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Friday, December 28, 2012

Raw chocolate date mousse

Probably the best chocolate mousse I've even had, perfect texture, a little nutty, super simple to make and you would never suspect it of being raw
Source: Vegan Magic blog

Taste: 5 (out of 5)
Difficulty: 2 (out of 5)

- 1 can (400 ml) creamy coconut cream (at least 75% fat, make sure the texture is very smooth) (1320 cal)
- 5 tbsp (1/3 cup) cocoa powder (60 cal)
- 1 cup (tightly packed) soft dried dates (18 in this case) (1200 cal)
- a few drops of vanilla extract
Total: 2 cups, 8 servings, 2580 cal, 320 cal/serving

1. Refrigerate the can of coconut cream overnight to solidify and separate. Carefully turn it upside down, open and discard the transparent liquid (or reserve it to add in a smoothie or curry).
2. Peel the dates. This will be the most time-consuming part, and is best done while watching your favorite TV show.
3. Place the dates with 2 rounded tbsp of coconut cream and blend on high.
4. Add the remaining coconut milk and cocoa powder and blend together until smooth, then finally add the vanilla (or your preferred flavoring). 

5. Can be served with whipped cream or whipped coconut cream.

- Since I saw this recipe for the first time I've made it twice, which means a lot, given how busy it's been for me. And it's because the recipe is amazingly delicious and amazingly simple.
- The first time I did not peel the dates, as suggested in the original recipes, and had 2 versions of this mousse: the non strained one with small pieces of date skin and the strained one. Both tasted great, but the silky texture of the strained one made it truly incredible and moussey. The problem was, I really hated straining. I find it extremely time consuming and probably I am doing it in the least efficient way. So the second time I decided to peel the dates upfront. It takes a lot of time but it is less strenuous than straining, and can be done while watching TV or talking about existential questions. And with the peeled dates and a powerful blender, you will have the best mousse ever in 3 minutes.

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Sunday, December 23, 2012

Hazelnut Snowball Cookies

Delicious melt in your mouth cookies for the Holidays and not just
Source: Cooking and Beer

Taste: 5 (out of 5)
Difficulty: 2 (out of 5)

- 1 cup granulated sugar (775 cal)
- 1 cup hazelnuts (470 cal)
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened at room temperature (1630 cal)
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 3/4 cup all purpose flour (795 cal)
- 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
- 1/2 cup confectioners sugar + extra for dusting (230 cal)
Total: 24 cookies, 3900 cal, 160 cal/cookie


1. In your food processor, pulse together the sugar and the hazelnuts until they reach ALMOST a fine powder. Slice the butter into 1/2 inch cubes and add to the food processor and add the vanilla extract. Pulse until the ingredients are smooth.
2. In a medium-sized bowl, sift together the flour and the salt. In 1/4 cup increments add the dry mixture to the food processor. Repeat this step until all of the flour is incorporated, and the mixture has formed a nice, soft ball of cookie dough.
3. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and 30 minutes. In my case, I refrigerated overnight.
4. Preheat the oven to 325F degrees and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. No need to spray with a non-stick, there’s already a ton of butter in this recipe!
5. Remove the dough from the refrigerator, and with your CLEAN hands, start pinching of baby balls of dough from the larger. Roll into 1 inch balls and spread evenly on the baking sheets. The cookies will spread a little so leave at least 1 1/2 inches between them. Bake at 325F for about 25 minutes or until the tops just begin to brown.
6. Remove from the oven, let cool for 2-3 minutes to harden just a little so that they don't break, and place on a wire rack. Wait about 10 minuets for the balls to slightly cool. Meanwhile, pour the confectioners sugar in a bowl. After the balls have slightly cooled, toss them gently in the sugar. Place immediately back on the wire rack and let cool completely for about 2 hours.
7. Dust again with confectioners sugar, using a sifter. You can also dust with a touch of cocoa powder.
8. Will keep for a couple of weeks in an airtight container, stored in a cool place.


- Delicious, simple and very buttery cookies. I was surprised that the recipe did not contain eggs. The cookies are a brittle, but that's just part of their melt in your mouth texture.
- I bet they will also taste amazing with chocolate coating. To try next time.

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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Nutella Cheesecake

Love from the first sight and until the last bite
Source: Cheesecake adapted from Baker Street, crust adapted from The Heritage Cook, sauce adapted from Martha Stewart

Taste: 6 (out of 5)
Difficulty: 3 (out of 5)

For the crust (1125 cal):
- 1 cup ground hazelnuts (525 cal)
- 1/4 cup sugar (195 cal)
- 1/4 cup butter, melted (405 cal)
For the cream cheese layer (2330 cal):
- 12 oz / 350 g cottage cheese (305 cal)
- 1/4 cup sugar (195 cal)
- 3 eggs (210 cal)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract (10 cal)
- 1 cup Nutella (1600 cal)
- 2 tbsp instant coffee dissolved in 2 tsp boiling water
For the sauce (575 cal):
- 1/3 cup Nutella (535 cal)
- 1/3 cup milk (40 cal)
Total: 6 inch cake, 6 servings, 4030 cal, 670 cal/serving

1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a 6-inch springform pan with parchment paper and butter the paper.
2. For the crust: In a food processor, pulse the hazelnuts with the sugar until finely ground. Add the butter; pulse until the mixture resembles moist sand. Press the crumbs into the bottom of the prepared springform pan. Bake for 10-12 minutes.
3. For the cheesecake layer: While the crust is baking, in a very powerful food processor beat the cottage cheese until completely smooth and fluffy. Add sugar and process until well combined. Add eggs and vanilla and beat until light and fluffy. Lastly, add the Nutella and coffee mixture into cream cheese and beat to combine.
4. Prepare a bain-marie: When the crust finished baking, take it out of the oven (leave the oven on). Wrap the bottom and sides of the sprinform pan in one large sheet of aluminum foil. Place the 6 inch pan with the aluminum foil inside a larger non-springform cake pan. Fill the larger pan with about 1 inch of hot water. This is your bain-marie. Not too complicated, right?
5. Pour the batter over the crust and bake at 350F for about 1 hour. The center of the cheesecake should still be slightly jiggly.
6. Let the cake sit in the oven for one hour after it has been turned off.
7. Remove the cake from oven and cool completely before removing from the pan. Chill for 4 hours to overnight before serving.
8. For the sauce: In a small saucepan, combine 1/3 cup Nutella with 1/3 cup milk. Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat and whisk until smooth.
9. Pour the warm sauce over the cake right before eating. Serve with whipped cream and savor every bite!

- This is one of the best cakes I've tasted. It is perfect in every way: great texture, amazing combination of flavors and it's extremely satisfying. It is so rich, that half a serving is more than enough (even for me).
- I fell in love with this cake from the moment I saw the Nutella Espresso Cheesecake recipe on Baker Street. I barely have any time to bake these days, but I simply had to make this recipe.
There was another cheesecake recipe that I was hoping to make, the Vanilla Bean Cheesecake with Walnut Crust from The Heritage Cook. So I decided to combine these two recipes and make a nut crust for the Nutealla cheesecake. To be consistent with the Nutella theme, I used hazelnuts and not walnuts for the crust.
Another great idea that I got from The Heritage Cook was making a sauce to serve with the cheesecake. But I was missing some of the ingredients for The Heritage Cook's sauce. So I did a quick online search and found Martha Stewart's Chocolate Hazelnut sauce. It was meant for pancakes, but it worked really well on this cake too.
- Some notes about the cheesecake batter. I was going to use cottage cheese instead of cream cheese to make the cake lighter. To compensate for the lighter texture I was going to use a little flour in the batter. But then I read Baker Street's very convincing advice against using flour in cheesecakes. I was still very hesitant, but eventually decided to skip the flour. And given that the cake was perfect, it must have been the right decision.
Another point that made me worried was adding coffee. I had tried several other coffee / chocolate recipes before where the addition of coffee ruined the final product. So I made the batter without the coffee, took out a teaspoon of the batter, added a couple of coffee drops, tasted, liked and added the coffee.
My conclusion from the points above: you can safely trust anything from Baker Street :-).

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Thursday, November 8, 2012

Healthy Apple Oats Cheesecake Bars

Quick, delicious and as healthy as a cheesecake can possibly be.
Source: Adapted from Pumpkin Streusel Cheesecake Bars as published on Cooking with Chopin, which, in turn, was adapted from The Pajama Chef

Taste: 4 (out of 5)
Difficulty: 1 (out of 5)

For the base / streusel
- 1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp baking soda + 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1/3 cup honey
- 1/4 cup cold butter, cut into small pieces
- 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
For the cheesecake layer
- 8 oz / 220 g cottage cheese
- 1/4 cup honey
- 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 1 egg
- 1 1/2 cups apple sauce

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 10"x7" baking dish.
2. Prepare the cookie base in a large bowl. Use a wooden spoon to stir together the oats, flour, salt, and baking powder. Pour 1 tbsp or lemon juice over the baking soda, mix until bubbly and add to the bowl. "Cut in" the butter pieces with two knives or with a pastry cutter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Then stir in the honey with the spoon. Set aside 1/4 cup of the cookie base, add to it walnuts and mix again. Press the remainder of the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan and bake for 10 minutes.
3. For the cheesecake layer, while the crust is baking, pour the cottage cheese into food processor and blend on high speed until it is uniform. Add the other ingredients, except apple sauce and process until combined.
4. After the cookie base has baked for 10 minutes, remove it from oven. Spread cheesecake filling over the partially-baked crust. Then spread the apple sauce on top. It will most likely sink partially, so you will have swirls rather than 2 separate layers. Sprinkle the reserved cookie topping over the apple sauce and bake for 30 minutes, or until topping is golden brown.
5. The cheesecake must cool down to room temperate (or even be refrigerated) before removing from the pan and cutting, otherwise it will break and sag.
6. Store in the fridge.


- The cheesecake is delicious. There were 2 minor issues with the crust: it was a little too salty, and there was not enough of it. The quantity was completely my fault. The original recipe used an 8"x8" pan, and I used a 10"x7" one, which is larger, but somehow I assumed they had the same area. That's why I had to add walnuts, because after I had filled the pan with the crust there was practically nothing left for the streusel. So next time I would increase the crust quantities by 1/4. Regarding salt, next time I might use 1/4 tsp, or skip it completely.
- The original recipe on Cooking with Chopin used cream cheese and a little less flour for the cheesecake layer. I wanted to save the fat and the calories, so I used cottage cheese. But to make the layer firmer I had to use more flour, and I think the consistency of the cheesecake was perfect. But be sure that you have a very powerful food processor that really can make the cottage cheese uniform. Otherwise you will have those small lumps and it's not the best cheesecake texture (I had already experienced it before).
- Now the funny thing is: the circle is round! I just discovered it now when I was finishing this post and pasting the links. Because this was the first time I visited the "original original" recipe on the Pajama Chef blog, which was later adapted by Cooking with Chopin, which was now adapted yet again by me... And it turned out that the Pajama Chef had Apple Cheesecake that turned into a Pumpkin Cheesecake on Cooking with Chopin and now was again transformed into an Apple Cheesecake ;-P.  I guess one could conclude that both apple and pumpkin are such natural choices for this cake that when one is thinking about changing something, they are the first things that come to mind :-)

To Recipe...

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The perfect breakfast bun

Is ready in 10 minutes, just in time for your morning coffee.
Source: Improvised

Taste: 5 (out of 5)
Difficulty: 1 (out of 5)

- 1 bun
- 1 slice of cheese (I use Jarlsberg)
- 1 tsp garlic butter (or regular butter)
- 1 egg

1. See how to poach an egg in this post.
2. While your egg is cooking, which will take about 10 minutes total, cut the bun, spread with butter, place the cheese on one half and place both halves (cut side up) in an oven. Turn the oven on and set it to 350F. No need to preheat the oven.
3. When your egg is ready, take the bun out form the oven, place the egg over the cheese and enjoy with your morning coffee.

It's simple, accessible, only takes 10 minutes to make, and is absolutely addictive. What's not to like? I think that's the definition of perfection.

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Monday, November 5, 2012

How to poach an egg

a story of lust and murder... the culprit: SRC
This week was supposed to be my detox week. I was all prepared to eat only fruit and veggies and then to celebrate my good behavior with the amazing cheesecake that I saw on my assigned SRC blog, Cooking with Chopin. I've been eying this cake ever since our last month's reveal, planning to make it anyway. And then imagine my joy when I saw that Cooking with Chopin was my assignment this month!

And all of a sudden, I get a reminder email that our SRC reveal was supposed to be this Monday, right in the middle of my detox. What a blow.... The cheesecake would most certainly kill any chance of a diet. So I looked for other recipes, and found this super cute poached egg, one more obsession of mine. I know that egg is not a vegetable, not even a fruit, but how many temptations can one resist in one day? It would be a small sin compared to a cheesecake. And I love poached eggs over green salads, which are healthy, right?

So I made the poached egg, but it was sooo good over that salad, that I had to have another one. This time I had my egg on a bun... My diet was painfully and steadily dying, and I could not see it suffer so much, so I ate a chocolate truffle, and officially finished off the detox.

That's the sad story of my poor diet. And I hold SRC responsible, because how can one be on a diet, staring at all this delicious food? ... and because it's easier to blame someone else than to take the responsibility yourself ;-P

Source: Cooking with Chopin

Taste: 5 (out of 5)
Difficulty: 1 (out of 5)

- 1 egg

1. Fill a large saucepan with 4 inches of water and bring to a simmer (when bubbles are breaking the surface every few seconds.
2. When water is barely simmering, break 1 egg into a small bowl. (You can break it directly into the water, but putting it in a small bowl first eliminates the possibility of getting shells in the water.)
3. Gently tip the bowl, sliding the egg into water.
4. Cook until whites are set but yolks are soft, 3 to 4 minutes. (Cook 5-6 minutes for a firmer yolk.)
5. Using a slotted spoon, transfer eggs to paper towels, and drain briefly.

For green salad I used:
Romaine lettuce, dill, green onions, cucumbers and walnuts, drizzled with lemon juice and walnut oil (can use olive oil too) and sprinkled with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Then top it all with your egg. I poached the egg for 4 minutes for softer yolk.

- I also fry sunny side up eggs, but poaching is a healthier alternative, and fishing out the egg is very cute.
- Just in case you don't know yet, SRC, or the Secret Recipe Club is a group of over a hundred food bloggers, who are assigned a "secret" blog each months. Then they choose a recipe from that blog, make it and post it on their own blog on a given reveal day. Then there is a big party, where you hop from one blog to another and check what everyone's been cooking. Lots of fun! And terrible for your diet ;-) I want to thank Amanda, Jane and April for making it all possible!

To Recipe...

Monday, October 8, 2012

Cranberry Citrus Cookies

Perfect fall cookies with cranberries, pecans and a mild citrus flavor
Source: Vanderbilt Wife blog

Taste: 5 (out of 5)
Difficulty: 1 (out of 5)

- 1/2 cup butter
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
- 1/4 cup milk
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tbsp orange zest (dried or fresh)
- 1 large egg
- 3 cups all-purpose or white whole wheat flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1 cup chopped pecans
- 1 to 1-1/2 cups dried cranberries
Total: about 4 dozen cookies


1. Preheat oven to 375 F.
2. Cream butter and sugars with an electric mixer until fluffy and combined. On low speed, mix in lemon juice, orange zest, and egg.
3. Stir in flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Add pecans and cranberries and fold to combine well.
4. Using a small cookie scoop or a tablespoon, drop the batter onto greased cookie sheets. Bake for 10 minutes. Let sit on cookie sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool.

- Delicious cookies, soft and moist and very simple to make.
- These cookies burn very quickly in the 375F oven, so watch them closely. The original recipe suggested 10-12 minutes baking, after about 11 minutes the cookies started to burn. Fortunately, this recipe makes quite a few batches, so I had enough "survivals" :-).
- The original recipe comes from a wonderful blog Vanderbilt Wife by Jessie. If you are not familiar with it yet, you should certainly visit. It has lots of great recipes, both savory and sweet. You will certainly find something to your liking. And as a bonus, Jessie also writes her thoughts about books she read, so you might find some food for thought there too :-).
- This was my SRC assignment. SRC, or the Secret Recipe Club is a group of over a hundred food bloggers, who are assigned a "secret" blog each months. Then they choose a recipe from that blog, make it and post it on their own blog on a given reveal day. Then there is a big party, where you hop from one blog to another and check what everyone's been cooking. Lots of fun! I want to thank Amanda, Jane and April for making it all possible!

This recipe is published on RecipeNewZ - your recipe sharing community:

RecipeNewZ - recipe sharing community

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Monday, August 6, 2012

Baked Potato Skins

Comfort food...
Source: The Pajama Chef

Taste: 5 (out of 5)
Difficulty: 3 (out of 5)

- 3 large baking potatoes
- 1/2 cup cheddar cheese
- 1/4 cup chopped green onion
- 2 pepperoni sausages or pieces bacon, cooked and chopped
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
- sour cream
- salt
- pepper

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Scrub potatoes and pat dry. Pierce holes in each potato and wrap in aluminum foil. Bake for 60-75 minutes or until cooked through. Let cool for at least 15 minutes [important!].
2. After potatoes are cool enough to handle, slice in half lengthwise. Use a steak knife to cut potato flesh away from the skin, leaving a thick layer of flesh next to skin so the skins do not fall apart. Use a spoon to scoop away about 65-70% of the potato. Save potato for mashed potatoes or a snack or breakfast… :)
3. Turn on the broiler in the oven. Place a cooling rack in a baking dish [or use a roaster with a rack].
4. Brush melted butter over the outside of the potato skin, season with salt and pepper and place on top of the rack. Broil for about 3-4 minutes or until outside skin is starting to get crispy. Remove from oven and use tongs to flip skins so that the flesh is visible. Brush inside with melted butter, and season with salt and pepper. Return to broiler for another 3-4 minutes, remove and then top with cheese and pepperoni pieces. Return [again!] to broiler for another 2-3 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and melted, watching carefully so it does not burn.
5. Serve with sour cream and green onions, and allow to cool for a minute or two before enjoying so you don’t burn your mouth.

- The only change I made to the original recipe was using pepperoni instead of bacon. Other than that, I followed all the instructions to a tee, which is not at all characteristic of me. The process ended up quite time consuming for such a “simple” dish, but the result was delicious. The potatoes were soft and perfectly baked with crispy skins. And the toppings are just meant for them, as we all know.
- This recipe is from The Pajama Chef. It’s a wonderful website with many more yummy recipes. Check it out and say hi to Sarah :-).
- This was my SRC assignment. SRC, or the Secret Recipe Club is a group of over a hundred food bloggers, who are assigned a "secret" blog each months. Then they choose a recipe from that blog, make it and post it on their own blog on a given reveal day. Then there is a big party, where you hop from one blog to another and check what everyone's been cooking. Lots of fun! I want to thank Amanda, Jane and April for making it all possible!

This recipe is published on


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Monday, July 9, 2012

Mango Banana Smoothie

Wonderful, healthy and refreshing
Source: The Slow Roasted Italian

Taste: 5 (out of 5)
Difficulty: 1 (out of 5)

- 1 banana, peeled
- 1 mango
- 1 cup plain yogurt or buttermilk
- 1 tbsp honey
Total: 2 servings

Mix the ingredients in a blender and serve.

- This is a wonderful drink, refreshing and filling and is a dessert in itself.
- This recipe is from The Slow Roaster Italian blog, an amazing website, with lots and lots of great recipes. This was my SRC assignment (see below) and I had a very long list of potential recipes to try. But having too many choices often leads to anxiety and inability to choose, as proven in a variety of behavioral psychology studies (see an overview here). And that's what happened to me: I could not decide almost up until the reveal date, and then I just put together the simplest recipe from the blog. In fact, I did not even prepare it, it was my bf. I hope it's not considered cheating by SRC guidelines :-).
- And last but not least, a word about SRC - the Secret Recipe Club. It's a group of over a hundred food bloggers, who are assigned a "secret" blog each months. Then they choose a recipe from that blog, make it and post it on their own blog on a given reveal day. Then there is a big party, where you hop form one blog to another and check what everyone's been cooking. Lots of fun! I want to thank Amanda, Jane and April for making it all possible!

This recipe is published on


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Thursday, July 5, 2012

Whole Farro Wheat Bread

Dense, rich and earthy whole grain bread! Perfect with anything savory. I suppose it's also healthy, but that's not why I love it.

Source: Improvised, inspired by Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Dayand the German Seed Bread - Dreikernebrot

Taste: 5 (out of 5)
Difficulty: 2 (out of 5)

- 3 cups of whey (or water or buttermilk)
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 1/2 tbsp active dry yeast
- 3 cups of white flour
- 3 cups of dark rye flour
- 1 cup of ground oats (I grind rolled oats with Magic Bullet)
- 2 tbsp ground caraway seeds
- 1 cup whole Farro wheat
- 1 1/2 tbsp salt
Total: 2 loaves

1. Mix all ingredients, in whichever order you like (better not to put salt and yeast right after each other, salt tends to kill yeast). You can mix all the ingredients by hand or using a stand mixer, such as my beloved KitchenAid mixer. not using the mixer, it’s best to mix the ingredients in a large bowl with a lid (4 gallon ice cream bucket is perfect for this quantity).
2. Cover the bowl and let the dough rise at room temperature for 2 hours.
3. Then transfer the dough to the refrigerator and refrigerate overnight or up to 5 days, to help the flavors develop.
4. On the baking day, line two 9 x 4 inch loaf pans with parchment paper (otherwise it will be very difficult to extract the bread from them).
5. With wet hands, to prevent the dough from sticking, divide the dough in half, shape leach half loosely into loaf shape and place into the baking pan. The dough is more like a cookie dough, rather than bread, it is not stretchy at all, but don’t worry, the bread will be dense and will not be falling apart.
6. Cover the pans with wet kitchen towels or thick wet paper towels and let them rise at room temperature for an hour. After an hour start preheating the oven to 450F. It should take about 30 more minutes.
7. After 90 minutes of rising, when your oven is hot the bread is ready to go in. It might have risen or might not have. Don’t worry, it should rise more in the oven. If you have a baking stone, cover the loaf pans with more parchment paper and place the baking stone on top. This way the loafs with be denser and squarer and your sandwiches will be more uniform. I think I saw this trick on a Julia Child’s show, but I am not sure.
8. Place the loaves with or without the stone on the them into the oven. Place a small bowl with about 1 cup of hot water in the oven to keep the moisture up. Close the oven door and bake for 45 minutes.
9. Be careful when removing the pans with the hot stone from the oven. Let the bread cool on wire racks to room temperature before slicing and eating.

- I absolutely love this bread. I bake 2 loaves, slice them and freeze them, and then I take out one or 2 slices at a time and heat them in a toaster.
- The good thing is that this bread is so thick that you can easily cut it into very thin slices, so it lasts very long and you eat less calories.
- This bread is perfect with anything savory. Some of my favorite combinations are: coconut oil (or butter) and Jarlsberg cheese, farmers’ cheese and smoked salmon with dill and green onions, with green salad and sunny side up egg, with lentil soup, etc.

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Sunday, July 1, 2012

Mascarpone Peach Cake

Perfect summer cake: moist, not too sweet and simply beautiful. Can also be made with apricots or nectarines.
Source: Slightly adapted from Apricot Mascarpone Cake @ Apron and Sneakers

Taste: 5 (out of 5)
Difficulty: 2 (out of 5 - the most difficult parts: beating eggs if you don’t have a stand mixer and slicing peaches ;-) )

- 125 g all-purpose flour
- 125 g mascarpone cheese
- 2 eggs
- 75 g white sugar
- 2 medium peaches for the cake + 1 for garnish
- a pinch of salt
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup icing sugar for dusting
- 2 tbsp rose petal (or other liquid jam)
- mint leaves for garnish
Total: one 8-inch cake

1. Beat eggs with sugar and salt until they double in volume and become light and fluffy. This is best done with stand mixer. In the meantime you can peel and finely chop 2 peaches.
2. In another bowl stir the mascarpone until it softens a little.
3. Add 1/4 of the beaten eggs into the mascarpone and mix to loosen the mascarpone. Then gently fold in the remaining eggs.
4. Add the flour, baking powder and vanilla extract and mix in gently.
5. Gently mix in the diced peaches.
6. Pour the mixture into an 8 inch greased baking pan and bake at 350F for about an hour. After 30 minutes in the oven, cover the cake loosely with aluminum foil, so that the top does not burn.
7. The cake is done when a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let the cake cool completely before removing it from the pan. Waiting for the cake to cool is also extremely difficult :-)
8. Remove the cake from the pan. Slice the remaining peach into thin slices and arrange them on top of the cake. Heat the jam in microwave for 20 seconds until it melts, and brush over the peaches. Sprinkle the cake with icing sugar and decorate with mint.


- This cake tastes absolutely delicious, it’s packed with peaches, it’s very delicate and not too sweet, in one word: perfect!
- The original recipe on Apron and Sneakers used apricots. I am sure nectarines would also be great in this cake. The quantities mentioned here are ½ of the original quantities. In fact, I made 2 8-inch cakes, which is exactly equal volume-wise to one 11-inch cake. Pick your size :-).
- This cake was love of first site: I was looking for a dessert to make for a party, and I was looking for a recipe to use my homemade mascarpone, and then I saw this beautiful cake, orange and shiny (and I am always attracted to anything orange). So I knew I was meant to make this cake. And it turned out as good as it looked on Rowena’s photo, and even my photo turned out decent. So I even decided to post this.
- By the way, if you don’t know Rowena’s blog, you should certainly check it out. Not only does it have delicious recipes, you can also find equally mouth-watering photos of Italy. See for yourselves.

This recipe is published on 

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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Cherry Clafoutis and Blog Awards

Clafoutis = custard-like texture, great flavor, quick preparation, no butter and very few calories. The recipe and new winners of food blogging awards below....

Last year in early June I woke up one happy day to discover that a wonderful blogger, Giulietta, the author of Alterkitchen, had passed my way a whole collection of awards.

I was extremely honored, and to celebrate the occasion I immediately prepared Cherry clafoutis, just as it appeared in Giulietta's award-passing post. The clafoutis turned out delicious, even my picture turned out decent, and I was all ready to publish my own post and to announce the new recipient of the awards, when I ... got stuck. When you pass on the awards you are supposed to mention 7 things about yourself. I came up with 6, and simply could not think of anything for the 7th point.

So time went on, I had to publish other posts for cooking clubs I was a member of, and so it happened that my cherry clafoutis post remained in it's unborn draft stage. Days went by, summer became winter, winter spring, and a new summer came. And with a new cherry season I remembered Giulietta's delicious clafoutis and my unfinished post. So now with only a year's delay (what's a year in the grand scheme of things ;-) ) it's finally being resurrected.

And it so happens that I have the 7th thing to add to the list of things about me. So here is my list:

1. I really love berry picking.
2. I lived without a TV for 7-8 years, and it was pretty good. Now that I have one, my default channel is the food network – surprise!
3. I recently (now a year ago) saw my first grizzly bear from up close, and he/she was very cute. Do you know that bears eat up to 35000 calories per day? And then they sleep for half a year! I want to be a bear..
4. As a kid I hated zucchini and eggplants, and did not even bother to know which was which: why bother if I would not eat either? So I called them the green ones and the purple ones.
5. Then I liked a dish that I was served in a restaurant. I thought it was a mushroom dish that I had ordered but it turned out to be an on-the-house eggplant salad. That’s how I was converted to eating eggplants.
6. I just had my second flamenco class today (this was written a year ago ;-) )– fun! Should I now make paella to celebrate???
     And the 7th point that delayed this post for a year, drums rolling...

7. When I started food blogging I discovered that there are lots of wonderful communities and sites where bloggers can share recipes. My favorites were recipe galleries. Unfortunately, many of my posts were rejected due to the photo quality. I felt quite frustrated about that: why should publishing a post be one person's decision? Why not accept all recipes and let all the visitors choose which ones they like better? And then the more popular posts can get better positions to make browsing more enjoyable.
I could not find a site like that, so I decided to build one. And now it's live. It's called RecipeNewZ And you can see it for yourselves.

And now that I'm finally done with my 7 things (phew...), the fun part - passing on the awards!
Actually, choosing a handful of blogs to pass on the awards to is also a very difficult task: there are just way too many amazing food bloggers out there, and if I could have my way, I'd have a hundred blogs on the list. So to simplify the decision making, and because my life now revolves around RecipeNewZ, I decided to choose blogs that have shared some of their delicious recipes there.

And now without further ado, the awards go to:

1. Julie of Mommie Cooks - she has wonderful, simple and elegant family-style recipes. And she submitted the very first post to RecipeNewZ and made me very happy!
2. Violetta of Fun and Taste - she has beautiful and very originally presented Polish (and other) recipes. And she submitted recipe #1,000 to RecipeNewZ (in just a little over a month we have had more than 1,000 recipes).
3. Barbara of Barbara Bakes - as her blog title implies, Barbara is an amazing baker: if you are looking for breads, cakes, cookies, etc, look no further! But on top of that she has a great collection of main dishes, sandwiches and sides. Barbara was also one of our early contributors and she was the first to provide RecipeNewZ with user feedback, which we value very highly because we are in beta testing.
4. Nava of Nava-K Your Lifestyle Blog - in addition to delicious Malaysian recipes she also has posts on fashion, travel and entertainment. Nava has given us extensive feedback on user experience and thus helped with troubleshooting technical issues on the site, and we really appreciate that.
5. Ann of Thibeault's Table - posts great recipes for day-to-day cooking. She has another site too, where you can find her beautiful maple cutting boards. Ann was kind enough to mention RecipeNewZ on a forum, which was a very pleasant surprise and brought quite a few new users our way.
6. Nancy of Spicie Foodie - has a blog abounding with amazing food photography. In addition, she has great photography tutorials and she hosts a monthly YBR (Your Best Recipe) event, where everyone is invited to submit one's best recipe of the month. Nancy also mentioned RecipeNewZ in one of her photography tutorials during our very first days.
    And last, but not least:
7. Christi of Mom, What's For Dinner?- she publishes delicious gluten-free recipes that have been extremely popular on RecipeNewZ. Her Cheesy Cauliflower bread quickly became and still is the most popular recipe on the site, so far generating over two thousand clicks. But it does not stop there: Christi has submitted over 50 recipes and almost each and every one of them is a hit.

Thank you for reading so far. The winners are now invited to pass on the awards (but don't forget the 7 things :-) ). And we can move on to the delicious Cherry Clafoutis recipe from Giulietta!

Cherry Clafoutis

Taste: 5 (out of 5)

Difficulty: 1 (out of 5)

Source: Alterkitchen blog


- 600 g cherries, washed, stem removed (380 cal)
- 3 large eggs (210 cal)
- 100 g sugar (390 cal)
- pinch of salt
- 1 tsp vanilla essence (10 cal)
- 200 ml milk (100 cal)
- 2 tbsp Brandy, Kirsch o Rum (70 cal)
- 90 g all-purpose flour (330 cal)
- butter (to grease)
Total 16 individual 1 cup ramekins, 1490 cal, 95 cal

1. Preheat the oven to 350F/180C. Lightly butter and sprinkle with sugar a low edged cake mold or 16 individual low 1-cup ramekins.
2. In a bowl, beat the eggs with a pinch of salt and with sugar using an electric whisk, until mixture is fluffy and doubles its volume. Add the vanilla essence and flour, incorporating continue beating until incorporated. Then gradually add the milk and the liqueur.
3. Take cherries and arrange them evenly at the bottom of the cake mold or the ramekins; then pour the batter over them.
4. Bake in preheated oven for 40-45 minutes, or until the clafoutis is soft and golden brown.
5. Remove the clafoutis from the oven, sprinkle it with sugar or powdered sugar and serve warm.

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Monday, June 4, 2012

Rosemary Roasted Potatoes

Rosemary roasted potatoes - need I say more?
This recipe is featured on RecipeNewZ

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Source: adapted from Grumpy's Honeybunch.

Taste: 5 (out of 5)
Difficulty: 1 (out of 5)

- 1 lb Russet potatoes
- 2 stalks fresh rosemary
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper, to taste
 Total: 4 servings

1. Wash and cut potatoes into wedges.
2.  Coat with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and sprinkle with chopped leaves from two stalks of fresh rosemary.
3. Cook on high power in microwave for 5 minutes.
4. Preheat over to 450F and roast for 20-30 minutes or until done.

- This is a perfect, simple and delicious recipe. If you love potatoes, you can't go wrong with it.
- This was my SRC assignment for May. I had visited the Shelby's Grumpy's Honeybunch blog before - it has lots of great recipes. Unfortunately, this month is just way way too busy for me, so I was looking for a very quick recipe, and I found it. And ti turned out yummy! Check out Grumpy's Honeybunch for many more goodies!
- And last but not least, a word about SRC - the Secret Recipe Club. It's a group of over a hundred food bloggers, who are assigned a "secret" blog each months. Then they choose a recipe from that blog, make it and post it on their own blog on a given reveal day. Then there is a big party, where you hop form one blog to another and check what everyone's been cooking. Lots of fun! I want to thank Amanda, Jane and April for making it all possible!

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Saturday, May 26, 2012

Blackberry Orange Smoothie

Ready in seconds and perfect
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Source: Improvised

Taste: 5 (out of 5)
Difficulty: 1 (out of 5)

- 1/4 cup frozen blackberries
- 3/4 cup orange juice
Total: 1 serving

- Process in a blender until smooth.

- It's something I make all the time - refreshing, really easy, healthy and full of vitamins.

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Sunday, May 20, 2012

Watermelon Cucumber Salad

A great healthy, easy, refreshing and delicious summer salad
This recipe is featured on RecipeNewZ
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Source: Inspired by The Healthy Foodie

Tates: 5 (out of 5)
Difficutly: 1 (out of 5)

- watermelon
- cucumber
- feta cheese
- pistachios
- salt and pepper
- olive oil


1. Combine all ingredients in desired quantities :-).
2. Or, you can cut watermelon into thick slices, then using a round cookie cutter, cut out round bases. Using a melon baller hollow the base. Mix feta crumbles with finely chopped cucumbers and pistachios. Season with salt and pepper. Scoop a spoonful into the watermelon base. Drizzle with olive oil and enjoy.

This is a wonderful salad. Try it, you won't regret it! And all it takes is 3 minutes of prep time. I was a little obsessed with it for several days since I saw the post on The Healthy Foodie blog. And then I came across Rachel Ray's Watermelon Cups with Feta and Mint, and I could not help myself but combine the two.

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Sunday, May 13, 2012

Panna Cotta

Wonderful and elegant dessert for Mother's Day

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Source: Adapted from David Lebovitz

Taste: 5 out of 5
Difficulty: 1 out of 5

- 1 cup whipping cream
- 1 cup milk
- ¼ cup white sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 ¼ tsp gelatin
- 3 tbsp cold water
Total 4 servings in ½ cup ramekins or 16 small shot glasses

1. In a medium heat proof bowl sprinkle gelatin over cold water and let stand for 5-10 minutes.
2. In a small saucepan combine the cream, the milk and the sugar. Heat until the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat and add vanilla.
3. Pour the very warm cream-milk mixture over the gelatin and mix well so that there are no lumps.
4. Pour the panna cotta into individual serving containers (ramekins or glasses) and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.


- This panna cotta is not too sweet, so it is perfect when combined with a sweet and tart jam or jelly. If you plan to eat this panna cotta plain, I would add a little more sugar and maybe liquor or syrup for flavoring.
- When making the panna cotta in glasses, it can be nice to refrigerate the glasses placed on a slanted surface or rested at an angle in an egg tray, to create the “tilted” effect.

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Monday, May 7, 2012

Low Fat Carrot Cake with Pineapple and Walnuts

 Fruits + nuts + veggies = cake?!! and a delicious one :-)

This recipe is featured on RecipeNewZ

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Source: Adapted from Amanda’s Cookin’

Taste: 5 (out of 5)
Difficulty: 2 (out of 5, the most difficult part shredding carrots)

- 2 cups flour
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 tsp orange zest
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 eggs
- 2 ½ cups (3-4 large) shredded carrots
- ½ cup applesauce
- ⅓ cup canola oil
- ½ cup pineapple chunks + ¼ cup pineapple juice (from a can)
- ¼ cup walnuts
Total: 13x9 pan, 16 servings

1. Finely chop pineapple chunks and walnuts and shred the carrots.
2. Preheat oven to 350F and grease a 9x13 inch baking pan with no-fat cooking spray.
3. Beat the eggs slightly, add the rest of the liquid ingredients, and mix. Add the sugar and mix until incorporated. Add the dry ingredients and mix well. At the very end add the pineapples, the carrots and the walnuts.
4. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly. Bake until the cake is nicely browned and the edges begin to pull away from the sides of the pan, about 40-50 minutes, depending on your oven (50 minutes in my case).
5. Let the cake cool in the pan before cutting and serving.

- This is a really wonderful cake: it’s moist, it’s sweet, it’s delicious, it has a little crunch thanks to the walnuts, it keeps well in the fridge. It can also be frozen, but it will be eaten in no time at all :-).
- Amanda’s recipe had cinnamon and raisins, 2 ingredients which I unfortunately have not yet learned to love. So I had to find substitutions, and I think orange zest and pineapples worked just fine. The original recipe also had frosting, but again I, with my strange taste buds, prefer most cakes sans-frosting, so I skipped that part (which also saved me about 50 calories per serving ;-) ). Check out Amanda’s post for the original version.
- This recipe was my SRC assignment. "Now what is SRC?", you might ask. It’s the Secret Recipe Club, where every month each member is assigned another member’s blog and is supposed to choose a recipe from it and post it on a predetermined reveal date. No-one knows who’s got whose blog, so it’s a lot of fun to browse all the posts when they are revealed. I discovered many wonderful food blogs though SRC. And this month I had the honor of making something from the blog of the inventor and founder of the club: Amanda of Amanda’s Cookin’ :-). She has a wonderful blog, you absolutely must visit it if you have not yet. It was very difficult to choose only one recipe, but when I received my assignment I had a lot of applesauce and carrots, which I wanted to use up. So I figured this carrot cake was meant to be made. I baked it the day after I had received my assignment :-).
- I also want to thank Jane Bonacci of the Heritage Cook, who is our group organizer at SRC. The organizers are doing a lot of the logistical heavy lifting to make the participation more fun for the rest of us, and for that I am very grateful! And Jane has a beautiful blog too :-)

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Saturday, April 28, 2012

Pan Fried Trout Filet, Apples and Pears, Lingonberry-Glazed

My favorite way to eat fish
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Source: Improvised

Taste: 5 (out of 5)
Difficulty: 1 (out of 5)

- 2 8-pz pieces red trout fillet with skin
- 1 large apple, cored, cut into 8 wedges
- 1 large pear, cored, cut into 8 wedges
- 2 tbsp butter
- 2 tbsp Lingonberry syrup from Ikea, or other berry syrup
- salt and pepper to taste
Total: 2 servings

1. In a large skillet heat the butter on medium heat, until it melts. If using unsalted butter sprinkle the melted butter with salt once it melts.
2. Spread the apple and pear wedges evenly on the skillet and cook for 10 minutes on medium-low heat on one side.
3. After 10 minutes flip the fruit wedges to cook on the other side.
4. At this point, season the trout with salt and pepper and add it to the same pan, skin side down first. Cook for 4-5 minutes.
5. Turn the trout fillets skin side up and cook for another 4 minutes.
6. When the trout is ready, pour the lingonberry syrup onto the fish and cook for 30 more seconds. Remove the fish and the fruit from the pan, pour the juices from the pan over the fish and serve.

- A really simple, no-fuss recipe, but the fish turns out very moist, salty and sweet, and a bit tart from the syrup. And the pan fried apples and pears keep the dish light and healthy, but add a little twist, that makes this meal feel special. At least that’s what I think :-)
- You can also add grapes to the pears and the apples.
- If you prefer, use red wine, or red wine reduction instead of the syrup, or together with it.
- Tip: to core apples and pears cut them in half and remove the core with a melon baller.

To Recipe...

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Low-Fat Brioche

Rich and delicious, and you choose to knead or not to knead
Source: Inspired by Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day: 100 New Recipes Featuring Whole Grains, Fruits, Vegetables, and Gluten-Free Ingredients

Taste: 5 (out of 5)
Difficulty: 1 (out of 5)

- 1 ½ tbsp active dry or instant yeast
- 1 cup lukewarm water (between 100-110F)
- ½ cup honey
- 1 cup milk
- ½ cup honey
- 8 egg yolks / about half cup liquid yolks
- ½ cup canola oil
- 7 - 8 cups flour (more for dusting while shaping the bread)
- 1 tbsp salt
Total: 2 large (2 lb) loaves

  1. In a large bowl mix the water and the yeast with 1 tbsp of honey, and let stand for 5 minutes, until the yeast dissolves and looks bubbly.
  2. Add the rest of the wet ingredients and mix. Then add 3 cups of the flour, the salt, then another 4 cups of the flour.
  3. If you are not using a mixer it’s better to stay with a wetter dough, so just mix all the ingredients with a wooden spoon and once everything is incorporated. Cover the bowl with a wet cloth, a wet paper towel, plastic wrap or a lid, and let it rise on the counter for 2 hours.
  4. If you have a stand mixer with a dough hook (like my beloved KitchenAid), knead the dough with the mixer for 10 minutes. After about 5 minutes start adding the flour gradually. Eventually the dough should not stick much to the sides of the bowl, when kneaded. I ended up using 7.5 cups of flour. Cover the bowl with a wet cloth, a wet paper towel, plastic wrap or a lid, and let it rise on the counter for 2 hours.
  5. By the end of 2 hours the dough should have doubled in volume. Now you are ready to shape it. If you have kneaded the dough, it will be easier to shape, so you can flour a working surface and braid your loaf (like Challah), or roll small balls and place them next to each other in a pan to make small buns. If you are using wet dough, it might be too sticky to shape, so it’s best to make 2 loaves in 2 9x5 loaf pans.
  6. Once you’ve shaped the dough, let it rise for another hour, again covering the bread with wet cloth. After about 40 minutes, turn on the oven to preheat it to 350F. It should be hot enough for the bread just in time.
  7. Before baking, brush the top of the bread with egg wash (egg white, mixed with 1-2 tbsp water and optionally 1 tsp sugar).
  8. Bake the bread for 45-50 minutes. I baked both loaves together for 50 minutes.
  9. After removing the loaves from the oven, wrap the bread in a kitchen towel, to keep the crust soft. Let cool to room temperature before serving.


This bread turned out to be great - moist and soft and rich. I would not suspect it of being low fat if I did not know better :-). I will be making much more of it.

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Sunday, April 15, 2012

Bannock - skillet-fried Native American bread

Delicious, quick, no-yeast bread

This recipe is featured on RecipeNewZ

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Source Adopted from “A Feast for All Seasons: Traditional Native Peoples' Cuisine” by Chef Andrew George Jr.

Taste 5 (out of 5)
Difficulty 1 (out of 5)

1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
¾ tbsp baking powder
2 tbsp sugar
1/8 tsp salt
½ cup water or whey
½ egg
½ tbsp. vegetable oil
1 tbsp vegetable or bacon fat for the skillet
Total: 8 servings


1. Mix all the ingredients and let rise for 5 minutes.
2. In a large skillet heat the bacon or the cooking oil on medium-high heat.
3. Grease your hands with a little oil to prevent dough from sticking. Shape the dough into 1-inch balls, and flatten them with your palms.
4. Before placing the bread onto the skillet reduce the heat to a little below medium and fry for about 5 minutes on each side or until the bread is golden brown and puffed.


Wonderful bread, pretty similar to scones, but much quicker - no need to preheat the oven! Love it!

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Monday, April 9, 2012

Buttermilk Pancakes

Fluffy and rich pancakes - a perfect Sunday brunch
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Source: Mrs Happy Homemaker blog

Taste: 5 (out of 5)
Difficulty: 1 (out of 5)

- 1 ½ cups all purpose flour
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- ¼ cup white sugar
- 1 ½ cups buttermilk
- 1 egg
- 4 tbsp / 60 g butter, melted and cooled
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
Total 12 small pancakes

1. Beat the egg lightly. Add the rest of the wet ingredients and mix well (I used a hand held electric mixer).
2. Add the dry ingredients and mix until incorporated.
3. Place a griddle or a large frying pan over medium heat, and when it’s warm, melt a little more butter on it.
4. Using an ice-cream scoop or a ladle pour the batter onto the griddle. Cook over low-medium heat for several minutes until bubbles appear on the pancake. Flip and cook several more minutes.
5. Keep the pancakes in an oven preheated to 200F until ready to serve.

- Delicious pancakes! I served them with maple syrup, butter, fruit salad and whipped cream - yum!
- The original recipe calls for less sugar, but I like my pancakes sweet :-). Also, Crystal, the author of Mrs Happy Homemaker blog, recommends adding chocolate chips to the pancakes, so you might want to keep that in mind if you try this recipe.
- This recipe was my March assignment for SRC (Secret Recipe Club), a group of food bloggers who once a month are randomly assigned another member’s blog and are supposed to choose a recipe from it and post it on their own blog on the Reveal date. It’s a lot of fun, and I would like to thank Amanda of Amanda’s Cookin’ for coming up with this great idea. Also, thanks to Jane of the Heritage Cook, my group’s hostess, and Crystal of the Mrs Happy Homemaker, the author of my assigned blog :-)

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Thursday, April 5, 2012

Nutella Buns

Soft, rich, Nutellish and very simple to make
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Source: Improvised

Taste: 5 (out of 5)
Difficulty: 1 (out of 5) - if you have the dough ready ;-)

- 1 serving of Bullar Dough
- 1 cup of Nutella, or based on your own preference ;-)
- 1 egg white, lightly beaten + 1 tbsp water (for egg wash)
- 1/4 cup chopped pistachios or hazelnuts mixed with 2 tbsp sugar (for sprinkling the tops)
Total: about 18 buns

1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
2. Divide the dough into 2 batches. Dust a work surface with flour and roll each half into a 1/4 inch thick square.
3. Spread Nutella over the dough. Roll the dough into a cylinder and cut into 9 pieces.
4. Line 3 silicone muffin pan with paper muffin cups (because Nutella will probably leak out a bit) and place the buns.
5. Brush the tops with the egg wash and sprinkle with the nut-sugar mixture.
6. Bake for 35-45 minutes, depending on your oven, until the buns are golden brown and the house smells like heaven.
7. Let cool slightly until you can wait no longer and enjoy :-).


- Wonderful buns, that's all I can say. Perfect for someone like me who is not a fan of cinnamon, and for anyone who is a fan of Nutella.
- I used the dough from the Swedish Bullar Buns by Delish, it has some cardamom in it, which rings "Eastern" to me, so I added Pistachios as a second "Eastern" flavor. If you are using dough without cardamom, I think hazelnuts would be a perfect accompaniment to Nutella. In any case, the crunch of the nuts compliments the softness of the buns extremely well.

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Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Pao de queijo - Brazilian cheese puffs / rolls

Gooey, chewy, soft, rich and gluten-free cheesy puffs
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Source: Sonia Portuguese

Taste 5 (out of 5)

2 (out of 5)


- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/4 cup oil
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 225 g / 1/2 pack tapioca starch
- 1 egg
- 100 g grated Parmesan / cheddar or other cheese (I used Bergeron)
Total: 35 puffs

1. Bring water, milk, oil and salt to boil.
2. Remove the pan from heat and add the tapioca starch. Mix well with a wooden spoon and let it cool down slightly.
3. Start preheating the oven to 375F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
4. Add the egg to the dough and knead. I used a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment for that. 2-3 minutes was enough.
5. Add the cheese and continue kneading until the dough is smooth. With a stand mixer it took another 5-7 minutes (love, love, love my KitchenAid, how could I live wihtout it?)

6. Grease your hands with oil so that the dough does not stick. Roll walnut-sized balls and place them on the baking sheet.
7. Bake the puffs for about 30-40 minutes until puffed and golden.
8. Serve warm.

- Wonderful puffs! A little crunchy on the outside, gooey and chewy inside. We ate them instead of bread with lunch, but they would make a perfect snack or appetizer.
- I saw many recipes with pao de queijo, and tried making them before, but they deflated and collapsed as soon as I took them out of the oven. I think the recipe I had followed did not require boiling the milk first before adding the flour. Probably it also used normal flour. In any case, this recipe worked much better for me. I got the link to it from a very nice Brazilian girl I recently met, and I am very grateful :-).
- The original recipe calls for baking the puffs for 20 minutes at 350F. That's what I did, but the puffs were completely row. I ended up baking them for about 50 minutes, increasing the temperature to 380F for the last 15 minutes. Maybe it's my oven, but next time I am going to bake them at 375 for 40 minutes. Maybe I'll reduce the temperature to 350F 20 minutes into baking.
- By the way, tapioca flour is gluten free, so this recipe is gluten-free (and fat-rich ;-) with all the cheese and oil).

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Monday, April 2, 2012

Pistachio Cookies

Chewy, soft, flourless and gluten-free.
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Source: Simply Gluten Free blog

Taste: 5 (out of 5)

Difficulty: 1 (out of 5)

– 2 ¼ cups pistachios (salted or not)
– 1 cup sugar + more for sprinkling
– 2 large egg whites
– 1 tsp vanilla extract
– 1 tbsp orange blossom water
– 3-4 drops green food coloring (optional)
Total: about 20 cookies, if using 1 tbsp ice-cream scoop

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
2. Line two baking sheets with silicon mats or parchment paper.
3. Roughly chop ¼ cup of the pistachios, mix with 1 tbsp of sugar and reserve for garnish.
4. Place the remaining 2 cups of pistachios in a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Process the pistachios for 2-3 minutes until they turn into a paste. You might need to scrape down the sides of the bowl a few times during the processing.
5. Add 1 cup sugar to the pistachio paste and process in long pulses until combined. Add the rest of the ingredients and process until combined. You should have a thick batter.
6. Using a small ice cream scoop or two teaspoons, drop the cookies onto the prepared pans, spacing two inches apart. Sprinkle the tops of the cookies with pistachio-sugar mix.
7. Gently press the pistachios into the cookies.
8. Bake for 12 – 14 minutes for chewy cookies, 15 – 17 minutes for crispy cookies. If using 2 sheets, rotate them half-way through the baking.
9. Let the cookies cool before removing them from the pans.

• I baked the cookies for 14 minutes, and they turned out very chewy and soft.
• The orange blossom water added a little Eastern flavor. You can also add rose water for similar effect.
• These cookies are perfect for cookie sandwiches. The original post suggested a chocolate filling. I used whipped cream, cream cheese, sugar, vanilla and orange extracts for a whipped filling to sandwich between two cookies. It adds even more richness (and calories – yum!)

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