Sunday, August 19, 2018

Salted Caramel Pound Cake

I came across this recipe over the summer and made it the very next week, which is incredibly fast in my world. But hey, it calls for whipped cream, and only Canada has lactose-free cream for the moment, so it was then or never. And wow, was it good! Great is more like it, really; we all loved it. The Little Prince even said it was the best cake I had ever made and even chose it over a Drumstick (which had become his favorite dessert ever the previous week). I’ll have to remember to make it every once in a while when we’re up there!

For the cake
12 Tbsp. lactose-free butter, softened
1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
¾ cup cake flour
½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. kosher salt
1 ¼ cups granulated sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 large egg yolks, room temperature
¾ cup lactose-free cream

For the salted caramel glaze
½ cup packed dark-brown sugar
½ cup lactose-free cream
5 Tbsp. lactose-free butter
1 ¾ tsp. fleur de sel, divided (I used a total of 1 ¼ tsp.)
¼ to ½ cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted

For the cake
Preheat the oven to 350 °F and position a rack in the center of the oven. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan. Place a long piece of parchment paper in the bottom of the pan, letting the parchment extend up the two long sides of the pan and overhang slightly. (This will make it easy to remove the pound cake from the pan after it is baked.) Butter the parchment paper and dust with flour; remove any excess flour.

Whisk together the flours, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.

Beat the butter and granulated sugar on high speed until fluffy, 4 to 5 minutes, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. (I did this with a handheld electric mixer.) Add the vanilla and beat until incorporated, about 15 seconds. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.

With the mixer on medium-low speed, add the eggs and the egg yolks, one at a time, beating for about 1 minute after each addition. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl again and beat for 10 seconds. Turn the mixer to low speed and add the flour mixture in three parts, alternating with the cream, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.

Transfer batter to prepared pan, smooth top with an offset spatula, and bake until a skewer inserted into the center comes out with a few moist crumbs, 55 to 65 minutes. (If top of cake begins to darken too much before it is done in the middle, tent pan with aluminum foil and continue baking.) Place pan on a cooling rack for 15 minutes. Using a small knife or offset spatula, gently loosen cake from sides of the pan, pull up on parchment paper to lift cake out of pan, and place it directly on cooling rack.

For the salted caramel glaze
Stir together the brown sugar, cream, and butter in a medium saucepan over low heat. When butter is half melted, increase heat to medium-high and bring mixture to a boil. Whisking constantly, boil mixture for 1 ½ minutes. Remove from heat, whisk vigorously for 1 minute to release excess heat, and add ¾ teaspoon fleur de sel. Let cool 5 minutes.

Sift in ¼ cup confectioners’ sugar and whisk until combined. Continue adding confectioners’ sugar, a tablespoon at a time, until the mixture is pourable and slightly thick (it will thicken more as it cools); you may not use all of the confectioners’ sugar.

Place cake on wire rack set over rimmed baking sheet covered in parchment (to catch the excess caramel). Use a bamboo skewer to poke holes in cake. Pour warm caramel glaze over cake to cover. Sprinkle evenly with remaining 1 teaspoon fleur de sel (I only used ½ teaspoon). Let cool 15 to 20 minutes before serving.

Rhubarb and Strawberry Ripple Frozen Yogurt

Here’s a recipe that would be best in early summer. Granted, we still have rhubarb in San Antonio, but the strawberries are not in season. I made this rhubarb and strawberry ripple frozen yogurt twice already, tweaking it a bit each time, and would have one more thing to add below.

The first time I made this, I hadn’t been able to find a lactose-free whole milk Greek yogurt at the store, so I added 4 tablespoons of maple syrup to the yogurt. This helped a bit with the taste, as it wouldn’t have been sweet enough for me otherwise, but it also helped make the frozen yogurt softer once it was frozen (both fat and sugar will do that, especially liquid sweeteners as opposed to granulated sugar). However, the frozen yogurt was still too hard for my taste.

Fast-forward a few years and I made the recipe again and increased the amount of sweetener a bit more. This time, I did have lactose-free whole-milk Greek yogurt, so I thought I’d be good, but it turns out it was still too hard for my taste – though the amount of sweetener was spot-on with seasonal Quebec strawberries. So in a last-ditch effort, do yourself a favor and add 2 tablespoons of vodka to this recipe, to make sure the yogurt isn’t rock-hard in the freezer.

½ lb. (225 g.) rhubarb, sliced
1 lb. (500 g.) strawberries, coarsely chopped
1 vanilla pod, seeds scraped (I used 1 tsp. vanilla bean paste)
¼ cup (4 Tbsp.) + ½ cup (8 Tbsp.) honey
2 cups lactose-free full-fat plain yogurt (Greek or Turkish style)
2 Tbsp. vodka

Place rhubarb, strawberries, vanilla pod and seeds, and 4 Tbsp. honey in a medium size saucepan. Cover and bring to a boil; lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove the pod and use a fork or a stick blender to mash up the fruit. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until completely cool.

Combine yogurt, vodka, the rest of the honey and ¾ of the fruit compote. Pour the mixture into an ice cream machine and follow the manufacturer’s instructions. When done, remove the ice cream paddle. Stir in the rest of the fruit compote carefully so you get a ripple effect. Pour the mixture into a freeze proof container. Leave in the freezer until firm, or as long as you like.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Raspberry Ricotta Cake

I had seen this recipe in a few places – I think it’s originally from Bon Appétit, but I made Molly Wizenberg’s version. This cake was absolutely delicious! The ricotta was a great addition, and summer berries are always great. I’m thinking the Engineer would have enjoyed this more with blueberries, but the rest of us loved it as is!

I’m posting my recipe for ricotta again below, because I realize it’s annoying to have to click away and then flip back and forth between two tabs. This time, I made it with lactose-free cream (I highly recommend this if you have the cream, as the resulting ricotta is so much richer and – obviously – creamier) and I doubled the recipe, to make sure I had enough, because when I use only milk I get about 1 generous cup of ricotta. It turns out that the yield is greater when using cream as compared to only milk, possibly because you have more solids to start with (maybe someone who is well-versed in cheese-making could chime in). Anyway, since the strawberries were in season, I used leftover ricotta to make this strawberry raspberry arugula salad with ricotta topping, which I also highly recommend.

For the ricotta
3 cups lactose-free whole milk
1 cup lactose-free cream (if unavailable, use 1 more cup lactose-free whole milk and see note above)
½ tsp coarse sea salt
3 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice

Pour the milk, cream and salt into a 3-quart nonreactive saucepan. Attach a candy or deep-fry thermometer. Heat the milk to 190 °F, stirring it occasionally to keep it from scorching on the bottom. Remove from heat and add the lemon juice, then stir it once or twice, gently and slowly. Let the pot sit undisturbed for 5 minutes.

Line a colander with a few layers of cheesecloth and place it over a large bowl (to catch the whey). Pour the curds and whey into the colander and let the curds strain for at least an hour. At an hour, you’ll have a tender, spreadable ricotta. At two hours, it will be spreadable but a bit firmer, almost like cream cheese. (It will firm as it cools, so do not judge its final texture by what you have in your cheesecloth.) Discard the whey, or, if you’re one of those crafty people who use it for other things, of course, save it. Use the ricotta right away or transfer it to an airtight container and refrigerate until ready to use.

For the raspberry ricotta cake
1 ½ cups (210 g.) all-purpose flour
1 cup (200 g.) sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
¾ tsp. kosher salt
3 large eggs
1 ½ cups (325 g.) whole-milk ricotta (see above for lactose-free version)
½ tsp. vanilla extract
1 stick lactose-free butter, melted
1 cup (100 g.) frozen raspberries, divided (I used fresh raspberries)

Preheat the oven to 350 °F. Lightly grease a 9-inch round cake pan (I used a springform pan), and press a round of parchment paper into the bottom; grease it again.

In a large bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, and kosher salt.

In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs, ricotta, and vanilla until smooth. Gently stir ricotta mixture into the dry ingredients until just blended. Then fold in the butter, followed by ¾ cup of the raspberries, taking care not to crush them. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing it evenly, and scatter the remaining raspberries on top.

Bake the cake until it is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 50 to 60 minutes. Let cool at least 20 minutes before unmolding. Cool completely before serving.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Double Chocolate Banana Bread

So, it turns out there are banana breads I hadn’t made yet – one of them being this double chocolate banana bread from Smitten Kitchen. As is the case with all banana breads, it is easy to make and incredibly satisfying first thing in the morning. And with all the chocolate, it’s obviously an easy sell with the kids. Give it a try!

1 cup (125 g.) all-purpose flour (or white whole wheat would work too)
½ cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. table salt
3 medium-to-large very ripe bananas
½ cup lactose-free butter, melted
¾ cup (145 g.) brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 cup (about 6 oz. or 170 g.) semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chunks or chips

Preheat the oven to 350 °F. Butter a 9×5-inch loaf pan, or spray it with a nonstick baking spray.

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. (My cocoa is always lumpy, so I think sifting it is essential.) Whisk together and set aside.

Mash bananas in the bottom of a large bowl. (You’ll have a little over 1 cup mashed banana total.) Whisk in melted butter, then brown sugar, egg, and vanilla. Stir dry ingredients into wet ingredients with a wooden spoon until just combined. Stir in chocolate chunks or chips.

Pour into prepared pan and bake 55 to 65 minutes, until a tester or toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out batter-free, though a smear of melted chocolate is normal. Cool in pan for 10 to 15 minutes, then run a knife around the edge and invert it out onto a cooling rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Almost-Ketogenic Vanilla Cupcakes

A few months ago, I tried another vegan cupcake recipe, this one with a maple buttercream that called for coconut oil and non-dairy milk powder. The frosting was way too liquid; I added a tablespoon of ground chia seeds and let it set up in the fridge, but it was still a disaster. I don’t know if it was just too hot for the coconut oil, but I have to admit I’m not too keen on recipes that only work if the weather is just right (I’m looking at you, meringues). The cupcakes themselves were only okay.

Once I was in Canada, though, I decided to try a vanilla cupcake recipe by Ketogenic Girl (full disclosure: I knew her briefly when we were teenagers living abroad). I’m not actually considering a ketogenic diet, because it is way too restrictive for me (not to mention the anecdotal negative side effects), BUT I was curious about ketogenic baked goods. That being said, I used regular sugar because I didn’t have stevia and I don’t like the taste of it anyway. I don’t know how erythritol compares, but I didn’t feel like tracking it down… So these are almost-ketogenic, but that was good enough for me. Also, since these are gluten-free, I’m not convinced that baking powder is necessary, but I didn’t want to change the recipe too much in one go – I already ran out of almond flour and had to top it up with hazelnut flour as it was! I really liked the cupcakes themselves, but for the frosting, I recommend either increasing the amount of sugar or omitting the frosting altogether. Everyone here liked these, though the Fox was the most vocal about it!

For the cupcakes
1 cup (4 oz./115 g.) almond flour (I used 2.8 oz. almond flour and 1.2 oz. hazelnut flour)
2 Tbsp. coconut flour
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. fine sea salt
1 cup lactose-free cream
2 whole eggs
4 egg yolks
¼ cup (1¼ oz./36 g.) erythritol or granulated/powdered stevia (I used granulated sugar)
½ tsp. liquid stevia (I omitted this)
½ tsp. vanilla bean paste (or 1 tsp. vanilla extract)

For the frosting (see note above)
½ cup (4 oz./115 g.) lactose-free butter, softened
2 Tbsp. coconut oil, softened
2 Tbsp. granulated stevia or erythritol, ground until powdery (I used powdered sugar)

Preheat the oven to 350 °F. Line 11 wells of a standard-size 12-well muffin pan with paper liners. (The original recipe said 10, but I got 11 cupcakes from this – too bad it’s not an even 12!)

In a medium bowl, whisk together the almond flour, coconut flour, baking powder, and salt until well blended. Set aside.

Using a stand mixer or handheld mixer, whip the cream until stiff peaks form. Add the whole eggs and egg yolks, one at a time, beating after each addition. Add the powdered sweetener, liquid stevia, and vanilla and mix to combine.

Fold the flour mixture into the cream mixture and combine well.

Fill each cupcake liner about three-quarters full with the batter. Bake for 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for 20 minutes before frosting.

While the cupcakes are cooling, make the frosting. Using a stand mixer or handheld mixer, whip together all the frosting ingredients until creamy and fluffy.

When the cupcakes are cool, scoop the frosting into a piping bag and pipe the frosting evenly onto the cupcakes. Alternatively, use a knife to spread frosting on each cupcake.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Crème étagée au citron

J’ai reçu un livre de cuisine Famille futée en cadeau récemment; je l’ai feuilleté en mettant des signets autocollants sur les pages qui m’intéressaient, et j’ai pu essayer la crème étagée au citron. Le fond de la verrine est de la chapelure de biscuits graham; personnellement, je trouve que ce serait un peu meilleur avec de l’huile de coco, pour que ça se tienne ensemble davantage, mais c’était bon comme ça aussi. La simili-crème au citron (« curd ») elle-même est végétalienne est peu sucrée, mais très savoureuse grâce au jus d’orange – elle garde tout de même une jolie couleur jaune. Le Petit Prince n’a pas aimé le dessert, mais le reste de la famille l’approuve!

2 citrons
½ tasse de sucre
¼ tasse de fécule de maïs
½ tasse d’eau
1 tasse de jus d’orange
½ tasse de chapelure graham
½ tasse de yogourt grec sans lactose à la vanille

Presser le jus des citrons dans une tasse de 1 litre (4 tasses) allant au four à micro-ondes. (J’ai pressé le jus dans un bol allant au micro-ondes; j’en ai obtenu environ ½ tasse.)

Ajouter le sucre, la fécule de maïs, l’eau et le jus d’orange. Fouetter pour bien délayer la fécule. Chauffer au four à micro-ondes à puissance maximale pendant 2 minutes. Fouetter vigoureusement pour obtenir une texture parfaitement lisse. Chauffer de nouveau à puissance maximale de 1 à 2 minutes, ou jusqu’à épaississement. Fouetter de nouveau.

Répartir la chapelure dans 4 petits verres ou verrines. Verser la crème au citron et laisser refroidir environ 20 minutes au frigo. Au moment de servir, garnir chaque portion de yogourt grec à la vanille.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Black and White Cranberry Cherry Vegan Cheesecake

Somehow I’m now busier in the summer than during the rest of the year. Probably because the Little Prince doesn’t have daycare three days a week anymore… Plus, admittedly, I don’t have a comfortable desk in the summer, so I’m less prone to sitting down at the computer. I did want to post this recipe, though – it came in very handy when I was trying to unload some frozen cherries and cranberries. It would be a good dessert for the holidays, too! I changed a few things to make prep easier. I also noticed that it took all afternoon for the chocolate layer to harden, so I recommend making this cake the day before; to make it easier to slice, move it from the freezer to the fridge a few hours before serving it (but don’t store it there, or the chocolate layer might melt too much).

For the coconut milk in the chocolate layer in the cheesecake, it gets a bit tricky: there’s a product called So Delicious Culinary Coconut Milk (which I’m not linking to because it was actually so hard to find that I had to get it online and I’m wondering if it might be discontinued). It’s sold in carton packaging (as opposed to a metal can) and is actually thicker than canned coconut milk. If you fond some, you can use it directly at room temperature for this recipe and I find that easier; otherwise, you have to refrigerate cans of coconut milk overnight and skim the creamy layer at the top (use the coconut water for smoothies or something).

For the crust
1 ¾ cup raw cashews and/or almonds
1/3 cup cacao powder
1 cup Medjool dates, pitted and soaked if dry
1 Tbsp. coconut oil, melted (I used 4 Tbsp.)

For the chocolate layer of the cheesecake
2 cups of the thick cream part at the top of refrigerated canned coconut milk (see note above)
½ cup pure maple syrup or agave nectar
½ cup cacao powder
¼ cup chocolate chips, melted

For the cashew layer of the cheesecake
2 cups raw cashews (soaked overnight; rinsed and drained)
½ cup pure maple syrup or agave nectar
½ cup canned coconut milk (or more So Delicious Original Culinary Coconut Milk; see note above)
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 vanilla bean, seeded, or 1 tsp. vanilla bean paste or 1 Tbsp. vanilla extract

For the cranberry cherry topping (you could consider halving this)
½ cup sugar
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
¼ tsp. salt
2 cups pitted frozen cherries
2 cups fresh whole cranberries
1 cup water
2 Tbsp. lemon juice

For the crust
Place the nuts into a food processor and pulse until ground. Add dates, cacao powder, and coconut oil to the food processor and pulse until combined. Press mixture into the bottom of an 8” springform pan. Place the pan in the freezer while you make the filling.

For the chocolate layer of the cheesecake
In a high-powered blender like a Vitamix, blend coconut milk (2 cups of the thick cream part from chilled canned coconut milk if not using the So Delicious Culinary Coconut Milk), maple syrup, and cacao powder until smooth. Add melted chocolate chips and blend until chocolate is incorporated and smooth. Pour on top of the prepared crust. Tap the pan a couple of times gently to remove any bubbles. Place in the freezer on a level surface. (Since this will need some time to chill before you can make the cashew layer, you can either stop here for now or go ahead and make the cranberry cherry topping.) Rinse the blender thoroughly but don’t bother washing it just yet.

For the cashew layer of the cheesecake
Place cashews with the maple syrup and lemon juice into your Vitamix and blend until it starts to get creamy. Add in coconut milk and vanilla blend until smooth and creamy, scraping the sides as needed. Remove pan from the freezer, making sure the top of the chocolate layer is set, and pour/spread your filling into the pan on top of the chocolate layer. Gently shake the pan side to side to even out and carefully tap the pan on the counter to get out any possible air bubbles. Place in the freezer on a flat level surface.

For the cranberry cherry topping
Combine the sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a large sauce pan. Whisk in water and lemon juice. Add cherries and cranberries. Cover and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Once the mixture comes to a boil, continue cooking for 2 minutes while stirring constantly to prevent burning. (If all of your cranberries start popping, reduce the heat.) Remove from heat and let cool. Place mixture in a jar in the fridge to cool completely and until ready to serve. You can make the topping up to 2 days ahead of time.

Freeze for 2 hours or until ready to enjoy. If storing in the freezer longer, remove 35-45 minutes before serving, or an hour or two ahead if you want to put it in the fridge. Cut cake and serve with cranberry cherry topping. Enjoy!

Sunday, July 08, 2018

Flourless Tahini Brownies

I wanted to use up a jar of tahini, so I made these tahini brownies from Bon Appétit (they were adapted from a recipe by David Lebovitz that I had tried once before). As it turns out, I might have to make these on a more regular basis! We all really enjoyed them. Note that these are definitely fudgy brownies, not cakey at all, but for once I didn’t mind!

Also, I didn’t have agave nectar, so I used corn syrup, but it was too thick and I had to water it down a bit. I’d recommend maple syrup as a substitute here. (The only reason I’m talking substitutes is because I just don’t have it in me to keep ALL the sweeteners on hand; I’m from Quebec, so maple syrup is one thing about which I do not compromise.) As is, the recipe is gluten-free and dairy-free, if that’s helpful at all.

3 Tbsp. cornstarch
2 Tbsp. cocoa powder (I recommend sifting it)
6 oz. bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
3 Tbsp. virgin coconut oil
4 Tbsp. tahini, divided
2 large eggs
1/3 cup granulated sugar
¼ cup (packed) light brown sugar
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 Tbsp. agave syrup (see note above)

Preheat oven to 350 °F. Line an 8” square baking dish with 2 overlapping pieces of parchment paper, leaving at least a 3” overhang on two sides.

Whisk cornstarch and cocoa powder in a medium bowl until no lumps remain. Set aside.

Heat chocolate, coconut oil, and 1Tbsp. tahini in a small saucepan over low heat (I used a double boiler), stirring, until melted and smooth.

Using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat eggs, granulated sugar, and brown sugar in a large bowl until light, smooth, and doubled in volume, about 3 or 4 minutes. Beat in salt and vanilla to combine, then beat in chocolate mixture, scraping down sides as needed, until incorporated. Beat in cornstarch mixture, then increase speed to medium-high and beat until mixture is thick and holds its shape, about 30 seconds.

Stir agave syrup and remaining 3 Tbsp. tahini in a small bowl.

Scrape batter into prepared baking dish and smooth top. Dollop agave mixture over and swirl into top of batter with a skewer or toothpick.

Bake brownies until sides are puffed, top is browned, and a tester inserted into the center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, 22 to 26 minutes. Let cool before removing from pan and cutting into squares.