Adaptable Recipes, Dessert, Makeover Monday Meals

Makeover Monday Meals- Who Needs A Cookie Edition

Cowboy Cookies

 

After a long day of meetings, phone calls, IT issues, mass transit delays, and traffic, sometimes you just need a cookie. Whether large or small, you can’t stay mad when you have cookies.

Cowboy cookies seem to be a fusion combination of chocolate chip cookies, oatmeal cookies, coconut macaroons, and pecan Sandies with a hint of cinnamon.

This cowboy cookie recipe came to prominence courtesy of Family Circle magazine’s First Lady’s Cookie Contest. Laura Bush’s Cowboy Cookie recipe bested Tipper Gore’s Gingersnaps in 2000, and it remains one of the most popular recipes. In any case, if you’re a fan of chocolate chips, oatmeal, coconut, and pecans, this cookie is for you.

 

This particular recipe comes from the Baker By Nature Blog and highlights melted brown butter to add a little extra nuttiness to the cookies. These cookies are also pretty easy to make for the perfect Monday post-work detox.

Cowboy Cookies by Baker By Nature adapted by Still A Chick Lit

1/2 cup unsalted butter melted until browned. (vegan unsalted butter)
1/2 light brown sugar, packed (Swerve brown sugar substitute, organic light brown sugar, vegan light brown sugar)
1/4 cup (99 grams) granulated sugar (Swerve sweetener, Splenda granulated, monk fruit sweetener granulated, golden sugar, coconut, raw cane, or turbinado sugar, pulsed finely)
1 large egg at room temperature (3 tablespoons Aquafaba, ¼ cup silken tofu pureed with 1/8 teaspoon baking soda, vegan egg replacer, or liquid vegan egg replacer= 1 egg)

1/2 large egg yolk at room temperature (1 tablespoon of whisked egg yolk) ( ½ tablespoon Aquafaba, ½ tablespoon chickpea flour plus ½ tablespoon cold water, mix well, or ½ tablespoon full-fat coconut milk)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 and 1/3 cups (270 grams) all-purpose flour (gluten-free all-purpose flour, 1 to 1 gluten-free baking blend, sorghum, white rice, or brown rice flour. If the flour blend doesn’t contain a binder add ¾ teaspoon xanthan gum)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (178 grams) of old-fashioned oats (not steel-cut or quick oats)
3/8 cup (60 grams) sweetened flaked coconut
1/4 cup (64 grams) pecans, roughly chopped plus more for decorating
6 ounces (340 grams) of semi-sweet chocolate chips (vegan semi-sweet chocolate chips)
1/2 teaspoon flaky sea salt optional

Instructions

 

Preheat the oven to 350 (F). Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.

In a large bowl using a whisk, beat together the browned butter and both sugars until well combined, about 2 minutes. Don’t worry if they look a little separated here.

Whisk in the eggs and yolk, beating until well combined. About 45 seconds. Whisk in the vanilla.

In a separate large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, oats, coconut, pecans, and chocolate chips.

Fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, mixing just until combined.

Scoop 2-inch balls of cookie dough onto the prepared baking sheets, leaving 2-inches between each ball so they have room to spread.

Bake, one sheet at a time, in preheated oven for 12 minutes, or until cookies are golden and set at the edges, and still slightly soft in the center.

Press extra chocolate chips and pecans on top of cookies when they come out of the oven (optional). Sprinkle with sea salt, if desired.

 

Notes

  • Let the dough rest for about 5-10 minutes to give the flour an opportunity to hydrate. This is an optional step but helps to ensure a tender crumb.
  • Do not overbake
  • It’s important to let the cookies cool on the baking sheet to allow for carry-over baking.

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Adaptable Recipes, Breakfast, Food Glorious Food

Bonus Recipe- Apple Cider Donuts

 

 

The arrival of fall brings cooler temperatures, vibrant foliage, and apples. Many people take their children to farms to enjoy hayrides, pumpkin patch, and apple picking.  I with apple picking at Blue Orchard in Connecticut where they had an abundance of apple varieties ranging from Cortlandt, Gala, McIntosh, and Empire to name a few.  We also picked up a half-gallon of their sweet apple cider.

While apple pie remains supreme, apple cider donuts are a close second. Many visitors to Blue Orchard left with their cider donuts.  When it’s spiced right, an apple cider donut is perfect with a cup of tea or coffee. I’d seen the recipe for baked apple cider donuts in the New York Times Food Section and decided to give it a try.  If you don’t have a donut pan, it’s a worthwhile investment and can easily become a weekend or holiday breakfast tradition.

Still A Chick Lit has adapted the recipe for:

  • Vegetarians/Vegans
  • Gluten Sensitivities-Celiac Disease
  • Low and No Sugar Diets

Apple Cider Donuts by New York Times adapted by Still A Chick Lit

 

INGREDIENTS

Nonstick cooking spray

1 ¾ cup/225 grams all-purpose flour (gluten-free all-purpose flour, 1 to 1 gluten-free baking blend, white rice, brown rice, or sorghum flour)

1 ¼ teaspoon baking powder

¾ teaspoon fine sea salt

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1 cup/225 grams unsalted butter (2 sticks), at room temperature (unsalted vegan butter)

¾ cup/165 grams light brown sugar (Swerve brown sugar substitute, organic light brown sugar)

¾ cup/150 grams granulated sugar (Swerve sweetener, Splenda granulated, monk fruit granulated sweetener, raw cane, turbinado, or coconut sugar)

2 large eggs, at room temperature ( ¼ Aquafaba, ½ cup silken tofu pureed with ¼ teaspoon baking soda, 2 flaxseed or chia seed eggs, vegan egg substitute such as Bob’s Red Mill or Just Eggs, which is made with mung beans)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

½ cup/120 milliliters apple cider

 

PREPARATION

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease 2 (6-cavity) doughnut pans (or 12-cup muffin tin) with nonstick spray. In a medium bowl, add flour, baking powder, salt, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and nutmeg and whisk to combine. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream 10 tablespoons/140 grams butter, brown sugar, and 1/4 cup/50 grams granulated sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time and mix until well incorporated after each addition, scraping the bowl as necessary. Beat in the vanilla extract.

Add the flour mixture and mix at low speed until incorporated. With the mixer running, add the apple cider in a slow, steady stream and mix to combine. Scrape the bowl well to make sure the batter is homogeneous.

Spoon the batter into prepared doughnut pans, filling them about 2/3 of the way. (You can also do this using a disposable piping bag or a resealable plastic bag with a 1/2-inch opening cut from one corner.) Bake until evenly golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of the thickest portion comes out clean, 12 to 15 minutes. Rotate the pans halfway through baking. (If you are making muffins, divide batter evenly between the prepared cups and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, rotating halfway through.)

While the doughnuts bake, whisk the remaining 1/2 cup/100 grams granulated sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon together in a small bowl to combine. In a separate small bowl, melt the remaining 6 tablespoons of butter in the microwave. Let the doughnuts cool for 5 minutes after baking, then unmold them from the pans, brush with the melted butter and dredge them in the cinnamon sugar while they are still warm. Serve immediately, or let cool to room temperature.

 

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Adaptable Recipes, Breakfast, Makeover Monday Meals

Makeover Monday Meal- Breakfast Edition

 

 

 

 

 

The aroma of cinnamon rolls wafting through the air is enough to wake even Rip Van Winkle from the deepest slumber. It’s also quite tempting in malls and rest stops in the form of Cinnabon.  Their cinnamon rolls lure countless people to their kiosks and storefronts everywhere. The combination of the light fluffy consistency of the roll, the spicy sweetness of the cinnamon, and the sweet icing, is irresistible.

For many, making cinnamon rolls is a holiday morning treat to enjoy when everyone is at home and happily lounging in their pajamas. However, this recipe can be made the night before. All you need to do is allow it to rise for an hour while you get on with your morning, then bake them for about twenty-five minutes, and you are golden.

This is a great recipe to get your day and week off to a sweet start.

 

This recipe is by Natasha’s Kitchen and we’ve adapted it for:

  • Vegan/Vegetarian
  • Gluten-Sensitivities- Celiac
  • Low-Sugar

 

 

Overnight Cinnamon Rolls Recipe by Natasha’s Kitchen adapted by Still A Chick Lit

Prep Time: 2 hours 30 minutes

 

Cook Time: 23 minutes

 

Total Time: 2 hours 53 minutes

 

1 cup warm milk (98 to 110-degrees) ((dairy: whole, 2 %, or fat-free milk) (non-dairy: almond, rice, soy, or light coconut milk)

1/2 Tbsp active dry yeast (not quick rise)

4 Tbsp granulated sugar divided (Swerve sweetener, Splenda granulated, monk fruit sweetener granulated, coconut, raw cane, or turbinado sugar, pulsed fine)

3 cups all-purpose flour  divided* (plus 2 to 4 Tbsp) (gluten-free all-purpose flour, 1 to 1 gluten-free baking blend, sweet rice, brown rice, or sorghum flour)

1 large egg room temp (egg substitute) (2 tablespoons Aquafaba, ¼ cup silken tofu pureed with 1/8 teaspoon baking soda,1 flaxseed or chia seed egg, or vegan egg replacer)

2 Tbsp unsalted butter melted divided (unsalted vegan butter)

1/2 tsp salt

For the Cinnamon Roll Filling:

7 Tbsp unsalted butter softened, divided (vegan unsalted butter)

1/4 cup granulated sugar (Swerve sweetener, Splenda granulated, monk fruit sweetener granulated, coconut, raw cane, or turbinado sugar, pulsed fine)

1 Tbsp ground cinnamon

For the Cream Cheese Icing:

4 Tbsp unsalted butter softened (vegan unsalted butter)

4 oz cream cheese softened (dairy: light cream cheese, Neufchatel ) (non-dairy: vegan cream cheese)

1/2 Tbsp vanilla

1 cup confectioners powdered sugar (Swerve confectioner’s sugar substitute, organic confectioner’s sugar)

Instructions

How to Make Overnight Cinnamon Rolls:

In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, add 1 cup warm milk and sprinkle with 1/2 Tbsp yeast. Let sit uncovered for 7 minutes at room temp. Add 1/2 cup flour, 2 Tbsp sugar and whisk until blended. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature for 35-45 min (or in a 100˚ oven** for 25 min). It will look puffy.

Whisk in 1 egg, remaining 2 Tbsp sugar, 1 Tbsp melted butter, and 1/2 tsp salt.

Using the dough hook on speed 2, add the remaining 2 1/2 cups flour (1/2 cup at a time) letting it blend with each addition. Add more flour 1 Tbsp at a time just until dough is no longer sticking to fingertips or the walls of the bowl as it mixes then knead/mix for 10 min. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise at room temp 2 hours (or in a 100˚ oven for 1 hr). The dough should double in size.

Generously dust flour over a clean work surface and place dough in the center. Sprinkle dough with flour (just enough to keep the rolling pin from sticking) and roll into an even 17″x10″ rectangle. Dot the top of the dough with 6 Tbsp softened butter and spread it out gently with a spatula.

Stir together 1/4 cup sugar and 1 Tbsp cinnamon and sprinkle ALL OF IT evenly over buttered dough. Roll the dough up starting with one of the longer sides, keeping a tight roll. Once it’s rolled up, push ends in slightly to make them a little more uniform then slice into 12 equal-sized cinnamon rolls.***

Butter sides and bottom of a 9×13 baking pan with 1 Tbsp butter and evenly space cinnamon rolls in pan, cut-side down. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight (up to 18 hours). The following day, remove from refrigerator and keeping them covered, let cinnamon rolls rise at room temp 1 to 1 1/2 hours (or in a 100˚F oven for 35 min) or until puffy.

Brush tops with 1 Tbsp melted butter and bake at 350˚F for 22-24 mins or until tops are light golden brown. Let cool in pan 15 minutes then frost warm buns generously with the cream cheese glaze (instructions below).

How to Make Cream Cheese Icing:

Using an electric mixer, cream together 4 Tbsp softened butter, 4 oz soft cream cheese, and beat on medium speed until creamy and smooth. Beat in 1/2 Tbsp vanilla then add 1 cup powdered sugar and continue mixing until fluffy (3-4 min), scraping down the bowl as needed.

 

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For More Recipes by Natasha

 

https://natashaskitchen.com/

 

 

Adaptable Recipes, Food Glorious Food, Makeover Monday Meals

Makeover Monday Meal-Holiday Weekend Edition

 

Labor Day is the unofficial end of summer. The kids are back in school. Fall is on the horizon. One of the things I love best about the fall is putting the oven on once again. After ditching it in favor of no-bake desserts and dinner on the grill, it’s nice to have the aroma of something delicious in the oven wafting through the house.

It was Google’s baking and cooking feed that led to finding this wonderful recipe for a perfect morning treat. 31 Daily, is a blog by Stephanie from Puget Sound is an author, publisher, and former television news writer and producer.  She describes this recipe as divine and she’s 100% correct. This donut is lovely and the perfect way to begin your morning or you can save it for your afternoon snack. The recipe is straightforward and since it’s baked and not deep-fried, it seems a little less guilty. The only special equipment needed is a donut pan to bake them.

To make sure as many of you can enjoy this, we have adapted the recipe for:

  • Vegan/Vegetarian
  • Gluten sensitivities or Celiac disease
  • Low Sugar

We hope you enjoy this recipe and make it this holiday weekend and many more weekday mornings. Enjoy in good health,

Double Chocolate Glazed Donuts recipe by 31 Daily adapted by Still A Chick Lit

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour (gluten-free all-purpose flour, 1 to 1 gluten-free baking blend flour, sorghum, sweet rice, brown rice flour)
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon instant espresso powder
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips (vegan chocolate chips)
  • 1 large egg (2 tablespoons Aquafaba, 1/4 cup silken tofu pureed with 1/8 teaspoon baking soda, 1 flaxseed or chia seed egg, or vegan egg replacer)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar (Swerve brown sugar substitute, organic brown sugar, turbinado sugar)
  • 1/3 cup milk (dairy: whole, 2%, fat-free) (non-dairy almond, rice, soy, or light coconut milk)
  • 1/4 cup sour cream (dairy: light sour cream, plain yogurt, plain Greek yogurt, whole milk or low-fat, do not use fat-free) (non-dairy: almond or coconut yogurt, vegan sour cream)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted (unsalted vegan butter)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon vinegar

CHOCOLATE GLAZE

  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 3 tablespoons cream or milk (dairy light cream whipping cream) (non-dairy coconut or almond milk)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (vegan butter)

 

  • If you would like to add more fiber use 2/3 cup all-purpose flour and 1/3 cup white whole wheat flour
  • If you don’t have instant espresso, you can use regular instant coffee or 1 teaspoon of strong brewed coffee
  • If using turbinado sugar, pulse it in a food processor a couple of times to give it a finer texture. Turbinado sugar can have more of a rock candy type of consistency.

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a donut pan with oil or butter; set aside.
  2. Make the donuts: In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt, espresso powder, and chocolate chips. Set aside.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg with brown sugar until well mixed. Add the milk, sour cream, melted butter, vanilla, and vinegar; whisk to combine.
  4. Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture and stir until just combined. The batter will be thick. Using a spatula transfer the batter to a piping bag or zip-top plastic bag. If you don’t have either, a spoon will do just fine! Cut off the tip of the piping bag or plastic bag and fill donut cavities with batter until 3/4 full.
  5. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the donuts comes out clean. Let the donuts cool in the pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
  6. Make the chocolate glaze: Microwave the chocolate, cream, and butter in 30-second intervals, stirring in between until melted. Or use a double boiler and melt the chocolate, stirring until smooth. Once the donuts are completely cool (this only takes a few minutes), dip the tops of the donuts into the chocolate glaze and place them on a rack to set. While the chocolate is still wet, add sprinkles or other decorations to the top.

 

TO STORE:

The donuts are best on the day they are made. If you have any leftovers, store them in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

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For more about 31 Daily visit

https://www.31daily.com/

Adaptable Recipes, Makeover Monday Meals

Makeover Monday Meal- Breakfast Edition

It’s hard to believe that August is here. The summertime seems to be flying by much to the dismay of schoolchildren as it will be back to school time soon. There are a number of channels that are devoted to cooking. I recently discovered Recipe TV, and Irish chef, Catherine Fulvio.

Filmed in County Wicklow Ireland, Catherine’s Ballyknocken Cookery School and Bed and Breakfast looks like a slice of heaven straight out of a Hallmark Movie. The surrounding land is lush, green, and full of life and color.  A Taste of Ireland and Catherine’s Farmhouse Kitchen serves up recipes with warmth, charm, and care.  Catherine is a joy to watch, and it’s extra special when she includes her lovely daughter, Charlotte, as well as the many wonderful residents in town.

There’s a recipe that would make for a lovely morning treat for moms and dads alike, whether you’re a coffee or tea lover. The resulting tea cake is perfect to add a little zen to your day. I have yet to perfect making her family recipe for Barm Brack, but I plan to have a tasty time trying, I hope you do too.

I have included the following recipe adaptations in parenthesis for the following dietary requirements:

  • Gluten-free
  • Sugar-free
  • Low-Sugar
  • Vegan and Vegetarian

If you don’t get Recipe TV in your area, we’ve including the links to Catherine’s Blog and website.

 

Barm Brack recipe by Catherine Fulvio

1 square cake

350ml / 12fl oz cold Irish breakfast tea (1 ½ cups)
540g / 19 ounces/ about 2 cups raisins (golden raisins)
275g / 9 1/2 ounces 1 ¼ cups sugar (Swerve sweetener, Splenda granulated, monk fruit sweetener, coconut, turbinado, or raw can sugar, pulsed fine)
275g / 9½ oz unsalted butter (2 sticks plus 2 tablespoons) (vegan butter)
400g / 14 oz about 1 1/2 cups* self-rising flour (gluten-free recipe self-rising flour follows)
1 tsp mixed spice (I used cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamom)

3 to 4 beaten eggs (1/2 cup Aquafaba, ¾ cup silken tofu pureed with ½ teaspoon baking soda, vegan egg replacer, or egg replacer)
Chopped nuts and glacé cherries (optional)

Preheat the oven to 320°F /160°C/gas 4. Line a 9-inch square cake tin with greased parchment paper. Wrap trinkets such as coins and rings in parchment paper (as tightly and neatly as possible).
Place the tea, fruit, sugar, and butter in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Boil for 6 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
Sieve the flour and mixed spice into a large bowl.
When the boiled mixture has cooled, pour into the flour, and mix well. Add the beaten eggs and mix well again. Pour into the prepared cake tin. Push the wrapped trinkets into the cake mixture (i.e. below the surface, so there is no trace of them when the cake is cooked).
Bake for approximately 1½ hours.
Insert a skewer into the cake to check that it is cooked – if it comes out clean, the cake is ready.
Leave in the cake tin to cool for 20 minutes before removing it onto a cooling rack.

Notes

  • The measurements for the recipe are metric, if possible, weigh your ingredients. It’s the best way to ensure a good bake.
  • Also, adjust the baking time according to your oven.

This recipe is by the G-Free Foodie

Yield: 1 cup of gluten-free self-rising flour

https://gfreefoodie.com/

1 cup gluten-free all-purpose flour, or 1 to 1 gluten-free baking blend

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

1 tsp xanthan gum, only if your blend does not contain it

Instructions

Mix ingredients in a food processor or mixer for at least ten minutes.

Store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place. Or proceed with your recipe

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For more about the lovely Catherine Fulvio, visit the following links

 

https://catherinefulvio.com/blog/

 

 

https://ballyknocken.ie/

Adaptable Recipes, Food Glorious Food, Makeover Monday Meals

Makeover Monday Meal- Breakfast Edition

 

Breakfast is considered the most important meal of the day. So, instead of grabbing a fast-food breakfast sandwich, why not have a lightly sweet scone to enjoy with your tea or coffee instead.

These recipes come together fairly quickly and you can make the dough ahead of time and refrigerate it for up to two days. These recipes have been adapted for vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, and low sugar diets. The substitutions are in the parenthesis next to each ingredient.

A Taste of Ireland recipe for Irish scones adapted by Chamein Canton

Makes 7 large scones  and 10 small scones

(225gr / 2 cups) plain all-purpose flour (gluten-free all-purpose flour, 1 to 1 gluten-free baking blend, sorghum, white rice, or brown rice flour)

2 heaped teaspoons (2 ¾ US tsp) baking powder

Large pinch salt

1 US level tablespoon) castor sugar (Swerve sweetener, Splenda granulated, monk fruit sweetener granulated, coconut, turbinado, or raw cane sugar, pulsed fine)

2oz (50gr / ½ a stick of butter) chilled unsalted butter (vegan butter)

(280ml / 2 fl. oz / ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons US cups) milk approximately” (dairy: whole, 2$) (non-dairy almond, rice, soy, or light coconut milk)

Beaten egg & sugar to glaze (2 tablespoons Aquafaba or 1 tablespoon soy lecithin)

Preheat the oven to Gas 8 / 450F / 230C

Sift all the dry ingredients together. Rub in the chilled butter until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Make a well in the center and add most of the milk. Mix to a soft dough adding all of the milk if required.
Turn out onto a floured surface and knead lightly. Roll out to about 1 inch (2 ½ cm) thickness. Dip the cutter into flour and cut the dough into rounds of 1 ½ inch (4cm).
Place scones on a floured baking tray, glaze with the beaten egg, and put immediately into the hot oven. In 15 minutes approximately, the scones should have risen and had a golden top. Enjoy with Irish butter and homemade jam!

  • The amount of milk added is determined by where you live and your house. If you’re in a drier area, you may need to add more milk so the dough begins to come together. Be sure not to overwork the dough. If you live in a humid climate, it may take less milk. Use your judgment.

Mini Chocolate Chip scones by Sugar Spun Run adapted by Chamein

2 cups all-purpose flour (465g) gluten-free all-purpose flour, 1 to 1 gluten-free baking blend, sorghum, white rice, or brown rice flour)

1/4 cup granulated sugar (100g) (Swerve sweetener, Splenda granulated, monk fruit granulated sweetener, golden sugar, coconut, turbinado, or raw cane sugar pulsed finely)
2 teaspoon baking powder (18g)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup very cold unsalted butter frozen is better (226g) (vegan unsalted butter)
1/2 cup heavy cream (237ml) (full-fat coconut milk or 3 tablespoons almond milk with 2 tablespoons melted unsalted vegan butter, cooled. With a stand or hand mixer, mix the butter into the almond milk, then add )
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Glaze
1/2 -1 ½ cups powdered sugar (110g+) (Swerve confectioner’s sugar substitute, organic or vegan confectioner’s sugar)
1 Tablespoon milk (30ml) (dairy: whole, 2%, fat-free) (non-dairy: almond, rice, soy, or light coconut milk)
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract optional

Instructions

Preheat oven to 375 F (190C) and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.

Thoroughly cut in butter (I prefer to freeze the butter, grate it using a box grater, and then cut it in that way. This method yields the flakiest scones, but is not mandatory — you can use cold butter cut in with a pastry cutter).

Measure out the heavy cream in a measuring cup and add vanilla extract. Stir gently.

Carefully stir heavy cream/vanilla mixture into flour mixture. You do not want to over-mix, but due to the number of dry ingredients, it may be tricky to well incorporate the liquid and the dry mixes. You may briefly use a KitchenAid or electric mixer on a low setting to help coax the dough to cling together.

Once the dough is beginning to cling together, add chocolate chips, stir briefly, and then transfer to a very lightly floured surface

lightly knead the dough and chocolate chips together until you are able to form a ball.

Break the dough into 4 even pieces and round each one out into a disk about 5″ wide.

Cut each into 8 wedges and transfer to cookie sheet.

Bake at 375F (190C) for 14-16 minutes.

While the scones cool, prepare your glaze by whisking together milk, vanilla extract, and powdered sugar. Start with 1 cup powdered sugar, and if it still seems too runny you may increase the sugar amount.

Once scones are cooled, dip, drizzle, or spoon the glaze lightly over the top of each scone. Allow it to sit and harden before serving.

 

To learn more about Irish Cooking check out A Taste of Ireland on Recipe TV

https://recipe.tv/

Food Glorious Food

Thursday Treat- Cannoli

Crisp, sweet and delicious homemade cannoli

There is a lot of talk about the generations. The Greatest Generation, Silent Generation, Boomers, Gen-X, Xennials, Millennials, Gen-Z, and the Alpha generations. There’s a vast difference in terms of what it meant to grow up in each, but all the generations have a lot in common.

However, there are some things that have changed drastically, and that has to do with bakeries. The generations born before the 1990s have a unique perspective when it comes to hometown bakeries. We had several fantastic bakeries where I grew up on Long Island. There was a German bakery that specialized in strudel and black forest cakes, a French bakery with baguettes, eclairs, Napoleons, and petit fours, then there was an Italian bakery with an amazing assortment of sesame cookies, biscotti, ricotta cookies, and Florentine lace cookies. One of my favorites was cannoli. A simple crisp cookie filled with luscious ricotta. Whether it was dipped in chocolate chips or not, it was always a perfect bite.

Many of the old bakeries are gone now. Those that are still around have changed owners, and much of what tasted so good, doesn’t taste the same anymore. It’s still good, but not as good as I remember,

Since being in the kitchen is a part of my creative process when I write, I enjoy tackling recipes that stretch my baking chops. It’s taken me some time to perfect my cannoli making, and now I am sharing it here thanks to the website Delish.

Their recipe was straightforward and if you have the opportunity to make it for your family, you won’t regret it. All you need is the molds which can be found at Michaels Craft store, Walmart, or you can order them online. They come in a variety of sizes.

This recipe has been adapted for the following dietary requirements:

  • Vegetarian/Vegan
  • Gluten-Free
  • Low Sugar

I’ve included a recipe to help make vegan ricotta by the Plant Based School

Homemade Cannoli

INGREDIENTS

FOR THE FILLING:

1 (16-oz.) container ricotta xc (Vegan tofu ricotta) * If you can’t find it, a recipe is below

1/2 cup mascarpone cheese (vegan cream cheese)

1/2 cup powdered sugar, divided (Swerve confectioner’s sugar substitute, organic confectioner’s sugar)

3/4 cup heavy cream (full-fat coconut milk or almond milk)

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

1 tsp. orange zest

1/4 tsp. kosher salt

1/2 cup mini chocolate chips, for garnish 

FOR THE SHELLS:

2 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for surface (gluten-free all-purpose flour, 1 to 1  gluten-free baking blend, sorghum, white rice, or brown rice flour)

1/4 cup granulated sugar (Swerve sweetener, Splenda granulated, monk fruit sweetener granulated, raw cane, coconut, or turbinado sugar, pulsed fine)

1 tsp. kosher salt

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

4 tbsp. cold butter, cut into cubes (vegan butter)

6 tbsp. white wine

1 large egg (2 tablespoons Aquafaba, ¼ cup silken tofu pureed with 1/8 teaspoon baking soda, 1 flaxseed or chia seed egg, vegan egg replacer)

1 egg white, for brushing (3 tablespoons Aquafaba, 1 tablespoon soy lecithin)

Vegetable oil, for frying 

DIRECTIONS

MAKE FILLING:

 Drain ricotta by placing it a fine mesh strainer set over a large bowl. Let drain in refrigerator for at least an hour and up to overnight. 

In a large bowl using a hand mixer, beat heavy cream and 1/4 cup powdered sugar until stiff peaks form. 

In another large bowl, combine ricotta, mascarpone, remaining 1/4 cup powdered sugar, vanilla, orange zest, and salt. Fold in whipped cream. Refrigerate until ready to fill cannoli, at least 1 hour.

MAKE SHELLS:

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, salt, and cinnamon. Cut butter into flour mixture with your hands or pastry cutter until pea-sized. Add wine and egg and mix until a dough forms. Knead a few times in bowl to help dough come together. Pat into a flat circle, then wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour and up to overnight. 

On a lightly floured surface, divide dough in half. Roll one half out to ⅛” thick. Use a 4” circle cookie cutter to cut out dough. Repeat with remaining dough. Re-roll scraps to cut a few extra circles. 

Wrap dough around cannoli molds and brush egg whites where the dough will meet to seal together. 

FOR FRYING:

In a large pot over medium heat, heat about 2″ of oil to 360°. Working in batches, add cannoli molds to oil and fry, turning occasionally, until golden, about 4 minutes. Remove from oil and place on a paper towel-lined plate. Let cool slightly. 

When cool enough to handle or using a kitchen towel to hold, gently twist shells off of molds to remove. 

Place filling in a pastry bag fitted with an open star tip. Pipe filling into shells, then dip ends in mini chocolate chips. 

FOR AIR FRYER:

Working in batches, place molds in basket of air fryer and cook at 350° for 12 minutes, or until golden. 

When cool enough to handle or using a kitchen towel to hold, gently remove twist shells off of molds. 

Place filling in a pastry bag fitted with an open star tip. Pipe filling into shells, then dip ends in mini chocolate chips. 

Notes

From The Plant Based School – this ricotta is good for both sweet and savory dishes

Unflavored and unsweetened Soy milk:  4 cups

2 ½ tablespoons of apple cider or

4 tablespoons of lemon juice
First, bring the soy milk to a boil then immediately transfer it to a bowl and quickly add the vinegar or lemon juice. Stir with a spoon for 1 minute and you will see the milk begin to curdle. Now wait for 10 minutes.

In the meantime, place a strainer over a large bowl/pot, then cover it with a piece of cheese cloth or a clean kitchen towel, but one that doesn’t taste like detergent.

After the 10 minutes, pour the curdled soy milk into the strainer, wrap it in the cheese cloth, put a weight on top and let it drain for at least 1 hour. Makes approximately 2 cups of ricotta

I put a bowl full of water over the milk to drain to add a little weight and get a nice firm ricotta within 30 minutes to 1 hour.

Once the milk has been drained the ricotta is ready to be used for both sweet (such as cannoli or pies) and savory (such as lasagna, ravioli, cannelloni) dishes. 

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Living Your Best Life North of Forty and Fifty Plus

Take A Deep Breath and Exhale, You’re Ready For Your Second Act

There was a time in life when being a teacher, postal worker, secretary, or any other occupation or job was enough. People put their time into a company, school, state or federal government agencies with the view towards retiring with a pension and in some cases, a gold watch.

This was the generational ideal for many years. It only began to crack when the Silent Generation gave way to Baby Boomers and post-war America. The fifties are seen as an idealized time portraying life with a mother, father, and children. Dad works and mom stays home to take care of the children and the house. People liked Ike and Pat Boone was an acceptable rock star. This staid atmosphere led to changing ideas of gender, family, and sexuality underwent. The idea of women being more than just a wife, mother, to complement a man took hold. Boomers ushered in a sense of freedom young women responded to. It opened the doors to male dominated careers.

Even though boomers are now in their sixties and seventies, the legacy of pushing the envelope and challenging the status quo is a part of Gen-X and still very much alive. Women over forty and fifty are changing careers or turning hobbies or side hustles into a full-blown business.

Changing lanes career-wise

Whether they’ve enjoyed a long career as a teacher, professor, engineer, architect, or lawyer, more women are changing careers to pursue long-held passions. You’ll find former lawyers and paralegals becoming writers or chefs. There are engineers and architects who decide to use their attention to detail to become pastry chefs, painters, or fashion designers. Some go back to school or intern to get educated for their career change. It may take time, but the bottom line is pursuing a passion is fulfilling and satisfying.

Feeding the Fires of the Entrepreneurial Spirit

Starting a business to do something you love ensures that you will never work a day in your life thereafter. It sounds corny but it’s true. Many women are using the skills someone else paid them for and are using them as the foundation to build an empire. Women over 50 are the top demographic worldwide who are starting businesses. So, you’re in good company.

Thinking about a career change? Here are some things you need to consider

  • If you know that you want to make a change, but aren’t sure what you want to do, look into taking a self-assessment to help crystallize your interests and what careers are best suited for your personality
  • Think about your skillset in terms of transferrable skills. These are the talents and abilities you have acquired from doing one type of work that you can use in another. For some careers, you may even be able to substitute your transferable skills for formal training.
  • When deciding between a career that requires additional schooling and one for which you can use your transferable skills, you may decide to choose the latter. It will allow you to transition more quickly and with less effort, at an age when you may want to limit your expenditure of time, energy, or money. 
  • In addition to learning what the educational qualifications are for a new career, look into the job or industry forecast in terms of economics. What’s the median salary? What’s the expectation for growth in the field or industry?
  • Beyond the salary, what type of benefits are offered? Is there a 401K? If you’re in your early forties, is there a possibility of becoming vested within ten years? Health benefit dollars are important, how much does your employer cover, and how much are you responsible for?
  • Even though this is a second-act career, how much paid vacation time is offered. If you still have school-age children or senior parents, how much personal and sick time will you receive if they get sick?

Things to consider before diving into entrepreneurship

  • Just as with a career change, one of the most important things you can bring to a new business venture is experience. Do you have the experience that relates to your business?
  • Where will the money come from? You must have a cushion. Tapping into your IRA isn’t what you should do. You’ll need it down the road.
  • Get educated for free. Take advantage of SCORE, a partner of the Small Business Administration. They provide free business mentoring and education for those looking for experienced help from experienced entrepreneurs.
  • Look at the market and see what you have to contribute that no one else is doing. Then, do the job first. It’s one thing to cook or bake for the holidays or parties, it’s another to do it every day. Working with a caterer or at a bakery will give you an idea of what you can expect a workday to look and feel like.

In the end, follow your heart

The one thing age teaches us is that time is fleeting. It seems like one minute you’re bringing your new baby home from the hospital, then you’re dropping them off at college. It all goes by too fast. We seem to go from twenty to forty in a heartbeat. Therefore making the most of our time is important. Whatever you do, follow your heart and make it happen. The only thing better than doing something you love is knowing that tomorrow, you get to do it again.

For more resources:

https://www.thebalancecareers.com/career-change-at-40-4152909

https://www.cnbc.com/2019/06/25/here-are-seven-tips-for-starting-a-business-in-your-50s-and-beyond.html

Living Your Best Life North of Forty and Fifty Plus

Writing and Baking to find my creative Zen place

https://stillachicklit.com/2021/01/29/when-stuck-behind-a-creative-gate-this-writer-loves-to-laminate/

If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.

President Harry S. Truman

President Truman seemed like the kind of man who liked to take charge. He believed the buck stopped with him. While it might seem like a bit of a stretch to relate this philosophy with creativity, it’s worked for me, in the reverse. When I find my brain is short-circuiting while I’m in the midst of writing, I go into the kitchen to re-wire my thinking, and my first inclination is to bake.

For many people, baking is mysterious and difficult. Cooking allows chefs and home chefs to think outside of the box and add a little of this, or a pinch of that. Whereas baking is a science. The formula is set in the recipe. There is no deviating. It’s that sense of order that calms me. Artists tend to live in their heads, and that’s truly seen in writers. The thought process involved in creating characters, plots, and dialogue, mixed with outside research, could drive anyone bonkers. So, it’s important to find something that aids you in this process. It doesn’t have to be cooking, baking, or anything in the kitchen. Just do something that works for you. It also works wonders if you have a presentation or report due for school or work.

I’m currently working on a novel and a couple of cookbooks. I have a few other fictional works in my queue, but I only work on one novel at a time. Doing more than that, is a recipe for disaster and it’s biting off way more than I can chew. I have begun the process of putting slides together for the cookbook and I hope to have another test kitchen to take photos for the illustrations. It’s why lamination was the way to go for me. The busy work of all the components for puff pastry keeps my hands busy and my mind focused. I figured out the layout I wanted and my family had fresh turnovers for breakfast. It’s a win-win for everyone.

Puff Pastry recipe by Dessert for Two adapted by me

Ingredients

2 cups (125 grams) all-purpose flour (gluten-free all-purpose flour, 1 to 1 gluten-free baking blend)

1/4 teaspoon fine salt

20 tablespoons high-quality unsalted butter (5 ounces), cold (vegan butter)

2/3 cup ice cold water

Instructions

In a medium bowl, add the flour and salt. Stir to mix.

Next, cube the butter and then add it to the flour bowl. Using a pastry blender or two knives, cut the butter into the dough. It will be very crumbly, and you’re done when the butter is in uniform pieces all about the size of peas.

Next, make a hole in the center of the dough and pour in all of the water. Using a fork, stir to combine the dough.

Flour a cutting board, and add the dough. Pat it into a rough square. You will still see chunks of butter and it will seem too dry, but do not add extra water. The dough will come together with each roll.

Flour the rolling pin, and roll the dough out in front of you into a rectangle about 10″ long. No need to be too precise here.

Fold the bottom third of the dough over the middle of the dough. Fold the upper third of the dough on top of the middle too. Rotate the dough one-quarter turn, and repeat. Use additional flour as needed to prevent the dough from sticking.

Roll out, fold, and turn the dough at least 6 or 7 times.

When done, wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill for at least one hour, or overnight. Dough may be frozen, too.

Roll out with flour for desired puff pastry use.

Living Your Best Life North of Forty and Fifty Plus

When Stuck behind a creative gate, this writer loves to laminate

Zen with pastry

For as long as I can remember I loved to write. My paternal grandmother, was an avid and voracious reader. She went through about three books a week. She was a big Sidney Sheldon fan. The cover for the Other Side Of Midnight still sticks out in my mind. Grandma Salley, my maternal grandmother loved to read, but she was also an epic letter writer. She corresponded with friends and family weekly, and never seemed to run out of things to write about.

Thankfully, as a professional writer and author, I have never been at a loss when it comes to things to write about. Writer’s block is real thing and feel paralyzing. Conversely, the overabundance of ideas can easily result in choice overload, making it difficult for writers to narrow the choices and make a decision. I tend to fall into the latter situation, and heading into the kitchen helps me get over the hump.

I make the most of the tactile nature of cooking and baking to take my mind off the choices and focus it on another task. Nine times out of ten, I figure out my next steps through baking. However, when I’m not sure what I should do next, I take out the big guns and delve into more complicated recipes for pastries, like croissants.

Cooking something that is a bit more complex like paella or a Bolognese sauce, can work, but it’s the order found in baking that’s more effective for me. In cooking, as long as you stick to the basics of techniques, you can adjust seasoning, add more or less of an ingredient, or even omit something. That’s not the case in baking, it’s a science. You cannot add more leaveners like baking powder, baking soda, or yeast. Eggs are important for structure. Milk and butter add to tenderness and texture. Even in gluten-free and vegan baking, the substitutions must do the same thing, which is a challenge, but can be accomplished. The order in baking works for my writing process and channels stress.

Laminating dough creates thin layers of dough and butter through the process of rolling and folding. It’s tedious, but something about it works for me. With each turn, my mind clears and I find the clarity needed to decide what’s next in my manuscript, whether it’s adding another character, or fleshing another character further to add dimension for the reader. Is the dialogue snappy or too smart or overly witty for witty’s sake. Naturally, this is my process, and every writer is different. Some go running or take a walk. Others go to their favorite diner or park to watch people. A long drive is a good option too. The fact is anything that brings you peace will inspire and break your writer’s block or illuminate the path to making the right choice to move your story forward. Admittedly, if you work it out in the kitchen, both you and the people around you receive a very tasty benefit. In my case today, they get croissants. There’s nothing wrong with that.

King Arthur Baker’s Croissant recipe adaptation by me

Ingredients

Dough

2 large eggs + enough warm water to make 2 cups (454g) of liquid (6 tablespoons Aquafaba or ½ cup silken tofu pureed with ¼ teaspoon baking soda) **

1/4 cup (50g) sugar, divided

5 1/2 to 6 cups (659g to 723g) (gluten-free all-purpose flour or 1 to 1 gluten-free baking blend flour)**

2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast (1 packet) 

2 tablespoons (28g) salted butter, melted (vegan butter) **

1/2 cup (56g) Baker’s Special Dry Milk or nonfat dry milk, optional

1 scant tablespoon (16g) table salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional; for sweet pastry)

Butter Layer

30 tablespoons (425g) unsalted butter, cool to the touch (vegan butter)**

3/4 teaspoon table salt or ½ teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 cup (60g) Unbleached All-Purpose Flour (gluten-free all-purpose flour or 1 to 1 gluten-free baking blend flour)**

Instructions

For the dough: Put the eggs and water in a large mixing bowl. Add 1 tablespoon of the sugar, 3 cups (362g) of the flour, and the yeast. Mix until well blended; set aside to let the sponge work.

For the butter: Cut the butter into 1˝ chunks and combine with the salt and flour at low speed in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment just until smooth, with no lumps. Be careful not to beat too much; you don’t want to incorporate any air. My tip, while the stand mixer with the paddle attachment works well, you do run the risk of add air to the butter. I used my pastry cutter and worked the flour and butter into pea-size clumps, then turned it out onto parchment paper, put another sheet of parchment over and rolled the butter until I had the shape I wanted. Then in the fridge it went.

Spread the butter on a piece of plastic wrap and shape into an 8˝ square. Wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Finish the dough: Add the melted butter to the sponge. Whisk together the remaining sugar, 2 1/2 cups (298g) of the flour, the dry milk, and salt and add to the sponge. Mix until the dough forms. Knead for 5 minutes; touch the dough lightly with your finger. If it’s still sticky, add the remaining flour 2 tablespoons at a time until the dough is the desired consistency. Once the dough is smooth and elastic, pat it into a 9˝ square, then wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

To laminate the dough: Remove the chilled dough from the refrigerator and gently roll it to a 12″ square.

  1. Unwrap the butter square and place it in the center of the dough at a 45° angle, so it looks like a diamond in a square. Pull the corners of the dough into the center of the butter diamond. Moisten the edges with a little water and pinch the seams together well to enclose the butter. Dust the top with flour and turn the packet over.
  2. Tap the dough all over with a rolling pin, encouraging it into a rectangular shape. Once it’s pliable, roll it to a 20˝ x 10˝ rectangle, picking it up and dusting lightly with flour as needed.
  3. When you’ve reached the proper size, use a dry brush to sweep off any excess flour and fold the dough in thirds, like a business letter. Take care to keep the edges straight and line them up directly over each other. If the dough slides around, use a little water at the corners to tack them in place. This is your first turn.
  4. Rotate the dough out so it looks like a book about to be opened. Roll the dough out once more to 20˝ x 10˝ and fold it as before. This is the second turn. Wrap the dough and refrigerate it for 30 minutes to allow the gluten in the dough to relax.
  5. Give the dough two more turns after its rest, then wrap the dough well and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight before using. You can also freeze the dough at this point.

To shape the croissants: Cut the packet of dough in half. Wrap and refrigerate or freeze one half.

  1. Roll the other half to a 13˝ x 18˝ rectangle. Trim the edges about 1/4˝ all the way around with a ruler and pizza cutter. This removes the folded edges that would inhibit the dough’s rise.
  2. Cut the dough in thirds lengthwise and in half down the center. This will give you six 4˝ x 9˝ pieces. Cut these pieces in half diagonally and arrange them so the points are facing away from you. Stretch them gently to make them a little longer, then cut a 1˝ notch in the center of the base of each triangle.
  3. Take the two inside corners of the notch and roll them up toward you, building a curved shape as you roll the base of the dough toward the tip. Make sure the tip ends up under the bottom of the croissant. Place the shaped pastry on a parchment-lined baking sheet, curving the ends toward each other. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  4. Take the croissants out of the refrigerator, and let them warm and rise for 60 to 90 minutes at room temperature. They should expand noticeably, and when you gently press one with your finger, the indentation should remain.
  5. Towards the end of the rise time, preheat the oven to 425°F. Brush each croissant with an egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water. Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce the oven’s temperature to 350°F and bake for 10 to 15 minutes more, until deep golden brown and no raw dough is visible where the layers overlap. Remove from the oven and let cool on the pan on a rack for 20 minutes before serving.

Tips from King Arthur Bakers

Bubbles and leaks: It’s not unusual to have air trapped inside your laminated dough. If this happens, simply pop the bubble with a toothpick and press the dough down to lie flat. If there’s a bare spot where butter is coming through, dust the leak with flour, pressing down lightly so it sticks, and continue on with the fold. Refrigerate the dough as soon as the fold is done, to firm it up.

As you work, keep the dough, work surface, and your rolling pin well dusted with flour. Turn over the dough from time to time. As you roll, you tend to expand the top layers more than the bottom. By flipping the dough over, you’ll even that out. Before folding the dough over on itself, use your pastry brush to sweep off excess flour. This will help the dough stick to itself after folding, so the layers don’t slide around.

When rolling the dough, especially for the first time, be sure the dough and butter are at the same consistency; this will make rolling much smoother and the layers will be more even.

Vegan/non-dairy adaptation tips

** For most vegan bakes that have less than three eggs, I usually list flaxseed or chia seed eggs and egg replacer. We tried that in the test kitchen and both substitutions don’t work as well, it’s too dry even with additional liquid added. To keep the recipe as close to the original as possible the Aquafaba and silken tofu eggs worked beautifully.

** I also normally list more gluten-free flour alternatives, but we found that gluten-free all purpose and the baking blend worked exceedingly well

** Vegan butter is the best alternative. Margarine is too oily and you won’t get the same flaking as you get with butter