In the midst of the madness that was getting ready to leave for Paris last month, there was one thing I wouldn’t have skipped, no matter how rushed I was: baking a batch of yummy stuff I could take with me for when I’d need something to snack on.
I love traveling, but don’t enjoy starving quite as much. So, for those times when visiting an exhibition takes longer than expected, or I’m in transit at an inconvenient time, or I’m simply a bit too much off the beaten path to find something to eat when I need it, I’ve learned to take food with me. I didn’t use to care all that much about it, because I’m fine with an irregular eating schedule, but sometimes it just gets a bit too long between two satisfying meals.
Oh, and let’s not forget the “vegetarian, no dairy” airplane meal that turned out to be filled with – and covered in – cheese!
So it has become a habit now for me to bake some homemade goodies before leaving on a trip. I usually make my own version of Vegan Dad’s Maple Hemp Granola Bars: yummy, and very sustaining. This time though, I had a good reason to forgo my old standby and make something else instead…
You see, one of my missions on this trip was to bring Vegan Brunch, the fabulous new book by Isa Chandra Moskovitz, to my friend Shellyfish (aka TheShellyfish on Twitter). Last year, her mom brought Veganomicon to her, and she told me that one page was smeared and splattered with batter, as her brother had tried a recipe from the book before sending it. I thought that was begging to be turned into a tradition, so I had to make something from the book!
Besides, everything in the book looked so delicious, how could I not give a few of the recipes a try? Well, there was this not-enough-time detail, but making one recipe was doable, especially since I needed to bake something to take with me anyways. As for the other recipes, I’ll get to them: I simply cannot not get the book for myself!
I’ve chosen to make the Coffee Chips Muffins, simply because muffins travel well, and I had all the ingredients in my cupboard (no time for grocery shopping!). Well, this is when I’ve learned, upon seeing the little bit left at the bottom of the jar that had been left by a former flatmate a few years ago, that instant coffee powder isn’t eternal – whodathunk? – so I had to forget about mocha flavored muffins, and simply go with chocolate chips ones.
What was fun is that they turned into a culinary experiment! I made two batches; they were identical, except for the kind of sugar I used for each. The first batch was made with clumps of brown sugar that I was too lazy/rushed to break well before mixing them in – and I like how the clumps kind of bake into caramel-y chunks. I used organic and fair-trade white-ish sugar (I think it was Turbinado, but I’m not sure) for the second batch and that sugar was of course well mixed in. It wasn’t the first time I was baking with clumps of brown sugar, but it was the first time I could do a side-by-side comparison, and wow! I was amazed by how very clear the difference in texture was – you can even see it on the pictures!
I didn’t notice much difference in taste, though: both batches turned out great! I’ve snacked on those muffins for the greater part of my trip (keeping them in the fridge, they lasted for quite a while), and was often really happy to have them with me.
I did meet up with Shelly and her family, and we had the greatest time together! I will probably write about it sometime later, but for now, I’m busy getting ready for my next trip: I’m leaving again in less than a week. I must admit to being a huge mass of overwhelm, which is no fun, but I’m expecting this upcoming trip to be great fun. I’ve just gotta get through the last few days…
Now, what to bake to take with me on that trip? :)