The Best Vegan Fudge Ever

What is the one food you remember from your childhood as being better than anything else? Was it the sugar cookies your grandmother made? The grilled cheese sandwich your dad grilled especially for you? Maybe that’s not it, but there was something, wasn’t there? And you’ve never been able to find something as good anywhere else.

For me, the one thing I remember as being incomparably amazing was the fudge my mom made. Even though she would usually sabotage it with walnuts, I would sometimes get a small batch just for myself. It’s been years and years since I’ve had anything even comparable to that fudge. I mean, even before I was vegan, there wasn’t anything nearly as good.

Finally, my mom agreed to show me her recipe step by step so I could veganize it. She even said it was ok for me to share it with you, which I think is pretty generous, considering it is the best fudge ever. Thanks mom!

Ok, here’s what you need…

1 1/3 cup of non-dairy cream, unsweetened

2 2/3 cup sugar, yeah, that much sugar

4 ish oz bittersweet chocolate

2 Tbsp corn syrup

4 Tbsp Earth Balance

Put everything in a medium sauce pan and stir together. Turn the heat on to medium high and stir occasionally so that the chocolate melts evenly. Bring to a boil and using a candy thermometer, or your cunning senses, heat slowly to the firm ball stage, about 240° – 250° F. If you want your fudge a little creamier you don’t have to go quite this hot.

To check the firmness, you can spoon a small bit into some cold water. Take out the cooled piece and roll between your fingers. The harder it is, the firmer your fudge will be. Once it reaches the desired temperature, remove from heat and allow to cool for a few minutes. In the mean time, grease a pan to put your fudge in.  Mix in 1 tsp of vanilla.

If you’ve made it through all that, get ready for the hard part. Using a spoon, beat the fudge so that air is incorporated into the mixture. Don’t stir, beat. If your arm doesn’t get tired, you’re not doing it right. In fact, you might want to have a backup beater on hand to help you. My arm is still sore from this part actually. Do this for a couple minutes, until the mixture is a bit fluffier.

Pour the fudge into your prepared pan and smooth over a bit. Slice into chunks once it has cooled somewhat, but is still slightly warm. You probably want to use a butter knife as well and not a ridiculous sharp one like the one above. Also, go ahead and make those chunks pretty small, you’re better off this way.

You can totally snack on some bits here when it’s still warm, but know once you start it will be hard to stop. I personally like it best once it has cooled completely and hardened.

So the verdict? It’s almost exactly the same as I remember it. That sugary sweetness that melts in your mouth with a rich chocolate flavor. The flavor of the mimicream definitely has a subtle effect, but in the end one I like, giving it just a hint of nuttiness. I may try a few variations, and practice my beating technique, but I wouldn’t hesitate to say that it was a complete success. I should also probably mention this is the recipe for a double batch so go ahead and half it if you like. Although you might not want to. On the other hand, you might eat it all in one day so beware. Not that anyone I know would do that. Never.

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Coffee Cozy

In case I hadn’t made it clear in some previous post, I love coffee. Mostly I love the rich flavor of a good espresso, but I won’t lie, I can’t go without my daily caffeine boost. I don’t often get coffee to go, but when the occasion arises, I come prepared with my own coffee cozy. It’s not quite as earth friendly as bringing your own mug, but its much more convenient as I can carry one in my purse all the time. Not to mention, they’re damn cute. I made these one night after seeing some adorable ones on various craft blogs and knew I had to have one. I used some scrap fabric and some felt to line them. They came together in just a few minutes.

Lucky for you…I’m including a tutorial on how to make one of your own AND giving away a cozy to one lucky reader. Better than an infomercial!

Before I get to the tutorial though, just wanted to let you all know I’m now on formspring. So if there’s something you’re curious about or just bored, feel free to ask me! Ok back to the cozies…

1. First print out the template I’ve included. Use the template to cut two pieces of fabric for your cozy, one out of felt, and the other out of a fabric of your choice.

2. Next take a piece of velcro and sew onto one side of the felt, being careful to leave space for seam allowances. I should probably tell you now that I rarely pin things, mainly because I am lazy, but you might want to baste or pin pieces in place.

3. Put your two fabric pieces together with the right sides facing. The velcro will be on the inside. Pin if necessary and trim any areas where the fabrics do not line up.

4. Sew along the two long edges and the short edge near the velcro, following a 3/8 inch seam allowance. Make sure to double back and secure any open ends.

5. Turn the cozy inside out, using a chopstick to poke out corners. Fold the unfinished edge inside and press the whole thing.

6. Sew around the outside edge of the whole cozy starting on the unfinished side about 1/8 inch away from the edge. You can use a matching thread or something contrasting, depending on what you prefer.

7. Last, sew the other half of the velcro on the outside so that it will meet the velcro on the inside. That’s it! Good work, I think you deserve some coffee.

If you like the cozy you see made in the tutorial, you can win it. All you have to do is comment and a winner will be chosen at random on March 7th. Good luck!

Update: and the cozy goes to…Christy! Congratulations!

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Knit Heart

I’m a bit behind, it’s true, but I couldn’t not post about the valentine I gave my sweetheart Shawn for Valentine’s Day. Valentine’s day? Yes it may seem like ages ago, I know, but the truth is I’m not as late in my writing as much as belated in finishing the project itself (oops!).

Luckily, I have a very understanding valentine who put up with me banishing him from the living room while I worked in secret and was still appreciative when I gave it to him a week late. Yikes, that’s pretty bad, I probably shouldn’t admit that…and I just did…

I got the pattern from the always awesome knitty.com. For some reason I always get the urge to knit when it’s getting warmer, and knitting in the summer just doesn’t have the same appeal. In other words, I better get knitting while there’s still some rainy days about. Luckily I have a few other things started. Perhaps I’ll finish something green for St. Patty’s early instead of late!

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Work in progress

In between copious amounts of baking and projects, we’ve been trying to renovate and reorganize our apartment. One of the ideas that I’m in the middle of is updating the large book case in our living room. It has always been filled with stuff, masks, bike gear and various odds and ends. I wanted to make it a little more presentable and hide some of the storage aspects. I embarked on a crazy mission to not only fill it with our books that were placed randomly around the house, but also to cover them all in colored paper.

First of all, I had no idea how many books we had hidden away in various drawers and closets that now had a place to be. Second, covering books takes quite a bit longer than I thought. Third, nice colored paper is expensive and doesn’t cover nearly as many books as I would like. It seemed like a good idea in the first place, but now it seems like a daunting task to finish.

As you can see, I’m about half way done. I’ve covered the storage boxes with mat board as well. Soon hopefully we’ll get some handles for them so they actually open without the use of a fork or some other implement.

before

In any case, I think it is much improved from before. Please excuse all the strange things hanging out in our place. You accumulate a great deal of oddities when you make movies. Hopefully I’ll have a finished update soon enough, along with some other cool renovations in the apartment.

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Homemade for Haiti

This past weekend I participated in the Homemade for Haiti bake sale hosted by Home Ec Shop in Silverlake. We were able to raise an amazing $1,220 for Doctors without Borders.

I cooked up some of my favorite cupcakes and some of my best sellers in hopes that they could get the most money to those in need.

While the bake sale itself wasn’t exclusively vegan, they had a whole table full of vegan goodness (and even soy milk for coffee)! The shop is so cute too and all the bake goods were packaged up to be exponentially adorable. You can see more photos on flickr.

If you want to do something really easy to help with the relief effort in Haiti, there are a ton of vegan bake sales going on across the country.  I’m particularly envious of the NYC vegan bake sale at Mooshoes (which coincidentally uses one of my cupcake photos taken by Studiodrome). There is even a bake sale here in Los Angeles this Sunday.

Also, if you’re in Los Angeles, you can currently get a hold of these cupcakes at Meet Market or at Vegan Bake Sale. Yay!

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Vegan Road Trip: Part 4

Austin, Texas

(and a giveaway!)

Possibly my favorite stop of our road trip was Austin, Texas. I had wanted to visit for the longest time, and insisted that we go there at some point on the journey. Amazingly we were able to celebrate New Years Eve dancing in the streets of this awesome city. The next day were were able to explore and visit some of the great vegan restaurants. We started 2010 with breakfast at Snackbar. The restaurant is located in the hip SoCo district and has a really great modern yet comfortable vibe. All the waiters and waitresses were wearing handmade aprons. I love it. They have a number of vegan dishes as well as gluten free options all marked on the menu.

As soon as I heard that this restaurant had vegan biscuits and gravy, it became the only place on my list that we absolutely had to go to. It turned out to have some even more impressive items on the menu, including vegan mini waffles and vegan tofu benedict on top of these tasty waffles. The biscuits were pretty decent, with a great tempeh gravy, but they looked ridiculous so it’s best you use your imagination. The waffles were great; fluffy and perfectly moist. The tofu florentine was quite good, lightly flavored and fresh. The place was pretty hectic as people crowded in to eat off their hangovers. I wish we had been able to come at another time because they were obviously under-staffed on the holiday, but I still enjoyed going there very much. Because of the craziness, we were offered a $10 gift card which could be yours! Just head on down to the end of this post.

We spent the day walking around town and exploring. The weather was gorgeous and I pretty much totally fell in love with the place. Everything was just awesome and had a bit more of creativity. Where in Los Angeles we have food trucks, Austin has airstreams. We stopped in The Ginger Man just to peek inside, and ended up staying for some drinks, pretzels and a mean game of balderdash, aka the best game ever. They had a huge selection of beers on tap and a super comfortable sitting area that makes you feel like you’re at home or in your father’s library. We ended up spending a better part of the afternoon hanging here.

When we finally sought out dinner, it was no contest. We headed to The Parlour to devour some vegan pizza. This bar has pizza available with follow your heart cheese and a handful of vegan meats as well as veggie toppings. They even have a vegan french bread pizza which was SO GOOD. Now, I might get myself in some hot water here, I know a lot of you are big fans of Daiya, but I am not. I am saddened every time I find that a restaurant that used to carry something I liked, has switched to daiya. Having this pizza was like a breath of fresh air. I honestly almost cried after eating it, I was that happy. Luckily, I just found a new place to fill this gaping hole in my vegan pizza heart that is quite a bit closer. Possibly my new favorite pizza spot is actually in town.

Ok ok I bet you were wondering when I was going to get to that gift card…right? Well there it is! Since I don’t live in Austin, and who knows when I’ll be back, I’m going to offer this lovely $10 gift card that I received to one of you lucky readers. All you have to do is comment! Oh, and you should actually be in Austin, or nearby. I’ll choose a winner on February 1st. So you have until then…Get to it!

And the winner is….Miranda! Congratulations!

Winner selected using random.org

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Filed under biscuits and gravy, holidays, pizza, pretzels, tofu florentine

Brainwashed Love teaser trailer

You may remember back in June, I took a little break from blogging, baking and well my entire life basically and made a feature film. You probably don’t remember, but yeah, I did that. Shawn and I wrote the script to Brainwashed Love together and paid for the entire production ourselves. It is by far the craziest and hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life. It was also one of the most amazing experiences I’ve had.

We’re still working on the last details to polish it up,  but in the meantime, we put together a little teaser trailer to show, and well, I’m so excited I have to post it here as well. Please watch, enjoy and share! Support truly independent films!

If you’re reading this on an RSS feed you can click here to watch. You can also become a fan on facebook and follow us on twitter.

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