Chicago vegan cookbook writer, Kelly Peloza (@kellypeloza), was a special guest at the March Vegan Vortex monthly market at Paper Moon Pastry (@papermoonpastry) in Logan Square. At the market, she performed a cooking demo of her Root Beer Float Whoopie Pies from her second vegan dessert cookbook “Cheers to Vegan Sweets.”
She also shared her recipe with LoganSquarist for neighborhood readers to enjoy at home.
Peloza, a vegan for nine years, says she first became a vegetarian when she was a child after making the connection between animals and food. She later adopted the vegan lifestyle when she learned more about the animal products found in food.
She has been a passionate baker for even longer than she’s been a vegan, and says she decided to learn more about converting and writing recipes to suit her changing diet. Her favorite desserts are ice cream and donuts, and she made sure to bring them with her when her lifestyle changed.
“[Creating vegan dessert recipes is] another creative outlet for me as an artist. It goes hand-in-hand with my work as a stylist, photographer and retoucher,” she says.
She was a full-time student while working on both of her cookbooks (her first book was The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur), so the projects were reserved for nights and weekends. It took Peloza around a year to create all the recipes for each cookbook, writing part-time. Peloza did her own photography along the way, creating dozens of full-color photos for each cookbook. She is also the blogger behind Seitan Beats Your Meat, a vegan food and lifestyle blog.
Root Beer Float Whoopie Pies
Soft and cake-like root beer-flavored cookie halves encase a sweet vanilla filling in these whoopie pies. The recipe yield 8-9 whoopie pies.
1 cup (235 ml) non-dairy milk plus 1 teaspoon vinegar
1/3 cup (80 ml) canola oil
1/2 cup (100 g) sugar
1/2 cup (115 g) brown sugar
1 tablespoon (8 g) cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon (2.5 ml) vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons (7.5 ml) concentrated root beer extract
2 1/4 cups (281 g) flour
1 1/2teaspoons (4 g) cocoa powder
1 teaspoon (4.6 g) baking soda
1/2 teaspoon (3 g) salt
1 quart (570 g) non-dairy vanilla ice cream
- Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).
- Pour the milk and vinegar into a medium sized bowl and let sit to curdle for about five minutes. Add the canola oil, sugars, cornstarch and extracts. Mix completely.
- Sift in the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt and mix until the dry ingredients are completely incorporated. The dough should be thick and very tacky.
- Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, then using a cookie or ice cream scoop (about 2 tablespoons of dough), scoop dough onto the cookie sheet leaving plenty of space in between pies and the edges, about 3 inches.
- Bake for about 10-12 minutes or until the tops are firm. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
- Stick the tray of pies in the freezer for 5-10 minutes and take out the ice cream to soften.
- Take the pies out of the freezer and scoop about 1/3 cup (48 g) ice cream onto one half, then top with another half. Repeat for all the pies. Do this quickly if you’re working in warm weather. Return the finished pies to the freezer so the ice cream can firm up more, then serve. Store in the freezer.
If you can find cream soda extract, replace the root beer extract for cream soda float pies!
If you want a little more root beer flavor, blend ½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) root beer extract into the ice cream in a stand mixer or with a spoon. Stick the bowl of ice cream back in the freezer if it begins to melt.