Happy Halloween Everyone!!
Congratulations to the Peppermint Ritter Sport Winners, Bex, Ricki, and lao80! - all chosen at random. There were so many entrants, I decided to give away 3 bars. After all, I can get more - even if it does take a couple of months!
Also, I decided to do one more giveaway, on this the final day of VeganMoFo, and the traditional day of giving out sweeties: Who wants a jar of quince jelly? Just leave a comment praising quincey goodness to enter the random drawing!
This year I was really feeling the Halloween spirit, and I had lots of different fun ideas for baking projects... so I decided to bake treats for all my yoga classes.
Tuesday and Wednesday, the yogis got "The Best Pumpkin Muffins" (from Vegan With a Vengeance), decorated with little chocolate Halloween designs. I love these muffins so much - a bit sweet, but not overwhelming, full of autumny goodness, and easy to make. Our house smelled downright magical after baking two batches of these babies. And lucky for me, I've got 4 more cups of pumpkin puree in the freezer to make more pumpkin desserts!
Thursday I made two loaves of Pan De Muerto, a traditional Day of the Dead bread. That one on the left is supposed to be a skull and cross bones, but it looks a little more like some sort of weird teddy bear. I'd never had pad de muerto before, but I saw an article in the local newspaper that tipped my curiousity. The bread was easy to make (recipe below), and was really quite yummy. It's just half way between a bread and a light cake, sort of like Italian panettone. It's flavored (lightly) with anise seed and just a bit of sugar, and then glazed with an orange juice-orange zest-sugar glaze which really seals the deal. Yummy!
Here's the first one, all dressed up. After glazing, you are meant to sprinkle on colored sugar for decoration. My only colored sugar was black, appropriately enough. This loaf was shared with my Thursday evening classes. For size reference, that's a big serving platter - it was a pretty substantial loaf of bread. What a nice treat!
This scary guy was smaller, but a bit more skull-like. I think next time I'll make a few smaller skulls, rather than those unsuccessful skull & crossbones. This loaf was shared with my family for our annual Ballot Discussion and Debate. Every time there's an election we get together to discuss the candidates and ballot measures, share thoughts and hearsay, and read the endorsements from various organizations. It's always educational and it's so nice to feel a bit more informed about some of the smaller and less publicized ballot measures and such. I thought this sweet bread was really yummy and I'll definitely make it an annual Dia de los Muertos goodie.
Here's the recipe I used, mostly from this source
Pan de Muerto
(Adapted from Frightfully Festive Halloween Recipes, further veganized by Amey)
1/2 cup Earth Balance
1/2 + 1/3 cup non-dairy milk
6 tsp EnerG egg replacer
8 Tbsp warm water
5 cups flour
2 packets dry yeast
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. anise seed
1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp. sugar
In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, heat Earth Balance and milk until butter is melted and mixture is very warm but not boiling. In a small bowl, vigorously whisk together the egg replacer & warm water until light and frothy, set aside. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together 1 cup flour, yeast, salt, anise seed and sugar. Beat or vigorously whisk in the warm milk mixture until well combined. Add the egg replacer mixture and beat in another cup of flour. Continue adding flour until dough is soft but not sticky (I needed to switch to a stronger mixing utensil). Also, I had to knead in that 5th cup of flour. Knead on a lightly floured surface 10 minutes until smooth and elastic. Lightly oil a bowl and place dough in it, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm place until double in bulk, about 2 hours.
Punch down dough and shape into 1 or 2 loaves resembling skulls or skeletons or round loaves with dough "bones" placed ornamentally around the top. Let rise 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake for 40 minutes. Remove from oven and paint glaze (recipe follows) while bread is warm. Cool to room temperature before serving.
Glaze: Place 1/2 sugar, 1/3 cup orange juice and grated zest of 1 orange in a small saucepan. Boil 2 minutes. Paint on bread with pastry brush.
Last, but not least, I promised my nephew Bloody Eyeball cupcakes! I also got this idea from our local newspaper, but I tweaked it a little to suit my tastes. River, who has accomplished a truly stunning month of vegan Halloween-related food, also made some great eyeball cupcakes. I stole her idea of using an upside-down chocolate chip as the pupil of the eye. These are the Golden Vanilla Cupcakes from "Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World" - but they are also filled with my homemade raspberry jam, so that when you bite into them, a big "bloody" sploosh of jam surprises you! Spooky!
Happy Halloween, and happy end of VeganMoFo! I've had a lot of fun blogging everyday, and I feel inspired to blog more often. There's so much to write about! (We'll see how long this cheery enthusiasm lasts!) As with last year's MoFo, I really loved discovered so many new blogs, and reading so many wonderful posts. Nice to know I've got countless backlogged posts to keep me busy in the weeks ahead.