Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

I know the thing you've always wanted in your life is Chocolate Banana Bread Pudding.

This used to be one of my very favourite things ever a few years ago; it's out of Food & Drink magazine, which is, as I've mentioned before, the best food magazine ever. It's a little involved since you have to make banana bread first, but totally worth it. Also, this is probably the most delicious banana bread I've ever had / made, so it's something to make even if you don't want to go whole hog with the pudding.

Chocolate Banana Bread Pudding

Banana Bread
1/3 c almond milk
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp ground flax
1/3 c Earth Balance, room temp
1/2 c sugar
1 c mashed banana (about 2 large)
1 tsp vanilla
1 3/4 flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 c chocolate chips
1/2 c roasted chopped pecans (optional; I don't like nuts in banana bread so I just add another 1/4 c chocolate chips instead.)

Bread Pudding
1 carton Silk French Vanilla (I'm sure plain would be fine)
1 can full fat coconut milk
2/3 c sugar
1 tbsp ground flax
6 oz chocolate chips or chopped semi sweet chocolate
1/2 c mashed banana (1 large)

For Banana Bread

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9x9 baking dish.

Mix the milk and apple cider vinegar and flax. Beat the earth balance and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the milk mixture, banana and vanilla and beat together. It will look a bit curdled and gross, so don't expect it to come together. I promise it will be delicious. Sift in the flour, powder, soda and salt; stir until just combined. Add the chocolate chips (and nuts) and stir until well dispersed.

Pour into the prepared baking dish and spread evenly; bake for 30 - 35 minutes or until it tests clean. Remove from oven and let cool a few minutes before turning out onto a rack to cool the rest of the way. When it's fully cool you can commence the pudding part.

For Pudding

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9x9 baking dish and then line with parchment so that it comes over the sides a bit too (makes for easy, pretty presentation when you can pull it out in one piece).

Put the coconut milk and sugar in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Let come up to a boil, stirring often, and cook for 15 or so minutes, until reduced to 1 c of liquid. (At this point, put your chocolate into a medium bowl). Turn the heat down to low and add the creamer and flax and let it come up to a simmer. Turn it off and then strain it over the chocolate and stir until the chocolate is fully incorporated. Stir in the mashed banana. Let the chocolate cool; cut up the banana loaf into roughly 1" pieces and put into a bowl. Pour the chocolate over top and press the pieces of bread in, then let it sit to soak for about 15 minutes. Pour it into your prepared dish. Place the dish into a larger dish and pour about 1" of hot water into the larger dish. Place in the oven and bake for 55 - 60 min. Take out of the oven, remove from bath, and allow to cool fully before refrigerating.

To serve: you can eat it right from the fridge, at room temp, or warm. It's not finicky. A dollop of some sort of whip might be tasty, or maybe even a splash of creamer. We ate ours warmed for 30 seconds in the microwave, without any cream because I didn't think to buy any.

If you don't eat this for next Christmas breakfast, you're going on the naughty list.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Eggsnog Cupcakes

A friend's last day at work calls for delicious cupcake treats. Her request? Eggnog cupcakes. 'Tis the season, after all.

This recipe is more or less the vanilla cupcakes recipe from VCTOTW. Add a couple of spices, rum extract, and make it with eggnog instead of milk and voila! Eggsnog Cupcakes.

Many cakes

Eggsnog Cupcakes
1 c Vegan Eggnog (I used Almond Fresh Noel Nog)
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 1/4 c GF flour (I used Bob's Red Mill, and added 1/4 tsp xanthan gum)
2 tbsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 c sugar
1/3 c vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 tsp rum extract

Preheat the oven to 350; line a 12 cup cupcake pan with paper liners.

Mix the nog and vinegar and set aside.

Sift together all the dry ingredients and give 'em a stir. Make a well in the centre and add the nog mixture and the other wet ingredients. Stir really, really well. No lumps!

Pop in the oven for for 20 - 22 minutes; remove and let cool for 5 minutes before setting on a rack to cool completely before frosting.

Noel Nog. Good in cupcakes, good with rum.

Eggnog Frosting

1/2 c Earth Balance buttery spread (room temp)
1/4 c Earth Balance shortening (room temp)
3 c icing sugar
2 tbsp  eggnog
1 tsp vanilla

Nutmeg for sprinkling

Ian took these pictures and decided ramekins make cool pedestals.

Beat the shortening and butter until fluffy. Add 1 c of sugar; beat until well incorporated. Beat in a second cup; add 1 tbsp of nog. Add the last cup, last tbsp of nog, and vanilla, and beat on high till smooth and creamy. Pipe onto cupcakes; dust with a little bit of nutmeg.


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

National Cupcake Day

Want to save all the puppies and kitties? I do! I can't take any more into my home but in a move clearly designed for me and me alone, the SPCA and Humane Societies of Canada are having a fundraiser called National Cupcake Day. The idea is to bake cupcakes and sell them to raise money. They have lots of good ideas on their site for doing it through work if you have a place of work that would participate in this kind of thing.

Apparently there will be individual fund raising pages for everyone who registers, so keep an eye out for that, and then order lots of cupcakes from me, because you want to save the animals too!

Goober came from the humane society! Help save more Goobers!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Salty Oaty Cookies

Last night I had been intending to make a batch of Christmas cookies, but then got distracted by pinterest and these cookies. The cookies have no eggs or dairy in them, and a simple sub of Earth Balance for the butter made them vegan, which is lovely. Sometimes I just want to think about what to sub. The filling calls for 2 tbsp milk, for which I subbed almond milk, as always, and again Earth Balance for the butter.

You could eat them without filling, too.

The ganache was a bit too soft for my liking and I think next time I would probably go with a different recipe, though I have to admit that I did really like the flavour having used cocoa powder instead of melted chocolate like most ganaches call for.

The saltiness is delicious. I used Murray River flakes; I would definitely recommend going the flake route vs the chunky sea salt route. Chunky sea salt might over do it even if you only sprinkle on a couple of grains.

You probably could actually make these as Christmas cookies; I imagine the filling would freeze and thaw just fine. I might actually toss one in a freezer bag and see what happens.

Or I might just eat them all with coffee or tea over the course of this week.