Vegan Sourdough Mincemeat Babka

In case you are looking for more ways to grow as sourdough bakers, I highly recommend this fantastic cake. My mom used to buy cakes like this, leavened with commercial yeast and stuffed with chocolate and cinnamon, and serve me a slice for breakfast with tea; those were very tasty, but this one is so much better.

The prep time is long, but most of it is the bacteria working for you (including an overnight stay in the fridge), so it’s not particularly labor intensive, and the cutting and braiding process is a fun skill to acquire. I veganized and modified Maurizio’s excellent recipe in the following ways:

  • Substitute oat milk for milk (same amounts);
  • Substitute oat butter (Miyoko’s) for the butter (same amounts);
  • Substitute Hampton Creek’s Just Egg for the egg (including the egg wash! easy to do, as Maurizio gives the egg amount by weight)
  • Substitute brown sugar for the caster sugar in the cake;
  • substitute agave syrup for the caster sugar in the simple syrup (I did a 1:1 substitution);
  • use mincemeat for the filling (many jars are made with vegan suet substitutes).

For people making this for the first time, do not be dismayed if the dough is very sticky (a function of the butter and the Just Egg.) After the night stay in the fridge it will be far more workable. Lightly flour your bench before rolling it out. Also, I don’t have a pullman pan, but I baked this very successfully in a silicone loaf pan, and it popped out just fine.


The result was fantastic. You can hardly detect sourness from the sourdough, but the texture is so rewarding. The brioche texture is fluffy and rich, the filling sweet and spicy, and the slices are gorgeous. Happy 2021 to all!

Hōjicha Latte

Let’s take a wee break from all criminal justice/civil rights aspects of this annus horribilis to discuss one of the upshots: given the closure of cafés, which are my favorite places to work, I’ve developed home barista skills. Usually I drink a matcha latte every day, but I’m out of matcha powder–and imagine my joy when I discovered that it is possible to make lattes from hōjicha! Hōjicha is a Japanese green tea, which obtains its distinctive flavor through roasting in a porcelain pot over charcoal (most other Japanese teas are steamed.) The tea is fired at a high temperature, altering the leaf color tints from green to reddish brown. One of the wonderful attributes of hōjicha is that it has almost no caffeine, which means I can happily drink a couple of these a day and serve this to my preschooler.

Simply grinding tea leaves does not make powder that is usable in lattes; matcha powder can be used in this way because of its distinctive processing. Thankfully, the good folks over at Stonemill Matcha sell hōjicha powder. To make this at home, you’ll need a tall glass, a little cup, a matcha whisk (chasen) and an ordinary kitchen whisk.

Pour about 1 cup of Oatly (or any plant milk, but if you have Oatly, why drink anything else?) into the tall glass and add a few ice cubes. Place the kitchen whisk in the glass and spin fast back and forth until you have a nice layer of foam on top. In the little cup, place a teaspoon of hōjicha powder. Add about 3-4 tbsp boiling water. Whisk with matcha whisk until a bit foamy. Carefully pour the hōjicha into the milk glass, which will create the layers you see in the picture. Enjoy!

Masala Superfood Balls

masala date balls

I had an action-packed morning and, on my way home, really wanted something sweet with my tea. But rather than stopping somewhere on the way for some empty calories, I remembered I now have all these fancy nuts and dried berries at home! So I spent five minutes concocting these little delicacies, which can be made bigger or smaller.

8 medjool dates
4 tbsp almond butter
2-3 tbsp maca powder
2-3 tbsp mixed nuts and berries (I had this one, which is very fancy, but you can vary)
1 tsp garam masala

Chop up dates and break big nuts into smaller pieces. Moisten your hands and mix everything together to a doughy, sticky consistency. Roll little balls and store in fridge until they harden a bit.

More Pumpkin Bread

I love pumpkin bread! And we already have a recipe here. But this time I went ahead and made this recipe from the Beaming Baker. It was not only exceedingly easy to make, but also delicious.


1. You don’t need that much maple syrup and sugar. I put about half that amount and it was enough for light sweetness.
2. If you’re out of oat flour and almond meal, simply grind almonds and quick oats.
3. You don’t have to use canned pumpkin. I had a butternut squash lying around, so I halved it and baked it in a 350-degree oven. As a bonus, you’ll have baked squash in the fridge, which you can use for taco fillings or for pie.


Citrus-Lavender Raw Mini-Pies

Our friend Adi stayed with us for a few days, and I decided to treat him to a special breakfast pie but I didn’t have all the ingredients on hand, so I improvised. The outcome was stunningly delicious, not too sweet, and fragrant with herbal aroma.

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Butternut Squash Muffins with Spelt and Teff

Whenever we get butternut squash in our CSA box, I try to bake it right away and store the puree in the fridge. I can then use it in a variety of recipes, and today I decided to bake squash muffins. They came out incredibly fluffy, probably because I replaced almost half the flour with teff. I made a few other adjustments to Isa’s recipe, and it turned out great. Here’s my version:

Dry Ingredients:
1 cup spelt flour
3/4 cup teff
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground or freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

Wet Ingredients:
1 cup pureed pumpkin
1/2 cup almond milk (I used my turmeric-goldenberry milk, so you might need to add a bit more maple syrup if yours is unsweetened.)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup maple syrup
3 chopped dates

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Mix dry ingredients and wet ingredients separately. Then, gradually add dry ingredients to wet ingredient bowl. Mix until just combined. Pour into a dozen muffin molds and bake for about 20 minutes or until knife comes out dry.

Pineapple-Oat Cookies

pineapple oatmeal cookies

These cookies turned out quite fantastic: chewy and full of fruit. The basic recipe is at Natural Sweet Recipes, but I modified it because I didn’t have all the ingredients at hand. Turned out great,

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Orange-Clove Cookies

Delicious and easy to make!

But first, a kitchen gear recommendation: If, like me, you bake very infrequently, you might appreciate having a small hand mixer that doesn’t take up a lot of room. I’m really enjoying this one.

1/3 cup coconut oil
1/3 cup maple syrup
4 tsp orange zest
7 cloves
1/3 cup chopped macadamia nuts
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt

Heat oven to 375 and prepare a baking sheet with a silpat mat on it (or waxed paper with a bit of grease on it.) Cream the coconut oil and maple syrup. Then, add zest, cloves, nuts, flour, baking soda, and salt. Mix well. Dough should have soft play-doh consistency. Make little balls, place on baking sheet, and flatten a bit at the center with your thumb. Bake for about 12 minutes or until the edges are golden.