Coffee Shop Muffins

Coffee Shop Muffins

Coffee Shop Muffins

On some Sundays I just want to sit around and enjoy a cup of tea and a delicious muffin, or two, or three. (But, who’s counting.) For this Sunday, I decided to find a recipe for a muffin that went well with coffee. With a little espresso powder and cinnamon, these muffins would complement a cup of coffee, or even tea or non-dairy milk. And if you eat half a batch, it will just be our secret.

For high altitude, I reduced the baking powder but found I lost some lift. To fix this problem I included some baking soda with the baking powder. I also added a little more milk to counteract dryness. For a little health boost, and so I wouldn’t feel guilty about eating a few extra muffins, I used whole wheat flour along with the all purpose variety.

Coffee Shop Muffins adapted from “Vegan: 100 Everyday Recipes” edited by Love Food

1.25 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cups whole wheat flour
1.75 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 TBS espresso powder
1 tsp cinnamon
3/4 cup vegan sugar
1 cup + 1.5 tsp almond milk
1/3 cup canola oil
1 TBS vanilla extract
3/4 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 12 cup muffin tin with liners. In a large bowl, sift together both flours, baking powder, baking soda, espresso powder, and cinnamon. Whisk in sugar.

In a small bowl, whisk together milk, oil, and vanilla. Stir in dry ingredients. Stir in walnuts. Mix until just combined.

Divide batter among the 12 muffin cups. Bake for 20-23 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in a muffin comes out clean. Let cool for 5 minutes, then remove from pan.

Until next time, happy baking!

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Spicy Gluten-free Pumpkin Cookies

Spicy Pumpkin Cookies

Spicy Gluten-free Pumpkin Cookies

You may be thinking that pumpkin season is long gone. And you would be right. This batch of cookies was made several months ago and then frozen. I wanted a back-up cookie that would do well from the freezer. They performed marvelously, or I probably wouldn’t have shared them with you. But now you know that you can make these and stash them away in the freezer for future decadent snacking.

The original vegan recipe had tips for using coconut sugar instead of light brown sugar. I opted for coconut sugar, because I was out of light brown sugar, so I heeded the advice and measured it out and then ground it up. Also, I would have used less vegan margarine for the dryness at altitude, but I used more due to the recommendation with the sugar swap. To further combat dryness, I added extra pumpkin puree. So enjoy these immediately, or freeze them for when you get an attack of the munchies any time of year.

Spicy Gluten-free Pumpkin Cookies based on Chewy Pumpkin Spice Molasses Cookies


2 cups gluten free flour blend
1 3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp powdered ginger
1/4 tsp powdered nutmeg
pinch of powdered cloves
1 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 cup vegan margarine
1/2 cup vegan cane sugar
1/4 cup coconut sugar
1/8 cup molasses
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup + 1 tsp pumpkin puree
sugar for rolling

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. Measure out coconut sugar, then grind it in a coffee grinder that is not used for coffee. In a bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, baking soda, and salt.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, place vegan margarine and both sugars and cream on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add molasses, vanilla, and pumpkin puree and mix until smooth. Add dry ingredients to stand mixer a little at a time while mixing on low speed. Mix until just combined.

Pour a few tablespoons of sugar in a small bowl. Form 1” balls of dough and roll in sugar. Place balls on lined cookie sheets and flatten them slightly with the heel of your hand. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet before moving to a wire rack to cool completely. Makes 24 cookies.

frozen pumpkin cookies

frozen pumpkin cookies

To freeze, scoop sugared dough balls onto a cookie sheet and freeze for one hour. Place dough balls in a freezer bag and store in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Until next time, happy baking (and freezing)!

Granola Squares

Granola Squares

Granola Squares

So, yeah, that are lots of granola bar recipes out there on the internet. And, yes, most of them are probably vegan. But, I chose to make these granola squares because of the variety of textures and flavors they offered. I changed up the fruit and seeds recommended in the original recipe to use what I had in my cupboard, which is another bonus. Also, to satisfy my decadent tastebuds, I added mini chocolate chips. That was a no-brainer.

The recipe was already vegan, but you do have to be aware that many granola recipes contain honey which makes them non-vegan. I made a minor high altitude adjustment by adding almond butter to keep them moist. Most of my changes were purely a matter of taste, something I consider important nonetheless.

Granola Squares based on Chewy Granola Bars with Walnuts and Cranberries

1.5 cups walnuts
2.5 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup raw pumpkin seeds
1 cup dried mixed berries
1 cup packed organic brown sugar, light or dark
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup vegetable oil, plus extra to coat the foil sling
2 TBS almond butter
3 TBS water
1.5 cups puffed brown rice cereal
1 cup mini chocolate chips

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350F. Make a foil sling for a 13 x 9” pan by folding 2 long sheets of foil; the first sheet should be 13” wide and second sheet should be 9” wide. Lay sheets of foil in pan perpendicular to each other, with extra foil hanging over the edges of the pan. Push foil into corners and up the sides of the pan, smoothing the foil flush to pan. Lightly coat the foil with vegetable oil.

Pulse walnuts in a food processor until finely chopped, for 8 to 10 pulses. Spread walnuts, oats, and pumpkin seeds on a rimmed baking sheet and toast until lightly browned and fragrant, 12 to 15 minutes, stirring halfway through toasting. When done, set aside to cool and reduce oven temperature to 300F.

While oat mixture is toasting, process dried berries, brown sugar, and salt in a food processor for 10 seconds. Run processor again, adding oil, almond butter, and water. Continue to process until a homogeneous paste forms, about 1 minute longer.

Transfer paste to a large bowl. Add oat mixture to bowl and stir with a rubber spatula until well coated. Add cereal and chocolate chips and stir gently until ingredients are evenly mixed. Transfer mixture to prepared pan and spread into an even layer. Press and smooth with the bottom of a measuring cup, especially at the edges, until granola is level and compact.

foil sling with granola

foil sling with granola

Bake granola until just beginning to brown around edges, about 25 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack and let cool for 1 hour. Using foil sling, lift granola out of pan. Place on wire rack and let cool completely, about 1 hour. Discard foil and transfer granola to a cutting board to cut it into squares. Granola squares can be stored at room temperature for up to 3 weeks.

Until next time, happy baking!

Espresso Chocolate Cookies

Espresso Chocolate Cookies

Espresso Chocolate Cookies

Who doesn’t love the combination of chocolate and coffee flavors? And, who wouldn’t enjoy those tastes combined in an easy cookie recipe? Not to mention that the cookie is not too sweet to allow for the espresso to shine, but also has added chocolate chips for decadence. Yes, this cookie is a winner.

The recipe I found was vegan, but I added non-dairy milk to account for the dryness at altitude. I also added the mini chocolate chips to make them more luxurious. To create with less effort, I made the dense dough in a stand mixer but the original recipe called for a bowl. The choice is yours.

Espresso Chocolate Cookies adapted from “Vegan: 100 Everyday Recipes” edited by Love Food

1 TBS espresso powder
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
3 TBS unsweetened dutch process cocoa powder
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup vegan margarine
1/2 cup rolled oats
1 TBS non-dairy milk
1/4 cup vegan mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Dissolve espresso powder in 1 TBS of boiling water and set aside to cool slightly.

espresso liquid - the secret ingredient

espresso liquid – the secret ingredient

In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and cocoa powder. Add brown sugar and combine well.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, thoroughly mix margarine and oats. Mix in dry ingredients. Add non-dairy milk and espresso liquid and combine to form a soft but thick dough. Stir in chocolate chips.

Form the dough into 16-18 small balls, place on the baking sheet, and flatten slightly. Bake for 17-19 minutes, or until crisp. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. These may be stored in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

Until next time, happy baking!

Strawberry Covered Chocolates and Sweetheart Peanut Butter Cups

Strawberry Covered Chocolates and Peanut Butter Cups

Strawberry Covered Chocolates and Peanut Butter Cups

Valentine’s Day is coming up so I thought I’d have some fun making chocolates. For simplicity I went with a rolled variety, where the forming tool is your hands, and a version made in silicon molds, where chocolate tempering is not required.

The first recipe, that I like to call Strawberry Covered Chocolates, is a riff on a truffle from Dr. Gregor’s cookbook. I had coconut sugar in my cupboard, so I used that, but know that this healthy treat originally called for date sugar. To enhance the truffles’ Valentine’s Day status, I rolled the candies in strawberry powder. If you can’t find that in your market, see if you can find freeze dried strawberries. You can run them through a coffee grinder and – presto – strawberry powder.

My other chocolate candy choice is an old favorite that I make. I can’t remember how the recipe evolved but I use as few ingredients as possible to get the boldest flavor. You will find that they are true to the peanut butter and chocolate tastes without any unnecessary fillers.

Today I offer you two recipes, in the name of love and chocolate. Show love to yourself and others with these decadent vegan candies.

Strawberry Covered Chocolates based on Almond-Chocolate Truffles from “The How Not To Die Cookbook” by Michael Greger, M.D. and Gene Stone

1/3 cup chopped and pitted soft dates *
1/3 cup raw cashews soaked in hot water for 3 hours and then drained
3 tablespoons almond butter
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup coconut sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
Strawberry powder, for coating

Combine dates and cashews in a food processor and process to a paste. Add almond butter and process to combine. Add cocoa powder, coconut sugar, vanilla, and 1 teaspoon of water. Pulse until well combined.

Pinch a piece of the mixture between your fingers to see whether it holds together. If it’s too dry, add a little more water, 1 teaspoon at a time, until the mixture can be shaped into balls. (The amount of water added can depend on the amount of moisture in your dates.) If the mixture is too soft, refrigerate it for 20 minutes or longer to firm up. If it’s still too soft, add a little more cocoa powder, 1 teaspoon at a time. The mixture should be slightly glossy.

Use your hands to shape and roll a small amount of the mixture into a ball and transfer to a plate. Repeat until all of the mixture has been formed into about 24 balls. Put the plate in the fridge for 10 minutes for the balls to dry out a bit.

rolling and dipping chocolates

rolling and dipping chocolates

Place the strawberry powder in a shallow bowl. Roll the chocolates in the powder until they’re coated, patting off the excess powder. Transfer the candies to a plate and refrigerate until firm.

* If your dates are not soft, soak them in hot water for 20 minutes. Drain and pat dry before using.

 

Sweetheart Peanut Butter Cups

3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
2 TBS coconut palm syrup (you can use agave syrup instead)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
9 ounces bittersweet chocolate (at least 65% cocoa), chopped

In a bowl, mix peanut butter with coconut palm syrup and vanilla until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge to chill.

Melt chocolate in the top of a double boiler, stirring frequently until smooth. Remove from heat. With a pastry brush, apply a generous layer of chocolate inside each cup of a silicon mold. The chocolate cups should be sturdy enough to hold the filling, so coat the bottom and sides but don’t fill them to the top. Place the mold in the fridge for 30 minutes so the chocolate hardens.

coating silicon mold with chocolate

coating silicon mold with chocolate

Reheat remaining chocolate until smooth. Spoon about 1/2 TBS peanut butter filling into each chocolate cup. With a clean spoon, quickly spoon remaining melted chocolate over the filling to cover. Refrigerate until chocolate hardens, for 20 minutes. Unmold hardened chocolates.

Happy non-baking!

Ginger Apple Crisp

Ginger Apple Crisp

Ginger Apple Crisp

I know that I haven’t posted in some time. The world got crazy, but I had committed to getting back to baking and blogging at the start of the year. And then I cut my hand. (I was cleaning the food processor, but that’s a long story). It wasn’t severe, but it make food prep a little more complicated and it turned typing into a frustrating game. But the Decadent Vegan Baker is back and ready for action. So, without any further ado, I bring you this week’s vegan, high-altitude baking experiment.

Okay, this one wasn’t very difficult. I decided to ease into things with an apple crisp. Generally apple crisps pop up in autumn, but where I live the weather is warm, then cold, then warm again, so it felt appropriate. The tweaks I made were to follow my personal desires, which I inspire any baker to do. Crisps are a good backdrop for making changes because they don’t involve the scientific perfection of something like a cake.

I added ginger to give the crisp a spicy zip. I also chose coconut sugar as the sweetener to change the flavor profile a bit, and because my brown sugar had become a doorstop. You can use gluten free flour instead of the all purpose flour if you prefer. If baking gluten free, then look for gluten free oats.

Ginger Apple Crisp adapted from Gluten Free and Vegan Apple Crisp

Filling:
6 apples, peeled and sliced
1/4” crystallized ginger, chopped fine
1/2 cup vegan sugar
1 TBS lemon juice
2 TBS all purpose flour
3/4 tsp cinnamon
Topping:
3/4 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup coconut sugar
3/4 cup oats, run through a coffee grinder until course
6 TBS vegan margarine, cut into small pieces (I used Spectrum vegetable spread)
1 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375F. In a large bowl, mix apples, ginger, vegan sugar, lemon juice, 2 TBS flour, and 3/4 tsp cinnamon. Place in a 9 x 13” glass baking dish. In a medium bowl, combine 3/4 cup flour, oats, cinnamon and brown sugar and stir. Add margarine and cut in with two forks until combined. Don’t worry; it will still be lumpy.

Spread topping over filling. Bake for 25-30 minutes, uncovered, until topping turns golden brown. Let cool and then serve. I topped mine with vegan vanilla ice cream.

Note: You can halve the recipe and bake it in an 8 x 8” baking pan for the same amount of time as listed in the recipe.

Until next time, happy baking!

Cranberry-Studded Pumpkin Muffins

Cranberry Studded Pumpkin Muffins

Cranberry Studded Pumpkin Muffins

It’s a few days until American Thanksgiving, and I thought I would do an homage to some of the holiday’s traditional flavors. Pumpkin and cranberry are common tastes found at a Thanksgiving table, so I dug up a recipe combining the two. This muffin would make a wonderful pre-feast breakfast to get you in the mood.

I reduced the baking soda to account for high altitude concerns. Next, I made a chia egg (from chia and water) and swapped nonfat milk with almond milk to make it vegan. These not-to-sweet muffins offer lots to be thankful for with the burst of cranberries in every bite.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Cranberry-Studded Pumpkin Muffins adapted from Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins
1 Tbs chia seeds
3 Tbs warm water
2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup organic sugar
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup canola oil
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 cup fresh cranberries, chopped
Preheat oven to 350F. Line a muffin pan with paper liners. Combine chia seeds and water in a small bowl, and set aside to gel. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. Combine pumpkin, chia gel, oil and almond milk in a medium bowl. Make a well in the dry ingredients; add the pumpkin mixture and stir until just combined. Gently fold in cranberries. Fill 12-14 muffin cups and bake for 24-26 minutes.

Until next time, happy baking!

Chunky Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars

chunky chocolate peanut butter bars

chunky chocolate peanut butter bars

For those of you who follow my blog, you may have noticed that I have been missing for a while. I was packing, then moving, and then unpacking. Now my new (awesome) kitchen is set up and I am back in baking action. To commemorate the event, and to have dessert to bring to a party, I made these bars with the delectable combination of peanut butter and chocolate.

With a delicious recipe in hand that I found on the blog “Handle the Heat,” I set out to veganize it. Vegan margarine was used instead of butter, and I substituted aquafaba for the eggs. To be more health conscious I swapped some of the all purpose flour with whole wheat flour. Then, for altitude, I used a bit less baking powder. The party guests gobbled them up and my husband is already asking for more.

Chunky Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars based on Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Bars
1 stick vegan margarine
1 3/4 cups light brown sugar
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
7 TBS slightly reduced aquafaba
1 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 ounces vegan chocolate, cut into chunks
Preheat oven to 350°F. Create a parchment paper sling by lining an 8 x 8” metal baking pan with parchment in both directions, with a slight overhang. You will grab the overhang later to remove the cooked brownies.
In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the margarine. Add brown sugar, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat and stir in peanut butter. Add aquafaba and whisk until well combined. Allow to cool. In a large bowl, whisk flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Once peanut butter mixture is cool, add vanilla and stir. Pour peanut butter mixture into flour mixture and stir to create a thick batter. Fold in 3/4 of the chocolate chunks, reserving the rest for sprinkling on top.
Transfer batter to prepared pan, spreading evenly to edges. Sprinkle with remaining chocolate chunks, lightly pressing them into batter. Bake for 30 minutes, or until top is golden and edges are slightly browned. Allow to cool in pan. Use parchment sling to remove the bars before cutting into squares. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

guittard chocolate

Guittard chocolate

Until next time, happy baking!

Cinnamon Apple Cake

Cinnamon Apple Cake

Cinnamon Apple Cake

Occasionally I decide to jump into the deep end and bake gluten-free. Gluten-free baked treats are difficult enough to make well, but when they are also made vegan at high altitude then they can spell disaster. But, a friend said she missed cinnamon rolls so I was on a mission.

The recipe I found was for a vegan cinnamon bread so I tried it but with high altitude alterations. The problem was that I didn’t like the gummy texture so often found in gluten-free baked goods. I also had a new bundt pan I needed to break in, so I scaled the measurements up to fit the larger pan. The cake version was not gummy, helped by the fact that I split the apples up and put one in the batter and one in the topping. The cake turned out very elegant. Oh, and it was tasty … very tasty.

Cinnamon Apple Cake adapted from Apple Cinnamon Swirl Bread
2 1/4 cups gluten free flour
1/4 cup + 1 TBS organic sugar
1/4 cup + 1 TBS organic brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
generous 1/2 tsp baking soda
generous 1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
generous 1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup + 2 1/2 tsp nondairy milk
1/4 cup + 2 TBS + 1 tsp canola oil
1/4 cup + 1 TBS unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup + 1 TBS maple syrup
4 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
2 red apples, one grated on large holes of a grater and one diced small
cinnamon topping
5 TBS organic sugar
2 tsp cinnamon powder
Preheat oven to 350F. Thoroughly grease and flour a bundt pan. In a large bowl, sift together flour, sugars, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. In a medium bowl, whisk together milk, oil, applesauce, maple syrup, vinegar, and vanilla. Add wet mixture to dry mixture and whisk gently until batter is just combined. Mix in one grated apple.
In a small bowl, combine remaining sugar and cinnamon for topping. Scoop batter into prepared pan. Sprinkle one diced apple then cinnamon topping over batter. Bake for 50-55 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Let cool completely in pan. Invert onto a serving plate.

Until next time, happy baking!

A Day at the Vegan Dairy Fair

Dale Ball and Donna Marino

Dale Ball (co-organizer of the Vegan Dairy Fair) and Donna Marino (organizer of Boulder and Beyond meetup)

Yesterday I had a great time eating and learning at the Vegan Dairy Fair held in Boulder, CO. There weren’t many baked treats, but I wanted to share the event with you because it was an afternoon of vegan fun.

The fair, touted as a totally plant-based celebration, was filled with vegan milk, cheese, yogurt, dips, dressings, ice cream, and confections. It occurs on the Saturday before Mother’s Day, “to honor mothers of all species.”

There were samplings from so many vendors that I was glad I showed up hungry. I tried vegan cheeses from Kite Hill, Follow Your Heart, Peaceful Rebel Cheese, The Honest Stand, and, my personal favorite, Miyoko’s. The food choices also included ice cream, candies, alternative milks of all kinds, dips, yogurt, and cupcakes. A Mac ’n Cheese Taste-off gave me the chance to try out a few prepared macaroni and cheese selections and donate to a good cause.

I was not able to attend all of the cooking demonstrations (I was busy eating!), but I thoroughly enjoyed JL Fields class on Pressure Cooking. She’s a delightful presenter with a ton of energy, information, and humor. JL prepared risotto in about 15 minutes which is amazing, considering my definition of risotto is “the dish that takes four hours to make.”

The event, organized by Bleating Hearts Sanctuary, Dale Ball, and Peaceful Prairie Sanctuary, is an educational project held “to represent those we believe to be the most important reason to choose vegan dairy – the cows, the chickens as well as all animals.” They ask that people keep in mind “that the fair is held on behalf of those whose lives depend on our switch to a vegan lifestyle.” I left with a renewed respect for animals, but also as a desire to make my own vegan butter thanks to inspirations and ideas from JL and Veganize Everything.

JL Fields

JL Fields demo with pressure cooker