Tag: brown sugar

Guest Post from Gal Pal- Portuguese-friendly Apple Bread!

The much-anticipated, very-delightful Apple Bread recipe from my gal pal in Azeitão is posted below! I’ve tried it, and it is crackalicious. She’s not exaggerating about how difficult it is to get our ‘weird’ foreign food to be tested, let alone approved by, the average older Portuguese person. (My mother-in-law, hand to God, once gave me the Portuguese-wiggly-no-finger and spat out a bite of my rosemary shortbread. And she’s a really lovely person. It ain’t easy.)  Let’s give her props for the victory!



Living in Portugal is quite a trip.  The people here really value their history and their traditional recipes.  Beans and boiled meat stirred up in a giant pot is cause for a celebration, and experimenting with new recipes is just not done.  Why would we experiment when we have already perfected everything? Yep, actual quote from a Portuguese cook. She is well-renowned in the northern parts of Portugal for her fried pork meat using nearly 1/2 cup of vegetable shortening and onions.  Needless to say, health is not the primary concern of Portuguese cooks, and thereby, I feel that the excessive sugar in this recipe is justified:) 🙂  I am living here after all.

Getting a mother-in-law to even SAMPLE one of your strange, estrangeiro foods is difficult, if not impossible.  However, this recipe actually made a large Portuguese family smile this winter in the midst of -5 degree freeze and no heat.  Can’t beat that!

Please-the-Portuguese Apple Bread-shout out to allrecipes.com for the base of the recipe!  I have made lots of changes though.
Servings: 8-use one bread pan
1 1/2 c or 330g of flour. If you are cooking in Portugal, use farinha para pão
1 tsp or 1 cdc cinnamon
1/2 tsp or 1/2 cdc baking soda
1/4 tsp or 1/4 cdc salt
1/4 c or 159 ccs of vegetable oil or applesauce. Using the applesauce is healthier, but it does make the bread a bit drier.
3/4 c or 168g of white sugar
1/4 c or 57g of brown sugar
1 egg, beaten
1/4 tsp or 1/4 cdc of vanilla
1 c or 2 small chopped apples
1 c or 1 small package of broken walnuts

In a big bowl, combine flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt.  Set aside.
In another bowl, mix oil or applesauce, sugar, egg, vanilla and apples.  Stir into flour mixture.  Add nuts and mix.
Grease the bread pan with butter.
Put mixture in the bread pan.  The dough will be pretty thick, and you have to hand-scoop it into the bread pan.
Cook the bread in the oven on 350 degrees Fahrenheit or 175 degrees Celsius.  Or if you are the author of this blog, set your oven to the big flame:) 🙂
Cook for 35-45 minutes. Dump the bread onto the wire rack and let it cool for 15 minutes.


What’s cooking now- Soft and Chewy Sugar Cookies (I HOPE!)

Here’s what I’m working on now:

Soft and Chewy Sugar Cookies on Food.com

Meanwhile, my Frangelico marzipan turned out beautifully. I left it covered on the countertop overnight. It was easy to work with this evening, and now I have little Frangelico marzipan balls coated in chocolate (sprinkled with ground hazelnuts, of course) chilling in the refrigerator.

The sugar cookie dough is resting and chilling a little in the back room (I didn’t have any room in my refrigerator to chill the dough), and soon I’ll roll out little balls and cook them in the oven (currently heating).

The only downside I forsee is that this recipe is not supposed to work well with cookie cutters 😦 Apparently, the soft and chewy goodness spreads out of shape too much.

Not to worry. I’m a survivor.

I’ll make my shortbread cookies (all with a Portuguese-palate-friendly cinnamon…or with some chopped almonds. mmmm…), and I’ll make cute little Christmas shapes with those.

It must be done, on a matter of principle.

Then, the rest of the night will involve trying to make cute gifts out of cookies treats, and using materials I have here to package things ever-so-prettily….

Wish me luck. And Merry Christmas to you. (It’s nearly Christmas Eve Eve now, you know!)

Marzipanification Stage 1

What follows is an adventure in process. Don’t write down any recipes until you get to the end 🙂


My almonds are blanched. I’ve done that much.

Now, though I (conceptually) love Smitten Kitten’s recipe, I’ve been trolling through the web (while my little naked almonds dry out a bit on a baking sheet) to find a recipe that fits. In particular, I’ve been wondering about the types of things you can mix in with marzipan. (i.e., if I throw some Frangelico into the food processor with my almonds and sugar, will that throw some fundamental monkey wrench into the works? Or will it probably be fine…like replacing the liquid in other peoples’ recipes?)

I haven’t stumbled upon anything definitive. However, I’m feeling more confident. And I found another blog and recipe that I like and want to share.


Looking at this, I didn’t have to make my own powdered sugar (I didn’t have any, so I blasted granulated sugar in the food processor), because she uses granulated. Ah well. I’ll need icing for sugar cookies tomorrow 😉 Also, looking at her recipe,

which is borrowed from “The most authentic recipe that [she has] found is in the book called Bitter Almonds, Recollections and Recipes from a Sicilian girlhood. The book was researched and written by Mary Taylor Simeti and it contains recollections and recipes of Maria Grammatico, famous for making almond pastries. She has a wonderful pastry shop in Erice and I visited this recently (in September 2009).

I’m guessing I can replace the water with Frangelico. I figure that as long as people can mix booze into the dough at some point, there shouldn’t be anything fundamentally destructive about alcohol to the ability of the dough to stick together. And if there is, well, I’ll let you know.

So, my marzipan food hack will be a combination of All Things Sicilian and More’s (link) recipe and that of Smitten Kitten (link)…and Frangelico.

Here’s what I’m doing

150 g blanched whole almonds

200 g granulated sugar

(to start, I’m halving Sicilian’s recipe lest I screw something up…I assume I’ll have to compensate regarding the sweetness of the Frangelico and and amount of sugar, but I’m not sure how much. I’ll do the almonds and sugar first…)

..too granulated. The sugar doesn’t seem to be breaking down ;( seems like too much sugar. I’m putting 20 more blanched almonds in…

… and now I’m adding 1 tbs Frangelico and 10 more almonds…

…f@ck it. I’m adding all the remaining almonds. So, in total, 300 g blanched whole almonds plus about half a cup of almonds (to compensate, I hope, for the sweetness of Frangelico)…

…food process it….

…still too sugary in consistency. Add remaining Frangelico. So, in total, 1/3 cup (so far, that is)…

..finagle, split up dough because food processor is too small…. Add 2 tbs more of Frangelico…

…put all dough back in processor with 2 more tbs Frangelico

Ok. So here’s where I am at this point (real time, at the end of the post):

The recipe (thus far) is

  • 300 g + ½ cup blanched whole almonds
  • 200 g granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup Frangelico

If you have a great blender, throw everything on in and blend the hell out of it until you have marzipan. My food processor went above and beyond the call of duty tonight, though I stopped blending because it was getting hot and seemed on the verge of going on strike.

I have my dough in a big metal bowl now. It is a little moist, but I will use powdered sugar tomorrow when I work with it (for dusting, etc.) and I’ll probably knead more powdered sugar in to get the consistency I want.

In the meantime, I have what I think is an almond-paste/marzipan hybrid that is fully spiked with Frangelico and delicious. Incidentally, this is a vegan recipe (depending on the source and processing of your sugar, of course, and whatever processing is used in making Frangelico…). I only point this out because lots of folks seem to freak out whenever ‘vegan’ or ‘vegetarian’ is mentioned, as though finding a vegan or vegetarian recipe for anything is just way too complicated. The thing is, lots of foods and desserts and delicious things just happen to be vegan and vegetarian. Those two words don’t automatically mean steamed tofu. I’m just sayin’.

But back to the point at hand. I made home-made marzipan. It is delicious. Frangelico does make a happy substitute for water. I’ll be using this batch of marzipan for the remainder of my holiday gifts. The first batch, though store-bought, was great for my friend who doesn’t enjoy alcohol, and perhaps for her son (if he’s very good!). They aren’t spiked, but they are cute as could be and were a labor of love.

This batch has been a labor of love as well, though I don’t think I’ll be making any more teeny fir trees 😛 When you’ve got booze-spiked treats, you don’t really need to sex them up much more than that 😉

To be continued (tomorrow, I’ll be working with this batch and adding powdered sugar)…

The Spirit of Christmas…

Actually, the full title of today’s blog is “The Spirit of Christmas– not just a cheap, high-proof brandy” …Though booze does play a role in boosting this post’s Christmas cheer.

As I was sitting in traffic a couple hours ago, our car being pelted with rain, I remembered the first food hack I ever wrote down for other people. It was back when I was a vegan (which, in all sincerity, was awesome) and I bastardized a number of recipes to come up with a happy, satisfying, decadent, liqueur-infused chocolate chip cookie for Christmas fun. This must have been five years ago, but you can tell my somewhat relaxed approach to cooking hasn’t much changed in that time.

So, while my calzone is in the oven (vegan, incidentally, and almost no fat…let me know if you want the recipe for that one!), I give to you (cheap, high-proof something or other in hand), a tried and true Christmas tradition…

Gradissima’s Vegan Kahlua Chocolate Chip Cookies

(semi-stolen, veganized, and extra-spirited from another recipe)

No Cholesterol, No Trans-Fats, Lots of Yum.


  • ½ cup shortening (I use Spectrum Naturals organic shortening)
  • ½ cup margarine, softened (I used Willow Run sticks. Earth Balance is also good)
  • ¾ cup brown sugar (or just double the white sugar. Whatever.)
  • ¾ cup white sugar (I used Florida Crystals)
  • 2 eggs worth of EnerG Egg Replacer (I substituted the water in this with Amaretto! )
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon of Kahlua (plus 3 tablespoons set aside)
  • 1 cup vanilla Silk soymilk (set aside)
  • 1 tablespoon vodka or amaretto (optional –  set aside)
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts (or whatever you have around – cashews, almonds, etc)


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Soften your butter…(just in case you forgot to)
  3. Mix your EggReplacer (1 1/2 teaspoon of Egg Replacer plus 2 tablespoons liquid per egg) with a whisk until frothy. (Remember, I had amaretto around, so I used Kahlua and Amaretto –equal parts—for the liquid in the “eggs” mmmmmm….Christmas cheer.)
  4. Cream together shortening, butter, sugars, and “eggs”
  5. Add the rest of the ingredients (not the soymilk, vodka, and 3 tablespoons Kahlua that are set aside) and mix well. Spoon and ball the dough and place on cookie sheet.
  6. Bake for 10-12 minutes.
  7. Pour soymilk, vodka, and 3 tablespoons of Kahlua over ice. Stir, drink and enjoy while waiting for your cookies to bake. Mmmmmmmmm.
  8. If your cookies burn, repeat step 7.

Have a Merry Christmas, and think of me when you enjoy this recipe!