Saturday, June 18, 2011

June Baking – Emily’s Review

Renee’s Applesauce Cookies

As soon as I read you can’t change this recipe up, I took it as a challenge. I do agree with Jolie – with baking it’s important to get the measurements and ratios right and some things need to be spot on. But with cookies you can always change things up a bit… and my goal was to do that while still sticking with the healthy theme (kind of).

I used half rice flour (because that’s the only gluten free flour I had on hand) and half regular flour. And like Jolie suggested half oat bran and half flax seed meal. I made the dough and made a few pans of cookies so I could taste the original recipe before I started messing with it. They were good, but honestly they have a very blah appearance.

With the rest of the dough, I added in some dried fruit and dark chocolate chunks. Because dark chocolate (70% or higher cocoa content), in moderation, has several health benefits – I learned all about it on the Theo chocolate tour. Since then I’ve taken that piece of info and run with it. If a new study comes out some day saying otherwise, please don’t tell me about it!

I buy these bars from Trader Joe’s and they were perfect for chunking up for cookies (and banana bread).

I had a $10 off coupon for PCC (a Puget Sound Natural Food Co-Op) so I had fun going up and down the aisles and picking out new things to try; Yogi Tea, a cheese cloth (to make homemade ricotta, we’ll see if that actually happens!) and this Coconut Manna. So I threw a few spoonfuls of the coconut manna in the dough along with some flaked coconut. And then I rolled the cookie dough balls in more flaked coconut before I baked them – just to make them pretty.

A purist would say I defeated the purpose. But lucky for me, there aren’t any purists in my household!

These cookies are good. Mind you, they’re not a replacement for my favorites like chocolate chip cookies topped with fleur de sel or a peanut butter cookie bursting with Reese’s Pieces, but for a healthy cookie, they’re darn good. I've been enjoying eating them for breakfast with coffee and in the afternoon before hitting the pool. I really liked the walnuts and the dark chocolate and coconut didn’t hurt!

Kona Inn Banana Bread

My mom has been making this recipe for as long as I can remember and it really is the best banana bread. I’ve never veered from this recipe because I truly believe it doesn’t get any better than this. The important part is to age your bananas well and like Jolie said, throw in a handful or two of chocolate chips at the end.

My bananas went from looking like this:

To this:

To a few weeks or so later, looking like this (perfect for banana bread!):

And because this is a place to try new things, with one loaf I took Michelle’s advice and added coconut in the batter. And with loaf number two I did zucchini bread meets banana bread by using one less banana and adding in two grated zucchinis. Sounds weird, I know. But let me tell you, it was moist!

Curtis and I did a taste test and the verdict is that the original recipe doesn’t need to be changed, but out of these two he liked the coconut version best and I liked the zucchini. Honestly, both were yummy!

Melissa’s Mojito

And since this post is already incredibly long winded, I’m going to keep going. I just wanted to give a shout out to Missy (and Melissa!) and her Thirsty Thursday post for Melissa’s Mojito. I made two mojitos on Thursday to go with our take-out dinner Curtis picked up L Taco and it literally took five minutes! Super easy and so refreshing – that’s my kind of weeknight cocktail!


  1. I agree, I think it screams to be switched up. You met the challenge! How do you like that dark chocolate from TJs? Lovin the mojitos! Glad you enjoyed a batch.

  2. p.s. is that a little blurry Murray in the background of those mojitos? And to which pool do you refer to?

  3. Mis - TJ's dark chocolate is fabulous (and cheap) - it also comes in 1 lb. bars which is great to have on hand for baking.

    Amber - Yes, that's blurry Murray in the background and he was thinking "Will you please stop taking pictures of your silly cocktails and come out here and play with me? And remember when you used to take pictures of me... all you do now is point that camera at food". And the pool is the pool I swim laps in, not some fabulous pool in the sun with a lazy river - *sigh*