Whole Grain Bread

love making my own bread.  Kneading the dough is so relaxing.  I made 6+ loaves weekly for my large family for years until we moved to Ohio….where my bread failed suddenly and miserably!  Think bricks.  I tried and tried to make it happen and finally gave up.  Years later I discovered why. The water where we live is extremely hard.  It is also possible that the flour I purchased was an all-purpose flour, rather than hard wheat flour, which will also cause loaves to be rather flat. Thankfully, I recently learned that adding some lemon juice to the dough fixes this problem.  I made sure to buy hard whole wheat flour this time, too.  Hallelujah!  Fresh bread again!  My family has decreased in size as the kids have gradually grown up, so I don’t make 6 loaves a week anymore.  I have to admit….it’s a WHOLE lot easier to only knead 2-4 loaves at a time!

  Homemade Whole Grain Bread

Yields 2 loaves, 8″ x 4″ (see note below)

  • 6 c. hard whole wheat flour (hard white whole wheat is even better for a sweeter loaf)
  • ½ c. dry oatmeal
  • 1 T. salt
  • 4 ½ tsp active yeast * (or 2 pkts)
  • 1-2 T. olive oil
  • ¼ c. honey or maple syrup
  • 2 ¼ c. water
  • ½-1 T. lemon juice (optional, only for if your water is quite hard)

Mix 2 c. of flour with salt in large bowl.  Set aside 1½ c. flour in a small bowl for kneading into the dough later (you probably will not use all of this flour.)  Set aside remaining 2½  c. of flour and oatmeal in yet another bowl.

In a saucepan, heat water, honey or maple syrup, oil, and lemon juice, if using, to 105-110 degrees.  Remove from heat and sprinkle yeast into the water.  Stir briefly and let rest 5 minutes, or until a little bubbly.  Pour yeast mixture into the bowl with the flour and salt.  Beat with a wooden spoon, or a whisk, until smooth and for about 1 minute longer to develop the gluten.  Let rest for 5 minutes (if using a spoon, just leave it in there.)  After that, add the remaining flour and oatmeal, mixing well.  The dough should look shaggy.  If it seems too wet still, add a handful of flour from your small bowl of kneading flour.  Dust the counter or kneading area with some of the kneading flour.  Turn out dough onto this and knead** in the remaining flour (give or take, depending on the weather and how dry the milled flour actually is this time and how accurately you measured the flours and water.)  More can be added if the dough seems extremely sticky.  Knead for 10 minutes, gradually adding a little more flour to the counter under the dough, until dough is elastic and springy.  It will slightly push back as you knead it.  If you add too much flour as you knead, the bread will come out hard; if too little is added, it will come out doughy and won’t bake well.

Let the dough sit while you wash the large mixing bowl out and spray or wipe it with olive oil.  Give the dough another knead or two and see if it bounces right back at you.  This will tell you that you kneaded it enough.  Better not enough kneading than too much!  Place the dough inside the bowl, flipping it over so that the top is coated with oil, or you can spray the dough with the oil.  Cover with a damp towel or plastic wrap, and place in a warm (not hot!), draft-free area.  Let rise until double in size.

Oil your 8”x4” bread pans.  Punch the dough down and knead 2-3 times.  Divide the dough into 2 parts.  Form into loaves.  If there is any seam, place it bottom side down in the pan.  Slit the loaves lengthwise and spray or use pastry brush lightly coat with olive oil.  Let rise until double in size – about 1” above the pan. 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Bake 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown.  The finished loaves will sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.  Loosen the sides of the bread with a non-metal spatula and tip them out onto a cooling rack.

The bread slices best when it is 12-24 hours old, leaving smoother slices and less crumbs.  It can be sliced, bagged, and frozen for later use.  It keeps bagged on the counter about a week.

*If using fast or instant rise yeast, you will mix the yeast into the first mixture of flour and salt.  Heat the oil, honey, and water to 120-130 degrees.  You do not have to proof the yeast, or wait for it to dissolve in water.   Beat liquids into the dry ingredients and continue with recipe.

** Knead bread by folding the far side of the dough toward you and push down and away with the heels of your hands.  Then spin it ¼ a turn and fold over again.  Keep doing this for 10 minutes.  You can scrape excess dough off of your fingers that clings at the start and knead that into the dough as you go.  As you near the completion, you will add less and less flour to the surface beneath the dough – just enough to keep it from sticking to the counter and you.  It will change texture and turn from a slight messy shaggy heap into a ball, and finally into a tighter ball of smooth, elastic dough, which will spring back at you as you knead it.  This will be at about the 10 minute mark.  Try not to over-knead the bread.  If you have under-kneaded it, you can knead it a bit longer after you prep the rising bowl.

Note:  If you find that this doesn’t rise as high as you would like, you can double the recipe and put it into 3 loaf pans.  This makes a higher loaf.

Cocoa-Banana Breakfast Cake (or Muffins)

Breakfast.  It can be so boring ~ so unhealthy ~ and so expensive.  Are you stuck in a rut?  Are you tired of paying an arm and a leg for boxed cereal that has little staying power and often little true nutrition?  I am going to start a series on make-ahead breakfast recipes to take the ho-hum out of mornings.  You’ll find yourself looking forward to breakfast!  You might even want to take a look at some of your current recipes and rethink the possibility of using them for a morning meal.  Of course, I always add some fresh fruit to the meal to round it out nutritionally.

Cocoa-Banana Breakfast Cake (or Muffins) 001Whether you have to eat gluten-free, or not, this breakfast cake will please you!  It was so exciting to put the first forkful into my mouth and taste how delicious it was.  The texture is moist and heavy like some decadent muffin that you might buy.  Mmmm.  In fact, Continue reading

Gluten-free Pie Crust

I have been very lazy where pie crusts are concerned.  In the past, I have resorted to press-in types, because I didn’t like fussing with rolling them out.  For health’s sake, I also tried whole wheat versions with oil rather than shortening.  No one gave rave reviews over those.  Then during the low-fat craze, my crusts became even less tasty and harder to get out of the pie plate.  Rarely were there pies coming out of my kitchen.  Then I had to give up wheat and figured that completed the demise of pies for me.

Gluten-free Pie Crust 005If any of this sounds familiar, I want to jump up and down and shout that it doesn’t have to end this way for you!  I have found the solutions to my problems.

First of all, let me just say that organic virgin coconut oil is the biggest answer to all of your crust problems, whether wheat or gluten-free.  This stuff is amazing and has many health benefits.  Even though you start with solid coconut oil, as you work the crust you do not have to worry about the warming from your hands melting it and causing it to destroy the crust.  It actually makes it easier to work with the crust!

The second answer to crust problems for those with gluten-free needs is a product called Orgran gluten substitute.  This is made in Australia, but is available through Amazon I am told.  A friend shared a box with me and I was hooked.  PLEASE note, that you do not have to use this in this recipe, as I’ve given another option, but it is the easiest to make when you do.  It is primarily starch-based with some “-oses” and guar gum.  If you do not like to use those things, I’ll tell you how to skip it.

When I used the Orgran product, I both pressed in a crust and rolled out a crust.  (Pictured above are both – the press-in in the foreground with no edging and the rolled out in the background with a crinkled edge.)  The crust was so pliable and workable, that rolling it out was easy!  If I tore the crust, it easily patched with a little pressing and rolling.  Warming the ball of dough and kneading it a bit allowed for the best workability.  When baked into a pumpkin pie, it was flaky, tender, and the best crust I had tasted in a long time!  Everyone liked it.  Success!  And it popped out of the pie plate without sticking, making for a pretty piece of pie on each plate.

The next time I did not use the Orgran and substituted more oat flour.  The crust still worked, but it was not as pliable and tended to want to stick to my rolling pin.  With some Pumpkin Pie Crust viewpatience and extra warmth/kneading, it still worked well.  When baked into a pumpkin pie, it came out of the pan easily and was tasty, but it wasn’t as flaky and tender.  It had a tendency to crumb a little more.  The crust in this picture of pie is using the extra oat flour, as is the whole pie pictured below.  You can see that it doesn’t fall apart.  I think it is a viable option, and definitely a cheaper one.  I am wondering as I write this if I used melted coconut oil whisked with the water if that wouldn’t help even more with the texture of the finished product and the pliability of the dough.  I will have to continue experimenting.

Another great thing about this crust is that if you want a fancy edge, it will handle the extra grief needed to produce one.  On the other hand, if you want to just bring the crust up even to the edge of your pie plate and hack it off there, smoothing the edge, it works, too!  How can you not love such a versatile crust?  🙂

I have only worked this into a single crust pie.  I do not know how the more fragile no-Orgran crust will behave in a top-crust situation, but the one with the Orgran should be fine.

This makes 3, 9″ deep-dish single crusts with a little left over when you trim the crusts.  (If you saw my pumpkin pie recipe, you know that I have 3 pie plates to accommodate that recipe.  Thus the strange number of crusts.)  You can decrease the recipe to make a smaller amount if you have smaller pans or want fewer pies.

Pumpkin Pie-Whole

Gluten-free Pie Crust

  • 1 c. almond meal
  • 1 c. brown rice flour
  • 1/4 c. arrowroot
  • 1/4 c. tapioca flour
  • 1/2 c. Orgran gluten substitute or oat flour
  • 1 c. oat flour
  • 1 1/2 – 2 tsp. salt (with a sweet pie the 2 tsp. seemed a little too much)
  • 1 c. solid coconut oil (measure and refrigerate if necessary during the summer heat)
  • 10 T. cold water

Mix dry ingredients in a mixing bowl.  Cut in the coconut oil until it is well mixed into the flour.  There should be smaller-than-pea-sized pieces formed when you are done.  Quickly stir in the cold water and knead/squeeze until the dough becomes well formed.  Divide into 3 equal balls of dough.  Onto waxed paper, roll out each circle of dough*.  If using the oat-flour-only option and it sticks to the rolling pin, use a lighter touch and be patient.  Transfer the crust to each pie pan by inverting the waxed paper over the pan.  Carefully peel off the waxed paper and fit the crust into the pan.  If there are splits or tears, just press the crust together.  Trim the top edge, finishing it as you would like.  Fill and bake according to pie’s directions.

*Another option would be to press the dough into each pan evenly and proceed with filling.

Vegan Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin Pie SliceYes, I may indeed be a few months late posting this recipe compared to the rest of the recipe-blogging world.  Pumpkin everything is supposed to be served in the fall, right?  During the holidays, however, I was much too hurried to spend time taking photos before the pies were devoured and life rushed on.  Now, though, with winter swirling mightily around the corners of my home, pumpkin pie seemed like the kind of hearty dessert breakfast that my family needed.

*whispered*  “Did she just say pie for breakfast??”  Yes!  Yes, I did!  When you eat a Continue reading

Oatmeal Cookie Journey (gluten-free)

Cookies…cookies…cookiesCOOKIES!!!

You guessed it….I love cookies!  (Of course, Cookie Monster was my favorite Muppet.)  Sadly, I haven’t been doing much baking lately, though.  Kinda lost my mojo without wheat flour to make it brainless easy.

Last night and this morning I had such a craving for oatmeal-raisin cookies that I couldn’t Oatmeal Cookie (gluten-free; first attempt) 002help but make another attempt at turning out a good whole-grain gluten-free cookie.  Since I want you to be brave, too, at trying to create new recipes in your kitchen, I am going to take you on this oatmeal cookie journey.  I will tell you what I was thinking as I turned this recipe that I made for years and years with whole wheat flour into this gluten-free version.

First of all, oatmeal cookies are marvelous for attempting to remove the wheat flour, because there isn’t much of it in the recipe at the beginning!  As long as you are using gluten-free oats you are almost home free (or if you are just avoiding wheat and don’t get deathly ill if you get a hold of some teeny amounts gluten, use regular oats.)

To replace the 1 1/2 c. of wheat flour, I decided how hard could it be to use oat flour?  I scooped up 3 c. of oats (because I always double this recipe or they are gone much too soon) and whizzed it up in a dry blender.  (It’s okay if the oats look more like meal than a smooth flour when you are done.)  When I measured the flour after whizzing it, I was 1/4 c. short.  Well, rats!  Rather than try to whiz up that small amount of oats (they get kind of lost in the bottom of the blender and it doesn’t work particularly well), I decided to just throw in some almond meal for the final 1/4 c. that was missing.  Almond meal gives the look and feel of whole wheat flour.  At the last minute, I pondered my coconut flour.  It can help with the baked texture of things to also mimic whole wheat flour.  So, I tossed in a 1/4 c. of that, too!  I figured at worst I would have to add some extra liquid since it seriously soaks up moisture like a sponge left out to dry in the summer sun.

Turns out it was a good choice at the last minute to toss in that coconut flour.  Oat flour can be a little sticky in comparison to whole wheat flour.  The little bit of coconut flour just mopped up any sticky ideas the oat flour might have had and sat back to enjoy the ride.

I chose to add jumbo organic raisins in these cookies – and I made them fairly big since I was in a hurry.  (It only took me an hour to make a double batch from start to finish – not bad.)  Chocolate chips are a nice switch from raisins if you’d rather.  Butterscotch chips are fun, too, if you can find vegan ones.  Coconut flakes are great with any of the above options or by itself (I found some sweetened coconut shreds without any nasty chemicals at Trader Joe’s and I am thrilled.)

I originally thought I was going to have to tweak this recipe again later, but after the whole batch is finished, I don’t think I will need to do so.  They are a little fragile when you first take them off of the cookie sheet, but they firm up nicely as they cool.  If you like, you can leave them on the cookie sheet until they are not so fragile before removing them to a cooling rack.

Oatmeal CookiesOatmeal Cookie (gluten-free; first attempt) 001

  • 1/2 c. Earth Balance buttery sticks (1 stick)
  • 1/4 c. melted coconut oil (virgin is best)
  • 1 1/4 c. evaporated cane juice crystals
  • 2 T. molasses
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 tsp. Ener-G egg replacer powder
  • 1/4 c. + 2 T. non-dairy milk
  • 1 1/4 c. + 2 T. oat flour (1 1/2 c. oats whizzed into meal/flour)
  • 2 T. almond meal/flour
  • 2 T. coconut flour
  • 3 c. oats (I used half and half ~ rolled oats and quick oats)

Preheat oven to 375°.  Cover your cookie sheets with parchment paper (this is vital to make vegan and gluten-free cookies work the best.)

Mix the first 5 ingredients together until smooth.  Stir in the egg replacer powder.  Add the non-dairy milk a little at a time, whipping it into the batter.  By the time it is all in, you should have a lovely fluffy batter.  (Add any extras here, like raisins, chips, coconut, etc.) Mix the dry ingredients in a separate bowl before pouring it all into the wet ingredients.  Mix thoroughly.

Using a teaspoon or a tablespoon, scoop dough against the side of the bowl to press it.  This will give you a sturdier cookie.  You could also press the dough in your hands if you prefer.  Drop spoonfuls onto the cookie sheet.  Bake for 8-10 minutes.  Remove to cooling rack.

Variations:  Add 1 c. raisins, nuts, chocolate chips, and/or coconut

 

Frosting for Sugar Cookies

What would sugar cookies be without frosting?  Well…they’d be…um…just boring little cookies.  If you used colored sugar on them they might be a little better.  But why when you could frost them instead?  😀

You can use this recipe and just make simple white or one-color frosting to slather aimlessly on round cookies, or you can get fancy and make cut-out cookies and split your white frosting into little bowls and add food coloring to them (once a year…that’s all I use the unhealthy stuff…a few little drops.)  Then you’ve got the makings for a decorating party!  Invite your friends over or gather the kids and get busy.

Sugar Cookies 011

This recipe (pre-vegan) came from a tear-out insert in a woman’s magazine from 1990.  (Yep, I’m getting old when my clippings and savings come from over 20 years ago.  Maybe they shouldn’t date those things so that I could blissfully think it was only a little bit ago…)  It was put out by Crisco (shudder….)  It called for butter-flavored Crisco (another prerequisite shudder.)  Obviously, I do not use that any more.  Instead, I have made this into a vegan-friendly recipe.

This recipe more than covers 1 batch of my Sugar Cookies.  Although you might want a double or 1 1/2 batch of this frosting if you want lots of different colors to play with or if you have a heavy hand with spreading plenty on your cookies.  I put it in 1/2-3/4 c. pyrex bowls, color it as desired, and stick in small plastic knives (they don’t fall out of the tiny bowls as easily.)  I put out lots of sprinkles and such to use for decorating.  Toothpicks help align things in tiny areas.  This year I added little squeeze bottles made for decorating cupcakes and cookies so we could add finer details, but decorator bags would work, too.

Frosting for Sugar Cookies

  • 1 Earth Balance buttery stick (1/2 c.), softened (I never have patience to wait ~ and nuke it for 10-15 seconds)
  • 4 c. powdered sugar (use evaporated cane juice crystals powdered version to be completely vegan)
  • 1/3 c. non-dairy vanilla or plain milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

Combine all ingredients in a deep 1 quart bowl (or larger) and beat with an electric mixer on low speed until no powdery sugar remains that can blow up into your face when you turn the mixer on high.  Scrape bowl.  Beat at high speed until smooth and creamy.

Divide into smaller bowls, mix in a few drops of food coloring, and decorate away!

Sugar Cookies 015

 

This shows some of the aftermath of the decorating this year with an empty bowl of green frosting next to sprinkles and cookies.  These an out-of-town friend of my son’s decorated.  It was so much fun!

Sugar Cookies

Sugar Cookies 001 Since we’re all short on time at this time of year, I’m going to keep any comments brief.

It is a tradition with my kids to decorate sugar cookies for the holidays as a family – well, minus hubby, who just isn’t interested.  Sometimes the kids are really good about prettily and carefully crafting their cookies.  Other years, not so much…and we end up with houses turned in a funny way and becoming elephants, snowmen upended and being crafted into ice cream cones.  No…I do not know why, nor do I understand.  But since three out of four of them are adults, who am I to argue?  lol  However, it is my creations you see pictured here.  😀

Sugar Cookies

  • 1/2 c. Earth Balance buttery sticks
  • Sugar Cookies 0121/4 c. extra light olive oil
  • 2 T. soy sour cream
  • 2 c. evaporated cane juice crystals, or sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla (or more)
  • 4 1/2 tsp. Ener-G egg replacer powder
  • 1/2 c. + 2 T. non-dairy milk (may need a smidgen more)
  • 4 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 6 c. white whole wheat flour (King Arthur’s or Trader Joe’s brand)

Preheat oven to 375°.  Cover cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Thoroughly cream “butter,” olive oil, sour cream, sugar, and vanilla.  Add in egg replacer powder.  Stir milk in little at a time, beating until well mixed.  Stir in salt and baking powder.  Then add the flour, mixing carefully until no dry spots remain.  If dough seems crumbly, add a little bit of milk – but be very careful here – it doesn’t take much to make a soggy mess suddenly!  It is the right consistency when a small ball of dough can be lightly kneaded and come together.

Roll dough into balls and flatten with a glass dipped into evaporated cane juice crystals/sugar.  (You may need to rub your cookie-dough-smeared palm on the bottom of the glass before the first cookie so that the sugar will stick to it.)  OR  to make cut-out cookies take a good-sized lump of dough, knead it until it is more cohesive, and roll it out on the kitchen counter.  You shouldn’t need any flour if you are careful and use something like a dough scraper or a thin pancake turner to gently scrape up the cut-out dough from the counter.  This makes for a much nicer flavored cookie!  If all else fails, use a little flour on the counter.

Bake for 6-8 minutes.  Remove to cooling rack.  Decorate as desired.  (Or leave the sugared round ones plain.)

Yields approximately 6 dozen (depending on the size of your cookie cutters)

Sugar Cookies 017

Eggnog Snickerdoodles

I love snickerdoodles!  I love eggnog (veggie-style)!  To combine them together?  Oh, yum.  These are chewy and flavorful.  Mmmm…

Eventually, I need to experiment with a gluten-free model, because right now I’m having a terrible time not stuffing one of these into my mouth Cookie-Monster style eating one of these.  The ones you see pictured are actually for my son-in-law’s birthday.  (Never mind that I promised him a batch of these almost a year ago…shhhhh.)

To make them as regular snickerdoodles, omit the rum and brandy extracts/flavorings.  Replace the nutmeg with cinnamon.  That’s about it.

Eggnog Snickerdoodles

  • 3/4 c. Earth Balance vegan buttery sticks
  • 1 1/2 c. evaporated cane juice crystals or sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. rum extract/flavoring
  • 1/2 tsp. brandy extract/flavoring
  • 1 T. Ener-G egg replacer powder (no water)
  • 1/4 c. non-dairy milk (may increase 1-2 T. later if dough seems dry)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 T. soy sour cream
  • 1 1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 3/4 c. white whole wheat flour (King Arthur’s or Trader Joe’s brands are my favorites)
  • 1/4 c. evaporated cane juice crystals or sugar
  • 1 tsp. nutmeg

Heat oven to 400°.  Cover cookie sheets with parchment paper.  Combine “butter,” sugar, and extracts/flavorings in a large mixing bowl.  Stir in Ener-G powder and salt.  Add half of the milk, stirring until well combined.  Add the other half of the milk and mix heartily until things are fluffy (a wooden spoon does the best job of this fluffy business.)  Fold in the sour cream.  Mix the cream of tartar and baking soda in, followed by the flour.  Mix 1/4 c. sugar and nutmeg in a cereal bowl.  Roll dough into balls (ping-pong-ball sized) and put into the nutmeg mixture.  Swirl the cereal bowl to cover each cookie completely with sugary nutmeg.  Place on cookie sheets and bake for 8-10 minutes.  Cool on racks.

Yields approximately 40 cookies.

Gluten-free Chocolate Chip Blondies

(Sometimes when a blogger does a variation on a former recipe it seems almost like cheating to me…but…if you just stick an addendum onto the first-time-non-altered recipe, most people aren’t going to see it, right?  That must be why we do it.  It couldn’t be because we’ve been too busy/tired/burned out/bored/exhausted to create a new recipe, right?  Um-hmmm…that’s what I thought.)

Everyone was missing cookies.  I hadn’t had time to bake and it had been too hot to slave over an oven for a long time period anyway.  However, when the natives get restless for cookies, you know you’d better do something about it!

I thumbed through my pile of recipes (the ones awaiting hole-punching so that I can file them in my already-stuffed notebook…) and saw my Gluten-free Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe.  Mmmm…man, those sounded good!  And I actually had all of the ingredients available.  But I still wasn’t interested in standing in the kitchen for an extended period of time dropping cookies onto the cookie sheets.  (There is just something about hot weather that makes me lethargically lazy.)  I wondered if I could turn them into blondies?

I added a little more coconut oil and put parchment paper in the pan (although, you might not need that, but it makes clean-up a snap!)  They came out very nicely.  They are still a relatively tender, fragile cookie/brownie ~ it seems that gluten-free cookies are either fragilelike this, or tough as nails ~ but they taste so good, I didn’t mind.

You’ll notice this recipe has very little variation from the cookie recipe I mentioned above, except it’s easier!

Gluten-free Chocolate Chip Blondies

  • 1/4 c. non-hydrogenated soy margarine, softened (1/2 stick), such as Earth Balance
  • 1/4 c. melted coconut oil
  • 1 1/2 c. evaporated cane juice or sugar
  • 1 T. molasses
  • 3 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 T. Ener-G egg replacer powder (no added water)
  • 1/2 c. non-dairy milk (I use Silk plain or vanilla soy)
  • 1 c. chocolate chips (more if you want them bursting at the seams)
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking soda, sieved to remove lumps
  • 1 1/2 c. fine almond meal or almond flour (I used Trader Joe’s brand), breaking up any lumps
  • 3/4 c. coconut flour

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Place parchment paper in a 9×13″ pan so that the edges stick up above the pan.

With a wooden spoon, in a large bowl, combine and beat margarine, coconut oil, cane juice, molasses, and vanilla.  Thoroughly stir in egg replacer powder.  Add a fourth of the non-dairy milk, or so, at a time, beating it in completely after each addition.  Keep whipping it until well incorporated.  It may look a little separated due to the extra liquid needed with the coconut flour.  (You can toss the milk in all at once, but it tends to cause separation and then you have to work harder to whip it together.)  Stir in chocolate chips, salt, and baking soda, mixing well.  Stir in almond and coconut flours until no dry spots remain.

Scrape batter into prepared pan and bake for 25-30 minutes, checking after 25 minutes to make sure your oven isn’t running too hot.

Place on cooling rack in the pan for 15 minutes or so, then lift the whole batch out (using the edges of the parchment paper sticking out of the pan) onto the rack to finish cooling and to make sure the paper doesn’t end up damp beneath the blondies.  After completely cooling, you can either transfer them back to the pan to cut them (esp. if you have one of those neat cake pans with plastic lids that can store the blondies – less dishes to wash!) or you can put them onto a cutting board to slice them into bars and store them in an airtight container.

Apple Pecan Muffins

I got a message from a friend who is cooking for a group of young people involved in an Christian outreach program this summer.  She needed 2 dozen vegan muffins ~ could I help?  How could I say no?  Especially since this amazing woman is cooking for these kids even though she recently fell and broke her shoulder!

These are some of my favorite muffins and I wanted to share them with you.  But I confess I haven’t made them recently, because hubby and I would be tempted to eat them, wheat and all.  So, this was the perfect excuse to bake them for the recipe photo-op, but with temptation being removed!  🙂

I’ve been making this recipe for a very long time.  I made and froze these before my last baby was born so that once I needed them, hubby could bring them to me in the hospital to eat.  (Hospital food and veganism just don’t seem to dovetail very well.)  That baby is now 15!!  And I’ve been making them longer than that.  I hope you enjoy them as much as I used to.

Apple Pecan Muffins

  • 2 c. white whole wheat flour (King Arthur’s or Trader Joe’s are good)
  • 1 c. quick oats
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon (best if you can get ahold of Saigon or Ceylon, etc.)
  • 2 tsp. baking powder, sieved
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda, sieved
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Ener-G egg replacer powder (do not add water)
  • 1 c. chopped apple (the finer you chop it the softer it will be)
  • 1/4 c. broken pecan pieces (or chop if you want finer pieces)
  • 1-1 1/2 T. fresh lemon juice
  • soy milk added to lemon juice to make 1 c. total**
  • 3/4 c. unsweetened applesauce (or 1/2 c. applesauce & an extra 1/4 c. oil)
  • 1/4 c. extra light olive or melted coconut oil
  • 1/2 c. maple syrup or honey

Preheat oven to 375°.  Spray muffin cups with oil.  Whisk lemon juice and soy milk together and set aside.

Mix flour, oats, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and egg replacer powder in a mixing bowl.  Add pecans and chopped apple, tossing to coat apple with flour mixture.  In a smaller mixing bowl, whisk together the soy milk/lemon juice mixture (which should have curdled into vegan buttermilk) with the applesauce, oil, and maple syrup/honey.  With a rubber spatula, scrape wet ingredients into dry ingredients and fold together until no dry spots remain. 

Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups.  As you can see from the picture of the unbaked batter, these will be very full muffin cups!

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.  Place muffin pan on wire rack to cool for at least 15 minutes.  (Trust me on this, okay?  It’s absolutely necessary, or your muffins will not let go of the pan and you’ll have muffin pieces that are slightly gooey because they haven’t finished setting up in the pan.)  Remove from pans with fingers ~ if they won’t let go with just a tiny tug, then let them cool a little longer (esp. in the summer if you don’t have the A/C on.)  Place on rack to finish cooling.

** I have only tried this with soy milk.  It probably works with other non-dairy milks, but I cannot vouch for how they behave.