100 Days Project, Dairy Free, Desert, Gluten Free, Recipes, Uncategorized, Vegan (with substitutions)

Day 45 – Baked Apples Stuffed with Candied Ginger and Almonds

Day45

Baked apples make me think of Grandma and Grandpa Mills . . .

Growing up, we had dinner with my grandparents every Sunday. There was a cafeteria style restaurant they liked to go to, and everyone’s favorite from the desert bar was the baked apple. Those baked apples were not nearly as fancy as this Baked Apple Stuffed with Candied Ginger and Almonds recipe from Jerry James Stone and Treehugger’s Green Wine Guide, but it still makes those memories float to the surface.

I had a friend over last night for a Sunday night game of intense competitive Scrabble, which was a game I always played with with my Grandmother as well. Maybe that is why this recipe seemed like the perfect fit. Unfortunately, I got a bit distracted when reducing the syrup and it turned into more of a caramel that almost candied the baked apples, but it was still quite delicious, and I supplemented it with warm maple syrup to make sure the apple was not too dry.

I served the the baked apples with maple walnut ice cream and a small glass of port. The three made quite a good winter desert combination and an excellent Scrabble treat!!

You can easily substitute the honey for another unrefined sweetener for Vegan alternative . . .

Baked Apples Stuffed with Candied Ginger and Almonds

MAKES: 4- 6 Apples, depending on the size of your apples

INGREDIENTS

  • 4- 6 large apples (Rome or Braeburn)
  • 1/3 cup candied ginger, chopped
  • 3/4 cup almonds, toasted and chopped
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground clove
  • Water, for the baking dish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine brown sugar, vanilla and honey and mix well. Then mix in the ginger, almonds, cinnamon, clove and lemon zest, and set to one side.

Core each apple; be careful to remove all of the stem and seeds. If need be, trim the apple bottoms so that they sit steadily on a flat surface. Place the apples upright in a baking dish, and spoon the filling into hollow of each apple .

Fill the baking dish with enough water to form a 20 mm or 1/2-inch pool around the apples.

Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until the apples are tender.

Transfer the apples to a serving plate with a spatula.

Pour the reaming liquid from the baking dish into a small saucepan, and cook over a medium-high heat until it becomes syrupy, about 15 minutes. This is where you need to make sure not to reduce it too long that it becomes a caramel. Drizzle the syrup over the top of each apple, and sprinkle some additional almonds and candied ginger on top.

ENJOY!!

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100 Days Project, Baking, Cakes, Dairy Free, Gluten Free (with Substitutions), Recipes

Day 32 – Mexican Hot Chocolate Cake

Day32

Today is my friend’s birthday, and birthdays mean cake  . . .

This particular friend happens to be both Gluten and Dairy Free, which does make baking a birthday cake a bit of a challenge. Luckily, I found this recipe for Mexican Hot Chocolate Cake, from Dish magazine, in my collection of untried recipes. Besides being quite yummy, with a few simple substitutions I could easily make it fit her dietary restrictions.

The main flavors of this cake are chocolate, chilli, and cinnamon, mimicking the traditional Mexican way of making hot chocolate with these spices.  Ancient Aztecs cultivated chocolate for eating and drinking, and the combination of dark chocolate and chilli dates back to their civilization. Hot chocolate was originally created by the Aztecs by roasting cocoa beans, and then using a mortar and pestle to grind the roasted cocoa beans with water.  They flavored this drink with chilli, vanilla, honey and pepper.  Cocoa beans quickly became a desired crop for the European settlers once  they tasted this delicious drink. In the modern westernized world, chilli and chocolate is once again becoming a popular combination amongst us “foodies”.

This recipe makes a very rich, almost pudding like cake, that when topped with candied pumpkin seeds and vanilla whipped cream (the birthday girl skipped this part) made a lovely mid morning birthday treat.

Mexican Hot Chocolate Cake

adapted from: Dish magazine

MAKES:8 -10 servings

INGREDIENTS:

for the cake

  • 200 grams or 7 ounces of butter or butter substitute like Olivani
  • 200 grams or 7 ounces of dark chocolate, chopped
  • 1 cup castor sguar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons plain flour or brown rice flour for a gluten free alternative
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon icing sugar, for garnish
  • 1/2 teaspoon cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

for the vanilla whipped cream

  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

for the candied pumpkin seeds

  • 1 egg white
  • 1/4 cup castor sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 70 grams or 2.5 ounces of pumpkin seeds

Preheat the oven to 170 C or 340 F

Grease a 20cm (8″) cake tin, and line it with baking paper.

Melt the butter and chocolate in a heat proof bowl set over a pan of simmering water, stirring occasionally, or in a double boiler.  If using the bowl, do not let the water touch the base of the bowl or the chocolate will seize.

Stir int he sugar and vanilla and leave the chocolate to cool, for about 10 minutes.

While chocolate is cooling, put all the ingredients for the candied pumpkin seeds into a bowl and combine well with a fork. Do not beat the egg white until frothy.

Spread seed and spice mixture evenly on a lined baking tray and bake for 5-6 ,minutes, turning once during baking.

The seeds will be sticky when you turn them, but well become crunchy when cooled. break seed sup into pieces once it has completely cooled.

Once the chocolate has cooled, stir in the eggs, and then fold in the  flour, salt, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper.

Pour mixture into the greased cake tin making sure the top is smooth. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes, until the center is set, but not too firm. This actually took about twice that time in my oven. Just make sure the cake has risen and a knife in the center comes out clean.

Transfer to a rack and let cool completely in the tin, where the cake will deflate and set.

To serve: Whip the cream and vanilla to soft peaks. Remove the cake from the tin and gently peel off the baking paper. Place on a serving plate and dust with the combined icing sugar, cinnamon, and cocoa powder. Serve with a dallop of cream and a sprinkling of the candied pumpkin seeds.

ENJOY!!

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Desert, Dips, Condiments and Dressings, Gluten Free, Recipes, Vegan (with substitutions)

Spiced Fruit Compote

Compote

So . . . I was having a discussion this week with a friend about ways to use up large amounts of apples that need eating, and she suggested an apple compote with cardamom, cloves, and ginger.

I was planning on making the Ricotta Stuffed Kumara Pancakes from my Day 24 post for Sunday brunch, and this seemed like the perfect thing to give this already decadent recipe that extra little something special. I used apples, dried apricots, and dried cranberries, but you can pretty much use any fresh and dried fruit combination that takes your fancy.

Making fruit compotes like this is more about adding a dash of this and sprinkle of that rather than an exact science; so the measurements below are approximations. Use your own discretion and tastes to make the recipe perfect for you.

Although I used butter, simply replace it with Olivani or your favorite non-dairy butter like substance, to make this a vegan treat.

Spiced Fruit Compote

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 small apples, chopped
  • 3/4 cup dried apricots, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 2 – 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
  • 3 – 5 cloves
  • 3 – 5 whole cardamom pods
  • 1/4 cup water

Place the fruit, butter, brown sugar, and spices into a saucepan over a medium heat. Cover the pot, and let the fruit cook down into the the butter and sugar liquid and start to caramelize.

Let fruit cook for 15 – 20 minutes stirring occasionally so that nothing starts to stick to the bottom of the pan. Keep a watch and if there does not seem to be enough liquid add water a little bit at a time. If you like your compote more saucy use more water, if you like it more chunky than use less. You may or may not use the whole 1/4 cup of water.

Taste the compote during the cooking time and adjust spices to your personal tastes.

Before serving, remove the cloves and cardamom pods.

ENJOY!!

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100 Days Project, Baking, Cookies, Desert, Recipes

Day 12 – Snickerdoodle Cookies

Day12

Who wants a late night snack?

I actually really love baking at night. It is a fun and relaxing way to spend an evening. Plus, when finished, you have a sweet treat to go with a bedtime cup of tea, and something yummy to look forward to eating and sharing the next day (or even take over to a friend’s house for a late night cookie delivery).

Snickerdoodles are a cinnamon and sugar shortbread American classic.  If I remember correctly, they are one of the first things I ever learned for to bake myself. Although I probably have not made them is close to 20 years,  I was recently reminded of how much I enjoy Snickerdoodles when Moustache (the cookie bar in Auckland CBD) opened last year, and they had them on offer. So . . . I decided to look up a recipe for Snickerdoodles and added it to my must make soon recipe folder on my computer that I am trying to work my way through during this 100 Days Project challenge.

For the sake of this posting and pure curiosity, I tried looking up where the name Snickerdoodle came from. The best answer of course came from Wikipedia: ” The Joy of Cooking claims that Snickerdoodles are probably German in origin, and that the name is a corruption of the German word Schneckennudeln (snail noodles), a kind of pastry.  It is also possible that the name is simply a nonsense word with no particular meaning, originating from a New England tradition of whimsical cookie names.”  Personally, I prefer the second explanation.

Snickerdoodle Cookies

by: Baking Makes Things Better

INGREDIENTS

Cookies:

  • 2 ¾ cups all purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 ½ cups granulated white sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla

Coating:

  • ⅓ cup granulated white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 190°C and place rack in the center of the oven. Line two baking sheets with
parchment paper.

In a large bowl whisk together the flour, salt, and baking powder.

In the bowl of your electric mixer, with a hand mixer, or with a good ‘ol fashioned wooden spoon, beat the butter and sugar until smooth

Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, and then add in the vanilla extract.

Add the butter/sugar mixture and the flour mixture together and beat until you have a smooth dough. If the dough is soft, cover and
refrigerate until firm.

Shape the dough into 2.5 cm or 1.5 inch round balls.

To coat:

In a large shallow bowl mix together the sugar and cinnamon. Roll the balls of dough in the cinnamon sugar and place on the prepared pan, spacing about 5 cm
apart. Then, using the bottom of a glass, gently flatten each cookie to about 1.5 cm thick.

Bake the cookies for about 10 – 15 minutes, or until they are light golden brown and firm around the edges. The centres of the cookies will still be a little soft. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool.

ENJOY!!

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