Happy Wednesday, everybody! Jenn at Peas and Crayons is hosting our weekly blog party and there’s LOTS of delicious goodies to be found! I’m pretty excited today because not only do I have another chocolate recipe to share this week, it is a raw chocolate chip cookie recipe, perfect for this month’s WIAW theme of “sensible snacking” and my Flavor of the Week, chocolate!

Last winter I became interested in learning about raw food dieting. Not sushi kind of raw, but uncooked veggies and soaked grains kind of raw. I won’t go into a lot of detail but here’s just three easy-to-remember health benefits to a raw (or mostly raw) diet:

1) more nutrition – uncooked foods (foods heated to less than 118 degrees farenheit) retain more of their vitamins and minerals. When cooked, the nutritional value is greatly reduced and you will have to eat more food to get the nutrition your body needs (so eating raw foods can help you maintain a healthy weight, too!)

2) easier digestion – raw foods contain lots of fiber and water to help your body with elimination.  You won’t have that bloated, over-stuffed feeling after finishing a meal and no afternoon slump.

3) increased energy – since raw foods are easier to digest, your body won’t have to “shut down” while its trying to digest your food, like it might do with heavier foods like a delicious bacon cheeseburger and french fries. (Ask my husband, he’ll tell you I pretty much always crash out after eating stuff like this for lunch.)

Even if you don’t go 100% raw, you can still benefit with a chocolate green smoothie for breakfast, a colorful veggie salad for lunch, and a normal-cooked dinner with some kimchee or sauerkraut on the side (also considered raw!)

Speaking of which, here’s some of the foods I had for BL&D over the pas few days…

On Sunday morning I pulled out my juicer and made some fresh carrot-apple-ginger juice and grape juice and garnished with mint and lemon thyme. Looks good, doesn’t it?  Served up in a champagne glass, it looks like an expensive cocktail!

raw foods: fresh carrot-apple-ginger juice and grape juice

The colors alone will energize you!

Breakfast that followed was a not-so-raw peanut butter toast with raspberry preserves and coffee (recycled pic):

Lunch on Tuesday was a mish-mash salad of veggies and fruits, plus some pulverized flax seed crackers that tasted better crushed than in cracker-form. I sat down with my bowl, got my camera ready and look who decided to stick his furry orange head into my shot:

Sammy is not a vegetarian…he was after my goat cheese!

Dinner was kind of up in the air, I didn’t know what to cook, didn’t want sandwiches and my husband probably wouldn’t have wanted salad. After running a few simple options through my head I decided to make pannekoeken (Dutch style pancakes) with cheddar cheese and mushrooms:

I can’t make ’em big without breaking them, so kiddie-sized it is!

I needed some greens with this meal, so ate a bunch of sugar snap peas:

I love raw peas in the shell, especially these fat ones!

Sugar snap peas aren’t the only raw & delicious food I had today. Remember those cookies I talked about in the beginning?  Those were made from a raw cookie recipe in Judita Wignall’s, Going Raw:

Going Raw: Everything You Need to Start Your Own Raw Food Diet & Lifestyle Revolution at Home, by Judita Wignall

Judita gives a lot of easy-to-follow information on raw dieting and makes it very user-friendly. There’s tons of mouth-watering photos that will inspire you to plan out your next grocery trip with veggies in mind, and maybe even try your hand at sprouting some grains! She has a ‘live and let live’ attitude that makes her book informative, not preachy, which is really great when it comes to talking about something like healthy diets. Plus, I love her gorgeous red hair!

She has several recipes that I like, including the Ice Box Chocolate Chip Cookies I’ll be sharing today. I didn’t change the recipe much except the substitutions I wrote in parentheses, and the instructions are not copied verbatim but the steps are the same.

Yum! These raw cookies are delicious and nutritious!

Raw Chocolate Chip Cookies
From the book Going Raw by Judita Wignall 

1 1/2 cups cashews
2/3 cup Medjool dates (about 6-7 large ones, with pits)
3 tablespons almond butter (I used 2 T peanut butter and 1 T coconut oil)
1/8 teaspoon sea salt (optional)
1/4 cup raw chocolate chunks* (I substituted Nestle semi-sweet chocolate chips–not raw and contains dairy–and added dried cherries)

*Judita has a raw chocolate recipe in her cook book that is gluten-free and dairy-free, but you can use any chocolate you prefer

Directions:

1. In a food processor grind the cashews into a flour.

2. Add the dates, almond butter (or peanut butter and coconut oil) and sea salt and process until it sticks together. Use a spatula to scrape down the sides as needed.

3. Transfer to a bowl and mix in the chocolate chunks/chips (and optional dried cherries) with a spatula.

4. On a nonstick surface, roll out dough to 3/8″ thickness. Cut out with a small cookie cutter and freeze (not to worry, they won’t get rock solid.) Cookies will keep for 1 month in the freezer.

Raw chocolate chip cookies!

I almost forgot…look what else you can do with these raw chocolate chip cookies:

Mini ice cream sandwiches!

Check out these Mini Cake and Ice Cream Bites from last Thursday’s Recipe ReDux. They’re just as cute!

This recipe is also my first contribution to Cookbook Sundays, sponsored by Couscous & Consciousness.

CookbookSundays

Have you tried any healthy versions of classic recipes lately? What’s your favorite cookie? :)


It’s that time of week again, folks! Time to sit back and enjoy another episode of “What I Ate Wednesday” (WIAW,) sponsored by the good folks at Peas and Crayons, where “Food is art and you are what you eat. So eat healthy…eat happy…eat pretty!”

(applause!)

Today I’ll be featuring a recipe that I’ve been making for the past ten years or so. It’s the longest-running recipe I’ve had, and is the only recipe I have ever memorized. It’s been my favorite for weekend breakfasts and presenting them as thank-you gifts, and I like to think that I’m pretty darn good at making them. So deciding to change up an old standard like this one by making it gluten-free made me a bit nervous.

But before I get further into this discussion, here’s a quick run-down of foods from the past couple of days:

Breakfast was coffee (no photo but it was dark, sweet and delicious) and a home-baked treat of my featured food, gluten-free scones (recipe below):

 

Cheddar & Asiago cheese scones in my husband’s childhood milk cup. :)

Lunch was a mixed-greens salad with some mixed-colored veggies. I was never a big fan of making my own salads, so adding tons of color is a good way to have a healthy bowl of greens (and purples and reds and oranges!):

Dinner was Turkey Bean Burgers seasoned with miso paste on rice noodles tossed with seaweed & miso dressing. This was supposed to have been submitted in Monday’s Recipe Redux Challenge, but I wasn’t totally happy with how it turned out. The seaweed in the patties didn’t stand out as much as I hoped for, and the rice noodles could have used some “oomph,” perhaps with more veggies tossed in, and not just sitting under it!

Miso paste in the patties gave it a nice flavor.

Now, here’s a little more background on the scones I’m featuring today. This is a recipe I first came across ten years ago from Joy of Baking and is by far the most delicious and easiest baked good ever made. The scones have a crisp, almost flaky exterior which keeps the insides soft and flavorful. Fresh from the oven, you can split them in half and slather on some butter as the warm, steamy centers melt them into delicious oblivion.

Since I am trying to stay wheat-free as much as possible, I modified this recipe by switching out the regular flour for a gluten-free blend, courtesy of Gluten-Free Baking Classics by Annalise G. Roberts. The result? Deliciously tender, melt-in-your-mouth, crisp, flavorful bites of gluten-free indulgence!

Cream Scones, original recipe from Joy of Baking
Best if eaten within a day or two, but freeze any extras you may have tightly wrapped in foil. Defrost by leaving out for 15 minutes, then pop in toaster oven on medium setting. It will taste like it was freshly baked.

2 cups gluten-free flour mix (I used 2 parts white rice flour, 2/3 parts potato starch, 1/3 part tapioca starch)
3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if your flour mix already includes this!)
1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 cup cold, unsalted butter
add-ins (optional, see below)*
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon heavy whipping cream
1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla

*optional add-ins:
– 1/2 cup chocolate chips + 1/3 cup chopped nuts or chopped cherries
–  1/2 cup chocolate chips + 1/3 cup shredded, toasted unsweetened coconut + 1 teaspoon coconut extract
– 1/2 cup dried cherries or blueberries
– 1 cup reduced-fat shredded cheddar cheese + 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese (reduce sugar to 1/4 cup)

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or Silpat, set aside.

In a large bowl, mix dry ingredients with a wire whisk. Cut in butter with a pastry cutter until butter pieces are about pea-sized. With a rubber spatula, gently mix in one of the add-in ingredients listed above. Set aside.

In a measuring cup, add 1/2 cup cream, vanilla, and 1 egg. Mix until well incorporated. Add to dry ingredients and mix well. Dough should be just a little sticky. Divide dough in half, forming each into a ball. Flatten ball to a circle about 1″ thick. Cut into 8 triangles, set on cookie sheet about 1″ apart. Repeat with remaining dough.

Beat remaining egg white with 1 tablespoon cream. Using a pastry brush or back of a spoon, brush scones with egg wash.

Bake for 15-18 minutes or until tops begin to turn golden, rotating tray 180 degrees halfway through baking. Remove from oven and let sit for for a minute before transferring to serving plate. Serve warm with butter or preserves.

Cut each circle into 8 little triangles. Alternatively, you can roll out the entire dough and use a round cookie cutter.

The eggs from my sister’s chickens have a rich, yellowy-orange yolk. You can see how thick it is in the egg wash used to brush the tops of the scones.

These tender scones are delicious with coffee or tea, or even as a late night snack.

The fresh ginger, sweet dates and tart cherries weren't enough to forgive the mealy texture of this Macintosh.

My sister and brother-in-law were coming over as our first official guests for dinner in our new old home. Knowing he wasn’t a big chocolate fan, I decided to make an apple dessert that wasn’t too difficult but still looked impressive. This would be my first attempt at baked apples, and the recipe was pretty easy to follow, so nothing could go wrong, right? Wrong!

I stuffed my hollowed-out apples with a delicious ginger-spiked fruit & nut filling, baked them at the allotted time, plated them, took a few pictures, then sat down to sample my creation.

Ugh…this apple didn’t taste so good. And didn’t look so good, either! The texture was incredibly mealy, and I was sorely disappointed (I was too distracted by the mealy apple to take pictures, but if you can envision a mushy but dry looking concoction then yes, that was the innards of my baked apples.)

“What kind of apples did you use?” my brother-in-law asked. “Macintosh,” I said. “Ohhh, well there you go. You should’ve used Granny Smith.”

Yes, I am not experienced with apples. After moving to New York I hadn’t realized how many varieties of apples were available, it was incredibly overwhelming. I had to resort to reading the little cards that labeled each variety. “Tart crisp, great for snacking.” “Sweet, like a pear.” “Great snack for kids.” In the end, I selected a bag of Macintosh apples because I’ve never tried them and they were only 89 cents a pound. And also because of the computer brand. :) Well, I like them fine raw. And I added some chopped apple to Ranting Chef’s Cinnamon Roll Cake recipe, which came out great. But as a baked apple? I don’t know what went wrong.

Sigh…well, next time I try to make baked apples I’ll take by brother-in-law’s suggestion and go with Granny Smiths. But first, I’ll test it on my husband before serving it to guests.