Dairy-free Pain au Chocolat – New Improved Recipe

 

One of the true joys of a French holiday are morning trips to the boulangerie to buy fresh crusty baguettes, croissants and pain au chocolat for breakfast. Every morning, little S would come and buy the fresh bread and pastries first thing and then look enviously at our pain au chocolat on the breakfast table. So I made a promise to make a batch on return.

Since last summer’s wonderful holiday in Corsica, I’ve got in the habit of regularly making friendly pain au chocolat for the girls. It’s been a mixed blessing, they’ve got rather used to freshly made viennoiserie for breakfast, so I end up making them often which takes time, but my croissant dough skiIlls have improved dramatically.

This new improved recipe has been gradually tweaked over the last year and I think we’ve finally got a jolly authentic, flaky and ‘buttery’ dough. The lamination has proved the tricky part of the recipe. Besides being the most time consuming aspect, I suffered for months with the layers simply disappearing which is really demoralising when you’ve spent hours putting them there in the first place! After some in-depth research it seems the crucial detail for lamination is that the fat content of the ‘butter replacement’ has to be around 82%. It’s that precise. In the UK our dairy-free margarines are predominantly water-based with fat coming way down the list of ingredients. If you use such a margarine the water just makes steam and you get a bready dough rather than buttery flaky layers. Makes total sense doesn’t it.

After much experimentation I’ve found that it works best to combine a mixture of dairy-free margarine such as Pure with a baking spread such as Stork (in the foil wrapper) and a touch of flour. This combination makes a great fat-rich butter substitute which also provides the right ‘buttery’ flavour.

Surely a good flaky Pain au Chocolat is possibly the most perfect breakfast item ever ūüôā

Dairy-free Homemade Pain au Chocolat

(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, sesame-free, can be soya-free, vegetarian and vegan)

makes 16

500g strong bread flour

90g caster sugar

10g instant yeast

10g salt

100ml dairy-free milk (I used Oatly)

250ml cold water

150g dairy-free margarine

150g baking fat

1 tbsp flour

160g dark dairy-free chocolate chopped into batons

a sprinkle of caster sugar

melted dairy-free margarine for brushing

  1. Sift the flour into a mixing bowl and add the sugar, salt and yeast.
  2. Pour in the dairy-free milk and water and stir. Once come together, knead well to form a soft and springy dough (about 5-10 minutes).
  3. Cover and leave to rise for a couple of hours
  4. Meanwhile, put the dairy-free margarine on to some cling film, sprinkle with the flour and then top with the baking fat (making a kind of sandwich affair) and loosely wrap. Roll out to a square shape, and place in the fridge or freezer to harden.
  5. Once the dough has risen, turn out onto a floured surface and knead until a smooth dough. Cut a cross on top of the dough ball and roll out the leaves (see photo below)
  6. Place the cooled ‘butter’ in the middle and fold the four flaps over the ‘butter’ making sure it is entirely encased with dough.
  7. Roll out and fold into thirds twice
  8. Place back in the fridge for thirty minutes or so, then roll out and fold back into thirds twice more. Repeat two or three times.
  9. Rest in the fridge for 30 minutes more.
  10. Roll out to form a large rectangle. Cut into four long strips, halve each.
  11. Place a line of chocolate at one narrow end and roll over to cover. Add another chocolate baton and continue rolling up.
  12. Loosely cover with cling film and let rise on the baking tray for 30 minutes.
  13. Brush with the melted margarine and sprinkle with caster sugar
  14. Bake at 200 degrees centigrade for 20 minutes 

 

Tropical Breakfast Muffins and Smoothie

It seems to have taken forever for proper spring/summer to arrive this year. Even last week I was wearing wool gloves on my early morning walk to the station! At last now we’ve suddenly experienced a few rays of proper sunshine and a glimmer of heat which will let my recipes turn distinctly sunnier in vibe (let’s not mention the deluge of rain that happened yesterday!)

As a member of Foodies100 I came across a blogger challenge to use the new Vita Coco coconut milk in a breakfast recipe for the TastesLikeNoUdder hashtag challenge. Obviously using a new dairy-free milk substitute is right up my street, so I jumped at the chance. Whilst we love Oatly, maybe there’s another milk alternative out there to add to our repertoire?

The challenge involved creating a breakfast recipe using this lovely thick and rich new coconut milk from Vita Coco. This is what they say themselves about their new product:

Vita Coco has always been nuts about coconuts, and this month there’s even more reason to celebrate, with the launch of the company’s dairy-free coconut milk alternative.

Vita Coco Coconut Milk Alternative has no added sugar and if free of both gluten and soy. It’s the perfect healthy choice for breakfast, making a perfect topping for cereals, or to replace milk in your morning cuppa.

Unlike other coconut milk alternatives which are made with a whole lot of water, Vita Coco Coconut Milk is made with 70% coconut, making sure it really does taste like no udder!

The milk¬†certainly is rich, creamy and coconutty. Personally, I think¬†it’s a mistake to try and hide coconut in a recipe, as I find it such a strong flavour that can overpower the other¬†ingredients. So in making these muffins with accompanying smoothie, I’ve let the coconut flavour shine out; let the coconut rule I say! Coconut immediately made me think tropical, so we have some delicious tropical muffins flavoured with coconut milk and mango and banana. Imagine swinging¬†in a hammock on a tropical beach in muffin form, that’s the basic vibe I was going for.

I’ve put in quantities for either fresh or dried mango – the fresh gives fruity nuggets like you would find in a blueberry muffin, but if you prefer a drier texture more like a chocolate chip muffin I’d suggest using dried mango.

Clearly with half a mango remaining and some more luscious coconut milk to use up, an accompanying tropical smoothie was the obvious choice. The coconut milk gives a wonderful velvety creamy texture and is enhanced with mango, banana and pineapple. Sunshine in a sip!

This recipe is an entry into the Dairy Free Style Your Breakfast challenge with Vita Coco and Foodies100. See more great breakfast ideas athttp://vitacoco.com/uk/

Tropical Breakfast Muffins

(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan)

makes 6

1 cup plain flour

1/3rds cup soft brown sugar

1 and 1/2 tsp baking powder

pinch of salt

1/4 cup dairy-free margarine, melted (or sunflower oil)

1 small banana, mashed

1/3 cup coconut milk

1/2 mango, in a small dice or 1/2 cup dried mango pieces

1 tbsp soft brown sugar fro sprinkling

2 tbsp coconut flakes to decorate [optional]

  1.  Preheat the oven to 190 Degrees Centigrade/Gas Mark 5. Line a muffin pan
  2. In a bowl mix together the coconut milk, banana and melted dairy-free margarine. Set aside.
  3. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Stir in the sugar.
  4. Make a well in the centre and pour in the wet ingredients. Mix until just combined (make sure you don’t over mix, it wants to look a little lumpy).
  5. Gently stir in the mango
  6. 2/3rds fill each muffin liner. Sprinkle a little sugar on the top of each and some faked coconut if desired.
  7. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden on top and a knife comes out clean.
  8. Cool on a wire rack.
  9. These are best eaten on the day they are made

Best served with this delicious smoothie!

Tropical Smoothie

(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan)

serves 2-3

1 cup/240ml coconut milk

1 banana, chopped

1/2 mango

3 slices of pineapple, cut into chunks

  1. Blitz until smooth
  2. Enjoy!

Waffles – egg-free and dairy-free

waffles, egg-free and dairy-free

It’s nearly Shrove Tuesday aka Pancake Day and the perfect reason¬†for some mid week baking! I’ve got plenty of pancake recipes on my blog, from traditional, crepes to American style puffy fluffy ones. So this year I thought I’d share my trusty waffle recipe.

waffles and blueberry compote

It obviously helps if you have a waffle iron/maker but if not the recipe also works well in a clean greased griddle pan, which provides the necessary dips to give the iconic waffle shape and also hold the delicious fillings. I was lucky enough to get a waffle maker for Christmas so they’ve become a regular feature to our weekend breakfasts and puddings.

Despite having no egg or egg replacer in, this recipe makes fantastically light waffles which turn beautifully golden and crisp around the indentations. Delicious! In fact, Little S asked for¬†this quote added “They’re the best breakfast I’ve ever had’ – well, that’s a good review isn’t it!

We often have them with maple syrup but here I’ve served them with a sweet but tart blueberry compote and vanilla ice cream for a crowd pleasing pudding.

homemade dairy-free egg-free waffles

Egg-free, Dairy-free Waffles

(egg-free, dairy-free, nut-free, soya-free, vegetarian and vegan)

vegan waffles

makes 6-8

1 1/2 cups self-raising flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

pinch of salt

3 tbsp caster sugar

2 tbsp lemon juice

1 tsp vanilla

3 tbsp melted dairyfree margarine (I prefer Pure) or flavourless oil

1 cup water

  1. Place all the dry ingredients into a bowl and stir.
  2. Pour in the wet ingredients and whisk to form a smooth but thickish batter.
  3. Lightly oil your waffle iron or griddle pan and heat well.
  4. Pour a dollop into each waffle compartment (I find a level ladleful is the perfect amount for my waffle maker). Close and cook until golden on both sides.
  5. If using a griddle pan, cook dollops of batter in the pan until golden on one side and then carefully turn over.
  6. Serve straight away, or keep for later and reheat for 5 minutes in a hot oven before serving.

nut-free waffles

Brilliant Bubble and Squeak Cakes

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Brilliant bubble and squeak cakes, dairy-free, egg-free, gluten-free

It’s suddenly all about the leftovers. With Christmas over for another year, it’s time to think up ways of eating all the festive foods without feeeling like you’ve eaten the same meal for multiple days in a row. We’re definitely¬†in comfort food territory, food to warm the soul on brisk chilly days, and potatoes lend themselves so well to this.

D and I are fans of the odd cabbage based dish but I’ve never managed to persuade the girls – I guess it’s always been thus with children and cabbage.¬†But hidden in potato could work?

img_8254

The brilliant part of these bubble and squeak cakes is that they’re naturally dairy-free, with no fat included in the recipe to bind them together – sure you have to roast the mini potatoes originally, and then fry them to give a crispy outside but it’s not so naughty.¬†The potato cake¬†is also the most fabulous carrier of any green veg really, enrobing it in comforting mashed and roasted potato.¬†I’ve always found the name very appealing too, the bubble and squeak being from the sound makes while cooking.

I’ve used cabbage here, but this recipe will work brilliantly with chopped up roasties from your Christmas or Sunday lunch, and any leftover veg you fancy. Try these with any left-overs or as part of a full English breakfast. Veggies and non veggies will love these.

img_8247

Bubble and Squeak Cakes

(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan)

img_8252
free-from potato cakes

Serves 4

2 large baking potatoes, baked and still warm

2-3 small to medium potatoes, cut into small cubes

Green or cabbage of choice, shredded and blanched

Salt and pepper

  1. Roast the potato cubes in oil and seasoning (plus any herbs optional) for about 30-40 minutes at 180 degrees centigrade, until golden and crispy. Set aside.
  2. Using a potato ricer (my preference), rice the insides of the large cooked baked potatoes. (Keep the skins to make stuffed potato skins!). Stir in the mini roasties and cabbage/greens, season well.
  3. Press into a ring that is on baking paper and then place in the fridge to firm up.
  4. Fry in flavourless oil until golden on each side and then transfer to a hot oven for 15 minutes.
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veggie full English with bubble and squeak cakes

Gingerbread Spiced Swirl Buns

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Gingerbread cinnamon swirl buns

I reckon it’s about time to get a little bit festive and Christmassy round here – I’ve got so many ideas which have been simmering away since last Christmas and I just didn’t get time to action, and despite all my best intentions to be prepared, there’s just something that prevents me from Christmas cooking before the start of December!

These delightfully gingerbread scented swirl buns give a nod to the forthcoming festive season without seeming too full on Christmassy. In fact you could happily eat them at any time of year. I think spiced swirl buns are such a successful and rewarding bake – they take time but are essentially very simple, look delightfully irresistible and make the house smell heavenly! You can’t get better than that!

gingerbread spiced swirl buns, dairy-free, egg-free

Gingerbread Cinnamon Swirl Buns

(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan)

vegan gingerbread spiced swirl buns

makes about 24

250ml dairy-free milk, I used Oatly

3 tbsp dairy-free margarine, such as Pure

1tbsp black treacle

450g plain flour

2 tsp dried yeast

60g sugar

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp salt

For the filling:

1/2 cup soft brown sugar

3 tsp cinnamon

1 1/2 tsp ground ginger

2 tbsp dairy-free margarine

christmas swirl buns, vegan

For the glaze:

2 tbsp soft brown sugar

2 tbsp water

2 tbsp pearl sugar/sugar crystals

And/or:

1/4 cup icing sugar

Sprinkle cinnamon

Water to make into a runny paste

  1. Melt the spread and milk together ‚Äď you want it to be warm and melted but not hot, stir in the treacle.
  2. In a bowl mx together the flour, yeast, sugar, cinnamon, ginger and salt
  3. Make a well in the centre and pour in the warm milk mix
  4. Bring together to a soft dough and knead until its smooth and bounces back when poked
  5. Cover and let double in size
  6. Knock back and roll out to a large rectangle
  7. Smear on the dairy-free margarine. Sprinkle over the sugar and cinnamon and ginger, then roll up tightly into a long sausage
  8. Cut into even slices ‚Äď I managed to get 24 small slices from mine
  9. Place on lined baking sheets and leave to rise again for another half an hour.
  10. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Centigrade/Gas Mark 4/375 degrees F. Bake for 17-20 minutes until risen, golden and cooked through
  11. Melt the brown sugar with the water and brush over the top and sprinkle with the pearl sugar (if using). Remove from the pans and peel off the paper. Drizzle with the cinnamon water icing.

dairy-free christmas spiced cinnamon swirls

Sticky Toffee Scones

sticky toffee scones, vegan

I do like scones, they’re such a delightful teatime snack. Not too sweet, light and fluffy, the perfect accompaniment to some tasty or interesting jam and a doddle to make as long as you’re light handed and respectful of the dough. I’ve made any varieties, with particular favourites being lemon drizzle and blueberry. I recently bought the fantastic 80 cakes by Claire Clark and its providing me with lots of inspiration. She features some ginger and molasses scones which for some reason got me thinking of combining the flavours of sticky toffee pudding and transporting them into a scone recipe. Sticky toffee scones! Now that sounds like a great idea.

In fact it turns out to be an awesome idea, why don’t people make sticky toffee scones all the time? The mellow sweetness of the whizzed up dates is perfect in the not so sweet scone template and who can resist a sticky, crunchy top?

Sticky Toffee Scones

(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, sesame-free, soya-free, vegan, vegetarian)

sticky toffee scones, dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free

makes 10-12

100ml dairyfree milk

25g dates

1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda

220g flour

50g caster sugar

1 and 1/2 tsp baking powder

75g dairy-free margarine

1 tbsp golden syrup

Extra dairyfree milk for brushing

2 tbsp Demerara sugar to sprinkle on top

  1. Preheat the oven to 190 degrees centigrade
  2. Simmer together half (50ml) of the milk with the dates until soft. Whizz up in a food processor/ blender to form a puree. Add the bicarbonate and set aside.
  3. Into a bowl sift the flour and baking powder, stir in the caster sugar.
  4. Rub in the margarine with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
  5. Pour in the date puree and the remaining 50 ml of dairy-free milk. Gently bring together to a soft sticky dough. Do not knead.
  6. Turn out onto a floured surface and pat out to about 5cm thick. Cut out circles and place on a floured baking tray.
  7. Brush with the extra milk and sprinkle with Demerara.
  8. Bake for 20 minutes, until golden and risen.
  9. Cool on a wire rack.

sticky toffee scones, vegetarian and vegan