Friday, November 27, 2009

Daring Cannolis!

Well, the time has finally come.......I did my first Daring Bakers challenge! For those of you not familar with the Daring Bakers, the Daring Bakers are a group of bloggers who accept a challenge once a month from a designated baker. The challenges are different every month and range for foccacia to opera cakes.
I have been wanting to join the Daring Bakers for quite a while, but was afraid to take the leap. There are so many awesome bakers out there posting their beautiful pics and it made me a bit nervous to try. Well, I finally joined thinking that this would be a perfect way for me to do some of the things that I learned in school and change them to vegan. I was also hoping to be challenged to do something that I would not normally make and this challenge is exactly that.
While I absolutely do love cannolis, I have not had them since going vegan. I've never given them a shot because they are normally fried, and well, that scares me a bit. Sure, we deep fried things in school, but it was with a huge deep fryer that was made for that sort of thing! I did find a couple of recipes that allow you to bake the cannoli shells, but none of them had very good reviews. Baked cannoli shells just won't bubble and puff up like the fried ones will.
Well, I gave it a shot and ended up with some pretty freakin' tasty cannolis and no oil burns!

I followed this recipe on live journal and made a few changes:
I used Earth Balance instead of shortening and Ener-G egg replacer instead of a flax egg.
I only used 1 tsp of lemon zest and 2 tsp of lemon juice.
I added 1 TB of instant clear jel to thicken the filling. It was still pretty soft, so next time I think I will add at least 2 tablespoons of instant clear jel.

Roll out cannoli dough. If you have a pasta roller, use it! This dough takes some serious muscle to roll it out thin.
I cut the dough into circles and then rolled them into thin ovals.

Wrap the cannoli ovals around the cannoil tubes and brush the inside lip with the "egg" wash to stick together. There is a fine line on how loose/tight to wrap these around the tubes. Too tight and they will be really hard to remove from the tubes. I learned the hard way on wrapping them too loose and lost my first batch while frying.

I fried these at 375° in a canola oil for a couple of minutes. Be sure to move them around with tongs to make sure they brown evenly and don't walk away at this point! They fry up fast!

Naked cannoli shells just waiting to be filled. See all the nice bubbles?!

Candy Cane Cookies & Cream Cannolis
I left out the lemon juice & lemon zest and added a few crushed Candy Cane Trader Joe Joes Cookies to the filling. I dipped the ends in melted chocolate and more crushed cookies.

Mocha Cannolis
I left out the lemon juice and lemon zest. I added coffee extract, cocoa powder and dipped the ends in melted chocolate.

My Favorite Cannolis
I added chopped chocolate to the filling, dipped the ends in chocolate and more chopped chocolate. They were the best! A little bit of sifted powdered sugar on top would have been perfect!

The November 2009 Daring Bakers Challenge was chosen and hosted by Lisa Michele of Parsley, Sage, Desserts and Line Drives. She chose the Italian Pastry, Cannolo (Cannoli is plural), using the cookbooks Lidia’s Italian-American Kitchen by Lidia Matticchio Bastianich and The Sopranos Family Cookbook by Allen Rucker; recipes by Michelle Scicolone, as ingredient/direction guides. She added her own modifications/changes, so the recipe is not 100% verbatim from either book.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Bake Sale Goodies!

I visited Cannon Beach this past weekend and participated in a bake sale for the Women's Auxiliary Club. These are the goodies I made:

First up, Coconut Macaroons dipped in dark chocolate! I got this recipe from the always awesome, Julie Hasson! The recipe can be found on the membership side of EverydayDish. I must admit these macaroons were delicious! Toasty on the outside and slightly gooey on the inside. They tasted very similar to Almond Joys! They were also super easy and quick to make! You can add the chocolate chips in with the cookie batter instead of dipping them in chocolate or go crazy and do both.

Next up, mini carrot cake cupcakes with the vegan cream cheese frosting from VCTOTW. I added a bit of fresh lemon juice to the frosting and this really made it taste like the non-vegan cream cheese frosting I grew up with. The actual cupcakes are from a carrot cake recipe from school that I veganized. These little babies ended up being really moist and rich! I think the secret to keeping them moist is crushed pineapple. It also adds a great flavor and texture to the cake. I decorated the minis with toasted walnuts and fondant carrots.

Ok, these really are Perfect Vegan Sugar Cookies. I made the dough the night before and I found it really easy to work with. The dough holds its shape really well, so I plan on making these again for the holidays. I made over 11 dozen of these and dipped them by hand in the icing. It surprisingly did not take very long!

Friday, October 16, 2009

So.....I'm back!

I'm dusting off the old keyboard (ok, maybe new keyboard) and will finally be posting again! Yay!

Now to answer all those questions you've been wondering (yes, you!)...

Where has the Vegan Von Vittle been?

Livin' the dream, my friends! I've been in culinary school in the Baking & Patisserie program!

Are the Chomp Chomps still Tasty?

Yup, more than ever!

What's the plan, Stan?

Well, allot:

  • I want to take all of the great things I learned in culinary school and apply them to vegan baking at home. With lots of birthdays and the holidays coming up, I should be a busy little baker.
  • I just joined the Daring Bakers Blogroll and will be participating in the monthly baking challenges starting in November.
  • Dinoff and I are always trying new vegan products and restaurants; soooooo, I figure why not blog about it?
Look for a new post sometime next week!