Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Ghostly Mini Pumpkin Cupcakes! (gluten free, dairy free, vegan)

I've been racking my brain this week to try to make something festive for Halloween and then I remembered these cute little ghost cupcakes I made last year. They are not only perfect Halloween party treats, but they are soooo delicious!

Now I'm not one of those people who loves anything and everything pumpkin flavored but I do love a good pumpkin pie and of course, these little pumpkin cupcakes.  They are not overbearingly pumpkiny or spicey so even the most persnickety of kids will like them (my persnickety one certainly does).

This recipe can make up to about 54 mini cupcakes so if you don't need that many you can halve the ingredients. You can also make regular sized cupcakes but I find it is easier to make the ghosts when they are smaller. The directions below are for 48 mini cupcakes as most cupcake trays hold 24 mini cupcakes per tray.  There may be extra batter so you can add it to the 48 or heck, eat it raw!  It's vegan!

For best results invest in a scale to measure the ingredients by grams. It is the most accurate and when baking gluten free, it is really important to have the right ratio of flours.

Please note: Always check labels and manufacturing processes to ensure there is no evidence of any food allergens you may be sensitive to.  

Mini Pumpkin Cupcakes: (gluten free, dairy free, vegan)
3/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons (98g) tapioca flour
2 1/2 Tablespoons (30g) potato starch
1 cup (130g) white rice flour
1/3 cup (42g) brown rice flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
6 Tablespoons (84g) vegetable shortening, melted (I use Earth Balance, organic)
1 cup (200g) cane sugar (use organic for vegan)
1/2 cup + 1/2 Tablespoon (50g) apple sauce
1/3 cup + 1/2 Tablespoon (85g) pumpkin puree (I usually use canned organic)
1/4 cup + 1 teaspoon (80g) maple syrup
2/3 cup (150g) coconut milk (I use Native Forest brand)
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Line two mini cupcake trays (they should hold 24 cupcakes per tray) with mini cupcake liners (Halloween themed ones are best!). 

Melt the vegetable shortening in the microwave for 20-30 seconds. In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment or using a hand held mixer, combine the melted vegetable shortening, cane sugar, applesauce, pumpkin puree, maple syrup, coconut milk and apple cider vinegar in a large mixing bowl. Mix on low for about one minute. In a separate bowl whisk and combine the tapioca flour, potato starch, white rice flour, brown rice flour, salt, baking soda, xanthan gum, baking powder, cinnamon, ground cloves, and ground ginger. 

Add a couple of large scoops of the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in the mixing bowl. Mix on low to medium until all of the dry ingredients have been incorporated then mix on high for about 20-30 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl with a rubber spatula and mix on high for another 20-30 seconds. 

Scoop batter into the cupcake trays.  Make sure batter is evenly dispersed and comes to the top of each cupcake liner.   Place cupcake trays on middle rack in oven and bake for 16 minutes.  Then remove from oven and test the centers with a toothpick.  If batter sticks to the toothpick bake for an additional 2 minutes.  Retest with a new toothpick.  When the toothpick comes out clean the cupcakes are done.

Let cupcakes cool on cooling rack for a minimum of 20 minutes.  

Vanilla Frosting: (gluten free, dairy free, vegan)

1 cup (178g) vegetable shortening, room temperature (Spectrum Brand Palm Shortening)
3 3/4 cups (370g) powdered sugar (use organic for vegan)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup (50g) coconut milk (Native Forest brand)
1/4 teaspoon salt

Sift the powdered sugar using a sifter or with the blunt end of a butter knife through a metal mesh strainer. Combine the salt, vanilla extract and coconut milk in a small bowl and set aside. Place all of the vegetable shortening in a large mixing bowl and add one large scoop of powdered sugar. Using a stand mixer or hand held mixer, mix on low and slowly add half of the wet ingredients.  Continue to slowly add the powdered sugar along with the wet ingredients while scraping down the sides of the bowl.  Mix on low until the frosting is smooth. 

How to make cute little ghost toppers:  Fill a plastic pastry bag or large freezer bag with vanilla frosting and then cut the tip (or corner of freezer bag) about 1/2-3/4 " across. Make sure there is no air in the bag and then twist the opening of the bag closed causing the frosting to build up pressure and start coming out the tip.  For a video tutorial on how to frost the cupcakes click here and fast forward to 5:00 minutes.  The woman in the video uses a frosting tip which is helpful but I didn't have one on hand so went without. 

For the eyes and mouth I used Enjoy Life chocolate chips. 

Monday, October 19, 2015

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies (gluten free, dairy free, vegan)

It has been a while since my last post and I do apologize.  Unfortunately, life can get in the way of baking, cooking and blog posts.  Since the beginning of summer I have moved, gone on vacation, successfully transitioned my son into kindergarten and had surgery. Needless to say I could not wait to get back into the kitchen and dust off my mixer.

These oatmeal raisin cookies are a favorite of mine as well as those who have indulged in their sweet, chewy yumminess.  They are great for packing in lunchboxes or for having as an afternoon snack (or even as a late night indulgence with a scoop of  your favorite dairy free ice cream!).

Please note: Always check labels and manufacturing processes to ensure there is no evidence of any food allergens you may be sensitive to.  

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies (gluten free, dairy free, vegan):
1/2 Tablespoon ground flax meal
2 Tablespoons water
6 Tablespoons (84g) vegetable shortening (I use Earth Balance brand)
1 cup (150g) light brown sugar (use organic for vegan)
1/2 cup (60g) tapioca flour
1/3 cup + 1 1/2 Tablespoons (54g) brown rice flour (I use Authentic Foods brand)
1/4 cup + 1 teaspoon (40g) white rice flour (I use Authentic Foods brand)
1 1/4 cup (125g) certified gluten free rolled oats (I use Bob's Red Mill)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 Tablespoon coconut milk (I use Native Forest brand)
2/3 organic raisins

Combine the flax meal with the water in a small bowl and set aside. In a mixing bowl cream together the vegetable shortening with the light brown sugar by mixing on low for a few minutes. In a separate bowl combine the tapioca flour, brown rice flour, white rice flour, rolled oats, salt, baking soda, cinnamon and xanthan gum.  Whisk these dry ingredients together. 

Add the flax meal and water mixture to the creamed vegetable shortening and brown sugar mixture along with the coconut milk. Mix on low until fully combined. Then gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet.  

Mix on low until all the ingredients are fully incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed.  It should look and feel just like cookie dough.  Finally, add the raisins and mix on low for about 15 seconds. Use a spoon or scoop to make round balls about 1-1 1/2 inches in size. Space cookie balls about 2 inches apart on the cookie sheet.  Flatten each ball with the palm of your hand so they are the shape of cookies (they will not flatten much on their own during baking). 

Bake on the middle rack for 11 minutes or until cookies are easy to remove with a spatula.  If they are still soft bake for another 1-2 minutes. Remove from cookie sheet and cool on a cooling rack. Makes about 25 cookies.