Sunday, June 12, 2016

Lots O'Apple Crumb Cake


I've been kickin this recipe around for a while and I think I've finally worked it to perfection. It's just a simple apple cake, but with emphasis on apple instead of cake. Not that you could sub it for the fruit part of your daily intake, it's still cake after all, just not a sweet, cloying cake.

It's moist and spicy with a crunchy oatmeal crumb on top. It's super easy to throw together and goes great with strong coffee or tea. And how good does it look on my brand new butcher block counter top!? Enjoy!

lot's o'apple crumb cake

1/2 cup butter
1/3 cup coconut oil
1 cup raw cane sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 & 1/2 cup white whole wheat flour
1 & 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
3 apples, peeled, cored and cut into small chunks (about 2 & 1/2 cups)

topping:
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup rolled oats
4 tablespoons melted butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 9 inch square baking pan. Cream butter and coconut oil, add sugar and mix well, scraping the sides as necessary.

Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla extract and mix on low to combine. Add flour, in 2 or 3 additions, mix on low to incorporate. Add apples and beat on low just until mixed.

Pour batter into prepared pan. For the topping combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and mix with a spoon until crumbly. Scatter on top of batter. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until a tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Make 8 to 10 servings. 



Sunday, February 7, 2016

Mint Chocolate Hearts


Here's a Happy Valentine's Day mash up between a thin mint and an Oreo. You're welcome. And you don't even have to take it all the way. You can stop at just a cut out heart dipped in minty dark chocolate. Fill the hearts with a minty, buttery center and leave them naked. Or go the whole nine. However far you take them you will love them. It's all about the love, people!

mint chocolate hearts

cookie

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup raw cane sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
1 & 1/2 cups unbleached flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup cocoa
1/4 cup dark cocoa

filling

6 tablespoons soft butter
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1/4 teaspoon mint extract
1 tablespoon light cream (or enough to achieve a spreadable consistency)

coating

12 ounces dark chocolate, broken or cut into small pieces
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon mint extract 

In a stand mixer beat butter and sugars until creamy. Add egg and vanilla extract: beat well, scraping the bowl as necessary. Whisk together flour, baking powder and cocoa. Add to butter mixer and blend on low until dough forms.  Wrap dough and chill for at least one hour or over night.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut dough in half. Roll each half to 1/8 inch thickness. Cut out cookies using a 2&1/2 inch heart shape cutter. Dough scraps can be re-rolled two times. Place cookies on parchment lined baking sheets 1/2 inch apart. Bake for about 10 minutes. (Do not over bake, it's hard to tell if cookies are getting burned because they are so dark to begin with.)

Cool cookies completely on a wire rack before filling.

For the filling: Beat butter and confectioners' sugar together until light and fluffy. Add mint extract and beat to combine. Spread about 1/2 teaspoon on the half the cookies and top with another cookie.

For the coating: Place chocolate, vegetable oil and mint extract in a small, deep bowl on top of a pot of water. Bring the water to a slow simmer and let the chocolate melt. When most of the chocolate seems melted stir it to complete melting. Remove carefully from the water pot and set aside to cool slightly.

Working with a fork, dip each cookie in the chocolate and carefully turn it over to coat. Remove any excess chocolate with a small offset spatula. Place dipped cookies on a wire rack to dry thoroughly.  Makes about 18 cookies.





 

Sunday, January 17, 2016

African Peanut Stew



Here's a dish that's as flavorful as it is colorful, and we all know it's most healthy to eat by colors.  Usually you see African peanut soup (or stew) with chicken in it. That's all well and good but I find this dish can stand on it's own. Carrots, sweet potatoes, tomatoes- who needs chicken. Not to mention, the peanut butter (legume) and rice (a grain) make for a complete protein!

African peanut stew

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup chopped onions
1 & 1/2 cups chopped carrots
1/4 cup chopped red pepper
1 sweet potato, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and choppped
1 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
8 ounces crushed tomatoes
3 cups vegetable (or chicken) stock
1/2 cup peanut butter
4 cups cooked rice (brown or white)
cilantro for garnish
peanuts for garnish 

In a large pot heat olive oil on medium-high heat. Add onions, carrots, red pepper, sweet potato, garlic, cumin and red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are translucent, about 10-15 minutes.

Add stock and bring to a boil. Lower heat add grated ginger and simmer until carrots and sweet potato are tender, about 10-15 minutes. Stir in peanut butter. Serve over cooked rice with a garnish of chopped cilantro and chopped peanuts. Makes 4-6 servings.