Cooking for Seven on Jan 13th 2012
Can you believe it? A new year is upon us. In fact, we’re almost two weeks into 2012.
I’m usually not one to reflect on the past year and make resolutions for the new one. I hate making resolutions that I’m bound to break. But sometimes listing goals is a good way to give you some perspective and push you forward. Last year I started a Project 365, but only got to 146 photos. I’m not sorry at all that I started that project; even though I didn’t finish, I still have many moments preserved and I feel that I learned so much from the experience.
So I’ve decided to write down some food goals for myself for 2012; goals I know that I’ll break. But they’ll give me something to works toward.
My Five Food Goals for 2012:
1. Eat more fresh fruits and vegetables and whole foods.
2. Eat less processed, prepacked baked goods.
3. Make new recipes; don’t get stuck in a rut of making only the recipes you know.
4. Try to overcome your fear of sharing your food creations with others. You can’t always please everyone, and sometimes you’ll make something that just isn’t that great. Get over it.
5. Try something new, even if you think you won’t like it. You never know!
On to the cookies!
I believe that these cookies are a good representation of a few of my food goals. They’re made with natural ingredients (whole wheat flour, demerara sugar, rolled oats, etc.), they contain an ingredient that I was a bit afraid of (carob chips), and I had to overcome my fear of sharing them with others.
You see, Reuben loves carob, but, I must admit, I’m not the world’s biggest fan. Give me a choice between 70% cacao chocolate and carob and I’ll take the chocolate 9 times out of 10. But I wanted to make something that he loved. And I found that the carob chips added a lovely malty flavor that fit these cookies very well.
However, I was so scared that everyone would think they were gross and too “healthy” tasting that I always put a caveat before them: “They’re healthy,” or “They’re made with Carob chips.” To my surprise, no one hated them, and a gentleman even asked for the recipe. Just goes to show that you should get over your ego and share your work.
- These cookies are none too sweet: just the way Reuben and I like them. If you prefer something a little sweeter, simply add some extra demerara.
- If you can’t find any carob or you can’t stand it, you can easily substitute it with chocolate chips.
Peanut Butter Carob Chip Cookies | Printable Page | Makes approximately 2 dozen cookies
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 1 cup demerara sugar or sucanat or rapadura
- 3/4 cup natural peanut butter (I really like this kind)
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup (4 ounces) whole wheat pastry flour (aka soft white wheat)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup regular rolled oats
- 1 cup semisweet carob chips (we really like this kind), or chocolate chips
1) Preheat the oven to 375 ° F.
2) In a large bowl (or the bowl of a stand mixer), cream together the butter, sugar, and peanut butter until smooth. Beat in the egg and vanilla.
3) In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Stir into the butter and sugar mixture. Add the oats and chocolate chips.
4) Form the dough into balls the size of golf balls and place on an ungreased or parchment lined baking sheet. Flatten the balls slightly.
5) Bake in the preheated oven for 8-12 minutes, or until the edges begin to brown. Remove from oven and let the cookies to cool on the pan for 5 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before storing.
Cooking for Seven on Oct 21st 2011
Did you know that I have some of the best in-laws ever? When my husband and I were on our honeymoon, my husband’s mother and sister planted our garden for us. Even though the deer and rabbits attacked it with abandon, we were able to glean some organic produce this year. Without my in-laws, it would have been too late to start a garden this year.
Not stopping with that, they have showered us with their own amazing produce - fresh strawberries, raspberries, green beans, garlic, and more. Plus, they taught me how to can green beans so we can savor them all winter.
Which brings me to these raspberry muffins. I had a whole gallon bucket of lovely raspberries from Reuben’s family in the fridge, and I wanted to bake something delicious with them. We were having soup for supper and I thought these would be a nice addition to the meal. And they were a success! Reuben loved them.
“How to did you get them to be caramelized on top?” he asked.
My evening was made.
- Of course I substituted part whole wheat flour and natural sweetener. The original recipe called for lemon zest, but I didn’t have any on hand so I skipped it. It also called for pecans in the topping, but Reuben doesn’t care for nuts in baked goods so I left them out.
- I felt that the recipe did not call for enough buttermilk. I ended up adding 1/4 cup of cream or more to the batter to get it to the right consistency.
- It will seem like there’s way too much topping for the muffins, but that’s not the case. It’s just right. Trust me.
Printable Page | Makes 12 muffins
For the topping:
- 1/3 cup demereara sugar
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
For the muffin batter:
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 3/4 demerara sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 egg, beaten slightly
- 5 tablespoons butter, melted
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 to 1 1/4 cups buttermilk
- 1 1/2 to 2 cups fresh or frozen raspberries
1) Preheat oven to 375° F. Grease or line with muffin papers 12 standard muffin cups.
2) To make topping: In a small bowl, stir together the sugar and flour. Stir in the melted butter until the mixture is crumbly. Set aside.
3) To make the muffins: In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. In a separate small bowl, combine the egg, butter, vanilla, and buttermilk. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour in the wet ingredients. Stir just to moisten. Add the raspberries and gently fold in with a rubber spatula. Do not overmix.
4) Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups. Evenly distribute the topping over the batter. Bake in preheated oven until golden and springy to the touch and a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean, about 25-30 minutes. Place pan on a cooling rack and allow the muffins to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before removing to the cooling rack to cool. Serve warm or at room temperature, with butter of course!
Now for the Winner!
The winner of my RiceSelect giveaway is:
Commenter #78: j.hodge who had yogurt for breakfast.
Thank you to everyone who entered my giveaway. I have several more giveaways lined up this fall, so stay tuned!
Keep eating and cooking what you love!
Erica Lea on Aug 1st 2011
Some days, you just need a recipe that doesn’t call for fancy ingredients. You don’t have any specialty items on hand, but you still want to bake something utterly scrumptious.
This cake definitely fits the bill. A soft, cinnamon-scented batter is filled with buttery, sugary swirls. Top it off with a drizzle of maple and cream cheese frosting, and you have one delicious treat.
The original recipe called for a powdered sugar glaze. I much prefer a less-sweet cream cheese based frosting. So I made up a recipe for drizzly maple-cream cheese frosting.
As per my usual substitutions, I used whole wheat flour in place of most of the AP flour, and maple sugar instead of brown sugar. I also added a bit of cinnamon to the cake batter to enhance the flavor. You can add pecans to the topping, but I didn’t have any on hand, so I left them out. Besides, my husband doesn’t like nuts in baked goods.
Cinnamon Roll Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting
For the cake:
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1/2 cup AP flour
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup maple sugar, demerara, sucanat, rapadura, or brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 3/4 cups whole milk
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 1 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted
For the topping:
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
- 1/2 cup maple sugar or sweetener of choice
- 1 tablespoons AP flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 6 tablespoons chopped pecans, optional
For the maple cream cheese frosting:
- 4 oz. (1/4 lb.) cream cheese, softened
- 3-4 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1-2 tablespoons whole milk
1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a round cake pan.
2) In a large bowl or in the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together the whole wheat flour, AP flour, salt, sugar, and baking powder. In a small bowl, combine the milk, egg, and vanilla. Beat into the dry ingredients until well combined. Slowly stir in the melted butter. Pour batter into prepared pan.
3) In a large bowl, mix the softened butter, maple sugar, flour, cinnamon and pecans (if using) until well combined. Drop evenly over cake batter by the tablespoonsful and use a knife to marble/swirl through the cake.
4) Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until toothpick comes out nearly clean from center. You want to make sure it’s done.
5) Beat the cream cheese with a hand mixer until smooth. Slowly add the maple syrup and vanilla. Add a few tablespoons of milk, if necessary, so the frosting can be drizzled. While the cake is still warm, drizzle the frosting on top. Serve warm or at room temperature.