Cinnamon Apple Bread

12 Nov

A confluence of events led to this bread. One, the first snow of the year made me itch to have the oven going. Two, when I tried to snuggle up to my taller half Sunday morning, he smelled like baked goods (how?!) and it made me super hungry for bread products. I started brainstorming baked goods that would still be good without sugar or sugar substitute, and I kept thinking about cinnamon bread. A google search brings up the Pioneer Woman as the first hit. 

http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2010/08/homemade-cinnamon-bread/

I’ve heard raves from a number of my friends about her, but I’ve never tried a Pioneer Woman recipe. The woman puts sugar on brussels sprouts. I thought making one of her recipes EVA friendly would be just too many substitutions. But I looked at a bunch of other cinnamon bread recipes and kept coming back to that one. I thought, if I put coconut milk and coconut oil in place of the milk and butter that will add some sweetness and richness, sub out the sugar in the dough with applesauce, and use unsweetened apple butter in place of butter, we’ve got ourselves a rich, sweet bread with no sugar. 

I did NOT sub out the eggs for soy milk and flaxseed, because. . .I eat eggs, and I had them in the fridge, and I wasn’t necessarily trying to add protein (I’ll put pb on the bread!). I also didn’t use GF flour, because again, I eat gluten and I had regular flour, and I wanted a nice high rise. Basically, this could be a really healthy breakfast bread, and it would only take a couple more substitutions, but I used plain white flour and eggs because I wasn’t racing to make the most hippy version possible of this recipe, just one that I could eat for breakfast toasted with peanut butter. 

Here is a thing I learned about yeast: if you proof it in coconut milk, it goes NUTS. Happy yeast, my friends. I over-yeasted in fear of a poor rise without the sugar, and it ended up almost over-rising on me, I had to put it in early. So, there you go, don’t go changing the yeast amounts the first time you bake a bread unless you’re going to keep a firm eye on it. ; )

So, this is the Pioneer Woman’s recipe with slight changes: 

  • 1 cup Coconut Milk
  • 6 Tablespoons Coconut Oil
  • 2-1/2 teaspoons Active Dry Yeast
  • 2 whole Eggs
  • Scant 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 3-1/2 cups All-purpose Flour
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 3 tbsps unsweetened apple butter
  • 1 heaping Tablespoon Cinnamon
  • Egg And Milk, Mixed Together, For Brushing
  • Non-stick spray

Preparation Instructions

Melt coconut oil with coconut milk. Heat until very warm, but don’t boil. Allow to cool until still warm to the touch, but not hot. Sprinkle yeast over the top, stir gently, and allow to sit for 10 minutes.

Combine flour and salt. (I skipped this, because it would have gotten an extra dish dirty, and I was in the middle of doing a sink full)

In the bowl of an electric mixer, mix applesauce and eggs with the paddle attachment until combined. Pour in coconut milk/oil/yeast mixture and stir to combine. Add half the flour and beat on medium speed until combined. Add the other half and beat until combined.

Switch to the dough hook attachment and beat/knead dough on medium speed for ten minutes. If dough is overly sticky, add 1/4 cup flour and beat again for 5 minutes.

Heat a metal or glass mixing bowl so it’s warm (THIS IS A GREAT TIP! She says to fill the bowl with hot water first so it’s warm. SO SMART.-C). Drizzle in a little canola oil, then toss the dough in the oil to coat. Cover bowl in plastic wrap and set it in a warm, hospitable place for at least 2 hours.

Turn dough out onto the work surface. Roll into a neat rectangle no wider than the loaf pan you’re going to use, and about 18 to 24 inches long. Smear with 3 tablespoons apple butter. Sprinkle cinnamon evenly over dough. Starting at the far end, roll dough toward you, keeping it tight and contained. Pinch seam to seal.

Spray loaf pan with non-stick spray. Place dough, seam down, in the pan. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise for 2 hours (or less if you’re me and put in too much yeast).

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix a little egg with milk, and smear over the top. Bake for 40 minutes on a middle/lower rack in the oven.

Remove from the pan and allow bread to cool. Slice and serve, or make cinnamon toast or French toast with it.

While I was waiting for the dough to rise, I watched some Pioneer Woman on TV! It sadly was not the episode where they go to Woolaroc. Woolaroc is the most amazing, cheerfully, unapologetically racist place I have been, maybe ever. If you’re in OK, stop there if you want to see shrunken heads, artifacts that need repatriated, and to marvel at a place still celebrating the Noble Savage in 2012.

So, the verdict on this is that it was too sweet for me to eat, with the apple butter, and I will have to either force m y husband to eat the whole thing or give it away to friends. Seriously. Apparently apple juice concentrate and I have parted ways. I’ll have to try filling the bread with something less sweet for myself. BUT! The texture is delightful with the coconut milk/oil, lovely crust, gorgeous rise, etc. It’s a great base recipe, not surprisingly, given the source. So, if you’re just going sugar free and looking for still-sweet holiday treats without Splenda, or you’re dairy-free and want to have a lightly sweet breakfast bread (or add the sugar back in), this is a great recipe. Also, someone in the PW comments suggested using it for grilled cheese with a sharp cheddar which I think would be KILLER. 

Be careful out there, y’all

-C

Dirty Chai Sweet Potato MuffinCakes

8 Oct

These may be the last incarnation of this recipe for awhile, as they were practically perfect in every way (WITHOUT the spoonful of sugar!) (Sorry, I’m being Mary Poppins for Halloween so I’m practicing). My dear friend Erica, who is sugar-avoidant, had a birthday yesterday so I thought I would ramp up the earlier Sweet Potato muffins to something more closely resembling a cupcake. We called them muffincakes, which has the added benefit of sounding a smidge dirty. 

I should explain about the sweet potato filling. What I originally did was to bake 3 medium sweet potatoes at oh, 400 degrees. When they were done I let them cool, peeled them, and threw them in a food processor with about 6 prunes (you can use dates, I just hadn’t found any yet at this point in the story) and maybe a quarter cup of coconut milk. This yielded approximately 3 cups of stuff, which I used in two recipes. If you don’t need 24 muffins, I suggest using two sweet potatoes or one GIANT one, and adjusting the recipe accordingly. Or. . .just eating the rest of the sweet potato puree in some other way. Possibly mixed in with oatmeal. 

I did these with regular flour and eggs instead of egg substitute, because I was going for a light, fluffy, “cupcake” texture but of course the gluten-free, vegan options are still equally delicious. I also added some unsweetened chocolate for the birthday girl. I know this is a huge no go for many people with ED, and obviously I strongly recommend for those of you that you replace the cocoa powder with the original espresso powder. 

  • 1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp espresso powder
  • 1 tbsp unsweetened dutch process or regular cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/8 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/8 tsp allspice (I am still out of cardamom, but for real, use cardamom. I think it will take this over the top)
  • 1/4 tsp salt 
  • 1 1/4 cup sweet potato puree 
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 Tbsp canola oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk
  • Chopped pecans (to your taste)

Cream cheese filling (put all the things in the food processor)*: 

  • 1 cup whipped cream cheese (or vegan cream cheese)
  • 7 pitted dates
  • 1/4 tspn fresh grated ginger
  • Zest of one orange 

*You’ll use about half of the filling to fill the cupcakes. Then, you’ll add: 1/2 stick of butter, the juice of said orange, 2 tsps shredded coconut and whip with a hand mixer until smooth for the frosting. 

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 12 cup muffin tin or line with paper liners.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, espresso powder, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, cardamom and salt.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, (or in a large bowl, using an electric mixer), beat together the sweet potato puree, applesauce, and canola oil. Beat in the egg. Beat in the coconut milk. With the mixer on low speed, add in the dry ingredients in 2 batches, slowly beating just until incorporated. Gently fold in pecans.
  4. Fill each muffin cup a third of the way. Smooth batter. Spoon 1/2 tsp of cream cheese mixture into center. Top with remaining batter. 
  5. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Place muffin tin on a wire rack and let muffins cool for 10 minutes.
  6. Remove muffins from tin and cool completely.
  7. While muffins are cooling, make frosting. 
  8. Frost! 

Pesto Mac + Cheese

5 Oct

Tonight I got home from dance class wanting something a) fast b) caloric. Belly dancing? Makes you hungry. 

Can we take a moment here and just step back, and look at anorexic ole me knowing my body needs to replenish after burning calories? Yeah, that’s some motherfucking recovery. 

Okay, so, I really really love both pesto and mac n cheese. I figured they’d be rad together. Spoiler: Holy God. SO GOOD. 

I’m pretty sure this recipe cannot be made vegan, but, if one of y’all wants to take up that challenge, feel free. 

I did a small batch, but you could really easily double this. 

1/2 box medium shells

1 1/2 tablespoons each butter and flour

1 cup milk (I used 2% so I felt better, but given the amount of cheese. . .)

1 cup good smoked gouda (microbial or vegetable rennet)

1/2 cup whipped cream cheese

large handful basil

1 tablespoon garlic powder

1/8 cup pinons

salt, pepper, cayenne

Bring water to a boil, add shells. While they cook, make a roux with the butter + flour. Add the milk (I do that shit cold. I am too lazy to add an extra step AND more dishes by heating the milk up separately). Bring JUST to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Add garlic powder. IT’S NOT TOO MUCH. It’s pesto. You need garlic. Add salt, pepper and cayenne to taste. And then more pepper. And then more pepper. Let cook while you shred the gouda. Turn the heat off under the bechemel + stir in all the cheese. Yes, I know that’s twice as much cheese as you should put in that amount of bechemel. Trust meeeee. Put cream cheese, basil + pinons in a blender or food processor. Don’t forget the pasta! Drain it when it’s done, and immediately add the sauce. The rest of the gouda will melt that didn’t melt in the bechemel. Stir in the cream cheese/basil mixture. Test for seasoning. Go forth! Eat pasta! 

I can’t take a picture because my husband ate all of it. WIN.

Be careful out there, my friends, and remember: nothing is hopeless if my sick anorexic ass can grow up to celebrate the need for calories after exercise. 

-C

The Quest for the Pumpkin Spice Latte Muffin, Batch 2

30 Sep

Now, I may not have made this clear enough before: I don’t know what a pumpkin spice latte tastes like. I think they’ve existed since before I quit eating sugar, and I’ve probably tried one. I have no memory of what it wastes like. I have had sugar free pumpkin spice syrup. It’s not very exciting, so I imagine it’s nowhere near the real stuff. Also, I hate pumpkin pie. I think it’s the tragic redheaded stepsister of sweet potato pie, and a waste of good pumpkin that could go into soup. So, after last week’s good-but-taste-nothing-like-a-latte muffins, I kind of. . .went off the rails thinking about how I could improve the recipe. What I’m telling you is, the final recipe for this week kind of doesn’t even a little bit resemble a pumpkin spice latte, probably. It has no pumpkin. It has more coconut, because we know sweet potato and coconut are a match made in heaven (remember the pudding soup? If you don’t, go look it up. It’s that kind of weather again). It has some prunes and hazelnuts. It has some allspice. It’s more of a. . . Dirty Chai-Spiced Sweet Potato Coconut Hazelnut Muffin with a Cream Cheese Center. It’s not vegan anymore (it’s hard as shit to find vegan cream cheese in this town) but it easily could be. It’s still gluten free. But C, you ask, is it DELICIOUS?

They’re definitely very good. They’re a little sweeter than the pumpkin version, and a little spicier. They’re crazy moist and dense. The texture is fantastic. The hazelnut flavor might be a little overpowering. I possibly should have stuck with walnuts or pecans. The coconut is not at all overwhelming, it just gives a nice depth of flavor. I DO wish I’d been able to find dates, since I think that almost chocolatey flavor that dates have would have really upped the ante flavor-wise. The cream cheese filling is an absolute winner, especially with the fresh ginger. I will be happy to eat these, and have a good idea where to go if/when I do another batch (cardamom. Life is better with cardamom). In the meantime, if you like a dense, moist, semi-sweet spice cake, try these!

  • 1 1/3 cup gluten free all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tbsp espresso powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/8 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/8 tsp allspice (it turns out I’m out of cardamom? How does that happen?)
  • a couple of pinches of cayenne
  • 1/4 tsp salt 
  • 1 1/4 cup sweet potato puree (roasted sweet potato + a splash of coconut milk + prunes. I wanted to use dates or figs but there weren’t any at the store. Stupid small town)
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 Tbsp canola oil
  • a mixture of 2 tbsp flaxmeal + 6 tbsp unsweetened vanilla soymilk
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk
  • Hazelnuts

Cream cheese filling: 

  • 1/2 cup whipped cream cheese (or vegan cream cheese)
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/4 tspn fresh grated ginger

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 12 cup muffin tin or line with paper liners.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, espresso powder, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, cardamom and salt.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, (or in a large bowl, using an electric mixer), beat together the sweet potato puree, applesauce, and canola oil. Beat in the egg substitute. Beat in the coconut milk. With the mixer on low speed, add in the dry ingredients in 2 batches, slowly beating just until incorporated. Gently fold in hazelnuts.
  4. Fill each muffin cup a little less than halfway. Smooth batter. Spoon 1 heaping tsp of cream cheese mixture into center. Top with remaining batter. 
  5. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean, about 20-23 minutes. Place muffin tin on a wire rack and let muffins cool for 10 minutes.
  6. Remove muffins from tin and cool completely.

Homemade Hot Pockets

30 Sep

I live a long way away from my best friend. This is a fact that brings me fairly regular grief. I miss her many times a day for many different reasons. Recently, she started raving about this recipe from Choosy Beggars:  http://www.choosy-beggars.com/index.php/2010/04/09/pub-night-philly-cheese-steak-buns/ for buns stuffed with meat and cheese. Now, one, I love a stuffed bun. Holy kamole do I. Two, I like eating things she’s eating, because it’s a little bit almost like maybe we were cooking together. But, clearly, meat is not a thing with which I am willing to stuff a bun (That sounds dirty).

Changes I made from the original: 

1) I forgot to buy bell peppers, so, I didn’t put any in. Also, my far away bestest hates bell peppers with a vengeance, so, it was more like what she would eat to do it without them. 

2) I mixed mayo and dijon and used it in place of the ketchup, because I am almost out of sugar free vegetarian ketchup and that shiz is expensive. 

3) I used a mix of seitan (I did not make my own, I used a package) and italian “sausage” (that new brand that comes in links wrapped in plastic. It’s yummy).

4) I couldn’t find a block of provolone at the store (where is the provolone love, Safeway?!) so I mixed what was in my fridge: provolone, swiss and american. 

They’re delicious. They’re easy. The recipe makes a ton. They keep and reheat well. I’m really excited about them, and I’m going to make some with a spinach/artichoke/olive/feta/sundried tomato thing. I’m pretty stoked about it. My husband points out that it is basically just a homemade hot pockets. Yeah dude, people have been making hand pies for as long as they’ve been making bread, basically. That doesn’t mean it’s not WAY BETTER than a Hot Pocket. Like, a million, trillion times better. Quality control, flavor, fresh dough, all of it. 

The best part is, I get to eat what my best friend is eating (sort of) and we can talk about how awesome the recipe is. 

It’s hard to be a long distance best friend. It’s easy to make hot pockets at home. 

Be Careful Out There

-C

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The Quest for the Pumpkin Spice Latte Muffin, Batch 1

23 Sep

 

My Facebook and Twitter feeds are full of people having their first Pumpkin Spice Lattes of the season. I cannot eat pumpkin spice lattes, and this makes me sad. I can, however, make muffins, now that it is finally cool enough for me to want to bake. At first, I thought I would make a pumpkin spice muffin, and went looking for recipes. I found a ton, but none that caught my fancy. Then, I had a shower epiphany that what makes a pumpkin spice latte great is the COFFEE. So, I went looking for pumpkin spice latte muffin recipes, and found this one: http://www.healthyfoodforliving.com/?p=25862

This recipe appealed to me because it looked like it would be super easy to make sugar free. I figured while I was playing with it I’d do it with soy flour to up the protein and replace the eggs with a soymilk and flaxmeal mixture to add some sweetness. Instead of a strusel topping, I went with shredded unsweetened coconut and walnut pieces.

There were some issues.

1) The coop didn’t have any soy flour, so I bought gluten-free all purpose flour

2) I thought the coconut and walnuts would get nice and toasty on top of the muffins but they didn’t, really, and didn’t end up adding much. Maybe if they were in the filling?

3) The pumpkin flavor barely came through at all

4) They are really just not sweet, so they taste more like moist spice bread. Which is pleasant, but in no way even vaguely approximates the pumpkin spice latte experience.

I intend to eat these (duh, they’re muffins) and then make a second batch replacing the pumpkin with sweet potatoes and putting in a cream cheese center to play up the “latte” aspect. I will probably not use vegan cream cheese but you EASILY could. I am going to post the recipe changes I made, in case you are looking for a nice moist breakfast spice bread. I also think this would be an excellent banana muffin recipe (of course, there are a gajillion of those) if you subbed out the pumpkin for ripe bananas.

Original recipe from Healthy Food For Living with my changes in green:

adapted from Annie’s Eats Pumpkin Spice Latte Cupcakes

yield: 12 muffins

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/3 cup gluten free all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp espresso powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/8 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp salt (I will use less next time)
  • 3/4 cup pure pumpkin puree
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 Tbsp canola oil
  • a mixture of 2 tbsp flaxmeal + 6 tbsp unsweetened vanilla soymilk
  • 1/4 cup room-temperature brewed strong coffee or espresso
  • a teeeeensy splash of vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 12 cup muffin tin or line with paper liners.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, espresso powder, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, and salt.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, (or in a large bowl, using an electric mixer), beat together the pumpkin puree, applesauce, and canola oil, scraping down the sides as necessary. Beat in the egg substitute. Beat in the brewed coffee (or espresso). With the mixer on low speed, add in the dry ingredients in 2 batches, slowly beating just until incorporated.
  4. Using a spring-loaded ice cream scoop or a large spoon, fill each muffin cup about 3/4 full.
  5. Top with a mixture of unsweetened shredded coconut and chopped raw walnuts
  6. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean, about 18-20 minutes. Place muffin tin on a wire rack and let muffins cool for 10 minutes.
  7. Remove muffins from tin and cool completely.

After I’ve had a chance to make a new batch, I’ll post the results. Onward, healthy soldiers!

Be careful out there. -C

Southwest Bruschetta

6 Sep

I had a friend over for dinner (I finally have friends in my new town!) and decided to do an appetizer, a thing I rarely do. 

Peach/Black Bean Salsa:

1 large peach, in small cubes

1 avocado, diced

1 small can of black beans, drained and rinsed

1/2 handful cilantro, chopped

the juice of 1/2 a lime

1/4 purple onion, finely chopped

1/4 wheel cotijo cheese

1/2 fresh jalapeno, finely chopped

1 splash red wine vinegar

Salt and pepper to taste

Mix salsa ingredients, cover and chill while toasting bread

Cut 10 thick slices from a loaf of good baguette, drizzle both sides with good EVOO

Toast on a griddle/in a toaster oven/whatever

Top toast with salsa, eat fast while bread is hot/salsa is cold. 

Share with friends. 

-CImage