Cornmeal Pancakes {Vegan & Gluten-Free} with Blackberry Compote

Cornmeal Pancakes {Vegan & Gluten-Free} with Blackberry CompoteIt took me seven tries to get these pancakes right.

About a month before we left for Maine, I declared to my travel buddies, VJ and Adam, that I was going to make a a pancake recipe that we could all enjoy. They sort of smiled and nodded because I had clearly lost my mind—VJ is a gluten-free vegan and Adam is a bit of a picky eater, so this basically seemed impossible.

Cornmeal Pancakes {Vegan & Gluten-Free} with Blackberry CompoteNever one to let logic stop me, I set to work. I looked at my pancake recipes and a couple more from around the internet, and then I had six consecutive fails. Every problem pancakes could have, these had: too dry, too bland, too thin, too many ingredients, too stuck to the pan—you name it. I had one batch that was somewhere in the realm of “okay” and as vacation drew near I figured it could work in a pinch, but I was less than enthused about it. I’d crack the code one day, but it wasn’t going to be in time for this trip.

Cornmeal Pancakes {Vegan & Gluten-Free} with Blackberry CompoteBut then, there was cornbread. On the second night of vacation, we decided to grill out. Grilling is not my forte, so Adam took the lead there and I worked on side dishes. I threw out a few ideas to VJ; sautéed spinach was a definite winner, but she sort of lost her mind when I mentioned veganizing my already-gluten-free Southern-Style Cornbread. I had never attempted a vegan version of that recipe, but I figured it would be easy enough. I could swap almond milk soured with vinegar for buttermilk, use a few tablespoons of vegan margarine in place of butter, and I could crack open a can of chickpeas and use the aquafaba in place of the egg. It’s that last change that made that cornbread so good, and when VJ asked for my overhyped Cornmeal Pancakes last Wednesday morning, it’s that change that made a solidly “okay” recipe into one I’ll make again and again.

Cornmeal Pancakes {Vegan & Gluten-Free} with Blackberry CompoteCornmeal Pancakes {Vegan & Gluten-Free} with Blackberry CompoteCornmeal Pancakes {Vegan & Gluten-Free} with Blackberry CompoteCornmeal Pancakes {Vegan & Gluten-Free} with Blackberry CompoteHave you heard of aquafaba? It’s having a bit of a moment right now—it made The New York Times. If you’re in the dark about this miracle of modern baking, I’m sure you’re not alone. Literally translated, aquafaba means “bean water.” And that’s exactly what it is—the liquid from cooking (and canning) chickpeas. If you have a can of chickpeas (or any bean, actually) in your pantry, you have aquafaba in your house right now. Who knew?!

Cornmeal Pancakes {Vegan & Gluten-Free} with Blackberry CompoteCornmeal Pancakes {Vegan & Gluten-Free} with Blackberry CompoteCornmeal Pancakes {Vegan & Gluten-Free} with Blackberry CompoteBefore you go clicking away from this blog forever, hear me out. I know using the cooking liquid from chickpeas in baking sounds absolutely bizarre, but it actually makes a lot of sense, scientifically speaking. Like eggs, aquafaba is super high in protein and very viscous; when whipped, it can even hold stiff peaks! You don’t need to break out your mixer for this recipe though—just three tablespoons of liquid aquafaba help these Cornmeal Pancakes to stay fluffy and keep them from being too crumbly. And since aquafaba doesn’t have a distinctive flavor like other vegan egg replacers (I’m looking at you, flaxseed), it doesn’t distract from the slightly sweet corn flavor 🙌🏻🙌🏻🙌🏻

These Cornmeal Pancakes, y’all. They’re light and fluffy with crispy edges and a rich corn flavor. Oh, and they’re beautiful too.

Cornmeal Pancakes {Vegan & Gluten-Free} with Blackberry CompoteYou could certainly serve them with butter (or vegan margarine) and maple syrup…

Cornmeal Pancakes {Vegan & Gluten-Free} with Blackberry Compote…but I am all about this Blackberry Compote.
Cornmeal Pancakes {Vegan & Gluten-Free} with Blackberry CompoteCornmeal Pancakes {Vegan & Gluten-Free} with Blackberry CompoteCornmeal Pancakes {Vegan & Gluten-Free} with Blackberry CompoteIt only has four ingredients and takes less than ten minutes to prepare, and it’s basically like topping your pancakes with pie filling (but with much less sugar).

However you choose to serve these Cornmeal Pancakes, I hope they make your friends and family as happy as they made mine.

Cornmeal Pancakes {Vegan & Gluten-Free} with Blackberry Compote
Photo courtesy of Valancy Jane.
Cornmeal Pancakes {Vegan & Gluten-Free} with Blackberry Compote

Cornmeal Pancakes {Vegan & Gluten-Free}
makes about 12 pancakes

1 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk 
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
2 3/4 cups yellow cornmeal
1/4 cup cornstarch 
1/4 cup granulated sugar 
1 tablespoon baking powder 
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
3 tablespoons aquafaba (chickpea canning liquid)
1/3 cup neutral-flavored oil (I like canola), plus more for cooking
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

For Serving:
butter (vegan or regular)
pure maple syrup 
Blackberry Compote (recipe below)

In a liquid measuring cup, combine unsweetened almond milk and apple cider vinegar. Let sit 5 minutes or until curdled.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together cornmeal, cornstarch, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add almond milk mixture, aquafaba, oil, and vanilla, and whisk until combined.

Heat about 1 tablespoon of oil in a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add batter to the pan in 1/4 cup increments, leaving space between pancakes. Let cook until the edges no longer look raw, about 2-3 minutes. Flip pancakes and cook an additional 1-2 minutes. Remove to a plate. Repeat process with all remaining batter, adding oil to the pan as necessary.

Divide pancakes among serving plates. Top with butter, maple syrup, and/or Blackberry Compote. Serve immediately.

Blackberry Compote
makes about 2 cups

12 ounces fresh blackberries 
3 tablespoons granulated sugar 
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
juice of 1/2 lime

In a small saucepan, combine blackberries, sugar, and cinnamon. Heat over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until a sauce forms (about 5 minutes). Use a potato masher to mash blackberries until the desired texture is reached. Bring to a boil for 1 minute before removing from heat. Stir in lime juice. Let cool completely.

Compote will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Salted Chocolate Hazelnut Granola

Salted Chocolate Hazelnut GranolaThe countdown to vacation is officially on! I am T-4 days away from driving up to Maine with my friends, VJ and Adam, and I. can’t. wait.

A lot of the appeal of this trip is that we can all be together while also doing our own things. VJ will be perfectly happy putting together puzzles all day long. I have big plans to spend at least a couple of days foraging and baking. This will be Adam’s first time to Swans Island, but I know he’ll settle in quickly. The great thing about this trip is that everyone can do exactly what they want to do—there are no definite plans or must-do activities. It’s positively blissful.

Salted Chocolate Hazelnut GranolaThe only thing that’s difficult about being on Swans Island is figuring out the menu. There are no large grocery stores on-island, so all groceries have to be carted over from a market on the mainland. This means that we spent last Saturday night gathered around Adam’s kitchen table planning out every single meal and snack so that we can shop efficiently and thoroughly. Easy enough, right?

WRONG. While Adam and I basically eat everything, VJ is a gluten-free vegan. Granted, she is the least difficult gluten-free vegan ever (ever ever ever), but it’s still a challenge to plan meals that we can all enjoy together. Honestly, it’s simpler to just make two grocery lists and hope for some ingredient overlap. Regardless, I’ve taken it upon myself to make one thing we can all share and enjoy equally. This Salted Chocolate Hazelnut Granola is the result, and it’s freaking fabulous.

Salted Chocolate Hazelnut GranolaLike most granola, Salted Chocolate Hazelnut Granola is super easy to make and infinitely more delicious than anything you’ll find in stores. It’s basically like crispy, crunchy Nutella-flavored magic…but gluten-free, vegan, and perfect for sharing with all my favorite people.

Salted Chocolate Hazelnut GranolaSalted Chocolate Hazelnut GranolaSalted Chocolate Hazelnut GranolaSalted Chocolate Hazelnut GranolaOats and chopped raw hazelnuts are coated in a mixture of oil, maple syrup, dark brown sugar, cocoa powder, salt, and vanilla, before being baked until crisp. Once the granola isn’t searing hot anymore, four ounces of dark chocolate are mixed in. This creates some seriously amazing clusters 😍 You could certainly enjoy your granola like that, but I like to wait until it reaches room temperature and stir in a bit more chocolate—textural diversity for the win. Also, all that chocolate 😊😳🍫🍫🍫

Salted Chocolate Hazelnut GranolaI’ve already made two quarts of this granola for our trip. That may seem like a lot for three people, but between breakfasts and snacks, I know it’ll disappear quickly. And how couldn’t it? With crispy oats, toasty hazelnuts, a double dose of chocolate, and a big hit of salt to balance it all out, it’s guaranteed to keep all of us coming back for more.Salted Chocolate Hazelnut Granola

Salted Chocolate Hazelnut Granola
makes about 5-6 cups

2 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats (I used certified gluten-free oats)
1 1/2 cups (about 8 ounces) raw hazelnuts, roughly chopped
1/3 cup neutral-flavored oil (I like canola)
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 tablespoons dark brown sugar, packed
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/4 teaspoons Kosher or sea salt
6 ounces chopped dark chocolate, divided

Preheat oven to 300F. Line a rimmed quarter sheet pan with parchment or a silicone baking mat. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, combine oats and chopped hazelnuts. Set aside.

In a liquid measuring cup or small bowl, combine oil, maple syrup, vanilla, and brown sugar. Use a fork to whisk in cocoa powder and salt until mixture is smooth. Pour liquid ingredients over oats and hazelnuts. Fold everything together with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon.

Transfer mixture to prepared pan and spread into one even layer. Bake 40 minutes, stirring at the 15 and 30 minute marks. Let cool in the pan on a rack for at least 20 minutes, until it’s warm but can be handled. Scatter 4 ounces of chopped chocolate over the top and stir in. Let cool completely. Stir in remaining 2 ounces of chopped chocolate.

Granola may be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 weeks.

Whole Wheat Pancakes for One

Whole Wheat Pancakes for OneMost nights, I make myself a snack before bed. It ranges from eggs, to leftover cake and ice cream, to a salad bigger than my head. There are no rules except that it has to be delicious. My midnight snack is easily the best thing I’ll eat all day. That rings especially true for this past week–I’ve been all about these Whole Wheat Pancakes!

Whole Wheat Pancakes for OneWhere most pancake recipes make enough for an army…er, family of four…the now-two pancake recipes on this blog make just enough for one person. That’s right! This recipe makes just three pancakes: enough to kick my craving without a ton of leftovers to crowd my already-packed freezer.

Whole Wheat Pancakes for OneBut enough about quantity and my single lady eating habits! These Whole Wheat Pancakes for One are absolutely delicious. They are lightly sweet with plenty of nutty whole wheat flavor. Where many of the whole wheat pancakes I have had taste too, for lack of a better word, “healthy,” these are balanced with a touch of sugar and a hint of vanilla. They are the perfect compromise between whole grain and decadence.

Whole Wheat Pancakes for OneWhole Wheat Pancakes for OneOh, and the texture! A combination of buttermilk, baking powder, and oil keep these whole wheat pancakes just as fluffy and tender as your favorite buttermilk pancakes. This recipe doesn’t contain eggs, so these pancakes can easily be made vegan–just swap the buttermilk for a plant-based milk spiked with vinegar.

Whole Wheat Pancakes for OneWhole Wheat Pancakes for OneWhole Wheat Pancakes for OneWhole Wheat Pancakes for One are great with butter and maple syrup, but with all the beautiful fruit in stores right now, I recommend piling them high with strawberries, cherries, or anything else you like. This is a recipe for one, after all–serve it exactly the way you like it.Whole Wheat Pancakes for One

Whole Wheat Pancakes for One
makes 3 small pancakes

1/2 cup whole wheat flour (or white whole wheat flour)
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
7 tablespoons buttermilk**
5 teaspoons neutral-flavored oil, plus more for cooking
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
butter, for serving, if desired
fresh fruit, for serving, if desired
pure maple syrup, for serving

In a small mixing bowl, whisk together whole wheat flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.

In a liquid measuring cup, stir together buttermilk, oil, and vanilla. Pour wet ingredients into dry, and stir until everything is moistened. Some lumps may remain.

Heat 2-3 teaspoons of oil in a skillet over medium heat. Pour batter in 1/4 cup increments for three small pancakes. Let cook 1-2 minutes, until some bubbles form on the surface. Flip pancakes and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes. Remove pancakes to a plate, top with butter and/or fruit and syrup, and enjoy.

Notes:

  1. If you do not have buttermilk, you may combine 1 teaspoon of white or apple cider vinegar with 6 tablespoons of milk. Let sit five minutes before proceeding as written.
  2. If you want vegan pancakes, use 1 teaspoon of white or apple cider vinegar and 6 tablespoons of soy or almond milk in place of the buttermilk.

Iced Matcha Latte in a Mason Jar

Iced Matcha Latte in a Mason JarGrowing up in Texas, I was used to 100+ degree heat and blazing sun, but Texas has nothing on New York. The temperature rarely creeps into triple digits here in NYC, but that doesn’t mean we escape the heat. Oh, no. There is nothing quite as brutal as 85+ degree heat in a city made entirely of concrete and surrounded by water. I used to think New Yorkers were just wusses when it came to heat, but I am here to say that I was deeply wrong. So, so wrong. My sincere apologies to every sweaty, miserable New Yorker that I have ever called a weakling.

Iced Matcha Latte in a Mason JarWhen it’s this warm, baking is far less appealing than it might normally be. Today, I’m staying away from the oven and cooling off with an Iced Matcha Latte. Creamy, sweet and ice cold, it’s a great way to beat the heat!

Iced Matcha Latte in a Mason JarMy single-serve Iced Matcha Latte in a Mason Jar is completely vegan, refined sugar-free, and requires just six ingredients, two of which are ice and water.

Iced Matcha Latte in a Mason JarIced Matcha Latte in a Mason JarI start by combining 2 1/2 teaspoons of matcha green tea powder (I use this one), 2 teaspoons of maple syrup, and a splash of vanilla in the bottom of a pint mason jar. Stir that all together until all the lumps of matcha have disappeared and you have a paste.

Iced Matcha Latte in a Mason JarNext, stir in a few tablespoons of water.

Iced Matcha Latte in a Mason JarIced Matcha Latte in a Mason JarIced Matcha Latte in a Mason JarPour almond milk (or any milk you like) up to the 1 cup mark. Add an ice cube or two, seal the jar, and shake it up!

Iced Matcha Latte in a Mason JarOpen the jar, pour it into a glass with some more ice cubes, and enjoy with a cute straw or two! Life’s just more fun when you have cute straws.

Iced Matcha Latte in a Mason JarMy Iced Matcha Latte in a Mason Jar is just as cold, creamy, and sweet as any you’ll find in a coffee shop, and it’s a fraction of the price! Matcha contains antioxidants and caffeine, so these lattes make for a great mid-afternoon pick-me-up! Treat yourself to one this weekend 🍵💚Iced Matcha Latte in a Mason Jar

Iced Matcha Latte in a Mason Jar
makes 1 latte 

2-2 1/2 teaspoons matcha green tea powder*
2 teaspoons maple syrup (agave and honey work, too)
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
4 tablespoons water
~2/3 cup almond milk (or other dairy or plant-based milk)
ice cubes

In a pint mason jar, combine matcha powder, maple syrup, and vanilla. Stir together with a fork until there are no lumps. Add water, almond milk, and 2 ice cubes. Screw on lid. Shake for 1 minute, until combined. Strain out the ice cubes while pouring your latte over fresh ice. Enjoy!

Note:

Matcha comes in different grades and colors. For a brighter color, use ceremonial grade matcha. Food grade matcha (the variety I used in my Matcha Chocolate Chip Cookies) will work, but the color will be subtler.

Churros {Accidentally Vegan}

Churros {Accidentally Vegan}I am doughnut-obsessed, y’all. Obsessed. Cannot get enough. You’re just going to have to excuse me while I fry a bunch of dough over the next few weeks. That’s not to say I won’t be making anything that doesn’t involve heating a quart of fat, but just know that that’s where my baking brain is right now.

Homemade doughnuts aren’t for everyone–if you’re afraid of yeast, not into multi-step processes, or opposed to making a mess, you may want to steer clear. But really, there’s nothing to fear. We live in a world where instant yeast exists, as do lazy weekends and cleaning products. But if you’re still not ready to jump on the doughnut train, today’s recipe is still for you.

Churros {Accidentally Vegan}Y’all, these homemade Churros are crazy easy and super delicious. If you start making dough now, I can guarantee that you’ll have a dozen cute little cinnamon-sugary treats in under an hour.

Churros {Accidentally Vegan}Churros {Accidentally Vegan}Churros {Accidentally Vegan}Churros {Accidentally Vegan}Churros {Accidentally Vegan}Unlike yeast-raised and cake doughnuts, churros don’t require any long processes or temperamental leaveners. Nope. This dough requires minimal ingredients (and is accidentally vegan!) and comes together in about five minutes on your stovetop. Just heat some water, oil, sugar, and salt until it comes to a boil. Remove the mixture from the heat and stir in some flour and a bit of cinnamon. And then forget about it for fifteen minutes. The soft dough will initially be very warm, so you’ll need to step away so it can cool to a temperature you can handle.

Churros {Accidentally Vegan}Once it’s cool, load the dough into a piping bag (or in my case, a gallon freezer bag) fitted with a large star tip. The dough will be thick, but should be pipable. Test the bag’s integrity by piping a little on a clean surface. Any issues with piping? No? Great! Put that little test churro back in the top of your piping bag and get to heating your frying fat. I have been fond of using shortening lately, but a recent trip to Costco has left me with 1 1/2 gallons of canola oil, so that’s what I used here. Use whatever fat you like, just make sure it’s at 375F. Here’s a link to my trusty oil thermometer.

Churros {Accidentally Vegan}Churros {Accidentally Vegan}Pipe churros directly into the oil, cutting off each length of dough by swiping it off with your finger (or a butter knife, if you’re more cautious than I am). I usually fry them in batches of 2-3, but do whatever makes you comfortable. Remove the golden brown churros to a paper towel-lined pan. Once they’re all fried, toss them in cinnamon-sugar.

Churros {Accidentally Vegan}Churros {Accidentally Vegan}Churros {Accidentally Vegan}Now, churros are great by themselves–who can resist that soft interior, crispy fried exterior, and all that cinnamon-sugar?! You could certainly eat them as-is and be blissfully happy. But apparently it’s traditional to serve churros with a warm chocolate sauce (in the case of these churros, a decidedly not-vegan dark chocolate ganache). I don’t know about you, but when it’s suggested I dunk something that’s already delicious in chocolate, I don’t question it.Churros {Accidentally Vegan}

Churros {Accidentally Vegan}
makes about 12-15 small churros

Dough:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup water
3 tablespoons neutral-flavored oil (I like canola)
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1-2 quarts frying fat* (canola oil, safflower oil, shortening)

Coating:
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

Make the dough. In a small bowl, use a fork to whisk together flour and cinnamon. Set bowl near the stove.

In a medium skillet, combine water, oil, sugar, and salt. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat. Immediately stir in flour mixture until the dough forms a ball. Let dough cool until it can be handled, about 15 minutes.

Load dough into a piping bag (or freezer bag–not a regular zip top bag!–with a corner snipped off) fitted with a large star tip. Pipe an inch or two of dough onto a clean surface, just to make sure everything is working properly. Put test dough back in the bag.

Line a rimmed baking sheet with paper towels and set near the stove.

In a large heavy-bottomed pot, heat frying fat until it reaches 375F. Pipe 4-6-inch lengths of dough into the hot fat, cutting them off with your finger or a butter knife. Let dry until golden, about 1 minute. Use tongs to remove them to the paper towel-lined pan. Repeat with any remaining dough.

Coat the churros. In a small dish, stir together sugar and cinnamon. Coat churros in mixture, making sure to coat them completely. Serve warm or at room temperature, with Chocolate Ganache (below), if desired. Churros are best the day they are made.

Note:

Frying fat can be cleaned and reused. Here’s a link to some instructions on how to clean and reuse your oil.

Chocolate Ganache
makes about 1/2 cup

3 ounces dark chocolate, chopped (I used Trader Joe’s 72% Pound Plus bar)
1/4 cup heavy cream

Place chopped chocolate in a small bowl. Set aside.

Pour heavy cream into a separate microwave-safe bowl. Microwave for 1 minute. Cream will be hot (mine was boiling). Pour over chopped chocolate. When chocolate is soft, stir ingredients together with a fork. Divide chocolate ganache into small bowls and serve.

If ganache begins to harden, reheat in 10 second increments until it reaches your desired texture.

Ganache will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for a couple of days.