Friday, November 18, 2011

Almonds Take the Cake!

It seems like everyone is in pursuit of the perfect milk substitute these days. Whether you are lactose intolerant, you are looking for something new and different, or you just don't like the taste of regular milk, you have probably tried soy milk, rice milk or almond milk at some point. 
Well in case you hadn't noticed, I love almond-flavored baked goods. So any recipe that combines almond milk, almond extract and almond paste takes the cake! Literally! These cupcakes are great because they are not too sweet, sort of like scones. They make me feel very British, like I should be eating them at four o'clock with my afternoon tea. 
Check out the almond breeze website for more recipes using almond milk!

Almond Cupcakes
Courtesy of Almond Board of California

3 1/2 cups sifted cake flour
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup Vanilla Almond Breeze®
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/3 cup sugar, divided
8 large egg whites, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 cup prepared almond paste, divided by teaspoonfuls and rolled into balls


Preheat oven to 375°F. Place cupcake liners in a cupcake pan.

Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt on a sheet of parchment paper. In a small bowl or measuring glass, combine Vanilla Almond Breeze®, vanilla and almond extract. In the bowl of a standing mixer, beat butter until creamy. Add 1 cup sugar and beat on high speed until fluffy. Add the flour mixture in 3 parts, alternating with the Almond Breeze Vanilla mixture and beating on low speed after each addition. Move this mixture to a large bowl.

Wash the bowl of the standing mixer, drying well to ensure no moisture or grease remains. Beat egg whites and cream of tartar in the standing mixer until soft peaks form. Gradually add remaining 1/3 cup sugar, beating on high speed, until peaks are stiff but not dry. Use a rubber spatula to fold 1/4 of the egg whites into cake mixture in the large bowl. Then fold in the remaining egg white mixture until batter is well combined.

Fill each cupcake liner halfway with batter and bake for 5 minutes. Remove from oven and lightly place prepared almond paste (teaspoonfuls rolled into balls) atop each cupcake, centered. Top with batter so the liner is 2/3-3/4 full. Bake until a tester comes out clean, 15 to 18 minutes. Allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, and move to a wire rack to cool completely. Prepare frosting of your choice (I used chocolate buttercream). Frost cupcakes and sprinkle with chopped almonds. Serve.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Time to pull out the Cinnamon and Nutmeg!

Molasses cookies, pumpkin cake, gingerbread. These are all desserts that remind us of the holiday season. Already, the malls are decking the halls, and the city is starting to hang Christmas lights on the trees along the harbor. For a healthy meal that stirs up that same holiday spirit, try this pumpkin pie oatmeal from Budget Bytes! Plus, you'll have leftovers for days!
1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin purée
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1.5 cups milk
2.5 cups dry old-fashioned oats

STEP 1: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, whisk together the pumpkin purée, brown sugar, eggs, vanilla, pumpkin pie spice, salt, and baking powder until smooth. Whisk in the milk.
STEP 2: Mix the dry oats into the pumpkin mixture. Coat an 8x8 (or similar sized) baking dish with non-stick spray. Pour in the pumpkin oat mixture. Cover with foil and bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes, removing the foil after the first 30 minutes.
STEP 3: Serve hot right out of the oven or refrigerate until ready to serve. Can be eaten cold or reheated. Top with milk, maple syrup, whipped cream, or nuts.

Allergens: Eggs, milk, gluten
Nutrition (1/8 recipe): 205 calories, 4 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 1.5 g monounsaturated fat, 1.5 g polyunsaturated fat, 49 mg cholesterol, 165 mg sodium, 454 mg potassium, 57 g carbohydrate, 7 g fiber, 23 g sugar, 7 g protein, 170% vitamin A, 4% vitamin C, 14% calcium, 20% iron,  20% copper, 11% folate, 27% magnesium, 126% manganese, 10% vitamin B-5, 36% phosphorous, 13% vitamin B-2, 26% vitamin B-1, 16% zinc

P.S. Try these great recipes too for... I've been busy this week :)

Monday, November 7, 2011

Baked Apples Revamped

One of my favorite snacks is baked apples, sliced up with a sprinkle of sugar or Splenda. But for when you want something a little extra special, this dessert works like a charm. In my mind, just the presentation makes it special, rather than a gloppy mess of brown sugar, oats and shriveled apple slices, you get a beautiful apple bowl overflowing with oats and a little bit of sweetness. 

Baked Apple with Crisp Topping
Adapted from Sunny Anderson
Makes 6 servings
3 apples
1 teaspoon lemon juice
6 Tbsp apple or pear butter
2 tablespoon all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons butter, cold and diced
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 cup oats, uncooked
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Cut each apple in half along its equator. Using a melon baller, cut out each side of the core, creating a rounded hole. Rub exposed apple flesh with lemon juice. Place 1 tablespoon of jam into each hole. For the topping: in a small bowl mix together flour, butter,brown sugar, oats, cinnamon and salt. Press this mixture on the top of each apple, covering jam. Place in a baking dish filled with about a 1/4-inch of water. Bake until top is golden brown and apple is tender, about 35 to 40 minutes.

Allergens: Wheat, gluten, milk
Nutrition: 170 calories, 4.5 g fat, 2.5 g saturated fat, 10 mg cholesterol, 14 mg sodium, 165 mg potassium, 38 g carbohydrates, 3 g fiber, 24 g sugar, 1 g protein, 4% vitamin A, 7% vitamin C, 2% calcium, 5% iron