Friday, October 28, 2011


Today I was supposed to clean the kitchen, so instead I made a mess in the kitchen. Sound familiar? I made some stuff and dipped it into chocolate. It was fun and Halloween-y.
Here is what I made:
Peanut butter candies

Chocolate Peanut Butter Candies
(Or you could use the same basic recipe to make peanut putter cups.)

1/2 cup peanut butter
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 pinch salt
12 oz. vegan chocolate chips or chopped chocolate

Combine 1/2 cup peanut butter (the no-stir variety) with a pinch of salt. Sift in 1/2 cup of the powdered sugar and stir until well combined. Add more (sifted!) powdered sugar as needed until you have a stiff dough-like consistency. Roll the peanut butter into teaspoon-sized balls and place on a piece of parchment  on top of a cutting board or cookie sheet (something flat.) Put the peanut butter balls in the freezer to firm up for about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt the chocolate in a double boiler. If you don't have a double boiler, make one by placing the chocolate in a metal mixing bowl on top of a pan of simmering (not boiling!) water. The mixing bowl should be wider than the pan, so that steam doesn't get into the melted chocolate.

Use a fork or a toothpick to dip the peanut butter balls into the melted chocolate. Try not to worry about making them look professional! Drippy chocolates with fingerprints on them will still impress your friends.

If you want them to harden really quickly, put them back into the fridge or freezer until the chocolate has set. You might want to store them in the fridge, too, depending on the temperature of your house.

Peppermint Patties
Peppermint patties
1/4 cup agave syrup
2 cups powdered sugar
1 drop pink or green food coloring (optional, of course)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 Tbsp. peppermint extract
1 pinch salt

Combine the agave, salt, food coloring, and extracts in a small bowl and mix well. Sift in 1 cup of the powdered sugar, and stir to combine. Sift in enough additional powdered sugar to make a firm dough.

Dust your hands and a work surface with more powdered sugar. Form heaping teaspoons of peppermint mixture into balls and smoosh them to form patty shapes. Place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet and freeze for about 30 minutes.

Prepare your chocolate for dipping, as in the above recipe.
I had a really hard time dipping these, since the patties were sort of soft. Instead, I spread a spoonful of melted chocolate on top of each peppermint patty, and put them back in the fridge. When the chocolate was set, I gently peeled the parchment of the bottoms, flipped the candies over, and coated the other side with chocolate.

And don't eat these for your entire dinner! Unless you want people to start asking you questions like, "Where do vegans get their protein?"

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Meat-less pies revisited, and a pita recipe

Do you remember those Lebanese meatless pies I made back in March? Well I finally got around to making a batch with the pita crust, and it was very yum yum. I left out the soy sour cream from the filling, and didn't miss it at all. I also added a little more paprika and cinnamon, and a little extra mint since it's still really thriving in my garden.
One advantage of making a pita crust is that if you have leftover dough, you can make pita bread! They get nice and puffy in the oven. I was too hungry to take pictures, sorry!

Pita dough
Combine 1 packet of yeast with 2 1/2 cups warm water. Let stand 5 minutes.
Combine 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour with 2 tsp. salt. Add to the yeast mixture and whisk until smooth.
Knead in 3 1/2-5 cups white flour, until a soft but not sticky consistency is reached. Knead until stretchy. Put the dough in an oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let it rise in a warm place about an hour, or until doubled in size. Punch down and let rise again. (That step isn't really necessary, but the extra time gives the pita more flavor.)

If you have a pizza stone, this is a great time to use it. Place the stone near the bottom of your COLD oven and preheat to 450 F.
If you don't have a pizza stone, you can preheat a cookie sheet and bake the breads on that.

To Make Pies:
Divide your dough into 12-16 equal pieces. Roll them out to 1/4 inch thickness and spoon some of the "lamb" mixture into the center. (Don't worry if they're not perfectly round, just do your best.) Bring up 3 sides of the circle and pinch together in the middle. Pinch the seams closed to form a triangular pie. Brush the tops with olive oil. Bake them 2 or 3 at a time on the preheated baking stone or cookie sheet for about 9 minutes. The tops should be barely golden and the dough should still be soft.

To Make Pitas:
Roll out the dough into 1/4 inch thick rounds (or ovals or amoebic shapes or whatever) and let rest 5 minutes. Bake on a preheated baking stone or sheet until puffy, about 5 minutes.

Serve the pies and pita with some green salad, and maybe some hummus and baba ganouj, for a gigantic and tasty Middle-Eastern feast.