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gingerbread bees

Lord knows I would never call any cookie better than Swedish ginger snaps, but holiday cookies could use a little freshening up now and then. Here is a recipe I made for my favorite family honey company for Honey Gingerbread:

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Honey Gingerbread with honey glaze

1/2 cup butter, coconut oil, or nonhydrogenated margarine

1/2 cup raw sugar

1/2 cup macadamia nut honey (something dark and floral)

2 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

(you could add a dash of cayenne if you like that sort of thing)

Instructions: Melt butter/oil in a saucepan over low heat. Stir in sugar and honey and stir until well mixed and sugar is mostly dissolved. Remove from the heat and set aside. Meanwhile whisk together 2 1/4 cups flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour in butter/sugar/honey, then beat until well blended. Slowly work in remaining 1/4 cup flour. Knead dough a few times until soft and pliable. Form into a thick disk, wrap well, and refrigerate for an hour or up to a few days.

When dough is ready, preheat your oven to 375°F and line two baking sheets with parchment. Lightly dust your cutting surface with flour, and roll dough out into a 1/4 inch thick sheet. Cut out pieces and transfer them to the baking sheets. Bake 7-10 minutes, until edges just start to brown. Let cool a few minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer to a wire rack with a spatula. When the cookies are cool, dip the tops in honey glaze (see below) and let the glaze dry (or decorate with sprinkles).

Honey Glaze (From The Joy of Cooking)

Combine 1 Tbsp butter (or coconut oil or margarine), 1/4 cup honey, and 2 Tbsp sugar in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir to combine evenly and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and use immediately.

ginger cookies

Sometimes it is just a cookie baking kind of day. I generally find that The Joy of Cooking has the best classic recipes, and therefore has the best recipes to mess with when you don’t actually feel like making a classic recipe (or don’t have chocolate chips). I just took the chocolate chip drop cookie recipe and replaced the butter with coconut oil, and the chocolate chips with chopped crystallized ginger. Ok, I also added some coconut butter (which was kind of cold so it crumbled in) and shredded coconut. If you don’t like ginger or coconut, you might want to stick to chocolate chips, but I won’t judge you.

madras curry powder

Can we all just take a moment to admire some packaging?


ok thanks.

pears and apples

mmm sweater weather. it’s pear saving time.

banana bread

So, I don’t really understand why people insist on buying bananas when they live above the 30th parallel or so (she typed as she drank her coffee…), but for some reason we all do it. And then we let them get brown and don’t want to eat them anymore. What a boon for the stress-bakers of the world! Maybe we like bananas so much because you can put them in anything – even more if you count plantain. Including rather petite muffins.

Banana bread muffins with flaxseed (12 small muffins)

*note: I did not write what I was doing as I went, so this recipe is a bit of a guess.

2 1/2 bananas (regular/smallish ones), mashed

1/2 cup fruity/floral honey

1/2 cup flaxseed meal

1/3 cup almond milk

1/3 cup coconut oil

3 Tbsp raw sugar

2 cups whole wheat pastry flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

3/4 tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 350°F and line or grease a 12-cup muffin tin. In a small bowl, stir together 1/4 cup of the flaxseed meal and the almond milk, and let sit for about 5 minutes. In a mixing bowl, stir together bananas, honey, sugar, and coconut oil; mix well. Stir in the flax/almond milk mixture. In a separate bowl, stir together flour, remaining flaxseed meal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the banana mixture and stir until just combined. Spoon evenly into lined muffin tins and bake for about 22-25 minutes.

 

farmers market win; kabocha and seaweed

Down visiting California (where farmers markets seem to have everything at any given time of the year), I managed to find various kinds of (inexpensive) locally harvested seaweed, much to my surprise. Clearly a trip well spent; who needs wine country when you have vegetables (as long as one of those vegetables is rye…)

Back home in the Northwest, where it is officially sweater weather and the mornings seem to somehow smell of musty gore-tex, my local farmers market has broken out the stores of winter squashes, which is never a bad thing. This particular squash sat on the counter for about 2 weeks, because for once I decided to do something other than just bake it and eat it straight up until I turn orange, but I couldn’t decide what. In the end good things are best simple, and so I give you a happy union of my farmers market discoveries, in seasonally appropriate form:

Kabocha squash and wakame soup (makes about 6 servings)

1 medium kabocha squash, baked* (acorn or buttercup would probably work as well)

1/2 medium yellow onion, chopped

2-inch piece ginger, peeled and grated

1 tsp sesame oil

3 to 3 1/2 cups water

1/4 cup dried wakame seaweed

2 Tbsp white miso

2 tsp tamari soy sauce

Heat the oil in a medium stockpot and add chopped onion. Sautee until onion is translucent. Add ginger and cook another 30 seconds or so. Add tamari, water and wakame. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer until wakame is soft. Meanwhile, remove the skin from the baked squash (as far as I know the skin of kabocha is edible, but not so great in pureed soups), and add the squash flesh to the pot. Cook until squash is heated through, then add the miso. Using an immersion or standing blender, blend all the ingredients until pureed; add water to make it less thick, if you prefer.

Serve hot, or transfer to individual containers to freeze and reheat later.

*to bake winter squash: preheat the oven to 400° F. Cut the squash in half and remove the seeds. Place cut-side-down on a parchment lined baking tray and bake for about 40 minutes, or until the squash can be easily punctured with a fork (depending on the squash, it may take less than 40 minutes, so be sure to check occasionally).

granola

A classic. One of those things that you can kind of put the kitchen sink into and it’s still great. And you can put chocolate in it and pretend it’s health food (or just stir in some cocoa powder and then it is actually a health food). What more do you want from me? It also makes a nice gift (I like homemade food gifts quite a bit – sorry friends who receive too many of these, but that’s the way it is – consumable (/compostable, just don’t tell me that) gifts!)

Apple Cinnamon Cranberry Granola (makes a whole lot – share!)

6 cups rolled oats

3 cups walnuts, chopped

1/2 cup whole brown flax seeds

2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup honey

3 Tbsp brown rice syrup

1/3 cup + 1 Tbsp coconut oil

3 1/2 cups dried cranberries

3 cups chopped dried apples

Preheat the oven to 350° F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Spread oats and walnuts evenly on the two baking sheets, and place in the oven. Toast for about 7 minutes, stirring occasionally for even toasting. Meanwhile, stir together honey, brown rice syrup, and coconut oil in a small bowl or pyrex measuring cup (if you’re using thick honey, you may need to warm it up to make it stir-/pour-able).

When the oats are done toasting, let cool for a minute, and then pour them into a large mixing bowl. Stir in flax seeds, cinnamon and salt until evenly mixed. Slowly add the honey mixture and stir to coat evenly. Return the mixture to the baking sheets, spread evenly, and place back in the oven. Bake for about 15 minutes, remembering to stir at least once. Remove from the oven and let cool completely (it may seem a bit soft at first but let it cool down and it should become less sticky). When the granola is completely cool, stir in the dried apples and cranberries. Store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.

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