19 de dic. de 2014

Hazelnut Shortbread Fingers

Looks like I'm finally getting rid of this nasty flu that has been keeping a bit away from my blogging tasks. But fear not, cause not even a never-ending cough has stopped me from baking and preparing new recipes like this one and some more festive. Now that I'm getting back to normal, I'm finally done with my Christmas shopping (insert fanfare music here) and I feel the Christmas spirit in full force I promise next week I'll come up with a great recipe to wow your guests, one that is as eye-appealing as delicious.
When I was looking for inspiration to write a new blog post I thought that something healthy and not overly sweet would be the perfect recipe to bring you before we officially begin with the family feasts and work dinners.
I found the recipe for these Hazelnut Shortbread Fingers in one of my favorite vegan cookbooks, Whole Grain Vegan Baking, it's a cool book with wholesome and tasty recipes and these shortbread fingers are the perfect example that you can make yummy things that can be also healthy and good for any occasion. They are very easy to make and you will just need a few ingredients (only five ingredients, to be exact) plus the hazelnut taste is so good and fills the house with a delicious nutty-toasty aroma. I love them with a cup of warm tea or to soak in my breakfast oat milk, they are such a good guilt-free treat.
If you have a powerful food processor you won't have a problem with this recipe: it's as easy as putting everything inside and pulse until you get a kneadable dough. My food processor is old, small and weak so after trying several alternatives to make the mixture become less crumbly and more cohesive I almost gave up but I tasted the dough and it was delicious and I thought: 'there's no way I'm throwing away the dough...maple syrup and virgin coconut oil are darn expensive!!!'.
So...hands to the rescue! Yep, usually when a stubborn dough or (in this case) the lack of baking supplies makes it hard to success with a recipe I appeal to the old school method: do it with your own hands. Luckily to me, this time it worked again!
...and this has just reminded me that I'm still in time to ask Santa for a powerful food processor.;-)

Receta en español aquí!


Hazelnut Shortbread Fingers (vegan)
(Recipe from 'Whole Grain Vegan Baking' by Celine Steen and Tamasin Noyes)

Ingredients
(makes 8 fingers)
1/2 cup shelled hazelnuts, not skinned.
1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour.
1/4 tsp fine sea salt.
1/4 cup pure maple syrup.
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted.


Directions
Preheat oven to 325 ºF (170ºC). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Combine the hazelnuts, flour, and salt in a food processor. Process until the hazelnuts are finely ground. Add in the maple syrup and coconut oil, pulsing to combine. The dough should be kneadable and not crumbly.
Place the dough on the prepared sheet, knead it for a couple of beats just to make sure it is cohesive, press it down with your hands and roll it out a bit to form a 8 x 4-inch (20 x 10 cm) rectangle.
Cut the rectangle into eight 1-inch (2.5 cm) wide by 4-inch (10 cm) long fingers. Use the tines of a fork to prick the tops of the shortbread. Place the fingers on the sheet about 1 inch (2.5 cm) apart.
Bake for 18 to 22 minutes, or until the fingers are light golden brown around the edges and at the bottom. Carefully transfer to a wire rack to cool.
Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

 


4 de dic. de 2014

Cashew Apple Pie

A new month begins, December, the last month of the year and probably the one when we spent more hours in the kitchen than usual. For good or bad, wether you feel that Christmas spirit or not, tis the season to bake and indulge…oh yes, and be merry and all those clichés. I'm not a big fan of Christmas but I can't say I hate it because it gives me the perfect excuse to pig out (well…relatively, I like to eat as healthy as possible even on this time of the year) and I love to bake for my loved ones, spend the afternoons wrapping presents and watch 80's movies at home, all cozy, full belly and wrapped in my blanket after a family gathering.
So want it or not, the craziness is about to start: shopping, cooking, shopping…and more cooking!
Maybe you've had enough pies for a while but we don't celebrate Thanksgiving in Spain so here I am with one more...PIE! But honestly, do we ever get tired of homemade pies? Hell no!
I'm already picturing myself nomming on this scrumptious Cashew Apple Pie these holidays or maybe waking up the first day of 2015 to the promise of (this) warm pie. One thing's for sure: I will make this recipe a lot of times in the near future! Cashew Cream and sweet Golden Delicious apples are such a great combo, a match made in heaven. The brown sugar gives a caramelized touch so the apple slices become very tender, juicy and simply luscious. It's not a simple apple-only filling, so this will definitely make your taste buds scream with joy. 
Needles to say the smell around the house when this cutie is in the oven is SO GOOD! 
Attention pie novices: don't be afraid to try this recipe, I'm not a pie master and this crust is easy (I promise) to make. Plus you won't need to go crazy trying to find non-hydrogenated shortening. It's made with olive oil, no butter, no margarine…this is pie crust science made easy and healthy! It tastes yummy (I love eating the toasty edges!), with a nice flaky texture a zillion times better than any store-bought crust and holds up great to a juicy filling.


Cashew Apple Pie (Vegan)
(for a 10-inch pie plate)

Ingredients
- Double Crust:
3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour.
1 1/8 tsp salt.
1 cup olive oil, half-frozen.
6 tbsp ice water.
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar.

- Filling:
Cashew cream.*
2 Golden Delicious apples, sliced about 1/4 inch thick.
1/2 cup brown sugar.
2 tbsp almond meal.
3 tbsp all-purpose flour.
1 tsp ground cinnamon.
1/2 tsp ground ginger.
1/8 tsp ground cloves.
1/8 tsp allspice.
pinch of salt.          

- Topping: 
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon.
lemon zest (finely grated).
2 tbsp brown sugar.
nondairy milk to brush the top.

* I made the sweet variation of the Cashew Cream from my Chocolate Brownie Ice Cream recipe. Follow the same instructions but reduce the amount of maple syrup to 3 tablespoons and add 3 tablespoons of sugar. 


Directions
- Double Crust:
To make this crust (it's a double crust, that means you will have to divide the dough so you get the bottom and top) the first thing we need to do is to 'freeze' the olive oil. It doesn't need to be completely frozen and solid, if it looks opaque and has the consistency of thick cream then it's the moment to use it! Place the 1 cup of olive oil in a thin plastic container in the freezer about an hour before proceeding with the recipe. If the oil becomes too hard simply let it rest at room temperature for a few minutes.
In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour and salt, give it a quick whisk to combine ingredients; use the hand whisk, forget about the stand mixer for this recipe cause your hands will be the best tool. So roll out your sleeves and get ready for some work! 
Quickly add in the half-frozen olive oil by the tablespoonful, cutting it into the flour with your fingers until the flour looks pebbly.
In a small mixing bowl, stir together 6 tablespoons of ice water with apple cider vinegar. Drizzle 2 tablespoons of this mixture into the dough and stir using a rubber spatula. Add more water, a tablespoon at a time, until the dough holds together to form a soft ball, I usually add not more than 6 tablespoons of water. I like to end the kneading by hand but always being careful not to over-knead cause we could make the cold pieces of oil inside the dough melt (due to the warmth of our hands). 
Divide the dough in two (the bottom crust should be a lil bit bigger than the top crust), roll each piece into a ball and flatten them into disks. Place a big piece of parchment paper or dust your working surface with flour and, using a rolling a pin, roll out each piece into a circle about 1/4 inch thick. To get a more uniform circle roll the pin several times in all directions by rotating the dough a few times. Repeat with the other half of the dough.
Lift the bottom crust into the pie plate, gently press the dough into the plate and smooth out any wrinkles around the edges from the overlapping dough. Refrigerate for 30 to 45 minutes both pieces of rolled dough before pouring in the filling.

- Cashew Apple filling:
Spread a generous layer of cashew cream into the bottom crust.
In a large mixing bowl combine the apple slices with the sugar, almond meal, flour, spices and salt, tossing with your hands to coat the apples.



Preheat oven to 425ºF (218ºC). Add the filling to the prepared pie shell. Cover with the top crust, previously decorated with a star-shaped cut-in right in the middle, pinch the edges together, trim the excess dough and crimp. With the leftover dough we can make some extra decorations: roll it out again and cut out little stars (you can use the same size or a bigger cookie cutter). 
Mix together the topping ingredients and lightly brush the top crust with nondairy milk. Place the little stars on top and sprinkle with the topping. Finally make five slits around the top to let steam escape.
Bake for 25 minutes, then lower the heat to 350ºF (180ºC) and bake for 30 to 35 minutes more. 
Transfer to a cooling rack and let it cool before serving.





24 de nov. de 2014

Cinnamon Girl celebrates its 4th anniversary!

It's a day to celebrate! Cinnamon Girl is four years old!...wow, time sure flies by so fast! It's great to check my first posts and see how much I've learned over these years (bakery and photography-wise), yet the best part is to know that there's still so much work to do and so much more to learn (practice makes perfect as they say!).
My blog is still a small humble space, my special corner of the blogosphere where I share one of the things I'm most passionate about: homemade bakery. I don't aim to become a mega-star food blogger, one of those whose egos are bigger than their skills, I firmly believe that one little step at a time can take you further and make you appreciate much more every new comment, every new follower or simply a new 'like' you get when you post a picture of your new recipe on Instagram/Facebook, etc.
Now when I look back in time I realize that I couldn't live without my moments of peace in the kitchen (and sometimes craziness and stress cause 'that cake didn't come out as expected'), moments of total disconnection where there is no one but me, lots of ingredients and tools surrounding me...and my poor messy apron...well, to be honest, there are days when I even find chocolate and flour in my hair.
Managing a food blog is a daily challenge for many reasons, one of them (and I'm sure many of my fellow bakers will agree with me on this) is how time-consuming it can be: developing the recipes, running around the house (camera in one hand, warm pie in the other) like crazy finding the perfect spot with natural light, and staying up until the wee hours typing these posts. So being a food blogger is serious business, and knowing there are zillions of amazing food blogs out there, I truly appreciate all your comments and feedback. It's wonderful to see that someone has taken his/her time to visit Cinnamon Girl, read my occasional ramblings and leave a comment.
All I can say is THANKS!...wish I could send a slice of this mouth-watering Pumpkin Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting. This special occasion deserves a very special, delicious and indulgent cake with a spiced moist crumb and a fluffy and not overwhelmingly-sweet frosting that spreads perefectly. I couldn't ask for a better cake to celebrate the 4th anniversary of my blog!

Receta en español aquí!



Pumpkin Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients
(8 servings approx.)
- For the cream cheese frosting:
36 ounces (1020g) cream cheese, room temperature.
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar.
1 vanilla bean.

- For the cake:
1/2 cup all-purpose flour.
1/2 cup whole wheat flour.
1/2 tsp plus 1/4 tsp baking powder.
1/4 tsp baking soda.
1/4 tsp fine sea salt.
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice.*
1/2 cup plus 1/4 cup sugar.
1/4 cup brown sugar, firmly packed.
1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp sunflower oil.
2 eggs, room temperature.
1/4 cup buttermilk, room temperature.
1 1/2 cups (approximately) coarsely grated pumpkin.
1/4 cup chopped walnuts.
1/4 cup raisins.




Directions
- To make the cream cheese frosting:
For the best results I suggest you to make the frosting in advance (the day before baking the cake) so it sets and firms up in the fridge. This is by far, the best cream cheese frosting I've ever tasted/made!
Using a knife halve the bean and scrape the seeds out. Set aside.
In the bowl of your stand mixer beat together the cream cheese with the icing sugar at low speed until the sugar is incorporated. Stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl and paddle. Add in vanilla seeds and increase the speed to high and continue beating for 3 to 4 minutes until fluffy and smooth. Store in the fridge until ready to use. It can be stored in the fridge for up to one week.
NOTE: With this recipe there's enough frosting to fill, frost and make decorations.



- To make the pumpkin cake:
First of all, grate the fresh pumpkin (peeled, seeds and stringy pulp removed) and strain all the excess liquid, this is extremely important as we don't want our cake to be so much dense it won't rise...otherwise we'll get some kind of weird sunken pudding cake. So I'm going to say it again: strain through a sieve as much as you can!
Grease two 6in x 4in (15cm x 10 cm) round baking pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper circles.
Preheat oven to 350ºF (180ºC).
In a large mixing bowl sift together the flours, baking powder, salt, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice and whisk the mixture to combine all ingredients.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together sugar and oil on medium-high speed until well combined, about 5 minutes. Stop the mixer frequently and scrape the paddle and the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Blend in the eggs one at a time adding the next one as soon as the previous one has disappeared into the batter.
Add in the flour mixture in three parts (on low speed), alternating with the buttermilk in two parts, beginning and ending with the flour. After each addition, mix until just barely blended and stop and scrape the bowl. Stop the mixer before the last of the flour has been incorporated and complete the blending by hand with a rubber spatula to ensure you do not overmix.
Fold in the grated pumpkin and walnuts.
Divide the batter evenly into the prepared pans and sprinkle the raisins evenly over the batter.
Bake in the middle of the oven until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, around 45 minutes. Keep an eye on the cake as it bakes cause depending on your oven and how much pumpkin you add it will take a bit more or less time.
Cool the cakes on a wire rack for 30 minutes before removing them from their pans. Once removed, continue to cool the cakes on the rack, top side up, until they reach room temperature.



- To assemble the cake:
Place one of the layers, top side up, on a flat plate or a cake board. Using a thin metal spatula, spread a generous amount of frosting over the top of this layer, spreading it slightly over the edge of the cake. Place the next layer and repeat the same process.
Finally place the top layer and spread a thin layer of frosting on top and around the sides of the cake, this is what we usually call crumb-coating a cake. A crumb coat traps the loose crumbs on the surface of the cake so the final coat of frosting will look pefectly clean and smooth. Use an offset metal spatula (a little longer than the cake you're working on) to apply and smooth the frosting. Refrigerate the cake (uncovered) for 30 minutes before applying the final frosting coat. 
Finish with a decorative pattern using a closed star tip.



*How to make Pumpkin Pie Spice:
3 tbsp ground cinnamon.
2 tsp ground ginger.
2 tsp ground nutmeg.
1 1/2 tsp ground allspice.
1 1/2 tsp ground cloves.

Mix the spices together in a small bowl and stir until all ingredients are combined. Store the mixture in a clean jar or a spice container.






11 de nov. de 2014

Rawnies

This recipe has been sitting in my drafts folder for too long, I think I made these Raw Vegan Brownies early this summer and it's about time to share it with all of you.
Last week was a pretty productive and busy one: organizing my schedule (Christmas is not so far away my dear food bloggers!), making new recipes, being a good aunty (my niece's birthday is in two weeks, she's turning 8 and I already feel so old! lol) and preparing one of the most specials posts of the year...cause Cinnamon Girl celebrates its 4 anniversary, woo hoo!
These brownies are perfect for those days you need your chocolate dose but you want to keep it healthy and easy. They are vegan and sugar-free and the topping accepts many variations so you can always add your favorite nuts (I'm thinking about chopped pistachios right now...mmmm), some dried fruits or a crazy mix to create a yummy crumble. I love the subtle date flavor of these rawnies (raw + brownies = rawnies!), you can taste the dates but you won't find it overwhelming because they are above all super chocolatey, rich and juicy. So don't worry if you're not very keen on dates (like me) you will love these rawnies anyway!
Now I'm off to check what's cooking in the blogsphere.
Hope you like my recipe!

Receta en español aquí!


Rawnies

Ingredients
- For the brownies:
1/2 cup raw cacao powder.*
1 1/2 cup unroasted hazelnuts.
1/3 cup natural dried coconut.
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon.
1 tsp pure vanilla extract.
2 cups medjool dates, pitted and chopped.

- For the topping:
1/2 cup macadamia nuts.
1 to 2 tsp coconut oil.
organic coconut flakes (for decoration).

*If you can't find raw cacao powder you can use pure cocoa powder. Pure usweetened cocoa powder will work equally fine in this recipe but it won't be 100% raw, obviously. 


Directions
Pit dates and chop them, set aside.
In the bowl of your food processor stir together hazelnuts, cacao powder, coconut and cinnamon, blend until finely ground. Be careful not to over-process this mixture, otherwise you will get nut butter and the mixture will become oily. 
Slowly add in chopped dates and keep processing until well blended. Finally add in the vanilla and mix until combined.
-To make the topping:
In the bowl of a food processor blend macadamia nuts and coconut oil until coarsely chopped.

Line the bottom of an 8x8-inch (20x20cm) pan with parchment paper. Dump the mixture into the brownie pan and firmly press it down using your hands. Cover with topping, decorate with coconut flakes and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. 
Once the brownies firm up in the fridge you can cut them into small squares and enjoy!




22 de oct. de 2014

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Here it is! The recipe I’ve been working on these days, I couldn’t wait any longer to share it with all of you. Remember in my previous post that I told you I had another Halloween recipe? Well, I wanted to put it up this week too just in case you guys want to try them out, so you have plenty of days before Halloween to prepare them and be the best party host ever.
I missed cooking with pumpkin, it gives you such an endless amount of possibilities: muffins, rolls, cookies, loaf cakes, cheesecakes, smoothies, soups, etc.
This Pumpkin Cheesecake has the right amount of sweetness, a fresh citric touch that combines perfectly with all the spices I added and the hearty pumpkin addition. Most people like to use canned pumpkin for dessert recipes because it’s an easier, quicker way to satisfy your pumpkin cravings all year round. I prefer, though, to cook with fresh pumpkins because that way I am making a healthier choice…plus nothings beats the flavor of 100% natural pumpkin baked at home. That means that you’ll probably need to plan ahead and make the topping and the pumpkin puree a day before baking this cheesecake. I promise you the hours you’ll spend in the kitchen will pay off once you taste the first forkful, a heavenly pleasure! (or should I say ‘devilish’ because it’s Halloween? Hee hee).
Btw, how cool do these witches potions look?! My sister helped me out with the craft work and we felt like 21st century witches printing all those labels, creating the colors for the potions and buying all kind of fake bugs and spiders. After shooting the pictures for this recipe a lot of new ideas popped into my head (and I have so many unused Halloween stuff!)…this usually happens when I’m done with a new blog post but I will have to wait until next year!



Pumpkin Cheesecake
(makes one 8-inch/20cm cheesecake)

Ingredients
- For the base:
1 recipe cookie crust, click here.
- For the topping:
3/4 cup walnuts, chopped.
1/3 cup brown sugar.
1 tbsp vegan margarine.
- For the cake:
½ cup whole unroasted cashews, soaked overnight and drained.
¼ cup mashed banana, ripe.
14 ounces (enough with 380g) soft tofu, drained.
½ cup unrefined sugar.
1/3 cup brown sugar.
3 tbsp coconut oil, room temperature.
6 tsp cornstarch.
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice.
1 tsp grated tangerine zest.
¼ tsp fine sea salt.
1 ¼ cups baked pumpkin, pureed and drained.
¾ tsp ground cinnamon.
½ tsp ground nutmeg.
½ tsp ground ginger.

Directions
- Pumpkin puree:
First of all you need to bake the pumpkin. You’ll get plenty puree with a small 2-pound butternut pumpkin. Preheat oven to 425ºF (around 220ºC) and line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Slice the pumpkin in half, scooping out the seeds and cut it into medium size pieces. Bake for 45 minutes approximately until the flesh is very soft and you can easily insert a wooden stick through the pumpkin. Let cool and scoop out the flesh, mash it with a fork until it’s pureed and drain the excess liquid before measuring.
- Cookie crust:
Make the cookie crust as directed in my Blueberry Lime Cheesecake. Remember to let the crust cool completely before pouring in the filling.


- Topping:
In a mixing bowl mash together brown sugar and margarine with a silicone spatula until well combined. Stir in the chopped walnuts and mix well. Set aside.
- Filling:
Preheat oven to 350ºF (180ºC).
Blend together drained cashews, banana, tofu, sugar, brown sugar, coconut oil, cornstarch, lemon juice, vanilla, tangerine zest and sea salt. Process until completely smooth and the batter looks homogeneous.
Set aside around 1/3 cup of the batter.
To the remaining batter, add the pumpkin puree, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg and blend until smooth. Pour this mixture onto the crust. Add random spoonfuls of the reserved batter onto the cheesecake. Using the handle of a wooden spoon, swirl the batter to create a marbled effect.


Sprinkle with the topping and bake for around 1 hour (do not overbake!).
Remove cake from the oven, keep it in its pan (a springform pan) and cool on a rack for 20 minutes. Remove it from the pan and transfer to the fridge to complete cooling, preferably overnight.
Store cake in the fridge.