Cranberry Oat Cookies With Almonds & Chocolate

My toddler likes to think she’s the original cookie monster. She can inhale a whole batch of cookies in a couple of sittings – if allowed to. Though I am not much of a cookie person myself, we do go through quite a few batches around here. I prefer baking cookies that have a savory quality to them. I also need them to taste less like a dessert and more like a healthy-ish snack that wont have me running to closest treadmill after snack time.

FullSizeRender (5)

Fortunately, my current food idol, Ottolenghi, has just what I need. His latest release, Sweet, is my favorite bedtime reading. I plan to bake my way through the book and this recipe is a great starting point. It has something for everyone. It is sweet without being excessively so. It’s chewiness is punctuated by the crunch of the nuts. The tartness of the cranberries plays beautifully with the bittersweet notes of chocolate.

IMG-3924

That’s not all. This recipe has the goodness of wholewheat flour and oats. The cookie dough doesn’t need to be chilled before baking and the cookies will stay good for up to a week in an airtight container at room temperature.

Have I convinced you to bake a batch yet? Let’s get started!

Ingredients

  • All purpose flour – 50 grams or 1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp
  • White whole wheat flour – 25 grams or 3 tbsp
  • Old fashioned oats – 50 grams or 1/2 cup plus 1.5 tbsp
  • Whole almonds – 50 grams or 1/3 cup*
  • Dried cranberries – 42 grams or 1/3 cup
  • Orange zest – 1/2 tbsp or the zest of a small orange
  • Orange juice – 1 tbsp
  • Unsalted butter – 75 grams or 1/3 cup (softened to room temperature)
  • Granulated sugar – 34 grams or 1/4 cup minus 1 tbsp
  • Salt – a pinch
  • Bittersweet chocolate bar (at least 60%) – 3 oz or 90 grams

*I used slivered almonds instead of whole almonds while testing the recipe and they turned out just as good. You will need 2/3 cup of slivered almonds. You can skip the roasting step and add them to the recipe as is

Yield – 10 to 12 cookies that are 2.5 inches in diameter. Recipe can be doubled

Method

  • Preheat oven to 350 F. Spread the whole almonds out on a baking tray lined with parchment paper and bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes till they’re just roasted. Set them to cool on a rack. Once cooled, chop them roughly into bite sized pieces. Set aside. If using slivered almonds you can skip this step
  • Increase the oven temperature to 375 F or 190 degree Celsius and preheat
  • Rough chop the dried cranberries. Soak them in the orange juice for about 10 minutes
  • In a medium bowl combine the all purpose flour, whole wheat flour, oats, almonds and salt and set aside
  • In the bowl of a mixer cream the butter, granulated sugar and orange zest till it turns light and fluffy and increases in volume. This takes at least 5 minutes
  • Add the flour-almond mixture to the butter-sugar mixture and whip to combine
  • Add the cranberries soaked in orange juice and whip briefly
  • Lightly dust your work surface with flour. Turn the dough out onto it and gently bring it together into a ball
  • Roll the dough out between two sheets of parchment paper or cling film into a rough circle which is 1/4th of an inch thick
  • Using a 2.5 inch cookie cutter punch out the cookies. Using a spatula gently transfer the cookies onto a tray lined with parchment paper. Place the cookies about an inch apart. They do not expand in the oven
  • Bake in a preheated oven for 18 to 20 minutes till they are uniformly golden brown
  • Cool the cookies on the tray for 5 minutes then transfer them to a wire rack
  • While the cookies are cooling, melt the chocolate in a double boiler (set a small sauce pan with an inch of water in it over the stovetop on low heat. Place the bowl with chocolate over this saucepan and stir periodically till the chocolate melts). Set aside to cool slightly
  • Dollop about a teaspoon of chocolate on the cookies and spread it out evenly using the back of a spoon. Set the cookies back on the rack to cool completely and till the chocolate sets
  • The cookies will stay fresh in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week

IMG-1118

Recipe adapted from the Cranberry and Oat Cookies recipe from his latest book Sweet

Advertisements

Strawberry Cobbler

Have you had one of those evenings where you’re halfway through dinner prep and you have a sudden craving for dessert? Something warm and gooey that you could dip your spoon into and lick clean? This happens to me quite often. Of course you’re tempted to abandon dinner plans and address that craving first. But you cannot feed your toddler dessert for dinner. Wait, can you?

IMG_0942

In a situation like this you should make a Cobbler! It’s warm, gooey, bubbly and jammy and will address your craving without derailing your dinner rush.

It doesn’t need any special equipment, uses the most basic of ingredients and turns out great with almost any fruit you have lying around – fresh or frozen. You can bake it in individual ramekins or one big dish. What I’m trying to say is – it’s versatile and it may win you a parent-of-the-day award.

IMG_0944

So let’s get to it shall we?

Yield – 4 to 5 small ramekins. This recipe can be doubled to feed a larger crowd

Ingredients

  • Butter* – 1/4 cup melted and cooled
  • Granulated sugar – 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp
  • All purpose flour – 1/2 cup
  • Baking powder – 3/4 tsp
  • Milk** – 1/2 cup
  • Strawberries or mixed berries – 1 and 1/2 to 2 cups

*I’ve used salted butter. You can use unsalted butter too in which case add 1/4 tsp salt to the dry ingredients

**I used 2% milk but you can use any milk you have on hand

IMG_0945

Method

  • Preheat oven to 350 F or 177 degree Celsius. Grease 4 small ramekins
  • Add flour, baking powder and 1/2 cup sugar to a bowl and whisk to combine
  • Add the milk and whisk to mix thoroughly. Add the melted and cooled butter to the batter and mix to combine. The consistency should resemble loose pancake batter
  • Spoon berries into the ramekins. Top them up with the batter and place some more berries on top. Sprinkle the tops with granulated sugar and bake in a preheated oven for 20 to 30 minutes till the tops are golden brown and crisp
  • Serve while still warm with ice cream or whipped cream

IMG_0941

This dessert is best eaten fresh and warm straight of the oven. But if you have to save it, wrap it in clingfilm and store it in the refrigerator. Warm it up in a 350 F oven for 5 to 7 minutes just before serving.

Recipe adapted from Completely Delicious

Pear & Almond Cake with Amaretto Caramel Sauce

IMG_0927

My toddler loves pears. Which is why I buy them by the sackfuls. Which is also why I always end up with a bunch of pears that ripen all at the same time. There’s only that many pears we can eat per day! There are oh so many elegant pear desserts I want to try but this particular bunch had gone too soft. Hence this cake.

IMG_0922

You can use bottom of the bowl, overripe pears and still have this cake turn out stellar! It’s a very simple, no fuss recipe. The only work involved is whipping butter and sugar and that only takes about 5 minutes.

IMG_0919

This recipe was originally measured out in grams. I have converted them to cup and tablespoon measures. I have included the weight measurements in italics if you prefer to go that route.

This recipe also mentions Self Rising Flour. You don’t have to rush out to the grocery store to buy a bag, or worse, abandon this project altogether! You just need all purpose flour, baking powder and salt and you can make your own batch of self rising flour. Recipe for that is given below.

Ingredients

For the cake

  • Peeled and roughly chopped pears – 3
  • Unsalted butter* – 1 cup (200 grams)
  • Granulated sugar – 1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp (125 grams + 1 tbsp)
  • Large eggs – 2
  • Self rising flour** – 1 cup minus 5 tbsp (100 grams)
  • Ground almonds or Almond meal – 1/2 cup plus 4 tbsp (80 grams)

*If using salted butter leave the salt out of the self rising flour recipe given below

**Self rising flour – Take 1 cup all purpose flour, add 1 and 1/2 tsp baking powder and 1/2 tsp salt. Whisk to combine. Measure and use as directed

For the caramel sauce

  • Salted butter* – 1/4 cup
  • Light brown sugar – 1 cup
  • Vanilla extract – 1 tsp
  • Amaretto extract – 2 tsp (optional)

*If using unsalted butter add 1/2 tsp of salt to your recipe

Method

The cake

  • Preheat oven to 375 F or 190 degree Celsius. Grease and flour a 9 inch circular cake pan. Make sure all your ingredients are at room temperature and the butter is softened
  • In a medium saucepan melt 2 tbsp of butter. Add 1 tbsp of sugar and stir till it melts. Add the peeled and chopped pears and simmer till they turn brown and the sauce thickens a little
  • In a large bowl add the remaining butter and sugar and whip together using a mixer till it turns light and fluffy. This will take 5 to 7 minutes
  • Add the eggs one by one and whip thoroughly after each addition
  • Add the flour to this mixture in three batches and combine on low speed just until incorporated
  • Add the ground almonds or almond meal and using a spatula stir it gently through the batter
  • Pour the batter into the cake pan. Level with a spatula. Arrange the cooked pears evenly over the surface of the cake. Pour some of the sauce from the saucepan over the cake
  • Bake in a preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes till the cake turns golden brown and a tester inserted into the cake comes out clean
  • Cool the cake in the pan set over a cooling rack. Once it is completely cooled remove from pan

The amaretto caramel

  • Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat
  • Add the sugar and cream and stir. The mixture will foam up quite a bit. Make sure you use a saucepan with tall sides
  • Let it cook for about 5 minutes stirring constantly
  • Add vanilla extract, amaretto and salt (if using) and stir
  • Let the sauce simmer on low heat for 2 to 3 minutes till it reaches the desired thickness. For this cake I prefer an unsalted, slightly thin caramel sauce that pours easily over the cake without clumping

Assembly

  • Place the cooled cake on a cake stand or plate. Pour the amaretto caramel sauce generously over the cake and garnish with additional chopped or slivered almonds

This cake can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for 2 days. Anything longer than that, it will have to be stored in the refrigerator.

IMG_0924

 

Recipe adapted from Frugal Feeding