Vegan Must-Have: Homemade Applesauce (Sweetened with Maple Syrup)

applesauce001Happy Monday!
Wishing you all a great start of the week (and crossing fingers you’re joining us for another Meatless Monday).

I’m going to begin this post with a quick update: I’m already on day 14th of my Vegan Month challenge. As I explained on a previous post I’m following a strict vegan diet throughout whole July curious about how my body handles it and how feasible it is to keep it up for a longer term.
As promised, I’ve made sure to share over Instagram pictures of my meals or funny anecdotes from this challenge.
One reader, Eleonora (who had not too long ago suggested the winning vinegar + baking soda combination for my Banana Bread Muffins), commented: Is it really being a “challenge”? Looks like you are enjoying it” – which I have to admit is just spot on! I’m enjoying this “challenge” so much that I can’t justify referring to it that way anymore. I feel my creativity in the kitchen has gotten a boost and I’m having a blast putting together colorful, plant-based dishes.

One thing I have clearly noticed is my increased fruit intake. Since I haven’t really taken so much time to bake any vegan friendly desserts or snacks, I find myself eating a lot more fruit than before.
Here’s where today’s recipe comes into play…
If you do a quick research on vegan baking, you’ll notice how applesauce is a MUST! Most of the time what’s tricky to replace in recipes is the egg and a substitute that keeps coming back is applesauce.

Even though this is a pretty basic recipe, I thought of sharing how to make your own applesauce at home, this way you can prepare it as natural as possible and free of all that refined sugar. It’s super simple and in no time you’ll have this versatile (and handy) ingredient, great for baking or topping, to mix with cereals for breakfast, put on toasts, etc… Here we go, hope you like it!

Homemade Applesauce (Sweetened with Maple Syrup)
Ingredients (will make around 1L sauce):

4 apples (weighed 820g after peeling and removing seeds)
700ml water
Half lemon juice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3 tablespoons maple syrup (or your favorite sweetener: agave syrup, honey, etc.)

Method:
1. Start by peeling the apples and removing the seeds. Cut them into medium squares.
2. Put them in a saucepan and pour in the water (the apples should be partially covered by water but not completely, otherwise the sauce will be too fluid). Start cooking at medium temperature. Add the lemon juice, cinnamon and maple syrup. Stir well and bring to a boil, this will take around 5 minutes.
3. When boiling, lower the temperature and let simmer for 20 minutes making sure to stir regularly.
4. Crush the apples with the help of a fork or a potato masher if you like a chunky applesauce, otherwise feel free to blend everything with a hand mixer.
Let cool down and store in the fridge (preferably in an air-tight glass container) for later use.

Swedish Soft Flatbread with Oatmeal

I surely found tons of inspiration during my last trip to Sweden.

This might not hit you as new, but I’m a big fan of their soft flatbreads (several fall into this category, my favorite one being polarkaka – polar bread). I have extensively written over, ranted and showcased pictures of this heavenly creation over Instagram declaring it one of my favorite things about going back to this country.

polarkaka001It was only during my visit last December that I (unexpectedly and full of surprise, joy and excitement!) found out how it’s made while roaming around a Christmas fair (check out my post over what a Swedish Christmas looks like). I always thought you needed this fancy stone oven or something similar to make them, but this is totally not the case. There are no special utensils required, except for this wood rolling pin with spikes on it used to leave tiny holes all over the dough (which is actually not strictly needed, you can perfectly make them with a fork; I just wanted to be fancy and get one before trying to make them). I searched for it everywhere for quite some time, so you can already picture my happy face when I finally came across one while exploring food shops in Gothenburg.

Time to work on this home-made version + get your hands dirty and knead some dough!

It is incredibly simple, the recipe looks very similar to any other one for pizza, pancakes or so. My only twist: in Sweden they sell several versions of this flatbread, the one with oatmeal being my dearest so that’s the one I replicated. Every single time I’m over at my friend Maral’s place in Gothenburg we have it for breakfast on a daily basis (it’s like the first thing we buy when I get off the plane). We serve it with some thinly sliced cucumber, dip it, snack on it… You name it! (and hope you like it) ~~

Swedish Soft Flatbread with Oatmeal
Ingredients (makes around 5 pieces):
160g (Spelt or regular) flour
60g oat flour (basically oats passed through a food processor until they become flour-like)
100ml warm water
2 tablespoons maple syrup (or your favorite sweetener: honey, agave, etc.)
1 teaspoon salt
6g yeast

Method:
1. In a deep bowl, combine the flours (Spelt/regular + oat). Separately, mix the warm water with the maple syrup (or the sweetener that you chose), salt and yeast, making sure all ingredients have dissolved. Pour this liquid mixture over the combined flours and start to knead. You should get a smooth, uniform dough easy to manipulate.
(You can immediately start to roll the dough or cover it with plastic wrap and put it in the fridge to use the day after).
2. Separate the dough into 5 smaller balls. Roll them one by one over a floured surface until they’re about half centimeter thin (you could even go thinner). Pass the spiked rolling pin over or use a fork to make some small wholes all over their surface.
3. Heat up a cooking pan (for this recipe I’m using my cast-iron skillet), no oil needed. Once hot, put in one of the flatbreads. Turn it over once the surface looks toasted (maybe some brown spots here and there), making sure both sides are cooked.
Buen provecho!

polarkaka003