baking

No-Chicken Chicken Nuggets – Seitan (Wheat Meat)

Gluten warning! (If you are gluten intolerant, please do not try this recipe out; seitan is definitely not gluten free).

So, Seitan – also known as wheat meat. Seitan is basically wheat gluten (the protein that makes bread chewy). In itself, it is pretty flavorless, but it is definitely good for when you want something that has a bite to it. Seitan might also be where vegetarian/vegan food get a bad reputation (along with tofu, which I also thoroughly enjoy). The wrong brand of gluten sometimes has an off flavor, the texture might be really strange, and it might not be worth the hassle. This wheat meat, however, is very light but packs a lot of protein and also a lot of B-vitamins due to the nutritional yeast. What is this nutritional yeast? (I buy both of these in bulk online – pretty affordable). Nutritional yeast is a bit different from, although the same species, as Baker’s yeast and Brewer’s yeast. This yeast has been deactivated. It contains a lot of B vitamins – especially B12 (which is a little hard to get from plants). This gives the nuggets that savoriness and adds a nice complexity to the taste. The recipe below is for approximately 70 nuggets and only 3 ingredients (maybe 4 if you include flour for coating). You can make these as big as you want, flavor them however you want, and cook them any way you want.

Basic seitan

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2 cups of vital wheat gluten/gluten flour (I use Bob’s Red Mill (I’m not endorsed by them), but I found that their final product does not have that off flavor I was talking about). You can also add a little bit of this to your next bread and it’ll come out even better!

1/2 cup of nutritional yeast

about 1.5 cup of vegetable broth (I do this through bouillon, but you can definitely use your own or use different types of vegetable stock)

(Flavor these however you like; you can add poultry seasoning, soy sauce, vegan worcestershire sauce, etc…)

-You will also need an addition 6 cups of stock to cook the nuggets in. You can also change the flavor of the stock to change the taste of your seitan. This basic recipe will be delicious regardless. *Heat this while you are making the nuggets!

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All you have to do is mix the dry (the vital wheat gluten and the nutritional yeast) and then add the stock. Form a dough and break off little balls (a little smaller than golf ball size). The dough should not be very wet, but should still be a little tacky. Very easy!!

Drop these into simmering vegetable stock (again, flavored as you would like) and simmer for 30 minutes. In this time, they will expand a little. At the end of 30 minutes, drain.

While this is simmering, preheat the oven to 350F.

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When these are drained, coat them with some seasoned flour or bread crumbs. When all coated, place onto a lined baking sheet and then bake for 30 minutes. If you are going to coat these with sauce, I would recommend flour. If you are going to eat as is, I would recommend bread crumbs).

When finished baking, you can coat these with sauce. If you want to save some for the future, this would be the time to put them into a ziploc or a plastic container and freeze them. I baked mine with flour and then coated it with some honey barbecue sauce, and they were awesome! These are great anytime!

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This recipe is highly versatile, and you can treat these as you would any other type of nugget. If you want something a little sinful, you can even fry these!

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Mug Cake in a Microwave

The thing about living by myself is that I find it hard to control portions when baking for one. When I freeze batter, I forget about it. When I make a full recipe, I never finish it despite gifting some to friends. When I halve recipes, it’s still too much for me. So I absolutely love microwave recipes! This mug cake recipe is one of my all-time favorites because all the ingredients are pantry staples and the recipe is so versatile– add your favorite fruits/chocolates/nuts to the batter and top with any frostings.

Ingredients (adapted from Averie Cooks):
1 tablespoon butter, softened
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons coconut sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Add all ingredients in a bowl and mix until just combined. Pour batter into a greased mug about 1/3 to 1/2 of the way (depending on the size of your mug).
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Microwave on high for 60-90 seconds. Keep a close eye while the mug cake is in the microwave to make sure it fully cooks and doesn’t overflow.
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I topped my mug cake with a simple Nutella cream cheese frosting. So delicious and satisfied my craving in one go, no leftovers to worry about!
Processed with VSCOcam with a6 presetHappy baking!
Annie

Peanut Butter & Jelly Cookies

Peanut butter & jelly is always a winning combo, even in cookies! These are my go-to cookies to make because they’re basically foolproof. If you’re not a fan of jelly, the batter is still a nice peanut butter-y base for any other add-ins– chocolate, nuts, marshmallows, etc!

Ingredients (adapted from SORTED):
7 tablespoons softened or melted butter
1 cup coconut sugar
1 3/4 cup flour (I used 3/4 parts white whole wheat flour and 1/4 part all purpose flour)
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
~3 tablespoons peanut butter (to your liking, basically)
Your favorite jelly

Preheat the over to 350 degrees. First, cream the butter and sugar together. Once combined, add one egg. Mix evenly and add the other egg. Mix again!
Processed with VSCOcam with a6 preset(Note: I halved the recipe for myself, so the batter looks like a small amount in these photos)

Next, mix the flour, baking soda, and salt in a separate bowl. Add the dry ingredients in increments to the batter. Once the dry ingredients and batter are just combined, stir in the peanut butter. The batter may start to get really sticky and hard to mix but don’t be afraid to use your hands at this point 🙂
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Then cover the batter and place in refrigerator for 30 minutes MINIMUM (if left up to overnight, let the batter sit for ~15 minutes to warm up before assembling and baking). This makes it easier to handle the batter and prevents the cookies from expanding too much while in the oven.

After 30 minutes, form ~1 inch scoops of batter and place on parchment-lined baking pan. Make an indent in the center of the cookie with your finger, and scoop jelly into the well. Bake cookies for 12 minutes.
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I love how soft and chewy these cookies come out, with just the perfect golden crunchy crust!

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Nutella Greek Yogurt Muffins

Thursday was National Nutella Day! A perfect reason for me to slather anything and everything I ate with Nutella… yum. Using greek yogurt also gave these muffins the perfect moist cakey texture. What more can you ask for in a muffin?!

Ingredients (adapted from Julia’s Album):
2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup coconut sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/3 cup avocado oil
1 egg
1 flax egg
2/3 cup greek yogurt
Nutella
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Topping:
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons butter, softened

Preheat oven to 400F. In a medium bowl, mix together flour, coconut sugar, salt, and baking powder. In a separate bowl, mix together avocado oil, egg, flax egg, and greek yogurt. In another separate bowl for the topping, mix together brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, and butter into a crumble (set this bowl aside for later).
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Then add the flour mixture to the greek yogurt mixture. Mix until just combined. (Tip: if it gets too sticky/dense, add water/milk to thin out the batter to the consistency of your liking. I added ~1/3 cup water to thin out my batter and the muffins turned out way better)
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Grab your muffin tin and use liners or lightly spray with oil. First fill the muffin cups 1/3 full with batter. Add a scoop (or more) of Nutella, and top with more batter to cover the Nutella or until the muffin cup is 3/4 full with batter. Lastly, sprinkle the muffin with brown sugar-cinnamon topping. Bake for 20 minutes in the oven, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
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These muffins were so good! I ate four within 10 minutes of these coming out of the oven. And then I froze the rest to keep myself from gorging. (These also keep well in the freezer!)

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Happy baking!
Annie

Troubleshooting Cinnamon Roll Pancakes

Hey all, Carmen here! I’m here this week to share an experience that I hope none of you has to go through alone, if ever.

Shyla, Rebecca and I had a slight problem. We wanted to make cinnamon rolls (I even had leftover yeast), but we had nothing to make a glaze or icing, slightly defeating the purpose of cinnamon rolls. Our second option was pancakes, but Shyla didn’t really want pancakes. Cue Google search for “cinnamon roll pancakes”. Many recipes came up, but their common factor was a glaze or icing tying them to cinnamon rolls…of course. Then, we found one recipe with none of that. Success! Maybe…

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     So this recipe incorporated the essence of cinnamon roll with a cinnamon-sugar swirl during frying. The idea was great, but the execution, less great. I’m still not sure if the swirl is meant to keep its integrity in cooked form, or if the pancakes are successful when the brown sugar, butter, and cinnamon burn away and leave an ugly, porous crater at the bottom of the pancake. Recipe Girl Lori Lange does specifically state “…with craters of crusty, sugary cinnamon swirled within.”

DSC_0614       If it is true that the crater is the final result of all this, I feel like there’s a better way to incorporate these flavors without getting rid of all that pastey goodness.

DSC_0623This one was mine 😉

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     After coming up with this a few times, we took matters into our own hands, and tried to protect the swirl with some more batter.

DSC_0621      It kinda worked?

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     They turned out fine; not really worth all effort that we put into them. Have a go yourself and let us know how it goes…

-C

Cinnamon Roll Pancakes

From Recipe Girl

Yield: Eight 4-inch pancakes

Prep Time: 25 min

Cook Time: 10 min

An absolutely decadent morning treat…

*NOTE: This recipe has been revised (2/18/12) from its original publication. I’ve tried the current version many times with great success. Just follow all the tips and you’ll get it right!

Ingredients:

CINNAMON FILLING:
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, just melted (not boiling)
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
1/2 tablespoon ground cinnamon

CREAM CHEESE GLAZE:
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
2-ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

PANCAKES:
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil

Directions:

Prepare the cinnamon filling: In a medium bowl, stir together the butter, brown sugar and cinnamon. Scoop the filling into a quart-sized heavy zip baggie and set it aside (see *Tips below).

Prepare the glaze: In a small pan, heat the butter over low heat until melted. Turn off the heat and whisk in the cream cheese until it is almost smooth. Sift the powdered sugar into the pan, stir and add in vanilla extract. Set the pan aside while you make the pancakes.

Prepare the pancake batter: In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Whisk in the milk, egg and oil, just until the batter is moistened (a few small lumps are fine).

Cook the pancakes: Heat a large, nonstick skillet over medium-heat and spray with nonstick spray. Use an ice cream scoop (or 1/3 cup measuring cup) to add the batter to the pan. Use the bottom of the scoop or cup to spread the batter into a circle (about 4-inches in diameter). Reduce the heat to medium low. Snip the corner of your baggie of cinnamon filling and squeeze the filling into the open corner. When your pancake begins to form bubbles, add the filling. Starting at the center of the pancake, squeeze the filling on top of the pancake batter in a swirl (just as you see in a regular cinnamon roll). Cook the pancake 2 to 3 minutes, or until the bubbles begin popping on top of the pancake and it’s golden brown on the bottom. Slide a thin, wide metal spatula underneath the pancake and gently but quickly flip it over. Cook an additional 2 to 3 minutes, until the other side is golden as well. When you flip the pancake onto a plate, you will see that the cinnamon filling has created a crater-swirl of cinnamon. Wipe out the pan with a paper towel, and repeat with the remaining pancake batter and cinnamon filling. Re-warm the glaze briefly, if needed. Serve pancakes topped with a drizzle of glaze.

Tips:

*Quick and easy tip: Use a boxed pancake mix as the base for this recipe.
*Tips for the cinnamon filling: Before swirling, open up the baggie again and give it a good stir to re-incorporate any butter that may have separated from the sugar. You want the mixture to thicken a bit- it’s best when it’s similar to the squeezing texture of a tube of toothpaste, which will happen if you leave it at room temperature for several minutes. Don’t try to use the filling for the pancake swirl unless it has thickened as it will be too runny to make a solid swirl.

*Keep the heat low or your pancakes might cook up too quickly. Don’t flip them until you see those bubbles starting to pop on top. Flip them with a wide spatula so you can grasp the whole thing without batter and filling dripping all over the place!

*I wrote a very detailed post on how to get the cinnamon filling *just right* on my Gingerbread- Cinnamon Roll Pancakes Post. Check it out before you attempt these!

*If you’re trying to justify your intake of decadent cinnamon rolls, you can make this a tad bit healthier by using half whole-wheat flour and low fat cream cheese, or enjoy the pancakes without glaze.

Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins

One day this week, randomly at 9pm after coming home from work, I decided to bake muffins (apologizing for the poor lighting in my photos ahead of time)… but didn’t realize until halfway that I didn’t have all of the ingredients (typical). So the theme of these muffins is basically “how many ingredients can I substitute and still make the end result palatable” (keep reading to find out how they turned out haha).

Recipe is adapted from Ambitious Kitchen (one of my fave blogs!):
1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
1 scoop vanilla protein powder* (aw yes)
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
3 bananas
1/4 cup agave nectar*
1 tbsp vanilla
1 tbsp avocado oil*
1 flax seed egg* (1 tbsp ground flax seed + 3 tbsp warm water)
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce*
1 tbsp soymilk*
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
(asterisk indicates substituted ingredient from original recipe)

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Yeah, that’s right. I didn’t even have EGGS! So disappointed in myself. But actually the flax seed egg turned out to actually have the gooey consistency of an egg. So impressed!

Anyway, preheat the over to 350 degrees. Mix flour, protein powder (if desired), baking soda, and salt in a separate bowl. In a blender, mix bananas, agave nectar, oil, flax egg (top-ish right corner of the blender, if you can see it!), soymilk, and applesauce. Blend well until smooth.

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Then add wet ingredients to the dry…

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…and mix until just combined… (and can’t forget the chooooocolaaaaate)

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Pour batter into a well-greased muffin tin. I’m lazy and didn’t want to wash more dishes so I used liners tehe.

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Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.Processed with VSCOcam with hb2 preset

And they were surprisingly yummy! So delicious while warm from the oven. Even my mom ate a couple hehe.

Processed with VSCOcam with a6 presetEr, they actually browned after a couple of days (not sure if that’s due to the bananas?). But they make the perfect study snack!

Happy baking!
Annie

(healthy?) Cinnamon Apple Scones

In my head I thought making cinnamon-y apple-y scones and having them with a cup of coffee would be the perfect autumnal Saturday morning. Except the fact that IT WAS 80 DEGREES OUT TODAY (WHY?!). But I was craving scones so terribly last week! And I couldn’t bring myself to get one at the campus cafés because they’re super high in calories. So I thought I’d make my own spin on scones and try to make them the -slightest- bit more wholesome. Also I’d never made scones before and NEVER THOUGHT IT’D BE SO DIFFICULT (AGAIN, WHY?!).

Anyway, they turned out really pretty and yummy which never happens when I try to make a recipe ‘healthier’. SUCCESS (sorta, I didn’t have anything to swap out the butter with).

To make 8 of these scones, first preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Then gather these ingredients:
2 cups white whole wheat flour
1/3 cup cold butter
1 scoop vanilla protein powder (~1/4 cup or as much to your liking)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 apple, peeled and chopped into bite size pieces
1/2 cup soymilk
1/4 cup agave nectar (or honey)

In a medium sized bowl, mix dry ingredients (flour, protein powder, cinnamon, baking powder, salt). Add butter and cut into mixture.
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So I didn’t have a pastry cutter and tried to use a fork. TOO MUCH WORK. Used my clean hands instead. Also at this point I realized my butter was partially melted (80 DEGREES TODAY, REMEMBER), so I’m not sure if that contributed to how ‘wet/sticky’ the dough became.

Next, add the apples, soymilk, and agave to the dry ingredients. Mix until it becomes like a dough.
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Then flour down your counter/table, knead the dough a couple of times, and shape into a circle (~1/2 inch thick).
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Sprinkle some sugar and cinnamon on the top if you’d like! Now cut the dough into 8 wedges. On a baking sheet lined w/ parchment paper, separate the pieces and place (at least an inch apart!). Bake for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean and…

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Ahh! They turned out so much better than I thought they would! Not too sweet and chockful of softened apples. (I couldn’t help myself and wolfed one down before I took this picture tehe).

And then I had another one. With coffee. And pretended the weather was fall-like and not 80 degrees today.
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Happy baking!
Annie