Category Archives: Snacks

Eggless Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

oatmealchocochipIt was the night before my son’s day camp began and I had not been to the store in a week. I was looking over the list of things I was supposed to pack for him including a lunch and snacks. The previous week we had had 2 little boys in the house and they had eaten every snack in the place. Goldfish? Gone! Popcorners? An entire bag eaten in one afternoon at the pool. Raspberries? Devoured with pancakes. Graham crackers? Polished off. All I had left to offer my son’s lunch besides a turkey sandwich was some stale tortilla chips. I started to poke around the kitchen and think….it wasn’t too hot for a summer night, I could turn the oven on, we’ve got butter, sugar, flour…but dangit no eggs.

Know what? You don’t need eggs to have cookies. And if you or your baby are allergic to eggs this is great news. You just need the right technique to make the cookies come out right. The result is wonderfully crisp light cookies.

If you are a chocolate lover and crave sweet things, you will love these with chocolate chips. If you like a bit of sweet and savory flavors mixed together skip the chocolate and use lemon zest instead for a more subtle flavor.

  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 2 cups chocolate chips OR the zest of a large lemon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets or use a Silpat

In a medium bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Stir in the vanilla and almond extracts. Stir in lemon zest (if using).  Sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt; stir into the butter mixture. Finally, mix in the rolled oats. Add chocolate chips if using.

Roll dough into balls about 1 inch in diameter. Place the dough balls about 3 inches apart onto the prepared cookie sheet. Because of the lack of egg to bind the dough together, these cookies will spread so be sure to give the 3 inches of space or else you will end up with one massive cookie on the sheet. Using the ball of your hand or the bottom of a glass, press to flatten down the cookie.

Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, cookies should be slightly browned. Let cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack. Store in an airtight container.

Lemon Blueberry Muffins

lbmuffs

“Mom, a muffin is sort of like a little cake, right?” This is what my 6 year old son asked as he took one of these sweet little muffins. Yes, they are very much like a little lemon cake with some blueberries in it and they are fabulous. Also, quite easy to make. Your breakfast table will thank you for it.

I used frozen blueberries here. Dropping them into the dry mixture allows each berry to be coated so they don’t clump together. When I stirred the dry in with the wet ingredients the frozen blueberries created a lovely lavender hue in the batter.

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen.
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 375°. Butter a standard 12-cup muffin pan or use paper liners like I do. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour with the sugar, baking powder and salt. Stir in the blueberries. In another medium bowl, whisk the eggs with the milk, oil and lemon zest, then whisk in the lemon juice. Using a rubber spatula, fold the egg mixture into the flour mixture until blended; do not overmix.

Spoon the batter into the muffin cups and bake for about 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean. Let the muffins stand in the pan for 5 minutes, then carefully transfer them to a rack to cool slightly. Serve warm or at room temperature.

all gone

all gone

 

Adapted from Food & Wine August 2005

Banana oatmeal power cookies

cooling

These cookies have the appearance of being healthy… they have nuts! And oatmeal! Despite the appearance of health, they still taste like a treat. I will often add chocolate chips to them to make them even more fun and my son likes them better that way. The coconut can be a deal-breaker for some, though. I tend to add it in to half the cookies after the dough has been spooned onto the cookie sheet in order to please both the coconut loving and the anti-coconut factions in my house.

Here we have a double batch of dough. I recommend baking half the dough and putting the rest in the freezer for later. To do so, roll out a piece of plastic wrap. Using a spatula, spoon the leftover dough from the mixing bowl onto the plastic and work it into a long, log-like shape. Wrap it in more plastic and put it in the freezer. A few days or weeks later when you are ready to bake the frozen part, you can slice it with a sharp knife  to make neat medallions.stack2

Ingredients:

  • 2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup flaked coconut
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 12 Tbs. (1 ½  stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 very ripe banana, mashed
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1  cup chopped dried apricots or golden raisins
  • 1  cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 cup chocolate chips (optional)


Directions:

Preheat an oven to 325°F. Lightly grease 1 or 2 baking sheets or line each with a Silpat nonstick liner.

In a bowl, stir together the dry ingredients: flour, coconut, oats, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. In a mixer, cream the brown sugar and butter until fluffy. Add the banana and eggs and beat until blended. Stir in the flour mixture, about 1/2 cup at a time, then stir in the apricots and walnuts and chocolate chips.

Spoon the dough by heaping tablespoonfuls onto the prepared baking sheet(s), spacing the cookies about 2 inches apart. Bake until golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes, switching pan positions halfway through baking if 2 pans were used.

Remove from the oven and let the cookies cool on the baking sheet(s) on a wire rack for about 5 minutes. Transfer the cookies to the rack and let cool completely. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

gootray Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Outdoors Series

Glazed Lemon Loaf

lemonloafThis lemon loaf lives somewhere between being a bread and a cake-let’s call it a sweet bread. It’s not too sweet but has a lovely glaze that gives it a little kick. As this winter drags on, relentlessly, I need a little kick of lemon to remember what summer tastes like.

Ingredients:

  • Canola oil cooking spray
  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • Finely shredded zest of 1 large lemon
  • Pinch of kosher salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup 1-percent-fat milk
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

For the glaze: 

  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • Juice of 1 large lemon (about 3 1/2 Tbs.)

Directions:

Preheat an oven to 350°F. Coat an 8 1/2-by-4 1/2-inch loaf pan with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, lemon zest and salt until well mixed. In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, canola oil and vanilla until blended. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Using a rubber spatula, mix until they are just combined, forming a thick, slightly lumpy batter. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, spreading it with the spatula to make it smooth and even on top. The pan will be about half full.

Bake until it is deeply browned with some golden cracks on top and it feels springy to the touch when pressed lightly in the middle, about 40 minutes. For an alternative test, insert a knife into the center: it should come out clean. If after 40 minutes the edges are getting dark but the center is not done, turn the temp down to 325°F and bake for 5-10 more minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and insert a thin knife vertically into the cake in 8 to 10 uniformly spaced places.

To make the glaze, in a small, heavy nonreactive saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the sugar and lemon juice and bring to a boil. Continue to boil until the mixture is bubbling and frothy on the surface, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and immediately pour evenly over the surface of the hot cake.

Let the glazed cake cool completely in the pan on the rack. Run a thin-bladed knife around the inside edge of the pan to loosen the cake. Carefully invert the cake onto the rack and lift off the pan. Turn upright onto a serving plate, slice thinly and serve. Store the cooled cake tightly wrapped at room temperature for up to 4 days.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma, Essentials of Healthful Cooking, by Mary Abbott Hess, Dana Jacobi & Marie Simmons (Oxmoor House, 2003).

Potato Lentil Salad with a Garlic Mustard Vinaigrette

Purple potatoes are pretty.

Purple potatoes are pretty.

I got these beautiful purple potatoes from my winter CSA share and really wanted to share them with someone-why not you? They look so nice next to lentils, which are not known for their good looks. Or taste for that matter. I think of lentils as one of the more blah foods out there even though they’re healthy and full of good stuff for you and all that, I still need to disguise them with other ingredients to reap their benefits. You can buy lentils in a can, which eliminates the overnight soaking or whatever those people who write recipes and don’t have babies will tell you to do (look for them with the Goya canned goods if you have a hard time finding them in your store).

This is a fantastic example of a make-in-stages recipe. The dressing can be made hours ahead of time. Potatoes can be boiled and left to cool at any point. After that, it’s just throwing things together in a serving bowl. Keeps for 3 days refrigerated in an air-tight container.

  • 1 lb potatoes, peeled
  • 1 15 oz can lentils, drained and rinsed
  • Salt and pepper

Dressing

  • 2 large shallots finely diced,
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 to 2 garlic cloves, minced or smashed to a paste
  • 1 tablespoon smooth Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup of your favorite olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons capers, rinsed if salted, drained if brined, and roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons pickle relish
  • 1 to 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup chopped flat leaf parsley

Make the dressing: Place the chopped shallot and red wine vinegar in the bottom of a small bowl and let sit for 5 minutes. Whisk in minced garlic, dijon, a pinch of salt, a few grinds of black pepper and olive oil. Stir in chopped capers, relish and scallions.

In a large pot cover the potatoes with 2 inches of cold water. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and simmer until potatoes a re soft when poked with a sharp knife. Remove and let cool enough to handle. Cut into 1 inch pieces.

Assemble salad:  Place potatoes in a serving bowl. Add lentils, dressing and all but 1 tablespoon of parsley and combine. Adjust seasoning with additional salt and pepper if needed. Scatter salad with remaining parsley and serve.

Note to Self re: Holiday Baking

Note to self: Next year buy all holiday baked goods from a bakery. It’s Christmas Eve and I am so baked-out that I can’t stand the thought of another cookie coming out of my oven. Yet here I sit while the world’s most complicated pumpkin pie bakes in my oven. To be fair it is a maple bourbon pumpkin pie with a chocolate crust and it is fantastic, not to mention impressive when shared.

xmascookies

In the beginning it was really fun to make and decorate these roll out sugar cookies whose recipe I pulled from Bon Apetit Magazine. But after 3 or 4 go-rounds with the decorating and the sprinkles and the massive cleanup that comes when you mix a little boy and too much sugar, I am worn out! Not to mention the shopping, the wrapping, and all the holiday cheer a mom is responsible for creating. If you find yourself with extra holiday stamina and you want to make a larger batch, go here for another excellent recipe that produces almost 60 cookies.

The above link is for the cookie dough only. For fool-proof icing click here then go wild with food coloring and sprinkles.

Lastly, I put myself over the edge by trying these Red and White Vanilla Pinwheels for the first time. Here they are straight out of the oven:

pinwheels

These pinwheels are nice but warning! They are very complicated to make.

These pinwheels are nice but warning! They are very complicated to make and don’t offer a whole lot of leeway when it comes to being able to walk away and take a break from the process. I should have walked away from the recipe that told me to roll out dough to be “about” 11.5″ x 5.5″. I actually got out a measuring tape. This, I feel, is just wrong.

Whatever it is that you did or did not bake this year, I wish you a happy and relaxing holiday. Merry Christmas!

Pumpkin Gingersnap Cheesecake-crisis averted again

pcheeseAs usual, I was waaaay too busy preparing for Thanksgiving to blog about what I planned to make. As I’ve said before with these big holidays, I am a mom first, a food blogger second. So here it is, my after-the-fact musings on my favorite holiday.

Every year I make a pumpkin cheesecake instead of a pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving. Every year the same semi-disaster happens and every year I develop amnesia about it when I plan to make it again. It begs the question: what is the difference between a holiday tradition and a traditionally dumb thing I do again and again?

phase1

Straight out of the oven: a little cracked, a little burnt around the edges. How do I forget this happens every year?

The pumpkin cheesecake is delicious and gets lots of ooohs and aaahs from guests when I tell them about it (and before they see it) but making it pretty is my big challenge each year. It comes out of the oven looking like this:

When I remove it from the oven I have a panic attack. It’s so ugly!! What am I going to do??? But some careful slicing and even more careful topping-making, it looks acceptable. NOT beautiful, but acceptable.

Pumpkin Gingersnap Cheesecake

Preheat the oven to 375

Crust

  • ½ cup Graham cracker crumbs
  • ¾ cup gingersnap crumbs
  • 2.5 TBSP granulated sugar
  • 1 TSP ground ginger
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter melted
  • 1 egg white beaten

To make the crust: First off, you can now buy graham cracker crumbs in the box, already crumbed. Gingersnaps, however, tend to be very hard cookies when you buy them in a box so I recommend putting some gingersnaps in a plastic bag and smashing them with the back of a spoon to break them up. After that, you can put the broken pieces in a blender or food processor to pulverize them. Combine all crumbs with the ginger and sugar. Stir in the melted butter. Firmly press the mixture into the bottom of a 9 inch Springform pan. Brush the crust with the lightly beaten egg white and chill for at least 15 minutes.

To make the filling:

  • 16 oz of cream cheese
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • ½ cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs, separated
  • 1 cup plus
  • 1 tbsp canned pumpkin puree
  • 2 TSP vanilla extract
  • 3 TBSP cornstarch
  • 1 TSP ground ginger
  • ½ TSP ground cinnamon
  • pinch of ground nutmeg
  • pinch of ground cloves

Using a stand mixer, beat together cream cheese, sour cream, and both sugars until smooth. Gently beat in egg yolks, then pumpkin puree, vanilla, cornstarch and all the spices. In another large bowl beat the egg whites until stiff peaks are formed using a whisk or the whisk attachment on an electric mixer. Fold the egg whites into the cream cheese mixture using a hand-held spatula.

Fill an 8” sq baking pan halfway with water. Set it in the rack below the cheesecake rack in the oven.

Pour the filling into the prepared crust pan. Place in the oven and bake until the center does not tremble when the pan is gently shaken, between 1 hour and 1 ½ hours. Remove and allow to cool for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, you can make the topping:

  • ½ cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 2 TSP ground ginger
  • 1.5 TBSP unsalted butter, but into small pieces

Turn the broiler in high. Combine all these ingredients in a small bowl and mix with a fork or clean fingers until crumbly.

sliced

A very careful slicing away of the uneven burnt parts

Now this is where it gets dicey for me. The creature that comes out of the oven is ugly-it’s puffy, it’s uneven, it’s cracked. Run a sharp knife around the edge of the cake to separate it from the pan. Remove the edges of the Springform pan and carefully trim any burnt or uneven edges with a sharp knife. Go slowly so you don’t take away big chunks. Spread the topping evenly over the top of the cheesecake filling in any cracks. Broil for 30-40 seconds with the oven door cracked keeping an eye on it every second!!!! The topping will melt and become a beautiful textured caramel.

wartsandall

Not perfect looking but soooo much better than before!

Place it on a rack and let it cool to room temp. Refrigerate it overnight. Devour.