Learning how to bake while following a gluten-free, vegan diet was a serious struggle for me. I went through trial after trial of different recipes and somehow failed in every way possible. I made cookies that looked good before they went into the oven and somehow flattened into a single rock-hard inedible sheet when they came out. I made cupcakes that were somehow simultaneously burnt and raw. I made breads that were gummy and crumbly at the same time. It was a mess. It took me at least a year to produce anything that was even halfway edible, and much longer than that before I felt confident enough to share my baked goods with other people. It was outrageously disappointing and discouraging and made the beginning of my transition to following a gluten-free, vegan diet very difficult. Eventually, after a lot of failures, I learned the tricks and substitutions that made for delicious gluten-free, vegan baked goods, but it certainly took me a long time.
Two years ago, my mom gave me the cookbook BabyCakes Covers the Classics and it was a huge part of helping me bake something that was not only edible, but delicious (seriously, I couldn’t recommend their cookbooks enough). After trying donuts at the BabyCakes bakery on a trip to visit my brother and sister-in-law in New York, I decided their donut recipe had to be the first thing I tested out. The donuts came out perfectly, and finally some of that overwhelming discouragement around gluten-free vegan baking was lifted.
After that first success I went on a somewhat obsessive donut-making spree testing out different recipe variations and flavor combinations. Now that I could finally bake something worth eating, I couldn’t stop myself from making batch after batch to make up for lost time. The weirdest thing about it is: before I was vegan and gluten-free, I actually hated donuts. It was definitely a bizarre food group to hate, but up until a few years ago I refused to eat any donuts except for fresh made apple cider donuts. This recipe, and the ability to make fun and unique flavors on my own has helped me to understand the donut hype — and now I can’t get enough.
These donuts utilized some of the farm-fresh peaches from my local CSA box, and when paired with cinnamon created a flavor that perfectly fit these early-fall days. I may have broken my recent rule regarding small portion recipes and no processed sugar, but the outcome was definitely worth it (sometimes you just need to treat yo self). The peach puree allows for a sweet peach taste throughout the donut, while also working as an egg replacer (just like in my Spiced Peach Muffins), and the hand-mashed peach allows for some larger pieces throughout the donut to give it that extra kick of gooey peach taste in every bite.
- ¾ cup brown rice flour
- ½ cup brown sugar
- ½ cup potato starch
- 1/3 cup garbanzo bean flour
- ¼ cup corn starch
- 1 ½ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp xanthan gum
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp baking soda
- 2 peaches, with coconut oil for brushing
- 2 tbsp vanilla extract
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- 1/3 cup melted coconut oil
- Preheat oven to 375F
- Slice 2 peaches in half, removing the pit.
- Place peach halves cut side up in a baking pan, brush with coconut oil and sprinkle with cinnamon.
- Bake peaches for 35 minutes.
- Remove peaches from oven and allow them to cool.
- Reduce oven temperature to 325F
- Place 3 of the peach halves in a food processor and puree until completely smooth. Keep one peach half in a separate bowl and mash with a fork by hand, leaving some larger pieces.
- In a large bowl, whisk together dry ingredients until well combined.
- In a separate bowl combine the roasted peach puree, vanilla extract, maple syrup and coconut oil (leave out the hand mashed peach for now).
- Pour the wet ingredients (withholding the hand mashed peach puree) over the dry ingredients and hand mix until thoroughly combined. The dough will be thick and sticky.
- Fold in the hand mashed peach puree.
- Distribute dough into a well greased donut pan. (This recipe makes 12 donuts. A typical donut pan makes 6, so you will either need to own two donut pans, or make the donuts in two batches).
- Bake donuts for 16 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through.
- Remove donut pan from the oven and allow to cool in the pan for around 10 minutes.
- Remove donuts from pan and place on a cooling rack.
- Once donuts are cool enough to handle, coat the donuts with cinnamon sugar (This works best if the donuts are still relatively warm when you are coating them).
For me, starting up a new school year wouldn’t be quite complete without a bout of procrastination baking. Baking is definitely my #1 form of procrastination, and has gotten me through many stressful periods of grad school. It is the perfect vice: once I’m done procrastinating, I have a batch of something tasty to stress eat when I realize how little time I have left to finish my homework. I’ll admit it is a pretty messed up system, but it’s worked well for me for the last two years, so it’s only proper that I start off my last semester of grad school the same way.
Since my past three CSA boxes have had peaches in them, I’ve been trying to incorporate them into my baked goods before they all go bad (see my previous post for Peach Blueberry Cobbler). This time I decided to go for something I could easily grab in the morning on my way to the gym at 5:15, or take with me to class for a mid-day pick-me-up (because I obviously need one after waking up at 4:45 😴) . These spiced peach muffins were the perfect fit. They pair sweet peach flavors with warm fall spices, a perfect match for these late summer, early fall September days.
As I mentioned in an earlier post, I’m making an effort to make recipes with smaller yields and less processed sugar and these muffins fit both of those requirements. This recipe makes six medium-sized muffins and contain no processed sugar (they are sweetened with maple syrup and the peaches themselves). Having a smaller yield recipe not only stops me from eating a dozen muffins by myself, it also cuts down the amount I spend on baking supplies (which is going to be essential if I keep testing out new recipes while putting off my school work).
Instead of using applesauce as my egg replacer, like I normally would for muffins, I switched it up a bit and used fresh pureed peach. This really brought out the peach flavors in the muffins, and worked wonderfully at replicating the moisture, structure and texture of a standard muffin. [Similarly to with applesauce, the polysaccharides in the peaches form a starch gel when baked, allowing them to mimic the protein networks formed when eggs are used in baking]. The peach puree allows for the functional characteristics that eggs normally provide, with some additional sweet peachy taste and none of the cholesterol or animal cruelty.
- 1¼ cup gluten free flour (I prefer Bob’s Red Mill All Purpose Baking Flour)
- ½ tbsp baking powder
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- ¼ tsp ginger
- 1/8 tsp cardamom
- 1/8 tsp salt
- Optional: 2 tbsp chopped walnuts, pecans or crystallized ginger
- ¼ cup cashew milk (or your dairy-free milk of choice)
- ¼ cup coconut oil
- 1/3 cup pureed peach (~1/2 a peach)
- 1/3 cup maple syrup
- ½ peach, diced
- Preheat oven to 400F
- In a large bowl combine gluten-free flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom and salt.
- In a separate bowl stir cashew milk, coconut oil, peach puree, and maple syrup until well mixed.
- Pour wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until smooth
- Fold in diced peach, and any other optional mix-ins (ex. walnuts, pecans, crystallized ginger).
- Evenly distribute batter into a muffin tin (this recipe should make around 6 muffins).
- Bake for 18-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the muffin comes out clean.
- Remove muffins from the muffin tin and allow them to cool on a cooling rack
As I mentioned in my last post, I’m making an effort to design new recipes using the fresh produce from my weekly CSA box. After using the eggplant to make eggplant bacon, I had my eyes on something a little sweeter and went straight for the peaches. I may have gone a little overboard baking this weekend and I know there are going to be more peaches in my box next week, so expect a few more peach-based recipes in the near future. My first creation was a vegan, gluten-free version of a classic peach cobbler, with a few fresh blueberries mixed in.
Since I’ve been baking a lot, I keep ending up with a surplus of baked goods. While this doesn’t seem like a big problem, it is a little troubling when I find myself with three full batches of peach-based baked goods and a huge sweet tooth.
In order to combat this I’ve been trying to:
- limit the amount of processed sugar in my recipes whenever I can. This way I feel a little less guilty about having these foods as my snacks during the day.
- design recipes with a smaller yield so that I don’t end up with a kitchen (and stomach) completely full of baked goods. Most often when I’m baking I do it as stress relief, or procrastination and I’m not actually in need of a huge supply of sweets. Lately, I’ve been making half, or even quarter portions of recipes that allow me to get the stress relief of baking, the fun of testing out new recipes, and the ability to feed my cravings, without having a excess of food around that I won’t (or shouldn’t) eat all of.
This recipe paired fresh, local peaches and blueberries with a “buttery” biscuit topping, perfect for enjoying on these last (and excessively hot) days of summer. I cut the recipe down to two single-serving portions, but it can easily be doubled or tripled if you have more people to serve. It also contains no processed sugar, and uses only maple syrup as a sweetener, so you can feel a little less guilty when you have cobbler for breakfast (at least that’s what I’m telling myself).
For the fruit filling:
- 1 peach, sliced
- 2 tbsp blueberries
- 1/2 tsp lemon juice
- 1/8 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp cornstarch
For the biscuit topping:
- 3 tbsp gluten free flour (I prefer Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour, but any flour will work)
- 3 tbsp oats
- 1 tbsp Earth Balance
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 tbsp cashew milk (or your non-dairy milk of choice)
- ¼ tsp baking powder
- Preheat oven to 375F
- Combine sliced peach, blueberries, lemon juice, cinnamon and cornstarch in a bowl and set aside
- In a separate bowl mix flour, oats, baking powder, maple syrup, Earth Balance and cashew milk until it is well combined.
- Evenly distribute the fruit filling between two small ramekins.
- Spoon the biscuit topping over the filling.
- Bake for 35 minutes, or until the cobbler topping is golden brown and the filling is bubbling.