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Daring Bakers Doughnuts

The October 2010 Daring Bakers challenge was hosted by Lori of Butter Me Up. Lori chose to challenge DBers to make doughnuts. She used several sources for her recipes including Alton Brown, Nancy Silverton, Kate Neumann and Epicurious.

I love a good homemade doughnut, so it should be no surprise that I was super stoked to take on this month’s doughnut challenge. Lori was pretty generous with the challenge requirements – asking that we simply make doughnuts! 2 cake and 2 yeast doughnut recipes were provided and the sky was the limit as to how we might want to tweak these recipes – fillings, toppings, shapes, and sizes were all up to the bakers.

Since I still haven’t acquired a doughnut pan, I decided that I would go the yeast doughnut route. I also knew that I would want to be baking these bad boys rather than frying them. Me + hot frying oil = not fun times. I settled on adapting the Baked Doughnuts recipe from Heidi Swanson’s 101 Cookbooks. I halved the initial recipe and veganized it with great results.

I opted for three different glazes (Pumpkin Pie Spice, Southern Comfort, and Apple Cider) and attempted my first filled doughnuts. For the doughnut filling I combined about 2/3c vanilla pudding with 1/3 c pumpkin butter and piped it into the doughnuts – I am telling you, that filling was off the charts! I seriously considered just bypassing piping it into the doughnuts and piping it straight into my mouth. The only things I would change for the future would be to make my glazes a little thicker and to try to show some self-restraint and allow the doughnuts to cool a little bit longer before dunking them into the glazes and devouring.

You can view the adapted doughnut recipe plus the glaze recipes after the jump.

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The July 2010 Daring Cooks’ Challenge was hosted by Margie of More Please and Natashya of Living in the Kitchen with Puppies. They chose to challenge Daring Cooks to make their own nut butter from scratch, and use the nut butter in a recipe. Their sources include Better with Nut Butter by Cooking Light Magazine, Asian Noodles by Nina Simonds, and Food Network online.

I have to admit, I was pretty stoked when I read about this month’s challenge. I am a huge fan of almond butter and manage to figure out a way to get in a tablespoon or two everyday – whether it be in my morning bowl of oatmeal, a smoothie, or a sandwich. Despite my great love of almond butter (and for that matter, peanut butter), I have never managed to venture out beyond those two household staples, and was thrilled that this challenge would finally make me do just that.

So what do you need to know about making your own nut butters at home? Here are a few of the great pointers provided by our hosts:

  • The process for making various types of nut butters is essentially the same. Pour nuts into bowl of food processor. Grind the nuts in the processor until they form a paste or butter. The nuts first turn into powdery or grainy bits, then start to clump and pull away from the side of the bowl, and finally form a paste or butter. The total time required depends on the fat and moisture content of the nuts; grinding time will vary from roughly 1 to 4 minutes (assuming a starting volume of 1 to 2 cups [240 to 480 ml] nuts).
  • You may add oil as desired during grinding to make the nut butter smoother and creamier or to facilitate grinding. Add oil in small increments, by the teaspoon for oily nuts like cashews or by the tablespoon for dryer/harder nuts like almonds. You may use the corresponding nut oil or a neutral vegetable oil like canola.
  • The inclusion of salt in the nut butters is optional and to taste. If you make nut butters from salted nuts, peanuts or cashews for example, you will not need additional salt.
  • Roasting the nuts before making nut butters is optional according to your preference. To roast nuts in the oven, preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C/Gas Mark 4). Spread nuts in a single layer on a baking sheet or roasting pan. Bake for approximately 10 minutes or until nuts are fragrant and a shade darker in color. Allow nuts to cool before grinding.
  • Homemade nut butters are more perishable than commercial products and should be stored in the refrigerator. The nut butters harden & thicken somewhat upon chilling.

For this challenge we were to make our own fresh, homemade nut butter and then use it in at least one savory recipe. Four savory challenge recipes were provided for us to choose from and there was also an optional challenge to include a homemade nut butter in a sweet recipe of our choice. With a fridge stocked full of various nuts and the desire to try as many nut butters as I could, I made a total of four dishes that incorporated some type of nut (or seed) butter.

For the savory challenge recipe, I chose to make the Asian Noodle Salad with Cashew Dressing.

I was not disappointed – the cashew dressing component of this recipe is absolutely amazing! In an effort to not just eat the leftover dressing by the spoonful, I used it over the next day or two in every way I could think of until the last drop was finished. The leftover cashew butter that didn’t make its way into the dressing found its way into my morning bowl of oatmeal and provided a nice change of pace from the usual almond butter.

For my next nut butter adventure I decided to try another savory recipe using a different type of nut butter. Our hosts provided us with a link to recipes using nut and seed butters from Futters Nut Butters for further inspiration. I visited the site and found a recipe for a Walnut Hummus that sounded too interesting not to try.

For this recipe I made a roasted walnut butter to use in the hummus recipe. I decided to serve the hummus in bite sized cucumber cups with crumbled walnuts sprinkled on top. The combination of cucumbers and hummus was quite refreshing and served as a perfect snack for a hot summer day. I will definitely be hanging on to this recipe for future use. Once again, any remaining nut butter went into the next day’s morning bowl of oatmeal.

For the optional sweet recipe I tried out the Maple Pecan French Toast recipe from the Go Dairy Free cookbook by Alisa Marie Fleming (the recipe can also be found in Vegan Bites by Beverly Lynn Bennett).

For this recipe you essentially soak your bread in a homemade pecan cream (that is sweetened with maple syrup) for about 1-2 minutes before cooking. For the french toast topping I macerated some strawberries with maple syrup. The end result was delicious, but a little heavy on the maple syrup flavor. If I were to do it again I may opt for a non-maple syrup topping so that the pecan flavors could come through a little more.

For my final recipe I went back down the savory route and tried my hand at Roasted Wasabi Chickpeas.

I had been wanting to try this recipe for awhile but didn’t have any tahini on hand or enough sesame seeds to make my own.  I decided to make my own roasted sunflower seed butter and use it in place of the tahini called for in the original recipe.

You can view the recipes for most of these dishes after the jump.

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Carrot Cake Pancakes

I think it’s no secret that I love breakfast. I also love dessert, and I really, really love when these two forces combine to create a super delicious dish like these carrot cake pancakes with maple cream icing!

I have actually been working on crafting the “perfect” pancake recipe for quite some time now using the pancake recipe found in the Joy of Vegan Baking as my original inspiration. I pretty much thought I had it nailed down until I saw these carrot cake pancakes over at Picky Cook. They immediately went on my list of recipes to try, but in the interest of continuing to tweak my beloved pancake recipe I tried to merge the two into a delicious (mostly) vegan version. I also created a maple cream icing to top off the pancakes, because really, what’s a carrot cake without the icing?

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Oatmeal KashaWhen I reached into my oatmeal container to scoop out my oats the other morning my measuring cup came out short – I was running out of oats! In an effort to remain calm, I started thinking about other breakfast possibilities. I remembered seeing some recipes for other hot, grain based cereals online, so I set out to see what I could come up with. I found a recipe at the Whole Foods site for Apple-Scented Breakfast Oatmeal and Buckwheat. It just so happened that I had a box of Kasha in the pantry, so I got to work. The original recipe serves 4, but I cut it in half since that was magically the exact amount of oats and Kasha I had on hand. I also didn’t have any apple juice, so I just used water in its place, and the recipe was still delicious. I topped the oatmeal with some shakes of cinnamon and a mound of sweet dark cherries.

I don’t think that I’ll be waiting for another oatmeal shortage before I start incorporating additional grains into my oatmeal recipes. I really enjoyed the flavor and additional texture that the Kasha added to the oatmeal, and now my wheels are really turning with other oatmeal and grain possibilities.

Banana Bomb Muffins

I came across these Peanut Butter Banana Bomb Muffins the other day over at Oh She Glows and was instantly enamored. I mean, come on, peanut butter and bananas in muffin form?! What’s not to love?

Since I was missing a few of the ingredients needed, I made a few modifications using the Whole Wheat Honey Banana Muffins recipe listed on Recipezaar as a guide.

My modifications:
for the muffins

  • 1/2c honey instead of agave
  • 1/3c canola oil instead of the 1/4 c virgin coconut oil
  • 1/4c hot water instead of the 1/2 c non-dairy milk

for the bomb filling

  • 1/4c vanilla yogurt instead of plain
  • 1T maple syrup instead of agave
  • 1 heaping T almond butter instead of peanut butter

The muffins are good, not overly sweet, but what really seals the deal is the “bomb filling.” I was seriously eating this stuff straight out of the bowl; it was so good!! Ever since reading about this trick for using an apple corer to give cupcakes a filling over at the kitchn I have been looking for an excuse to fill something with a creamy center, so that’s what’s going on on the top of the muffins. Trust me, I wasn’t stingy with the filling!

Banana Split Oatmeal

Have you ever seen the Tribute to Oatmeal over at Kath Eats? It is a mecca of oatmeal goodness, and provided the inspiration for this morning’s oatmeal experiment. I was really excited by the prospect of an oatmeal banana split, but wanted to try and take it a little further to represent what instantly comes to mind when I think “banana split” – a scoop of chocolate, a scoop of strawberry, and a scoop of vanilla. That’s right, I went with three different flavors of oatmeal to crank this bad boy out, and it did not disappoint!

Makes two servings

  • 1 cup old fashioned oats
  • 3/4 cups of water
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 2 bananas, split
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1-2 Tablespoons strawberry fruit spread
  • 2-3 teaspoons cocoa powder

For the toppings:

  • 2 Tablespoons almond butter
  • 1-2 Tablespoons of honey
  • 2 Tablespoons strawberry fruit spread
  • 2 Tablespoons almond slices
  • 2 cherries

Combine water, milk, and oats in a saucepan over high heat until it starts to bubble. Reduce heat to medium and simmer (stirring occasionally) until the oatmeal is thick (3-5 minutes). While oatmeal is cooking, prepare a bowl with your fruit spread and set bananas out in serving dishes. When oatmeal reaches desired consistency stir in the vanilla extract. Scoop out 2/3 cups of vanilla oatmeal into your bowl with fruit spread and stir to combine, divide this strawberry oatmeal among the two banana splits. Next, scoop out 2/3 cups of vanilla oatmeal and divide among the banana splits. Add the cocoa powder to the remaining oatmeal and stir to combine (if you are using unsweetened cocoa powder you will probably want to add additional sweetener to the oatmeal at this point). Divide the chocolate oatmeal among the two banana splits. Now you can add your toppings and dig in!

PB&J oatmeal

I am a bit of an oatmeal addict. I can’t get enough; especially when it’s cold outside. One of the greatest things about oatmeal is its versatility. It seems that there is always a neverending array of new flavor combinations waiting to be tried. This past week I’ve been on a chai spice inspired oatmeal kick, but today I thought I’d shake things up by taking one of my favorite sandwiches and creating its oatmeal counterpart. Let me introduce you to my PB & J banana oatmeal:

  • 1 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1 3/4 cup water
  • 1 banana, melted (to “melt” your banana cut it into coins and place in microwave safe bowl, microwave 30-45 seconds until banana is all melty and gooey)
  • 1-2 Tablespoons of all fruit preserves (I chose black cherry)
  • 1 Tablespoon of nut butter (I went with almond butter)
  • dash of cinnamon

Combine water and oats in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until the oatmeal is thick (3-5 minutes). Stir in the melted banana right before you take the oatmeal off the heat. Transfer banana oatmeal to a bowl and add preserves, nut butter, and cinnamon. Swirl it all around and enjoy!

Baked Doughnuts

What better way to start off the first snow day of the year than with wonderfully tasty, baked doughnuts…

I had made a batch of baked doughnuts last weekend in honor of my birthday and found myself struck with doughnut fever. All the glaze possibilities – yum! I was looking for any excuse to make another batch and fresh snow seemed good enough for me. Since I don’t have a doughnut pan, my birthday doughnuts were made using heart-shaped molds, and I was told that my next batch would taste even better if they actually looked more like doughnuts, so I went on the hunt for a baked doughnut recipe that wouldn’t require a doughnut pan. Enter Vegan Verve’s baked vegan doughnuts recipe. The original recipe uses AP flour, but I wanted to try using whole wheat. Vegan Verve recommended I use white whole wheat flour (to aid with the rise of the dough) and add wheat gluten into the dry mix. In addition to making some adjustments to the ingredients and method, I halved the original recipe. I don’t know how my recipe compares to the original, but I was pretty pleased with the way it turned out. Definitely be sure to give Vegan Verve’s original recipe a try. You can check out my alterations (and glaze recipes) after the jump.

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