Breakfast/Brunch, Dessert, Lightened Up, Vegetarian

Sinfully Good Homemade Cinnamon Rolls

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I love cinnamon rolls, especially ones that are warm and gooey and right out of the oven. Thanks to Minimalist Baker, here’s an idea for ones that are homemade; they’re lightened up with less butter, use almond milk instead of heavy cream or whole milk and have a little whole wheat flour to round them out. I made these from scratch on Christmas morning and my parents gave them a stamp of approval. With a little patience to let the dough rise, these homemade Cinnamon Rolls are the perfect addition to your brunch arsenal.

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Breakfast/Brunch, Dairy-Free, Meal Prep, Snack, Vegan, Vegetarian

Holy Cow Homemade English Muffins

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This was quite fun! I haven’t truly made bread from scratch before, but I’ve made beer bread or ones using a bread machine. I chose to make Whole Wheat English Muffins post finals and as a study break before my next one. Making bread dough from scratch is actually cathartic even if it’s a bit of a waiting game. I got to properly knead dough to add air to it to make it light and fluffy, while also stretching out the gluten strands to give it its texture, and also “punch” it down to remove the extra air after it rises. The key is to stretch out the dough and not to pound it. (Check out The Kitchn‘s guide for exactly how to properly knead dough.) I saw a recipe for homemade English muffins in Real Simple this winter, but I’ve had a big store-bought batch hanging out in my freezer. Even though these are technically dairy-free, they’re still fluffy and just like English muffins are their signature time in the skillet. I also didn’t have cornmeal for the bottom, but never fear! Just be a bit more weary when cooking the bottom since the cornmeal doesn’t act as a buffer.

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Breakfast/Brunch, Dairy-Free, Dessert, Lightened Up, Low Sugar, One Pot Dish, Vegan, Vegetarian

Simple, Spiced Sweet Potato Bread

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UM, YUM! I stumbled upon Izy Hossack’s recipe for this Sweet Potato Bread and I’m beyond glad I did. Her site, Top with Cinnamon, is exactly what I love with cooking and food blogs: clean, simple and straight to the point. I tweaked her recipe and used whole wheat flour, added more spice and swapped the oil base. My only compliant is the loaf came out dense and did not rise very well, but this could be because I kept it true to Izy’s original, which is vegan. Despite not very much added sugar, the agave and sweet potato add just enough sweetness that’s accentuated by the spices. The nuts give the bread a hearty crunch. I whipped up a Greek yogurt spread to serve and the tanginess was the perfect balance.

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Breakfast/Brunch, Dairy-Free, Dessert, Lightened Up, Low Sugar, Snack, Vegan, Vegetarian

Banana Bread for One, Please!

Banana Bread in a Mug

Oh my goodness. I just died a little. Chocolate-Covered Katie is brilliant. Brilliant, I tell you. You could double this or triple it and it would still be healthier than a muffin from Starbucks or Dunkin. I can’t wait to try out other quick mug recipes — blueberry, cinnamon, pistachio? I tested this for dessert in honor of National Banana Bread Day on Monday. (Who knew that was even a thing?) Banana Bread in a Mug, you’re my new favorite thing.

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Breakfast/Brunch, Dessert, Snack, Vegetarian

Crazy for Scones

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I love scones. I may or may not be still in a cranberry pistachio phase, which inspired this Orange Scones with Cranberries & Pistachios recipe. (if you’re not convinced, see my Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad with Pistachios & Cranberries). I usually bring scones as a hostess gift, as a “thank you” or just because. I made this today as a special thanks for someone, who has helped me do some medical soul searching over the years. For those of you wondering, scones are a traditional English baked good that are both lightly sweetened and served with tea. Making scones from scratch are not as difficult as one may believe. There’s three basic butter rules that must be followed to ensure you’ll have perfectly delicious scones:

  1. The butter must be chilled.
  2. The butter must be “cut in” the dry ingredients with a pastry blender (easiest — like one here), a fork or even two knives (I think this is the hardest way). A pastry blender gives you the most leverage, it’s efficient, and prevent the butter form melting.
  3. The butter must resemble pea-sized pieces once cut in.

“Cutting in” the butter ensures the fat will be evenly distributed amongst the dry ingredients. It almost creates pockets of butter throughout the dough. I lightened up the traditional recipes and replaced heavy cream with unsweetened vanilla almond milk, cut the flour 50/50 with whole-wheat, and substituted egg whites for eggs. The orange zest adds in such an unique freshness, the fresh cranberries a tartness, and the pistachios a salty, yet nutty perfection. As breakfast or brunch, as a holiday treat or with a cup of coffee or tea, these Orange Scones with Cranberries & Pistachios are sure to please.

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Dairy-Free, Dessert, Gluten-Free, Snack, Vegan, Vegetarian

Mmm, Mmm Pumpkin Squares

IMG_4646These aren’t your typical Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Squares, but they’re still delicious. I taste-tested these on my dad, the king of desserts. He not only approved, but asked me to bake more, so I’m thinking these must be good. I recently acquired coconut oil, coconut flour and coconut sugar and have been waiting for the right recipe to give these ingredients a try. I made the pumpkin squares two ways: one with coconut flour (for a gluten-free option) and the other one with whole-wheat flour. Based on the flavor and consistency, I enjoyed the ones made with whole-wheat flour more; they were more cake-like and true to the pumpkin spice flavor. Neither has a strong pumpkin flavor, but then again, we associate that “pumpkin flavor” with rich, sweet, decadent pumpkin pie. Either way, these pumpkin squares are a bite-size dessert!
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