Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread {vegan+gluten free}

There are people out there who firmly believe chocolate has no place in banana bread. I am not one of them. I'll even admit that this particular banana bread was my excuse to use a breakfast food as a vehicle to feed my chocolate craving during the morning hour. After being slightly dissatisfied over the results of the first round of gluten-free/vegan banana chocolate chip bread (though my coworkers gladly gobbled it up), I adjusted the recipe and came out with much better (i.e. less sticky) results. The recipe contains 4 ripe bananas so the slice pictured above appears a little un-done even though the bread was fully baked. Next time I think I'm going to try 3 bananas.

(recipe to come).

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Strawberry Rhubarb Oatmeal Crumb Bars {vegan+gluten free}

An exhausting work week led to an enjoyable weekend, where, on Saturday, I was able to revive my old tradition of going to the farmer's market and picking up fresh, local fruits and vegetables. Pints of small fresh-picked strawberries have been a regular occurrence at the farmer's market lately, and the sweet smell of berries was just too much to pass up. I bought two baskets; the first for baking, and the second for my face. I had picked up a few stalks of rhubarb the week prior, so of course it was only natural to combine the two. I had been promising my coworkers that I would bring something in on Monday since they have started me a "sweet indulgence" fund whereby they put money into a nicely decorated can and I in turn feed them fresh baked goods. Ignoring their suggestions (though they WERE good suggestions) because I wanted to use seasonal ingredients. Pie is difficult to eat at work and I have already made a strawberry rhubarb coffee cake, so I decided to frankenstein three different recipes to make some fruit filled oatmeal bars with a streusel topping (everything is better with streusel). They were extremely well received, as the empty pan sitting near me is now indicating.


3/4 C. vegan margarine
3/4 C. applesauce
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 C. packed light-brown sugar
1/2 C. granulated sugar
2 tbsp. ground flax seed mixed with 6 tbsp. water
3/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 c. gluten-free flour blend (I like to use oat flour here, mixed with sorghum, garbanzo, tapioca starch, potato starch, and a little bit of sweet white rice flour).
1 tsp. xanthan gum
2 C. old fashioned rolled oats (not quick cooking)

3 c. diced rhubarb
3 c. sliced fresh strawberries
3/4 c. sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
3 tbsp. potato starch or cornstarch starch mixed with a bit of water

1/2 c. vegan shortening
2/3 c. brown sugar
1-1/2 c. gluten free flour blend
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 c. oatmeal flakes

Make the filling.
In a medium sized saucepan, combine rhubarb and sugar and over medium heat and simmer until slightly mushy. Add strawberries and continue to boil, approximately 10 minutes or more. When filling is to desired consistency (I like to leave a few chunks) and combine the potato starch with water and whisk into the fruit mixture. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 13x19 baking pan. In a large bowl, whisk together margarine, applesauce, sugars, flax gel, salt, cinnamon, and vanilla. In a medium sized bowl, combine flours, xanthan gum, and oats. Fold dry ingredients into wet ingredients until just combined. Spread 1/2 of batter in prepared pan and bake for 15 minutes.

Spread fruit filling over the baked oatmeal bars. Using a spoon, drop the rest of the uncooked oatmeal mixture over the fruit filling and spread out to the best of your ability.

Combine the streusel topping ingredients in a medium sized bowl. Using two knives cut the shortening into the dry ingredients. Sprinkle over the oatmeal bars and bake for 25-30 minutes.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Gingered Peach & Apricot Tart {vegan+gluten free}

A bunch of neglected peaches and apricots left in the office fruit-bowl found their way home with me on Friday after work. Apparently, my fruit consumption is rather low on weekends, so instead of finding their way into a fruit salad as I had intended, the sweet fruit made it's way into this delicious tart, and thus back to the office on Monday. Not too sweet and providing the perfect "taste of summer" (as my Creative Director so eloquently put it), this tart pleased all palettes. At the very least I was able to provide one of our interns with "the best thing she has eaten in months" (though if I recall my own income as an intern I'd probably say the same...).

(recipe coming soon!!!!!!)

Peanut Butter "Breastcakes" with Chocolate Buttercream {vegan}

A friend of mine (a worthy opponent in the cake-off 2011) recently asked for my assistance in baking vegan cupcakes for the NYC Dyke March benefit bake sale. So in support of my friends and the March, we came up with these "breastcakes" or "peanutbuttery nipples" (the puns go on and on) to sell at the Punk Rock Dykes show last weekend at Public Assembly in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Though our original plan was to include various flavors and use fondant to make the "nipples" we came up with a much tastier (and less obvious) version of the cakes using melted chocolate piped into circles with a chocolate chip on top. Rumor has it, these tasted great, and I couldn't have had a better time baking them with a friend.

{recipe will be posted shortly}

Friday, May 6, 2011

S'mores Cupcakes {vegan}

Pardon the delay in the post; but it came to be that time of year where I go through the process of moving. Thankfully, I'm in a great new place in Brooklyn, this time, complete with countertops. At any rate, a few weeks ago, some friends and I developed a "cake-off" themed party. Battling for the title of best cupcake, complete with a chart for rating cakes based on both taste and appearance, some great contenders were brought to the table. The cupcakes shown above happen to be the winner, and I'm rather proud to say, even received a rating of 100 (even though the scale was from 1-10). Thanks to you who boosted my ego. :)

1/4 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. canola oil
2 tbsp. molasses
1/4 c. soy yogurt
1 1/4 c. soy milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 c. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 c. graham cracker crumbs

3 Tbsp. soy creamer
1/3 c. dark chocolate chips

1/2 c. vegan margarine
1/2 c. vegan shortening
1 jar vegan marshmallow creme
1 c. confectioner's sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin pan with cupcake liners.
Mix the brown sugar, oil, molasses, yogurt, soy milk, and vanilla in a large bowl.
Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt into a separate bowl and mix. Add the graham cracker crumbs and mix it up. Add the dry ingredients to the wet in three batches, mixing well after each addition. Fill cupcake liners full. Bake for 22 to 25 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool completely before decorating.

Ganache: Simmer soy creamer in a small saucepan over medium heat. Remove from heat, add chocolate chips and stir until melted. Set aside and cool for 10 minutes.

Buttercream: Beat margarine and shortening in mixer bowl on high speed until creamy. Beat in marshmallow creme. reduce speed and beat in confectioner's sugar and vanilla. Increase speed to high, beat until fluffy.

Spread a layer of chocolate ganache onto cooled cupcakes. Pipe top with buttercream. Sprinkle with graham cracker crumbs, cocoa, or chocolate shavings, or just garnish with a graham cracker piece and chocolate chunk.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Sugar Cookies {vegan+gluten free}

Someone decided that the dark lull of winter should be interrupted by a celebratory day of love. Though I'm generally not a huge fan of Valentine's day, I can see a redeeming quality in the fact that it provides an excuse to eat treats. I have fond memories of childhood parties; classrooms decorated with cut-out paper hearts and shoeboxes covered in stickers and decorations for valentines to be placed into by classmates. Outside of the pink snowball cakes that my mother used to pack in our lunches (accompanied by a napkin, undoubtedly with the words "I love you! xoxo mom!" scribbled on it), I always remember eating pink iced sugar cookies. The cookies picture above are a gluten-free vegan version, made with powdered sugar for a delicate crumb. I put a small amount of rosewater into the icing for a slightly floral scent as well, and made my own colored sugars to place on top. A hit with the coworkers, despite the fact that the cardboard cupids were absent from the office walls.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Maple Molasses Apple Pie with Cardamom Oat Crumble {Vegan+Gluten Free}

On Sunday, January 23rd, the annual Brooklyn Pie Contest was held at The Bedford in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The proceeds from this pie contest went to benefit Growing Chefs, a non-profit organization that promotes food education from "field to fork." The first 50 pies in the door would be judged (by people from Momofuku Milk bar amongst others). Pies after the first 50 received free entry and were immediately devoured by the massive crowd. One winner was to be chosen from each of two categories: sweet and savory.

I wanted to take a modern twist on a classic (and because I lacked the proper amount of time) so I made an apple pie with a cardamom oat crumble top. Laced with maple syrup and molasses, the softened fruit in the deep-dish interior contrasted nicely with the crisp and crumbly top.

Unfortunately, though my pie made it into the judging, it wasn't crowned the winning pie. Ah, well, there's always next year!

(recipe to come)

Friday, January 14, 2011

Mexican Chocolate Brownies {Vegan+Gluten Free}

Vegan brownies have been a struggle for me. Making gluten-free brownies had never been a problem in the past, in fact, it was one of the easiest recipes I had ever translated. However, with the absence of eggs, my gluten-free/vegan brownies have always ended up too flat, too sticky, or too fluffy. Seven recipe developments later (and yes, I did strictly follow some vegan recipes, which failed to satisfy) I came up with the following recipe. Finally: the perfect blend of rich chocolate cakey-ness and fudginess.

1/2 c. vegan stick margarine, melted
1-1/2 c. sugar
1-1/2 tsp. vanilla
3/4 c. gluten-free flour (1/4 c. tapioca starch, 1/4 c. potato starch, 1/4 c. white rice flour)
1/2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 c. extra firm silken tofu, blended until smooth in a food processor
2/3 c. quality cocoa powder (I use ghirardelli or scharffen berger)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. xanthan gum
1/8 to 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (depending on your taste)
1/4 tsp. ancho chile powder
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 c. vegan chocolate chunks

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease (or line with parchment paper) an 8 inch square baking pan.
Combine margarine, sugar, and vanilla in a bowl. Add tofu and beat well with a whisk. Combine flour, cocoa, baking powder, salt, xanthan gum, cayenne, chili powder, and cinnamon and gradually add to wet ingredients, mixing until well blended. Add chocolate chunks and mix until just combined. Spread batter evenly into pan. Bake for 40-45 minutes. Cool completely and enjoy!