Sunday, May 31, 2015

Creme Caramel Recipe

Creme Caramel Recipe
a.k.a Creme Brûlée
For the caramel:
1/2 cup white sugar (see note)
1 tablespoon water

For the custard:
2 3/4 cups milk (I use 2% milk -- but you can also      

   use whole milk or non-dairy milk; I wouldn't 
   recommend skim)
1/4 cup unrefined lt.  brown cane sugar (you can use 
    the unrefined sugar of your choice, just keep in  
    mind that a darker sugar will make the custard a 
    bit brown)
1 fresh vanilla bean, split open and beans scraped, or 1 teaspoon store-bought natural vanilla extract
4 large organic eggs

Have ready 6 ovenproof ramekins or cups, each about 2/3 cup in capacity.

First, make the caramel. Combine the 1/2 cup sugar and the water in a large saucepan. Turn the heat to medium and let the sugar melt without stirring, simply swirling the pan around from time to time so it caramelizes evenly.

As it boils, the caramel will turn golden, then golden brown, and when it darkens to a deep amber, remove from the heat and immediately pour into the prepared ramekins, swirling around to coat the bottoms evenly.

Place the ramekins on a deep rimmed baking sheet, or a baking dish large enough to accommodate them comfortably.

Preheat the oven to  300°F and bring water to a boil in the kettle.

Make the custard. In a medium saucepan, combine the milk, sugar, and vanilla, and bring to just under a simmer over medium heat, stirring frequently to prevent scorching. Let cool slightly.
In a medium mixing bowl with a pouring spout, beat the eggs lightly. Set a fine-mesh sieve over the bowl, and pour in a quarter of the milk, then whisk to combine. Repeat with the remaining milk in three additions.

Pour the custard into the prepared ramekins.
Pour very hot water from the kettle into the rimmed baking sheet and around the ramekins to about half their height -- this will help conduct the heat evenly.
Insert into the oven, lower the heat to 250°F and cook for 30 minutes, until the custards are set but still jiggly, and the blade of a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
Turn off the oven and leave the ramekins in for another 30 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool completely, then refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight before serving.
To serve, run a knife carefully around the custard to loosen, place a small serving plate over the ramekin, and flip to unmold, shaking a bit as needed.

I use unrefined cane sugar in practically all my recipes, but it doesn't caramelize well due to the impurities, so I revert to regular white sugar when making caramel.  Serves 6    6 hours total time

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Millet And Mushroom Salad

Millet And Mushroom Salad
Serves 4
30 minutes or fewer

For an easy, elegant way to enjoy oyster mushrooms from the farmers’ market, this bowl is the ticket. Leftovers can be eaten as a cold salad the next day. If you can’t find tamari-flavored roasted pumpkin seeds, use roasted and salted pumpkin seeds.

1 cup uncooked millet
1¼ lb. oyster mushrooms, torn into bite-size pieces (5½ cups)
1 medium red onion, sliced (1½ cups)
4 tsp. olive oil
2 Tbs. fresh thyme
1 15-oz. can lentils, rinsed and drained
½ cup tamari-flavored roasted pumpkin seeds, optional
2 Tbs. olive oil
1 Tbs. apple cider vinegar
1 Tbs. pure maple syrup
1 Tbs. low-sodium soy sauce
1 Tbs. fresh thyme, or 1 tsp. dried thyme
1 clove garlic, minced (1 tsp.)
½ tsp. Dijon mustard

Preheat oven to 425°F. Coat large baking sheet with cooking spray.

To make Millet and Mushrooms Salad: Bring 21/2 cups water to a boil in medium saucepan. Add millet; reduce heat to medium-low. Cover, and simmer 15 to 20 minutes, or until millet has softened and absorbed all liquid. Lightly fluff with fork.

Meanwhile, spread mushrooms and onion on prepared baking sheet. Drizzle with oil, and sprinkle with thyme. Season with salt and pepper, if desired, and toss to coat. Roast 20 minutes, or until mushrooms are browned.

To make Dressing: whisk together all ingredients in small bowl.

Stir lentils and half of Dressing into millet. Divide among bowls, top with roasted mushrooms and onion, and drizzle with remaining Dressing. Sprinkle with pumpkin seeds, if using.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Simple Peach, Basil and Ricotta Flatbreads

Simple Peach, Basil and Ricotta Flatbread
Prep time:  

Cook time:  

Total time:  
Simple peach, basil and ricotta flatbreads drizzled with balsamic reduction. A gourmet summer dinner ready in fifteen minutes!
2 store-bought whole wheat flatbreads or naan
⅔ cup ricotta (enough to generously cover the top of   each flatbread, this amount is dependent on the size of your flatbreads)
1 to 2 ripe yellow peaches, peeled and sliced (I only needed one)
2 teaspoons fresh basil, chopped (a few big basil leaves' worth)
sea salt and black pepper
balsamic vinegar reduction, for drizzling (see notes)
Preheat the oven to 425 Degrees. Place the flat bread in a cast iron.  Place the flat read in a cast iron pan or baking sheet.   
Spread Ricotta evenly across the flatbread, leaving 1/2 inch around the edges.  Place slices of peach on the ricotta.
Bake for 10 to 12 minutes.  Sprinkle with chopped basil, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, slice, then drizzle with basalmic reduction before serving.
Yields 2 flatbreads.

Feel free to substitute ripe tomatoes for the peaches.
To make your own balsamic reduction, bring one cup (or more) balsamic vinegar to a boil in a small, thick bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook, stirring often, until the vinegar is reduced by half or more. Allow the reduction to cool, then transfer to an airtight jar and store in the pantry. Balsamic vinegar is great on everything from pizza to ice cream, caprese salads and so much more.

Artichoke, Bacon and Dill Flatbread

Artichoke, Bacon and Dill Flatbread
1 (14- oz.) ball ready-made Pizza Dough,
1 cup Artichoke Dip,
1/4 medium red onion, thinly sliced
1/3 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1 tbsp. minced fresh dill
4 strips cooked bacon, crumbled 
Prep: 20 minutes, 
Bake: 15 minutes, 
Serves: 6

1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Roll pizza dough into a 9 X 13-inch oval and place on a lightly oiled baking sheet.

2. Spread with artichoke dip, onion, Parmesan cheese, dill and bacon. Bake for 15 minutes or until cheese is lightly browned.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Corn and Red Pepper Relish

Corn And Red Pepper Relish
Serves 8

1 pound fresh corn kernels (4-5 cobs)
2 red bell peppers, seeds removed and finely chopped
1 large white onion, finely chopped
1 red chili, seeds removed and minced
1 small green onion, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups cider vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
2-3 teaspoons salt, or to taste
2 teaspoons yellow mustard seeds
2 teaspoons ground turmeric
mason jars, canning jars

Combine all ingredients in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-low heat and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until sugar has dissolved.

Raise heat and bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to low and let simmer for 40-45 minutes, or until relish has reduced and thickened.

Remove from heat and transfer relish into clean mason jars.

Store in refrigerator, but let stand at room temperature for 20-30 minutes before serving.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Linguine With Cashew Ricotta

Linguine With Cashew Ricotta
Serves 4
A creamy-garlicky cashew ricotta complements the sweet flavors of beets and caramelized onions in this colorful dish. The recipe makes 1 cup of cashew ricotta; save the remaining 1/2 cup for another use.


Cashew Ricotta
1 large head garlic
4 tsp. olive oil, divided
2 cups raw cashews, soaked 2–4 hours
4 tsp. nutritional yeast
2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. sea salt
5 tsp. apple cider vinegar
½ lb. beets, greens removed
1½ Tbs. olive oil, divided
1 medium red onion, chopped (1½ cups)
1½ tsp. balsamic vinegar
1½ tsp. mirin (rice wine)
8 oz. whole-wheat linguine
¼ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley

To make Cashew Ricotta: 

Preheat oven to 400°F. Slice off top of garlic head, drizzle with 1 tsp. oil, and wrap in parchment paper, then in foil. Roast 1 hour, or until soft.

Rinse and drain soaked cashews, and transfer to food processor. Add remaining 1 Tbs. oil, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, salt, and vinegar. Squeeze roasted garlic from cloves into food processor, and blend until smooth. Transfer to medium bowl.

To make Linguine: 

Bring beets and enough water to cover by 1 inch to a boil in large saucepan. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 35 to 40 minutes, or until beets are tender. Drain beets, and slip off skins under cool running water. Coarsely chop beets, and set aside.

Heat 1 Tbs. oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, and sauté 8 to 10 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low, and cook 15 minutes more. Stir in balsamic vinegar and mirin. Cook 2 minutes, or until liquid evaporates. Transfer onion mixture to food processor, add beets, and purée until smooth. Season with salt and pepper, if desired, and transfer to medium saucepan. Keep warm.

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain, reserving 3 Tbs. pasta water. Return pasta to pot; toss with beet sauce, remaining 11/2 tsp. oil, and reserved pasta water. Top each serving with 2 Tbs. Cashew Ricotta, and sprinkle with chopped parsley.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies
  • 1 cup (16 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 cup quick-cooking or old-fashioned oats
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt or 3/4 teaspoon regular table salt
  • 3 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • *
Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line several cookie sheets with parchment paper, or lightly grease with non-stick vegetable oil spray.

Beat together the butter and sugars until smooth.

Add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla one at a time, beating well after each.

Whisk together the flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, and add to the butter mixture in the bowl.

Mix until everything is thoroughly incorporated. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl, and mix briefly.

Stir in the chocolate chips.

Decide what size cookies you want to make. A muffin scoop (1/4 cup) will make 20 large, palm-sized cookies. A tablespoon cookie scoop (4 teaspoons) will make 50 medium (2 3/4" to 3") cookies; and a teaspoon cookie scoop (2 teaspoons) will make 100 small (2 1/2") cookies.

Scoop the dough onto the prepared baking sheets, leaving about 1 1/2" to 2" between cookies.

Bake the cookies for 12 to 15 minutes, until they're a light golden brown, with slightly darker edges. Their middles may still look a tiny bit shiny; that's OK, they'll continue to bake as they cool on the pan.
Remove the cookies from the oven, and as soon as they're set enough to handle, transfer them to racks to cool.

Yield: 20 to 100 cookies, depending on size.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Bar-b-que Spareribs

Melt in Your Mouth Barbecue Ribs (Oven)

4 lbs pork ribs
3⁄4 cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon hickory smoke salt
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1⁄2 teaspoon ground red pepper (optional)
2 cups of your favorite barbecue sauce (mine is Sweet Baby Ray)

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
Peel off tough membrane that covers the bony side of the ribs.
Mix together the sugar and spices to make the rub.
Apply rub to ribs on all sides.
Lay ribs on two layers of foil, shiny side out and meaty side down.

Lay two layers of foil on top of ribs and roll and crimp edges tightly, edges facing up to seal.
Place on baking sheet and bake for 2-2 1/2 hours or until meat is starting to shrink away from the ends of the bone.
Remove from oven.  Heat broiler.
Cut ribs into serving sized portions of 2 or 3 ribs.
Arrange on broiler pan, bony side up.
Brush on sauce.
Broil for 1 or 2 minutes until sauce is cooked on and bubbly.  Turn ribs over.  Repeat on other side.
Alternately, you can grill the ribs on your grill to cook on the sauce.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Coconut Topped Cream Cheese Cake

Coconut Topped Cream Cheese Cake
1 cup butter softened
6 oz. cream cheese
6 eggs
2 cups sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract ( i used 1/2 tsp vanilla and 1/2 tsp coconut extract
2 1/4 cups cake flour
1/4 cup coconut milk or cream of coconut ( optional )

Frosting - I double this recipe
1/4 cup butter, softened
4 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 tsp vanilla or coconut extract is good as well
1 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup coconut- for toasting and sprinkling on top of the frosting

You can add a few tablespoons milk, cream, or coconut milk ( i don't , as i like a thick frosting on the cake 

This recipe is not missing baking powder or baking soda.  The eggs act as a leavening agent.  This is a dense cake.

Preheat oven to 350 degree F.
Prepare a 9 x 13 pan with non stick cooking spray.

Cream together butter, cream cheese and sugar.

Beat in eggs one at a time, vanilla and then mix in flour. This is when I added the coconut milk. ( if using, just stir it in well.)

Spread batter into prepared pan.

Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until wooden pick comes out clean.

As this cake cools, it will fall...that's normal...don't be should be the thickness of a sheet will not be thick like a regular cake...:)

Cool on cooling rack

Beat together butter, cheese, vanilla and add sugar.
Mix until well blended.

Now toast coconut in a lighty sprayed skillet and keep tossing until golden. You can also place coconut on a baking sheet and toast in oven, turning frequently so not to burn.

Gently remove the cake from the pan; and cut the cooled cake into 24 squares, and top with frosting and coconut or leave cake in pan and frost. 

Monday, May 18, 2015


I can't believe this now but I actually made this cake for my family many years ago. I was thinking it was called a Ho-Ho Cake at that time. It was a take off on a Wonder Bread snack very popular of the 1960's or 1970's.
1 box chocolate cake mix
1 pkg cream cheese (softened)
3 cups confectioner sugar
1 stick margarine (softened)
1 container cool whip
1 container chocolate icing
1 tablespoon milk

Make cake as directed on box in a 9x13 pan. When done let cool 10 min. Then put on cooling rack , when cooled cut in half then put one half back in bottom of pan,

Make the Icing. Mix cream cheese softened, 3 cups powered sugar, 1 stick margarine softened, together with mixer. Then add the cool whip.

Spread this on cake layer in pan, then put other layer on top.

Use 1 can of chocolate icing,  add 2 tbsp of milk mix well. Spread on cake. Keep in fridge

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Dr. Pepper Pulled Pork

(serves 5-6)
4-4 1/2 pounds pork shoulder, cut in half, if 

2 yellow onions
1 1/2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon kosher salt, or to taste
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 12 ounce can of Dr. Pepper
1/2 cup BBQ sauce (to taste)

Combine paprika, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and cinnamon in a bowl and mix together. Rub the outside of the pork shoulder with your dry ingredients.

Peel and slice your yellow onions and put them into your slow cooker. Put your pork shoulder into your slow cooker on top of the onions. Pour Dr. Pepper over your pork and onions.

Cook on low heat for 7 hours.

Shred pork with a fork and then let it finish cooking in its juices for an additional 30 minutes.

Add additional 1/2 cup of barbecue sauce if desired.

Serve on a bun and then you’re done!

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Cardamom Poached Dried Apricots Dipped In Chocolate

Cardamom-Poached Dried 
Apricots Dipped in Chocolate

The cardamom flavors the apricots, giving them a sophisticated edge while the chocolate gives them zest.

2 cups water
2 cups granulated sugar
12 pods cardamom, crushed
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 pound dried apricots
4 oz. milk chocolate
4 oz. white chocolate
2 oz. white pistachios

Bring water, sugar, cardamom and ground cardamom to a boil over high heat.  Boil 5 minutes, reduce heat to low and add apricots.  Simmer for 20 minutes or until soft and infused with syrup.  Drain on a rack.

Melt chocolates in to separate bowls over low heat.  Divide apricots into three portions.  With a dipping fork and skewer, dip one third of apricots into milk chocolate, one third into white chocolate and one third into pistachios leaving a little piece of apricot uncovered.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Juicy Burger ~ Humphus

Juicy Burger On French Bread With 
TruffleOil, Pine Nuts, Apple Plum 
Caramelized Onions, Pickled 
Onions, And Frito Breadcrumbs
This is the last of the recipes from my class with Katherine Humphus.   Katherine was a celebrity chef on the TV Game Show of Guy Fierie, Grocery Games.  The recipes of this week won Katherine $1600.00.
Burger Patty Recipe:
1 lb. ground beef  80/20
2 tablespoons garlic, minced
1 tablespoon onions, raw and diced
 Salt, pepper
1tablespoon chili oil
2 tablespoons Frito crumbs, placed in food processor
   and grind to texture of bread crumbs
1/4 cup butter

Combine all ingredients together.  Form 8 oz. patties, sear in hot cast iron skillet.
Pine Nuts:
1/4 cup pine nuts

Lightly toast pine nuts in the oven at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes.
Apple Plum Caramelized Onions
1/4 cup apple plum baby food
1 onion
1/4 cup Marsala wine
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt, pepper

Begin Caramelizing onions in olive oil, salt and pepper.  Once onions begin to soften, add wine and continue to cook for 6 more minutes.  

Let wine reduce slightly, (2 more minutes) and add apple plum baby food.  Cook for 2 more minutes.  Taste for seasonings and remove from heat.

Quick Pickled Onions:
1 onion, peeled and sliced
2 cups red wine vinegar
1 cup sugar

Boil red wine vinegar with sugar.  Add raws sliced onions and boil for 1 minute.  Turn of and let cool in liquid.
French Bread With Truffle Oil
Drizzle French bread sliced horizontally in half with truffle oil, and season with salt and pepper.  Grill on hot grill until toasty.

Assemble Burger: Place patty on top of one piece French Bread, add apple plum caramelized onions, pickled onions, and pine nuts.  Place other piece of French bread on top.  Serve!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Grilled Steak Marinated With Garlic and Herbs; With Baby Mixed Greens With Whole Grain Mustard Vinaigrette, Oven Roasted Whole Onions

Grilled Steak Marinated With Garlic And
Herbs; Baby Mixed Greens Salad With
Whole Grain Mustard Vinaigrette,
Oven Roasted Whole Onions

Grilled Steak:
3 lbs. Skirt Steak
2 tablespoons garlic
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon freshly chopped Rosemary
2 tablespoons finely chopped Parsley
1 teaspoon fresh Thyme
1/4 cup Olive oil
Combine fresh herb in olive oil and stir to mix.  Season skirt steak generously with salt and pepper.  Slather herb and olive oil mixture all over skirt steak and marinate for 15 minutes.  Grill on high heat until cooked to desired temperature.

Whole Grain Mustard Vinaigrette
recipe can be halved
1/4 cup apple juice
2 tablespoons whole grain mustard
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 cup canola oil
1 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons shallots, diced
1 teaspoon thyme leaves
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Lemon zest of 1/2 lemon
Measure the canola and olive oil and set aside.  In the blender add the apple juice, whole grain mustard, red wine vinegar, garlic, shallot, thyme leaves, and crushed red pepper, blend until well combined (about 1 minute).  While ingredients are still combining and the blender is still on, slowly begin adding the oil.  This should take about one full minute.

Once all of the oil is combined, add lemon zest, salt, and pepper to your liking.  Save in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week.
Whole Roasted Onions:
Cipolini onions or shallots
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
Peel onions but keep whole, toss in olive oil with salt and pepper.  Put in a hot cast iron skillet and bake in oven for 20 minutes-until cooked throughout and golden on the outside.
Dress greens with the dressing and plate.  Slice skirt steak diagonally against the grain in 1/2" wide slices.  Place strips on salad and garnish with shallots or onion which have been sliced from top to root end.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Baby Spinach Salad With Grilled Carrots, Spicy Shrimp, Dates, Tomatoes, and Goat Cheese

Baby Spinach Salad With Grilled Carrots,
Spicy Shrimp, Dates, Tomatoes, And Goat Cheese

This salad is paired with the dressing, White Balsamic Vinaigrette which was published May 12, 2015.
Blanched And Grilled Carrots
1 bunch of young or baby carrots, peeled
Ice water
Olive oil
Bring a pot of water to a boil.  Once rapidly boiling toss peeled carrots in water.  Let boil for two minutes.  Remove from boiling water and submerge in ice water.
Remove from ice water and dry off with paper towels.  Toss with olive oil, salt, pepper.  Place on hot grill pan.  Grill until grill marks appear and remove.
Cut carrots lengthwise and again in quarters.  Cut the slices into halves.
Spicy Grilled Shrimp
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon garlic
Salt, Pepper
Olive oil

Peel and devein shrimp
Marinate in olive oil, honey, minced garlic, salt, pepper, and cayenne for 10 minutes.
Remove fro marinade and toss on hot grill pan.  Once the shrimp start to curl and turn pink, flip them over and continue cooking.  Shrimp is done once pink and curled.  
Dates, (Medjool) seeded and diced
Goat Cheese

Dress salad greens with White Balsamic Vinaigrette and plate.   Place carrot pieces at the side in the shape of an X.  Shrimp can be served on a skewer or on top of the salad loose.  Garnish salad and serve.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

White Balsamic Vinaigrette

White Balsamic Vinaigrette
I am at the stage in life when an occasion comes along and our children want to gift me, I tell them I have everything I need.  This year daughter Anne decided to give me a cooking class and share the experience with me.  How fun!

Our instructor is a Cordon Bleu trained executive chef and her personality is very connecting with her audience.  The class recipes were her winning recipes from her appearance on Guy Fieri's "Grocery Game TV Show".

Our favorite recipe which really was difficult to choose from the class was the 
White Balsamic Vinaigrette.  
1/2 cup white balsamic vinegar
2 cups oil blend  (canola and olive)
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon garlic1/2 tablespoon shallots
1 tablespoon honey
4 medium sized basil leaves
Salt and pepper, to taste
Lemon zest
Tip:  This tip was worth the price of the class!  Place all ingredients in the blender except the oil.  Turn the blender on and blend the ingredients together.  Once the mixture is not chunky, slowly drizzle in the oil.   Turn the blender on high until emulsified.  Taste for salt and pepper.  The dressing will not separate!
*Tip The blending sounds slurpy as you begin to slowly add the oil.  When it looses that sound and acquires that solid sound, it is ready.  Taste for seasoning. Stir in lemon zest.

Yield 1 qt.  Keeps well in covered container in refrigerator.

The salad recipe will appear on May 13!

Monday, May 11, 2015

Turtle Oatmeal Cookies

Turtle Oatmeal Cookies

Vegan, gluten-free
By Angela Liddon

Inspired by one of her childhood favourite candies, these "Turtle" Oatmeal Cookies are studded with caramel-like Medjool dates and dark chocolate chips, all surrounded with a nutty toasted pecan and oat base. If you can stop eating the dough for long enough to bake them, you are in for a real treat. This sounds a bit strange, but her favourite way to enjoy these is straight from the fridge or freezer where the cookies get firm and crisp.

Yield 16 large cookies
Prep time 20 minutes
Cook time 12 minutes

1 3/4 cups pecan halves
2 cups gluten-free rolled oats, divided
3/4 cup gluten-free all-purpose flour
1/2 cup Sucanat or unpacked brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
3 1/2 tablespoons coconut oil
2 tablespoons almond milk
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
heaping 1/3 cup pitted dates, diced
1/4 cup mini dark chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Toast pecans for about 9-11 minutes, until golden and fragrant. After toasting, remove from oven and cool for a few minutes. Add pecans into food processor along with 1 cup of oats and process until coarsely chopped with some fine powder. Be sure not to over process or the oils in the nuts will release.

In a large bowl, stir the pecan/oat mixture, the remaining 1 cup rolled oats, flour, Sucanat, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.
In a medium bowl, stir together the maple syrup, melted coconut oil, milk, and vanilla. Pour the wet mixture on the dry ingredients and stir until combined.

In a small bowl, coat the chopped dates in 1/2-1 teaspoon of flour and toss until coated. This prevents the dates from sticking together. Fold the dates and chocolate chips into the dough.

Take about 2 tablespoons of dough, roll it into a ball, and then press down on it with your hand to flatten it on the baking sheet. Space cookies a couple inches apart. Repeat until you have about 16 cookies.

Bake for 12-13 minutes at 350F until the cookies are golden brown on the bottom. Remove from oven and let sit on baking sheet for 3-4 mins before placing cookies onto a cooling rack for 15 minutes.

Notes: 1) Instead of gluten-free all-purpose flour, you can probably swap it for regular all-purpose flour. Depending on the flour you use, the results can vary. 2) As for the gluten-free flour blend, I recommend using one that is rice based (such as Pamela's brand) and avoid using one that is garbanzo based (such as Bob's Red Mill) to avoid any bean-y flavor.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Kuchen ~ German Coffee Cake

My Mother
My Parents

Pronounced kooken, is the German word for cake. At my childhood home kuchen meant a sweet cream coffee cake. My mother made a sweet yeast dough. It had a slightly higher content of sugar than regular bread dough. The topping made it so special. Mother would put her dough into large loaf cake pans or several pie plates after it had risen once. It was patted down to a layer of maybe 1/2 inch and it would rise again. She made sure the dough came up the sides of the pan or plate to form a nice edging. The dough would rise one more time after she placed the dough in the baking pans and rubbed the dough with a soft or warmed butter. For the final step she would poke with her finger to make indentions into the risen dough. Next came the topping:
1 cup whipping cream
1 Tablespoon flour
1/4 cup brown sugar 
Mix thoroughly so no lumps remain. Pour over dough making sure to not run over the side walls of dough.
Sprinkle with cinnamon and brown sugar. Bake at 425 for 10 minutes and reduce oven to 350 for approximately 15 more minutes or until golden. I can taste the memory!

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Christmas Stollen

Christmas Stollen
This is a tried and true recipe from a friend whom I went through all twelve grades of school.  Dorothy continued for many years to bake her mother's fruit cake recipe for her mother's friends after her mother passed away.   Today she remembers her friends with this Christmas Stollen.  This is a nice make ahead recipe.

1/2 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup currants
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon brandy or dark rum
1/4 cup diced candied orange peel
1/4 cup diced candied lemon peel
1/8 cup diced candied ginger
1/4 cup slivered almonds
3/4 cup whole milk
1 (1/4 ounce package) active dry yeast
2 tablespoons warm water
3 1/4 cups plus 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour, 
   plus more for dusting
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 extra-large egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Confectioners Sugar
The night before baking, in a bowl combine the raisins, currants and cranberries with 1/2 cup brandy and let the mixture soak overnight.  In the morning, add citrus peels, ginger and almonds to bowl and set aside.

Make a starter, heat milk in a small pot over low heat until lukewarm, or about 100 degrees.  In a large bowl, whisk yeast with 2 tablespoons warm water, then slowly add warm milk, whisking to break up clumps.  While whisking, slowly add 1 cup flour, stirring until the mixture is homogenous.  Wet a kitchen towel with hot water, wring it out well and use it to cover the bowl.  Set bowl in a warm place with a temp of about 80 degrees and let the least develop for one hour.

Meanwhile, melt butter and pour it into a large bowl. Add sugar and salt, whisking until sugar melts.  Add yolk, whisk until mixture is homogenous, then add lemon zest and nutmeg, whisking to combine.

Once starter is ready, slowly add the butter mixture to it, stirring to combine.  While stirring ad 1 cup flour, then mix in remaining brandy.  Stir in another 1 1/4 cups flour.  If dough becomes to stiff to mix with a spoon, gently knead flour into it.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until soft, pliable and shiny, 10 minutes.  Form dough into a ball and place in a large buttered bowl.  Cover bowl with a cloth soaked in hot water and wrung out well, and set aside in a warm spot until doubled in size, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

Once dough has risen heat oven to 350 degrees.  Gently remove dough from bowl and transfer to a lightly floured surface.  Knead dough 2to 3 times, then gently pull and stretch it out until it is as flat as possibleDrain fruit and almonds and mix with 3 tablespoons of flour.  Pour mixture onto dough and roll the whole thing up folding ends over so fruit is encased.  Knead dough to distribute fruit and nuts evenly.  Fruit will fall out of dough at first, just tuck loose pieces back in until everything stays together.  Re-flour work surface to keep dough from sticking.

Divide dough int two pieces.  Pull each piece into a long fairly flat rectangle, about 16 inches long, 5 inches wide and 1 inch thick, the fold loaves in half crosswise so each is now 8 inches long and two inches thick.  Place loaves on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake until the tops are golden brown, about 35 minutes.  Loaves will spread and flatten a bit during baking.

Remove loaves from oven and, while they are still warm, brush with some melted butter.  Cover with a thick dusting of confectioners sugar.  Allow to cool and dust with another thick layer of confectioners sugar.  Wrap well in two layers of plastic wrap and let rest at room temperature 1 to 2 weeks before eating to allow flavors to develop.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Chocolate And Coffee-Hazelnut Meringue Cake

Chocolate and Coffee-Hazelnut 
Meringue Tart 



  1. 2 teaspoons pure coffee extract
  2. 1 teaspoon water
  3. 3/4 cup hazelnut meal/flour (we use Bob’s Red Mill)
  4. 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  5. Scant 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  6. 4 large egg whites
  7. 1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar


  1. 2 cups heavy cream
  2. 2 tablespoons pure coffee extract
  3. 4 large egg yolks
  4. 1/2 pound white chocolate, finely chopped
  5. 1/2 pound bittersweet dark chocolate, finely chopped
  6. Salt
Preheat the oven to 250° and line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Using the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan, draw a circle in the center of each sheet of parchment paper. 

In a small bowl, combine the coffee extract and water. In another small bowl, whisk the hazelnut meal with the cornstarch and cinnamon. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites at medium-high speed until soft peaks form. Gradually add the confectioners’ sugar and beat at high speed until the whites are stiff, 2 to 3 minutes. Gently fold in the hazelnut mixture, then the coffee extract. 

Scrape half of the meringue into the center of each traced circle; using an offset spatula, spread in an even layer, leaving a 1/2 -inch border inside the circle. Bake the meringues in the lower and upper thirds of the oven for about 1 hour, until lightly browned and crisp; shift the sheets halfway through baking. Transfer to racks to cool. 

In a heatproof large bowl set over a medium saucepan of simmering water, heat 1/2 cup of the cream with the coffee extract until hot. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks. Very gradually whisk the hot cream mixture into the yolks, then add the mixture to the large bowl and cook over the simmering water, stirring constantly, until the custard is hot and slightly thickened, about 7 minutes. Fold in both chocolates and a generous pinch of salt and let stand over the simmering water until the chocolate is nearly melted, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir gently until smooth. Let cool. 

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the remaining 1 1/2 cups of cream until stiff peaks form. Using a spatula, very gently fold the whipped cream into the cooled chocolate custard until no streaks remain. Refrigerate until just chilled, 30 minutes.
Trim the meringues to fit into a 9-inch springform pan. Set 1 meringue in the pan. Spread the mousse over the meringue in 
an even layer and top with the remaining meringue. Refrigerate the cake for at least 6 hours or overnight. Unmold the cake and dust with cocoa powder or confectioners’ sugar. Cut the cake into wedges with a hot knife and serve.

MAKE AHEAD The cake can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.