I make this using almost exclusivity raw ingredients, especially raw nuts which give it it's creamy and rich consistency. As it is a rich desert, I have found a small square is decadent and filling enough for adult and child alike.
1½ cup nuts (almonds/walnuts)
½ unsweetened coconut
¼ cup dates (high quality medjool) or soaked store brand
dash of salt
1⅔ cup dates
½-2/3 cup cashews
½ tsp vanilla
2 tbl. coco powder
chocolate chips (optional)
Line a mini cake pan or round bowl with parchment or plastic wrap, enough to come up and over the completed pie.
In the food processor or high speed blender, blend the nuts, coconut, salt and ¼ cup dates. You want a crumbly, sand like consistency; the date will act as the binder. You should be able to squish it into a ball and it holds it's shape. Add dates one at a time until the right consistency.
When ready, press into the bottom of your pan or bowl.
Blend all ingredients until smooth and you're able to make into a test ball. Taste tester : ) Adjust more cocoa powder etc. if needed. (Add chocolate chips at the very end-if using).
Press evenly onto the top your crust layer. Lay the extra plastic wrap over the top and smooth it.
Refrigerate to help firm.
Thirty minutes to one hour before ready to serve, use plastic wrap to lift out of pan and peel off.
To taste like actual dough, get good quality dates like Medjool. I've tried Sun-made and Amport "chopped dates" and they didn't work quite as well, but still tasted good. The high quality get processed very smooth and become like brown sugar whereas the Amport and Sun-maid remain a bit chunky. I buy good quality Medjool dates at Costco in the produce section, usually by the pineapples and melons.
200 g (1⅔ cups) good quality pitted Medjool dates
75 g (1/2-2/3 cups) cashews (raw, organic, unsalted are best)
½ tsp vanilla
½ cup oats
sprinkle sea salt
handful chocolate chips
almond milk (if needed)
In the food processor, blend the dates, cashews, and vanilla.
Add the oats, sea salt and chocolate chips and give a final whirl to stir in.
(If too dry add a almond milk by the teaspoon).
Form into balls (or eat with a spoon right out of the bowl like real cookie dough)....
PB2 is a 100% natural powdered peanut butter-or peanut flour. The creators: Bell Plantation, squeeze the oil out of the peanuts, taking 85% of the fat and calories with it. You just mix it with water to get a similar consistency and taste as peanut butter. It’s pretty tasty but not quite as thick and textured as the natural almond and peanut butter we eat. It’s really good for adding peanut butter flavor to baked goods and DELICIOUS in protein shakes. You can order it off their website or search for stores that sell it near you. My gym, Old Town Athletic Club, recently started selling jars of it as well as using it in their protein shakes.
I created these cookies after playing with a hodgepodge of recipes. I took the second-try-batch (minus 1 for the hubby) to women’s bible study and they were scarfed with great gusto…even the slightly over-crisp ones!
Makes about 2 dozen
1/2 c brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4-1/2 cup honey (depending on how sweet you like)
1/4 c water
1 c PB2
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
Peanuts for garnish (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Add all ingredients through flour. Mix in standing mixer until creamy and fully combined. Taste, add more honey if needed. Add flour slowly until fully combined. Use 2 spoons to drop tablespoon size dough balls on cookie sheet. Bake about 12 minutes, rotating pans halfway through.
Mom had two of her usual cookie choices for the company to have during the week….Dark Chocolate Chocolate Chip Toffee and Chocolate Chip. The end of the week we did some more baking to take to Grandpa on the Farm and to freeze for Dad’s hunting trip in September. We made two more of Mom’s specialties (she isn’t crowned the Cookie Queen for nothing!), Ranger Cookies, Oatmeal Raisin and decided to make something new…
As many of you may know, I got my start in the kitchen baking with my mom the Cookie Queen. I remember sitting on the counter next to the Kitchenaid and pouring in the chocolate chips and oats for the queen mother’s most famous and my favorite, chocolate chip cookie recipe.
This particular recipe was (most likely still is) my brother’s favorite. Since I hadn’t made them in quite a while I called mom and ended up chatting for 30 minutes about the tweaks of different flours, fats, and other ingredients we both experiment with. It’s these phone calls and emails about ingredients, recipes (and chocolate) as we both gaze at our red Kitchenaid mixers that keep the gap of Virginia to Montana not quite so wide….
If you’ve never had the joy of owning a lab, let me explain their fondness for eating anything and everything they can get their grubby little paws on. My in-laws still proudly talk about their “grandpups” devouring an entire watermelon, rind and all. So it should come as no surprise that Sadie, our 9 year old black lab, ate what we could only assume was chicken scented styrofoam smuggled from the trash based on the “evidence”.
This isn’t our first rodeo with a sickly lab, so I went straight to the BRAT diet, cooking up chicken broth infused white rice. I knew something was very wrong when she didn’t want anything to do with it, so after a scary trip to the PetER, prayers, testing, an IV, prodding, 2 bottles of medication and 4 hours later… we were instructed to revert to Plan B; lowfat cottage cheese and rice + pills after fasting for 24 hrs. I asked the husband to stop at Wegman’s on his way home from work and pick up a large low-fat cottage cheese to remedy “the situation”. To his credit he doesn’t usually venture to the grocery on his own, and yes Wegman’s branding on their products looks similar…however, that doesn’t change the fact that Fat Free Sour Cream is NOT a valid substitute for cottage cheese. So now I have a sick, hungry dog and a quart of sour cream. Sadie groans at my feet.
I refuse to waste food, so when the husband accidentally gets me sour cream, I lovingly decide to create something with it. Luckily I also had 2 excuses to bake; a bakesale fundraiser for Rainbow Therapeutic Riding and my father-in-laws birthday visit.
Sour Cream Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
Makes about 2 1/2 dozen cookies.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
1/2 cup fat free sour cream
1/4 cup butter (or Earth Balance buttery stick)
3/4 cup brown sugar Cream in mixing bowl
1/4 cup organic pure cane sugar
1/4 cup milk Add, mix well
1 tsp. vanilla
3 cups old fashioned oatmeal
1 cup flour (ground soft white wheat)
1 tsp. salt Add, mix well
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
1/3-1/2 cup raisins
Use a cookie scoop to place about a dozen cookies on stainless steel cookie sheet. Bake about 14 minutes or until the edges and bottom begin to crisp. Cool on sheet 2 minutes, remove to cooling rack using metal spatula. (Yummy warm and cooled : )
Lemon Sour Cream Cake with Fluffy Whipped Buttercream
Because of the sour cream, this makes a somewhat dense and slightly chewy cake. If you prefer a lighter, less dense crumb, use 8 tablespoons of butter cut into 8 pieces, and beat into the mixture one piece at a time before adding the e
gg mixture. *I borrowed ideas and parts of recipes like the yellow cake recipe from “Baking Illustrated” by the Editors of Cook’s Illustrated and America’s Test Kitchen to create this.
Makes one 2 layer, 6″ cake: Serves 5-6
Frosting must be made about 6 hours ahead of time.
Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat to 350 degrees.
Spray 2 mini 6″ pans (or you could try doubling the recipe and do two 8″ or 9″ pans).
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup fat free sour cream
zest of 2 lemons Beat with a fork in a small bowl
1 tbl. fresh lemon juice
2 tsp. local honey
3/4 cup + 2 tbls. cake flour
1/2 cup organic cane sugar
1 tsp. aluminum free baking powder Combine in the bowl of a standing mixer. Beat
1/4 tsp. baking soda at the lowest speed to blend, about 30 seconds.
1/3 tsp. salt
Stop the mixer and add the egg/sour cream mixture from the small bowl. Mix at the lowest speed until incorporated, 5-10 seconds. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Stop the mixer, scrap the sides and bottom of the bowl with a spatula. Beat until thoroughly combined.
Divide the batter evenly between the 2 cake pans; spread to the sides of the pan and smooth with rubber spatula. Bake until tops of cake are light golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 15-20 minutes.
After cooling on a rack for 10 minutes, run a knife around the pan to loosen, invert on a plate and flip back onto the rack. Cool completely before frosting.
Whipped Lemon Buttercream
4 egg whites1/2 cup sugar
Combine in the bowl of a standing mixer; set the bowl over a saucepan of barely simmering water, making sure the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl. Whisk constantly until the mixture is opaque and warm to the touch and is 120 degrees on a thermometer (about 2 minutes). (Just note 120 degrees is may not be hot enough to kill any bacteria in the eggs). Beat the whites at medium-high speed until barely warm, glossy and stickey, about 7 minutes.
1 1/2 sticks butter (Earth Balance buttery sticks) softened but still cool and cut into 6 pieces
Reduce speed to medium and beat in butter one piece at a time.
2 tbls. lemon juice
Beat in the lemon juice, scrape down the sides and bottom, beat again about a minute.
Now I know it looks like a big curdled mess, but please please trust me and cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set aside at room temp. for up to 6 hours. We make this frosting a lot and for the first 4 times I thought there is no way THAT cottage cheese curdled mess will whip into anything….but it always does : ).
When you are ready, set the bowl in your mixer and whip that stuff until it gets super fluffy and airy, about 5-10 minutes. I don’t think its possible to over whip it (some bakeries do it for up to 30 minutes!), so keep it going unt
il you achieve the consistency you want.
Put a dab of buttercream on the plate, put one layer of cake down, dollop a bunch of lucsious buttercream in the center and use a rubber spatula or frosting spreader to spread evenly and over the sides, add your other layer and repeat.
Last step (I promise it’s worth it, don’t stop now!)
On a cutting board, zest 2 more lemons and put about 2 tablespoons of organic cane sugar on top, use your knife to mush all together into a yummy, crusty lemon sugar.
Sprinkle this all over your cake….
See how it glistens?
And if it’s your father-in-laws birthday, stick a Romeo & Juliet right in the center, fire it up and TA-DA!