Although it is already mid-January, post-holiday mental burnout and a certain malaise linger, limiting most urges for extensive kitchen activity. I continually admire the food masterpieces of other cooks, but more often than not, I simply cannot muster the energy to direct that inspiration into much of anything. Meals are accordingly dull and redundant; the few dishes I have cooked are stretched for consecutive meals over a few days, each serving once or twice as an item to truly savor before reducing to yet another means of sustenance. The good news is that I have not entirely lost interest in cooking, and oddly enough, the holiday sugar rush has not seemed to deter me from concocting sweets. The week's confections were as follows:
As both a waffle- and yeast-risen bread-lover, I couldn't resist trying the Raised Waffles from Isa Chandra Moskowitz's Vegan Brunch (2009). I substituted some of the all-purpose flour with whole wheat pastry flour and fermented the batter for an hour rather than overnight--perfect for creating a late, hassle-free breakfast. Baked in a Belgian waffle-style iron, the waffles had deep pockets that were ideal for cradling Chunky Red Bean Jam (Tsubu An), which I made using a recipe from the gorgeous Kansha (2010) by Elizabeth Andoh. Of course, maple syrup and toasted pecans were also in order. The waffles were fine plain, too. I froze the leftovers, which reheat to a nice crisp in the toaster.
These candy nuggets were an impromptu product of a craving for s'mores and good timing, because I happened to have the appropriate ingredients on hand and managed to properly temper the chocolate without the benefit of a working candy thermometer. Basically, I gathered clumps of chopped vegan marshmallows, broken vegan graham cracker pieces (homemade, in this case), and toasted pecan pieces (not a classic s'mores ingredient, but a lovely, nutty addition), coated them in a blend of tempered dark chocolate and coconut oil, and allowed the clusters to cool and harden. Despite their richness, these s'mores clusters are ridiculously addictive. Fortunately, I made a small batch, so overindulging wasn't much of a concern.