Whole Grain Olive Oil Cake with Rosemary and Dark Chocolate Recipe (refined sugar-free)

whole grain olive oil cake with rosemary and dark chocolate | pamela salzman

I made this cake once to bring a friend’s house for dinner and people were stealing each other’s crumbs.  I served it to my family and my son spit it out.  Just being honest.  It would be really awesome to say that my family loves everything I make, that my 10-year-old scarfs down whole grain cakes with rosemary and dark chocolate and never, ever, ever asks for Flaming Hot Cheetos.  But alas, I live in the real world with at least one child, as well as one adult, whose palates are rather, shall we say, simple.

ingredients

 

chopped rosemary

But if I catered to the lowest common denominator in my house all the time, we’d never get to know the deliciousness that is this nutty, earthy, lightly sweet cake with a savory infusion of rosemary.  And dark chocolate!  Maybe it sounds like a weird combo to you.  I actually wasn’t sure myself when I first whisked these ingredients together, but the scent emanating from my oven was enough to convince me that this is a very tasty cake.

mix wet into dry

time to be baked

I love rustic desserts.  The flavors are deep and I don’t have to worry about anything looking too perfect.  And I think anything rustic lends itself better to whole grain flours.  I found this recipe in one of my favorite cookbooks, Good to the Grain, by Kim Boyce.  She uses refined flours and refined white sugar, but I actually think the cake tastes better and more interesting with whole spelt and whole wheat pastry flour, and sweetened with maple syrup.  I also don’t find myself in a sugar coma after eating a piece of this.

whole grain olive oil cake with rosemary and dark chocolate |pamela salzman

I mentioned that I have made this cake for after dinner, but I think it would also be lovely for a brunch.  Sweet and savory all in one easy-to-bake cake.  Maybe with a dollop of Greek yogurt.  Love it.  No thanks, Mr. Picky?  No problem.  More for me!

whole grain olive oil cake with rosemary and dark chocolate | pamela salzman

5.0 from 1 reviews
Whole Grain Olive Oil Cake with Rosemary and Dark Chocolate Recipe
Author: 
Serves: 8
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup unrefined, cold pressed, extra virgin olive oil + extra for greasing pan
  • ¾ cup whole spelt flour (or use all purpose)
  • 1 ½ cups whole wheat pastry flour or all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup Grade A maple syrup or natural cane sugar*
  • 1 ½ teaspoons aluminum-free baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon sea salt
  • 3 eggs, at room temperature
  • ¾ cup whole milk or unsweetened hemp milk, at room temperature
  • 1 ½ Tablespoons fresh rosemary, finely chopped (measure, then chop)
  • 5 ounces bittersweet chocolate (70% cacao), chopped into ½-inch pieces
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-inch round cake pan with olive oil.
  2. Whisk the dry ingredients (including cane sugar, if using) in a large bowl. Set aside.
  3. In another large bowl, whisk the eggs thoroughly. Add the maple syrup (if using), olive oil, milk and rosemary and whisk again.
  4. Using a spatula, fold the wet ingredients into the dry, gently mixing until combined. Stir in chocolate. Pour the batter into the pan, spreading evenly and smoothing the top.
  5. Bake for about 45-50 minutes, or until the top is domed, golden brown and a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. The cake can be eaten warm or cool from the pan, or cooled, wrapped tightly in plastic, and kept for 2 days.
Notes
*If using cane sugar, add with the dry ingredients.  If using maple syrup, add with the wet ingredients.

 

Baked Cinnamon Cake Doughnuts Recipe (gluten-free adaptable!)

baked cinnamon cake doughnuts | pamela salzman

I love teaching people how to cook and I love working with food, but one business I don’t see myself in is the restaurant business.  That just seems like waaaaaay too much work!  But if I did open a restaurant, I would have a little casual breakfast and lunch place called “He Said, She Said.”  The menu would be split down the middle with dude food on one side and lady food on the other.

You need a doughnut pan!

I’ve seen plenty of women eat just as much as a man and I am one of them.  BUT it’s the food choices that men and women make that I find so interesting, and different.  My husband and I are the perfect example.  We have been married for almost 19 years and I don’t think we’ve ever ordered the same thing in a restaurant.  And I can usually predict what he will get!

put the batter in a ziploc bag and snip the corner

squeeze the batter out of the cut ziploc bag

I tend to graviate towards salads, vegetable-based dishes, lentils, beans, and ethnic foods and away from things that are fried, greasy and heavily sauced.  He, on the other hand, will order anything with melted cheese and/or lots of tomato sauce plus a side of fries or onion rings.  My husband is a meat-guy too, and doesn’t think about how he’s going to get his veggies at every meal.

they're done if they spring back when you spree on them

Since I do all the cooking in our house, I tend to make what I like.  However, when it’s my husband’s birthday or Father’s Day, I will think about his favorites and go that direction.  Father’s Day is coming up, on Sunday, June 15th to be exact.  And even though I would prefer a veggie frittata or a yogurt and homemade granola parfait, I know my husband would be THRILLED if I bought him doughnuts.  But since doughnuts are probably one of the worst possible foods you can eat, there is no way in the world that I would ever give them to someone with whom I would like to grow old.  I hate to be a party pooper, but doughnuts are completely non-nutritive, full of empty calories, high in simple carbohydrates which spike your blood sugar and are deep fried in the most damaged pro-inflammatory fat EVER.  So not good.

they are more golden on the part that's in the pan

I will, however, make baked doughnuts with some higher quality (but I didn’t say healthful) ingredients.  They still taste delicious and won’t put anyone in a sugar coma afterwards!  Yippee!  I am giving you plenty of time to order this doughnut pan because unfortunately you can’t make doughnuts without a doughnut pan.  I like this one the best because it is coated with silicone for a nonstick finish that doesn’t leach like toxic PFTE’s and PFOA’s.  You can also scoop the batter with an mini ice cream scoop into mini muffin pans for doughnut holes.

dipping in cinnamon-sugar

I recommend making these the day you want to eat them and I am partial to serving these alongside a hearty, high fiber and high protein breakfast and not alone because even though they are significantly better for you than traditional doughnuts, they’re not health food!  I kept these pretty simple with a cinnamon-sugar topping, but if you really wanted to throw in the towel, you could go for a glaze instead.  Fun!

baked cinnamon cake doughnuts | pamela salzman

 

5.0 from 1 reviews
Baked Cinnamon Cake Doughnuts
Author: 
Serves: makes 6 doughnuts or 20 doughnut "holes"
 
Ingredients
  • ⅓ cup whole milk or milk substitute, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar or white vinegar
  • ½ cup whole wheat pastry flour or whole spelt flour*
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour or white spelt flour
  • 1 teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg (do not omit – this is the secret ingredient of all cake doughnuts!)
  • 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted + extra butter for greasing the pan
  • ¼ cup cane sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Topping:
  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 Tablespoons cane sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (or less cinnamon for a more “authentic” ratio)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease the wells of the doughnut pan with some butter.
  2. In a glass measuring cup, mix together milk and vinegar and allow to sit at room temperature for at least 5 minutes to curdle.
  3. In a large bowl whisk together flours, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together melted butter, sugar, honey, egg, vanilla and curdled milk.
  5. Whisk wet ingredients into dry ingredients, taking care not to overmix.
  6. Spoon batter evenly into wells of the doughnut pan, filling only ⅔ full.* If filled too high, there won’t be any doughnut holes. Another way to fill the wells is by transferring the batter to a quart-size Ziploc bag and snipping one corner ½inch and piping the batter into the wells. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until doughnuts spring back when pressed lightly. Allow to cool 5 minutes before turning doughnuts onto a cooling rack.
  7. While the doughnuts are still warm, combine the 2 Tablespoons cane sugar with the teaspoon of cinnamon in a shallow bowl. Brush the tops (or bottoms) of the doughnuts with melted butter and dip into the cinnamon–sugar mixture so that it sticks. Repeat with remaining doughnuts.
Notes
*Or substitute a total of 1 cup King Arthur Multi-purpose Gluten-free Flour and ½ teaspoon xanthan gum for the white and wheat flours

**Or bake in a greased mini-muffin pan for doughnut holes.

 

 

 

Green Muffins Recipe — Perfect for St. Patrick’s Day

green muffins! | pamela salzman

I am too excited about this muffin recipe to wait until St. Patrick’s Day!  I’ve had great luck in the past using pureed spinach to turn pancakes green, so I knew I could make a green muffin.  Not only do I think these turned out fantastic, even Mr. Picky loved them, too.  Although I did tell him a little lie and said I used green food coloring and he just lit up, eyes wide, “Really?!  You did?!  Really, Mom?!  Like the unhealthy kind?!”  Honestly, I’m a little disappointed that my son actually thinks I would use food coloring in a muffin.  And just as disappointed that he would be excited to eat that same muffin.  I had to lie again.  Actually, buddy, it’s a natural green food coloring which gets its color from spinach.  Bummed out face.  I know for a minute there he thought I suddenly turned into an exciting mom, one who would take risks and dare to use carcinogens!  “Oh.  They’re still good, I guess.”

whole wheat pastry flour

puree coconut oil, maple syrup, vanilla, egg, milk together

And they are good!  These muffins are lightly sweet, moist, simple and BRIGHT GREEN because they are loaded with spinach!  St. Patrick’s Day is a HUGE opportunity to get green foods into your kids because they are expecting them.  You’re showing your spirit.  On any other day, green muffins are you just trying to sneak leafy greens into your kids who are not fooled.  But the closer we get to March 17th, green muffins are part of the fun!

batter made green from pureed spinach

fill about 7/8ths full

This is a very basic muffin recipe.  The spinach is undetectable and the banana is very subtle.  But if you hate banana, you might be able to sub 1/2 cup of applesauce.  I think adding walnuts or chocolate chips would be great, too.  One of my daughters suggested cream cheese frosting, although then these become cupcakes which is fine, too.  These tasted best the day they were made and the next day, too.  They lasted just fine a few days on the countertop in a sealed container, but I would freeze what you don’t think you’ll eat within a couple days.  Let me know if you make these and if you get lucky!

Green muffins! |Pamela Salzman

green muffins | pamela salzman

4.4 from 16 reviews
Green Muffins
Author: 
Serves: makes 12
 
Ingredients
  • 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour, white whole wheat flour or spelt flour (or use 2 cups of King Arthur Multi-purpose Gluten-free Flour + 1 teaspoon xanthan gum)
  • 2 teaspoons aluminum-free baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon fine ground sea salt
  • 1 large egg
  • ¾ cup pure maple syrup (Grade A or Grade B)
  • ¾ cup dairy or non-dairy milk (such as almond milk)
  • ¼ cup unrefined coconut oil, melted
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 5- or 6-ounce bag of fresh baby spinach leaves
  • 2 medium ripe bananas, mashed
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a standard 12-cup muffin tin with unbleached parchment liners.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  3. In a blender add egg, maple syrup, milk, oil, vanilla and spinach.  Process until pureed.
  4. Add spinach mixture to the flour mixture and stir until just combined.  Fold in the mashed banana.
  5. Scoop batter into prepared muffin tin, filling cups about ¾ full.  I like to do this with a large ice cream scooper.  Bake about 25 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  6. Store at room temperature up to 3 days.  These freeze nicely!

Gingerbread biscotti recipe (gluten-free version, too!)

Gingerbread Biscotti | Pamela Salzman

Gingerbread Biscotti | Pamela Salzman

I have been offered A LOT of biscotti in my life.  When everyone you are related to is Italian, biscotti appear more often than Oreos.  They’re called “biscotti” because they literally translate to “twice baked.”  You bake them in logs first, then you slice up the logs and bake them again. They have this tell-tale shape you see here and they are a bit dry and crunchy and not overly sweet.  There are infinite flavor combinations ranging from lemon to almond to chocolate chip to raisin to you name it.  I remember my parents and all the other grown-ups dunking them in espresso or, if they were really feeling festive, dipping the cookies in a sweet Italian liqueur called Vin Santo.

dry ingredients

chopping crystallized ginger

Now that sounds dreamy to me for sure, but when I was a kid, all I wanted was a normal chocolate chip cookie for goodness sake!  Or one with M&M’s or some other junk.  I’m all grown-up now and I much prefer homemade cookies, especially ones that don’t contain M&M’s and lots of sugar.  Even though I try not to indulge in sweets very often, I do like to bake cookies for the holidays.  My favorite holiday “flavor” is gingerbread.  Every year in my December classes I teach some sort of gingerbread dessert, two of which have been posted on my site.  These gingerbread biscotti might very well be my favorite so far!  One of my complaints about the biscotti of my youth is that they were B-O-R-I-N-G.  What kid gets excited about orange zest in a cookie or fennel seed?  Yaaaaawwwwnnnn.  That’s not a dessert.  But gingerbread biscotti are something else.  These pack a spicy punch from both crystallized ginger and powered ginger and a double crunch from the whole almonds.  Even Mr. Picky loves these.  He just walked by the computer and said, “isn’t it about time we make those gingerbread biscotti again?”  I absolutely swear he just said that!

bake the logs first

slice the baked logs

Biscotti are fantastic to make for the holidays because they last a good long time (a week or more?) without getting stale, so they’re perfect for gift-giving!  If you need to accommodate gluten-free, dairy-free or vegan folks, read through both recipes because there are options.  If you’re not sure how to do this, please leave me a comment below and I will help you out.  I’ll tell you the truth — I like the gluten-free biscotti better than the wheat flour ones.  I think they’re lighter and crispier, although both have that great gingerbread flavor.  I love the extra boost from crystallized ginger, but if you can’t find it, don’t worry about it.  And if you’re feeling extra naughty, you can go right ahead and dip these cuties in some melted white chocolate and let them harden before you store them or wrap them up.  Are you feeling the holiday spirit now??

gingerbread biscotti | pamela salzman

5.0 from 1 reviews
Gingerbread Biscotti
Author: 
Serves: makes about 24
 
Ingredients
  • 3 Tablespoons coconut oil or room temperature unsalted butter
  • ½ cup cane sugar
  • ½ cup muscovado or firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs or ½ cup unsweetened smooth applesauce
  • 2 cups whole wheat pastry or all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cup whole raw almonds or chopped, if desired
  • ½ cup crystallized ginger, chopped (optional)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Beat coconut oil and sugars with an electric mixer at medium speed until light and creamy.  Beat in eggs, combine well.
  2. Combine flour and next 5 ingredients; add to sugar mixture, beating at low speed until blended.  Stir in almonds and crystallized ginger.
  3. Divide dough in half.  Using floured hands, shape each portion into a log 3-inches wide and 1-inch high.  Place on a parchment-lined cookie sheet.
  4. Bake 25 minutes.  Cool 5 minutes on cookie sheet; remove to a wire rack, and set aside until cool to the touch.  Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees.
  5. Cut each log crosswise into ½-inch slices with a serrated knife. Place slices on the same parchment-lined cookie sheet.  If you want long cookies, cut on the diagonal.
  6. Bake 7-8 minutes; turn cookies over, and bake 7-8 more minutes.  If you cut them thick, you will probably have to bake them a little longer.  Cool completely on wire racks.

gluten-free gingerbread biscotti

makes about 24

8 Tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature

½ cup cane sugar

½ cup muscovado or firmly packed dark brown sugar

2 large eggs or ½ cup unsweetened smooth applesauce

½ cup almond flour

¼ cup sorghum flour

¼ cup tapioca flour

¼ cup potato starch

¼ cup sweet rice flour

1 teaspoon xanthan gum

2 teaspoons aluminum-free baking powder

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground ginger

¼ teaspoon ground cloves

¼ teaspoon sea salt

1 cup whole raw almonds or chopped, if desired

½ cup crystallized ginger, chopped (optional)

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Beat butter and sugars with an electric mixer at medium speed until light and creamy.  Beat in eggs, combine well.
  2. Sift all dry ingredients together and add to sugar mixture, beating at low speed until blended.  Stir in almonds and crystallized ginger.
  3. Dough will be very sticky so you can refrigerate it for 15-20 minutes and/or flour your hands while you split the dough into two logs, about 1 inch high and 2 inches wide.  Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
  4. Bake for 30-35 minutes until golden brown on the edges and just slightly soft in the middle.  Cool 5 minutes on cookie sheet and remove to a wire rack.  Set aside until cool to the touch, about 30 minutes.
  5. Cut each log crosswise into half-inch slices with a serrated knife.  Place slices on the same parchment-lined baking sheet.  Bake 15-20 minutes until golden.  Cool completely on wire racks.

Apricot, cherry and almond crisp recipe

apricot, cherry and almond crisp by Pamela Salzman

I was racking my brains thinking of something to post today for July 4th that would be red, white, and blue.  But really I’m not nearly as creative as all the people I pin on Pinterest or fave on Foodily and I’ll be honest, I couldn’t come up with something you haven’t already seen.  Although for 5 minutes I thought was a genius — potato salad with red, white and blue potatoes!  Until I googled it and saw that this was not an original idea.

crisp topping

But then I was thinking that I don’t ever make anything red, white and blue for the 4th, so why the pressure?  Our friends Melissa and Adam usually invite us to their beach house for a party where they serve the most delicious Tex-Mex food.  Not ribs or barbecue or anything cut into the shape of stars.  But it’s all crazy delicious and everyone is so happy.  I often bring a dessert or appetizer.  Last year Melissa asked me for Peach and Blueberry Crisp.  It was so yummy, but not red, white, and blue and I didn’t hear anyone complain that I didn’t have spirit.

beautiful apricots

A few weeks ago, I taught a 4th of July menu for Jenni Kayne and her friends.  Jenni asked me for a fruit crisp and I knew she would love this one with apricots and cherries.  When I was prepping for the class that morning, I asked her if I should throw in blueberries to add some blue to the red, and she responded, “Only if they would make it better.”  She’s so right.  Of course.  Who cares if it’s red, white and blue?  You want to know what I said?  I said, “They won’t.  This crisp is so insanely delicious already.  Why mess with it?”  That’s really what I said.  This crisp is so darn good, I have dreams about it.  I made this same crisp for some friends a few weeks ago and I could swear I heard moaning.  In a good way, naturally.

cherries!

pitting cherries is easy with the right tool

I have a theory that fruits and vegetables that grow in the same season taste good together.  I saw cherries and apricots sitting next to each other at the farmers market and voilà!  A new crisp.  I also read somewhere that the Prunus family of stone fruits also includes almonds.  An almond looks like an apricot pit, don’t you think?  I find all of that to be so interesting….and delicious!  Now the addition of almonds did make this crisp better.  Of course, leave them out if you have an allergy or substitute something crunchy like sunflower seeds.  Crisps are so easy to adjust for allergies, in fact.  You can make the topping completely vegan by using coconut oil (more natural) or Earth Balance.  For a gluten-free crisp, I used half GF oat flour and half King Arthur Multi-purpose GF Flour (which is free from cornstarch unlike some other very popular GF flours, like Cup4Cup — sorry Thomas Keller.  Love your food, though!)  Rice flour works well, too.

fruit ready to be topped

apricot, cherry and almond crisp | pamela salzman

I think you should make a fruit crisp for the holiday.  Absolutely everyone loves them.  There are no blue food dyes involved.  It’s mostly seasonal fruit.  They are sooooooo easy.  You can make your topping right now.  Yep.  In fact, you could have made it a month ago and frozen it.  You can make 10 times the recipe for crisp topping, freeze it and make a crisp every week for the rest of the summer and into Labor Day.  Or if you’re making a crisp for Thursday, make your topping today and keep it refrigerated.  Just sprinkle it on top of your prepared fruit and bake away.  No coming to room temp or any of that nonsense.  But if you just can’t make a dessert for the 4th that is missing one of the colors of our fair flag, then by all means add some blueberries or blackberries.  Or, dig deep and find your spirit of independence and make what you think you’ll love the most.  Hope you all have the best weekend!

apricot, cherry and almond crisp by Pamela Salzman

Apricot, Cherry and Almond Crisp
Author: 
Serves: 6-8
 
Ingredients
  • 1⅓ pounds of ripe, fresh apricots, pitted, quartered if large
  • ⅔ pound of dark, sweet cherries, stemmed and pitted (I love my cherry pitter which I haven't seen anymore at Williams-Sonoma, but this one looks similar.)
  • ½ Tablespoon pure Grade A maple syrup or cane sugar
  • ½ Tablespoon flour (whole wheat pastry or gluten-free flour)
  • less than ⅛ teaspoon of almond extract
  • Topping:
  • ¾ cup coconut palm sugar or brown sugar
  • 1 cup flour (whole wheat pastry or for GF a combo of GF oat flour and King Arthur Multipurpose GF Flour)
  • ½ cup old fashioned rolled oats (for GF, look for labeled GF oats)
  • ½ cup chopped raw almonds
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • pinch of ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 8 Tablespoons cold unsalted butter or Earth Balance, cut into 1-inch pieces or unrefined coconut oil
Instructions
  1. Preheat an oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Toss the fruit with syrup or sugar, flour and almond extract. Transfer to an 8- or 9-inch baking dish or pie plate.
  3. Add all topping ingredients in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Blend until the mixture resembles small peas. This can also be done by hand with a pastry blender. Squeeze with your hands to create small clumps.
  4. Arrange topping over fruit to cover.
  5. Place baking dish on a cookie sheet and bake for about 45-50 minutes or until bubbly and topping is golden brown.
  6. Serve warm or at room temperature with vanilla ice cream, if you like.
Notes
For the crisp in the photographs, I doubled all the ingredients and used a 13 x 9-inch pan.

(A more healthful) chocolate chip cookie recipe

(a more healthful) chocolate chip cookie by Pamela Salzman

One of my students asked me the other day if I had a good chocolate chip cookie recipe and I instinctively said, “Sure, just check my website.”  To which she replied, “I did.  But all you have on there is your Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe.”  And then it hit me.  I have neither taught in a class nor posted my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe.  Gasp!  Coincidentally, Mr. Picky had been asking if we could make homemade ice cream sandwiches, so I got to work lickety split!

beat butter and sugars until smooth, then add eggs, baking soda and vanilla

In my defense, there are good reasons I haven’t posted my chocolate chip cookie recipe.  First of all, I do use refined white sugar because it just makes the best cookie.  But it isn’t exactly clean and healthful and I want this site to be your destination for high quality recipes.  However, even with the white and brown sugars, I use whole grain flours and everything is organic so these will be waaaaaaay better for you than bakery cookies or packaged (really now?) ones.  It’s all about balance and moderation!

next add the flours, baking powder and salt

The other issue is that I keep changing my recipe when I learn something new to make them even better than the last time.  And this has happened often.  Many of you are so in the know about food trends that you might think my ah-ha chocolate chip moments are sooooo 2005, but I never said I was an early adopter.  Let me first make it clear what kind of chocolate chip cookie I love, because that’s what you’re getting here — my favorite.  If you love the thin and crispy kind, hmmmm, today’s not your day.  Cakey?  Yeah, not me.  Milk chocolate?  Don’t waste my time!  Friends, I like a cookie with some heft and substance, something that you can sink your teeth into.  But I also don’t want a greasy cookie which makes me feel like I’m sucking on butter.  Slightly crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside with chunks of semisweet or dark chocolate is the way I roll.  Sometimes I’m feeling fancy and I’ll add a pinch of flaky sea salt on on the tops and that is just heaven.

chop chocolate from a bar for nice chunky pieces

Something I learned to achieve my perfect cookie is to use cold butter instead of room temperature, which is a trick I learned from Mrs. Fields (not that I met her, but that’s how she makes her cookies.)  The combination of cold butter and  a low oven temperature help to keep the cookie from spreading out too thin and too fast.  I also started adding a little oat flour after I saw this Neiman Marcus cookie recipe which I found out later was not the official recipe but the oat flour stayed in mine.  The oat flour makes the cookie a little nuttier and dense.  Ina Garten taught me (via television, of course) that a chocolate bar cut into pieces is much more satisfying than chocolate chips, although I do use those often.  And every fancy restaurant in the last several years has added a pinch of flaky sea salt to the tops of their cookies — a smart and delicious move.

using an ice cream scooper gives you uniform, round cookies

add a pinch of flaky sea salt for a grown-up twist

I grated some of the chocolate into the batter
I grated some of the chocolate into the batter

It may have taken me a while to bring it to you, but I’m sure with certain special occasions coming up, like Father’s Day or end-of-the-year parties, it’s never too late to try a great chocolate chip cookie recipe.  Of course, if you have the latest and greatest twist on chocolate chip cookies, I’m always open to improvement!

freshly baked | Pamela Salzman

(a more healthful) chocolate chip cookie by Pamela Salzman

 

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Pamela Salzman (@pamelasalzman)

 

Chocolate Chip Cookies
Author: 
Serves: makes 48 2¾-inch cookies (cut the recipe in half to make 24 or refrigerate the dough for up to a week)
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter or organic Earth Balance, cut into ½-inch pieces
  • ¾ cup cane sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar or Muscovado sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour or white whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup oat flour (you can take a cup of rolled oats and process them in the food processor to make your own oat flour)
  • 1 teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 18 ounces semi-sweet or dark chocolate bars, chopped coarsely or use chocolate chips
  • 1 ½ cups chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)
  • flaky sea salt (optional)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with unbleached parchment paper or silicone mats.
  2. Place the butter and sugars in the bowl of stand mixer and blend on medium speed until the mixture is smooth.
  3. Add the baking soda, eggs and vanilla to the mixing bowl and mix until combined.
  4. In a medium bowl whisk together the flours, baking powder and sea salt. Add to the butter mixture and blend on low speed until just combined.
  5. Stir in the chocolate and nuts.
  6. Scoop the dough with a 1 ¾ -inch ice cream scooper onto the prepared baking sheets or use a tablespoon. Space them evenly apart. I was able to get 12 on each sheet.
  7. Bake 18-20 minutes or until just set. The cookies will be slightly soft in the center. If you like them crispier, bake them for up to 23 minutes. Allow to cool on the baking sheets 2 minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack. Repeat with the remaining dough.
Notes
Raw cookie dough can be frozen, but it’s a great idea to scoop the dough into balls first and freeze those so you can just pull out as many as you want to bake instead of having to defrost the whole batch of dough.  I have even baked cookies in the toaster oven!

 

 

 

Savory Muffins with Spinach, Roasted Peppers and Feta Recipe

Savory muffins with spinach, feta and roasted peppers

If you read my last post, you know that we haven’t gone out for Mother’s Day in several years and this Sunday will be no different.  Truth be told, I couldn’t be happier for several already mentioned reasons.  I am, however, definitely not cooking on Sunday, but instead leaving that to the men for this one and only day.  But if I were cooking, I would make these fabulous savory muffins and serve them with a very veggie frittata.  Can you tell I am pushing a low-glycemic agenda this week?

dry mix

Have you ever had too much sugar and carbs at brunch that the entire rest of the day you just felt “off?”  Done it, hate it.  I always have a hard time bouncing back after starting the day with chocolate chip French toast, a blueberry crumb muffin, fruit salad and a mimosa.  No, friends, that is not a balanced meal.  Instead, I make a concerted effort to balance out the token coffee cake with plenty of protein and hearty, savory fare.

wet ingredients

If my husband brings in bagels, I make sure there’s wild smoked salmon and sliced cucumbers and tomatoes.  Yogurt gets placed next to the homemade granola and there’s always a savory egg dish of some sort.  Even if I’m serving a crowd, I’ll double frittata recipes and bake them in large rimmed sheet pans.  Yes, you can do that!

spinach, feta and roasted peppers

savory muffins with spinach, feta and roasted peppers

Muffins and quick breads are very popular for brunch, and I have several recipes on this site, but I think these with spinach and roasted peppers are so delicious and a fresh change of pace from the ones you would normally expect.  They’re also fairly easy to put together.  In fact, you can combine your dry ingredients the day before and have your spinach, feta and peppers prepped and ready to go, so that all you really need to do is stir everything together and bake the morning of Mother’s Day.  Like most muffins, these are much better fresh out of the oven, but if you have leftovers, just store them in the fridge and warm them in the oven for a few minutes.  These are also the perfect match with any egg dish, whether simply scrambled or baked in a fritatta.  My most favorite frittata is this one with Swiss chard, but the one I just posted the other day with asparagus and artichokes is a close second.  Certainly, these muffins aren’t just for brunch, but make a great little extra something with a bowl of soup or in the next day’s lunchbox.

savory muffins with spinach, feta and roasted peppers

In the same way I love looking at what’s in people’s grocery carts (is that creepy?), I love hearing about your menus for holidays and special occasions.  Do share with me what you’re planning or what you would love someone to make for you!!  Happy Mother’s Day to all you beautiful mamas!

Savory Muffins with Spinach, Feta and Roasted Peppers

Savory Muffins with Spinach, Roasted Peppers and Feta
Author: 
Serves: makes 12 standard muffins
 
Ingredients
  • 2 ¾ cups whole wheat pastry flour or all-purpose flour (or a combo)*
  • 2 teaspoons aluminum-free baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • ¾ teaspoon sea salt
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • ¾ cup whole milk or unsweetened plain, hemp milk
  • ½ cup unrefined olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup thinly sliced spinach leaves
  • ¾ cup crumbled feta cheese
  • ½ cup chopped roasted red peppers or drained mild Peppadew peppers
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line 12 standard muffin cups with unbleached parchment paper liners (or cut parchment paper squares to fit.)
  2. Whisk flour, baking powder, paprika, salt and cayenne in a medium bowl.
  3. Whisk milk, oil, maple syrup and eggs in a large bowl and combine well.
  4. Add dry mixture to wet and stir until just combined. Fold in spinach, feta and peppers.
  5. Divide batter evenly among prepared muffin cups. I use a large ice cream scoop to do this.
  6. Bake muffins until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Cool 5 minutes and then transfer to a wire cooling rack or eat warm. Best eaten the same day that they’re made.
Notes
*To make these gluten-free, substitute wheat flour with 2 ¾ cups King Arthur Multi-purpose Gluten-free Flour + 1 ½ teaspoons xanthan gum.

Gingerbread cookies recipe

Mr. Picky asked me the other day if I would make cookies with him and I was this close to saying “Not today, sweetie.  I’m too busy.”  That would have been absolutely true.  We’re all so busy.  I don’t know anyone whom I have asked lately “How are you?” that hasn’t responded, “Really busy!  How are you?”  It’s not just this time of year either.  I feel like we’re running around at 90 miles an hour all year long.

In my classes and on my blog, I try to emphasize balance and moderation, yet I’m not so sure I practice what I preach with respect to finding downtime.  And as I had that thought, my daughters came home from school.  That is to say, they pulled into the garage in a car driven by Daughter #1 who turned 16 two months ago.  They walked in and all I could see was a 4-year-old and a 6-year-old.  I used to hate it when people told me kids grow up so fast, but the cliché couldn’t be more true.  It goes by in a nanosecond.  I can’t say my daughters have asked me recently to bake cookies with them, instead they invite their girlfriends over to stay up late and eat the cookie dough I keep in the freezer.  Believe me, I’m thrilled they even hang out at our house!  So last week I skipped writing a post that I thought would get published last Friday and instead baked cookies with my favorite little dude.  Totally worth it.

Mr Picky is a funny kid.  Some people joke with me that a boy who eats lentils and beans cannot be labeled “picky.”  And every year he adds more and more foods to the still narrow “approved” list.  But he doesn’t seem to like what most kids do such as buttered pasta, macaroni and cheese, pizza or sandwiches, not that I’m complaining.  His favorite cookies don’t contain candy or sprinkles, but instead are gingerbread.  And that’s what we decided to make last week.

Gingerbread cut-out cookies are a commitment.  It’s not like make a batter and spooning drops of it onto a baking sheet.  There’s chilling the dough, rolling it out, cutting it into shapes, decorating the cookies.  It’s a fairly simple dough to make and I don’t hold back on the spices.  But these cookies aren’t spicy, they’re just really flavorful.  Whole wheat pastry flour can be substituted with a gluten-free flour blend such as the King Arthur Multi-purpose GF Flour plus the addition of 1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum per cup of flour.  Mr. Picky’s favorite part is decorating which I always keep pretty simple with raw sugar, currants or mini-chocolate chips.

We had the best afternoon.  It was so nice to have one-on-one time with him and chat about school, football and his favorite new book.  We also talked about the mystery of Santa and that this was definitely going to be the year that he stayed awake to watch him leave gifts under my parents’ tree.  Sweet.  Spending time in the kitchen with my son was such a gift and a reminder to me that the biggest joys in life don’t come from checking off my to-do list.

Gingerbread Cookies
Author: 
Serves: makes 24-28 4-inch cookies
 
Ingredients
  • 4 cups whole wheat pastry flour (or your favorite gluten-free flour blend +1 tsp. xanthan gum)
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 4 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ½ teaspoon allspice
  • a few grinds finely ground black pepper (optional)
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ⅔ cup dark natural cane sugar (i.e. muscavado), or dark brown sugar, packed
  • 2 large eggs
  • ⅔ cup unsulphured molasses (not blackstrap unless you like that bitterness)
  • large grain sugar for decorating or mini-chocolate chips or currants
Instructions
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt and spices. Set aside.
  2. In a bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or by hand), cream the butter until it is light and fluffy. Add the sugar and mix again until light and creamy, about 2-3 minutes. Blend in the eggs one at a time and then the molasses. Add the flour mixture in two additions either by hand or on low speed. Divide the dough in two pieces, wrap each in plastic and chill for at least an hour.*
  3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with unbleached parchment paper or Silpats.
  4. Roll the dough out onto a lightly floured countertop to about ⅛-inch thick and cut with cookie cutters of your choice. ** Reroll the scraps and continue to cut additional cookies. Decorate with sugar crystals, dried fruit or chocolate chips before baking. For softer cookies, roll out a little thicker. Transfer to baking sheets and bake for 10-12 minutes for 3-4-inch cookies (less for smaller cookies, more for larger.) I like to see a little tinge of golden color around the edges of the cookies. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the baking sheets for 2 minutes and then transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.
Notes
*Dough can be prepared up to 2 days in advance.

**If you are not comfortable rolling on your countertop, roll the cookies out on a piece of parchment cut to fit the baking sheet. Remove scraps. Then transfer the parchment and cookies to the sheet and bake.