Saturday, August 30, 2008

Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

I'm a sucker for chocolate chip cookies so when I saw the beautiful cookies Chelle had made, I had to make them too. I've been curious about recipes from America's Test Kitchen (despite all the hate for them recently). So were these cookies the best? Well they were really good so right now I have three favourites for best chocolate chip cookie. Actually I think I've found more than that. It's kind of overwhelming actually, this search for "the best" one. They're all good so why should I have to pick? Sometimes, okay often times, when I bake something I find myself going back again and again to taste it to see if it's really as good/bad/chocolatey/whatever as I thought it was. Trying to completely analyze the level of awesome that the baked good has attained, and I think I'm going to stop that. Most things are good, some things are bad, and I think you know that as soon as it hits your mouth. Though there are those things that you don't like at first then something compels you to go back and try more and you strangely can't stop yourself from eating something that may not taste that good. Well that doesn't happen too often but I'm sure I'm not the only one!

So back to these cookies. They have nice soft middles and slightly crispy edges and I guess they do fit the title of "thick and chewy", though I think the Neiman Marcus cookies fit the "thick" role better. The thing I don't like about really soft cookies like this one is that they dry out pretty quickly so by day 3 they're nothing like day 1. But then I have really high standards for when a cookie is no longer fresh, whereas I know other people don't mind. I made them with a combination of milk chocolate chips and micro mini eggs, which ended up being not the smartest choice. The cookie dough itself is pretty sweet so I think it's best made with semisweet or my new favourite, bittersweet chocolate. I also want to try adding some coconut to the dough. Mmm coconut. Oh and these NY times chocolate chip cookies that everyone's talking about (that I too plan to make but haven't bought bread flour yet) made me leave the dough in the fridge for 24 hours and compare the immediately baked cookies against 24 hour refrigerated dough baked cookies. And I had a couple of people try them with me - no real difference. But maybe it's only true for that NY times cookie.

EDIT Feb3/11: This is a much better thick chewy chocolate chip cookie recipe, though these ones were good too.

Other cookie recipes:
Russian Tea Cakes
Chocolate Marble Chunk Cookies
Intense Chocolate Fudge Cookies
Any Way You Want It Biscotti

Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies
Adapted from Baking Illustrated, found on Brown Eyed Baker

Makes about 18 large cookies.

2 cups plus 2 tablespoons (10 5/8 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled until warm
1 cup packed (7 ounces) light or dark brown sugar
1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) granulated sugar
1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat the oven to 325F. Prepare 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or Silpat mats.

2. In a bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt.

3. Either by hand or with an electric mixer, mix the butter and sugars until thoroughly blended. Beat in the egg, yolk, and vanilla until combined. Add the dry ingredients and beat at low speed just until combined. Stir in the chips to taste.

4. Roll a scant 1/4 cup of the dough into a ball. Hold the dough ball with the fingertips of both hands and pull into 2 equal halves. Rotate the halves 90 degrees and, with jagged surfaces facing up, join the halves together at their base, again forming a single ball, being careful not to smooth the dough’s uneven surface. Place the formed dough balls on the prepared baking sheets, jagged surface up, spacing them 2 1/2 inches apart.

5. Bake until the cookies are light golden grown and the outer edges start to harden yet the centers are still soft and puffy (don't be scared to take them out when they look a little underbaked, that's how you get the nice soft cookie), 15 to 18 minutes. Cool the cookies on the sheets for 5 minutes then transfer to a cooling rack.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Candied Maple Walnut Pancake Loaf

This is the maple loaf that I was trying to make (when I realized I didn't have any maple syrup) and made the delicious coconut lemon bundt cakes instead. I wasn't sure if I'd like the loaf or not but with a name like "candied maple walnut pancake loaf" how could I not try it? After baking the loaf, you poke holes in it and pour maple syrup on top, which is supposed to cause some kind of candy like thing with the nuts that are on top, as well as soaking into the loaf. Well I really dislike when cakes are soaked with things so I wasn't too sure how to feel about all this. But actually the loaf part is quite yummy - moist and dense. I would make the loaf again but with less maple on top (because the sides and top were kind of mushy) and more cinnamon and walnuts added to the actual loaf. I also want to try this loaf with pecans instead of walnuts. But that's just me - I know some people liked the loaf just as it is, maple syrup soaked and all, and you might too.

And as for the cookbook, Great Coffee Cakes, Sticky Buns, Muffins & More, I'm still in love with the design of it, the photos and the yummy sounding recipes but this is only the second recipe I've made from it. And it seems like the instructions are sometimes way more complicated than seems necessary (or at least way more complicated than all other baking books I've used). I also tried the pineapple squares with toasted coconut streusel, which were decent but didn't taste much like pineapple and I need to improve my streusel making skills - big clumps not tiny powdery streusel.

If this sounds good, you might also like:
Pumpkin Loaf
Banana Nut Shortbread
Pecan Honey Sticky Buns
Mini Pear Loaves

Candied Maple Walnut Pancake Loaf
Adapted from Great Coffee Cakes, Sticky Buns, Muffins & More

I'd recommend adding more of the cinnamon walnut mixture to the actual loaf.

1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 cup sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup self-rising cake flour, spooned in and leveled, sifted
6 tbsp sour cream
2/3 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
1 tsp ground cinnamon
4 tbsp pure maple syrup

Position a rack in the middle of the oven. Heat the oven to 325F. Either butter an 8x4 inch loaf pan, or line it with parchment paper.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whip attachment, beat the whole egg and egg yolk on medium speed for 1 minute. Add the sugar, 1 to 2 tbsp at a time, taking about 2 minutes, and continue to beat until thickened, about 2 minutes longer. Blend in the vanilla. Drizzle in the oil in a steady stream, taking about 30 seconds. Beat for 15 seconds longer.

Reduce the mixer speed to low. Add one-half of the flour, then blend in the sour cream, then the remaining flour, mixing only until combined after each addition.

Combine the walnuts and cinnamon. Using a rubber spatula, fold 1/4 cup of the nut mixture into the batter.

Spoon the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top with the back of a large spoon. Sprinkle the remaining walnut mixture over the top. Bake for about 40-60 minutes (it took me 60 but the author recommends 40), or until the top of the loaf is golden brown and springy to the touch, and a toothpick inserted deeply into the center comes out clean. Note: The loaf won't rise to the top of the pan and this is okay as the shallow cake pan allows the maple syrup to be fully absorbed.

Remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack. Poke the cake at 1 inch intervals using a skewer or a toothpick (make sure you poke lots of holes). Spoon the maple syrup over the top very slowly to allow the cake to absorb the syrup. Do this several times until all the syrup has been absorbed. Let stand for 30 minutes.

To remove from the pan if you chose the buttering method, place a piece of aluminum foil directly on top of the loaf, cupping it around the side to hold the topping in place. Cover with the cooling rack, invert the cake, and carefully life off the pan. Cover with another rack, invert again, and cool right side up. Otherwise, just lift the loaf out of the pan with the parchment.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Peanut Butter Pasta

I am happy to spend hours in the kitchen doing anything involving baking, but when it comes to cooking an actual meal, most of the time I prefer something fast, simple and healthy. I do love trying out new cooking recipes but there's only so much time and I find baking so much more rewarding and exciting. So this is an example of one of those easy and healthy meals. The peanuts in the sauce are protein and you can always add some beans, tofu or more nuts to the dish for more protein (though this dish was really filling just with the sauce). You can add as many veggies as you want, and this is a great place to use a mix of frozen vegetables. The Garden of Vegan suggests using this as a pasta sauce, as I did, but I'm sure it would be equally delicious (and easy) with your choice of grain (brown rice, quinoa, millet, etc). You could also try this recipe with your favourite nut butter.

Other easy and healthy meals:
Pasta with Tofu Red Pepper Sauce
Spinach Walnut Pesto
Artichoke Rotini Pasta
Pasta with Portobello Mushrooms in Mustard Wine Sauce

Peanut Butter Pasta
Adapted from The Garden of Vegan

Makes 2-3 servings.

Dry pasta (enough for 2 people)
1/4 cup natural peanut butter
1/4 cup hot water
1/4 cup soy milk or coconut milk (or more water)
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp steak sauce or vegan worcestershire sauce
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp cayenne (more if you like it spicy)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
3-4 cups veggies (broccoli, bell peppers, edamame, carrots, peas, corn, etc), cut into bite size pieces
1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Cook the pasta. While the pasta is cooking, whisk together the peanut butter, hot water, and milk (soy, coconut, rice - if using) until smooth. Stir in the soy sauce, steak sauce/worcestershire, garlic, cayenne, salt and pepper. When pasta is almost done, add vegetables and cook for another couple of minutes. Drain and return to pot. Pour in the peanut sauce and toss well. Garnish with chopped nuts, if using.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Key Lime Pie

I know lots of people have made key lime pie and blogged about it but I've been wanting to make it forever and it's delicious so I want to blog about it too! Talk about an easy to put together recipe, and with a graham cracker crust and condensed milk in the custard/filling - what's not to love? It's also easy to make - as long as you're not like me and you actually pay attention. I ended up adding the whipping cream, intended for the topping, to the egg/lime mixture and had to restart. It is quite a tart dessert, so if you love citrusy and tart things then you'll love this. Oh and for my first attempt at making it (the one I messed up) I had actual key limes, but when I went to the store to get some more limes to remake the filling, they didn't have any more. I don't think it makes too big of a difference, aside from the fact that key lime pie sounds a lot better than just lime pie (which actually doesn't sound appealing at all now that I've written it out).

If you have extra condensed milk because you can't find the right size can, make dulce de leche! And then use that dulce de leche to make these yummy looking dulce de leche macaroons that are on my list of things to make. And/or with the extra egg whites you can make regular macaroons (or macarons!)

If this sounds good, you might also like:
Apple Pie with Brown Sugar Streusel Topping
Raspberry and White Chocolate Pie
Coconut Cream Pie
The Most Extraordinary French Lemon Cream Tart

Key Lime Pie
Adapted from Martha Stewart

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
5 tablespoons sugar
14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
4 large egg yolks
1/2 cup freshly squeezed key-lime juice
1 tbsp grated key-lime zest
1 1/2 cups heavy cream, chilled

1. Heat oven to 375F. Mix together graham cracker crumbs, butter, and 3 tablespoons sugar in a medium bowl. Press into a 9-inch pie plate, and bake until lightly browned, about 12 minutes. Remove from oven, and transfer to a wire rack until completely cooled.

2. Lower oven to 325F. In a medium bowl, gently whisk together condensed milk, egg yolks, key-lime juice, and zest. Pour into the prepared, cooled crust.

3. Return pie to oven, and bake until the center is set but still quivers when the pan is nudged, 15 to 17 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack.

4. Shortly before serving, combine cream and remaining 2 tablespoons sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Whisk on medium speed until soft peaks form, 2 to 3 minutes. Spoon over cooled pie. Serve immediately. Garnish with lime slices if you feel fancy.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Cocoa Nibbles

As soon as I saw these cocoa nibbles that the wonderfully talented Ricki (of Diet, Dessert and Dogs) posted, I knew I had to make them. And make them I did, a few days later - which is rare for me since I have a humongous (and insanely growing) list of recipes I've saved from food blogs to make one day. I guess I should explain what they are eh? Well they're designed after the Lara bars, so imagine a really moist perfectly chocolatey little treat (that you don't have to feel guilty about).

These cocoa nibbles were just as good as I'd hoped and while they did really test the power of my little food processor, they were easy to make. Not only are they a healthy snack, but they can really satisfy a chocolate craving (with the use of cocoa powder alone!) I was so very impressed by these and will make them again and again. Unfortunately I put this batch in a container that stank like onion so I only got to enjoy a few.

Other healthy snacks:
No Fail Granola
Mini Pear Loaves
Applesauce Oat Bran Muffins
Pumpkin Pecan Raisin Muffin

Cocoa Nibbles
Adapted from Ricki at Diet, Dessert and Dogs

Ricki suggests adding mint, chili powder, lemon or cinnamon but this is the version I tried and fell in love with.

1/2 cup (80 g) raw almonds
1 1/4 cups (about 150 g) unsweetened dried dates, chopped
2 tbsp (20 g) cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla

In a food processor, process the almonds, dates, and cocoa until you have what looks like a fine meal. Sprinkle with vanilla and continue to process until the mixture comes together as a ball that rolls around the edge of the processor bowl (this may take a while–up to 5 minutes or so; occasionally stop and scrape sides of processor to push the mixture toward the blades).

The “dough” is ready when, if you pinch some and press it between your fingers, it sticks together readily and looks a bit shiny. (If this isn't happening, add a couple of teaspoons of water.) The mixture should NOT be as soft as a cookie dough, but more like clay.

Place a clean piece of plastic wrap on the counter and turn the mixture onto it. Using your hands, form the mixture into a log about 8 inches long. Try to compress the mixture as much as possible so you have a very dense log. Wrap with the plastic and roll the log one or two times, compressing it with your hands, to squeeze out any air spaces.

Refrigerate the dough for at least 2 hours or overnight. Take the dough from the fridge and slice it into little medallions about 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

White Chocolate Coconut Macadamia Nut Cake

One of my mom's favourite cookies is white chocolate macadamia nut so I thought I would try to make it in cake form for her birthday. I'm proud of myself because I took 4 different recipes and put them together to create a cake for her. All of the components were quite tasty on their own, but when I put it all together it wasn't as magical as I'd imagined it would be. Not that it tasted bad, it just didn't have any oh my god this is so good reactions.

I loved the macadamia cake and I once again used 8 inch cake pans instead of the called for 9 inch so I got to experience the wonderful exploding cake phenomenon. Okay well it didn't explode but it definitely baked out of the pan in scary proportions. However this made for a nice delicious muffin like top that I snacked on while putting the cake together. (And I have since purchased 9 inch cake pans, though I've yet to use them.) The icing is the buttercream icing from the yule log Daring Bakers' challenge that changed my mind about buttercream. (Previously I greatly disliked it but after trying this style - Swiss buttercream? - I was hooked.) Instead of adding espresso and rum, I added coconut extract. The macadamia praline was easy to make, and this time I let the sugar melt and caramelize before adding the nuts (as I did when making the pecan praline for the caramel cake with caramel cream cheese frosting). I seem to do that a little more often than I'd like - adding ingredients before they're supposed to be added (in the case of the praline when I did this it resulted in a very grainy praline) or adding them when I'm not supposed to (like when I made key lime pie and added the whipped cream intended for the top of the pie to the egg/lime mixture). Anyway, this all makes me a better baker right...?

The white chocolate whipped cream was an experience. I used Dorie Greenspan's recipe (that was used in one of the first few Tuesday's With Dorie recipes for a black and white chocolate cake). I knew that if I didn't use good quality white chocolate I was risking things not turning out, but I didn't want to go out and buy more Callebaut chocolate so I combined some delicious Callebaut with some okay but not equally delicious Chipits white chocolate chips. Well as you can guess, this did not work out so well. Add on to that the fact that I was impatient and didn't wait for the melted white chocolate to cool enough before adding it to the whipped cream. What I ended up with was not whipped cream, but it did taste good (though it was releasing water - if that makes any sense). I recalled reading on Lynn's blog about how she turned a similar experience into buttercream, so I thought I would try to whip the white chocolate whipped cream like crazy and see what happened. And I did kind of get something resembling buttercream.

Anyway, I'd highly recommend the macadamia cake, I want to try out the white chocolate whipped cream again because I'm sure it's delicious, the macadamia praline was really good, and the buttercream recipe is also amazing though I think the coconut extract didn't quite fit in as seamlessly as I'd hoped.

If this sounds good, you might also like:
White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies
Elvis Fluffernutter Cake
Bill's Big Carrot Cake
Caramel Cake with Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting

White Chocolate Coconut Macadamia Nut Cake

Macadamia Cake
Coconut Buttercream
White Chocolate Whipped Cream
Macadamia Praline

Adapted from The Essential Baker, Simply Scones, Perfect Cakes and The Williams-Sonoma Collection: Dessert, Baking: From My Home to Yours

For the Macadamia Nut Cake

1 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
1 tbsp all purpose flour
12 oz (24 tbsp, 3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 1/4 cups superfine (berry) sugar
6 extra large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 3/4 cups cake flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup toasted, unsalted macadamia nuts

To Make the Macadamia Nut Cake

Preheat to 325F. Generously butter the inside of two 9 inch round cake pans. Place parchment in the bottom of the cake pan.

In a large mixing bowl, use the flat beater attachment and beat the butter on medium speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Gradually add the sugar and cream together. Stop occasionally and scrape down the sides of the bowl. One at a time, add the eggs, stopping to scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl after each addition. At first the mixture may look curdled as the eggs are added, but as you stop and scrape down the bowl, the mixture will smooth out. Add the sour cream and vanilla to the butter mixture and blend well.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Combine 1/2 cup of this mixture with the macadamia nuts in the work bowl of a food processor. Pulse until the nuts are very finely ground, about 1 minute. Add the ground nuts to the rest of the dry ingredients and stir to blend completely.

With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients in 4 stages. Blend well after each addition and stop often to scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.

Bake for 40-45 minutes, until the cakes are golden and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove the cake pans from the oven and cool completely on racks. Invert the pans to remove the cakes and peel the parchment paper off.

For the Coconut Buttercream

2 large egg whites
1/2 cup sugar
12 tablespoons (1.5 sticks or 3/4 cups) unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons coconut extract

To Make the Coconut Buttercream
Whisk the egg whites and sugar together in the bowl of an electric mixer. Set the bowl over simmering water and whisk gently until the sugar is dissolved and the egg whites are hot. Attach the bowl to the mixer and whip with the whisk on medium speed until cooled. Switch to the paddle and beat in the softened butter and continue beating until the buttercream is smooth. Beat coconut extract into the buttercream.

For the White Chocolate Whipped Cream

3 ounces premium-quality white chocolate, finely chopped
3/4 cups heavy cream

To Make the White Chocolate Whipped Cream
Put the white chocolate in a metal bowl and put the bowl over a saucepan of gently simmering water. Stir frequently to melt the chocolate evenly. Meanwhile, bring 1/2 cup of the heavy cream to a boil.

When the white chocolate is melted, remove the bowl from the pan. Pour the hot cream into the melted chocolate and let it sit for a minute. Using a small spatula, stir the chocolate gently until it is smooth. Let it sit on the counter until it reaches room temperature - it can't be even a bit warm when you add it to the whipped cream.

Working with the stand mixer with the whisk attachment or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the remaining 1 cup heavy cream only until it holds the softest peaks. Turn the machine to high, add the cooled white chocolate all at once and continue to beat until the whipped cream holds firm peaks. Turn the whipped cream into a bowl, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or up to 6 hours.

For the Macadamia Praline

1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tbsp water
3/4 cup lightly salted macadamia nuts

To Make the Macadamia Praline

Have an oiled or parchment lined baking sheet ready to put the praline on. In a small saucepan, stir together the sugar and water. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat to high and bring the mixture to a boil. Cook without stirring for 4 minutes, or until the mixture turns amber and caramelizes. Immediately stir in the macadamia nuts and stir to coat the nuts with the syrup. Immediately scrape the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet. Cool for 20 minutes or until hardened. Transfer the mixture to a cutting board and chop or break up the praline.

To Assemble

Place one of the cakes on a cake plate or whatever you want to construct it on. Spread the white chocolate whipped cream on top, then place the second layer on top. Ice the sides and top of the cake with the coconut buttercream. Sprinkle the macadamia praline on top.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Artichoke Rotini Pasta

I'm always looking for relatively easy and quick to put together meals that have a variety of produce, and a decent amount of protein (usually tofu or beans - I need to try making seitan and to find a convenient place to buy tempeh). This is shockingly only the second time I've made this pasta dish (which has artichokes, sun dried tomatoes, capers, onions and my addition of chickpeas) but I really must make it more often. It's full of flavour, filling, and can be low in fat if you find the artichokes that are packed in water or frozen (I used the oil packed ones but rinsed them with water). And not surprisingly, this dish comes from How It All Vegan, one of the best cookbooks out there. I love their recipes because they're quick, easy, often healthy and you usually have all the ingredients at home.

Capers have antioxidants and anti-cancer properties, though I think there hasn't been a lot of research done into them yet. Sun dried tomatoes are one of the best sources of lycopene, an antioxidant also found in watermelons, guava, apricots, red peppers, and pink grapefruits. Artichokes have all sorts of health benefits, that I didn't realize. I've got to eat more! Some of the great things about artichokes are that they're a good source of fibre, potassium, folic acid, magnesium, and vitamin C, and they help poor liver function. And apparently they're one of the top sources of antioxidants. And then of course there are onions - protective against cancer, lower cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure, reduce the risk of heart disease, etc. (Note: I don't claim to be an expert on nutrition and I'm still learning. If you know any of the information I've posted to be incorrect, please let me know so I can fix it! I think the best nutritional advice though is just try to eat a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, nuts, grains, etc.)

If this sounds good, you might also like:
Spaghetti and Beanballs with Onion & Roasted Garlic Tomato Sauce
Portabello Fettuccine with Spinach Pesto, Roasted Peppers & Romano Cheese
Pasta with Tofu Red Pepper Sauce
Spinach Walnut Pesto with Smoked Tofu & Whole Wheat Rotini

Artichoke Rotini Pasta
Adapted from How It All Vegan!

This dish serves 4, but if you're like me and prefer more stuff in your pasta, it's more likely to serve 3 when you add less pasta.

Serves 4

wholewheat pasta (enough for 4)
1 onion, chopped
16 oz (474 mL) marinated artichoke hearts, chopped* (save the oil)
6 cloves garlic, minced
juice of 1 lemon
6-8 sundried tomatoes, chopped**
can of chickpeas
3 tbsp capers, drained
1 tsp thyme
2 tsp dried basil
salt & pepper to taste
Parmesan cheese (optional)

While pasta is cooking, in a medium saucepan saute the onions in 1 tbsp of the artichoke oil (or other oil) on medium heat until the onions are translucent. Add the artichokes, garlic, and lemon juice. Cook for another 5 minutes, until the sauce has reduced. Scoop out 1/4 cup of pasta water and add to the saucepan, along with the sundried tomatoes, chickpeas, capers, thyme, basil, salt, and pepper. Cook about 2 minutes, until tomatoes and chickpeas are warmed through. Drain pasta and toss with sauce. Add Parmesan if desired.

*You can use the oil from the marinated artichokes to cook with. You can just as easily use whatever oil you want.
**If they're dried, add them to the pasta water a few minutes before the pasta is done cooking.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Coconut Lemon Bundt Cake

My first food blog post from our new apartment! However I still have some things I made from before so I'll be posting about those first. I'm just really happy that our internet is working AND the new monitor is working. Not sure how long it will be working for though as it seems to be kind of busted. I'm going away this weekend for a wedding and I'm feeling some food blog separation anxiety. But I'm looking forward to having more time for food blog things next week. Anyway, now let's talk about food.

I was all set to make the maple pancake loaf from Great Coffee Cakes, Sticky Buns, Muffins & More and I'd chopped up the nuts, then went looking for the maple syrup. No maple syrup? Baking tragedy. So I quickly scanned through a few cookbooks and came across this lemon coconut bundt cake. Thankfully lemons and coconut are something I always have on hand, and coconut is one of my favourite things so it seemed like an okay consolation baked good. Well it turned out to be more than that! The smell of it baking made me so eager for them to come out of the oven. Oh and this was the first that I used my mini bundt pans. Suffice it to say, you are not suppose to completely fill the bundt pans. Yes I should know this from making muffins and cakes but when I have more batter than baking pan, I usually end up putting it all in there and hoping it doesn't explode over the sides (and it always does and I always freak out a bit. Maybe one day I'll learn.) So we can call these bundt cakes lemon coconut flying saucers. As it turned out, the explodey parts were delicious because they got hard like really delicious muffin tops.

Lemon and coconut are really such a great pairing, and they were perfectly balanced in this bundt. The cakes were so moist, oh and did I mention that they're vegan? I want to experiment more with vegan baking. So far all of my healthy muffins are vegan, but I haven't tried much beyond that. Well as many vegan bakers out there will not be surprised to hear, these bundt cakes far surpassed many non vegan baked goods. The only unfortunate thing was that they were a bit oily - not that that stopped me from eating them. I bet these would be delicious with white chocolate. The perfect summer afternoon snack!

David Lebovitz was saying on his blog about how you shouldn't zest a lemon onto a plate and then carefully measure it out by putting it into a measuring spoon. Instead you should not worry about exact measurements and just zest directly into whatever it's being mixed into so you don't lose the precious lemon/citrus oil. That's what I tried this time and I have no idea if it really made a difference but the bundt cakes were tasty.

If this sounds good, you might also like:
Matcha Coconut Madeleines
Lemon Poppyseed Muffins
Chocolate Oatmeal Coconut Cookies
bill's Coconut Bread

Coconut Lemon Bundt Cake
Slightly adapted from Veganomicon

You can make one 8" or 10" bundt cake, about 12 mini bundt cakes, or 15 muffins. (These are my guesses, except for the large bundt cake, because for me it made 6 muffins and 6 mini bundt cakes.)

1 2/3 cups sugar
2/3 cup canola oil
14 oz (400 mL) can coconut milk
1/4 cup soy milk
1/4 cup lemon juice
zest of 2 lemons
2 tsp vanilla extract

3 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt

1 1/2 cups shredded unsweetened coconut

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease whatever kind of baking pan you're using (bundt pan, muffin tin).

In a large mixing bowl, combine the wet ingredients. Stir to combine.

In another bowl, mix the dry ingredients (not including the coconut). Mix the dry ingredients into the wet in batches, mixing well after each addition. Fold in the coconut.

Pour the batter into the baking pan(s). Bake for 1 hour (check at 30 minutes if using smaller baking pans), or until knife inserted in cake comes out clean. When you remove them from the oven, let the cakes cool on a rack for 10 minutes before flipping the cakes out.