Sunday, July 3, 2016

Nanaimo Ice Cream Bars: Baked Sunday Mornings

I miss baking with my Baked Sunday Morning friends.  I really enjoyed baking from the "Baked" Cookbooks.  My life has taken a different path lately...I am on the road to health and wellness and making baked goods every other Sunday is no longer something I should do.  I still do traditional baking occasionally when I have a special event of holiday to bake for.  Now my baking is vegan, refined sugar free and gluten free.  When I saw that Nanaimo bars were next on the list to be made....I remembered seeing a vegan Nanaimo bar recipe that I saved and wanted to no better time than now!  

There is no dairy, no refined sugar and no gluten in these bars.  I wouldn't call them low calorie, but I would call them healthy and DELICIOUS!

I used dates, walnuts, granola, cacao powder and coconut oil for the bottom layer.  Cashew cream is the middle layer and cacao powder, coconut oil and maple syrup made up the top layer.  You freeze these hey, that is close enough to ice cream for me!


Your traditional Nanaimo bar is delicious...I have made my fair share of them and if you would like the recipe you can find it here

I am posting the recipe I used to make these delicious and healthy bars below.

As Always...
Be sweet,

Raw Nanaimo Bars
adapted from Catching Seeds

Crust Ingredients:  
2 cups dates (soaked in hot water to soften if hard)
2 cups walnuts
1 cup granola (no oat granola...mine had seeds and coconut in it)
2 Tbsp of raw cacao powder
Pinch salt (I omitted this...the granola tasted salty enough to me)

Custard Layer:
2 cups of raw cashews (soaked 4-6 hours to soften) then drain
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 tsp of vanilla paste

Chocolate Layer:
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup raw cacao powder
2 Tbsp maple syrup
Pinch salt

Prepare a 8x8 baking dish by lining it with parchment paper you want a sling to lift out the bars.

Add all of the crust ingredients into a food processor and pulse until it is broken down into small pieces and begins to stick together.  You might need to scrape it down once or twice to make sure you get it all.  Press into the bottom of the prepared pan and set aside.

Add the filling ingredients into your clean food processor and process until it is silky smooth.  I had to add a little bit of coconut milk to get the desired consistency that I wanted only because I don't think I let the cashews soak long enough.  Pour over crust ingredients and freeze for 45-60 minutes until set.

Once the filling is set, put all your top layer ingredients in a small sauce pan and heat until just combined.  Pour over the bars and spread out the should harden up right away because the bars are cold and frozen...if not, just stick in the freezer.  Cut into 16 bars and enjoy!  Keep leftovers frozen.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Twix Bars (GF, refined SF, Paleo)

I have been itchin' to do another post...I have been absent for far too long!  
 I love to bake and miss my baking so I have been collecting lots of vegan, refined sugar free and gluten free recipes for some time now.  With and upcoming visit at work by the big wigs (I always make them something sweet), I decided to make them something healthy for a change.

While these don't really look healthy...they are, I promise!  Of course you don't want to eat the whole batch in one sitting (like I used to do!)  You want to just have one...and it will be difficult, because these are delicious!
For the crust, you use coconut flour, maple syrup and coconut oil.  The middle section is organic almond butter, maple syrup, coconut oil and vanilla. The chocolate topping is coconut oil, organic cacao powder and maple syrup.  Then you sprinkle some flaked sea salt on top, I also sprinkled some cacao nibs.  It went together very easily and took no time at all!

This is a great treat!
Be sweet
Homemade Twix Bars (paleo, GF and refined SF)

For the shortbread crust
•⅔ cup coconut flour
•¼ teaspoon kosher salt
•3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
•⅓ cup coconut oil, solid

For the caramel filling
•½ cup creamy almond butter
•⅓ cup pure maple syrup
•⅓ cup coconut oil, melted
•1 teaspoon vanilla extract
•¼ teaspoon kosher salt

For the chocolate topping
•¼ cup coconut oil, melted
•¼ cup cocoa powder
•2 tablespoons maple syrup
•½ teaspoon flaky sea salt

1.Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Grease a 14x5” tart pan or 8x8” square pan with coconut oil.
2.Combine coconut flour and salt in a bowl. Add the maple syrup and stir until fully combined and crumbly. Add the room temperature coconut oil and mix until a large dough ball forms, pressing out any clumps of coconut oil. I used my hands at the end to bring the dough fully together.
3.Press the dough into the prepared pan. Bake for 9-11 minutes, or until golden brown around the edges. Let cool completely.
4.For the filling, combine all of the ingredients in a small saucepan and heat until all of the ingredients are melted and thoroughly combined. Pour over the crust and let cool in the refrigerator until set before topping with chocolate layer.
5.For the chocolate topping, whisk together all of the ingredients and pour over the cooled caramel layer. Smooth evenly and sprinkle with flaky sea salt. Let cool until set. Slice into 1-inch slices, or 16 squares. Keep stored in the refrigerator.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Spraker's Pineapple Upside Down Cake

When I was a child, 
we had a neighbor that lived across the street, that made the 
most incredible pineapple upside down cake.  
She made it in a cast iron skillet with lots of butter and brown sugar.
She reminded me of Aunty Em from the Wizard of Oz. 

The crispy edges, the pillowy buttery inside and the sweetness of the caramelized pineapple were heaven on a plate.  
This is her recipe.  
I can remember the sweet smell and the taste 
like it was yesterday...and makes me believe that 
there is no place like home!

Be sweet

Spraker's Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Into a large cast iron skillet melt 4 T butter and I cup brown sugar.  Stir well until melted together.  Remove from fire and partially cool.  Place drained sliced pineapple 4-5 slices on top of butter and sugar and cover with the following batter:
1 1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup pineapple juice
3 eggs separated
2 t baking powder
1/2 t vanilla

Add beaten yolks to juice and sugar then add vanilla.  Whisk together the flour and baking powder and add to juice mixture.  Stiffly beat egg whites and fold into the batter.  Bake in moderate oven (350) for 45 minutes.  Invert pan on serving platter when still warm.  Serve with whipped cream.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Conversation Heart Cakes: Baked Sunday Mornings

Here I go again...trying to make a reasonably healthy version of a "Baked" recipe.  This time I was shooting for a gluten, sugar and dairy free version of these cute little valentine treats.  By Joe....I think I may have done it!

I substituted coconut oil for the vegetable shortening and butter, applesauce for the eggs, coconut sugar for the sugar, gluten-free flour for the cake flour and unsweetened almond milk for the buttermilk.  I decided to just leave off the frosting all together and use a little confectioner sugar sprinkle instead.  I also used organic cocao powder for the cocoa.

They turned out pretty well...a little too sweet.  I am new at using coconut sugar and I am not quite sure about the amounts to use yet.  They would be great with a little dairy free ice cream on them!  I am going to chalk this on up to a success.  Please go see what the other bakers did with this challenge.

As always
Be sweet 
Happy Valentines Day

The original recipe here.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Ugly but Good Cookies, Brutti Ma Buoni: Baked Sunday Mornings

 These light incredibly delicious cookies are quite possibly my most favorite cookie of all time.  Move over macarons...these are the bomb!

 I really hate to admit it, but I could eat an entire plate of these little gems.  These are meringue cookies with nuts added to them.  The 'Baked' version adds cocoa, pistachios and chocolate chips.  
Can you say HEAVEN!

 Easy and quick and no farting around trying to get 
feet or the perfect macaronage....
I adore these cookies!
Oh, and I don't think they are ugly at all!

You can get the recipe here

Be Sweet

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Cranberry Cake with White Chocolate Italian Meringue Buttercream

Here it is Christmas time again...the time flies so quickly anymore.  Christmas used to feel so far away when I was a child now it just comes so fast, it almost takes me by surprise.  I make a cake each year for our Christmas eve celebration with family and close friends.  It all started when my Mom wanted to have a little cake so we could sing happy birthday to Jesus.  And here it has become a tradition and my cakes keep getting bigger and better.

Here is this years 'Jesus' cake.  It is a beautiful white cake filled with a spiced cranberry jelly and covered with a white chocolate buttercream then decorated with sugared cranberries.  It was quite a process.

First you made 2 cake layers and then put them in the freezer so you could slice them in half.  While the cake was freezing, you made the cranberry filling.  It had cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves in it ...the house smelled wonderful as it was on the stove made it smell like Christmas.  The filling then needed to chill in the fridge overnight.  
So off to bed I went...on to day 2.

The buttercream was made first thing in the morning, then I sliced the cake layers and assembled the cake.  The cranberries were sugared and the cake frosted and then decorated.
I think it looks like a holiday!  I hope it tastes as wonderful as it looks! I will post a picture of a slice after we cut into it.

Merry Christmas To All!
Be Sweet

Christmas White Chocolate Cranberry Layer Cake
source:  Pineapple and Coconut


For the Cake
3⅓ c cake flour
4 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1 cup plus 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract or seeds from one vanilla bean
6 large egg whites
1 cup milk, room temperature (full fat NOT low or non fat)
For the filling
3 cups fresh cranberries
⅔ granulated sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground nutmeg
¼ tsp ground ginger
¼ tsp ground allspice
⅛ tsp ground cloves
1 cup cranberry jelly or preserves (I used canned jellied cranberries)
¼ c cranberry juice
For the buttercream
6 large egg whites, room temperature
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
½ c water
¼ tsp sea salt
8 ounces white chocolate, melted
1 ½ lbs butter, cut into pieces, slightly cooler than room temperature
For the sparkling cranberries
3 cups fresh cranberries
1 c water
½ c cranberry juice
1 ½ cup granulated sugar
1 cup organic sugar( larger granule sugar than regular sugar)
1 cup super fine sugar


For the Cake
Preheat the oven to 350 Deg F. Grease the bottom of two 9” cake pans with butter and line with parchment paper circles on the bottom only. Grease with butter again and lightly flour, tapping out any extra.
In a medium bowl sift together the flour, salt and baking powder. Set aside
Ina bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter on medium until light and fluffy. Add in the sugar and beat again for 2-3 minutes, scraping down the sides when necessary. Add in the egg whites in thirds, beating well between each addition. Add in the flour mixture alternating with the milk, ending with flour until it is barely incorporated. Add in the vanilla and mix on medium about 20 more seconds. Scrape down the sides and divide the mixture evenly amongst the cake pans. Bake for 30-35 min, rotating pans a about 20 minutes into baking, and test for doneness with a toothpick. Let the cakes cool in the pans for 10 minutes and then invert onto a cooling rack to cool for another hour. Wrap in plastic wrap and freeze until the cakes are very firm.

For the filling
In a saucepan combine 2 cups of the cranberries along with the rest of the ingredients. Bring to a simmer and remove from the heat as soon as most of the cranberries have popped open. Add in the remaining cranberries and transfer the filling to an airtight container. Chill completely. The filling can be made several days ahead of time. Bring to room temperature before cake assembly

For the buttercream
Place the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer and have the whisk attachment in place. In a high sided sauce pan combine the sugar, salt and water and place over medium-high head. Clip on a candy thermometer and stir the mixture until the sugar has dissolved. Stop stirring and bring the mixture to a boil. Once it gets to about 220 degrees turn the mixer on high to whip the egg whites to a stiff peak. Keep the mixer running but drop it to medium speed, and watch the temperature on the sugar mixture. Once it reaches 245 deg F remove the pan from the stove and carefully pour the syrup into the egg whites. Once its all in, bring the speed back up to high and whip for 5-7 minutes, or until the bowl feels cool to the touch. In the meantime heat the white chocolate in a microwave safe bowl until its melted. Let cool slightly. Once the mixer bowl is cool to the touch, add in the butter one tablespoon at a time, stopping to scrape down the sides when needed. Once all the butter is in and its fully incorporated, whip on high until the buttercream is light and fluffy. Add in the melted white chocolate and mix on medium until well combined. If frosting cake same day, leave the buttercream at room temperature. If not, transfer to an airtight container and keep refrigerated until ready to use. Bring the buttercream fully to room temperature and then mix on low to get it back to the right consistency.

For the sugared cranberries
Rinse the fresh cranberries and pick out any mushy ones. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
Combine the sugar, water, and cranberry juice in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. Don’t bring to a boil. Once almost at a simmer remove from the heat and add the cranberries. Pour into an airtight container and immediately refrigerate at least 4 hours if not, overnight. The longer the better the chance of the sugar sticking
Once they are ready, drain the cranberries reserving the simple syrup, and toss the cranberries with the organic or larger grained sugar. Let dry for an hour and then toss again in a smaller grained sugar and let dry completely. These can be made up to two days ahead of time

For Cake assembly
Take the frozen cakes and let thaw slightly. Cut each cake in half so you have 4 equal cake rounds. Place one with cut side up on a cake plate or stand .Lightly brush the top of the cake with reserved simple syrup from the sugared cranberries. Spread on a thin layer of buttercream, about ⅔ c, and top with some of the cranberry filling. If you want to pipe a ring around the cake edges to keep the filling from spilling out the sides, use a pastry bag with a small, ¼ “ round pastry tip and pipe a circle around the edges. Repeat with remaining layers ending with the last layer on top, bottom side up. Brush the last layer with the cranberry simple syrup.
Spread on a thin coat of the buttercream icing to seal in the crumbs. Chill until it is set. Once chilled, finish frosting with the rest of the buttercream, smoothing as best as you can. Top with the sugared cranberries and place them around the bottom of the cake. Chill again until ready to serve. Cut the cake when cold with a hot, sharp knife. Serve the cake at room temperature.

This is a great tutorial for Italian Meringue Buttercream!

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Not so "Whoopie" Pies: Baked Sunday Mornings

Brown Sugar Oatmeal Whoopie Pies with Maple Marshmallow Filling

I must have done something wrong, because these whoopie pies had a really funny taste to them...not a delicious oatmeal cookie taste at all.  My marshmallow filling was really hard to work with and quite goopy.  
I guess I struck out on this one!  Not my favorite 'Baked' goodie.
Oh well...better luck next time *sigh*
  Next up for the Baked group is an Italian cookie, Brutti Ma Buoni...
sounds like it is more up my alley!  We shall see!

Until then...
Be Sweet