frostings and sweet spreads

I am not a jam maker. (Not always true.) It’s funny, isn’t it? I love to spend hours and hours on cakes but can’t be bothered to make such a simple food. One reason probably is that we don’t have a garden and that we buy our fruits at the store. Usually in quantities that we can eat in a day or two. Also, I have always been afraid of jam making. I remember that my grandmother canned cherries in a huge pot and all that hot water used for sterilizing and canning scared the heck out of me when I was a kid. Super silly, I know. Also, jams are usually vegan. I can buy a boatload every day. Plus, I think jam making is complicated. Case in point: the sugar discussion below. In Germany there are canning isles at the supermarket. It’s intimidating.

Fig, Plum, and Pomegranate Jam

But then fig season started. Of course all figs we get in Germany are imported and the season is super short. So every year I stuff my face with all the figs I can find. While buying figs I also realised that pomegranates already seem to be in season. I’ve always associated these with winter, just like oranges. Some things are available all year round, but they don’t really taste that great out of season (oranges again). The pomegranates at the store were all so shiny and red that I couldn’t resist buying some. And it turned out that they are much better now than in winter!

Both the figs and the pomegranate were sitting right next to local plums. And what a great colour scheme they made. I immediately saw a picture like this in my head.

Fig, Plum, and Pomegranate Jam

And then I saw them all together in a jar. Both figs and plums can easily be canned. The have to be diced and that’s it. While I really love the crunch of fig seeds, I am not so fond of the pomegranate seeds, at least not in a jam. But that problem can be solved most easily. Place the whole seeds in a food processor and pulse until most of the juice is released. Pour through a sieve and press out some more juice with your hands. Done.

For this fig, plum & pomegranate jam I also used ground dried lemon peel (You can find the recipe in my Instagram feed.) and ground vanilla.Both ingredients are optional but they make the jam so, so good. I love vanilla in jams. It gives them a special little something.

Fig, Plum, and Pomegranate Jam

When you make jam, you usually use the same amount per weight of sugar and fruit. Doesn’t get any easier. And although some people might not believe that sugar can be useful, sugar preserves the jam. The more the better. If you make sugar-free jam, that stuff will grow mold faster than you can say baby food. (i know, I know. You can freeze it. But still. I want sugar.) On the other hand fig jam can get too sweet pretty quickly. At least for my taste. And that’s why I used gelling sugar instead of regular sugar. When it comes to making jams, Germans have a couple of different sugar options: regular sugar or three kinds of gelling sugars. They all contain sugar and pectin. Pectin is also found in every fruit and his responsible for the whole gelling thing in the first place.

Because these days most people want to use less sugar for their jam and still want it to be shelf stable, gelling sugars often have additives such as citric acid and sorbic acid. Organic gelling sugars come without those. For my jam I used an organic sugar that called for two parts of fruit and one part of sugar. If you don’t have access to this kind of gelling sugar, you can do a couple of things: 1. Increase the amount of sugar. Same amount in weight as fruit. 2. You can add lemon juice to improve the acidity or you can cook the jam longer to release more pectin. 3. Buy some pectin and add some to the batch of jam you are making. 4. Make the jam as is. It will probably be runnier but it should still taste well.

Fig, Plum, and Pomegranate Jam


6 large figs (about 470 g)
250 g plums
seeds from one medium sized pomegranate (175 g/1 cup)
375 g gelling sugar (2:1)
1 teaspoon ground dried lemon peel (optional)
1/2 teaspoon ground vanilla (optional)


Dice the figs and the plums.

Place in a pot.

Place the pomegranate seeds in a food processor.

Pulse carefully until the juice is released.

Pour the juice into the pot as well.

Add optional lemon peel and vanilla.

Stir in sugar.

Bring to a boil and cook for 10 minutes. Stir from time to time.

Meanwhile sterilize a couple of jars (I used 3 medium sized jam jars) in a large pot. (Place jars in pot. Add cold water. Bring to a boil.)

Carefully place the jars on a kitchen towel right before your jam is done.

Fill the jam into the hot jars and seal them with a lid.

Let them stand upside down for five minutes, then turn them around.

Let cool completely.

Let the jam set in the fridge over night.





Vegan cuisine is very innovative. Sure, some people might say that if you try to recreate a vegan version of every animal product based food there is, that is not innovative. But it is, because so many people come up with the most mind blowing techniques or very unexpected ingredients to create these “fake” foods. And we must admit that they are often so much more amazing than the “real” thing. Last year a blogger posted a way to make a vegan version of beaten egg whites that works perfectly for all kinds of meringues. And the most fascinating thing is, they used brine from a can of beans or hearts of palm as a base for their recipe. And if you think about it, it makes sense. During the cooking process beans release starches and proteins. These compounds form a stiff and stable foam that rises to the top of the cooking liquid. The brine has starches and proteins, too. If you combine this liquid with sugar, the two ingredients act exactly like and egg white sugar mixture: The protein is turned into a foam and the sugar traps and stabilises the air bubbles.

This is the easiest and most widely available method to make vegan egg white foams and it has been all over the internet for the last couple of weeks. Somebody already came up with a recipe for macarons and meringues have been popping up, too. People are very exited about this invention and trying it out like crazy. It’s amazing how innovative, adventurous and creative people have been over the last few weeks. I hopped on this train quite late, I saw a picture on instagram and then a link here and there. I didn’t do much research exept for reading that French blog post and I have been experimenting for two days now. I came up with my own versions of meringues and macarons and I plan to share them soon. (I posted a preliminary recipe for the macarons on facebook, but it’s not perfect yet.) But since both recipes are a bit tricky, let’s start with something foolproof here, that will totally win you over: marshmallow fluff made from chickpea brine. And no, it doesn’t taste like beans once you have whipped it up with sugar and vanilla.

vegan beaten egg whites |

The picture above shows a basic foam, made from chickpea brine drained from a can and and powdered sugar only. I made a first attempt at meringues with this and it didn’t work out because the foam was too runny to pipe. Only later I learned that you just need to whip longer. I whipped for about 2 minutes when 10 would have been more appropriate. But impatience is sometimes a good thing. The blogger behind révolution végétale mentions two ingredients that will help stabilise your foam: guar gum and cream of tartar. Cream of tartar is often used in angel food cake and in meringue preparations. It helps to give more volume to regular egg white foams. Guar gum is a binder. Like xanthan gum it is often used in gluten free baking. You can also add it to ice creams to make them smoother. If you’ve ever worked with guar or xanthan gum you know that if you add too much, it will turn our slimy and gum like. For this recipe, the gum like texture is perfect as the gum will speed up the whipping process and change the texture of your foam greatly once the sugar is added. It changes from soft peaks to stiff peaks in a minute or so. Note that you cannot substitute cornstarch, agar agar, or tapioca starch here. Those have to be heated to swell and bind, while guar gum will swell once it’s combined with a liquid. Cornstarch or agar agar will do nothing to change the texture of your foam at this point.

vegan marshmallow fluff |

This bean fluff has a very firm but sticky consistency, just like melted marshmallows or marshmallow creme. The only downside:  It will probably creep up your beaters and stick to the mixer. It’s ean with a wet cloth, so I personally didn’t worry about it. Use  for ‘Smore pies, as a cookie filling or try some rice crispy treats. I used it as a base for my meringues, so stay tuned! If you are looking for a more delicate version you can put on top of pies, I suggest to leave out the guar gum and simply whip your foam until you have reached the desired consistency.

Edited: Some people reported they did taste a bean flavour after making this. I didn’t but you can add more sugar (double it) to disguise it further.

Thanks for reading this post! If you have questions about the recipe, ingredient substitutions, and so on, please read the comments first. Maybe your question has already been answered.

Vegan Marshmallow Fluff

Use this marshmallow fluff for 'Smore pies or as a cookie filling. It's also the base for my upcoming vegan meringue recipe, so stay tuned!


120 ml (1/2 cup) chickpea brine, drained from a can of chickpeas
1/2 tsp guar gum
1/8 tsp cream of tartar
50 g (1/2 cup) powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla


Combine brine, guar gum, and cream of tartar in a large bowl.

Beat with a handheld mixer for two minutes, until the mixture resembles lightly beaten egg whites. (See first picture)

Add powdered sugar and vanilla and beat on high for five minutes, until the mixture is stiff and sticky.

Transfer to a jar.

vegan white chocolate spread |

When I was a kid I loved everything sweet. I never missed an opportunity to eat a cookie or candy. Never. But even though nutella is a very popular breakfast item among a lot of German children, I was never a nutella kid. Sometimes we asked for a jar. My father would refuse and we’d start begging and begging until he gave in. He bought it even though he knew that it would sit in our pantry forever, about three quarters left, and nobody would ask for it again. How could that happen? Well, my parents did not allow us to eat the spread straight from the jar, as we had intended. They wanted us to eat it on a slice of bread. “What is your problem?”, you think. A slice of crispy warm toast with hazelnut chocolate spread is the best thing ever. Yes, that might be true. But the bread my parents used to buy wasn’t white wheat bread made with yeast. It was a fantastic sourdough bread made with both wheat and rye flour. Don’t get me wrong, we loved that bread. My parents usually bought a fresh loaf from the bakery right next to our house. It was so good straight from the oven! It had a wonderfully shiny and crispy crust and a perfectly soft, pillowy crumb. My mother would often get annoyed with us because of that bread. We’d cut it into thick slices, rip off the crust, eat it and then devour the crumb. My mother would buy a loaf around noon and when my father came home in the evening, there was almost nothing left. The bread was great with everything savoury on top since it had a strong sourdough flavour. But this flavour was also the reason it didn’t go so well with jam or nutella. And so although that bread was one of our favourite foods, it ruined nutella for me.

Okay, this is not entirely true. Because even if my father had told us not to eat that hazelnut chocolate spread right from the jar, we still would have done it. After all we were regular kids. The truth is, I simply didn’t share my schoolmates’ love for nutella. Because I wasn’t a real chocolate kid. I liked things made with chocolate, for shure. I liked all kinds of chocolate bars filled with caramel, nougat, or nuts for example. You know the kind I am talking about.  But the combination of cocoa powder, hazelnuts, and vegetable oil found in nutella just was too much for me. It was too rich. I couldn’t eat it. It was also the cocoa. because cocoa powder mixed with vegetable fat simply isn’t chocolate! And that was the simple reason why the jar of nutella was collecting dust in our pantry, just like my father had predicted.

The chocolate I loved had something in common with nutella though. It wasn’t real chocolate, too. It had no chocolate liquor.  It was white chocolate, the kind that is so awfully sweet. If there had been a white chocolate version of nutella, I know I would have bought it! Giving up the taste of white chocolate was one of the hardest things to do when going vegan. Over the years it has become easier to find vegan white chocolate and I am really happy that I can enjoy it again. My favourite kind has a ridiculous name and is available in bar form and in 500 g (1.16 lb) bags. I used to treat myself to such a bag whenever I ordered vegan stuff online, which was probably two or three times a year. But now I am back to unlimited access, because of Kokku, a vegan online store. They are based here in Dresden and have their warehouse only five minutes away from where I live. And If I order stuff there, I can usually pick it up the same day. And of course I am ordering white chocolate!

It’s a weird feeling when you finally have easy access to a rare food again. Because you learned to live without it. You survived the cold turkey phase and then you stopped thinking about it. White chocolate is something special. All chocolate is, as we often forget. I cannot eat it straight out of the bag anymore, I have to put it to good use. So I finally made this incredible crunchy white choclate spread, a vegan white nutella. And yes, eat it straight out of the jar if you feel like it. Or on toast! And stay tuned if you want to use this in a recipe for white chocolate lemon tartelettes. That is coming up next!

White Chocolate Spread

This vegan white chocolate spread is a delicious alternative to a regular chocolate spread. It's made with only a few ingredients and comes together in no time. This spread is best kept at room temperature. If youn want to store it in the fridge, make sure to let it sit at room temperature for about 1 hour before serving.


180 g (1 3/4 cup) slivered almonds
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
seeds from 1/2 vanilla bean or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
150 g (5.3 oz) white chocolate, melted
1/8 teaspoon salt


Place the almonds in a small pan and toast them until golden brown. Let cool to room temperature.

Add almonds and oil to a food processor and grind until the nuts start to release their oils and the crumbs turn into nut butter. Depending on your food processor, this may take a while. Scrape down the sides from time to time and make sure not to overheat your processor.

As soon as your almond butter is ready, add vanilla. Blend again.

Pour in chocolate, add salt, and process until smooth.

Transfer to a glass jar.


For an even quicker version you can make this spread by using 150 g (5.3 oz) store-bought almond butter.

© 2015. All rights reserved.


vegan white chocolate spread |

I like cinnamon rolls, but I thought I’d try something different today as I had some more plums lying around. Since we loved the slivovice plum compote so much, I came up with a similar recipe  to fill these buns. I thought that the slivovice already brings out the flavour of the plums really well. But there is another ingredient, which made the filling for these buns come out amazing: fresh rosemary. Once the filling was cooked it reminded me of a dark wood full of conifers. If that doesn’t sound totally weird. These rather earthy flavours are combined with a sweet yeast dough made with dulce de leche. In the end, you don’t taste much of both the dulce de leche and the rosemary anymore. But both ingredients support the other flavours perfectly.

I made another batch of dulce de leche, improving the recipe a bit. I boiled the mixture over medium instead of low heat, halved the sugar and left out the barley malt syrup. This version has a lighter colour and is done in 55 minutes instead of three hours.

Dulce de leche 180 ml full fat coconut milk (3/4 cup) 760 ml soy milk (3 cups + 2 tablespoons) 200 g sugar (1 cup) 1/4 teaspoon ground vanilla 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 pinch baking soda (to prevent curdling)

Combine all ingredients in a large pot and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Bring to a boil. As soon as the mixture starts to boil, reduce heat to medium. The mixture will bubble quite a bit and there might be some foam. Stir the mixture often and cook over medium heat until it has reached the desired consistency. Transfer to a glass jar and let cool completely. Store refrigerated for up to one week.

Plum-Blueberry Rolls (makes 8 rolls)

300 g pitted and halved Italian plums (11 oz.) 50 g (1/4 cup) sugar 1 teaspoon vanilla 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 4 tablespoons slivovice* 70 g (1/2 cup) frozen or fresh blueberries 1/4 teaspoon lemon zest 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary 2 tablespoons cold water 2 tablespoons cornstarch * Replace slivovice with rum or apple juice if you don’t have access to the liquor or for a non-alcoholic version.

For the yeast dough:

180 ml soy milk (3/4 cup) 50 g sugar (1/4 cup) 70 g dulce de leche (1/4 cup) 55 g refined coconut oil (1/4 cup) 300 g all-purpose flour (2 1/4 cups) 2 teaspoon instant yeast 1/4 teaspoon salt

Prepare the yeast dough:

Combine soy milk, sugar, dulce de leche, and coconut oil in a small saucepan. Heat until the oil is melted and the dulce de leche is completely dissolved. Make sure the mixture does not boil. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.

In a large bowl, combine flour, yeast, and salt. Stir and add dulce de leche mixture. Knead with your hands for about 10 minutes. The dough should be smooth. It will probably still be a bit sticky. Cover the dough and allow to rise for 60 minutes.

Prepare the filling:

In a small saucepan combine plums, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, and slivovice. Bring to a boil, cover and cook over medium heat until the plums have fallen apart, for about 25 minutes. Check the mixture frequently, making sure it doesn’t burn. Add blueberries, lemon zest, and rosemary and cook for five minutes. Dissolve cornstarch in water and add to the compote. Cook for 1 minute until the mixture has thickened:

Let cool. Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F). Roll the dough into a rectangle, about 43 x 28 cm (17 x 11 inch). Spread compote on top leaving a 4 cm (1.6 inch) margin:

Roll the dough into a log, starting with the shorter side:

Cut the log into eight equally thick pieces. Place in a baking dish lined with parchment paper (I used a 18 x 28 cm pan [7 x 11 inch]). Carefully brush the rolls with oil. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove from pan and serve warm.

This entry was submitted to YeastSpotting.