Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Buckwheat Oat Chocolate Chip Cookies (Whole Grain, Could Be Made Gluten Free)

Buckwheat Oat Chocolate Chip Cookies

Love these cookies!  One of our grocery stores recently remodeled and added a nice bulk section and natural foods aisle.  I love it.  While looking over the new things, I saw that they had buckwheat flour and decided to get some.  They also had oat bran which I have wanted to get a few times but never found it readily available around here without having to make an hour drive.. These are the cookies I came up with and I’m super happy with how they turned out on the first try.  

Besides being made with all whole grains, they are also made with natural cane sugar (and a little molasses to make homemade brown sugar) and coconut oil instead of butter.  Since coconut oil is used instead of butter, the dough can be made in a bowl with a spoon—a mixer is not necessary.  The dark chocolate chips do have a little sugar (I used Ghirardelli 60% Cacao Chips, you can use any chocolate you’d like.  They also have some unsweetened coconut.  You might be thinking they don’t sound sweet enough, but they certainly are!

Buckwheat Oat Chocolate Chip Cookies

Buckwheat Oat Chocolate Chip Cookies, by Katrina, Baking and Boys!

2/3 cup coconut oil

1 cup natural cane sugar and 1 teaspoon molasses, mixed with a fork and/or your fingers until all combined (Homemade Brown Sugar!)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 large eggs, room temperature

1 cup buckwheat flour

1 cup old fashioned oats

1/2 cup oat flour (made by grinding oats in food processor until finely ground)

1/2 cup oat bran

3 tablespoons nonfat dry milk powder

1  1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (I chop them up a bit since the Ghirardelli chips are larger)

1/2 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped

1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut (don’t want coconut, leave it out)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper. 

In a large sized bowl, combine the cane sugar and molasses.  Mix it together with a fork, then rub the sugar between your fingers until it all becomes moist, like brown sugar.  Add the coconut oil to the sugar and stir with a wooden spoon until combined.  Add the vanilla and eggs and stir until well mixed.  In a separate bowl, combine the buckwheat flour, oats, oat flour, dry milk powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Whisk it together to sift.  Add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture and fold together until all combined.  Stir in the chocolate chips, walnuts and coconut.  Scoop dough (about 2 tablespoonsful) on to baking sheet spacing about 2 inches apart.  Bake for 9-10 minutes.  Let sit on baking sheet for a couple minutes the move cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.  Makes 24 cookies. 

Buckwheat Oat Chocolate Chip Cookies

I love these cookies and that they are much healthier, so I don’t feel as guilty eating 3, 4 5, 6 of them. (ha)  They have a great chewiness and wonderful nutty flavor—and chocolate! ;)

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Mildly Wild Salsa, The Best Homemade Salsa

Mildly Wild Salsa

I recently made what is now my favorite homemade salsa and I’ll most likely make it this way from now on.  I couldn’t think of a fun, clever name to call it and asked my mom for ideas.  So I credit her with what is now called Mildly Wild Salsa.  It’s got a great, spicy kick to it, but is not-too-hot to enjoy.  That is one thing I don’t like about some hot salsas—they are just too much to actually eat and like.  I don’t like chunky salsa, mostly because I strongly dislike onions, especially in any recognizable form. ;)  This has the perfect hit of flavor you need from onions (though I used shallot), but the real flavor punch is from the jalapeno and cilantro.  Can’t forget about the garlic and fresh lime juice either. 

There are a couple of Mexican restaurants where I love the salsa, I always say I could almost drink it.  I also like to say I love the smell of April Fresh Downy so much that I could drink it, too, but that’s a totally different story (and no, I haven’t and won’t drink Downy). ;)  Sometimes when we’ve tried making it at home, it has seemed a bit acidy.  We’ve tried putting a little sugar in it and that helps a bit, but this time when I made it, it was just too hot, even when I removed most of the seeds and ribs from the inside of the jalapeno.  We have also found over time that we like using canned tomatoes rather than fresh ones.  Many like a fresh, chunky salsa with lots of cut up veggies, but that brings up the whole raw chunks of onions that I can’t handle again.  After making this as I most often do and deciding it was much too spicy, I decided to add a can of tomato sauce—and it is so good!  It added just the right amount of sweetness that helps cut the acid and made it so it was perfectly spicy but definitely not too spicy.  Try it!

Mildly Wild Salsa, The Best Homemade Salsa, by Katrina, Baking and Boys!

1 jalapeno, ribs and most of the seeds removed (but leave some!) and cut into 4 pieces

1 shallot (or about 1/4 cup onion), roughly chopped

2 cloves garlic

1/4 cup cilantro leaves

1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1/8-1/4 teaspoon salt (to taste)

juice of half a lime (or more to taste)

14 ounce can of diced or whole tomatoes (not drained)

8 ounce can of tomato sauce

In the bowl of a food processor put the cut up jalapeno, the shallot, garlic and cilantro.  Pulse a few times.  Add the sugar, cumin, salt and lime juice.  Pulse until all is finely chopped.  Scrape the sides of the bowl.  Pulse again.  Add the tomatoes and tomato sauce and pulse until  tomatoes are well chopped and almost smooth.  Serve with chips.

Mildly Wild Salsa 2

Perfect for snacking, lunch, dinner, snacking…….heck, it would work great for huevo rancheros for breakfast, too, or any other type of Mexican breakfast!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

No Bake Peanut Butter Chocolate Energy Bites

No Bake Energy Bites 5-14-13

These are perfect little bites of energy and deliciousness that are great when you don’t want to turn on the oven (or like me, have a broken oven)!  Never fear, a new one is on the way.  I love that these are healthy with mostly all natural ingredients (except the chocolate, though it is dark chocolate so is definitely on the healthier side anyway).

Super easy to make!  I formed them into to little one and a half inch disks, but they would be easy to just for into to balls.  I found these on Maggie’s blog, Smashed Peas and Carrots.  I made a few little changes to how I made them, besides forming them in to disks instead of balls.  The recipe used ground flaxseed and I only had half of what was needed for that, so I also used some wheat germ.  Her recipe also doesn’t say more than “coconut flakes”, I used the unsweetened ones and instead of mini chocolate chips, I used some chopped dark chocolate.  You could actually make these with all kinds of flavors, using different nut butters and putting dried fruit in them. 

No Bake Peanut Butter Chocolate Energy Bites, by Katrina and Baking and Boys! adapted from Smashed Peas and Carrots

1 cup old fashioned oats

1/2 cup natural peanut butter

1/3 cup honey

1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes

1/4 cup ground flaxseed

1/4 cup wheat germ

1/2 cup (3 oz.) chopped dark chocolate

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and mix well.  Refrigerate for 30 minutes or so, which helps make the mixture easier to form into bite sized pieces.  Scoop out tablespoonsful with a small cookie scoop and put them into a 1  1/2 inch round cookie cutter (these would even be fun to use different cookie cutter shapes!), Pack the mixture down into the cutter.  You can also form them into balls, packing the mixture before you roll it.  Place them on a wax paper lined baking sheet.  Refrigerate again.  (Although you may find them getting eaten before the make it back to the refrigerator.)  Store in an airtight container.  Makes 24-28 cookies, depending on size.

No Bake Energy Bites

These really are fun, easy, delicious bites of energy!  Try not to eat too much before you even get them shaped.  I dare ya!

No Bake Energy BitesI have some almond butter.  I think I’ll try that next with some chopped almonds and maybe some dried cranberries. 

Sunday, May 05, 2013

English Muffin Bread and Very Little Bother Bread—Secret Recipe Club

English Muffin Bread (May SRC) 4-28-13

I love this bread!  I made this for the Secret Recipe Club from my assigned blog this month.  I seriously don’t eat white bread, like almost never.  I just know that whole wheat bread is much better for me and I most often prefer it, especially over store bought bread.  When I saw this bread on Shannon’s blog, Searching For Dessert, I remembered seeing it before other places online and wanting to make it, but never had.  Kevin likes English muffins so I figured he’d like it, too.  The loaf of bread was eaten pretty quickly and I have to admit, I ate more slices of it than I thought I would—a couple pieces one day, a couple the next. 

I love the denseness of it and all the little nooks and crannies that perfectly hold melting butter and my other favorite, honey. 

English Muffin Bread

While I certainly think the bread is good freshly sliced (and it slices so nicely), my favorite way to have it is toasted, with the aforementioned butter and honey.

Toasted English Muffin Bread

Love the crispy crust and still tender middle.   I adapted Shannon’s recipe ever-so-slightly.  Check out her English Muffin Bread, she added a little cinnamon to it.  I decided this first time to leave it out.  I also needed more flour than she used.

English Muffin Bread, by Katrina, Baking and Boys!, adapted from Searching For Dessert

3  1/3 cups all purpose flour (I used unbleached)

2  1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast (which is the same as one packet)

1/8 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup milk (I used 2%)

1/4 cup water

1/2 tablespoon granulated sugar

1 teaspoon salt

In a large bowl, whisk together one and a half cups of flour, the yeast, and baking soda. Heat in a small saucepan over medium heat the milk, water, sugar and salt just until warm.  Stir to combine the sugar and salt.  Remove from heat before it is hot.  Stir the wet ingredients into the flour mixture and combine well.  Stir in one and a half cups of flour.  If the dough is still quite sticky, add some of the remaining 1/3 cup flour to the countertop and put the dough on top of it and begin working in some of the flour, adding more of the remaining 1/3 cup until it isn’t too sticky.  It only needs to be kneaded just until it all comes together and isn’t too sticky to shape. 

Shape it into a loaf and place it in an 8x4 inch loaf pan that is greased.  Cover the pan with plastic wrap sprayed lightly with cooking spray and let it rise in a warm place for about 45 minutes.  After about 30 minutes, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.  Bake the bread for 25 minutes.  Remove the bread from the pan and let it cool on a wire rack until you just can’t stand it anymore and need to slice in to it. ;)

English Muffin Bread (May SRC)

Ready to bake with no kneading and just 45 minutes rise time.

English Muffin Bread 4-28-13

Perfect in just 25 minutes.

I also made this bread from Shannon’s blog, Searching For Dessert because I love the name of it and the idea of it being easy!  Very Little Bother Bread  The recipe makes enough for two loaves, so I halved it and only made one loaf.  It was good and easy.  The mixer does the short time of kneading.  The dough then goes through two 30 minute rise times, then is shaped and put in the pan for one more 30 minute rising.  Baked, then—with very little bother, you have a great homemade bread.  I used about half whole wheat flour and half all purpose flour.

Very Little Bother Bread

Very Little Bother Bread

Very Little Bother Bread

Other recipes I printed out from Shannon’s blog and plan to try soon are---

Southwest Quinoa Sliders

Crisped Rice Cookies

Banana Brownies with Peanut Butter Drizzle  (Shannon loves creating all kinds of different flavored brownies, so do I!)

There is so much more deliciousness on Shannon’s blog.  Check it out, especially if you are Searching For Dessert. ;)



Friday, May 03, 2013

Mexican Chocolate Ice Cream

Mexican Chocolate Ice Cream

This Mexican Chocolate Ice Cream would be perfect for Cinco de Mayo.  That said, why save it for only one day of the year.  This is fabulous ice cream!  Mexican chocolate has a little kick of cinnamon in it.  But to make this ice cream have even more of a kick—I also added some cayenne pepper.  Now we’re talkin’.

Too many months ago, I made mention on Facebook or a blog about how I could never find Mexican chocolate around here.  Out of nowhere a few days later, I received a package in the mail from my dear friend, Suzanne, from Thru the Bugs on My Windshield.   She sent me a bunch of Ibarra Mexican chocolate.  She said it was everywhere in Texas.  So after months and months of seeing it in my baking cupboard, yesterday when I saw it sitting on the shelf, it came to me—ICE CREAM.  I don’t know what took me so long to think of it, but I finally knew what I’d make with the chocolate. 

Mexican chocolate is grainy because it has lots of sugar in it, as well as the cinnamon.  It’s not the easiest thing to chop, but I managed with my new Cutco Santoku knife. ;)

Mexican Chocolate

I made up my own recipe, which I’m always proud of myself when I do.  I added the cream and milk to a saucepan.  Once it was beginning to get hot over medium heat, I added the chopped chocolate and the cayenne pepper.  After the chocolate was melted and the mixture was almost to a boil, I removed it from the heat and slowly whisked a little of it in to the waiting egg yolks and salt.  Once the yolks are mixed with some of the hot cream, it can be poured back in to the saucepan.   I returned it to the heat and stirred it until a thermometer read 175 degrees and it was thickened.  It didn’t even take 2 minutes.  Once it was removed from the heat, I added some vanilla then strained the mixture over a fine-mesh strainer into a metal bowl.  That helped remove some of the lingering graininess. 

I then set the bowl into a bigger bowl that is filled with ice and water and it takes an ice bath while I stir it every couple minutes.  This cools the mixture really fast.  You could just set the hot creamed mixture in an airtight container in the fridge until it is chilled.  But doing it in an ice bath makes it cold and chillin’ and ready to churn within about 30 minutes!

Mexican Chocolate Ice Cream ready to churn

Just about ready for the ice cream maker.

Ready to churn Mexican chocolate ice cream

Here it goes.  I think I’ll go take a siesta.

Freshly churned ice cream

Ahh!  Ready for a stint in the freezer, although this is how I prefer ice cream—soft serve!

Mexican Chocolate Ice Cream

Since I didn’t make this one low fat at all, I only tasted a little bit—but it is GOOD!  Love the little, subtle kick from the cayenne.  You could add more than I did if you want a little more spice!

Mexican Chocolate Ice Cream, by Katrina, Baking and Boys!

2  1/2 cups heavy cream

1 cup 2% milk (or whole)

10 ounces Mexican chocolate (Ibarra brand preferred), chopped

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or more to taste)

3 large egg yolks

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a medium-sized saucepan, heat the cream and milk until hot.  Add the chopped chocolate and cayenne pepper.  Stir to combine.  Whisk until all the chocolate is melted and the milk is almost to a boil.  In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and salt.  Add some of the hot cream mixture to the egg yolks, whisking while you add it.  This helps make sure the egg yolks don’t curdle.  Once you’ve added about 1/3 of the cream mixture, pour the now whisked egg yolk mixture back into the saucepan and return it to a medium heat.  Cook until the mixture thickens and it reaches 175 degrees on a thermometer.  Remove from heat and add the vanilla.  Whisk it all together and pour it into a metal bowl with a fine-mesh strainer over it to remove some of the grainy sugar/chocolate that hasn’t dissolved (there isn’t much there, but it’s good to strain it). 

Put the bowl over an ice bath in a bigger bowl and let it cool, whisking it every few minutes.  Within about half an hour, it will be cold and ready to churn.  Churn in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions, about 20-30 minutes.  Remove from ice cream maker and put it in an airtight container in the freezer for a couple hours.

Mexican Chocolate Ice Cream 3

Delicious!  While it is finally just climbing in to the 60’s and looking a little like spring here in Utah (we just had snow two days ago), I hear there is a major heat wave more West of here, like in California and Arizona.  You need ice cream.  It’ll cool you down.  And if you make this Mexican chocolate ice cream, just in time to celebrate Cinco de Mayo, it’ll heat you right back up with its nice spice kick—it’s so worth it!

Thanks so much for the Mexican chocolate, Suzanne!  So mighty Texan of ya!  (Luv ya!)