My breakfasts lately are usually quite simple savoury affairs – some veggies (whatever’s in the fridge) fried in a little oil or butter, with an egg thrown in at the last minute, whatever fresh herbs I have on hand, plus a little extra protein if it’s about – some smoked salmon or feta usually. But the other day I was craving something sweet and warming – it may have been due to what seemed to be never-ending grey, gloomy weather, which sparked the need for something warm and comforting.
I remembered seeing a recipe a while back for an apple skillet cake – a concept I had never heard of before – and decided to try my hand at something similar. I didn’t have any apples at the time so instead opted for pears which I fried a little until they were golden and caramalised, added some spices, and then threw it all together with a yummy, mostly grain-free (and completely gluten free) batter. The end result was delicious and light, yet still warm and comforting. One thing I always struggle with when having rich, sweet treats for breakfast, such as pancakes, pastries or sugary porridges or cereals, is that I usually have a sugar crash a few hours later and feel quite sluggish for the rest of the day. This skillet cake however didn’t have that affect – it contains only a small amount of sugar, being sweetened mostly by the fruit, and also quite a bit of protein without too many carbs to lessen the sugar blow.
I absolutely love the texture of this cake – if you come by here often you’d know by now that I’m not the biggest fan of your standard run-of-the-mill cake, this however taste like a cross between a cake and a baked pudding, dotted with moist caramalised spiced pear and sweet bursts of blueberry. It’s best enjoyed hot out of the oven, but it can be enjoyed heated up the next day as well. After that – I’m not sure sorry, it didn’t last that long in our house!
With only ten days until Christmas, I thought it would be timely to post a Christmas cookie recipe. This recipe is a by-product of my love affair with what would have to be one of my favorite and most used spices, cinnamon. I wanted to make a cookie (or “biscuit” as we call them here in Australia – though at Christmas time for some reason I just feel ‘cookie” sounds more appropriate) that really symbolised Christmas, and for me that would have to be shortbread. I have fond memories of not only baking shortbread at home when I was younger, but we also used to give my Nan a tin of bought shortbread which we would then all go on to eat ourselves – poor Nan!
I have been working on making a gluten free version of shortbread and though they are not exactly the same as traditional shortbread made with plain flour they are a pretty damn good alternative. The plain flour has been swapped out with a mix of sorghum flour, potato starch and coconut flour, which not only eliminates gluten from the recipe, it also increased the nutritional portfolio. I also had luck using a combination of brown rice flour, buckwheat and coconut, though that combination lends to a slightly drier and crumblier cookie. The cookies will be quite crumbly anyway – as is traditional shortbread.
I have reduced the sugar slightly as well, and used a less refined sweetener in coconut sugar, however I have kept the fat content pretty much the same – after all it’s the buttery-ness of the shortbread that I feel gives the cookies their distinctly delicious flavour.
As shortbread is traditionally made with icing and/or caster sugar, I blitzed the coconut sugar in my Vitamix to make it more powder. This could easily be done in a food processor instead, or alternatively you could always use the coconut sugar as is.
These cookies and smooth yet slightly crumbly with that unmistakable buttery flavour. They also have a more developed, almost caramel-y sweetness to them from the coconut sugar, beautifully accented by the cinnamon. These cookies are perfect plain and dunked into a hot cup of tea, but I imagine they’d also be a great base if you felt like jazzing them up a little – some ground cloves and orange rind would work well, or for something a little different, a small amount of finely chopped rosemary or lavender would work great here too.
Add the coconut sugar to a high-powdered blender or food processor and mix 20 sec on high to powder it.
Cream the softened butter, powdered sugar and vanilla with an electric mixer for a few minutes until creamy. Stir through flours and spices. Note that the mixture will be quite crumbly, however it should still stick and hold together when pressed between two fingers.
Shape into little flat discs and use a fork to press holes into the top. Place on a lined baking sheet.
Bake 25 - 30 minutes or until lightly browned on the bottom of the cookies.
Today I am very excited to be featured over at the Smoothie Lover blog, which is run by the lovely Josefine.
Josefine was one of my first blogging friends, and I immediately warmed to her generous and kind nature. It was a bit scary starting my little site here and putting myself “out there”, so I was very happy to start connecting with other bloggers doing the same thing, and Josefine was one of the most welcoming. I was shocked when after getting to know her and her site a little I learnt that she was still in school – her confidence and maturity, along with her gorgeous photography, recipes and writing would definitely suggest otherwise.
The recipe I am sharing over at Josefine’s page today is for a simple, yet impressive quinoa salad, mixed with some salad greens, creamy feta, and one of my favorite pesto’s.
There’s also a little Q&A that we did about my food philosophy, why I started blogging, and a little about me, my island home, and how I’ll be spending my Christmas.
Head over and check it out now, and be sure to take some time to view some of Josefine’s lovely recipes too, like her Autumn Salad with pomegranate and candied pecans, and Grain-free Apple Pie.