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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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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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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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Spinach and Three Cheese Empanadas

25 Sep

spinach and three cheese empanadas

Everyone talks about how popular carne (meat) is over here in Argentina, but no one prepared me for how much the Argentines love their queso (cheese). While the variety isn’t quite the same as back home, there are still plenty of cheeses in the supermarket, and ham and cheese sandwiches are everywhere. And it seems like any empanada that doesn’t have meat in it has cheese instead. These spinach and three cheese empanadas are heavy on the cheese, but maybe the spinach in there can help you feel a little healthier about making these. But the taste should really be justification enough. You may have leftover filling – and that’s perfectly okay because it also makes a delicious dip. I’ve only been here a short while, but, as a longtime cheese lover, I think I’m going to like it here.

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Empanada Dough

24 Sep

empanada dough

Today, I’m going to start this post with an apology. Anyone who follows this blog knows that I’ve been very good from the beginning about posting every single Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. In fact, up until last week, I had not yet missed a post (in over a year). So, I’m sorry for letting Sel et Sucre go dark last Wednesday and Friday. As I’d mentioned previously, I moved to Buenos Aires this past Wednesday, and despite my (in retrospect, delusional) hopes of keeping up my posting, I was far too overwhelmed to do so. This week, I’ll be doing something extra special to make up for it though – posting every weekday!

Before leaving, in honor of the trip, I cooked up four different varieties of empanadas, stuffed pastries (typically savory) that are very popular in Argentina, eaten as an appetizer or full meal. I’ll be posting all week about these empanadas, starting with today’s recipe for the dough. Similar to a pie dough, it’s quite easy to throw together, with the most important thing being not to overwork it. The flaky result is the perfect base for all sorts of different fillings. I actually ended up making three times this dough recipe for a total of 96 mini empanadas. I think I would have preferred larger empanadas though, so that each would have more filling (which would also mean less work filling and closing the empanadas). Whether you make small (appetizer-sized) or large (entree-sized) empanadas, this dough recipe is worth trying out, for not much more effort than heading to the store and buying frozen dough, but a lot more flavor!

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The Perfect Brownies

14 Sep

the perfect brownies

Okay, okay, these brownies might not be perfect for everyone. But I’ve been searching for a basic brownie recipe to be my go-to, and this is the one. If, like me, you want your brownies to be rich, dense, super chocolate-y, and so fudgy that they’re best stored in the refrigerator, then these are the brownies for you. Of course, you can easily tweak the recipe to your liking. Because there’s only a little bit of flour in these, I think it could be swapped for cocoa powder for a gluten-free dessert with even more intense chocolate flavor. These brownies would also do well with mix-ins, and although I know this is sacrilegious to many brownie lovers, I think nuts would actually provide a great contrast to the richness of the brownies. Personally, I put my twist on the recipe by adding a sprinkle of fleur de sel on top – I find it adds extra depth to the chocolate.

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Orange Almond Cake

7 Sep

orange almond cake

This cake is not for everyone. Rich, dense, and decidedly tart from oranges that have been pureed whole in the batter. I could see the intense citrus flavor being overpowering for some, but I love it. Not overly sweet but still decadent. Almond flour also lends a pleasantly nutty taste with the added health bonus of fiber, calcium, and iron. I found this cake got progressively moister and nearly creamy in texture after sitting (covered, of course) for a few days – and any powdered sugar on top was mysteriously absorbed (so I recommend topping slices as you cut them). You could also top this cake with whipped cream, of course, or serve it with fresh berries. If you like unique and intense flavors in your desserts (as I do), then this cake should be your next project.

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