Brownies and a Winner!

The final days of Vegan MoFo 2010 have been snapping at my ankles. I am pretty excited to take a short break from blogging. Although I will probably miss the routine, other things are (pleasantly) consuming my time. If you’ve been reading my blog, you will know that I am writing a vegan brownie book tentatively called Brownie Wonderland. My usually tidy kitchen is covered with cocoa, flour, vanilla extract stains, and melted chocolate (not to mention piles of dirty mixing bowls, measuring cups, and spoons). I have recipes written on loose sheets of paper scattered from the kitchen to the bedroom. I am losing my neat-freak tendencies!!! Tim has voluntarily started sweeping the kitchen every morning in an effort to keep me sane.

Did you know that Brownie Wonderland has a Facebook page? It does! If you like brownies and want to stay up to date with my progress, please become a fan! You can also see photos of my brownie creations on my Flickr page if you aren’t a facebook junkie. In the meantime, how about I share a few photos here?

Peppermint Crunch Brownies

Caramel Apple Brownies

Pumpkin Chocolate Brownie Cupcakes

I’m thinking of having a brownie giveaway in December (my freezer, Tim, and my tummy can only hold so many brownies!). Stay tuned…

And now, the winner of my Chirp Cards giveaway: Abby Bean!!! Congratulations! Abby, I will contact you via e-mail and we can arrange shipment of your cards. Here are the cards Abby picked:

Little Pink Piggy

Love Snail

That’s all for now! See you tomorrow for the final day of Vegan MoFo 2010!!

Cheezy Almond Spi-Rolls

Aside from a lung-busting bike ride with Tim this morning, I’ve been in my jammies all day. Honestly, I can’t seem to find clothes that are as comfy as my jammies! Perhaps my future will include proper day pants made from flannel with an elastic waist?

To keep extra cozy, I decided to bake some rolls to pair with the monster batch of soup we made for dinner last night. When I asked Tim whether he wanted knotted pecan rolls or savory cheezy rolls, he responded with a firm, “I want savory rolls”. Done. The rolls are cheezy, garlicky, savory, and good for you. The recipe makes four spi-rolls (a tightly coiled roll versus a plain round bun), perfect for dunking into leftover soup.

Cheezy Almond Spi-Rolls

Ingredients for the rolls:

1/2 cup warm water
1 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 teaspoon agave nectar
1 1/4 cups whole grain spelt flour, plus more for kneading and shaping
1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons nutritional yeast
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon unsweetened, plain non-dairy milk
1 Tablespoon olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced

Ingredients for the topping:

1/3 cup toasted almonds
2 Tablespoons nutritional yeast
1 Tablespoon vegan butter (such as Earth Balance), melted

Directions:

1. In a glass measuring cup, whisk together water, yeast, and agave nectar.  Set aside until foamy, about 5 minutes.
2. In a large bowl, combine flours, nutritional yeast, and salt.
3. Stir milk, olive oil, and garlic into yeast mixture. Add yeast mixture to flour mixture.
4. Using your hands, combine all the ingredients together. On a floured surface, knead until dough is smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Add more flour if the dough becomes too sticky. Shape dough into a ball.
5. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with a towel and leave to rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours.
6. While the dough is rising, prepare the topping. Put the almonds and nutritional yeast in a spice grinder or food processor and process until the mixture resembles fine crumbs. Set aside.
7. When dough has risen, divide it into four equal pieces (about 3 ounces each). Roll each piece into a rope 12″ long. Shape the rope into a tight coil (so that it resembles a snail shell). Place spi-rolls on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a Silpat.
8. Brush spi-rolls with melted Earth Balance and sprinkle with the cheezy topping (you will have extra topping – use it on popcorn, pasta, pizza, veggies, soup, whatever!). Put baking sheet in a warm, draft-free place for about an hour.
9. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake spi-rolls for 8-10 minutes, or until golden on top. Mine were relatively flat, but that might be due to my cold apartment.

See you tomorrow!

“Z” is for Zines!

Well, with the inclusion of this post, I have successfully plowed through the entire alphabet! Phew! I definitely did not stick to some of my planned posts, but time has a way of changing stuff sometimes. Today’s post is a super quickie: I just want to mention a vegan cookzine that I love:

Papa Tofu by Kittee

[Kittee's photo]

I love this hefty zine (76 pages) filled with personality, recipes, kitchen advice, and crafty fun. If you have a monstrous sweet tooth, then you will appreciate the “Tooth Rotters” chapter which comprises at least half of Papa Tofu. I read the zine from cover to cover and decided that I need to make the Chocolate Whoopie Pies with Peanut Butter Creme, the Orange Cake, Stuffed Tofu Pockets, Cheeze Grits, and Yemiser W’et. Mmmmmmm…hmmmmmm! Kittee is pretty darn funky-fresh and her recipes will melt you into a puddle of vegan goop. That’s a good thing! Head on over to her Etsy shop and get yourself a copy of Papa Tofu and then dirty your apron making every single fliptastic recipe.

The remainder of my MoFo posts will hopefully include some book reviews, a crazy smoothie, and maybe a video of something silly. Who knows? Anything can happen in three days…

 

“Y” is for Yeasted Pear Ginger Rolls

Over the summer, I was gifted a can of local, organic pears. Since I rarely buy food in cans unless it’s tomatoes or coconut milk, that little can of pears sat in my pantry, forgotten. When I realized today’s post was going to involve yeast, I thought “Well why not use that can of pears and make some fancy-pants rolls?” So I did!

Baking with yeast is such a pleasure. The aroma of fresh breads, bagels, and rolls is mighty enticing. When I worked at a bakery, my co-workers and I would “accidentally” drop a loaf of just-out-of-the-oven bread on the floor so we could eat it instead of sell it to customers. Oooooh, we were bad kids. But nothing compares to pulling chunks of warm, crusty bread from a loaf, spreading them with jam, and devouring them on the spot.

This recipe for Pear Ginger Rolls is adapted from my Coconut Mango Rolls recipe. It is essential to use a can of pears because the fruit juice in the can is used in the recipe (twice!).

Yeasted Pear Ginger Rolls with Pear Vanilla Bean Icing

For the dough:

1/2 cup pear juice (from a 15-ounce can of pears), preferably organic
2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 teaspoon agave nectar
1/2 cup unsweetened soy milk (room temperature)
1/4 cup melted coconut oil
1/3 cup sucanat (or light brown sugar)
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
3/4 teaspoon salt

For the filling:

2 Tablespoons non-dairy butter, melted
1/2 cup sucanat (or light brown sugar)
1 cup chopped pear (from the 15-ounce can used above)
1 Tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
zest from one small lemon, about 1 teaspoon

For the icing:

3/4 – 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
2 Tablespoons pear juice (from the can)
1 vanilla bean

Directions:

1. Line the bottom of a 9×13″ cake pan with parchment paper. Set aside.

2. In a glass measuring cup, whisk together pear juice, yeast, and agave nectar. Set aside until frothy, about 5-10 minutes.

3. Add soy milk, coconut oil, and sucanat. Stir to dissolve sucanat.

4. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or in a large mixing bowl), add the flours and salt. Pour in yeast mixture and knead with the dough hook (or your hands if you don’t have a stand mixer) until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Shape the dough into a ball.

5. Lightly oil a large bowl (or use the same mixing bowl the dough is in) and place the dough in the bowl, turning to coat with the oil. Cover the bowl, put in a warm, draft-free place, and allow the dough to rise until doubled in volume, about 1-1.5 hours.

6. Once risen, punch down the dough and let it rest for a few minutes.

7. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into a 12×18″ rectangle. With a pastry brush, spread the melted butter over the entire surface of the dough. Sprinkle sucanat over the butter. In a small bowl, combine chopped pears, ginger, cinnamon, and lemon zest. Sprinkle on top of the sucanat. Roll the dough (tightly) into a log (I rolled from the short end, but either way will work just fine) and pinch the seams with your fingers to seal.

8. Slice dough into 10-12 rolls (depending on how fat you want your rolls to be). I found that using a long, sharp bread knife is easiest for this task. Repeat until you have desired number of rolls (10-12). Place rolls into your prepared pan.

9. Cover pan with a dish towel and allow the rolls to rise for about 1 hour. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees during the last 20 minutes of rise time.

10. Place pan, uncovered, into the oven and bake for about 16 minutes. The rolls will be golden on top.

11. Once the rolls are out of the oven, whisk the powdered sugar (use 3/4 cup if you prefer a thinner, less sweet icing) and pear juice in a small bowl. Slice the vanilla bean in half, lengthwise. Scrape out the seeds with a small spoon or flat edge of a butter knife. Add the seeds to the icing and whisk to incorporate.

12. Drizzle the icing over the warm rolls. Allow to cool slightly – these are best when served warm!!

Don’t forget to enter my giveaway!!

“X” is for (e)Xciting Giveaway!!

Yes, I realize misspelling “exciting” just to get away with an X-themed post is cheating, but it’s been a long day and I don’t know enough about xanthan gum for a proper X-themed post. Besides, giveaways are more fun!

My day has been incredibly relaxing. I did an hour of yoga on my living room floor and then singed some of my hair off when I got too close to the simmering pot of cranberry sauce on the stove (my hair fell onto the burner!). After dinner Tim and I played Scrabble (I won) and pretty soon we are making steamy mugs of hot chocolate! We need to save our energy for tomorrow’s annual Fur Free Friday march in downtown Portland. It’s a peaceful march protesting the sale of fur. This will be our third year attending and I love being amidst compassionate folks speaking out for the animals. If there is a Fur Free Friday march happening in your town, I encourage you to go.

Now for the (e)xciting giveaway!!! Over the summer I opened an Etsy shop, Chirp Cards, where I sell handmade cards. With the holiday season in full swing, I thought it might be nice to host a little giveaway featuring cards from my shop. If you’d like to be entered in the contest, visit my shop and leave a comment here telling me which two cards you would like to win. I will randomly choose a winner on Monday, November 29th. The winner will receive the two cards they chose plus an extra surprise. This contest is open to everybody – so there’s no reason not to enter, right?

Good luck :)