Starbucks, veganized

Starbucks latest campaign to try to get people to buy pastries is “Real Food. Simply Delicious“. Their point is that they are using whole,natural ingredients now. Which begs the question, what were they using before?
Anyway, as part of the campaign they gave a way a couple of recipe cards (to prove the real ingredients?): Outrageous Oatmeal Cookie and Banana Walnut Bread. I’ve been on a kick of veganizing traditional recipes and both seemed easy to do. The results were amazing. The oatmeal cookie was chewy and very flavorful. This is now my go-to oatmeal cookie recipe. The banana bread was a big success. Very moist and a great banana flavor.

You can find the original recipes HERE.

Vegan Banana Pecan Bread

Adapted from Starbucks
  • 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/8 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons almond milk, unflavored
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 very ripe medium-large bananas, mashed
  • 1/2 cup + 1/3 cup chopped pecans
  1. Pre-heat oven to 325° F with rack in middle. Mix ground flaxseed with water and set aside. Grease a 9×5-inch loaf pan and dust with flour.
  2. Whisk together flours, baking soda, and salt. In separate large bowl, mix together flaxseed emulsion, sugar, and vegetable oil until combined. Add flour mixture and when combined add almond milk, vanilla, and bananas. Mix until combined. Fold in 1/2 cup of pecans and pour into prepared loaf pan. Top with remaining 1/3 cup pecans.
  3. Bake for 45 to 60 minutes, until a thin knife inserted in middle comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes on wire rack before removing from pan.

Vegan Outrageous Oatmeal Cookie

Adapted from Starbucks
  • 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (not quick-cooking)
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup diced dried pear
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons Earth Balance, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 4 tablespoons raisins (topping)
  • 4 tablespoons diced dried pear (topping)
  1. Preheat oven to 350° F with racks placed in top and bottom thirds. Mix together ground flaxseed and water, set aside. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Whisk together oats, flour, raisins, pears, cranberries, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. Beat Earth Balance and sugar until light and fluffy. Add flaxseed mixture, cinnamon, and vanilla; beat until combined. Gradually add oat mixture; beat until combined.
  3. Combine raisin and pears for topping in separate bowl and set aside. Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls, 2 inches apart, onto baking sheets. Place 1 teaspoon topping on each mound.
  4. Bake until cookies are golden brown but still soft,  12 to 16 minutes.  Half-way through bake time, rotate pans from top to bottom and back to front. Cool for 5 minutes on sheets; transfer cookies to wire rack to cool completely.

Please visit Michele at Veggie Num Nums to see what she made for Vegan Tuesday.

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{twd} blah mahn jhay

Oh, French. You and me have a troubled relationship. Barred from you in high school–parents made me take Spanish–I moved on. French, you’ve come tiptoeing in my life again. My problem is simple: French pronunciation kills me. I have a mental block, I try to pronounce French words the Spanish way, I think people will laugh at me.

It really wouldn’t be a big deal because on a day-to-day basis most people in California don’t speak or need to use French. However, several recent developments in my life  have brought French-learning high on the list of things I need to do. I don’t need to be fluent, but I should know a few important words and phrases.

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One reason I need to learn:  I now have the tendency to travel to French speaking countries at least twice a year. Another reason: I now have friends whose first language is French. And that’s friends with an ‘s’, multiple friends. Who I speak to/email/facebook on a regular basis. They tell me, “Wendy, you don’t need to be embarrassed or shy. We won’t laugh at you. It’s better to try than not to try. etc etc”

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And last, but not least: now that I’m cooking, eating, baking and generally involved in this food world there is  a lot of French (duh). It makes me so incredibly happy when a phonetic pronunciation is provided, like in this week’s Tuesdays with Dorie selection: Raspberry Blanc-Manger. Dorie Greenspan, in the introduction to the recipe, provides the pronunciation right there in the 2nd paragraph–blah mahn jhay! I’ve been saying it all week. It’s fun to say. I want to go to restaurants and order it off a menu, just so I can say it. I do realize it’s not a very practical word to know how to say, but it is very fun.

A blanc-manger is a creamy gelatin dessert flavored with almonds. It was very easy to make, involved a whole slew of dishes, and I used sheet gelatin for the first time. Another first: trying fresh red currants. I saw them at the store and decided to use them in place of the raspberries. They made a very bright red coulis (another French word!).

Keeping with the French theme, I did a TWD rewind and made the French Chocolate Brownies to use as a base for mini-blanc mangers.

This summer I had to choose between taking conversational French at the University or taking S.C.U.B.A lessons to  finish my certification. I chose S.C.U.B.A. When I go back to French Polynesia in November, I’ll be a certified diver who is slowly make progress in the French language.

Thank you so much to Susan of Sticky, Gooey, Creamy, Chewy for selecting such a fun recipe. You can find the recipe on her blog or buy the book–Baking…From My Home to Yours.

cinnamon cranberry walnut bread

The next formula up for me in the Bread Baker’s Apprentice Challenge was the Cinnamon Raisin Walnut Bread. Out of raisins, I used cranberries. I also made the bread using half white whole-wheat flour. I was able to make three 7-ounce mini loaves out of half a recipe.

The bread was quick and easy, made and baked in the same day. I used my fresh yeast again, made the optional cinnamon-sugar swirl, and topped the fresh from oven loaves with a cinnamon-sugar topping.

I’m not the first person to say this about the bread: This bread is crack. Which is why I froze one loaf, took one loaf to work, and only ate the third. It was hard to take pictures without eating. No, not hard, impossible.

If you would like the recipe, buy the book: The Bread Baker’s Apprentice. It’s a great book and I’ve learned a lot about bread baking.

{sms} whole orange poppy seed cake

My town was built on oranges. Really, orange groves used to cover the land and you could smell the trees and blossoms. Development over the years has led to the destruction of most of the orange groves to the point where most of the oranges in the grocery stores are shipped in from out of the area.

There’s a group whose goal is to save the remaining orchards through education and selling shares of the crop. These locally grown oranges are the best I’ve ever tasted. You can taste the sunshine. Because of this, I only buy oranges from the farmers’ market.

You can read an interesting article about the history of oranges in my area from the New York Times Travel Section HERE.

This week’s Sweet Melissa Sundays selection uses a whole orange, skin and all, to flavor it. It was a breeze to prepare. I made a third of the recipe (but used half an orange, ate the other half) and made two mini-loaves.

It smelled wonderful going into the oven and smelled even better coming out of the oven. I couldn’t wait to try it. But wait, it needed to be glazed. The cake is glazed with a syrup made from a reduction of fresh orange juice, fresh lemon juice, and sugar.

I really loved this cake the flavor blossomed in the oven and was fresh and light. This is a perfect cake for a tea or shower or just because.

Thanks to Melissa of Lulu the Baker for choosing a great recipe. If you would like the recipe, buy the book or visit Melissa’s blog.

Whole Wheat Walnut Bread

For a delicious and quick 100% whole-wheat bread look no further then the King Arthur Whole Grain Baking book and the recipe for Whole Wheat Walnut Bread. I used traditional whole wheat flour and didn’t finely chop the walnuts. I love the texture of bigger pieces of nuts in the bread. Okay, the truth is I missed that I was supposed to finely chop or crush the walnuts until it was too late. I do love the crunchiness though, so it was a good mistake.

The bread makes excellent toasted peanut  butter and gooseberry jam (my new favorite flavor) sandwiches.  You can find the recipe HERE. The recipe in the book is slightly different. It gives you the option of using traditional whole wheat.