Sunday, January 30, 2011

Apple pecan muffins and gobi (cauliflower) paranthas

Apple pecan muffins
You know how you feel when you've had a great night's sleep and you wake up all refreshed and ready to go?? That was me today. And what better way than to begin the day than with a sumptuous breakfast?  I started browsing my old standby, "The Joy of Vegan Baking", and these muffins caught my eye because it is after all, winter, and there are sweet, crunchy, juicy apples everywhere. And these muffins were right up my alley. They are packed with chopped apples, crunchy, buttery pecans and don'y use much oil and sugar. Talk about a healthy muffin! We all snacked on the muffins all day, and didn't have to feel guilty about eating something unhealthy. And to complement the muffins, we made soft and spicy gobi paranthas. I say we, beacuse, DH did half of the parantha-making. I know, I am a lucky gal :). I learnt this recipe from my mother-in-law who made us the most yummy paranthas when we were in India last time. These hot paranthas were really nice on a cold winter day like today. Just enough to make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside and make you want to snuggle with your family on the couch. Ahhhh....On to the recipes, now.

Apple Pecan muffins (recipe adapted  from Joy of Vegan Baking)

Ingredients (for 12 muffins or 24 mini-muffins)
2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp flaxseed powder + 6 tbsp water
1/3 cup canola oil
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 to 3/4 cup water or non-dairy milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 and 1/2 cups peeled and chopped apples ( 3 small or 2 large apples)
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line muffin pan with baking cups or spray with non-stick spray (If you are new to baking muffins, believe me, this step is critical. When I had just started baking, I almost gave up because it was so hard to pry the muffins from the pan and needless to say, cleanup was really tough).

To a large mixing bowl, add the flaxseed powder with (the 6 tbsp) water, whip vigorously with a fork for a minute and set aside. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking powder and cinnamon using a whisk. Set this mixture aside. Now, add the oil, sugar, applesauce, vanilla extract and water/milk to the flaxseed mixture and mix well. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until just combined. Now, add the apples and pecans and mix gently. Divide the batter equally among the twelve muffin cups and bake for 20-22 min or until a toothpick/fork inserted into the muffin comes out clean. Cool the muffins in the pan for 5 min. and then let them cool completely on a cooling rack.
Cauliflower filling

Gobi (cauliflower) paranthas 
Ingredients( for 5-6 medium-size paranthas)
For the atta/dough
3 and 1/2 cups wheat flour (chapathi/roti flour, can use all-purpose and whole-wheat in equal measures)
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp oil
1 and 1/2 cups water

For the filling
1 cup grated cauliflower (1/2 medium cauliflower)
1 small onion, chopped as finely as possible
1 green chilli, chopped
1 and 1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp red chilli powder (optional, depending on spice level desired)
1 tsp garam masala
1/4 tsp jeera/cumin powder
1/2 tsp amchur powder (optional, but adds great flavor, so try and use it)
1 tbsp grated ginger

Combine the flour, salt and oil. Add 1 cup of the water and stir well. Now, add the rest of the water as you continue to knead. Knead the dough for 2-3 min. or until you get a soft, smooth dough. If its sticky, add 1/4 cup flour and continue to knead. Place in a large bowl, cover with a towel and set aside. (To make life easier, you can knead the dough the night before and refrigerate, if you plan to make paranthas the next morning).

Making a parantha

Combine all the filling ingredients and set aside (If the filling seems a little wet, use a paper towel to remove some moisture). Place a griddle/tava on medium-high heat. Now form a 1-inch ball of the dough and roll it out to a circle, about 6" in diameter. Repeat. Now, take 1/4 cup of the filling and spread it evenly on the rolled-out dough, leaving 1/4" or so around the edges.  Now, place the other dough circle on top of the filling and press down on the edges a bit. Roll this out a litle bit to make sure the filling is well-integrated with the dough. Now place this on the hot griddle and cook for 1 min., flip, and cook another min..Now, add 1 tsp of oil on each side and cook the parantha for another min. or so. Thats it! Your parantha is ready. Now place the parantha on a plate and cover tightly with foil while you cook the rest. Enjoy your paranthas with vegan butter/Indian pickle.
Hot parantha with vegan butter!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Chocolate chocolate chip-walnut cookies

The third post on this blog and its a chocolate-based dessert/sweet again! You now know that DH and I are certified chocoholics!! Joining us in this delicious obsession is our 16 month-old who loves everything that I bake and especially the chocolaty desserts. What more could I ask for? Anyway, not to worry if chocolate isn't your favorite thing in the world, since I will be posting other recipes soon.
But moving on to this cookie recipe, it is the ultimate choco-lovers' cookie. Its crisp on the outside, thanks to the cocoa and flax seed, and so soft in the center. Its intensely chocolaty and goes well with a glass of cold soy/almond milk, or if you are feeling indulgent, a scoop of vanilla soy ice cream. Heaven!!
The recipe I used is from "Veganomicon" by Isa Moskowitz and Terry Romero. I slightly adapted it to make it a tad healthier. This is a wonderful cookbook with many delicious and versatile recipes. This recipe is pretty simple and is ready from start to finish in about 30 min.

Ingredients (for 36 cookies)
2 and 1/4 cups whole-wheat pastry flour (use all-purpose flour if you don't have this)
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cup canola oil
1 and 1/4 cup sugar
4 tsp ground flaxseeds
1/2 cup non-dairy milk (I used almond milk)
2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup chocolate chips (vegan)
3/4 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 F and line two baking sheets with silpat/parchment paper. In a large bowl, combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl, mix the sugar and oil. Add the flax seeds, non-dairy milk and vanilla extract. Mix well. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredient mixture in batches and mix thoroughly to combine. Mix in the chocolate chips and walnuts. The dough will be quite stiff. Now, take about a tablespoon of the dough and roll it into a ball. Place on cookie sheet and flatten the ball slightly with your hand or a fork. Repeat with the rest of the dough.
Bake for 10-12 min. Remove from oven and cool the cookies in the baking sheet for 5 min before transferring to a cooling rack. Let the cookies cool completely, then transfer them to an air-tight container.