E2 Week: Lemon Cornmeal Pancakes with Blueberry Syrup

Of course, these pancakes are beautiful. Bright yellow, smothered in wild blueberries–there is no way to go wrong with that.

See what I mean? There’s a problem, though, and it comes from adapting a recipe too far. Oh, Engine 2 Diet, you can’t take all the sugar out of a recipe with the juice and zest of two full lemons! Since this recipe is adapted from Vegan with a Vengeance, I could check the original–eliminating the oil is one thing (since pancakes sort of don’t need it, if you grease your pan appropriately) but the sugar? THE SUGAR? It’s sort of like thinking you’re going to drink a big glass of lemonade, and what you get is a fresh glass of straight lemon juice. With salt in it.

My husband called these “bitter cakes” for a very good reason. Next time I make them–and I’m determined to make them again!–I’ll add only 1 or 2 teaspoons of zest, the same amount of lemon juice (it’s about 1/4 of a cup), and a tablespoon of raw sugar.

There were two exciting discoveries that came from this breakfast, though: 1. I LOVE soy yogurt. I think I tried it early on, when my tastes were still changing, and it seemed weird. But I ate a bit of the vanilla yogurt that went into these and it was amazing. So, yay! 2. Blueberry Syrup. I made this recipe off the top of my head, and then discovered that it was nearly identical to the one in VwaV. How do I do it?

Blueberry Syrup (makes enough for 4 servings of pancakes, used sparingly):

  • 1/2 cup frozen wild blueberries (the small kind)
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 or 2 tsp vanilla (to taste)

Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan over low heat. The syrup should come together in the time it takes to make all your pancakes, and be gently warm–not burning hot. So, about 15 minutes.

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Lemon Chia Seed Bread

I was so weary of making the same Lemon Poppy Seed Bread over and over again. So when I discovered this Lemon Chia Seed bread on the back of the Bob’s Red Mill bag, I was super excited. I like that chia seeds are full of nutritional benefits (I doubt that poppy seeds are, other than you can’t take a drug test after eating them, which doesn’t exactly count). And whatever seeds you don’t eat you can put on some pottery and grow a friend!

This is the only slice we had left by the time I could take a photo. And, as you might notice, there is a large bite taken out of it. Does that give you some idea about this bread’s amazing deliciousness?

The recipe has the added bonus of not having to zest the lemon. Does that annoy anyone else? I can’t handle finding big weird bits of lemon peel that I forgot to zest small enough hanging out in my baked goods. Plus the work of actually using the zester, and not also zesting my skin. Zest! This is just tons and tons of lemon juice, surprisingly little sugar, and possibly some magic.

I do want to say that I made one change: I didn’t want to use margarine in it (I don’t really keep it in the house, and I don’t like it for baked goods anyway). So I just used the equal amount of canola oil and made sure to mix it really, really well with the sugar. It tasted just great to me, so I think it doesn’t make any real difference in the finished product.

Blackberry Lemon Bread

It’s no secret that I love baked goods. Muffins, cakes, pies, cookies…you name it. But there’s something about a loaf of bread–yeast or quick–that gets me. And this Blackberry Lemon Bread takes the proverbial cake. I just threw it together this morning for breakfast because we had leftover blackberries and leftover lemons from this week’s cooking. So good!

Blackberry Lemon Bread (makes 1 loaf):

  • 2 cups flour (I use a blend of white and whole wheat)
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 T baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup almond milk
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 2 tsp lemon zest
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 generous cup of blackberries

Heat oven to 350 degrees and grease a loaf pan. In a medium bowl, combine all the dry ingredients. Then, add the milk, lemon juice, applesauce, oil, zest and vanilla. Gently combine until most of the dry ingredients are incorporated. Then, fold in the berries. Spoon mixture into loaf pan and bake for 40-50 minutes, checking frequently after 30 for doneness (when a toothpick comes out clean).

This recipe was adapted from the Lemon Poppy Seed muffin recipe in Vegan Brunch.

Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins FTW!

FTW stands for “for the win”–right? Don’t look on Urban Dictionary, let your brain have what little innocence is left.

Look at you. You are God’s most perfect little muffin. I sort of wish I hadn’t eaten you about an hour ago, so that I could still look at you. And smell your lemony goodness. Sigh.

Are you like me? Have you tried dozens of muffin recipes only to have them come out sucky? Before I was a vegan, I would troll the internet and Southern Living cookbooks for perfect muffin recipes. Buttermilk, sour cream, voodoo, nothing worked. I always thought I was just “over mixing”–which I think is cookbook language for “don’t blame me. It’s all YOUR fault.” The crumb! The crumb is the best, most important part of the muffin. You  know, it should be soft, sort of like cake, but not spongy like cake. More like a cake met a cookie and then they began to make-out. You know? And the top should be a little sugary and crunchy, just a touch brown on the top and bottom. Oh, muffin. Why were you so elusive? Why could I buy bakery muffins and have them taste great, only to be crushed at home when mine were so tough and dry and sad?

No more! NO MORE! These muffins were fantastic. The crumb was perfect, they were firm and moist and just a little crumbly, with a crunchy top. And the lemon flavor was absolutely perfect. It didn’t punch you in the face, but rather gradually stole over your mouth like a ray of sunshine. And they were so much easier than the fiddly non-vegan muffins. I hate those muffins. Vegan muffins forever!

Recipe from Vegan Brunch. I’ve been hitting the Vegan Brunch pretty hard, I may need to ease off. But not until I make a whole lot more muffins. Including an Almond Poppy Seed Muffin I’m dying to invent!