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

Cheats Easy Danish pastries

cheats danish pastries, dairy-free

I’m always looking for exciting new breakfast options, and if they can be made in a flash then all the better! Our go to treat breakfast is pancakes, but variety is the spice of life and someone’s you need something extra special. These cheats Danish pastries are total genius; incredibly simple to make but also drop dead gorgeous to look at and devour. Besides there are multiple  varieties at your fingertips. Here I’ll show you oozy chocolate bear paws, sweet jammy windmills.

making easy egg-free danish pastries

Whilst it would be preferable to make the Danish dough, sometimes life gets in the way and the only way is the cheats way. This recipe using shop bought dairy-free puff pastry gives a great approximation of labour intensive laminated, yeast risen Danish dough. The fillings are simplicity itself – one single ingredient of choice, wrapped in the dough in a traditional shape, brushed with dairy-free milk and sprinkled with sugar. The only other adornment is a possible drizzle of icing , but only if you want to!

easy dairy-free danish pastry

Cheats Danish Pastries

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

vegan chocolate danish

1/2 block shop bought, dairy-free puff pastry

dairy-free milk for brushing

caster sugar for sprinkling

for the fillings:

dairy-free dark chocolate, roughly chopped

jam

for decoration:

icing made from icing sugar and water

Add cocoa powder for chocolate pastries 

  1. Preheat the oven to 220 degrees centigrade/gas mark 7
  2. Roll out the pastry.
  3. For chocolate bear paws: cut into rectangles, fill with a line of chopped dairy-free chocolate and then fold over and seal all edges. Cut indentations into the sealed edge. Fan out.
  4. For the jam pinwheels. Cut a square, then cut diagonally in from each corner, fold up one of each side the the triangles and press down to form a windmill shape. Dollop on a tsp of jam.
  5. Brush the pastries with dairy-free milk and sprinkle with sugar.
  6. Bake for 12-15 minutes until golden and risen.
  7. Cool on a wire rack and then decorate with melted chocolate or icing.

vegan easy pain au chocolat

Very berry granola

 

IMG_8583

Cereal can be so dull. When you have restrictions on your diet the choices aren’t so great, despite being faced with entire aisles of boxes! Having to avoid milk, nuts and seeds we’ve found Nestl√© brands are a no-go, so it has to be Kellogg’s every time, but even then only certain varieties. Rice Krispies and Cornflakes are good staples, Coco Pops are also fine but bizarrely Frosties¬†are not an option! You might have imagined the opposite would be true. Sugar Puffs and Honey Pops can go down well but that’s about it. Dull huh?

That’s where granola comes in ( homemade, as most varieties contain nuts in¬†some form) – working perfectly with any type of yogurt, this is a breakfast to appeal to both adults and children. I’d opt for dried fruits that aren’t sticky as¬†the whole mix goes a bit cleggy – so with this one,¬†I used a mixture of dried blueberries and freeze-dried strawberries. A colourful, healthy, tasty breakfast of champions!

Very Berry Granola (dairy-free, nut-free, egg-free, can-be gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian, soya-free)

IMG_4932

 

makes a 500ml jarful

  • 1 1/2 cups of oats
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsps¬†sugar
  • 2 tbsps sunflower oil
  • 2 tbsps maple syrup/golden syrup (honey for non-vegan option)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup dried berries of choice
  • 1/4 freeze-dried berries of choice

РPre-heat the oven to 180 degrees centigrade

– In a bowl mix together all the ingredients, except the dried fruit.

– Spread evenly over a baking tray lined with foil

РBake for 20-30 minutes (stirring every 10 minutes) until very lightly golden.

– Cool, then stir in the dried fruits.

– Serve for breakfast topped with soya yogurt and maple syrup

 

IMG_8580

Breakfast bars

IMG_7886

Do you or your children struggle with eating breakfast? Or maybe it’s just Little S. She’s the kind of child who has to eat little and often, and wakes up ravenous but doesn’t really like much breakfast food. I don’t blame her really, if you take dairy, eggs and nuts out of the equation there is limited choice. She likes oat milk, but not soggy cereal – so she has a bowl of dry cereal followed by some toast – hardly thrilling or nutritious enough to keep her going for long. She is very keen on my pancakes, so we’ll have those once a week, but other than that she struggles. These bars were developed as a tempting, trusty breakfast alternative. They’ve been sorting the rest of the family out at breakfast time too!

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

IMG_7884makes about 16

  • 1 cup oats
  • 2 cups cornflakes
  • 1/3 cup honey or syrup
  • 1/4 cup dairy-free spread
  • 1/4 cup Demerara sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup dairy-free chocolate, chopped
  • 1/4 cup dried fruit, I used dehydrated strawberries
  • 1 tbsp chocolate chips to finish

– Line a square baking tin with parchment
– Dry toast the oats in a frying pan until they start to turn golden
– Pour into a bowl with the cornflakes
– Melt together the spread, honey, sugar until the sugar has dissolved
– Pour into the cornflake mix
– Add the chopped chocolate, salt and dried fruit and stir well until all is sticky with the syrup mix
– Tip into the baking tin and firmly press down firmly with a spatula, and I mean really press it down to compact the mix
– Sprinkle the chocolate chips on top and press them into the mix
– Place in the fridge to firm up, ideally for a couple of hours
– Cut into bars.
– keep in the fridge until ready to eat.

IMG_7887