This recipe is wonderful. It's short, sweet and no-bake!
Sometimes, I really just don't feel like turning the oven on. It may have something to do with the fact that my life revolves around ovens most of the time. It also may have something to do with my lack of time management skills coupled with my excellent procrastination skills. I'm always running behind on things.
These caramel candies (if you can call them that) come together in a snap. The great thing about them is that they set in the freezer in a matter of minutes, so you can leave them and forget about them if you want to. These things take care of themselves. There is nothing hidden in this recipe. The only thing you have to do with them is assemble, dip in chocolate (if you're into that), and devour.
I made a few different varieties of caramels. Some I stuffed with walnuts or pecans. Some I infused with peanut butter, crushed up gluten-free pretzels, and peanuts...you know, nothing too crazy. ;)
Play around with these! I would like to make different flavors in the future. The base caramel is a great canvas for any ideas that you might have. I mean, coffee beans? orange peel? candy canes? popcorn? You decide!
Date Caramel Turtles
Yield: about 24 caramels (approx. 1 tsp scoops)
I've been extremely busy this past month cooking and baking for everyone else (sometimes myself) and I haven't posted as much as I wanted to. I figured I should spend my down time to reflect on everything before the New Year approaches. This year has flown by for me, the up's and down's and everything in between have all happened in a bit of a blur. Whether or not this is a good thing remains to be seen, I guess.
I'd like to think time passing quickly is a sign of productivity. Many things have happened in the past year that I'm quite proud of. One of which led me to creating a satisfying sugar-free cookie that no one has turned down.
I often say that my baking recipes are "sugar-free", but they will still contain sugars in the form of natural, minimally processed sweeteners (maple syrup, brown rice syrup, coconut sugar, dates...). These peanut butter cookies are the closest things to "sugar-free" that I've ever made successfully. I don't mind baking with stevia sometimes, but I've never used it or any other sugar-free sweetener for a large batch of something for other people. This year, I mustered up the courage to try a different type of natural sweetener that I've had my eye on for a while now: monkfruit.
I received some sample products from Natvia Sweeteners to try not too long ago. I was immediately excited because I've always wanted to try sugar-free baking and never delved too deeply into it to see successful results. I have a bit more experience baking with stevia, so I'm saving that for a later dexay... However, I've always admired monkfruit extract from afar but never actually used it. I wasn't sure what brands to buy or how much to use...so, I procrastinated. Once I received the Norbu samples, I knew my time had come!
I used an old recipe from my favorite Better Homes and Gardens cookbook (where I get most of my recipes for baking) for the cookies. I veganized and de-glutenized the recipe, as per usual, but I also swapped out the entire 1 (!) cup of sugar/brown sugar that they called for and replaced it with a combination of coconut sugar and Norbu monkfruit sweetener. This proved to be a winning combination of flavor and mellow sweetness for this cookie recipe. Peanut butter cookies are usually rich in flavor and slightly salty (I use salted peanut butter because I love it; this is definitely not needed, though if you are watching your salt). I never could appreciate a peanut butter cookie that was too sweet. To me, peanut butter is something I want to actually taste if I'm baking with it. Too much sugar can ruin the earthy quality of the peanuts and also create a dry mouth, which is never pleasant!
So, I scaled back on the sugar for this recipe, added in some applesauce for softness, and recreated a family Christmas favorite for all to enjoy! (I hope you will too!)
Sugar-Free Peanut Butter Cookies
Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens
Yield: approx. 30 cookies
Oven 375 F.
Happy Holidays and Happy Baking, everyone! Please check back soon for more festive recipes!
From here on out (or until the New Year at least), I'm going to be baking my face off. Not unlike the rest of the year, December kicks me into high gear in the kitchen and my oven definitely gets a work out! My friends and family all receive baked goods for the holidays (whether they want them or not!) and as tokens of how much I love them.
I always try to bake different things every year to keep it interesting. There are a few things that I like to keep in my line up, however. There is never a holiday season without snickerdoodles, as far as I'm concerned! I will absolutely be posting another variation of my favorite cookie again soon.
I also try to always bake a bar cookie or brownie of some sort. There's something very soothing (especially during the hectic holiday season) about making a batter or dough and simply pouring/pressing it into an 8x8 pan. No rolling required! ^_^
I also love the ease of serving/cutting/packing these types of treats. Brownies and bars travel well, look great on their own (most of the time...), and ask nothing in return except for you to shove them in your mouth. There's no pretense. You really don't need to sit there and talk about how beautiful they are, because they're not. They look good because they taste good... If you ever see a brownie that's fancy, question it. Everything you ever need to know about a brownie is right there on the surface and inside. There's no need for fancy designs or garnishes on a brownie...unless you're talking ice cream. ;)
The inspiration for these brownies came from two things: my love of pumpkin cheesecake and my love for chocolate. Oh, and the third was my indecision of whether to make a pumpkin cheesecake or a brownie.
So, I compromised with myself and mushed the two together! Hooray for solutions.
I used the base recipe of my magic coconut brownies with a very slight modification (or two). I mixed some chopped pecans (in place of the shredded coconut) into the batter to compliment the flavor of the pumpkin and spices. I also love brownies with nuts in them. The nuts give wonderful buttery texture and slight crunch which is always nice with chocolate, I think.
I also added some dark cocoa powder to the brownie batter to make it more bittersweet. The mellow, earthy sweetness of the pumpkin cheesecake batter really compliments the dark cocoa. I could go on, but I think you should just make them already. =P
Pumpkin Pecan Cheesecake Brownies
Yield: about 15 servings
Adapted from Magic Coconut Brownies ; Pumpkin Cheesecake Recipe adapted from Post Punk Kitchen
Pumpkin Cheesecake Batter
Pumpkin Cheesecake Batter
This is my very first food blog! I post revised conventional recipes of foods that I hold near and dear to my heart. My cooking here is all gluten-free and cruelty-free, but full of flavor and comfort.