Archive for the ‘Desserts’ Category

Ah, yes, the commercials tell you eating these will make you think you’re skiing in the Alps, it’s brisk, it’s clean, it’s…corn syrup. Yeah. The ingredients of a York Peppermint Patty according to the Hershey’s website are: SUGAR; CORN SYRUP; SEMISWEET CHOCOLATE ( CHOCOLATE; SUGAR; COCOA; MILK FAT; COCOA BUTTER; SOY LECITHIN; PGPR, EMULSIFIER; VANILLIN, ARTIFICIAL FLAVOR) ; INVERT SUGAR; EGG WHITES; OIL OF PEPPERMINT; MI LK

There are worse things, but I’ll pass. Good thing they are easy to make at home!

Hats off to This Chick Cooks for her peppermint patty recipe. Find it here.I followed her recipe to the letter and these are delicious. Only technique I changed a bit was that after putting the chocolate on the top and sides, I stuck them back in the freezer for a few minutes, flipped them and applied the chocolate to the bottom.

These treats are easy, delicious, and filled with the great health benefits of coconut oil. Get the facts here!

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Since I’ve been trying to go gluten-free these days, I’m looking up recipes from the pioneers that have gone before me into the world of gluten free baking. I’ve been finding some really great recipes. One of those I tried tonight – chocolate chip cookies. Uh huh.

I used this recipe from over at the Tropical Traditions recipe site, www.freecoconutrecipes.com.  Since I’m also avoiding white sugar, I substituted the 1/2 cup sugar it called for with 1/3 cup honey. Everything else I followed to the letter (other than accidently adding too much salt – 1/2 tsp instead of 1/8 teaspoon, which made no difference that I could tell). From reading the reviews, I decided to use my small-ish melon baller to scoop the dough into 30 small balls, then used the fork I mixed everything with to smush them down a little bit. (This had the added benefit of adding nifty texture to the top of the cookies – reminds me of the peanut butter cookies I made back in the day with Mom.)

Sweet Dreams

I baked for 12 minutes. Ok, the first batch I baked for longer than 12 minutes and the bottoms got a little burned. So the next batch got 12 minutes and they were golden brown and delicious. I was really suprised at how much the honey flavor came through, even more than the coconut even though I used coconut oil, flour and flakes. I think I could even make these sans the chocolate chips for like a tea cookie. Aside from being a bit dry, these were really fantastic cookies. Test subject Bill approved, and said that he even liked the dryness and told me not to try to fix it!

As an added note, these cookies were ridiculously easy. I had cleaned up everything I dirtied while they baked and was sitting there, waiting with my camera and a spatula when they came out of the oven. Total time from finding recipe to eating cookie was probably 30 minutes.

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In my transition to eating real food I’ve given up a lot of unhealthy, processed foods. Many of these are sweets. Oh, those cookies and frozen confections that once held me captive…no longer. Bewitched, bothered and bewildered no more! Honestly, since I’ve been feeding myself as God intended for us to eat, I no longer crave or even have any desire to eat the old junk I used to love. That’s not to say, however, that I don’t want an occasional treat!

Chocolate Almond Macaroons

Lucky for me, I’ve found some wonderful recipes to make delicious homemade real food sweets! I recently made the Chocolate Macaroons from the Heathy Home Economist.  They are a bit of a time investment, but not so much in labor. After you whip up the eggwhites and flavorings and actually bake the cookies, they need to continue to dry in the oven for several hours so it’s largely non-active time. It is worth it though – they are feather light and crunchy and delicious! I couldn’t find the chocolate extract her recipe calls for so I used almond extract and it turned out very nicely. The only problem I ran into is that my final product had random very small suuuuper crunchy (aka HARD) chunks that ended up in them. Perhaps I wasn’t vigorous enough when I folded in the dry ingredients, or maybe I should have sifted in the dry ingredients slowly. Or maybe I should go back and watch Sarah’s video again. Either way, I loved them and will definately make them again.

Maple Vanilla ice cream with a crunchy macaroon!

I also had the pleasure of stumbling upon Chef Emily Duff’s blog, Family2Table. In this post, she offers a variety of real food desserts, all of which look UH-maze-ing. I made the vanilla and maple syrup ice cream. Not only is the recipe very simple, it is the most delicious ice cream I’ve ever made (and I’ve made my fair share). I LOVE LOVE LOVE using the maple syrup as the sweetener. It is so sophisticated and is a gentle sweetness, not overpowering or harsh at all like some ice creams I’ve had. It reminds me a bit of French Vanilla, one of my all time favorite flavors. Maybe it’s the real vanilla bean, maybe it’s the mix of vanilla bean and maple syrup. All I know is that it is truly a thing of beauty and I recommend that everyone reading this run out and buy an ice cream maker if you don’t already have one and make this ice cream.

The cool thing about making these two recipes on the same day is that the ice cream calls for egg yolks only and the macaroons call for egg whites only. This way you don’t have to worry about wasting. You will end up with four extra yolks, but hey….you can save them for another batch of ice cream or make your morning scrambled eggs extra yolky!

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On January 8, 2011 I graduated summa cum laude from Georgia Gwinnett College with a degree in Business Administration, Finance concentration. To celebrate the event, I catered my own graduation party last Saturday night. As much as possible, I used local and/or organic food. It was a lot of work, but at the end of it all my exhausted foodie spirit was satisfied! Various food porn photos from the event are below! Click on the pics for the larger version.

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Asian Pear A La Mode

I’ve never really been a huge fan of Asian pears. They’re not quite a pear, they’re not quite an apple…just never really knew what to do with them. So I wasn’t particularly excited to get one in my CSA box. It sat on the counter for a while and I began to worry that it would die there.

pear saute1But suddenly…inspiration! I got an idea from a Nourishing Traditions recipe (I think, I was reading several cookbooks) and grabbed that pear, rescuing it from the certain doom of decay. I diced it up and sauteed it in some butter and cinnamon until it was starting to get soft and a little golden brown and delicious on the edges.

Rising out a fancy dessert dish (I rarely make desserts, so the dishes tend to sit around and get dusty), I filled it with the warm pear and pear dessert1put a small scoop of my homemade vanilla ice cream on it. For good measure, I topped the ice cream with two frozen raspberries (farmer’s market haul from last month, yeah) and dusted it with a little more cinnamon. It was a work of art!

When I tasted it, at first it didn’t seem sweet enough and I was tempted to put honey on it.  But as the ice cream started to melt and mix in with the pear it was plenty sweet and I’m glad I didn’t add anything. I am still not an Asian pear fan, but this was a satisfying and beautiful dessert. Next time one of those fruits graces my CSA box I won’t be too disappointed.

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Little Stuff

Home Made Cottage Cheese

Home Made Cottage Cheese

I’ve been up to little stuff in the kitchen lately.  Last weekend I made cottage cheese based on a recipe from this site. It was pretty easy and made for some decent cottage cheese. I did visit some other sites for help and combined some methods, which I think was the right thing to do. For example, the recipe from the above site just said to add the vinegar. Um, just dump it in or what? Other places said to stir it so I did. I think I’ll do some further experimentation as I delve deeper into the world of cheese making.  I ate some  of the cottage cheese straight up and used some in a pasta sauce along with some spinach. Turned out well and was eaten by both myself and Test Subject Bill.

Tea and crumpets, anyone?

Tea and crumpets, anyone?

Today I made crumpets from the King Arthur Flour website. These things were AWESOME. Even better, they were easy. Now I know what to do with excess starter! All I did was take a cup of starter, throw in some salt, sugar and baking soda, cook ’em up and voila! Brew a cup of tea and you’re practically sitting in the Queen’s parlor. All I did was top mine with butter (although a plethora of toppings would have worked).  I highly recommend this recipe to anyone who has some starter laying around.

I’ve also been experimenting with my new ice cream maker for the last several weeks. I’ve made mint chip, premium vanilla bean and (today) strawberry.  I love this machine way too much. The ice cream is top of the line, and I’m judging based on GOOD ice cream, not crap. I will never buy ice cream again. I would have taken pics of all of them but SOMEBODY (Test Subject Bill) ate ALL the mint chip. If I get a chance tomorrow I’ll post a pic of the strawberry ice cream (a gift from God) after it has a chance to set up a little better. I usually don’t like to buy strawberries out of season because they tend to be hard, not sweet, generally just not good, but I desperately wanted to make this ice cream so I made an exception.  I guess with the added sugar it made up for what the fruit itself was lacking. I can’t wait to make this with real, good, in-season berries in a few months!

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