March 20, 2018

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie

This pie and Pi day (March 14) is what derailed my healthy eating. I swear tomorrow I'm back to soup and salad to cleanse my body of all the sugar I have consumed that tastes so delicious but makes me not feel my best.

This pie that I adapted from How Sweet Eats has been bookmarked for years, and it only required me grabbing heavy whipping cream to throw together a pie for my family for pie day. This pie is absolutely fantastic and worth repeating.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie
1 1/2 cups peanut butter cookie crumbs
6 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
Truffle Layer
6 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
2/3 cup heavy cream
Peanut Butter Cream
4 oz. chocolate, chopped
6 oz. creamy peanut butter
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 cup peanut butter
Whipped Cream

To prepare crust, combine cookie crumbs and melted butter. Press mixture into a 9-inch pie pan. Chill in the freezer while making the truffle layer.

To make the truffle layer, place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Heat heavy cream until tiny bubbles appear on the edges, and pour hot cream over chocolate. Let stand 2 minutes. Stir gently until chocolate mixture is smooth. Pour into pie plate, and spread up the sides of the crust. Chill at least 30 minutes in the freezer while making the peanut butter cream.

For the peanut butter layer, combine chopped chocolate, peanut butter and 1/2 cup of heavy cream. Melt the mixture together, and stir until smooth. Cool completely to room temperature before proceeding. Whip the remaining heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Gently fold in the peanut butter mixture. Spoon into pie.

For garnish, melt the peanut butter, and drizzle it over the pie. Top with whipped cream, if desired, for serving.

March 19, 2018

Skillet Biscuits

These skillet biscuits from Cookies & Cups are as delicious as the amount of butter they contain. I think there's often a direct correlation between butter and deliciousness.

These were tasty warm with butter and jam or honey, and the leftovers were devoured as biscuits and gravy. This is a simple enough recipe that requires minimal time for plenty of flavor.

Skillet Biscuits
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups cake flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
3/4 cup cold, salted butter
1 1/4 cups buttermilk, cold
1/4 cup butter, melted

Preheat oven to 450°F. Grease a 10-inch cast iron skillet, and set aside.

Combine all dry ingredients together. Using a pastry cutter, mix in butter until butter is in small crumbles. Stir in the buttermilk gently with a spatula, being careful not to over mix.

Drop spoonfuls of dough, about 1/2 cup at a time, into the pan. It is OK for them to be touching. Use half the melted butter to brush the biscuits before baking.

Bake 20 to 25 minutes until golden. Remove from oven, and brush with remaining butter. Makes 8 to 10 biscuits.

March 8, 2018

One-Bowl Chocolate Zucchini Cake

My older son was disappointed a few weeks ago when I made a cake for a friend, so he didn't get a piece of cake. I promised him I'd make him a cake sometime, and I made true to my promise with this cake from the The Kitchen McCabe. I actually found this recipe by checking out her banana cake, which sounded intriguing, as does her pumpkin zucchini cake.

Yes, this cake has zucchini. It's apparently not noticeable aside from producing a nice, moist cake. (As tempting as this cake looks, I haven't tried it because it doesn't quite fit with my Lenten choices.) That means that Teddy is eating even more vegetables, which is my goal.The boys have been thoroughly enjoying this cake, and it got positive reviews when I took it to work.

One-Bowl Chocolate Zucchini Cake
1 cup flour (I used white whole wheat)
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 egg
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
1/3 cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. chocolate extract
1/2 cup boiling water
1 cup finely grated zucchini
2 sticks butter, softened
2 tsp. vanilla
4 Tbsp. cocoa powder
2 cups powdered sugar

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9 x 9 baking pan. Combine flour, sugar, cocoa, salt, baking powder and baking soda in a large bowl, and whisk to combine.

Add the egg, oil, milk, vanilla, chocolate extract and water. Whisk just until smooth. Stir in zucchini until combined.

Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 30 to 35 minutes until a tester inserted in the center comes out mostly clean with a few crumbs. Cool completely before frosting.

For frosting, beat butter until smooth. Add in vanilla and cocoa powder, and beat until combined. On low speed, gradually add powdered sugar. Once it is all incorporated, beat another 30 seconds. Spread on top of cooled cake. Makes a 9 x 9 cake.

March 4, 2018

Lemon Chicken Soup

With friends coming over for supper tonight, I text them to ask whether lemon chicken soup sounded good or gross. It's one of those things that sounds weird but like it might work. They decided it sounded good, so I made this recipe from How Sweet Eats, modified since I couldn't find the bone broth she used.

Verdict? It was good. My soup simmered a bit longer, so the lemons were tender and actually tasty enough to eat with the soup. It was a bit weird but in an enjoyable way. I also topped mine diced preserved lemon, which adds another element of lemon flavor. (Beware, though. After tasting a preserved lemon, my one friend said with a wrinkled nose, "This tastes exactly like Pinesol smells." Preserved lemons are not intended to be eaten straight up unless you really like Pinesol.)

Lemon Chicken Soup
2 Tbsp. butter
1 onion, diced
1 cup chopped carrots
1 cup chopped celery
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp. freshly grated ginger
1/2 tsp. freshly grated tumeric
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
Zest of one lemon
3 cups shredded chicken
1 lemon, thinly sliced
4 cups chicken stock
2 cups chicken bone broth
Chopped fresh herbs, like parsley, basil or cilantro
Grated cheese like Parmesan
Preserved lemon, diced

In a large pot, saute onion, carrots, celery and garlic in butter 5 to 10 minutes until softened. Add in ginger, tumeric, salt, pepper and lemon zest. Stir to combine. Add in remaining ingredients, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 20 to 40 minutes.

Garnish each bowl with fresh herbs, cheese and preserved lemon if desired. Serves 6.

Note: I used a Spanish manchego for topping the soup and also tossed the rind into the soup while it was cooking for extra flavor.

March 2, 2018

Vegan Almond Tahini Cookies

It's rare that I make a recipe within a week of bookmarking it. It's rare that I make anything vegan. It's rare that I find a cookie I can eat when I'm doing a modified Whole 30 approach. But these cookies from Cook Republic fit within what I'm eating because they are sweetened with only maple syrup.

I was unsure about how these would turn out because I find tahini bitter on its own. But they smelled delicious and looked quite tasty. From a texture standpoint, it's not the same as a traditional cookie. The edges have a slight bite to them, and the inside is soft and chewy. I'd say they're coarser than a flour-based cookie. The flavor is nutty and sweet enough to taste like a cookie but not overly sweet.

Everyone in my family tried these and liked them well enough to not wrinkle their noses. I think AJ expected a more traditional cookie and would probably like them better had I put chocolate chips on them instead of nuts. Teddy ate the one he snuck off the counter without complaints (or spitting it out, which is what he does when he doesn't like the flavor or texture). And Dave said he liked them more than he thought he would and could eat a half dozen, which I didn't let him.

I kept just a couple out for tomorrow and froze the rest to help with portion control. These are worth repeating.

Vegan Almond Tahini Cookies
3/4 cup tahini
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 tsp. sea salt
2 tsp. vanilla
2 cups almond flour
Crushed cocoa nibs
Chopped pistachios

Preheat oven to 325°F. In a large saucepan, combine the tahini, maple syrup, sea salt and vanilla. Melt together, while stirring often, over medium heat until ingredients are fully combined. Remove from heat, and set aside to cool 10 minutes.

Stir almond flour into the melted mixture, which will have thickened as it cooled. Shape cookies using 1-2 Tablespoons of dough by rolling into a rough ball and pressing gently to flatten. Sprinkle with garnish if desired, and press gently into the dough to help it stick.

Bake 10 minutes. Turn off oven, and leave the cookies inside for another 5 minutes until the cookies are lightly browned. Remove from the oven, and let stand on the cookie sheet for another 5-10 minutes. Transfer to wire racks to cool completely if desired. Makes about 14 cookies.