Wednesday, June 19, 2013

apple bran muffins

Trending on the blog: all vegan everything. because that's how it is now. :) These muffins are made with wheat bran  (not cereal flakes but little bran flakes), and like small-flake oatmeal, they aren't really visible once baked. Rather they make for a heartier, more wholesome texture and muffin. yay! inspired by breakfast things (and these blueberry ones), the apples and added whole grains make them worth biting into. cheers.

apple bran muffins

2 cups flour (1 cup whole-wheat, 1 cup white)
1 tbsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup apple sauce
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups soy milk (I used a soy-rice blend, as that was what I had on hand)
1 granny smith apple, peeled and chopped small
1/2 cup wheat bran

Preheat oven to 400 F and line muffin tin, or grease if you prefer to go paperless.

In a large bowl, whisk together flours, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. In a separate medium bowl beat together the apple sauce, sugar, oil, and milk. Stir the wet ingredients into flour mixture, and gently blend. Fold in apples and bran.

Fill muffin cups 3/4 full with batter. Bake for 25minutes. leave muffins in pan for 5 min before removing. Cool on wire rack.

Yields 16 muffins.  I think they could have had an extra half of an apple, as I would've liked these a tad bit more apple-y. nevertheless I proceeded to eat one, two, ... three in a row.. enjoy!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

iced carob brownies

More of a tea cake than a brownie, this not-too-sweet treat won me over. Maybe these are atypical adjectives to describe brownies, but to me these are just easy-going and comfy. They are simple, and they are not based on the c-h-o-c-o-l-a-t-e that's ever-present in the brunette variety of baked goodness (though it is that way for good reasons;)). These are made with carob, thus they taste like carob. One shall not be fooled by their chocolatey appearance. I also used substitutions to make them vegan, which may have altered the texture a bit. I used tofutti non-hydrogenated cream cheese in the icing, and it wasn't too pretty. It did come together alright, but there were definite white specks, and it donned a different taste. Thus they are slightly modified, from here! Carob away, darlings. 

1/2 cup melted earth balance (or butter)
1/4 cup carob powder
2 eggs (I replaced with 2tbsp ground flax seeds mixed with 6tbsp water)
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup water
1cup flour
1tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup dried currants or raisins
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts
dash or two of cinnamon or allspice (optional)

preheat oven to 350 F and grease an 8x8in pan.

beat the melted butter, carob, eggs, sugar and vanilla in a medium bowl. then stir in the water. 

sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. stir into the first mixture, along with currants, walnuts and optional spice. mix just enough until everything is incorporated.

spread evenly into pan and bake for 20-25 min, or until toothpick comes out clean. cool completely. 

for the icing
1/4 cup carob powder
8oz cream cheese, softened (or a vegan substitute)
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

beat all ingredients until very smooth. spread on cooled brownies. I decorated with trader joe's "cocoa pearls." enjoy!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

perfect vegan chocolate chip cookies

soft in the middle, and crispy around the edges. a buttery, nearly caramel-y cookie that melts in your mouth. and 100 percent vegan- we love !! it's actually adapted from this cookie cake recipe, which I tried and was great.. but this time I wanted the same yumminess in cookies. If you're not into olive oil flavor in dessert yet, try a more neutral-tasting vegetable oil. enjoy!

1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup quality extra-virgin olive oil*
1/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce
2tsp egg replacer (such as 1tsp water mixed with 1tsp ground flax seeds)
1tsp vanilla extract
1tsp salt
2 1/3 cups all-purpose or whole wheat flour (or a mix)
1 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 cups dark/ dairy-free chocolate chunks
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 banana, cut into small pieces (optional)

preheat oven to 375 F.

combine sugars through salt in a medium bowl and mix until thoroughly combined.

sieve flour and baking powder together and add to wet ingredients. mix until combined, then add in extras.

bake on an ungreased cookie sheet for about 12 minutes, rotating sheet halfway between baking. cool on wire rack.

makes about 36 cookies.

* such as my family's l'otani ;)

Saturday, January 22, 2011

vegan mint chocolate cake

This cake is delicious. It is also wonderfully simple, can be stored (in fridge) for an extra day or two, and is low in cholesterol. The recipe is from compassionate cooks and it can be doubled for a layer cake or used for cupcakes. xo

for the cake:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp peppermint extract (optional)
1/3 cup vegetable oil (such as canola)
1 tbsp distilled white vinegar
1 cup cold water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Combine all dry ingredients and mix thoroughly. Create a well in the center and add the wet ingredients. Stir until well mixed.

Pour into prepared 9x9-in pan and bake for 30 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely, then frost.

for the creamy frosting:
3 tbsp softened non-dairy butter (such as earth balance)
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1/3 cup cocoa powder, sifted
1/2 tsp peppermint or vanilla extract
2-4 tbsp non-dairy milk (I used almond) or water

Cream butter in small bowl. Add powdered sugar, cocoa, extract and enough liquid to make a thick but spreadable frosting.

Makes a single layer cake or 8 cupcakes.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

pumpkin pie bars

I have kept this recipe for pumpkin pie bars on my bookmarks bar for quite some time, and what better time to finally make them than during finals week of school? bake, blog, research paper. yes, of course in that order. But these bars were what I wanted all along. The pumpkin filling is a little tangy from the cream cheese, and not too sweet. The shortbread crust is just like the crust of a lemon or raspberry bar.

1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar, divided
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) cold butter
1 cup oats (old-fashioned or quick-cooking)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
8 oz cream cheese, softened
3 eggs
15 0z (1 can) pumpkin purée
1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice (or 1 tsp each of cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice)
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp bourbon (optional)
a handful of butterscotch or chocolate chips (optional)

preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 13x9-inch pan with foil, with ends of foil extending over the sides, and grease the foil.

mix the flour, 1/4 cup granulated sugar, and brown sugar in medium bowl. cut in the butter with a pastry blender or using 2 knives, until the mixture resembles course crumbs. stir in oats and walnuts.

reserve one cup of the crumb mixture. press the remaining mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan. bake for 15 minutes. beat softened cream cheese with remaining 1/2 cup sugar and eggs. add vanilla, bourbon, pumpkin and spice and beat until well blended. pour over crust and sprinkle with reserved crumb mixture and if desired, with a handful of butterscotch or chocolate chips (i left these out).

bake 25 minutes. cool for 10 min and then use foil to transfer from the pan to a wire rack. cool completely.

makes 15 bars.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

gâteau moelleux au chocolat

Gâteau moelleux au chocolat, or melt-in-your-mouth chocolate cake, is an almost-flourless decadent treat. It is very simple, and very well-received. The recipe is perfect as is on chocolate & zucchini. I left my springform pan behind in Geneva with this cake in it, I left it for a friend's picnic in London, I made it for a guitarist I was swooning over, and here I made it for my good friend Greg last weekend after a day of olive harvesting (more on that later). I make it over and over because as I said it's simple and fancy and delicious to the last crumb. Bon appétit ! x


200 gr (2 sticks minus 1 tbsp) unsalted butter
200 gr (7 oz) best quality dark chocolate
200 gr (1 cup) sugar
4 eggs
a rounded tbsp flour

cake is best made ahead of time, up to a day ahead.

preheat oven to 350 degrees F. grease or line an 8-inch round cake pan with parchment paper.

melt butter and chocolate over a double broiler, stirring until smooth. transfer to a medium mixing bowl and add sugar. stir with a wooden spoon and let cool slightly. add in eggs one at a time mixing after each addition. finally add flour and mix well.

pour into pan and bake for 25-30 minutes, until center is set but still a little wobbly. turn off oven but leave inside for another 10 minutes. Remove from oven and cool completely on rack. cover with plastic wrap, refrigerate and take out an hour before serving.

Monday, November 15, 2010

chocolate cupcakes with vanilla frosting

Fancy dark chocolate cupcakes. This is THE recipe for big chocolate flavor and a creamy vanilla- speckled frosting. Appropriately titled "rediscovering chocolate cupcakes" in Cook's Illustrated's American Classics issue (2009). Quality ingredients and a little more kitchen time go a long way in producing a dozen precious flawless cakes. Made with friend and fellow cupcake-lover Stacy, these were very much enjoyed by all of us, as shown below.

for the dark chocolate cupcakes:

1 stick unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup Dutch-processed cocoa
3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
2 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup sour cream

Heat oven to 350 degrees F and line muffin tin.

Combine butter, chocolate and cocoa in a medium bowl and place over saucepan with just simmering water. Whisk until smooth and remove from heat. Set aside to cool slightly.

Whisk flour, baking soda and baking powder in a small bowl to combine. In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs to combine; add sugar, vanilla and salt and whisk until fully incorporated. Add chocolate mixture and whisk until combined. Sift about 1/3 of the flour mixture into the chocolate, whisk until combined, whisk in sour cream until combined, then whisk in the remaining flour until homogenous and thick.

Divide batter evenly and bake 18-20 minutes, or until skewer inserted in middle of cake comes out clean. Cool in pan for 15 minutes, then carefully transfer each cake to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.

for the vanilla bean buttercream:

10 tbsp (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise
1 1/4 cups confectioners' sugar
pinch salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract (can omit vanilla bean and increase extract to 1 1/2 tsp)
1 tbsp heavy cream

Beat butter for about 20 seconds at medium-high speed (preferably using a stand mixer). Using a paring knife, scrape seeds from vanilla bean into butter and beat about 15 seconds. Add sifted confectioners' sugar and salt and beat at medium low for about 45 seconds. Scrape down bowl and beat for at medium speed for 15 seconds until fully combined. Scrape bowl again, add vanilla extract and heavy cream, and beat another 10 seconds until incorporated. Increase speed to medium-high and beat until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes, scraping down bowl once or twice.

To frost, mound 2 tablespoons icing on center of cupcake. Using a small spatula or butter knife, spread icing to edge of cupcake, leaving slight mound in center. If desired, decorate with fresh raspberries, chocolate candies, or chocolate sprinkles.

Makes 12 frosted cupcakes.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

neiman marcus cookies

These cookies are big, loaded with chocolate chips, and soft thanks to all the brown sugar. This chocolate chip cookie recipe is from neiman marcus, one that has and will remain in fashion! xx

1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup light brown sugar
3 tbsp granulated sugar
1 egg
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp instant espresso powder
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Grease or line baking sheet with parchment paper. Cream butter with sugars until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla and beat well.

In a medium bowl sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Beat into the butter mixture until just combined, then stir in the espresso powder and chocolate chips.

Drop dough by 2 tablespoon measure (or 1 ounce scoop) onto sheet, about 3 inches apart. Gently press dough with the back of a spoon to form 2-inch circles. Bake for 20 minutes, or until edges are lightly browned. transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Makes 24.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

vegan pumpkin bread

what I love about baking without animal products is how natural and wholesome it feels. there is a different level of goodness in plant-based recipes, even if they are cakes. this pumpkin bread stays moist for days, and it makes two loaves so you can give one away as a gift, or wrap one up and freeze. the recipe is adapted from joy the baker, who uses walnuts. I used pecans but either one of your preference would go perfectly. Enjoy!

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour (or just use all-purpose)
2 cups brown sugar, packed
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp cloves
1 15oz can pumpkin purée (just under 2 cups)
1 cup vegetable oil (I used safflower)
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup water
1 cup chopped pecans (or walnuts)

preheat oven to 350 degrees F. grease and flour 2 loaf pans and set aside.

in a large bowl wisk together flours, sugars, baking powder and soda, salt and spices. in a medium bowl, carefully wisk together the pumpkin, oil, maple syrup and water.

add the wet ingredients to the dry and use a spatula fold ingredients together, scraping the sides to mix in all stray bits of flour. fold in most of the nuts, reserving a portion for sprinkling on top.

divide the batter among the two greased pans and sprinkle remaining nuts. bake for 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the middle of bread comes out clean. remove from oven and let rest in pan for 20 minutes, then invert on to a rack. Serve warm.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

banana bread

This recipe is from my mum, the one she's always made. It dates back from her seventh grade cooking class! We always stuff it with nuts and chocolate chips.

1/3 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup mashed bananas (2-3 bananas)
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup chopped walnuts and/or chocolate chips (more or less as desired)

preheat oven to 350 degrees F. cream together butter and sugar. add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. stir in mashed banana. combine flour, salt and baking soda. add the dry ingredients, alternating with milk (in thirds, mixing each time until just incorporated). bake in wax paper-lined loaf pan for 1 hour, then turn out onto rack to cool. wrap in foil. better to slice on second day-- otherwise it looks like this!