Chef Fran Costigan

Teff Love

Teff LoveIn November 2013, I had a particularly fun book event for Vegan Chocolate at Watchung Booksellers in Montclair, NJ. It was exciting for me to see old friends and meet new ones, read from my book, answer questions, and of course, offer samples of recipes from the book. I was in such a good mood that I was not in a rush to get back to New York City. Well, lucky for me, a group of vegan friends told me we were going to have a post book party meal at Mesob, a very vegan friendly Ethiopian restaurant in town. I don’t like spicy food but I do love Ethiopian food, and used to eat it regularly when I lived in the Village. I’d heard raves about this one and I was hungry, so I was eager to go. I fell in love as soon as we entered the lovely room and were greeted warmly by (one of the owners). Our large group ordered lots of food, which we enjoyed as a community, tearing off pieces of the spongy bread known as injera. True injera takes time as the batter must be allowed to ferment. It is doable, and I have made it, but I was very curious about the quick injera in Kittee Berns new book Teff Love. Kittee has made a somewhat intimidating but much loved cuisine accessible. From foundations, through breakfast and then to dinner and dessert, there is much for those of us who enjoy Ethiopian food to make.


oneI made the Quick Teff Crepes using Bob’s Red Mills teff and chickpea flours. If you are expecting Injera, these are not that. But they are good tangy rather than sour crepes that’ll do the job of injera when time is short.


Quick Teff Crepes

fourteenAlthough these crêpes don’t have quite the same texture or pronounced sourness typical of teff injera, they make a good stand-in on days when you want Ethiopian food quickly and don’t have time for the fermentation process or access to commercial injera. They have a slightly spongy-stretchy texture, with a small bit of tang from the yogurt and vinegar, and work well for scooping up sauces and stews.

Makes 14 6-inch crepes


  • 1 cup teff flour, any variety
  • 1⁄2  cup chickpea flour
  • 1⁄2  teaspoon baking soda
  • 1⁄2  teaspoonsalt
  • 2 cups carbonated water
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened plain vegan yogurt
  • 6 tablespoons cider vinegar


  1. Preheat a nonstick skillet (see cooking tip) over medium heat. Put the teff flour, chickpea flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl and whisk vigorously to combine and to beat out any lumps in the chickpea flour. Add the carbonated water and vegan yogurt and whisk well to combine. When the griddle is hot, whisk in the vinegar to combine. The batter will rise and foam, and the consistency will be thin and reminiscent of chocolate milk.
  2. Form each crêpe by using a 1/3-cup measure to scoop the batter from the bottom of the bowl and pour it into a disk on the hot pan. Use a spoon to quickly and lightly smooth the batter into a 6-inch disk, starting in the center and working in concentric circles until you reach the edges (keep the center of the crêpe the thickest and the edges the thinnest; the crêpe should be between 1/8 and 1⁄4 inch thick).
  3. Cover and cook for 1 minute. The crêpe should be dry on the top with a smattering of little holes over its surface. Uncover and continue to cook the crêpe without turning it for
  4. 1 to 11⁄2 minutes. The total cooking time for each crêpe should be 2 to 21⁄2 minutes. When fully cooked, the crêpe should be dry on top with a few air-bubble holes, and the bottom should be firm, smooth, and lightly browned. Depending on your cookware and stove, you’ll need to adjust the heat to achieve this result. Use a flat, flexible spatula to loosen and release the crêpe, and then quickly transfer it to a plate and cover with a clean, dry tea towel. Repeat the cooking process until all the batter has been used. As the crêpes are made, stack them on top of each other and keep them covered with the towel so they don’t dry out.
  5. As they cool, the crêpes will develop a spongy-stretchy texture. Let them rest until they’re room temperature, then wrap the stack loosely in a clean, dry tea towel and seal it in a ziplock bag until serving time. Be sure the crêpes are completely cool or the bag will collect moisture and they’ll spoil. If you notice any condensation, open the bag to air it out.

Cooking Tip: For the best success, I recommend cooking these crêpes on a flat, anodized griddle or pan. If you find the crêpes are sticking as they cook, mist the pan with a small amount of oil. Keep in mind, just as with traditional teff injera, the first one cooked is usually a throwaway or a treat for the cook.

Cooking Tip: Halve this recipe if you’d like a smaller yield, and for the best results, eat these the same day they’re prepared.


I have a copy of Teff Love for one lucky winner. Follow the instructions below to enter. Contest ends at midnight eastern time on March 11, 2015 U.S. residents only, please. Good luck! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you liked this post, please share it.

Vegan Ice Cream for Margarita Day

I was watching Oscar previews and thinking about getting outside quickly during this short window of sun and double digit temperatures in NYC, when I learned that today is National Margarita Day. Where? On twitter of course. (BTW, I’m @Goodcakesfran.) I don’t eat much ice cream in winter, especially not during this super frigid one. Still, I couldn’t resist posting this recipe from my Vegan Chocolate book for the ‘holiday’. Enjoy now, or enjoy when the weather changes for good. Happy National Margarita Day and Oscar night. Good luck to all the talent in Hollywood!

Chocolate Margarita Ice Cream LR

Rim a cocktail glass with salt, fill it with ice cubes, and then pour in one ounce of premium agave-based tequila, a half-ounce of triple sec, and a half-ounce of freshly squeezed lime juice. Stir a few times until chilled. Sip slowly. That’s my recipe for a perfect margarita.

When I began thinking about making a margarita-flavored chocolate ice cream, I had to play with perfection. Too much alcohol prevents ice cream from freezing, but too little “margarita mix” and the flavor won’t come through. This is all to say that this ice cream required more tests than many of the recipes in the ice cream chaper in Vegan Chocolate. (I can assure you that even the rejected recipes were eaten or sipped!) When finally the recipe worked, using the Sweet Thick Cashew Cream as a base, it was clear to me and the testers that the hardest part about making this recipe is not drinking the base straight-up first.

Note: Because the freezing point of alcohol is much lower than water, boozy ice creams take longer to churn.

Chocolate Margarita Ice Cream

Makes About A Pint / 500 Ml


  • 1⁄4 cup / 25 grams Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1⁄4 cup / 60 ml pure maple syrup, Grade B or dark amber, or agave syrup
  • 1 recipe Sweet Thick Cashew Cream (recipe follows)
  • 2 tablespoons / 30 ml tequila
  • 1 1⁄2 teaspoons / 7.5 ml triple sec
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 drops pure lime oil or the zest of one organic lime
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon guar gum
  • Flaked sea salt, for serving (optional)
  • Thinly sliced limes dipped in sugar, for serving (optional)


  1. Add the cocoa powder and maple syrup or agave syrup to the blender. Blend on low to mix. The cocoa will not be completely dissolved. Do not wash the blender.
  2. Add enough water to the Sweet Thick Cashew Cream to make 2 cups / 480 ml, then add 2 more tablespoons / 30 ml of water. Add to the blender. Blend, starting on low, then quickly increase the speed to high for 1 minute.
  3. Add the tequila, triple sec, salt, and lime oil (or lime zest). Blend until incorporated.
  4.  Sprinkle the guar gum directly onto the mixture. Blend on low for 30 seconds, then quickly increase the speed to high and blend for 1 minute.
  5.  Pour the ice cream base into a 2-cup / 1⁄2-liter container. Cover and refrigerate for 2 to 4 hours until thoroughly chilled before churning. Chilling the base thoroughly means faster churning, which results in a creamier frozen dessert.
  6.  When the mixture is cold, give it a good whisk. Pour it into an ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer’s directions. The ice cream will look like soft serve when it is ready.
  7. Using a silicone spatula, immediately transfer the ice cream to the chilled storage container. Cover tightly and freeze for at least 3 hours or longer until the ice cream is firm enough to scoop.

Serve the ice cream in chilled bowls with a sprinkle of flaked sea salt and garnish with thinly sliced limes dipped in sugar if you like.

Keeping: Freeze the ice cream in a tightly covered container. For the best flavor and texture, eat the ice cream within one week.


Thick Sweet Cashew Cream

Makes about 1 3/4cups / 420 ML


  • 5 ounces (about 1 cup) / 142 grams whole raw cashews, rinsed and soaked 3 to 4 hours or overnight
  • 2/3 cup / 160 ml  room temperature water
  • 1/4 cup / 60 ml agave syrup or pure maple syrup, Grade B or dark amber
  • 1 teaspoon / 5ml pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon guar gum


  1. Drain and rinse the cashews in a strainer. Put the drained nuts into a blender and add the water and maple or agave syrup. Blend, starting on low, and quickly increase the speed to high. Blend about 1 minute until the cream is until perfectly smooth. Push any pieces of unblended cashews down into the cream and blend for another minute.
  2. Add the guar gum directly onto the cream, making sure it doesn’t land on the sides of the container. Blend on low for 30 seconds, then increase the speed to high and blend for 1 minute.
  3. The cream is ready to use now but can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.


I love comments so please let me know:

Will you be watching the Oscars?

Do you believe in Food Holidays?

Do you like Margaritas?

And my big curiosity… do you eat ice cream in winter?


If you liked this post, I hope you will share it, and please consider signing up to get my blog and newsletter delivered to your inbox.



If you liked this post, please share it.

Easy Heart-Shaped Chocolate Cake

Try this easy technique for a cake just right for Valentine’s Day. No specialty cake pan is needed!  All it takes is one 9-inch round layer, baked, cooled, chilled and few cuts with a knife.




Here is the Step by Step:

  • Bake a Chocolate Torte to Live For: Either the Standard cake, the No Oil-Added, or the Gluten free versions. 
  • Cool, wrap and refrigerate the layer until it is very cold. (You can freeze the cake too.)
  • Either cut a piece of parchment paper into a heart to use as a guide, or cut the round freehand into a heart shape. Save the pieces you’ve cut from the top and sides. Nibbling is definitely ok– resistance is futile–but save some of the cut pieces to use crumble for the alternative topping, if you decide on that option.
  • Lightly sweep a dry pastry brush across the sides and top of the cake to remove some loose crumbs. Don’t worry though, since the first coating of Bittersweet Ganache Glaze will glue any loose crumbs down.
  • Add a second coating of Bittersweet Ganache Glaze. Refrigerate until the glaze is set.




Alternatively, you can add a coating of crumbs made from the reserved pieces of cake you cut, to the glazed cake. In this case, sprinkle the crumbs over the ganache before it sets.  Refrigerate the cake until you are ready to slice and serve. Again, wait for the cake to return to room temperature before savoring each bite. (That said, I know some like it chilled. You made it, try both!)




To serve: For the neatest slices, cut the cake when it is still cold using a good sized knife dipped in very hot water and then wipe the blade dry (carefully). Set the slices on plates and wait until the cake is at room temperature for the best flavor

Recipe: Chocolate Torte to Live For

Recipe: Bittersweet Ganache Glaze

For tasting notes on some of the ethical vegan chocolates that add compassion to the recipe, see my Chocolate Tasting Party blog post.

From my kitchen to yours, I am wishing everyone a sweet, happy and delicious holiday.


All photos ©2015 Hannah Kaminsky

VCM Web Banner Fran Costigan small

If you liked this post, please share it.
When: March 10, 2015 @ 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm

I will discuss “Vegan Chocolate for Everyone” and share information about choosing and using high percentage chocolates and quality cocoa powders to make unapologetically luscious and decadent chocolate desserts in this free online event. I will speak about the importance of using…