Posts tagged with baking:
I made this banana bread on Sunday morning as a gift for my parents and my aunt and uncle to take home after breakfast. I also made one for myself. I have been eating the loaf for breakfast all week and it’s so delicious. And easy to make too.
Banana bread is one of the classics as far as baking goes (you didn’t know there were baking classics? Chocolate chip cookies, apple pie, brownies, banana bread). Bananas are always on my grocery lists but somehow I’m always scrambling to use them before they get too ripe. At this point I usually just cut them up and throw them in a freezer bag and one day I make an insane amount of banana bread. Needless to say, a good banana bread recipe is a good thing to have around.
I started with the recipe for banana muffins in Joy of Vegan Baking and made a few changes and additions.
- 2 cups flour
- 1 1/2 t baking soda
- 1 t cinnamon
- 1/2 t nutmeg
- 1/2 t salt
- 2 cups mashed banana (about 3-4 bananas)
- 1/2 c sugar (regular white stuff)
- 1/4 c packed brown sugar
- 1/3 c coconut oil (or canola)
- 1/4 c nondairy milk or water
- 1 t vanilla
- 3/4 c chocolate chips
- 1/2 c slivered almonds
Preheat oven to 350F.
In a large bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.
In a medium bowl mash up the bananas with a fork. Add the sugars and oil. Mix well with a whisk.
Add the milk and vanilla. Pour the wet ingredients into the large bowl with the dry ingredients. Gently mix until the ingredients are just combined.
Fold in the chocolate chips. Pour batter into greased loaf pans. I used 3 small ones, but it will work just as well in one large one.
Lightly toast the almonds in a dry pan. They will continue to toast a little in the oven so you don’t want to overdo it. Pour them on top of the batter and press down a little so they stick.
Bake for 45-50 minutes for smaller loaf pans and 60 minutes for a larger loaf.
I get bored easily. I’ve been this way for as long as I can remember. On the plus side, it has led me to be more creative. Whenever I make cookies I like to blend two or three flavors into one cookie. Sometimes so many different flavors end up in one cookie that I just call them “cupboard cookies”. They are my favorite though. It usually consists of a chocolate cookie with chocolate chips, some type of nut, raisins, shredded coconut, peanut butter and whatever else I can get my hands on. I kept it simple today though, just peanut butter meets oatmeal raisin. The recipe is based off one of Kelly Peloza’s with a few modifications.
- 1/4 c margarine, room temperature
- 1/4 c shortening
- 1/2 c peanut butter, I like using crunchy to add a little texture
- 1/3 c sugar
- 1/2 c brown sugar, packed
- 2 T nondairy milk
- 1/2 T vanilla extract
- 3/4 c flour
- 2/3 c quick oats
- 1 t baking soda
- 1/2 t salt
- 1/2 t cinnamon
- 1/2 c raisins
- chocolate chips, peanuts - optional
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Whisk together the flour, oats, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in a medium bowl and set aside.
Cream together the margarine, shortening, peanut butter and sugars. Add the milk and vanilla. Add the dry ingredients in batches until all incorporated. Fold in the raisins and chocolate chips if you’re using them.
Roll into tablespoon sized balls and roll in a bowl of sugar. I like using turbinado (coarse grain raw) sugar because it makes the cookies extra crunchy on the outside. Place the ball on a cookie sheet and flatten it out. Bake cookies for 10-11 minutes.
They will look a little on the soft side when they come out, but they will firm up as they cool. Just leave them be for a few minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack.
Yields: 2 dozen Prep time: 15 minutes Bake time: 10 minutes each
I was going to sit down and give you a recipe for a pie that I made last weekend. Cherry Rhubarb. Intriguing right? Usually you just see strawberry rhubarb. The sweet strawberries with the tart rhubarb. Flaky crust. Classic.
Well from what I’ve learned in my years of baking and cooking is that a recipe for a pie is useless. There are things you have to know about making a pie that can’t be described in a recipe. They can’t even be shown to you. You have to feel it.
My grandma makes an amazing pie. She’s 89 (maybe 88?) and she’s been making them since she was 20. I’m 24 and I’ve been making pies with my grandma since I was probably 5 or 6. Granted at that young age I was just around, I’m not sure how much help I was. The older I got, the more I was responsible for in the pie making business. I have attempted 6 pies without the help of my grandma, and without being in her kitchen. Out of these 6, only 2 have been a success. This covers a span of 3 years. The point I’m making here is that I have plenty of experience with pie making, I’m scared to death to try it on my own (only when I’m really adventurous), and this is because two-thirds of the time I fail.
So what is it about pies? The crust. The filling is the easy part. Cut up some fruit, add a little sugar and squeeze of a lemon and you’re set. The crust though, that’s the tricky part. It’s all about moisture, and how much you work the gluten, and how cold it is right before you bake it. A standard pie crust recipe involves flour, a little sugar, a pinch of salt, shortening and cold water.
In order to achieve the flaky aspect of the crust you have to “cut in” the shortening. This process involves mixing the shortening into the flour mixture with your fingers or a pastry cutter until the texture of the entire mixture is like small pebbles (half the size of peas). The shortening stays in clumps (the inside of those pebbles) and when you bake the pie, the shortening melts, leaving small air pockets in the crust, or layers that become flaky.
The moisture of the crust affects how strong it is. So a crumbly crust is dry and weak. You don’t want a crust that’s too moist either though, because it will be soggy and won’t get flaky or golden. Most recipes will give a range of how much water to use, usually 2-6 tablespoons of ice water. From a baking standpoint where recipes are usually pretty exact, it’s hard to grasp how such a range is possible. The amount of water you’ll need depends on how humid of a day it is, how hot your kitchen is , or maybe you threw too much flour in or on your rolling surface. A good rule of thumb is to add 2 tablespoons to start, mix in, and then add them one at a time until you have all of the flour mixture incorporated in your dough. The more you do it, the more you’ll understand what the dough is supposed to look and feel like.
When you get the this point, working your dough into a ball, is where all of this intuition and feeling come in. Pie dough is one in which you don’t want to knead. You roll it out, so that will help develop gluten, but the more you work it and roll it, the more you are breaking down those clumps of shortening and the less flaky your crust will be. You will end up with a tough crust, not tender. When you’re forming your dough, you mix water into the flour mixture by trying to form a ball. You use as little water as possible and as little mixing as possible. There’s nothing more I can say, you just have to do it, pay attention to how it feels, and see how it tastes.
When you eat a good slice of pie, make sure you appreciate it. They aren’t easy to come by.
A while back I posted what I claimed was the best vegan brownie recipe ever. Well, I lied. I found a better one. It is a whole lot less complicated. My aunt turned up at a family Christmas party with these vegan treats for my brothers and me, and needless to say, I was pleasantly surprised. I’m not sure where she got the recipe, but she shared it with me, and now I’m sharing it with you. This recipe is easy to modify, for example, you can add chocolate chips, marshmallows, dried fruit, peanut butter swirl, or whatever to it. You could also switch the water out for coffee or espresso to make mocha flavored brownies…the options are endless.
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
3/4 c cocoa powder
1 t baking powder
1 t salt
1 cup water
1 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350F.
In a large bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder and salt. Create a well in the middle and add the water, oil and vanilla. Stir until well combined.
Pour into a greased 9x13 baking pan and bake for 25-30 minutes.
Like most foodies, I have an affinity for Food Network. I know I can’t eat 95% of what they are making, but I really have learned a lot from all of the hours I’ve logged watching it. I think it’s really about watching people who respect food and have a passion for what they do create some really amazing stuff (i.e. Iron Chef). Every time I watch Cupcake Wars I am inspired to whip up a batch of fancy cupcakes. This is partially due to the disappointment I feel after every episode, I feel like I could do it so much better (probably not in reality), and partially due to my love of cupcakes. I decided to share the success of my Cupcake Wars “vintage meets modern” self challenge with you - everyone deserves a slice of this cake.
For the cake:
- 1 (semi-heaping) cup canned pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie filling)
- 3/4 c sugar
- 1/4 c almond milk
- 1/3 c canola oil
- 1 t vanilla
- zest of one orange
- 1 1/4 c flour
- 1/2 t baking powder
- 1/2 t baking soda
- 1/2 t cinnamon
- 1/4 t ground cloves
- 1/4 t ground nutmeg
- 1/4 t ground ginger
- 1/4 t salt
Whisk the pumpkin, sugar, milk, oil, vanilla and zest together in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, “sift” (whisk) together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in 2 or 3 batches. Mix batter. Pour 1/4 c of batter into a lined cupcake tin. Bake for 25 minutes.
For the icing:
- 1/2 c margarine (I use Earth Balance)
- 1/2 c vegan cream cheese (I use Tofutti)
- 3 1/2 to 4 c confectioner’s sugar (about 1 small/regular sized bag - ssh don’t tell but I never measure powdered sugar)
- 1 vanilla bean, sliced in half and scraped
Beat the margarine and cream cheese together until well combined. Add the sugar about 1 cup at a time and mix after each addition until just combined. Add the inside of the vanilla bean with the last batch of sugar and beat for about 5 minutes. Cover with a damp towel until ready to frost onto cupcakes.
For the orange peel:
- 1 orange
- 1/4 c water
- 1/4 c sugar
Cut the orange peel into strips using a microplane or a knife. Add to a small saucepan with the water and sugar. Allow to simmer for 10-15 minutes so that the consistency becomes syrupy and there is a strong orange aroma.
Pipe or frost the cream cheese frosting onto a cooled cupcake, sprinkle with cinnamon and top with a few pieces of orange peel! Then eat them!
If you’ve read my previous posts you know I love peanut butter. I’m not sure what’s better than peanut butter with bananas, except maybe peanut butter and chocolate. And then there’s bananas and chocolate. Bananas and peanut butter and chocolate. This might be too much to handle.
Chocolate-Banana Brownie Batter:
- 1 1/2 c sugar
- 1 banana, mashed up
- 2 T water
- 1 T flax plus 1/2 c water
- 2 t vanilla extract
- 1 c flour
- 1 c cocoa
- 3/4 t baking powder
- 1/4 t salt
- 1 c chocolate chips (optional, but highly recommended)
Peanut Butter Swirl:
- 2 T peanut butter (creamy or crunchy)
- 1 T agave nectar (to reduce sugar increase water to 2T instead)
- 1 T water
Preheat oven to 350F.
Mix the sugar, banana and 2 T water together in a large bowl. Add flax mixture and vanilla.
In a separate bowl mix together the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt. Add to the wet ingredients and stir until just combined. Fold in chocolate chips.
Pour batter into a greased 9x9 pan.
Stir together all the ingredients for the peanut butter swirl. Drop spoonfuls of the peanut butter mixture onto the brownie batter in random places. Use your spoon or a knife and run it up and down all over the batter. You can create whatever pattern you want.
Bake for 35-40 min. The longer you bake it, the more cakey your brownies will be.
If you want a lower-fat brownie skip the peanut butter swirl. The fat in the brownies comes from the flax, which is rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 is an essential fatty acid that our bodies need to obtain from food sources because we can’t convert them on our own. Fish is the most popular source of omega fatty acids, and that’s why flax is such an important ingredient in vegan cooking!
I’m not sure if you’re ready for this one. I am still quite impressed with how good my cake looked and how good my cake tasted. Despite how impressive it is, it’s quite simple and there is really no reason to be impressed at all. It involves a banana cake filled with gooey pineapple filling and fluffy buttercream, topped with dark chocolate ganache, more buttercream, maraschino cherries and roasted peanuts. I guess that does sound impressive. If you have a good chunk of time and are craving a sweet treat, this is your project, whoever you are. It took me about 2 hours total between the cake and all of the accessories plus the cooling and baking time.
- 4 cups flour
- 1 T baking soda
- 1 t salt
- 2 c sugar
- 1/2 c oil
- 8 ripe bananas
- 1/2 c water
- 2 t vanilla
Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and line the bottom of two circular cake pans. Sift dry ingredients (flour, baking soda and salt). Set aside. Using an electric mixer, blend the sugar, oil, bananas, water and vanilla. Once combined add the dry ingredients in batches until batter is well incorporated. Divide the batter between the two prepared cake pans and bake for 45-50 minutes. The cakes will be a golden brown color and a knife should come out clean when poked into the center. Place on cooling racks and after 30-45 minutes remove the cakes from the pans by inverting them onto cooling racks. At this point it’s okay to speed up the cooling process by placing the cakes in the refrigerator.
- 1 cup canned pineapple chunks (with juice)
- 1/4 c sugar
- 1 T cornstarch
- 1/2 t vanilla extract
Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer for about 5 minutes. You will notice the mixture start to thicken. Remove from heat and let cool, it will continue to thicken as it cools. Set aside.
- 1/4 c vegan margarine (I use earth balance sticks)
- 2 1/2 c confectionary sugar
- 2 t nondairy milk
- 1 t vanilla extract
Using an electric mixer, blend the margarine until it is softened and creamy. Add the sugar in 1/2 cup batches. Add the vanilla extract. Add the milk one teaspoon at a time while the mixer is running. Turn up the speeds on the mixer in between additions to incorporate air and allow the mixture to get fluffy. Taste test. Does it need more sugar or more milk? If it needs more sugar it will be too dense and have a very buttery taste. If it needs more milk it will be too thick, only add one more teaspoon. Mix for about 3 to 5 more minutes. Cover with a damp paper towel and leave at room temperature until ready to use.
Dark Chocolate Ganache:
- 1 dark chocolate candy bar (vegan of course)
- 1/4 cup nondairy milk
- 1 T agave
In a small saucepan bring the milk to a boil. This won’t take very long, as you are only boiling 1/4 cup of liquid. Add the chocolate bar - break it into chunks before. Remove from heat and stir until the chocolate is melted. Stir in the agave. Set aside, at room temperature.
Take one cake and put it on a plate. Using a piping bag, or a zip lock bag with a corner cut out, pipe buttercream around the edge. Pour the pineapple filling in between. Place the second cake on top. Pour the chocolate ganache on top. Start in the middle, it should naturally disperse towards the edges, but since the cake doesn’t bake with perfect symmetry you may have to redirect some of it. At this point I placed my cake in the fridge to let the ganache harden a little bit before applying the buttercream on top. After about 10 minutes or so you should be ready to go. Pipe circular bits of buttercream around the edge of the cake, this denotes the serving size, so be thinking about how many slices you want to get out of this cake before this part. I got 10 huge slices, 12 would be more reasonable. Place a cherry on top of each buttercream mound and stick peanuts around the edges of the mound. Now you’re ready to indulge.
- Make one cake (so halve the cake recipe) and cut it in half, that way you get every flavor component into each bite.
- Add a layer of chocolate ganache in between the two cakes, under the pineapple and buttercream filling.
- Sprinkle peanuts all over the top right after pouring the ganache.
- Be creative!
Fluffy, chocolatey, cake-like cookies sandwiched together with a soft, creamy frosting. YUM! Thanks to Shauna for sending me this recipe!
(My phone takes horrible pictures, sorry!)
- 2 c flour
- 1/4 c plus 1 T cocoa
- 1 1/2 t baking soda
- 1 t salt
- 1/4 c vegetable shortening
- 1 c non dairy milk
- 1 c sugar
- 1 1/2 t ener-g egg replacer plus 2 T water (or whatever egg replacer you like best for 1 egg)
- 1 tsp vanilla
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt and set aside. Blend together the shortening, milk, sugar, egg replacer and vanilla. Add the dry mixture to the wet mixture and combine.
Drop 1 T sized scoops of batter onto a lined cookie sheet. I used a tablespoon measuring spoon for this but a small ice cream scoop would work great too, so all your cookies come out the same size. Bake for 8 minutes. Transfer immediately to a wire cooling rack.
- 1/2 c margarine (room temperature works best)
- 1/2 c vegetable shortening
- 1 c sugar
- 1 T flour
- 1 t vanilla
- 1/2 cup warm non dairy milk (microwave 15 s)
Beat all ingredients together until it forms a cohesive cream. At first it will look extremely unappetizing but will quickly come together.
Once the cookies are completely cooled either spoon or squirt the filling onto the bottom of one cookie. Gently place a cookie of similar size on top of it. Voila!