Sunday, December 23, 2012

Home Made Heath Bars

Yes, I know this is not the healthiest recipe or dessert, and it doesn't really fit my healthy dessert category, but Heath-bars are my brothers top favorite candy so I made these as a gift. They are good for your soul. And I did have to get rid of the small tidbits that fell off and were un-gift-able. Oh My Goodness. Heavenly. And everything is ok in moderation.

So in other words for a very special treat, try these.

Thank you BHG.com for your reliable and easy recipe. No fail for those who have never made candy :)

I split it into lots of baby steps, but really it takes like 30-40 minutes in total and is a breeze. I just don't like to search in my recipes.

Recipe:

Makes 1-1/2 lbs (48 servings according to BHG, I didn't count)

  • 1
    cup chopped toasted almonds (or other nut) divided* see note if need toasting instruc.
  • 1
    cup butter (yes, use it all)
  • 1
    cup sugar
  • 3
    tablespoons water
  • 1
    tablespoon light-colored corn syrup
  • 3/4
    cup semisweet chocolate pieces

Instructions:

1.         Line rimmed cookie sheet with foil, folding edges over sides.

2.         Sprinkle 1/2 cup nuts on pan

3.         Butter sides of heavy 2-quart saucepan using one of your sticks of butter. Add butter to pan and      
            melt. Add sugar, water, and corn-syrup and bring to boil over med-high heat. STIRRING     \
            CONSTANTLY

4.         Reduce heat to medium, keeping steady boil, and insert candy thermometer (still STIRRING)
            until you reach 290 degrees (watch carefully at 280 to keep from burning) ~about 15 minutes

5.         Candy should be golden brown. Remove from heat, take out thermometer, and pour over pan as
            evenly as possible, spreading to fill holes if needed with knife or metal spoon.

6.         Let stand for a minute (until top is firm) then sprinkle chocolate chips over warm candy. Let sit
            for 5 minutes, then spread melted chips over top (have faith, it will cover it all and will melt)
         


7.        Sprinkle with last 1/2 cup nuts and pop in fridge to harden.
8.        When hard, remove from fridge, lift/peel from foil, and break into pieces (if some are too small,
            not a bad time for samples ;)  Place pieces in tightly covered airtight container (layering
            parchment paper between layers is not a bad idea).

Storage: I store mine in the freezer b/c one, its humid here and candy loves to get sticky, but also frozen candy tastes better and always has a crunch. (fridge works too) BHG.com just says store tightly covered, so i guess you can store countertop, but I can't vouch.




       

*If you need to toast your nuts, chop and measure, then toast in oven at 350 until golden brown. Watch them! They go fast (2-4 min) and will burn!

Lacey Cookies

These are crisp, toffee-like, moldable, and FAST. Most of all, my family is obsessed with the ones at Whole Foods (filled with chocolate like a sandwich) so I thought I'd better learn how to make them and hopefully find the healthiest recipe possible.

Well, here's what I found. See original recipe here. I tweaked it a little by adjusting the honey.

4 ingredients. 5 minutes. Bake. Mold. Done.

Super fast and easy. Besides leaving them out too long in humid weather (which you don't do with any cookie) and letting them get sticky and un-crisp, these are fool proof. It makes the process much faster if you pick up the parchment paper off the hot cookie sheet when getting them to firm up and set. (also frees up the tray for another batch, why only make one?) These spread 2.5 inches across and look super impressive (no one needs to know how easy it was)

Total time ~15 min when you get the flow.

Makes ~12 cookies

Ingredients:

2 Tbs. Butter
2 Tbs. Brown Sugar
1 1/2 Tbp Honey
2 Tbs Whole Wheat Flour (or fresh ground oat flour or almond flour is supposed to work for gf cookie.
                                            let me know)

Directions:




Directions:


-preheat oven to 375


-mix butter, sugar, and honey in a small saucepan and melt and mix -->


-remove from heat and whisk in flour of choice

-drop teaspoons of batter onto a parchment paper lined cookie sheet 3 inches apart


-bake for ~6 min (or until bubbly, spread out, and golden brown in color)
  *they need to hit a certain temp to crisp up, so you want to see lots of bubbles and deep carmel color.
   when they dry they should be slightly holey, not a solid puddle*

-when set enough to pick up, mold into shape wanted and let set some, then place on drying rack or place directly on rack for flat cookies
           Shape ideas:
           - tubes like I did around a wooden spoon handle -->
           - mini cone shapes (top with ball cookies, meringues, or other filling for mock ice-cream cone)
           - bowls (for desserts), mold over bottom of cupcake pan or other bowl shape
           - tacos
           - wafer (flat, can fill with chocolate or other fun things or top with fruit and whipped cream)

-let set and dry, then place into airtight container

-if filling with chocolate see below update


*(don't let sit out in super humid weather for too long, will get sticky and un-crisp)





************************************UPDATE*************************************

So I made these again. 

This time I used 1 1/5 Tbs of agave (in place of the honey) because I realized that last time I couldn't read the recipe and used tsp vs. Tbs.  The result...... I think using tsp makes a crisper cookie. HOORAY FOR MISTAKES! 

I also made a chocolate filling. (My bro is obsessed with chocolate)

Here is the ratio (it will make too much, so you may want to scale it down unless you have some fruit or other dipping goodies on hand) 

-3/4 cup chocolate chips
-1 Tbs vegetable shortening

Place in microwave safe bowl and microwave for ~1 min
Stir and go again for 30 sec, Stir
Continue with 10 sec intervals until 3/4 of the chips are melted
Stir until all chips are melted
Spread/drizzle onto cookies and place into the fridge to firm up. 

*use this ratio for any dipping chocolate :)


Sandwiches and tacos
(tacos are easier, fill and fold)
                              



 ~>
  Chocolate
<3


Friday, December 14, 2012

Healthy Coffee Cake for One

Yes you heard right. Healthy. Coffee. Cake.
Wanna hear something even better? You can make it in 5 minutes and its all for YOU!!!!!
I recently have begun following Chocolate Covered Katie's Blog of healthy desert recipes and you need to check it out. It is completely dedicated to making desert an everyday affair with flair no matter who you are. She has a slew of "for one" recipes, and I do love coffee cake, so I went for it. The only thing I will do better next time... put some streusel in the middle too like the instructions suggest. Though if your lazy, just putting it on top works great. 

Check out the original post with nutrition facts: here.

I don't have her permission to post the recipe yet (I'm asking) so I will leave you with a link, a picture, and what I chose to do.


The best part of this recipe? Besides the fact it is guilt free and DELICIOUS (I don't joke about coffee cake).... I cooks in 1 minute in the microwave. Thats right!


*I used all whole-wheat flour as the flour, real sugar, and applesauce throughout.* 

MICROWAVE HEALTHY COFFEE CAKE:

Roasted Butternut Squash, Mushroom, Chickpea Salad

Oh. My. Goodness.
I just made this up for dinner and it was delicious! A few days ago we got diced fresh butternut squash from Costco (Ready to go! How great is that?) and I have been waiting for a good time to roast it up. Tonight was the night. I just got some mushroom kits from Fungi Perfecti (fungi.com) and started up my Pearl Oyster kit about 4 days ago. They grow FAST and are BEAUTIFUL!

I am so exstatic to be able to have fresh gormet organic mushrooms, and tonight was my first harvest. So... looking up the butternut squash salad recipe I just pinned on pintrest, I grabbed some guidelines and went to town. (see inspiration recipe here)
In here we have the yummy title ingredients, but also quick pickle beets for crunch and sweetness, and a scant few Plumamazins. If you have never had a Plumamazin (click link for info), they are delicious diced dried plums for salads, cereals, etc. They are higher in fiber and lower in calories and sugar than raisins, and they taste yummy in salad as a nice sweet bite.


Recipe: 
Serves 3-4 (at least it does for my family)

Roasted Portion:
2 cups cubed Butternut Squash (~.5 to 1in cubes)
1 15oz can Chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans)
1 Bunch of Pearl Oyster Mushrooms (see photo for ~amt.)
Curry Powder
1 tbs. Olive Oil

Quick Pickle Beets:
1 beet thinly sliced
Lemon Juice
Vinegar

The Rest:
4 cups Salad Greens (I used beet greens, swiss chard, kale, and lettuce from my garden)
A few tbs. Plumasins or other dried fruit (a small sprinkling)

And anything else that you want to add :) 

Instructions:
-Preheat oven to 400 

-Put Squash, Chickpeas, Mushrooms in lightly sprayed lipped roasting pan. Sprinkle desired amt. curry powder over and toss with the Olive oil.

-Roast for about 30-40 min. Or until Squash caramelized slightly and chickpeas browned.
Before....
...After




















Marinating Quick Pickle Beets



-In shallow bowl place sliced beets and cover with ~1/2 1/2 vinegar and lemon juice. Toss and let sit

-When Roasted Portion done, remove from oven, combine with greens, Plumasins, and drained pickled beets.

-Toss and enjoy with favorite salad dressing (I went with Amy's ginger vinaigrette, but any lighter tasting dressing would be great)

ENJOY!