Archive for the ‘dessert’ Category

Mango Chia Pudding {and Whole Foods #Giveaway!}

Friday, April 11th, 2014

Move over March Madness, it’s Mango Madness right now at Whole Foods Market — aka #MuchosMangos — and they asked us to cook something up to celebrate.

Ataulfo mangos | foodietots.com

I asked the foodie tots what they wanted to make first, and the boy suggested smoothies. But when we blended it up with chia seeds — for an extra boost of fiber — it was so thick we decided to call it dessert. Of course, it’s really just yogurt and fruit so it’s equally suitable for breakfast, but I know I can always use another healthy fruit-based dessert in my repertoire. I’m also thinking these would be great frozen in push-pops this summer!

Mango Chia Puddings by FoodieTots

The Ataulfo mango, on sale right now at Whole Foods Markets, is a sweet, creamy mango perfect for a quick snack, or to use in a salad or salsa. Mango salsa is definitely in order for our next taco night, and I know my kids would love this Mango Miso Tofu Salad.

Back to this pudding. I used plain greek-style yogurt, two mangos, a little honey to sweeten it, and scoop of chia seeds. Most recipes for chia pudding use the chia seeds as the thickener, so they use a lot more. Because the mango and yogurt mixture is pretty thick already, you don’t need to use as many seeds, which is great if you’re just introducing chia seeds to your kids. Also, the seeds soften while the pudding sits, so do let it chill in the refrigerator for 15 minutes or more before eating.

mango yogurt and chia seeds | foodietots.com

Recipe: Mango Chia Pudding

Makes 2 servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 Ataulfo mangos, peeled and cubed
  • 1/2 cup organic Greek-style yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon chia seeds

Instructions:

  1. Place all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth.
  2. Pour into glass ramekins or serving bowls and chill until ready to serve.

Note: If making these for children under 1 year, omit the honey.

FoodieTots Tip: Mangos are great for knife skills practice for little ones. The foodie tot helped peel these mangos (using a veggie peeler), and then carefully sliced them.

practicing knife skills

Ever wonder how to tell when a mango is ripe? Here are helpful tips from Whole Foods Market….

How to select and store mangos:

  • Give it a (gentle!) squeeze. A ripe mango will have a slight give, much like a peach or an avocado.
  • Don’t judge a mango by its color! Fully ripe mangos may have red, golden yellow or green skin.
  • Check the cheeks and shoulders. The sides of a mango are called “cheeks.” A mature mango should have full cheeks and “shoulders” that rise above the beginning of the stem.
  • Ripen at room temperature. If you need to speed the ripening process, place the mango in a paper bag.
  • Move ripe fruit to the fridge, which can help slow down ripening, if needed.

GIVEAWAY: Whole Foods Market is generously providing a $75 gift card to one lucky reader! Tell us your favorite use for mangos below, and follow the widget prompts for additional ways to enter. Contest closes at 11:59pm EDT next Friday, April 18.

kid-friendly mango chia pudding | foodietots.com

Disclosure: This post and giveaway is sponsored by Whole Foods Market. All opinions, as always, are our own.

* shared with BeckyCharms & Co. WOW It’s Wednesday link-up. *

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies {Kids Cook Monday}

Monday, November 14th, 2011

I know, here we are on the cusp of holiday baking season — the arrival of Gourmet’s annual cookie issue was better than Christmas to many a food blogger — and here I am with plain old chocolate chip cookies. But before the hustle and bustle of the holidays, why not enjoy a simple pleasure. A recipe simple enough to make with the kids, an easy after-school treat for a rainy Monday, or, in my case, a quick way to assuage a mama’s guilt after a weekend away.

oatmeal chocolate chip cookies

Chocolate chip cookies can be a polarizing matter — do you like yours crispy or chewy? I add oatmeal, which makes them healthy (it does, right?) and lends the perfect crisp-chewy texture, in my opinion. Like many recipes, it is based off the back of the chocolate chip package. Aside from the addition of oatmeal, I also double the salt and add almond extract with the vanilla. (I can’t take credit for that either — it’s a tip gleaned from Giada.) I’ve been known to use a mix of raisins or cranberries, or even coconut, with the chocolate chips, but I’ll leave those choices up to you.

Recipe: Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
Adapted from Ghiradelli’s baking chip package

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup granulated cane sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 12 ounces chocolate baking chips

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2. Beat butter and sugars at medium speed until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, and vanilla and almond extracts, continuing to mix on low speed until well combined. Add flour, baking powder and salt, then gradually add oats until just incorporated. Stir in chocolate chips.

3. Line baking sheets with parchment paper and drop dough by tablespoon onto pans. Bake for 9-11 minutes, until centers are dry and edges are lightly golden. Remove to cooling rack and try to hold back little hands at least until the cookies are no longer piping hot.  Makes about 3 dozen cookies, depending on the size of your scoops.

Sour Cherries and the Trouble with Pies

Tuesday, July 5th, 2011

What is it about baking a pie that strikes fear into the heart of even accomplished home cooks and, ahem, food bloggers alike? A flaky pie crust is a lovely showcase for summer’s ripest berries and fruit, but it’s that pesky crust that seems to spoil the best pie-making intentions. I’m guilty myself of scrapping plans for a pie to make a cobbler or crisp instead. Even if you have a trusty crust recipe on hand, a pie must be planned for — with the requirement to chill the dough before rolling it out, it simply cannot be left to the last minute. (And then you’re supposed to let it cool before serving — rather than immediately spooning it out and scooping a spoonful of vanilla ice cream on top.)

sampling sour cherries

I dragged lured the whole family out to the Bloomingdale Farmers Market on Sunday to secure the elusive sour cherries* for pie baking. (Reid’s Orchard at the market is one of my favorite sources of summer berries and fruits.) Seriously, the mad rush for sour cherries at the more trafficked DC markets is even to put anyone off baking. Not so at Bloomingdale, where the boy observed the modest line at the berry stand and said, “Let’s come back to this one,” before continuing down to pick an array of summer squashes from Garner’s. We selected hot dogs from Truck Patch for grilling, pastries from Panorama Bakery to consume right there (with iced coffee drinks from Big Bear Cafe next door), and some cheese from Keswick Creamery (and chocolate pudding … for the husband). After cooling down on Big Bear’s patio — where the boy joined several other children in planting himself under the mister — we picked up a pint of Dolcezza gelato to go as well.

foodietots cherry pie

But back to the pie… Pie crust is nothing complicated — butter (or lard), salt, sugar, flour, water. Use cold butter and work quickly, and chill the dough thoroughly before rolling it out. Rolling a pie crust is an essential skill  for any child to learn, so sprinkle a generous amount of flour onto your clean counter or cutting board and put them to work — and then, should it turn out less photogenic than you’d hoped, you can just inform your guests that your little one made the crust. ;-)

Now the good thing about pie is that once you conquer your fears of crust-making, the filling is endlessly adaptable. A couple (~4) cups of berries or fruit, 2 tablespoons corn starch, 1/2-cup or so of sugar, squeeze of lemon juice and pinch of fresh herbs or spices. (I like nutmeg with cherries, a tiny bit of rosemary or thyme with peaches, and of course, cinnamon with apples.) Toss them together and pour into the prepared shell, dot the top with butter and arrange your top crust — or strips, latticed if you want to get fancy — over. Crimp the edges (again, no need to get fancy — a quick pinch will do), cut a few slices for venting, and bake. (400 degrees for about an hour, covering edges with a strip of foil to prevent over-browning.) Voila! Now just try to resist slicing into it until it’s cooled.

It’s #PieParty today, a virtual pie bake-fest created by GlutenFree Girl, and more than a thousand bloggers are conquering crust-phobia to share their pie creations.

When pie baking plans go awry (read: kids or life in general get in the way of baking time), here’s a fall-back strategy: pit the cherries (or otherwise wash/prep the fruit you have on hand), toss them with the cornstarch/sugar/spices, and pour into a gallon-sized freezer bag. Stick it in the freezer until another day… and enjoy almost-instant pie.

pickled cherries

* Wondering what else to do with sour cherries? Try homemade bourbon cherries (for the grown ups, of course), or pickle them for a wonderful accompaniment to cheese. If time is less of an issue for you, here’s a recipe to put up sour cherry pie filling for winter, via the domestic guru Mrs. Wheelbarrow.

How Not to Bake Gingerbread Men

Wednesday, December 29th, 2010

Don’t be surprised if you reach for the molasses and your child starts talking about the Battle of Manassas
(especially if one of his best friends is a budding Civil War buff).

Don’t expect your child to heed your warnings about eating raw cookie dough after he catches you nibbling on it.
(But do buy your eggs from a trusted local farmer.)

Don’t expect to have your child spread flour on the cutting board without it also winding up on the wall, floor and his hair.

Don’t hope for traditional Christmas cookie shapes when you have Star Wars cookie cutters and a four-year-old boy in the house.

Don’t set out bowls of frosting and expect little fingers not to be promptly plunged in them.

Don’t arrange sprinkles in easy-to-access little cups and not expect two pinches to be consumed for every one sprinkled on cookies.

Don’t decorate cookies at 9 pm and expect your child to fall asleep before midnight,
or before he runs 10 laps through the living room and around the tree.

Gingerbread (Clone War) Cookies
Source: The Gourmet Cookie Book

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves*
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup unsulfured molasses
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice*

Instructions: In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves and ginger. In the bowl of a mixer, or other large mixing bowl, lightly beat the egg. Add brown sugar, molasses, butter and allspice and beat on medium low speed until well combined. Slowly add the dry ingredients and mix on low until flour is incorporated. Shape dough into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour or overnight.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Divide dough into smaller portions and roll out on a lightly floured cutting board to 1/3-inch thick. Dip cookie cutters in flour before cutting out desired shapes. Gently transfer to a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Bake for 7 to 8 minutes, watching closely to ensure they only slightly begin to brown. Let cool on baking sheet for a couple minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack and cool completely before decorating.

To decorate, we just mixed up a simple powdered sugar glaze and tinted it various colors. For more elaborate designs, use royal icing.

Notes: The recipe calls for 6-inch gingerbread men and 12 minute cooking time. With more standard 3-inch cookies, you’ll need much less time. I did not have cloves or allspice, so I omitted the cloves and used nutmeg in place of allspice.

{Summer Sweets} Watermelon Slush

Friday, August 13th, 2010

Without a doubt the best purchase I’ve made this summer is our sno cone maker. I keep these great natural fruit concentrates in the fridge and we can just come home, pop a few ice cubes in and voila — an icy, refreshing sweet treat in seconds with no added sugar.

The best part of having the sno cone maker is that we’re not limited to pre-made flavors. A little fresh fruit and simple syrup is all it takes to make our own custom flavors. This watermelon version was fabulous, and oh so simple. I happened to have vanilla simple syrup on hand, you could use any flavored or even herb-infused simple syrup to up the sophistication factor. But if you’re just craving a simple fruity slushie, watermelon and a little sugar are all you need.

Recipe: Watermelon Slushie (or Sno Cone)

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups watermelon, cubed
  • 1/4 cup simple syrup*
  • shaved ice

Instructions: Load watermelon into your blender. Add simple syrup, cover and puree until smooth. Pour into a pitcher and refrigerate until ready to serve. Then, fill a glass or sno cone cup with shaved ice, pour watermelon syrup over and enjoy! Makes about a half quart of syrup.

* To make simple syrup: Combine 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water in a small saucepan. Bring to a gentle boil, whisking to dissolve the sugar. When it begins to boil, remove from heat and let cool. (You can add a vanilla bean half or a handful of basil or mint after removing from heat to add flavor.) Store leftover syrup in the fridge — and use for iced tea, coffee or cocktails.