Mini Donut Break

 

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It is fall break here and at our house any school break is a reason to make donuts. This time I had two requests from the children. The eldest asked for gluten free and the youngest asked for “no pumpkin”. But it is FALL! Fine, no pumpkin. I wanted to have spice donuts, but after I put hemp protein powder in these babies, I decided that chocolate would be better. My kids are pretty good at eating what I give them, but green donuts aren’t terribly appetizing. So a couple of tablespoons of cocoa and these donuts were perfectly chocolate. These are so good! I’m still so new to gluten free baking. I haven’t even begun to figure it out. These actually turned out. They were light and so tender. I was trying to find a substitute for rye flour and in a list I saw hemp flour. AND since gluten free products benefit from protein added to them I thought “hemp protein powder”. It worked. I am so happy.

GF DF Chocolate Donuts

  • ½ cup GF flour blend (Bob’s Red Mill)
  • ¼ cup hemp protein powder (Manitoba Harvest)
  • ¼ cup oat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/3 cup cane sugar
  • Pinch freshly ground nutmeg OR dash pumpkin pie spice
  •  ¼ tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp cocoa powder (or carob powder)
  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
  •  1/3 cup unsweetened coconut milk beverage
  •  ½ tsp vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 2-3 tablespoons powdered sugar for dusting

Mix all the dry ingredients together. Stir egg, milk, and vanilla together. Add wet into dry ingredients. Stir in melted coconut oil. Preheat oven to 400° while the batter rests. Fill greased donut (or muffin) pan 1/3 full. Bake for 6-10 minutes (depending on pan size, 6 min. is perfect for mini donuts). Cool on wire rack and shake in*/sprinkle on powdered sugar. Makes about 18-24 mini donuts.

I have tried filling the donut pan using a spoon because I think it will be easier or less wasteful or something, but using a pastry bag or sandwich bag with the corner snipped is the best way to fill the pan.

*My girls love to cover the donuts in tons of sugar. Put 2 tablespoons of powdered sugar into a (food safe) paper bag. Gently toss 1-3 donuts in the bag at a time. These donuts are fragile and one or two have been lost to overzealous sugar shaking.

 

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Can I Give Up SWEETS? Um, no.

The thinnest I have been as an adult was during my vegan experiment. However, my hair was also falling out, so perhaps I wasn’t doing it quite right. Last night I was thinking that I should make another vegan effort. The thing is, I don’t think that meat is a problem for me. I don’t have the passion for saving animals. That sounds heartless, but I like to eat meat. I know where it comes from. I ate vegan just for health reasons. Pretty sure skinless chicken breasts aren’t making me fat. Yes, I gave up meat and all animal edibles, but I also gave up sweets and alcohol.

So here I am again, facing my problem, my addiction, my passion: sugar. As I am writing this I have two tabs waiting for me to click them. The Minimalist Baker is calling me! Vegan Pumpkin Sugar Cookies! AND Easy Raw Vegan Brownies! I want to make them so much and they are vegan! Doesn’t that count for something? Am I over-thinking this whole eating thing? No, I don’t think I am.

Not over-thinking, but thinking the wrong way. I have a problem with eating sweets until they are gone. I can’t make a pan of brownies and eat one. I am greedy. Ooh, that is an ugly word! It’s true though, I don’t want to share my sweets. I want the first cookie out of the oven and I want the last one too. So, what do I do?

Either, 1. give up all sweets (will work for a time, but not a permanent solution), 2. make healthier sweets (better, as long as I don’t eat the whole recipe, negating the healthy part) 3. make small batch recipes (again, I still have to pay attention. I got into trouble with “single serving” desserts. I ate a mug cake that was almost 700 calories. That is still less than Cheesecake Factory cheesecake, but as I will never eat that cheesecake…um…did I have a point?) 4. give sweets away (I can’t eat the sweets if they are not in my house). (My apologies to any grammarians reading this post.) New Plan! I will implement all of these ideas.

I need to have sweet-free days. A dessert break, that sounds too good. A break from desserts. I know people who don’t eat sweets after every meal, they do exist. Every one has different temptations. I can walk past a slot machine and feel nothing. I cannot walk past a pan of brownies and feel nothing. Even though I know that I can never eat cheesecake, I still like to visit the cheesecakes at the Cheesecake Factory. They look so good in that case. I like to read the descriptions of them in the menu. Focus! How did I get hung up on the Cheesecake Factory? Stop saying cheesecake! Deep breath, drink of water. OK, moving on.

I can make small batch, healthy dessert recipes and give them away. Good idea. Let’s start with pumpkin sugar cookies! To make them a little more healthy, I halved the fat and added more pumpkin. One of my favorite muffin recipes Irresistible Double Chocolate Muffins, doesn’t have any added fat and uses pumpkin instead. I also used more whole wheat flour. Pretty sure I could use all WW pastry flour, but my kids might not eat them. Next objective: smaller batch, well 20 is a pretty small batch for cookies. Plus I am making these on Monday so that I can take most of them to Bible study Tuesday morning! I think that sounds pretty good.

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I decided to use a cookie scoop and not get my hands all gooey.

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A flat bottomed bowl works the best for the cinnamon and sugar.

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I  always use parchment paper for easy clean-up.

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A picture of my hand. I always wanted to be a model.

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These would look so much better if I had any talent for photography or a camera. Both would probably be good.     On to the recipe!

Vegan Pumpkin Snickerdoodles

 

Makes: 20 cookies

Adapted from Minimalist Baker Vegan Pumpkin Sugar Cookies

 

  • 1/4 cup vegan butter or solid coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree (I like Farmer’s Market Organic Pumpkin)
  • 1/2 cup organic cane sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 Tbsp cornstarch or arrowroot powder (for thickening/binding)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour

 

  • 2 tablespoons organic cane sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

 

Instructions

  1. Add butter or coconut oil, pumpkin and sugars to a large mixing bowl and cream with a mixer for 1 minute.
  2. Mix in vanilla.
  3. Add corn starch, baking powder, baking soda, salt, pumpkin pie spice and 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon, mix to combine.
  4. Add flours. Mix until incorporated, being careful not to over mix.
  5. Freeze dough for 15 minutes, or refrigerate for 30 minutes (or chill overnight), preheat your oven to 350 degrees F, and position a rack in the center of the oven.
  6. Mix 2 tablespoons of sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Scoop out heaping 1 Tbsp amounts of dough and roll into balls (it will be sticky) or use a cookie scoop. Swirl dough in cinnamon sugar to coat and place on a baking sheet 2 inches apart to allow for spreading.
  7. Bake on the center rack for 10-14 minutes, depending on how you like your cookies.
  8. Let rest on pan for a few minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.

These stay puffy and are a bit cakey. I’ve only eaten two three, you know for research.

 

 

 

 

Favorite Chocolate Cake

The internet is so great. I searched for “sour milk chocolate cake” and found the exact recipe I used last summer! Whahoo! Now I just have to remember the changes I made, also I am making a link for the next time I lose the recipe. Original Sour Milk Chocolate Cake, from The English Kitchen. This one is not vegan or dairy-free, but it is a start. The fabulous thing is that this recipe can be vegan and chocolate free (for those times I give up chocolate) and still be yummy.

I have to say that the burnt sugar icing is totally a happy accident. The frosting was supposed to be brown sugar icing, but well…you know how sugar and butter melt and merge together, but sugar and coconut oil, well, don’t? I might have had my sugar on the burner too long, but then I remembered a recipe for ice cream that started with caramelized sugar and creamer from Speedbump Kitchen.  I hate to throw out food, it’s like admitting defeat, so when it looked like I might have ruined the frosting I grabbed some So Delicious Coconut Milk Creamer and started stirring. I took a little taste and was pleasantly surprised. My oldest daughter told me it was the best frosting I have ever made. Great. Good thing I wrote it down!

Sour Milk Chocolate (Carob) Cake
With Burnt Sugar Frosting

1 1/2 cups sifted flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup cocoa or carob powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 banana or 1 large egg
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
1 cup sour non-dairy milk
1 TBS vanilla

Pre-heat the oven to 350*F.  I used spray coconut oil to grease a 7×11 pyrex pan. A 9″ round cake pan would also work.

Whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda and salt in a large mixing bowl.  Mix together the sour milk and vanilla.  Add to the dry ingredients.  Stir until moistened and then add the coconut oil while stirring (lumps of hardened coconut oil are not ideal). Beat for 2 minutes on medium speed or use a whisk and beat it by hand to offset the calories.  Pour the batter into the prepared pan.

Bake for 25 to 28 minutes until it tests done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Remove from the  oven and allow to cool on a wire rack.  NO need to remove from the pan.

Note – Even if plant-based milk is past date it isn’t really “sour” so I add 1 TBS of vinegar in a measuring cup and add enough milk to make up 1 cup of liquid.

Burnt Sugar Frosting

1/4 cup coconut oil
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 cup coconut milk creamer
2 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
dash of salt

Melt coconut oil and brown sugar in medium pot. Bring to a bubble and keep stirring. Remove from heat and add creamer and STAND BACK because it will sputter! And the sugar will harden. Whisk the mixture until sugar lumps dissolve. Keep stirring, it will work. And stir some more, until the sugar is dissolved.  Stir in the powdered sugar, vanilla and salt. Add more powdered sugar if needed to be a spreadable consistency.

This cake doesn’t really need frosting and the two times I have put frosting on this cake it turned weird the next day. The frosting looked like it had melted in spots, even though I know I waited for the cake to cool before I frosted it. I don’t know. I still tasted great, just didn’t look right. So, only serve it to company right after you frost it or just eat it all yourself. Enjoy!

Sweet and Salty

So, I have this little vegan problem. On the whole, a vegan diet is healthier than the typical American diet. But not all vegan food is “diet” food. I have found two recipes that are tempting me to snack. Vegan Cheez Its from Minimalist Baker and Carob Freezer Fudge from oh she glows. I know that vegan crackers are better for me than potato chips, but I don’t usually eat chips. And carob freezer fudge is better than a candy bar, but I don’t eat candy bars either. So, any weight that I had lost from my vegan experiment is now gone. Oh, well. These snackies are so good, I really don’t care. I’ll have to be sure that I don’t always keep these yummies on hand. Or maybe I’ll just add a little more exercise! Moderation, girl, moderation.

My little birthday cake

My husband’s birthday is one day before mine. That was great one year. We were living in the same town as my aunt. She made a cake and we had a family party, it was wonderful. Other times my husband has been “out of town” (deployed) for my birthday or left on my birthday. One year I was at my parent’s house and it was wonderful (besides the absence of my husband). All my family was there and I requested Thanksgiving dinner. May is the perfect time for turkey! Some years we go out and have a cake on his birthday and have leftovers for mine. This year has been pretty fabulous. We went for a road trip last weekend. We saw Bruneau Dunes, soaked in Miracle Hot Springs, gazed in wonder at Shoshone Falls and marveled at Balanced Rock. Super-fun trip. For my sweetie’s day I grilled shrimp and chorizo kebabs and made a triple layer chocolate cake with vanilla buttercream frosting. I assume the cake is pretty good, he ate 1/4 of it in one sitting. However, I am staying away from chocolate and I used real butter in the frosting so I can’t really say. On to the point!

I decided to make myself a little carob birthday cake.  When I make things dairy free I am usually satisfied with the results. However, I am having a difficult time substituting carob for chocolate. It is not that the recipes are too hard to find or that I can’t just substitute carob powder for cocoa powder in most recipes. It is the taste. Carob is pleasant, it gives a gorgeous color to brownies and cakes, but it is not chocolate. Before giving up chocolate I ate some every day. I was perhaps a chocoholic. I wasn’t aware of the way it affected my body because it was never out of my system. I really don’t know if can do this. Can I live without chocolate? Back to the point!

I bought Carob Cookbook by Tricia Hamilton and the first thing I made was the Mocha Fudge Cake, but it wasn’t mocha because I am also trying to avoid coffee. I think it would be better with coffee, in fact it would have been amazing with cocoa powder and coffee, but then I couldn’t have eaten it, so I made it with carob and water. I am seriously considering buying coffee substitute, but holy moly, that stuff is expensive! Anyway, I made a half recipe to fit into two 6″ pans and made it dairy free. When I bought the cookbook I didn’t really think about the recipes being dairy-free friendly. They are not, if you were wondering. For the frosting I used an old recipe called “Ciddy Ellifson Frosting”, it’s also called Cooked Icing and Red Velvet Frosting. We never had Red Velvet cake when I was a kid, but I loved this frosting on chocolate cake.

 

Dessert in a Cup

This is either a genius idea or just horrible!  I am leaning toward genius, until I can’t fit in my jeans.  On the pro side, I won’t feel inclined to eat an entire batch of brownies or a two layer cake.  On the con side, I might want to try out a different dessert every night.  And what if it doesn’t turn out?  Then I will have to try another one.  I am planning on making a folder with all the best single serving recipes and saving them until I am a crazy old lady, living in a retirement home, with no access to a stove.  It will happen, if I live long enough.  But until then I really didn’t think I would ever make a cake…in a mug…in the microwave.  I mean, these seem to be mostly for college girls in dorms and crazy cat ladies.  Until… my dearest husband is out of town, the kids are in bed and I NEED something sweet!  Pinterest to the rescue!  Found this blog with a page of single serving desserts.  So far I have tried the microwave mug brownie, (too much flour) cheesecake mug (I “broke” mine, not good) and another brownie (made it with tofutti sour cream, pretty good) and an actual cake in a cup.  None of them have been spectacular and I am wondering if the bloggers are better photographers than cooks.  I’m not a photographer or food stylist and there is no way I’m going to use another bowl for mixing and then pour the batter into a mug.  If I’m making a cake in the microwave it will be mixed, cooked and eaten out of the same container.  So, my results are not Instagram worthy.  However, with a little tweaking I have made a decent tasting dairy-free brownie and cheesecake pudding.

 

 

Christmas Goodies!

In my fridge I have 4 or maybe now 3 dozen Red Velvet Cakeballs. There isn’t a fancy recipe or anything. I made a cake from a box (READ the ingredients!) cubed it into a big bowl and added a can of Pilsbury Cream Cheese Frosting. It does not have any dairy ingredients (at this time) I don’t really want to think about WHAT is in there! Anyway, I mixed that together stuck it in the fridge overnight. Used a small cookie scoop to make balls and then left them on cookie sheets in my pantry refrigerator for a few days, not on purpose, but because I didn’t get back to them. Then I dipped them in dairy-free, Kosher white chocolate (King David brand) and dairy-free chocolate chips. I also added paraffin to the chocolate, don’t judge, that is the way I learned to dip chocolates from my Aunt Velma. It makes the chocolate thin and easy to dip, gives a nice shine and prevents you from eating too many. (Paraffin will clean you out. I have heard.) So anyway, on to the real reason I turned the on computer.  Just made my first pan of fudge this year.  Hopefully more candy recipes will follow.

Five Minute Dairy-Free Fudge

2/3 Cup Coconut Milk Creamer (So Delicious)
1 1/3 Cup Sugar
1/2 teaspoon Salt

Stir together in large sauce pan. Bring to a boil. Boil for 5 minutes stirring constantly. Remove from heat and add:

1 1/2 Cups Mini Marshmallows
1 1/2 Cup Dairy-Free Chocolate Chips
1 teaspoon vanilla
(1/2 cup chopped nuts, I don’t care for nuts, but if you really want them, whatever)

Stir until the marshmallows melt. Pour into a 9×9 pan and chill. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

You can substitute any dairy-free creamer for the coconut milk creamer, even flavored, just cut back on the sugar. This fudge is super easy and if you do mess it up you can always add a cube (or blob) to warm coconut milk and have hot chocolate!