Banana-Ginger Cookies

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On Monday, I noticed that we had these two really overripe bananas lying in our fruit basket, which would not have survived an another day. We had intended to convert those in a delicious banana cake that my husband bakes during the weekend. But somehow we missed that train… So here I was. Monday afternoon, working from home. I did not want to take too much effort with banana cake or bread pudding. So instead I went for the cookies. No leavening, no long baking time. Bring it on…

BANANA-GINGER COOKIES

Makes about 15 cookies

Ingredients:

2 overripe bananas
2-3 tbspoons almond butter
2 tbspoons flax seed meal
3/4 cup walnuts
1/3 cup dried cranberries
2-inch piece of fresh ginger
1 cup oats for mixing in the cookie flour
1/3 cup oats for making oat flour
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
2 pinches of salt

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F
  2. In a bowl, mash bananas to pulp.
  3. Add almond butter, 1 cup oats, and flax seed meal. Mix thoroughly.
  4. Blend remaining oats, walnuts, cranberries, and ginger together into a rough powder.
  5. Add this powder to the mix of banana-oats-butter. Sprinkle salt and turmeric powder (gives lovely golden hue).
  6. Mix with spatula to form a shaggy wet cookie dough. Stand for 5-10 minutes.
  7. Line baking tray with wax paper. Coat it with almond butter.
  8. Rub some almond butter over your hands and with that form flat round cookie disks of the flour. Arrange on baking tray in close (but not touching) lines.
  9. Transfer the baking sheet to preheated oven. Keep a small hot water bath, which would not interfere with the baking tray.
  10. Bake for 20-25 minutes till cookies develop golden-brown exterior.
  11. Remove the wax paper sheet (on which cookies are spread) from the baking tray and allow to cool it completely. Trying to remove the cookies when they are still hot may break those. Once cooled, you can get the cookies off the wax paper sheet and store in an airtight jar.

Enjoy the crusty-chewy cookies, which balance natural sweetness of overripe bananas with spice of ginger 🙂

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Vegan Cheesecakes with Almond Meal / Marzipan

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Finding a title for this post was bit of a struggle. Its description tends to get bit lengthy. Yes, it is no-bake. It is vegan ‘cheese’cake. But unlike its equally interesting peers here and here, it does not use cashews or  coconut butter. Instead, taking inspiration from those German-Dutch almond meal/ marzipan desserts (and giving it a vegan twist), it presents one more way to indulge in healthy desserts.

I have so far made it twice, with different fruit compote toppings. Once with mango and the latest with mixed berries. Both use same amounts of ingredients. With berries, I tried to divide the stuff into two servings, with a vain hope that we would enjoy it twice… Failed attempt. We finished off everything, just like the previous one 🙂

VEGAN CHEESECAKE WITH ALMOND MEAL / MARZIPAN

Serves two (with severe condition of sweet tooth)

Ingredients:

a) For base:

1 cup walnuts
5-7 mejdool dates

b) For filling:

1 cup almonds
3-4 tbspoons of lemon juice (adjust per your preference)
3 tbspoons of maple syrup
1/2 cup almond milk (can be replaced with coconut milk)
1/3 cup almond oil (can be replaced with coconut oil)
1/3 teaspoon of food essence of your choice (I have so far used kewra water i.e. Pandanus essence, cardamom, and saffron)

c) For topping:

1 cup of fruit chunks of your choice (I sued mango for the first batch and the mixed berries for the second)
3 teaspoons of sugar
3-4 cloves
1/2 cup water
1 stick of cinnamon
A squeeze of lemon juice and lemon zest (optional)

Method:

a) For base:

  1. Blend dates and almonds together in a mixer/ food processor, till you get grainy dough that can be kneaded together.
  2. Take this dough out and press it into the mold.Note: Since I use food grade silicone molds, I just coated it with little bit of almond butter. You may have to line metal molds with wax paper for easy removal. 

b) For filling:

  1. Take almonds in a glass/ ceramic bowl and cover those with hot boiling water. Keep soaked for an hour. Then peel the loosened skins.
  2. Blend the above soaked and peeled almonds with maple syrup, lemon juice, almond milk, almond oil, food essence in blender till it forms a very smooth and creamy paste (about the consistency of hummus, but without the grainy texture). Add some more almond oil or milk if required (but no water).
  3. Adjust the sweet-tartness and essence to your liking.
  4. Pour this creamy filling onto the pressed walnut-date crust base in the mold.
  5. Stand for 5-10 minutes and then slather with the following topping

c) For topping:

  1. Take the fruit chunks of your choice into a skillet.
  2. Add sugar, cloves, cinnamon, water to it.
  3. Heat on a medium to high heat, with intermittent mixing. As the water content reduces, add lemon juice and pulp.
  4. Remove cinnamon stick and cloves.
  5. Either mash or blend to form a uniform jelly.
  6. Apply this compote topping on the cheesecake.

Keep the cheesecake to set in the freezer for about 3-5 hours. Thaw in the refrigerator section for 15-20 minutes before serving.

Sweet Potato & Coconut Pudding / Halava

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I was looking for sweet potatoes in the market on Friday, which was Marathi New Year. I got it listed under “yam” but as this article on the Kitchn would explain, it is really a sweet potato. When I bought it I had no idea that it would be so surprisingly orange within, unlike the purplish cream-colored ones I had always seen in India.

Anyway, today I made this dessert which I was planning to make on Friday, about three days late than the new year day! But that’s alright, as long as I get to enjoy this satisfying bowl of dessert. The common Indian recipe would be lacto-vegetarian and would use milk and ghee. However, I was looking forward to make a dairy-free vegan version, so substituted that with coconut milk and fresh grated coconut. For sweetness, I chose to rely upon dates, instead of using any refined sugar.

SWEET POTATO & COCONUT PUDDING  or HALAVA

Ingredients:

1 sweet potato.
7 dates (yeah, the magic number, like 7 Harry Potter books!)
1.5 cups of coconut milk
1/2 cup freshly grated coconut (I used frozen)
1/2 teaspoon of cardamom powder (really adds the Indian touch… but can be substituted with cinnamon powder as well)
Chopped nuts like almond/ pistachio for garnish (optional)
A pinch or two of salt
1-2 tbspoon olive oil

Method:

  1. Shred sweet potato into thin strips using mandolin.
  2. Heat olive oil in a pan. Add shredded sweet potato. Sprinkle salt. Stir for 3-5 minutes.
  3. Add coconut milk, chopped dates, and cardamom powder to the pan. Cover it and let the sweet potato cook. Takes about 10 minutes. It may require intermittent stirring.
  4. Take care than sweet potato does not become too mushy. It would absorb the coconut milk but don’t wait till it becomes very dry. We need a consistency that is characteristic of pudding or halava.
  5. When it is time to take it off the heat, mix in the fresh coconut for bringing the extra texture.
  6. Garnish with chopped nuts.

Like any pudding or halava, you can have it while it is still warm or cool it in fridge before serving. It tastes nice both ways.