Pfeffernüsse Cookies

To end our Thanksgiving meal, we enjoyed both kuchen and pfeffernüsse cookies. Here’s how I adapted the recipe for our family’s dietary needs. These can be just a tad bit spicy if you get a bite with fresh ground pepper. Yummy!

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole spelt flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 3 TBSP vegetable shortening
  • 1 cup honey
  • 1 large egg (we also made these with egg replacer once, and they were very soft and yummy)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • confectioner’s sugar for rolling (optional)

 

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Mix the dry ingredients together in a bowl.
  3. In another bowl, beat the shortening and honey together until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Add egg, then lower mixer speed and gradually mix in the dry, beating just until blended. Let the dough chill for about 10 minutes to firm up.
  4. Scoop tablespoon-sized balls and roll into balls. Place balls an inch apart on prepared baking sheets and bake about 15 minutes, or until golden and slightly cracked. When cookies are still lightly warm, roll in confectioner’s sugar to completely coat the cookies, if you’d like. Store in an airtight container. Sometimes cookies with spices taste best around 3 days after baking, when the flavors have settled.
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November 26, 2016 at 10:27 pm Leave a comment

Knoephla Soup

We celebrated a Germans from Russia Thanksgiving this year. This was another winner year – there was so much delicious food. I borrowed this recipe for Knoephla – a potato and dumpling soup – from the Prairie Californian. It was our first course, and what a great way to start the meal!

I needed to make a dairy-free version of the soup, so this is how I did it. And I used white spelt flour for the knoephla, but any white flour should do.

Broth

  • 8 cups water
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 tablespoons Bill’s Best Chik’nish
  • 4 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 2 TBSP Earth Balance margarine
  • ½ medium onion, chopped
  • 1 12-oz package Mori-Nu Silken Tofu (soft)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon dill weed

Knoephla (Dumplings)

  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup + 2 tablespoons unsweetened soymilk
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 cups white spelt flour

 

  1. Combine water, bay leaves, Chik’nish, and potatoes in a large heavy bottomed pot. Cook over medium heat until the potatoes are tender.
  2. In a separate pan, melt the margarine and saute onions until tender and slightly browned. Add to the broth.
  3. While potatoes are cooking, make the knoephla. Combine eggs and soymilk in a large bowl, beat to combine. Add flour and baking powder, mix together well until dough forms.
  4. Drop knoephla into the broth. You can do this by either rolling the dough into a rope (about ½ inch) and cut into pieces (about ¼ inch). Cook for 5-10 minutes or until the dumplings begin to rise.
  5. Blend the tofu in a food processor until it is nice and creamy.
  6. Just before serving, add the blended tofu and warm. Salt and pepper to taste, season with dill weed. If desired, thicken with 1 teaspoon of cornstarch + 1 tablespoon of water.

November 26, 2016 at 10:13 pm Leave a comment

Spicy Sweet Potato Wedges

I’m enjoying an abundance of sweet potatoes right now, and this recipe has been a hit. It’s adapted from the cookbook Simply in Season.

  • 4 medium sweet potatoes
  • 2 TBSP oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese (We’re enjoying the dairy-free Follow Your Heart brand lately)
  • 1 TBSP garlic
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic
  • dash of cayenne
  1. Scrub, dry, and peel the sweet potatoes. Cut into wedges and place into a large bowl. Stir in the oil until the fries are thoroughly coated.
  2. Sprinkle the rest of the ingredients on the sweet potatoes (although the first time I made these, I forgot the Parmesan and sprinkled it on top after I was done cooking – still delicious).
  3. Spread wedges in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake in a preheated oven at 425F until golden brown and fork tender, 30-45 minutes, stirring and flipping the wedges every 5-10 minutes. Serve immediately.

October 31, 2016 at 11:40 am Leave a comment

Spiced Puy Lentils with Porcini and Herbs

I got a copy of New Feast from the library a couple of weeks ago, and I just tried my first recipe from the book. Superb. You can also see it at cooked.com.

This is a salad recipe, but we enjoyed it warm. I’ve adapted the recipe a little bit, and we added rice to our version. I’m going to try it again tomorrow with Kamut. Our little one kept clapping his hands and asking for more. That’s how I knew the recipe was a keeper.The mint was surprising, in a lovely way. I didn’t have the mushrooms, actually, but I’ll try them next time around. And I left off the goat cheese for a vegan version of the dish.

For the lentils:

  • 1 oz. porcini mushrooms (optional)
  • 1 cup Puy lentils (also known as French green lentils)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • 1 1/4 fl oz olive oil
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 3 spring onions, sliced thin
  • 1 loosely packed cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1/4 loosely packed cup fresh mint leaves, chopped
  • 1/3 loosely packed cup flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped
  • Soft goat’s cheese to serve (optional)

For the dressing:

  • 2 small cloves garlic, crushed with 1/2 tsp salt
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 oz olive oil
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • freshly ground pepper

 

  1. If using, cover the porcini mushrooms with warm water and leave to soak for 15 minutes.
  2. Place the lentils in a pan of cold water with the bay leaf and thyme and bring to the boil. Do not salt the water as it toughens their skins. Lower the heat and simmer for 20–25 minutes, or until the lentils are tender. Drain well then tip into a mixing bowl. While the lentils are still warm, stir in the oil and lemon juice and season generously with salt and pepper. Stir in the spring onion and herbs.
  3. Fish the porcini mushrooms out of their soaking liquid and pat them dry. Chop them roughly and stir them into the lentils.
  4. Combine the dressing ingredients in a small jar with a lid and shake vigorously. Pour onto the lentils and mix in thoroughly. Dot with blobs of goat’s cheese and serve straight away.

Some variations I’m interested in trying:

  • Turn the salad into a heartier meal with soft-boiled eggs.
  • Add small cubes of roasted pumpkin or sweet potato.

August 31, 2016 at 8:03 pm Leave a comment

Honey-Kissed Baklava Muffins

I am happy. That is all. Many thanks to the Edible Perspective. The only changes I made from the original recipe were swapping margarine for butter and using store-bought buckwheat flour instead of making it fresh.

Muffins:

  • 1/2 cup gluten-free oat flour
  • 3/4 cup buckwheat flour
  • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons ground flax meal
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons unsweetened almond milk, or soy, 2%, etc.
  • 1/2 cup clover honey
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 4 tablespoons dairy-free margarine, melted and slightly cooled

Filling:

  • 1 1/4 cups chopped unsalted pistachios and walnuts
  • 3 tablespoons clover honey
  • 2 tablespoons diary-free margarine, melted
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Topping:

  • Honey to drizzle, about 1 teaspoon per muffin
  • 1/3 cup chopped unsalted pistachios and walnuts
  • 2 tablespoons dairy-free margarine, melted and slightly cooled
  1. Preheat your oven to 350* F and line 1-2 standard muffin tins with 12-16 liners. (I ended up putting my extra dough into a small 4×4 inch baking dish.)
  2. In a large bowl stir together the oat flour, buckwheat flour, almond meal, flax, cinnamon, powder, soda, and salt. In another bowl whisk together the eggs. Then whisk in the applesauce, milk, honey, and vanilla until fully combined. Wait to add the margarine.
  3. In another bowl stir all of the “filling” ingredients together until fully incorporated. Set aside.
  4. Whisk in the 1/4 cup melted butter to the wet ingredients then pour the wet into the dry and stir or whisk until just combined [when you no longer see dry flour]. Fold in the nut mixture and portion into muffin liners about 3/4 the way full.
  5. Bake muffins for 17-22 minutes and test with a toothpick for doneness [slightly moist, not sticky]. Let muffins cool for about 7-10 minutes.  Keeping muffins in their liners drizzle a small amount of honey over each muffin, then a sprinkle of nuts, then another small drizzle of honey, and then about 1/2 teaspoon melted margarine over each.  Let fully cool.  Muffins will firm and hold together once cooled.

August 25, 2016 at 6:39 pm Leave a comment

Vegan Zucchini Brownies

Out of the abundance of Zucchini that August brings, I have found refuge in this recipe. Here’s my adaptation of the original recipe from The Live-in Kitchen.

  • 1½ cups coconut sugar
  • ½ cup canola oil
  • 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 cups shredded zucchini, lightly drained of excess moisture (key here is lightly)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1½ teaspoons baking soda
  • ¾ cup vegan semi-sweet chocolate chips
  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Coat a 8×8 baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine sugar, oil, and flour until the mixture resembles wet sand. Turn the mixer to low and add cocoa, zucchini, vanilla, salt, and baking soda. Mix until well combined. Using a rubber spatula, stir in the chocolate chips.
  3. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with moist crumbs clinging.
  4. Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack. Cut into squares and serve.

August 25, 2016 at 6:33 pm Leave a comment

“Iowa Dip”

When our family moved away from the state of Iowa in 1985, we left behind one of the greatest foodstuffs of all time – Anderson Erickson Party Dip. Even the AE website proclaims: “AE Dips have been voted one of ‘the most missed products’ by Iowans who’ve moved away.” Absolute truth. Every family trip to Iowa means we’ll be leaving the state with a cooler full of the stuff, cases of it, packed on ice.

But crisis! Over the years since I had left my early childhood home, I developed a dairy allergy. The rare treat of sour-cream-based “Iowa Dip” (as it had come to be called in our household and surrounding community) came to an end for me.

One day a few years ago, I tasted a homemade vegan sour cream that gave me a very familiar feeling. I immediately asked for the recipe, and since then, I’ve been experimenting and mixing in a variety of herbs and spices in the hopes of finding my way back home.

Here’s the closest I’ve come to creating a vegan version of AE Party Dip. I’m 95% of the way there – even my nonvegan dad agrees. It tastes best after it has been allowed to rest overnight so the flavors can really blend well and the lemon becomes less overpowering.

  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup oil (I often use sunflower oil or something similar)
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 3/8 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  1. If you’d like, soak the cashews in the water for a couple of hours. Then blend cashews and water in a blender until smooth.
  2. Add the oil and lemon juice to the blender with the cashew mixture and blend again until smooth. Pour blender ingredients into a medium-sized mixing bowl.
  3. Stir in the salt, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, and parsley – do NOT put the herbs and spices in the blender.
  4. Refrigerate until the mixture becomes nice and thick.
  5. Find yourself some Sterzing’s potato chips and enjoy!

August 14, 2016 at 10:45 pm Leave a comment

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