29 December 2008
There's something about beets--their rustic, earthy appearance, the vibrant color and subtle sweetness they develop when cooked, and, most importantly, they have an array of health benefits, to boot. Not only are beets are a good source of iron, they also contain vitamin C, which, among other things, helps our bodies absorb iron.
And, of course, one of my favorite things about beets: their earthy sweetness goes deliciously well with the hearty taste of fresh rye bread.
In fact, rye bread is what started it all. The other day, as my Hearty Rye Bread loaf was baking in the oven, and the kitchen smelled warm and sweet, I felt inspired to make an equally warm and wonderful soup, using the flavors of beets, orange and cranberry. Like beets, fresh cranberries are packed with nutrients (vitamin C, fiber, manganese, and vitamin K, to name a few), and they are (still, although barely) in season. The cranberries also add a little tartness that compliments the sweetness of the orange juice, creating a delicious soup with several layers of flavor.
In the photo at the top, I topped the soup with a bit of tarragon (which makes everything taste better, in my opinion). The next day when I was eating leftovers, I also added some golden raisins and sunflower seeds, and I think that added so much to the recipe. The raisins add a simple sweetness that compliments the tartness of the cranberries, and the texture of the nuts and seeds makes the soup much more interesting.
Cranberry Beet Soup:
3 whole beets, tops removed and cleaned thoroughly, roughly chopped
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup pomegranate juice
2 handfuls fresh cranberries
1/2 onion, chopped
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
salt to taste
sunflower seeds, golden raisins, and fresh tarragon for serving
Heat the vegetable oil in a large pot over the stove; add the onions and cook until they begin to sweat, then add the caraway seeds and a pinch of salt. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally until the onions are translucent. Add the beets and cranberries and then the orange and pomegranate juices. Add enough water to barely cover everything and simmer until the beets are tender (depending on how large you chopped your beets, about 30 minutes). Wait until cooled and then blend in a blender until smooth. Sprinkle the tops with tarragon, sunflower seeds and golden raisins.
24 December 2008
here. However, I added two roasted (and peeled) poblano peppers to the soy milk in my blender before combining it with the other ingredients. The cupcakes were amazing, the poblano taste was a little subtle and perfect with the almond, and there was just a bit of heat. (Whenever it becomes this cold outside, I welcome a bit of heat in everything!) For the frosting, I used 1 roasted (peeled, this time seeded) poblano pepper along with the other ingredients. I used a different icing recipe than the last time I made these; I wanted something fudgier (is that a word?), something rich. The final result was delicious--so good, that I think I may make adding poblano peppers to my chocolate a regular thing. I hope you enjoy!
Vegan Chocolate Almond Poblano Cupcakes:
makes 12 cupcakes
2 poblano peppers, roasted and peeled (reserve seeds)
1 cup soy milk
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar (or white vinegar)
3/4 cups evaporated cane juice (granulated vegan sugar)
1/3 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
Preheat oven to 350°F and line a muffin pan.
Combine the soy milk, vinegar, and poblano peppers (and seeds) in your blender; blend until smooth and set aside for a few minutes to curdle. Add the sugar, oil, vanilla extract, and other extract, if using, to the soy milk mixture and blend until foamy.
In a large bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add in two batches the wet ingredients to the dry and beat until no large lumps remain.
Pour into liners, filling 3/4 of the way. Bake 18 to 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool completely.
Vegan Chocolate Poblano Fudgy Frosting:
enough frosting for 12 cupcakes
1 roasted, peeled, seeded poblano pepper
1/2 cup evaporated cane juice (granulated vegan sugar)
1/4 cup cocoa
1/4 cup nondairy milk
3 tablespoon refined coconut oil (refined will not give a coconut flavor)
pinch of sea salt
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
3/4 cup of vegan powdered sugar*
In a blender, combine soymilk and poblano and blend until smooth. If you would like to make two colors of icing, as I did with the green and cocoa, work in two (half-sized) batches, first making the icing without the cocoa, then making the icing with only 1/8 cup cocoa.
Mix granulated sugar, cocoa, nondairy milk (with blended poblano), coconut oil, and salt in a saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil. Continue to boil for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove mixture from hear and allow to cool completely.
After mixture is cool, stir in almond extract. Beat in the powdered vegan sugar a little at a time until desired consistency is reached.
* Vegan powdered sugar can be quite expensive, so I make my own. Grind one cup of evaporated cane juice in a coffee grinder and add 2 tablespoons tapioca flour (or arrowroot starch or cornstarch). Easy, and much more economical.
Voting will begin no later than Monday, December 29 at 8 p.m. at NO ONE PUTS CUPCAKE IN A CORNER, and will be open through Friday, January 2 at 12 noon.
Iron Cupcake Earth is a monthly challenge where bakers all over the world compete, creating cupcakes using the same special ingredient. It wouldn't be possible without a lot of people who donate items for prizes and the sponsors for the event. So, special thanks to:
BETTY TURBO, who is offering this original piece of art http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=5002976
LOTS OF SPRINKLES, who made these cupcake earrings http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=6057281
CAKESPY, who will be doing a piece each month for the winner
As an added bonus for December there is a limited edition cupcake pincushions by Moda Home, complements of SWEET CUPPIN CAKES BAKERY AND CUPCAKERY SUPPLY, http://www.acupcakery.com/index.html.
Also, thank you to the corporate prize providers: HEAD CHEFS by FIESTA PRODUCTS, http://www.fiestaproducts.com, HELLO CUPCAKE by Karen Tack and Alan Richardson, http://blog.hellocupcakebook.com, JESSIE STEELE APRONS http://www.jessiesteele.com; the CUPCAKE COURIER http://www.cupcakecourier.com; TASTE OF HOME books, http://www.tasteofhome.com. Iron Cupcake:Earth is sponsored in part by 1-800-Flowers, http://www.1800flowers.com.
20 December 2008
b) getting ill
d) getting over being ill
e) all of the above
I am no exception.
On top of all that, I've been busy with finishing the semester (taking finals, writing papers), graduating, moving out of my apartment in Abilene, and moving into my sister's place in Ft. Worth. Oh yeah, and I decided to do another craft fair.
Bake My Craft:
What started my freshman year (5 years ago) as "Rock Paper Scissors" (a small group of people seated around tables in the "bean sprout" [the "chili's-style grill" at ACU], trying to sell their homemade goods and art), has grown (at least a little) to become an annual event on ACU's campus. Not that it's that big of a deal; I'm sure most people at ACU could care less. But, it was definitely fun and I've enjoyed watching it grow (and the quality of the art/crafts improve) over the years. This year was especially exciting with a live performance by Peter and the Wolf (thanks to dustin of silence productions for setting that up) and tons of Christmas baked-goods, which my mom helped me bake. (Thanks, mom!)
bake my craft: holiday sugar cookies
Moving is always chaotic in my family. I tend to hold onto things, unable to part with them because of vague "memories" or fears that I'll need them...someday. This results in my having too much stuff. Moving, while it can be stressful, gives me the opportunity to look at things I have and think about how often I use them, and if I really need them. It's a good time to clear out some stuff and clean up my life.
But this move has been even better because I am moving in with my sister in Ft. Worth. I always thought I would move far away from Texas as soon as I finished school, but I am actually really excited about this move. Ft. Worth seems like a really nice place--already I feel a kind of neighborhood vibe, but there are still so many wonderful things that I've always associated with big cities. Plus, I'm excited about living with my sister, being able to paint my room whatever color I chose (a first for me!), and having a beautiful kitchen and a little room outside to make a garden.
I've only been in Ft. Worth a few days, and while I was excited about going new places and finding my way around, I spent a little time in the kitchen, too.
Good Morning Museli:
I didn't really measure anything (I know I should start doing that more often...), but muesli is the type of food that you can just use whatever you want, or whatever you have, so recipes aren't really necessary. I combined rolled oats, raw almonds, raw sunflower seeds, raw pumpkin seeds, dried cranberries, dried cherries, golden raisins, dehydrated coconut, and oat bran. I soaked everything overnight in soymilk, and then served it with pomegranate seeds. The perfect way to say Good Morning! And the perfect send-off meal for my drive to Houston.
25 November 2008
This week's BAKE MY DAY was inspired by the wonderful performance of so many of my friends at ACU's Culture Show. The international students worked so hard choreographing amazing dances and songs with outstanding costumes (hooray Haruka!). I wish I had some pictures of that! So, to celebrate their hard work (and their return to BMD now that Culture Show rehearsals are over), I decided to try to make some traditional(ish) Asian desserts.
fortune cookies (fake china)
At least Shiwon approves...
22 November 2008
For my first round of Iron Cupcake, I felt inspired to try something a little different. It seemed like a good idea, but it turned out to be an Iron Cupcake failure. I think, however, with a different recipe and quite a bit more practice, it could be a really good thing.
I based my cupcake recipe off of Shmooed Food's Fluffy White Cupcakes.
I changed a bit of the ingredients and the amount, and I only came up with 18 cupcakes (instead of the original recipe's 22). Here is what I did:
Light Almond Cupcakes:
scant 1 cup vanilla almond milk
6 oz plain soy yogurt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar (evaporated cane juice)
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
Preheat oven to 350 F. Line or spray a cupcake tin for 18 cupcakes.
Pour the lemon juice into the cup measuring cup and then fill the rest of the way with the almond milk. Mix together in a bowl with soy yogurt and set aside.
Mix together all the dry ingredients and stir well to combine.
Add oil, vanilla, and almond extracts to milk/yogurt mixture.
Add wet mixture to dry and stir with a fork. Stir just until everything is well combined, and then divide the batter between the prepared cupcake tins. Bake in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes, until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
I ate one (or two) before trying to turn them into petit fours, and they were delicious. They were really light and fluffy (maybe I've become too accustomed to whole grain baked goods), and although that isn't the best textured cake for a petit four, I decided to continue anyway.
I refrigerated the cooled cucpakes, sliced them in half horizontally, and filled them with my Port Cranberry Sauce.
Port Cranberry Sauce:
about 12 oz cranberries
1/2 cup ruby port
1/2 cup sugar sugar
Put everything in a saucepan on the stove. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer and simmer for about 25 minutes, until it reaches your desired consistency. If necessary, add more port or cook for longer to adjust.
I also used the Port Cranberry Sauce to coat the sides of the cupcake.
Finally, I tried this poured fondant recipe to top the cupcakes.
That was the big mistake. I was trying to make things easier for myself by not having to grind massive amounts of my sugar into powered sugar (per all the other poured fondant recipes I'd seen). So, I got out my candy thermometer and got to it.
I should have never tried to blend the mixture. Perhaps I heated it too much (past the soft ball stage), because even though I have a really good blender, it wasn't working well. I added some of the leftover cranberry sauce, and still, the blender was having a difficult time. As you can see from the picture, it isn't a pretty sight.
Things I would change:
-make mini cupcakes instead (or, really, just make cake and cut it the real way)
-use a denser cake recipe
-blend my jam so there are no cranberry chunks
-use a different poured fondant recipe
Despite all these problems, I feel like I've learned a few things, and at least I'm not completely discouraged. Next month I'll start a little early, and hopefully have something that looks a little better.
18 November 2008
And, I'm almost ready to post that poblano cupcake recipe (it gets a post all of its own because they were that good). When I get around to doing that, I'll tag someone else for the MEME.
1. Who did you spend at least two hours with today?
Everyone in my digital graphics class... it's so sad; I have no time for a real social life now!
2. What do you look forward to most in the next six weeks?
Graduating! And then figuring out where to go and what to do with my life!
3. Who was the last person you called?
My mom; I was baking cookies and wanted to talk while I was rolling balls of Chinese almond cookies (this week's BAKE MY DAY...hint, hint)
4. What were you doing at 12am last night?
Working on a poster in the art lab
5. What did you fear was going to get you as a child?
Lots of things! Mostly a burglar under my bed. Or under the car when I was stepping in. (I'm still afraid of that, to be honest. At night when I'm alone I can't get into my car unless I first check underneath it [from a distance!] and inside it through the windows) Paranoid? Maybe...
6. When did you last see your mom?
A few weeks ago when I went home for the weekend. My health insurance it about to expire when I graduate, so I had to go to the doctor.
7. What are you wearing right now?
My bathrobe; I just got out of the shower.
8. Where is your favorite place to be?
This week it has been my apartment. Maybe because it's cold outside? Or maybe because I know I'm moving soon. But I just want to stay home and bake and read and sleep all day. Oh, if only...
9. Where is your least favorite place to be?
In my 8:00 TR class. I'm just so sick of school and I don't know why I ever decided to study English. I enjoy reading, but 4 years of writing the same paper about post-colonialism or marxist feminism is killing me! It's interesting, yes, but I'm ready to talk about something new. (Gosh, I feel like I'm being a little complainy in this MEME...I'm not a negative person!).
10. Where would you go if you could go anywhere?
London! I miss it everyday and I would do almost anything to be able to go back there. Stupid immigration and tier system nonsense!
11. Where do you think you’ll be in 10 years?
Maybe San Francisco or Portland (that would be nice!); in an apartment with a kitten and hopefully several very dear friends close by.
12. What was the last thing that really made you laugh?
I can't remember; I laugh all the time (too often, in fact; sometimes I feel like it's cheap because I laugh so much). Earlier I was talking with a friend who had to take a ridiculous survey to apply for a job and that was pretty funny.
13. What cities/towns/villages have you lived in?
born in San Antonio, TX on vacation
Portland, OR (only for a summer)
14. Are you a social person?
I'm about 50/50 introvert/extrovert. I love hanging out with friends and sometimes I feel full of energy and I just want to have giant dance parties every night. But other times I just want to be alone or with only one other person, curled up with a book or the first season of Peep Show (or Wallace and Gromit, if I'm feeling it) and a good cup of tea.
15. What do you like about winter?
I agree with A Place For Us about the hot chocolate and soups, and especially about hibernation and rest! I love taking a break from school (even if I am working still). I love holiday smells and baking. I love shorter days and the way the colors look different outside (even if we don't have a very picturesque winter in Texas). I love bundling up in tons of layers, and I love that it finally isn't hot and that we don't have mosquitoes!
14 November 2008
For this week's BAKE MY DAY* I decided to use chilis to heat things up a bit. I wanted to try to use a variety of peppers from the Capsicum genus to provide different flavors and different levels of heat.
*BAKE MY DAY is a weekly event I host where I choose an ingredient or a theme and try to make several baked goods, accordingly. It gives me a great excuse to try a lot of new things!
Spiced Apple Cake with Chili de Arbol Caramel Sauce:I started off with this Holiday Bundt Apple Cake from Dessert, Diet and Dogs. I was happy to find a recipe that was using whole grain flours and agave and brown rice syrup for most of the sweetness. Unfortunately, I didn't have barley flour, so I substituted with whole wheat flour. The only other difference was that I added 1/4 teaspoon cayenne to the apples. When I mixed up the batter, it seemed a bit dry, but I baked it anyway. Perhaps I messed up somewhere (but I really couldn't figure out how), or perhaps I just slightly overbaked the cake, but it seemed the slightest bit dry. I'm taking full responsibility for that, though, and, otherwise, it was such a lovely cake, that I still recommend it.
I only added 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne because I didn't want the cake to be too spicy (only some like it hot, and I wanted to make sure everyone could enjoy the desserts). So, I chose to put most of the spice in the caramel sauce.
For the caramel sauce, I used this recipe because I wanted to use up my maple syrup. It tasted good, but it wasn't quite like caramel. I've used another recipe in the past that looked much more like caramel, although now I can't remember what recipe that was. (Does anyone have a caramel sauce recipe that you absolutely love?) I did add 2 dried chili de arbols (stems removed, but I added the seeds), chopped into little pieces. The sauce was spicy and delicious, and poured over lightly toasted spiced walnuts, it really made the cake (and totally made up for any dryness).
Cayenne Persimmon Tart:
When I was thinking about foods that chilis would go well with, one of the first things that came to my mind was mangoes. I love a mango with a little kick. Unfortunately, the mangoes this time of year just aren't good enough to cut it, so I decided to try something with persimmons, which have a similar flavor and happen to be in season now. I found Delicious Coma's recipe for a persimmon tart and decided to give it a try.
I used cold shortening in place of the butter and added cayenne to the spices to be sprinkled on top of the persimmons. The crust turned out quite good; however, the persimmons were not so good. My persimmons weren't ripe enough (and if you've ever had an unripe persimmon, you know how bad they are). I thought they might take on a sweet flavor when baked (much like a quince), but they remained incredibly astringent. But, the tart looked lovely and it would have been great had my fruit been better (and that's the easiest thing to fix, so I'm alright with that).
Chocolate Chili Truffles & Sugar-free Truffles:
Anaheim Lime Coconut Pie:
recipe coming soon
Poblano Almond Chocolate Cupcakes:
recipe coming soon
11 November 2008
For BAKE MY DAY this week, I decided to work with chili peppers (any member of the Capsicum genus). I guess I liked the idea so much, that I decided to get started a little early, and it seems like the past few days have been all about chilis. And what better to pair it with than chocolate? So, here they are: The Good, The Bad (well, at least the "not great"), and The Ugly.
Chocolate Chili Truffles:
After making my Chocolate Matcha Truffles several weeks ago for the first time, and realizing how simple and wonderful it is to make truffles, I decided to try again, this time using cayenne, cinnamon, and a pinch of salt to flavor my truffles. The result was delicious! It takes a couple seconds for the spice of the cayenne to hit, but it provides a nice "after spice," as one of my friends called it. Just as you've realized the flavor of the chocolate, your brain is suddenly hit by the heat, providing quite a pleasant sensation. I used this basic recipe from RecipeZaar and added 1 teaspoon of cayenne, one teaspoon of cinnamon and a pinch of salt. I also rolled them in cocoa powder mixed with a little bit of cinnamon, and then, using a drop of melted chocolate, stuck on thinly sliced pieces of (mild) dried chili peppers.
Sugar-free chocolate chili truffles:
Well, they actually weren't too bad, but they aren't nearly as good as truffles with a little sugar. My friend is on a sugar-restricted diet and she also has an allergy to soy, so she's definitely been wanting something a little sweet in her life. I used the same basic recipe for my truffles, but instead of using my regular bittersweet chocolate chips, which contain sugar and soy lecithin, I melted a bar of 100% cacao. I was hoping that the natural sweetness of the cashews would at least kind of help to counter the bitterness, but unfortunately, the cocoa was still too strong. My friend said that she can use small amounts of stevia on occasion, so I added a couple of teaspoons. I'd never used stevia before, and perhaps I used a little too much (a little of it goes a long way), because it seemed to have a slightly off flavor, something I'd usually associate with artificial sweetners. I also lightly toasted some coconut shavings to bring out their natural sweetness and rolled the truffles in the coconut to (hopefully) add a little sweetness. The stevia flavor wasn't too noticeable, and the taste was less bitter, so it did help a bit.
The result: not great. But not terrible.
I do think this recipe is worth experimenting with, especially if you have soy allergies of if you would like to use more natural sugars. If you aren't on such a sugar-restricted diet, I think it could still be worthwhile to make these with agave nectar; that way you are using a sugar that won't spike your blood sugar as much, and you can control the sweetness of the truffles to your liking.
After putting some chili in my chocolate, I decided it was time to put a little chocolate in my chili. I remembered this post from The Urban Vegan and threw in a couple handfuls into my chili recipe. It may not look very pretty, but it sure was a delicious way to end the past few chilly nights.
09 November 2008
When I come home for the weekend, it always feels like the holidays. I wake up early and the first thing I do (after getting dressed, fixing a bowl of millet porridge, and brushing my teeth), is go to the grocery store with my mom. Around the holidays, grocery shopping is always a big event; in the past, we took the "divide and conquer" method: dividing the giant list between my mother, my sisters, and myself, each of us taking a cart and going separate directions throughout the store. But since we've moved farther out of town and our trips to the bigger grocery stores have become less frequent, we've started to spend more time in the store, walking slowly down each aisle, looking at all of the different produce and all the new products lining the shelf walls. Pomegranate and acai gumdrops? Don't mind if I do. Peppermint marshmallows? They look lovely. I'll be making a vegan version soon...
Our trips to the grocery store may have calmed down, but the kitchen is still full of an excited energy. I'm always thrilled about my purchases; I'm supposed to be making lunch, but I can't help myself from doing a little baking too. Angela is asking for something sweet, and she gives me a suggested ingredient list that would horrify any diabetic: chocolate, caramel, marshmallows, bananas, peanut butter...oh yes, and sugar. Lots of it, she said.
I didn't want to go dessert overload, so I decided to make something that would appease her sweet tooth, but not without some nutritional value. I decided on banana cupcakes with some healthier flours, using the sweetness of the bananas to really make the cake (that's a pun, dear). Not one to follow recipes well, I looked at these (1, 2, 3) recipes for inspiration, but then decided to throw caution to the wind and do my own thing. I topped them off with some deliciously rich peanut butter icing and a bit of shaved dark chocolate. The result: an Angela-approved dessert. Oh yes, and they're completely soy free.
If you aren't a sugar fiend like Angela, you may find that you prefer to reduce the sugar a bit. Especially since these cupcakes will be covered in the icing, they really don't need to be that sweet. They're also very banana-y, and even though I used half pastry flour, they're still a bit dense (not nearly as much as a banana bread, but perhaps more than a cupcake should be). They did however rise very nicely, as you can see from the picture, and for a banana-dessert, they're surprisingly light. The peanut butter icing adds a really nice touch to these cupcakes. I'm trying to not use as much vegan margarine, because it just makes more sense to products that are more natural and less processed. In this recipe, I used coconut oil, which becomes solid at room temperature, and tapioca flour to thicken it. As the icing sits, it will harden, so if you aren't using it right away, blend it again before using. If you are topping iced cupcakes with chocolate shavings or other toppings, top quickly after icing before the icing hardens.
4 ripe bananas
115 grams (1 cup) whole wheat flour
100 grams (1 cup) pastry flour
55 grams (1/2 cup) whole spelt flour
1/2 cup turbinado (raw sugar)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 350 F and line a cupcake tin with baking cups.
Mix together bananas, oil, sugar, and vinegar. Really cream these together well, as this step is one of the most important in creating air pockets that will help give your cake a light, airy texture. In a separate bowl, combine dry ingredients. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix until combined.
Divide the batter between the 12 cups. The cups should be almost full, but not quite. The cupcakes hold their peaks well and will rise nicely, so don't worry if the cups seem a little more full than usual.
Bake in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes, until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Remove from tin and allow to cool on a wire rack. Top with peanut butter icing (below) and fresh shavings of a good dark chocolate.
Peanut Butter Icing:
makes enough for 12 liberally-iced cupcakes
2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup organic peanut butter, unsalted and unsweetened
1/4 cup nondairy milk
2 tablespoons coconut oil, brought to liquid form
1/2 tablespoon tapioca starch
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon salt
Make sure coconut oil is at liquid form (place jar in a bowl of hot water) before beginning. With an electric mixer, blend everything together for a couple of minutes until completely smooth.
05 November 2008
When I was in Oxford several years ago, I used to bake banana bread at least once a week. The delicious smells of banana and cinnamon would float through the hall and down the stairs, summoning the boys on the floor below and the girls on my floor to gather in our third-floor kitchen. There we would talk and enjoy each other's company as we satisfied ourselves with warm slices of the sweet, moist bread on those chilly autumn afternoons.
Since one of those housemates is in town this week from NYC, she asked me to make some banana bread for her. I know she's up for trying new things, so I decided to play with this recipe and make this banana bread extra special for her. I used a combination of spelt and whole wheat flours for all their healthy goodness, and I mixed in a little bit of teff and blackstrap molasses to add a mild earthy flavor with a subtly nuttiness. I balanced those flavors with a zing of orange zest and warming spices, and then I sweetened the whole thing with agave nectar and brown rice syrup. I divided the batter between four mini-loaf pans and topped each one with a different flavor that I thought would compliment the other flavors nicely. The result was a delicious, moist bread, packed with nutrition and flavor.
Spiced Orange Banana Bread:
makes 4 mini (5.5" x 3") loaves
105 g (1 cup) whole spelt flour
85 g (1/2 cup) whole wheat flour
40 g (1/4 cup) whole teff flour
3/4 cup agave
1/4 cup brown rice syrup
1/4 cup coconut oil (gently warmed, if necessary, until in liquid form)
1/4 cup nondairy milk, if necessary
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1/2 tablespoon blackstrap molasses
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon cardamom
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated orange zest
crushed pistachios, shredded coconut, chocolate chips, sliced almonds to sprinkle on top
1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease 4 mini (5.5" x 3") or 2 regular (8" x 4") loaf pans.
2. In a large mixing bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients. In another bowl, mix together wet ingredients (except for milk). Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients. The consistency should be like a smoothie. If it is too dry, add some of the nondairy milk until it is wet enough.
3. Pour batter into pans and sprinkle with desired toppings. I used crushed pistachios, chocolate chips, shredded coconut and sliced almonds. I think crystalized ginger would also be delicious.
4. Bake for 30 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean. They may appear a little darker in color than typical banana bread because of the teff and molasses, so don't take them out too soon.
About the nutrition of this recipe:
- Teff has a very high calcium content, and contains high levels of phosphorous, iron, copper, aluminum, barium, and thiamin. It is considered to have an excellent amino acid composition, with lysine levels higher than wheat or barley. Teff is high in protein, carbohydrates, and fiber.
- Spelt Flour is made from the spelt grain, which is a good source of protein, fiber and vitamin B3. Although some of these nutrients are lost as the grain is processed into a flour, using whole spelt flour ensures that you are still retaining much more of those nutrients than if you were using a more refined flour.
- Blackstrap Molasses is the most nutrient-dense (and also the least sweet) type of molasses. Just 2 teaspoons contains about 18% the RDA of manganese, 15% the RDA of iron, plus copper, calcium, magnesium, potassium, and vitamin B6)
- Virgin Coconut Oil has received a lot of press in the past decade. Make sure to select one that is free from trans fats. Coconut oil does contain saturated fat (in fact, it is mostly saturated fat), but studies have shown that plant-based saturated fats are an important part of our health and they may reduce the risk of certain cancers, strengthen the immune system, increase metabolism, and actually lower cholesterol. For more information, start here.
- Agave is an all-natural sweetener that is low on the glycemic index, so it won't make your blood sugar spike as easily.
- Brown Rice Syrup contains complex carbohydrates from brown rice and sprouted brown rice or barley, which also help inhibit dramatic shifts in blood sugar levels, and is much better than using refined sugar.
per mini loaf
calories: 704, fat: 15.5 g, carbs: 137 g, sugar: 85 g, fiber: 11 g, protein: 8 g, iron: 19%
per 1/4 of a mini loaf
calories: 176, fat: 4 g, carbs: 34 g, sugar: 21 g, fiber: 3 g, protein: 2 g, iron: 5%
Nutrition information is based on information provided by Bob's Red Mill Whole Spelt Flour, Bob's Red Mill Whole Grain Teff Flour, Almond Dream Unriched Unsweetened Enriched Almond Milk, Plantation Unsulphered Blackstrap Molasses, Madhava Organic Amber Agave Nectar, Lundberg Sweet Dreams Organic Brown Rice Syrup, Spectrum Organic Virgin Unrefined Coconut Oil.
01 November 2008
Ooooh, rye bread. One of my favorites. This recipe uses dark rye flour, blackstrap molasses, and a bit of cocoa powder to make an especially hearty loaf. Paired with the pumpkin seeds, which become perfectly toasted while the bread is baking, the result is a rich and complex flavor that can best be described as . . . addictive.
I based my rye bread recipe off of this one, but I changed it a little bit, so I'm rewriting it with my changes and with instructions for making it without a bread machine.
Dark Rye Bread:
makes one loaf
1 1/4 cups warm water, divided
4 tablespoons agave, divided
2 1/4 dry active yeast
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups rye flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon caraway seed
2 tablespoons blackstrap molasses
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds for topping
Proof yeast with about 1 teaspoon of agave in 1/4 cup of water. Set aside for about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine dry ingredients. After about 10 minutes, the yeast mixture should puff up. Add it to the flour mixture, and also add additional water, oil, and 3 tablespoons agave. Mix until well combined and then knead for about 8 minutes. Place in a well-oiled bowl and cover with a wet tea towel or cling wrap. Set in a warm place, away from drafts and allow to rise for about 1.5-2 hours, until dough size has doubled.
Punch down the dough and shape into a loaf. Place loaf onto a baking sheet; then, using a small, sharp knife, make a clean incision about 1/2" deep across the top of the loaf. Cover the loaf again and allow to rest 30 minutes - 1 hour; meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375 F. Just before you put the bread into the oven, lightly brush the top of the loaf with the remaining tablespoon of agave. Sprinkle with pumpkin seeds and then place in the oven.
Bake for about 40 minutes. The color will be dark because of the molasses, rye and cocoa, but don't take the bread out too soon. Measure the internal temperature of the bread (it should be at about 190F) to make sure it has fully cooked. If after 40 minutes the bread isn't quite fully cooked, you can turn off the oven and leave it in for a couple minutes longer, allowing the residual heat to finish cooking the loaf.