Chewy Carrot Cake Breakfast Cookies

When I was little, carrots were my favorite vegetable. Now, I can’t really get excited about them. I think it’s because they’re so hit-or-miss – sometimes you get a really good one that makes you think about your vegetable rankings (what, you don’t rank your favorite vegetables? or favorite everything?), but sometimes you get one so foul tasting you have to spit it out and throw the rest away.  Is that just me? Couldn’t be.

I bought a few (3) carrots the other day and cut one up to eat with lunch. I ate it with our new house favorite almond butter – Barney Butter. While the Barney Butter is fantastic, the carrot just wasn’t doing anything for me. I didn’t want to waste the other two carrots, but I know myself and know I would eat them before they went bad, so I grated them and put them in a container to add to salads or sandwiches (it dilutes the carrot-y taste).

The next day as I was about to make some homemade granola bars, I stumbled upon this recipe for Carrot Walnut Cookies from Whole Foods and decided I had to make them instead. It was fate – I already had my 2 carrots grated in the fridge, just waiting for me to add them into this healthy cookie.

Stuffed with only whole grains, and sweetened with only fruit (no added sugar!), this is the perfect way to get some fruit, vegetables, fiber, protein and healthy fats into your breakfast. You could eat these any time of day really, but I think they’d be the perfect Easter breakfast before you spend the rest of the day stuffing yourself with candy.

Carrot Cake Breakfast Cookies
(adapted from Whole Foods)

1 cup raw unsalted walnuts
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup raisins
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
2 carrots, grated
1 apple, peeled, cored, and grated
1 ripe banana, mashed
1/4 cup orange juice

Combine walnuts, oats, and raisins in a food processor and pulse until finely ground. Transfer to a bowl and stir in flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and ginger. Add carrots, apples, banana, and juice and stir until combined. drop by rounded tablespoons an inch apart onto baking sheets lined with parchment. Press down lightly on each cookie with your fingers or the back of the spoon/disher to flatten them slightly. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes, or until the tops and bottoms are lightly browned. Serve warm. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days. They also freeze well.

Yield: 25 cookies

The one classic carrot cake ingredient missing from the recipe is coconut, and while you can easily add it to the dough, I decided to pour some warm, homemade coconut butter into the little bowl I made on top when I flattened them with the cookie disher.

They kinda look like little birds nests!

These are so quick and easy to make, and a wise way to start Easter or any day!

Leave a comment

Filed under Baked Goodies, Breakfast, Recipes, Vegan

Glazed Lemon Ginger Crumble Muffins

I think that we might travel a lot compared to other people. At least we used to, definitely. After we graduated from UK, Brett moved back home to PA for his job, and I found a job in Northern Indiana. We made it a point to go no longer than 3 weeks without seeing each other, so we would go on mini weekend vacations together to exotic places like Lexington, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Chicago, Milwaukee, and once to San Francisco. But most often, I ended up flying the 650 miles between us to Philadelphia (because really, who wants to go to Northern Indiana?). Between all the driving and flying I was doing, there were a lot of meals eaten at the airport or in the car on my way out of Indiana. I figured out all the best airports to have a layover in (Detroit and Charlotte), and the best exits to stop at for shopping (always at Trader Joe’s in Indianapolis, and the TJ Maxx across the street is the best I’ve ever been to), the cheapest gas, and the best food.

Starbucks is usually the most consistent place you will find while traveling. It’s consistently pricey, yes, and even more so at an airport or turnpike rest stop, but you know that you’re getting more thoughtful food than most fast food, and it’s about as common a travel option these days as KFC and McDonalds, but with far better options. While I rarely go to Starbucks outside of traveling, my standard Grande Soy Peppermint Latte is always thoroughly enjoyed while waiting out the inevitable flight delay.

The past few times we had Starbucks, they’ve had a Lemon Ginger muffin that is one of the best baked goods I’ve had from the chain. I’m not a huge ginger fan, but I’ve been on a lemon kick ever since I worked in the yogurt biz, so I was drawn to it immediately. It’s dense and chewy, with small chunks of candied ginger laced throughout the muffin. As all muffins go, the top’s the best part, with a sweet and slightly crunchy crumble topping. I’ve gotten it at least the last 3 times I’ve been at the ‘Bucks, and each time thought about how I’d like to make a similar muffin. I finally did, and a good thing too, because I can’t find anything about it online, and can only assume Starbucks stopped making it, along with my very favorite banana pound cake.

These muffins aren’t quite as dense and chewy as the muffin I remember, but a lighter, fluffier version that I can eat while sitting at home drinking coffee next to my husband, instead of traveling 6 hours to see him. I like that much better.

Glazed Lemon Ginger Crumble Muffins

Muffins:
1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup candied ginger
Zest from 1 large lemon
1 cup sugar
10 tablespoons butter, softened
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups plain yogurt (I used 1% fat)

Crumble Topping:
1/2 cup sugar
5 tablespoons flour
4 tablespoons butter, cold and cut into small cubes

Glaze:
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3/4-1 cup powdered sugar

To make crumble topping:
Mix flour and sugar together in a small bowl. Add butter cubes and cut them into the flour mixture with a pastry cutter or fingers, until it resembles coarse meal. Set aside.

To make lemon glaze:
Combine lemon juice and sugar until desired glaze consistency is reached. Set aside.

To make muffins:
Whisk together dry ingredients and set aside.
Finely chop the candied ginger (with a knife or with a food processor), leaving some larger chunks.
In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add vanilla and eggs, one at a time until just incorporated. Mix in the lemon zest and candied ginger.
Add dry ingredients and yogurt alternately, mixing each addition until just incorporated. Do not over-beat.
Pour batter into prepared standard muffin tins until 2/3 full. Sprinkle some crumble topping on each muffin. Bake on the center rack of  a preheated 375 degree oven for 22-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of one of the muffins comes out clean.
Using a pastry brush, apply glaze to each muffin. The hot muffins will absorb some of the glaze, so as the muffins cool, you can apply more glaze as desired.

Yield: 18 muffins

Leave a comment

Filed under Baked Goodies, Recipes

What We’ve Been Eating

Sometimes I have a stroke of genius and come up with an idea for something new to cook/bake all on my own. Sometimes I get inspiration from reading food blogs or eating other people’s food. Sometimes I just make exactly what other people make. Lately it’s been one of those times.

Monday night for Meatless Monday we had smitten kitchen’s chana masala. I added 2 diced & boiled sweet potatoes and served it over long grain brown rice with some Fage 0% on top. It was quick and easily put together with things I already had in the pantry. And it tasted really good.

Alongside that dish I made MamaPea’s Kale Sunshine Salad to rescue the dinosaur kale that was about to die in the crisper. We all need to eat more kale, and this salad is a great way to start.

Last night for dinner I made Ina Garten’s Perfect Roast Chicken. I rubbed it with sea salt and truffle salt and pepper and lots of butter, stuffed it with a lemon and head of garlic, and roasted it over more cubed sweet potatoes (we definitely get our vitamin A in this house). This was my second time ever making a roast chicken, and it really was perfect. Sooo moist and flavorful, from just the 5 simple ingredients. We don’t even like “chicken on the bone” very much, but judging by the minimal leftovers, I think we like it this way.

Note: I was so frustrated trying to get the bag of “stuff” out of the cavity – the paper bag kept breaking and I thought I would never get it out. I finally got everything out in about 5 “trips”, then I realized the cavity has a much larger entrance on the other side… duh.

When I asked Brett what kind of cookies he might want me to make, he said, “fluffy ones.” I knew exactly what I would be making – Jessica’s Fluffy Snickerdoodles.

Verdict – the whole plate was eaten for dessert. Delish.

After all of the recipe-following I’ve been doing, my brain was dying for the chance of some creative thinking. Luckily there was something I’d been wanting to try to make for awhile… and I think it was pretty successful! We enjoyed it for breakfast this morning. What do you think it is?

Leave a comment

Filed under What We've Been Eating

St. Louis is for Splurging

It’s not secret that we love us some ice cream. Even if my belly’s stuffed to the max, 99.5% of the time I could still eat ice cream. There’s always a little room for it to melt down around the cracks of all the other food down there. That’s how I think of it.

So today after lunch with my mom and Grandma (I’m in St. Louis while Brett’s on a business trip), we saw a new FroYo place open across the street from my Grandma’s house. I don’t think I’ve ever knowingly walked past a FroYo shop without getting a cupful. It would just feel wrong.

Blood orange, mango sorbet, and classic tart with bright red strawberries, blackberries, housemade sea salt caramel sauce, toasted coconut, and my absolute favorite FroYo bar topping, mochi. I was so excited about the mochi, the guy behind the counter said “You’re the only person who’s been in here that likes mochi.” Hm. More for me.

Then after going to dinner with my dad, sister, and future bro-in-law, I just had to go to my favorite local frozen custard shop.

Cardinal concrete – strawberries and chocolate shell pieces in yummy vanilla custard.

There’s nothing wrong with two frozen desserts in one day.

Tomorrow before my drive home I’ll have to stop by the only fast food place I can’t get enough of:

Lion’s Choice. If you’re ever in St. Louis, just go there. Trust me.

So what if we’re coming back here in like 2 weeks. I had to get these in now so I could eat at all my other favorites next time!

Leave a comment

Filed under Ice Cream, Quickie, Uncategorized

Update: Making Macarons

I last left you with pictures of macaron cookies cooling on my silpat. I was so excited that I had conquered what seemed to be the “toughest part” of making macarons (getting the feet!) that I took a picture, then immediately finished assembly and proceeded to stuff them all in my mouth. After reading countless tales of disastrous attempts making these delicate little cookies, I was happy to proclaim my first try a success, although they weren’t perfect.

Chocolate Macarons with Dark Chocolate Espresso Ganache Filling

I followed this recipe from Annie’s Eats exactly, since I found it to be the most user-friendly and confident of the recipes I’d found. I even made my own almond flour in my food processor, the blades of which must be getting pretty dull, because I did end up with a pretty lumpy flour. That’s why the cookies above are lumpy and not as smooth as picturesque macarons. They tasted delicious, but they weren’t perfect. And since it’s such a long process (you have to plan days in advance!), I put off trying them again.

Somehow I came across this post on Macaron Myths from Brave Tart, and it immediately empowered me. I wanted to try to make the cookies by her recipe immediately to see if it was really all true. You mean I don’t have to leave egg whites on my counter for 2 days? And I don’t have to wait an hour after piping before I could put the cookies in the oven? This seriously shortened the start to finish time on these things from 3 days down to 45 minutes. Finally, they were a cookie I could make spontaneously (which is how I like to bake)! I followed the recipe exactly, and ended up with these little beauties:

Vanilla Bean Macarons with Vanilla Bean Swiss Buttercream Filling

Smooth, speckled tops, and perfectly formed feet! Don’t look too closely at the filling… I still need work on my Swiss Buttercream technique (the problem was that my butter wasn’t at room temperature… I get impatient and can’t wait that long!), but believe me, this didn’t affect the taste one bit. These were addictively delicious and I’m so excited. No cookie can defeat me!

If you want a boost of confidence in the kitchen, and love delicate little sweet cookies in any flavor imaginable, try this recipe. I have so many different flavor combinations in my head that I’m excited to try next! What flavors would you like to see?

2 Comments

Filed under Baked Goodies

We’ve Moved.

We moved to Louisville on Friday. Our stuff doesn’t get here until Monday. Food this weekend has looked like this

and this

and this.

My stomach can’t wait for me to start cooking again.

Leave a comment

Filed under Quickie

They Have Feet!

I’m making macarons for the first time (when I should be packing!).  So far so good!

1 Comment

Filed under Quickie