Coconut Macaroons

Coconut Macaroons

This is another dangerous (in a good way) recipe because I almost always have the ingredient to make these gluten-free cookies on hand. Luckily, this makes a small batch so I don’t have to feel guilty about baking cookies.

Coconut Macaroons (2)

Coconut Macaroons

1 1/2 cup sweetened flaked coconut
2 large egg whites
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.

Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray. Set aside.

Combine ingredients in a bowl with a wooden spoon. Drop by tablespoons onto prepared baking sheet. Bake at 300 degrees F. for 15 to 20 minutes or until tops are golden brown.

Variation: Add 1/8 to 1/4 cup of dried cranberries (or similar dried fruit) to the ingredients before baking.

Coconut Macaroons with Dried Cranberries (640x480)

Apricot and Pistachio Biscotti

Apricot and Pistachio Biscotti

I made a batch of these apricot and pistachio biscotti the other night. When they were cooled, I packaged most of them in clear bags (about 5 or 6 per bag) and tied the bags with pretty ribbon. I like to have cookies ready to give as gifts around the holidays. I took the bags of biscotti with me to my appointments today. They were perfect little gifts for my chiropractor and hair stylist.

Apricot & Pistachio Biscotti

Apricot and Pistachio Biscotti

2 cups of flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons butter (1/2 a stick), softened
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 cup dried apricots, finely chopped
1 cup shelled pistachios, chopped

Preheat oven to 350° F. Line two baking sheets with  foil (or parchment paper) and coat with cooking spray.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl. Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat butter with electric mixer until fluffy.  Beat in sugar and eggs, adding eggs one at a time.  Add flour mixture on low, beating just until blended.  Stir in apricots and pistachios.

Divide dough in half.  With lightly floured hands, shape each half into a slightly flattened log measuring 12″ X 2″ on each lined baking sheet  Bake 25 to 30, or until toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean.  Remove from oven and cool slightly.

With a serrated knife, cut each log into 1/3″ to 1/2″ thick slices.  Lay slices on baking sheets and bake 10 minutes. Flip slices and bake 10 minutes more, until crisp, dry, and golden.  Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

Lentil and Cauliflower Soup

Lentil and Cauliflower Soup

This is a simple and nutritious soup I made with a head of cauliflower from my Pinckney’s Produce CSA box. Paired with crusty spelt bread, it made a perfect lunch.

Lentil and Cauliflower Soup

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 carrot, peeled and diced
1 clove garlic, minced
6 to 8 cups vegetable broth (depending on how brothy you like your soup)
1 cup brown lentils, picked over and rinsed
1 small head cauliflower (or 1/2 a large head), chopped into small pieces
salt and pepper, to taste

Heat the olive oil in a pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, celery, carrot, and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened. Add the lentils and broth (I start with 6 cups of broth and add more as needed to suit my tastes); bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until the lentils are tender, about 30 minutes. Stir in cauliflower and simmer until cauliflower is tender, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Chai-Spiced Bundt Cake

Chai-Spiced Bundt Cake

This is the dessert I made for our Thanksgiving meal. I love chai tea. I thought the spices I use in my chai tea would be perfect in a cake. Although it is certainly not a traditional Indian dessert, I think it complimented the Indian food just fine.

My little one could not wait to dig into this cake. When I was tidying up the house, he managed to get a butter knife out of the drawer and carve a trapezoid shape into the side of the cake. He was very proud of himself. We ended up having some chai-spiced cake for breakfast (it was great with coffee) and I had to serve a cake that had missing slices. Martha Stewart probably would not approve, but the nice thing about having laid-back friends is that none of our guests seemed to notice or care.

Chai-Spiced Bundt Cake

Chai-Spiced Bundt Cake

3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon finely ground black pepper
1 cup butter (2 sticks) softened
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/4 cups buttermilk (or 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon of fresh lemon juice and enough milk to equal 1 1/4 cup)
powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350° F. Lightly grease and flour a 12 cup bundt pan.

In a bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and all the spices. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Mix in the vanilla. Next, mix in 1/3 of the flour mixture, followed by 1/3 of the buttermilk. Add in another 1/3 of the flour mixing and another 1/3 of the buttermilk. Finally, add in the last of the flour and then the buttermilk. Mix until just combined. Pour into prepared bundt pan.

Bake for 50-55 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool in pan for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Dust the cake with powdered sugar right before serving. I put a tablespoon or two of powdered sugar in a fine mesh sieve and gently tap the side of the sieve with my hand or a wooden spoon to dust the cake.