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Posts Tagged ‘easy baking’

 

My son asked if we could make scones this week, and I realized we haven’t made any in the past several months. Have you noticed that at times, you completely forget to make something you really like and/or something your family loves? Do you find that sometimes, a favorite dish just falls from memory for no particular reason?

Luckily, I had an orange, some dark chocolate and all my regular gluten-free flours on hand, so we make these super flavorful and delicious scones. These are very similar to my orange current scones, but the dark chocolate chunks make them more of a treat for my kids.

 

Ingredients

1/3 cup coconut oil, melted and cooled

1/3 cup almond (or other) nut milk

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1/2 tsp almond extract

Finely grated zest of one orange

6 Tbsp of fresh-squeezed orange juice

1-1/4 cup almond flour

1-1/4 cup all-purpose gluten-free flour (I like this brand)

2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp sea salt

1/4 cup vegan chocolate chips or 1/3 cup of a dairy-free dark chocolate bar cut into small chunks

 

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Whisk all the dry ingredients, except for the chocolate, together in a medium bowl. Set aside.

Whisk the wet ingredients until well blended. Pour the wet mixture into the dry using a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides. Fold the wet and dry mixtures until just blended. Fold in the chocolate chips or chunks. Using the spatula, scoop out the dough onto a lightly floured cutting board or directly onto the parchment paper-lined baking sheet.

Gently pat the dough into a disc shape, approximately 1-inch thick (flouring your hands if necessary to prevent the dough from sticking). Using a chef’s knife, cut the disc into 6-8 pieces (3-4 cuts). Carefully separate the pieces roughly 1-2 inches apart.

Bake for 15-20 minutes or until a light golden brown color develops on the tops and edges. Remove and allow to cool 5-10 minutes before serving. Leftovers can be stores in an airtight container for 2-3 days, once the scones are completely cooled.

You can add a little honey or raspberry jam to these, but they’re so flavorful and yummy on their own, they don’t need anything extra.

Enjoy! 

 

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Shortbread cookies hold a special place in my heart for many reasons. I have been eating them my whole life. They remind me of my parents–who are entering their twilight years, and who both love shortbread over all other cookies. I used to relish opening a new tin of Walkers assorted shortbread cookies, carefully selecting different shapes. And I like shortbread because I generally distrust sugar and love butter.

I also like that I don’t mind giving my children a shortbread cookie as a sweet treat since they’re relatively low in sugar (emphasis on “relatively”), yet my kids still see it as a cookie, a treat. They also enjoy helping me make the cookies, which can be whipped up in 30 minutes. Well, full disclosure here, it is currently so hot in Brazil, that by the time I incorporate the butter with the dry ingredients, it has melted so much that I have to chill my dough before rolling, cutting and baking it. But in most parts of the world, shortbread cookies can be made quickly and easily with so few ingredients.

Perhaps the best part about shortbread is that you can add just about anything you want to the dough. Here, the recipe is with fresh-grated lemon zest, but you can add chocolate chips or chocolate chunks, grated orange zest, ginger, lavender, or chopped nuts and dried fruit as seen in my holiday recipe for pistachio cranberry shortbread.

 

Ingredients

8 tablespoons (112 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature or slightly cooler

1/3 cup sugar (also good using just 1/4 cup)

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

zest of one lemon (finely grated)

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

3/4 cup (140 g) all-purpose gluten-free flour, I like this brand 

1/3 cup almond flour

 

Preparation

In a medium-size bowl, or food processor, combine the butter and sugar until evenly incorporated. Stir in the vanilla extract and lemon zest.

Whisk together the flours and salt in a small bowl and add to the butter mixture. Stir until thoroughly mixed. Turn out onto a floured surface and roll into a rectangle that’s approximately 3/8-inch in thickness. Cut into bars roughly 1.5 inches by 3 inches or use cookie cutters to cut into different shapes. Place cookies on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Bake at 325F for 20-25 minutes or until lightly golden brown on the edges. Allow to cool on the cookie sheet for at least 5-10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack or munching. These cookies keep for several days if you store them in a airtight container after they’re completely cooled.

Enjoy!

 

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I should rename my blog, “Muffin Mama,” since it seems I bake muffins at least twice a week. Baking is stress-relieving for me. In California, I baked muffins and breads regularly, but I because I haven’t bought a loaf pan yet here in Brazil, I’m all about the muffin. Unfortunately, because I can’t figure out the temperature on my oven in Brazil, there have been many muffins batches I wanted to share but couldn’t because they cooked too hot to be worth photographing.

I like making muffins because they’re simple to prepare, fun to eat, easy to make gluten- or dairy-free and low-sugar, and possess some element of nostalgia (possibly from the 80s–or was it the 90s when muffins became so popular that offering “muffin tops” even became a thing?). My kids love them, too, and I can put in all sorts of ingredients, such as carrots, zucchini, wheatgerm, and nuts, while keeping everyone happy.

This recipe is slightly more sophisticated than the banana or blueberry muffins I usually bake. These muffins you might serve when you invite someone over for tea or coffee, or as part of a brunch spread. They have a moist, delicate, cake-like texture, and the orange and almond combination make them just a tad sophisticated–if I can be so bold as to suggest muffins can have any sophistication. These would make a great companion to a leek and gruyere quiche or tart or an herb omelette if you’re inviting friends for brunch.

I’m crazy about almond, so you’ll appreciate the subtle almond flavor in these. If you don’t like almond, just use vanilla extract–just make sure it’s good quality, pure vanilla. I hope you enjoy these as much as I do.

 

Ingredients

3/4 cup all-purpose gluten-free flour (I like this brand)

1 cup almond flour

2 tsp baking powder

3/4 tsp sea salt

2 eggs

1/2 cup sugar

zest of one orange (roughly 2-3 tsp)

1/2 cup fresh squeezed orange juice

1/3 cup plain yogurt

1/4 cup olive oil

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1 tsp almond extract

1/3 cup sliced almonds, lightly toasted

 

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare a 12-muffin tin by either greasing the cups with a little olive oil or lining them with paper muffin cups.

In a medium bowl, whisk eggs until mixture is even in color. Whisk in sugar, orange zest and juice, yogurt, oil, and extracts.

In a small bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder and salt. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet mixture and stir until combined. (Don’t over stir.) Spoon the batter evenly into the muffin cups.

Lightly toast the sliced almonds under just lightly golden. Sprinkle evenly over the batter-filled cups. Place in the center of the oven and bake 18-22 minutes or until the edges turn gold and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Allow to cool 5-10 minutes before serving. Once completely cooled, muffins can be stored in an airtight container for up to four days.

Enjoy!

 

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Hello World! It’s been ages since I’ve posted anything, but for those of you who follow me on Instagram, you know I’m still around–cooking and eating. On top of working my “day job”–empowering communities with renewable energy, I decided to move to Brazil with my husband and children. That’s right, at an age when most people plan to stay put at least until their children have graduated from high school, I am moving to a place I’ve only ever visited once (just last month!). And yes, I do wonder if I’m crazy–regularly, these days. There is an insane amount of work involved in moving to another country, particularly when you’re moving as part of a start-up, not as part of taking a new assignment abroad within a large multi-national corporation (that handles all the nitty gritty details for you). I’ve been filling out pages and pages of paperwork in order for our children to attend school in another country, and trying to declutter a house I had no plans of moving out until two months ago, and packing and sorting, packing and sorting, repeat, repeat again. However, my husband and I have always wanted to live abroad with our children–even for just a year or two. We firmly believe it dramatically helps children become world citizens, not just little privileged beings growing up comfortably in their little American community.

Not surprisingly, I’ve been somewhat stressed out, so for those of you who know me well, you know I’ve been baking up a storm. Nothing fancy–just the usual. Fast and easy, gluten-free muffins or breads. The mixing and stirring relaxes me, and the eating of warm, cake-like bread comforts me–at least for a short while.

This recipe for Coconut Sesame Almond Muffins came about because I’ve also been trying to incorporate more seeds into our food. Seeds, particularly pumpkin, sesame and chia, are so nutritious, but I always feel like a bird eating seeds on their own. Lately, I sprinkle them on every salad, and in this recipe, I bake them in!

These muffins use so little added sugar, but they come out sweet, incredibly moist, and with a cake-like texture (“crumb” as my English friends say). You can whip them up in about 10 minutes plus cooking time, and they keep well stored in an airtight container (once they cool completely) for at least 3 days.

 

Ingredients

2 eggs

2/3 cup coconut milk

1/4 cup coconut oil

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup almond flour

1/2 cup gluten-free all-purpose flour (I like this brand)

1 cup desiccated coconut

1/3 cup cane sugar

1/4 cup white raw sesame seeds

1/2 tsp kosher salt

2 tsp baking powder

 

Preparation

Heat oven to 350F. Grease a standard, 12-cup muffin pan or line with paper muffin cups.

In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs until even in color. Whisk in the milk, vanilla extract and oil.

In a separate bowl, whisk together all the dry ingredients. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and fold in using a spatula until just blended. Spoon evenly into the muffin pan. Put in the middle of the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes or until muffins have just a hint of gold, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Allow to cool at least 10 minutes.

Enjoy warm or at room temperature (although these are so delicious warm, that you may devour immediately and share the still-warm muffins with friends and neighbors!). Store for up to 3 days in an airtight container.

I love the natural whiteness of these muffins, but for fun, you can fold in 1/4 cup of mini dark chocolate chips before baking.

Enjoy!

 

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