cakeandsauce14_little-house-dunes

by Heather Harris Brady

Hopefully everyone’s out enjoying their July days – here’s a simple butter cake if you like to celebrate a weekend meal with dessert like I do. Without the sauce the cake would be lovely topped with sliced fresh fruit but with the sauce you have options. You do the cake and the sauce warm, cold, or one of each. The simple flavors of the butter and flavorings come through in the soft, sliceable yet delicate cake, and the velvety chocolate sauce can be casual or elegant. You decide.

Sunday Night Cake with Chocolate Sauce, Makes about nine 3″ servings

For the cake:

  • 1 stick softened butter
  • 2/3 c. granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1-1/2 t. baking powder
  • 1/2 t. baking soda
  • 1 t. salt
  • 1 t. vanilla or orange extract
  • 2/3 c. nonfat plain yogurt
  • 2 T. sour cream
  • 1-3/4 c. all-purpose flour

For the sauce:

  • 1 14-oz can evaporated milk
  • 1 c. semi-sweet chocolate (chopped, chips, etc.)
  • 1/2 c. dark cocoa
  • 1/3 c. granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 t. vanilla

Preheat the oven to 325.

Cream the butter and sugar together well with a spoon.

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Best in the egg, baking powder, baking soda, salt and flavoring.

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Then the yogurt, sour cream and flour.

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Stir well for about 30 seconds, until the flour is hydrated and you have a thick, creamy batter.

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Spread the batter into a greased 8″ square pan. Bake for about 20 minutes, until the center is baked through.

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While the cake is baking make the sauce. Combine the milk, sugar and chocolate in a saucepan over medium heat.

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Stir until the chocolate melts, then whisk in the cocoa powder.

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Let boil for five minutes.

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Beat the egg in a bowl, then add some of the hot chocolate mixture to the egg.

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Return it all to the pan and whisk. Cook for another minute and set aside until ready to serve.

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Cut the cake into squares.

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And top each serving with a spoonful of sauce. If the sauce is cold it will be a little thicker, like so:

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If both the cake and the sauce are warm the sauce is a little thinner:

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Store any leftovers wrapped in the refrigerator.


Two years ago: Baby Back Ribs with Dry Rub
One year ago: Lemon Ginger Cake with Saskatoon Berries

blueberrycheesepancakes1_little-house-dunes

by Heather Harris Brady

The first of our in-state blueberries are here and they are awesome! To show them off I made these pancakes for brunch, accenting them with lemon and ricotta. You can make them with blueberries in or without, I’ll show you both. Either way they are light, fluffy and delicious, perfect to soak up syrup or a fresh lemon glaze like we used here.

Blueberry Lemon Pancakes, Makes about 20 4″ pancakes

  • 1-1/2 c. milk
  • 3/4 c. fresh ricotta or farmer’s cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 c. sugar
  • Grated zest of one lemon
  • 1 t. lemon extract
  • 1/3 c. olive oil
  • 2 t. baking powder
  • 2 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 qts. fresh blueberries, washed

Combine the milk and cheese, whisk well with the eggs and sugar.

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Add the lemon zest, oil, extract and baking powder.

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Then stir in the flour.

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Your batter should be the consistency of very heavy cream.

Heat one tablespoon of oil in a griddle. Cook on one side until bubbly, when the sides start to stand up by themselves they’re ready to turn.

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When they’re brown on both sides, and the center’s firm to the touch, they’re ready!

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If you want to make them with blueberries stir 1-1/2 c. of fresh blueberries into the batter. Make sure the berries are completely coated, then cook them as above.

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I usually check the middles in between the berries before I take them off the pan, to make sure they’re REALLY cooked all the way through.

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Top with the rest of fresh blueberries, butter and syrup.

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Two years ago: Candied Rose Petals
One year ago: Angel Dinner Rolls


 

crepes18_little-house-dunes

by Heather Harris Brady

While I have been using this crepe recipe from The Joy of Cooking for a few decades longer than I really like to think about, this is the first time I’ve treated them like a cheese blintz. But when I found some fresh farmer’s cheese in the grocery store I wanted to take it for a spin. If you haven’t tried it before it’s similar to ricotta and a package might look like this:

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Although this batter needs to sit for 15 minutes, these crepes go together quickly and are nice for a brunch or light, hot-weather supper if you’re into that kind of thing like we are. I like to mix the batter up in a large measuring cup, so it’s easier to pour. If you have an actual crepe pan, great, if not a large non-stick pan will work.

Crepes with Farmer’s Cheese & Fresh Fruit, Serves four

For the crepes:

  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 c. milk
  • 1/3 c. water
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 3/4 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 t. baking powder
  • 2 T. powdered sugar (leave this out if you’re making a savory dish)

For the filling:

  • 1 c. fresh farmer’s cheese
  • 1/3 c. granulated sugar
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 1/3 c. plain non-fat yogurt

4 c. fresh fruit of your choice, ready to serve

Beat the first four ingredients together in a large measuring cup.

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Add the next three ingredients and whisk to blend.

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There’ll still be a few lumps but that’s okay. Let the batter sit for at least 15 minutes.

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While the batter is resting make the filling. Stir the sugar and farmer’s cheese together.

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Then whip the yogurt in by hand. Put it in the fridge until you’ve finished the crepes.

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Heat the pan and add about a tablespoon of batter. Swirl the pan around to cover the bottom. It should start to set immediately.

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When you see a brown lacey edge it’s ready to turn.

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Sometimes if the pan isn’t yet hot enough it will stick a little. But that’s okay.

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When you get rolling they will turn nicely.

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When you’ve used all the batter you’re ready to fill them.

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Turn a crepe mottled side up and schmear a spoonful of cheese filling on it.

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Roll it up, starting with the filled side and put it on a plate. Continue on, two crepes per serving.

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Remember that one from before that didn’t turn? If you have others like that, that won’t roll as nicely, you can still spread them with cheese. Just fold them in quarters instead.

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Top each serving with a cup of sliced fresh fruit and a sprinkle of powdered sugar.

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Even if you’re making this for two go ahead and make the full batch of crepes. They freeze well between sheets of waxed paper and they’ll be ready to go when you are.


Two years ago: Macarons, Italian Style
One year ago: Traverse Cherry Pie

strawberrytorte18_little-house-dunes

by Heather Harris Brady

Somehow I have found myself the mom of a high school senior, so we’ve been trying to cram some college visits in this summer – hence the lack of posts last week. I know, if I was prepared I could schedule some ahead of time. I aspire to that level of blogging someday ;) But hey, I did get my new camera battery charger so yay! Better photos ahead.

To make it up to you here’s a pretty strawberry torte. The layers are lemony, soft yet firm enough to stand up to the weight of the berries. Despite it’s glamorous appearance, it goes together pretty quickly and you don’t have to have the oven on for long.

Strawberry Lemon Torte, Makes one 8″ torte

  • 1/2 c. soft butter
  • 1/2 c. granulated sugar
  • Two eggs, separated
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 2 t. fresh lemon zest
  • 2 T. fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4 c. almond flour
  • 2-1/2 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 t. baking powder
  • 1/2 t. baking soda
  • 1/2 c. greek yogurt
  • 1-1/2 quarts fresh berries, washed and cleaned
  • 6 c. stabilized whipped cream

Preheat the oven to 350 and lightly grease two 8″ round pans. Cream the butter and sugar together.

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Add the egg yolks and flavorings. (I’m using farm fresh eggs here, which give you the amazing yellow color.)

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Beat in the dry ingredients.

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Then stir in the yogurt. Whip the egg whites to soft peaks, and fold those in.

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Spread the batter in the pans.

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Bake for about 15 minutes, until the centers are firm.

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I like to let them steam in the pans for a few minutes, before I turn them out on racks.

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Put the first layer on a cake plate and top it with a layer of berries. Fill gaps with smaller berries.

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Then top it with a layer of cream.

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Second layer, rest of the berries.

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Cover it all with the rest of the cream.

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Chill thoroughly before serving.

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Store any leftovers in the refrigerator, lightly covered.


Two years ago: Strawberry Cookie Cones
One year ago: Easy No-Bake Raspberry Pie

bananasundae13_little-house-dunes

by Heather Harris Brady

A healthy sundae – whaaaa? Yes, maybe you just can have it all.

Again, I apologize for these photos. This time my camera battery charger disappeared, so please bear with me until my new one gets here. Here’s something to sweeten the deal, a light, healthy (mostly!), and refreshing but chocolately summer dessert. On the bottom we have a nice fudgy brownie square and on top – banana peanut butter ice cream.

Sounds normal enough right? Well hold on to your retro avocado-colored appliances because things are about to get weird. These brownies are made with an avocado (no other added fat) and only 1/3 c. of sugar. The ice cream – no added sugar or cream. I’m calling these fudge squares instead of brownies, because they are somewhere in between fudge and a brownie. It’s nice if you can do a little prep work the day before – put the banana slices in the freezer, make the brownies and refrigerate them.

Banana Peanut Butter Ice Cream, Makes four 1 c. servings

  • Two large bananas
  • 1/3 c. natural peanut butter (the only ingredient should be peanuts)
  • 1-1/2 t. lemon juice

Fudge Squares, Makes nine 3″ squares

  • One large Haas avocado
  • Two eggs
  • 2 t. vanilla
  • 1/3 c. granulated sugar
  • 1/2 c. dark cocoa
  • 3 oz. melted dark chocolate
  • 1/2 t. baking powder
  • 1/2 t. baking soda
  • 1/2 c. greek yogurt
  • 1/3 c. unbleached flour (can use gluten-free)
  • Kosher salt and mini chocolate chips for sprinkling the top

Slice the bananas onto waxed paper and put them in the freezer until completely solid (preferably overnight).

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Preheat the oven to 350. Combine the avocado, eggs, vanilla, yogurt and sugar in the food processor.

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Blend well.

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Scrape down the bowl and add the rest of the ingredients. Or be a rebel like I am and scrape it down after you put the dry ingredients in.

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Blend to a dark creamy batter.

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Spread it in a well-greased pan and sprinkle the top with the salt and chips.

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Bake about 20 minutes, until the center is set.

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Let cool, preferably refrigerate overnight. When you’re ready to serve, combine the banana slices in the food processor with the peanut butter and lemon juice.

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Blend well. After about 20 seconds it will smooth out to something very much like soft-serve ice cream.

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If you want it firmer return to the freezer for a few minutes. To dish put a fudge square on each plate.

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Top each square with a large scoop of the banana peanut butter ice cream.

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Serve immediately.


Two years ago: Strawberry Shortcake
One year ago: Thousand Island Dressing

beets5_little-house-dunes

by Heather Harris Brady

I know, a whole lotta people hate beets. But if you’re one of them then you’re probably skipping this post anyway.

I happen to really like them. I like them even more when they’re ginned up with some vinegar and sprinkled with feta or goat cheese. Roasted beets are your friend. You can make a big batch on Sunday and enjoy them in your lunches for a week or two.

I like to use different colors of beets if I can find them, and if you can find heirlooms so much the better. I’m using golden beets and regular red beets here.

Roasted Beet Salad, Enough for six entree-sized salads

  • Six whole beets, about 4″ across, washed and scrubbed
  • Two c. water
  • 1 c. apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 2 t. salt
  • 8 oz. feta or goat cheese
  • Fresh toasted nuts for garnish

Preheat the oven to 375. Rub the beets with olive oil and put them in a baking dish. Bake for about 60 minutes, until tender all the way through.

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Let the beets cool, then peel and slice them 1/4″ thick. Keep the red beets away from the others or they will turn red! I put them directly in storage containers at this point.

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Combine the water, vinegar, sugar and salt. Microwave for about 30 seconds and stir until the sugar and salt is dissolved.

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Pour the mixture over the beets and refrigerate them. Let them sit overnight and they’re ready to use!

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Arrange them on a plate and sprinkle them with the cheese and nuts. You can go crazy here, add some grains, put them over lettuce, drizzle on a little balsamic dressing, whatever you like.

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This makes a great vegetarian entree too.

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Two years ago: Seeded Crackers
One year ago: Classic Italian Buttercream

bunelos8_little-house-dunes

by Heather Harris Brady

These will be featured in a colossal sundae recipe yet to come, but I’m posting them now because they are a quick and festive thing for a Father’s Day breakfast or BBQ. They fry up light and pillowy on the inside, crispy and delicious on the outside. Plus, the house smells great with all that cinnamon. This recipe is a combination of ones from HomesickTexan and the Complete Book of Mexican Cooking by Elizabeth Lambert Ortiz.

I’ve never owned a deep fryer because it seems prudent not to. So, on the few times when I absolutely need something along that line I get around it with “shallow frying”. My sopas aren’t as all around puffy as the deep-fried ones but they taste the same – and I don’t have all that leftover oil to deal with later.

Sopapillas, Makes about 16 large 5″ pastries

1 pkg. quick-rise yeast
1 c. warm water
1 T. soft butter
2 t. baking powder
1 T. sugar
4 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
1 t. salt
olive oil
Cinnamon sugar: Mix 2 t. cinnamon into 1 c. granulated sugar

Combine the yeast, water, and sugar.

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Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl. When the yeast bubbles stir it in.

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Knead it a few times in the bowl. It should only be slightly sticky but this depends on the moisture in your flour.

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Let rise until doubled in bulk.

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Punch it down and divide into sixteen ping-pong ball sized bits. This will go fast so it’s easier if you get all the rolling done ahead of time. Also, pour your cinnamon sugar onto a dinner plate and have racks or a brown paper bag ready for the finished pastries. Heat a saucepan to medium and add about 1/2″ of olive oil to the bottom. Roll out your first ball into a circle about 5″ across.

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Put it in the pan. Fry on each side for about 30 seconds.

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I turn them with a fork and transfer them right from the pan to the plate of sugar. Give them a turn in the sugar and place them on racks or papers to cool.

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These are best eaten right away, but we had a few leftover and they still disappeared at breakfast the next day.


Two years ago: Rhubarb Raspberry Crumble
One year ago: Raspberry Ribbon Ice Cream

quickfudgecake_little-house-dunes

by Heather Harris Brady

I thought I’d share this recipe now, because it’s a lovely way to showcase fresh summer fruit. You can have this in the oven in under 10 minutes too, leaving you more time for summer fun. I’ve shown a thick layer there but you could also do two thin layers, to sandwich together with berries and whipped cream (or cherries and whipped cream for a great black forest). No matter what the size this is one great, moist cake that also keeps well thanks to the yogurt.

This recipe is based on one of my favorite cookbooks, More Home Cooking, by Laurie Colwin. She called it Happy Winter Fudge Cake, as she in turn adapted it from a children’s book called Happy Winter. I used an IKEA dark chocolate bar for this cake, but you can use any type that catches your fancy.

Quick Fudge Cake, Makes your choice of: one 3″ thick 8″ round and six cupcakes; 14 cupcakes; two 1-1/2″ thick 8″ rounds; one 9″ bundt

3 oz. semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled
2 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 c. sugar
1 t. baking powder
1 t. baking soda
2 T. dark baking cocoa
1 t. salt
2 eggs
1/4 c. soft butter
1 t. vanilla
1 1/2 c. plain greek yogurt

Preheat the oven to 350. Combine the eggs, butter, vanilla, yogurt and melted chocolate in a mixer bowl and cream.

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The melted chocolate might turn into little bits but that’s okay! Keep going. Add the dry ingredients all at once.

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Mix on medium for about two minutes. You’ll have a thick creamy batter, that incidentally, is delicious.

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Spread it into your lightly greased pans. If you want flat layers be sure to make a depression in the center.

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Baking time will depend on your pans and your oven. This thick 8″ layer took about 25 minutes, thin layers and cupcakes take 12-15 minutes.

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Even fresh out of the oven it will cut nicely into neat slices. I like to serve it warm with fresh cold berries and a sprinkling of powdered sugar.

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Two years ago: Rhubarb Streusel Pie (a reader favorite!)
One year ago: Greek Chicken Pita Wraps

energybars3_little-house-dunes

by Heather Harris Brady

I confess to being suspicious of tiny plastic cartons that cost $6.99, unless they contain dark chocolate sea salt caramels – in which case they are obviously worth the price. So when the DH brought home said carton and it was full of what appeared to be little more than grains I thought “surely I can do that.” And guess what? I can. You can. And provided you have a food processor it’s as easy as falling into a recliner.

So whether you’re binge-watching American Ninja Warrior or actually heading out and doing some of ninja things these tasty little bites are great to take along for the ride.

Energy Bars, Makes about 48 bite-sized bars

1-1/2 c. rolled oats
½ c. ground nuts (I used hazelnuts.)
8 oz. dried dates (I used California dates but medjool would be good.)
1/3 c. dried goji berries
2/3 c. unsweetened coconut powder
2 t. salt
2 t. cinnamon
2/3 c. flaxseed
1/2 c. chia seed

Toppings:
Pistachios
Sliced crystallized ginger
Sprouted quinoa
Chocolate chips
Coconut
Soak the dates and goji berries in warm water until soft, about two hours. Drain but reserve the water.
Preheat the oven to 325. Put the rolled oats in your food processor and grind them to a coarse-ish powder. Add the ground nuts.

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Then add the coconut, dates and goji berries.

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Add the salt and cinnamon. Process for 30 seconds to a thick dough.

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If you find you need a little more water, drizzle in up to 1/3 cup of the water you reserved from soaking the dates.

Turn the dough out and knead in the flax and chia seeds.

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Press the mixture onto a greased baking sheet in one thick layer. Decorate the top with the rest of the ingredients, pressing them in slightly to make them stick. You can use whatever you want here, that’s the fun part!

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Slide the sheet into the oven and bake for about 15 minutes.
Let the bars cool and then cut them into two-bite squares.

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Store at room temperature in a covered container.


Two years ago: Chocolate Eclairs
One year ago: Chocolate Waffles

manoushe1_little-house-dunes

by Heather Harris Brady

Man’oushe is a Lebanese flatbread, spread with olive oil and the spice blend za’atar then cooked quickly on a stone or clay. Not that there’s anything wrong with pulling some pita bread out of a bag to have with your hummus or baba ghanoush, but there’s no comparison once you’ve had this beauty right off the heat. So find an excuse to have cocktails in the kitchen or around the grill while you slide these off the stone and onto the serving plate. It will smell wonderful, taste even better and you’ll feel like you’re giving Ina Garten a run for her money this summer.

It’s best to have a pizza stone or clay tile for this. Za’atar is available from most ethnic groceries, or online. Here’s an example. Start the dough about an hour before you’re ready to serve, and put the stone on to heat 20 minutes before cooking.

Man’oushe, Makes about eight 8″ flatbreads

  • 1 c. water
  • 1 c. milk
  • 1/4 c. granulated sugar
  • 1 pkg. quick-rise yeast
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 4 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 c. olive oil
  • 1 c. za’tar

Warm the water and milk together to lukewarm. Add the sugar, yeast and olive oil.

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Then stir in the flour.

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Let rise until doubled and then knead smooth for two-three minutes. Put your baking stone on to heat. I set my oven at convection roast 450, but you could do this on the grill as well.

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Divide the dough into eight portions and roll out to 1/8″ thick. Give it a good drizzle of olive oil, and then brush the oil all over the top.

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Douse it with the spices.

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Sprinkle the stone with some semolina and slide on the first bread.

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Bake for about seven-eight minutes, until bubbly and well-browned.

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The bread tears easily and is perfect for sharing.

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But I ate a whole one by myself, right out of the oven. And I’m not sorry.

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Stored in plastic wrap these are still okay the next day if you reheat them in the oven (400 for five minutes). Don’t microwave, it makes them soggy.


Two years ago: Chocolate Eclairs
One year ago: Michigan Fruit Pie

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