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Bringing Home the Bakin'

bake my cake and eat it, too

Category Archives: Sweet

 

For those of you who don’t know, I just spent the past five weeks at my TFA Institute in Chicago, which means many grueling days of lectures, long nights spent lesson planning, and more cafeteria food than I could stomach.  However, I was so surprised that in spite of the hard work and less-than-ideal living conditions, my institute experience ended up surpassing my expectations in many ways.  Over the course of the past five weeks, I made so many incredible friendships and was so proud of the strides that my 26 “zesty” 6th graders made.  Now that I’m home, I’ve decided to celebrate (in BHTB fashion, of course) with homemade Hot Fudge Cream Puffs.  Yum!

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Cream Puffs: King Arthur Flour

Ingredients:

1 cup water

1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter

3/8 teaspoon salt

1 1/4 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour

4 large eggs

Directions:

1) Preheat the oven to 425°F. Lightly grease (or line with parchment) two baking sheets.

2) Combine the water, butter, and salt in a medium-sized saucepan, heat until the butter has melted, and bring to a rolling boil.

3) Remove the pan from the heat, and add the flour all at once, stirring vigorously.

4) Return the pan to the burner and cook over medium heat, stirring all the while, until the mixture smooths out and follows the spoon around the pan; this should take less than a minute.

5) Remove the pan from the heat, and let the mixture cool for 5 to 10 minutes. It’ll still feel hot, but you should be able to hold a finger in it for a few seconds. 

6) Transfer the mixture to a mixer, and beat in the eggs one at a time; it’ll look curdled at first, but when you add the last egg it should become smooth. Beat for at least 2 minutes after adding the last egg.

7) Using a generously filled tablespoon cookie scoop, or a level muffin scoop, drop the thick batter onto the prepared baking sheets in 3- to 4-tablespoon mounds. Space the mounds about 3″ apart, to allow for expansion. 

8) Bake the pastries for 15 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 350°F and bake for an additional 25 minutes, until pastries are a medium golden brown. Don’t open the oven door while the pastries are baking.

9) Remove the pastries from the oven. Make a small slit in the top of each, and return them to the oven for 5 minutes, to allow the steam to escape. Place them on a rack to cool. When they’re cool enough to handle, split each in half to make top and bottom pieces; splitting and exposing the centers to air will help keep them from becoming soggy.

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“Senioritis” has hit pretty hard this semester — I’ve often joked that I’m “as slow as molasses” lately.

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 Though it’s been a little tricky to stay motivated with graduation quickly approaching and the beautiful spring weather we’ve been experiencing, finals are still around the corner and there are many late nights at the library still ahead. I don’t know about you, but study snacks help my concentration infinitely — however, I wanted to make something that wouldn’t leave me feeling completely guilty and sugar-high.

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And thus, I recently made Vegan Molasses Cookies — they’re excellent.  They’re chewy and spicy, and taste best when completely cool (if you can wait that long, haha). 

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Vegan Molasses Cookies – A Dash of Soul 
Ingredients
  • ⅓ c. Earth Balance, melted
  • ½ c. sugar
  • ¼ c. brown sugar, packed
  • ⅓ c. blackstrap molasses
  • 2 t. vanilla extract
  • 2 T. soy milk
  • 2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 t. ginger
  • 1 t. cinnamon
  • ½ t. cloves
  • ½ t. allspice
  • 2 t. baking soda
 
Instructions
  1. In a medium sized mixing bowl, cream together the vegan butter and sugars with an electric mixer until smooth and well blended.
  2. Add the molasses, vanilla, and milk and beat until the mixture is very smooth.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients.
  4. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet and mix just until everything is well combined.
  5. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour.
  6. When you’re ready to shape the cookies, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  7. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and use a cookie scoop or large spoon to measure out about a tablespoon or so of dough for each cookie. Roll each scoop of dough into a smooth ball with your hands and roll in additional sugar if desired.
  8. Place the balls onto lightly greased baking sheets and bake for 8-10 minutes, or until the surface of the cookies have nicely cracked.

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When it comes to grocery shopping, I’m definitely an impulsive buyer.  I walk through every aisle, even though I know exactly what I need going in, and always leave with a bag full of ingredients for which I have no true purpose; this purchase was no exception.

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 With my box of Cacao Butter in tow, I began “hitting the books” and trying to find a recipe.

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When I stumbled upon these raw, vegan almond joy bars, I couldn’t help but squeal with delight — they were exactly the sweet treat that I needed.

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 These are definitely healthier than the variety you would find at the drugstore, but they are so satisfying — I’m totally converted.

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RAW NO BAKE ALMOND JOY CANDY — Courtesy of A Simply Raw Life (With one modification)

Makes about 12 pieces

 

INGREDIENTS

For the filling:

1 1/2 cups dried unsweetened coconut

2 tbsp coconut oil

2 pitted dates

3 tbsp maple syrup (*I used 2 tablespoons, and combined with the sweetness of the dates, it was definitely sweet enough)

1 tsp vanilla

pinch salt

 

For the coating:

1/3 cup cacao butter, warmed until melted

1/3 cup raw cacao powder

2 tbsp maple syrup

Pinch sea salt

 

DIRECTIONS

In a food processor, process all filling ingredients till well combined.  It will be a little wet, but they will stick together well once you chill it..  Shape the filling into twelve mini bit size rectangles. Place them on a parchment lined baking pan and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Set up a double boiler, using a medium sized mixing bowl. Melt the cacao butter, then whisk in the cacao powder, syrup, and sea salt.

Take each mini coconut bar and dip it into the chocolate coating, quickly placing it back on the parchment. Return them to the fridge for 10-15 minutes, or until one coating has set. Repeat the process again, so that each has a double coat.

Return them to the fridge for another 15 minutes, or more to let them set. When ready to serve, let them sit outside the fridge for about 10-15 minutes.

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Fall is undoubtedly my favorite season.  Typically, each fall brings visions of beautifully colored leaves, cool, crisp air, and the delightful smells of caramel apples and pumpkin spice everything.  This fall, however, I was also awaiting what seemed to be the biggest decision of my life, so far — would I be accepted to Teach for America?  Much stress ensued, and anyone in my “inner circle” knows that baking has always been my stress relief — so one thoughtful friend brought over the ingredients to make these healthfully indulgent fall treats (Thanks Julie!). I’m proud to share that I was accepted (!!!) and was lucky enough to celebrate with these delicious pumpkin cinnamon rolls.

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls (Vegan and Lower Calorie) – Modern Mom

Yields: 6 pumpkin cinnamon rolls

Ingredients:

Dough:

  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 2 Tbsp. vegan butter spread, room temperature, plus more for greasing pan
  • ¼ cup Almond milk
  • ½ tsp. apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup + 2 Tbsp. pumpkin puree

Filling:

  • 1 Tbsp. vegan butter spread, melted
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 1 ½ Tbsp. pumpkin pie spice

Frosting:

  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. vegan butter spread, room temperature
  • Seeds from 1 vanilla bean
  • 1 ½ tsp. almond milk, plus more if needed to reach desired consistency

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Line a cake pan with parchment paper, grease paper and pan with vegan butter spread to prevent sticking.

In a medium bowl, whisk together dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, blend vegan butter spread, pumpkin puree, almond milk and vinegar until smooth.

Add the dry ingredients to the mixing bowl, half at a time; gently mix until combined being careful not to over mix the dough.

On a generously floured surface (flour the rolling pin too!) roll the dough into a rectangle ¼ inch thick. Cut the edges of the dough with a pastry cutter or knife into fairly straight lines. The approximate size of the rectangle should be 8 inches wide, by 14 inches long, and ¼ inch thickness.

In a small bowl mix together the brown sugar and pumpkin pie spice.

In another small bowl, melt 1 Tbsp. of vegan butter spread, and brush evenly over the top of the dough.

Sprinkle the sugar spice mixture over the dough, leaving a ½ inch border along all sides of the dough.

Starting on a smaller side of the rectangle, the 8 inch side; gently roll the dough into a log. Cut into 6 equal size pieces.

Place cinnamon rolls into the greased cake pan.

Bake for approximately 16 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the vanilla bean frosting. Mix together the powdered sugar and earth balance.

Cut a vanilla bean in half lengthwise. Use a knife to scrap out the seeds of each half, placing the seeds into the mixing bowl. Add 1 tsp. of almond milk and mix until seeds are evenly distributed throughout the frosting. Add ½ tsp. at a time of almond milk until you reach the desired consistency. I like the frosting on the thick side so I only did that one time.

When the pumpkin cinnamon rolls are done baking, spread the frosting evenly over the tops of each roll, and serve.

*Tip: Reheating cinnamon rolls for leftovers takes about 10 seconds in the microwave.

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With classes starting on Tuesday, and the Jewish New Year following shortly afterward, I couldn’t think of a more relevant ingredient to include in my baking this weekend than the apple.  This apple cake was so delicious — sweet in the best of ways and homey in every sense of the word!

Mom’s Apple Cake — Smitten Kitchen

Ingredients: 

  • 6 apples, Mom uses McIntosh apples
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 5 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 3/4 cups flour, sifted
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a tube pan. Peel, core and chop apples into chunks. Toss with cinnamon and sugar and set aside.
  2. Stir together flour, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together oil, orange juice, sugar and vanilla. Mix wet ingredients into the dry ones, then add eggs, one at a time. Scrape down the bowl to ensure all ingredients are incorporated.
  3. Pour half of batter into prepared pan. Spread half of apples over it. Pour the remaining batter over the apples and arrange the remaining apples on top. Bake for about 1 1/2 hours, or until a tester comes out clean.

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This past week has been filled with celebrations for my family.  My younger sister went to Prom and graduated from high school, and my older sister celebrated her birthday.  With these celebrations came lots of fun, family time, and most importantly… food.  To get “back on track” after everyone’s diets were derailed, I decided to prepare a guilt-free dessert to satisfy any sweet tooth in a healthy way.  These personal-sized raw coconut cream pies are every bit as delicious as the “real deal” but left us feeling nourished and satisfied!  Although the recipe says to defrost the pies, we all enjoyed them most when eaten frozen — they taste almost like ice cream sandwiches!

Raw Coconut Cream Pie with Dark Chocolate Crust

Prep time: 10 Minutes
Yield: Makes 12 Personal Size Pies

Crust Ingredients:

  • 1/2 Cup Raw Cashews or Macadamia Nuts
  • 1/2 Cup Shredded Plain Coconut
  • 1 Tbsp Coconut Oil
  • 2 Tbsp Agave
  • 2 Tbsp Cocoa
  • Dash of Salt

Filling Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 Cup Coconut Cream (*Refrigerate a can of coconut milk for 24-48 hours and skim thick, white milk from the top, leaving remaining oil at bottom of can)
  • 1/2 Cup Coconut Oil
  • 3-4 Tbsp Agave
  • 1 Banana
  • 1/4 Tsp Salt
  • 1 Tsp Vanilla Extract

Directions:

  1. Place crust ingredients in your food processor and blend until smooth.
  2. Spray a muffin tin with a healthy, non-stick cooking spray.
  3. Evenly press dough down into muffin tin.
  4. Place in the freezer.
  5. Place all filling ingredients in a separate food processor bowl (or washed bowl) and blend until smooth.
  6. Remove crust from freezer.
  7. Evenly top crust with coconut cream filling.
  8. Place in the freezer and let set for 2-3 hours.
  9. Remove from freezer and let thaw for 10-15 minutes before serving (depending on the texture you choose).
  10. Feel free to top these with coconut whipped cream and/or shredded coconut.

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Although it isn’t the prettiest cake I’ve ever made, this raw chocolate ginger frosted cake is really something to celebrate.  It is so healthy (high in protein, fiber, omega-3s, vitamins, and minerals) yet it doesn’t sacrifice any flavor.   I’d highly recommend this cake to any chocolate lover looking to satisfy their sweet tooth with a healthier alternative to the more traditional chocolate cake.

Raw Chocolate Ginger Frosted Cake:

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup almonds
  • ¾ cup walnuts
  • ¼ cup raw cacao powder
  • ¼ tsp high quality sea salt
  • 1 tsp freshly grated ginger
  • 3 Tbsp coconut nectar (can replace with maple syrup… NOT agave)
  • 5 Medjool dates, pitted
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:

Grind the almonds, walnuts, and cacao in a food processor until it resembles bread crumbs. Add the sea salt, ginger, coconut nectar, dates and vanilla and mix again until you achieve a smooth texture. Press the mixture into a 9 x 5 inch rectangular glass baking dish.

Chocolate frosting:

Ingredients:

  • ¾ cup avocado flesh
  • 3 Medjool dates, pitted
  • 2 Tbsp raw cacao powder
  • ¼ cup coconut nectar (can substitute with maple syrup… NOT agave)

Directions:

For the frosting, put all the ingredients for frosting in the food processor, or vitamix, and blend together.

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