Lemon Thyme & Ginger

Honey Roasted Peanut Butter Cookies with Bananas

Honey Roasted Peanut Butter Cookies with Bananas and recipe.

When writing my post, Summer Backyard BBQ Menu Ideas, it came to my attention I only have one cookie recipe on my blog. One recipe is not enough, especially when it comes to having easy desserts for summer picnics and backyard barbecues. Cookies are the perfect dessert for bringing on a hike, at the beach, camping, or as a hostess gift for a weekend at the beach. Kitchen Sink Oatmeal Cookies is a family favorite, but I wanted to make cookies that are a little different and have a broad appeal. Chocolate is my all-time favorite dessert, but in the heat of the summer more chocolate melts in my hand then in my mouth. Yet, peanut butter and peanut butter cookies hold up to the summer sun and provide some protein to fuel us through the long and lazy summer days.

Honey Roasted Peanut Butter Cookies with Bananas and recipe.

Peanut Butter Cookies Inspiration

I got my idea to make peanut butter cookies after I read Stella Parks Peanut Butter Cookie recipe in her cookbook, BraveTart. For her peanut butter cookies, she blitzes honey roasted peanuts with the flour to make a soft but textured peanut flour then mixes it into her cookie dough. When I first read this, I was so impressed with Stella Parks ingenuity. It is a brilliant idea and a great way to add extra peanut flavor into cookies without making them dense. Therein lies the cookie challenge, how to add a lot of flavor without turning light and fluffy cookies into door stops. Essentially, turning peanuts into flour adds extra flavor and yet maintains the tender structure.

For some reason, her quick and easy technique of processing honey roasted peanuts with the flour reminded me of my go to sandwich when I was a dancer, peanut butter, honey, and bananas on whole wheat bread. It was the perfect sandwich for the times I needed light, healthy and energizing food to get me through a day of work, dance rehearsal and the final performance on those long 14 hour days on my feet. It may seem like an odd connection but this cookie recipe brought back memories of eating peanut butter honey and banana sandwiches in a dressing room of a proscenium theater.

Honey Roasted Peanut Butter Cookies with Banana and recipe

It made me wonder if I could make a cookie reminiscent of the comforting blend of sweet honey, peanuts and banana that I love. To me, it is all about the combined flavor of roasted peanuts and honey and how peanuts make honey taste sweeter, and how honey makes peanut butter nuttier. A perfect marriage of flavors in any form be it a cookie or a sandwich.

Honey Roasted Peanut Butter Cookies with Bananas and recipe.

Honey Roasted Peanut Butter Cookies

By no means is this cookie a substitute for the high protein sandwich. It is a dessert cookie interpretation of simple peanut butter sandwich. I love the combination of peanut butter and honey in any form. I used Stella Parks peanut butter cookie recipe as my foundation, but I made several changes to get more honey flavor in the recipe. Instead of granulated sugar as the sweetener, I combined honey and brown sugar. If I only added honey to the cookies, they could get heavy and dry from the extra flour required to absorb the extra liquid. Also, I decided to use brown sugar to cream with the butter and create a tender cookie.

Other significant changes include using a blend of oat flour and all-purpose flour. The oat flour has a slight nutty-butterscotch flavor I believe highlight the honey and the peanuts. If you wish, you can use only all-purpose flour in the recipe, or only oat flour for a gluten free alternative. The cookies will be more tender without the gluten and only keep the fresh texture for a day or two.

Honey Roasted Peanut Butter with Bananas and recipe.

For the banana flavor I kept it simple and used banana chips instead of fresh banana. I was concerned fresh banana mash would make the cookies too dense and moist. Banana chips are a great option, they contribute subtle banana flavor without weighing the cookie down. Even though they are very crunchy, banana chips soften in the cookie dough, and so does the banana flavor. Yet, the banana chips sprinkled on the top of the cookies stay crunchy adding a nice crispy contrast to the soft cookie and banana flavor.

Honey Roasted Peanut Butter Cookies with Bananas and recipe.

If you are a fan of peanut butter, you will love these cookies.

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Honey Roasted Peanut Butter Cookies with Bananas

Classic peanut butter cookies with a twist. These are moist cookies with great honey roasted peanut flavor. Stella Parks, in her book Brave Tart , shares a genius idea of blitzing honey roasted peanuts with flour in a food processor for extra peanut and honey flavor. Her idea inspired me to make a cookie that replicates the honey roasted flavor of peanuts in one of my favorite sandwiches, Peanut Butter, Honey and Banana. 

Keeping the flavor of this sandwich in mind, I adapted her recipe by incorporating brown sugar, honey, and a mixture of oat flour and all-purpose flour. There is a subtle banana flavor from the banana chips keeping the cookies light and tender. 

If you prefer, use 100% all-purpose flour in the cookie dough. I use oat flour because I like the flavor it adds to the peanuts and honey. 

Store the cookies in an air tight container for a couple of days. 


Course Dessert
Keyword Cookie Recipe, Peanut Butter Cookies
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Cooking time for all cookies 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 30 cookies
Author Ginger

Ingredients

  • ½ cup 2.5 oz /74 g all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup 2.5 oz / 74 g oat flour
  • 1 ¼ cup 6 oz / 173 g honey roasted salted peanuts plus more for garnish
  • 1 8 TB/ 115 g stick unsalted butter, soft but still cool
  • ½ cup 3.5 oz / 92 g light brown sugar
  • 1 ¼ cup 10 oz / 284 g creamy peanut butter (natural with no sugar or other additives)
  • ¾ tsp Kosher salt
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ¾ tsp baking soda
  • 1 ½ tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg well beaten
  • Heaping ½ cup 2 oz / 57 g dried banana chips, rough chopped more for garnish

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 325°F / 160°C / Gas Mark 3. Place the oven rack in the middle and upper thirds of the oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. Place the all-purpose flour and honey roasted peanuts in a bowl of a food processor and pulse until the nuts are finely ground, about one minute. If your food processor bowl has an 8 cup (2 liter) capacity, you can add both the all-purpose flour and oat flour at one time. If your bowl is small, about 3 cups (750 ml) then it is best to divide the flour in half and process the peanuts and flour in a couple of batches.  Once the flours and peanuts are finely ground, set aside. 

  3. Add the butter and brown sugar into a bowl of a stand mixer, or large mixing bowl if you are using a hand-held mixer. Cream the butter and sugar together on medium speed, until light and airy, about 3 minutes. Every minute or so, stop the mixer and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.

  4. Add the honey, peanut butter, salt, baking powder, baking soda, vanilla extract and beat until mixed together on medium speed, about 1 minute. Half way through, stop the mixer and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl then continue beating the batter. Slowly add half of the beaten egg to the mix and beat until completely mixed in. Add the remaining egg and thoroughly mix until well incorporated.

  5. Turn the speed down to low and add the peanut flour into the bowl. While the flour and batter are mixing turn up the speed to medium and mix until just incorporated. Make sure to not over-mix the batter.

  6. Remove the bowl from the stand and stir in the banana chips until just incorporated. The batter will look soft and feel slightly sticky.
  7. Divide the cookie dough into one ounce portions, one heaping tablespoon, and arrange on the prepared baking sheets spaced 2 inches (5 cm) apart. (I fit six cookies on my baking sheets, but you could squeeze in 8 if you are not worried about the cookie edges touching).

  8. Sprinkle honey roasted peanuts and broken banana chip pieces over the top of each cookie and place in the oven. Bake for 15 minutes. Half way through baking, rotate the baking pans front to back, and top to bottom for even browning and baking.

  9. Remove the cookies from the oven when they are just starting to brown around the edges, be careful not to over bake. Rest the cookies for 10 minutes on the baking pans, then remove each cookie to a cooling rack with a spatula.
  10. Makes 30 cookies.
  11. Switch it up:

    Add dark or white chocolate (or both) chunks to the batter.

    Try some raisins with the banana chips.

    Sprinkle cinnamon sugar over the top of each cookie before baking.

    Substitute Reese’s Pieces or peanut butter cups for the banana chips. 

    Gluten Free: substitute the all-purpose flour with oat flour.

Honey Roasted Peanut Butter Cookies with Bananas. Recipe for peanut butter cookies made with honey roasted peanuts, They are light and full of that warm honey peanut butter flavor topped of with banana chips. Gluten free option available in recipe.

© 2018, Ginger Smith- Lemon Thyme and Ginger. All rights reserved.

Bitter Orange Flourless Chocolate Cake

Bitter Orange Flourless Chocolate Cake, with a recipe.

Chocolate is a separate food group in my household and just like protein, I can’t live without it. Whenever I order a dessert in a restaurant, it is the chocolate desserts I gravitate to. However, I hesitate whenever I see a flourless chocolate cake on the menu because I do not know if it going to be fudge or cake. When it comes to flourless chocolate cake, I like them on the lighter side, not the ones that taste like dense fudge. It is not that I believe they taste bad, it is just they are very rich. The type of flourless chocolate cake I prefer, have a lighter airy texture, despite being moist and loaded with dark chocolate.

So far, I have come across two flourless chocolate cake recipes that satisfy my requirement of biting into a slice of cake, not a chunk of fudge. What makes them different from most flourless chocolate cake recipes out there is the use of finely ground nuts and whipped egg whites. The nuts act like a flour replacement and give the cake some texture and body. Also, because of the whipped egg whites, there is some air which gives the cake some lift and tastes light. Just like brownies, the cake is fudgy without being dense.

Bitter Orange Flourless Chocolate Cake Recipe

The only challenging aspect to making a flourless chocolate cake is how fragile they are. Especially the types of cakes I prefer. Without the gluten to hold it together, the cake can easily break and crack. Transferring the cake off the bottom of the springform pan onto a serving dish requires the strength of all the good karma, prayers and best wishes you can muster. As well as patience and your best problem-solving skills. It is a very moist cake, especially in the middle which makes it very delicate.

My recipe is adapted from Diana Henry’s Bitter Flourless Chocolate Cake recipe in her cookbook, Simple. She uses ground almonds which I love, but I could not bring myself to use almonds a day after I wrote a post about Earth Day Recipes and how growing almonds in California is depleting their water supply. I will not give up almonds altogether, but I should leave some time before I start using them again.

Bitter Orange Chocolate Cake recipe

Flourless Chocolate Cake Variations

In my recipe I substitute almonds with ground walnuts and I added orange zest and Grand Marnier. Chocolate pairs well with many types of nuts, so you can’t go wrong using any type of nut. I do love walnuts and chocolate, especially with bitter orange flavors from orange zest and orange flavored liqueur. I kept all the proportions the same, but I also added Grand Marnier for an extra orange punch. There is just enough of the walnuts for a subtle nut flavor with the dark chocolate the focal point.

However, the addition of Grand Marnier makes the cake more fragile than without it. I believe this is because of the extra moisture in the cake batter. I don’t believe baking it longer will help. If you are concerned about the final show stopping appearance, then don’t add the Grand Marnier. The whipped cream has Grand Marnier in it, so the dessert will have the great chocolate and boozy orange flavor.

Bitter Orange Flourless Chocolate Cake Recipe.

Removing the cake off the bottom of the spingform pan is challenging with this moist and delicate cake. If you don’t care, remove the sides of the pan and place the cake still on top of the pan’s bottom, on a serving plate. No one will care or notice while they are enjoying your delicious cake. Or, you can try lining the bottom of the pan with parchment paper to see if that helps. If your cake does break don’t despair, you can break it up and make ice cream sundaes with chocolate and vanilla ice cream, dark chocolate sauce, whipped cream with orange flavors and candied orange peel. Or, cut the cake up into bite size pieces for people to nibble on with their coffee or tea.

Orange Essence Flourless Chocolate Cake is worth making regardless of its delicate nature. Because the chocolate is the dominate flavor, use the best quality of chocolate you can buy with 70%- 72% cocoa butter. I have great success with Lindt chocolate and Ghirardelli Intense Dark Chocolate, twilight delight found in candy section of the grocery store. Here is a link for more information on the best chocolate bars for baking from Serious Eats.

Bitter Orange Flourless Chocolate Cake Recipe

Enjoy!

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Bitter Orange Flourless Chocolate Cake

An effortless flourless chocolate cake with intense dark chocolate flavor and a light and nutty texture. The cake is very moist and fudgy but not dense.   

Serve with whipped cream 

Course Dessert
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Cooling Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 8 servings
Author Ginger

Ingredients

Flourless chocolate cake

  • 6.75 oz (192 g) unsalted butter about 1 2/3 sticks
  • 11.5 oz (328 g) good quality dark chocolate, broken into pieces 70% coco solids
  • 3/4 cup (164 g) super fine sugar
  • 5 large eggs, separated
  • 1/2 cup (57 g) ground walnuts (see note)
  • finely grated zest from half a navel orange
  • 2 TB Grand Marnier Optional
  • Confectioners' sugar for dusting the cake

Whipped Cream

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 TB confectioners' sugar or to taste
  • Zest from half an orange
  • 2 TB Ground Marnier or a 1/2 teaspoon of Orange Blossom Water

Instructions

For the Cake

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 °F (177°C /Gas Mark 4) oven. Butter an 8-inch (20 cm) springform pan. Set aside. 

  2. In a medium metal mixing bowl, add the broken-up chocolate, the butter and sugar to the bowl. 

  3. Add some water to a large 10-inch (25.5 cm) skillet just enough to cover the bottom of the pan. Set on a burner over medium heat. Bring the water to a gentle simmer and place the bowl with the chocolate, butter and sugar in the center of the skillet. Melt the chocolate and butter, stirring occasionally. Do not let the water get to a brisk boil. Keep it at a gentle simmer, being careful not to splash water into the chocolate. 

  4. Remove the bowl from the skillet just before all the butter has melted and stir until all the chocolate and butter has melted. Let the chocolate cool for four minutes. 

  5. Add the egg yolks one at a time to the chocolate, stirring between each addition until each yolk is incorporated. 

  6. In a separate bowl, with a stand mixer or hand-held mixer, beat the egg whites until stiff with soft peaks and still wet. Soft peaks will form when you lift out the beaters. Gently fold in the Grand Marnier if using. 

  7. Add the orange zest to the ground walnuts and mix together. Add the walnut mixture to the chocolate and half of the whipped egg whites. Fold into the chocolate. Then fold in the remaining egg whites. 

  8. Pour the batter into the prepared springform pan and place on a rimmed sheet pan in case it leaks.  Place the cake in the oven and bake for 35 minutes. 

  9. Remove the cake from the oven and cool on a cake rack. Don't get upset if you see the cake deflate and crack as it cools. When the cake is completely cool, unlatch the pan and carefully remove the sides. Run an icing spatula, or thin sharp knife under the cake to loosen. It helps to clean off the spatula or knife every time you pull it out from under the cake. Carefully transfer the cake onto a serving plate.

  10. Dust the cake with confectioners' sugar right before serving. 

Whipped Cream

  1. Right before serving, use a hand-held mixer and whip the heavy cream until it just holds its shape. Sprinkle in the confectioners' sugar and Grand Marnier, if using. Whip until combined soft peaks form. Taste and correct the whipped cream for sweetness and the Grand Marnier. Place in a small serving bowl. 

  2. Serve the whipped cream with the cake and extra fruit, like berries. 

Recipe Notes

Before you start the cake, toast the walnuts in a preheated 350°F (177 °C / Gas Mark 4) oven. Spread a couple of handfuls (60 g) of the walnuts over a small rimmed baking sheet. Toast in the oven for 7 minutes. Spread the toasted walnuts over a clean lint free kitchen towel. Fold a portion of the towel over the nuts to cover and rub the towel with the walnuts back and forth to remove the walnut skin. No need to go crazy rubbing off all the skin. Rub back and forth a few times until no more skin comes off without scrubbing. Collect the walnuts leaving the loose skin behind and grind the walnuts in a food processor. 

Bitter Orange Flourless Chocolate Cake. A flourless chocolate cake recipe made with ground walnuts and flavored with orange zest and Grand Marnier. It has intense dark chocolate flavor complemented with the bitter orange essence. A very moist and light cake.

© 2018, Ginger Smith- Lemon Thyme and Ginger. All rights reserved.

Best Dessert Recipes

Looking over my blog posts I felt I needed some more dessert recipes, especially cake recipes. It is always good to collect dessert recipes ranging from easy to more challenging that you feel comfortable with. To add to my collection, I set out to publish a post for a yellow cake with chocolate ganache recipe today, but things did not work out as planned.

It all started when I made a cake from a recipe from Joanne Chang’s Baking with Less Sugar. Baking with less sugar is a goal of mine and a personal passion for Joanne Chang because her husband does not tolerate sugar well. I found, with this recipe, that just because there is less refined sugar does not mean it is low in fat. Quite the contrary.

Her cake was lovely, but the ganache frosting was an epic fail. Ganache is sometimes temperamental depending on the type of chocolate one uses. From my experience ganache sets easily by cooling it on the counter. This time something was off. Everything was fine until I put the ganache in the refrigerator as directed to set the ganache. This was the catalyst that turned everything upside down. The ganache hardened so much I could not penetrate the surface with a spoon. Almost as hard as a bar of chocolate. I whipped it with my hand-held mixer and it looked like seized chocolate mixed with over-whipped cream. It was awful.

Ughhh! I blame it on the butter. Immediately I made a second batch of ganache, without refrigerating it, and finished frosting the cake. Unfortunately, I did not love it. The ganache was very bitter, and I did not love the texture. Also, after a couple of hours the cake dried out.

Moving On

Instead of coming up with a new layer cake recipe, I decided to put together a post with links to some of my dessert recipes. Also included are a couple of links to dessert recipes from other websites. Everything in one place for easy access.

The spring is a time of celebration whether for graduations, new beginnings, and major life events. Make your celebrations special by making a homemade dessert. Here is a collection ranging from quick and easy to involved. All are tested and delicious.

Dessert Recipes for Cake

Nifty Cake: Buttermilk Cake with Strawberries, Peaches and Cream cake recipe

Nifty Cake made with a sponge cake and whipped cream frosting with fresh fruit. I used to make this for my Dad’s birthday cake in July. Berries are available now, although not quite in season in my area, so instead of peaches, make the cake with strawberries and or blue berries. It is a cake version of strawberry shortcake and always a crowd pleaser.

Gluten Free Nifty Cake made with an gluten free sponge cake recipe

If you want a gluten free cake, I have a Gluten Free Nifty Cake made with gluten free oat flour instead of all-purpose flour.

Celebrate with Pink Champagne Cake recipe

For a special occasion, like for a bridal shower, birthday or graduation, this recipe for Pink Champagne Cake is lovely. My recipe differs from the traditional recipe because I made it with an Italian buttercream not with the traditional American buttercream. Pink champagne cake has a subtle strawberry and champagne flavor that grows on you. I love this cake and can’t wait for a special occasion to make it again. Then again, why wait? My recipe is adapted from the cookbook American Cake by Anne Byrn.

Chocolate Stout Cake recipe

Chocolate Stout Cake is a delicious chocolate cake made with chocolate chili stout. You won’t necessarily taste the stout, but it makes the chocolate more enhanced. The white chocolate cream cheese frosting is to die for especially with the chocolate stout glaze.

Best Dessert Recipes , Decadent Chocolate Cake

If a simple chocolate cake is what you are looking for, an old standby for me is Decadent Chocolate Cake by the Silver Palate.

This recipe from Fine Cooking is the one I should have published today because I have made it on several occasions. Four Layer Cake with Chocolate Buttercream. This cake is a yellow cake with raspberry jam and chocolate buttercream frosting. It is very impressive looking even though it is made with your basic cake components. You will have to click-through a couple of links to the yellow cake and chocolate buttercream frosting.

Dessert Recipes for Pies

On this blog I have a couple of recipes for galettes and one crust-less apple pie. Clearly, I need to make some more. Personally, I love the ease of galettes especially during the summer months. You can use the galette recipes as a base and substitute with seasonal fruit. Lemon plums are in season now and taste great in a galette made with mixed berries. Or make a galette with apples and dried apricots.

Nectarine and Blueberry Galette recipe

Nectarine and Blueberry Galette

Almond Peach Galette Recipe

 

Almond Cherry Peach Galette

Swedish Apple Pie Recipe

Swedish Apple Pie

Double coconut pie recipe

For a gluten free pie try Double Coconut Pie. This is like eating a giant macaroon cookie.

Other Dessert Recipes

Chocolate Nutella Pots de Creme, a recipe.

For the Nutella lover in the family, Chocolate Nutella Pots de Creme. This is my husband’s favorite dessert. Smooth and silky with a little kick of sriracha with the chocolate.

Spiced Figs with Yogurt Panna Cotta recipe.

For a refreshing custard, Spiced Figs with Yogurt Panna Cotta. Instead of figs you can substitute pears, or caramelized citrus. The panna cotta has a lovely tang from the yogurt and is silky smooth. This is a gelatin dessert, so it is not vegetarian.

Peaches and Berries Layered with Bourbon Sabayon recipe

Peaches and Berries with Bourbon Sabayon Traditionally sabayon is made with champagne or Marsala wine, but for this recipe I made it with bourbon to pair with the peaches. Sabayon is an elegant dessert made with whipped eggs combined with whipped cream. Sabayon should not be confused with Zabayon, a similar dessert made from whipped eggs, Marsala and served warm.

Lemon Mousse is one of my favorite desserts. This recipe is very light and airy from Maida Heatter’s New Book of Great Desserts. This mousse is perfect for this time of year when we are between winter and spring fruit availability.

Lemon Pavlova with Kiwi and Passion Fruit Sauce, recipe.

Ever since I first made a pavlova, I put this dessert in the Five Star category. A classic dessert like early Hollywood actresses such as Catherine Deneuve and Grace Kelly It is exquisite with exceptional taste. Here is a recipe for Lemon Pavlova with Kiwi and Passion Fruit sauce. You can get the passion fruit pulp at your grocery store located in the Latin American food section of the frozen foods aisle.

Try making a vegan pavlova using Aquafaba Meringue with berries and coconut whipped cream. This recipe is from one of my first recipe posts when after three trials I could not whip coconut milk for the life of me. Since then, I have made whipped cream from the fat of full fat coconut milk with great success, especially when using Trader Joe’s brand.

Happy Spring

My promise to myself and my readers is, I will post nothing on this website that I am not satisfied with. Even though my son and husband thought there was nothing wrong with the cake, I just did not love it. I did not feel this was the type of cake that people will find irresistible and sneak in a slice for a midnight snack.

On the other hand, the above recipes are tried and true. I am looking forward to a new season and learning new dessert recipes to share with you.

 

© 2018, Ginger Smith- Lemon Thyme and Ginger. All rights reserved.

Peppermint Meringue Cookies: 3 Ways

Peppermint Meringue Cookies: 3 Ways, recipe.

Whenever I make Chocolate Pots de Creme or other custard dessert, I have a lot of egg whites looking for a purpose. For years I would throw out the unused egg whites until I learned egg whites freeze well. Now, I freeze the egg whites and pick a time to make one of my favorite desserts, mousse, dacquoise, or meringue cookies. During the winter, I especially enjoy peppermint meringue cookies with their pink swirls and minty flavor. These light and crispy cookies have just enough peppermint flavor and taste as good dressed up with peppermint candies or white chocolate, or as is. They are festive cookies, perfect for the holidays and make a great hostess gift.

Peppermint Meringue Cookies: 3 ways, recipe

Peppermint Meringue Cookie: 3 Ways, recipe.

It is not difficult to make peppermint meringue cookies, but there are a few factors to keep in mind.

  1. Eggs are easier to separate when they are cold, but room temperature egg whites get more volume. Separate the whites from the yolks when the eggs are just removed from the refrigerator. Make sure there are no traces of yolk in the egg whites. Leave the whites on the counter for 30 minutes to come up to room temperature before making meringue.
  2. Use clean beaters and bowls. It seems like an obvious statement, but any trace of water, soap, egg yolk, or other proteins will hinder your success at getting silky and airy meringue with lots of volume.
  3. Add the egg whites and acid or Cream of Tartar together, then whisk the egg whites. Acid, like lemon juice, white vinegar, or Cream of Tartar, are stabilizers and help with the structure of airy meringue.
  4. Slowly add the sugar to the whites one tablespoon at a time. If you add the sugar in too quickly the egg whites will deflate.
  5. Pipe the meringue and bake the cookies immediately after you stop whisking the meringues.
  6. Cool the meringue cookies in the oven after baking. Unless you need the oven to make dinner, it is a perfect air tight space to cool the meringue. I often make meringue at night because meringue take so long to bake, then I keep the meringue in the oven overnight. Once cool, store the cookies in an airtight container on the counter. Meringues do not like moisture and will sweat or get sticky when left out in the air.

Peppermint Meringue Cookies: 3 Ways, recipe.

Peppermint Meringue Cookies: 3 Ways, recipe.

How to make the red swirls or stripes on the meringue cookies:

  1. Method 1 as suggested in the recipe: add drops of red food coloring to the finished meringue in the mixing bowl. Do not mix. Then spoon the meringue into a piping bag fitted with a ½ inch (1 cm) tip. Press out the air and secure the pastry bag. Pipe the meringue in a spiral motion and make a 1½ inch (4 cm) circle. This produces meringue cookies with swirly pink lines in each cookie. No two cookies look the same. As pictured in this blog post.
  2. Method 2: use an artist’s paint brush and paint 3 evenly spaced lines of red food coloring inside and up the length of the piping bag. It will look like three straight candy stripes in your piping bag. Carefully spoon the meringue into the piping bag fitted with a ½ inch (1 cm) tip or your choice. Press out all the air and twist and secure the top of your pastry bag. This method produces uniform looking meringue cookies with evenly spaced vertical red lines.

Personally, I like the first method because I love the pink swirls in each cookie, and I don’t have to worry about messing up the painted lines while I am spooning the meringue into the piping bag. If you don’t own piping tips and a pastry bag, plastic bags work just as well. See recipe description for instructions.

Peppermint Meringue Cookies: 3 Ways, recipe.

 Toppings for your Peppermint Meringue Cookies

  1. Make the cookies as the recipe states without extra decoration. The peppermint flavor is pronounced, and the meringue cookie is light and crispy.
  2. For a little extra crunch, add crushed peppermint candy to the meringue cookie batter. And/or sprinkle crushed peppermint candy over the meringue cookies before you place them in the oven.
  3. Dip the bottom or top of cooled meringue cookies in melted white chocolate, then coat the white chocolate bottoms with crushed peppermint candy or coconut flakes.

There are endless possibilities for decorating and personalizing your meringue cookies. If peppermint is not your thing, fold in a couple of tablespoons of freeze-dried coffee granules into meringue. The coffee granules will create a subtle swirly pattern of coffee-colored meringue in each cookie. The coffee meringue will also taste great dipped in white chocolate. Or flavor with lemon extract, orange blossom water, or rose water and minced pistachios.

This recipe is adapted from Bon Appetit.  I use their piping technique, but I slightly changed the ingredients. These cookies are great as is, but I love the peppermint meringue cookies dipped in white chocolate and peppermint candy. The white chocolate adds a creamy texture and taste against the crispy and minty meringues. These airy cookies are a real crowd pleaser.

Peppermint Meringue Cookies: 3 Ways, recipe.

Peppermint Meringue Cookies: 3 Ways, recipe.

 

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Peppermint Meringue Cookies: 3 Ways

Peppermint meringues are crisp and airy cookies with a bright mint flavor. Decorate the meringue cookies with crushed peppermint candy, melted white chocolate and or unsweetened shredded coconut. These cookies make great hostess gifts for the holidays. You do not need a pastry bag to make meringue cookies. Fill a gallon size plastic bag with the meringue and shape it into a corner of the bag. Twist the bag at the top of the meringue to get a cone shape. Snip off the corner to make a 1/2 inch opening to squeeze the meringue through. To crush the peppermint candy, place the candy in a zip lock bag and pound the candy with a meat mallet until they reach the desired size.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 50 minutes
Servings 40 cookies
Author Ginger

Ingredients

  • 3 egg whites room temperature
  • 1/8 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1 tsp white vinegar
  • 2/3 cup (152 g) granulated sugar*
  • 1/8- 1/4 tsp real peppermint extract
  • 12 drops red food color

Optional Decorations

  • 12 oz (342 g) white chocolate, melted
  • About 1/2 cup (125 ml) crushed peppermint candies
  • Unsweetened coconut flakes

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 200°F/ 93°C
  2. Fit a ½ inch (1 cm) tip into a pastry bag and set upright inside a tall drinking glass. Fold the edges of the pastry bag over the glass rim. Set aside.
  3. Prepare two rimmed sheet pans. Cover each sheet pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
  4. Add egg whites and vinegar to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Whisk the egg whites at medium speed until they are light and foamy with soft peaks, about a couple of minutes.
  5. Turn up the speed to medium-high and add the granulated sugar a tablespoon at a time, whisking the whites for a few seconds between additions. It will take around 6 minutes to add all the sugar.
  6. Once all the sugar is added, turn the speed up to high and whisk the meringue until glossy and stiff peaks form, about 3 minutes.
  7. Optional: If you want crushed peppermint candy in your meringue cookies, using a rubber spatula, fold in 2 Tablespoons of finely crushed peppermint candy into the meringue before you add the food coloring.
  8. Remove the bowl from the mixer, and add 12 drops of red food color scattered about the meringue. Do not mix.
  9. Spoon the meringue into the pastry bag, or gallon size Ziploc plastic bag, without stirring the meringue. Once all the meringue is added, twist the bag closed and squeeze down on the bag until the meringue is down to the tip without air pockets. If using a Ziploc bag, snip off the tip of a corner making a ½ inch (1 cm) opening.
  10. Using gentle, squeeze the meringue out of the piping bag and make a 1½ inch (4 cm) circle in an upward spiral, and space each meringue cookie about an inch (2.5 cm) apart.
  11. Bake in the oven for 2 hours, or until the meringue is dry.
  12. Turn off the oven and cool the meringue cookies in the oven. Once cooled, remove the meringue cookies and decorate, or store in an air tight container. Meringues do not like damp conditions or humid weather. Keep them out of the humidity or air long as possible.
  13. Decorate as you wish.

Optional Decorations

  1. Break up the white chocolate into pieces and place in a glass bowl. Melt the chocolate in the microwave. Microwave on high heat for 30 seconds. Stop and stir the chocolate and access the progress. Repeat, melting the chocolate in the microwave in 20 second intervals then stirring, for as many intervals as needed until the chocolate is mostly melted.
  2. Take the chocolate out of the microwave and add the remaining white chocolate to the bowl and stir the white chocolate until all the chocolate has melted.
  3. Place crushed peppermint candies on a plate, and/or the coconut flakes if using. Cover a sheet pan with parchment paper.
  4. Dip the meringue cookies in the melted white chocolate, either the bottom or top, and turn the cookie around to get an even coating. Let the excess chocolate drip off, then press the chocolate coated cookie in the peppermint candy or coconut flakes. Place each meringue cookie on the prepared sheet pan until dry. Repeat until all the cookies are coated in chocolate.

Recipe Notes

* When making meringue, super fine sugar works better than granulated sugar. It dissolves faster and is not as dense. I cannot get super fine sugar in my grocery store, instead I process the granulated sugar in a food processor, about 5-6 pulses. If you don't have either option, granulated sugar works, but make sure you add it into the meringue slowly.

Peppermint Meringue Cookies with three ways to decorate them. Use white chocolate, crushed peppermint candy and or shredded unsweetened coconut. A fun and delicious holiday cookie recipe.

© 2017 – 2018, Ginger Smith- Lemon Thyme and Ginger. All rights reserved.

Spiced Figs with Yogurt Panna Cotta

One of my pet peeves is how early product commercialization for the winter holidays begins. Just last week, when I walked through the electronic doors of a grocery store, the potent artificial scent of cinnamon pine cones accosted me. These pine cones were prominently on display at the entrance of the store. Why now? Is there really going to be a run on scented pine cones that you need to start selling them in August? I did not see pumpkins for sale, so why are scented pine cones available now? Instead of pine cones, grocery stores should feature the best produce that is in season now, like figs.

Spiced Figs with Yogurt Panna Cotta recipe

Fresh Mission Figs

I am pushing figs for several reasons, they are delicious, can be prepared for any type of meal, and I believe they are exquisite. In the Northeast US, figs have two short seasons in early summer and in late summer. In places like California, the season extends over the course of the summer. So, get them while you can because they will disappear soon.

Spiced Figs with Yogurt Panna Cotta recipe.

Eat them ripe and fresh as is, or serve with any number of cheeses. Figs and cheese are a classic pairing. I particularly enjoy figs with blue cheese or goat cheese. The sweetness of the fig mingles nicely with the sharp flavors of each cheese. Another great pairing is fig jam and brie. Figs are also delicious for dessert in cakes and pastries like an almond and fig tart. Or, make figs for a savory sauce for pork.

Spiced Figs with Yogurt Panna Cotta recipe.

Figs with blue cheese and chopped walnuts.

I wanted to make an easy and elegant dessert and decided to simmer the figs in a simple syrup with warm spices like cinnamon, cloves, ginger and black pepper. Along with the spiced figs, I made a yogurt panna cotta. Together, the figs and panna cotta created an exquisite dessert with creamy, tangy and warm flavors. The silky texture of the panna cotta is so smooth and nicely contrasts with the vivid pink color and warmth of the spices in the sauce. I realize I complained about the cinnamon scented pine cones earlier, but this sauce has a natural cinnamon infusion along with other spices. It has just enough spice for the early fall.  What is great about this simple syrup recipe is you can use whatever spices you like. Freshly grated nutmeg, allspice, star anise, thyme, and rosemary are all wonderful choices to infuse this light fig sauce.

Figs and Prosciutto Salad Recipe

Spiced Figs with Yogurt Panna Cotta recipe

Along with the fig sauce, panna cotta is one of the easiest desserts to make and has a luscious silky texture. My recipe is based on one from Food and Wine magazine. There are no eggs, just cream, yogurt, sugar and gelatin. You can adjust the flavor of the panna cotta with a number of sweeteners and spices. Because sugar is not important to the structure of panna cotta, it is easy to vary the amount of sugar when you make it. You can adjust the amount depending upon how sweet your sauce or fruit is.

I am always looking for ways to use my homemade yogurt, so I included yogurt in my recipe. If you do not like yogurt, you can use a mixture of whole milk and heavy cream. I have also seen recipes for using goat cheese, yogurt and milk. Or, use a plant based milk product such as almond or coconut milk. I have read from TheKitchn, that unflavored Vegan Jel by Natural Desserts works very nicely for panna cotta. Currently, Vegan Jel by Natural Desserts is unavailable on Amazon. However, other vegan gelatin alternatives are available. Also, I read Whole Foods carries Vegan Jel. If anyone has used it I would love to know how you like it.

 

Spiced Figs with Yogurt Panna Cotta recipe.

The most difficult thing when making panna cotta, is unmolding it from your ramekins or cups. I recommend a ramekin with smooth sides as it is easier to run a knife around the edge. Also recommended, is a light coating of canola or vegetable oil. The oil, and a quick dunk in a warm bath will eventually release the panna cotta from the dish to present on a plate. Or, forget about unmolding it and serve it directly in the container you set it in.

Save the scented pine cones for when it is cold enough to build a fire in the fire place and threatening to snow. Now is the time to set our sights on fresh produce, recently harvested and ripe. Fresh figs are a real treat so get them while you can.

Spiced Figs with Yogurt Panna Cotta recipe.

 

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Spiced Figs with Yogurt Panna Cotta

Spiced fresh figs in a simple syrup is the perfect pair with creamy and tangy yogurt panna cotta. Season the simple syrup with any spices you prefer, or use the ones suggested in this recipe. This dessert is so easy to make and gives an elegant presentation that defies its simplicity. Panna cotta with fresh figs simmered in a spicy syrup is a real thing of beauty to look at and eat. If you do not have ramekins, small coffee cups will work. Or, use wine glasses and serve them straight from the glass without unmolding them. If you serve them in glasses or cups, make sure there is plenty of room to add the fruit and spiced syrup. The panna cotta recipe is adapted from Food and Wine Magazine, Greek Yogurt Panna Cotta with Honey-Glazed Apricots. The spiced figs recipe is adapted from, The Spruce, Figs in Spiced Syrup. See notes for ingredient substitutions.
Prep Time 3 hours 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 3 hours 42 minutes
Servings 6
Author Ginger

Ingredients

Yogurt Panna Cotta

  • Canola or vegetable oil
  • 1 envelope unflavored gelatin 2 1/4 tsp 7 g
  • 2 TB cold water
  • 1 cup 250 ml heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup 68 g granulated sugar
  • 1/2 - 1 tsp real vanilla extract or 1 vanilla bean split and seeds scraped
  • 1- 17.6 oz 500 g tub Greek yogurt, about 2 cups

Spiced Figs

  • 1/3 cup 36 g walnuts halves
  • 1/2 cup 100 g granulated sugar
  • 1 cup 250 ml water
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 1/2 stick cinnamon
  • 1- inch 2.54 cm piece fresh ginger, peeled and smashed
  • 3 black peppercorns
  • 1/8 tsp anise seed
  • 12 fresh figs

Instructions

Yogurt Panna Cotta

  1. If you are planning to unmold the panna cotta, lightly grease the sides and bottoms of 6 - 1/2 cup (4 oz /125 ml) ramekins. Set aside. No need to do this step if you are keeping the panna cotta in the serving container.
  2. Add the gelatin and 2 Tb cold water to a small bowl. Let the gelatin rest to soften for 5 minutes.
  3. In a small sauce pan add the cream, sugar, vanilla or vanilla bean, and bring to a slight simmer Once the sugar is completely dissolved, turn off the heat and add the gelatin. Stir until the gelatin is melted.
  4. Pour the yogurt into a medium mixing bowl and whisk out any lumps. If using, remove the vanilla bean. Slowly add the cream into the bowl with the yogurt. Stir, or whisk, as you add the cream to help temper the yogurt.
  5. Once combined, pour the yogurt mixture into the greased 1/2 cup ramekins, or other serving containers and refrigerate, uncovered, at least 3 hours until set. It should look and feel solid with a little bit of jiggle. Once the panna cotta is set, cover each dish with plastic wrap until ready to serve.

Spiced Figs

  1. Heat an 8-inch (20 cm) skillet over high heat. When the pan is nice and hot, but not smoking, add the walnut pieces and toast until the oil releases. Keep the walnuts in motion, by stirring them or flipping the nuts in the pan like a pro. You will know the walnuts are toasted when you see a slight sheen on the pan’s bottom surface and on your walnuts. Also, the aroma of the walnuts will be slightly more pronounced. Be careful not to burn the walnuts, or they will taste bitter. Remove the walnuts immediately from the skillet to cool.
  2. Add the water and sugar to a sauce pan just large enough to fit all the figs. Turn the heat to medium high and stir until the sugar dissolves. Add the spices and simmer for 10 minutes.
  3. Clean and trim the figs. Clean the figs by wiping them gently with a damp cloth. Remove the stems and discard. Add the figs and walnuts to the syrup and simmer for 5 minutes.
  4. Remove the figs and place on a plate and turn off the heat. Cool the figs and syrup separately so the figs do not fall apart. After 15 minutes or so, strain the syrup through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl and add the figs. Serve warm or chilled.
  5. Store the figs in the syrup in the refrigerator in a covered container. They will last for two weeks, covered in the refrigerator.

Assemble the panna cotta and spiced figs

  1. Remove the panna cotta from the ramekins. Run a thin sharp knife around the inside edge of the ramekin. Dip the container into warm water for 10 seconds. Remove the ramekins and place upside down on your serving dish. Tap the sides and top of your ramekins and jiggle them to encourage the panna cotta to slide out. If no movement occurs, dip the ramekin right side up in the warm water again. Try again. Repeat until the panna cotta are all unmolded.
  2. If you are not serving them right away, loosely cover each panna cotta with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator.
  3. Just before serving, spoon the spiced syrup over and around the panna cotta. Arrange the figs and walnuts on top or around the panna cotta and serve.

Recipe Notes

Use any spice combination you like. Cinnamon, clove, ginger, cardamom, freshly grated nutmeg, allspice berries, vanilla bean, black peppercorns are all good suggestions. The spices in the simple syrup are subtly blended and not an overpowering taste experience.

I realize not everyone likes yogurt, so substitute the yogurt with 2 cups (500 ml) whole milk. and continue as directed. Any ratio of yogurt, to heavy cream, to half and half, to milk will work if you use the specified amount of gelatin for 3 cups (750 ml) of dairy.

Nutrition Facts
Spiced Figs with Yogurt Panna Cotta
Amount Per Serving (1 g)
Calories 0
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

 

© 2017 – 2018, Ginger Smith- Lemon Thyme and Ginger. All rights reserved.

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