Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Rice Cookies

My rice cookies look nothing like Celine's...I think I should have either made them into bars, or possibly press them tightly into my muffin tin. These were a bit crumbly & difficult to work with. I have not tasted them & am unsure what went wrong. :( (The only difference/change to the recipe is that I used butter instead of margarine + coconut flour + blueberries). *Shrug* - I'll let my boyfriend tell me if he wants to eat more of these.
Rice Cookies
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 ener-g egg (1 1/2 tsp + 2 tblspns warm H20)

1/2 cup brown rice flour
2 tblspn coconut flour
2 cups puffed brown rice crispy cereal
1/4 cup dried blueberries
  • Preheat oven 350F & prepare baking sheet by lining with parchment paper (or oil muffin tin).
  • Cream together butter, sugar + "egg". Add brown rice flour + coconut flour.
  • Fold in rice crispy cereal & blueberries.
  • Separate into 12 balls, or divide among muffin tin & flatten to compact cookies.
  • Bake fro 12 - 14 minutes.
  • Cookies will harden as they cool.

Regular Old Oatmeal

These oatmeal cookies aren't the super duper chewy kind (maybe because I refrigerated the dough, next time I will skip), but they're nice & buttery. And of course they're loaded with oatmeal. I added cinnamon chips, pecans & dried cranberries. Hope my cousin likes these! (The cinnamon flavor is quite strong.)
Buttery Oatmeal Cookies
1/2 cup butter (1 stick), room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 tblspn milk
1 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup AP flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

1 1/4 cup rolled oats (quick cooking)
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cinnamon chips (little more)

  • Preheat oven 350F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • With the mixer on low, cream butter, then add sugar. Beat till texture is light & fluffy.
  • Beat in egg, milk & vanilla extract.
  • In a separate bowl, combine dry ingredients. Slowly add to butter/sugar mixture.
  • Fold in oats & nuts,etc by hand.
  • Drop ~32gram balls on cookie sheet. Allow room for spreading. (Refrigerate dough 30 minutes to 1 hour if puffier cookie is desired.)
  • Bake 350F for 10 - 14 minutes.
  • Cool on cookie sheet for a few minutes before removing to cooling rack.
  • Makes about 24 cookies.

Monday, October 29, 2007

In the Spirit of Halloween

A small Halloween token for my beloved co-workers. These chocolate caramel cookies are a little on the thin side, but are chewy thanks to the caramel candy. Note for next time: scoop flour, not spoon, roll out balls (32 grams for ~38 cookies) & refrigerate before baking. Although I refrigerated some dough & my butter was still a bit cold, the cookies spread too much & became to thin for my taste, which makes them too unstrudy to support the heavy candy. The texture of these remind me of the cookies you get at the bakery section of your local supermarket. The dough was moist & sticky...my least favorite kind. After removing them from the oven & allowing them to continue cooking on the cookie sheet, I moved them into the fridge, this made for quick & easy removal from the parchment paper. For removal, I used an offset spatula, which worked like a charm.
Halloween Caramel Cookies
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (scooped)
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt

1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup Halloween M&Ms (chocolate chips)
20-25 caramels, such as Kraft (about 1 cup+)
  • Preheat oven to 350F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Place 1 tablespoon of the flour into a small bowl. Chop each caramel into 6-8 pieces & lightly coat with the flour.
  • Whisk together remaining flour, baking soda, baking powder & salt in a medium bowl.
  • In a large bowl (stand mixer), cream together butter & sugars until light, about 2 minutes.
  • Add in eggs one at a time, then vanilla extract. Don’t worry if the batter separates, just keep beating until it becomes smooth.
  • Slowly add in flour mixture. Fold in caramels & chocolate candy/chips until batter is uniform & no streaks of flour remain. (This will be an arm workout, the batter is thick & sticky.)
  • Roll dough by rounded tablespoonfuls (32 grams) onto baking sheet. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes.
  • Hopefully cookies will not spread a lot. Bake for 12-13 minutes, or until cookies are lightly browned around the edges.
  • Allow to cool on the cookie sheet for 5-10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely. If cookies stick to the parchment, allow them to cool longer in the fridge before moving them.
  • Makes ~ 38 cookies.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Childhood Memories

Growing up, we didn't do a lot of baking...but I do have memories of me & my sister making peanut butter cookies (Thanks Celine). We used to use a fork to make those criss-cross patterns. Nostalgia...childhood innocence...

These were for my cousin, unfortunately I promised her chewy Mrs. Field-type cookies. I'll have to deliver next time.

Generally speaking, I think there are about 4 main cookie
  1. Cake-like/Puffy cookies (Pumpkin Cookies)
  2. Chewy cookies - crispy edges & soft chewy centers (Chocolate Chip)
  3. Sandies/Shortbread-like dense cookies (Cranberry-Pecan Cookies)
  4. Crispy cookies - thin or thick (Biscotti)
I would consider these belonging to category 3. I may add a little more liquid next time to allow more spread & cohesion...my dough was a little crumbly (possibly due to increased whole wheat pastry). Overall, these definitely remind me of the classic dense peanut butter cookie, except with peanuts + chocolate chips.
Chunky Peanut Butter Cookies w/ Chocolate Chips
1/2 cup + 2 tblspn peanut butter, unsweetened
3 tblspn coconut oil
3 tblspn rice/oat milk (more if necessary to bind)
3 tblspn whiskey
2 tblspn maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 cup AP flour
3/4 cup whole wheat pastry
1/4 cup sugar, scant
1/4 cup brown sugar, scant
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp ener-g egg replacer (powder only, no H2O)

1/4 cup roasted peanuts
1/4 cup chocolate chips

  • Preheat oven 325F. Prepare cookie sheet by lining with parchment paper.
  • In a large bowl, combine & mix wet ingredients (this may be easiest using a stand-mixer).
  • In a medium bowl, combine dry ingredients & thoroughly mix together.
  • Slowly pour dry ingredients into wet & stir to combine. If dough is crumbly, add more "milk".
  • Add & stir in peanuts & chips.
  • Divide into 12 balls (44.5 grams) & evenly space on lined cookie sheet. Flatten cookies.
  • Bake for 15-17 minutes, till edges are light golden brown.
  • Remove & allow to cool a few minutes on cookie sheet. Move to cooling rack.
  • Makes 12 medium cookies.**"Peanut is actually a bean/legume vine plant...it is related to other beans, such as peas, beans & lentils..."

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Minus the Trans-Fat

Reading through Celine's post, I was directed to Where's the Revolution. Wow, vegan Samoas eh? Growing up, I was never a big fan of coconut, but Samoas were the exception. I probably had my first Samoa in high school when my sister couldn't turn down a friendly young solicitor. This of course was way before I knew anything about nutrition, other than limit junk food - chocolate, fried foods, sugar/cookies, etc. This was also probably before the short-lived Oreo trans-fat scare. Thinking back, I am surprised to remember a brief snippet regarding this included in mainstream media. But Nabisco probably run more of their commercials on Nickelodean. Back to the cookies...although Samoas do seem to be without eggs, they are loaded with trans-fat! How do I know?? Check out what's listed second on the ingredient listing. Also, the FDA does not require food manufacturers to specify "natural & artificial flavors". Although these girl scout cookies tasted great, they contributed very little nutritional value to my body.
Long story short, I've been looking for a decent Samoa recipe for quite some time & this definitely hit the sweet spot.
After baking
up a batch, I'd have to say these taste pretty good. Not only that, they're pretty high on our list of nutritional ingredients. Although not gluten-free wheat-free, they'll have to do until we find the "perfect-ideal" mostly brown rice cookie. When putting these cookies together, I did find it odd that the recipe didn't include vanilla extract, so I added an extra teaspoon. I have very little to complain about these cookies other than mine were a little lacking in flavor. (**Celine made a good point - I omitted the pecans & I believe pecans would add an extra layer of flavor complexity.) With the remaining batch, I added some cinnamon & dried cranberries. The cookies were chewy & had a natural peanut-buttery flavor. They remind me of a chewy granola bar. Next time, I would like to substitute 1/4 cup brown rice flour.
Trans-Fat Free Samoas
1 cup brown rice syrup (brown rice syrup, maple syrup, agave nectar, 2 tblspn molasses)
1/2 cup virgin coconut oil, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract

1 3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 cup coconut flour
1/4 cup oat flour

1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 1/2 cup rolled oats
1 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup chocolate chips (white & carob)
dried cranberries, handful
  • Preheat oven to 350F. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  • Mix together wet sweetners + coconut oil + vanilla on low speed on stand-mixer.
  • In large bowl, combine flours, salt, cinnamon & baking powder. Mix around to completely combine. Add & stir in rolled oats, coconut, chips & cranberries.
  • Slowly poor dry ingredients into wet ingredients with mixer on low. Mix until just combined, do not overmix.
  • Bake for 14 - 17 minutes, depending on size of cookies. Underbake for chewy cookies.
  • Makes 18 - 20 large cookies.
**Make sure all ingredients are at room temperature, as coco oil with solidify below 78F. Do not overbake & do not overmix. My cookies didn't spread too much, so I rolled them into balls and flattened them a bit before baking.
**DAY 2: These are sooo yummy & chewy, no lack in flavor today, super plus with
rice/almond milk. These vaguely remind me of Uncle Eddie's.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Pumpkin Eater

Inspired by the quickly changing fall weather & Culinary Concoctions by Peabody, I attempted to make gingerbread pumpkin bars. A few ingredient changes made my results look nothing like her bars & probably tasting completely different from the original recipe. Having said that, my results tasted like pumpkin cheesecake pie, sandwiched between two crusts. My boyfriend wasn't a big fan, but after some chilling time in the fridge, I thought they tasted like eating pumpkin pie. It wasn't a chewy cookie he bit into, but still, a mouth full of fall aroma in every bite? Who can complain? Side note: So, expectations were shattered, at least I'm trying out more brown rice flour baking. Come on, pretend to enjoy it even if you didn't want pie! Just kidding, honesty isn't bad, but I am externally motivated. *Hint, hint.*
Gingerbread Pumpkin Pie Bars
For the bars:
1 cup brown rice flour
1/8 cup tapioca flour
1/4 tsp xanthum gum
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp fresh grated nutmeg
1/16 tsp ground cloves

8 tblspns unsalted butter, softened (1 stick)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/8 cup molasses

3 tblspns rolled quick oats

For the filling:

3 ounces cream cheese, softened
7 ounces pumpkin puree
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp fresh grated nutmeg
1/16 tsp allspice
1 Ener-g egg replacer
(1 1/2 tsp, no water) (or cornstarch)
  • Preheat oven to 350 & oil 8X8 (or 9X9) glass pan, set aside.
  • To make the bars: In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, gum, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg & cloves.
  • In a large mixing bowl, beat together butter, sugar & molasses until creamy.
  • Add dry ingredients & mix just until combined. Reserve 3/8 cup of this mixture & place in a small bowl. Add the oats to the reserved mixture & mix until combined - set aside.
  • Scoop the remaining mixture into prepared pan to create bottom layer.
  • To make the filling: In a large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth. Add pumpkin, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice & "egg" - mix until combined.
  • Scoop the mixture over the uncooked base & spread evenly.
  • Crumble reserved oat mixture over filling.
  • Bake until the topping is a golden brown, about 25-30 minutes.
  • Remove from oven & place on a wire rack to cool completely. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before cutting & serving.
**Eat within 2 days, will become soggy with long storage.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Bananas & Dried Fruits Galore

On a splurge, we decided to bake up some snacks tonight. We had some ripe bananas to use up & had a craving for some chewy cookies! So I put my recipes to work. Although I ran into some obstacles with the cookies, the end result still yielded the chewy cookie we wanted, albeit a little sweeter than anticipated, they were still a success (in my mind). I had added two tablespoons of oat milk to the wet ingredients since my batter was too dry the last time I made it. For some odd reason it made the cookies completely wet this time, I may have mis-measured this time or previously or it may be related to using only half spelt flour. So I just ended up leaving them in the oven a tad bit longer.
Dried Fruit Cookies
1/2 cup whole spelt flour
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup dark brown sugar

1/3 cup coconut oil
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tblspn blackstrap molasses
3/4 cup dried fruits (cherries, raisins, blueberries & cranberries)
1/4 cup white chocolate chips
  • Preheat oven to 350F. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  • In a medium sized bowl, combine & mix the dry ingredients.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together wet ingredients.
  • Add the wet mixture to dry ingredients & stir till combined.
  • Fold in dried fruit & chocolate chips. If the batter is too dry, add more rice/oat milk, a little at a time.
  • Lay onto cookie sheet and flatten down slightly with fingers.
  • Bake for 11 minutes.
  • Makes 9 large cookies (54 grams each).
Banana Nut Muffins
2-3 ripe bananas, 1 cup smashed
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 cup rice/oat milk
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp molasses
1/4 cup dark brown sugar

1 cup barley flour
3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt

3/4 cup walnuts, chopped
  • Preheat oven 350F. Line or oil muffin tin.
  • In a small bowl, smash bananas. Leave some chunks.
  • Add in oil, syrup, milk, vinegar, extract, molasses & sugar - stir to combine.
  • In a separate larger bowl, sift flour, soda, powder, ground cinnamon & salt. Whisk to combine.
  • Whisk wet ingredients into dry ingredients. Do not overmix or overwork batter. Fold in walnuts till well incorporated, batter will be wet.
  • Divide batter evenly among muffin tins.
  • Bake for 20 - 23 minutes, till toothpick comes out clean.
  • Allow to cool for a few minutes before removing & cooling completely on wire rack.
  • Makes 12 muffins.

Does Texture Really Matter?

I'm always in search of a really chewy cookie recipe. But my question is...does it even freakin' matter? Most likely not, because I'm not the one eating all these cookies & everyone I talk to seems to have a different opinion or variation of their favorite cookie. So in my case, I'm just gonna assume everyone likes chewy cookies & work from there. Unfortunately this mindset does have its limitations...what about shortbread, sandies & crispy cookies? Well, who wants to be so narrow-minded? Not me, so I'm gonna try those too, but I ain't gonna like it! I baked up these really chewy cookies last night & presented them as a gift to my manager. After all, today is National Boss Day. I have no idea if they're still chewy today, but I'm trusting Nicole on this one. She seems to be a big fan of chewy cookies herself. This is my take on her chewy cookies.
Really Chewy Peanut Butter Cookies
1 1/4 cup AP flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt (plus some)

1/2 cup butter, softened (1 stick)
1/2 cup light brown sugar (all dark brown sugar)
1/2 cup white sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

1/4 roasted peanuts (plus some)
1/4 cup chocolate chips (plus some)

  • Preheat oven to 325F & line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Whisk together flour, baking soda & salt in a medium bowl.
  • In a large bowl/electric mixer, cream together butter & sugar.
  • Beat in egg, followed by the peanut butter until thoroughly combined.
  • Add in dry ingredients with the mixer on low speed, mixing until just combined. Fold in nuts & chips.
  • Shape into balls (40 grams each) & flatten slightly onto cookie sheet, leaving some room for them to spread.
  • Bake for 15-17 minutes, until just turning brown around the edges.
  • Remove from oven, let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Makes about 20 medium sized cookies.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Summertime Biscotti's in the Fall

Out of all the cookies I've baked, it seems that my boyfriend's mother likes bicotti's the most. Not sure if this has anything to do with her enjoyment of coffee, but this biscotti recipe sure is a crowd pleaser (although I have to admit that I haven't tried any other recipes). Instead of pistachios & dried cranberries (for the holidays), I used dried pineapples & macadamia nuts + coconut extract. I'm normally a big fan of chewy cookies, so I make these for other people who like them.
Pineapple-Macadamia Coconut Biscotti
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 tsp coconut extract
2 large eggs

3/4 cup macadmia nuts, coarsely chopped
2/3 cup dried pineapple, chunks

6 ounces good-quality white chocolate, chopped & melted

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Line a heavy large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Whisk the flour, baking powder & salt in a medium bowl to blend.
  • Using an electric mixer, beat the sugar, butter, lemon zest, and coconut extract in a large bowl to blend. Beat in the eggs 1 at a time.
  • Add the flour mixture & beat just until blended. Stir in the macadmia nuts & pineapples.
  • Form the dough into a 13-inch long, 3-inch wide log on the prepared baking sheet. Bake until light golden, about 40 minutes. Cool for at least 1 - 2 hours.
  • Place the log on the cutting board. Using a sharp serrated knife, cut the log on a diagonal into 1/2 to 3/4-inch-thick slices. Arrange the biscotti, cut side down, on the baking sheet. Bake the biscotti until they are pale golden, about 15 minutes. Transfer the biscotti to a rack and cool completely.
  • Stir the chocolate in a bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water until the chocolate melts. Drizzle over biscotti or dip half of the biscotti into the melted chocolate. Gently shake off the excess chocolate. Place the biscotti on the baking sheet for the chocolate to set. Refrigerate until the chocolate is firm, about 35 minutes.
  • The biscotti can be made ahead. Store them in an airtight container up to 4 days, or wrap them in foil and freeze in resealable plastic bags up to 3 weeks.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Sugar Pie Pumpkin Puree

I bought a sugar pie pumpkin a few days ago & wanted to try making my own pumpkin puree. The process wasn't difficult, but requires a little extra time & effort compared to buying it pre-made. I couldn't really taste any major difference, although fresh puree is supposed to be more fragrant, maybe it was just a little bit more flavorful (most likely more nutrient dense though). After making the puree Friday night, I used it to make Pumpkin Muffins Saturday morning. Instead of chocolate chips, I used dried cranberries & walnuts this time. Although not as good as the chocolate ones, they were still quite tasty.
Cranberry-Walnut Pumpkin Muffins
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat pastry

1 cup sugar
1 tblspn baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground or freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/8 tsp ground cloves

1 cup pureed pumpkin (Fresh or from a can; do not use pumpkin pie mix)
1/2 cup rice/oat/soy milk
1/2 cup oil
2 tablespoons molasses

1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
  • Preheat oven to 400°F. Lightly grease a twelve-muffin tin or line with cupcake liners.
  • In a large bowl, sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and spices.
  • In a small separate bowl, whisk together pumpkin, milk, oil, and molasses. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry & mix.
  • Fold in the dried cranberries & chopped walnuts.
  • Fill the muffin cups two-thirds full.
  • Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, until a toothpick or knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • Makes 12 muffins.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Something We Feel Less Guilty Eating!

Sheesh...such high standards & expectations!! How does a girl manage to meet all your healthy requirements & still feel unrestricted & bake up a YUMMY treat? Well, it ain't easy, but with Dreena Burton's help, I managed to put something half way decent together. Coconut Raspberry Squares...these aren't quite a bar & they aren't quite a cookie, I guess it's somewhere in between a granola bar & a fruit breakfast bar/fig newton, except with lots of coconut. My bottom layer didn't come out as thick as I see in her picture, but they tasted good nonetheless...not too rich, not too buttery, not too oily, & not too sweet, just a healthier treat! :)
Coconut Jam Squares
Bottom Layer:
1 cup flour (1/4 cup spelt flour + 1/4 cup barley flour)
2 tblspns sugar
1/8 tsp salt
2 tblpns oil (butter)

1 1/4 cup flaked coconut, unsweetened

1/4 cup vanilla rice milk
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 tsp coconut extract
1/4 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup jam preserves (mixed berries)

1/4 cup flour (brown rice flour)
pinch of salt
2 tblspns oil (butter)

1/2 cup rolled oats
  • Preheat oven 350F and grease 8X8 pan with butter.
  • For the bottom layer: in a medium bowl, add the flour, sugar, salt & butter, use a dough cutter to thoroughly combine. Stir in flaked coconut.
  • To the dry mixture, add the milk, syrup & extracts. Stir till just combined.
  • Press this mixture into prepared pan, press & flatten down with spatula.
  • Spread jam over this layer.
  • For the topping: in a clean bowl, use a dough cutter to coarsely combine flour, salt & butter to create coarse crumbs. Add in rolled oats & combine.
  • Sprinkle topping over jam/preserves & slightly press down.
  • Bake for about 30 minutes till top is light brown & jam bubbling. (Mine didn't bubble, I think the flour absorbed most of the moisture.)
  • Remove from oven & allow to cool completely before cutting into squares.
  • Makes 9 large squares or 12 - 16 smaller pieces.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

More Pumpkin...

Tis the fall season & I wanted to try more pumpkin recipes. :) These are pumpkin oatmeal cookies from Vegan with a Vengeance. The description states: "These are soft out of the oven, but as they cool they are nice & chewy...These taste best when they've had some time to cool and set. They taste even better the next day!". Well, she was right about them being soft initially, so I'm still waiting for the "chewy". For some odd reason, I believe these are gonna still taste cake-like/muffins-like tomorrow (Did I overmix the batter - I don't think I did. Or maybe it's the reduced sugar or 1/4 whole wheat pastry?). Oh well, I am always on the hunt for chewy cookies & it seems particularly difficult to find gluten-free, wheat-free chewy vegan cookies. But I'm patient, I'm sure there will be more & more dessert resources for a stricter limited diet in bookstores near me. Meanwhile, I'll work with what I get. I halved the recipe in fear of getting cake-like cookies, good thing for me. I increased the spices to mirror her pumpkin muffins, which are delicious! These pair well with some vanilla rice milk.
Pumpkin Oatmeal Chocolate Chip cookies w/ Walnuts
3/4 cup AP flour
1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
2/3 cup rolled oats
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/8 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ginger
1/8 tsp allspice
1/16 tsp cloves

3/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup oil
1 tblspn molasses (2 1/4 tsp dark brown sugar + 3/4 tsp warm H2O)
1/2 cup (4 ounces) pumpkin puree
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp flax meal

1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/3 cup walnuts, finely chopped
  • Preheat oven 350F & prepare baking sheets.
  • Sift & whisk together dry ingredients in a medium bowl.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together wet ingredients until well combined.
  • Slowly add dry ingredients into wet, in three batches & fold to combine.
  • Add chips & walnuts.
  • Place by large tablespoons (34 grams ball) on baking sheet. Flatten cookies to desired thickness, as these cookies do not spread, they only puff up.
  • Bake for about 15 minutes, until golden brown.
  • Remove from oven & cool on wire rack. (She says these taste better cooled or on the next day.)
  • Makes 18 cookies.
**These definitely taste better on the second day. I still would not categorize them as "chewy", but they're decent. They remind me of these low fat oatmeal cookies that I made for our neighbor a few months back.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Light, Warm & Yummy!

This is so quick & easy, makes me wanna bake every weeknight that I have some ripe fruit lying around. The recipe is from Simple Treats, the original recipe calls for apples & fresh cranberries. A variation could easily include pears & raisins.
Pear-Cranberry Crisp
1/8 cup barley flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tblspn cinnamon
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 cup chopped walnuts
3/8 cup rolled oats
2 tblspn butter

1 tblspn lemon juice
1/8 cup brown sugar
1/2 tblspn cinnamon
Dash of nutmeg, grated
Dash cayenne pepper (optional)
1 tblspn arrowroot
2 medium semi-ripe pears, sliced
1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • Preheat oven 400F. Butter 6X9 glass pan & set aside.
  • Sift together topping & mix in walnuts & oats. Add butter & use dough cutter to combine into mixture to form coarse crumbs.
  • Combine filling & toss everything to combine & well-coated.
  • Spread mixture into prepared pan & cover with topping mixture.
  • Bake for 10 minutes & reduce heat to 350F.
  • Bake for additional 20 - 25 minutes or until topping is brown & filling is bubbling & pears are soft.
  • Serve warm, alone or topped with ice cream & finely chopped walnuts.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Pumpkin...to Celebrate Fall.

My friend & her sister threw a wine tasting party this past weekend & as a token of appreciation for their hospitality, I baked up some pumpkin muffins. I've been wanting to try a pumpkin recipe all year long & now it's finally Fall! Nicole loves chocolate, especially dark chocolate. I originally wanted to make some cookies using pumpkin, but couldn't find anything completely agreeable. Bread, cake, cupcakes or muffins seem to be the next logical choice. Between cupcakes & muffins, I think muffins will hold up better to the massive amount of bittersweet chocolate chips & dark-chocolate covered raisins I want to use. The original recipe is from Vegan with a Vengeance - the Best Pumpkin muffins.
**After trying the original version, with great success & many compliments, I tried the healthier version, subbing 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour & reducing the sugar to 3/4 cup. Instead of eliminating most of the oil, I used 1/4 cup coconut oil + 2 tablespoons & added 2 tablespoons of applesauce. The variation resulted in a noticeable difference in the muffin texture, but I believe the strong spices & pumpkin make the muffin.
Dark Chocolate-Raisin Pumpkin Muffins
  • Fold in 1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate chips + 1/2 cup dark-chocolate covered raisins


My boyfriend & I love to scour the Whole Food's bakery section to gawk over their fresh baked goodies. They normally have muffins, bagels, cakes & cookies, nothing too spectacular & special there. But today we spotted a whole display of Baklava & Rugelach (they must be prepping us for the holidays). Ok, I have to admit that we've had them before, but that was in my pre-baking days! We went ahead & got a batch & quickly indulged when we got home. :) We read the ingredients & were both a little disappointed to see egg & non-organic ingredients listed, but enjoyed the dessert nonetheless since this was our "Sunday Celebration".
After eating a few more bites, my boyfriend had a revelation..."You know, YOU can make these." What a great idea, he knows I like to try new stuff, so no way would I turn down the opportunity.
So thus begins the online search to learn more about Rugulach/Rugalach/Rogelach/Rugalah/Rugala. After reading a few recipes, I gathered up my ingredients to whip up a half batch of these yummy goodies. They're cooling right now as we speak, I'll be enjoying my homemade Rugelachs in a few short minutes! Rugelach is so versatile - you can add any chocolate, dried fruit, nut or preserve combination that you like! So much flexibility, I like that! You can even use Nutella, which I've yet to try in any of my baking.
Since I did not add extra sugar, these were not very sweet, but rolled in light brown sugar + cinnamon made them perfect for me! Not too sweet, not too heavy. But if I want a richer cookie next time, I will try a recipe that includes sour cream.
**After taste test: For some odd reason my Rugelach's came out slightly soggy in the center, it may be because my preserves used apple juice as a natural sweetener, adding extra moisture to my dough. I think next time I may just use blended dried nuts & fruits & skip the preserves. Also, this time I used whole wheat pastry, next time I will use whole wheat flour since it's more substantial.
1 cup AP flour (1/2 AP , 1/2 whole wheat)
1/4 tsp salt

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 cup sugar

3/4 cup walnuts/pecans, grounded
2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 cup sugar

6 tblspns preserves, raspberry/mixed berries

1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup light brown sugar/coarse sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together flour & salt, set aside.
  • In an electric mixer, blend together butter & cream cheese, add vanilla extract & some sugar for sweeter dough.
  • Slowly add the flour mixture into the butter/cheese mixture. The batter will be crumbly. With a wooden spoon/spatula, incorporate the flour to form a dough.
  • Divide the dough into two balls or two squares, wrap in parchment or saran wrap & refrigerate dough overnight.
  • Defrost one dough for about 15 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, place the walnuts, cinnamon & additional sugar into the food processor. Blend to create coarse mixture.
  • Roll dough to create 10 inch circle or 11X7 rectangle, size does not matter, but consider dough thickness.
  • Spread 3 tablespoons of preserves all over dough. Spread half the nut mixture all over dough & then press it down. Add any additional coarsely chopped nuts/fruits if desired.
  • (Circle) If creating crescents, divide dough like cutting pizza into 12 "slices", roll from long side into center. Place tail side down on lined pan. Refrigerate dough for 30 minutes.
  • (Rectangle) If creating rolls, spread on preserves & nut mixture. Roll from the long side like creating jelly roll. Refrigerate for 30 minutes & slice crosswise about 1 inch thick before baking.
  • Repeat for remaining dough.
  • Preheat oven 350F.
  • Line pan with parchment paper.
  • In a small bowl, combine 1/4 cup brown sugar + 1/2 tsp cinnamon.
  • Brush your dough with milk & sprinkle or dip in cinnamon & sugar mixture.
  • Bake for 20 minutes.
  • Cool cookies on cooling rack.
  • Store in airtight container or freeze for up to 3 months.
Gluten-Free Rugelach
Whole Wheat Rugelach
Regular Rugelach
Baking Bites' Rugelach