I wanted chocolate and I wanted it now. That meant something fast and decadent, so I decided on brownie bites. This recipe gave me a quick fix.
The original recipe I had was gluten-free so I could play with it for my gluten-free friends. The problem was I didn’t feel like hassling with my baking that much. So, the first change was to un-gluten-free it. I know, sounds backwards. Ah, well. I then added flour and a little milk for high altitude, as well as reducing the baking powder. There you have it – a quick chocolate fix.
Quick Brownie Bites adapted from a recipe by Erin McKenna
1/2 cup + 3 TBS all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup applesauce
1/4 cup canola oil
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp non-dairy milk
1/2 cup vegan mini chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 325F. Grease a 24 mini muffin pan with shortening. In a bowl, whisk flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In another bowl, whisk applesauce, oil, vanilla, and milk. Stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients. Stir in chocolate chips. Spoon batter into muffin pans, filling them three-quarters full. Bake for 15-16 minutes, or until set. Let brownies cool in the pans for 15 minutes, then turn out onto a rack to cool completely.
May is Allergy Awareness Month, with this past week being devoted to Food Allergies. It seemed like a good time to examine the humble beginnings of Vegan Baking Up High. I began the blog to work out the kinks of baking dairy-free at high altitude. This reflected my long-standing allergy to dairy. Then, when my husband went vegan a few years later, the blog became vegan. Nowadays I am approached by people with a variety of food allergies and they ask if I have recipes for their dietary needs. For them, I am trying to expand my baking horizons.
I realized I was allergic to dairy in 1995 when food allergies weren’t widely accepted or understood. Back then it was almost impossible to find a baked good that came close to resembling anything I would ever want to eat. I am seeing that same pattern of inadequate baked items offered for people with other allergies, such as those to nuts or gluten. I don’t think that anyone should accept sub-par treats just because they have an allergy, so I have widened my experimental baking realm.
You will note that I am extending my recipes to include other allergies, such as gluten-free, nut-free and soy-free, in an effort to offer tasty treats for a wide range of allergies. The easiest fix is to use the non-dairy milk alternative you prefer in place of the non-dairy milk listed in a recipe. There will be changes in taste and texture but the recipes should still work. Now I am tackling the task of removing gluten and nuts. It is slow going because of the inherent high altitude challenge, but I and my taste buds will persevere.
Mother’s Day is a good excuse to have brunch. Creating a baked treat that is fast and simple makes brunch easy. These muffins have only a few ingredients and don’t require anything fancy except, perhaps, the mini muffin pan. But mini muffins are great because they cook faster and makes lots to share. And I like saying Matcha Mini Muffins for Mom.
My high altitude adaptations were few – more flour and less baking powder. But I replaced some of the white flour with whole wheat for a healthier treat. If you omit the icing the recipe has no added sugar, but I made the icing with lemon for a good taste pairing with the matcha flavor. Mom is sure to love these muffins because they are not too sweet, even with a little icing. And the subtle green hue and taste from the matcha is fun if you are preparing tea. Here’s to Mom!
Matcha Mini Muffins for Mom adapted from Matcha Latte Mini Muffins muffins
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup + 1 TBS all purpose flour
2 tsp matcha powder
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup vanilla dairy-free creamer (use coconut, soy or almond milk coffee creamer)
3 TBS grapeseed oil
1/2 tsp vanilla extract icing
1/4 cup + 1 TBS powdered sugar
1/2 TBS non-dairy milk
1/4 tsp lemon juice
Preheat oven to 400ºF and use cupcake liners in 24 mini muffin wells. In a bowl, whisk together flours, matcha, baking powder and salt until well combined. In another bowl, whisk together creamer, oil, and vanilla. Gradually add flour mixture, stirring until just combined. Divide batter between muffin wells; they should be ¾ full.
Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean. Remove to a wire rack to cool completely. Prepare icing by whisking together the icing ingredients in a bowl. Dip tops of cooled muffins into prepared icing, turn upright, and place back on rack while icing sets.
While baking at high altitude, I discovered that added protein helps maintain texture that could be lost by the lower air pressure. The hard part with vegan baking is that many ideas for egg substitutes are carbohydrates and not proteins. Experimenting with higher protein flours adds the protein but can make a baked good dense. Tofu and yogurt can also create a more dense texture so they are best saved for fudgy items. So, what to do when you want something light and airy?
The answer may be in Terry Hope Romero’s latest cookbook, Protein Ninja. When faced with the age-old question of where a vegan gets protein, her idea was Protein Powder. No, she doesn’t want people replacing all meals with a protein shake. Instead, she adds the powder to, among other things, baked goods. When I read that the hamster in my head nearly gave himself a heart attack running on his wheel so fast.
Hmmm. Protein powder. Muffins. Cakes. Pancakes. Cookies. Brownies. But, is it a simple flour replacement? She warns that taste, texture and sometimes color will be altered, but suggests that protein powders can be lighter than high protein flours. Her book does explain that “protein powders seem to suck up more liquid than most flours (but) adding a small portion of dense, moist ingredients … provides some must needed moisture.”
My mind is racing with ideas. I must go buy protein powder. Then on to the kitchen to experiment. Stay tuned and I may just surprise you with a healthy and decadent protein-laden baked treat.