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Real Vegan Muffins

5 Sep

I have a story to tell you.  It’s about a school that claims to be accepting and accommodating of all dietary restrictions.  It’s about claims that don’t always reflect real life.

I went to a picnic today.  An all-campus, meatless Monday picnic.  This picnic was about promoting the vegetarian/vegan lifestyle, even if you can only do it one day a week.

This picnic had two serious issues.  The first being that there was no advertisement whatsoever about meatless Mondays.  Not even a table with pamphlets that you could pick up, leaf through, maybe even take back to your dorm room to use as scratch paper.

Nothing.

Just an absence of meat.

The second serious issue was that there was hardly anything there that I could eat.

Me.  A real life flesh and blood vegan.

I went to the picnic thinking, this is awesome.  Finally, they’re doing something to promote vegetarianism across campus.  There’ll be tons of great vegetarian and vegan food there.

I was sadly mistaken.

The tables were filled with pound cake, whipped cream, mayonnaise-y potato salad, cheese tortellini pasta salad with more cheese on top, and bread salad topped with – oh yes – cheese.

The only thing there that I was able to eat was lettuce, bread, and watermelon.

To say the least, I’m disappointed.

So here, have some muffins.

APPLE PEANUT BUTTER OATMEAL MUFFINS

(very loosely based on a recipe from The Joy of Vegan Baking)

  • 1 c. oats (not the instant junk)
  • 1 c. whole wheat flour
  • 1 tbsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 12 tsp. salt
  • 2 tbsp. ground flaxseed whisked with 6 tbsp. water
  • 1/2 c. (plus more, if your batter is too thick) unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 c. peanut butter
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 granny smith apples, chopped
Preheat your oven to 350°F.   Grease your muffin tins. In a bowl, combine the flour, oats, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.  In a separate bowl, combine the applesauce, peanut butter, sugar, vanilla, and flax mixture.  Whisk until creamy and smooth. Add to the flour mixture and stir until combined, but be sure your don’t overmix it.  Fold in the apples.
The batter is supposed to be thicker rather than thinner, but if it’s too stiff to work with, you can certainly add some applesauce.
Scoop into the muffin tins and bake (for jumbo muffins) for about 30 minutes.
Makes 6 jumbo muffins or 12 regular sized muffins
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Bananas and texting

16 Apr

I am exceeding glad that I have friends.  Please be amused by the following text conversation between me and one of my besties this morning:

Emily:  Want to go to emerald city and get smoothies?

Me:  I’m in the middle of baking

Emily:  YOU’RE BAKING?!??!?!  ok i’ll get you a smoothie and come right over!  what are you making and what kind of smoothie do you want?

Me:  I’m making banana muffins and would like  a peach passion smoothie with SOY MILK and SOY protein please!

Emily:  Babe, I know you’re a vegan… the caps were not needed.

Me:  haha, sorry.  I’m just in that kind of mood today.

Emily:  should I stand 6 feet back?

I love that this is how well my friends know me.  They know my quirks and idiosyncrasies – like the fact that I’m vegan, that I hate wearing my hair down, that I make sound effects and narrate while I drive, and that I HATE bananas (those caps were absolutely necessary).

I know what you’re thinking.  In fact, I bet you just scrolled back up to that text conversation and went, “uh, but you just said you were making banana muffins – am I missing something?”

Maybe you are missing something.

Let me explain.  I despise bananas will all my soul.  I hate the way they taste, their texture, how they get random brown spots for no reason, and the fact that they make anything within a two mile radius of them smell and taste like bananas.  I don’t like them plain, I don’t like them in smoothies, and I don’t like them in fruit salads (Sam I am…).

But I love banana bread.

Go ahead, call me crazy.  But I bet at least half of you hate tomatoes but love ketchup, spaghetti sauce and/or salsa.  Am I right?  Of course I am…

These muffins are chunky-dory and totally (almost) came from my own head.  They are, and I quote, “a mixture of pancakes, oatmeal, and sunshine,” according to one satisfied eater.  I used the Better Homes and Gardens recipe for banana bread as a jumping off point because that’s the one I was raised on.

But these muffins are like banana bread on steroids.  Get excited.

Please humor me while I go on  a banana rant for a few seconds:

“Ba-na-na-na, ba-na-na-na. hey hey hey, good bye…”

“Bananananananana banananananana banananananana BAT MAN!”

Ok, I’m done now.

I am glad I have friends, but I am also glad I have parents.  My mother has been nagging me for months to do muffins instead of more cupcakes.

Well, here you go mom.  Enjoy the muffins.

BANANA MUFFINS ( makes about 28 super-decent sized muffins; if you’re not in the market for so many, go ahead and halve the recipe, as I doubled it in the first place because I had 10 bananas lying around)

  • 1 1/2 c. AP whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 c. oats (not those wussy instant ones, real legit extra-thick, Bob’s Red Mill oats)
  • 3 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/4 c. ground flax combined with 3/4 c. water
  • 10 bananas, mashed (I left mine fairly chunky, partly because I wanted them chunky, and partly because my laziness got the better of me after five minutes of trying to mash with a fork…)
  • 2 c. brown sugar
  • 1 c. margarine, melted
  • vanilla and almond extracts
Preheat your hot box to 350°F.  Line your muffin tin with paper liners (or grease them, whatever floats your boat).  Combine your mashed banana, flax mixture, melted margarine, sugar, extract.  Add the dry ingredients to your banana mixture and mix!  BUT NOT TOO MUCH.  You don’t want tough muffins.  Scoop into your muffin tin (you can fill these more than you would fill them for cupcakes, partly because nobody cares if your muffins have love handles – that’s why they’re called muffin tops, duh!).  Bake for 27 – 30ish minutes.
Enjoy fresh out of the oven, or not so much fresh out of the oven.  Either way, they’re amazing.  🙂

The Triple Threat

24 Jan

Alright, folks.  Fasten your seat belts.  Get ready for an avalanche of awesome.  An inundation of incredible.  A flood of fascinating.  A deluge of deliciousness.  A fountain of “f**k yeah!”  And a Niagra of “no freakin’ way!”

Yes way.  I have recipes.  That’s right.  Plural.  Brace yourselves, ’cause this is gonna be amazing.

These recipes have nothing to do with each other, except for the fact that I baked them all today (okay, fine, I baked them yesterday), and they are all vegan.  Duh.

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First, we have the florentines.

We make these at the bakery where I work back home in Portland.  Basically, they’re almonds and corn syrup, but I decided to put my own little spin on them.  At the bakery, we either dip the flat ones in chocolate, or we roll ’em up and stuff ’em with mocha buttercream, then dip the ends in chocolate.  Wow, they’re good.

Or, they were.  I can’t eat them any more, because they’re not vegan.

So, I made these.  I wanted mine to be smaller, so I used my mini cookie scoop that I rave about all the time.  I was going to mold them around mini muffin cups when they came out of the oven so I could stuff them with the  buttercream, but they kept sticking to the molds, so I stuck with the little tacos.  *Sigh*

Also, after about four pans of them, I realized I wasn’t baking them long enough.  Of course, the pan after I realized this burned.  Whoops.  So, I upped the oven temp a little, and that’s how these happened.  I filled them with buttercream and dusted them with powdered sugar.

FLORENTINES

  • 8 oz. sliced almonds (crush about half of them into smaller pieces)
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1/2 c. maple syrup (I used this instead of corn syrup for two reasons:  1.) I don’t like using or storing corn syrup, and 2.) I never use corn syrup, so it didn’t make sense to buy a whole bottle for one recipe)
  • 1/2 c. flour
  • 1 stick non-dairy margarine

Toss the almonds and the flour together in a bowl.

In a sauce pan, over medium-low heat, melt the margarine.  Then, add the sugar and maple syrup, upping the heat a little and stirring until the mixture is simmering and bubbly.  Add the flour-almond mixture and stir until it’s all coated and gooey and delicious looking.  Then, take it off the heat, transfer into a bowl, and let it cool off.

Scoop onto your cookie sheets* and bake at 350°F for… oh.  Shoot.  I have no idea how long these baked, so just wing it.  Probably somewhere between 5 and 10 minutes.

*Be sure to space your cookies fairly wide – only four or six to a pan, as they spread like mad.

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Next, we have blueberry cream cheese danishes.  Just the name makes me drool.  And I made them!  Successfully!

Here’s the kicker:  I used frozen puff pastry.  Ok, you all have exactly 30 seconds to boo and yell at me and throw tomatoes at your screen, telling me how I really should just learn how to make my own puff pastry, because it’s a valuable life lesson if you’re going to continue on in the baking milieu, and that you can’t believe that I used frozen dough when I’m always complaining about people using cake mixes and claiming that they actually made a cake.

Ok, time’s up.

I know  I should have made my own puff pastry, but I’m going to make it up to you.  I fully intend to learn how to make puff pastry in the next month or so, the problem is, I want to learn how to make it in a kitchen, not in my third floor, carpeted lounge with a teeny tiny oven and a crazy table that’s two feet shorter than what a real kitchen counter should be.   I go home Friday night, so within two weeks of today, you will be able to laugh at my hideous attempt at puff pastry, and I’ll repost this recipe.  Deal?  Ok.

Although the pastry came from the store, the rest of the idea is totally mine.  Trust me.


BLUEBERRY CREAM CHEESE DANISHES

  • 1 recipe of Amy’s puff pastry (which currently does not exist), or a package of the Pepperidge farm stuff, which is vegan!
  • 1 8 0z. container of Tofutti’s cream cheese
  • a heaping 1/4 c. sugar
  • dash of vanilla extract
  • splash of almond extract
  • blueberry preserves (NOT JELLY!)

Thaw out your puff pastry according to the box.  Ahem, I mean prepare puff pastry according to a recipe.

Beat together the cream cheese, almond, vanilla, and sugar until creamy.

Now, to assemble your pastries.  Cut the pastry dough into strips about 1 1/2″ by 6″.  Take a strip and smack it against the table a few times, then twist it up length-wise.  Then, take the long twisted piece of dough and wrap it around your pinky finger, making a flat circle disc thing – aka, your danish.  (And, yes, it is important that it’s your pinky finger, otherwise you end up with a big gaping hole in the middle of your danish, letting all the good stuff fall through to the pan.  Don’t do that.)

Take your handy dandy mini cookie scoop (if you don’t have one, you poor, sad, pathetic soul, you can use a teaspoon or half teaspoon) and dollop a little bit of the cream cheese mixture into the center of your danish.  Again, be sure you can’t see the pan through the middle of the dough – these are danishes, not doughnuts.

Then, top off the cream cheese with a scoop of blueberry preserves, again using your nifty cookie scoop.

Then, stick ’em in a 350°F oven for about 40 minutes (maybe more), or until the bottoms are nice and golden brown.

Once they’re cool, top them off with your favorite glaze.  I usually just start off with a cup or so of powdered sugar, then add milk or lemon juice to it until you get the right consistency.

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Now, blueberry lime muffins.  I had leftover cream cheese mix and blueberry preserves, so I whipped up these bad boys.  I think my roommate’s exact words were, “holy crap, that’s good.”  So you know they must be good.

LIME MUFFINS

  • 1 3/4 c. AP flour
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1 tbsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/3 c. canola oil
  • 1 c. nondairy milk + 1 tsp. vinegar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • juice and zest of one lime (I’m going to play the poor college student card one more time – as I wasn’t aware I was making these when I rode my bike to the store the other day, all I had in my room was True Lime, which is basically powdered lime, but it worked fine too)
  • the rest of the cream cheese mixture from the danishes
  • blueberry preserves

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Mix dry ingredients together, then add the wet.  Scoop batter into muffin cups, add a mini scoop each of the cream cheese mix and the blueberry preserves and a little more batter on top, and bake for 20 – 25 minutes, until the tops of the muffins spring back when you touch them.  This recipe made exactly twelve for me, and if you make the muffins and the danishes at the same time, you have exactly enough to do one package of puff pastry and twelve muffins.

 

I hope you’ve enjoyed my recipes!  More to come later today…