Category Archives: brownies

Vegan Pumpkin Pie Brownies


Oh man, it’s a total shame I haven’t posted this recipe sooner. This is totally the equivalent to a “#latergram” on Instagram type status. I made this back toward the beginning of the year for a dinner party and was too busy to post the recipe. So here we are, and it’s in perfect time to add to this wonderful pumpkin season!

Can’t decide if you’re in the mood for something chocolatey or with pumpkin? Brownies? Pumpkin? Why not have both?! This is absolutely luscious. Think of a pumpkin pie with a brownie crust/base. It’s literally thee perfect combination. My friends definitely seemed to think so. (And no one knows it’s vegan! Shhh…)

I think this would be a great addition to a Thanksgiving feast!

Vegan Pumpkin Pie Brownies

Makes 8 brownies

Adapted from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar

For the brownie layer:

  • 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

For the pumpkin layer:

  • 3/4 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • pinches of nutmeg and allspice

For decoration: a handful of chocolate chips

  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Grease a 9 in. springform pan (or use a 9 in. square pan lined with parchment paper).

To make the brownie layer:

  1. Melt the chocolate.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, mix together the pumpkin, sugar, oil and vanilla. Sift in flour, cocoa powder, cornstarch, baking soda, and salt. Stir to combine, then mix in the melted chocolate.

To make the pumpkin layer:

  1. Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl, stir until thoroughly combined.

To assemble:

  1. Use a spatula to spread the brownie layer mixture into prepared baking pan, taking care to bring the batter to the edges of the pan. Pour the pumpkin layer over it, leaving a little room at the edges if you can.
  2. Bake for 30 minutes, until pumpkin layer looks fairly firm (slight jiggling is ok), and has cracked at the edges a bit.
  3. Let the brownies cool for 20 minutes, then transfer the pan to the fridge to set for at least an hour and a half. Once set, decorate with chocolate chips, slice into wedges, and serve!



Rock & Shop Craft Sale


As previously mentioned, the Rock & Shop Craft Sale was a smashing success. The hours and hours of creative thinking, preparation, planning, baking, and crafting (and stressing) were worth every second. Although I had a million other things on my plate during that week leading up to it, I don’t regret shifting the majority of my focus on this event. Creating the cupcake menu was the best part! And one thing lead into another, of course. The sewing machine made its way out of the closet and demanded that some owls be made. I couldn’t turn the opportunity down…

So, here’s what my all-vegan cupcake menu looked like:
-“The Magnum PI“: vegan chai tea cardamom cupcake with a vanilla bean cardamom buttercream frosting, topped with a Tom Selleck chocolate MUSTACHE ! (these sold out first)
Chocolate Coconut Curry: vegan chocolate curry cupcake with a sweet coconut chocolate curry frosting, topped with pink himalayan salt crystals
-“The Nutty Drunk Monkey“: vegan caramelized plantain cupcake with a cinnamon maple rum walnut frosting, topped with a banana chip
Lemon Lavender: lemon zest vegan cupcake topped with a lavender buttercream lemon zest frosting
Here was my pre-sale sampling platter of the rejects (according to me) that I split up among my family so that we could taste to ensure they were not poison.
It was hard to chose a favorite. I think my top two were the chocolate curry and the lemon lavender, although they were all delicious. All of these were experiments, mind you. I’ve made the cupcake portions many times before, but the flavor combos with frostings were something I’d never tried before. (Note: all slightly modified cupcake base recipes came from VCTOTW, so thank you Isa & Terry!) My favorite part of cupcake baking is the creativity of flavor pairings, so this was definitely what I enjoyed most out of this experience. I had so many ideas flowing through my head for DAYS. It was all I’d think about at work for a while. I’d scribble and jot down notes on random pieces of paper and at the end of the week I finally committed to a menu. It wasn’t easy. I would have baked 12 dozen cupcakes if I could have. But I had to calm myself down. Four dozen would be plenty.
The half-dressed cuppie cakers, pre-pimping.



Anyway, the chocolate curry combo didn’t seem too far off especially since there seems to be tons of chocolate bars these days donning these ingredients. Coconut extract packed in a little extra punch in the frosting and rounded it out perfectly. And chunks of sea salt are also a popular pairing with chocolate, so I topped the cupcakes with a few grinds of that.
As for the lemon lavender, I don’t think I have to explain my obsession once again for the flavor combo. I used a little bit of lavender syrup in the frosting and it came out great.
Originally I thought of doing a banana cupcake with a peanut butter frosting, naming it something clever, like “The Elvis” or something similar in the title and what-not, but I didn’t want to follow the trend of every other bakery out there that’s doing that exact thing. Plantains have been a regular staple in my kitchen for the past year or so, mainly fried up in some ghee, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamom to put in my morning oatmeal or whatever, but they have so much more potential to them to be explored culinary wise. Incorporating them into a cupcake seemed only natural. To soften and ripen it up a bit, I caramelized it by baking it in some margarine and spices for a few minutes in the oven. And then I mashed it with a few regular bananas so it wouldn’t be so dry. The frosting was another story. I modified the “cashew butter frosting” recipe by using walnut butter instead, and it called for soy protein powder. Well, let’s just say the first batch didn’t turn out so well. Little miss trying to be economical by trying to find most ingredients in the bulk bins, I accidentally used soy flour, the yellow funny-smelling stuff that has quite a disturbing taste if you’re not prepared for it. Thank GOD I taste tested that frosting before they went on the cakes. I usually never do. Anyway, I ended up getting the right stuff and it turned out. It was a bit runny and didn’t stay on the cupcakes well so I refrigerated them overnight and it helped a little.
And as for the chai cupcake piled high to the sky with the vanilla bean cardamom frosting and the mustache that gives you wings. Deeelicious. Very mild and sweet. Although I’m not much of a frosting person, I typically go for a cupcake > frosting ratio (not the other way around), I would eat this any day.
So yes, I sold them for $3 each (not an easy decision either…) and ended up selling out! I wasn’t so sure how popular they would be, but it was a hit. I also ended up selling some gluten-free brownies topped in gold dust, and some shortbread tea cookies (lavender, rose, and caramelized pear truffle teas).

As for the owls…
Meet Winston (far left, not pictured), Matisse, Olly, Mortimer, and Lilith.
They all have stories and antidotes that I can’t recall at the moment, but they were all one happy family before some were adopted. I sold Olly and Mortimer.
These went for $25 a piece, and I was happy to have sold at least one!
They were very fun to make and I can’t wait to make more in the future…
As for the other sellers, there were other (mini) owls, chandeliers made out of silverware, feather hair clips, hand-made toddler clothes, homemade marshmallows, and many other crafty things. Most importantly, my stepmom sold her fabulous paper crowns with me, too!
Harvey Lee Owlswald. Genius.


A cupcake treat trade paid for part of that bee necklace.
The crafty lady that made it (and the other art plaques and magnets) happens to be my new hairstylist. I get my haircut by her tomorrow! So stoked.
I set out my DIY “business” cards to advertise my blog and such.
Only 2 were left at the end of the day.
People wanted to know if I catered for weddings or birthday parties! I wish! I was so flattered!
Someday… someday in the (near) future.
And here are some shots of awesome cupcake supporters:
My personal favorite. She was completely obsessed with this cupcake. The second she came up to the table, she was fixated and kept pointing and saying “mustache! mustache! mustache! I want the mustache cupcake!” She wouldn’t take no for an answer from her mom.
Adorableness to the 20th power.
Co-worker friends.
And blogger friends! Amey (Vegan Eats & Treats) stopped by and had herself a nutty drunk monkey!
This was truly some of the best 7 hours of fun I have had in quite a while. Although I had no idea what to expect, it exceeded that non-existent expectation. I was glowing and grinning from ear-to-ear the entire time and have ever since. So many friends and family came out of their way to support and I thank each and every one of you from the bottom of my heart for doing so. It really means a lot. You all made my day/year/life!
Cheers to more cupcake baking and craft sales in the future!

Vegan Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirl Brownies (Plus a few things I’m loving…)


These brownies were super chewy, amazing, flavorful, peanut buttery, chocolatey, everything I needed combined into one, and vegan. Make them. That’s all I’m going to say. 


(I changed the original recipe a bit so here it is with adjustments…)

– 1/2 cup smooth natural peanut butter
– 1/3 cup Earth Balance
– 1 cup sugar
– 1/4 cup vegan brown sugar
– 1/2 cup mashed banana
– 1 cup white whole wheat flour
– 1-1/2 teaspoon baking powder
– 1/4 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
– 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
– 1/2 to 3/4 cup chocolate chips
– 3 tablespoons Earth Balance

1.) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2.) Cream together the peanut butter and butter substitute.
3.) Add the sugars and continue creaming.
4.) Add the mashed banana & 1/2 teaspoon baking powder and beat until fluffy.
5.) Add the flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, and salt.
6.) Fold in the vanilla. Pour into a lightly greased, 9″ square pan.
7.) In a small saucepan, melt the chocolate chips and 3 tablespoons butter substitute.
8.) Pour desired amount into the middle of the brownie batter and swirl around with a knife.
9.) Bake for approx. 25 minutes. If the chocolate begins to burn at all, lightly cover with some tin foil. Brownies are finished when a toothpick inserted into them comes out (semi)clean. They’re nice when still slightly doughy and dense. 
On an entirely different note, I wanted to share some great things I’ve found on the past few days. I’m sure most of you are familiar with the site, but I wanted to post the links to a few posts I thought were interesting and inspiring. Oh The Kitchn, how I love thee… 
-these super easy and yummy looking milk & honey peanut butter balls 
-how food magazines are holding up in the current economy
-this fig cocoa jam paired with goat cheese and crackers sounds insane (Ficoco found here)
-five tips for plating food
-the differences between soy, almond, and rice milks
-no-flour, no-butter peanut butter cookies
-check out these gorgeous bird sugar cookies, an Easter specialty from Eleni’s (although it doesn’t look like these guys are still available… shucks) I wish I had the talent to know how to make them!
-but instead, to make up for my lack of creative ability, I will attempt to make these Martha Stewart Bird’s Nest cookies
Now those are too freakin’ cute for words…
this recipe for a quince and fig cobbler! I can’t confidently say I’ve ever tried a quince before…I’ve seen quince jam? But I don’t know where I can buy them. Anyway, if I do come across them at some point in my life, I will be sure to make this cobber…
braised goat shanks with prune, shallot, and brandy reduction. I’m not so sure how I feel about the goat shanks (let alone being able to find them? Whole Foods?), but the sauce! The sauce alone sounds mind blowing. Maybe I’d try it with chicken instead.
eggplant fries! I’ve never deep-fried before, so maybe I’d roast them instead. These look so delicious though…
General Mills retro cereal boxes! I saw them at Target once and was THIS CLOSE to buying a box of Lucky Charms but I had restraint. I am such a sucker for old-fashioned packaging…

I also discovered this great dishwear/ceramic/dinnerwear store last night, Fishs Eddy, and already have some things in my shopping cart. I can’t stop myself from the great deals. Check out this cake stand!!! Uh, HELLO?!? Yeah, my thoughts exactly…
Also, check out these great porcelain light fixtures by Isabelle Sicart. I’m a sucker for branches…
That’s all for now!