Sunday, April 26, 2015

Vegan Doughnut Muffins

Some of you may remember my post a while back about Muffin Monday -- I have been keeping up with my commitment to this weekly work "holiday," bringing in freshly-baked treats to the office nearly every Monday morning this past fall and winter.  I've decided, however, that Muffin Monday needs to take a hiatus for the spring and summer; what better way to celebrate the "season finale" of Muffin Monday, than with Vegan Doughnut Muffins!?

Have any of you discovered the doughnut muffin fad as of late?  I've seen more than a few recipes pop up here and there, and have noticed doughnut muffins on the menu at a few area cafes and coffee shops.  I began experimenting with doughnut muffins around the holidays, when I stumbled into a recipe for Eggnog Doughnut Muffins from The Kitchn, and am hooked!  Why go through all the trouble of frying up doughnuts, when you can bake up muffins that are just as good?  (And arguably, a titch healthier?)

I clearly eat my fair share of dairy and eggs; why vegan doughnut muffins, you ask?  Well, I recently learned one of my coworkers is vegan, and therefore, I have been harkening back to my vegan baking days so everyone can enjoy the treats I bring to share.  Thanks to King Arthur Flour, (my new favorite go-to source for any new-to-me baking recipe,) I had a grand recipe with which to start.  Veganizing these doughnut muffins seemed like a snap -- swap in some Ener-G for a couple of eggs, Earth Balance for butter, plant milk for whole milk, and ta-da!  Vegan Doughnut Muffins for the masses!

The recipe was relatively simple to prepare, used nearly all pantry staples, and is downright fabulous.  Moist, tender, subtly-spiced cakey muffins dunked in melted Earth Balance and cinnamon sugar ... I'm trying my darnedest to not eat the ENTIRE batch tonight!  I can't WAIT to bring these to work to share tomorrow morning!!

Vegan Doughnut Muffins
makes 12 to 15

2 2/3 c all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp Penzey's Cake Spice (or nutmeg, cinnamon, whatever warm spices you like)
1/4 c Earth Balance, softened
1/4 c canola oil
1/2 c granulated sugar
1/3 c brown sugar
1 tbsp Ener-G egg replacer whipped with 1/4 c warm water
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 c light coconut milk (the kind that usually comes in a can -- not coconut milk beverage)
1/2 c unsweetened almond milk (either plain or vanilla)
3 tbsp granulated sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
3 tbsp melted Earth Balance

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.  Place paper liners in muffin tins.
2. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spice in a medium bowl and whisk until well-combined.
3. Using an electric mixer, beat together the Earth Balance, oil, and sugars in a large bowl until creamed.  Beat in the prepared Ener-G and vanilla until smooth.
4. Combine the milks in a glass measuring cup or small bowl.
5. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture to the Earth Balance mixture, beating until smooth, then add half the milk, half the remaining flour, the rest of the milk, then the rest of the flour, beating until smooth after each addition.
6. Scoop dough into prepared muffin tins.  (I love using my #16 disher for this task!)  Bake until muffins are domed and spring back when gently pressed, 16 to 18 minutes.  (Muffins may not brown much ... that's ok.)  Transfer the muffins to a wire rack to cool slightly.
7. Combine the remaining sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl.  Brush the tops of each muffin with the melted Earth Balance while still warm, then roll the tops of the muffins in cinnamon-sugar.  Enjoy the muffins while still warm, or cool completely before storing.


Au revoir, Muffin Monday ... until the fall!

Monday, April 20, 2015

springtime sandwich FTW!

Hey hey ... is it spring in your neck of the woods?  While we are expecting a chilly, damp week this week, there are definitely signs ... trees are budding, grass is greening, bulbs are beginning to peek up and open, flowers are blooming!  An early spring in Minnesota is always a welcome treat, as we frequently have cold temperatures (and sometimes snow!) well into the first week of May.  Hooray!

It's entirely possible that the most exciting part of spring, for me, is the return of local, fresh produce. While we still aren't getting much locally grown, (other than some downright glorious, dark-green, Hulk-sized spinach,) one can pick up a bunch or two of California asparagus and dream of delicious things to come, right?

THIS SANDWICH.  I forget where I originally got the idea for this sandwich, (maybe The Kitchn?), but I don't even care -- I don't really even like sandwiches all that much, and I can't get enough!  Crusty, toasted bread, asparagus, hard-cooked egg ... what's not to like?  I believe the original article suggested making this sandwich on a length of baguette, but I have been loving these mini-stirato that I have picked up from the co-op bakery ... they are just the right size and shape for hollowing-out, toasting, and stuffing full of springtime goodness.

P.S. This sandwich is yet another way for me to use up the vast quantity of pickled onions I canned last summer.  Springtime sandwich FTW!

Springtime Sandwich
serves 1

Crusty bread, hollowed out and toasted
Olive oil
Roasted asparagus
Sliced, hard-cooked egg
Pickled red onion

1. Assemble sandwich: spread one half of the toasted bread with mustard, drizzle the other half with olive oil.  Stuff full of delicious ingredients.  Squeeze on a little lemon.
2. Devour.

I hear this sandwich keeps well, but, really ... why would you want to wait to eat something so delicious?


How have you been enjoying spring produce?