Update

  

   There have been several changes in my life since I last wrote. I took a leap of faith and perused my dream of going to culinary school. This involved moving from my small town in Georgia to Colorado.

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    A few weeks before classes start I found out that I can not have gluten. Although I could not try over half of the products in class, I have been able to learn and explore gluten free baking on my own.  I am now half way done with classes (woo!) and loving my little leap of faith every day. I have discovered that being in a professional kitchen is where I am meant to be.  I am completely in love with the kitchen. Here are some samples of what I have been doing in class:

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   As I search for internships I am reminded of Oscar Wilde’s  words in The Picture of Dorian Grey, “Don’t be afraid. There are exquisite things in store for you. This is merely the beginning.”

 

Baked Cinnamon Nutmeg Doughnuts

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   Baked doughnuts have not been a hit with me. They always come out chewy and unappetizing. However, these  doughnuts are the complete opposite of my former experiences. They are fluffy and bursting with flavor!

   The first time I made these, I had just started experimenting with vegan baking and did not have any vegan butter.  So after some research I settled for what I had on hand, half of a ripe avocado. Other than the slight green color, no one could tell that avocado replaced the butter. I fell in love with these doughnuts and nearly ate the entire batch!

   Since that night, I have acquired vegan butter and the taste is still amazing. However, the color is more appealing.

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Baked Cinnamon Nutmeg Doughnuts
Adapted from Cooks.com

1 heaping tablespoon milled flax seed
3 tablespoons water
5 tablespoons vegan butter
1/2 cup organic cane sugar
1/4 cup almond milk
1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour or gluten-free all purpose flour
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon iodized salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Topping
3 tablespoons vegan butter, melted
1/2 cup organic cane sugar
2 tablespoons cinnamon

Mix flax seed and water together in small bowl and set aside to firm. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Sift flour, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg into large bowl.

In a separate bowl, cream butter and sugar until smooth. Add flax mixture and milk, whisking together.

Add butter mixture to flour  Mix until just incorporated. Scoop dough into a greased doughnut tin. Bake for 15-20 minutes.

While the doughnuts are baking, melt butter in a bowl. In a separate bowl, mix together sugar and cinnamon.

Shortly after removing from oven, dip tops of doughnuts into melted butter then cinnamon mixture. Place doughnuts on a cooling rack and enjoy!

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Fudgy Bacon Brownies

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I am convinced that brownies can save the world. Heartbreak? Escape into the chocolatey goodness of a brownie. Night in with friends? Brownies. Picnic? Pack a traveling hunk of chocolate. Meeting the parents? Impress them with your baking skills. Movie theater candy too expensive? Slip one of these bad boys in your bag. Whatever the occasion, a brownie will make it 100% better.
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As a child, Friday nights were my favorite. Fridays were for movies, picked out carefully from Blockbuster, and brownies. My family preferred boxed brownies, the kind water, eggs, and oil are added to. We made brownies for every occasion, sleepovers, cold nights, and holidays.

When I was fifteen I purchased my first cookbook. I felt as if I had ventured into adulthood with my grown up cookbook. Each page filled with glossy pictures of baked goods and techniques I had never heard of.  From there, I ventured from boxed mixes and moved to experimenting with new and challenging recipes.
Now a twenty-something, I still make brownies. These fudgy chocolate pillows are just a less processed, vegan twist.

I love mixing sweet and savory so adding bacon to the mix was only natural. However, if you do not like the smoky flavor bacon adds, the brownies still taste great without the bacon pieces.

Fudgy Brownies
 adapted from: Cooking Light
Makes 12 squares

6 tablespoons water
3 tablespoons milled flax seed
1 cup white whole wheat flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon  Himalayan pink salt (or sea salt)
1/3 cup vegan butter (such as Earth Balance)
3 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
4 tablespoons melted coconut oil
1/2 cup organic cane sugar
1/2 cup vanilla soymilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2  or 1 cup dairy free chocolate chips, depending on preference
6 cooked strips of vegan bacon, finely chopped (optional)
1 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt or sea salt (optional)

Mix flax seeds and water together. Set aside to firm. Chop chocolate or pulse in a food processor until in small chunks. Line an 8-inch baking tin with parchment paper and set aside.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Spoon flour into a measuring cup, leveling with a knife. Combine with cocoa powder, and sea salt.
Place chopped chocolate and butter in a separate bowl. Microwave for 40 seconds or until melted. Stir every 15 seconds to ensure the chocolate does not burn.  Once melted, stir in coconut oil with a whisk.  Add sugar, milk, flax mixture, and vanilla extract.  Add mixture to flour bowl. Add chocolate chips and bacon pieces. Stir until combined. It is okay if some of the dry ingredients are not completely mixed in.

Pour into an 8 inch metal baking tin. Bake at 350 degrees for 18-20 minutes or until a pick inserted into center comes out clean.

Top with sea salt or Himalayan pink salt.

Enjoy!
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Rosemary Chocolate Chip Cookies

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These are a slightly exotic chocolate chip cookie. A more grown up version of the childhood classic. The sharp taste of rosemary in combination with the bittersweet chocolate and sea salt keep you on your toes -and wanting more.

Butter and chocolate are a match made in heaven.  Add coconut oil and you have a tropical party in your mouth. Seriously, try to stop yourself from licking the bowl spoon. One of the greatest (or worst) things about vegan baking is getting to eat cookie dough without worry of salmonella. Although, I doubt that has stopped any of us. I may have ate half a batch of this dough a time or two.

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Rosemary Chocolate Chip  Cookies
Makes 18 cookies
Adapted from Vegan Housewives

1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup vegan butter
1 cup organic coconut palm sugar* (or brown sugar)
1/4 cup almond milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups white whole wheat flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon pink Himalayan salt* (or sea salt)
3 tablespoon finely chopped rosemary
1/2 cup dairy free dark chocolate chips

   **If you do not want to shell out money trying a new product, you can often find organic coconut palm sugar and pink Himalayan salt at discount stores such as Ross or T.J. Maxx .

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Cream coconut oil and sugar with a fork. Add milk and vanilla.

In a separate bowl mix flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and rosemary together.

Combine wet ingredients to dry. Fold in chocolate chips.

Make rounded tablespoons of batter and flatten onto a parchment lined cookie sheet. Leave an inch between the dough. Bake for 7-8 minutes.

Enjoy!

 

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