30 sept. 2015

Carrot Orange Loaf

Today's the very last day of september: mornings are definitely more chilly, I want to take a warm cup of cappuccino more often and been baking sweet potatoes like crazy. Sweater weather is here to stay my friends! And judging from what I see through the window as I'm typing this post I can say there's no turning back...no more sandals, no more ice lollies (though I'm the one who still eats ice cream during winter); it's depressingly grey and rainy today (and looks like it will stay like this for the rest of the week, duh) but I refuse to think that the end of summer means the end of fun.
This year I'll try to beat that post-summer blues with yummy autumnish recipes, wish I could hibernate and sleep until winter is over but I'm not a polar bear so I won't start my yearly cold weather rant and try to make the best of autumn. I haven't had a cup of thick hot chocolate in ages and this rainy day calls for something comforting and what a better thing to pair with a hot beverage than a hearty and moist Carrot and Orange Loaf? This wholesome loaf is made with a blend of whole wheat, spelt and oat flours and completely dairy free. Sweet grated carrots, maple syrup and the vanilla soy yogurt adds the right amount of sweetness so it's almost 100% refined sugar free (if your soy yogurt is sweetened with whole cane sugar then it'll be even better). 
To make it look a bit more 'finished' I topped it with an orange icing but if you want it to be refined sugar-free then you can totally skip this last step. 
I wish you all a great start into the new month! Can't wait to see what my fellow food bloggers have in store for the fall/winter season!

Receta en español aquí!

Carrot Orange Loaf

1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice.
1/2 cup cashews, soaked overnight.
3 tablespoons raisins.
1/4 cup soy milk.
4 tbsp pure maple syrup (or agave syrup).
2 tbsp sunflower oil.
2 tbsp vanilla-flavored soy yogurt.
2 tsp apple cider vinegar.
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon.
1/4 tsp ground allspice.
1/8 tsp ground clove.
1 cup whole wheat flour.
1/4 cup whole oat flour.
1/2 cup whole spelt flour.
1 cup shredded carrot.
2 tsp orange zest.
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped.
1 tbsp baking powder.
1 tsp baking soda.
1 tbsp potato starch.
1/2 tsp salt.

- For the orange icing (optional):
1/2 cup confectioner's sugar.
1 tbsp fresh orange juice.

Drain cashews and blend with the orange juice and raisins; process until completely smooth. Add in milk, maple syrup, oil, yogurt, vinegar and spices. Blend until thoroughly incorporated.
Preheat oven to 190 ºC (375 ºF) and lightly grease an 20 x 10 cm (8 x 4-inch) loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper.
In a mixing bowl mix together with a wire whisk the flours, carrot, baking powder, soda, potato starch and orange zest. Add in the wet cashew mixture and stir together. 
Finally add the chopped walnuts to the batter but stir just a little bit so the chunks won't sink to the bottom of the pan.
Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean.
Let the loaf cool in the pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Remove from pan and let cool completely before glazing witht the orange icing.
To make the orange icing simply combine the sugar with the orange juice until it reaches the desired thickness. Drizzle the icing over the cooled loaf and serve.
Store in an airtight container.

25 sept. 2015

Lemon Cake with Dark Chocolate Ganache

This month I haven't been very active on the blogsphere and it makes me feel somewhat angry cause I like to share new recipes every week BUT life happened...I had to do a million other things and I always end up having zero time for myself and the things that help me relax and unplug. I also celebrated my birthday last week and baked my own cake! Yep, I finally made up my mind and ended up buying tons of dark chocolate, lemons and maple syrup.
Lemon and chocolate is one of my favorite flavor combos in the world (right along with orange+chocolate) but it always has to be dark chocolate, the darker the better...well except for those 90% cocoa chocolate bars, but it also depends on the brand and the source. I've tried the lemon and chocolate combination before in cookies and other desserts but never actually made a cake with a super lemony sponge cake and a rich dark chocolate ganache, with a touch of lemon too!
So I planned ahead in order to not stress during the week of my birthday and treated myself with one of the most delicious cakes I've ever baked (even my not-so-expressive and kinda skeptical-when it comes to new flavors-mom agreed!) oh and by the way, I also got myself a super awesome and big new food processor (eeek!), check out my moment of happiness here.
The cake is really tender, moist and has a lovely lemon flavor intensified by a fine layer of lemon marmalade between each layer which also adds a little extra moisture. The maple syrup-sweetened chocolate ganache pairs perfectly with this sponge cake: intense dark chocolate with a subtle citrus touch thanks to the organic lemon essential oil, what a great and yummy combination of sweet and tangy. I couldn't stop licking the remains off the spatula once I finished glazing my cake. :-p
Here's my suggested plan:
- Day One: bake the cakes, let them cool completely and refrigerate.
- Day Two: cut the cake layers and refrigerate again. This way they'll be firm enough to be handled with no problems so they won't break or crack. Make the ganache and assemble the cake.

Hopefully I will come back next week with a new recipe right before September ends!

Lemon Cake with Dark Chocolate Ganache
(Yield: one 6-inch diameter four layer cake)

- Cake:
3 cups all purpose flour.
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder.
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda.
3/4 teaspoon salt.
1 cup soy milk.
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup.
1/2 cup sunflower oil.
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice.
1 tablespoon lemon zest.
3 teaspoons apple cider vinegar.
- Filling:
Lemon marmalade.
Dark chocolate ganache (see below).
- Dark Chocolate Ganache:
3/4 cup soy milk.
340 g (12 ounces) dark chocolate (70% cocoa), chopped.
6 tablespoons pure maple syrup.
1 or 2 drops of lemon essential oil.
- Optional:
Chopped cacao nibs, to decorate.

- To make the lemon sponge cake:
Grease two 6 in x 4 in (15,2 cm x 10,2 cm) round cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 350º F (180 ºC).
In a large mixing bowl sift together flour, baking powder, soda and salt. Stir well with a wire whisk to aerate the mixture and until all ingredients are well combined.
In a separate mixing bowl whisk vigorously milk, maple syrup, sunflower oil, lemon juice and lemon zest, and apple cider vinegar. Add into the flour bowl and stir (using again with the wire whisk) until you get a smooth batter without lumps. It'll be rather thick so make sure there's no flour left unmixed at the bottom of the bowl.
Divide the batter evenly between the two prepared pans (size of the pans are at the beginning of these directions) and bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. A few moist crumbs are okay.
Once baked let the cakes cool in their pans on a wire rack for 5 minutes and then remove the pans and peel off the parchment paper. Let the cakes cool completely on the rack, top sides up. Refrigerate until ready to use, I recommend to let them in the fridge overnight. Cold, refrigerated cake layers are more firm and easier to handle, plus the assembling process is certainly faster.

- To make the dark chocolate ganache:
In a small saucepan bring the soy milk to a gentle boil. Remove from the heat and add in the dark chocolate, maple syrup and the drops of lemon essential oil. Stir well until smooth. Let it rest at room temperature until ready to use.

- Assembling:
Cut each cake in half so you get four layers. Spread around 2 tablespoons of lemon marmalade over each cake layer. Wait a couple minutes and spread 5 tablespoons of the dark chocolate ganache per layer.
Coat the entire cake with a fine layer of ganache and refrigerate for 10 minutes. Finally glaze the cake with all the dark chocolate ganache. Sprinkle some cacao nibs on top and place back in the fridge until ready to serve.

6 sept. 2015

Blackberry and Peach Galette

Can't believe it's already september, man time sure does fly by fast! Feels like it was yesterday when I was planning all my summer recipes and all of a sudden my birthday is around the corner (panic!). What should I do this year? Should I bake my own birthday cake or should I take a break that week and let others do the job? All my fellow bakers and food bloggers will understand me when I say that I can't help but seeing this as an opportunity to try a new cake recipe. Yeah, I know...maybe some might say it's a bit lame to bake your own birthday cake or that I should just be a spoiled birthday gal. There are two weeks left for my b-day so I still have some time to make my mind up.
Cakes and dilemmas appart, I bring you today a summery rustic galette. It's super easy to make and foolproof, the good thing about galettes is that you can use almost any kind of fruit and try your favorite combinations of berries and adjust the sweetness to your taste.
This blackberry and peach galette is actually good for you because it only has a few tablespoons of sugar and the rest of the ingredients are all super natural and healthy. The olive oil crust is my go to crust for all my pies, tarts and galettes; the toasted flaky edges are so delicious! There's something special and beautiful about rustic galettes and their juicy fillings, they give me a sense of coziness that I can't put into words. It's like when I put the first spoonful of my mom's rice pudding in my mouth, nothing feels like homemade desserts...specially if they are made with love.

Receta en español aquí!

Blackberry and Peach Galette
(yield: one big galette)

3 large sweet peaches, sliced.
1 cup blackberries.
2 tbsp organic granulated sugar, plus an extra tablespoon for sprinkling.
1 tbsp cornstarch.
1 to 2 tbsp all purpose flour.
zest of one lemon.
juice of 1/2 lemon.
pinch nutmeg.
pinch vanilla.
1 tbsp soy milk (for brushing the crust).
- For the crust: see my olive oil double crust.

Prepare the olive oil double crust from my Cashew Apple Pie recipe (link above in 'Ingredients').
Don't divide the dough cause we need the crust to be big and thick enough to hold all the juicy filling and fold over.
Roll the dough into a ball and flatten into a big disk. Place a big piece of parchment paper on your working surface and roll out the dough, remember it shouldn't be too thin cause the filling is quite juicy. Refrigerate for 30 to 45 minutes.
Preheat oven to 425 º F (218 ºC).
In a large mixing bowl combine peaches, blackberries, sugar, lemon juice, cornstarch and flour. Let sit for 10 minutes approximately.
Transfer the fruit mixture to the centre of the rolled dough and sprinkle the lemon zest, vanilla, nutmeg and an extra tablespoon (or two) of sugar on top.
Fold the edges of the crust over the filling to form a border. Carefully transfer the galette to a prepared baking sheet. Brush the borders with milk and sprinkle a bit of sugar.
Bake the galette for 25 minutes, then lower the heat to 350 ºF (180 ºC) and bake for another 30-35 minutes. The crust should be golden brown and the filling should be bubbly.
Transfer galette on a cooling rack and let cool before serving.
Serving suggestions:
- A dollop of natural soy yogurt with maple syrup drizzled on top.
- Coconut whipped cream.
- A scoop of your favorite vanilla ice cream.

26 ago. 2015

Vegan Rocky Road Ice Cream

Summer holidays are nearly over for a lot of people and now all I keep hearing (and seeing on Instagram, Facebook, etc) is people talking about kids going back to school, the end of the long nights and the warm weather. Well, here in Spain is still pretty damn hot and let me tell you something: there are exactly 28 days until the end of summer so I refuse to believe that popsicles, ice creams, cold drinks and other refreshing things are officially gone, hell no!
I'm one of those persons that crave for ice cream even on the coldest winter day and runs to the supermarket to buy a big tub of ice cream (and the cashier girl gives me a weird look and tells me 'you will catch a cold!').
I made this vegan version of the classic Rocky Road ice cream flavor for the very first time last week and it certainly won't be the last because it is so amazingly creamy and has three yummy chunks: marshmallows, dark chocolate covered almonds and pecan nuts. I mean, one scoop of this ice cream will make you cry tears of joy...and then you'll want a second and a third scoop. This is pure decadence, it's the best chocolate ice cream I've done so far.
I hope you like it!

Receta en español aquí!

Vegan Rocky Road Ice Cream
(makes 4 servings approximately)

4 cups full fat coconut milk.
1 cup fine whole cane sugar.
4 tbsp coconut sugar.
2/3 cup pure cocoa powder.
2 to 3 tsp pure vanilla extract.
1/2 tsp xanthan gum.
Marshmallows, cut in small chunks.
Dark chocolate covered almonds, cut in halves.
Pecan nuts, chopped.

- When making vegan ice cream I always get the best results when I use canned full fat coconut milk that already has a thickening agent like guar gum. Then I add a bit of xanthan gum and the ice cream becomes super creamy, easy to scoop and has zero ice crystals.
- Add about 1/4 cup for each add-in approximately or change the amount of chunks to fit your taste.
- You can also try combining different nuts or replace the pecan nuts for walnuts or even pistachios (chocolate + pistachio is such a great combo).
- For those who follow a strict vegan diet: read carefully the labels when buying marshmallows and make sure they are vegan.

At least 24 hours before you plan to churn the ice cream, put the ice cream maker's bowl in the freezer.
In the jar of your blender pour the coconut milk and sugars and blend on high speed until the sugars are well incorporated into the milk. 
Add in the pure cocoa powder and vanilla extract and process again until thoroughly incorporated.
Carefully add in the xanthan gum, stir with a few slow movements with a silicone spatula to make sure the gum won't stick to the sides of the jar. Blend on low speed for a few seconds and then increase the speed to high and blend for 1 to 2 minutes.
At this point I recommend to chill the base of the ice cream for a couple hours (around 3 hours depending on the temperature of your refrigerator). A chilled base will give you a good creamy ice cream later.
Right before churning whisk the ice cream base just in case there are a few lumps. Pour it into your ice cream maker and churn following the manufacturer's instructions. I always churn my ice cream for 30 minutes. During churning the ice cream should increase in volume and look more creamy and fluffy. It doesn't need to double its volume or look like super fluffy cream, so don't panic as long as the ice cream looks dense.
Add the marshmallows and nuts in the last minute of churning. 
Transfer the ice cream to a shallow, flat airtight container. Place a layer of plastic wrap between the ice cream and the lid, pressing the plastic wrap firmly against the entire surface of the ice cream to prevent ice crystal from forming.
Freeze for at least 4 hours until the ice cream hardens.
If the ice cream is too hard to scoop let it soften for around 30 minutes in the refrigerator before serving.
One trick: chill the serving bowls/cups to help keep the scoops firm for longer so your ice cream doesn't melt too quickly and you can enjoy it from the beginning to the very end.

21 ago. 2015

Double Chocolate Brownies

There's no secret brownies are one of my most favorite baked dessert in the whole wide world, I think they're #1 in my top ten list of chocolaty things. As a confessed chocoholic I can't live without brownies for too long BUT for my surprise I've just realized I haven't had a single piece of brownie in almost a year! I was checking all my previous brownie recipes and the last one was the 'Very Fudgy Chocolate Chip Brownies' from last summer (on july 17th 2014, to be more precise). That means I've been really busy trying out new recipes and adding more variety to my blog but I just couldn't wait any longer! I mean, it's been over a year...am I out of my mind or what?! Brownie gods must be very angry with me right now. I know I've had my chocolate (over)dose quite often but nothing compares to the lusciouness of a rich, fudgy and moist brownie.
So this is gonna be my 5th brownie recipe (search for 'brownies' on the right and you will find the rest of recipes) and most probably won't be the last cause I love to try new recipes and compare which one is my favorite...and let me tell you one thing guys, this recipe is so so close to become 'the perfect brownie' recipe to me. These brownies have the perfect balance between cakey and fudgy and for all those who love really moist and luscious brownies I'd recommend to under-bake them a lil' bit.
Now I'm off to enjoy a big bowl of one of my latest new recipes that will be published next week, it is the bomb.com! Keep your eyes peeled!!! 

Receta en español aquí!

Double Chocolate Brownies
(yield: 12 brownies)

85 g (3 ounces) soft tofu.
1/4 cup soy milk.
1/2 cup sunflower oil.
3/4 cup organic whole cane sugar.
1 cup self-raising flour.
1 tbsp potato starch.
1/2 cup pure cocoa powder.
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract.
Pinch of salt.
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped.
1/3 cup dark chocolate chips.

- I used soft tofu for this recipe but silken tofu will work perfectly as well.
- If you are not very fond of soy milk use your favorite nondairy milk (I'd recommend almond or oat milk).
- To replace the self-raising flour: 1 cup all-purpose flour plus 1/2 teaspoon baking powder.
- If you can't find potato starch use the same amount of cornstarch.
- Optional add-in: 1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons of instant espresso powder. It will add a nice coffee aroma and enhance the chocolate flavor.
- I always chop my own chocolate chunks but that means you have to plan ahead and have your chocolate chips/chunks ready before really getting into the recipe.

Preheat oven to 170 ºC (325 ºF) and line a brownie pan with parchment paper; make sure there's enough paper hanging over the edges of the pan.
In a blender puree mix the tofu, milk and oil until completely pureed; you will have to stop a few times and scrape down the sides and get all the tiny tofu pieces blended in the mixture.
Transfer this mixture to a mixing bowl and add in the sugar and the vanilla extract. Whisk vigorously with a hand whisk.
Sift in the flour, cocoa powder, potato starch and salt. Mix everything together using a rubber spatula until smooth and finally fold in the walnuts and chocolate chips. Be careful not to over mix the batter at this point, just stir in the walnuts and chocolate chips with a few circular motions.
Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and smooth out the top. 
Bake brownies for 28 to 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let brownies cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and let them cool completely before slicing into squares.
Store in an airtight container...if there are some leftover portions after the first day. ;-)