Austerity Measures: Baking
So you may have heard about the austerity measures introduced in Europe that many are protesting these days- cutbacks on government spending designed to reduce debt. Unfortunately, we are also participating in my household- not just to reduce debt (ha) but because there is no more money to spend. Turns out getting a job isn't as easy as I'd hoped... nevertheless, I am prepared! From a whole year of insanely cheap living in Brussels I have honed my skills for cheapest of the cheap living. And one of my favorite tactics to eat inexpensively but not feel overly deprived is to use lots and lots of flour. Pancakes, bagels, muffins, pierogies, and more can be had majorly on the cheap, especially if you keep a well-stocked pantry leftover from more profitable times. Not to mention when you are making something with dough, you are usually getting something you can eat all week. And of course, baking is also fun. :)
So in the spirit of saving dough through dough, I have 3 recipes to offer (as opposed to the usual none). First, the delicious Mexican Hot Chocolate Snickerdoodles pictured above are from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar! and the recipe can be found (along with a helpful video) on the Post Punk Kitchen website, here. I'm not usually the biggest cookie person (more Team Cupcake, if you must know) but these were so amazing its ridiculous. They are made with very simple ingredients that you already have and I don't even want to tell you how quickly they disappeared.
Next up, here is a recipe for *slightly healthier* bagels that are a nice treat with peanut butter and bananas, or soy cream cheese.
Cinnamon Raisin Bagels
-1 packet active yeast
-3.5 Tbs sugar, or sub out 1/2 with agave nectar
-1.5 C. warm water
-2.5 tsp. cinnamon
-1/2 C. raisins (or cranberries)
-1.5 C. whole wheat flour
-2.5 C. flour (Europeans: I recommend Type 1050 for bagels)
-2 tsp. salt
-1/2 c. oatmeal flakes
1.) Combine yeast and water in a large bowl and let sit for 5-10 minutes, until starts to bubble.
2.) Add in both kinds of flour, salt, sugar, raisins, and cinnamon. Knead together for 10-15 minutes, using additional flour if necessary, until dough is less sticky but not completely dry, and relatively smooth. (The raisins might want to fight their way out, but stick them back in.)
3.) Drizzle a bit of vegetable oil in a large bowl and place dough inside, flipping to coat. Cover the bowl with a damp towel or plastic wrap and set somewhere sunny. Let dough rise for at least an hour.
4.) In the meantime, set up your bagel workshop. Here's how it should look: on one side you have a large floured surface that you can roll the bagels on. This is right near the stove top, where you have a large pot filled with water. Then, a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, and finally a plate filled with the oatmeal flakes.
5.) So, after an hour, bring the large pot of salted water to a rolling boil and preheat the oven to 400(f) or 200(c). While these items are heating up, you get to form the bagels! Punch the risen dough down and divide into 8 separate balls (for big, huge bagels) or 10 for smaller ones. On your floured surface, roll each piece into a loose ball, flatten a bit in a thick circle, and pierce a hole through the middle using your thumb. Smooth out a bit and place on floured surface.
5.) Now its time to boil the bagels. On one side, you have your floured surface with 8-10 bagels. In the middle you have the boiling water. On the other side, a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Lower bagels (carefully!) two at a time into boiling water, and let boil for about 3 minutes, flipping once halfway through. Remove each with a slotted spoon to cookie sheet and repeat with the next batch. As soon as bagels are cool enough to handle, dip quickly into oatmeal.
6.) When all bagels have been boiled and dipped, place cookie sheet in oven and cook for 15-20 minutes (depending on your oven and bagel size.) They should be golden brown and fully raised. Remove from oven and cool on a cooling rack until ready to eat!
And finally, here are some lecker muffins bedecked with plum and a hint of ginger that one can enjoy using tiny baby plums or regular sized ones.
Plum and Ginger Muffins
2 C. Flour
1/2 C. Sugar
1 Tbs. Baking powder
1 Tbs. Soy Flour
1 C. Soymilk
1/4 C. veg oil
1 C. plums, peeled and diced into small pieces
1 Tbs. Ginger, diced into very small pieces
1.) First, preheat oven to 400(f) or 200(c) and line a muffin tin with muffin liners.
2.) Next, deal with your plums. If they are very small plums you don't have to bother peeling them, but for the larger ones go ahead because the peels can be a tiny smidge bitter. Slice in half, remove pit, and chop into smaller chunks.
3.) Peel a large chunk of ginger and dice or grate into very small pieces, a tablespoon's worth. Mix together with plums.
4.) Mix together wet ingredients then sift in dry ingredients. Stir until everything is wet, then add in plums and ginger. Stir until "just mixed" then ladle into muffin tin, filling each cup a little more than halfway. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
Hmm, and speaking of baking, time to go take out the next round of bagels...