Friday, we ate out at Honeypie. I never, never order dessert out since I need all the excuses I can get for making my own. But fortunately for me, I did decide to take out a piece of pie to try out after my fullness subsided. This was not a mistake, let me tell you, since I took out a piece called Hazelnut Coffee Pie (or something similar). I had the opportunity to work for a pie shop, Gina's Pies are Square, and did my share of weight gaining in my early 20's due to "Pie Day, Friday's" the day fellow co-worker Brittany and I decided to eat pie each week. Our pies were great! But since leaving, I seldom make pie, or eat pie, and sometimes forget that I do really love the stuff.
Earlier this fall, I made a banana cream pie - I made an enlightened version of pastry cream, and layered the bananas on top of it, but underneath the splurgy amounts of whipping cream. My Husband said that he liked banana cream pie, and that is why I decided to make it. Did he eat exactly no pieces? Did I eat the entire thing myself? Both answers here are YES. It did take me all week, and a piece was sacrificed to Boy-O who just ate the whipped cream off the top... But all this pie talk is making me want to make another one.
Honeypie's pie was the kind of piece of pie that you will drive miles for, just to eat it by itself, and maybe even in place of a meal. I warmed it up slightly in the microwave. As you can see above, though it wasn't the hugest slice of pie I've ever eaten, I felt as though I ate a whole meal upon its completion. It was a coffee-ish, toffee-ish, pecan pie-ish delight with loads of toasted hazelnuts. Oh, and pie crust that you can know is homemade. Usually I abstain from restaurant desserts partially due to the lack of Homemadeness. If you are anywhere in the Southeastern part of Wisconsin I'm telling you, go to Honeypie and eat a piece of pie already. If you happen to be in the greater Wilton area of Southwestern Wisconsin, opt for Gina's since she's bound to have Cranberry Walnut Pie on hand due to the season - and it too is worth the drive.
I love the change of seasons, partly because I don't feel guilty at all turning on the oven for extra warmth. Though I am a habitual bread baker, bread just seems to taste better in the colder weather. I just keep to varying my grains in the Artisan Bread in Five method. Today, as I smelled the loaf above cooking, I realized that their new book is out and I'm going to order today it without further delay. I loved the first book, but their second is comprised of whole grain recipes, so I'm sure I will love it as well. If you are intrepid about yeasted dough making, do try their method since it is pain free and yields results that will be deeply encouraging.
I needed to find a dairy-free and egg free cupcake recipe: and altered one to fit my (lofty) chocolate cake standards. I'd bet that you would never know that it was also vegan! I upped the cocoa powder to flour ratio and added powdered espresso to the water, along with a heavy pinch of aleppo pepper! When I was at the Spice House last week, replenishing my stock, I told the guy I loved that aleppo. He asked if I ever tried it with Chocolate. Chocolate?! Why I didn't think of this, I don't know. This suggestion made me want to run home, make some truffles, and sprinkle them liberally with aleppo. While that is on my to-do list, I settled for slipping a bit into the cupcakes.
Since I altered the recipe from a stock recipe site so liberally, I will include it here for the vegan and non-vegan alike. One note: you can fill the cupcake papers fairly full since there is not a huge amount of rise in these. They are, however, dark, dense and delicious!
Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes:
- 1 1/4 c. ap flour
- 1/4 c. plus 3 T. cocoa powder (use the best you can... I like the organic Frontier cocoa powder from my co-op)
- 1 c. sugar
- 1 t. baking soda
- 1/2 t. white vinegar
- 5 T. veg. oil
- 1 t. vanilla
- 1 c. strong coffee (or water with 2 t. of instant espresso powder)
- 1/4 to 1/2 t. salt, to your taste
- heavy pinch of aleppo pepper, optional
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sift together dry ingredients, then pour in the wet - and stir. Portion into 12 cupcakes, you may get up to 15 depending on how full you fill...
Bake about 20 minutes or until tester comes out clean.
I like to frost with chocolate buttercream, which does include butter (and thus would render these non-vegan) but you can use whatever chocolate or vanilla (or dare I say, peanut butter) frosting you love. I'm wagering that a simple dusting of powdered sugar would be pretty posh as well, or maybe a fruit or berry coulis of some kind. Once you have them out of the oven, I'm sure you will think of something!