Friday, January 13, 2006

Vegan Twinkies®

The biggest difference between these and regular Twinkies® is that these taste good.

Step One.
Get one of these...

Yes, it's the Hostess® Twinkies® Bake Set, complete with baking pan, icing injector, spatula, and cowboy-style Twinkies® Container! If you can't find an actual Hostess® set, do a Google search for "cream canoe baking set" and you'll find many brands to choose from.

Step Two.
Throw out the icing injector because it's a cheap piece of junk that will break if you attempt to actually use it. Get yourself a pastry bag fitted with a large star or round tip instead.

Step Three. Preheat oven to 350º. Make the batter for Fluffy White Cupcakes. Spray the baking pan with nonstick spray and fill the cups just under halfway full (about 1/4 cup). Bake for 15 minutes, or until a cake tester or toothpick comes out clean.

Step Four. Let the cakes cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn them out (running a thin plastic spatula along the sides helps release the cakes) and set them on a wire rack. Let them cool completely before filling.

Step Five. Make Cream Filling:

1/4 cup nonhydrogenated shortening
1/4 cup nonhydrogenated margarine
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 TB barley malt powder (gives the filling a sweet, marshmallowy taste; not to be confused with malted milk powder)

Beat together the shortening and margarine with a handheld beater or stand mixer. Add the powdered sugar and beat until completely light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the vanilla and malt powder and beat for another 2 minutes.

Fill the pastry bag and poke and squeeze out about one tablespoon into three locations in the underside of each cake.

(Yes, I know I'm using the icing injector I told you to throw away; trust me, I know better now.)

This will make about 16 Vegan Twinkies® with Cream Filling, but do us adults a favor and fill some with puréed organic strawberry jam instead. Or dip them in chocolate icing and make Australian Lamingtons.

And hey, you can also use this pan to make vegan corn dogs.

Fluffy White Cupcakes

These are perfection: fantastic, light, fluffy cupcakes. They are just right for birthdays, classroom parties, or other special occasions. You can even add some sprinkles to the batter for a colorful confetti cupcake.

makes 22 cupcakes

1 TB apple cider vinegar
1 ½ scant cups plain soymilk
2 1/8 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. kosher salt
1 1/8 cups sugar
½ cup oil
1 ¼ tsp. vanilla extract
½ tsp. coconut extract

Preheat the oven to 350º. Spray 22 muffin cups with nonstick spray or line with paper cupcake liners (I like to spray the inside of the muffin papers with nonstick spray to help the cupcakes release). Set aside.

Place the apple cider vinegar in the bottom of a liquid measuring cup and fill the cup with soymilk to equal 1 ½ cups. Stir well and set aside (the mixture will curdle).

In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In another mixing bowl whisk together the soymilk mixture, canola oil, vanilla, and coconut extract. Add the wet to the dry ingredients and beat until smooth using a hand-held mixer, stopping once to scrape down the sides of the bowl.

Fill each muffin cup with ¼ cup of batter. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until a cake tester inserted in the middle of a cupcake comes out clean.

Let cool in the pans for 5 minutes, then remove cupcakes from the pan and place on a wire rack. Let the cupcakes cool completely before frosting.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Tofu Fish Sticks

This has been one of the most requested recipes on the Vegan Lunch Box blog. Everyone's crazy for these cute little fishies! Of course, you can cut them into any shape you prefer, sticks being the easiest and most economical. They stay crispy and crunchy in the lunchbox.

Kelp granules can be found in shaker containers at health food stores or here at Sprinkle them on any food for a low-sodium salt alternative; it is a good source of iodine.

serves 4

1 lb. package firm tofu, drained
2/3 cup fine organic cornmeal (or white flour)
2/3 cup sliced almonds
2 tsp. sweet paprika
2 tsp. kelp granules
2 tsp. salt
½ tsp. onion powder
½ tsp. garlic powder
¼ tsp. dill weed
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2/3 cup plain, unsweetened soymilk
1 lemon
olive oil

Preheat the oven to 400º. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and coat parchment with olive oil. Set aside.

Combine the cornmeal or flour, sliced almonds, paprika, kelp, salt, onion and garlic powder, dill weed, and black pepper in a blender, and blend on high until most of the almonds have been turned into a coarse meal, with a few larger pieces of almond remaining. Pour the mixture into a wide baking dish or pie plate.

Place the plain soymilk into a bowl and set next to the cornmeal mixture.

With a sharp knife, cut the tofu into even slices just under ½-inch wide. Cut tofu out into fish sticks, or use a fish-shaped cookie cutter to cut out tofu fish.

Working with one piece at a time, dip the tofu into the plain soymilk, then toss gently in the cornmeal mixture to coat evenly. Place on the prepared baking sheet. When all the tofu fish are on the baking sheet, sprinkle them with olive oil.

Bake for 15 minutes, then turn the tofu fish over and bake for an additional 15 minutes, or until crispy (if making tater tots, place them on the baking sheet for the last 15 minutes).

Remove tofu fish onto a plate, and squeeze some fresh lemon juice evenly over the tofu.