7/31/13

Homemade peanut butter from peanut flour (sugar free option)


Homemade peanut butter from peanut flour
There are five of us in our family and I'm the only one who isn't a fan of peanut butter.  I like it in or on a few items, my favorite being a smear of peanut butter on a hot, crunchy English Muffin, but in general you won't find me eating a peanut butter sandwich nor snacking on a peanut butter cookie.   So I surprised myself by noticing the top 3 recipes I've wanted to make in the past 2 days all called for peanut butter!   Unfortunately, I hadn't bought peanut butter in the last 2 or 3 grocery trips so we were down to about 1/4 cup of natural peanut butter - which isn't enough to do much with.

That's when two things popped into mind; 
  • I have a peanut butter powder in our emergency storage
  • I have a pound of peanut butter flour in the pantry
Since the peanut flour was handy I pulled it out.  I originally bought it to bake and cook with when we are following a strict low carb way-of-eating, except I don't like the taste of peanuts in most of our food so I use it very sparingly.  I happened to purchase the Protein Plus brand peanut flour online a few months ago, so that is brand product I used for this 'test'.  I'll link to it below this post, but since I've never tried any other brands, I'm not sure how it compares.

I read the package, which had no instructions for making peanut butter.  No worries, it shouldn't be hard to 'play with my food'.  Originally I figured I'd just add some water but knowing 'real' peanut butter is peanuts, oil, salt and sugar, I re-thought that process.  I didn't want to use oil (no need to add extra fat and calories for no reason) so I opted for milk instead - thinking it would give it a 'creamy' texture.   We don't purchase regular cow's milk, we only use unsweetened, original almond milk so that is what you see in the photo.  I added a bit of sweetener (I chose Stevia in the raw simply because it was handy in little packet forms in the cupboard but could have used Xylitol, Splenda, Erythritol, Swerve, Just Like Sugar, or even real, regular sugar) as well as a little salt.  It was still missing 'something' and it dawned on me;  honey!  And I had sugar free honey in the pantry as well so I used that, but readers could use regular honey of course if they wish!




The end result was near enough to peanut butter that I was happy with it, but needed another opinion.  Just then my 17 year old daughter came into the kitchen.  I asked her to taste "this" with little explanation other than warning her it was sugar free, so it wouldn't be as sweet as sugar-laden comparisons.  She tasted it, looked at me with a 'am I missing something?' look on her face, and said....   "It's peanut butter."    Good!  That's what it is supposed to look, spread and taste like!

Here is what I did;

Homemade Peanut Butter from Peanut Flour

1/2 c peanut flour
1/4 c milk
1-2 t sugar or sugar substitute (taste test to your preference)
1/2 t salt (again, taste test and add more if you wish)
1 1/2 t honey (more or less to taste)

Mix well with a rubber scraper and use as you would peanut butter.   I stored ours in with the 1/4 cup of Natural Peanut Butter we had in the pantry so it is already in a jar labeled 'peanut butter' - which worked perfectly!






You might also be interested in;
    




Print Friendly and PDFPrint Friendly

7/30/13

Traditional Red Velvet Cake made into a Sugar Free Version!

Sugar Free version of Red Velvet Cake


I had mentioned in my last post I was craving Red Velvet Cake.  Although I wanted the full sugar, full fat version (ha ha) it's rather difficult to eat sugar when you know how bad it really is for you.  At the time I wasn't sure if I would make either the traditional version or the lower carb, sugar free version but in the end I compromised.  I made it sugar free, but I did use flour.  It was a happy medium!

When I had the 2 layers and a batch of sugar free frosting sitting in front of me, I wasn't sure how I was going to frost it, so I just opened the cupboard, chose a pastry bag with a basket weave tip and got what I got.  In the end I did a white basket weave cake with an improvised swirl rope top and smoothed the center to add some bright, colorful raspberries. 

Red Velvet Cake

1/2 c butter
1½ c sugar (I made it sugar free with Just Like Sugar)
2 eggs
2 oz. red food coloring
3 T cocoa
2¼ c all-purpose flour
1 t salt
1 t baking soda
1 t vanilla
1 c buttermilk
1 T vinegar

Grease and flour two 8-inch cake pans. Preheat oven to 350.
In a bowl, mix the flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
Cream butter and sugar (sweetener of choice) in a bowl.  Add the eggs. 
Make a paste with the cocoa and food color.
Add the food color paste and vinegar to the butter/sugar mixture.  Stir the vanilla into the buttermilk.  Add the buttermilk alternately with the flour into the sugar/butter.  Mix well.  Divide batter between the two prepared pans. Bake 30 minutes or until done. Remove from oven. Cool on wire rack 10 minutes, then remove cake layers from pan and cool completely.




Frosting

3 T flour
1 c milk
1 c sugar
1 c butter
1 t vanilla

Stir the flour and milk in a saucepan over medium high heat until it thickens and becomes a paste.  Let this cool to room temperature.  Cream sugar, butter and vanilla in a bowl with a mixer.  Add the milk/flour and beat 5-7 minutes until completely smooth.  Use to frost Red Velvet Cake as you wish.




I decided to do a simple basket weave design

Kind of made up a swirl rope design on top and smoothed the center

Topped with raspberries this time - usually I use strawberries - both are pretty~!




You might be interested in items I used to make this recipe:
   
 




Print Friendly and PDFPrint Friendly

7/26/13

Triple Layer Rhubarb Crisp

Even as a child I shied away from chocolate and sweets, preferring salty and crunch over sweet.  In grade school I would painstakingly pick out the chocolate chips from my cookies at lunch time, piling them on my lunch tray.  I loved the taste of the cookie, but the chocolate overwhelmed and ruined it.  This was much to the delight of my friends, who would fight over who got my chocolate chips! 

Another childhood memory is wandering to the rhubarb patch between our neighbor's house and ours.  I would choose a blushing pink-red stalk to eat, to play house with and 'cook' with and to make 'soup' with.  As an adult I still love rhubarb, but my husband does not share my affinity for it, so I don't make rhubarb desserts as often as I would like.  This is an old, old, 'grandma' recipe that was popular in the Midwest where I grew up.  I would love to say I'm making it today (and I do have rhubarb in the freezer) but I am actually considering making a Red Velvet Cake instead.  Either the traditional version or the lower carb, sugar free version - I'm not sure yet!)

Triple Layer Rhubarb Crisp

1/2 c butter
2 c flour
2 T sugar
Dash of salt

Mix together for pie crust and press into bottom of pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.  While it's baking you can mix up the filling.

6 egg yolks, beaten (save the whites)
4 tablespoons flour
1 c half and half cream
2 c sugar
5 c cut-up rhubarb
Dash of salt

Mix sugar and flour — add milk, then add this to yolks and rhubarb. Fold together.  Pour into crust.  Bake at 350 degrees for 45 min.  Make the topping:

6 egg whites
3/4 c sugar
Dash of salt
1 t vanilla
1/2 t cream of tartar

Beat egg whites; when eggs are foamy add cream of tartar, beat until stiff; beat in slowly sugar, salt and vanilla.  Top the dessert and bake 10 minutes or until light brown at 350 degrees.
Print Friendly and PDFPrint Friendly

7/24/13

Rosemary Garlic Flatbread



This week has been busier than most but I'm finally here with part two of the homemade bread dough post below.  The first half of the dough was made into that incredibly beautiful folded garlic herb pull apart bread but I also made individual flatbread.  I love a garlic herb Naan style bread and this was similar to that.  It went perfectly with the pasta alfredo dish that was served that night!

You can top these with whatever you wish!  We love garlic in this house so it's a given that I almost always will use olive oil, butter and garlic in some form.  You can leave them plain if you wish and bake them as a drier bread, you can put oil, butter, herbs, spices, whatever you wish.

Also keep in mind;  these make very, very delicious individual pizzas!  That is how we used two of them the next day for lunch.

Here is the post for the dough - I used half for the pull apart bread and half for this awesome flat bread.




Elegant Garlic Herb Pull Apart Bread

4 1/2 t - (2 pkg.)  active, dry yeast
1/2 c warm water
1 t sugar
1/3 c additional sugar
1 1/4 c warm milk
1/2 c butter, melted
2 eggs
1 t salt
6 c flour (additional 1 cup on stand by)
1-2 T fresh, minced garlic
2 T fresh, chopped parsley or 2 t dried
1 t garlic salt (optional - cut out if you need to cut down on salt)
4 T butter, soft

In a large mixing bowl, place the yeast and warm water with the 1 teaspoon sugar.  Stir gently and let set about 1 minute to dissolve.  Add the milk, melted butter, eggs, salt, 1/3 c sugar and about 3-4 cups flour.  Stir by hand or use your bread dough hook on the electric mixer and stir to form a soft dough starting with 3 cups flour and adding more to get the dough to form.  This should be a total of about 6 cups.   Knead by hand on a floured board 6-8 minutes or by mixer with dough hook, about 4-5 minutes.  In a greased bowl, turn once to cover the dough with oil or grease, cover and let raise until doubled in height.  This could be 25 minutes to an hour or more depending on how warm the area you are letting it raise is.

Punch down dough and place on a floured surface.  Divide dough into 4 portions.  The bread I made above was using just 2 dough portions of the dough and using the other two for something else.

Roll each portion into a rectangle about 14 inches by 6 inches.  Spread about 2 tablespoons of the butter over the rectangle and use half your garlic, garlic salt and parsley to sprinkle over the dough.   Fold the dough up accordion style (back and forth, back and forth) about every 2 inches.  Cut the folded dough into slices about 1 1/2 inches wide with a very sharp knife.  Place them standing up in a round, greased pan with the folds showing upwards.  Continue with your dough to fill a round circle in the pan.

Cover loosely and let raise in a warm place about 15-20 minutes just until it starts to raise and get puffy.  Bake at 375 degrees about 20-25 minutes until the top is golden brown and the bread is done.  Let cool about 3 minutes in the pan before turning out to a wire rack.  Let cool about 5-10 minutes before serving warm.

To make the flatbreads:  I divided the dough up into equal size pieces and rolled out individually to flatten.  Poked with the end of a wooden spoon to make indentations, drizzle with olive oil, spread with butter and top with your choice of herbs.  Bake at 375 just until golden brown.  Use as a bread with a meal, a sandwich base, or pizza.











Print Friendly and PDFPrint Friendly

7/17/13

Garlic Herb Pull Apart Bread - A wonderful, tender, homemade bread dough recipe you can use in many ways!

Garlic Herb Pull Apart Bread

I'm pretty happy with my basic, white bread dough recipe I've used for years and years.  But, that doesn't mean I don't continue to try new recipes here and there to see if there is one I like better or one I think is more suited to a certain baked good.

I was flipping through one of my cookbooks and saw a recipe and photo for a basic "dinner roll" that was just a mound of dough, baked as such and served as is.  The recipe was 'improved' in the book by adding Italian seasoning, brushing with an egg white, and folding the dough and slicing it to make more elegant looking dinner rolls.  I loosely based my idea for a pull apart bread on this recipe - which you can find in the Taste of Home Christmas 2010 edition as I liked the idea of using eggs in the dough, however I didn't want to make them into rolls, nor did I want to use their idea of an Italian Herb base.  Instead, I pictured the buttery, garlicy, delicious pull apart bread our family loves.  This recipe made a nice large batch of dough.  So much so that I made this folded, garlic, herb bread as well as individual garlic and black pepper flat breads (recipe coming soon!).   So use it to make 2 loaves, use it for something else or half the recipe when you are mixing it up.

I had planned to make and bake my bread in my sun oven (link at the bottom of this post if you are interested) but just as I got the dough mixed, the sun went behind the clouds and I lost the full, hot sun I needed to bake it.  My sun oven was the perfect temperature for raising though, so I let it raise in my sun oven and had to bake it my kitchen oven as by then the rain had started and we ended up  with thunderstorms the rest of the afternoon. 



Elegant Garlic Herb Pull Apart Bread

4 1/2 t - (2 pkg.)  active, dry yeast
1/2 c warm water
1 t sugar
1/3 c additional sugar
1 1/4 c warm milk
1/2 c butter, melted
2 eggs
1 t salt
6 c flour (additional 1 cup on stand by)
1-2 T fresh, minced garlic
2 T fresh, chopped parsley or 2 t dried
1 t garlic salt (optional - cut out if you need to cut down on salt)
4 T butter, soft

In a large mixing bowl, place the yeast and warm water with the 1 teaspoon sugar.  Stir gently and let set about 1 minute to dissolve.  Add the milk, melted butter, eggs, salt, 1/3 c sugar and about 3-4 cups flour.  Stir by hand or use your bread dough hook on the electric mixer and stir to form a soft dough starting with 3 cups flour and adding more to get the dough to form.  This should be a total of about 6 cups.   Knead by hand on a floured board 6-8 minutes or by mixer with dough hook, about 4-5 minutes.  In a greased bowl, turn once to cover the dough with oil or grease, cover and let raise until doubled in height.  This could be 25 minutes to an hour or more depending on how warm the area you are letting it raise is.

Punch down dough and place on a floured surface.  Divide dough into 4 portions.  The bread I made above was using just 2 dough portions of the dough and using the other two for something else.

Roll each portion into a rectangle about 14 inches by 6 inches.  Spread about 2 tablespoons of the butter over the rectangle and use half your garlic, garlic salt and parsley to sprinkle over the dough.   Fold the dough up accordion style (back and forth, back and forth) about every 2 inches.  Cut the folded dough into slices about 1 1/2 inches wide with a very sharp knife.  Place them standing up in a round, greased pan with the folds showing upwards.  Continue with your dough to fill a round circle in the pan.

Cover loosely and let raise in a warm place about 15-20 minutes just until it starts to raise and get puffy.  Bake at 375 degrees about 20-25 minutes until the top is golden brown and the bread is done.  Let cool about 3 minutes in the pan before turning out to a wire rack.  Let cool about 5-10 minutes before serving warm.




A nice, tender bread dough

Rolling out to a rectangle shape

Covering with fresh, minced garlic, garlic salt and parsley


Folded accordion style and sliced


Placed in a greased baking pan to form a ring


Let raise


Baked and ready to serve


 




You might be interested in;
      





Print Friendly and PDFPrint Friendly

Homemade Cream Puffs


Not being a fan of things overly sweet, nor chocolate; cream puffs are one of my top 3 favorite desserts. I didn't grow up getting them very often as my Mom will tell you she "cannot make" them. However, her sister (my Aunt) could make them perfectly! So any time we went to my Grandma's house I hoped my Aunt would have made them. They were usually filled with vanilla pudding and to this day, I prefer a mixture of half vanilla pudding and half whipped cream as the filling. The basic puff recipe is simple; flour, water, eggs and butter. However, I do sway from my Aunt's recipe by adding a dash of salt and teaspoon of sugar - which are optional.

Cream Puffs


1 stick real butter
1 cup water
1 c flour
dash salt
1 t sugar
4 eggs

Pour the water into a heavy sauce pan on the stove, add the butter in cubes and turn the heat on high. Bring to a boil, melting the butter. Add the dash of salt and bit of sugar if you are using. Turn heat down to medium. Add the flour all at once and stir briskly with a wooden spoon until it comes together in the center of the pan and forms a ball. Remove pan from heat and let it set a moment. Add eggs one at a time, beating by hand or with an electric mixer until each addition to the batter is no longer glossy. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment or grease/butter it. You can use a pastry bag to do perfect little balls if you wish, but I typically just use a large spoon and spoon mounds onto the parchment. Bake for 10 minutes, reduce heat to 375 and bake an additional 20 minutes. Turn heat down to 300 degrees and leave them bake about 10 minutes more. Let the puffs cool completely before filling with your choice of filling; pudding, whipped cream, ricotta fillings, etc. I prefer half vanilla pudding and half whipped cream. The insides should be hallow if they raised and baked correctly, but if they still have some dough inside, just pull it out as you break and fill each puff.








You might also be interested in;

    

  





Print Friendly and PDFPrint Friendly

7/16/13

Homemade Pesto using basil and almonds (or any nuts, realy)



I love pesto - it's so simple and so good on hot, buttered pasta. I also have a favorite cold pasta salad that is as simple as adding pesto and black (ripe) olives to tortellini or ravioli... however I have to admit I'm not a huge fan of pine nuts. I made my first pesto back in the early 90's by using traditional ingredients but over the years started to use 'whatever I had on hand' which was usually pecans, walnuts or almonds. And to be honest, I found I liked them just fine! Best of all, I could usually whip up pesto on the spur of the moment without a special trip to the store, as I usually planted a bit of basil in my gardens.

Well, I do not have a 'garden' currently, but I do have a little planter I built out of an old pallet I found half submerged in our creek bed, which I assume has been there since the house was built by the original owner in 2007/2008. I planted simple kitchen favorites like parsley, basil, cilantro, green onions and rosemary and chives (although my rosemary didn't grow and the chives were skinny little things that soon killed themselves off). But the basil? Oh, as you can tell from the photos, the hot and wet weather we've had has made my basil go crazy! Even though we use it regularly in sauces, salads and pizza, I can't keep up! So today... is a pesto kind of day!

After I gathered my basil and gave it a 'hair cut' - looks much better!


Simple Pesto

3 c fresh basil leaves
3/4 c olive oil
4-5 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1/2 c toasted almonds
salt & pepper to taste


To toast the almonds I place them in a flat pan on the stove and continuously shake and stir over medium high heat until they are golden brown. You can also toast them in the oven on a baking sheet at 450 degrees for about 10 minutes, stirring and tossing a couple times. To the amounts above, use a little more or less of the garlic based on your own tastes. I don't measure the garlic precisely but I would say I probably use about 6 cloves total. I also add a dash of garlic salt sometimes instead of regular salt. I do this if I know I'm making this batch to go on hot pasta or spreading on toasted French bread. To blend, just put everything but the oil into a food processor and pulse process while you drizzle the olive oil in through the top. Pulse just until blended and smooth, don't over do it.





You might also be interested in:

      










Print Friendly and PDFPrint Friendly
Related Posts

MY AMAZON PICKS