Healthy Date Nut Cookies

Healthy Date Nut Cookies

2015-02-08 10.20.07

I got this recipe from my sister when we were visiting a few months ago.  I believe she found the recipe on http://www.damndelicious.com.  She kept raving about how wonderful and easy these little cookies are to make, and she boasted that her 3 year old and 18 month old love them as well.  They are dairy free, gluten free, everything free so I was suspicious that they would be lumpy, dry, and tasteless.  They ended up being totally delicious and a true guilt free substitute for sugary, buttery, flour filled treats.  I have been playing around with mine adding various dried fruits, oatmeal, and seeds to make more of a granola bar as well, which is fabulous.  The recipe makes 8-12 cookies depending on size, so I usually double them as they get eaten very quickly.

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Ingredients:

-1 cups of pitted Medjool dates (11-12)
-1 1/2 cups of raw walnut halves
-1/2 tsp baking soda
-1/4 tsp salt
-1 tsp vanilla extract
-1 flax egg (1 Tbsp ground flax or chia seeds mixed with 3 Tbsp of water)
-Optional additions:
-1/3-1/2 cup of dark chocolate chips
-1/4 cup dried cranberries, cherries, or blueberries
-1/3 cup of old fashioned oats

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350F and prepare baking sheet by lining with wax paper.
2. Use food processor with “S” blade to process dates and walnuts until crumbled and mixed.

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3. Add salt, baking soda, vanilla, and flax egg using the pulse feature to not over process (I like the cookies a little chunky, but if you want a smoother consistency feel free to pulse longer).
4. Stir in any optional ingredients that are desired.

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5. Wet your hands and flatten out cookies to place on lined baking sheet (they won’t expand so they can be placed pretty close).

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Plain followed by Chocolate and Cherry .

6. Bake for 12-14 minutes, until slightly golden brown, allow to cool on pan before transferring to a wire rack.

Serve warm or store in the fridge for up to a week.

Enjoy!

Butterscotch Peanut Butter Fudge

Butterscotch Peanut Butter Fudge

2014-12-07 16.40.57

The holiday season is full of sweet treats, cookies, cakes, candies, and of course, fudge.  A small piece goes a long way when it comes to fudge, and this butterscotch version is no exception.  Butter is in the title, twice, so you know it’s good. The other great thing about fudge is that it is incredibly easy to make.  This is a recipe that my mother has been making for as long as I can remember.  I pressed chopped walnuts on top, but you can make them nut free, or mix the nuts into the fudge if you like.  I promise you will not be disappointed as this creamy fudge melts in your mouth.  I made this over the stove top, but you can zap the ingredients in the microwave for an even faster process if you .

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Ingredients:

1-12oz bag of butterscotch chips
1/2 cup of peanut butter
1-14oz can of sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup of chopped walnuts

Directions:

1. Pour chips into a glass bowl and place over a pot of boiling water to melt the chips.  This will allow the ingredients to melt without risking being burnt in the bottom of a pain that is on direct heat.

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2. When chips are melted and thick, add the rest of the ingredients (except walnuts if planning to press into the top) and mix well until smooth and melted.  The mixture will be very thick, do not overheat.

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3. Pour into a 8×8 or 6×8 glass or metal dish.  If adding walnuts to the top, pour on top and press down into fudge to secure.

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4. Place in refrigerator for at least 12 hours to cool and set before cutting.  Keep in refrigerator for 1-2 weeks.

Goat Cheese and Apricot Tarts

2014-02-03 18.41.47

So this recipe took a few tries to get the taste I was looking for.  The first round looked pretty but was a little too dry from a thick layer of phyllo dough and not enough flavor from the cheese.  The most recent round really came together nicely and has the flavor, moisture, and crunch I was dreaming about.  These are good for a small gathering or a quick dessert for a last minute occasion.  I used sage this time, but it would also be great with Thyme as I had used the first round.

Ingredients: 

1/2 roll of Phyllo Dough
1 cup of dried Apricots, cut in half lengthwise
2 Tbsp Brown Sugar
1/3 to 1/2 cup of chopped Walnuts
3 Tbsp butter, separated.
1/2 cup Goat Cheese
2 Tbsp thinly sliced fresh sage
2 Tbsp Honey

Directions:
1. In a small sauce pan make your toppings by mixing apricots, brown sugar, chopped walnuts, and 1 Tbsp of butter.  Warm over medium heat until butter and brown sugar is melted making a glaze coating the nuts and apricots.  Remove from heat and set aside in a small bowl.

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2. In second sauce pan heat goat cheese, 1 Tbsp butter, 1 Tbsp sage, and honey over medium heat.  When cheese melts and consistency is of an alfredo sauce remove from heat, do not boil.

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3. Lay phyllo dough flat and cut into 3×3 inch squares or slightly larger, split into pieces that are 6-8 leafs thick.  The first time I made these I kept the original stack thickness and it was too much, half that is good.  Separate on a cookie sheet.

4. Spread the cheese mixture onto the squares then top with apricot and nut mixture.

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5. Brush edges with remaining 1 Tbsp of butter, melted.  Bake in oven at 350 for 10-15 minutes until lightly browned.

6. Garnish with remaining sage and serve warm.

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Enjoy!