A world without Nutella is a very sad one. At least for me anyway. As I moved to plant-based eating, I decided I needed to find a recipe for vegan Nutella. It is a creamy smooth chocolate hazelnut spread you can put on bread or pancakes or dip fruit into it usually has milk and processed sugar. A main part of plant-based eating is removing processed foods including sugar and grains.
Vegan Hazelnut Spread
After some searching, I found a recipe for vegan hazelnut spread. While it is only five ingredients, there is some work to take place. You’ll need raw unsalted hazelnuts, vanilla extract, sea salt, dairy-free dark chocolate or a cacao powder, and pure maple syrup. And a good blender or food processor to blend it all together.
There are some keys to making this yummy spread. One is to roast the hazelnuts. Even if you purchase roasted hazelnuts, re-roasting will warm the natural oils and loosen the skins. And a sturdy towel to remove as much of the skins as possible. That will make a creamy spread. Chocolate is another important element. Chose quality chocolate or cacao powder to make your spread. There will be a sticker shock when you purchase quality cacao powder. I use Trader Joe’s 72% Dark Chocolate bar.
In making this vegan Nutella, you can customize it to your taste. It is all natural without stabilizers so stirring is a must. It is perfect to put on homemade bread.
- - 3 cups raw unsalted hazelnuts
- - 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract or paste
- - 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- - 2/3 cup dairy-free dark chocolate
- - 1 or 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1. Preheat the oven to 350F or 176C.
- 2. Place hazelnuts on a baking sheet in a single layer. For raw, roast for 12-15 minutes. If already roasted then roast for 8-10 minutes.
- 3. Remove tray from oven and cool slightly.
- 4. Transfer hazelnuts to towel and roll the nuts around getting as much skins off as possible.
- 5. Put the skinless hazelnuts in the food processor blending until a butter forms after 8-10 minutes.
- 6. While the butter is blending, melt the chocolate in the microwave in 30 second increments.
- 7. When the butter is creamy and smooth then add the vanilla and salt blending well.
- 8. Based on taste, you can adjust the seasoning and add 1 or 2 tablespoon maple syrup.
- 9. Transfer to a clean jar and store at room temperature. It will keep for 2-3 weeks.
)Healthy Plant-Based Breakfast
When I bake it involves butter, eggs, sugar, and cream. And lots of of it. Usually that is until now when I made vegan almond cranberry breakfast cookies. No eggs, butter, or sugar involved in making these cookies.
As I move into plant-based eating, I need to evolve my thoughts on baked goods. The plant-based model discourages most of the ingredients used in traditional baking in western culture. While it is easier to be creative in making veggie dinners or as I say winging it, my confidence in vegan baking didn’t exist. I started following some plant-based blogs. One was Flora & Vino where I came across their recipe for a cranberry almond breakfast cookie. Intrigued I printed it out. (Check out Flora & Vino blog and give them some love.)
The first ingredient was a flax egg. OK? A flax egg? What on earth is that? Turns out it isn’t scary. All it is flax seed ground and water whipped together then left to sit for 5 minutes to gel. It was pretty cool.
Make Your Own Flour
The ingredients for this almond cranberry breakfast cookie are pretty simple: flax egg, banana, sunflower butter, maple syrup, rolled oats, oat flour, cinnamon, baking powder, dried cranberries, and slivered almonds. My pantry is pretty well stocked. I had all of the ingredients except for oat flour. I went to the stores to find it, but no one had it. That’s when I went to the Googles and looked up how to make oat flour. Guess what? All it is is rolled oats put through a blender. That’s it so that’s what I did. I got out my trusty decades old Braun Handmixer using an attachment I had never used before: the little chopper bowl. In 15 seconds I had oat flour. I am now kicking myself for buying almond flour when I could have made my own. So live and learn.
These cookies were amazing. So tasty. I didn’t miss the eggs, butter, and cane sugar. Such a yummy treat that even got a thumb’s up by my guys those my son said they were good, but not his favorite. I’m still counting it as a win.
A great grab and go with some tea to start the day off running. For more vegan recipes.
Almond Cranberry Breakfast Cookies
- - 1 flax egg (1 tablespoon ground flaxseed + 3 tablespoon water)
- - 1 banana, smashed
- - ½ cup sunflower butter
- - ½ cup pure maple syrup
- - 1 cup gluten-free old fashioned rolled oats
- - ¾ cup gluten-free oat flour
- - ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- - ½ tsp baking powder
- - ½ cup dried cranberries
- - ½ cup slivered almonds
- - Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- - In a large mixing bowl, whisk up the flax egg and allow to sit for ~5 minutes to gel.
- - Smash the banana in the same bowl and add in the sunflower butter and maple syrup.
- - Mix in the rolled oats, oat flour, cinnamon, and baking powder and stir well to combine.
- - Add in the cranberries and almonds.
- - Drop batter onto the baking sheet using the 1/4 measuring cup making 15 cookies.
- - Bake for 22-25 minutes, until golden brown underneath and around the edges.
- Reminder: Cool before serving. Store leftover cookies in the fridge for up to one week and freeze for long term storage.
Don’t regift that Panettone or Pandora Breads
Ever since watching the British Bakeoff Master Classes where Paul made the Italian sweet yeast dough, Pandora Bread, I wanted to make it since it looked tasty and lovely. It is a rich bread made with what flour, sugar, butter, and eggs. What has kept me from making with I lacked easy access to the tin star mold. Panettone with the fruit and raisins are common finds, but the plain one was very hard to find.
Right before Christmas, I stopped in RI Job Lots – a store I can not describe – and there was a shelf full of them. I had to buy it. And I couldn’t wait until Christmas to eat it. That night the box was opened and the Pandora was taken out of the bag. We all were looking forward to it. Well there was quite a lot of disappointment. It was dry and had a flavor we couldn’t figure out. Was it alcohol? We didn’t know.
The Pandora, which was quite large, sat on the counter top. I torn clumps of it as I walked by and I wasn’t putting a dent in it. Something had to be done with it, but what?
I made a Mary Berry Christmas Pavlova for a friend on Christmas Eve. It needed six egg whites. I kept the yolks not wanting to waste them. As I put them in the fridge, the thought came to me: bread pudding. I can make bread pudding with them since it takes six egg yolks. While you could toast the bread or batter them for French (or Italian) toast, I like the option for bread pudding better. It is warm and moist with tons of flavor. And it was a hit.
So don’t throw out your Panettone or Pandora or regift it, but instead make bread pudding with it. Tear it apart soaking it in an egg sugar cream mixture and bake. Sprinkle it with powder sugar and, as we say in this house, “Bob’s your uncle.”
Italian Pandora Bread Pudding
- - 6 large egg yolks
- - 2 cups whole milk
- - 1 cup heavy cream
- - 1 cup granulated sugar
- - 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- - 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- - 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- - Pandora Bread, roughly chopped into 1-inch pieces
- - 1/4 – 1/2 cup chopped white chocolate
- - Heat oven to 375° F.
- - Butter or spray a shallow 2-quart baking dish.
- - Whisk together the egg yolks, milk, cream, sugar, vanilla, salt, and nutmeg in a large bowl.
- - Add the bread and chocolate and mix to combine.
- - Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish and bake until set and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean in 40 minutes.
- - Serve warm or at room temperature.
Years ago, a friend made me granola. It was amazing and she shared the recipe. I made it a lot then life got busy and it had quite a few ingredients. I just couldn’t keep up with keeping the ingredients in the kitchen and making it. I abandoned it.
Fast forward a decade or so, I am sitting a Girl Scout Women of Distinction breakfast in Providence, Rhode Island. The breakfast starter was granola, plain Greek yogurt, blueberries, and honey. It was divine! It got me thinking about granola again. What a nice change for breakfast would it be outside of my usual of Wasa crispbread and cheese or homemade bread and cheese. I went to the grocery store looking for granola. While there was a huge selection, none of them seem to work for me. I don’t know if it was all the ingredients with some I could not pronounce or the sugar or fat content, but I walked away empty handed. Off to the Internet, I went to seek out an easy simple granola recipe. I found it on The Live Fit Girls blog.
Granola Made Simple
The recipe was super easy and quick. Only six ingredients needed to make this recipe and you can make it in about 30 minutes. The key to this recipe is the quality of ingredients. I used organic and local products. They are worth seeking out especially the honey. That said if you can not find organic and local then buy what you can. I couldn’t find raw local honey, but I did buy some organic at the grocery store. As for my rolled oats, I went with Bob’s Red Mill Organic Old Fashioned Rolled Oats Whole Grain. Bob’s Red Mill products are always good quality. And they haven’t paid me to say so.
The preparation could not have been easier. Chop almonds and mix with oats then toast in the oven. While the oats mixture is toasting, you mix the wet ingredients. Once the oats are done then drizzle the honey mixture over the oats then pop by in the oven. The important step is in the toasting. You toast first at 350F then complete the toasting with the oven off. It makes the granola less likely to burn.
I made this recipe at night after a crazy day. Only took me 30 minutes. I let the granola cool overnight and it was ready for breakfast the next day. Recently I have been making this once a week and when I make my bread. Trying to use my time efficiently. Plus the house smells amazing… the sweet smell of toasted oats, almonds, and honey then the next day the house smells of freshly baked bread. Good to live in my house.
This recipe is really a winner at my house especially with my son who is not a breakfast eater and he loves this granola. It is fresh, flavorful, and you can pronounce all of the ingredients. We have it with blueberries, plain Greek yogurt, and local honey. It will keep you going the whole day. It even tastes yummy with just milk if you run out of yogurt. As for yogurt, use a good Greek yogurt. I’d recommend Fage or Chobai and I buy the fat-free versions.
- 3 cups rolled oats
- 1 cup raw almonds, chopped
- 1/2 cup raw honey
- 2 teaspoons melted coconut oil
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or paste
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Mix dry ingredients in a glass baking dish and toast them in the preheated oven for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- While the oats are toasting, combine the wet ingredients.
- After the oats are toasted (they should be very aromatic), drizzle the honey mixture over the oats. Stir until well combined.
- On a baking sheet lined with wax paper form a single layer of the oat mixture.
- Place the baking sheet back in the oven and turn the over OFF. This will allow the granola to finish toasting without burning. Let it sit in the oven for 5-8 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool completely.
Best Sunday Morning Homemade Hashbrowns
It is Sunday morning and the birthday husband fancies an American breakfast, which requires a fried potato product and in our house it would be hashbrowns. We were suppose to have snow; however, it rained and rain then the temps dropped. Everything is covered in ice: the cars, sidewalks, and roads. No throwing on clothes, piling into the car driving over to Waffle House for an American breakfast. We are not going anywhere anytime soon though the gallon of milk is almost finished. So either I will be walking to the Walgreens or attempting to drive to Food Lion.
Back to the hashbrowns. I will be honest, mornings can be slow going for me so the idea of making a huge breakfast is not something I prefer to do. When I was grocery shopping for the weekend, I went to buy hashbrowns. They were out. Bummer. I did not think about it until this morning when my husband asked how we can make hashbrowns.
Hashbrowns are very easy to make, so I don’t know why I buy pre-made ones from the grocery store. Weekend morning laziness I guess. To make them you’ll need potatoes, butter, salt, pepper, paprika, and red pepper. For equipment, a food processor, large bowl, and colander will make your fried potato endeavor easer and quicker.
There are some keys to making good ones:
- Soaking the shredded potatoes in cold water helps remove the extra starch in the potato. Do it at least twice.
- Getting the excess water out of the potatoes is key that requires you to drain the potatoes well. We have a linen tea towel we use for making frite and use that for our potatoes to dry them off. (It is stiff as board from all the starch, but works better than paper towels.)
- Giving the potatoes enough space in the pan. This is not a time where heaping mounds of potatoes in the pan is a good ideal. A tin layer helps with drying out the potatoes more when cooking.
Hashbrowns aren’t just for breakfast. The Europeans have their rösti. It served at dinnertime making for a hearty and warm meal on a cold winter’s evening.
Once you make your own, it will be hard to go back to the pre-made grocery store ones.
Homemade Hashbrowns Recipe
- 3-4 Russet potatoes
- 3-5 tablespoons unsalted butter
- salt and pepper to taste
- paprika to taste
- red pepper to taste
- Peel then half or quarter potatoes.
- Set up the food processor with the shredding blade.
- Shred potatoes.
- Place in bowl covering with cold water. Rise once the water is cloudy. Then do it again.
- Heat butter in a large skillet over medium heat.
- Sprinkle potatoes onto the skillet.
- Season with salt, pepper, paprika, and red pepper.
- Cook until a brown crust has formed then flip or stir cooking for another 5-10 minutes.
Serves 4 people.
The Ultimate Brunch Dish: Eggs Benedict
Stay in your PJs and don’t bother to brush your teeth by bringing the ultimate brunch dish of Eggs Benedict to your table. No need to go out and spend $15 when you can make this at home. For us this is a holiday dish I usually make at Christmas or New Year’s.
The biggest challenge with Eggs Benedict is getting everything done at the same time. I have included my suggested process for preparation. Do whatever works for you. The goal is to get it hot to the table.
Eggs Benedict Recipe
Make Hollandaise Sauce
- 1/2 cup or 1 stick unsalted butter
- 4 large egg yolks
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1/4 teaspoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- Cut the butter into four pieces and place in a 1-quart glass measure or bowl.
- Microwave, covered with a paper towel, on high, until almost melted (about 45 seconds to 1 minute).
- Remove butter from the microwave and stir until completely melted.
- Separate eggs, placing the yolks in a small bowl and setting the whites aside for another purpose.
- Beat the yolks well with a whisk or fork, then add to the butter and stir well.
- Add cream, lemon juice, and sugar to egg mixture and stir well.
- Microwave mixture, uncovered, on high, until just slightly thick, about 1 to 2 minutes, stopping every 20 seconds to stir with a fork.
- Remove sauce from microwave and stir in the mustard.
For Poaching Eggs
- Heat water, 1 teaspoon kosher salt and 2 teaspoons white vinegar and bring to a simmer over medium heat in a skillet with a lid.
- crack each cold large egg into a custard cup or small ramekin.
- Drop each egg into the simmering water.
- Cover with lid and turn heat off.
- Cook for 5 minutes.
Heat Canadian Bacon
Toast English Muffins
Assemble starting with the English muffin, then Canadian Bacon, then Poached Egg topping it off with Hollandaise sauce.