Month: August 2015

Lemon Poppy seed Pancakes

lemon poppyseed

I love lemon poppy seed muffins, but I associate muffins with a quick and simple, continental breakfast. Pancakes are great because they are fancy. If you’re making pancakes, it means it’s going to be a nice, slow-paced morning. I adore these mornings when you can have a good breakfast, spend time with family, and take it easy at the start of your day! Usually, this is a luxury reserved only for weekends. However, because I am a teacher, I also think of nice breakfasts and brunches as being a summer phenomenon. Those relaxing, vacation-esque days when you don’t necessarily have anything to do except savor life: that is what pancakes are for.

So, to mark the end of summer and the start of a new school year, I decided to post a yummy take on pancakes with lemon and poppy seed flavors. To shake things up a bit, I used almond flour and Chobani’s lemon yoghurt as my foundation. The pancakes are moist and lemony, but with the almond flour and yoghurt they also have much more protein than a typical pancake, keeping you fuller for longer!

lemon poppyseed

I know that many people will read Greek yoghurt as a strongly flavored, tart, and unpleasant addition to pancakes. I can see all the health nuts squealing with glee and the foodies rolling their eyes! I promise that this is a bona fide pancake: it’s sweet, it tastes like a dessert, it probably has a ton of fat, and it’s absolutely delicious! (As a side note, if you are interested in other fun ways to use yoghurt in typically unhealthy dishes to add protein or tartness, check out Chobani’s recipe site! It’s a fun page to explore and get creative with your ingredients! It’s also just beautiful to look at!)

lemon poppyseed

I’ve found that I tend to hate pancakes the most when they taste too dry or too caky. Yoghurt really helps with this, and it keeps the pancakes moist even a few hours after you’ve cooked them, so they reheat really well.

lemon poppyseed

 

 

Lemon Poppyseed Pancakes
makes about 12, medium pancakes

Ingredients
1/2 cup almond flour
1/2 cup AP flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons poppy seeds
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon lemon zest
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
12 ounces Chobani lemon yoghurt
butter for cooking

lemon poppyseed

 

I like to start this process by measuring out all of my ingredients and setting them up. This is fun because you can have the entire family help with different ingredients, and then when you’re done, all you have to do is combine everything to make the batter!

lemon poppyseed

 

Then, mix together the dry ingredients in a bowl.

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Juice and zest half a lemon. This should produce enough for the batter.

lemon poppyseed

 

Combine the lemon juice, lemon zest, eggs, vanilla extract, and yoghurt in with the dry ingredients. Stir to combine!

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After you have finished making the batter, it is time to get cookin’!

Place a medium-sized skillet over medium-low heat. Melt about 1/4 tablespoon of butter for cooking per pancake. I use 1/4 cup to measure my pancakes and this recipe makes roughly 12 pancakes of that size. Cook the pancakes on their first side until you see air bubbles coming up through the middle. Flip and cook until done on the other side. If you like your pancakes more golden than brown (like me), you may need to clean the pan after every few batches to prevent the excess butter from browning!

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Top with syrup, butter, fruit, or whipped cream and enjoy!

 

 

 

 

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Chocolate Olive Oil Cake

olive oil cake

Let me just say that this is my favorite cake ever. A week after I made it and it had been sitting on the counter, I took another bite- still my favorite cake ever. Even two weeks later, when the last bite was taken- this cake was moist, dense, rich, and satisfying. I cannot recommend it enough!!

I based the recipe off of a Nigella Lawson creation, which you can find here. Mine is not vegan friendly, but it’s still delicious! It was fun and EASY! You do need a springform pan to bake it in, but other than that- nothing too fancy or special.

Chocolate Olive Oil Cake

Ingredients
1 heaping cup bittersweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup olive oil
1 heaping cup sugar (caster sugar, if you do not have a coffee grinder)
2 tablespoons almond flour
5 eggs
kosher salt
parchment paper

olive oil cake

 

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Prepare the springform pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper, and butter the bottom and sides.

If you are using regular sugar, grind it down in a coffee grinder so that it looks almost like powdered sugar but not quite as compact. Measure out a heaping cup. [If you are using caster sugar, simply measure out a cup.]

Melt the chocolate in a pot over low heat, being really careful not to let it burn. If you are nervous about potentially burning it, just set up a double boiler and melt it over boiling water. Stir continuously until it is completely melted, then add in the olive oil.

Keep stirring the mixture over heat, and add in 2/3 cup of the ground sugar. Stir over heat until that sugar is dissolved.

Remove the chocolate mixture from heat and set it aside. Take a moment to separate the eggs into two, small bowls. Add the almond flour, egg yolks, and a few pinches of salt to the chocolate mixture. Stir it all together until it looks smooth and silky.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the remaining 1/3 cup ground sugar and the egg whites. This will take some time and having a partner to help you out is nice. You want to whisk the eggs and sugar fervently  until you see fairly stiff peaks.

Next, carefully fold the fluffed egg whites into the chocolate.

olive oil cake

Pour the batter into the greased springform pan.

Bake the cake for 30-40 minutes. The top will crack and a knife will come out clean when the cake is done.

Sprinkle with sugar and serve with whipped cream and fresh herbs!

olive oil cake

Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

Five Days of Smoothie

A few weeks back, William and I tried a smoothie cleanse. We were kinda sorta committed to it (at best), so it obviously didn’t end up being a full cleanse. However, we did get into the habit of drinking smoothies for breakfast each day. We have found that often, smoothies give us more nutrition than a typical quick breakfast and they keep us full for longer. They are easy to make, and what I love most is that you know exactly what goes into them. These smoothies can be easily altered to fit your taste preferences, dietary restrictions, or nutritional needs. Each one takes about five to ten minutes to make. We calculated servings off of pint-sized mason jars (so one serving is about 2 full cups of smoothie).

I decided to post all five recipes together because they are all so simple. Essentially, you throw all of the ingredients into the blender and enjoy your smoothie! There are a few places that require more planning. For soaked oats and chia seeds you’ll want to cover them with hot water in a small dish and let them sit for about half an hour to an hour. This is more important for the chia seeds because it gives them the gelatinous texture they need to act as a binding agent for the smoothie. Oats can be included without being soaked beforehand resulting in a thicker smoothie. Also- whenever a recipe calls for frozen fruit, it is actually not required that it be frozen. If you are planning to drink the smoothie immediately, you might want to stick some of it in the freezer a few hours before you make it so that you can enjoy a cold smoothie. However, if you are planning to make it the night before, it will be refrigerated and cooled overnight anyway, so there’s no need to freeze anything!

Enjoy!

smoothie

Basbosa

basbosa

Basbosa (sometimes spelled basbousa) is an Egyptian dessert that is similar in many ways to pound cake. It is a thick, but moist cake. This recipe uses the flavors of coconut, rose water, and pistachios to give the basbosa a richer flavor. However, rose water and coconut are not always used in basbosa. As with most traditional foods, there are many variants of basbosa around the world. In many Middle Eastern countries there are desserts similar to this, sometimes orange flower water is used in place of rose water to give the cake a different flavor. It is delicious and rich, but leaves you feeling lighter than a typically rich chocolate dessert!

This variant was inspired by a recipe from the cookbook Share, which was sponsored by Women for Women International and explores cuisines from around the globe.

Egyptian Basbosa

makes 9 -12 large pieces 

Ingredients

for the cake
1 stick salted butter
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups cornstarch
1/2 cup dried coconut flakes

for the syrup
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2-1 teaspoon rose water (depending on your preference)

1/3 cup chopped pistachios for topping

basbosa

 

Preheat the oven to 350°F and grease a 9×9 pan with butter.

Melt the stick of salted butter in a microwave-safe container and let it cool off. Beat together the eggs, sugar, milk, cream, baking powder, and vanilla extract in a large bowl. When the butter has cooled off a bit, quickly beat it into the bowl, making sure not to cook the eggs. Add in the cornstarch and shaved coconut. Mix well until you have a batter.

basbosa

Pour the batter into the baking pan and bake for about 30 minutes.

Next, make the syrup. Place the sugar and lemon juice in a small pot over medium heat along with 1/2 cup of water. Stir the mixture until the sugar is completely dissolved and then bring it to a simmer. Add in the rose water and let the syrup simmer for about three minutes.

I knew when I first decided to make this that I really wanted to include the flavor of rose water, and we did have some trouble finding it. We eventually found it at Whole Foods, but later saw that Lucky also carries it (and for a much lower price!). If you are near a Lucky supermarket or an area with a store that might just have an aisle for ethnic foods, I would recommend you check there first before making a special trip to the land of exorbitant prices at Whole Foods! Also, if you know that you can’t stand that perfume-y and floral taste of rose water, don’t add it in. You can use orange flower water, or even a floral honey if you want the depth of flavor without the strong floral notes.

basbosa

 

When the cake is done, it will be darker around the edges and golden on top, but fully cooked in the center. You can put a butter knife through it to test.

Let the cake cool for about  5 minutes. After it has cooled, cut it into slices and pour the syrup over the entire cake. Top with pistachios and toasted coconut.

basbosa

 

Enjoy!

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Miniature S’mores Tarts

smores

It seems as though the United States is on a bit of a s’mores kick, and William is more than happy to jump onto that bandwagon. He is obsessed with all things s’mores: candies, frapps, chocolate, cakes, pies, etc. It is amazing what a variety of treats can be made with graham crackers, chocolate, and marshmallows!

For my part, I am obsessed with tiny things- not an uncommon obsession, to be sure! Recently I saw a picture of a miniature pie made out of the lid of a mason jar, and I knew that we had to do something like that. We have been doing a smoothie cleanse for the past week (more on that later) and we happen to be knee deep in mason jar lids! We decided to put them to good use and make a delicious– albeit cleanse-ruining– dessert out of them. (It was totally worth it.)

smores

 

Enjoy!

Miniature S’mores Tarts

makes 14 miniature tarts

 

Ingredients

for the crust
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
6 tablespoons salted butter
1/3 cup sugar

smores

for the chocolate filling
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons salted butter
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 tablespoons AP flour
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1 whole egg
1 1/2 egg yolks*
1 tablespoon Kahlua
marshmallows and sea salt to top

smores
other materials
parchment paper
mason jar lids (If you have 14 of these- this will be easy– but if you only have four, it’s not a problem! You will just have to bake these in batches.)

*If you double this recipe, it obviously makes the ratios easier to deal with, but for 1 1/2 egg yolks, simply throw one egg yolk into your bowl, whisk another into a separate container, and measure out half. The remaining yolk and whites can be reused for a yummy breakfast!

 

First, prepare the crust in a bowl. Melt the butter and mix in it with the graham cracker crumbs and sugar.

smores

 

Next, make the filling! In a microwave safe bowl combine the whipping cream, salted butter, and chopped chocolate.

smores

 

Microwave this mixture for two minutes, and then stir it all together to create a velvety chocolate cream.

 

In a separate bowl, combine the sugar, cocoa powder, flour, and salt.

 

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, and stir in the egg, egg yolks, and Kahlua.

smores

 

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Next, assemble the tarts.

Press about 3 teaspoons of graham cracker crust into the mason jar lids. You want to build a thin layer of crust up into the rim of the lid, but be careful when pressing it into the middle. The crust is loose and dry-feeling before it has been baked.

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Bake the bare crust for ten minutes on a cookie sheet covered in parchment paper. After this first baking process, carefully drop 1 1/2 tablespoons of the chocolate filling into each lid. You do not need to spread it out much, it will cook out on its own. If you try to spread it out, you risk weakening the crust on the bottom as it is not yet solidified!

 

Bake the tarts for another ten minutes. After this baking, transfer the tarts to the fridge for ten minutes of cooling.

 

After the lids are cool enough to handle, you can carefully pop the tarts out of their “molds”!

 

Put the oven on broil and move a rack up to the top third. Carefully place marshmallows on top of each tart. This part is fun because any design you make will hold, so you can get creative with the marshmallows!

Put the tarts in the oven and watch them carefully. The marshmallows will toast very quickly, so you want to pay attention and take them out right when they get to your preferred level of toastedness! Personally, I’m the girl who sets her marshmallows on fire for the charred flavor, but everyone has a different preference.

 

Slice them up and enjoy!