Does anyone else get all sugared out after Christmas? First you have Thanksgiving where you eat a crazy amount of pie, and then you just don’t stop until Christmas is over. Or, well, at least that’s what I did… no? Just me?
Now I’m in this snacking mode, where I just want to eat food constantly because that’s all I did for the past month and a half. It takes me a few weeks to wind down from the holidays. In other words, I need some healthy snacks. Preferably not sweet (I’ve got fruit for that).
I’ve made roasted chickpeas several times. I go through phases, actually. I’ll buy 3 or more cans of chickpeas and then roast them one day after another because it’s yummy, but then I’m just DONE and tired of it for like, a few months… until I remember I like it and I go out and buy 3 more cans! And the cycle repeats itself.
In other words, tomorrow I’ll be eating chickpeas again, and probably the day after that.
Today I did one of my go-to’s. Miso, soy sauce, sesame oil. Savory and so flavorful! I love all three of these ingredients individually, and they work together wonderfully.
Not to mention, these are SO easy to make. Maybe it would be a fun snack to make with your kids? I know mine really enjoy eating it, although I haven’t let them help me make it yet (they are small, and such messy helpers). Maybe I’ll give them a chance tomorrow…
Miso Roasted Chickpeas
Canned Chickpeas are tossed in miso, soy sauce, and sesame oil and roasted in the oven to make an easy and healthy Asian inspired snack.
- 1 can chickpeas 15-16 oz
- 1 T sesame oil
- 1 T miso paste
- 1 T soy sauce
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Drain the chickpeas and rinse. Dry completely by patting with paper towels and allowing to air dry for a few minutes. The chickpeas should be matte looking and dry to the touch. Combine sesame oil, miso paste, and soy sauce in a medium bowl until smooth. Toss the chickpeas in the paste until evenly coated. Spread out on a cookie sheet and bake for 20-30 minutes until crispy, shaking the cookie sheet every 10 or so minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
You can also reduce the sauce to 2 teaspoons each for a more subtle, less salty flavor.
The other day I got a Christmas care package in the mail from my mother-in-law, who lives in Hawaii. Obviously it was filled with toys for the kids, but there were a couple of things for me in there too! Namely, a bag of dry roasted and salted macadamia nuts. In the past she’s sent the chocolate covered toffee mac nuts which I LOVE, but when I saw the plain salted ones, I thought, “oooh I should make something with these!” And so this chocolate ganache tart with macadamia and coconut was born.
I kept the recipe really simple. Graham cracker crust, ganache filling, and macadamia nut and coconut topping. It’s the holidays, aren’t we all crazy busy?!
To add a little Hawaiian flavor note into the tart, I added coconut flakes to the crust, and used coconut milk instead of heavy cream for the ganache. To make the coconut milk thick enough, you will first need to get all of the thick cream out of the can, and then top it off with the more watery left overs. If you shake the can up and use the mixed up coconut milk, your ganache will probably not set hard enough.
Now, this tart is SUPER RICH! The filling is just straight chocolate and coconut milk (which also means it’ll be delicious… use good quality chocolate please!), so I wanted to take the sweetness of the crust and toppings down a bit. No additional sugar is added to the graham cracker crust, and I used unsweetened coconut flakes. If you want it to be sweet sweet sweet, then feel free to use sweetened coconut flakes.
So, for the picture, I didn’t put all of the nuts and coconut on… I thought it was enough. When I started eating it, the salty macadamia nuts on top were so good that I added the rest of it on. So, realistically, your tart should be covered with nuts and coconut flakes.
Yum yum yum :), have fun!
Chocolate Ganache Tart with Macadamia and Coconut
A graham cracker crust tart is filled with a sweet ganache made from milk chocolate and coconut milk. Salted macadamia nuts counter the sweetness and add a nice crunch!
- 9 graham crackers whole rectangles
- 6 T unsalted butter melted
- 1/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes or sweetened
- pinch of salt
- 12 ounces good quality milk chocolate
- 1 can coconut milk unshaken
- 1/2 cup dry roasted and salted macadamia nuts
- unsweetened coconut flakes or sweetened
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Make the ganache: Open your unshaken coconut milk can. Scoop out all of the cream into a 2 cup measuring cup. Fill the measuring cup to the 1 1/4 cup line with the rest of the liquid. Set aside remaining liquid for another use (I recommend putting it in a smoothie!). Cut milk chocolate into small pieces or shavings (not necessary if you are using chips). Put the coconut milk in a medium bowl and microwave until very hot and just starting to simmer. Add the milk chocolate to the coconut milk and stir until completely melted and smooth. Set aside.
Make the tart crust: In a food processor, combine all of the ingredients and pulse until completely combined. Press into a 9-in. tart pan and bake until golden, 10-12 minutes. Let cool for about 10 minutes.
Assemble: Pour the ganache into the baked and slightly cooled tart crust, and allow to cool completely. Transfer to fridge for several hours or overnight to set. Once set (top is no longer jiggly), crush macadamia nuts in a plastic bag and garnish with the macadamia nut pieces and coconut flakes.
This tart is very rich, so I used unsweetened coconut flakes. You can use sweetened flakes for a sweeter crust and topping.
I LOVE browsing specialty stores. I’m talkin’ the ones that have fancy cheeses and chocolates and ingredients that you can’t find at a normal store. I usually end up walking out with a ten dollar chocolate bar and a five dollar bottle of some kind of fancy soda. The other day I was walking around a store called Better Cheddars and saw some Belgian pearl sugar, which I use to make liege waffles (recipe coming soon, I hope! But meanwhile… waffle luv copycat liege waffles). Anyways, my husband said I should grab TWO boxes so that we will never have a craving to make some and realize we are out of pearl sugar. When I got home and took the boxes out to put away, I realized… I had bought one box of Belgian, and one box of Swedish pearl sugar!
Swedish pearl sugar is small pieces, versus the large Belgian chunks. I looked at the back and saw that you can sprinkle them on top of cinnamon rolls and the like… But to me it kind of reminded me of how pretzels look like, with the big salt pieces. I LOVE the bite of pearl sugar, so I wanted to incorporate it into a dessert instead of just sprinkling it on top.
Anyways, long story short, I racked my brain for days thinking of how I can use them, and one day as I was walking along the grocery aisles, I saw that the mini chocolate chips were on sale. I thought, small pieces of sugar should go with small pieces of chocolate… and put it in my basket.
And that’s how this recipe came about. These snowball cookies are packed with mini chocolate chips and Swedish pearl sugar. The pearl sugar gives it this fun bite that’s hard to describe… But it really adds a uniqueness to these snowball cookies that I think you’ll love!
Need some Swedish Pearl Sugar? (affiliate link) Happy baking!
Swedish Pearl Snowball Cookies
These melt-in-your-mouth snowball cookies are bursting with mini chocolate chips, and Swedish pearl sugar adds a fun bite!
- 1 stick unsalted butter room temperature
- 1 t vanilla
- 2 T powdered sugar
- 1/4 t salt
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 3 T Swedish pearl sugar
- 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a medium mixing bowl, cream together the room temperature butter, vanilla, salt, and powdered sugar until light and fluffy. Add the flour in 1/4 cup at a time and beat well after each addition. Add the pearl sugar and chocolate chips and fold in using either a wooden spoon or hands. Once sugar and chocolate chips are mixed throughout the dough, take 1 tablespoon of dough at a time and roll into balls. Place on silicone baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes or until very lightly golden. Let rest for a few minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool. Sift powdered sugar over the cookies once they are slightly cooled.
Swedish pearl sugar can be bought at specialty stores or -> Lars' Own Swedish Pearl Sugar, 10 Ounce (affiliate link)
Umami- different from savory… not exactly “salty”, but a flavor profile that brings a depth and deliciousness to foods. You’ll find it in soy sauce, anchovies, tomatoes, parmesan, and these umami puffs. These puffs are topped with umami filled crimini mushrooms, bacon, caramelized onions, and parmesan cheese. Each ingredient is delicious on it’s own, and with their combined powers… oh boy.
Sure, caramelizing onions can take a while, but they are well worth the effort. I always find myself picking at pieces to see “if they are done yet”… like every few seconds. As a matter of fact, I can single handedly eat an entire onions worth in one sitting. Yeah, a whole onion.
To make up for the caramelizing onions taking forever, I used puff pastry to make things quick once you have your ingredients assembled. Just spoon the mixture on the dough and throw it in the oven!
There is just so much umami flavor in these little puffs, I dare you to stop at one! They are perfect for party appetizers, or as a side with your dinner. Or… well, you could even eat these as a light dinner on their own!
Ok, and for those of you who don’t like mushrooms… ugh, come on, they are SO good! But, I guess you can leave them out. I think you should try it though, just chop it up smaller and you will forget they are there (maybe)!
You can make the filling earlier in the day and just pop it on the puff pastry and throw it into the oven right before your guests arrive! Try this at your holiday party!
Perfect Umami Puffs
Full of umami packed ingredients, these puffs are perfect for a party appetizer or side dish.
- 2 large onions
- 1 T butter
- balsamic vinegar, white wine, or chicken stock for deglazing pan
- 10 crimini mushrooms
- 1 t dried thyme
- 1 t balsamic vinegar
- 5 slices thick cut bacon
- parmesan cheese for topping
- 2 sheets puff pastry
- 1 egg
Caramelize the onions: Thinly slice the onions and heat a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Melt the butter and add the sliced onions. Stir occasionally, and cook until onions are soft, caramelized, and a nice brown color. If frond is sticking to the bottom of the pan and won't come up with stirring, add a small splash of balsamic vinegar (or chicken stock or white wine), and deglaze the pan. Onions are done when they are very soft and sweet, about 40 minutes to an hour.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Take puff pastry out of freezer and set aside to thaw. Chop the bacon and cook over medium heat until crispy. Quarter (or cut into sixth for larger pieces) the mushrooms and saute in 1 T of left over bacon grease (or regular oil such as canola) over medium heat. When softened, add balsamic vinegar and dried thyme and stir, cooking for a minute or two longer.
When puff pastry is sufficiently defrosted, unfold and lay out on a cutting board. Cut each sheet into 6 squares. Taking a paring knife, cut another square inside each square, about 1/2 inch in from each side. We want to set the filling on the smaller square and have the sides puff up around it. Beat the egg with a splash of water and using a pastry brush, brush the egg wash onto the puff pastry (you can just do the outer portion since the middle will be covered with the onion mixture). Combine caramelized onions, bacon, and mushrooms in a bowl, and spoon onto the centers of each puff.
Bake in oven until lightly browned and puffed, about ten minutes. Remove from oven and grate parmesan cheese over each piece.
Feel free to change the amounts of each ingredient according to taste.
When I think of desserts I want to make, I like thinking outside of the box. I mean, there are a million brownie recipes out there, right? I had some leftover strawberries from making my strawberry mousse cake earlier in the week, and I wanted to use them in brownie form because December 8th (today!) is national brownie day. I walked to my pantry and opened it and saw balsamic vinegar… which totally goes with strawberries, duh!
So I’m thinking, strawberries go with chocolate, because chocolate dipped strawberries. Strawberries go with balsamic because strawberry balsamic vinaigrette. Balsamic and chocolate… Hmm. Well, we’ll just say that works too. Therefore by some mathematical property, they should all come together deliciously.
And they did! The thing I love the most about these is that you have a super rich fudgy brownie, which is maybe a little too much on it’s own, and you add a little tart and tangy. It balances the rich and sweet, and adds a little punch of fresh.
I also tried to lighten this up a little bit by switching out half the butter with plain greek yogurt and reducing the amount of sugar. Let’s be honest, there’s still a ton of sugar in it, but we’re eating brownies here, not muffins! You can also just add the strawberry topping to your favorite brownie recipe!
Strawberry Balsamic Brownies
Fudgy brownies topped with a swirl of fresh balsamic strawberries. Rich chocolate pairs perfectly with a little tang and tartness.
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1/2 cup plain greek yogurt or regular yogurt
- 1 T vanilla
- 4 eggs
- 1.5 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup cocoa powder
- 1 t salt
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
- 1.5 cups chopped strawberries
- 1 T sugar
- 2 T balsamic vinegar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Melt the butter and mix with yogurt in a large bowl. Add the sugar and beat with a hand mixer. Add in one egg at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla. In a medium bowl, whisk together the cocoa, flour, and salt. Add to the wet ingredients and use a spatula to mix together. Grease a 9x13 inch pan and pour batter into pan. Smooth the top and set aside.
In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the strawberries, sugar, and 1 T balsamic vinegar. Bring to a simmer and cook, while smashing down the strawberries with a spatula. When the mixture has reduced a little, remove from heat and stir in the second T of balsamic vinegar. Add spoonfuls of strawberry mixture over the brownie mixture and swirl it in. The strawberry mixture should mostly remain on the top, so don't mix too much! Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the top and place in oven. Bake for 30-45 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean (make sure you aren't poking through a chocolate chip or it might not look clean!).
Remove from oven and allow to cool. Cut into squares and serve!
Adapted from: Honest Cooking.
It’s already December but I just don’t feel very Christmas-y yet. I think December just snuck up on me too fast, and I’m in denial about it… Anyways, this strawberry mousse cake is my big leap into the Christmas spirit.
Strawberry mousse cake is always a good option. Soft pink is very spring-y, strawberries=summer, and… I don’t know about fall. Maybe not fall. But just by adding these cute little Santa strawberries on top, you get a perfect Christmas cake.
Now, I’m going to warn you, this isn’t just a mix it up and throw it in the oven kind of cake. It takes some effort, but it is well worth it. I like to make this to serve when guests come over for dinner, or if I’m having a get together.
Growing up, it was one of my mom’s go-to cakes. She’d make strawberry sponge cakes a lot, but when she wanted to up the wow-factor, she took it a step further and made it a mousse cake. She also introduced me to the Santa strawberries. Aren’t they adorable? Well, even if it isn’t Christmas, this cake is still a showstopper with regular strawberries on top.
Some notes about this cake: you need a springform pan, and it’s not a super sweet dessert. Okay so first, the springform pan. You gotta have it, because you harden the mousse in the mold and take it off afterwards. Imagine trying to dig the cake and mousse out of a regular cake tin. Not happening. Second, this is a Japanese style cake, and that means it’s sweetness level is not at the American standard. That’s a good thing, by the way. It’s light and refreshing, and you don’t feel like you’re in a food coma after eating a slice. Well, that can be good too but… Anyways, it’s light and fluffy and a little tart from all the fresh strawberries you put in it.
Go ahead, impress your guests with this one.
Strawberry Mousse Cake
A sponge cake enrobed in strawberry mousse and topped with strawberry jelly. Add Santa strawberries for Christmas!
- 3 eggs
- 1/3 cup cake flour
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1 T light corn syrup optional
- 1/2 T butter melted
- 1 T milk
- 300 g strawberries
- 100 ml milk
- 50 ml water
- 4 t powdered gelatin
- 1.5 T lemon juice
- 150 ml heavy whipping cream
- 150 g strawberries
- 15 g granulated sugar
- 1 t powdered gelatin
- 1 T water
- 8 nicely shaped strawberries
- sweetened whipped cream
- mint leaves for garnish optional
Prep: heat oven to 350 degrees F, and line the bottom of a 9-in. springform cake pan with parchment paper. Set aside your 8 best looking strawberries for topping the cake.
Cake: Get a medium and a large bowl out. Make sure the medium bowl is *spotless* as you will use it for whipping egg whites. Separate the eggs, putting the whites in the medium bowl and the yolks in the large bowl. Pour about half of the sugar in with the yolks. Using a hand mixer, beat the egg whites, adding the remaining sugar in increments, until stiff peaks form. Beat the egg yolks and sugar until fluffy and pale yellow in color. Add the melted butter, milk, and light corn syrup, and beat to combine. Sift in the cake flour and beat to combine. Do not over-beat, but just until combined. You may need to scrape down the sides and stir with a spatula. Add 1/4-1/3 of the egg whites to the batter, to lighten. Mix until completely combined, and add the remaining egg whites. Gently fold until combined. Pour into prepared springform pan, and bake for about 15 minutes or until lightly golden and toothpick comes out clean. Set aside, and when cool to the touch, remove spring form outer shell and wash. Once cake is cooled, cut about 1/2-1 cm width of the outside circumference and remove. We will not be using this, so feel free to snack on it. Now we have a smaller circle of cake, so the cake will be completely hidden by the mousse.
Strawberry Mousse: Sprinkle the gelatin over the 50ml of water and stir if it doesn't fully combine on it's own. Let bloom for about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, remove stems from strawberries, and place in blender or food processor to puree. Place puree in a medium or large bowl. In a small saucepan, heat the milk and sugar together and stir until barely simmering. Remove from heat and add the gelatin. Stir until melted and fully combined. Add the gelatin mixture to the strawberry puree and stir together to combine. In a separate bowl, whip the cream until very soft peaks form (80% whipped). Pour the whipped cream into the strawberry mixture and fold in until combined. Place outer springform back onto the base with the cake on it, and pour the mousse over the cake. Smooth the top, and place in fridge for 30 minutes to set.
Strawberry Jelly: When mousse has set in the fridge, sprinkle gelatin over the 1 T water and allow to bloom. Meanwhile, puree the strawberries, and add to a small saucepan with the sugar. Stir and heat over medium heat until barely simmering. Remove from heat and stir in the gelatin. Pour through a sieve to remove the seeds. Once the mixture is no longer hot, pour over the mousse and return to the fridge to firm up.
Topping: Remove the cake from the fridge and run a thin, sharp-bladed knife around the cakes edge. Remove springform side. Decorate your cake with the whipped cream and strawberries. Add mint for garnish.
Santa Strawberries: If you would like to make Santas, take the 8 topping strawberries, and cut the top 1/3 off. This will be your hat. Pipe whipped cream onto the bottom half, and gently place hat on top. Use black sesame seeds, flax seeds, mini chocolate chips, etc. to make eyes. Pipe a small dot of cream on the tops of the hats, and buttons on the front.
Mousse recipe adapted from: Cookpad (Japanese).