Archive for the ‘ Dessert ’ Category

Dark Chocolate Cookies with White Chips

I love any excuse to bake cookies and the holidays are the perfect excuse.  I’m trying not to go overboard this year. Rugelach and ginger cookies are already sitting in my freezer.  So I decided to bake a rich chocolate cookie.

In the past I’ve made a wonderful rich chocolate chip cookie that is labor intensive and kind of messy.  I’m really not up to all that work so I came up with a simpler version with all of the richness.  I’ve also decided to change it a little by adding white chocolate chips.  For the chocolate I used Ghirardelli brand.

This recipe took no time at all to put together.  And the hour the dough sat in the refrigerator gave me time to work on other tasks. The most difficult part of this recipe is not eating the raw dough which is delicious!

 

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces 60 % cocoa chocolate chips (or bittersweet)
  • 11 1/2 ounces white chocolate chips
  • 6 tablespoon(s) unsalted butter
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon dark rum (or vanilla)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Directions

In double boiler over hot water, melt bittersweet chocolate chips and butter (or melt in the microwave)

In large bowl whisk eggs, rum, cinnamon, and sugar until thick; stir into melted chocolate mixture a little at a time so the eggs don’t scramble

Stir together flour and baking powder; stir into chocolate mixture. Mix in white chocolate chips and walnuts.

Cover bowl and refrigerate from 1-3 hours.  Take out of the fridge and drop by heaping teaspoons onto a baking sheet

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Bake 10-12 minutes until there is a shiny top but still seems soft in the middle

~enjoy~

Fresh Ginger Chocolate Chip Cookies & Tea

Those of you who follow my Facebook page know that I have been in search of candied ginger.  nearly as easy to find as I thought.  Plenty of candied fruit for those awful fruitcakes but no ginger.  It’s ridiculous, but it got me thinking.  Since I’m a true lover of fresh ginger, there’s no reason to purchase a processed candied version to make some good cookies.  I’m flexible so I searched for a good fresh ginger cookie recipe and then tweaked it to my ownl taste.

As for ginger tea, it’s the simplest thing to make.  Boil up some water, add a 1/2 inch slice of fresh ginger and some honey or agave nectar.  It’s so easy and delicious, and your house smells lovely!  I try to drink this tea often because of ginger’s health benefits.  I use it for its anti-inflammatory proponents but it’s also great for gastrointestinal issues and protects against certain cancers.

I actually have a Zingiber Zerumbet  plant also known as Shampoo Ginger growing in my backyard.  It’s pretty much a long stalk with large leaves growing out of each side.  The picture seen is not of my own since our last cold front hurt it and it’s not too pretty.  I’ll be bringing it inside today before the next cold spell which is due in a couple of days.  As it get’s larger it’s supposed to grow cones that produce a milky liquid that is used in some regions as a shampoo.  The liquid itself is also known for its health benefits.

On to my cookies, they are a little time-consuming because they have to be refrigerated for an hour before baking.  However, it is a simple recipe which can be adjusted for personal tastes.  Personally, I don’t care for spices such as cloves or powered nutmeg so I kept this a basic ginger cookie.  Feel free to add more spice if desired.

Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (I used half white whole wheat flour)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda and baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey or agave nectar or a combination of both (I combined)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1.5 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Beat ginger, butter, vanilla and 1 cup sugar until light and fluffy.
  2. Beat in honey/agave and egg mix well.
  3. Gently fold in flour mixture until just combined, add chocolate chips. Chill for 1 hour
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  5. Roll dough into 1  inch balls
  6. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets
  7. Bake until edges start to brown and the centers are soft, 10-12 minutes
  8. Let stand on cookie sheets 1 minute and remove to racks to cool
  9. Dust with confection sugar

~enjoy~

Rugelach

Rugelach is one of my all time favorite cookies.  They are like tiny rolled crescents filled with a raisin & nut mixture.  Today they are easily bought in any bakery aisle but don’t let the store-bought varieties fool you.  They lack the rich flaky dough as well as the sweet and savory filling that make them so addictive.  I don’t make rugelach very often because it’s a bit time-consuming.  Years ago I started to double the recipe because it’s easier to make more than make it more often.

Rugelach רוגעלך is a Yiddish word which is interpreted as “little twists” which refers to the shape of the cookie.  There are many different recipes, some with no dairy products, some with a sour cream dough and others with a cream cheese dough.  I prefer the latter, the combination of cream cheese, butter and flour make a delicate cookie with appropriate flavors to compliment the filling.  Fillings can vary as well.  Ultimately, you can roll pretty much anything that will fit in this.

I tend to make smallish Rugelach, they bake evenly and are easier to work with.  Most often I make them for Jewish holidays.  They freeze well and actually taste great frozen.  I made a large batch to split over Thanksgiving and Hanukkah but forgot to serve them last Thursday.  It’s ok this way there’s more for me!  The recipe also works best if you make the dough, split it into balls and refrigerate for a short while.  I find the dough rolls easily then.

My Rugelach do not come out evenly sized and shaped but it doesn’t matter.   They should be similar enough in size to bake evenly.  Once I roll them out I use a pizza cutter to make the circles and then cut them into triangle pieces like a pizza.  I doubt this is the way my great-grandmother did it but it works for me.

Dough

2 cups flour

1 8 oz block cream cheese (light is fine)

1 stick of butter room temperature

Mix the 3 ingredients together and break into 6 equal sized balls, cover and refrigerate 30 minutes to an hour

Filling

This part is truly a rough guess, I’ve never measured it!

3/4 – 1 cup each raisins and chopped walnuts

8-10 oz apricot preserves or jam

1/3 cup of sugar

cinnamon to taste ( a little nutmeg if desired)

Mix these ingredients together set aside

More flour and sugar will be needed for rolling

Directions

Take a ball of dough and roll it into a circle about 1/4″ thick and approximately 10″ round, use flour and sugar as needed so dough doesn’t stick

Using a pizza cutter trim ends of the circle and cut into 6-8 even pieces depending on desired size

On the wide end of each triangle add a small amount of the filling so that it spans the width

Roll it up from the filled side to the narrow end and gently push the narrow end to stick to the dough, it should stay easily

Place on a pan (sometimes I gently grease, sometimes I don’t) and bake at 425 for 10-15 minutes until golden brown on the outside

Repeat with each ball, I often take the scraps and toss them into the bowl in the refrigerator holding the dough, usually there’s enough scraps to make 1 last circle of cookies

~enjoy~

Vegan Pumpkin Cookies

The best thing about vegan baking is that you can eat raw batter to your hearts content!  No worries about salmonella here.  Another bonus with these particular cookies is that your house smells delicious. The cookies themselves are quite tasty too!  This is a win-win situation in my opinion.

I’m not sure if canned pumpkin is in the stores yet.  I actually stocked up last year and have a couple of cans left.  During the winter I like to use the cans to make Pumpkin Black Bean Soup which is another family favorite.  It’s a rich hearty soup that takes no time to make and is a meal in itself.

As for my cookies, well they simply taste like autumn.  I gave into my chocolate addiction and added some chcolate chips with the cranberries.  I omitted the nuts because my niece doesn’t care for them.  However, this is another base recipe that you can change the spices and add-ins to your personal taste easily enough.

Ingredients

1.5 cups brown sugar, firmly packed
2 teaspoon vanilla
1 15 oz can pumpkin puree (not pie filling)
2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon each – cinnamon & pumpkin pie spice
1 cup oatmeal
2 cups of add ins such as raisins, cranberries, chopped nuts, chocolate chips (optional)
3 cup all-purpose flour (or a mixture 1 cup whole wheat, 2 cups white)

Directions

Beat the oil, pumpkin, sugar, and vanilla in a bowl, add in oatmeal and blend

Add in the flour, baking powder, and baking soda a little at a time until well blended

By hand incorporate the add-ins

Bake at 350 for approximately 12 minutes

Enjoy!

Breakfast Bread Pudding

I’m finally posting this recipe I baked last weekend.  I’ve been enjoying this bread pudding all week.  This recipe has a sweet (but not overly) taste.  The texture of the bread, cranberries and crunch of nuts really works well together.
I’ve been enjoying this bread pudding for breakfast but really it would be great anytime.  Serve it warm with some vanilla ice cream and I’m certain it will be a hit.  The fact that you assemble it the day before and just stick it in the oven for an hour before serving makes it great for company.  Oddly enough it reminds me of a mix between my mom’s stuffing recipe and her noodle pudding.  Whatever you do with it, enjoy it!
Ingredients:
  • 4 beaten eggs (or I cup egg replacement)
  • 3 cups cubed day old Italian bread
  • 1 2/3 cups milk (I used skim)
  • 1/3 cranberries
  • 1/3 cup  chopped nuts (I used walnuts
  • 1/3 cup agave nectar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla, cinnamon
  • (If you don’t have agave used 2 cups milk and 1/3 cup sugar)
  • ICING:
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/8 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp orange juice
Directions:
Mix eggs, milk, agave, cinnamon, vanilla and flavoring, Mix in bread, cranberries and nuts 

Place mixture in 8″ x 1 1/2″ baking dish, cover and place in the refrigerator overnight.

In the morning, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Remove cover and place on center rack. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes until knife inserted near center comes out clean.

Mix ingredients for icing and pour evenly over mixture, allow a few minutes to settle in, if desired poke a few holes with a fork into pudding so that icing will drip down into it

Serve warm or cold

Sweet Chai Ice Cream

Did you ever make a recipe that you knew would be delicious well before it was completed?  For me, this is that type of recipe.  Once I whisked together all the ingredients, I took a quick taste and it was so rich, creamy, and sweet that I knew it would be a hit.  Add to this the spicy flavor of chai tea with chopped walnuts, vanilla and cranberries, all I can say is YUM!

I watched the first episode of Aarti’s Party on Food Network and I really like her even if she isn’t veg.  On her first episode she made Creamy Pistachio Pops which looked really good.  So I stole the recipe but made some changes to it.  The original recipe is listed below.

First of all, I have no trays to make popsicles so this went right into a large bowl.  Second, this recipe is so easy and no ice cream maker is needed.  This doesn’t quite fit into my new light and healthy venue but it is homemade and has so few ingredients and no added sugar, so how bad can it be?  Ok, so heavy cream isn’t quite light but it’s a treat and will be eaten in moderation.

I love anything chai.  I made this recipe using decaf chai teabags because I haven’t had caffeine in about 5 years now.  For those of you who are addicted and would like to get over caffeine, it takes about 3 days.  The first day I had a massive headache, the second day was less, the third was even less of a headache and after that I was fine.  Overall, I reduced headaches by about 90% just by kicking the habit!

I’m not sure why but the original recipe has you opening the teabags into the hot milk and then straining it out.  That’s too much work for me and I really can’t figure out why you’d go to the bother.  I just put the teabags right into the milk, heated and then drained the liquid from the teabags.  Much easier.

Ingredients

  • 1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk
  • 4 Chai tea bags
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom (cinnamon will do)
  • 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Handful finely chopped walnuts

Directions

Heat the evaporated milk in a saucepan with the teabags and bring to a light boil

Add the cardamom, vanilla, and cranberries turn heat off and cover for 20 minutes

Remove the teabags and press between 2 spoons to drain all liquid back into the pot

Add the tea mixture in a bowl with condensed milk and heavy cream and whisk well

Add the walnuts and give another good whisk

Cover bowl and place in freezer, or pour into a popsicle tray and freeze

Garnish with more chopped nuts before serving if desired

My inspiration for this recipe can be found here:  http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/aarti-sequeira/creamy-pistachio-pops-recipe/index.html

Peace, love, & greens, Lin

Vegan Steel Cut Oatmeal Cookies

I actually started out planning to make a good cereal recipe this morning.  And then I decided it’s a little cooler than typical so why not bake some cookies.  Steel cut oats are groats which have been cut into two or three pieces.  Where rolled oats are made by flattening pre-cut groats.  Opinions seem to differ on which is healthier, I personally like the idea of eating something reasonably close to its natural form.

My son has been visiting friends in SC for about a week now and is supposedly coming home either today or tomorrow.  He much prefers home-baked cookies to store-bought so I’m sure he’ll appreciate these.  The cookies will be on the counter for a day or two and they’ll I’ll put them in the freezer.  We enjoy our cookies but there’s too many for 3 people so freezing them works well.  I used to just take a couple out at a time and let them defrost.  However, we’ve all pretty much decided that we like eating them frozen.  Just be careful and take small bites of frozen cookies!

I was actually a little leery of trying these cookies.  I really wasn’t too sure how the texture would come out.  I’ve seen some thoughts on pre soaking the oats or just tossing them in the batter.  I actually mixed them with the wet ingredients and let sit for about 10 minutes.  I have no clue if that did anything  for the consistency or not.  Instead of using animal fats I used vegan margarine, canola oil and a ripe banana.  It seemed to work well and these cookies are not at all crumbly like some vegan or low-fat cookies are.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup room temperature vegan margarine
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 large overripe banana
  • 3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 14/ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 11/2 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
  • 3 cups steel-cut oats
  • 1.5 total cups of your choice of additions such as chopped nuts, chocolate chips, dried fruits (I used cranberries, walnuts, and chocolate chips)

Directions

Pre heat oven to 350

Mix margarine, oil and oats in a large bowl and let sit for 10 minutes

Add in banana and mash into mixture

Add in sugars and vanilla and mix well

Mix in the flour, salt and baking powder mix until well blended and then add in your remaining ingredients

Drop onto a greased baking pan by the teaspoon and let bake for approximately 11 minutes, mine were lightly browned on the edges and firm in the center

Cool on a wire rack and enjoy!

Peace, love, and greens!  Lin