March 26, 2011

Vegan Brownies

9:54 PM 12 Comments
I have to confess that since I have started my Vegan Fridays I have been hoarding vegan recipe books. My favourite so far has been a book you've probably heard of, (in fact I wouldn't be surprised if it was at your side right now) it’s called Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar.

This is a great book. It has so many tasty, easy, and interesting vegan goodies in it. I plan on making many recipes from it! I also have requested Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World from my library and wait patiently for its arrival.



From all the books I have been reading, I have learned a lot about vegan baking. I have constructed a small guide from what I have learned:


Kat's Vegan Baking Guide

Butter
  • Vegan margarine can be substituted equally in any recipe
  • Vegetable oil is best for muffins or anything requiring a cake-like texture. Use 1/3 cup oil for every 1/2 cup butter. I used oil instead of butter in my Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Latte Muffins with great results!
  • Apple sauce will provide a cake-like texture as well as adding some sweetness. This is a great choice for low fat baking
  • Nut butters can also be substituted for butter as long as you want to have that nut butter taste

Eggs
  • Flax egg works well for chewy things like cookies as well as breads. This is made by mixing 3 tbsp water with 1 tbsp ground flax seed and allowing the mixture to sit for a few minutes.
  • Silken or soft tofu is great for anything with a dense structure like brownies, pound cake, or pies. Use a 1/4 cup blended for each egg.
  • Apple sauce or mashed banana can be used in cakes, bars, breads, muffins, and cookies. Use 1/4 cup sauce for each egg. The banana in my Banana Pancakes acted as a great binder.
  • Soy yogurt is good for a cake-like structure. Use 1/4 cup for each egg.
  • Egg replacer can be used in almost any recipe. Some people don't recommend it for things you want to stay moist like cake as egg replacer is starch-based. Follow directions on box

Milk
  • Coconut milk for very creamy textures. My Vegan Gluten Free Coconut Pancakes were extra creamy thanks to this
  • Soy milk, almond milk, hemp milk, or any non-dairy milk can be substituted in almost any recipe
  • Water can be substituted in many basic recipes too but your outcome will lack richness
  • Juice is a great option if you want to add a little extra flavour to a recipe. For example you could substitute more orange juice for milk in my Orange Vanilla Poppy Seed Muffins




I chose to try the brownies from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar first. They use silken tofu in them which I thought was really interesting and I wanted to see how it would work. I changed the recipe up a bit by using some whole wheat flour and decreasing the sugar.

These brownies are amazing! They are probably the best brownies I have ever tasted. I am not joking. I love love love brownies and have tasted many. None of them can compare to how fudgy and chocolate tasting these are.



Vegan Tofu Brownies
Makes 16 small pieces

Ingredients

3 ounce silken or soft tofu (about 1/3 cup)
1/4 cup almond milk
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 tbsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Lightly grease an 8 by 8 inch baking dish with vegetable oil.
2. Puree tofu, milk, and oil and blend till smooth in a blender.
3. Transfer this mixture to a bowl and mix in vanilla and sugar.
4. Now sift in flours, cocoa powder, corn starch, baking powder, and salt
5. Use a spatula to fold the batter till smooth
6. Stir in chocolate chips
7. Transfer batter to the baking dish and gently smooth out top
8. Bake 30-32 min let cool 15 min before cutting into slices

* Note I used a soft sweetened tofu. If you are using unsweetened you may want to increase the sugar slightly

Do you have a cookbook you really like?
Please tell me I love recipe books!


March 19, 2011

Orange Vanilla Poppy Seed Muffins

10:07 PM 11 Comments
Near my home is a lovely European bakery. It has been there for many years and I have been going there since I can remember. I have many memories of this bakery.

The first slice of cake I ever had came from this bakery. It was a vanilla cake with mocha frosting. I can't say that I remember it but I've heard that I enjoyed it. Needless to say, after that simple grocery store cakes and ice cream cakes just didn't cut it. I had to have their cake.
On my 18 birthday, I could not decide what cake I wanted. The kind people at that bakery cut half chocolate mousse and half a chocolate cake covered in nuts to put them together. I will never forget that cake.




I love every pastry at this bakery but by far my most favourite thing are the muffins. Delicious buttery muffins, that aren’t too sweet, and have crunchy tops. My favourite type of muffin is the poppy seed one. I have always loved poppy seeds.

March 12, 2011

A Bake Sale and Coconut Hot Chocolate

8:01 PM 14 Comments
Before my post today I want to say how sad I am about the earthquake in Japan. About a year and a half ago I went to Japan for three months as an exchange student. I have not been able to contact my host family but luckily they live in a part of Japan that was not affected.
I love Japan so my heart has been broken due to this tragedy. All my prayers go out to Japan and those affected by this disaster.

On a lighter note, this week I participated in my first bake sale! I was so excited. I love bake sales. Nearly every day there is one somewhere at my university. I never was asked to participate in one until a couple weeks ago. Of course I immediately said I would help out.


 



March 6, 2011

Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Latte Muffins

10:39 PM 12 Comments
The other day I over heard someone say that they don't like peanut butter. People who don't like peanut butter must be crazy. I think that even people who are allergic to peanut butter must like it! (But if you are allergic please don't eat it)

Honestly peanut butter goes well with anything. You can spread it on toast, eat it with fruit, eat it with veggies, make cookies with it, spread it on cookies, make drinks with it, use it in savoury peanut sauces, or even just eat it with a spoon. Mmmm delicious, I eat peanut butter every day!

One of the possible best combinations is peanut butter and chocolate. Is there any thing better than salty creamy peanut butter paired with silky bitter dark chocolate? How about pairing with it with some coffee?
I thought it sounded delicious too so I put my favourite flavours together and made a muffin!


March 4, 2011

Trying New Things

10:30 PM 5 Comments
Happy Vegan Friday!
I mentioned in a previous post about how eating vegan can be surprisingly simple. However, part of being vegan is that you get to experiment with all the fun stuff!
I love trying new things. Especially when it comes to food. Some of my favourites are tofu and almond milk. I also have an obsession with seeking out tempeh, nutritional yeast, and coconut butter because I really want to try those!


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