Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Fudgy Flourless Chocolate Cashew Cookies #CreativeCookieExchange

All of my taste testers agree, these fudgy flourless chocolate cashew cookies are GOOD. Better than good. We thought they were fabulous. Crunchy on the outside and wonderfully chewy in the middle. And as long as there are no nut allergies to worry about, your gluten-free friends will love them too.

Food Lust People Love: All of my taste testers agree, these fudgy flourless chocolate cashew cookies are GOOD. Better than good. We thought they were fabulous. Crunchy on the outside and wonderfully chewy in the middle. And as long as there are no nut allergies to worry about, your gluten-free friends will love them too.


With Thanksgiving nearly upon us, I chose the theme "quick last minute cookies" for this month’s Creative Cookie Exchange. I don’t know about you, but aside from the traditional pecan pie, desserts always take a back seat to the main course and sides at my house. As my elder daughter says, "Thanksgiving is All About the Sides!" When extra guests show up and that pie won’t stretch far enough, whip up some quick cookies.

While these cookies are easy to put together and bake, I am also delighted to tell you that, once baked, they freeze and thaw beautifully, making your life even easier. You are welcome!

Fudgy Flourless Chocolate Cashew Cookies

I named these for the nuts I had on hand, but please feel free to substitute whatever you have in the cupboard. If your nuts aren’t roasted and lightly salted, toast them in a dry skillet and add one half teaspoon of fine sea salt when you sift the sugar and cocoa powder together. The salt is absolutely essential to balance the sweetness of these fudgy cookies.

Ingredients - for 2 dozen big cookies or 4 dozen small ones
3 cups or 375g powdered sugar
2/3 cup or 53g extra dark cocoa powder (I used Hershey's Special Dark.)
1/2 cup or 95g mini dark chocolate chips
5 1/3 oz or 150g lightly salted roasted cashews, chopped roughly
3 large egg whites

Method
Preheat your oven to 350°F or 180°C and prepare your cookie sheets by lining them with baking parchment or a silicone mat.

Sift the powdered sugar and cocoa into a large bowl together.



Add in the chocolate chips and chopped cashews, saving a couple of tablespoons of the cashews for topping, if desired. I always like to add nuts to the tops of baked goods if there are nuts inside because 1. They look nice and more importantly, 2. They are a warning to those with nut allergies. No bad surprises.



Whisk your egg whites for a minute or so, just to break down the proteins. Pull your whisk out occasionally and let the egg whites drip off. You’ve beaten them enough when they no longer drop off in glops but drip smoothly. I use a small whisk and a measuring jug for this step, which makes the egg whites easier to pour into the other mixing bowl.

Pour the egg whites into the sugar/cocoa bowl and stir with wooden spoon or hard silicone spatula till they are well combined.

You will think that there are not enough egg whites, but just keep stirring. This batter is super stiff.



Using a 2-tablespoon or 1-tablespoon scoop (depending on whether you want big or small cookies), spoon the thick batter onto your prepared cookie sheets. Mine was a 2-tablespoon scoop.

Sprinkle each mound with a pinch of the chopped cashews, if you saved some.



Bake one pan at a time in the middle shelf of the oven for 12-14 minutes for the big cookies or 11-13 minutes for the smaller ones, or until the cookies are cooked on the outside edges and just set in the middle. Do not over bake!

Remove from the oven and allow to cool before removing them from the pan with a thin spatula.

Food Lust People Love: All of my taste testers agree, these fudgy flourless chocolate cashew cookies are GOOD. Better than good. We thought they were fabulous. Crunchy on the outside and wonderfully chewy in the middle. And as long as there are no nut allergies to worry about, your gluten-free friends will love them too.


I highly recommend serving glasses of ice cold milk with these fudgy flourless chocolate cashew cookies. A match made in heaven.

Food Lust People Love: All of my taste testers agree, these fudgy flourless chocolate cashew cookies are GOOD. Better than good. We thought they were fabulous. Crunchy on the outside and wonderfully chewy in the middle. And as long as there are no nut allergies to worry about, your gluten-free friends will love them too.


Enjoy!

Food Lust People Love: All of my taste testers agree, these fudgy flourless chocolate cashew cookies are GOOD. Better than good. We thought they were fabulous. Crunchy on the outside and wonderfully chewy in the middle. And as long as there are no nut allergies to worry about, your gluten-free friends will love them too.


Check out the other quick last minute cookies, my Creative Cookie Exchange friends are sharing. Such a small but delicious group this month!



You can also use us as a great resource for cookie recipes. Be sure to check out our Pinterest Board and our monthly posts (you can find all of them here at The Spiced Life). You will be able to find them the first Tuesday after the 15th of each month! If you are a blogger and want to join in the fun, contact Laura at thespicedlife AT gmail DOT com and she will get you added to our Facebook group, where we discuss our cookies and share links.


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Food Lust People Love: All of my taste testers agree, these fudgy flourless chocolate cashew cookies are GOOD. Better than good. We thought they were fabulous. Crunchy on the outside and wonderfully chewy in the middle. And as long as there are no nut allergies to worry about, your gluten-free friends will love them too.

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Friday, November 16, 2018

Thai-Style Pumpkin and Shrimp Stir-fry #FishFridayFoodies

This healthy Thai-style pumpkin and shrimp stir-fry is super quick to the table, with enormous flavor. With or without the shrimp, it’s a satisfying meal. But add the shrimp. You won’t regret it.

Food Lust People Love: This healthy Thai-style pumpkin and shrimp stir-fry is super quick to the table, with enormous flavor. With or without the shrimp, it’s a satisfying meal. But add the shrimp. You won’t regret it.


I’d been hearing about this recipe for a while before I finally got to taste it for myself two years ago. It’s a favorite at my elder daughter’s home where both she and her husband know how to make it without consulting a recipe. I get the impression is in regular rotation, when their favorite kabocha squash is in season.

I’ve made it with red kuri squash and pumpkin, but the original recipe says that you can also substitute delicata, acorn or butternut as well. I could be wrong but I think yams would work too. The slightly sweet flesh with the savory fish sauce, fragrant garlic and spicy peppercorns make this dish very more-ish. This is truly a dish that is more than the sum of its parts.

One more thing, I like to leave the skin on squash and pumpkin. It’s my favorite part. If you are concerned that your pumpkin skin is too thick and might not be edible because it’s tough, slice off a small piece and boil it in a little water for about 5-6 minutes. If it turns tender, you don’t need to cut it off before cooking. Remove any blemishes, but otherwise, cut the pumpkin into pieces, peel and all. If it doesn’t turn tender, by all means, cut it off.

Thai-Style Pumpkin and Shrimp Stir-fry

This recipe is adapted from the original at Thai Table, an excellent source for information about Thai ingredients, travel, and, of course, recipes. If you love Thai cooking, you need to check it out. If your pumpkin is a bit larger or small than mine, don't worry. It will still turn out just fine.

Ingredients
5 cloves garlic
1 slightly overfilled teaspoon or 4g black peppercorns
2 lb 2 oz or 965g whole pumpkin (1 lb 13 oz or 825g after seeding, with peel intact)
3 tablespoons canola or other light vegetable oil
2 cups or 480ml water
5 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
8.5 oz or 240g peeled, cleaned shrimp

For garnish: chopped cilantro
Optional: crushed red pepper

To serve: Steamed rice

Method
Cut your pumpkin in quarters and remove the seeds, scraping the inside clean. If you need to remove the skin, set each quarter on its side and cut the skin off. If not, simply cut off any hard spots or blemishes.



Cut the pumpkin in bite-sized pieces and set aside.


Using a mortar and pestle, grind the peppercorns and garlic together into a smooth paste. In a small bowl, combine the fish sauce and the sugar, stirring till the sugar dissolves.



Heat your wok over a high flame. Add in the oil, closely followed by the garlic pepper paste. Cook the paste for just a minute, stirring continually, until the garlic starts browning.



Add the pumpkin to the wok, stirring to coat it with the garlic and pepper.

Pour in the water and stir again.

Cook for five minutes or until the pumpkin is tender and the water has almost all evaporated. Add in the sweetened fish sauce and stir again.

When the fish sauce has been absorbed by the squash, toss in the shrimp.

Cook minute or two more, until the shrimp are pink and cooked through. Add crushed red pepper to taste, if desired, and sprinkle on some chopped cilantro.

Food Lust People Love: This healthy Thai-style pumpkin and shrimp stir-fry is super quick to the table, with enormous flavor. With or without the shrimp, it’s a satisfying meal. But add the shrimp. You won’t regret it.


Serve over steamed rice.

Food Lust People Love: This healthy Thai-style pumpkin and shrimp stir-fry is super quick to the table, with enormous flavor. With or without the shrimp, it’s a satisfying meal. But add the shrimp. You won’t regret it.


Enjoy!



Would you like to join Fish Friday Foodies? We post and share new seafood/fish recipes on the third Friday of the month. To join our group please email Wendy at wendyklik1517 (at) gmail.com. Visit our Facebook page and Pinterest page for more wonderful fish and seafood recipe ideas.


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Food Lust People Love: This healthy Thai-style pumpkin and shrimp stir-fry is super quick to the table, with enormous flavor. With or without the shrimp, it’s a satisfying meal. But add the shrimp. You won’t regret it.
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Thursday, November 15, 2018

Île Flottante Floating Island Bundt #BundtBakers

A fun and easy twist on the original French dessert called îles flottantes, this floating island Bundt features meringue baked in a Bundt pan, served with fresh fruit and crème anglais, a pourable vanilla custard.

Food Lust People Love: A fun and easy twist on the original French dessert called îles flottantes, this floating island Bundt features meringue baked in a Bundt pan, served with fresh fruit and crème anglais, a pourable vanilla custard.


This month our host for Bundt Bakers is Lara from Tartacadabra and she posed an interesting challenge: Recreate a French dessert or pastry using a Bundt pan. Make sure you scroll down past my recipe to see what everyone else made.

Île Flottante Floating Island Bundt

The original Îles Flottantes are made by poaching meringue in water or milk, then serving them in custard. In this adaptation, we bake the meringue in a Bundt pan. So much easier and, if you ask me, more impressive as a holiday or dinner party dessert.  Possibly my favorite part though, is that you don’t have leftover yolks, which so often happens when making meringue. The crème anglais, aka pouring custard, takes care of that!

Ingredients - to serve 6
For the île flottante:
4 large egg whites, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
pinch salt
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon or 125g superfine (caster) sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the crème anglaise:
1/3 cup or 75g extra fine (caster) sugar
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon vanilla paste
pinch salt
2 cups or 480ml whole milk
4 egg yolks
1 1/2 teaspoons butter

To grease a 6-cup Bundt pan:
2 teaspoons canola oil

Optional for serving: your choice of berries or fresh fruit. I used a mix of blueberries, raspberries and golden berries. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Physalis_peruviana

Method
Preheat oven to 375°F or 190°C. Brush your Bundt pan with oil, and invert onto a paper towel so any excess oil can drain off.

To make the meringue, first put your kettle on to boil.

Sift the cream of tartar into the egg whites with the pinch of salt. Beat them at a medium speed until soft peaks form.

Add in the sugar one tablespoon at a time, gradually turning the beaters up to high as you add the sugar. Beat on high until stiff glossy peaks form then mix in the vanilla extract.



Put your Bundt pan into a larger baking pan. Spoon the meringue into the oiled Bundt pan, making sure to fill all the corners and crevices.


Put the pans into your preheated oven and pour boiling water into the outer pan till it reaches about 2 inches or 5cm up the side of the Bundt pan.



Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the meringue is puffed and golden brown. Set on a wire rack to cool for about 30 minutes. It will be very tall when you first take it out and then it will shrink. This is normal.

Food Lust People Love: A fun and easy twist on the original French dessert called îles flottantes, this floating island Bundt features meringue baked in a Bundt pan, served with fresh fruit and crème anglais, a pourable vanilla custard.


Turn the meringue out onto a serving plate and chill until ready to serve. I turned mine out onto a cling film lined wire rack then transferred it. Save yourself an unnecessary step and go straight to the serving dish.

Food Lust People Love: A fun and easy twist on the original French dessert called îles flottantes, this floating island Bundt features meringue baked in a Bundt pan, served with fresh fruit and crème anglais, a pourable vanilla custard.


The Crème Anglais aka Pouring Custard
I make this the same way I make homemade vanilla custard for banana cream pie, except I stop cooking it when it’s still pourable. You can see those instructions and step-by-step photos in this post, so I won't add them all in again here.

In a 2-quart saucepan (don’t turn the heat on yet!) mix sugar, flour and salt. Stir in milk and vanilla paste and whisk until smooth. Make sure you get ALL the lumps out before turning on the heat.

Over medium heat, cook the mixture, stirring constantly, until it starts to thicken and begins to boil gently (about 10 minutes). Boil one minute. Remove immediately from heat and set aside.

In a small mixing bowl, beat the egg yolks with a whisk, while drizzling in about half of the hot milk mixture. Quick beating and slow drizzling are essential so that you don’t end up with cooked eggs.

Slowly pour the egg mixture into the saucepan, stirring rapidly to prevent lumping. Occasionally, scrape the saucepan with a rubber spatula.

Over low heat, cook, stirring constantly, until the custard just coats the back of a spoon. It should still be pourable. Add in the butter and stir till it melts completely. If there are any little lumps, you might want to put the custard through a sieve before putting it in a heatproof vessel and covering the surface with cling film. Put it in the refrigerator to cool.



Pour some custard around the outside of the floating island before bringing it to the table.

Food Lust People Love: A fun and easy twist on the original French dessert called îles flottantes, this floating island Bundt features meringue baked in a Bundt pan, served with fresh fruit and crème anglais, a pourable vanilla custard.


Serve a wedge of île flottante – floating island Bundt with crème anglais and fruit.

Food Lust People Love: A fun and easy twist on the original French dessert called îles flottantes, this floating island Bundt features meringue baked in a Bundt pan, served with fresh fruit and crème anglais, a pourable vanilla custard.


Enjoy!

Many thanks to Lara for hosting Bundt Bakers this month. I loved this creative theme! Check out the other très magnifique French desserts we’ve made into Bundts:

BundtBakers


#BundtBakers is a group of Bundt loving bakers who get together once a month to bake Bundts with a common ingredient or theme. We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme or ingredient.

You can see all our of lovely Bundts by following our Pinterest board. Updated links for all of our past events and more information about #BundtBakers, can be found on our home page.


Pin it!

Food Lust People Love: A fun and easy twist on the original French dessert called îles flottantes, this floating island Bundt features meringue baked in a Bundt pan, served with fresh fruit and crème anglais, a pourable vanilla custard.
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