Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Good Morning Coffee Banana Bread Muffins with Chocolate Chips

*note* far more photogenic if you click on the image. That said, I was not having much luck making these photogenic (they look ok in person!) *end note*

Mmmmuffins. I rarely ever express that sentiment. In my endless food snobbery I have dubbed muffins (and scones, and a few other items) the red headed step children of baking. They are comprised of the processed foods I try to avoid, rendering them entirely anutritious entities no better for you than any given dessert. Desserts, however, are often an artful playground for flavor exploration and combination, cooking technique and theory, or a decadence to bask in the pleasure of.

Muffins and scones tend to just be.. mediocre, unmemorable entites. There are exceptions, so I hear... And perhaps I would like to add my own to them one of these days. The above are quite tasty, and leave a glorious, clean after-taste that pleasantly lingers like a dear guest.

I do not know if I am going to post the recipe quite yet... I feel like I need to study The Muffin, and its respective concept. I feel like there is some sort of definition that my veganzied version did not quite achieve. Your own suggestions on what makes a muffin are welcome. In the meantime, the espresso/banana/chocolate combination is one from Brooklyn's "Baked" that needs not a recipe for one to explore.

Its 4:41 AM. I think I need sleep. I do have such a back log of things to post here, though... so many recipes getting lost in rime's sands...

Monday, June 22, 2009

Cherry Choco DETH!!1!

So first I'm gonna say I wanna go to Burning Man this year (Death Guild ho!). Second, I am going to keep this simple, for it is a simple recipe.

It is really a rich, creamy torte-like mousse that is, aside from having to soak the nuts, extremely quick and easy to make. It is one of the many items that people would not believe was vegan. Even closing my eyes and thinking about it right now I can imagine falling into its softly yielding texture.

Anyway, on to the recipe!

Cherry Chocolate Torte

  • 1 Chocolate crust of choice*, pressed into a 9" springform pan

  • 2 C raw cashews, soaked overnight, drained
  • 1 C dark chocolate, chopped (I used some Valhrona Orange Noir and Callabaut bittersweet)
  • 1-2 C cherries, pitted (frozen work)
  • 1/2 C water
  • Pinches of salt, drops of vanilla, flecks of cinnamon, espresso shots.. whatever floats your boat.

*I used a simple raw crust made up of 3 parts walnuts to 1 part cacao nibs, and a pinch of salt with enough coconut butter to hold it all together. Press into pan, refridgerate.

So, this is simple. Real simple. A powerful blender helps, and may be necessary. Soak the cashews overnight. Drain. Blend down as far as you can. Add 1/4 c water and make even smoother. Add whatever flavorings you would like. Meanwhile melt the chocolate in a double boiler. When melted, add to cashew mix and blend until very smooth, adding water as needed.

Once smooth, stir in the cherries by hand. Save a few to adorn the torte. Pour the chocolate mix into the pan and smooth out. You can drag decorative lines into the chocolate substance as well, put in the fridge to set. Should be done fairly quickly.

You may want to layer the bottom of the springform pan with saran wrap, for ease of removal. I served this at a dinner party cut into single serving two bite pieces. It was loved by all. Babies may have been made. I may need sleep.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

PREVIEW: Wedding Cake Round, THE GROOM'S CAKE!

So... The last wedding cake was a huge success. I am timing each cake-making with my biweekly dinner parties, next up is Thursday... So for when I get more time, I will tell you more about... Cannibul Cake!

Very long short, my friend saw the above lolcats and she said that was the one that she wanted... How could I resist? More coming soon (oh my god the recipes I have on back queue for posting).

Monday, June 8, 2009

Wedding Cake (part 1) !!!

So, I was given the ultimate vegan blogger honor the other day. My friend Jenny asked me to do her wedding cake!
WIth some talk I also convinced her to let me do most of the food for most of her wedding, as well.
So first, congradulation are in order to Ms. Jennifer Harder Mr. John Alexander, the future Harder-Alexanders.
The wedding is not until May 2010, but time does move by oh so very quickly and of course I need to practice, so periodically that is what I will be doing... Practicing! As if there is any reason _not_ to make cakes that you disseminate among your friends on a semi-regular basis!

So... Round one. I believe I did find one good lavender lemon cake for one layer. I will also likely do a chocolate layer, as well as a diabetes-friendly Groom's carrot cake.

An added bonus of this cake was that it was served to a friend of mine who has a nightshade allergy. The powdered vegan egg replacers tend to contain potato starch in them, while this recipe used no such agents.

So, onto the recipe...

Lavender-infused Lemon Layer Cake


2 1/2 C Pastry or Cake flour
1 1/2 C sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 C plus 2 T butter sub
2 T fresh lemon juice
1 C + 1 T water
grated zest of 1 large organic lemon
3/4 C soy or rice milk
1 and 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp lemon extract
2 t dried lavender blossoms

Bring the water to a boil, cut the heat, add the lavender. Let cool. Strain and set aside. Discard the lavender blooms (or make more tea with em!)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Prepare two 9 inch round cake pans by covering them with a thin layer of shorteing then dusting them with flour, tapping off any extra flour.

Mix the dry ingredients together and stir well.

Mix together the wet ingredients and the lemon zest. I cut the butter-sub in with a blender, but to each their own. Pour the wet ingredients into a mixing bowl. From there I sift the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and stir just until consistent, about one minute.

Pour evenly into the pans, and set in the oven. Bake for 25 minutes or until done (a toothpick or fork inserted in comes out without batter sticking to it).

Remove from oven, let cool for a couple of minutes, run a knife around the edges, and invert onto a cooling rack.

Next up.. The curd.

1/2 C lemon juice
1/4 C water
3/4 C sugar
2 T cornstarch
1/8 tsp salt
grated zest of 1 organic lemon
3 T. full fat soymilk, nut milk, or organic nondairy creamer
1 T Butter Sub (I used coconut butter here)

In a blender, mix together the juice, water, sugar, cornstarch and salt. Pour into a heavy saucepan with the zest. Whisk over medium heat, stirring constantly, until it comes to a full boil. Boil 1 minute, not stirring. It should be thickened and turning clear. Remove from heat. Add milk choice or alternate and butter choice. Blend well with the whisk. Cool the curd, then refrigerate in a covered container. It thickens as it cools.

When everything is cooled, well... Do assemble as you would any layer cake, with the curd in the middle. I suddenly lost my attention to detail so will hopefully post proper assembly instructions later.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Dominos - Luxury Brownies and (Coconut) Milk Fudge

I seem to have a chocolate and vanilla thing going on... It is late, sleep soon, the recipes always need tooling, but this is what I did, and I still ended up with a tasty end product.. Both products are best served chilled, particularly the fudge... I am not sure if I made an error in the confectionary process, or the veganized recipe needs tooling (or both). Ah to the recipes.

Coconut Milk White Fudge with Nuts

4 cups sugar
2 cups coconut milk (I used a 14 oz can plus 2 T water)
1 stick cinnamon, preferably Mexican canela
1⁄2 cup light corn syrup
1⁄4 tsp. baking soda
1⁄4 tsp. fine salt
8 tbsp. unsalted butter
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1⁄2 cup chopped toasted pecans
1⁄2 cup chopped toasted walnuts
1⁄2 cup chopped toasted pine nuts

1. In an 8-qt. pot, whisk together sugar, milk, cinnamon, corn syrup, baking soda, and salt. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat; do not stir the milk. Use a metal spoon to skim off and discard any foam or solids that rise to the surface, rinsing the spoon in water after each use. Simmer, brushing the sides of the pot occasionally with water to prevent the sugar from crystallizing, until the mixture thickens and a candy thermometer reads 240°, about 30–35 minutes.
2. Remove pot from heat. Add butter and vanilla; do not stir. Remove and discard cinnamon. Let mixture cool to 180°.
3. Grease an 8" x 8" baking pan; line bottom with greased parchment paper. Stir milk–sugar mixture with wooden spoon until no longer glossy, 5 minutes. Add pecans, walnuts, and pine nuts; stir to combine. Transfer to baking pan; smooth surface with a rubber spatula. Chill until set, about 8 hours. Turn fudge out onto a cutting board and cut into sixty-four 1" squares.

The brownies... I have been seeking a good, dense, fudgey low flour vegan brownie recipe... the kind you get for flourless chocolate brownies. Sadly I have yet to find something that can lend the structural integrity necessary needed for flourless chocolate brownies, and the rest turn out cakey... My efforts at flourless brownies with vegan egg replacers thus far have been fairly tasty but utter failures as far as brownies are concerned. Then I saw this recipe from Coco&Me which looked promising... a low flour brownie, and my veganized effort showed it had enough flour to lend structure but not enough to dillute the quality chocolate used... The butter was replaced with a blend of water, oil, and lecitin, the eggs were replaced with Bob's Red Mill egg replacer. The final recipe could still use some work, but getting closer and leagues better than the flourless varities.

oh man, I need to sleep... More recipes and concepts coming soon.