Cardamom Peach Morning Muffins

cardamom peach morning muffins

cardamom peach morning muffins

It’s peach season, and I got so excited I got twenty pounds of peaches. Now I am (desperately) trying to find a zillion ways to use them up. After grilled peaches, bellinis, and eaten raw, peach muffins came to mind. I thought that the peach flavor would be the star in a muffin that was not too sweet, so I looked up my Hearty Raspberry Muffins. Also, I consulted a peach recipe in my archives to help get a good balance. A tweak here, an addition there, and I had a tasty muffin. If you like a sweeter treat, then drizzle them with a simple sugar glaze made of one part non-dairy milk to three parts organic powdered sugar. Add a pinch or two of cinnamon and cardamom powders to your glaze to spice things up.

To make the recipe vegan, I merely removed the eggs. Muffins can generally get by with enough baking powder. To help combat the dryness at altitude, I added more liquid to my batter. To bump up the peach flavor, some of that liquid was the juice that ran off when I diced my peaches. If you don’t get enough peach juice, then add more milk. The last adjustment was to use up my cardamom simple syrup I had made for another recipe. You can substitute another liquid sweetener, but be sure to add cardamom to your batter.

Cardamom Peach Morning Muffins adapted loosely from Spiced Peach Muffins

1.75 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup whole bran
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
1.25 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/3 cup cardamom simple syrup, or other liquid sweetener
2.5 TBS canola oil
1/4 cup peach juice
1/2 cup non-dairy milk
1 cup peaches, diced but not peeled

Preheat oven to 375F and grease 10 sections of a muffin tin. Whisk together the flour, bran, salt, baking powder, and cinnamon in a large bowl. In a medium bowl, whisk together the simple syrup, oil, peach juice, and milk. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Gently fold in the peaches.

Heap the batter into the muffin tin; the cups will be 3/4 full. Bake the muffins for 18 to 20 minutes, or until they’re golden and risen high. Cool muffins on a wire rack. Store, well-wrapped, on the counter for 3 days; or freeze for up to 3 months.

Until next time, happy baking!

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Spiced Zucchini Layer Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

spiced zucchini layer cake

spiced zucchini layer cake

When zucchini is in abundance, you make cake. Armed with several zucchini, I scoured recipes for breads, muffins, and cakes to make use of my squash. After discovering this spice cake recipe, I decided I needed to go bigger because I had quite a few of the vegetable. This then prodded me to make a layer cake, although I had not made one in a while. Of course, I could have been easier on myself and made two simple cake pan cakes slathered in frosting, but I do like a challenge. My apologies for the messy cake as my layering skills are rusty.

I found a vegan recipe, so the next step was to do the math to make it fit two 8” round pans. Thankfully, I discovered a chart of pan volumes at Joy Of Baking. After that I made some high altitude adjustments, such as reducing baking soda and adding more liquid. I also made a few changes to the instructions by thoroughly squeezing the zucchini (to avoid a soggy cake), sifting the dry ingredients separately (to blend the spices in), and modifying the frosting (for a less sweet vanilla-infused boost). It ended up being a serious baking production, but the resulting cake had a wonderful texture and even better flavor. I’m glad I wasn’t feeling lazy.

Spiced Zucchini Layer Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting adapted from the pretty bee and Handle the Heat

for the cake
1.5 cups grated zucchini
1/2 cup canola oil
4.5 TBS unsweetened applesauce
1.25 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup + 2 TBS unsweetened non-dairy milk
1.5 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
pinch ground nutmeg
2 tsp cinnamon powder
1/2 tsp powdered ginger
1 cup organic sugar
1/2 cup coconut sugar

for the frosting
8 ounces vegan cream cheese, at room temperature
1 stick vegan margarine, at room temperature
2 tsp vanilla paste
3 cups organic powdered sugar, sifted

The cake: Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare two 8” round pans by greasing the pans, then lining the pans with parchment circles, and then greasing the parchment circles. Flour both greased pans. (The effort is worth it — see picture below.)

Lay zucchini on paper towels to absorb some of the moisture, then wring it out in a clean tea towel. Set aside. In a large bowl, combine oil, applesauce, vinegar, milk, and vanilla. Stir well and set aside. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon, and ginger. Add both sugars and stir to combine. Add dry ingredients to the wet and mix well. Fold in zucchini.

gorgeous spiced zucchini cake layer

gorgeous spiced zucchini cake layer

Pour batter into prepared pans and bake for 28-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cake cool completely, then level the layers. Set aside.

The frosting: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat cream cheese, margarine, and vanilla on medium-high speed until creamy, and smooth. On low speed, gradually add in sugar and beat until fluffy. Apply between cake layers and around the outside. Leftover cake can be stored in the refrigerator for 4-5 days.

Until next time, happy baking!

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)!

Fruit and Oat Cookies

Fruit and Oat Cookies

Fruit and Oat Cookies

Have you ever wanted to make a quick cookie because guests were on their way? Or maybe you were craving something sweet now? These cookies fit both those requests, and they have very few ingredients so a swift run through the pantry and you are ready to bake. They come together so quickly that I had them ready before the oven came up to temp, and that never happens.

I didn’t have to make any changes for vegan or high altitude, so I let my creativity run with the ingredients. The original recipe contained dates but I used dried apricots, cherries and blueberries for more depth of flavor. You could try any dried fruit, such as cranberries or currants for a tart twist. To add even more layers of flavor, I added spices, but including spiced applesauce would make it simpler. So, not only are these treats easy but they are healthy and will satisfy my gluten free friends, too.

Fruit and Oat Cookies based on Banana-Oatmeal Snack Cookies
2 ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 1/2 cup quick cooking oats
1/2 cup finely ground walnuts
1/2 cup finely chopped dried fruit (such as apricots, cherries and blueberries)
1/8 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Combine bananas, applesauce, oats, walnuts, dried fruit and spices in a bowl until evenly blended. Using a 1 TBS scoop, scoop out cookies and place on prepared baking sheet. Flatten slightly with a spatula. Bake 30 minutes or until lightly golden. Cool on a wire rack. Store cookies in an airtight container for up to one week. Makes 18-20 cookies.

Until next time, happy baking!

Holiday Fruited Muffins

holiday fruit muffins’Tis the season for fruitcake, although I’m not a big fan. The jewel-toned rum-soaked fruit frightens me. But in the spirit of dried fruit studded bread, I went searching for an alternative. Thus, I give you my homage to holiday fruitcake, in muffin form.

I found a recipe for a bread that contained both dried and fresh fruit with the idea that the fresh fruit would lighten it. I then changed it up so the fresh to dried ratio was higher. For altitude I added a bit of flour and reduced the leaveners. For dryness at altitude I added more milk. Then, to combat the possibility of collapse, I made them into muffins.

Holiday Fruited Muffins loosely adapted from Peaceful Dumpling
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup + 1 TBS all purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
dash salt
3 TBS sucanat
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 small apple, cored and cut into small chunks
4 Medjool dates, pitted and cut into small pieces
1/3 cup dried blueberries
1 cup + 2 TBS non-dairy milk
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
Heat oven to 350F and line a muffin tin with paper liners that have been lightly sprayed with oil. In a bowl, mix together milk and vinegar and let sit. In a large bowl, combine flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, sucanat, and spices. Add apple, dates, and blueberries. Add sour milk to flour bowl and quickly combine. When just combined, transfer to muffin tin. Bake for 16-18 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Makes 1 dozen.

Until next time, happy baking!

Gingerbread Spice Muffins

gingerbread spice muffinsTo embrace a new year of healthier baking, I thought I’d start with a muffin. Homemade muffins are generally lower in sugar and fat so I had a lot of options. My search found a very healthy muffin – it had nutrient-rich molasses as one of the sweeteners as well as the addition of whole wheat flour. It also contained anti-inflammatory ginger and superfood cacao nibs. Healthy, here I come.

To make adaptations for high altitude, I added flour and almond milk while reducing baking powder. I also added cardamon along with the other spices because, well, I like cardamom. The result was muffins with a flavor reminiscent of gingerbread cookies. They were light and airy but dried out a bit after two days because I didn’t store them in an airtight container. It’s okay – they weren’t around long enough to dry out completely.

Gingerbread Spice Muffins adapted from a recipe on deliciousliving.com
3/4 cup + 1 TBS all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
1/2 cup + 1 1/2 TBS almond milk
1/2 cup maple syrup
2 TBS molasses
2 1/2 TBS canola oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
4-5 tsp cacao nibs
Preheat oven to 350F with a rack in oven middle. Line a muffin tin with paper liners. In a medium bowl, sift flours, baking powder, ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, and salt. Whisk lightly to aerate. In another medium bowl, whisk milk, maple syrup, molasses, oil, and vanilla. Pour liquid ingredients into dry ingredients and whisk until smooth.
Divide the batter evenly among 10 muffin cups. Scatter cacao nibs over tops. Bake for 15-17 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the centers comes out clean. Cool pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes, then turn out muffins and cool completely on rack. Makes 10 muffins.

Until next time, happy baking!

Oatmeal Spice Cookie Sandwiches

oatmeal spice cookie sandwichesI collect recipes. I have thousands of them. They usually sit for awhile before I dust them off and use them, but some I refer to immediately. This recipe is one of those. I crave warm spices this time of year, so I thought a spiced cookie would taste good. When I came across this recipe with chai spices I baked it up pronto.

To veganize the original recipe, I used vegan margarine and yogurt subbed for an egg. For altitude adjustments, I added flour and reduced baking powder and oats. I thought they were tasty as is, but my husband thought they were lacking in dessert finesse (due to the lack of chocolate). To elevate them from what he deemed a breakfast cookie, I slathered vanilla frosting between two cookies and made them into cookie sandwiches. Now they were fancy enough for dessert.

Oatmeal Spice Cookie Sandwiches adapted from the Mountain Rose blog
Cookies
1 cup + 1 TBS all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
Chai Spice – 3/4 tsp cinnamon powder, 1/2 tsp cardamom powder, 1/4 tsp ginger powder, 1/8 tsp clove powder, 1/8 tsp nutmeg powder
14 TBS vegan margarine, softened
1 cup vegan sugar
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup vanilla soy yogurt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
Filling
4 TBS vegan margarine, softened
4 TBS vegan shortening, softened
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp soymilk
Preheat oven to 350F. Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and chai spice together. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat margarine and sugars until fluffy and creamy. Add yogurt and vanilla to butter mixture and beat until combined. Gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture and stir until it just becomes smooth. Gradually add oats and mix until well combined. Roll balls of 2 TBS of dough and place on baking sheets. Gently press down each ball. Bake until cookies are golden brown, for 16-18 minutes, rotating baking sheet halfway through. Transfer baking sheets to wire rack to cool.
Make filling: In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together margarine and shortening. Add powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time until well combined. Beat in vanilla and soy milk. When cookies have fully cooled, slather the flat side of a cookie with frosting. Top with another cookie and push down slightly. Makes 12 dessert cookie sandwiches.

Until next time, happy baking!