The Five SeaSuns bakers have been baking cookies for guests a quarter of a century – 25 years of oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, traditional Toll House chocolate chip cookies, thumbprint jam cookies, peanut butter cookies, macadamia nut and cranberry cookies, chocolate crinkle cookies, shortbread cookies – the sky is the limit! And, I have been baking for much longer than that. Back when I was in 5th grade, our classroom had a kitchen, and one of my favorite school projects was when each kid got to invent their own dessert recipe, write up the recipe for a class cookbook, and make the recipe in the classroom kitchen for everyone to sample. This was several decades ago, so I cannot recall what I made, but I do remember the inventive (and very chewy) jujube candy cookies that one kid made, and I remember how much fun it was to be inventive.
Flash forward to 2020, and in the spirit of the 10-year-old creative kid inside me, I still like to have fun experimenting in the kitchen baking cookies, pastries, cakes, and candy. I enjoy finding new recipes online that I follow faithfully and that are quick, easy, and delicious. I equally enjoy adapting existing recipes or creating new ones to meet the various dietary needs of my guests. Since 2016, I have made traditional recipes as well as sugar free, gluten free, dairy free, vegan, and keto treats for guests. Sometimes I succeed, and other times I fail and start all over again. That is all part of the process. In this blog, I step out of the traditional cookie box, so to speak, and share 4 delicious, easy, and creative non-cookie treats for you to try in your own kitchen:
My Most Requested Recipe:
Let’s begin with a guest favorite and my most requested recipe. I call it a Cranberry Walnut Torte, but the real name is Cranberry Walnut Cobbler. Big thanks to Yvonne Martin of the White Oak Inn for this crowd pleaser: https://www.8broads.com/recipe/cranberry-walnut-cobbler This is a perfect Fall and Winter recipe, but I buy fresh cranberries in season and freeze them so that I can make it year-round. It is super easy to prepare and will make your kitchen smell amazing. I always serve it with a dollop of homemade whipped cream. I haven’t made a vegan version of this recipe yet, but I have made a dairy free version using Miyoko’s plant based butter and Coco Whip substituted for the whip cream. All of my guests rave about how delicious this treat is.
Easy Microwave Fudge:
I make this every December, put it in decorative Christmas tins, and give it as gifts. No one will believe how simple and fast this is to make, and it tastes exactly like the more labor-intensive traditional fudge recipe. Simply pour 3 cups of your favorite kind of chocolate chips (or peanut butter chips) in a large bowl, pour 1 can (12 ounces) of sweetened condensed milk over it, and microwave it. The secret is to microwave it for about 30-45 seconds at a time, pausing in between cooking to stir it as it melts together, and repeating this process with the incremental heating until it is glossy and smooth. At this point, I like to add in a splash of vanilla (½ tsp.) and a handful (about ½ cup) of walnuts or pecans. Spread it in a pan lined with parchment paper and chill it until firm. Once firm, it is easy to peel off the parchment paper and slice up. It travels well by mail and can last a few weeks in your refrigerator.
Plant Based Peanut Butter Fudge:
Trying to eat a more plant-based diet? If so, this is a delicious vegan fudge to try. Thanks to Purple Carrot and blogger/food investigator Food Babe for the recipe: https://www.purplecarrot.com/plant-based-recipes/peanut-butter-freezer-fudge. I made this last week and am really enjoying it. You definitely need to store it in the freezer or it melts. It also melts in your mouth when you eat it. I haven’t yet experimented with making this with other nut butters, but I think it would work well with almond or cashew butter too.
Avocado Cocoa Plant-Based Keto Truffles:
Avocado and cocoa truffles? Yes! When I recently had some ripe avocados sitting on the counter, the 10 year in me said, “Hmm, I wonder if I could make an avocado dessert?” In doing a quick internet search, I found a surprising number of dessert recipes involving avocados. After getting some ideas from online recipes, I got started experimenting with ingredients that I had on hand. The result? — surprisingly delicious sugar free, vegan, keto truffles. Here is the recipe:
Take one ripe avocado and mash it with ¼ cup of coconut oil in a bowl. Then add 2 tbsp. of cocoa (I used Hershey’s Special Dark), 2 tbsps. of monk sugar dissolved in hot water (I used what I had on hand, but a few drops of liquid Stevia would likely work even better. Or, make it even easier and simply melt some sugar free or low sugar chocolate chips instead of cocoa and sweetener. I also added in ½ tsp. of vanilla, 1 tbsp. of coconut milk (I used canned coconut milk that I had blended for a thick and smooth texture), and ¼ tsp. of salt. Once well stirred, put in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes until firm. When firm, scoop out individual truffle balls using a melon baller and roll in cocoa, cinnamon, or coconut or drizzle with melted sugar free chocolate and top with chopped pecans. You can set them on a cookie tray with parchment paper or line a mini cupcake tin with liners like I did. These are tasty, healthy, and satisfying, and no one will believe that they have avocado in them. I store them in the freezer and take one out when I want a healthy treat.
Let me know if you try out any of these recipes and enjoy them, or better yet, please share some of your own favorite tasty recipes. As for the Five SeaSuns, I love making creative and tasty treats for guests and especially fine tuning recipes for special dietary needs and preferences. Come for a stay and see what I have going on in my kitchen for you. Cheers!