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Entries in Desserts (16)


Homemade fortune cookies. Really.

I always thought they needed special shaping machines to make a thing as specific as a fortune cookie but last week I stumbled across a tutorial that said otherwise and I tried it. Every time I think "oh no, that's definitely something I will always have to buy premade" the internet comes to my rescue and proves me wrong, and now here I am, maker of fortune cookies, with still more hope for a truly homemade life.

Fortune Cookies
For original recipe and full tutorial click here.
Yield: ~12 cookies

  ● 2 egg whites
  ● 1/2 cup flour, sifted
  ● 1/2 cup sugar
  ● 2 tbsp water
  ● 1 tsp almond extract
  ● 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Set oven to 400F degrees.

1) Place egg whites in a bowl and beat with electric mixer on medium speed until very frothy, almost soft peaks. Add sifted flour, sugar, and extracts, and mix until combined. Add ~2 tbsp water to thin the batter (you'll get a feel for this as you go long).

2) Prepare your baking sheet: the original tutorial suggested using a Siilpat (which I don't have but now desperately want), parchment paper, or just the ungreased baking sheet. I tried the parchment paper, but found that it got too wet, which made it hard to remove the cookie while it was still hot. I also tried the ungreased sheet, but in the end used a very light coating of canola oil, and I had to reapply the oil between each "batch"

3) Working from the center in a circular motion, spread 1 tbsp of batter into a thin 5 inch circle. Bake only two cookies at a time (that's all you'll have time to shape before they cool).

8) Bake until edges are lightly browned, ~5 minutes, but watch carefully—it happens fast! Take out of oven and immediately remove the first cookie from the pan with a very thin spatula.

9) Work quickly to shape: flip the cookie over and place fortune paper (if you made one) on top. Bring sides up and pinch together—you now have a cookie that closely resembles an upright, hard taco shell, sealed at the top. Next bend the bottom middle of the "taco-cookie" over the edge of a cup. Transfer the newly shaped cookie to a muffin tin to help hold its shape while it cooks, then quickly move on to the second one. For the shaping to work it must be completely finished before the cookie really begins to cool, which is fast because they are thin. If you don't work fast enough they will break instead of bending. The original tutorial suggest 10 seconds from start to finish, and also warns that working with hot cookies can be hard on the fingers; this is not an activity for kids.

Tada! Obviously it was a learning process, and some turned out better than others, but Jon said they all tasted great, and he was just as incredulous as I that they came from our own oven.


Pumpkin cupcakes

Pumpkin, pumpkin, pumpkin! You know we're always trying new pumpkiny things, and I had extra pumpkin puree after baking the pie for Thanksgiving, so I decided on cupcakes (you know how long it's been since I made cupcakes? too long). This is a combination of recipes I found around the web, and it went over well with all four of the families we noshed with this holiday, so I hope you like it!

Pumpkin cupcakes with cream cheese frosting

Yield: 24 cupcakes.
Cooking Time: 25 minutes

Ingredients for the cupcakes:
  ● 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  ● 1 tbsp. baking powder
  ● 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  ● 1/2 tsp. salt
  ● 3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  ● 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  ● 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
  ● 1/2 cup butter, softened
  ● 1 1/3 cups sugar
  ● 2 eggs, beaten
  ● 1 cup pumpkin puree
  ● 3/4 cup milk
  ● 1 cup chopped pecans

Ingredients for the frosting:
  ● 2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
  ● 1/2 cup butter, softened
  ● 2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
  ● 1 tsp. vanilla extract

Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg into a bowl. In another bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy; beat in eggs, then blend in mashed pumpkin. Stir in the dry ingredients alternately with the milk, blending until batter is smooth after each addition; fold in chopped pecans. Spoon batter into paper-lined muffin pan, filling each cup about 3/4 full. Bake at 375° for 25 minutes, or until a wooden pick or cake tester inserted in center comes out clean. While baking, beat butter, cream cheese, and vanilla until well blended, then mix in sugar. Allow cupcakes to cool before frosting.


Apple mango crisp

It's apple time! There's nothing more fun than taking an otherwise healthy food and turning into a delicious sweet fest for an after dinner treat. In this case we're talking about the influx of apple goodness that arrives this time of year. And with all those delicious apples laying around, they're just asking to be converted, aren't they? Apple crisp, apple pie, baked name it. This is a sweet and sour take on an old stand by. The original recipe was from Taste of Home, but as usual I've played with it a little bit.

Apple mango crisp

  ● 3/4  cup whole wheat flour
  ● 3/4  cup rolled oats
  ● 1/2  cup toasted wheat germ
  ● 1/2  cup packed brown sugar
  ● 2  tsp. ground cinnamon
  ● 1/4  cup butter, melted
  ● 4  green cooking apples (I used Granny Smith)
  ● 2  red cooking apples (I used Gala)
  ● 4  tbsp. fresh lime juice
  ● 3  medium mangoes, pitted, peeled, and chopped
  ● 1/2  cup chopped pecans
  ● whipped cream for topping (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 375 degree F. Coat two 1-1/2- or 2-quart baking dishes or a 3-quart rectangular baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
2. For topping, in a medium bowl, stir together 1/2 cup of the flour, the oats, wheat germ, brown sugar or substitute, and cinnamon. Stir in butter; set aside.
3. Core and chop apples; place in a very large bowl. Stir in lime juice. Stir in remaining 1/4 cup flour. Fold in mango.
4. Place apple-mango mixture in the baking dish(es). Top with oat topping. Bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Sprinkle with pecans; bake for 10 to 15 minutes more or until apples are tender.
5. Cool slightly. Serve warm. I top it with homemade whipped cream. Yum.

Serves 16 (or 8, if you serve it the way we do)


Pumpkin pecan muffins

Another pumpkin recipe in celebration of fall! I adapted the muffin recipe from one that was intended for bread. The final muffin product was very moist, and received the Jon seal of approval.

Pumpkin Pecan Muffins

  ● 1/2 cup butter, softened
  ● 1/2 cup sugar
  ● 2 eggs
  ● 1 cup pumpkin puree
  ● 2 cups flour (I used 1 1/2 cups whole wheat and 1/2 cup all purpose)
  ● 2 tsp. baking powder
  ● 1/4 tsp. salt
  ● 2 tsp. cinnamon
  ● 1 tsp. nutmeg
  ● 1 cup milk
  ● 1/2-1 cup chopped pecans

Cream butter, then gradually add sugar and beat well. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each. Add pumpkin and beat well. In a small bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt and spices; mix well. Add flour mixture to butter mixture alternately with milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture, beating well after each addition. Fold pecans into batter. Spoon batter into greased muffin cups, filling 2/3 full. Bake at 400° for 25 minutes or until golden.


Pumpkin cheesecake

Here is one of those wonderful pumpkin recipes I alluded to earlier. This is what Jon requested for his birthday cake. By making it entirely from scratch and using all low fat and organic ingredients (including whole wheat organic graham crackers, who knew such a thing existed?) it became a relatively healthy version (note the key word, relatively, of course) of this special dessert.

Pumpkin cheesecake

  ● 1 3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
  ● 3 tbsp. light brown sugar
  ● 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  ● 1 stick melted salted butter

  ● 3 (8-ounce) packages low fat cream cheese, at room temperature
  ● 1 15-ounce can pureed pumpkin (I used ~1.5 cups homemade pumpkin puree)
  ● 3 eggs
  ● 1/4 cup sour cream
  ● 1 1/2 cups sugar
  ● 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  ● 1/8 tsp. fresh ground nutmeg
  ● 1/8 tsp. ground cloves
  ● 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
  ● 1 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

To make crust, in a medium bowl combine crumbs, sugar and cinnamon. Add melted butter. Press down flat into a 9-inch springform pan. Set aside.

For filling:
Beat cream cheese until smooth. Add pumpkin puree, eggs, sour cream, sugar and the spices. Add flour and vanilla. Beat together until well combined.
Pour into crust and spread out evenly. Bake at 350 for 1 hour to 1 hour 20 minutes. Cake is done when it seems pretty set, but still has a little jiggle to the center.
Remove from the oven and let sit for 15 minutes. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. Remove outer and transfer to serving plate when ready to serve. This is great with homemade organic whipped cream (or, we even found organic whipped cream in a spray bottle today, if that's the way you like it!)