Saturday, February 27, 2010

You've Got (Vegan) Options - Chocolate Chips/Chunks Edition 2

ShopRite Real Chocolate Chips (Semi-Sweet), which contain: Sugar, Chocolate Liquor, Cocoa Butter, Soy Lecithin, Vanilla

(See other vegan chocolate chip/chunk possibilities:) The Original Post

Vegan Chocolate Walnut Biscotti - Online

Recipe adapted from and inspired by: Vegan Biscotti Recipe - Vegan Chocolate Walnut Biscotti
2 c. all-purpose flour [We used 50% white, all-purpose flour and 50% whole wheat]
1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa
3 T. sugar
1 1/2 t. baking soda
1 t. salt
1/4 t. cinnamon
1/2 c. chopped walnuts [We subbed pecans instead]
1/2 c. (1 stick) dairy-free soy margarine [Earth Balance to the rescue!]
2/3 c. agave nectar or maple syrup [We used 50% agave and 50% maple syrup]
1/3 c. raw cashew butter
1 t. vanilla extract
1/4 c. Egg Replacer whisked with 1/3 cup hot water [Ener-G brand, of course, though I did see a Bob's Red Mill version that will be my next purchase once the Ener-G needs to be replaced]
2 T. almond milk or soy milk [We used Silk Vanilla Soy]
1 c. dairy-free dark chocolate chips
1) Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
2) In a medium-sized mixing bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, sugar, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Mix in the chopped nuts [We pulsed them in the mini-food processor]. Set aside.
3) In another large mixing bowl, using an electric hand mixer, beat the dairy-free soy margarine for about 1 minute, or until lightly fluffy. Add in the agave nectar, cashew butter and vanilla extract, beating until creamy and well mixed. Add in the Egg Replacer mixture and almond milk. Sift in the dry ingredients and mix until forming a soft dough.
4) Form the dough into two slightly-flattened logs, and place on the prepared sheet. Bake for about 20-30 minutes, or until lightly golden brown. Remove and allow the logs to cool for 15 minutes on a wire cooling rack. Turn down the oven to 300 F.
5) After the logs have cooled for 15 minutes, use a sharp knife and cut the logs crosswise diagonally into 20-24 biscotti. Lay each biscotti on its side on the prepared sheet, and bake again for another 10 minutes, flipping the biscotti with a spatula half-way through. The biscotti should be lightly golden brown, but not burned, when done. Allow the biscotti to cool on a parchment lined sheet on a wire cooling rack.
6) Meanwhile, in a double boiler or a stainless steel bowl set over boiling water, melt the chocolate chips. Once melted, brush the underside of each biscotti with melted chocolate and return to the parchment lined sheet to cool completely. Biscotti (or, as the Italians would say "BISH GOAT") should be enjoyed and kept at room temperature.

COMMENTS: While this biscotti recipe tastes good, something else didn't go right - the biscotti doesn't hold together well and is not hard and crispy - it is somewhat chewy, which, is good for a cookie, but not so great for biscotti. The biscotti's gotta be crispy for dipping, duh!

The directions say to bake the biscotti until lightly golden brown, which puzzled NMcL and I since, due to the presence of the dark cocoa powder, it was impossible to discern a light, golden brown tone. Duh! I suspect that the dough was simply underbaked which would explain why the softness of the finished product.

We skipped the melted chocolate step since we didn't have any vegan chocolate chips. It might have helped to bind the biscotti together.

In the future, I might just try experimenting with this recipe to make regular circular cookies since despite the texture being off, the taste is good (rich and chocolately but not overly sweet.) It would probably make a good, chewy cookie, but as far as vegan biscotti, I'd try other recipes before trying to tweak this one.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

I get a sick pleasure...

...out of learning about new foods, cooking techniques, etc. and sharing my passion with others by feeding them. Don't you just love how you get the warm and fuzzies feeding others?

Zucchini Brownies (Vegan) Recipe #384645 - Online

Recipe Courtesy Of RecipeZaar

1/2 c. applesauce
1 c. raw sugar
2 tsp. maple syrup
2 tsp. vanilla
2 c. all-purpose whole wheat flour
1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
1.5 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 c. shredded zucchini [I peeled the zuc first, then used a box grater]
½ c. chopped walnuts (optional) [I opted out, and used chocolate chunks instead]
1/2 c. semisweet vegan chocolate chips (optional) [I opted in, thereby doubling the amount of chocolate chips called for. Party like a chocstar!]

1. Preheat oven to 350 and spray a 9x13 baking pan with cooking spray.
2. In a large bowl, mix together the applesauce, sugar, syrup and vanilla.
3. Combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt - stir into wet ingredients (it will look pretty dry at this point - don't worry, it moistens up with the zucchini. However, if necessary, add a little more applesauce). [I added in an additional 3 tsp. of applesauce]
4. Stir in zucchini - if batter is still too dry, add a couple tbs of applesauce.
5. Add any optional ingredients (walnuts, chocolate chips).
6. Spread into baking pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes in the preheated oven, until brownies spring back when gently touched.

This was an interesting recipe to say the least! As the recipe indicates, the batter was a little on the dry point. It was very very gummy like. The finished product was interesting too.

It was weird to see what looked like a baked good contain little chunks of green! The zuc shreds were visible, even after cooking the brownies. There were quite a few of favorable reviews. Aside, one of my coworkers said that it tasted like a magic brownie, minus the magical ingredient of course!

The title of the recipe, which includes the word “brownie,” is, in my opinion, a little misleading. I think a better name for the recipe would include the word “bread” or “loaf”. With the word “brownie” I was just expecting something much more chocolatey, fudgy, and sweet. My upstairs neighbor said that she liked the finished product precisely for that reason, because it wasn’t too sweet.

The chocolate chunks were AWESOME in this recipe. Even upon cooling completely, the chocolate chunks did not re-harden but rather maintained that gooey, melty chocolate texture. I used the semi-sweet chocolate chunks from the yellow bag. If I made these again, I’d definitely double up on the chocolate chunks and leave out the nuts…the chunks kind of made the recipe!

Another discovery is that the finished product tasted better after a few days. For whatever reason, the squares seemed denser and fudgier after being left out on the countertop (wrapped in plastic, though) for a few days. Overall, it was a successful, repeat-worthy recipe, especially given the healthful-ness of the recipe.

Just a thought: Zucchini has been bastardized! Ha ha, it never ceases to surprise me how we can take something so healthful and bastardize it into something unhealthy! C'est la vie!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Vegan for Lent?

Hmm, here's a crazy thought. Can I keep a vegan diet for the next 6 weeks starting tomorrow, in honor of lent? Hmm, toying with this idea...

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Online - Papaya Walnut Bread -

Papaya Bread Courtesy of Recipezar

1 cup shredded firm papaya (I simply diced an overripe papaya into small mini chunks)
1/2 cup vegan butter/ marg, softened (I used Earth Balance Brand)
1 cup sugar
2 portions of egg replacer (See the note on the egg replacement that I used)
1.5 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice (I used pumpkin pie spice)
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger (I used pumpkin pie spice)
1/2 cup raisins (I omitted the raisins)
1/4 cup chopped walnuts (Since I omitted the raisins, I doubled the usage of walnuts to ½ c.)

1) Cream Earth Balance in a mixing bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed. Gradually add sugar, beating well. Add egg substitute (see note below) and beat well.

2) In another bowl, mix together the flour, and next 6 ingredients. Add dry mixture to creamed mixture, blending well.

3) Stir in papaya and chopped walnuts.

4) Spoon batter by the ¼ c. full into a muffin tin, lined with muffy liners. Bake at 400° oven for 20 minutes. Let entire muffin tin cool completely on a wire rack. Remove muffys, then enjoy!

Veganization: I used ground flax and water in place of eggs - it worked phenomenally. As per the suggestion of The Post Punk Kitchen, I used 2 1/2 tablespoons pre-ground flaxseeds plus 3 Tablespoons of hot tap water. In a small bowl, whisk both ingredients well together – the mixture will become gooey and gelatinous. The flax seeds were whole, I used THE BULLET to grind em!


These muffins were awesome! Everyone at the office seemed to enjoy them - little did they know they were eating vegan delights, muahahaha! Papaya is pretty cool. This was my first time working with a fresh papaya and I found this YouTube Video on Cutting Papaya useful.

Originally, I had full intentions to process the papaya in the food processor, but I completely forgot…but its all good! The diced papaya worked wonderfully and imparted nice papaya bits n pieces to the finished product.

Earth Balance seems to be the superior butter sub to be used for baking. Many of the vegan books and websites agree that this is the gold standard. Also, the flaxination to replace the use of egg in the recipe worked like a charm too!

Veganizing recipes is great experimentation, especially when everything works out better than expected!

You've Got (Vegan) Options - Chocolate Chips/Chunks Edition

The title of course, needs to be said in the old-school, AOL electronica voice.

Here are a few options for your vegan baking needs and desires.

Ghirardelli Semi-Sweet Chocolate, which contains: sugar, unsweetened chocolate, cocoa butter, soy lecithin, and vanilla.

Baker's Real Semi-sweet Chocolate Chunks, which contain: sugar, chocolate, cocoa butter, soy lecithin, vanilla extract, and salt.

Saco Real Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chunks, which contain: sugar, chocolate, cocoa butter, lecithin, and real vanilla.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

How To Use the Broiler?

Um, I have never broiled anything in my life. This needs to be changed. Experimentation to follow!