Tag Archives: hazelnut

“Ode to Oregon” Blackberry and Hazelnut Cake

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Andrew and I celebrated our 2 year “Oregoniversary” this week with a night out in downtown Portland dinner at Cafe Yumm and cocktails at The Original. (Psst, for locals and Yumm Sauce addicts- I just made a Yumm Sauce knock off and will share the recipe soon if Andrew approves it! ) We also celebrated with  this decadent tasting cake containing two of Oregon’s most abundant edibles : blackberries and hazelnuts.  I regretted turning on the oven for the rest of the evening, but the cake really was divine…
Our four day road trip from Illinois to Oregon was one of the most exciting adventures I’ve had, despite dreading it initially (I hate driving). It’s amazing to look back and see how much we have accomplished and how much has changed since we made that blind leap of faith. Honestly, I don’t know if I would make such a leap where I am in my life now. But two years ago I was a little younger, a little more desperate, and sporting some rosy, heart shaped lenses that made anything Andrew wanted to do seem like the best choice for me, too. I would have followed him anywhere. Really. I’m lucky he picked Portland :)
Anyway… that’s enough nostalgia for now! Wanna know how I made this gluten-free, reduced sugar, little gem?
Even though I used blackberries and hazelnuts, you could make this with lots of other combinations if these aren’t readily available to you. Cherry-Almond? Peach-Almond? Strawberry-Pistachio? The possiblities are endless.

Blackberry-Hazelnut Meringue Cake 

*4 egg whites

*1 cup raw hazelnuts

*1 cup sugar (or use 2/3 cup sugar and 1/3 cup stevia baking mix like I did)

*pinch of salt

*1 cup fresh blackberries

*3/4 cup whipping cream

*1/2 cup greek yogurt

Directions:

1.) Toast hazelnuts in 350F oven for about 15 minutes, shaking pan every few minutes to ensure even cooking. This will make your house smell amazing by the way! Remove from the oven when fragrant and golden brown, transfer to a dish towel and rub vigorously to remove the skins. Don’t fuss if there are a few remaining, but do try to get most off. Let cool, then grind to a powder in a food processor or coffee grinder.

2.) Turn oven down to 300F and line to pans of equal size with parchment paper (I did two loaf pans, because that it the only size pan I have two of, but the original recipe used two 9 inch pie tins). Make your meringue by beating the egg whites and salt until stiff peaks form (you will probably need an electric beater unless you have crazy strong and fast arms). Beat in two tablespoons of the sugar and then fold the rest of the sugar in, two tablespoons at a time. Fold in the ground hazelnuts.

3.) Divide mixture evenly between prepared pans and bake for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, covering with foil if it browns too quickly. Let cool completely on wire racks before assembling cake.

4.) Meanwhile you can prepare the whipped filling by beating the whipping cream (again, bust out that electric mixer for this job) until thick and fluffy. Mix in the greek yogurt by hand and add a touch of sweetener if desired (I used stevia). If you don’t have greek yogurt, do NOT use regular yogurt- it will be too runny. You can use all whipping cream (1 1/4 cups) also, I used greek yogurt for the health benefits and slight tang it imparts.

5.) When cake is cool, lay one slice on a large plate and generously frost, then dot with berries. Lay the other half on top and frost and top with more berries. Isn’t it pretty? You can eat it now and it will be delicious, but it will be prettier, tastier, and much easier to cut if you let it sit a few hours or overnight in the fridge.

This cake was amazing, but I think if I made it again I would use hazelnut macaroon cookies for the crust and layer it like a berry-licious tiramisu. Doesn’t that sound lovely? Now I just need another excuse to make a fancy dessert…

Well I’m off to Mt. Hood with a couple of my clients for work now. It’s just a short trip (1 day and one night) and lets hope everything goes smoothly!

xo/Nikita

 

Three in one Granola Recipe

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Confession: I am a granola addict. I make it every week, and when I was in India last January, it was the number one food I missed. I know, I know, the internet is full of granola recipes, but I have tried many styles and I think this way is really special! What I love about it most, besides the great flavor, is its amazing versatility. The ingredients are highly customizable to what you have on hand or prefer and it can be used to make chewy granola bars, crunchy granola bars, or crunchy loose granola. What more could you ask for? I am such a granola enthusiast that I actually like to divide the batch in half and do one pan of chewy granola bars for taking to school as snacks and one pan of crunchy crumbles to top my oatmeal with. Here is the general recipe, feel free to substitute your favorite nuts, seeds, and dried fruits.

The People’s Granola

Dry

Dry ingredients

Dry:

2 cups rolled oats (regular or gluten free)

1.5 cups chopped or sliced nuts (I used hazelnuts and almonds today)

1 cup dried fruit (I used mission figs, but cranberries are a favorite also), chopped if not already small pieces

1/2 cup unsweetened dried coconut

1/2 cup puffed rice or other puffed whole grain (adds great crisp and lightness)

1/4 cup sesame, sunflower seeds, or pepitas.

Wet

Wet Ingredients

Wet:

1/3 cup each: Peanut butter (or any nut butter), honey (vegans can use agave), brown sugar *If you have coconut oil on hand, add a tablespoon and use a little less of the former three. It will take it to a whole new level!*

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon salt (I love the salty-sweet combo- if you are not a fan or avoid salt, you can cut it down to 1/2 teaspoon)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions: 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Combine oats and nuts (not seeds or coconut yet) on a baking sheet and toast about 10 minutes, until just barely beginning to become fragrant. Add the seeds and coconut and continue roasting about 5 minutes longer, until everything is a light golden brown and smells fragrant.

Meanwhile, chop the dried fruit if necessary and combine the wet ingredients, either in a small sauce pan or in a microwave safe glass container, such as Pyrex. The saucepan method is more accurate, because you don’t want to burn this mixture, but the microwave is a safe bet as long as you check it frequently.

When all ingredients are toasted, transfer them to a large bowl and add the puffed rice and the dried fruit. Stir to combine. Heat the wet mixture, either over medium- low heat on the stove, or in 30 second intervals in the microwave until the sugar is dissolved. Careful not to boil or burn it! A little bubbling is okay, but too much and it will dry rock hard. I like a caramel-like consistency, especially for the chewy bars.

Now you have to decide what kind of granola you want!

chewy bars

Chewy Bars

For chewy bars:

Line a baking dish with parchment  paper or coat in with cooking spray and turn the mixture out onto it. Wet hands with cold water and press the mixture down until the granola is packed and even. Stick them in the freezer or refrigerator- they can be sliced once they have cooled. They will store well in the fridge for at least two weeks, at least up to a month in the freezer. I have never had them last longer than that in this house!

For Crunchy bars:

Follow the above directions, except instead of sticking them in the freezer, put them back in the over for about 15-20 minutes longer.

Granola Crumbles in Soymilk

For Crunchy Crumbles:

Spray a pan with cooking spray and pour the granola on. Bake 15-20 minutes, stirring once or twice. Alternately, make crunchy granola bars and just crumble half and for cereal use.

What is your favorite way to enjoy granola?