Category Archives: vegan

Vegan Hot Cross Buns

 

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Vegan Hot Cross Buns; moist with grated apple, warm with gentle spices, and sweet with dried cranberries, these are worth every minute of work. Get baking, there’s less than a month till Easter!

It just wouldn’t be Easter without Hot Cross Buns. Maybe this is something very specific to the UK but here you know Christmas is over when the mince pies are replaced with Hot Cross Buns even though Easter is still 3 months away! That being said, this is not a complaint as I love the ever changing seasons, and what better way to celebrate than with food that reminds you that warmer weather is on the way.

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This is my second Hot Cross Bun recipe on the blog. Without eggs, these are slightly lighter and more justifiably a breakfast food, and potentially slightly better for you! For me, this was all about making sure I still had a way to eat a tasty, delicious, and fresh Hot Cross Bun in time for Easter!

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My Hot Cross Buns are heavier with fruit than normal. As well as the traditional mixed peel and sultanas, I’ve added grated apple and dried cranberries for a nice sweet and sour hit. The apples tend to melt away here, but they keep the buns deliciously moist and sweet.

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These don’t need any topping apart from a light scraping of dairy free butter, and perhaps a smidge of honey or golden syrup if you eat these for elevenses. Personally, this is one of my breakfast treats, but that doesn’t mean I can’t eat them at 11, and again at 4, and again after dinner!

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Filed under Bread, breakfast, Sweet treats, vegan

Doughnuts, Take 2!

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Vegan doughnuts, so naughty and so good. Yes they involve a bit of deep frying, but, trust me, they are sooo worth the effort!

Who knew vegan doughnuts could be so good? Honestly, I’ll never go back to making them with eggs (even if I could eat them!) as it’s just not necessary! This is such a good recipe that’s quick to make, and if you can be brave to deep fry them, you’ll never go back to buying any sort of doughnut.

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I chose to fill my doughnuts with raspberry jam. It’s a classic for a reason, right? These are definitely my favourite was to finish off a doughnut… I don’t know what in life could be better than biting into a freshly made still warm doughnut, sticky and crunchy on the outside with an explosion of jam in the centre that just dribbles all over your fingers.

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These are definitely quite high up on the naughty scale… I know you can bake doughnuts…. but personally I sort of think if you’re going to eat one, do it properly and make it fried. The baked ones, although good, just miss the addictive texture of soft, fluffy dough in the middle with a crisp skin on the outside. These definitely hit the spot! And with quite a lot of sugar in them already, the extra bit of oil from frying really isn’t going to kill you!

I might do another post showing some other ways to finish off these doughnuts soon. I’m making it sound like that’s for your benefit…when really it just justifies me eating these again!

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Filed under Bread, dessert, Sweet treats, vegan

Vegan Crepe Pancakes

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Fabulously simple, it’s hard to believe these are vegan. These are still as light and moreish as their eggy counterparts, just a teeny bit better for you.

I love pancakes, and every year I like to focus on bringing a new pancake recipe to the blog. This year, however, you’re being treated to two new recipes – both vegan! Although I’ve always been keen to experiment with more vegan recipes, I will admit that I have another personal reason for now giving it a wholehearted go (but that is a story for another time). Safe to say for now that finding a way to make great vegan pancakes has been a big part of my happiness in the last few months. The approaching Pancake Day (next Tuesday 28th Feb!!) is just a great excuse to share them!

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I will admit that I was very sceptical of vegan crepes working. I just couldn’t understand how they could hold together without an egg… let alone how they could be as light yet crispy as a ‘normal’ pancake. But these really are, and they honestly use the simplest of ingredients; flour, baking powder, non dairy milk and oil. That’s it. Unless you count the lemon and sugar toppings of course!

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I’ve said it before that I think baking powder is the secret to amazing vegan baking, and here it is no exception. The purpose of the baking powder here isn’t really to ‘rise’ the pancake, but to give it a light texture from all the air bubbles – much like an egg does. The only thing then that you’re missing is the fat. Ever so important in baking, this is such a key step to cracking vegan recipes. So don’t be put off by the oil content. It may sound a lot, but trust me when I say it’s needed to help bind the pancakes together, and to give them flavour.

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So here it is… my last pancake recipe for Pancake Day 2017. I personally don’t think these need anything other than a light sprinkle of sugar followed by a generous squeeze of lemon. But maybe that’s because I’m old school! Go mental with these and top them however you like – chocolate sauce and banana, ice cream and caramelised oranges… the combinations are delicious and endless!

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Vegan Banoffee Pancakes

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Fluffy American Banoffee pancakes, good for breakfast or dessert! And just in time for Pancake Day!

So, you might be seeing a lot more vegan recipes on here from now on! That story is for another post though, so here you’re just going to hear me marvel about how you can still make delicious, soft and chewy American pancakes with no dairy and no eggs!

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How, I hear you say?! Well, it seems that often the best results come from using no traditional egg replacers at all, but a simple bit of added baking powder. Perhaps the end result is slightly denser than an eggy-American pancake – but, with the added banana and caramel you are honestly not going to notice or care!

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I often make these for breakfast (without the caramel, but I will admit I add a light drizzle of maple syrup at the end!) but with Pancake Day fast approaching (28th of February people, get that date in your diaries!!) I thought I would add a special sweet pancake to my blog’s collection.

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I love caramel, and as I alluded to in my Sticky Toffee Pudding recipe, and have become slightly obsessed. It just goes with everything, and at least with some banana and cinnamon in here you can *almost* trick yourself into thinking these are healthy! They are delicious though, and perfect topped with ice-cream and lashings of the caramel sauce. These would make a fantastic Pancake Day dessert!

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Gingernuts

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Crisp and crunchy ginger biscuits, based on the infamous ‘Gingernut’. These are simple, quick, hard to get wrong, and pack a wonderfully strong ginger punch.

These biscuits came around when I was in need of a quick fix… I really fancied a biscuit, but had very little lying around the house. After a quick, rushed look through the cupboards, I found I still had half a packet of crystallised ginger, and decided I would give ginger biscuits a try.

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Now, I have to admit that I never ate a Gingernut biscuit before I cut out dairy – but many people since have sampled these and tell me they’re even better than the original. The amount of ginger here is not for the faint hearted. By using crystallised ginger and ground ginger, the flavour is unmistakeable, and almost a little on the warm side. I also, controversially, use demerara sugar in my Gingernuts. I love the caramel flavour it adds to any baking dish, and here, it really ramps up the crunchiness.

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Often, I complain that I rarely go back to my good bakes and do them again. I’m always on the hunt for a new recipe to write, and as there are only two of us in our household, we already have a lot of sweet things to eat just from one recipe a week! However, these I can truly say have been the exception to the rule. I have so far made them 5 times since the first trial… and am making them again as we speak! If that’s not testament enough to their greatness, then I just don’t know what is!

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Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes

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A surprise success, you wouldn’t know these chocolate cupcakes have no eggs or dairy in them! If you need a reliable vegan chocolate cupcake recipe, look no further.

I’ll be honest – I was very sceptical of these. How can you have a cake with no eggs? Eggs are an absolute staple in baking, they underpin the structure of everything (deep, I know!) and you’re often taught not to play around with egg quantities and temperatures in concern of a recipe failing. So how on earth can you have a cake without eggs?

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Well, it turns out you can quite easily and without any funky, hard-to-track-down ingredients. I can’t really explain how the below ingredients make up for the lack of eggs, but they do and these cakes still come out delicious, light and fluffy. It’s magic!

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If you, like me, are new to the world of vegan cakes, I will warn you about two things. 1 Vegan cake batter is wetter than a usual cake batter. Don’t be afraid and think you’ve done something wrong! 2 Because of this, you need to make sure the cupcakes are properly baked. Something I would rarely advise, but err on the side of caution and bake them for another minute if you’re not sure if they are ready. As delightful as they are when they are fully baked, when under-baked they can get a little bit pasty. Imagine the texture of a very under-baked cookie… you know how it can have a bit of a mushy texture, and it hangs around in your mouth a little too long? That’s what can happen to these. So – you have been warned. Now… BAKE!

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Salted Caramel Nuts

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Salted, caramelised nuts; a great skill to have up your sleeve – use to top desserts or bakes, or even just eat straight as they are!

These nuts are simply delicious. They are dangerously moreish and unfortunately simple. Sugar work is made out to be an extremely complex thing- but as long as you have plan white caster sugar and a thick bottomed, scrupulously clean pan it’s a doddle.

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I first made these with Christmas in mind, but now find myself fantasising of all sorts of bakes which could involve these. You could use any nuts; I tried hazelnuts and pecans and both were brilliant. Think of the hazelnuts with delicious, vanilla ice cream. Think of pecans on a stack of pancakes!

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I’m not going to give you the best step-by-step instructions of making caramel in this post. Perhaps I will at a later stage when I can master taking photos and watching the sugar like a hawk at the same time! If you’ve never done it before, I would take some time to google making caramel, so you get a feel for what to do – but the best thing you can do, by far, is practice. Be prepared that it might be slightly over or under caramelised the first time – but trust me, perfection will come quickly, and it is so worth it once you get there.

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Filed under Gluten Free, Sweet treats, vegan

Baked Apples

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A delicious, healthy, low sugar dessert perfect for using whatever you have around the house. Stuffed with pecans, sultanas and cinnamon, the maple syrup and butter filling turns into a beautiful caramel sauce. 

The third and last of my healthy baking series are these simple baked apples. This is one of my favourite desserts all year round as it is so quick and involves things that I pretty much always have around the house. Plus, it is genuinely healthy (as far as you can have a healthy dessert of course!) because they are low in sugar and count as 1 of your 5 a day!

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I use maple syrup as the sugar in this recipe; you could use any sugar, but I personally love the flavour of maple syrup. Nothing compares in my book! Plus, as an unrefined sugar, it is marginally better for you that using refined white caster sugar… but let’s be honest – the choice should be all about the flavour (especially if it’s got base!). As the recipe also uses sultanas (you could use any dried fruit really) and a sweet eating apple, you don’t need to add much maple syrup at all. The dessert is already quite sweet on it’s own, making it a perfect weekday evening treat.

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If that doesn’t tempt you enough, then let me tell you that honestly the hardest bit of this dessert is cutting the centre out of the apples, which can be done with a small sharp knife or an apple corer if you’re lazy, like me. That really is as hard as it gets! Once this is done, all that is left is mixing the remaining ingredients and stuffing the centre, and then baking. Easy!

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My recipe uses sultanas, pecans and cinnamon – which is just perfect at this time of year when the warming spices infiltrate your house as the apples bake. But you could make these at any time of year, with anything you have in the cupboards really! Vanilla works well with walnuts and cranberries; or use pistachios and raisins. Really anything goes!

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Filed under dessert, Fruit, Gluten Free, vegan

Health(ier) Maple & Pecan Flapjacks

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A healthier flapjack recipe – just as tasty, but with no dairy, wheat, gluten or refined sugar! Although not as nutritious as a piece of fruit, there are worse things you could eat!

Flapjacks; although kind in appearance and reminiscent of school lunch boxes and picnics, they are generally not a healthy treat with so much butter and sugar. Yes, they may be oat-y, but trust me, normally, the bad definitely outweighs the good!

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This version contains no dairy (would you expect anything else?!), wheat, gluten, or refined sugars. But I’m not going to pretend that these are ‘healthy’… they do still contain good amounts of fats and sugars, but here it is about recognising that you can make a bad or a better choice in those categories. This is a great recipe when you feel you want a treat; but particularly at this time of the year when our diets tend to go out of the window slightly with the copious amounts of sweet treats and drinks, it’s good to have a choice.

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I’m a big maple syrup fan – and combined with pecan nuts, it’s flavour is intense enough not to need help from a long list of ingredients. I like to use quite a strong maple syrup – a 2 or 3 on the strength scale – which does help the flavour pack a punch, but you can of course use a lighter flavour version.

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By using just maple syrup in the recipe, we’ve avoided having any refined sugar in the recipe. Of course maple syrup is still sugar – you can’t get away from that fact – but as it contains more than just sugars in it’s make up, you eat less true sugars per gram. That doesn’t give you free reign to eat as much as you want, but again it’s about understanding how to make the better choice.

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I’m praising myself slightly too much here for making these gluten and wheat free. As most flapjacks are oat based – and oats are not wheat – most will be gluten and wheat free, technically. The important thing is if you are making this for someone with a gluten intolerance, make sure you buy gluten free oats. Most oats are produced in wheat factories, so there is a very high level of contamination. So you have been warned!

 

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Apple & Blackberry Crumble

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A healthy low added sugar dessert, perfect for feeding a crowd in a hurry. It’s the perfect recipe to have up your sleeve in time for Christmas!

Yes, I’m sorry – I’m joining the bandwagon and mentioning Christmas! It just doesn’t seem possible that it’s that time already, but then here we are. This recipe, and the recipes over the next few weeks are very much inspired by my holiday to Australia, and perhaps not in the way you’d expect (spoiler: No crocodile or kangaroo ingredients in sight!)

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As a baking blogger, at times it can seem quite irresponsible filling up people’s news feeds with tempting desserts and sweet bakes. I often get asked by people how do I stay slim if I eat all of this – and there’s one giant secret. A good balanced diet!! Yes, I may eat cookies, and chocolate desserts, and ice cream – but not every day. Most days, if I want a dessert I’m reaching for something smaller, healthier, and simpler, and that’s what I want to share with you all.

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Australia fits in with this because I think they’ve really nailed how to do healthy the tasty way. Particularly in Melbourne, there were so many amazing cafes and restaurants packed with people, and all serving purposefully healthy, delicious food. It really made me think about why I hadn’t shared some of these recipes before…

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This Apple Crumble may surprise you as being ‘healthy’, but actually, despite its butter and flour filled topping, it contains low added sugar. At just over 6g of sugar per portion you can have either a whole portion of crumble, or one third of a piece of these Raspberry & Amaretti Brownies… and let’s be honest. Who has just one brownie!?

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The crumble also has less flour in the topping that normal. By using a mixture of porridge oats, nuts and flour you up the nutritional content of the top, plus you get way more crunchiness – perfect for a crumble topping in my book! You could even take the healthiness of this dessert one step further and use gluten and wheat free flour instead.

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Overall, I hope you enjoy this mini series of recipes. In the run up to christmas where everywhere is filled with unhealthy food, it can be nice to have a healthier choice when you just fancy a bit of pudding….

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