Are you guys ready to meet another wonderful vegan baker and blogger? This Share & Swap features Aileen from Morsels and Moonshine. Take a look at her page and simply fall in love with those desserts! Absolutely stunning. Did you look? Okay, now it’s time to really get to know her!
Bianca: What inspired you to become a vegan?
Aileen: Gosh, it’s been a while in the making. As a kid, I ate what my mother cooked, although I never really liked ham that much. During freshmen year of high school, we dissected fetal pigs and, from then on, I never ate pork again. As I got older, I just wasn’t craving meat as often.
A few years ago, I felt a heavy pressure on my heart; I read a lot of articles about the dog meat industry in Asia and it really hurt my heart. Dogs are my absolute favorite and I could not imagine eating my best friend. It seemed hypocritical to me to eat one animal over another, so I stopped eating all mammals. (Although I’m a pretty strict vegetarian, I do partake in sushi every once in a while, so I’m more of a pescatarian.)
All of my baking is vegan. And let’s be honest: cookies are the best food group!
B: Who or what inspires you?
A: That’s a tough one. I’m always trying to learn and grow, so I think that I’m constantly striving to better myself. It’s partially because of my severe Type A personality, but I think that it also has to do with my Christian faith. Also, kindness. Kind people always warm my heart, especially when it’s unexpected. For instance, last night, I was at a concert and a friend’s husband rushed to help a woman that fell down. He didn’t hesitate for one second; he jumped the fence and ran to her side. That’s truly inspirational.
B: What is your favorite dish to make?
A: Oh man! I love to cook and bake, so this is also a tough one! Let’s break it down:
Savory: I’ve been really into making Philly Cheesesteaks with Portobello mushrooms, green peppers, and onions. If you use vegan cheese, it’s totally vegan… and stupidly delicious. Here’s the recipe that I use to adapt my recipe.
Sweet: Hmmmm. So many favorites. Probably Snickerdoodles. I could eat them all the time. This recipe for Chocolate Bourbon Snickerdoodles is from my blog.
B:Name three things that make you happy.
A: Spending time with girl friends. Baby animals. Kind people.
5 Fun Facts About Aileen:
- Choice Fruit: Fresh pineapple
- Spirit Animal: Wegmans. Is that possible, haha?!
- Current Playlist: The Norah Jones channel on Pandora
- TV Binge: Right now, Scandal. Ugh!
- My Movie: Amelie. Such a fun movie! Or maybe Chocolat!
- graham crust (click here for the recipe)
- pumpkin filling
- ginger caramel sauce
- 1 c. raw cashews
- pinch of sea salt
- 1/4 c. coconut oil, softened
- 3 T. cardamom-infused bourbon (learn more about infusing your own liquor!)
- 1 T. lemon juice
- 1/4 c. coconut sugar
- 1/3 c. pureed pumpkin
- 2 tsp. cinnamon
- pinch of ground cloves
- 1/2 tsp. all spice
- 1/3 c. almond milk, or another non-dairy milk
Ginger Caramel Sauce:
- 1/2 c. pure maple syrup
- 1 tsp. ground ginger
- pinch of cinnamon
- 1 T. coconut oil
For the graham crust:
Once you follow this recipe to make the dough, take a heaping scoop of dough and press it into the bottom of some paper liners. Make sure the dough is flattened and even. You should fill about two to three medium-sized liners.
Bake the crusts for about 20 minutes and let the crusts cool completely.
For the pumpkin cheesecake:
In a food processor, combine the cheesecake ingredients – it’s that easy!
Scrape the sides of the food processor to make sure that all of the goodies are incorporated and pulse again.
Pour this mixture in each crust cup and distribute it evenly. Place the cheesecakes in the fridge for 6-8 hours to set (or overnight is better).
For the caramel sauce:
I recommend making the caramel immediately before serving the cheesecake.
Bring the caramel ingredients to a boil over medium-high heat and simmer for 5-7 minutes. Lower the heat if necessary.
Once your cheesecakes have set for the appropriate amount of time, you can peel the wrappers from the cheesecakes and spoon the caramel on top. Warning: your caramel may harden slightly because of the cold temperature of the cheesecake.
Sprinkle the cheesecake with additional candied ginger, if desired.
I cannot wait to try this recipe – especially with fall around the corner! I really enjoyed getting to know Aileen, and I really hope you guys did, too! For more, check out her social sites: Facebook / Pinterest / Instagram / Twitter.
And thank you so much for sharing with us, Aileen! xx Bianca