Vegan Peanut Butter Apple Crumble Bites

 I can’t even begin to express how ridiculously excited about this recipe I am! First of all, it comes together SO easily (I would know, because I made this on a whim), but also, one of my New Year’s Resolutions is to stop letting food go to waste.  I never try to waste food on purpose, but sometimes you just let the bag of spinach sit too long in your fridge, or forget about the bunch of sweet potatoes you bought cause they’re sitting in the cabinet…(yikes) and I always just feel so bad when I end up having to toss the food.  I know that I won’t be perfect with this resolution because sometimes things just happen, but I’m hoping that if I put my mind to it, I can change my lifestyle and the way I make purchases going forward. 


Coming back from my last grocery run, I realized that I had accidentally bought new apples when I already had some old ones, and then putting away my snacks, I noticed some slightly stale peanut butter cookies sitting in the bag of my pantry (you see what I mean when I say I need to change the way I make purchases? I’m always forgetting what I already have :p ).  I didn’t want to break my resolution 3 weeks into the new year, so I got creative.  My aunt and uncle happen to be a fan of vegan foods even though they’re not vegans themselves, so I figured that I could whip up a dessert from these things to bring over to them.  


Turns out, apples, peanut butter and cinnamon crumble make for a bomb flavor combination.  I guess I shouldn’t be surprised since as I kid, I always had Ritz crackers with peanut butter and apple slices.  Let’s just say biting into these sweet and salty cuties straight from the oven brought me intense waves of nostalgia haha.  The one (and might I add, only) bad thing about these bits is that they definitely do get soggy if you decide to store them overnight.  Because of this, I’ve only made this recipe to make one batch (a full muffin tin), and would not recommend doubling the recipe unless you know you’re going to have a big crowd. 


In other news, my last first day of school (of the second semester) officially started Tuesday! Can’t believe that I’m hitting 18 years of being in school…man I feel old.  I’m sure it’ll be surreal once everything comes to an end, but for now, I’m going to concentrate on enjoying my classes and making as many memories as I can make in Big Apple.  And maybe making more of these lil’ apple bites!

VEGAN PEANUT BUTTER APPLE CRUMBLE BITES | Makes 12 bites

INGREDIENTS

  • 8 peanut butter cookies (the sweet kind, like Nutterbutters)
  • 2 medium sized apples – cored and sliced into 1/2″ cubes
  • 1 tsp granulated white sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon + 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon (for the struesel)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 4 tbsp of vegan butter
  • 12 Muffin tin liners

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350(F).
  2. Line a regular sized muffin tin with liners.
  3. Crush peanut butter cookies until a fine crumble is formed. I will usually just do this in a plastic bag and use a rolling pin to crush cookies.
  4. Divide crushed cookies evenly between the 12 muffin liners.  Pack the crumbs firmly into the bottom of the liners.  The bottom of a 1/4 cup works super well to pack down the crumbs.
  5. In a separate bowl, toss the cubed apples, granulated white sugar and 1/2 tsp of cinnamon together.  Let the apples sit while you make the streusel topping.
  6. In another separate bowl, mix brown sugar, flour and 1/2 tsp cinnamon together.  Then cut vegan butter in with either a pastry cutter or two butter knives until a crumble forms.  It is SUPER important to keep the butter cold, cold, cold! If it starts to look soft/melty, just stick the bowl into the fridge for 5 or so minutes.
  7. Divide apples evenly between the 12 liners and place on top of cookie crumble base.
  8. Top with streusel.  Don’t be afraid to be generous!
  9. Bake for 20-25 minutes until streusel topping is golden. 
  10. Bites should be consumed immediately and not stored overnight for best texture (taste won’t be affected).

Enjoy!

Dairy-free Purple Sweet Potato Pie

 I used to think that I was a cake person, but after this pie, I think I’ve been converted.  Pie allows you to bring in so many different textures that I think that cake just doesn’t allow for (not saying that cake isn’t amazing, cuz TRUST ME, it soooooo is). BUT in one bite of pie, you get flaky, buttery crust, smooth creamy filling, and crunchy sweet topping – it really doesn’t get much better than that!  I guess I should also preface by admitting that a huge part of why I didn’t used to like pie is because I’m lactose intolerant and pie just doesn’t taste as good without butter.  I pretty much believed that butter-less pie was not worth eating until this past Thanksgiving rolled around.  With my grandpa working on controlling his blood sugar level, and pretty much my whole family is lactose intolerant, dessert options had to be 1) low in sugar and 2) dairy-free.  This pie delivers both.  Not only are sweet potatoes naturally sweet, they are also perfect because the sugars in sweet potatoes digest slowly and won’t spike up your blood sugar.  


Turns out, with the right substitutions, you can make just as delicious a pie crust and filling without dairy.  For my pie crust, I use coconut oil, the filtered kind, so you can barely taste/can’t taste the coconut flavor at all.  It’s honestly pretty amazing.  Just make sure to pay extra attention when you’re buying you’re coconut oil to pick up the filtered kind, otherwise your crust will definitely taste of coconut (unless of course, you like coconut, then have at it).  The key to making sure you get a flaky crust is to keep the coconut oil cold.  Since it’s hard to scoop when its cold, I will usually pre-measure it out and then stick the amount into the fridge for maybe 10 minutes.  You can assemble the rest of the ingredients while you wait.  The same goes with the pie filling, I use coconut cream and it creates the most luscious and creamy filling – you won’t even remember that heavy cream wasn’t used.  The real secret though? Straining your pie filling ensures that all the lumps are broken up and your custard will end up smoother than silk. 


Now, I’m not a fan of walnuts, BUT, as it turns out, when they are candied, they become the perfect complement for a creamy filling.  Of course, you can choose to leave the nuts out, but they just provide the perfect crunch, so I would recommend simply substituting for a nut that you do like.  Seeds would probably work too! It’s just nice to have a trio of different textures 🙂
I’m getting hungry just thinking about this pie while I write!  Might have to do some night time baking….


I’m currently on winter break still, and I’m blissfully savoring the days I have left.  I’m still at work most days, but it’s just so nice to come home and not have a million pounds of homework to do.  Instead, I get a chance to cook, watch some netflix and catch up on my blogging.  The simple life pleasures are the best.  So here we go, pie recipe coming at you!

DAIRY-FREE PURPLE SWEET POTATO PIE | Makes one 4.5in x13.5in pie

INGREDIENTSfor the crust

  • 1/2 cup filtered coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp ice cold water

for the filling

  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 cup coconut cream
  • heaping 1/2 cup purple sweet potato mashed
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs

for the candied nut topping

  • 1/4 cup granulated white sugar
  • 1/3 cup walnut pieces

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 425 (F)
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine flours, baking powder and salt. Mix well.
  3. Add in coconut oil and use either a pastry cutter or a fork to break the oil into pea sized pieces.  DO NOT use your hands, this will melt the coconut oil!
  4. Once the oil pieces are thoroughly mixed into the flour, add in ice cold water, 1 tbsp at a time until a dough ball forms.  Try to add in as little water as possible, as adding too much water will encourage the formation of gluten which results in a tough pie crust.
  5. Form into a rectangle, wrap in saran wrap and chill in fridge for 30 minutes.
  6. While the crust is chilling, combine sweet potato, brown sugar, eggs, coconut cream, cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice in a bowl and whisk until blended.
  7. Using a fine mesh sieve, strain the filling mixture into a clean bowl to ensure a smooth filling.
  8. Once dough has chilled, roll out to 1/4 inch in thickness and press into tart pan.  Place parchment paper on top of pie crust and fill with baking beans (I just use rice).
  9. Blind bake the crust for 15 minutes at 425 (F).
  10. Take out crust, carefully remove baking beans and pour in filling (at this point, I usually place the pie pan on a baking sheet for easier maneuvering).
  11. Lower oven heat to 325 (F).
  12. Bake pie for 20-25 minutes until filling is just set. Let chill.
  13. While pie is chilling, melt 1/4 cup white sugar in a small sauce pan until it caramelizes (you are looking for a dark amber color).  When it reaches this color, throw in walnut pieces and mix thoroughly.  Pour out candied nuts onto waxed or parchment paper and let cool.
  14. When you are ready to serve the pie, break candied walnut pieces over pie.
  15. Pie keeps up to 3 days in the fridge (and tastes amazing straight from the fridge as well!).  Be sure to store candied walnuts separately, as the moisture from the pie will liquify the sugar.

Enjoy!

Flaky Apple Hand Pies

 Happy 2019! 2018 brought a whirlwind of changes – new moves, new jobs, new friends, in fact, it’s almost overwhelming to think of them all!  It’s simultaneously been the hardest year, but the happiest year.  Isn’t it funny that life can be like that sometimes (and it seems, almost all the time?). I hope that for you, 2019 brings all the happiness that was in 2018, and only keeps getting better 😊


On the topic of better, I’ve been aspiring to be better about staying home and cooking with what I have, instead of falling prey to the wonderful app that is Grubhub.  Don’t get me wrong, I love cooking and being in the kitchen, but after 8 hours of school and a seemingly endless pile of homework, the thought of even sautéing some veggies makes my head spin.  So, creating the simplest and fastest recipes are always at the forefront of my mind when I’m creating something new.


The recipe is actually from awhile back, but I’m finally getting to blogging about it now (talk about being behind! Haha, I’m just a year late).  Anyway, one of my bestest friends from my work came over to my itty bitty apartment this past Thanksgiving to make some apple hand pies.  We had originally set out to make cherry almond croissants, but upon realizing the both of us had no tools and barely any ingredients, we had to quickly change plans.  She brought some honeycrisp apples (shoutout to Minnesota for creating them!), and I supplied the puff pastry, voila! We had all the ingredients necessary for apple hand pies.  It’s that easy, I promise!  And it will bring smiles to anyone you serve them to, cause really, who can resist some pipping hot, cinnamony sugar and buttery pastries? 


So let’s ring in 2019 with some flaky apple hand pies, maybe a glass of champagne, and if you’re me, some R&R with my faithful buddy, netflix (lol).  Back to reality though, I’ve been thinking a lot about resolutions, and I really only have two this year, okay, maybe three, but the first is the most important.  I want to be kinder to others, because you can always be kinder and you never, ever know another stranger’s full story.  So often I find myself quickly jumping to conclusions and judging others harshly before I even take a moment to put myself in their shoes.  What are the other two? You’ll just have to stay tuned to find out.  In the mean time, grab some apples, some puff pastry and sit down with a hand pie (or two). 

FLAKY APPLE HAND PIES | Makes 8-10 hand pies 

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 honeycrisp apples (or any other baking apple) – cored and diced into small pieces 
  • 1/2 cup granulated white sugar
  • 1/2 tbsp butter – melted 
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 sheet puff pastry (I get mine from Trader Joes) 
  • 1 beaten egg (for egg wash) 
  • 1 tbsp milk*
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar*

DIRECTIONS 

  1. Preheat oven to 400 (F)
  2. In a medium size mixing bowl, mix together diced apples, white sugar, melted butter and cinnamon.  Combine together and set aside. 
  3. Take thawed puff pastry and cut sheet into 8-10 rectangles, depending on how big you want your hand pies to be (remember, your hand pies will be half the size you cut your rectangles into, because you’ll be folding them in half to seal in the apple). 
  4. Take each piece of puff pastry and spoon in about 1-2 tablespoons of apple into the middle of the puff pastry. Make sure to leave out the juices that have pooled to the bottom of the bowl with the apples, this will make your hand pie extremely soggy. 
  5. Brush edges of the puff pastry with the beaten egg and seal together.  
  6. Place onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (you’ll want the parchment paper since the apples tend to leak their juices a little bit, it makes clean up easier). 
  7. Bake for 10-15 minutes.  Remove once the top is golden brown and puff pastry has puffed!
  8. Once cooled, create an icing by combining milk and powdered sugar together.  Drizzle over hand pies for just the slightest hint of sweetness to complement the apples.  
  9. Hand pies will stay fresh for just a couple of days.  To extend their shelf life, simply freeze and reheat in the toaster! 

Enjoy! 

Mushroom and Spinach Quiche

 Flaky buttery crust, creamy and eggy filling, it can only be a quiche. To be honest, I really love quiche, it can basically be customized depending on your mood and the custard that forms from milk and eggs cooking is just heavenly.  I’m mostly given up on eating dairy when I can cause I’m lactose intolerant, but quiche is one of those things that I haven’t been able to let go.


This recipe has been in use since my high school days of helping my mom host brunch parties, and believe it or not, it can be customized to be completely dairy-free.  Hooray!! Yes, I’ll admit that it’s not as good without the buttery crust, but heck, the quiche filling is still as creamy and glorious when made with soy milk or almond milk…just make sure it’s unsweetened and unflavored…trust me, vanilla flavored quiche is just NOT good.
I would not try and tweak the egg to liquid ratio – I’ve tested so many ratios and found that 1 egg to 1/2 cup of liquid produces the best results. With this ratio, the egg proteins hold just the right amount of liquid and you get a really creamy and soft, but not liquid-y custard.


You can make the quiche in either a sloped pie pan or a straight-edged cake pan, really it doesn’t matter! If you want to be fancy, traditional quiches were made with straight-edged pans, but I always find that the crust tends to shrink away from the edges while the sloped-edges of the pie pan holds the crust in place better. It really is up to personal preference though!
This recipe calls for spinach and mushroom, but you can fill it with anything you want: peppers, bacon pieces, cheese, the list goes on and on. With vegetables that exude a lot of liquid, just make sure to cook most of that liquid out first. I made this quiche for my food science lab friends and if it means anything, it was gone in less than 10 minutes. The most important thing is to make sure you chill the crust so that the gluten proteins have time to relax and you don’t end up with a tough and doughy crust. Other than that, it really is a fool-proof recipe! Seriously, give it a try, you won’t be disappointed.

SPINACH & MUSHROOM QUICHE | Makes 8-10 slices
INGREDIENTS


for filling

  • 2 cups fresh spinach
  • 1/2 cup mushrooms – sliced
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups milk/cream (any type works, the lower the fat content, the less creamy, soy or almond milk works too! Just make sure it’s unsweetened)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper

for crust

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup unsalted COLD butter – in 1/2″ cubes
  • 3-5 tbsp cold water

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a medium skillet, cook mushrooms on high heat until golden brown.  Salt and pepper to taste then remove from pan.  Cook spinach until wilted on medium heat.  Salt and pepper to taste as well. Set mushrooms and spinach mixture aside.
  2. In a separate large bowl or liquid measuring cup, combine eggs, milk, salt and pepper. Whisk together until well combined.
  3. In a food processor, combine flour, salt, baking powder and butter.  Pulse until butter is in small pea-sized pieces.  Then, with food processor running, drizzle in water a tablespoon at a time until a dough ball forms.  Pat dough into a flat circle to make rolling out the dough easier and refrigerate until firm (~1hr).***If using hands, cut cold butter into flour until mixture resembles fine sand.  Then add water a tablespoon at a time until mixture forms dough.  DO NOT OVERWORK DOUGH.
  4. Preheat oven to 425 (F).
  5. Once dough is firm , roll out into circular crust about 1/8in thick and 12-14 inches depending on size of your pan. Place crust over pan and crimp edges to form a raised crust.
  6. Spread mushroom and spinach mixture evenly on top of crust before pouring egg mixture on top (make sure to whisk again before mixing to make sure salt and pepper is evenly distributed).
  7. Bake quiche at 425 (F) for 10 minutes to prevent crust from getting soggy before reducing temperature down to 350 (F) and baking an additional 15-20 minutes until quiche is set.  Quiche will be done when it wobbles ever so slightly when shaken gently.
  8. Cool before slicing. Quiche will stay fresh up to 2 days in the fridge.

Enjoy!

Bourbon Apricot Frangipane Galette

Ahhhh summer: long nights, s’mores and campfires, the reign of mosquitoes, and fruit, bucket loads of fresh fruit.  If you’re like me, you go to the grocery store and “accidentally” buy all the fruit available (helloooo strawberries, blueberries, apricots, watermelon and mangoes), only to realize that your stomach can’t actually eat all that fruit before it spoils. I think the phrase of having eyes bigger than your stomach definitely applies to me.


I hate throwing away food, I truly do, especially when there are so many people around the world who struggle on a daily basis just to eat one good meal. I guess that’s why I love baking so much. With just some simple ingredients and heat, you’re able to transform quickly ripening fruit into something that will stay fresh that much longer.


I love galettes for two reasons: simplicity and rustic elegance.  I can’t think of another way to haphazardly throw fruit onto the middle of a jaggedly rolled pastry crust and have it turn out looking as if it were ready to be served to the queen. Well, except maybe if you added frangipane.  Frangipane is a concoction of ground almond, butter, sugar and eggs, that is SO good it’s almost a crime to eat. It also happens to be a great absorber of liquid. Which, if you’ve ever made a galette before, know that if there’s too much fruit liquid, it ends up absorbing into the crust and results in a soggy bottom. Add frangipane to the bottom of your pastry crust and it will absorb any excess liquid from the fruit as it cooks and you will get a perfectly crisp crust every time. 


Also, as long as we’re adding ground almonds, why don’t we just jazz it up a little more? Enter bourbon and brown butter, a match made in heaven. It’s good. Seriously, this galette is AMAZING. Serve it for dessert, make it for breakfast, but whatever you do, a hide a small piece away for yourself before everyone else can gobble it up and shower you in complements. 

BOURBON APRICOT FRANGIPANE GALETTE | Serves 8-10 depending on slice size


INGREDIENTS
for crust

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter in 1/4″ cubes
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 egg + 1 tbsp water for egg wash
  • Sugar for sprinkling (optional)

for frangipane

  • 1/2 cup ground almonds (aka almond flour)
  • 1 1/2 tsp all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter – 1/2″ cubes
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract

for fruit filling

  • 8 apricots – peeled and halved
  • 1/2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp bourbon

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 375 (F).
  2. Melt butter in a non-stick skillet. Once butter is completely melted, place apricot halves flat side down and cook until surface is golden brown. At this point, toss in bourbon and give it a few seconds over high heat to cook the alcohol off.
  3. Remove apricots from heat and set aside to cool.
  4. In a medium sized bowl, combine almond four and sugar.  Then add in butter cubes and using hands work butter, sugar and almond flour together until there are no more chunks of butter and mixture is crumbly.
  5. Add in egg and almond extract into almond mixture and mix with spatula or spoon until a smooth, but thick paste forms.  Set aside.
  6. In a medium sized bowl, combine flour, butter and salt.  Knead ingredients together until dough forms (~10 minutes). Alternatively, you can place ingredients into a mixer with the paddle attachment until dough ball forms (~ 5 minutes on medium high speed)
  7. To assemble, roll dough about 1/8″ thick and into a circle of 12-14 inches in diameter.  Spread frangipane filling onto dough keeping a 2-3 inch gap along the circle for the galette to be folded.
  8. Place apricots charred side up on top of the frangipane before folding sides of dough up to encase fruit.
  9. Brush crust with egg and sprinkle with sugar if desired.
  10. Chill galette for 20 minutes in fridge or 10 minutes in freezer for filling to solidify.
  11. Bake galette for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown.
  12. Cool completely before cutting into slices.

Enjoy!