This is an old recipe that has been tweaked and changed many, many times at this point. Along with the occasional peanut butter cookies, these were a regular in our house while I was growing up. These are also the first cookies that I ever learned how to make. From start to finish, they don’t disappoint. I have always been one of those weird people who almost enjoys the dough more than the finished product, and these cookies are no exception. On more than one occasion, I have made a whole batch of this cookie dough just for the sake of eating.

I could be wrong, but it’s possible that this recipe originally started from the back of a Nestle’s chocolate chip bag. Since then, it has been tweaked with the addition of oats, an adjustment of sugar and a combination of butter and shortening. Aside from replacing the eggs along with general veganizing, I have also switched the flour from white to whole-wheat.

Most surprisingly of all, these cookies taste just as good as I remember them. I might think I was crazy if it weren’t for the rave reviews they have been receiving from even the non-vegan testers. They are thin and crispy, with the perfect balance of chocolate chips and chopped walnuts. They’re buttery, but not too oily, and just sweet enough without overdoing it. Even Peter’s definitely-non-vegan, somewhat-skeptical dad couldn’t help himself from having more than one when he came to visit. Now, if you ask me, that’s saying something.  :)

Plain and simple, these cookies are a hit. A recipe has to be pretty good for me to stick to it and keep making it again, and these cookies pass the test.

Enjoy!

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup vegan Earthbalance butter, 1/2 cup vegan shortening
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 smashed banana OR 2 Tablespoons ground flax seed mixed with 6 Tablespoons water (equivalent of 2 eggs)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or a little more!)
  • 1 cup whole-wheat all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 cups oats
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts (or a mix of nuts)
  • 1 16-oz package vegan chocolate chips

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Stir/beat together the butters, sugars, vanilla, baking soda and salt until light and fluffy.
  3. Beat in the egg replacer. Stir in flour and then oats.
  4. Stir in the chocolate chips and the nuts last.
  5. Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls onto an un-greased cookie sheet.
  6. Bake for 9-10 minutes (mine were done closer to 12-15 minutes when using the banana).

Warning! This recipe makes about four dozen good-sized cookies. Making a half-recipe yields a pretty good amount, especially if you like your cookies on the smaller side.

This page from the Post Punk Kitchen offers some great tips for vegan baking and for replacing things like eggs, milk and butter. The next time you’re trying to veganize something, check it out!

This recipe was inspired by Isa Chandra Moskowitz’a Vegan with Vengeance cookbook. About three years ago now, when I first decided to become vegan, this was one of the first cookbooks that I got, and it’s been a go-to ever since. Along with The Joy of Vegan Baking, Isa’s cookbook taught me that being vegan did not have to mean giving up delicious tasting food, or delicious tasting baked goods, for that matter. At this point, I’ve learned how to veganize just about anything. Another valuable trick that I learned from Isa is how to make healthy, low-fat, delicious tasting baked goods. Using the skills I’ve learned, I attempted to turn this recipe into a slightly more healthy, low-fat version of the original. Surprisingly, these cookies not only turned out great, but I might even argue that they are better than the original recipe. They are soft, chewy, and even somewhat light and fluffy. They are plenty sweet, and pretty, too! Here’s my recipe:

Sparkled Ginger Molasses Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup applesauce
  • 2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons canola oil
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 2 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon powdered ginger
  • 2 teaspoons fresh, minced ginger
  • 1/2 – 2/3 cup crystallized ginger, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons almond milk (or other non-dairy milk)
  • about 1/2 cup turbinado sugar, for rolling cookies in before baking

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a medium-sized bowl, mix together the the wet ingredients: applesauce, canola oil, sugars, molasses and almond milk.
  3. Add the fresh ginger and the crystallized ginger.
  4. In a separate bowl, mix together the dry ingredients: whole-wheat flour, salt, baking soda, powdered ginger and cinnamon.
  5. Add the dry ingredients to the wet, and mix well.
  6. Form cookie dough into one-inch balls, and roll in the turbinado sugar before placing on a baking sheet.
  7. Bake for 8-10 minutes, and let cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet before transferring to a rack to finish cooling.

Homemade Granola

November 11, 2010

This is something that I’ve been wanting to make for a long time now. Ever since my dad became gluten-free a few years ago, Wendy has been making him homemade, gluten-free granola, with gluten-free oats, dried fruit, and nuts and seeds galore. Besides eating it for breakfast with soy yogurt, soy milk, or even heated up in the microwave as hot cereal, I can’t help snacking on it straight out of the jar whenever I’m home.  The stuff is just that good. Sometimes, when I time things just right, I happen to be home when Wendy actually makes the granola. There is nothing better than waking up in the morning to the smell of cinnamon and nutmeg drifting up the stairs from a fresh batch of granola in the oven.  Those are the times when I get to bring back an entire bag of granola all for myself.

I got the recipe from Wendy awhile ago, but it always seemed like somewhat of a daunting endeavor. It involved so many oats, and so much chopping of dried fruits and nuts… and for some reason, I had it in my mind that it would need to bake for hours in the oven. Luckily, I was wrong. Making granola was both surprisingly quick and easy. Who would have thought?

I pretty much followed Wendy’s recipe, but changed a few things here and there.  Mostly, I just added a little bit more oil to make it crispier, as per Peter’s request.  Here it is:

Homemade Granola

Ingredients:

  • 5 cups oats (preferably multi-grain, rolled, and NOT the quick-cooking kind)
  • 1/4 cup canola oil (I also sprayed some on and mixed it in while the oats were baking.  Maybe add 2 extra tablespoons instead?)
  • 1/2 cup honey (I used a mix of honey, brown sugar, and agave nectar, heated in the microwave so it would pour and mix in easily)
  • 3 tablespoons molasses
  • 1/3 cup apple juice
  • 1/3 cup wheat bran
  • 1/4 cup flax meal
  • 1/2 cup coconut flakes, unsweetened
  • 1+ cup any or all: walnuts, pecans, almonds, hazelnuts, etc. (I chopped them just a bit)
  • 3/4 cup any or all: flax, sunflower, pumpkin seeds, etc.
  • 2 tablespoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon dried, ground ginger
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries, raisins, chopped apricots, plumbs, etc.

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients (except dried fruit).
  3. Stir in all wet ingredients so that the dry ingredients are equally covered (think of tossing a salad).
  4. Evenly spread the granola mixture onto a rimmed baking sheet and put into the oven.
  5. Bake at 250 degrees F. for 30-45 minutes (or until lightly toasted), stirring every 10-15 minutes so that it doesn’t burn.
  6. About five minutes before taking the granola out of the oven, add the dried fruit and fold it in to the granola.
  7. Done!

Next time, I think I’ll try Heidi’s Big Sur Power Bars Recipe from 101 Cookbooks.  Check out her awesome video!

Surprise!  Peter made cookies again. I have to say, I am still somewhat amazed that he is able to just throw ingredients together and come up with something edible. While this has worked well for him in terms of cooking, I warned him about the chemistry involved in baking, and of the dangers of deviating too much from original recipes. So far, he has pretty much completely ignored my advice. We’ll see…  I still have my doubts as to how long he can keep it up.  While normally I might be worried that I was starting to lose my place as Supreme Baking Queen of the house, my fears were calmed when I realized that while Peter may have a talent for making recipe-less cookies, he lacks confidence in baking anything with an already established recipe. I discovered this about a week ago:

“You should make snicker-doodles!” I suggested when he offered to make cookies.

“But I don’t know how to make those,” he replied, a little sheepishly.

“Oh, that’s okay,” I said. “Make whatever you want then.”

As long as I know that I’m still the true baker of the house, I can enjoy Peter’s cookie-making skills without fear.  With that being said, these most recent cookies of his are probably my favorite ones to date.  :)

Oh, and of course, for everyone’s enjoyment, I’ve posted the recipe as it was written in Peter’s own words. It just wouldn’t be the same otherwise.

Chocolate Sandwich Cookies

Sandwich Cookie Recipe

Dry Ingredients

  • 1+ cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • dash of salt (this wasn’t part of the original recipe, but Peter thinks it needs some for next time)

Wet Ingredients

  • 1-inch slab vegan butter (warmed)
  • < 1/4 cup peanut oil (that means “less than 1/4 cup”)
  • < 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1+ tablespoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup water
  • a good, 1-second squeeze of agave nectar
  • 1/2-second squeeze of maple syrup

Chocolate Filling Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 cup semi-sweet vegan chocolate chips
  • 2+ teaspoons vanilla
  • 3+ tablespoons soymilk

Preparation (makes both cookies and filling at the same time)

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Mix dry ingredients for cookies in a bowl.
  3. Put chocolate chips into a small pot with 1+ tablespoon soymilk. Turn on stove burner to low/very-low heat, and let chocolate chips sit for about 2 minutes, then begin to stir lightly for about 10 seconds.
  4. Mix wet ingredients for cookies in a separate bowl.
  5. Check the chocolate chips.  Add 1 teaspoon vanilla; stir. You want the melting process to be very slow and gradual so that the chocolate doesn’t burn.
  6. Mix wet and dry ingredients.  Check chocolate chips again; stir.
  7. Spoon dough onto cookie sheets.  Put both sheets into oven for 6 minutes.  Rotate cookie sheets after 6 minutes from top to bottom to ensure that cookies bake evenly.
  8. Right after sheet rotation, add 2 tablespoons soymilk and 1 teaspoon vanilla to chocolate chips; stir. The chocolate chip filling should be a “frosting” consistency.
  9. Take out cookies after 6 more minutes (12 minutes total baking time); let cool on cookie sheets.
  10. Spread chocolate chip filling onto one cookie and sandwich with another.

Makes 12 giant sandwich cookies, which Peter recommends cutting in half once they’re done.

After doing a quick Google search for “vegan sandwich cookies”, the first thing that popped up was The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur.  I’ve never heard of her before, bit it looks like this Kelly Peloza girl might know a thing or two about quality vegan baking.  Check her out! I’ve got my eye on her recipe for Bakery Style Crispy Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies (with A Hint of Maple). Best of all, she even managed to shape each cookie into a heart.  :)

Once again, I was unable to take a photo before Peter ate the majority of the batch. Oh well!

There’s been a big tub of frosting in the fridge for awhile now, way back from when I made a birthday cake for one of Peter’s friends a few weeks ago.  While Peter has slowly been eating the frosting straight out of the container, I have been thinking of the perfect recipe to use it in.  I have never made sandwich cookies before, and this was just the excuse I needed to give them a try.  Plus, there’s a vegan sugar cookie recipe that I’ve been determined to get right.  The first time I made the cookies, they came out way too crispy.  I have a tendency to over-bake things, mostly just out of fear of under-baking them.  I also had used whole wheat flour, and this is one of those times when white flour really does make a difference.  In the end, they turned out more like tooth-breaking biscuits that soft, tasty sugar cookies.

I wasn’t going to make the same mistakes again — at least, I thought I wouldn’t.  I dutifully used all-white flour  instead of whole wheat, and I kept a close eye on the cookies while in the oven.  Sadly, my over-baking tendencies still won over, and the cookies were significantly more crispy than they needed to be.  Overall though, they were still good, and I would definitely use the recipe again.  NEXT TIME, I will not over-bake them.  WILL NOT!  Please help me, god.

Both the cookie and the frosting recipe originally came from The Joy of Vegan Baking Cookbook.

 

Sugar Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour (this is a time NOT to use whole wheat!)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup vegan butter, room temperature (I used Earthbalance)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Ener-G Egg Replacer (equals 1 egg)
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preparation:

  1. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a bowl, combine flour and baking powder, and set aside.
  3. In another bowl, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 to 4 minutes with an electric mixer. Add the egg replacer, water, and vanilla extract.  Beat for at least 1 minute, then add the flour mixture and beat until the dough is smooth.
  4. Divide the dough in half and wrap each half in plastic wrap.  Refrigerate for about 1 hour, or until firm enough to roll.  When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  5. Take out half of the chilled dough from the refrigerator and roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface.  It should be about 1/4 inch thick (thicker is better than thinner here).
  6. Cut out the cookies using cookie cutters (or a glass turned upside-down) and place on the prepared baking sheets.  To prevent cookies from spreading and losing their shape, put the baking sheets in the fridge for 10 to 15 minutes.
  7. Bake cookies for 12 to 15 minutes (probably closer to 12), or until they begin to brown around the edges (seriously, RIGHT when you see brown, TAKE THEM OUT BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE!).
  8. Remove from oven and let cool for a few minutes on the baking sheets, then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.

Makes 20 cookies

Chocolate Frosting

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup vegan butter (I used 1/4 cup Earthbalance butter, and 1/4 cup Earthbalance shortening)
  • 3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons water or nondairy milk, or more as needed.

Preparation:

  1. Cream the butter until smooth (an electric mixer really helps here).
  2. On low speed, add powdered sugar, and cream for about 2 minutes.
  3. Add the cocoa powder, vanilla extract, and milk, and turn mixer on high once all ingredients are relatively well-combined.
  4. Beat on high speed until frosting is light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  5. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons more milk if it’s too dry, and cover with plastic warp until ready to use (so it doesn’t try out).

This should be more than enough for sandwich cookies – it makes enough for an entire 9-inch cake.
Enjoy!  :)

By the time I could take a picture, there were only four cookies left. They're that good!

When I got home from Washington D.C. Tuesday night from the PRSSA 2010 National Conference, I was greeted with a multitude of surprises.  Thanks to my wonderful boyfriend, the kitchen was clean, there were fresh flowers on the table, and a matching set of green and yellow gloves, scarf and hat – all individually wrapped in the previous day’s Oregon Daily Emerald newspaper.  On top of all that, there was a fresh batch of chocolate chip cookies on the counter.  I could not have been more happy to come home.

Before I get to the recipe, I should say that this is the first batch of vegan cookies that Peter has ever made – and possibly the first batch of cookies in general that he has ever made.  Not only are they vegan, but I was told that they are healthy too.  Not only did he make up the recipe by himself, but the cookies actually turned out good.  They are giant and crispy, with flavors of toasted hazelnut coming together with cinnamon and nutmeg that are just perfect for fall.

I have to say though, the best part the cookies was reading Peter’s recipe after I had him write it down for safe-keeping.  In Peter’s words, here it is:

Lil’ Bits O’Errrthing Cookies

Dry Ingredients:

  • 1+ cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup turbinado sugar
  • 30-40 hazelnuts, shelled, crushed (by hand) –> then toasted/baked in toaster oven for 2 1/2 minutes.
  • 2 handfuls chocolate chips
  • some sprinkles, to taste
  • some oatmeal, to taste
  • little bit of baking powder
  • little pinch of nutmeg
  • 2 little pinches of cinnamon
  • 1+ teaspoon salt

Wet Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 3/4 to 1-inch slab of vegan butter (EarthBalance)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 egg from happy chicken (not in original recipe, but recommended for next time to make cookies less dry)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1+ teaspoons molasses

Preparation:

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Mix together dry ingredients, form depression in the center once mixed.
  3. Mix wet ingredients; egg last.
  4. Pour wet ingredients into depression in dry ingredients; mix.
  5. Mold into ‘spheres’, place on cookie sheet.
  6. Put into oven, flip cookies AND trays (top-to-bottom) after 5 minutes.  Take out after 4-ish more minutes.  (I wanted to clarify this – basically, after 5 minutes, rotate the two cookie sheets, and yes, flip over each individual cookie).

Makes 24 decent-sized cookies.

Lemon-Poppy Seed Muffins

September 17, 2010


These muffins came about by a need to use up some questionably old soy yogurt.

A little over month ago now, I discovered a big tub of soy yogurt at The Kiva, after many a long search through the more common grocery stores of Eugene.  Then it was time to leave for Europe.  The trip was over two weeks long, and I knew the chances of coming home to un-molded yogurt were thin.  As friends and family will tell you, letting food go to waste is something that I simply don’t let happen.  It’s like throwing money straight into the trash can.  It completely kills me.  And this yogurt was not cheap, let me tell you.  I was desperate.  So I took a risk.  I decided to freeze the yogurt.

Well…   Let’s just say, I’m never doing that again.  Next time, I’ll risk leaving it in the fridge.

But that still hasn’t stopped me from trying to use it in the most creative ways possible to disguise it’s new curdled, nasty texture.  So far, no one has gotten sick.  So I really think it’s okay.  And as of tonight, the freezer yogurt is used up and gone for good.

In the end, these muffins turned out surprisingly good.  They are light and fluffy, and not too sweet.  It’s 9:18pm, and Peter has had four so far.  And he said he didn’t like lemon in baked things…  :)

This recipe was inspired by Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s Vegan with a Vengeance cookbook.

Lemon-Poppy Seed Muffins

Ingredients:

  • 1 c. whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 c. unbleached, all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 c. sugar
  • 1 T. baking powder
  • 1/4 t. salt
  • 1/3 c. canola oil
  • 3/4 c. soy milk (or other non-dairy milk)
  • 3/4 c. (or 1 6oz. container) soy yogurt, plain or vanilla
  • 1 1/2 t. vanilla extract
  • 2 T. finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 t. lemon juice
  • 1 T. poppy seeds

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

In a large bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the oil, soy milk, yogurt, vanilla, and lemon juice.  Add the lemon zest to the wet ingredients.  Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ones.  When they are half-way mixed in, fold in the poppy seeds.

Spray a muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray.  Fill each cup about two-thirds of the way full.  Bake for 20 to 25 minutes (mine only needed 20 mins).  Check to see if they’re done by inserting a toothpick into the center – it should come out clean.

These muffins are best served warm.

Makes 12 little tiny muffins.

Strawberry Cupcakes

September 11, 2010



I realize it’s been awhile since I’ve posted anything.  But I’m back.  And this time, I have a kitchen of my own.  After buying a rather disappointing carton of organic strawberries from Safeway, I decided to try and make the most of it.  The solution?  Strawberry Cupcakes, of course.  :)

Originally, this recipe came from The Joy of Vegan Baking cookbook.  As usual, I’ve made a few changes.  I only had enough strawberries to make a half recipe – 6 cupcakes, but I’ll post ingredients for a full set of 12 cupcakes.

Surprisingly, these cupcakes are incredibly delicious, and I even made them low-fat!  They scored high marks with the non-vegan boyfriend, who was ready to eat all six in one sitting.  :)

Strawberry Cupcakes (Low-fat!)

Ingredients:

  • 1 c. whole wheat flour, 3/4 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 t. baking soda
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 1/3 c. apple sauce
  • 2 t. canola oil
  • 1 T. white distilled vinegar
  • 1 t. vanilla extract
  • 8 oz. fresh (or frozen) strawberries, crushed or pureed
  • 1 recipe Buttercream Frosting
  • 12 whole strawberries, stemmed (or 6 strawberries, cut in half)

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Lightly grease standard muffin tins, or fill with paper cupcake liners (my cupcakes stuck to the paper ones, so I would advice not using them for this recipe).

Mix together the flour, baking soda, and sugar in a bowl.  In a separate bowl, combine the applesauce, oil, vinegar, and vanilla.

Add the strawberries and stir to combine.  Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients, and add the wet ingredients.

Stir to combine, but don’t over-stir.  Pour the batter into the prepared muffin tins.

Bake for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool.  When cook, frost with frosting and a strawberry.

Buttercream Frosting

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 c. vegan butter (Earthbalance, NOT the super soft SmartBalance vegan butter)
  • 2 c. powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 1/2 t. vanilla extract
  • more flour or powdered sugar if needed to thicken

Preparation:

With an electric mixer (or by hand), cream the butter until smooth.  With the mixer on low speed, add the powdered sugar and vanilla.  Beat on high speed until the frosting is light and fluffy (3 or 4 minutes).  Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of soymilk if the frosting is too dry.  Cover with plastic wrap, and keep in the fridge until ready to use on the cupcakes.  My frosting was very runny, even after being refrigerated.  I’m guessing it was because I used the soft SmartBalance butter instead of the usual Earthbalance.

Makes 12 cupcakes.

I have always wanted to learn how to make bread like this, and I think I’ve finally got it.  This recipe originally came from a New York Times article, but I’ve tweaked it a little by using whole wheat flour, and adding some extra goodies into the dough.  It’s incredibly easy to make, requires few ingredients, and no kneading.  My only complaint is that the dough pretty much has to sit overnight, but that’s okay.  It’d also be nice if the bread didn’t turn out quite as flat in the end, but that’s also not a big deal.  This bread is delicious.

Ingredients:

  • 3 c. whole wheat all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1/4 t. instant yeast
  • 1 1/4 t. salt
  • 1 5/8 c. water
  • cornmeal or wheat bran (optional – I didn’t add either of these)
  • about 3/4 c. kalamata olives (chopped?  I left mine whole – it’d be good either way)
  • a few cloves garlic (again, either left whole or chopped into slightly smaller pieces)

Directions:

1. In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Add 1 5/8 cups water, and stir until blended; dough will be soggy and sticky. As you are stirring, add the olives and garlic, or whatever else you want. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 12 hours, preferably about 18, at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees  (I just left mine overnight).

2. Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it.  Sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold the dough over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes.

3. Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or to your fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball. Generously coat a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal; put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour, bran or cornmeal. Cover with another cotton towel and let rise for about 2 hours. When it is ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.

4. At least 30 minutes before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees. Put a 6 to 8-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Slide your hand under the towel and turn dough over into pot, seam side up.  It may look like a mess, but that’s okay.  Shake the pan once or twice if the dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a wire rack. 

Yield: One 1½-pound loaf.

Note: Next time I’ll try adding rosemary!  This bread would really be good if you add anything to it.  Sun-dried tomatoes, onion, etc., or even something like raisins or currents for a sweeter bread.  :)

Bread Pudding

February 25, 2010

I’ve never actually had bread pudding before, so I don’t have a whole lot to compare this recipe to.  I had a very stale baguette that needed to be used up, so I thought I’d give it a try.  In the end, I thought it was good, but definitely a little strange.  The crunchy, crusty pieces of bread were great, but the soggy ones, not so much.  Nice flavor, but the soggy pieces had a weird texture.  It was an experiment.

Ingredients:

  • 5 cups bread cubes (like a baguette or any crusty bread)
  • 2 1/4 c. rice milk (or other non-dairy milk)
  • 1/3 c. brown sugar
  • 2 T. maple syrup
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 1/4 c. chocolate chips
  • 1/4 c. chopped pecans
  • ground nutmeg

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the rice milk, sugar, maple syrup and vanilla.  Add the bread cubes, and let sit for about 10 mins, or until the bread is soft and has absorbed most of the milk.  Add the chocolate chips, pecans and a few sprinkles of nutmeg, and gently mix together, being careful not to over-mix. Scoop mixture into a lightly greased 8×8 pan (I had to use a pie plate).  Lightly sprinkle the top with a little more nutmeg, and some more chocolate chips if you want.

3. Bake in a preheated oven for 30 to 45 minutes, or until puffed and golden, and the milk has been absorbed.

Note: Mine took 45 minutes, and then later, I even baked it again for another 10 minutes to crisp it up after a day or too.  I’d say that with this recipe, the crispier the bread, and the more liquid that’s absorbed, the better it will be.