i got the ultimate vegan cookbook as a gift from a dear friend, and i have finally gotten around to trying some of the recipes. naturally i turned right to the baking sections, separated into breads, muffins, and scones; cookies and bars; and finally, desserts. this post is a review of (most of) the quickbreads in the book; some don’t interest me at all so i am just going to stick to the ones i would like to eat.
almond quinoa muffins:
this is first recipe from the breads section that captured my fancy. though i often used cooked quinoa, millet, and/or brown rice in hearty muffins, i was excited to try a new version of this trick. but i was quite disappointed. the resulting muffins were not terrible, just kind of bland. even with the spicy love of cardamom and cinnamon and the goodness of agave, almond meal and red quinoa, they were really just too simple for my tastes.
how i would make them tastier:
- more spice! the recipe calls for equal amounts of the two spices, but the cinnamon is erased by the strong cardamom, so triple the amount of cinnamon and double the amount of cardamom.
- Toast the almond meal; the recipe doesn’t specify so I used raw almonds ground in my food processor for the batter and to top the muffins; I think toasted with a touch of salt would add a nice depth of flavor.
- Try mixing spelt and whole wheat pastry flour; the recipe calls for whole wheat pastry or all-purpose, so I used a mix, but I think the spelt would bring a more grain-y taste to the muffins.
banana wheat germ muffins:
i was pretty happy with the results from this little muffin. it is definitely not a knock-yer-socks-off muffin, but tasty enough. i toasted the wheat germ before use, and also used some on the tops, which made them look really cute and crackly when they came out of the oven.
cranberry orange nut bread:
this bread was not a winner, but i don’t know why. true to the book it did smell heavenly in the oven, but the flavor was very flat. i followed the recipe correctly but there was something not quite right about this one; the boyfriend said it tasted great (isn’t that what boyfriends are supposed to do?) but i was not convinced. i fed the chickens.
banana date scones:
these were sooo good- good enough to stand up to the spelt scones i always make, and that is saying a lot! i made two versions of the scones, and both turned out excellent. i halved the recipe and used half following directions (i CAN do it sometimes!) and used the all-purpose flour and the whole wheat pastry flour; i then made the second half using spelt instead of ap flour with charming results. the spelt looked a bit whole-grainy, and the texture was a teeny bit lighter than the ap flour, but both winners in the taste department.
though this recipe is a bit time consuming because of the date chopping and banana pureeing, it is so very worth it when you take a bit of these nicely-textured (dense-in-a-good-way) scones. the bottoms got a bit crispy but i really liked it that way. i also substituted almond milk for rice milk and was out of cinnamon- so, well fine, i MOSTLY followed directions! either way, these turned out so good. these are the incontestable winner in the list of veganomican goodies!
an afterthought: though these scones were totally yummy on the first day, by the second day they were very dried out already- both the ap and spelt versions lost all of their moisture, in both plastic containers and baggies. they are still yummy, but i would recommend eating them all right away (it’s possible, i suppose: have a party!) or freezing the others. i’ve generally had good luck freezing baked goods if they are frozen as soon as they cool, and if i let them come to room temperature and eat asap. i bet these would be the same.
i don’t know if cornbread is really considered a quickbread, but it doesn’t use yeast… so here it is. cornbread is apparently hard to make, because i have never been able to find THE RECIPE (either at my house or elsewhere) but this one is pretty close- and that is saying a lot! i have to admit that the best cornbread i remember is those awful blue jiffy boxes of lard-filled muffin mix that my mama would make up every few days; i stopped eating them fifteen years ago when i stopped eating other dead things, and i have been on a cornbread hunt ever since. isa and terry have created something quite close to the cornbread i want to believe in.
these are my suggestions should someone else attempt this recipe:
- there is a good moisture which comes from soymilk + apple cider vinegar and 1/3 cup oil; i think that it might be tasty if the oil was replaced with earthbalance for a better creamy texture.
- i also think it needs to be sweeter and saltier (from the grrl who doesn’t like salt!);
- i used corn kernels inside, but those could use some earthbalance too;
- i also think the combination of corn + jalapenos and/or cheddar cheese might be yummy (though, obviously, not vegan).
basically, if i am going to make cornbread again, i am going to stick with this recipe as my base!
i skipped making the banana bread (i have so many versions of banana bread) and the pineapple sunshine muffins cause i am just not that into all that chunky stuff in my muffins. and i skipped the low fat everything; i am a skinny girl and love some fat in my muffins!