Friday, December 23, 2011

Raw Custard and Fruit Tart

I've been drooling over cashew-based raw foods for years, my favorite being the raw vegan "cheesecake" at places like Ecopolitan in Minneapolis and Cafe Gratitude in California.  I imagined that these foods involved more magic than I could muster, and so I never attempted to make them myself.

Last week, as always, my mother was making the ever-popular Yule Log (or Bûche de Noël for you francophiles) for her annual pre-Christmas family dinner.  I have been making an additional dessert for some years now, usually an apple or pecan pie.  This year I wanted to do something different that utilized the fresh, local fruit that I crave whenever I visit California.  I decided to make a fruit tart with a custard filling much like a vegan cheesecake.  It turns out there is no magic, just a little preparation and some trial and error.

I'll do my best to reproduce the recipe here, but since it's a result of a lot of eyeballing and taste-testing, you may want to add ingredients bit by bit and figure out what tastes right in your kitchen.  If you'd like more precision, try the original: I adapted the recipe from Post Punk Kitchen's strawberry cheesecake.

1 cup pecans
1 cup almonds
8 medjool dates, pitted and chopped

Chop together in a food processor or blender until it holds together when pressing between your fingers.  It should still have a coarse, crunchy texture, yet be evenly chopped.  It is best to pulse in short bursts and mix intermittently with a spatula to retain evenness.  Press into the bottom and sides of a shallow tart pan.  (I used a pan with a removable bottom and wavy sides, and so the tart retained its lovely shape when I popped it out of the pan.)

1-1/2 cups raw cashews, soaked overnight
1/2 cup agave syrup
1/8-1/4 cup water
juice of 2-3 limes
juice of 1/2 clementine (or mandarin, satsuma, or other small orange)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
dash of salt
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted to a thick liquid (melt in microwave for 5 seconds and then stir)

Whip the cashews with some of the water until smooth and creamy.  It should not be lumpy, crunchy, or gritty at all.  Add the fruit juices, agave, and salt to taste.  Add the coconut oil and blend well.  Pour the mixture into the crust and put in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours to set.

Fresh Fruit:
1-2 kiwi
1 pint strawberries (I bought 3 pints so that I could get enough of the sizes I wanted)
a few blueberries, raspberries, and other berries or soft fruit

My mom had already sliced it before I managed to get a photo off, but you get the idea.
Just before serving, slice kiwi and a few of the strawberries and arrange first on a cutting board in the size and shape of your pan.  Then transfer piece by piece onto the prepared tart.  Be creative!

Friday, November 25, 2011

A Very Vegan Thanksgiving

While I understand and respect the various objections to Thanksgiving, for me it is an excuse to cook and to eat particular kinds of foods, always with copious amounts of gravy.  This year, I had a nice, quiet day at home with my Tofurky.  I was so pleased with how everything turned out that I decided to post it here, after my long hiatus from blogging.

Here is what I had:
Tofurky roast with homemade gravy
Quinoa with mushrooms
Braised Brussels sprouts with maple walnuts
Five seed bread (like this bread, but with chia instead of bulgur wheat)
Apple custard crumb pie with vanilla Rice Dream

I'll do my best to reproduce the recipes here, but keep in mind that I made them up as I went along, and so amounts are my best guesses.


This is for the small Tofurky roast (not the whole dinner package).  Remove the Tofurky from its plastic wrapping and place it in a casserole pan with a lid with large pieces of veggies (some combination of carrots, celery, onions, mushrooms).  Mix 1 cup of veggie broth (I use Better than Bouillon) with 2 tablespoons soy sauce and 2 tablespoons chopped garlic (and/or the liquid from chopped garlic in a jar).  Pour this mixture over the roast and veggies.  Bake in 350-degree oven for 1-1/4 hours.  Remove from oven, rotate roast 180 degrees and stir veggies, and return to oven for 10-15 more minutes.  

Use the liquid to make a gravy.  Melt 1/2-1 tablespoon Earth Balance in a small saucepan and add a tablespoon or two of flour to mix.  Add the basting liquid (and some blended veggies if you wish) to the pan, stir, and bring to a boil.  Stir in a tablespoon or two of nutritional yeast.  Simmer to desired consistency and/or add a tablespoon or two of cornstarch-cold-water mixture to thicken.

Quinoa with mushrooms

1 tablespoon olive oil
Chopped garlic to taste
6-10 ounces Baby Bella mushrooms, sliced
1 cup dry quinoa
1 cup broth
Additional water as needed
Pinch of sage
Pinch of cumin
Dash of cayenne pepper
Salt and black pepper to taste

In a medium saucepan, brown garlic in olive oil and add mushrooms.  Cook on medium-high until mushrooms are tender, stirring constantly.  Add quinoa and stir for one minute.  

Add broth and stir.  Reduce heat and cover.  Check every five minutes, adding water if necessary, until quinoa is fully cooked.  I added about a half cup of hot water about three times.  Add spices to taste.  Can be made a day ahead.

Braised Brussels sprouts with maple walnuts 

1 tablespoon Earth Balance
1 cup walnuts
1 tablespoon maple syrup (I used Grade B)
1/2 pound Brussels sprouts, 1/4-inch slices
pinch of sea salt
1/4 or so cup white wine

Melt Earth Balance in frying pan or wok and add walnuts; stir over medium-high heat until browned.  Add Brussels sprouts, sprinkle salt over all, and stir fry over high heat for a few minutes, until browned.  Add white wine and cover for 30 seconds.  Then lift cover and stir until liquid evaporates.  Serve immediately.

Apple custard crumb pie

Pie crust (I just buy a vegan whole wheat frozen crust)
4-5 apples
Crumb topping

2-4 tablespoons oat flour (or finely ground oats)
1/3-1/2 cup soy flour
2 tablespoons ground flax seeds
1/2 cup oat milk (or other nondairy milk?)
1/2-1 cup soy milk
1-2 tablespoons agave syrup
1-2 tsp vanilla

Blend all of this together until it forms a very thick liquid.

Crumb topping:
1/4 cup Earth Balance
2 tablespoons raw sugar or brown sugar
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup oats

Mix together with pastry blender, two butter knives, or (my preference) your hands, until it's a coarse crumble.
Mix apples with "custard" and fill pie crust with this mixture.  Add crumb topping and bake at 350 F for one hour or so, until crust and topping are golden brown.  Best served warm with vanilla frozen dessert (here shown with Rice Dream).

Monday, June 27, 2011

Strawberry Pie

Yes, it's been a really long time since I've posted.  The dissertation-writing process is long and weird, and it's hard to focus on anything else.  My posts in the future might continue to be infrequent and also possibly less elaborate, but I'll try to throw something up here a couple times a month.

Meanwhile, it's summer!  Which means, in Massachusetts, it's the season for CSAs, farmer's markets, and berries, berries, berries!  I got two quarts of strawberries from my CSA last week, and about half of them went into this simple strawberry pie.  I used agave and Bee Free Honee, a sweetener the consistency of honey but made from apples.  I do eat honey, but I love having another option for sweeteners.  I tried it when I got an online coupon and quickly became a fan.  It's a Minnesota-based company, and so my Twin Cities friends can most easily find it.

1 pie crust, baked (I used a whole wheat, vegan version from Whole Foods' freezer.)
1 quart fresh strawberries
1/4 cup agave syrup
1/4 cup Honee (or other liquid sweetener)
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons cornstarch

Cut green tops off strawberries, and arrange half in the baked pie crust.  Chop the rest of the strawberries into approx. 1/4-1/2 inch squares.  Add chopped strawberries, 1/4 cup of water, and sweeteners to a saucepan.  Bring to a boil, stirring and mashing the strawberries.  Add the rest of the water to the cornstarch and mix completely.  Add the cornstarch mixture to the boiling strawberry mix.  Reduce heat to simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring constantly.  Add more water or cornstarch mix to attain desired consistency, knowing that it will set further when cooled. 

Pour this mixture over strawberries in crust and let chill in refrigerator for at least 1-2 hours.  Serve with vegan versions of whipped cream, ice cream, or yogurt.

Friday, March 11, 2011


Lunch today was leftovers from last night's dinner: sweet potato gnocchi with home-made seitan, broccoli, and garlic, in a vegan alfredo sauce

This batch of seitan turned out a little different - the spices were 1/2 tsp each finely powdered garlic and onion, and a pinch each of sage and cumin.  I added maybe a tablespoon extra of wheat gluten and kneaded it twice, letting it rest between and after.  Instead of pulling off chunks, I sliced it as thin as I could, so that the pieces more closely resemble cutlets.  I'm going to try this seitan in a sandwich next.

Carrot Apple Beet Ginger Juice

I have no photos on this one; it's simply a note about a realization.  I have beet juice about once a week for its cleansing qualities (whatever that means).  Really, it's because Boston Organics keeps putting them in my bin, and I'm too lazy to figure out how to cook them.  Also, while I've had delicious beet dishes in adulthood, it's hard to disassociate beets in my mind from the slimy, vinegary canned version.

At any rate, drinking beet juice (even with a 1:3-4 ratio of beets:carrots/apples) can be an intense experience on the digestive organs.  It's not pain, but there is a very odd, uncomfortable sensation that brings awareness to the abdomen.

I've been using ginger in various forms (ginger candy, ginger tea) to help with nausea and upset stomach for about a year now, with great succes.  So in anticipation of the weird abdominal sensations, I tried putting a bit of ginger in with my juice.  I used a piece about an inch long and half-inch in diameter, about the size of my thumb between the first knuckle and the second, and put it in the juicer with a quartered apple.  Add a jumbo carrot (about 3-4 small carrots) and 1/2 medium beet, and you get a sweet, vibrant juice with a subtle bite.

Voila!  No digestive problems.  I also drank the juice while eating a sandwich (with yesterday's bread!), but I think it's the ginger that really made the difference.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Multi-Seed Whole Grain Bread

I got a bread machine some weeks back.  When I say "got," I mean I got one from a fellow freecycler.  It's used, but it works pretty well, except that getting the loaf out of the pan is a bit of a chore.  A lot of bread is left in the pan, and I don't love the hole that the paddle makes.  The breads I've been making lately have been collapsing.

Today, I finally realized how to solve these problems: make the dough in the machine, and bake the bread in the oven.  Duh.  Now you're asking why I don't just do the whole thing by hand.  Well, as much as I've been assured otherwise, all the kneading and waiting and punching seems like just too much for me.  Anything that can make things easier for me is worth it.

I had stopped taking photos of the process of breadmaking because I hadn't come up with anything good enough or interesting enough to share.  Until today.  That's why there are only photos of the finished product here.

Put the following in the bread pan first:
1-1/2 tsp salt
3 Tbsp honey*
2 Tbsp canola oil
2 Tbsp bulgur wheat
2 Tbsp ground flax seeds
1-1/4 cup water

Then add according to your bread machine directions:
2-3/4 cups whole wheat bread flour
2 Tbsp vital wheat gluten
2 Tbsp sesame seeds
3 Tbsp sunflower seeds
3 Tbsp pumpkin seeds
2 tsp yeast

This is my old bread machine.  Thank you, Freecycle!

Prepare on the dough cycle.  Punch the dough down and transfer from the bread machine pan to a greased and floured loaf pan.  Bake on 350 F for 45 minutes.You could try bake on the whole wheat cycle if you want, but my guess is that there will be some collapse.

Can I just say, wow?  Beautiful, golden brown on the outside, nutty and chewy on the inside, altogether delicious!  I wanted to eat the whole loaf.  For now, I ate the end pieces and froze the rest.  The only change I might make is to leave out the bulgur wheat, since it doesn't stay soft once the bread has cooled.  You'd probably have to substitute a little flour for it.

Nutrition:107 calories, 15g carbs, 4g fat, 4g protein.  Plus, fiber and other stuff.  The database I'm using to calculate the nutrition doesn't give any other information.

Adapted from

*Yeah, yeah.  I know some people don't consider honey vegan.  Use agave if you prefer.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Creamy Ravioli with Tomatoes and Capers

This is less a recipe than an unpaid advertisement for Rising Moon Organics ravioli.  They have a bunch of vegan options, and they seem to be on sale at Whole Foods and food coops on a fairly regular basis.  Also, they are delicious - which is apparently not an easy thing to do; I tried another brand at WF, and it was terrible.  On the other hand, preparing them is very easy.  Anyway, if you are not yet aware of this stuff, give it a try.

I used the Garlic & Herb variety this time, but the three shown are my favorites.

Cut tomatoes into bite-sized pieces.  In this case, I used these small (1-1/2-2" diameter) tomatoes and cut them in quarters.  (Darn blogger editing won't let me put two photos side by side.  Let me know if you have advice for editing!)  Put cut tomatoes in serving bowl.

Cook the ravioli according to package directions (half a package is one serving).  Drain and return to pan.  Add the Vegan Alfredo Sauce and some capers (maybe a tablespoon) and heat on medium for a few minutes until hot.  Pour over tomatoes in bowl, stir, and serve.  The tomatoes don't heat all the way through, but they hold their shape and fresh flavor.

Approximate nutrition info is 426 calories, 61g carbs, 14g fat, and 15g protein.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Mu Shu Tofu

I finally made it to 88 Market this week, with the sole intention of getting some mu shu pancakes.  Of course, I left with much more than that, including sweet steam buns, peanut sesame candies, and a packet of baby bok choi seeds for my garden this spring.  At any rate, finally I can make mu shu without resorting to wrapping them in tortillas.

This is one of those recipes a good friend would call a "kitchen sink" meal (as in "everything but the kitchen sink"), meaning I throw in whatever is in my fridge, and so every time it's different.  The key ingredients are cabbage and hoisin sauce, and everything else just improves it.

1 package firm or extra firm tofu, frozen and defrosted
1-1/2 cups broth or bouillon
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 T rice wine vinegar
1-2 T chopped garlic
1 small onion, chopped
1 small head of cabbage (about 2-3 cups chopped)
1 large carrot (about 1-2 cups sliced or shredded)
3-4 stalks bok choi (about 1 cup sliced)
2-3 stalks kale (about 1 cup chopped)
1-3 T canola oil
1-2 t sesame oil
1/4 cup hoisin sauce, plus extra for serving
1-2 T corn starch

Here's my favorite tofu trick: when you bring it home, store it immediately in the freezer.  When ready to cook it, move the frozen brick to the fridge or put it in a bowl of warm water (in package) to defrost, depending on how much time you have before you're going to use it.  This freezing-defrosting process creates a spongy texture that soaks up whatever flavors you add to it.  The tofu also holds together better in cooking.  Be sure to use firm or extra firm tofu.  This time, I used a locally made tofu, which was already flavorful and delicious.  No, all tofu isn't the same.  But local, small batch tofu is more expensive than Trader Joe's, and so for me, it's a rare treat.

Because you're going to wrap the mu shu in pancakes, making small, thin pieces is best.  These are less than 1" square and about 1/3" thick.  Mix the bouillon or broth with soy sauce and vinegar, and add to the tofu to marinate. 

Meanwhile, chop the vegetables.  Again, remember that the pieces need to be small enough to keep the pancakes intact when you eat them.

Feel free to use any cabbage (red or white), chinese cabbage, and greens.  Mushrooms are also a nice addition, but cook first before adding the cabbage.  Non-vegan mu shu also includes egg, but I don't think it's missing anything without.

Cabbage, bok choi, kale, carrots.  Isn't it pretty?

This next step isn't necessary, but I like the flavor it gives.  Drain the tofu and set aside the marinade for the sauce.  Heat up a mix of canola and sesame oil in a wok or large pan, and add the drained tofu.  Stir fry until lightly browned.

Remove the tofu from the pan and set aside.

Heat up more oil in the pan and add chopped garlic and onion.  Stir fry until translucent and golden brown.

Add the vegetables in the following order: cabbage, carrots, Kale, and bok choi and stir fry on high.  Cabbage should be softened before adding the other vegetables.  Add the hoisin sauce and 1 T corn starch to the marinade to create the sauce.  Once all the vegetables are cooked down (but not necessarily mushy), add the tofu and the sauce and stir on med-high heat.  Be sure to let the sauce reach a boil so that the corn starch works as a thickener.  Add more corn starch (combine with cold water or soy sauce first) until sauce is as thick as you like it.

Steam mu shu pancakes in a steamer, or wrap in a wet paper towel and microwave for 20-30 seconds.  Add a stripe of hoisin sauce to each pancake, and then the mu shu mix.  Wrap the pancakes like a taco, folding the bottom up first.  Eat with your hands, and expect to get a little messy!

Leftovers go fine with rice or extra pancakes.

Nutrition per 2 filled pancake: 581 calories, 35g carbs, 19g fat, 20g protein.  Plus, lots of fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, and other important nutrients.  If you don't stir-fry the tofu, it cuts down on the fat and calories.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Sweet Potato Gnocchi

I recently got a request from a friend for something that is dairy-free, soy-free, and easy.  So, here it is!

2-1/2 pounds sweet potatoes
2-1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp salt

(or equivalent proportions)

Pierce sweet potatoes with a fork and microwave until soft, for about 10 minutes.  Check at 5 min and every subsequent 2 minutes.

Scrape out potato flesh from peels into bowl (I used a grapefruit spoon).

Rice and/or mash sweet potatoes (what you're looking at is a ricer - it's very satisfying to press that sweet potato through those little holes).
Mix the mashed sweet potatoes with flour, using hands, until it holds together.  It still might be a bit sticky.  Roll with hands into logs, lay on floured board, and cut into 1-inch pieces.  It will be a lot easier to handle if you use plenty of flour on the board, knife, and your hands.  Lay out three or four logs alongside each other and slice all at once to save time.

This is how many gnocchi I made.  They can be saved for a long time in the freezer.  To freeze, put on a cookie sheet on floured parchment or a silicon baking sheet to prevent clumping.  Once frozen, put in plastic bags or containers and return to the freezer.
Boil for 8-10 minutes.

Add sage butter - which is sage and butter (or in this case, Earth Balance), melted.

 I served it with sauteed broccoli and garlic.  That's nutritional yeast powder on top.

Nutrition: for 10 gnocchi, 134 calories, 30g carbs, <1g fat, 4g protein
Complete dish (using 1/2 T olive oil, one medium broccoli stalk, 2 t earth balance, and 1/2 T nutritional yeast): 333 calories, 41g carbs, 15g fat, and 11g protein.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Potato Leek Soup

Leeks and red potatoes arrived in my Boston Organics bin on Friday.  We're at about five feet of snow today Naturally, potato leek soup ensued.

1 medium leek
1 medium onion
3 garlic cloves
2-3 pounds potatoes
1 tablespoon olive oil
1-1/2 teaspoon salt
4-6 cups vegetable broth
3 cups unsweetened soy milk
Chop garlic and onion into small pieces.  Cut end of leek off, slice in half, wash thoroughly, and cut into 1/4 inch slices.

Cube potatoes (I used red potatoes) in 4-6 pieces each.  Leave the skin on to keep the nutrition and taste.

Heat olive oil in a large pot and add the onion, garlic, and leeks.  Sautee until soft but not browned.

Add potatoes and salt and stir to coat.  Add enough vegetable broth to cover the potato mixture - about 4-6 cups.  Bring to a boil and then turn heat down to simmer for about 30 minutes, until potatoes are soft.
Liquefy in blender in batches with soy milk.  Add water to make desired texture.  Serve with freshly ground black pepper.

Nutrition: One cup has about 150 calories, 28g carbs, 3g fat, and 5g protein.

Here's how I ate it for lunch today (yes, that it my homemade bread machine bread):

Creamy Vegan Salad Dressing

The salad dressing I used, by the way, is the following: 2 parts Low Fat Vegenaise, 1 part seasoned rice vinegar, 1 part olive oil, plus spices (salt, pepper, chopped garlic, and onion flakes) to taste.  Put it in a small jar and shake until mixed.  Let sit for at least 10 minutes, or as long as you can wait, so the onion flakes soften.  Keeps in fridge for a while.  (One tablespoon of dressing has about 58 calories, 2g carbs, 6g fat, and 0g protein.)

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Pecan Pie

Today is National Pie Day - not to be confused with National Pi Day, which isn't until March (or July, depending on how particular you are).  To celebrate, I made a version of the Best Vegan Pecan Pie.  I also made this for my mother's annual family dinner in December, and it was a bit hit among the entirely omnivore crowd.  It is truly the best pecan pie.  For the pie crust, I'm not including a recipe because I bought mine, but you can find recipes all over the interwebs.  Whole Foods has a nice selection of vegan pie crusts, and I got a whole wheat version.

Pecan Topping:
2 cups pecan halves
1 tablespoon Earth Balance margarine
1 tablespoon turbinado sugar

10 whole grain graham crackers
1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon water
2 tablespoons Earth Balance margarine
1/2 cup turbinado sugar
1/2 cup cane sugar
1/4 cup agave syrup
2 teaspoons almond (or vanilla) extract
1/4 cup applesauce
1/4 cup cornstarch

Preheat oven to 350.

For the pecan topping, melt butter in pan on stove at medium heat.  Add pecans and turbinado sugar and brown while stirring.  Don't overcook.

For the filling, put graham crackers in a food processor and chop until crumbs.  (I used honey grahams.  Yes, I eat honey.  The My Vegan Cookbook blog, from which this recipe is derived, uses saltines.)  Add water and mix again.  Let sit for a minute or two.  Add the other filling ingredients and process until liquefied.  Cook in saucepan on med-high until boiling, stirring constantly.  Turn down heat to simmer for 2 minutes.

Pour the filling into the crust and add the pecans to the top.  Bake for 45 minutes.

Nutrition: 1/8th of the pie is about 420 calories, 46g carbs, 24g fat, and 3g protein.

Happy Pie Day!  This is so good, maybe I'll make it again on 3/14.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownie Cupcakes

These cupcakes are fairly low in fat, and since I mistakenly left out the applesauce, they turned out denser and more like brownies than cupcakes.  Feel free to add 1/3 cup of applesauce to the batter (I have done a version with that before) if you want them more cakey.

Brownie cupcakes:

1/2 cup coconut milk drink or lite coconut milk
1/2 cup turbinado sugar
1/4 cup agave syrup
1/2 cup soy milk
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup raw cacao (or cocoa) powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 - 1/2 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350 F and grease a mini muffin pan.  (I like that size, but feel free to use the bigger ones and increase the baking time.)

Mix together the coconut milk, turbinado sugar, and agave syrup (not pictured - sorry!).  Mix vigorously with a fork or whisk every minute or so, until sugar is dissolved.

Meanwhile, stir together soy milk and apple cider vinegar and set aside for a few minutes to let it curdle.  (This give the cupcakes their airy texture.)  Add to coconut milk and sugar mixture and beat until some foam forms on top.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, cacao powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add in two batches to the wet ingredients and stir until just mixed.  (Don't overmix, or the cupcakes will turn out too hard.)

Edited to add: I made these again, adding 1/4 cup applesauce and 1 tablespoon canola oil to the wet mixture, and they were incredibly moist and delicious.

Pour into muffin tins.  Bake about 20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Transfer to a wire rack and let cool.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Frosting:

6 oz. lite silken tofu (1/2 block of shelf-stable package)
1/4 cup vegan sour cream or cream cheese (I use Tofutti brand)
1 Tbsp vegan margarine (I use Earth Balance)
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup cacao powder
1/4 c. choc peanut butter

In a blender, whip together tofu, sour cream/cream cheese, margarine, maple syrup, and vanilla until smooth.  Add powdered sugar and cacao powder and blend.  Finally, add peanut butter and whip until desired texture.  Refrigerate at least 20 minutes before topping cupcakes, using a spoon.

A few notes about ingredients:
  • If you don't have Peanut Butter & Co dark chocolate peanut butter, I recommend getting some.  It is truly one of the best foods ever invented.  If you try the recipe with regular peanut butter, you may need to add more cacao powder and/or sugar.  If you don't like or can't eat peanut butter, you can leave it out.  Let us know in the comments.
  • When using things like maple syrup and vanilla extract, nothing but the pure, real stuff is good enough.  I like grade B maple syrup, because it has a rich, full flavor.  You could try replacing maple syrup with agave syrup (or vice-versa for the cupcakes).
  • For the cocoa, I am using Navitas raw cacao powder.  If you're using another kind of cocoa, you may need to increase the amount.  

This recipe is adapted from, which took the recipe from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World , by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero.  Gotta love the Post Punk Kitchen.