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Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies

15 Feb

flourless peanut butter cookies

Can we talk about all the things I love about this recipe? Since there’s no flour, it’s great for gluten-free folks, and there’s also no worry if you’ve run out of flour in your cabinet (or butter, for that matter). Another perk of the lack of flour is that you don’t have to worry about overworking the dough. This means that you can taste and adjust the quantities of peanut butter, sugar, and salt, if you’d like (so long as you don’t mind raw egg – or taste before adding the egg), so it’d be easy to practically just eyeball the recipe (not something a lot of baked goods can claim). Last, but most important, these cookies are delicious – and seriously addictive. These are probably the best peanut butter cookies I’ve ever eaten. Every time I ate one, I found myself saying, “I could eat a million of these” and needing to tuck the container out of sight. They’re healthy, I tried to convince myself when inevitably grabbing another moments later – there’s no butter or flour, plus there’s added protein from the peanut butter (shh, don’t remind me about all that sugar). You probably want to double the recipe – trust me. You can thank me later.

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Coconut Breakfast Quinoa

4 Feb

coconut breakfast quinoa

My parents are here visiting me in Buenos Aires, so it’s been a whirlwind taking them around to all the best sights and restaurants (and it’s also the reason why I didn’t post on Friday – whoops!). They get breakfast at their hotel though, so I’m on my own for fixing breakfast. Something quick and easy but healthy and filling is important to have enough energy to get me through until lunch with all the sight-seeing, and this coconut breakfast quinoa has been a great option. Coconut milk adds richness to the quinoa, which is similar to oatmeal in this preparation (not that I’ve given up on my favorite steel-cut oats), but with the added boost of quinoa’s higher fiber and protein – even more so if you include the optional chia seeds. This can be served warm or cold and can be adapted endlessly with your favorite fruits and nuts, and you can also use a different spice in place of cinnamon, if you’d like, or omit it altogether. Although it’s geared towards being a breakfast (and will give you a great start to your day), this would even make a delicious, healthy (vegan and gluten-free) dessert.

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Argentine Cappuccino with Dulce de Leche

25 Jan

argentine cappuccino with dulce de leche

I was at a cafe in Buenos Aires for merienda (an afternoon snack, usually consisting of coffee and pastries) a few weeks back when I spotted a drink the cafe called a “capuchino porteño.” Porteño is an adjective used for the natives here (literally meaning of/from the port, referring to Buenos Aires being a port city), and once I read the description of this cappuccino, I knew I had to order it. The key ingredient, unsurprising given its great popularity here, was dulce de leche. The drink was right up my alley, since I prefer my coffee drinks sweet and milky. When I found that our apartment in Uruguay (another dulce de leche loving country, by the by) included an espresso machine, I was determined to recreate this drink. It’s not a traditional cappuccino, although it does have the usual base of espresso and steamed milk; this is more of a dessert than anything, and in the Argentine style of desserts, it’s quite sweet. Dulce de leche is drizzled down the side of the glass and whipped into some cream on the top (this recipes makes extra dulce de leche whipped cream, but I’m sure you’ll find a use for it), and a sprinkle of cinnamon (cocoa powder would also work well) is a great complement to the caramel flavor.

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Frozen Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Bites

18 Jan

frozen peanut butter chocolate banana bites

Frozen bananas used to be a staple in my refrigerator for making “milkshakes” since their frozen consistency closely mimics that of ice cream. But now that I’m traveling and sadly without any method of blending, I’ve had to give up those tasty desserts. When a couple bananas were on the verge of being overripe recently, though, I cut them in slices and froze them without thinking about it. The frozen banana slices were good even eaten up plain, but I wanted something that was a bit more of a treat. So, with thoughts about my banana breakfast roll in the back of my head, I mixed up some peanut butter and honey (plus a little water to thin it out) and dipped them in that. And then, because peanut butter always calls out for some chocolate, I dipped them in a little melted chocolate, too. Dark chocolate is always my preference – here, I used a chocolate with 85% cocoa content that was too dark for eating out of hand but worked well with the creaminess of the banana and richness of the peanut butter. The result is decadent enough to satisfy an ice cream craving, while still being a healthy option. I like them in bite-sized form like this, but you can also cut the bananas in half and put them on a popsicle stick for something more closely resembling an ice cream bar.

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Pear Ginger Nut Granola

31 Oct

pear ginger nut granola

Similarly to adjusting to buying my produce at a small neighborhood market, it took me a while to realize that the supermarket was not the best place for nuts, seeds, dried beans, and dried fruits (staples in my cabinet). The selection is limited, the quality bad, and the prices high, so I’d resigned myself to not having these around as much. Then I realized that the stores here called “dieteticas” were not, as I’d originally thought, purveyors of vitamins and protein powers, but instead actually specialized in just these sort of bulk goods that I like so much. At a nearby one, I stocked up on ingredients for this surprisingly easy to make granola. I tried to use a minimum of oil and honey in this recipe to keep it on the healthier side (although you can take it even further by using applesauce in place of the oil). With extra flavor from fresh ginger and orange zest, alongside traditional oats, nuts, and raisins and less traditional coconut flakes, chia seeds, and dried pears, this granola has more than enough in it to keep it exciting. And, like all granola recipes, it can be easily modified to your liking.

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Brown Butter and Dulce de Leche No-Bake Cookies

12 Oct

brown butter and dulce de leche no bake cookies

The eyes of every Argentinian I’ve met have lit up upon the mere mention of dulce de leche – this extra-sweet milk caramel is widely loved here. In the supermarket, there’s practically an entire aisle dedicated to the stuff, row upon row of different brands and variations. After a couple weeks of sneaking spoonfuls out of the jar on a regular basis, I decided that I needed a better excuse for eating it. I was hoping to make some sort of cookies (like the alfajores that commonly sandwich the caramel here), but I’m a little intimidated by the oven in my apartment, as it’s not labeled with temperatures or even the so-called gas mark system. Instead, the knob is identical to those for the stovetop, spanning from the image of a tiny flame to that of a big flame. So these no-bake cookies seemed absolutely perfect (and it certainly didn’t hurt that they include another of my favorite ingredients – brown butter). And not only are they quick and simple to make, but they’re downright addictive, with the nutty notes of the brown butter proving to be an excellent complement to the dulce de leche, and the extra pinch of fleur de sel on top taking them to my favorite sweet and salty place.

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Snickerdoodle Bars

5 Oct

snickerdoodle bars

I’m a big fan of cinnamon – it’s a major flavor in many of my favorite sweet and savory dishes, featuring in garam masala, spiced chocolate, and even my favorite chili recipe. So it shouldn’t be a surprise that I’m a big fan of snickerdoodles. But I prefer my cookies in bar form (easier to make and much more decadent!), so these snickerdoodle bars are, in my opinion, even better than the traditional snickerdoodles. I dialed up the cinnamon, adding extra to the batter and a thorough topping of cinnamon sugar (using turbinado sugar for a little change in texture – I like the crunch on top). Perfect for any other cinnamon lovers out there, and you certainly won’t have a hard time getting anyone else to eat them either.

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Beef, Olive, and Egg Empanadas

28 Sep

beef olive and egg empanadas

It’s been really fun posting empanada recipes all week, but all good things must come to an end. So here is my last recipe, and the only one I’ve posted that isn’t vegetarian – I had to include at least one with meat to do proper justice to this Argentine specialty. The combination here of ground beef, green olives, and hard-boiled eggs is a classic Argentine one that you’ll find almost anywhere that sells empanadas. These traditional flavors complement each other quite well, and the mixture of spices in the beef along with some sliced green onions take these over the top. Yet another filling that I could (okay, and did) eat plain, but, of course, it’s even better when baked inside the flaky empanada dough.

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Corn and Roasted Pepper Empanadas

27 Sep

corn and roasted pepper empanadas

In continuing with this week’s theme of empanadas, here’s yet another tasty filling. There are a lot of steps here, from roasting peppers to grating and cooking down corn, but although they aren’t so easy to make, the sweetness of the corn and roasted peppers makes the resulting empanadas incredibly easy to eat. I’d never grated fresh corn before, but I can see myself using this technique in the future for other corn fillings or dips or even just a savory (or sweet!) corn puree.

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Mushroom, Shallot, and Fontina Empanadas

26 Sep

mushroom shallot and fontina empanadas

As I go through the different empanada fillings I prepared, I think I may have to declare this one my personal favorite. While they all turned out quite well, I’m always a fan of anything with mushrooms. On top of that, the savory-sweet flavor here from the inclusion of raisins and balsamic vinegar is right up my alley. And it’s really quite an easy preparation, too, for quite a complex resulting flavor. If you’re planning on making smaller empanadas, you may want to dice the mushrooms and shallots instead of slicing them to make it easier to get exactly the right-sized scoop of filling.

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