Saturday, February 26, 2011

Sourdough Peanut Butter Chocolate Cookies

Here is a recipe that originally called for no "soaking" or "souring" stage for the dough, but I have modified the recipe to include that stage so we get the most sourdough benefit (if the starter doesn't have time to work on the flour it seems pretty pointless to me to use sourdough starter at all- but you'll find those recipes out there).  I also modified the amount of sugar by replacing more than half with honey.  This is a lightly sweet cookie that my family gobbles up, but if you want it sweeter you may add a sprinkle of sugar to the finished cookies before baking them.  The cocoa is also optional (you can just make them peanut butter cookies) but we like it with the cocoa!
Sourdough Peanut Butter (Chocolate) Cookies
1 cup sourdough starter
1 cup peanut butter (or other nut butter)
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 cups flour (whole wheat or otherwise)

In a medium bowl mix the above ingredients well, cover, & allow to rest for 6 hours.  When you are ready to bake, preheat your oven to 350 and add the remaining ingredients to the sourdough mixture:

1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 to 4 Tablespoons cocoa powder (optional)

Mix well.  The dough may be very sticky at this point (if it's too sticky you can refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes to make it easier to handle, but I don't...)  Drop by spoonfulls onto a parchment paper lined cookie sheet (space at least 1" apart).  Bake for 12 to 15 minutes.


This post is a part of Kitchen Stewardship's Soaking Grains Gallery, Fight Back Friday at Food Renegade, and Pennywise Platter Thursday at Nourishing Gourmet.

"Soaked" Snickerdoodle Cake

The other day I was having a serious craving for snickerdoodle cookies.  Some of you may not know about these sugar cookies with a cinnamon crust on the outside, but if you like cinnamon then "snickerdoodles" should be on your radar!  I searched & searched the web for a recipe that involved soaking the flour (see the tab above for "why soak").  What I did finally find was a recipe for a snickerdoodle cupcake that included buttermilk in the ingredients (perfect medium for soaking flour).  I modified the recipe to soak the flour and reduced the sugar as well.  This produces a tender cake that will hopfully hit that "snickerdoodle craving" when you may have it!

"Soaked" Snickerdoodle Cake
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup butter or coconut oil, softened
1/2 cup buttermilk (or milk + 1 1/2 tsp. apple cider vinegar, could also substitute yogurt or other soaking medium)

In a small bowl combine these ingredients thoroughly, cover, and allow to rest at room temperature for 12 to 24 hours.  When ready to bake, preheat your oven to 350, and add to the flour mixture:

2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Mix well, then add in the remaining ingredients:

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup unrefined sugar

When well combined, pour into a greased pan (I used a 10x10, you could use 9x9 for a thicker cake, or 9x13 for a thinner cake). 

For the topping, stir together in a seperate bowl:
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Sprinkle on top of cake.  Bake in oven for about 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.  Allow to cool.


This recipe is linked up to Kitchen Stewardship's Soaking Grains Gallery and Monday Mania at the Healthy Home Economist.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Cultural Experiences

I thought this post title was a cute play on words, considering we are living in Rwanda and having so many different cultural experiences, but what I am talking about is yogurt cultures.  I would subtitle this post: "The easiest way ever to make yogurt.  Why make it complicated when you don't have to?"  And when I say easiest, I mean EASIEST. 

I have made yogurt in the past, tried to warm the milk to the right temperature, add the right amount of culture, keep it at the right temperature for the right amount of time, and so on.  My results?  Epic failures!  My last batch of yogurt (I used raw milk & tried to keep it "raw") was so bad that my daughter made me promise to never make yogurt again.  Honestly, it tasted horrible, like mold.

I had heard about the two kinds of yogurt: thermophilic (making yogurt by cooking) and mesophilic (made at room temperature).  I had heard that Cultures for Health has a mesophilic yogurt culture called Viili that is mild & had a nice texture.  But I hadn't been ready to try it until we were preparing to leave the US for Rwanda.  I've lived here before & I know I don't like the yogurt they make here.  I ordered some Viili and put the little packet of dried yogurt starter in my suitcase.

There is no complicated formula for making Viili, I said it was the EASIEST, remember?  You mix it with one cup milk, let it sit for 24 hours, voila, yogurt!  Want more?  Just mix one tablespoon from your batch for every one cup of milk & you can make as much as you want.  You just keep using some of the last batch to make the next batch & that's it.  Subsequent batches don't take 24 hours, usually half that.

This is one of my batches of Viili yogurt.  Why would anyone want to make yogurt any other way?  I don't know, I love it!  And just like everything else that I make homemade, I love knowing exactly what is in it.

If you want to try some of this yourself, you can click on the Cultures for Health banner on the right side of my blog.  I would recommend their products to you no matter what, but if you click through my blog then I get credit for referring you.  Cultures for Health is also where I got my Kefir grains from (I dehydrated those grains & brought them to Rwanda too, but their demise is a sad story.  The house helper saw the little paper packet & thought it was trash.  Out it went... sigh!)  If you've been intrigued by all my talk about sourdough but haven't made your own starter, you can find sourdough starter there as well. 

I am not trying to sell you anything, but I love to share with others when I find something great, and making yogurt this easy had to be shared. 


This post is a part of Monday Mania and Fight Back Fridays