Bacon Butter Pecan Ice Cream

bacon-butter-pecan-ice-cream

Yes, Bacon Butter Pecan Ice Cream. When you eat ice cream, do you often find yourself thinking, “this would be better with bacon”? No? Well, I promise there is a reason for this madness: a vegan bacon zine!

I’ve been talking about it and occasionally working on it for years, but I’m now actively making recipes and planning to design and print a bacon-themed zine very soon. If you’ve been following my posts, you may have noticed a the occasional bacon recipe like bacon vodka and Maple Bacon PBR Cupcakes. Since the bacon trend pioneers don’t appear to be calling it quits anytime soon, a bacon zine will still be ever so relevant. Filled with recipes, games, and words, printed on paper, and held together with not two, but three(!!) staples, it’ll be just what you need in your life.

Without further ado, this week’s post features a recipe from the forthcoming zine. If bacon in ice cream is not your thing, you can leave out the bacon and replace the maple syrup with agave or another liquid sweetener for a classic butter pecan ice cream.

This ice cream is smooth, caramel-y, and loaded with flavor and richness. The butter pecans add a punch of flavor on their own, so the bacon is more of an accent. I used chopped Upton’s Bacon Seitan for this recipe because it stays tender after cooking in the butter and sugar syrup (baking with bacon seitan often yields chewier results). I find that coconut cream yields the creamiest vegan ice cream. As I mentioned in my last ice cream post, Thin Mint Ice Cream, you can now buy Trader Joe’s coconut cream in a can without the hassle of separating the fat from a can of coconut milk. It does add a bit of coconut flavor to the ice cream, so try to choose stronger flavors or flavors that complement coconut when using coconut as an ice cream base. The buttery flavor of coconut goes well with the brown sugar and butter pecans.

Bacon Butter Pecan Ice Cream

Makes about 1 ½ pints

Ingredients

¾ cup chopped pecans
⅓ cup chopped vegan bacon
3 tablespoons vegan margarine
1 ½ tablespoons maple syrup
¾ cup plus 1 tablespoon brown sugar
14 ounces coconut cream
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup almond (or other non-dairy) milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Instructions

Toast the pecans in a dry skillet for 2-3 mins until fragrant, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and stir in the bacon and butter. The pecans will burn quickly, so keep an eye on them.
Transfer to a small bowl, then pour in the maple syrup and sprinkle on the 1 tablespoon of brown sugar. Set aside to cool.

Combine coconut cream and brown sugar in the saucepan and cook until sugar is dissolved and starts to bubble, then let boil for 3 minutes. Add milk, vanilla extract, and ⅓ cup of the pecan mixture. Let cool.

Freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions. Put the remainder of the pecan mixture in the freezer for the duration of freezing so it doesn’t bring down the temperature of the ice cream when you add it. Add pecans and bacon in last 5 minutes of freezing.

If you make this recipe (with or without bacon!), let me know how you like it! And I would also love to hear what kind of recipes and content you’d like in a bacon zine, so keep the suggestions coming!

Thin Mint Ice Cream

vegan-thin-mint-ice-cream

Looking for something to do with your leftover* Girl Scout Cookies? The next best thing to eating the cookies in their purest form is making a new dessert featuring the cookies. This Thin Mint Chip Ice Cream, for example.

*And I’m going to assume the only reason you’d have leftovers is because you bought four or five boxes.

A few months ago, my girlfriend came home from a visit to New York with an assortment of Girl Scout Cookies. She filled our cabinets with Lemonades and Thanks-A-Lots and lined the freezer with shiny sleeves of Thin Mints. After eating cookies out of the freezer for a few weeks, I decided to use a sleeve for an ice cream experiment.

Before ordering a case of Girl Scout cookies, do your homework. The veganness of Girl Scout Cookies varies by manufacturer (for Thin Mints especially), and the manufacturer varies by US region. Thin Mints from ABC Bakers are free of animal ingredients, but Thin Mints from Little Brownie Bakers are not veagn. Get the lowdown on the varieties of vegan Girl Scout Cookies from The Laziest Vegans, and the ABC Bakers FAQ.

girl-scout-cookie-ice-cream

I find that using coconut cream as a base for homemade ice creams yields the creamiest texture, even after freezing completely. It does add some coconut flavor to your ice cream, so keep that in mind when choosing flavors for your ice cream, or replace with another high-fat non-dairy milk or cream.

To get the cream from a can of full fat coconut milk by letting it sit at room temperature, undisturbed, for a day, then chilling it for another day. The cream will rise to the top and solidify so you can scoop it out and use it in a recipe. While this is not a complicated process, you do have to plan ahead. Therefore, I was happy to find that Trader Joe’s carries cans of coconut cream! Not to be confused with the sugary liquid used in piña coladas that is also called “coconut cream” and also comes in a can, this coconut cream contains just the cream from coconut milk. Trader Joe’s is the only place I’ve found this, so let me know if you have another source. When in doubt, read labels.

Once the logistics of your cookie and coconut cream acquisition are complete, it’s time for dessert. This refreshing mint green ice cream loaded with cookies and chocolate beats the dairy Thin Mint Ice Cream any day.

Thin Mint Chip Ice Cream

Makes about 1 ½ pints

Ingredients

14 ounces coconut cream
¾ cup sugar
1 cup non-dairy milk
2-2 ½ teaspoons peppermint extract
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Green food coloring (optional)
10 Thin Mints
¼ cup chocolate chips, chopped

Instructions

Combine coconut cream and sugar in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved.

Remove from heat and stir in the milk, extracts, and food coloring, if using. Let cool. Keep the chocolate and Thin Mints in the freezer until it’s time to add them to the ice cream so the ice cream maintains its temperature when you add the chocolate and cookies.

Freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions, adding the Thin Mints and chocolate during the last five minutes of freezing. Serve garnished with extra Thin Mints, and chocolate syrup, if desired. Enjoy!

thin-mint-ice-cream

You may have noticed that Seitan Beats Your Meat took an unexpected hiatus over the past several months. Adding a full-time job to my schedule, moving to Chicago, and living out of boxes for a little while got in the way of creating recipes, doing photoshoots, and hoping to make posts on a regular basis. Now that life has settled down quite a bit and I have a place to live with everything unpacked for the first time in a year, I’ll be back with content (and maybe post some photos of my new kitchen and workspace!). I’ll still focus on quality over quantity, but gaps between posts will be weeks, not months.

I’d also like to announce that I’m vending at Paper Moon Pastry‘s upcoming Vegan Vortex Market in Chicago this Saturday! I will have copies of Cheers to Vegan Sweets, zines, and other fun stuff at my table. The market is a showcase of local vegan businesses, authors, and artists so you’ll find food, dessert, handmade gifts, books, art, and more. All of the details are on the Facebook event. Come on by for lunch and check out the goods!

vegan-vortex-kelly-peloza

I’ll be back very soon with another recipe and post!

Apple Cider Donuts Recipe (and giveaway winner!)

apple-cider-donuts

Now that snow is falling and the weather is shifting from pleasantly crisp to bitter cold in Chicago, I thought I’d give apples one last hurrah before breaking out the peppermint and gingerbread. This recipe from Cheers to Vegan Sweets is classic and unadulterated apple cider goodness. If you’ve ever wished the apple orchard cider donuts were vegan, this recipe is for you.

I don’t mess around with donuts; these cake donuts are fried, not baked. A soft and pillowy donut with a crunchy cinnamon sugar coating can really only be achieved by deep frying. If you’re a little anxious about frying, just remember that your kitchen will smell like a donut shop for several hours after making the donuts.

Apple Cider Donuts

From Cheers to Vegan Sweets
Makes 12 donuts

For the donuts:

2 small apples, chopped into 1⁄2-inch (1.5 cm) pieces
1 cup (235 ml) apple cider
1 cinnamon stick
11⁄2 cups (300 g) sugar
2 tablespoons (25 g) vegan shortening
2 tablespoons (28 g) vegan margarine
1⁄2 cup (115 g) vanilla flavored non-dairy yogurt
1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla extract 4 cups (500 g) flour
2 teaspoons (9 g) baking powder 1⁄4 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons (4.5 g) cinnamon
1⁄4 teaspoon nutmeg
1⁄2 teaspoon salt

For the glaze:

2 cups (240 g) powdered sugar
1⁄2 cup (120 ml) apple cider, warm 1 cup (200 g) sugar
2 teaspoons (4.5 g) cinnamon
Vegetable oil for frying

To make donuts: Place apples, cider, and cinnamon stick in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer uncovered for 9 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat, remove cinnamon stick, and purée the apples, leaving a few chunks, to make 1 cup (245 g) of thick applesauce.
Cream together sugar, shortening, and margarine. Add applesauce, yogurt, and vanilla.
Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices, and salt in a separate bowl. Gradually mix into the wet ingredients.
The dough should be very thick. A sticky dough won’t hold its shape while frying, so if the dough seems watery or sticky, add flour 1⁄4 cup (31 g) at a time until it reaches the right consistency.
Using a spatula, spread dough into a 10 x 14-inch (25.4 x 35.5 cm) rectangle that is about 1 inch (2.5 cm) thick onto a baking sheet lined with parchment, cover with plastic wrap, and chill for at least 2 hours.
Once the dough is chilled, prepare your deep fryer or large pot with at least 2 inches (5 cm) of vegetable oil and heat to 350°F (180°C). Toss a small piece of dough in the oil. If it bubbles and rises to the top, the oil is ready.
Cut out donuts with a 3-inch (7.5 cm) cookie or donut cutter and make holes in the centers with a smaller cookie cutter or your finger. Fry 2 to 3 donuts at a time for 1 to 2 minutes on each side until golden. Transfer to a wire rack set over a baking sheet lined with paper towels or paper bags to catch oil drips.

To make glaze: Stir the powdered sugar with the cider in a small bowl, whisking until it forms a smooth glaze.
Combine the sugar and cinnamon in a shallow bowl. Submerge donuts in the glaze and let the excess drip off, then transfer to cinnamon sugar mixture and coat completely.

And last, but not least, I’d like to announce the winner of the giveaway…Megan Conner! Please email me your mailing address, Megan. Congrats!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

“I watched the sunrise today. Couldn’t sleep.”

“How was it?”

“Average.”

I decided to turn a room into a camera obscura for this photo (no Photoshop!). A camera obscura is created by letting a small amount of light into a pitch dark vessel through a pinhole. Such vessels include a camera, cardboard box, or in this case, a room with the window completely covered, save for a small hole cut out. The light that enters through the pinhole will project an inverted image of whatever is on the other side of the window (like a house and a tree…not very interesting, but what I had to work with), much like the human eye interprets the world.

candied-starfruit

While the brain automatically flips the images the eye registers so we see the world right side up, a pinhole and a wall don’t have a brain, so we get an inverted image in a camera obscura. After your eyes adjust, the image on the wall will become quite clear, but a camera with a very long exposure will do an even better job of seeing it and will bring out color and detail. Yay, science!

Photo credit: BBC

Photo credit: BBC

So what does this have to do with Mad Men? In the season three episode, ‘Seven Twenty Three’ there is a total eclipse of the sun (you’re welcome!) and it seems to make the characters a little madder. Betty buys a fainting couch, Don drugs himself with secobarbital and alcohol, then gets beaten and robbed by the teenage hitchhikers he picked up, Peggy makes some questionable decisions, and Don is forced to sign a contract with Sterling Cooper. One of the more innocuous scenes is Sally’s third grade class turning cardboard boxes into camera obscurae in order to look at the eclipse.

vegan-moon-pies

With the Space Race underway and the solar eclipse in this episode, I decided to photograph a space-themed dessert in the camera obscura: Vegan Moon Pies and Candied Starfruit. Two graham crackers sandwiched between marshmallow fluff and dipped in chocolate, then garnished with candied starfruit. It’s barely a recipe, but it produces some seriously delicious results. I used peanut butter cookies instead of graham crackers because peanut butter cookies are better than graham crackers.

Moon Pies

Ingredients

Graham crackers or cookies
Vegan marshmallows or marshmallow fluff
Chocolate
Vegetable shortening

Instructions

  1. If graham crackers are not circle-shaped, cut them into circles.
  2. Make a sandwich with two crackers and marshmallow fluff. Pop in the freezer for a half hour to make for easier dipping.
  3. Melt chocolate chips, adding 1 tablespoon of vegetable shortening per cup.
  4. Dip sandwiches in chocolate and let set on a parchment-lined baking sheet.

Candied Starfruit

Ingredients

1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 starfruit

Instructions

  1. Combine sugar and water in a large saucepan and bring to a boil around 230°F.
  2. Cut starfruit into thin slices. Add to the saucepan and let boil for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and let sit in the syrup for 5 minutes.
  3. Transfer the starfruit to a parchment-lined baking sheet using a slotted spoon. Let cool.
  4. At this point, you can either dehydrate the slices with a dehydrator, or an oven at its lowest temperature (crack the oven door open, even). Let dehydrate until chewy and free of moisture. Mine took a couple of hours in a 170°F oven with the door cracked open.
Photo credit: AMC

Photo credit: AMC

Don’t look at the eclipse, Betty. Your eyes will melt.

camera-obscura-photo

And a final image inside the camera obscura. While Photoshop probably would have been much easier, it would have been way less fun and magical.

P.S. Today the Vegan MoFo blog is giving away a copy of the yet-to-be-released Cheers to Vegan Sweets. Head on over there to enter!

Cheers to Vegan Sweets

“Sally, go watch TV.”

*Warning: season three spoilers!

vegan-peach-pie

When I was watching Mad Men for the first time. The second time around, I was supposed to pay attention to food, design, and table setting for this project, but alas, I got sucked in and forgot for the greater portion of six seasons. However, there are some scenes that I didn’t need to actively remember because they made quite an impression.

mad-men-peach-pie

One of those scenes is in season three episode four, ‘The Arrangements.’ After Grandpa Gene’s death, the adults are sitting at the dining table, a world away from Sally. When she witnesses a moment of levity, she bursts forth with emotion, exclaiming no one cares that Gene is gone forever, and gets brushed off by Betty. (“Sally, go watch TV.”) Betty snacks on the bruised peaches while the TV pacifies Sally in her ballet outfit. Besides the beautiful and emotive imagery, this scene speaks volumes. While defeated Sally lies on the floor, the adults make no attempt to show her that her claims are wrong, and continue with their sordid, repressed lives.

For me, it evokes Gregory Crewdson*, creator of lush imagery dealing with suburban psychological unrest. His images are not specific to any time period, but there are certainly visual crossovers with Mad Men.

*Sidenote: I attended an artist talk of his where he referred to Mad Men as “the greatest work of sustained art in the past ten years.” See, full circle logic!
mad-men-the-arrangements

Photo credit: AMC

Prior to his passing, Sally became close to Grandpa Gene. He was letting Sally drive his car down the street when he says he’ll buy her peaches that afternoon. Bobby complains that he’s allergic to peaches, but Gene tells him to shut it because his sister wants them. It’s at the A&P buying the peaches where he collapses.

sally-draper-driving

Photo credit: AMC

With this series of events in mind, I decided to make peach pie à la mode as a gesture toward Sally, even though she would be much older now, and also she’s not a real person. Betty probably would probably take it away from her anyway.

peach-pie-vegan

Sweet vanilla bean ice cream and warm peaches offer a short, transient window of time to enjoy the dessert. I styled the photos after the image of the dining room and Sally in her ballet outfit, using dark, moody lighting and sheer fabrics.

mad-men-pie-recipe

Peach Pie

Serves 8-10

Ingredients

Crust:

3 cups flour
2 tablespoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup shortening
1/3 cup margarine
1/4 cup cold vodka or ice water
3 tablespoons ice water

Filling:

8 peaches (5 cups sliced)
Pinch of lemon zest
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cardamom
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon butter

Instructions

  1. Make the crust. Combine flour, sugar, and salt in a large mixing bowl
  2. Cut in shortening and margarine and mix in with your hands until the dough looks like sand.
  3. Add vodka and ice water and mix until a dough forms, adding more water if necessary.
  4. Separate the dough into two portions, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill for an hour.
  5. Remove the peach skins by blanching the peaches. Boil a large pot of water, and prepare an ice bath.
  6. Score a small X in the top of each peach. Place all the peaches in the boiling water for 45 seconds, then immediately transfer them to the ice bath. The skins will slip right off.
  7. Slice the peaches and set aside. Wait to make the filling because it will get too liquidy if it sits for too long.
  8. Preheat oven to 425°F. Roll out one of the chilled doughs and place in a greased pie plate. Poke with a fork so steam can escape. Pre-bake the crust for 8 minutes. Let cool.
  9. Make the filling. Add lemon zest, lemon juice, sugars, spices, cornstarch, and salt to the peaches and mix until completely combined. Pour into pie crust. Dot with butter.
  10. Make a lattice crust with the other portion of dough. There are people with beautiful kitchens on YouTube who can teach you how to make a lattice crust.
  11. Place completed pie on a cookie sheet and bake for 20 minutes.
  12. Reduce the heat to 375°F and finish baking for 30 minutes.
  13. Let cool, then cut and serve.

vegan-peach-pie-recipe

Fairy Food Recipe

fairy-food

My first experience with fairy food was at a Milwaukee vegan bake sale. It goes by other names like sponge candy and honeycomb candy, but it all tastes like the crisp exterior of a toasted marshmallow covered in chocolate and magic. The most notable part is that this recipe relies completely on chemistry; it’s basically a science fair volcano, and sugar went along for the ride. Yes, the recipe contains corn syrup. I don’t know about you, but if I’m making a conscious decision to eat sugar mixed with liquid sugar and a volcano, all covered in chocolate, I’m not going to be too particular about the syrup. I imagine agave or brown rice syrup would work similarly if you’d prefer to use that over corn syrup.

I won’t lie; this recipe takes some finesse. Timing is crucial when it comes time to transfer the mixture to a pan. When you stir in the baking soda, the mixture will foam up like crazy. It’s hard to see, but try to quickly dissolve the baking soda as much as possible before pouring it in the pan. Otherwise you’ll end up with hard, crunchy bits of sugar and pockets of baking soda in your fairy food…yuck. You do want the mixture to deflate a little as you whip it up so the mixture doesn’t continue to expand in the pan, which will create spillage over the edges, and large bubbles. We want nice, even foam that will solidify into toasty, crispy candy.

Fairy Food

Makes an 8×8-inch tray

Choose a saucepan that’s small enough for the tip of the thermometer to be covered in the mixture so you get an accurate reading, but large enough for the mixture to bubble and expand at the very end (it will quite a bit).

Ingredients

1 cup white sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
1 tablespoon baking soda
12 ounces chocolate chips
2 teaspoons canola oil

Instructions

Line an 8×8 pan with parchment

In a large saucepan over medium heat, stir together sugar, corn syrup and vinegar. Bring to a boil, and heat to hard crack stage, 305-310 F (any less and the result will be chewy, weepy fairy food). This usually takes 15-20 minutes. Make sure the tip of the thermometer is not touching the bottom of the pan because this will skew your reading. I cranked up the heat partway through cooking to move it along. You should really be using a candy thermometer when working with high temperatures that need to be precise, but if you want to live on the edge, cook until a small amount of syrup dropped into cold water forms hard, brittle threads. Do not stir once the mixture begins to boil.

While you wait for the mixture to reach hard crack stage, line your pan with parchment paper. Have your baking soda measured and ready to go, with no clumps (they will end up in your candy, which is unpleasant!). When the mixture reaches hard crack stage, remove from heat, and quickly stir in the baking soda with a whisk. Get that mixture into the pan, stat, then let cool. It won’t take too long to firm up, but avoid moving the pan so the candy doesn’t deflate while cooling. Cut into little pieces when cool.

Melt the chocolate chips and oil in a makeshift double boiler, stirring occasionally until smooth. Dip the candy in the chocolate and place on a parchment-lined sheet until set.

vegan-candy

Chocolate Cake and Dog Cake

chocolate cake

Last week I was faced with the task of deciding what to do with an extra chocolate sheet cake. I know, such a difficult position to be in. I wasn’t interested in making another basic frosted cake, so I grabbed some cookie cutters and started cutting out shapes. The cake was too thick for the cookie cutters to slice through, so I had to finish the job with a knife.

Yet another task arose: what to do with the cake triangles? With some leftover buttercream to work with, the obvious choice was cake sandwiches, with some peaches for good measure. Insta-dessert. Done up with a chocolate drizzle and garnish, an elegant dessert at that.

If you’d like your own cake problem, here is the basic chocolate cake recipe I used. It’s a sturdy cake, so it’ll hold up just peachy (I tried to stop myself from including the pun, but it was quite persuasive) when you take a knife to it. Also, are you sick of overly sweet cake? Me too! The flavor of this cake is more chocolatey than sweet. Enjoy the dark chocolate flavor, or add a few more tablespoons of sugar if you’d like. If you eat it with buttercream, that takes care of the sweetness quite well.

Chocolate cake

Chocolate Cake

Makes 1 9×13-inch sheet cake

1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup non-dairy milk plus 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon agave nectar
1/3 cup canola oil
1 teaspoons vanilla

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Sift together the flour and cocoa powder in a large bowl. Stir in the sugar, baking powder and soda, and salt.
Mix together the milk and apple cider vinegar and let sit for 3-4 minutes. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the milk and vinegar mixture, agave nectar, canola oil, and vanilla. Whisk together all the ingredients until combined. The batter should be thick, much like muffin batter.

Pour into a 9×13-inch pan lined with parchment paper. Bake for 28-30 mins until the cake is very firm, and springs back when touched, rather than smushing down. Let cool before cutting.

Assembly: Everything was all rather improvised! I cut the cake into triangles (saving the scraps for another dessert!), then sliced each triangle in the center to make a frosting sandwich. I chopped up a peach, mixed it into a bowl of buttercream, and spread a spoonful of frosting in each triangle. Finally, I garnished each cake sandwich with a buttercream swirl and a peach slice. This made about 1 dozen sandwiches.

Chocolate cake

So why did I have all this extra cake? I don’t know about you, but sometimes I like to do things like sculpting and painting a giant cake that looks like my dog. My grandma and cousin came for a visit, so that was some incentive as well, but sometimes it’s just fun to break out my cake supplies and make something crazy.

Sculpted dog cake

Drake totally loved it, I swear.

Fluffy dog

This supply of cake is pretty much never ending, so stay tuned for cake pops made with the scraps and leftover buttercream!

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Cherry Canary Melon Sherbet

Cherry Melon Sherbet

In search of a summer treat, ice cream and other frozen desserts certainly come to mind. So far, Chicago’s summer has been a mix of thunderstorms, and sunny, beautiful weather, sometimes over the course of a day. A darker tableau bursting with brightly-colored fruit seemed a fitting photo. I set up these modern vanitas-inspired photos on a cloudy day, springing into action whenever the sun came out for a few minutes.

Sweet canary melon paired with dark red cherries makes for a beautiful contrast of color and flavor, jazzed up with lime juice and zest. The canary melon boasts a bright yellow color and the fruit is much like honeydew, but paler in color and a little tangier. Lighter than ice cream, but more substantial than sorbet, sherbet best describes this coconut and fruit-based dessert. In fact, I may have just Googled “sorbet vs sherbet” to confirm. While sorbet typically contains no milk, the “dairy” base in the form of coconut milk makes this recipe a qualified candidate for the sherbet category.

Cherry Melon Sherbet

Cherry Canary Melon Sherbet

To make lime simple syrup:

3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup lime juice
1 tablespoon lime zest

Combine sugar and water in a small saucepan. Stirring constantly, cook over medium heat until sugar dissolves, about 4 minutes.
Remove from heat and stir in the lime juice and zest. Let cool and transfer to a jar or airtight container. Chill for a half hour.
Strain out the lime zest before using, especially if you plan to make drinks with the remainder.

Cherry Melon Sherbet

To make sherbet:

3 cups chopped canary melon (honeydew is a fine substitution)
1 cup cherries, pitted
1/2 cup lime simple syrup
1/2 cup coconut milk

After making the simple syrup, the rest is quite simple. Combine all the ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Taste, then adjust the flavors, if necessary. Freeze in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer to an airtight container and serve right away, or move to the freezer to firm up, if necessary.

Cherry Melon Sherbet

There you have it! Ice cream, sorbet, and sherbet are quite simple to make and a great pastime during the summer. Please send a photo if you end up making this recipe!

Also, I still have some leftover syrup…what to make? The obvious choice is margaritas, and a good one at that. Any other ideas for lime simple syrup?

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Maple Bacon PBR Cupcakes

Maple bacon cupcake

Here we have maple bacon PBR cupcakes. If that doesn’t sound like food to you, you may revel in the grossness or exit your browser in pursuit of greener pastures or cat videos (come back next week for regularly-scheduled programming!). The omnis have been making bacon desserts for years, so I decided to abandon my dignity in a chocolate bacon cupcake batter.

For reasons unbeknownst to me, I decided to start writing a vegan bacon zine. I don’t even like bacon that much. It started as an April Fool’s Day joke of bacon-laden desserts, then became a summer project. Since it doesn’t seem like the populace is ever going to accept that the bacon trend has worn out its welcome, why don’t we jump on the bandwagon and ride it out (OR INTO THE GROUND)? Bask in the sheer ridiculousness of bacon or let your vegan bacon freak flag fly and enjoy some cupcakes.

The first step involves frying vegan bacon in ungodly amounts of margarine to create a double threat of crispy bacon for garnish, and bacon-infused butter for the batter and frosting.

I originally shuddered at the thought of putting PBR in cupcakes, but it really acts a leavening agent to make the cupcakes light and fluffy. And the least offensive ingredients, chocolate and maple, hold down the fort.

So what are you waiting for? Make some cupcakes for the tragically hip people in your life. Or take my word for it.

Maple Bacon PBR Cupcakes

Makes 1 dozen cupcakes

To make bacon-infused browned butter:

6 tablespoons vegan margarine
5 strips uncooked veggie bacon

To make cupcakes:

¾ cup PBR or other light beer
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
¾ cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons bacon-infused browned butter
3 tablespoons maple syrup
3 tablespoons canola oil
¾ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ¼ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup cocoa powder, Dutch-processed or regular
2 teaspoons baking soda
½ teaspoon salt

To make topping:

3 tablespoons bacon-infused browned butter, solid
3 tablespoons margarine
½ cup vegetable shortening
3 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons non-dairy milk
3 cups powdered sugar

Heat the margarine over medium-high heat. Sauté the bacon until crispy, about three minutes on each side. Allow the butter to get foamy and start to brown. Transfer bacon to a plate to cool, letting excess margarine drip off. Set aside. Reserve 3 tablespoons of the bacon-infused browned butter for the batter, then pour the rest into an airtight container and refrigerate to solidify.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Fill a cupcake pan with liners.

Pour the beer and vinegar in a stand mixer or regular mixing bowl. Stir in the sugar, 3 tablespoons reserved browned butter, maple syrup, canola oil, and vanilla extract.

Sift in the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt, and mix until just combined. The batter should be thick, but pourable.

Using a cupcake scoop or measuring cup, fill each liner ⅔ full. Bake for 18 minutes, or until the tops are firm and a toothpick comes out clean. Let sit in the pan on the stove for 3-4 minutes, then move to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Cream together the bacon-infused browned butter, margarine, and shortening in a stand mixer or with handheld beaters. Add the maple syrup and milk. Gradually mix in the powdered sugar and beat the frosting until light and fluffy, 6-8 minutes.

Pipe or spread the frosting on the cupcakes. Slice cooked and cooled bacon into 1-inch pieces for garnish.