Posts tagged cranberry
Sweet Scones with Walnut & Cranberry

I like a challenge, the chance to do something a little different, the chance to explore a common theme with a little of my own imagination thrown in. I also enjoy seeing how others respond to an idea…

…for example if you were asked to make scones (aka American biscuits) what would you come up with?

Sweet, savoury, a circle of wedges, round scones cut with a cutter, fruity scones, chocolate scones, scones served with jam and cream for afternoon tea, scones served as a side with a casserole or broth…the list goes on!

I have recently joined the Daring Bakers and this was my first monthly challenge….scones! The challenges are set on the 1st of every month with a publishing date of the 27th of every month. It’s been very interesting to check out the results of the other bakers and to see just how different the outcomes can be.

For me the basic scone recipe presents simply the principle, one which I can then tweak to create a healthy vegan adaptation.  I opted for sweet scones as would be traditionally served with jam and cream (or in my case sugar free jam and a dollop of soy yoghurt). This is the type of scone with which I am most familiar; I remember days gone by cuddling up on the sofa with a warm wedge of light and fluffy baked scone slathered in jam and squirty cream!

I haven’t had too much experience with baking healthy vegan scones (or any scones for that matter), other than the first batch I ever made- my Halloween pumpkin scones which were a resounding success! This gave me a little confidence boost and I was keen to get cracking!

Traditional scones, whether sweet or savoury, consist primarily of plain flour, butter and milk. I adapted the basic recipe to incorporate spelt flour, almond milk and coconut oil and I’m pleased with the overall result…a good base for many flavour combinations.  I had three attempts at this challenge, tweaking as I went and reducing the liquid slightly and adding a little baking soda along with the baking powder, and adding a little dried fruit.  The original Daring Bakers January recipe challenge can be found here.

So, question time...Do you call them ‘biscuits’ or ‘scones’? Do you prefer sweet or savoury? What’s your favourite flavour combination?

Recipe: Scones with walnut and cranberry

Makes approx. 6 wedges or circles (I made one batch of each)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup mix of white and wholemeal spelt flours
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • Tiny pinch of salt
  • 2 tables coconut oil (not melted)
  • Slightly over 1/3 cup almond milk (or other non-dairy milk of choice) plus extra for glaze
  • 2 tsp agave syrup
  • ¼ cup mix of chopped cranberries and dates (optional)

Method

Mix/sift dry ingredients well to maximise air in the mixture. 

Rub through the coconut oil with fingers to achieve a breadcrumb like consistency, then mix through the dried fruit if using. 

Mix agave into the milk and add liquid to the dry ingredients. Use hands to create a soft dough ball that should be slightly sticky but manageable.

On a floured surface, knead dough into a circle approx. 2cm thick and either cut into 6 wedges or circles using a cutter. Brush a little ‘milk’ over the tops to glaze.

Lay close together on a lightly greased baking sheet and bake at 210C for 8-10 minutes until tops are golden. You may need to rotate halfway through to ensure an even rise.

Daring Bakers... Audax Artifex was our January 2012 Daring Bakers’ host. Aud worked tirelessly to master light and fluffy scones (a/k/a biscuits) to help us create delicious and perfect batches in our own kitchens!


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Christmas Day…done! (and Chocolate Cream Cranberry sponge)

So how long did you spend in your jammies Christmas day morning?

This year I was actually pretty good and got dressed well before lunch…but not until I’d opened my stocking (which usually includes some underwear and socks!)

Christmas day was spent at home with my family- mum, dad, brother and sister. All the presents were piled under the tree and every year that still seems so magical to me! We spent quite a few hours in the run up to lunch giving out the gifts, interspersed with trips back and forth to the kitchen to manage proceedings.

This year I packaged my gifts in brown paper with a minimal amount of sticky tape to help the recycling process! …but I do love lots of ribbon- it’s not Christmas without lots if ribbon! Part of the gifts to my family were bottles of my homemade  vanilla extract.

I also decided it would be a novelty to give homemade ‘vouchers’ so they could choose they own personalised cakes from my growing list of recipes. It will be interesting to see what they choose!

We all pitched in to help with Christmas lunch.  My main task was the brussel sprouts …so…many….sprouts…to…peel! I blanched them and then pan fried them with shallots and chestnuts. 

My other self-appointed roll was as ‘dessert creator’. I wanted to provide a lighter healthy vegan alternative to go alongside the traditional Christmas pud. It needed to be something pretty fool proof and easy to put together (no dramas on Christmas day thank you!).

I decided upon a combination of many of the recipes I have posted in recent days. The ingredients list may look long but the method is actually so simple.

…light fat-free chocolate sponge (based on this recipe)

...chocolate chestnut frosting (previously mentioned here) or you could use your own favourite.

…cranberry compote (based on this recipe) or any berries could be used.

…all layered up to create one fruity luxurious Christmas chocolate cream sponge! 

I really love the tart berries combined with the sweetly smooth and creamy frosting, topping the light and springy sponge base.  The perfect end to a sumptuous satisfying dinner…even those who claim they ‘couldn’t eat another thing’ could squeeze in a pieces of this!

Recipe: Chocolate cream cranberry sponge

Makes one 10x15 inch pan (or a thicker sponge for a slightly smaller pan)

Ingredients

Sponge base: (this can be made a day in advance)

  • 10 1/2 oz. firm silken tofu
  • 1/3 cup rapadura
  • 1/3 cup agave syrup
  • 1 tbs vinegar
  • 1 tbs water
  • 1 tbs vanilla extract 
  • 1 tbs ground flax mixed with 2tbs hot water (see egg replacer note below )
  • 1 cup whole wheat spelt flour
  • ¼ cup ground almonds
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½  tsp salt
  • 1 tbs ground flax mixed with 2tbs hot water
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder.

Chestnut cream frosting: (Can be made in advance). I used a two-layered approach with mychocolate frosting smoothed directly over the sponge (I had some reserved in the freezer) and then this chestnut frosting over that.

  • 100g silken tofu
  • 20g agave or brown rice syrup plus ¼ tsp stevia
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 100g chestnut puree (I used canned puree)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tbs cocoa powder

Cranberry compote:

  • Approx. 4 cups fresh cranberries
  • 3 tbs rapadura (extra if you don’t like your cranberries too tart)
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

Method

Preheat oven to 180C. Line a 10x15 inch pan with baking parchment. In food processor, mix the tofu, rapadura, agave, vinegar, water, vanilla and flax mix. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, ground almonds, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Pour the blended tofu mixture into flour mixture; stir together thoroughly. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan. Smooth batter evenly into pan and bake  for 10-12 minutes.

Allow to cool before lifting from the pan. The sponge can be made up to a day in advance.

To prepare the frostings, blend all ingredients listed together in a food processor until a smooth consistency forms. Layer the frostings up on top of the sponge.

To make the cranberry compote, add the fresh cranberries to a small sauce pan along with the rapadura, cinnamon and water. Simmer and stir every minute or so for 10- 15 minutes until the berries have softened and formed a thick compote.

Spoon the compote on top of the frosting and serve immediately.

The dessert can be stored in the fridge for a couple of days.

P.S. I know I also promised a boxing day pasty recipe!  We made the pasties for lunch today and now I just need to get it all written up…I promise this is on its way! It maybe too late for your Christmas day leftovers but it is also the perfect recipe idea for any ‘roast’.


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‘Twelve Days’ day 12: sweet chestnut pancakes with cranberry compote

It’s come around at last…day ‘12’ is here!

So that must also mean that Christmas is just around the corner. (*super excited face*)

However, I must make one small apology…. 

When I announced my ‘12 days’ I also mentioned throwing a few savoury recipes in too….hmmm not so much! It wasn’t planned that way, it was simply that cake overwhelmed me and I got a little carried away. Oh well. There are worse things than cake and it is the name of this blog after all!

I will try to make it up to you little in the last few days before Christmas, as I am planning on a savoury round up- a ‘buffet bites’ type post if you like to give a little boost of inspiration to carry you through the Christmas period. I for one need a bit of a savoury kick- the amount of cake, cookie, frosting and pancake testing I’ve had to do in these last few weeks…it’s a hard life!!

So here you have it- the recipe for today. The perfect Christmas pancake brunch, sweet chestnut pancakes with a cranberry compote. Sweetly spiced and fruity, the perfect warming start to Christmas morning.

I bought my chestnut puree in a can in the local supermarket, I would assume this is readily available wherever you are- if not I guess you could blend your own (but that is just a guess!) or you could try an alternative pancake recipe along the lines of this blueberry pancake recipe , I imagine this would work just as well substituting the blueberries for cranberries and adding some Christmassy spices.

Recipe: sweet chestnut pancakes with cranberry compote

Ingredients

Pancakes:

  • 1/3 cup mix of wholemeal spelt flour
  • 1 tbs ground flax plus 2 tbs hot water
  • 1/3 cup chestnut puree
  • ¾ tsp baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • ½  tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbs agave (omit if you prefer a more savoury pancake base)
  • Approx. ½ cup soy milk (or milk of choice) use more or less to achieve a batter that pours thickly.

Topping:

  • 2 large handfuls fresh cranberries
  • 1 tbs rapadura
  • 4 tbs water
  • Soy yogurt (or others yoghurt/cream)
  • Maple syrup
  • Cinnamon
  • Makes approx. 4 pancakes to feed one or two (feel free to double, quadruple of whatever multiples you need to feed the crowds!)

Method

To make the cranberry compote, add the fresh cranberries to a small sauce pan along with the rapadura and water. Simmer and stir ever minute or so for approx. 10 mins.

Meanwhile to make the pancakes, mix the flax with the hot water an set aside to gel for a couple of minutes. Mix the chestnut puree, soy milk, agave and vanilla in a small bowl then add the flax mix. Combine the dry ingredients in a separate bowl then add the wet and mix to get a thick but smooth batter. Spoon large dollops on a lightly oiled hot frying pan and fry till golden for a minute or so each side.

Serve topped with soy yoghurt and cranberry compote along with maple syrup and a dusting of cinnamon as desired.


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