Category Archives: Baking

Quinoa Chocolate Chip Chewy Granola Bars

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Granola bars were always a favorite of mine. I’m guilty of being especially fond of the Quaker Chewy bars, until the whole GMO thing came to light and the fact that they use milk powder in their granola mix (I know, right??). Late last night, the craving struck. I wanted a granola bar and I wanted it right then and there. Knowing I couldn’t eat my non-vegan roommate’s chewy bars, I starting digging around for ingredients to make my own. I climbed up onto the counter to get a better view of the contents of my cupboard. With the excitement mounting, I starting picking different grains and testing their raw crunch factor until I found a suitable mix for a granola bar.

And then I remembered the box of Theo drinking chocolate that I scored at the NYC Green Festival this weekend.

I had the makings for a chocolate chip chewy bar, and miraculously all of the ingredients are organic.

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Now, I’ve dabbled with making my own granola before, but this is my first bar excursion. I have to say that I’m quite pleased with myself.

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So what did I use to make these tasty little guys?

  • 1 cup of old fashioned oats (I used Bob’s Red Mill Scottish Ground Oats, but I think any slow cooking chewy oat will work)
  • 1/2 cup of raw millet
  • 1/2 cup or raw white quinoa
  • 1 tbsp unrefined coconut oil
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1/4 raw honey if you’re a honey-vegan, use a scant 1/4c of agave if you abstain from it.
  • 4 shakes (about a 1/4-1/2 tsp) pumpkin pie seasoning. Apple pie will work as well, but it’s really just a mix of ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
  • 3 tbsp chocolate chips
  • Optional- the Theo chocolate that I used already contains vanilla, but if yours does not add about a 1/2 tsp of vanilla paste or extract.

The breakdown:
In a wide shallow pan, (I used a 12″ nonstick saute pan), turn the heat up to medium high and add your coconut oil. Once it melts spread your oats, quinoa, and millet. Toast them up until they start to smell nutty and get to be a golden brown. Don’t let them start to smell like burning popcorn, if you start to smell that then take them off the heat and give them a stir. If they’re still pale in most places, turn the flame down to medium. Add your salt and cinnamon mix/pumpkin/apple pie seasoning and stir it all up. Now you’ll want to turn the heat down and let it cool until it’s warm to the touch. I know raw honey can be a pain to work with, so make sure the granola is still warm enough to make it easy to distribute the honey but not too hot so as not to denature the healthy properties of it. If you’re adding vanilla, the time to do it is along with the agave or honey. Once your agave/honey (and vanilla, if applicable) are evenly distributed into your granola, wait until it cools a bit further until you add your chocolate chips. I stirred mine in a little too soon and the chocolate melted a bit. Once you’ve mixed all of your ingredients together, line the bottom of a loaf pan with parchment or wax paper and press the granola into the pan and let cool. After they’ve set, turn the granola brick out onto a cutting board and slice into 1″ sections.

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Jalapeno Rosemary Cornbread

Cornbread always offers a warm familiarity. Sweet, grainy, and crispy around the edges. Sturdy enough to hold it’s own against a big bowl of chili, and stable enough to be a breakfast in and of itself. For vegans, it’s usually something that is missed- who makes cornbread without bacon grease? I know, I know, it’s almost blasphemy to do this- but I did. And I don’t regret it. As a matter of fact, I didn’t even use a cast iron skillet (because I don’t have one.) I adapted my recipe from Closet Kitchen’s Jalapeno Cornbread┬áby switching out the buttermilk for full-fat coconut milk and the grease for some extra virgin olive oil. In vegan baking, I like to use coarse sea salt. When combined with coconut milk, it offers a buttery richness in vegan baking- a factor that is usually lacking. My goal in vegan culinary adventures is to make things taste as not vegan as possible, because as someone once put so eloquently- vegan food is gross.

One of the biggest questions I’m asked about vegan baking is how is it done without eggs? There’s tons of options, and eggs aren’t the key ingredient in non-veggie baked goodies for the finished product to rise- they’re simply there for binding. One of my favorite egg replacements in savory baked goods is the flax egg. Flax eggs provide a good dose of omega-3’s and they provide a nutty, almost almond-y taste to whatever you’re making- and they’re so easy to make! I’ll provide directions on the flax egg with the recipe below.

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So, what inspired jalapenos to go with rosemary? I suppose in my case, creativity comes when you’re running out of options. You never try anything interesting right after you go grocery shopping. The clever ideas start flowing when you’re running out of food and you have to use whatever you have left. This afternoon, I had a few sprigs of fresh rosemary I wanted to use before they dried up, and I have several jalapenos leftover from the falafel I made on Saturday. Combine those with the bulk amount of organic corn meal I have lying around, and the only viable option is to make cornbread! On to the recipe:

What you’ll need:
For the corn bread:

  • 1 c whole wheat flour
  • 1 c corn meal
  • 3/4 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tbsp plus 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 c full-fat coconut milk
  • 1/4 c extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 flax eggs
  • 2 medium jalapenos, diced
  • about 3 tbsp of fresh rosemary. If you’re using dried, reduce to a teaspoon or two.
  • 1/2 tsp or 1 clove minced garlic

To make flax eggs:

Avoid buying flax meal- it never keeps as long. Once the oils from flax seeds is let out, it can go rancid very quickly. Instead, buy your seeds whole and store them in the freezer or refrigerator and use as needed.

To make ONE flax egg, you’ll need:

  • 1 tbsp whole flax seeds (whatever color you have on hand will be just fine)
  • 3 tbsp warm water

Put the flax seeds in a magic bullet, blender, coffee grinder, mortar and pestle- whatever is available to you- and grind the flax seeds into a fine powder. Add the warm water and use a fork to whisk the flax powder and water together and then put it in the refrigerator for no less than 15 minutes to allow it to set. It will become a gel consistency. For this cornbread recipe, double the flax recipe as you’ll need two eggs.

To make the corn bread:

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees fahrenheit. If you have a cast iron skillet, I recommend using it (a 10 inch pan would be best). To make cornbread with it, put a little olive oil in the pan and heat it up on the stove top while you get everything ready. If you’re not using a cast iron skillet, get your 9×5 bread pan or 8×8 pan, or 8 in. cake pan oiled up and set it aside. Whisk together in a large bowl your flax eggs, coconut milk, garlic, jalapenos, rosemary, and olive oil. In another bowl, combine your corn meal, flour, salt, sugar, baking soda, and baking powder. Add your dry ingredients to your wet ingredients, and combine until everything is wet. Skillet users- now is the time to turn the burner off, if you haven’t already. Regardless of what your choice of pans is- pour the batter into the pan and spread it evenly, then pop it in the oven for about 35 minutes or until when poked in the center with a knife, it comes out clean.

*Note: If you’re using a very coarse grind corn meal I recommend adding about two more tablespoons of coconut milk and adding 5 minutes to the bake time to help soften those little grains up a little better.

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Filed under Baked Noms, Baking, Vegan Baking