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Baking Extravaganza

Posted Dec 15 2011 12:00am
1 1⁄2 cwhole-wheat pastry flour1⁄4 cold-fashioned rolled oats1 tbaking powder1⁄4 tsalt1⁄2 cSunButter, sunflower nut butter1medium banana, mashed1⁄2 cbrown sugar1large egg white2 tbsp
all-fruit morello cherry jam

Good Morning and Happy Thursday!

I have been a busy little bee the last few days and am so excited for the weekend.  I had some early morning clients and then came home to finish off my baking project.  It is the last week of school for the kids and we are giving each teacher a little goodie bag filled with treats and a gift card.  

This year we decided to make:

Jeweled Biscotti
Sunbutter & Fig Jam Thumbprints Dark Chocolate Cashew Clusters topped with a sprinkle of Sugar, Chocolate and Coffee Bean

These treats are all super easy to make and relatively healthy in the big scope of things.
Trio of Goodies

Dark Chocolate Cashew Clusters topped with Sugar, Chocolate and Coffee Bean

7 ounces dark chocolate, chopped 7 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped 2 cups raw cashews Trader Joe's Sugar, Chocolate and Coffee Bean Grinder (optional)

In a large heavy saucepan over low heat, cook and stir the chocolates until melted. Remove from the heat; stir in cashews.  Drop by tablespoonfuls onto waxed paper. Grind Sugar, Chocolate and Coffee Bean over the clusters.  Refrigerate for 10-15 minutes or until set. Store in an airtight container.

I adapted the next recipe from Shape Magazine's PB& J Thumbprint Recipe.  I used Sunbutter instead of Peanut Butter since I am so in love with SunButter right now.  I also made half of the batch with Morello Cherry Jam and the other half with Fig Preserves.  Of course, I had to try these before giving them out to others and they taste exactly like a PB& J sandwich-- in a good way!  The best part is that these little gems are less than 90 calories each.

SunButter and Fig Jam Thumbprints

2 tbsp
fig preserves
Garnish- Powered 1. Preheat oven to 350°F. line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone liner.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, oats, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
3. In a large bowl, combine sunbutter, banana, sugar, and egg white until smooth with a wooden spoon. Add the flour mixture and stir until combined.
5 minutes on sheet; transfer to a wire rack and cool completely. 4. Form dough into 1-inch balls, place on baking sheet 1 inch apart, and make an indentation in the center of each cookie with your thumb. Fill each indentation with about 1⁄2 teaspoon of jam/preserves. Bake for about 10 minutes or until cookies are lightly browned and jam is just starting to bubble. Let cool for 5 minutes.  Garnish with a sprinkle of powdered sugar.

Last but not least- Jeweled Biscotti

Jeweled Biscotti
I love the vibrant colors of the dried apricots, dried cherries and pistachios but feel free to use what ever dried fruit and nut combination you like.

1 cup sifted all-purpose flour 1 1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour 2 teaspoons baking powder 1/4 teaspoon salt 1 tsp cinnamon Zest from one orange
1/2 cup raw pistachios, chopped 1/2 cup dried cherries, chopped

1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped 1 cup evaporated cane juice sugar
6 tablespoons tangerine juice (or orange juice)
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350°. Lightly coat a cookie sheet with cooking spray. In a medium bowl, whisk  flours with the baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Add in the dried apricots, dried cherries, pistachios and orange zest with the flour mixture.  In a large a bowl, combine the sugar, eggs and orange juice. Add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix together.Gather the dough into a ball; if it's sticky, work in a little more flour. Divide the dough in half. On a lightly floured surface, shape each piece into a 13-inch log. Set the logs 2 inches apart on the cookie sheet and gently flatten the logs until they are 3/4 inch thick. Bake the logs for about 20 minutes, or until they are golden on top and a toothpick inserted in the centers comes out clean. 
Let the logs cool for 10 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 300°. Using a serrated knife, slice the warm logs diagonally into 1/2 -inch-thick slices. Arrange the slices on their sides on the cookie sheet; if necessary, use a second cookie sheet. Bake the biscotti for 10 minutes on one side and then another 10 minutes on the other side, or until crisp and golden. Transfer the biscotti to a rack to cool. 

I am wrapping these all up and getting them out of the door as soon as possible!  
We went to Zoe's Christmas Concert last night and it was so fun to see all the kids singing their little hearts out!  This really is a fun time of year.  I am off to squeeze in my workout and burn off a cookie or two:)
Have a great rest of your day!

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