Gothic Granola

Tag Archives: Nuts

(Not My) Grandmother’s Spice Cake

I’m not going to tell you how to make oatmeal.  This was today’s breakfast when I assembled it on Wednesday night.  I like to make my oatmeal ahead of time and eat it all cold and stuff the next morning.  I used a little too much water, as you can see, and it almost flooded the bowl.  I was urging my oatmeal (and pear, flaxseed, and peanut butter) to absorb more water, yelling—SUCK IT!  SUCK IT UP!

Yesterday, I made cake for work.

Grandmother’s Spice Cake (modified from Vegan Vittles, by Joanne Stepaniak, p. 152)

1 1/4 cup applesauce
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
2 tablespoons canola oil

1 cup brown rice flour
3/4 cup Bob’s Red Mill All Purpose GF Baking Flour
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon cloves
1/8 teaspoon ginger
(alternately, use 2 teaspoons King Arthur Flour’s Apple Pie Spice instead of the spices)

1 cup raisins or craisins
1 cup walnut halves

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.  Grease an 8×8” glass baking dish or 9” round pie plate.  Place walnuts on a piece of foil and toast in the preheating oven for about 8 minutes.  Remove and set aside to cool.

Combine wet ingredients in a large measuring cup.

Whisk together dry ingredients in a large bowl.  Break up the toasted walnut halves.  Add wet to dry and fold in the chunks.  Transfer to the baking dish.  Bake for 30-35 minutes or until it passes the toothpick test, the center springs back when touched, it’s cracked near the edges, and the cake has begun to pull away from the sides of the pan.  Cool completely in the pan before cutting.  Store in the refrigerator covered in plastic wrap.  This freezes very well.

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

A Hard Day’s Work: Pecan pie

I’m back at school.  My room is double the square footage of last year’s 87-square-foot closet.   The kitchen is in the same building, which is convenient.  The oven in this kitchen does not have a timer.  Tell me that’s not a safety hazard in a dorm of absent-minded undergraduates.  Go on, tell me people are responsible.

Cynicism as a side dish, here’s a recipe I made last week at home.  My dad took my car to get fixed (long story), and so I made his favourite dessert to say thanks, pecan pie.  I am enormously proud of my pies that I’ve veganized and gluten-free-ized, and thus I was happy to add another notch to my fuselage with this recipe.  I shouldn’t take too much credit, though, lest I become conceited and forget that I found this recipe in a cookbook.  The flour substitution is the only factor I changed.  This is Yankee pecan pie because it uses maple syrup instead of corn syrup in the filling.

 Picture of the finished product, so as to encourage you that, yes, it exists!  It existed, anyway.

Pecan Pie (modified from Robertson, Robin.  1,000 Vegan Recipes.  462-3.)
Makes 1 9-inch pie.

3/4 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free All Purpose Flour Blend
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 cup vegan margarine, cut into small pieces
3 tablespoons ice water, plus more if needed

3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup water
3/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons vegan margarine
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups unsalted pecan halves or pieces (or 1 cup pecans and 1 cup walnuts)

For the crust:  In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, xanthan gum, salt, and sugar.  Use a pastry cutter, fork, or two butter knives to cut in the margarine until the mixture forms pea-sized clumps.  Add the water one tablespoon at a time and blend thoroughly after each addition.  Stop mixing just as the dough comes together.  Flatten the dough into a disk and wrap in plastic wrap.  Chill for at least 30 minutes or even overnight. (I mean it.  Chill it.  It’ll be fine if you don’t chill it for exactly 30 minutes, but thirty minutes is the bare minimum.  In hot, humid New Jersey summer weather, that chilling time is important, even though I was at home in the sticks, and it’s relatively cooler up north.  Doesn’t matter.  Chill that sucker.)

Filling: After the crust has chilled for 30 minutes, preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit while you make the filling.  In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch and ¼ cup water and set aside.  In a medium saucepan, combine the remaining ¾ cup water, maple syrup, and brown sugar, and bring to a boil over high heat.  Boil for five minutes.  Then stir in the salt and cornstarch mixture.  Cook, stirring until the mixture thickens and becomes shiny and the bubbles break open on the surface.  Remove from heat and stir in the margarine and vanilla.  Once the margarine is melted, stir in the pecans (or other nuts).

Spray a 9-inch glass pie plate with nonstick spray.
Roll out the dough on a lightly floured (with brown rice flour) work surface to about 10 inches in diameter.  Transfer the dough to the pie plate and neaten up the edges (if you’re Q, that means just making sure the edges are about even all the way around, nothing fancy).  Prick holes in the bottom of the dough with a fork (this is a serious step and should not be taken lightly.  Poke those holes!).  Bake until golden, about 10 minutes, then remove from the oven and set aside.  Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Pour the filling into the prebaked pie crust and spread evenly.  Bake for 30 minutes or until edge of crust is golden and filling is set and a little bit darker.  Cool on rack for 1 hour then chill in refrigerator until ready to serve.  Tastes extra nice with rice or soy whip.

Today as I was walking to the student lot to my car, a young man said, “Nice Dresden Codak t-shirt.”  He recognised my “I will do science to it” little Kim t-shirt from Codak’s comic Hob.

The above picture shows a little bit of gluten-caused rash, rashes which I kept getting as I detoxed from gluten.

Happy Autumnal Equinox!

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


Sugar-Coated Escapism, for your reading pleasure.

Well, I’m out of the dorm for the summer and am living near the big city!  For a person from the northwest corner of nowhere, this is a big deal.

As I ate breakfast this morning, I thought, wow, bread is scary.  It’s so big.  Muffins, cupcakes, hand pies, pies from a pie maker, popovers, mini-bagels, cupcakes, dumplings, wontons, all the way down to muffin tops (which, interestingly enough, can be as massive as whole muffins these days, according to commercial interpretation) and other bread-lettes are much less threatening.  Threatening to those of us who are threatened by size, that is.  

If size doesn’t scare you, then how do you feel about bread?  

Question: I’m sure there’s an etymological reason for it, and I took a course on Old English, so one might think I’d have a handle on at least some of this question.  OK, here goes: if muffins are small breads, and dumplings are small pockets of food wrapped in dough, what are the baked goods from which the names are derived?  

My answer: muffs and, well, dumps, since –ins and –lings are diminutive suffixes (suffices?  Would that be the correct Latin plural?) in American English.  Furthermore, are muffs and dumps loaves of breads and crusts, respectively?  Hey, a loaf of bread, a boule, resembles a fur muff and vice versa.  Additionally, one dumps the ingredients upon a work surface when making some crusts (and some dumpling doughs).

I offer a recipe since I have no answer yet.

Peanut butter Applesauce Bars

Note: The name is based on the ingredients I had on hand; I’m sure it would work well with any nut or seed butter and fruit or vegetable puree.

Wet ingredients:
1/2 cup nut butter (I used chunky, unsalted, unsweetened peanut butter)
3/4 cup nondairy milk (I used plain, sweetened soymilk)
2/3 cup fruit puree (I used unsweetened applesauce)
1/2 cup organic sugar (that’s dehydrated cane juice to you)

Dry ingredients:
2 cups brown rice flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-2 teaspoons cinnamon or other spices (feel free to add a teaspoon of vanilla or other extract)

1 cup dried fruit (I used craisins, chop it if it’s bigger than those)
1 cup nuts (if desired and if not using chunky nut butter)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Oil a 9 by 13 by 2-inch pan, preferably dark metal.  This size makes a short bar, but they bake quicker that way.  An 8-inch square pan is an option, but it will take longer to bake and I can’t vouch for the recipe baked with that option.

In a large measuring cup, use a fork or strong whisk to combine nut butter, milk, fruit puree, and sugar.

In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, xanthan gum, baking powder, salt, and spices.  If using extracts, add them to the liquid ingredients.

Add wet to dry.  Fold in chunks.  Transfer to pan.  Bake for 30-33 minutes or until
            it begins to brown at the edges
            it passes the toothpick test
            it does not feel wet in the middle
            it begins to pull away from the sides
            it cracks the slightest bit by the edges.

Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then carefully flip the pan over onto a rack, loosen the uncut bar mass, and cool completely on the rack before cutting.  Store in the refrigerator in a sealed container.  These freeze well.  The ones in the photo were frozen.

Signing out to the tune of fireworks (I gotta turn on Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture.”  Hey, I looked at V for Vendetta in the comics shop today).
Come to the Dark Side…we have vegan and gluten-free goodies.