Bananarama!

What happens when to Jersey gals get together on a Friday night and bake rather than go out to see the goings on of First Friday?  Banana Chocolate Chip Walnut cake!  I’ve had a lovely week of seeing a few friends amid my homework-, meeting-, interview-filled Spring “Break.”  One of the best things about seeing friends and cooking is getting out of whatever rut you’ve been in with your cooking as I did this week.  One friend showed me how to make a lime, tamari, ginger, garlic, olive oil, maple marinade.  We combined this with sweet potatoes, leeks, shallots, kale, and onions and threw it over some quinoa and ohh my goodness!  My friend Kim came over tonight and brought some ingredients and I used whatever I had. With our powers combined, we had tofu scramble, cabbage soup, sweet potato fries, and banana chocolate chip walnut cake!  I’m not sure how long it took to bake this cake as I sort of lost track, but I would say between 30-40 minutes will do.    Enjoy!

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Banana Chocolate Chip Walnut Cake with Chocolate Icing

1 1/2 cup flour

1/2 tsp salt

2 tsp baking powder

1 banana, mashed

3/4 cup oil

1 Tbsp flax meal + 3 Tbsp water

1 1/2 – 2 inch piece of vanilla bean, or 1-2 tsp vanilla extract

3/4 cup brown sugar

1 Tbsp lemon juice

1 cup coconut milk beverage

1/4 – 1/2 cup chocolate chips, depending on your preference

1/4 – 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, depending on your preference

1)  In a large bowl, mix flour, salt, and baking powder.  Set aside.

2)  In a small bowl, add lemon juice and coconut milk beverage and mix until curdled.  Add  oil, brown sugar, vanilla bean (cut lengthwise and scrape out black grainy stuff into bowl) or vanilla extract, flax meal mixture, and mashed banana.  Mix until well-combined.

3)  Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir until just combined and no lumps remain.

4)  Add to a greased and floured 9″ round cake pan and bake for 30-40 minutes (or until sharp knife inserted into center of cake comes out clean) in 350°F pre-heated oven.

Icing:

Not positive of ratios, but I think it was something like this:

1 1/2-2 cups confectioner’s sugar

1/2 – 1 cup cocoa powder

3 Tbsp Earth Balance, softened

2 Tbsp coconut milk beverage – start with 2 Tbsp, add more if need be

1 tsp vanilla

I often forget to write things down when I make them, but I think this is about right.  I will correct this soon!

I Wanna Live With a Cinnamon [Bun] Girl

You would be happy for the rest of your life!  Neil Young would agree.  One of my favorite fans noticed I haven’t posted in some time…Sorry, friends, I have been piled with graduate schoolwork lately!    I hope you find this post (& its title) satisfactory, J.  🙂

This is the first time I’ve impromptu’d with yeast breads and I’d say it was a success.  These big ol’ buns were for a birthday brunch of a dear friend of mine.  Happy Birthday, Kim!  The cinnamon filling was a bit thin, so I’m upping the amount in the recipe.  Let me know if it works!  I also didn’t have any vanilla extract, so add it where you see fit.  Also, Happy Spring, everyone!  It’s (almost) warm enough to not wear long underwear here in MT!  Happy baking!

IMG_3202Cinnamon Buns!

Makes 10 buns

Dough

  • 5 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup Earth Balance, cold
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
  • 6 Tbsp of warm water (110 – 115 °F) + 1  Tbsp sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups “milk” (I used coconut milk)
  • 6 Tbsp of warm water (110 – 115 °F) + 1  Tbsp sugar
  • 2 Tbsp flax seed meal
  • 1/2 cup sugar

Filling:

  • 2-3 Tsp of  ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 Earth Balance

1)  “Proof” the yeast, to make sure it’s active.  In a small bowl, mix 1 Tbsp sugar and 6 Tbsp warm water until sugar is dissolved.  Add yeast and set aside for 10 minutes.  If the yeast mixture is foamy and has a head like a good beer, it’s good!

2)  In a large bowl, mix flour, salt, and Earth Balance.  With a pastry cutter (or your hands), cut the cold Earth Balance into the flour until it resembles coarse crumbs.

3)  In a medium bowl, add flax meal, milk, and 1/2 cup sugar.

4)  Add yeast mixture, once done proofing, to large bowl of flour mixture.

5)  Add medium bowl of milk mixture to large bowl of flour mixture.

6)  Mix until just combined.  A slightly sticky dough will form.  DO NOT OVERMIX.

7)  Cover bowl with clean towel and set in warm, draft-free area, and let rise for about an hour, until doubled in bulk.  Make filling in meantime.

8)  To make filling, melt Earth Balance over low heat.  Add sugar and cinnamon and sugar and whisk until combined.

2)  Remove from heat and set aside.  Back to the dough!

8)  Punch dough down and transfer to floured surface.

9)  Knead dough just until workable (DO NOT OVERKNEAD) and no longer sticks to the work surface or your hands.

10)  Divide dough in two heaps.  Set one heap aside.

11)  Make each head into a long rectangle.

12)  Spread filling on dough and roll lengthwise and pinch the edges where one end of the dough meets the other in the last roll as to not let the filling spill out.

13)  Cut log of dough into 5 equal pieces

14)  Repeat with other heap of dough.

15)  Place buns into a greased 9″ x 13″ pan (it’s okay if the buns touch, they will).

16)  Bake in 350 °F oven for 40 minutes or until golden brown.

Icing:

  • 1/2 cup “cream cheese”, softened
  • 1/4 cup Earth Balance, softened
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (I just used a piece of vanilla bean)
  • 1 1/2 – 2 cups powdered sugar

1)  Beat cream cheese and Earth Balance until smooth.

2)  Add vanilla and powdered sugar and beat until smooth, a glaze that’s ideal for drizzling over buns should form.

3)  Drizzle over cool or slightly warm buns.

ENJOY!

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The [Cranberry] Apple [Crisp] of my Eye…now with sound!

Oh JOY! It’s the most glorious day of the year…a day revolving around feasting and a day where it is okay for me to cook all day and take my time and not feel like I’m playing whilst piles of graduate school work loom over me.  It’s…THANKSGIVING.  I am going to yet another Friendsgiving which marks the third year of me being away from my family during this holiday… 😦  I am grateful for dear friends who have taken me in every year and thrown the most delectable gatherings though.  This Thanksgiving, I will be feasting with friends from my graduate school department.  I will be bringing a whole slew of things, partly because I love to cook for others, and partly because there are more people here who are localvores and will most likely make local Yukon gold potatoes mashed and chock full of Lifeline Creamery milk and butter, than care about vegans…I’m sure they care, but there won’t be any vegan mashed potatoes!!  Ain’t no hard feelings!  Soo, I will be making some local Yukon gold potatoes mashed with Earth Balance and soy milk.  MMM.  I will also be making mushroom gravy, herbed lentil croquettes, a delicata squash boat (see previous post!), aaaand two cranberry apple crisps!  Did you know that New Jersey is the third leading cranberry producer in the US of A?  It’s true!  I’ve gotta represent up here!  This recipe makes two 9 inch pies.  The crust is a coconut shortbread crust with a hint of maple.  The apples are coated in lemon zest, honey, and cinnamon.  The topping is a classic crumb, buttery, nutty, salty/sweet, and full of oats!  I hope you, your family, and your friends have an absolutely wonderful Thanksgiving.  May your holiday not be fraught with unsavory political or social opinions and/or discriminatory remarks of any kind. Instead, may it be full of good food, love, kindness, and warmth.  There are so many things for which to be grateful!  Enjoy.

Also, listen to this cooking/entertaining soundtrack I’ve made filled with songs with food, party, or autumn themes, or song titles that at least could be interpreted as such.  The last song is the best… Listen here:  A Very Twigfood Thankgiving Playlist

Cranberry Apple Crisp:

Crust:

–  2 1/2 cups flour

– 1 cup coconut

–  1/2 cup Earth Balance

–  1/4 cup coconut oil

–  2 Tbsp flax meal + 6 Tbsp water (mix and let sit for a few minutes)

–  2 Tbsp maple syrup

Filling:

–  4 medium baking or tart variety apples, cored and thinly sliced

–  2 Tbsp honey

–  2 tsp cinnamon

–  zest of 2 lemons

–  1/2 c fresh cranberries

Crumb topping:

–  2 cups rolled oats

– 1/2 cup flour

– 1/2 cup chopped pecans

–  1/4 tsp salt

–  1/4 cup Earth Balance

–  1/4 cup brown sugar

–  1 1/2 tsp vanilla

Directions:

1)  In a large bowl, mix flour and coconut together.

2)  Add Earth Balance and coconut oil and use a pastry cutter (or your hands) and combine until mixture forms coarse crumbs.

3)  Add flax meal mixture and maple syrup and mix until just combined.  Knead mixture briefly and divide into two portions.

4)  Flatten evenly along the bottom and up the sides of two well greased and floured 9 inch pie pans.  Set aside.

For the filling:

1)  In a large bowl, add sliced apples and cranberries.

2)  Add honey and lemon zest and gently mix, to avoid tearing the thinly sliced apples, until combined.

3)  Arrange the apple slices in a spiral pattern (if you’re feeling particularly fancy) in the prepared pie crusts like so:

For the crumb topping:

1)  In a medium bowl, add oats, flour, pecans, salt, and brown sugar, and mix until combined.

2)  Add the Earth Balance, vanilla, and flax meal mixture and stir until crumbs form.  Top the filled apple filled pie crusts.

3)  Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30-40 minutes, when the crumb topping and crust has slightly browned.

4)  Enjoy!