We've been busy preparing for the holidays and are sure that you are too! So much to do between decorating, shopping, baking, cooking, and spending time with friends and family. But we hope that you're also finding time to relax this holiday season and cherish all the special moments. And if you are in need of good food to share for any of the many gatherings you attend, we hope that you might take a peek around our kitchen for that perfect recipe. Maybe even this recipe will be the one! But first some more on holiday traditions before we get to our last recipe of the year.
We all have our favorite traditions around the holidays, and for many of us these traditions focus on delicious foods. Whether it be a favorite dinner, dessert, beverage, or breakfast these recipes and meals can remind us of holidays past and time spent with loved ones. Many traditions will stay the same throughout the years but some will change with our ever changing lives. If you're looking for a new tradition this year, these cinnamon buns may be just the thing. A perfect treat for Christmas (or any!) morning. Now we aren't trying to pretend that these buns are healthy by any means, but they are homemade with whole food ingredients and superior to any buns you might find pre-made or ready to bake. So put aside a little extra time for this recipe this year and we promise it will stick around for years to come! Now on to the recipe and back to the holiday festivities...
Traditional Cinnamon Buns
Adapted from The Joy of Vegan Baking Cookbook
PREP TIME: 2 hours 30 mins (includes rising time)
TOTAL TIME: 3 hours (includes rising time and cooking time)
Servings: 8-10 buns
3 Tbsp ground flax seed + 6 tablespoons water
4 1/2 to 5 cups white whole wheat flour (any gluten containing flour will work)
1 packet active dry yeast
1 cup organic soy milk (or milk/milk substitute of your choice)
1/3 cup organic unsalted butter
1/3 cup granulated cane sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
Organic soy milk to brush on the top of each bun
3/4 cup coconut sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 cup organic unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup chopped walnut or nut of your choice
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons organic unsalted butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons organic soy milk
To make the dough first combine the ground flax and water. Whip with a fork and allow to sit for 5 to 7 minutes until a thick mixture is formed. Using the paddle attachment of a stand mixer, combine 2 1/4 cups flour and the yeast. In a small saucepan on low, heat the milk, butter, cane sugar, and salt. Stir unil the sugar has dissolved and the butter is almost melted. Slowly pour the milk mixture into the standing mixer with the flour and mix on low speed. Now add the flaxseed mixture and turn the speed to high and beat the for about 3 minutes. Replace the paddle attachment with the dough hook (or do by hand) and knead in as much of the remaining 2 1/4 to 2 3/4 cups flour as needed until the dough is soft, smooth, and elastic. This should take about 3 to 5 minutes. You know the dough is ready when it is no longer sticky.
Shape dough into a ball, and place in a greased bowl. Cover with a clean towel and allow the dough to rise in a warm place for 1 to 2 hours or until doubled in size then punch it down. Place on a lightly floured surface, cover with a towel, and allow it to rest for another 10 minutes.
To make the filling, mix the coconut sugar, cinnamon, butter, and nuts then set aside.
Roll dough out into a rectangle (14x10). Evenly spread the filling onto the dough making sure to come close to the edges. Starting with the short end, carefully roll the dough into a log. Using unscented dental floss, make a crisscross on top of dough (pictured above) carefully pull floss through the dough. Repeat until you have 8-10 equal cinnamon buns. The purpose of the floss is to cut the dough without smashing it down. Place buns on buttered pan and allow to rise for 30 to 60 minutes at room temperature. You may also place in the fridge at this point if you wish to cook them the next morning. If buns are placed in fridge overnight, allow them to sit out at room temperature for 30 to 60 minutes before placing in the oven.
To make the frosting, combine confectioners sugar, butter,milk, and vanilla. Stir until smooth then set aside.
Preheat oven to 375°. Lightly brush the top of the buns with milk and cook for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown. Spread icing over the top, serve warm and enjoy with good company.
A complete hit right? With a cup of coffee or tea and a table full of loves ones, these buns will brighten any special morning. Remember, this will be our last post of 2015 friends but we can't wait to see you all in the New Year. We wish you for laughter, love and good food this holiday season!
Jess and Cecelia
We are going to take a bet that you've all been nice this year TGBK friends! And with Christmas quickly approaching that means that you deserve a special gift from us. This cookie recipe is just the thing - it's a special recipe that Jess once received as a gift and has been perfecting over the years. And oh how perfect it now is! We even made this recipe vegan for those of you who prefer your diet that way - but of course you can't go wrong with butter as a substitute. Let's first learn more about the spice in these spice cookies before we get to baking.
As you may have guessed, the star of these cookies is truly the spice - one of those spices being star anise. Star anise has a strong licorice flavor that is complimented by clove, which can also have a sweet licorice taste. Clove is actually the dried, unopened flower bud from a tree primarily found in Indonesia. One interesting fact about clove is it's use as an antiseptic. Clove contains eugenol, an active component known to kill bacteria and viruses helping to keep food fresh longer. And we can't forget about the cinnamon in these cookies which provides a warm and subtle sweetness. What we also want to highlight is how exceptional a flavor profile you can produce when these spices are ground from whole dried products, specifically clove and star anise. Each spice truly shines and can be distinguished, unlike when compared to using pre-combined spice blends. An electric spice grinder works best for this use. If after grinding you still notice large pieces of spice we suggest straining through a small metal strainer to avoid tough, large pieces of spice in your final product. Okay, so it's time to grind your spices and get to the recipe!
Giant Spice Cookies
PREP TIME: 20 mins
TOTAL TIME: 33-35 mins
Servings: ~24 large cookies
4 ½ cup flour (4 Cups white whole wheat flour* & 1/2 Cup buckwheat flour)
2 Tbsp fresh ginger juice OR 1 ½ Tbsp ground ginger
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground clove
1 tsp ground star anise
2 Tbsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp salt
3/4 Cup melted coconut butter
3/4 Cup room temperature coconut oil (soft but not melted)
1 1/2 Cups coconut sugar
1/2 Cup pure maple syrup
½ cup raw sugar (reserved to roll the dough in)
2 Tbsp ground flax mixed into 6 Tbsp liquid (if using fresh ginger juice mix 2 Tbsp ginger juice with 4 Tbsp water)
½ cup dark molasses
Preheat oven to 350°. In a large bowl mix together flour, spices, salt, and baking soda, then set aside.
In a small bowl, combine the ground flax seed, ginger juice and water. Let sit until gelatinous, about 3-5 mins.
In a bowl of electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix the melted coconut butter and coconut oil on high until smooth—about 2 mins. Add coconut sugar and maple syrup to the bowl and mix on high until light and fluffy. Add in flax seed mixture and molasses and continue to mix, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Slowly add the flour/spice mixture into the bowl of the electric mixer. Continue to add flour mixture until fully combined making sure to not over mix the dough. Roll dough into golf ball size balls, then roll in raw sugar. Place cookies on parchment lined baking sheet and cook at 350°for 13 mins. If needed, mid-way through cooking lightly press dough down with a flat bottomed glass. Allow to cool then store in an air tight container for 3-5 days if there is still any left!
*We used King Arthur brand (info here), but if you can't find white whole wheat flour then substitute with white, whole wheat, or a mixture of both.
These cookies represent everything nice about the holidays; delicious treats, simple pleasures, and sharing love and time with friends and family. The balance of sweet and spice and cakey texture make these cookies a yearly favorite. Once you try them we can bet you won't let a Christmas go by without them. We know we sure don't.
Jess and Cecelia
It's that season friends! We are well underway with holiday parties and gatherings with friends and family. And here at TGBK we know what all of these events will have in common, plenty of food! Now of course, not all of this food will align with the way you may try to eat throughout the rest of the year and that's okay. But we're here to remind you that treats and festive foods can still fit your whole foods based and nutrient packed lifestyle. With the right recipes, you can be the one impressing your friends and family with healthy foods that are still delicious and craving worthy! We think that this recipe fits the bill; festive, delicious and still on the lighter side compared to what else you mind find at holiday gatherings.
This recipe features skyr which is an Icelandic cultured dairy product (basically a type of yogurt). Even though this term may be new to you, skyr has been around more than 1,100 years! Skyr is traditionally made with raw milk, however, brands found in grocery stores are made with pasteurized milk. Similar to Greek yogurt, skyr is strained which condenses the nutritional value and means more protein in the final product. Skyr has a mild, tangy taste and a thick, creamy texture. Being a fermented food, skyr of course provides a generous serving of those wonderful probiotics that we just can't get enough of. Skyr is nutritionally similar to Greek yogurt but superior to regular yogurt because of the high protein content and large amount of probiotics contained in many brands. Siggis is a brand we absolutely love and can be found readily at many grocery stores. For this recipe, we used strained, fat-free skyr in lieu of cheese for this marinated spread. This substitution maximizes protein and probiotic content while decreasing fat content, which can be a welcomed change at many holiday buffets!
Salt Brined Icelandic Yogurt Balls
PREP TIME: 5 mins (additional 24 hrs to strain yogurt)
TOTAL TIME: 10 mins (additional 24 hrs to strain yogurt + 2 hrs to marinate prior to serving)
12 oz fat free, plain Icelandic yogurt or Greek yogurt
~1/2 tsp pink Himalayan sea salt
1 tsp rainbow peppercorns (whole)
2, 2" organic lemon rinds
~1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
Thin, crispy cracker of your choice* (we like Raincoast Crisps brand sold at Whole Foods)
Garnish with green herb of your choice (we chose rosemary)
Additional items needed
10"x10" cheese cloth
Large jar at least 10" tall
Mix 1/4 tsp ground sea salt into yogurt. Place cheese cloth over the opening of a large jar allowing the cloth to sag a little into the jar. Place rubber band around the top of the jar to tightly hold cloth in place (pictured above). Add salted yogurt to the cloth and allow mixture to strain for ~24 hrs in the fridge. Within a few hours you will notice a cloudy liquid at the bottom of the jar, this is the whey straining off. You want as much liquid to strain off as possible, making a very thick spreadable "cheese like" texture. After 24 hours the yogurt should be ready to shape into balls. Using the palm of your hand, carefully form the strained yogurt into small balls. The less you handle the yogurt balls the better, avoid rolling between your palms. Instead, form into shape with fingertips. If yogurt is very difficult to work with, try placing in the freezer for five minutes .Place formed balls into a serving jar/bowl. Repeat until all the yogurt has been used. Add lemon rind, peppercorns, 1/4 tsp whole sea salt and herb of choice to the jar. Pour enough olive oil over the top until the yogurt balls are fully submerged. Allow yogurt balls to marinate in olive oil mixture for a few hours in the refrigerator. Serve with a thin and crispy cracker.
*Look for a cracker made with whole wheat flour and sunflower or olive oil
So who's impressed? This spread is so rich, so creamy, and so packed with flavor, that you won't even miss those extra fat calories you left behind with this amazing substitute! Whip this up for any holiday gathering this year and you're sure to be the talk of the party. Just remember to strain your yogurt (skyr) 1-2 days ahead and you'll be ready to shine!
Stay festive (and lite!),
Jess and Cecelia
Jess and Cecelia welcome you to our kitchen. We are fun-loving and passionate foodies working to make the world a healthier, happier place one plant based recipe at a time.