November 1, 2011
Bananas. I’m not sure I could do with out them. So you’ll understand my feelings when, right after returning home from the grocery store, I dropped my precious four bananas on the ground. The horror! Dropping any fruit is bad, but I feel like bananas take it the worst. The insides turn to banana pulp! Crazy! And the way I dropped them was such that more than half of each banana was horribly bruised by the impact. I tried opening one to eat but couldn’t do it without a spoon, and I was a little put off by the bruising. Feeling sad and defeated, I put them in the fruit basket and tried to forget about the whole incident.
About four days later, the bananas started to get spotty. I was worried; I didn’t want to throw them out but didn’t want to eat them as is. What was I to do? A little voice sounded inside my ear and said things like, “You bake things! Bake banana things! You paid for those bananas! Use them!” I usually eat bananas too quickly to allow them to ripen, which means I don’t get the chance to bake with them. Not this time! So all is not lost, in fact, my love for banana baked goods is found again, especially with these waffles. The banana flavor isn’t pronounced, but you know it’s there, and you’ll love how the banana is complimented by oatmeal, cinnamon, and raisins. I’m going to count the banana dropping as a blessing this morning (but I promise to be more careful next time). Happy bananas for breakfast! Happy Breakfast Tuesday!
Oatmeal Banana Raisin Waffles
(Recipe only slightly adapted from Vegan with a Vengeance)
Yields exactly 4 Belgian waffles or up to 12 regular waffles
Notes: Instead of using both all-purpose and whole-wheat flour, you can use one cup and two tablespoons all-purpose flour. If you decide to use quick cooking oats, you don’t need to soak the oats in liquid mixture before adding to dry ingredients. If you don’t have nondairy milk on hand and/or don’t require waffles to be vegan, substitute whatever milk you have on hand.
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
½ cup whole-wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup rolled, or old-fashioned, oats
1 very ripe banana, mashed well
1 ½ cups nondairy milk
3 tablespoons maple syrup
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
2. In a medium-size mixing bowl, mix together oats, banana, milk, syrup, and vegetable oil. Let mixture soak for 10 minutes while you preheat the waffle iron.
3. After ten minutes, pour wet ingredients into dry and mix just until combined. A few lumps will remain. Fold in raisins, taking care not to over mix.
4. Waffle according to manufacturer’s instructions, greasing waffle iron between waffles.
If you would like to keep the waffles warm between taking them off the iron and serving, preheat the oven to 200 degrees while the oatmeal is soaking and keep waffles in the oven, on a baking sheet lined with foil, up to 30 minutes before serving. Waffles will keep, refrigerated, up to a week, and frozen up to a month.
April 12, 2011
Contrary to my normal Breakfast Tuesday cravings, I really wanted eggs. Usually I wake up on Tuesdays and can only think about pastries, or waffles, or pancakes, or anything with heaping amounts of sugar that could be classified as “breakfast”. Someone once told me that your food cravings have a lot to do with what your body feels it is lacking. According to this theory, my body is sending every signal it can think of to make it very clear that I need to eat better things (at least some of the time) because I very rarely crave eggs. Well, you gotta do what you gotta do. I needed a breakfast baketivity not based on sugar content. In such cases as these I turn to cornmeal based goods.
The biscuits themselves were denser than I predicted, but that might be because I used coarse ground polenta-type cornmeal. Not sure if there is a difference between coarse ground and stone ground, but the cornmeal didn’t bake into the biscuits very well. Otherwise, I really enjoyed their presence at my breakfast table as an accompaniment to my eggs. I also like how you can play around with the amount and type of sugar used in the recipe, depending on your dietary needs or wants on any given morning.
(Recipe adapted from Vegan Brunch)
Yields 10 to 11 biscuits using a ¼ cup measure, double that if dropping by the heaping tablespoonful
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup cornmeal, stone-ground preferred
2 tablespoons brown sugar (recipe calls for ¼ cup granulated sugar)
2 tablespoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1/3 cup canola oil
1 cup nondairy milk
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and lightly grease baking sheets.
2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Make a well in the center of dry ingredients.
3. Pour oil, milk, and vinegar into well and gently mix just until all ingredients are moistened. Lumps of flour in batter are a-okay.
4. Drop biscuits with a ¼ cup measure or tablespoon. Biscuits should be dropped about 2 inches apart on the baking sheets, as they will spread.
5. Bake 12 to 14 minutes until tops are dry and firm. Bottoms should be lightly brown.
6. Let biscuits cool on baking sheet for 10 minutes before serving.
Biscuits are best served ten minutes after coming out of the oven, but are still yummy at room temperature. Like most biscuits, these are best the day they are made.
January 18, 2011
It’s that time of the week again… Breakfast Tuesday! Or “Brunch Tuesday”, if you prefer.
I’ve decided to bake breakfast things every Tuesday because A) breakfast is my favorite meal and B) Tuesdays are my day off. The only things I ever want to do on my days off are make breakfast, eat breakfast, and read in my pajamas. This routine changes ever so slightly in the summer, adding a walk around Jamaica Pond or changing my reading location from my bed to a park. However, the breakfast part never changes.
This Breakfast Tuesday is dedicated to English muffins! I realized last night that we were out of milk (both dairy and non-dairy), which rules out most breakfast baked goods, even the vegan ones. Fortunately my panic abated upon finding a recipe for vegan English muffins. And not only are they vegan, but they are simple to prepare and taste like “real” English muffins! When I bake goods commonly found on super market shelves, the comments are usually something along the line of my products tasting just like the “real thing”. This is in no way sarcastic or condescending, but I think it’s a cute comment/compliment.
Another reason for choosing to make English muffins? They are perfect vehicles for sweet condiments. Nothin’ like watching butter melt into those little air pockets, then smothering the entire thing with jam, or honey, or pumpkin butter.
Vegan English Muffins
(Adapted from Vegan Brunch)
1 teaspoon active dry yeast (if you are using a packet, they usually have two teaspoons per pouch)
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 cup lukewarm water
2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 ¼ teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons margarine (or butter, if you go that route), at room temperature
3 or 4 tablespoons cornmeal
1. In a small bowl, combine the yeast, sugar, and cup of lukewarm water. Set aside for five minutes, until the yeast dissolves and the mixture looks milky.
2. In a bowl large enough for all the ingredients, stir together the flour and salt. Make a well in the middle and add the “aged” yeast mixture and the margarine.
3. Stir dough with a sturdy wooden spoon until sticky dough forms. This shouldn’t take more than 2 or 3 minutes.
4. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface, keeping the bowl out, and knead it for 6 to 10 minutes. I kneaded mine for about 8 minutes, until the dough was smooth and elastic-y feeling.
5. Put the kneaded dough back into the bowl, cover with a damp towel or plastic wrap, and let it rise in a warm spot for an hour, or until it is just doubled in size.
6. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, placing your baking sheet inside the oven to preheat as well, and if you are using a cast iron skillet, preheat the skillet over medium heat. If you aren’t using cast iron, you can preheat the skillet just before browning the muffins.
7. Roll out the dough on a floured surface until it is about ½ inch thick. Using a 3 inch cookie or biscuit cutter, cut as many rounds as you can. You can roll out the scrap from around the rounds as well, giving you two or three extra muffins.
8. Place one tablespoon margarine in the preheated skillet.
9. Place the cornmeal on a plate, and pat each round in the cornmeal before placing them in the greased skillet. Don’t crowd the muffins, I did four at a time in my 9 inch cast iron skillet.
10. In the skillet, brown both sides of the muffins. This should be 2 minutes on each side. Right after browning, place the muffins on the preheated cookie sheets and slip them into the oven for 6 to 10 minutes.
11. Cool the muffins on a wire rack for at least 30 minutes before serving.
Store room temperature English muffins in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days, in the fridge for up to a week, OR in the freezer for up to two months.
January 10, 2011
On our first “date” as friends, this darling girl and I went to Sweet for cupcakes, and it has become a tradition. They switch up their menu with the change of seasons, and have special Valentine’s Day cupcakes (Which is coming up! Rejoice!), which we love because you never tire of the flavors. Conversely, though, you tend to miss the flavors you really enjoy when they are out of season, so to speak. One of those flavors is the chocolate orange cupcake, which I want to reproduce for her so she has a foolproof, easy to make recipe to use year round.
The only thing that I am deliberately changing about the chocolate orange cupcake is the cake itself. The Sweet version is a chocolate cake with orange buttercream frosting, but I would like to up the ante and find a recipe for chocolate orange cake. The first reason is personal, because I love zest in cake, but the second and REAL reason is that, just in case she doesn’t feel like making the frosting, she can simply make the cake and eat it plain. Although I’ll take this opportunity to say that I want to eat this frosting until the sun devours the Earth. Just sayin’.
All in all, I wasn’t particularly pleased with the way the cake turned out. The cupcakes were very, very crumbly, yet not overcooked. I’ve made vegan chocolate cake a few times before this, and was able to manage a moist cupcake, so naturally I was a little disappointed. The flavor was fantastic, even if it was super rich. The next time I make a vegan chocolate orange cake, I’m going to turn to Vegan cupcakes take over the world.
Random excitement, before turning over the recipe over to you, though! These cupcakes gave me a chance to use my cupcake corer!! It’s kind of a dream come true. As hard as it is to admit (because this is a baking blog, after all), I’m a frosting girl. So cupcakes filled with frosting, then topped with frosting? Yes. A thousand times, yes. I suppose you could fill them with anything you wish, but, again, this frosting is amazing.
Chocolate Orange Cupcakes (vegan)
(Adapted from momofukufor2)
Yields 12 full-size cupcakes
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup cocoa powder
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
¾ cup orange juice
½ cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon orange zest
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line your muffin tins with cupcake papers.
2. In a large bowl, sift together the dry ingredients.
3. In a separate, smaller bowl, whisk together all other ingredients.
4. Make a well in the dry ingredients, then pour the liquid into the dry.
5. Mix the batter until everything is just combined.
6. Fill the cupcake liners with about ¼ cup batter, or at least make sure they all have even amounts of batter.
7. Bake tins in a preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, testing them at 20. When a butter knife or toothpick inserted into the cupcake comes out dry, you’re done!
8. Cool the cupcakes in the tin for at least 5 minutes, then let them cool on a cooling rack until they are room temperature.
Orange Frosting (Note: NOT vegan)
(Adapted from All Cakes Considered)
Yields more than enough frosting for 12 cupcakes, if you aren’t doing any crazy piping.
½ cup, or one stick, unsalted butter, room temperature
3 ½ to 4 cups confectioners’ sugar
¼ cup evaporated milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon orange extract
(Optional: 3 tablespoons of dried orange peel, or finely grated orange zest)
1. Using a mixer, cream the butter until it is smooth and fluffy.
2. Add 3 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar, and while mixing on low, add the evaporated milk.
3. When the sugar is incorporated, beat the frosting at a high speed for at least five minutes (I beat mine for 8 or 9 minutes, which was almost overkill). Add more confectioners’ sugar to get your desired texture.
4. Add the extracts and zest, if using, and beat on high for another minute or two until even distributed through the frosting.
To assemble cupcakes:
1. Wait until the cupcakes are room temperature!
2. Frost the cupcakes.
3. Keep them in an airtight container at room temperature for up to three days. If kept in the fridge, bring to room temperature or let sit for 10 minutes before eating because the frosting gets a little stiff when it’s cold.