On Vegan Banana Chocolate Chip Pancakes & Alchemy

Cooking is alchemy, don’t you think?

Take pancakes, for example (don’t mind if I do).

You start with a mixture of things that you would never eat as is (read: flour, baking powder, oil, eggs), and things that are “eh” as is (sugar, milk), which you then turn into something that I would argue is better than gold. Chocolate chips, of course, are an exception to the whole “eh” rule, but they’re an add-in, so you get what I’m saying.

On Vegan Banana Chocolate Chip Pancakes and Alchemy | memo2munch

Sometimes when I cook I feel like a mad scientist. And like any good mad scientist would, I start wondering if this way is the only way to do things. If I could get just as good a result using other ingredients or tweaking things here and there.

I got reaaaaal mad scientist-y when I found out about my dairy allergy. I grabbed a lab coat, some goggles, and experimented with baking using non-dairy milk and butter. I had some major successes, like dairy-free cinnamon rolls and vegan buttermilk biscuits. And they STILL made me take chemistry in college. Can you believe it?

The thing about this type of baking, though, is that you’re substituting an ingredient with something similar, something intended to be a substitute for that specific ingredient. Almond milk is made to replace cow’s milk.

On Vegan Banana Chocolate Chip Pancakes and Alchemy | memo2munch

So the question becomes: can you substitute an ingredient with something completely different and unique?

YEAH YOU CAN, YOU ALCHEMIST, YOU.

I made these delish—and I do mean delish—pancakes vegan by using one mashed banana in place of an egg. It works because the properties of each result in the same function.

Why are there eggs in pancakes anyway? To bind things together. Eggs keep your pancakes from crumbling apart. But if you don’t want to use eggs to hold your pancakes together, you have to use something else that acts as a binder in its place. Mashed banana has the same binding effect as eggs, not to mention is vegan, and adds sweetness and a light banana flavor. And the fluffiness factor we all love about pancakes is entirely unaffected. Alchemy.

It’s like your favorite banana bread… in a pancake. With chocolate. *Bows*

On Vegan Banana Chocolate Chip Pancakes and Alchemy | memo2munch

If you’re vegan or just curious about other egg replacements, each of the following will replace 1 egg:
– 1 tbsp. ground flax mixed with 3 tbsp. water, let sit for 30 min. to thicken
– 1 tbsp. chia seeds mixed with 3 tbsp. water, let sit for 30 min. to thicken
– ¼ c. pureed silken tofu
– ¼ c. dairy-free yogurt

On Vegan Banana Chocolate Chip Pancakes and Alchemy | memo2munch

Easy Vegan Banana Chocolate Chip Pancakes
(makes 10-12 5in. pancakes)

Ingredients
2 cups (250g) all-purpose flour (or any flour, such as gf)
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
2 medium bananas, mashed
2 cups (470 mL) dairy-free milk or mix with 2 tbsp. lemon juice (for vegan buttermilk)
3 tbsp. oil, plus more to grease pan
vegan chocolate chips (I like using mini)
Maple syrup, sliced banana, or melted white chocolate, for serving (optional)

Method
1. In a large bowl, mix the dairy-free milk with the lemon juice and let stand until thickened. In a separate, smaller bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar.

2. Mash the bananas with a fork until smooth and add to the bowl with the milk mixture. Add the oil as well and mix until evenly combined. Pour the flour mixture into the liquids and gently mix with a spatula just until no large lumps remain. (Small lumps are fine).

3. Heat a skillet over medium heat. Grease lightly with oil and ladle the pancakes into the pan in disks 4-5 inches in diameter. Sprinkle chocolate chips over the pancakes in the pan. At this point you can lower the heat to medium-low. Cook until bubbles appear in the center of the pancakes and the edges begin to look dry, then flip. Cook for 1 minute on the other side. Serve as is or with any of the topping choices listed in the ingredients. (If you want melted white chocolate—–it’s good!—–you can melt the chocolate in a glass bowl set atop a pot of boiling water, or by microwaving in 30 seconds increments and stirring after each.)

memo2brunch: GF Baked Oatmeals & GF Banana Choco Chip Bars!

So having a kitchen at college has helped me realize something. I love–like, LOVE–feeding people.

Ok well, duh. BUT I want to make a distinction. What I’m talking about is not the same as cooking for the sake of cooking and then deciding to share it with others. It’s cooking with the intention of providing something for people I care about. Cuz food and happiness go together, and everybody needs both.

During those moments when I get to watch my friends sitting in our living room, laughing and talking with each other, a plate of my food in hand, my heart just swells right up. I think to myself, “Hey, I got to provide people with this small bit of joy.” And that feels really, really good. I get allll the fuzzies. Every fluffy puppy known to man.

(Cleaning the apartment = worth it)

Shout out to Grandma and Poppy, who have brought our family together for delicious food more times than I can count. Your house is the hub! Thanks for showing me how it’s done. 😉

This school year we’ve had a few brunches at the apartment where I get to lure people over to our “hub” with the promise of lots of carbs. Here are some pics from our most recent one, along with the recipes! We had blueberry pecan baked oatmeal, maple bourbon baked oatmeal, and banana chocolate chip bars. Mmmmmm <3

memo2munch | baked oatmeal

memo2munch | baked oatmeal

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Recipes: (There are 3)

GF Baked Oatmeal with Maple Bourbon Sauce
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For the oatmeal
  1. 3 cups certified GF rolled oats
  2. 1/2 c. brown sugar
  3. 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  4. 2 tsp. baking powder
  5. 1 tsp. salt
  6. 1 c. unsweetened almond milk
  7. 2 eggs
  8. 1/2 c. melted Earth Balance or coconut oil
  9. 2 tsp. vanilla extract
For the Sauce
  1. 1 c. pure maple syrup
  2. 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  3. 1/4 tsp. allspice
  4. 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  5. 1/2 tsp. lemon juice
  6. 1/4 c. bourbon
Instructions
  1. Make the oatmeal: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F/175 degrees C. Grease a 9x13 inch baking dish.
  2. Toss dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Stir in the milk, eggs, melted coconut oil, and vanilla extract.
  3. Spread evenly in greased baking dish. Bake for 35-40 minutes.
  4. Make the sauce: Heat all on high until incorporated. Then lower heat and keep warm until oatmeal is done.
  5. When the oatmeal comes out of the oven, pour about half of the sauce on top of the oatmeal. It will soak in and be delicious! Save the rest for people to add as they want it.
Memo2munch http://memo2munch.com/
GF Blueberry Pecan Baked Oatmeal
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Ingredients
  1. 2 c. certified gluten free rolled oats
  2. 1/2 c. pecan pieces, toasted and roughly chopped
  3. 1 tsp. baking powder
  4. 1.5 tsp. ground cinnamon
  5. scant 1 tsp. salt
  6. 2 c. unsweetened almond milk
  7. 1 egg
  8. 1/3 c. maple syrup or honey
  9. 3 tbsp. melted coconut oil or Earth Balance or butter
  10. 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  11. 1.5 c. blueberries, fresh or frozen (I used frozen because berries are not in season)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F/175 degrees C. Grease a 10 inch cast iron skillet or other baking dish.
  2. Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients except the berries and mix well.
  4. Pour some of the oat mixture into the pan. Top with some berries. Repeat with remaining oats and berries.
  5. Bake for 35-40 minutes. Serve with more syrup, if desired.
Adapted from Epicurious
Adapted from Epicurious
Memo2munch http://memo2munch.com/
GF Banana Chocolate Chip Bars
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Ingredients
  1. 1 cup mashed, ripe banana (from about 3 medium bananas)
  2. 8 tbsp. brown sugar
  3. 4 tbsp. honey
  4. 2 tbsp. vegetable oil
  5. 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  6. 2 large eggs
  7. 1/3 cup brown rice flour*
  8. 1/3 cup finely ground corn flour*
  9. 1 tsp. salt
  10. 3 cups GF instant oatmeal (uncooked)
  11. A whole lotta chocolate chips (Add until it looks like enough)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F/174 degrees C. Coat a foil-lined 9x13 inch rectangular baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. Beat bananas and next five ingredients until blended.
  3. Combine flours and salt in a separate bowl. Gradually add dry ingredients to banana mixture. Stir in the oatmeal, and then fold in the chocolate chips.
  4. Spoon batter into prepared pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack before slicing into bars.
Notes
  1. *You can sub any flour you want, as long as it equals 2/3 cup
Memo2munch http://memo2munch.com/

Simple Homemade Cinnamon Rolls (Dairy Free)

Let me tell you how to win anyone’s heart.

Cinnamon rolls. Or chocolate. But today we’re focusing on cinnamon rolls because Valentine’s Day has a way of overdoing chocolate, you know what I mean?

Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE me some chocolate.

But it’s just like, I feel surrounded. You walk into the supermarket and you’re immediately ambushed by chocolate EVERYTHING. And all of it’s wrapped in pink and red. Soooo much pink, y’all.

Simple Homemade Cinnamon Rolls | memo2munch

That’s why warm, doughy, rolls overflowing with cinnamon and dripping with sweet glaze are so refreshing. You can’t beat that first bite, I’m telling you. Or the irresistible smell. And if you don’t end up with glaze all over your fingers and face, you’re EATING IT WRONG.

Just look into those swirls. I’m pretty sure hypnosis via cinnamon rolls is a very real thing.

Simple Homemade Cinnamon Rolls | memo2munch

I know yeast seems scary, but I promise that if I can do it, so can you. The hardest part about using yeast is getting the liquid temperature right when you activate it. Active dry yeast has to sit in warm liquid (in this recipe it’s almond milk) for about 10 minutes before it is used so it can “wake up.” Once the yeast is activated, it does all the work on its own. Just remember that it’s picky: aim for a temperature you would make a baby’s bath. For a more comprehensive post about yeast, see my blueberry sweet rolls post. I’ll still walk you through all the steps here, don’t worry!

Since Valentine's Day was a Friday, basically that means the holiday carries through the whole weekend. Here's a breakfast/brunch idea that will win you major points! (Or just make it and enjoy it yourself. Homemade cinnamon rolls are ALWAYS worth the indulgence!)  If you enjoyed this post, please share it with your friends and family! You can receive posts sent straight to your email by clicking the gray follow button on the left side of the screen or at the bottom of the page. Thanks for reading!

Another thing that usually frightens people about yeast recipes is kneading. Kneading develops the gluten in dough, which gives it that nice, chewy, texture. It’s very important, and not as hard as you think!

You want the dough to be a little sticky when you start, so don’t add too much flour or the rolls will be tough. Flour a surface and place the ball of dough down, flipping it so the outside is coated in flour. Hold the bottom edge of the dough in place with your left hand. Grab the front of the dough in your right hand and use the heal of your right hand to gently stretch the dough away from you, then fold it back on top of itself. Turn the whole dough ball a quarter to the right. Repeat this process for 3-4 minutes, and THAT’S IT! Pull, fold, turn. It’s actually pretty relaxing.

You can tell when you’re done kneading when the dough is smooth and not sticky anymore.

Then you roll it out and spread with margarine:

Simple Homemade Cinnamon Rolls | memo2munch

Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar:

Simple Homemade Cinnamon Rolls | memo2munch

Roll up, cut and let rise. Cute!

Simple Homemade Cinnamon Rolls | memo2munch

Simple Homemade Cinnamon Rolls | memo2munch

Simple Homemade Cinnamon Rolls | memo2munch

Deeeeng, look at that before and after.

Since Valentine’s Day was a Friday, basically that means the holiday carries through the whole weekend. Here’s a breakfast/brunch idea that will win you major points! (Or just make it and enjoy it yourself. Homemade cinnamon rolls are ALWAYS worth the indulgence!) Happy eating!

If you enjoyed this post, please share it with your friends and family! You can receive posts sent straight to your email by clicking the gray follow button on the left side of the screen or at the bottom of the page. Thanks for reading!

Simple Homemade Cinnamon Rolls (Dairy Free)
Adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction

Makes: 12 rolls

Ingredients:

ROLLS

2 and 3/4 cups (345g) all-purpose flour

3 Tablespoons granulated sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1 package active dry yeast (1 packet = 2 and 1/4 teaspoons)

1/2 cup (120ml) water

1/4 cup (60ml) almond milk (you can use cow’s milk if you prefer)

2 and 1/2 Tablespoons margarine

1 large egg

FILLING

3 Tablespoons margarine, melted

1 and 1/2 Tablespoons ground cinnamon

1/4 cup granulated sugar

VANILLA GLAZE

1 cup powdered (confectioners’) sugar, sifted

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 Tablespoons almond milk

Directions:

1. Make the dough: Heat the water, milk, and margarine together in the microwave until the margarine is melted and the mixture is the temperature of bath water. About 107-110F degrees. Sprinkle yeast over mixture and let sit for about 10 minutes, or until mixture has become foamy.

2. Set aside 1/2 cup of flour. In a large bowl, toss the 2 and 1/4 cups flour, the sugar, and the salt together in a large bowl until evenly dispersed.

3. Stir the margarine mixture into the flour mixture. Add the egg and only enough of the reserved flour to make a soft dough. Dough will be ready when it gently pulls away from the side of the bowl and has an elastic consistency.

4. On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough for about 3-4 minutes. Place in a lightly greased bowl (I used a little olive oil) and let rest for about 10 minutes.

5. Make the filling: After 10 minutes, roll the dough out in a 14×8 inch rectangle. Spread the melted margarine on top. Mix together the cinnamon and sugar and sprinkle it all over the dough. Add more cinnamon/sugar if desired. Roll up the dough tightly. Cut into about 12 even pieces and place in a lightly greased 9-inch round pan or square pan. Loosely cover the rolls with aluminum foil and allow to rise in a warm, draft-free place until double in size, about 1 hour. Here is a trick I’ve learned: heat the oven to 200F degrees. Turn oven off. Place rolls inside oven and allow to rise.

6. After the rolls have doubled in size, take them out and preheat the oven to 375F. Bake for 25-30 minutes until lightly browned. I covered the rolls with aluminum foil after 15 minutes to avoid heavy browning.

7. Make the glaze: Right before serving, top your cinnamon rolls with glaze. Mix all ingredients together until smooth and drizzle over rolls. If you prefer a thicker glaze, add more powdered sugar and then add salt to cut the sweetness, if desired.

Honey Almond Squares + Update

HAPPY 2014!!!!

How crazy/exciting! I hope this year is everything you want it to be—but better—and that you take opportunities for all kinds of new experiences—especially those that scare you (within reason, of course! There’s putting yourself outside of your comfort zone, and then there’s putting yourself in a tank with sharks. Capisce?).

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I figured since it’s the New Year and all, I’d give you a lil’ update on what I’ve been up to PLUS a recipe (nomnomnom). But first can we talk about Google’s logo today? Wuuuut. I mean the numbers’ faces, gah.

Below is the first thing I ate in the year 2014, forever immortalized on the internet! (A very good thing, as now I have a chance of actually remembering…) I hadn’t eaten anything SINCE LAST YEAR UGH so this meal had to be supa yummy. French toast made with a fresh, crusty bread and some colorful berries. And tea, of course. We’re fancy in 2014.

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Last Sunday we had a DEEELICIOUS brunch at my grandparent’s house featuring various fish my cousin had flown in from New York, bagels another cousin brought from Chicago, a blintz soufflé made by my grandma, crackers and a fruit salad prepared by yet another cousin, and honey almond squares (for which you will get the recipe today) made by moi. Whew, what a MEAL! I’ll break it down a little.

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Are you drooling? I’m drooling.

The fish came from a very well-known New York establishment called Russ and Daughters. It also happens that 2014 is Russ and Daughter’s 100th anniversary! Russ and Daughters is renowned for the quality of its fish, and boy, do we know why! From top to bottom (in random order): Nova Lox, Smoked Whitefish, Kippered (baked) Salmon, and Sturgeon. Not pictured was also some pickled herring.

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The whitefish came whole, so here’s a little montage of my grandpa boning it! WARNING: full dead fish alert, not for the faint of heart!

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Since I had to try it all, I came in with a strategy: two bagel halves, two types of fish per bagel. So as to not be confused when one type of fish ended and the other began, I made sure that each bagel half had a white-ish fish and a type of salmon. It ended up kind of like a yin-yang type of thing. Mmmm!

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Now for the Honey Almond Squares, which came from a New York Times recipe. They weren’t something that I normally would have picked out on my own, but I’m so glad that my cousin David found it and emailed it to my grandparents because DANG are they good.

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They get even better over time, too. The flavors of almond, honey, and a whisper of orange really meld with each other and come to life in these little squares.

Please note the word “whisper” in that last sentence. I just love that. I can’t take credit for it, but I love it. I read it in an article a few weeks ago, and I really don’t want to tell you how much thought has gone in to finding the perfect time to use it. Let’s just appreciate it in this here first post of 2014!

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I really get that imagery though, you know? It’s like, I’m telling you what’s in them and I say “There’s definitely honey and almond,” and then I whisper as an afterthought, “and orange.” It’s not like “WOAH THERE’S ORANGE!!” but just as if it’s a bit of a surprise to find that orange flavor.

Yup, it’s January 1st and we’ve already established that I’m crazy. It’s cool. Really.

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These little squares are great, though! The crust is just the right thickness, and it’s soft, which is in perfect contrast to the crunch of the almonds. The honey gives the squares a magnificent sheen, and the overall effect is dazzling. They’re just as much a treat to look at as they are to eat!

Make sure the keep the squares tightly covered once they have cooled completely. It develops the flavor so much more and even improves the texture.

ENJOY!

If you liked this post, please click the gray follow button on the left side of the screen or at the very bottom of the page to receive email notifications about new posts. Thanks for reading!

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Honey Almond Squares
(The New York Times)

Ingredients

Pastry
3/4 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 c. almond meal (see note)
3 T. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
6 tbsp. margarine, chilled and cut into cubes
1 large egg yolk
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
Topping
4 T. margarine
1 cup sliced almonds
1/3 c. candied orange or lemon peel, cut into tiny cubes
1/3 c. sugar
2 T. honey
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

*Note: If you don’t have almond meal on hand, you can finely grind some sliced or whole almonds in a food processor.

Method
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line an 8 or 9-inch-square baking pan with parchment, letting it hang over the sides for easier removal later.
2. Prepare the pastry: In a food processor, combine flour, almond meal, sugar and salt. Pulse to blend. Add the margarine and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add egg yolk, vanilla, and one tablespoon of water. Pulse to incorporate. add 1 to 2 more tablespoons of water through the feed tube, tablespoon by tablespoon, pulsing until just before the pastry forms a ball. You may not need all the water. I only needed 1 tablespoon.
3. Turn the dough out into the prepared baking pan. Press the dough evenly into the bottom of the pan. Place in the oven on the center rack and bake until the pastry begins the brown around the edges, 12-15 minutes.
4. Prepare the topping: In a saucepan, melt the margarine over low heat. Add the almonds, candied peel, sugar, honey, and vanilla extract. Heat just until the ingredients are incorporated.
5. Remove the pan from heat and spread the almond-honey mixture evenly over the pastry. Return the pan to the oven and bake until the topping is a deep gold 12-15 minutes. Once it has cooled, remove from the pan and cut into 25 squares. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Apple Cinnamon French Toast Bake

LET ME JUST EXPLAIN TO YOU THE CRAZINESS THAT IS GOING ON. (Oh no, starting with the caps again already!)

You see, it all started when that doll Mother Nature decided TO SKIP FALL. Yeah, that happened. I mean, nobody’s in a rush to get to winter unless the holidays are getting close, am I right? I’m right.

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But last week here in the good ole Midwest, it snowed. And sleeted. And hailed a little bit I’m told, although I didn’t see it in person. But those other two forms of precipitation? Witnessed with my two very own eyeballs!

There’s just something not right about seeing snow when there are leaves on the trees that haven’t even begun to turn into those fiery colors everyone associates with fall.

Oh my gosh. What if the cold from the snow killed the leaves and now instead of changing colors they’ll just SHRIVEL UP AND DIE?! Does that statement reach the drama quota on this post? I mean, I sorta prepared you for drama with the very first sentence; I had to give ya something.

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