Recipe review: Vegan Hollandaise from the Comforting Vegan! »
I am living in a place where I don’t think vegan brunches are served; probably not the vegan-friendly ones I’m accustomed to. I don’t think granola and a fruit plate is much fun, but I do get a kick out of making food at home! Breakfast is served!*
I love breakfast food, it is my favorite kind of meal! It has always felt special to me to go out to breakfast with friends or prepare an elegant one at home (move over, fancy dinners, breakfast is back). I have come to really enjoy going out to brunch because that’s when restaurants make the most splendid of morning food! The array of beverages is fantastic: juices, coffee and sometimes bubbly! I, however, am my father’s child in that I’ll do anything to avoid a crowd, and sadly, weekend brunches on the town are no exception. That’s okay though, because thanks to both The Vegg, and a new-to-me hollandaise sauce from The Comforting Vegan, breakfast at home is now both chill and exciting! Friends, we’re doing brunch at my place this weekend!
The hollandaise sauce calls for The Vegg, which we’ve discussed here before, but I hadn’t tried myself until very recently. I’m super stoked by it. I had forgotten how much I loved the taste of “yolks” and ketchup together! The Vegg atop fried tofu is delicious, but I was feeling adventurous in the kitchen. I’ve been curious about vegan hollandaise, yet unsure about how it could be pulled off. This in turn lead to concerns about complete and utter disappointment as home cooking experiments failing to meet personal expectations can be so frustrating! Now, I’m going to admit to you that I was at first resistant to this recipe, possibly because I initially judge recipes by the amount of ingredients they call for. I was hesitant about the Vegenaise factor, yet something kept bringing me back. It was the comments section! How could I not give it a shot when everyone had great things to say and I, for once, had everything on hand?
The result? HOT DANG! My parents used to make hollandaise sauce once a year, on Christmas day for the family, and this recipe brought me right back there! I don’t think Amy could’ve picked a better name for her blog.
The most important meal of the day!
*Pro-tip: Hollandaise and Daiya together is a bit much, so you can totally nix the vegan cheese! I think vegan bacon (in whatever form: bits, seitan, coconut) and sautéed spinach go together splendidly; believe me when I say that it is an absolute dream pairing with this recipe!
I made this pie and you can, too! It was super-easy!
Step 1: Follow the steps to a perfect pie crust on Smitten Kitchen, substituting Earth Balance for butter.
Step 2: Make this caramel apple pie from VegWeb, halving the caramel filling recipe.
Step 3: Devour, with a big cup of coffee!
This was the first pie crust I ever made, and it turned out really well, even with 100 percent whole-wheat flour (I live with crazy people who are terrified of white flour) and my own total lack of lattice-ing skills. Vegan pie, it’s the tastiest!
[photo by Meave!]
Recipe: East Coast coffee cake »
I decided to chip in a bit for the most recent SF Vegan Bakesale, and I am a big coffee cake fan so I thought, “Hey! I’ll make a coffee cake! That’s the ticket!” I recently picked up Vegan Brunch by Isa Chandra Moskowitz, and there’s a nice little recipe in there she titles “East Coast Coffee Cake.” What makes it East Coast, you ask? OMG I asked the same thing! Apparently East Coast coffee cake is “a rich, moist, yellow cake topped with a thick messy crumb topping.” OK. I can see that.
My official ruling on this recipe: GODDAMN! It’s good. As I previously stated in the bakesale recap, I had more than one piece before I delivered the cake to the sale. Jeez louise, delish! Way better than that quickity-quick biscuit coffee cake recipe I gave you before. Another nice thing about this one, Moskowitz gives you like 82 variations on the recipe including stuff like chocolate, berries, and figs—oh my! I just did the straight-up O.G. for safety’s sake.
For the topping:
1 cup flour
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 cup canola oil, plus up to 2 Tbs. more if needed
For the cake:
3/4 cup non-dairy milk (I used almond milk because that’s my new steeze)
1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/4 flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tablespoons powdered sugar (optional)
Preheat over to 375F. Grease an 8-inch square pan (Isa says she likes to use a springform pan—interesting). Mix the milk and vinegar together and set aside to curdle.
Make the topping:
Mix together flour, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Drizzle in canola oil by the tablespoonful. Use your fingers to mix until crumbs form. Alternate mixing and adding canola oil until oil is used and large crumbs have formed. Some of the mixture can still be sandy, but make sure you’ve got mostly large crumbs.
Make the cake:
In a large bowl, mix milk mixture, sugar, canola oil and vanilla. Sift (of course I didn’t sift because I’m lazy and sifters are for squares) in flour, baking powder and salt, and mix until smooth.
Pour batter into pan. Evenly sprinkle the topping over the batter and pat down just a bit.
The recipe says bake for 35 to 40 minutes, but honestly (can I be honest?) mine was ready at 30 minutes or even a bit earlier. The cake is done when you can insert a knife into the center and it comes out clean. Let cool for an hour before slicing and serving. Then you can sift the powdered sugar over top after it’s cooled—if you feel like it.
And there you have it! If anyone has made any of the variations, please tell us about it in the comments! OR MAIL CAKE TO MY HOUSE.
[photo by Megan Rascal! Recipe reprinted with permission from Isa!]
recipe vs. recipe: chocolate cookies with peanut butter filling »
Like most of you palate-less plebes, I love peanut butter and chocolate; I believe I’ve spoken before about how much I like peanut butter and chocolate sandwich cookies especially. Of course best are homemade cookies, and being a very selective egomaniac, I feel that my cookies are the best cookies, so ideally when I am eating a chocolate cookie with peanut butter filling, it is one I’ve baked myself.
Recently I* tried out such a recipe from Isa and Terry’s upcoming cookie cookbook, a little confection they call "peanut butter pillows" (note: I’m not special, Isa posted it in the PPK blog). It looked tasty enough, and as lazy as I am (read: extremely), sometimes even I can’t resist making one little batch of cookies.
They reminded me a lot of another bake-in peanut butter and chocolate cookie I’d made before and loved, this one from Kittee at Cake Maker to the Stars. These were some amazing cookies, really satisfying for breakfast; and something about the salty peanut butter plus the bittersweet chocolate chips plus the sweet, buttery cookie created about the best flavor and texture combinations I’ve experienced in a cookie in some time. Dang.
You can see why I was excited to test this new, similar recipe; a person can’t have too many good cookie recipes, and anyway if this one was maybe a little less laborious, or (somehow) tastier, so much the better.
Unfortunately, things didn’t work out so swimmingly. These Isa-created pillows baked up fine, but neither their texture nor flavor was really any good. Mostly they needed a lot of salt, but more than that, the peanut butter filling was all wrong. It was all kinds of disappointing, eating these little bastards. Didn’t stop us from finishing the batch (not much could), but believe me, I didn’t enjoy the last three I ate at all, not one bite. Even in my favorite soy milk. MAN.
I figured out two major problems with the pillows right away, and I have theorized on further issues, but conclusions remain out of reach, what with not having had any desire to test those theories on a new batch. Regardless, I can tell you what I know, which is first: they are seriously lacking salt. Isa’s recipe calls for 1/4 tsp., while Kittee’s calls for 1/2 tsp., plus she uses Earth Balance, which is itself salted. I think the most important thing I’ve learned about salt is that you use it to bring out all the other flavors in your food, rather than to make it taste like salt (when you taste “salt,” it’s over-salted). Without enough salt, Isa’s cookie dough was quite bland, while Kittee’s was strong enough to stand up to the peanut butter, which does tend to overwhelm.
The second problem begins with the preparation of the peanut butter filling: where Kittee combines 1/2 cup of peanut butter with 1/4 cup of brown sugar, Isa mixes 3/4 cup of peanut butter with 2/3 confectioner’s sugar, some soy creamer, and a little vanilla extract. Your peanut butter becomes oversweet, and it loses its good texture, turning all weirdly smooth and sticky. Kittee’s filling is sweeter, of course, but it most definitely retains its peanut buttery qualities.
This leads to the second part of the second problem, which is the ratio of peanut butter to cookie dough. As you can see in the images provided, Kittee’s cookies are significantly larger than their filling, and even if you increase the amount of peanut butter with which you fill each cookie, like I did when making these glorious angel-foods, the balance of taste and texture between cookie and filling remains harmonious. Isa’s, on the other hand, have the opposite ratio: a whole lot of filling surrounded by a thinnish layer of cookie; this would be great, really, if the filling weren’t already ruined by all the powdered sugar and creamer. Instead of a big bite of PEANUT BUTTER and chocolate cookie crust, what you get is a mouthful of bland goo and sweetish, chocolate-ish cookie crust. It’s very unpleasant. As a final insult, the cookie then sits in your gut, like a pillow carved of stone, and takes roughly one week to digest.
When I make chocolate cookies with peanut butter filling again, I am without question using Kittee’s recipe. I can’t imagine wanting to try out those damn “pillows” another time, unless I’m out of options and feeling experimental. Otherwise, what is the point?
Note: I do not know, nor have I had any contact with, the authors of the reviewed recipes.
*All right, I say “I” did this stuff, but I did not really do it alone. Cooking’s always friendlier with two, after all, especially when it involves dough and filling. Part of my secret to good complicated baking is having good help.