Category Archives: Pastries

Mini Dulce De Leche Cinnamon Buns (No eggs, no butter, no yeast )

Test: How to Lose Your Diet in 10 Minutes

Question #1: Which two don’t belong? Summer. Shorts. Tank tops. Bikinis. Sandals. Tans (unless you’re me). Fruit. Beaches. Vacations. Finally using that gym membership. Cinnamon buns. Dulce de leche.

If you answered Cinnamon buns and Dulce de leche, you are right.

If your name is Karissa and you are turning 23 on the 23rd of this month, you are very, very wrong…for making these in JUNE.

Let me start by saying something really fast. I did attempt to make this more warm-weather-appropriate / not-as-guilty-feeling by making a lemon zest icing glaze for the top. It worked, but I’d be lying if I said these needed it. If my boyfriend knew I did that, he’d ban me from dulce de leche for life…even though I’m the one who made the dulce de leche…not the most fun one can have in the kitchen, but whateva.

There are quite a few things I like about these. First of all, there’s no eggs. I haven’t baked with eggs in…a while. It’s actually addicting and not only do I save money but I find that I prefer the taste of baked goods without eggs. Who knew? There’s also no butter (I used Earth Balance). AND maybe best of all, no yeast. I have yeast, but I don’t have patience (a very important virtue I unfortunately lack the majority of the time I am awake) so I winged it with the recipe for vegan scones that I used just a couple of posts ago.

I never intended on using a recipe twice on this blog, but I think this can be an exception for now because they are delicious and much different than the scones. Obviously these aren’t vegan like the scones were, but I thought the dough would work for this and it totally did. My boyfriend came into the kitchen and for a quick second had to ask himself when we bought Pillsbury cinnamon rolls….and then realized I made them myself. I think he was surprised because I had just gone into the kitchen 15 minutes earlier. Karissa the Cinnamon Bun Magician. It has a ring to it….ok, no it doesn’t. The texture is just the way I like my cinnamon buns; they have a slight crunch on the edges of the outside and they’re soft, sweet and gooey on the inside. I got very lucky because I actually used half of the amount of milk called for in the original vegan scone recipe. Whoops..? I didn’t even know until I just read it now. Yay for getting it right while getting it wrong!

The dulce de leche is actually very easy to make, it just takes some time and…*cough* patience. My boyfriend has made it on the stove top before, but I followed the instructions from David Lebovitz and it works like a charm. However, I leave mine in for a couple of hours instead of one to get it dark enough (except yesterday I had the oven on 25 degrees lower than I should have and it felt like eternity before it was to my boyfriend’s liking). It’s really not too much of a hassle making it though. I pour my condensed milk into a ramekin that I use for french onion soup and mix in about 1/8 teaspoon of salt, tent it with aluminum foil, place that in a casserole dish that is filled about halfway with hot water, and put it in a 425 degree oven (note to self for next time!) Every 30 minutes or so I remove it, stir it up, and if the casserole dish needs more water then I’ll add some more. For the last 15 minutes, I even took the foil off of the top so it could brown a little faster.

I really was inspired to make this in order to to prevent my boyfriend from eating the entire thing of dulce de leche from a spoon. Although now that I think about it, I am always craving cinnamon buns….

Mini Dulce De Leche Cinnamon Buns (No eggs, no butter, no yeast)

Makes 12 mini cinnamon buns

Ingredients:

For the Dough

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup Earth Balance margarine
  • 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons almond milk (you can use soy)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Filling

  • Dulce de leche (enough to spread a layer and to glaze the tops with)
  • 2-3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Spray a 9 inch round cake pan with cooking spray and set aside.

2. Mix the flour, baking powder, salt, and light brown sugar together.

3. Using a pastry blender, or your hands, cut the cold Earth Balance into the dry mixture until it’s pretty evenly mixed throughout the dough (like making a pie dough). The butter will be spread throughout like pea sized chunks.

4. Mix in the almond milk and vanilla extract until thoroughly combined, and gather all of the dough into a ball. Split the dough in half (I do this is two batches so it’s easier to roll out).

5. On a floured surface, roll out the dough one way into a long rectangle. I roll mine out to about 12 inches.

6. Spread a layer of dulce de leche onto the rolled out dough and then sprinkle about 1 1-2 tablespoons of the dark brown sugar on top of the dulce de leche (I use my hands to spread it out evenly). Sprinkle about 1/2 teaspoon of the cinnamon evenly on top of this.

7. Start tightly rolling the dough until it becomes a small log and then use your hands to gently stretch it a little longer, until it’s about 8 inches long. I pinch all along the roll until it becomes thinner and taller and then pat it down and carefully pull it to stretch at the same time. If you just pull it could rip, so be delicate with it.

8. Once it’s in a nice long cylinder, use a knife to cut it in half and then each half into thirds. This will give you 6 miniature cinnamon buns with this half and then 6 more with the other half of the dough. Place them down flat with the inside facing up and gently press them down a little bit. It will look like this:

9. Do the same thing to the rest of the dough, and then using your fingertips (or a pastry brush but it’s more fun using your hands) lightly coat the edges with a mixture of almond milk and some powered sugar just to glaze the edges so they don’t dry out and they get a nice crunch on the outside.

10. Place them all in the greased 9 inch round cake pan and coat the tops with a layer of dulce de leche. Bake for about 10-12 minutes until top is bubbly and the buns are lightly browned. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

Optional: Lemon zest icing:

  • 1/4 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
  • Drizzle of almond milk, just enough to get the desired consistency
  • Vanilla extract to taste (couple drops)

By the way, Happy International Picnic Day!..I didn’t have a picnic though. Darn.

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Filed under Breakfast, Buns/Rolls, Pastries

“Strawberry Shortcakes” with Vegan Scones & Versatile Blogger Award!

As you may have noticed, this vegan baking thing is really getting to me. By that I mean, every time I go to bake something now I try to veganize it…or I look up a vegan version of what I want to make. It’s interesting to me, especially when I let others eat what I’ve made and they can’t believe that all along this word “vegan”, that registered as “tofu” in their brains, actually doesn’t mean tofu. (Ok, nobody has actually said that to me–but you get my drift…) In these pictures, it’s not completely vegan because I’m using homemade whipped cream with…real cream. But, most of the times I’ve made these I have used the frosting from my last post. You know, the one I messed up the and then fixed. It’s still pretty embarrassing that I haven’t made another batch and taken proper pictures..but that frosting has found itself new uses since then. Or, I’ve thought of every way I could make it and eat it again.

So I made these vegan scones that I found on VeganYumYum and I just changed the recipe around a little bit, because I was running low on maple syrup and I didn’t have any lemons. I’ve now made these so many times, I can almost do it with my eyes closed…and that makes me very happy. The fun thing about these is that you can flavor them any way you want and they are practically foolproof. The original recipe calls for brushing the tops with a glaze of soymilk, vanilla extract and powdered sugar and of course I’ve been using unsweetened coconut milk instead (it’s actually called Coconut Drink or Coconut Beverage because it’s not the coconut milk you get in a can. It’s the kind you get in a carton, like almond milk or soymilk, that is enriched with vitamins and minerals.) and I also sprinkle the tops with granulated sugar for some extra crunch and sweetness.

These are not very sweet, though. Just slightly. You can of course add more sugar– I’m not sure how it will affect the texture, but I honestly have not had any disaster with making these and I’ve experimented a lot. One little note though, if you’re going to be experimenting with extracts like me, be careful with how much you put in. I’m sure you know this already and have more common sense than I do, but silly me did use a whole 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla and 1/2 teaspoon of almond extract in a half batch of these…and the almond was overwhelming. Now I just use the vanilla. I is scared of zee almond extract. Oh, and I tried lemon extract once too, which came out nice except that I topped it off by knocking over the bottle onto the floor (I am notorious for not screwing on bottle caps or closing the tops to my seasonings) and let’s just say my kitchen smelled fresh and lemony clean…win? Not really.

While the whipped cream is very light and yummy with these, the vegan strawberry frosting just can’t be beat. Here’s what you do: take one and walk out of the kitchen, and put a barricade up so you can’t get back in and eat the rest of them to yourself. Or tell your other half to handcuff you………no, that actually might not be the best idea….moving on….

I want to stop and give a huge thank you to Anne from FromMySweetheart.com, for passing on the Versatile Blogger Award to me. Her blog is just beautiful and she always has the most delicious, mouthwatering recipes up. I don’t think there’s been anything she’s posted that I haven’t wanted to go and bake (or just eat). Check out her site! So here’s the rules with accepting the award…you need to thank the person who passed the award onto you and link back to them, share 7 things about yourself and then pass this award on to 15 other new or newly discovered blogs. So here goes.

1. I learn the most about something when I become completely obsessed with it. Otherwise, it’s almost like I have ADD.

2. When I was a kid (and even as a teenager), I was highly convinced I was supposed to be an actress. My life was like a movie to me, and I was always narrating it in my mind. I told my parents, and thinking they didn’t take me seriously, I once woke them up from sleep, crying my eyes out. My dad looked scared you-know-whatless and kept asking me,”What’s wrong!?” I quickly stopped crying, smiled and said,”I told you I could be an actress.” If I was my parents, I would have been deeply concerned.

3. My cousin and I also used to go around rolling down the windows in the car, after our 2-6am paper route, screaming,”We’re gonna be famous!” Others thought it was cute, we thought it was serious. I’m pretty sure we signed autographs.

4. I get irritable if I don’t get to workout, and I prefer to do a workout I’ve never done before. There’s something so effective and feel-good about not knowing what’s coming next and challenging your body in different ways.

5. I should win a Lifetime Daydreamer Award. (Anyone, anyone?)

6. Some of my biggest pet peeves are wet socks, greasy hair, and dirty sinks. The list goes on and on, but I don’t want to completely ruin your appetite.

7. I had a good few years of my life making a lot of money working from home. While I agree somewhat that,”Money can’t buy happiness“, those few years were the best of my life. Money isn’t everything, but it is something. It doesn’t “buy” you complete happiness–but it enables you to do things you’ve never done, go places you’ve never gone, eat things you’ve never tasted, meet people you would have otherwise not met, and it takes a lot of stress away. I’ve been very lucky in life.

And now 15 wonderful blogs (Ok I miscounted my original list and there’s 16, so that’s the way it is–I’m not removing anyone) I’d like to share with you (no particular order):

Cookbook Archaeology

Bakerita

Toasty Biscuit

Happy When Not Hungry

Fragrant Vanilla Cake

Tarte Du Jour

Flour Dusted

The Sweet Sensations

The Deep Dish

Naked Cupakes

A Cake Bakes In Brooklyn

Someone Who Bakes

Adryon’s Kitchen

Chop, Mix, Bake, Create

The Simple Lens
Keep It Luce

Annnnddd…the recipe:

“Strawberry Shortcakes” Vegan and non-vegan version

Makes 6 scones

Vegan Scones:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Earth Balance Vegan Margarine, cold
  • 1/4 cup SO Delicious Coconut Milk (I used unsweetened)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions:

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and lightly spray with cooking spray.

2. Mix the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, light brown sugar, and granulated sugar together evenly.

3. Using a pastry blender, or your hands, cut the cold Earth Balance into the dry mixture until it’s pretty evenly mixed throughout the dough (like making a pie dough). The butter will be spread throughout like pea sized chunks.

4. Mix in the coconut milk and vanilla extract until thoroughly combined, and gather all of the dough into a ball.

5. On a floured surface, roll out the dough until it’s between 1/2 inch and 3/4 inch thick.
6. Using either a cup or like me, a cookie cutter, cut out even sized scones and place on sprayed baking sheet.

7. Make a mixture of a tiny bit of coconut milk (about 1/2 tsp) with equal amount of powdered sugar and mix together. Brush onto the tops of the scones, and sprinkle with granulated sugar (optional).

8. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until lightly browned on top. Remove and allow to cool fully. I like to cut mine in half to let them cool faster, and also because I like to stuff mine.

Whipped Cream (for non-vegan version):

  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 tablespoon powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Beat the ingredients together until soft peaks form. I like doing this by hand, it’s a good workout for the arms and it’s actually not as daunting a task as you might think. Rather than it being about the power you put into it, it’s more about the movement. What I do is focus on incorporating a lot of air by sweeping the whisk under the cream and lifting it over in a brisk (but not necessarily hard) scooping motion. Fast is better, but if your arm gets tired, continue the motion slower. Try using the wrist more when your arm gets tired. Within 5 minutes, you’ll have whipped cream and more muscle. πŸ™‚

Vegan Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting (repeat of last recipe, but worth it)

  • 1 tablespoon pureed strawberries (I just took some slices of strawberries that I used to stuff the scones and mashed them up with a fork)
  • 2 tablespoons Earth Balance Vegan Margarine, softened
  • 2 tablespoons Tofutti “Cream Cheese”
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 3/4 cups sifted powdered sugar
  • Beat the Earth Balance and Toffuti together until light and fluffy, then add the pureed strawberries and vanilla. Mix in the powdered sugar gradually, and beat until creamy. Super easy and delicious!

    Last but not least, stuff your scones with either the whipped cream of the vegan strawberry frosting and fresh chopped strawberries and enjoy! These also taste yummy if stuffed and refrigerated. I actually like the slight crunch on the outside and then the absorpbtion of some of the whipped cream or frosting and juices from the strawberry on the inside after it gets cold in the refrigerator. πŸ™‚

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Filed under Pastries, Vegan

Guava and Cream Cheese (or Neufchatel) Puff Pastries

Guava is not for everybody. I personally think guava smells a little funny, tastes a little funny, and it’s just not something I would ever crave–unless someone tempted me with one of these. Then I’d gladly consume the guava, and enjoy it. By itself? Not so much for me. For anybody who has never tried guava, give this recipe a try. I know tasting your ingredients before baking with them is a good rule of thumb, but I waited until they were done baking before I tasted the guava, because I already know I don’t like it by itself and I didn’t want to completely turn myself off to them before they were even done baking.

My boyfriend’s dad loves guava, and he once had me eat some with cream cheese while sitting at the dining room table for one of their Sunday lunches. He told me to try it before proceeding to tell me a story, which I only half heard once he said the first sentence–it was something along the lines of:

“Now, a sweet and ripe guava has to have worms in it.”

Since then, I’ve checked out the Wikipedia page for guava, and didn’t see anything about that. I will have to ask him again whether it was that particular guava I was eating that had worms in it, or if he was saying all ripe guava has worms. I’ve read a lot of (American) people online saying,”Stay away from guava with worms in it!”, but according to my boyfriend’s dad (Venezuelan), those are the best tasting guava there are. Obviously you don’t eat the worms, unless that’s your cup of tea. And obviously mine did not have worms in it, at least not when I bought it, since it was packaged and in the form of a block of paste. Worms or not, I don’t find guava all that sweet or delicious. Once it baked, however, encased in the buttery and flaky puff pastry and surrounded by the yummy Neufchatel mixture, guava was suddenly,”Mmmm“.

My favorite thing about these pastries other than that they are crazy yummy (and addictive, which is not one of my favorite things about them) is that they can sit around all day or all night and still taste good, whether you pop them in the microwave or just eat them as is.

I bought a frozen package of puff pastry that came in 2 large sheets. Each sheet had 6 rectangle shapes already ready to just peel away to use individually. Once thawed, I used a pizza cutter to cut the rectangles out. I decided to go with making individual pastries instead of one large one, partly because the dough seemed made for that and also because I liked the idea of having individual pastries, so that one could be all mine.

I have to be honest, I was a little intimidated by the recipe for this that I found on Epicurious, with all the specific instructions with all the measurements, etc. For someone like me, that is uber confusing. By making them smaller, it made it more “common sense” for me. I knew I had to leave a border around the edges, and since it was smaller, I didn’t really need to measure much.

For each pastry, I used two pieces of the rectangular pastry that were already scored into the frozen sheet of dough. My first batch I did roll out the first sheet of dough to about 12×10 inches, but the second batch I was lazy and didn’t roll it out at all, and it came out just fine. The thing to making these is just leaving an even border (about 1/2 inch) all along the edges to ensure that your filling can be locked in when you place the second piece of dough on top and crimp it together with the egg and water wash acting as a glue. I laid one piece of the pastry dough out, filled the center with a rectangle spread of the Neufchatel mixture, and then on the edges of that, made two rows of the guava filling in strips. With the other piece of dough that was the same size, I folded in half lengthwise, and made lazy slits with a pizza cutter (you can use scissors or a knife too) making sure to leave 1/2 inch border on the top, bottom, and side. When I opened it up, it just looked like slits throughout the middle of it. Once it bakes, they puff and open up, so that you can see the filling inside. So don’t worry when you layer it on top and it doesn’t look like the final product.

I also tried making another version without the slits, and just poking holes in the top. Bad idea. They Neufchatel mixture (which actually has eggs in it) cooked like scrambled eggs inside. The holes poked in were not enough for the air to escape as it puffed up, so definitely go with making slits in each one if you don’t want guava and scrambled egg puff pastry!

To be honest, I can’t imagine how yummy these would be with cream cheese. Neufchatel is definitely more mild and not as flavorful, so next time I will go with cream cheese. To make up for the lower calorie and fat content (just kidding, if I had used cream cheese, I would still do this) I made an icing with the leftover 2 ounces of Neufchatel. I had an 8oz package of Neufchatel, and cut it into 8 equal cubes. 6 for the filling and 2 for the icing. It was completely necessary. Although, once I did that, I got so impatient that I only took one picture of them with the icing.

You’re going to have to make these yourself if you want to see more, because mine are gone baby, gone.

Guava and Cream Cheese (or Neufchatel) Puff Pastries – adapted from Epicurious

  • 1 package of frozen puff pastry (2 sheets)
  • 1 egg (some for egg wash and some for cream cheese mixture)
  • For the Guava Mixture

  • 2/3 cup guava paste, pureed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons citrus juice (lemon or lime both work)
  • For the Cream Cheese (or Neufchatel) mixture

  • 6 ounces of cream cheese, softened
  • 1 tablespoon coconut milk (optional)
  • Leftover egg
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • For the icing

  • 2/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 2 ounces cream cheese

1. Allow frozen puff pastry to thaw at room temperature, while getting the fillings ready.

2. Take 1 egg, and measure out 1 1/2 tablespoons of the egg and beat lightly in a small bowl with 1/2 tablespoon of water. This will be the egg wash mixture. Keep remaining egg for the cream cheese mixture.

3. Combine 6 ounces of cream cheese, leftover egg, sugar, vanilla, and coconut milk and mix with electric or handheld mixer until smooth and creamy.

4. Cut guava paste into small chunks and measure out about 2/3 cup (doesn’t have to be exact). Puree guava with either lemon or lime juice in a food processor. If you don’t have one (like me), you can use a handheld mixer, but it will take a while for the mixer to break up the cubes into a puree, so have patience. I actually heated up the guava in the microwave to soften it.

5. Line a baking sheet with tin foil and place in a 425 degree oven to heat up while preparing the pastries.

6. Cut 6 rectangles out of one sheet of thawed puff pastry dough. This will make the first 3 pastries. While they are baking, you can prepare the other 3.

7. Take two rectangle pieces. On a lightly floured surface, lay one down in front of you the long way (it will look like the one in my picture with the fillings on it) and take the other and fold it in half lengthwise.

8. With the piece folded lengthwise, score a 1/2 inch border for the top, bottom, and one side that you aren’t going to make the slits on. On the side you’re going to cut the slits, space the slits evenly from each other and cut them about 1 inch long (not going past the 1/2 inch mark on the opposite side).

9. With the other rectangle dough for the fillings, fill the center in a rectangle shape with the cream cheese mixture, leaving a 1/2 inch border around the edges. Then lay two rows of pureed guava paste on lengthwise on top of the cream cheese mixture, leaving a space between them in the middle.

10. Brush the outer 1/2 inch edges with the egg and water mixture, unfold the other piece of pastry dough, and layer it evenly on top of the one with the filling. Press together with fingers and then seal tightly using a fork. Brush the outside with the egg wash, and set aside. Continue doing this for the remaining 2 pastries.

11. Remove the hot baking sheet from the oven, and carefully transfer the 3 pastries onto the sheet. Bake in the oven on the middle rack for about 15 minutes, or until they have turned golden browned and puffed up. (Keep an eye on them) Cool them on a wire rack, while you bake the next batch of 3.

12. For the icing–mix the cream cheese and milk together and slowly add the powdered sugar. Blend well with handheld mixer on medium speed, until creamy and make sure there aren’t any lumps. (Sift the powdered sugar first to avoid this). Drizzle over the warm pastries.

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Filed under Breakfast, Pastries