Tag Archives: baking

Tamarind-Ginger Bran Muffins

Ginger, orange and tamarind add a delightful complexity to these muffins. As with so many foods, bran muffins are better with cocoa butter.

If your orange is at all pretty or shiny, the odds are good that it has a coat of wax on it, complete with fungicide. We favor orange extract over zest, but maybe you know someone with a tree.

Makes 18–20 muffins
Takes 45 minutes

1 1/4 cups water
1 3/4 cups wheat bran
1 tablespoon ground flax seeds
2 1/4 cups flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons melted cocoa butter
1 cup chopped nuts (use a softer nut, such as walnuts, pecans, or sunflower seeds)
1 cup dried fruits such as raisins or currants
2/3 cups molasses
1/4 cup apple sauce
1/4 cup minced dates
3 tablespoons tamarind paste
3 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon orange extract (or 1 teaspoon unwaxed orange zest, if available)

Preheat the oven to 400°F and put the water on to boil. Add the wheat bran and flax seeds to the boiling water and set aside.

Mix together the flour, baking soda, and salt in one bowl. Melt the cocoa butter. In a separate bowl, mix the cocoa butter, nuts, fruits, molasses, apple sauce, dates, tamarind paste, ginger, and orange extract. Then combine all ingredients.

Grease a muffin pan, then pour the mixture into the pan. Bake the muffins for about 15 minutes, or until a fork comes out fairly dry. Careful, they’re hot!

If you somehow manage to have any leftover muffins, store them in an airtight container wrapped in a cloth napkin.


Banananana Bread (p. 53)

Nanny Ogg knew how to start spelling ‘banana’, but didn’t know how you stopped.” -Terry Pratchett

I love fresh yellow bananas as a special treat, but when they start to go brown or black I store them peeled in the freezer until the next time I feel like making banana bread. The agave makes it quite sweet; if that’s not to your taste consider substituting cocoa nibs for the chocolate chips. Other fruit or vegetable purées can be used—this also works with applesauce, and we make a delicious green tomato cake in the fall.

Makes one 9 x 5 x 3-inch loaf
Takes about 90 minutes

1 cup mashed bananas
2/3 cup agave syrup
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup bran
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
3/4 cup chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Beat together the bananas, agave, and oil in a large bowl. They start out lumpy, but after a minute or two begin to combine and smooth. In a second bowl stir together the flour, bran, baking soda, cinnamon, and cloves.

Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and stir until they combine completely. Then add the chocolate chips and mix until they are well-distributed throughout the batter.

Grease a 9 x 5 x 3-inch loaf pan. Pour the mixture into it. Bake for 40–60 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. Let the bread cool for 10 minutes or more before serving. Store your banananana bread in the fridge, or slice it and store it in the freezer.

Nana’s Carrot Cake for Birthdays, Double Chocolate Style (p. 63)

Nana’s Carrot Cake has been the Wick family birthday cake for a couple generations. Darin grew up on it and his father before him. This a cake so special it has even been known to turn up in the mail. I have been granted special permission from Darin to turn it into a chocolate carrot cake—as long as I promise not to call it a birthday cake, because the birthday version doesn’t contain any chocolate. I always make substitutions in recipes, and I never get to play with Nana’s Carrot Cake for Birthdays, so I enjoyed finally getting permission to alter this well-loved recipe.

Makes one 11 x 7-inch cake
Takes 45 minutes prep plus 60–65 minutes baking

1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup currants (or more raisins)
1/2 cup chopped pecans or sunflower seeds
2 teaspoons cocoa liqueur (optional)
2 large carrots (about 2 1/2 cups grated)
1 1/2 cups unsifted all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 cup unsweetened apple sauce
1 1/2 cups white sugar
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger (optional)

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Mix the raisins, currants, and chopped pecans with the cocoa liqueur and set the mixture aside. Grate the carrots and set them aside, too.

Combine the flour, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, nutmeg, cardamom, baking soda, and salt. Mix it well and set it aside. In a large mixing bowl, beat in the applesauce, white sugar, cocoa powder, oil, vanilla, and ginger. Stir in the dry ingredients. Fold in the carrots, dried fruit, and nuts. Mix thoroughly.

Grease and flour the bottom of an 11 x 7-inch cake pan. Pour the mixture into the pan. Bake for 60–65 minutes or until a toothpick comes out fairly dry. Frost the cake with Goose’s frosting (page 48) and cool it in the pan.

Chocolate-curry carrot cake with cardamom frosting: A friend gave this variation a rave review, so we felt compelled to mention it. Substitute curry spices for the cinnamon, allspice, cloves, nutmeg, and cardamom. Add cardamom to your favorite basic vanilla frosting, and frost the cake.

Ranger Cookies by Heidi Timm (p.66)

Note: All mentions of aquafaba in this recipe actually came from the publisher, not Heidi.  She’s probably fine with it, but we didn’t notice those edits to run them past her.

We spent so much of the winter at Heidi’s café writing this cookbook and eating the most amazing baked goods in the entire city. She was kind enough to share one of her recipes with us. So if you happen to have a friend with cows and chickens, or maybe you’re actually freegan, this is our highlighted dairy recipe.

Heidi suggests that vegans can swap Smart Balance for the butter and replace the egg with a smashed ripe banana or 3 tablespoons of aquafaba.

Makes 15–20 cookies
Takes 45 minutes

1 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup pecans, toasted and chopped
1 cup dried sour cherries, chopped coarse
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped into small pieces or chocolate chips
3/4 cup (12 tablespoons, 1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened but still cool
1 1/2 cups packed dark brown sugar
1 extra large egg or 3 tablespoons of aquafaba
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C), with racks on the top and bottom thirds. Use parchment paper to line 2 sheet pans and set aside.

Pour dry ingredients into a bowl.

In another bowl combine the oats, pecans, dried cherries and chocolate.

In the mixer cream together the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Slowly add the egg and beat until incorporated.

Gently sift, or with the mixer down to low, add the flour mixture to the bowl. Stir until just combined.

Finally incorporate the oats, nuts, fruit and chocolate with wooden spoon.

Use a 1/3 cup scoop, then press to 3/4 inch.

Bake the cookies, two trays at a time, for 12 minutes. Rotate at 6 mins. Cook until the cookies are uniformly golden, but still wet in the middle. They should appear slightly undercooked.

Remove from the oven and cool on the speed rack.

Chocolate Midnight Cake by Rebecca August (p. 51)

My recipe is based on the famous vegan “wacky cake,” as modified by a friend of mine, Sunday Harvie. I reduced the sugar by a 1/4 cup, and subbed half the oil with aquafaba. It is very moist and holds together well, with a lovely crumb. I’ve noticed the aquafaba gives cakes a certain bounce that is very appealing.

Frost this cake with 1 1/2–2 cups of Goose’s Aquafaba Cashew Chocolate Frosting (p.50).

Makes one 9 x 12-inch cake or two 6-inch rounds
Takes 60 minutes

2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tablespoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsweetened soymilk or other plant milk
1/3 cup safflower, canola or sunflower oil
1/3 cup aquafaba, in liquid form (not whipped)
1 cup strong hot coffee

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Combine flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, and salt; add soymilk and oil and aquafaba, and blend with a spoon. Stir in hot coffee. The batter will be very thin, but don’t worry!

Pour into two 6″ round pans lined with parchment paper, or 9 by 12-inch pan. Bake at 350°F for about 40 minutes (your time may vary, so please start checking around the 30 minute mark, since my oven temp is unreliable). Keep checking frequently until the center is set and a toothpick comes out clean. Don’t overbake!

Cool and frost.

Polish Truffles made from Leftover Dessert Tidbits, or, Ziemniaczki

My mom, as the youngest of half a dozen children, was pretty much raised by her live-in great-grandmother, who was from Poland and who only spoke Polish, all the way through second grade, when her great-grandmother died.

Then, when I was like 20, I was working in a national park, and every season we would get a different batch of student coworkers from a different part of the world on a student work visa. One season, it was Polish. It was like living in Poland in California; I loved it.

Here’s a link to No-waste Polish Chocolate Truffles. I haven’t made them, but I love this article just for the delicious stories, and I bet the truffles are good, too. Ziemniaczki, they’re like stone soup but for truffles.

Saucy Roasted Eggplant (p.141) & Saucy Roasted Eggplant Pie

This easy eggplant dish gets rave reviews at potlucks.  The cocoa is used as a subtle spice, but for a bolder chocolate flavor you can use 1/4 cup of cocoa powder and increase the sugar to one tablespoon.

Makes one 8 x 13-inch cake pan
Takes 60-90 minutes

1 eggplant (about 1 pound)
13.5 ounces of coconut milk (about 2 cups)
2 cups diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
4 teaspoons ras el hanout or garam masala
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Cut the eggplant into slices up to 1/4″ thick and put a single layer in the bottom of an oiled 8 x 13-inch cake pan.

Mix together the coconut milk, diced tomatoes, cocoa powder, ras el hanout, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl.  Evenly distribute about half the sauce over the eggplant.  Add the remaining eggplant slices as a second layer, and then pour all the remaining sauce on top.

Roast until the eggplant is soft and completely saturated with the sauce.  This may take 40-60 minutes depending on your oven and the thickness of your eggplant slices.

Serve with a starchy food to sop up the sauce.

Fantastic burrito filling or bean dip: Keep any sauce that remains after baking.  Add the sauce to a couple cups of cooked black beans and heat it on the stove for 5-10 minutes.  If you mash the beans while cooking them, it also makes a great bean dip.

We used this recipe to make the filling for the savory pie we brought to Day #5 of Nine Days of Pie at Afru Gallery. It was a hit! We were informed that of hundreds of unique pies tried over the years, this was truly one of the best. High praise!

Someone asked Darin at the book reading today which chocolates he recommends as equitable. That’s a book of its own! [UPDATE: chocolates we have loved] However, Darin suggested Creo and Tony’s Chocolonely as a couple example chocolate companies he recommends to show the range of slavery-free chocolates that are sold locally. Here’s a blurb I thought was interesting from Tony’s Chocolonely’s FAQ:

Did you know that certified chocolate bars (e.g. Fair Trade) also contains non-certified cocoa – and vice versa? If you buy certified chocolate, you can be certain that somewhere in the world the quantity of certified beans needed to make your bar was purchased. It’s just not physically in your bar. It’s really not. We can tell you precisely where the cocoa in our chocolate comes from. We believe that traceability is a critical step toward 100% slave free chocolate.

Reminder: When making Saucy Roasted Eggplant, if you use a can of tomatoes, they’re typically pre-salted, so you can omit the called-for salt.

Saucy Roasted Eggplant Pie: Follow the Saucy Roasted Eggplant recipe above, with the following exceptions: Dice the eggplant into 1/2″ cubes instead of slicing it. It will only take up a single layer in the cake pan. That’s fine, just cover it with all the sauce. Dicing the eggplant means there’s more surface area. You don’t need to cook it as long; it took 35-45 minutes to soften in the oven we used – the goal is for it to provide almost no resistance when pierced with a fork. Remove the eggplant from the oven. Stir in two cans of beans (or four cups of cooked beans). We used one can of black and another of cannelini. Fills two standard pie shells.

If your pie shells don’t come with instructions, it’s probably sufficient to pierce the bottoms with a fork (after defrosting, if applicable), bake them at 350°F for 10-12 minutes, until they start to brown, take them out, add the filling, and bake them for another 10 minutes to help everything settle.