Archive for September, 2013

Almond Butter Cookies

September 26, 2013

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The one drawback with having a food blog is that you almost never want to remake a recipe that you have already made.  It just doesn’t make good sense, really.  Why would I make something that is already photographed and posted when I know that new recipes are waiting to be made?!  It’s just inefficient, really.

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It turns out that inefficiency is the name of the game in my household.  Just in the last week, I managed to make these deliciously sticky sticky buns, followed by this creamy butter pecan ice cream, felt bad about both of those things, so then made a couple glasses of this green juice, which made me miss the sweetness again, so I remade these gloriously chocolately cookies.

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Whoops.  (I feel the need to tell you that I had guests in town next week.  I don’t know, I’m feeling a bit judged).

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I need a balance in my life, people!  So here is the new recipe.  A cookie that will satisfy all of my sweet tooth needs, but won’t break the calorie bank.  It’s egg-less, it’s refined sugar-less, and it’s (almost) butter-less.  I mean, as cookies go, this one is pretty virtuous.  But as virtuous cookies go, these are pretty tasty.  They’re cakey and they’re just barely sweet and they are just satisfying.  Oh, and you sprinkle some sea salt on top, so you feel fancy too.  I will more than likely be making these again, so this fixed…nothing.

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Almond Butter Cookies (adapted from 101 Cookbooks)

This recipe uses white whole wheat flour.  I wasn’t kidding about the healthy part.  White whole wheat flour, or whole wheat pastry flour is lighter than regular whole wheat flour.  But if that’s all you have on hand, go with 1/2 cup whole wheat flour and 1/2 cup all purpose flour.

1 cup white whole wheat flour

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 cup agave, or maple syrup, or golden syrup, or honey – whatever you want, but keep the sugars natural, people – we’re going for a theme.

1/2 cup natural almond butter

3 tbsp. butter, melted

1/2 tsp. vanilla

sea salt, for sprinkling

Arrange the oven rack to the top third of the oven.  Preheat oven to 350.

Combine dry ingredients in a small bowl.  Set aside.  In another bowl, whisk together butter, almond butter, agave and vanilla.  Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and fold together until just mixed.  Spoon out tablespoon-fulls onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.  Lightly sprinkle each cookie with sea salt.  Bake for 10-11 minutes, or until the cookies are just getting some color.  Let cool on baking sheet for 3 minutes, and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Apple Pie Yogurt Parfaits

September 17, 2013

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I’m pretty high maintenance when it comes to dinner or lunch.  I always want to try new things, find new recipes, and I hate having the same meal more than two times in a row.  I basically have no attention span, get bored very easily, and may even throw a tantrum.  I exaggerate.  Well, kinda.

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But the same isn’t true for breakfast.  For some reason, breakfast is the same everyday for years.  I mean, there may be some variation (yesterday I had my oatmeal with peanut butter instead of almond butter!), but mostly it’s the same.  And it’s mostly a bit mundane.  It’s the same for you too, isn’t it?

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Is it because it’s too early?  Is it because a fancy breakfast is saved only for special occasions?  Is it because we’re always running late?  Well, whatever it is, that is all about to change with these yogurt parfaits.

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No, I know, parfaits are nothing new to a breakfast table.  But cook the apples…in some butter…with some spices.  Let that  seep into thick Greek yogurt sprinkled with crunchy brown sugar.  And you basically have apple pie for breakfast.  (Or add some berries like the picture above, and it’s equally delicious).  It’s lovely, it’s easy, it feels like a special occasion, and most importantly, it’s different.

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Apple Pie Yogurt Parfait (adapted from Pioneer Woman)

2 cups Greek yogurt

1/4 cup heavy cream

1/2 tsp. vanilla bean paste, or 1 tsp. vanilla extract

1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/2 cup light brown sugar

Mix together yogurt with cream.  Add in vanilla and cinnamon.  Spread the yogurt mixture out in a shallow bowl.  Evenly sprinkle the brown sugar on the surface of the yogurt.  Put in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

1 apple, chopped

1 tbsp. butter

1/4 tsp. cinnamon

1/8 tsp. all spice

squeeze of lemon juice

biscotti, graham crackers or nuts

Melt the butter over medium high heat until melted.  Add apples and spices and sauté until the apples are fully coated.  Squeeze a squirt of lemon on top and keep stirring until apples are fully cooked but still firm, about 3-5 minutes.  Let cool completely.

Make parfaits: without mixing in the brown sugar, spoon out the yogurt into cups.  Layer with cooked apples and biscotti (or whatever you are using).  Keep layering, using 1/2 of the yogurt, and 1/2 of the apples.  Eat immediately.

Cinnamon Sugar Toast Ice Cream

September 5, 2013

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This is a nice little transition ice cream, isn’t it?  The deeply spiced flavors of the fall, with the cold, melting prone dessert of the summer!

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But this is actually a long time coming.  We were a tea and toast type of family growing up.  Our breakfast would be just that – perfectly spiced chai, with buttered toast.  On special occasions, my mom would sprinkle sugar on the toast, which was pretty much divine.  You didn’t even need to toast the bread!  Plain white bread with softened butter and sugar.  Seriously, give that a try!  I digress…

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This was all until my sister discovered a bottle of cinnamon sugar in the spice section of the grocery store.  She asked my mom to buy it (to credit my mom, she said that we could just mix the two together at home, but we claimed that we wouldn’t know the “recipe”…man, moms really do have a lot of patience, don’t they?), and then showed me how cinnamon sugar is meant to be used: also on the buttered toast that we had for breakfast!  I loved it.  The only problem was that it just didn’t pair well with our morning chai.  Too much spice going on.  What I always wanted was that cinnamon sugar toast with a glass of milk, warm or cold.

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Why I never had the two together is beyond me.  But this is it, people.  I finally did it.  This is the milky cinnamon sugar toast combo that I have always wanted.  It has that distinct combo of spice, sugar and butter.  This is your next breakfast.

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Cinnamon Toast Ice Cream (adapted from Epicurious)

There are two fancy things going on here that I would do without: first, I used good country white loaf bread.  From a bakery.  Cut thick.  See picture above.  Sounds great, right?  Mistake.  I think that regular ol’ sliced white bread would be much more manageable in the this ice cream.  Also much more recognizable.  Do that instead.

The second is that this recipe called for molasses, and even though I know that a basic recipe of cinnamon sugar toast doesn’t have molasses in it, I still used it.  Mistake 2.  It adds a great depth of flavor, actually, especially as the ice cream sits for a couple days.  I dare to say that it even takes on a coffee or chocolate flavor.  But again, not the flavor of cinnamon toast.  You could do without this as well to get the clean tastes of cinnamon, sugar, butter and bread.  Mm.

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 (3-inch) cinnamon sticks
  • 5 slices firm white sandwich bread
  • 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon molasses, optional (see note above)
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 tsp. salt

Bring milk and cinnamon sticks to a boil in a 2-quart heavy pot, then remove from heat and let steep, covered, 30 minutes.

While milk steeps, put oven racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat oven to 300°F.

Cut 3 slices bread into 1/4-inch cubes and transfer to a bowl. Quarter remaining 2 slices and pulse in a food processor to make bread crumbs. Whisk together butter, brown sugar, ground cinnamon and salt in another bowl. Drizzle 3 tablespoons butter mixture over bread cubes and stir to lightly coat. Spread in 1 layer in a shallow baking pan. Add bread crumbs to remaining butter mixture and stir to evenly coat. Spread crumbs evenly in another shallow baking pan.

Bake bread cubes and crumbs, stirring occasionally and switching position of pans halfway through baking, until golden brown and crisp, about 30 minutes total. Cool in pans on racks, then transfer bread crumbs to a bowl.

Pour the milk over bread crumbs and let stand 10 minutes. Pour milk through a fine-mesh sieve into saucepan, pressing hard on solids, then discarding them.

Whisk granulated sugar, molasses, if using, and salt in a bowl.  Stir in cream.  Add the milk and whisk.

Refrigerate until mixture is completely chilled – at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.  Freeze custard in ice cream maker until almost firm. Fold bread cubes into ice cream, then transfer to an airtight container and put in freezer to harden.