Bread, Breakfast, Cake, fruit, lunch, Recipes, Vegan

Chia Olive Oil Muffins with Caramelized Peaches [Vegan]

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In the world of all the “superfoods” out there, chia seeds seem to be the next big thing. While I’m not one for fads, I can’t say I wasn’t intrigued; the promise of more energy, lower cholesterol, aiding digestion, and a multitude of other health benefits drew me in. I bought a bag at Whole Foods and tried it for a few days, adding a spoonful or so to every meal.

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The seeds themselves are, well, pretty tasteless. Think in terms of poppy seeds; they add a nice crunch but not much else in the flavor department. And as for using it as an energy booster, well anything I could use to boost my energy can easily be trumped by the amount of hours I spend at work, leaving me tired at the end of any day. What I DO like about them is their amazing ability to absorb water; chia seeds can absorb 9 times their weight in water, leaving a gelatinous by-product that could easily replace eggs as a binder in baked goods. The moment I heard this I knew it was time to hit the kitchen.

In this recipe I used a combination of almond flour, olive oil, brown sugar, and lemon zest, leaving me with a nutty, fruity, and tender muffin, great for any breakfast on the go.

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I couldn’t resist adding a bit of tartness to it, so peaches it was! You could really eat these muffins with any fruit, but I love the lacquered sheen of these peaches once they’re cooked. It adds a nice amount of acidity and sweetness that I think pairs well with the nuttiness of the muffin.

Chia Olive Oil Muffins with Caramelized Peaches

Makes 5 muffins

10 g whole chia seeds

50 g water

125 g almond flour

62 g cake flour

4 g baking powder

1 g salt

60 g extra virgin olive oil

40 g organic brown sugar, plus more for peaches

28 g water

3 g vanilla extract

about 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest

2 ripe peaches

In a small bowl, stir together your chia seeds with 50 g of water, and let sit for 20 minutes until it forms a gel. Preheat your oven to 350F. Grease a medium-sized muffin tin with olive oil or line with cupcake liners. Sift together your almond flour, cake flour, baking powder, and salt. In a large bowl, whisk together your extra virgin olive oil, brown sugar, 28 g water, vanilla extract, and lemon zest until combined. Whisk in your gelled chia seeds, water and all. Whisk in your dry ingredients, just until combined. The batter will look a bit lumpy and thick, like oatmeal. Distribute batter into your muffin tin, filling each well about 3/4ths of the way up and smoothing out the top. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the tops of the muffins are golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in pan completely before removing. Store at room temperature.

For caramelized peaches: Set your oven to broil and place a rack on the highest level of your oven. Cut peaches in half and remove pit. Place peach halves on a lined sheet pan and cover the tops of each half with an even layer of brown sugar. Put under your broiler for 3-4 minutes, until all the sugar is melted and bubbles, and the peaches look shiny and lacquered. Let cool completely, then peel off skin (this should be easy since the peach is cooked) and cut into slices. Enjoy!

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Candy, fruit, Gluten Free, Petit Four, Recipes, Vegan

Coconut & Pomegranate Mochi [Vegan, Gluten Free]

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Mochi is a treat that I loved as a kid, and still love to this day. For those of you who haven’t experienced this Japanese delight, mochi is a slightly sweet, sticky dessert snack made from Mochiko, or glutinous rice flour.

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As I strolled about the market the other day, I saw a basket full of fresh pomegranates, and I knew I wanted to cook with them. I love pomegranate seeds not only for their taste, but also their look; they look like shiny, precious gemstones, and what girl doesn’t love a little sparkle?

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The batter before being cooked. I have been dying to make something with coconut lately, and I knew this would be a match made in heaven!

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Coming out of the oven. This recipe is by NO means anything close to the traditional method of making mochi, which for years has been made by pounding glutinous rice over and over again in a large mortar-and-pestle type of tool, but homie ain’t got time to play games! This recipe is infinitely easier; you literally just need a whisk and a bowl, and you’re good to go!

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Cutting into the sticky stuff! Make sure you use a clean, sharp knife before cutting into these babies, otherwise you’ll have to deal with the mochi sticking to your knife and a not-so-pretty mess on your hands.

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The finished product. The mochi itself is creamy, chewy, and soft, and the pomegranate seeds add a crunch and a tart pop of flavor when you bite into them. For the mochi I used a blend of both coconut water and coconut milk, to keep it from being overly rich. I also tossed the mochi in some coconut flour instead of the traditional rice flour, giving it a nice nutty flavor as well.

Coconut & Pomegranate Mochi

makes 28 (1×1″) pieces or 7 (1×4″) logs (as pictured)

311 g Mochiko (sweet rice flour)

324 g granulated white sugar

224 g coconut water

254 g coconut milk

65 g fresh pomegranate seeds, carefully patted dry

coconut flour, as needed

Preheat your oven to 350F. Liberally grease a 9×9″ square pan. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together your Mochiko and sugar until combined. Whisk in coconut water and coconut milk, stirring just until there are no more lumps. Gently fold in your pomegranate seeds, and pour batter into your prepared pan. Bake for 1 hour, or until the edges of your mochi are lightly golden brown and the mochi jiggles just slightly in the center if shaken. Cool completely. Run a knife around the edge of your pan, and turn over onto a cutting board covered with parchment (to keep it from sticking as you cut it). Using a clean, SHARP knife, trim off your edges (they’re too tough to serve) and then cut mochi into 1×1″ cubes (or 1×4″ logs like I did, but keep in mind that this is a large portion!), and then gently toss in coconut flour just to cover all sides. Garnish with more fresh pomegranate seeds if desired, and enjoy!

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Cookies, fruit, Gluten Free, Recipes, Vegan

[Vegan & Gluten Free] Chestnut & Cherry Pillows

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I absolutely love chestnuts in winter. They’re perfect in both sweet and savoury foods, and are synonymous with the holidays. Yesterday I paired them with a quick cherry jam, and they made just a perfectly sweet, tart, and tender cookie sandwich.

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I love this recipe because it’s incredibly simple and it’s just the perfect little holiday bite. The cherry filling also has a bit of vanilla bean and Grand Marnier, which gives it a bit more depth of flavour.

[Vegan & Gluten Free] Chestnut & Cherry Pillows

makes about 15 sandwiches

For chestnut cookies:

245 g chestnut paste

95 g almond flour

4 g xanthan gum

2 g salt

10 g granulated sugar, plus more for garnish

Preheat oven to 350F. In a bowl of a food processor, combine all ingredients and blitz just until all ingredients come together to form a paste. Scrape out dough onto a piece of parchment paper, then roll out dough between 2 sheets of parchment until dough is 1/8th of an inch thick. At this point you can refrigerate the dough until it is firm, or if you’re impatient like me, just carefully peel the top piece of parchment off and cut dough into 1″ squares.

Place cookies onto a parchment-lined sheet pan about an inch apart, then sprinkle lightly with granulated sugar. Bake for 8-9 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Let cool completely before filling.

For quick cherry “jam”:

260 g dried cherries

1 ea. vanilla bean, scraped

60 g Grand Marnier

60 g water

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat; be careful that the Grand Marnier doesn’t flame up (this happened the first time I made these haha). Discard vanilla bean and strain out excess liquid. Place cherries in the bowl of a food processor, and blitz until it forms a smooth paste. Cool completely. Spread or pipe filling onto half of the cookies and sandwich with the other half.

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Breakfast, Drinks, fruit, lunch, Recipes, Vegan

Peach and Key Lime Agua Fresca and One Lovely Blog

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Now that peaches are in season, I bought a couple at the market and wanted to make something that emphasizes the tart, fresh flavors of ripe peaches. No peach cobblers for this gal!

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I love the simplicity of agua fresca and the peach and key lime definitely pair well together in this drink. It’s lightly sweet and just a nice drink for any summer morning.

In other news, mypenandme has nominated KnitterBakerPateaChouxMaker for the One Lovely Blog Award! Yayy!

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I definitely feel honored for this nomination, so thanks again to mypenandme!

Peach and Key Lime Agua Fresca

makes 2

2 ripe peaches, peeled and pitted

5 key limes, juiced

3 Tablespoons sugar

1 1/2 cups water

Chop peaches into 1 inch cubes. In a blender, combine peaches, lime juice, sugar, and water, and blend until smooth. Strain through a fine mesh sieve, then chill.

If desired, rim 2 glasses with lime juice and dip rims in sugar. Divide agua fresca between glasses, and serve cold.

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Breakfast, Cake, lunch, Recipes, Vegan

[Vegan] Maple Pecan Muffins

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A few days ago Robert and  I wanted to check out a park near his house that neither of us has been to. From the outside it seemed like a cute little park, but when we actually got inside, it turned out to be so much more! I mean, this place has a hiking trail, a huge pond, ducks and geese and greenery everywhere, and even a cute little outdoor cafe.

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Needless to say, I was in love. We had an amazing breakfast at the cafe and wandered around the park a bit before heading back home. I hadn’t had some good pancakes and maple syrup in a long time, and that breakfast definitely hit the spot.

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A few days passed, and I had to have something maple-flavored again, hence the maple pecan muffins. They’re deliciously moist with a soft, tender crumb and a little crunch from the pecans. The almond paste also gives the cake a subtle nutty sweetness, almost like marzipan. Just one muffin makes for a filling breakfast, although I may not have the self control to stop at one…

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As for the park, it was so gorgeous that we may just have to come back there to to have our engagement photos taken. Or, you know, if we want another amazing pancake breakfast.

[Vegan] Maple Pecan Muffins

makes 9 muffins

77 g vegetable oil

90 g brown sugar

10 g maple sugar, plus more for sprinkling

80 g almond paste

160 g soy milk

150 g cake flour

12 g baking powder

1 g salt

1 g cinnamon

45 g crushed pecans

Preheat oven to 350F, and line a muffin tin with 9 muffin papers.

In a medium bowl, whisk together cake flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside.

In a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, paddle together oil, brown sugar, maple sugar, and almond paste until there are no more lumps. With mixer running, stream in soy milk into mixture. Scrape bottom of bowl with a rubber spatula, and let mix until mixture is smooth.

Add flour mixture to batter, and mix on medium low speed just until everything is combined. Divide batter among the muffin papers, filling each about halfway up. Sprinkle crushed pecans on top of each muffin, about 5 grams on each, then lightly sprinkle maple sugar on tops of muffins. Bake about 22 minutes at 350F, until tops are golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool completely before eating.

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Cake, DIY, Recipes, Vegan

Make Your Own [Vegan] Marshmallow Fondant

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If you’ve ever used fondant before, whether it was to enrobe a cake or add a bit of flair to a cupcake, you probably already know that the stuff’s expensive. Besides, why use over-priced and dried out fondant when you can make your own? What I like about this recipe is that even if you’re not vegan, it works just as well with normal marshmallows and now that summertime is approaching, marshmallows are dirt cheap at the grocery!

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What you’ll need:

10 oz vegan marshmallows (I used Dandies from Whole Foods)

18 oz powdered sugar

3 Tablespoons water

A bowl for an electric mixer, along with a paddle attachment

A large pot with 1″ of water (pot needs to be large enough to fit the bowl over)

A rubber spatula

*I’ve also seen some people add a tablespoon or so of vegetable shortening, which doesn’t seem like a bad idea but I opted not to use it this time

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Step 1: Melt down your marshmallows

Bring your pot of water to a boil, then place your bowl with marshmallows on top and stir as it melts. I have seen a few recipes that tell you to microwave the marshmallows, but as someone who’s burnt a thing or two in the microwave (sighh…) this is just the safest option, and also the cleanest as you will be using the same bowl to mix it later.

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Step 2: Add your water and stir!

Stir together the marshmallows and water until the mixture is fully incorporated and there are no more lumps.

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Step 3: Mix in powdered sugar.

Place your bowl in your mixer with the paddle attachment, and with the mixer on the LOWEST setting, slowly add your powdered sugar. It will look really dry for the first few seconds, but it should come together and begin looking like a dough. Mix just until it looks like everything is combined.

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Step 4: Knead and rest!

Remove dough from bowl and onto a clean countertop, and knead until it can form a smooth ball. As you can see, my fondant still looks a tad dry. I triple wrapped it in plastic wrap and let it rest for a bit, to let the moisture distribute throughout the dough. If you’ve ever made pasta before, it’s the same principle: the dough needs to rest before you can roll it out. I’m thinking that if I added shortening, I probably wouldn’t have to let it rest so long, but it’s not an ingredient that I really like to use a lot of.

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Step 5: Knead in your color.

Knead in the color of your choice, and roll it on top of a clean counter with powdered sugar. If you use a liquid coloring agent, you may also want to knead in some more powdered sugar to keep it from being too moist.

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Step 6: Go crazy!

Use your fondant the same way you would use any other rolled fondant, and relish in the fact that you didn’t have to buy that Wilton nonsense at Michaels! For the vegan chocolate cupcakes I went to AllRecipes, and for a tutorial on fondant flowers I went to Amanda’s Parties. Have fun!

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Cake, Recipes, Vegan

[Vegan] Coconut Lemon Poppy Cake

As someone who makes pastries for a living, I feel almost obligated to make my own wedding cake. Don’t get me wrong, I really REALLY want to. It’s ridiculously tempting. The only thought holding me back is figuring out how to get it to the wedding safely and where I would keep it until we need it.

So maybe I won’t make it myself, we’ll see. That thought is still on the table. As for what flavor we want, Robert and I really like coconut, and since the wedding will be in Spring, I knew I wanted to incorporate some lemon in there somehow.

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Today I made a mini vegan coconut and lemon poppy cake, with a creamy, fluffy coconut frosting. While our wedding cake probably won’t be vegan, I thought this would be a good (and delicious) challenge for myself.

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What was left of the scraps. Neither of us could resist snacking on them (yay baker’s treat!).

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This cake came out surprisingly moist, soft, and not over-the-top sweet, which I definitely enjoyed. I was tempted to soak it in a Limoncello simple syrup, but after tasting it I knew it didn’t need any help in the moisture department. The frosting I used contains coconut oil, making it fluffy but also gave it a smooth and melt-in-your-mouth sort of feeling.

Long story short, this cake definitely did not disappoint, and I won’t hesitate to make it again. The fact that is dairy-free and eggless is just an added bonus to how good it is (and how easy it was to make)!

Coconut Lemon Poppyseed Cake

Makes 2 (4 inch) cakes

100 g sugar

3 Tablespoons lemon zest

110 g oil

200 g cake flour

1 g salt

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

200 g coconut milk

1 teaspoon poppy seeds

Preheat your oven to 350F. In a mixing bowl fitted with a paddle attachment, mix your sugar, lemon zest, and oil together until combined. In another bowl, whisk together cake flour, salt, and baking powder. With mixer running, slowly add in flour mixture, mixing until incorporated. Scrape sides of bowl. With mixer running again, stream in coconut milk and then add in poppy seeds. Scrape sides of bowl again and let mixture mix until everything is fully incorporated.

Lightly oil 2 (4 inch) cake pans and divide batter between pans. Bake at 350F for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. When cakes are done, let them cool completely before removing from their pans.

Vegan Coconut Frosting

Makes about 4 cups

250 g Butter-Flavored Shortening, room temp.

175 g coconut oil, room temp.

175 g powdered sugar, sifted

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a mixing bowl with a paddle attachment, cream together shortening and coconut oil. Slowly add in powdered sugar, mixing until fully incorporated. Scrape bowl. You can add more powdered sugar if you like, according to your tastes. Add vanilla extract and mix until your frosting is light and fluffy, making sure that all ingredients are fully incorporated.

*I would strongly advise refrigerating any cakes that use this frosting as the coconut oil does have a tendency to melt at any temperature higher than room temp.

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