I've been a long time reader of Alexandra Stafford's blog. In fact, we probably cook from it at least once a week. So when her book, Bread Toast Crumbs came out last month, it arrived in my mailbox with not a minute to spare. I've been wanting to be the type of person who bakes my own bread for a while now but unfortunately this whole grad school thing was not allowing that to happen. This cookbook has showed me otherwise. The recipes are simple and fairly quick and make me wonder why it's taken me so long to make homemade bread on a weekly basis because fresh out of the oven it's just such a game changer.
This bread is adapted from one in her book and it teeters on the line of being borderline too decadent. Creamy chocolate ganache with bursting juicy berries swirled together in a barely sweetened loaf that's all too unassuming until you cut it open and BAM - what dreams are made of. My dreams, at least. And somehow it's dairy and egg free. I seriously don't know how that happened but it wasn't hard at all.
Of course you could go ahead and use whole milk in the dough and butter in the ganache, but I've replaced them both with coconut milk to keep that fat content and creaminess factor high. Honestly, you'd never know the difference, plus that subtle coconut smell as you're mixing up the ganache is quite intoxicating.
So maybe make this for your mother on Sunday, maybe make it for yourself and eat the whole thing in 24 hours, maybe bring it to brunch. Either way, food is love, and everyone will love you.
Makes 1 loaf
Adapted from: Bread Toast Crumbs
For the Dough:
3 cups all purpose flour (384 grams)
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/4 teaspoon instant yeast
3/4 cup canned coconut milk
1/2 cup boiling water + 1/4 cup room temp water
3 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
a knob of vegan butter* for greasing the pan
For the Filling:
3.5 oz dark chocolate, roughly chopped
1/4 cup canned coconut milk
2 tablespooons powdered sugar
1 scant cup of berries (I used strawberries + raspberries)
Make the dough. In a large bowl combine the flour, salt, sugar, and yeast. Whisk to combine. In a small bowl, combine the coconut milk and water (both boiling & room temp). Pour the wet ingredients into the dry followed by the coconut oil. Use a rubber spatula to mix everything until it forms a cohesive dough. Cover with a towel and set in a warm place to rise for 1 1/2 hours or until the dough has doubled in size.
While the dough is rising make the ganache. Place the chocolate and coconut milk in a double boiler over simmering water. Stir constantly until the chocolate begins to milk, then stir in the powdered sugar. Keep stirring until the chocolate has melted completely. Remove form heat and set aside to cool completely.
Grease a standard 8.5 x 4.5 inch loaf pan generously with vegan butter. Once the dough has risen de-flat it with a fork and transfer it to a heavily floured work surface. With floured hands shape the dough into a ball (it should be very covered in flour at this point) and let sit for 20 minutes uncovered. Gentle shape the dough into a 10 x 15 inch rectangle (using either your hands or a rolling pin). Make sure you have plenty of flour underneath your rectangle so it doesn't stick to the surface. Spread the ganache all over the top of the dough, leaving a 1/2 inch margin on all sides. Top with berries. Roll the bread from short end to short end into a thick 10 inch log, seam side down. Take a deep breath (you've got this!) and transfer it your buttered loaf pan.
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F, while you let the dough rise for about 10 minutes until it just begins to crown the rim of the pan. Cook the bread for 40 to 45 minutes until the top is golden and firm. Remove from the pan and turn onto its side to cool (I let it rest on 1 side for 10 minutes then the other side for 10 minutes) before cutting into it!
Guys, we've almost survived another winter. This was my second (and most ridiculously warm) Chicago winter and it wasn't bad at all. And in only 3 months I will be halfway done with the coursework portion of my doctorate. Seriously, baby steps. Slow and steady wins the race. These are my mantras. Also cupcakes do wonders to lift and over-worked exhausted mind and body.
I love the combination of chocolate, coconut, and blood orange. Blood oranges are just so gorgeous I was determined to make something pretty with them before the winter ended. And so I might be a couple weeks late but here they are!
Adapted from: The First Mess
Makes 12 cupcakes
For the cupcakes:
1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour (or sub AP flour)
3/4 cup coconut sugar (or sub cane sugar)
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon packed blood orange zest
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup blood orange juice, from ~ 4 small oranges
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons dairy-free milk
1/2 teaspoon instant coffee (optional)
For the frosting:
1 can coconut cream*, refridgerated overnight
zest from 1 blood orange
1-2 tablespoons blood orange juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup powderered sugar
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Fill a muffin tin with 12 liners and set aside.
In a large bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt, and zest. Form a well in the middle of the dry ingredients. Pour the coconut oil, apple cider vinegar, vanilla, blood orange juice, milk, and instant coffee into the well and mix, slowly incorporating the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Work quickly as the vinegar activates quickly. Scoop the batter into the muffin tins and bake for about 20 minutes until a toothpick come out clean.
Make the frosting (note this step can be made 3 days in advance). Open your refrigerated can of coconut cream (or coconut milk) and pour the thick creamy top layer into the bowl of a stand mixer (or large bowl). If there is liquid at the bottom of the can reserve this for use in smoothies. Using a whisk attachment beat the coconut cream, blood orange zest and juice, vanilla, and powdered sugar until thick and whipped cream-like consistency. Adjust to taste.
Let the cupcakes cool then top with frosting then top with a blood orange segment and serve!
Notes: You can also use full fat coconut milk. Once refrigerated the coconut cream will rise to the top and solidify and depending on the fat content, you may have some coconut water since to the bottom. Use only the coconut cream for the frosting.
These cookies smell and taste like a soft gooey version of girl scout's thin mints (without all the chemicals!). They're made with almond meal which makes them gluten-free and surprisingly loaded with protein. They're also dairy-free and made with coconut oil, which makes them sort of healthy, but still ridiculously delicious.
They're great right out of the oven but better the longer they sit. Topped with crunchy sea salt, they're crispy around the edges and soft and brownie-like in the center. I don't mess around when it comes to chocolate so I more than tripled the amount of chocolate chunks from the original recipe. Each cookie is filled with big puddles of chocolatey goodness. Also, they will make your house smell amazing!
Makes 18-20 cookies
Adapted from: Sprouted Kitchen
1 1/4 cups (137 grams) almond meal
1/2 cup (30 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup (65 grams) brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
3/4 teaspoon peppermint extract (I used the frontier brand)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 heaping cup (120 grams/6 oz) dark chocolate chunks
chunky sea salt for serving
In a small bowl combine the almond meal, cocoa powder, baking powder, salt, and brown sugar. Whisk to combine. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, coconut oil (make sure it's melted but not hot as you don't want scrambled eggs!), peppermint extract, and vanilla extract.
Gentle whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until combined. Pour in the chocolate chunks and stir with a wooden spoon to incorporate into the dough. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Note the dough can be made a day in advance.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Using a cookie scoop, place the dough balls onto the parchment then flatten slightly. Cook for 7-10 minutes until fragrant. Sprinkle with chunky sea salt. Best served when cooled completely.