Pumpkin Tequila Chili

I love chili. While it’s easy enough to make at home with the basics—tomatoes, onion, beans, broth—I often find I can’t reduce it down to the level of thickness I really want. That’s why when I saw this recipe, I got excited right away. It’s described as a “hearty spoon-stands-up-on-its-own” chili. Hungry yet?

My favourite go-to canned veggie chili is Stag. I have tried to replicate it a few times but have yet to succeed, although this recipe matches the consistency perfectly. Using pumpkin thickens up the broth and adds a ton of vitamins and flavour that you wouldn’t be getting otherwise.

This recipe is from Thug Kitchen’s cookbook, which if you haven’t had the pleasure of looking through I suggest you wander over to your nearest bookstore and flip through it. It’s fantastic. The writing is hilarious and the photos are killer. The tequila was my addition to the recipe. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, booze makes all recipes better.

Pumpkin Tequlia Chili

Ingredients

Serves 4-6 people

  • 1 medium-sized yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled and chopped
  • 1 bell pepper of your choice, seeded and chopped
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 fresh jalapeño, minced*
  • 2 tsp. soy sauce
  • 2½ tbsp. mild chili powder
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 2 cap fulls of tequila
  • 1 (14.5oz) can low-salt diced tomatoes
  • 1½ cups pumpkin purée**
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 3 cups cooked beans of your choice
  • 1 tbsp. lime juice
  • Fresh cilantro for garnish

*If you want a little less spice, de-seed the jalapeño. Be careful to wash your hands afterwards though—that could be unpleasant.

** I thought this was common sense but in the original recipe, they note not to use pumpkin pie filling because it will turn out disgusting.

Method

Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrot and pepper and sauté them until a strong aroma comes off and they begin to brown, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, jalapeño, soy sauce and spices, stirring together and allowing it all to cook for about 1 minute. Add the tequila and allow to burn down, then add the tomatoes, pumpkin, broth and beans; stir well to mix.

Turn down the heat, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once done, remove from heat, stir in lime juice, and top with cilantro. Get creative with extra garnish by adding sliced avocado, tortilla strips and sliced jalapeño.

Pumpkin Tequlia Chili

Lentil “Meatballs” in Lemon Pesto Sauce

Ever since I was a kid, I was pretty picky with the meats I would eat. Ground beef was always “meh” in my books at best (leading a strict diet of burger buns and soda at summer barbecues). Meatballs were good because they were loaded up with sauce and surrounded by pasta, but I probably wouldn’t have favoured them on their own. Making vegetarian meatballs is, in my mind anyway, way more tasty (and healthy, if you’re into that kind of thing).

One thing I love about this recipe (among the many reasons there are to love it) is that it doesn’t use soy. I’m not against soy in any sense, but I know that eating it all the time isn’t supposed to be great for you and it can get boring. Any long term vegetarian will know the feel of going to a restaurant and having a bland tofu substitute while their friends eat amazing looking seafood and steak. This is a recipe I’d like to think of as less of a substitution, and more as a first choice.

This recipe is from Sprouted Kitchen, a blog that one of my friends recently showed me and I am in awe every time I look at the photographs. The same friend made these meatballs for a Christmas party and they were devoured and actively sought after. Since then I’ve been meaning to make them, but I’m just getting around to it now and I wanted to give them a go to see how I can make them my own.

Not only do these pack protein and iron like crazy, they also have tons of flavour and hold their shape well in pasta dishes, sandwiches, or just as an appetizer. If you’re looking to make these gluten-free, you can sub in some rolled oats and gluten-free breadcrumbs.

Vegetarian Lentil Meatballs

Ingredients

Makes 18 small meatballs

For the mealballs:

  • 2 cups cooked lentils
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3/4 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup fresh parmesan cheese, finely grated
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. whole fennel seed, crushed
  • 2 tbsp. fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • Pinch of dried thyme
  • 1 tsp. sea salt and black pepper
  • 2/3 cup breadcrumbs (I used panko)

For the lemon pesto sauce:

  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/4 cup pinenuts
  • Zest and juice of one lemon
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1/4 – 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. parmesan, grated
  • 2 tbsp. water, to thin

Method

In the bowl of a food processor, pulverize the lentils into mush. Transfer to a large mixing bowl. Add in the beaten eggs, ricotta, parmesan, garlic, fennel seed, parsley, thyme, salt and pepper and stir to mix well. Stir in the breadcrumbs and let the mix sit for 20 minutes. This will allow the mixture to set and the flavours to develop. Rinse out the food processor as you will need it for the sauce.

Lentil meatball mix

For the lemon pesto sauce, put the garlic, nuts, lemon zest and juice and salt in a food processor and run until smooth. Add in the basil leaves and olive oil until it has a smooth, sauce-like consistency. Add in small amounts of water, oil or lemon juice to thin as desired. Stir in the parmesan and set aside. The sauce will keep covered in the fridge for about a week.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Check the lentil mix by rolling a 1-inch round ball between your palms—if it holds together, it’s ready. If it seems pretty wet, sticks to your hands and falls apart, stir in another tablespoon or two of breadcrumbs until the ball stays together.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Roll the mix into small balls and line them up on a baking sheet (they don’t need lots of space between, they won’t spread). If you like a bit more of a crust, brush them with olive oil.

Lentil meatball mix

Bake on the middle rack for 15-20 minutes until the tops are golden brown, gently turning the balls over halfway through baking. Remove to cool slightly before serving. Serve hot with lemon pesto sauce thickly drizzled overtop. Keep any leftovers in the fridge for up to 5 days and stick them into sandwiches, pastas, soups and salads.

Lentil Meatball

A Guide to French Macarons

French macarons are known to be one of the trickiest cookies to master at home. They are often described as finicky, delicate, and down-right rage-inducing.

First and foremost, I watched this video from Entertaining with Beth on how to get a flawless batch of macarons. I used her recipe for the cookie element and used a basic buttercream recipe for the filling. This was my first attempt at them and I couldn’t be happier. My biggest worry was that I wouldn’t get “feet” on my cookies. The signature feet on macarons are the part that anchors the base of the cookie and the tops; it should appear ruffled and airy.

There are so many great tips in her video that I need to share. I would have been completely stranded otherwise. Sifting the almond meal and sugar to rid of lumps and allowing the batter to sit before baking are two very important and essential steps (more detail below in the instructions).

A couple of things I would change—I used a small tip to pipe the batter which was a small mistake (the recipe is still very doable) it just took much longer. Using an inch tip will help move things along much quicker. There is a part of the process where you need to bang the cookie sheet on the counter to release air bubbles; if piping takes too long, you may struggle to get air bubbles out because the tops of the cookies thicken. If this does happen and you see air bubbles under the surface that aren’t rising up, simply get a toothpick and lightly tap wherever you see bubbles.

Once your cookies come out of the oven they should have the consistency of eggshells on the top, and be slightly chewy in the centre. I botched one or two while piping them out which ended up being my taste testers.

French Macarons

Ingredients

Makes 24-30 macarons

For the cookies:

  • 3 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup almond meal
  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
  • Food colouring of your choice (I used red gel colouring)

For the buttercream filling:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2-3 drops red food colouring

French Macarons

Method

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.

Separate the egg whites from the eggs; discard yolks. Place the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment and mix until frothy. Add in salt, cream of tartar and granulated sugar, then mix on high for 8-10 minutes until still peaks form (really, they shouldn’t be runny at all).

Add the desired amount of food colouring. I used red gel dye, but you can use drops or any other colour you want. In my experience pale colours are more flattering to the cookie.

Sift almond meal and confectioners’ sugar. If you’re like me and don’t own a sifter, you can use a fine sieve and run the mixture through that to get rid of any chunks. This makes a huge difference in the final product so do not skip this step.

Fold the almond meal/sugar mixture into your egg white mixture by hand. Take note: mixing will make or break your macarons. Under mix and they will mound and crack—over mix and they will be too flat and lack feet (in case you missed what “feet” are, read above). I mixed mine with exactly 75 turns of a rubber spatula, making sure to scrape along the sides of the bowl often; the consistency felt and looked similar to melted marshmallow. Fit a piping bag with a 1-inch tip and fill with batter.

Pipe out 1-inch rounds on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (not greased, not wax paper). Once you finish piping out one pan, grab either side of the cookie sheet and bang it hard on the counter 4-5 times to release air bubbles. If you can see air bubbles but they do not pop on their own, use a toothpick. Repeat until all the batter has been piped.

Again, this is a key step in gaining your feet. Allow the cookies to rest, unbaked, for 20 minutes on the counter before putting them into the oven. When the time finally comes to bake them, only do one sheet at a time so ensure they bake evenly. Once they have rested, bake each pan for exactly 20 minutes, then remove from the oven and allow them to cool before trying to transfer them.

Meanwhile mix the buttercream. In a small bowl, mix together butter, sugar, vanilla and desired food colouring. It may not look like a large amount, but a little bit goes a long way in this recipe. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a 1/2-inch tip or use a small flat spatula to ice the cookies.

Gently reverse cookie shells on their backs, and pipe a small mound of filling on one of them. Top with the other shell, and repeat until all cookies have been used to sandwich some buttercream filling. Your French macarons are ready to be gawked at and devoured.

French Macarons

French Macarons

Seven(ish) Layer Taco Dip

Taco night will never be the same.

Picture the perfect taco. In my mind, it’s got guacamole (obviously), cheese, sour cream, beans, tomatoes and something to give it a kick. This dip blends all the best toppings for vegetarian tacos and makes it easier than ever to O.D. on Mexican food.

This is great to serve at a party with all kinds of dippable foods: crackers, tortillas, veggie sticks, etc. On less dignified days, I could probably eat it with a spoon. It’s super customizable and can be altered depending on how much spice you like, what dietary restrictions you have, and whether or not you want to go into a food coma.

Seven Layer Taco Dip

Ingredients

  • 1 (454g) can of vegetarian refried beans
  • 5 small avocados, pitted and mashed
  • 1 tbsp. lime juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup cream cheese, softened
  • 1 (28g) packet of taco seasoning or 4 tbsp. of a homemade spice blend
  • 2 cups cheese of your choice (I used a habanero heat pre-shredded mix, plus some shredded mild cheddar)
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup fresh corn kernels
  • 2-3 canned jalapenos, sliced
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced

Method

Get a large baking dish, or a dish with deep enough sides to hold a couple inches worth of dip.

Spread the entire can of beans out on the bottom of the dish. This is your first layer. Next, mash together the avocados, lime juice, salt and pepper. I wouldn’t go too heavy-handed on the seasoning because the canned beans and taco seasoning will add plenty of flavour (*ahem* sodium). Spread this out on top of the bean layer.

In a food processor, blend together the cream cheese and sour cream with the taco seasoning. Spread this on top of the avocado layer. Sprinkle the cheese of your choice on top. Then comes the tomatoes, corn, jalapenos and scallions. Serve at room temperature or chilled. This dish will stay good for several days as long as it is stored in the fridge (covered).

Seven Layer Taco Dip

Deep Dish Whisky Cream Cheese Brownies

I know, the title is a bit of a mouthful. But when you have whisky, cream cheese and rich walnut brownies all swirled into one enormous mess, you want to make sure people know what they’re in for.

My boyfriend gave me a “brownie in a mason jar” kit for Christmas, which is basically all of the dry ingredients you need to make a batch of brownies layered and pre-mixed so you can just add butter and eggs and get to it. I decided to modify it a bit by throwing in the cream cheese and whisky because really, who doesn’t want that.

I’m going to make a conscious effort to cook with more booze. Every time I add beer to stew, wine to risotto or whisky to baked goods, it always gives it an extra kick that’s hard to find elsewhere; you can also take a sip or two (*cough* or more than two) while you’re at it.
Deep Dish Brownies with Whisky and Cream Cheese

Ingredients

For the brownies

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 4 eggs, room temperature
  •  3 tbsp. whisky

For the cream cheese filling:

  • 8oz cream cheese, softened
  • 2 tbsp. unbleached flour
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg*

*I didn’t have an egg for this part since I forgot I needed 5 and I only had 4. I ended up using about a tablespoon of mayonnaise (stop grimacing) and it worked perfectly.

Method

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease and lightly flour a 9×9-inch baking pan. Set aside.

Stir all dry ingredients together in one bowl (from flour to walnuts in the ingredient list) until well combined. Thoroughly mix in melted butter, eggs and whisky. In a separate bowl, beat the cream cheese until it is flexible. Beat in flour, sugar and egg and mix for 30 seconds, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.

Pour 1/2 the batter into the prepared baking pan. Spread all of the cream cheese mixture evenly over top of the first layer of brownie batter. Pour remaining brownie batter over top, and swirl with a fork or spatula the mix with the cream cheese.**

Bake for roughly 40-45 minutes until a toothpick can be cleanly inserted into the centre. Allow to cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then careful transfer to a cooling rack until fully cooled. Serve warm with ice cream and syrup or eat as is.

**Mine wasn’t that pretty since it was my first attempt and I semi messed up. Make your own patterns and show me up.

Deep Dish Brownies with Whisky and Cream CheeseDeep Dish Brownies with Whisky and Cream Cheese

Japanese Cold Noodle Salad (Hiyashi Chuka)

Put down everything and pick up your forks because you’re not going to want to miss out on this one.

I made two versions of this dish: one with soba noodles and one with flat rice noodles. For whatever reason, the rice noodles clumped together and remained hardened in certain spots even though they were well cooked everywhere else, so I preferred the soba version. The rice noodles still managed to be salvaged enough for a bowl though (as you’ll see in the photos).

One of the reasons I love this dish so much is because it’s customizable in every way. Want ramen noodles instead? Do it. Don’t like the flavours in the dressing? Whip up one of your own. Pile on whichever toppings you like, create your own, and ditch the ones you’re not too big on.

I know cold noodles may not sound like the most appetizing thing in the world at first. But once you toss on the rice vinegar dressing (don’t be shy with it) and pile it up with toppings, you’ll be a believer.

I adapted this recipe from Emily Han’s version on The Kitchn. She gives great recommendations for toppings (veg and non-veg) and the recipe turned out so well.

Japanese Cold Noodle Salad

Japanese Cold Noodle Salad

Ingredients

Serves 2

Noodles

  • 6 ounces dried noodles (soba, ramen, flat rice, etc.)

Eggs

  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. granulated sugar
  • Small amount of vegetable oil for frying

Additional Toppings

  • 6 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 cup shelled edamame, cooked
  • 1/2 cup corn kernels, cooked
  • 1/2 cup cucumber, julienned
  • 1 sheet nori seaweed, sliced into strips
  • 1 scallion, sliced

Dressing

  • 3 tbsp. soy sauce (my favourite is Kikkoman)
  • 3 tbsp. rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. sesame seeds

Garnish

  • A handful of sesame seeds
  • 4 large bok choy leaves, washed and trimmed

Method

Noodles

Cook noodles of choice according to package. Drain, and submerge in a bowl of ice water until thoroughly chilled. Drain again and set aside.

Eggs

Whisk together eggs, salt and sugar. Heat a non-stick or cast iron pan and add a small amount of oil so that the surface is just covered. Add in just enough egg to cover the pan—you want it to be as thin as possible. Cook on each side for roughly 10-15 seconds, then transfer to a plate and repeat until all the egg is gone. Depending on the size of your pan, you will get 2-4 sheets. Once all your egg it cooked, cut the sheets into thin strips and set aside.

Dressing

Whisk everything together is a small bowl and set aside.

Assembly

Divide the noodles between two large bowls. Arrange eggs and all other toppings, and garnish with sesame seeds and bok choy leaves. Just before eating, liberally drizzle with dressing and toss.

Japanese Cold Noodle Salad

Extreme Scotch Bonnet Hot Sauce

Sometimes you just have to learn lessons the hard way, which is exactly what I did for this recipe.

I grew a decent amount of scotch bonnet peppers in my backyard this year. I wasn’t expecting to have so many (about 20 picked) so I figured hot sauce was the best way to go. If you’re a regular reader you’ll know condiments come and go frequently in my house because I put them on everything. How bad could it be right? Wrong. So very, very wrong.

I removed all of the seeds from the scotch bonnets as I was adding in the jalapenos and wanted it to be hot but edible. I cut them into little strips and tossed them in the pot, along with all the other ingredients. About 10 minutes later, I felt a light itching on my knuckles. 10 minutes after that, the itching was much worse and on most of my fingers. Half an hour in and my hands were red, blotchy, burning and it lasted like that on-and-off for about 5 hours.

Then it came time for me to blend up what was in the pot to get my final result. I always use an immersion blender for anything that’s already in a pot so I don’t have to dirty more dishes and it’s just generally easier. That being said, you really, really don’t want to splash anything from that pot in your eyes, so if you don’t have a pair of safety goggles or sunglasses around, use a closed-top blender.

I blended everything up and within seconds the oils had risen into the air and I began coughing—it felt like a light burning in my throat. I opened all the doors and it still lingered around for 5 minutes afterwards. I ended up blending the rest while covering my mouth with the shirt I was wearing. I was also wearing sunglasses (so I looked ridiculous) but at least that part was fine.

There was one shining saviour in this whole ordeal, which was the actual finished hot sauce. Even just tasting some on the end of a toothpick gives a nice kick but it smells and tastes like a proper homemade hot sauce that would spice up soups, stews, chili or anything that could dilute it a little.

I find it really important that people take my advice on the gloves/goggles situation. So much so that I found it completely necessary to give a bright red disclaimer about it below. Please be careful!

Warning: Wearing the gloves is a must (trust me, my hands burned for hours). Wearing some kind of safety goggles and even a mask to cover your mouth when using an immersion blender is strongly suggested. This sauce is HOT.

Scotch Bonnet Hot Sauce

Ingredients

Makes about 2 cups of hot sauce

  • 1 tsp. vegetable oil
  • 1/2 small white onion, chopped
  • 8 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 19 scotch bonnet peppers, seeded and sliced
  • 6 small jalapeno peppers, sliced
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. granulated sugar

Method

Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion, garlic, peppers, salt and ginger; cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Pour in water and bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for 20-25 minutes until all ingredients are cooked.

Wait until the mixture has significantly cooled down (this will help prevent the oils itching your throat), then blend mixture with an immersion blender or a regular closed-top blender. If using the immersion blender method, read warning above.

Once blended, stir in vinegar and sugar. If there are still some fibres from the peppers, run your hot sauce through cheesecloth or a fine strainer. Store in the fridge in an airtight container and add to soup, stew, curry and more to give your dishes a nice big kick.

Scotch Bonnet Hot Sauce

Crisped Rice Cheese Wafers

As I’m sure many of you did over the holidays, I over-indulged. Chocolate, cheese, bread, booze…almost every single day to the point where I feel I could live off smoothies and soup forever. Of course that only lasts a day until I rediscover my love for pizza, but still, I try.

These wafers are honestly perfect for any occasion, all year round. Easy to find ingredients, simple instructions and can be made ahead months in advance. I made them gluten-free this time around but I have made them in the past using all-purpose flour and regular rice krispies and it works just as well.

If you’ve never encountered it, Imperial cheese is very salty and creamy. Delicious for finger foods but you want to make sure to give it a little taste to emphasize why you don’t need salted butter for this recipe. If you can’t find any, shard cheddar cheese shredded up works well but the texture will be a little different.

I’ve been cooking (and eating) up a storm over the past month so be ready for some healthier recipes coming up in the new year. I’ve already tried some healthy re-makes just for fun, but I have a huge database of bookmarked recipes for things like fruit leather, energy bars and raw salads that I’m excited for.

Crisped Rice and Cheese Wafers

Note: I made two batches for this recipe. One using grated white cheddar and mixing everything with a spatula, the other using Imperial cheese and a food processor. The latter turned out smoother, but both methods still worked and tasted great. That’s why the wafers may look different in each photo.

Ingredients

Makes roughly 24 wafers

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 (250g) container of Imperial cheese or a sharp cheddar cheese, finely grated
  • 1 tsp. vegan Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 cups gluten-free rice krispies (or another puffed rice cereal)
  • 3/4 cup gluten-free flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt

Method

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In the bowl of a food processor, cream together butter and cheese. Add in the Worcestershire sauce and blend until smooth. Process in the flour and rice krispies until just mixed—you still want there to be some texture. You can mix by hand as well if you do not have a food processor handy; the texture will be crunchier. Drop by spoonful onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Flatten with a fork, or lightly flour a drinking glass and press on the tops to flatten. Bake for 8-10 minutes until just golden brown around the edges.

Serve immediately or store in an airtight container on the counter for up to a week. If you are making them in advance, you can put them in an airtight container and freeze them for up to 3 months.

Crisped Rice and Cheese WafersCrisped Rice and Cheese Wafers

Brown Butter Gingerbread Waffles (plus the Christmas Cookie Recipe Roundup entries)

If you feel like having the most festive Christmas morning breakfast ever, you’ve come to the right place. My boyfriend basically did all of the work on this one so this credit goes to him. I got a new waffle iron for my birthday and we bookmarked around 10 waffle posts, but this one was too good to pass up. Brown butter is basically just slow cooked butter that ends up having a delicious smell and sweet taste. Mix that in with all the traditional spices from gingerbread cookies and it becomes a sweet tooth’s dream. As some of you may know I ask people to send in their best cookie recipes for the holidays. I couldn’t link to most of them since they were written out and this post would be never-ending, but the one chosen to be posted up will have full photos, instructions and tips. If one in particular catches your eye, comment below or send me an e-mail and I’ll be happy to share the recipe. Here’s a round up of some of the best submissions I got this year:

  • Vegan Glazed Almond Cinnamon Shortbread
  • Mom’s Pecan Squares
  • Chocolate Marshmallow Rolls
  • Shortbread Bites
  • Nutella Lava S’mores Cookies
  • Oatmeal Butterscotch Apple Pie Cookies
  • Gingerbread Squares with M&M’s
  • Apple Butter Cake Batter Cookies

I will be announcing which recipe is going to be made/posted soon. In the meantime, happy holidays and keep baking! Apologies for any tardiness on this, my computer picked an ideal time to die. Brown Butter Gingerbread Waffles Ingredients Makes 6 waffles

  • 1 cup white whole-wheat flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp. packed brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. ginger
  • 3/4 tsp. cloves
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 6 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1/3 cup molasses
  • 1 ¼ cups whole milk
  • Maple syrup and whipped cream, for serving (optional)

Method   Whisk together both flours, brown sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg. In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Once melted, continue to heat, stirring constantly with a spatula, until brown flecks form. It burns very easily so be careful! It should smell like caramel. Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Whisk together eggs, yogurt, molasses, and milk. Whisk in brown butter to that mixture. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and whisk until just combined. Preheat a waffle maker. Let the batter stand while the waffle maker heats. Lightly coat the iron—I used a paper towel with some vegetable oil. Scoop 1/2 cup of the batter into the centre of your heated waffle maker and spread out with a heatproof spatula. Cook according to manufacturer’s instructions. Serve immediately or keep warm in a 200 degree oven. Serve topped with maple syrup, whipped cream, fresh fruit and a tall glass of OJ. This recipe was adapted from Kristine’s Kitchen. Brown Butter Gingerbread Waffles Brown Butter Gingerbread Waffles

Gluten-Free Cream Cheese Stuffed Pumpkin Muffins

Pumpkin isn’t just for fall. Sure, you may have overdosed on pumpkin spice lattes this year. And sure, it was probably sickening yet amazing. But once you move past the withdrawal, you can get into the real pumpkin flavours of the winter season.

Baking with gluten-free flours is always risky. I was pretty confident in this recipe because pumpkin is very naturally moist which helps keep the mix from crumbling when baking. Also, stuff anything with this cream cheese filling and I won’t complain. I had to stop myself from eating it on it’s own (and failed).

Some of the most important tips of the recipe:

  1. Chill the cream cheese filling.
  2. Follow the ratio of batter to filling.
  3. Allow them to cool.

I adapted this recipe from The Girl Who Ate Everything. The main change was the switch from regular to gluten-free flour. For this recipe, I tried out the newer Robin Hood GF mix which I found has a pretty good texture for baking and acts as a nice substitute. You can still definitely taste the difference, but not so much that it would be off-putting.Gluten-Free Pumpkin Muffins with Cream Cheese Filling

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Muffins with Cream Cheese Filling

Ingredients

Makes 24 muffins

For the filling:
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup confectioner’s sugar
For the muffins:
  • 3 cups gluten-free all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups pumpkin puree (see Note)
  • 1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
For the topping:
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 5 tbsp. all-purpose gluten-free flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 4 tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces

Method

For the filling:

Mix the cream cheese and powdered sugar in a medium bowl until smooth and no lumps remain. Transfer the mixture to a piece of plastic wrap and shape into a log about 1½-inches in diameter. Smooth the plastic wrap tightly around the log, then put in the freezer and chill until at least slightly firm, about 2 hours. The mixture should be firm enough to cut with a knife.

For the muffins:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line muffin pans with paper liners. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, pumpkin pie spice, salt and baking soda; whisk to blend. In the bowl of an stand mixer combine the eggs, sugar, pumpkin puree and oil with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium-low speed until smooth. With the mixer on low speed, add in the dry ingredients, mixing just until incorporated. Do not overmix.

For the topping:

Mix the sugar, flour and cinnamon in a small bowl; whisk to blend. Add in the butter pieces and mix with your hands until it is coarse and crumbly, so that it looks like the texture of wet sand. Transfer to the refrigerator to chill until ready to use.

Assembly:

Fill each muffin well with a small amount of batter, just enough to cover the bottom of the liner (1-2 tablespoons). Slice the log of cream cheese filling into 24 equal pieces. Place a slice of the cream cheese mixture into each muffin well. You want to put the cream cheese lower than you think because it will rise a lot during the baking process. Divide the remaining batter among the muffin cups, placing on top of the cream cheese to cover completely. Sprinkle a small amount of the topping mixture over each of the muffins.

Bake for 20-25 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely before serving. Store in an airtight container for up to a week.

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Muffins with Cream Cheese Filling