Thursday, September 22, 2011

Vegan Challah Round 2

Poppy seeds, or sesame? I can't choose!

I made another batch of challah today. The recipe is courtesy of challah-genius Sara Rivka at Check out her blog!

She also has posted a really neat guide for how to braid round challah for Rosh Hashanah. I made one loaf with sesame seeds, and one with poppy. Instead of an egg wash, made a little bit of flax seed goo (that's the technical term for it, anyway.) I poured 3 Tbsp of boiling water over 1 Tbsp of flax seed meal, whisked it for 3 minutes, strained out the bits of flax seed, and brushed it over the top of the loaves. Using soy milk is a little easier and works fine, but this way comes out shinier.

Ready to go into the oven

There was a little cross-pollination that happened with the two loaves on the same pan, but I think that probably won't hurt anything.

Here they are about to go in the oven.

Let cool before cutting

Let them cool on a wire rack. And don't overbake! Because then you'll have to make a whole lot of French toast.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Vegan Rosh Hashanah

Here is attempt #1 at vegan challah.
Here is the dough that I used:

3 c flour
1/4 c sugar
1 packet dry active yeast
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp tumeric

Whisk all that together in a medium bowl and set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk 2 Tbsp flax seed meal with 1/4 cup warm water. Beat this mixture for about a minute. It should be sort of gooey. Add 1/4 cup soy milk and another 1/4 cup warm water. Stir in the dry ingredients with a wooden spoon.

Turn the dough out onto a clean, floured cutting board and knead until the dough is stretchy and elastic.
Put the dough in an oiled bowl, cover it with plastic wrap, and let it rise until doubled in size. Punch it down, and let it rise another hour.

Now it's time to shape the dough. This is the fun part!

Turn the dough onto a cutting board. I didn't need to dust it, but you can use flour if you need to.

Cut the dough into two pieces, one about twice the size of the other.

Divide each of these pieces into thirds. Roll each piece into a rope. You want all the ropes to be equal in length.

 First, make a big braid from the three bigger ropes. Next, make a smaller braid from the remaining dough.

Using the rush the top of the big braid with some soy milk. Tuck the ends of the braids underneath so that it will look pretty, and stack the little braid on top of the big braid. Now brush the whole thing with soy milk.

Cover the loaf with plastic wrap, and put it in a warm place to rise for 40 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375 F. Bake for about 40 minutes. To test for doneness, tap the bottom of the loaf. If it sounds hollow, it's ready to come out of the oven.

I think I'll try adding more oil and more water next time, and baking it in a slightly cooler oven. In the meanwhile, this is yummy with apricot jam.

Peanut butter & sesame seed cookies

This is just to say

I have eaten the cookies
I baked for my weblog
and I didn't even take any pictures.
Forgive me, but they were delicious
with a hot cup of coffee. 

I did a bad thing. I made a batch of cookies, and then I ate them all without taking any photos for you.
Fortunately, it is an exaggeration to say that I ate them all. I had help. But still, no photos. I'm sorry. Forgive me. These are very similar to regular old peanut butter cookies, but with a slightly more assertive flavor. They are a little chewy and a little crumbly and a little crunchy all in one, and they're not too sweet.

Here is the recipe:

1/4 c peanut natural smooth peanut butter, unsalted*
1/4 cup sesame tahini
1/2 cup non-hydrogenated margarine*
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar*
1 1/4 c flour
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt*
1 Tbsp each of black and white sesame seeds*

1.  Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease two cookie sheets. Using an electric mixer or fork, cream together the margarine, peanut butter, tahini, salt, and sugar in a medium-large bowl. Beat until the mixture is fluffy. Taste a tiny bit and adjust the salt, if necessary.

2.  Add the cornstarch and the flour. Mix with your hands until the dough comes together. If it's really really dry, add a tablespoon of soy milk, but only do this if the dough is too crumbly to work with.

3. In a shallow bowl or a plate, mix the two colors of sesame seeds together.

4.  Scoop up a 2-tablespoon sized piece of dough, and roll it into a ball. Flatten it a little between your palms, and dip one side into the sesame seed mixture. Place seedy-side-up on the cookie sheet and repeat with the remaining dough. If you want to, you can use a fork to make a criss-cross pattern on top of each cookie, as you would for classic peanut butter cookies. Bake the for about 12 minutes, until they are golden-brown around the edges.

*So many stars, right? Well, here's what you should know. You can absolutely use salted peanut butter, but if you do, and especially if you're using salty Earth Balance, then leave out the additional salt. 
As for the margarine, you are of course welcome to use regular old hydrogenated margarine. Cookies aren't really good for you anyway. But read the ingredients to make sure they haven't snuck any whey or other dairy ingredients in there, or else the cookies won't be vegan and you'll have worked so hard only to make cookies that you won't want to eat, and that would be the pits.
If you don't have light brown sugar, you can just use white sugar. If you don't have white sugar, you can use Sucanat. The sesame seeds are primarily for decoration, and while they are lovely, they can be omitted without really ruining anything. You will still have yummy cookies! If you don't have sesame seeds, you can dip the cookies in coarse sugar instead.
In short, you are your own person and you can cook however you gosh darn please.

Friday, September 9, 2011

A search bar!?!

I've added a search bar to the blog--Fancy!
The only thing is, it doesn't always work. For instance, I searched for the word "kasha" and nothing came up, even though I have a kasha recipe posted on this blog. Not perfect! I'll see if can figure out what the problem is but in the meanwhile, try searching for cookies, cause that works just fine.