Sunday, February 28, 2010

Chocolate Ginger Brownie

I was already skeptical of combining everything in a medium saucepan. Batter did not look right when I poured it into the pan. That's when I realized I forgot the cup of sugar. Oops! I couldn't bring myself to throw everything away and start all over again so I poured the batter back into a bowl and added the sugar and mixed. It definitely does not look like Martha's and Scott did not like it; you should have seen his face when he bit into it.
I, on the other hand rarely complain about food. Despite its unattractivenes, I found the brownie edible but not worthy enough to be given as a gift which was my whole intention to prepare this recipe.

Double Chocolate Brownie

I went through high school baking brownies from the box and eating half a pan while I did homework and watched tv. I need real chocolate and I need it now! Took a break from vegan and baked a pan of Martha's double chocolate brownie. Fudgy and chocolatey with just the right texture satisfied the craving. I'm back baby!


Chewy in the center and crispy on the edges! Surprisingly easy to make with so many ingredients but pleasing to the taste buds. Sweet from the evaporated cane juice and gloriously spicey from the cinnamon and ground ginger, even Anna liked it!

Monday, February 15, 2010

My Life in France Booktalk at the Waioli Tea Room

I look forward to our booktalks and this one featured My Life in France by Julia Child, the woman responsible for making cooking and teaching chic. We were all inspired by her travels and immersing herself into French culture, her passion for cooking that began in her 40s, and her spirit that was key to her success-French cuisine, writing, and marriage.
The relaxed atmosphere of the Waioli Tea Room is appealing-simple foods and decor. The birds are also comfortable enough to brazenly sit beside you as you enjoy your tea and sandwich.

Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting

The Honolulu Board of Water Supply has the saying "There is no substitute for pure water" and that hit home today as I bit into a vegan, sugar free chocolate cupcake. There can be no substitute for chocolate. It took two whole days to prepare this recipe and that could be one factor that led to the disappointment. Frosting had a mousse like consistency even after adding 1/3 C of melted coconut oil and more chilling in the refrigerator and cake was far from moist.
I miss chocolate-rich, gooey, sweet, sugarey chocolate!

Apple Tart with Brown Sugar Topping

Happy Valentines Sweetheart! A break from vegan, sugar free recipes did not turn me into a lunatic who would gobble a dessert made with sugar and white flour after a month on a sugar free diet. Instead it became nostalgic as I prepared the pie crust dough and pressed them into the pans. I have always enoyed preparing pie crust; it's just so relaxing.
Scott cleaned the whole house while I prepared his favorite dessert. I finally remembered why I don't make these often, it took me half the day to prepare crust and chill, blind bake, create topping, slice apples for filling and bake for 50 minutes. He appreciated as he took a bite with a huge smile on his handsome face and I appreciated a clean house!

Chocolate Chip Cookies

The search for evaporated cane juice led me to Whole Foods and surprisingly it was a bag of what looked like brown sugar. This is much better than the first batch which I substituted the cane juice for agave nectar. These were crunchy on the outside and chewy on the inside. This cookie satisfied the craving for something sweet and chocolatey, even with the vegan chocolate chips.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Lemon-Poppy Teacake

This cake was a bust! Don't blame the recipe, blame me! I did everything a baker is not supposed to do-bake in a rush, bake with ingredients not at room temperature, and using a pan with the wrong dimensions.
I fell in love with Whole Foods' spice section-bottles of exotic spices were simply gorgeous! Rushed home after a hectic morning of church, farmer's market, and Anna's Sunday school to bake a loaf for Superbowl Sunday dessert. I know, I know teacake doesn't sound like a dessert you would want to have while you watch football but I just HAD to use my bottle of poppy seeds.
Batter did not expand after adding the poppy seed mixture of rice milk, vinegar, and poppy seeds and batter looked too runny. Everything did not seem right. After baking for 35 minutes, cake was still soft in the center and toothpick did not come out clean when inserted. Finally took cake out after baking for 8 more minutes. Edges were brown and crispy and center was still not completely done.
Erin, the owner of Babycakes Bakery in NYC warned that I may botch a batch and I surely botched this one but she also advised that "mistakes only make success all the more delicious" and I vow to redeem myself with a delicious teacake next time.

Blueberry Muffin

The Green Geckos rallied from a score of 4-2 to win 6-4 in the last quarter against the Pink Panthers. Anna scored a goal which meant a visit to Menchie's and I celebrated by baking a batch of blueberry muffins.
Whisked 2 1/4 C whole spelt flour, 2 t baking powder, 1 t baking soda and 1 t salt. Added 1/2 C coconut oil which I melted on the stove top, 2/3 C agave nectar, 2/3 C rice milk and vanilla extract to the dry ingredients. I prefer my blueberry desserts to be more blueberry than lemoney. Recipe calls for 1 t of pure lemon extract but omitted it and instead added an extra teaspoon of vanilla extract to the 2 t. Folded in the fresh blueberries and poured 1/3 C batter into each cupcake liner. Baked the muffins in a 325 degree preheated oven for 23 minutes, rotated after 15 minutes.
I would also like to dedicate these muffins to Daly who introduced Babycakes to me. She opened her gift and said the scent of blueberries was the first she smelled. Light, sweet, and satisfying.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Blueberry Scone

It was pure elation when I bit into a blueberry scone and LOVED it! I'm beginning to realize that maybe a life of less sugar isn't so bad. Now that I have a pantry stocked with vegan products baking from the cookbook Babycakes is not as daunting as I thought it would be. What's even better is the process; it's so easy!
Whisked 2 C whole spelt flour, baking powder, and salt then added the 1/3 C coconut oil, 1/3 C agave nectar and 1 T vanilla. Stirred until a thick, slightly dry batter was formed and I thought, "This does not look good!" I then realized I needed to pour 1/4 C of hot water into the batter. The recipe called for raspberries but blueberries were on sale for and I am not a huge fan of raspberries. I halfed the recipe using 1/2 C of fresh blueberries and 1/2 C of vegan chocolate chips. Measured 1/4 C of batter instead of the recommended 1/3 C onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and lightly brushed the tops with coconut oil. Baked in a preheated oven of 350 degrees for 7 minutes, rotated and baked for 9 more minutes. Removed from oven and brushed with agave nectar.
My brother in law Rick and I couldn't wait for the 15 minutes to cool, we gobbled them up and agreed that healthy, sugar free desserts can be delicious. Scones were tasty, light, and with a satisfying texture. The blueberry scones rated higher but Scott loved them both.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Was I forced to face a future without desserts? Was a cup of tea the only thing to look forward to after a meal? When you have dreams of eating cookies on your bed and relishing every morsel, then you know it's time for something sweet! Still in detox and anything with sugar was out of the question. I decided to put the vegan, gluten free cookbook Babycakes which I had received as gift to use.
Not only did I have to search for a simple enough recipe that could satisfy the sweet craving but I also had to find the ingredients that sounded like a science experiment. A visit to Down to Earth, a natural food store where the employees were more than happy to help me find my chemicals was the first step. After much reading and dissection of the recipe, I find that the ingredients are not chemicals but more natural than anything. Coconut oil is high in omega-3 fatty acids (these are healthy) and agave nectar is a natural sweetener from a cactus that takes longer to absorb into the bloodstream, so it doesn't shoot your blood sugar up the way refined sugars do.
$80 less but armed with confidence and excitement to start a new baking adventure, I gathered my vegan products to make chocolate chip cookies. First mixed coconut oil (eww..this looks like lard), applesauce (attended public school from K-12, ate school lunches everyday and never ate the stuff), salt and vanilla. Substituted agave nectar for evaporated cane juice because DTE did not carry the product and insisted I use the cane sugar but I was adamant about following the recipe to the letter. In another bowl, whisked the flour, flax meal, baking soda and xanthan gum. Added the dry ingredients to the wet mixture and gently folded in the vegan chocolate chips. It was actually easier than normal baking-no creaming of butter and sugars until fluffy nor alternating wet and dry mixtures into bowl, just good ole' mixing!
The cookie wasn't the only thing that satisfied the craving but also the act of baking. Scott liked it and said it reminded him of a cookie he had growing up in Pennsylvania but more importantly I liked it! More vegan recipes to follow.