Tag Archives: easy

Saturday Sweets: Strawberry Chocolate Meringue Torte

6 Aug

I’ve been a little heavy on the recipes lately, but I have quite a backlog to get through of things I feel I just HAVE to tell you about!  And I’ve missed TWO weeks of Saturday Sweets installments and want to make it up to you.

Also, my family left today to go back to the faraway land of O-Ville, Ontario, so I don’t have the cheeriest of stories to share with you.

Unless you’re interested in the fact that we bought a house?

Well, technically that is largely untrue.  My in-laws bought the house, really, but we have our small share which allows us to live in a rather palatially large share.  Sounds fair, right?  For the first time I actually get to put my Interior Decorating diploma to good use on a home I can actually make decisions about!  I don’t have to confirm with a landlord if I want to paint a wall (which I ALWAYS do), I don’t have to hope no one will notice we screwed a planter box onto the side of the house, I don’t have to pay someone else’s mortgage for them, I don’t have to cram 4 people’s lives into less than 900 square feet…

On the other hand, I do have to care if my appliances break down or my roof leaks. I do have to clean like I might be there in two years facing the same (no doubt morphed) dirt if I don’t deal with it now.  I do have to commit to staying in one place for a reasonable amount of time.

I figure I can handle one big commitment per 5 year span, and between getting married and having 2 children over the past 5 odd years I’m just hoping the time frames don’t overlap anywhere, prompting a return to my post-wedding sleeptalking and day visions which made Carl (and my mother) question my sanity.

(Now you are probably questioning my sanity.  Don’t worry, I’m quite harmless.)

I don’t even know where to begin – probably largely due to the fact that my budget is about $12.  If I had unlimited money I think I know exactly where I would start – hire an interior decorator 😉  But seriously, we’re very excited about it, as it will give the kids lots of room to play, both inside and out, and with all that kitchen space just THINK how many recipes I can test and create!

In the meantime, before said O-Ville family left, I made this delicious gluten-free dessert for us all!

I inherited a daunting stack of old Cooking Light magazines from my aunt, via my mom, and thoroughly enjoyed going through each one and ripping out recipes to try at a later date.  As I work my way through them, I have to say I have yet to be disappointed by one, and since the magazine is called Cooking Light I feel like they must be healthy…and actually, a serving (an eighth) of this dessert comes in at less than 200 calories, according to the nutritional info provided in the magazine.  This torte was a big hit with adults and kids alike; I could easily have made two as it’s really light and fresh and inherently eatable.  And we all like our dessert.

My meringue could’ve used an extra 15 minutes since it was a muggy day, making it a bit harder to remove it from the parchment paper, but it didn’t affect the overall taste at all.  I’d actually never made meringue till recently and then I’ve made it several times in the last month after realizing how easy it is, so if you haven’t tried it this is a great recipe to start with!  If you’ve had pavlova, this is basically fruit pavlova in cake form, which looks impressive, even if it is hopelessly, deliciously messy to serve.  I wish I could’ve taken a picture of that for you but since this dessert traveled, and I have yet to become crazy/patient/bold enough to photograph food at other people’s homes (it’ll come), you can click here to see what the inside looks like.  Honestly, mine didn’t look nearly that perfect anyway.  Nobody complained.

Aside from making the meringue this is actually a very low-effort dessert, even if you make your own whipping cream instead of using store-bought “whipped topping”.  I think I would do that next time since I’m not the biggest fan of the special flavor those “edible oil products” impart, although I know that would really negate the light factor. But it is dessert, after all.  And it’s gluten free, and we all know gluten is what makes us chubby anyway, right?

Right.

P.S. This would be amazing with a combo of berries too, or just raspberries. Everything is good with just raspberries.

Raspberries, raspberries, you sweet red delights

I could eat you all morning, noon, eve and night.

You’re tart and you’re sweet (I know what that’s like)

We’re two peas in a pod, we’re that much alike.

Ahem. Focus.

Strawberry Chocolate Meringue Torte 

4 large egg whites

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp cream of tartar

1 cup sugar

2 cups (about 1 lb) sliced strawberries

1 tsp sugar

1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

2 cups frozen whipped topping, thawed

Directions:

Preheat oven to 250.

Cover a large baking sheet with parchment paper and draw 2 8″ circles on the paper (I trace around a cake pan or put my handily-marked silicone pie mat under the paper to trace).  Turn paper over and secure with masking tape.

Beat egg whites, salt and cream of tartar at high speed of a mixer until foamy.  Gradually add the 1 cup of sugar, a tablespoon at a time, beating until stiff peaks form.  Divide the mixture over the 2 8″ circles, spreading with the back of a spoon.  Bake for 1 – 1 1/4 hours or until meringues are crisp.  Sprinkle each meringue with 3 Tbsp chocolate chips and return to oven.  Turn off oven and let meringues stand for 5 minutes to soften chocolate.  Remove from oven and spread softened chocolate with a spatula.  Cool meringues to room temperature. Meanwhile, sprinkle strawberries with remaining 1 tsp sugar; cover and set aside.

To assemble, place 1 meringue on a serving platter, spread 1 cup whipped topping over it and top with half the strawberries.  Repeat with second meringue, second cup of whipped topping, and remaining strawberries.  Melt 1 Tbsp of chocolate chips in the microwave and drizzle over top.

Makes 8-10 servings.

Recipe barely adapted from Cooking Light magazine.

Saturday Sweets: Flourless Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies

2 Jul

Well, I told you I would make some more cookies so then I had to!  After going to the beach, of course – first beach trip of the season! K-fer got his first mouthful of gravelly sand, and badly wanted to go back for more…I think I’m going to be one of “those” who carts along a pack and play on the next trip 🙂

These flourless cookies started as an experiment since I wanted a filling, nutritious snack to bring to my gluten intolerant sister who just had a baby and shouldn’t have to worry about making her own snacks for quite awhile.  I didn’t have any fancy gluten free flours though, so it had to be completely flourless, which I was skeptical about, both in terms of texture and taste.

Turns out I needn’t have worried!  These hold together nicely, stay chewy the way I like, and actually taste just like a peanut butter oatmeal chocolate chip cookie should taste, so even if you don’t have to avoid flour they’re worth a try, and it doesn’t get much easier than one bowl, with all the ingredients thrown together at once!  …Although they still aren’t quite as good as my favourite Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip cookies.  If you need them gluten free, just double check your oats and make sure they’re gluten free…I know the No Name brand say they may contain wheat, but you can get some that list ONLY oats in the ingredients (like Quaker brand) or are actually certified gluten free.

Aren’t the polka dots cute?  I want a dress like this.  I actually have one, but wore it too many times pregnant and it no longer fits nicely non-pregnant; who woulda thought, right?

But I digress.  I always seem to do this thing where I buy peanut butter on sale like a crazy person since it is one thing I’m picky about buying brand name, and end up with several kilograms needing to be used up and going crazy on peanut butter baking, so I’m happy to have one more peanut butter recipe in the repertoire.

Thanks to our new little deep freezer we don’t have to eat all this peanut butter goodness as quickly as usual, but be forewarned, there may be a bit of peanut butter trend in upcoming recipes.  Also, because I like to throw chia seeds in all kinds of things, I added 2 tbsp to these for myself, so feel free to do the same or don’t be crazy like me, all “I can make these cookies healthy” and such.  Or DO be crazy like that but add ground flax seed.  Or spinach.  No, that would be too crazy, don’t do that.  Maybe peanuts?

Flourless Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 1/2 cups oats

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup white sugar

1/2 cup peanut butter

1/3 cup coconut

1 tsp baking powder

2 eggs

4 tbsp butter, softened

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup chocolate chips

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Combine all ingredients except chocolate chips and blend thoroughly.  Stir in chocolate chips.  Drop onto baking sheet about 1″ apart (they don’t spread much while baking), and bake 12-15 minutes.  Let sit on cookie sheet for a couple minutes before transferring to racks to cool completely.  Makes about 2 dozen cookies.

Recipe loosely adapted from Carrots ‘n’ Cake.

Saturday Sweets – Chocolate Toffee Squares

25 Jun

Saturday sweets on an actual Saturday!

This recipe is an old favourite in the Kampen family, originally from a little pamphlet you could pick up in the grocery store near the flour.  Now they are a favourite in my own family too.  Carl likes anything with chocolate and Skor bits involved, and sweetened condensed milk is one of my true loves.  This time I made them with whole wheat flour and some chia seeds instead of sliced almonds so we could feel somewhat healthy enjoying them (ok, and I didn’t have white flour left, or sliced almonds…I had a bagful of whole almonds but have you ever tried to slice those things thinly?  Yikes.)  They tasted just as good, if not better, anyway- I think I actually prefer the taste and texture of the whole wheat flour in this crust.

They come together so easily, and freeze really well to have something handy for unexpected company, and the topping ingredients are flexible so if you don’t have all the “right” ingredients you can make them anyway!  I’m posting the traditional recipe to give you an idea, but feel free to adjust to your taste.  Chocolate chips, dried cranberries and sliced almonds makes a delicious alternative topping, as do a combination of white and semi-sweet chocolate chips, and you can add healthy things like whole wheat flour, chia seeds or ground flax without ever tasting a difference.

Chocolate Toffee Squares

1½ cups flour

1/3 cup sugar

¾ cup butter or margarine

1½ cups semisweet, milk chocolate or white chocolate chips

¾ cup coconut

¾ cup Skor toffee bits

½ cup sliced almonds

1 can (275 – 300 mL) sweetened condensed milk

DIRECTIONS: 

Lightly grease a 9×13” pan.  Combine flour and sugar.  Cut in butter until mixture is crumbly.  Press firmly into prepared pan.  Bake at 350º for 12 minutes, until light golden.  Meanwhile, combine chocolate chips, coconut, toffee bits and almonds.  Set aside. 

When crust is done, pour sweetened condensed milk evenly over crust.  Sprinkle with chocolate chip mixture.  Press down firmly.  Bake another 20-25 minutes, or until lightly browned.  Cool completely before cutting into bars.  

Recipe adapted from Robin Hood.

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