I had an urge to make some bread but me being me didn’t have an urge to get my hands dirty and sticky by doing all that kneading malarkey. I dragged out my bread machine from the cupboard, had a look for something interesting in the fridge with which to make some bread but unfortunately, the fridge was a bit bare and I wasn’t sure if pickled onion bread was a thing. However, there was a box of mushrooms that needed to be used up so, after briefly pondering if mushroom bread was a thing, and deciding it was, I decided to make some vegan mushroom bread in my bread machine.
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There’s a misconception that dairy-free spread tastes weird. I’m not sure why people think this – I mean, yes, it’s not quite as rich and creamy as full-fat dairy butter but it’s usually made with plant oil and there’s nothing weird about that. Flora Freedom is a new dairy-free spread that tastes the same as the regular spread in the Flora range but is suitable for vegetarians, vegans and those who are lactose intolerant. Made from rapeseed oil and sustainable palm oil, it contains 60% less saturated fat than butter and is free from artificial preservatives, colours and flavours. And you can do whatever it is you do with the dairy Flora: frying, baking, spreading, or just eating straight from the tub (really? You do that? Ick).
I’ve blitzed them in smoothies, dunked them in hummus, and mushroom pate, cooked them in stews and bologneses but most of the time, because they go limp quickly, a lot of them end up in the compost. Last week after yet again receiving a big bunch of carrots, I decided to do something more ‘carroty’ with them and use them as the basis for something, rather than just added to something to simply use them up.
I love brownies but I don’t make them very often because then I have to see exactly all the rubbish that goes into them. Healthy vegan brownies though sound at best an oxymoron and, at worst, a really bad idea.
But Discount Supplements wanted to send me some flax seeds and cacao nibs with which to make brownies and so it’d have been rude to say no, wouldn’t it? (Plus, I keep seeing recipes I want to make containing flax seeds and cocoa nibs and it’d save me buying any myself.)
I’m not going to lie and say, ‘OH MY GOD YOU MUST TRY THESE BROWNIES YOU WON’T BELIEVE THEY’RE HEALTHY THEY’RE JUST LIKE NORMAL REALLY UNHEALTHY BROWNIES’ because I’d be lying. And anyway, I don’t actually speak like that.
But, if you want a perfectly acceptable brownie that isn’t *too* unhealthy, then give these a go.
I added walnuts to my vegan brownies because – as is my usual reason for using something – that’s what I had in but you can use cashews or almonds or whatever you fancy, or just leave them out completely.
- 1 tbsp flaxseed
- 60g dark chocolate, broken into pieces
- 60g self-raising flour
- 35g walnuts, chopped
- 25g cacao nibs
- ⅛ tsp baking powder
- ⅛ tsp salt
- 125g caster sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Heat oven to 170C
- Line an 8" square tin with baking paper
- Mix the flaxseed with 3 tbsp of water and set aside while you prepare the rest of the ingredients
- Melt the chocolate with 50ml water in a saucepan on a low heat, then allow to cool slightly
- Put the flour, walnuts, cocoa nibs, baking powder and salt in bowl and stir to remove any lumps
- Whisk the sugar into the melted chocolate mixture and beat well until smooth, making sure the sugar is dissolved
- Stir in the flaxseed mixture, vanilla extract and the flour. Stir well and pour into the prepared tin
- Bake for 35 minutes until a skewer inserted comes out clean
- Allow to cool in the tin, then cut into squares
Please note the nutritional information above is approximate and will vary depending on your own ingredients
What I really fancied making yesterday were the chilli cheese flapjacks I made a while back. I wanted to veganise them though and wondered if swapping the cheese for Violife vegan cheese and the butter for Vitalite dairy-free spread would work but then when it came to replacing the eggs, I doubted if applesauce (which can be used to replace eggs in cakes, muffins and other bready stuff) would do the trick. I don’t know why I thought this as I’m no scientist but it sounded dubious so I decided against it. [It has just occurred to me while typing this, that chia seeds would have been a good replacement but I didn’t have any in and I wouldn’t have spent £7, or whatever they cost, on a packet just to make some flapjacks anyway.]
But, I still wanted to make some flapjacks and although I knew vegan ones wouldn’t be as good as the ones my friend Cassie makes (hers are full-on dairy and completely delicious if a tad unhealthy. When I say ‘tad’, I obviously mean, ‘totally’), I reckoned they’d do to quash my craving.
These flapjacks are quick and easy to make and are oaty, buttery and moist, just like a flapjack should be. I reckon next time, I’ll double the quantities and make them thicker.
- 125g porridge oats
- 60g dairy-free spread (I used Vitalite)
- 60g brown sugar
- 2 tbsp Golden Syrup
- Melt the dairy-free spread in a saucepan, stir in the rest of the ingredients, then press firmly into an 8" square tin.
- Bake in the oven at 180C for about 15 minutes, or until the edges are turning brown.
- Score gently, then leave to cool.
- Cut into 9 pieces.
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