Wednesday 16 December 2009

Snowball Cake Pops

vegan snowball cake popsVegan White Chocolate Coated and dipped in Coconut

vegan snowball cake popsDark Chocolate Coated and dipped in Coconut

vegan cake popsDark Chocolate Coated and dipped in nuts

The inside

How cute are those?!?!?!? Little rum soaked cake balls on a stick, coated in white or dark chocolate and rolled in coconut. Yum! These are another gem from the latest Canadian Living Holiday Baking magazine and as most of the UK is getting some snow today, thought it was a good time to blog them ;) I wanted to make them right away but wasn't sure what to do about the white chocolate. I love organica's vegan white bar but find you can't really bake with it as it melts into oblivion. Thankfully Steven over at Lustrous Musings had the great find of these new vegan white chocolate buttons - cheers! They melt beautifully and re-set really quickly making them perfect in these. Then, after buying out my local Tesco of all they had in them, I still ran out, so decided to coat some in dark chocolate and try different coatings. Here I just went with more coconut and some finely chopped pecans but the possibilities are endless!

Just a note on the cake, I decided to veganize the recipe from the magazine and got lazy and used egg replacers but really, I'm sure any cake recipe you like will work here. I'm kinda kicking myself for not making banana cake for these. Think about it - banana, rum and coconut - that would so work!

Furthermore, these are not just style over substance, they are seriously good!! We all love them and they are so Christmassy, not to mention fun to eat. Think I'll mess about making more food on sticks!

*Recipe says to use apple juice in place of the rum to make alcohol free*

Snowball Cake Pops: recipe says 36, I got about 28

100g / 1/2 cup vegan margarine
170g / 3/4 cup sugar, I used golden caster
40g egg replacer
1 tsp vanilla extract
210g / 1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
pinch salt
200 - 300ml rice milk
80ml dark rum (I used Tesco's own label - it's on their vegan list and cheap ;)
vegan white and/or dark chocolate (sorry, didn't measure but you need a lot 350g?)
-desiccated coconut
-finely chopped nuts
-vegan sprinkles (if they exist!)

Cream the butter, sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy. Mix all flour, baking soda, powder and salt together in another bowl. Alternate the milk into the sugar mixture with the dry using 3 dry and 2 liquid until you get a floppy, almost pourable batter. Pour into a baking paper lined 8" square cake tin and bake in a 180C preheated oven for about 30 minutes. It should be golden, bouncy to the touch and a toothpick should come out clean. Leave to cool fully in the pan. I left mine overnight.

Trim the darkened edges off the cake. Eat them. Take the rest of the cake and crumble into a food processor. Drizzle with the rum and process until finely crumbed - it will come together a bit. Using 1 Tbsp at a time roll into a ball and place a popsicle stick inside (I got mine from Hobbycraft).

Place in the fridge to firm up - about 1/2 hour. Melt the chocolate you are going to use and dip the balls in, coating all over and place back on baking paper lined sheets

When all coated place back in the fridge to set, about 1/2 hour. Dip them again and immediately roll in whatever coating you like. Place back on the sheets and back in to the fridge for about 1 hour.

If you are giving these as gifts, which they would make super cute foodie gifts - tie a little bow around the stick and place some stryofoam into a gift box. You can then package them standing upright - too cute ;)

Merry Christmas Everyone!!!!!

Sunday 13 December 2009

Double Ring Chocolate Hazelnut Bread

double ring chocolate hazelnut bread
This was featured in the 2006 edition of the Canadian Living Holiday Baking magazine. It is a yeast risen bread with a layer of Nutella and chopped hazelnuts rolled up - you make 2 rolls, and bake in an angel food tube cake pan, placing one roll on top of the other.

I really can't believe it has taken me so long to make. I was vegetarian when it came out so could have made it then with no changes - using eggs and regular Nutella etc... Then when I became vegan I just kept putting it off as I wasn't sure what to do about the Nutella. There are recipes out there for vegan Nutella, Veganomicon has one that is apparently very good and for this I recommend the fabulous Mihl's version over at seitan is my motor for vegan Nutella here . For mine I had ordered a jar of vegan hazelnut spread from the vegan store as I was placing an order anyway. It is very good, quite similar to Nutella and went perfect in this, but it does call for an entire jar!! So, not very economical!

To veganize, I replaced the milk with rice milk and the eggs with egg replacers. I wasn't too sure what to do about the eggs. I don't use egg replacers too often, I'm not snobby about them or anything and do feel they have their place in some things. They always work out in my doughnuts and cinnamon rolls for example. And since this was a similar yeast risen dough decided to go with them. I did run out however and only used 30g instead of 40g but everything turned out fine.

It is absolutely delicious!! Lovely for breakfast with a cup of coffee, heated up slightly with some vegan margarine on the side. I really loved how the outside and top got all crispy too, like bread, but then it's a sweet roll like cinnamon buns in the middle. Nice and moist inside too. I will be making this again, but with homemade nutella to keep the costs down :)

Serves 16:
45g/ 3 Tbsp sugar
125ml hand hot water
14g / 1 Tbsp active dry yeast
160ml / 2/3 cup rice milk
50g / 3 Tbsp vegan margarine
40g egg replacer (I only used 30g)
90ml water
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
560g / 4 cups plain flour
400g vegan nutella - my jar was 350g
100g / 2/3 cups toasted hazelnuts, finely chopped
icing sugar to dust

If using blanched hazelnuts like I did, preheat the oven to 200C and place whole nuts on a baking sheet. Roast for about 10 minutes or until very fragrant and golden. Remove and transfer to a bowl to let cool. Process in a food processor until finely chopped and set aside. You can chop by hand too of course, this was just easier.

Grease a 10"/4 ltr angel food cake pan with shortening and set aside. In a large bowl, dissolve 1/2 tsp of the sugar in the warm water. Sprinkle over the yeast and let sit for 10 minutes - it should get really foamy. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan heat up the milk, margarine and water until the marg melts and it's all warm. Remove and let cool slightly. When yeast is done whisk in the milk mixture and the remaining sugar until all dissolved. Mix together 1 cup of the flour with the egg replacer, salt and cinnamon and add this to the liquid. Continue stirring in the remaining flour 1 cup at a time until you get a sticky dough. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead gently, incorporating enough flour as you need to stop it all sticking. Knead for about 8 minutes, until smooth. Place the dough in a large warm greased bowl and cover with greased cling film. Place somewhere warm until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour. My bowl was a bit small and the cling film stopped it rising a bit more, so be careful of this!

Punch dough down and give a quick knead. Divide dough into 2 sections and roll each section out to a 15 x 10" square. If using the store bought vegan nutella, you'll need to heat it up slightly as it's too thick to spread as is. I put mine in the microwave for about 20 seconds, just to make it 'floppier'. Spread half of the nutella over each square then sprinkle the hazelnuts over top. Roll up starting with the long side and pinch the ends to seal. Place one roll in the tube pan seam side up, and the other roll on top, seam side down.*note - the dough is very soft and I have to warn you that this part is difficult!! It will flop about - just take your time :) Cover with greased cling film again and place in a warm place until risen and the dough fills up the pan, about 1 hour. It should really fill up the pan, right to the top. Meanwhile preheat the oven to 190C/ 375F with the rack low enough to fit the tube pan. Bake for about 35 minutes (I took mine out with 7 minutes remaining and it was cooked) it will be golden and sound hollow when tapped. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes then turn out onto a rack to cool more. We had this warm from the oven when it's best :)

Vegan Rullepølse

Vegan Rullepolse
2014 version

Wow, never thought I would be having this again! Rullepølse is a traditional Danish spiced rolled meat but as the first step in making this is going to your butchers and asking for a side of a cow, definitely not vegan!! We always had it at Christmas served like above on white bread rolls and dill pickle. It's so good and the one area I ever felt 'guilt' at with becoming vegetarian, as my mom taught me how to make it as passed down from my great grandparents. Well, I shall be carrying on the family tradition as this worked beautifully!

Now obviously some changes had to be made, the 'meat' here is seitan - a perfect substitute for the meat as it is traditionally cooked by boiling in a brine - just like rullepølse.

I basically kept the recipe for the rullepølse the same (my Great-Grandmother's!) but followed the instructions for the seitan for cooking. I also had to scale down the quantities as I was only making 1 large roll. As I wasn't preserving anything I excluded the salt petre and after rolling the log with the filling immediately boiled it in the brine then pressed it (as best I could without the special presses) while cooling. 

I'm so pleased this worked and will definitely be making this every Christmas from now on. It's very similar, even down to the texture of the 'meat' which I wasn't expecting. Brings back great memories!!

When the rullepølse is boiling in the brine that's when it finally starts to smell like Christmas to me :-) 

Vegan Rullepølse

Vegan Rullepølse:

170g vital wheat gluten
50g vegetable fat (shortening)
170ml water

1/2 cup finely chopped onion
2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground allspice
2 Tbsp white sugar
good grinding of black pepper

5 cups water
2 Tbsp salt
1 Tbsp brown sugar

Additional Supplies:
Kitchen string
bamboo sushi rolling mat (not essential but handy)

First make your seitan, place the flour and fat in a food processor and process until the fat is really fine, you shouldn't even see it in there. Tip this into a large bowl and add the water, stir until it just comes together then dump out and knead gently for about 3 minutes. Add a little plain flour if needed whilst kneading but it shouldn't need any due to the fat in the mixture. Let it rest for 15 minutes then roll it out to a good size square, basically as thin as it will go as it won't roll out very thin. You need some patience here, roll it then pick it up and let gravity stretch it out, roll it out some more....I then cover it with cling film and place a heavy cast iron pan over top to stop it retracting. Eventually you will end up with a good size "square", about 10" x 10":

Now in a high sided pot add all the brine ingredients and bring it to a boil giving it a good stir. While that is coming to a boil make your filling. First add everything except the onion in a small bowl. Next, finely chop the onion but don't add it to the spices yet. If you add the onion to the spices too soon the salt will draw out liquid from the onions and you will have a big old mess! Leave them separate until you are ready to use it.
When the brine is nearly to the boil add the onions to the spices then spread over the seitan pressing the mixture down slightly into the dough,  leaving an edge to seal:

Rather quickly, roll this up lengthwise and give the edge a pinch to seal. Slice this log in half, take one half and place on a prepared sheet of cheesecloth and roll it up, try and leave a bit of room for the rullepølse to swell as it will whilst boiling, this will help when you go to press it later. Tie the edges with string and repeat with the other log:
The brine should be boiling away now so simply place the 2 wrapped logs into the brine, reduce to a simmer and simmer for 45 minutes with the lid askew. I come back to it now and again and flip the logs with tongs. Make sure they are always covered with brine, if it gets too low add some boiling water to the pot.

After the hour remove the logs with tongs and place on a clean kitchen towel to drain. I now line a bamboo rolling mat with cling film, remove the cheesecloth and place the rullepølse on the mat. Roll it up in a somewhat rectangular shape and place a cast iron pan on top, pressing down. You may have to hold the pan on top but it doesn't take long to press. When the rullepølse doesn't spring back when you remove the pan then it's done. 

Transfer to a wire rack to fully cool and repeat with the other log. When at room temperature, wrap them up in cling film and place in the fridge to fully cool. These are even better the next day when the spices and flavours have time to mellow and mingle a bit :-)

Slice and serve on bread rolls with vegan butter, on rye crackers or bread, whatever you like, and I personally find dill pickles essential!

Wednesday 9 December 2009

Vegan Egg Nog - Soy Free

Vegan Soy Free Egg Nog.

I must confess this recipe will have a rather specific target audience. I wasn't after 'traditional' egg nog which is served warm and is an alcoholic drink. I wanted to recreate the egg nog you can buy in North America this time of year in milk cartons which have no alcohol and you drink cold, or at least can drink cold. I had so much of that stuff growing up and haven't had it for years!

While searching for vegan egg nog I soon realized that lucky North Americans can buy cartons of soy egg nog - so lucky!! But, as I am temporarily off the soy anyway decided to try my own. I really loved this, it reminded me so much of the stuff I used to drink by the carton and brought back many happy memories. So if you are vegan, live where you can't buy the cartons of vegan egg nog, miss the non-alcoholic cold egg nog and are also off the soy - here you go! :)

Vegan Soy Free Egg Nog
Serves 1

50ml coconut milk, light or full fat.
50ml rice milk
1 Tbsp maple syrup
1/16 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp rum extract
good grating of fresh nutmeg

Measure everything into a pyrex measuring cup and give it a good whisk. Serve cold, I like mine over ice.

Sunday 6 December 2009

Smokey Red Bean Dumpling Stew

 Smokey Red Bean Dumpling Stew - Vegan

So last Sunday was my 3rd year blogaversary! Despite a little break in between my past vegetarian blog and this one that is. Still I was surprised and meant to blog this on the day. It's also on my previous blog and was already vegan. It's been an absolute staple in our house for, well, 3 years now! Especially when the weather turns cold :) Very hearty, full of goodness with lentils, beans and loads of veg and even the boy loves it!

Regular readers will probably have noted that I do have a dumpling addiction, if you do to, here a couple more recipes containing yummy dumplings Newfoundland pea soup with dumplings and Chickpea Noodle soup with herb dumplings . Still, if I fancy some dumplings, this is the recipe I turn to!!

Smokey Red Bean Dumpling Stew - Vegan

Smokey Red Bean Dumpling Stew:

Serves 3:

• 1 Tbsp olive oil
• 1 onion chopped
• 450 ml vegetable stock, I made mine with 2 tsp marigold vegan stock granules
• 125 grams carrots, sliced and halved
• 125 grams potatoes, diced largely
• 125 grams zucchini, sliced and quartered
• 2 large tomatoes, peeled and chopped OR 200g chopped tomatoes from a tin
• 60 grams red split lentils
• 213 gram can of red kidney beans (1/2 a standard 400g tin)
• 1/2 tsp smoked paprika


• 100 grams flour
• 1/4 + 1/8 tsp salt
• 1 ½ tsp baking powder
• 3/4 tsp smoked paprika
• 3/4 tsp dried mixed herbs
• 1 ½ Tbsp vegetable suet*
• 5 - 6 Tbsp cold water

*Edit - for a non-suet version of these dumplings simply replace the suet with 1 ½ tablespoons of olive oil and use 1/4 cup or 60ml of cold water. Just mix the olive oil with the water and add to the dry ingredients - they turn out just as good!

First combine the dumpling ingredients (minus the water) in a bowl and set aside. If using fresh tomatoes - cut x's on the bottom of the 2 tomatoes and cover with boiling water, leave for 5 minutes, plunge into cold water then peel skins, roughly chop and set aside.

Place the lentils in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil then fast boil for 10 minutes with the lid off. Drain and rinse and set aside.

Heat the oil in a large saucepan and gently fry the onion with some black pepper for 3 -4 minutes or until just soft. Pour in the stock, carrots and potatoes. Bring to the boil, cover and cook for 5 minutes.

Stir in the lentils, zucchini, tomatoes, kidney beans, and paprika. Bring to the boil, cover and cook for 5 minutes. Meanwhile bind together the dumpling dough with the water to form a soft dough. It should form in to a ball and clean the sides of the bowl. Transfer to a floured surface, knead briefly and cut into 6 equal sections, roll each section into a ball.

Uncover the stew, stir well, then add the dumplings, pushing them slightly into the stew. Cover and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for 10 - 15 minutes until the dumplings are risen and cooked through. Stir now and again, gently around the dumplings so the stew does not stick underneath the dumplings. 

Serves 3 with 2 dumplings each.

Smokey Red Bean Dumpling Stew - Vegan

Source: 'The Complete Book of Vegetarian Cooking'.