Category Archives: Fruit

Discover The Unsweetened Tooth

Would you believe these decadent peanut butter mousse brownies have no sugar added to them?
Would you believe these decadent peanut butter mousse brownies have no sugar added to them?

Those peanut butter mousse brownies above are everything you expect — decadently rich, deeply fudgy, and loaded with irresistible sweet-salty, smooth peanut-butter goodness.

But they also lack something surprising — added sugar.

They are the creation of a unique Seattle bakery, The Unsweetened Tooth. As the name implies, this bake-to-order shop makes treats with no added sugar. Yet, they taste every bit as satisfying as their conventional counterparts — and minus the unpleasant aftertaste of so many sugar substitutes such as Stevia.

The bakery was started by Jude Sharp, who worked as an engineer in the tech industry in Silicon Valley with her fellow engineer husband, for years. But a health scare put her on a different path. After learning that she might become diabetic and lose her sight if she didn’t drastically change her dietary habits, she decided to give up sugar, and lost 100 pounds in the process.

Using her engineering know-how and love for tinkering, she built a commercial kitchen, and started coming up with no-sugar recipes after the couple moved to Washington state. In 2016, she launched The Unsweetened Tooth there.

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Meyer Lemon Tea Cakes with Pomegranate Glaze

Meyer lemon juice and zest flavors these cute little cakes.

When a good friend gifts you a few late-harvest Meyer lemons from her backyard tree that have ballooned into the size of oranges, you know you need to do something special with them.

Not just halved and squirted over fish on the grill. Not just sliced to garnish glasses of iced tea. And not merely juiced to make mundane lemonade.

Nope, these babies were made for “Meyer Lemon Tea Cakes with Pomegranate Glaze.”

This easy-breezy recipe for individual cakes is from “Sweet” (Artisan, 2013) by Pastry Chef Valerie Gordon.

A monster-sized Meyer lemon.
A monster-sized Meyer lemon.

She owns one of my favorite bakeries in Los Angeles, Valerie’s Confections, which I always make a point of visiting whenever I’m in town just so I can snag a slice of her impeccable rendition of the iconic Blum’s coffee crunch cake.

For this recipe, Meyer lemon juice and zest are incorporated into this cake batter, along with creme fraiche (I actually used plain yogurt instead) for tang and moistness. The batter gets distributed amongst large muffin cups that are buttered but not lined.

Once they are baked and cooled, turn the cakes upside down to dunk the flat sides into a glaze flavored with Meyer lemon juice and pomegranate juice. You are left with precious little cakes simply too cute to resist.

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Super Natural Simple Sensational Big Raspberry-Rye Cookies

One of the best cookie recipes I've baked lately -- and that's saying something.
One of the best cookie recipes I’ve baked lately — and that’s saying something.

Take a long, deep breath. Now, inhale, imagining the sublime aroma of summer raspberries bubbling away, and turning soft and jammy in a buttery, golden pie crust in your oven.

Yet in reality, what’s baking away is not a pie at all, but cookies.

That’s the magical, irresistible promise of these “Big Raspberry-Rye Cookies.” They eat like cookies, but possess the taste and fragrance of raspberry pie a la mode, thanks to a heap of freeze-dried raspberries that give a concentrated berry boost, plus enough vanilla extract to lend a sweet, milkshake-like taste of nostalgia.

This recipe is from the newest cookbook by renowned food blogger and food writer Heidi Swanson, who created her site, 101 Cookbooks way back in 2003. “Super Natural Simple: Whole-Food, Vegetarian Recipes for Real Life” (Ten Speed Press), of which I received a review copy, is her fourth cookbook.

Freeze-dried raspberries give these cookies intense berry flavor plus a wonderful lightness.
Freeze-dried raspberries give these cookies intense berry flavor plus a wonderful lightness.

Like her other books, this one is filled with smart, effortless, and enticing plant-based recipes. The 120 recipes, designed to be wholesome and nutrient-dense, will take you through morning, noon and night, with such delights as “Instant Sriracha Oats,” “Coconut-Asparagus Soup,” “Tangerine & Tahini Ponzu Noodles,” and “Minted Mushroom Kebabs.”

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What I’ve Been Drinking of Late, Part 9

These non-alcoholic grape juices drink like fine wines -- without the buzz. Featured in the glass is the new Castello di Amorosa Gewurtztraminer Grape Juice.
These non-alcoholic grape juices drink like fine wines — without the buzz. Featured in the glass is the new Castello di Amorosa Gewurtztraminer Grape Juice.

Castello di Amorosa Non-Alcoholic Grape Juices

Maybe it’s because so many of us took to imbibing more during our cloistered time at home in the pandemic, but now in the aftermath, there’s been a definite uptick in the thirst for non-alcoholic alternatives.

Which makes Castello di Amorosa’s debut of three new non-alcoholic grape juices all the more timely and on trend now.

The winery may be better known for its wines, as well as its dramatic winery that’s modeled after a 13th century Tuscan castle. But these grape juices will surely add even more luster. That’s how good they are, as I found when I was sent samples recently to try.

Aside from their screw caps, these are nothing like the grape juices found on the shelves of your local supermarket. They come in three varieties: Muscat Canelli Grape Juice, Sparkling Grape Juice Red Blend, and Gewurztraminer Grape Juice. They are packaged in 750ml bottles and are made from the same fine varietals, meaning they each taste markedly different from one another and are not just saccharine-sweet, but boast the sophistication and complexity of actual premium wines. To be sure, these grape juices are definitely as sweet as soda or even dessert wines, so they’re made for sipping, not gulping.

The grape juices are made much like the wines, with the grapes hand-harvested, then pressed, with the resulting juice chilled to 32 degrees. The only difference is that no yeast is added to convert the grape sugars to alcohol.

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Baked Goods With A Twist, Part II: A Lemon Cake To Be Reckoned With

A simple, lemon-scented cake. But it's the topping where things get interesting.
A simple, lemon-scented cake. But it’s the topping where things get interesting.

I’ve baked many a cake with Meyer lemons and Eureka lemons.

But never with preserved lemons.

Yes, the salted ones typically used in savory Moroccan dishes.

That is, until I spotted this recipe for “Preserved Lemon Sheet Cake” in the new cookbook, “Time to Eat: Delicious Meals for Busy Lives” (Clarkson Potter).

It’s by Nadiya Hussain, the 2015 winner of “The Great British Baking Show” and star of Netflix’s “Nadiya Bakes.” The collection of recipes is ideal for busy families like her own. The breezy recipes include everything from “Peanut Butter and Jelly Sheetpan Pancake” and “Crustless Spinach Quiche” to “Honey Mustard Chow Mein” and “Pizza Parathas.”

My homemade preserved lemons. A new jar in the making, plus a lemon from a batch made earlier.
My homemade preserved lemons. A new jar in the making, plus a lemon from a batch made earlier.

Let me state at the get-go that this cake might not be everyone’s cup of tea. You have to be willing to take your taste buds on a bit of an adventurous ride.

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