Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Sweet Treats

Last weekend, and again this past weekend, Jeannette asked about the possibility of me making sweet treats for her to consumer.  For reasons that are unclear to me, I didn't quite get around to making anything particularly sweet to eat last weekend.

When the request was lodged again this weekend I decided that I couldn't put it off any longer, I was going to have to make something on the sweet side of things.

I turned to the Oh She Glows cookbook for inspiration.  Since my parents gave us a copy of this book last spring we've both found it to be a good source for relatively healthy recipes that taste good.  Because all of the recipes are also vegan it is particularly handy.

I soon settled on the Chilled Chocolate Espresso Torte at least in part because it called for 3/4 cup of hazelnuts, which we just happened to have in the cupboard.  Of course, what I didn't know when I settled upon this recipe was that the 'chilled' was really 'frozen' and that the while the prep time for this recipe wasn't all that bad, the final chill was to take some number of hours (like quite a number of hours).

Maybe this is why it is good to read the full recipe (and not just the ingredient list) before you settle on a recipe?

Anyway, before long I had the crust in the oven and was on to preparing the filling.  The only real delay was the baking of the crust, which was delayed by 30 to 45 minutes because our oven has started taking quite a long time to heat up.

Soon enough everything was assembled and the torte was in the freezer for the required chilling time.

When all was said and done that evening we were finally ready to sample the torte.  Much to my surprise, I was a little disappointed by the crust - which was definitely a little cardboardy.  Sadly, I think the my equipment and ingredients may be to blame - as the recipe made sense.  

On the equipment front, I think that even after about an hour in the oven I may not have really toasted the crust quite enough.  I suspect that this process didn't quite manage to impart the desired flavour.  Bummer.  

On the ingredient front, I had a sense that the oat flour I was using may have been a little off even before I used it.  Now I'm almost certain the oat flour is off.  Guess it's time for new oat flour.

That said, I think that possibly using granola instead of rolled oats might be a good improvement to the crust.  Jeannette and I agree that this might be a good way to add a little extra flavour to the dish without really adding much sugar (or other nutritional components we don't want).  Alternatively, we also wondered how this might work with a completely different crust?

Once I realized that I'd begun making a dish that wouldn't be ready for many hours I continued to flip through the cookbook a little more, this time settling on the 'Yolo' recipe.

What was striking about this recipe was the simple ingredient list, really just a handful of ingredients the primary being chocolate chips and dates.

The general premise of the recipe is a date-based faux-caramel enrobed in chocolate.

The date paste takes almost no time to make, though does require some chilling before it can be handled properly.  Even with this chilling I found working with the paste tricky.  I think that the next time I make this recipe I will opt for a much more extended chilling process, and I may even try to find a way to freeze the past in a shape that will be conducive to handling while almost frozen.

Once the date paste is in the desired shape (and chilled again) all you have to do is dip it in chocolate and let it cool.

The end product was amazing.  It was hard to believe it was date.  Had I been served this blind I never would have guessed that they were date based, or that they were so easy to make.  

On Sunday Jeannette finally talked me into making yeast-based doughnuts.  I'd long been putting these off because of the length of the process and because even a half batch of the Joy of Cooking recipe would leave us with about 12 doughnuts.

On the other side of the equation, I've long been curious to try making this style of doughnut (as I've always made cake doughnuts in the past).

Much to my surprise, the Joy of Cooking recipe was relatively easy to veganize.  I think that the only ingredients I had to swap out were the butter and eggs.  

Once I got going what I liked about the process is that though there were several stages, each stage was relatively discrete and simple.  In all, only a few minutes of labour was required before the donuts were to rolled and fried.

The downside of the process was that, like the torte, several hours of waiting are required before the product is ready.

Another downside is that even once we'd made it through all the waiting, the doughnuts were a little dense and fat-clogged.

At least they looked like doughnuts (once we figured out the glazing process).

While I'm glad to say that I went through this process once, I'm not sure I'll be too keen to do this again just to end up with a dozen greasy, not-to-pillowy doughnuts.

Fortunately, aside from the doughnuts, the first two dishes weren't too unhealthy, nor do they demand to be eaten within minutes of being made.

Cameron - 5
Neil - 0

1 comment:

Greg said...

man - the days of sharing 12 doughnuts for lunch.

when they were real, fresh and had nicotine on them.