Cashew Cookie Dough Bites

April 24, 2014 § Leave a comment

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Today, I started out strong. Woke up at 5:51 without an alarm (weird, I know). I baked some stuff, cleaned up around the house, worked out and even had salad for lunch. And then I crashed. And hard. I was going to go to a yoga class but as walked out the door something hit me and I promptly turned around and marched right back inside. My afternoon has thus consisted of coffee, Parenthood and skyping my sister. Just some old-fashioned vegging out self-care.

Not sure about you, but when I sit at home all afternoon all I want to do is snack. (no matter what, got snacks on my mind, I can never get enough. Song reference anyone?) Thankfully I have a few of these awesome raw cashew cookie dough bites in the fridge. They provide a little bit of indulgence while still being delicious, filling and relatively healthy. I like them as a work pick-me-up or a quick post-spin class snack.

In the directions it says to pulse until fine meal forms. There is a line between meal and when it begins to turn into cashew butter so I like to pulse a few seconds at a time. If you do it too little the dough isn’t as smooth. You can also add maple syrup to taste and texture. Experiment with how much you need. I found that 3 tbsp make the dough too sticky and didn’t hold it’s shape very well.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cashews
  • 1/2 old fashioned oats
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2-3 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips

To Make

1) In food processor, pulse oats, cashews, salt and cinnamon until a fine mixture forms. Add maple syrup and vanilla to mixture and pulse until mixture comes together.
2) Put dough into separate bowl and fold in the chocolate chips. Line a container with wax paper. Using your hands or spoons form dough balls about 1 inch in diameter. Place in container. Eat raw or freeze for several hours and enjoy!

Whole Wheat Zucchini Bread

March 19, 2014 § Leave a comment

I’m just going to start with some boring weather talk. Seattle has been teasing us with sun the last week. We had two gorgeous days that got to 60 last week and it was so glorious. Then it rained for 5 days and now it’s just overcast. Why is this happening? My emotions are so conflicted. The days I want to sit inside and bake are the days its glorious and when I’m ready to get some sun it’s pouring.

One day last week the stars (or sun and clouds rather) aligned and my oven and I got some quality time with this lovely zucchini bread. Feeling inspired by Smitten Kitchen and some almost-old zucchini I whipped up this whole wheat loaf filled with sunflower seeds, chocolate chips and cranberries. The combination is just perfect.

Best part about this? The recipe makes two loaves, one to hoard to yourself and one to share with friends. Feel free (as always) to customize to your hearts content with the fillings. I think next time I would use mini chocolate chips and more dried cranberries.

(makes two 9×5 loaves, based on This Smitten Kitchen Recipe)

Ingredients

  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 cups grated zucchini
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds

To Make:

1) Preheat oven to 350. Grease two 8×4 or 9×5 cake pans and set aside.
2) Beat eggs, then whisk in vegetable oil and sugar until well combined. Stir in zucchini and set aside. In separate bowl stir together flours, baking soda and powder, cinnamon and nutmeg. Add in to wet ingredients, stirring just until combined. Fold in extras.
3) Divide batter evenly between pans. Bake 50-60 minutes, until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool in pans, then serve extra thick slices with some butter and enjoy!

Almond Rusks

December 19, 2013 § Leave a comment

The spice I most associate with Christmas is cardamom. The rich scent immediately brings me back to holiday treats. Cardamom is included in my dad’s famous kuchen (coffee bread with loads of cardamom and citrus zest) and these amazing rusks. My mom always made these, often gave them away, and let me eat the ends she cut off. What a treat.

In addition to cardamom we add almond extract and sliced almonds to give with a delicious nutty flavor. And they’re twice baked, making them dry and hard. I realize that sounds gross but trust me, they’re still amazing. It’s even better if you enjoy them with a cup of coffee.

Depending on how you cut these the recipe makes roughly 60 rusks so feel free to share with co-workers, neighbors or your mailman.

Almond Rusks

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of butter, softened
  • 1 and 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 tsp almond extract
  • 1 tbsp ground cardamom
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 5 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup plain greek yogurt or sour cream
  • 1 cup slivered almonds

To Make

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper
2) Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and almond extract. In another bowl whisk together flour, cardamom, baking soda, salt and flour. Using a mixer (or stand mixer), add flour and sour cream to butter mixture, alternating. Before you add the last of the flour, stir in almonds. Dough will be sticky.
3) Separate dough into four equal parts. Directly on parchment paper, shape dough into logs, roughly 12 inches long and 3-4 inches wide. Bake 30-35 minutes or until lightly browned on top. Cool on wire racks. Using serrated knife, slice into pieces roughly 3/4 inch wide.
4) Turn down oven to 225. Place rusks back on baking sheets and bake until crisp about 45 minutes. Cool and enjoy, dipped in coffee.

Pretzels

November 6, 2013 § Leave a comment

Once in awhile I get the craving for a delicious, soft, warm pretzels. It’s usually when I’m walking by Auntie Anne’s in the mall, but I can’t ever make myself pay $4 for a snack at the mall. Now, I don’t have to because I can make my own.

Start with proofing the yeast. I did it in the mixing bowl for my mixer (which I use for kneading). Mix 1 cup water and 2 tsp active yeast and let it start to foam and such for 5-10 minutes.

After the proofing, mix in salt and flour. I used a spatula. Dough will be floury and a shaggy. Which makes me think of a dog, so that’s weird.  Then we knead. I used my hook and my mixer but feel free to knead by hand, it’ll work too. If it’s not forming a ball well or is too sticky add flour, two tablespoons at a time. Then let it rise in a bowl filmed with oil.

After dividing dough in 8 pieces we roll them out into long skinny ropes, about 20 inches long. To form the pretzel, watch a You Tube tutorial.

Then we let it rise for another twenty minutes, or until they’re puffy. At this point, preheat the oven, and bring 8 cups of water to a boil in a large, wide pan (I used my dutch oven). When boiling, add in brown sugar and baking soda, being careful as it will bubble up. Put each pretzel in the water for 30 seconds, turn over for another 30 seconds, then remove. Pretzel skin will look puckered and moist. I didn’t get any good pictures of the baking soda bath part. We do the baking soda bath for a couple reasons. One it gives the pretzel some of the pretzel-y flavor due to the pH balance/basic-ness of it (SCIENCE!). Second, it helps start to form the awesome pretzel crust so it doesn’t puff up as much during baking and gives it the awesome golden brown, chewy texture.

Finally, use and egg wash and salt to top the pretzels, then bake! Wait until they’re good and dark brown before taking them out, too soon results in a too-chewy snack. Enjoy while warm!

All I can think about now are the other options out there, dipping sauces, cinnamon sugar topping. I’m getting excited.

Soft Pretzels
from The Kitchn, recipe makes 8

Ingredients

  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 tsp active dry yeast
  • 2 1/2 – 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup baking soda
  • 1 tbsp dark brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • coarse sea salt to topping

To Make

1) Mix yeast in with one cup warm water in a large mixing bowl. Let stand 5-10 minutes until yeast has started to foam. Net add in 2 1/2 cup flour, sugar and salt and mix until dough starts to form.
2) Knead, using either kneading hook with stand mixer or by hand. Adding in flour two tablespoons at a time if dough is too sticky. Knead for 5-7 minutes or until dough holds a ball shape, is slightly tacky and soft. In another large bowl (or same bowl used for mixing, cleaned) spray with non-stick oil and let dough rise in warm place until doubled in size, about 2 hours.
3) When dough is ready, turn it out on to a large floured surface. Divide into 8 similar sized pieces. Working one at a time, roll into a long, skinny rope. Aim for about 20-inches long.
4) To form dough into pretzel shape, bring two ends of dough up into a long U shape, leaving the bottom of the shape about 5-7 inches long. Twist the ends of the dough around each other twice. then bring the ends back down to lay on top of the bottom of the U. Lay the pretzel on top of a parchment lined baking sheet. Repeat with the rest of the dough.
5) Let the pretzels rise until puffy, about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 450F. Also, prepare your baking soda bath. Fill a large, wide pot with 8 cups of water. Bring to a boil and add brown sugar and baking soda, being careful because water will bubble up. Stir to combine, then keep water/soda mixture at a simmer.
6) Once water is ready and pretzels have risen you’re ready to put them in the bath. Using a slotted spoon gently lower two to three into the bath at a time, or as many can fit without crowding. Flip pretzels once after 30 seconds, let sit for another 30 seconds, then remove and place back on baking sheet. Repeat until all pretzels are done.
7) Whisk egg with two tablespoons of water. Using a pastry brush, brush pretzels with egg bath and sprinkle on sea salt. Bake for 12-15 minutes until they are deep brown. Remove from oven and transfer to cooling rack. Enjoy while warm.

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