Category Archives: Dessert

Replace Gluten AND Eggs? It’s Worth A Try.

Warning:  I’m not a *real* chef, AND I got a C+ in organic chemistry, B+ in inorganic chemistry.  Proceed with caution.

Excess zucchini means science experiment time!  I have lots of vegan friends and recently a handful of gluten free friends, so I decided to see if I could please both of them with a summertime staple:  zucchini bread.

First, the research for a gluten free bread recipe was pretty easy, but…wait Xanthan Gum?  What is that?  I had an idea of what that did in gluten free baking but no idea where it came from or where even to get such a thing, certainly I wasn’t going out for it.  Thanks to Wikipedia I again know way more about an ingredient than I care to, thus, had to find a replacement which WAS NOT a chemical.  It dawned on me that flax basically can be used as a sub for anything….so why not as a sub for xanthan gum.  Turns out, lots of people think xanthan gum is icky like I do, and use flax as a sub, teaspoon for teaspoon.  Now…in my vegan banana bread recipe, I also subbed flax and water for eggs, decided to try that in this one too.  Science experiment complete.  I crossed my fingers hoping it would taste okay and had SUPER results!

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This bread came to work with me to our staff meeting and noshers said it was super moist, and slightly spicy.  I particularly appreciated the crispy exterior and the chewy interior.  Bonus is that it didn’t need a spread of any kind, it stands on its own two feet.

This recipe makes one loaf.

  • 1 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 1 ½ cups freshly shredded zucchini
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs (or to Veganize it: 1T flax seed ground with 3 T hot water)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla (check this, some have gluten in them-gross)
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 ½ cups GF Flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill chickpea and fava bean)
  • 1 teaspoon flax sprinkles for each cup of flour
  • up to 13 teaspoons hot water (I know this sounds random, but it depends on the type of gluten free flour you use how much water you will need)

Shred the zucchini, allow it to rest on paper towel to reduce moisture and chop the walnuts in a food processor or by smashing them in a plastic bag and set them aside.

Use a mixer to beat the flax/water mixture and add the sugar, oil and vanilla. Add the baking soda, cinnamon, salt and baking powder. Slowly pour in the flour and flax sprinkles (dry) until well mixed. Now if you have made bread before, you will know that the end consistency is not thick like cookie dough, but rather, thicker than cake batter, so to get from cookie dough to almost cake batter, slowly add hot water 1 teaspoon at a time until you have a workable quick bread viscosity.  For me, that took 13 teaspoons.

Last, by hand, mix in the zucchini and walnuts. Pour in greased & floured loaf pan and bake at 350F degrees for 55-75 minutes. Let cool.

Buckle Up…Another Raspberry Recipe

If you like berries but don’t want to be overwhelmed with a sweet dessert-like cake, this recipe is for you.  Tastes great with coffee, or fatten it up with some ice cream.  Be careful not to overbake or it will be dry, if anything, underbake it slightly so it retains its tender texture.

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Berry Buckle

  • 2 C all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ C shortening
  • 2 C berries (mixed, raspberries, or blueberries)
  • ¾ C sugar
  • 1 egg
  • ½ C milk
Topping:
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ C sugar
  • ¼ C Earth Balance, or butter
  • 1/3 C all purpose flour

Beat shortening and gradually add sugar, egg and milk.  Add dry ingredients.  Stir in berries gently.  Spread into 9 x 13 pan.  Cut butter into flour, sugar and cinnamon.  Sprinkle over batter.  Bake at 350 degrees F for 30-40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Saved The Best For Crisp

While making the raspberry jam from the previous post with some of the mushier berries, I couldn’t wait to make this crisp from Ina Garten’s recipe with the perfect berries.  Alas, I opened up the fridge and no butter.  Each of Ina Garten’s and Paula Deen’s recipes begin with butter, so a trip to the store was needed before I could begin, but the outcome was well worth the wait.

You could make this vegan with Earth Balance sticks pretty easily.  I like to over bake the crisp just a little so it’s super crunchy.  It can be baked ahead of time and reheated but who in the world has the willpower to let a hot fruit crisp hangout for future consumption?  Not this girl.

For your immediate consumption, I give you a modified version of Ina’s Peach and Raspberry Crisp, modified for the raspberry lover.

  • 1 orange, zested
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 1/2 cups plus 2 to 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 pints raspberries
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup quick-cooking oatmeal
  • 1/2 pound cold unsalted butter, diced

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter the inside of a 10 by 15 by 2 1/2-inch oval baking dish.

Combine in a large bowl, add the orange zest, 1/4 cup granulated sugar, 1/2 cup brown sugar, and 2 tablespoons of flour. Toss well. Gently mix in the raspberries. Allow the mixture to sit for 5 minutes. If there is a lot of liquid, add 1 more tablespoon of flour.   Pour this mixture into the baking dish and smooth the top.

Combine 1 1/2 cups flour, 1 cup granulated sugar, 1/2 cup brown sugar, salt, oatmeal, and the cold, diced butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on low speed until the butter is pea-sized and the mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle evenly on top of the raspberries. Bake for 1 hour, until the top is browned and crisp and the juices are bubbly. Serve immediately, or store in the refrigerator and reheat in a preheated 350 degree F oven for 20 to 30 minutes, until warm.

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June Strawberries = Vegan Strawberry Shortcake!!!!!!!

I have always, always loved strawberries.  Like, eat them until you are nearly sick to your stomach love strawberries.  In June I always think, I should really get to a pick-your-own berry farm, but inevitably June becomes September and I have certainly NOT made it to a pick-your-own farm.  June in Michigan brings early berries so today on my way home from Grand Haven, I stopped at a market on Lake Michigan Drive and bought my first summer berries.  Summer early berry season is short, about 3-4 weeks if you are lucky, so get out there! Between this recipe for Strawberry Shortcake and basic inhalation, I managed to polish off 2 pints in about 8 hours.  It’s the best kind of sick you can be.  Berry sick.

When I was a kid, Grandma Helen made the shortcake, and Aunt Mar made the crisps (we will talk crisp, crumble, betty, etc in the fall).  This is the baking powder biscuit recipe I’ve taken from Grandma Helen’s collection and slightly modified to be vegan for all my animal lovin’ friends.

Vegan Baking Powder Biscuits

Sift before measuring.
1. Preheat oven to 450 F. Sift flour with baking powder and salt into medium bowl.
2. Cut shortening into flour mixture with a pastry blender or 2 knives (used scissors-fashion), until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal.
3. Make a well in the center. Pour in 3/4 cup milk all at once. Stir quickly round the bowl with a fork. If mixture seems dry, add a little more milk to form dough just moist enough (but not wet) to leave side of bowl and form ball.
4. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface to knead. Gently pick up dough from side away from you; fold over toward you; press out lightly with palm of hand. Give the dough a quarter turn. Repeat ten times.
5. Gently roll out dough, from center, to 3/4 inch thickness.
6. With floured 2 1/2 inch biscuit cutter or a juice glass like Grandma Helen did it, cut straight down into dough, being careful not to twist cutter.
7. Place on ungreased cookie sheet; bake 12 to 15 minutes.

Makes 8 (2 1/2 inch) biscuits.

DROP BISCUITS:

When I’m too lazy to roll and cut, I make drop biscuits by using the recipe for Baking Powder Biscuits, but increasing milk to 1 1/4 cup. Do not knead or roll out. Drop dough, by tablespoonfuls, onto lightly greased cookie sheet; bake at 450 F. for 10 minutes, or until golden brown.

Makes 20.

For the rest of the strawberry shortcake, I took a pint of berries, washed, hulled and sliced them and mixed them in a deep bowl with 1 T sugar and 1 T peach schnapps (don’t judge me – any flavored liquor you like will do here).  Left this mixture on the counter to create magic while I made the biscuits.  Upcycle the remaining 3/4 C or so of the coconut milk into a flat vegan whipped cream by using your hand mixer on high, toss in a 1/2 tsp of sugar and 1 tsp lemon thyme for fun.

To plate, cut a biscuit in half, spoon in strawberries, top with vegan whipping cream and a mint sprig.  Store remaining biscuits in the freezer for peach and nectarine season.  Shortcake isn’t just for berries.

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When life gives you over-ripe bananas, find an egg replacement and add a few walnuts to make Vegan Banana Bread

I’ve been a vegetarian for quite some time now, and I have always had strong feelings about going vegan, as in, I’d really love to and then I start thinking…of cheese, eggs and Greek yogurt.

Confession:  I am a dairy whore.  The thought of not eating Habanero Mango Cheese from Horrocks ever again frankly makes me nearly faint.  Like most things, jumping in to a vegan lifestyle with both feet is so scary, so I will make small changes where possible and hopefully will get there someday.

My friends Kolene (@suckahpunch) and Jon (@jon_dunn) however, have basically jumped in head first.  I’m so proud of them.  They began a Twitter group Vegan GR (@vegangr) and a website where they scope out vegan friendly restaurants and vendors around GR and basically run around doing good all day long.  I’m serious.  Case in point, Kolene’s birthday wish is raising money for Carol’s Ferals a non-profit feline organization which performs TNR (Trap-Neuter-Return) services in Western Michigan and Jon works for Best Friends Animal Society  where he is the wizard behind their online presence.  I know, right?  You want to hate them, but you cannot help but love these people!  I don’t even LIKE cats and I gave to Kolene’s birthday wish.  They are compelling people for the case of a vegan lifestyle.  Lots of give in those two.  They inspire me to try, at least sometimes, to foster a vegan diet and so perhaps with their help, I will kick my dairy habit and become a vegan too.

I’ve posted vegan baked goods on this blog in the past (Mexican Hot Chocolate Snickerdoodles) from PPK’s Isa Chandra, but this recipe I took from this little cutie named Claire who runs this blog called Vegan Cooking.  Check her out and while you are at it, bake a vegan dessert like this one I’m giving to Kolene for her birthday.

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Vegan Banana Nut Bread

  • 1 3/4 Cups All Purpose Flour
  • 2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/4 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1 Cup Demerera Sugar (I subbed brown sugar)
  • 1/2 Cup Chopped Pecans or Walnuts
  • Equivalent of 2 Eggs Using Egg Replacer (I used 1T Golden Ground Flax Seed Sprinkles which I picked up at TJ Maxx of all places for about $3, mixed with 3T tap water)
  • 2-3 Ripe Bananas Mashed
  • 1/2 Cup Vegetable Oil
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1/2 tsp Fresh Ground Nutmeg

Directions

Preheat oven to 350°F.
Sift together dry ingredients. Stir in nuts, egg replacer, bananas, oil and vanilla. Mix well.
Pour into greased loaf pan and bake for 45-60 mins (until knife comes out clean). Cool for 5 mins before removing from pan. Cool on wire rack.