Coconut Macaroons

My French husband laughs at calling these macaroons, after all the French are pretty particular about their meringue macarons. However, my Jewish heritage had me eating these coconut confections during Passover, but today I whipped up a batch as a sweet treat for my husband who adores coconut. The recipe is easy and the outcome is nothing short of delicious. I think they make the perfect end to a meal with a little espresso. I dipped mine in a bit of chocolate mixed with a tad bit of butter, but their perfect all on their own.

CoconutMacaroons

Bon appétit!

Au Revoir Summer: Menu with Recipes

Chocolate Hazelnut Cake

Fall temperatures have arrived finally in Lyon signaling the end of summer. We took advantage of the weather this weekend and hosted a dinner on our terrace on Friday night for a few friends. Check out my “end of summer” menu utilizing the bbq and the last of the season’s tomatoes, zucchini, eggplant and fresh herbs, along with what’s become my favorite go-to dessert.

End of Summer Menu

Aperitif

Tuna Rillettes – rillettes of all types (pork, salmon duck, etc…) are popular in France and this recipe didn’t disappoint our French friends

Entrée

Grilled Eggplant & Tomato Stack with Feta

Main

Grilled Salmon with Mint Cream Sauce – we grilled our salmon on the bbq instead of searing it in the pan

Side

Pan Roasted Zucchini with Basil & Mint

Dessert

Chocolate Hazelnut Cake with Chocolate Cinnamon Buttercream Frosting – if you love hazelnuts as much as I do then mixing them with chocolate is just the icing on the cake. I tend to cut the frosting recipe in half, as I like my cakes lightly frosted. I’ve made this cake three times and it’s a winner each time!

Here’s to a wonderful summer and what’s sure to be an exciting fall with our little one on the way.

Bon appétit!

Low-Fat Chocolate Banana Bread

ChocolateBananaBread

I absolutely love a good banana bread, scratch that, I love any bread-like pastry! This recipe is not only delicious, but it is relatively good for you too. I actually mixed a few different recipes to come up with this one.

Low-Fat Chocolate Banana Bread

Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 45 minutes
Makes 8 mini bread loafs or one 9×5 inch loaf pan

Cooking spray
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sugar free applesauce
3/4 cup honey
2 eggs, beaten
3 mashed overripe bananas
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 ounces of dark chocolate, melted

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

2. Spray the loaf tins with cooking spray.

3. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt.

4. In a separate bowl, mix together applesauce and honey. Stir in eggs and mashed bananas until well blended. Add vanilla.

5. Stir banana mixture into flour mixture; stir just to moisten.

6. Melt chocolate in a double boiler (sit a small bowl over boiling water)

7. Pour some of the banana batter (1 cup) into the chocolate.

8. Pour some of the reserved banana batter into the tin, then add a bit of the chocolate/banana batter, then another layer of banana mixture

9. Bake in preheated oven for 40-45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of the loaf comes out clean.

Packaged with a petite fork attached with some washi tape and topped off with anther loaf tin makes for the perfect picnic dessert.

Bon Appétit!

Guiltless Chocolate Fudge Muffins

Guiltless Chocolate Fudge Muffins

Craving chocolate, but not interested in all of those calories? I have the answer! These guiltless chocolate muffins have all the taste of a decadent fudge with only 154 calories. When it comes to desserts I’m usually not interested in saving calories, but this is one of those recipes that has all the taste of your average naughty dessert without feeling naughty about eating it.

Guiltless Chocolate Fudge Muffins

Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Makes 8 muffins

Cooking spray
1 cup applesauce
1 teaspoon canola oil
1/2 cup turbinado (or drak brown) sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
3/4 cup oat flour*
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
Powdered sugar (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place 8 paper liners in muffin tin; coat with cooking spray.

2. Combine applesauce and next 4 ingredients. In a separate bowl, whisk together the next 6 ingredients. Add oat mixture to applesauce mixture; stir until blended. Stir in chocolate chips.

3. Spoon batter into cups. Bake for 20-22 minutes, rotating the pan a half-turn after 10 minutes. Muffins are done when tops are firm to the touch.

4. Cool slightly. Top with powdered sugar.

*If you can’t find oat flour you can grind regular coats in a food processor.

Health Tip: For baking recipes that call for a half-stick of butter substitute a large mashed ripe banana, plus a drizzle of canola oil instead to cut fat and calories and add some healthy carbs.

Bon Appétit!
Recipe from Health Magazine 2008

Chocolate Chip-tastic!

When I found this recipe for chocolate chip cookies I just knew I had to try it. If there was ever a soft spot for me when it comes to sweets it’s in the perfect chocolate chip cookie. These little circles of love are the perfect mix of sweet and salty, which is a mix I can never pass up.

I have to admit they aren’t the wait-til-the-last-minute cookie as the dough is best when it sits in the frigo for at least 72 hours; however once you make the dough you can freeze it and pop them in the oven when your craving hits.

I made them last year for Mother’s Day and packaged them in kraft paper bags (line them with parchment paper, so the bags don’t get oily) and added a red handle from another paper bag I had along with adding a red gingham ribbon to finish it off. I always like to personalize my gifts and so I added a hand-stitched initial on to each bag.

Bon Appétit!

Chocolate Chip Cookies by Trois Petits Coeurs