Sunday, January 23, 2011

Double Chocolate Chip Cookies

Double Chocolate Chip Cookies
(This is an awful photo. Oops.)

This past July I met up with some friends for some intimate shows put on by one of our favorite bands, two in New Jersey and two in Vienna, VA. In between the two New Jersey shows, my friend Laura and I headed into NYC. Laura is gluten-free and vegan, so naturally one of our stops was at Babycakes, a vegan, mostly gluten-free bakery.

I'll have to admit, I wasn't quite sure what to expect. I eat a lot of vegan food, but I'd never really had any vegan baked goods before, let alone gluten-free ones. After one bite of a carrot cupcake, I was in love. I'd gladly live the rest of my life eating only donuts, cupcakes, cookies, brownies and muffins from that bakery. If you aren't vegan, I promise you won't miss the butter or eggs at all. You'll forget they ever existed.

Yesterday I picked up the Babycakes cookbook and made these delicious cookies. They are light, crispy and have a faint coconut flavor from the coconut oil. If you aren't gluten-free, you should be able to use regular all-purpose flour and skip the xanthan gum.

Double Chocolate Chip Cookies

Double Chocolate Chip Cookies
Adapted from the Babycakes Cookbook

1 cup coconut oil (measure when melted)
1¼ cups evaporated cane juice (or sugar)
¹⁄³ cup homemade applesauce or store-bought unsweetened applesauce
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder (not dutch processed)
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
1½ cups bob’s red mill gluten-free all-purpose baking flour (or regular all-purpose flour if you don't have a problem with gluten)
¼ cup flax meal
1 teaspoon baking soda
1½ teaspoons xanthan gum (skip if you use regular all-purpose flour)
1 cup vegan chocolate chips (or regular)

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Combine the coconut oil, evaporated cane juice, applesauce, cocoa powder, salt, and vanilla in a medium bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, flax meal, baking soda, and xanthan gum. Add the dry ingredients to the wet in two batches, mixing until just incorporated. Stir in the chocolate chips with a wooden spoon.

Form the dough into balls about 1 inch in diameter and press down slightly onto parchment covered cookie sheets. Bake for 14 minutes, turning the pans 180 degrees after 9 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes on the sheet and then transfer to a wire rack. If you don't want to bake all the cookies, you can freeze the cookie dough balls and bake later.

Makes 3 dozen cookies.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Pumpkin Pie with Oatmeal Walnut Crust

Pumpkin Pie

Above is a photo of the most delicious pumpkin pie that has ever been created. It didn't get photographed after it was baked because it didn't stick around very long.

It started with a motorcycle ride to St. Paul. Adam bought one this summer and they freak me out, but I agreed to hop on the back to get some tacos. On the way home, I convinced him to take me to Birchwood Cafe for dessert and I had their Sweet Potato pie with Oatmeal Walnut crust.

Oh. My. God.

The crust was out of this world amazing. When Thanksgiving rolled around (yes, I am super late with this post), I knew I had to recreate it. For the insides, I decided to try out a recipe from 101 Cookbooks that used coconut milk and hazelnut paste (if the coconut milk freaks you out, don't worry, you can't taste it in the end result). I even skipped the can stuff and made puree from a pumpkin Alex and I got from our CSA. I had enough to make one pie and 4 tiny ramekin sized pies. I brought the big pie to Adam's family, where we ate Thanksgiving dinner, and the tiny ones to my family who I saw the next day. It got rave reviews all around, especially this crust. Really. Try this crust. I think it would be great with fruit pies too.

It's also worth mentioning that while this pie was in the oven, a giant squirrel fell into our chimney and proceeded to make the most terrible noises I have ever heard for over 2 hours until someone from Wildlife Rescue came and got him out. Just another reason to hate squirrels.

Oatmeal Walnut Crust

Oatmeal Walnut Crust
Adapted from here

3/4 cup flour (I used whole wheat pastry)
3/4 cup rolled or quick oats
1/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup walnut pieces

Combine flour, oats, baking soda, and brown sugar (I used a food processor). Add the butter and pulse until combined. Stir the the walnuts pieces and press into the pie pan.

Makes enough for one pie.

Oatmeal Walnut Crust

Pumpkin Pie with Coconut Milk
Adapted from 101 Cookbooks

1.5 cups toasted hazelnuts (Put hazelnuts into 350 degree oven for 10-15 minutes)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 1/2 cups of roasted pumpkin puree or canned pumpkin
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 eggs
1 cup coconut milk

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Pulse the hazelnuts in a food processor until they become a paste. Spread over the bottom of the pie crust.

In a large bowl, combine the brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice, salt, and cornstarch. Follow with the pumpkin and vanilla. Finally, add the eggs and coconut milk.

Pour into the pie crust and bake for 45-55 minutes, or until the filling sets and only barely jiggles in the middle. Allow to cool completely before serving.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Whole Wheat Broccoli Calzones


A few weeks ago I saw a recipe for Easy Veggie Artichoke and Olive Calzones on Kohler Created and made them for dinner that night, using spinach instead of olives, which happen to be one of the three foods I dislike (The full trifecta of ew includes olives, blueberries, and fennel). A few days later I was trying to use up all the produce in the fridge and decided to try it with a whole-wheat crust stuffed with broccoli, cooking it the same way I had been to make Broccoli & Feta stuffed sweet potatoes (a new favorite). The end result was an easy, filling dinner that I've made several times and plan on making frequently in the future.

Whole Wheat Broccoli Calzones
Crust adapted from Kohler Created

Makes 2 calzones.

1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp warm water
1 1/4 tsp active-dry yeast (or half a packet)
1 cup bread flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp olive oil
1 beaten egg for egg wash (optional)

2 tsp olive oil
2 cups broccoli, chopped
2 cloves garlic, pressed
Red pepper flakes to taste
1/4 cup water
Tomato sauce (I used some from a jar of Muir Glen Garden Tomato I have been trying to finish off)
1/2 cup shredded cheese (I used a mix of cheddar and mozzarella)

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the water and the yeast and stir. Add the flour, salt, brown sugar, and mix with the dough hook until it comes together into a slightly sticky ball. Pour the olive oil on top, cover, and allow to rise for 30-45 minutes.


2. While the dough rises, make the filling. Heat the olive oil in a pan along with the garlic and red pepper flakes over medium heat. When the oil starts to bubble, add the broccoli and stir fry for a couple minutes (it should turn a brighter shade of green). Add the water and once it boils, lower the heat and allow to simmer until the water is mostly gone and the broccoli is tender, about 8 minutes.


3. After the dough has risen, knead a few times to incorporate the olive oil, and divide into two balls and roll each into a long, ovalish shape. Add the filling and fold the top over
and seal.



4. Brush tops with egg wash (if desired) and bake for 18-22 minutes and serve.