Raspberry buckle

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Let's talk about the idea of healthifying desserts, shall we? Because I'm not totally sold on this strategy even though I keep doing it. Part of me thinks that boosting nutrition and finding balance (you can eat coffee cake, just make it a spelt coffee cake with less sugar, less gluten, and more protein!) is always good. But alternatively, might I actually indulge less if I just ate a small amount of the high fat, high sugar baked thing instead of trying to make spelt happen? Am I just kidding myself that a whole grain, barely sweet version is going to cut it when my real craving is for the doughy, crumbly, buttery, brown sugary coffee cake of my summer-on-the-jersey-shore dreams?

Ugh. If only there was one straightforward strategy that would always work.

I guess a wiser person than me would just accept that what we need from day to day or hour to hour can change. But I like predictability and this isn't cutting it.

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But, for now, we have an ever-so-slightly healthified raspberry buckle that is legitimately delicious on its own merits. I started with a recipe from King Arthur Flour and swapped out spelt flour for most of the white flour and reduced the amount of overall sugar.

I mostly left the crumble topping alone. I always want the first bite to pack more of a punch, which masks some of the healthier swaps later.

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I've made this cake without fruit which produces a straightforward coffee cake that's light and airy and not too sweet. I've also swapped coconut sugar for the brown sugar in the actual cake and it's good, but not great. The texture and bake time are the same, but I could really taste the coconut sugar and I didn't completely love it.

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This recipe also works best in a 9x9 pan. If you only have an 8x8, reduce the amount of batter in the pan by about 1/2 cup and either bake the extra in a ramekin or toss it. Or, if you have a deeper 8x8 pan (one with higher sides), you can bake the whole recipe, but may need a few extra minutes at the end.

Raspberry buckle
 

For the streussel topping:
4 Tbsp butter, melted
3 Tbsp brown sugar, packed
2 Tbsp white sugar
½ cup AP flour
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp salt

For the cake:
2 Tbsp butter, melted slightly
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
½ cup milk (I use whole, but any will do)
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ cup apple sauce
1½ cups spelt flour
½ cup AP flour
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
2 cups fresh or frozen raspberries (do not defrost)

Preheat oven to 375. In a medium bowl, melt the 4 Tbsp of butter in the microwave for 30 seconds. Cut up the butter and add the rest of the streussel topping ingredients. Mix with a fork until the mixture is fully combined and the texture of wet sand. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, melt the remaining 2 Tbsp of butter for 20 seconds in the microwave. Add the sugar and stir to combine. Measure the milk. Add the egg and whisk lightly. Add to the sugar and butter and stir well to combine. Add the vanilla and apple sauce and stir again.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix just until no streaks of flour remain.

Gently fold in the raspberries.

Pour the batter into a greased 9x9 pan and top with the streussel mixture.

Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Yield: 16 squares

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Vegan raspberry doughnuts

Vegan raspberry doughnuts | Me & The Moose. We’ve lightened up traditional Hannukah jelly doughnuts by baking instead of frying, and using freeze-dried raspberries instead of a sugary jelly filling. #Hannukah #sufganiyot #doughnuts #donuts #raspberries #healthybaking #healthyrecipes

Egads. I meant to post these doughnuts for the first night of Hannukah, which was four days ago. Whoops. Truth be told, I struggled with this post. Initially, I used an Ina recipe for Cinnamon Baked Doughnuts and they were delicious, but very very sweet, especially with the icing and sprinkles I used.

I reduced the sugar in the batter, which definitely helped, but they weren't really a healthy alternative to traditional fried sufganiyot. The mountain of powdered sugar in the icing totally undid any of the benefits of baking. Though I've posted a couple of recipes for holiday cookies and sweets over the past few months, we don't feed M much sugar and when we do, we try to make it the unprocessed variety. I definitely couldn't give him one of these without a side helping of maternal guilt.

So, I decided to make my own healthy alternative that's also safe for kids with allergies. These beauties are egg-free, dairy-free, nut-free, soy-free, and don't use any processed sugar. They're also super tasty! I'm actually fighting the urge to eat one right now.

Vegan raspberry doughnuts | Me & The Moose. We’ve lightened up traditional Hannukah jelly doughnuts by baking instead of frying, and using freeze-dried raspberries instead of a sugary jelly filling. #Hannukah #sufganiyot #doughnuts #donuts #raspberries #healthybaking #healthyrecipes

A note about flax eggs: In my recent vegan baking adventures, I've tried a few different combinations of flax seed, water, and baking powder. I like Joy the Baker's best. She combines 1 Tbsp of flax seed meal with 3 Tbsp of water and lets this goop sit for 30 minutes. At the end, she stirs in a generous pinch of baking powder and uses the flax egg immediately. I used 1/8 tsp of baking powder and it worked quite well. If using this concoction to replace the eggs in another recipe, don't reduce the amount of baking powder or soda called for in the recipe due to the baking powder in the flax egg.

Vegan raspberry doughnuts | Me & The Moose. We’ve lightened up traditional Hannukah jelly doughnuts by baking instead of frying, and using freeze-dried raspberries instead of a sugary jelly filling. #Hannukah #sufganiyot #doughnuts #donuts #raspberries #healthybaking #healthyrecipes

Vegan raspberry doughnuts

1 Flax egg (1 Tbsp flax seed meal, 3 Tbsp water, and 1/8 tsp baking powder)
1 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup coconut sugar
1 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2/3 cup light coconut milk
1 Tbsp apple sauce
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup freeze-dried raspberries

Preheat oven to 375. Make flax egg by combining flax seed meal and water and letting sit for 30 minutes. At the end of the 30 minutes, add baking powder and stir. Prep your doughnut pan by spraying with olive or coconut oil.

While the flax egg is setting, combine the flour, coconut sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. In a measuring cup, whisk together the coconut milk, olive oil, and vanilla. Add the wet ingredients and the flax egg to the dry and stir gently with a spatula until just combined. Add the raspberries and stir, breaking them up gently. Spoon mixture into greased doughnut molds until ¾ full.

Bake for 17 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 10-15 minutes before turning out onto a cooling rack.

Yield: 9 donuts

Vegan raspberry doughnuts | Me & The Moose. We’ve lightened up traditional Hannukah jelly doughnuts by baking instead of frying, and using freeze-dried raspberries instead of a sugary jelly filling. #Hannukah #sufganiyot #doughnuts #donuts #raspberries #healthybaking #healthyrecipes