Almond Butter Cookies

Almond Butter Cookies

I will be the first to admit that peanut butter cookies are the bees knees.  What is it about the flavor of peanut butter that makes it so tasty?  I don’t have the answer but I do know that peanut butter will always be my favorite nut butter.

But, wait!  Because that is not why we’re here today.  No, today we’re here to show some love to peanut butter’s sister – almond butter.

 

Almond Butter Cookies

 

Before we dive into this recipe, you may (or may not) have noticed that it’s been a while since you’ve received a new recipe for me.  Sometimes I look back upon my weeks and I am honestly stunned at how quickly they pass by.  Between the start of a new school year and my need for a good night’s sleep (I am for a 9 o’clock bedtime 🙂 ), I am having difficulty finding time to make my recipes, test them, and photograph them … this being especially hard with the dwindling daylight hours.  Anywho, what I’m really trying to say here is I’m working on a more consistent schedule that will hopefully benefit me and you.  And thanks for your understanding.

Now, onto the cookies!

 

Almond Butter Cookies

 

These cookies serve a few different purposes, in my opinion.  First, and probably the main reason for making and eating any cookie really, they’re delicious.  Like, chewy – sweet – nutty – I wonder how many is too many– kind of delicious.  Second, they have 3/4 of a cup of almond butter AND are made with almond flour, which means they are packing a serious protein punch.  And finally, my personal favorite purpose, these almond butter cookies make a lovely after dinner dessert (obviously) but they also make an AMAZING breakfast!  Yep!  You + coffee + cookies = morning magic!

 

Almond Butter Cookies

 

Oh, hey, did I forget to mention that in ALLLL of these cookies there is only a measly 1/4 cup of honey?  Ha!  Isn’t that crazy?!  I’m telling you, when you start using less sweetener – particularly white sugar – you really don’t need it, or miss it for that matter.  And the sweetness is there, I promise!  You really will taste the honey.  Give it a try, let me know what you think.

 

Almond Butter Cookies

 

Almond Butter Cookies

 

One final note and then you can get busy in the kitchen.  I undercooked these a little – well, undercooked for me.  You see, I prefer a crispy cookie and Nate opts for a soft and chewy cookie.  So, this time, I went for a chewy cookie … marriage is all about compromises.  😉

 

Almond Butter Cookies

 

almond-butter-cookies

 

 

 

 

 

Peach Ice Cream

Peach Ice Cream

Fresh. Peach. Ice. Cream … to be exact.  🙂 🙂 🙂

 

Peach Ice Cream

 

I feel as though I have typed these exact words a few times already this summer but here in NYC we are in the midst of a crazy, uncomfortable, high humidity, horrible hair day, why did I even shower today type of heat wave.  It’s bad.  Real bad.

Nate and I usually enjoy a good morning walk in the park during the weekends and when we woke up at 7:00 on Saturday, it was already 82° with 80% humidity.  Are you kidding me here?!

It’s pretty freaking unbearable.

 

Peach Ice Cream

 

When it’s hot like this there’s nothing I crave more than a heaping bowl full of ice cream.  Ice cream has always been and probably always will be my absolute favorite treat.  If it were socially acceptable to eat ice cream before a meal, I would do that 9 times out of 10 … I’m just sayin.

And, I truly love it all … soft serve, homemade, gelato, everything.  I typically prefer flavors such as chocolate, rocky road, butter pecan, etc …  I am never the girl who gets strawberry, mango or anything fruit forward.  Just not my thing … typically. 

 

Peach Ice Cream

 

Now, I do not own an ice cream maker so for a very long time the idea of making my own ice cream was out of my realm of possibility.  Until one day while I was tooling around on Pinterest I came across some recipes for ice cream that DID NOT require a machine … hoooorrrayyyy!!!

 

Peach Ice Cream

 

So, why did I choose a fruit flavored ice cream for my first go-round you may wonder.  Um, have you tried any fresh peaches this summer?!  Incredibly flavorful, juicy and sweet.  I rest my case.

If peaches are the star of the show, then coconut milk wins best supporting actress.

Coconut milk is a true miracle worker in the kitchen.  If you’ve never worked with it, I highly suggest you get to it already!  It is a marvelous thickening agent, freezes splendidly and tastes only slightly of coconut.  Nate even said that he couldn’t taste it at all in this ice cream!  So if you’ve been avoiding it it because you, “Don’t like coconut” fear not cause it straight up rocks!!  🙂

 

Peach Ice Cream

 

The peaches I bought were a bit underripe so I put them in a brown bag for a few days and let them do their thing.  When I made this ice cream, I first mixed all of the ingredients except the date and water mixture.  I really wanted it to be sweet enough on its own … unfortunately it just wasn’t.  Perhaps more peaches??? hmmmm….

The dates mixed with the water and combined with the peach mixture was just right, though.  Not overly sweetened and the peach flavor combined with the vanilla is so delightful.  You really must give it a try!

One word of warning, however, if you’re using a food processor don’t overfill it – eh hem – like I did.  🙂

 

Peach Ice Cream

 

Oh!  And I highly recommend adding some brown butter peaches as a topping!  Simply let some butter cook for a bit until the little bits (milk solids) brown – but be careful! – it can burn very quickly once the browning starts to happen!  So, once you’ve got some browned butter, which will smell delightfully nutty, add some sliced peaches until their warmed and coated.  Trust me on this one, you won’t regret it!

 

Peach Ice Cream

 

PeachIceCream

 

Peach Ice Cream

 

What’s your favorite ice cream flavor?

 

 

Chocolate Cake

Chocolate Cake

Listen up, friends!  Today we’ve got a chocolate cake with chocolate frosting AND raspberry filling!

All gluten and refined sugar free!  A cake worthy of a celebration and it just so happens, that was exactly my intent!  🙂

 

Chocolate Cake

 

I made this cake specifically with my parents in mind.  You see, this past weekend they celebrated their 40th WEDDING ANNIVERSARY!!!  Pretty awesome, right?!

I wish I had some fantastic 1976 wedding pictures to share with you all but the fact of the matter is not many survived … their wedding wound up being a comedy of mishaps – rain, melting cake, no pics, etc …  a real disaster by today’s standards.  But the major purpose of the day did occur without hesitation and they were hitched!

What I can tell you is that my dad’s tux was a lovely shade of light blue and may or may not have had an accompanying ruffled shirt.  My mom had a sort of peasant-esque styled dress complete with flowers in her hair.  Oh so 70s .. or so I imagine.  🙂

 

Chocolate Cake

 

So I had been planning this cake for a while … knowing such a milestone anniversary was approaching and I am so happy to share it with you all, and them, today!  Unfortunately, they’re in Ohio while I’m here in New York and cake just doesn’t ship well, ya know?  I’ll just have to make it next time we’re together … dang.  😉

Chocolate Cake

 

I really wanted it to be a chocolate cake because I know they both love chocolate cake, easy as that.  This one is so dense with chocolate flavor it’s practically a fudge brownie masquerading as a cake.  Yeah, imagine it, cause it’s true people!

I really love the look and versatility of layered cakes.  They typically are served outside of their baking pan which means some creativity can go into the frosting methods.  Also, having two layers allows for some hidden surprise in the middle!  This cake has a tangy raspberry filling that helps to cut through all that decadent fudginess.

 

Chocolate Cake

 

The potential problem with baking two cakes that are identical happens when you only own 1 cake pan in that size.  I realize not everyone may be in this same predicament, but if you are, just know that this whole cake-baking process is going to take a bit longer as you wait for the cake to cool, wash the pan, re-grease the pan and then bake a second cake.  You could spend you’re day doing less appealing activities, however, like changing a flat tire on the side of the highway, doing yard work in 98% humidity or any form of dusting … just to name a few.

 

Chocolate Cake

 

(Shoutout to Nate for his budding photography skills!)

Okay, let’s talk frosting for a moment shall we?  So it’s easy to go out into the world of the internet and find plenty of vegan chocolate frosting recipes but they still use icing sugar aka powdered sugar.  I was about to give up hope when I came across a recipe that used avocados as frosting – yes, you read that correctly – avocados.

This frosting is made by melting a little bit of good quality dark chocolate and blending it with avocados, cocoa powder, maple syrup and vanilla.  The texture is insanely creamy and cool, pretty much what one would expect from an avocado but with a sweetly chocolate flavor.  The texture is a bit like pudding, maybe slightly firmer, and makes a totally awesome frosting!  It’s best kept in the refrigerator but can hang for a good while outside of the fridge’s cool environment.

I’ll just say this one last bit … expect to be licking the spoon, spreader and sides of the frosting bowl.

 

Chocolate Cake

 

Chocolate Cake

 

 

ChocolateCake1

Chocolate Cake2

 

If you were bringing a dessert to a celebration what would it be?

 

Chocolate Cake

 

Chocolate Cake

 

 

Mango Jalapeño Margaritas

Mango Jalapeño Margaritas

Today is a first for The Sugar Habit … a first that I am very excited to share with you!

 

Mango Jalapeño Margaritas

 

I have never created my own adult beverage so I didn’t have very high hopes.  Whomp.  Whomp.

Good news, though!  These margaritas are a home run!  And I’m not just saying that cause, you know, I made them.  They are naturally sweet, a wee bit spicy, creamy and cool.

See, a home run!

 

Mango Jalapeño Margaritas

 

So, there is this bar in our neighborhood that specializes in fancified cocktails.  One of them is called the ‘Silver Tongued Devil,’ which features jalapeño infused tequila, pineapple and ginger.

The first time I tried it, I was scared … scared that it would be too spicy what with the jalapeño and all, but it’s just right!  A slight heat but not overpowering.  And now, it’s one of my all-time favorite cocktails!

 

Mango Jalapeño Margaritas

 

Did you know that making an infused tequila is really simple?  Cause it is!

Step 1: Buy tequila.  They’re typically sold in 750ml bottles, I chose to infuse just half the bottle … 375ml.

Step 2: Buy jalapeños.

Step 3: Slice jalapeños.

Step 4: Combine 375ml tequila and sliced jalapeños in a sealable container.

Step 5: Wait 2-3 days.  Obviously the more time the jalapeños soak the spicier the tequila.

Simple.

Fun fact.  The tequila turns slightly green!  Ha!

 

Mango Jalapeño Margaritas

 

As for the mango, I opted for frozen here.  In these hot summer months, there’s not much better than a frosty drink and these stay nice and thick with the frozen mango and a bit of ice.  Plus, what’s easier to come by than frozen fruit?  No hoping that the store is going to have ripe mangoes or waiting for hard ones to ripen.  The name of the game here is easy.

 

Mango Jalapeño Margaritas

 

Now you just take your slightly green, spiced-up tequila, frozen mango and the rest of the ingredients, throw em in a blender and give it a whirl.

 

Mango Jalapeño Margaritas

 

Best enjoyed with another. 🙂

 

MangoJalapeñoMargarita

 

Mango Jalapeño Margaritas

 

What’s your favorite summer beverage?

Strawberry Mint Popsicles

Strawberry Mint Popsicles

All last week I attended a conference in Seattle, Washington – my first time visiting the city and state.  Not only was it one of the most beautiful landscapes I have ever seen, mountains, water and huuuuge trees galore!  But it also offered one of the most enjoyable climates … especially considering it was the middle of July.

Highs of 72° and nooooo humidity!  Freaking amazing!

Strawberry Mint Popsicles

Strawberry Mint Popsicles

 

The conference was held at the University of Washington, which is a beautiful campus itself with some incredible views!  Can you see Mt. Rainier in that first picture?!  And the city skyline was only a 20 minute walk outside the campus.  It really is a beautiful city and I’m grateful to have been able to visit and look forward to going back and do more exploring!

All that being said, I arrived home in New York Sunday morning – after the redeye flight – to 85° (at 6am) and what I can only assume was 97% humidity.  And commence sweating.  Woof … I’m sure many of you, regardless of location, can commiserate with this current situation.

 

Strawberry Mint Popsicles

 

The cure?  Strawberry Mint Popsicles, obviously.  Honestly who didn’t see that one coming?  😉

 

Strawberry Mint Popsicles

 

These popsicles are full of sweet and refreshing flavor and make for one delightfully cool treat even on the most miserable of summer days.

As I have mentioned many times previously, I absolutely love strawberries!  To me, they are, and will always be, the epitome of summer fruit and turning them into a popsicle was a no-brainer.  The addition of mint was inspired by a tasty drink I had while in Grand Cayman.

 

Strawberry Mint Popsicles

 

It was a mojito, which is not typically a drink I go for.  You see, I really hate all of the crushed and torn mint leaves that always get stuck in my straw or sucked up and stuck in my teeth.  As I was talking to the bartender about this unfortunate side effect she informed me that those torn up pieces were actually the sign of a bad mojito.

According to the bartender, the point of muddling the mint leaves is to press/massage the leaves, releasing their sweet flavor, not tearing them to bits so that there are leaf pieces floating around in the drink.  I was very intrigued by this idea and decided to give it a try in these popsicles.

 

Strawberry Mint Popsicles

 

If you don’t have muddling equipment, feel free to skip this step, but I have to say the mint flavor is there and I like to think it was partially due to the muddling.  🙂

To release the flavor, I put the mint leaves in with the coconut water and gently muddled them.  Being that this was my first muddling, I made sure press and twist lightly and used my sense of smell to decide when I was done … when I could really smell the mint, the leaves were ready.  Pretty scientific, eh?

 

Strawberry Mint Popsicles

 

I’m going to be honest with you here, though.  You’ll end up just throwing all of the ingredients into a blender or food processor so if you feel like speeding up the process or don’t have the tools, ain’t no big thang.  You be you. 🙂

 

Strawberry Mint Popsicles

 

How are you surviving the summer heat?

 

Strawberry Mint Popsicles

Strawberry Mint Popsicles

 

 

Flag Cake

Flag Cake

Happy 4th of July!  I truly hope that most of you are out with friends and family, grilling up some burgers and hot dogs, snacking on fresh-cut watermelon, indulging in some delicious treats and playing in the sun.  You know, rather than reading this blog.  😉

If you are so inclined to join me today, I’ve got a winning dessert for your Independence Day cookout that is gluten free, refined sugar free and down right delicious!

 

Flag Cake

 

My Grandma Fifi – yes, Fifi, named after their dog because that’s how my cousin referred to them at a young age 🙂 – anywho, my Grandma Fifi always used to make a “flag cake” during our summer get togethers – Memorial Day, July 4th & Labor Day.  This cake, to my recollection, consisted of a box of yellow cake mix, store bought frosting and the distinctive fresh blueberries and strawberries.

It was always so good and a dessert I looked forward to at family gatherings.  I wanted to recreate this cake according to my own rules … no white sugar & no white flour.

 

Flag Cake

 

What I’ve got for you is two layers of cake made with almond and coconut flours, sweetened with honey, topped with coconut cream frosting and these incredibly plump and juicy berries!

This is definitely a dessert that looks just as good as it tastes.

 

Flag Cake

 

Flag Cake

 

So this is the first time I have ever made a layered cake and, I’m not gonna lie, it did not turn out as I had planned.  My original idea was to make two round cakes instead of the rectangle.  (I recently discovered some spring form pans and was very excited to use them, hence the round cakes.)  However, 1/2 the batter just barely covered the bottom of the pan.  I wanted them to be thin but not wafer thin, ya know?

 

Flag Cake

 

In need of a new plan, I took out my trusty 11.5 x 6″ silicone loaf pan and it was the perfect size!  And I guess for a “flag cake” a rectangle really makes more sense than a circle, right?

The only downside is that I only have 1 of those pans, which, obviously requires me to cook the first cake, let that cool and then bake the 2nd cake … a bit more time consuming but not bad.

 

Flag Cake

 

Flag Cake

 

The coconut cream frosting is so light and sweet and pairs perfectly with the cake and berries.  I’m talking about a lick your whisk attachment clean – type of frosting.  And, the best part is, it only gets better after it’s been in the refrigerator for a while.

I’m sure you’ll agree that the whole combination is a real winner!

 

Flag Cake

 

Flag Cake

 

FlagCake

FlagCake2

 

Flag Cake

 

Happy 4th!  I’d love to know what your favorite dessert is to bring to a cookout or gathering?

 

Flag Cake

 

 

 

 

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