Saturday, June 27, 2015

Coconut (flour) Pizzelles

When I was growing up (in the 50s & 60s) I had never heard of Celiac Disease and of course eating gluten-free. Moreover, my mother never baked with anything other than wheat flour.  A few years ago, I was surprised to learned that one of my dearest friend's husband wasn't diagnosed until he was in his 40s that he had this celiac disease and had suffered through the symptoms not knowing what was caused them. Over the last 10-15 years it's definitely become part of our lives to be diligent in distinguishing those affected by the inability to consume products made with wheat.

We see a lot of products that are gluten-free on the shelves and even restaurants are denoting some entrees (especially pizza) that are made without wheat.  I've experimented with many alternatives and want to share with you an incredible produce I use in my baking gluten-free--Coconut Flour.

Coconut flour (which I purchase at is produced from dried coconut meat; a natural byproduct of coconut milk production.  This soft flour is popular for baking for those following a grain-restrictive diet such as paleo diets or the GAPS or SCD diet.  It offers a gluten-free and protein-rich alternative flour, but that's not all.  Did you know that it's rich in fiber, a good source of lauric acid (a saturated fat thought to support the immune system, thyroid function, and good skin health), and exceptionally good source of Maganese.

This extraordinary absorbent flour means that your ratio exchange IS NOT 1:1 with wheat flour.  In baked goods, you generally want to substitute about 1/4 to 1/3 cup of coconut flour to 1 cup of wheat flour.  This took me a little time to comprehend until I started experimenting with it.  The first recipe was a vanilla cupcake where I used only 1/2 cup of coconut flour instead of the 2 cups of wheat flour called for in the recipe and they turned out perfect!  You can also use coconut flour with wheat flour, substituting 20% of the wheat with it.  Today, I wanted to make one of my favorite cookies--Pizzelles, which is one of my family's favorite cookies!
Coconut (flour) Pizzelles
6 large eggs
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted & slightly cooled
1/4 tsp. Coconut flavoring (or you can do 2 tsp. Vanilla extract)
3/4 cup + 3 T Coconut flour
2 tsp. baking powder

In a stand mixer, using the whisk attachment, beat eggs until a golden yellow, about 5 minutes.  Turn mixer on low and gradually add the granulated sugar and coconut flavoring.   Add the warm butter while the mixer is on low and beat until combined.  In a separate bowl, mix the coconut flour with the baking powder, using a hand whisk.
Remove the bowl from the stand mixer and slowly add the flour/baking powder mixer, whisking to combine.  This is very important because the coconut flour has a tendency to clump .  When all the flour mixture has been added, let the mixture set about 20-30 minutes to thicken slightly.  Meanwhile, preheat the Pizzelle iron.
I used a small scoop to place the batter on the iron, close the lid and allow to cook until the iron clicks "ready".
The pizzelle iron makes two at a time.  Continue making the pizzelles until you've used all the mixture.  Pizzelles are a wonderful cookie and because they come out slightly soft, you can "mold" them to any shape.  Rolled up or placed in a small ramekin (or over a muffin tin) and make a bowl to serve your favorite ice cream in!

I love making healthy alternatives for my family.  My granddaughters have been visiting all week and we baked a lot. I'm just as concerned that my grands learn healthy alternatives as I was with my daughters and my mother with our family.  In addition, we've also begun a "treehouse" project this past week so they will have a place (free of television & computers) to play and create.
My hubby and I laugh and say this treehouse is nicer than our first apartment!  There will be a pulley on the side to send up healthy treats (like these cookies), as well as swings, and a slide pole.  More photos to follow. Enjoy!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Peanut Butter~Banana~Marshmallow Muffins

...Or, simply, the Elvis Muffin!   My sister was actually a big fan of Elvis, I'm more a Beatles fanatic, but when I came across this peanut butter powder at Costco yesterday, I thought of Elvis, go figure.  I knew he was a peanut butter & banana & Fluff fan, so creating this muffin had to be in honor of him.
This PB2 is a powdered peanut butter that can be used in various recipes; especially smoothies or mousse, and can, of course be reconstituted into the spreadable version.  Since I had, once again, leftover bananas (hubby was traveling) I decided to make up a muffin and see if the flavor was actually true.

Peanut Butter~Banana~Marshmallow Muffins
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1/2 cup + 3T PB2 (powdered peanut butter)
1 tsp. Vanilla extract
4 medium bananas, peeled and smashed with a fork
1/2 cup sour cream
2 1/2 cups KAF All-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt

30 miniature marshmallows or 16 regular size

Preheat oven to 375F-degrees and line a muffin pan with liners or use aluminum cups that are lightly sprayed with a baking spray.

In a bowl of a stand mixer, mix the melted butter and sugar together.  Add the next four ingredients and mix well. Remove the bowl from the stand. In a separate bowl, whisk the dry ingredients and add to the batter, stirring until incorporated with a rubber spatula.  Finally, add the sour cream and stir to combine.

Use a #20 scoop and add one scoop to each cup or muffin wells.  Add two miniature marshmallows or a quarter piece from a regular size marshmallow.
Cover with one more scoop of batter.  Bake in preheated oven for 5 minutes, then, lower the temperature to 325F-degrees and bake 17-20 minutes more.  Press on top of the muffin to feel if it's done.  Let cool slightly, then dust with a little confectioners' sugar and serve.

Well, "I'm all Shook Up" how good these were--Enjoy!

Monday, June 15, 2015

Refrigerator Spice Cookies with Almonds

Refrigerator cookies have been around somewhere after the ice box was conceived in 1802, by an inventor, surveyor, engineer and entrepreneur named Thomas Moore from Brooksville, Maryland and was granted a patent for it.   My Grandfather Will, after he retired from the Navy, worked on changing over old ice boxes to electrical refrigerators for a living.

This type of cookie is indispensable for us busy bakers and I know that's why my Grandmother Gladys liked baking them.  She had gone to work during WWII and figured out making up this dough and keeping it in the refrigerator (or freezer) made for instant gratification with a limited amount of time used.  My mother adapted her recipe and I've been baking them for years; they're one of my "cookies of choice" for mailing because of their shelf life!

Like my pie dough I make up in bulk, it's nice to have several rolls of refrigerator cookies in the freezer when the urge hits.  The dough is pretty standard and I still make up her original recipe (with a few flavor changes) using Crisco and not butter--an ingredient that was in short supply during the war.   Grandma Gladys always made a nut version, but I'll give you some substitutes that also work.

Refrigerator Spice Cookies with Almonds
1 cup shortening (I use Butter-flavored Crisco)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp. Pumpkin Pie spice
1/4 tsp. ground Cardamon
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup chopped nuts (I used sliced almonds)
2 3/4 cups King Arthur Flour all-purpose flour

In a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment, cream the shortening and sugars together, scrapping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed.  While the mixer is running on medium, add the eggs, one at a time (don't expect the mixture to cream together as if you're using butter.)

Add the spices with the dry ingredients and nuts and mix on low until the dough is thoroughly combines.  Divide in half and create two rolls of dough.  Grandma always wrapped the dough in wax paper, but plastic wrap is my choice.
I also shaped the "roll" into a rectangle, but round is good also:-D  Refrigerator several hours or overnight.  (You can also place the rolls in a freezer bag and freeze the dough for later; it will keep 3-6 months.)

Preheat oven to 400F-degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Remove the rolls from the refrigerator, one at a time, and slice just about a 1/4"-thick.  Place on the parchment, spacing them about 1 1/2-2 inches apart.
Bake in the preheated oven about 6-7 minutes.  Fast, huh!  Allow to cool slightly, then, remove to a rack to cool completely before putting them in your Cookie Jar or sending them to family.

Substitute 1/2 cup cocoa, decrease flour to 2 1/4 cups & add chopped pecans.  Use 1 tsp. vanilla extract instead of spices

Add 1/2 tsp. Coconut flavor and 1/2 cup sweetened flaked coconut

Add 1 T red food coloring, 2 T cocoa, 1 tsp. vanilla extract and chopped pecans for Red Velvet refrigerator cookies

Add zest of 1 lemon (orange or lime), 1 tsp. juice to dough

So many recipes can be made, but you get the picture. Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

HoJo's Coconut Cake, May's Apron-Giveaway Winner, and June's Giveaway Apron

If you're not afraid to date yourself...who remembers Howard Johnson's?  I do and was happy to see a story about this iconic restaurant on King Arthur's blog "Flourish" this past Sunday--  From the early 50s to the 70s, travelers knew this restaurant well.  I remember the grilled hot dogs in butter, fried clams, and of course, the ice cream and cakes.  This Coconut Cake is one of my favorites and like the author, PJ Hamil of KAF, I've had a love affair with coconut since I was a kid.  I was anxious to make their version with the only difference is that I topped the lovely frosting with toasted coconut instead of the flaked.   
You can click on the link and read the entire story and get the recipe.  The cake is similar to a pound cake, but moister and the hints of extra coconut flavor in the batter and coconut milk powder in the frosting made this my new favorite cake. Enjoy!

It was another crazy month, but let's get to the Give-Away for May...Congratulations to Mary at The Last Act blog!
To claim your apron, please send me your email address and I will be happy to send it to you.

Next, yes, I've done an apron for June. A month that honors my brother Joe, who passed away in 1969 at the age of 14 and my Grandma Gladys, who taught me so much about gardening.  This apron has the cheerful colors of summer and actually leans towards the tropical feeling. 
If you would like to win this bright apron (perfect for preparing picnics!), all you need to do is post a comment. Good luck!