Dairy-Free Brownie Madeleines

Shell-shaped brownie cookies on a cooling tray.

A childhood friend and his father visited us this weekend, and I wanted to make a special dish for them, so I played around with a few recipes. And I came up with (Dairy-Free) Brownie Madeleines! Shell-shaped brownies that puff up splendidly and look extra good if you sprinkle them with icing sugar.

As it happens, I wasn’t able to make the recipe for my friend as the baby decided to have a growth spurt and wanted to eat and be with mummy all the time, so their loss is my waistline’s gain, as I made the recipe the day after they left. You can make the recipe too – it’s delish! While I use a madeleine tray that I borrowed from my mother (I live in a condo. I don’t have room to buy and store All The Baking Things.), you could easily use a well-greased muffin tray to make two-bite brownies instead of madeleines. Actually, that’s a great idea – someone do that and then let us know in the comments how it was!

Want to make the Brownie Madeleines yourself? Let’s!

Dairy-Free Brownie Madeleines

These cookies are more like a brookie: a brownie-cookie mashup! But they’re 100% delicious!

Servings 12 cookies

Ingredients

  • 1/2 c. flour
  • 1/3 c. cocoa (plus 1 tbsp.)
  • 1 tsp. instant coffee
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 egg
  • pinch salt
  • 1/3 c. soft plant-based margarine
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 c. sugar

Instructions

  1. Mix all ingredients together. 

  2. Spoon into a well-greased madeleine pan, and bake in a 400 degree oven for 12 minutes or until the top of the brownie madeleines are springy.

  3. Let cool, sprinkle with icing sugar if you desire, and eat!

I used plant-based margarine in the recipe (a soft version) to make these dairy-free, but you could use melted butter if that’s all you have. And I used 1 tsp. of instant coffee powder to add a richness to the chocolatey taste, but I’ve also made them with 2 tsp. of regular coffee and they’re just as good.

Interested in some other variations? Why not dip them in melted white or dark chocolate? Or perhaps drizzle them with a little icing sugar icing? Mmm…want!

Next Post: An AMAZING recipe for preservative-free Vegetable Cream Cheese Spread! Seriously amazing! (Also amazingly easy.)

Easy Classic Bruschetta & Why I’m an Olive Oil Snob

A fresh and garlicky tomato topping on a toasted baguette slice!
A fresh and garlicky tomato topping on a crisply toasted baguette slice!

I think I’ve mentioned before that I grew up eating a wide range of cuisines, but one of my favourites is Italian. (Actually, I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like Italian food. So yummy!) My mother made a wide variety of Italian dishes, but one of my favourites was the bruschetta that she made. I had a random craving for it this week, so I got the recipe from her, tweaked it a bit, and have already eaten it twice. So that’s the recipe I’m sharing with you today: Easy Classic Bruschetta!

I’ve eaten bruschetta as a meal, but it’s usually eaten as an appetizer. You really want to use good quality ingredients in this recipe, since each ingredient really plays a starring role. Really nicely ripe tomatoes, some good quality olive oil, and some fresh garlic. And then any old baguette will do. A stale baguette is probably best, but if you don’t have one, just toast the sliced baguette as I do. And as I’ve said before, I don’t usually recommend salting food, but in this dish, don’t skip the salt and pepper. The dish will be flat without it!

I don’t bother adding parmesan cheese to bruschetta, the way a lot of people are used to eating it, but you could definitely add some in. Again, a good quality parmesan would be best since this dish is so simple, but if the refrigerated stuff is all you have, eh, you do you, boo!

Oh, and one last piece of advice: don’t skimp on the garlic! This is such a nicely fresh, crunchy, and garlicky dish, whether you serve it with a hot pasta dish in the winter, or with a cold pasta dish in the summer, or just as a snack!

Easy Classic Bruschetta

This simple dish is as classic and as comforting as Italian food gets, but thrown together in minutes.

Servings 6 people

Ingredients

  • 3 ripe tomatoes
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 c. olive oil good quality
  • 1 tsp. dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • black pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Roughly chop tomatoes and garlic. 

  2. Toss with remaining ingredients and set aside for 15 minutes to let the flavour mingle.

  3. In the meantime, slice a baguette on the diagonal and toast in the oven until lightly brown and slightly crispy. 

  4. Just before serving, top the toasted baguette slices with the fresh tomato mixture. And chow down!

As I said in earlier in this post, I recommend using really good olive oil in this recipe, since it’s such a key ingredient. And as I wrote in the title of this post, I’m a bit of an olive oil snob. Why? Well, I have some relatives in the Middle East and they send me the really pure first press olive oil from time to time and my goodness, is there ever a difference in flavour! I tend to cook with store-bought because why not, but for a dish like bruschetta, a high end olive oil can make a big difference! To be honest though, I’m not really a foodie snob — I just like good food! And this dish is some good eatin’! If you try out the recipe, come back and post in the comments what you thought of it!

Next Post: Hmm…perhaps an Easy Yet Decadent Chocolate Trifle flavoured with some almond sherry? With pillowy mountains of cream, and lightly dusted with chocolate shavings? Does that sound good?

Ultra-Creamy Hummus and a Sure-Fire Shortcut to Kitchen Zen

How to Make Ultra-Creamy Hummus

So creamy with a hint of piquant umami!

Usually I’m all about the quick and easy recipes, like my Easy Tex-Mex Potatoes or my Easiest Ever Orange Crush Slushie. Every now and then though, I share a recipe that might take a bit longer, but is worth it! This Ultra-Creamy Hummus recipe is one of those recipes! It actually doesn’t take that long, as I just dump all the ingredients in the blender and zap it and it’s done, but getting the main ingredient ready, well that’s another story!

The secret to this hummus? PEELED CHICKEPEAS. I know, I know, when I first came across the concept, I was all huh? Peeling chickpeas? Can chickpeas even be peeled? But it refers to removing the cellulose-based ‘skin’ on the chickpea. It’s that cellulose skin that makes hummus so grainy, and removing it makes the hummus ultra-creamy and smooth.

Peeling chickpeas is one of those tasks that you just can’t hurry. You can stand at the kitchen sink with the chickpeas in a bowl of water, and just zen out removing them one by one. As one of my friends said, it’s actually a meditative task. It forces you to slow down and calm down and just be in the moment. I don’t always peel my chickpeas, but when I do, I definitely feel more peaceful!

So, try it yourself! Peel those chickpeas and give yourself a few minutes of zen!

 

5 from 1 vote
Print

Ultra-Creamy Hummus

The extra step in this recipe makes the finished product ultra-smooth and extra creamy!

Servings 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 can chickpeas (1 1/4 c)
  • 1/4 c. tahini
  • 1/8 c. lemon juice (fresh is best)
  • 1 tbsp. balsaminic vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/3 c. water
  • 1 clove garlic

Instructions

  1. Rinse chickpeas and peel off skins. Throw away skins.

  2. Place chickpeas in blender along with rest of ingredients and blend. 

  3. And...you're done!

Recipe Notes

If you like thicker hummus, use less water, or none at all. Make it to your specifications!

I used canned chickpeas because I just find it easier, but you could also boil your own. And, as I said, you don’t have to peel the chickpeas. It just makes the recipe that much creamier!

I serve hummus with veggies sticks and pita, as that’s how I ate it growing up, but it would be lovely served with some fresh falafel or tabbouleh salad! You do you, boo!

Next Post: Not sure yet. Maybe something decadently rich and creamy? But in healthy-sized portions, because I’m still trying to lose that baby weight. (She’s totally worth it, btw!)

FREEZER COOKING: Brownie Brittle Cookies (with Reese’s Pieces) — One Hundred Cookie Recipe!

Deeeeeliciously brownie like!

I know that in my last post I said that I would give you the recipe for my Ultra-Creamy (and Vegan!) Hummus, but I came up with a super-duper new yummy recipe this week and I just have to share it with you! It’s Brownie Brittle Cookies (with Reese’s Pieces), and it makes ONE HUNDRED COOKIES, so you can bake and eat some, keep some dough in the freezer, and still have enough to share!

You’re probably thinking, why would I need to bake one hundred cookies? And unless you’re baking for a family reunion, or a large birthday party (or like me, for your spouse’s workplace), you probably don’t need to bake one hundred cookies. But wouldn’t it be nice to be able to have freshly baked cookies whenever you want them, without having to pull out your baking utensils and spend the time mixing and cleaning and such? That’s why we’re going to…freeze the cookie dough!

And the best part of freezing the cookie dough, beside having the ability to bake fresh cookies whenever you want, is that you can actually eat the dough raw because there’s no egg in it! Now I know you should actually not eat the dough raw since flour can theoretically contain salmonella, but if you’re certain your flour is safe, then it’s cookie dough eatin’ time! You could even add it to homemade ice cream and make your own brownie brittle cookie dough ice cream! Note to self: make this recipe a reality.

I came up with the recipe one evening when the baby wouldn’t go to sleep and I was craving chocolate. I stuck her in my front-wearing baby carrier and got to work. I had seen the one-hundred cookie recipe going around Instagram and decided to try and make it. But I didn’t have all the ingredients so I had to make (them did you know you can actually make your own condensed milk?) and then changed the technique and then changed the amount and type of some ingredients and voila! My Brownie Brittle Cookies were born!

Now, shall we get baking? Let’s!

Brownie Brittle Cookies (with Reese's Pieces!)

This large-batch recipe makes enough cookie dough to bake some for yourself and others, and still have enough leftover to freeze for those cookie emergencies!

Servings 100 cookies

Ingredients

  • 5 c. flour
  • 2 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 7 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 c. butter, softened
  • 2 c. milk
  • 1/2 c. honey
  • 3 tbsp. butter
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 2 c. chocolate chips
  • 1 c. Reese's Pieces

Instructions

  1. First we're going to make our own sweetened condensed milk: in a large saucepan over a medium high heat, mix the milk, honey, vanilla extract, and 3 tbsp. butter. Bring to a boil and then simmer until half reduced in volume (about 1/2 hour).


  2. While the homemade condensed milk is reducing, we make our self-raising flour: mix the flour, salt, and baking powder in a large bowl.

  3. Add 2 cups of butter, and the cup of sugar to the flour mixture and mix together thoroughly.

  4. Then stir in the chocolate chips.

  5. Once the condensed milk mixture is ready, pour it into the rest of the cookie batter. The hot condensed milk will melt the chocolate chips, which is what we want; it will also melt the butter which will help the cookies caramelize in the oven. Stir together until the chocolate chips are completely melted.

  6. Let the dough sit for 10 minutes to cool off, then stir in the Reese's Pieces.

  7. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 10 minutes. The cookies will be very soft and will need to cool for at least 10 minutes on the cookie sheet before being removed to a cooling tray.

  8. Let cool completely before eating, and enjoy!

I suggest freezing the dough in several small Ziploc type freezer bags, so that you can just pull out one baggie at a time and defrost it. I just stuck it all in one bag for myself, as I knew I’d be baking it all at once for my husband’s workplace.

Oh, and while I added in Reese’s Pieces to the dough, you could easily just put in walnut pieces and chocolate chunks for an even brownie-er brownie brittle cookie. As I always say, you do you, boo!

Next Post: My Ultra-Creamy Hummus recipe! For sure! (Most likely.)

Linking Up at Meal Plan Monday, Happiness is Homemade, and the Clever Chicks blophop!

Easy Tex-Mex Potato Wedges & Why I Ran Out of Potatoes

Not the best photo but the RECIPE is tops!

This week’s post is about potatoes. Easy ones! Flavourful ones! But not spicy ones. Why? Well, my MIL was staying with us for a few months, to spend time with her first grandchild, and I was trying to feed her delicious meals. But with a new baby in the house, they also had to be super-fast meals, because I certainly did not have time to make complicated dishes, not if I also wanted to be able to do laundry, dishes, take care of the baby, and you know, occasionally sleep! So I relied a lot on potatoes. Baked potatoes! Rosemary Roasted Potatoes! Mashed potatoes! Potato soup! Broccoli and cheese sauce topped potatoes! And now, Tex-Mex Potato Wedges!

I personally love spicy foods, but the DH and his mum are not big fans of spice. So I had to come up with a way to make them flavourful, but not spicy. And I did! I used a short-cut (taco mix!) to add flavour, and baked them on a high heat so that the outside were crisp and yummy but the insides were soft and fluffy. I served them to my mother and she liked them too, so basically it’s thumbs up all around!

The first time I made them I didn’t use enough spice mix, but I did take a photo, the one you see above. The second time I made them, I improved the flavour profile, but didn’t have a chance to take a photo. I was going to make them again and take a better photo, but…I ran out of potatoes! And given that it’s currently minus 16 but feels like minus 22 outside, I didn’t want to send the DH to the grocery store. So, you’ll just have to trust me that these are yummy to look at as well as to eat!

Want to make some of your own? Let’s!

 

Easy Tex-Mex Potato Wedges

This quick and easy recipe uses a short-cut to add flavour but not heat. 

Servings 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 4 potatoes
  • 1 tbsp taco spice mix
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1/2 tsp. salt

Instructions

  1. Wash potatoes thoroughly and cut each potato into 8 wedges (cut into half and each half into quarters). 

  2. Toss potatoes in a bowl with taco spice mix and oil. 

  3. Spread on an aluminum lined baking sheet, sprinkle with salt, and bake in a 425 Fahrenheit pre-heated oven for 25 minutes or until golden and crisp on the outside and soft and forkable on the inside. 

 

I don’t usually advocate adding salt before tasting one’s food, just because most foods are over-salted in my opinion, but I found that these potatoes definitely needed the salt added to them to really bring out the flavour.

And I used an aluminum lined cookie sheet to cook them on, just to make for an easier clean-up. Usually I try not to use aluminum if I can get away with it (why waste natural resources is my attitude) but with a new baby, the less time I spend scrubbing dishes, the happier I am! Actually, come to think of it, that’s my attitude in general!

Next Post: Hmm. Let me check my blogging notes. Oh yes, maybe a fabulous recipe for an ultra-creamy hummus that is also vegan! So creamy. Have I mentioned how creamy it is?

Linking Up at Meal Plan Monday and at Happiness is Homemade! As well as at the Clever Chicks Blog Hop!