Alternative Chocolate Chip Cookies

There have been some unique dietary changes at home due to addressing an allergic reaction and testing that was done to remedy that. So, with the new: no egg, no diary, no corn, no wheat diet, I have been figuring out new recipes to try and how to adapt some existing ones. 

Yesterday’s attempt turned out amazing. I love baking, and I typically can make cookie without a recipe in front of me. I know the consistency and ratios of dry:wet ingredients. This one was what I figured would work, and it did, and they are delicious. Everyone loved them and didn’t inquire about the alternate ingredients as they tasted so good. I’ll be making more batches soon. 

Alternate Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients:

1/3 cup coconut oil

1/3 cup brown sugar

1/3 cup regular sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 T flax meal plus 3 T water (mix and let sit 2 minutes)

2/3 cups spelt flour

2/3 cups Almond meal

1 tsp baking powder

1 cup chocolate chips (for allergies, make sure it’s semi-sweet chocolate with no dairy in it)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 (Fahrenheit)

In a large mixing bowl (I used my stand mixer), cream together the oil and sugars. Add in the vanilla and then the flax meal/water mix. 

Then add in the spelt, almond meal, and baking powder, mix together. Last, mix in the chocolate chips. 

Scoop out onto a cookie sheet about 2″ apart. A small ice cream scoop works great for this. Bake for 8 minutes or until slightly browned on edges. Leave on the cookie sheet for about 2-3 minutes before lifting with a small spatula. 

Once cooled, seal in a ziplock bag or airtight container. 

Enjoy!

  
(For those interested in nutritional content, I did approximate calculations with this link: Recipe Nutrition Calculator)

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Not exactly baking

Homemde English Muffins Recipe  
In fairness to anyone who follows me on Instagram, I figured I should share my recipe for Homemade English Muffins. Of course, there are plenty online, and I won’t guarantee  that my recipe is different from any other one might find, it might not be the one with the most “nooks and crannies”, or the healthiest, but it is my own adapted recipe with the main point being that it is simple. It isn’t quite baking because they are actually made on a griddle and not in the over. This makes them an excellent bread recipe for the warmer seasons when one doesn’t want their oven on. 

Having the right tools makes this easier, and will enable one to follow this recipe exactly. It can be made without a stand mixer, but it will then loose the simple ease this recipe provides. 

Tools:  a stand mixer (at least a 325 watt or similar to Kitchen Aid brand variety that has a 5qt bowl)

A good flat clean surface, rolling pin

A circle cutter, about 3″ diameter or a large mug/glass will do

And a large completely flat pan or griddle. Can be cast iron, regular skillet, or it can be the electric kind you plug in (like for pancake making). I prefer now the electric griddle, it maintains temperature the best. 

Ingredients:

5 cups of flour (loosely measured) and a little more if needed. 

2 TBSP active dry yeast, or 2 packets

1 TBSP Sugar

1/2 tsp baking soda

2 cups milk

1/2 cup water

1 TBSP butter

Cornmeal for dusting

Oil for brushing onto skillet 

Directions:

Using your stand mixture bowl, mix flour, yeast, sugar, and baking soda.

In a microwave safe bowl, put milk, water, and butter, heat until it feels warm to touch (about 2-3 minutes from fridge temp). 

Add liquid to the dry ingredients. Begin with a paddle style mixing wand. Once it is sticking together, switch to a dough-hook and continue to mix for 2-3 minutes. This is the kneading process. 

Dough should be somewhat elastic (meaning when you lift it and it stretches, it bounces back to shape). It should not be hard or too sticky, slightly sticky is good. Remove dough from bowl and brush same bowl with oil, cover with a piece of oiled plastic wrap. Let sit in a warm place for 20-30 minutes. 

Meanwhile, get a clean surface ready, a round cutter, cornmeal, oil for brushing the griddle, and rolling pin ready. 

Heat griddle to 300 degrees for electric type, for a pan on the stovetop, heat to medium heat. Brush with a little oil. 

When dough has risen, without working it place about half onto a lightly floured surface. Roll dough to about 1/2″ thick. Cut with circle cutter, pat softly into cornmeal and place on griddle. 

Cook for 7 minutes on one side, flip and cook 7 more minutes on other side. Cooking can be aided by placing a sheet of parchment paper over the batch while cooking to allow some heat to stay in. 

While first batch is cooking, continue to cut and pat in cornmeal the remaining dough. 

  
Allow to cool briefly before cutting in half with a sharp serrated knife. 

Serve warm or you can spilt and toast them. Make sure they are cool before storing in a container or ziplock bag. Iif you will not be eating them all in 2 days be sure to refrigerate them. Make sure to allow some breathing room in the container until they have reached a cool temperature. 
One final note, I showed my mom how to make this recipe, she never makes bread, but this was so easy for her also, so even if you can’t make a loaf of bread, give this one a try!

Recipe: Pumpkin Spice Bundt Cake

I adapted and created this recipe a couple of years back, it’s a great Bundt cake with just the right texture.

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Pumpkin Rum Spice Bundt

1 cup butter crisco (I found a Butter flavored crisco that comes in 1 cup ‘sticks’)
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup splenda/sucralose
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 tsp Rum
1 15oz can pumpkin
3/4 cup shaken milk (the recipe I was adapting called for buttermilk, shaken well before pouring, I used regular milk and just shook the container before pouring to measure)

2 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp cloves

Preheat oven to 325
(I mixed it all in a stand mixer)
Beat butter crisco, and sugar about 2 min until creamy. Add in eggs, vanilla, rum, mix gently. Then add in pumpkin and milk. Mix another 2 min.

In a separate bowl, mix dry ingredients.
Gradually beat in dry to wet, a portion at a time. Mix until well blended.

Spray bundt pan with baking spray containing flour. Spoon in filling mixture and level off.
Place in oven and bake for 40-50 min, or until toothpick comes out clean.
Remove from bundt pan by inverting over plate or serving dish.

Optional: Make glaze with 1 cup powdered sugar, 1-3 tbsp milk or (vanilla coffee creamer) 1 tbsp melted butter, 1 tsp vanilla. I added the butter last as it helped make the glaze more liquid for drizzling over. Drizzle over once it is closer to room temperature. If the glaze in not thin enough, microwave a few seconds then use.

Fall weather means Fall Treats

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So, the cool temperatures that have finally come halfway through September were enough to get me away from the sewing machine and baking. To be honest, as early as Labor day, the smells of pumpkin, nutmeg, cinnamon and brown sugar were all lingering around the house, but today was the first Sugar Cookie batch. No ordinary cookie…but a spiced cookie and of course decorated; and I’d like to think they are healthier using half the normal amount of butter, and whole wheat flour. They have a light texture with a delicate crumb, and the hint of spice goes excellent with a cup of coffee.

Spiced sugar cookies with Glazed icing.

Ingredients:
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
1/2 cup light vanilla yogurt
1 tsp vanilla
2 Eggs
1/3 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup Splenda (or generic granulated artificial sweetener)
1 tablespoon molasses
2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour (finely ground)
1/4 cup regular all purpose flour (plus additional for rolling out dough)
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp ginger

Blend butter, yogurt, vanilla, sugars and molasses until a creamed mixture. In a separate bowl combine other dry ingredients. Mix into the creamed mixture. Form into a ball and refrigerate for 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 350. Roll out dough on a floured surface about 1/4″ thick. Cut with desired cookie cutters. Place on baking sheet and bake just 8 minutes. Be careful not to over bake them, or they will be crispy. (I prefer a softer sugar cookie, so I do about 6-8 min and remove as soon as the bottoms look light brown. I leave on the sheet for an additional minute out of the oven to cool so they aren’t too limp.)
Allow to cool, then ice and decorate as desired.

Pumpkin Spiced Icing
2 cups Powdered sugar
About 1 tsp pumpkin extract (or use a concentrated Pumpkin syrup)
Pinch of Cinnamon
2-4 Tbsp water
1 tsp vanilla extract

For this icing, it does require some practice to get the right consistency, I use water to liquefy the icing a bit. Being in a dry climate has helped because the water evaporates out and I end up with a glossy slightly hard/soft sugar cookie icing without the eggs whites or corn syrup.

In a large bowl, put your sugar. Add in the syrups and extract. Gradually add in water one tablespoon at a time until the icing is able to stir and will slowly drip off of the spoon, but not watery.
When at a thicker stage, you can put it into an icing bag and pipe icing around the edges of the cookie, then water the icing down a little more and spoon it to the center filling in the top. Or just leave a little thicker and spread with a knife.

Enjoy!

Bread pudding

So, this is a new recipe I’ve adapted. One evening, wishing for an in-house date, I looked at the leftover day old croissants on the counter and thought there must be something to do with them. So, I came up with this recipe, that was just perfect (accompanied by a pot of tea on the patio).

Croissant Bread Pudding

Ingredients:
6-8 mini croissants (or 3-4 large)
2 eggs
1 1/4 cup milk (any kind will work, even soy or rice)
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350.
Spray a loaf pan with non-stick spray, or rub with butter. Rip up croissants into small chunks, place in pan. In a bowl, beat eggs, milk, sugar, spices and vanilla. Pour over the croissants.
Bake for 20 minutes or until it is set.

Warm Vanilla Glaze

Ingredients:
2 TBSP butter
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1-2 tbsp milk
Splash of vanilla

Melt butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Gently whisk in sugar and vanilla. Add a little bit of milk at a time whisking until slightly liquified. When it starts to bubble on the edges, remove from heat and spoon over warm croissant pudding.

Sprinkle with cinnamon and nutmeg as desired.

Apple Empanadas

Apple Empanadas

It’s a pastry, filled with fruit. That’s the short definition. For those in Albuquerque, NM, I am jealous. Just stop in at Pros Ranch Market on Central and you can choose your variety of Empanadas; pineapple, apple, pumpkin, cherry or any number of fruit fillings.
For those of us far away, making them at home is the only way to get them like ‘home’. At first I thought, okay, that’s easy, a pastry with fruit, but after trying multiple varieties of dough recipes- with some not quite right and some making a terrible mess- I finally came up with a winner. (partly taken from another website, but I can’t find it again).
Now I would say it is easy again, the dough is simple and easy to work with. The filling I usually make is apple- because they are readily available. Although we like berry filled which I make from frozen berries.
I was so excited to make them I only have a picture of the finished product, but if I make them again soon- which I might- I’ll take more photos as I go.

Empanada Dough:
1/3 cup warm water (hot)
1/4 cup sugar
4 1/2 tsp yeast (or two packets)
1/8 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla flavoring
1 tsp cinnamon
3 cups of flour
Generous 3/4 cup shortening. (I use a margarine- it really makes a nice consistency)

In a large mixing bowl, combine water, sugar, yeast, baking powder, vanilla, and cinnamon. Let sit for 2-4 minutes.
Add in 1 1/2 cups of the flour.
Add in the shortening and mix very thoroughly. Then add in remaining flour. (this recipe has been pretty precise on the flour measurement, so no adjustments should be needed).
Knead dough gentle with hands until it forms a solid lump. There shouldn’t be anything too loose. (dough should be pliable still).
Cut or tear into 12 even sizes. Form into balls.
Roll each out individually into about an 8″ circle.

Place about 2 tbsp filling mixture into the center. Fold over and seal the edges. I do this by rolling it over itself a little with a pinch.

(optional: beat 1 egg and brush the tops with egg wash before baking)

Place on a cookie sheet or other baking pan (not glass or they will be a little soggy on one side).
Place in oven for about 15-20 minutes or until lightly golden.

Apple fruit filling:
6 large apples- peeled, cored and sliced into thin short slices
1/4 cup sugar
3 tbsp flour (for thickening)
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp vanilla

Mix apples and all ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat. Add in about 1/8 to 1/4 cup of water.
Simmer for about 5 minutes. Then set aside to cool a little before putting inside the empanadas dough.
If there is a lot of liquid to it, make sure you don’t put too much liquid to fill the dough or it will not seal and will make a mess over the cookie sheet.

(alternate filling: Strawberry)
1 16oz bag frozen strawberries (thawed)
1/4 cup sugar
1 tbsp butter
3 tbsp flour

In a saucepan, melt butter, whisk in flour. Then add sugar and thawed strawberries. If it’s thickening quickly a little water may be added. Simmer for about 3-5 minutes.
Use only a spoonful of the mixture and fold over dough and seal quickly so it doesn’t run. Bake as usual.

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