We’ve thus far caked, cooked and rolled our way towards diabetic ecstasy, and the next logical step is, of course, to crumble.

The blackberry population seems to have peaked. Fall is just around the corner, and an inevitable, rapid decline in their physical state will soon follow. The aged berries will burst and bleed, ferment and fall, die and dry. After hiking I took to the vines and gathered what fruit I could find.

One particular branch held a dense cluster of berries, seemingly untouched by other passing hikers. I, of course, believed the other dim-witted wanderers had simply failed to see what my perceptive eyes found with no trouble at all. I greedily gathered the collections of drupelets and quickly filled my containers. I failed to notice that poison oak grew thick throughout the bush and had proved a deterrent to everyone but me. My stupidity paid off. I escaped unharmed and with buckets of berries.

I win.

The following Blackberry Crumble recipe was a quick and easy way to utilize my harvest. As always, a link to the original recipe can be found below.*

Filling Ingredients

  • 2 cups blackberries
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
Topping Ingredients
  • 1/4 cup rolled oats
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • Earth Balance

Lightly grease a mini loaf pan and preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a bowl sprinkle the blackberries with the flour, sugar, and cinnamon and toss to combine. Pour into the pan.

Combine the remaining dry ingredients for the topping and stir well. Add roughly 2 tablespoons of Earth Balance and combine. (Hands work best.) Add until the topping resembles a coarse meal. Dump on top of the berries.

Bake for about 20 minutes until the topping is crisp and the berries are bubbling.

I topped the warm crumble with a generous scoop of Coconut Bliss. If you haven’t tried the aforementioned vegan ice cream, I suggest you do so immediately.

And so ends summer.

*http://www.cucinanicolina.com/vegan-blackberry-crumble

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Vacation at last. I can feel my muscles releasing and turning into soupy red jelly. My heart has all but stopped and my sleep debt is rabidly being repaid. Fill me with fat and sugar! Quickly I’ll grow and consume grow and consume, as vacation becomes but a wrinkle in my tremendous girth.

I woke early Friday morning and began the process. The waves rolled, the cinnamon rolled, and soon my sides will roll.

This recipe, despite its lack of dairy and eggs, met with universal acclaim from my harsh family of omnivorous critics. Tempted as I was to devour the whole tray, I stayed my hand.

Harmony.

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup unbleached sugar
  • 1 cup soy milk, warmed
  • 2 tablespoons ground flax seeds whisked together with 6 tablespoons hot water
  • 1/3 cup vegan butter (Earth Balance), melted
  • 4 1/2 cups unbleached flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup vegan butter (Earth Balance), softened

Frosting

  • About 3/8 (3 ounces) of a container of Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese
  • 1/4 cup vegan butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cup vegan powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

I would use this ring from a desire to do good, but through me, it would wield a power too great and terrible to imagine.

  1. Mix yeast, sugar, and heated vegan milk in a large mixing bowl and let stand until foamy. Add egg replacer, melted vegan butter, flour, and salt. Mix well and knead for 5-10 minutes. The dough should be firm and smooth, not sticky.
  2. Set the dough aside in a covered bowl for an hour to an hour and a half until it has roughly doubled in size. After the dough has doubled, turn it out onto a floured work surface, cover, and let rest for 10 more minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, mix together brown sugar and cinnamon.
  4. Roll the dough into a rectangle. Spread the dough with vegan butter, then sprinkle it evenly with the sugar mixture. Though I left the filling as is, it would be easy to add extra ingredients like raisins or nuts. Roll the dough on the longer side. Cut the rolls so that you have even slices. Cut straight down the middle first, then cut straight down the middle of the two sections, and finally cut down the middle of the four sections. In the end you should have eight evenly sized rolls if you follow this method.
  5. Place rolls in a lightly greased baking pan or two. (A cookie sheet also works fine.) Cover and let rise until nearly doubled, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  6. Bake rolls in preheated oven until golden brown, about 15 minutes.
  7. While rolls are baking, beat together Tofutti, vegan butter, powdered sugar, vanilla, and salt. Spread frosting on warm rolls before serving.
You can find the original recipe, along with other great vegan concoctions at the link posted below.*

The result of a hungry gull.

I suppose I should balance indulgence with discipline. A hike will shortly follow.

*http://www.noveleats.com/dessert/cinnamon-rolls-and-chocolate-rolls/

Hike 29: Recovery

July 23, 2011

It began innocently enough.

I was told I was low on iron. Low is, of course, a relative term. I was unable to meet the requirements for blood donation, though I was by no means below average. If I wanted to continue my habit of regularly depositing at the blood bank, I needed to take action. I was given several options. Iron supplements are reliable, but tend to cause nausea. Wanting to avoid unnecessary side effects, I chose the second recommendation given to me. Molasses, when taken regularly, can accomplish the task at hand.

How should said molasses to be consumed? By the spoonful? Over pancakes? No; I needed something more appealing. Cookies seemed to be precisely what the doctor ordered. And so it was that a week of binging from which I’m still recovering commenced.

A spoonful of sugar...

I knew precisely which recipe to use. The following is one that I had baked several times before. I was aware of the dangers associated with these particular delectables, but felt confident in my ability to resist consuming the entire batch. How we overestimate our mortal shells!

The cookie waits, knowing it is to soon be removed from its sterile environment.

Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 cup of flour
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon of sea salt
  • 1/2 cup of raw sugar (Any vegan sugar will do)
  • 2 teaspoons of unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2/3 cup of maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup of black strap molasses (unsulphured)
  • 1/2 cup of canola oil
  • 2/3 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips (dairy free)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix dry ingredients in one bowl.
  3. Mix wet ingredients in other bowl.
  4. Combine all ingredients into one bowl.
  5. Form into balls and place on ungreased sheet pan with at least an inch between each ball.
  6. Cook for 11 minutes and take out to cool.
You can find the original recipe posted at the bottom of this page.*

My short, debilitating struggle with prescription cookies ended as my supply dwindled, but make no mistake: the temptation remains. Ever vigilant, I’ve returned to life. I am hopeful that remission will remain.

 

For those of you paying close attention, you’ll notice I made a promise I’ve yet to fulfill. “Where,” I can hear my dedicated few asking, “is the caloric compensation you speak of?” Today, my friends, you’ll receive the first of many treats I feel I deserve for my efforts. Whether or not I have truly earned the rewards I afford myself is debatable, but entry five has come, and to maintain your interest I bring you cupcakes.

This is one of the finest vegan cupcake recipes I’ve found, and I must give credit where credit is due. You can find a link to the original recipe below.*

Once again I hear voices coming from my readers. “Vegan? You’ve lead me through the wilderness to a product which lacks the sustenance and benefit of animal derivatives?” To this I reply, yes, I have. What could be more appropriate? Did we not just revel in the majesty of trees? Did they not shelter us as we traveled? Did the grass not give us a soft place to rest? The plants will now sustain us in an even more intimate way.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cups almond milk
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, warmed until liquid
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease two 12 cup muffin pans or line with 18 paper baking cups.
  2. Measure the apple cider vinegar into a 2 cup measuring cup. Fill with almond milk to make 1 1/2 cups. Let stand until curdled, about 5 minutes. In a large bowl, Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the almond milk mixture, coconut oil and vanilla. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir just until blended. Spoon the batter into the prepared cups, dividing evenly.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven until the tops spring back when lightly pressed, 15 to 20 minutes. Cool in the pan set over a wire rack. When cool, arrange the cupcakes on a serving platter. Frost with desired frosting.
The original post recommends a simple frosting made of powdered sugar, orange juice, and cocoa powder. I found the concoction to be a bit thin, so I added several tablespoons of Earth Balance (vegan margarine.) The result is a cupcake that lacks the usual density of vegan cakes and has a texture indiscernible from a recipe that benefits from the use of eggs.

Now I bid you all farewell. It is late, and tomorrow I must rise early and prepare for the coming hike on which I am about to embark. It may be several days before you hear from me, but fear not! I will return triumphant, and hope that eager eyes await news of my trip.

Obscured from view, I cautiously stalk my prey.

*http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/vegan-cupcakes/Detail.aspx