The foods of fall and winter are full of aromatic spices – warming the belly and warming the heart!
Here’s some of the recent recipes from my kitchen:
Fig-Smushed Anise Almond Cookies
1/4 c soy milk
2 tablespoons ground flaxseed
1 1/4 c demerara sugar (or turbinado)
2/3 c canola oil
1 t vanilla extract
2 c all-purpose flour
1/2 t anise extract
1 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1/2 cup finely chopped almonds
12 dried figs (stems removed and cut in half)
Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease a cookie sheet.
Place ground flaxseed and milk in a bowl and blend until frothy.
Add the sugar and oil to the mixing bowl and beat until emulsified. Mix in the vanilla and anise extract.
Add about 1 cup of the flour along with the baking powder and salt. Mix well, Add the remaining flour. Fold in chopped almonds. Use a wooden spoon or your hands, as the mixture will be harder to blend.
Roll the dough into golf ball-sized balls, then flatten them on the cookie sheet to about 2-inch diameter. Smush the fig gently by firmly into the center, cut side down.
Bake for 12 to 14 minutes. The fig should be soft and the cookies should be golden brown on the bottom. Remove from oven and let sit on the sheets for about 5 minutes. Transfer to cooking rack to cool completely.
Adapted from the amazing Veganomicon: The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook~
I used Sucanat in place of demerara sugar, and it was perfect. I also quartered the figs, as half of the fig seemed too big for the cookie. The anise was so aromatic – like cloves and licorice – and also quite photogenic, aren’t they?
…and they pair so perfectly with…
Homemade Apple Cider
6 cups fresh apple cider
1/4 cup pure maple syrup (more or less, to taste)
2 cinnamon sticks
6 whole cloves
6 whole allspice berries
6 strips orange peel
6 strips lemon peel
Pour the apple cider and maple syrup into a large stainless steel saucepan. Place the cinnamon sticks, cloves, allspice berries, orange peel and lemon peel in the center of a washed square of cheesecloth; fold up the sides of the cheesecloth to enclose the bundle, then tie it up with a length of kitchen string. Drop the spice bundle into the cider mixture.
Place the saucepan over moderate heat for 5 to 10 minutes, or until the cider is very hot but not boiling.
Remove the cider from the heat. Discard the spice bundle. Ladle the cider into big cups or mugs, adding a fresh cinnamon stick to each serving, if you like.
My dad was in West Virginia for work conference and stopped by an orchard on the way home. He called and asked if I wanted any, and I said sure, and just picked two bushels out of the air. Of course, that was without realizing how many TWO bushels actually is – 4 large brown paper bags filled to the brim – between 150-200 apples, I estimate. So, I had to get creative! The apple cider was just one of the recipes I am trying…
…also pulled down the dehydrator for apple rings - just core and peel, dip the slices in some lemon juice and cinnamon, and set them out to dry over night. Great for granola, trail mix, and oatmeal fixings!
Last but not least, I made this delicious apple butter – already preserved and canned for enjoyment later on! I was inspired by the recipe in this great book, Preserving the Harvest. I used my crockpot – and it made the house smell so good I am planning to try a few other recipes from the book with the remaining bushel.