19 January 2011

Still Sweet

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:

Raised Waffles
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.
Pecan s'mores clusters
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.
It feels like I am gradually regaining the motivation to get back into the kitchen for more serious cooking--I haven't ignored the savory realm, either--so I hope to return to my more enthusiastic, kitchen-lurking self soon.

13 comments:

  1. Red bean jam? Sounds so exotic and delicious! Lovely writing, Tiffany.
    xo
    Aimee

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  2. Great blog! I heart waffles. Haven't had them in a while, now I have a craving :)

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  3. Those clusters look so delicious!

    I know how you feel, I had the same burnout after Christmas. I hope your motivation comes back soon!

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  4. Those graham crackers look delicious - what recipe did you use? I would love to make them!
    Thanks.

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  5. Thanks guys!

    Yvonne,
    I made the Graham Crackers from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar. I think that recipe is also available online at The PPK.

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  6. Oh man I have been dying for some waffles. Yours look great!

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  7. Those cookies look heavenly. I am getting hungry just reading this blog!

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  8. The s'mores clusters look amazingly yummy!! Love the addition of the pecans. And the waffles look so delicious too!

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  9. OMG, the s'mores clusters look so good! what a great idea! I've got to try that, thanks! :-)

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  10. The mere concept of s'mores clusters makes my head spin. Incredible!

    And don't worry, if there was ever a month for uncreative cooking and general hibernation, it's definitely January. Things should pick up soon enough, but the best advice is to not push it. Inspiration will come at its leisure.

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  11. Those graham crackers look delicious - what recipe did you use? I would love to make them!
    Thanks.

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Thanks for reading! Your comments are always welcome and appreciated. :)