Tuesday, May 29, 2012
The warm weather and entering into strawberry season has me craving certain flavors. I'm always looking for good flavor pairings and when I think of strawberries, I think of the classic pairing of strawberry and rhubarb. And though I grew up eating strawberry rhubarb pie, I thought I'd modernize it by incorporating this classic flavor combination into a donut--and a sugar-free, gluten-free, vegan one at that!
As soon as I pulled the strawberry donuts out of the oven, I knew I would love them. But when I made the strawberry rhubarb glaze, I realized my tastes had changed. I've decided that rhubarb is a little too sour-bitter for me these days, but at least they were gobbled up by the friends to whom I gave them. Wanting to enjoy the donuts myself, I made a lemon glaze (this one contains sugar), which I enjoyed much better.
So, if you love rhubarb like some of my friends do and like I once did, you'll love the strawberry donuts with strawberry rhubarb glaze. And if not, the lemon is a perfectly lovely choice as well. Or just make both!
1 1/2 cups gluten-free all-purpose flour
1/2 cup almond flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup pure maple syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
1/3 cup almond milk (or other non-dairy milk)
1/2 cup hot water
1 cup strawberries, cut into small cubes
Strawberry rhubarb or lemon glaze (recipes follow)
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease 12 standard muffin tins.
In a medium bowl, stir together dry ingredients. In a small bowl, stir together the rest of the ingredients, except the strawberries. Stir wet ingredients into dry and continue stirring, just until no longer lumpy. Stir in the strawberries.
Divide the batter evenly between the 12 donut molds. Bake 10 minutes. Rotate pans 180 degrees. Bake 10-15 minutes more, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Remove from the oven cool before removing from the pans.
In the meantime, make one of the glazes:
Strawberry Rhubarb Glaze:
1/2 cup dates, chopped
1/2 cup strawberries, hulled and chopped
1/3 cup rhubarb, chopped
Place all ingredients in a small saucepan and cover with about 1/4 cup water. Set over high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and cool for 10 minutes. Place mixture in a food processor, and process to a smooth paste. Spoon over donuts.
juice and zest from 1 medium lemon
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons water
Whisk together all ingredients in a bowl until smooth. Spoon equally over donuts and let set before consuming.
Wednesday, May 23, 2012
Is there ever a recipe that you want so badly to make but never have any success with it? For me, it was french macarons.
The first time I tried to make macarons, I wasn't careful with how I folded in the egg whites (not surprising since I'm always in a rush). The macarons spread out all over the baking sheet and were completely unusable. The second time, I was a bit more careful. It was in vain: the same thing happened. I blamed the recipe and threw in the towel . . . for about a week.
I couldn't get those stubborn little cookies out of my head. I tried a new recipe and the dainty cookies were lovely when baked. I decided to fill them the next day and kept them in the oven so I didn't have to mess with them until then. Well, I decided to make a cake with a friend the next day and preheated the oven. In about 10 minutes, a smell overwhelmingly like burnt popcorn filled my kitchen. I glared at the oven, dreading what I'd find when I opened the oven. I found dark and crispy little macarons, burnt to a crisp awaiting me. And then that thing happened where you start laughing but you're actually crying, trying to keep it together because I wasn't alone. That was the end of my macaron baking . . . for the time being.
About a month after that, my friend, Becky, emailed me, asking if I'd ever made macarons. I regaled her with the tales of my failed macaron-making, but decided I would try one last time. I don't like to pass up a chance to bake with Becky.
So, we got together, and after a whole lot of recipe tweaking, measurement conversions (a good chance to practice the math you learned in elementary school and probably never use), and a quick trip to get a baking sheet we were lacking, Becky and I had made ourselves a beautiful and delicious batch of perfect pistachio macarons. And for that, I am eternally grateful.
So, the next time you just can't get a recipe right, keep on trying, preferably with a friend, until you're successful. Just remember that old saying: If at first you don't succeed, try, try, (try) again.
Pistachio and Raspberry Macarons
makes about 30-35 sandwich cookies
4 egg whites, aged overnight
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
a few drops green food coloring
1 cup fine granulated sugar (caster sugar)
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup almonds/almond flour
1/2 cup finely ground pistachios
1/2 recipe perfect buttercream frosting (or other frosting that is actually dairy-free)
6 oz fresh raspberries, lightly mashed
|Photo by Becky Rosenthal of The Vintage Mixer|
Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with silicone mats (preferable) or parchment paper laid over guides for sizing the cookies (you can find these online, I'm sure).
In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat aged egg whites and cream of tartar on medium speed until soft peals form. Slowly incorporate the sugar. Quickly mix in a few drops of green food coloring and mix until still peaks form.
In a separate bowl, stir together ground almonds, pistachios, and powdered sugar. Carefully fold in egg white mixture.
Place the mixture in a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2 inch round tip. Following the guide (see photo above), pipe circles onto the silicone mat or parchment paper laid over the guide. Let rest about 30 minutes, until the top of the macaron is dry. Remove guide before placing pans in the oven.
Bake macarons for about 15 minutes, until the macarons are set and have some nice feet on them. Cool before CAREFULLY removing from the baking sheet.
Make the buttercream frosting. Fold in slightly crushed raspberries. Spoon a bit of the frosting onto half of the cookies. Place the other half of the cookie on top. Then do a little happy dance because you've just made the most beautiful and delicious macarons you've ever had :)
Tuesday, May 15, 2012
Spring has hit Utah (although the 85 degree days have really felt more like Summer), meaning that the season for babies and weddings has arrived. And also the season for lighter fare, like these delicate little meringue cookies.
Last weekend, a few other women and myself threw a baby shower for our sweet friend, Amy, who is having a baby girl at the end of June. We gathered together a large handful of wonderful women to eat, drink, and celebrate Amy and the anticipation of her first child.
The huge spread of food was completely overwhelming and everything was completely delicious. One of the favorites was the orange vanilla meringue cookie. They're light and sweet with the subtle flavors of real orange and vanilla bean. These light cookies are perfect for the warm weather and even more perfect for a fun and girly occasion like a baby shower.
So even if you don't have new life to celebrate during this season, the warm weather and sunshine are enough reason to enjoy these delightful little cookies.
|Amy and her husband, Rory. Aren't they adorable?!?|
Makes about 2 dozen
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup liquid egg whites
1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 teaspoon fine salt
zest from 1/2 medium orange
Juice from 1/4 medium orange
Preheat oven to 200 degrees F. Line a rectangular baking sheet with parchment paper.
On a double boiler over a simmer, whisk together the sugar, egg whites, vanilla bean seeds and vanilla bean. Whisk continuously until the mixture reaches 120 degrees F. Remove the vanilla bean pod and transfer the mixture to a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Add the salt, cream of tartar, and orange zest.
Whip the mixture on medium speed until soft peaks form. Add the orange juice and a few drops of orange food coloring. Whip until the mixture is completely cooled and medium peaks form.
Transfer mixture to a pastry bag fitted with a large round tip. Pipe the meringue in circles (about the size of a half dollar) onto the parchment paper, about 1 inch apart.
Bake for 45 minutes. Turn off the oven and leave door slightly ajar until oven cools completely. Remove from oven and remove meringues from parchment paper.
Here are just a few more pictures from the party:
|Party favors: homemade mixed berry sauce!|
Congratulations, Amy and Rory. You're going to be wonderful parents!!
Thursday, May 3, 2012
Deciding to go to culinary school across the country from where you lived you whole life is stressful. Especially when you figure out how much you're about to be paying for that education of yours. So when you come across this situation, you need to get yourself a margarita.
During my initial trip to find an apartment and visit the school, my mom and I went to just about every recommended mexican restaurant in Salt Lake City. And after all of the meetings, lease-signings, and snow storms, I needed a margarita STAT. One mexican recipe passed with no alcohol served (this is Utah, after all), I kept it together ok. But after the second, I nearly lost it. So when we finally arrived at Red Iguana, I couldn't have needed a margarita more. And the cucumber margarita I found on the menu was just the thing. That drink was enough to relax me and convince me to move to Utah in spite of a trip that was not so fantastic (ok, there were a few other things)
And now every time I go back to Red Iguana for the delicious mole sauces, the cucumber margarita is still the drink I choose. I've done my best job to here to re-create it. And, to pat myself on he back real quick, I think I hit a home run. Happy Cinco de Mayo!
Makes 3 large or 6 small servings
1 cup silver tequila
1/2 cup light agave nectar
Juice from 4 large limes
2 cups ice1/3 medium cucumber
coarse salt for garnish, if desired
In a pitcher or cocktail shaker, stir together tequila, agave, and lime juice until fully combined. Stir in ice.
Chop most of the cucumber into small cubes and place about 1/2 dozen into each glass. Slice the rest of the cucumber into small slices with which to garnish the glasses. Muddle the cubed cucumber in the bottom of each glass (I used the back of a fork for this).
Run a leftover lime around the rim of each glass. Pour some coarse salt into a shallow dish and dip the glass into the salt to lightly coat the rim. Pour margaritas over cucumbers into glass. Garnish with sliced cucumbers, if desired.