RSS

Tag Archives: cooking

Gluten Free Hazelnut Meringue Ganache cookies

I’ve been playing with this meringue for the last month now and I just keep making it. I originally found it as part of a cake recipe that I made and was struck by how good the meringue was all by itself. Frankly, the cake was a bit of a pain in the butt to make and I did it twice. The cookies are much easier and can be eaten alone, or with a decadent ganache filling! Bonus, this is a low sugar recipe and each cookie sandwich is only 200 cals. Win, win and win!

The only drawback to these is that they are time consuming, so plan accordingly. Better to make them the day before you want them and on a day when you won’t need your oven. The meringue will sit in there for 3 hours, but they will not need any attention other than turning the oven off once. Still worth it!

Ingredients:

Meringue:
1 Cup Hazelnuts, roasted (I bought them raw and roasted them myself the day I made this.)
1 Tablespoon coconut flour
1/3 Cup Truvia baking blend (or 1 Cup regular sugar)
4 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/8 teaspoon salt if using unsalted nuts

Ganache:
1 Cup Heavy Whipping Cream
6 oz unsweetened baking chocolate chopped
1/3 Cup Truvia baking blend (or 2/3 to 1 Cup regular sugar)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 oz Frangelico (I used one little sample bottle, like you get in hotel mini bars)

Parchment paper, jar cover, marker and a 2 greased cookie sheets


Undress your nuts (take the dark brown papery cover off of them) and put them in a food processor. Process until it looks like corn meal.


Add to it 1/2 of the sugar, the coconut flour and salt. Pulse once or twice just to get it all mixed up.


On the parchment paper, draw circles with the market and a jar top. My jar top was just over 2.5 inches across and I got 24 meringue wafers, which is what I based my calorie count on. You can make them as big or as little as you want really, but the larger ones are more fragile. Basically, you want a generous inch of uncooked meringue thickness or the cookies will just fall apart on you. Put this sheet INK DOWN on the greased cookie sheet. You want there to be enough butter on the sheet to hold the parchment paper down. I had to use two cookie sheets.


Combine the egg whites and cream of tartar. Now whip the snot out the egg whites! Okay, maybe just whip them to soft peaks, then add the other half of the sugar and THEN whip the snot out of them! Once they get firm peaks, fold in the nut mixture, until fully incorporated.


Preheat the oven to 250. Spread the meringue on the cookie sheet in the little circles. Try to keep the thickness about even through the whole cookie and between the cookies. These do not spread out like regular cookies, so if you want even cookies at the end, they need to be even in the beginning. Put these in the oven, preferably on the same rack, and bake for 90 minutes. At the end of 90min, turn the oven off and leave them in there for another 90min. DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN FOR THIS 3 HOURS! Apparently, the world will end if you do, so just don’t. It is written.


After three hours, take them out and let them cool for 20-30 min before you mess with them. Now to the ganache!


Chop up the chocolate and put in a mixing bowl. In a small sauce pan, combine heavy whipping cream, sugar and vanilla. Slowly heat to a boil, stirring to keep from scalding the cream. Pour the heated cream over the chocolate, stir with a spatula and let sit for 10 min. Using the paddle, mix the chocolate until smooth, then either let it sit until it cools, or put it, paddle and all, in the fridge for 10-15min to cool. Pull it out and mix on medium or so until it starts to thicken. Lower the speed and slowly add the 2oz/small bottle of Frangelico. Otherwise, you will wear the Frangelico. (Yes, I’ve done that before, but it was years ago. Mostly.)


While the ganache is chilling or mixing (it has a better social life than I do), pour your meringue a drink! Peel the cookies off the parchment paper and brush the bottoms with more Frangelico or chocolate liquor. I used creme de cacao because I only had the little bottle of Frangelico and it went in the ganache. YUM! This adds moisture and flavor. While awesome, the meringue cookies can be a little dry, so this helps.

Don’t let the ganache get too thick or you’ll break the cookies trying to spead it. If it is too thick, just put the bottom of the bowl in warm water to melt it back down again. I try for the consistency of greek yogurt. It will thicken as it sits, but should smooth out if you just mix it for a few seconds again. Put a dollop on a cookie, spead, and add another cookie. You should have too much ganache unless you go nuts with it, so don’t be stingy, but the chocolate is powerful. Try a blob of this stuff in a cup of coffee when you’re done cooking. Mocha delight!


Voila! Cookies sandwiches! I put these in the fridge overnight to get them set, then took them out the next day to warm.

Advertisements
 

Tags: , , , , , ,

Cashew Noodle Salad

If you have never tried this dish, then you are not living life to its fullest. My mother and I discovered this dish years ago at a health food store in Memphis TN. It was part of a fondly remembered Saturday morning trip we took every few weeks. We’d get up early and go to a bakery that made chocolate cherry bread, a bread so popular they’d sell out in an hour or two of opening and only made for the weekend. And it was an old style peasant bread, heavy, dark cocoa colored and thick, with warm chunks of bitter sweet chocolate and dried cherries. served warm with butter, it was sheer ambrosia for the chocolate dependent. Yes, duplicating that recipe is on my list, never fear.

After that we’d hit the health food store, pick up some sushi if they had some fresh made and a quarter pound of cashew noodle salad. Served cold, it was rich and creamy with bits of chopped cashews, buckwheat somen noodles and hot pepper. It’s best when it’s just hot enough to make you tear up. I can’t eat it that hot anymore, because my lips now puff up like I’ve been stung by a bee, but if you like hot food, try it hot. If not, it’s still wonderful without the heat.

3.5 teaspoons peanut oil
4 teaspoons sesame oil
2 Tablespoons plus 1.5 teaspoons tamari soy sauce (If you are sensitive to salt, then use light soy sauce, it works fine)
3 Tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon cashew butter
1/2 buckwheat somen cooked, rinsed in cold water
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
3.5 Tablespoons unsalted cashews chopped
1/4 cup green onions or chives.
fresh ground pepper to taste
*I have made some modifications to this recipe for various reasons which I’ll explain with the pictures. I would also like to note that this recipe does not list salt. That’s because there is plenty in the soy sauce, and you can always add salt, but you can never take it away if you add too much.

Cashew Noodle Salad 01 photo Cashewsalad01_zps56d44b31.jpg

In a small saucepan combine oils, soy sauce and cashew butter.

Warm on low heat and stir until it all melts together. It might look like gritty, but that’s fine, that happens with mine because my cashew butter isn’t as finely smoothed as peanut butter is.

Set the pan aside and chop the nuts, or you can do what I do and just smash them up in a ziplock bag with the butt of a knife.

Add the somen noodles, chopped nuts, pepper flakes (I only use 1/8-1/4 teaspoon of the pepper) and onions to the cashew paste in the pan. Mix until well combined and the noodles are well coated.

If you want a lower calorie option or if you are going for gluten free, grain free or any other variant on that theme, then try kelp noodles. I found them at my local health food store and while they are a bit stiff and odd fresh out of the package, a night in the cashew mixture fixed that right up and they were delightfully tasty. Using them reduced the calories per 1/4 batch from 440 to 255, so that was quite a win. While I do love buckwheat somen, this recipe doesn’t suffer from the loss because you don’t really taste the somen, you taste the cashews.

Put the whole thing in the fridge and let it sit over night. You can try some fresh, but it’s a let down and really needs that time to let the flavors meld and it’s better cold by far.

Enjoy!

 
1 Comment

Posted by on March 11, 2013 in Food, Just to be Random, On a Personal Note

 

Tags: , , , , ,

2 eggs and Bacon!

Ah, the first day of being able to eat fats again was a glorious day indeed. I looked forward to it like a child…okay like I look forward to Christmas. I dreamed of the foods I would be able to eat, I thoughts about them every waking hour of that last week and in fine fashion, I made things before I could even eat them, just to be ready you understand. One of those things was pimento cheese. Now I lived in the south for a number of years, but I never had pimento cheese. It wasn’t made in my house, because we’re from New England and such things are not made in the homes of the cold north. But while trolling YouTube for tasty things to fantasize about eating I came upon this video about a chicken fried hamburger of all things. And while the burger itself looks really good, I fell in love with cheesy goo he put on the burger. So I set forth and made it!

Now, when I first make a new recipe, I follow the directions and don’t adjust anything, I write notes about things to change when I’m done. So this is the recipe in the video, thought there are things I will change about it, but I’ll cover those at the end. Here’s the recipe I used.

Pimento Cheese (Original)

16 oz shredded cheddar cheese
1 Cup Mayonnaise
7oz jar Pimento red bell peppers chopped
1 Tablespoon fresh chopped parsley
1 Tablespoon fresh chopped cilantro
dash of cayenne paper
juice from 1/4 of a lemon
fresh ground black pepper
dash sea salt

Pimento Cheese 01
I put the cheese in a bowl, added the parsley that was already chopped from the night before and then chopped things.

Pimento Cheese 02
These things are pretty slippery so cutting them was a bit of a pain. Next time I’m using a food processor on them!

Pimento Cheese 03
Everything’s chopped, measured and added. While I do prefer to use my own mayonnaise, I find that Safflower mayo is incredibly tasty and a good alternative to the crap made with the horrible-for-you canola oil that every other mayo on the planet is made with. It also has no sugar in it, which is key for me right now. And why is there sugar in mayo anyway?

Pimento Cheese 04
This looks really nice just like this, but I found it to be a little runnier than I would like, so I strained some of the mayo out and saved it for later.  And traditionally you whip it up in the food processor, which I ended up doing to make some pimento cheese sandwiches for entertaining friends. I was a little jealous since they got to try it before I could even eat it, but it was a big hit. One of the guys is gluten intolerant so I served it up to him as a dip with corn chips and he found that to be an excellent solution. He also said it was better than the stuff he used to get as a kid, and while I’d like to take credit for that, I can’t. I’m pretty sure the cilantro and parsley are the key to this recipe.  And the mayo.  Seriously, if you haven’t tried safflower mayo, you should.  Just saying.

Pimento Cheese 05
And finally I get to eat it! I put it on my eggs and it was very good, though a little too salty for my taste, and that’s saying something on this diet. I’ve never been one to eat what most people would consider a normal amount of salt. Most things made for me by someone else, such as in restaurants, tends to be too salty. On this diet, I was craving salt like it was illegal. And this was too salty, so in future I would not add salt. And I would cut the mayo by half. This lowers the salt further, but also gives the mixture a firmer texture that would make using it as a sandwich filling a great deal easier and cuts some unnecessary calories as a bonus. And I do like it enough to add it to my recipe box.

 

Tags: , , , , ,