Vegan MoFo

Vegan MoFo Day 9: Bingate Redux?

For the last day of Bake Off Week, we’re asked to make a showstopper. Not wanting to make an actual huge showstopper thing (it’d be too much sweets, even for me), I took inspiration from one of the most infamous GBBO challenges of all: Baked Alaska. Even if my efforts failed, I figured, I could at least make jokes about bingate!

But a whole-ass Baked Alaska is also way too much sweets for me and my not-sugar-obsessed partner, so I thought I’d attempt mini Baked Alaskas. Is that a thing? It’s probably not a reasonable thing.

Above: Blondies with a scoop of ice cream.

For the base, I made peanut butter blondies–my go-to recipe from Vegan Cookies Take Over Your Cookie Jar–mixed with mini chocolate chips and baked in a mini muffin tin (the word “mini” is really starting to lose meaning the more I type it). At least this way, I have a ton of little muffin…cookie…things that do not require burnt homemade marshmallow fluff to be enjoyable. And storebought chocolate ice cream because my ice cream maker is old and not great. Anyway, I made a lil’ trio of ice cream-topped blondies and popped it in the freezer for about 20 hours.

Above: Meringue somewhere around soft peaks.

Making aquafaba meringue was next. I’ve had very mixed success with aquafaba meringue in the past, and frankly it’s not my favorite thing to actually eat–it’s magical and cool and impressive, sure, and it reminds me of childhood and a very specific dessert my mom used to make for special occasions, but on its own, it’s a little bland and sweet. So I have to have a reason to bother. This time I went with the instructions from Vegan for Everybody, half recipe. It always takes forever to get to stiff peaks in my mixer, but it did, eventually, get there.

Above: Carefully spooning some meringue over the base.

Without a functional piping bag, it’s not like I can make these super precise, either, so I blobbed it on and used the back of a small spoon to smooth it out and add some little peaks for texture.

Above: The Blobs.

Furthermore, I don’t have a lil’ food blowtorch or anything of the kind, since I don’t do this ever. I had to use the broiler in my oven. Which was not a quick as I’d hoped, but it did brown like a nicely toasted marshmallow.

Above: Toasty.

I mean, all right! But what about the interior? Specifically, did the ice cream melt?

Above: Cut open for eatin’.

Like, of course it did. It was like a tiny tablespoon of ice cream with only a layer of meringue between it and a fucking broiler for however many minutes. It was chocolate soup.

Oh well. The meringue did crack a little bit, which was nice, and it tasted good together overall.

Just, you know. Sweet. So I’m glad we’re moving on to, like, real food.

Food Blog None Vegan MoFo

#VeganMoFo Day 20: Veganize an old family recipe

…Or admit #defeat while trying.

My mom is an awesome cook. She can feed armies and menu plan with the best of them. Of course she taught me to cook, too–I’ve been in the kitchen as long as I can remember. (I made up my own, admittedly terrible, cookie recipe in the 1st grade.) Perhaps my mom’s most requested dessert is boccone dolce, a layer cake of sorts with meringue, chocolate, fresh whipped cream, and strawberries. After I went vegan, I thought I’d never get to enjoy it again, but then I heard about the vegan meringue group on Facebook and how people were using canned bean liquid to replace egg whites, calling it aquafaba. Armed with a stand mixer, I had to give it a try.


However, the first time I attempted this didn’t go so well. So I took more precautions this time. And I didn’t use my silpat – if I gotta clean disintegrated sugary goop off of something, it might as well be parchment.

I used The Homemade Vegan Pantry’s recipe this time, which relies on flax egg whites that are frozen, then defrosted and whipped. Xanthan gum is added, presumably for stability. And, miraculously, it WORKED. Not as beautiful and crispy and perfect as my mom’s, but it should do the job.


The whipped cream comes from the same book – almond milk pureed with cashews, then whipped fluffy. Except…not so fucking much. The mixture was chilled overnight (as instructed), but when I put it in the mixer, it broke – the fat separated from the liquid. I tried re-melting and re-freezing, to no avail. So I just re-blended it and let it chill for a bit. A rich, scoopable cream isn’t too terrible, if you don’t know what you meant for it to be, right?

The chocolate is simple melted dark chocolate, which I smoothed out with a little almond milk to ensure it would spread well without crushing the delicate meringues. Of course…things deflated and softened overnight. Not exactly the texture I was going for, but maybe still good. I mean, meringue isn’t supposed to be bendy.

And strawberries? Luckily we have a long summer here in California, and my market is on Sunday (today!), so it’s the final piece of the puzzle. At least that’s hard to fuck up, but I wouldn’t put it past me today.

Oh, strawberries, you still get me, right?

Anyway…after all that disappointment, I decided the best thing I could do was to make it into a taco.

That makes it look tastier than it actually was. The cream had a good flavor, as did the chocolate. The “meringue” was a big nothing. The strawberries failed to stand out (thx, strawberries, next time I’ll just use raspberries, maybe they will appreciate it more) but it was fine.

Oh well. Onwards and upwards. Next few days’ themes are a lot more up my alley, or at least I planned them better, I hope.