baked spicy korean “fried chicken”

Somehow I fell down a ‘mukbang‘ rabbit hole on Instagram the other night. (If you’re not familiar, it’s a social media thing where people eat vast quantities of food in front of a camera and share it to YouTube, TikTok and Instagram.) Sometimes it has an ASMR component to it, and sometimes it’s just for fun. It’s a trend that started in South Korea and is now a worldwide phenomenon.

As you may have guessed, it’s typically large quantities of foods like fried chicken, pizza, noodles, ice cream or candy that are consumed – because who wants to watch someone eat a gluttonous amount of salad?

I’ll admit, it seems like an odd thing for a vegan to watch, but I’ve always been transparent about the fact that I didn’t give up animal-based products because I didn’t like them, but because I know it’s healthier for me, for the earth and especially for the animals if I don’t consume them.

But I do still crave the flavors of good, old-fashioned “junk food.” Especially after watching someone else indulge in it.

I went vegan before things like “Nashville Hot” or “Korean Spicy” versions of fried chicken were commonplace, so I feel like there’s this whole new flavor phenomenon that I missed out on. (Not for the chicken part, because I’d rather chickens be my friends than my food, or for the artery-clogging deep-fried part – but I’m all about the crunchy, breaded, spicy saucy part.)

Recently I perfected a Ranch-Flavored Popcorn “Chick’n” using Butler Soy Curls, so I decided to apply that cooking method to this spicy Korean version.

I chose soy curls for this dish because they really do mimic the texture of chicken, and because I wanted small, bite-size pieces that would be reminiscent of boneless chicken bites – the kind you’d get if you ordered this at a Korean Chicken restaurant. Most importantly, it has that same crunch you get from deep-fried, but without all the oil, thanks to the use of finely crushed panko and a full-on 3-part breading station.

You’ll need a trip to your local Asian supermarket (or a few minutes on Amazon) for a couple of ingredients, particularly the Korean chili paste (gochujang) and chili powder (gochujaru) that give this dish it’s signature heat and flavor. Gochujang is like the Sriracha of Korean cooking. It’s a very flavorful, savory-sweet fermented chili paste that is widely used as a condiment and a base for sauces. Gochujaru is a dried chili powder made from Korean red chili peppers and adds intense heat. It’s really worth sourcing them before making this dish, which clearly was a hit – I barely got a chance to photograph it before my 11yo swooped in and declared this the “best dish ever!”

So I guess I’m making another batch of these tomorrow!

Baked Spicy Korean “Fried Chicken”

Serves 4 (as an appetizer) | Nut-free | Prep time: 30 minutes | Cook time: 20 minutes

4oz Butler Soy Curls, dry

2 cups unsweetened soy milk

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 ½ cups panko bread crumbs

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 teaspoon ground thyme

1 teaspoon gochujaru (Korean chili powder)

2 tablespoons gochujang (Korean red pepper paste)

2 tablespoons agave nectar, plus extra for drizzle

3 tablespoons brown sugar

¼ cup low-sodium tamari

1 teaspoon grated ginger

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 tablespoon sesame oil

1 teaspoon each black and white sesame seeds (for garnish) 2 green onion stalks, diced or sliced into strips (for garnish

  1. Place the soy curls in a large bowl and cover with hot tap water. Let stand for 10 minutes to rehydrate. When done, drain and squeeze the curls to release as much water as possible. Set aside.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400F. Line a standard baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. While the curls are rehydrating, prepare the breading station. Add the flour to a shallow, wide bowl or plate and set aside. Do the same for the milk. In a large resealable bag, combine the panko, salt, pepper, thyme, and gochujaru powder. Seal the bag, leaving air inside it, and shake well to combine. Release the air and reseal the bag, then use a rolling pin to crush the panko into fine crumbs. Transfer to a third shallow dish or bowl. Set aside.
  4. Working in small batches (5-6 pieces at a time), toss the soy curls in the flour to coat, shaking off any excess, then dip in the milk (again allowing any excess to drip off), toss to coat in the breadcrumbs and place on the prepared baking tray. Repeat until all soy curls are done. Bake for 20 minutes.
  5. While the curls are baking, prepare the sauce. In a medium size bowl, combine the red pepper paste, 2 tablespoons of agave, brown sugar, tamari, ginger, garlic, vegetable and sesame oils. Whisk until fully combined.
  6. When the curls are cooked, transfer them to a large bowl, add the sauce and toss well to coat. Transfer to a plate and sprinkle with sesame seeds, green onions and a little drizzle of agave.

Broccoli Cheddar Rice Casserole

If you’ve got 20 minutes and a few pantry staples, you’ve got time to make this delicious Broccoli Cheddar Casserole for dinner tonight.

It’s a one-pot dish that requires the barest minimum of effort to set up, and then cooks away happily on it’s own, leaving you time to do whatever else you need to get done.

Also, did I mention it’s absolutely delish?

And it feeds a crowd?

The trick to filling this dish with flavor is ranch seasoning. Since most packaged dry ranch seasoning mixes contain dairy ingredients, like powdered buttermilk, I created my own Best-Ever Ranch Seasoning that I use on everything. The recipe is included below. You’ll only need 2 tablespoons for the broccoli cheddar casserole, so stash the rest in a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid (I like mason jars for this) and stash it in the pantry so you’re ready for any ranch seasoning emergency!

Here’s how you make the ranch seasoning:

In a 500ml mason jar combine:

1/4 cup ground black pepper, 1 1/2 cups dried parsley flakes, 3 tablespoons kosher salt, 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons garlic powder, 3/4 cups onion powder, 3 tablespoons dried dill

and shake well!

Store in the pantry (or another dark, cool place) for 6 months.

Broccoli Cheddar Rice Casserole

Prep time: 5 minutes Cook time: 20 minutes Dietary info: gluten-free, nut-free, oil-free

Ingredients:

4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth

1 cup unsweetened plain soy milk

2 cups basmati rice

2 tablespoons homemade vegan ranch seasoning

3 cups frozen broccoli florets

2 1/2 cups shredded vegan cheddar style cheese, divided

Directions:

  1. Heat a large skillet on medium-high heat. Add the vegetable broth, milk, rice, ranch seasoning and broccoli and stir well to combine. Bring to a rolling boil, then reduce heat to the lowest setting, cover and cook for 18 minutes (or until broccoli is tender and all the liquid has absorbed into the rice.
  2. Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in 2 cups of vegan cheddar shreds. Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup of shreds on top and serve

best-ever vegan meatloaf

Meatloaf, smeatloaf, double beetloaf. I LOVE meatloaf???⁣

Wait, what?⁣

I was totally Randy Parker as a small child. I was a picky eater who would happily have lived on PB sandwiches (no jam), and mac and cheese.⁣

And I despised meatloaf.⁣

My mother, however, insisted on making it often when I was a little kid. It was the early 80s, money was tight, and a meatloaf went a long way in feeding a family of four.⁣

So, more nights than not, it graced our dining room table…and I pushed it around my plate until someone caved and made me a peanut butter sandwich instead.⁣

Fast forward 40ish years, and here I am, serving the best-ever VEGAN meat(less)loaf to my kids. (I may have put it on a hamburger bun and told them it was a “burger”…)🤭⁣

⁣I don’t know if it’s the fact that I just never loved meat as a kid – even before I went vegetarian (or vegan), or that I just didn’t like the way my mother made hers, but all of a sudden, I am singing meat(less) loaf’s praises.⁣

Made with @gardein beefless crumble, a whole lotta seasoning and the most amazing topping, this meat(less) loaf is easy, delish and totally kid-approved!⁣

The Best-Ever Vegan Meatloaf

Prep time: 15 minutes Bake time: 50 minutes Dietary info: Nut-free, Oil-free

Ingredients:
⁣2 tablespoons ground flax

3 tablespoons warm water

1 (14 ounce) bag Gardein beefless crumble, thawed

1 medium yellow onion, diced

1 cup panko breadcrumbs

1 tablespoon Italian seasoning

½ teaspoon garlic powder

½ teaspoon onion powder

½ teaspoon ground mustard

¼ teaspoon sumac

1/8 teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon ground black pepper

½ cup unsweetened soy milk

1/3 cup + 2 tablespoons ketchup, divided

2 tablespoons tamari, divided

2 tablespoons brown sugar

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F and spray or lightly grease a 9” loaf pan. Set aside. In a small bowl, whisk together the flax and water. Let stand for 5 minutes to thicken.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the Gardein Crumble, onion, breadcrumbs, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, onion powder, sumac, cinnamon, salt and pepper. Add the milk, 2 tablespoons of ketchup, 1 tablespoon of tamari and the flax mixture and mix well to form the meatloaf. Don’t be afraid to use your hands to get it well-mixed.  Transfer to the prepared loaf pan and press down to pack it firmly.
  3. In another small bowl, mix together 1/3 cup of ketchup, 1 tablespoon tamari and the brown sugar. Spread evenly on top of the meatloaf. Bake, uncovered for 50 minutes.  Cool slightly before slicing.

High School cafeteria chocolate chip cookies

There really isn’t a lot I’d like to bring back from my high school years.

I’m quite content to leave my “Tease it to Jesus” 80s hair and mouthful of braces as nothing more than a fond memory.

But the fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies from the school cafeteria are another story.

Warm, gooey, “make-your-gums-tingle-from-all-the-sugar” cookies were the best thing my high school cafe served. And I have been chasing those cookies for 20 years.

The trick to fully enjoying those cookies was getting them fresh from the oven. (I’m still convinced that they only half-baked them and we risked getting salmonella from half raw eggs and flour with every bite, but we were young and immortal back then so it didn’t matter.)

I think my version looks different – they are bigger and prettier than the high school cafeteria ones, but the taste is as close as any recipe I’ve tried since.

And believe me when I say I’ve tried A LOT of recipes trying to recreate it.

Best of all, this version is 100% dairy and egg-free.

I highly recommend eating them warm from the oven for the ultimate “16-year-old-angsty-teenager-experience.”

Not that they aren’t absolutely delicious when cooled, but if you didn’t burn the roof of your mouth trying to finish your cookie before you got to first period English class, you’re just not doing it right.

Ultimate High School Cafeteria Chocolate Chip Cookies

Nut-free, Soy-free, Oil-free

Prep time: 10 minutes Bake time: 13 minutes Inactive time: 2 hours Yields: 12-14 cookies

Ingredients:

1 stick (1/2 cup) plant-based butter, softened

½ cup granulated sugar

½ cup light brown sugar, packed

¼ cup unsweetened applesauce

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

½ teaspoon baking soda

¾ teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon kosher salt

1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour

1 cup dairy-free semi-sweet chocolate chips, plus extra for garnish

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, combine the butter and both sugars. Using an electric hand mixer on high, cream them together until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add in the vanilla and applesauce and mix for 1 minute to combine, then add the baking soda, powder and salt and mix for 1 minute until combined.
  2. Reduce mixer speed to low and add the flour, ½ a cup at a time, mixing until incorporated before adding the next batch. Stop when all the flour has been just incorporated and there are no white flour streaks left in the dough.  Gently fold in 1 cup of chocolate chips by hand. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for 1 ½ – 2 hours.
  3. Once dough is properly chilled, preheat the oven to 350F and line two standard baking sheets with parchment or silicone baking sheets. Using a 2” diameter ice cream scoop, drop scoopfuls of the chilled dough onto the prepared sheets, spacing them at least 2 inches apart. You should get 6-7 cookies per sheet.
  4. If desired, press additional chocolate chips onto the tops of each cookie to give them that bakery-style look. Bake for 12-13 minutes or until the tops just start to get golden but aren’t brown. Cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely – if you can wait that long!

Storage instructions: store baked cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days, or freeze for up to 4 months.

Make ahead option: Prep the cookies as above, but instead of baking, pop the baking sheets in the freezer for 2 hours to freeze the cookie dough. Once solid, transfer to a freezer-safe bag or container until needed. To bake, place the frozen cookies on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake at 350F for 12-13 minutes, as above.

Cauliflower “cheese” pasta

If you’re like me, you’ve almost always got parts of a cauliflower hanging around your fridge by the end of the week. 

I’m the only real fan here, so anytime it gets added to a dish, it’s in small quantities just for me.

And I’m always looking for ways to use it up.

Yesterday I taught an online cooking demo and we made Spicy Korean Cauliflower Wings. I used the leftover cauli to make this for dinner.

It’s my #vegan take on Jamie Oliver’s dish of the same name.

It uses ALL the cauliflower (except that gnarly hard part that holds the green leaves together) to make a rich, creamy “cheese” sauce AND a delicious breadcrumb topping to jazz up a box of spaghetti.

My small child ate THREE helpings. I may have *forgotten* to tell her what’s in the sauce…

Here’s how I made it:

Cauliflower Cheese Pasta (with breadcrumb topping)

Nut-free

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

½ loaf stale baguette, torn into pieces

4 garlic cloves, whole, peeled, divided

1 medium cauliflower, florets and stalk chopped small and outer green leaves separated and kept whole. (Discard the hard core at the bottom of the outer leaves)

1 tablespoon grapeseed or extra virgin olive oil, divided

1 teaspoon dried parsley

1 medium yellow onion, roughly chopped

2 cups unsweetened plain soy milk

2 tablespoons nutritional yeast

½ teaspoon ground mustard

¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

8oz spaghetti noodles

1 cup shredded vegan cheddar

Salt and pepper to taste

  1. Make the breadcrumbs and boil a large pot of water for the pasta. Heat ½ tablespoon of oil in a large non-stick frying pan on medium heat. Combine the torn bread, 2 garlic cloves, outer green cauliflower leaves and remaining ½ tablespoon oil in a food processor and process until fine crumbs form. Add to the pan and cook, stirring frequently, until golden brown, 10-15 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
  2. Return the pan to the heat and add the 2 remaining garlic cloves, onion, cauliflower florets and stalk, milk, nutritional yeast, ground mustard and nutmeg. Raise the temperature to medium-high and bring to just under a boil, then reduce heat to medium, cover and simmer until soft, about 10 minutes. While this is cooking, add the pasta to the boiling pot of water.
  3. Gently pour the vegetables and milk into the food processor, add the cheese and blitz until smooth. Return to the pan and scoop out the pasta directly from the pot into the pan, including 1-2 ladles of starchy pasta water. Toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with a generous topping of breadcrumbs.

Baked gingerbread donuts with cinnamon glaze

I’m lucky to live in a city that has a huge and vibrant vegan scene.

Toronto is full of restaurants that cater to vegan and vegetarian lifestyles, and we have many vegan-only or extremely vegan-friendly grocery stores, which makes it really easy to maintain a plant-based diet.

We are also very lucky to be home to the Toronto Vegetarian Association, a group dedicated to encouraging people to lead a more compassionate and healthy lifestyle by adopting a plant-based diet.

The TVA does so much for the veg community here in Toronto, but perhaps what they are most known for is the Veg Food Festival, which is a three-day event held on the second weekend of September every year at our beautiful Toronto Harbourfront. It’s the largest vegan/vegetarian festival in North America and when times are better, and we can all travel again, I highly encourage you to come check it out.

In recent years, the TVA has also added a Spring and Holiday Veg Market to their roster, and I’ve had the pleasure of participating at all three events as both a vendor and a cooking instructor. This year, because of COVID-19, all of these events went virtual, and I turned my kitchen into a virtual cooking school to showcase some easy, delicious plant-based recipes.

The 2020 Virtual Veg Holiday Market ran from Dec 12-20 and it included a host of cooking demos and talks, including one from me with a very special holiday treat I created just for that event:

Baked Gingerbread Donuts with Cinnamon Glaze.

These light, fluffy, baked donuts are absolutely bursting with Christmas flavor and are so super-easy to make. And the glaze on top is the perfect finish to this winter-wonderland treat.

Because these donuts are baked instead of fried, they’re healthier (read: you can eat more than one), and require less time and equipment. In fact, you don’t even have to make these into donuts – they make amazing muffins too, so don’t fret if you don’t have a donut pan handy. For regular size muffins, double your baking time. For mini muffins, keep the same bake time as the donuts.

Baked Gingerbread Donuts with Cinnamon Glaze

Prep time: 15 minutes

Bake time: 10 minutes

Yields 8-10 donuts

Ingredients:

Donuts:

1 tablespoon ground flax

¾ cup unsweetened non-dairy milk

½ teaspoon lemon juice

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

1 ¼ teaspoons baking powder

¼ teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon ground ginger

¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

¼ teaspoon salt

½ cup brown sugar

¼ cup neutral oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 tablespoons molasses

Cinnamon glaze:

1 ¼ cups icing sugar

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon ground ginger

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

5-6 tablespoons non-dairy milk or cream

  1. In a small bowl, combine ground flax with 2 tablespoons hot water and set aside for 5 minutes to thicken.
  2. In a measuring glass, combine ½ cup non-dairy milk with lemon juice and let stand for 5 minutes
  3. Preheat oven to 375F. Grease 2 donut pans with oil, butter or cooking spray and set aside. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, salt and brown sugar. Make a well in the center and add the flax egg, milk, oil, vanilla and molasses. Stir until just combined and no flour streaks are visible. Spoon mixture into donut pan until just below the fill line (alternately, you could use a piping bag to pipe the batter into the tray). 
  4. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a doughnut comes out clean.  Gently turn the pan over on to a wire cooling rack and tap out the donuts.  Let cool completely.
  5. Make the glaze: In a small bowl, whisk together the icing sugar, cinnamon, ginger, vanilla and 4 tablespoons of non-dairy milk or cream until well-combined. Add 1 tablespoon more at a time until the glaze reaches the desired consistency for dipping. Dip each donut into the glaze until the top is completely coated, or spoon the glaze directly on to the donut and set back on a wire rack for the glaze to set.

Double Chocolate & Peanut Butter Streusel muffins

Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating a bit by calling these “muffins”. The crumb is so light and soft and chocolatey, that it’s really hard to tell it apart from a chocolate cupcake. But in the absence of frosting (and the appearance of streusel, which is definitely a “muffin thing”), we’ll go ahead and call these muffins. Besides, my fitness app (or my conscience) won’t judge me as harshly if I say I’m eating a “muffin”…

But seriously though, with the right buttercream crown, these beauties are absolute cupcake queens. In fact, I’m thinking about skipping the cookies this year and leaving jolly old St. Nick a couple of these on Christmas Eve (sealed in a “to-go” container, because it is a pandemic after all, and we don’t want the big guy taking off his mask while he’s here)

As decadent as they sound, these muffins are surprisingly not overly sweet, thanks to the roasted, salted peanuts and dark peanut butter. I used creamy Jif Dark Roast peanut butter which I find is less sweet than it’s regular counterpart, but any peanut butter will work just fine.

The muffin base has a peanut butter cream cheese filling stuffed in between two layers of super-fudgy chocolate crumb, and the tops are adorned with a salty-sweet delicious peanut butter and chopped roasted peanut streusel that cuts through the richness of the double chocolate batter.

This recipe is a little bit of work in that its definitely not a one-bowl treat, but it’s really worth cleaning up multiple mixing bowls afterwards. On the bright side though, you don’t need any mixers or beaters or fancy equipment to make them. Just a few bowls, a whisk, a couple of spatulas and some measuring cups.

So put on a pot of coffee and roll up your sleeves. Chocolate peanut butter goodness awaits.

Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Streusel Muffins

Prep time: 30 minutes

Bake time: 30 minutes

Yields: 14-16 muffins

For the streusel topping:

¼ cup all-purpose flour

¼ cup brown sugar

1 tablespoon vegan butter, softened

2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter

¼ cup chopped roasted peanuts

For the Peanut Butter Cream Cheese filling:

8oz dairy-free cream cheese, softened

½ cup creamy peanut butter

½ cup granulated sugar

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon unsweetened non-dairy milk

For the muffins:

½ cup canola or vegetable oil

1 cup granulated sugar

½ cup unsweetened non-dairy milk

½ cup unsweetened applesauce

½ cup unsweetened dairy-free yogurt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups all-purpose flour

½ cup cocoa powder

1 teaspoon instant coffee or espresso powder

1 ½ teaspoons baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

1 cup dairy-free semi-sweet chocolate chips

  1. Make the streusel topping: In a small bowl, combine ¼ cup of flour, ¼ cup of brown sugar, butter and 2 tablespoons of peanut butter. Using a pastry cutter or two knives or even a fork, cut the butter into the flour and sugar mix until it resembles coarse cornmeal. Add in the chopped peanuts and stir to combine. Set aside.
  2. Make the cream cheese filling: In a medium size bowl, combine the cream cheese and ½ cup peanut butter. Microwave for 30 seconds until soft enough to stir. Add ½ cup of granulated sugar, vanilla extract and 1 tablespoon of non-dairy milk and stir with a spoon until combined. Set aside.
  3. Make the muffin batter: Preheat your oven to 350°F, adjust oven rack to the middle position and grease or line a standard muffin tray (two if you have them, otherwise you’ll need to reload for the second batch). In a medium size bowl, combine the canola oil, 1 cup of granulated sugar, ½ cup of non-dairy milk, applesauce, dairy-free yogurt, and vanilla extract. Whisk to combine. Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, sift together the flour and cocoa powder. Add the espresso or instant coffee, baking soda, salt and chocolate chips and stir to combine.  Make a well in the center of the bowl and add the wet ingredients. Stir until just combined and no flour streaks are left. Using a tablespoon or a 1 ½ inch ice cream scoop, fill each muffin tin 1/3 full with batter, spreading it out into an even layer.  Top the batter with one heaping tablespoon of cream cheese mix and then top with remaining batter until each tin is approximately ¾ full.  (Note: if you like muffins with extra muffin top, fill each cavity to the top. You’ll get less muffins overall but more surface for the yummy streusel).
  5. Sprinkle each muffin with a heaping tablespoon of streusel and bake on the center rack for 25-30 minutes or until a cake tester or toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with just a few crumbs. Let cool in the muffin tray for 10-15 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

I’m a history buff and I have a love for all things vintage – especially when it comes to the kitchen. I’ve been collecting vintage cookbooks and retro kitchenware for years, so it’s no surprise that when I decided to write a dessert cookbook, I packed it full of modernized, plant-based versions of classic retro desserts.⁣

My current obsession is this vegan adaptation of Purity Flour’s “Busy Day Cake”. It first appeared in their 1945 war-time edition of their famous “Purity Cookbook.” (Purity Flour was Canada’s largest flour milling company for generations, before being amalgamated with Maple Leaf Foods and is an iconic historical Canadian brand.)⁣

I found it as the lead-in for chapter 12 of @KarmaKBrown’s amazing novel, “Recipe for A Perfect Wife” (which is a must-read book whether you like cooking or not!) and I knew I just had to make a plant-based version of it.⁣

What I love most about this cake is that it really is great for a busy day. It’s a set-it-and-forget-it kind of recipe that takes just a few minutes up front and then the oven (and time) do all the heavy lifting. Pop it in the oven in the morning and you’ve got a fabulous cake for your afternoon tea.⁣

The original recipe calls for either a vanilla or lemon version but, if given the choice, I’ll always take lemon.

Busy Day Lemon Cake

2 ½ cups all purpose flour
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ cup vegan butter, softened
1 ¾ cups granulated sugar
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 cup unsweetened plant-based milk, such as almond or soy
½ cup unsweetened applesauce

Lemon Glaze
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
¼ cup fresh squeezed lemon juice

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 7×12 inch baking dish.
2. In a large bowl, sift together flour, salt and baking powder. Set aside.
3. In another large bowl, cream together butter and sugar with a hand mixer on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add lemon zest and lemon juice and beat for another 2 minutes to incorporate. Alternately, use a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.LikeForwardCopyUnsend4. Reduce speed to low and add half the flour mixture, mixing until just combined. Add the plant-based milk and applesauce and mix for one minute, then add the remaining flour and mix until just incorporated.
5. Pour into well-greased pan and bake for 60-65 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean. Cool in pan for 30 minutes before transferring to serving plate. Make lemon glaze by stirring together the confectioners sugar and lemon juice until a thick but pourable glaze forms, and pour over the cooled cake.


We may be in the midst of “Summer in November” here in Toronto, but 75F degree temps in Autumn isn’t enough to stop me from making my most favorite fall cookies ever: Snickerdoodles!⁣⁣
⁣⁣⁣
These cookies have a slightly crispy cinnamon sugar exterior that covers a pillowy soft, rich butter cookie inside which literally melts in your mouth.⁣⁣

I’m not really sure which is more fun: saying ‘snickerdoodles’ or eating them, but one thing I do know for sure is that these are hands down the best ones you’ll ever try – and I speak from experience. I’ve tried at least a dozen different recipes – and this one is my favorite. It’s the addition of (dairy-free) cream cheese that makes the insides so rich and soft, and balances so perfectly with a spicy cinnamon sugar crust.

So whether Mother Nature is confusing November with June, or if your city is already blanketed in snow, a steaming mug of coffee and these cookies will make your day.

Best-ever Snickerdoodle Cookies

(yields approximately 36 cookies)

3 cups all-purpose flour⁣⁣
1 teaspoon baking powder⁣⁣
¼ teaspoon baking soda⁣⁣
½ teaspoon salt⁣⁣
1 cup vegan butter, at room temperature⁣⁣
1/2 ounces nondairy cream cheese, at room temperature⁣⁣
1 ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided⁣⁣
½ cup unsweetened nondairy milk⁣⁣
2 teaspoons vanilla extract⁣⁣
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon⁣⁣
⁣⁣
1. Preheat oven to 375ºF. Line two large rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.⁣⁣
⁣⁣
2. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.⁣⁣
⁣⁣
3. Using an electric hand or stand mixer, mix the butter, cream cheese, and 1 ¼ cups sugar for 3-5 minutes on med speed until fluffy. Add milk & vanilla and mix until combined. Reduce speed to low and slowly add the flour mixture until incorporated. Chill for 15-20 minutes.⁣⁣
⁣⁣
4. Combine remaining 2 tbsp of sugar and 2 tsps of cinnamon in a shallow bowl. Scoop up approx 2 tablespoons of dough and roll between the palms of your hand to form a ball toss in cinnamon sugar mix to coat. Place on prepared baking sheet, at least 2 inches apart. Repeat with remaining dough until both trays are full.⁣⁣
⁣⁣
5. Use the bottom of a glass to gently press the cookies down to approximately ½ inch thick. Bake for 9-10 minutes, or until very lightly golden on the bottom. Cool for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. ⁣
⁣⁣⁣

We woke up to a light dusting of snow this morning – not enough to really stick (it’s all gone now), but enough to remind me that winter is on its way.⁣⁠
⁣⁠
Of course, as I’m typing this, I’m seeing the weather forecast will hit 60F again by Friday, but it’s just for a day or two. I live in a climate where winter is real and I best get used to it.⁣⁠
⁣⁠
That means it’s time to break out all the warm, creamy soup recipes – like my favorite Loaded Baked Potato Soup.

All the comforting flavors of a delicious fully loaded baked potato – in soup form. I guarantee this will become one of your favorite winter dishes in no time!

 Loaded Baked Potato Soup with Kale

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

Gluten-free, nut-free, soy-free

Serves 6

Ingredients

3 tablespoons vegan butter

4 garlic cloves, chopped

2 leeks, white and light green parts only, chopped

1 medium onion, diced

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon ground black pepper

½ cup water

2 yellow flesh potatoes, peeled and diced into 1-inch cubes

1 (900ml) package low sodium vegetable broth

4 cups chopped kale, leaves only

1 cup shredded cheddar-style cheese

2 green onions, green parts only, diced

¼ cup simulated bacon bits (optional)

  1. In a large soup pot, heat the butter on medium heat. Add the garlic, leeks, onion, salt and pepper and cook until onions and leeks are softened, about 6 minutes. Add the potatoes and water and cook for 2 minutes, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom of the pot.
  2. Add the broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, until potatoes are tender, 8-10 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and use an immersion blender to puree the soup. (Alternately, puree soup in a regular blender in small batches and return to the pot). Add the kale and cook until wilted, about 4 minutes. Taste and adjust salt and pepper as needed.
  4. Divide evenly between bowls and top with shredded cheese, green onion and bacon bits, if using.