Today, an extra recipe post. Between piles of work and seemingly endless partial weeks for my kids' schools, I needed a kitchen break but had just a few minutes to spare more days. I came across the Vegetarian Mamma's coffee cake tweet, and it looked too simple and too yummy to pass up.
The original recipe used a neat trick---pancake mix instead of flour---which my family has also tried on occasion. Not one to follow instruction well, I changed quite a bit of the other ingredients...but I stayed true to the directions in what must be the easiest, and fastest, coffee cake recipe in the world. I can't believe how well this recipe worked, even with all of my tweaks (and with not enough mix in my pantry to begin with!). This could replace my all-time favorite speedy scones for lazy weekend mornings, at least sometimes.
Here's my version for a pancake mix coffee cake, with tapioca starch and lemon juice to thicken and flavor the liquid instead of sour cream...and with berries instead of chocolate so that everyone in my family gets a bite, even during Lent. It turned out awfully pink but surprisingly tasty. I'm sure to try the chocolate chip version after Easter (and after buying more pancake mix), though.
You'll find this version posted in the #freefromfridays collection on St. Pat's Day, too:
If you are interested in the lovely original version, which uses an Enjoy Life mix without gluten (and safe chocolate!), check it out at the Vegetarian Mamma blog.
Have you tried baking with pancake mixes? Or do you have a great vegan coffee cake recipe to share? I'd love to hear about it!
I've written before about how much I love a good snack: something with crunch or bite to it and ideally with plenty of fiber and/or protein. Last month, I found and held onto some homemade Larabar recipes from realfoodrealdeals. They seemed simple and healthy enough to be perfect for this busy work and school week of ours.
Well, sometimes in baking, you try something new and you end up with throwaways: all of those first (or fifth) attempts that just don't work out, even with a recipe on hand.
For this no-bake snack attempt, we substituted almonds for all of the other types of nuts and tried multiple bar varieties. We used measuring cups and spoons for the apple pie version, but it just never came together for us. Even after a good refrigeration, it was too crumbly to call a bar. I couldn't actually throw away tasty food though; it's become a chunky granola topping for our yogurts instead.
Next try: on to lemon bars! We started with a clean blender and a counter full of almonds, dates, lemon juice, lemon oil, and lemon zest. And we were determined to get this one sticky enough to press and slice. We tossed into the blender an entire bag of dates, half the bag of almonds, a couple of shakes each of lemon oil and zest, and a quick pour of lemon juice. When it looked almost-right, we added a few more dates for good measure and pulsed it some more.
Bakers usually share recipes that come out tasty and beautiful, but that didn't quite happen for us this time. After about an hour in the fridge (the longest time we could make ourselves wait), we ended up with tasty, not-bad-looking bars with an awesome lemon aroma...but no real recipe to try to duplicate. Sometimes, even in baking, success doesn't come with measurements and exact recipes. Instead, it comes from the fun of piecing it all together.
If you have a good no-bake bar recipe, we'd love to try it! I'll be experimenting in my own kitchen with different flavors, quantities, and ingredients, too, until I get something more exact to share...as soon as I get out to buy a lot more dates.
Ahhh, I've been putting off this blog all week.
We've had a full and busy allergy week:
I'll tell you, the emotions are high these days. But yesterday, my daughter had early release, and I put aside work, and we just baked in the kitchen together. She barely needs me there anymore, really, but it was a joy.
All of those food allergy topics are important, and relevant, and I'm sure to share them in my writing as I go. But right now, I'm chucking all of the worries and posting my daughter's brownie recipe, which finally improves on the cakey version I have on hand. The recipe stays sturdy as a cake as it cools (no sinking!) because of the just-right amount of applesauce...and it's got some chewy goodness from extra melted chocolate chips.
These brownies are, as usual, vegan + free from soy/tree nuts/peanuts/seeds. They're delicious. And already gone (I gave them away! It's Lent! I didn't eat 16 brownies already, even with help.)
Enjoy the baking and the snacking, and have a great weekend!
PS -- If you are into cakey brownies instead, just leave out the chips and extra tablespoon of oil. You'll still get yummy chocolate treats, just with an airy texture.
I've been daydreaming about M&M cookies for awhile now. They weren't something we made at home when I was little, but my mom had a recipe in her files for them anyway, and so do I. They're just right when you want a cookie but chocolate chip isn't crunchy enough. I started thinking about replacing the M&Ms with Skittles or some other dairy-free candy, but it just didn't sound appealing enough to try (because nothing really replaces M&Ms for me)...until now.
Why now? I missed out all of the holiday baking this Christmas while I was completing cardiac rehabilitation (and I officially "graduated" on New Year's Eve!). Our holiday dessert effort this year was Oreos (how are they vegan?) dunked in melted safe chocolate chips. The kids loved them, but I missed my baking time. I've made great recovery strides in 2017 already, so I decided that I'm ready to shower the people I love with cookie tins for Valentine's Day instead.
I'll be returning to some favorite treats (last year's truffles, for sure), but I also wanted to make some new variations on my standards. My youngest, the one with the most (and the anaphylactic) food allergies, recently developed a taste for spicy Red Hots, that old cinnamon imperials hard candy. And they happen to be sold in bulk at the store across the street from our neighborhood. That scenario was sort of begging me to come up with a cookie.
The key to M&M cookies, I've learned, is to bake a cookie soft enough to press the candies into just after they come out of the oven. I was game to try that; I used some old M&M cookie examples and my own chocolate chip recipe, but I increased the sugar-to-oil ratio and shortened the cooking time. But pressing in candy after baking just didn't seem like enough spicy goodness to me, so I added Red Hots into the dough, too.
On day 1, I used half of the dough for baking; I added 1/4 cup flour to the other half and froze it in a log. After my first batch of cookies, with candy in the dough that I dropped onto cookie sheets to bake, I was pretty happy. The cookies were soft, even the next day, and the candy was softer but not burnt or melted. The cookie jar emptied rather quickly, so I pulled out the frozen long on day 2.
Slicing the cookies frozen was something new for me, but I baked this batch exactly the same way as the first. At the end, though, I pressed more Red Hots into the tops of each cookie to see if they really would settle in like M&Ms do. And yes, they did!
You might wonder why this post is called "Red Hot Hearts" when there are no hearts to be found. Well, my initial goal was to use the M&M cookie variation and some extra flour to roll the dough out and bake in heart shapes. I think that my next attempt with this recipe might pull that goal off...but I need some extra patience before I succeed there. For now, here's the recipe I used for the fresh and frozen doughs. Enjoy, and happy Valentine's day!
Friday night pancake dinners are not unusual in our house, any season. This week, I realized what was missing from our already-carb-heavy meal: Doughnuts!
In December, I found a pan for full-size cake doughnuts. But I was still recovering from open heart surgery (more on that in another post, perhaps? back to chocolate for now...), so I wasn't able to use the oven. That door is heavier than it seems when you are rebuilding all of the bone and muscle strength in your upper body!
It's mid-January and I'm still not back to my old self in the kitchen, but I'm getting there. I was looking for some inspiration this week and came across the Gluten-Free Palate's Vegan Chocolate Espresso Doughnuts on the Enjoy Life Twitter feed. What could be better?
We know people with celiac disease, so I'm holding onto the gluten-free version for sure. For my first try, though, I re-glutenized the recipe and used my own go-to egg replacement (cornstarch + applesauce) because we were out of flax. I also left out the espresso, so that my kids would go right to bed (ha!). The recipe was so easy, and my results were tasty even the next morning.
I did notice that these doughnuts (made with wheat flour, at least) are pretty crispy on the outside, but they are nice and airy without feeling dense at all. When I tried a shorter cooking time on a second batch, they were a touch softer but also prone to falling apart when I turned out the pan. This---and the lack of pretty smoothness on the doughnut bottoms---probably reflects my impatient technique more than anything else, though!
I'll definitely be using this recipe again and experimenting with my own versions and new flavors on some other Friday pancake nights. I also loved the larger doughnut size, compared with a mini-doughnut pan that I tried in the past.
Do you have any favorite doughnut recipes to share? Any tips to soften up some eggless baked goods that aren't naturally heavy on fruit purees?
When I was a kid, my summer vacation was filled with biking to the park, picking wild blackberries, and hanging out with my grandpa, playing card games or just talking. My grandpa always stocked all of the grandkids' favorite treats, and his freezer was an open door each summer to icees, dilly bars, and those popsicles with fake cream inside...and, my favorite by far, the fudgsicle!
Looking back, I miss all of it, and I want my own kids to have a taste of that idle happiness between busier and longer school years. So. I decided this year, to end my oldest's last day of elementary school and to celebrate with a new treat that was safe for my youngest, that I would remake fudgsicles...but I left myself only 2 hours to make this happen before school let out.
The process on this first attempt wasn't the neatest, I'll admit. But the taste was delicious (even after just a few hours, when it was still at the mousse-y pudding pop stage).
This first go is adapted from Parade's Community Table adult Mexican dark chocolate bar, which was in the June 5, 2016, edition of the metro DC insert.
Unprepared as I was, I had nothing as fancy as actual popsicle molds on hand. But I did have a drug store across the street that sold boxes of Dixie cups for $1---another remnant of my childhood.
And did I remember to grease the cups or do anything to make it easy to slide out the frozen deliciousness? No, I did not. I poured these suckers in and ate the first one with a spoon before I ever froze them, just because I could. I did double-up the Dixie cups in case a single-layer would be too soggy (it wasn't).
It turns out that these are easy to remove, because you can just tear a paper cup right off while you hold the fudgsicle stick.
Chocolate School's Out Fudgsicles
2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1/3 cup sugar
2 Tbsp cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt
1-1/2 cups soy milk
1/2 cup coconut cream
1 tsp vanilla
1-1/2 ounces any safe semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/4 tsp cinnamon
At least a dozen Dixie cups and popsicle sticks.
Before you begin mixing ingredients, prepare the Dixie cups by placing double layers of the cups tightly into a baking pan or plastic container, and have the popsicle sticks ready to insert.
Combine the cocoa powder, sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a saucepan. Whisk in the milk and cream and stir often. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat and cook at a boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in the chocolate chips, vanilla, and cinnamon.
Pour the mixture into the Dixie cups, and stand up a popsicle stick in each cup. The amount made depends on how deep you pour these out. I made about 10 chunky-sized fudgsicles. Place the container of Dixie cups in the freezer and freeze for at least 3 and ideally for 6-8 hours.
My only concession to our usual Free-From ingredients is the coconut cream that I used to replace the fat that would have come from the usual dairy. Soy, almond, and rice milks alone just can't compete on fat content, which is needed in this recipe not only for that creamy mouth feel but also to actually harden up and stay together. Coconut is not *technically* a tree nut, but if you avoid it and adapt this recipe, please let me know what worked for you instead!
Hi, I'm Nicole.
ABOUT THE BLOG
An apothecary is a person or a place. Either one implies healing and relates to pharmacy in its truest sense, as a source of treatment and advice.
This blog is my way of uniting my pharmacy training with my efforts to provide a healthy and safe lifestyle for my family. In true apothecary form, I research and prescribe alternative ingredients that work just right in each specific recipe, and I would like to share the results with anyone who needs help making their own family’s kitchen allergy safe and heart healthy.
Nicole Van Hoey's books on Goodreads
Bakery Bites: Breads and Treats Without Dairy, Eggs, Nuts, Seeds, or Soy
ratings: 1 (avg rating 5.00)
Kitchen Adventures With Multiple Food Allergies: A Recipe Collection for Celebrations Without Dairy, Eggs, Peanuts, Tree Nuts, Seeds, or Soy