Buckwheat mocha tart

This was my second try with this tart. The first time I made it, I used buckwheat flour only in the crust, and it crumbled. It was still tasty, but certainly not presentable. So the second time, I decreased the buckwheat to regular flour ratio 1:3, and it worked much better. There is still the taste of lovely, nutty buckwheat, AND you can slice it without the tart falling apart. Once you make this tart, you’ll see it disappear very quickly…it is very rich in chocolate flavor, without being too heavy. Enjoy!

Buckwheat mocha tartFor the crust
8 tablespoons (4 ounces) unsalted butter, melted
1 tbsp. sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup buckwheat flour
3/4 cup all-purpose flour

For the filling
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into chunks
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup good quality unsweetened cocoa powder (natural or Dutch-process)
1 cup heavy cream
1 1/4 teaspoons instant espresso powder (such as Medaglia d’Oro), or 1 1/2 teaspoons instant coffee crystals
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 large egg, lightly beaten

Make the crust
Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).
Mix the butter, sugar, salt, and vanilla in a medium bowl. Add the flour and mix just until well blended. Don’t worry if the dough seems too soft. Press all of the dough very thinly and evenly into the bottom and up the sides of a 9 inch removable bottom tart pan. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the crust is a deep golden brown.
Make the filling
Place the butter, sugar, cocoa powder, and cream in a medium saucepan and cook over medium heat, whisking, until the mixture is blended and smooth and begins to simmer around the edges. Remove from the heat and stir in the coffee powder and vanilla.
Just before the crust is ready, whisk the egg thoroughly into the hot chocolate mixture.
Pour the filling into the hot crust and turn off the oven. Leave the tart in the oven until it quivers like tender Jell-O in the center when the pan is nudged, about 10 to 12 minutes. Cool on a rack then in the fridge for at least four hours.

Recipe adapted from leitesculinaria.com

Michael’s cardigan

cardiganIt took me a little over a year to finish this cardigan. I first finished it in July of last year – but the cardigan just didn’t fit right. So I had to disassemble it, rip it back, re-knit it, sew it together, and block it again. But it was all worth it – the final product fits perfectly.





cardigan close upMy favorite details on the cardigan are the buttons – handmade walnut buttons purchased on Etsy. The details of the project are on my Ravelry page.

Cinnamon cardamom waffles

Cinnamon cardamom wafflesINGREDIENTS
1 1/2 cups less 1 tablespoon room temperature almond milk
1 tablespoon vinegar
1 1/2 cups unbleached AP flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 tablespoons agave syrup
1/3 cup melted virgin coconut oil

Preheat your waffle iron.
In a 2 cup measuring glass, add 1 tablespoon vinegar, and fill up to 1 1/2 cups with almond milk. Stir and set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and cardamom). Pour the milk, egg and agave into the dry ingredients and mix just until combined. Stir in coconut oil until mixed in.
Cook the waffles as directed by the waffle iron manufacturer.

Recipe adapted from cookieandkate.com

Vegan banana chocolate chip coconut oil scones

Vegan banana chocolate chip coconut oil sconesNormally, I would bake this with some sort of whole grain, or a mix of whole grain flours – whole wheat, buckwheat, or spelt – but due to a temporary dietary restriction in our household, I had to use regular unbleached flour. Feel free to sub all whole wheat, or half AP and half buckwheat or spelt flour for a more healthy version of this tasty breakfast scone.

2 cups AP unbleached flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup solid coconut oil or 5 tablespoons cold butter
3/4 cup mashed ripe banana (about 2 medium bananas)
1/4 cup yogurt or milk
2 tablespoons agave or maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup chocolate chips (I used 60% cocoa chocolate chips)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt and whisk together.
Use a pastry cutter to cut the coconut oil or butter into the dry ingredients. If you don’t have a pastry cutter, use a fork to cut the coconut oil into the flour, or use a knife to cut the butter into tiny pieces and mix it into the flour.
In a liquid measuring cup, measure 3/4 cup mashed banana. Add yogurt or milk until you have a total of 1 cup liquid. Pour in the syrup and vanilla extract, and mix well.
Pour the banana mixture into the dry mixture and combine with a big spoon, then add the chocolate chips. At first it will seem like there isn’t enough liquid to wet the dough, but keep mixing until you have thoroughly incorporated the wet and dry ingredients. If you must, use your hands to knead the last of the flour into the dough. Even if the dough seems dry, do not add more liquid.
On a rimmed baking sheet lined with Silpat or parchment paper, form dough into a circle that’s about an inch deep all around. Use a chef’s knife to cut the circle into 8 even slices, and separate slices slightly.
Bake for 15 minutes to 17 or until lightly golden brown.
Allow to cool on wire rack.

Recipe adapted from cookieandkate.com

Macaroni and cheese – light

Macaroni and cheese - lightDue to dietary constraints, I had to use regular pasta, but in the future I would definitely try whole wheat pasta instead. Also feel free to experiment with different kinds of cheeses.

1 lb. pasta shapes, such as shells or elbow macaroni
4 tbsp. unsalted butter
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups almond milk
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
4 oz. shredded Swiss cheese
8 oz. shredded light Jarlsberg
2 tbsp. butter
1/2 cup panko (or homemade bread crumbs, finely ground)

Bring a large pot of water to boil. Cook the pasta for a few minutes less than package directions, drain well. Return to the stockpot off the heat.

Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Stir in the flour and cook until light golden brown and it starts to foam, whisking constantly, about 1 1/2-2 minutes. Slowly whisk in the milk until no lumps remain. Stir in the salt and mustard. Lower the heat to medium and continue to cook the sauce, stirring frequently, until it bubbles and thickens, about 6-8 minutes.

Remove the sauce from the heat. Stir in the cheese a handful at a time, mixing until fully melted before adding more. Once all the cheese has been added and the sauce is smooth, transfer the pasta in a large casserole dish, and pour the sauce over the pasta. Stir well.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
Melt butter in a small skillet over medium heat, add panko and brown – being careful not to burn the panko. Spread over the macaroni and cheese to cover.
Bake for 30 minutes and serve immediately.

Recipe adapted from annieas-eats.com and allrecipes.com

Coconut oil poundcake

Coconut oil pound cakeIngredients
1 cup organic cane sugar
3/4 cup virgin coconut oil
3/4 cup coconut milk
3 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons desiccated or shredded coconut

Optional coconut topping
4 tablespoons coconut milk mixed with 2 tablespoons organic cane sugar
1 -2 Tablespoons desiccated or shredded coconut for sprinkling

Heat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan.
Melt the coconut oil in a large bowl in the microwave oven. Let cool slightly and whisk in the 1 cup sugar, coconut milk, eggs and vanilla extract.
In another medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Mix well, then stir in 6 tablespoons coconut. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients to combine. Pour the mixture into the loaf pan and smooth with a spatula.
Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 60 minutes. Allow to cool on a wire rack.

If adding coconut topping:
Whilst the cake is still hot in the pan, using a skewer or toothpick, prick holes all over the top of the cake, pushing the skewer or toothpick through to the bottom of the cake. Gently pour the coconut milk/sugar mix all over the surface of the cake, distributing evenly with a brush if needed. The liquid will be quickly absorbed by the cake. Then immediately sprinkle the dried coconut all over so it sticks. You can use as much dried coconut as you wish.
Allow to cool completely before taking out of the pan.

Recipe adapted from cooking.nytimes.com

Buckwheat cacao nib shortbread cookies with clementine zest

Buckwheat cacao nib shortbread cookies with clementine zestThese shortbread cookies are the perfect accompaniment to a pot of tea. You can find cacao nibs at Trader Joe’s, or online at Amazon.com. While cacao nibs are a bit pricey, their flavor is very intense – so you don’t need to use as much. And when you consider the benefits of consuming these:

MOOD BOOSTING: Cacao contains natural chemicals that promotes heightened sensitivity and euphoria
NUTRITION: This ancient superfood is full of antioxidants, minerals, amino acids, and nutrients. It is considered an energizer, appetite suppressant and metabolism booster

They are practically health food! 🙂

1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 cup buckwheat flour
8 ounces (2 sticks) butter, softened
2/3 cup organic cane sugar
2 tsp clementine zest (from about 3 clementines)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cups cacao nibs
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

In a small bowl, rub zest in the sugar with your fingers until evenly distributed and aromatic. In the bowl of a KitchenAid, beat butter and sugar on medium until smooth and creamy, about 3 minutes. In the meantime, whisk flours and salt together in the bowl you used for the sugar and zest.
Mix in cacao nibs and vanilla with the whipped butter. Mix in flours just until incorporated. Scrape the dough into a mass and knead with your hands for a few minutes until dough is smooth. Refrigerate dough until it is cold, at least an hour or overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 F.
Divide dough in half and place one half in between two pieces of parchment paper. Roll out dough to 1/4″ thick. Using your favorite cookie cutter, cut out cookies and place them on a parchment lined baking sheet about an inch apart – the cookies will spread slightly.

Put cookies into the pre-heated oven and bake until the sides of the cookies are golden, about 15-16 minutes. Let cookies cool completely.

Recipe adapted from alifewelllivedblog.com