Friday, November 4, 2016

Iced Vovos - vegan

I have been having some fun veganising some classic sweets in the last few weeks. Using aquafaba (the juice from a can of beans, mainly chickpeas), sweets with marshmallow have been fairly easy to make.

Iced Vovos have been on my list of things to veganise for some months, I got the final push when a lady (a member of Australian Vegan Foodies) mentioned a lovely story about her granddad and how iced Vovos reminded her of him. 

So here is my first attempt. I think the cookies are a bit on the dry/crunchy side. They probably could do with less cooking at the start and letting them dry out more once the marshmallow icing is drying in the oven. I baked the cookies for 15 minutes but seeing the final results I think that 8 minutes would be sufficient.

Ingredients

For the cookies

90gms of nuttlelex (or other vegan butter/margarine that is able to be creamed)
200gms of raw caster sugar
80gms of aquafaba
370gms of flour
2 tsp baking powder


For the icing

120gms of sugar
70gms of aquafaba
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp vanilla extract
Queen pink food colouring (optional)


To assemble

150 grams of finely grated dessicated coconut
300gms of raspberry jam

Method

To make the cookies

  1. Sift flour and baking powder and set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius.
  3. Prepare two cookie trays by lining them with baking paper.
  4. With hand mixer, cream the nuttelex until it turns pale. 
  5. Add the sugar one tablespoon at a time, and keep mixing on high with the hand mixer until all the sugar is incorporated.
  6. Add one tablespoon of aquafaba at a time, while continuing to mix on high.
  7. Once all aquafaba is incorporated, add the flour mix, and using a flat knife, mix it with the butter mix.
  8. Turn out the mix onto a floured surface, to make a soft dough. Do not over knead, just enough to bring the dough together.
  9. Roll out the dough between two pieces of baking paper, roll it to approximately 4 millimeters.
  10. Cut the dough into rectangles using a cutter or with a knife. 
  11. Place on a baking tray covered with baking paper, and bake for 8 minutes.
  12. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

To make the icing/marshmallow

  1. Place aquafaba in the bowl of a stand mixer.
  2. Mix initially on low speed and turn it to high when the mix is frothy.
  3. Mix for approximately 10 minutes until stiff peaks form.
  4. Add one tablespoon of sugar at a time, and continue mixing, until all sugar is mixed in.
  5. Add food colouring if desired.
  6. Add the xantan gum and mix for two more minutes.

To assemble

  1. Place the mashmallow mix in a piping bag with a small star tip.
  2. Pipe stars all long each long edge of the cookie, and cover imediately with coconut.
  3. Once all the cookies are done, shake off any excess coconut and place in the oven at 100 degrees celcius for 20 minutes. This will allow the marshmallow to set.
  4. Remove cookies from the oven and allow to cool.
  5. Heat the raspberry jam in a pot on the stove. When it has become runny, strain it using a fine mesh metal strainer.
  6. Spread the hot strained raspberry jam down the middle of the cookie and allow to cool.
Store in one layer in an airtight container.
Makes 24.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Alfajores de dulce de leche cubiertos en chocolate

I love love love alfajores. I do not make them often, and I've never made them covered in chocolate before.

But here they are, they are easy, and yummy!!!

I used Callebaut dark chocolate buttons, but you can use any vegan chocolate of your choice.

Ingredients

120gms Plain flour
120gms Self Raising flour
125gms Nuttelex (or other vegan butter/margarine that can be creamed)
100gms raw caster sugar
4tbs (60gms) aqua faba


To assemble

1/2 a can of soy "dulce de leche"
300gms of vegan dark chocolate

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
  2. Prepare a cookie sheet by lining with baking paper.
  3. Sift flours together and set aside.
  4. Cream the nuttelex with a hand mixer until light and fluffy.
  5. Start adding sugar to the nuttelex whilst mixing, ensuring that it stays light and creamy.
  6. Add the aqua faba,  one tablespoon at a time, whilst you continue to mix. Ensure that each tablespoon is fully incorporated before adding the next. This will ensure that the nuttelex/sugar/aquafaba mix stays light and fluffy and doesn't separate.
  7. Using a spoon add all the flour to the mix and then gently fold in.
  8. Scrape all the contents of your bowl onto a well floured bench.
  9. Lightly knead, until the dough comes together. Do not over knead of the dough will become tough.
  10. Roll out to about 5 millimeters between two pieces of baking paper.
  11. Cut with a round cutter, i used one that was about 4cm in diameter (about one inch), and place on the prepared cookie trays.
  12. Bake for approximately 8 minutes. The cookies should not brown.
  13. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
  14. Once cool, spread about 1 tsp of "dulce de leche" on a cookie, and press another cookie to join together.
  15. Once sandwiched all the cookies with the dulce de leche, melt the chocolate.
  16. Dip each cookie in the chocolate, and remove using two forks. Place on a cookie tray to set.
If you can't get dulce de leche, you can fill these with anything you like, but it is traditional to use the caramel. You may also like to try making a caramel with dates. 

Enjoy!!

Edited 6 Nov 2016
After posting this recipe, I was given this link by Katrina Stuart of Plantified, for a vegan soy condensed milk which can be turned into Dulce de Leche.

Yesterday I tried it, I doubled the recipe and did not add the butter. I ended up simmering it for three hours. It is superb. So for those who cannot get dulce de leche ready made, then this is the best option. Actually, it is the best option hands down. I will never buy the ready made dulce de leche again. This one is too good. I want to play around with the sugar used to get a more carmelly flavour, but the texture is amazing. Thanks Katrina!!!

For those in Australia, I used 2 litres of Soy Milky, and raw organic sugar from Woolies.


Thursday, October 27, 2016

Spelt bread rolls

Ingredients

170gms cannellini bean aquafaba
140gms warm soy milk
30gms oil
3 TBS Rice Bran Syrup
1 tsp salt
560gms white spelt flour
1.5 TBS Wheat Gluten
1 tsp psyllium husk powder
1 pinch of powdered ginger
1 pinch of citric acid
2 tsp dry yeast

Method

  1. Sift together the spelt flour, wheat gluten, psyllium husk, ginger & citric acid. Set aside.
  2. Place ingredients into your bread machine in the order listed above, then add the dry sifted ingredients and finish with the yeast.
  3. Turn your machine to the dough setting.
  4. Remove dough from the machine once it has risen, and punch down, cut into 10 pieces and roll into balls or other desired roll shape.
  5. Place rolls on a tray covered with baking paper.
  6. Cover rolls with a clean tea towel and set in a warm place to rise (for about 30 minutes).
  7. Preheat oven to 200C.
  8. Optional: Whisk together 2 TBS of olive oil and 2 TBS soy milk, brush on the top of the rolls, and sprinkle with sesame or poppy seeds.
  9. Bake rolls for 20 minutes or until they've developed a nice golden colour.
  10. Eat warm with soup or buttered or however you like.
Enjoy!!!


NOTE: If you want to do the knot keiser shape and haven't done it before, have a look at youtube, they have a lot of keiser roll recipes where they show how to shape them.




Friday, October 14, 2016

Donuts

Weeks! It's been weeks since I've been  meaning to try making donuts again. The first time I made them, a few months ago, they were too heavy. I figured that making the dough with the breadmaker would help. AND IT DID!!! Plus I found a better recipe.

It is so simple, probably can be done a lot quicker than what I did. But I just wanted to make the dough the previous night, and then cook them in the morning. I combined a few different methods that I read about.

Some notes on the ingredients. You may be wondering why I used psyllium husk, ginger and citric acid. Or you may not, but I'm going to tell you anyway.

I few weeks ago, when I started baking breads, I read about bread improvers. I used a commercially available one which I thought was vegan, but then the manufacturer confirmed that one of the ingredients was not. So that ingredient was abandoned.

A lot of people who are not in Australia were also asking where to get a bread improver, so I did a little bit of research and found a home made one which I have been using a variation of,  in all my bread making.

This is the article about it. It uses lecithin granules, ginger, citric acid and wheat gluten. However I did not have lecithin granules, and I had read in another article that psyllium husk was a good bread conditioner. So I used that.

*Psyllium husk is quite coarse, so I blended a cup in a nut grinder (but you can use a blender) and have stored it in an air tight jar. I use it whenever I make breads now. I have also started using it for cakes, all recipes in experimental stage.

For those of you with little kids, psyllium husk makes a really great easy to do slime. My five year old loves it, and it's a lot better than the nasty chemical filled ones you can buy from the shops.

**************************************************************
Update - 16/10/2016
**************************************************************
I originally had the thickness of the dough at 1/4 inch, however this morning I tried it at 1/2-3/4 inch and it is a lot better. I have edited the recipe to that thickness.
**************************************************************

Ingredients


8 TBS aqua faba (from chickpeas)
1 cup of warm soy milk (I use Soy Milky)
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup of sugar
1/4 cup of sunflower oil

Sift together
4 cups of plain flour
4 TBS wheat gluten (vital gluten)
2 tsp psyllium husk powder*
1/8 tsp of ginger powder
1/8 tsp of citric acid

3 tsp yeast

Rice bran oil or other oil without strong flavour for frying.

Method

Breadmaker


  1. Place ingredients in the breadmaker in the order listed above, starting with the aqua faba, and finishing with the sifted dry ingredients, and the yeast on top.
  2. Start the dough setting, let the dough rise. The breadmaker I have mixes and kneads (30 minutes) and then rises (1 hour).
  3. Remove dough from breadmaker. (if you want to make them right away, then go to step 5)
  4. Punch down the dough, form into a ball and place in a large oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge overnight.
  5. Lightly flour your bench/table and place dough down. Punch dough down and roll out to about 1/2-3/4 inch in thickness. 
  6. Cut into desired shapes and place on a baking tray lined with non stick paper. Cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm spot to rise for an hour.
  7. Heat oil in a deep pot or frying pan. You need enough oil so that when the donuts are placed in, they are floating and not touching the bottom. Pinch a small piece of dough and place it in the oil, if it floats to the top, with bubbling oil around it, the oil is ready for frying.
  8. Place your donuts in the oil, and cook them on each side for a few minutes. If they start to brown too quickly then the oil is too hot.
  9. Remove from oil, drain on kitchen paper, and then dust with sugar or fill as desired.

Hand Method

  1. Place milk, sugar and aqua faba in a jug. 
  2. Add yeast, and mix, set aside for 10 minutes to proof.
  3. Make a well in the center of your dry ingredients, and pour in yeast/milk mix, add vanilla and oil. Mix together to form a dough.
  4. Knead on a floured surface for 15 minutes until the dough becomes smooth and elastic. You can do this on a stand mixer, as the dough is quite firm.
  5. Place dough in an oiled bowl to rise in a warm spot for 40 minutes.
  6. Follow steps 4-9 above if you are not making them right away, otherwise steps 5-9.

These can be filled with caramel, raspberry jam or rolled in caster sugar with cinnamon. I only fried half of the dough this morning, the rest of the dough is in the fridge for tomorrow. I will ice those with aqua faba icing, and put some sprinkles. I will share pictures when done.

Let me know in the comments if you have any questions.

Enjoy!!!



Friday, October 7, 2016

Vegan lemonade scones

These scones are super easy. Until I discovered this recipe when I was vegetarian, I had never made a light and fluffy delicious scone. I can bake, but scones were my enemy. Then I discovered this recipe.

When I made them last, instead of using lemonade, because I had none, I used sparkling mineral water, some sugar and lemon juice. They turned out fantastic.

However this time I had lemonade on hand.

I also tried to make a whipped butter/clotted cream to go with it. That was ok, not fabulous, but I will share the recipe anyway, as it is lighter than just using margarine.

I got the Alpro soy cream from IGA (Brunswick Supa IGA). The Cruelty Free store also stocks it, and other IGAs stores that stock vegan items, should have it too.

I would love some tips on the whipped cream. I am not a fan of the coconut one for scones, because it is not light enough. Anyone out there made a successful whipped cream type topping?

I think a tablespoon of sugar and a 1/2 tsp of salt would make the flavour of the scones better.

Scones

Ingredients


3 cups of plain flour
3 tsp baking powder
1 cup of lemonade
1 250ml container of vegan soy cream.

Method


  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees celcius.
  2. Sift flour and baking powder together in a large bowl.
  3. Pour cream and lemonade into a jug.
  4. Make a well in the center of your flour mix, pour in lemonade and cream. Stir with a flat knife or spatula until combined. If your mix is too wet, put one tablespoon at a time of extra flour. 
  5. Knead lightly for about 10 seconds till the dough comes together. You do not want to over knead or they will turn out tough. The less you have to knead, the better. Roll out the dough to 3 cms thickness. Cut with a round cutter.
  6. Place on baking tray and bake for 15 minutes.
  7. Serve with butter/cream and jam.

Whipped Butter

Ingredients

35gms Nuttelex (Coconut)
2-3 TBS aqua faba
4 tsp icing sugar


Method


Whip the nuttelex in a small jug. I have a balloon type whisk that attaches to my stick blender. It is perfect for this. Then start adding the aqua faba one teaspoon at a time, until you get the desired consistency. You can actually make the nuttelex stretch quite a bit, as in increase in volume, it is a lot lighter but not like whipped cream at all. More like a whipped butter. Add sugar to taste, and whip. Serve on scones.




Saturday, October 1, 2016

Dairy Free Croissants

I love croissants. I haven't had one for close to a year. I have been vegan since January, and haven't had one since, and probably for some months prior to that.

I have seen some lovely croissant recipes, but they take days to make. I am a very impatient person and I also do not have the time to spend days on a recipe. It would mean not cooking anything else hahaha.

So I went in search of a recipe that could be done within a day and then set on veganising it.

When I was making challah last week, I came across "The Bread Kitchen". The lady that owns the channel is so charming, and although it is not a vegan channel, she has quickly gained me as a fan.

I watched a few recipes from other channels, and got some ideas from those also. Titli Nihaan's recipe is done by hand. I wanted to make mine in the bread maker, so that when I was making the dough, I could also work on something else (seitan steaks).

So it is 100% possible to make this by hand, the bread maker is absolutely not required.

I will explain the recipe as I made it, and then you can see Nihaan's method for making the dough by hand, although those of you that make bread, the method is the same.
  1. Warm the milk, add the yeast, mix and let it sit for 10 minutes until frothy.
  2. Sift all dry ingredients together set aside.
  3. Add aquafaba to yeast/milk mixture.
  4. Make a well in the center of your dry ingredients, and pour the milk/aquafaba/yeast mixture in.
  5. Knead to make a nice elastic dough. Rest for 10 minutes.
  6. Follow from step 7 in the Method below.
Some notes on the ingredients.
I decided to try a homemade Bread Improver as per this recipe. This is because the commercial bread improver is hard to find, and even harder to find a vegan version. I also thought that making it from scratch would make it a lot easier for everyone to follow the recipe.

Now the improver recipe calls for lecithin, and I didn't have any. I had read in another recipe that the baker used psyllium husk as a bread improver. I decided to use psyllium husk instead of Lecithin. I find that psyllium husk is quite coarse, so I have put a cup of it in my seed/coffee grinder, and ground it up to a powder. I use that whenever a recipe calls for psyllium husk. You can blend it in your blender as well.

I used Nina's Vegan butter made with aquafaba. I would suggest that you make that first, as it does take time to set. I made it as I was making the dough and in between other things, so it was quite soft when it came to put it on the dough. It obviously still worked, but I don't think it is ideal.
I recommend making the butter with deodorised coconut oil. I didn't have any, and the coconut flavour is very noticeable. The taste overall of the croissant is great, but they would be better without the coconut flavour through it, as it would taste more legit.

When you make the butter, do not set it in a container, spread it onto some parchment paper on top of a baking tray or a plate. Spread it to a large square size, about 1/4 inch thick. Cover it and put it in the freezer. Then set to making your dough.
I didn't use apple cider vinegar in the butter recipe, but citric acid. I don't think this makes a difference. I also didn't add any colouring (tumeric) as the butter was for the croissants and it didn't really matter what the colour was.

Ingredients

400gms plain white flour
250mls soy milk
60gms caster sugar
1 tsp salt
2 tsp yeast
6 TBS aquafaba
Bread improver

Homemade Bread Improver (Adapted from this recipe)
1/2 tsp psyllium husk powder (Blended up psyllium husk)
3 TBS Gluten Flour (or Vital Wheat Gluten)
Pinch of citric acid
Pinch of powdered ginger


Method


  1.  Make Nina's butter. Do not put it in the fridge to set. Instead spread it on a piece of parchment paper on top of a plate or baking tray. Make it about 1/4 inch in thickness. Cover with plastic wrap and place it in the freezer. If you're making the butter the day before, then there is no need to set it in the freezer. The fridge will be sufficient. If the butter is rock solid, let it come to room temperature before you go on to step 8 below.
  2. Sift all dry ingredients together except for the sugar and yeast.
  3. Place the milk, aqua faba, and sugar in the bread maker.
  4. Place the flour mixture on top, and then add the yeast.
  5. Set your bread maker to dough setting, stop the bread maker once it has kneaded the dough, you DO NOT want it to rise.
  6. Take the dough out of the bread maker and wrap it in plastic and rest it for 10 minutes.
  7. Roll out the dough to a rectangle, double the length of the square of butter you made previously. Place the square of butter in the middle of the rectangle, and fold the dough over to cover the butter. Pinch the sides to seal in the butter.  Fold it in half again as pictured, Place dough in a plastic bag, and put in the fridge for 45 minutes.
  8. Take dough out of the fridge, and roll into a rectangle, fold as pictured, and place it back in the bag and into the fridge for 1 hour.

  9. Repeat step 8 one last time and leave the dough in the fridge for one hour.
  10. Take dough out of the fridge and roll out into a rectangle. Cut in half, and cut each half into triangles. I didn't measure, I just did it by eye. It is not an exact science unless you want each of your croissants to be the exact same size. In the "Bread Kitchen" video it is recommended to make a small cut on the short side of the triangle to make it easier to fold into a crescent shape. Stretch the long side of the dough as pictured and roll into a crescent shape.
  11. Place your croissants on a tray and let them proof for up to three hours on the kitchen bench. Alternatively (as I did) you can place them in the fridge overnight (cover your tray with plastic wrap). When it comes to baking, leave them on your kitchen bench for up to one hour so they can come to room temperature.
  12. Preheat oven to 180C-350F.
  13. Bake for 20-25 minutes until they've reached a nice golden colour.
  14. Place on a cooling rack for 10-15 minutes. They can be eaten warm or cold. I prefer them cold.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Plaited Challah Bread

This bread is something that I tried when I was a teenager and have loved ever since. I have not had it for many many years, and I always thought it would be daunting to try making it. It just looked so difficult.

One of the vegan cooking groups that I belong to on Facebook (Australian Vegan Foodies) has a weekly theme. All the members get to vote on a theme and the winner theme is announced on Sunday. It is just a bit of fun but I always like to make something from the theme.

This week's theme was right up my alley, "Baked goods". I love love love looooooove baking. So I decided to finally give challah a go. I went in search of a recipe, and having just been given a bread maker by my mum (she gave me her old one), I went in search of a recipe for the breadmaker.

I found this one, and set on veganising it. I usually write down all the ingredients and then note my substitutions. I like to weigh everything if cup measurements are used, given that there is a difference between imperial and metric cup measurements.

In my excitement I dumped the flour into the bowl without taking note if I had pressed "tare" on the scales or not. There would be a 90gm difference in the recipe if I had not pressed it. I thought that it would not be a problem, so I weighed the same cup amounts of another flour. The weight was more than 90gms off, which told me, that I had not measured the ingredients correctly.

So today I went back to the drawing board, made the recipe slowly and made a few more substitutions.

The dough is kneading in the breadmaker at this very moment.

The bread maker takes 30 minutes to mix and knead the dough, and another hour to rise.
I have listed the ingredients below in metric cups and grams. The metric cup is 250mls. The tablespoon I used, is a 15ml one, if you have a 20ml tablespoon, then you can use 3 x 1 tsp for each tablespoon, as one teaspoon is 5mls. I hope that is not too confusing.
The recipe is very straight forward.

NOTE: In my previous attempt, I used vegan margarine instead of oil. I also used kala namak, to get an eggy flavour, and did not use the bread improver. The bread improver made a huge difference, and the dough rose to double the amount than it did yesterday.
Today I used the tumeric to give the bread the yellowy colour it would normally get from the egg yolks. I cannot taste it.

*******************
UPDATE - 30/09/2016
*******************
I just wanted to add a note about a couple of ingredients and some common questions that have come out after posting this recipe in the Vegan Meringue - Hits and Misses Facebook Group.

Bread Improver - is a mix of various acids and enzymes that serve to strengthen the gluten in the flour and feed the yeast, both of which yield a better loaf. (Source: Seasoned Advice). Here is an article on Wikipeadia that give you more information.

I just wanted to say that I have read in places where people say that bread improver is not required, and its just a gimmick. I can tell you from the experience of making two versions of this bread, only one day apart, that bread improver IS NOT A GIMMICK. It certainly makes a difference to the dough. The volume of the dough was at least double once risen, the bread once cooked was at least half as big, and the texture was so much better. Here is the link a home made improver recipe.
**************************
UPDATE - 1/10/2016
**************************
I have removed the links to the bread improvers online as one of the readers from the USA called the US company that sells the bread improver, and it is not vegan. Erring on the side of caution, I will just leave the link to the home made bread improver. This is a recipe online for a natural bread improver. I will give this a try next time I make this bread. Here is the link to the recipe.

Kala Namak - or bire noon literally "black salt" is a type of rock salt, a salty and pungent-smelling condiment used in South Asia. It is also known as "Himalayan black salt", Sulemani namak, bit lobon, kala noon, or pada loon. Wikipedia
Please note that this is an optional ingredient. The purpose of it is to give the dough a bit of an egg flavour given that this egg is traditionally made with eggs. A word of warning, once this salt is wet it will give an awful smell, I found it stuck to my nostrils for hours!!!
I would not recommend trying it, as when i did, the taste was in my mouth for about a day!
I have seen this type of salt added to scrambled tofu to give the egg flavour.

No Bread Maker - Many people have asked me about making the dough for this bread without a bread maker. I have not had much success in doing this, but then I am not very good a kneading at all. I have heard of people having great success in kneading bread with a stand mixer. I found this article which has some tips on converting a bread machine recipe to be done by hand or stand mixer.
Let me know if you try it and it works.

**************************
UPDATE - 6th of October 2016
**************************
Bread Improver - I have made two more batches of this challah since this recipe was published. I used the home made bread improver. I did not have any lecithin granules. I read in another recipe that the baker used psyllium husk to improve the bread. I used that instead. I blend the husk in a coffee grinder so that it is like a powder. All the ingredients suggested by the recipe are sifted with the flour prior to adding them to the bread maker.

Ingredients


Ingredients Volume
(Metric Cup/ 15ml Tablespoon)
Weight
Warm Soy Milk1 Cup 250 gms
Aquafaba 6 tablespoons 95 gms
Oil 1/4 Cup 65 gms
Salt 1 teaspoon
Sugar 1/4 Cup 60 gms
Flour3 3/4 Cups 575 gms
Yeast3 teaspoons 15 gms
Bread Improver1 Tablespoon 12 gms
Tumeric (Optional)1/4 teaspoon
Kala Namak (Optional)1/4 teaspoon


Method

  1. Place the ingredients into the bread maker in the order listed above.
  2. Set your bread maker to dough setting and wait until completed.
  3. Take the dough out of your bread maker and place on a well floured surface.
  4. Divide the dough into even pieces. You can divide the dough in as many pieces as you want to braid. 3, 4 5, 6. I decided to try 8 for this one, but the process is exactly the same as if you're doing 6.
  5. Place the finished plait on your tray and put in a warm spot to rise for 30 minutes.
  6. Preheat your oven to 200 C (400 F).
  7. Make your glaze and brush your bread all over.
  8. Place in the oven and lower your oven to 190 C (374 F) and bake for 30 minutes. If you find that your bread is browning too quickly, lower your oven to 180C (350F).
  9. Remove from the oven and set aside on a cake rack to cool down.

Glaze

1 Tablespoon Maple Syrup
1 Tablespoon Rice Bran Syrup
1 Tablespoon Sunflower Oil

Mix together until combined and use to brush on the bread.


I recorded the whole braiding process on video, but because I could not see what I was doing, when I played the video, my arm is covering the whole part of the braiding, so it can't be seen.


Here is a link to another YouTube video that has some really lovely braiding techniques.

Enjoy!!! Shana Tova!!!



Friday, September 16, 2016

Royals, royals, royals

Ever since I discovered the Vegan Meringue Facebook group (and subsequently became vegan), I have been meaning to make vegan Royals.

Finally got to it today. They are easy, but time consuming. There is no particular cooking skill required to make these. And they are delicious.

I will tackle some other bickie favourites in future.

Wagon Wheels, watch out, I'm coming for you!!!

Please note that this was an experimental recipe, so the amount of marshmallow I made was far too much for the number of cookies. I got 21 cookies out of this mix, however also keep in mind I had a five year old steal a piece of dough ;)


You can choose to make the same amount of marshmallow and double the cookie recipe and the amount of chocolate you melt.  Alternatively, you can make snowballs with the remainder of the marshmallow mix.

Enjoy and let me know how you go!

NOTE: The cookie recipe is a modified version of my Pasta Frola dough. The marshmallow is the same I used for the snowballs :)

Biscuit

Ingredients


180gms white spelt flour
6 gms baking powder
65gms nuttelex
50gms caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 TBS aqua faba

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius.
  2. Line two cookie sheets with baking paper. Set aside.
  3. Sift flour and baking powder together. Set aside.
  4. Place Nuttelex in a bowl. 
  5. Using a hand mixer to beat it until it is creamy. 
  6. Add sugar 1/4 cup at a time, and keep beating. 
  7. Once sugar is all incorporated, add one tablespoon of aqua faba, keep beating, then add the other tablespoon of aqua faba. Add vanilla, and beat until just incorporated.
  8. Add the flour mix to the nuttelex mix and using a flat knife gently fold it in, until a dough is formed.
  9. Gently knead it for a few seconds until it all comes together. You may need a bit more flour. Do not over knead.
  10. Roll it out thinly (parchment paper helps to keep it from sticking to your bench), around 1/2 a cm, and cut out with a circle cookie cutter (I used a 4cm in diameter cutter).
  11. Place on cookie sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes, until slightly coloured.
  12. Set aside to cool.

Mashmallow Filling

Ingredients

2/3 cup of aqua faba
1 cup of sugar
1-3 drops of pink food colouring (optional)
1/2 TBS strawberry flavouring (Queen)
3/4 tsp xanthan gum
1 pinch of cream of tartar

Method

  1. Pre heat your oven to 100C (212 F). 
  2. Place aqua faba in your stand mixer with a balloon whisk attachment. Add cream of tartar and set to whisk on high until light and fluffy. Start adding the sugar one tablespoon at a time until it is all incorporated. Keep whisking.
  3. Add flavourings, and mix well. Then add xanthan gum, and whisk for a couple of more minutes. The mixture will start to pull away from the sides. Add food coloring if using.
  4. Let it sit for about 10 minutes then, place it in a piping bag with a large piping tube. I used a Loyal round tube No. 20. I bought it from eBAY and it was perfect for this.
  5. Squeeze the bag over the cookie, pressing the tip initially into the cookie then lifting up, until you get the size you want, then twist the bag around, pulling up, until you are able to detach the tip from the marshmallow. Repeat until all the cookies are covered.
  6. Place them in the oven for 45 minutes, or until they feel dry to the touch, they should not stick to your fingers. You do not want them to be crunchy or to have any color. If they start to color then your oven is too hot. Leave the door ajar and leave them until the oven is completely cool. This is the step I didn't follow, and the marshmallow was too soft. Doing this with the snowballs, meant perfect texture snowballs.

Coating

Ingredients

400gms vegan chocolate (I used Callebaut - please note that not all Callebaut chocolate is vegan friendly)

Method

  1. Using a double boiler, melt your chocolate. They are tricky to dip, if you are an expert at dipping things in chocolate, you will have no trouble. I tried a few different methods. 
  2. Method 1 - coat the whole cookie, turning them around in the chocolate, and then trying to drip any excess. Try to over up the finger marks once you put them on the baking paper lined cookie tray. 
  3. Method 2, coat the bottom of a few cookies, then let them dry, and then do the tops. 
  4. Method 3, coat the tops, and do the bottoms after the top is dry. 
I think Methods 1 & 2 are just as successful. Not too keen on 3.

Enjoy, let me know if you have any feedback.





Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Vegan Kit Kat fingers.......

I have been intending on making Kit Kats for a long time. I bought the wafers months ago, and just never got around to doing it.

Yesterday I finally decided to do a bit of research as to what the filling in Kit Kats actually is.
Lo and behold, the filling is more Kit Kats.

Apparently Kit Kats that don't make it, as in they are not perfect, get ground up and used in the filling. So I started with the clue, that the filling has to have wafers in it.

I used these wafers (Altimate Natural Ice Cream Wafers). Please note that these are the natural and not the extra thick. The extra thick will not be as nice when you assemble the Kit Kat finger as they are too hard.
This recipe makes 8 Vegan Kit Kat fingers.

Filling Ingredients


12 wafers
50gms of icing mixture
50gms nuttelex
50gms vegan chocolate melted(I used Callebaut)

For the Assembly

16 wafers
200gms of melted callebaut chocolate

Method


  1. Place your chocolate in a double boiler to melt. Keep it melted until you're ready to dip the wafers.
  2. To make the filling, put the wafers in the bowl of a small food processor, or the processor that comes with a stick blender. Process until they turn to a powder.
  3. Add sugar, nuttelex and chocolate and process until all combined and a uniform paste is formed.
  4. Each wafer has a large pattern on one side and a small pattern on the other. Spread the filling on the large pattern. Do two at a time and then stick them together. Gently press them so that any excess filling comes out of the side. Gently scrap off the excess with a butter knife.
  5. Once the 16 wafers are done,  you will have 8 sandwiched wafers. 
  6. Spread filling on the top of 4 of the sandwiched wafers, and cover with the remaining ones. You will be left with 4 sandwiched wafers, each having 4 layers.
  7. Cut each of these in half lengthwise.
  8. Dip half the fingers in chocolate, and place on a tray to set. You can put them in the freezer to speed up the process.
  9. Once that side is set, you can grab the finger and dip the other end.
  10. Allow to set and voila, you're done




Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Snowballs

Yesterday after I got home from work I decided to make two dinners. One for that day, and one for tonight.

So I made a stew with dumplings for last night's dinner, and an eggplant, chickpea and sweet potato curry for tonight.

That left me with the juice from one can of chickpeas. Of course, it could not be thrown out. I had to do some experimenting. Although I have used aquafaba for so many things in the past, I have only made meringues once. I have not tried marshmallow, or macarons.

I decided to just start with the meringue, not sure at the time what I was going to make. I then decided to add some xanthan gum to see what would happen, and then one thing lead to another, and voila!!! Vegan snowballs :)

I had been thinking about making snowballs for a long time, but these were really not planned.

Please note that I have never worked with xantham gum before, so I have no idea if they really need baking or they would set on their own. To err on the side of caution, I would make them again, exactly the same way :)

I must say, I never imagined that they'd be so easy. It takes long because of the waiting for them to cool, but if you know how to work with xanthan you may find that you don't need to do all the waiting or baking. Let me know please :)

Ingredients

2/3 cup aqua faba ( I used the juice from one can of Macro Organic Chickpeas from Woolworths)
1 cup caster sugar
1 pinch of cream of tartar
3/4 tsp xanthan gum
1-2 tbs strawberry flavouring (I used Queens, but any flavour you want to use is fine, just as long as there is no oil in it)

1 block of vegan chocolate (I used Whittakers Dark Ghana, however found it a bit too bitter, I would prefer the Coles Dark Chocolate or another brand)

2-3 TBS of desiccated coconut

Method


  1. Pre heat your oven to 100C (212 F).
  2. Prepare two cookie trays by lining them with non stick paper.
  3. Place aquafaba in your stand mixer with a balloon whisk attachment. Add cream of tartar and set to whisk on high until light and fluffy. Start adding the sugar one tablespoon at a time until it is all incorporated. Keep whisking.
  4. Add flavourings, and mix well. Then add xanthan gum, and whisk for a couple of more minutes. The mixture will start to pull away from the sides.
  5. Let it sit for about 10 minutes then, place it in a piping bag with a large piping tube. Preferably round, however I only had a star tip (Loyal No 17) so that is what I used.
  6. Squeeze the bag, until you get the size you want, then twist the bag around, pulling up, until you are able to detach the tip from the marshmallow. Repeat until all the mix is used up. You do not need to space them more than two or so cms as they do not expand.
  7. Place them in the oven for 30 minutes, or until they feel dry to the touch, they should not stick to your fingers. You do not want them to be crunchy or to have any color. If they start to color then your oven is too hot. Leave the door ajar and leave them until the oven is completely cool. I left mine overnight.
  8. Using a double boiler, melt your chocolate. One block is able to cover most of the marshmallow. I used a plastic glove to grab the marshmallow and dip it in the chocolate, making sure all sides were covered, then placed on a piece of non stick baking paper. Once you have one tray done, sprinkle lightly with coconut.


Try not to eat them all at once. They're really good!!!!!





Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Almond & Spelt Cookies

A few months ago, I made my first batch of almond milk. It was a revelation, after years of hating the stuff, I realised, that I only hate the store bought almond milk. The homemade version, is absolutely heaven!!!

However, after making almond milk, you are left with an almond sludge. Some people use it as almond meal. I haven't made anything with almond meal for a long time, so the stuff just goes into the freezer waiting for me to get inspired to make something, anything with it.

Last weekend, I made two batches of almond milk. It was delicious. Also, it's all gone. I had quite a bit of almond sludge left over. It stared at me sadly from a bowl ont he counter, knowing that soon it would join it's brethren in the depths of my freezer, soon to be forgotten.

I couldn't take it, and in about half an hour or so, I had a batch of almond cookies made up.

Warning, these are a little bit too sweet. I will give you the recipe as I made them, however, the next time I make them, I will reduce the sugar but at least 50gms.

Nevertheless, they are awesome with a cup of chilled almond milk. These are soft cookies.

Nom noms, enjoy!!!

Ingredients

285 gms of almond sludge (leftover meal from making almond milk)
150 gms coconut nuttlex
200 gms raw organic sugar
100 gms spelt flour
1 tsp baking powder

Method


  1. Break up the almond sludge, until it's crumbly.
  2. Sift flour and baking powder together.
  3. Cream sugar and nuttlex until light and fluffy.
  4. Add almond and flour mix to the nuttlex mix. Fold in gently, to form a dough. You want to keep as much of the air beaten in as possible.
  5. When thoroughly  mixed, either place the mix into a piping bag with a large star tip (Loyal No 17 has approximately 2.5cm wide star) and pipe stars or roll into 2.5 cms balls and slightly flatten.
  6. Bake for 20-30 minutes, do not allow to brown too much.
  7. Cool on a rack and store in an air tight container.





Monday, June 13, 2016

Polenta con tuco - Polenta bolognese

I belong to a "Vegan Foodies" group on Facebook. Each week a theme is set,and members are invited to post foods within that theme. It is just a bit of fun, and completely optional.

This week's theme is Mushrooms. Probably the easiest theme we've had since I've been a member, given that I put mushrooms in so many things :)

So here is my Polenta Bolognese. This is how we eat it in Uruguay, well except that this is my vegan version.

My whole family adores this!
The sauce below can be used for polenta or with pasta. I make a big batch and freeze leftovers.

Ingredients

1 large onion chopped
10 button mushrooms chopped finely (mine were the size of a 50c piece)
1 red capsicum (pureed or chopped)
1 small zucchini, finely chopped or grated
1 and 2/3 cup of TVP
1 large garlic clove, crushed
2 tablespoons of oil
2 cups of tomato puree or passata
3 cups of water
1 TBS mixed Italian herbs (thyme & oregano are great with this, however I use this this. )
Salt to taste
2 TBS chopped parsley

Method


  1. Heat oil in a pan, and add onion, sauté until translucent.
  2. Add mushrooms and stir for two minutes.
  3. Add garlic, zucchini, capsicum and cook for two minutes.
  4. Add TVP, passata, water and herbs. Add salt to taste.
  5. Simmer for 20-30 minutes.
  6. Serve on top of polenta.
  7. Garnish with chopped parsley.

NOTE: Cook the polenta as per packet instructions, if the polenta is too firmed when cooked, add a little water, you want it to spread out on the plate when served.





Friday, May 6, 2016

Smokey Breakfast Beans

I made a potato with breakfast beans and lime cashew cream this morning. The whole combination was delicious, but the beans were the stand out. I am sharing the recipe for the beans as they would be absolutely delectable on toast as well, or in a wrap, or on nachos.

This recipe makes enough for four people, and some leftovers. We will be having the remainder for brekkie tomorrow with toast :)

Smokey Breakfast Beans

Ingredients

1 425gm can of cannellini beans
1 425gm can of red kidney beans 
1 onion finely chopped
1 TBS olive oil
1 cup of tomato puree
2 tsp mixed herbs
2 TBS coconut sugar
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp liquid smoke
Salt to taste

Method 

  1. Heat oil in a pot, add onions and sauttee until tender and see through.
  2. Add beans, PLEASE DO NOT DRAIN THE BEANS. You add the whole can, liquid and all.
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients, and simmer on low until thickened (about 30 minutes).
  4. Serve on toast, or a roast/steamed potato. Top with avocado and cashew cream.


Lime Cashew Cream

Ingredients

2/3 cup of raw cashews
1/3 cup of water
Pinch of salt
Juice from half a lime

Method
  1. Blend all ingredients until smooth. Adjust amount of lime/salt to make it more savory or tangy.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Chocolate Cupcakes (Take II)

I made these a few weeks ago, but went a bit overboard with the vinegar. I have updated the recipe because I now know it works with less. This is my first attempt.

The changes I made from my previous attempt were, to swap the type of flour used, to change the type of vinegar used (I figured that rice wine vinegar would be a lot milder than apple cider), and the type of oil used. You can really use any type of mild flavoured oil for this.

The other crucial bit that I changed was to use melted chocolate instead of cacao powder. The icing came out so silky and it tasted amazing!!! Enjoy!

Chocolate Cupcakes

Ingredients
300 gms white spelt flour
225 gms raw organic sugar
30 gms organic cacao powder (you can also use cocoa)
11 gms baking powder
90 gms rice bran oil
30 gms rice wine vinegar
375 gms oat milk


Method

  1. Prepare 2 x 12 hole cupcake tray with cupcake cases, and set aside (this makes 18-20).
  2. Preheat oven to 180 degrees celcius.
  3. In a bowl mix together the dry ingredients, wisk and set aside.
  4. In a glass jar, mix together the wet ingredients, whisk.
  5. Pour wet ingredients into the dry and gently whisk together until combined.
  6. Divide the mix into the 18 cupcake cases, and bake for 20 minutes or until done when tested with a wooden toothpick.

Chocolate Icing

Ingredients
100 gms Nuttelex(or other vegan margarine)
150 gms icing sugar
100 gms semi sweet chocolate (vegan)


Method
  1. Melt the chocolate in a bowl and set aside
  2. Using a hand mixer, mix the nuttelex until it is creamy and light.
  3. Add the chocolate one tablespoon at a time making sure well incorporated.
  4. Add the sugar one tablespoon at a time, until all combined. 
  5. Ice cupcakes as desired. I use a No 17 Loyal icing tip.


Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Zucchini & Corn muffins

Today I took my daughter on a play-date. The girl's mum made these gorgeous zucchini & corn muffins for lunch. She just threw them together and they cooked in no time at all. They were delicious!!!

She didn't use any measurements, just threw things in, but for the purpose of sharing a recipe, I re-made them and measured everything. I also added a few other bits and bobs :)

The girl's mum used a regular sized cupcake pan, but I used a large texan muffin pan. The recipe below makes 6 large muffins, or 10-12 small ones.

Ingredients

1/2 grated zucchini
1/2 a sliced red onion (I cut the onion in half then quarters, and then sliced the quarters thinly)
1 cup of frozen corn kernels
Handful of parsley (chopped)
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp dried thyme
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
2 cups of white spelt flour
3 TBS Orgran No-Egg
1 tsp salt
1 cup of oat milk
1/2 cup of olive oil
1 TBS pumpkin seeds
1 TBS sesame seeds

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees celcius.
  2. Prepare a 6 hole (texas) cupcake pan by greasing each hole with vegan butter or a little oil. Set aside.
  3. Place all dry ingredients (except seeds) in a bowl including the veggies, mix with a fork to combine.
  4. Place milk and oil in a cup/jug and mix well.
  5. Pour milk/oil mix over the veggie/flour mix and combine with a fork. (do not over mix)
  6. Place in the pan, sprinkle with pumpkin/sesame seeds and bake for half an hour or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
These are delicious as an afternoon snack or for breakfast.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Cashew Mini Dessert Cakes

Ingredients For Base

50 gms dates
50 gms dessicated coconut
50 gms walnuts
25 gms raw organic cacao powder
15 gms maple syrup

Ingredients for Filling

205 gms soaked cashews (1 cup soaked overnight)
75 gms coconut oil
95 gms coconut cream
90 gms agave
1/4 tsp vanilla powder
45 gms frozen raspberries (slightly thawed)


Method

  1. Prepare a 12 hole cupcake tray by putting a circle of cutout baking paper on the bottom. Cut a small strip of paper and place it underneath the circle. Picked up this tip from Minimalist Baker.
  2. Place all the ingredients for the base in a food processor and process to a fine crumb.
  3. Place one tablespoon of the mix in each hole. Press lightly with the back of a teaspoon, and then, place a baking paper circle on top and press with the bottom of a flat glass. As pictured.
  4. Rinse the cashews and place in the food processor.
  5. Place all the remaining ingredients (except for the raspberries) in the food processor along with the cashews and process until smooth.
  6. Place one tablespoon of the mix in each cupcake hole, and smooth with the back of a teaspoon.
  7. Place it in the freezer for about 5-10 minutes.
  8. You should have about half of the mix left over in the food processor. Add raspberries and process until smooth.
  9. Take tray out of the freezer and place one tablespoon of raspberry mix on top of the vanilla mix and smooth out.
  10. Place in the freezer until set, allow it to defrost slightly for about 5-10 minutes before serving.
You  have the option to decorate them however you like. I happened to have chocolate ganache from a cake I was making so I put a swirl of chocolate ganache on top of each one.
Enjoy!!!