February is a month when days really start to become noticeably longer in Finland. Instead of four hours of daylight, we now have eight and counting. This is a month that makes me want to go outside and have a little picnic/trip in the snow-covered and freezing cold nature, with hot chocolate and sandwiches to keep me warm.
Since this is still a full on winter month, it’s nice to keep things warm and cosy inside. I’ve loved baking quite much lately and since Valentine’s Day is coming this week, I thought I’d share some vegan baking ideas for this time of the year. I think all of these can be used in the theme of Valentine’s Day or just to lighten up the winter-y days of February. Or really just to have an excuse to bake and eat delicious sweet treats.
200 g dairy-free butter
1 tbsp vanilla extract
100 g sugar
300 g flour
- Cream the butter, vanilla and sugar together. Stir in the flour and mix into a dough. Chill in the fridge for about 30 minutes to firm up.
- Roll out the dough to 1/2 cm thickness and cut into shapes.
- Place on the baking sheet and bake for about 12-15 minutes in 175°c, until golden brown at the edges.
- Leave to cool before filling/decorating.
I decided to cut them into heart shapes to make them look cuter and more fitting to the season. And since it was the World Nutella Day at the beginning of this month, I made a vegan nutella filling that I used in the cookies as well as in the filling of the Shrove buns coming later on in this post.
1,5 cups (225g) raw hazelnuts
1/3 cup (80ml) unsweetened plant milk (soy, almond, oat..)
1 tbsp coconut oil
2 tbsp maple/agave syrup
6 soft pitted dates
1/3 cup (35g) cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
- Bake the hazelnuts for 10-12 minutes in 180°c
- Peel the skin of the nuts after they’re cooled down by rubbing them between your palms and letting the skin fall off from between your fingers. Place the clean nuts in a high-speed blender or food processor.
- Blend until a thin nut butter consistency is formed, scrapping down the sides occasionally.
- Add the remaining ingredients and blend until smooth and well incorporated.
- Check the taste and consistency to your liking. (Add more milk to make it thinner or add more dates or syrup for a sweeter taste.)
- Store in an airtight jar in the fridge for up to one week.
I also made a chiaseed and berry jam that I used as a filling with the nutella. This is honestly the easiest, healthiest and the tastiest jam! No added sugar, just the impeccable taste of some amazing berries.
Chiaseed Berry Jam
2 cups frozen berries of your choice (I used blueberries and raspberries)
3 tbsp chiaseeds
1 tbsp water or juice (if the berries don’t give enough liquid when defrosted)
- Defrost the berries.
- Crush them with a fork to release more juice.
- Add the chiaseed and the additional water or juice if needed. Stir to combine.
- Let sit in room temperature for 30 minutes for the chiaseeds to gel, stirring once halfway.
- Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to five days.
In Finland, Sweden and Estonia there’s a delicacy called Shrove bun, also known as Samla, which is a bun with whipped cream and jam or almond paste as a filling. I can’t remember baking vegan buns before, but definitely will be making them again after this try out. I don’t think I’ve ever eaten anything as cloud like soft as these. Yum!
Vegan Sweet Buns
5 dl plant milk (soy, almond, oat..)
11g dried yeast
1 1/2 dl sugar
2 tsp cardamom
1 tsp salt
14 dl flour
150 g dairy-free butter
- Mix the yeast, sugar, cardamom, salt and a little bit of flour with the warmed up milk.
- Continue adding flour until a dough is formed. Add in the room temp. butter and the rest of the flour and keep kneading until the dough is firm, elastic and starts coming off your fingers and the sides of the bowl.
- Let rise in the bowl in a warm place, covered with a cloth, until double the size.
- Divide the dough into 16 pieces and shape into firm balls.
- Let rise for about 20-30 minutes.
- Make a mixture of 1/2 dl water and 1 tbsp fair syrup and brush the dough balls with it and put a little bit of nib sugar on the top.
- Bake for about 12-15 minutes in 225°c, until lightly golden brown.
- Let cool down before cutting open and filling with cream, jam and nutella. Or a combination of your liking.
Bake with love and enjoy!