Classic Sugar Cookies

Happy Valentine’s Day! I’m back for my first recipe of 2018 and have been struck by Cupid- I’m in LOVE with Classic Sugar Cookies!

Heya howdy hi hello! Been a while, huh? I took December and January off of blogging and writing recipes and did a heck of a lot of reflecting and learning. It had originally been my (admittedly last-minute) intention to take some time off during December and “come back strong” in January with concrete goals and renewed energy. But as I thought about it…

I realized I was aiming to start the year with renewed mental strength, just as I had in years past with dieting and disordered eating behavior.

Fearing that I was going to fall into an addiction transfer trap and not wanting to set myself up for failure and disappointment, I decided not to push it. Deliberately and decidedly, I started this year off with no goals for this blog. John and I did set some personal goals like “set boundaries to protect my mental health” and “clean the litter box more frequently” but we worked hard to set objectives that were meaningful and achievable.

Classic Sugar Cookies (vegan) | AreYouKitchenMe.com

Classic Sugar Cookies (vegan) | AreYouKitchenMe.com

That said, one “unofficial” goal I have for writing this year is to feature less healthy and green recipes and incorporate more decadent and delightful noms. I still love vegetables and eating wholesome, balanced meals makes me feel great. But you know what fills me with nostalgia and joy?

Cookies.

Classic Sugar Cookies (vegan) | AreYouKitchenMe.com

I can take zero credit for the original recipe for these classic sugar cookies. My mom has been baking them every single Christmas for as long as I can remember. She has a printed recipe titled “Beth Stiver’s Sugar Cookies” (I have no idea who Beth Stivers is but I feel like I owe her a tray of cookies for all of the wonderful memories of my youth) but could probably bake them blindfolded.

Classic Sugar Cookies (vegan) | AreYouKitchenMe.com

One week in January, John asked me “Can we have sugar cookies besides just at Christmas?” and I was perplexed. It had genuinely never occurred to me to bake these outside of the holiday season. They were a treat after all, right? But how silly!

Why should cookies be limited to one time of year??

So cookies again it was! I’ve experimented with a few variations of veganizing the classic sugar cookies of my childhood and finally landed on a version I’m satisfied with. You’d never know they’re vegan- slightly crispy, soft in the center, and smothered in fluffy buttercream frosting.

Classic Sugar Cookies (vegan) | AreYouKitchenMe.com

Classic Sugar Cookies (vegan) | AreYouKitchenMe.com

I may not have concrete plans for writing in 2018, but I do have a lot of plans for eating cookies. Cheers to that.

Classic Sugar Cookies

Yield: 3-4 dozen cookies

Classic Sugar Cookie cutouts with a light and fluffy buttercream frosting! Perfect for your favorite holiday or, even better, any day of the year!

Ingredients

  • 1½ cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) room-temp non-dairy butter, I use Earth Balance
  • 2 Tbs. aquafaba (liquid drained from a can of chickpeas)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp. almond extract
  • 2½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. cream of tartar
  • Frosting
  • ½ cup (1 stick) room-temp non-dairy butter
  • 4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2-4 Tbs. non-dairy milk

Instructions

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream sugar and butter.
  2. Add aquafaba and extracts and beat to combine.
  3. Sift dry ingredients together in a separate bowl and slowly add into the wet until combined, scraping the sides.
  4. Shape the dough into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 2-3 hours, preferably overnight.
  5. Heat oven to 375F. Remove the dough from the fridge and allow to soften for about 30-60 minutes on the counter.
  6. Divide dough in half, generously flour work surface and rolling pin, and roll 3/16 inches thick. Use a cookie cutter to cut out shapes. *I like to freeze my cut out cookies for at least 15 minutes at this step to help them keep their shape in the oven but it is totally optional.
  7. Bake on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper for 7-8 minutes or until golden. Remove to a cooling rack and allow to cool completely before frosting.
  8. To make the frosting, beat the ingredients together with a hand mixer adding milk a little at a time, until smooth and spreadable. I decorated these cookies with finely crushed freeze-dried strawberries but feel free to use sprinkles or whatever floats your boat!
https://www.areyoukitchenme.com/classic-sugar-cookies/

Classic Sugar Cookies (vegan) | AreYouKitchenMe.com

3-Ingredient Slow Cooker Apple Butter

Who needs candles when your food smells this good?! Prepare for a houseful of fantastic fall scents (and flavor!) when you make 3-Ingredient Slow Cooker Apple Butter!

A few weekends ago, John and I drove out to Branstool Orchards, a family-owned fruit farm in Utica, Ohio, to go apple picking. We had visited their truck at the Clintonville and Worthington Farmers Markets over the past few months and the produce is always fantastic! So when I was looking around for a place for us to go pick our own, I knew that Branstool had exactly what I wanted.

3-Ingredient Slow Cooker Apple Butter | AreYouKitchenMe.com

While we were there, they were picking seven different varieties including Melrose, Fuji, Pink Lady, Gold Rush, and a few others I can’t remember. We weren’t really sure which we liked- except for Gold Rush, which I adore- so we hit up all the trees and got a little bit of everything. It gave us a nice mix of crisp apples for snacking and softer apples for baking or blending.

3-Ingredient Slow Cooker Apple Butter | AreYouKitchenMe.com

Enter, apple butter. Though it contains no actual butter at all, you’ll find yourself slathering it all over alllll the things. Crunchy wheat toast with vegan butter? Tasty. Add apple butter? Irresistible! Bagel with cream cheese? Good. Add apple butter? Heavenly! Warm bowl of oatmeal? Comforting. Add apple butter? Decadent! I have yet to find something it doesn’t go great with…

3-Ingredient Slow Cooker Apple Butter | AreYouKitchenMe.com

Something so indulgent surely takes hours of manual labor, involves pounds of refined sugar, and requires a laundry list of hard-to-find ingredients, right? Wrong-o my friends! Just a few pounds of apples, a few dates or spoonfuls of your sweetener of choice, and a touch of cinnamon. Das it!

Perhaps the most thrilling part of this recipe is walking through the door after work to your own potpourri of sweet, spiced apples. Forget buying fall-scented candles and toss a few apples in the crockpot and call it a day.

3-Ingredient Slow Cooker Apple Butter | AreYouKitchenMe.com

Make some apple butter and try to hang on to a jar for at least a week. I’ve got an incredible recipe using the sweet stuff coming at ya next week. But I can’t say I’d blame you if it’s all gone by then…

3-Ingredient Slow Cooker Apple Butter

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 10 hours

Who needs candles when your food smells this good?! Prepare for a houseful of fantastic fall scents (and flavor!) when you make 3-Ingredient Slow Cooker Apple Butter!

Ingredients

  • 4 pounds apples
  • 5-6 pitted dates (optional)
  • 2 cinnamon sticks (or sub 2 tsp. ground cinnamon)

Instructions

  1. Wash the apples well and chop them into large chunks, removing the seeds and core but keeping the skins.
  2. Add the apples, dates, and cinnamon sticks to a large slow cooker and turn to Low setting. Cook for 8 hours, until apples are completely soft.
  3. Transfer apples to a high-speed blender and blend until smooth. You will have to do this in batches. Alternatively, you can blend right in the pot with an immersion blender.
  4. Return the blended apples to the slow cooker and cook for an additional 2-3 hours, stirring occasionally to prevent burning. Store in the fridge in an air-tight container for 2-3 weeks.
https://www.areyoukitchenme.com/3-ingredient-slow-cooker-apple-butter/

3-Ingredient Slow Cooker Apple Butter | AreYouKitchenMe.com

Pumpkin Bread Pudding

Ooey, gooey, comforting bread pudding gets packed with fall spices and studded with fresh cubes of everyone’s favorite fall vegetable. Pumpkin Bread Pudding is as fall as it gets!

Vegan Pumpkin Bread Pudding | AreYouKitchenMe.com

Every fall, I resist the turn of the season for as long as possible. I’m not a huge pumpkin person (she says after drinking a pumpkin smoothie every morning this week…) and the transition tends to be anxiety-inducing. Fall weather is nice and all but it signals that winter is coming and I’m just never ready to face that cold truth.

This year has been particularly weird with the Indian summer keeping zucchini and tomatoes in the markets all the way through September. But I’d be a dirty liar if I told you I didn’t become a little giddy at the first sight of hard squashes. Butternut, delicate, acorn, kabocha. And the king of fall produce and sugary lattes: pumpkin.

Vegan Pumpkin Bread Pudding | AreYouKitchenMe.com

After caving and buying a few cans of the pre-cooked orange puree, I had an urge to experiment with a fresh pumpkin. Turns out, it cooks like a cross between acorn and butternut, with a much more yellow hue than its canned counterpart. Who knew. What I do know now, is that freshly roasted pumpkin melts beautifully into a sweet, warm casserole.

By pureeing some of the pumpkin, you get a thick, creamy, and 100% plant-based custard. Leaving the rest of the cubes intact studs the pudding with golden gems.

Vegan Pumpkin Bread Pudding | AreYouKitchenMe.com

To be honest, I could probably count on one hand the number of times I’ve had a bread pudding before trying this recipe. But the concept speaks to me: Bread. Custard. Toppings. What could possibly go wrong?? I was tempted to give it a try because we have a friend who is starting a baking business and wanted to offload a few loaves. Don’t mind if I do… I used a classic French baguette that was starting to get a bit stale, but I would bet that this recipe works well with any bread.

Vegan Pumpkin Bread Pudding | AreYouKitchenMe.com

Fall is here. Winter is coming. Lettuce find solace in an ooey, gooey, sweet dessert and start unpacking the chunky sweaters and heated blankets.

Pumpkin Bread Pudding

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 45 minutes

Yield: 6-8 servings

Ooey, gooey, comforting bread pudding gets packed with fall spices and studded with fresh cubes of everyone’s favorite fall vegetable. Pumpkin Bread Pudding is as fall as it gets!

Ingredients

  • 1 small pie pumpkin, peeled and cubed
  • 1 20oz. baguette, cubed
  • 2 cups almond milk
  • 1 Tbs. ground flax seeds
  • 2 Tbs. cornstarch
  • ½ cup maple syrup
  • 1 Tbs. vanilla extract
  • 1½ Tbs. pumpkin pie spice
  • ½ cup raisin
  • ½ cup pecans, roughly chopped
  • Maple Caramel Sauce
  • 2 Tbs. tahini
  • 2 Tbs. maple syrup
  • Pinch sea salt

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 200F and place bread cubes on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 10-15 minutes, until dry. Alternatively, you can just leave them set out overnight. Place in a large bowl once cool and dried out.
  2. Increase oven heat to 400F. Toss pumpkin with a small amount of oil and place on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast for 40-45 minutes, tossing once, until soft and beginning to brown. Set aside to cool.
  3. Add the milk, flax, cornstarch, maple syrup, vanilla, spices, and 1 cup of the roasted pumpkin to a high-speed blender. Blend until completely smooth, about 1 minute.
  4. Pour the liquid mixture over the bread and toss well to combine. Allow the mixture to sit for 30 minutes so the bread can soak up the liquid. Once fully saturated, add the remaining pumpkin cubes, raisins, and pecan and stir.
  5. Lightly grease an 8x8-baking dish. Pour the bread mixture into the pan and press down well to pack the ingredients together. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake another 10-15 minutes until the top is fully set. Allow to cool for at least 15 minutes before serving.
  6. For the sauce: Whisk together the tahini, maple syrup, and salt. For a thinner sauce, add almond milk 1 tsp. at a time. Pour over pan.
https://www.areyoukitchenme.com/pumpkin-bread-pudding/

Vegan Pumpkin Bread Pudding | AreYouKitchenMe.com

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