Friday, February 21, 2014

Carrot Cake Cookies

Oh yes, you heard me - carrots in cookies. Delicious and fluffy Carrot Cake Cookies. Seriously, these are totally the cookie incarnation of carrot cake. The carrots lend an excellent cake-like consistency to these cookies, as well as a natural sweetness so you won't need nearly as much sugar as you would for other oatmeal raisin type cookies!

What you'll need (Makes 3 dozen cookies)

  • 240g unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • 180g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 200g grated carrots
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 360g flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 140g oats
  • 200g raisins
  • 100g walnuts (optional)

What to do:

Preheat your oven to 170C/340F.

Prepare the 200g of grated carrots. 2-3 large carrots should cover it.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the eggs, sugar, butter, and vanilla extract. Once thoroughly blended - no butter lumps! - add in the grated carrots. 

Mix the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and ginger together in a separate bowl. Gradually add this to the wet mixture, stirring as you go. Next gradually stir in the oats.

Finally, fold in the raisins and, if you want to include them, the walnuts.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Then use a spoon to scoop rounded heaps of cookie dough, spaced evenly (leave at least an inch between each mound of dough), onto the baking sheet. Pop into the oven and bake for about 10 minutes, or until the cookies turn lightly golden brown on the top. 

Allow the cookies to cool for 2 minutes before removing from the baking sheet. And enjoy!

Eating your veggies with your cookies - sounds like a win to me, don't you agree? 

If you want slightly fancier cookies, these are excellent (and slightly sweeter) with a dollop of cream cheese frosting on top too!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Quick and Easy Hummus

Hummus, houmous, hummous - however you choose to spell it, with a little bit of planning you can make a super tasty batch of it at home.  I tend to keep dried chickpeas at home. If you have these on hand, you'll want to prep the night before. This means rinsing and soaking the dried chickpeas overnight (or at least 8 hours). 

What you'll need:

  • 300g chickpeas
  • 6 tablespoons water
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp granulated garlic
  • 1 tsp sea salt

What to do:

If you're using soaked chickpeas, you will need to boil the chickpeas first. Rinse off the chickpeas, place them in a saucepan with cold water and bring to a boil. Allow to boil for 10 minutes, then simmer for another 50 minutes. (This is what I meant by a little bit of planning...)

OR Use canned chickpeas, which are typically pre-cooked! 

Place the chickpeas in a food processor or blender, then add the water, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and chili powder. Technically most hummus recipes also call for tahini, which is a sesame paste. If you have some, you are super welcome to use it. However, you don't absolutely need it for this recipe. Maybe it's a little unorthodox, but it's still tasty! In the paste, the lack of tahini in my kitchen scared me away from trying hummus recipes - don't let that be a problem for you.

Use a low/medium pulse setting to blend up the ingredients. Even with a blender, this step only took a little over a minute!

Chop up a carrot or tear up some pitta bread and dig in! 

Friday, February 14, 2014

Forget-Me-Not Cookies

Inspired by what my family has always called "Forgotten Cookies" - meringue cookies left so long in the oven it's as though you've forgotten them there - I made these Valentine's Day themed "Forget-Me-Not Cookies" - get it? Oh so witty...

These delicate cookies are sure to hit your sweet tooth and they're filled with chocolate and strawberry tastiness. 

What you'll need (makes 2 dozen cookies):

  • 2 egg whites
  • 120g sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 4g freeze dried strawberry pieces (or raspberry!)
  • 75g chocolate (milk or dark to taste)

What to do:

Preheat your oven to 160C/320F.

Separate 2 eggs and put the egg whites in a large mixing bowl. Unless you have superhuman strength and whisking stamina, you'll want to use an electric handheld mixer for this next step - beating the egg whites. It took me well over 5 minutes on high to whip the egg whites up. You will want the egg whites to start to peak, but not look dry. Once you've achieved a thicker feeling consistency, gradually add in the sugar and then the vanilla. Keep whipping for a minute to thoroughly mix in the vanilla.

The meringue should look thick and glossy at this stage. Set aside for a moment while you roughly chop the chocolate. Then gently fold the chocolate and freeze-dried strawberry pieces into the meringue.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and scoop dessert spoon sized onto the parchment paper, leaving an inch between each spoonful.

Place the tray in the oven and leave at the preheated temperature for 10 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 60C/140F for the next hour. Keep checking on the cookies though, to make sure they don't burn!

After removing the tray from the oven, let cool for a minute or so and gently remove the cookies from the parchment paper. They are very delicate, so be very gentle!

Share these super sweet Valentine's Day treats with people you like.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Chunky Ginger Applesauce

Still cold outside... still wanting warm things to eat inside. This chunky ginger applesauce is easy to make, tastes delicious warm, and - bonus - makes the whole house smell amazing!

What you'll need:

  • 6 medium sized cooking apples - I used Granny Smiths
  • 20g fresh ginger
  • pinch of ground cinnamon
  • water

What to do:

First peel the apples and and the ginger.

Next cut the apples up into reasonably large chunks, as below:

Place the apple chunks in a medium/large saucepan. Next, finely chop the ginger and put it in the saucepan along with the apple chunks. Sprinkle a pinch of ground cinnamon on top if you'd like.

Pour water into the saucepan over the apples - the water level should be just below the apple level. Bring the water to a boil, and then allow to simmer for 15-20 minutes. Stir frequently so the apples do not stick to the bottom of the saucepan. Your kitchen should be smelling pretty good by now...

You can enjoy this warm directly from the saucepan (it's practically dessert that way!) or let cool for some surprisingly refreshing applesauce.