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Saturday, September 13, 2014

Blackberry Coconut Oatmeal Cookies - vegan

Blackberry Coconut Oatmeal Cookies | http://www.katesshortandsweets.com

In my mind, it's still summer. Yes, there have been a few chilly, fall-like moments. And yes, you can buy pumpkins and pumpkin flavored things at stores and coffee shops. But at the grocery store this afternoon, right across from the pumpkin display was an equally large watermelon display. Welcome to September. It's got to be the most bountiful month of the harvest. So here, on this tiny piece of the interwebs, we're going with summer. I'm going to join Deb and declare this a pumpkin-spice-free-anything zone for at least another couple of weeks. 

vegan Blackberry Coconut Oatmeal Cookies | http://www.katesshortandsweets.com

So, since it's summer, and since berries are still abundantly available at my farmers' markets, these cookies are a perfect way to savor the season. I love fresh berries in cookies, and these were a big hit at our big party a few weeks ago. They are tiny, perfectly sized, relatively wholesome treats. No, really. There are whole grains and fruit. See? Relatively wholesome.

Blackberry Coconut Oatmeal Cookies - vegan | http://www.katesshortandsweets.com

Were I even more on top of things, I would make up a batch or two, divide dough and form into logs. Next, I'd wrap each log in plastic wrap and stick them in the freezer. (oh, and, uh, labeling them is helpful. I recommend a sharpie and some tape) Then, come the dark days of February, I could take out a log, slice off some cookies, and bake up some summer. 

You know, to compliment my Pumpkin Spice tea.

Blackberry Coconut Oatmeal Cookies, vegan | http://www.katesshortandsweets.com

Blackberry Coconut Oatmeal Cookies - vegan
Of course, you can also make these not vegan by using regular butter and milk, and 1 egg instead of the applesauce. Yields about 50 teaspoon sized cookies.

1/2 C coconut oil
1/2 C firmly packed brown sugar or Sucanat
1/2 C sugar
1/4 C applesauce
1 tsp vanilla
3 Tbsp non-dairy milk (I used almond)
1 C flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 C quick or rolled oats, uncooked
3/4 C fresh blackberries, chopped if large

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and grease or line a couple cookie trays.

Cream the coconut oil and sugars. Add in the applesauce, vanilla, and milk and beat until smooth. Do the same with the flour, baking soda, and baking powder. Finally, beat in the oats. Fold or stir in blackberries, smooshing as much or as little as you'd like.

Drop teaspoons of dough (YES. teaspoons. Larger amounts of dough don't work very well) 2 inches apart on prepared pan. Bake about 15 minutes. Remove from oven, and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes before transferring to wire rack to cool completely.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Peach White-Wine Sangria (and a party)

setting up

Just about a year ago, Mr Official Taster and I moved into our very own home. This weekend, we hosted a housewarming party. I'm really glad that we finally did. For one thing, it pushed us into making some repairs/updates that we've been thinking about and putting off for the last year. We got rid of the Ugliest Light Ever, installed a ceiling fan, got a new toilet, and a few other equally sexy jobs. God bless the 70s. I imagine they have been keeping electricians busy since at least the 80s.

drinks set uplabeling, so I knew we had enough

Anywho, we decided on an open house format on Saturday afternoon/evening. We encouraged people to come whenever they could for however long they could. We served drinks and snacks and generally kept everything pretty casual. I'm happy with how many people were able to stop by, and it was fun to have so many friends in the same place at once.

glass decorating

We went with just a couple drink options, in order to help keep our sanity and our budget in check. We got a small keg of Fat Tire, and I made iced tea and sangria. Food consisted of snacks like chips, crackers, hummus, guacamole, brownies, and fruit. I laid down butcher paper on top of the sheet tablecloth so I could write on it. I wanted to give people as many answers as possible without them having to come find me, so I labeled some of the dishes. You can see a bit two photos below, but my labels were things like "salsa, gf & vegan" or "brownies, dairy free" or "brown rice & seed chips, gf & vegan."

drinks station
the spread

It took me a bit of research to find a sangria recipe I really wanted to make, but then I remembered (the late, great) Gourmet cookbook. It has everything in it, and I know it to be trustworthy. My requirements were that it was a white wine sangria (less stain-y if spilled) and that it used fruit I could pick up at the farmers' market. Gourmet's Peach White-Wine Sangria both sounded amazing and fit my requirements. Again and again, Gourmet has come through with a fabulous recipe, and its streak continues.

Peach White Wine Sangria | http://www.katesshortandsweets.com

Peach White-Wine Sangria
adapted, barely, from Gourmet Today

I was thrilled with how this sangria turned out, and our guests raved. The basil is unexpected and really makes this recipe stand out from the crowd. Since I can very rarely leave well enough alone, I changed the proportions a bit from the original to make it less sweet. I couldn't find peach nectar, so I used an equal amount of Orange Peach Mango Juice. Feel free to scale this up to fit your party needs! If you're feeling sassy (and you probably are), a bottle of bubbly is a welcome addition.

1 C loosely packed fresh basil leaves plus 8 to 10 sprigs
3/4 C sugar
1/4 C fresh lemon juice
2 (11-ounce) cans peach nectar (see note)
2 (750-ml) bottles chilled dry white wine
1 large peach (peeled if desired), diced

Put basil leaves, sugar, and lemon juice into a small saucepan and bruise leaves by mashing with a wooden spoon. Add 1 can nectar and bring just to a simmer, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and let stand 5 minutes, then pour through a medium-mesh sieve into a heatproof pitcher, discarding basil leaves. Stir in wine, peach, remaining can nectar, and basil sprigs. Chill, covered, at least 1 hour and up to 24. Serve over ice. pro tip: want to be fancy and keep your drink from getting watered down? Make wine ice cubes! Plain wine doesn't freeze super well, so I filled my ice cube trays about half way with water, then poured in wine to fill them the rest of the way.
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