The Friday Poem: Held up to the Light

The Friday Poem: An Empty Expanse of Sky

The Monthly Recipe: Almond Flour Gingerbread Sponge Cake

I’ve been playing with an almond flour sponge cake recipe I love, mostly because our hens have been inundating us with fresh eggs and this uses quite a few eggs, but also because it’s simple, has less sugar, and is gluten free.

I tried to turn it into a chocolate cake by replacing some of the almond flour with Dutch process cocoa powder. It was an utter failure, almost no chocolate flavor at all.

Then I had the idea to make it a gingerbread cake with the simple exchange of some molasses for part of the maple syrup and the addition of ginger and cinnamon.

OMG! This was so good that I couldn’t wait to share it! It is moist, tender, springy without being chewy, rich, and full of flavor. I like it with applesauce but my daughter likes it with whipped cream, so we had both. I actually like the texture better than traditional gingerbread cake.

I highly recommend you try it at the next opportunity. You can use nearly any type of pan, from a pie plate to a cake tin or a springform pan. I would line the bottom of the tin with parchment paper to make it easier to get out though.

Almond Flour Gingerbread Sponge Cake

Ingredients

  • 5 large eggs, separated
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¾ teaspoon ginger
  • ¾ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup molasses
  • 5 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 6 ounces almond flour (About a cup and a half.)

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Prepare a 9-inch cake pan, a 10-inch springform, or a similar size tin by buttering or greasing and lining with parchment paper.
  3. Separate the egg whites from the egg yolks, making sure no egg yolks break. I do this over a small bowl one at a time then put the egg yolks into a large bowl and the egg whites into my mixer bowl.
  4. Sprinkle the salt over the egg whites and whip them on medium high speed into stiff peaks. I use a stand mixer for this. I have heard you can do this by hand but I would never try it, my arm would be useless for too long afterward, if I ever even got there. A hand held mixer should also work fine.
  5. Mix the rest of the ingredients together in the bowl with the egg yolks.
  6. Now, gently fold the egg whites into the egg yolk mixture, always lifting from the bottom and in one direction. I’m right handed so I lift toward myself with a rubber spatula as I turn the bowl with my left hand.
  7. Pour the light and fluffy batter into the prepared pan.
  8. Bake for 40 minutes or until it pulls away from the sides and the top is springy to the touch.
  9. Allow to cool.
  10. Serve with applesauce and/or whipped cream.

The Friday Poem: Winter Doldrums

The Friday Poem: The Weight of a Book

The Friday Poem: A Child Inside

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.

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