Peppermint Chocolate Holiday Cupcakes

Peppermint Chocolate Holiday Cupcakes

Peppermint Chocolate Holiday Cupcakes

Holiday dessert flavors to me will always be chocolate and peppermint, perhaps because I love candy canes and believe all desserts should have chocolate. Hot chocolate benefits from a bit of peppermint syrup, and a peppermint-filled chocolate bar is always welcome in my house. So, to get my go-to chocolate cupcake into the holiday spirit, I filled and topped them with peppermint.

To my veganized, high-altitude chocolate cupcake recipe, I had to inject some peppermint flair. I added peppermint extract to the frosting, which I then piped into the cupcake with a round tip and swirled on top with a star tip. To make things even more festive, I crushed a bit of candy cane and added the bits to the frosted cupcake. Happy holidays, and happy eating!

Peppermint Chocolate Holiday Cupcakes

cupcakes
1/2 cup almond milk
1/2 cup chocolate almond milk
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
3/4 cup organic sugar
1/3 cup canola oil
3/4 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup + 1 TBS all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
generous 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

frosting
1/2 cup nonhydrogenated shortening
1/2 cup nonhydrogenated margarine
3 1/2 cups organic powdered sugar, sifted if clumpy
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp peppermint extract
1/4 cup almond milk

decoration
crushed candy cane bits

For the Cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350F and line a 12-cupcake pan with paper liners. Whisk together the milks and vinegar in a large bowl, and set aside for a few minutes to curdle. Add the sugar, oil, and vanilla to the milk mixture and beat until foamy.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add in two batches to wet ingredients and beat just until no large lumps remain. Pour evenly into the liners, filling three-quarters of the way. Bake 18-19 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Transfer to a cooling rack and cool completely.

For the Frosting: Beat the shortening and margarine together until well combined and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar and beat for 3 more minutes. Add the extracts and milk and beat for another 5-7 minutes until fluffy. Frost each cupcake and place crushed candy cane bits on top.

Until next time, happy baking!

Chocolate Roll-Out Sugar Cookies

Chocolate Roll-Out Sugar Cookies

Chocolate Roll-Out Sugar Cookies

This is the time of year for bake sales. Recently, a gluten-free friend asked me to contribute to the bake sale for my local Humane Society. How could I say no? I decided that a cookie would be easiest, and in her honor I tackled a gluten-free version. Admittedly, cookies don’t have to rise much so I figured they would be an easy stab at gluten-free at high altitude. They were. The toughest step was the rolling and cutting, but I worked through that for a good cause.

To combat the dryness at altitude I used extra non-dairy milk. I also strayed from the original recipe by adding a sprinkling of powdered sugar over the top instead of a glaze to make transport easier. In hindsight, the star shape was not the best for traveling with the cookies but that just meant that I had to eat the ones where the points broke off. Oh, darn.

Chocolate Roll-Out Sugar Cookies based on Gluten Free Vegan Halloween Chocolate Sugar Cookies
1.75 cups gluten free flour
1/2 cup dutch processed cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1.5 cups organic powdered sugar, plus extra for dusting
1/3 cup refined coconut oil, softened
1/3 cup + 1 tsp unsweetened non-dairy milk
1.5 tsp vanilla extract
crushed candy canes
In a bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together powdered sugar, coconut oil, milk, and vanilla until creamy. Add flour mixture and mix until combined. Split dough into two discs and wrap each in plastic wrap. Let dough rest in fridge for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 350F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
On a flat surface, lay out a large piece of plastic wrap. Place cookie dough in center and top with another piece of plastic wrap. Roll with rolling pin until dough is 1/4″ thick. Cut dough using a cookie cutter. Place cookies on baking sheets. Bake cookies for 9-11 minutes; the centers will still be soft. Remove cookies from oven and place on a cooling rack to cool completely. Once cooled, dust with a mix of powdered sugar and crushed candy canes. Store cookies in an airtight container.

Until next time, happy baking!

Candy Cane Chocolate Cake

candy cane chocolate cakeI have been craving the combination of chocolate and peppermint for weeks. I have also been dying to try baking with the vegan egg substitute called Aquafaba (more on that in a few days). There was a recipe I found a few months ago that used Aquafaba in a chocolate cake. I offered to high altitude it to get my sweets fix, but I swapped out a peppermint frosting to make the lovely holiday pairing of peppermint and chocolate.

The original recipe was gluten-free, but I thought I’d tackle Aquafaba solo in order to test how it works. Maybe I’ll try the cake gluten-free when I feel like wrestling that type of baking. Besides changing the flour, I added flour and liquids for high altitude. The interesting thing I discovered was that the batter seemed thicker like a traditional batter with eggs. The cake was moist and tasty and fantastic with the frosting.

The fire was roaring as I completed the cake so I thought it would be a nice setting for a picture. I learned that fire and frosting don’t play well together. Melted or not, it still tasted great.

The Coconut Sugar and Cacao Powder were provided to me by Navitas Naturals to test in my kitchen. I am not paid to use their products or endorse them.

Candy Cane Chocolate Cake adapted from the Plant Strong Vegan
Cake
6 TBS chickpea liquid (Aquafaba)
2 TBS ground flaxseeds
¾ cup + 1 TBS soymilk
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 cup + 1 TBS all-purpose flour
1 cup Navitas Naturals Coconut Sugar
⅓ cup Navitas Naturals Cacao Powder
1 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
¼ cup coconut oil, melted and cooled
1 tsp vanilla extract
Frosting
8 oz. vegan cream cheese
1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp peppermint extract
crushed candy canes for garnish
Preheat oven to 325F. Lightly grease and dust with cacao powder a 8×8” pan. In a bowl whisk together Aquafaba and ground flaxseeds. Let sit for 10 minutes. In another bowl whisk together soymilk and apple cider vinegar. Let sit for 10 minutes.
In a large bowl combine flour, sugar, cacao powder, baking soda and salt. Whisk until well combined. Add wet ingredients (coconut oil, vanilla extract, milk + apple cider vinegar, Aquafaba + flax) into dry and whisk until smooth. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake on center rack for 40 minutes, or when a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean with sides of the cake pulling away from pan. Remove cake from oven and cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes.
While cake is cooling, prepare frosting by stirring all ingredients together until smooth. Let chill until needed. Turn cooled cake out onto a cake plate. Frost and garnish. Store leftovers in an air-tight container, in fridge, for up to 4 days.

Until next time, happy baking!