Single-serve banana walnut breakfast cake

A lightly sweet, airy breakfast cake with no added oil, sugar, gluten, or salt.

Ingredients

3T sweet sorghum flour
1T brown rice flour
1/2T cornstarch
1/2T tapioca flour
1//4t heaping baking powder
1 medium, very ripe banana (about 3/4 cup)
1/2t pure vanilla extract
2T unsweetened soy milk
1T chopped walnuts, 1t reserved for garnish
1t milled flax seed
Stevia to taste

Optional: Use shelled sunflower seeds in place of walnuts. You can use a tablespoons or so coconut sugar in place of the stevia but adjust the baking time accordingly. You can use other plant milks, but this will also affect the crumb and bake time.

Method

Mix the flours, cornstarch and baking powder. Puree the banana, vanilla, and walnuts until relatively smooth. Add the soy milk to the banana and puree.

Whisk the wet with the dry to form a smooth batter. Add the flax seed and stir to combine. Sweeten to taste with the stevia (it should be sweet to the taste). Pour the batter into a ramekin. Let rest while you preheat the oven to 450F.

When the oven is ready, bake for 15 minutes on the middle rack at 450F. Sprinkle with reserved walnuts, reduce heat to 350F, and bake another 15 – 20 minutes or so. Ovens vary; use a toothpick to determine when the cake is done.

Remove from heat. Cover with a clean tea towel and let cool. When cool, run a knife around the edge of the cake to loosen and carefully remove from the ramekin. Enjoy fresh or wrap in plastic wrap to enjoy later.

Sun-dried tomato scones with olives, figs, and green herbs

Made with miso and cashew butter, these are a simple treat good for a snack, small sandwiches or other uses.

Ingredients

The wet ingredients
3T cashew butter
1T white vinegar (or to taste)
1T unpasteurized sauerkraut vinegar
1/4 cup unsweetened plant milk
1T white miso

The dry ingredients
1 cup bread flour
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1t baking powder
A pinch baking soda
1/2T herbes de Provence (or similar)
1t garlic powder

The garnish
2T sun-dried tomatoes, chopped and rehydrated with 3T boiling water
3T figs, finely diced
1T kalamanta olives, pitted and chopped
Coarse sea salt and black pepper to taste

Optional: The crumb will be light and closer to foccaccia in some ways than to a traditional dense but flaky scone.
If you prefer, bake as a in a very well-oiled 3″x9″ loaf pan. Black olives will also work fine in this. White miso will produce a lighter crumb, while red produces a richer flavour and a darker coloured crumb. Balsamic vinegar will produce a slightly sweeter and darker scone.

Method

Rehydrate the tomatoes with the boiling water. When the tomatoes are getting close to room temperature, whisk the wet ingredients together (adding the ingredients in order) until smooth. Chill both the tomatoes and the wet ingredients in freezer for about 20 minutes.

At the 30 minute mark, preheat the oven to 425F.
Combine the dry ingredients. Add them to a small food processor. Add 2T figs, 2T rehydrated sun-dried tomatoes (i.e., leaving a little of each for garnish) and 1/2T olives, the wet ingredients and the sun-dried tomato soaking water.

Pulse blend until a dough forms. Mix in the remaining figs and sun-dried tomatoes, handling the dough as little as possible. Press into a 3″ x 9″ loaf pan and chill covered with plastic wrap for about 30 minutes.

Turn out the dough. Press the remaining olives into the top, gently. Cut into 3″ squares. Cut each square in half at a 45 degree angle. To bake, use a baking sheet lined with baking paper preferably, or a very lightly oiled baking sheet or a baking sheet lightly dusted with fine corn meal
if necessary.

Bake on the middle rack for about 12 – 14 minutes or until the scones are lightly browned. Remove from heat and let cool on a wire rack until ready and serve.

Peanut butter, chocolate chip cookies with ginger and molasses

The ginger and molasses add a little flavour nuance to this rich, flaky cookie. This makes about a dozen larger cookies, up to two dozen small ones.

Ingredients

1/2 cup unsweetened, unsalted peanut butter (I use crunchy)
1/3 cup coconut oil
1T cold water
1/4t coarse sea salt
1/2 cup turbinado sugar (or more to taste if you have a sweet tooth)
1t blackstrap molasses
1/2t fresh ginger, grated and minced (or more to taste — I use 1t)
1/2 cup all purpose, unbleached flour
2/3 cup whole wheat flour (I use bread flour)
1/4 cup unsweetened plant milk
25g bittersweet chocolate, chipped (I use a fairly traded, organic brand)

Optional: Use ready-made chocolate chips you prefer. You can make smaller cookies, use pastry flour instead of bread flour, use all whole wheat flour, change the sweetener, trade the coconut oil and water for plant-only margarine, add flax or banana for some additional binder, or make an all peanut butter version, but this will affect the overall chemistry. You may have to change the liquid balance and/or the bake time.

Method

Preheat the oven to 350F. Cream the peanut butter with everything up to and including the ginger. Mix the flours and stir the combination into the peanut butter. Stir in the plant milk. Add the chipped chocolate to the dough, reserving about 1/3 to add to the cookies once pressed.

On a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, add the dough in about 2 tablespoon sizes. Press a little of the remaining chocolate into each cookie. Press each cookie lightly with a fork to crosshatch so that each is no more than 1/2″ high.

Bake on the middle rack for 12-15 minutes, shorter for softer cookies, longer for crunchier cookies, depending on your oven. Be careful not to overbake. Ovens vary; use the colour and texture of the cookie as a guide to bake time (they should be lightly browning at the tips for soft cookies).

Remove from the oven and cool on a wire frame for about 30 – 45 minutes for still warm, soft cookies, or cool for an hour or so, cover, and serve later.

Freshly baked garlic, herb bagels

Although it’s the extreme dry heat of a professional oven that makes the absolute best bagels, it’s possible to make a good bagel at home. Many bagels made at corner shops are made with egg wash, honey, or other ingredients. Commercial bagels are often made with micro-ingredients, such as l-cysteine, and they lack the satisfying chew of a freshly baked bagel. This recipe makes half a dozen, but easily shrinks or doubles.

Ingredients

3 cups whole wheat bread flour
A pinch coarse sea salt
1 1/2 – 2 cups warm water
1 1/2T yeast
1/2T green herbs (I use herbes de Provence)
1/2t garlic powder
2 liter water
1T baking soda
1T blackstrap molasses
2T unsweetened plant milk

Optional: There are a lot of variations for bagels. You can braid the dough for something more European. You can make them smaller with a larger hole and sprinkle them sesame seeds for a bagel in the Montreal style. You can also flavour your bagels as you like (e.g., with onion or cinnamon and raising, etc.), but be careful of interrupting the yeast.

For a plain bagel, leave out the garlic and herbs. Unbleached, all purpose flour will give you a bit more fluff (but you made need less water). You can also sprinkle sesame seeds and other toppings toward the end of the baking. You can also change the sweetener, but be careful about changing the pH balance of the water too much — it’s partly what makes the bagel chewy.

Method

Note, to get the fluffiest, chewiest bagels you can, it’s helpful to have a baking stone for this recipe. If you don’t have one, sprinkle a lightly oiled baking sheet with 1/2T coarse yellow corn meal instead. Or, if you have baking paper rated to 450F, use that. You want a hot, dry oven.

It’s also best if you have a pan large enough to boil them all at once. The longer the bagels sit between the boiling and the baking, the longer they lose their heat and the fluff that goes with it. If you have to do the boiling in batches, remove each to a clean, dry cutting board sprinkled with a little corn meal while you do the remainder.

Start by mixing the flour and salt. Mix the water and yeast according to its instructions. Add the wet to the dry and mix until a smooth dough forms. Add additional water as necessary 1 tablespoon at a time. Knead for about 10 minutes. Let the dough rise covered with a warm, moist tea towel for 2 hours, punching down periodically. Roll out on a floured board. Fold in the garlic powder and herbs. Knead for a minute or so.

When the dough is ready, break into 6 equal parts. If you want large, sandwiched sized bagels, break the dough into 4 parts. Roll the dough out to a long thing tube, about 6″ long and 1 1/2″ in diameter, between your palms.

Once rolled, connect both ends of the tube securely into a bagel shape. The size of the hole varies by style. I make mine about 1 1/2″, and I twirl it on my index finger. Repeat until all your bagels are ready. Cover and let rise another 30 minutes or so. Don’t let them over-rise.

In a large pan, bring the water to a light boil. Preheat your oven to 500F (or 450F if your oven doesn’t reach 500F). Add the baking soda and molasses to the water and return to a light boil. Add the bagels, simmering them in the mixture for about 1 minute, turning over and boiling another 30 seconds or so. Remove the bagels from the water with a slotted spoon.

Add your bagels to your baking stone or sheet. Bake for 10 – 15 minutes until they are starting to brown lightly (depending on the temperature and whether you use a stone, a baking sheet, etc.). Ovens vary; use the colour and texture of your bagel as a guide.

When the bagels are starting to lightly brown, brush each with a little plant milk. Sprinkle any additional toppings at this point. Bake for another 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat. Let cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes to an hour before serving. Or, let cool completely and then package up for later.