Seed Cookies

Seed Cookies | www.purplehousecafe.com

These cookies are so delicious.  And they almost seem healthy.  Almost.  But they’re still 100% cookie.  

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I always like to have a batch in the freezer for unexpected guests, meetings and…you know…for the times I go downstairs to let the dog out and the freezer is just sitting there, and it has cookies in it, and even though they’re frozen….you know…

Seed Cookies | www.purplehousecafe.com

Seed Cookies
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Ingredients
  1. 1 cup butter
  2. 3/4 cup brown sugar
  3. 3/4 cup white sugar
  4. 1 tsp. vanilla
  5. 2 eggs
  6. 1 cup whole wheat flour
  7. 1 cup all-purpose white flour
  8. 1 tsp. baking powder
  9. 1 tsp. baking soda
  10. 1 cup coconut
  11. 1 cup oatmeal
  12. 1 cup rice krispies (or some other cereal)
  13. 1 cup raisins
  14. 1 cup chocolate chips
  15. 3/4 cup sunflower seeds
  16. 1/2 cup sesame seeds
  17. 1/3 cup flax seeds
  18. 1/3 cup wheat germ
  19. 1/2-3/4 cup crystallized ginger
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 350F.
  2. Um, combine all the ingredients together. This dough is pretty stiff so if you have a stand mixer, you might want to use that to avoid a serious arm workout. Unless you skipped your workout today, in which case...
  3. The great thing about these cookies is that you don't really need all of these ingredients. In fact, I rarely do. I don't think I've ever put sunflower seeds in them, and the ginger is optional depending on your tastes. As long as the dough is stiff enough to form balls out of, you're probably a-ok.
  4. That said: once the dough is combined, form into balls and place on greased baking sheets (note: sheets. This recipe makes a lot of cookies!).
  5. Bake for 10 minutes, or until lightly browned.
Purple House Café https://www.purplehousecafe.com/

Wheat and Dairy-free Skinny Peanut Butter Brownies

Yeah, you heard it.  SKINNY.  Skinny brownies.  And not because we’re cutting them really thin.  Because they’re actually not too bad for us.  Love.

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I had these for the first time at a meeting held at a friend’s house and ate three.  And that was BEFORE I knew the skinny part about them.  Now I make them on a regular basis because they’re easy, delicious and are/can be wheat and dairy free.   If you like this recipe, or if you like easy, funky, delicious baking recipes in general, check out Sally’s Baking Addiction, one of my newest favouritest blogs.  She’s got some lower-fat/calories recipes, a few savoury recipes, and a whole bunch of recipes for cool stuff like S’Mores Peanut Butter Cookies or Golden Oreo Cake Batter Blondies (this woman has a knack for taking really delicious things and COMBINING THEM to make even MORE delicious things!).

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Wheat-free, Dairy-free Peanut Butter Brownies
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Ingredients
  1. 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  2. 3/4 cup low fat soy yogurt (or tofu sour cream works here too)
  3. 1/4 cup soy/almond/rice milk
  4. 1 large egg (or 2 egg whites)
  5. 1/4 tsp salt
  6. 1 tsp baking powder
  7. 1 cup sugar (could use a substitute if you're into that)
  8. 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  9. 1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 350F. Grease an 8 x 8" pan with oil/margarine.
  2. Toss all the ingredients except the peanut butter in a food processor and blend until it's smooth and the oats are ground. Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish. Microwave the peanut butter for 30 seconds. Spoon the melted PB onto the batter and swirl with a knife to make some pretty patterns.
  3. Bake about 20 minutes or until the edges of the brownie start to pull away from the pan. The batter will start out a little runnier than you might associate with a brownie batter, and it will still be quite moist in the middle when it's done, so the edges-pulling-away gauge is better than the toothpick-inserted-in-the-centre gauge of done-ness.
  4. Enjoy!
Adapted from Sally's Baking Addiction
Purple House Café https://www.purplehousecafe.com/

Granola Bars: A healthy, homemade snack

In my continued quest to eat less processed food, I started making our snacks from scratch.  These granola bars are really quick to make, and usually last us through the week (well, after the initial finger-scooping of warm, gooey oat clumps fresh out of the oven).

Granola Bars | www.purplehousecafe.com

Here’s what you need:

2 cups oats

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup honey

1 egg

1 cup (or so) of your choice of dried fruit, nuts, or chocolate.  I highly recommend the chocolate.

Granola Bars | www.purplehousecafe.com

Mix all ingredients and press into greased 11 x 13 pan. Bake at 325F for 20 minutes or until edges are browned. Take out and let cool entirely. Cut into bars for snacking.

Granola Bars | www.purplehousecafe.com

Candied ginger is an EXCELLENT choice in granola bars!

Granola Bars | www.purplehousecafe.com

Recipe adapted from Super Healthy Kids http://www.superhealthykids.com/

Matcha Macaroons…and a bloggity blog day

Matcha Macaroons…and a bloggity blog day

Sorry I’ve been AWOL, everyone!  I’m sick sick sick…and still recovering today.  Thankfully, my typey fingers work and I remembered that I have a food blog (yesterday, if you’d asked me that question I might not have given an accurate answer…).

I’ve been wanting to tell you about this cool little bloggity blog day I had a couple weeks ago.  It was one of those days that made me feel like the universe was telling me I was doing the right things.

I had met up with my friend Amy from foodeverywhichway.com at David’s Tea.  While deciding on what brew to sip, I noticed some matcha powder for sale.

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A few months ago while browsing at a local craft sale, I had tasted (okay, greedily wolfed down without sharing) the most beautiful, unique cupcake I’d had in ages:  a yellow butter cake cupcake with matcha green tea icing.  I was determined to re-create its’ awesomeness.  I made a yellow butter cake, but itwasn’t as moist and rich as the cupcake I had eaten.  Next I had to try the icing.

I took the matcha powder up to the counter and asked about how one might use it in a buttercream recipe.  Well, turns out, David’s Tea (on Spring Garden Road) happens to have a resident expert in baking with tea.  He promptly informed me as to the appropriate quantity of matcha powder required, and then provided me with a couple other tea-baking recipes to try.

On the way home from my tea date with matcha powder in hand, I had decided to stop at Argyle Fine Art to pick up the “Musicians, Memories and Morsels” cookbook for my recent giveaway.  I was so excited about the whole thing that I mentioned to the person working at the gallery that I was giving away the book to readers of my food blog.  She thought that was so cool, and told me she had a food blog too:  Gateaux Rose.  This, my friends, was Crystal, the very creative and talented person behind the yellow butter cake/matcha buttercream cupcakes that I had been dreaming about for two months.  Beaming and gesticulating wildly, I pulled out my matcha powder and began rambling on about the incredible-ness of her cupcakes and how much I admired her artistic cake decorating abilities (you have to check out these cakes….they are works of art!), while also hinting that I would appreciate any tips she could provide on mastering the art of the yellow butter cake.

I left the gallery simply ecstatic about food and blogging and coincidences and the world (!) and everyone in it (!).  It was a good day.

So I wanted to share with you the recipe for the matcha macaroons.  I’m sure you can get matcha powder at lots of different places, but I picked up mine at David’s Tea.  I think next time I might use a little less matcha (maybe 3 tbsp.) – but if you love the taste of green tea, use the full amount (I would love to hear your feedback on this recipe!).  Also:  stay tuned for more matcha-involving baked goods!

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Here’s what you need:

2 cups sugar

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup milk

6 tbsp. cocoa powder

5 tbsp. matcha powder

5 cups rolled oats

1/2 cup sweetened coconut

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp salt

Here’s what you do:

Lay out several sheets of parchment paper.

Combine the sugar, butter, milk, cocoa powder and matcha powder in a pot and bring to a boil.  Once boiling, remove from the heat and add the remaining ingredients.

Using a spoon and some guidance from your fingers, dollop cookie-sized globs of the mixture onto the parchment paper.  Allow to set for a couple hours before indulging.

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Enjoy!

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Chocolate Mint Macarons

Chocolate Mint Macarons

I admit to being pretty intimidated by the prospect of making French macarons.  I’d heard some horror stories.  But sometimes, those challenges are just the sort of thing I like to take on in the kitchen.  Thus, macarons made it on to my Food Bucket List.

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Yes, I have a food bucket list.  It accompanies my general bucket list for life, but houses visions of lofty croquembouche, souffle that doesn’t deflate, and rabbit that is so delicious it doesn’t immediately invoke images of my childhood pet.

And so:  the macarons.  I had heard that Martha Stewart had a pretty no-fail recipe, so that’s what I went with here.  Unwilling to make just plain macarons for the sake of focusing on technique, I decided a little cocoa powder and mint extract would create a great flavour combination.  (p.s.:  I now have a growing list of possible macaron flavours…erring on the side of adventurous flavour profiles, shall we say.  Stay tuned for those…including recipes for the matcha macarons with vanilla buttercream and the cinnamon dusted vanilla macarons with chai buttercream that I made for a work “do” last week).  Also, I used a really great buttercream from my favourite food blog, Annie’s Eats.  It’s so light and fluffy and not too sweet!

These macarons worked out perfectly for me, albeit perhaps they look a little rustic, as I like to say.  Maybe not totally gorgeous, but really really delicious, light and crisp on the outside and a little chewy on the inside.  I hope you enjoy making these – they’re not as stressful as I thought they’d be!

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My “rustic” macaron

Here’s what you need:

For the macarons –

1 cup icing sugar

1/2 cup almond flour (I used ground almonds from Bulk Barn)

3 tbsp. cocoa powder

2 large egg whites, room temperature

Pinch of cream of tartar

1/4 cup sugar

For the buttercream filling –

See recipe here, and add a few drops of mint extract and green gel food colouring to achieve desired colour

Here’s what you do:

For the macarons – 

Place the icing sugar, ground almond and cocoa powder in a food processor and whiz until combined.  (the original recipe says you should now sift the mixture two times.  This is possibly where my rustic-ness came in:  I didn’t sift.  I’m dangerous like that).

Preheat the oven to 375F.  Whisk the whites with a stand mixer or electric beaters until foamy.  Add cream of tartar and whisk until soft peaks form.  Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the sugar (the regular kind, not the icing sugar).  Continue to whisk at high speed until stiff peaks form.  Add the icing sugar/almond flour mixture to the whites and fold together until the mixture is incorporated.

Transfer the macaron batter to a pastry bag fitted with a large tip and pipe rounds onto parchment-lined baking sheet (about 1″ apart).  Tap the bottom of the sheet on the counter to release trapped air.  Let the piped cookies stand at room temperature for 15 minutes, so that their surfaces begin to dry a little.  After the 15 minutes, reduce your oven temperature to 325F and bake, one sheet at a time and rotating halfway through, until the macarons are crisp and firm (about ten minutes).  After each batch, increase your oven temperature back to 375F, allow to re-heat for 5 minutes and reduce to 325F before putting the next batch in.

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The macarons drying out before baking

Post-baking

Post-baking

 

Let the macarons cool for a couple of minutes and then remove them from the parchment so they don’t stick.

Macaron recipe courtesy of Martha Stewart; Buttercream courtesy of Annie’s Eats