Blog - sweets
I’ve adapted this recipe to eliminate the copious amounts of dairy in a very popular dessert we used to regularly make. The Parfait Tortoni, as it was called, was basically a creamy ice cream flavored with Amontillado sherry and meringue chunks.
I made my first adaptation during the previous fall. I created a version of the Tortoni using cashew cream as the base and flavored the cream with a pumpkin puree. It was festive, delicious and very popular.
The version I am presenting below is identical, with the exception of course of the pumpkin puree, which I have now replaced with a mango puree. The result is a light, ice cream-like dessert with wonderful textural chunks of meringue, which I think is a perfect summer dessert to enjoy!
I really enjoy having granola bars on hand because they are, in many ways, the perfect snack food. They are packed full of nutrients and an important source of carbohydrates to boost your energy reserves. Unfortunately, many store-bought granola bars are filled with fats and other mysterious ingredients to promote long shelf lives, and I’m just not willing to ingest these ingredients.
So, I make my own – and they are surprisingly simple to make!
I came across this original recipe from my friend Dawn, co-founder and content guru at Rouxbe Online Cooking School. The recipe itself is quite simple to prepare and it uses only natural and healthy ingredients. You can also make the entire recipe gluten-free if that is important to you by making sure you use certified gluten-free oats.
The base of these granola bars are dates, and here it is important to get off to a good start. Always make sure your dates do not have any pits in them before beginning. Be sure to soak the dates in warm water until they soften – usually no more than an hour, unless of course, your dates are already quite soft. Process the dates quite well in a food processor until they begin to ball up. I don’t like using a high speed blender for this task because I think the dates become too soft and mushy. They should have a bit of texture, but also completely processed.
Once the dates are complete, it is really only a matter of combining the remaining ingredients…and here there is a great deal of flexibility. For instance, try using cashew butter instead of almond butter for a lighter version. Add some raisins to the mix as well. For a crunchier version, try adding a handful of GM-free soy flakes. Dried ginger gives the bars a bit of punch…and cinnamon is an excellent addition, especially if you are adding some chopped dried apples.
Cavallucci are traditional, rustic biscotti (cookies) that date back to 16th century Tuscany. They are now frequently given as gifts during special occasions or holidays. They are especially beloved during the Christmas holiday season.
According to some really old Tuscan cookbooks, their name seems to stem from the cavalli (horses) used for delivering the mail. It is believed that the postal workers who substituted the tired horses with new horses ate the cookies on a regular basis…presumably as a snack. At one time, the shape of a horse was stamped on the surface of the cookies, but that is rarely seen these days.
The cookies are traditionally round and fairly large with an irregular shape. Original versions were made using only flour, a little sugar, anise seeds and a couple of walnuts. Modern day versions are now made with acacia honey and sugar slowly melted over low heat, then mixed with flour, chopped walnuts and hazelnuts, minced candied citron and orange, some spices (anise seeds, nutmeg, coriander powder) and a pinch of baking soda to lighten the dough. Once cooled, the dough is rolled into long logs and divided into pieces before being baked for about twenty minutes.
There is another version coming from the seaside village Grosseto, which tend to be a bit larger and softer than most other Cavallucci. They tend to have almonds, coriander seeds, nutmeg and cinnamon…which do seem perfect for Christmas.
Cavallucci are simple to make…and are always completely dairy-free! A bonus to me and a real treat for my sweet tooth!