Monday, October 19, 2020

Apple Cream Cheese Cobbler (grain-free, lower-sugar)

I recently had an advanced reader copy of a new cookbook, Skinny Southern Baking: 65 Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Refined Sugar-Free Southern Classics by Lara Lyn Carter, which offers lower sugar versions of southern recipes and flavors. I took one of the recipes and adapted it slightly for a smaller dish and fewer servings, but taking advantage of the apples I can only get in the fall. Part of the challenge of baking this way is the look and feel of the final result. The pictures in the cookbook are accurate representations of the recipes, even when that means the bread doesn't rise as high or the coconut sugar turns your crumble pretty dark.

All to say, this dessert may not win any beauty awards, but it was really tasty. And the cream cheese in there is more like a pudding than a cheesecake, in a good way. It also keeps it from being all sweet.


Apple Cream Cheese Cobbler
(Credit: Lara Lyn Carter)

For the cobbler:

3 large sweet apples, cored and cut into 8 large slices*
1/2 cup honey or maple syrup
2 packages (8 oz each) plant-based cream cheese*

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F degrees and spray a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray. 
  2. Arrange the apple slices in the bottom of the baking dish.
  3. Whip the honey or maple syrup and cream cheese together until smooth and spread the mixture over the apples. 

For the topping:

3 eggs
2 cups almond flour
1/2 cup coconut sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 tsp cinnamon*
1 tsp nutmeg*
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

  1. Combine all ingredients together in a large bowl.
  2. Pour the mixture over the apples and cream cheese mixture; bake for 45 minutes.

*Notes from JennyBakes:

I made a thirdish of this recipe by using one large Mutsu apple, the cream cheese and maple syrup as described, and roughly a third of the topping.

I'm not too invested in non-dairy, plus that's just hard to find where I live in the south. The reason I used this recipe in the first place was that I had a brick of cream cheese I needed to use. Regular old cream cheese works fine here (the eggs in the topping make it non-vegan anyway!)

I have this apple pie spice in my spice drawer that I always use with apples in place of the cinnamon and nutmeg. 

I added some walnuts but only to half the topping since my husband is mildly allergic.

 

Skinny Southern Baking
by Lara Lyn Carter

13 October 2020

Other recipes I've marked to try, because this is how we eat at my house:

-Ginger Cookies
-Pumpkin Spice Cookies
-Peanut Butter Banana Coffeecake
-Pumpkin Cranbrerry Nut Bread
-Gingerbread
-Almond Flour Pie Crust
-Chocolate Pie Crust
-Coconut Flour Pie Crust
-Pumpkin Cornbread
-Spinach and Feta Muffins
-Herb biscuits

(Can you tell I'm so ready for fall?! Get ready!)

Monday, October 12, 2020

Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars

This recipe comes from the new cookbook from Alex Guarnaschelli, Cook with Me.  I had a copy of the book from the publisher through Edelweiss, and when I review a cookbook, I always make at least one recipe! I love how she talks about learning to cook from her mom a lot in this one too. And along with that theme, many of the recipes are spins or just really good versions of traditional dishes, but sometimes that's what you want to learn from a real chef, at least I do.

I always tend to hang out in the baked goods and dessert sections of cookbooks but the picture of this dessert captured me immediately. I made it for our 20th wedding anniversary back in June, but waited to share it with you until it was closer to release date. This is so delicious, like a cross between a candy bar and a very rich cheesecake. I would make it for a large gathering because a small piece is very rich and satisfying. See at the bottom for a few tips from my experience making this!


Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars
(from Cook with Me by Alex Guarnaschelli)

Makes 16 pieces

11 tbsp (1 stick + 3 tbsp) unsalted butter, melted
2 cups (8-9 oz) finely ground chocolate crumbs*
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
16 oz full-fat cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs
3/4 cup (8 oz) smooth peanut butter
3 1/2 oz semisweet chocolate, finely chopped (a generous 1/2 cup)

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Make the crust: Brush the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan with about 1 tablespoon of the melted butter. In a medium bowl, combine the rmaining butter with the crushed cookies and cinnamon, and stir to combine. Transfer the crumbs to the buttered pan and press them into an even layer on the bottom of the pan (not up the sides.) Use a cup measure or a glass to press the crumbs down firmly. Place the pan in the center of the oven and bake until the crust is firm, 15-18 minutes. Set the pan aside to let the crust cool for at least 20 minutes.

Make the peanut butter filling: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and sugar on medium-high speed until completely smooth, 3-5 minutes. Add the eggs and peanut butter, and beat on medium-high speed until smooth. Pour the filling over the cooled crust, using a spatula to spread it out evenly, and place the pan back in the oven. Cook until the filling is firm and doesn't jiggle when you gently shake the pan, 12-15 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and set it aside to cool for at least 30 minutes or up to 1 hour.

Make the chocolate top: In a small saucepan, bring the cream to a gentle simmer over medium heat. Place the chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl, set it over the saucepan like a makeshift double boiler (the bottom of the bowl shouldn't touch the cream), and shut the heat off completely. Stir the chocolate from time to time as it melts. When the cream is warm and the chocolate is somewhat melted, take the bowl off the saucepan, pour the cream over the chocolate, and stir until blended. If the cream and chocolate are similar in temperature, the result is a glossier ganache!* Gently spread the chocolate over the peanut butter layer in the springform pan and refrigerate until the chocolate is firm, at least 2 hours.

* Notes from JennyBakes
  1. For the chocolate cookies, I used the wafer cookies that at my supermarket are shelved near the ice cream, not with the rest of the cookies and crackers. I prefer them to Oreos because they are straight dark chocolate with no cream.
  2. You could do this ganache process that would require 2 bowls and 2 pans but to be honest I just zapped it in the microwave a bit and stirred in between. And I thought the end result was good enough, if not as glossy as it could be.  
  3. I think if I made this again, I would try to convert it to a square or rectangular contained. The recipe calls itself bars but it is in a circle, so really unless you cut it in a strange way you end up with wedges. And something about rectangles of these layers seemed more appealing, so I cut the circle strangely to get them.


Other recipes I've marked to try:
-Beet and Brown Rice Burgers
-Quinoa Pilaf
-Sheet Pan Blackened Salmon
-Macaroni and Cheese*
-Lentil Soup
-Exceptional Scrambled Eggs*
-Poached Eggs on Cheddar Biscuits
-Ninth Avenue Childhood Baked Ziti
-Chickpea and Celery Salad
-Red Velvety Strawberry Cake
-Tiramisu Swiss Roll

*Like I said above, I love to try all versions of classic dishes from chefs I admire.

Monday, October 05, 2020

Grain-free, lower-sugar version of my Grandma's Apple Cake

My Grandma's Apple Cake recipe is one that we make every year in my family. It heralds the fall, it's simple, it can be made so easily with pantry ingredients, and it requires no frostings or glazes or anything more than itself. But it also has a lot of sugar! This year I decided to see if I could make a grain-free, lower-sugar version of the cake, and that recipe is below. The picture is not super glamorous, and I think I should have baked it longer, but overall it was a successful experiment. (Next time I might add 1/4 cup more almond flour, or maybe try adding a bit of coconut flour in there to absorb more of the liquid.)


Frances's Apple Cake, modified to be grain-free and lower-sugar

1/2 cup oil
1 3/4 cup coconut sugar
2 eggs
5 cups apples, diced (I used Mutsu, my favorite baking apple, but you can try any combination)
2 cups almond flour
3/4 cup tapioca flour/starch
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp apple pie spice (optional)
1/2 cup walnuts

This recipe came to me with just ingredients, but in general I mix the diced apples with sugar, then the beaten eggs and vanilla, then mix in the dry ingredients, nuts last. I often leave out the nuts or use hazelnuts instead.

Bake at 350 F for 45 minutes to 1 hour in a 9x13 pan.

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Sweet Tahini Rolls from Falastin

I don't normally like to put two recipes from one cookbook in my blog (because I want you to look at the cookbook, obviously) but this one is all over the internet already; what's one more place? The culminating group recipe for the Rainy Day Bites Cookbook Club from Falastin is these sweet tahini rolls. They are not all that sweet, actually! 

I had an interesting jam at home that went well with them - cacao passion fruit, which also wasn't super sweet but had a murkiness to it alongside sweetness - this seemed to match the toasty tahini flavor as well. I like the suggestion in the cookbook of mixing grape molasses with tahini; I'll have to try that sometime.


 

SWEET TAHINI ROLLS

Kubez el tahineh
(from Falastin)

Dough:
1 1/2 tsp fast-acting dried yeast
1 tsp sugar
7 1/2 tbsp whole milk, lukewarm
Olive oil, for greasing
2 cups plus 6 tbsp (300 g) all-purpose flour
Salt
5 tbsp (75 g) unsalted butter, melted
1 egg, lightly beaten

1/2 cup (100 g) sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
7 tbsp (120 g) tahini
1 egg yolk, beaten
1 tbsp white sesame seeds

  1. To make the dough, put the yeast, sugar and milk into a small bowl. Mix to combine, then set aside for 5 minutes, or until it starts to bubble.
  2. Lightly grease a bowl with olive oil.
  3. Put the flour and 1/2 tsp of salt into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Mix on low speed, then slowly pour in the yeast mixture. Add the melted butter and continue to mix for about 1 minute.
  4. Add the egg to the mixer bowl, then increase the speed to medium and mix for 5 minutes, for the dough to get well kneaded. Using your hands, scrape the dough into a ball; it will be slightly sticky and elastic. Place it in the oiled bowl, turning it a couple of times so that the dough gets well greased. Cover the bowl and let rest in a warm place for about 1 hour, or until the dough is almost doubled in size.
  5. Put the 1/2 cup (100 g) sugar and the cinnamon into a small bowl. Mix well to combine, then set aside.
  6. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough into a large rectangle, about 14 x 20 inches (35 x 50 cm). Drizzle the tahini over the dough, then, using the back of a spoon or a spatula, spread it out evenly, leaving 1/2 inch (1 cm) clear of tahini at both the shorter ends. Sprinkle the sugar mixture evenly over the tahini and let rest for 10 minutes, until the sugar looks all wet.
  7. Starting from one of the long sides, roll the dough inward to form a long, thin sausage. Trim away about 3/4 inch (2 cm) from each end, then slice the dough into 10 equal pieces; they should each be just over 1 3/4 inches (4.5 cm) long. Sit each piece upright, so that a cut side is facing upward, then, using your hands, gently flatten it to form a 3 1/4-inch- (8 cm-) wide circle. Cover with a damp dish towel and let rest for 15 minutes.
  8. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  9. Transfer each roll of dough to the prepared baking sheet, spaced 1 inch (2.5 cm) apart. Brush the top and sides with the egg yolk, sprinkle with the sesame seeds and bake on the middle rack of the oven for 18 minutes, or until cooked through and golden. Remove from the oven and set aside for about 20 minutes — you don’t want them to be piping hot — then serve.

Makes: 10 rolls

Falastin by Sami Tamini and Tara Wigley.

So this is a great cookbook! I have enjoyed cooking and baking my way through it, with so many more recipes I want to try, especially after seeing other posts from the cookbook club in Instagram.

Previously, I made the semifreddo from the dessert section. 

Other recipes I've made:
Hassan's easy eggs with za'atar and lemon
Green shakshuka
Hummus with kofta
Roasted [squash and] zucchini with whipped feta and pistachios
[Cauliflower] musakhan (instead of chicken!)
Lemon chicken with za'atar

Other recipes I want to make:
Fruit and yogurt with sesame oat crumble and tahini-date syrup
Scrambled red shakshuka
Cauliflower and cumin fritters with mint yogurt
Mashed turnip with greens, caramelized onions, and feta
Chilled cucumber and tahini soup with spicy pumpkin seeds
Beet and feta galette with za'atar and honey
Pasta with yogurt and parsley breadcrumbs
Baked fish kubbeh
Baked fish in tahini sauce
Open cauliflower pies (sfiha)
Kofta with tahini, potato, and onion
Ma'amoul bars

Monday, September 28, 2020

Lemon Poppyseed Crinkle Cookies from Tasty Pride

If you're like me, you follow those Tasty videos that make cooking/baking anything within reach. They've started compiling recipes in different themes and publishing them, and one I had a review copy of is Tasty Pride, gathered by Jesse Szewczyk (who I follow in Instagram) and featuring 75 LGBTQ+ identifying cooks, chefs, recipe developers, food writers, and other people in the food industry. Full color pictures make all the recipes appealing but of course I gravitated toward the dessert chapter. (I also marked the "Chocolate Chip Cookie Skillet à la Mode, by the creators of Coolhaus, to try.) Growing up, my Mom made a lemon poppyseed cake so often it was like her signature cake, and we always made chocolate crinkle cookies for the holidays (although we call them wagon wheels), so this recipe was appealing to me in its flavor profile and nostalgia feels. I gave most of them to my new neighbors next door because otherwise I would have eaten them all myself~ I did change a few of the steps, so check below the recipe for my modifications.


Lemon Poppyseed Crinkle Cookies
Recipe by Justin Burke-Samson

Makes about 25 cookies

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup plus 2 tbsp granulated sugar
Zest of 2 lemons
Juice of 3 lemons
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp poppy seeds
Confectioners' sugar, for dusting

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter, sugar, and lemon zest. Cream on medium-high speed for 5 minutes, until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then add the lemon juice, egg, egg yolk, and vanilla and mix on medium speed for 4 minutes, until fully incorporated. The mixture will look broken at first, but it will come together.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and poppy seeds.
  3. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until just incorporated. Do not overmix. Finish mixing with a rubber spatula to incorporate any floury bits at the bottom of the bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours and up to overnight.
  4. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Use a 2-tbsp cookie scoop to portion out the dough and place the balls on the pans at least 2 inches apart. Wrap the baking sheets in plastic wrap and freeze the dough for at least 2 hours or up to 1 month.
  5. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  6.  Roll the balls of cookie dough in confectioners' sugar, then return to the baking sheets. Bake the cookies for 16 minutes, rotating the pans halfway, or until cracks form and the edges are slightly golden. Remove the cookies from the oven and let cool slightly on the baking sheets. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely before serving.

Notes from JennyBakes:

When I'm making anything sweet that is citrus, I zest the fruit into the granulated sugar and rub it through with my fingertips. It just makes the cookies super lemony!

I skipped the freezer time. Once the dough was chilled, I didn't see a point in freezing it. The balls were fine quickly rolled in the confectioners' sugar and baked immediately. It still took a solid 16 minutes.

Monday, September 21, 2020

Orange blossom, honey, and baklava semifreddo

I have been participating in the Rainy Day Bites Cookbook Club in Instagram, and the cookbook of the month for September is Falastin by Sami Tamini and Tara Wigley. There are a certain number of recipes that everyone is making, and you can find them by looking for the #rainydaybitescookbookclub tag - so far I've posted hummus with kofta (made with Impossible burger) and green shakshuka. But you know me, I always linger in the baked goods and dessert sections of cookbooks. I have several recipes marked but this semifreddo really caught me, probably because it called for orange blossom water and I was so proud because I thought I had it. I did not realize I didn't actually have any anymore until I was too deep into the recipe, but I found some reasonable substitutes. I think my orange blossom water was tossed in the Big Pantry Reorganization of Pandemic Times 2020, because I know I hadn't used it all. I had been adding some to my iced coffee sometimes, a brilliant idea I got from author Monica Byrne.

This was delicious, lightly sweet and not cloying in sweetness or richness. It is the perfect end to a lighter or heavy meal. And although not traditional, it incorporates so many flavors from Palestine that I'm going to include it in my 2020 reading/baking project.


Orange blossom, honey, and baklava semifreddo

Semifreddo
1 cup heavy cream
6 tbsp granulated sugar
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp water
1 egg, plus 2 egg yolks
1 1/2 tbsp orange blossom water

Baklava filling
2/3 cup pistachios, toasted
2/3 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
1 tsp ground cinnamon
10 cardamom pods, shells crushed and then discarded, seeds finely ground in a mortar and pestle (or 3/4 tsp ground cardamom)
1/4 tsp flaky sea salt
2 1/2 tbsp honey
1 tbsp orange blossom water

Orange sauce
2 oranges
Mounded 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
1/4 cup mint leaves, roughly torn

Lightly grease and line the base and sides of an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 inch loaf pan. Set aside until ready to use. 

To make the semifreddo, put the cream into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on medium-high speed for about 3 minutes, or until medium peaks form. Transfer to a separate bowl and keep in the fridge until needed. Wash the bowl and whisk and return them to the mixer; they need to be clean and ready to whisk the eggs halfway through the next stage.

Put the sugar, honey, and water into a small saucepan and place over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, then decrease to a simmer, stirring often. After 3 minutes, add the egg and egg yolks to the bowl of the stand mixer. Beat on medium-high speed for about 3 minutes, until pale and creamy. Decrease the speed to medium-low and slowly pour in the bubbling hot syrup, which should be foamy and glossy. Once the syrup is completely incorporated, increase the speed to medium-high and continue to beat for about 6 minutes, untiul the mixture is pale and glossy and the bowl is cool to the touch. Using a spatula, fold in the orange blossom water and whipped cream until just combined. Put half the mixture - about 7 oz/200 g - into the prepared loaf pan and smooth out the top. Wrap with parchment paper and freeze for 2 hours. Refrigerate the other half of the mixture in a separate bowl until needed.

To make the baklava filling, put the pistachios and walnuts into the bowl of a food processor and blitz roughly until crumbled. Transfer to a small bowl and stir in the spices, salt, honey, and orange blossom water. Once the semifreddo has been in the freezer for 2 hours, gently top with the baklava filling. Spread it out so that the top is covered, without pushing it in. Remove the reserved semifreddo from the fridge, give it a good whisk by hand, then pour it over the baklava filling. Spread it out until smooth, then rewrap the pan with parchment paper and freeze overnight.

To make the sauce, use a small, sharp knife to trim the tops and tails off the oranges. Cut down along their round urves, removing the skin and white pith. Release the segments by slicing between the membranes and transfer them to a bowl, discarding any seeds and squeezing what's left of the membranes to release any liquid into the bowl. Just before serving, add the pomegranate seeds and mint leaves to teh sauce.

Either spoon the sauce in a line along the top of the semifreddo before slicing or serve alongside.

Notes from JennyBakes:

-Since I knew fairly early I didn't have orange blossom water, I zested the orange and rubbed that into the sugar for the semifreddo, and substituted orange juice other places that called for the water.

-I didn't want to wash the food processor again so I just did some rough chopping of the nuts and it was just fine.

Falastin: A Cookbook
by Sami Tamini and Tara Wigley

Other recipes I've made:
Hassan's easy eggs with za'atar and lemon
Green shakshuka
Hummus with kofta
Roasted [squash and] zucchini with whipped feta and pistachios
[Cauliflower] musakhan (instead of chicken!)
Lemon chicken with za'atar

Other recipes I want to make:
Fruit and yogurt with sesame oat crumble and tahini-date syrup
Scrambled red shakshuka
Cauliflower and cumin fritters with mint yogurt
Mashed turnip with greens, caramelized onions, and feta
Chilled cucumber and tahini soup with spicy pumpkin seeds
Beet and feta galette with za'atar and honey
Pasta with yogurt and parsley breadcrumbs
Baked fish kubbeh
Baked fish in tahini sauce (I made a similar recipe from Ralph Nader's Lebanese cookbook)
Open cauliflower pies (sfiha)
Kofta with tahini, potato, and onion
Sweet tahini rolls
Ma'amoul bars

Hmm, this is probably not all going to happen in September!

Monday, September 14, 2020

Marionberry Cocoa Nib Scones

Last week I posted about the chocolate chip (cookies) of the future and I will have some of the baking products from Dandelion to play with for a while, so don't be surprised if half my posts relate to that in the near future. This recipe started with their scone recipe but I went rogue on a few ingredients and used a different process so your mileage may vary. I've been staying up late watching fire reports about where I grew up in Oregon, especially since the entire mountain I grew up on was evacuated. My Mom moved into town from there in April but that didn't meant I wasn't still worried about it. With my head in Oregon I decided to make an Oregon dessert and used some of the marionberries I had in the freezer for special occasions. I decided to try pairing them in the scone with a little chocolate but more subtly in the form of cocoa nibs (which also add texture) and just a few chocolate chips. I would make these again, but would probably bake them at least at 375 for a slightly shorter amount of time (I've never baked scones at 350, but since I did when I made this batch, I'll leave it in this post.)


Marionberry Cocoa Nib Scones

3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
4 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 cup unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup whole milk
1/3 cup chocolate chips
1/3 cup cocoa nibs
3/4 cup frozen marionberries (can use other berries, maybe not strawberries, dried fruit probably okay)
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup large crystal sugar (or use what you have)

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Combine dry ingredients into large mixing bowl.
  3. Blend butter into dry ingredients until texture is like rough sand. Using a food processor is okay but fingertips are even better. You don't want to overmix.
  4. Add berries or dried fruit, chocolate chips, and cocoa nibs and toss to coat with flour mixture.
  5. Mix egg with whole milk and vanilla, then trickle over dry ingredients. Use a fork or your hand to lightly mix until mixture starts coming together.
  6. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Gather dough together into 1-2 circles. Cut smaller circles into 4, one large circle into 8, and separate wedges on parchment. 
  7. Brush heavy cream on the top of the scone, and sprinkle with crystal sugar.
  8. Bake 25 minutes until starting to brown, your finger pressing on one doesn't make a squish inside, but not so long the bottoms burn!