Carob Cookies

 (Note from guest blogger Fran Spiegler–after helping to edit this I had such a craving that I had to make this recipe despite the heat. I can’t eat chocolate so I use carob as a substitute.  This does not taste completely like chocolate, but it is good!)

In this cookie the carob is complemented by the flavor of the ground cloves and the sweetness and moisture of the raisins.


1-1/3 cups whole wheat flour                                   2/3 cup honey

2/3 cups carob powder                                               2 tablespoons molasses

1–1/2 teaspoons baking soda                                   1/3 cup oil

1/4 teaspoon salt                                                          1/3 cup softened butter

1/2 teaspoon cloves                                                     1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 tablespoons water

1/3 cup chopped pecans

1/3 cup raisins


  1. Mix the flour, carob powder, soda, salt, and cloves in a large bowl.
  2. In a separate bowl mix the honey, molasses, oil, butter, vanilla extract, and water. Add this to the dry ingredients and mix well.
  3. Mix the chopped pecans and raisins into the dough.
  4. Pre-heat the oven to 350o Lightly oil 2 cookie sheets.
  5. Using a small ice cream scoop or rounded teaspoon, form rounded cookies about 1” in diameter and place them on the cookie sheets 2” apart.
  6. Bake the cookies for 18-20 minutes until firm and they do not stick to the cookie sheet. Remove the cookies from the oven and place on wire racks to cool.  Makes 20.

Blueberry Pie

My maternal grandfather was a short stout man of Irish ancestry who loved to eat, and my grandmother loved to cook.  One day when my brothers and I were having dinner with my grandparents, my grandmother served us blueberry pie she had just baked.  She brought a plate for my grandfather which must have had nearly a quarter of the pie with a mound of vanilla ice cream piled on top.  After she had put the plate of pie in front of my grandfather and turned to walk back to the kitchen, he smiled and winked at us, and said, “Mary, is this all the pie I am going to get?”  My grandmother turned, and in mock indignation, looked at him and said, “Well!  Jim!” My grandfather and we boys all burst into laughter at this scene and then dug into our pie.

Pie Crust

1 Bottom and Top Crust for a standard 9” pie pan


4 cups fresh blueberries

1/4 cup honey

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/8 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons whole wheat or tapioca flour

1/2 cup turbinado sugar


  1. Stem and wash the blueberries and place them in a bowl.
  2. Mix the honey, lemon juice, and salt in a separate bowl and add this mixture to the berries, mixing gently.
  3. Sprinkle the flour and turbinado sugar onto the berries and mix gently.
  4. Put the filling in an unbaked pie shell. Add the top crust and trim the loose edges.  Fold the 1/2” of extra crust from the bottom crust either under itself or over on top of the edge of the top crust.  Create a decorative edge to the crust by pressing in the tines of a fork or by using your fingers to create a fluted edge.  Cut 5 or 6 slits into the top crust.
  5. Place the pie in a pre-heated oven and bake at 425oF for 40 minutes. Remove the pie from the oven and place on a rack to cool.   Serves 10.


Tofu Cheesecake

I believe I got the concept for the tofu cheesecake from somewhere, but it is pretty unique and very good tasting.  It is lemon flavored with enough honey added to balance the tanginess of the citrus and you cannot taste the soybeans.  Once the cheesecake is baked and refrigerated for an hour, its texture is slightly less firm than cheesecake made with cream cheese, but it has little saturated fat.

There was a tofu shop around the corner from the bakery named Mu Tofu which was operated by a married couple named Yoshi and Becky. “Mu” is the name of a Zen Buddhist koan or riddle asking the question “What is the sound of one hand clapping?”  Yoshi had a lot of boiled, ground soybeans left over from the process of making tofu, which he called okara.  I thought that this moist, oily, nutritious food substance had potential uses in baking, and I soon was adding it to some baked goods, as well as buying his tofu to make tofu cheesecakes.  We became good friends with Yoshi and Becky and they invited Randy and me to their home for dinner at times.


Filling                                                                                      Crust

1-3/4 lbs. soft tofu (2 14oz. pkgs.)                                        1 cup oatmeal, ground

1/3 cup fresh lemon juice                                                      3/4 cup whole wheat flour

2 tablespoons grated lemon peel                                         1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup safflower or sunflower oil                                        3/4 teaspoon cinnamon

3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon honey                                         1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

2 teaspoons vanilla extract                                                   1/4 teaspoon ginger

1/2 teaspoon salt                                                                      6 dates, ground

2 tablespoons arrowroot powder                                       6 tablespoons safflower or

or cornstarch                                                                     sunflower oil

1 tablespoon cold water


  1. For the crust, grind the oatmeal in a food processor until it is a coarse meal and place in a bowl. Mix in the whole wheat flour, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger.
  1. Grind the dates in the food processor, adding 1-1/2 teaspoons flour or oatmeal to prevent clumping, and add to dry ingredients.
  1. Add the oil to the mixture gradually and toss in with a fork. Add the water and toss with a fork.  Evenly press the crust material into a lightly oiled 9” round cake pan.
  1. For the filling, blend the tofu in a food processor until smooth and creamy and place in a bowl. Add the lemon juice, lemon peel, oil, honey, vanilla, salt, and arrowroot powder and mix with a whisk.
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350o Pour the filling into the crust.  Bake for 65-70 minutes until filling has set and top of filling is light tan or golden in color.  Remove pan from oven and place on a wire rack to cool.  Place in the refrigerator to chill 1-2 hours.  Serves 16.


Jasmine’s Story (with Onion Dill Biscuit Recipe)

Jasmine was a young woman of Puerto Rican descent who often came to the bakery with her young infant daughter in tow.  Jasmine was her name on the streets.  The father of the child who she lived with had a violent temper and she often would come seeking refuge in the bakery.  Eventually he found out where she would flee and he would come down in the evening on a rampage, pounding on the plate-glass storefront windows so hard I thought they would break.  She would reluctantly leave us, so he did not begin destroying the bakery and punching us.  Despite these rocky moments, we offered her as much support and friendship as we could, and she became a part of this family of people.


2-1/4 cups whole wheat flour                             1/4 cup olive oil

1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda                               1/4 cup canola oil

3/4 teaspoon salt                                                     1 cup plain low-fat yogurt

1-1/3 tablespoons dried dill weed                       1/3 cup water

3/4 cup finely chopped onion

2 eggs, beaten


  1. Mix the flour, soda, salt, and dill weed in a bowl.
  2. In a separate large bowl, mix the olive oil, canola oil, yogurt, water, onion, and beaten eggs.
  3. Pre-heat the oven to 400o  Oil 12 muffin cups.
  4. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir so that the dry ingredients are moistened and the batter is homogeneous. Spoon the batter into the muffin cups.
  5. Bake for 27 minutes until the muffins are firm and an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Remove pan from the oven and take the muffins out of the cups to cool on a wire rack.


For cheese muffins add 1-1/4 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese to the wet ingredients.  Be sure to oil the muffin cups well, as the cheese tends to stick, and allow the muffins to cool in the pan after baking for the cheese to set.