Browsing Category: desserts

Bread. Pudding. Cupcakes.

There’s not a whole lot I can control in this life, but here’s one thing I can: This recipe is going to be made in this kitchen, some time in the not-too-distant future.
Bread Pudding Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Icing, by Sugar Derby. (I’ll skip the raisins, but everything else? Oh, baby!)
It will need to be a day when we’re having lots of people over; otherwise, we might just eat ourselves into a sugar coma. But there are worse ways to go!

Emergency peanut butter cookie recipe

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emergency peanut butter cookie recipe
Midnight: you’ve got a bad cookie craving. What to do? Making a whole batch of cookies is a recipe for waking up to regrets! This is perfect: a quick, easy peanut butter cookie recipe with a batch size of two.
Oh, and by the way, they’re sugar-free. Sweetened with good ol’ maple syrup! (Which is important for vegans, and those of us trying to avoid white or brown sugar. Learn more.)
This recipe is from Chocolate Covered Katie’s blog, but I’ve neatened it up a bit.

Quick, easy sugar-free peanut butter cookies

Makes two cookies.
  • 2 T. flour (I used white whole wheat)
  • 1/16 tsp baking soda
  • generous pinch of salt
  • 1.5 T. peanut butter
  • 1.5 T. maple syrup
  • 1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • optional: add some chocolate chips if you wish!
Preheat oven to 350 F.
In a cereal bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda and salt. Add the remaining ingredients. Mix well and form into two blobs on a parchment-covered cookie sheet. Flatten into cookie shapes (use a fork, and wipe it clean between the first and second cookie).
Bake in preheated oven for 8-11 minutes. Check at 8 minutes, and add one to two minutes at a time until it’s lightly browned in some areas.
Let cool for as long as you can stand it. Enjoy with a glass of milk, if you like. Wake up in the morning with no regrets about having devoured too many cookies the night before!

 

60-Second Strawberry “Shortcake”

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We’ll get to this easy peasy snack how-to in a minute, but first, let’s talk strawberry shortcake.
If you think of strawberry shortcake as Twinkie-like spongecake topped with super-red strawberries in a goopy glaze, then I’m sorry, my friend, but you have been misled.
Imagine warm, fresh from the oven, slightly-sweet/slightly-salty biscuits: think scones. Perfectly crunchy on the outside, broken open so that the tender, steamy shortcake inside can soak up the sweet sauce that results from macerating berries in sugar for an hour or so. Drizzle over that a little half & half — just enough to moisten the biscuits a bit more — then top it with a generous blob or two of vanilla whipped cream! Mmm… the contrast of salty and sweet, crunchy and creamy. Seriously!
I live a pretty low-carb life, but this is the one food that I will never pass up, and will eat till the strawberries are all gone, or my stomach hurts, whichever comes first! Oh, who am I kidding?! If there are still strawberries and shortcake, I’ll keep eating!
And for that very reason, I don’t make it too often. 
But the other day, I had some lovely strawberries on hand — just a few — and was trying to figure out how I could make a satisfying snack out of them. Then, inspiration!
I had a few whole-wheat crackers on hand. Store-brand Wheat Thins, if you must know. That will stand in nicely for the shortcake, I thought. And some vanilla yogurt in the fridge. A dollop of that on a cracker, and a slice of strawberry on top. How easy is that?! And pretty healthy, really.
But easy and healthy are no good if it doesn’t taste good. This does! The crunchiness of the cracker simulates the shortbread crust and flavor; the vanilla yogurt is a pretty good stand-in for its more fat-laden cousin.
It’s also good with a sweetened cream cheese spread — though that knocks the health factor down a notch.
Sure, in a head-to-head battle with real strawberry shortcake, it comes up short. (Ha! Sorry!) But for a 60-second snack, it’ll do just fine. Just fine! And with a lot less guilt.

Recipe review: Key Lime Laraballs

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Key Lime Laraballs
Call them nut balls, energy bites, or no-bake cookies. No matter what you call them, I love ’em! First of all because I LOVE the flavor, but also because they are a totally guilt-free treat!
Let’s just list all the things these have going for them:
  • Quick and easy to make; no bake.
  • Raw, vegan, gluten free.
  • Acceptable as an occasional paleo-friendly treat.
They are very dominantly lime-flavored. If you don’t love lime or you’re a wimp when it comes to sour things, you might want to make mix it up it as-is, then taste before you start rolling the dough into balls. I’m glad I did, because since I was using unsweetened coconut, and I had to add a little extra dates and a splash of vanilla to sweeten it up a bit.
Try them! YUM!
Here’s the original recipe, from peasandcrayons: Key Lime Larabars.
And here are my tweaks:

1/2 cup chopped dates (pre-chopped; coated w/ dextrose)
1/4 cup raw, unsalted almonds

1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut (+ extra for coating)
1-2 Tablespoons raw, unsalted walnuts
2-3 Tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon real maple syrup
1 splash vanilla extract

Combine in food processor till it starts sticking together. You may need to stop a scrape things down a couple times. Taste and add more dates and/or syrup as needed.

Put mixture in a small bowl and chill in the fridge for about five minutes. Remove, roll into balls, and roll the balls in shredded coconut. Place in a closed or plastic-wrapped container and store in the fridge.

Emergency blueberry crumble for one

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Blueberries in the freezer, snow outside on the ground, and a hankerin’ for something warm and sweet. What to make, that’s slightly healthy but also bona fide comfort food?!

Blueberry crumble, of course! (Blueberries are a super food. Old fashioned oatmeal’s not bad either.)

Based on this recipe for Microwave Blueberry Crumble (four servings), here’s a version that goes together super fast and easy (less than five minutes!), can be made sugar-reduced, and is scaled to make just one serving. And if you use gluten-free oatmeal and cornstarch, it could also be gluten-free!

I’m including instructions for topping it with a bit of vanilla-flavored cream, but you could, of course, top it with ice cream instead. Depending on the severity of your emergency and the contents of your freezer.

Emergency blueberry crumble for one

1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
2 t. sugar (or one Splenda packet)
3/4 t. cornstarch
2 T. old fashioned oats
2 T. packed brown sugar (or 1 T. brown sugar Splenda blend)
1 T. chopped pecans
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon and/or a wee pinch of nutmeg
1 T. cold butter (no exceptions)
3 T. heavy cream
splash of vanilla extract

Place the blueberries in a 4- to 5-” microwave-safe dish (I used the cover of an extra-wide butter dish). Sprinkle the sugar and cornstarch on top. Cover and microwave on high for 30 seconds; stir and heat on high another 30 seconds. Repeat until the blueberries are softened and the sauce is slightly thickened.

In a small bowl, stir together the oats, brown sugar, pecans and cinnamon. Cut in the butter into the oat mixture using a fork, until the mixture resembles very coarse crumbs. You want there to still be some globs of butter, though; not completely smoothed out.

Sprinkle the oat mixture over the blueberry mixture. Cover and microwave on high for 30 seconds; stir and heat on high another 30 seconds.

Pour a splash of vanilla extract into the cream; stir till combined. Drizzle over the blueberries. Grab a spoon and enjoy!

Snow Ice Cream Recipe

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Snow Ice Cream Recipe
Okay, normally I stay away from sugary recipes, but I also believe that there are days you need to just throw caution to the wind, live life, and have fun — i.e, eat the real stuff!
After a 14-ish inch snow here last night — and a very fluffy snow — I’m fondly remembering the days like this when the kids would beg me to make snow ice cream.

One caveat: Snow ice cream is not about creamy, gourmet ice cream. It’s really more like ice milk. But making it is about enjoying the moment, celebrating winter, and making memories with your kids. Or the kid in you!

Second caveat: This isn’t so much a recipe as it is a method. The proportions are flexible; the main thing is to add the milk (or better yet, cream) slowly, a little at a time, so you don’t turn it into slush.
Third caveat: If you live in a city with significant amounts of air pollution, you should not do this. The snow harvests smog as it falls.  🙁

Snow Ice Cream Recipe

A large mixing bowl full (1 gallon or so) of snow

1/2 to 1 cup white sugar
1 T. (or so) vanilla extract
milk, cream, almond milk, etc. — “enough”

Either place a large, clean bowl outside to collect snow while it’s still snowing, or, if you forget this step, place your bowl in the fridge till it’s well-chilled, then go out and scoop up some CLEAN snow.

Stir in sugar and vanilla to taste, then stir in just enough milk/cream for the desired consistency.
 
Serve right away! This stuff doesn’t keep. Remember: it’s about enjoying the moment!

Salted-caramel glazed oatmeal cookies

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I love it when a recipe goes wrong, then turns into something oh so right!

One of my favorite cookies is sunflower seed oatmeal cookies. (Gibbers’, too.) I made a batch today to take to a neighborhood get-together tonight, but I played with the proportions a bit too much, and they came out kinda bland. So I thought a caramel icing might balance that out.
And it did! But I couldn’t just leave it at that. Since “salted caramel whatever” is everywhere these days, I thought I’d give them just a light sprinkling of kosher salt.
Perfect! The cakey/crispy texture of the cookie contrasts nicely with the gooey caramel, and they do balance each other out. That icing would also rock drizzled over banana cake, muffins, or banana-nut bread!
I can’t give you the cookie part of my recipe, because I swapped Splenda for some of the sugar, just added the dry ingredient mix till it looked right, and same on the oatmeal. But the base recipe I was working from is the standard one on every carton of Quaker Oatmeal: Vanishing Oatmeal Raisin Cookies. I leave out the cinnamon and swap sunflower seeds for raisins.
On to the icing…
I started with a recipe on AllRecipes.com, but changed it substantially. Here’s what I ended up with:

Caramel icing

covers three dozen cookies
 2 T. butter
 1/4 c. cream
 1/2 c. packed brown sugar
1/2 c. powdered sugar (or less)
1/2 t. vanilla
Kosher or sea salt to taste (optional)
Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Then stir in the cream and brown sugar. Boil vigorously for 1 minute.
Remove from heat, and beat in half of the powdered sugar. Cool slightly, and beat in the vanilla and the remaining powdered sugar. Taste it as you add a bit at a time; you may not need all of it. 
It sets up pretty quickly, so have your cookies all ready before you make the icing. If it gets too thick, add more cream and/or return it to low heat for a moment.
Drizzle over the cookies. Sprinkle lightly w/ kosher or sea salt, if desired.

Bread pudding: the ultimate Christmas dessert!

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photo by The Shiksa in the Kitchen

So, I’m fixing dinner, Christmas Eve night, and my husband says, “What are we having for dessert?” Oh my gosh — dessert?! How on earth did I forget dessert? (I’ll tell you how: I was thinking of the waffles and cinnamon rolls we were going to be having for brunch the next day!)

Then my brilliant husband goes on to say, “How about bread pudding?”

Now, if you’re  not a bread pudding fan, let me tell you — neither was I, until a couple years ago when we ordered lemon bread pudding at Carrabba’s. I love anything lemon, but I’m telling you, this was heaven on a plate! Warm, sweet but with a little lemon tang, and custard-y… yum!

So a more traditional bread pudding — simply flavored with vanilla, cinnamon, and for those who like them, raisins — seems like the perfect Christmas dessert.

And it was!

It’s quick and easy to throw together, and uses ingredients you probably already have on hand. We used this bread pudding recipe from All Recipes, and topped it with the Kahlua cream sauce recipe from The Shiksa in the Kitchen. (A plain vanilla cream sauce would be good, too. Orange or maple might be nice for a breakfast/brunch version.)

With these slight changes:
– Used a demi-loaf of French bread; fresh, not day-old.
– Used a 9×9″ pan (rather than 8×8″)
– Used brown sugar, not white.
– Left out the raisins.
– Added a little fresh-grated nutmeg with the cinnamon.
– Skipped the melted butter, but drizzled a little heavy cream over it (after pouring on the egg mixture, but before baking’ I didn’t measure, but probably about 3 Tablespoons.)
– Sprinkled some pecans on top. (Next time I’ll use more and mix ’em in.)
– Baked for 35 minutes.

Mmmm… Imagine the warm, sweet aroma of vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg, with a texture I can only describe as a tender, custardy cake. If this isn’t Christmas on a plate, I don’t know what is! But it would be just as good at any autumn or winter dinner — or brunch!

I might just make it again for New Year’s Eve!