Lavender Earl Grey Tea Bread

lavender earl grey tea bread
lavender earl grey tea bread

It’s January so the celebration for National Hot Tea Month is in full swing. Although, if you ask me, we should have a hot tea season that would span several months. I love drinking hot tea, especially when it keeps me warm.

What goes well with a cup of hot tea? Tea bread, of course. And the perfect tea bread contains an infusion of tea to permeate the baked good.

To come up with a complementary treat for my cuppa, I found a recipe for a tea cake with Earl Grey tea in it. The classic Earl Grey is black tea flavored with orange-scented bergamot. A new twist has the addition of lavender buds which rounds out the tea nicely, so I knew I wanted to include the floral profile.

I first altered the recipe by including the lavender flowers. Next, I changed it from gluten free to using all purpose flour because that’s what I had on hand. Feel free to use a gluten free flour blend instead.

Then I reduced the recipe so it would make four small loaves that would bake better at high altitude. For altitude I also switched it up to include a combination of baking soda and baking powder. There was no need for vegan changes because the recipe was already vegan.

The resulting mini breads were moist and extremely flavorful, reminiscent of honey cakes. With a hint of lavender when warmed and depth from the maple syrup, they are fantastic alongside a robust tea as well as an herbal blend. I froze a few loaves so I can savor them this month, and also enjoy them on a future tea drinking day.

Lavender Earl Grey Tea Bread adapted from Earl Grey Tea Cake

1.5 cups boiling water
3.5 teaspoons Earl Grey loose leaf tea
1/2 teaspoon culinary lavender flowers
1/3 cup dried currants
3 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup vegetable oil
1 cup maple syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Grease the sections of a mini bread tin (mine makes four breads measuring 5 x 2.5” each) and set aside. Preheat oven to 350F.

Combine the water, Earl Grey tea, and lavender in a heat-proof container. Cover and steep for 5 minutes. Strain and discard the leaves. Add 1/2 cup of tea back to the container, saving the other 1 cup of tea for later. Place dried currants in the 1/2 cup of tea, cover, and set aside.

Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl. Add the oil and maple syrup to a medium bowl and whisk together. Add the vanilla and 1 cup of tea to the oil-syrup mixture. Whisk until combined, then stir in the tea with the currants.

Add the liquid mixture to the ingredients in the dry bowl and stir until combined and no longer lumpy. Distribute the batter evenly into the sections of the tin. Bake for 34-38 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of a bread comes away clean or with a few small crumbs.

Let the breads fully cool in the tin placed on a wire rack. Run a knife along the outside edges of each bread to loosen, then tip the loaves out.

Until next time, happy baking!

Apple Blueberry Streusel Pie — vegan and gluten free

apple blueberry streusel pie
apple blueberry streusel pie

If you are working your way through Veganuary and it seems difficult, don’t worry. You’re half the way there (congratulations!). If you are unfamiliar with the term, it refers to a challenge to try vegan throughout the month of January.

Eating vegan can be tough for some, especially when it comes to dessert. Many pastries include eggs and butter and can appear impossibly hard to make at high altitude. But, today I offer you sweet encouragement.

I wanted a recipe that wasn’t too complicated, so I decided to use a pre-made pie shell. Never having baked one, it was an experiment for me. In the vein of experimentation I decided to go with a gluten-free version as well. The results were surprisingly delicious.

The dessert recipe I found was vegan once I used the pre-made crust. No changes were needed for high altitude, but I did have to adjust filling quantities for the smaller ready-made shell.

After ingredient amounts were altered, I added blueberries because you can always use extra antioxidants, right? I then removed the nuts to make it very allergy-friendly. May this decadent treat get you through the rest of the month, and beyond.

Apple Blueberry Streusel Pie adapted from Apple Crumble Pie

for the pie
4 apples, cored, peeled, and sliced into 1/8” slices
1/2 cup fresh blueberries, washed and patted dry
4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup gluten free flour
1.75 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 cup vegan sugar
1 store bought pie shell (I used a gluten free one by Wholly Wholesome)
for the streusel topping
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 cup gluten free flour
1/3 cup unsalted vegan butter, melted and cooled slightly

Add the apples, blueberries, lemon juice, vanilla, and 1/4 cup flour to a large bowl. Stir carefully with a spatula to coat the fruit. Place 1.75 teaspoons cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, ginger, and sugar in small bowl. Stir to combine, then sprinkle over the fruit. Stir carefully with a spatula until the fruit is evenly coated with the spices. Set aside while the oven preheats.

Preheat the oven to 400F. Take the pie shell out of the freezer to defrost per manufacturer’s instructions. Meanwhile, make the streusel topping.

Put the brown sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and 3/4 cup flour in a medium bowl. Stir in the melted butter with a spatula. Break it up into small clumps using the spatula or your fingers. When the pie shell is defrosted, pile the fruit into it. Then sprinkle the topping over the fruit.

Place the filled pie shell onto a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Leaving the pie in the oven, carefully place a pie crust shield over the crust. Close the oven door and reduce the heat to 375F. Bake for an additional 30 minutes.

Place the pie with the baking sheet on a wire rack to cool for 3 hours. Cover leftovers tightly with plastic wrap and store in the fridge.

Until next time, happy baking!

Vanilla Chocolate Chip Cake Bites

vanilla chocolate chip cake bites
vanilla chocolate chip cake bites

It’s been one snowstorm after another where I live. With the cold, blustery days I just want to cozy up to a hot cup of tea and a sweet snack. The thing is I’m a little burnt out on cookies (see all of the cookie posts I did last month).

Making a cake seems like too much effort, and a bigger treat that I have in mind. What I need is a two-bite snack. Perhaps a cake bite?

My recipe search uncovered an easy, smaller cake that I could convert into mini cakes without much effort. I have a pan that makes individual brownies, which is a life-saver for high altitude bakers, and I realized it was ideal for my cakelets. So, I had the basics covered.

To adapt the recipe for high altitude, I decreased the baking powder and completely omitted the baking soda. The original recipe was for a cake and smaller versions often need quite a bit less leavening. I also added a smidge more liquid to account for dryness at altitude, and reduced baking time for the smaller pastries.

The final change was to add brown sugar. Seeing as I was no longer making a cake but veering into blondie territory, this ingredient was added for a slightly chewier texture. The result was a moist, delectable, and perfectly-sized nibble to chase away winter’s chill.

Vanilla Chocolate Chip Cake Bites inspired by Vegan Choc Chip Loaded Cake

1 cup non-dairy milk (I used Take Two Original Barley Milk)
1 tablespoon applesauce
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup canola oil
1.5 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour
1.25 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons brown sugar
3/4 cup vegan chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease the cups of a brownie pan. Alternatively, use a cupcake pan with paper liners.

Place the non-dairy milk, applesauce, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, oil, and vanilla in a large bowl. Whisk to combine. Place the flour, baking powder, salt, and brown sugar in a medium bowl and whisk together. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until just combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Portion the batter into the sections of the prepared brownie pan (or into muffin liners). Bake for 16-18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into a cake bite comes out clean. Note: It will take a few more minutes to bake cupcakes.

Move the baking pan to a wire rack and allow the bites to cool completely. Remove cake bites from the pan. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge. Makes 12 cake bites.

Until next time, happy baking!