Tag Archives: sweets

Tuesday Teaser #13: Peanut Butter Cup Smoothie


Tuesdays are always “Teaser Tuesdays” at Alf Hana.  We try out other people’s recipes and share our impressions and recommendations with you.

Oh, last night we had a special treat!  We were craving something with chocolate, creamy, and COLD!!! Ice cream would fit the bill!!!

We found this amazing recipe on Lindsay Nixon’s happyherbivore site.  It’s really a superb site with lots of low (or no) fat recipes and amazing pictures to tempt you!!!

Here’s a picture of the smoothie we tried (this is Lindsay’s picture):

Actually, we didn’t take our own picture because it was SO AMAZINGLY DELICIOUS we were distracted!  It was so much like soft-serve chocolate ice cream we couldn’t believe ourselves!!! We ate it with a spoon!!! MMMMMMMM!!!!  Go get the recipe now and try it yourself!!!!

Now one word of warning: If you do not have a high-power blender, you will need to blend this one for quite a while – it took us about 10 minutes.  You may also need to add some extra milk (we added about 2 tablespoons extra).  But it is definitely worth it!!!!

Alf Hana!!!

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Black Forest Bars


What do you do with your bowl of cherries?

Yes, cherries are in season in Egypt and we have been having lots of fun finding way to make special treats with our cherries!

Here’s a cherry recipe that features that most amazing combination: cherries and chocolate!  Who could resist?

Makes 30 bars. Download a print-friendly version here.
Ingredients:
1 ¾ cup all purpose flour
½ cup cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
¾ cup apple sauce
2 tablespoons of oil
¾ cup sugar
¾ cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 tablespoons of cornstarch mixed with 4 tablespoons of water
2 cups fresh cherries, pitted and chopped
½ – 1 cup of nondairy dark chocolate chunks or chipsInstructions:
1.  Combine flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt in a small bowl.
2.  Beat applesauce, oil, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl.  Add the cornstarch and beat.
3.  Gradually beat in the flour mixture.  Stir in chocolate chips and cherries.
4.  Spread into a large cookie sheet covered with aluminum foil.


5.  Bake in preheated 375 degree oven for 20-25 minutes or until firm.  Let stand for 2 minutes.
6.  Remove and cool completely on wire racks. Cut into squares.
Nutrition Information:
118 Calories; 3 g Fat; 0 mg Cholesterol; 23 g Carbohydrates; 1 g Fiber; 1 g Protein

Alf Hana!!!

Pharaoh’s Friday #15: Traditional Egyptian Fruit Compote (Khoushaf)


Fridays are “Pharaoh’s Fridays“!  We like to take traditional, Egyptian recipes and adapt them so they are entirely plant-based!

This traditional Egyptian dish is already full of whole foods!  Sweet treats in their natural form!  We usually get to have it during Ramadan when our Muslim friends invite us for ‘iftar’.  Thanks to Maha for this recipe!

Click here for the printer-friendly version.

Serves 6
Ingredients:
1 liter water
7 dried figs, chopped into quarters

½ cup dried apricot
½ cup dried prunes
½ cup raisins or sultanas
½ cup almonds
Instructions:
1.  Boil the water.
2.  Add the figs to the boiling water and cook for about 10 minutes, or until soft.
3.  Add the apricot and boil for another 5 minutes.
4.  Add the prunes and raisins or sultanas and boil for about 3 minutes.
5.  Remove from the heat and add the almonds.
6.  Let sit for about 1 hour.
7.  Refrigerate.

Serving Suggestions and Variations:

  • Serve cold.
  • Add dates or other dried fruits.
  • Use different nuts. Some people like pine nuts.
  • Top with coconut?
  • Some people add sugar and lime juice to the water as it boils.

Nutrition Information: 1 of 6 servings
195 Calories; 6 g Fat; 0 mg Cholesterol; 35 g Carbohydrates; 5 g Fiber; 4 g Protein

Alf Hana!!!

Tuesday Teaser #12: Magic Chocolate Cake and Creamy Smooth Chocolate Frosting


Tuesdays are always “Teaser Tuesdays” at Alf Hana.  We try out other people’s recipes and share our impressions and recommendations with you.

Are you a chocolate freak?  I am.  I love chocolate.

Did you know that chocolate actually has some health benefits?  Cocoa supposedly can help blood flow more easily, playing a role in the prevention of blood clots and heart attacks!  Because it also contains powerful antioxidants, it may also help reduce damage to coronary arteries.  When you choose your chocolate, be sure to choose the darkest, least processed available to get the most benefit.  *Also, be sure that if you’re watching your weight, chocolate still contains sugar and those calories add up!

Having said that, when you have a special occasion to celebrate, chocolate cake is a time-honored tradition.  There are many chocolate cake recipes around the internet, but this one is EASY, QUICK, LIGHT, healthIER than the animal-based alternatives, and TASTY!!!

This recipe originally comes from the Peaceful Palate by Jennifer Raymond, one of our favorite cookbooks!  Both the cake and the icing recipes are available online for free on compassionatecooks.com here.

We absolutely love this recipe.  I’ve made it as birthday cakes before and just recently took it in its cupcake form as a treat for a Ramadan iftar.   It makes one 9 inch cake or 12 cupcakes.

Here are some more pictures… I told you I love chocolate!

Nutritional Information (for the cake): 1 of 12 cupcakes

164 Calories; 6 g Fat; 0 mg Cholesterol; 25 g Carbohydrates; 1 g Fiber; 2 g Protein

Nutritional Information (for the frosting): 1 of 12 servings

66 Calories; 1 g Fat; 0 mg Cholesterol; 15 g Carbohydrates; 1 g Fiber; 0 g Protein

What’s your favorite cake flavor?

Alf Hana!!!

Tuesday Teaser #11: ‘Kentucky’ Konafa with Banana Pudding


Tuesdays are always “Teaser Tuesdays” at Alf Hana.  We try out other people’s recipes and share our impressions and recommendations with you.
I am originally from Kentucky.  Before I became vegan, there were many southern-style foods in which I loved to indulge.  One of them was banana pudding!!!  Have you ever tried it?  It’s so smooth, creamy and sweet!!!
Ramadan started yesterday and if you don’t know, konafa is a very popular sweet consumed during the month.  Konafa is shredded phyllo pastry and is commonly made with cream, nuts, and sugar syrup.  Sometimes, it is made with pudding.
Wait – pudding!!!??? Like, BANANA PUDDING – my favorite?  Yes, so, I hope I won’t offend my Egyptian readers by doing this, but I decided to play with the traditional recipe for konafa with pudding and make it with my dear banana pudding instead.  And of course, all the ingredients are plant-based!!
I changed up this recipe for southern-style banana pudding for the ‘Kentucky’ Konafa.  If you want to try the original banana pudding recipe, it is easy and delicious!!!
But, for all you brave readers out there, here is our ‘Kentucky’ Konafa….
Serves 12
Ingredients:
For the banana pudding:
¼ cup cornstarch
½ cup sugar (you may want to use less, if you don’t have a sweet tooth)
3 cups nondairy milk (we used soy)
1 banana, mashed
2 teaspoons, vanilla

For layering between the konafa and pudding:
2 bananas, sliced

For the konafa:
¼ kilogram (250 grams) kunafa
¼ tablespoon corn oil, divided

For the sugar syrup:
½ cup water
1 cup sugar
juice of one lime (about 1 tablespoon of juice)

Instructions:
Prepare the banana pudding:
1.  In a medium saucepan, mix the cornstarch, and ½ cup sugar.  Add the nondairy milk and heat on medium heat.  Stir consistently until the mixture is boiling and thickens.  Add the mashed banana and continue stirring for about 2 more minutes.

2.  Remove from the heat and add the vanilla.

3.  Leave to cool.

Prepare the sugar syrup:
4.  Mix the water, sugar, and lime juice in a small saucepan and heat on low heat until the mixture becomes clear.
5.  Set aside and allow to cool.

Put it all together:
Preheat the oven to gas mark 6 (moderately hot) – 200º C – or 400º F
6.  Cut the konafa into small pieces.
7.  In a large bowl, sprinkle the 2 tablespoons of the corn oil over the konafa and mix it with your hands to be sure it coats the konafa.
8.  Lightly oil a casserole dish.  Place half of the konafa and press it down firmly.

9.  Layer the sliced banana over the konafa.

10.  Spread the pudding over the layer of bananas.

11.  Layer the remaining konafa over the pudding.
12.  Drizzle the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil over the top of the konafa.

13.  Bake in the oven for 30 minutes or until the top is lightly golden brown.

14.  Pour the cool syrup over the kunafa.
15.  Turn off the oven and return the kunafa to the oven for 5 minutes.

You can eat it warm – it’s delicious that way!!!

BUT, it will be very sloppy!  If you let it set in the refrigerator overnight, you will find the pudding is firm.

Delicious that way too!!!

Nutritional Information:
252 Calories; 0 mg Cholesterol; 6 g Fat; 47 g Carbohydrates; 2 g Fiber; 3 g Protein

Alf Hana!!!

Purple Grape Crisp


Do you try to use local, seasonal fruits and vegetables in your cooking?  We do. Here in Egypt it’s not hard because it seems like there are always fresh fruit and vegetable vendors trying to sell their products on every corner.

Last week, on our way home from work, we walked by one such vendor who had sold most of his goods except for a box of plump, juicy purple grapes.  Now, I was tempted by them, but Mary stepped up first.  We wanted about one kilo, but it was the end of the day and the guy had 4 he wanted to get rid of.  Yes, FOUR!  We had just seen how expensive the grapes were in the supermarket (and not bought any!), so when he offered to go almost half the price if we bought them all, Mary couldn’t say no.  I was wracking my brain trying to figure out how we were going to finish 4 kilos of grapes before they went bad….and then came the idea for this recipe.

First it was a pie. Then, since we are both trying to control our calories, it morphed into a crisp.  I took the pie mix from one recipe, the crisp mix from another and modified both so they would be low fat and vegan.  And there you have it – a delicious, nutritious new creation!  And these purple grapes have the added bonus of being full of antioxidants that can help circulation and prevent heart disease!

Serves 12
Ingredients:
Filling:
½ cup packed, fine, light brown sugar
¼ cup cornstarch
1 tablespoon lemon juice
5 cups grapes, halvedTopping:
1 cup quick-cooking oats
1 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
½ cup whole wheat flour
¼ cup canola oil
¼ cup applesauce
¼ cup packed, fine, light brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon saltInstructions:
1.  Preheat the oven to gas mark 4 (350 degrees F or 180 degrees C)
2.  Wash and chop the grapes in half.  I only halved the larger ones.  I left the small ones in tact.
Make the filling:
3.  In a large mixing bowl, stir the brown sugar, cornstarch, and lemon juice.

4.  When well-mixed, add the grapes and toss them until they are completed covered. Let them sit aside for about 10 minutes.
Prepare the topping:
5.  Put the walnuts on a baking sheet and let them toast in the oven for about 10 minutes.

6.  Once the walnuts are cooled, chop them.
7.  Mix the oats, walnuts, flour, oil, applesauce, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.  It should be crumbly.
Make the crisp:
8.  Put the filling in a 9×13 inch (23×33 cm) pan.
9.  Cover with the topping.  Spread it as evenly as you can.  I used the back of a spoon.
.

10.  Bake for 35 to 45 minutes.
11.  Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature.
Serving Suggestions:
*It goes well with non-dairy ice cream!!!
*Use pecans instead of walnuts.
*Use another kind of fruit…???Nutritional Information: (1 of 12 squares)
282 calories; 12 g fat; 0 mg cholesterol; 42 g carbohydrates; 3 g fiber; 5 g protein
What’s your favorite way to eat grapes?
Alf Hana!!!

Pharaoh’s Friday #10: Apricot Pudding (Qamar Al-Din)


Hi everybody!  Are you hot?!  It’s 40 degrees Celsius!!!  (That’s 104 for you Fahrenheit folks!).  Want something cool, creamy and sweet?!  Try this!  A traditional Egyptian dessert, this has been one of my favorites since I first step foot in Egypt.  Our version is low on sugar (we didn’t add any at all!!) but still has all the natural sweetness of the dried apricot!

Ingredients:
¼ kilo pressed apricot sheets (1/2 of the package; 250 grams)

1 and ½ cups of water¼ cup cornstarch
¼ cup water

shredded coconut for serving

Instructions:
1.  Open up the sheets of dried apricot and separate about half of the package.


2.  Cut the 250 grams of dried apricot into small pieces and put in a saucepan.


3.  Cover the pieces of apricot with about 1 and ½ cups of water.  Make sure all the pieces are covered with water.
4.  Boil for about 10 minutes.
5.  Remove from heat and let stand for 30 minutes.

6.  Once cooled, press the mixture through a sieve with narrow holes.

After straining

7.   In a separate bowl, mix the ¼ cup of cornstarch with ¼ cup water until all the cornstarch is dissolved.
8.  Stir the cornstarch mix into the apricot mixture.


9.  Heat this mixture in a saucepan until boiling.  Boil for a few minutes until thick.
10.  Spoon into small dishes. Garnish with shredded coconut.  Refrigerate until sets.

Serving Suggestions:
*Add chopped nuts (pistachios, walnuts, or any you like!) to the coconut topping.
*Add chopped dried apricots and raisins to the apricot and cornstarch mix.
*These sheets can also be used to make a cold, refreshing drink commonly consumed during Ramadan.

Nutritional Information:
1 of 2 servings:
135 calories, 1 g fat, 0 g cholesterol, 32 g carbohydrates, 2 g fiber, 1 g protein

Have you ever had Qamar Al-Din before (as a pudding or drink)?  Which way do you like it most? What other ways do you like to eat apricots?

Alf Hana!!!