Thursday 29 January 2015

Healthy Vanilla Bean Cut-out Cookies

Ah, the cut-out cookie.

Oh how I adore thee. If you take a peek at my past posts or even through my Instagram feed or Pinterest account you will see how much I adore decorating.

I am a sucker for bright colours and fun designs -- and I have had a lovely time decorating sugar cookies for myself, friends and family.

But WHAT IF...just what if I could make a healthier version of the traditional sugar cookie??

No more IF'S the cookie is HERE!

Sweet, cuts out perfectly well and holds it's shape well enough to be decorated. I love them! Now of course you don't have to smother yours with sprinkles -- you could opt for healthier decorations like dark chocolate, coconut, crushed nuts or seeds -- dehydrated fruit..YOU NAME IT.

I have enough sprinkles, nonpareils and coloured sugars to decorate the planet -- and it's a bit of give and take for me. Sprinkles fit into my goals just fine because I am not crazy strict with anything. Life is short -- why not sprinkle every now and then? But I totally understand people not wanting to or simply not owning any,

Or eat them plain. They are really good plain, too ;)

My gingerbread cookie recipe was a hit over the holidays but with Valentine's Day coming up I wanted to share a sweet vanilla recipe that you can decorate for your bae. Bae's...babaysss?? Or yourself. I think I might bake myself up a solo feast for my mama and I and we can celebrate the occasion with Netflix. Who is my bae.

But regardless of who you are making these for -- cutting out cookies is a great time. Especially because you can recruit the help of little ones who will love that you are allowing them to partake in the process!

My advice is to chill the dough only until it starts to hold together -- maybe 30 minutes or so. This just helps the cookies keep a smooth top and not crack quite as much. The alternative version of the recipe I share is a bit more crumbly which is why it is not my first suggestion -- it tastes amazing but for decorating the cracks are ehh....not so pretty.

I hope you enjoy this recipe and get a chance to try them -- I think I own a million cookie cutters. NO. I REALLY DO. So I am happy to start creating more cut-out recipes -- any other suggestions for me? HAVE AT 'EM!

Monday 26 January 2015

Raw Vegan 'Melt in Your Mouth' Chocolates

Do you know 'Icy Squares'?!? My family and I were recently discuss this very subject very late on Saturday night -- I had totally forgotten about these treasures!

The chocolates are melty and smooth and luxurious and were square and thick, wrapped in foil and adorned with geometric colors of varying pleasing jewel shades.


My grandmother used to keep a large cylindrical container in random places throughout her old house and I would probably eat the whole thing if left to my own devices.

I loved how melty and delicious these were. As it turns out that's thanks to the hydrogenated coconut oil in them!

Well today we look at a VERY simple raw, vegan, and sugar free version of those wonderful little squares of joy.

Valentines day is coming -- and these look especially cute as hearts -- wink wink!

I think depending on where you live these can stay unrefrigerated. I think they taste extra amazing cold so I keep them in there, though. Outside of the fridge they definitely last a good 1/2 an hour or so before they sweat a little bit -- but really, just eat them right away. You will want to do that, anyways.

You won't believe how easy this is -- trust me! You can pour them into any mold you like and even make chocolate bars with them! Yippeeeee!

Thursday 22 January 2015

Bakery Style Snickerdoodle Muffins

Oh I had so much planned to post for the past few weeks. And none of it got done. But such is life. I got a horrible virus that spread from my sinuses to my throat and I was stuck in bed for what felt like an eternity. Going back to work and resuming with regular life always seems so jarring after being that sick. I don't recall feeling that ill since I have been a small child. But I digress -- the internet will be here for a while yet-- so what's the rush, ya?

For the first...maybe 22 years of my life I had never ever heard of a snickerdoodle. Never. What on earth is a snickerdoodle? Is that a cartoon? A brand of liqueur? WHAT IS IT?!

And then I found out. Cinnamon and anything is a winner for me. Cinnamon and vanilla? YEP. 

Cinnamon and caramel? DUH. Cinnamon and chocolate? DIDN'T THINK SO BUT YEAH IT IS. 

Cinnamon on ice cream, on oatmeal, in yogurt, in coffee. CINNAMON ON ALL THE THINGS.

So the idea of a snickerdoodle intrigued me. Muffins are something I have been making for a while now and they usually get eaten before I can photograph them. It also took a while to get the proportions of the recipe and technique right, too. 

But they are. Not only do these have the soft cinnamon-y taste of a snickerdoodle cookie but they are baked up in a gorgeous muffin with a muffin top that makes Zeus himself tear up a little. 

For years the perfectly domed muffin tops of bakeries worldwide has eluded me. How do they do it? How is it so high? I was only used to the muffin mixes we would buy from the shop and make in our muffin tins - WHAT UP DR.OETKER!

But those had soft squishy tops and were really small. Like so small! How is one of those a serving size? I cannot seem to eat anything less than two. But I digress. 

So after many failed attempts I now have the perfect healthy bakery style muffin with a crunchy beautiful muffin top and cakey delicious center. Oh my goodness. Oh. My. MY MY!

These are absolute PERFECTION. Domed cinnamony perfection.

I think if you have a jumbo muffin pan you will get better results but ain't nobody got time for that! I just used a regular pan and filled each muffin cup passed the rim so it domed over slightly. I also didn't use muffin liners because sometimes they irk me and pools of oil collect at the bottom in a super creepy way that I don't appreciate. NOPE!

So read carefully -- make muffins and umm...yep that's it!

Monday 12 January 2015

White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies

It was a rough week back to normalcy last week and the weekend couldn't come soon enough. Which naturally when it did I had a bout of insomnia and watched really wretched reality TV shows from across the pond. Oh boy.

Saturday morning was the ultimate in grogginess. A day when you knock over things and feel overwhelmed by the mere thought of wearing pants. Who looks decent on a Saturday? Aren't I now at the age when real clothing is like, optional? Because I am now old enough not to care that I look slightly amiss?

For the most part -- that's my mentality. And boy oh boy was it ever the case this past weekend. So in the face of no scheduled posts and a barren kitchen table (WHERE DID ALL THE BAKED GOODS GO? OH...I didn't make any? DARN IT ALL!!!!) I pulled my sleeves up, put on Songza and made these little gems.

White chocolate + macadamia nut = coffee shop cookies. These of course are healthier than the usual that are characteristically super sweet and decadent. All the fanciness with none of the junkiness. YAY.

For really reals -- these are AMAZING. The flavour is so delicate and comforting. I love these cookies so much. They were a long time in the making, too! Cookies can be challenging. What makes them spread and become delicious and chewy is the flour, sugar, butter magic going on. So it took me quite a few tries to get a recipe I was happy with and wanted to share.

That being said you can use whichever ingredients you have on hand. No coconut sugar? You can use white or brown (or a mixture) instead! No worries. Just don't press the balls of dough down as much because the sugar will help them spread.

These cookies disappeared QUICK times. And I found myself eating them in bed beyond what my body physically needed. Do our bodies physically need cookies? What a silly question. Of course they do.

The ingredients are few and basic -- and you can always use whatever YOU have on hand -- so let's have a look!

Monday 5 January 2015

Banana Walnut Breakfast Bars

I usually test my recipes a bunch of times before posting. Why? Because I need to know that they work -- of course. It is also helpful to learn ahead of time what to tweak and where substitutions will work and when they won't.

For these breakfast bars -- I kid you not -- I must have made them about 12- 15 times already before posting. And every time I ask what to change there simply aren't suggestions.

I made them at home for people who hear 'gluten free' and 'vegan' and shake in their boots and they were devoured. Then again -- just to test the recipe... Devoured. Before I could take a picture! I made them a couple more times -- delicious, soft, moist...perfection. Then I made two batches to bring to work to counteract all the heavy holiday treats. They were a HIT.

Then I made them for breakfast when my American BFF came for a surprise visit and even the gluten eating carnivores at the table loved them!

I just cannot think of any other selling point other than everyone loves these bars. Really. The moist bar is sweetened with coconut sugar which gives it a caramel flavour. The oats create a satisfying chewy texture and the walnuts and chocolate chips tie it all together.

It will take you from breakfast to afternoon snack to midnight snack all with the same level of satisfaction. Even for me -- who -- gasp -- is not a huge breakfast fan!

I know, it's crazy, but hear me out! I used to adore breakfast like nobodies business. But then I got hit with stomach issues and migraines and since then the mornings and food are just no bueno. But these are cute and compact and easily transportable and a wonderful addition to pretty much anything. Coffee? Hot Chocolate? AIR??!?! Yes. All those things.

So hopefully you try them out and love them just as much as myself and all my loved ones do!