Light, fluffy, chocolate chili meringue cookies.
Low salt, spicy treats.
Once baked will last about a month if not eaten sooner. Hide them.
1/2 cup baking sugar
Cocoa with chili and cinnamon
2 cups hazennut meal
Baking sheet with parchment paper
Preheat oven to 400 F
Whip egg whites to stiff peaks
Add baking sugar and whip with egg whites until stiff and glossy
Add cocoa to egg whites and mix on low speed until powder absorbed
Mix on high speed for around three minutes
Remove bowl away from mixer and change to metal spoon
Pour hazelnut flour around edges of bowl and use spoon to fold
from outside to center in lifting motion (down and lift up through center)
Do not over-mix at this stage
Drop spoonfuls onto parchment
Bake for 12 minutes
Remove from oven and allow to cool before moving from paper
Slide a butter knife under cooled meringues to lift and store
Store in air tight container
Makes 3 dozen
Colleen tells me that shortcrust pastry gets its texture from shortening the gluten strands with a fat. This makes it melt-in-the-mouth. In Seattle, the humidity in the air requires attention to the texture of the mix and you may need to add or subtract flour to get the desired end. A light hand is needed to avoid overworking the pastry.
Sweet pastry should be able to stand on its own, and for Colleen’s preferred recipe, it can be sliced up and served as shortbread.
1.5 sticks of butter at room temperature
2 cups all purpose flour
1 large egg
2-3 tablespoons of water
80 grams (1/4 cup) of baking sugar
A large bowl
Plastic wrap or wax paper (either is good)
Pie dish or dishes
Pastry weights (this can be rice or uncooked split peas)
Oven preheated to 400F
Cream butter and sugar together using your hand.
(heat of hand helps melt butter)
Add one egg and mix thoroughly.
Gradually add the flour until pastry forms a ball
(you may not need all the flour)
Add a couple teaspoons water to help make pastry workable (it does not break)
Pastry should leave sides of the bowl clean and not be sticky
Wrap in plastic or wax paper and put in fridge for half an hour.
This allows the gluten strands to relax and not be stretched,
creating the desired ‘shortness’.
Take out of refrigerator and place between two sheets of plastic or wax paper.
Use rolling pin to roll out to the desired size and thickness.
Remove one side of the paper or plastic and roll loosely around the rolling pin to lift it.
Roll out over pie dish, pastry side down.
Ease pastry into the corners without stretching.
Finish the edges by pinching between finger and thumb to flute edges.
Use parchment paper as a barrier for the weights. Add pastry weights to fill base evenly.
This will prepare the pastry and cook it partially so it does not become soggy when you add a wet filling.
Place in oven and cook for 15 minutes.
Remove the weights and parchment paper (dough will still be moist on bottom).
Cook for another 5 minutes to dry the bottom of the pastry.
The pastry is now ready for filling.
Almond Pear Tart – Recipe by Colleen Loader, Photo by Ria Loader
Delicious, only sightly sweet, almond pastry with pears and apricot glaze. The fresh, firm, pears are in season right now at our local farmer’s cooperative. Almond meal was the perfect accompaniment. The nutty flavor is a favorite from almond croissants and I enjoyed finding a new way to incorporate it into a recipe.
A blind-baked sweet pastry shell
1-2 Firm Pears
2.5 cups almond meal
1/2 cup confectioners sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup apricot jam
1/4 cup water
Small preparation bowl
Measuring cups and spoons
Preheat oven to 400F
Start with a sweet pastry shell and blind bake it (see recipe)
In large mixing bowl, place almond meal, sugar and vanilla.
Add 3 eggs and stir to combine ingredients.
Pour into cooled pastry shell and level out.
Peel and core pears. Slice thinly and arrange in a fan
(hint: it will fan more easily if you place base of pear against outside of pastry)
In small preparation bowl, mix water and apricot jam together to form thin glaze.
Brush apricot glaze over the pears to thoroughly cover the top of the pie.
Bake in oven for 25-30 minutes until pears are soft and almond base is set.
Serve warm or cool with whipped cream and ice cream or enjoy as a simple slice.
Measuring cups and spoons
Wooden Spoon or Silicon spatula
Oven preheated to 325F
Soften Coconut oil with a spoon till creamy. Do not melt.
Add Baking Powder, Xanthum Gum and Coconut Sugar, stir until creamy.
Add Honey, Ginger and egg, stir until all combined
Add Flour and stir until has formed a soft sticky dough.
Use 2 teaspoons to form oval shaped lozenges and spoon onto baking tray covered with parchment paper
Place in oven and cook for 15 minutes until golden brown
Cool on tray then store in an airtight container
I’ve been playing around with the recipe for the past couple of months. Lately, what I’m making is more like fluffy biscuits than scones. They’re light, tall, and more like muffins than those hard flat rock-like things. I’ve been adding eggs, fruit and juice, sometimes leftover jam (well I never eat the last third of a jar of jam, so may as well do something with it) and various spices.
3 cups flour
(or gluten free substitute – don’t forget to add xanthan gum if you go this route)
2/3 of a cup of sugar-like substance
(baking sugar, brown sugar, date sugar, xylitol)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 sticks butter (melted)
(makes all the flavors better)
1/2 cup liquid of some kind
(milk, juice, rice milk)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
Put parchment paper on the cookie tray
The key is to avoid overworking the dough
Combine the dry ingredients and any fruit
Melt the butter, pour it in and squish it around with your hands to coat all the flour and make crumbles
Add the eggs and whatever liquid you’re using
Add more flour if you need to just adhere all the ingredients into a ball of dough
Flatten on a flour coated board
Cut out with a cookie cutter
Handle as little as possible
Arrange on the tray and put in oven on a top shelf for 19 minutes
Blueberry + White Chocolate
Add a pint of blueberries and a cup of white chocolate chips to the dry mix
Peach and Orange/Ginger
Add a cup of diced peaches + ginger / orange powder (teaspoon)
Two batches of cheesy scones
Scone recipe (2 cups flour, half cup sugar, one egg, 1ts baking soda, one stick butter, half cup milk)
Added half a package (1 cup) grated pepper-jack cheese
Baked at 400 for 18 mins
One batch of sultana scones
Same recipe as above but half a stick more butter for ‘flakiness’
Used quarter cup regular sugar and quarter cup brown sugar for ‘taste’
Golden sultana raisons
Made a dozen 2.5″ scones
SOUTHWESTERN EGG MUFFINS
A dozen eggs, whipped with cayenne pepper and italian seasoning
Poured over finely chopped sweet peppers and a large pinch of grated sharp cheddar
Baked at 375 for 22 minutes in large silicon muffin pan (dozen)
Delicious with guacamole, served warm
We are set for the week with quick finger food now, savory and sweet.
My sister taught me this recipe when she was here over the summer. In Australia we call these ‘scones’ and in America, these are often called ‘biscuits’. It’s a quick recipe that relies on the ‘shortness’ of the pastry by way of butter. In this case, it is low salt, and low sugar, but not low in fat, just so you know. The buttery taste is the point, in this case. Something that satisfies the craving for fat, but without blowing out the salt requirement. Giving in to cravings occasionally is a good way to stick to the low-salt diet.
2 cups of flour
2 tablespoons flour for coating the final mix
1/2 cup baking sugar (or splenda, xylitol, date sugar, your choice)
1 egg (optional)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup milk (or substitute)
1 stick of butter
Chopped dates, apricots, sultanas, raisons
Combine the dry ingredients – flour, sugar, fruit
Soften the butter and combine by hand until it makes ‘crumbles’
Make a well in the middle
Add the milk (Colleen says the milk should be 1/3 up the well so vary accordingly. I just pour it by eye)
Combine by hand until it sticks together
(yes, you can add extra flour or milk to make it sticky but maleable but do not overwork it)
Form into a rough square about an inch thick
Cut with a knife into 12-16 pieces
Rough form with palms and put onto parchment covered baking sheet about 1/2 inch apart
Put into pre-heated oven at 400 degrees farenheight for 18-22 minutes until golden
Done when they spring back
Cool for 5 minutes and enjoy!
I have been learning to bake, one step at a time. My approach is to master a single recipe, then try variations on that one with other ingredients, calling my sister in Australia for midnight inspiration as often as not. For the holidays, I wanted to make a fruitcake like I remembered from childhood, but without the bits I didn’t like, such as peel, cherries and nuts. Of course, I called my sister to get a recipe, and some suggestions on how to experiment, as she’s my inspiration for such things. She suggested I start with the Divine Date Loaf recipe, soak a bunch of raisins, sultanas, currants and diced apricots in alcohol, and add them until the batter couldn’t coat any more fruit. This sounded good to me, and I proceeded to experiment from there.
Variations on Divine Date Loaf
Substitute gluten free flour for plain flour
Use barley malt syrup instead of molasses
Add a cup of honey for sweetness
Soak about 3 cups chopped sultanas, raisins, apricots,
currants in 1 cup rum + 1 cup brandy for 3 days, stirring each day.
Add cup of honey, lemon crystals or zest to this mix.
Cook at lower temperature (300 instead of 375 degrees) for 40 minutes
Stand small loaf pans in water bath to prevent burning
At the 30 minute mark, turn off heat and put aluminum foil on top of pans (prevents burning)
I made 4 mini loafs and a bunch of muffins in large silicon muffin moulds. It was golden, delicious and like nectar. Mmmmmm.