CRAVE: A little sugar adds a comforting touch to these homemade dishes

Whether these scrumptious relics of home are baked for your favorite holiday or an afternoon treat, sweet-tasting breads are sure to evoke treasured feelings of home in every heart.

Bake up your own homemade memories with the recipes that follow.

French Toast Coffee Cake

Yields 8 to 10 servings.


1 cup vegan cream cheese

3 cups plain unsweetened soy milk

3 tablespoons unrefined sugar

1 tablespoon egg replacer

1 1⁄2 tablespoons fresh ginger juice

2 tablespoons ground cinnamon, divided

8 slices sourdough bread, cut into 1- to 2-inch rounds

1⁄4 cup coconut sugar

2 tablespoons buttery spread, melted

2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour

Maple syrup and fresh fruit, optional


1. Preheat oven to 400 F. Oil 9-inch springform pan; wrap base in aluminum foil to prevent leaking. Set aside.

2. Combine cream cheese, soy milk, sugar, egg replacer, ginger juice and 1 tablespoon cinnamon in blender, and blend for 5 minutes. Transfer mixture to large, shallow dish. Add bread, and let sit for 5 minutes, turning bread pieces occasionally.

3. In bowl, mix coconut sugar, remaining cinnamon, buttery spread and flour until of crumby consistency.

4. Layer half the bread, half the cream cheese mixture and half the coconut sugar mixture in prepared pan. Repeat with remaining bread, cream cheese mixture, and coconut sugar mixture.

5. Bake for about 45 minutes, or until golden brown and cake tester comes out clean. Cool in pan for 15 minutes.

6. Unmold coffee cake and cut into wedges. Serve with maple syrup and fresh fruit, if desired.

• The above excerpt has been reprinted with permission from Vegan Holiday Cooking from Candle Café by Joy Pierson, Angel Ramos and Jorge Pineda.

Shortbread Cookie with Orange Peel and Thyme

This shortbread cookie recipe is an ideal accompaniment for a quiet afternoon tea. A food processor or blender prepares the dough in minutes, which makes it an excellent choice for any last-minute parties. Keeping the dough in the refrigerator makes it easier to slice.

Yields 2 dozen cookies.


1⁄2 cup pecans

1⁄2 cup oatmeal

1 teaspoon thyme

1 teaspoon finely chopped orange peel

1⁄4 cup butter

1⁄2 cup confectioner’s sugar

1⁄2 cup all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon milk


1. Process pecans in food processor or blender for 1 to 2 minutes, or until finely chopped. Add remaining ingredients, one at a time, processing for 15 to 30 seconds after each addition.

2. Turn dough onto countertop, and dust lightly with additional flour. Form into roll, and wrap in wax paper. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

3. Preheat oven to 350 F.

4. Slice roll into 1⁄2-inch-thick cookies. Place on ungreased cookie sheet, and bake for 12 to 15 minutes.

­– Joyce Ellenbecker

Coconut Bread Pudding

Yields 8 servings.


1⁄2 cup sugar

1⁄4 teaspoon salt

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1 cup whole milk

1 cup coconut milk

1⁄2 cup sweetened, shredded coconut

2 tablespoons butter

1 teaspoon vanilla, divided

1 cup stale 1⁄2-inch cubes bread

2 egg whites

2 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar


1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Butter 8-inch or 2-quart baking dish; set aside.

2. In large bowl, combine sugar, salt and eggs. Gradually whisk in milks. Add coconut, butter and 1⁄2 teaspoon vanilla.

3. Scatter bread cubes in prepared dish, and pour milk mixture over top. Place dish in pan of hot water, with water coming up about 1⁄2 inch around sides. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until firm.

4. Meanwhile, beat egg whites until stiff. Add confectioner’s sugar and remaining vanilla, and continue beating until very stiff. Spread over cooked pudding, creating peaks and valleys. Sprinkle with a little additional shredded coconut, and heat until meringue is light brown. Serve warm or chilled.

• Karen K. Will


Welcome to the new Our old commenting system has been replaced with Facebook Comments. There is no longer a separate username and password login step. If you are already signed into Facebook within your browser, you will be able to comment. If you do not have a Facebook account and do not wish to create one, you will not be able to comment on stories.