Walnut Butter Cookies

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Since spring is still undecided if it should be freezing or warm, I figured it is a good day to bake some cookies. Yesterday I made Oatmeal A, B, C, which are delicious, but I decided it has been so long since I baked anything I would try another new recipe. I also have more time on my hands since I left my full time job to work on my photography business.

This recipe is from the Dining on a Dime cookbook. Also another huge plus of this recipe 6 ingredients! You read that right a whole 6 things. This recipe is egg-free if that is something you are looking for as well. I ran out of butter, so mine aren’t as buttery flavored as the title suggests.

Walnut Butter Cookies

1 c butter (I subbed out ½ cup of unsweetened applesauce)
4 Tbsp sugar (took this down from 6 Tbsp)
2 c flour
1 tsp vanilla
1 c walnuts (I chopped them, recipe doesn’t say to)
powdered sugar (I used maybe 2 Tbsp)

Cream butter and sugar together. Add flour, vanilla and nuts. Roll into walnut-sized balls (I used my small scooper and didn’t pack it full for each one) onto a greased cookie sheet and lightly flatten. Bake at 400° for 10 minutes. Remove from oven, place on waxed paper and sprinkle with or roll in powdered sugar. Makes 3 dozen. (I got 37 😛  probably could have leveled off the scoop to make it the even 36)

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Oatmeal A, B, C

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From the family cookbook.
This one is from my late Grandma’s kitchen. It has ingredients you will recognize! I used my small spoon scoop thing for cookies to make these. It makes a wonderful little snack that way, keeping the cookie count up and the calorie count down.

Oatmeal A, B, C

½ c (1 stick) butter
½ c applesauce
1 tsp soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 c firmly packed brown sugar
1 c sugar
1 tsp salt
¾ c chopped nuts (optional)
2 c quick oatmeal
c all purpose flour
1 c raisins
½ c mini chocolate chips
2 eggs

In large bowl cream sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs. Add flour, soda, cinnamon and salt. Mix well. Stir in remaining ingredients. Cover. Refrigerate until chilled or overnight. Preheat oven to 350°. Put a tablespoon of dough 2” apart on baking sheet. Bake 12-15 min. or until golden brown.

And voilà you have these awesome homemade oatmeal (and fruit), with chocolate 🙂 cookies!

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Anytime Bars

anytime bars_0613_03This recipe is from The Cancer Fighting Kitchen. I picked it up when I found out my cousin’s then-fiance had leukemia. You can read her story and journey here. These bars are suggested for when someone is receiving chemo to help give them more energy. My husband and I make them when we are on the go, traveling or just want a tasty (healthy) snack.

These bars take a little time to make, but they are worth it!

Anytime Barsanytime bars_0613_04

1 c raw pecan halves
1 c whole raw almonds
2 Tbsp spelt flour
2 Tbsp unbleached all purpose flour
2 Tbsp finely ground flaxseeds
¼ tsp sea salt
⅛ tsp baking powder
⅛ tsp baking soda
¼ c old-fashioned rolled oats
1 c pitted dates, quartered (preferably Medjool)
1 c unsulfured dried apricots, cut in half
1 organic egg
5 Tbsp maple syrup (I use grade A)
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350° and line baking sheet with parchment paper. Lightly oil a 9-inch square pan.

Spread the pecans in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet and toast for 7 to 10 minutes, until aromatic and slightly browned. Watch them carefully, as they can burn easily. Repeat this process for the almonds. Turn down the oven to 325°.

Combine the spelt flour, all-purpose flour, flaxseeds, salt, baking powder and baking soda in a food processor and process for 5 seconds to combine. Add the pecans and almonds and pulse 5 times to coarsely chop the nuts. Add the oats, dates and apricots and pulse 10 to 15 times, until the mixture is well chopped but still coarse.

In a large bowl, whisk the egg, maple syrup and vanilla together until thoroughly combined. Add the fruit and nut mixture and use your hands to mix thoroughly, being sure to separate any clumps of fruit. Spread the mixture in the oiled baking pan in an even layer and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until set and golden brown; don’t over bake, or the bars will be too dry. Let cool 5 minutes and cut into 25 squares. Leave bar in pan to cool all the way so they’ll hold together when you remove them.

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Variations

Use walnuts instead of pecans.
Add ¼ cup dried cranberries, cherries, blueberries, raisins or currants when mixing together at the end.
Add 1 tablespoon of grated orange zest when mixing together at the end.
Add 2 tablespoons of sesame seeds when mixing together at the end.
Add ¼ cup of unsweetened shredded coconut when mixing together at the end.
For gluten-free substitute gluten free muffin mix for the flours. Make sure oats were not processed alongside wheat.

Rhubarb Coffee Cake

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This recipe comes from the family cookbook. It was listed as being my grandma’s. In a way I’m using her rhubarb. My mom got her rhubarb from my grandma’s garden, and I got mine from my mom. It’s a wonderful cake, that while says it’s for coffee, I say it goes great with some vanilla ice cream. I have made a couple of modifications to the recipe using applesauce and a combination of sugars and flours. Oh and it’s great if you need to use up some sour milk.

Rhubarb Coffee Cake

4 Tbsp butter
¼ c applesauce
18 tsp granulated sugarrhubarb coffee cake_0613_01
18 tsp raw sugar
1 egg
1 c sour milk
2½ c flour
1½ tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
2 c diced rhubarb
½ c brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

Cream sugar, butter, applesauce, egg and vanilla. Add milk, flour, baking soda and salt. Stir in rhubarb. Put in greased 9×13 pan. Sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon. Bake 30 minutes at 350°. Best warm with ice cream. (At least that’s my preference, some people like it cold with ice cream or Cool Whip)

Right before it went into the oven.

Right before it went into the oven.

Meringue Coconut Brownies

merignue brownies_0313_06-EditThis is a fun recipe. I managed to read the name and ingredients and still believe I was making regular old brownies with some coconut. I’ve heard of meringue, but had no idea what it entailed to make it. And let it be said that before this recipe I had only successfully gotten my egg whites to create stiff peaks once. Now that I have accomplished this feat for the third time (I’ve had to use my new found skill since) I think I might remember what to do.

In case you don’t know how to get your egg whites into stiff peaks as some recipes ask merignue brownies_0313_03this is how: Get your electric handheld mixer out and put on the whisk attachment. Put your egg whites in a bowl that you can use your mixer with. Then whisk away. One recipe said it takes about a minute, I would say more than that. So it’s super simple, but for some reason until recently this was a very challenging part of baking for me. Now onto the recipe you clicked on to begin with! Please note that I cut down the sugar from the totals listed below.

Makeover Meringue Coconut Brownies

(Found in Taste of Home Healthy Cooking)

 ⅓ c butter, softened
⅓ c plus ¾ c packed brown sugar
⅓ c sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 c all-purpose flour
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
⅓ c fat-free milk
1 c (6 oz) semisweet chocolate chips
1 c flaked coconut
½ c chopped walnuts
3 egg whites
¼ tsp cream of tartar

In a small bowl, cream the butter, ⅓ merignue brownies_0313_01cup brown sugar and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt; add to the creamed mixture alternately with milk, beating well after each addition. Press into a 9×13-in greased baking pan. Sprinkle with chocolate chips, coconut and walnuts.

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In a large bowl, beat egg whites and cream of tartar until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in remaining brown sugar, 1 Tbsp. at a time. Beat until stiff peaks form. Spread over the top. Bake at 350° for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean (do not overbake).

Cool on a wire rack. Cut into bars. Store in the refrigerator (this is super important!) They will be super sticky if you don’t.

merignue brownies_0313_04So there you have it, these delicious bars that claim to be brownies in disguise.

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(Almost) Gluten Free Cinnamon Coffeecake

cinnamon cake_21On a snowy day, something warm with cinnamon sounds tasty. So yesterday as it snowed I made this tasty sounding recipe, with a few tweaks, to enjoy with some coffee. This started out as a gluten free recipe using 2.5 c almond flour instead of the 2 c of the custom flour blend I used.

(Almost) Gluten Free Cinnamon Coffeecake

2 c flourcinnamon cake_16
¼ tsp sea salt
½ tsp baking soda
½ c walnuts, coarsely chopped
½ c raisins
¼ c applesauce
¼ c unsalted butter, melted
2 large egg
⅓ c milk

Topping
2 Tbsp ground cinnamon
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1 Tbsp brown sugar
2 Tbsp ground or sliced almonds


Preheat oven to 350°. Grease an 8-inch square baking dish with cooking spray.

Combine the flour, salt, baking soda, walnuts and raisins in a large bowl. In a medium bowl, whisk together the applesauce, butter, milk and eggs. Stir the wet ingredients into the almond flour mixture until thoroughly cinnamon cake_17combined. Spread the batter in the baking dish.

Mix cinnamon, butter, brown sugar and almonds in a bowl. Sprinkle the topping over the cake batter.

Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cake cook 1 hour, then serve.

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Although I don’t personally have a gluten allergy, I typed up a lot of recipes for times when I am baking for someone who does. This is one of the cookbooks I found at the library: The Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook: Breakfasts, Entrees, and More by Elana Amsterdam. This is a great resource for people who have gluten allergies and still want more moist baked goods.

(Almost) Gluten Free Very Vanilla Cupcakes

cupcakes I went through a phase last year of finding gluten free recipes. My husband had a co-worker with the allergy and on bring food days no one remembered. So I made deserts and sides with her allergy in mind so she would be able to join everyone in their group lunches. I checked out about 4 cookbooks from the library to get recipes and typed up the ones that sounded good, or that I could use the main Almond Flouringredients and make my own version. This is one of those my own version ones, so if you need gluten free just use 2.5 c almond flour instead of the combo of flours I used. I also baked them in the mini muffin pan, I think the end bake time was around 20 minutes.

Almost Gluten Free Very Vanilla Cupcakes

1¼ c almond flourcupcakes in pan
1 c custom flour blend
2 eggs
4 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1/3 c applesauce
2 Tbsp organic agave nectar
3 tsp sugar (raw or regular)
3 tsp pure vanilla extract
3 tsp fresh squeezed lemon juice (or Real Lemon, depending on what you have on hand)
½ tsp sea salt
½ tsp baking soda

Preheat oven to 350°. Line 10 muffin cups with paper liners.

In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks until pale yellow with a handheld mixer, then whisk in the butter, applesauce, agave nectar, vanilla extract and lemon juice. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg whites to stiff peaks with a handheld mixer. Gently fold the egg whites into the yolk mixture.
In a separate bowl, combine the flours, salt and baking soda, then gently fold into the egg mixture. Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin cups.

Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, until the tops are golden brown or a toothpick comes out clean. Let the cupcakes cool for 30 minutes. Frost if desired then serve.

IMG_3314I don’t personally have a gluten allergy, but I typed up a lot of recipes for times when I am baking for someone who does. This is one of the cookbooks I found at the library: The Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook: Breakfasts, Entrees, and More by Elana Amsterdam. This is a great resource for people who have gluten allergies and still want more moist baked goods.

Custom Flour for Baking

Whole wheat, spelt, and unbleached flour

Whole wheat, spelt, and unbleached all-purpose flour

Just a quick recipe I would like to share for anyone who would like to start baking with whole wheat flour. From experience don’t switch your baking to 100% whole wheat, it’s just icky. But this is the ratio of flours I have come up with and works pretty well for almost all of my baking. There are some flops here and there, but for the most part it works out pretty well. This also works great for pizza dough. Just don’t tell anyone, they won’t notice the difference until you say something.

Katie’s Custom Flour Mix

.25 c 100% whole wheat stone ground flour (Hodgeson Mill)
.25 c spelt flour, unbleached, sometimes comes in wheat (Whole Foods bulk section)
.5 c all purpose flour, unbleached, unenriched (Trader Joe’s)

For each cup I whisk it together to blend the flours as much as I can. I use one of those medium sized Oxo airtight pop-top containers for mixing and storage. Pretty much an air-tight container is the best storage for flour.

Banana Cake II-all recipes.com

I’m getting super lazy about taking pictures with my cooking and even crafting. Anyway last night I was able to bake a cake using my sour milk and bananas that needed to be used. And a couple of eggs that were long overdue to be used. I think I have been buying a few too many bananas since I keep baking with them.

Found the recipe here: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/banana-cake-ii/detail.aspx.

I cut way back on the sugar, and now think it calls for a caramel frosting. It doesn’t look like much when I make it, but it’s good.

On the crafting front I tried transferring a photo onto mat board. Worked ok, except I rubbed most of the picture out of the middle. I am excited to try again though. The parts I didn’t rub off looked pretty neat. Maybe a future Etsy thing, more interesting than selling just photo prints.

I will try my best to be better about keeping up to date on the latest.

And on a personal note I got my first freelance photography job. Taking photos for a local company of their products! Things are looking up.

Banana Bread Muffins

banana bread muffins

Bananas mashed, onto step 2

Bananas mashed, onto step 2

It’s cold, it’s Sunday afternoon and I have a few extra bananas. I decided it was time to make my super easy banana bread muffin recipe. I use a mixture of different sugars, flours and other substitutes and this recipe does fine with all my little tweaks.

I substitute some homemade applesauce in place of some of the butter and some of the sugar.

Yummy!

I use a custom blend of flours, 1 part stone ground wheat flour, 1 part spelt flour, and 2 parts unbleached unenriched all-purpose flour. Now onto the recipe.

Banana Bread Muffins

3 large bananas
1 egg
6 tsp cane sugar
6 tsp turbinado raw sugar
1/4 c applesauce (homemade works best)
1 Tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp vanilla
3 Tbsp melted butter
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 c flour

Mash bananas. Add sugar and egg. Add butter and dry ingredients. Mix lightly. Place in lined muffin tins 2/3 full. Bake at 375° for 20 min. Makes 16.

In no time you have some awesome muffins.