Vegan Pumpkin Walnut Bread

I’m ready to declare this my favorite pumpkin bread.  Especially after defrosting a 2.5 year old loaf from the deep freeze and finding it to be as delicious as if I had pulled it out of the oven that day.

Recipe from the delightful Joy the Baker.

Makes 2 loaves.

  • 2 C. all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 C. white whole wheat flour or whole wheat flour
  • 2 C. light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/3 C. granulated sugar
  • 2 t. baking soda
  • 1 t. baking powder
  • 1 t. salt
  • 1 t. freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 t. cinnamon
  • 1 t. allspice
  • 1/2 t. cloves
  • 1 15-oz. can pumpkin puree, or just under two cups
  • 1 C.  vegetable oil
  • 1/3 C. maple syrup
  • 1/3 C. water
  • 1 C. chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350.  Grease 2 loaf pans (8″x4″)

In a large bowl mix dry ingredients listed, through the cloves. In medium bowl, mix wet ingredients.   Add wet to dry, fold with spatula until combined.  Mix in walnuts, reserving some to sprinkle on the tops of the loaves.   Pour into two prepared loaf pans.

Bake for 60-75 minutes, testing for doneness with a skewer.  Let cool in pans for 20 minutes, then remove to a cooling rack.

Notes:

  • My frozen loaf was noted “nearly vegan”  but I have no idea what modification I made.  Maybe I used part butter, part oil?
  • To freeze, I wrapped in saran wrap and then foil, and then stored in a freezer ziploc bag.
  • The flavor and texture of this loaf are awesome.  Moist, dense, leans gingerbread-ish with the listed amount of spices.
  • I’m usually inclined to try reducing the sugar, but don’t know if I did that before or not.  2 1/3 cups + maple syrup is a lot of sugar, even for 2 loaves.  The one-third cup of white sugar seems especially extraneous.
  • Next time: review comments on Joy’s site — people have tried various methods of reducing both oil and sugar.
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Vegetable Lentil Soup

A slight adaption of a much beloved Spicy Lentil soup recipe given to me by a friend:

Warning: this is a giant batch of soup. Makes about 6 qts.  Halve for more reasonable amount. Freezes well.

Ingredients:

  • Olive oil
  • 4 cups of lentils (I used a 16 oz bag of french green lentils and a 16 oz bag of split red lentils. Any mix is fine.)
  • 3 or 4 celery ribs, with leaves for extra flavor
  • 2 medium Spanish or Red onions
  • [addition:  8 oz. package of cremini mushrooms, chopped]
  • 4 or 5 carrots
  • 1 shallot
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic
  • 4 qts of chicken or vegetable stock  (I used chicken base)
  • 2-3 T. red wine  vinegar
  • 1 clamshell or bag of baby spinach (I bet baby kale would be good here too.)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • [2 jalapenos or other chile of choice, or a few tbsp of horseradish mustard for less spicy  – optional.  I opted out.]

In 8-qt pot heat olive oil. Add coarsely chopped veggies (not spinach), sprinkle with kosher salt, and saute until onions are soft but not brown and the mushrooms release their water (~ 10 mins). Add lentils and continue to saute about 2 more mins. Add stock and simmer until lentils are soft. Right before lentils seem done add spinach, red wine  vinegar, salt and pepper and horseradish mustard if you are using them.

Verdict: 

This soup is FANTASTIC.  The red split lentils basically dissolved, giving the soup some body, and the french green lentils stayed perfectly tender but not falling apart. Great texture.  I was skeptical about having no herbs or other flavorings, but it really doesn’t need a thing.  Will definitely make again. Once we eat all the quarts we froze from this batch!

 

 

My Favorite Brownies

This is my favorite brownie recipe of all time.  Fudgy, dense, moist and nearly a one-bowl recipe.

Adapted from Tasty Kitchen: Brownies as they Should Be.

Oven: 325F

  • 1½ C. flour (can go up to 2 C. for slightly less fudgy)
  • ½ t baking soda
  • ½ t  salt
  • ⅔ C. butter
  • 1½ C. sugar
  • 4 T. water
  • 2 12 oz packages chocolate chips, divided
  • 2 t. vanilla extract
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 C. chopped nuts (optional)

 

Whisk together flour, baking soda and salt in medium bowl, set aside.

Melt butter, sugar and water in saucepan, bring just to a boil. Remove from heat and dump in one package of chocolate chips and the vanilla extract. Let sit for a minute or two to soften and melt. Stir until smooth.

Whisk in eggs, one at a time, incorporating each one fully before adding the next. (Make sure the chocolate mixture isn’t overly hot, and whisk quickly to avoid cooking the eggs!)

Add dry ingredients to chocolate mixture, stirring until just combined.  Add in remaining chocolate chips and nuts.

Pour into greased 9″x13″ pan. Bake for 30-40 minutes.

Half batch: 9″x9″ pan, 25-35 minutes.

1/4/13: Made a half batch: I used the Pfaltzgraf square baking dish and they baked up great, in right about 30 minutes.  I also added about 1/4 C. more flour, because the idea of baking a pan of brownies only using 3/4 C of flour seemed impossible. Texture was great.

 

 

Whole Wheat Cinnamon Raisin Bread

Tried a bread machine recipe for cinnamon raisin bread with whole wheat flour. It uses buttermilk, so this particular recipe isn’t going to be a throw-it-together-from-the-pantry staple for us, given that I don’t keep buttermilk in the house on the regular. But overall, it was tasty and I’ll try it again with some tweaks.

Adapted from Bread Machine Magic, for 1lb loaf.

  • 5/8 – 3/4 C. buttermilk (I used 5/8, next time try 3/4)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 C. whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/4 C. bread flour
  • 3/4 t. salt
  • 1 t. cinnamon (more would be good)
  • 1/4 C. butter (I used a little more than half this.)
  • 2 T. brown sugar (I used cane sugar)
  • 1/2 C. raisins
  • 1 1/2 t. dry active yeast

Results:

  • Had to add more buttermilk, as the dough spiraled up and out of the baking pan. Added about 2T more during first kneading cycle.  Was afraid that I might have added too much when it looked like a wet blob when it started the first rise, but it seemed to rise okay in the end. Bread was a little unevenly dense – more so toward the bottom of the loaf.
      Next time: Add 1T more buttermilk at the outset and see what happens.
  • Crust got a little too dark.
      Next time: bake on light crust setting, or take out before end of bake cycle.
  • Raisins not evenly distributed.  More towards the bottom.
      Next time: Try adding raisins at the “Add” beep instead of with everything at the beginning. Try not soaking them first?