Simple Cinnamon Rolls

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I love home-cooked breakfast on Sundays. I woke this morning thinking about the other half of a double batch of pizza dough I whipped up yesterday. The dough was what my Nana would describe as “happy”– full of air, fluffy and nearly bursting through the wrap, eager to get into whatever creative plan I would soon hatch.

So inspired, I came up with this delicious treat. The scent of warm cinnamon and buttery brown sugar wafting through the house is irresistible.

Ingredients:

1 batch pizza dough (homemade or store-bought, my whole wheat version shown here)

1/4 cup flour for rolling

1/4 cup dairy-free buttery spread (such as Earth Balance), softened, plus extra for pan

1 big tablespoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg (optional)

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup finely chopped nuts

Note: Ingredients amounts are flexible. If you like more cinnamon, by all means, pile it on. That goes for sugar, nuts, raisins, chocolate–whatever you like. You can’t mess this up. It’s your creation!

Method:

Grease a 9 inch cake pan with buttery spread until well-coated.

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Lightly flour a clean surface and roll the dough into a rectangle about 1/2 inch thick, checking underneath periodically, adding flour as needed to prevent sticking.

Spread the margarine to cover the dough to the edges. Sprinkle sugar, cinnamon and nuts evenly and pat down to adhere to dough.

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Roll the long side tightly to form a log shape. With a very sharp knife, cut into 1 to 1/2 inch thick slices and place side by side in the cake pan. Brush with additional margarine if desired.

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Bake at 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes, until sugar is bubbly and rolls are lightly browned.

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Serve with vanilla glaze if desired:

1 cup powdered sugar, sifted

2-3 tablespoons non-dairy milk

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Blend together well and drizzle over rolls

Basil-Spinach Pesto

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Yes, of course vegans can enjoy pesto!! I think it tastes even better without the cheese usually present in most traditional recipes. This recipe is pretty great because it stays green longer, due to the addition of fresh spinach! Great flavor and awesome with pasta and on pizza as well!

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Basil-Spinach Pesto

½ cup Olive oil
3 ounces Basil, fresh
½ bunch Spinach, fresh, Large handful
½ cup Walnuts, toasted
1 tsp. Lemon juice
3 cloves Garlic
¼ tsp. Sea salt
¼ tsp. Black pepper

Method:

Pulse basil, spinach, nuts and garlic until well chopped, but still with texture. With machine running, drizzle olive oil slowly to emulsify, scraping down the bowl as needed to blend well.

Stop the machine as soon as olive oil is incorporated. Add lemon juice and seasoning to taste. Run another second just until blended.

Serve immediately or store in airtight container, refrigerated. Adding a thin layer of olive oil on top, keeps the pesto green longer.

Servings/Yield: Yield: 1 1/2 cups

Source: avocadopest.com

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Chocolate Mousse Terrine

platedHere is a rich, elegant, special occasion dessert that is pretty easy to assemble, believe it or not. Fudgy brownie layered with creamy chocolate mousse enrobed in smooth chocolate ganache. I have garnished this slice with a chocolate-dipped strawberry and Tru-Whip non-dairy whipped topping. It’s also nice served with raspberry sauce.

Chocolate Mousse Terrine

1 recipe chocolate brownies (here’s a link)

1 recipe chocolate mousse (here’s a link)

1/2 recipe chocolate ganache (here’s a link)

Whipped topping, berries, mint (optional)

Method:

Bake brownies in a jelly-roll pan for about 20 minutes and cool completely. Line a loaf pan  with plastic wrap to extend with enough excess to cover when finished layering.

While brownies are baking, whip up the chocolate mousse and chill in the refrigerator. When brownies are completely cooled, cut into three wide strips to fit the interior of the loaf pan.

Press a layer of brownie into the loaf pan. Spread a thick layer of mousse then top with a second layer of brownie. Repeat layering, ending with brownie. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze at least 6 hours or overnight.

When ready to glaze your terrine, prepare the ganache recipe. Place a metal rack on a wax or parchment paper-lined rimmed sheet tray. Flip the frozen terrine out of the loaf pan and unwrap. Set cake right side up and place on the rack.

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Pour ganache over cake, making sure to cover  the top and sides completely. This can be best achieved by pouring quickly and from a height above the cake that allows the glaze to flow rather than just to rest on the surface. If you can, try to avoid spreading the glaze with a knife or spatula, as it creates imperfections and bubbles on the surface.

Return the cake to the freezer to allow the ganache to firm up well. Make sure the cake is on a non-stick surface such as waxed paper or parchment.

You may wish to give the cake another coat of ganache, depending on the thickness of the glaze. If so, make sure the ganache is warmed very slightly to a pourable consistency. Return cake to freezer, but do not wrap until completely frozen, if at all.

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It is easiest to plate this dessert in advance. Pull from freezer, Slice with large, sharp knife dipped in hot water and cleaned in between slicing. Garnish as desired and keep plates refrigerated until service time. Enjoy!!

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Simple Olive Oil Bread

IMG_4205Bread baking can be an all day affair, but this recipe is quick and easy! In under two hours you can enjoy a fresh, artisan loaf.

IMG_4200A few basic ingredients mixed together.

IMG_4201The dough rises for about 45 minutes (until doubled)

IMG_4202The dough is shaped into a loaf and left to rise another 15-20 minutes.

IMG_4204The loaf bakes for 35-40 minutes until brown

Here’s the recipe:  Olive OIl Bread

Cheater’s Chocolate Cake

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When I’m in the mood for a warm, gooey chocolate experience, I don’t want to waste any time. This recipe is quick, easy and every bit as rich and chocolatey as your favorite brownie, maybe even better!

Cheater’s Chocolate Cake

Adapted from The Happy Herbivore Cookbook by Lindsay Nixon

4 tbsp all purpose flour

2 tbsp brown sugar

2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa

1⁄4 tsp baking powder

1⁄4 c canola or olive oil

3 tbsp nondairy milk

1 to 2 drops vanilla extract

2 to 3 tbsp vegan chocolate chips

2 tbsp brown sugar

2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa

pinch salt

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Coat a microwave safe coffee mug or soup cup with non-stick cooking spray. Mix all ingredients well and smooth into mug.

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Microwave at 80% power for 2-3 minutes, until almost fully baked (should be slightly soft in center). Serve warm with non-dairy ice cream or as is.

Note: Microwave cooking time based on 1,000 watt microwave.

 

 

Gluten-Free Carrot Cake with Vanilla Buttercream

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Yes, all you gluten-free vegans, you CAN have your cake and eat it too! They said it couldn’t be done, but here it is–a delicious, moist, sweet carrot cake, that tastes in my opinion, even better than conventional.

Here’s the secret–superfine brown rice flour. I know it’s pricey, but trust me it’s worth it. The texture is light, not the least bit grainy like regular brown rice flour. I purchased a 3 lb. bag through Amazon.com for about $15.

Gluten-Free Carrot Cake

from “Gluten-Free Vegan Cupcakes” by Audrey Snowe

1 cup plus 1 tbsp. Superfine brown rice flour

1/3 cup plus 2 tbsp. Potato starch

2 tbsp. Tapioca starch

1/2 tsp. Xanthan gum

2 tsp. Baking powder

1/4 tsp. Salt

2 tsp. Cinnamon

1/2 cup Almond milk

1 cup shredded Carrots

1/3 cup Orange juice

1/4 cup canned pureed Pumpkin

1/2 cup unsweetened shredded Coconut

1/2 cup chopped Walnuts

1/2 cup raisins (optional)

1 tbsp. Maple syrup

2 tbsp. Canola oil

1 cup sugar

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Method:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare 12 muffin cups. Whisk together dry ingredients except sugar and set aside. Combine all wet ingredients well then add the sugar and whisk until thoroughly combined. Gently fold the DRY into the WET ingredients careful not to over mix.

Fold in the nuts, coconut and raisins, if using.

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Scoop batter in muffin cups with an ice cream scoop. Bake in the middle oven rack for 20 minutes–using the toothpick test. It should have just a bit of crumb adhering to it. Be careful not to over bake.

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Meanwhile prepare the frosting.

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

Recipe courtesy Isa Chandra Moskowitz

1/2 cup Non-dairy margarine

1/2 cup Shortening

1/2 cup Powdered sugar

1 1/2 tsp. Vanilla

1/4 cup Non-dairy milk

Pinch of salt

Method:

In a large electric mixer bowl with paddle attachment, cream the shortening and margarine together until smooth and well combined. Next, incorporate the powdered sugar about 1/2 cup at a time, until well blended. Be sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl so there are no lumps hanging around later. Beat in the milk and vanilla with a pinch of salt until smooth and fluffy.

Makes plenty of frosting (about 4 cups) for 12 cupcakes with some leftover for next time. This frosting freezes very well in an airtight container. Just make sure it is completely thawed before using.

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Pumpernickel Bread

headerBread baking can be a fun way to spend a few hours at home, especially during the winter months. It can also be a grounding, therapeutic practice–helping us slow down and become more present in our daily life.

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This recipe yields what my Nana would have referred to as a “good dark bread”. She was always delighted to find a fresh loaf at the bakery, the darker and more fragrant the better. As a child, I couldn’t appreciate the rich, full flavors of the rye flour, molasses and caraway. seeds. But over the years my palate has come to look forward to complexities of flavor like those in a dark coffee or imported chocolate.

This recipe is an old-world style with basic ingredients. The project time is long, about 3 hours—but, like I said, if you have the time and you’re feeling ambitious, you will be rewarded with a rich, tasty bread sturdy enough for your favorite sandwich or just a little spread of margarine or jam.

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Pumpernickel Bread

Recipe courtesy Elizabeth Yetter via About.com Bread Baking

1-1/2 tbsp active dry yeast
1-1/2 cups warm water
1/2 cup molasses
4 tsp salt
2 tbsp shortening
2 tbsp caraway seed
2-3/4 cups rye flour
3 cups bread flour, about
Preparation:

In large bowl, add warm water and yeast. Stir until yeast is dissolved.

Stir in the molasses, salt, shortening, caraway seed, and rye flour.

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Mix in 2 cups of bread flour. Slowly add the remaining bread flour until you have a dough that can be kneaded. You may or may not use the full amount of bread flour that is called for, depending on ingredients and weather.

Turn dough out onto floured board and knead for 5 minutes. If dough is too sticky, knead in more bread flour, a tablespoon at a time. I used a dough hook on my mixer for about 3-4 minutes.

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Place dough in greased bowl. Flip dough over so that top is lightly greased.

Cover and let dough rise in warm place for about an hour or until double in size.

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Punch down dough. Cover and let rise for another 45 minutes.

Punch down dough a second time. Turn out on lightly floured board and knead dough briefly.

Cut dough in half. Shape each half into small, round loaf.

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Grease baking sheet. Sprinkle sheet with cornmeal, optional.

Place both round loaves on baking sheet, cover, and let rise for about 45 minutes or until double in size.

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Bake at 375 degrees F for 35 minutes or until bread sounds hollow when tapped on.

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Remove from oven and let loaves cool on rack.

Loaves can be wrapped in plastic and frozen for later.

Carrot Cookies with Orange Icing

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One thing you may not know about me is that I have a great fondness for food nostalgia and vintage cookbooks. I like to attempt now and then to give a vegan makeover to a classic recipe from my childhood.

I chose one of my very favorite cookies my mom used to make. Whenever we saw that Tupperware canister on the counter, we knew what we would find inside. And they always went too fast.

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I substituted Earth Balance dairy-free products and flax eggs. I bumped up the health value by just a little bit, substituting whole wheat pastry flour and Sucanat for the sugar. The result is a tender, crisp little cookie cake topped with sweet orange frosting. I actually like them better than the original. Don’t tell Mom 🙂

Carrot Cookies with Orange Icing

adapted from The Betty Crocker Recipe Card Library 1971

1/2 cup dairy-free buttery stick, softened

1/2 cup vegan shortening

3/4 cup Sucanat ( or sugar)

*2 flax eggs (other other egg substitute)

1 cup mashed cooked carrots

2 cups whole wheat pastry flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt, depending on whether the butter substitute contains salt

3/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut

Orange icing (recipe below)

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Heat oven to 400 degrees.

*If using flax eggs, whisk together 2 tablespoons ground flax meal and 6 tablespoons water. Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes while preparing remaining ingredients. This will create an egg-like consistency.

1.  Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

2.  Cream together the shortening, butter substitute and sugar until smooth. Add egg substitute then  carrots and stir until well blended.

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3.  Stir in flour mixture then fold in coconut.

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4.  Drop by teaspoonfuls about 2 inches apart onto lightly greased cookie sheet.

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5.  Bake 10-12 minutes or until no imprint remains when touched lightly. Immediately remove from baking sheet to cool. Frost with orange icing. 4 dozen cookies.

Orange Icing

3 tablespoons soft butter substitute (such as Earth Balance)

1 1/2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar

2 teaspoons grated orange peel

1 tablespoon fresh squeezed orange juice

Blend butter and sugar. Stir in orange peel and juice. Beat until smooth.

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Chock-Full of Chocolate Cookies

IMG_1954If you’ve been reading my blog for awhile, you know there is no need for deprivation in a vegan lifestyle. Holiday treats are no exception to this rule.

Now, don’t get me wrong…I come up against plenty of temptation, with most of my family members and many other individuals in my daily life that are non-vegan. It seems everywhere I turn there is a plate or basket of some sort of cookie or candy or festively decorated sugary doodad being generously offered at this time of year.

And like a lot of vegans–I wasn’t born this way. I have my share of pleasant holiday food memories. But there are so many reasons to say no to those foods that contain animal secretions. I simply refuse to endorse or support the dairy industry, no matter how small a role it may be as simply the consumer of a cookie. That is how a vegetarian became a vegan. If you want to know why I feel so strongly about this, check out the following website:  http://www.chooseveg.com/dairy.asp

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Decadent, sweet, chocolate treats are essential in my enjoyment of the holiday season. These cookies fit the bill, without breaking the caloric bank. They have a little less fat than some recipes out there, but they are easy to make with common pantry staples, they contain plenty of delicious chocolate and are absolutely egg and dairy-free.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

from “Vegan Planet” by Robin Robertson

2 cups unbleached, all purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

1/4 cup pure maple syrup

1/2 cup corn oil

Egg replacer for 2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups semi-sweet vegan chocolate chips

1/2 cup chopped nuts of your choice (optional)

Method:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly oil two baking sheets.

In a medium bowl, combine wet ingredients and brown sugar and mix until well blended. Set aside. Combine dry ingredients, then add half of dry ingredients to wet, mixing just until combined. Add remaining dry ingredients, then fold in the chocolate chips and nuts (if using). Drop by spoonfuls onto prepared baking sheets, about 2 inches apart.

Bake until golden brown, 15-18 minutes. Let cool completely before storing in an airtight container. Makes about 2 dozen cookies, depending on the size of your spoon.