grain free molasses cookies
It's officially Christmas cookie season! I think this month is like wedding season for bakers with so many events, gifts and possibilities for sweet treats. Molasses cookies are one of my favorites to pair with a piping hot cup of tea and this grain free version of the cookie classic is soft, buttery and has all of the flavor.
Baking with almond flour has been one of my challenges in my baking journey. I find that it's easy to replicate flavor but texture has been a challenge that I worked at tacking in this recipe. With these cookies, there are three main tips that I find must be followed. 1) You have to chill the dough. I know, it's the busiest time of the year and here I am giving recipes that require additional time for chilling. Just get the dough ready, get it covered and in the fridge, go wrap some presents, address the Christmas cards, clean the house or sit and take some well deserved you time. Or make the dough the night before and get some sleep. You'll be glad you let the dough chill. 2) You have to space these cookies well when baking. I made enough mistakes testing this recipe so you don't have to! I found that 6 cookies per cookie tray (usinga large rectangle cookie sheet) worked best and better to be safe than sorry so don't try to squeeze any extras in there. 3) Use parchment paper and let them cool a solid 15-20 minutes before removing them off the parchment paper. I used one cookie tray and 2 sheets of parchment paper for this recipe. When one batch came out of the oven, I slid the parchment paper off onto a cutting board with the cookies still on it and threw a second piece on the tray for the next batch to go into the oven and then swapped each batch. The end result after all of my tweaks and recipe testing is a soft, chewy molasses cookie with a hint of ginger that says Christmas all day long.
Here's what you'll need:
-1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
-3/4 cup brown sugar
-1/2 cup white sugar + 1/3 cup white sugar for rolling/dusting
-1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
-1/2 cup molasses
-3 cups almond flour
-2 tsp cinnamon
-1/4 tsp ground cloves
-1 tsp ginger
-1 1/2 tsp baking soda
-1/2 tsp salt
Place the butter and sugars in a large bowl and cream together with a stand or hand mixer. Add in the vanilla extract, molasses and eggs and mix until combined. In a separate bowl, stir together the almond flour, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, baking soda and salt. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients gradually while mixing together. Once the dough is fully combined, cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 3 hours.
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees and line a cookie tray with parchment paper. Remove the chilled dough from the fridge and place the left over 1/3 cup sugar in a bowl for rolling the uncooked cookies. Using a small cookie scooper, scoop out each cookie and roll into a ball with your hands. Roll the cookie in the sugar and place on the parchment paper lined tray. Once you have six cookies on the tray, place in the oven for 11-12 minutes. Return the remaining dough to the fridge while batches of cookies bake. Once baked, remove from the oven and slide the parchment paper with the cookies on it off of the tray and onto a cutting board and allow to cool completely for 15-20 minutes before using a spatula to lift the cookies onto a wire cooling rack to finish cooling. Lifting the cookies too soon will cause them to fall apart...they'll still taste great but you'll be making a molasses cookie trifle instead. Set up your next batch with another piece of parchment paper and continue the process of rolling the balls of cookies from the chilled dough and rolling into sugar until all the dough is used. The recipe makes approximately 3 dozen cookies.
Happy baking! Enjoy the season!
lighter pumpkin cheesecake
If you happen to be on the lookout for the lighter version of a Thanksgiving classic, then this post may be just for you. I'm a firm believer in everything in moderation but sometimes you want to really indulge and sometimes you just don't. To each his or her own, right? This recipe is a lighter twist on the Turkey Day favorite of pumpkin cheesecake. The filling doesn't require any baking (yay!) and it's sweetened with Devotion Angel Food Cake Protein Powder and their Flex Flavors in Pumpkin Pie. This is not a sponsored post- I just like their products and I have a few more recipes with them coming soon. I've found it challenging to bake with protein powders until I came across this one AND I have a sweet tooth that is on overdrive when I'm pregnant so this stuff helps keep it in check...most of the time.
The crust for this recipe is adapted from Betty Crocker's ginger snap crust on their classic pumpkin cheesecake. This requires just a few minutes in the oven to set but that's the only oven time you will need for this recipe. This is a recipe to make the night before and allow it to set in the freezer over night so no dessert scrambling after the big feast with this one.
For the Crust:
-approximately 32 Ginger Snap cookies
- 1/4 cup butter
For the Filling
- 2 8oz packages of low fat cream cheese
-1 1/2 cups plain Greek yogurt
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
-1 can pumpkin
- 2 scoops Devotion Angel Food Cake Protein Powder
- 2 Devotion Flex Flavors in Pumpkin Pie
-1-2 tsp cinnamon
For the topping
-1 container sugar free whipped topping
-cinnamon for garnish
Prep a 8-9 inch spring form pan with cooking spray. Pre-heat the oven to 300 degrees. Place the ginger snaps in a food processor or place them in a freezer bag and use a rolling pin to crush them into crumbs. Melt 1/4 cup of butter and mix with the crumbs. Pour the crumb/butter mixture into the spring form pan and use the flat bottom of a measuring cup to pat the crumb mixture down, spread throughout the pan and slightly up the sides of the pan. Place the crust in the oven for approximately 10 minutes. Remove and set aside.
Place the cream cheese and plain Greek yogurt into the large bowl of a stand mixer and stir together on low/medium speed. Add in the vanilla extract and the pumpkin. Continue to mix until smooth. Add in the protein powder, flex flavors and cinnamon. Mix until thoroughly incorporated.
Pour the filling into the crust and spread evenly with a rubber spatula or spoon. Cover the whole cheesecake tightly with plastic wrap and place overnight in the freezer.
Remove the cheesecake from the freezer approximately 2 hours before serving and allow to sit on the counter. Dip a sharp knife into a cup of hot water and run along the edges of the spring form pan to loosen the cheesecake from the sides. You will notice that the dessert is thawing from the outside edges. Remove the springform pan edge and lift the cheesecake out of the edges of the pan. Top with sugar free whipped topping, sprinkle with cinnamon and serve!
I would love to hear how this recipe works out for you if you give it a whirl. Wishing you and your family a wonderful Thanksgiving!
apple cranberry crisp bars
These dessert bars add a festive touch to the classic apple flavor with the addition of fresh cranberries. I love the vibrant red color that cranberries add to the visual appeal of a dish and the tart taste is a welcome contrast to the sweetness of the apples and the crisp topping. The other excellent aspect of this dessert is that they can be completely made ahead of time and stored in the fridge so all you have left to do on the big Turkey Day is to warm 'em up and may I suggest topping them with either a scoop of fresh whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.
As I bring up ice cream, I recently learned this quick tip from The Food Network about pre-scooping the ice cream on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and storing the tray in the freezer. Game changer. No more digging deep into ice cream containers in the midst of getting guests coffee, tea and dessert. I think back to all those kiddo's birthday parties and trying to get cake and ice cream out stat. This tip is a keeper.
Back to these apple cranberry crisp bars, they take a little bit of time to make the three main layers of the crust, filling and crisp topping, but they're worth the effort. They make approximately 16 good sized bars (or you could slice them in half again for mini-desserts if you have a large dessert buffet). Here's what you'll need:
For the Crust:
-1 1/2 sticks of butter (3/4 cup) at room temperature
-1/2 cup sugar
-2 cups flour
-1/8 tsp salt
-1/3 cup cold water
For the Filling:
-6 apples (peeled, cored and chopped)
-1 1/2 cups of cranberries
-1/3 cup brown sugar
-1/3 cup white sugar
-juice of 1/3 of a lemon
-1 TBS cinnamon
-1 TBS flour
For the Crisp Topping:
- 1 1/2 cups oatmeal
-1/2 stick of butter (1/4 cup) at room temperature
-1/3 cup brown sugar
-1-2 tsp cinnamon
Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees and line a 9x13 baking dish with parchment paper. In the large bowl of a stand mixer, begin to assemble the crust by adding the 1 1/2 sticks of butter (3/4 cup) and 1/2 cup of sugar. Cream the butter and sugar together until light and soft in color. Add in the flour, 1 cup at a time, and mix. Add in the salt and mix. The dough will be thick at this point. Slowly pour in the 1/3 cup of cold water while mixer continues to stir on a low speed and continue to stir until the dough begins to collect and clean off the sides of the bowl. Pour all of the dough out into the prepared baking dish and use clean fingers to press the dough and spread it across the dish. Note here: Each time I prep this type of dough, I swear that there isn't enough dough to cover the bottom of the 9x13 dish but there is! Just keep pressing the dough towards the edges of the pan. Set aside.
To prepare the filling, place the chopped apples and fresh cranberries in a large bowl and squeeze the juice of approximately 1/3 lemon over the fruit. Add the brown and white sugar, the cinnamon and 1 TBS of flour. Stir together. Once fully mixed, pour the filling on top of the crust in the 9x13 pan.
Lastly, to make the crisp topping, add the oatmeal, 1/4 cup of butter (1/2 stick), brown sugar and cinnamon to a large bowl. The easiest way to get all of these ingredients combined is to dig in with clean hands and work the butter into the other ingredients. If you really don't want to do that, you can use a fork to mash the butter into everything. Once mixed, spread the crisp topping on top of the filling in the 9x13 pan.
Bake at 350 degree for 45-50 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for at least 30 minutes before cutting or lifting the entire dish out of the baking pan by the parchment paper for cutting.
These can be stored covered in the fridge for 2-3 days before the big feast.
Thanks for stopping by and enjoy!
New England wife, mom & home baker. Faith, food, fitness, baking, cooking and constantly cleaning my kitchen.