Sunday, April 12, 2015

Chocolate Banana Muffins

These are almost the exact same recipe as the Chocolate Avocado Muffins but a few minor changes ( subbed 1/4 cup of spelt with  1/4 cup of almond flour, used coconut vinegar, less zucchini and used banana instead of avocado) result in a slightly different and lighter texture.  I wanted to try maxi muffins and mini muffins - both were delicious! Mini ones do seem to cook more evenly resulting in slightly lighter muffin! The Avocado I made last week were good too - it's just what you're after in way of texture. Avocado much more fudge- like texture. Banana more muffin- like texture.

1 cup of oat bran
1/4 cup spelt flour
1/4 cup almond flour
1/4 cup hemp hearts
1/4 cup coconut sugar
2 tbsp. cocoa powder
2 tablespoons golden flaxseed ground
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1-1/4 cup soy milk curdled with -
(1 tbsp. coconut vinegar)
2 tbsp. olive oil (or replace with 2 tbsp. applesauce)
1 tbsp. maple syrup
1 small banana (grated from frozen and mashed) 2/3 cup
1 small zucchini grated (about 2/3 cup)

1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp. chocolate chips (optional)

Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl. Stir wet ingredients into dry just until moistened. Stir in chocolate chips. Spoon into greased muffin cups or use parchment baking liners. Bake in 375F oven for 11 minutes for mini's and 22 minutes for maxi's.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Best Chocolate Cake - Spider Web Design

This is my favorite go-to chocolate cake. I've made it countless times over the last 20 years and it always turns out beautifully moist and delish! I got this from Peta's "The Compassionate Cookbook" circa 1992 or thereabouts. Not sure if it's still in print. I just made two tiny changes to make it more to my taste. I use half  brown sugar and half white instead of all white sugar. I add an extra 1 tablespoon instant coffee in addition to the 4 tablespoons cocoa powder. So if you prefer a cake with all white sugar go for it! And if you don't like or have instant coffee on hand just use all cocoa powder! You can use 5 tablespoons melted margarine in place of the oil. I prefer oil myself and use organic canola as it has a neutral flavor. Also don't forget to spoon your flour into the measuring cups and levelling off at top or your cake will not turn out as nice and fluffy! You'll end up with about a 1/4 cup more flour if you just dig your cup into the bag of flour as is typical and I used to do! It will be completely edible but it will be denser.

1 1/2 cups all purpose white flour
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
4 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 tablespoon instant coffee
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1 cup cold water
1 tablespoon vinegar
5 tablespoons oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Step #1 - Combine dry ingredients into a large bowl. Make sure your ingredients are very well mixed together because you don't want little lumps of baking soda to ruin your cake. If you have one handy it's best to use a  sieve and that way you're assured of a lump free mixture! Or use your nice clean hands and rub between your hands to do the same job (more or less)!

Step#2 - Measure out and stir together your wet ingredients into another container.

Step#3 - Make a well in the dry ingredients. Pour in the wet ingredients. Mix together reasonably gently.

I used a round layer pan to make the cake in photo. I cut out a circle of parchment paper to line the bottom of the pan and I used a bit of coconut oil to grease the sides lightly. It came out easily. Bake at 350 for about 25 minutes!  Check at 20 to make sure. Toothpick test showed it needed a little longer baking and another 5 minutes did the trick. All depends on your oven and size of your layer pan.

I used the standard vanilla butter icing!  About 4 tablespoons margarine, 1 tablespoon soy milk, 1 teaspoon vanilla and 2 cups icing sugar. Add more icing sugar if required.  I used a hand held mixer to make it nice and fluffy!  Wooden spoon works reasonably well  if you want a workout!  

For the "spider web drizzle" - I melted about 1/2 cup chocolate chips plus about 2 tablespoons peanut butter and 2 teaspoons of soft becel vegan margarine in a ceramic bowl in the microwave. It doesn't take long - about a minute. Don't do it much longer or you will get a burned chocolate taste that is very unpleasant. It doesn't even need to look completely melted together before taking out of microwave. I usually see a few whole chocolate chips in it - take it out anyhow and just beat together. It will be nice and smooth and have best flavor that way. Let it cool for a minute or two on the counter.  I take a small plastic baggie - snip a small piece of one corner and fill with chocolate.  Now just make circles around the cake till you get to center. Place large pool of chocolate there. Get a butter knife and starting from center just draw your knife through down to side of your cake. Make as many or as little as you like!  It's a nice easy design for beginner decorator like me!

I should have made two layers and put them together with strawberry jam but I made do with one layer. I carefully sliced it in half and smeared jam on both sides and put back together. It was a bit of a challenge to slice such a thin layer but you can make it work if you are careful!  Next time I think I will double recipe and make two layers. And perhaps also put a thin layer of butter icing along with the jam. This recipe makes a dozen cupcakes! Only bake for 18-20 minutes though!

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Banana Spelt-Hempseed Muffins

I got this recipe from The Starch Solution Nederland group I belong to. I tweaked it slightly by using vanilla extract instead of vanilla sugar, switching maple syrup for agave syrup and subbing part of spelt flour with hemp hearts - with great results. I also cut recipe in half as I thought it would be nice to have a smaller recipe for those that don't want to deal with a dozen muffins!  Cause when you have a dozen muffins it's just an encouragement to eat a dozen. Easier for me to have only six around! These are amazing for an oil free muffin!  And for those that like things even less sweet - you can easily reduce that 1/4 cup maple syrup to 1/8 cup! Perhaps add another 2 tbsp. soy milk or unsweetened applesauce to make up for the reduction in syrup if you decide to go that way!  Just to keep it all balanced cause this recipe works out perfectly if you do!  And if you enjoy things a little bit spicier add nutmeg or ginger or both!

3/4 cup whole grain spelt flour
1/4 cup hemp hearts
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/6  cup soy milk
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 tsp. vanilla extract (optional)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 large (or 3 small) very ripe bananas

In a large bowl mix together all the dry ingredients. Put your lemon juice into your soy milk and let it sit for a few minutes while you mash up 1 1/2 bananas. Save 1/2 of a banana and cut it up into large raisin size pieces and add this portion of the banana to your dry ingredients.  Mix together the curdled soy milk, mashed bananas and lemon juice. Pour into center of dry ingredients. Gently incorporate wet and dry. I strongly suggest using parachment muffin liners or silicon form pan as these have NO oil in them and will be difficult to remove from ordinary paper liners. I used about 1/3 cup of batter per muffin. I sprinkled a few quick oats on top.

Bake at 400 for 20 - 25 minutes depending on your oven and what type of pan you are using. Just always check things out at 18 minute mark or so.  Also get an oven thermometer and check it out once in a while just to make sure it's holding temperature correctly!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Baked Blueberry Oatmeal Crisp

One Dish Baked Oatmeal Crisp! If you are looking for a quick breakfast that is filling, delicious and super healthy this is it! If you're cooking for only one or two this is a good keeper - 5 days in fridge is no problem! Recipe can be found in Engine 2 Diet Cookbook. Was also posted on a vegan blog called: American Vegan Princess. The Engine 2 Diet Cookbook is available through the Edmonton Public Library and I imagine many other libraries across North America. There is also an excellent Engine 2 Diet website with lots of free recipes and information.

I used a layer of Bremmer's Blueberries and a can of pears. I sliced the pears thinly and laid them amongst the blueberries. I used President's choice organic quick oats and just used 1" layer as suggested. I used 500 ml. of oat milk I made in the blender to pour over top. I then sprinkled 1 tablespoon of coconut sugar on top and a few shakes of cinnamon. I covered with tin foil. Baked at 350 for about 35 minutes and then uncovered for another 5 minutes. Since there are no specific amounts you just need to check yourself how it's looking. All liquid needs to be evaporated and it's nice if top is slightly browned. Hence the reason I removed cover for last 5 minutes.

March 30th, 2015 - update! Here's how it looks on day 3! Still absolutely delicious! I coud not be more pleased with this recipe. I did re-heat in the toaster oven and it made the blueberrie all plumped up and delicious once again! It also tastes satisfactory cold if you need to take it on the run. I want to try it with peaches next! Or I want to do carrot cake style - with pineapples, raisins and grated carrots!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Chick'n Scallopini

Gardein makes a decent veggie chick'n scallopini and that's what I used here. I dislike the taste of tinned pineapple and I'm not ambitious enough to chop up a thick skinned fresh one. I went for the frozen pineapple chunks and was pleased with the result. Put a cup of frozen pineapple chunks in a small saucepan and simmer in about 1/3 cup of water with 1 tbsp. of brown sugar till tender. Took about an hour. Pan fry the scallopini in organic earth balance whipped margarine. Sprinkle with garlic powder.  Remove. Put in your pineapple along with a mixture of 2 tbsp. water with 1 tsp. flour, ketchup and teriyaki sauce. Cook till thickened slightly and pour over scallopini.