Thursday, August 14, 2008

Back To School Baking


It is almost time to head back to work, and despite the days on my calendar still baring witness to my being on holiday, I am writing this post from work. I couldn't help myself. I came in yesterday, managed to get quite a bit of stuff done, and had planned to spend the day indulging myself with things that are Lynnie oriented - the gym, a book, the park, a walk, shopping for quilts and cashews. But alas, the organization and excited-to-get-started monsters gobbled my intentions up this morning on my walk home from my work out, and here, at 11:51 am, I find my lonely self sitting behind my desk. K is across the campus furiously typing away on a (MUCH MUCH MUCH) late graduate paper.

But, it isn't just getting back to work that excites me, it is also all the baking and cooking that can easily go along with starting a new year. I have started making cookies for my kids! I planned on veganizing the well known Belgian cookie treat - Speculous....but, this just isn't possible. At least not without vegan margarine. I thought I could easily swap the butter for oil and applesauce. But, yikes. The sticky mess, no matter how much time I let it sit in the freezer, would ever have rolled out into a dough for pressing my little butterflies into.

Thinking on the fly, I threw in some more ingredients and came up with some oatmeal & raisin cookies, that I admit to having a few more than the chef's rations of. But, at least I know the oven is cookie ready, and I can get down to a few more dozen when I get back from London this weekend.

I am also excited to report that I am ready to jump onto the vegan cupcake bandwagon. I was hesitant at first. I am a little shy of the bakey-bakey part of life outside of bread & cookies. I can make a mean raw avocado and chocolate birthday treat, a hot-damn pumpkin bread, and my vegan chocolate cake isn't too shabby...but cupcakes scare me. I think it is all the pretty little ditties I see on poopie bitches site and being featured all over the place these days. Vegan CupCakes HAVE taken over the world. Which is great!

I just couldn't wait too long to use my squirrel cup cake paper liners, so after the cookies were in the oven I flipped through V-con and found the jelly donut cupcake recipe. I don't like donuts, and I don't like jelly. But I do like apple sauce....so. I held on tight and in totally un-Lyndsay-like fashion (K was beside himself in disbelief) I actually followed the recipe - minus the jelly...and I added vanilla...and cinnamon. Oh god, I didn't stick to the recipe.


I added apple sauce on top rather than jelly....and I didn't end up making a frosting. They rose like little muffins (which I think can be accounted for by my filling the little guys up too high), and the apple sauce was so warm and gooey that I thought adding anything would be silly.

K has chomped through the batch quite well (I got home from the gym and there were TWO wrappers sitting next to him) and the bite I had was pretty darn yummy.

In other news, I found a new favourite (way too upscale) cafe/gourmet shop. It is located in Ixelles commune in Brussels on Place Brugmann. It is called Gaudron Cafe and it has some delectable (totally unvegan) pastries in the front of the shop, in addition to a HUGE array of organic, stylish and well designed products that just sucked my entire life savings out of my pocket. The menu has a couple of veganish options (granola, warm soy milk). It was their great selection of teas that had me as their newest devotee. Finding it rather hard to find even the most regular of chai teas here, I was enamoured (and a bit giddy) with the choices I had to pick from - chai, chai with cinnamon and a tickle of apple, lavender, english breakfast with mint, etc, etc.


I also bought a really nice Presse - sparkling water with fresh juice. I picked up the mandarin orange and was really pleased with the fizzy little bit of fun that I cracked open this morning.

12 comments:

julie said...

What kind of oil/butter do you require for Speculous cookies? Would macadamia nut oil work? Try:

http://www.hawaiiankinestuff.com/manutoil.html

I love cooking dilemas! I will keep thinking.

Justin Fox Burks and The Wife said...

believe it or not i have been to brussels. I spent a month and a half traveling europe after my 1st year in college. so much fun. and i had no problem eating healthy vegetarian meals on the road. I got hooked on brie and apple sandwiches and boiled egg & cheese sandwiches from the train stations. I long for a train station sandwich. that may be my next post.

Alice (in Veganland) said...

I hope your comeback to work doesn't get too difficult! I think your cupcakes look great, I might try them with applesauce next time!

jennycestcake said...

Great job on the cupcakes. Like apple pie in cupcake form. Sounds good to me!

ChocolateCoveredVegan said...

Ooh I love applesauce in place of jelly... sometimes I eat pb-applesauce sandwiches. So your cupcake sustitution sounds great to me.

Rural Vegan said...

I'm still not on the cupcake bandwagon, though with one less compadre I may cave soon! I dig the applesauce idea too!

Bianca said...

Oh, I'm so glad you're on the cupcake wagon! If you don't own Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, buy it now. I've made about half the book's recipes, and never once had one that I did not love. I wasn't a baker before I bought the book. I didn't even like sweets. But it changed my life. Vegan cupcakes have totally taken over my world. It's like the Cupcake Cult or something.

VeganCowGirl said...

Julie - The butter the recipe asks for is just listed as butter...I tried olive oil, maybe macadamia nut oil would work. I will try and find some today - thanks!

Bianca - I have just looked up VCTOTW on Amazon and it is seconds away from being ordered! Nothing better than joining a cult on a national holiday.

shellyfish said...

Welcome to the cupcake mania!! So fun... I'm surprised you can't find vegan non-hydrogenated margerine in Brussels...there's not much I can find in ma petite ville fran├žaise, but that I can find, thankfully (except right now, because the two magasin bio are both on vacation! :) The month of August...

shellyfish said...

Forgot to say- so glad you came on over to visit me...mind if I add you to my blogroll?

Celine said...

I was on the cupcake wagon and then fell off it. I think you totally rocked those cupcakes!
I'm totally in love with the fact you're from Brussels. do you speak French? I miss Europe, beaucoup. wouldn't have thought it when I lived there, the grass being greener and all that jazz.

Jess - The Domestic Vegan said...

The cupcakes look awesome! Cute liners, too. :)

The Presse sounds great! I looooove fizzy water.