll Frosting

  • 1 cup vegan powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegan butter
  • 1/4 cup vegan cream cheese, we used tofutti
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt

Cinnamon Roll Dough Directions

  1. Heat a sauce pan on medium heat for about a minute. You can tell if it’s ready by flicking water at it. If it sizzles and quickly evaporates you’re good to go. Add the oat milk in. It should make a hiss as it goes into the pan. Keep it on medium heat and stir until it begins to simmer whisking occasionally. Don’t stir the liquid continuously as you want it to scald a little bit for this recipe.
  2. Very carefully add in the oil. The oat milk has probably reached a pretty high temperature here, so it may jump and splash back a little.
  3. Whisk in the sugar and salt and allow to simmer for another minute.
  4. Turn off burner and remove the liquid from heat. Allow to cool until it is about room temperature.
  5. While the milk mixture cools combine the egg replacer with 1/4 cup of water in a separate bowl. Mix thoroughly and set aside.
  6. In a large mixing bowl combine yeast with one cup hot water. The water should be hot, but not so hot you can’t touch it.
  7. Add the egg replacer, the milk mixture, and three cups of flower and beat by hand or with a hand mixer.
  8. Add in the rest of the flour. If you chose to use a hand mixer you’ll want to ditch it at this point, because the dough is about to get too heavy for it. Mix the flour in with your hands or a spoon until a soft, somewhat sticky dough has formed.
  9. Knead for a few minutes on a floured surface. Grease mixing bowl, and return the dough ball to the bowl. Cover with a towel and set aside for an hour or until dough has doubled in size.
  10. Once the dough has doubled break it into two portions so it is easier to work with. Roll out each portion separately into a roughly 14″x8″ rectangle.
  11. In a bowl soften one cup of margarine to room temperature, and cream in the vegan brown sugar.
  12. Cream together the room temperature vegan butter, and brown sugar. Spread thoroughly on top of each rectangle.
  13. Dust each dough rectangle with cinnamon atop the butter layer.
  14. Grease two Pyrex baking dishes (sized approximately 15″x8″) with excess butter and brown sugar mixture. Make sure the mixture reaches all the way up the sides, as well as completely coating the bottom.
  15. Roll each rectangle up longways like a pumpkin roll or jelly roll, and cut into 16 pieces
  16. Place your pieces in the buttered pans leaving about 1/2″ of space in between each one.
  17. Allow to proof for an additional half hour at room temperature. At this point you can bake them immediately or refrigerate them for up to 24 hours.
  18. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  19. Bake for 25 minutes, and then ice all the cinnamon rolls while they are still hot. Enjoy warm, or allow them to cool.

Cinnamon Roll Frosting Directions

  1. In a large mixing bowl beat room temperature vegan butter on a low setting with a hand mixer, or stand mixer. Whip it for about two minutes until it develops nice peaks, and becomes a smooth and creamy texture.
  2. Add in the cream cheese, and mix for just long enough to integrate with the butter.
  3. Slowly sift in the powdered sugar, mixing thoroughly.
  4. Add in salt, and vanilla extract. Mix.
  5. Frosting should be a relatively thick consistency, but not thick enough to easily pipe to decorate a cake. If it seems a bit too runny, add more powdered sugar until you reach the desired consistency.
  6. Store frosting in an air tight container in the fridge until ready for use.

Butternut Squash Curry

It’s been a truly dreary, rainy week here in Pittsburgh, and I’ve found myself craving hearty, filling food. I made this recipe combining two of the most craveable fall favorites; curry, and squash. Although this curry is far from a one pot meal, it is relatively easy to make. All you need is some curry paste, coconut milk, fresh produce, and an empty stomach. It is unbelievably filling. I don’t know how I ate as much as I did, or whether I should feel impressed with myself or ashamed. That being said, this curry makes a lot of servings that you can set aside and freeze for the next time you’re craving it on a rainy day.

While you can make your own curry paste we used a store bought one for this recipe. Just be sure to check the label. Some curry pastes contain fish sauce, so it’s worth a quick once over. You can top your curry with anything you want, but I happened across these adorable little beech mushrooms at the food co-op and knew that I had to use them. They honestly ended up being one of my favorite parts of the curry. Trust me, that’s saying a lot, because I loved every part of the curry. The beech mushrooms just ended up being little salty flavor bombs, almost akin to bacon. It cut through the sweet, spicy, and fatty flavors of the curry giving it an additional dimension that was just perfect. I highly recommend using the beech mushrooms, or any kind of small mushrooms that you can find to marinate as directed in the recipe.

We served our curry bowls with noodles as a base, but it’s also good with rice. Though I’m sure it’s far from traditional you could try it with other grains like farro, or quinoa if you wanted. Even serving it alone without any grains should be fine. It’s super dense and starchy with both the squash and the Japanese sweet potato.


Butternut Squash Curry

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: intermediate
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp vegan red curry paste
  • 1 cup butternut squash puree
  • 17 oz coconut milk (two standard sized cans)
  • 1 Japanese sweet potato
  • 8 oz KaMe Ramen Noodles (you can sub any vegan noodles, or rice)
  • 2 jalapeños, cut into rings
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon grass, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp green onion/scallion, finely chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp grated ginger
  • 1 block extra firm tofu
  • 3 limes
  • 4oz beech mushrooms
  • 2 tbsp tamari
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/4 tsp liquid smoke
  • pinch of white pepper
  • 6 tbsp sesame oil

Directions

  1. Clean and prepare all produce items. Peel and cube sweet potatoes, cut jalapeños into rings, grate ginger, mince garlic, finely chop lemon grass and scallions, and cut tofu into pieces. We cut them into large triangles for aesthetic, but you can cut them however you’d like. If you have a whole butternut squash you’ll need to peel it, cut it down, de-seed it, and boil it for about 30 minutes before adding it to a food processor to puree it. It sounds like a lot of work, but you get a lot of additional squash to freeze and use for other recipes. If you don’t want to do all of that you can purchase squash puree.
  2. In a large stock pot add a few tablespoons of sesame oil. Once the oil is hot add garlic, lemongrass, ginger, scallions, and some of the jalapeño rings. Set aside a few rings for garnish.
  3. Add 2 tbsp of the curry paste to the pot to toast it, and then add in the butternut squash puree. Stir the two until they are well integrated.
  4. Add the juice of one lime, followed by the coconut milk.
  5. Put the sweet potato cubes in the pot, so they have plenty of time to cook until they are fork tender. Bring curry to a simmer for at least an hour. Stir often.
  6. In a small mixing bowl add beech mushrooms, the juice of one lime, maple syrup, tamari, liquid smoke, and a pinch of white pepper. Stir to combine. Cook down in a separate pan with some sesame oil. Make sure they are cooked thoroughly, and then set aside. Beech mushrooms can be very bitter if they are not cooked completely.
  7. In a separate pan fry up tofu in sesame oil until it is a nice golden brown on both sides. Set aside.
  8. Bring water to a boil in a separate pot, and cook noodles, or rice, according to package instructions. If you are cooking noodles be sure to run them under cold water after they become al dente, so that they don’t over cook. In this recipe we use the noodles or rice as a bed for the curry. The curry should be hot enough after more than an hour of simmering to heat them back up.
  9. While you’re waiting for your curry to finish simmering cut down the limes into wedges for garnish, and to squeeze directly on top of the curry bowl.
  10. After about 90 minutes of simmering check your potatoes to see if they are fork tender. They should be very soft at this point. If they are done remove the curry from heat, and serve.
  11. To serve add noodles or rice to a bowl, top with curry followed by tofu, beech mushrooms, jalapeños, and some green onion. Add a squirt of lime juice to the bowl for added flavor.

Barbecue Seitan Pizza

Fall has always been one of my favorite seasons. I love watching the leaves change, going to pick apples, having bonfires, and all of the other stereotypical fall activities. Probably the best thing about fall is getting back into making, and eating, some of my favorite comfort foods that seem too heavy during the hot summer months. While Covid is preventing us from doing a lot of fall activities this year like going to fall festivals, or Halloween parties, we’ve already started creating some great fall dishes to share with all of our readers.

Pizza is one of my all time favorite foods, and quite easy to make vegan. It includes only a few ingredients, and it’s easy to personalize. Nick and I often make BBQ cauliflower or BBQ seitan pizzas that are reminiscent of BBQ chicken pizza. We make our dough from scratch, but you can usually find fresh pizza dough at a super market near you. If you decide to buy your dough instead of making it be sure to check the ingredient list for dairy. If you don’t feel up to the task of making our recipe for pizza dough from scratch we recommend the pizza dough from Trader Joe’s.


Barbecue Seitan Pizza

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 8 oz Upton’s Traditional Seitan
  • 1/2 small red onion
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley or cilantro chopped
  • 3/4 cup vegan BBQ sauce
  • 1 tsp vegan Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup vegan “mozarella style” cheese

Directions

  1. Break seitan into chunks. If any of the chunks seem too large cut them into smaller pieces, and then place them in a mixing bowl. Add Worcestershire sauce, and about 1/4 cup of your chosen BBQ sauce. Coat all of the seitan chunks.
  2. Use the rest of the BBQ sauce to coat the pizza crust. You can use a basting brush to spread the sauce out more evenly.
  3. Cut the onion into whatever size pieces you prefer, and chop parsley or cilantro.
  4. Top crust with a thin layer of cheese, and then add the onion and Seitan chunks. Do not add the parsley or cilantro yet.
  5. Add the rest of the vegan cheese on top of the pizza.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees for twenty minutes. If you purchased a crust from the supermarket go by the cook time and temp on the package. Add the parsley or cilantro onto the pizza at this point. You can also top with more BBQ sauce as decoration. Place the pizza back in the oven for a minute or two to wilt the greens just a little.
  7. Slice and serve. BBQ Seitan pizza goes great with a vegan ranch dipping sauce.

Pumpkin Pupcakes

It’s easy to find vegan baked good recipes for you and your human friends for any special occasion. When it comes to our four legged friends finding a vegan baked good recipe that’s safe for your pup can be a task. I had never made dessert for a dog before, and after consulting the internet I didn’t find many recipes I felt comfortable using. I created one with the simplest ingredients that I knew my pet would love.

Nick and I adopted our rat-terrier chihuahua mix, Ozzy, a year ago. He’s an older dog, somewhere between 8-11 years old, and it seems like he’s had a pretty tough life. We wanted to make sure his first birthday with us was super special, so of course I had to figure out how to make him some pupcakes. Ozzy is missing most of his teeth, so anything we give him to snack on needs to be soft. He loves pumpkin. I figured pumpkin would be the perfect ingredient for his October birthday, and would be great for keeping the pupcakes moist and easy to chew. We bought him so many Howloween themed toys for his birthday, so pumpkin seemed to fit the theme.

This recipe only makes about 3-6 cupcakes depending on how full you fill the cups, so if you have more than one pup and want a lot of them for your party be sure to double the recipe. I kept it to a small batch, because while these are relatively healthy they are still an indulgent treat and my dog doesn’t need to eat more than two of them in a week. Any that you don’t use can be placed in an air tight container and frozen. These are totally safe for human consumption, and they taste pretty alright. If you really want to eat some too go for it. They’re just a little light on the seasoning, and far from tasting like the pumpkin cupcakes we’re used to having as people. Yes, I did eat one. No, I didn’t love it. What matters is that Ozzy absolutely loved the pupcakes, and I will definitely be using this recipe again for future special occasions.

To top the cupcakes we used Reddi-Whip Coconut whipped cream. Ozzy gets a little bit of whipped cream as a treat on its own sometimes and he loves it. Another nice thing is it’s easy to pipe with the nozzle, and make cute designs without needing to put the whipped cream in a separate piping bag. Feel free to use any other non-dairy whipped cream to top the pupcakes. Just check the label, and make sure there’s nothing in it that’s not dog safe. You can also use peanut butter. Be sure to check the label to make sure there’s no sugar added, and that it doesn’t contain xylitol which is extremely toxic to dogs. If you’d prefer you can leave them plain.


Pumpkin Pupcakes

  • Servings: 3-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


The pupcakes do not rise a lot, so fill the cells of your cupcake tray to just under the height that you want the pupcakes to be.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree (make sure it is pumpkin puree and not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp ground flax meal
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 1 tsp baking powder

Directions

  1. In a large mixing bowl sift all of the dry ingredients.
  2. In a small bowl combine flax meal and three tablespoons water. Let sit for five minutes.
  3. In another large mixing bowl combine maple syrup, pumpkin, and flax egg. Mix until well integrated.
  4. Add dry ingredients into the wet ingredients slowly while stirring. Stir until mixture is smooth and free of clumps.
  5. Line 3-6 cells in a cupcake pan with liners. Pour mixture into liners.
  6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake pupcakes for 30 minutes, or until fully cooked. Check the inside with a toothpick every fifteen minutes. If it doesn’t come out clean after 30 minutes keep checking them at increments of two minutes until they are done.
  7. Allow pupcakes to cool.
  8. Refrigerate or freeze them until you’re ready to use them. Top them with dog safe non-dairy whipped cream right before serving.

Mongolian BBQ Inspired Seitan Kabobs

The weather has been rapidly cooling down the past month in Pennsylvania. As we get ready for fall temperatures we’ve been trying to seize as many grilling opportunities as we can. I love Mongolian BBQ, but unfortunately I haven’t found any restaurants around Pittsburgh that do a vegan version of it. I was particularly craving the flavors, so I crafted a great marinade for these Mongolian BBQ inspired seitan kabobs. If you don’t have a grill you can use this recipe to marinate your seitan and veggies, and cook them up in a skillet or a wok. They’re delicious either way, but grilling allows you to impart a nice charred flavor.

Mongolian BBQ Inspired Seitan Kabobs

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


Feel free to use additional veggies on your kabobs. These are the ones we found at the local farmers market, but bell peppers, hot peppers, and other squash are all good options for this recipe.

Ingredients

  • 6 oz Uptons Seitan
  • 1 large zucchini
  • 8 oz baby bella mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup tamari
  • 2 tbsp hoisin sauce
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tsp chili garlic paste
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tbsp chopped scallions
  • 1 tsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp lime juice

Directions

  1. Cube seitan into large chunks. Keep in mind they’ll need to be sturdy enough to be skewered. Place into a large bag or reusable container.
  2. Cut mushrooms in half. Place into the same bag or container you placed the seitan.
  3. Cut down zucchini into disks that are about an inch wide. Cut each disk in half. Place halved disks into the same container as the other ingredients.
  4. In a separate bowl, combine all of the other ingredients. Whisk together well, and then cover seitan, mushrooms, and zucchini with the marinade.
  5. Marinade in the fridge for at least an hour, or overnight.
  6. Remove seitan, zucchini, and mushrooms from the marinade, and place them on skewers. Save the remaining marinade in a heat resistant bowl to brush onto the kabobs later.
  7. Grill on a hot grill until the ingredients are completely heated through and have nice char lines on each side. This should take between 5-15 minutes depending on the heat of your grill. Brush the kabobs with the marinade periodically as they cook, so that they do not dry out.
  8. Serve with a side of brown rice, or other grain of your choice.

Vegan Brownies

I know we recently made a brownie post for our refined sugar free Black Bean Brownies, but I like to have options when it comes to dessert. You really can’t taste the black beans in black bean brownies, but I can see why it might be an intimidating hurdle for a picky eater. This recipe is bean free, but just as tasty. These brownies get a nice crispy exterior that makes them perfect for decorating, or serving plain. I decorated mine using my recipe for The Best Vegan Buttercream. You can flavor your buttercream by adding in things like caramel, or chocolate. If it starts to get to thin compensate by adding a bit more powdered sugar.

It took me two tries to get this recipe perfect. The first time I tried to cut corners by using a mixer. I incorporated too much air, and that caused the butter to separate when baking. Mixing them with a spoon is an absolute must. I ended up throwing the first batch I made in the trash, because they were completely inedible. They were a thin, crunchy sheet coated in oil that ended up tasting like burnt popcorn. It really stresses me out to throw food away. If I think there’s any chance I can save something and make it palatable, even if it’s not quite what I wanted, I absolutely will. That should tell you how bad this first brownie experiment went. I learned from my mistakes, and did some in depth brownie research. I adjusted my ingredient ratios, mixing technique, and cooking temperature. The second batch turned out wonderful.

This recipe was based on a recipe my mom would make for our family. It wasn’t an old family recipe, just a recipe she found on a product label, but in my mind they were the be all end all of brownies. I used the recipe as a guide for the vegan version I created, and I think I got the recipe pretty close if not maybe a little bit better. A lot of my time spent engineering the perfect recipe is spent researching, and shopping for the highest quality ingredients I can find at a reasonable price. I try to use only fair trade ingredients which can often increase the cost, but I’ve found that usually means increased quality and flavor as well.

A good flavored non-dairy butter is a must for this recipe. I used Earth Balance. Oil is not a good butter substitution, because it lacks in the flavor and texture required. The most important ingredient in a good brownie is the cocoa, of course. Starting with a rich flavorful cocoa that’s fair trade is a good way to go. Brownies taste sweeter when you know that you’re not paying to keep others enslaved to make them. I used SACO Conscious Kitchen Certified Organic Cocoa in this recipe. It’s a bit pricey, but it’s worth it for the rich taste and fair trade label. As always, Wholesome brand Organic Cane Sugar is my go to certified vegan white sugar, and tastes great in this recipe.


Vegan Brownies

  • Servings: 8-10
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

If you can’t find Bob’s Red Mill Egg Replacer you can substitute it with the same quantity of flax egg.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups vegan white sugar
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup fair trade baking cocoa
  • 4 tbsp Bob’s Red Mill Egg Replacer
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup melted vegan butter
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp ground sea salt

Directions

  1. Melt butter in a microwave safe bowl, or measuring cup. Keep a close eye on it as it melts to make sure it doesn’t burn.
  2. Add melted butter and sugar into a large mixing bowl. Stir to combine.
  3. Add in vanilla extract and salt. Stir to combine.
  4. In a separate bowl combine Bob’s Red Mill Egg Replacer, and water. Set aside for one minute to firm up.
  5. Slowly mix in the egg replacer. Mix until everything is blended, and there are no clumps.
  6. Sift in the cocoa powder a little at a time while continually mixing.
  7. Sift in the flour and baking powder a little at a time. Stir until the batter flows well and there are no clumps, but be careful not to over mix. Over mixing will make for tough brownies.
  8. Grease a 9″ x 13″ baking pan that’s at least 2″ deep. I lined my baking sheet with parchment, so I could easily remove the brownies in a full sheet to cut them evenly and decorate. If you’d like to decorate your brownies I recommend doing this. Make sure the parchment has enough overhang on the sides to easily lift the brownies out of the pan, and always remember to lightly grease your parchment for a recipe like this, so you can conveniently peal it off the brownies without tearing them.
  9. Preheat your oven to 300 degrees. Cook the brownies for 30-35 minutes. Check to see if they’re done with a toothpick. If it comes out clean your brownies are ready.
  10. Let your brownies cool, and cut them to serve. If you’d like to decorate the brownies let them cool, and then remove them from the pan. Measure, and cut them to desired size. Whip up some butter cream, and decorate them as you desire.