Sweet Spot: 3 So-Easy Holiday Desserts From Sticky Fingers Bakery

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We like to think we're experts when it comes to sugary confections, but it's safe to say that few people know sweets the way Doron Petersan does. The owner of Sticky Fingers Bakery (and winner of Food Network's Cupcake Wars) specializes in concocting delectable indulgences that are free of animal products, but her Columbia Heights outpost is a favorite stop among vegans and omnivores, alike. Since the season of festive baking is upon us, we got Petersan to share the recipes for three of her favorite holiday desserts — think eggnog cupcakes, gingerbread whoopie pies, and chocolate-peppermint sandwich cookies. Drool. Read on to get the recipe for each treat straight from the bakery babe herself.
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Gingerbread Whoopie Pies
Makes 12 whoopie pies

To make the cakes:
1 cup non-hydrogenated vegan spread (Petersan recommends Earth Balance)
2/3 cup dark brown sugar
1/3 cup applesauce
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 cup molasses
1 cup soy, almond, or coconut milk from a carton (not canned)
1 tbsp vinegar
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp ground ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
Pinch of cloves
Pinch of nutmeg

To make the frosting:
1 cup non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening
12 oz non-hydrogenated vegan cream cheese, softened (Petersan recommends Go Veggie)
4 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
3 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
2 to 4 drops of lemon oil

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Using a stand or hand mixer, cream together the vegetable shortening and brown sugar. Add applesauce, vegetable oil, and molasses, and mix until blended. In a separate bowl, combine all dry ingredients and set aside. In another cup or bowl, add vinegar to milk and let stand until curdled.

Make sure the mixer setting is on low, then alternate adding the flour and milk mixtures to the bowl. If you're mixing by hand, fold the mixture together, alternating ingredients as above. Be sure not to over-mix.

Line a baking pan with parchment paper. Using a spoon or ice cream scoop, drop dough onto the parchment paper, spacing about one-two inches apart. Bake for 10-11 minutes until it looks dry, then let cool on the pan.

To make the frosting: Use an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment to beat the shortening until smooth. Add cream cheese and beat until well combined. Add confectioners' sugar, vanilla, lemon juice, and lemon oil and beat just until smooth. Hint: Frosting can be made in advance. Cover and refrigerate, but let stand at room temperature to soften before using.

Once the baked pie pieces have cooled, place half of them top-side down. Fill a pastry bag with the frosting (in a pinch, you can use a sandwich bag), and pipe enough frosting to cover the whoopie pie. Top with one of the unfrosted halves (top side up) to create a sandwich.
StickyFingers10slideEggnog Cupcakes
Makes 18 cupcakes

To make the cupcakes:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
2/3 cup non-hydrogenated vegan spread
1 1/2 tsp egg replacer (Petersan recommends Ener-G)
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp water
3/4 cups soy milk
2 tsp vanilla

To make the frosting:
1 cup plus 2 tbsp non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening
1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp non-hydrogenated vegan margarine
4 1/2 cups 10x powdered sugar
1 tbsp plus 1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 tbsp nutritional yeast
1/2 tsp nutmeg
Pinch of cardamom
2 tbsp non-dairy milk or dark rum (rum is preferable, but soy milk is an alcohol-free alternative)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and place liners in cupcake pans. Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl and set aside. Using an electric stand mixer, cream together the sugar and vegan spread with the whisk attachment, about five minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.

In a small bowl or cup, combine the water and egg replacer and stir to dissolve the egg replacer. Add this to the mixing bowl and mix until combined. In a small bowl, combine the soy milk and vanilla and set aside. Turn the mixer speed to low and slowly add the dry ingredients and the soy milk mixture, alternating between the two, ending with the soy milk.

Using an ice cream scoop, fill each cupcake liner two-thirds full with batter. Bake for 18 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Place the pans on a cooling rack, and once the cupcakes are completely cool, run a knife around the edges to loosen. Turn the pan upside down to remove the cakes.

To make frosting: In the bowl of a stand mixer, whip shortening and margarine with the paddle attachment until completely combined. Scrape the bottom of the bowl to ensure that all ingredients are mixed thoroughly. On low speed, slowly add sugar, spices, and nutritional yeast. Once the sugar is incorporated, add the vanilla and non-dairy milk or rum, and mix on low until the liquids are incorporated. Scrape the bottom of the bowl, and mix on medium-high speed until all ingredients are combined and frosting is fluffy, about two minutes. Fill a pastry bag or use a spatula to frost each cupcake.
StickyFingers42slideChocolate-Peppermint Sandwich Cookies
Makes 18 sandwich cookies

To make the cookies:
1/2 cup non-hydrogenated vegan margarine
1/2 cup evaporated cane sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
1 tsp peppermint extract
1/4 cup soy milk
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/3 cup dark chocolate chips
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup crushed candy canes


To make the frosting:
1 cup plus 2 tbsp non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening
1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp non-hydrogenated vegan margarine
4 1/2 cups 10x powdered sugar
3 1/2 tsp vanilla
2 to 4 tbsp soy milk, as needed
2 tsp peppermint extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Using a stand mixer, cream together the margarine, sugars, and vanilla for two to three minutes. Scrape bottom of bowl and mix again for 30 seconds. Add soy milk and oil. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, chocolate chips, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add to wet ingredients in the mixing bowl and mix.

Scrape dough from bowl onto a work surface and roll into a 12-inch log, roughly three inches in diameter. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for two hours. Slice dough into 1/2-inch thick rounds. Return dough to refrigerator between batches to keep firm. Place rounds on baking sheet two to three inches apart, and bake for 9-11 minutes, until tops are crackly. Let cool on baking pan.

To make the frosting: In the bowl of a stand mixer, whip shortening and margarine with the paddle attachment until completely combined. Scrape the bottom of the bowl to ensure that all ingredients are mixed thoroughly. On low speed, slowly add sugar. Once the sugar is incorporated, add the vanilla, peppermint extract, and soy milk, mixing on low until the liquids are incorporated. Scrape the bottom of the bowl and mix on medium-high speed until all ingredients are combined and frosting is fluffy, about two minutes.

Once cookies are cooled, place half of them top-side down. Using a pastry bag filled with the peppermint frosting, pipe enough frosting to cover the cookie. Top with an unfrosted cookie (top side up) to create a sandwich, and roll the edges of the cookies in the crushed peppermint to cover the sides.



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