Mexican Red Rice (Arroz Rojo)

This restaurant-style red rice is filling, healthy and packed full of flavour. It’s a must try for anyone who loves Mexican food!

Recipe originally posted July 2013, recipe and photographs updated May 2021.

This rice recipe holds a special place in my heart, it’s a dish that’s enjoyable as an accompaniment to many of our favourite Mexican foods.

I’ve lost count of how many times we’ve made this rice over the years since I first shared the recipe in 2013. It’s a staple savoury recipe in my house and is the perfect side dish to any Mexican dinner: used to fill a burrito or served with enchiladas and fajitas.

We love it served in tortilla wraps with Mexican-style roasted vegetables with vegan soya and chive dip or drizzled with piri piri mayonnaise. Or grab a pack of tortilla chips and scoop the rice up along with some tomato salsa!

I often make this rice for dinner but if we happen to have any leftover rice then I’ll take a portion for lunch at work. I love it served both warm straight from the pot or cold. When you let it cool down and eat the next day I find the flavours have developed more and the rice is even tastier!

Vegetable wise I’ve always added chopped bell peppers to my Mexican rice. I like using two different coloured peppers and usually go for a red and a yellow bell pepper. You can use whichever colour peppers you like or even add different vegetables like sweetcorn or peas, it’s really up to you what you choose to put in!

So to make this tasty rice you’ll start by sautéing diced onion with garlic, chopped bell peppers and some salt and pepper for about 5 minutes until softened. Add a combination of spices (cumin, cilantro/coriander, smoked paprika and chilli powder) and toast those off with a couple of tablespoons of tomato purée. Add the rice and stock and simmer the rice on the stove top or braise it in the oven for 20 minutes until all the liquid has been absorbed. Once the rice is cooked, squeeze the juice of a lime over the rice, give it a quick stir and add any extra seasoning if needed and leave the rice to sit and infuse.

Serve the rice hot or cold with a garnish of lime wedges and some chopped cilantro/coriander or parlsey.

Forget the bland and stodgy packet of microwave Mexican rice and make your own, you won’t regret it once you’ve tasted my recipe!

(Serves 4-6)

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil

1 red or white onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 red bell pepper, diced

1 yellow bell pepper, diced

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground cilantro/coriander

1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

1/4 teaspoon chilli flakes or powder (optional)

2 tablespoons tomato purée

450g (2 cups) long grain rice

900ml (4 cups) chicken or vegetable stock (I use vegetable stock to ensure this rice is vegan)

Juice of 1 lime, plus more lime wedges to serve

Method:

  1.  Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Sauté the chopped onion, garlic and peppers for 5 minutes until they’re starting to soften slightly. Season generously with salt and pepper.
  2. Add the spices (cumin, cilantro/coriander, paprika and chilli) and toast for a minute fragrant. Add the tomato purée and cook for a further minute.
  3. Now add the rice and cook for another couple of minutes to toast slightly making sure it doesn’t catch too much on the bottom of the pan. Add the stock and bring up to the boil – at this point stir the rice with a fork opposed to a spoon.
  4. Once boiling, either simmer for 20 minutes until the rice is cooked and all the stock has been absorbed and the rice is fluffy or alternatively you can braise the rice in the oven for the same amount of time at 200°C / 180°C Fan / 400°F / Gas Mark 6.
  5. Take off the heat and add the lime juice and mix through the rice. Season with extra salt and pepper if needed and then cover and allow the flavours in the rice to infuse for 5-10 minutes before serving, then serve the rice warm or cold. Garnish the plate of rice with lime edges and a sprinkle of chopped cilantro/coriander or parsley if desired. The rice once cooled completely to room temperature will store in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Don’t reheat rice more than once.

More dinner recipes to try!

Lemon Herb Rice

Chickpea Tikka Masala

Spaghetti with Courgettes, Chilli, Garlic and Lemon

Enjoy!

Keep up to date with me on:

Like my Facebook page here 

Instagram: @whatjessicabakednext

Twitter: @jessbakednext

Pinterest: @jessbakednext

Pret’s Dark Chocolate Vegan Cookies

Pret’s famous and well-loved vegan cookie filled with crunchy pieces of almond and chunks of dark chocolate!

Following on from my last blog post and recipe for these Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes, I thought I’d continue with all things chocolate and share the latest vegan cookie to come out of my kitchen since I baked these Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies.

I’m probably a wee bit late jumping on this bandwagon, but if you didn’t know already the popular sandwich shop chain, Pret A Manger released their famous Dark Chocolate Almond Butter Cookie recipe last year. I’ve seen lots of fellow vegan bakers making these cookies and they always look super delicious and get me craving a chocolate cookie every time I see them.

Pret describes this cookie as a rich dark chocolate cookie, studded with melting chocolate chunks and crunchy almond pieces, enriched with almond butter and sprinkled with a little sea salt. Sounds yummy, right?

I haven’t baked many vegan cookies before, so I was apprehensive trying out this new one. I didn’t have any almond butter in so I used peanut butter instead and my cookies came out incredibly well. You can use any nut butter you have in to make these cookies and also if you don’t have flaked almonds why not try adding some chopped hazelnuts, pecans, walnuts or leave them out entirely and add even more chocolate.

Before going vegan, these Triple Chocolate Cookies were my go-to chocolate cookie to bake. I didn’t want to miss out any longer enjoying chocolate cookies, so when I first saw Pret’s vegan cookie recipe I knew instantly that I just had to give the recipe a shot.

The measurements in this recipe are pretty exact. As with all baking I really do recommend using a pair of kitchen scales to make sure everything is weighed correctly and your cookies bake perfectly.

In all honesty, I didn’t spend ages photographing these cookies because I so desperately wanted to eat them! I love how all the chocolate chunks go gooey when baked, in literally every bite of these cookies there was an explosion of dark chocolate in my mouth.

For a dark chocolate lover, these cookies are heavenly.

Thank you to Pret for sharing this scrumptious cookie recipe with the world. My plan next time I bake these is to prepare a double batch because eight cookies wasn’t enough!

(Makes 8)

Ingredients:

43g caster or granulated sugar

112g dark or light brown sugar

40g flaked almonds, lightly smashed up – you can use whole almonds chopped into small pieces or another nut of your choice

112g dark chocolate pieces – chocolate chips or chopped up chocolate will both work

205g plain flour

20g cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

4g salt

65g coconut oil

72g almond butter – I used peanut but any nut butter will work

100g golden syrup

40g water

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C / 160°C Fan / 350°F / Gas Mark 4. Line two large baking trays with silicone baking mats or parchment paper and set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine both sugars, the almonds and chocolate. Add the flour, cocoa powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt (it’s recommend you sift the dry ingredients). Mix until thoroughly combined.
  3. In a small bowl or jug, whisk together the coconut oil, almond butter, golden syrup and water until mixed. Add the wet ingredients to the dry mixture and mix until a dough comes together.
  4. Divide the cookie dough into 8 equally sized portions and roll into balls. Spread the balls of cookie dough out onto the baking trays and flatten slightly with your palm.
  5. Bake the cookies for 8-10 minutes or until the cookies have flattened, the edges are crisp and the centre of each cookie is still soft. Mine took 10 minutes to bake. Allow the cookies to cool for 15 minutes on the baking trays. As the cookies cool, I like to press extra chocolate chips into the tops. The cookies will keep for up to 3 days stored in an airtight container.

Another scrumptious vegan cookie recipe for you to bake next!

Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

Enjoy!

Keep up to date with me on:

Like my Facebook page here

Instagram: @whatjessicabakednext

Twitter: @jessbakednext

Pinterest: @jessbakednext

Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes

Vegan chocolate fudge cupcakes with decadent chocolate buttercream. This recipe makes a dozen delicious chocolate cupcakes that are a breeze to make and taste like they’re from a bakery!

Chocolate cupcakes that are perfect for simply any celebration or occasion, but especially great to bake in time for Easter!

These chocolate cupcakes are soft, fluffy and topped with ultra smooth and creamy chocolate buttercream. One bite of these cupcakes and no one will guess they’re vegan.

The cupcake batter takes all of just 10 minutes to prepare. Start by making a vegan ‘buttermilk’ and to do this you’ll mix plant milk with vinegar – this mixture will help the cupcakes rise as they bake. In a mixing bowl you’ll combine sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt. Next, add oil and vanilla extract to the vegan ‘buttermilk’ mixture you prepared at the start of the recipe. Add that to your dry cake mix ingredients and then add plant milk/coffee and whisk until you have a smooth batter.

As with most chocolate cupcake batters, this one is runny so I’d recommend pouring the batter into a jug or using an ice cream scoop to distribute between the paper liners.

Bake the cupcakes until risen and springy to the touch. Then leave to cool completely, but as they cool you can make the buttercream and leave it in the fridge ready to decorate the cupcakes later on.

For this vegan chocolate buttercream, I swapped the butter for vegan baking spread, the icing sugar and cocoa powder is kept the same and then to lighten buttercream I’d normally add some double cream (I prefer adding cream instead of milk) so I switched my usual double cream for oat cream.

Testing out this vegan chocolate buttercream, I would say that the oat cream/plant milk is totally optional. I prefer a super creamy buttercream so add this extra ingredient to loosen my buttercream. However, even without the vegan cream the buttercream is easy to pipe, so don’t go out of your way to get vegan cream especially as your buttercream will taste great and have a wonderful creamy texture.

I usually make chocolate buttercream with melted chocolate, but I’d seen a lot of vegan chocolate buttercream recipes called for cocoa powder, so I decided to stick with adding cocoa powder instead of melted chocolate this time. This decision did have an added benefit too as it meant I could keep my supply of dark chocolate for future bakes and to snack on when I’m in need of some chocolate!

Top the cupcakes with grated dark chocolate, vegan mini speckled chocolate eggs or your desired cake decoration. If these cupcakes appear on your table over Easter I really do hope you enjoy them as much as we did!

(Makes 12)

Ingredients:

Chocolate Cupcakes:

120ml plant milk (I use soya but any plant milk will work)

1 and 1/2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar or white vinegar

200g caster/granulated or dark/light brown sugar

180g plain flour

40g cocoa powder, sifted

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

80ml vegetable oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

120ml plant milk + 1 teaspoon instant coffee – the milk will need to be warmed before adding the coffee

Chocolate Buttercream: 

150g dairy-free baking spread

400g icing sugar, sifted

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

30g cocoa powder, sifted

2-3 tablespoons vegan cream or plant milk (optional) – add enough until the buttercream has reached your preferred consistency

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C / 160°C Fan / 350°F Gas Mark 4. Line a 12-hole muffin tin with paper liners and set aside.
  2. To make the cupcakes: In a jug, mix together 120ml plant milk with the vinegar and leave it to one side – this makes a vegan-style buttermilk and will help the cupcakes rise when baking.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, add the sugar, flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt. Whisk together until combined.
  4. Now add the oil to the plant milk/vinegar mixture you prepared earlier and mix together. Add this mixture to the dry ingredients along with the vanilla extract.
  5. Heat the remaining 120ml plant milk until warm (approx. 30 seconds in the microwave will do or place on the stove top and heat until warm) and add the coffee. Stir to dissolve the coffee in the milk and then add this mixture to the other ingredients.
  6. Whisk until you have a smooth batter free of any lumps. Distribute the cupcake batter between the paper liners and bake for 18 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean when inserted into the centre of one of the cupcakes. Leave the cupcakes to cool in the tin for a few minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack to finish cooling completely.
  7. To make the buttercream: In a large mixing bowl, cream the dairy-free baking spread until softened – about a minute or two should do. Now add the icing sugar in two batches, mixing well after each addition. Add the vanilla and continue mixing for a further 5-7 minutes until the buttercream is pale and creamy.
  8. Add cocoa powder and the vegan cream/plant milk (if using) and mix for another 30 seconds until thoroughly combined. Transfer the buttercream to a piping bag fitted with piping nozzle and decorate the cupcakes. You can spread the buttercream on each cupcake if you prefer. Decorate the cupcakes further as desired.

The cupcakes will keep stored in airtight container at room temperature or in the fridge for up to a week.

Enjoy!

Keep up to date with me on:

Like my Facebook page here

Instagram: @whatjessicabakednext

Twitter: @jessbakednext

Pinterest: @jessbakednext

Vegan Scones

Classic English scones made with vegan ingredients. Made without any dairy or egg, these scones are gorgeously fluffy and will be greatly enjoyed with dairy-free whipped cream and jam.

The next vegan bake I wanted to tackle for my blog was scones. I’ve already found some great vegan bakes like this banana bread, these brownies, these cookies and these flapjacks. With every new blog post I’m adding to my vegan recipe collection and I’m really enjoying discovering loads of yummy vegan recipes. I’ve also been testing out some vegan cake recipes, one was very successful (I hope to share it soon in time for Easter) and another not so successful that I’ll need to go back and work on.

This time last year I baked these (3 Ingredient) Lemonade Scones and ever since posting they’ve become one of the most viewed recipes each day. I haven’t eaten scones in a while, but recently I’ve really wanted to bake a batch.

If you were blind taste testing these scones, you really wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between the vegan version and a recipe that includes dairy ingredients.

Scones just HAVE to be served with cream and jam. For us vegans, there’s many wonderful vegan alternatives to our usual favourites. Before I went vegan, I would bake with copious amounts of double cream, but thankfully now I don’t miss out as I use an oat-based whipping cream alternative which is equally as fabulous.

You cannot even tell the difference between this non-dairy whippable cream and double cream, it’s absolutely amazing and a lovely treat piled on top of these yummy vegan scones with jam. In my recipe notes below I’ve listed the brands of vegan ingredients I used.

These are a vegan version of traditional English scones. I’ve had questions before about adding sultanas to the scone dough, I’d recommend adding about 100g of sultanas to your scone dough, you could even add the same amount of vegan chocolate chips/chunks instead of dried fruit if you fancy something different!

When serving these scones I went for raspberry jam, but you can serve the scones with any jam you like such as apricot, blackcurrant or keep it classic with a delicious strawberry jam. Another favourite jam of mine is plum jam, I have fond memories of making plum jam with my grandma and grandad a number of summers ago.

Just look at how fluffy and cake-like these vegan scones are!

As with every vegan recipe I’ve made so far, I have always been a bit worried when starting off whether they’ll be any problems with the recipe and will it taste good enough to share on the blog. I’ll never share any recipe I’m not proud of, I only want you to have fun in the kitchen and enjoy baking as much as I do.

These scones require a handful of ingredients: self-raising flour, baking powder, salt and a few tablespoons of sugar, fridge cold dairy-free baking spread and plant milk (I used soya milk). Simply sift together the dry ingredients, then using your fingertips rub the baking spread into the dry ingredients until you have a fine breadcrumb mixture. Gradually add the plant milk and very gently mix by hand until a soft dough has formed. Place the scone dough on a piece of baking parchment and press out until it’s 2cm in thickness. Leave the scone dough to rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Resting the scone dough makes it’s easier when it’s time to cut the scones out the dough. Take a 6cm scone cutter and stamp out 6-8 scones and now place the scones on a large baking tray that’s been lined with a piece of parchment paper. This step is optional, but if you have the time now you’ll need to freeze the scones for 15 minutes as this ensures when the scones bake they’re uniform in shape.

Once the scones are ready to bake, all that’s left to do is to brush the tops lightly with extra soya milk. I also sprinkle the tops with a tiny bit of sugar, I used caster sugar but even some demerara sugar would add a lovely crunch to the top of each scone. This is a trick I used to do when I worked as a tearoom baker baking gluten-free scones and customers always loved it, so I’ve used that same idea here with these scones.

(Makes 6-8)

Ingredients:

350g self-raising flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons caster or granulated sugar

95g vegan dairy-free spread

150ml plant milk – I use soya milk

Jam and vegan whipped cream/ crème fraîche, to serve

Method:

  1. In a large bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar together. Give the dry ingredients a quick mix and then add the vegan spread. Using your fingertips, rub the spread into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
  2. Gradually add the milk bit by bit and mix until you have soft and smooth dough – you might need to add a dash extra milk to help bring the scone dough together.
  3. Lightly dust a work surface with flour and roll the dough out until it’s roughly 2cm in thickness. Carefully transfer the scone dough a baking tray lined with a piece of baking parchment and leave in the fridge for 30 minutes to firm up – this makes it easier to cut out the scones later on.
  4. Once the dough has chilled, remove it from the fridge and take out a 6cm cutter (fluted or plain is fine) and stamp out 6-8 scones. Place the scones onto another baking tray lined with parchment paper leaving about 2cm between each scone and place in the freezer for 15 minutes – this is optional you can bake the scones straight away if you prefer.
  5. Meanwhile preheat the oven to 220 / 200 Fan / Gas Mark. Brush the tops of the scones with extra plant milk and sprinkle with some extra sugar to a crunchy top. Bake the scones for 15-20 minutes until they’re lightly golden. Leave the scones to cool on a wire rack before enjoying with jam and vegan whipped cream.

The scones will keep in an airtight container for up to 3 days, they’re best enjoyed on the day they are baked.

Recipe Notes:

  • I use Pure Vegan Baking Spread but I’d also recommend Flora Plant Butter (Salted or Unsalted) – this is a block vegan butter I’ve used in other recipes and it will be fine to use to make these scones.
  • If you like dried fruit in your scones, you can add 100g of sultanas to your scone dough or for something different try adding the same quantity of vegan chocolate chips/chunks.
  • For the vegan whipped cream, I recommend Oatly Whippable Creamy Oat – this is the best whippable dairy-free cream in my opinion compared to other brands I’ve tried.

More vegan bakes to try!

Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

Vegan Flapjacks

Vegan Banana Bread

Enjoy!

Keep up to date with me on:

Like my Facebook page here

Instagram: @whatjessicabakednext

Twitter: @jessbakednext

Pinterest: @jessbakednext

Vegan Flapjacks

Four ingredient vegan-friendly flapjack recipe! These chewy oat bars are a popular treat in the UK and are a sweet and squidgy bite of utter heaven!

I first shared my go-to flapjack recipe nearly 6 years ago (wow time has flown by!) and as I’ve very recently turned vegan, I’ve been baking and experimenting in my kitchen with lots of vegan bakes since the start of the year.

These British Flapjacks have overtaken my many other recipes and are now the most viewed recipe on this blog near enough every single day. If you’ve ever tasted a British-style flapjack, then you’ll understand why they’re so well liked. I mean what’s not to enjoy about a gooey oat bar made with butter, sugar and lots of golden syrup?

Flapjacks are a fantastic recipe to easily veganise because it’s only the butter that needs swapping for a plant-based alternative.

As I mentioned above these are British-style flapjacks, when I posted my flapjack recipe on the blog many years ago, readers from the US were confused and thought I’d gone completely bonkers as flapjacks in North America are actually pancakes. This side of the pond, when we talk about flapjacks we are in fact referring to these chewy oat bars!

On a recent weekend off work, it snowed heavily where I live, we cosied in at home and spent the weekend watching films, our Gilmore Girls box set and I did some baking to keep myself busy. I wanted to prepare something comforting but that was also easy to make, homemade flapjacks are the first recipe I turn to when I want to bake but don’t want to spend hours in the kitchen.

Flapjacks are pure comfort food to me, no-frills, just simple and incredibly delicious.

Get creative and add different ingredients to your batch of flapjacks, before baking why not stir through some chocolate chips or nuts! Or once the flapjacks are baked and sliced up, top them with a drizzle of cookie butter, peanut butter or dark chocolate.

Flapjacks make a great energising breakfast, mid-morning snack to power you through your working day or for an afternoon pick me up!

(Makes 12-16)

Ingredients:

175g vegan butter – a vegan block plant butter or spread will both work

175g golden syrup

175g dark or light brown sugar

350g rolled oats (I like using jumbo rolled oats)

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 150°C / 130°C Fan / 300°F / Gas Mark 2. Line a 20cm / 8-inch square cake tin with greaseproof paper and grease well. Set aside.

2. Start by melting the butter. Once the butter is melted, add the golden syrup and sugar and continue to cook and stir until all the sugar has dissolved. Stir through the oats. Once the oats are completely covered, spread the mixture out into the lined tin. Press down well with the back of a spoon or a spatula until firm.

3. Bake for 40 minutes, the flapjack should be slightly golden around the edges. Once cooked allow to cool in the tin completely – as they cool the flapjacks will crisp on top slightly. I recommend leaving the flapjacks in the fridge to set before slicing – I leave mine overnight and slice up the next day. Once cooled slice into 12-16 squares or 24-32 mini flapjack bites. The flapjacks will keep stored at room temperature or in the fridge for up to a week, but they’re not likely to last that long!

Enjoy!

Keep up to date with me on:

Like my Facebook page here

Instagram: @whatjessicabakednext

Twitter: @jessbakednext

Pinterest: @jessbakednext

Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

A classic bake made vegan. Soft and chewy vanilla cookie dough packed with gooey dark chocolate. These are the BEST vegan chocolate chip cookies you’ll ever make!

 

I have a treat for you today if you love chocolate chip cookies as much as I do. In my opinion, there’s really nothing better than a plate of homemade cookies fresh from the oven, sitting on the countertop ready to be eaten.

If you’ve been looking for a great vegan cookie recipe, then your search is over, as today I’m sharing the BEST Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies you’ll ever taste!

As I mentioned in this blog post, as of the start of 2021 I’m now following a vegan diet. I’d been vegetarian for a couple of years and decided the next step for me is embracing a totally plant-based diet. There are so many amazing vegan foods available, so we’re absolutely spoilt with the selection of choice we have and recipes we can veganise!

I get asked why I’ve decided to go vegan, there are many reasons but here I hope to inspire you too to delve into vegan baking and cookery with the new style of recipes I’m going to be sharing.

I’ve been on the quest to find lots more vegan recipes I can share on my blog. As I’m still very new to vegan baking, I want to showcase basic vegan baking recipes to start with. In the future I’d like to diversify and share vegan cakes, cupcakes, more cookies and some savoury recipes too. My sister has also made us some yummy vegan bakes, including Millionaire’s Shortbread and Banoffee Pie which we’ve all thoroughly enjoyed!

With my vegan baking, I’ve already mastered Vegan Brownies and Vegan Banana Bread, next after those I wanted to discover a great vegan cookie recipe. I was skeptical when testing out vegan cookie recipes, the first time I baked vegan cookies they didn’t look too promising, but after letting them cool on the baking trays and tasting them we couldn’t stop eating them. The only problem with the first batch of cookies is they spread a lot in the oven and joined up on the baking trays. They were thinner and crispy, but I prefer a slightly thicker and chewier cookie with crispy edges.

You wouldn’t even know these cookies are vegan. They taste just like a classic chocolate chip cookie without dairy or eggs.

My taste testers couldn’t even tell these were vegan and they happily demolished the cookies within a couple of days!

This cookie dough is so simple to make and you can make it all by hand. However, you can use an electric hand mixer or a stand mixer if you have either of those in your kitchen.

So let’s have a quick rundown of how to bake these cookies!

Start by taking softened plant butter (I recommend block plant butter instead of using a vegan baking spread as that has too high water content for baking) and mix that with (dark or light) brown sugar until creamy and super fluffy. Using all brown sugar adds a delicious caramel flavour and keeps the cookies super chewy. Now add the soya milk (or another plant milk of your choice) and the vanilla extract. After you’ve mixed the wet ingredients together, now add the sifted dry ingredients and mix until a cookie dough forms. The last step in preparing the cookie dough is folding through the dark chocolate chips/chunks until distributed.

You don’t have to chill the cookie dough, but I always chill my cookie dough in the fridge for at least 30 minutes so it’s less sticky and easier to roll when I’m ready to bake the cookies.

The cookies are best enjoyed fresh from the oven, once they’ve cooled for about 10-15 minutes they’re still slightly warm and the chocolate is ultra gooey. As they cool and time goes on, the chocolate in the cookies will harden a little but the cookies will remain chewy and soft textured.

You see that bowl of dark chocolate in the photos? It was the perfect snack to munch on while taking photos of these cookies. I just couldn’t stop my hand reaching for them and the cookies…

Next time I bake these cookies I might try adding some different flavourings, inspired by these Chunky Milk Chocolate Pecan Cookies I’ll add some toasted pecans to my next batch. The choices of add-ins are absolutely endless, you can add orange zest, desiccated coconut, spices like cinnamon or ginger or chopped up salted pretzels.

Whether you follow the recipe below exactly or add your own flavour spin, I really do hope you enjoy baking these incredible vegan cookies!

(Makes 18-20)

Ingredients:

112g (1/2 cup) vegan butter – use block plant butter not a spread

200g (1 cup) dark or light brown sugar

60ml (1/4 cup) plant milk – I like using soya milk

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

250g (2 cups) plain flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)

2 teaspoons cornflour (cornstarch)

1/2 teaspoon salt

175g (1 cup) vegan dark chocolate chips/chunks, plus extra to press into the tops of each cookie

Method:

  1.  In a large mixing bowl cream the softened plant butter with the sugar until creamy and fluffy.
  2. Now add the plant milk and vanilla extract and mix to combine.
  3. Place a sieve over the top of the mixing bowl and sift all the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, cornflour and salt) and mix until a dough starts to come together.
  4. Stir through the chocolate chips/chunks until evenly distributed throughout the dough. Cover the bowl and leave the dough in the fridge to chill for 30 minutes – this an optional step but I find it makes rolling the cookie dough easier, you can skip this step and roll the cookie dough straight away.
  5. Preheat oven to 180°C / 160°C Fan / 350°F / Gas Mark 4. Line two large baking trays with baking parchment or silicone baking mats. Divide the dough into 18-20 equally sized pieces – I weigh mine to be exact (aim for 45g portions). Place the balls of cookie dough out on the baking trays and leave room between each piece of cookie dough to allow the cookies to spread.
  6. Bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes or until they’ve turned a light golden colour. Once the cookies are out of the oven press a few extra chocolate chips/chunks into the tops of each cookie if desired.
  7. Allow the cookies to cool completely on the baking trays – as they cool they’ll firm up.
  8. Once the cookies are cooled store them in an airtight container. The cookies will keep for up to 3 days, but like most baked goods they’re best enjoyed on the day of baking. Try the cookies with a glass of plant milk or scoops of vegan chocolate or vanilla ice cream for a delicious vegan dessert!

Recipe from Loving it Vegan

More vegan bakes to satisfy your sweet tooth!

Vegan Banana Bread

Vegan Brownies

Enjoy!

Keep up to date with me on:

Like my Facebook page here

Instagram: @whatjessicabakednext

Twitter: @jessbakednext

Pinterest: @jessbakednext

Caramelised Onion Chutney

Homemade caramelised onion chutney is a tasty addition to a cheeseboard. This onion chutney pairs well with bread or crackers and mature Cheddar cheese. 

Making homemade chutney is another Christmas food tradition of mine, every year in November or at the start of December I make a batch of caramelised onion chutney ready to enjoy over Christmas on our festive cheeseboard.

You can change around the flavourings in this chutney to suit your own palate. This time I added wholegrain mustard, smoked paprika and chilli flakes for a little kick of heat. On previous occasions when I’ve made this I’ve added fresh thyme but you can add herbs that you like or have in like thyme or rosemary. You can also add a couple of torn bay leaves for extra fragrant flavour – but remember to remove these before you put your chutney into the jars!

This condiment is extremely popular here in the UK, particularly at Christmas when served on a cheeseboard. I’ve eaten lots of readymade chutney however none of those compare to this wonderful recipe – some usually have sultanas added which is a no-no for me as I despise dried fruit like raisins and sultanas, so making your own allows you make a chutney that’s tailored to your taste requirements.

This chutney is sweet, sticky and delicious spooned on top of a cracker and some sliced cheese. But you don’t just have to serve chutney with cheese and crackers, we ate ours with vegan hot dogs on Bonfire Night last week and also we made a tasty lunch with slices of homemade Irish Soda Bread buttered then topped with sliced cheese and chutney.

Also, just an idea of something I’m planning to make for lunch using this chutney – I’m thinking of toasting a couple of slices of bread, topping the bread with a generous helping of the chutney then topping the chutney with grated cheese to make a yummy cheese toast with a difference.

We also made an epic toasted cheese sandwich only the other day for our lunch and filled the toasties with chutney. There’s loads of different ways of serving this chutney, so go ahead and experiment!

I was dubious sharing this recipe as regular visitors to my blog will be used to me sharing lots of sweet baking recipes, I rarely share savoury recipes but that’s something I like to do from time to time to keep things interesting and cater to different tastes. This recipe isn’t all savoury though, I did manage to incorporate my sweet tooth into this chutney with all the brown sugar that was added…

Lastly, if you’re trying to think of Christmas present ideas for your loved ones, then gifting someone special a jar of homemade chutney is a fantastic and thoughtful gift to include in a hamper.

(Serves 20 / Makes approx. 1 litre)

Ingredients:

1.5kg onions, thinly sliced – sometimes I use red but this time I went for brown onions

2 tablespoons oil – I used olive oil but vegetable oil is fine to use

300g dark or light brown sugar

200ml red wine vinegar

3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

1 tablespoon wholegrain mustard (optional)

1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika – regular paprika is fine to use

1/2 teaspoon salt

Method:

  1. Heat the oil in a large pan on medium heat. Sauté the onions for 30 minutes until softened and reduced by half – the onions don’t need to colour at this point.
  2. Now add 3 tablespoons of the sugar and continue to cook the onions for a further 10 minutes until they’re starting to turn golden and caramelise.
  3. Next add the remaining ingredients (the red wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar, mustard, paprika, salt and the remaining sugar). Cook the onions for a further 30-40 minutes until the liquid has reduced and is generously coating the onions. You can check the chutney is ready because it’ll coat the back of a spoon.
  4. To sterilise the jam jars, place your jam jars in an oven heated at 140°C / 120°C Fan / 275°F / Gas Mark 1 for 10 minutes.
  5. Carefully fill the hot jars with the chutney and leave to cool before securing the lids. The chutney will store at room temperature for up to one year, but once the chutney is opened it will need to be stored in the fridge and will keep for up to two months.

Try this chutney with some of my homemade bread/scone recipes!

Irish Soda Bread

White Bread Rolls

50/50 Bread Rolls

Cheesy Buttermilk Scones

Enjoy!

Keep up to date with me on:

Like my Facebook page here

Instagram: @whatjessicabakednext

Twitter: @jessbakednext

Pinterest: @jessbakednext

Vegan Brownies

Supremely fudgy chocolate brownies made completely vegan. You wouldn’t guess these chocolatey brownies are dairy free and made without any butter or eggs! 

Hey readers! Today I’m changing it up and sharing a vegan bake I’m hoping you’ll fall in love with these brownies just as we have! Sometimes I like to delve in and do something different, come out of my comfort zone and share some vegan bakes.

My sister and I are both really into vegan food and we’re on the quest to find lots of vegan recipes to make. We’ve recently started switching our usual milk based products for plant-based alternatives and you really can’t tell the difference – such as this Creamy Porcini Mushroom Pasta we now make this yummy Italian pasta dish with oat cream and it tastes amazing and in our porridge for brekkie we use oat milk. It’s great to see how many vegan products are hitting our supermarket shelves, there’s a lot more choice available.

Back in January when partaking in Veganuary we baked some vegan recipes for the blog – I discovered a great Vegan Banana Bread and during January I started my journey to find a vegan brownie recipe. Unfortunately my baking that day didn’t go entirely to plan and I wasn’t successful finding the perfect vegan brownie recipe. The brownies I made were not pleasant at all, they were stodgy and didn’t have the texture I was aiming for, however we reluctantly tasted them, but they were thrown straight in the bin and the search for a blog worthy vegan brownie continued!

These brownies I photographed for my blog are only the second time I’ve baked vegan brownies so I was elated to finally land on a brilliant vegan brownie recipe and one I was happy enough to share.

Making a delicious vegan brownie isn’t an easy task. But these brownies are truly incredible, they’re rich even without butter, fudgy without eggs added and taste so chocolatey thanks to addition of both dark chocolate and cocoa powder. I wanted to bake a brownie that didn’t use any unusual ingredients a lot of vegan bakes call for. Many vegan brownie recipes ask for flax eggs, but I figured like myself most people don’t have flaxseeds/linseeds and other ingredients in their pantry or readily available where they live around the world.

Whilst we’re on the subject of vegan recipes, I’ve also got a number of vegan friendly savoury and sweet recipes of which I’m always looking to expand and add more to. Check them out below – most of them are savoury, so I’m endeavouring to share more vegan bakes in the future, so watch this space…

Here are some of my vegan recipes listed below for you to try:

Basic Homemade Granola

Chickpea Tikka Masala

Mexican Red Rice (Arroz Rojo)

Mum’s Apple and Blackberry Crumble – this recent recipe on my blog is easily made vegan by swapping the butter for vegan butter or dairy-free spread

Paprika Roasted Potatoes

Patatas Bravas

Perfect Popcorn

Roasted Garlic Hummus

Roasted Vegetable Couscous

Spaghetti with Marinara Sauce and Penne all’Arrabbiata

Vegan Banana Bread

White Bread Rolls and 50/50 Bread Rolls

Which is your favourite: the centre or edge piece of brownie?

The brownies in the centre are definitely my go-to, I love brownies super fudgy so I love a centre piece of brownie because they’re always extra gooey. If you like those warm, molten chocolate lava cakes then take one of these brownies and give it a quick blast in the microwave and it goes all soft and gooey – your kitchen also gets filled with a divine chocolate aroma when they’re heated up!

If you feel like switching the recipe up a bit, I’ve seen lots of recipes where bakers have swirled melted peanut butter or cookie butter spread into the brownie batter before baking, so next time I’ll be trying that.

These brownies are addictive and I had ZERO control around them, I found it hard work resisting going back for piece after piece of brownie, but luckily for me I had some willing taste testers who didn’t mind having a helping of these fabulous brownies too!

(Makes 16)

Ingredients:

200g dark chocolate – I use 74% cocoa solids but ensure the chocolate contains no milk

140g plain flour

200g caster or granulated sugar

20g cocoa powder

1 teaspoon baking powder

80ml vegetable oil

240ml plant milk – I like using soya milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Half a packet (approx. 7) Oreo cookies, Biscoff, Bourbon Cream Biscuits (all three of these are suitable for vegans) – these are optional

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C / 160°C Fan / 350°F / Gas Mark 4. Line a 20cm square cake tin with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. Break the dark chocolate up and add to a small heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water (bain-marie) – make sure the base of the bowl is not directly touching the water. Gently melt the dark chocolate until it’s smooth.
  3. In a large mixing bowl sift together flour, sugar, cocoa powder and baking powder. Give these ingredients a quick whisk together to combine then whisk in the oil, plant milk and vanilla extract until you have a smooth batter. Finally whisk in the melted chocolate until incorporated.
  4. Transport the brownie batter to the lined tin. At this point you can top the brownies with vegan biscuits/cookies or extra vegan chocolate chips/chunks. We topped ours before baking with half a packet (7 biscuits/cookies) Oreos broken into smaller pieces.
  5. Bake the brownies for 25-30 minutes. Leave to cool completely in the tin before cutting to 12-16 squares. We left ours overnight before cutting. The brownies will keep stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one week.

Recipe adapted from Sweetest Menu

Enjoy!

Keep up to date with me on:

Like my Facebook page here

Instagram: @whatjessicabakednext

Twitter: @jessbakednext

Pinterest: @jessbakednext

Chickpea Tikka Masala

Tasty and filling chickpea curry is a quick weeknight vegan dinner served with rice, chapatis, naan bread or poppadoms. Lunch/dinner will be ready and on your table in less than 30 minutes from start to finish.  

Curry is one my many favourite meals and it’s become a staple dinner of mine. It’s delicious, full of vibrant flavours, but I’m sure you’d probably never have guessed how easy and quick it is to make yourself?

One of my work colleagues is extremely kind and often brings me in authentic vegetarian Indian curries and chapatis to take home and have when I finish work for the day. It’s something I really appreciate as once I get in from work, having been on my feet all day long I don’t usually feel like cooking anything for myself.

Her chickpea and potato curry is especially amazing and it tastes so good. I love making vegetable curries myself, but the recipe I usually make takes a long time (a couple of hours) for the sauce to simmer before it’s ready to serve. I wanted to make a curry that wouldn’t take as long to prepare, but didn’t lack any flavour.

I’ve made a lot of chickpea curries myself, but this one is my favourite yet. I found the recipe on Loving It Vegan and made just a couple of small changes to the original recipe by adding curry powder as well as garam masala and some mango chutney for sweetness – I love adding mango chutney to my homemade curries and if you’ve never tried it then you must!

Once all the curry ingredients are in your saucepan just cover the pan with a lid and leave your curry to simmer away for 10-15 minutes. Then, when it’s ready, garnish your bowl of curry with lime wedges, chopped green or red chillies and fresh coriander/cilantro.

The curry has a nice light spiced flavour and the coconut milk adds incredible creaminess making this curry a fusion between a korma and tikka masala.

I know this recipe is one I will make often from now on and I’m considering changing it up and adding different vegetables like bell peppers, green beans, mushrooms and potato the next time I make it, which I’m sure will be just as yummy.

(Serves 4)

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons coconut oil – adds amazing flavour but you can substitute with vegetable oil

1 red or white onion, finely diced

3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

1 tablespoon curry powder – I use medium tikka curry powder

1/4 teaspoon garam masala

1/2 teaspoon cumin – ground or seeds

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 x 400g (14 ounce) cans of chickpeas, drained

400ml (14 ounce) can chopped tomatoes

400ml (14 ounce) can coconut milk – I use full-fat

1 tablespoon mango chutney or sugar

Salt and black pepper, to taste

Method:

  1. On medium heat, melt the coconut oil in a large frying pan. Add the onion and garlic and cook for 2 minutes until softened. Now add the spices (curry powder, garam masala, cumin, coriander, turmeric and cayenne) and toast the spices off for a further 2-3 minutes until fragrant.
  2. Add the drained chickpeas, tomatoes and coconut milk along with the mango chutney or sugar and season with salt and black pepper. Cover the curry and leave it to simmer for 10-15 minutes until it’s thickened slightly and the flavours have all blended together.
  3. Serve the curry over rice with chapati, naan bread or poppadoms. We like squeezing fresh lime over the top before eating. The curry will keep stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

More vegan recipes to try next! 

Roasted Vegetable Couscous – a great Mediterranean inspired meal served with falafel

Roasted Garlic Hummus

Patatas Bravas

Enjoy!

Keep up to date with me on:

Like my Facebook page here

Instagram: @whatjessicabakednext

Twitter: @jessbakednext

Pinterest: @jessbakednext

Vegan Banana Bread

This easy and simple banana bread is a delightfully good vegan treat that uses everyday ingredients and tastes like it’s been made in a bakery! Vegans and non-vegans alike will rave about this recipe. 

 

I’m finally back after a bit of time off over the festive season with my first recipe of 2020 and I guarantee that you’ll go bananas for it!

This year I’m partaking in Veganuary, for the 31 days of this month (at least) I’m going entirely vegan and I’m eating a completely plant-based diet. So far I’ve been really enjoying veganism. Before going vegan I’d been vegetarian for a while and wanted a new challenge to take on.

My sister has gone vegan too and as a family we’ve all been thoroughly enjoying sitting down at the end of the day to devour a vegan feast each night for dinner. This is actually the first time in ages I’ve felt super excited about baking/cooking, for a while I’d felt uninspired but going vegan has encouraged me to really think about what exactly I’m eating and where it’s sourced from.

I also wanted to set myself the goal of sharing more vegan recipes on my blog as I only have a few on here and want to expand the collection. I’ve worked hard in my kitchen at home to bake some vegan treats. Whether you’re following a vegan lifestyle, cannot eat dairy/eggs or simply just want to try some vegan food, then I hope you’ll like the recipes I will be sharing.

I’ve trialled this banana bread recipe out a couple of times as I wanted it to be perfect before posting on here. Every time I’ve baked it, it’s disappeared within a couple of days and as soon as the last slice has been eaten, I’ve been craving it all over again!

This vegan banana bread uses no out of the ordinary ingredients that are sometimes found in vegan bakes. You’ll just need overripe bananas, sugar (either caster/granulated or brown sugar), oil, vanilla extract, non-dairy milk (I use soya), apple cider vinegar, flour, bicarbonate of soda and salt. The soya milk was literally the only ingredient I had to go out and buy to make this recipe, but since going vegan my fridge is now full of plant milk!

My taste testers all agreed that this vegan banana bread is identical in taste and texture to my classic banana bread recipe – dare I say it that I think this version is even better! I’ve adapted this recipe slightly from Betty Crocker’s Vegan Banana Bread recipe and highly recommend you give it a try if you’re as crazy for banana bread as I am.

Mix the recipe up as much as you want by adding extra ingredients such as chopped nuts (hazelnuts, pecans or walnuts) or even some good quality dark chocolate.

Also, if you like spices in your bakes, try stirring a touch of ground cinnamon or mixed spice into the batter.

I have one successful vegan sweet recipe ticked off my list, now on to the next!

Ingredients:

60ml (1/4 cup) unsweetened plant milk – I like using soya milk

1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

3 overripe bananas – you’ll want the skin to be spotty and turning black

200g (1 cup) sugar – you can use a mix of caster/granulated or dark/light brown sugar

120ml (1/2 cup) oil – you can use coconut, canola/vegetable or even melted vegan butter

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

240g (2 cups) all-purpose/plain flour

3/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

Method:

  1. Line a 900g / 2lb loaf tin with parchment paper, leaving some paper overhanging the edges of the tin so you can lift the banana bread out easily once it’s baked. Set the tin aside for later. Preheat oven to 180°C / 160°C Fan / 350°F / Gas Mark 4.
  2. In a small bowl or jug, add the soya milk and apple cider vinegar, stir and leave it for 5 minutes – this helps the cake to rise.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, mash the bananas until they’re smooth. Add the sugar, oil, vanilla extract and the milk/vinegar mixture and beat until smooth and completely combined. Now sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda and salt over the top of the other ingredients and gently fold until no lumps of flour remain – be careful not to over mix the batter.
  4. Transfer the batter into the tin and bake for 60-70 minutes or until a cake tester when inserted into the centre comes out clean without any uncooked batter attached to the cake tester. Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then remove the banana bread from the tin and leave it to cool completely on a wire rack.
  5. Once the banana bread has cooled to room temperature, slice it up and enjoy. The banana bread will keep stored in an airtight container for up to one week. The banana bread is delicious served as it is or spread with vegan butter, chocolate hazelnut spread or peanut butter.

Enjoy!

Keep up to date with me on:

Like my Facebook page here

Instagram: @whatjessicabakednext

Twitter: @jessbakednext

Pinterest: @jessbakednext