Cinnamon Walnut Cake

This former Sour Cream Walnut Cake – Mom’s recipe –  was veganized into a yummy cinnamon cake, and taste-tested by friends and neighbors. Even the non-vegans loved it! Soon you’ll be filling your kitchen with the scent of cinnamon and patiently waiting until the cake is cool enough to eat!

1/4 cup vegan margarine
1/4 cup applesauce, unsweetened
1/2 cup sugar
1 flax egg*
1/2 cup vegan sour cream
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/8 tsp. salt

1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/3 cup walnuts, finely chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray an 8” square pan with oil.

Mix topping ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk margarine, applesauce and sugar until well-blended and sugar is dissolved, about 2 minutes. Add the egg substitute and whisk briefly. Add vegan sour cream and vanilla. Whisk until sour cream is blended in.

In a separate bowl, mix dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add to wet ingredients and whisk gently until just combined.

Pour half the batter into prepared pan. Sprinkle half topping mix over batter. Drop remaining batter by spoonsful, spread out gently, then sprinkle with the rest of topping mix.

Bake about 35 minutes, until toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

*In this recipe, you can make a flax egg to act as an egg substitute. A flax egg is made by placing 1 tbsp. ground flax seed or chia seed in a small bowl and adding 2 ½ to 3 Tbs. water. Let stand for 10 minutes. Flax seed is mildly flavored and adds the protein and similar structure and consistency of an egg to the cake batter.

peanut butter rum balls

vegan peanut butter rum ballsLauren requested a holiday candy recipe with peanut butter or “something like that.” Sue got busy in the kitchen and concocted these festive rum balls. A natural-foods store visit may be necessary to get high-quality vegan and organic ingredients, but the resulting great flavor is worth it! These rum balls are very rich, so you’ll want to make them small. With only 5 ingredients, they’re easy to make, so add some flash to your holiday stash!

2 cups vanilla wafers (almost a whole 9-ounce package)
1/2 cup organic peanut butter, creamy or crunchy
1 cup pecans, toasted and finely chopped
1/3 cup good-quality light rum
1/2 cup agave nectar

Mix all ingredients together. Add the remainder of the crumbs if the mixture is not stiff enough. Chill for 10 minutes.

Roll a small clump of dough between your palms briefly. Balls should be about 3/4 inch or 2 cm in diameter. Place on cookie sheet and refrigerate. When chilled thoroughly, you can place them in a sealed storage container in the fridge.

Optional: Drizzle with melted vegan chocolate or carob chips.


mint fuzzy slipper

Mint Fuzzy Slipper, a festive alcoholic vegan drinkSue decided to call this drink a Mint Fuzzy Slipper because if you drink too much of it, your brain will feel like fuzzy slippers (as will your mouth the next morning). Vegan versions of Crème de Menthe and Crème de Cacao are readily available, but check labels to be sure.

1 oz. green Crème de Menthe
1 oz. clear Crème de Cacao
3 oz. unsweetented almond milk (we used Blue Diamond)
Mini peppermint candy canes (green, if possible)

Place 3 candy canes on a ceramic plate. Cover with a paper towel and use the bottom of a sturdy glass to carefully crush them. Moisten the rim of a 3 oz. glass and dip into crushed candy.

Place the first three ingredients into a cocktail shaker with a few ice cubes. Shake vigorously, then strain into glass.  Add a candy cane as garnish. Sip in front of a fireplace if possible.

peanut brittle

This recipe is easy, although it may take 10 to 15 minutes to boil the ingredients. You can also use chopped almonds, pecans, or pistachios instead of peanuts.

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 cup water
1 cup peanuts
1 tsp. baking soda

1. Grease a large cookie sheet. Set aside.

2. In a heavy 2-quart saucepan, bring sugar, corn syrup, salt, and water to a boil over medium heat, stirring frequently, until sugar is dissolved. Stir in the peanuts. Clip a candy thermometer to the inside of the pan, but don’t let it touch the bottom. Continue boiling the mixture on medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until temperature reaches 300 degrees.

3. Remove candy thermometer, add baking soda, stir, and quickly pour mixture onto the baking sheet. Spread it out with a fork. Allow the pan to cool on a rack, and then break candy into pieces.

cinco de mayo chip dip

Besides chip dipping, this salsa also works great as a taco or burrito topper. If you prefer chunkier salsas, substitute 4 chopped tomatoes for the tomato juice (for a total of 6).

12-oz. can tomato juice
4-oz. can pickled jalapenos, drained and diced (save the liquid)
1 Tbs. pickled jalapeno juice (more if you like)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 sweet white or purple onion, minced
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. parsley flakes
1 tsp. lemon juice
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped

Combine all ingredients. Dip your chips.

mary lou’s baked butternut squash with apples

A hearty fall dish!

1 butternut squash, cut in half lengthwise with seeds removed
1 apple, peeled and chopped into small pieces
Cloves (optional)
Maple syrup
Brandy and brown sugar (optional)
Vegan margarine or canola oil for greasing baking dish

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Poke squash skin with a fork and microwave face down on a plate for 10 minutes. Remove squash when soft; peel and mash.

2. Cover chopped apple with cinnamon (and cloves, if desired). Drizzle with maple syrup or brandy and brown sugar. Mix with mashed squash.

3. Grease a baking dish with the margarine or canola oil, and add the squash and apple mixture. Bake for 30 minutes.


Glogg, a traditional drink of the Scandinavian Advent season, is like mulled wine. The varieties of glogg recipes could boggle one’s glogg-addled mind (try saying that three times quickly), but basic glogg consists of red wine with spices and a combination of other spirits and fruit juices. We here in the Ethnic Vegan test kitchens were happy to experiment with a number of recipes until we hit on a great-tasting result that will knock your winter socks off.

Plan to make the spice mix at least 24 hours ahead. Cardamom and nutmeg seedpods may be hard to find; you can substitute ground, if necessary. Heat to the simmer stage, but do not boil! Serve warm.

spice mix:
8 cardamom seeds, cracked (or 1 tsp. ground)
1/3 cup raw, peeled almonds
1 whole nutmeg seed pod, cracked (or 1 tsp. ground)
1 cinnamon stick
10 whole cloves
1/2-inch slice fresh ginger, peeled and diced
Zest of 1 orange
1 cup raisins
Burgundy wine (enough to cover ingredients in saucepan)

Place all ingredients in a small saucepan, and cover with wine. Bring to a boil, remove from heat, cover, and let stand (unrefrigerated) for at least 24 hours.

The next day, strain liquid into a larger pan, and add:

4 cups burgundy wine
1 cup orange juice
1 cup pineapple juice
2 cups port wine
1 cup brandy
1 cup sweet vermouth

Heat until steaming (don’t boil!). Stir before serving; solids will have settled to the bottom.