All posts filed under: Better Baking

vegan pistachio olive oil loaf

pistachio date olive oil loaf

We have recently been getting into a good stride with meal planning. It’s something we’ve tried off and on for a while but it never really picked up momentum until now. It’s such a game changer, seriously. Even if we don’t follow the plan to a T (cause you know, life happens), it’s still made our lives a heck of a lot easier. I’ve started batch cooking a grain and a pulse/legume/bean/whatever at the beginning of the week, as well as making granola, yogurt, and date energy bites on an as-needed basis. This planning has also streamlined our grocery list and helped to trim our grocery bills and food waste –> double happy dance. It also means my cooking is slowly but steadily improving, and that we are covering a lot of territory in our cookbook collection. Often times we will each grab a couple cookbooks, sit down at the kitchen table, and bookmark a few things we each want that week. This totally prevents a cooking rut: a wide array of spices and a couple different …

vegan chocolate coffee cardamom scones

chocolate scones with coffee + cardamom

Here is my little tip on how to survive the winter: bake. All the time. Everything. Savour that rush of heat leaving the oven when you pull out a tray of cookies. Revel in the aroma of freshly baked bread filling your kitchen. Not only will you be rewarded with the heat generated by your baking venture, but also the warm (hehe) gratitude of your friends/family/coworkers when you start showing up with a buffet of baked goods. Another method for tackling the trials of winter is the pursuit of hygge (pronounced hoo-guh), of which the entire internet seems to be obsessed. Simply put, it’s the Danish lifestyle notion of coziness or well-being. And no wonder there’s such a frenzy: who isn’t looking for the silver lining in the bitter cold days of February? Danish winters are known for being especially dark and long, so if anybody knows how to endure this time of year, it’s the Danes (also pretty sure they’re ranked the happiest nation in the world, so…). So what’s the secret to capturing the elusive hygge? …

whole wheat no knead bread with chestnut jam

no knead whole wheat bread + vanilla chestnut jam

This has been my go to bread while I have been without a sourdough starter (somehow mine ended up in the cupboard instead of the fridge, RIP). It’s almost entirely whole wheat, but it tastes surprisingly sweet due to a recent addition to my pantry: white whole wheat flour. White whole wheat flour IS 100% whole wheat, so don’t let the name fool you. The whole wheat you’re probably used to seeing in the grocery store is made from red wheat, which has a darker colour and stronger flavour. White whole wheat flour is made from white wheat, which is lighter and much milder. I tried chestnut jam for the first time when I was in France WWOOFing on an organic farm last month. Since they grew their own chestnuts, their confiture de marron was homemade and a staple on the breakfast table each day. I slathered it onto my bread and stirred it into my porridge, so taken by the earthiness and subtle sweetness of this spread. I knew I needed to make it when I got home. …

no bake goat cheese cheesecake

no bake goat cheesecake

I am real excited about this cheesecake. I can’t remember the last time I had ‘real’ cheesecake, though I DO remember eating a lot of the frozen cheesecake bites at Dairy Queen in the time that I worked there. I had a terrible stomachache pretty much every night that I worked, but I never really put it together that I might be lactose intolerant.. Until I stopped eating dairy a few years after I stopped working there, and the daily excruciating stomach aches finally went away. I associated eating dairy with a whole world of pain, so I really didn’t miss it when I cut it out of my diet. But within the past year or so I missed the extra dimensions that cheese can add to a meal, and the vegan cheese replacements weren’t always cutting it. I did a little research and discovered some anecdotal stories of people with lactose intolerance having an easier time digesting sheep and goat’s milk products. After some digging, I found out that this is because the fat and …

vegan sourdough crumb cake

sourdough rhubarb crumb cake

My interest in bread baking continues to grow, which means I always have a hungry starter sitting on our kitchen counter. Most often I throw out the excess, but lately I’ve been daydreaming of other ways to use it: cinnamon buns, pancakes, muffins, banana bread, etc. A quickbread/cake seemed like an easy place to start, so when I saw this simple recipe for coffee cake it seemed like the perfect opportunity to expand my sourdough baking horizons beyond bread! I initially had a REAL hard time playing around with this recipe. Even though the original is a great starting off point, I kept making changes because I am slowly trying to gravitate towards baking in a more wholesome way. Don’t get me wrong, I could never give up doughnuts or pies or the amazing focaccia at Pasta G; but since I like to have treats fairly often, I want them to be slightly better for me so I can have them more often. What that means for me is less sugar, trying to use more natural sweeteners, …

vegan gluten free nanaimo bars

vegan + gluten free nanaimo bars

As someone who has tried and failed (a lot) at creating baked goods that cater to all of my friends’ dietary needs, it is my humble baking opinion that there are many things that just cannot be both gluten free and vegan. Often times, a gluten free recipe really needs an egg for the fat, moisture and rise that it provides, and a vegan substitute just won’t do. This is why bakeries aren’t often lined with pastries/breads that are both gluten free AND vegan. I’m happy to report that this problem does not apply to these nanaimo bars. These are a no bake bar, so they are pretty easily transformed into a delicious gluten free and vegan dessert to please all of your gluten/dairy intolerant or vegan friends (insert joke about vegans not having friends because they are no fun…). This recipe also has some wiggle room: if you’re looking for a more granular texture to the base, akin to what graham cracker crumbs would provide, you can sub in some ground almonds for the sorghum …

vegan gluten free gingerbread granola

gingerbread granola

It’s beginning to look smell a lot like Christmas. Even though it hasn’t snowed and we haven’t picked up a tree yet, I’m slowly getting into the holiday spirit. I whipped up a batch of this granola the other day while watching The Muppet Christmas Carol, and it began to feel a little bit more like the holidays (even if it’s not a winter wonderland outside). If you’re into homemade gifts, this would make a pretty good stocking stuffer 🙂 You can pull together a batch of this granola in five minutes, then get cozy on the couch and start marathoning Christmas movies as the smell of gingerbread fills your house. gingerbread granola (vegetarian, vegan, gluten free) makes about 4 1/2 cups 1/4 cup neutral oil (I used grapeseed) 1/4 cup maple syrup 2 tablespoons blackstrap molasses 1 teaspoon vanilla 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger 1/2 teaspoon fresh grated ginger 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon pinch nutmeg pinch cloves 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/2 cup walnuts, roughly chopped 1/2 cup pecans, roughly chopped 3 cups oats (gluten free if …

buckwheat banana bread

I like to think that I am an organized person: I love making lists, I hate tardiness, and I love my day planner. The reality is not that I’m disorganized, but rather that I like to do way too much at once and have a lot of unfinished projects. The kitchen is often a mess with dishes from my baking experiments, laundry is on the floor instead of hanging up, there’s yarn and knitting needles on the table (they’ve been there since March…), and I have at least 3 books on the go all the time. My multiple to-do lists get lost in my purse among the trillion useless receipts, and I have one two different notebooks containing my food scribbles so I am often flipping back and forth between the two to find the notes I’m looking for. This is progress though, compared to my previous habit of writing on loose pieces of paper and leaving them all over my apartment. Part of this doing-too-much mentality is that I sometimes let it sway my cooking/baking projects in …