Can it be? Is summer really almost over? Perhaps a Blueberry Crumble Bar could save my end-of-summer-sadness!
If you’re like me, this happens every single year. I get to the end of August and think “what the heck? How can it almost be September?” Well, of course time inevitably keeps propelling us forward, but for some reason, my mind just doesn’t accept that sometimes. I mean, I swear it was just a few weeks ago when I finally felt safe stuffing my long, dark heavy winter coat in the closet. I literally stuffed it in there too – jammed it in – as I had no interest in even seeing a glimpse of it for the next several months.
Did I just blow your mind? Am I really posting a recipe for bonbons here? Yes, but pay attention – did you happen to notice the quotations around the word “bonbons?” See? You knew there was a catch, right? But have no fear, these Chocolate Cherry Almond Bonbons do NOT disappoint, even with my trickery.
I love little bites of things. I remember in culinary school we had a class called garde manger. This fancy French phrase refers to the cook or chef who works on the “cold” side of the kitchen – making the appetizers, pate, terrines, salads and other awesome, high-maintenance foods. I actually really detested this class. Why spend so much time creating those crazy layered things or pureeing all of that meat? It seemed weird and fussy.
I always have, and I likely always will. In fact, I’m convinced I’ll be the old lady at the nursing home hoarding cookies and scarfing them down in my rocking chair, collecting a pile of crumbs on my nylon pants. Hopefully it’ll be a nursing home with a good housekeeper. 😉
But, I digress. My point is, besides tasting awesome, there’s just something special about a good cookie. It evokes happy childhood memories and can make a day that wasn’t so great, pretty awesome. While my heart belongs to the chocolate chip cookie, I also have a big place in my heart for the oatmeal cookie. Oatmeal and chocolate is actually a favorite of mine too, go figure. But, because a certain someone in New York said she needed an oatmeal cookie recipe, I wanted to be creative and “think outside the box” with this recipe. It didn’t take long for me to come up with Cinnamon Apple Oatmeal Cookies. No chocolate, but still so delicious.
Are cookies a health food?
Oh no, no they’re not. But here’s the deal. Cookies exist because of that special-ness I mentioned above. So, you must enjoy them on occasion. How can I say this as a dietitian? Well, because I am a real person. I know that we all need to treat ourselves and I know that we can do it in a way that won’t destroy all of the other good things we’ve done to nourish our bodies. So, here’s the deal. Use some whole wheat flour, get rid of some of the sugar and keep the portion small.
Now treat yourself by making and enjoying these Cinnamon Apple Oatmeal Cookies!
And here, the beauty shots of my Cinnamon Apple Oatmeal Cookies:
A classic oatmeal cookie made with dried apples and plenty of cinnamon.
1/2 cup all purpose flour (75g)
1/2 cup whole wheat flour (77g)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened (I used salted butter)
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped dried apple (about 1 ounce)
3/4 cup rolled oats (183 grams)
1/4 cup chopped pecans
Preheat the oven to 350’F and line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
In medium bowl, whisk together the flours, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment, whip the butter until creamy, about 2-3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the granulated sugar and the brown sugar. Blend about 1-2 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla and mix until combined, about 20 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the bowl again, then add the flour mixture. Blend on low speed until just combined. Add the apple, oats and pecans and mix until just combined.
Drop dough by the rounded spoonful (about 20 grams per cookie) on the prepared cookie sheets, a couple of inches apart from each other. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden. Allow to cool slightly on the pan before moving to a rack to cool.
My grandmother passed away when I was a Freshman in college. It was a sad time for me. I remember packing my bags and making the trek home for her funeral. Like most grandmothers, she meant so much to me. It wasn’t until she passed that I really started to appreciate all that she was.
What I loved most about her was her vibrant personality and unique outlook on life. She lived life to it’s fullest, having a blast doing just about everything. She loved playing cards and Boggle (a game I’m not even sure exists anymore) and she adored hosting parties and cooking fabulous food for holidays. She did it up right, laying out the best china and lighting candles. I don’t think I appreciated it then, but I do remember thinking it was “kind of cool.” She was a spunky, sassy Martha Stewart…a lit cigarette in one hand and a wooden spoon stuck in a pot of something tasty in the other. I can still picture her now at the stove.
While I wish we had more time to spend together, as I’m sure I would totally appreciate her so much more now, I am so grateful for all of my memories. There’s one memory that stands out for me..it’s her famous cherry pie. I’m pretty sure it came from the back of Eagle Brand Milk can, but she didn’t identify the source on her recipe card. Anyway, it was delicious! A crust topped with almonds, then filled with a decadently rich filling and topped with sweetened, tart cherries. It was to die for (and a total calorie bomb!)
This month’s Recipe Redux theme was to “redux” one of our favorite pie recipes. I had no hesitation deciding to honor my grandmother’s cherry pie recipe. While she certainly wouldn’t have deemed it necessary to “lighten-up” a dessert, I still think she would be surprised at how well the modifications to her classic cherry pie turned out. To undo some of the calorie damage, I took out plenty of the sugar and also lightened up the crust, opting for mini-phyllo cups instead. It’s a perfect sweet treat and a lovely addition to any party, picnic or shower.
So, break out the china and light the candles, because you’re in for a treat!
A perfect bite of tart cherries piled on top of a sweet, almond and lemon-infused filling.
For the Phyllo Shells
30 mini phyllo cups (found in the freezer section), thawed
2 tablespoons sliced almonds, toasted
For the Filling
3/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 cup whipping cream, whipped
For the Cherries
14 1/2 ounce can of water-packed tart cherries
2 tablespoons sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons cornstarch
To Prepare the Phyllo Shells
Line the shells on a sheet pan and place a few toasted, sliced almonds in each shell. Keep nearby while you make the filling.
To Make the Filling
Combine the sweetened condensed milk, lemon juice, vanilla extract and almond extract in a mixing bowl. Fold in the whipped cream. Fill each phyllo cup with a heaping teaspoon of the filling. Cover the pan with plastic and refrigerate until firm, about 1-2 hours.
To Make the Cherry Topping
Drain the cherry water (about 1/2 cup) from the cherries into a sauce pan. Add in the sugar and cornstarch, whisking until combined. Set the mixture over medium-low heat and cook, stirring constantly, until thickened. Add the drained cherries to pan and stir.
Remove the phyllo shells from the refrigerator. Top each shell with a spoonful of the cherry mixture. Cover and refrigerate until firm, about 1-2 hours.
It’s cold here in Chicago and I am happy to report that I have not lost my sense of humor about this cold blast we are having. Instead of being angry, I have chosen to celebrate this cold by baking and cooking…and baking and cooking! Luckily the lovely Cutting Board Blog must have known this, as they are currently featuring my recipe for the beautiful Apple Crostata.
Hurry, go turn on your oven and be prepared to “warm up” with this lovely dessert.
Looking for a new pumpkin recipe to add to your list of favorite Fall baked goods? Try this pumpkin bread recipe that I created for the Cuttingboard.org. It’s a great after-school treat and makes an excellent gift for anyone on your holiday gift list.
It’s almost Labor Day and you need a dessert recipe ASAP. It’s time to prep the grill and make this recipe for Grilled Citrus-Scented Bananas.
This recipe makes use of bananas, a delicious and relatively inexpensive fruit, that also packs a nutritious punch. Once grilled, bananas turn even sweeter, thanks to the caramelization happening from the heat. Sprinkle the bananas with a touch of cinnamon and orange zest and you’ve turned the basic banana into a sophisticated dessert.
A simple, grilled dessert that will please any palate!
4 large bananas, no speckles on skin, washed with skin-on
1 tsp butter, melted
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp fresh orange juice
ground cinnamon, for dusting
1 tbsp orange zest
2 tbsp toasted, sliced almonds
Cut the bananas in half length-wise (leaving the skin on), then in half width-wise. You will have 4 quarter-pieces of banana.
Combine the butter, honey and orange juice in a small bowl. Brush mixture onto the exposed banana halves and top with a little dash of ground cinnamon.
Place the bananas on the grill cut-side down and cook for about 2-3 minutes, or until bananas have grill marks. Flip over and cook until the bananas are warmed through. The bananas are done when the skin starts to pull away from the fruit.
Serve in the peel and garnish with orange zest and almonds.