Thursday, April 5, 2012

Vegan Cooking with Chloe Coscarelli and a Look at Her Crème -Filled Chocolate Cupcake Recipe

I’m a little bit vegan sometimes. Other times, I eat nothing but lean meats and vegetables, eschewing bread, pasta and rice altogether. There are weeks when I make nothing but Indian food. I bounce around, trying to find a healthy mix and I’ve found some truly awesome recipes.

This month I’m hooked on Chloe Coscarelli’s new cookbook, Chloe’s Kitchen: 125 Easy, Delicious Recipes for Making the Food You Love the Vegan Way, which was sent to me for review. I’ve made several of her recipes and my family members, all major carnivores, are really enjoying most of them. We’ve even repeated a couple in the short time I’ve had her book.

Chloe has a way of making vegan cooking accessible and when you eat her recipes you don’t feel like you’re missing something. They’re full of flavor and not full of weird ingredients to compensate for the lack of meat and dairy.

I recommend the Barley Bliss Casserole, delicious, creamy home cooking with a sauce I think about long after I'm done eating it. This is a great healthy substitute for those old cream of chicken based comfort food casseroles.

We also loved her Guilt-Free Garlic Mashed Potatoes with parsnips and cauliflower. These were amazing and pumped full of veggies. I will definitely be making them again.

Also, she’s authorized me to post her "Chlostess" Crème-Filled Cupcake recipe for all of you to try. These were surprisingly delicious and if I can sub them out for my family’s favorite 300-unpronouncable-ingredient treats, we’ll be better off. I guess it shouldn’t surprise me that she makes a great cupcake. Chloe created the first vegan cupcake recipe ever to win the reality show Cupcake Wars. Try this recipe, check out her website, and then give her whole book a try. Enjoy!


“Chlostess” Crème -Filled Cupcakes

Move over, you other name-brand cupcakes found in a little plastic bag! These are homemade, have half the fat, and are still crème-filled delicious! 

Make-Ahead Tip
The Chocolate Cupcakes can be filled with Crème Frosting and frozen for up to 1 month.

Thaw cupcakes and apply Chocolate Ganache topping and swirl design before serving. Any leftover Crème Frosting can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. 

1½ cups all-purpose flour*
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup cold coffee or water
½ cup canola oil
2 tablespoons white or apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
*For a gluten-free alternative, substitute gluten-free all-purpose flour plus ¾ teaspoon  xanthan gum

1 cup nonhydrogenated vegetable shortening
3 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 to 5 tablespoons soy, almond, or rice milk

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (dairyfree)
¼ cup canned coconut milk, mixed well before measuring
2 tablespoons canola oil

To make the Chocolate Cupcakes: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two 12-cup cupcake pans with 14 cupcake liners. 

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. In a separate
bowl, whisk together coffee, oil, vinegar, and vanilla. Pour the wet mixture into the dry
mixture and whisk until just combined. Do not overmix.

Fill the cupcake liners about two-thirds full with batter. Bake for 16 to 18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean with a few crumbs clinging to it. Cool the cupcakes completely before frosting. 

To make the Crème Frosting: Using a handheld or stand mixer, beat the shortening until
smooth. With the mixer running on low, add powdered sugar, vanilla, and 1 tablespoon
nondairy milk at a time, as needed, until frosting reaches a spreadable consistency. You
may not need to use all of the nondairy milk. Beat on high for 2 more minutes until light
and fluffy.

To make the Chocolate Ganache: Melt chocolate chips and coconut milk in a double boiler or microwave. Whisk in oil until smooth.

To assemble the cupcakes: Fit a piping bag with a small round or Bismarck tip and fill with the Crème Frosting. Insert the tip into the center of the top of each cupcake and squeeze the bag to fill the cupcake with about 2 to 3 teaspoons frosting. There is no need to scoop out any of the cake. Spread the top of each cupcake with a thin layer of Chocolate Ganache and pipe a 4-loop design with the Crème Frosting.

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