Dairy free brownies

12 08 2013

I am on a dairy and soy free diet because Santiago has milk allergies, this has put me on the fast lane to weight loss, but also on a tight spot for indulging. Since we cook most everything from scratch it has been not too hard to come up with ways to replace dairy, but the lack of milk in my baked goods has made them somewhat dry and not as rich and unctuous, not so satisfying. That is until I decided I wanted brownies for my husband’s birthday, and since I do not have a lot of time or patience lately, I decided for a very simple recipe. My recipe uses coconut oil, whole wheat and, as usual, less sugar than regular recipes.

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You will need:
Nonstick vegetable oil spray
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1/3 cup whole wheat flour

Preheat oven to 325°. Line an 8×8″ baking dish with foil. Coat foil with nonstick spray.
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Whisk coconut oil, sugar, cocoa, and salt in a medium bowl to combine. Whisk in vanilla. Add eggs one at a time, beating vigorously to blend after each addition. Add flour and stir until combined. Scrape batter into prepared pan; smooth top.
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Bake until top begins to crack and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, 25-30 minutes.
These were very thick and chocolatey. If you use whole wheat flour you will get a drier end product than your usual brownie, so if you want it more fudgey bake for a little less time.
We loved them! I baked two sets to share, but never got to! Ignacio just devoured them in no time!
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Avocado cake: two recipes that you will love!

22 10 2012

I know, everybody goes “Avocado cake!!?” And I don’t blame you, we relate avocados with Mexican food, as if it was the only way of using them. Growing up we ate them with mayonnaise or salsa golf (whatever the name for it is in US) and later, when I moved out, because I don’t really like mayonnaise I would just eat them plain or with salt and olive oil, make salads of different types, or mush them for guacamole. But I remember my dad always telling me that his dad used to eat them with sugar… and why not? If you think of it, avocado flavor can be defined as “buttery” but it is not definitely salty nor sweet. So I have been wanting to try it for a while, and since the awesome Bryan Street Market a few blocks from home has avocado sales regularly this time of the year, I thought I’d take advantage and buy a few avocados to try to make a cake.

What was my surprise to see that there are many options to make an avocado cake! So I just made one avocado pound like cake, and one chocolate avocado cake.

Chocolate Avocado cake with tropical avocado frosting.

The chocolate cake I got straight from Joy the Baker, it’s a vegan recipe, and that was a plus, because I’ve always wanted to know how vegans get the cake to work without eggs or anything animal. I followed the recipe as is, except that I reduced the sugar to half (only using one cup) because I figured that the frosting was going to make up for a lot of the sweetness. For the frosting I made my own recipe as follows:

Avocado frosting:

1 mashed avocado

2 cups confectionery sugar

3 teaspoons coconut milk

1 teaspoon orange blossom extract

The cake came out fluffy and moist, very palatable and the avocado flavor is very subtle, it is a light cake that does not feel heavy at all. The frosting has a very interesting flavor that I find complements the cake very well. My husband, who is very much not vegan or vegetarian, really liked this cake, as well as my toddler who does not like avocado. It’s a hit for sure!

The second recipe is also from Joy the Baker, though I modified it to my less rich taste. You can see the original recipe here. At home we like things less sweet than average and I use less butter than most, plus we really like whole grains and use white flour just for fluff. My recipe for one cake (not two) is as follows:

Avocado pound cake:

1.5 c whole wheat flour

Avocado pound cake. Very interesting texture indeed!

1/4 c white flour

1/4 c corn meal

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp baking powder

4 tbsp butter

0.75 c sugar

2 eggs

2 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 c milk

1 ripe mashed avocado

Preheat the oven at 350F.

Mix the dry ingredients, except the sugar.

Cream the butter and sugar, add the mashed avocado and mix until uniform. Add one egg at a time, mixing well. Incorporate the dry ingredients. The mixture will be lumpy.

Bake at 350F for 45 minutes or until a skewer comes out dry.

My thoughts on this cake: It is good and sweet as it is, I really like the unctuous feel of the avocado and how it contrasts with the rough texture of the whole wheat flour and the crunch of the corn meal. You do feel the avocado flavor but it is very different from eating it fresh, and my baby (who does not like avocado, remember?) kept asking for more. The cake disappeared faster than what I expected! In retrospect I would probably eliminate all the butter, the avocado itself is oily enough, and I think I would enjoy it better with some vegetable oil instead, for a lighter cake.

OK, here you have the recipes you asked me for with so much interest! I hope you can make them at home and have fun with them! Surprise your friends and family and enjoy them! And you know, if you do try them, let me know, I always like to know what results other people get!





Pear coffee cake

22 09 2011

This is a modification I made up of a french cake. It can be made with plums, apricots, pears, apples and any fruit of that style. The batter is mildly sweet and the top sweet and crunchy, it makes a great companion to a cafe au lait!

You will need:

For the batter:

10 tbsp of flour

1/2 cup of sugar

6 tbsp of milk

4 tbsp vegetable oil

2 eggs

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tbsp salt

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 or 2 pears sliced

for the topping:

1/4 c vegetable oil

1/2 cup sugar

1 egg

cinnamon

Preparation:

Cut the pears in thin slices.

Mix the ingredients in a bowl. Spray oil in a cake tray and lay your batter. You can opt to have one or two layers of fruit slices. If you choose two, add a thin layer of batter, a layer of fruit, a layer of batter and top the cake with one more layer of fruit. If you choose one, keep the pears for the top layer.

Bake 25 min at 350 F

In the meanwhile mix the ingredients for the topping and set aside.

Once 25 minutes passed, take the cake out of the oven, add the top layer and bake for 15 min at 375 F.

If you are using plums don’t use cinnamon. If you are using apples, try adding some ginger to the batter!





I got crab apples, now what?

31 08 2011

Well, why! Crab apple bread!

When I got a bag with crab apples from our CSA I was rather uncertain of their fate. Crab apples taste on the sour side (which is not a big issue to me) but mostly they are astringent like crazy, drying your mouth at once. So off I sent to search for recipes, but all of them required more crab apples that I had, so jellies, chutneys and butters were not an option. So I went for a bread instead.

crab apple bread!

You will need:

Diced crab apples. (Mine were so small that I didn’t bother to take the seeds out, but you might need to)

1/2 cup sugar

2 eggs

1/2 c corn oil (or canola, or soy)

2c flour

1/4 c honey

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda

2 tbsp sour milk (see below)

Dice the crab apples and reserve.

Place two tablespoons of milk in a container and add some lemon juice. Let sit for five minutes.

In a bowl mix all the dry ingredients. Add oil, slightly beaten eggs, honey and sour milk. Once the mixture is homogeneous add the diced crab apples and incorporate in circling movements. Pour the dough in a baking container, sprinkle some sugar (optional) and bake at 350 F for one hour. If you use a deep bowl like me bake for 75 minutes.

Enjoy!





Recipes: Oatmeal muffins

30 05 2010

I love baking. For someone who has always had long term goals (think years), baking is my instant gratification activity. I start baking and within an hour or two I can be enjoying the results. Baked goods are also great to bring over to someone’s home or to treat someone who is a little down. Of all the things I bake, muffins have become my standard production, and this is because they take only 20 minutes in the oven, so from the moment I walk into the kitchen until I am enjoying them it takes only 30-40 minutes! Awesome!

My husband and I have always been geared to healthy food, but as of the last year we have really pushed it a bit more and I have replaced a lot of the ingredients with healthier ones. For example, oatmeal replacing big part of the flour, the muffins are not as fluffy, but they are really tasty and they are an awesome ~200 cal snack on the go that will keep your blood sugar up for a couple of hours because of the high glycemic index of the oatmeal. These muffins have been a great success of mine and everybody loves them, if I don’t tell, they barely realize there is oatmeal there because the oats dissolve through the baking, so the muffins are soft. Let me share this recipe with you!

– 1 1/2 cup oat meal

Blueberry Oatmeal Muffins

– 3/4 cup flour

– 1 teaspoon baking powder

– 1/2 teaspoon salt

– 1/4 cup sugar

– 1/4 cup honey

– 3/4 cup milk

– 1/3 cup vegetable oil

– 1 egg

– goodies and spices! *

Preheat the oven to 400F (200C). Mix well the first 5 ingredients in a bowl. Then add the honey milk and vegetable oil, beat one egg and add it to the mix. Add the goodies and spices. Mix everything until it becomes uniform and tacky.

Spray some oil in a muffin tray and fill the containers with the batter, you should get 8-10 medium size muffins. Bake for 20 minutes or until a knife comes out clean.

*What about the goodies and spices? Well, that depends a lot on your taste, the possibilities are too many to list them all, but here are some examples that I use:

Brandy Apricot Oatmeal Muffins

– 1/4 cup chocolate chips, cinnamon, vanilla extract, all spice, rubbed sage. (The most popular ones!)

– 1/3 cup cranberries, cinnamon, vanilla, lemon zest.

– 1 pint blueberries, cinnamon, vanilla extract.

– 1 cup dried apricots that have been rehydrated in brandy (if you have porto wine all the better!), vanilla extract.

– 1 pint blackberries, sliced, cinnamon, vanilla extract.

Other things to try: Nutmeg, coriander, pepper, orange zest, cocoa, etc.