A Very Hearty Cookie

It has been way too long since I’ve written on here. Way to long.

And the thing is that I have been concocting new things, from hummus to smoothies, but getting it all on here is the extra step I have skipped lately. Living in a post graduation world can be difficult, back home with all of my possessions in boxes, I day dream of new places as the job applying continues on. I am very optimistic about the fall, however. My imagination gets the better of me as I picture thousands upon thousands of fresh graduates storming the job market in June  like a pack of wild animals. With that in mind, waiting till the fall seems like a very smart idea.

During the summer wait I decided to get out of the 110 degree Georgia heat index and visit a friend in Canada. To no surprise I arrive at their hottest point of the season and didn’t see a temp below 90. Needless to say my story begins at the airport returning from my warm escape. I never have very good luck in airports, I hear it is hereditary for my Uncle has similar issues. My all-star moment was when returning home from studing abroad in France but I’ll leave that story for another time.

You can go ahead and guess I had lots of spare time on my flight home from Canada and was finally able to read Molly from Orangette ‘s memoir ‘A Homemade Life’. It was amazing. In every way a book centered around life and food can be. What I loved most would have to be the addition of ginger and dark chocolate in so many of her recipes. I have become quite a ginger snob lately, in my pantry you will currently find organic crystallized ginger, powerful natural ginger ale, ginger chews, mango ginger chews, the list goes on. When you need a boost though, or even as an after meal treat, the warm and spicy zing of ginger does the job nicely.

So when a cookie became in high demand a crystallized ginger and dark chocolate cookie was the highly approved result.

Personally I feel these lovelies should be called mounds instead of cookies. Thick, bready, not that sweet, and almost scone like they can be eaten as a snack, dessert, with peanut butter for breakfast……I can’t tell you the shelf life because they haven’t lasted more then a day and a half before my mom asks when I’ll be making another batch.

Crystallized Ginger and Dark Chocolate Mounds {Cookie}

Ingredients:

1 cup unbleached flour

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 cup oats

1/4 cup ground flaxseed

1/2 cup water

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1/4 tsp orange peel/zest

1/4 cup canola oil

1/4 cup milk, or almond milk

1/2 to 2/3 of a small container of applesauce (roughly 2-3 ounces)

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

splash of maple syrup

Large handful raisins

Large handful chopped crystallized ginger

large handful dark chocolate chips/ or pieces

I like to use a lot of dashes and handfuls when cooking. Exact measurements tend to be challenging because I will always want more cinnamon, oats, raisins or chocolate then any recipe will ever call for. So get a little creative when cooking and add something the recipe doesn’t call for! Cookies are great practice for this moment on the wild side. Once you have a basic dough the possibilities can be endless…

To start:

Mix the ground flax and water in a bowl and set aside (let this sit for a few minutes), I’m using flax instead of an egg, I’m sure either one would be fine. Then Mix all the dry ingredients together in a seperate large bowl except for the brown sugar. In the bowl with the flax mixture add the sugar, vanilla extract, oil, and milk then stir till combined. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir, then add your raisins, ginger, chocolate, applesauce, and splash of maple syrup and stir again. The applesauce helps add a natural sweetness along with making these ‘mounds’ extra moist.

Ignore the countless dirty bowls that now surround you

And scoop out the dough into roughly 12-14 ‘mounds’ on a sprayed cookie sheet.

Bake a 350 degrees for about 12-13 minutes. Let cool, forget your worries, then enjoy!

mmmmmm…ginger…

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JUMP for cookies

Get ready to rock your socks {…}

These cookies are amazing, and contain no butter or eggs. A ‘healthy’ chocolate chip cookie if you will. But to me it tastes like a brown sugar, peanut butter, maple, dark chocolate, sea salt, cookie of goodness.  🙂

The recipe is amazingly simple to go along with these tasty treats. Mix your dry, mix your not dry, then combine and bake.  You have no excuse not to make these and feel awesome about yourself. {recipe at end of post}

First mix together the dry:

Mix together the not dry:

Make sure you mash and mix up the peanut butter so all the wet ingredients are completely combined.

Then combine and mix. When everything is blended throw in the chocolate chips and form into balls.  Place on a sprayed cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes.

You can flatten slightly for a thicker cookie or flatten completely for a much thinner cookie. I chose a happy place in-between the two.

If you like before baking the cookies sprinkle a little sea salt and/or brown sugar on the tops of the cookies.  Salt especially is such a good flavor addition to a sweet snack.

These were absolutely delicious right out of the oven, which is when most of my desserts are eaten…, but if you can save a few they are even better the next day.

Recipe for JUMP cookies ~

1 and 1/4 cup whole wheat flour

about 1/4 cup packed brown sugar

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

1.5 tbsp chunky peanut butter {or nut butter of choice, any will work}

2 tsp pure vanilla extract

1/4 cup maple syrup

3.5 tbsp canola oil

as much CHOCOLATE as your heart desires

Dark Chocolate and Coconut Oat Squares

Did somebody just say ………. COCONUT{???}

COCONUT.

Yes.  Coconut.  It is amazing.  It is my weakness.

And these little babies are quite the perfect treat/snack for any coconut lover out there.

Dark Chocolate and Coconut Oat Squares

1/2 cup vegetable {canola} oil

1/2 cup sugar

1 egg

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp nutmeg

2 cups oats

3/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

1/4 cup dark chocolate pieces

1/4 cup raisins {optional}

Preheat oven to 350.  In a large bowl combine oil, sugar, vanilla extract, and egg.  In another bowl combine flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, and oats.  Add dry ingredients to wet and stir until combined.  Add coconut, dark chocolate and raisins {if desired} to the mix and combine gently.

You can then roll large spoonfulls into balls and flatten into a cookie like shape on a sprayed baking sheet {or use parchment paper}  I tend to not have much skill, or patience, in this department which explains why so many of my desserts are….squares.  I flattened out the entire mixture, baked, then cut into squares before cooling.  Bake for 6-8 minutes for cookies or around 10 – 12 for squares.

Squares or no squares.  Any way you have it, coconut is delicious 🙂

Dark Chocolate Pumpkin Bread

Happy Thanksgiving {!} everyone

Just because I thought the world could use a little more pumpkin right now…

Dark Chocolate Pumpkin Bread
adapted from Peas and Thankyou
1 cup unbleached flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ginger
1 tbsp ground flax seed
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl mix flours, baking powder and soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and ground flax seed.

In a smaller bowl mix sugar, oil, milk, vanilla, applesauce, and pumpkin puree.  Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix till combined.  Then gently stir in the dark chocolate chips.

Pour into a sprayed loaf pan and bake for about 40 minutes or until a tooth pick stuck in the center comes out clean.

I made the lovely mistake of placing it to high up in my oven and ended up baking it twice as long because nothing cooked the first time around.  Word of advice…look at the racks in your oven before cooking.  I blame this on my absence from the kitchen 😉

The bread turned out to be a perfectly moist and wasn’t overly sweet.  Perfect for any holiday meal 🙂

Next time I think I’ll add some raisins to the batter along with the dark chocolate chips….maybe a nut?  the possibilities are endless…

Hope you have a very tasty holiday

Dark Chocolate Pumpkin Granola

Good Morning {!}

And how can your day not be off to a marvelous start with this in your cereal bowl

Life around here has been a lot of catching up with old friends.  A lot of staying in pajamas for extended hours.  And a lot of pumpkin.  These three things pretty much will make up my holidays.

So I am determined to incorporate pumpkin into every meal…

Dark Chocolate Pumpkin Granola
adapted from the lovely Roost
3 1/2 cups organic rolled oats
2 1/2 cups puffed millet cereal
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup brown sugar [I used a little less for a less sweet granola]
1/2 cup canned pumpkin puree
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup local honey
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups chopped almonds
1/4 – 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
1 tbsp ground flax
cinnamon

Preheat oven to 325F

In a large bowl mix oats and puffed millet.  In another bowl mix together all spices, salt sugar, applesauce, pumpkin, honey, and vanilla.

Pour the wet ingredients into the large bowl of oats and puffed millet and stir until everything is evenly coated.  Spread on a sprayed baking sheet or one covered with a piece of parchment paper and bake for 30 minutes.

I tossed the bowl of chopped almonds with a few dashes of cinnamon and the ground flax seed.  After about a half hour turn the granola over a bit with a spatula then sprinkle the almonds on top and bake for roughly another 15 minutes.  Your looking for a light brown color, when the granola begins to get dark it has been in for too long.

Let the granola cool completely before tossing with dark chocolate chips and then sealing in an air tight container.

Served over cold and creamy plain greek yogurt and topped with a handful of golden raisins is pure bliss in your mouth.  What a way to start the day 😉

What is your favorite way to start the day {?}

Dark Chocolate Raisin Graham Cracker Bread

~ Dark Chocolate Raisin Graham Cracker Bread ~

One of my favorite desserts of the summer, hands down, is THE s’more.  The combination of crunchy graham crackers, melty chocolate, and gooey marshmallows ……… is simply one of the best combos out there.  When I found a recipe for a graham cracker bread I knew I had to try it.  So as my last recipe before departing for France tomorrow I give you:  dark chocolate raisin graham cracker bread.

Marshmallows could have been added for a more authentic s’more treat but I enjoyed the subtle taste of raisins and dark chocolate.  This bread is sweetened with only applesauce and honey so it isn’t over the top on the sweetness scale.

Dark Chocolate Raisin Graham Cracker Bread
adapted from Sweet & Natural
1 cup flour of choice
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 cup graham cracker crumbs [ground crackers of choice in food processor for crumbs]
1 flax egg [1 tbsp ground flax seed mixed with 3 tbsp water]
1/3 cup honey
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 cup dark chocolate chips  [can use vegan or carob chips as well]
1/4-1/2 cup raisins
Mix flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt together then set aside.  In a large bowl mix applesauce and graham cracker crumbs until well combined.  Add flax egg and mix until well combined.  Mix in honey until well combined.  Alternatively mix in flour mixture and almond milk, then finish with mixing in the chocolate and raisins.  Pour into a sprayed loaf pan [mine was 9×5] and bake at 350*F for about 50 minutes.

This bread was so moist and had just the right amount of sweetness.  Absolutely delicious 😉

What is your favorite way to eat graham crackers?

Banana Sandwich [wrap]

Banana.  Sandwich.  I mean wrap.

I don’t know why I haven’t tried one of these before..but have no fear, I am now on the flat banana bandwagon.  While perusing the grocery store isles the other day [I proudly admit that this is a favorite pastime of mine.  No shame]  I was glancing at dried fruit:  raisins, cranberries, apricots….and saw these. They are almost like banana tortillas.  Filled with creamy peanut butter and broken up pieces of salty dark chocolate.  A little dance was being done for this to say the least.

So this is my last weekend in Atlanta.  A friend of mine arrives wednesday evening.  I pack up.  And am then off for a quick hiking escapade in North Carolina before finally going home.  Needless to say there is a lot to be done and not much time for it to be done in.  The fact that I’m doing all this and leaving myself about a week to prepare for my 3 month stay in southern France should be a true adventure.

Number one on my to-do list is finishing a painting commission – from the moment I awoke I painted.  Painted.  Painted.  I didn’t leave my tiny room till 6 o’clock.  To not see sunlight or breathe fresh air till this time of day is criminal.  Ahhh.  Only a few more days…..

~

What’s your best solution to deal with stress/pressure/work-overload?

A Nutter Butter Ball Filled Day ~

For B-fast this morning I went with my own attempt at the ‘breakfast cookie’

I used a muesli and apple sauce base.

added vanilla extract and cinnamon

along with dried cranberries, flax, dried coconut, and a bit of chocolate hazelnut butter.  I left it in the freezer overnight, it was alright – definitely needs some further tweaking 😉  I ended up grabbing one of my almond butter coconut balls as well, they were AMAZING after sitting in the freezer all night.  Oh.  My.  Goodness.

Lunch:  Trader Joe’s all the way.

I was very surprised at how fresh the veggies were in this.  The spinach looked as if I just steamed it on my own stove.  I had to do a double take.

Please don’t judge me.  But for dinner was a another AB coconut Ball.  [<3]

And then some of TJ’s organic dark chocolate truffle.  What I will do in 2 weeks when I no longer have access to this store is beyond me.

This bar was beautiful.  Silky.  Smooth.  Par-tay in your mouth good.

~

This was snitched , I mean chopped..

Then sprinkled a top warm popcorn with dried cranberries and spices.  I like savory spices on my popcorn with sweet add ins…Am I alone in this?

A fellow blog The Couch Potato Athlete is doing a giveaway!  Click here to find out how to enter!

[free stuff=good-ness]

QUESTION:    What is your favorite popcorn recipe? And have you ever just eaten dessert for dinner?

I am a popcorn-addict.  I will eat it in almost any form.  It is a whole grain, right….and I obviously enjoy chocolate and peanut butter as my evening meal from time to time. 😉