Vegan by Nature

inherent recipes from a passionate cook

Salvaged Gingerbread House: December Daring Bakers

The December 2009 Daring Bakers’ challenge was brought to you by Anna of Very Small Anna and Y of Lemonpi. They chose to challenge Daring Bakers’ everywhere to bake and assemble a gingerbread house from scratch. They chose recipes from Good Housekeeping and from The Great Scandinavian Baking Book as the challenge recipes.

I had a bit of a disaster with my house. Everything was going fine until the dough came out of the oven. In retrospect I should have realised that gluten-free flour would have been more prone to crumbling and therefore not ideal for creating a solid structure. Nonetheless I still had pieces big enough to create a small, minimalist version of my original plan and, I quite like it 🙂

I used the cut out ginger cookie recipe from Vegan Cookies Invade your Cookie Jar.


Spelt Cinnamon and Raisin Bagels

I used a recipe from Fernley-Whitingstall’s River Cottage Bread Handbook and substitued the bread flour with spelt. I also used the overnight rise method. First time success 🙂

The key is to poach them in some molasses water first and then bake them. Really beautiful.

Hello Sunday 🙂

Blueberry swirl cannoli cups

The November 2009 Daring Bakers Challenge was chosen and hosted by Lisa Michele of Parsley, Sage, Desserts and Line Drives. She chose the Italian Pastry, Cannolo (Cannoli is plural), using the cookbooks Lidia’s Italian-American Kitchen by Lidia Matticchio Bastianich and The Sopranos Family Cookbook by Allen Rucker; recipes by Michelle Scicolone, as ingredient/direction guides. She added her own modifications/changes, so the recipe is not 100% verbatim from either book.

I decided to use the vegan version of this (recipe follows) but I substituted the flour for spelt flour, the marsala wine with grape juice and brandy and the sugar with fructose!

I filled them with a mixture of blueberry jam and homemade cream…

…a mixture of soy protein powder, fructose, brandy and soya milk until you reach quite a thick spoonable consistency (sorry I was rushed and didn’t have time to measure exactly)

The cannoli dough:

2 3/4 cups spelt flour
2 tablespoons fructose
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
1 flax egg (whisk 2 tablespoons flax powder/meal with 3 tablespoons water)
2/3 cup marsala wine

serves 10

Preheat oven to gas mark 4/180 C/350 F

Mix flour, sugar, cinnamon, shortening, flax egg (whisk 2 tablespoons flax powder/meal with 3 tablespoons water), and wine together to make a dough.

Chill in the fridge for about 1/2 hour.

Roll out dough on floured surface to about 1/8 inch think.

Cut out 4 inch circles and then roll them one way so they turn into ovals

I made mine into little cups but traditionally the are rolled around cannoli forms (needless to say I didn’t have any)



Daring Baker’s October French Macaroons!

The 2009 October Daring Bakers’ challenge was brought to us by Ami S. She chose macarons from Claudia Fleming’s The Last Course: The Desserts of Gramercy Tavern as the challenge recipe.

To make the Vegan version of this, I used ener-g egg replacer instead of eggs, ground almonds instead of almond flour, and used my home made powdered sugar which uses fructose. I also reduced the recipe to yield a smaller batch.

Mine were Vanilla flavoured with a choco-currant filling.

For the filling:

cocoa powder
soya yoghurt
blackcurrant jam
(this bit was less measured I’m afraid)

Confectioners’ (Icing) sugar: 2 ¼ cups (225 g, 8 oz.)
Almond flour: 2 cups (190 g, 6.7 oz.)
Granulated sugar: 2 tablespoons (25 g , .88 oz.)
Egg whites: 5 (Have at room temperature)


1. Preheat the oven to 200°F (93°C). Combine the confectioners’ sugar and almond flour in a medium bowl. If grinding your own nuts, combine nuts and a cup of confectioners’ sugar in the bowl of a food processor and grind until nuts are very fine and powdery.
2. Beat the egg whites in the clean dry bowl of a stand mixer until they hold soft peaks. Slowly add the granulated sugar and beat until the mixture holds stiff peaks.
3. Sift a third of the almond flour mixture into the meringue and fold gently to combine. If you are planning on adding zest or other flavorings to the batter, now is the time. Sift in the remaining almond flour in two batches. Be gentle! Don’t overfold, but fully incorporate your ingredients.
4. Spoon the mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a plain half-inch tip (Ateco #806). You can also use a Ziploc bag with a corner cut off. It’s easiest to fill your bag if you stand it up in a tall glass and fold the top down before spooning in the batter.
5. Pipe one-inch-sized (2.5 cm) mounds of batter onto baking sheets lined with nonstick liners (or parchment paper).
6. Bake the macaroon for 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and raise the temperature to 375°F (190°C). Once the oven is up to temperature, put the pans back in the oven and bake for an additional 7 to 8 minutes, or lightly colored.
7. Cool on a rack before filling.

Yield: 10 dozen.





Caramel Experimentation

I have been meaning to try this caramel recipe for some time and eventually got round to playing with it. The results were pretty good!

The macaroon is made from potato, icing sugar and coconut topped with chocolate and coconut.

Dried apricots produce a lovely sticky consistency when soaked and blended in a processor.

Add in 1/4 cup of margarine, I like to use the vegan kind and a touch of barley malt syrup is also a nice addition.

Continue processing and as the mixture is spinning, slowly pour in some milk of your choice, I like soya, just enough to make it smooth.

Suit yourself on that one.

Once made it is lovely spread on anything: biscuits; toast, baked apples… me I made caramel shortcake.

Furthermore, if you have time heat the caramel in a pan over a low heat, continually stirring to prevent burning. This will make it sweeter and stickier. Plus sweet things warmed up on rainy mornings like today are always welcomed.


Un-cheese cake! Blackcurrant and cherry.

This is a big achievement for me and I finally feel like I have perfected the recipe without the use of fake cream cheese. Hooray!


Here goes:

1 avocado

1 packet of silken tofu approx 300g (I used homemade from 2litres of soy milk)

1/2 tsp salt

2 tbsp barley malt syrup (could sub with maple or rice syrup here but if using maple increase arrowroot quantity)

juice of 1 lime

fresh vanilla or 2 tsp good vanilla extract

4 tbsps fructose (it is 3 times sweeter than ordinary sugar so adjust accordingly)

2 tbsps arrowroot

For the base:

I made a random graham cracker recipe with a basic biscuit recipe subbing some gram flour and wholemeal spelt for the ordinary flour. This one’s good

1/3 cup melted dairy free margarine

1/3 cup fructose

1 tbsp barley malt syrup

1. Once baked and cooled whizz the biscuits in a processor until it resembles sand.

2. Slowly pour in 1/3 melted dairy free marg followed by the fructose and then stop the processor. Add in the syrup, then back on until combined.

3. Press into a springform cake tin and refridgerate while making the filling.

4. Whizz all the ingredients together in a processor until thick creamy consistency. Pour on top of the base and cover with topping of your choice. I like blackcurrants and cherries myself.

5. Refridgerate overnight minimum, but if you can wait longer it’s soo worth it.


A Day of Baking

What a horrible day outside today, so I thought I’d take the opportunity to make it happy on the inside! This meant some baking. I was planning on making frangipanes for the MacMillan Coffee Morning at my work anyway so why not. I ended up with these:

Peanut and Oat Bars


3 cups oats (whizz them in a food processor so roughly chopped)

1 cup dried dates

2 Tbsp applesauce

1/3 cup apple juice

1 cup peanut butter

some mixed spice (to taste)

Mix the dates in with apple juice in a saucepan over a low heat until softened

Add in the applesauce spice and peanut butter and continue stirring over the heat

Keep on the heat until thickened slightly

Pour the mix into the oats until well combined

Pour into a greased tin, lined with baking paper, press flat and leave to completely cool.

Slice and eat!

Puff Pastry


(Recipe to come in a later post)

Flax and Pear Balsamic loaf


This is pretty much the same as my spelt loaf except I used white flour, pear flavoured balsamic vinegar instead of cider vinegar and half olive oil/half flaxseed oil. Very tasty.

Frangipanes with Cherry Filling


1 cup plain flour

3/4 cup sugar

1.5tsp baking powder

1 cup ground almonds

1 tbsp applesauce

1 tbsp amaretto

1 tsp almond extract

150ml water
Cherry jam

Homemade marzipan (made from dates and ground almonds with almond flavouring)

Preheat to gas 5/200 c

Sift together the dry ingredients

Mix the wet ingredients in a separate bowl until well combined

Mix the wet with the dry and scoop into lil cases

Bake for around 30 mins or until the tops are slightly golden (these will be moist due to the applesauce)

Allow to cool completely, fill with cherry jam and top with a disc of marzipan and some almonds.

Pretty no?