Honeyed Almond Tart

Hello, everyone! I’m back. Finally… I’ve been so busy with writing and editing my book that it has taken a toll on my baking. I have a whole slew of recipes to add. I’ll begin with this yummy and super simple almond tart.

 

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I found the recipe on David Lebovitz’s website. It is extremely simple to make and incredibly delicious. I made mine without the egg (by mistake), and it was delicious and held together. In our world where everyone is allergic or intolerant to something, this dessert is great because it can easily become a vegan option (you just have to replace the butter with margarine).

 

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Sweet Crust
½ cup almond powder
¾ cup + 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
3 tbsp sugar
¼ tsp salt
90 g butter, chilled and cubed
2 tbsp cold water

 

1. Preheat the oven to 400ºF or 200ºC.
2. Line a round baking pan with parchment.
3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix the almond powder, flour, sugar, and salt. Add the butter and whisk until crumbly. Pour in the water and whisk until it just comes together. Ball up and press onto the parchment.
4. Bake for 12 minutes or until golden.
5. Remove from oven but it keep the oven on.

 

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Caramelized Almond Topping
60 g salted butter
¼ cup brown sugar
2 tbsp liquid honey
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup raw sliced almonds

 

1. While the dough is baking, make the topping by melting the butter, sugar, and honey in a saucepan until the sugar has dissolved (1-2 minutes).

2. Remove from the heat, and add the vanilla extract and the sliced almonds. Stir until the nuts are perfectly coated with the honey caramel.

3. Scrape the mixture onto the baked crust. Spread evenly.

4. Bake for 12 minutes until the whole tart is golden.

5. Let cool before slicing.

 

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The Life Bread

It’s a bit of a stretch calling this loaf, bread. It’s more of a dense mixture of nuts and seeds held together by this magical ingredient called psyllium husk. I will not go into any detail about it because the author of the recipe I based my bread on did just that in her post, The life-changing loaf of bread.

 

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I eat most of my bread with peanut butter or cheese so I left out the 3 tbsp of oil she adds to her recipe. I also left out the maple syrup. Maple syrup is delicious, but not necessary if you don’t want any added sugar.

I have made this bread so many times that I have experimented with a variety of combinations of nuts and seeds. My favorite was sunflower seeds + pumpkin seeds + dried cranberries.

Slice and toast for the most fragrant, wholesome, and delicious cracker.

 

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Makes 1 loaf

1 ½ cups water
1 cup sunflower seeds
¼ cup flax seeds
½ cup hazelnuts or pecans or pumpkin seeds
1 ½ cups rolled oats
2 tbsp chia seeds
¼ cup psyllium seed husks
1 tsp fine grain sea salt

½ cup cranberries or raisins (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 350 F or 180 C and toast the sunflower seeds and hazelnuts (or other nut of your choosing). Bake until golden and fragrant.

2. Pour them into a large bowl and mix in the rest of the ingredients.

3. Place the mixture in a silicone loaf pan and let sit at room temperature for about an hour. The uncooked bread will stick together even when you push away the sides of the mold.

 

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4. Bake at 350 F or 180 C for 20 minutes. Then turn your bread onto a baking sheet and slip off the mold. Cook for another 40 minutes.

5. Slice only when cooled so that it doesn’t fall apart.

 

This is the version with pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and cranberries.

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Coconut Almond Honey Brittle

I found this recipe on the website www.feastingathome.com. It is just incredible. I’d never made caramel using honey before, but now that I have, I am never making caramel with sugar.

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To make caramel with honey, you have to simmer the honey to 255 F or 120 C. So the only thing you really need for this recipe is a candy thermometer. They’re super practical to have around the kitchen. You can’t make fluffy marshmallows without a thermometer, nor real Italian meringue.

If you don’t already have one, I strongly suggest you get one with a timer. It beeps as soon as your mixture reaches the ideal temperature.

 

Makes 8-10 bars (but feels like less when your sister-in-law spends the day at your house)

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Ingredients

2 cups of almonds

1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes

½ cup honey

¼ cup water

1 tsp vanilla extract

½ tsp fleur de sel

1 cup puffed cereal, unsweetened

2 tbsp chia seeds

 

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F or 180 C. Place almonds and coconut flakes in an even layer and bake until golden (8-10 minutes).
  2. Line a square mold with parchment paper and set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, mix toasted nuts, chia seeds, fleur de sel, and puffed cereal with a spatula.
  4. In a small saucepan, mix honey, water, and vanilla and simmer on medium-high heat until the mixture reaches 255 F or 120 C. As soon as the mixture reaches this temperature, take off the heat and pour over nut mixture. Mix until everything is coated by the caramel honey.
  5. Pour onto parchment-lined mold. Tear off a small piece of parchment paper and press down on the caramelized nuts until they form an even layer.
  6. Leave to cool until hardened, about 20-30 minutes.
  7. Turn onto a cutting board and chop in bars or in chunks.

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Homemade Maple Granola

I wanted to make my own granola. I inspired myself from other websites, but this is my very, very own recipe and I encourage you all to try it. The only downside is that you will be eating granola at basically any time of day since it is just that darn good.

On the plus side, this recipe is super fun to make with the children because all the ingredients are tossed together in one big bowl.

 

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Makes 10 cups of granola

 

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6 cups rolled oats

1 ½ cup wheat germ

1 cup pumpkin seeds

1 cup chopped almonds

1 cup chopped pecans

½ tsp salt

¼ cup maple syrup

1/3 cup wheat germ oil

1 tbsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp ground nutmeg

1 cup dried cranberries

1 cup chopped up dried apricots

 

  1. Preheat your oven to 165 c or 325 F. Take out one large baking sheet.
  2. Mix everything in a very big bowl with a wooden spoon.
  3. Pour onto baking sheet in an even layer and bake for 20 minutes. Stir. Bake another 20 minutes or until golden brown.
  4. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 months.

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Morning Pumpkin Loaf

I do not lead a super healthy lifestyle, but I do really love the taste of healthy food. This does not mean dry and cakey. This means flavorful and super moist.

 

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I decided that a spicy autumnal loaf would fit right in with the changing leave colors and the array of pumpkins all around me.

I don’t like overly-sweet cakes, so I reduced the sweetness of this loaf by ½ and used maple syrup instead of pure sugar.

Unlike most pumpkin loafs, mine has a banana. I added this to reduce the quantity of oil. Now, if you don’t like the flavor of banana, I would suggest not putting it in. If you do, though, you will enjoy how well it marries itself with the pumpkin.

You may use chicken eggs instead of flax eggs if you’re not vegan. 2 eggs should be enough. This does not change the calorie count.

 

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Serves 8-10

 

1 can unsweetened pumpkin (15 oz)

1 banana, mashed

1/3 cup vegetable oil

3 flax eggs (3 tbsp ground flax + ½ cup water)

2 tbsp honey

2 tbsp brown sugar

¼ cup maple syrup

1 ½ cup all-purpose flour

2 tsp baking powder

½ tsp salt

2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp ground nutmeg

 

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) and lightly oil a loaf pan.
  2. In a small bowl, mix the flax seeds and water and set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine the pumpkin, vegetable oil, banana, honey, sugar, and maple syrup and stir until well combined.
  4. Add the flax eggs and whisk well.
  5. Whisk in the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg, and beat until your batter is smooth.
  6. Pour batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake for about 60-65 minutes. A toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf should come out clean with just a hint of moistness.
  7. Let cool before slicing or removing from pan.

 

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Calories if you make 8 slices: 234 calories

Calories if you make 10 slices: 188 calories

Vegan Peanut Butter Cookies

No one eats vegan in my family, but sometimes, I think it does the body good to cut out all animal fats. These cookies started out being for my kids. They’re wholesome and have real fruit in them as well as peanut butter (which is probably my favorite thing to eat in the world).

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They’re very delicate cookies when they first come out of the oven and need to come to room temperature to be handled by children—or adults for that matter. It made the dogs in our family extremely happy. They’re unparalleled hoovers.

 

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Yields 20 cookies

1/2 cup margarine, softened
1 large banana, mashed
¾ cup brown sugar
1/2 cup (100 g) unsweetened peanut butter
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 cups oatmeal

  1. Preheat oven to 350 Fahrenheit and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. With a wooden spoon, whisk margarine, banana, sugar, peanut butter, and cinnamon in a large bowl.
  3. Add the oatmeal and the baking soda. Mix in the flour until smooth.
  4. Drop large teaspoonfuls of dough, spacing them two inches apart. They will flatten slightly and crinkle after they come out of the oven.
  5. Bake for 10 minutes or until your cookies turn golden.

 

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Bagels

A real bagel, with the chewy crust and dense dough is hard to find. Most are either stale or too compact, especially outside of the US. Bagels are not uber-popular in Switzerland and thus, finding a really tasty one with the right amount of grains and the right amount of chewiness is difficult.

I perused recipes online and found that this one is super easy to make. Bagels take a little time to make, since you have to poach the raw dough before baking it in a hot oven. Poaching makes the crust chewy, so it’s a step that must not be forgotten.

 

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Makes six to eight

 

3½ cups all-purpose flour

2 tsp salt

¼ tsp granulated yeast

1 tbsp honey

1 cup + 2 tbsp warm water

 

1 tsp salt

2 tsp baking soda

 

Mixed Seeds (I used poppy seeds and sesame)

Rock Salt

 

1. In a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, mix the flour, 2 tsp salt, the yeast, honey, and water. Knead on medium for 3-5 minutes, or until dough is smooth and tacky.

2. Roll dough into a ball and deposit in a large, slightly greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel and let proof (double in size) for approximately 2-3 hours.

3. Line a baking sheet with a silicone mat or with parchment paper. Divide your dough in 6 to 8 pieces (my batch made 7 bagels), and roll each piece out into a thick log. Wrap it around the palm of your and overlap the ends by 1 inch. Pinch them together so as to form a hoop (the traditional bagel shape), then place them on your baking sheet, in a drift-free place.

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4. Leave them a minimum of 6 hours this time (I left them overnight). They should double in volume. If they don’t, just leave them longer. Do not put them in the fridge for it will stop them from rising!

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5. Preheat oven to 500 F or 240 C. Fill a large pot with at least 4 inches of water. Add 1 tsp salt and 2 tsp baking soda. Simmer. Drop each raw bagel in the simmering water and poach for 1 minute, then flip over and cook another 30 seconds. With a slotted spoon, drain the water over the pot, then return boiled bagels to baking sheet. Repeat for each bagel.

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6. Sprinkle bagels with seeds or rock salt. Some people brush a little egg white on the top to make the seeds stick, but the residual water makes the toppings stick just fine.

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7. Slip the baking sheet in the oven. Lower the temperature to 450 F or 200 C. Bake for 8 minutes. Rotate your baking sheet and bake for another 8-12 minutes or until golden brown and puffed up.

8. Pull them out of the oven and let them rest 30 minutes before cutting them open and admiring your secret bagel-making talent.

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Magic Bread

After my sister’s magic cake, I’m posting my magic bread. It’s magic because it is so incredibly easy and disappears a day or two after being baked. That’s how good it is. The only thing about this recipe is the fact that you must plan at least 24 to 48 hours ahead. Patience is a grand virtue in bread-making.

The fluffiness and slight chewy sourdough is a result of the starter maturing and bubbling at least one day before making the bread. The crispy crust is a result of the cooking method: a good-quality ceramic lidded pan.

Make it once and you will honestly never use any other bread recipe because you can vary the flavors using different flours, and grains.

You can add pitted olives and sun-dried tomatoes, or nuts and herbs, or raisins and cinnamon.

 

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Starter

1/8 tsp dry yeast
½ cup warm water
½ cup of flour (I use all-purpose here but you can use anything)

  1. Mix and cover with plastic wrap.
  2. Leave it in your fridge at least 24 hours to one whole week. The longer you wait, the better your bread will be.

 

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Batter
3 cups whole grain flour

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 ½ cups warm water

1 1/2 tsp fine sea salt

½ cup mixed, toasted nuts (I used sunflower, sesame, and pumpkin seeds) (optional)

3 tbsp linseeds (optional)

Cooking spray and wheat germ or oats for dusting your ceramic pot

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  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine matured starter, water, flours, and salt. Mix on medium speed until the dough becomes a sticky dough.
  2. Add the seeds and nuts, and knead in your mixer for 2 minutes on medium-high speed. This will develop the gluten in your bread.
  3. Spray a very large bowl and place the dough inside. Cover with a kitchen cloth or plastic wrap and let it double in size for a few hours (3-4 hours). I make my bread after I drop off my son in school and let it rise till lunchtime.
  4. Coat your ceramic pan with baking spray and sprinkle oats and wheat germ. Punch the dough down and place it in the ceramic bowl. Cover with the lid and let it rise for another few hours (your kid’s snack time, around 4 PM).
  5. Preheat your oven to 220 C or 420 F. With the lid on, place your dish in the oven and cook for 30 minutes. Take the lid out and bake for another 15 minutes.

 

My tester…

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and taster…

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No-Knead Bread

I’ve been seeing this recipe for no-knead bread everywhere on Pinterest and I thought it was about time to try it. So last night, right before going to bed, I mixed up the dough and let it rise overnight.

In the morning, it had doubled in size. I prepared it for its second rise before I went to wake up the children. But of course, my daughter whose bed is right by the kitchen was already up. She helped me test the consistency of the raw dough as it was rising. See picture below. She did a very thorough job, making sure it was nice and sticky.

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We took her brother to school and when we returned home, I preheated my oven and one hour later, I had a super crispy and chewy loaf of warm bread. Gabrielle couldn’t wait to try it, but before lathering it with butter (my French side) and peanut butter (my American side), I snapped a few pictures, which I hope will incite you to make this.

 

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Makes 1 loaf

3 cups flour (I used half all-purpose and half whole wheat)

½ tsp dry yeast

1 tsp salt

1 ½ cups lukewarm water

¼ cup wheat germ

¼ cup mixed seeds

 

  1. In a mixing bowl fitted with a bread hook, whisk flours, yeast, salt, and water together.
  2. Cover with saran wrap or a kitchen towel and let rise overnight (8-10 hours) in a drift free place.
  3. Cut a piece of parchment paper the size of a cookie sheet, then spread the seeds and the wheat germ over it.
  4. Scoop the dough out of the mixing bowl and roll it into your mixture so that all sides are coated. It will deflate which is completely normal. You don’t have to punch it down!
  5. Cover with a kitchen towel and let rise 1 ½ hours.
  6. Place a 6-8 quart cast-iron Dutch oven or dish fitted with a lid in your oven, then preheat it to 425 F or 210 C.
  7. When the oven is at the desired temperature, carefully take your Dutch oven out and place it on the countertop. Flip or deposit your dough on the bottom. Don’t worry about shaping it as it will spread to the size of your pan.
  8. Place the lid on top and slip it back inside the oven for 20 min. Take the lid off and cook for another 15 minutes.
  9. Let it cool down before slicing it.

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My baby girl, already a future chef.

 

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Vegan Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

After an amazing trip to China to visit my brother-in-law, followed by a trip to Paris with the kids, I am back in my kitchen in Switzerland. I love to travel, but I’m such a homebody that after being away from home for too long, I feel a little restless.

 

This morning, I challenged myself to make a perfect vegan dessert. One of my son’s schoolmates is allergic to eggs and dairy and I love baking so much, I needed to find a solution that wouldn’t single anyone out. So I perused the Web for egg alternatives. I found a few options (mashing a banana, using baking powder and flour and water) but chose the one that I thought nutritiously savvy and most intriguing: mixing ground linseeds with water. (The quantity in the recipe is to replace 2 eggs). The result is extraordinary.

 

 

These cookies are probably some of the best I’ve ever made. Since they spread out, their consistency is crisp and chewy. ABSOLUTE PERFECTION! So forget the eggs and get your whisks out.

 

 

Look out for many more vegan recipes. Now that I know how easy they are to make and how well they turn out, I will be experimenting in my kitchen.

 

You could substitute chocolate chips for the raisins, however, I noticed that on some packets, they mention traces of dairy—thus the safer raisin option.

 

 

Makes 20 large cookies

1 cup (250 g) margarine

½ cup (100 g) packed brown sugar

1 c (190 g) white sugar

2 tsp vanilla extract

2 tbsp (25 g) linseeds

¼ cup + 2 tbsp (55 g) boiling water

1 tsp fleur de sel

2 cups (280 g) all-purpose flour

½ cup (50 g) old-fashioned oats

1 cup (160 g) raisins

 

 

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and grease 3-4 baking pans with non-stick spray.
  2. Pulverize the linseeds in a small food processor until they are finely ground. Add the boiling water and let sit 5 minutes or until it becomes slightly gelatinous.
  3. Cream the margarine, the brown sugar, the white sugar, the vanilla extract, and the salt.
  4. Incorporate the linseed mixture.
  5. Add the flour, then the oats without overbeating. When your mixture is homogenous, add the raisins.
  6. Spoon the dough onto your baking sheet making sure not to overcrowd your sheet: they spread enormously!
  7. Bake until the cookies are nice and golden and slightly brown on the sides. Approximately 9-10 minutes.
  8. Let them rest at least one minute before trying to peel them off the sheet and do so with a spatula because until they cool down completely they’re slightly fragile.

 

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