Greek Pumpkin Hand Pies – Kolokithopita (Vegan, No Mixer)

These Greek pumpkin hand pies are made with fresh pumpkin and shaped into pretty spirals. They’re vegan and they don’t require a mixer! 

greek pumpkin hand pie on a plate with cinnamon sticks and a pumpkin

Pumpkin season is officially here! I absolutely love pumpkin desserts! 

This recipe has been in our family for generations and has been handed down to me from my Yiayia (Grandma). It’s a traditional Greek pumpkin pie recipe, but instead of making one large pie, I adapted it and made hand pies. If you’re a pumpkin lover, you should definitely give this recipe a try!

What is kolokithopita?

The name is a real tongue twister:  ko-lo-kee-THO-pee-ta!

The word kolokithi has different meanings in Greek. It can mean squash, zucchini (or courgette for my British friends), or pumpkin. Generally speaking, any variety of pumpkin or squash is called a kolokithi in Greece! Pita means pie and together you get kolokithopita, pumpkin pie (or kolokithopites in the plural form)!

 

Greek pumpkin hand pie on a plate with pumpkin, leaves and kitchen towel

What’s in Greek pumpkin pie?

In Greece, there are both sweet and savory versions of pumpkin pie. The savory ones often have feta cheese in them. This recipe is a sweet pumpkin pie with sugar and spices. It’s very popular this time of year in Greece. 

What kind of pumpkin is used for kolokithopita?

Most parts of Greece traditionally make it with butternut squash, but other pumpkin varieties are used, as well.

For this recipe I use a tan skinned pumpkin, which is similar to the Buckskin variety in the States. You could use any sweet pumpkin or pie pumpkin. Butternut squash would be great, too.

What do you need to make Greek pumpkin hand pies?

There are only a few ingredients in these Greek pumpkin hand pies!!!

Here’s what you need:

  • Phyllo dough – I only use 7 sheets of phyllo dough, one per pie. 
  • Pumpkin or butternut squash, grated & squeezed – It only took me about 10 minutes to grate the pumpkin & 1-2 minutes more to squeeze out the liquid!
  • Olive oil – I use olive oil to grease the baking pan and the phyllo dough sheets.
  • Sugar – I use a combination of light brown packed sugar and white granulated sugar for the filling, but you can use just granulated sugar, if you want. I also use powdered sugar for dusting before serving.
  • Spices – I use a blend of cinnamon, nutmeg, and ground cloves.

That’s it!

Why squeeze freshly grated pumpkin?

Pumpkins and squash have a high water content. In order to avoid soggy pies, traditional Greek recipes usually include one of 3 methods to remove the excess water.

One method involves adding rice, breadcrumbs, or semolina flour to the filling. This helps absorb any extra liquid from the pumpkin.

Another method is to put the shredded pumpkin in a skillet  and cook it for a few minutes. This helps evaporate the excess water.

The third method is to squeeze out the liquid by hand.

I have tried all 3 methods and I found squeezing the liquid out by hand is the best one. It’s A LOT quicker than cooking it in a skillet! Plus, I don’t need to add any rice, breadcrumbs, or flour, which could affect the texture and overall flavor of the pie!

HOW TO MAKE GREEK PUMPKIN HAND PIES 

They may look complicated, but they are really simple to make. Here’s a step-by-step tutorial:

how to peel a pumpkin, remove seeds, grate and squeeze it

greek pumpkin pie filling and assembly

how to coil greek pumpkin hand pies

Can I make one large pie instead of hand pies?

Sure! Just double my recipe first and bake it in a bigger pan. The only thing you need to be careful of is the phyllo dough.

There are two ways to use the phyllo dough for a large pie:

  1. Put half of the phyllo dough sheets on the bottom, then add the filling, and then top with the remaining dough sheets. Just remember to drizzle each sheet with oil before adding the next one. 
  2. Place all the phyllo dough sheets in a pan, one at a time, drizzling each with oil, until they finish and then add the filling. After that, just fold all the overhanging sheets of dough on top! Then brush the pie with oil and cut it into pieces (but not all the way through) before baking.

VARIATIONS & ADD-INS

  • You could add chopped walnuts, sesame seeds, and/or raisins in the filling.
  • Soaking the raisins in some cognac or brandy adds additional flavor. Just make sure to drain them before adding them to the filling.
  • After it’s cooled, I like to dust it with powdered sugar and sprinkle it with some cinnamon before serving.

TIPS FOR SUCCESS 

  • Use a clean kitchen towel to squeeze out as much liquid as you can. Any excess water can make the hand pies soggy.
  • When you add the sugar and spices to the shredded pumpkin, you’ll notice some liquid remains in the bottom of the bowl. Discard this liquid or put the filling in a a fine mesh strainer before making the hand pies.
  • Make sure the phyllo dough sheets are covered with a damp towel so that they don’t dry out while you’re making the hand pies. Try and work as quickly as you can because the phyllo dough can dry out fast!
  • Don’t coil the pies too tightly, otherwise the centers won’t bake evenly.
  • Whenever I bake with phyllo dough, I don’t usually line my pan with parchment paper; I just oil it with olive oil. If you want to make cleanup easier, though, you could line your pan with parchment paper before baking.
  • The baking time will depend on how much moisture is in your pumpkin. It usually takes around 50 minutes, but it could take up to an hour and ten minutes. Keep an eye on it after 45 minutes.

~Voula

greek pumpkin hand pies, one on a plate and one in a hand with pumpkin and leaves

Let me know how these Greek Pumpkin Hand Pies turn out for you in the comments below! I’d love to hear from you!

Greek Pumpkin Hand Pies - Kolokithopita (Vegan, No Mixer)

These Greek pumpkin hand pies are made with fresh pumpkin and shaped into pretty spirals. They're vegan and they don’t require a mixer! 
Prep Time12 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Total Time1 hr 12 mins
Course: Dessert, Snack
Cuisine: Greek
Keyword: greek, pumpkin, pie, vegan, no mixer, sweet
Servings: 7

Ingredients

  • 3 ½ cups (14 oz / 400 g) freshly grated pumpkin, squeezed to remove excess water (see picture tutorials in the post to see how to do it)
  • 7 phyllo dough sheets (about 8 oz / 225 g)
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
  • powdered sugar and ground cinnamon for dusting (optional)

Instructions

  • Generously grease a pan with olive oil. Alternatively, line a baking sheet with parchment paper and lightly grease it with olive oil. Set aside.
  • Preheat the oven to 180 °C / 350 °F.
  • Put the shredded pumpkin in a bowl.
  • Add the sugar and the spices and mix with a spoon until everything is combined. Discard any liquid that remains in the bowl or put the filling in a a fine mesh strainer.
  • Place a sheet of phyllo dough on a work surface (the long edge facing you) and drizzle with some olive oil. Cover the other sheets with a damp towel so that they don’t dry out.
  • Spread 2 tablespoons of the pumpkin filling lengthwise, starting about 2 inches (5 cm) from the bottom and the sides.
  • Fold the left and right edge of the phyllo dough over the filling.
  • Fold over the bottom part of the phyllo dough and roll into a log, starting from the bottom.
  • Starting at one end, loosely roll the log into a spiral.
  • Place the hand pie in the baking pan and brush with olive oil.
  • Repeat with the remaining 6 sheets and filling.
  • Bake for 50-60 minutes.
  • Enjoy!

Notes

  • Use a clean kitchen towel to squeeze out as much liquid as you can. Any excess water can make the hand pies soggy.
  • Try and work as quickly as you can because the phyllo dough can dry out fast!
  • Don’t coil the pies too tightly, otherwise the centers won’t bake evenly.
  • Whenever I bake with phyllo dough, I don’t usually line my pan with parchment paper; I just oil it with olive oil. If you want to make cleanup easier, though, you could line your pan with parchment paper before baking.
  • The baking time will depend on how much moisture is in your pumpkin. It usually takes around 50 minutes, but it could take up to an hour and ten minutes. Keep an eye on it after 45 minutes.
© Pastry Wishes
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Easy Healthy Watermelon Slushie (2 Ingredients + Vegan)

There’s nothing like a refreshing watermelon slushie on a hot summer day! This easy, healthy ice cold drink is a perfect way to beat the heat! And with only 2 ingredients, you’ll be making it all summer long!

 

homemade watermelon slushie

Summer wouldn’t be summer without watermelons! They’re cool and refreshing on their own, but they also make AMAZING, thirst-quenching slushies.

This frosty, watermelon slushie recipe is pure summertime in a glass!

Slushies bring back a lot of memories from my childhood! I used to drink them all the time, but I never made my own. When I first made this slushie, I gulped it down so fast I got a brain freeze, just like when I was a kid! 🤪

You will love this recipe because:

  • it’s healthy.
  • it’s great for kids.
  • there’s no added sugar.
  • it’s refreshing.
  • it’s SO easy to make.
  • it’s DELICIOUS!!!

To make it, you only need some watermelon and a little water. That’s literally it!

It can’t get any easier than that!

homemade watermelon slushie

If you want, of course, you could add a few other ingredients to kick it up a notch according to your preferences. Here are some ideas:

Sweetener: Depending on how ripe the watermelon is, you may not need to add any sweetener. But, if it’s not that sweet, you could add a little sugar, stevia, maple syrup, or honey. 

Lemon/Lime: You could use a little bit of lemon or lime juice to add a little tang and enhance the flavor.

Mint: I love mint! You could blend a few leaves to the slushie to make it even more refreshing, if you like!

HOW TO FREEZE WATERMELON

1 Cut the watermelon into even-sized cubes and remove any seeds.

2 Place the watermelon cubes on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. 

3 Freeze for about 1-3 hours and then make the slushie or freeze overnight and make the slushie the next day.  I prefer freezing it overnight.

HOW TO MAKE EASY HOMEMADE WATERMELON SLUSHIE

1 Put the frozen watermelon in a food processor (or a high-powered blender).

2 Add a splash of water and blend.

That’s it!

homemade watermelon slushie

 

WATERMELON SLUSHIE VARIATIONS

Even though this slushie is great as is, there are lots of different variations you may want to try. 

  • You can use basil instead of mint. I think basil goes really well with watermelon.
  • You can add some strawberries. I also think blueberries would be nice, too. Of course, it would be better if the berries were frozen, but fresh would also work.
  • Coconut milk would give it a really nice tropical twist.
  • For those who drink alcohol, a splash Ouzo would add a nice Greek touch. You could also add Vodka, white wine, or your favorite liquor.

TIPS FOR SUCCESS

  • I have made this without freezing the watermelon, but it turned out more like a juice, rather than a slushie. For best results, freeze the watermelon overnight before you make the slushies.
  • Start off by pulsing for about half a minute and continue until there aren’t any big chunks left, or it reaches the consistency you like. If it’s a bit too thick, you could add a little bit more water. You don’t want to overblend the mixture, though, otherwise it will end up too watery.
  • It’s best served immediately.

I hope you enjoy this recipe!

Looking for more summer recipes? You may also enjoy my Easy No-churn Vanilla Ice Cream (+ Secret Ingredient) or my Easy Strawberry Mint Sorbet – No Ice Cream Maker – Refined Sugar Free (+ Vegan Option)!

Let me know how this easy homemade watermelon slushie turned out for you in the comments below! I’d love to hear from you!

~Voula 😀

 

Easy Healthy Watermelon Slushie (2 Ingredients + Vegan)

There’s nothing like a refreshing watermelon slushie on a hot summer day! This easy, healthy ice cold drink is a perfect way to beat the heat! And with only 2 ingredients, you’ll be making it all summer long!
Course: Dessert, Drinks
Cuisine: American, Greek
Keyword: healthy, watermelon, slushie, frozen, vegan, refined sugar free
Servings: 2 -3

Ingredients

  • 2 cups watermelon, cubed
  • about ½ cup water
  • lemon/lime slices (optional)
  • fresh mint sprigs (optional)

Instructions

Freeze the watermelon

  • Cut the watermelon into even-sized cubes and remove any seeds.
  • Place the watermelon cubes on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. 
  • Freeze for about 1-3 hours or overnight. I usually freeze the cubes overnight.

Make the slushies

  • Put the frozen watermelon cubes in a food processor (or a high-powered blender) and pulse for about half a minute, adding a splash of water. Continue until there aren’t any big chunks left, or it reaches the consistency you like, adding more water if necessary. Don't overblend.
  • Serve immediately.
  • If you like, garnish with lemon/lime slices and fresh mint sprigs.
  • Enjoy!

Notes

© Pastry Wishes
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EASY HOMEMADE CHOCOLATE SYRUP (WITHOUT CORN SYRUP)

This incredibly easy homemade chocolate syrup is the perfect topping for all your favorite desserts! Make it without any corn syrup in less than 15 minutes! You won’t go back to buying store-bought ever again!

homemade chocolate syrup

Don’t you just want to lick that spoon?!?!?

This homemade chocolate syrup is AMAZING! 

It’s NOT to be confused with hot fudge, which is usually made with butter and cream. This chocolate syrup is like the popular one you would buy in a bottle, only MUCH BETTER!

It’s thick, but pourable!

It’s velvety!

It’s chocolaty!

It’s silky smooth!

It’s sooo delicious and rich in flavor!

AND… 

There is absolutely NO corn syrup in it!

homemade chocolate syrup

I’m not totally against using corn syrup in baking (because there is a difference between corn syrup and high fructose syrup), but I always prefer simple, easier methods, which include few ingredients and produce excellent results.

This recipe is one of them! Perfect, chocolate syrup with basic pantry ingredients!

Why you’ll love this homemade chocolate syrup recipe

  • You know EXACTLY what’s in it! There are only 4 ingredients and NONE of them are artificial!
  • It’s super inexpensive and remarkably easy to make!
  • It tastes so much better than store-bought chocolate syrup!

WHAT YOU’LL NEED

  • Cocoa Powder: I use good quality, unsweetened cocoa powder. I prefer Dutch processed cocoa powder, but you could use natural cocoa powder, instead.
  • Sugar: I use granulated white sugar. You could adjust the sugar by using more or less, depending on your preferences.
  • Salt: I use a pinch of salt to enhance the chocolate flavor.
  • Cornstarch: I use it because I like my chocolate syrup on the thick side, but if you don’t want it too thick, you can omit it altogether. 
  • Water: I use water instead of cream or milk so that the syrup lasts longer.

HOW TO MAKE EASY HOMEMADE CHOCOLATE SAUCE IN 3 EASY STEPS

STEP 1

Whisk together the cocoa powder, sugar, water, and salt over medium high heat. Stir constantly until it begins to simmer.

STEP 2

In a small bowl, whisk the cornstarch and water to make a slurry.

STEP 3

Add the slurry to the saucepan and stir until it thickens.

VARIATIONS

  • Add a shot of your favorite liquor.
  • Use light or dark brown sugar for a more caramel flavor.
  • Add ½ – 1 teaspoon of vanilla.
  • Make it spicy! Add a dash of cayenne pepper for a Mexican twist or a dash of black pepper for an ancient Greek twist.   Yes, you read that right! (Check out my post where I explain it!)

How long does it take to make?

It takes about 10 – 12 minutes to make this chocolate syrup. Then you need to wait about an hour for it to cool down before storing it.

What can you use it for?

There are SO many ways you can use this homemade chocolate syrup. Here are a few of my all-time favorites:

Stir it into hot or cold milk.

Stir it into coffee. 

Dip cookies in it.

Drizzle it over buttered toast topped with cinnamon. OMG! It’s one of my faves for breakfast! 

Drizzle it over your favorite desserts, like ice cream, cheesecake, cinnamon rolls, or warm brownies. 

Drizzle it over pancakes, waffles, or French toast.

Pour it over your favorite fruit salad.

Impress your guests by drizzling some on a plate before serving your favorite dessert for a fancy, gourmet food styling presentation!

 

TIPS FOR SUCCESS

  • Try and get the best quality unsweetened cocoa powder you can!
  • Make sure you stir it constantly to prevent it from burning.

HERE ARE A FEW MORE AMAZING CHOCOLATE RECIPES YOU MAY WANT TO TRY: 

Ouzo-spiked Chocolate Orange Cake 

Cheater’s chocolate Mousse (+ Easy Chocolate Garnishes)

Sugar Free Whole Wheat Chocolate Cupcakes 

~Voula

Let me know how this Homemade Chocolate Syrup turns out for you in the comments below! I’d love to hear from you!

 

homemade chocolate syrup
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5 from 1 vote

EASY HOMEMADE CHOCOLATE SYRUP (WITHOUT CORN SYRUP)

This incredibly easy homemade chocolate syrup is the perfect topping for all your favorite desserts! Make it without any corn syrup in less than 15 minutes! You won’t go back to buying store-bought ever again!
Cook Time12 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: chocolate, easy,, homemade, syrup
Servings: 1 1/2 cups (approximately)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (110 g) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup (200 g) sugar
  • 1 cup (250 ml) water
  • a pinch of salt

For the slurry

  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 4 tablespoons water

Instructions

  • In a saucepan, whisk together the cocoa powder, sugar, salt, and the cup of water over medium high heat.
  • Stir constantly until it begins to simmer.

Make the slurry

  • In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and water to make a slurry.
  • Add the slurry to the saucepan and stir until the syrup thickens, about 10 - 12 minutes.
  • Serve warm or allow it to cool completely (for about an hour) and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Notes

The chocolate sauce will thicken as it cools.
This homemade chocolate syrup can be refrigerated in an airtight container (like a glass jar) for about 3 weeks.
If you want, you can reheat it over the stove or in 5 minute increments in the microwave, stirring regularly.
© Pastry Wishes
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Easy Strawberry Mint Sorbet – No Ice Cream Maker – Refined Sugar Free (+ Vegan Option)

You don’t need an ice cream maker to make this refreshing strawberry mint sorbet! This simple recipe is made with fresh strawberries and mint leaves and includes a vegan option, too!

strawberry mint sorbetSummers in Greece are HOT! So when strawberries are in season, I love making this easy strawberry mint sorbet. It’s sweet, slightly tangy, yet cool and refreshing at the same time! This healthy summer snack is a perfect way to beat the heat!

What is sorbet?

Sorbet is a combination of pureed fruit or fruit juice, and a sweetener which is then frozen. It’s typically made without eggs or milk. Classic sorbet is usually made with a simple syrup consisting of sugar and water.

This recipe, however, is much healthier because it’s made with honey! For a vegan sorbet, just replace the honey with maple syrup!

What you’ll need to make strawberry mint sorbet

  • Strawberries: I use fresh strawberries.
  • Sweetener: I use good quality Greek honey. For a vegan option, use equal amounts of maple syrup, instead.
  • Mint: I use fresh mint leaves.
  • Lemon juice: It really adds a nice tanginess.
  • Liquor: I use Vodka, but you could use your favorite liquor of choice.

How to make strawberry mint sorbet.

There are two different methods I’ve used to make this sorbet.

Method #1

This method is for those who don’t want any seeds or pieces of fruit or mint in their sorbet.

All you do is put all the ingredients in a food processor or blender and process until smooth.

Taste and adjust the sweetness, adding more honey/maple syrup if needed.

Strain the mixture using a fine mesh strainer or sieve, pressing the pulp with a spatula. Discard whatever remains in the strainer.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and pour the sorbet mixture onto it. Make sure you evenly spread the mixture on the tray. Then put the tray in the freezer for about 2-3 hours.

After it has frozen, take the tray out of the freezer and break it into small chunks. The chunks should be small enough to fit into your food processor or blender.

Blend or process the pureed chunks using a spatula to scrape the sides and push all the chunks down so that they’re all well blended.

Put it in a freezer-safe container and put it back in the freezer for about 1-2 hours or until frozen.

Method #2

This method is my favorite because it’s quicker and easier! It doesn’t involve any straining, so all the pieces of fruit and mint are in it. Personally, I like the seeds and the tiny pieces of mint and I think they’re healthy. It’s the method I used for all the pictures, too. That’s why you can see the tiny pieces of mint in all the pictures!

Here’s how to make it:

strawberry mint sorbet

Then you put it in the freezer for about 1-2 hours or until frozen.

Why use Vodka in sorbet?

I use Vodka because alcohol reduces the sorbet’s freezing point and it prevents the sorbet from freezing solid. So, the more alcohol you add, the softer the sorbet, which means it can melt fast. That’s why I use a small amount of Vodka. Also, you cannot taste the Vodka at all in the sorbet; I only use it to help give the sorbet a smoother texture and to prevent any ice from forming.

strawberry mint sorbet

 TIPS FOR SUCCESS

  • Use the best fruit you can find.
  • I really love mint, that’s why I use quite a lot in this recipe. If you’re not crazy about mint, I suggest starting out with a few mint leaves and then tasting the processed/blended mixture to see if you want more. Of course, you could reduce the amount in the recipe or omit it altogether. You could also use basil leaves, instead.
  • Instead of Vodka, you can use your favorite liquor of choice, just keep in mind that it might affect the overall flavor of the sorbet. I use Vodka because you can’t taste it in the sorbet at all, but other liquors might have an aftertaste.
  • Before freezing, cover the sorbet mixture with plastic wrap making sure it’s touching the surface. Then cover securely with aluminum foil or a tight lid. The plastic wrap together with the lid/aluminum foil will prevent ice crystals from forming and it will also protect the sorbet from absorbing odors.

I hope you enjoy this easy strawberry mint sorbet!

~Voula

Let me know how this  Easy Strawbery Mint Sorbet turns out for you in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you!

strawberry mint sorbet
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5 from 1 vote

Easy Strawberry Mint Sorbet – No Ice Cream Maker – Refined Sugar Free (+ Vegan Option)

You don’t need an ice cream maker to make this refreshing strawberry mint sorbet! This simple recipe is made with fresh strawberries and mint leaves and includes a vegan option, too!
Prep Time10 mins
Total Time2 hrs 10 mins
Course: Dessert, Snack
Cuisine: American, Greek
Keyword: easy,, frozen dessert, no refined sugar, no sugar, honey, maple syrup,, strawberry mint, sorbet,, vegan option
Servings: 3 - 4 (about 1/2 a quart/liter)

Ingredients

  • about 15 strawberries (350g / 12.3 oz) washed, stems removed
  • 1-2 tablespoons honey or maple syrup (plus more to taste)
  • a handful of fresh mint leaves (10 g / 0.4 oz)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon Vodka (or your favorite liquor of choice)

Instructions

  • Put all the ingredients in a food processor or blender.
  • Process/Blend until smooth. Taste and add more honey/maple syrup or mint if necessary.
  • Pour into a freezer-safe container. Even out the mixture.
  • Cover with plastic wrap making sure it’s touching the surface. Then cover securely with aluminum foil or a tight lid.
  • Put it in the freezer until it’s frozen (about 1-2 hours).
  • Garnish with fresh mint leaves.
  • Enjoy!

Notes

Store in the freezer for up to 2 weeks.
The recipe can easily be doubled.
© Pastry Wishes

 

 

 

 

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EASY STRAWBERRY JAM (Without Pectin + Tips)

This homemade strawberry jam is made with only 3 ingredients! Learn how to make this delicious jam from scratch, without using a thermometer. It really is easier than you think!

strawberry jamHomemade strawberry jam is one of my favorite things to make this time of year! I never buy store-bought jam because it just cannot compete with homemade! And I’m not just talking about the intense flavor, but also the fact that there are only 3 ingredients in it and NO pectin! Also, many store-bought jams and marmalades have artificial preservatives and even dyes! 😱  Of course, you could just buy organic ones, but I find most of them way too expensive.

What is pectin?

Pectin is a substance that is naturally found in fruits and vegetables. It is used for thickening jams and marmalades.

Why I avoid using commercial pectin

There are 2 main reasons.

First, commercial pectin is often genetically modified.

Second, you need a lot of sugar when using pectin. Pectin is bitter, so in order for jams to set you need more sugar to compensate, sometimes up to 80%  more! In the end, your jam has more sugar than fruit!

So, I avoid all that and I’ve NEVER had a problem with my jams or marmalades!

The Benefits of Making Homemade Strawberry Jam

1 – 100% control over the quality & taste

When strawberries are in season, I go to the farmer’s market and pick the freshest ones possible. Fresh strawberries offer more flavor and they have a beautiful vibrant color. I can also control how sweet I want my jam to be. This gives me complete control over the quality and flavor of my homemade jam – something I never have with store-bought jam. The flavor of homemade jam is simply unbeatable when compared to commercial jams!

2 – It’s healthier

Homemade jam is definitely much healthier than store-bought jam. First of all, I know exactly what’s in my jam. There are absolutely no artificial preservatives, colors, or flavors. Also, store-bought jams usually have a lot more sugar than fruit (probably because of the added pectin).

3 – Save money

When strawberries are in season, they are much cheaper. Making jam when they’re in season is also a great way of having it throughout the year.

4 – It’s easy

This is the best reason of all – making homemade strawberry jam is really simple! You don’t need any fancy equipment, either.

5 – It’s the perfect consistency

This jam isn’t too thick or too runny – it’s the perfect consistency. That’s why it can also be used as a simple strawberry sauce, too!

This is a tried & trusted strawberry jam recipe.

strawberry jam

Here’s what you’ll need:

Strawberries: I use fresh strawberries.

Sugar: I always use regular, granulated sugar because it dissolves easily. Most recipes use a ratio of 1:1 regarding the amount of sugar and fruit used by weight, but I find this is too sweet for strawberry jam. I always weigh the strawberries and add half the weight of sugar.

Lemon Juice: It has lots of pectin, which is needed to thicken the jam naturally.

2-3 small plates: I always put 2 or 3 small plates in the refrigerator when I start making the jam. They are needed to test when the jam has set and they have to be really cold. The reason I use 2-3 is because if I start to test the jam on a plate and it’s not ready, I’ll need another really cold, clean plate to test it again in a few minutes. So, I like putting 2 or 3 in the refrigerator when I start making the jam.

HOW TO MAKE STRAWBERRY JAM

Cut the strawberries in half and put them in a large bowl.

Add the sugar and cover all the strawberries.

Cover the bowl and put in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours or overnight.

Put the plates in refrigerator.

Pour the strawberry mixture into a large, deep saucepan or pot. Start cooking on low heat, stirring occasionally. Add the lemon juice and gently bring to a boil and continue boiling steadily, uncovered, until the mixture thickens, about 30-40 minutes.

Start testing to see if the jam has set. Transfer the jam to clean, sterilized jars.

How do you know when the jam is set?

Most experts suggest boiling the jam until it reaches a temperature of 220°F (105°C). But what do you do when you don’t have a thermometer?

No worries! If you don’t have a thermometer to test the jam, here’s a foolproof method I use. Check out the photo below!

how to test when jam is set

TIPS FOR SUCCESS

  • Use ripe, undamaged strawberries.
  • You want to keep the strawberries and sugar in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours or (better yet) overnight because the strawberries release juices and dissolve the sugar, creating a thick syrup. Because the sugar is dissolved, making the jam is much faster and easier. Also, you don’t risk burning the fruit when boiling it. You could skip this step completely, but there would be extra time on the stove stirring continuously until the sugar is dissolved.
  • When you start bringing it to a boil, you want to do it slowly and gently so you don’t scorch or burn the fruit. So be patient and don’t rush this step.
  • When you start testing the jam to see if it has set, make sure you take it off the heat first.
  • If you don’t like thick chunky pieces of fruit, mash the strawberries with a potato masher or pastry blender.

strawberry jam

WHERE TO USE HOMEMADE STRAWBERRY JAM

Of course, there are lots of ways to use homemade strawberry jam besides peanut butter and jelly sandwiches! Here are just a few ideas:

  • spread it on plain or buttered toast
  • spoon some over Greek yogurt
  • use it to top vanilla ice cream
  • mix it with some cream cheese and spread it over sourdough bread
  • spread some over cheesecake or  brownies
  • spoon some over fruit salad
  • surprise someone and give it as a gift

Let me know how this strawberry jam turned out for you in the comments below!

I’d love to hear from you!

~Voula

EASY STRAWBERRY JAM (Without Pectin + Tips)

This homemade strawberry jam is made with only 3 ingredients! Learn how to make this delicious jam from scratch, without using a thermometer. It really is easier than you think!
Course: Breakfast, Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: easy,, homemade, strawberry, jam, no pectin, no thermometer
Servings: 2 - 3 small jars

Ingredients

  • 1 kilo (2.2 pounds) strawberries
  • 500 g (2 ½ cups / 17.6 oz) sugar
  • juice from 1 lemon

Instructions

  • Wash the strawberries. Remove the stems and any bad spots.
  • Cut the strawberries in half and put them in a large bowl.
  • Add the sugar and cover all the strawberries.
  • Cover the bowl and put it in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours or overnight.
  • Put the plates in the refrigerator.
  • Pour the strawberries into a large, deep pot. Start cooking on low heat, stirring occasionally.
  • Increase heat to medium and stir to completely dissolve the sugar. Remove any foam that forms on the surface.
  • Add the lemon juice and gently bring to a boil and continue boiling steadily, uncovered, until the mixture thickens, about 30-40 minutes.
  • If you don’t like thick chunky pieces of fruit, mash the strawberries with a potato masher or pastry blender.
  • Take the jam off the heat and start testing to see if it has set.
  • Take out a plate from the refrigerator and put a teaspoon of jam on it. Put the plate back in the refrigerator for 1-2 minutes. Then take it out of the refrigerator and push the jam with the back of a clean spoon. If it crinkles and wrinkles and remains separated, it’s set (see photo in the post). If not, put the jam back on the heat and continue cooking. Test it again every 2-3 minutes until it’s reached the setting point. Be careful! It can set really fast!
  • Transfer the jam to clean, sterilized jars.
  • Enjoy!

Notes

  • Use ripe, undamaged strawberries.
  • You want to keep the strawberries and sugar in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours or (better yet) overnight because the strawberries release juices and dissolve the sugar, creating a thick syrup. Because the sugar is dissolved, making the jam is much faster and easier and you don’t risk burning the fruit. You could skip this step completely, but there would be extra time on the stove until the sugar is dissolved.
  • When you start bringing it to a boil, you want to do it slowly and gently so you don’t scorch or burn the fruit. 
  • When you start testing the jam to see if it has set, make sure you take it off the heat first.
  • See the photo in the post to help you know when the jam is set.
  • You can store the jam in the refrigerator for up to 5-6 months.
© Pastry Wishes
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HEALTHY TAHINI BREAKFAST COOKIES – VEGAN, GF, REFINED SUGAR FREE, OIL FREE

These healthy tahini breakfast cookies are soft and chewy and made with wholesome ingredients. They are also vegan, naturally gluten free, refined sugar free, oil free, and totally fuss-free!

healthy tahini breakfast cookies

Cookies for breakfast?  Of course!  Don’t worry; no one will scold you for having these cookies for breakfast! Trust me!

These healthy tahini cookies are a great way to start the day. And they are a cinch to make!

healthy tahini breakfast cookies

You’ll absolutely fall in LOVE with these tahini breakfast cookies because they are

  • incredibly easy to make.
  • nutritious.
  • made in only one bowl.
  • customizable.
  • perfect for both lunch boxes AND cookie jars!
  • great for grab-and-go mornings!

WHAT YOU’LL NEED

Tahini: I use sugar free organic Greek tahini.

Oats: I use old-fashioned oats.

Nuts: I use walnuts.

Maple syrup: It really has a nice, rich flavor without making the cookies overly sweet.

Spices: I use a combination of cinnamon, ground nutmeg, and ground cloves. I think they go great with maple syrup!

Vanilla: I use pure vanilla extract.

Fruit: I use dried cranberries.

HOW TO MAKE HEALTHY TAHINI BREAKFAST COOKIES IN 4 EASY STEPS

STEP 1

Put all the ingredients in a large bowl and mix until well combined using a silicone/rubber spatula.

STEP 2

Form balls with a cookie scoop or spoon, about 25 g / 0.88 oz each and place them on a baking sheet.

STEP 3

Gently press each ball with the palm of your hand to flatten them slightly.

STEP 4

Bake.

That’s literally it!

healthy tahini breakfast cookies

 TIPS FOR SUCCESS

  • I suggest weighing each ball of dough so that the cookies bake uniformly. For this recipe, each piece of dough I weighed was around 25 g / 0.88 oz each, which resulted in 16 cookies.
  • Don’t make these cookies too flat. There aren’t any leaveners in them, so they won’t puff up or rise much in the oven.
  • These cookies tend to turn light brown on the bottom, rather than on the edges. So, I wouldn’t bake them longer than suggested. This way they stay soft and chewy, even a few days later. If you overbake them, they’ll get hard.

CUSTOMIZABLE VARIATIONS

  • Honey: You could replace the maple syrup with honey, but keep in mind that it will be a bit sweeter.
  • Add-ins: Feel free to add in some of your favorites, like raisins, shredded coconut, chopped almonds, dried apples or apricots! OR…chocolate chips!! The sky’s the limit, really!
  • Flavorings: Orange or lemon zest would bring out a nice citrus flavor.

I hope you enjoy these healthy tahini breakfast cookies!

~Voula

Let me know how these healthy tahini breakfast cookies turn out for you in the comments below! I’d love to hear from you!

WANT TO TRY MORE HEALTHY RECIPES? Check these out!

Greek Baklava Rolls (Saragli) – Refined Sugar Free 

How to Make Homemade Peanut Butter (Step-by-step Tutorial)

Sugar Free Whole Wheat Chocolate Cupcakes

Easy Apple Chips

Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

HEALTHY TAHINI BREAKFAST COOKIES – VEGAN, GF, REFINED SUGAR FREE, OIL FREE

These healthy tahini breakfast cookies are soft and chewy and made with wholesome ingredients. They are also vegan, naturally gluten free, refined sugar free, oil free, and totally fuss-free!
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time12 mins
Total Time22 mins
Course: Breakfast, Dessert, Snack
Cuisine: American, Greek
Keyword: breakfast, cookies, easy,, gluten free, healthy, oil free, sugar free, tahini, vegan
Servings: 16 cookies

Ingredients

  • ½ cup (125 g / 4 oz) sugar free tahini
  • ¼ cup (75 ml / 3 fl oz) maple syrup
  • ¾ cups (70 g / 2.5 oz) old-fashioned oats
  • ½ cup (70 g / 2.5 oz) walnuts, chopped
  • ¼ cup (40 g / 1.4 oz) dried cranberries
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • a pinch of ground nutmeg
  • a pinch of ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 180°C / 350°F.
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, add all the ingredients and mix until just combined using a silicone/rubber spatula.
  • Form balls with a cookie scoop or spoon. Each ball should weigh about 25 g (0.88 oz). Place them on a baking sheet.*
  • Gently press each ball with the palm of your hand to flatten slightly. Don't make them too flat.
  • Bake for 10 - 12 minutes. They will turn light brown on the bottom rather than the edges. Leave them on the baking sheet for another 5 minutes.
  • Transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Store in an airtight container at room temperature for about 5-6 days.
  • Enjoy!

Notes

* The size of your cookies before you bake them will determine the overall servings. I suggest weighing each ball of dough so that the cookies bake uniformly.
For this recipe each piece of dough I weighed was about 25 g / 0.88 oz,  which resulted in 16 cookies.  
© Pastry Wishes 

 

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HOW TO MAKE HOMEMADE PEANUT BUTTER (Step-by-step Tutorial)

This healthy, homemade peanut butter is refined sugar free and SO EASY TO MAKE! All you need is 4 simple ingredients and about 15 minutes!

homemadepeanutbutter

This homemade peanut butter is DELICIOUS! You will be surprised how easy it is to make peanut butter at home.

What I really love about this all-natural peanut butter is that I can control how sweet, creamy, or chunky I want it to be. Also, compared to store-bought, the flavor is unbeatable. And, most importantly, there are no strange ingredients or preservatives – you know exactly what’s in it!

What you’ll need to make homemade peanut butter:

homemade peanut butter ingredients

It only takes 4 simple steps to make your own peanut butter; that’s it! I think once you try this and see how easy it is, you’ll be making it often!

HOW TO MAKE HOMEMADE PEANUT BUTTER

 homemade peanut butter steps

 How to make creamy peanut butter

If your mixture isn’t creamy enough, just add a teaspoon of oil and start the processor again. Continue adding oil, a teaspoon at a time, until you get the consistency you like. Be careful, though, if you add too much oil, you could make the peanut butter too thin.

How to make chunky peanut butter

Take about 50 of the roasted peanuts and coarsely chop them. You don’t want to crush them completely, though. Set them aside. Process the remaining nuts (adding oil if needed) until the mixture reaches the consistency you like. Then add the coarsely chopped peanuts and mix until well combined.

TIPS FOR SUCCESS

  • Make sure the nuts are evenly spread out on the tray and they’re not overlapping.
  • Adding the vegetable oil (or peanut oil) will help make the peanut butter spreadable and prevent it from becoming too tough.
  • Adding honey or maple syrup is totally optional, but it really adds flavor.
  • This recipe turns out great with a high-powered food processor, but it should also work with a blender, depending on how powerful it is, however, you may need to blend it longer. Generally speaking, the higher the wattage, the more powerful the blender, which will affect how smooth the peanut butter will be.

 

homemade peanut butter

 

Enjoy!

~Voula 😀

Let me know how this homemade peanut butter turned out for you in the comments below! I’d love to hear from you!

HOW TO MAKE HOMEMADE PEANUT BUTTER (Step-by-step Tutorial)

This healthy, homemade peanut butter is refined sugar free and SO EASY TO MAKE! All you need is 4 simple ingredients and about 15 minutes!
Prep Time15 mins
Course: Dessert, Snack
Cuisine: American
Keyword: homemade, refined sugar free, how-to, healthy, peanut butter
Servings: 1 cup

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cups (250 g / 8.8 oz) raw, unsalted, shelled peanuts
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil or peanut oil (+ 1-2 tablespoons extra)
  • maple syrup/honey to taste (optional)
  • salt to taste (optional)

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 180°C (350 °F).
  • Spread a layer of peanuts on a baking tray and roast them for about 10-12 miunutes, or until they are golden brown.
  • Add the warm peanuts to a food processor. Pulse for about 3 seconds to break down the peanuts. Process the peanuts until the mixtur reaches the consistency you like. First they will become crumbly, then a thick wet paste will form.
  • Add the oil and continue processing until smooth and shiny, adding more oil if necessary.
  • Add the sweetener and salt to taste and process on high speed for 1-2 more minutes.
  • Transfer the peanut butter to a sterilized jar or an airtight container.
  • Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.
  • Enjoy!

Notes

  • This recipe turns out great with a high-powered food processor, but it should also work with a blender, depending on how powerful it is, however, you may need to blend it longer. Generally speaking, the higher the wattage, the more powerful the blender, which will affect how smooth the peanut butter will be.
© Pastry Wishes
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Easy Vegan Fudge Brownies

Who can possibly resist gooey, fudgy brownies topped with creamy chocolate frosting? These mouthwatering vegan fudge brownies are rich, dense and seriously addictive!

easy vegan fudge brownies

If you’re a brownie fan, you’ll love these vegan fudge brownies – they never disappoint!

This recipe is SO easy. You won’t find any unusual or hard-to-find ingredients, either.

These vegan fudge brownies are:

incredibly simple to make.

egg free.

dairy free.

tried, tested & trusted.

absolutely delicious!

easyveganfudgebrownies

What you’ll need:

All-purpose flour

Salt

Unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably Dutch-processed) – Read about the differences here.

Baking powder

White, brown & powdered sugar

Vegetable oil

Bittersweet/Semisweet or Couverture chocolate

Walnuts

Vegan butter/Margarine

Almond/Coconut milk

How to melt chocolate without scorching it

  1. Chop the chocolate into small pieces.
  2. Place the chocolate in a heat-proof bowl.
  3. Place the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Make sure the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water so it doesn’t scorch the chocolate.
  4. Stir the chocolate until it melts.

 TIPS FOR MAKING THESE EASY VEGAN FUDGE BROWNIES

This recipe is practically foolproof! However, there are a few things you should consider to ensure the brownies come out great!

  • Get the best quality chocolate and unsweetened cocoa powder you can find; it makes such a difference. I personally love couverture chocolate because it’s a high-quality baking chocolate.
  • Make sure you melt the chocolate properly.
  • Measure the ingredients well, especially the flour. I use a digital scale to get consistent results each and every time.
  • If you don’t want any chocolate chunks in your brownies, you can just melt all of the chocolate in the recipe and put it into the batter.
  • Don’t overmix the batter.
  • Use the right brownie pan size. For these brownies, I used a 9 X 9 inch (23.5 X 23.5 cm) pan. If you have an 8 X 8 inch pan, the brownies will be a bit thicker, if you use a larger pan, they’ll be thinner. This will also affect the baking time.
  • When you line your pan with parchment paper, make sure you leave about 2 – 2 ½ inches (5-6 cm) hanging over so you can just lift the whole pan of brownies out at once without breaking it.
  • All ovens vary, so start checking the brownies after about 20 minutes. The longer you bake them, the drier they become.
  • Allow the brownies to cool COMPLETELY in the pan before cutting & frosting, otherwise they will fall apart.

easyveganfudgebrownies

I really hope you enjoy these Easy Vegan Fudge Brownies!

~Voula

WANT MORE DELICIOUS CHOCOLATE RECIPES? You’ll love these:

Let me know how these vegan fudge brownies turned out for you in the comments below! I’d love to hear from you!

EASY VEGAN FUDGE BROWNIES

Who can possibly resist gooey, fudgy brownies topped with creamy chocolate frosting? These mouthwatering vegan fudge brownies are rich, dense and seriously addictive!
Prep Time15 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: EASY, VEGAN, FUDGE, BROWNIES,
Servings: 9

Equipment

  • You'll need a 9 X 9 or 8 X 8 inch square pan ( 23.5 X 23.5 / 20 X 20 cm).

Ingredients

For the brownies

  • 1 cup (127 g / 5 oz) all purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup (45 g / 1.6 oz ) unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably Dutch-processed)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons (75 g / 2.6 oz) granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons (75 g / 2.6 oz) brown sugar
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • ½ cup hot water
  • 125 g (4.4 oz) bittersweet/semisweet or couverture chocolate, chopped into small chunks
  • 100 g (3.5 oz) walnuts, roughly chopped

For the frosting

  • ½ cup (113 g / 4 oz) vegan butter/margarine, at room temperature
  • 1 cup (90 g / 3 oz) unsweetened cocoa powder (natural or Dutch-processed)
  • 2 cups (240 g / 8.5 oz) powdered sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 3-6 tablespoons almond/coconut milk

Instructions

Prep the oven and the pan

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F / 180 °C.
  • Line the baking pan with parchment paper. Make sure to leave about 2 – 2 ½ inches (5-6 cm) hanging over so you can just lift the whole pan of brownies out at once without breaking it. Set aside.

Melt the Chocolate

  • Place half of chocolate chunks in a heat-proof bowl & set aside the other half. Place the heat-proof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Make sure the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water so it doesn’t scorch the chocolate. Stir the chocolate until it melts. Alternatively, you can melt all of the chocolate chunks, instead of half (* see NOTE below).

Make the Batter

  • In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, granulated & brown sugar, baking powder, cocoa powder and salt.
  • Pour in the melted chocolate, vegetable oil, and hot water and whisk until well combined.
  • Fold in the chocolate chunks and walnuts.
  • Evenly spread the mixture in the baking pan.
  • Bake for 20-30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean**.
  • Let it cool COMPLETELY IN THE PAN. Then use the overhanging parchment paper to lift the brownies out of the pan. Cut into squares & frost if desired.

Make the frosting

  • Using a mixer, beat the vegan butter/margarine until creamy.
  • Gradually add the powdered sugar, cocoa powder, salt and 2 tablespoons of the almond/coconut milk. If you want a thicker consistency, add more powdered sugar. If you want a creamier consistency, add more almond/coconut milk. Spread over the cooled brownies.
  • Enjoy!

Notes

  • * If you don't want to bite into chocolate chunks, you can melt all of the chocolate and put it into the batter.
  • ** All ovens vary, so start checking the brownies after about 15 minutes. The longer you bake them, the drier they become. 
  • Allow the brownies to cool COMPLETELY IN THE PAN before lifting them out of the pan and cutting them, so that they don't crumble apart.
These brownies will keep for about 3 days at room temperature in an airtight container unfrosted, or in the refrigerator for about a week. 
© Pastry Wishes

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Vegan Oatmeal Raisin Cookies – Easy + Variations

 These delicious cookies are soft, chewy, and packed with juicy raisins! They will impress all cookie lovers; even the non-vegan ones!

vegan oatmeal raisin cookies

These vegan oatmeal raisin cookies are great for breakfast when you’re in a rush or when you want an on-the-go snack.

What makes these cookies stand out from your average oatmeal raisin cookie (apart from the fact that they’re vegan) is that they have packed brown sugar, which gives them a light caramel flavor – delicious! They’re also pretty quick to make; about 30 minutes from start to finish, and you don’t have to chill the dough.

Why you’ll love these vegan oatmeal raisin cookies

These cookies are:

  • vegan.
  • easy to make.
  • quick.
  • no need to chill the dough.
  • moist.
  • thick and chewy.
  • crispy on the outside.
  • not overly sweet.
  • full of flavor.
  • perfect for dunking.
  • AMAZING with coffee.

Need I say more?

Here’s what you’ll need:

Vegan Butter/Margarine: I use margarine.

Sugar: I use a combination of dark packed brown sugar and regular granulated sugar.

Vanilla: For extra flavor.

Flour: I use all-purpose flour.

Cornstarch: It helps make the cookies tender and chewy.

Baking soda: To make them nice and thick.

Spices: I use a mixture of ground cinnamon and freshly ground cloves.

Salt: This is my favorite flavor booster.

Oats: I use old fashioned oats.

Non-dairy vegan milk/water: I use almond milk, but just plain water works fine, too.

Raisins: I use small, seedless organic black raisins.

vegan oatmeal raisin cookies 

Variations & Add-ins

For a really nice variety, you could plump the raisins by covering them in some brandy or cognac and letting them soak for about 15 minutes. Then drain and fold them into the dough.

You could add in just about anything you keep in your pantry.

Here are just a few suggestions:

  • shredded apple
  • dry roasted cashews
  • honey roasted peanuts
  • chopped walnuts or pecans
  • unsweetened coconut

Freezing the cookie dough

Sometimes I freeze the cookie dough when I want to make an extra batch for the future. You just use a small cookie scoop or teaspoon to make small balls of dough and then put them on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Then cover them with plastic wrap and put them in the freezer. After about an hour, take the tray out of the freezer and put the frozen dough balls in a freezer bag or other container, label it, and freeze for about a month. If you get a craving in the future, just take a few frozen dough balls out of the freezer and defrost them in the refrigerator and then bake as directed. Or, if you’re in a hurry like me, you could bake them frozen; just add a few more minutes to the baking time.

 How to store your cookies

When the cookies are completed cooled, store them in an airtight container. They will stay fresh at room temperature for about 5-6 days. To be honest, though, these cookies NEVER last that long in my house!

 I hope you enjoy these vegan oatmeal raisin cookies!

~Voula

vegan oatmeal raisin cookies

Vegan Oatmeal Raisin Cookies – Easy + Variations

These delicious cookies are soft, chewy, and packed with juicy raisins! They will impress all cookie lovers; even the non-vegan ones!
Prep Time15 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Breakfast, Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: vegan oatmeal raisin cookies easy
Servings: 25

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (127 g/4.5 oz) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • a dash of ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup (113 g/4 oz) vegan butter/margarine at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup (50 g/1.8 oz) granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup (50 g/1.8 oz) packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup (80 g/2.8 oz) small, seedless black raisins, plain OR soaked in brandy or cognac for about 15 minutes & then drained (optional)
  • 1 cup (100 g/3.5 oz) old fashioned oats
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml/2 fl oz) non-dairy vegan milk or water

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 175°C / 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cornstarch, salt, baking soda, and spices. Set aside.
  • In another bowl, beat the vegan butter/margarine until softened, about 2 minutes. Add the granulated sugar, the packed brown sugar, and the vanilla and beat for about 3-4 minutes until fluffy.
  • Add the flour mixture to the sugar mixture and mix until combined.
  • Fold the raisins and the old fashioned oats into the dough.
  • Add the non-dairy vegan milk or water and mix until combined. The dough should be thick. If it is still a bit dry, add more non-dairy vegan milk or water, a teaspoon at a time, until it forms a thick dough.
  • Form balls with a small cookie scoop or teaspoon.*
  • Put them on the baking sheet and flatten slightly using a silicone spatula or the bottom of a glass. If you’re using a glass, make sure to wet the bottom to prevent the dough from sticking to it.
  • Bake until golden brown, about 15 - 17 minutes.
  • Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Store in an airtight container at room temperature.
  • Enjoy!

Notes

*  You could freeze the dough balls at this point. Cover them with plastic wrap and put them in the freezer. After about an hour, take the tray out of the freezer and put the frozen dough balls in a freezer bag or other container, label it, and freeze for about a month. If you get a craving in the future, just take a few frozen dough balls out of the freezer and defrost them in the refrigerator and then bake as directed. Or, if you’re in a hurry, you could just bake them frozen; just add a few more minutes to the baking time while keeping an eye on them.
© Pastry Wishes

 Please let me know how these Vegan Oatmeal Raisin Cookies turned out for you in the comments below.

I’d love to hear from you!

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MANDARIN MARMALADE (Without Pectin + Tips)

This mandarin marmalade is spiced with cinnamon and has a unique, bittersweet flavor! The hint of brandy adds a balance to the sweet and tangy fruit. It’s great on toast for breakfast or over Greek yogurt!

Mandarin Marmalade

I love making jams and marmalades when the fruit is in season! That way I have different jams and marmalades all throughout the year!

My neighbors gave me a huge bag of mandarins from their organic citrus farm in Sparta, which is in the Peloponnese. Sparta is well-known for its citrus fruit, so I couldn’t wait to make this marmalade!

Mandarin Marmalade

I have to be upfront with you – this is not a very quick recipe and it tends to be a bit messy, BUT, believe me, it’s easy and totally worth it!

Like all my jams and marmalades, this recipe does not use commercial pectin. I always avoid it because you need a lot of sugar when using pectin, sometimes up to 80%  more! So I avoid commercial pectin like the plague!

This marmalade is made with only 5 ingredients, each with its own purpose and importance.

Here’s what you’ll need:

Mandarins: I used seedless mandarins for this recipe, but you could use tangerines or clementines.

Sugar: I always use regular, granulated sugar because it dissolves easily. You could use dark brown sugar as long as you don’t mind the marmalade turning dark in color.

Cinnamon Sticks: They really give an amazing mild flavor.

Lemon Juice: It has lots of pectin, which is needed to thicken the marmalade naturally.

Brandy or Cognac: This pairs well with citrus fruit and cinnamon! I really love the combination!

2 small plates: I always put 2 small plates in the refrigerator when I start making the marmalade. They are needed to test if the marmalade has set.

Mandarin Marmalade

How to make Mandarin Marmalade in 4 Steps:

STEP 1: PREP THE MANDARINS AND LEMON JUICE

Juice 2 lemons and set aside. Wash the mandarins well and pat dry. Juice half of them and set the juice aside. Put the peels in a heavy pot. Peel the remaining mandarins, discard the pith, and put all the peels in the pot. Chop the fruit into small pieces, removing any seeds. If you don’t like chunky pieces of fruit in the marmalade, you can put the fruit in a food processor and pulse until smooth.

STEP 2: PREP THE PEELS TO REMOVE THE BITTERNESS

Cover the peels in the pot with water. Boil for about 15 minutes and then drain the water. Stack a few peels one on top of the other, and cut into strips, as thick as you like. Put them back into the pot.

STEP 3: MAKE THE MARMALADE (OR PREP IT FOR THE NEXT DAY)

Add the fruit, the lemon juice and mandarin juice to the pot with the peels. Weigh this mixture and add the same amount of sugar (for example, if the fruit mixture weighs 1 kilo (2.2 pounds), add 1 kilo (2.2 pounds) of sugar). Add the cinnamon sticks.

(Note: At this point, if you’re pressed for time, you could cover the pot now, put it in the refrigerator overnight, and continue making the marmalade the next day.)

Put the pot on medium heat and stir until the sugar has dissolved completely. Then turn up the heat to high and bring to a rapid boil, uncovered. Remove any foam from the top. Stir often to prevent the fruit from sticking to the bottom of the pot.

STEP 4: TEST THE MARMALADE AND SEAL

After about 30-35 minutes, take the pot off the heat to test if the marmalade has set. The mixture will have reduced and become thick. Spoon some of the mixture onto a cold plate and put it back into the refrigerator for about 1-2 minutes. Then take it back out and push the mixture with the back of a teaspoon. If it crinkles while you’re pushing, the marmalade is set. Let it cool for about 10 minutes and then stir in the cognac/brandy. Pour into sterilized jars, leaving about 1 cm (1/2 inch) headspace. Clean the rim of the jars with damp paper towels and seal.

For a simple method of testing the marmalade, check out the photo tutorial in this post .

It’s what I use to test all my jams and marmalades.

TIPS FOR MAKING MARMALADE

1 Use sterilized jars and utensils.

2 Make sure the sugar is completely dissolved before bringing everything to a rolling boil.

3 While you’re testing the marmalade to see if it has set, take the pot off the heat or you might overcook it and make it too thick and dry.

4 Allow about 1 cm (1/2 inch) headspace when filling the jars.

I hope you enjoy this mandarin marmalade!

~Voula

Let me know how this mandarin marmalade turns out for you in the comments! I would love to hear from you!

MANDARIN MARMALADE (Without Pectin + Tips)

This mandarin marmalade is spiced with cinnamon and has a unique, bittersweet flavor! The hint of brandy adds a balance to the sweet and tangy fruit. It’s great on toast for breakfast or over Greek yogurt!
Course: Breakfast, Dessert
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Keyword: mandarin, marmalade, tips, without pectin
Servings: 2 kilos (4.4 lbs)

Ingredients

  • 2 kilos (4.4 lbs) mandarins/tangerines/clementines
  • about 2 kilos (4.4 lbs) sugar (depending on the weight of the fruit mixture)
  • 2 lemons
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 tablespoons brandy or cognac (optional)

Instructions

  • Put 2 small plates in the refrigerator (they'll be needed to test if the marmalade has set).

PREP THE MANDARINS AND LEMON JUICE

  • Juice 2 lemons and set aside.
  • Wash the mandarins well and pat dry. Juice half of them and set the juice aside.
  • Put the peels in a heavy pot.
  • Peel the remaining mandarins, discard the pith, and put all the peels in the pot.
  • Chop the fruit into small pieces, removing any seeds. If you don’t like chunky pieces of fruit in the marmalade, you can put the fruit in a food processor and pulse until smooth.

PREP THE PEELS TO REMOVE THE BITTERNESS

  • Cover the peels in the pot with water. Boil for about 15 minutes and then drain the water.
  • Stack a few peels one on top of the other, and cut into strips. Put them back into the pot.

MAKE THE MARMALADE (OR PREP IT FOR THE NEXT DAY)

  • Add the fruit, the lemon juice and mandarin juice to the pot with the peels.
  • Weigh this mixture and add the same amount of sugar (for example, if the fruit mixture weighs 1 kilo (2.2 pounds), add 1 kilo (2.2 pounds) of sugar).
  • Add the cinnamon sticks.

(NOTE: At this point, if you're pressed for time, you could cover the pot now, put it in the refrigerator overnight, and continue making the marmalade the next day.)

  • Put the pot on medium heat and stir until the sugar has dissolved completely. Then turn up the heat to high and bring to a rapid boil, uncovered.
  • Remove any foam from the top. Stir often to prevent the fruit from sticking to the bottom of the pot.

TEST THE MARMALADE AND SEAL

  • After about 30-35 minutes, take the pot off the heat to test if the marmalade has set. The mixture will have reduced and become thick. Spoon some of the mixture onto a cold plate and put it back into the refrigerator for about 1-2 minutes.
  • Then take it back out and push the mixture with the back of a teaspoon. If it crinkles while you’re pushing, the marmalade is set.
  • Let it cool for about 10 minutes and then stir in the brandy or cognac.
  • Pour into sterilized jars, leaving about 1 cm (1/2 inch) headspace. Clean the rim of the jars with damp paper towels and seal.
  • Enjoy!

Notes

The marmalade will thicken a bit as it cools.
© Pastry Wishes
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