You’ve been warned. I said I’d end up baking during these crazy pandemic times. After irrationally craving cinnamon rolls–it is a Sunday morning–, I settled on making a version of Joanna Gaines’ cinnamon swirl quick bread from her cookbook, Magnolia Table. As a Christmas present, I’ve looked through this cookbook, but haven’t had a time to tackle any recipes. Given my brunch cravings and the copious time on our hands, I settled on making Cinnamon Walnut Quick Bread, but a lightened up version of this classic. I still think it’s crazy that the original recipe for this bread was supposed to have 2½ c sugar and a third of a cup of oil. Here, we use just under three-fourths cup sugar, less than a tablespoon of oil, and mix coconut and raisins. It’s perfect right out of the oven, but I recommend it cooling longer than we did, since we were a bit too eager to slice it up, thus left with some crumbly pieces. Ted and I enjoyed this warm, served with a cup of coffee and a side of Greek yogurt and strawberries (see first photo after recipe!). It was the perfect stay-at-home Sunday brunch.
While I do not claim for these cookies to be true Anzac biscuits, the basis for the ingredients screamed like an Annie cookie. Without eggs, the cookies held up quite well despite lacking eggs when families sent these biscuits to the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps–hence Anzac–circa WWI. The true recipe calls for oats, flour, sugar, butter, “golden syrup,” and coconut. I found a recipe for these in Sweet, and I decided to tweak these to be my own. I call them Coconut Oatmeal Cookies with Raisins & Lemon. They’re still sweet (despite using only 3/4 c sugar instead of almost 2 c), bright from the cardamom and lemon zest, and perfectly chewy thanks to the oats and raisins. They’re like an updated version of your grandmother’s oatmeal raisin cookies.
Merry Christmas! I promise you that if you make bread, Christmas Stollen is an easy bread to tackle. I’m a little too organized, so I simplified the steps and the ingredient groups. You just need to prep accordingly to let the nuts and fruit soak and allow the bread to rise. Stollen is a traditional German bread made with dried fruits, candied citrus, nuts, and spices dating back to the late 1300s or early 1400s from Dresden, Germany. Our neighbors use an old recipe and gift us Stollen each Christmas that we swap for our homemade cut-out cookies and Spritz. We munch on Stollen on Christmas morning as we open presents and enjoy each other’s company. I kept this version simple using the dried fruit and sliced almonds that I had, but I’d highly recommend buying or making your own candied citrus. By using yeast instead of making a quick bread, this Christmas bread becomes dense and chewy.
Although it’s fall, Halloween’s 70° weather had me craving this Pumpkin Pie Smoothie last week. Rich in antioxidants and vitamin A, pumpkin is not an obvious choice for smoothies. However, it’s thick and creamy nature allows it to easily acquire flavors like the spices of pumpkin pie. It’s just decadent enough to be breakfast, dessert, or a snack, but healthy thanks to bananas’ and dates’ natural sweetness. Healthy fats in the almond butter and plant-based protein round this smoothie out as a nutritious option.
I think I found the holy grail of chocolate chip cookie recipes! Made with old-fashioned oats, almond flour, and applesauce, these Sea Salt Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies are light and chewy while retaining that classic chocolate chip cookie taste. They’re sprinkled with a pinch of sea salt to accentuate the dark chocolate. Perfectly lightened up, people won’t know the difference that they’re kind of “healthy.” And stay tuned! There may be a pumpkin version of these in the works some time soon…
In honor of the weather hitting the 90’s here today, here’s how I stayed cool this summer: Mango Coconut Popsicles! These popsicle molds from Target were worth the investment. You can make full batches, half batches, mix and match. Popsicles are a great way to “meal prep” some desserts—easy prep to reap the benefits later. They fall more on the icy end of the spectrum instead of creamy, but swap coconut water for coconut milk for a more decadent treat.
I’ve been baking lately. Ted is enjoying batches of brownies, as I try to perfect the recipe and I think I’ve found it. Tahini Brownies. A simple take on brownies using tahini and applesauce as a substitute for butter, while still leaving the brownies fluffy without being dry. Adding seasame seeds to the top gets them nice and toasted as the brownies bake and bring out even more sesame flavor complement that dark chocolate. If you’re feeling extra indulgent, drizzle the top with extra tahini and sprinkle with extra chocolate chips.
Happy Valentine’s Day! Here’s a little “dessert” to color your day. My parents and I went to First Watch for brunch whilst in Ohio, after such a favorable outing when we were in Florida last May. My mom ordered the AM Superfood Bowl, which consisted of a coconut milk chia pudding topped with bananas, berries and blackberry perseveres and homemade granola. It was delish — literally dessert for breakfast. I usually make chia pudding with almond milk, but full-fat coconut milk was a welcomed surprise. On a whim, I added a pinch of cardamom and the citrus flavor added some levity and brightness to the dish. Enjoy as a snack, topped with fruit and granola for breakfast or with some chocolate for dessert, Coconut Chia Pudding is just one of those things you’ll enjoy again and again.
It’s that time of year! Time to break out the meal prep and healthy snacks and maybe some indulgences for those New Year’s resolutions. These Cinnamon Almond Bites are perfect for a quick dessert or a taste to satisfying your sweet tooth. I think they’re fine energy bites, and if you choose to coat them in cocoa powder or cinnamon sugar, they become a bitter, dark indulgence or a sweet one. I make them instead of protein muffins and enjoy with some a cup of coffee or with fruit/extra carbs to balance them out. Either way, have fun with these bite-sized energy bites!
I love cinnamon rolls, especially ones that are warm and gooey and right out of the oven. Thanks to Minimalist Baker, here’s an idea for ones that are homemade; they’re lightened up with less butter, use almond milk instead of heavy cream or whole milk and have a little whole wheat flour to round them out. I made these from scratch on Christmas morning and my parents gave them a stamp of approval. With a little patience to let the dough rise, these homemade Cinnamon Rolls are the perfect addition to your brunch arsenal.