28 May 2007

The Hamantaschen That Became Stars

Here's a 15-minute short film in three parts on my experience re-doing hamantaschen from the King Arthur Flour Cookie Companion. The dough didn't turn out to be pliable to fold into the traditional shapes, so I made cut cookies instead. Regardless, they were a huge hit.

Sorry to have had to cut them up into three clips, but at least there aren't any commercials!

23 May 2007

Delightfully Hearty Handfuls

These muffins are super hearty and heart-healthy. Uber-fiber-icious. Ok, they're pretty darn tasty, too. Best of all, they fit in the palm of your hand, so they're good to take camping, hiking and biking for quick energy.

For this recipe, I had a field day with a muffin recipe in "The Baker's Catalogue." My version is almost nothing like the original, with the exception of three ingredients: whole wheat flour, rolled oats and baking powder.

In my altered version, I used cashew butter in place of the butter or oil. I also used rice milk instead of cow's milk, agave for sugar, and loads more spices and add-ins.

If you decide to make these yourself, just know that they don't make big muffins at all. They're pretty dense, but very tasty.

Makes 12 handful-sized muffins.


2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup agave nectar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon alspice
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon vanilla paste
1/2 cup chopped dried apricots
1/2 cup chopped dried pears
1 cup unsweetened carob chips
1 cup rice milk
1/2 cup cashew butter
3 large eggs


1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly grease a 12-cup muffin pan.
2. Sift together all the dry ingredients except the rolled oats and the dried fruit. Mix in the rolled oats and the dried fruit.
3. In another bowl beat the eggs with the agave nectar, rice milk and cashew butter until smooth.
4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix until incorporated. Let sit covered for 10 minutes before spooning into the muffin pan.
5. Bake for approximately 15 minutes, turning the pan after 10 minutes.
6. Let cool in the pan for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely before storing or enjoying!

20 May 2007

Product Review: Fruit-sweetened Ginger and Orange Marmalade

In the recipe for Hamantaschen below, I made two different fillings using fruit-sweetened spreads. This was not one of them. Not because it isn't tasty, because it is. I just didn't want to make a gingery filling for the hammys.

Now, on to the product review.

First, a little of this Ginger and Orange Marmalade goes a long way. I've never really been a fan of marmalade, except for a lemon marmalade I've used in chocolate fillings. But, this spread has convereted me. It's sweetened with the typical fruit juices, but the primary flavors are definitively orange and ginger. There are thin slices of orange rind, as you would find in most marmalades, but interestingly, they bite back like they've been marinated in ginger.

If I were to cook pork, which I don't, but I know some of you do, I would use this spread in a marinade for pork chops. I think it would be fantastic.

When I baked the hammys below, I had a bit of extra dough leftover. With the excess dough, I made simple cut-out cookies that I topped with the marmalade to a very tasty result. I also used miniature tart pans, lined with the cookie dough and filled with the marmalade. Those were delicious as well.

So, to rank this product on a scale of 1-10, I would give it a very high 9. Why not 10? The price! Bottles of St. Dalfour aren't cheap, but in the case of their Ginger and Orange Marmalade, it's worth the investment, especially if you have to avoid sugar-sweetened jams and preserves.

15 May 2007

Moosey Hamantaschen

I've written and tested hamantaschen recipes before, but had yet to achieve the buttery crispness found in the bakery cookies I ate in my youth. That is, until I tried altering the Sundays at Moosewood Restaurant hamantaschen recipe for agave nectar.

The cookies shown above are the result of my efforts. I made these while cooking another recipe, so I didn't make one of my short films about the experience. However, I can tell you that I only used half the recipe and made about 24 tasty cookies.

My alterations to the recipe included 1/2 cup coconut flour for part of the all-purpose flour called, 1 cup of agave for the sugar, 2 teaspoons pineapple juice for the orange juice, and a completely different set of fillings.

For the fillings, I used a base of chopped dried tart cherries and dried apricots. I hydrated these and drained them, then pureed them. I divided the puree in half, then mixed each with a different fruit-sweetened mixed fruit spread, respectively. One was a peach spread, while the other was this amazing concoction from Trader Joe's with pomegranate in it.

Both were wonderful foils for the buttery cookie. However, I plan to try this recipe again, substituting more coconut flour for the ap flour and using a poppyseed filling. I've had a bag of Pensey's poppyseeds in my cabinet for a few months mocking me. So, it's time to use them.

Just a tip for creaming butter with agave, make sure that the butter's softened to almost mush. It incorporates much better that way, and even gets to a nice, fluffy consistency quite easily with the stand mixer.

12 May 2007

The Vegan Dulce de Leche Trials

Because this is a test recipe and not yet "proven," I'm not going to publish the ingredients and amounts. However, I can tell you that it's very close. Not bad for the very first try!

My friend Judie came by yesterday, and she (being game for trying most anything I concoct in the kitchen) gave it a go. Judie really liked it, even the burnt caramel end note. She ate spoonfuls of the stuff straight. She also proposed making a sandwich of the dulce de leche with cashew butter. My reply was "Anything tastes better with cashew butter," which got me to thinking...

09 May 2007

Experimental Dulce de Leche

This is just a quick update to let you know that I've been noodling around with a new recipe for vegan, agave nectar-based dulce de leche. The first try was very close. I made a short movie about it that I'm editing and will post soon.

Making dulce de leche from scratch is extremely time consuming, especially if you don't use sweetened condensed milk. Same goes for rice milk, which is the base of my recipe.

All this tinkering in the kitchen makes me wish I studied harder during high school chemistry.

04 May 2007

Coconut Apricot Almond Biscotti

The name is a bit of a misnomer since these cookies are much more apricotty and almondy than coconutty. And, feel free to change the name if you make this version your own. I've altered this recipe before on my other blog, Here and There, but this is a very different take on it. Instead of adding carob powder to offset the liquid sweetener, I've added coconut flour. Additionally, the dried apricots lend the cookies a great tartness to offset the richness of the almonds.

I've never worked with coconut flour before, but I definitely will again. It smells fantastic, is very low in fat, and is very high in fiber. What could be bad? Also, it really sucks up the liquid in a recipe, so I could actually replace flour with it instead of adding to a recipe. It might just be my answer to how to tackle the sugar cookie issue.

I've made a little film of how I made the biscotti. Please let me know what you think. The recipe follows the film, although in the film, I use one egg. I've corrected for dryness by adding the second egg back in the recipe below.

Yields at least 30 cookies, depending on how thickly you slice them.


1 1/2 cups toasted almonds coarsely chopped
3/4 cup agave nectar
2 cups self-rising flour
1/2 cup coconut flour
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla paste
4 tablespoons vanilla rice milk (you could use regular, soy or almond milk here as well)
1/2 cup dried apricots chopped


1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
2. In a food processor, grind 1/2 cup of the almonds and the agave nectar until it resembles a wet paste.
3. Add the paste to the bowl of your mixer and beat in the flours until combined well.
4. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix until a dough forms.
5. Add the rice milk and mix until the dough loosens (about 2 minutes).
6. Add the remaining almonds and the apricots and stir until incorporated.
7. Halve the dough and on a flat surface, roll each piece into a log at least 10 in. long and about 2 in. in diameter. Pat down the logs a bit so they're oblong rather than round.
8. Bake until golden brown and set, approximately 27 minutes. Place the pan on a rack to cool for 10 minutes.
9. Move the logs to a cutting surface and slice each into 1/2 in. to 1 in. pieces, depending on your preference.
10. Place the slices cut side down on the pan and bake for another 10 minutes.
11. Take the pan out of the oven and turn over the biscotti before putting the pan back into the oven to bake for another 10 minutes.
12. Cool completely on the pan, on a rack.
13. Enjoy the biscotti by themselves, or in my favorite way, by dunking them into a cold or hot drink.