Category Archives: vegan baking

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!


Amazon is my Vice & Some Nice PB Pumpkin Banana Bread

Between taking my first set of radiographs on fake patients
and molding gum paste into maxillary 2nd molars for my tooth morphology class…
(Another student made this one out of rice krispies and marzipan! GENIUS! She deserves the award for best 3D mold interpretation project!)
…I somehow seemed to manage getting in a little baking last week, in addition to splurging a bit on Amazon (I’m blaming it on my “lack-of-baking” deprivation). For some reason, the credit card I have been using for the past year or so is really ending up to be quite beneficial in its rewards. Since I practically spend half of my income (or lack thereof) on the site, it makes sense. The “reward points” have been adding up. So basically I ended up getting all of these books for the regular price of one! (Baked Explorations retails for $30). So I feel pretty good about it. Anyway, I finally got my hands on Viva Vegan! (vegan latin food) by Terry Hope Romero and I am looking forward to making these recipes in particular: tostones with avocado and palm ceviche, all of the plantain recipes (sweet and nutty roasted stuffed plantains, bite-size green plantain sandwiches), calabacitas, quinoa-oyster mushroom risotto, creamy potato peanut stew, creamy corn-crusted tempeh pot pie, portobello feijoada (brazilian black bean stew with portobellos), creamy potato soup with avocado, hearty pumpkin and cranberry bean stew, sancocho (vegetable, roots, and plantain soup), tropical pumpkin soup, black-eyed butternut tostadas, black bean-sweet potato tamales, beans rice and sweet plantain empanadas, horchata, crepes with un-dulce de leche and sweet plantains, fresh mango and guava bread pudin, sweet potato sweet mash, oh my gosh I could go on and on. Although I am not a huge fan of spicy (or acidic) food, the recipes she shares include almost more than half of my favorite root vegetables and fruits–lots of pumpkin, sweet potatoes, mushrooms, plantains, mangos, you get the picture. Yes. I am stoked.
And, as mentioned above, I immediately bought the new Baked Explorations dessert book because I wanted some new ingenious recipes with more jaw dropping, lustful photography by Tina Rupp (as in their first cookbook hit, Baked: New Frontiers in Baking, although, confession, I haven’t made a single thing out of it once… the eye candy alone is good enough… someday though) that inspires me to want to open a bakery immediately and create a storefront and shell out books as half as amazing as Matt and Renato. How about some pumpkin cheddar muffins, double-chocolate loaf with peanut butter cream cheese frosting, a whiskey pear tart, mississippi mud pie, and some cowboy cookies? It’s pretty much a must-have for anyone who appreciates the fine art of baking, along with food photography. It’s a drooler, that’s for sure.

Here is a cute little trailer for the book that kind of made me die a little inside the first time I saw it…
Wow. All I can say is wow.
And then, (as if I am actually able to have some leisurely reading time), I finally got around to purchasing my own copies of some Thoreau. Particularly, Walden: or, Life in the Woods and Meditations of Thoreau. Perfect autumn reads. The pictures below are where I want to be. And his words will help take me to that place of peace.
So here is what I have managed to bake lately. I totally made it up and combined three of my favorite things into one and got all crazy with the version of my favorite vegan banana bread recipe. Peanut butter. Pumpkin. Bananas. I wanted all of them, all at once. I basically pulled ideas from about four different recipes. Pumpkin bread, a peanut butter banana bread, this recipe, etc. I also made it all hippy and healthy and stuff by using spelt flour (which may make it gluten free although I’m not entirely sure?), agave for sweetener, and bit of ground flax seed. See? HEALTHY. The latest October issue of Cooking Light did a big article about banana breads and variations on the theme and their peanut butter glaze for this recipe looked irresistible. So here’s how it all came together. It didn’t turn out bad but I think I would tweak it again in the future by either adding the applesauce, more bananas, more peanut butter, or more pumpkin. I’m not sure which, but it needed more moisture or something. I couldn’t put my finger on it. Oh and we had an ant infestation over those few days and even though I had the lid on this thing over night, ants totally invaded the sides of it. I tried to save it as much as humanly possible without getting grossed out. I wasn’t about to throw this in the trash without trying it. Those damn ants. Yeah, I was pretty pissed. At least they liked it. That says something.

Vegan Peanut Butter Pumpkin Banana Bread

3 large very ripe bananas
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
1/3 cup crunchy peanut butter
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup agave nectar
2 tablespoons molasses
2 cups spelt flour
1/4 cup ground flax seed
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
pinch of clove
pinch of ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon soy milk
1 tablespoon peanut butter

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan.
In a large mixing bowl, mash the bananas, pumpkin, and peanut butter really well. Add the agave, oil, and molasses, and whisk briskly to incorporate.
Sift in the flour, flax seed, baking soda, spices, and salt. Use a wooden spoon to mix until the wet and dry ingredients are just combined.
Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and bake for 45 to 50 minutes. The top should be lightly browned and a knife inserted through the center should come out clean.
Meanwhile, you can make your peanut butter glaze. Combine powdered sugar, soy milk, and peanut butter in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Drizzle glaze over bread after it is baked.
Lily likes to study, too.

And sleep.

Saw this in the girls bathroom stall several weeks ago and it resonated with me. (I always have my camera on me now because I am the “class historian” which basically means I get the lucky job of photo documentation until we graduate!)

I am super excited for an adventure I have planned for tomorrow. I am going to Farmer John’s pumpkin patch up highway 1 in Half Moon Bay to score some unique pumpkins for decorating and eating, and hopefully buy some heirloom seeds! It’s going to be awesome. And then I plan on heading to San Francisco afterward for some brunch and ice cream sampling. I plan on taking loads of pictures!
Oh yeah, and did I mention how much I love October? I LOVE OCTOBER. Seriously, I am the happiest girl alive right now just for the lovely weather and the orange tint of the afternoon sun and the crisp cold smell of autumn in the morning and pumpkin foods everywhere. IN LOOOOVE.

PB&J Vegan Cookies, Dinners, January!

Happy New Year!

I’m really happy it is January. Actually, it hasn’t really hit me yet. I can’t believe that my birthday is 31 days away. So many great things are happening this month, I can’t wait. Namely, the MMI Ayurveda program starts in exactly four weeks! That’s why I’ve been trying to hit the books and study up before I head in. Dr. Vasant Lad, the Ayurvedic Physician of Ayurvedic Physicians, is going to be there for the first intro weekend. He is like the Ayurvedic God. Being his student will be best birthday gift I could ever imagine. Waking up in a cabin in the hills overlooking the Monterey Bay, practicing yoga, learning more about this fascinating medicine, cooking and eating tons delicious Ayurvedic vegetarian food, drinking Yogi tea 24/7, going on little hikes in the forest, relaxing in the hot tub, shopping for herbs in the Ayurvedic store. I can’t actually believe it’s going to happen. That I actually willed, motivated, and inspired myself and am going to make it happen. It is going to be such an honor.
Other than that and the other things I’ve been looking forward to, I’ve been doing a lot of cooking and baking with friends lately. The other night my friend and I dined on an orange and rosemary roasted organic free-range chicken, red kabocha and homegrown butternut squash roasted with brown sugar and sage, wild rice with toasted walnuts and cranberries, and, my favorite, sauteed chanterelles (thank you, work!) in thyme and truffle oil. And I popped open a few bottles of my favorite owl beer. I brought back the Ginger Beer from Portland, and tried it for the first time the other night. It was excellent!

As far as baking goes, we cracked open my new copy of Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar and modified the recipe for the Linzertorte Thumbprint Cookies just a bit. Since we didn’t have any hazelnuts or hazelnut butter, we easily converted them into PB&J cookies with some peanut butter instead. And the jellies (strawberry, plum, and cherry) were homemade from last summers fruit, thanks to Bridgette. They turned out delicious! Rich peanut buttery goodness can never do you wrong. Strawberry won my vote out of all three. Some taste testers exclaimed that they were better than “normal” peanut butter cookies. That right there, my friends, is why I love vegan baking.

PB&J Thumbprint CookiesAdapted from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar “Linzertorte Thumbprint Cookies”Makes 20 cookies
1/3 cup canola oil 1/2 cup packed brown sugar 1/2 cup peanut butter 1/3 cup nondairy milk (we used coconut) 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 2 tablespoons cornstarch 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon baking powder 1/2 cup peanuts, finely chopped at least 1/3 cup of any kind of jam you please
1. In a large mixing bowl, use a fork to vigorously mix the oil, sugar, and peanut butter. Mix in the nondairy milk and vanilla. Sift in the flour, cornstarch, salt, and baking powder and mix well until a stiff dough forms.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Have a small bowl of water handy. Spread the chopped nuts onto a dinner plate.
3. Roll the dough into a walnut-size ball. Dip very briefly in the water and firmly roll in the peanuts until coated. Place on a baking sheet and use your thumb to make a deep indent in the cookie. Use your free hand to hold the cookie in place and make sure it keeps its shape. You should be able to fit all twenty cookies onto one baking sheet; they don’t spread.
4. Spoon about a teaspoon of jam into each cookie. A baby spoon works great for this. Bake for about 18-20 minutes. Remove the cookies from the oven and let them cool on the baking sheets for at least 5 minutes. Transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in a tightly sealed container. Enjoy with some tea or milk!

Also, lately I can’t stop listening to these two songs. So much great music! Eighteen days worth, to be exact. It’s crazy. I love this time of year, reevaluating my music collection, sifting through and rediscovering some great stuff and making playlists. Lately it’s been a lot of Smog, Wilco, Neko, Cave Singers, Bonnie Prince, Mazzy Star, My Morning Jacket, Lucinda Williams, Department of Eagles… I could go on and on. Anyway, hope you’re doing the same and enjoying yourselves.