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November is finally here which is this years Vegan Month of Food. I decided on a topic I am calling Warming Winter Meals and for my first post I don’t really have a meal.  But a warming snack. It contains dried fruits and nuts, which are both foods I do associate with winter.

These nut and fruit based balls are very, very easy to make. All you have to do is to chop them up in a food processor until they form a sticky mass. We often make this recipe, especially since in its basic version, it is much cheaper than the so called raw fruit snacks that you can find at health food stores.

For this blog post, I decided to dress our basic version up a bit. I have to admit that I was already thinking of holiday season here and the countless hours I spend making truffles every year. This is a really quick alternative. Mind you, it’s not the same as a rich chocolate ball, but if you cover these snacks in two kinds of chocolate and dust them with fancy dried fruit powder, they can make an awesome gift, too.

Hazelnut Raisin Snack Balls #vgnmf16 #vegan

I made two versions: One is covered in my favourite couverture made by the Austrian company Zotter. They have a bar made with powdered soy milk that I love. It has a very unique taste and its sweetness and mouthfeel is comparable to milk chocolate. On top of that chocolate I put some aronia berry powder. For that I simply placed some dried aronia berries in a small coffee grinder and pulverised them. (Substitutes for the aronia berries: dried blueberries.)

dried aronia berries

powdered dried aronia berries

Aronia berries are the German version of acai or whatever the newest superfood craze is called. You’ll find tons and tons of information on how healthy they are. Information that is given to you by the same companies that market those berries. I don’t think they are better than your average berry though. And even if, so what? Plant food is plant food and most of it is good for you. Ignoring all that superfood voodoo aronia berries are still an interesting ingredient, because, although native in Northern America, they grow here in Saxony. These almost black berries are very tart when fresh. And I just love tart berries. If you dry them though, there’s only a hint of their sour flavour left. They pair wonderful with the chocolate I chose for my dried fruit balls.

For the second version, I used a white chocolate coating and powdered, dried strawberries. White chocolate and strawberry is my favourite flavour combination!  I made the strawberry powder myself during summer. And since strawberries are completely out of season right now, you can eather buy freeze-dried strawberries and pulverise them in a coffee grinder. Or you can make your own dried strawberries from frozen fruit.

Hazelnut Raisin Snack Balls #vgnmf16 #vegan

For that you’ll need about 300 g frozen strawberries. Line two baking sheets with parchement paper and preheat the oven to 100°C. Cut the frozen strawberries (don’t thaw them) into 2 mm thick pieces and place them on the baking sheets. Bake them for 1 hour. You don’t want to close the oven door completely during this time, there should be a tiny gap left. For that tuck the handle of a wooden cooking spoon between door and oven. After one hour carefully turn the strawberry slices over and dry them for another hour. After this second hour you should turn them one more time and dry them for another hour. This time you can close the door. Let them cool completely before transferring them to airtight jars. Pulverise when needed.

Hazelnut Raisin Snack Balls

Ingredients

100 g hazelnuts
100 g raisins
50 g desiccated coconut
50 g chestnut spread or apple butter
4 heaping teaspoons powdered strawberries
130 g Zotter soy 40% couverture or semisweet chocolate
120 white chocolate
15 g cocoa butter
aronia berry powder for dusting
strawberry powder for dusting

Instructions

Place hazelnuts in a food processor and grind into a powder.

Add raisins, coconut, chestnut spread, and strawberry powder.

Process until the raisins are chopped down and the mixture is sticky.

Divide the mixture into 19 small portions, 15 g each and roll into balls.

Melt the soy couverture in a double boiler.

Dip the half of the balls in chocolate.

Use a fork to remove the balls from the chocolate and transfer to a piece of parchment.

Sprinkle with aronia berry powder.

Combine white chocolate and cocoa butter and melt in a double boiler as well.

Dip the remaining balls in white chocolate, transfer to the parchment paper and sprinkle with strawberry powder.

Let cool completely.

Store at room temperature.

Notes

If you have melted leftover dipping chocolate, pour it into little ice cube moulds and store for another use.

http://www.seitanismymotor.com/2016/11/hazelnut-raisin-snack-balls/

 

 

 

Merken

A reader recently asked me, if my dulce de leche recipe could be turned into candy. I told her that I hadn’t tried it and it probably wouldn’t work. The ratio of liquid to sugar is too high. After I got this question I was intrigued and looked up a couple of recipes for vegan caramels. Most of them called for at least one or two ingredients I never have on hand or that are very hard to find in Germany (like corn syrup). Then I found a really simple one for regular caramels made with dairy cream. It only called for three things: sugar, water, and cream. No butter or corn syrup required. It also looked like those regular candies were very easy to veganise. And they were!

homemade vegan marshmallows | seitanismymotor.com

Edited 4/30/2015: This post now contains an updated version of my recipe. A couple of readers had some trouble with the first version and I made adaptions according to their suggestions. I hope this solves any problems.

It’s been eight years now since I went vegan. It’s also been eight years since I started this blog. That is a reason to celebrate, don’t you think? But technically I am not even allowed to dance today. I am going to do it anyway. And eating a ton of these soft, fluffy, and sticky blog anniversary celebration marshmallows that melt the moment I pop them into my mouth. (After eight years I am allowed to use these clichés, don’t you think?) Anniversary miracle! Oh, wait. This is not a miracle. I cannot claim much of this idea for myself: The recipe is based on chickpea brine used as egg replacer. I found that idea here. I honestly would not have thought that it would be possible to follow a regular marshmallow recipe and simply replace the eggs with chickpea brine and the gelatin with agar. But it worked and so I used David Lebovitz’s recipe and modified it slightly. I also got a lot of helpful tips from this recipe for vegan marshmallows, especially the idea to boil the agar before adding it to the remaining ingredients. (Gelatin is usually soaked but not boiled.)

I have not had many marshmallows in my life. I do like to buy a package of Dandies from time to time though and when I compare my version to the storebought one, the biggest difference is that mine are softer and moister. They have a light and creamy mousse like texture. And still you can cut them into all kinds of shapes. If you have some egg or bunny cutters around, these would make some gorgeous Easter treats as well! And you can toast them.

A couple of recipe notes: 1. For this recipe you have to work with hot sugar syrup. Make sure all your equipment is heat proof. I only have a handheld mixer, but a stand mixer would be easier to work with. The recipe is a bit involved and you have to do a couple of things at the same time, so make sure you have everything in place. If you are new to baking and cooking maybe ask somebody to help you. 2. This recipe calls for syrup. I used a flavoured sugar syrup that is a mixture of inverted sugar syrup and glucose syrup. Golden syrup (lys sirup in Scandinavia) or light corn syrup should be fine, too. Please don’t use agave nectar, coconut nectar, brown rice syrups or similar “natural” syrups. They don’t contain the right amount of glucose. In this case a processed syrup (like corn) is the way to go.

toasted vegan marshmallows | seitanismymotor.com

Homemade Vegan Marshmallows

Ingredients

For the marshmallows
120 ml (1/2 cup) plus 60 ml (1/4 cup) water
2 teaspoons agar powder
200 g (1 cup) sugar
100 g (1/3 cup) syrup (see notes above)
120 ml (1/2 cup) chickpea brine from a can
1/2 teaspoon guar gum (or xanthan)
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For dusting
100 g (1 cup) powdered sugar
120 g (1 cup) corn starch

Instructions

Place 120 ml (1/2 cup) of water in a small saucepan and add agar powder. Dissolve and set aside.

Combine sugar, syrup, and remaining water in another small saucepan fitted with a candy thermometer.

Bring to a boil and cook for about 6 minutes over high heat until the mixture reaches 120°C (248°F).

Bring the agar mixture to a boil, cook for one minute while stirring and remove from heat.

While the syrup is still boiling combine chickpea brine, guar gum, and lemon juice in a heatproof bowl. Beat for about two minutes, then add vanilla and beat for another two minutes or until the mixture is very stiff.

Very carefully pour the hot syrup into the chickpea brine mixture while still beating. The mixture should not deflate but stay fluffy.

Continue to beat for two minutes until everything is mixed well.

Add agar mixture and beat for another five minutes or until the bowl has cooled down. The batter should stay fluffy, and beating should produce firmer and firmer ribbons. The mixture should be stiff and keep it's shape if you remove the beaters.

Sift together powdered sugar and starch.

Dust a rectangular pan (18 x 28 cm or 7 x 11 inch - alternatively use a 8 x 8 inch square pan) with one third of the starch and sugar mixture. Make sure the whole bottom is covered.

Carefully pour the marshmallow mixture into the pan.

Let cool for two hours (at room temperature, not in the fridge!) or until set.

Cover with more starch and sugar and cut into small squares or use your favourite cookie cutter.

Generously roll in remaining powdered sugar mixture to avoid stickyness.

Place on a baking sheet and let dry for at least 24 hours. When they are dry on the outside they are ready to be store in an airtight container.

Notes

You can also keep them in their pan and only cut off the amount you need. That way they don't get sticky as easily. Make sure to still sprinke the top with a generous amount of powdered sugar and cornstach!

http://www.seitanismymotor.com/2015/04/homemade-vegan-marshmallows/

homemade vegan marshmallows | seitanismymotor.com

When I removed the beaters the marshmallow mixture kept its shape exactly like this until I poured it into the pan. This is how yours should look like as well.

homemade vegan marshmallows | seitanismymotor.com

Roll the marshmallows in the sugar and starch mixture and let them air dry for 24 hours. (Place them on a sheet in a single layer.) Then store them in an airtight container. If they are still sticky after 24 hours, dust them with more sugar and starch and dry for another 24 hours.

homemade vegan marshmallows | seitanismymotor.com

Merken

Since my last post I have been experimenting a lot with turning chickpea brine into different kinds of egg white based things. All these years there has been a cheap and easy alternative to eggs and egg replacers and most of us didn’t know about it. I still think this is the most amazing food and baking related thing I ever heard about. So while I was determined to come up with a vegan macaron recipe, a couple of my German readers asked for a recipe for schokokuesse (chocolate kisses). And yes, why not?

A schokokuss is a pile of marshmallow fluff or soft (unbaked) meringue that sits on a thin wafer and is covered in chocolate. They are similar to mallomars, but taller, looking like a bowler hat without the rim. In Denmark a very similar treat is called flødeboller (cream buns). The meringue or marshmallow fluff is piped onto a cookie or a disk of marzipan and then covered in chocolate. In Germany schokokuesse are very popular for children’s birthday parties, where they are used for eating contests: The kids are not allowed to use their hands while eating a schokokuss and the person who eats the fastest wins. The best part of this being the kid’s pictures, of course.

If you have never had a schokokuss or a flødebolle I must warn you though. When I ate one yesterday I was remembered how sweet and rich they are. Even though I have a massive sweet tooth I can’t eat more than one at a time. That’s why I decided to keep the yield reasonable here. The recipe makes about 7-8 schokokuesse, which can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for a maximum of two days. Although these meringue treats are usually made with gelatin, I based my recipe on a version that did not call for a gelling agent. It is easier this way but since I was working with chickpea brine instead of egg whites, the result wasn’t as stiff and mousse like as the omni version. They do keep their shape perfectly but the texture of these vegan schokokuesse is a bit softer. It’s like whipped cream that is not perfectly stiff yet. To me it was close enough though, especially because they taste exactly like an egg white and gelatin based version – as far as I can remember. And F can confirm that these treats are perfect for any kind of birthday party eating contest: “Mum, if you eat this, the filling squeezes out and it’s all over your face!” Yup, quite true.

 vegan flødeboller | seitanismymotor.com

 A couple of notes: Usually schokokuesse are made with thin round wafers. I didn’t have those on hand, so I used baking wafers with a diameter of 50 mm. If you cannot find those, you can use any kind of thin wafer or cookie as an alternative.

This recipe uses hot sugar syrup that is poured into the chickpea meringue. Use heatproof equipment (bowl and whisk attachments) and work very carefully so that you don’t burn yourself. I used a handheld mixer for this but if you have a stand mixer, go for it, it’s probably better.

vegane schokokuesse | seitanismymotor.com

Vegan Flødeboller (Soft Marshmallow Treats)

7-8 marshmallow treats

Ingredients

60 ml (1/4 cup) chickpea brine from a can
1/4 teaspoon guar gum
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar or 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or 1/8 teaspoon ground vanilla
125 g (1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons) sugar
1 tablespoon water
7-8 baking wafers or thin round cookies
150 g (5.3 oz) dark chocolate
1 tablespoon refined coconut oil

Instructions

To make the filling, combine chickpea brine and guar gum in a tall and narrow heatproof bowl and whip with a handheld blender for 2 minutes.

Add cream of tartar or lemon juice and vanilla and whip for another 5 minutes or until them mixture is very stiff.

Set aside.

Combine sugar and water in a small pot and slowly bring to a boil, while stirring constantly. Cook into a syrup over high heat for 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat

Briefly whip the chickpea mixture up again.

Now carefully pour the hot sugar syrup in while still whipping. Make sure your bowl is very steady and take care not to burn yourself. (If you have a stand mixer it's probably better for this step than a handheld one.)

Whip until everything is well combined.

Place 7-8 baking wafers or thin cookies (about 50 mm in diameter) on a piece of parchment paper.

Scoop the meringue mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a star tip and pipe a generous amount on top of a wafer. (see picture)

To make the chocolate coating, finely chop the chocolate. Combine with the coconut oil and melt in a water bath.

Use a spoon to pour the chocolate over the marshmallow treats. Make sure not to miss a spot.

Let rest for 5 minutes then use a dipping fork or a very thin spatula to transfer to a cookie rack.

Move every 10 minutes or so so that the chocolate doesn't stick to the rack. Let dry completely.

http://www.seitanismymotor.com/2015/03/vegan-floedeboller-schokokuesse/

vegan flødeboller | seitanismymotor.com

P.S. Charis from Floral Frosting came up with an amazing looking recipe for vegan macarons. Check it out here!