A Star is Born

Get Your Glow On

Shining brightly as a beacon of hope and guiding light, stars hold a heavy symbolic weight with their ethereal luminescence. When it comes to Christmas specifically, it’s the crowning jewel on top of a majestic evergreen tree, the pinnacle of the holiday spirit itself. Why not add a little bit more star power to the whole season, starting with your plate.

Gold Star Bread

What Is Star Bread?

Gold Star Bread is a glorious, glowing ode to brioche, cinnamon rolls, monkey bread, and coffee cake all wrapped up in tender outstretched rays. The dough itself is soft and buttery, rich and warmly spiced, infused with the flaxen hue of ground turmeric. That alone could be turned into a luscious loaf. For a special occasion, though, we might as well go all out. Mocha infuses each twist and turn as a sweet wake up call. Ease into a festive day ahead with your very own golden star leading the way.

Sharing pull-apart bread with loved ones is a whole different experience from whacking off a simple slice. You eat with your hands, drop all pretenses, and can surrender yourself to the tactile sensation of the warm, freshly baked dough. While it makes for a showstopping breakfast or dessert, the assembly is no more complicated than any other yeasted treat.

Gold Star Bread

Filling Ideas for Star Bread

If you’re not a coffee person, you’ve got plenty of flavorful options.

  • Easiest of all, simply omit the coffee powder and keep it cocoa.
  • Swap the coffee and cocoa for ground cinnamon.
  • Use brown sugar and chai spices.
  • Add roughly chopped pecans, walnuts, and/or crystallized ginger.

The sun may hide away on some winter days, but the stars will still come out to guide your way. Hold on to that golden glow through the holidays and beyond.

Continue reading “A Star is Born”

Waffling Around Breakfast

Tender, fluffy, redolent of warm spices; the best cinnamon buns are the epitome of comfort food for those with a sweet tooth. Each rich swirl is lavished with buttery cinnamon filling and smothered in silky cream cheese icing, melting and mingling within the warm, freshly baked pastry. Such an experience can’t be replicated with anything store-bought or made in advance, so how does anyone enjoy such a treat on a busy morning for breakfast?

Turn that concept into a simple waffle batter and bake that decadent cinnamon sweetness right in for an effortless recipe renovation.

Want to save more time in the morning?

These waffles are your ticket to instant comfort food with some advance planning.

The waffles themselves can be made ahead of time and frozen for up to two months. Simply reheat in the toaster oven until hot throughout and lightly crisped on the outside. The cream cheese drizzle will keep in the fridge for up to a week.

What’s a good substitute for sweet potato flour?

Sweet potato flour is unique for its subtly sweet flavor and thickening properties. It’s an excellent gluten-free option, but may be tricky to find in some markets. If you don’t want to order online or simply want to start cooking ASAP, here are the best options to try instead:

  • Quinoa flour
  • Oat flour
  • Rice flour

Never again compromise between convenience, cravings, and nutrition. These decadent-tasting yet secretly healthy waffles have it all!

Continue reading “Waffling Around Breakfast”

The Hole Truth About Crumpets

Back in my youth, before I hit my terminal oatmeal phase, crumpets were my daily breakfast staple. Run through the toaster just long enough to warm through, but not crisp, nothing could beat that speed and versatility. These were the dark ages before good vegan butter existed, so I would usually opt for a light smear of creamy peanut butter instead. If I was feeling particularly decadent, it would get a sprinkle of cinnamon and sliced banana on top, too. In the spare few minutes I had before running off to catch the train to school, that was the height of luxury.

I don’t know why I stopped eating crumpets. There were no supply chain issues to blame, no big falling out I can recall. I just seemed to suddenly forget about them for two decades.

And then, just as suddenly, that familiar craving came rushing back in a tsunami wave of nostalgia.

The texture is reminiscent of many similar bread products, yet stands alone as its own unique entity. Soft, spongy, and chewy, most people compare them to English muffins or pancakes, but I’d say they’re more like really thick injera made from wheat flour.

They’re very simple, yet surprisingly difficult to perfect. This was not my first attempt at making crumpets; shamefully, I’ve churned out more smooth flapjacks than I’d like to admit. It turns out that the secret is… Cheating.

It’s not anything as terrible as copying your classmate during the final exam. It just feels a bit like trickery when the key to creating that signature network of lacy holes is- Now don’t judge me here- To poke them open with a toothpick.

It’s not all forced, artificially manipulated texture, since they do bubble up naturally. A tiny touch of extra vital wheat gluten ensures that chewy texture, but it also makes the protein network just slightly too strong to burst open without a bit of help. You don’t need to go crazy and jab at the little skillet cakes relentlessly, but give them a little poke while you’re standing over the stove already, and they’ll be better than store-bought.

The holes are really what make crumpets so special. Providing a lacy network of pockets for clotted cream or melting butter to pool, it’s almost like a super soft waffle. They were made to be topped, lavishly or simply, to reach their full potential.

Crumpets are made of humble ingredients, with a downright silly preparation, but that’s all part of the fun. If you’ve ever wanted to relive your childish days of popping bubbles for fun, here’s a more productive way to indulge.

Continue reading “The Hole Truth About Crumpets”

A Date with Destiny

I hope I’m not dating myself here, but I still think dates are one of nature’s candy. Especially when you get a perfectly plump fruit, thick and juicy, bearing the tiniest pit and a very thin skin, nothing compares to that pure sweet taste. It’s rich and voluptuous but never cloying, never overtly sugary. Worlds of flavor beyond that pure fructose hit bolster the experience with notes of molasses, brown sugar, caramel, butterscotch, toffee, and sometimes even cinnamon and chocolate. Nothing added, nothing removed, a single date can be far more satisfying than the most elaborate pastries.

It’s shocking to me that dates aren’t more popular for exactly this reason. Even if you think they’re too sticky or messy to eat solo, they’re such promising ingredients to use in other applications, especially with a little additional finesse. For example, date syrup is one of my favorite sweeteners du jour. Also known as date honey, date nectar, or date molasses, this thick treacle has been a prime ingredient in Middle Eastern households for millennia, but is slow to take root overseas in the US. This alone is utterly baffling. For a society generally fixated on healthier options, bearing so many food allergies and intolerance in mind, it should be flying off the shelves.

Being unrefined is a good thing in this case. In contrast to highly processed white sugar, date syrup still has all of its beneficial nutrients, minerals, and antioxidants intact. It’s even been shown to have antibacterial properties, much like conventional bee’s honey. As with whole dates, it has a much lower glycemic index than typical sweeteners, making it a better choice for those who need to watch their blood sugar.

Even if date syrup remains elusive in local markets, it’s a snap to make your own from scratch. To make date syrup, simply pour boiling water over pitted dates to cover. Let soak for about 2 hours, drain, and transfer to your food processor. Thoroughly puree until completely smooth, adding a tiny amount of water, as needed, for it to continue blending. Strain through a fine mesh sieve, or keep the pulp to retain more fiber. Store in a glass bottle in the fridge or a cool, dark place for up to a year.

Once you have the raw materials, you’re ready to create riches beyond your sweetest dreams. Leaning into warm spices to complement the deep, robust, and subtly earthy taste of the date syrup, gingerbread is always top of mind. Sweetened solely by the power of this supple fruit, buttery scones take shape with ease. Falling somewhere between flaky biscuits and fluffy cake, you genuinely feel like you’re eating a dessert for breakfast, without any sugar rush or crash to worry about mid-morning.

Date-nut gingerbread scones will delight those with serious sweet teeth all year round, not just during the holiday season. Best of all, you won’t wreck your New Year’s resolutions when you indulge, even if you go back for seconds.

Continue reading “A Date with Destiny”

Brunch Like a Boss

Move over, breakfast; brunch is really the most important meal of the day. More inclusive for those who sleep late, anyone can enjoy this timeless meal. Balancing sweet and savory cravings through a variety of equally comforting and energizing options, it doesn’t have to be fancy to hit the spot. Make every bite count, especially during Veganuary, by starting with the best vegan brands.

Nature’s Fynd has all the staples you need to take your brunch game to the next level, effortlessly. Using their Fy™ nutritional fungi protein base to build both meatless breakfast patties and dairy-free cream cheese, it’s unlike anything else on the market. This is a complete vegan protein with all 9 essential amino acids that’s grown using a fraction of the water, land, and energy compared to traditional animal products. Whether you want to reduce your impact on the environment, eat healthier, or make more compassionate choices, it’s an easy decision when building your Veganuary meal plan.

Plus, most importantly from a culinary perspective, it tastes amazing.

Build a better bagel sandwich with a schmear of Original Cream Cheese, so smooth and spreadable that you’d think it was softened butter. In fact, it even melts into the toasted surface of a still-warm slice of toast, infusing all that goodness right into the bread itself. It’s perfect for either sweet or savory applications, which makes it incredibly versatile.

Use it to slather on pancakes, or stuff French toast! Strawberry jam is my jam, personally, which creates an experience not unlike cheesecake filling that you can justify eating as an entree.

Step it up with Chive & Onion Cream Cheese for an aromatic allium twist, made with real vegetables rather than weak flavorings and extracts. Fresh, bold, and bright, it adds an extra zing to just about anything. Don’t limit yourself to using it solely as a topper; a dollop livens up a simple scramble, adding richness and umami in one fell swoop. Be it tofu, lentil, or chickpea-based, this plate of plant-based eggs will wake your taste buds right up, even before the first cup of coffee.

For a meatier main, look no further than the Original Meatless Breakfast Patties. Juicy and tender, all you need to do is heat and eat for perfect results every time. Notably high in protein but low in fat, you can’t beat these nutritional facts. They have 75% less fat than pork sausage per serving, too. Pair with hearty hash browns for an instant brunch bowl, balanced and deeply satisfying in a flash. Subtle herbs and spices add nuance to each bite, keeping you coming back for more, while still playing nicely with any other accompaniments invited to the party.

Meatless Maple Flavored Breakfast Patties provide a more complex study of contrasts, bringing together the woodsy, earthy flavor of real maple syrup with savory seasonings. Ideal for those who want a little bit of everything, you don’t have to make any sacrifices here. In fact, you can use them to enhance other goodies like pancakes or waffles by chopping them up and mixing them right into the batter. Since I’m a big fan of filling up all the crevasses of my Belgian waffles with all the syrup they can hold, this is a way to boost that flavor without going overboard on sugar.

The real beauty of brunch is that there’s no one way to do it, all through Veganuary and beyond. Especially if you start with Nature’s Fynd on the table, you’ll always wake up on the right foot.

This post was made possible as a collaboration with Nature’s Fynd. My opinions can not be bought and all content is original. This page may contain affiliate links; thank you for supporting my blog!

Breakfast of Champions

Who says noodles aren’t for breakfast? The mere idea that any food is off limits at a certain hour of the day is enough to send me into a fit of rage. No one’s going to tell me what I can and cannot eat without explanation. While Americans are more likely to reach for cereal or toast, noodles are established in Asian cultures as a reliable staple starch to fill that same void. It goes well beyond reheated leftovers, like finding yesterday’s pizza in the fridge for a quick fix. There’s a reason why ramen shops open at 7am in Tokyo, and it’s not just for a cup of green tea.

When I saw the Fortune Noodle Blogger Recipe Challenge had only two categories for entries, I knew right away what I needed to make. You could submit a stir-fry, or “for your creative side, create a Fortune Noodles breakfast recipe.” I could almost see the smirk on that smug face, daring me to step out of line. The gauntlet had been thrown down.

Inspired by a combination of Japanese okonomiyaki and Korean buchimgae, my crispy noodle pancakes aren’t the type you’d slather with butter and drown in maple syrup, but a more savory morning entree. Bound by an eggy chickpea flour batter, they’re almost like little omelets with chewy yaki soba inside. Laced with carrots and scallions, they’re simple and comforting, quick and easy, and completely adaptable to any taste preferences.

If you want something spicier to really wake up your taste buds, try using the Hot and Spicy flavor noodles and swap out the shredded carrots for roughly chopped kimchi. Amp up your veggie intake by adding a handful of peas or corn into the mix. Top things of with sliced avocado or guacamole if you can’t face the day without your beloved avo toast. In fact, try all of the above, all at once! The only way you can go wrong is if you don’t embrace breakfast noodles to begin with.

Not a morning person? Don’t worry, these are perfect to make in advance! Just cook as directed, let cool, and then pop them in an airtight container in the fridge for 5 – 7 days. Pop them in the toaster oven or air fryer to reheat in minutes. For long term storage, you could even toss them in the freezer to keep for up to 6 months, though I seriously doubt they’ll stick around that long.

I strongly believe that noodles are, and always have been, the true breakfast of champions. Hopefully the judges agree with me! Check out more inspiration from JSL Foods via Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook.

Continue reading “Breakfast of Champions”