Daring Bakers Challenges Posts

Vegan Tiramisu

 

The February 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Aparna of My Diverse Kitchen and Deeba of Passionate About Baking. They chose Tiramisu as the challenge for the month. Their challenge recipe is based on recipes from The Washington Post, Cordon Bleu at Home and Baking Obsession.

Wow! This dessert took a LONG time to make! It was tricky to make a vegan version. I tried 4 TIMES to make the suggested ladyfinger cookies.  None turned out good enough. I thought about dunking the cookies in coffee. That reminded me of biscotti, so I made those instead.

The mascarpone cheese and vanilla pastry cream were not too difficult to make vegan. I used coconut milk in place of the cream in the original recipes. And I made a few little changes to the recipes. I had no luck with making zabaglione. I don’t even know what that is! It seemed like the main flavor for the zabaglione was the marsala. That’s why I put the marsala in the pastry cream instead. I could have eaten the pastry cream all by itself! It was SO yummy!

Making all the different ingredients was the hard part.  Putting the tiramisu together was easy. I should have soaked the biscotti a little longer. They were too hard to cut through easily, so the whipped cream/pastry cream mix gushed out the sides. It was not pretty to look at, but it was delicious! I ate it after lunch so the coffee wouldn’t keep me up at night! Yum, yum, yum!

Vegan, tofu-free tiramisu!

Vegan, tofu-free tiramisu!

This recipe has many parts. You need 2 or 3 days to make everything. The finished tiramisu needs to sit a few hours, too. This is NOT a last-minute dessert to whip up. But it is a great one to make ahead for company. Make the mascarpone, pastry cream, and biscotti at least a day before you want to put everything together. The whipped cream is best right before you need it.

TIRAMISU

(adapted from Carminantonio’s Tiramisu from The Washington Post, July 11 2007 )

Ingredients:

For the whipped cream:

  • 1 cup/235ml chilled coconut cream (refrigerate a can of coconut milk for at least 2 hours, then scrape off the cream from the top with a spoon)
  • 1/4 cup/55gms powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon/ 2.5ml vanilla extract

To assemble the tiramisu:

  • 2 cups/470ml brewed espresso, warmed
  • 1 teaspoon/5ml rum extract (optional)
  • 1/2 cup/110gms sugar
  • 1/3 cup/75gms vegan “mascarpone cheese” (recipe follows)
  • 1 batch marsala pastry cream (recipe follows)
  • 12  or more biscotti (recipe follows), depending on size of biscotti and dish
  • 2 tablespoons/30gms unsweetened cocoa powder

Instructions:

For the whipped cream:

  1. Chill mixing bowl and beaters in the freezer for about 20 minutes.
  2. Combine the coconut cream, sugar and vanilla extract in a mixing bowl. Beat with an electric hand mixer until the mixture holds stiff peaks. Set aside.

To assemble the tiramisu:

  1. Have ready a rectangular serving dish (about 8″ by 8″ should do) or one of your choice.
  2. Mix together the warm espresso, rum extract and sugar in a shallow dish, whisking to mix well. Set aside to cool.
  3. In a large bowl, beat the mascarpone cheese with a spoon to break down the lumps and make it smooth. This will make it easier to fold. Add the prepared and chilled pastry cream, blending until just combined. Gently fold in the whipped cream. Set this cream mixture aside.
  4. Workings quickly,  dip the biscotti in the sweetened espresso, about 10 second per side. They should be moist but not soggy. Immediately transfer each biscotti to an 8 x 8 baking pan, placing them side by side in a single row. You may break a biscotti into two, if necessary, to ensure the base of your dish is completely covered.
  5. Spoon one-third of the cream mixture on top of the biscotti, then use a rubber spatula or spreading knife to cover the top evenly, all the way to the edges.
  6. Repeat to create 2 more layers, using biscotti and the cream mixture for each layer. Clean any spilled cream mixture; cover carefully with plastic wrap and refrigerate the tiramisu overnight.

To serve, carefully remove the plastic wrap and sprinkle the tiramisu with cocoa powder using a fine-mesh strainer or decorate as you please. Cut into individual portions and serve.

VEGAN SOY-FREE MASCARPONE CHEESE

(adapted from Vera’s Recipe for Homemade Mascarpone Cheese)
This recipe makes 6oz of “mascarpone cheese”

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup coconut milk (not “Lite”)
  • 2 T cashew butter
  • 1/2 T fresh lemon juice

Instructions:

  1. Thoroughly combine coconut milk and cashew butter using an immersion blender, blender, or food processor.
  2. Bring 1 inch of water to a boil in a wide skillet. Reduce the heat to medium-low so the water is barely simmering. Pour the coconut milk into a medium heat-resistant bowl, then place the bowl into the skillet. Heat the cream, stirring often, to 190 F. If you do not have a thermometer, wait until small bubbles keep trying to push up to the surface.  It will take about 15 minutes of delicate heating.
  3. Add the lemon juice and continue heating the mixture, stirring gently, until the cream becomes thicker, about 7 minutes. Remove the bowl from the water and let cool for about 20 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, line a sieve with four layers of dampened cheesecloth and set it over a bowl. Transfer the mixture into the lined sieve. Do not squeeze the cheese in the cheesecloth or press on its surface (be patient, it will firm up after refrigeration time). Once cooled completely, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate (in the sieve) overnight or up to 24 hours.

Vera’s notes: The first time I made mascarpone I had all doubts if it’d been cooked enough, because of its custard-like texture. Have no fear, it will firm up beautifully in the fridge, and will yet remain lusciously creamy.  Keep refrigerated and use within 3 to 4 days.

MARSALA PASTRY CREAM

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon tapioca starch
  • 2 tablespoons marsala
  • 1/4 cup/55gms sugar
  • 1 tablespoon/8gms all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon/ 2.5ml vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup/175ml soy milk

Instructions:

  1. Whisk together the starch and marsala in a small bowl.
  2. Combine the rest of the ingredients in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir constantly until mixture just begins to boil.
  3. Pour the starch/marsala mixture in slowly, while stirring constantly. Continue stirring until the mixture just begins to boil. Remove from heat.
  4. Let cool, then cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

CHOCOLATE-ALMOND BISCOTTI

(Adapted from Veganomicon)
This recipe makes approximately 18 biscotti, just about enough for tiramisu.

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 c soymilk
  • 2 T ground flaxseeds
  • 1/4 c plus 2 T sugar
  • 1/3 c canola oil
  • 1/2 t vanilla extract
  • 1/2 t almond extract
  • 1 1/2 c spelt flour
  • 1/3 c cocoa powder
  • 2 T tapioca starch
  • 2 t baking powder
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1 c whole almonds

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Whisk together soy milk, flaxseeds, sugar, oil, and the extracts until well-blended.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix together the remaining ingredients, except the almonds. Add to the wet ingredients, stirring just until everything is combined.
  4. Add the almonds, then briefly knead the dough, until it is stiff.
  5. Place dough on baking sheet and shape into a long rectangle, about 12 inches long and 4 inches wide.
  6. Bake for about 28 minutes, until it is firm and the top is slightly cracked.
  7. Allow to cool on the baking sheet for about half an hour.
  8. Using a large, sharp knife, cut the loaf into 1/2 inch slices by pushing the knife down in one smooth motion rather than sawing back-and-forth.
  9. Place the slices back on the backing sheet, cut side up, and bake for about 12 – 15 minutes. They should be slightly brown around the edges.  They will firm up a little more when cool.
  10. Let cool slightly on the cooking sheet, then cool on wire racks completely. Store in an air-tight container. Cookies can be crisped again by heating in the oven briefly.

January Daring Bakers Challenge: Gluten-Free Hazelnut Nanaimo Bars

 

The January 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Lauren of Celiac Teen. Lauren chose Gluten-Free Graham Wafers and Nanaimo Bars as the challenge for the month. The sources she based her recipe on are 101 Cookbooks and www.nanaimo.ca.

Sticky, sticky, sticky! Graham cracker dough is so sticky! I had to roll out the first batch 4 times before I got any that didn’t stick to the counter! What a MESS! I almost gave up.  But I didn’t want to be a quitter. Finally I got a few crackers that made it from the counter to the baking sheet.  It took a few more tries to get pretty crackers. I didn’t like the way the first ones tasted. Then I brushed off some of the extra flour (there was A LOT), and they tasted MUCH better. I have been munching on them for a week now, and they still taste fresh.  They don’t taste exactly like the ones in the store, but they are still yummy.

The layers are easy to make. I was worried that the nanimos might be a little boring. But they were very tasty. It would be fun to play with the flavors a little… maybe next time.

Make sure you leave the bars in the fridge long enough. I took mine out after about 2 hours. When I cut them, the bottom layer was very crumbly. I thought maybe the flax/water was not a good replacement for the egg in the original recipe. But the next morning, the bottom held together.  It was not crumbly at all. (Yes, I ate one for breakfast. I also had oatmeal.)

Coconut, hazelnut, and cocoa powder. A delicious base!

Coconut, hazelnut, and cocoa powder. A delicious base!

Gluten-Free Graham Crackers

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/4 – 2 1/2 c Arrowhead Mills Gluten Free All-Purpose Baking Mix
  • 1 cup (200 g) (7.1 ounces) dark brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1 teaspoon (5 mL) baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon (4 mL ) salt
  • 7 tablespoons (100 g) (3 ½ ounces) Earth Balance, cut into small pieces
  • 1/3 cup (80 mL) maple syrup
  • 5 tablespoons (75 mL) soy milk
  • 2 tablespoons (30 mL) vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. In a medium bowl, combine the flours, brown sugar, baking soda, and salt. Cut in the Earth Balance pieces with a pastry blender or two knives, until the mixture is the consistency of a coarse meal. No chunks of butter should be visible.
  2. In a small bowl or liquid measuring cup, whisk together the maple syrup, soy milk and vanilla. Add to the flour mixture until the dough barely comes together. It will be very soft and sticky.
  3. Turn the dough onto a surface well-floured with the gluten-free flour and pat the dough into a rectangle about 1 inch thick. Wrap in plastic and chill until firm, about 2 hours, or overnight.
  4. Divide the dough in half and return one half to the refrigerator. Sift an even layer of gluten-free flour onto the work surface and roll the dough into a long rectangle, about 1/8 inch thick. The dough will be quite sticky, so flour as necessary. Cut into 4 by 4 inch squares. Gather the scraps together and set aside. Place wafers on one or two parchment-lined baking sheets. Chill until firm, about 30 to 45 minutes. Repeat with the second batch of dough.
  5. Adjust the rack to the upper and lower positions and preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180 degrees Celsius).
  6. Gather the scraps together into a ball, chill until firm, and reroll. Dust the surface with more sweet rice flour and roll out the dough to get a couple more wafers.
  7. Prick the wafers with toothpick or fork, not all the way through, in two or more rows.
  8. Bake for 25 minutes, until browned and slightly firm to the touch, rotating sheets halfway through to ensure even baking. Might take less, and the starting location of each sheet may determine its required time. The ones that started on the bottom browned faster.
  9. When cooled completely, place enough wafers in food processor to make 1 ¼ cups (300 mL) of crumbs. Another way to do this is to place in a large ziplock bag, force all air out and smash with a rolling pin until wafers are crumbs.
Oh so sweet, ready to eat!

Oh so sweet, ready to eat!

Nanaimo Bars

Ingredients:

Bottom Layer

  • 1/2 cup (115 g) (4 ounces) Earth Balance
  • 1/4 cup (50 g) (1.8 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 5 tablespoons (75 mL) unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 T ground flax seed beaten with 3 T water
  • 1 1/4 cups (300 mL) (160 g) (5.6 ounces) Gluten Free Graham Cracker Crumbs (See previous recipe)
  • 1/2 cup (55 g) (1.9 ounces) hazelnuts (Finely chopped)
  • 1 cup (130 g) (4.5 ounces) dried shredded unsweetened coconut

Middle Layer

  • 1/2 cup (115 g) (4 ounces) Earth Balance
  • 2 tablespoons and 2 teaspoons (40 mL) So Delicious Hazelnut Non-dairy Creamer
  • 2 tablespoons (30 mL) vanilla pudding mix (I used Dr. Oetker’s)
  • 2 cups (254 g) (8.9 ounces) powdered sugar

Top Layer

  • 4 ounces (115 g) semi-sweet chocolate
  • 2 tablespoons (28 g) (1 ounce) Earth Balance

Directions:

  1. For bottom Layer: Melt Earth Balance, sugar and cocoa in top of a double boiler. Add flax mixture and stir to cook and thicken. Remove from heat. Stir in crumbs, nuts and coconut. Press firmly into an ungreased 8 by 8 inch pan.
  2. For Middle Layer: Cream Earth Balance, So Delicious creamer, pudding mix, and powdered sugar together well. Beat until light in colour. Spread over bottom layer.
  3. For Top Layer: Melt chocolate and Earth Balance over low heat. Cool. Once cool, pour over middle layer and chill.
Spreading on the middle layer

Spreading on the middle layer

Home Sweet Home: A Gingerbread House

 

I just finished my very first gingerbread house! It was also my first Daring Bakers’ Challenge! It was A LOT more work than I expected.  But it was REALLY fun. I want to build another one next year.  Maybe a castle! I LOVED sleeping in my house.  I had sweet dreams all night long!

Home Sweet Home

Home Sweet Home

Model House

Model House

Check out the view

Check out the view

What I Did

  • Day 1: Make a cardboard pattern. This is so you know you have all the pieces and they all fit together.
    Day 2: Make the gingerbread dough, roll the dough, cut out the pieces by following the template, bake and trim the pieces.
  • Day 3: Make the windows: Smash Jolly Ranchers with a hammer. Place small piles on a foil-lined baking sheet. Bake until melted, about 5 minutes. Let cool, then break into the size you need.
  • Day 4: Attach windows with Royal Icing and decorate the sides of the house.
  • Day 5: Put the walls together using LOTS of Royal Icing
  • Day 6: Put on the roof using more Royal Icing. Make sure it’s DRY before you start decorating the roof!
  • Day 7: Add landscaping. I used Peppermint Leaves for the bushes, Jelly Bellies for the path, and gingerbread pine trees.
Peekaboo!

Peekaboo!

Scandinavian Gingerbread (Pepparkakstuga)

I modified a recipe from The Great Scandinavian Baking Book by Beatrice Ojakangas

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Earth Balance, room temperature [226g]
  • 1 cup brown sugar, well packed [220g]
  • 2 tablespoons cinnamon
  • 4 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 3 teaspoons ground cloves
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • ½ cup water
  • 5 cups all-purpose flour [875g]

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, cream the Earth Balance and sugar until blended. Add the cinnamon, ginger and cloves. Mix the baking soda with the water and add to the dough along with the flour. Mix to make a stiff dough. If necessary add more water, a tablespoon at a time. Chill 2 hours or overnight.
  2. Cut patterns for the house, making patterns for the roof, front walls, gabled walls, and door out of cardboard.
  3. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Roll the dough out on a large, ungreased baking sheet and place the patterns on the dough. Mark off the various pieces with a knife, but leave the pieces in place.  I rolled out the dough about 1/4 inch thick (I should have rolled it thinner.  It was very puffy.  Some of the pieces didn’t fit right after baking.  I had to cut them. Cutting gingerbread is HARD WORK!).
  4. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes until the cookie dough feels firm. After baking, again place the pattern on top of the gingerbread and trim the shapes, cutting the edges with a straight-edged knife. Leave to cool on the baking sheet.
Baking is done

Baking is done

Vegan Royal Icing:

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tablespoons water
  • 1/2 teaspoon Versawhip 600
  • 3 cups (330g) powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  1. Beat all ingredients until smooth, adding the powdered sugar gradually to get the desired consistency.
  2. Pipe on pieces and hold together for a few minutes to allow icing to harden.
  3. If you aren’t using it all at once you can keep it in a small bowl with a tight fitting lid. It does not need to be refrigerated.
  4. Icing can be colored by adding a few drops of food coloring with the powdered sugar.  Make sure you have enough. It is very hard to match the color if you run out and need to make a new batch! I came too close to running out several times!
I needed 4 batches of icing!

I needed 4 batches of icing!