Easy Chocolate Chia Pudding

20180201_145246Cold and flu season is in full force this year and it does not seem to be ending any time soon. Whether you turn on the news, go to social media, run into friends, or get a call from family, the topic of colds, flu, and feeling ill is going to be seen or heard. Luckily, I have yet to get sick this year (knock on wood). It is a great achievement considering I have Crohn’s Disease, which automatically puts me at a disadvantage in the fight against germs due to a weakened immune system. I attribute my ability to avoid illness to my healthy diet and lifestyle. I initially learned about nutrition in culinary school then again when I went back to school for my medical degree. Pair that with many years of research about my disease and I have learned a great deal about nutrition and how to naturally prevent illness and disease.

The first step is to understand the immune system/gut connection. A lot of people are unaware that about 70% of your immune system is in your gut. In your intestines there are hundreds of billions of bacteria living there. Most of the bacteria is good while some of it is bad. Once the bad bacteria begins to outnumber the good bacteria, that is when your immune system gets compromised and you are at more risk to get sick. The good news is you can have a lot of control over the ratio of bacteria by ensuring there is more good bacteria (aka probiotics) than bad bacteria. Now this does not mean I am recommending you run out and buy a probiotic supplement. You have many opportunities throughout the day to feed your gut immune-boosting foods like fruits, vegetables, beans, yogurt, spices, fresh herbs, and this easy and indulgent chocolate chia pudding.

20180201_145134Although a sweet and delicious dessert or snack, this pudding contains a quadruple threat of four specific ingredients (kefir, cinnamon, honey, cocoa) known to either feed the good bacteria or directly increase its quantity. Fermented foods like kefir are naturally rich in probiotics. Cinnamon, honey, and cocoa are all rich in antioxidants, anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, and anti-bacterial properties. These properties help build up your immunity by lowering the release of arachidonic acid from the membranes that surround the cells. This process also helps lessen inflammation, which is the leading cause of many chronic health problems and diseases. If you want a sweet treat that will also benefit your health, give this easy pudding recipe a try!

Easy Chocolate Chia Pudding

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Plain 1% Kefir
  • ¼ cup Chia Seeds
  • 1 tsp. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • ½ tsp. Ground Cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp. Unsweetened Dark Cocoa Powder
  • 2 tbsp. Raw Honey
  • Dark Chocolate Chips; for topping

Formula:

  1. In a medium bowl combine the kefir, chia seeds, vanilla, cinnamon, cocoa powder, and honey. Cover and refrigerate overnight (or for at least 12 hours).
  2. When ready to serve, remove from the refrigerator and spoon into small bowls. Top each bowl with a few dark chocolate chips and serve.

 

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM: ERIN MACDONALD & TIFFANI BACHUS
PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2018

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Ginger Lemon Pinwheel Cookies

20180101_144943Happy New Year everyone! I hope you all had a very enjoyable holiday season full of good food and quality time spent with family and friends. As we welcome 2018 we all have likely set goals or resolutions for the new year. For me it is to continue the resolution I set last year, which is to always keep progressing by trying new things out of my comfort zone. As simple as these cookies may seem, they certainly fit the mantra of pushing myself.

20180101_144922.pngYou see, I am a drop cookie person. I hate waiting for cookie dough to chill in the refrigerator because I love raw cookie dough. Therefore, the longer it hangs out in the fridge the more of it disappears before it ever has a chance to hit a baking sheet. Once the dough is adequately chilled then you have to flour counters and rolling pins and despite your efforts you still end up with a mess of dough stuck everywhere.  Although I tend to avoid the rolled out cookie dough types, I decided these pinwheels would be the newest addition to the holiday table along with the regular offerings. I used sheets of plastic wrap to roll out both batters to reduce mess and clean up. Although these cookies do require a patient baker, they are not as challenging as they appear. Things went a lot smoother than envisioned (even with a 4-year-old kitchen helper) and I was really impressed with the results. These cookies are a great combination of flavors and make for a beautiful cookie!

20180101_144906

Ginger Lemon Pinwheel Cookies

Ginger Dough Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup Unsalted Butter; softened
  • 1/3 cup packed Brown Sugar
  • ¼ cup Molasses
  • 1 Large Egg Yolk
  • 6 oz. (1 1/3 cups) All-Purpose Flour
  • ¾ tsp. Ground Ginger
  • ¾ tsp. Ground Cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. Salt
  • 1/8 tsp. Ground Nutmeg
  • Dash of Allspice

Lemon Dough Ingredients:

  • 5 tbsp. Unsalted Butter; softened
  • 2/3 cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1 Large Egg White
  • 1 tsp. Lemon Extract
  • ¾ tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 6 oz. (1 1/3 cups) All-Purpose Flour
  • ¼ tsp. Salt

Preparation:

  1. To prepare ginger dough: Place the butter and brown sugar in a medium bowl and beat with a mixer at medium speed until well combined. Add the molasses and egg yolk and beat until well blended. Combine flour, ginger, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg, and allspice and stir with a whisk. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and beat at low-speed just until combined. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill at least 30 minutes or overnight.
  2. To prepare the lemon dough: Place the butter and granulated sugar in a medium bowl and beat with a mixer at medium speed until blended. Add the egg white and beat until blended. Beat in the lemon extract and vanilla. Combine the flour and salt. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and beat at low-speed just until combined. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill at least 30 minutes or overnight.
  3. Unwrap chilled ginger dough and roll between sheets of plastic wrap into a 13 x 8 1/2 inch rectangle. Chill dough for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, unwrap the lemon dough and roll between sheets of plastic wrap into a 13 x 9 inch rectangle. Chill dough for 10 minutes. Carefully stack ginger dough on top of lemon dough, leaving a 1/2 inch border along one long edge. Starting with the long side without a border, roll up dough, jelly roll style. Seal the edges but do not seal the ends of roll. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze for 30 minutes.
  4. Preheat oven to 350°. Unwrap dough. Cut with a sharp knife into 40 slices that are about ¼ inch thick. Reshape the rounds, if necessary, or return dough to chill in the freezer. Arrange slices 1 inch apart on baking sheets. Bake, 1 batch at a time, for 8 to 9 minutes or until set and lightly browned. Cool on wire racks.

PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2018

Pumpkin Pie Pudding Bites

20171122_124753Thanksgiving is only a few days away which means holiday baking has already begun or is about to begin shortly. A staple of most American’s Thanksgiving feast is the pumpkin pie. Although I love a slice of traditional pumpkin pie with a dollop of whipped cream I also enjoy developing desserts inspired by classic flavors. This year I chose pumpkin pie and created these pumpkin pie pudding bites to suppress my creative itch.

20171122_124734Despite my love for pumpkin pie I understand it can be a difficult pie to master, especially for novice bakers. Anything custard based can be tricky and the smallest mistake can be all the difference between the perfect pie and disaster. Of course you can always buy a pie from the bakery or supermarket but many families enjoy the baking process and passing a dish they made themselves with love. That is where these pumpkin pie pudding bites can help. If you do not want to take on the task of baking a pumpkin pie from scratch but also do not want to miss out on the great taste that is pumpkin pie, these bites are the answer to all of your problems.

20171133Not only do these bites channel all the flavor and texture profiles of traditional pumpkin pie (with half the effort), they are also extremely portable and the perfect size for little fingers or those prone to overindulging. Try making them in place of a traditional pie if you need a quick last minute dessert, as a portion controlled offering for the health conscious, a mess free treat at the kid’s table, or as an interesting addition to your classic offerings.

Pumpkin Pie Pudding Bites

Ingredients

  • ½ cup Granulated Sugar; divided
  • 2 tbsp. Cornstarch
  • 1 ¾ cups Milk
  • 1 Large Egg
  • ½ cup canned Unsweetened Pumpkin
  • 1 tsp. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • ½ tsp. Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp. Salt
  • 1/8 tsp. Ground Nutmeg
  • 2 pkg. Puff Pastry Shells
  • ¼ cup Chopped Walnuts
  • Dash of Salt
  • ¼ cup Heavy Cream

 

Preparation

  1. Combine 6 tbsp. sugar and cornstarch in a saucepan over medium heat. Combine the milk and egg and stir well with a whisk. Gradually add the milk mixture to sugar mixture, stirring constantly, and bring to a boil. Cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly, then remove from heat.
  2. Combine pumpkin, vanilla, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg in a bowl, stirring well. Slowly add the pumpkin mixture to the milk mixture, whisking constantly. Place pan over low heat and cook for 3 minutes, or until thoroughly heated (do not boil), stirring constantly. Transfer pudding into a bowl and cover surface with plastic wrap. Chill.
  3. Meanwhile, line a baking sheet with foil and coat foil with cooking spray. Place the remaining 2 tbsp. sugar, walnuts, and dash of salt in a small skillet. Cook over low heat until the sugar dissolves and is golden, about 3 minutes, stirring frequently to coat nuts. Transfer nuts to the prepared baking sheet and cool completely. Once cool, coarsely chop nuts.
  4. Prepare puff pastry shells according to package directions. Cool completely. Place cream in a bowl. Beat with a mixer at high speed until stiff peaks form. Fill shells with chilled pudding. Top each filled shell with a dollop of whipped cream and chopped nuts. Serve immediately (if not serving immediately, wait to whip the cream and top bites).

 

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM: SUSAN RUSSO
PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2017

Peanut Butter Banana Protein Muffins

20171113_142923Muffins are a tasty treat with so many flavor possibilities that almost anyone can find at least one type to enjoy. Muffins are also a great convenience food, especially for those looking for a healthy snack or quick on-the-go breakfast. Unfortunately, they tend to get a bad reputation, all thanks to the hordes of mass-produced, processed impostors sold in stores. When you make your own at home, however, you can enjoy all the tasty goodness with real, wholesome ingredients you should be eating, like mashed fruit, Greek yogurt, nuts, and healthy oils.

20171113_143004I initially developed these peanut butter banana protein muffins to make one of my favorite breakfast options, peanut butter banana toast, more portable for busy mornings. When I have to get my hubby to work or my oldest daughter to school and no one feels like getting out of bed, these become a breakfast savior. I just pull them from the refrigerator or freezer, heat them up in the microwave for 15 seconds, and before you know it breakfast is served and out the door we go. For mornings that I have time to make breakfast, these become a great snack. If you are health conscious, these muffins are a delicious, flourless pre- or post-workout snack, due to the high protein content (peanut butter & Greek yogurt) and healthy carbs (oat flour) needed to fuel, repair, and rebuild the body. These muffins can be made ahead and stored in an airtight container at room temperature for about 4 days. You can freeze any that you have not used within that time period for up to 3 months.

20171113_142937I know some of you may still be skeptical. How can enjoying a delicious, sweet little muffin for breakfast or a snack be healthy? Well if you are still not convinced maybe the following example will help you understand a little better. Let’s pretend you normally have two slices of whole-wheat peanut butter banana toast for breakfast (I usually only have one but many typically have two slices). Two slices of whole-wheat bread, 2 tablespoons of natural peanut butter, one banana, and two teaspoons of honey will easily add up to almost 500 calories. One of these flourless muffins has less than 150 calories, 1.5 grams saturated fat, 5 grams of Protein, 2 grams of Fiber, 20 grams of carbs, and only 7 grams of sugar. I know it sounds too good to be true but it really is a healthier and super easy option. For those who are not concerned if they are healthy, I guarantee you will enjoy them just like you would any other sugar laden muffin!

Peanut Butter Banana Protein Muffins

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups Oat Flour (process 2 cups Old Fashioned Oats in a food processor until fine)
  • 1 tsp. Baking Powder
  • ½ tsp. Baking Soda
  • ¼ tsp. Sea Salt
  • 2 Large Eggs; divided
  • 2 tsp. Olive Oil
  • ½ cup plus 2 tbsp. Greek Yogurt; divided
  • ¼ cup Pure Maple Syrup
  • 1 tsp. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 3 Bananas; divided
  • 2 tbsp. Natural Unsalted Peanut Butter

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners. Set aside.
  2. To prepare batter, mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together 1 egg and oil. Stir in the ½ cup of yogurt, maple syrup, and vanilla. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and stir until just combined.
  3. Mash 2 ½ bananas and fold into the mixture until just combined and no white streaks of banana remain. The mixture will still appear lumpy.
  4. To prepare the filling, mash the remaining ½ banana in a small bowl. Stir in the remaining 1 egg, 2 tbsp. yogurt, and peanut butter until well combined.
  5. Fill one-third of each muffin liner with batter. Dollop 1 tsp. of filling into each liner. Divide the remaining batter evenly among the liners to cover the filling. Bake muffins for 18 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center of the muffin. Let muffins cool in the tin for 5 minutes, then remove muffins from the tin and finish cooling on a wire rack.

 

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM: HEATHER BAINBRIDGE
PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2017

Peanut Butter Cup Blondies

20170817_163227Next week my oldest daughter starts Pre-K and I will have to leave her side for the first time. I’m not sure who this will be harder on but I’m going to guess it will be me. It has been bittersweet buying her school supplies, uniforms, and picking out a backpack and lunchbox. With all of the school planning going on I thought why not offer an easy to make & packable dessert for kid’s to take in their lunchbox…like a brownie.

20170817_163057Since my daughter likes only a little bit of chocolate I elected to make blondies with peanut butter cups to provide the hint of chocolate she craves without going overboard (not to mention chocolate doesn’t hold up well in the Florida summer heat). I also added some peanut butter chips to the batter to give these blondies a more pronounced peanut butter flavor.

20170817_161115For this recipe I used the mini unwrapped milk chocolate peanut butter cups from Trader Joe’s. They come in both milk or dark chocolate. I prefer the dark chocolate variety, but I know kids often prefer milk chocolate, so to please a wider audience I went with milk chocolate. Don’t be afraid to experiment with dark chocolate if you know everyone you share these with will enjoy the stronger flavor.

It really doesn’t matter if you opt to make these for a school lunch or an adult indulgence, if you love the classic combination of chocolate and peanut butter, you will surely love these peanut butter cup blondies!

 

Peanut Butter Cup Blondies

 

Ingredients:

  • 5.6 ounces (1 ¼ cups) All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • ½ tsp. Baking Powder
  • ¼ tsp. Salt
  • 1/3 cup Creamy Peanut Butter (preferably natural)
  • ¼ cup (4 tbsp.) Unsalted Butter; melted & cooled slightly
  • 2 tbsp. Milk
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 2 large Eggs; lightly beaten
  • ¼ cup Peanut Butter Baking Chips
  • Mini Unwrapped Peanut Butter Cups (about 30)

 

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly grease a 9-inch metal baking pan with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Stir well with a whisk.
  3. In a separate bowl combine the peanut butter, butter, milk, vanilla, and eggs. Stir well. Add the peanut butter mixture to the flour mixture, stirring just until combined. Fold in the peanut butter chips.
  4. Scrape batter evenly into prepared baking pan. Arrange peanut butter cups over batter. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs. Cool in pan on a wire rack before serving.

 

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM: MAUREEN CALLAHAN
PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2017

Plum Kuchen

20170710_152921Summer is typically a slow time of year for me. School is out. The back-to-back flow of major holidays is absent. I no longer have to be someplace all the time and there are a less incentives given to require constant recipe creation. I rely on this time to relax, plan out the craziness of the fall and winter months ahead, and sneak a few trips to the park for my oldest to exert some of her excess energy.

This year, however, has not been typical. It seems like I have been going nonstop since last August when I am usually settled down around early June. The reason for the change? Well, in June I was approached by a local magazine, Edible Orlando, to have a recipe of mine featured in their Summer issue. Almost immediately after that exposure, I was approached by two different authors who are assembling cookbooks and would like to feature some of my recipes in their books. I gladly obliged but it also means a bit more involvement than I’m used to regarding this website. Meanwhile, I celebrated my fiance’s 33rd birthday, the Baptism of our second daughter, followed by Independence Day festivities, and in a little over two weeks it will be our second daughter’s 1st birthday. If I am lucky I will get a week or two off before the crazy school year starts all over again with registration for my daughter in school and a bunch of extracurricular activities along with the constant recipe development needed for the fall/winter holidays.

20170710_153132Since I have been busy I haven’t planned much in advance regarding future posts and I haven’t involved myself in other incentive-based projects. This post came about after I was out doing regular shopping and got a deal on some organic plums for $1.99/pound. I figured I could find something to make with them. Sure enough, after having a brief conversation with my mom about how my great-grandmother used to make plum jelly I decided to do a bit of research on traditional German recipes using plums. I quickly discovered that plum cake (Pflaumenkuchen) is a staple in many German homes, especially when having guests for coffee or tea. It’s so popular that every year between the months of July & September, in the southwestern city of Buhl, Germany there is a festival (Zwetschgenfest) to celebrate the annual plum harvest. During my brief studies on the subject I have found that there are two ways to prepare a plum kuchen, one being with a yeast base and the other with a cake batter. Due to my time constraints I chose the quicker cake batter option.

20170710_152959After preparing this simple coffee cake I know why it is so beloved in Germany. What is not to love about a dense yet tender spice cake adorned with tart plums and finished with a crispy cinnamon sugar topping! I prefer using a mixture of black, red, and yellow plums for contrasting flavor and color but any plum variety will work in this scrumptious cake. Serve it as a quick breakfast with coffee, as an afternoon snack with tea, or a satisfying dessert following dinner!

 

Plum Kuchen

 

Ingredients:

  • 6.75 ounces (1 ½ cups) All-Purpose Flour
  • 2/3 cup plus 2 tbsp. Granulated Sugar; divided
  • 2 tbsp. Light Brown Sugar
  • 1 tsp. Baking Powder
  • 3/8 tsp. Salt; divided
  • 1/4 tsp. Ground Allspice
  • 1/8 tsp. Ground Cardamom
  • 7 tbsp. Unsalted Butter; divided
  • ½ cup Milk
  • ½ tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Large Egg
  • 1 pound Plums; quartered & pitted
  • ¼ tsp. Ground Cinnamon

 

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 425°. Grease a 9 inch round springform or metal cake pan with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. Combine flour, 2 tbsp. granulated sugar, brown sugar, baking powder, ¼ tsp. salt, allspice, and cardamom in a medium bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Using a pastry blender or two knives, cut in 4 tbsp. butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal.
  3. Combine milk, vanilla, and egg in a bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add the milk mixture to the flour mixture and stir until just combined. Spoon batter into prepared pan. Arrange plums in a circular pattern over the batter.
  4. Combine remaining 2/3 cup granulated sugar, remaining 1/8 tsp. salt, and cinnamon in a small bowl, stirring well. Place remaining 3 tbsp. butter in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave for 30 seconds or until butter is melted. Stir melted butter into sugar mixture. Sprinkle sugar mixture evenly over top of cake. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until browned and bubbling. Cool in pan for 1 hour on a wire rack. Cut into wedges and serve.

 

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM: PAUL GRIMES
PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2017

Skinny Tuscan Lemon Muffins

20170521_161331Summer is just around the corner and that means longer, hotter days and kids running around the house 24/7 (if you are a parent). Although summer is supposed to be a more relaxed time of year it can actually be more hectic, especially if you are an adult with school age children. With the summer schedule already (or about to be) in full gear, it is good to have versatile recipes that are quick and easy to prepare and light on the palate.

20170521_161513Muffins are my preferred versatile recipe item, mainly because they were the first thing I learned to bake on my own as a kid. They are quick and easy to prepare, leave minimal clean-up, and have a seemingly infinite amount of flavor combinations so you never get bored. Today, I elected to work with the flavors of Italy, hence the name Skinny Tuscan Lemon Muffins. A combination of classic Italian ingredients (lemon, ricotta, and olive oil) creates a tart and satisfying muffin. The combination of ricotta cheese and olive oil make this muffin insanely moist, like a mini lemon pound cake. For striking lemon flavor, lemon zest and juice was not enough. To get lemon flavor that shines through everything else, I added lemon extract with the zest and juice. If you don’t like a heavy lemon flavor you can always omit the extract. Lastly, each muffin is finished with a heavy sprinkle of turbinado sugar to lend a crunchy textural contrast.

20170521_161429I highly recommend giving these muffins a try, especially this summer. They are great fresh out of the oven, at room temperature, or reheated. If you want to keep some on hand for quick snacks they can be frozen for longer storage and reheated in the microwave or simply left out to thaw on the counter to room temperature. If you elect to keep them at room temperature right after baking, make sure you store them in an airtight container and do not hold for more than 3 days (although they will likely never last that long). Enjoy these muffins at breakfast with coffee, grab one out the door before work/school, enjoy one as a sweet afternoon snack with tea, or fulfill a late night sweet craving. The possibilities are seemingly endless!

 

Skinny Tuscan Lemon Muffins

Ingredients:

  • 7.9 ounces All-Purpose Flour (about 1 ¾ cups)
  • ¾ cup Granulated Sugar
  • 2 ½ tsp. Baking Powder
  • ¼ tsp. Salt
  • ¾ cup part-skim Ricotta Cheese
  • ½ cup Water
  • ¼ cup Olive Oil
  • 1 tbsp. Grated Lemon Zest
  • 2 tbsp. Fresh Lemon Juice
  • ½ tsp. Pure Lemon Extract
  • 1 large Egg; lightly beaten
  • Turbinado Sugar (Sugar in the Raw); for topping

 

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°. Coat a 12-cup muffin tin with cooking spray or fill tray with muffin-cup liners and coat liners with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Make a well in the center. Set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, combine ricotta, water, oil, zest, juice, lemon extract, and egg. Add ricotta mixture to the flour mixture, stirring just until moist.
  4. Divide batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups. Sprinkle turbinado sugar over batter in each muffin cup. Bake 15-16 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes in the muffin tin then transfer muffins to a wire rack to cool completely or serve warm.

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION

(1 Muffin)

NutritionLabel

 

Weight Watchers: 7 Smart Points, 4 Points Plus, or 4 Traditional Points

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM: MAUREEN CALLAHAN
PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2017