Adios old man winter. We’ve had enough of your hissy fits.
Hello spring! Oh, how we’ve missed you!
And to celebrate, I’m sharing these cute mini coffee cakes with you for the Secret Recipe Club. Decked out in their spring finery, the vibrant flavors are sure to brighten your day. These are no heavy, butter laden cakes either – in fact, you won’t find one bit of butter in them. Adding almond flour bumps up the protein and fiber, and non-fat Greek yogurt stands in for sour cream, giving them a moist, tender crumb – without the added fat and calories.
It’s always exciting the day you receive your assigned blog for SRC each month. I am continually amazed at the creativity and talent in the foodies blogosphere. And this month Staying Close To Home is my blog to choose a recipe from. Here, Maria shares a glimpse of her world as a mom, with favorite family recipes, crafts, tips, reviews and more. She loves to entertain, and her 11-year-old daughter Caitlin is following in her mom’s footsteps. Cooking with Caitlin debuted in March – complete with her very own adorable logo. She shared her twist on everyone’s favorite with chocolate and butterscotch cookies, and will be a regular guest blogger on Staying Close to Home. What a great way to get your child interested in baking! Please stop by and visit this delightful blog!
The daffodils raised their bright, cheerful heads a few weeks ago, giving us a brief glimpse of spring and things to come…and it looks like warm weather is finally on its way!
When you think of spring, what foods automatically come to mind? For me, it’s strawberries, rhubarb, and asparagus.
What could be more perfect to welcome spring than a rosy hued strawberry rhubarb soup? Mercy, the color alone is enough to put a smile on your face.
Delightfully tart-sweet and refreshing, it blurs the line between soup and dessert. So it’s perfect for a girls’ lunch – which is exactly when I plan to serve it.
Sometimes there’s nothing like a tall glass of icy cold chocolate milk to take you back to your childhood, right? But have you ever read the label on a bottle of that old favorite, Hershey’s syrup? A few of the starring ingredients are high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, and preservatives – not exactly health food is it? So, how to indulge without feeling guilty?
Make your own syrup of course! It takes just five minutes (faster than running up to the grocery store) and about five ingredients, which you probably have sitting in your pantry. Not to mention it costs about half the price of a bottle of store-bought. Made with all natural sucanat sugar, this silky syrup has a hint of caramel, and its rich chocolate taste blows Hershey’s out of the water. You’ll also get a bit of calcium, iron, potassium, vitamin B6 and chromium from the Sucanat, and flavonoids from the cocoa – which will make your taste buds and your body very happy. Try it drizzled over ice cream or stirred into Greek yogurt too for a delicious treat. I’m betting you’ll find all sorts of
excuses ways to use it.
I adapted this recipe from Alton Brown’s cocoa syrup, which uses Dutch-process cocoa for an extra rich chocolatey flavor. You’re five minutes away from the best chocolate syrup you’ve ever tried, so let’s get cooking shall we?
5 Minute DIY Chocolate Syrup
- 3/4 cup water
- 1 1/2 cups Sucanat sugar
- 3/4 cup Dutch-processed cocoa
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/8 teaspoon vanilla powder (optional)
- 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 tablespoon Lyle's golden syrup
- Add water and sugar to a small pot.
- Whisk continually over high heat, until sugar is completely dissolved and liquid begins to boil.
- Whisk in cocoa, vanilla extract, vanilla powder if using, sea salt and golden syrup.
- Continue whisking until the mixture is smooth and all of the cocoa powder is dissolved.
- Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 2-3 minutes until the sauce is slightly thickened.
- Strain the sauce into a small bowl and cool to room temperature.
- Pour sauce into squeeze bottles, a tightly capped bottle, or mason jar.
- Store sauce in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.
- Squeeze chocolate syrup into ice cold milk and stir, drizzle over your favorite ice cream, or swirl into Greek yogurt. Enjoy!
Lyle's golden syrup is an all natural syrup made from cane sugar, available at Whole Foods and Fresh Market.
If you don't have Lyle's golden syrup on hand, you can omit it and boil the syrup for a bit longer to achieve the desired consistency if necessary. It lends a delicious flavor and texture to the syrup, so if you're able to find it, it is highly recommended!
It’s Secret Recipe Club reveal day! Each month, we’re secretly given another SRC member’s blog. We simply choose one of their recipes to make – either as is, or putting our own spin on it, and keep it under wraps until the reveal date. So no one knows who had their blog until then. If you’d like to join us click here to find out how.
This month I was given Amy’s Cooking Adventures. It’s a delightful, funny blog with an amazing array of recipes to choose from. And many of her sweet treats use box mixes, making them delicious, simple – and fast! I really wanted to try my hand at her fondant, but had a sneaking suspicion the photos you’d get would not even remotely resemble her lovely cake designs. So I’ll spare you that agony, and share with you a roasted pepper “yummus” instead.
Amy makes her cheerful looking roasted red pepper hummus the traditional way, with garbanzo beans. But I’m lazy folks. And ever since I discovered cannellini beans make the silkiest, smoothest hummus – and you don’t need to peel off their skins, it’s my bean of choice for this delicious dip. So, I present to you, Tuscan Roasted Pepper Hummus:
Tuscan Roasted Pepper Hummus
- 1 orange bell pepper, roasted
- 1 red fresno pepper, roasted
- 1 1/2 cups cannellini beans, drained
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1/4 cup tahini*
- 2 tablespoons good quality extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- dash of ground coriander
- dash of cayenne pepper
- sea salt and pepper to taste
- Roasted Peppers!
- Set oven broiler to high
- Wash 1 whole bell pepper and red fresno (jalapeno) pepper
- Place them on a foil lined baking sheet or cookie sheet
- Place sheet about 6 inches from heating element
- Broil peppers until blackened, then turn and continue to cook until each side is blackened.
- Remove sheet from the oven
- Lightly tent peppers with foil about 15 minutes
- Remove the stems and seeds from the peppers
- Peel skins from the peppers
- Cover and refrigerate if not using right away. Peppers will keep for 3 days in refrigerator.
- Add peeled garlic to food processor and pulse until finely chopped.
- Add beans and pepper and pulse until chunky.
- Add remaining ingredients and process until smooth and creamy.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve immediately with Naan bread, pita bread, tortilla chips or veggies.
- Hummus will keep several days covered and stored in the refrigerator.
The red peppers add quite a bit of liquid to this hummus, so it may be thinner than you like. Add a little less olive oil and lime juice if you prefer your hummus a little thicker.
Tahini is a sesame paste that can be found in the ethnic food sections of most grocery stores.
Did you know that hummus is a chameleon? Sure, it’s delectable as a savory snack, but did you know it has a sweet side too?
Yep, that’s right, I said sweet hummus. As in strawberry…
And chocolate. Perfect for a snack, breakfast, even dessert.
And if you think outside of the box, you can transform it into a healthy version of the ever popular spinach artichoke dip too.
Here’s another twist for you – you don’t have to use garbanzo beans to make an ethereally smooth hummus. Like I said, a chameleon. I love to use cannellini beans because they morph into the silkiest, smoothest hummus you’ve ever had – and you don’t need to peel off those darn skins like with garbanzo beans.
There’s no right or wrong way to make hummus. Simply play around until you’ve found your favorite flavor and level of sweetness. For example: with the chocolate version, I used Justin’s chocolate hazelnut butter, along with a bit of brown sugar, and a little vanilla. The strawberry flavor was a mixture of freeze-dried strawberries, frozen strawberries and some agave syrup. And for spinach artichoke hummus, simply add a few handfuls of fresh spinach and some marinated artichoke hearts, cumin and a dash of cayenne pepper for a little kick.
Whole wheat graham crackers, cinnamon sugar pita bread or fresh fruit would be great for dunking in the chocolate and strawberry hummus. Or try spreading them on a bagel or toast for a quick and healthy breakfast.
I’d love to hear your creative ideas for sweet hummus! If you send me a link for your hummus recipe, I’ll add it below so others can enjoy it too!
- 1 14 1/2 ounce carton of cannellini beans
- 1/4 cup freeze dried strawberries
- 1 cup fresh strawberries, or frozen, slightly thawed in the microwave
- 2-3 tablespoons agave syrup, to taste
- 1/2 carton cannellini beans (14 1/2 ounce size)
- 1/4 cup Justin's hazelnut chocolate butter
- 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Spinach Artichoke Hummus
- 1/2 carton cannelini beans (14 1/2 ounce size)
- 1 7 1/2 ounce jar marinated artichoke hearts, liquid reserved
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
- salt to taste
- Add all ingredients to a food processor, and pulse until creamy.
- Serving suggestions: fruit or whole wheat graham crackers are great for dipping, or spread hummus on a bagel, toast or banana bread.
- Add all ingredients to a food processor and pulse until creamy.
- Serving suggestions: fruit, whole wheat cinnamon graham crackers, or toasted cinnamon pita triangles are great for dipping. Or try spreading it on a bagel, toast, or banana bread. For another knockout flavor combo, top the hummus with a drizzle of good quality extra virgin olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt. Lucini is a good brand of olive oil that's not outrageously expensive.
Spinach Artichoke Hummus
- Add all ingredients except reserved marinade to a food processor.
- Add 1 tablespoon of marinade, then pulse until the mixture is creamy.
- If hummus is too thick, add more marinade a tablespoon at a time, then pulse, until it is the consistency you desire.
- Adjust seasoning to taste, and pulse again to blend.
- Serve with pita bread, whole grain crackers, tortilla chips or vegetables.
- All of the hummus varieties will keep, tightly covered, for 3 days in the refrigerator. You may need to stir the hummus briefly prior to serving if any separation occurs.
And you thought you’d seen the last of the “magic ice cream” posts!
Surely you overestimate my creative genius when faced with a pile of nearly black bananas and half a jar of homemade hazelnut butter.
Yes, this is the
lazy inventive woman’s dessert – one that takes only 10 minutes to whip up. Did I mention it includes chocolate?
So if you’re faced with the same dilemma, you might as well make a batch of this creamy, delightful “ice cream” – and enjoy it guilt-free. Try swapping in any other nut butter of your choice – creamy or chunky, it doesn’t matter, go with whatever makes your mouth happy…