I'm not that great a cook. OK, I'm a pretty bad cook. My husband is fantastic though. He just seems to have a intuitive ability to combine tastes and flavors in just the right way. More often than not he doesn't follow a recipe, but just sort of wings it. His ribs are famous! They're different every time because he never writes anything down. A pinch of this, a dash of that, and voila! Even the presentation is good. This man should be a chief, really. He's that good. I'm so glad too. If it were left in my hands we would probably starve or be food poisoned. For some reason when I cook everything turns out orange.
Since I lack this intuitive, instinctual ability to cook anything remotely interesting, I find that baking is much better suited to be. It's like chemistry. Exact amounts of specific ingredients combined a precise way. This keeps me in line. Don't deviate from the path and things will go just fine. In fact I quite like the nature of baking. I'm a very precise person. I make lists. I organize. I budget out my time so I'm never late. (OK, I'm sometimes late. I have kids, it can't be helped) I time things exactly. At work I would listen to the radio, and at precisely one o'clock it would chime. I would sync my watch and clock. Every Day. Baking and I get along very well.
For reasons of peer association (re: my husband has a friend that is over from time to time) I have found the need to make the occasional vegan recipe. I know what you're thinking. Whatever you make isn't going to be as good as it could be. You know, if I had snuck and egg or some butter in. Which of course I would never do. This means getting, OMG, creative a bit! Jeez! We're all going to be poisoned! Not to fear though. There are many great vegan recipes out there that I have followed precisely, and therefore no one has died yet. In fact, to be honest, they are probably some of the very best things I've ever baked. Even my three year old LOVES them, and she is a super picky eater. So here's one that I know you'll love.
Dark Chocolate Almond Cupcakes
These cupcakes are the first vegan thing I ever made and they are amazing! They are the yummy creation of It Ain't Meat, Babe who is obviously a talented person in the kitchen.
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup almond meal
6 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup vegan margarine
1 cup unrefined cane sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp almond extract
2 tbsp ground flax seed mixed with 6 tbsp water
1 cup unsweetened almond milk soured with 1 tsp vinegar
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease muffin tins (or fill with paper liners). Sift flour, almond meal, baking powder, baking soda, and cocoa powder together in a small bowl. In a larger bowl, cream margarine and sugar. Add flax and water mixture and both extracts. Alternately add dry ingredients and soured almond milk to margarine mixture, stirring until smooth. Bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of one cupcake comes out clean. Makes a dozen large cupcakes.
Chocolate Almond Frosting
1/4 cup vegan margarine
1/4 cup vegan shortening
1 3/4 cup icing sugar
1 tsp almond extract
2 tbsp almond milk
approximately 1/4 cup sifted cocoa powder
Preferably with an electric mixer, combine the margarine and shortening, then add all other ingredients.Top with toasted almonds.