The Monthly Recipe: Toasted Oat PB & Cocoa No-bake Cookies

I’ve been wanting to try a classic no bake cookie recipe with maple syrup instead of sugar using oats that had been toasted in order to partially cook them. (Okay, so technically the oats are baked, but the cookies themselves are not.) I started by doing some research into pre-existing recipes. The main problem I had was – there were so many of them! And they were all a little bit different. Various recipes changed the ratios on the sugar, cocoa, and peanut butter, not to mention wildly different amounts and kinds of milk and butter or oil. Which way to jump?

I decided to start with a basic recipe that went high on the cocoa powder and peanut butter and sub in the maple syrup. I went with the recipe from Simple Joy. (Original recipe at https://www.simplejoy.com/chocolate-peanut-butter-no-bake-cookies/ ) I did cut the recipe in half and toasted the oats ahead. They turned out good – fudgy and rich with tons of peanut butter and chocolate flavor. The consistency was the only problem, they aren’t going to be able to sit out. These need to be stored in the fridge.

In putting the maple syrup in, I did a little research on making fudge with maple syrup too, and decided to cook the maple syrup a little longer to get a temperature that should set up better. The maple fudge recipes from Canada called for bringing the maple syrup to 236 to 240 degrees. I only went to 223 and didn’t cool it before I beat the air in. However, I did add cold peanut butter from the fridge which cooled it considerably.

I may play with this recipe some more in the future, but here’s what I came up with.

Toasted Oat PB & Cocoa No-bake Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cups quick cooking oats
  • 1 cup maple syrup
  • ¼ cup whole milk
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ½ cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

  • Preheat the oven to 375.
  • Spread the oats on a large, clean cooking tin with an edge.
  • Bake for seven to nine minutes, stirring after every 3 minutes, until the oats brown.
  • Set them aside to cool.
  • In a medium pot, stir together the maple syrup, butter, and milk.
  • Bring to a boil over medium high heat, stirring gently but continuously.
  • Boil at a full rolling boil for approximately 3 minutes, stirring lazily.
  • Remove from heat and stir in the peanut butter and vanilla.
  • Stir, stir, stir until it turns nice and glossy.
  • Now stir in the oats.
  • I used a medium cookie scoop to drop these onto parchment paper and they sat right where I put them, no running away.
  • Cool at least 30 minutes.
  • I cut the parchment paper into squares around the fudgy cookies and stored them in the fridge. This made 18 large no-bakes.

The Sunday Recipe: Pumpkin and Maple Bread Pudding

This has become a family tradition. It’s adapted from Flavor Mosaic at https://flavormosaic.com/pumpkin-praline-bread-pudding/. I changed the type of bread, spice blend, substituted maple syrup for sugar, used unsalted butter, and halved the sauce. (Also using maple syrup in the sauce.) Our local grocery sells 1 ½ pound sourdough loafs so we always get to enjoy sourdough toast that weekend as well.

Pumpkin Bread Pudding

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 pound of sourdough bread
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup half & half
  • 1 15-ounce can pumpkin puree
  • 1and 1/3 cups maple syrup
  • 4 large Eggs
  • 2 tablespoons extra light tasting olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/16 teaspoon (or a large pinch) of ground cloves

Sauce

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 4 ounces pecan halves, toasted THEN chopped

Instructions 

  1. Butter a 9 x 13 baking dish with the one tablespoon of unsalted butter.
  2. Dice the bread into approximately 1 inch cubes.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs.
  4. Add the maple syrup, heavy cream, half& half, and pumpkin, stirring between each addition.
  5. Now add the melted butter in a thin stream, whisking all the while.
  6. Stir in the vanilla and spices.
  7. Slowly pour the batter over the bread pieces in the baking dish.
  8. Press bread down with a spoon to cover all the bread pieces.
  9. Refrigerate at least one hour but preferably several hours, even overnight.
  10. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 for about 1 hour.
  11. While the bread pudding is baking, toast the pecans gently and chop.
  12. Then make the praline sauce.
  13. In a heavy saucepan over medium heat, stir together the butter, heavy cream, and maple syrup; bring to a low boil.
  14. Reduce heat to low and simmer until the sauce thickens, about 5 minutes.
  15. Sprinkle pecans over bread pudding then drizzle with sauce.
  16. Serve warm or cold.
  17. Whipping cream is a nice addition.

The Sunday Recipe: Great-Grandma’s Soft Buttermilk Molasses Cookies

This is an old recipe handed down from my great-great grandmother and adjusted many times over the years. The version I was originally given by my mother had the cloves and allspice crossed out and the baking soda reduced. I stick to ginger and cinnamon, but I did try using the full amount of baking soda recently and regretted it. I think it tastes better with a little less. It’s a very friendly dough that can be scooped and dropped or add a little more flour, roll out, and cut beautiful cookies for decorating.

I highly recommend letting a stand mixer do the work for these cookies, but don’t double the batch. Your mixer can’t handle it, trust me. 😉 My daughter likes to use a basting brush to sweep away any excess flour before baking to make the cookies picture perfect.

Great-Grandma’s Soft Buttermilk Molasses Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup molasses
  • 1 cup of buttermilk (full fat preferred)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 3 teaspoons ginger
  • 5 and 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

Directions

  1. Cream the butter and sugar together.
  2. Mix in the molasses.
  3. Blend in the buttermilk.
  4. Mix together the flours, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and ginger.
  5. Stir into the liquid ingredients.
  6. Chill for a half hour or longer.
  7. Preheat oven to 350.
  8. Prepare a pan with parchment paper or non-stick cooking spray.
  9. Scoop out with a cookie scoop and drop onto a dish of granulated sugar then pick up with the back of a spoon.
  10. Drop off onto the tin then flip over so the sugar is right side up.
  11. Alternatively – roll out on a floured surface and cut out with floured cookie cutters.
  12. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes.
  13. Cool and enjoy or decorate with icing.

The Sunday Recipe: Quiche

Sorry, this recipe is decidedly traditional – gluten and all. Don’t worry, I’ll be back to the gluten free soon. I tried a quiche last weekend but I wasn’t satisfied with how it turned out so I did a little research, talked to my mom, and tried again this weekend. The first time I used fried uncured pancetta, and it was tasty but it sank to the bottom, along with the cheese, leaving a fluffy egg top mostly devoid of the bits that make it better. My mother suggested sprinkling the meat on the top. I thought maybe if I grated the cheese finer and mixed it into the egg and cream before pouring it into the crust that would help. I also ended up using Canadian bacon, which is lighter than the little cubes of pancetta. Both tasted delicious but I think I’d like a little bit more egg and less cream. I might try an egg bake soon that does that.

Meat and Cheese Quiche

Ingredients

Crust

  • 1 cup Unbleached All-purpose Flour
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon Spectrum Palm Oil Shortening (Or shortening of your choice.)
  • 3 tablespoons cold water

Filling

  • 4 ounces baby Swiss cheese
  • 4 ounces fried pancetta (second quiche I diced up 3 ounces Canadian bacon)
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped onion
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 4 large eggs
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)

Directions

  1. Measure 120 grams or 1 cup of flour into a bowl.
  2. Add the ¼ teaspoon salt and stir together.
  3. Cut in the shortening. (If you don’t have a pastry blender, get one, but two knives will work. You can also pulse in a food processor.)
  4. Pour in the water and mix then press together into a disc of dough.
  5. Place between two squares of parchment paper, flouring below and on top of the dough.
  6. Roll the dough out into a large circle.
  7. Cut and tack pieces onto any place that cracked, using a little water and flour after.
  8. Gently peel the top parchment off.
  9. Put pie plate onto dough face down and slide hand under the parchment then flip the whole thing over.
  10. Peel off the parchment.
  11. Ease dough into pie plate.
  12. Turn edges back and flute the crust.
  13. Chill for at least 30 minutes in fridge.
  14. While chilling dough, preheat oven to 425.
  15. Dice onion and Canadian bacon, if using.
  16. Grate cheese.
  17. Whisk eggs, cream, and seasonings thoroughly.
  18. Stir cheese in.
  19. Pour egg mix into par-baked crust.
  20. Sprinkle with ham and onion.
  21. Bake at 425 for 15 minutes.
  22. Turn oven down to 300 and bake 30 minutes.
  23. Cool at least 10 minutes before cutting.
  24. Enjoy!

The Sunday Recipe: Wild Blueberry Tart with Almond Crust

Tarts have been big in my house this year. Easy to make with a gluten free crust and relatively low sugar, they are perfect for a fast and easy dessert. I had a yen for blueberries the other day and found wild blueberries in the freezer section of our local grocery store so this week’s recipe is a wild blueberry tart.

Wild Blueberry Tart with Almond Crust

Crust Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 160 grams or 1 1/2 cups almond flour

Filling Ingredients

  • 16 ounces or 3 cups blueberries, defrosted
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon tapioca flour (mixed with 1 tablespoon water)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Prep your tin if needed. (I used a non-stick 9 inch tart pan but an 8 X 8 tin, greased and lined with parchment paper, will work just fine.)
  3. Heat the 2 tablespoons of butter in the maple syrup for 1 minute on 50% power in the microwave then stir to finish melting.
  4. Add the pinch of salt and almond flour.
  5. Stir to combine.
  6. Turn out into your tin and press evenly out to the sides and up a half inch.
  7. Bake at 350 for 10 to 12 minutes.
  8. Meanwhile, combine all the filling ingredients except for the dissolved tapioca powder in a medium saucepan.
  9. Bring just to a boil over medium high heat.
  10. Stir in the tapioca flour and keep stirring for 30 seconds to a minute as it thickens.
  11. Remove from heat.
  12. When the tart shell is ready, fill with the blueberry filling.
  13. Bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees.
  14. Allow to cool before serving.
  15. This is best served the same day or the next because the almond pastry will soften if left for two days. Not a deal breaker, but it’s nicer when crisp.

The Sunday Recipe: Orange Cranberry Muffins

This is a reprise of a recipe I shared last year with just a few changes. Orange and cranberry are so ubiquitous at this time of year, that it doesn’t seem fair, most of it has wheat flour in it. This one is gluten free. (These got a tiny bit scorched as I’m still getting used to my new oven, but they tasted just fine.)

Orange Cranberry Muffins

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup quick oats
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup melted butter, cooled
  • 3/4 cup white rice flour
  • 2 tablespoons tapioca flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • Zest of one orange (optional)

Directions

  1. Combine dried cranberries with orange juice in a glass bowl or measuring cup.
  2. Microwave on low power, about 50% power for one minute.
  3. Allow to sit for at least one hour, preferably overnight in the fridge.
  4. When ready to make the muffins, pour the cranberries into a strainer and set aside.
  5. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  6. Combine the oats and buttermilk then allow to sit for 10 minutes.
  7. Grease 12 muffin cups.
  8. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs.
  9. Add maple syrup.
  10. Mix the melted butter.
  11. Add white rice flour, tapioca flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  12. Stir in cranberries and orange zest.
  13. Divvy up amongst the 12 muffin cups.
  14. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes.
  15. Allow to cool for 10 minutes.
  16. Enjoy.

Sunday Recipe: Chunky Maple Apple Tart #glutenfree

Chunky Maple Apple Tart #glutenfree

I’ve finally realized my two tart pans are two different sizes and the smaller one works much better for this recipe. It allows the dough to fill the tart pan and create a substantial but not overly heavy crust. It’s a Wilton non-stick pan, 9 by 1.125 inches. My 8 by 8-inch square tin works great too but I find you need to line it with parchment paper to get things out easily, and it’s not quite as pretty. I’d say this serves about 6. I wanted a simple apple pie type dessert since I have so many apples, but one that was gluten free. This one fits the bill. It’s easier to make than a pie and yet satisfies that particular desire without any gluten, and pretty easy to make vegan. I love to serve it with sharp cheddar cheese.

Ingredients

For the Crust

  • 2 tablespoons melted butter or olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup or honey
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 ½ cups or 160 grams almond flour

For the filling

  • 4 medium apples, peeled, cored, and diced
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 tablespoon butter or olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons maple syrup or honey
  • 1 tablespoon tapioca flour mixed with 1 tablespoon cool water
  • ¼ teaspoon each cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Use a non-stick tart pan OR grease and line an 8 by 8 pan with parchment paper.
  3. Combine the crust ingredients and press into the prepared pan with your fingers, pressing the crust up the side.
  4. Bake for 12 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, prepare the apples and combine with the water, butter, and maple syrup in a medium sauce pan.
  6. Bring to a low boil over medium heat. (Takes about five minutes.)
  7. Simmer covered for another five minutes, stirring periodically, until apples are softened.
  8. Stir in the tapioca slurry and seasonings.
  9. Pour into the crust and bake at 350 for 20 minutes.
  10. Cool completely before serving.

The Sunday Recipe: Paleo Apple Pie Fail

I really wanted to work on making an apple pie that was gluten free and lower sugar so I went looking for a pie crust that uses almond, coconut, and/or tapioca flour. I found a crust that sounded good at https://www.foodrepublic.com/recipes/holy-grail-status-perfect-paleo-pie-crust-recipe/ and gave it a try. I don’t have a recipe for you this week because I honestly don’t deem it worth trying again. I really didn’t like it. It was edible, but that was the best I can say for it.

I followed the directions, using my food processor. I molded it into a disk and wrapped in plastic wrap then refrigerated it for exactly 20 minutes, per the recipe. I placed it between two sheets of parchment paper and tried to roll it out, but it immediately just started crumbling. I eventually gave up, dumped it into my pie plate and just pressed it in. I should have blind baked it to avoid a soggy bottom but I didn’t and I had one.

I also used palm shortening, which could have affected the recipe, but the creator allows for a variety of fat contents. The recipe itself says to weigh the ingredients and measure, but doesn’t give the weights, just the measurements. The problem with this is that I have had almond flour packages that said ¼ cup was 15 grams and others that said ¼ cup is 28 grams. Big difference. That could have had something to do with how the crust turned out for me.

The recipe also gives instructions on blind baking but doesn’t really apply the use of the crust to pies, which tend to bake at a higher temperature than the creator gives for blind baking. I did not blind bake, just filled with the standard Betty Crocker recipe for a deep dish apple pie, exchanging maple syrup for the sugar, and tapioca flour for the wheat flour.

It smelled heavenly. And the edges didn’t taste horrible, just not what I’m looking for. I’d rather make a tart using my standard almond flour crust, if I’m going to go in this direction anyway. I really want a gluten free pie crust I can roll out, make a two crust pie, and have it rival a regular pie. Maybe that’s asking too much of alternative flours. But I’ll try some other recipes before I give up.

The Sunday Recipe: Apple Crisp Cheesecake Bars

Apple Crisp Cheesecake Bars – #glutenfree

Ingredients

Crust

  • 1 ½ cups almond flour (About 160 grams)
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt

Filling

  • 1 8-ounce block cream cheese
  • 1 large egg
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon sour cream
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon tapioca or cornstarch

Topping

  • 1 cup quick cooking oats
  • 5 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
  • 6 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 large tart cooking apple (such as Granny Smith or Ida Red)

Directions

  1. Process ½ cup of the oats into flour.
  2. Drop the cold butter in chunks into the food processer, and pulse to combine.
  3. Turn into a bowl and mix with the other ½ cup of unprocessed oats, the brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
  4. Refrigerate.
  5. Preheat oven to 350.
  6. Prepare a 9 by 9 glass baking dish, or similar size by greasing or spraying with cooking spray and lining with parchment paper.
  7. In a medium bowl, melt 2 tablespoons butter with the 2 tablespoons of maple syrup in the microwave on low for a minute or two.
  8. Remove from microwave and stir in the salt.
  9. Mix in the almond flour and turn out into the prepared tin.
  10. Press into the tin, and up the sides a little bit.
  11. Bake for 12 minutes.
  12. While that is baking, place an egg in hot tap water.
  13. Chunk up the cream cheese into a medium bowl and pour the ¼ cup maple syrup over it.
  14. Microwave for 1 to 2 minutes on medium until you can stir with a whisk.
  15. Stir until smooth then add the egg, sour cream, and vanilla.
  16. Refrigerate the filling while you peel, core, and chop the apple into small chunks, about ¼ to 1/3 inch.
  17. Lay the apple out on some paper towel to soak up any extra moisture.
  18. When the crust comes out of the oven, turn the oven up to 375.
  19. Pour the cream cheese mixture into the crust.
  20. Toss the apple with the oatmeal topping then distribute evenly over the cream cheese filling.
  21. Bake at 375 for 35 minutes.
  22. Allow to cool on a rack then refrigerate for at least a couple hours before serving.
  23. Enjoy.

The Sunday Recipe: Pumpkin Praline Cheesecake

Pumpkin Praline Cheesecake

Crust

  • 9 ounces pecans
  • 1 tablespoons tapioca flour
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt

Filling

  • 2 packages (8 ounce each) cream cheese
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 3 tablespoons sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon tapioca flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • Pinch of cloves

Topping (Optional – it made it prettier, but didn’t add much to the flavor palette.)

  • ¼ cup butter
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 1 ounce chopped pecans, reserved from toasting

Directions

  1. Lay all the pecans out on a tin or two in a single layer, creased side up, making sure there are no shell pieces left in the creases.
  2. I toast pecans in my toaster oven, darkness setting halfway between light and medium. Once the toaster dings, I leave them in there as it cools a few minutes to finish. (Pecans can also be toasted for a few minutes in a low oven or in a clean frying pan.)
  3. Allow pecans to cool thoroughly.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  5. Process all but 1 ounce of the pecans in a food processor until they are finely ground or until they barely start turning to pecan butter.
  6. Prepare a 9 ½ inch spring form pan with cooking spray and line with parchment paper. You can also use a 9 X 9 tin  or even an 8 X 8 tin with high sides.
  7. Mix all the ingredients for the crust and press into the prepared pan.
  8. If using a spring form pan, wrap the pan with aluminum foil and set in a roaster.
  9. Bake for ten minutes then allow to cool while preparing the filling.
  10. For the filling, make sure everything is brought to room temperature. You can speed this up by heating the eggs in hot tap water for 10 minutes, and microwaving everything else at 30% power, at 30 second increments.
  11. Beat the softened cream cheese with the maple syrup until smooth.
  12. Add the eggs, then the pumpkin, and sour cream.
  13. Finally, add the tapioca flour and spices.
  14. Pour into the pan, over the crust.
  15. Add water to the roasting pan, about halfway up the sides of the wrapped tin.
  16. Bake at 300 degrees for 1 hour.
  17. Without opening the oven, turn it off and leave the cheesecake in the oven for another hour.
  18. Room from oven and from the water bath.
  19. Allow to cool an hour or so then refrigerate.
  20. To make the topping, place the butter, maple syrup, and cream in a saucepan.
  21. Stir gently on medium heat until the butter is melted and it comes to a boil.
  22. Add the pecans and reduced to low.
  23. Simmer for 5 minutes.
  24. Allow to cool then spread on top of cheesecake.
  25. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

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