{Buckwheat Waffles}

bakingattiffanys.com_buckwheat waffle-2 If I still have any readers out there following me, you might be wondering: where in the world has Tiffany been?  I haven’t logged into WordPress since…March?!  Is that right?  I checked my last post, and sure enough, it’s been about three months.  I think that’s a record.  I’ll confess that I simply have not been baking very much at all.  It’s not that I didn’t want to.  I really did.  For a short stint, I went…paleo.  (Gasp!)  Looking back, I don’t know how I survived.  But before you cast judgment, I felt I had good reason.  I will spare you gory details but sometimes your body tells you that something isn’t quite right, and I thought I should make some dietary changes to “reset” and “detox” and all that crunchy stuff.  For a month and a half, I went processed sugar-free and grain-free.  Let me tell you, it was awful.  I know some people swear by this paleo thing, but I don’t believe that that is how we were meant to live.  I would agree that there is probably something strange going on with how our food is grown and made–what with GMOs and everything.  And maybe there are individuals who really can’t have grains because their body rejects it for some reason.  But is it true that’s how our ancestors lived–and therefore that’s the lifestyle we need to adopt?  I’m not so certain.  While taking processed sugars out of my diet was a good move, removing grains in their entirety made me feel like something was missing in my life, leaving me dissatisfied and unfulfilled.  I could only eat so many nuts and vegetables, and I craved variety desperately.  What was helpful in the process, though, was figuring out certain types of foods that I was sensitive to, as I began to reintroduce them into my diet.  My two main culprits: dairy and corn.  That was a bummer because I love both.  While I don’t exclude them entirely, I now keep my intake limited and will have them on occasion.  But boy, a slice of pizza is so hard to resist sometimes.

bakingattiffanys.com_buckwheat waffle-4Fortunately, I got over my short paleo stint in time to go on a trip to Brussels and Amsterdam.  If there is a place to indulge in gluten, Europe is it.  Perhaps they grow their wheat differently or their ingredients are fresher, but their food (especially their breads and pastries) is quite simply better.  Things I would not normally enjoy in the States, I love in Europe.  Sandwiches in the States are just okay, but in Europe, they are in its own class.  Waffles are a treat if I get to have brunch on a weekend, but with waffle vendors every 100 meters in Brussels, there is no escape.   To no avail, I have been on the search for that perfect whole grain baguette I had in Amsterdam and the crispy-and-caramelly (not a word, I know)-on-the-outside, soft-and-chewy-on-the-inside Liege waffle I had in Brussels.

bakingattiffanys.com_buckwheat waffle-5I bought a Croquade Belgian waffle maker from Sur La Table before my trip, and I was inspired to give it a go this morning.  I knew I couldn’t replicate what I had in Brussels, and I still wanted to keep it healthy, so I adapted a Dorie Greenspan recipe from the New York Times and made myself buckwheat waffles for breakfast this morning.  I will not claim that these are nearly close to a real Liege waffle (to begin with, my waffles look terrible).  I wouldn’t even necessarily suggest you use my adapted version of this recipe (though maybe try the original version from Dorie Greenspan).  I can tolerate my own healthy cooking, but would not necessarily serve it to others.  Nonetheless, it’s in a waffle shape, and for this morning, that was good enough.  I’m providing the recipe below, but really, if you’re looking for a good healthy waffle recipe, don’t bother.  I just wanted to post SOMETHING finally.  Hopefully I’ll get a chance to hone my waffle making skills and then I’ll be able to post something worth making.

bakingattiffanys.com_buckwheat waffle-3By the way, I hope to do a little write-up of the places I loved in Brussels and Amsterdam soon.  It’s taking me forever to go through my photos, editing them and all that, though, so next time for sure!  (And I will try to take less than three months until my next post)

{Buckwheat Waffles}

Yield: About 6 small waffles

Ingredients

  • 9 T. unsalted butter, melted
  • 2/3 cup whole milk, warmed
  • 1/2 cup buckwheat flour
  • 1/4 cup unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1 T. turbinado sugar
  • 1/4 t. sea salt
  • 1 t. vanilla extract
  • 2 egg whites from large eggs

Preparation

  1. Stir melted butter and milk together. And sifted flours and whisk until smooth.
  2. Stir into mixture sugar, salt, and vanilla.
  3. Heat waffle iron.
  4. Beat egg whites on high until stiff peaks form. Gently fold the batter into the egg whites using a whisk.
  5. Pour batter onto the waffle iron and close the waffle iron. Cook on one side for about two minutes, then flip the waffle iron to cook on the other side until crisp and lightly browned.
  6. Serve with powdered sugar, ice cream or whipped cream. (I like mine plain sometimes)

Adapted from Dorie Greenspan's recipe for Belgian waffles in the New York Times

http://bakingattiffanys.com/2015/06/20/buckwheat-waffles/

{Healthy-ish Dark Chocolate Brownies}

Healthy brownies_bakingattiffanys.com

A new post at last!  I meant to post the recipe for these brownies for Valentine’s Day–that’s right, a month ago–but kept getting sidetracked somehow.  Days would go by, then weeks, and here we are now in mid-March (on Pi Day!).  How did that happen?!  Of course, now that tax season is upon us, instead of using my free Saturday afternoon to gather all my paperwork to file my taxes, I’ve decided to finally write up a blog post :)

As I’m trying to experiment with healthier ways to bake (e.g. less sugar, more fiber, more protein, etc.), I’ve learned that many baked goods and desserts with chocolate make for the easiest make-overs.  Thanks to its rich flavor, cocoa and chocolate has the ability to hide the flavors of some other ingredients used to make the dessert or pastry healthier (of course I’m referring to natural cocoa used for baking, without added sugar or fillers, like a lot of cocoa powder for drinking).  And there’s something about cocoa itself which keeps said dessert or pastry moist and rich–and therefore is a bit more forgiving when it comes to making other substitutions in a recipe.

Healthy brownies_bakingattiffanys.com

For these dark chocolate brownies, I heavily modified a recipe from David Lebovitz.  His recipe uses two types of cocoa–one of them being a black cocoa, which takes a little hunting around to find.  To make these more accessible in general, he recommends using high quality dark cocoa powder, like Valrhona.  A brownie is only as good as the cocoa you use, so don’t skimp on it.  Using maple syrup as the main sweetener, this adapted recipe makes for a rich fudgy brownie.  I’ve seen other brownie recipes using things like avocado to replace the butter.  I didn’t do that here because it seems kind of a waste to hide an avocado in a brownie.  With whole wheat flour, though, I can call these dark chocolate brownies “healthy-ish” because they are, after all, still brownies with sugar and carbs and all that, but at least I don’t feel like I have to run a 10K to eat one.  Maybe just a 5K.

As a side note: someone please tell me how to properly cut brownies (and cakes).  I am never able to get a beautiful clean edge, so my brownies are always jagged.  I just want them to look nice for pictures :)

Healthy brownies_bakingattiffanys.com

{Healthy-ish Dark Chocolate Brownies}

Ingredients

  • 1-3/4 sticks unsalted butter
  • 1-1/4 cup of the darkest natural unsweetened cocoa powder you can find
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 t. instant espresso or coffee powder (espresso is preferred)
  • 3/4 t. sea salt
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup toasted walnut pieces (optional)
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips (optional)
  • flaky sea salt

Preparation

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Line or grease an 8"x8" pan.
  2. Melt butter in a saucepan, set aside to cool.
  3. Sift together cocoa powder, flour, espresso powder, and salt in a large bowl.
  4. Whisk together eggs, maple syrup and brown sugar in a separate bowl.
  5. Mix half of the egg mixture into the cocoa mixture, then mix in the melted butter. Mix in the remaining egg mixture until combined. If it's not smooth, David recommends using a whisk, but I found that it's okay if the batter is a little lumpy.
  6. Pour batter into the prepared baking pan. At this point, you can top with the walnuts, chocolate chips, and/or flaky sea salt.
  7. Bake in the center of oven for about 20-25 minutes, or until the center is barely set. Allow to cool completely in the pan.

Roughly adapted from David Lebovitz's Salty, Deep-Dark Chocolate Brownies

http://bakingattiffanys.com/2015/03/14/healthy-ish-dark-chocolate-brownies/

{Rosemary Shortbread Cookies…with Spelt}

Rosemary Shortbread

Happy New Year!  Admittedly, I fell into a bit of a slump and hadn’t come up with something blog-worthy to post over the last few months.  However, I made a new discovery (to me) in spelt flour, which I’m pretty excited about and thought this was a good way to start the new year.  I’d been looking for alternative flours to try–whole grain flours that are less processed, more wholesome and nutrient-dense than than the all-purpose variety.  I first learned about spelt flour from the thekitchn.com when searching for different types of whole grain flours.  Spelt is a type of wheat, but has a higher fiber and protein content than regular all purpose flour.  It’s lower in gluten, though not gluten-free.  Spelt also doesn’t have the slight bitterness that comes with whole wheat flour.  The Kitchn recommends a 50:50 substitution using spelt for baked goods like muffins and breads, but suggests that goods requiring less structure can use a greater proportion of spelt flour.  Never using spelt before, I was ambitious for this recipe and used 100% spelt flour in place of all purpose flour.  And it turned out pretty fabulous.  The earthiness from the spelt, coupled with the rosemary, perfectly counterbalanced the high butter content in the shortbread.  I also could not stop breathing in the wonderful aroma from baking these cookies up.  These cookies may not really be healthy given how much butter is used, but at least they’re not entirely bad for you either–so you won’t blow your New Year’s resolution just yet.

Are there other spelt flour recipes you like?  Or what other whole grains do you like to bake with?  I’d love to hear of any other ideas!

Rosemary Shortbread

{Rosemary Shortbread Cookies…with Spelt}

Yield: approximately 18 cookies

Ingredients

  • 2 cups spelt flour
  • 3/4 t. salt
  • 1/2 t. baking powder
  • 1 T. rosemary, chopped
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 T. honey
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • organic granulated sugar, for rolling balls of cookie dough

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 300F degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Whisk flour, salt, baking powder and rosemary together in a bowl.
  3. Using an electric mixer, cream together butter, honey and powdered sugar until dough becomes coarse and lumpy.
  4. Using your hands, gather dough together and knead until it holds together.
  5. Spoon out dough to make 1" balls, roll cookie dough in sugar, and press down on the dough using a cookie press. Space cookies about 1" apart on the cookie sheet. (This is my adaptation; refer to the original recipe for alternative instructions to make wedges instead).
  6. Bake cookies in the center of the oven for approximately 20-15 minutes or until lightly golden brown. Transfer cookies to wire rack to cool completely.

Recipe adapted from Epicurious

http://bakingattiffanys.com/2015/01/01/rosemary-shortbread-cookies-spelt/

{Strawberry and Basil Goat Cheese Cake}

Goat cheese cake - bakingattiffanys.com

Since my trip to Ireland well over a month ago, I’ve been on a goat cheese kick.  Ireland doesn’t raise their farm animals in close quarters, and driving through the countryside, cows, sheep, and goats freely mill about, enjoying the lush green surroundings.  I almost envy their simple lives, carefree yet purposeful.  Dairy products are fresher and richer than what I typically get here in the States–or maybe it’s because I was on vacation in a foreign country that everything tasted better.  Goat cheese can take a little getting used to at first, but now I almost crave it.  Goat cheese is also easier to digest than its cow dairy counterparts, and is often lower in fat and higher in protein.  This is my first time making cheesecake, and while I would hardly consider this goat cheese cake “healthy”, its lightness and creaminess leaves me feeling less porcine as some other rich cheesecakes.  The goat cheese flavor is barely (if at all) discernible, and topped with strawberries macerated in Grand Marnier and basil leaves, the finished product is nothing short of marvelous.

Goat cheese cake - bakingattiffanys.com

{Strawberry and Basil Goat Cheese Cake}

Ingredients

    Crust
  • 10 oz. graham crackers (about 20 whole graham crackers)
  • 1/2 t. ground cinnamon
  • 4 oz. unsalted butter, melted
  • Filling
  • 4 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 4 oz. goat cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 pint sour cream, at room temperature
  • 3 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • juice and zest of one lemon
  • 1/2 t. vanilla extract
  • Topping
  • 6 oz. strawberries, stems removed and halved
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • juice of two lemons
  • 2 oz. Grand Marnier
  • a few stems of fresh basil leaves

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 325F degrees. While preparing cheesecake, bring about six cups of water to a boil (this is for the water bath).
  2. Crust
  3. Using a food processor, pulse together graham crackers, cinnamon and melted butter until finely ground and evenly mixed.
  4. Wrap outside of a 9" springform pan in aluminum foil.
  5. Press mixture into the bottom of the pan firmly (I used the bottom of a juice glass), smoothing the crust. Chill until ready to bake.
  6. Filling
  7. Also using a food processor, combing all filling ingredients and mix until combined and smooth.
  8. Pour filling into the springform pan, and place in the center of a roasting pan. Put the roasting pan in the oven, then carefully fill it with the boiling water till it reaches about 1-1/2" up the side of the springform pan.
  9. Bake for about 45 minutes, or until the cheese cake is firm around the edges but slightly jiggly in the center.
  10. Allow the cake to cool for 45 minutes (do not remove the cake from the springform pan), then chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
  11. Topping
  12. Over medium heat, in a saucepan, cook the strawberries, sugar, lemon juice and Grand Marnier until the sugar is dissolved and the liquid has thickened slightly. Remove the strawberries, and continue to heat the until the liquid is thicker like a syrup. Allow the topping to cool.
  13. When ready to serve, remove cheesecake from the pan, and top with the strawberry mixture and fresh basil leaves.

Adapted from Tyler Florence's Strawberry and Basil Goat Cheese Cake recipe.

http://bakingattiffanys.com/2014/09/11/strawberry-basil-goat-cheese-cake/

Goat cheese cake - bakingattiffanys.com

{Olive Oil (and yogurt) Cake}

Olive OIl Cake_bakingattiffanys.com

Amazing how a whole month (more than that really) passes by in a blink of an eye.  It’s been a while since my last post–I got caught up in work, and then I went on a trip, and then I was recovering from the trip.  But I finally have a new post.  I actually made this olive oil cake for a July 4 bbq and never had a chance to write this post up.  It’s probably not a very patriotic Fourth of July dessert (I think Italian when I think olive oil), but no matter.  It’s moist and flavorful and turns a beautiful golden color with lovely cracks.  This olive oil cake stands perfectly well on its own without any embellishment.  I meant to serve this with fruit but I didn’t even get that far, because the cake was so delicious by itself and was even refreshing (I used lemon instead of orange, that the original recipe calls for).  And what makes this recipe even better is that I can make this cake without a mixer and can just whip it up in a bowl.  The recipe is flexible and some adjustments and substitutions are easily made.  I scaled back the olive oil and used yogurt instead of some of the milk to keep the cake moist.  The recipe I have below reflects how I made it but you can find the original recipe here.  There aren’t too many recipes I make more than once or twice, but this is olive oil cake is something I’ll go back to over and over again.

Olive OIl Cake_bakingattiffanys.com

{Olive Oil (and yogurt) Cake}

Ingredients

  • 2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1-3/4 organic sugar
  • 1-1/2 t. sea salt
  • 1/2 t. baking soda
  • 1/2 t. baking powder
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 3/4 cup full fat yogurt
  • 1/2 cup full fat whole milk
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1-1/2 T. grated lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup Grand Marnier

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Butter a 9" round cake pan that's 2" high. Line bottom of the pan with parchment paper.
  2. Whisk together flour, sugar, salt, baking soda and baking powder in a bowl.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix together remaining wet ingredients.
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture, and mix using a wire whisk until just combined.
  5. Pour batter into the cake pan and bake for an hour until the top is golden and a little cracked. A cake tester should come out clean.
  6. Allow cake to cool on a rack for 30 minutes, then loosen the cake by running a knife around the edges and invert the cake onto the rack to cool completely.
http://bakingattiffanys.com/2014/08/08/olive-oil-yogurt-cake/

Olive OIl Cake_bakingattiffanys.com