Archive for February, 2011


Pineapple Teriyaki Jerky Biscuits (Dehydrated)

[ Equipment: oven or food dehydrator. For more information about the terminology in this recipe, see Low Temperature Baking: A Journey of 3 Paths ].

The inspiration for these chewy, crunchy, savory biscuits is the stir-fry classic: pineapple teriyaki beef. For the teriyaki beef, I mix in finely shredded teriyaki flavor beef jerky. The dried pineapple chunks add notes of sweet and sour. I balance the sweet binder of honey and peanut butter with salty bouillon powder that intensifies the jerky flavor with beef broth seasonings. The biscuits get their lift and crunch from puffed kamut. For vegetarians, non-meat alternatives can stand in for the jerky and bouillon.

For a long time I wondered if I could do a raw recipe with jerky, because exposure to moisture can ruin the dessicated meat. In my research online, I discovered a trail food called pemmican, a mixture of powdered dried meat in melted suet or tallow, made and carried by native Americans on long trips. As it solidified, the fat sealed the meat from moisture and extended freshness for anywhere from months to years.

In these biscuits, the tallow has been replaced with peanut butter loosened with honey, and the beef jerky has been coarsely ground into bits, but not a fine powder. The online search engines enumerated several brands of teriyaki beef jerky; my local market stocked the Oberto teriyaki jerky. I’ve read in the reviews that Oberto jerky can be a little dry for eating, but that’s not a problem for this recipe. Of course, the  jerky could be homemade instead of store bought – lots of recipes online. The key ingredients in the Oberto teriyaki are beef, soy sauce and brown sugar. A faux vegetarian jerky could work in these biscuits too.

While jerky can be cut with a knife, it’s too fibrous to chop easily with a knife. Instead, I grind it in a spice grinder. The chopped jerky should have the appearance of small shreds of dried meat. Do not grind it into a powder. If the pieces are too large, the texture of the biscuits will go from chewy to tough.

Peanut butter contains oil, not water. Honey has a small amount of water, but the high concentration of sugar acts as a preservative. The peanut butter-honey binder will not encourage bacterial growth in the jerky. However, these biscuits should not be stored in the cupboard for years. Over time, the puffed kamut could sop up moisture in the air and wet the jerky. Keep the biscuits in an airtight container and eat them within a few weeks.

The puffed kamut cereal functions as the solid leavening, aerating the dough and providing structure and crunch. It’s almost tasteless in this application and won’t compete with the other flavors in the biscuits. For substitutes, I’d try puffed wheat, puffed rice or puffed millet. The kamut grains are huge compared to rice or millet. Puffed kamut grains can measure up to 1 inch long. I lightly crush (or break in half between fingers) the kamut to reduce the grain size to about 3/8 inch before mixing it into the batter. Puffed rice or millet could be mixed in as-is.

I made my own bouillon powder by crushing a beef bouillon cube with a pestle. It can be purchased in powder form too. For a meatless alternative, try a vegetarian version. Make sure to tamp out any lumps, or the flavors won’t mix evenly and the biscuits may turn out gritty. The recipe specifies 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of powder, because the seasoning varies by brand (the recipe was tested with Hormel’s HerbOx). I recommend making the biscuits with 1/2 teaspoon first to check the balance of sweet-salty and flavorings. Also, more bouillon powder darkens the dough slightly.

Makes 8 biscuits
– 85 calories per biscuit
– Oven Temperature: 120°F/49°C

  • 1/4 cup almond meal or almond flour
  • 1/4 cup lightly crushed, puffed kamut cereal (see text)
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon beef bouillon powder or vegetable bouillon powder (see text)
  • 2-1/2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 2-1/2 tablespoons finely chopped, teriyaki-style beef jerky (0.6 oz) or vegetarian jerky (see text)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped, dried pineapple

1. In a small dish, thoroughly mix the honey and bouillon powder. Let sit for 5 to 10 minutes.

2. In a large bowl, mix the almond meal, chopped jerky and chopped dried pineapple.

3. Stir the peanut butter into the honey-bouillon.

4. Add the peanut butter-honey binder to the jerky and thoroughly mix into a paste.

5. Gently fold/press in the puffed kamut.

6. Form the dough into a disk and divide the disk into 4 sections.

Note: Steps 7 and 8 prepare the biscuits for dehdyrating in my Presto Chango dehydrator assembled with a 9-inch heating area. For drying in a commercial food dehydrator, follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

8. Turn an 8-inch cake pan upside down and sprinkle with 2 or 3 drops of water. To make a liner for the dehydrator, cut out an 8-inch circle of wax paper with a 1-inch center hole. Place it down on the cake pan and press. The water drops will temporarily glue the wax paper to the pan.

Divide each quarter portion of dough in half and form each half into a 2-inch biscuit (8 biscuits total). Arrange the biscuits on the wax paper liner.

9. Transfer the liner with biscuits to the dehydrator’s drying tray and complete assembly of the dehydrator.

10. Dehydrate the biscuits at 120°F/49°C for 12 to 24 hours, turning them over at the halfway mark. That 24 hour range is not an exaggeration. They dry very slowly. When ready, the biscuits will feel firm and dry on all surfaces, keeping their shape when handled.

11. Remove the biscuits from the dehydrator and cool them on a rack at room temperature for an hour or two. As they cool, they will crisp up slightly. Serve or store in an airtight container.


Guava Pumpkin Muffins (Baked)

[ Equipment: oven or slow cooker with temperature control. For more information about the terminology in this recipe, see Low Temperature Baking: A Journey of 3 Paths ].

Flecked with bits of jellied guava, these moist, moist muffins pack fruity explosions in every bite. The guava paste had been sitting in my refrigerator for over a month, left over from another recipe, so I fashioned a muffin recipe for it. Online, there are few pastry recipes containing guava paste; it’s mostly served as a condiment with cheeses, spread on bread like a jam or as a filling for cookies. Instead of a muffin with a guava filled center, I mixed the paste into the batter but left tiny chunks of it undissolved.

Guava paste tastes like a mixture of apples and pears with the consistency of a very firm jelly. It’s also very sweet. To tone down the sugar and fruitiness, I combined the guava paste with pumpkin puree and then put in a little lemon flavoring to restore the citrus bite. These muffins have no eggs, because the pectin in the guava paste binds the ingredients just fine without them.

My local market shelves guava paste the in Mexican foods aisle. Guava jam could substitute, but may lack the intense flavor of the paste. An apple-pear jam might also substitute, although the flavor balance may not be a perfect match. Taste the batter with any of these substitutions and adjust the sugar, acid and spices accordingly.

Makes 6 muffins
– 210 calories per muffin
– Oven Temperature: 250°F/121°C

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon bakers 5-spice or harvest spice or any pumpkin spice
  • 1/8 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 3/8 cup guava paste
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 cup milk (low fat or regular)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons chopped walnuts or 18 chocolate chips

Muffin Method:

1. In a large bowl, whisk the dry ingredients until well combined. Set aside.

2. In a small heatproof bowl, microwave the guava paste until soft – about 20 to 30 seconds in an 800W microwave.

3. Stir the pumpkin puree into the softened guava paste until well combined. The guava paste does not have to be completely dissolved into the pumpkin. I like to leave small bits of guava paste (no larger than 1/8 inch diameter) in the mixture. They will bake up in the muffins like little dots of jelly.

4. Mix in the oil and milk.

5. Pour the guava-pumpkin mixture into the flour mixture and stir to form a stiff batter. Do not overmix.

6. Grease 6 muffin cups (1/4 cup capacity). Divide the batter evenly into the mufffin cups.

7. Sprinkle the muffins with chopped walnuts or decorate them with 3 chocolate chips each (only 3 chips so that the chocolate doesn’t compete with the other flavors). Lightly press the walnuts or chips into the batter. Bake the muffins in a preheated 250°F/121°C oven for about 40 minutes or until the edges of the muffins are lightly browned.

8. Cool the muffins on a rack for about 15 minutes. Unmold and continue to cool. If the bottoms of the muffins are very moist, I recommend cooling them upside-down so that extra moisture evaporates faster.

9. Plate and serve.


Black Chocolate Gotta-Have-Heart Cake Recipe Updated

It’s now called the Spiced Chocolate Gotta-Have-Heart Gobs w/ Lemon-Lavender Creme. As the name suggests, the new recipe is a bit more elaborate than the old one. A gob is a creme-filled cake sandwich, also called a whoopie pie. The “spiced chocolate” refers to Mexican chocolate-inspired flavorings (hot spices, almonds) in the genoise cake. The lemon-lavender creme (made by enhancing a prepared whipped topping) adds an artisanal touch.

Of course, the recipe now has high-resolution pictures too. In fact, this was the last recipe with the older low-res images. From this point on, recipe updates will be far less dramatic than the ones requiring re-shoots have been.