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A Glimpse at Recipes of The Past: Lumberjack Cookies

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I have a small but very treasured collection of cooking books. I have Russian cooking books with recipes prepared for the Czarist family and recipes cooked for the French Aristocracy, as well as a collection of recipe books that I bought here in America, dating back to our American ancestors.
Why do I like these old books so much?
Firstly, the illustrations found in these books are a rare sight indeed nowadays, because each illustration is beautifully drawn in detail, giving insight to a modern-day person of the dedicated and personal atmosphere that emanated from that time period.
Secondly, each recipe in these books has its own story. It’s not just a list of ingredients thrown into a pot and boiled---it’s an entire experience beginning from the detailing of the recipe’s origination to its eventual passage from generation to generation. This is why I have decided to begin a column on this blog dedicated to posting and discussing recipes taken from these books. There’s something very sentimental about making history come back to life.
Feel free to add to our historical recipe collection.

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From "Favorite New England Recipes" 1972

Lumberjack Cookies
Lumbering is a unique occupation and projects a day-to-day life unlike any other. In the upper reaches of the rivers, when spring freshets deepen the water enough to float the logs, men of a particularly courageous breed shepherd the raw wood down the rivers, sometimes for hundreds of miles, to the sawmills. They spend many days on the logs and on a raft with a shanty on it that brings up the rear. In the shanty is a man at whom the others characteristically jeer but deeply value - the cook.

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One morning early in this century, such a log drive was moving along the Muskegon past a riverside farm, when a dignified little woman marched to the water's edge and waved to them. She wished to parley with the lumberjack cook. Just why is explained by Mrs.Paul V.Bretz of St.Paul, Minnesota. "The great lumbering industry of Michigan was beginning to wane, but there was still some lumbering along the Mu. When the logs where being floated down the river to the mills, there was always a cook shanty on a raft following the log drive. It was a great treat for children to have a meal with the lumberjacks on this river raft. They could look forward to fried salt pork, boiled potatoes, boiled beans, hot breads, cookies, and strong black coffee. Good hearty fare.
"These were molasses cookies and so good that my husband prevailed upon his mother to go to the river and learn the recipe from the cook. We always called them 'Lumberjack Cookies,' and here is the recipe:"


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Ingredients:
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup shortening
  • 1 cup molasses
  • 1 cup sour milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ginger, vanilla, and mace (or nutmeg) to taste
  • flour enough to make a soft dough
Directions:
Drop by tablespoons on a lightly greased cookie sheet and bake in a moderate oven (350F) until done, about 10 minutes.

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4 Comments

Lentil Soup with Homemade Turkey Stock - Amazingly Delicious Soup

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Thanksgiving: THE best time to make the turkey stock.
That roasted turkey carcass, will make an extraordinary rich delicious poultry broth.
Chop up that carcass or pull it apart so that it fits into your biggest pot. Cover it with water, enough so it’s covered by an inch or so of water. Bring it to a simmer. Skim off anything that rises to the top that you wouldn’t want to eat if you saw it floating in a bowl of soup. Cook for about two hours then add a couple carrots and a couple big onions, cut up, celery, parsely, thyme, garlic, bay, peppercorns, these are good to add as well, and continue cooking for another hour. Strain through a colander. Then, strain it through a kitchen cloth, cheese cloth if you have it, or any kind of cloth. Now it’s ready to use. Great to try a consomme with. Make a risotto. Any soup or souce. And it freezes great.

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Ingredients:
  • 6-8 cups homemade turkey stock
  • 1 cup smoked turkey, diced
  • 1 cup dried lentils, rinsed well and drained
  • 1/2 cup split peas, picked over and rinsed
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2-3 potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • thyme sprigs (optional)
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Directions:
In a large pot over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onion, smoked turkey and cook, stirring frequently, until onion is soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring frequently, for 3 minutes.

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Stir in the homemade turkey stock, the lentils, split peas, potatoes, paprika, salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer until the lentils are very tender, about 20-25 minutes. Stir in the thyme.
Ladle the soup into warmed bowls. Serve immediately.

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5 Comments

Mushroom and Red Onion Tart with Gorgonzola Cheese and Parsley

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The wonderfully mild and sweet taste of red onions and mushrooms when cooked goes perfectly with Gorgonzola cheese and parsley in this tart.

Ingredients:

  • 1 disk (pate brisee) tart dough
  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 lb. mixed fresh mushrooms, halved or quartered
  • 1 large red onion, chopped
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1/3 cup Gorgonzola cheese
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh parsley
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

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Directions:
To bake the tart shell, preheat an oven to 375°F.
On a floured work surface, roll out the dough into a 12-inch round. Fit into a 9-inch round tart pan and trim the dough, leaving a 1/2-inch overhang. Fold the overhang back over itself and pinch to create a sturdy edge. Pierce the dough all over with a fork.

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Line the pastry shell with aluminum foil or parchment paper and fill with pie weights or raw short-grain rice. Bake for 20 minutes, then lift an edge of the foil. If the dough looks wet, continue to bake, checking every 5 minutes, until the dough is pale gold, for a total baking time of 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack.

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To make the filling, in a large fry pan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the mushrooms and red onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the honey and parsley, season with salt and pepper, and stir to combine. Add the Gorgonzola cheese, mix and remove from heat.
Spread the mushroom mixture in the pastry shell. Garnish with a few parsley springs and cut the tart into wedges and serve with any Jerez, we had Matusalem from Spain and it was wonderful!

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5 Comments

Salmon Mousse - Gorgeous Appetizer for Holiday

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The best thing about this appetizer that you may prepare it one or two days before the Holiday.

Ingredients:

  • 1 envelope unflavored gelatin
  • ¼ cup cold water
  • ½ cup broth from poached salmon
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated onion
  • dash of Tabasco
  • ¼ teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh dill
  • 1 pound finely flaked poached fresh salmon
  • 1cup heavy cream
  • Toast, tomatoes, boil egg, dill, salmon fish row, slice of lemon for serving
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Directions:
To cook poached salmon you need to put 1/2 cup of wine, 1/2 cup of water, dill, parsley and a few thin slices of yellow onion in a saute pan, and bring to a simmer on medium heat. Place salmon fillets, skin-side down on the pan. Cover. Cook 5-7 minutes or to desired done-ness. Do not overcook.
Soften the gelatin in the cold water in a large mixing bowl. Stir in the boiling broth from poached salmon and whisk the mixture slowly until the gelatin dissolves. Cool to room temperature.
Whisk in the mayonnaise, lemon juice, grated onion, Tabasco, paprika, salt, and dill. Stir to blend completely and refrigerate until the mixture begins to thicken slightly, about 20 minutes.
Fold in the finely flaked salmon. In a separate bowl, whip the cream until it is thickened to soft peaks and fluffy. Fold gently into the salmon mixture.
Transfer the mixture to a 6 to 8 prepared ramekins, or decorative mold. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
Garnish with toast, tomatoes, boil egg, dill, salmon fish row.
Yield : 12 portions

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7 Comments

Crunchy Sesame Seed Cookies

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IMPORTANT Note: The WINNER of Box of Tea Forte with porcelain tea cup ensemble, and Pear and Vanilla Jam is Penny Hayes Snyder. Penny, send over your mailing address to cooking [at] melangery [dot] com and I'll send the gift right away. CONGRATULATIONS!

Cookie time. -)
Awesome cookies, very crunchy, very light, addictive, a little hard, so you need to make them thin.

Ingredients:
  •  1tbsp black sesame seeds or chia seeds
  •  1 tbsp white sesame seeds
  •  1 tbsp flax seeds
  •  ¼ cup raw sugar
  •  2¼ cups all-purpose flour
  •  1 tsp cream of tartar
  •  1 tsp baking soda
  •  ¼ tsp salt
  •  1 stick (8 tbsp) unsalted butter, very soft
  •  1 cup granulated sugar
  •  1 large egg
  •  2 tsp bourbon
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Direction:
Center the oven rack and preheat the oven to 375F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
Mix the seeds and coarse sugar in a shallow bowl and set aside.
Combine the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda,and salt in a medium bowl and whisk thoroughly.
With a spoon in a medium bowl or with a mixer, mix the butter with the granulated sugar until smooth and well blended but not fluffy. Add the egg and bourbon and mix until smooth. Add the flour mixture and mix until completely incorporated.

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Using a small ice cream scoop (or just a tablespoon), measure out the dough and roll into 1-inch balls. Press each ball into the seed mixture on both sides, flattening the ball to about 1/2-inch thick. Place the cookies onto the prepared baking sheet spacing them 2 inches apart.

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Bake the cookies, in batches, for about 14 minutes, until the edges are lightly browned, rotating the baking sheet from front to back halfway through the baking time to ensure even baking. Set the baking sheet or just the parchment on rack to cool. Cool completely before stacking or storing. May be kept in an air-tight container for at least 2 weeks.

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101 Comments

Pavlova with Lemon Cream, and Berries - The Perfect Holiday Dessert and a GIVEAWAY!

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No one knows who first created the Pavlova. But the name and the recipes first began appearing soon after Russian prima ballerina, Anna Pavlova (she was born on 12 February 1881, in St. Petersburg, Russia, my home town), toured both Australia and New Zealand in 1926, and Australia again in 1929. Anna Pavlova was considered the greatest ballerina of her time, and her visit to New Zealand has been described as "the chief event of 1926." It was said "She does not dance; she soars as though on wings." From this you get the sense that this is a light, airy dessert.

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There is a controver with both Australia and New Zealand. While it has been suggested this dessert was created in New Zealand, it has also become recognized as a popular Australian dish. Both countries claim to have invented this dessert and claim it as their national dish.

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We don't know who is right, but we do know that this is a miracle of a dessert, and not so difficult that we should shy away from it. The meringue shell is crispy on the outside and creamy on the inside. It is lighter than air, as the great ballerina was supposed to be.
Please read the recipe, and try this magical dessert yourself.

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Adapted from Tartelette

Ingredients for the meringue:
  • 1 cup superfine granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 3 large eggs at room temperature 30 minutes
  • 3 tablespoons cold water
  • 1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
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Ingredients for the filling:
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter
  • 3 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 cups mixed berries
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Directions:
Preheat oven to 300ºF and position a rack in the center.
To prepare the lemon cream, stir sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a saucepan. Add the lemon juice and butter, bringing the mixture to a simmer over medium high heat. Continue to whisk at a simmer, about 1 minute. Whisk about 1/4 of the mixture into the beaten egg yolks, then transfer the egg yolk mixture back into the saucepan. Over low heat, continue to cook, but make sure not to boil, whisking constantly until the lemon curd is thick, about 2 minutes. Scrape into a shallow bowl, stir in the lemon zest, and place a piece of parchment over the surface. Refrigerate for about 1-1/2 hours.

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To prepare the meringue, line a baking sheet with parchment and trace a circle about 7" in diameter in the center. Turn the parchment over.
Whisk superfine sugar and cornstarch together in a small bowl. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat whites with a pinch of salt at medium speed until soft peaks form. Add the water and beat until whites hold soft peaks once again.
On medium-high, beat in sugar mixture 1 Tbsp at a time. After all sugar has been added, beat 1 minute longer. Add vinegar, then beat at high speed until glossy and stiff peaks form, about 5 minutes (longer if using hand-held mixer). The meringue will be extremely thick.
Spread meringue carefully to cover the circle on the parchment, creating a cavity in the center (for the filling). Bake until meringue is pale golden and has a crust, about 45 minutes. Avoid opening the oven door! Turn oven off and prop door open slightly with a wooden spoon. Cool meringue in oven 1 hour. The exterior will be dry and possibly cracked, the inside more like the consistency of marshmallow.
To assemble the pavlova, beat the heavy cream just as it holds stiff peaks, then 1/4 cup at a time, whisk cream into the lemon curd. Check consistency each time before adding more cream. It should be able to mound.
Spoon lemon cream into cooled meringue and mound fruit in the center. Serve with extra whipped cream if desired.

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Once you have the desert ready, all you need is a nice cup of tea. Well, jar of homemade jam would be a nice addition.  So...

Dear Friends, I have a GIVEAWAY today and it is open for everybody around the world.

What's in the parcel:
Box of Tea Forte with porcelain tea cup ensemble, and Pear and Vanilla Jam I've made myself, and it's the best jam ever.

How to enter:
  • Leave a comment at the end of this post
  • To double your chances, "like" Cooking Melangery on Facebook
  • Please one comment per person, anonymous will not be accepted
  • The gift will be shipped to a physical street address, sorry no P.O. Boxes
  • The giveaway will close Sunday, November 20 2011, at midnight Eastern time
Good luck!

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12 Comments

Salmon Vegetable Soup with Barley

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In all the branches of cookery, I don't think there is anything more fun than making soups. Because the flavor builds up gradually as the elements cook together and blend, it is usually a fairly slow process, but one which leaves room for much experimentation and invention.
You must taste as you go along and probably will want to correct the seasoning with a touch or two of your own.

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I love making soups, it's like making a magic potion, stirring, mixing, adding different herbs and spices, tasting, stirring again. My daughter loves watching me cooking soups, she is always saying: "Look, mommy is doing her magic again" and I always smile. :-) Salmon soup was created especially for my kids; they are picky eaters but they like soups. Wild Salmon and barley - it is the symbol to me how the ocean meets the earth - balanced and harmonious. The softness of vegetables and texture of barley are a delicious combination. I hope you like it too.

Ingredients:
  • 2 1/2 quarts fish stock
  • 1 leek (white parts only), thickly sliced crosswise and washed
  • 1 cup potatoes, peeled 
  • 2 middle sized carrots
  • 1/2 cup pearl barley (in this recipe, the tiny grains are used to thicken the soup, resulting in a pleasantly chewy texture)
  • 1 cup broccoli florets
  • 1 Tbsp of melted butter  
  • 1 lb. skinless boneless salmon fillet, cut into 1" cubes 
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 5 peas black pepper
  • 1/2 cup white vine
  • 1 cup low fat cream (if you are using)
  • freshly ground pepper, to taste 
  • salt, chopped dill, green onion

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Directions:
In a large soup pot over high heat, bring the stock to a boil, add pepper and bay leaf. Add the barley, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer until almost tender, 15 to 20 minutes.
Cut potatoes and carrots into cubes, add to the boiling stock. Boil for 15 minutes on low heat.
Preheat the melted butter, stew the leek add up to the stock.
Pour in the white vine, add salt and ground pepper, and boil for 5 minutes.
Put broccoli pieces and cut into cubes salmon fillet into the soup, bring to boil, reduce heat and cook for 10 minutes. If you using cream in the soup, pour in cream and bring the soup to boil one more time, and then remove from heat.
Ladle the soup into warmed bowls. Serve with chopped dill and green onions.

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7 Comments

How To Paint Springerle Cookies

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There are two different techniques to paint the Springerle Cookies. One is BEFORE baking, and another AFTER baking. I like AFTER technique better, the colors don't run while baking.

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Equipment Needed
  • Soft brushes, narrow to medium widths
  • Food coloring, including white (the edible version of white-out!). –or– Luster Dusts
  • Plastic palette
  • Triple Sec or Vodka to make the coloring dry fast and to dilute the color.
  • Paper towel
  • Mug of water

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BEFORE baking technique:
  • make Springerle Dough (find recipe here)
  • mold Springerle Cookies
  • dry Springerle Cookies
  • paint Springerle Cookies
  • bake Springerle Cookies 

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Paint cookies after drying overnight but BEFORE baking. Use paste food colors available in cake decorating shops. Mix 1 egg yolk with 1/4 teaspoon of cold water and mix well with a fork. Divide this into as many small containers as you wish to have colors. To these containers (you may use plastic bottle caps) add some paste food colors and mix with toothpicks.
Keep in mind that the yolk is yellow and will change the hue of the paste colors. The colors also change slightly as the cookies bake. Use narrow artist's paintbrushes that are new or are only used for working with food.

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AFTER baking technique:
  • make Springerle Dough (find recepie here)
  • mold Springerle Cookies
  • dry Springerle Cookies
  • bake Springerle Cookies
  • paint Springerle Cookies

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Use diluted colors (10 drops or more of Triple Sec or Vodka to one drop food coloring). The alcohol will evaporate in your palette rapidly so add more from time to time. Stir with a tooth pick or your brush.
If using Luster Dusts, put about 1/16 teaspoon in a palette well. Add 6-10 drops Triple Sec or Vodka. Stir with a tooth pick or your brush. Luster dusts are not water-soluble, so don’t substitute water.
To make pastel shades, mix your colors with white.
Rinse your brush between colors and blot with a paper towel.
Don’t paint the whole cookie; just do highlights (the raised portions) because the eye will naturally fill in the details. Think of what you’re doing as an impressionist painting.
When you make a mistake, use white food coloring full strength to cover.
If you don’t like your paint job, destroy the evidence: Eat the cookie!
Get children involved in painting. They love it!
Have fun!

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7 Comments

Butternut Squash, Apple and Walnut Muffins and The Last Pumpkin Field Trip

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The Anxious Leaf: Autumn Short Stories - Fall
Once upon a time a little leaf was heard to sigh and cry, as leaves
often do when a gentle wind is about. And the twig said, "What is the matter, little leaf?" And the leaf said, "The wind just told me that one day it would pull me off and throw me down to die on the ground!"
The twig told it to the branch on which it grew, and the branch told it to the tree. And when the tree heard it, it rustled all over, and sent back word to the leaf, "Do not be afraid. Hold on tightly, and you shall not go till you want to."

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And so the leaf stopped sighing, but went on nestling and singing. Every time the tree shook itself and stirred up all its leaves, the branches shook themselves, and the little twig shook itself, and the little leaf danced up and down merrily, as if nothing could ever pull it off. And so it grew all summer long, till October.
And when the bright days of autumn came the little leaf saw all the leaves around becoming very beautiful. Some were yellow and some scarlet, and some striped with both colors. Then it asked the tree what it meant. And the tree said, "All these leaves are getting ready to fly away, and they have put on these beautiful colors because of joy."
Then the little leaf began to want to go, too, and grew very beautiful in thinking of it, and when it was very gay in color it saw that the branches of the tree had no bright color in them, and so the leaf said, "O branches! why are you lead-color and we golden?"

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"We must keep on our work-clothes, for our life is not done - but your clothes are for holiday, because your tasks are over," said the branches.
Just then a little puff of wind came, and the leaf let go, without thinking of it, and the wind took it up and turned it over and over, and whirled it like a spark of fire in the air, and then it dropped gently down under the edge of the fence, among hundreds of leaves, and fell into a dream, and it never waked up to tell what it dreamed about.

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Butternut Squash, Apple and Walnut Muffins recipe adapted from Cannelle et Vanille

The cupcakes came out just perfect: airy, buttery and moist. The recipe would make a beautiful cake, too. I love the color of my creation, it's the autumn on my table. -)

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Ingredients:
  • 1/2 small butternut squash puree, peeled, seeded and diced
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup (100g) light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup (50 g) natural cane sugar
  • 1/3 cup (80 ml) unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1/3 cup (80 ml) coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup (70 g) garbanzo bean flour
  • 1/2 cup (70 g) cake-flour
  • 1/3 cup (45 g) almond meal
  • 3 tablespoons (20 g) potato-starch (potato-starch is excellent in cakes, it makes them light)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 Gala apple, peeled and diced into 1/8-inch pieces
  • 1 ounce (30 g) chopped walnuts
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Direction:
Preheat oven to 350F (180C).
Steam the diced squash until tender, about 10 minutes. Puree it in the food processor and measure 1/2 cup (115 g). Reserve the rest for another use.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the butternut squash puree, eggs, light brown sugar, natural cane sugar, coconut milk, coconut oil and vanilla extract.
In a separate large bowl, whisk together the garbanzo bean flour, cake-flour, almond meal, potato starch, salt, baking soda and cinnamon. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry and whisk to combine. Fold in the diced apples and walnuts.
Pour the batter into the muffin molds or baking cups and bake for 18 to 20 minutes. Let them cool for a few minutes before serving. They will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Makes 12 muffins.

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