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Bramble Bakeshop Dishes Tips On Vegan Holiday Baking

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Photo courtesy of Bramble Bakeshop on Instagram
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'The holidays can be a tricky time if you're on any sort of restrictive diet. But thankfully, Los Angeles is one of the best places to live if you've gone meat-free. It seems like every time we turn around, there are more and more eateries for hungry vegans and vegetarians.

Bramble Bakeshop, an online vegan bakery based in Echo Park, is adding yet another delicious option into the mix. Chef Miel Bredouw is set to start baking up goodies for ordering come January. Though her holiday orders are already done, she agreed to offer up some of her favorite spots around town, vegan baking tips for the holidays, and a recipe for her Candy Cane Cream Truffles.

LAist: How long have you been vegan? What helped you make that choice?

Miel Bredouw: I've been vegetarian for 22 years, vegan for 7. Transitioning to veganism started as a little dare to myself, just to see if I could do it, just for a week. Then it became two weeks, then three... Once I made it through Halloween, there was no turning back. Now I can't imagine it any other way.

Where will the new bakery be and can you tell us a little about the concept?

We specialize in birthday and wedding cakes, dessert tables, petite fours, cookies and more unique sweets in Los Angeles. We offer not just a vegan option, but a delicious, exciting, interesting dish that happens to be vegan.

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What are some of your favorite vegan eateries in LA? Any particular sweet out there the really gets you going?

I'm addicted to the green curry and garlic pepper at Bulan, garlic bread and minestrone at Masa, veggie tacos at Guisados, pizza delivery from Hard Times, and the long life beans & curry rice stick at Mao's Kitchen. I also regularly overeat at Scoops.

There aren't many great vegan bakeries in LA. What do you hope your place will bring to the table?

Vegan baked goods have come a long way since those OG bone-dry muffins in co-op deli cases, but it's still difficult to find delicious, cute and creative vegan desserts. Bramble offers just that for birthday parties, baby showers, weddings, anniversaries and everything in between.

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Photo courtesy of Bramble Bakeshop
Are there any keys or insider secrets when it comes to vegan baking? What are some of your go to products that people should keep in stock?

Like traditional baking, it has to start with quality ingredients. No amount of whipped cream is going to make lackluster strawberries taste ripe. Shop at the farmers market, or stores like cookbook in Echo Park or Spice Station in Silver Lake. It makes dishes taste better and you support local vendors in the process. As for insider secrets, remember to make up for fat content when substituting, say, soy milk for heavy cream. My kitchen's always stocked with coconut milk, cashews, cornstarch, vanilla beans and an army of salts and spices. Any cookbooks you could recommend for meat free out there for Christmas gifts?

I highly recommend the "Flavor Bible". It's an incredible encyclopedia of flavor combinations for practically every ingredient under the sun. I also love "Vegetarian Cooking For Everyone" by Deborah Madison. It's full of solid, delicious recipes that lend themselves well to veganizing. For new vegans, you can't go wrong with Isa Chandra Moskowitz's Vegan with a Vengeance.

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Candy Cane Cream Truffles
Yields 30

Ingredients

1/2 cup coconut cream
1 1/2 cups semi-sweet, non-dairy chocolate chips
1/8 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 recipe peppermint cream (below)
Crushed candy canes

Peppermint cream
3 tsbp non-hydrogenated shortening, room temp
1/3 cup brown rice syrup
1 1/2 tsp peppermint extract
4 cups powdered sugar

Method

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Place chocolate in a medium, heat proof bowl. Set aside.

In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring coconut cream to a simmer. Once bubbling, pour the coconut milk over the chocolate. Allow to sit undisturbed for a minute to melt the chocolate. Add salt and vanilla and stir until until thoroughly combined. Place in the fridge for at least two hours to firm up.

Meanwhile, make the peppermint cream. With an electric mixer, whip together the shortening and brown rice syrup. Add peppermint extract and incorporate. Slowly add the powdered sugar, one cup at a time, until it forms a thick, crumbly dough.

Roll the peppermint mixture into 1/4" balls, or somewhere between the size of a pea and a marble. Place on a parchment lined cookie sheet and refrigerate until chocolate is ready.

Once the chocolate is solid, roll into balls about 1" across. Press the peppermint portions in to the center of each truffle, rolling to evenly distribute the chocolate.

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Roll each truffle in crushed candy cane and enjoy!