How is your baking coming along? I hope you’re having a fabulous end of year in the kitchen. As for me, I have been baking up a storm, and I am loving it 🙂
As any professional chef will tell you, ingredient quality makes a great difference to the flavor and texture of the finished product – and desserts make no exception. Such has been the case with my desserts lately, after my amazing discovery of Zulka Morena pure cane sugar.
I was shopping in the baking aisle at Target at some point last year, when Zulka non-GMO, certified vegan sugar caught my eye, for one simple reason: I saw the “bone char free” mention on the bags, which intrigued me. What does “bone char free” mean? And is it important? I went online equipped with these questions and an overall sense of curiosity, and what I discovered shocked me to no end. I found out from multiple sources that US refined sugar had a pristine, pure white color due to its intense processing with animal bone char. As you know by now, I am not vegan, but I do care deeply about what goes into my family’s food, and about the overall high processing of foods on the American market. This is when I decided to switch from pure white sugar to Zulka Morena pure cane sugar in both daily use and in baking. The result has been nothing short of amazing, and I would like to thank Zulka for inadvertently educating me on this very important topic 🙂
I am very excited to reveal that Zulka Morena has recently sent me an assortment of their sugars to use in my baking. Being the big Zulka supporter that I am, their offer needed no further qualifications. I just said yes! Below you have an assortment of bakes I made these past few months, starting with the pumpkin mini tarts below, perfect for portion control purposes- or not 😋
Brimming with a creamy and aromatic pumpkin filling sweetened with a little bit of Zulka pure cane sugar, these tarts are easy to make, and easy to devour, especially when served with a “side” of homemade blueberry jam, and a cup of fresh pumpkin hot “chocolate” with carob.
Halfway through making these tarts I realized I’d defrosted too much pumpkin puree, and that’s when I decided to add the extra I had to a lemon ricotta cake, in lieu of some of the eggs. I wanted to make tarts, I ended up with tarts *and* cake – and I’m not complaining in the slightest 😋
I also used Zulka pure cane sugar to make the vegan mini Bundt carob brownies below, which are actually a revisiting of one of the oldest recipes ever posted on the blog (stay tuned for an updated post, coming up soon)
What I love about this family recipe is that it’s not overly sweet, and it includes fruit jam, which adds an amazing layer of flavor, in my opinion. I had some red grapes I didn’t want to waste, so I used them to make grape jam. Since the grapes had been sitting around for awhile, the jam turned out rich, its flavor reminding me of smoked, sweet dried plums. This flavor transferred over to the brownies, and the end result was sooo delicious:
Other recent bakes with Zulka sugar have included this vanilla & apricot Bundt cake…
… and these pecan Linzer cookies, where I used Zulka pure cane sugar in the dough *and* their powdered sugar on top:
Last but not least, I used Zulka to make the cookies below. Since I never posted this recipe before, I decided now was the perfect opportunity to write more about these delightful sweets (my husband’s favorite, growing up) and the thought process behind this “revamping” exercise.
This is my mother-in-law’s recipe, which she used when her kids were small and she wanted to bake them a special treat. The original recipe did not include peanut butter powder, and the other ingredients were very difficult to find, back in those days. Overall, it is a straightforward and very economical cookie recipe, which I decided to “revamp” by replacing part of the all-purpose flour with peanut butter powder, and to use homemade raspberry jam as filling.
With just a couple of changes and the superb additions of Zulka pure cane and powdered sugars, respectively, these cookies turned out fabulous, their purity and simplicity shining brightly among my seasonal bakes. I highly recommend this recipe (below), and Zulka sugar for daily use and for all year-round baking.
Delicious peanut & raspberry cookies
- 2 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup peanut butter powder
- 1 cup Zulka pure cane sugar
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup oil of choice
- 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1/3 cup Zulka powdered pure cane sugar (for sifting on top of cookies)
- Fruit jam or preserve of choice
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Add flour, peanut butter powder, baking powder and salt to a medium size bowl. Mix until combined. In another bowl add eggs and Zulka pure cane sugar, and mix using a stand alone or handheld mixer for a few minutes or until velvety and pale yellow. Add oil and vanilla extract slowly, mixing well. Add the flour combo, and mix until just combined.
- Roll the dough on a floured work surface until 1/4in thick. Cut out various cookie shapes. Arrange the cookies on a baking pan lined with parchment paper. Bake for about 8-10 minutes or until lightly brown (these will bake quickly!) Remove from oven and allow to cool. Pair similar cookie shapes, and "glue" them together with fruit jam or preserve of choice. Arrange on a plate. Sift powdered sugar over the top.
Do you have a favorite cookie recipe? Let me know in the comments, and happy baking, everyone 🙂
*Disclaimer: While I received complimentary products to facilitate this review, all opinions expressed here are my own.