Recently my littlest guy had a birthday and celebrating with his buddies meant figuring our some yummy treats that could be dairy and egg free. We ended up with two tasty desserts for two different celebrations and wanted to share them because it’s always good to have a few extra ideas up your sleeve when it comes to vegan desserts.
Treat #1: Rice Krispy Sushi
The first sweet treat we made for a party at school was a batch of cute little rice krispy “nigiri sushi”. We had quite a bit of fun making these and I happened to have a couple of bento boxes to serve them in which added to the trompe l’oeil effect. If you want to make these Gluten-free as well as vegan, I believe you can find gluten free puffed rice and most of the toppings and other ingredients should be gluten free (but read the labels just to be sure). Here’s how to make them:
- Mix up your favorite rice krispy treat recipe (we used coconut oil in place of butter to keep things vegan). When cool, cut them into little pieces the size of nigiri sushi (we cut them into slices about 1″ x 2.5″)
- Have fun with the toppings and decorations. We used small citrus gumdrop slices for the fish and fruit leather for the seaweed. I wanted to avoid using too much candy so I cut the gumdrops in half lengthwise and discovered quite by accident that the cut side was glossy and actually quite sashimi-like as opposed to the sugary outside of the gumdrop. You could use those red Swedish Fish for the fish, but those have never been my favorite.
- Assembling the faux sushi as easy as placing your “fish” of top if the rice krispy treat, then wrapping the middle with a 1″ wide piece of fruit leather in your favorite flavor.
Treat #2: A Good, Honest Chocolate Cupcake
- The Cupcake — You really can never go wrong with a classic chocolate cupcake so I thought this vegan birthday treat challenge was a great opportunity to experiment with some vegan cake-baking. I looked at quite a few recipes before settling on this vegan chocolate cupcake I found on Chow.com for little guy’s birthday celebration #2. I wasn’t sure what result I would get and I was prepared to be a little disappointed. (In the back of my mind I was comforted by the fact that kids will happily devour anything in the form of a chocolate cupcake, regardless of the actual flavor or texture.) But I’m happy to report that the result was great. These are chocolate cupcakes I’d be proud to serve for any occasion and if you ask me, this recipe is “the only vegan, chocolate cupcake” you’ll ever need. [I learned that the trick of mixing apple cider vinegar and soy milk is a pretty standard technique for vegan baking. The vinegar causes the soy milk to curdle slightly, giving it a thicker, buttermilk-like consistency. Apparently the acid in the vinegar helps break down the protein resulting in a lighter final product and it also helps lighten things by reacting with the leavening agents (baking soda and baking powder in this case).]
- The Frosting — The frosting was a bit tougher to sort out, as the ones going for a classic buttercream consistency generally call for margarine or vegetable shortening as the key ingredient and I’m usually not one for either of those products. Frostings that use coconut oil seem to have some consistency issues and can be a problem when cupcakes are hanging out at room or warmer temperatures. There are some vegan frosting recipes which go in the “healthier” direction of avocado or dates. Interesting idea, but this was not one of those healthy kind of baking occasions. So…. I ended up choosing this vegan chocolate frosting recipe from Allyson Kramer’s blog. While I resisted the idea of using margarine at first, I ended up going for it and I think the end result was pretty darn good. My kids are the ones who are all about the frosting in this family, and they loved it! [Something important to note: despite being “non-dairy” not all margarine is vegan and it’s important to read the labels and make sure the type you’ve chosen doesn’t contain lactose or whey. Earth Balance, seems to be the brand for vegan margarine that most people think is the best. You can find it relatively easily — try Whole Foods or specialty supermarkets like Mollie Stones.]
Do you have any favorite, birthday-worthy vegan sweet treats? We’d love to hear about them!