Banana-Ginger Cookies

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On Monday, I noticed that we had these two really overripe bananas lying in our fruit basket, which would not have survived an another day. We had intended to convert those in a delicious banana cake that my husband bakes during the weekend. But somehow we missed that train… So here I was. Monday afternoon, working from home. I did not want to take too much effort with banana cake or bread pudding. So instead I went for the cookies. No leavening, no long baking time. Bring it on…

BANANA-GINGER COOKIES

Makes about 15 cookies

Ingredients:

2 overripe bananas
2-3 tbspoons almond butter
2 tbspoons flax seed meal
3/4 cup walnuts
1/3 cup dried cranberries
2-inch piece of fresh ginger
1 cup oats for mixing in the cookie flour
1/3 cup oats for making oat flour
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
2 pinches of salt

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F
  2. In a bowl, mash bananas to pulp.
  3. Add almond butter, 1 cup oats, and flax seed meal. Mix thoroughly.
  4. Blend remaining oats, walnuts, cranberries, and ginger together into a rough powder.
  5. Add this powder to the mix of banana-oats-butter. Sprinkle salt and turmeric powder (gives lovely golden hue).
  6. Mix with spatula to form a shaggy wet cookie dough. Stand for 5-10 minutes.
  7. Line baking tray with wax paper. Coat it with almond butter.
  8. Rub some almond butter over your hands and with that form flat round cookie disks of the flour. Arrange on baking tray in close (but not touching) lines.
  9. Transfer the baking sheet to preheated oven. Keep a small hot water bath, which would not interfere with the baking tray.
  10. Bake for 20-25 minutes till cookies develop golden-brown exterior.
  11. Remove the wax paper sheet (on which cookies are spread) from the baking tray and allow to cool it completely. Trying to remove the cookies when they are still hot may break those. Once cooled, you can get the cookies off the wax paper sheet and store in an airtight jar.

Enjoy the crusty-chewy cookies, which balance natural sweetness of overripe bananas with spice of ginger 🙂

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Vegan Cheesecakes with Almond Meal / Marzipan

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Finding a title for this post was bit of a struggle. Its description tends to get bit lengthy. Yes, it is no-bake. It is vegan ‘cheese’cake. But unlike its equally interesting peers here and here, it does not use cashews or  coconut butter. Instead, taking inspiration from those German-Dutch almond meal/ marzipan desserts (and giving it a vegan twist), it presents one more way to indulge in healthy desserts.

I have so far made it twice, with different fruit compote toppings. Once with mango and the latest with mixed berries. Both use same amounts of ingredients. With berries, I tried to divide the stuff into two servings, with a vain hope that we would enjoy it twice… Failed attempt. We finished off everything, just like the previous one 🙂

VEGAN CHEESECAKE WITH ALMOND MEAL / MARZIPAN

Serves two (with severe condition of sweet tooth)

Ingredients:

a) For base:

1 cup walnuts
5-7 mejdool dates

b) For filling:

1 cup almonds
3-4 tbspoons of lemon juice (adjust per your preference)
3 tbspoons of maple syrup
1/2 cup almond milk (can be replaced with coconut milk)
1/3 cup almond oil (can be replaced with coconut oil)
1/3 teaspoon of food essence of your choice (I have so far used kewra water i.e. Pandanus essence, cardamom, and saffron)

c) For topping:

1 cup of fruit chunks of your choice (I sued mango for the first batch and the mixed berries for the second)
3 teaspoons of sugar
3-4 cloves
1/2 cup water
1 stick of cinnamon
A squeeze of lemon juice and lemon zest (optional)

Method:

a) For base:

  1. Blend dates and almonds together in a mixer/ food processor, till you get grainy dough that can be kneaded together.
  2. Take this dough out and press it into the mold.Note: Since I use food grade silicone molds, I just coated it with little bit of almond butter. You may have to line metal molds with wax paper for easy removal. 

b) For filling:

  1. Take almonds in a glass/ ceramic bowl and cover those with hot boiling water. Keep soaked for an hour. Then peel the loosened skins.
  2. Blend the above soaked and peeled almonds with maple syrup, lemon juice, almond milk, almond oil, food essence in blender till it forms a very smooth and creamy paste (about the consistency of hummus, but without the grainy texture). Add some more almond oil or milk if required (but no water).
  3. Adjust the sweet-tartness and essence to your liking.
  4. Pour this creamy filling onto the pressed walnut-date crust base in the mold.
  5. Stand for 5-10 minutes and then slather with the following topping

c) For topping:

  1. Take the fruit chunks of your choice into a skillet.
  2. Add sugar, cloves, cinnamon, water to it.
  3. Heat on a medium to high heat, with intermittent mixing. As the water content reduces, add lemon juice and pulp.
  4. Remove cinnamon stick and cloves.
  5. Either mash or blend to form a uniform jelly.
  6. Apply this compote topping on the cheesecake.

Keep the cheesecake to set in the freezer for about 3-5 hours. Thaw in the refrigerator section for 15-20 minutes before serving.

Vegan Bread Pudding

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My first attempt at baking was a dairy-free bread pudding, posted on this blog sometime back. After some more dabbling in baking vegan breads, I thought now I should attempt completely vegan bread pudding as well. Anyway, I had two of week-old pita loaves lying in fridge (first of those loaves, I had already used for kale halloumi sandwich). Leftover bread in fridge and bananas in basket. What other excuse I needed to make a sweet treat midweek, right? 🙂

VEGAN BREAD PUDDING

Ingredients:

2 pita loaves
1 banana
1 cup of frozen mango chunks
2 cups of flax milk (based on your preference, you can use other non-dairy or even dairy milk)
4 tbspoons of flax seed powder
3 tbspoons of chia seeds
1 cup water
3 tbspoons of maple syrup (you may hike it up, if you prefer it sweeter)
1/4 teaspoon of cardamom powder (optional)
1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon powder  (optional)
1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg powder (optional)
2 tbspoon of almond butter plus some more for coating the pudding mould
2-3 tbspoons of oats/ oat flour for coating the pudding mold

Method:

  1. Preheat oven on 400 F.
  2. In a bowl mix flax seed powder and chia seeds with water. Mix together and keep aside for 15 minutes. It would form into a gelatinous paste.
  3. Coat the pudding mold with almond butter and sprinkle oats/ oat flour over it.
  4. In the mold, arrange bite-sized pieces of bread loaves, sliced banana, and mango chunks. Pour almond butter and give a mix to let the bread and fruit chunks coat with it.
  5. In a saucepan, heat the flax seed milk, add maple syrup, cardamom powder, cinnamon powder, and nutmeg powder.
  6. To this, slowly add the chia-flex gel and constantly whisk the mixture, so as to avoid forming any lumps.
  7. Keep stirring this custard and bring it to boil.
  8. Pour this hot custard over the bread and fruits arranged in the pudding mold. Let it seat for 5 minutes.
  9. Bake the pudding for 45 minutes at 400 F. Keep a water bath inside oven in such a way that it does not disturb the pudding mold.

Ideally, then one should take the pudding out and then let it cool on the rack. But I had to run to the library after baking it and I did not want to let the it cool uncovered for five hours in my absence. Covering it while it was still hot, would make it  sweat. So I let the pudding cool slowly on its own in the oven itself. Thankfully, it did not affect the pudding.

Just perfectly sweet, not overbearing and bringing all different tastes and textures together. And the caramelized fruit chunks in between…  Aha 🙂