Gothic Granola

Tag Archives: Birthday

Witchy Birthday Dried Blood Red Velvet Cake

The old woman nodded as she listened to the soft, bubbling words [of the spirit of the well].  Then she went back to the cottage, her eyes bright with resolve, her step firm with courage.

She took water from the sieve and sprinkled it over the doorstep.  When she got inside she saw a cake, dark reddish brown and unappetizing to look at, on the table.  ‘They didn’t even wait for me to come back with the water,’ she said to herself.  ‘They were greedy as well as wicked.  But thanks to the spirit of the well I know what is in that cake.’

Geoffry Palmer and Noel Lloyd, “The Horned Witches,” Nine Witch Tales, ed. Abby Kedabra (New York: Scholastic Book Services, 1998), 13.

There were a few magical things about this cake I baked for my birthday: I still had the book from which the above quote is excerpted and the cake actually worked this time.

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Persimmon Muffins

Hey, it’s my birthday! I’m going to revel in my Early Onset Grumpiness.



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Nightshade Nightmares: Mashed Potato Waffles

Nightshades: source of aggravated post-workout soreness and nightmares, for some people.  Pseudo-science or fact?

nightshade nightmares | gothic granola

Jessica the Dawn chases Little Bill the Halfpenny doll.

Leftover mashed potatoes happen?!  Yes, yes they do.  Using my stand mixer to whip the boiled red potatoes made short work of the mashercizing process. 


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Cream Cheeze Cutouts

I did it.  Finally, I have made vegan and gluten-free version of Cream Cheese Cutouts that tastes good, rolls properly, and bakes up soft and slightly puffy, just like I remembered.  Why the spelling differences?  Mine are Cream Cheeze Cutouts due to fake animal products; Ownie Mom’s are Cream Cheese Cutouts, since hers are traditional wheat flour, egg, and dairy, etc.

cream cheeze cutouts cookies vegan gluten-free | gothic granola

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An Official Request: Pumpkin Almond Bread


I made this bread for my grandmother for her birthday on Monday.  After studying for a Tuesday exam all day, I wanted to make something.  My grandmother told my uncle about the bread, and once I returned to Alexandria on Wednesday, my aunt put in “an official request” to make some.  I invented the recipe on Monday, and now I’ve put it in writing.
Pumpkin Almond Bread
1 1/2 cups pumpkin (or more)
2 T-1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup agave nectar
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup brown rice flour
1 cup teff flour
1/2 cup almond meal
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1 cup sliced almonds
1 cup raisins
Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.  Grease a 9x4x4-inch loaf pan.
In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients and the chunks.  In a large glass measuring cup, whisk together the wet ingredients.  Add wet to dry and mix well (watch out for unmixed pockets).  Add more pumpkin bit by bit if mixture seems too dry.  Transfer to pan and bake for 60-65 minutes.  When a knife inserted in the centre comes out clean, it’s done.  Cool in the pan for ten minutes, remove from the pan, and cool completely on a rack.

Come to the Dark Side…we have vegan and gluten-free goodies.

Wait, Wait, One More Thing! Bonobo Bread

Some very good vibes in the kitchen today on the last day of 2011.  I made Bonobo Bread (also known as Cinnamon Pull-Apart Bread), pumpkin quiche, and chocolate cake.  The quiche and the cake recipes are those previously mentioned on this blog.

I used two tablespoons of coconut oil instead of margarine and cream cheeze.  Let’s see how it turned out!

Ownie Mom and I frosted my dad’s birthday cake with Chocolate Ganache.

Bonobo bread is monkey bread (or cinnamon pull-apart bread, for the ape-averse).  Food that should not exist, yeasted gluten-free bread, that is.  I call it Bonobo bread because bonobos resolve conflicts through physical intimacy.  So a pile of balls of dough is most going to resemble a bunch of bonobos, not just any monkeys.  Yes, I’m calling them “balls of dough.”  Most of the recipes I read shy away from the word “balls,” but what else are they?  The pieces of dough are too spheroid and big for “bits;” I’m just tellin’ it like it is.

I have wanted to eat monkey bread ever since I couldn’t have it.  The recipe I modified was dairy-free, so I could’ve made it pre-GF, but I wasn’t hankering after monkey bread before maybe April of this year.  Reading other peoples’ fuzzy, sweet memories of eating a beloved relative’s monkey bread inspired me to make some for myself.  Actually, we’re going to enjoy this for New Year’s Day brunch tomorrow.  It was either this or a new recipe of cinnamon rolls, since the cinnamon rolls my mom and I made for Christmas Day were, well, beany.  There are no beans, no soy, no gluten, no animal products, and no sugarcane in this recipe I present to you below.  Food that shoudn’t exist, indeed.

Bonobo Bread (AKA: Cinnamon Pull-Apart Bread)
Modified from King Arthur Flour’s Monkeying Around Bread.

Makes one 8” round

For the dough:

1 tablespoon ground flaxseed + 1/4 cup water

1/2 cup lukewarm water
1 tablespoon canola oil
2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 tablespoons sugar (I used maple sugar)

1 teaspoon salt
1 cup rice flour (I used white rice since it was what was available, but I would recommend brown)
1 1/4 cups teff flour
1/4 cup almond meal
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 cup applesauce
1/4 cup water (yes, you read that right, there are three measures of water in this recipe)

Rolling mixture:
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2/3 cup sugar (I used maple; brown sugar would be my next choice, then granulated if neither were to be had)

2/3 cup coconut milk (shaken if from a can)

With rising time: don’t preheat the oven now.  If you’re not rising—and it doesn’t seem necessary—then preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and grease an 8” round metal cake pan.

In a small bowl, mix the flaxseed and water and set aside.  In mid-sized measuring cup, mix the lukewarm water, oil, yeast, and sugar.   If the yeast doesn’t bubble, then try again with fresh yeast.  In a large bowl, whisk together the salt, flours, xanthan gum, and cinnamon.  Add the flax mixture to the yeast mixture, stir well, then add the resultant mixture to the flour blend.  Stir and add the additional quarter cup of water and the applesauce.  Mix well until you form a sticky dough.

Set the dough aside, uncovered and in a warm place, for an hour or until it rises or doubles in volume.

With a tablespoon cookie scoop, form 1 1/2-inch diameter balls of dough.  Dip the dough balls into the coconut milk then roll them in the sugar and cinnamon.  Arrange them in concentric circles in the pan.  Tuck as many balls as possible into a single layer before creating a second tier.  Pour any remaining coconut milk and cinnamon sugar-mixture on top of the balls.  

Bake for 30 minutes until puffy and firm to the touch.  Immediately remove from the oven and invert onto a  plate (for once, you will not cool a gluten-free baked good in the pan since this stuff will stick).  Scrape any sticky bits onto the bread (and tuck in any balls that stuck to the pan) and let cool before digging in.

Aw yeah.

Here’s what I’ve been eating for lunch or breakfast lately: pumpkin bread with cream cheese, cinnamon, and sunflower seeds.  That’s a pile of flaxseed, an apple, crushed pineapple, a glass of mint chocolate soymilk, and a mug of green tea in supporting roles.  I made the pumpkin bread in my new tall GF loaf pan, not that the height does anything for quickbreads, but supposedly the higher sides help fragile GF yeasted breads rise and stay up.

Someone draw an asterisk over my head.  I suddenly remembered that I drank a glass of sparkling cider on Christmas Day and I forgot to record it.  Yes, I write down what I eat.  My motivation to do so has changed since July 2009 when I started.   I first began recording what I ate in an effort to lose weight; the accountability—to myself, sure—would purportedly keep me “on track.”   You can tell how well that went.  In 2010, I kept up my record in order to determine the cause (s) of my digestive upset and strange rashes.  I (still) record what days I find this characteristic neon red rash on my joints, only after eating breakfast (which may not be my first meal of the day.  Discuss).  I figured out gluten was not my friend with the help of this record.  Now I write what I eat as another way of paying attention to my life, recording how much food costs if I go out, how long I meditated, what I did for exercise, and other life statistics that are handy to have in a single file.  I’ll start a new document for 2012 tomorrow.

“But a man never trifles/ With gals who carry rifles…”  I’m listening to the “Annie Get your Gun” soundtrack.

Blessed be,
Come to the Dark Side…we have vegan and gluten-free goodies.

Decompressing: Chocolate Pecan Brownie Pie

Hello from Alexandria!  

I have been having a wonder-filled fall break back in the D.C. metro area.  After making excellent time from NJ (3.5 hours!) last Thursday, I made a pumpkin pie as soon as I arrived at my aunt and uncle’s house.

The next day was an ideal day: woke up, did my usual morning thing (morning pages, pray, meditate, exercise), made a smoothie, and then got to work cooking.  I made a Moroccan butternut-lentil stew and chewy peach brownies (for the D.C. Steam Cemetery Potluck).  I also baked two kinds of cookies to give to my brother and my friends: Anzac biscuits

 and sunflower-espresso cookies.  

The idea for sunflower seeds and espresso chocolate going well together came from dorm desperation earlier in 2011.

My aunt put in her dessert requests a while back and requested, among other items, a pecan brownie pie.  I had already figured that “fudgy pecan brownie pie” meant chocolate pecan pie filling in a brownie crust, when I decided to check my aunt’s source, Rachael Ray.  Fudgy pecan brownie pie is brownies with pecans baked in a circle?   No, thanks, I’ll stick with pie.  My mash-up of different recipes makes a decadent pie that is a little outside of my norm for dessert, but, hey, gotta break the mould once in a while.

Chocolate Pecan Brownie Pie

Brownie modified from: Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero, Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar, 138-40.
Filling modified from: Robin Robertson, 1,000 Vegan Recipes,  462-3.

Brownie Crust:
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate (I used a birthday present of a 3.5-ounce bar of Ghirardelli Twilight Delight, 72% cacao—it’s vegan and GF, technically, but sometimes I find I have a lactose reaction to it.  Use your noggin.)
1 cup pureed pure pumpkin (say that three times fast)
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup brown rice flour
1/4 cup Bob’s Red Mill All-Purpose Gluten Free Baking Flour
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/4 cup Dutch process cocoa powder
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

Chocolate Pecan Filling:
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup water
3/4 cup maple syrup
3/4 cup water (no, this is not a mistake to have two different measurements of water)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons vegan margarine
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
2 cups pecan halves, broken into bits

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Though this is pie, it needs to be baked in a metal pan.  Grease a 9” springform pan or line an 8” square with parchment (or line a metal pie plate with a parchment circle; glass is not recommended since the crust needs to be sturdy and brown a bit).

Begin making the filling: in a small bowl, MIX the cornstarch with 1/4 cup water (seriously, blend it up, because you don’t want cornstarch lumps in your filling).  In a medium-sized saucepan, bring the maple syrup, 3/4 cup water, and brown sugar to a boil over high heat.  Boil for five minutes.

While the filling is boiling, melt the chocolate for the crust.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients.  Once the chocolate is melted, stir in the oil and pumpkin carefully so as not to make the chocolate seize (cold pumpkin will do that).  Add wet to dry and mix well.  Dollop the stiff crust batter into the pan and spread to the sides. 

The weight of the filling will hold down the centre so there will be a crust around the edges of the pie, as long as you pour the filling into the middle.  Since this may take more than five minutes to assemble the crust, don’t worry, you can come back to the crust once you tend to the filling.  This recipe is an exercise in multitasking.

Once the filling has boiled for five minutes, stir in the salt and cornstarch mixture.  Continue to cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture becomes shiny, thick, and bubbles break open on the surface.  Turn down the heat and stir in the chocolate, then turn off the heat.  Add the margarine and vanilla and stir to melt completely.  Fold in the nuts and stir to coat.  Finish up the crust and put it in the pan if you haven’t already.  Pour the filling into the centre of the crust.  

Bake for 35-40 minutes or until the crust bounces back when touched, passes the toothpick test (reasonably well; there will be chocolate on the tester but it shouldn’t be wet), and the filling does not jiggle too much in the centre.  Cool completely before refrigerating.  If you used a springform pan, remove the sides of the pan once the whole assemblage has pulled away from the sides in the course of cooling.  Refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight before serving.

Aw yeah.

It also works well baked in a regular pie plate.

Come to the Dark Side…we have vegan and gluten-free goodies.