Orange & nut biscotti.

Heading to a coffee shop is always a sad display for myself. What they lack in vegan baking options, they more than make up for in charging up the arse to replace milk with soy. I'm left with a $6 steamed soy milk beverage with a shot of caramel every. single. time. I've made biscotti in the past but never blogged the whole shebang, so make yourself a proper cuppa, and be happy you're not listening to Second Cup blaring John Mayer's Best Of disc.

Ingredients I
1 cup + 2 tbsp whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup white flour
3/4 cup natural cane sugar
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
Spices: I used nutmeg and cinnamon, both freshly grated

Ingredients II
1 cup toasted nuts, chopped -- I used equal parts pecans, hazelnuts & almonds
1/4 cup unsweetened coconut, toasted

Ingredients III
1/4 cup mild oil
6 tbsp coconut milk (as in the beverage)
Vanilla + other extracts if desired
Zest of 1 orange

Combine all of Ingredients I in a bowl. In a separate bowl, combine all of Ingredients III. Add your wet mixture into the dry. Mix with a spoon, not your hands, the mixture can be quite sticky at first. Halfway through mixing, add Ingredients II into the bowl. Mix well, it's okay if there's some floury bits poking about. If the mixture is still quite sticky, add in another 1-2 tbsp flour. It ought to look like this:

Keep in mind, this is to be a dryer dough. It should be moist enough to shape into 2 flattened logs that measure approximately 10 x 5 inches, about 1/2 an inch thick.

Using cling wrap, cover each log and pat fairly flat with your hand, a place, or little rolling pin.

Using a butterknife, score each log into 6-8 pieces.

Baking time is crucial! Bake for 30 minutes at 350F. 

Once out of the oven, immediately set your oven's temperature down to 325F.

Cut through the scoring, then let cool for five minutes. Set each piece on their side and bake for ten minutes.

After that, remove from oven, let cool for five minutes, then flip each piece to their other side, and bake for another five minutes. Repeat this step one last time. Your baking time will total 50 minutes (30 + 10 + 5 + 5).

Remove from oven and let cool for one hour.

Place in a glass jar. Serve with tea. Serve with Krakus!

Sugar Cookies (drop cookies), vegan cream cheese frosting & toasted coconut.

Because the 65 year old iron, Power Rangers pocketsquare, red velvet spoon rack, bright green thrash/surf-punk mixtape, WWF magazine & DIY Milo card didn't quite feel like enough --

...I whipped up some sugar cookies. These are drop cookies, so no chilling the dough, which rules. They freeze nicely and beat the snot out of that Pillsbury garbage.

Sugar Cookies
Yields ~18

Ingredients I
2 cups white flour
1/2 tsp baking soda

Ingredients II
1/2 cup dairy free butter (I used Earth Balance)
2/3 cup white sugar

Ingredients III
1/4 cup almond milk + 1 tbsp lemon juice, combined, to be set aside 5 minutes
Vanilla - I used 1 tsp vanilla paste
Lemon extract
Combine Ingredients I in a bowl and set aside.

Beat together Ingredients II, then add in Ingredients III.  Slowly incorporate your dry mix. The dough will be soft and a wee bit sticky. Using a small ice-cream scoop, or a tablespoon, drop dough onto a dark baking sheet, arranging the cookies 12 to a pan, or 3 x 4.

Bake at 350F for 12-14 minutes, or until cookies are puffy and bottoms are slightly browned.

Cream Cheese Frosting
2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup vegan cream cheese (I used Tofutti)
2 tbsp dairy free butter
2 tbsp vegetable shortening
Almond extract
Beat together everything but the powdered sugar, until smooth and evenly incorporated. Slowly add in the powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time and beat for several minutes, or until light and fluffy. This makes a little over 1 cup.

Toasted Coconut
Sometimes toasting things can be terrifying. I used 1 cup unsweetened, flaked coconut and turned on my stovetop to Medium/Medium-High. Get a nice big pan and some patience. The coconut will brown in 5-7 minutes, give the pan a shake every few minutes so it toasts evenly. Place the coconut on a plate to fully cool.

Once cookies and coconut are cooled, frost the cookies with a miniature offset spatula and then dunk into the coconut.

Coconut oil-based shortbread cookies.

When I'm at the bulk store, scooping out coconut oil from those massive vats, I get some pretty vivid Fight Club flashbacks in my noggin. I'm sure this happens to everyone, though, so I'm not too worried. I mean, I'm not stealing the oil from a dumpster, I'm not shopping with anyone named Tyler.. however, if this is your first time visiting The Hardcore Herbivore, you have to bake these cookies.

These are coconut-oil based, and slice up nicely once you take them out of your ice box.

Yields 18 cookies

Ingredients I
1/2 cup coconut oil, softened, but not melted
1/4 cup white sugar
5 tbsp cold water
Extracts -- I used both almond and caramel, as well as vanilla bean paste

Ingredients II
1 1/4 cups white flour

Preheat your oven to 350F.

In your mixer, or with a hand mixer, cream together Ingredients I for a few minutes. Add in your white flour, 1/4 cup at a time. Your dough should have the consistency of PlayDough. If it's too crumbly, add in additional cold water, 1 tbsp at a time.

Place Saran Wrap on your table and form the dough into a log on top of the wrap. Roll the wrap around the dough, and twist the ends of the wrap, so you can further form the log into a cylinder, which should have a 2 to 2 1/2 inch diameter. Press both ends of the dough so they don't crumble off. Place in the fridge for about 30 minutes.

Remove your dough from the fridge, and take off the Saran Wrap. Try not to get to handsy with the dough, as the heat from your hands can start melting the coconut oil in the dough. Slice up into 1/4 inch (no slimmer) pieces and place 12 to a cookie sheet.

Bake for 10 minutes, turn your pan, and bake for another 8-10 minutes, or until bottoms are slightly browned and the tops show a little colour to them.

Vegan Tony Roma's Baked Potato Soup.

Two decades ago, I remember riding in the backseat of my grandparent's wood paneled station wagon. For we were heading to Tony Roma's, very likely with coupons in hand. Those early 90's laminated menus contained ribs, ribs, steak, ribs and some ribs. I don't think they'd yet gone shrimpin' with Bubba. Sweating at the brow, I let the server (who later joined B4-4) know I'd very much like the baked potato soup, please.

The soup came 'round  spilling over the edges in a negligible crock that definitely used to be white. While my heartily-mustached grandfather tackled his rack of ribs, my grandmother annihilated her club sandwich and french fried potatoes. I scarfed down what tasted like if a baked potato and a pint of cream were to go head-to-head in a cage match, with bacon bits as the weak-kneed referee.

Fast forward twenty years and all I want is some baked potato soup, hold the animals.

Ingredients I -- Cashew Cream
1/2 cup raw, unsalted cashews 
1 cup water

Ingredients II
3 cups potatoes, chopped, skin on
2 small yellow onions
6 cups water
Vegetable stock powder (I prefer Knorr)

Ingredients III
1/4 cup non dairy cheese (I prefer Daiya cheddar style shreds)
1 - 250ml container Belsoy soy creamer
2 tbsp vegan bacon bits
1/4 cup green onions, chopped
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp basil
1 tsp freshly ground pepper
1/2 to 3/4 tsp salt

Optional: 3 tbsp flour or cornstarch, dissolved into 1/4 cup hot water

First, make your cashew cream. There's a number of different methods including
- Soaking in cold water overnight
- Soaking in hot water for 2+ hours
- Boiling on medium for 20 minutes
I've had good luck so far with the third method. Once boiled, I give my cashews a rinse, throw them in my blender and add cold water -- enough to just cover the nuts. Blend for some time, then strain if there's any larger bits you'd prefer to do without. Set aside.

Next, prepare your vegetable stock, and bring it to a boil with your onions and potatoes. Break out the immersion blender and pulse about half the pot.

Finally, add in all of Ingredients III and your cashew cream whilst simmering. If the consistency is too thin, add the optional starch mixture, and bring to a boil so the starch cooks out and thickens the soup.

Top with some shredded Daiya, green onions, and bacon bits.

Serves 4-6.