I’m failing my early New Year’s resolution already 🙁 I vowed I would only make one Christmas cookie this year since they don’t get eaten like they used to (this low sugar thing, blah, blah, blah). I let me girls pick what kind they wanted and of course they wanted cut-out sugar cookies with all the bells and whistles of frosting and sprinkles (insert heavy sigh here). I resolved myself to say that was ok. But I should know myself better after 39 years of this. Lying in bed the other night, I was thinking about my Nana’s shortbread that I loved as a kid and haven’t made in several years. Then I thought how much I love Nutella…errrr… chocolate hazelnut butter. Hello! A marriage made in heaven I say.
So I made my own Nutella from my Blendtec cookbook. Super easy by the way. Then I set about making the shortbread yesterday. As you can see by my little post-it note, that’s all I have of my Nana’s recipe. I have no idea where it came from, but my dad grew up with them, my mom made them for my brother and I as kids and now I make them. It’s a super simple recipe with few ingredients. I think it’s the simplicity that I like. Or maybe it’s the memories I hold on to of my Nana who passed when I was young. Or maybe it’s the brown sugar, buttery, flakiness of the cookies that I love. I’m guessing it’s the whole package 🙂
Without further ado here is the recipe for the chocolate nut butter and shortbread:
Chocolate Hazelnut butter: recipe from Blendtec
2 cups toasted hazelnuts
1⁄2 cup coconut oil, melted
1⁄2 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup powdered sugar
Add coconut oil and hazelnuts to FourSide or WildSide+ jar and secure lid (If making in Twister jar, decrease ingredients by half). Blend on a low speed for 15 seconds and then increase to a high speed for 35 seconds (until blended time reads 50 seconds).
Stir mixture towards center of jar, then secure lid.
Blend on a medium speed for 50 seconds. Stir, secure lid, and repeat this cycle two more times.
Add cocoa powder, vanilla extract, and powdered sugar to jar and secure lid. Blend on a medium speed for 50 seconds.
Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 4-6 weeks. Bring to room temperature before serving or spreading on shortbread cookies.
*Note: To toast hazelnuts, preheat oven to 350°F. Spread hazelnuts on shallow baking sheet and toast in oven until skins darken, approximately 8-10 minutes. To ensure even toasting, stir the hazelnuts after 4-5 minutes in oven, then finish toasting. Wrap the cooled hazelnuts in a clean kitchen towel and rub towel back and forth to remove most of the hazelnut skins.
Nana’s Shortbread Recipe:
1 pound cold unsalted butter, cubed
6 tbsp brown sugar
4 cups white flour
1/2 tsp salt
Directions: Makes Approx. 30-40 individual cookies (15-20 sandwich cookies)
Heat oven to 325°
In a standing mixer, mix on medium low all ingredients until dough just comes together, but be careful not to over mix or over handle the dough!! Form dough into a disc and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill for 30 minutes.
Roll out dough to approx. 3/8 inch thick. Cut circles using a 1.5″ circle cookie cutter. *I used a 2″ in the picture above, but personally they would be better smaller and would get more cookies!
Bake on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or silpat liner for 10-15 minutes depending on your oven. Keep an eye on them the last few minutes. The bottoms should be just lightly browned.
Once cooled, spread one cookie with chocolate hazelnut butter and place another on top. Store in fridge or freezer. Enjoy!
It seems these days I have a LOT of friends that have diet restrictions. All for various reasons and all different restrictions. It used to be that I was the one that was difficult to have over for dinner being a vegetarian. Now I’m pretty easy by comparison! Last night we had over one of my long time dear friends and her family for dinner. She is gluten, dairy and soy free (gulp!). We ended up dividing the meal between the two of us to make it easier on both, but I said I would make a dessert. More or less because my mom just gave me a box full of apples that are perfect for baking and I needed to start making a dent in them!
A crumble is pretty easy to get around the no dairy – just use coconut oil for the butter. The flour in theory is pretty easy because it doesn’t call for much and there is gluten free flour, which I thought I had but I didn’t. I love a good food challenge so I set forth on creating a gluten and dairy free apple crumble. I used my base recipe from Skinny Taste (love her!) and went from there. After making a few additions and substitutions, it looked amazing, but did it taste as good? After the meal was chowed, and the table cleared, we dished up the crumble with some dairy free coconut vanilla ice cream and OMG! It was super YUM! So I am sharing it here with you…and let’s be honest. If it turned out terrible, I would be silent as a mouse 😉 This is all that was left after we dished up and by the end of the night there were just a few small bites…and by morning there was none 🙂
4 cups peeled, sliced cooking apples such as Granny Smith
2 cups peeled, sliced slightly sweeter apple – I used Pink Lady
¼ cup honey
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
3 Tbsp. corn starch
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
1 ½ cup quick-cooking oats
½ cup packed light brown sugar
½ cup chopped pecans
2 Tbsp. almond meal
¼ tsp. kosher salt
6 Tbsp. virgin coconut oil
1 tsp. xanthum gum
Preheat oven to 325°F.
Lightly spray 9” x 12” baking dish with oil.
For filling: In a large bowl, combine apples, honey, lemon juice, corn starch, cinnamon. Pour the mixture into prepared baking dish.
For topping: In a separate bowl, combine oats, brown sugar, pecans, almond meal, salt, xanthum gum and coconut oil. Sprinkle topping evenly over filling. Bake until browned and bubbling, 50-55 minutes.
Summer has been off to a slow start here in the NW, but I am determined to make the most of it for my girls. I feel like having a cup of hot cocoa at times, but it’s summer. Right?! So the calendar says anyway. I’m deciding to listen to the calendar instead of the weather and with that advice, I made some super easy fudgecicles that require only two ingredients, a bowl and a whisk. Can’t get any easier than that!!
So here it is…Trader Joes Speculoos Cookie and Cocoa Swirl spread and chocolate almond milk. That’s it!!! And they make for a super yummy summer treat. Do you think if you eat enough fudgecicles summer will arrive out of pity for us? Oh and did I mention they only have 150 calories per pop?
1/2 cup Speculoos Cookie and Cocoa Swirl Spread
1 1/2 cup chocolate almond milk
Whisk cookie and cocoa swirl spread with 1/2 cup almond milk in a large bowl until smooth. Add the rest of the almond milk and stir until combined. Pour in popsicle molds and freeze for at least 4 hours.
I don’t know about you, but there is something about making treats and desserts for my kids and husband that just makes me feel good inside. Maybe it’s because it’s my way of showing them I love them and care. Or maybe because it takes me back to a time when I idealize a simpler life. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about shaving off minutes of my day by picking up ready made at the store. But when I have a moment, I love making treats and snack for my family.
I digress…Are you ready for the easiest, and might I add, yummiest limecicles ever?! My girls love these time and time again and they are by far their favorite of the rotation. I found the recipe from Girl vs. Dough (love her site!) last summer and with a little tweak (more lime!!), I made them continuously throughout the season. I have recently pulled the recipe out of the archives already for this year. With just three ingredients and a freezer, you will with out a doubt be the “cool” mom 😉
Last year, I made plum simple syrup from our plum tree and it was absolutely delicious paired with vodka and soda. It’s still too early for plum season, but our rhubarb is coming up like gangbusters. And there are only so many things you can make with rhubarb that my family will eat. I personally would eat it any ol’ way, but my husband and kiddos are more particular and have their quota of baked goods and jam.
For an adult only treat, I was curious what a rhubarb simple syrup would turn out like. I followed my basic recipe and added a few cups of chopped rhubarb during heating. I then strained the juice through a mesh strainer and kept the remaining cooked fruit. After my experiment two things were a happy surprise. 1. the simple syrup makes for a yummy, refreshing and beautiful vodka soda cocktail. 2. The remaining cooked and strained rhubarb is perfectly sweetened and makes for delicious rhubarb sauce! Served it warm over vanilla ice cream for dessert.
Here is the recipe for you all – super easy and quick!
Rhubarb Simple Syrup
1 cup white sugar
1 cup water
2 cups 1/2″ diced rhubarb stocks
In a medium saucepan combine sugar, water and rhubarb. Bring to a boil, stirring, until sugar has dissolved. Strain juice through a mesh strainer in to large mason jars or any sealable container. Keep the fruit for a delicious sauce! Allow to cool.
For the Cocktail
In 8 – 12 oz glass filled halfway with ice, add 1.5 oz vodka of choice, club soda until 2/3 full, then finish it off with the simple syrup to taste.
Usually when the weekend comes, I am ready for a smoothie and this one is by far my favorite (after much trial and error), not only for the flavor, but also for the loads of good healthy stuff in there. And the best part? You can’t even tell all the good stuff is in there! Yahoo!
My kids know what goes in these since they are used to me piling in all sorts of healthy things in their foods, but if they can taste it, they won’t eat it. This power house is a sure way to get some healthy spinach (or kale), vitamin packed berries, ground flax, chia seeds, hemp seeds and protein packed greek yogurt in to their diet. Did I say flax, hemp, chia and spinach?! Oh yes. I. Did. Here is the secret to any smoothie tasting good (if you haven’t figured this one out already). Bananas. I’ve tried leaving them out, but they just don’t taste as good…a little bland. There is no science to the exact measurements so feel free to adjust to your taste buds 🙂
So here is the recipe…easy as…a smoothie…
2 cups frozen mixed berry blend (or any frozen berry you prefer)
2 very ripe bananas
2 cups fresh spinach or kale (not packed)
1/2 cup nonfat greek yogurt
1-2 tbsp ground flax
1-2 tbsp chia seeds
1-2 tbsp hemp seeds
add water to desired consistency (start with one cup and add more if needed)
*If your berries are on the tart side, add a hint-o maple syrup or honey to doctor it up
Add all ingredients to blender and blend until smooth – voila!