Pumpkin Pie (vegan)

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Thanksgiving is next week and I am ready to make and eat lots of delicious food! Pumpkin pie is definitely on my list this year. I prefer traditional pumpkin pie over other pumpkin desserts because it’s the quintessential Thanksgiving dessert. Pumpkin spice lattes and smoothies are great but nothing is better than actual pumpkin pie. The combination of ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove in pumpkin pie filling gives it a lot of flavor, warmth, and an amazing fragrance. The crust is flaky and and not too heavy and balances out the sweetness of the pumpkin filling. If you’re short on time or just not into making homemade pie crusts, there are non-dairy options such as pre-made graham cracker crusts. I have yet to find pre-made vegan pie crust dough. Homemade pie dough definitely requires some extra effort but nothing beats a buttery, flaky, homemade crust in my opinion. I recommend making the pie crust dough ahead of time so that all you have to do is roll it out and pre-bake it the day of (to prevent sogginess).

I used leaf shaped pie dough cutters (from Amazon) to make cute decorative pie crust leaves. I simply rolled out the extra half of the dough and used the dough cutters to cut out the leave shapes. I transferred the leaf cut outs to a foil lined baking sheet and baked them at 350F for about 20 minutes. After the pie was baked and cooled I arranged the baked leaf cut outs over the pie for a pretty overlay. This is optional, of course, but adds a lot of character to the pie. You can wrap the extra pie crust dough and freeze it if you aren’t making the decorative cut outs.

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I watched Joy of Baking on You Tube to review the pie crust making process. Make sure you buy extra firm silken tofu (not in the refrigerated section) for this recipe. This kind of tofu works best for vegan quiches, tarts, and pies (see below).

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Morinaga Silken Tofu works best for vegan baking.

Pumpkin pie is one my favorite fall desserts – the vegan version tastes very similar to traditional pumpkin pie, but of course the texture varies a little since silken tofu is used as the substitute for eggs and heavy cream. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and make sure to post a picture if you make this recipe. Dont’ forget to tag @thefriendlyepicurean on Facebook and Instagram or Pin this recipe on Pinterest.

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  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: medium
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Ingredients

    For the crust: (makes enough for 2 pies)
  • 2.5 cups all purpose flour (plus more for rolling out dough)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 8 oz (1 cup) cold vegan butter, cut into 1 inch cubes (such as Earth Balance)
  • 6 to 7 tbs ice water
  • For the filling:
  • 1 (15 oz) can of pumpkin puree
  • 1 (12 oz) box of silken, extra firm tofu
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground clove
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbs corn starch
  • For coconut whipped cream topping (optional):
  • 1 (13 oz) can of coconut cream refrigerated overnight
  • 1/4 cup organic powdered sugar

Directions

For the pie crust: Preheat oven to 350F. In a food processor, pulse flour, salt, and sugar for a few seconds. Add cold butter cubes and continue to pulse until crumbly. Next, add about 4 tbs. very cold water slowly and pulse again. Dough will start to come together a little bit more. Add 2-3 more tbs. water and pulse again for a few more seconds. Empty dough onto clean rolling surface. Form into a disk and cut in half. Form each half into a disk with your hands and wrap with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight. Once dough is chilled, sprinkle clean rolling surface and rolling pin with flour. Roll dough out into about a 11 to 12 inch circle that is about 1/8 of an inch thick. Carefully transfer to pie dish and trim excess dough from edges. Crimp edges with fingers or fork, if desired. Cover center of plate with foil or parchment paper and fill with pie weights. Pre-bake crust for about 35 to 40 minutes. Remove crust from oven and allow to cool for about 20 minutes before filling. For the filling: Place all ingredients into food processor and blend until smooth. Pour filling into crust evenly. Bake at 350F for about 45-50 minutes. Filling may develop cracks if baked for too long. Make sure to check on the pie to keep edges from burning. Cover edges of pie crust with foil toward end of baking time to prevent further browning or burning. Allow pie to cool for at least 20 minutes. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight before serving. May store leftovers in the fridge for up to 2 days. For the coconut whipped cream: Remove can of coconut cream from fridge without shaking it. Carefully scoop hardened top layer of refrigerated coconut cream out of the can and place in the bowl of a stand mixer. Whip on high speed adding powdered sugar a few tbs at a time until fluffy. Refrigerate or use right away. Can store leftover whipped cream in fridge for a few days in an airtight container.

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Adapted from Simply Recipes pie crust recipe: https://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/perfect_pie_crust/

Adapted from Food Network vegan pumpkin pie recipe:
https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchen/vegan-pumpkin-pie-3362738



R&M International 0499 Leaves 2″ Pastry/Cookie/Fondant Stampers, Leaves and Acorn, 4-Piece Set

Mrs. Anderson’s Baking Ceramic Pie Crust Weights, Natural Ceramic Stoneware


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Apple Crisp

Fall has arrived and it’s apple season! The weather is getting colder and the leaves on the trees are changing colors to beautiful shades of red, orange, and yellow. I really love this time of year and apple crisp is one of my all time favorite fall desserts to make. It’s so delicious served warm out of the oven with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. If you’re not a pie expert, this is the easy way to have some of the flavors of apple pie without all of the work. I love this version of apple crisp because it’s so simple – only 7 ingredients. I don’t think adding flour, baking soda etc. is really even necessary. The walnuts add crunch and some salt to balance out the sweetness. You might want to reduce the sugar depending on the sweetness of your apples. I used Earth Balance, organic (vegan) sugar, and Nada Moo vegan vanilla ice cream to make this recipe completely vegan. If you’re not vegan, feel free to substitute with the dairy versions.

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The longest part of the prep time involves peeling and cutting the apples. Once that’s done, it’s so quick and clean up is easy. I don’t mind peeling and cutting apples… it’s actually pretty relaxing! You only need one bowl for this recipe.

I used Granny Smith apples the second time I made this recipe and thought it came out just perfect. Granny Smith apples typically aren’t as sweet and have the perfect texture and tartness for baking. I also tried using Honeycrisp apples which are delicious on their own, but they were a little too sweet and juicy for this recipe. Making a crumble is super easy. You can use your food processor to quickly pulse the ingredients together or use a fork and slightly softened butter. For the best texture, make sure you don’t puree the crumble mixture or over mix it.

The flavors of the apple and cinnamon really shine in this dessert. It also makes your entire house smell like cinnamon and apples… yum! I like to make it ahead (the morning of) to bring with me to a dinner party or potluck. You can bake it once you arrive and allow it cool for about 15 to 20 minutes before serving. The best part is when the vanilla ice cream starts to melt into it – the combo is just irresistible! If you make this recipe make sure to take a picture and tag @thefriendlyepicurean on Facebook and Instagram, or Pin this recipe on Pinterest!

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Apple Crisp

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 8 Granny Smith apples, peeled and cut into 1/4″ slices (about 8-9 cups)
  • 6 tbs butter (slightly softened), plus more for greasing the pan (for vegan version use Earth Balance)
  • 1 cup oats
  • 2/3 cup organic sugar + 2 tbs organic sugar
  • 3/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon, divided
  • 1 pint vanilla ice cream (optional topping)

Directions

Preheat oven to 375F. Grease a 9″ x 13″ rectangular baking pan with butter and set aside. In a large bowl, toss apple slices with 2 tbs sugar and 1/4 tsp cinnamon. Spread apple slices evenly into baking pan. Using the same bowl, mix together butter, oats, 2/3 cup sugar, walnuts, and 1/4 tsp cinnamon with a fork until combined but still crumbly. Spread oat mixture evenly over apples. Bake for 40 minutes at 375F. Top should be golden brown and apple mixture will start to bubble a little. Allow to cool for about 15-20 minutes before serving. Top with a scoop of ice cream just before serving. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2-3 days.

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Credits:
Adapted from an original recipe by Mark Bittman in the New York Times
https://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/11752-mark-bittmans-apple-crisp

Vegan Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

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Carrot cake is one of my all time favorite desserts. I was craving it this weekend and decided to “veganize” a traditional carrot cake recipe. This vegan version of classic carrot cake is not too sweet and not dry. This cake made my entire apartment smell so good! The cinnamon and nutmeg really complement the carrot flavor. Grating carrots is definitely not my favorite pastime, but it’s worth it for this scrumptious cake! Because vegan cakes don’t use eggs, they don’t rise as much as traditional cakes. This is why the layers of this cake aren’t as thick as it’s traditional counterpart. I used vegan cream cheese to make the decadent icing. I prefer the Kite Hill brand as its texture is easy to work with and contains no soy (it’s made with almonds). I don’t recommend using the Daiya brand as it has a really tough texture. If you’re not avoiding soy, Toffuti brand vegan cream cheese should also work well but it contains many processed ingredients.

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Icing the cake is a 2 step process.

Flax eggs are a great substitute for regular eggs in vegan baking. Once the flax powder is mixed with water, it turns into a thick, egg-like sludge which acts as a binder for the cake. I lowered the amount of oil for this recipe and added extra applesauce instead – this made it taste rich without extra fat. Walnuts are a traditional topping for carrot cake but I decided to change it up a little and add coconut instead. I had my friends over for this cake and they pretty much devoured it! It’s rich, moist, and super tasty without being too sweet! The cream cheese frosting is super creamy and can be used as a decadent dip for things like pretzels as well. I love making carrot cake in the spring and found this recipe to be simple and really delicious. If you make it, make sure to take a picture and tag @thefriendlyepicurean on Facebook and Instagram or Pin this recipe on Pinterest!

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Vegan Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: medium
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Ingredients

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 “flax eggs” (whisk 2 tbs flaxseed powder in 6 tbs water and let sit for 10 minutes)
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 cups grated carrots (medium packed)
  • 1 1/2 cups organic light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup organic granulated sugar (such as turbinado)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • For the cream cheese frosting:
  • 1 (8oz) package of vegan cream cheese, softened (such as Kite Hill brand)
  • 1/2 cup vegan butter, softened (such as Earth Balance brand)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups organic powdered sugar
  • Optional topping:
  • 1/4 cup grated coconut

Directions

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease to 9 inch round baking pans with vegan butter and set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix the wet ingredients – flax eggs, canola oil, applesauce, grated carrots, brown sugar, granulated sugar, and vanilla extract on low speed for about 1 minute. Combine dry ingredients – flour, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, cinnamon, and salt in a separate, medium sized bowl. Add dry ingredients into stand mixer bowl in two to three batches while mixing on low speed. Mix for about 2 minutes (do not over mix). Scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula to make sure ingredients are evenly combined. Pour batter evenly into both 9 inch baking pans. Bake for about 35-38 minutes. Cake is done when it springs back to touch and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow cake to cool for about 30 minutes before frosting. Prepare frosting while cake is cooling. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, add softened cream cheese, softened butter, and vanilla extract and whisk at medium speed until well combined. Add powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time and whisk on medium speed until frosting is smooth. Place one layer of the cooled cake on a cake stand and frost with about 1/2 the frosting. Next, add second layer of cake and top with remainder of frosting. Store leftover cake in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

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Adapted from: https://www.livewellbakeoften.com/the-best-carrot-cake-recipe/

Peppermint Hot Chocolate

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This is an easy and festive recipe for the holidays! I love peppermint bark but didn’t want to go through the trouble of actually making it at home. Peppermint hot chocolate has all of the same delicious flavors but takes just a few minutes to make. I found organic, vegan candy canes at Whole Foods. The colors of the organic candy canes aren’t as intense but they are just as delicious as traditional candy canes. Peppermint and dark chocolate together are so irresistible! These rich warm flavors make this drink so comforting on a cold winter day. Adding both cocoa powder and dark chocolate makes this hot chocolate thicker, more flavorful, and creamier than just using cocoa powder. You can also find coconut whipped cream at most grocery stores to top off your hot cocoa. Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!

Peppermint Hot Chocolate

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 4 cups almond milk
  • 4 organic candy canes (plus more for garnish)
  • 2 tbs cocoa powder
  • 2 tbs agave syrup (or 2 tbs Stevia)
  • 1.75 oz dark chocolate
  • coconut whipped cream (optional topping)

Directions


Heat almond milk until just boiling. Add cocoa powder, agave, and dark chocolate and stir until dissolved. Add candy canes one at a time until melted, stirring often. Top with whipped cream and serve while hot.

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Frosted Vegan Chocolate Donuts

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Baked vegan donuts
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Frosted vegan chocolate donut topped with chocolate covered chia seeds

I recently went on a trip to Berlin and was happily surprised that Berlin is known as “the vegan capital of the world”. I passed by several bakeries that all had vegan options and also had a 5 course, gourmet vegan meal at a fantastic restaurant called the The Lucky Leek. There were even late night vegan options like “tofu-wurst” instead of bratwurst at the local pub! Berlin is a great place to visit if you’re plant based and also a great place to shop and see historical sites such as the Berlin wall. I’m still waiting for Chicago to be as vegan friendly as Berlin. Until then, I’ll just have to be content with my usual local vegan spots. Vegan donuts are not always easy to find in town. They’re often deep fried too. I live next door to an amazing gourmet donut shop but they have no vegan donuts! This recipe is super easy and quick. It’s almost as easy as making brownies. The only slightly difficult part is pouring the batter evenly into the donut wells. The donuts go in the oven for less than 15 minutes and come out looking great! Once they’re cooled, they pop out of the pan pretty easily. Make sure you fill each well all the way to the top with batter. Since this recipe uses no eggs or milk, the batter doesn’t rise as much as the traditional kind. These turned out to be soft, cake-like, and full of rich chocolate flavor. I bought my donut pan on Amazon.com but I’ve seen them at lots of other stores as well. They’re inexpensive and, in my opinion, worth investing in. The frosting adds even more richness and chocolatey goodness to these donuts and the sprinkles make them extra cute! I found chocolate covered chia seeds in the grocery store recently and thought they would make a great topping for vegan donuts. I also used organic sprinkles (Sprinkelz brand) that are colorful, vegan, and gluten free. Now that I know how easy baked donuts are, I’ll be making them all the time! You will need aquafaba for this recipe as an egg substitute. In case you’ve never heard of it, it’s the liquid that’s in canned chickpeas. Simply save and refrigerate this liquid the next time you open a can of chickpeas. As always, take a picture and tag @thefriendlyepicurean if you make them or Pin this recipe on Pinterest!

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Make sure to fill each well all the way to the top
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Donuts before frosting

Frosted Vegan Chocolate Donuts

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: medium
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Ingredients

    For the donuts:
  • 2 tbs vegan butter, softened (such as Earth Balance)
  • 1/4 cup applesauce
  • 1/4 cup aquafaba (the liquid from canned chickpeas)
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tbs almond milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup turbinado sugar
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • For the frosting:
  • 1/4 cup vegan chocolate chips (such as Chocolate Dream)
  • 1 tbs vegan butter, softened (such as Earth Balance)
  • 2 tbs almond milk
  • 2 tbs agave syrup
  • Toppings (optional):
  • Chocolate covered chia seeds
  • Vegan sprinkles (such as Sprinkelz brand)

Directions

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease donut pan (1/2 dozen sized) with vegan butter or oil spray and set aside. In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, mix butter, applesauce, aquafaba, almond milk, and vanilla extract for about 2 minutes on medium speed. Scrape down sides of the bowl. Next add flour, cocoa powder, and baking soda and mix again on medium speed until batter is smooth and well combined. Carefully spoon batter evenly into donut pan wells, filling to the top of each well. Bake for 12-14 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in doughnut comes out clean. Allow to cool for 15-20 minutes. While donuts are cooling, prepare the frosting. Heat chocolate chips, butter, and almond milk in a small saucepan on low heat until chocolate is melted, stirring constantly. Turn off heat and stir in agave syrup. (Or microwave all frosting ingredients in a shallow bowl for 30 seconds and stir to combine). Dip one side of each donut in frosting and top with sprinkles. May store frosting in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. May store donuts in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days.

Nutrition Information:

  • Approximate calories per doughnut plus 1/6 frosting: 282 cal

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No Bake Cookies and Cream Mini Cheesecakes (vegan)

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If you’re a fan of Oreos, you’re going to love this dessert! Oreos were one my favorite childhood treats. For this recipe, I used Newman O’s instead of Oreos since they’re made with organic ingredients. This recipe does require you to soak cashews overnight but other than that, it’s pretty quick to make and can be made ahead. This is a great summer dessert because you don’t have to turn the oven on. Vegan cheesecake doesn’t taste exactly like traditional cheesecake, but has it’s own delicious flavor and texture. It’s creamy and decadent tasting but not too sweet. The chocolate cookie crust is probably my favorite part! These mini cheesecakes are really delicious! This recipe is great as a base for any type of vegan cheesecake. You could add fruit in the filling instead of sandwich cookies as a variation. You could also stir in vegan chocolate chips instead of the sandwich cookies as another variation. It’s amazing what you can do with cashews soaked overnight. Cashew cream is great for all kinds of vegan sauces as well. I love the idea of individual cheesecakes because there’s no need for a knife to serve them and everyone is happy when they get their own cheesecake. You’ll need a good food processor or high powered blender along with some parchment paper and a muffin pan to make this delicious dessert. Let me know how it turns out! Tag @thefriendlyepicurean on Facebook and Instagram or Pin It on Pinterest!

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Parchment paper helps to lift out the cheesecakes easily.

No Bake Cookies and Cream Mini Cheesecakes (vegan)

  • Servings: 12
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

    For the filling:
  • 3 cups raw cashews soaked in water overnight
  • 9 whole chocolate sandwich cookies (such as Newman O’s or Oreos)
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tbs light coconut milk
  • 3 tbs agave nectar
  • 1 tbs coconut oil
  • For the crust:
  • 8 chocolate sandwich cookies with the cream removed
  • 1 cup pitted dates
  • 1 tbs coconut oil

Directions

For the filling: Place soaked cashews, sandwich cookies, coconut milk, and coconut oil in a food processor or high powered blender and blend until smooth. For the crust: Place cookies (without the cream), dates, and coconut oil in a food processor or high powered blender and blend until all the ingredients are well combined and crumbly. Line each muffin pan well with parchment paper. Press crust into each muffin pan well using a spatula. Freeze crusts for 10 minutes. Remove from freezer and spoon equal amounts of cheesecake filling into each muffin well and smooth the tops with a spatula or knife. Freeze for about 4 hours. Allow to thaw for about 10 minutes before serving. May store in the freezer for up to 7 to 10 days.

Nutrition Information:

  • Approximate calories per cheesecake: 305 cal

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