Category Archives: breads

Practically Perfect (in every way) Pumpkin Muffins

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens… you all know the song… Well, these muffins definitely just topped my list of a few of my favorite things! They are so tender and moist and… well, perfect… they are “practically perfect in every way”, just like Mary Poppins. (Hey, Julie Andrews – WHY  do these muffins keep reminding me of you?! Well, I’m can’t answer that! But I will name these muffins in your honor!)

You know, I really love how soft and delicate things baked with spelt flour turn out!  My sister & my niece were coming over to visit so it was the perfect reason for baking something… And since my sister steers clear of gluten (with the exception of spelt, which has a very low gluten content) it was the perfect reason to experiment! 🙂

*Please Note: I tagged this recipe as gluten-free, though spelt does contain a small amount of gluten. If you are 100% gluten intolerant, I would replace the spelt flour with a 100% gluten-free baking mix.

I had an idea these muffins would be pretty phenomenal since I got a few ideas from vegan baking goddess Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s Post Punk Kitchen website (www.theppk.com)…  I really liked her idea of using of coconut milk in her pumpkin bread for a nice moist bread so I decided to use that instead of soymilk. I also used spelt flour and added a little coconut in and on top of my muffins as well.  My conclusion can be stated in 3 letters… OMG!

Practically Perfect (in every way) Pumpkin Muffins

dry ingredients

  • 1 3/4 cup spelt flour
  • 1 cup sugar (I prefer fine raw sugar, not white)
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 1/8 tsp cloves
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut
  • extra coconut for sprinkling over the top

wet ingredients

  • 1 cup pumpkin (canned is fine)
  • 1/2 cup canned coconut milk – (unsweetened)
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 2 Tbsp molasses
  • 1  1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar

1) Mix dry ingredients well in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, mix wet ingredients. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Mix well!

before baking

just out of the oven

cooling off

Distribute evenly between 12 greased muffin tins** and sprinkle coconut over the tops. Bake at 400 F for 18-20 minutes until a toothpick or knife inserted in the center comes out clean. The coconut on top should be done browning nicely at that same time 🙂 Cool for 10-15 minutes in the pan and then carefully remove the muffins.

** FYI: filling a muffin/cupcake tin over 2/3 full will cause your “muffin top” to spread and flatten out. These muffins are very delicate and you should know that the tops are prone to wanting to lift off if they aren’t cooled enough before removing from the pan or if the tops are too heavy… You can make the muffins a tad bit smaller (13 or 14) to help keep this from happening if you wish.

Variations (If you dare mess with perfection): You can substitute almond or soy milk for the coconut milk if desired.  I think that lite coconut milk would also work just fine if you wanted a lower fat muffin.  Sometimes I replace half the oil with applesauce when baking, though I have never tried that with this recipe. The coconut can be omitted all together as well if you aren’t into coconut. You may also use regular unbleached flour if you prefer over spelt.

I would imagine that you could easily substitute pureed sweet potato for the pumpkin in this recipe… maybe you could even pop a vegan marshmallow down there in the middle! Mmmm! Sweet Potato Casserole Muffins! Sounds good to me! 🙂

Advertisements

Vegan Strawberry Shortcake 1 (biscuit style)

If there is anything I remember seeing at the Farmers Market lately, it’s berries – especially strawberries.  Go grab yourself some strawberries or blueberries this weekend and surprise your loved ones with this amazingly simple shortcake. This recipe can be used with either strawberries or blueberries… or even peaches, though I’ve never tried those… yet!  I would recommend making the vegan whipped cream ahead of time to get it nice and cold in the fridge.  It will last up to 5 days!… If it lasts that long!

Vegan Strawberry Shortcake

To make the biscuits:

  • 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour (or use 1 cup whole wheat pastry + 1 cup unbleached flour)
  • 1/4 cup raw sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder (non aluminum kind, like Rumford)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup water (using warm water makes it mix easier)
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract

Preheat the oven to 400 F. Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.  In a small bowl, combine the coconut oil, water and extracts.  Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until just mixed but no floury pockets.

Carefully pat the dough out about 1/2″ thick onto some parchment paper.  (I almost just used my 1/4 cup to scoop the biscuits out because the dough is very delicate, but if you have some parchment paper, you should be able to pat it out very gently and use a biscuit cutter okay.  I got 8 biscuits but could have gotten 9 if I had made them a teency bit smaller.)

Bake 12-14 minutes on a parchment lined baking sheet until golden and allow to cool.

Shortcake biscuits, waiting to be cut and served!

Make the sauce:

  • 1/2 cup of chopped berries
  • 2 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp lemon juice

Place maple syrup, lemon juice, and 1/2 cup of the berries in a saucepan.  Simmer on low, stirring, until the mixture thickens, crushing some berries during the process.  Set aside to cool slightly.

To serve:

Cut a biscuit in half, top the bottom piece with whipped cream, then sauce and then garnish with fresh berries.  Top with remaining biscuit (opt). DEVOUR!  (If your little one likes to help in the kitchen, stacking these sweet treats together can be quite a sweet treat for them!)

This biscuit was made with tofu whipped cream

Oh yeah… one more thing – I ran across this great little article on vegan baking tips from Vegan Pastry Chef Fran Costigan.  It’s a quick, print-worthy/stick it in your cookbook – kind of read! Check it out!

Traditional Coffee Cake

Here’s something to whip up this weekend.  As you may know, I am a major coffee lover, and that also goes for coffee cake.  This recipe is really quick and delicious.  And it will make your house smell oh-so-yummy!  This is a good thing to make for dessert, breakfast or brunch.  (If you don’t have whole wheat pastry flour, you can replace it with unbleached flour.)

Traditional Style Coffee Cake

For the cake:

  • 1 cup soymilk or almond milk (or other non-dairy milk)
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1 Tbsp white distilled vinegar
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 cup unbleached flour
  • 1/2 cup raw sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp salt

For the crumble top:

  • 3/4 cup unbleached flour
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 5 Tbsp soy margarine (such as Earth Balance)
  • (optional) jazz it up by adding 1 cup blueberries

Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly spray a 8 or 9″ square pan with non-stick spray.

To make the cake: Mix the milk, oil, and vinegar in a small bowl and set aside.  In a large bowl, mix flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, and salt. (I usually stop here for a moment to assemble the crumble topping.)  Add the milk mixture to the flour mixture and stir until just combined. Add the berries, if using  (If you do decide to use the berries, throw them into a small dish with some extra flour and roll them around before adding to the mix.  The coating of flour will help the berries not sink to the bottom!) Pour into the baking dish.

To make the crumble topping: In a small bowl, combine the flour, sugar, cinnamon, ginger and salt.  Crumble in the butter with a fork or your hands until all mixed up & crumbly. Add in the nuts. Sprinkle the crumble topping evenly over the cake.

Bake 40 minutes, give or take 5 minutes, until a knife comes clean from the center.  Cool slightly and then DEVOUR!

I am really excited for this weekend.  It happens to be Memorial Day weekend, so there will surely be some fun in the sun and grilling out going on… but I am also attending a party at my sister’s house for my other sister to reveal the sex of her upcoming baby – I can’t wait for this because not only do I get to find out if I’m getting a nephew or neice, I get to see my entire family all together, which is a hard thing to do since that involves 20 or so people!  And I get to visit with my newest niece, Vera, who is just over a month old.

… and on top of all that, we have plans to go to the Renaissance Festival!  I LOVE the Renaissance Festival and I have to say, I’m really disappointed that I havent been in so long!   I must admit I’m a little curious about the food situation there.  I think most of the food will be meat-on-a stick kind of food, so I’m gonna pack a lunch & cross my fingers for extras.  They always have delicious sugar-coated almonds… I also remember them having barrels of big pickles (along with a crazy pickle-man who would occasionally throw a pickle!) Hahaha… oh the memories 🙂

Going to festivals is where one of the challenges enter of being vegan.  On occasions like this, I usually pack us up a really good lunch just to make sure the kids don’t go hungry. A lot of times, I will be surprised and find out something is actually vegan.  You can often find vegan snack foods readily, which are easy to fill up on, but they never feel satisfying and too much of them may even make you feel sick!  Better to be safe and pack a lunch.

There is also a Native American festival at the Gwinnett County Fairgrounds this weekend.  I wish I had time to go to that too!  My kids really enjoyed our last trip to a pow-wow, which was at Stone Mountain Park.

Vegan Zucchini Bread

On Saturday morning, farmers markets around the country will be offering many fresh delicious veggies.  Make sure to pick up 2 good-looking zucchini’s for this bread!  You won’t regret it!

I recently found myself baking more zucchini bread. (I also have a delicious zucchini bread/muffin recipe that uses spelt flour, if you prefer!) I guess the kids and I were ready for a snack… because in less than an hour from being out of the oven, the loaf was already half gone!  This recipe is definitely one to be made repeatedly and to be shared!   It is great for all seasons, freezes beautifully & also makes a nice gift (if you do that kind of thing)… plus my kids absolutely eat it up! I have used this recipe to make both loaves & muffins.  In fact, this bread is SO great, I would recommend that you go ahead and double the recipe so you can freeze a loaf!  This bread actually forms an amazingly soft sweet “crust”  on top that literally melts away in your mouth!

This recipe is slightly adapted from The Joy of Vegan Baking, by Colleen Patrick- Goudreau.  I highly recommend purchasing this cookbook.  It actually won Cookbook of the Year from VegNews magazine in recent years and every recipe I have tried is fantastic!

~Zucchini Bread / Muffins~

makes 1 loaf – OR – 12 muffins – OR- 2 mini loaves

  • 1  1/2 Tbsp ground flax-seed + 1/4 cup water (whisk & set aside)
  • 1/2 cup canola oil (OR you can use 1/4 cup canola + 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce, which I prefer)
  • 1/2 Tbsp vinegar (apple cider or white distilled)
  • 1 cup raw sugar
  • 1 – 1/2 cup grated zucchini (about < 2 small)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1  1/2 cups all-purpose flour (I prefer unbleached white flour)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional, but I definitely recommend using these for added nutrition and yumminess!)

Preheat oven to 325 F. Make your flax “egg” in a small bowl by mixing the ground flax & water. In another small bowl, whisk together canola oil, vinegar & sugar. Take your flax”egg” and whisk that into the mixture as well.  Whisk it all up really well. Stir in the grated zucchini & vanilla.  (Go ahead and use up all your zucchini, even if it goes a little over the 1 1/2 cups – the more the merrier!)

Mix the dry ingredients separately in a large bowl. Add nuts, if using. Using a  rubber spatula, mix the wet into the dry.  (Try not to over-mix, which causes a tougher bread that isn’t as fluffy… definitely don’t use a whisk here!) Disperse evenly between 12 muffin cups or make one loaf. Bake until a knife inserted in center of bread comes out batter-free.

Bake muffins 30-35 minutes / Bake standard loaves 60-70 min   / Bake mini-loaves 40-45 minutes

Probably Not Yo’ Mama’s Biscuits (aka Spelt Flour Biscuits)

I have, over time, become… hmmm, I’m not sure if “happy” would be the right word… let’s say more welcome of my sister’s inability to have wheat (sorry Beckster!) because it has taught me to cook with spelt flour.  I really love the slightly nutty flavor of spelt flour.  Using a non-wheat flour** also gives you the privilege of not having to worry about over-mixing something since there isn’t any gluten to toughen it up.

* Spelt flour is practically wheat free, which makes it a good subsitute for people with a low intolerance for wheat, though some people with serious wheat allergies, such as those with celiac disease, are also allergic to spelt. In that case, you should try replacing the flour with a 100% gluten free baking mix (most grocery stores carry a blend for general flour replacing). Please check if you are making these for someone who is gluten-free.

Also, these biscuits are a snap to make. Seriously, I can’t believe they were in and out of the oven so quickly!  Now, I LOVE my buttermilk biscuits, but these are a close second! These are great with jelly & butter, but they can also be used as a “sandwich” for your favorite breakfast fixings… eaten with gravy… etc.

 

Probably Not Yo’ Mama’s Biscuits (aka Spelt Biscuits)

  • 2  1/3 cup spelt flour
  • 2  1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp raw sugar
  • 1/3 cup soy margarine (I use Earth Balance)
  • 3/4 cup almond milk (or soy milk)

1- Preheat oven to 350.  In a large bowl, whisk the spelt flour, baking powder, salt and sugar.

2- Add the margarine to the flour mixture and smash it up with a fork or pastry cutter until it is all mixed in and crumbly like.

3- Make a well in the center of your flour and pour in the almond milk.  I suggest mixing by continuously folding & turning it over and over with a rubber spatula until there are no clumps of flour.

4- Transfer the dough to a spelt-flour dusted surface and gently press or roll the dough out until it’s about 1″ thick.  Cut out as many biscuits as possible, and do the same until all remaining dough has been used.  (I made 9… since spelt flour is a tad more fragile/crumbly, I think 9 is the perfect number… any more and they may end up too thin to cut in half.) Place on center of baking sheet with sides of biscuits just touching.

5- Bake for 12-14 minutes or until tops and/or bottoms are golden brown.  You can stick one with a knife to test it if you so desire.

I think the slight dusting of flour gives these a rustic look.  If you don’t agree, just dust it off!

Right from the oven and smelling GOOD!

Biscuits and coffee… I’ll take this breakfast ANY day!

 

Spelt Scones

I’ve been doing a good bit of baking lately.  My sister (who is GF) recently had her first baby, so I have made her these scones a multitude of different ways… with raspberries, strawberry-walnut, and banana-walnut.    These scones are very versatile and I have found that practically any fruit works wonderfully!  I really enjoyed them when I used 1 cup of bananas and 1/4 cup of chocolate chips 🙂  I can truly say I dont think anyone would know that these are gluten free*.  And the best part about using non-gluten flour is that you dont really have to worry about overmixing!  These scones are lightly sweetened with agave nectar & are so light it is almost as if they fell right out of the sky. I love them!

* Spelt flour is a good subsitute for people with a low intolerance for wheat, though some people with serious wheat allergies, such as those with celiac disease, are also allergic to spelt. In that case, you should try replacing the flour with a 100% gluten free baking mix (most grocery stores carry a blend for general flour replacing).

Spelt Scones

  • 2 cups spelt flour
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1/3 cup agave nectar (i use the amber kind)
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup hot water
  • 1 heaping measuring cup of fresh or frozen fruit of choice
  • > 1/2 chopped nuts (optional)

1- Preheat the oven to 375.  Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. In a bowl, whisk the spelt flour, baking powder and salt.

2- In a separate bowl or large measuring cup, measure the oil, agave nectar and vanilla and whisk together until fully combined.  Add to the dry mixture.  Stir in the hot water, then gently fold in the fruit and nuts, if using. (If I recall , the first time I made these I questioned the appearance of the batter… too mushy? not enough?… but I’m telling you, they will turn out beautiful.)

3- Sccop the batter (I like to use my 1/3 cup) onto the baking sheet.  If you make them smaller you can actually make 12.  However, I found I prefer the size of the scones when I make 7-8 (making each one < 1/3 cup). You may lightly brush the tops with oil, if desired.

Bake for 17-20 minutes until golden.   Once they begin to turn golden, I usually peek under a scone to check how dark the bottom is to decide when to pull them out! Let cool slightly and then devour!

Ahh.. a satisfyingly simple strawberry gluten free scone!

 

Inner Jam Oat Bran Muffins

I think everyone needs to have a good bran muffin recipe around.  I really like these good-for-you muffins… They are delicious and they also give you some extra fiber.  But the best part?… you wouldn’t think of them as being “healthy” muffins. The sweetness of the jelly totally takes over 🙂  My kids LOVE these (& me too)!

Inner Jam Oat Bran Muffins

  • 1 flax egg (2 Tbsp ground flax + 6 Tbsp water)
  • 2 cups oat bran
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour (or you can use unbleached flour)
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1  1/4 cup soymilk (i like to use almond milk in these
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup or a little more fruit jam (fruit sweetened preferred over sugar)

Preheat the oven to 425. Lightly grease the muffin tins.  You can either make 12 or 16 muffins.

Mix up the flax egg and set aside.  In a large bowl, combine the oat bran, flour, brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.  Set aside.  In a small bowl, mix the flax egg, milk, and oil.  Stir in the walnuts. Add to the dry ingredients and mix until just blended.

Fill the muffin cups less than half full with batter.  Put a big dollop of jelly in the center of each cup.  Add more batter until the jelly is concealed and fill all muffin cups equally. Bake about 16-20 minutes.  Cool in the tin for about 5 minutes before moving to a wire rack.

Fill a little less than half way

Add a fair amount of jelly in the center

Fill muffin tins equally and conceal the jelly

Voila... time to enjoy your inner jam, my friends