simplelittlespaces

Keeping things simple in a not so simple world


Leave a comment

extra special, extra simple

I am always looking for recipes that are nicer than your average chocolate chip cookie, nice enough to give as a gift, but are simple too. This is one of those recipes: cherry anise, chocolate-dipped biscotti.

(Note: my parents were here at Thanksgiving and gave us our Christmas gifts early. For me, that was a Kitchen Aid stand mixer – I promptly used it to make whipped cream for the Thanksgiving Dinner and have had a baking spree each weekend since. I will never use a hand blender again! This also means that I have a lot of baking recipes to share with you!)

The anise flavor here is subtle. Very light in the midst of the heavy, sweet cherry flavor. Make sure to get good dark or bittersweet chocolate – you will be able to tell the difference in the choice of chocolate. We made our own ground anise by grinding star anise in my spice grinder (coffee grinder) – it was much stronger than store-bought so I used less.

Cherry Anise, Chocolate-Dipped Biscotti

2 cups all-purpose flour (gluten-free is what I used)
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon ground anise (use more or less to taste)
1/2 cup dried, unsweetened cherries, chop finely
1/4-1/2 cup milk (of your choice)

2 cup chocolate chips or chocolate shavings
1/2 cup milk of your choice

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
In your mixer, blend the flour, baking powder, ground anise and brown sugar.
Add the egg and blend.
Add a small amount of milk while blending until the dough just begins to stick together and is somewhat smooth.

On a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet, mold the dough into a rectangle about 1-2 inches thick.
Place in oven and bake until you see just a bit of golden brown at the edges.
Remove from oven and let cool for about ten minutes on the cookie sheet. Decrease oven temperature to 300 degrees. Then transfer the “cookie” to a wooden cutting board and slice – 1/4 to 1/2 thick.
Place each slice back on the parchment lined paper on one of the cut sides.
Bake until the bottom sides begin to crisp and turn a light golden brown color. Flip and repeat for the second side.

Remove from oven and let cool for five minutes on a rack. Do NOT discard the parchment paper!
In a saucepan on low heat, melt the chocolate in the milk. Remove from heat. Take one biscotti at a time and gently dip one long side into the chocolate and then lay chocolate side down on the parchment paper.
Place dipped biscotti in the fridge or freezer for the chocolate to harden. Eat or freeze!


Leave a comment

crackers

So you know those Trader Joe’s crackers – the raisin and rosemary ones – that cost a fortune for a teeny tiny box…well, I’ve found a homemade version.  It is based on a recipe from the Kitchn and is quite amazing. I’ve adapted the recipe to our gluten-free eating and reduced the sugar from the recipe, as well as a cup of other tweaks.

The recipe is easy and it is very simple to always have some on hand. I usually double or triple the recipe. The mini-loafs are frozen before slicing into crackers and baked again – so you can have the loafs ready in a pinch.

1 cup dried cranberries
3/4 cup pecans
1 cup brown rice flour
1 cup all-purpose gluten-free flour
1 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary (or 1 tablespoon dry rosemary)
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups buttermilk
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup pepitas or pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup sunflower seeds

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Place cranberries in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Cover the bowl with a towel. Let sit until ready to add to the recipe.

Mix together the rest of the ingredients and then add cranberries, mixing thoroughly.

Scoop the dough into greased mini-loaf pans and bake until just lightly golden. Watch them carefully. The original recipe says to bake until golden brown, but I find that when I go to make the crackers they get too dark.
Let the mini-loafs cool and then place in a freezer proof container or baggies and freeze until ready to make the crackers.

When ready to make crackers:
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
Remove the mini-loafs from freezer but do not thaw.
Slice the loafs while still frozen. It makes is simpler to slice even, thin slices that don’t mush into nothing.
Place the crackers on an non-greased cookie sheet and bake until golden brown and crispy, flipping at least once to make sure the crackers are browned on each side.

Let the crackers cool before eating.

Crackers can be kept in an air-tight container for at least a week – if you don’t eat them all.


Leave a comment

a bit of busyness

Two years, almost, since I began working again.  Only recently have I felt that I am not overwhelmed with managing a household, children, garden and work.  I’m sure there are moments when I will feel overwhelmed again, but for now, I am taking a moment to breathe.  I am also willing to begin blogging again and hope to have some fun recipes to share with you.

I have to say that if I didn’t care so much about what my family ate, I’d probably have a bit more time on my hands.  But being intentional about food is time consuming – though, fun and rewarding at the same time.

Today, I’d like to share a simple healthy bar that we’ve been eating around here.  It freezes well and is filling for active kids on the go.  It is nut free (though you could add some nuts), gluten-free and vegan and so very yummy!

Banana Oat Bars

4 rip bananas, mashed
1 cup paw paw puree or applesauce
1 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup coconut flour
1/2 cup brown rice flour
1 cup sweet white rice flour
1 cup sorghum flour
1/2 cup flaxseed meal
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 cup oatmeal
1/2 cup coconut flakes
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Mix the wet ingredients together and then add in dry, mixing well. Add in the oatmeal, coconut flakes, chocolate chips (and/or nuts). Mix.
Grease a 9×13 baking dish.
Spread mixture into pan evenly.
Bake until an inserted knife comes out clean.

Let cool and serve.


Leave a comment

things i’m loving lately

My six-year old and I are going back to camp with these beauties.

This was a huge hit!

Love to try this new craft project after I finish this one for my partner.

Thinking about this for my daughter’s birthday.

Our most recent book club read. It was phenomenal!

As always, loving the earthy smell of Vetiver in the house!

Or, some Sweet Basil in an oil burner! (Not for use on body!)

Just a few!


Leave a comment

a tasty treat

I may have shared before, that we like bean popcorn.

Here is a new version to try!

italian style roasted chickpeas

3 cans chickpeas or 4 cups homemade, washed and dried
3 tablespoons good extra virgin olive oil (I use Spanish – I love its fruity flavor!)
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
red pepper flakes to taste
salt and pepper
dried oregano

Add all ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. Mix well and let sit to marinate for a minimum of 3 hours.
Heat oven to 300*
Place chickpeas on a baking sheet.
Bake for 45-60 minutes, checking every 10 minutes or so. They should be dark and crispy; basically dried.
Add to salads or eat like popcorn.