Desserts

103

Vegan Lingonberry Bars

I was craving Linzer torte recently¬†(a fantastic dessert that is,¬†when I make it, essentially just raspberry jam in almond crust) but to my dismay I had NO RASPBERRY JAM. And this isn’t even a case of me being lazy, I promise! It was 10pm, the grocery store was definitely closed, and I obviously could not wait until morning, so I decided to poke around my house for a substitute. It came down to three choices: raspberry jelly (no way it could ever be as good as jam, and likely would yield depressing results); blackberry jelly (the flavors from blackberry could’ve been fun here, as I like to consider them the raspberry’s more intense dark lipstick-wearing sister,¬†but again, jelly<jam); and lingonberry jam¬†(one of many impulse purchases from Ikea simply due to the amount of fun I have poorly attempting say¬†Swedish words- has anyone been looking for a Stenstorp or F√∂rh√∂ja? I know I have.) Although I had no idea what the lingonberry was, let alone its flavor, I knew it was jam so it had to be at least slightly promising. To my surprise and delight, the jam tasted like a mixture between raspberry and cranberry! A+. Since I was already using a new flavor, I decided to be crazy and change up the crust as well, which let to my discovery of a recipe for vegan walnut crust. Perfect. By the by, the crust is so simple and delicious, I may or may not have eaten the majority of the first batch and had to make another¬†for the topping.

Bars (adapted from Love and Lemons)

– 4 tbsp. coconut oil (hard)

– 1 c. flour

– 1 c. walnuts

– 1/2 c. brown sugar

– 1 tsp. cinnamon

– 1 tsp. salt

– 1/3+ c. lingonberry (but really, you could use any fruit!) jam

 

Preheat oven to 350¬į F¬†and line a 5 x 7 (or equivalent size) pan¬†with parchment paper. In a food processor, pulse together the coconut oil, flour, walnuts, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt until it‚Äôs crumbly and moist. Take 3/4 of the mixture and press it into the bottom of the pan. Bake the crust for 10-15+ minutes or until the edges turn lightly golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool. Add a bit of water to the remaining crumbly mix (it’s about to become¬†topping), and mix it gently with your fingers until thicker crumbs form. When your crust is cool, spread a generous layer of ¬†jam, then add the topping. Bake for an additional 15-20 (but check it after 10)¬†minutes. Let cool, then carefully lift out parchment and slice.

 

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Desserts, Drinks

ninety six

Almond Milk Hot Chocolate

I made several dairy-free recipes this winter for reasons I’m positive don’t really matter to Spices and Spatulas readers (once again, I’m trying not to treat my blog like a diary and spare you all from #feelings). So I’ll just move on. Considering this, and that it’s freezing outside I decided this would be a good chance to explore some milk-free/vegan hot chocolate recipes. Lactose-free milk isn’t my favorite taste-wise, so I go back and forth between preferring vanilla almond milk and vanilla soy milk when selecting my dairy-free beverages. Feel free to use whichever you prefer (you can even go nuts and use real milk if that’s what makes you happy!) But honestly, for any naysayers: this came out so delicious I’ve started making it for myself every time I crave hot chocolate- it’s much lighter than your standard cocoa, so you can drink twice (or three+ times) as much and I think that’s great!

Hot Chocolate (serves 1)

– 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk

– 4 oz. unsweetened chopped chocolate or 1 1/2 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder

– 1 1/2 tbsp. granulated or raw sugar

– sprinkle of cinnamon (optional)

If using chopped chocolate: Melt chocolate with sugar in microwave or over a double boiler. Pour milk into a small saucepan and heat on medium low, whisking constantly. After about a minute, add the chocolate/sugar mixture. Whisk until combined and heated to your liking. Top with cinnamon if desired.

If using cocoa powder: Stir cocoa powder together with sugar. Add 2-3 tbsp. water into the mixture until a thin paste forms. Pour milk into a small saucepan and heat on medium low, whisking constantly. After about a minute, add the chocolate/sugar/water mixture. Whisk until combined and heated to your liking. Top with cinnamon if desired.

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Breakfasts, Desserts

ninety five

Pizzelles (and pizzelle bowls)

Pizzelles are traditional Italian waffle cookies, and probably the prettiest thing you’ll eat for a very long while. The batter is super easy to prepare and while you’re essentially going through the same process as waffle making, creating pizzelles seems infinitely more cultured and professional. Don’t ask me why, this is just a known fact. For this recipe, you will need fancy-shmancy equipment- a pizzelle maker to be exact. I have this one! If you want to go halfway-homemade (we all do sometimes, don’t be ashamed!), this mix is really fantastic (and it comes in a cute bag, which I believe makes it an excellent hostess gift too), but if you want to reach for the stars and really impress somebody I’ve included a good recipe. And about a million pictures, ’cause I was having way too much fun.

Pizzelles (from foodnetwork.com)

– 1/3 cup sugar
– 2 large egg whites
– 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
– 1/4 tsp salt
– 4 tbsp. butter, melted
– 1/3 cup flour

Preheat the pizzelle iron according to the instructions on your machine. Whisk the sugar, egg whites, vanilla, and salt in a large bowl. Whisk in 2 tablespoons of the butter. Add the flour and whisk just until blended.

Spoon about 1 tablespoon of batter in the center of the iron. Close the iron and cook until deep golden (on my machine this took anywhere from 1-3 minutes, depending on how cool I let the iron get in between cooking times). Transfer the pizzelles to a cooling rack *scroll down past the first group of pictures for some extra fun*. Cool completely. Trim off any excess pizzelle along the edges if you so choose. Some great things to add before devouring pizzelles: ricotta and honey, jam, peanut/almond butter, cinnamon and sugar, plain yogurt with a drizzle of maple syrup, freshly chopped fruit, cannoli cream. Always have fresh cappuccino nearby. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

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Ready for the bonus? Here’s how I made little pizzelle bowls, which served as incredible vessels for hazelnut gelato the following night: the moment the pizzelle comes off the iron, drape it over a small round surface (I used a little powdered sugar shaker, but any small jar would work) and press a slightly larger cup over the top. Voila! This did require quite a bit a trial and error, but honestly, having to eat all the scraps of failed pizzelle bowls was no problem in my book. Happy munching!

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Desserts, Snacks

sixty eight

Saltine Toffee

Here’s a fact about me: I’m a baker, not a candy maker. If you thought baking was scientific, you wouldn’t believe what candy making is like. I tried making those yummy maple candies once, y’know, the ones that are perfectly solid until the moment they touch your tongue and melt into syrup magic that tastes like autumn? Yeah, those. Well, I poured the ONE ingredient (syrup. (Duh)) into a pot and began boiling it. It all seemed fine, I had a candy thermometer to tell me when the syrup reached exactly 235 degrees F. As you can probably imagine, one second the thermometer read 200 and then I blinked (rookie mistake) and it read 250. I thought “hey maybe it’ll be fine I know my way around a kitchen it’s chill” as I cooled the mixture. It wasn’t fine. The candy didn’t harden properly and tasted just..weird. Maybe I’ll try it again someday, but for the present I’ve decided to try my luck at something a little less candyish. I learned about toffee (in case you were wondering what the actual difference between toffee and caramel is: toffee is essentially just sugar and butter, while caramel is sugar and cream or milk, with butter occasionally. Toffee is cooked to 300 degrees F, while caramel is cooked to about 248 degrees F. Got it? Good). Then I discovered Saltine toffee. My dreams of learning to make other candy floated away the moment I took my first bite of Saltine toffee. Sweet and crunchy and buttery and salty and chocolatey, it’s honestly everything I’ve ever wanted in my mouth all together in one neat package. And it smells INCREDIBLE. If there was a way to make Saltine toffee perfume, I’d probably have more suitors than I’d know what to do with. And I can’t stress enough how unbelievably easy it is to make! Like, SO easy. It takes all of 15 minutes to assemble and then it goes into the fridge. And it makes such a cute homemade gift as well! It does not disappoint.

Toffee (adapted from allrecipes.com)

– about 1 1/2 sleeves Saltine crackers

– 1 stick unsalted butter

– 1 cup dark brown sugar

– 1 bag dark chocolate chips (these work best in my humble opinion)

– Crushed pretzels, nuts, chopped dried fruit, etc

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking tray with foil and spray lightly with cooking spray. In a small saucepan, melt the butter and sugar, stirring constantly, until the mixture reaches a rolling boil. Pour toffee over the crackers, spreading it a bit if it looks too thick in some areas (don’t worry if it doesn’t cover them completely). Bake for five minutes so that the toffee is bubbling all over. Pour the chocolate chips over the toffee crackers, and place tray back in the oven, making sure the oven is OFF. Let the heat of the oven melt the chocolate for a minute or two, then remove from the oven and spread the chocolate evenly over the crackers. While the chocolate is still melty, pour crushed pretzels, nuts, and/or chopped fruit over the top (I used pretzels for my first batch, and peanuts and walnuts for my second). Place in the fridge for about an hour so the chocolate has time to firm up a bit. Break up the candy into whatever size pieces float your boat and return to the fridge for a few hours to really firm it up or simply consume immediately! Store in an airtight container in the fridge for about a week or in the freezer for months!

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Desserts, Snacks

sixty seven

Mini Post: S’mores √† la Mode

Yeah, you read that right. This s’more has ice cream in it. Are you excited?¬†This recipe comes to Spices and Spatulas courtesy of my sister so THANKS MADDY YOU’RE AWESOME! I actually made these on my last night of summer break a few weeks ago, but let me tell you, nothing makes you want a s’more more than being back at school after reading 75 pages about violence in ancient Mesopotamian art. So I’ll probably be making a round of these in about ten minutes. This is an incredibly simple recipe, so I’m just gonna get to it so you can go ahead and make one for yourself!

S’mores (makes one, but I dare you to just have one)

– 1 graham cracker

– 1 or 2 squares of chocolate (I just went with simple 60%, but if you really want to get crazy these are AWESOME. And the perfect size)

– 1 extra large marshmallow

– 1 scoop vanilla (or whatever flavor you like) ice cream

Break the graham cracker in half (whew, that was hard, I know). Place the chocolate on one square of the cracker. Toast the marshmallow over fire of some kind or in the microwave on medium heat for 15-20 seconds (this depends on your microwave, watch it closely so nothing sticky explodes in your electrical appliances). Scoop out the ice cream and place it on the other graham cracker, squishing it down a little bit for easier assembly. Put the marshmallow over the chocolate covered graham and put the whole thing together. Y U M.

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Breakfasts, Desserts, Drinks

fifty three

Frozen Hot Chocolate (and Coffee and Mocha)

This is a drink I’m fairly certain most people have made in the summer. Nothing better than a freshly made frapp√© (I’m convinced no one actually uses this word) on a summer’s day, amiright? Until this summer, I’ve always made frozen hot chocolate the same way: put cooled hot chocolate in the blender with ice. It’s always tasted decent, but never full on chocolatey like I’m looking for. Well, I was watching the Food Network the other night (because, as I’ve said before, it’s one of my favorite pastimes) and Alton Brown did something brilliant. He FROZE the hot chocolate in ice cube trays. The chocolate was the ice. I seriously got way too excited. So that’s what I did. And it works. The secret is to make the hot chocolate quite a bit stronger than you’d prefer, then when blending it with milk the flavors perfectly even out. This is the best way to make use of all that hot chocolate mix that’s been sitting in your cabinet for six months! You know you have some. (When creating the hot chocolate ice cubes, I used full on cocoa powder and sweetened it myself, but if you’re using a pre-mixed powder, just add several tablespoons more than recipe calls for)

After succeeding with the chocolate version, I went on to create two more frozen recipes, for Frozen Coffee and Mocha! Yes. Yum.

Frozen Chocolate (serves about 3-4)

– 8 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder (this one is great, so is this; those are Amazon links but you can get them at pretty much any supermarket)

– 4 rounded tbsp. sugar

– 4 cups + another 2 or 3 cups 2% milk (I’ll explain later)

Mix cocoa and sugar together and set aside. Place 4 cups milk in a saucepan, add cocoa mixture and stir until combined (it helps to mix 1/2 of the milk in with the cocoa mixture and then add that to the remaining milk on the stove for less lumps!) Heat on medium low, stirring constantly until steaming. Let the mixture cool for 10 minutes or so, then pour into ice cube trays. Freeze a few hours or overnight and then place cubes (one tray at a time) in a blender along with the additional 2 or 3 cups of milk and blend until desired consistency! Garnish with a toasted marshmallow and graham cracker!

Frozen Coffee (serves about 3-4)

– 4 cups strong coffee (espresso actually works great)

Р4 rounded tbsp. sugar (optional)

– 4 cups milk

Pour the slightly cooled coffee (with sugar mixed in if using!) into ice cube trays. Freeze a few hours or overnight and then place cubes (one tray at a time) in a blender along with milk and blend until desired consistency! This is the greatest thing to take on a commute into work: no chance of spilling hot coffee all over yourself while on the train or in the car (sadly, both have happened to me. Comes with the territory of being a caffiend I suppose..)

Frozen Mocha (serves about 3-4)

– 8 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder

– 4 rounded tbsp. sugar

– 4 cups 2% milk

– 2-3 cups strong coffee or espresso

Follow the Frozen Chocolate recipe. Place chocolate cubes (one tray at a time) in a blender along with the slightly cooled coffee and blend until desired consistency! Garnish with chocolate covered espresso beans!

vsco_3¬†What’s that black thing in the sugar you ask? Why, vanilla infused sugar of course! Who’s fancy? This girl.

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Desserts

forty eight

Mini Post: Banana Graham Pudding Parfait

This mini post is going to be a life saver to you someday, I almost guarantee it. You got a last minute invite to a potluck dinner party and were explicitly told to bring dessert. You search in your freezer for an unopened container of ice cream (as if), you look in the cabinets for a bag of cookies that aren’t yet stale (no luck), but you do happen upon three boxes of instant pudding. Now, you probably bought these nine months ago becuase the box was retro looking and they were 79 cents each, and you almost throw them out every time you look on that shelf, but the¬†expiration date says 2016 so you never do. I’m pretty sure this will happen to you if it hasn’t already (if the former, you’ll appreciate a use for those boxes. If the latter, you should probably go out and buy some pudding). This is a dessert that, depending on how instant your pudding mix is, could take all of 15 minutes to put together. AND you probably won’t have to go the store to buy extra ingredients. Just in case anyone hasn’t noticed this about me, I don’t like going to the grocery store if I’m suddenly in the mood to cook. Artists don’t have time to go out and buy paint if inspiration hits!!!! (lol guys that happened forgive me I know I’m not an artist) But #srsly, if I ever get a cookbook deal at least a whole chapter, if not the whole book, will be based around a master list of groceries one should always have on hand so they don’t have to go to the store all the time! IT. WILL. HAPPEN.

 

Parfaits (makes about 3-4 depending on how big you go)

– 1 box instant pudding (chocolate or vanilla, you pick)

– 1 banana

– 4 graham cracker’s worth of crumbs

– mini chocolate chips and/or chopped nuts

Cook the pudding according to the directions on the box. Let cool completely and then layer into parfait cups along with banana slices, graham crumbs, chocolate chips, and nuts. Continue for as long as you can. Top with crumbs! Boom! Lightning fast dessert!

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(Had to share this. However, as adorably retro as this box is, I’m not sure the My*T*Fine was chocolately enough for me. I recommend Jello brand.)

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Desserts, DIY

forty seven

Almost-Cookie Jar

This post is a DIY and a recipe! One of my favorite things to give for gifts are homemade baked goods. It’s an almost foolproof gift idea: they will definitely be delicious, they will not break your bank account, and there is no way the receiver will want to return them for a trendier sweater or store credit and risk ruining a great relationship because you don’t know what the appropriate monetary equivalent of your friendship is!! This is also a great gift for a friend who is far away, which was my reason for making this particular Almost-Cookie Jar.

The Almost-Cookie Jar contains all the dry ingredients one would need to make cookies; it’s the jar receiver’s job to add all the wet ingredients, spoon the cookies out, bake, and eat! Just make sure, jar makers, to include full ingredient list and baking instructions.

 

Jar

– 1 quart mason jar (I found one at a craft store for $1.50! How great is that??)

–¬†1 1/3 cup all purpose flour

– 1 tsp baking powder

– 1 tsp baking soda

– 1/4 tsp salt

– 1 cup cooking oats

– 1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Р1/2 cup packed brown sugar

– 1/2 cup granulated sugar

– 1/3 ‚Äď 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, pecans, or almonds

To assemble: Carefully measure out all ingredients and layer them in this order in the jar, making sure to pack everything in.

First: flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt
Second: oats
Third: chocolate chips
Fifth: brown sugar
Sixth: granulated sugar
Seventh: chopped nuts

Put the top on the jar and cover it with a square of cute fabric and tie with ribbon or string.

Attach the following info along with the ingredient list: Stir the contents of this jar together in a large mixing bowl. Add 1 slightly beaten egg, 1/2 cup melted butter, and 1 tsp vanilla extract. Mix wet ingredients into dry ingredients. Roll the cookies into balls and bake on a parchment covered cookie sheet for about 10 minutes at 350 degrees. Yum!

 

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