Archives for posts with tag: dessert

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Fleurbain Truffles

3/4 c old fashioned oats (pulverized in a food processor)

3/4 c macadamia and cashew nut-butter (or a nut-butter of your choice)

1/4 c cocoa

2 tbsp honey

1 tbsp coconut oil

1 tsp vanilla

3 tbsp amaretto

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4 c chopped dried cherries

1/4 mini chocolate chips

Mix together and form into truffles.  Store in the fridge.

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Damiana Joy+Love Liqueur

I brought this to a winter party a few years ago.  People found this drink both intriguing and fun.  Damiana is quite aromatic due to volatile oils.  The flavour of damiana can be subdued or enhanced with other foods associated with joy and warmth; cardamom, almond, vanilla, cherry, cinnamon and chocolate.  In terms of medicinal properties, one of my favourite summaries is from Rosemary Gladstar.  In her Family Herbal she states, “…it is completely restorative; it restores exhausted nerves, exhausted dreams and exhausted spirit.”  Though there is a folk history of use as an aphrodisiac, herbalists generally qualify this herb as a mild anti-depressant, particularly useful in what David Winston calls a stagnant depression.  The volatile oils act as carminatives that aid in digestion.

1/2 c damiana tincture

1/2 c amaretto

1/4 c chocolate sauce (I made my own from unsweetened chocolate, water, maple syrup, sugar and vanilla)

rosewater and vanilla to taste

Pour together and store in the fridge.  Could it be any easier?  Enjoy a small shot when desired.

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Cheers!

These photos were taken during the LAB Series which runs on Thursdays between 3-6pm. Next week, February 21st, Tammy Schmidt will continue in a similar vein demonstrating herbs used to lighten our spirits in the dark of winter.  We hope you are able to join us!

Fleurbain is at 460 St Catherine West, Unit 917, Montreal.

First blueberries of the season.

we all love fresh berries! in winter, though, frozen ones are a great option

Last night I made a quick and easy adaptation of a classic blueberry pie. I was in an unusual and very fortunate situation: I had a bag of frozen blueberries, some flour, and eggs all on hand, all at the same time! I checked the cupboards for my usual supply of baking/cooking supplies… yes, I had sugar, salt, milk powder and oil, so I thought “why not”.

I placed about 2 cups of blueberries with a half cup of water in a little pot on the stove. I cooked this at low temperature until the berries had thawed. I smushed them around a bit, to extract more of the juices. You don’t need to do this, though, you actually shouldn’t try to extract the juices. You don’t need to add this much water, either. I was removing some of the juices and blueberry-dye for more artistic purposes, that I will tell you about another time.

Once the berries are soft, you can add a bit of sugar. I used brown sugar, about a third of a cup or so. You don’t need to add sugar at all, but I was feeling decadent. Into this I stirred two eggs (you could use three if you really like a jiggly pie and have enough eggs). I threw in a tiny sprinkle of salt, imagining the salt and sugar contrasting with each other to bring out the blueberry flavour even more. I didn’t really cook this any longer, I turned off the heat at this point.

* * * * *

I used a quick little no-cook pie crust recipe:

1.5 Cups flour3/4 tsp salt

Sift/stir around in your pie-plate or other pan.

Add: 1/2 Cup oil (I used grape seed that I had on hand, in the past I’ve used olive oil) + 3 Tbsp milk (I used a dash of milk powder, and a dash of water)

Mix with a fork or your fingers (I use my fingers) ’til it’s blended enough to press into the pan firmly. You don’t need to pre-bake the crust, though a few minutes in your pre-heated oven before adding the filling can’t hurt. (I didn’t last night, and it’s still a fine and delicious Breakfast-Pie at the moment.)

* * * * *

The next step for this pie is to pour the remaining frozen blueberries (about 2 cups) into this pie crust, then pour the gooey blueberries on top. Put into the oven (preheated to about 300 or 350 F) and bake until the middle of the pie starts to firm up. This is about 30 minutes, I do believe.

You could try this with variations, different frozen berries, cinnamon, vanilla, other flavourings to suit what you have on hand and your taste. I would like to try making the crust with a gluten-free flour. I almost added some almond slivers to the top of the pie, but thought better of it in the end. Maybe next time…

Natasha Henderson, Montreal

(Whipped cream is not necessary, but highly recommended.)

Fresh from the oven. They're delicious piping hot, too...

I have been living away from “home” now for four Christmases-worth. Happily, each year I have managed to spend the holiday season with good friends, enjoyed many wonderful meals and parties, and witnessed others’ traditions. There’s no place like home for the Holidays in many things, though… and for me, a big part of what makes up “home” (besides the loved ones surrounding me, of course) are certain treats that I enjoyed pretty much every year of my life thus far.

I have mentioned Mom’s Peanut Butter Balls here, before, and how I changed the recipe to be a little more healthy. Another recipe that I gleaned off Mom via telephone this year was Scuffles.

Scuffles are, for my family, one of the highlights of Christmastime. Despite the fact that they are made with common ingredients (I am on a tight budget at the moment, yet I have all the ingredients on hand…) and take very little effort, for us they are a Christmastime-Only tradition. Perhaps this is due to their fattening-aspects. Hmm. Well, in any event, it turns out that many of Scuffles’ ingredients can be altered to be a touch more “healthy”.

Mom’s Traditional Scuffles

Combine 1 package yeast + 1/4 Cup lukewarm water. Let stand a few minutes.

-Mix: 3 Cups flour, 1/2 tsp salt, 3 Tbsp sugar, 1 Cup butter.

-Add: 1/2 Cup milk, 2 eggs, and the yeast mixture.

-Knead ’til soft. Leave, covered, overnight in fridge.

-Divide into four parts. Roll each part out on a layer of about 1/4 Cup sugar and cinnamon.

-Cut into approx. 1.5″ wide wedges (triangles) and roll up from wide end.

-Bake 15 minutes in 350F oven.

The dough can be frozen, the scuffles can be frozen, all sorts of things can be done to prevent you from eating the entire batch right away. I recommend having friends around when you make them, so that you cannot eat them all yourself.

UPDATING THE RECIPE:

Now, Mom’s recipe calls for some pretty traditional baking ingredients. I have changed this recipe a couple of times, with good results. My tentative changes have been:

-Brown sugar in place of “Sugar”: This caused a marvelous caramelization.

-More cinnamon in place of sugar on the outside: This was good, too. I love cinnamon, more than I love sugar.

-Half Kamut Flour instead of all Regular Unbleached Flour: I didn’t notice any difference, it was still really wonderful in both texture and taste.

-Using organic sugar, infused with cinnamon and vanilla (see previous recipe, thanks Tammy!) on the outside when rolling out dough: Wonderful, and even more delicious than ever.

Indeed, I thankfully have a packet of yeast, some flour and butter, a bit of sugar, two eggs and plentiful amounts of cinnamon. I know what’s for breakfast tomorrow…

Natasha Henderson, Montreal

Besides the crunched-up almonds and vanilla, these are the ingredients.

A few days ago I shared the story about my favorite Christmas recipe: Mom’s Peanut Butter Balls. I had expressed a hope that I would be able to improve the healthiness of this treat, while maintaining the deliciousness of it. I think that somehow, through luck or divine intervention or possibly even ingenuinity, I managed to actually improve the recipe. Please don’t tell my Mom I said that.

So, if you look at the recipe for Peanut Butter Balls, you will see that icing sugar is called for. No. Not using that. I replaced it, on the advice of my Herbalist-Friend Tammy, with dates! They were available at the local cool grocery/convenience-ish store. One could use figs in the same way. I replaced the peanut butter with almond butter, and almonds in place of peanuts. I used good quality nice chocolate. I think my Mom’s already onto THAT one.

Mashing it up with a fork...

So, to be all precise, I used the amount of almond butter that I had left in the fridge. That’s about one cup. Then I chopped up the delicious “meat” of five dates, mixed that in with a dash of vanilla and a handfull of crumpled-up bits of almonds. I formed them into little balls, refrigerated overnight. The next day I took three (perhaps one too many) Lindt 70% Cacao chocolate bars and melted them. There is leftover chocolate (I threw the pan in the fridge) so I am compelled to make more of these. Darn… Coat the little tiny balls in the chocolate, let sit in the fridge overnight.

Delicious and somewhat nutritious too!

Roll the balls in the chocolate... mmm...

I presented them at an event (after taste-testing them a few times, of course) and everyone who tried them LOVED them. No one over-ate, and they just savoured the high-quality and richly flavoured little treats. So good. My new Christmas tradition…

Natasha Henderson, in Montreal

Important Update: See Comments below…

by Natasha Henderson. Recipe thanks to her Mom.

When I was growing up, there was an infamous recipe (well, there were actually several) that my Mom would make for Christmas. This is one of my personal favorites, a classic combination of peanut butter and chocolate. A reward for not eating them all while they’re being processed is to lick clean the chocolate-pan. Yummy!

care package...

I love this recipe, however, I would like to try some changes the next time I make it. I’d change the icing sugar to a small amount of stevia, or try some natural cane icing sugar. I would most certainly change the sweet chocolate into dark chocolate with a high cocoa content. I already use a natural peanut butter (ingredients: peanuts!) rather than a sugary, fructose-laden, hydrogenated-oily one. I might even throw a dash of salt into the mix to contrast with the sweetness or tartness of the chocolate.

Mom’s Peanut Butter Balls

1 Cup Peanut Butter

1 Cup Icing Sugar

1 Teaspoon vanilla

3/4 Cup Chopped Peanuts

Combine all above ingredients, then shape into balls of about 3/4″. Chill in a pan, on waxed paper, overnight.

When they’ve chilled thoroughly, melt enough sweet chocolate to cover them (about three squares) and dip. At this point you have an option to roll them in crushed nuts, toasted coconut, or graham crumbs. (My family has tried all these over the years and always go back to the plain chocolate…) Place on waxed paper pan, and chill in the refrigerator again ’til the chocolate hardens. Can be frozen (but probably won’t be!) Enjoy!

Natasha will make a “classic version” of this recipe, and will also try out the healthier options. She will taste-test them both, and report back here…

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