Tag : vegan-2
Tag : vegan-2
previous monthly muffins
Herbert’s first birthday was already three weeks ago, but the celebration never stops with him. He’s a little party starter.
My farmor (paternal grandma) used to send us massive boxes full of english muffins, in about a dozen different flavors. There were so many of them, we have to keep the muffins in the freezer. Regardless, they never lasted long (they were damn good, and also my dad eats a lot of english muffins.)
We would have the traditional unflavored variety, whole wheat muffins, and the popular cinnamon raisin, but there were also jalapeño muffins, herb muffins, and other fruit flavors. When I started making my own english muffins a year ago, I wanted to be able to compete with the ones we used to have (I’m still lagging in second place, I think), and work through all the flavors I could remember.
To be honest, though, I can only remember four, so after I’ve mastered jalapeño english muffins, I’ll just have to start making up my own flavor combinations (anchovy asparagus muffins, perhaps?)
The recipe here is adapted from my other two recipes and it turns out best with plenty of milk and butter in the dough. More fat means a softer muffin, but like any bread, they’re still amazing without the fat and without the dairy. I always err on the side of not enough flour, because too much flour makes the muffins dense like bricks.
cinnamon raisin english muffins
adapted from my whole wheat english muffins
makes 12 medium-sized muffins
*vegan substitutions included
200 g sourdough starter**
150 g buttermilk, yogurt, or water
110 g water
90 g whole wheat flour
350 g all-purpose flour, plus extra for shaping the dough
dash of salt
40 g dark brown sugar
56 g oil or melted butter (2 oz/4 Tbsp)
2 Tbsp ground cinnamon
1/2 c raisins
vegetable oil or butter for frying
cornmeal for dusting
**If you’d rather use active baker’s yeast, then substitute 7 g of yeast, 100 g all-purpose flour, and 100 g water.
In a large bowl or stand mixer, combine starter, buttermilk, water, flours, salt, sugar, cinnamon, and oil/melted butter.
Using a dough hook, wooden spoon, or your hands, beat/knead the dough until it forms a slightly sticky, cohesive mass, about 5 minutes.
Lightly grease another large bowl, and transfer the dough, flipping it over once to oil the entire surface.
Cover with plastic wrap and let the dough proof/rise until doubled, at least 6 hours (2 if using baker’s yeast.) You can let the dough rise in a warm oven (100 F/ C), on the counter at room temperature, or in the refrigerator. If using sourdough starter, the proofing will take a lot longer than if you’re using baker’s yeast.
When in doubt, let it double. The size is really the indication that it’s ready.
When the dough is done proofing, turn it out onto a clean, lightly floured surface (the countertop, a pastry board, or a bread cloth, for example.) Divide the dough into 12 equal portions, using a scale for consistency, if desired, and roll each portion into a ball.
Dust a baking sheet liberally with cornmeal and arrange the dough on top, leaving an inch or so between each piece. Gently press down on each muffin with the palm of your hand to flatten it into a disc. Cover with plastic wrap or a damp kitchen towel and let proof/rise another half an hour, until puffy.
While the muffins are proofing again, preheat the oven to 350 F/ C.
When the muffins are ready, heat a skillet or griddle over medium heat, and add about 1-2 Tbsp of oil/butter. Once the pan and oil are hot, sear/brown the muffins on each side, working in batches and leaving space between the muffins on the stove. Let the muffins brown for about 3 – 5 minutes on each side, and rearrange on the cookie sheet.
Dust the muffins one more time with cornmeal, and bake for 15 – 20 minutes, until puffed up and plump.
Let the muffins cool on a wire rack, then store at room temperature in an airtight container or wrapped in plastic. Muffins last about a week stored correctly.
Chop, chop, y’all!
What is more lovable than potatoes? Puppies? I think not. Fluffy kittens? Sorry, no. A French vanilla-scented candle washing away all of your soul-crushing self-doubts and broken dreams on a cozy, rainy, winter evening in a kitchen with a glass of cheap red wine and chicken roasting in the oven? Hah. Don’t make me laugh.
Being Irish, I am required by blood to love potatoes, and love them I do. Almost as much as I love cardamom.
Roasted potatoes was the first dish I learned to make…if you don’t count pasta. I mean dried, store-bought pasta that you boil in a pot for five minutes and drench in tomato sauce. I guess, then, boiled water is the first dish I learned to make, and to be honest, there was a time I couldn’t even do that right.
Once, I left the pasta boiling in the pot so long that the water evaporated and the bottom of the pot turned to charcoal. We had to throw the pot away. We have since ruined another 3+ pots (two Le Creuset stainless steel and one Calphalon hard anodized aluminum.)
Once, I tried to make gulab jamun and I put them in the water not only before it was boiling but also before I even added the sugar.
Everything, even something as simple as boiling water, needs a little practice.
After preparing pasta, roasting potatoes was the first thing I figured out how to do. Roasting potatoes is to college students with ovens what cheap drip coffee machines are to first-years living in closets. They’re simple, flavorful, hearty, and soul-soothing.
In Japan, I made oven fries on a weekly basis. For two years, I tried to get them to come out just like French fries, but alas, French fries are another adventure. Oven fries are just as delightful, though.
When I boil water, despite the old standby, I watch it like a hawk watching a soccer game until it boils. If water could blush, I’m sure it would.
When I roast potatoes, I set ’em and forget ’em. That’s the beauty of roasting (and also braising), you can dress the food, put it in the oven, and forget about it without worrying that you might carbonize the bottom of your beautiful steel roasting pan.
garlic rosemary roasted potatoes
serves 5 – 6
6 – 8 medium or large potatoes (white or Yukon gold)
extra virgin olive oil for coating
salt and pepper for seasoning
6 garlic cloves
4 – 6 sprigs of fresh rosemary (sprigs without the leaves work, as well, if you want to be resourceful.)
Preheat the oven to 450 F/ C.
Chop potatoes into just-larger-than-bite-sized pieces.
Toss the potatoes in the olive oil, salt, and pepper, and arrange them in a 9- x 13-inch roasting pan in a single layer.
Leaving the garlic skin on, smash the cloves with the flat side of a chef’s knife blade. Arrange the garlic and rosemary on top of the potatoes.
Roast the potatoes for 40 – 50 minutes until bronzed, tender, and fragrant, flipping them over once or twice throughout to prevent sticking and burning.
As they say in the homeland, “Dia Duit” (goodbye),
previous cold-weather monthly muffins:
I’ve never considered myself finnicky or picky as an eater, but every once in a while I come across something I don’t particularly want to eat again. Not because it’s bad (my standards are reprehensibly low), but because I just don’t vibe with it, you know?
For example, chocolate cake. I don’t like chocolate cake. It’s just too…mouth-y. It’s a lot of dark chocolate flavor and a lot of cake-y-ness in my mouth and for some reason, it doesn’t work. Brownies, on the other hand, are my forte. Rich, chewy, fudgy, and dark. They get me.
I love chocolate ice cream, but not so much the chocolate cakes and breads. I love chocolate, but not so much the chocolate frostings. I’m all for dark chocolate, but could go the rest of my life without eating another piece of milk chocolate.
As a result, it comes as some surprise to me that something inspired me to make a chocolate muffin. My favorite local coffeeshop used to sell chocolate muffins with chocolate chips, and despite my convoluted relationship with the various forms of chocolate, I loved them. I’ve never enjoyed another chocolate quickbread anything aside from those muffins, and yet somehow, I felt inspired to make this month’s muffins purely chocolate. I guess it was an attempt to give chocolate bread another chance, to see if we could reconcile our awkwardness.
The first time I made them, I was, ironically (but also not so ironically in light of my tastes), reluctant to try them. I wanted to fill the muffins with chocolate chips but all I had were milk chocolate bits.
They were great (aside from the milk chocolate bits.) They were surprisingly good.
They’re also vegan.
By now I’ve made my fair share of vegan pastries, but I remember a time before I discovered the apple sauce + canola oil + non-dairy milk combination when I would make my vegan things with water. Pro-tip: don’t make vegan sweets with water. They will taste like water.
These muffins feel just like non-vegan muffins (we’re talking the buttermilk beauties), taste plenty chocolate-y without being too mouth-y, and are accented by little bits of rich, dark deliciousness.
The best part? You can lick the bowl (I lick all my bowls but for those of you who’d rather not eat raw eggs, this recipe is dedicated to you.)
vegan double chocolate muffins
based on my vegan ginger muffins
makes 1 dozen
240 g all-purpose flour
40 g cocoa powder
3 tsp baking powder
dash of salt
180 g granulated sugar
80 g canola oil
40 g unsweetened apple sauce
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
200 g unsweetened/unflavored non-dairy milk (I use coconut)
1 c semi-sweet chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 375 F/190 C, and line a muffin pan with paper muffin cups.
In a medium bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt.
In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, apple sauce, canola oil, milk, and vanilla.
Add flour mixture to the wet ingredients and quickly combine, then whisk in chocolate chips.
Using a spoon or cookie scoop, fill the muffin cups 3/4 of the way full and bake for 25 – 30 minutes, until muffins spring back when lightly pressed.
Remove muffins from the oven and let cool in the pan for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack.
Here’s to the people who like to lick the bowl but don’t want to get sick,
previous monthly muffins:
It’s been gray the whole past week, and rainy most nights…and I’ve been loving it all so much. Over the summer, I never wanted to stay inside, or it was too muggy for me to just sit around, even with the air conditioning running full blast. Now, though, I wake up at 7:00, brew myself a gargantuan pot of coffee (yes a whole pot just for me), and lounge around enjoying the nascent coziness of early autumn. The gray mornings are best for productivity, and I tell you I need a lot that (#gradschoollyfe.)
I’m drowning in developmental psychology and immigration policy…but it’s kind of nice. I like the quiet mornings, which turn into low-key days, when I can both relax and get things done.
Plus, I’m a nerd for learning. I love it, and like high-key love it. My book case is practically falling apart because I can’t help myself with getting new books, even if I barely have time or energy to read them. My professors probably don’t expect me to read everything they assign, much less twice with highlights and margin notes, but I do. I’m already vaguely familiar with most of the concepts we’re learning, whether I realize it or not, but something about seeing it all in print is empowering.
I say this as midterm season approaches and I watch my last breath pop like a bubble in a bathtub.
With work and school, I have less time for cooking than I had expected, and slightly less time for baking (plus money. why does making food cost money.) so I try to enjoy the few moments I do get in the kitchen.
Following the success of my English muffins (my stomach gave them two Oscars, and my mouth nominated them for six Emmys. they can’t believe it. they’re so grateful), I decided to start building up a repertoire of English muffin recipes.
I started with whole wheat: gray like an early autumn morning, hearty like October produce, and flavorful in all the best ways. At first, I just made a substitution: half whole wheat flour for half all-purpose. The dough is surprisingly easy to work with. Unfortunately, I realized that not only were the muffins dense, but the dough was a little firm (easy to work with as in not sticky, but stiff as in stubborn.) Trial after trial, each involving either a different ratio of whole wheat flour to all-purpose (it’s recommended that you always cut whole wheat with refined), or a smaller amount of flour, and I finally arrived here: fluffy, some might even say “plush,” whole-wheat English muffins with nooks and crannies big enough for you to fall into. If you’re butter, that is.
Every time I think of nooks and crannies, I want to say “crooks and nannies.” Words are funny, y’all.
The dough will be just a little bit sticky, but not so much that you can’t pick it up as one mass and handle it directly with your hands. I let the dough proof in a greased bowl the first time, then transfer it to a floured pastry board, and the flour helps the individual dough rounds come together without sticking everywhere, without adding so much extra flour that they dry out. With less flour, the dough rises a lot more during proofing and baking, the holes are larger, and the flavor shines through more.
whole-wheat english muffins (with vegan options)
makes one dozen (56 g/2 oz each, unbaked)
200 g/7 oz sourdough starter
150 g/5.3 oz milk, buttermilk, or water
28 g/1 oz softened butter or oil (canola, etc.)
20 g/0.7 oz molasses or brown sugar
180 g/6.3 oz whole wheat flour
100 g/3.5 oz all-purpose flour
hefty pinch of salt
with baker’s yeast instead of starter
7 g/0.25 oz (1 packet) active dry yeast
250 g/8.8 oz milk, buttermilk, or water
28 g/1 oz softened butter or oil (canola, etc.)
20 g/0.7 oz molasses or brown sugar
180 g/6.3 oz whole wheat flour
200 g/7 oz all-purpose flour
hefty pinch of salt
for prepping, frying, and baking
vegetable oil, ~1 Tbsp
cornstarch, ~1/4 c
butter (substitute canola oil for vegan), ~1 Tbsp
make the dough
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer.
Using a spoon or rubber spatula, quickly mix together ingredients just until the dough starts to form and there isn’t a lot of loose flour or water/liquid.
Using the dough hook of an electric or stand mixer, beat the dough for ~5 minutes, until smooth, cohesive, and pulling away from the sides of the bowl. It should stick a little bit when you touch it, but not come apart too much. Add more flour if it’s too loose, wet, or sticky.
Transfer the dough to a greased bowl, turn over once, cover, and let proof at least 1 hour, or until doubled. If you want to divide the dough more precisely when shaping the muffins, put the empty, greased bowl onto a scale, zero/tare it out, and add the dough so you know exactly how much you have. I end up with ~670 g/24 oz.
Note: Sourdough starter ferments more slowly and rises less than active dry baker’s yeast (but is more beneficial and nutritious), so I make the dough a day in advance and refrigerate overnight. When making yeasted dough, proofing times vary a lot, so rely on the size of the dough to know when it’s ready. You can even use a large measuring cup, so you can see how the capacity changes as the dough rises.
shape, fry, and bake
Flour a clean surface or marble pastry board and turn proofed dough out of its container.
Divide dough into 12 equal pieces (use a scale for more accuracy: 56 g/2 oz per muffin.) You can make any number of muffins and divide the dough however you want: 6 giant muffins, 18 small muffins, 10 medium-large, etc.
Flatten each piece lightly, fold the edges and corners into the center, form a ball, and roll into a sphere.
Dust a baking sheet with cornstarch and line muffins up, leaving 3-4 inches between each. Lightly flatten again with the palm of your hand.
Cover with a damp kitchen towel and let rise another 30 minutes in a warm spot.
While dough is rising again, preheat oven to 350 F/175 C.
When ready to fry and bake, heat a skillet. Butter/oil lightly once the skillet is hot, and let the butter/oil heat. You want to sear the muffins, not deep-fry (though if you want deep-fried English muffins, knock yourself out!)
In batches, fry the muffins until bronzed, 3 – 5 minutes, on each side. Once all muffins are fried, finish them in the oven for 10 – 15 minutes until puffy.
Let cool, split with a fork, toast in halves, and enjoy!
I think I’m falling in love with English muffins,
When I moved home last summer, I decided I really wanted to start learning to cook. That is, actively learning all the techniques, collecting recipes, and becoming more acquainted with the kitchen, rather than just knowing how to use my oven.
And I really wanted to make bread.
I had actually been wanting to practice bread for years, ever since I resolved to cut back on buying or eating processed food. I love me some whole wheat sliced loaves but some day I’ll be making them with my own hands, rather than trying to guess what ingredients are on the label at the grocery store.
At first, it was all English muffins. Vegan, not vegan, whole wheat, whatever. I was going cray for English muffins. Eventually, I started playing around with focaccia, too. As long as I can remember, I’ve had a soft spot for focaccia, especially Panera panini made with the flatbread. From the moment I started baking it myself, though, I knew I would never stop. Bread is already the World’s Greatest Comfort Food (and also one of the oldest foods, as well), and focaccia, with its rosemary-olive oil crust and fluffy interior, is all the more belly-filling and heart-warming!
It’s also relatively simple to make, as far as breads go. I went through a couple different recipes, watched every YouTube video I could find, and came up with my own experiment to determine how best to make the flatbread. I tried different amounts of oil, different steps in making the dough, different amounts of flour and water, and different proofing times. Along the way, I found that the less flour you use, the better. Sometimes you can’t get away with not using flour: when you have to knead or shape the dough, for example. But in this case, using less flour than you’d expect results in a lighter and more flavorful bread. I end up making something closer to batter than dough.
The bread keeps for a few days just fine, but it’s so good you’ll have to hide the extra so you don’t eat too much in one sitting!
serves 6 – 8
100 g starter (or 7 g active dry yeast, plus an extra 50 g each of water and all-purpose flour; so 200 g water, 250 g flour)
150 g water
200 g all-purpose flour
40 g extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for seasoning
hefty pinch of salt (at least a tablespoon)
1 tsp sugar
seasonings and add-ons: coarse sea salt, fresh rosemary, garlic, olives
In the bowl of a stand mixer, or a large bowl, combine starter/yeast, water, flour, olive oil, sugar, salt, and dried rosemary. Quickly whisk until just combined, then beat with a dough hook (either on the stand mixer or using a handheld electric mixer), for 5 minutes until uniform and the dough starts to pull away a little from the sides of the bowl.
It’ll be pretty wet and batter-y at this point, but don’t worry. Everything will be okay, I promise.
Grease a medium-large bowl with extra virgin olive oil, and, using a bowl scraper or spatula, scrape the dough into the oil bowl. Either flip the dough in the bowl, or lightly drizzle with olive oil.
Cover the bowl and let the dough proof, a few hours in a warm spot or overnight in the fridge, until doubled in size.
Oil and salt a large brownie pan with extra virgin olive oil and coarse sea salt, then scrape the dough into the pan. Spread the dough out until it covers the entire pan, then let rise, covered, in a warm spot for at least an hour. Don’t let it rise too much or it’ll lose elasticity. Two hours maximum.
Preheat the oven to 400 F/200 C.
When ready to bake, stick garlic cloves and olives into the dough at random intervals, lightly drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with sea salt and fresh rosemary. Bake 20 – 30 minutes until golden brown and puffy.
Transfer the bread to a wire rack and let cool slightly before serving.
Buon appetito, i miei amici!
previous monthly muffins:
Mine’s Herbert. He smells funny, but he’s so damn cute.
He’s fluffy, bubbly, and off-white. Not white…off-white. I play with him a lot, but I only have to feed him once or twice a week!
Oh, you thought I was talking about my cat. No, my cats eat ten times a day and there are three of them and none of them are off-white…not even in the slightest.
No, I was talking about my starter.
I made my first (and I hope only) sourdough starter on March 13 of this year, four months ago, and named him Herbert. I keep him in a plastic quart container in a fridge and try to feed him twice a week (but really if I only feed him once a week, it’s no big deal.)
I created my starter after watching Michael Pollan’s Netflix series, “Cooked,” based on his book, “Cooked” (I did not see that naming coming, how clever.)
Since birthing Herbert, I’ve been working on sourdough English muffins, pretzels, croissants, and even brioche. I used to be in love with active dry baker’s yeast (Red Star was the love of my life), but now I have a young child who takes up all my time, energy, and love (not really; sourdough doesn’t take any time or energy, but requires all of the love. every bit of it.)
This isn’t about the paste, though. This is about what I made with it: English muffins.
Fluffy, rich, buttery, and crusty. Not like the flat, flaccid pucks you buy at the grocery store.
The ones I make aren’t vegan, but the vegan substitutions are easy. Fortunately, most bread by default is vegan, so it’s not like trying to make vegan chocolate mousse (which only works if you have a Vitamix, by the way.) In fact, the first few times I attempted English muffins, they were vegan…until I fried them in butter like the shameless Southerner that I am.
As with most breads or doughs, you can make the dough for these muffins in advance and either freeze or refrigerate them, provided you allow them to proof at some point.
(sourdough) english muffins
makes 12 muffins
Note: if you don’t have a starter but want to make these, it’s an easy substitution. The standard amount of dry yeast is 7 grams or 1 packet, and the amount of added liquid and flour will be half of the weight of the starter. For example, for a recipe with 200 grams of starter, add an extra 100 g each of the liquid and flour. A starter is 1 part water and 1 part flour, so if you wanted to substitute in reverse (using a starter INSTEAD of dry yeast), cut out the yeast, take an equal amount away from the flour and liquid in the recipe, and add twice that amount of the starter (100 grams x 2 = 200 grams starter.)
200 g sourdough starter
350 g all-purpose flour
150 g warm milk or water
1 oz softened butter or vegetable oil
dash of salt
10 g sugar
cornmeal and butter for frying (you don’t need the butter if you’re doing vegan muffins, and if you’re using a non-stick/anodized aluminum pan, you don’t even need oil. you can also use bare cast iron, seasoned with vegan oils.)
In a large bowl using an electric mixer with the dough hook, combine the flour, milk/water, butter, salt, and sugar.
Add the starter and mix with the dough hook for ~5 minutes, until the dough is smooth and it cleans up the bowl as it moves around.
Transfer the dough to a lightly-oiled bowl, cover with a kitchen towel or plastic wrap, and let proof for a few hours (either at room temperature or overnight in the fridge.) You can freeze the dough at this point, as well, as long as you thaw it overnight in the fridge and let it proof at least once before moving on.
When the dough is doubled in size, turn it out onto a lightly-floured surface and divide into 12 equal pieces. The best way to do this is measure the weight of the dough. I end up with approximately 775 grams, so 64 grams per piece for one dozen. You can do any size and any number you want (like ten muffins at 77.5 grams each, or twenty muffins at 40 grams each.)
Roll the dough into balls. Dust a baking sheet with cornmeal and arrange the balls on top of the cornmeal. Flatten the dough into discs with the palm of your hand, cover the pan loosely, and let proof one more time for at least half an hour at room temperature.
While the muffins are proofing, preheat the oven to 400 F/200 C.
Heat a large skillet or griddle (aluminum or cast iron are great, but any material works) on high/medium-high, and add about a tablespoon of unsalted butter. When butter is melted and hot, panfry the muffins, 3 – 4 at a time, until bronze on each side (it’ll be 2 – 5 minutes per side, depending on how hot the pan is.)
Once the muffins are browned on each side, return them to the baking sheet and continue with the rest. After all of the muffins are fried, put them in the oven for 10 – 15 minutes, until plump and firm, taking them out before they brown any more.
Let cool in the pan, then transfer to a wire rack and continue to cool. Muffins last about a week in a sealed container at room temperature, and are best eaten toasted. When splitting muffins, use a fork so you get all the nooks and crannies.
Cheerio and all that,
previous monthly muffins:
It’s the month of loooooove, and I am in looooooooooooove with ginger. Last year I made a ginger sugar cookie, a ginger-flavored and turmeric-colored cookie completely different from the typical molasses cookie. While working on the first few monthly muffins last season, I tested out molasses as a vegan sweetener, and ended up with molasses muffins. They weren’t what I was aiming for, so I put the idea of a molasses muffin on the shelf for another cold season.
These are not the molasses muffins you are probably not looking for anyway.
Because of health reasons, I decided in November to do more vegan pastries, in addition to savory cooking, and the first and most important thing on my Xmas wishlist was a vegan baking book. I got exactly what I wanted: The Joy of Vegan Baking, by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau. I didn’t recognize the book when I opened it (though I was plenty appreciative as it’s supposedly the number one vegan pastry book), and a few days later I discovered it hidden in the bowels of my Amazon wishlist. This is what happens when you add 100 books a day to your Amazon wishlist and then never look at it again.
My new year’s resolution a few years ago was to reduce the number of processed foods I buy at the grocery store. I even started a list of foods I would allow (breads and some Morningstar products), and foods I would stop buying (shredded cheese with preservatives, dyed cheddar cheese, etc.) Back then, EarthBalance wasn’t on my list of banned foods, but now for the sake of simplicity and budget, it is.
Before baking anything from the book, I went through and examined every single recipe to see what fats and liquids are used. I marked all the recipes that use non-dairy milk (cheap and whole, totally acceptable), and vegetable oil, rather than margarine or vegan butters and vegan cheeses. Eventually, I’ll go back to the recipes that call for the processed ingredients and work on making my own substitutions, but for now I’m focusing on the ones with simpler ingredients, like these muffins.
Fortunately, muffins are easy and forgiving. It doesn’t matter what fats or oils you use, as long as they’re in liquid form when you use them, and you leaven with baking soda/baking powder. That’s why we have the Monthly Muffin and not the Monthly Montblanc.
These muffins are similar to the ginger cookies from last spring, but without the turmeric…and also, they’re not cookies. I hope that’s obvious. The ginger flavor is light and sweet, but noticeable, like in ginger ale, rather than ginger bread.
The apple sauce helps create volume and makes the batter thicker, while the canola oil makes them rich and flavorful. I tried a version with mostly apple sauce, and then one with none, and I preferred the latter. The mostly apple sauce batch was a little dry and not very flavorful, but I ended up using a combination of the two ingredients, so I could get volume, great texture, and plenty of flavor. Over the past few months of trying vegan and gluten-free things, I’ve learned that a combination of canola oil and apple sauce is one of the best ways to replace eggs and butter*.
I used coconut milk because it has the best texture for baking and cooking, and in many recipes, you won’t even taste the coconut.
These muffins are best topped with toasted almonds, or for those of you who can’t have nuts, a vanilla glaze made from coconut milk and powdered sugar.
And finally, as much as I try to get by without it, I always find myself adding some amount of whole wheat flour to my muffins. For the first few muffins at the end of last year, using mostly whole wheat was the way to go, but for something that’s meant to be a whiter muffin (meaning all all-purpose flour), if you substitute about 1/3 of the all-purpose flour for the same amount of whole wheat, I think it makes the muffin that much better.
*There are a few recommended ways to replace eggs and butter in vegan baking, and I tried most of them in this recipe. Beware of using too much baking powder or soda (in fact, avoid the baking soda altogether), or else the muffins will taste like blood…I mean…something metallic…maybe.
vegan ginger muffins (glaze recipe included)
adapted from The Joy of Vegan Baking, makes 12 muffins
200 g all-purpose flour
40 g whole wheat flour
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground ginger
a dash of salt
30 g fresh ginger, peeled and grated
180 g granulated sugar
40 g unsweetened apple sauce
80 g vegetable oil (or nut or coconut)
240 g non-dairy milk (coconut is my preference)
~6 g lemon zest or a splash of lemon extract
for topping: toasted sliced almonds, lemon glaze, vanilla glaze (recipe below), crystallized ginger (recipe here)
Preheat the oven to 375 F/190 C, and line a muffin pan with paper liners.
In a small bowl, whisk together the flours, ground ginger, baking powder, and salt.
In a separate larger bowl, grate the peeled ginger using a microplane grater/zester. Add the sugar and whisk until all the sugar is soaked into the ginger.
Whisk in the apple sauce, oil, milk, and zest/extract until smooth and consistent.
Whisk or fold the dry ingredients into the wet just until combined, then divide evenly among the cups in the muffin pan.
If topping with almonds, you can either toast them a little bit before you make the batter, or sprinkle them onto the unbaked muffins without toasting (they’ll toast a little in the oven.) Otherwise, skip this part.
Bake the muffins for 20 – 25 minutes until golden brown and springy to the touch.
Remove and cool in the pan for a few minutes, then take the muffins out and cool on a wire rack. If glazing, let them cool completely before glazing.
vegan muffin glaze, makes ~1/2 c, enough for 1 dozen muffins
20 g coconut milk
100 g powdered sugar, sifted
lemon zest, vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
Whisk ingredients together, alternating between the milk and sugar, until it’s your desired consistency. It should be thick but runny, like syrup.
Drizzle on top of the muffins while they’re on the wire rack. Let it solidify, then enjoy!
Salut, mes amis!
I discovered something late last year: I don’t generally like stews. It just so happens that most things called “stew” are things I don’t like. Not a fan of chili (except Cincinnati Chili, oh mama), try to avoid Brunswick Stew, and really don’t like boiled meat (beef is not meant to be boiled, y’all.)
But I won’t judge you if you do like stew. I just won’t cook it for you and if you have a habit of making it, or of boiling your meat, I will not be coming to your house for dinner (unless you buy wine in bulk, then I’m there.)
Because of this, I would much rather this recipe be called Mulligatawny Soup, but I’m not gonna try and rewrite history to suit my own preferences.
While I’m not a fan of stew, I am a massive fan of anything curry, the saltier and spicier the better. And bonus points out the buttcrack for coconut milk-based curries.
So I think I can overlook the name just this once…maybe.
I first had mulligatawny stew nearly a year ago, when I was still doing the food-writer-ing-editor-ing thing in Japan. One of the recipes submitted for a cold weather-themed spread I came up with was mulligatawny stew. I had never heard of it, but I needed photos for the spread, so I tried my hand at the contributor’s recipe (she is now one half of the food section editorial pair and her culinary endeavors are by far the most inspirational I’ve ever watched.) Needless to say, my attempt was a failure. I’m not a wonderful cook now, but a year ago I was abysmal. Unless I was making pasta or roasted potatoes, I was helpless. More stories about that throughout the year (think failed naan and that time I discovered chicken gizzard.)
My soup was thin, clear, and flavorless, but looked pretty enough in the photos. I’m trying to become more attuned to flavors in cooking and how to manipulate them. I have plenty of experience with pastry and baking that I can handle ingredients deftly, but when it comes to pots and pans, I’m a baby.
That’s not to say that you shouldn’t trust this recipe. I put myself down but I have learned at least something since I started cooking. I spent the latter half of 2015 playing with soups (so expect a lot of soup recipes this winter and next), so I’m getting used to how things work together in the soup pot.
Between the first time I ever made mulligatawny stew and the recipe below, I noticed the big factor is the coconut milk. First of all, I’m lactose-intolerant and as I get older, my reactions become more intense/more frequent. Second of all, when there’s curry, there should also be coconut*. I can handle butter, but if you wanted to go full vegan, you could substitute coconut oil easily. If you’re paleo, coconut oil is the way to go, as well.
You may be thinking of green curry, which should actually taste like coconut, but I’m thinking of other curries. If you can’t handle dairy, don’t substitute soy milk. I learned the hard way (creamy vegan tomato soup) that soy milk breaks up. Coconut milk is smoother and holds together. I recently attempted tikka masala for the first time and had to make a non-dairy substitution. I thought coconut milk might be too strong a flavor for the tomato gravy, but you couldn’t even tell, and the texture was amazing.
So, when substituting for cream or milk, use coconut milk, and when substituting for butter, use coconut oil or other vegetable oils (peanut works very well.)
The chicken really adds to the soup but you could substitute it for vegetables of your choice (roasted cauliflower is brilliant, and as always, I love a good potato done any way. If you’re trying to cut back on starches, go with the cauliflower or some chickpeas.)
other important things I’ve learned:
1. Let the flavorings (garlic and onions) cook slowly and for a long time to really develop those particular flavors. In fact, cook everything for a little bit longer than you expect. Second, salt should be the last ingredient.
2. Most recipes say “salt for flavor” because salt determines the intensity of the other flavors. You can keep adding spices and it won’t change a thing if you don’t have any salt. Follow the recipe, and at the end, throw in a generous handful of salt, and then taste and adjust.
3. This one takes a long time to come together, so start preparing ~2 hours before you intend to eat. Fortunately this means you have time to prepare other things while the stew is going.
This is a perfect winter soup: it’s warm, rich and creamy, with enough spice to surprise you, but not so much that it’s hard to handle. The flavor is simultaneously light and strong, the broth is buttery even if you make it without butter, and the vegetables are sweet, savory, hearty, and refreshing. Using roasted cauliflower, or topping with roasted nuts, adds another delicious dimension, as well.
non-dairy mulligatawny soup/stew (with chicken but also with vegan substitutions included)
adapted from Well Fed 2: More Paleo Recipes for People Who Love to Eat, by Melissa Joulwan
makes 9 servings (no really, it lasts a long time unless you eat it for every meal like I do)
2 yellow onions
1 large red apple
3 cloves garlic
1 lb carrots
salt and pepper
2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast or thigh
oil (coconut, peanut, canola, etc.)
1 1/2 Tbsp curry powder
1/2 tsp chili powder
1 Tbsp flour or starch
pinch of cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp allspice
2 bay leaves
1/2 c unsweetened coconut flakes
4 c chicken stock
Salt, to taste
1-2 c coconut milk
for topping: toasted sliced almonds, toasted cashews, toasted shredded coconut
Dice onions and put in a bowl by themselves.
Chop apples, mince garlic, and slice carrots, and put in a medium bowl together.
In a large, deep stock pot, heat ~1 Tbsp oil.
Lay chicken on a paper towel lined plate and dry off with paper towels.
Sprinkle the chicken liberally with salt and pepper, and brown chicken on both sides. Remove meat and set aside in a bowl.
Add a little bit more oil to the pot and let it heat for a minute.
Sauté the onions, stirring occasionally, for about 30 minutes until they begin to soften and brown.
Add garlic, carrots, and apple, and continue to cook until everything starts to soften and turn brown.
Mix curry powder, chili powder, flour, cayenne, and allspice together in a small bowl. Add the bay leaves and spice mixture to the vegetables, and sauté for about 10 minutes until the spices become dark and fragrant.
Meanwhile, chop the chicken into bite-sized pieces.
Add the coconut flakes, and chicken stock to the pot, scrape up any brown bits at the bottom, and bring to a boil.
Reduce the heat, add chicken pieces, and simmer for about 45 minutes, until thickened, tasting along the way.
When soup is seasoned and thickened, turn off the heat and stir in the coconut milk.
For serving: toast some sliced almonds, cashews, or shredded coconut on the stove in a dry frying pan, until they brown noticeably (don’t worry about burnt nuts, they add flavor), and put on top of the stew. Warm up some naan the same way, in the same frying pan, or roast some seasoned chickpeas in the already-hot oven. Alternatively, put out some yogurt (dairy or non-dairy) to eat on the side or add to the stew for a contrast to the warmth of the soup.
instead of 2 lbs of chicken, use one head of cauliflower or 2 lbs white potatoes
instead of chicken stock, use vegetable stock
If using cauliflower, preheat your oven to 450 – 500 F, or preheat your broiler. Chop the cauliflower into bite-sized pieces, spread out on a baking sheet, coat lightly with oil and season liberally with salt and pepper.
When oven or broiler are ready, roast/broil cauliflower until it starts to blacken on top.
Meanwhile, heat the oil and cook the onions, carrots, apple, and garlic the same way as the non-vegan version above.
Add the spices, flour, and bay leaves as above and cook until darkened.
Add coconut flakes and vegetable stock, and scrape up any brown bits from the vegetables. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 45 minutes, until thickened noticeably.
If using potatoes, chop them into bite-sized pieces and add them to the soup.
If using cauliflower, add them to the pot about 20 minutes before the soup is done.
Simmer as above, turn off the heat when the soup is done, and stir in the coconut milk.
Garnish and serve as above.
past holiday cookies:
ginger turmeric sugar cookies | | basic sugar cookies | | cardamom shortbread | | salted, spiced double chocolate cookies | | chocolate chip cookies | | cardamom molasses cookies | | black tea butter cookies
Christmas is just around the corner, which means cookies galore. I like to do a cookie round-up every December, featuring some new holiday cookie recipes and bringing back some old ones. Perhaps someday I’ll have enough to write a book dedicated to holiday cookies (and by “perhaps,” I mean “certainly.”) It’s the time of year for spicy chocolate, rich ginger and molasses, decorate-able sugar cookies, and exploring all manner of exotic recipes, ancient recipes, and European recipes.
Last year, I went on a spicy cookie binge, introducing salted and spiced double chocolate cookies and cardamom molasses cookies. Over the past year, though, I’ve been trying my hand at some vegan and gluten-free pastries (vegan banana nut muffins, gluten-free brownies, gluten-free muffins), so our special 2015 guests are of the vegan variety.
I spent a month trying to come up with a “healthy” vegan cookie, with whole wheat, oatmeal, apples, and more, so that I could have my cake and gain a six-pack, too. I don’t normally diet, and in fact I hate the word, but I’m thinking it’s time to become more aware of my health and what I’m eating (my tummy will go away but chocolate chip cookies are forever.) Long story short, those cookies were disastrous and disgusting, consistently. They were mushy and soggy, even when I dried out the apple bits in the oven before adding them to the batter, and they tasted less than pleasant. My grandiose idea of The Healthy Vegan Apple Oatmeal Cookie would have to say hello to the trashcan for good. I figured I could try scones instead, but I still wanted some cookies for Saint Nick (I am Saint Nick. I wanted the cookies for my own mouth.) The scones will have to wait until 2016 (but expect a load of vegan and GF scone recipes next year.)
A friend of mine suggested that I do peanut butter cookies. They’re essentially only three ingredients: peanut butter, flour, and sugar. However, as I discovered through a lot of trial and error, three ingredients just doesn’t cut it. Adding some oil and liquid helps.
When thinking of what types of cookies I could make vegan, and what types of cookies I didn’t already have on the blog, the obvious top choice was snickerdoodles, named after me (actually, as you can read in the about me, my parents called me snickerdoodle when I was younger…meaning until last week.)
So here we have it: our 2015 holiday cookies are vegan snickerdoodles and vegan peanut butter!
With the snickerdoodles, I found it’s really important to have a combination of apple sauce, vegetable oil, and maple syrup. No maple syrup and the cookies won’t be very sweet. Too much apple sauce and they taste metallic (apple sauce has ascorbic acid, and the most important ingredient in snickerdoodles is tartaric acid, so in all it’s just too much acid.) The apple sauce helps the texture: it makes the cookies puff up more and end up softer when they cool. Otherwise, you end up with snickerdoodle chips. The maple syrup helps sweeten the cookies and thin out the dough a little bit. If the dough is too dry, the coating doesn’t stick and it’s harder to work with.
makes 2 dozen small (2 teaspoons) or 1 dozen medium (4 tsp)
10 g granulated sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
dash of salt
60 g canola oil*
25 g unsweetened apple sauce
60 g maple syrup*
110 g granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
185 g all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Preheat the oven to 375 F/190 C. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a small shallow bowl, or on a plate, mix the coating ingredients. Set aside.
In a small mixing bowl, combine flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and cream of tartar.
In a larger mixing bowl, beat the wet ingredients (oil, apple sauce, syrup, sugar, and vanilla), then beat in dry mixture until fully combined. The dough might be dry and crumbly, but it should clump together when you squeeze it.
Form small balls about 2 centimeters across, use a small (2-teaspoon) cookie scoop, or a regular spoon. Lightly press dough spheres into the bowl/plate of cinnamon sugar, to coat one side and form a small disc, then arrange the cookies (sugared side up) on the baking sheet.
Bake for 10 – 12 minutes, until the tops are crispy and crackle-y. Remove, cool, and enjoy.
I made the peanut butter cookies a few different ways: as simple as possible (no added liquids), with a little bit of added liquid (soy milk), with a ton of apple sauce for volume, and then with a mix of oil and milk. The last way ended up being the best all around: they thinned out and puffed up, retained the peanut butter taste but weren’t too dense, and were easy to work with. Too much soy milk and the flavor gets diluted. Too little and the cookies are dense. I ended up not even needing apple sauce. You’re welcome to add some, but I found it didn’t make a difference, and because I like to simplify my recipes as much as possible, if I don’t need it, I don’t use it. I also took out the vanilla extract because the flavor comes from the peanut butter and the sweetness from the sugars.
I tried these with factory peanut butter (Skippy) and organic (Justin’s), and they turned out the same either way. The non-factory peanut butter is thicker and less sweet, though there’s plenty of oil in it, but the cookies are still amazing. If you think the dough is too thick or dry, mix in some oil or milk.
NOTE: Because these cookies use canola oil as the fat (as opposed to something that would be solid at room temperature, like butter or coconut oil), they won’t melt down or spread at all. The snickerdoodles do spread because of the apple sauce (and perhaps the syrup), but for the peanut butter cookies, you’ll need to flatten them yourself. You can make them really really flat and thin, or a little bit flat like a hockey puck, or you could even just make vegan peanut butter cookie balls. Every option is equally scrumptious.
vegan peanut butter cookies
160 g peanut butter
80 g granulated sugar
80 g brown sugar
32 g canola oil
32 g soy milk (or other non-dairy milk)
95 g all-purpose flour
dash of salt
1 tsp baking powder
Preheat the oven to 350 F/ C and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, beat the wet ingredients (peanut butter, sugars, milk, and oil) and in a separate small bowl, whisk together flour, salt, and baking powder.
Beat ingredients together until the dough is fully mixed.
Using a small ice cream scoop (~2 teaspoons or one spoonful), scoop dough onto the baking sheet and press down with a fork.
Bake for 10 – 15 minutes until the cookies start to darken slightly around the edges. Remove and cool.
Happy holidays, y’all
What is my favorite thing about baking, you ask?
Well, I have to test the recipes a lot before I feel confident calling them “my own,” let alone “successful,” and as a result…I get to eat a lot.
And if I’m making something buttery or high-carb-y, and my parents are on a diet, I have to eat a lot, a lot. I mean…I get to eat a lot, a lot.
When I was in Japan, I discovered the versatility of rice flour as a gluten-free ingredient, and ever since it’s become my goal to really get to know gluten-free ingredients, and to find recipes using the more common, easier-to-find, and cheaper ingredients.
Also, I started budgeting again and, y’all, it ain’t lookin’ good.
I spent the entire month of November on a muffin journey: testing out the previous monthly muffin, then attempting to make a gluten-free version, testing every flour combination imaginable (white rice + brown rice, white rice + buckwheat, white rice + half a bottle of cabernet sauvignon, white rice + soy flour, and white rice + chickpea flour.) I discovered that they all work well as long as you have a base of white rice flour, plus a high-fiber flour. You can also do 100% white rice flour for a lighter muffin, but for those of you who, like me, need to hibernate immediately, hearty is good.
I also tested out dairy and non-dairy versions: buttermilk, greek yogurt, and soy milk.
In all, I made enough muffins to feed the city, and when I was just about to start the dairy testing, but realized I had no more puree left, I picked out a recipe for the January monthly muffin (shhhh, it’s a secret. duh.) The texture of these muffins is so unbelievable, you’d never guess they’re gluten-free. None of the weird gummy-crumbly-heavy-like-a-boulder stuff, and you don’t have to break the bank searching for flours you’ve never heard of (but if you would like to do so, by all means, go ahead.) When it came to non-dairy milk, I decided just to try a totally vegan version, and those turned out as well as the rest, albeit a little smaller and drier.
All substitutions included in the recipe below.
gluten-free sweet potato muffins (with vegan substitutions below)
adapted from whole wheat pumpkin streusel muffins
makes 1 dozen
80 g white rice flour
80 g high-fiber gluten-free flour (brown rice, soy, chickpea, buckwheat) or 80 g white rice flour (160 g total)
80 g starch (tapioca and cornstarch combined, or one of the two)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
80 g buttermilk*
150 g maple syrup or agave nectar
45 g canola oil
200 g sweet potato puree
extra: pecans, raisins, brown sugar, streusel topping, crystallized ginger
*You can substitute greek yogurt, milk (dairy or non-dairy), or dried buttermilk. For greek yogurt, the batter will be thicker, so add a few extra grams of yogurt (90-100 g), and for milk, substitute 1:1 (80 g.) If you use dried buttermilk: 80 g water into the wet mixture and 4 teaspoons of buttermilk powder into the dry.
**You can make these vegan by using 80 g non-dairy milk and 20 g vinegar in the wet mixture, and 3 tsp baking soda (10 g vinegar + 1 tsp baking soda = 1 egg), instead of 1 tsp in the dry mixture. These will be a little drier than the recipe, so I would do 160 – 170 g syrup instead of 150.
Preheat oven to 350 F/175 C and line a muffin tin with 12 paper cups.
In a small bowl, combine the flours, starch, salt, baking soda and powder, and spices.
In a large bowl, whisk together syrup, buttermilk, canola oil, eggs, and puree.
Dump dry mix into wet and mix quickly. If desired, mix in extras (nuts, raisins, etc.) and divide evenly among muffin cups, ~3 Tbsp per cup, then top with streusel, nuts, cinnamon brown sugar, or whatever else you like.
Bake for 15 – 20 minutes until firm to the touch and a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Remove from the oven and let cool in pan, then transfer to a wire rack to continue cooling.
I like them best when they’re topped with cinnamon and brown sugar.