vegan coffee cake muffins

vegan coffee cake muffins / loveandlemons.comvegan coffee cake muffins /

I’m heading to Chicago later this week and I’m trying to think warm thoughts… It’ll be all of 1 degree when I land… and, (brr), my skin just isn’t that thick anymore.

These muffins are a variation of my absolute favorite childhood breakfast: my Grandma Kissel’s coffee cake. On cold snowy mornings, there was nothing better than waking up to smell of warm cinnamon-ey cake wafting through the house.

Of course these are slightly healthier and also vegan – using almond milk instead of sour cream and coconut oil instead of butter. But this is cake after all, so whatever you do, don’t skimp on the best part – the crumbly walnut topping.

moonshine sweet tea cupcakes

moonshine sweet tea cupcakes / @loveandlemonsmoonshine sweet tea cupcakes / @loveandlemons

It’s a good thing I didn’t start the new year off with healthy resolutions because the past few days have been all about cupcake making. (I have a hard life, I know). And I’m sorry to say that these aren’t low-sugar, low-carb, low-fat… although they are low in “shelf life” because they’re likely to disappear soon after you make them. Everything in moderation right?

Remember this post about Moonshine Sweet Tea? Well it’s back, this time in cake form. These cupcakes are the perfect treat to cozy up with while you daydream about hot sunny days ahead. And – exciting news – you can now find Moonshine Sweet Tea in all Southwest Region Whole Foods stores.

carrot muffins with coconut whip

carrot muffins with coconut whip

Spring is in the air (at least, here in Austin it is), and I’ve been getting non-stop carrots in my Farmhouse Delivery box. Which means one thing to us… carrot cake. This time, in muffin form.

carrot muffins with coconut whip

I topped these with coconut whip lightly sweetened with maple syrup. It’s airy, yet creamy… much less indulgent than a more traditional cream cheese frosting, but it was exactly what I was in the mood for this time. With a dusting of cinnamon on top.

gluten free chocolate chip cookies

I’ll be honest, most things I bake don’t make it to the blog. For starters, I don’t bake very often. Our household (not including the dogs), is just 2 of us. And if 12 cookies are made one day, 12 cookies will be gone the next day.

When I do bake, I’d call it experimental more than anything else. I can’t bring myself to follow a recipe all the way through without changing at least a few things… sometimes an attempt to healthify things… other times, I’m just too lazy to go out and get the exact ingredients. You know how I like to work with what I’ve got.

But every now and then one of my “trial by error” baking projects works out. This one I was especially pleased with. These didn’t really flatten out like I thought they might, but I really enjoyed the thicker texture of these cookies. Not too dense, nicely chewy and moist… and filled with walnuts and chocolate.

They’re partially made with coconut flour, which I’ve been experimenting since it’s so healthy. It has tons of fiber, but it can make your baked goods so so dry if you use too much (and also if you over-bake).

I’m by no means an expert on gluten free baking, but I’ve learned 2 things so far:

1. add lots of nuts and chocolate, that’s not the area to skimp.

2. maybe the saddest part – the raw dough (in blends w/ chickpea flour in them, at least) tastes terrible. I’ve started liking Bob’s Red Mill gluten free blend lately… I find it the most similar to all-purpose flour (and it doesn’t have dairy in it like some other blends do). That funky taste goes away once they’re baked, but if you’re having one of those days where you need to consume a bowl of dough, you need to use another kind of flour. (oat or almond (or both) perhaps…).

coconut loaf

I’ve been reading Sara & Hugh’s blog Sprouted Kitchen, for about as long as I’ve been reading 101 Cookbooks. Which is food blog code for: a long time. I’ve had their book pre-ordered for months, but was excited (flattered, really) when Sara sent me one.

Now, everyone reading my blog is, I’m sure, already familiar with Sprouted Kitchen. I probably don’t need to go on about how gorgeous Hugh’s photography is. Or about how many “I wish I thought of that” moments I’ve had over Sara’s inspiring and creative recipe ideas (Shiitake Taco’s anyone?). So I’ll just get to why I like the book…

We are a lot alike… First off, Sara suggests readers should buy and plant a lemon tree. (I’ve been talking about planting a lemon tree for about 2 years now – time to get on it). In another section she talks about being offended when Hugh once referred to her style of cooking as “bowl foods” (because “that’s not a style for heaven’s sake”)…  which is just the sort of thing Jack would say, and exactly the way I would react.

But what we really have in common is breakfast. I like eggs with piles of greens, and Jack would be one for sweet foods in the morning.

I made these coconut loaves yesterday afternoon, which doubled as dessert last night, and tripled as breakfast this morning. Coconut is one of my favorite things, especially coconut oil, because it’s a great sub-in for butter. This loaf is sweet but not too sweet, just the way I like it. You can’t really tell in the photo, but I threw some chopped mango in one, and (well pictured), some chocolate chips in the other.

Click below for the recipe, or get the book – more of their beautiful recipes include edamame & scallion dumplings (which I made & loved), soba bowls with tea-poached salmon, and a gorgeous tuscan kale salad that’s on my to-make list.

(& a big congrats to Sara & Hugh…)