Mocha Muffins

Mocha Muffins

Mocha Muffins

Ah, just what Sunday needed – a muffin to go with a mocha. They needed to be filling for breakfast but not so sweet they competed with the latte. I found a recipe with coffee and chocolate flavors that complemented the caffeinated beverage and satisfied my hunger. They are best served warm so the chocolate is slightly melted and the coffee flavor shines.

They were already vegan because sometimes I am too lazy to figure out those substitutions before brunch. I made adjustments for altitude by adding more milk and reducing the baking powder. I also lowered the temperature to slow the rise and, oddly enough, they baked just fine at the same cooking time. To give a nod to healthy, I swapped some of the white flour with whole wheat. Also, because I ran out of chocolate chips, I made my own chunks by chopping up a dark chocolate bar. I recommend you always have dark chocolate on hand, then you can make chunks if you haven’t already snacked on the whole bar.

Mocha Muffins adapted from Cappuccino Chocolate Chip Mini Muffins
3/4 cup + 1 TBS plain dairy-free milk
2 TBS canola oil
2 TBS plain dairy-free yogurt
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup + 3 TBS vegan sugar
2 tsp instant espresso granules
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup vegan chocolate chunks
Preheat oven to 350F. Line a muffin tin with 11 paper liners. In a bowl, whisk together milk, oil, yogurt, vinegar, and vanilla. Let sit at room temperature for at least 5 minutes. In another bowl, whisk remaining ingredients well. Add wet ingredients and stir until just evenly mixed.
Spoon batter evenly among muffin cups so that each is half full. Bake for 14-16 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes before removing from tin.

Until next time, happy baking!

Peanut Butter Chocolate Pi Day Pie

Peanut Butter Chocolate Pi Day Pie

Peanut Butter Chocolate Pi Day Pie

Pi Day, celebrated on March 14th (3/14), is upon us. And, because I like math and puns, I am making Pie. If you read my Pi Day post last year, you know that I’m not a fan of traditional pie crust. So, I searched for a different type of pie recipe. The one I found sounded too good to pass up because it highlighted peanut butter and chocolate.

This unbaked pie didn’t need any high altitude tricks, and it was vegan so it didn’t require any of those conversions. My additional of milk did make it easier to blend and pour into the pie shell. I may have taken the easy route, but, c’mon – chocolate and peanut butter … in a pie. So here is a simple, albeit time-consuming in the fridge, pie recipe to help you celebrate Pi Day.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Pi Day Pie based on Velvety Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie
for the Crust
10 graham cracker sheets
5 TBS melted coconut oil
for the Filling
2 cups vegan chocolate chips
1.25 cups smooth peanut butter
1/4 cup almond milk
12 oz silken tofu
banana slices for decoration
Pulse graham crackers in a food processor until they are completely ground up. In a bowl, combine ground graham crackers with melted coconut oil and stir well. Pour mixture into an 8” pie pan and firmly press the crust onto the bottom and sides of pan. Chill in the refrigerator for 2 hours. Meanwhile, melt chocolate chips in a double boiler. Combine melted chocolate, peanut butter, milk, and tofu in the bowl of a stand mixer and blend until smooth. Pour filling into crust and decorate with banana slices. Chill for 4 hours before serving.

Until next time, happy un-baking!

Cookies for Breakfast

cookies for breakfast

cookies for breakfast

Do you ever have a few bananas on your counter that need to get eaten ASAP? That happens too often for me, and I don’t always want to turn them into bread. I was searching for a recipe to use up my browning produce when I came across these breakfast cookies. To polish off the bananas and have cookies for breakfast was a winning situation in my book.

For the dryness at altitude, I not only added milk to the recipe but also used less protein powder. To fend off the oiliness that can happen at altitude, I used less oil. I made a few other minor tweaks, the most notable being the use of einkorn flour instead of gluten-free flour. Einkorn is an ancient wheat that is often tolerated by those avoiding gluten and can sometimes be used instead of a gluten-free blend. And, if you don’t consume gluten, you’ll be happy to know that although buckwheat sounds as if it contains gluten, it is actually gluten-free.

Cookies for Breakfast adapted from Banana Buckwheat Breakfast Cookies in Protein Ninja
2/3 cup well-mashed ripe bananas
2 TBS ground flaxseeds
1/4 cup – 1/4 tsp canola oil
1/2 cup coconut sugar
2 TBS almond milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup buckwheat flour
1/4 cup einkorn flour
1/4 cup + 1 TBS hemp protein powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup mixed nuts and seeds, slightly crushed
1/4 cup small dried fruit, such as cranberries or raisins
Preheat oven to 350F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. In a large bowl, combine mashed banana and flaxseeds and let sit a few minutes. Then add oil, sugar, almond milk and vanilla and mix well. In another bowl, whisk together the flours, protein powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda and salt. Stir dry ingredients into wet. Before dough is completely moistened, add nuts and dried fruit. Stir just enough to moisten everything.
Scoop up dough and drop onto cookie sheets. Bake 11-13 minutes. Cool on baking sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in a loosely covered container.

Until next time, happy baking!

Peppermint Fudge Cookie Bites

peppermint fudge cookie bite

peppermint fudge cookie bite

What do you get when you combine peppermint fudge and chocolate cookies? These delicious bites. They are a rich fudge spread over a cookie crumb shell to make them a decadent and elegant treat. And there is no baking involved. Decadent and easy – no need to say more.

The recipe I adapted these from was already non-dairy so I didn’t need to make those types of changes. No baking meant it didn’t need high altitude adjustments. The changes I made were to help them stick together for easier eating and presentation. I added coconut oil to the cookie shell for stability, and I added more milk to the fudge for pourability. Also, I made them in paper cups and in a muffin tin. They both worked out, but I find the paper cup is more festive and easier to hold if you are sharing them with others. If you’re not sharing, then you can just mash them up and eat them. I don’t judge.

Peppermint Fudge Cookie Bites based on Chocolate Mint Fudge Tartlets
1 TBS + ½ cup vegan chocolate chips, divided
4.5 ounces gluten-free crunchy chocolate cookies, processed into fine crumbs
1 TBS coconut oil, melted
¼ cup + ½ tsp almond milk
¼ tsp peppermint extract
Melt 1 TBS chocolate chips over a double boiler. Put cookies crumbs in a bowl with melted coconut oil, then add the melted chocolate. Stir until thoroughly combined and mixture resembles wet sand. Divide cookie crumb mixture between 12 lined mini muffin cups. Drop a spoonful of crumb mixture into each cup and press into bottoms and lightly up the sides.
Melt remaining 1/2 cup of chocolate chips. Turn heat off but leave the bowl of melted chocolate over the hot water. Whisk milk and peppermint extract into the bowl. Pour chocolate-mint filling into cookie crusts. Freeze for 15 to 20 minutes. May be stored in a covered container in refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Until next time, happy un-baking!

Banana Chocolate Cookies

Banana Chocolate Cookies

Banana Chocolate Cookies

A friend once told me that my Valentine’s Day treats weren’t sweet enough. She thought that the holiday deserved something really sweet, not really healthy. Thus began my search for the decadently sweet. The cookie I found was based on a very ripe banana to produce a sweet chocolatey goodness. In this cookie that overly ripe banana is as much a star as the chocolate. The two combine to make sweets for my sweetie.

For high altitude I used fewer oats because they soak up moisture and could leave a dry cookie. I looked to add more liquid but there wasn’t one in the original recipe so I included vanilla extract. I then swapped out the oat flour and used all purpose because oat flour is best used when a doughy-type of chew is desired, such as in my Cinnamon Roll Muffins.

Banana Chocolate Cookies based on Chocolate Chunky Monkey Cookies
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup Navitas cacao powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
generous 1/4 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup mashed ripe banana
1/4 cup canola oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup quick oats
3/4 cup vegan semi-sweet chocolate chunks
Preheat oven to 350F. Place flour, cacao powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl and whisk to thoroughly combine. Add sugar, banana, oil, and vanilla to a stand mixer bowl and mix until creamy, about 1 minute. Pour dry ingredients into wet and blend until smooth. Blend in quick oats. Stir in chocolate chunks with a spoon.
Scoop dough by the large spoonful and place on baking sheets. Bake for 19 to 21 minutes, or until they appear just baked. Let cool on baking sheets for 5 minutes before removing to wire racks to cool completely. Makes 22 cookies.

Until next time, happy baking!

Cinnamon Roll Muffins

cinnamon roll muffins

cinnamon roll muffins

After last week’s post on baking bread, I was craving cinnamon bread. But, as I mentioned, I don’t do yeast products. So, when I was scouring my recipe collection, one stood out – muffins based on cinnamon rolls. I could get my cinnamon cravings satisfied without proofing and kneading. Immediately I set out to make the rolls because they sounded easy and good. How good? Have you ever licked a (vegan) batter off of your fingers and then scooped more out of the bowl to eat? Yep, that good.

The recipe was already vegan (I did say it was easy) so all I had to do was adapt for altitude. I added flour and milk while reducing the baking powder. I also used less topping so it wouldn’t suffocate a muffin trying to rise at high altitude. Because I had vanilla flavored yogurt, I reduced the vanilla extract. I didn’t want to crowd out the cinnamon flavor. They seemed to turn out pretty good, but I should taste test another one or two to be sure.

Cinnamon Roll Muffins based on Cinnabon Muffins
Topping:
1 TBS coconut sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
Batter:
1 1/2 cups + 1 TBS all purpose flour
1/2 cup oat flour
1 1/4 tsp cinnamon powder
1/4 scant tsp sea salt
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup vanilla cashew yogurt
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup + 1 1/2 TBS almond milk
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 TBS raisins
Preheat oven to 350F and put paper liners in 11 cups of a regular muffin tin. In a small bowl, mix together topping ingredients and set aside. In a large bowl, sift together flours, cinnamon, salt, baking powder and baking soda. In a medium bowl, whisk together yogurt, milk, maple syrup, and vanilla. Stir in raisins. Add wet mixture to dry, stirring until just well combined.
Distribute batter evenly between 11 muffin cups. Sprinkle topping on each. Bake for 18-19 minutes, until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow to cool on a cooling rack.

Until next time, happy baking!

Baking Bread at High Altitude

breadYeast scares me. When a recipe includes yeast it also includes hours of time until you actually get to eat. Instant gratification is much better. I can go from gathering ingredients for cookies to eating them in less than 1/2 hour. But I understand that many people love the meditative qualities and joy of baking bread. In order to help those bakers out, I have delved into the science of bread baking at high altitude.

According to Taste of Home, “High altitude (over 3,000 feet) affects bread baking because the lower air pressure allows the yeast to rise 25 to 50 percent faster, and the drier air makes the flour drier. If the dough over-rises, the results might be a heavy, dry loaf or misshapen or collapsed loaf.” The lower air pressure and dryness affects all baking but may have a more drastic effect on bread. I would eat a dry chocolate cookie, but dry, leaden bread … never!

Cultures for Health includes other specifics that affect high altitude bread baking, including adjustments to time. Increasing baking time is important. “The amount of extra time depends on the exact elevation. The easiest way to judge when a loaf of bread is finished baking is to use a thin-tipped instant-read thermometer inserted into the bottom of the loaf. A temperature of 195°F is a good goal, but temperatures all the way up to 205°F should be fine.”

They mention that proofing time should also be changed. “Rising time decreases as altitude increases. Keep in mind that the longer the rise time, the more complex the flavors will be, usually a desirable goal. Try rising at cooler temperatures and giving the dough a second rise. When the dough has doubled, punch it down and let it double again.”

These all seem like good tips to ensure a beautiful loaf of bread. I’ll stick with quick breads for now, but I’m hoping my favorite taste tester can use these recipes to create his perfect cinnamon roll. I look forward to being his taste tester.