Pumpkin Spice Soul Cakes

Pumpkin Spice Soul Cakes

Trick or Treat! Soul Cakes have an interesting Halloween related history dating back hundreds of years ago – watch my video on Curiosity Stream’s Instagram to find out more. (While you’re at it – sign up for 30 days FREE ALL ACCESS to Curiosity Stream with promo code Nathan!)

Yield: 17 cookies

1 cup (140 grams) black currants

2 tablespoons Grand Marnier

14 tablespoons (197 grams) (cold) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon sized pieces

1 packed cup (200 grams) light brown sugar

3¼ cups (450 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice

1 teaspoon kosher salt

3 large egg yolks

2 tablespoons whole milk

 

Place an oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Line two sheet trays with parchment paper.

Add currants and Grand Mariner together in a small bowl. Stir well. Set aside.

Add butter and sugar to a stand mixer and mix on medium using the paddle attachment for approximately 10 minutes, until light (in color) and fluffy, scraping the sides down of the inside of the bowl using a rubber spatula halfway through the process.

Add the flour, pumpkin pie spice and salt to a small bowl. Whisk to combine. Set aside.

After mixing the butter and sugar, add 1 egg yolk. Mix on medium-low until the egg fully incorporates into the mixture, approximately 20 seconds. Turn off the mixer and scrape the sides down. Add the second egg yolk and mix until it fully incorporates. Scrape the sides again and then add the third egg yolk. Scrape the sides down once more.

Add the Grand Marnier soaked currants (and any liquid left in the bowl) and mix on medium until it’s incorporated, approximately 10 seconds.

Turn off mixer and add the flour mixture. Mix on low until the dough begins to resemble clumpy sand, approximately 30 seconds. Sprinkle the milk evenly over the dough. Mix on low until the dough comes together and pulls away from the sides of the bowl, approximately 15 seconds. The finished dough will have a play dough consistency.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough to ½-inch thickness.

Using a 2¾ inch biscuit cutter, punch out as many circles as you can. Reroll dough and continue punching out soul cakes until no more dough remains. Using a kitchen knife or a bench scraper, impress an X shape atop each soul cake.

Evenly space 8 soul cakes on a parchment-lined sheet tray. Place the additional 9 on the second parchment-lined sheet tray.

Bake, one sheet tray at a time, for approximately 7 minutes. Rotate tray and continue baking another 8 minutes, until bottom edges are slightly browned.

Remove from oven and transfer to a cooling rack.

Soul cakes are best served day of, but may be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 days.

 

 

 

Plum Muffins with Cinnamon, Cardamom and Orange Zest

Plum Muffins

Yield: 12 Muffins

½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup dark brown sugar
1/3 cup whole roasted and salted almonds
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon orange zest (zested on a Microplane)
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
7 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 whole eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 (medium-sized) ripe plums, quartered, pits discarded

Set an oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a muffin tin with paper muffin cups.

Place the sugars and almond in a food processor with the blade attachment. Run for 1 minute until it begins to clump. Add the flour, zest, baking powder, spices and salt. Pulse a few times to combine. Add the butter. Pulse 5 to 7 times, until it starts to resemble wet sand. Add eggs and vanilla extract. Pulse until the texture turns into a uniform, thick batter.

Fill each muffin tin equally, with 2½ tablespoons of batter. Gently press a quarter plum into each muffin, skin side up or skin side down – both ways are equally delicious!

Transfer to the oven and bake for 25 minutes. Test readiness by poking a toothpick or knife in the middle of a muffin; if it comes out clean, it’s ready.

Remove from oven. Place tin on a cookie rack and let the muffins cool in the tin for 15 minutes before removing the muffins from the tin.

Latte Panna Cotta

How do you sneak in an espresso beverage before bed? By hiding it in your dessert!

latte-panna-cotta

Latte Panna Cotta

Yield: 8 servings

 

Nonstick spray

1 packet powdered unflavored gelatin (2 teaspoons)

3 tablespoons cold water

2 cups heavy whipping cream

⅓ cup granulated sugar

1 cup half-and-half

2 ounces (2 tablespoons) brewed espresso

 

Prepare eight 4-ounce ramekins by lightly spraying nonstick spray into each and wiping gently with a paper towel to distribute the spray evenly along the sides and bottom.

Add the gelatin to the cold water in a medium bowl, and allow to bloom (soften) for 5 minutes; do not stir.

Meanwhile, stir the heavy whipping cream and sugar together in a small saucepan set over medium heat. Heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is fully dissolved at just barely a simmer.

Slowly add the warm sugar cream to the gelatin and stir until the gelatin is fully dissolved.

Pour the half-and-half into a large bowl (or a large pitcher for easier pouring) and, stirring continuously, slowly pour the warm cream mixture into the half-and-half.

Stir in the espresso.

Fill the ramekins equally and refrigerate uncovered for approximately 5 hours until chilled and completely set.

To unmold the panna cotta, dip the bottom of each ramekin into very hot water for 45 seconds, or until you can see the panna cotta just beginning to melt around the sides. You may also take a knife and run it around the inner circumference of each ramekin. Place a dessert plate on top of the ramekin, then holding both the ramekin and plate, simply invert.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Chunk Cookies – Drought Friendly – aka vegan

In the mood for something a little sweet and chocolatey? But healthy, right?!, because chocolate is an antioxidant and peanut butter is full of protein… right… YES! Try these Chocolate Peanut Butter Chunk Cookies. Another recipe from our continuing Drought Friendly Recipe project.

Choc PB Cookies Drought Friendly

Vegan Chocolate Peanut Butter Chunk Cookies

Yield: 14 cookies

 

1 tablespoon flaxseed meal (ground flax seed)

5 tablespoons water

½ cup all-purpose flour

¼ cup cocoa powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup chunky peanut butter

1 cup dark brown sugar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

 

Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a small bowl, mix to combine the flax seed and water. Stir and let rest for at least 5 minutes.

In a small bowl, mix to combine flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt.

Mix the peanut butter with the brown sugar on low speed in a stand mixer using the paddle attachment for approximately 3 minutes. Add in the vanilla and flax/water mixture. Mix to combine. Add flour/cocoa mixture and mix until just combined, approximately 1 minute. The texture should be like play-doh. (Do not over mix.)

Using your hands, form cookies into 1½-inch sized balls and place, evenly spaced, on a parchment lined sheet pan. Place no more than 9 per sheet tray.

Bake for 20 minutes.

Remove from oven. Using the back of a flat spatula, gently press cookies down to form a disc shape.

Let cool completely on sheet pan so cookies firm up before eating.

Spicy Mango Ginger Popsicle

As I write this blog post (another in the series of “Drought Friendly Recipes“), a light rain is falling in Los Angeles – music to everyone’s ears.

Some good news on the drought front – Starbucks has said that it is phasing out its use of California water for its Ethos brand bottled water. Ethos brand water gives a percentage of it’s sales to ” help support water, sanitation and hygiene education programs in water-stressed countries” so it makes sense that pulling water from drought stricken California makes no sense at all.

Meanwhile, Nestle is still sucking up California water at the rate of some 240 million gallons a year. Aquafina and Dasani are also using California water for their bottled water, among others.

In an effort to conserve California water, let’s fill our own water bottles before we head out of the house and avoid buying bottled water as much as we can since it’s most likely coming from California.

And now for something sweet, refreshing and delicious – perfect for your upcoming summer potluck and barbecue parties.

spicy mango popsicle

Spicy Mango Ginger Popsicle

Yields: 6 popsicles

 

3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice

3 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon fresh ginger juice

1/16 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

1½ cups sweetened mango puree or pulp

 

Combine lime juice, sugar, ginger juice and cayenne pepper in a medium bowl. Stir until sugar dissolves. Add mango puree and stir to combine. Pour into popsicle molds and freeze.

Crispy Spiced Chickpeas

Here’s a delicious dish that you can whip up in no time. Great for parties and snacks, this unique twist on chickpeas will have you going back for seconds, thirds, fourths…

Spiced Chickpeas

Crispy Spiced Chickpeas

Yield: 15-ounces of spiced chickpeas

Spice Mix

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

½ teaspoon ground cumin

½ tablespoon za’atar

½ teaspoon Hungarian paprika

1/8 teaspoon chipotle powder

Stir to combine spices in a small mixing bowl.

Chickpeas

1/3 cup grapeseed oil

1 15-ounce can of chickpeas, rinsed, drained and spread out on a paper towel to dry for 15 minutes (the dryer the chickpeas the better as it will prevent spattering hot oil in the pan)

Pour grapeseed oil in a large sauté pan and turn heat on medium-high.

Heat oil until it is very hot and shimmering, approximately 3 minutes.

Carefully add chickpeas to the sauté pan and cook for approximately 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the chickpeas are golden brown. To prevent hot oil from spattering, partially cover sauté pan; do not fully cover as the chickpeas will steam and not crisp up.

Remove chickpeas from sauté pan with a slotted spoon and transfer onto a paper towel-lined plate to soak up any excess oil.

Transfer chickpeas to the small bowl with spices and stir to combine.

Serve immediately for maximum crispy tastiness!