Vegan Carrot Cake Cupcakes and a birthday dedication

DSC_0021

I’m a planner. If I could pencil in where I’m going to be this afternoon, tomorrow, the day after that, 5 years from now, I would probably do it. I live my life by setting goals and accomplishing them, sometimes at the expense of neglecting to see opportunities that are staring me right in the face, or realizing that the path I’ve set out on isn’t even what I want. Over time I’ve gotten better at adapting to the unknowns that life throws at you, but “going with the flow” is still something I will always have to work on. It’s an ongoing process but I’ve figured out how to balance my “J” qualities with a little bit of “P”, such that I can survive when things don’t work out quite as planned.

After all, sometimes the best things in life are the ones that happen to be the most unexpected. Like reconnecting with someone you haven’t seen in a long time who also happens to reside a world away. Someone who was the most important person in my life for the better part of a year and then gone. Having disappeared as quickly as it fell into my lap, I spent awhile trying to reconcile the fact that maybe fate put him there for a reason, in that place, at that time, but that was all it was ever going to be. It was a reality I tried to accept, and for the most part, succeeded in doing so. But every now and then I would have a random dream, thought, intuition that there was more. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in life, it’s that if your gut is telling you something, it’s probably right. And thankfully, it was.

I’m still as much of a planner as ever, but when life hands you beautiful brown eyes and a smile belonging to someone who is smart, witty, caring, and a continuation of adjectives that will never do the real person justice, you embrace the welcome detour that takes you from Point A, to B, to C, rather than the original journey from Point A to C, and never look back. And when cette individual’s favourite cake is carrot cake, and it just so happens to be his birthday, you dedicate your carrot cake recipe to him. Because what else would you do?

J, whatever serendipitous stroke of luck, fate, or kismet brought you back into the centre of my universe, I thank it every day. You challenge me and make me want to be a better person day in and day out, for you, for me, and for us. You’re right, there’s no earthly way of knowing which direction we are going, but there are 360 degrees of possibility from whatever angle I look at it. I couldn’t have planned it better even if I tried. Happy birthday.

DSC_0032

5.0 from 1 reviews
Vegan Carrot Cake Cupcakes
 
Serves: 12
Ingredients
  • 2¼ cups flour
  • 1 tbsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ½ tbsp. cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. nutmeg
  • ¾ cup shredded coconut
  • ½ cup pumpkin seeds
  • ½ cup sunflower seeds
  • 1 bar Green & Black's Organic Ginger Chocolate, chopped
  • ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 cup non-dairy milk
  • ½ cup canola oil
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 cups grated carrots
Instructions
  1. Line 12 muffin cups with muffin liners and heat your oven to 325F.
  2. Mix together the dry ingredients, from the flour to the chocolate.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the remaining ingredients, whisking or stirring to blend.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until just incorporated.
  5. Portion the batter into the prepared muffin cups. Bake at 325F for 30-40 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.
  6. Cool and top with the frosting of your choice (or just eat as-is).

Collage

DSC_0017 DSC_0027

Carrot Cake Cookies with Green & Black’s Organic White Chocolate Frosting

Carrot Cake Cookies

Spring is a funny thing when you live in Canada, Calgary especially. See we don’t really get seasons here. It basically goes from winter to a couple of warm months, and then back to winter. Don’t kid yourself, the snow is all melted now, but the white, fluffy stuff isn’t gone for good. It will make another appearance before “summer” comes, guaranteed. Case in point, we went skiing Easter weekend and it was the best snow day of the year. Knee deep fresh powder in April. Not that I was complaining or anything.

Because the weather won’t necessarily be spring-like, the best way to experience the rebirth of a new season is through the food. Cue these carrot cake cookies with Green & Black’s Organic White Chocolate Frosting. Is it too cheesy to say that they are like little bites of spring? Probably, but it looks like I just did it anyways. Green & Black’s Organic White Chocolate is my absolute favourite. The best part about it is the vanilla flavour, complete with little speckles of vanilla bean. In fact, it’s not unlike a speckled little egg. See, even the chocolate is springy!

You cannot go wrong turning carrot cake into cookies either. Not only are they portable and snackable, it ups the icing to cake ratio too, so you are never left with any mouthfuls of boring or dry cake. White chocolate, carrots, cookies. See it is starting to feel more like spring around here already!

Check out more of what Green & Black’s has to offer on their website or Facebook page!

*Disclaimer: Although Green & Black’s Organic Chocolate was kind enough to supply the chocolate for this piece, the opinions, recipe and pictures are all my own.

Carrot Cake Cookies Carrot Cake Cookies Carrot Cake Cookies

Carrot Cake Cookies with Green & Black's Organic White Chocolate Frosting
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
These cookies are the perfect snack or dessert for spring! Makes 30-34 individual cookies or 15-17 sandwich cookies
Author:
Recipe type: cookies, dessert, sweets, spring
Ingredients
  • For the cookies:
  • ⅓ cup coconut oil
  • ¼ cup applesauce, unsweetened
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup finely grated carrots (about 2 large carrots)
  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup oats
  • ½ cup shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened)
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. ground ginger
  • ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. ground cloves
  • ¼ tsp. ground allspice
  • For the frosting:
  • 8 ounces light cream cheese (1 package), softened to room temperature
  • 1 bar Green & Black’s Organic white chocolate, melted
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • ½ tsp. lime juice
Instructions
  1. To make the cookies:
  2. Heat your oven to 350F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  3. In a bowl, combine the coconut oil, applesauce and brown sugar until smooth, then add in the egg.
  4. In a separate bowl, mix together the dry ingredients from the flour to the allspice. Gradually add the carrots in with the combined dry ingredients, in order to help prevent them from clumping together. If there are some lumps, don’t worry about it, they will work their way out when you combine the dry with the wet.
  5. Mix the flour/carrot mixture into the wet ingredients (the combined coconut oil, applesauce, brown sugar and egg). Stir until just combined. There should be no visible clumps of grated carrot or pockets of flour remaining.
  6. Using a small cookie scoop, portion the dough onto your lined cookie sheets, about 15-17 cookies per each.
  7. Bake at 350F for about 10 minutes, or until the dough has lost it’s sheen and the cookies are golden. Cool before frosting and eating.
  8. To make the frosting:
  9. Beat the cream cheese with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.
  10. Add in the melted Green & Black’s Organic chocolate until fully incorporated.
  11. Next add the powdered sugar, beating thoroughly to ensure there are no lumps.
  12. Finally, mix in the lime juice. Put the frosting in a piping bag fit with a star tip. When the cookies have cooled, pipe about 2 tablespoons of frosting on the bottom side of half of the cookies. Sandwich them together with the other half of the cookies that you left un-frosted.
  13. The cookies are ready to eat! If not served immediately, they can be stored covered in the refrigerator for 4-5 days. You could also bake the cookies ahead of time, freeze them and then frost them prior to eating.

Carrot Cake Cookies Carrot Cake Cookies Carrot Cake Cookies Carrot Cake Cookies

The Canadian Food Experience Project: Pickled Carrots

Pickled Carrots
Pickled Carrots
For this round of the Canadian Food Experience Project, I bring you none other than pickled carrots! I must say, I was really looking forward to the October challenge; Preserving: Our Canadian Food Tradition. It forced me to finally get some pickling done, something I had neglected to do earlier in the harvest season. Luckily there were still some local baby carrots to be found at the grocery store on September 28. I know, I know, I left it a little late. But better late than never, right?
This was my second year participating in the art (yes, it’s definitely an art) of pickling/canning/preserving. I make a lot of quick-pickles throughout the year but it always feels special to crack open a jar of homemade pickles, especially come the holidays. Last year, I did mostly pickle pickles (with cucumbers, you know?) with a couple jars of pickled carrots thrown in there as well. To tell you the truth, I actually much preferred the pickled carrots, so this year, that’s all I made. I think it has to do with the fact that if you don’t pickle your own carrots, it’s hard to go out and buy them, whereas with pickles they are a staple in any grocery store and are thus less “exotic”. Or maybe it’s a reflection of the fact that generally, I prefer carrots over cucumbers. Anyways, I’ll try not to psychoanalyze things too much!
I can’t wait until Thanksgiving to taste the first jar!
Pickled Carrots
Pickled Carrots
Pickled Carrots
Pickled Carrots
Pickled Carrots

Pickled Carrots

Ingredients

5 pounds baby carrots
5 cups water
5 cups white vinegar
heaping 1/2 cup Kosher or pickling salt
5 bay leaves
5 cloves garlic
5 tsp. each black peppercorns and coriander seeds

Instructions

Sterilize 5 jars and 5 lids either in a dishwasher with a sterilization setting or simply by submerging them in boiling water for a couple of minutes. Keep in mind that you will need to have a large pot of boiling water ready to seal the jars once they are filled with carrots and pickling liquid.

Meanwhile, bring the vinegar, water and salt to a boil. Turn it down to a simmer and set it aside until you are ready to fill the jars. Then take each sterilized jar and pack it with 1 bay leaf, 1 clove of garlic, 1 tsp. black peppercorns, 1 tsp. coriander seeds and 1 pound of baby carrots. Squish the carrots in there so that they are nice and tight. Pour about 2 cups of pickling liquid into each jar. The carrots should be fully submerged. Put on your sterilized lids and tighten them until you feel resistance. No need to keep cranking them past this point, you want a little bit of room for the air to escape in order to allow the jars to seal. Once the lids are on, boil the jars for 15 minutes. With 5 jars I had to do this in 2 batches. Remove the jars from the boiling water however is most comfortable for you (AKA in whatever way you can without burning yourself – I tend to use a combo of tongs and a dish towel). I think you can actually go out and buy jar-lifter thingies but who really needs those right? We all know how to be resourceful in the kitchen!

Allow the jars to cool to room temperature before you pack them away in your basement and say bye bye for a while. If you notice that they haven’t sealed within the first few minutes, flip them upside down and forget about them for awhile. I find that usually does the trick! For maximum pickle-y-ness, wait at least a couple of weeks until you crack open a jar and taste your efforts.

Banana Carrot Muffins

banana carrot muffins

Banana Carrot Muffins

3 bananas, mashed
2 cups grated carrot (this was equivalent to 3 fairly normal sized carrots for me)
2 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 tsp almond extract
3/4 cup brown sugar

3 cups pastry flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp allspice
1/8 tsp cloves
1 cup chocolate chips (or other fresh/frozen/dried fruit, nuts, etc)

banana carrot muffins

I love muffins because they are such a cinch to make! Combine the wet ingredients, combine the dry ingredients, fold everything together and bake. As you will notice I separated the ingredients into 2 groups above, wet and dry. I tend to add sugar in with the wet ingredients, allowing it to dissolve and distribute more evenly throughout the batter. And remember, don’t overmix (or the muffins will have tunnels and turn out all pointy looking). Once everything has just come together, you’re done. Portion the batter into muffin tins and bake at 350 F for about 25 minutes (regular sized muffins) or 15-20 for mini muffins. This made 12 of each. Which means it would probably make 24 mini muffins or 18 regular if you wanted to choose between one of the other. But variety is the spice of life right? They’re also great to freeze. Then you can stock up when you know you’re going to be busy and there won’t be time to bake.

banana carrot muffins