Archive | September, 2012

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