Scranton Seahorse Inn

Peanut Butter Cookies – Gluten Free

Gluten Free CookiesI TRY to keep our cookie jar full and I have a few go to recipes that I use to make sure our guests with cookie cravings in the middle of the night have somewhere to go.   When I know I have a gluten free guest checking in to the Scranton Seahorse Inn my peanut butter cookie recipe the one I use.   It is so ridiculously simple but so nutty and delicious.   They are so satisfying at midnight with a cup of coffee or tea too.

This recipe makes 24 cookies.  It’s 1 of everything so it’s quite easy to double, triple or quadruple.   Do what you gotta do!

 

Ingredients

  • 1 cup good quality creamy peanut butter.  
  • 1 cup granulated sugar 
  • 1 large egg beaten
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • Seasalt (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 350* and grease cookie sheets or line with parchment or silpat.
  2. Beat together peanut butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer until smooth.
  3. Add beaten egg and baking soda to peanut butter mixture and beat until well combined.
  4. Roll 1 teaspoon of dough into a ball and place on cookie sheet.
  5. Place dough balls one inch apart on cookie sheet.   Do the thing we all do with a fork to our peanut butter cookies.
  6. Sprinkle each with a little seasalt.
  7. Bake until puffed and a golden pale, about 10 minutes.
  8. Cool cookies on baking sheet about 2 minutes and then transfer with spatula to rack to cool.
  9. May be kept in air tight container at room temperature for 5 days.  If you have a wall safe – store them there.
  10. Makes about 2 dozen cookies.

 

Easy Baked Grapefruit Recipe

Every year the local high school band sells cases of citrus for their annual fund raiser.   I gladly purchase a case of pink grapefruit because this recipe it’s one of my go to breakfast treats in winter.   The guests love it.   It’s very simple and I usually say if you like grapefruit you’ll love this – if you’re on the fence about grapefruit this recipe just may change your mind.

 

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

    A delicous, healthy &warm winter breakfast treat.

  2. Halve the grapefruit and remove any visible seeds.  Begin to segment the grapefruit by making cuts around the grapefruit and at each piece.
  3. Drizzle a teaspoon of your favorite local honey in the center of each grapefruit half.
  4. For each grapefruit mix together 2T brown sugar and 1/2t cinnamon until combined.  Then evenly sprinkle the brown sugar cinnamon mixture on top of the grapefruit halves.
  5. Bake for 13-15 minutes. For the last minute turn the broiler on high to finish off the caramelization.
  6. For serving, place 1/2 maraschino cherry in the center of each grapefruit half.  Serve warm.

 

 

NOTES:

If your grapefruit is super juicy lay a paper towel over the top of the grapefruit halve and blot up the excess juice.   When you sprinkle the top with the sugar you don’t want it to dissolve before it browns in the oven.

You can skip the sugar / cinnamon step altogether and just heat the grapefruit with a drizzle of local honey as described.   The heat brings out a wonder flavor all on its own.

Granola Recipe

Scranton Seahorse Inn

Healthy & Simple Granola Recipe

 

housemade granola

This recipe is a variation of my original granola recipe.  I was asked by a guest to create one that used less sugar and syrup.  After a few experiments this is the end result.   My guest and I are very happy with this version.   I like that the amount of sweeteners was reduced by more than 70% and the flavor was not only not compromised but improved.   You can eliminate the 3T of brown sugar completely when mixing the dry goods.   Make this once and you’ll stop buying boxed sweet cereal forever!

 

 

In a microwave or on a stovetop gently heat the following ingredients until the butter is melted.

  • ¾ cup high quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • ¼ cup of your favorite local honey or local maple syrup
  • 2 T unsalted butter
  • ½ t almond extract OR pure vanilla extract

In a large mixing bowl mix together the following ingredients:

  • 4 cups rolled oats
  • ½ cup Quinoa
  • ¾ cup slivered almonds
  • ¾ cup sliced almonds
  • ¾ cup raw pepitas
  • ½ cup shredded coconut
  • 1T kosher salt
  • 1t cinnamon
  • ½t freshly ground nutmeg
  • 3T brown sugar (optional)

Stir in the warmed olive oil mixture and oats mixture with a rubber spatula.    Spread evenly on a rimmed sheet pan lined with parchment paper or silpat and cook in a 350 degree oven for 30-40 minutes until browned stirring every 10 minutes.   Cool completely.

Once cooled and just before storing, stir granola with your hands, breaking up any of the mixture that may be stuck together.  Stir in 1 cup of your favorite dried fruit. Pitted dates, cranberries, golden raisins are great.   Store in an air tight container in a refridgerator for up to two weeks.

A few notes about ingredients and substitutions.

  1. Great olive oil is key. We are lucky to have Shoreline Vine here in Madison and I use their Picual EVOO for this recipe because it’s naturally sweet and appropriately earthy for this recipe.   I personally don’t recommend flavored or infused olive oil for your granola but this is about you and your taste buds.   Experiment! If you don’t have a store like Shoreline Vine near you (they do ship by the way!) then find a high quality extra virgin olive oil in your supermarket
  2. If you don’t like almonds substitute your favorite nuts in equal quantities.
  3. When springtime arrives I used whatever fruit is local & fresh in place of dried fruits. If you use fresh fruit just wash and chop and add to your granola just before serving with yogurt or milk.
  4. I serve this granola frequently and this is a fairly large batch.   You can easily cut this recipe in half by dividing all ingredients by 2.

 

 

Hot Chocolate Recipe

The November chill is setting in and combined with the rain and grey skies I’m craving hot chocolate.  Some would say that any day is a good day for hot chocolate.   Our favorite cup of cocoa is easy to make and uses real good quality dark chocolate for a very rich flavor.

hot chocolate

1 cup of chopped bittersweet Callebaut chocolate

Heat 2 cups steamed whole milk in a heavy bottomed sauce pan.

Whisk in chocolate until it melts and is well blended into hot milk. Pour into cups, top with mini marshmallows, cinnamon or   your favorite liquor like Frangelico or Kahlua.

I think once you make a cup of hot chocolate using this recipe you may never go back to the packets again.    Enjoy and stay warm!

Mint & Green Tea Simple Syrup Recipe

mintThis is for the mint lovers out there.   Recent guests from San Diego Maureen and Carlton asked me to please post this recipe so here it is guys!

We grow our own mint out in the garden and I’m forever trying to come with different ways to use it.   I like this recipe for a simple syrup infused with green tea and fresh mint.   I toss local fresh ripe cantaloupe and/or watermelon with this fragrant syrup and serve it as a first course in the summer months when the ingredients are fresh.   When you’re done a little of this sweet syrup goes a long way to taste test as you add it to your fruits of choice.  If you try it Let me know what you think.

  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1.5  cups water
  • 1 T white corn syrup
  • 2 green tea bags
  • 1/2 c packed fresh mint leaves

Combine the sugar, water and corn syrup in a sauce pan can cook over medium heat for about 15 minutes.   Don’t let the syrup boil but heat long enough to make sure the granulated sugar is completely dissolved.

Chop the mint and place 1/2 of it in a mesh tea bag or infuser and set aside the other 1/2 aside.  Place the infuser filled with mint and the green tea bag in the syrup.    Remove from heat and allow the syrup to cool completely (about 1 hour).

When cool remove the mint the green tea.    Stir in the remaining mint.  This will last in a covered container in the refrigerator for about 2 weeks.

Enjoy!

Rhubarb Coffee Cake

RhubarbCoffeeCakeYou know I love my rhubarb.  The only thing that I don’t like about it is that the growing season for rhubarb in Connecticut is too short.   I take advantage of the local harvest, including from my own garden, as much as I can.   A lot of our guests here at the Scranton Seahorse Inn have asked for this recipe – even from some that didn’t think they liked rhubarb.  The small chop on the rhubarb in this recipe doesn’t overwhelm but provides tasty tart bites.  The combination of the wheat and all purpose flour provide a nice nutty aroma and flavor.   I hope you enjoy this Rhubarb Coffee Cake recipe.
CAKE:
 1 pound finely chopped rhubarb
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
5 tablespoons butter, softened
2 large eggs
1 cup  sour cream
1/2 teaspoon orange extract or 1 teaspoon fresh orange zest
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
STREUSEL:
1/4 cup turbinado sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons chilled butter, cut into small pieces
1/4 cup chopped walnuts

1. Preheat oven to 375°.

2. To prepare cake, combine rhubarb and 2 tablespoons flour in a medium bowl; toss well to coat.

3. Place brown sugar and 5 tablespoons butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add sour cream, rind, and vanilla; beat until well combined.

4. Lightly spoon 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour and whole wheat flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flours, baking soda, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and salt, stirring with a whisk. Gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture, beating at low speed just until combined. Fold in rhubarb mixture. This is a thick batter.  Spread evenly into a 9-inch square baking pan coated with cooking spray.

5. To prepare streusel, combine turbinado sugar and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon in a small bowl. Cut in 2 tablespoons butter with a pastry blender or 2 forks until mixture is crumbly; stir in nuts. Sprinkle streusel evenly over batter. Bake at 375° for 50 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean.   Invert onto a cooling rack and cool completely.   Cut into squares and enjoy.

National Pancake Day is March 3

hd-breakfast I guess there’s a reason to celebrate something every day so why not pancakes too!  Throughout the year we make variations on  these crowd pleasing favorites.   In fall and winter we serve gingerbread, pumpkin or apple pancakes.   In the spring we’ll change it up to lemon ricotta and sometimes in the summer we’re making buttermilk and sweet corn pancakes.   But our tried and true hit are fluffy classic buttermilk pancakes topped with berries and local maple syrup.   Here’s our recipe for our version.  Enjoy!   Happy Pancake Day!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups All Purpose Flour
  • 1 tablespoons Granulated Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon Table Salt
  • 2 cups Buttermilk
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 3 tablespoons Unsalted Butter
  • 1/4 cup Sour Cream

  1. Whisk together all dry ingredients in a large bowl and set aside.
  2. Melt Butter and cool slightly
  3. Whisk buttermilk into cooled butter and then whisk in the eggs and sour cream.
  4. Make a well in the dry ingredients and add the wet ingredients. Use a large rubber spatula and fold together until just combined. Use a minimal amount of strokes – some lumps might remain. Let stand for at least 15 minutes – this will give the sour cream and baking soda time to react.
  5. Pour 1/4 cup for each pancake onto a hot oiled skillet or griddle. When bubbles start to uniformly appear it’s time to flip. These pancakes will rise nicely so let them cook for at least 2 minutes on the second side. Don’t forget to use quality (LOCAL if available) syrup. Enjoy.

Cappuccino Biscotti w/ Hazelnuts & Chocolate Chips Recipe

Biscotti are easy to make and delicious with a cup of tea, coffee or milk any time of the day.   Our cookie jar in the coffee lounge is always filled with cookies or biscotti and this recipe gets a lot of requests.

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup (100 grams) peeled hazelnuts
  • 2 cups (260 grams) all-purposeflour
  • 1 cup (200 grams) granulated white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/4 cup espresso or strong coffee, cooled
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

cappucino-and-hazelnut-biscottiPreheat oven to 350 degrees F and place rack in center of oven. Place hazelnuts on a baking sheet and bake for about 15 minutes. 

In a small bowl whisk together the espresso or coffee, milk, egg and vanilla extract.  

In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer) beat the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and spices until combined. Gradually add the espresso mixture and beat until a dough forms, adding the chopped nuts and chocolate chips about halfway through. With floured hands divide the dough in half. On a lightly floured surface roll each half of dough into a log about 12 inches long and 1.5″ inches wide. Transfer the logs to a parchment paper lined baking sheet, spacing about 3 inches apart. Bake for about 35 minutes or until firm to the touch (logs will spread during baking). Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool for about 10 minutes.

Reduce the oven temperature to 300 degrees F.  On a cutting board cut the logs crosswise on the diagonal into 1/2 inch  slices. Arrange the slices on the baking sheet, and bake for 5 minutes or until they are pale golden.    I personally like my biscotti a little softer than is the tradion.  If you like yours real crunchy you can cook the sliced biscotti on each side for 5 minutes.  Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool. 

Optional:  Die hard chocolate lovers can melt good bitter sweet chocolate over the logs as they are cooling and before slicing.

Makes about 36 biscotti.

 

Chocolate Fondue Recipe

callebautThere’s never any need to wait for a holiday to enjoy this chocolate feast.    It’s a great treat to enjoy with friends while you linger at the table after dinner.   And, while they are pretty, a fondue pot is not necessary.   Make your fondue on the stove and when you are ready to serve pour it into a pretty bowl.   When (if!) the chocolate gets too cool just reheat it.  I’ve even used a microwave to reheat.

Choosing your dippers is the fun part.   Use fresh fruits like bananas and strawberries, dried fruits like apricot and chunks of mango, lemony pound cake cut into cubes, marshmallows, and my favorite rice krispie treats.   When arranged nicely on a platter and presented to family or guests you’ll instantly turn into a superhero.  Provide plenty of wooden skewers so everyone can dip and dip and dip.

 

  • 6 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate.  I use Callebaut bittersweet which is available in the specialty food aisle of most supermarkets.
  • 3/4 cup half & half
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar, optional
  • 3 tablespoons  butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon of your favorite liqueur (such as Frangelico, Grand Marnier, Kahlua, Tia Maria, Amaretto, or a brandy) (optional)

Place the chopped chocolate in a medium sized heatproof bowl and set aside.

Combine the  1/2 & 1/2, sugar, and butter in a saucepan and place over medium heat. Bring just to a simmer, stirring often. 

Remove from heat and pour immediately over the chocolate.  Let stand until the chocolate has melted, then stir gently until smooth.  Whisk in vanilla extract and the liqueur until smooth and shiny.

Place the chocolate sauce in a fondue pot over a low flame or bowl and serve with your dippers.

Makes about 1 1/2 cups (360 ml).Preparation time15 minutes.

 

Quinoa Porridge Recipe

Quinoa Porridge

I think quinoa should get the most versatile food award for 2014.   I giggle to myself as I read other foodie blogs when they have discovered how great quinoa is in sweet recipes because I’m on the other end of the spectrum as I begin to discover great new ways to use quinoa in savory recipes.   I’ve been using quinoa in my signature granola, cookies,  and pancake recipes for quite some time.    And this time of year my quinoa breakfast porridge is very popular.   It’s healthy, it’s gluten free and it’s vegan so what’s not to love?    If you haven’t found a place for quinoa in your diet yet this porridge recipe is an easy and delicious way to start

 For each serving:

  • 1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed
  • 1 1/2 cup almond milk (see my recipe for easy homemade almond milk)
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 dash cinnamon (or cardamon)
  • 1/4 cup fresh seasonal fruit like chopped apples, pears or your favorite berry.  Raisins work too!
  • 1 handful of your favorite nut –  almonds, peacans, or walnuts – toasted and coarsley chopped
  1. Bring the quinoa, almond milk, vanilla, cinnamon to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer, covered until tender, about 15 minutes.
  2. Mix in the fruit and top with toasted nuts.