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Chocolate granola bars with cranberry & almond flakes

22 Aug

A snack for the road…

We are back from our holidays destination and this was our snack for the trip (to not from), but I am posting the recipe now. Better late than never, they say. Truth is, before we left I prepared the greek text and assumed that I would do this one during my time off. We had various devices with us and plenty of free time. What better to do on your free time, right? I never ever thought, that I would be without internet connection, or even mobile reception for most of my stay in that remote little village on the mountain.

Shock and horror, but after a while I just got bored of having to climb on the tree to get some 3G reception, so I just went with the flow and wire- and reception- less. And guess what? I survived!!!!!!I am really proud of myself, I have to admit.

Here is the recipe for the snack that I prepared for the road trip and to take with us to the beach. You could say they are on the “healthy” side as they have oatmeal and nuts. The bars are on the crunchy side the first day but they get softer and chewier the following days. You can pretty much adapt them to your liking, I just used what I had left in my cupboards. They are also a perfect pre workout snack (something I haven’t done in a couple of weeks though). The addition of chocolate and cranberry makes them a bit sweeter than I would have liked, so have that in mind.

(don’t you just love those little bags?)

Chocolate granola bars with cranberry and almond flakes

recipe adapted from here

Ingredients
1 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup chocolate chips
1/4 cup dried cranberry
1/4 cup almond flakes
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup honey
1 egg (small), beaten
1/4 cup oil
1 tsp. vanilla extract
——-
Preheat the oven to 170C.
Line a 20x20cm (8inch) square baking with parchment paper (let it hang from the sides).
In a large bowl, mix oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, flour, salt, chocolate chips, almond flakes and cranberry.
Add remaining ingredients, gently mixing it all together.
Press the mixture with the back of a spoon or your hands into prepared pan and bake for 25-30 minutes. Cut the bars when they are still warm (either wise they will be too hard and difficult to cut).

Honey lemon cookies with wheat germ & my window view

4 Jul

My post was a bit delayed this week, I know.

I apologize, but it was my birthday on Monday and got a bit hang up with loads of chocolate and stubborn pizza doughs. There was chocolate everywhere, up to my eyebrows and flour on my hair (that was not gray hair; there won’t be any grey on my head for at least another 40 years, or until the companies stop producing red hair dye). It would be an understatement to say that I don’t like birthdays, but I’ve decided to have birthday reruns from this year on, if you get my point. I’ve celebrated  “enough” to keep me going for some time.

Since my New Year‘s Resolutions don’t really last until July, I had got into the habit of “renewing” them and call them B’day Resolutions, but they are nothing new, really (I usually vow that I won’t eat all my food, I’ll drag myself to the gym or yoga class, not to smoke like a chimney, think before I open my mouth to say something etc. etc)

But this year I didn’t do it. I’ve decided to let myself relax and be creative. This is how and why I started this blog. I needed a creative outlet,but  didn’t know that I would find it here. And I certainly didn’t know that I was signing myself up for so much work.

I also didn’t know that I would get to meet fellow bloggers, but I should never say never, I guess. Two of them, Eri and Ermioni invited me to play a blog game, asking me to send a pic of what I see out of my window. I took a picture of the view I see when I am mixing something on my green mixer.

I live in a suburb, not far from the center of Athens, and luckily among the urban landscape (translate: concrete walls), there is some “green”(banana/lemon/laurel and lotus trees).  And a mountain top, over there, at the right hand top corner (my eyes have been trained to avoid walls and concrete and focus on the good stuff, yeah).

.

I, in turn, invite the follow 5 bloggers to play, if they are still here, because I suspect for some the holidays have started.

(in alphabetical order)

1. For the love of feeding

2 .My little expat kitchen

3. Pepi’s kitchen

4. Royal Coconut

5.  The donkey and the carrot

I also have a recipe for you today.

These cookies are simple to make, perfect for breakfast, or to accompany your tea or even as a pre-workout snack. They are sweet and lemony, and enriched with wheat germ and spelt flour.

Honey Wheat Cookies

 recipe from  Dorie Greenspan

Ingredients

1 ¾ cups (245gr.) αll-purpose flour (I used 1 ¼  cup (175 gr.) AP flour + ½ cup (45gr.) spelt flour)
1 cup  (90 gr.) wheat germ
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
½ cup (100 gr.) sugar
2 tsp finely grated lemon zest
8 tBsp (113 gr.) unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ cup (150 gr.) honey
1 large egg

Whisk together the flour(s), 1/2 cup of the wheat germ (you’ll use the other 1/2 cup right before baking), the baking powder and the salt.

In a different bowl, or the mixer bowl, rub the sugar and lemon zest together with your fingers until the sugar is moist.  Using the paddle attachment, if you have one, beat the lemon-sugar and the butter on medium speed for about 2 minutes, until creamy and smooth.  Add the honey and beat another minute or two.  Add the egg and beat for about 2 minutes more, until you have a smooth, light and fluffy mixture.  Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients in two portions, mixing only until each addition disappears.  Scrape the dough out onto a large piece of plastic wrap, seal and chill the dough at least 2 hours or for up to 2 days.

Getting ready to bake:  Preheat the oven to 170C degrees.  Have a pair of  baking sheets lined with parchment paper.  For convenience, you can shape the second sheet of while the first is baking.

Put the remaining 1/2 cup wheat germ into a bowl and keep it near you.  Remove the chilled dough from the fridge and working with a spoonful at a time( I used an ice cream scoop), roll the dough between your palms into small balls.  Drop each ball into the wheat germ, turn to coat, then place the balls on a baking sheet, leaving about a couple of centimeters of space between balls (these don’t spread much).  Use your palm or the bottom of a glass to gently flatten each cookie.

Slide the sheet into the oven and bake 10 to 12 minutes (it took mine about 10 minutes), or until the cookies are just firm to the touch.  Transfer the cookies to racks to cool to room temperature and repeat with the remaining dough.

The dough can be made up to 2 days ahead and kept covered in the refrigerator.  Once baked, the cookies will keep at room temperature for about 3 days, or in the freezer for up to 2 months.

Salted peanut florentines

28 Jun

… the lacy ones

On my previous post I made my aunt’s ice cream, the old school and old time classic. As I didn’t bother adding any other ingredients, to make it more “special”, I made this florentines recipe to accompany it, which was sitting in my bookmarks for a long long time.

Florentines are my family’s all time favorite sweet and we are known to bring/send them to friends and family abroad, every chance we’ve got. This recipe is a bit more “special” than the usual ones, at least the ones we tend to buy, as they are made with salted peanuts which bring out the caramel flavor  (if you don’t like the sweet-salty combo, maybe this recipe is not for you). They are super thin and crunchy, the kind of florentines we love.

A few words about the recipe: Continue reading

Meringue cookies – Little fluffly clouds

21 Jun

I can’t recall the last time I ate a meringue cookie. I consider them to be old school sweets (not in a negative way) and were offered to me often as I was growing up, but I never bothered with them. I am one of those “if it’s not chocolate I can’t be bothered” type of gal, but of course as I grow up (and I tend to to that a lot lately), especially now that i am baking in my free time, my palate seems to be more “open” to new things and I have come to appreciate new/different tastes and ingredients.

Also, I’ve been seeing a lot of them lately; little meringue clouds, light and fluffy, stuffed in big beautiful jars on christening dessert tables (I’m going to be a godmother in a month, so I’ve been researching it a lot).

It just coincided that I made a dessert the other day, that required 9 egg yolks (the judge nearly had a hard attack when he saw me gathering them up and putting them on the execution table). But I was secretly making plans. I could take advantage of them in many ways. I could finally make that white omelet that my dietician has told me to eat. Or make macaroons, but the first and last time I made them was rather unsuccessful, but it was a rainy day, so let’s blame it on the weather. Since I’m not into body building (yet), I decided to use some of the whites to make meringues.

A few words about the recipe:

Continue reading

Lavender and Lemon Shortbread

19 Jun

This was supposed to be Monday’s post.

But somehow, while the weekend seems to come after a very long and slow week, it passes too quickly. Monday morning finds me sleepy and exhausted, with my weekend to-do list full of things that have not been crossed off (laundry? sorting out the junk drawer? sorting out my winter/summer clothes?). Until recently, I was spending my weekends as a couch potato, staring at the ceiling or watching tv until my eyes fell off, but lately I’ve been doing the opposite. I start my weekend by hanging upside down from the ceiling and stare at the floor, for a change. And I bake. I used to be a party animal, but lately I’ve become a pastry animal. Oh, and I am really good and quick at cleaning up after the mess I create in the kitchen (no-one had warned me that behind those beautiful pics you see on blogs, there is a huge mess).

If you are wondering, the lavender I’ve used in this recipe is not leftover from (not) sorting out my winter/summer clothes. This is suitable for culinary use and has no extra chemicals. You can also make some tea with it, I read somewhere that it may help with stress, headache, tension. Its use in the shortbread adds a unique floral flavor and compliments the lemon. You should be careful when using lavender though, cause too much  may taste like eating a moth repellent.

I also made a lemon curd to accompany the shortbread and it really made a difference as the cold curd refreshes you from the dryness of the shortbread and the heat.

A few words about the recipe: Continue reading

“Healthy” banana, coconut and chocolate oatmeal cookies

11 Jun

The word healthy is in brackets because one could argue that these are healthy. But compared to what I have made and what I am going to make in the future, these are healthy (of course if you scroll a bit further down you will notice that I have managed to “amend” the healthy side bit).

I wanted to make something sweet, but healthy, that will give a boost  of energy to my gym friends, before or after working out. Something that one can eat without feeling (too) guilty and won’t have to to spend 3 days on the treadmill to burn it off. I wouldn’t want them to think that I am sabotaging their “summer 2012 bikini/swimsuit” mission.

I am also trying to take into consideration this blog’s main judge, who, is not really fond of my attempts to sneak vegetables or “healthy stuff” into his diet (like this  and that). Since I can’t deny the fact that these fall into the “healthy stuff” category, I thought I could get away by camouflaging them a bit…

You see where I am going with these, right? I baked some of the cookies in my mini muffin pan, so I got some cookie-muffins, perfect as a base for a scoop of ice cream. The ice cream is unfortunately not home made. I feel shame just by writing it, but since I don’t have an ice cream maker we still buy it.

Anyway…. this is how I de-healthified (is there such a word, really?)  something relatively healthy….

Warning: this is not a sushi, so please don’t shove it in your mouth in one go, or you will get a brain-freeze (true story)

A few words about this recipe: Continue reading

Cranberry–strawberry bars

15 May

Sunday was Mother’s day I wanted to make something fucsia/pink (in another life I must have been/will be the magenda mixer).

I found this recipe ages ago and had kept it for whenever I found cranberries and it just happened that I came across some (frozen of course) at a new shop near my house. It’s was a message from the universe I could not ignore. Of course, I know that in the blog world, using out of season produce might be frowned upon, but I couldn’t care less. There are enough musts, shoulds and have-to’s in my offline life.

Sunday was also the day that my laptop decided to die on me. I guess it didn’t want this vain life anymore. I hope that someone will save it, as the green mixer and the pans were best pals and will definitely get depressed.

A few words about the recipe:

  • The original recipe calls for cranberries, but I used strawberries as well. The result is a refreshing dessert, with texture that is similar to lemon/lime pie.
  • As you add the lemon in the recipe, it is best if you do it slowly with tasting it because it might get too sour for your taste. I used about 45ml. As you add lemon to the filling, its color will get lighter.
  • The crust is crunchy and buttery like a shortbread Continue reading

White Chocolate Chip Almond Cookies

8 May
Fewer words, more baking…

(…or action, depending on what you do)

The times are tough for this country and everyone seems to be talking about one or two things (the recession and the elections that we had on Sunday, in particular), what is going to happen or what isn’t going to happen. Everyone seems to have an opinion (especially the taxi drivers seem to be experts) and the saying  opinions are like assholes… keeps coming back to my mind, making me laugh on my own. In all this, I am trying to keep calm  and retain a zen like state, no matter what.

Fortunately the super duper full moon has passed and maybe, I wish, I will be able to gather my scattered pieces (although the spring is to blame, I think we all agreed on that) and focus on something.  So, the other day (election day that is) I planted a couple of basils, some new succulents I stole from a friend’s house and baked these cookies (I also wanted to get rid of some bits and pieces I had in my cupboards and fridge).

A few words about the recipe

  • The original recipe calls for macademia nuts (I don’t dare to buy any because they will not make it home), but I replaced it with white almonds, which I toasted in a pan for a few minutes.
  • I put half white chocolate drops and the rest in chunks.
  • The original recipe calls for half butter and half shortening, but I used butter as it’s the only thing I had (that is why the cookies spread a little more and came out crunchier and darker).
  • These cookies are on the sweet side and the white chocolate does add a lot of sweetness and richness. If you do not like very sweet cookies, this recipe may not be for you (you can always reduce the amount of sugar but the texture of the cookie might change
  • Always check if the cookies are ready in the minimum time given by the recipe. If you like cookies soft, remove them a  bit ahead. If you like them crunchier let them little more in the oven.
  •  To keep them fresh, store in an airtight jar/container. If they are too soft, you can put them in the oven for a few minutes to harden,  while if you want them to stay soft, you can add a slice of bread or a small slice of apple.
  • You can make and freeze the dough for future baking. With an ice cream scoop (or 2 tablespoons) scoop little balls, fast freeze them for 30-40 minutes and then pack in an airtight bag (2 bags even better, because they tend to absorb odors in the freezer). Make sure that you write on the bag the type of cookies,  date of freezing and baking instructions, cause trust me, you are not going to remember what it is after 1 month, or find the recipe. Many  people bake straight from the freezer, adding a few minutes to the baking time, others prefer to thaw them  for a few hours in the refrigerator and then bake (I bake from the freezer with no problems). Keep them in the freezer for 4-6 weeks. Continue reading
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