Honey Wheat Bread from the Slow Cooker

I’ve been asked about baking bread in the slow cooker from start to finish and after seeing how wonderfully it rises in it, I knew a bit of research would give me the information I needed.  Now here’s the AWESOME part: it works with my favorite bread recipe!  *Does the kitchen happy dance!*
Ingredients:
  • 2.5 tsp granulated yeast
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp and 1 tsp vital wheat gluten (rising agent)
  • 1/4 honey (or sweetener of your choice)
  • 2.5 Tbsp peanut oil
  • 3/4 cup lukewarm almond milk
  • 3/4 cup lukewarm water
  • 3 & 1/3 cups whole wheat flour
  • Parchment paper
  • Bowl with water to dip your hands in
  • loaf pan smaller than your slow cooker; OR something to shape your loaf with; OR nothing of the sort if you don’t mind a dome of bread
Directions:
  1. Set the slow cooker on high with enough water to barely cover the bottom.  Cover and set aside.
  2. Fold your parchment paper into a rectangle that will fit snugly in your cooker or loaf pan. Set aside.
  3. Fill a bowl with some water (for dipping your hands) and place nearby.
  4. If your milk and water are cold, combine them (equals 1.5 cups total) and microwave for 30 seconds.
  5. Mix all ingredients EXCEPT flour in a large bowl.
  6. Whisk briskly to incorporate the ingredients as much as possible.  This takes a bit as the vital wheat gluten likes to clump.  Doing this makes for a more evenly rising loaf so don’t skimp on the whisking.
  7. With a large wooden spoon, slowly mix in the flour.
  8. Once you have a mixture too difficult to stir (roughly the second cup of flour), dip your hands in the bowl of water and begin kneading.  Continue to knead until all the flour is added and thoroughly mixed.  Keep dipping your hands as necessary to keep the dough from sticking to them and the bowl too much.
  9. Then transfer the dough to the parchment paper and shape into a loaf.
  10. Remove the lid from the slow cooker, place the dough in the parchment within (you can use ceramic plates, shallow bowls or anything similar to help shape the dough if you don’t want it round and your loaf pan doesn’t fit in the cooker; just make sure it’s not metal or plastic.
  11. With a knife, slide down the center of the top of the loaf.  Drizzle honey across the top and sprinkle with oats.
  12. Cover the cooker and set it for high for three hours.
  13. Come back in three hours and confirm bread is done (should be fully risen and pulling away from the sides of the parchment).  If you want a loaf with a crisper exterior, you can pop it into the broiler or on the top shelf in the oven at 350 degrees till sufficiently browned/crisped.

Let them eat Crockpot Cake!

Okay, so maybe Marie Antoinette didn’t say it exactly like that but if she had a Crockpot, I bet she would have!  I’ve heard rumors that you can back a cake in the crockpot but you know me, I have to find out for myself.  Now let me say that I wasn’t going to go crazy with a super-duper-completely-from-scratch recipe only to discover that you can’t actually bake a cake in a crockpot.  So I used a boxed cake.  Devil’s Food to be exact.  And I have to say… it came out tasty, moist and just like a regular over-baked cake.  OK, not exactly like an oven-baked cake because it was the shape of my semi oval crockpot and didn’t look very pretty (but I wasn’t going for aesthetics this time).  It was an experiment and now that I know, I can expand upon this.  Here’s my notes on baking a cake in the slow cooker:
Needs:
  • Boxed cake mix – including any requirements from the back of the box such as eggs, oil and water
  • Parchment paper OR Baker’s Joy (I do NOT use Baker’s Joy personally but have heard that it is the best product for this type of baking)
  • NOTE: You can use cupcake foils if they are stiff enough to stand on their own with the batter in them.
  • Crockpot/slow cooker
Directions:
  1. Mix batter as instructed on the back of the cake mix box.
  2. Line crockpot with parchment paper (I measure out the bottom of the pan and make neat folds for more aesthetically pleasing cake) or use Baker’s Joy.
  3. Pour batter into crockpot.
  4. Cover the top of the crockpot with paper towels (to absorb the moisture and allow the cake to actually bake).
  5. Put lid over the paper towels, pulling the towels taunt across so they don’t droop into the rising cake.
  6. Set your cooker on high for an hour.
  7. Check your cake after an hour with a toothpick.  Poke the cake in the center with the toothpick as far down as it will go and pull it back.  If it has batter on it, the cake is not done; cover with paper towels & lid and continue to bake for another half hour.  If it comes back clean, it’s done.
  8. Once done, immediately remove the cake by lifting the parchment paper and placing it on a cooling rack.  If you didn’t use a liner, allow the cake to cool enough to be able to handle it and remove from crockpot.
  9. Allow cake to completely cool before frosting/icing.
Let me know how yours comes out or feel free to post any questions/comments below!  Thanks!

Pumpkin Pancake Rolls

I love making these great rolls for a quick breakfast/snack during the week.
Ingredients:
  • 2 cups Bisquick (it’s vegan!)
  • 2 cups vanilla almond milk
  • 1 Tablespoon custard powder
  • 4 Tablespoons raw honey
  • 15 oz. can of pumpkin puree (not pie filling)
  • Safflower or Grapeseed Oil
  • Cream cheese
Directions:
  1. Incorporate all ingredients except oil and cream cheese into a large bowl using a whisk or mixer.
  2. Add a small amount of oil to a pan over medium heat.
  3. Pour the desired size of pancake into pan and cook thoroughly on both sides.
  4. Allow pancakes to cool completely and separately (I use parchment paper between pancakes while they are cooling so they don’t stick).
  5. Once cooled, add a layer of cream cheese to the pancake.
  6. Roll pancake cream cheese side in.
  7. Wrap roll with parchment paper or Press-n-Seal (I actually use both as I already have the parchment there and the Press-n-Seal keeps it for several days with no problems).
  8. Put in fridge and eat whenever!

Quiche in the Slow Cooker

Ingredients:
  • 1 dozen eggs (this freezes wonderfully so I make a full dozen!)
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 cup Bisquick
  • 16 0z. spinach
  • Optional: Baker’s Joy or equivalent cooking spray
Directions:
  1. Whisk eggs until thoroughly beaten.
  2. While still whisking slowly add milk then Bisquick until completely incorporated.
  3. Add spinach (if it’s still frozen, break apart before adding).
  4. -Optional- This recipe tends to stick to the cooker so a release agent here is helpful.  If you use one, apply it to your cooker now.
  5. Pour entire mixture into slow cooker.
  6. Set your cooker to high for 3 hours.
  7. Your quiche is done when it starts to pull away from the sides of the cooker and/or a toothpick inserted in the middle comes back dry.
  8. Serve with a dollop of sour cream and sprinkled with garlic powder.
This was the most moist quiche I’ve ever had and I plan on expanding on this recipe in the future.

Chamomile Cake with Orange Chocolate Ganache

Chamomile Cake

  • 1 cup of unsalted butter at room temperature (I use Earth Balance’s soy free buttery spread)
  • 1 cup of honey
  • 4 eggs, room temperature
  • ½ cup of chamomile powder(ground in mortar and pestle)
  • 1 & ¼ cups of unbleached all purpose flour (or 1 & ¼ self rising flour or cake flour with no baking powder)
  • 1 & ½ teaspoons baking powder (omitted if using self rising/cake flour)
  • 1 cup of milk (1 & ½ cup if using sugar instead of honey)
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda (omit if using sugar instead of honey)
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees (350 degrees if using sugar instead of honey).
  2. Line your pan with parchment paper, folding the corners into pleats.
  3. Cream the butter and honey until light and fluffy.
  4. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until each egg is fully incorporated before adding the next.
  5. In a separate bowl, mix all dry ingredients.
  6. Slowly mix in the dry ingredients and milk a little at a time, alternating the two. (To keep dry ingredients from creating plumbs of powder, fold into batter before turning your mixer on again.)
  7. Pour mixture into lined pan.
  8. Bake at 325 degrees for 20-25 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean.
Tips & Hints:
  • You can use sugar instead of honey by adjusting the milk to 1 cup, omitting the baking soda entirely and increasing the baking temperature to 350 degrees.
  • If using self-rising or cake flour, omit the baking powder.

Chocolate Orange Ganache

Ingredients:
  • 12 oz. of semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • ½ cup half and half
  • ½ Tbsp honey
  • 1 Orange zest
  • 2 tsp arrowroot
Directions:
  1. Add zest, butter and half & half to a simmer in a small saucepan.
  2. Remove from heat.
  3. Add honey, arrowroot and salt to mixture.  Stir thoroughly.
  4. Add chocolate chips to mixture allowing it to melt the chocolate (can semi-melt chocolate if desired).
  5. Wisk until lumps are gone and mixture is no longer separating.  Should appear glossy. (Remember you have zest in the mixture so tiny grains will be evident.)
  6. Pour over cake to coat.

Assembling the cake hints:

  • To use the ganache between cake layers, allow it to cool slightly to thicken.  Pour over the bottom layer of cake, spreading it with a knife.  Allow it to cool until it stiffens slightly (a few minutes in the fridge is fine for this) then add the top layer.
  • The ganache is NOT a good “frosting” as it will slide when warm and not always cling to the sides.  It’s best poured over individual cupcakes, pieces, as a fruit dip, extra.  It will become fudge-like when cold.

Vegan Banana Bread (aka eggless)

Ingredients:
  • 1/2 c. honey, agave or sugar
  • 1/2 c. butter, margarine, applesauce or yogurt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2-3 ripe or overly ripe bananas
  • 2 c. whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup oatmeal
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 c. brown sugar
  • Options: raisins, cranberries, nuts
Directions:
  1. Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. In a bowl, mix all your dry ingredients well and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, mush bananas first (can use a food processor for this step if you wish) then add your wet ingredients.
  4. Mix well.
  5. Stir dry ingredients into wet and thoroughly incorporate.
  6. Slightly grease your loaf pan.
  7. Pour mixture into pan.
  8. Top if desired (I like to add some nuts, drizzle with honey and sprinkle with oats)
  9. Bake for 45 minutes or until toothpick dipped into bread is clean when removed.
Hints & Tips:
  • You can substitute 1/4 c. of sugar for 1 banana should you not have enough bananas
  • Try buttering or oiling your pan instead of greasing it
  • Yogurt should be full fat for best results

Oatmeal Cookies in a Dehydrator

Ingredients:
  • 2 cups oats (groats, whole)
  • 1/2 cup almonds
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup agave nectar, honey or maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup cashews
Directions:
  1. Put oat groats in food processor and grind until fine.
  2. Transfer to a mixing bowl.
  3. Put almonds in food processor and pulse a few times to chop them until just coarsely chopped.
  4. Transfer to bowl with the oats.
  5. Add raisins and agave nectar to bowl and mix everything well.
  6. Grind cashews in coffee grinder, and use this to coat your palms as you handle the cookie batter.
  7. Take small chunks of dough and flatten into rounds on the mesh sheet of a dehydrator tray.
  8. Dehydrate for about 12 hours on 110 degrees. Dehydrating time needed will vary according to how thick you’ve made the cookies, and the desired consistency.