I’m excited that five people participated in the baking challenge. I also heard from a few others who wanted to but had a stumbling block for one reason or another. I totally understand and encourage you all to participate in my next food challenge, which I will announce after this post goes up.
So, without further ado, here’s a round-up of my participants. I will start with my own entry (which, of course, can’t win the prize).
My reasons for choosing this challenge were partly selfish. A coworker now has a beautiful one-month-old daughter, and since I’m obsessed with babies, I’m always looking for excuses to go see mom and little one. On a recent visit, I told my friend to let me know if she needed anything, and recalling a batch of Mexican Hot Chocolate Snickerdoodles I brought to the office for my birthday, she quickly responded, “Cookies.” The catch is that her new arrival cannot have chocolate – it’s too much of a stimulant for her. A catch for most bakers is also that the baby has a dairy allergy, but that one was easy for me. So I began to brainstorm what to bake instead of my usuals, which made me interested to see what all of you would do. Here’s what I made for her:
Citrus Glitters (from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar: 100 Dairy-Free Recipes for Everyone’s Favorite Treats) and Cinnamon Coffee Cake (from The Joy of Vegan Baking)
For the Citrus Glitters, I used a mix of mostly orange and lemon zest with a bit of lime, too. It was the first time I made this recipe, and they totally rocked. The citrus packed a punch without being overwhelming. Next time, I will amp up the lime so the flavors are a little better balanced, but I highly recommend this recipe. You get to use your hands, which is always fun.
The coffee cake is one of my faves. It’s full of fall spices, and it’s great on its own or with a nice hot beverage. The only deviation I make from the recipe is in the crumb topping. I don’t use the nuts (I don’t like the way they overpower the ginger), and I add just enough oil to give it a good texture. If you skip the nuts and don’t reduce the oil, then the topping is basically impossible to spread. I never measure the oil – just drizzle it in and stop when the flour-spice mix is wet bit still sprinkle-able.
And now, let’s see what all of you came up with. These are in order of when I received them:
Up first is meansoybean’s (LOVE that name!) pan-fried butternut squash cake.Her entry is an inventive use of leftover cake (I’m trying to imagine that happening in my home) that is getting a little past its prime. I’m pressed to think of something more indulgent than fried cake. It sounds absolutely delicious!
Next, we have Czech Vegan in America’s Cranberry Pumpkin Bread.I love how gorgeous the cranberries look in that deep orange bread. It just screams fall. I also love how simple the recipe is. I bet mini loaves of this would be a great holiday gift.
The name alone is definitely a winner, and I love pumpkin. For others unfamiliar with Speculoos, they are a kind of shortbread cookie. Tasty!
Kate is not a vegan nor does she have much vegan baking experience, so she gets props for taking on the challenge, even if she apparently hates cinnamon. I also love that she took the challenge in a slightly healthier direction. Also, yum, apples!
And now folks, the winner is . . .
Congratulations! The judges (i.e. my taller half and I) applauded your presentation, creativity, and the effort that went into sharing your recipe with us. I can’t wait to try it! I will email you to get your address so I can send some goodies. Please let me know if you have any food allergies.
Thanks again to everyone who entered! It was a really tough choice, which is why I had to ask for help from my taller half. You’re all awesome!
Which entry are you the most excited to bake? Also, look for the week #2 contest announcement in just a bit.