Burwell General Store Swap

{gluten-free} Meyer Lemon Coconut Cake for Two

Years ago, I was an avid blogger.

I had a network of talented bakers that I interacted with regularly, was part of baking circles and recipe swaps, and eagerly combed through various websites on a constant basis every morning. I loved blogging, and I’m thankful for what it brought into my life. Like the chance to make some new virtual friends and occasionally write a recipe for their wildly successful blogs.

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Triple Chocolate Gluten and Dairy-Free Biscotti – The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap!

Triple Chocolate Biscotti - TheDustyBaker

I am a DORK for the holidays!

As in, I start listening to Christmas music (privately) in October. This year my roommate let me celebrate a few days before Halloween because of Hurricane Sandy so we watched The Holiday with the wind raging outside. While I’m cooking at work (private chef-ing) I have Christmas tunes playing on low on my iPad. And the day after Thanksgiving I strapped a 6-foot, stubby tree onto my car and lugged it into my apartment where it was decorated within a few hours.

That said, this year I’m overworked and exhausted. The holidays are awesome. But yes, sometimes, they wear us out.

Fortunately one thing that living with chronic Lyme has taught me is to just let go of certain things. If I don’t make 300 gluten-free cookies is Christmas Day not going to come?!?! No! If I don’t blog for two or three weeks is the entire internet world of readers going to put me on a black list?! Ha! I think we’ll all survive (if we make it through that December 21st apocalypse thing).

Letting go of certain things I look forward to means that the things I do participate in have that much more significance and give me that extra boost of joy.

Like the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap. Continue reading

Gluten-Free Pork Rind Compost Cookies – A Recipe Swap

North Carolina Pork Compost Cookies

I had two things to accomplish with only a few hours in my kitchen; bringing a gluten-free sweet treat to my sister’s going-away picnic (she’s moving to North Carolina AND THAT DOES NOT MAKE ME HAPPY) and a take on this recipe:

Christianna over at the Burwell General Store really threw me for a loop with this one. Every month for over a year now (in my case) she’s zipped along a vintage recipe to a group of bloggers that I adore. I try to stick relatively close to the original recipe, keeping it in line with the kind of dish (savory, sweet, breakfast etc.) and keeping the prominent flavors included somehow.

But… pork, fruit and cake?!?!

I stewed for a few days and, in Dusty fashion, left this to be done the day before posting with only a couple of hours in my kitchen. But I awoke that morning with a revelation:

It was time to call in a Compost Cookie.

I trotted over to the corner store with Mitra and started grabbing gluten-free snacks and… pork rinds.

At home I opened the bag and – tentatively –  ate one.

Um… I’m not quite sure I get the allure. But they totally worked in the cookies, subtly adding some earthy saltiness and helping to balance a bit of sweet. I used dried dark cherries as my fruit and starting tossing other corner-store finds and pantry staples: chocolate chips, slivered almonds, coffee, oatmeal, potato chips, kettle corn, frozen leftover chocolate cake crumb (from Chocolate Chocolate Cookies).

They were polished off at the picnic. My family indulged, my gentleman friend ate three, and they really satiated sweet/salty cravings. They’re intense – I could only have a few bites. But once again I’ve found the basic Compost Cookie recipe to be a winner.

And the best thing about Compost Cookies are they’re really a grab-and-go experience in your pantry. So take the gluten-free cookie base and weight proportions and go hog wild*!

(*couldn’t help myself)

Check out the takes on the recipe from the group by clicking on the little froggy!

Gluten-Free Pork Rind Compost Cookies

Built around the Compost Cookie by Christina Tosi
Makes about 20-24 cookies

I both weigh and measure my ingredients, based on which is necessary or more accurate.

Ingredients:

  • 2 sticks of unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup white sugar (I used palm sugar)
  • 2/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp corn syrup
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 75 g brown rice flour
  • 75g arrowroot starch (or tapioca starch)
  • 50g millet flour
  • 25g white rice flour
  • 3/4 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt

Compost Ingredients (totaling 475 grams)

  • 150g chocolate chips
  • 100g slivered
  • 40g gluten-free old fashioned oats
  • 5g decaf coffee / espresso grounds
  • 40g potato chips
  • 60g chocolate cake crumb (like a crushed chocolate cookie or brownie)
  • 25g kettle corn
  • 30g dried cherries, chopped
  • 25g pork rinds, crushed to various sizes

Directions

In the bowl of a standing mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, sugars and corn syrup for 2-3 minutes. Scrape bowl.

Add egg and vanilla and beat on medium/high speed for 7-8 minutes. This step is vital in getting the sugars and fat to combine ideally, and will help the cookies not over-spread.

Meanwhile, weigh out flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Whisk together.

Turn mixer on low and add flour mixture until just incorporated, under a minute.

Add all compost ingredients on low except for potato chips, and mix until just combined. Fold in potato chips, trying not to break them.

Roll out onto parchment or Silpat lined sheets. Wrap tightly in plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 hour (this, again, is vital to them not spreading too much).

Heat oven to 375°. Bake each sheet individually for 18 minutes, or until the outsides are just starting to brown but the middles are soft. Cool on pan for a few minutes before removing to rack to cool completely.

Grapefruit Sponge Pie: Burwell Recipe Swap!

Dunt-duh-nuh-naaaaaaah!

(That’s me typing out the sound of a trumpet announcing the arrival of something new!)

This morning I published this post with some whinging about being tired and un-creative. When I typed this post for the first time last night, my brain was beyond where wit and articulation are birthed. 24 hours later I’m still over-tired, but I don’t care.

Because I’ve just gone through the recipes submitted by this Burwell General Store recipe swap group, and I’m rejuvenated. I love this group of swappers. I’ve participated in thist monthly swap, organized by Christianna at the Burwell General Store, for well over a year now. But then our group got too large, so we split in two, then got overwhelmed with our own lives, then took a break, then joined up again, and now here we are!

We all write blogs for different reasons. We all read blogs for different reasons.

But if you’re looking for creativity and all-things-yummy, you’ve come to the right place this morning. Just click on that little froggy below to see variations of one simple, very old recipe from a vintage cookbook.

As I scrolled through the posts, pinning and commenting away, I met new blogging friends and reconnected with old ones.

It was a truly delicious night.

Oh, and this was my second swap today! Coincidentally my Milk Bar Mondays recipe was scheduled for today as well, and when that Grapefruit Pie didn’t turn out perfectly (one layer was perfection, the rest so not-right I couldn’t serve it to my boss family and tossed it in the trash) I wanted to give grapefruit another go. Hence this take on this recipe:

I was shocked that this worked! I just replaced grapefruit for the lemon and used the milk my boss can digest, and let some basic pastry knowledge lead to a more specific recipe than the one above. A light, spongy, fluffy layer of grapefruit-flavored custard-ness was on the table for breakfast today. It would do well for a dessert also, but on this steamy Monday with a house full of guests I’m cooking for in Amagansett, it did just fine.

Happy Double Monday, and welcome back to the Burwell Swappers,

– Jacqueline

And click on the little froggy below to check out the other Burwell swappers in their, likely, more creative variations!



Grapefruit Sponge Pie

(Lemon or lime would work perfectly too!)

  • 1 pie crust, unbaked
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs, separated
  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • 2 cups lactose-free, 2% milk
  • 3 Tbsp grapefruit juice
  • rind of one entire grapefruit

Preheat oven to 350°.

Cream the butter, sugar and egg yolks until smooth and bright yellow.

Add the flour, grapefruit juice and zest, and beat to combine.

Slowly pour in milk and stir to combine.

In a separate bowl, beat egg whites to soft peaks. Fold into mixture.

Pour into shell and bake for 45 minutes, until set at the sides but still jiggly in the center. Cool completely before serving.

Sofrito Bean Soup – a Burwell General Store Recipe Swap

Sofrito Bean Soup

It’s been a hard day’s night, and I’ve been working like a dog.

Freelancing can be awesome – no crushing subway commute, the ability to cook my meals three times a day, and relative quiet to work in that my uptown neighborhood gives me.

But it also means constantly scrambling for work, juggling many projects at once and sometimes a feeling of isolation. Topping it off with a body that requires more time than I sometimes feel I have to give it, and the days start to run together without relief.

I admit to being a bit stressed, bloggereaders. But still content, overall.

Because there are days like today, when work and words and food and people come together.  It’s recipe swap time again, and the Burwell General Store swap was the first I joined, over a year ago now. Through it I’ve met and befriended some incredibly talented people, and joining monthly with our shared love of food has been one of my favorite things about this lil ol site.

This is this swap’s recipe:

I had been daydreaming making a condiment using this recipe as a base, but then a new book fell into my hands, Chef Seamus Mullen’s Hero Food. It comes out next week, and I was to review it for one client and interview Chef Mullen for my column on Serious Eats NY. The review fell through today, contributing to the slight melancholia. But I’m particularly psyched about interviewing Chef Mullen tomorrow because his beautiful book on primarily Spanish cuisine is based around the foods he, as someone living with rheumatoid arthritis, tries to incorporate into his diet as much as possible for optimum health.

I’m getting tested for RA soon, because while many things about my health are right back on track, I’m still losing cartilage in my joints and my white blood cell count is usually a bit higher than average. I’m not too concerned by what the diagnosis or lack of diagnosis will mean – I regulate what’s going on in my body rather tightly and am generally feeling in a good space. But I don’t want my knees and back to keep disintegrating, and want to continue to use my food as medicine. So the timing of this book in my life was, well, sweet.

I’m also generally trying to cut back on the pastry a tad, because I’m still very hypoglycemic and need to keep that in check. So, in continuing my desire for more balance in my life, I wanted to shy away from adding that much sugar to something savory.

The compromise for this swap was to use a tomato reduction as the base / condiment to something nourishing and fortifying, using some of what I’ve been reading in Hero Food as inspiration and the swap recipe as the core. The result is a dish that’s incredibly dynamic in flavor, emotionally comforting, and packed with little heroes to keep body and mind strong.

I highly recommend this recipe, both the sofrito to have on hand as a base for a braise or soup, and this soup in its entirety. And I recommend grabbing Chef Mullen’s book as soon as it comes out on the 24th: it’s not written like a “health book”. It’s an incredible collection of techniques and recipes from a seasoned chef that also happens to also fill you in on the health benefits of the heroic foods included. My interview with him will be up on Serious Eats NY that day.

And I recommend checking out the recipes from my fellow swappers by clicking on the little blue frog below. Knowing that there are such beautiful people out there is quite fortifying too.

– Happy swapping, Jacqueline xoxo

Small Lima beans, sofrito, greens, olive oil, pepper and sausage.

Sofrito Bean Soup

Sofrito is an incredibly rich reduction of onions, tomato, bell peppers and garlic, simmered to bring out the vegetables’ dynamic sweetness. You can make up a batch as a basis for soups, stocks, risottos… endless possibilities. I didn’t have as many onions on hand as is usual, but I wanted my base to be more focused on the tomato anyway, in keeping up with the spirit of the swap. Whip up a batch for the soup recipe, or just to freeze in small batches for added flavor to an abundant variety of dishes.

The more time the flavors have to meld with this soup, the better. Let it sit overnight when possible.

Sofrito

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 4 large onions, finely chopped (I used 3 Vidalia and one Spanish yellow)
  • 4 vine tomatoes, grated into a pulp (basically cut the tomatoes width-wise in half, then use a box grater to puree the pulp out of them, leaving the skins aside)
  • 1 head of garlic, roasted (I chop the bottom of the bulb off, then lay it cut side down in a ramekin of about 1 tbsp olive oil, then let it cook in the oven as I’m roasting vegetables or baking or something. It packs ridiculous flavor into recipes and I generally like to have it on hand. If you don’t, then just finely mince about 6-8 cloves of garlic)
  • 2 large bell peppers, finely chopped (I used one red and one orange)
  • a glug of white wine vinegar (about 2 Tbsp, red wine or cider would work too)
  • salt to taste
  • freshly ground pepper to taste
  • red pepper flakes or preferred chili pepper, to taste
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste

Heat a heavy-bottomed pan on medium heat. Bring the oil up to temperature and add the onions, sauteing gently until soft, about 5-8 minutes. Add the onion, grated tomato pulp, garlic and pepper, and cook on medium heat partially covered for at least two hours. During that time, stir occasionally and add salt, pepper and chili / red pepper flakes as desired.  When ready to use, stir in tomato paste and cook for 20 minutes more. Freeze in batches or use in the Sofrito Bean Soup, below.

Sofrito Bean Soup

I love using a pressure cooker for how much flavor get seeped into things like beans. I got mine at a Portuguese cooking supply store, but they’re pretty easy to find and wonderfully inexpensive. If you don’t have a pressure cooker, combine the ingredients in the same order below, just simmer on the stove until tender.

  • 2 cups dried lima beans, soaked very well for at least 24 hours and rinsed
  • 2 cups chicken or clear vegetable stock
  • 1 small Abruzzese sausage or chorico (about 4oz), sliced into thin rounds
  • 6 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1 cup sofrito
  • 1 handful greens (kale, mustard, or even a salad green like arugula)
  • Olive oil and red pepper flakes to taste

In a pressure cooker combine beans, stock, 1/2 of the sliced sausage and garlic cloves. Fit lid, and heat on high until it whistles. Lower to a simmer, and cook for about 30 minutes. Reduce pressure (either by releasing the steam valve or letting it come down naturally) and check on the beans; there should still be a little liquid left, but the beans should be incredibly soft. If they’re not, bring back up to heat and have another go for 10 or so minutes.

When soft and creamy, stir in the sofrito, combining gently. The beans should break down a bit and thicken the soup. Set the heat onto a simmer, and stir in the remaining sausage and greens, cooking for a few minutes just until they wilt.

Serve with a drizzle of olive oil and a scattering of crushed red pepper.

Blueberries and (Dairy Free) Cream – Burwell General Store Swap

It’s Burwell Recipe Swap time again – check out my past swaps for more info about the group.

So…  I had plans to make something that would blow my mind.  Something I learned from Alton Brown, who’s tied as my favorite brain crush with Brian Lehrer (all you WNYCers know what I’m talking about).  Something that I figured I could mix and measure and adapt as necessary.  I even wrote the post out last night.  It was brilliantly witty.  Pinky swear it was.

And while the experiment worked up to this point…

… that beaker of coolness was as far as I got.  They were to be these beautiful pearls of dark red wine that I had simmered with some really potent dried ginger, honey and gelatin sheets.  Dropped into chilled oil, they were to separate easily when rinsed clean.

I tried several variations – still think I need more gelatin.

So, in a pinch – what could I make?!?!  Because the recipe we were given, the one that we were to try to keep close to, was this:

Honestly, reading it invoked a reaction of reverse peristalsis in me (probably the only phrase I remember from high school biology).  Look at that ingredients list: really?

So what I took from it was: fruit, gelatin, ginger.  My original idea for the swap was to be a take on Charlotte Russe, which I’ve been wanting to adapt since I read A Tree Grows in Brooklyn again a few months ago.  But for the same reason that this recipe makes me gag, I couldn’t do it.

So the result was a relatively healthy, bi-blueberry dessert served with a gluten-free lady-finger.  I did not make them.  If you want to make your own, I suggest this recipe from Krissy’s Creations.

This is definitely not my most proud swap.  But as this post goes up I’m not even near NYC at all, but on an island off of Portugal touring a vineyard, cooking food in the ground, interviewing chefs and chasing dishes around the island while my recorder runs and my photographer clicks away.  In prep for the trip I’ve been working like mad to meet deadlines.  And as I gobbled this up, I realized sometimes even last-minute creations come together when you need them.

Now please go check out my fellow swappers for, I’m sure, a tasty combo of creations!


Blueberries and Cream

Serves 8

Ingredients:

  • Scant 1lb of fresh blueberries
  • 1/2 cup dark red wine
  • 1 tsp dried ginger (less if you don’t like too much spice)
  • 2 sheets gelatin, bloomed (soak in cook water for about 5 minutes to bloom)
  • 1-8oz container cream cheese or alternative (I used Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese)
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 8 slices candied ginger
  • 16 ladyfinger or Madeleine cookies

Method:

  • Rinse and separate the blueberries, and reserve 1/2 cup.  Put in a small pot on medium heat with the wine and dried ginger.  Bring to a boil and cook for about 10 minutes, crushing some of the blueberries with a fork.  Meanwhile, bloom the gelatin.  Whisk in slowly, and cook for another 5 minutes.
  • Turn off heat, and remove 1/4 cup blueberry liquid.  Add remaining 1/2 cup blueberries to pot, and stir in – these will soften a tad but give the jam a nice texture.
  • Remove the pot to refrigerator until chilled.
  • In a small bowl, combine the cream cheese, powdered sugar and 1/4 cup blueberry liquid.  Stir until completely incorporated.  Return to fridge to chill until firm.
  • When ready to serve, scoop the cream cheese mixture into a small ziploc bag.  Snip the corner, and pipe onto the flat side of one cookie.  Sandwich with another cookie.  Spoon about a tablespoon of chilled jam onto plate, then rest cookie sandwich on top.  Garnish with candied ginger.

Roasted Kabocha Squash with Cassava Bread Stuffing (vegan, gluten free) – Burwell Recipe Swap

It’s Burwell Recipe Swap time again! I must say, I was pretty excited when CM sent out this month’s recipe, something simple and savory and a good contrast to the sweets that pour out of my kitchen (and often straight into my belly).  I cook all the time, and can pretty much cook anything, but I rarely actually post what I make because I usually don’t measure, work by instinct and create as I go along.  So, jotting down numbers and results is good for me.

This month's swap recipe from Pine Tavern

I love the “foot of Oregon Avenue” in the address title.  I’m going to start to describe my apartment location in that way.

For this recipe I didn’t feel like going too crazy.  During the winter months I crave vegetables and citrus fruits, needing to fortify with vitamins and root foods.  So squash makes a regular appearance and I often omit meat from my meals.  Instead of just replacing wheat bread with gluten-free bread, I planned to use three grains that I love – jasmine rice, millet and quinoa – but then discovered cassava bread from the Dominican Republic in my local market and figured I’d try it.  On it’s own I’m not a fan – made with only yuca, I have a feeling what it tastes like originally is not what made its way to Washington Heights.  This bread is really hard, and sorta tasteless.  But it crunches well in the recipe, adding some texture.  And now I know.  If you can’t find cassava bread I suggest using gluten-free rye crackers instead, or omitting completely.

This feeds one person as a vegan, filling entree, or split between two as a side.  I’m making it for brunch. Yum.

Oh, and this is day 2 of my 3 swaps in a row! Check out my Chocolate Ginger Puer Tea Bread (gluten and dairy free) from yesterday’s Chocolate Love swap, and tune in tomorrow for Carrot Cake Truffles (gluten and dairy free) for the first Milk Bar Monday swap!

Please visit the other swappers to see what deliciousness they’ve come up with!

Cassava bread

Roasted Kabocha Squash with Cassava Bread Stuffing

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 kabocha squash, seeds removed
  • 1 Tbsp each millet, quinoa and rice
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil + more to taste later
  • 1 stalk of celery, halved length-wise and slice thinly
  • 1/4 cup chopped carrot
  • 2 mushrooms, chopped thinly
  • 2 Tbsp chopped white onion
  • 1 Tbsp white wine vinegar (or cider or red wine vinegar, even white will add something)
  • 1 tsp kosher or seasoned salt
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp herbs d Provence
  • 1/4 cup cassava bread crumbs (you could also use rye crackers or something similar)
  • 1 Tbsp sunflower seeds or ground nuts
  • 1 Tbsp raisins, dried cranberries or goji berries

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 375°.
  • Take a small slice off the curved end of the squash so that it sits flat in a baking dish.  Brush lightly with olive oil and bake while you prepare the grains and vegetables.
  • In a small pot, toast the 3 grains on medium heat until fragrant.  Add water, bring to a simmer and cook, covered, until all the water is absorbed (about 10 minutes).
  • Meanwhile, heat a large skillet on medium heat for about 2 minutes.  Add the olive oil, vegetables and seasonings and toss to coat.  Cook for about 5 minutes until they start to brown.  Add the vinegar and cook until soft, about 20 minutes.
  • In a large bowl, combine cooked grains, vegetables, cassava bread, nuts and dried fruits.
  • Stuff into the cavity of the half-cooked squash, drizzle with olive oil and return to oven for 20 minutes or until squash is cooked and stuffing is toasty.

Hot Chocolate / Foam / Custardy Thing! A Dairy-Free Vintage Recipe Swap

Hot Chocolate Foam

It’s Burwell General Store Recipe Swap time again!  Click on that site for a background on our awesome group of 20-ish swappers from the world over!

I’m usually rather prepared for this monthly recipe swap, with ideas bandied about and recipes tested.  But the holidays.  The HOLIDAYS! I sorta went into hibernation mode after New Years, bunkering down with work and not baking for DAYS.  I’m also working on a gluten free pasta feature for Easy Eats Magazine, so my kitchen has been ALL about pasta lately (not a bad way to start a new year).

Thankfully CM picked a relatively easy and festive recipe for our first of 2012:

Burwell General Store Recipe Swap recipe, January 2012

A frothy, potent cocktail dessert.  Which, were I entertaining, I’d totally jump on.  Which, were I totally still drinking my fill, I would make for myself if I weren’t.

But, like I said, I’m hunkering down, hibernating, rolling and boiling pasta and entertaining only the resolute January tradition of simplifying and stripping down the gluttonous and extravagance that I totally indulged in these past few months.

Along with making lots of pasta, I’ve  been experimenting with custards (check out my new favorite, Coconut Milk Creme Brulee!).  So I have lots of egg whites proofing in the fridge, ready for the macaron making that gets soclose to happening and then quickly abandoned when Downton Abbey is once again rerun on the tube (yay for season two starting tonight!).

A few months ago I was working on a hot chocolate recipe that my photographer partner and I were pitching to Saveur (it’s coming out soon!).  For it I was playing with a spicy Mexican hot chocolate recipe from Beaner Bar and one from my buddy Johnny Iuzzini that required a coconut milk foam.  Could I take this basic swap recipe, use some of those lonely egg whites and leftover bricks of chocolate and my newly-found hot chocolate skills and make my own deliciously foamy, dairy-free hot chocolate?

Yes, I could. And did.

Now, I’m not hugely into a lot of sugar in my sweet drinks: I’d rather punch something up with liquor.  And even though I have an incessant sweet tooth, I’ve need to chill the f out with all the sugar (sorry for the vulgarity).

So here we have an incredibly creamy, frothy, custardy, chocolatey foam that you can adapt for the occasion.

Suggestions:

  • Add 1 Tbsp of white or raw sugar to sweeten it up and drink/eat it straight as an incredibly creamy hot chocolate.
  • Add some red wine or liquor for a potent cocktail.
  • Spoon over an incredibly sweet dessert to add some unique texture and flavor balance.
  • Spice up with a bit of cayenne for a smoky, warming treat.
  • Use as a dip for shortbread cookies or cut up fruit

Whatever you use it for, this is a quick, easy, satisfying little trick of a recipe and a technique that might inspire some creative new desserts for 2012.

Happy New Year Bloggereaders.  I am so thankful for you!  And for some of my favorite bloggers out there who I monthly get to play with!  Please check out my fellow swappers by clicking on the little frog right here:

Foam.

This mixture makes about 1 1/2 cups of foam, good for 2 people for a small dessert or one large hot chocolate, depending on what you add into it.

Ingredients:

  • 1 packet (two bricks) Mexican Chocolate
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg (plus more for garnishing)
  • 3/4 cup milk per person (I used unsweetened almond)
  • 1/4 cup egg whites per person

Directions:

  • Crush chocolate to a fine powder.
  • Add cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg and whisk to combine.
  • In a saucepan over medium heat, whisk 2 Tbsp + 2 tsp chocolate mixture, milk and egg white until the mixture thickens and doubles in size.  This may take about 6 minutes or so of constant whisking, until it’s nice and thick.
  • Serve garnished with a bit of the crushed chocolate, some freshly grated nutmeg, candied ginger or whatever leftover cookies you have around ready for dunking.

Chocolate Almond Biscotti – A Recipe Swap!

Toll House Chocolate Almond Biscotti

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!

New year, new book!

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.

December's recipe: look at the adorable bit of history!

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.

Mom and the Dusty sibs, Christmas 2009

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).

Mom and me at the end of the Twin Cities Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure!

Oh, and mom, if you read this… Christmas is coming… hint hint.  And yours, please, not mine.

– Jacqueline, The DB

Chocolate Almond Biscotti

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!

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups starch-heavy gluten free flour (mine was 1 cup brown rice and 1/3 cup millet and 2/3 cup arrowroot)
  • 2 Tbsp Sweet Rice Flour, plus more if the dough seems sticky
  • 1 tsp xanthan gum (or 1 Tbsp flax seed if you’re avoiding xanthan)
  • 1 Tbsp Mesquite flour (totally optional)
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, soft
  • 5 Tbsp white sugar
  • 5 Tbsp light brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 1/2 cup ground almonds
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Method:

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!

Maple Ginger Cakes with Brown Butter Caramel – A Vintage Recipe Swap!

Maple Ginger Cakes - a Burwell General Store Recipe Swap!

This is a very special post for this little Dusty Baker.

One year ago, I started this blog.  I had been blogging on another site, which housed a wider range of aspects of the holistic health industry as I pulled out of another bout of Lyme Disease.  I wanted to focus on recipes, and writing, and how baking could connect me to other aspects of my art and to the art itself that is baking.  

Also one year ago, on the other side of the country, Christianna of Burwell General Store and Lindsay of Rosemarried started a recipe swap, comparing their takes on vintage recipes.  That group grew into an incredible community of food bloggers who monthly change at least 3 aspects of a recipe that Christianna sends to us, and then we all post at the same time and exchange blogging love.  I don’t quite remember if I found out about the swap from Lindsay or Toni over at Boulder Locavore – I found and fell in love with their blogs around the same time, in April of last year.  All I know is that I feel very fortunate to be a part of this little group.

These bloggers have become teachers, inspiring me by their personal focus in the food world, their varying levels of culinary expertise and their love for what they do, both in and out of the kitchen.  Through them I get to feel the seasons change all over the world (we have several overseas swappers!), and how that effects what we’re all making and how we’re nourishing our bodies.  I get little glimpses into the lives of passionate, creative and sometimes exhausted people.  All because of our shared love for food.

Burwell Swappers, you rock my world.  Happy Birthday to Christianna, Lindsay, Toni, Chef Dennis, Sabrina, Lora, Mari, Shari, Monique, Pola, Linda, Alli, Barb, Priya, Lana, Shumalia, Claire, Jamie, Jaclyn and Alex (did I miss anyone?!!?).  And welcome to the new swappers Eda, Julia and JoAnn who are contributing this month! Please click on the link at the bottom of this post to check out their contributions, read more about their blogs at the Burwell General Store and, if you’re the tweeting sort, follow our Burwell Swappers list on Twitter.

When sending us the recipe for this month, Christianna asked us to ponder where our lives have traveled this past year, what we’re thankful for and what we want to celebrate with this post.

It’s been an interesting year: at points I’ve had less money than I’ve had in my entire life and questioned my decision to not have a “boss” and to work only freelance.  I took on the responsibility of managing my family business, and continue to learn just what it means to be a boss.  Through this blog I’ve met some incredible people,  been asked to participate in live food events, and developed the voice that brought me to writing for the NYC food blog Bromography and now doing research and writing for Easy Eats, an incredible gluten-free digital magazine that as an eater I am very excited about and am particularly thrilled to be contributing to. I did a few shows, meeting insanely talented, big-hearted people.  I fell in love, then had my heart broken for the first time.  I got a dog!  Projects that I’ve dreamed of creating have come into reality.  I’ve met teachers who are so far above me in the food world, and seem to see some glimmer of potential in what I have to contribute.  I am still relatively healthy after my third bout of Lyme, and my family are all close by and well.  It’s been a weird, hard year, but I have so much to be thankful for.

So in celebrating the anniversary of my blog and the birthday of the Burwell General Store swap, I’m doing a Thanks-GiveAway!  For the month of November, I’ll be hosting discussions, comments, sharing the recipes of others and asking readers to follow the lovely bloggers who are the filling to my macarons.  And in thanks I’ll send a few readers each two copies of some of my favorite gluten-free cookbooks, one to keep for themselves and one to give as a holiday gift to a baker they love.  Along with a few of my favorite things.

For information on the giveaway, CLICK HERE.

Now, this month we were given a Maple Syrup Cake to swap, which overjoyed me as I love baking with maple syrup and go through jugs of the stuff far too often.  After last month’s Millet Coconut Breakfast Pudding  I decided I didn’t want to change too much of this recipe, I just wanted to make a really delicious gluten-free take on these cakes.

My first go-around I adapted the recipe by cutting the white sugar completely, substituting with my gluten-free flour blend and adding some chopped ginger.  I used 3 teaspoons of soda as gluten-free flour sometimes need the extra lift.  And I added some chopped candied ginger along with increased the amount of spices in the cake.  The cakes were so-so.  A bit to baking soda-y and not sweet enough, even for me.  And a little dry.

So the second go around I added back in a bit of the sugar (palm), even more ginger, and some pumpkin, to give a little extra moisture. I also made a quick caramel sauce to serve on top.

The result? Um, yum!! These are incredibly moist little cakes.  The pumpkin isn’t a feature as much as the ginger and spice, but it provides great body.  The texture of the candied ginger suits the soft cake perfectly.  These would be divine as a special breakfast treat, or made in regular cupcake tins and topped with pumpkin or cream cheese frosting.

Going on my list as one of my favorite cakes.  Thanks, again, Burwell Swappers.

Happy Birthday.

Happy Birthday Burwell Swappers!

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, soft
  • 1/3 cup palm sugar
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup pureed pumpkin
  • 1 cup maple syrup (I used one from Vermont, which I love.  Always try to keep it as close to home as possible, and luckily that’s not a problem in New England)
  • 1/4 cup hot water
  • 2 1/2 cups gluten-free cake flour with xanthan gum (if using a mix without xanthan gum, add 1 1/4 Tbsp to the flour)
  • 3 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup candied ginger, chopped

Method:

Preheat oven to 350°.  Grease and flour cake pan of choice.

In a small bowl, combine all dry ingredients up to ginger.

In the bowl of a standing mixer with whisk atatchment (or in bowl with hand mixer), beat butter and sugar until smooth.  Add pumpkin and continue to beat until combined.  Add maple syrup, and beat until smooth.

Alternate the flour and hot water, starting and ending with the dry ingredients, mixing on low, until all are incorporated, occassionally wiping down the sides of bowl.

Stir in the candied ginger.

Pour equally into prepared pans.  My cakes took 24 minutes to bake, a larger cake will take about 35.

For the brown butter caramel:

Brown 2 Tbsp unsalted butter on medium heat until golden.  Whisk in 2 Tbsp maple syrup and 1 Tbsp light brown sugar, and whisk until smooth.  Immediately pour over cakes and serve.



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