recipes

gingery baked apples

apples and liquid

4 medium-size, bright, full-flavored, and moderately tart cooking apples (preferably Empire)
1 1/2 cups applejack (or substitute unsweetened apple juice)
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

spice and fruit stuffing

3 tablespoons firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
3 tablespoons uncrystallized candied ginger, cut into small chunks
2 tablespoons goji berries or raisins

procedure

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

For the apples and liquid, cut a upside-down teepee core in the top of each apple. Pour 1 cup of the applejack (or apple juice) into the bottom of a 9-inch ovenproof baking dish. Place the apples, cored side-up, in the baking dish. In a small bowl, whisk the 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon into the remaining 1/2 cup applejack (or apple juice) and reserve it.

For the spiced stuffing, combine the brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, and cardamom in a small mixing bowl. Place the chunks of ginger and goji berries or raisins in the cavities of the cored apples, dividing the fruit evenly among them, followed by the brown sugar-spice mixture. Pour the reserved 1/2 cup cinnamon-scented applejack (or apple juice) over the filled apples.

Bake the stuffed apples in the preheated oven for 45 minutes, or until tender.

Cool the apples in the baking dish. Transfer the baked apples to individual serving bowls. Spoon some of the concentrated baking juices over and about each apple. Serve the baked apples plain, or with a dollop of yogurt.

creates

four baked apples

store

serve on baking day, or store up to one day in advance, refrigerated in an enclosed container

notes

◊ ground cardamon adds a rounded flavor to the filling but can be omitted, if desired
◊ if uncrystallized candied ginger is unavailable, pieces of ginger preserved in syrup (drained) can be substituted

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apple waffles

batter

2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
6 tablespoons evaporated cane juice raw turbinado sugar
3 large eggs
2 cups buttermilk
6 tablespoons plain vegetable oil (such as canola or soybean)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 medium-size bright, full-flavored, and moderately tart cooking apples (such as Empire), peeled, cored, and shredded (about 1 2/3 cups lightly packed)

finish

confectioners’ sugar, for sprinkling on the griddled waffles

procedure

For the batter, whisk the all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and sugar in a large mixing bowl.

Whisk the eggs, buttermilk, oil, and vanilla extract in a medium-size mixing bowl.

Pour the buttermilk mixture over the flour mixture, add the shredded apples, and stir well to combine, using a flexible rubber spatula or wooden spoon. The batter will be moderately thick and riddled with lacy apple shreds.

Carefully spoon 1/3 cup of the waffle batter in the center of each square of a deep-dish 2-square waffle iron, each square measuring 4 1/2 inches (the entire grid section measures about 4 1/2 by 9 inches). (The waffler recommended for use in this recipe is the VillaWare Uno Belgian Waffler 2-SQ, Model 2000.) Close the lid and griddle the waffles until set and baked through, about 2 to 3 minutes. The waffle griddling time is based on using an iron that creates thick waffles. If the your waffle iron has a setting, set the gauge to #6. Carefully lift each waffle onto a plate.

For the finish, serve the waffles freshly griddled, their tops sprinkled with confectioners’ sugar.

creates

five two-square (or ten single-square) Belgian-style waffles

notes

◊ ground cardamom can replace the ground allspice
◊ whisk the buttermilk thoroughly before measuring
◊ golden flax seeds (1 to 2 tablespoons) can be added to and whisked with the dry ingredients
◊ use the coarse holes of a 4-sided box grater for reducing the fruit to shreds
◊ never consume raw batter

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oat clusters

mixture

1/2 cup honey
1/2 firmly packed light brown sugar
3 tablespoons firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon coconut oil
1/4 teaspoon coarse sea salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup crispy brown rice cereal
1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup raw sliced almonds
1/3 cup raw sunflower seeds
1 1/4 cups natural, unsweetened wide-flake coconut

procedure

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Line a large rimmed sheet pan (measuring 13 by 18 inches) with ovenproof kitchen parchment paper. Film the surface with nonstick oil spray.

For the mixture, place the honey, light brown sugar, dark brown sugar, coconut oil, and salt in a heavy, medium-size saucepan. Stir to combine. Set the saucepan over moderately high heat, bring to a low boil, and simmer for 1 minute, stirring frequently. Remove the syrup from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract.

Toss the oats, brown rice cereal, pumpkin seeds, almonds, sunflower seeds, and coconut in a large mixing bowl. Pour over the hot syrup and toss well, using two heatproof spatulas.

Spoon the oat mixture onto the parchment paper-lined baking pan. Scatter the mixture to spread it out in an even layer about 1-inch deep, using a palette knife or small offset metal spatula.

Bake the oat mixture in the preheated oven for 50 minutes, or until set and golden. Avoid under-baking the oat mixture; it must be fully-baked to be crispy throughout once it has cooled completely.

Cool the crunch completely in the pan on a cooling rack. Break the crunch into small and large clusters. Store the crunch in tightly-covered glass jars or a large airtight tin.

creates

about five dozen clusters, depending on size

store

on baking day, or up to 2 weeks in advance, stored in an enclosed container

notes

◊ use a mild honey, such as clover
◊ natural, unsweetened wide-flake coconut, rather than the sweetened flaked variety, is preferred for its taste and texture
this is the crispy brown rice cereal used in the above recipe

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salted chocolate tea bread

dough

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 teaspoon salt, preferably fine sea salt
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
8 tablespoons (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into teaspoon-size chunks
1/2 cup half-and-half, plus 1 to 3 teaspoons extra, as needed
1 large egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
One 3.5-ounce bar Lindt Excellence “A Touch of Sea Salt” dark chocolate, chopped into small chunks
2 tablespoons cacao nibs (roasted, shelled cocoa beans)

finish

1 tablespoon sanding sugar (or substitute granulated sugar)

procedure

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Have a moderately heavy rimmed sheet pan (measuring 13 by 18 inches) at hand.

For the dough, whisk the flour, baking powder, cream of tartar, salt, and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Drop in the chunks of butter and, using a pastry blender or two round-bladed table knives, cut the fat into small pea-size bits. In a small mixing bowl, whisk the half-and-half, egg yolk, and vanilla extract. Pour the whisked mixture over the flour mixture, sprinkle over the chunks of chocolate and cacao nibs, and stir to form a dough, using a wooden spoon or paddle. Add additional half-and-half, as needed to bring the dough together. Knead the dough in the bowl with your fingertips until it comes together completely; this will take about 1 minute (or about 12 turns and presses). On a lightly floured work surface, form the dough into a plump 5-inch ball.

Place the ball of dough on the lined sheet pan. Cut a 1/8-inch cross in the top of the ball of dough (up to 1 inch of the rounded sides), using a small, sharp paring knife.

For the finish, sprinkle the sanding sugar on top of the dough ball.

Bake the bread in the preheated oven for 35 minutes, or until set and baked through. The baked bread will sound hollow when the top or bottom is tapped lightly with the handle of a wooden spoon. The top of the baked bread will be a ruddy golden brown color, the bottom somewhat darker.

Cool the bread on the pan on a cooling rack for 5 minutes. Slip an offset metal spatula under the bottom of the bread and transfer to another cooling rack. Cool completely. Cut the bread into slices, using a serrated knife. Store in an airtight bread or cake keeper.

creates

one bread, creating ten ample slices

store

on baking day, or up to one day in advance, stored in an enclosed container

notes

◊ the type and brand of chocolate used adds and develops the character of the bread
◊ the amount of half-and-half necessary depends on the absorption capacity of the flour and ambient temperature (including level of humidity) of your kitchen and the day

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fruit, nut, and seed bars

fruit, nut, and seed mixture

1 1/3 cups dried apricot halves
2/3 cup moist pitted dates
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup firmly packed sweetened shredded coconut
1/3 cup raw Brazil nuts
1/3 cup sliced almonds
1/3 cup pumpkin seeds
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt

finish

2 tablespoons natural, unsweetened medium-shred coconut (also known as “macaroon coconut”)

procedure

Line the bottom and sides of a 7 by 4-inch loaf pan with food-safe plastic wrap.

For the fruit, nut, and seed mixture, place the apricots and dates in the work bowl of a standard-size (not miniature or small) heavy-duty food processor (see important watchpoint, below, in notes) fitted with the steel knife. Cover and process, using on-off pulses, for 45 seconds to 1 minute, or until chopped in small pieces. Uncover, add the coconut oil, vanilla extract, and sweetened shredded coconut; cover and process, using on-off pulses, for 30 seconds. Uncover, add the Brazil nuts, almonds, pumpkin seeds, and salt; cover, and process, using on-off pulses, for 45 seconds. At this point, the mixture should be finely chopped and beginning to turn pasty and lightly oily. Continue processing the mixture, using on-off pulses, until the mixture is dense and entirely pasty, about 50 seconds longer. If the mixture is not thoroughly processed until pasty, it will not adhere to itself well enough and not cut cleanly following the 3 hour chilling time.

Using a firm palette knife, carefully scrape the fruit, nut, and seed mixture from the work bowl of the processor into a mixing bowl. Take up large globs of the mixture and transfer to the lined loaf pan, using a flexible rubber spatula.

Using your fingertips, firmly press the mixture into the loaf pan in an even layer.

For the finish, sprinkle the unsweetened medium-shred coconut evenly on the surface of the fruit bar loaf. Press the coconut to adhere. Cover the top of the mixture with a sheet of plastic wrap.

Refrigerate the fruit, nut, and seed ”loaf” for 3 hours, or until quite firm. Peel away the plastic wrap. Cut the loaf into 12 slices, using a sharp chef’s knife. Refrigerate the slices in an airtight container. Wrapping the slices individually before storing is a nice, though not essential, touch.

creates

one dozen bars

store

up to ten days in advance, refrigerated in an airtight container

notes

◊ important watchpoint: a standard-size (not miniature or small) heavy-duty food processor is essential for this recipe; using a blender or a processor with a lesser motor is not recommended and should not be substituted
◊ a sharp chef’s knife is recommended for cutting through the bars; a smooth (as opposed to serrated) blade makes the cleanest cut

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coconut slice

batter

5 cups firmly packed sweetened flaked coconut
1/3 cup natural, unsweetened shredded coconut
1 1/4 cups (one 14-ounce can) sweetened condensed milk
2 large egg yolks
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt, preferably fine sea salt
3 large egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

procedure

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Film the inside of a 9-inch round baking pan (2 inches deep) with nonstick flour-and-oil spray.

For the batter, combine the sweetened flaked coconut unsweetened shredded coconut in a large mixing bowl. In a small mixing bowl, combine the sweetened condensed milk, egg yolks, vanilla extract, and salt. In another small mixing bowl, whip the egg whites until foamy-soup, add the cream of tartar and continues beating continuously until firm (but still creamy) peaks are formed. Stir the whites into the coconut mixture in three portions, mixing carefully, after each portion is added. The batter will be creamy-dense.

Spoon the batter into the prepared baking pan, keeping the top rugged (that is, avoid smoothing over the top layer).

Bake the cake/confection in the preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until just set. The baked cake will be softly firm to the touch and the top will be spotty golden brown color (with darker flecks of flakes).

Cool the cake completely in the pan on a cooling rack. Cut the cake into pie-shaped wedges for serving directly from the pan. Store in an airtight cake keeper.

creates

one nine-inch cake, one dozen slices

store

on baking day, or up to three days in advance, stored in an airtight cake keeper

notes

◊ the combination of sweetened flaked coconut and unsweetened shredded coconut deepens the tropical flavor of the baked confection
◊ the presence of the egg yolks develops and builds the creaminess factor

 

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cashew-coconut spin

mixture

2/3 cup cashew “flour” (ground raw cashews)
1/4 cup natural, unsweetened shredded coconut
1 1/2 cups cold dairy-free coconut milk
1 cup coconut water
1 tablespoon honey, or to taste
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

procedure

Place the cashew “flour” and unsweetened shredded coconut in the container of a blender jar. Add the  coconut milk, coconut water, and honey. Cover and blend on moderately low speed for 1 minute. Uncover, add the vanilla extract and ground cinnamon. Cover and blend on moderately high speed for 45 seconds to 1 minutes, or until combined and frothy. Pour into serving glasses, and enjoy immediately.

creates

two servings, about 2 1/2 cups

notes

◊ one of my favorite brands of coconut water is this one (select the “100% coconut water” variety)
◊ you can use any type of honey that’s on hand, though my preference is for wildflower
◊ though others likely will create a beautiful beverage, this is the dairy-free coconut milk used in creating the recipe
◊ be sure to place the ingredients in the blender in the order stated in the procedure
◊ for specifics about using a standard home blender, follow instructions in the manual supplied by the manufacturer of the blender; do not attempt to blend any collection of ingredients not intended for use in a particular blender

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favorite soda bread

dough

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/3 cups white whole wheat flour
2/3 cup stone-ground whole wheat flour
2 tablespoons unprocessed Miller’s wheat bran (not bran cereal)
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt, preferably fine sea salt
5 tablespoons evaporated cane juice raw turbinado sugar (or substitute 1/4 cup granulated sugar)
5 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into teaspoon-size chunks
1 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons thick buttermilk
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk

finish

3 tablespoons old-fashioned rolled oats

procedure

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Have a moderately heavy rimmed sheet pan (measuring 13 by 18 inches) at hand.

For the dough, whisk the all-purpose flour, white whole wheat flour, stone-ground whole wheat flour, bran, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Drop in the chunks of butter and, using a pastry blender or two round-bladed table knives, cut the fat into small pea-size bits. With your fingertips, randomly reduce the pea-sized bits to smaller flakes (this should take no more than 20 to 30 seconds). In a small mixing bowl, whisk the buttermilk, whole egg, and egg yolk. Pour the whisked mixture over the flour mixture and stir to form a shaggy dough, using a wooden spoon or paddle. The dough will be dense. Knead the dough in the bowl lightly until it comes together; this will take 15 to 20 firm folding turns. On a work surface, form the dough into a plump 7-inch ball.

For the finish, scatter the rolled oats on a work surface. Roll the dough ball in the oats to cover the entire surface.

Place the ball of dough on the sheet pan. Cut a 1/8-inch cross in the top of the ball of dough (up to 1 1/2 inches of the rounded sides), using a small, sharp paring knife.

Bake the bread in the preheated oven for 50 minutes, or until set, baked through, and golden on top (the bottom will be a darker golden brown color). The baked bread will sound hollow when the top or bottom is tapped lightly with the handle of a wooden spoon.

Cool the bread on the pan on a cooling rack for 5 minutes. Slip an offset metal spatula under the bottom of the bread and transfer to another cooling rack. Cool completely. Break the dough into chunks, or cut the bread into slices, using a serrated knife. Store in an airtight bread or cake keeper.

creates

one bread, creating twelve to fifteen chunks or twelve ample slices

store

on baking day, or up to one day in advance, stored in an enclosed container

notes

◊ the combination of flours, plus a little wheat bran, creates a quick bread with an interesting “crumb” and rounded wheaty flavor
◊ use the thickest buttermilk available for a lush, velvety-pebbly texture

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scented corn meal breakfast cake

batter

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup fine yellow corn meal
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk
1 teaspoon orange flower water
1 teaspoon freshly grated orange rind
1/2 teaspoon orange extract
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled to tepid

procedure

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Film the inside of a  9-inch baking pan (2 1/4 inches deep) with nonstick flour-and-oil spray.

Whisk the flour, corn meal, baking powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar in a large mixing bowl. In a medium-size mixing bowl, whisk the eggs, buttermilk, orange flower water, orange rind, and orange extract until well-blended; add the melted butter and whisk for 45 seconds. Pour the whisked ingredients over the dry ingredients and stir to form a batter, using a wooden spoon or paddle. The batter will be lightly thickened and gritty.

Spoon the batter into the prepared baking pan,  smoothing it into an even layer with a rubber spatula or narrow offset palette knife.

Bake the cake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes, or until risen and set. A wooden pick inserted in the center of the cake will withdraw clean.

Cool the cake in the pan on a cooling rack for 10 minutes. Invert the cake onto another cooling rack, lift off the baking pan, then invert again to stand right-side up. Cool completely. Cut the cake into pie-shaped wedges for serving, using a serrated knife. Store in an airtight cake keeper.

creates

one nine-inch cake, one dozen slices

store

on baking day, or up to one day in advance, stored in an airtight cake keeper

notes

◊ using fine corn meal creates a lightly gritty, tender cake
◊ use fresh leavening agents for the best overall lift to the batter as it bakes

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fruit and nut bars

fruit and nut mixture

1 1/4 cups dried apricot halves
1 cup moist pitted dates
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons coconut oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup firmly packed sweetened shredded coconut
1/4 cup natural, unsweetened shredded coconut
1 cup raw cashews
1/8 teaspoon coarse salt

procedure

Line the bottom and sides of a 7 by 4-inch loaf pan with food-safe plastic wrap.

Place the apricots and dates in the work bowl of a standard-size (not miniature or small) heavy-duty food processor (see important watchpoint, below, in notes) fitted with the steel knife. Cover and process, using on-off pulses, for 45 seconds to 1 minute, or until chopped in small pieces. Uncover, add the coconut oil, vanilla extract, sweetened coconut, and unsweetened coconut; cover and process, using on-off pulses, for 30 seconds. Uncover, add the cashews and salt, cover, and process, using on-off pulses, for 45 seconds. At this point, the mixture should be finely chopped and beginning to turn pasty and lightly oily. Continue processing the mixture, using on-off pulses, until the mixture is dense and entirely pasty, about 40 seconds longer. If the mixture is not thoroughly processed until pasty, it will not adhere to itself well enough and not cut cleanly after the loaf has been thoroughly chilled.

Using a firm palette knife, carefully scrape the fruit and nut mixture from the work bowl of the processor into a mixing bowl. Take up large globs of the mixture and transfer to the lined loaf pan, using a flexible rubber spatula.

Using your fingertips, firmly press the mixture into the loaf pan in an even layer. Cover the top of the mixture with a sheet of plastic wrap.

Refrigerate the fruit and nut “loaf” for 3 hours, or until quite firm. Remove the loaf from the pan (with the plastic wrap still attached) to a work surface. Peel away the plastic wrap. Cut the loaf into 12 slices, using a sharp chef’s knife. Refrigerate the slices in an airtight container, with parchment paper separating the layers. Wrapping the slices individually before storing would be a nice touch.

creates

one dozen bars

store

up to ten days in advance, refrigerated in an airtight container

notes

◊ important watchpoint: a standard-size (not miniature or small) heavy-duty food processor is essential for this recipe; using a blender or a processor with a lesser motor is not recommended and should not be substituted
◊ unsweetened wide-flake coconut may be substituted for the shredded coconut (use 1/3 cup wide-flake)
◊ a sharp chef’s knife is recommended for cutting through the bars; a smooth (as opposed to serrated) blade makes the cleanest cut

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