Archive for the 'Breakfast Pastry' Category



Gluten-Free, Refined-Sugar-Free, Vegan and Delicious Pumpkin Scones

Yes, believe what the title says. It is definitely possible to make delicious vegan, gluten-free, sugar-free desserts. I’m slowly converting everyone I know, and I hope to convert you too, at least to the idea that this is a possible baking feat. I’m so used to adapting regular recipes, and have figured out good proportions of animal-friendly (as well as gluten-free and sugar-free) ingredients to make yummy veganized versions, but this time I found a recipe online that was already perfect and fit all my dietary requirements. Plus, it was already tested and blogged about, and even photographed so I could see evidence that this recipe actually worked. You can find all of that proof, plus the recipe, right here. I followed the recipe to a T, with a tiny addition of half a cup of chopped pecans mixed into the batter and sprinkled on the top before baking. I have to admit – these scones are a little bit muffin-like in consistency (they had a fluffier and a little more cake-like texture than most scones do), but they are so delicious you won’t care at all. You’ll eat tons of them. Especially because they are pumpkin (my favorite flavor), have no gluten, no refined sugar, no dairy and no eggs. So they practically don’t exist or have calories or anything, right?

Autumn Crunch

Fall is in the air – even here, in California, we have beautiful autumn leaves drifting down from the trees and blanketing our yards. They are definitely lots of fun to jump on and scrunch beneath your feet! However, not all the aspects of Fall are that alluring. With the school-based schedule crunch of final papers and projects looming over my head, and as the shorter, colder, darker days continue, I knew I needed something to look forward to and entice me out of bed with…So, using my dried persimmons and all the sweet warm spices I could think of, I created an autumnal breakfast treat to look forward to when I wake up.

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This Persimmon Granola is perfect paired with almond milk for a yummy breakfast, but it also is tasty plain as a snack, and I’m sure it would be good with vanilla ice cream as a crunchy topping.

You can make this granola with any mix of nuts, spices, and dried fruits that you have on hand. I think the persimmons give it a wonderful Fall flavor and color, but raisins or dates would be delicious as well. You can add brown sugar, agave, or honey if you want added sweetness, but I am enjoying the subtle sweetness of the brown rice syrup on it’s own; it really makes the persimmon’s natural sweet taste stand out. And the spices of course are flexible – add whatever you like best. My house was filled with great smells after baking this!

Ingredients:

5 cups oats
2 cups raw almonds, coarsely chopped
1 cup raw walnuts, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup shredded & unsweetened dried coconut
1 Tblsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ginger
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. cloves
1/4 tsp. cardamom
1/2 tsp. salt

1 cup brown rice syrup
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 Tblsp. vegetable oil

2 cups chopped dried persimmons (it is easy to cut them with scissors into bite-sized pieces).

Preheat your oven to 300F. Cover two jelly-roll pans (cookie sheets with sides) with aluminum foil (this will make clean-up easier).
In a very large bowl, mix together the oats, almonds, walnuts, coconut, spices, and salt.
In a small saucepan, heat the applesauce, brown rice syrup, and oil. Stir constantly, till they are smooth.
Mix the heated liquid mixture into the dry ingredients until thoroughly combined, then divide and spread the mixture evenly on your prepared pans.
Bake the granola for about 40 minutes, stirring every ten minutes, until the granola is a deep golden brown color.
Remove the pans from the oven, and cool completely.
Stir your chopped dried persimmons into the granola after it is cool.
Store the granola in a large, airtight container.

Zoe’s Fruit Tea Cake

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At the farmer’s market last weekend, my mom was lucky enough to be gifted with 16 nectarines, of various sizes and stages of ripeness. Some had to be eaten right away, their juicy sweetness oozing with every bite. I easily took care of that “problem”. I still had many left over, and I remembered that my friend Zoe makes the most lovely cake that she brings to nearly every brunch that she goes to. No one ever gets sick of it, and I request it even! With this abundance of nectarines, waiting to be consumed, I couldn’t resist borrowing Zoe’s recipe and making her delightful tea cake! You can make it with whatever kind of hard fruit appeals to you…I’ve had it with pears, peaches, nectarines, or plums, and it’s always delicious.

It is simple to make, using simple ingredients and a very quick recipe. I hope you enjoy it.

Ingredients:
3/4 cup sugar + a little for dusting the top of the cake
1/2 cup minus 2 Tblsp. Earth Balance margarine
1/2 cup plain unsweetened applesauce
1 tsp. vanilla extract
5 Tblsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice, divided
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 cup flour
2 nectarines, sliced (or other hard fruit)
1/2 tsp. cinnamon, for dusting the top of the cake

Sift flour, baking powder, and baking soda together into a small bowl. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, cream together the margarine and sugar, and when it is fluffy, add the applesauce, vanilla, and 2 tablespoons of lemon juice. Mix well. Add the dry ingredients and thoroughly combine. You should have a very stiff batter.
Spread batter evenly into an 8 or 9-inch springform pan, and use a rubber spatula to smooth the top.
Place slices of fruit on the top in a petal formation, skin side up, on top of the batter.
Drizzle 2-3 tablespoons of lemon juice on top, evenly. Dust heavily with cinnamon and sugar.
Bake at 425 degrees for 10 minutes, then lower the oven temperature to 325 and bake for another 40 minutes. Check your cake by sticking a toothpick into the center and if it comes out clean, then it’s done! You want the cake to brown, but not get too crispy.

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Power Pancakes

I went with 8 fabulous women friends of mine on an adventure in Big Basin Park on Sunday. Some of us were staying over, camping there for the night, while the rest of us were heading home in the evening to be back for work Monday morning. We were planning to leave early in the morning, packing our gear into the cars and turning up the music to get us pumped up for the drive down. We started the morning with a sandwich bar, where we could each make our own customized sandwich filled with lots of veggies, hummus, tofu, and cheese (for some). There was even a triple-decker sandwich created! If that won’t get you through an 11-mile hike, I don’t know what will! Except, of course, what I whipped up for breakfast to power us through this long day…

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I woke up earlier than planned and thought to myself that I just had the loveliest of friends, and I was so happy to be adventuring with them, and that we should have something to start our active day with style; something that will keep our bodies and minds happy for the rest of the day. Oatmeal would work, but that’s a little boring for a Sunday. Pancakes would certainly cover the “style” and “mind” categories well, but pancakes are not typically first on the list of healthy breakfast options. So I thought I could adapt a basic pancake recipe into something a little more fun and a little more wholesome. I just threw ingredients into the mixing bowl and hoped I wasn’t adding too many mix-ins to make these babies palatable. After heating up our skillets and pouring the first dollops of batter onto the sizzling pans, the cinnamony smells were intoxicating. They came out perfect, with a moist and fluffy interior and a crispy browned outside, and were packed with great ingredients to give us an invigorating start to our day. The dried coconut and bananas gave them a hint of tropical flavor, and the oats and pecans were a nice added texture. The whole wheat flour didn’t make the pancakes too heavy as I had worried it might, but instead just made them taste a wee bit healthy – but not too much that anyone really noticed. Because of all the sweet fruity flavors, these pancakes were delicious with raspberry preserves spread on liberally! This was definitely the winning topping, although there was maple syrup and agave present to be poured over too. And these pancakes definitely gave us a great start to our long day of hiking. We even made it to the end of a longer hike than we originally planned to take, and got to see 3 breathtaking waterfalls!

Without further ado, here is the recipe. It produces a large batch, and I got about 20 4-inch pancakes with it. You could always halve the recipe if you want less (or make a full batch and freeze your leftover pancakes – then whenever you want one, you can just pop it in the toaster oven and have a tasty snack or hearty breakfast in mere minutes!).

Ingredients:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour (or whole wheat pastry flour if you want a lighter pancake; I didn’t have any of this on hand at the time)
1 cup oats
1 cup unsweetened dried coconut
4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 Tblsp. canola oil, plus a little oil for the pan
1 cup water
2 cups plain soy milk (or non-dairy milk of choice)
2 tsp. vanilla extract
4 Tblsp. maple syrup
2/3 cup chopped pecans
1 banana, sliced thinly
raspberry jam, maple syrup, or agave, for topping

Sift together the flours, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Mix in the dried coconut and oats. In a separate bowl, combine the oil, water, soy milk, vanilla, and maple syrup. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour the wet mix in. Mix until just combined (make sure not to over-mix. Some lumps are okay!). Gently fold in your chopped pecans and banana slices. Let batter sit for a few minutes while you heat up your pan/s.
Lightly oil a large skillet and preheat over medium-high heat. You’ll know when the pan is hot enough if you flick some drops of water over the pan and they bounce off and sizzle.
Use a ladle to spoon your batter onto your pan, and make even-sized circles of batter. I typically get perfect pancakes by letting them sit on the pan longer than my patience will allow; I wait for them to start bubbling on top and have a bit of wispy steam/smoke coming out the edges from the bottom. This is when I flip them. Let the second side cook until they are browned and the whole pancake is barely firm to touch. Transfer to individual plates, or one large serving plate that you can keep warm in the oven.
Top with your favorite topping! Eat! Go for an invigorating hike or other active-day adventure!

Blueberry Almond Scones

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Still on Sara’s farm, we planned a day at the river. We bought lots of sandwich-making ingredients, snack foods, filled our coolers, planned to pack our swimsuits, towels, and lots of sunscreen, and prepared for the drive and hike down to utopia the next day. But we were missing one thing! Something sweet to snack on. We had lots of blueberries from our picking adventure, and what is better than fresh berry scones? Clearly, we needed these for our river trip. So we got to baking, and made these scrumptious treats. Of course, we couldn’t resist the tempting smells wafting out of the oven while the scones baked, and we ate many of them that night while they were warm, and the next morning for breakfast before going to the river, but we still had some left over to enjoy while lounging on the beach after our boulder-climb through the cool blue waters of the Van Buren River (or the Mad River? I can’t remember. But whatever it was called, it was beautiful).

The scones were moist, soft, and crumbly, and intensely rich. The original recipe calls for pure butter, whole milk, and buttermilk, and when I’ve had them in the past, while they were undeniably delicious, it was difficult to eat a whole scone in one sitting because they are so heavy. The vegan version doesn’t lose any of it’s “perfect scone texture”, but it becomes lighter, flaky, and even a little fluffy, but steers clear of any sort of muffin-like consistency.

Continue reading ‘Blueberry Almond Scones’

Rustic Mango Pudding Cake

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I got the idea for this bread from Dorie Greenspan’s fan site “Tuesdays With Dorie” where blogging fans choose a specific recipe of Dorie’s to make each week and then they all bake the same thing and post about it. So it’s kind of like baking together, from all over the world! One such recipe and post was for Dorie’s Fresh Mango Bread. It looked moist and crumbly and delicious. So I had to veganize it and try it out! My version was certainly moist and crumbly and delicious, but perhaps a bit too moist and crumbly! Next time I will try to cut down on the wet ingredients a bit and turn the oven temperature lower (and increase the baking time) so that the inside cooks more. The inside was moist and pudding-like, especially with the chunks of gooey mango and chewy raisins. The inside firmed up a bit by the next morning, and it was actually quite a nice soft texture. I liked that the outside had a bit of crunch to it. And the taste! Yum. All the ginger and cinnamon spices were delightful, and the lime juice adds a lovely zing. It’s sweet but not too-sweet, was a great dessert cake (with a scoop of vanilla ice cream it would be divine!), and also was a great breakfast cake. Come on, admit it, you like to eat cake for breakfast, and this one is actually mildly healthy (just forget all the white flour, sugar, oil, etc. But it does have fruit in it! So that counts for something, I’d say).

I’ve written out my adapted recipe below; You can choose to lower the oven temperature or the amount of liquid if you want to.

Ingredients:
3/4 cup plain soy yogurt
3/4 canola oil
2.5 cups all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup (packed) brown sugar
2 cups diced fresh mango
3/4 cup moist, plump golden raisins
Grated zest of 1/2 lime
Juice of 1/2 lime
Topping:
1/4 cup of dried shredded coconut
1/8 cup chopped cashews

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease an 8.5 x 4.5 inch loaf pan, dust the inside with flour and tap out the excess. Put the pan on an insulated baking sheet or on two regular baking sheets stacked one on top of the other. (This extra insulation will keep the bottom of the bread from overbaking).

Whisk the soy yogurt and oil together. Add the sugars and continue whisking.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices and salt. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry, switch to a sturdy rubber spatula or wooden spoon and mix until blended — the batter will be very thick (really more like a dough than a batter) and not easily mixed, but persevere, it will soon come together. Stir in the mango, raisins, zest, and lime juice. Scrape the batter into the pan and smooth the top with a rubber spatula. Sprinkle the coconut and chopped cashews on top.

Bake the bread for 1.5 hours, or until it is golden brown and a thin knife inserted into the center comes out clean. (If the bread looks as if it’s getting too brown as it bakes, cover it loosely with a foil tent – shiny side of foil facing up). I did this at 45 minutes. Transfer the pan to a rack and cool for 5 minutes before running a knife around the sides of the pan and unmolding. Invert and cool to room temperature right side up on the rack. Let cool completely before slicing.

Wheat-Free Blueberry Muffins

To finish my epic blue baking week, I give you blueberry muffins!IMG_9946

My friend Freya doesn’t like blueberries. But we had picked so many of them! I had to convince her they would be good, somehow. She said she would only like them if they were in muffins, so that’s what we had for last Sunday’s breakfast. Fresh out of the oven, they were wonderful! They didn’t last longer than that, but I’m sure they would have been great once cooled as well. Freya enjoyed them, as did the rest of the group, which was proved by how quickly the muffins were polished off. And, Freya even enjoyed my blueberry pie, so maybe we’ve got a blueberry convert on our hands :-)

I adapted this recipe from How It All Vegan, and the original recipe said it would make only 6 muffins, but didn’t say what size. I think they must have been using the Texas-sized muffin pans because I was able to make 12 muffins from this recipe. They were somewhat short, but not abnormally. You can choose how high to fill your tins, the muffins don’t rise too much. Also, you can substitute any type of berry you want in these versatile muffins! Blueberries were very good, but I think raspberry would be quite nice too, or even a mix of berries. Continue reading ‘Wheat-Free Blueberry Muffins’

Mocha Raspberry Muffins

I was trying to produce some power-through-the-end-of-the-school-year treats (for me, but especially for the tutors at Julie’s work), and in this case, that definitely meant adding a large dose of caffeine to my baking! I put black tea in cupcakes, and the next night upped the anty and threw some coffee into my chocolate muffins to make a mocha muffin! Mmm…

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The recipe is adapted from The Joy of Vegan Baking but I took out the spices and added some mix-ins of my own. These muffins were absolutely delicious; the cake was fluffy and had a very tender and moist crumb, and they were chock full of tasty additions like instant espresso powder, raspberries, and mini-chocolate chips for a bit of crunchy texture. In the picture above, you can see the little chocolate chips and the pink from the raspberries!

Ingredients:
1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 cups granulated sugar
6 Tblsp. unsweetened cocoa powder (check the label to make sure it is non-dairy)
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
3 tsp. Ener-G Egg Replacer + 4 Tblsp. warm water
2 tsp. instant espresso powder mixed with 1 tsp. hot water, till it dissolves
1 cup almond milk (or your favorite non-dairy milk)
1/2 cup non-dairy butter, melted (I always like original Earth Balance)
1/2 cup non-dairy semi-sweet mini-chocolate chips
1 cup frozen raspberries

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a muffin tin with non-dairy butter or canola oil spray.
Sift together the flour and cocoa powder into a large bowl. Add the baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
Blend the Egg Replacer with the warm water till light and creamy.
In a medium bowl, mix together the Egg Replacer and water mixture, almond milk, melted butter, dissolved espresso powder, and sugar. Add this combination to the dry mixture and stir until they are just combined. Gently stir in the chocolate chips and raspberries.
Spoon the mixture into the muffin pan cups (I like to use a large ice cream scoop to do this). The cups should be about 3/4 of the way full. Bake for 18 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let them cool in the pan for 5 minutes and then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.

Agave-Sweetened Almond Quinoa Muffins

I had a ton of left-over quinoa this weekend, and while I’ve been very happy to add it to my oatmeal and salads, I wanted to find something else creative to do with it. I made quinoa muffins awhile ago (a year ago! Wow, how time flies…), and they were delicious. The recipe I used both times is from Veganomicon, and the only adaptation I made to the original recipe is to add half a teaspoon of baking powder (to make the muffins rise a bit more) and substitute chopped dried cherries instead of apricots or currants because that’s what I had on hand.

When I first tasted the muffins, a few minutes out of the oven, they were very moist and dense but still delicious. The next day when they were completely cooled and had sat out overnight, they felt a bit fluffier and lighter, which was interesting. You can’t taste the almond at all, and I’m a big almond fan, so next time I might add chopped almonds or even a bit of almond extract to the batter, but the muffins certainly don’t need that unless you’re really looking for the almond flavor. The cardamom and cinnamon spices are not overpowering, and are just plain yummy!

I love the bumpy texture that the quinoa gives the tops of the muffins, and the healthy/protein-jump-start to the day that these muffins give you. I also really like that these muffins are delicately sweet, and sweetened only with agave (so really, it would be quite healthy to eat 2 for breakfast everyday, right?). Mmm. As a big nut-butter fan, I found that they were delicious with hazelnut butter spread thickly on top!

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Ingredients:
1 cup plain non-dairy milk (I used almond milk)
1 Tblsp. ground flax seeds
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup agave nectar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (you can use whole wheat pastry flour, your muffin will just be a bit heavier)
1/4 cup almond meal
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground cardamom
1 1/4 cups cooked quinoa, cooled
1/2 cup finely chopped dried cherries (or whatever dried fruit & nuts you want to use)

Preheat the oven to 350° F, and line or grease a 12-cup muffin tin.
Whisk the almond milk and flax seeds in a small bowl.
Sift the dry ingredients (except the quinoa, which isn’t really dry, but just in case) together into a big bowl.
To the almond milk mixture, add the oil, agave, and vanilla.
Pour the wet stuff into the dry stuff and mix with a wooden spoon just until it’s combined.
Add the quinoa and cherries and fold in gently to combine.
Spoon the batter in the muffin tin, and bake for 20 minutes. Muffins are done when a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.

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Corn Cherry Scones

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I’m really on a scone kick! I want to make them all the time. Here’s my second attempt, and it is another adapted and veganized scone recipe from The Cheeseboard Cookbook. To celebrate the beautiful weather we’ve been having lately, my friend Rachel had a grilling party tonight, and the corn-cherry combination struck me as tasting very summery. The cornmeal added good crunchy texture, and made the scones savory enough to go alongside the grilled vegetables, and the cherries were tart and added a nice bite to the gently sweet scone. The cherries were also a beautiful deep red and looked stunning in the light yellow cornmeal batter! Because they didn’t have the butter and buttermilk that the original recipe called for, these scones were lighter than the classic Cheeseboard/Arizmendi creation so they were perfect for dessert (or snack).

P1000945Ingredients:
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 Tblsp. baking powder
2/3 cup plus 1/4 cup sugar
1 cup medium-grind cornmeal
1/4 cup almond meal
1/4 cup millet (measure whole millet, then grind to a meal-consistency before adding to dry ingredients)
1 cup cold Earth Balance, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 cup dried cherries
1 1/4 cup almond milk
1 1/2 tsp. apple cider vinegar

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a baking mat.

Combine the almond milk and apple cider vinegar in a measuring cup and stir together quickly. Let stand for a few minutes till good and curdled. While you are waiting, sift the flour, soda, and baking powder together into a large bowl. Add the 2/3 cup sugar, cornmeal, almond meal, and ground millet together, and stir with a wooden spoon till combined. Add the Earth Balance and cut it in with a pastry cutter or 2 knives until it is the size of small peas.

P1000918#3 Using the spoon, mix in the cherries. Make a well in the center and add the almond milk-apple cider vinegar mixture. Mix briefly, just until the ingredients come together; some loose flour should remain at the bottom of the bowl. Let the batter stand for 5 minutes so some of the liquid soaks into the cornmeal and millet.

P1000926Gently shape the dough into balls about 1 1/2 inches in diameter (they should have a rough, rocky exterior) and place them on the prepared pan about 2 inches apart.
Sprinkle the 1/4 cup sugar on top of the scones and place the pan in the oven on the middle rack and immediately turn the temperature down to 375 degrees. Bake for 17-20 minutes, until the scones are golden. Transfer the scones to a wire rack to cool.

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Vegan, Gluten-Free, Refined Sugar-Free Maple Raspberry Cake

Vegan, Gluten-Free, Refined Sugar-Free Maple Raspberry Cake

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