Baked Churros

That’s right! Baked, not fried.

I’ve been wanting to make a baked version of these insanely addictive treats for quite some time now. My mom absolutely loves them and I so wanted to bake her a batch while she was here, visiting us. But every time we went out to eat she would skip the entree and order a plate of churros for herself. I did not want to double up on those calories so I kept delegating this recipe to the bottom of my baking to-do list.

Then I found the perfect motivation. I made a batch of Smitten Kitchen’s Hot Fudge Sauce. This stuff is indeed the bomb. I want to put it over everything! And what goes better with chocolate sauce than churros?

I mean, just check this out!

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It’s easy to make – half an hour from beginning to end – and it’s something you can easily whip up for company. Best part is, no special equipment needed. Just a saucepan, spatula and some elbow grease!

Let’s get started

Yield – 24 Churros each 4 inches long

Ingredients

  • All purpose flour – 1 and 1/3 cup
  • Large eggs – 3 (at room temperature)
  • Unsalted butter – 1/2 cup (If using salted butter leave out salt from the dry ingredients)
  • Light brown sugar – 1 tbsp
  • Granulated sugar – 2 tbsp
  • Salt – 1/4 tsp
  • Water – 1 cup
  • Vanilla extract -1 tsp
  • Granulated sugar with 1 tsp of nutmeg or cinnamon for dusting finished churros – 1/3 cup

Method

  • Preheat oven to 400 F or 205 degree Celsius
  • Add butter, granulated sugar, light brown sugar, salt (if using) and water to a medium sized saucepan and place it on medium heat. Stir occasionally till the sugars and butter melt completely
  • Let the liquid come to a boil and then take it off the heat
  • Add in the vanilla extract and flour to the hot liquid and stir vigorously till a smooth dough is formed and it begins to gather around the spatula
  • Make a well in the center of the dough and and the first egg. Stir vigorously again till the egg is completely incorporated. It takes a couple of minutes. You will see the dough getting smoother and shinier after the egg is mixed in
  • Mix the other two eggs one at a time stirring thoroughly after each addition. Here’s a visual guide. The image on the right was taken after the three eggs were added

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  • Fill the dough into a piping bag fitted with a wide open star tip and pipe the dough in straight lines on a parchment lined sheet tray. I piped them about 3.5 to 4 inches long

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  • Spray or lightly brush the piped dough with oil. Bake in a preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes
  • When done the churros will be crisp and golden brown on the outside and will slide around easily on the tray
  • Transfer to a wire rack to cool for 5 minutes
  • Take granulated sugar and nutmeg (or cinnamon) in a wide bowl and mix. Toss warm churros in the sugar till they are lightly coated. Serve!

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Notes – These churros are best eaten fresh, right out of the oven. You can dip them in any sauce of your choice – melted chocolate, salted caramel, fudge – all work great! If you want to make these churros in advance, cool them and store in an airtight container. Just before serving, warm them in a preheated oven at 350 F or 180 degree Celsius for 5 minutes and then toss them in the sugar – nutmeg mixture 

Recipe adapted from Cookie Dough and Oven Mitt

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Fig Loaf

When your toddler refuses to get within 10 feet of anything that even remotely resembles a berry or dried fruit, you grumble a bit, blame it on her daddy's genes and then, if you're like me, you get baking. I find loaf cakes are excellent for camouflaging all kinds of those 'too healthy to eat' ingredients that your toddler and/or husband actively avoid. That's how this Fig Loaf came to be.

It's extremely easy to make. It goes excellently well with tea or coffee and it makes a great breakfast too! I like it lightly toasted with some chocolate spread and sprinkles on top. Now tell me that didn't entice you!

This recipe requires you to make a fig puree or 'jam'. You then add this puree to the batter which gives the loaf cake its pure fig-ey taste. It is a simple process that takes about 10 minutes start to finish.

If you want to forget about the loaf cake and just settle down with a bowl of this and a spoon, that's okay too. I won't mind.

Ingredients

  • All purpose flour – 1 and 1/2 cups
  • Baking soda – 1 and 1/2 tsp
  • Salt – 1/4 tsp
  • Egg – 1 large
  • Oil – 1/3 cup (Any neutral oil will do. No olive oil)
  • Granulated sugar – 3/4 cup (Can increase to 1 cup for more sweetness)
  • Buttermilk – 1/4 cup
  • Semi-sweet chocolate chips – 1/3 cup
  • Chopped dried figs – 1 heaping cup
  • Brown sugar – 1 tbsp
  • Lemon juice – 1 tsp
  • Water – 1/4 cup
  • Vanilla essence – 1 tsp

Method

First we make Fig Puree

  • In a small saucepan combine figs, brown sugar, lemon juice and vanilla essence and cook over medium low heat. Once the sugar has melted add the water to the figs and cook them down, stirring occasionally. Make sure the figs don't stick to the bottom of the pan and burn
  • Once the figs turn mushy and begin to break down, take the pan off the heat and allow to cool. Puree the fig mixture, using very little water if necessary, to form a chunky 'jam'. Set aside

Now onto the bread

  • Preheat oven to 350 F or 180 degree Celsius
  • Combine flour, baking soda and salt in a bowl and set aside
  • In another bowl whip the egg using a hand blender till it turns frothy
  • Add the sugar to the egg and whip till the mixture becomes very pale and fluffy. This takes 2 to 3 minutes
  • Now add the oil and the fig puree to the egg-sugar mixture and whip till it is thoroughly combined
  • Next add half the flour mixture and whip briefly to combine
  • Add in all the buttermilk and whip again
  • Add the remaining half of the dry ingredients and whip till it is all incorporated
  • Using a spatula gently mix in the chocolate chips and make sure there are no streaks of flour in the batter
  • Pour the batter into a greased and floured loaf pan till it is 2/3 full
  • Bake in a preheated oven for 45 minutes. At the 30 minute mark, check on the loaf cake. If the top is too dark, tent the loaf pan with foil and continue to bake till it is done. This ensures that the top doesn't burn while the cake bakes
  • The loaf cake is done when a tester inserted into it comes out clean or with very few crumbs attached.
  • Allow the cake to cool in the pan for about 10 minutes on a cooling rack
  • Gently invert the pan onto the cooling and let the cake slide out and then allow it to cool completely

NOTES – I used a 7.5×3.5×2.5 inches loaf pan and had a bit of batter left over that made 3 small cupcakes. Every oven is different. Keep an eye on your loaf cake after the 30 minute mark to make sure it doesn't over bake. Store the loaf cake in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days. Then store it in the fridge.

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 This recipe is based on the Fresh Fig Bread recipe over at thespruce.com

  

Almond Flour Cookies


My toddler is a cookie addict. If she could have her way she’d have cookies for breakfast every single day. Now, I could get behind that sentiment too but I’m sure I’m just one chocolate chip cookie away from busting out of my new pair of jeans. Sigh!

I’ve been looking high and low for a low cal cookie recipe that also tastes delicious. I wanted a light cookie but just didn’t want it to taste like it was diet friendly – you get me?


This cookie fits that job description perfectly! It’s light, delicate, sweet, crisp on the outside and soft and chewy inside. Gluten free. No butter. No oil. In other words – a dream come true!

Bonus – it’s unbelievably easy to make.

Just mix almond flour, sugar and zest in a bowl


Whip egg white and vanilla extract mixture to soft peaks


Fold egg white into flour mixture and scoop onto a cookie sheet. See those little orange flecks? Beautiful flavor!


Although these cookies are fantastic by themselves, something about their pointy ends made me want to dip them in dark chocolate. Yeah! That was a good move!

The cookies were gone in under 24 hours  You’ll definitely want to double this recipe.

Ingredients

  • Blanched Almond Flour – 1 cup
  • Granulated sugar – 3 tbsp
  • Orange zest – 1/4 tsp approx (zest of a small orange)
  • Large egg white – 1
  • Vanilla extract – 1/2 tsp
  • White distilled vinegar – 1/2 tsp
  • Chocolate chips – 1/3 cup (optional)
  • Unsalted butter – 1/2 tbsp (optional)

Yield – 18 small cookies

Method

  • Preheat oven to 325 F or 162 degree Celsius
  • In a mixing bowl combine almond flour, granulated sugar and orange zest and set aside
  • Take vinegar in a separate (clean!) bowl and with a paper towel wipe down the entire bowl with the vinegar. This makes sure your egg whites whip up well
  • Add the egg white to this bowl along with the vanilla extract and whip with a whisk or hand blender till you get soft peaks
  • Add this egg white mixture to the almond flour mixture and combine gently with a spatula. It will look crumbly initially but it will come together
  • Scoop a teaspoon of the dough and using a second teaspoon form a quenelle shaped cookie by going back and forth between the two spoons. I was not too successful, as you can see. You can just form small balls of the dough and flatten them slightly on the cookie sheet
  • Space the cookies about an inch apart on a parchment lined cookie sheet and bake in a preheated oven for 18 to 20 minutes
  • The cookies will not spread. The cookies are done when they turn golden brown around the edges
  • Allow them to cool on the sheet for about 5 minutes and  then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely
  • Optional glaze – Melt the chocolate chips and butter over a double boiler or in the microvave. Stir until smooth. Dip each cookie into the chocolate and place on a parchment lined cookie sheet till the chocolate sets


These cookies are of course, best eaten fresh but you can store them at room temperature in an airtight container for a few days. Anything longer than 3 days, I would recommend storing them in the refrigerator as they tend to get soft.

Recipe adapted from Almond Cookies over at Taste Love and Nourish

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sweet & Spicy Almonds – Dark Chocolate Bark

Strictly speaking this cannot be called a recipe post. It is a two-step process with an oven time of about ten minutes and that’s it. Roast almonds, pour melted chocolate on them and you’re done. The wait time is a true test of endurance though. This bark takes about 3 hours to firm up.

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The molten chocolate poured over shiny glazed almonds looked so tantalising that those three hours passed in total agony! I made constant trips to the refrigerator – poking, prodding, touching, lifting (spot the fingerprints and knife wounds in the picture above!). Turns out, you cannot will the chocolate to harden. It is stubborn and temperamental and will take its own sweet time.  So I suggest you make this at night, just before bedtime and let it set overnight. Easier on you and better for the chocolate too.

Sweet and Spicy Almonds recipe from Spoon Fork Bacon

Ingredients

  • Whole raw almonds – 2 cups
  • Honey – 2 and 1/2 tbsp
  • Maple syrup – 1 tbsp (can be substituted with honey)
  • Vegetable oil – 1 tbsp
  • Red pepper flakes – 1 tsp
  • Chilli powder (cayenne) – 1/4 tsp
  • Salt – 1/2 tsp
  • Sea salt or rock salt – 1/4 tsp
  • Dark chocolate (at least 60%) – 350 to 400 grams

Method

  • Preheat oven to 160 degree Celsius.
  • Add almonds to a big bowl. Pour in honey, maple syrup and vegetable oil. Add the red pepper flakes, chilli powder and salt and stir thoroughly until the almonds are evenly coated.

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  • Looks gorgeous doesn’t it? Now, if you haven’t already wolfed them down at this stage, line a baking tray with parchment paper. Spread the almonds on the tray in an even layer. Bake in a preheated oven for 10 to 15 minutes. After the initial 5 minutes stir the nuts around on the tray and continue to bake. Keep a close watch! Nuts tend to burn very quickly. Mine were toasted perfectly in about 12 minutes.
  • Allow the almonds to cool completely. Leave them on the tray till they are cool and the syrup has formed a nice hard glaze. The almonds will form delicious little clusters.
  • When the almonds are nearly cool, melt the chocolate in a double boiler – a glass bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Stir the melting chocolate gently, making sure the chocolate doesn’t come into contact with any water at all. Once it has all melted, take it off the heat. Line another baking sheet or brownie pan with parchment paper. Break up the almond clusters and spread about two-thirds of the almonds on the sheet. Pour the chocolate over the almonds and try to spread it out as evenly as possible using an offset spatula or a flat knife. Sprinkle the remaining almonds on top of the chocolate and gently press them down with the spatula. Sprinkle sea salt over the chocolate.
  • You’re done! Well almost. Refrigerate till the chocolate is set hard. This takes about 3 hours. After the nearly interminable wait, when the chocolate has finally set, break it up into chunks either with a knife or by hand. If breaking it up by hand, avoid getting your fingerprints on the chocolate by placing a layer of parchment on it first. Keep this almond – dark chocolate bark refrigerated.

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If you, like us, have it for breakfast, lunch and dinner, this should last you a couple of days. If you are blessed with greater self control it should be good for about a week to ten days.