The Sunday Recipe: Soft Molasses & Buttermilk Spice Cookies

Soft Molasses & Buttermilk Spice Cookies

This is a recipe from my great, great-grandmother via my mother, with a couple changes of hers, then a couple of mine. This is actually one quarter of the original recipe and makes a nice dozen cookies. I use the same recipe every year to roll out for ginger bread men as well.

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup butter
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup molasses
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup buttermilk
  • ½ teaspoons baking soda
  • ¾ teaspoons cinnamon
  • ¾ teaspoons ginger
  • 1 ½ cups flour (wheat or gluten free)

Directions

  1. Cream the butter and sugar together.
  2. Mix in the molasses.
  3. Stir in the buttermilk, salt, cinnamon, and ginger.
  4. Measure in the flour and baking soda then stir.
  5. Dump out onto a piece of parchment paper or plastic wrap.
  6. Form into a log and roll up then twist the ends.
  7. Refrigerate for at least an hour. (You can refrigerate overnight, or even freeze for a month or so before using.)
  8. Preheat oven to 350.
  9. Prepare a pan with parchment paper or non-stick cooking spray.
  10. Slice roll of cookie dough into 12 equal portions and lay out on a prepared pan.
  11. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes.
  12. Cool and enjoy. (Note: the gluten free flour may make them a little drier but they will soften up overnight in a container.)

The Sunday Recipe: Eggnog Bread

Eggnog Bread

If you’ve never made an eggnog bread, I highly recommend you give this a try before the eggnog is gone. It’s a great holiday treat. Don’t be intimidated by the 2 teaspoons of rum extract. You’ll miss it if it isn’t there. This is adapted from a recipe at The Recipe Critic –  https://therecipecritic.com/eggnog-quickbread-eggnog-glaze/  If you want a recipe that uses regular flour and sugar, follow the link.

Ingredients

  • 2 eggs plus 1 egg white
  • ¾ cups maple syrup
  • 1 stick of butter, melted
  • 2 teaspoons rum extract
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 ¼ cups of Bob’s Red Mill 1 to 1 baking mix, or 2 cups white rice flour with 2 tablespoons tapioca flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • Optional glaze: 1 cup sifted powdered sugar well mixed with 3 tablespoons eggnog

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Grease and flour a loaf pan, or spray with cooking spray and create a parchment sling.
  3. Cut the butter into tablespoons and melt in a microwave proof mug or bowl on 50% power, approximately 1 minute. (If there are chunks, stir so they dissolve instead of microwaving more to keep the butter at lower temp.)
  4. In a large mixing bowl, whisk the eggs.
  5. Whisk in the maple syrup, eggnog, rum extract, and vanilla.
  6. Add the melted butter in a thin stream, whisking continuously.
  7. Stir in the baking mix, baking powder, nutmeg, and cinnamon just until combined.
  8. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
  9. Allow to cool ten minutes before removing from pan.
  10. Cool completely before glazing, if using glaze.

This bread is best served cut into thin slices to get the full effect of the flavors. I cut the slices in half so they can be easily picked up, particularly when serving with other Christmas cookies.

*This year I had made vanilla buttercream frosting for molasses cookies so I just heated a half cup in the microwave for 45 seconds and poured it over the top of the second half of the loaf on Christmas Day. It worked great.

The Sunday Recipe: Simple Fruitcake

I wanted to try making this recipe with gluten free flour and maple syrup this year. When it came time, I thought I either had apples or applesauce in the freezer. Turns out I had only a couple apples, so I pulled out some peaches and made peach applesauce. It turned out just fine.

Simple Fruitcake

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cups applesauce
  • 3/4 cup maple syrup
  • ½ cup butter (light tasting olive oil or coconut oil should work fine for vegan)
  • 2 ¼ cup flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill 1 to 1 Baking Blend)
  • 2 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 8 ounces dark raisins
  • 8 ounces broken pecans
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Pick over pecans to remove any shell pieces in grooves and break up into 6 or 8 pieces each.
  2. Boil together applesauce and maple syrup for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Stir in the butter, pecans, and vanilla then set aside to cool.
  4. Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
  5. Prepare a 12 cup Bundt pan, or two loaf pans, or a mini Bundt pan tin.
  6. In a large bowl, blend together flour, baking soda, nutmeg, cinnamon, and salt.
  7. Add raisins to flour mixture.
  8. Stir the liquid ingredients in thoroughly.
  9. Pour into prepared tins and bake, about 40 minutes for the smaller ones or up to 2 hours for the large cake, or until a thin knife inserted in center comes out mostly clean.
  10. This cake is best aged a bit, at least a few days.
  11. For the adults – I decided to try soaking and aging a half of the mini fruitcakes with blackberry brandy this year. The directions I found say to simply poke holes all over with a toothpick then brush with the alcohol and wrap. Reapply alcohol each week. We’ll see what happens.

The Sunday Recipe: Glorified Rice

Glorified Rice

This is a simple gluten free dessert my grandmother used to make from just a few ingredients. I’ve even made it from leftover Chinese takeout rice. You can even add mini marshmallows, if you like, but I’m not a big fan of marshmallows.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups cooked white rice
  • 1 8-ounce can crushed pineapple
  • ½ cup whipping cream
  • 2 Tablespoons powdered sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Drain as much juice from the crushed pineapple as you can.
  2. In a small dish, combine the rice and crushed pineapple.
  3. Whip the cream with the powdered sugar and vanilla.
  4. Fold the whipped cream into the rice and pineapple combination.
  5. Refrigerate at least 4 hours.
  6. Enjoy!

The Sunday Recipe: Mincemeat or Pumpkin Butter Macarons

Mincemeat or Pumpkin Butter Macarons

I’ve been wanting to try making French macaron sandwich cookies for a while now, but cooking shows made it sound a little intimidating. Finally, I decided to take it as a challenge for myself on my birthday. It’s actually incredibly simple. So, today is an amalgamation of recipes really.

This recipe is adapted from Beth’s Foolproof Macarons from Entertaining with Beth. She offers a Raspberry Butter Cream recipe as well as many other recipes on her site. I highly recommend checking it out.  

Vanilla Macarons

Ingredients

  • 3 egg whites (room temperature)
  • ¼ cup white granulated sugar (50 grams)
  • 2 cups powdered sugar (200 grams)
  • 1 cup almond flour (120 grams)
  • Pinch of salt
  • ¼ teaspoon white vinegar (or cream of tartar)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Homemade Mincemeat Recipe for filling.

And/Or

Homemade Pumpkin Butter Recipe for filling.

Martha Stewart’s Cream Cheese Frosting (Just make half a batch.)

Directions

  1. Beat the egg whites until beginning to froth. (A minute or so on 6 on my KitchenAid stand mixer.)
  2. Add the granulated sugar, white vinegar, and salt.
  3. Beat on 6, or medium high, for 10 minutes, until stiff peaks are formed.
  4. In the meantime, sift the powdered sugar and almond flour together.
  5. Add the vanilla and fold the almond flour and sugar mixture into the egg whites until you can get a long ribbon off your spatula that will make a figure 8.
  6. Pipe or spoon the mixture into little dollops on parchment paper covered cookie tins. (I used a plastic bag with the corner cut out the first time, and an iced tea spoon the second time. That’s not an “iced teaspoon” it really is the long handled smaller spoon called an “iced tea spoon” for stirring iced tea.)
  7. Allow the tins to set at room temperature for 45 to 60 minutes before baking.
  8. Bake at 300 degrees for 20 minutes per tin.
  9. Cool thoroughly before filling.
  10. Pipe cream cheese frosting in a circle around the inside of one side of the macaron.
  11. Place a generous dollop of fruit filling in center.
  12. Sandwich cookies together gently.

Sadly, do not eat. These must go in a container and go in the fridge for 24 hours in order for the marshmallow like magic to occur. If you do eat one immediately, they will seem incredibly lackluster. You’ll quickly decide they weren’t worth it and you’ll never make them again.

However, if you make these and refrigerate them for a day, they will undertake a magical transformation, not unlike a caterpillar going into a chrysalis and transforming into a butterfly. They will explode in your mouth with flavor! The mincemeat one was like taking a bite of Christmas.

Enjoy!

The Sunday Recipe: Lekvar Cake

This was an attempt to recreate the Lekvar cake my mother makes for Christmas using only paleo ingredients. It did and it didn’t work. It creates a dense, dark cake, but it doesn’t quite recreate the flavors of my childhood. I think next time I will try swapping out some of the pecan flour for tapioca flour. I also may try it as an upside down cake in a pie plate rather than sandwiching it. Make sure you cook the lekvar down until it is a true jam consistency.

Lekvar Sandwich Cake

Ingredients

  • 3 ounces pitted dried prunes 
  • Water to cover the fruit
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon each cinnamon and nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon lemon juice

Directions

  1. Place prunes in a small saucepan and cover with water.
  2. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until fruit is soft, adding more boiling water as necessary.
  3. Remove from heat and purée fruit in a food processor or blender.
  4. Return to saucepan, maple syrup; and cook until thick 30 – 45 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat and stir in cinnamon, nutmeg, and lemon juice.

Ingredients

  • 6 ounces pecan flour
  • 2/3 cup maple syrup
  • 5 large eggs (separated)
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Grease and line a loaf pan with parchment paper.
  3. Separate the 5 eggs into 2 mixing bowls. (I highly recommend you do the actual separating over a small bowl and then dump the egg yolk into the one bowl and transfer the egg white into the mixing bowl.) If you don’t know how to separate eggs, here’s a simple 1-minute video on it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yAGX-54iR30
  4. Mix the maple syrup into the egg yolks then stir in the vanilla and pecan flour.
  5. Using a mixer, beat your egg whites and salt until stiff peaks form. (Tip: for best results make sure your bowl and beaters are clean and dry, free of any oil.)
  6. Fold the egg whites into the egg yolk mixture, about one third at a time. (Basically, folding means to use a large rubber spatula to stir up gently from the bottom.)
  7. Pour the mixture into the prepared loaf pan and bake for 45 minutes, until a knife or toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  8. Cool completely, at least 4 hours or overnight.
  9. Slice across under the top third of the cake.
  10. Slice the remaining two thirds of the cake across to create a third layer.
  11. Spread half the lekvar on the bottom slice of cake.
  12. Place the middle layer on top and spread with the other half of the lekvar.
  13. Place the top layer on and sprinkle with powdered sugar.
  14. Slice to serve.

The Sunday Recipe: Apple Cider Doughnut Cake

If you’ve read any of my recipes you might have noticed, I tend to work with what I’ve got and switch things out to avoid wheat flour and refined sugar. If you want the original recipe with sugar and wheat flour, I adapted this recipe from https://theviewfromgreatisland.com/apple-cider-doughnut-cake/#wprm-recipe-container-84520

Now, I didn’t have any oat flour on hand, nor any applesauce but I did have apples and quick oats. So, I peeled, cored and diced up a couple granny smith apples. I happened to have some plums and thought, why not? So, I cut up a plum and put that in too, with just enough water to keep things from sticking to the bottom of the little pot. I brought it to a boil then turned it down to simmer for half an hour. I processed some oats up. (1 ½ cups of oats yields approximately 1 1/2 cups of oat flour.) Then I processed the applesauce when it was done cooking and cooled in the fridge for 20 minutes.

My daughter asked if we could make another before we finished the first cake. This time we are going to glaze it instead of using the butter and sugar on top. We’ve also agreed to add ½ teaspoon of nutmeg, ¼ teaspoon of ginger, and a dash of cloves.

By the end, I was wishing I had mixed in the Kitchen Aid mixer because it’s a LOT of batter. If a Bundt pan cake seems like too much, I’ve also had good luck cutting a Bundt pan recipe in half and baking it in a glass loaf pan.

This cake is definitely best after totally cooled, and even chilled.

Apple Cider Doughnut Cake

Ingredients

Dry ingredients

  • 1 ½ cups white rice flour + ¼ cup tapioca flour
  • 1 1/2 cups oat flour (1 ½ cups of oats processes into the same for oat flour.)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Wet ingredients

  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 3/4 cup applesauce
  • 6 tablespoons each melted butter and light olive oil
  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 3 large eggs 
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. Grease and flour, or spray a Bundt pan with non-stick cooking spray. (Mine came out with the spray, but greasing and flouring is more reliable.)
  3. Whisk the dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl.
  4. Whisk the wet ingredients together in another bowl. (There are a lot of wet ingredients, go with a big bowl.)
  5. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and whisk until just combined.
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until a knife inserted near the center of one side of the round comes out clean. (Mine took 60 minutes.)
  7. Allow to cool in the pan for 15 minutes.
  8. Loosen the edges of the cake, I used an offset spatula. Place a plate over the cake pan then, using hot pads, turn them both over together.
  9. Brush with a couple tablespoons of melted butter and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar if desired, or glaze with a couple tablespoons of cider mixed with a cup of sifted powdered sugar.
  10. Cool thoroughly, and/or chill, and enjoy!

The Sunday Recipe: Decadent Chocolate Snack Cake

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Decadent Chocolate Snack Cake

Okay, honestly, if you do gluten free, you need to try this. I’ve made it several times since I figured it out and it is just incredible. Even if you don’t do gluten free, you’re going to love this. It is a one bowl wonder.

The zucchini is just enough to add an added element of flavor but you don’t necessarily taste it at zucchini. Some people call for shredding your zucchini and squeezing it to remove liquid but I wanted the moisture from the zucchini in this, so I recommend shredding it JUST before you add it in. Use a large whole grater and shred big.

This recipe is also reduced sugar and gluten free, but it may actually be my favorite chocolate cake of all time. It’s good warm or cold from the fridge.

I adapted this from a chocolate zucchini bread recipe I found several years ago that I wasn’t really happy with. The original recipe was dry, not very chocolaty, and just not very enjoyable. I added a third egg, increased the maple syrup and cocoa powder, eliminated squeezing the zucchini moisture out, and increased the chocolate chips, then reduced the oven temperature, and changed the type of pan it is baked in.

If you’d like the link to the original bread recipe, let me know and I’ll be happy to share it.

Ingredients

  • 3 eggs
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder (Dutch processed, if you have it.)
  • 1/8 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 cup of almond butter (no salt or sugar added, preferably)
  • 1 cup of shredded zucchini (150 grams)
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar
  • ¼ cup mini chocolate chips (optional)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 and spray or grease a pan. (8 X 8 or 9 X 9, even a toaster oven cake tin works.)
  2. Beat the eggs with a whisk or blender.
  3. Mix in the maple syrup until well combined.
  4. Add the vanilla. (You might get away with less than a tablespoon but indulge, vanilla makes chocolate SO much better.)
  5. Blend in the cocoa powder and salt until well combined. (Go slow at first until the powder is wet down.)
  6. Drop the almond butter by spoonfuls into the batter, spaced out, then blend in. (This can clog your whisk if it is too cold, until it gets mixed in well so make sure it is room temp.)
  7. Now, shred your zucchini then stir it in immediately.
  8. Last step – Measure the baking soda and put in then pour the vinegar over it and stir in.
  9. Pour into your prepared pan.
  10. If using, sprinkle the mini chocolate chips evenly over the cake.
  11. Bake for 40 minutes or until a knife comes out of the center clean.
  12. Enjoy!

The Sunday Recipe: Blueberry Lemon Loaf

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I had an incredible yen for something blueberry and lemon last weekend, it is blueberry season after all. I went through multiple recipes online looking for something that would work with my baking requirements and found this one https://www.karenskitchenstories.com/2019/06/blueberry-lemon-ricotta-tea-cake.html from Karen’s Kitchen Stories. I proceeded to deconstruct it and figure out how to make one that would work for me.

I cut the recipe in half to start with. I wanted to be able to make it in a loaf pan instead of my big spring form cake pan. (I also only had a couple cups of blueberries and one lemon.) I figured out how much of my different flours I would use in place of wheat flour, and switched out the sugar for maple syrup. It looked like there was enough eggs and baking powder that I wouldn’t need to add more. I also traded the vanilla for lemon extract.

I got all the dry ingredients put together on Saturday night, set out the butter and maple syrup, then got up early Sunday morning to bake a loaf before the heat set in for the day. It turned out fabulous!

I’m sure it would work fine if you substituted a gluten free flour blend of your choice for the blend of flours I use, but this one is my favorite.

Blueberry Lemon Loaf

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cups blueberries
  • 1 ½ tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 stick of unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 6 Tablespoons maple syrup
  • ¼ teaspoon lemon extract
  • Zest from 1 lemon
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/3 cup (or 42 grams) tapioca flour
  • 1/3 cup (or 42 grams) coconut flour
  • ½ cup + 1 ½ Tablespoons almond flour (or 70 grams)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt

Directions

  1. Heat the oven to 340 degrees.
  2. Spray or grease a loaf pan.
  3. Take a square of parchment paper. (Picture below.)
    1. Fold back and crease two opposing sides so that it is as long as the loaf pan.
    2. Place it into the loaf pan and crease so that it goes down one long side, across the bottom, and up the other side. It should extend up well beyond the sides of the pan.
    3. Fold the wings down and crease.
    4. You now have a parchment cradle for lifting the bread out after it is baked.
  4. Clean the outside of the lemon and dry then peel just the zest off (the very outer yellow part) and chop up fine.
  5. In a small bowl, mix the blueberries and cornstarch. Set aside.
  6. Cream the butter and maple syrup.
  7. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing after each addition.
  8. Mix in the ricotta cheese.
  9. Add the lemon extract and lemon zest.
  10. Combine the flours, baking powder, and salt.
  11. Mix the flour combo into the wet ingredients, stirring until combined.
  12. Gently stir in the blueberries.
  13. Pour into the greased and lined loaf pan.
  14. Bake for 80 minutes, or until a toothpick or knife comes out clean.
  15. Cool in the pan for about ten minutes.
  16. Lift the loaf out using the paper cradle and cool on a rack until desired temp for eating. (It’s good warm or cold.)
  17. Enjoy!
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The Sunday Recipe: Enchilada Casserole

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Enchilada Casserole

This is something that I have thrown together before with varied ingredients. This time I wrote it down. I used ground beef, but I’ve also used ground venison, and I imagine it would work just fine with chopped cooked chicken, soy crumbles, or even just leave the meat out altogether. With the beans and cheese, there is plenty of protein. I like to serve it with a little salad on the side, and/or chopped tomato, avocado, and sour cream.

Ingredients

  • 15 ounce can tomato sauce
  • ½ cup beef broth (or water with beef bouillon cube or powder)
  • 1 teaspoon to 1 Tablespoon chili powder depending on how spicy.
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 and ½ teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ pound ground beef
  • 1 can pinto beans
  • 5 6-inch corn tortillas
  • 2 cups shredded cheese (Monterey jack or Mexican blend)
  • 1 cup frozen corn

Directions

  1. Combine the tomato sauce, broth or water and bouillon, and seasonings in a medium pot over medium heat.
  2. Bring sauce to simmer and let it bubble gently for 15 minutes.
  3. Brown the ground beef or prepare other meat, if using.
  4. Mash or puree the pinto beans with ¼ cup of the sauce.
  5. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  6. Reserve ¼ cup sauce and ½ cup cheese for top of casserole.
  7. Prepare a round 1.75-quart casserole with cooking spray.
  8. Place ¼ cup sauce, without meat, in bottom of dish.
  9. Put one tortilla in dish.
  10. If using, now stir the meat into the sauce.
  11. Layer ¼ of sauce onto tortilla.
  12. Dollop ¼ of bean mixture on.
  13. Sprinkle ¼ of corn on.
  14. Sprinkle ¼ of cheese on.
  15. Place a tortilla on and press down lightly.
  16. Repeat steps 9 through 13, 3 more times.
  17. Spread reserved sauce on top of last tortilla.
  18. Sprinkle reserved cheese on.
  19. Bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes.
  20. Enjoy!

Mexican steps