A buckle is basically a coffee cake with way more fruit than you’d put in an actual cake. Sometimes you’ll see recipes for fruit buckles with a serious crumble topping plus a glaze. But you know my style for desserts is to keep the sugar at a minimum and not go overboard. I am crazy for the combo of stone fruit and berries, which is perfecto for summer. But if you want to change up the fruit, by all means go for it!Continue reading
When September rolls around, I drop berries and stone fruits like a hot potato and move right on over to apples and pears for fruit desserts. I taught this cake last year and then proceeded to make it for the Jewish holidays and every time we had people over in the fall. Then all my friends who ate it asked me for the recipe and I told them, “sorry, it’s exclusive to my online cooking class!” Little did they know I tweaked an Ottolenghi recipe. LOL. This cake reminds me of a better version of the Silver Palate chunky apple walnut cake that I made 100 times when I was in college. Continue reading
I know not all of you are making your own almond milk and therefore aren’t desperate for almond pulp recipes. But believe it or not, it’s one of the most common SOS’s I receive in my email inbox. “More uses for almond pulp, please!” “I have a freezer full — HELP!” Believe me, I’m in the same boat since I make almond milk twice per week. And almonds are expensive, so it is nice to have several great ways to use the resulting pulp which might otherwise be thrown out. Or snuck into someone’s smoothie and at this point, my son is onto me. “Mom, did you put almonds in here again?!” Maaaaay-be.
I actually do have two recipes on the blog already which use almond pulp, a banana quick bread and pancakes. Both use almond pulp AND a whole grain flour. I haven’t not had excellent results with recipes that only use almond pulp. Unless of course I enjoy eating something that looks like tree bark. I like nutritious food, but even I have my limits. Adding a little flour is the way to go. Gluten-free flour blends with a little xanthan gum works, too.
The temperature outside may say one thing, but it is technically fall. So I am embracing the change in produce with an apple recipe. Everyone in my family loves apple anything, so I figured this was a safe bet. And it was devoured on the first day. Chunks of tender apples, cinnamon and spices and some little surprise nuggets of caramel-y dates all nestled in a moist bread. Perfect with a cup of tea or a turmeric latte. And if you’re not using almond pulp, I don’t want you to feel left out. I bet you can take my zucchini bread recipe and just adapt it with apples and the spices from this recipe.
What’s wonderful about using almond pulp though, is that it gives a nice protein boost to whatever you’re making. Normally I don’t like to give the kids muffins or quick breads for breakfast unless I can add a smidge of protein like nut butters or a side of yogurt. But the almond pulp changes everything. In fact, I offered some to Mr. Picky for breakfast a few weeks ago, on a school day mind you, and he said, “I can have just this? Without anything else? Really?” Munch, munch. And then he added,”Did you put protein in here??” Definitely onto me.
Whole Grain and Almond Pulp Apple Quick Bread Recipe
Serves: 1 8 ½ X 4 ½ -INCH LOAF
¼ cup unrefined coconut oil*, melted plus additional for greasing pan
½ cup 100% pure maple syrup, Grade A or Grade B
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour or whole spelt flour
¾ cup almond pulp (from 1 cup soaked almonds used for almond milk)
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder
½ teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1 ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
1 ½ cups diced, peeled apple, about 1 large
½ cup chopped walnuts or pecans
½ cup pitted, diced dates (or you can use raisins)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease an 8 ½ “ x 4 ½ “ loaf pan, or if aluminum, grease it and line it with parchment paper.
In a blender, process the oil, maple syrup, eggs and vanilla until combined. This helps to emulsify the oil and keeps your bread from being greasy.
In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, almond pulp, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry. Fold in the apple, walnuts, and dates. Pour into the prepared pan.
Bake for 50-60 minutes or until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool slightly, about 10 minutes. Remove from pan and cool completely.
You can also make these in standard muffin tins and bake for about 20—25 minutes. This will yield 12 muffins.
After one day, best stored in the refrigerator.
*I haven't tested it, but I'm sure olive oil would also work.
One of the first desserts I made my boyfriend-now-husband was the Chunky Apple Walnut Cake from The Silver Palate Cookbook. Do you remember that book? Even though it’s from 1982, I still have it on the shelf in my kitchen with more current titles. It was probably the second cookbook I ever bought and still one of my all-time favorites. That Chicken Marbella is legendary!
But I might have won my husband’s heart with that apple walnut cake. It was dense, sweet and chock full of apples and walnut pieces. I actually healthified it many years ago with whole wheat flour, coconut oil and sucanat, with delicious, but still decadent results. But lately I’ve been trying to limit the gluten and indulge in it when it counts (e.g. crusty bread, pizza). After the wildly successful grain-free chocolate zucchini cake (if you haven’t made that, you must!), I decided to do a twist on that and make a cinnamon apple version.
This apple cake is very different from the Silver Palate one, but my husband has also come around to a lighter, more healthful way of eating, especially since we hit 40. When he and the kids went crazy for this grain-free cake, I knew I had to teach it in my classes. It was a big hit there, too.
When September rolls around, it’s not only back to school, but apple season and the Jewish new year, too. This was the perfect week to post this recipe since this Sunday is the first night of Rosh Hashana. Even if you don’t celebrate the Jewish holidays this cake is a delicious treat in a lunch box or after dinner with a dusting of powdered sugar to make it look a little fancier. My husband loves pieces of walnuts or pecans in here, but my son preferred a version I tested with raisins. Either way, this is a more wholesome, clean cake than most out there and who can resist tender chunks of apple enveloped in a sweet and cinnamon-y cake? And you won’t know this is flour-free or grain-free. It tastes as good as “normal” cake no matter how you slice it.
It freezes beautifully and I found out that it even tastes great frozen after I tried to tuck some away so that I wouldn’t be tempted to eat it. Can someone please explain “self control” to me? Who eats frozen cake??? I am planning on making at least one of these for my Rosh Hashana luncheon next Monday and I know I won’t have to worry about leftovers.
unrefined coconut oil or unsalted butter for greasing pan
1 cup creamy, unsweetened, unsalted almond butter, raw or roasted (or use unsweetened sunflower butter for a nut-free cake)
⅓ cup pure Grade A maple syrup or raw honey
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon fine ground sea salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 large apple, peeled, cored, and cut into ¼” cubes (about 1 ½ cups)*
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (or you could use raisins)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8 x 8 or 9 x 9-inch pan or an 8- or 9-inch round pan. If you want to remove the cake from the pan in one piece, line it with unbleached parchment paper as well. You do not have to grease the parchment paper.
In a large bowl combine the almond butter, maple syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, egg, vanilla, and baking soda until smooth.
Stir in apple pieces and nuts or raisins.
Pour into prepared pan and bake until just set and a toothpick comes out clean or with dry crumbs. Do not overbake. A 9 x 9 pan will take 35-45 minutes. An 8 x 8 pan will take 40-50 minutes. Allow to cool before serving.
I like the chunks of apple in the cake, but you can also use 1½ cups of shredded, peeled apples (about 2-3 medium apples.)
I am so behind planning my Father’s Day menu! I was just a lazy bones in Mexico last week and for some reason didn’t really have Father’s Day on the brain, but now here it is, coming up in 5 quick little days. I have my father coming into town this weekend which is an extra special treat. Most Father’s Day menus I’ve seen floating on the web all focus on the grill. If I didn’t know any dads, I would assume from Pinterest that they are all obsessed with huge slabs of grilled steak. And beer. And maybe most of them are! But that is not the way to my husband’s heart or my father’s. And it’s probably better that way since my husband inherited off-the-charts cholesterol levels and my dad has had his share of arterial plaque. Oy. I think I’ll make a fruit dessert!!
Truth be told, my husband loves fruit desserts, especially pies and crisps. And cobblers and crumbles. And tarts. Wink, wink. In my May classes this year, I taught this absolutely delicious (and pretty clean fruit buckle.) You have surely heard of the other desserts I mentioned, but most people have no idea what a buckle is. And neither did I a year ago. But my life was incomplete without it.
A buckle is more cake-like than crisps and crumbles and cobblers. In fact, I liken a buckle to a coffee cake but with double or triple the fruit. Whereas I have seen pictures of buckles with varying amounts of fruit, all buckles have some sort of a streusel or textured topping, which makes the cake looked “buckled.” I absolutely love fruit desserts because I absolutely love fresh fruit, but also because you can swap different fruit according to the season and make cool combinations of fruits, too. I never over-sweeten fruit desserts because I like the true fruit flavor to shine through and not be muddled by too much sugar. The most popular (and best) fruit to use in a buckle are blueberries. Because the cake contains so much fruit, it can get a bit wet with too many peaches, strawberries or plums. Blueberries aren’t overly juicy and they’re skins make them a little heartier. In the recipe I photographed here, I used half blueberries, one quarter raspberries and one quarter blackberries.Continue reading
I have been in a bit of a juice rut lately, making the same ones over and over again. The bad news is that this boredom with my juice caused me to be less motivated to actually juice, and therefore I have been missing out on of the things that puts a spring in my step and makes me feel healthy. My typical juice consists of greens (romaine, spinach, kale, or parsley or a combo), celery, apple, carrot, ginger and/or fresh turmeric. Very good, but the same formula day in and day out was making me bored.
My friend and holistic nutritionist, Elissa Goodman, who is also a juicing queen, mentioned that she juices sweet potatoes. I honestly never considered juicing sweet potatoes. Roasting them and blending them into a smoothie is as close as I have come. But I was curious about how they would juice, so I went for it and was just pleased as punch. Sweet potatoes are JUICY!
It’s kind of like juicing a carrot, with a lovely mild sweetness. So I started playing around and created a new, very different juice, one more seasonal for fall. Sweet potatoes and apple go hand in hand, so I put those together. But I personally don’t care for overly sweet juices, so I added some celery to create some more liquid without sugar. And then I boosted the flavor some more with fresh ginger and a small nub of turmeric. The first time around I made the juice fairly spicy, which I loved, but the hubby thought was too gingery. The second time, it was total perfection.
The cinnamon is a really fun addition. You can add a pinch of ground cinnamon, but I don’t love the powderiness since it doesn’t dissolve. I had great results steeping a cinnamon stick in the juice. SO, so yummy.
I made a huge pitcher of this juice for a breakfast meeting and I served it over ice with a cinnamon stick in each glass. It was such a huge hit and I was so happy to share something so healthful. Everything in this juice is super anti-inflammatory, especially the sweet potatoes, ginger and turmeric. Sweet potatoes are also very rich in Vitamin C, E, B6 and Beta-carotene, which is amazing for your skin, eyes and hair.
I am going to keep playing with this base. I had a juice recently at Sage Organic Bistro in Culver City with grapefruit in it that was outstanding and I’m thinking it might work nicely here, too. I’m also considering making a huge batch for Thanksgiving and adding a drop of alcohol to make a fun cocktail.
I haven’t had a ton of experience working with different juicers, so I can’t make a good recommendation as to which to buy if you’re in the market for one. I have an Omega, which is very nice, but the feed tube is so small that it’s a little too much work cutting everything into small enough pieces. I have the Breville at our house in Park City and that is a breeze to use. There’s a lot of controversy about juicers that juice slowly versus fast and the vitamins being compromised, but as Kris Carr, the doyenne of juicing, says, “the best juicer is the one you’ll use.” Williams-Sonoma has a nice selection of juicers here if you’re thinking about buying one.
I’d love to hear what juicer you have and what you love or hate about it. I’d also be curious if you have a favorite fall juice. I’m motivated again!
1 large sweet potato, peeled (about 10-12 ounces) -- you don't have to peel the sweet potato, but the skin darkens the color of the juice
1” piece of fresh ginger or more if you like it spicy
4” piece of fresh turmeric (if you can find it)
1 medium apple or Fuyu persimmon
2 stalks celery
Juice all ingredients except cinnamon stick. Be sure to juice the ginger and turmeric early on so you can flush out those juices with something high water like the celery.
Place the cinnamon stick in a glass and pour juice on top. Allow to steep for a few minutes or refrigerate the juice with the cinnamon stick until you want to consume it.
Always store juice in the smallest container possible with little or no air at the top so that the juice stays fresher for longer. Store up to 2 days in the refrigerator. Separation will occur, so shake before serving.
My grandparents had a cute place in the Pocono mountains when I was growing up. We would go for a week in the summer and occasionally for a long weekend during Thanksgiving and Presidents’ weekend. Summers were the best though, because we were always outside playing badminton or bocce on the bocce alley my grandfather built. Or picking wild blackberries until our arms were scratched from top to bottom.
My grandmother, my aunt and my mother would go to the market every day it seemed. I swear we weren’t done with breakfast before my grandmother nervously asked, “Ok, now what are we doing about lunch?” Everything revolved around food and mealtime. “Don’t go out now or you’ll be late for supper!” “What time does everyone want to eat?” “What should we make tonight for dinner?” And so on. Now that I direct mealtime at my parents’ house in the summer when I visit, I sort of see the obsession. You can’t just wing it when you’re feeding a crowd and it’s no picnic when you’ve got hungry kids (or adults!)
I always loved everything the ladies cooked, but there was a special dessert that my uncle used to make that blew my mind. He would take the leftover espresso from the morning and dissolve sugar into it and a little water and freeze the whole thing. In between bocce matches, he would go to the freezer and scrape the mixture into slushy, icy bits. He called it granita di caffe. It was like coffee ice, but we actually made it at home without any fancy machinery and it was delicious! Of course I couldn’t have too much because I was like 7 years old, so eventually he made us children granita di limone, lemon ice. It was like a lemonade slushy. Heaven.
I had a dinner party over the weekend and because the weather is still warm where I live, I decided to try an apple granita for dessert. WINNER!!! Talk about the easiest, tasty, fresh, light, seasonal dessert. It was also perfect because two of my girlfriends are dairy-free. If you can imagine a light and crispy apple slushy ice infused with fall spices, this is apple granita. I also had a granita sundae bar set up so we could layer the granita with caramel ice cream, crushed gingersnap cookies and dehydrated apple slices. Just so good and did I mention easy? Plus I did it a few days ahead and you know how much I love getting things done early.
What I love about granita is that it seems like a special dessert, but it’s really so easy you could make it for your kids for an after school snack, which I did for Mr. Picky yesterday. He freaked out! And when I told him I made it by myself without a machine, he started making all sorts of plans for future granitas, like Gatorade granita. Creative, but not happening of course. Just a dollop of whipped cream on top and some crushed gingersnaps made Mr. Picky forget about everything else for a bit. Just like when I was a kid.
3 cups natural-style apple juice, preferably organic
6-8 Tablespoons Grade A maple syrup or cane sugar
1 ½ Tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch ground nutmeg
Pinch ground allspice
In a saucepan, combine all of the ingredients and cook over moderate heat, whisking until the sugar has dissolved, about 3 minutes. Do this step even if you are using a liquid sweetener as the heat will enhance the flavors of the spices.
Pour mixture into an 8- or 9-inch square baking dish. Freeze until icy around the edges, about an hour.
Using a fork, scrape the icy shards into the center. Continue to freeze, scraping occasionally and smashing any large lumps until coarse crystals form, about 3-4 hours longer. The end result should be a fluffy, coarse You can also use a large baking dish and the process will go more quickly. Keep frozen until ready to serve. The granita can be made a week in advance.
There are probably other sweeteners that you can use, but I only tested the recipe with maple syrup and cane sugar. I thought the recipe was a tad too sweet with ½ cup of sugar, but my friends thought it was perfect. If you tend to prefer desserts that are not too sweet, then use the lower amount of sugar/syrup.
I just took stock of my pantry because baking season has officially begun. It started slowly with a few batches of cookie dough for back to school lunches. Then Mr. Picky’s birthday rolled around last week and whoosh it’s Rosh Hashana this Wednesday night already! I don’t need to tell you what is just around the corner, do I?
Thankfully, I share the Jewish holiday cooking with my mother-in-law and sister-in-law. We each host a meal and cook whatever we want. I have the first day of Rosh Hashana lunch, as well as the break fast on Yom Kippur evening. The break fast is actually one of my favorite holidays to host because people literally starve themselves for 24 hours (no water either!) and then come to my house to eat. I could basically serve anything and it would be a hit!
One of the nice traditions of the Jewish new year is eating seasonal foods. Love that! Apples are likely the most important food along with honey which symbolize the hope of a sweet year ahead. I have been loving the new crops of local apples flooding the markets over the past month. My kids particularly love Honeycrisp, Pink Lady (my personal fave), Granny Smith. I use apples all over the place at this time of year — turned into applesauce, sautéed on top of pancakes and waffles, cooked into oatmeal, chopped in salads and folded into simple snacking cakes like this one.
I saw a recipe a few years back for a Depression era chocolate cake called “Wacky Cake.” The cake didn’t use any “expensive” ingredients like eggs, milk or butter and I think got it’s name “wacky” because somehow the crazy recipe actually produced a moist, delicious cake. There are a gajillion recipes for the classic chocolate Wacky Cake, but last year I decided to put a twist on the (vegan) recipe and use apples and spices instead. Delicious!
The result was a moist, fragrant and just sweet enough little cake that I think is just perfect for after school snacks, lunch box treats, brunch or anytime you need a seasonal dessert for a fall gathering, like Rosh Hashana!! I make some sort of apple dessert every year for my luncheon, but I am very fond of this one because it is so darn easy and it freezes amazingly well. It is also pretty clean: whole grain flour, minimal amount of unrefined coconut sugar, and very little oil (I use unrefined coconut oil.) My entire family loves it!
You can do different things with this easy cake. You can double the recipe and bake the cakes in 9-inch round pans for a 2-layer cake. I would use this vegan frosting or a classic cream cheese frosting to go between the two cakes and on top. If you don’t like raisins, leave them out. Or instead of placing the walnuts halves on the top of the cake, chop them up and fold them into the batter. Or make this into muffins. For my do-aheaders, make this today and freeze it for the upcoming holiday (Rosh Hashana, Halloween, Thanksgiving — GASP!) If you are celebrating the new year this week, may it be a sweet one!
1 ¾ cups whole wheat pastry flour or whole spelt flour
½ cup coconut palm sugar or brown sugar or cane sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder
½ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
⅛ teaspoon cloves (optional)
¼ cup melted coconut oil or unsalted butter (not vegan)
1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar or distilled white vinegar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
½ cup water
½ cup orange juice*
1 large apple, peeled, cored and diced, about 1 cup
½ cup unsulphured raisins (optional)
16 raw walnut halves, if desired
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. You can grease your pan with coconut oil or butter and line it with unbleached parchment paper if you want to remove it from the pan to serve it. Otherwise, no greasing necessary if you will cut pieces from the pan to serve.
Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, baking powder, salt and nutmeg. Make a well (indentation) in the flour mixture.
Pour the coconut oil, vinegar, vanilla, water and orange juice in the well and stir until everything is just combined. Do not overmix!
Fold in diced apple pieces and raisins.
Pour batter into pan and smooth out top. If you want, evenly space walnut pieces over batter. Bake for 30 – 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
*Or use all water and up the coconut sugar to ⅔ cup. You can also add diced dates.