Dairy-free

Sticky Pumpkin Flax Muffins for a Grey Winter Day (gluten free)

Breakfast on a cold, rainy day in NYC.

Yesterday was one of those mornings.  I awoke to a barely lit room despite the fact that it was 9am.  Before I opened my eyes I could hear rain pitter-pattering on the air conditioner outside my window.  Yes, here there’s no lulling drop on shingles.  It’s a wet, alley cat kinda life.

I dragged Mitra along the sidewalk, battling to keep my oversized red umbrella from flying off into the Hudson.  Rain pelted sideways, and the poor dog kept tying to climb up my legs as I desperately implored her to “just pee, pee please, baby, and then we can go inside”.

Only seconds later, defeated, the dog unrelieved, I closed the umbrella and we sprinted back home.

Because in that tiny moment, it had hit me.

It’s here.

Those dark, wet, sticky months in the northeast when everything just feels damp.  When un-waterproofed boots mean feet will be molested by a foot of frozen slush that had somehow passed itself off as level sidewalk.  When subway tunnels become wind tunnels.  When snow somehow manages to fall horizontally.  When buildings are overheated and New Yorkers are steamed.

As we raced to my building we passed gourds and tiny pumpkins abandoned in windowboxes, their flesh sagging over the edges and most likely putrid inside with stank innards.  Discarded Christmas trees cried on the curb, fearing the moment when they would turn into mulch, most likely pondering on why they grew for years only to be adored for a scant few weeks.

At least that’s what I was thinking on their behalf.  I love trees.

Two years ago I spent the dark months backstage in a warm theatre on run crew: reading books, drinking tea, catching up with my dear friend Lily and occasionally holding a curtain for an exiting actor or moving a piece of prop furniture.  Not a bad way to spend the grey period.

Last year I spent most of my time downtown with the delicious man I was dating.  One night we walked to the Angelika, hated the film (Blue Valentine – yes, I hated it), then exited the theatre into 4 inches of snow.  Happy, bundled and loving NYC, we walked back to his place under fat flakes, stopping to take pictures for tourists, arriving home soaked.

This year I’ve got a  bundled-up pup, a fully outfitted kitchen where treats are rolling, good friends coming and going, and work that I love.  As much as I fear these post-holiday, dreary months, they’ve always brought me a sense of hibernation that truly is refreshing.  Next weekend I head out to the furthest corner of Cape Cod to do a show, get pampered in a posh B&B and walk on the frozen beaches.  In February I plan to bunker in my Louisa May Alcott attic at my friends’ in Southhampton, where I’ll walk Mitra and Mia on another frozen beach and gaze out romantically at the bay as I type.

But until then, I need this in my life:

Sticky Pumpkin Flax Muffins with apricot and blackcurrant jam (and butter... I'm bad....)

I was complaining to one of my editors the other day the agony that is going to a coffee shop and seeing a pathetic little shriveled gluten free muffin in plastic alongside their overstuffed, glutenous counterparts.  These muffins have now satiated that grumpiness.

I recently got a delivery of gluten free flour from Better Batter to test a recipe for an article I’m working on.  Yes, the flour will be used for it.  But after the seasonal revelation I couldn’t curb my impatience to try it out, especially as I always blend my own flours and never have the ease of one already prepared.  I’m a big fan of the Better Batter flour from this trial, so far. More info on that to come that I’ll link to down the line.

I used the oversized-6 muffin tin for these babies, and admit that I ate TWO AND A HALF of them yesterday!  And the one pictured above for breakfast this morning.  They’re sticky and dense, perfectly sweet, and inspire being layered with butter and jam and enjoyed along some strong coffee and a newspaper in print.  I wasn’t originally planning on posting them as they weren’t exactly what I’d pictured in my head, but a visiting friend couldn’t stop saying “mmm, these are SO good” as she at one.  She encouraged me to share.

Oh, I added some flax because it makes my body happy.  And used organic pumpkin so that I didn’t have to use butter so they’re dairy free and low in fat!

Happy January, bloggerreaders.  Hope you’re staying warm.

Jacqueline

My favorite with these was tart apricot jam

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cup all-purpose gluten-free flour.  I used Better Batter, which already has xanthan gum in it and a lovely neutral-flavored mix of flours
  • 3 Tbsp ground flax seed meal
  • 1/2 cup palm sugar
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin or sweet potato puree
  • 1 cup warm milk (I used unsweetened almond milk)
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, optional

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350°.  Lightly grease 6 oversized or 12 normal muffin tins.
  • In a bowl, whisk together flour, flax seed, sugar, baking powder and baking soda.
  • In another bowl, beat eggs thoroughly.  Add pumpkin / sweet potato puree, milk and maple syrup.  Beat / whisk thoroughly to combine.
  • Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix until combined.  Fold in nuts.
  • Pour equally into muffin tins and bake for 30-35 minutes, until springy to the touch.
  • Try not to eat too piping hot – I dove right in and have a light burn on the top of my mouth to prove it.
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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.

Coconut Milk Creme Brulee – Easy, Spot-On and Dairy Free!

How time does fly!

This recipe is from 2011, and it’s still one of the most popular ones on this site. It produces a quick, thick creme brulee that’s great for beginners. Want something a touch above? Try my updated version with Chef Joe Murphy as part of my Pro Pastry, Gluten (and dairy!) Free series.

And for the adorable original text, scroll below the recipe.

Happy torching!

– Jacqueline

Crunchy crust and lightly lemon scented biscuits

This recipe made FoodBuzz’s Top 9 on December 29th! Thanks for all the buzzing love!

Dairy-Free Creme Brulee

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup white sugar plus more for dusting
  • 1 cup full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 vanilla bean, scraped

Equipment:

  • 4 5oz ramekins
  • glass or ceramic baking dish
  • kitchen torch

Method:

Preheat oven to 300° F.  Set a pot or kettle full of water on to boil.

In a medium bowl whisk eggs, egg yolk, sugar and vanilla until creamy and smooth.  Add coconut milk and blend until smooth.

Pour into ramekins.

Place in ceramic baking dish and pour hot water until it comes halfway up the ramekins.

Bake for about 40 minutes, until just slightly jiggly in the middle.

Cool until ready to serve or chill until cold.  When ready, sprinkle with about 2 tsp white sugar and torch until crispy and brown.

Notes: It’s a bit dense.  I based the recipe on one that used lemon to cut the thickness.  But unlike some other dairy-free creme brulee recipes you won’t have to worry about it not setting.  While I was totally pleased with this turnout, you could probably omit one yolk and still find success.

Also, HERE’S THE TORCH I HAVE. You’ll use it more than you think you will. Charring marshmallows and browning meringue are just two fun things…

Life is delicious.  After a packed weekend of family and amazing food and lit fires and lots of hugging, I sat back at a desk Monday morning, worked the day away, then packed Mitra and my Christmas loot into my little blue Subaru and booked it back to NYC.  Because I had a guest coming over.  A man.  Who was cooking me dinner.

I’m not the easiest person to cook for, having this whole gluten and dairy free diet thing.  My last two boyfriends were great eaters and practically non-existent cooks (Ruark, three bf’s ago, makes a meat sauce to die for).  Being domestically bent, I easily fall into the role of kitchen wizard (so a friend once called me) in relationships.  I now have a “no cooking for you before the 4th date rule” (a loose rule, but there nonetheless).  So a guy offering to come to my place to cook on our second date… was a first.

(Side note: I’m getting distracted writing up this post because there’s a horrible holiday movie my roommate recorded playing and while it’s truly wretched Mark-Paul Gosselaar is a-DOR-able. Definitely aging well.)

While I made some fancy cocktails (ginger ale, fresh sweet lime and zested ginger with bourbon for me and vodka for him), date man made us an incredible dinner.  Flavorful, tasty, relaxed, and much appreciated.  I made dessert.  A dairy-free creme brulee with loads of vanilla and a perfectly torched crust.

We didn’t end up eating it.  Cocktails with neighbors led to a late evening and full bellies.  So tonight my under-slept self enjoyed the crap outta it while watching Mad Men (and said horrible/adorable Christmas movie)  and cuddling the dog.  Neighbors upstairs got the rest.  It’s dense and just sweet enough, with the perfect little crunch.  Using vanilla bean gives it an incredible punch.  I’ve so missed creme brulee, and now I’m satiated.

Let me know if you make it, who you share it with, how you adapt it, and what you think.

Cheers to second dates, Christmases full of goodness, Mad Men, and little dogs.

{Gluten-free, Vegan} Pumpkin Spice Donuts

 

Hello bloggereaders! I’ve missed the CRAP outta yah.  So much so that, yes, there as a “h” on the end of “ya” to prolong the sound of the word and therefore encapsulate my joy at getting to blog right now.

In a nutshell: sourcing for magazine, writing for diff magazine, shooting DB show, hanging with Meals on Wheels, managing family business, going to Chocolate Show.

Okay forget that, I’m tired after waiting for my internet to decide to work while watching Pan Am (it’s like a bad car crash, I just can’t look away… or plane crash, as it were).

Let’s just say I’ve missed blogging.  Because while I’ve been baking away I haven’t had any time to take photos (with my new lens – which now makes my camera completely old and completely manual and completely ah-MAZ-ing) or write up the recipes.

But I have still enjoyed reading YOUR blogs! And if there’s one thing I’m learning from the holidays approaching it’s to sit and have a breather now and then, to drink more water, watch my sweets, and to enjoy the little moments.  To give thanks.  Gracias to my life coach, Lindsay at Rosemarried and the murder-sprees on American Horror Story and Boardwalk Empire for reminding me of this lately.

Now, end of the rambling and onto the donuts.

Sometimes 1st time is a charm.  I didn’t quite believe that when making these so tried two more times, concluding that my first go was by far my favorite.  In each recipe I adjusted a bit here and there – kind and quantities of flours, amount of leveners etc.  I knew that:

  • I wanted them to be high in fiber / whole grain
  • I wanted them to be vegan
  • Obviously gluten free
  • Easy to assemble
  • I wanted them to be moist

Check, check, check, check, check.

I brought the batch upstairs to some neighbors: we all have dogs and now and then gather for walks, a glass of wine or some delicious food.  One is a private chef and the other is just really good with food, so they’re great to run recipes by.  The chef remarked that the flavor was “perfect, perfect, perfect”.  But he had no advice as to how to get them to taste chewier, like a real donut.  Because while these do taste amazing, the texture is more like a moist cake than a donut.  Making them gluten free and vegan… gonna be hard to get the chew.  I’m still working on it, but let’s just say that these are a delicious take on a classic donut.  Their guests noted that the pumpkin flavor was full throttle, the texture was soft, the flavor balance was perfect and they might even fare well after a day or two of drying out a bit.  I didn’t take any home with me – so they were a hit.

For this recipe:

I recommend having all ingredients at room temperature or slightly warm.  Like a basic cake recipe, you want the ingredients to meld slowly and not be shocked into expanding and then collapsing.

This recipe does NOT use xanthan gum.  I usually do, in everything.  But with this I found the absence of it made for a better texture given the amount of starch in the recipe already, as well as the flax, which also binds things together.

Teff is wonderfully high in protein and fiber and the world’s smallest grain so it’s extremely fine and works well in this kind of recipe.  If you can’t find teff flour, I’d suggest amaranth or quinoa – because of the moist pumpkin and spices, the flavors get absorbed well and give you all the punch-packing nutrients.

I tossed some in cinnamon and sugar, made quick glaze for others with almond milk, powdered sugar and nutmeg, brushed some with melted coconut oil and then dunked them in sugar… have fun.

Let me know what you think.  What’s your favorite gluten free donut recipe? I want to try it!

This pumpkin at my family’s home made me happy…

So I STOLE and MADE DONUTS OUTTA IT! Just kidding… I used the kind in a can… organic…

Pumpkin Spice Donuts

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Preheat oven to 325°.  Lightly grease donut pan.

Whisk together in a small bowl:

  • 1/2 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/2 cup arrowroot starch (or tapioca starch)
  • 1/4 cup teff flour
  • 1 Tbsp sweet rice flour (or sticky rice flour)
  • 1 Tbsp flax meal
  • 1 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground allspice

Whisk together in a large bowl:

  • 1/2 cup palm sugar (or white sugar)
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 3 Tbsp coconut oil or canola oil
  • 3/4 cup almond milk, warm, with 1 1/2 tsp white vinegar

Whisk dry ingredients into wet until thoroughly combined.

Bake for 15-18 minutes or until springy to the touch.

Coconut Milk Rice Pudding – Gluten and Dairy Free

Mmmmm... rice pudding...

Growing up, I’d come home from school to find a tray of little glasses filled with a creamy, sweet mixture, dusted with cinnamon and garnished with raisins, chilling in the fridge.  I knew, then, that my Avo, my Portuguese grandmother, was somewhere near by.  And I knew how much my father loved her rice pudding.   Avo learned everything by tradition: she gardened, plucked chickens, baked bread in a brick oven in her garage, and fed her 15 grandchildren and countless relatives at an endless table on holidays.  If I ever have half the skill of my Avo, I’ll be one happy, dusty baker.

That rice pudding looked so delicious.  This rice pudding tastes so delicious.  And I can eat it. Because it’s dairy-free!

A friend left New York City the other night to move back London, and shared her last meal in the states at my apartment: cheap and delicious Mexican food from up the block.  And before that meal, we had this for dessert.  She proclaimed it her favorite of any of my creations.  I always know I’m onto something when someone makes that statement.  I miss you horribly already, Mel.  And I don’t care who knows it!!!

This recipe is incredibly easy: gluten and dairy free, it contains only 2 tablespoons of maple syrup as sweetener.  It’s delicious warm from the stove, at room temperature or chilled.  A vanilla bean really adds incredible flavor to the small list of ingredients, so I highly recommend it instead of using vanilla extract.

Make it for people you love, please!

Ingredients:

  • 6 tablespoons raisins
  • 1 Tbsp cachaca, dark rum, brandy or cognac
  • Scant 1/2 cup long grain white or arborio rice
  • Scant cup water
  • dash of salt
  • 1 13.5 oz can coconut milk (full fat and preferably organic)
  • 2 Tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, scraped
  • 1 egg, beaten well

Method:

In a small bowl, soak raisins in alcohol and allow to sit while you prepare the pudding.

In a medium saucepan over low heat, toast rice until it becomes fragrant, about 4 minutes.

Add water and salt, bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer until absorbed, about 12 minutes.

Add 3/4 can of coconut milk, maple syrup and scraped vanilla bean and cook until almost fully absorbed, about 15 minutes.

Beat remaining coconut milk with the egg.  Pour over pudding.  Stir in raisins and alcohol.

Spoon into four glasses.  Serve warm, bring to room temperature or chill completely.

Blackcurrant Cream Cheese Frosting (vegan)

Vegan Blackcurrant "Cream Cheese" Frosting

I love this frosting.  I want to roll around in it.  I want to put it on steak, eggs, green vegetables and toast.  I want to give it a national holiday.

OK, those are all going way to far.  But it’s good.  It’s really good.

Smooth, creamy, pungent with currant, it’s my new favorite thing.

It’s not fluffy and not pipeable.  It makes a mess.  But I love it so much I don’t care.

Slather it on all things sweet, especially if they contain chocolate or heavy spice.

Maybe don’t put it on steak, eggs, green vegetables or toast.  Other than that, go batty.

Ingredients:

  • 1 8oz container Tofutti “cream cheese”
  • 1 stick (8 Tbsp) butter flavored Earth Balance
  • 2 Tbsp Toffuti “sour cream”
  • 3 cups powdered sugar, sifted, plus more to taste
  • 3 Tbsp blackcurrant jam

Directions:

  • Beat “cream cheese” and Earth Balance until blended.
  • Add “sour cream” and beat until smooth and creamy, about 3 minutes.
  • Add powdered sugar and beat until creamy and slightly fluffy, about 5 minutes.
  • Add jam and continue to beat to desired consistency.

Variations:

  • Use strawberry or raspberry jam instead of currant.
  • If you don’t need to go vegan, use regular cream cheese and butter just colder than room temperature.
  • Instead of the sour cream, use milk (soy, almond or cow), or omit completely, depending on the consistency you desire.

Savory Stuffed Acorn Squash with Lamb and Cranberries

Acorn Squash Stuffed with Lamb and Vegetables

For those of you who don’t know me very well, my food lifestyle and this blog started because of a lifetime of dealing with Lyme Disease and her related minions.  Since I was twelve I’ve had three serious flares of Lyme, which have resulted in severe joint and bone pain, muscle spasms, neurological waves of yuckiness (medical term) and scores of issues with food.

But I am very fortunate.  I have an incredible medical team, a supportive family, and health insurance through my family business (it’s practically impossible to get insurance outside of a business if you have a pre-existing condition).  And the intimate experiences I’ve had with my body have shaped my lifestyle and approach to wellness and food.  

This week I could feel the weather changing in my bones.  From a springy, energetic summer demeanor I’ve felt my body shifting into the Hunchback of Washington Heights.  Today, for the first time in a while, I had to medicate, and know the coming cold will make this a more regular occurrence.

But overall I still feel so far from where I’ve been before.  And that is a result of listening to my body, seeking out excellent medical advice and constantly nourishing my body with the goodness of positive things around me.

Enter this recipe.  I’d noticed I’ve been craving meat lately, suggesting that I may be slipping back into anemia.  The abundance of root vegetables and hearty leafy greens of the season is timed perfectly.  As is the new batch of Indonesian cinnamon I just picked up.  Along with the calming, inspiring affect I feel when working with food, a recipe like this provides so many nutrients to fortify us against the coming cold.

And it’s just plain tasty.  And not hard to make.

Many newer cooks can be intimidated by lamb – I know I once was.  But it’s one of my favorite meats to cook, and so deliciously versatile.  I find it takes the combo of sweet and savory that I so love better than pork or beef.  And it’s packed with iron.

Acorn squash is another of my favorite fall foods: along with simply roasting it, it’s the perfect nest for meaty and vegetarian dishes alike.  A favorite filling is tempeh stir-fried with quinoa, carrots and dried fruit.  Heck, even a Thanksgiving bread stuffing would taste divine.

But this one combines lamb, onions, carrots, cranberries, Brussels sprouts and sunflower seeds for warm, filling and dynamic results.

The recipe is endlessly adaptable.  Grab what you have leftover in the fridge or pantry, and have a blast.

Happy Autumn everyone!

Lamb, Carrots and Brussels Sprouts Inside Sweet Acorn Squash

Ingredients:

  • 2 acorn squash, halved and seeded
  • 2 Tbsp blackstrap molasses, regular molasses or pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup rocking awesome olive oil
  • 1/2 large onion, chopped
  • 5 large cloves of garlic, smashed
  • 1 lb lamb, cut into small cubes
  • 2 Tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 4 carrots, scrubbed and chopped into small pieces
  • 6-8 Brussels sprouts, shredded
  • 1/2 cup fresh cranberries
  • 1 2-inch ginger root
  • 1 tsp sharp cinnamon
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • sunflower seeds or other chopped nuts to taste

Method:

  • Heat oven to 350°.
  • Place squash in a deep baking pan skin down.  Brush with molasses / maple syrup.
  • Place in heated oven and bake for 30 minutes while prepping lamb.
  • In a large skillet or cast iron pot, heat oil on low.
  • Add onions and garlic and cook on low until golden and soft.
  • Season lamb with salt and pepper and add to skillet, browning on all sides.
  • Add rosemary and toss to coat.
  • Remove lamb to plate.
  • Into the hot skillet drop cranberries and cook for 1 minute.
  • Add carrots, Brussels sprouts and cinnamon.  Grate ginger over the mixture and stir to combine.  Cook for about 8 minutes until the vegetables soften.
  • Add vinegar and toss to coat.
  • Turn off heat, return lamb to skillet and mix thoroughly to combine.
  • Remove squash from oven, fill evenly with lamb mixture.  Cover with tin foil.
  • Return to oven and cook an additional 30 minutes or until lamb just starts to brown on top.

Serve sprinkled with nuts and a drizzle of molasses and vinegar, if desired.

Makes four hearty servings.  Great as a main course with a salad or wilted greens on the side.

Beautiful to present at a special dinner, too!

Delectable Trail Mix Cookies for Breast Cancer (gluten-free!)

That gorgeous lady on the left is Barbara Jo Kirshbaum.

I met Barbara Jo years ago while walking one of my Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cures, 60 mile walks that take place around the country raising money and awareness for the battle against breast cancer.

Barbara Jo is a marvel.  She started walking in 1998, and since then has raised OVER A MILLION DOLLARS For the Avon and Komen organizations.  As Team California, Barbara Jo and her late husband, Dr. Bob, could be seen at several events yearly.  Their bright pink signs toting slogans such as “You’re Beautiful” and “Just Keep Walking” dotted the miles.  Dr. Bob would be standing on street corners next to their rented car throughout the entire weekend, smiling, clapping and giving hugs as needed.  Barbara Jo would be walking away, a cape of ribbons imprinted with the names of those she was walking for on her back. I’ve seen her over the years in many walks, and she’s been such an inspiration and source of support as I’ve dealt with my on and off health and my changing ability to complete my goal of walking every city the Komen organization organizes.

Here are her stats by the end of her 2010 walking season:

  • Raised $126,247 for 2010
  • Total since 1998:  $1,259,017
  • Completed 119 long distance walks in the fight against breast cancer
  • Completed 5869 official miles
  • Walked 11,738,000 steps
  • Walked a total of 300 days (about 3000 hours)

On my Twin Cities walk this year, I found out that Dr. Bob passed away last year.  My heart broke a little bit when I heard the news, as I’d been walking for miles in excitement to see him and Barbara Jo, their coming foretold by those Team California signs.  The Komen and Avon walkers lost a foot soldier in our fight to make sure that breast cancer is no longer a life threatening illness, and I thank Dr. Bob and Barbara Jo with all my heart for their work over the years, and for Barbara Jo continuing to walk after Bob’s passing.  I did a little tribute to Bob in my Frosting for the Cause post, and was grateful for a way to mark his passing in words and by making something sweet for others.

I ate too many of these today...

This weekend the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer comes to NYC, as does Barbara Jo, now with her son-in-law Chris putting up those bright pink signs.  I’m excited to be out there first thing tomorrow morning, about 40 blocks from my apartment, cheering along the walkers on the first few miles of their journey.  Later in the day my sister and I will join them with more cheering and homemade trail mix cookies – part of my promise in making a cookie for every $10 donated to my own walk this year (this will bring my total to about 140 out of 400… still a long way to go!).

So these cookies are what I made for the walkers: a not-too-sweet trail mix cookie that’s gluten and dairy free, and packed with extra fiber and protein.  Such cookies are endlessly versatile – alter the amount of chocolate, nuts and fruit as you see fit, or the kind of additions you want to begin with.  The base cookie is soft and sweet, undetectably gluten-free, and ready for a bit of dusty fun.

Thank you so much to all the women and men walking, crewing and staffing the Avon walk this weekend.  These events are incredibly eye-opening for those who see thousands walking in pink, exhausting themselves and committing to raise a large amount of money for a necessary cause.

Can’t wait to get out there and tell you how truly amazing you are.

Gluten and dairy free Trail Mix cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/2 cup tapioca starch
  • 1/4 cup millet flour
  • 1/4 almond meal / flour
  • 2 Tbsp ground flaxseeds meal
  • 1 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • pinch of kosher salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup butter flavored Earth Balance
  • 1 cup beet sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups gluten-free rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup vegan dark chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup raisins
  • 3/4 cup slivered almonds, optional

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Line 4 baking sheets with parchment paper or Silpats (totally worth the $).
  • In a medium bowl, whisk all dry ingredients.
  • In the bowl of a standing mixer (or in a large bowl) beat Earth Balance on high heat until fluffy.
  • Add beet sugar and cream until the mixture lifts and gets pale.
  • Add eggs and beat until fluffy, about 2 minutes (beating the eggs gives a little lift and body to the coming flours).
  • Add vanilla and mix in.
  • Add all the flour, turn speed down to low, and mix until just combined.
  • Fold in the chocolate chips, raisins and nuts.
  • Fold in the oats a cup at a time until distributed evenly.
  • Drop in rounded tablespoons onto mats.
  • Put in upper and lower third of oven and bake for 9 minutes.
  • Rotate the trays (switch upper and lower) to ensure even baking and bake for 9-11 more minutes, or until lightly browned at edges.
  • Cool a few minutes on trays before removing to cooling rack.

Chardonnay Blackcurrant Frosting (Vegan)

Vegan Chardonnay Blackcurrant Frosting

I’m not a fan of frosting in general.  Well, the kind you find on basic bakery cakes and cupcakes.  Sorry.  Most of the time I feel like I might as well just be eating a bowl of powdered sugar, and while I have an incorrigible sweet tooth I prefer my sweets dark and somewhat savory.  Like I like my… nevermind.

So when trying to figure out what would best compliment the perfectly airy gluten-free sponge cake I’d made, I should have gone with a traditional creme or lemon curd.  But then the whole dairy-free thing makes it a bit time-consuming and complicated.  I’d been baking a lot the day I made this cake.  And I had a full Sunday NY Times waiting for me.  And my roommate kept urging me into the living room to see what the Giants were up to (they lost, sniff. As did the Bengals, double sniff).  I needed something fast and fluffy.

Enter this frosting.  It’s an incredibly versatile vegan frosting that would be stellar on cupcakes and pipes easily for pretty little decorations.  And it’s incredibly easy, as frosting should be.

I added the Chardonnay and blackcurrant to give some dimension and extra bubbly lift to the frosting, bringing it out of the blase buttercream family.  While they’re each only tiny additions, you can really taste both the Chardonnay and the blackcurrant – each accentuates the other.  And on such a light cake, the fluffy consistency of the frosting was a nice compliment.

This frosting would probably be stellar on something chocolate.  Ooh, or a spice cake!  You can omit the wine and go full currant, or use milk and vanilla instead for a traditional buttercream.

No matter which combination, just make sure to beat for a looooong time to get enough air in.  Whatever you frost can sit comfortably at room temperature, but if it’s a hot summer day be careful of meltage and fridge for a bit before serving.

Oh, and shortly after I took a bazillion pictures of the many things I had made that day, I accidentally erased ALL THE PICTURES ON MY HARD DRIVE! Hence why one of the few surviving ones is the sole representation here.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup pure vegetable shortening
  • 1/2 cup butter flavored Earth Balance
  • 3 cups powdered sugar, sifted, or more or less to taste
  • 3 Tbsp Ribena blackcurrant concentrate
  • 2 Tbsp cold Chardonnay Wine

Directions:

  • Beat shortening and Earth Balance on hide speed until smooth and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  • Add powdered sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes.
  • With mixer still on high, add blackcurrant a tablespoon at a time until incorporated.
  • Add Chardonnay a tablespoon at a time until incorporated.
  • Beat for 7-10 minutes until airy and light, adding more powdered sugar to your desired taste and consistency.

Millet Coconut Breakfast Pudding

Millet Pudding

Mmm, sweet things for breakfast.  Definitely not the norm in my little kitchen: I’m usually a coddled eggs over avocado and greens kinda breakfast girl.  When I’m visiting my family I’ll whip up some gluten-free waffles (I have a thing for waffle makers – thanks Rae!).  With guests in town weekend brunch means French omelets, really good bacon and some sort of roasted veggies, maybe with a side of GF blueberry cornbread.

But when I got this month’s recipe from All-Day Singin’ and Dinner on the Ground for the Burwell General Store Recipe Swap, my mind immediately went to breakfast for some reason.  And from savory to sweet.

From All-Day Singin' and Dinner on the Ground

Not that I don’t love a good slaw.  In fact, it’s one of my favorite restaurant sides as (a) it contains in its original recipe nothing that I’m allergic to, (b) I love cabbage and (c) I’m usually missing something that comes with the main dish it’s paired with, so slaw makes my meal feel more authentic.

But I honestly just don’t have room for a big thing of coleslaw in my fridge and no one to eat it with this week.  It’s a busy one in Dusty Bakerland (which is a little northwest of Candyland and because you don’t get a sugar crash you never slide down, only climb up).

So, what to swap?  I’ve been cooking for friends and baking like crazy lately, and didn’t want to go back to the grocer’s for a fifth time this week for something new.  A little pantry combing and… millet.

I’m a big fan of this little grain.  It’s gluten-free, easy to digest and contains high levels of magnesium (amongst other things), so it’s good for people who suffer from asthma or anxiety or are watching their tickers.  It has a little more bite than quinoa if you toast it first and then cook it to an al dente sort of doneness, but will also mash well and make a smooth porridge if you’re nursing someone back to health.

I figured by making a millet breakfast pudding – similar to the coconut milk rice pudding recipe I love and haven’t posted yet – I could try out the quick stovetop custard technique in this recipe (I’d usually do it a bit differently).

Because I wanted to make this an only slightly sweet breakfast recipe, I stirred in only a tiny bit of maple syrup and threw in some cracked tricolored pepper and grains of paradise – I’m actually a huge fan of pepper in sweet dishes.  And once again it brought me closer to the swapped recipe.

And for some protein – stirred in some crushed walnuts.

Result?

This is the perfect breakfast pudding and an incredible alternative to oatmeal (in general I find millet easier to digest than oats).  You can easily vary sweetness to suit your taste and throw in whatever you have lying around – protein powder, some chopped dates or prunes, raisins, almond butter… your pantry’s the limit.

If you make it sweeter and stick it in the fridge, you’ve got a delish alternative to dairy-free rice pudding.

But right now I’m gonna grab this glass and go eat my breakfast in bed.

Please check out Burwell General Store for info on the swap and see what other awesome bloggers have created at their links below.

Happy Sunday.

Recipe.  Swapped.

Sweet, creamy, filling, warm... breakfast.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp unsalted butter or oil
  • 1 cup millet
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups coconut milk
  • 2 eggs, beaten slightly
  • 2 Tbsp maple syrup (honey works too)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp rockin awesome cinnamon (I should do a post about my cinnamon obsession soon)
  • 1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg (grab a microplane and jar of nutmegs, you won’t be disappointed)
  • 4 grinds of a pepper grinder
  • 8 grinds of a grains of paradise grinder (about 1/8 tsp)
  • Nuts and dried fruits to taste
  • Salt to taste

Directions:

  • In a large heavy pot, melt butter or bring oil up to heat.
  • Add millet and stir to combine.  Cook until toasty and just starting to brown.
  • Meanwhile, in a small pot with a tight lid bring 2 cups of water up to boil.
  • When toasty, transfer millet to boiling water, cover, and simmer for about 20 minutes until done – this should be about 5 minutes after you no longer see any water bubbling.
  • Meanwhile, put coconut milk, beaten eggs, maple syrup, vanilla and spices into the now empty pot and set it over low heat.
  • Whisk all ingredients together fully.
  • As the mixture heats, whisk constantly until it forms a light custard.  Once the millet is done cooking you can bring the heat up on the milk mixture a bit – just make sure to whisk constantly so that the egg doesn’t curdle as it cooks.
  • Add cooked millet to coconut custard mixture and mix to combine.
  • Toss in any added extras, jump into bed with a good book and maybe hum a song or two.

Please click on this cute little blue frog to see what the other swappers have created and get their recipes!

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