Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Cupcakes, Croissants, Biscuits and Lazy Cooking!


I do apologize for the lack of blog posts as of late. I mention in my 'about me' page that if I'm ever not blogging for any amount of time it's probably down to my lupus, and that is certainly the reason these days! I've been flaring up quite badly and regularly - this tends to happen in the spring when the weather gets nicer - UV rays are NOT my friend!! So, I've either been too sick or sore or shattered to bother with either blogging OR even cooking. We've been having a lot of almost ready meals, cheat ingredients and beans on toast lately :-) And, when I have made something I either can't be bothered to take a picture, or if I do I just don't have the energy to blog it :-(

So I hope you don't mind a multiple post of what I've been up to lately here, as I figured some posts, even if they are un-original and lazy, are better than none ;-)

First Up - Croissants!

Vegan Croissants
Chocolate filled Croissants with Chocolate Drizzle

Vegan Frangipane Croissants
Frangipane filled Croissants with Flaked Almonds 

We've been making these for ages now and I have to give a big shout out to the lovely Christina at Artichoke Zine for blogging about these VEGAN croissant dough in tubes that you can get at Aldi. **Edit - Aldi don't seem to sell these anymore but the Jus-Rol brand croissant tubes are vegan as well, got mine at Tesco.** They are so yummy and versatile, I've made them plain but I have to say my favourites are filled. The ones above are simply filled with chopped dark vegan chocolate before rolling up and baking. I then drizzle on some more melted chocolate once they have cooled slightly - so good!

I also recently made some with a frangipane filling, and omg - these were SO good!  I veganized a frangipane filling from a Canadian Living magazine and was very impressed with it. Brushed the tops with the egg replacer I used in the frangipane, sprinkled sliced almonds over top and baked. Then I simply dusted with icing sugar once they came out of the oven. I think we actually prefer this one to the chocolate filled it's so good!

Vegan Frangipane Croissants


Frangipane Filling:
100g ground almonds
75g caster sugar
1 Tbsp plain flour
50g vegan margarine
3/4 tsp almond extract
---egg replacer--- (note - you'll only need about half of this and some for brushing)
1 tsp vegetable oil
1/16 tsp xanthan gum
1/2 Tbsp cornstarch
1/2 Tbsp potato starch
1/8 tsp baking powder
50ml water

First make your 'egg' - whisk together the dry ingredients then slowly add the the water and oil, whisking as you go until you have a thickish slightly frothy mixture that should be like the consistency of beaten eggs (ha! if you can remember what that is like!) Next beat together the frangipane filling ingredients until creamy (it may be a bit dry) now add about half the egg mixture and whisk well, add 1 Tbsp at a time. It should be a thickish mixture that you can spread, it can be used now but it works even better if you chill it for a couple hours.

When ready to make, simply spread the filling over the triangle croissant dough and roll it up. Place on a baking sheet lined with baking paper then brush over some of the 'egg', sprinkle with sliced almonds and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and sprinkle generously with icing sugar.

The fantastic Mandee at Cupcake Kitteh recently blogged some amazing looking croissants that she made from scratch!! Respect!! Do go over and have a look if you are not being a lazy cook like me these days ;-)

Second up - Cupcakes!!

Cappuccino and Maple Candied Pecan Cupcakes
Cappuccino and Maple Candied Pecan

I have a confession to make - I felt I was 'over' the whole cupcake thing. I know. Crazy! I was making quite a lot in the early days of becoming vegan, all from 'Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World', and loving all of them. Then, I just stopped making cupcakes - I think I just got more into regular cakes etc.. and lost interest. Then I made these to take up to some friends house for the weekend and well, I'm back into them! How can you not love cupcakes really?? Anyway, the Maple Candied Pecan turned out sublime, we all really loved them. The maple candied pecans are the recipe from Veganomicon's S'mlove Pie and the cupcake itself is from VCTOTW - the maple walnut one - I just prefer pecans. I didn't however use the maple frosting from that one as it just didn't turn out for me, so I whipped up this one instead:

Maple Frosting:
1 1/2 cups icing sugar
1/4 tsp salt
40ml maple syrup
2 Tbsp vegetable fat (shortening)
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 Tbsp soy cream, warmed

Soften the shortening then whisk in the maple syrup and salt, add some icing sugar, whisk, then add the vanilla and whisk. Alternate adding icing sugar and soy cream until you have a nice fluffy consistency.

Unfortunately the cappuccino ones need some work. I more or less followed the recipe from VCTOTW, omitting the cocoa powder as I just wanted a coffee flavour cake. I also opted for the higher dose of instant espresso (3 Tbsp's) but it was just too bitter for me. That being said the flavours settled over a day and they weren't that strong then, but it's still back to the kitchen for that one for me! The frosting is just the fluffy vanilla buttercream from the same book and then I dusted some cocoa powder over top, like a cappuccino! They are cute, just not the best, sadly.

Third up - Cheeze and Onion Biscuits!

Vegan Cheeze and Onion Biscuits
First attempt - quick bread style



Second attempt - quick bread style with a touch of yeast

I do love these biscuits!! Especially with a bowl of soup - gorgeous! They are a bit of an ongoing experiment though to get just right.... The first two photos there are from a batch I made probably about a year ago. They were absolutely delicious, light and flaky with a real nice cheeze and onion flavour, but, a little heavy on the baking soda giving them that 'taste' in the mouth.

So, I wanted to try these again and work on that. Reducing the soda simply meant they didn't rise as much and lost some of their lightness - not good. Then I saw in my Canadian Living magazine a recipe for Angel Biscuits. They were made with baking powder and soda but also with a touch of yeast to add extra lightness. I finally got around to making them and you can see them there in the last two photos. They were very good but not as light and flaky as my original ones. Although the didn't have the baking soda 'taste' like the other ones. Still, in the end I think I prefer the first recipe, it's the same as my plain biscuit recipe but with added cheezly (40g) and spring onion (2 finely chopped). The baking soda taste is mild and to be honest I think I'm just sensitive to it as no one else seems to even notice! Some dried mixed herbs or chopped fresh dill would be lovely as well. What is absolutely essential is lathering of vegan margarine on these, as soon as they come out of the oven!!

Angel Biscuits:
1 tsp active dry yeast
2 Tbsp warm water
200g flour
1/2 Tbsp sugar
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup vegetable fat (shortening) (45g)
1/4 cup grated mature cheddar cheezly (40g)
1/2 cup non dairy milk, I used rice
1 tsp apple cyder vinegar
2 finely chopped spring onions

Mix the vinegar and rice milk together and set aside. Line baking sheet with baking paper and preheat the oven to 400F/200C. Stir the yeast with the warm water and leave to foam up for 10 minutes. Whisk together all the dry ingredients then add the fat and cut in with a pastry cutter until it is crumbly. Stir in the cheeze and spring onion. Whisk the milk into the yeast mixture and stir to make a soft dough. Mine was quite wet and I needed a bit more flour to get a nice dough. Turn out onto a floured surface and gently knead about 10 times till you have a smooth dough. Roll out until 2cm thick and with floured circle cutters cut out your biscuits and place on the prepared pan. Let rise 15 minutes. I then brushed with some rice milk and added some more finely grated cheezly on top, but that's optional. Bake for about 15 minutes or until risen and golden.

Fourth up - Vegan Honey Mustard Mayonnaise!


Vegan Fish Fingers with Agave Mustard Mayonnaise
Yes, those are vegan fish fingers!!!

haha, I'm so happy with this!! My son has been wanting to try fish fingers ever since that first Doctor Who episode where all he could eat was fish fingers with custard! Thankfully Redwood foods make a vegan version and thankfully he declined on having custard on the side!! When I first tried these I really didn't like them because I felt they were just too accurate! But I've been having a strange fish craving lately and this time I loved them! Although, this may be down to my vegan honey mustard mayo ;-) I had quite a lot of fish fingers growing up but I don't think I've ever had one without honey mustard mayonnaise. To me they go together like chips and ketchup, I simply cannot have one without the other! Well, I can't believe how accurate this turned out!! It tasted just like I remember the dip and I can't wait to try it in other things, I'm thinking it'll make a nice creamy potato salad dressing too. I realize it looks quite runny in that picture but I don't know why - it wasn't at all. Super good though, and seriously, if you like the redwood fish fingers do try this with it - they go so well together!

Vegan 'Honey' Mustard Mayo:
1 Tbsp plamil mayo, regular or garlic
1/2 tsp french's mustard
1/4 tsp light agave syrup

Simply mix altogether until creamy! Serves 1 - 2 as a side dip. I have only made this with that specific mayo so don't know how it will fare with different brands as obviously they differ wildly.

Well, that's it for now, like I said I'm relying on a lot of ready meals lately - like the fish fingers, chips and peas post above and not doing much chopping at all!! Hopefully I'll feel better soon and get some proper posts in, until then......

8 comments:

  1. I wish I could taste all of this! Those croissants look scrumptious.

    Sorry to hear about your lupus. I hope you feel better soon!

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  2. Yes, the croissants look so nice!. I also made cupcakes very recently so I was very happy see yours. They look scrumptious! We're always our own heaviest critic! I'm sure those biscuits tasted as good as they look :)

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  3. I think your croissants look amazing and thank you for mentioning the ones I made too :)

    I really, really want one of those cheezey onion biscuits, they look delicious!

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  4. Thanks so much for the comments!

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  5. Thanks for the mention love; the croissants taste amazing with a couple of squares of chocolate popped in- really want to try with choc drizzled on top!

    My flatmate loves Pret a Manger chocolate croissant twists, I really want to re-create these!!

    x

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  6. My pleasure!! Thanks so much again for bringing them to my attention! Those sound so good too - so many things we can make with those little dough tubes!!

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  7. Thank you so much for your cheeze and onion biscuit recipe! I have made these about 3 times in the past month - they are absolutely delicious!

    I especially enjoy them slathered with Pure sunflower spread, and served with a spicy mushroom stroganoff made with pureed chipotle chilli, smoked paprika and soy yoghurt. The spiciness really brings out the flavour of the cheeze and the onions. They're just as delicious on their own straight out of the oven, though! YUM!

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  8. Thanks so much Nadia! Glad you like them :-) Love the sound of that strogannoff - I ♥ Paprika!!

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