Every year I say I’m not gonna do any baking events during the holidays.
And then every year I do a few anyway. Because, like today, sometimes you can’t say “no” to making something sweet for a good cause. Continue reading
There are a few gluten-full recipes I miss from long ago and haven’t yet tackled, and Christmas is the perfect time for playing with them!
Growing up, my Auntie Jo always brought lemony Italian Wedding Cookies to our summer family functions. Bursting with lemon oil and encased in a thin layer of powdered sugar icing, they were a simple cookie, and one of my favorites. I now have Auntie Jo, my cousin Diane and my mother’s versions of the recipe, and the other day tried my own hand at them for a little shindig I was throwing.
The minute this post goes live my economy flight from LaGuardia will be lifting its wheels off the tarmac and gliding smoothly into the sky, headed straight to Colorado and some of my very dearest friends. But as I sit here in the 11th hour typing this this my bags are not packed, my laundry is not folded, and I have no idea how I’m going to get five day’s worth of liquid medications and toiletries into that tiny quart bag you can take on board. And I’m happy. Continue reading →
It’s Burwell General Store Recipe Swap time again! And a holiday swap at that!
Quick catch-up for newcomers: About 13 months ago Christianna over at Burwell General Store started a recipe swap with Lindsay of Rosemarried, where she gives a recipe to a group of bloggers and we all change at least 3 things about the recipe. With the coming of the second year we’re now a group of about 25 bloggers and just changed over to our second book, “The Second Ford Treasury of Favorite Recipes from Famous Eating Places”. While I’ve cherished “All Day Singin and Dinner on the Ground”, there’s something momentous about changing books. The swap has been one of my favorite discoveries since starting this blog, and I look forward every month to seeing what the group has come up with, as well as connecting regularly on what’s inspiring us in and out of the kitchen. Check out their posts on the little frog link below, and my Recipe Swap category for more!
This month, with the craziness of the holidays, Christianna gave us something classic: the Toll House Cookie. I got all mushy and sentimental when I saw the recipe. Because for as long as my little dusty heart can remember my mother has kept her recipes, in bits and pieces, in a Toll House recipe book. Its plastic brown cover contains so many recipes that we played with over the years, and many that are still favorites in our family. Before the internet food world, before this blog, before I knew of single-origin chocolates, the science of baking gluten free, and became what some people might call a “food snob”, there was that book.
One of my favorites as a youngster was my momma’s biscotti. Crisp and full of mini chips, she made several variations for her abundant plate of holiday cookies. As I had to gluten free myself, she started adapting some of the recipes. Or, at least, she tried. It was sort of a running joke for a while between my siblings and I that she would attempt to make foods that I could eat, and then upon running down a list of ingredients she’d slap her head and go, “ah, sh*t!”. Including the first time or two she made me “gluten and dairy free” biscotti; then realized she used regular chocolate chips.
But, as I did, she practiced and learned. And now hers is one of the few houses I can go to and know I will eat, and I will eat well.
So I wanted to take this classic Toll House Cookie recipe and make it into a biscotti. And while no other biscotti will ever give me the same satisfaction as one made by my mom, these are pretty perfect. Crispy, flavored with almond, perfect for dunking in sweet wine (an Italian recently told me that’s the way to do it), coffee or a glass of chilled almond milk (or cow, for you lucky dairy people!).
Happy Holidays, Swappers. And, thanks, mom. I love ya more than my luggage (10 cookies if you name that movie).
Oh, and mom, if you read this… Christmas is coming… hint hint. And yours, please, not mine.
- Jacqueline, The DB
Makes 18, Adapted from the Toll House Cookie and Toll House Biscotti recipes, with some dusty love.
Notes: I grew up with denser, harder biscotti, so to replicate that I baked the roll until it was slightly underdone, then cut and toasted it. If you want yours crispier and a bit drier, bake completely before toasting. I’ve made this recipe both ways with success. Also, you can swap so many things in and out of this recipes: try cranberries, dried fruits, other nuts, go wild!
Preheat oven to 325°. Line a baking sheet with parchment or Silpat, or lightly grease.
Pour almonds on a second, dry, sheet and toast in the oven while preparing the biscotti. Check occasionally so they don’t burn, and remove when slightly golden in color. (They will look all pale one second and like Troy after the horse in the next, so keep a close eye. A toaster oven works too.)
In a medium bowl combine flours, gum, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
In the bowl of a mixer with the whisk attachment, beat butter and sugars until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes, scraping down the bowl occasionally. Add eggs one at a time, beat to incorporate. Beat in vanilla and almond extracts. With the mixer on slow, add flour and beat to combine, increasing speed to incorporate. Mix in nuts and chocolate chips.
With floured hands, roll into a 12-inch log and place on prepared sheet (or longer if you want smaller cookies). Round top slightly. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until cracked on top and slightly firm. It shouldn’t be cooked completely, so the center should seem a tad underdone.
Remove to cooling rack and cool for at least 10 minutes. Slice into into 1/2 inch slices and gently slide onto cookie sheet, cut side down. They will be a bit crumbly, so use a spatula to gently flip them on the sheet. Bake for another 15-20 minutes or until crisp and brown. Cool completely before serving.
Enjoy with or give to someone you love!
When I first moved to NYC, I lived in Manhattan with three guys I graduated college with. After that apartment, my boyfriend of the time lived with two other dudes down in Brooklyn, and I’d stay with them often. For a while after that the boyfriend and I lived in Queens, and his brother crashed with us for a few months. When I wasn’t home during those raucus years of my twenties, I’d be going from show to show with casts full of eager eaters.
The point of that little history: I always had someone around to eat the batches of sweets I whipped up.
But now I’m a single gal, and my roommate doesn’t contribute enough by far in helping me rid the apartment of all things that come out of my kitchen. I pawn sweets off on my upstairs neighbors after walking our dogs, while we have a glass of wine or talk food (love the chefs in my building). But what I don’t give away, I eat. Which means no matter how few I eat, I still eat too many. For someone who’s 5 foot 2 and has hypoglycemia and gains weight easily.
Sometimes you don’t need three dozen cookies staring at you while typing an article about Third Wave Feminism (after having come out of the kitchen barefoot and covered in flour) or while watching Bored to Death or The Next Iron Chef: Super Chefs (which you should be watching if you’re not…). You just need a few.
So here’s how to do just that. How to make just 6 gluten-free chocolate chip cookies. That are rich, and sweet, with just enough chocolate and a boost of flax (both for fiber and to bind the cookies together since we’re not using eggs), and a bit of extra protein from some nuts (optional, of course).
When you don’t want a whole batch but are craving something sweet…
Preheat oven to 350°.
Combine flour, flax, xanthan gum, salt and baking powder in a small bowl.
In the bowl of a mixer, beat butter and sugar until fluffy and smooth – about 2 minutes.
Add molasses and beat to combine.
Add the flour mixture in a beat on low until together. Continue to beat on high for about 2 minutes.
Add the chocolate chips and nuts and beat in to combine.
Use your hands to proportion 6 cookies, and place evenly on cookie sheets, flattening slightly.
Bake for 18 minutes, cool slightly before serving.
Notes: make sure you beat this batter well so that the butter softens completely and the sugars dissolve in, otherwise your cookies will flatten horribly. I used organic white sugar, which melts better than palm or sucanat in this recipe.