Baked Oatmeal


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The great thing about vegan cooking, especially in the time of a pandemic, is the know-how to cook with substitutes. There are chronic shortages of groceries, but not the desire to feed ourselves well.

Confined in a distancing bubble with teenagers, the need to eat is frequent – but so is boredom. When every morning has been leftover banana bread, waffles, cereal or a smoothie, I’ve been starting to get some shrugs. It’s been tough trying to please everyone in the middle of the apocalypse.

And yes, it’s only a Tuesday (I think) but I’ve got the time and we’re trying to stay healthy here so, I hit the pantry to see what was new. I got the glaze over when I mentioned oatmeal at first, but when I kept looking, I remembered the frozen fruit stockpiled for those smoothies and a fresh vitamin boost. So, to make it interesting, I realized if I could bake rice, I should do it with the oatmeal too.

I think mostly anything you have on hand could be replaced for the fruit in this.
We’ve been lucky to be part of Foodshare. It’s a great organization that not only delivers fresh fruit and veg to my doorstep every week, it also gives back to support the nutritionally vulnerable. Over the past few weeks, we’ve been surprised with a pineapple, so that was added to the frozen blueberries! You could try banana/blueberry, or raspberry with lemon zest and almonds or hazelnut – or if you have those, hazelnut and chocolate. Go crazy!

 

BAKED OATMEAL

2 Tablespoons Ground Flax Seed
1/3 Cup Almonds, chopped
2 Cups Whole Oats
1 Tablespoon Cinnamon
1 teaspoons Baking Powder
3/4 Teaspoon Salt
3 Tablespoons Coconut Oil, melted
1 1/2 Cups Milk (Any kind)
1/3 Cup Maple Syrup
2/3 Cup Pineapple, finely diced
1 Cup Blueberries
2 Tablespoons Brown, Raw or Coconut Sugar, for sprinkling

In a small bowl combine the ground flax with 1/3 Cup water and set aside.
Roughly chop the almonds and scatter flat in a 9″x9″ baking pan.
Set the oven to preheat the oven to 350ºF. Add the almonds to toast (about 5 minutes), while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
Peel and dice the pineapple so it is about the size of a large blueberry.
In a large bowl, add the oats, cinnamon, baking powder, salt and toasted almonds.
Pour over the milk, maple syrup, coconut oil and flax mixture. Stir well to combine evenly, then add the diced pineapple and blueberries to incorporate throughout.
Add mixture to the baking pan and sprinkle with the brown sugar.
Bake for 25-30 minutes until set. Cool slightly for about 5-10 minutes.

Hot Cross Buns


Somehow in all the quarantine chaos, we managed to track down flour AND yeast!
Traditional but also comforting, these fruity, yeasty sweet rolls bring some happy to our stress baking.

It’s crazy to be “celebrating” anything really while in quarantine, but we’ve managed to do my birthday and it’ll be my daughter’s next week. These really are the times to make the best of it.

Happy Baking and good health to you all.

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HOT CROSS BUNS

1 1/2 Cups (Any non-dairy) Milk
1/2 Cup Warm Water
1/2 Cup Sugar
1 teaspoon Salt
1 Tablespoon Yeast
1/4 Cup Coconut Oil, melted (or vegetable oil)
4 1/4 Cups All Purpose Flour, plus more, if necessary, for kneading
1 Tablespoons Cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon Nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon Ground, Black Cardamom
1 Tablespoon Crystalized Ginger, crushed (or 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger)
1 Cup Dried Blueberries
2/3 Cup Candied Orange Peel, chopped*

2 Tablespoons Apricot Jam, warmed

Orange Icing

1/4 Cup Icing Sugar
1 1/2 Tablespoons Orange Juice*

 

Cover the dried blueberries with boiling water to soften. Set aside.
Sprinkle the yeast over the warm water and let sit until it bubbles, about 5-10 minutes.
Warm the milk, checking the temperature to just lukewarm and add the yeasted water to a bowl of a stand mixer. (or a large bowl to mix by hand). Combine with the sugar and salt to dissolve.
At a low speed, mix in the melted coconut oil.
One cup at a time, add the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamom. The dough should be sticky but pliable.
Drain the blueberries and add them along with the peel.
Continue to knead, adding the remaining flour as necessary to have the dough come together and release from the sides of the bowl.
Lightly grease a large, clean bowl and transfer the dough to rest and rise until it has doubled in size, about 90 minutes.
After the first rise, cut the dough in half, and roll into an tube to cut it into 9 pieces. Repeat to get 18 total. Shape pieces into a ball and evenly place on a parchment lined baking sheet them in six rows of three. Slash a X on the top of each.
Cover and let double in size again.
Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
Bake until golden; about 20-22 minutes.
Glaze with warmed apricot jam and once cool, line the tops with orange icing.

*Make your own candied orange peel or just use zest, keeping the juice for the icing.

Maple Syrup Madeleines


Honestly, I love these little cakes so much, I named my first born after them.
It also is maple season – not that we can get out this year. But with my first born celebrating a quarantined birthday soon, I need a pantry item options to celebrate and these are fancy and fit the bill.

If you haven’t had a Madeleine, even a Starbucks version, you’re missing out. Cute, cookie-sized cakelettes are perfect for a party or just dipping in your afternoon tea.

Yes, you need the specific pan to get these little elongated seashell shapes, but they are so worth it! Borrow one if you need to, I’ll lend mine out, just so you can be sure to give them a try! (I’ll leave it on the porch.)

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MAPLE MADELIENES

1/4 Cup butter (or to make it vegan, lactose free margarine), melted
1/2 Frozen banana, thawed and pushed through a sieve to puree.
1/3 Cup Soy milk
3 Tablespoons Orange Juice
1 Tablespoon Orange Zest
1 Cup All Purpose Flour, sifted
1/4 Cup cornstarch, sifted
1/4 Cup Sugar,
1/3 Cup Maple Syrup
1/4 teaspoon Salt

 

Sift dry ingredients together.
Add juice to the soy milk and let rest.
Melt butter/margarine and let cool.
Beat banana and sugar together until very smooth.
Add the soy milk and maple syrup and zest to the banana mixture and combine well.
Whisk in the melted butter then, gradually whisk in dry ingredients with the wet until combined.
Allow the batter to set for about an 1/2 hour in the fridge while you
evenly grease and lightly flour your Madeleine pan.
While the oven preheats to 375ºF, fill each shell 3/4 full with batter and let the batter rest in the pan, popping any bubbles that rise to the surface.
Bake until centers have puffed and the edges are crisp and browned; about 15 minutes.
Cool completely before drizzling over the glaze and sprinkling with maple flakes.

MAPLE GLAZE

1 Tablespoon Margarine
1/4 Cup Maple Syrup
1/2 Cup Confectioners Sugar

Melt the margarine in a medium saucepan.
Add the maple syrup and continue to heat until bubbling.
Whisk in the confectioners sugar until smooth.
Reduce heat but continue to simmer until thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon.
Remove from heat and dip, dunk or drizzle, since the glaze will begin to harden and crystallize as it cools.

Greatest Grampa’s Cookies


My Grampa is almost 85, so I guess you could say he’s the man who has just about everything.
…But there is one thing he never forgets to ask for; these cookies:

I’m so glad that I could find something that he really loves. I’m sure he’s tasted a few great things, so I’m pretty flattered. We have always made the trip up to see him and Greatest Nana after the holidays. Recently in addition to celebrating, the kids and I often pack along a few things to stock their freezer with into the New Year.
Even though I’m sure he knows what he’s getting. Along with the soups and staples, the care package wouldn’t be complete without these little surprises. Just to be festive, I’ve fancied them up a bit with hazelnut butter. I really hope he likes them.
Continue reading Greatest Grampa’s Cookies

Holiday Classic: Gingerbread Cookies


It’s surprising to admit, but I was never a kid who was overly impressed with getting a gingerbread man during the Holidays or any days for that matter.

Maybe it’s that those grocery store offerings were harder than sinking your teeth into a wooden plank? Or maybe it was the bitter, lip staining food colouring used to fill in Ginger-Santa’s suit? Even as a kid, artificial wasn’t my thing, but upon rediscovering the amazing, wafting aromas of spicy ginger cookies at my Grandparent’s house , I think I truly regained my love of molasses and the Gingerbread Man.

Packed with freshly grated ginger and that slow pouring dark molasses, these cookies are barely sweet, leaving room for plenty of adornment for the Holidays.

VEGAN GINGERBREAD COOKIES

1/2 cup Coconut Oil, room temperature
1/2 Cup Fancy Molasses
1/2 Cup Sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
5 teaspoons Freshly Grated Ginger, include any juice
1 tsp Ground Cinnamon
pinch, Freshly Grated Nutmeg
3/4 tsp Baking Soda
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

Cream the coconut oil and sugar until fluffy.
While this goes, and you’ll need the time, use spray oil to coat the inside of your 1/2 cup measure.
Pour in your molasses, and don’t forget that s l o w  saying… it does take it’s time.
Add molasses into the fluffed sugar, along with the vanilla.
Using a spoon, peel your ginger, then grate into a bowl to catch any extra juice.
Add grated ginger along with its juice, discarding any really stringy bits, until evenly blended.
Follow by adding the cinnamon and nutmeg.
Next, add the soda right to the dough and, on the lowest setting, follow with the flour, a half cup at a time.
Mixing just until dough comes together.
Shape dough into 2 discs and chill for at least 2 hours before rolling.
Preheat oven to 375 °F.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out 1 disc to just over 1/8-inch thick.
Cut your dough out into desired shapes and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
Bake for 6 to 8 minutes until edges are firm to touch but centers are still soft.
Allow to cool completely before decorating.

For the icing, I’ve used this or I found that about 2 Cups of Icing Sugar (check your source), 1/4 Cup Corn Starch or Soy Flour, a drop of vanilla and a dribble of water mixed to a thick ribbon, will pipe really well.

Peach Cobbler Muffins


It’s peach season again!
Everywhere you look, there are baskets of peaches in the store and on market stands.

PEACH COBBLER MUFFINS

Preheat oven to 350ºC

1 1/2 Cups AP Flour
1/2 Cup Whole Wheat Flour
1/2 Cup Granulated Sugar
1/4 Cup Vanilla Sugar (or regular sugar + 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract)
2 Tablespoons Corn Meal
1 1/2 teaspoons Baking Powder
1/4 teaspoon Baking Soda
1/4 teaspoons Salt
3/4 Cup Soy Milk
1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice (Juice of 1/2 Lemon)
1/4 Cup Safflower Oil
1 1/2 Cups Peeled, Chopped Peaches and their juice

2 Tablespoons Cinnamon + 2 Tablespoons Granulated Sugar, for dusting.

Preheat the oven to 350ºC and prepare a  12 cup muffin tin with liners or trimmed parchment paper.
Combine the soy milk, lemon juice and oil; allow to sit.
Meanwhile, combine all the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
Mix the wet to the dry until it is just moistened, then fold in the peaches.
Spoon batter into muffin tin, 3/4 full.
Sprinkle over the cinnamon sugar just before putting the muffins in the oven.
Bake for about 18-20 minutes, or until golden and the muffins spring back in the center when touched, or until golden and cooked through when tested with a skewer.