Tag Archives: dessert

almond jam thimbles

Here is n, but festive looking cookie that is not only delicious, but also relatively healthy. I know a lot of people are still settling into the new year with more whole grains, less refined sugar, and fewer animal products so I wanted to highlight a few recipes with those qualities in mind. Coconut oil is one of my favorite oils to cook with and is solid below body temperature, making it perfect to use as a butter substitute for baked goods. Jam thimbles or thumbprints are also a great way to showcase homemade jam! Instead of rolling these cookies in ground almonds, I think shredded coconut would also be tasty, but watch them so they do not burn in the oven. Also, if you use chocolate instead of jam in the centers, I won’t tell anyone.

Almond Jam Thimbles

Adapted from lottie+doof

1/3 c coconut oil or butter

1/2 cup applesauce. I used a quick homemade pearsauce.

1/2 cup sugar or sucanat or brown sugar

1 flax egg, 1 tbsp ground flax seed + 3 tbsp water, mixed and let stand until thick

1 tsp vanilla

1 tsp almond extract

1 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour

pinch salt

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 cup milk

1/2 cup almonds, ground until almost fine in a food processor or blender

about 1/4 cup jam of your choice. I used some of my blackberry apricot jam.

Preheat oven to 325 and grease a large cookie sheet.

Cream together coconut oil or butter and sugar. When creamy, add the applesauce. Beat until smooth. Add the flax egg, vanilla, and almond extract and beat until well incorporated. In a separate bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Combine the flour mixture into the wet ingredients and stir until the dough comes together. Roll the dough into tablespoon size balls. Roll each ball in the milk and then in the ground almonds. Place on baking sheet. With the handle of a wooden spoon, make a same indentation in the center of each cookie and fill with a bit of jam. Bake 10-15 minutes or until lightly golden brown. Cool on a rack and enjoy!

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gingerbread whoopie pies

It is no secret that I love a good ginger dessert. Every year, I make batches and batches of different types of ginger cookies, ginger snaps, and gingerbread. Here is a great old fashion cookie that is soft, pillowy, and cake like. Perfect for whoopie pies! I remember seeing (and eating) whoopie pies growing up because we lived near Amish Country. The whoopie pie is having a a bit of a revival this year and I have been seeing them in more and more bakeries. And why not? They are just like two cupcake tops with some frosting squished in between. The traditional flavor is a chocolate cake with a vanilla, marshmallow-like filling. This is a great seasonal twist on the classic whoopie pie, gingerbread filled with cream cheese frosting. These were very well received at a Christmas party we attended last weekend, so make room for these on your holiday cookie tray.

Gingerbread Whoppie Pies

adapted from eat live run

Cake:

1/2 cup butter, soft. (You can potentially use 1/4 cup applesauce and 1/4 cup butter)

3/4 cup brown sugar

2 eggs

1 cup molasses (yes, 1 cup)

2 tsp baking soda, dissolved in 1 cup water

2 cup all purpose flour

2 cup whole wheat flour

1 tsp salt

1 tbsp ground ginger

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp ground nutmeg

1/2 tsp ground cloves

1/4 tsp ground cardamom

1/4 tsp ground white pepper

Frosting:

4 tbsp butter, soft

1 package, 8 oz cream cheese or neufchatel cheese, soft

1 tsp vanilla

2 cup sifted powdered sugar

For the cake:

Preheat the oven to 400. Cream together the butter and brown sugar. Once well creamed and fluffy, add the eggs, one at a time. Stream in the molasses and beat well. In a separate bowl, combine the flours, salt, and spices. Alternate the flour mixture with the hot soda water into the butter mixture. Drop by the tablespoonful on a greased cookie sheet. Bake for 7-8 minutes. My oven runs a bit hot, so these got a bit too dark for my liking. Definitely keep an eye on these while they are in the oven. Cool completely before filling.

For the frosting:

Cream together the butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla. Gradually incorporate the powdered sugar. Beat until fluffy. Sandwich the frosting between two cookies and enjoy!

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pumpkin gingerbread

Less than two weeks until Thanksgiving! I am excited to cook the big meal, maybe run a turkey trot, and turn my mind towards holiday baking. I love all of the warm spices often associated with the season, especially ginger, cinnamon, and cardamom. So it is no surprise that I gravitate towards gingerbread and ginger cookies. I am only slightly embarrassed to say that this is only one of several gingery recipes that I have made so far this season and there will most likely be many more.

This pumpkin gingerbread has a good punch of spice and rich molasses flavor and still manages to be light and delicate. A square warm from the oven makes a great dessert (ginger is good for digestion, right?) and any leftovers make a pretty delicious and slightly indulgent breakfast the next day. The original recipe includes an additional suggestion for a cinnamon infused buttercream on top, but I really liked this just by itself.

On a side note, I recently purchased several plates from the new West Elm in Seattle, such as the one above, from the Organic Shaped Dinnerware collection. I love them and they are pretty cheap to boot!

Pumpkin Gingerbread

slightly adapted from Oh She Glows, one of my favorite vegan food blogs.

1 cup pumpkin puree (canned or homemade)

3 tbsp maple syrup

1/2 cup sugar or sucanat (if you like things sweeter, go up to 3/4 cup)

1/3 cup melted coconut oil

1/4 cup molasses

1 flax egg, 1 tbsp ground flax plus 3 tbsp water, mixed and set aside until thickened. Or, 1 egg

1 2/3 cup whole wheat pastry flour

1 1/4 tsp baking soda

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp ginger

1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg

1/4 tsp ground cardamom

1/8 tsp ground cloves

1 tsp salt

1 tsp baking powder

generous handful of chopped, toasted walnuts, optional, but highly recommended

Preheat oven to 350. Grease or line a 9″x3″ loaf pan or an 8″x8″ pan. A square pan bakes a bit fast, allowing me to eat this gingerbread a bit quicker.

Combine the pumpkin puree, maple syrup, sugar, oil, molasses, and flax or real egg in a mixing bowl. Sift together the flour, baking soda and powder, spices, and salt in another bowl. Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and fold until just incorporated. Fold in the toasted nuts, if using.

Pour into prepared pan and bake for about 50-60 minutes (loaf pan) or 25-30 minutes (square pan) or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pan on a rack, stealing small slices every few minutes, and hope that no one notices.

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cat cake

We made a cat shaped cake for a friend’s birthday a couple weekends ago. Not only was it cat shaped, it also was checkered inside! When cut, it looks pretty impressive, but really it is quite simple to do, provided that you have the proper tools. The cakes used were a simple vanilla/yellow cake and a delicious chocolate cake, with a thin layer of raspberry filling (just some thinned out jam) and vanilla buttercream. In order to cut and shape the cake easily, I recommend freezing, or at the very least heavily chilling the layers. The best results will come with the use of a stencil, easily made by a manilla folder, an x-acto, and  a straightedge, the last two items are best acquired over 6 years of architecture school.

I really liked the chocolate cake that I wound up using. The crumb was tender and moist, even after a lot of fridge time, flavorful enough to be eaten sans frosting and held up to the flipping, flopping, and shaping. Using some raspberry jam brushed onto the cake will ensure some moisture, so I highly recommend doing that, especially with all of the freezing. I wish I could have let the crumb coat set on the cake a bit longer, as a result, the final icing was a bit messy, but maybe that just added some interest to the final cat.

If anyone is interested in a “how to” tutorial about making the layers and shaping, leave a comment and I will write up a more detailed post. If you don’t want to attempt a cake cat, this chocolate cake, served with some chocolate frosting or vanilla buttercream, is sure to disappear at your next summertime gathering.

We celebrated at Delancey, the pizza joint run by Orangette and her husband. It was DELICIOUS and the staff was so awesome and accommodating that they stored the cake in the fridge, and took it out in time for it to come up to room temp. They even stuck candles in for eyes! Hooray!

(Photos from Stephanie)

Chocolate Layer Cake

adapted lightly from gourmet, via smitten kitchen

This recipe is sized for 2 10 inch round layers; I made 1 9×13 sheet and 6-7 cupcakes out of this recipe. Nothing wrong with having extra cake!

3 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped

1 1/2 cups hot coffee

2 1/2 cups sugar

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 1/2 cups cocoa powder (not dutch processed)

2 tsp baking soda

3/4 tsp baking powder

1 1/4 tsp fine salt

3 lrg eggs, room temp

3/4 cup canola oil

1 1/2 cups buttermilk (I used 1/2 cup of yogurt and 1 cup of soymilk, well mixed)

1 tsp vanilla

Preheat the oven to 300. Baking at a lower temp for longer results in flatter, more even layers. Flatter layers=less leveling. Grease and line pans with parchment and then grease again.

In a heat proof bowl, combine the unsweetened chocolate and hot coffee and let it sit until melted. Meanwhile, sift together the sugar, flour, baking soda, baking powder, cocoa, and salt. In another bowl, beat the eggs until they lighten in color and become a bit thicker (3-5 minutes with an electric beater) stream in the oil, buttermilk, and vanilla. Then add the melted chocolate mixture. Do this slowly. Beat until well combined. Add the flour mixture and beat until the batter is just mixed.

Divide into the awaiting pans. I usually drop the filled pans onto the counter from a few inches to let any air bubbles rise to the surface and pop. Bake in the middle of the oven until a cake tester or toothpick comes out clean. This will differ based on your pan size and oven. Cool in pans and then flip out onto a rack, if needed, or just frost in the pan and enjoy.

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ginger chocolate cookie ice cream sandwiches

last week, i ate my last mission burrito, avocado enchiladas, and breakfast tacos in houston and moved to seattle. luckily, this past weekend was picture perfect northwest summer weather and filled with a trip to gasworks park, ice cream bars, and guacamole. i am not sure what i will be doing with my life, but i hope to keep up with this little blog, get a patch at a community garden, and continue to cook delicious, (mostly) healthful food. and with the slow seattle spring, i get more of my favorite spring produce again. shaved asparagus salad, strawberries, and morels in cream will all be eaten soon.

one of the last things i made in houston were these ginger chocolate cookies from super natural everyday. i had to use up some unsweetened chocolate so they turned out to be not quite sweet enough, but perfect for ice cream sandwiches. i omitted the chopped apricots since i didn’t have them on hand and used sucanat instead of plain sugar. these are definitely grown up cookies with a spicy ginger kick and deep chocolate flavor.

and thoughts on super natural everyday? heidi swanson’s blog 101 cookbooks has long been one of my favorites and i adored her other cookbook super natural cooking. all of the recipes are full of whole grains, seasonal produce, and quirky little touches. the photography is beautiful and everything that i have made delicious.

ginger chocolate cookies

1/2 cup turbinado sugar (i wound up not using all of it)

6 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped very finely

2 cup whole wheat pastry flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 1/2 tbsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup unsalted butter, cubed

1/4 cup molasses

2/3 cup sugar or sucanat

2 tbsp peeled and grated fresh ginger

1 egg, beaten

 

combine the turbinado sugar and chocolate in a small bowl. in a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, ground ginger, and salt. heat the butter in a saucepan until just melted, stir in the molasses, sugar or sucanat, and fresh ginger. whisk in the egg (make sure the butter mixture is not super hot). add this to the flour mixture and stir until combined. chill for about 30 minutes.

preheat the oven to 350 and line/grease two baking sheets. scoop out the dough by tablespoon and roll in the chocolate and sugar mixture. place on the baking sheet and squash gently with the bottom of a glass and bake for 7 to 10 minutes.

fill with your favorite ice cream for ice cream sandwiches, which, in this case, was blue belle vanilla.

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gluten-free strawberry cupcakes

i wanted to make something for a gluten-free friend for her birthday many, many weeks ago. unfortunately with charrette and finals, i didn’t get a chance until this past week. continuing with the strawberries from this past week, here are gluten-free strawberry cupcakes!  gluten-free baking is certainly another beast. there are so many flours and starches to chose from! but here, coconut flour seems like a good idea and i like that these are sweetened with honey or agave nectar. i liked the dense crumb and the fluffy cream cheese frosting. but in the end,  i liked that i could make something (successfully!) for a friend to enjoy, most of all.

gluten-free strawberry cupcakes with cream cheese frosting

from joy the baker

after eating one two, i thought that next time i could lighten this up a bit if i beat the egg whites separately and folded them in at the end, like an angel food cake. if anyone does this, let me know how it turns out. also, these baked up pretty dark in my oven, so keep an eye on them. or use cupcake liners. also, these really do only need 1/2 cup of coconut flour!

1/2 c coconut flour

1 tbsp arrowroot powder

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking soda

4 lrg eggs (room temp)

1/2 cup agave nectar or honey

1 tbsp vanilla extract

1/2 c finely diced strawberries, plus more for garnishing

preheat oven to 350. line or grease 8-9 cupcake molds.

whisk together the coconut flour, arrowroot powder, salt, and baking soda. make sure to whisk out any lumps in the coconut flour. in a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, agave, and vanilla. add the egg mixture to the flour mixture all at once and stir well. the batter will get thicker as you stir. fold in the diced berries. scoop out to the prepared pan and bake about 20 minutes or until cakes are done. cool on a rack and frost.

cream cheese frosting

1/3 cup heavy cream

4 oz cream cheese

1 tsp vanilla

2 tbsp honey

beat the cream to stiff peaks. in another bowl, beat the cream cheese to lighten and beat in the vanilla and honey. fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture and frost your cupcakes!

photo taken at pondicheri, houston, texas

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(whole) lemon bars

as winter turns into spring, i can’t wait to stop eating pears and apples and start eating the season’s first berries.  thankfully, winter citrus is the perfect transition from winter to spring and texas grapefruits and lemons have been particularly inspirational lately.  these lemon bars use an entire lemon, zest, pith, juice, and fruit and are quite easy to make with pantry staples and a blender.  the lemon curd filling is intensely lemony and not too sweet (my major complaint about commercial lemon bars).  bake them ahead of time so you have ample time to chill them as i think they are best straight from the fridge and the lemon curd is cold against your teeth.

whole lemon bars

from david lebovitz

it would be fun to experiment around with other citrus if you have the time and inclination.  i personally think a grapefruit curd would be very tasty but would have to play around with the proportions to make it work.  you could also change the crust around by adding finely ground nuts (almonds or hazelnuts perhaps) or adding finely chopped herbs (rosemary or lavender perhaps) for a different flavor dimension.

crust:

1 cup all purpose flour

1/4 c sugar (i used sugar in the raw)

1/4 tsp salt

1 stick (8 tbsp) butter melted (unsalted)

1/2 tsp vanilla

filling:

1 lemon (organic would be preferable in this application)

3/4 c sugar (or up to 1 cup if you want it sweeter)

3 tbsp lemon juice (about 1 smallish lemon) plus the zest from this lemon

3 eggs, room temp

4 tsp corn starch

1/4 tsp salt

3 tbsp butter, melted (also unsalted)

preheat oven to 350.  mix all of the crust ingredients together until it is smooth.  spread out over a lined and greased 9×9 inch pan and bake for about 25 minutes or until golden.

meanwhile, make the filling.  in a blender or food processor, combine the lemon (cut into chunks and seeds removed) with the sugar and lemon juice and blend until nearly smooth.  some small chunks are okay.  add the eggs, cornstarch, salt, and melted butter and blend again until the mixture is fully combined and almost smooth.

when the crust comes out of the oven, reduce heat to 300 and pour the filling over the crust.  bake for 20-25 minutes or until the filling is barely set.  cool completely before a sifting of powdered sugar and cut into squares and serve.

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