About Theresa Albert

Theresa's love of food comes straight out of the days in her Tante Louise’s Kitchen in a tiny town in Quebec. In fact, it’s her middle name, Louise.
www.myfriendinfood.com

Sindulgence: Bikini Muffins

bikini muffins

Thankfully these muffins aren’t made from bikinis, but they’re skinny enough to make sure you won’t bust out of yours. Any time you can squeeze a vegetable or fruit into a treat, you are staying ahead of the curve (get it?) with more nutrients and fibre. Feel free to substitute grated carrots for the zucchini, as both contain precious vitamin A that nourishes the skin and plumps the lips.

Preparation Time: 30 mins
Preheat Temperature: 350F

INGREDIENTS:
3 eggs
1 2/3 cups organic cane sugar
1/2 cup grape seed oil
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup almond butter
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups all-purpose organic flour
1 1/2 cups whole wheat organic flour
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp nutmeg
5 cups coarsely shredded zucchini (divided)

DIRECTIONS:
In bowl, beat eggs with hand whisk or electric beaters until light. Gradually add sugar, oil and butter, followed by almond butter and vanilla.

In separate bowl, use a fork to mix together all-purpose and whole-wheat flours, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, salt and nutmeg. Add only 3 cups of zucchini (reserve remaining 2 cups).

Add to sugar mixture and beat until smooth.

Spread remaining 2 cups zucchini onto a baking sheet to dry in oven for 10 minutes before baking muffins. Set aside to cool.

Spoon into non-stick muffin cups until three-quarters full. Bake at 350°F for 12 to 15 minutes for mini muffins, 15 to 20 for full size muffins.

Carefully pile dried, grated zucchini onto muffins and allow to cool before removing from muffin pan.

Serves 24

Sindulgence: Sin-amon Cake

sindulgence-cake

Recipe by Theresa Albert.

Ancient and primitive people have known for millennia that spices like cinnamon and cardamom contribute rich and mysterious nourishment, enhancing the very essence of life. Fascinating that a product of tree bark and the unripe seed pod of a small plant can be baked into an exquisite temptation I call Sin-amon Cake. Top with a dollop of whipped cream and enjoy with a cup of rooibos tea.


INGREDIENTS

1 cup cake and pastry flour
1 cup organic whole wheat flour
1-1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 pinch cayenne pepper
1 pinch ground allspice
1 tsp cracked cardamom
1/2 cup butter, softened at room temperature
1-1/4 cup organic cane sugar (plus more for topping)
2 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk

INSTRUCTIONS
Sift flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cayenne pepper and allspice together.

Place cardamom pods on a cutting board and use the bottom of a heavy skillet to crush them. Discard green pod covers and crack remaining black seeds. Add half to flour mixture, set aside remaining half to top cake.

Use a blender to mix together butter, sugar and eggs in a separate bowl.

Add flour mixture to butter mixture, one cup at a time, alternating with buttermilk until it is well blended but not over-mixed.

Pour into two 8 inch buttered cake pans.

Bake for 20 minutes then sprinkle top with a few teaspoons of cane sugar mixed with remaining cracked cardamom and bake for further 5-10 minutes.

Serve topped with real whipped cream.

Sindulgence: Can’t Elope

sindulgence-fruit

Nothing refreshes like ice cold balls of melon, and for good reason. Melon’s high water content makes it an ideal summer snack. Combine three different types of melon, enhance just a bit and enjoy a low-cal, vitamin packed indulgence.

INGREDIENTS:

1 cantaloupe
1 canary melon (or other)
1 seedless watermelon
1/4 cup mint leaves
1/4 cup pure cane sugar*

INSTRUCTIONS:
Use a melon baller or simply cube all three melons into one large bowl. Pluck mint leaves from stem, wash and stack 4 to 5 deep. Slice thinly across the leaf and toss into the melons. Keep ice cold and serve over a dish of shaved ice. Grate and sprinkle cane sugar over individual bowls at the last second.

*Pure cane sugar can be found at Asian or East Asian shops or in grocery stores with an ethnic section. It looks like a big chunk of maple sugar candy and has a delicious caramel/molasses taste. If you can’t source this ingredient, substitute Demerara or Turbinado Sugar.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Serves 24

Sindulgence: Cocoa Chanel

Sindulgence-choc

Take your time when you sip this deeply satisfying dark chocolate treat. Aim for cocoa that is 70% or higher and feel free to languish in your enjoyment of this indulgence. I’ve given you two versions—guilt-free mixed with buttermilk or pure decadence made with half and half. Only you’ll know which version you’re serving.

INGREDIENTS:
2-3 oz dark chocolate
4-6 oz half and half cream or buttermilk

INSTRUCTIONS:
Use the microwave to melt chocolate in a microwave safe bowl. Melt in 20-30 second increments until very soft and then use a whisk to stir. In a separate bowl, warm your choice of liquid—either buttermilk or half and half—for 30 seconds. Then blend the chocolate and liquid together, pouring an ounce at a time and whisking to blend.

Sindulgence: Ginger Rogers Cookies

Sindulgence-cookie

In celebration of a woman who could do everything her partner did— but backwards and in high heels—a small indulgence with big impact is in order. Ginger, in its dried and fresh forms, has wonderful powers. A traditional remedy for all things tummy, it’s also an anti-inflammatory. In an honest, chewy cookie its flavour astounds.

Preheat 375°F

INGREDIENTS:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp freshly grated ginger
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup organic cane sugar
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup molasses
1 tbsp white vinegar

INSTRUCTIONS:
Lightly grease a baking sheet or use a silicon mat. Sift together flour, salt, baking soda, ground ginger and stir in grated fresh ginger.

Use a blender to mix butter, sugar and egg together and then blend in molasses. Beat for 2 minutes. Stir in vinegar.

Add flour mixture and blend thoroughly. Place into the fridge for 5-10 minutes to firm dough.

Prepare a plate of sugar to dip balls into. Roll dough into 2″ balls and roll in sugar before placing on baking sheet. To make crisp cookies, flatten with a knife. To make soft and chewy cookies, leave as balls.

Place into oven and bake for 12-15 minutes until flattened and beginning to crack on top. Remove to racks to allow to cool.

Serve with a shot of espresso and candied ginger.

Prep Time 30 minutes
Serves 24

Sindulgence: Love Nest Monster

sindulgence-issue2

Be very gentle. We are making meringues. They’re not hard to make, but they are a wee bit temperamental. So, take your time. Allow the egg whites to warm gently to room temperature. Then add the ingredients ever so slowly, one at a time.

Finally, bake at a low temperature. Done correctly, you end up with a base that is strong enough to support all kinds of delicious toppings, yet light enough to melt in your mouth. Yumminess.

INGREDIENTS:
3 egg whites
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp cream of tartar
3/4 cup granulated sugar

INSTRUCTIONS:
Preheat oven to 250°F.

Separate egg whites from egg yolks and allow whites to warm to room temperature. Place whites into a clear glass bowl. Add salt and cream of tartar, then beat with a hand blender or a whisk until it is very foamy and no white remains at the bottom of the bowl. Blend in sugar one tablespoon at a time until mixture is very firm and forms glossy, pointed  peaks when you lift the beaters.

Use a 1/4 cup scoop to form 5 or 6 small nests. Bake in oven for 1 hour. Turn oven off and open the door leaving meringues inside to cool.

Serve each meringue on a dish of mixed berries and top it with fresh, real whipped cream.