Banana Split Cupcakes!

 

As a student ambassador, I have to help out with the student orientation tomorrow for all the new kids who aren’t freshman. After touring the kids around the school, we have a whole lunch/snack type thing in the cafeteria where all the ambassadors bring food. It took me a while to come up with something vegan that wouldn’t scare a new kid. BANANA SPLIT CUPCAKES! Every other recipe I’ve seen uses pineapple, which I personally think is gross, so I made up/modified my own recipe. While they’re great dessert treats, they’re also on the healthy side.

Banana Split Cupcakes

1 1/2 cups organic unbleached flour
1 1/2 cups organic whole wheat pastry flour
3/4 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. non-aluminum baking powder
pinch sea salt
1/4 cup canola oil
2 T unsweetened yogurt
 
3/4 cup maple syrup
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. vinegar
1 cup almond milk

2 ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup pureed fresh strawberries
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips

Sift all dry ingredients together and whisk all wet ingredients together. Combine. Divide batter between two bowls. Fold bananas into one batter, and straweberries in the other. Spoon banana batter into cupcake liners to fill a little less than halfway. Spoon strawberry batter over the banana batter until the cups are 2/3 full. Bake at 375°F for about 25 minutes. Makes about 33 mini cupcakes.

Strawberry Glaze
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
1/2 cup frozen strawberries, rinsed, defrosted, and patted dry
2T vegetable shortening

Chocolate Drizzle
3T semisweet chocolate chips

1 banana

Blend strawberry glaze ingredients until smooth. Use a small spoon to drop about 1/2 tsp glaze on each cupcake. Top each cupcake with a thin banana slice. Melt chocolate chips in microwave for 20 seconds. Use a piping bag and a small round piping tip to drizzle chocolate on each cupcake.  If you really want to dress these up, proceed to top with whipped cream, cherries, and walnuts.

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Bittersweet Chocolate Raspberry Tea Bread

This is my last post for a month. No time to blurb- here’s the recipe (it’s delicious by the way):

1 cup strong raspberry tea
1/3 cup oat bran
1 cup spelt
1/2 cup dutch cocoa powder**
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ginger (optional)
1/3 cup soyogurt
2 T raspberry jam
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp vanilla extract
pure stevia extract (optional- adjust to taste)*
*this is meant to be a bitter breakfast loaf, not dessert cake. If you prefer it sweeter, go for it. Otherwise, it tastes really good with raspberry jam.

**This amount of cocoa powder makes an extremely dark loaf. It almosts masks the flavor of the raspberry. I would replace half the cocoa powder with more flour to make the raspberry more pronounced. Chocolate lovers, leave as is.
Prepare the tea ahead of time by steeping two teabags in one cup of boiling water until cool.

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease one regular loaf pan or two mini loaf pans.
Combine the dry ingredients (oatmeal through ginger) in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Add the tea, yogurt, vinegar, vanilla, syrup, and jam. Mix well and add the stevia, adjusting it to taste.

optional step: line the bottom of the greased pan with fresh raspberries for an upside down loaf. invert before serving.

additional optional step: sprinkle 1-2 tablespoons sugar on top of the batter after pouring it in the loaf pan for a crisp, sugar crust.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until a tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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Just a Short Note on Vegan Cheesecake

If you feel the need to make one, use this recipe: http://bakingbites.com/2005/09/imbb-19-i-cant-believe-its-vegan-cheesecake/

It was absolutely spectacular, and my omnivorous father is begging me to make it again. Besides, it was possibly the easiest pie I’ve ever made. Just throw all the ingredients in a blender, pour it into the pan (crustless or not), and bake. Waiting for it to cool was the hardest part.

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Perfect Whole Wheat Bread


How do YOU reuse your paper bags??? I keep my bread fresh.

After taking a visit to Great Harvest Bread Co., my favorite bakery and a place that you should go to if you’ve never been before, I had a bread making urge. For once it came out absolutely flawlessly. It was probably because, for once, I didn’t try to cut calories or accommodate for my celiac mother (or both at the same time). I adapted this recipe from Bernard Clayton’s recipe for honey lemon whole wheat bread. —adapted because I ran out of whole wheat flour (in a celiac house you don’t keep much on hand) and then I decided to get creative. NOTE ON THE HONEY: There’s a lot of controversy about the consumption of honey in the vegan community. In short, local farm=good happy bees, and commercially manufactured=extinction of bees….more info here.
Recipe:
3 C. unbleached bread flour
2 pkgs active dry yeast
1 T salt
1/4 C honey
3 T vegetable shortening
1 T lemon zest
2 1/4 C hot water
1 C whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 C wheat germ
1/2 C 100% whole wheat flour
1/2 C spelt flour (white or whole)
vegetable oil to brush
By hand:
Combine 2C all purpose flour, undissolved yeast and salt in large bowl. stir well to blend.
Add honey, lemon peel, and oleo.
Add hot tap water all at once.
Beat with electric mixer at medium speed 2 minutes. Scrape bowl occasionally.
Add 1 cup whole wheat flour. Beat with electric mixer at high speed for 1 minute, or until thick and elastic. Scrape bowl occasionally.
Stir in remaining 1 cup whole wheat flour with spoon. Then gradually stir in just enough remaining all purpose flour to make a soft dough that leaves the side of the bowl. Turn onto floured board; round up into ball.
Knead 5-10 minutes until dough is smooth and elastic. Cover with plastic wrap and then with towel. Let rest 20 minutes then punch down.
Bread machine:
Place ingredients in machine according to manufacturer’s instructions. Use the dough setting only. Check dough occasionally during the rise. The dough will rise significantly due to the amount of yeast. Reminder: this is a recipe for two loaves, check your machine capacity. I forgot about this, and my dough was practically trying to escape from the machine, and I ended the rise cycle 20 minutes early.

Continue:

Divide dough into two equal portions.
Roll each portion into an 8X12″ rectangle. Roll up tightly into loaves starting on the 8″ side. Seal lengthwise, edge and ends. Tuck ends under.
Place in greased 8-1/2 X 4-1/2 X 2-1/2″ loaf pans (Correct pan size is important for best results.)
Brush surface of dough with oil. Cover pans loosely with wax paper, and then with plastic wrap–allow room for A LOT of rising.
Refrigerate 2-24 hours at moderately cold setting. When ready to bake remove from refrigerator, uncover.
Let stand 10 minutes while preheating oven to 400°.
Puncture any surface bubbles with oiled toothpick just before baking.
Bake at 400 for 30-40 minutes, or until done. Bake on lower rack for best results.
Remove from pans immediately. Brush top crust with butter if you like soft crust. Cool on racks.
Makes 2 loaves

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long time, no post

I don’t exactly have an original recipe today, but it’s an original take on a recipe that HIGHLY recommend. These chocolate cookies provide the most perfect chewy goodness that could ever be desired. Even better, they’re low-fat/guilt-free. The original recipe was not vegan but it was easily veganized. So what was my original take on it? I used the recipe to create black forest swirl cookies. After making the dough, i rolled it out flat in a small jelly roll pan, lined and wrapped with plastic wrap. I made a cherry spread by soaking 3/4 cup dried cherries in 1.5 cups of water+2 tablespoons lemon juice. After an hour, I pureed the cherries (drained) together with 1 tablespoon cornstarch and 1-2 tablespoons of the soak water. Then I took the dough out of the fridge and spread the cherry mix in an even layer. Simply rolled it up jelly roll style, and then sliced the log into 1/2in – 3/8in discs and baked according to the recipe. These are my cookies of redemption. I made awful black and white cookies yesterday, and made the mistake of having people outside of my family taste them. I, personally, cannot go on having people think I bake THAT badly- they were REALLY bad cookies. Thankfully, these turned out perfect. Notes: (I also omitted the chocolate chips because they were rich enough alone)…pictures will be up later-they’re gorgeous.              

  Recipe: (from here)

Chewy Cocoa Cookies with Chocolate Chips
Adapted from Alice Medrich

The original version of these cookies doesn’t have chocolate chips, so I guess you could leave them out, but I think they’re pretty important. This is a relatively virtuous treat, as cookies go, so that extra boost of richness is nice. Plus, there’s no such thing as too much chocolate. No. Such. Thing. Don’t even try to argue.

Of course, you’re welcome to throw in other additions as well. I’ve put chopped pistachios in here, and they were wonderful. I’ll bet dried cranberries or cherries would be good too. Or toasted walnuts. Whatever you choose, I’d keep the quantity of additions to about ½ cup in total. And I’d make sure that at least some of that ½ cup is chocolate chips. For example, when I do pistachios, I use ¼ cup, plus ¼ cup chocolate chips.

1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
¼ tsp. baking soda
1/8 tsp. salt
4 Tbsp. (½ stick) unsalted butter
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup light brown sugar
7 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
1/3 cup plain yogurt, preferably not low- or nonfat
1 tsp. vanilla extract
½ cup chocolate chips, preferably Ghirardelli brand, either semisweet or bittersweet

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone liner.

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt.

Place the butter in a medium microwave-safe bowl, and microwave briefly, until just melted. Add the sugars, and sift in the cocoa. (You can skip the sifting if you want, but my cocoa almost always has lumps, and I don’t like cocoa lumps in my cookies.) Stir to blend well. The mixture will be somewhat thick and pasty, like wet sand. Add the yogurt and vanilla and stir to mix thoroughly. Add the dry flour mixture, and stir to just combine. Add the chocolate chips and stir to incorporate.

Drop the dough by generous tablespoons onto the prepared baking sheet. (I use my tablespoon-size measuring spoon to scoop and shape the dough into little domes. Rinsing the spoon regularly helps to keep the dough from sticking, and leaving the spoon slightly wet after each rinsing helps too.) You should be able to fit about 8 or 9 cookies, nicely spaced, on a standard sheet pan. Bake for 9 to 11 minutes, or until the tops of the cookies have crackled slightly and look set. Transfer the sheet pan to a wire rack, and cool the cookies on the pan for 10 minutes. Transfer them to the rack to cool completely. Repeat with remaining dough.

Note: These cookies keep nicely at room temperature for a couple of days. I store mine in a large plastic bag, and I usually stick a paper towel in there with them. It helps to regulate moisture and keep the cookies fresh and chewy. (It’s a trick Brandon taught me, one he learned from an ex-girlfriend’s mother. Thank goodness for ex-girlfriends, right?)

Yield: About 20 cookies

 

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Poptarts? For breakfast?!

This morning I accidently created a quick, healthy vegan poptart, while attempting to make a single muffin. I wish I’d taken a picture, but I was just so excited to taste it. Well, here’s the recipe anyways: (this is to make ONE. )

Wet:

  • 2 tsp applesauce
  • 1/3 medium banana
  • 1/8 tsp vanilla
  • 4 tsp almond milk

Dry:

  • 4 tsp whole wheat pastry flour (can be substituted with any flour)
  • 2 1/2 tsp oat or wheat bran
  • 1/8 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp date sugar (optional)

 

  • 1 strawberry sliced thin

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325. Grease a mini cake pan (because I was making a single muffin, the pan I used was about 3 1/2-4 inches across, and 1 1/2 inches high). Mash together banana with remaining wet ingredients. Combine dry ingredients in a separate bowl. Add dry to wet and mix just until combined. Spoon a tablespoon of the batter into the pan and spread to cover the bottom. Spread the strawberry slices in an even layer on top of the batter. Cover with remaining batter, and drizzle top with agave. Bake for 40-50 minutes. Remove the poptart from the pan (it should look like a thick pancake), and enjoy!

Note: The date sugar is optional because I did not use it in my own recipe. The original recipe did not call for sugar, but my “poptart” turned out definitely not sweet enough. Adjust the sweetness according to personal preference. I’d suggest adding some agave nectar to the wet ingredients. Also, the original recipe called for hempseeds, which I think would be a great addition if you’re in the mood (it called for chocolate chips too, but I was trying to keep it healthy).

 

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Random Banana Cravings…

It was incredibly hot here today, so I decided to eat raw all day. I bought some Nature’s Path Manna Bread in multigrain, which was fairly good, but it needed a topping. Bored of the usual almond/coconut butter, I whipped up something new which could easily double as a raw frosting. It’s also one of those things that are just so simple, you probably don’t need a recipe:

Banana Butter

  • 1/4 cup raw coconut butter (I used Artisana brand)
  • 1 medium sized ripe banana
  • 6 walnut halves

Blend all ingredients in a food processor or blender until smooth. Refrigerate at least 2 hours to harden.

 

Update::

I had this on some raw french toast this morning with sliced strawberries and agave syrup and it was heavenly =]

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