Do you love whipped cream but wished it would stay fluffy like whipped topping does?
Cool-Whip, move over; your superior is here! Airy, melt-in-your-mouth, delicately sweet, no hard-to-pronounce ingredients- what could be better?
Use this for topping pies, gelatin, cakes or cupcakes, or anything else you like! Stir in a little caramel sauce and it's either an amazing dip for apples or an incredible cake filling. Fold in some melted and cooled chocolate for a mousse-like topping. White chocolate is delicious mixed in.
The version below that uses gelatin gives the most firmness. I've kept it in the fridge for two weeks before, without the faintest hint
Yes, you can use this to decorate cakes! (Just don't let it get too warm, it will melt if it gets above about 90 degrees F, just like butter does.) This picture is my niece's wedding cake.
If you can't have dairy, use 8 ounces of chilled coconut cream to replace the dairy cream. Not cream of coconut, that's different. Coconut cream is the thick layer you find on top of canned coconut milk; Asian markets sell cans of straight coconut cream.
Stabilized whipped cream
½ pint whipping cream (8 oz)
½ tsp. vanilla
2 Tbsp. sugar or ¼ c. powdered sugar
1 Tbsp. Ultra Gel OR 1 tsp. unflavored gelatin*
If using Ultra Gel, stir it with the sugar, then add cream and vanilla and whip until stiff.
If using gelatin, put it with a tablespoon of water, let it sit a minute to soften, then microwave for 12 seconds to dissolve it. You could heat gently on a stove, if needed. Don't let it boil. Whip cream, sugar, and vanilla until they start to thicken a little, then slowly pour gelatin in while still beating. Whip until stiff. Chill it if you need it a little thicker.
Store any extra in the refrigerator.
*Other ways to stabilize whipped cream:
(you can skip the Ultra Gel and gelatin if you use these)
-fold in 4-8 ounces melted and cooled chocolate (the more you use, the more truffle-like the frosting/mousse will be. Also, the darker the chocolate, the less you need.)
-Beat in 2-4 ounces of cream cheese.
-Before whipping, sprinkle in half a package of instant pudding powder. (This is really adding Ultra Gel, which is part of the pudding mix.)
-Substitute 1 1/2 -2 Tbsp honey or corn syrup in place of the sugar, or 3 Tbsp. any flavor jam or jelly. This will only lightly stabilize it, but works for things you'll eat in the next couple hours.
These have fiber, protein, and much lower in sugar than almost any baked treat! And they really are good. My family snarfed down this batch.
Besides all that, they're also wheat-free and dairy-free.
Healthy Peanut Butter-Chocolate-Banana Bars
1 1/2 cups cooked white beans (one can, drained and rinsed)
2 ripe medium bananas
1/2 c. peanut butter
1/4 c. brown sugar or honey (1/2 c sugar. if you like things on the sweeter side)
2 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup quick-cooking oats
1/3 c. chocolate chips (the darker the better)
Preheat oven to 350 F. Put the beans, eggs, bananas, peanut butter, brown sugar, and vanilla in a food processor or high-powered blender. Run until very smooth. Stir in the baking powder, salt and oats. Spread in a greased 8x8 pan then sprinkle with chocolate chips. Bake 30 minutes or til test done with a toothpick. Cool at least 15 minutes before cutting. These are even better the next day.
For a variation on this, substitute pumpkin puree for the banana, increase sugar/honey to 1/2 c., replace almond or cashew butter for the peanut butter, then add 1-2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice.
Apparently these have been popular in the food world for about a year... but I first saw them last week. My oldest son, the pickiest eater in the house, had noticed the printed recipe sitting on the counter for several days, grimacing everytime he walked past it. So when a batch of brownies appeared out of the oven, he cocked an eyebrow at me, asking "Are these what I think they are?", then declared he would NOT eat them.
After everyone else begged for seconds, though, he decided he'd try just one bite. Then a whole brownie. Then he had seconds too.
(YEAH!)Black Bean Brownies
1 1/4 c. cooked black beans, rinsed (about a 15-oz can or 1/2 c. dry beans- cook first)
1/4 c. melted coconut oil or vegetable oil
1/2- 2/3 cup honey OR 3/4-1 cup sugar (brownies with the higher amounts are sweeter and more moist)
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp. vanilla extract
½ cup whole wheat flour, OR 1/2 c.gluten-free flour plus 1 tsp. xanthan gum
½ teaspoon almond extract or orange extract, optional
½ teaspoon baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
½ cup chopped walnuts, optional
¼ cup semisweet chocolate chips, optional
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter or spray a 9x13 pan. Combine beans, eggs, oil, sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla, and almond/orange extract (if using) in a food processor or blender. Puree until very smooth. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. Pour the puree over top, then mix both together. Stir in walnuts if using. Sprinkle chocolate chips on top. Bake about 25 minutes or until center tests done with a toothpick.
To make these into Chocolate Truffle Brownies, omit the chocolate chips and frost with my favorite-ever chocolate frosting: creamy, soft, oh-so-smooth Chocolate Blender Frosting
My no-butter spread still tastes like butter plus is made with healthy fats. The spread is in the container; dairy butter is on the left for comparison.
I am so excited!
But first- if you've noticed a shift towards gluten-free and dairy-free recipes lately, good noticing! I. Love. Dairy. I even milked a cow every day as a teenager so I had the fresh great stuff. But sometimes people have health problems with certain foods. So far we've discovered that two of my children get stomach aches when they drink milk. One of my daughters has excema on her arms that just has not cleared up. It usually comes and goes, especially in the winter, but she's had it for two months straight. So I've taken all dairy and wheat items out of her diet to see if those common allergens could be a reason for it. I'm still cooking normally for everyone else, but have necessarily been experimenting with this other way of cooking. And here's the latest and greatest:Butter.
Sort of. It tastes like it, anyway. And spreads beautifully. It even cooks like butter. I've creamed it with sugar and made a cake, made brownies, melted it on muffins, spread on toast, made honeybutter, and made dairy-free cream of broccoli soup with it. Yum.
The idea was sparked by reading a label on a small tub of honey butter. Turns out there was no butter in it at all, but tasted as though it did. Reading through the list- hydrogenated soybean oil, honey, citric acid, soy lecithin, artificial colors and flavors- it occurred to me that if THEY could make something taste and spread like butter, then maybe I could, too. So I started researching what the flavor components were in butter and what other foods contain them too. It was fun to read about- ketones, diacetyl, acetoin, reactions between aldehyde and niacin. (But, dang it, how come if I was setting a good example of work, study, and loving to learn, I had to remind my daughter every 20 minutes to get back to her schoolwork?!)
Anyway, I found some foods that naturally have some of the same flavor components as butter, and used one that covered the bases. It's the ingredient that makes ALL the difference in flavor here. Liquid aminos
. Or just use soy sauce, which is about the same thing. If you prefer to avoid soy completely, nutritional yeast flakes will give a similar flavor. The cornstarch, coconut flour, or xantham gum thicken the water so it will better stay mixed with the oils.
This is spreadable when used straight from the fridge. It’s fantastic on toast, muffins, and waffles. It has about the same fat-to-water ratio as dairy butter (80:20). You can cook with it just like real butter, too. It can be creamed with sugar for cakes and cookies. Use it cold from the fridge to do this, and don’t beat it longer than about 45 seconds or it begins to melt a little. This spread can be mixed with an equal amount of honey to make honey butter.
If you’d like a firmer consistency, like sticks of butter,
increase coconut oil to ¾ cup and reduce liquid oil to ¼ cup.
Turmeric and paprika give it a nice color without
affecting the flavor. Turmeric adds bright yellow so a little goes a long way, and paprika lends a warm pinkish orange. Both will deepen after a day. Combine a pinch of each (just under 1/16 tsp) for the best color. If you make this using olive oil, the buttery spread has a greenish hint to it which paprika helps eliminate.Dairy-free Buttery Spread2 Tbsp. water1 tsp. cornstarch OR coconut flour OR 1/4 tsp. xantham gum1/8 tsp. liquid aminos or soy sauce OR scant ½ tsp. nutritional yeast½ tsp. saltA pinch each turmeric and paprika, optional (for color)½ c. coconut oil, softened just til creamy and stirrable½ c. olive oil or other liquid oil like canola
In a glass 1-cup measuring cup, stir together water and coconut flour. Microwave until it boils, stir until smooth. (You’ll need 3 T water if boiling this in a pan on the stove.) Mix in the liquid aminos, salt, turmeric and paprika. Set aside to cool.
After it’s cooled to nearly room temperature, mix in the coconut oil, then whisk in olive oil until smooth. Put mixture in the fridge to chill. Stir after it starts to thicken, about 15-30 minutes.
Store covered in the refrigerator. Makes just over 1 cup.
(9 ½ oz, or 3 T. more than 2 sticks of butter)
If you want a firmer consistency to form “sticks” of butter, after it’s just started thickening in the fridge and you’ve stirred it, pack it into whatever molds you have. I use mini loaf pans, filling them on a scale so each stick weighs 4 ounces. Put in the freezer to solidify. After they’re hard, pop them out of the molds and store in ziptop bags or wrapped in plastic. Label and keep in the freezer for longer storage, or keep in the fridge for shorter-term use.
A few years ago, I opened up the Foods section of my local newspaper and spotted a recipe called "Just-the-Best Cookies". The version there was intended to be a healthier one, having reduced the nuts, coconut, and switching to oil instead of butter. Well, I've reduced the sugar and changed it to use honey, then added back the bigger amount of coconut and nuts, since we know now that healthy fats are, well, healthy! In moderation. And I love the crunch and flavor of coconut and nuts.
We have two breakfast times at my house- one for my highschoolers and husband, who have to be out the door by 6:45, and one for the rest of us, because some of them leave at 8:00 for the elementary school and Jr-High. These cookies make a fantastic, no-work breakfast for that earlier group- I make a batch, put them in a big ziplock bag after cooling, and pop them into the freezer. Then my early group can even grab and go, when needed.
These cookies are high in fiber as well, and lower in sugar than most. Two cookies are about the same nutritionally as one homemade, normal-sized muffin, and much better for you than commercially-made muffins! Two made without raisins contain 16 grams of sugar, which is less than you'd get in a bowl of cereal with milk. Especially if you count the size bowl my teenagers think is a serving. (I keep hiding the bigger bowls...)
Just-the-Best Breakfast Cookies
1/2 c. coconut oil or butter
1/2 c. honey
1/2 c. brown sugar
1 large egg
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 c. water
2 c. whole wheat flour
2 c. quick-cooking oats
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. shredded sweetened coconut
1/2 c. chopped pecans or other nuts, optional
1/2 c. chopped raisins, optional
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease or spray two cookie sheets. In a large bowl, beat together coconut oil and honey, then mix in egg, vanilla, and water. Add the flour, oats, baking soda, and salt and mix well. Stir in coconut, nuts, and raisins.
Roll into 1 1/2" balls, a little larger than a ping-pong ball. Place on cookie sheet, flatten slightly, and bake for about 12 minutes. Let the cookies cool 2 minutes on the cookie sheet before removing to a cooling rack. Makes about 36.
To make breakfast bars instead, spread all the dough onto one well-greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for probably 25 minutes. I don't know for sure because the idea popped into my head just now... Cool and cut into whatever size bars you like.
This is a dairy-free version of sweetened condensed milk,
as the sweetener. For some other ways to make a substitute for sweetened condensed milk, including some with dairy, see here
It doesn't need cooked, which not only makes it super fast to make, but is great if you want to use raw honey and keep the enzymes.
Due to the fiber in this recipe, it won't be as smooth as the store product, but it is still thick, creamy, and sweet
This has one rather obscure ingredient: coconut butter
. That, however, is super easy to make, and will store at room temperature for a long time. Months, at least.
Coconut butter is plain, unsweetened
coconut ('macaroon coconut') that has been pureed in a blender or food processor for several minutes, until it becomes liquid and creamy. It, like coconut oil, will solidify at temperatures under about 75 F, but can be gently heated to liquefy again. If you make your own, use at least 2 cups of coconut to begin with so there's enough in the blender or bowl to puree. This much will give you about 1 cup of coconut butter. If you want other ideas on using this coconut butter, see here
or the Tropical Traditions recipe blog
, where they call it Coconut Cream Concentrate.No-cook Honey-Sweetened Condensed (coconut) Milk
Makes about 14 ounces
2/3 c. honey (7 oz. by weight)
1/4 c. plus 1 Tbsp. water, warm but not hot
1/2 c. coconut butter (also known as coconut cream concentrate), warmedAdd the warm water and coconut cream to the liquid measuring cup you have the honey in. Whisk together.
Mixture will thicken as it cools to room temperature, but can be used right away.
To thicken faster, cover and put it in the fridge.
This can be used any way that you'd use regular sweetened condensed milk, EXCEPT in the no-bake cheesecakes that call for lemon juice. It won't thicken up properly there, because the condensed (dairy) milk thickens by the lemon juice curdling it. Coconut milk doesn't.
Try it with the Two-Minute Fudge
One tablespoon of this sweetened condensed milk contains 1g of fiber, 1g of protein, 7g fat, and 19g sugars. The regular canned stuff has no fiber, 3g protein, 3g fat, and 22g sugar.
So this recipe is higher in fat, but it's a healthy fat
. It's lower in sugar, plus contains coconut fiber, which has shown an ability
to reduce the glycemic load of foods by slowing glucose release.
Pumpkins are one of the most inexpensive, nutritious
vegetables around... right now they're under 20 cents per pound where I live. One cup (8 oz.) of pumpkin has more than 700% of your daily Vitamin A needs, 7g fiber, 3g protein, 19% RDA for iron, 17% RDA for Vitamin C, and 6% RDA for calcium. All this for 83 calories and about 10 cents.
We grew a few, but the garden was pretty sad in general and we ended up buying a couple for our annual pumpkin-carving party at Grandma's house. (To tell you how bad the garden was... the only pumpkins that survived were in the SANDBOX, where one son had spilled some pumpkin guts in late spring. Yeah. Go figure. They even survived our free-roaming chickens.)
So now we have several carved jack-o-lanterns to set on the front porch for Trick-or-Treating. The day after Halloween they'll get cleaned, sliced, and either cooked or dehydrated and turned to powder
. My kids are excited at the possibilities. Their favorite is pumpkin pie, but this shake tastes just like it, in a fraction of the time!Pumpkin Shake1 pint vanilla ice cream
(about 4 heaping ice cream scoopsful)1 1/2 c. milk1 1/2 Tbsp. pumpkin powder
*1/4 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
OR 1/8 tsp. cinnamon plus a dash (to taste) each ground cloves, ginger, and/or nutmeg2 Tbsp. brown sugar,
OR molasses, OR honey
Put all ingredients in a blender and mix on high until smooth. Makes about 3 1/2 cups.
*If you don't have pumpkin powder, use 1/2 cup plain pumpkin puree, and reduce the milk to 1 cup instead of 1 1/2 cups.Optional mix-ins:
2 Tbsp. raisins (add before pureeing so they get finely chopped)
2-3 oz. cream cheese
2-4 Tbsp. chocolate chips
Get this recipe and many more ways to use pumpkin, free, from The Great Pumpkin Cookbook
This bread has a thin, chewy crust with an exceptionally tender and moist interior, flavored with pumpkin and honey, scented with cinnamon, ginger, cloves, with a toasty crunch from pecans. (See a photo of the inside here
.) It is one of my all-time favorite
recipes. It all started with an artisan bread cookbook, Amy's Bread
My brother had just finished a two-year mission to Spain, and came back with a whole new perspective on bread. He described how fresh, hearty, deeply flavored, and moist those European breads were, with their beautiful, flavorful crusts.
That's it, I thought, I MUST learn to make bread like that.
So I bought a book. (I still have, it, use it, and love it. Her Country Sourdough loaf is perfect, and the thin, crunchy, seeded breadsticks are addicting!)
The recipe below began as one from her cookbook. I've tweaked it over the years, until it can be claimed as my own. We usually just slice and butter it, or toast and spread with cream cheese. It would make incredible French Toast, especially if you stuff it with lightly sweetened cream cheese and top with fruit syrup
or homemade maple-flavored syrup. For a sandwich filling
that goes spectacularly well with it, see my next post!
See here for a post on making pumpkin puree
, or see this one on making pumpkin powder
. I actually used the pumpkin powder & added water in my batch for the fair.Autumn Harvest Bread
(Pumpkin-Pecan Yeast Bread)
1 Tbsp. Instant or RapidRise yeast 4 ½ c. bread flour
1/2 c. warm water ½ c. butter, melted
½ c. (6 oz.) honey 1 tsp. cinnamon
1 c. pumpkin puree ½ tsp. ginger
1/4 c. cornmeal ½ tsp. ground cloves
2 large egg yolks 1 ½ tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. dry milk powder 1 c. pecan pieces, toasted
Combine yeast and warm water, stir to dissolve. Let stand 3 minutes. Mix in honey, pumpkin, cornmeal, egg yolks, milk powder, and 2 cups of the flour. Add butter, then the remaining 2 cups flour, the cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and salt. Knead until smooth and elastic, about 5-10 minutes. Let rest 20 minutes. Knead in pecans. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 1 ½ -2 hours.
While it’s rising, make a wash with 1/4 c. cold water and 1/2 tsp. cornstarch:
Combine the two, bring to a boil, and stir until thickened. Cover it so it doesn’t form a skin, and let it cool.
Divide dough into two pieces. Shape into 16-20” long logs, and tie each into a knot. (Or shape into a ball, seam-side down, or shape into two 8x4 loaves.) Cover and let rise until nearly doubled, 1-1 ½ hours. Using a pastry brush, gently coat each loaf with the glaze. Bake at 375 degrees for 25-35 minutes, until golden brown and the surface is firm. Brush again with the glaze. This helps it have a nice shine and a thin, soft crust. Cool before cutting into 1/2" slices.
No, this one doesn't have any wine in it; it's not THAT kind of cooler. It just... makes you cooler. Both ways. (Right?)
This is great for using overripe fruit, which is what I happened to have sitting on my countertop. The pear needed a couple bruises cut off, then it was ready to become part of a cold, refreshing, lightly sweet drink with a hint of mint.
1 banana, the darker the better
one 4" sprig of fresh mint
1 tray of ice cubes
2 cups water
1-2 Tbsp. honey, optional
Put all in a blender, run on high until smooth. Makes about 4 cups.
A little while ago I went to a local specialty store, Against The Grain
, which is specifically for those who can't have wheat or gluten, to pick up some Expandex
. While there, I saw some individually wrapped, big mound-looking macaroons. They were 2 ounces apiece, about 3" across, and cost $1.29. The ONLY ingredients on the list were coconut, egg whites, and honey. It sounded healthy and yummy, so I bought one to figure out how to make them. They are not the light, crunchy, meringue-type macaroons, but instead a dense, more lightly sweet confection.
The coconut provides a high amount of fiber (75% of the carbs in coconut are fiber!- coconut fiber has been shown to control blood sugar especially well), as well as some healthy fats (medium-chain fatty acids, including lauric acid). Read an article here
, or a website on coconut research here
The egg white helps bind it, and contributes protein.
The honey, of course, sweetens it, as well as helping moisten and bind.
Here's what I ended up with after a couple experiments:Three-Ingredient Macaroons
2 egg whites
1/2 c. honey
3 cups unsweetened, fine-flake coconut
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment, or grease it. Beat the egg whites until just foamy, then whisk in the honey. Stir in the coconut until well mixed. If it won't hold its shape yet, let it sit for 15-30 minutes to let the moisture absorb into the coconut.
Use 1/4 cup packed
(1.7 oz prebaked weight) for 1 1/2 oz macaroons, or a scant 1/3 c. scoop for 2 oz
(2.2 oz. prebaked weight), bake 17-18 minutes, until just turning brown on the tops. Let cookies cool on the baking sheet for 5-10 minutes before you take them off; otherwise they'll fall apart.
This makes 12 (1 1/2 ounce) macaroons, or 9-10 (2 ounce) ones.