Candy

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HELLO! I am not back from the dead, although it kinda seems like it around here. I took a pause…to work a bunch, to eat a bunch and, of course, to cook a bunch! What has changed?

The Changes

  • I’m a little healthier {I only ate 3 giant muffins this week and am no longer scared of a treadmill…sorta.}
  • I drink more water {not sure why I told you that}
  • My job title has changed twice {yes, twice in one week, actually}
  • I have a new fire for cooking and sharing with you {I’ve got to start blogging again because I almost blew up the microwave yesterday}

October is almost over, and there are 6 beautiful cans of pumpkin puree in my pantry, beckoning to be molded into a decadent, delicious creation. I have an assortment of organic squash and such to go crazy with, too. And, if you’ve poked around this space at all, I love to take a recipe (or 4 or 5) and merge them and healthify them, based on which ingredients are already in my kitchen. This pumpkin bar is a lazy woman’s approach to a traditional pumpkin pie. And I love all of that delicious, sweet filling but the store-bought crusts leave much to be desired. The shortbread crust and the nutty taste throughout more than make up for the quick, tastier version of a pie. Let’s go!

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Nutty Pumpkin Bars

Sitting on an almond shortbread crust, these Fall treats are sure to please even your nuttiest neighbors and loved ones during the season. Serve warm with English breakfast tea or chilled for a sweet snack. The best part? All original needs for cream are replaced with Coconut Almond milk, which gives an essence of tropical coconut to an already complex, warm pumpkin flavor. Party on your tongue! And, not, there not much to look at, but my job is making tasty stuff. You can pipe some buttercream or cream cheese frosting on them for pretty effect, if you like!

Makes 18 cupcake-sized bars or one 9X13 pan

Almond Shortbread:

1/2 cup almond slivers

1 cup (130 grams) all purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature

1/2 cup (110 grams) light brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Step One: Line/grease 18 muffin cups or a 9X13 pan. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a food processor, chop the almonds to a ground meal, then add flour and salt and blend. Set aside.

Step Two: In a mixer (or using your hand and a spoon), cream butter and brown sugar for 2-3 minutes, or until fluffy. Add vanilla and blend. Then, add flour mixture and blend into a dough.

Step Three: Press dough into bottom of muffin cups or baking pan. Bake for 15 minutes, or until semi-firm to the touch like a soft cookie (not doughy). While waiting for it to bake, make the pumpkin filling.

Pumpkin Filling:

2 large eggs

1 – 15 ounce can (425 grams) pure pumpkin (2 cups)

3/4 cup (165 grams) light brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1 1/2 cups (360 ml) coconut almond milk

Step Four: In the mixer, blend eggs. Add pumpkin, sugar, vanilla, and all spices and mix until blended. Lastly, add the milk and blend until smooth.

Step Five: When the shortbread is semi-firm, distribute pumpkin filling into the cups (3/4 full). Bake for 20 minutes, or until tops are slightly golden and pumpkin is firm to the touch (not runny or jiggly). Let cool for 5 minutes before running knife around the edges before removing from the pan(s).

Serve warm or chilled. Ice cream on top doesn’t hurt a thing.


Adapted from Source: Joy of Baking

HAPPY HALLOWEEK, LOVELIES!

~Laurel

80 calorie cocoa

Holy moley, where have you been!?

Just kidding.

I’ve been around, but just not here. And I have a fun little 10:00pm guilt-free treat for you!

80 calorie cocoa or hot chocolate, however you prefer to name it. Yes, it’s for real. Here goes.

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80 calorie hot cocoa

not too sweet, not too chocolaty. it’s warm, frothy, and perfect for a moment when all you want to do is devour that bag of chocolate chips in your pantry. breathe and enjoy.

1 cup unsweetened almond milk (30 calories)

2 TB Dutch process cocoa powder (20 calories + 4 grams fiber!)

1  1/2 teaspoons raw agave syrup (30 calories)

 

Heat the milk until nearly boiling…until hot, yes. Whisk in cocoa and syrup until blended. Sip and smile.

2 Apple Recipes

 Happy Tuesday!

I have embarked on the 30 Before 30 adventure (see the tab to see my updates), and it’s been a great challenge to fit in these little goals in between a hectic season at work and in life. 🙂 But it’s happening!

And there’s nothing more comforting, home-y and delightful on cold winter days and nights than apple treats. I have 2 for you today, and they’re not my original recipes but * of course * I modified them a little for you. One is TOO EASY, a dessert, can be made with FOUR ingredients, and is great for your family or a last-minute dinner party. The second is hearty, healthy and really delicious (ignore the word BRAN, one of the ugliest words in the English language, ha). This can be a breakfast food, snack or dessert and freezes beautifully for keeping on hand. Let’s bake!

Apple Pie Pull-Apart Bread with Vanilla Glaze
From The Comfort of Cooking

Yield: Makes 1 loaf (serves 6-8)

Ingredients:

For Apple Pie Pull Apart Bread:
Nonstick cooking spray
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg (optional)
1/2 teaspoon allspice (optional)
1 (16 oz.) tube Pillsbury Grands Flaky Layers Biscuits
1 medium apple, cored and thinly sliced


For Vanilla Glaze: (optional)
1 cup powdered sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons milk, any kind
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Step 1: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper and spray lightly with nonstick cooking spray. Mix sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg in a shallow dish and set aside.

Step 2: Remove biscuits from tube and slice each in half, creating 16 rounds. Coat each round and each apple slice with the cinnamon-sugar mixture and layer in the loaf pan, alternating biscuit rounds with apple slices. Begin and end with the biscuit rounds on the ends.

Step 3: Bake for 40 minutes, or until bread is fully baked throughout.


For Vanilla Glaze:
Step 4: Mix all ingredients in a medium bowl and drizzle over warm bread.

 
Eat with vanilla ice cream and an extra drizzle of glaze on top!


Apple Almond {Bran} Muffins
From The New Laurel’s Kitchen 

Bran. The word just sounds like eating cardboard. But these muffins are so not cardboard. You’ll want to grab a piece of cardboard to make a big, colorful sign proclaiming your love for these {bran?} muffins. They’re just that tasty…with a surprising orange flavor and filled with lots of apple-y goodness, these muffins will be a hit with all haters of bran. Serve for breakfast, a snack or as dessert.
Makes 12 muffins, easily doubles

Step 1: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine the following using a fork:

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
    So many apple bits inside!
  • 3/4 cup wheat bran
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons grated orange rind (or 1 orange)
  • About 1 cup chopped apple (1 medium apple)
  • 1/4 cup chopped almonds (or other nut)
  • No, I did not write a cookbook. But this is a fun one. 🙂
  • 1/4 cup raisins (optional)

 
Step 2: In a second bowl, combine the following:

  • Juice of 1/2 orange (eat the other half!)
  • 7/8 cup buttermilk or sour milk (skim milk + 1 1/2 teaspoons vinegar did the trick)
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar or 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1 tablespoon oil

Step 3: Stir the “wet bowl” into the “dry bowl” with a few swift strokes. Pour into greased muffin cups (at least 2/3 full cups) and bake for 25 minutes. Enjoy the bran.

Happy apple-ing!
Laurel

~Laurel~

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