Thursday, February 16, 2012

New URL/Site

Thanks for following me on blogger for the past year or so.

I have now moved though, so please continue to visit me at Sweet Spatulas, where I will be posting from now on.


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Whoopie Pies (Whoopie!)

Whoopie pies, just in time for Valentine's Day.

If you are one of those people who insist on calling Valentine's Day "Singles Awareness," you might want to stop reading about now. You see, I am not one of those people. Honestly, I've only had a significant other for one V-Day in my life and he was out of town for it, so it's not that I am one of those lucky-in-love girls who likes the day because she gets gifts.

I just like Valentine's Day. I am single. And I like Valentine's Day. I mean. Of course, the day really should be called "National Chocolate and All Things Decadent Day." And anyone can take part in enjoying a good piece of chocolate some buttery lobster or whatever your fancy is. 

Also, a specific day to take the time to show your loved one how you feel isn't all that bad anyway. Yes, I know, you should do that every day, but it's kind of nice to have a holiday for it. I mean, we should celebrate Christ's birth 365 days a year too, but Christmas is a good time to slow down and really take the moment in. Same goes for V-day, whether you have met your significant other already or are still waiting.

As for me, my Valentine's Day evening is being spent at church with a 20 or so wonderful people for whom I am cooking dinner (honey curry chicken, brûléed sweet potatoes, broccoli, and chocolate covered strawberries for dessert). Fun, food, and fellowship with people I love, who could ask for more?

While you are appreciating the people who have been placed in your life, take some time to make and enjoy some whoopie pies, k?

I love minis, I can fit over 30 on one sheet.

Mmmm, all baked and ready to sandwich with frosting.

Whoopie pie filling is so addictive.

Testing my first whoopie while taking pictres, yum.

  • ½ cup butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 teaspoon espresso powder, optional
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ cup Dutch-process cocoa
  • 2 ⅓ cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 cup milk

  • ½ cup milk
  • 2 ½ tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup shortening
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease (or line with parchment) two baking sheets.
To make the cakes: In a large mixing bowl, beat together the butter, sugar, espresso powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and vanilla till smooth. Add the egg, again beating till smooth.
Add the cocoa, stirring to combine.
Add the flour to the batter alternately with the milk, beating till smooth. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl, and beat again briefly to soften and combine any chunky scrapings.
Drop the dough by ½ a tablespoon onto the prepared baking sheets, leaving plenty of room between the cakes; they'll spread. 
Bake the cakes for 9-11 minutes, till they're set and firm to the touch. Remove them from the oven, and cool on the pans. While still lukewarm, use a spatula to separate them from the pan or parchment; then allow to cool completely.

To make the filling: In a medium saucepan, whisk together the ½ cup of milk and 2 ½ tablespoons flour. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until thick. Remove from heat set aside to cool. In a medium bowl, Beat together the shortening, ½ cup sugar, ½ teaspoon salt and 1 tablespoon vanilla. Stir in the cooked milk mixture and beat for an additional 20 minutes, until really fluffy. Sandwich filling between two cookies. 

A mixture of recipes from King Arthur (cakes) and allrecipes (filling)

Makes about 40-45 mini pies.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Banana Bread French Toast for one

French Toast is awesome. Especially with bananas!

 For me, French Toast is all about the bread. No store-bought white wonderbread will do. It's gotta be goooood bread. Typically, I go for a bread kind of like a french bread -soft with a firm but not crunchy crust, big irregular holes, cut into ridiculously thick slices. Today however, the banana bread on my counter was perfect. Already studded with walnuts and made with 4 bananas in just one loaf, this was an awesome breakfast!

Paired with a small orange-carrot-yogurt smoothie, my hunger was completely satisfied until well-after I typically eat lunch. Filling meals that still allow me to feel light are my favorite.

Soaing the banana bread in the egg mixture.
Non-stick pans are super nice 'cus I barely need any fat/oil/butter to cook in them.

Mmmm, maple syrup-soaked french toast banana bread, perfect after a morning jog.

Banana Bread French Toast for One

2 thin slices of banana bread (about as thin as an iPhone... yes, I am a member of Generation Y)
1 egg, beaten
3 tablespoons milk
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Real maple syrup for serving

Carefully whisk together egg, milk, and cinnamon in a medium/shallow bowl (Big enough and shallow enough to fit in the pieces of bread lying down flat so that they can soak up the egg. I use a square Tupperware).
Place pieces of bread in the egg mixture and let rest 30-60 seconds, then flip so the other side can soak 30-60 seconds.
Drop soaked pieces of bread into a lightly buttered or greased fry pan over medium heat and cook for about 1-2 minutes on each side (or until your desired level of golden brown appears).
Serve on a plate and be sure to drizzle with real maple syrup to make up for the fact that both the banana bread (if you used the recipe I posted last week) and the egg mixture have almost no sugar in them.

Suggestion: smear peanut butter on the top of one slice and place the 2nd slice on top like a peanut butter french toast sandwich.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Good-For-You Banana Bread

I came home from the grocery store with 5 pounds of bananas today... I know, what on earth was I thinking? Well, I'll tell you. "Oh look at those beautiful bruised bananas! There are so many of them! They are all by themselves bagged up and only a third of the cost of regular bananas. -Ha! Those crazy grocery guys, they are doing me a favor. Now I get to buy bananas at a fraction of the cost and I don't even have to wait for them to go black. Think of all the smoothies, banana breads, and brownies I can make with these babies!" From there, you can guess what happened.

I was also trying to use up that massive jar of apple sauce in my fridge still, so I knew I needed to find a recipe that used a massive amount of both apple sauce and bananas. And of course, I wanted as little oil or butter as possible and I needed it to be mostly whole wheat. Oh, and it needed to taste good too. I swear I'm not picky... 0=). Anyway, if you are wondering if I found a moist, not-too-sweet recipe that still bakes tall enough to come over the edges of the pan (banana bread is not banana bread unless it rises above the top of the pan), the answer can be found below. Happy baking!

Low-Fat Banana Bread
Adapted from this recipe
Yield: 1 8x4 loaf (easy to double though for 2 loaves)

2 tablespoons butter
⅓ cup white sugar * if using sweetened applesauce, omit the white sugar
⅓ cup brown sugar
4 overly ripe bananas, peeled and mashed
¼ cup yogurt plain
¼ cup unsweetened applesauce * if sweetened, omit white sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¾ cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
¼ cup wheat germ
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ cup cacao nibs * optional
½ cup roughly chopped walnuts * optional

Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Grease an 8x4 loaf pan (or muffin pan, if you want muffins).
Cream the butter and sugars until light and fluffy.
Add the bananas, yogurt, applesauce, egg, and vanilla and mix well.
In a separate bowl mix, together flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix well, then fold in desired mix-ins (such as 1 small apple (peeled, cored and diced), ½ cup chopped walnuts, or ½ cup chocolate chips).
Pour into the pan and bake for 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean (if baking muffins, bake for 20-30 minutes).
Cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes before removing from the pan and cooling completely on a wire rack.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Goat Cheese and Wheat Berry Salad

What to do with that awesome goat cheese that you bought for those delicious sweet potatoes a few days ago? Well, no fear, I have an answer (besides eating it straight up because it's just so dang delicious). You can make this warm wheat berry salad filled with lots of goodness (sweet dates, chewy walnuts, fresh argula) and top it with goat cheese and an orange vinaigrette.

I took this to work with me for my lunch and found myself watching the clock the entire time -not to go home, but to be able to eat this! I really liked the contrast between the warm wheat berries and the cool crumbled cheese. Also, the edamame pumps up the protein and the color =).

Goat Cheese and Wheat Berry Salad
Adapted from Health Food for Living
4-5 servings

1 cup uncooked wheat berries, rinsed
Kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
zest and juice from 1 orange
1 tsp coarse ground Dijon mustard
1 tsp pure maple syrup
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup chopped pitted soft Medjool dates, about 6 dates (or 8 smaller ones, if you can't find Medjool)  2/3 cup walnut halves, toasted and chopped
10oz bag of frozen, shelled edemame, prepared according to package directions
3 big handfuls arugula leaves
1/3 cup crumbled soft goat cheese

Cover wheat berries by 1 inch with water in a medium saucepan set over high heat. 
Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer until chewy, about 50 minutes (taste and cook for an additional 5-10 minutes if you'd like). Drain and transfer to a medium bowl.
While wheat berries are cooking, whisk together the orange zest and juice, mustard, maple syrup, & olive oil in a small bowl to make the vinaigrette. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
While the drained cooked wheat berries are still warm, toss with the orange vinaigrette. 
Fold in the chopped dates, walnuts, and edamame. Fold in the arugula leaves until slightly wilted. Serve topped with the crumbled goat cheese.

Friday, February 3, 2012

The Best Fudgy Banana Caramel Brownies (easily Veganized!)

Do you really want chocolate? Do you need so badly in your life that you might gnaw your pointer finger off despite its infinite usefulness is in daily life if that's what it took to get some of that bittersweet cocoa? If you answered yes, we totally think alike. Which is why I am supplying you with this recipe. I love your pointer finger that much. 

The best part is, you can almost tell yourself that these brownies are good for you! I mean, they have whole wheat flour in them and there is no butter or oil in sight. In fact, they even have fruit (apples and bananas, so classic) in them! The sugar content can totally be ignored for these purposes. Enjoy your almost-good-for-you brownie and sit back on the couch instead of going to the gym.

Also, these are fantastic if you have vegan are dairy-free friends. If you don't want to mess with finding dairy-free caramel (though you will need to mess with finding vegan chocolate chips), simply skip that that step and, instead, heat up some regular JIF or Peter Pan peanut butter and drizzle over top as soon as they come out of the oven. Mmmm, chocolate+PB+banana. Yum. In my case though, I think I prefer the pools of gooey caramel that form on the top of these beauties. Caramel+chocolate+banana, delicious.

Applesauce Brownies (with option to make vegan)Adapted from The Messie Kitchen
Yield: 8x8 pan (8-12 servings, depending on how big or small you like your brownies) 

1 cup unsweetened applesauce* omit sugar if using sweetened
1/3 cup sugar* omit if using sweetened applesauce
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup unbleached white flour
½ cup whole wheat flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup chocolate chips *use dairy free chips if veganizing
1 large banana (yellow, not brown or super squishy)
¼ cup caramel sauce of your choice *use a dairy free brand if veganizing

1.Preheat oven to 350 and lightly spray or oil an 8 x 8 baking pan.
2. Mix applesauce, sugar (if using unsweetened applesauce), and vanilla in a medium bowl. In another bowl, whisk flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together.
3. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the applesauce mixture. Mix until just combined. Gently fold in chocolate chips
4. Spread half of batter the prepared pan (will be fairly thin). 
5. Slice the large banana into coins and place evenly on top of batter in pan (it should look like polka dots or a connect four game almost). 
6. Spread the remaining half of the batter over top of the bananas.
7. Drizzle caramel sauce over top (I made rows going across up and down so that it pooled where the rows met). 
8. Bake 25-30 min, until center is firm and not sticky. Cool completely before slicing and try not to eat it all before your roommate/family comes home.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Applesauce Muffins

A few weeks or so ago, I came home from one of my favorite activities*, grocery shopping, and discovered that a huge jar of apple sauce that I did not purchase had somehow found its way into my shopping bag. I meant to take it back to the store and explain that apparently someone else did not receive the applesauce they had intended to purchase, but December is busy and I went home for almost 3 weeks. So now that February is here, it just seems silly to go an try to return it... Right? I am not stealing, right?

Anyway, so for now, this large jar of sweetened applesauce that I would have never purchased of my own volition is in my fridge, begging to be used before it begins to grow mold (hence, why I don't purchase even my preferred unsweetened appelsauce). Here is one of my attempts to use it up before it goes bad/is forgotten about.

P.S. Notice how little oil/fat is in these muffins?

*It is only one of my favorite activities when it does NOT include large bulk stores' harsh aesthetics and unhelpful employees who do not speak the same language as me and so cannot help me find anything in the hundreds of rows of primarily processed/manufactured foods. 
^please excuse my health-freak self, it gets a little stressed in certain stores^

Applesauce Muffins
Adapted from Rose Shulman

Yield: 12-15 muffins

170 grams (1 1/2 cups) whole-wheat flour

70 grams (1/2 cup) unbleached all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
45 grams (about 1/4 cup) packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons canola oil
1/4 cup plain low-fat yogurt
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sweetened applesauce
3/4 cup pecans, coarsely chopped (feel free to add in whatever mix-ins you like: craisins, chocolate chips, etc)
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees with a rack in the middle. Prepare 12-15 muffin tins/cups with paper liners.
2. Sift together the flours, baking soda, spices and salt.
3. In a large bowl, beat together the eggs and sugar until the mixture is thick. Beat in the oil, yogurt, and applesauce. Whisk in the flour mixture without overbeating, and fold in the pecans.
4. Evenly divide among 12-15 muffin cups that you prepared with paper liners. Bake 20-25 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then enjoy.