Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Alfajores

For me, it just wouldn't be Christmas without alfajores.  Alfajores are a shortbread type of cookie, with dulce de leche in the middle.  My best friend's family is from Peru (and Bolivia) and she and her mom always make me alfajores for Christmas, as they are my all time favorite cookie.  Having recently gone vegan, they expressed their sadness that I would no longer be able to eat their alfajores.  I took this as a challenge.  And thankfully, I succeeded!  I will be bringing these to our Christmas Eve dinner, as I think they could fool any omni alfajor expert.

Alfajores:
  • 2 cups flour
  • 3 tablespoons powdered sugar + more for dusting
  • Zest of half a lime
  • 11 tablespoons Earth Balance buttery spread, divided
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar

Combine coconut milk, 1 tablespoon Earth Balance buttery spread, and brown sugar in a sauce pan over medium heat. When almost boiling reduce heat and simmer for 45-60 minutes, until thick like dulce de leche. Cool.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350.  Combine flour, powdered sugar, and lime zest in a large mixing bowl.  Add the buttery spread and mix with an eletric hand mixer. Mix until a dough ball is formed. It's ok if it's slightly crumbly.  Roll out dough on a floured surface until 1/4 inch thick.  Use a shot glass to cut out the cookies. Place cookies on a greased cookie sheet (or line with parchment paper).  Bake for 5-7 until the edges are barely light brown. Cool.  Make cookie sandwiches by spreading the cooled dulce de leche inbetween two cookies.  Dust finished cookies with powdered sugar.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Christmas Party 2012

Last night I had a Christmas party for my new grad school friends.  They came over to help decorate my tree, watch Elf (best Christmas movie ever?), and share in some general Christmas cheer since the semester is finally over.  I provided them with a few snacks that everyone seemed to enjoy.  For the savory I had some celery and carrot sticks with hummus.  I also made a vegan goat cheese spread which was really delicious and served with triscuits.  The recipe for the cheese can be found here.  I also made the mushroom bruschetta from my friend's blog Vegan Pandamonium.  The only thing I changed was adding 1/4 cup or so of nutritional yeast.  A few of my friends felt it necessary to sample the mushrooms right out of the pan.  It's such a simple recipe but very impressive.  Definitely a crowd pleaser.

For the sweet I made the sugar cookies from Vegan Heartland.  I set up a decorating station with four different colors of frosting and some sprinkles.  Everyone had a lot of fun with this.  And you can send the guests home with their creations.


And a Christmas party wouldn't be complete without some hot chocolate.  I'm not sure which blog my friend found the recipe from but it was super simple and delicious.
Vegan Crockpot Hot Chocolate:
  • 4 cups original almond milk (soy would probably work well too)
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Add all of the ingredients in your crockpot.  Whisk together until there are no lumps.  Put on the lid and turn your crockpot on low.  Cook for four hours, stirring occasionally.  I served it with a candy cane for stirring, giving it a nice peppermint flavor.  A friend also brought peppermint schnapps if you like even more peppermint.