The holidays can get expensive, so every year I try and make something homemade for friends and family members. I have fun coming up with new gifts every year, but this year, I may have stumbled across a homemade tradition that sticks.
I ended up buying a mini loaf pan from Williams-Sonoma (no endorsement here, just want to let you know what I used for sizing) and made three different types of bread to give out. At first I was planning on making them just dairy-free, but I ended up creating vegan recipes, so this is a great way to get skeptics among your circles to eat vegan and realize that it can be delicious.
So, here are the loaves I made this year:
– Banana Chai (makes about 16 mini loaves)
– Cranberry Orange Walnut (makes about 24 mini loaves)
– Gingerbread (makes about 10 mini loaves)
Make sure loaves are cooled before you wrap them up. I decided to wrap my loaves in cellophane and top with a bow, but next year I’m planning on finding a more sustainable opition. If you have good ideas, feel free to share on the blog! Now, on to the recipes:
Banana Chai (makes 16 mini loaves)
- ½ cup water
- 1 chai tea bag
- 3 cups flour
- 2 tsp chai spice mix
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp salt
- ¾ cup vanilla almond dream yogurt
- 1 cup earth balance, softened
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 ¼ cups banana, mashed
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Start by steeping a chai tea bag in ½ cup of boiling water. Set aside to cool down. Use cooking spray to grease your loaf pan and make sure your banana is mashed and set aside.
Combine all dry ingredients together in a large bowl (flour, chai spice mix, baking powder, baking soda, and salt).
Take ⅓ cup of the cooled steeped tea and mix with the yogurt. Any leftover tea can be poured out.
In a large bowl, beat together the Earth Balance and sugars until they’re fluffy. Beat in the mashed banana slowly until well blended. Alternate mixing in the flour mixture and the yogurt until everything is combined. Make sure not to overmix.
Use a spoon to distribute batter into the mini loaf pans. When I made these, they made about 16 loaves, so you’ll probably use half of the batter on the first round. Bake for 35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean after piercing the middle of the loaf.
Cranberry Orange Walnut (makes about 24 mini loaves)
- 4 oranges (and possibly some orange juice or lemonade)
- 3 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
- ⅔ cup ground flaxseeds
- 2 cups whole wheat flour
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ cup applesauce
- 1 ½ cup sugar
- ½ cup canola oil
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 1 cup walnuts
Use cooking spray on mini loaf pans and preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Grate outside of oranges to make 4 tablespoons of orange zest, and juice oranges. You should have 1 ½ cups of juice. I didn’t end up having quite enough but had some leftover frozen lemonade from another recipe to fill to 1 ½ cups. Extra orange juice works, too. Pulse cranberries in the food processor until they’re chopped.
Combine flaxseeds, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Grab a medium bowl and mix together applesauce, sugar, canola oil, vanilla, orange zest, and orange juice. Once combined, add into the flour mixture and mix until the dry ingredients are just incorporated.
Take the walnuts and cranberries and fold them into the mixture. Spoon into the mini loaf pans. This made about 24 mini loaves for me, so you’ll be making three rounds of loaves. Bake for 40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean after piercing the middle of the loaf.
Gingerbread (makes about 10 mini loaves)
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp ginger
- ½ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ cup applesauce
- ⅔ cup molasses
- ⅔ cup canola oil
- ½ cup brown sugar
- ½ cup soymilk
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease mini loaf pans with cooking spray (If you’ve read all three recipes, I probably sound like a broken record by now). Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl (flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, baking powder, and salt).
In a medium bowl, whisk together applesauce, molasses, canola oil, brown sugar, and soymilk. Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and pour the wet ingredients into the large bowl. Stir until just incorporated. Don’t worry if it doesn’t look smooth – it’ll turn out fine!
Spoon mixture into the mini loaf pans. It made me 10 relatively large mini loaves, so it can probably make more if not filled to the top. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean after piercing the middle of the loaf.
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These three loaves should be plenty to get you started. I tried to make a little something for every kind of taste preference. Since I had a lot of fun making tasty creations with my loaf pan, I’m sure I’ll post more soon.
Anything you want me to try? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org