Tag Archives: chocolate

The Very Best {gluten-free} Spicy Chocolate Chipotle Brownies

 

These are the best fu*king brownies I’ve ever made.

No joke, no lies. They’re definitely not the easiest brownies in my arsenal: definitely not as easy as the Divine Cocoa Brownies that are literally dubbed “the easiest brownies you will ever make”, nor as easy as using the Kitch+Table mix I adore, nor as easy as the booze-bursting Boyfriend Breakup Beer Brownies. They’re definitely easier than the Peppermint Patty Brownie Bars, though, but those are all Christmasy.  And, while all of those brownie recipes (and I obviously adore brownies) are awesome; while they definitely fix a sweet tooth and are ready while the “I can’t believe he just broke up with me” snot is still running down your sister’s face; they’re not these brownies.

These brownies are the best. They come from Chef Johnny Iuzzini’s new book, Sugar Rush, on stands and digital clouds everywhere. And they’re my new favorites for when I have serious brownie people to impress.

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Chocolate Mallow Layer Cake – Gluten-Free for Milk Bar Mondays!

Chocolate Mallow Layer Cake

Chocolate Mallow Layer Cake

I interview chefs weekly for Serious Eats, a national website that covers restaurants, bars, recipes and events. Lately the subject of diminishing pastry chefs and departments has come up a bit, most prominently with Lauren Resler, a pastry chef I adore who turns out layered, whimsical desserts for her restaurants, Empellon Taqueria and Empellon Cocina here in NYC (if you haven’t been – go!).

I’ve questioned many a pastry chef as to who they think the next “it” chef of their generation would be; a Michael Laiskonis, Johnny Iuzzini or Alex Stupak on the rise. Many of the chefs I’ve asked say something simple needs to be done: someone needs to focus on reinventing classics with a deeply personal twist, something old but incredibly new as well.

As I adapted Christina Tosi’s Chocolate Malt Layer Cake into a version us gluten-free eaters can enjoy, I realized that Tosi may just be that chef. Granted I’ve never eaten one of her desserts, as they’re all loaded with gluten and dairy. But as the Milk Bar Mondays ladies and I have baked our way through her cookbook, I see that she’s doing exactly what we want someone to be doing: elevating classics into something so over the top that, like pastry chef Stephen Collucci said when trying her Cereal Milk Ice Cream, “it’s so good it’s stupid”.

This cake is so good it’s stupid.

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Chocolate BlogHop! Chocolate Ginger Puer Tea Bread (gluten and dairy free)

Dark Chocolate Tea Bread

“I’m in love, I’m in love and I don’t care who knows it!”

(five points if you can guess the movie)

Hello bloggereaders!

It’s February, and soon NYC will be painted pink and red and boxes of chocolate and racy lingerie will be put to good use in the throws of holiday romance.  Where will yours truly be this year?  Jury’s still out.  I actually dated a man for about 8+ years and I think we celebrated Valentines Day maybe twice?  I have a thing with forced romance or commercially-fueled celebrations.  All I know is the bottle of champagne I have still from one of the wineries on the South Fork will probably make an appearance.

But, heck, baking is what I do and celebrating with food is what I love, so it’s fitting that this month’s BlogHop theme, of which I’m excited to be one of the cohosts for the first time, is Chocolate!

I use chocolate (and carob) all the time: fair-trade, organic and usually vegan as I can then be assured of the dairy-free aspect.  I’m a big fan of extremely dark varietals, decked with spices or infused with flowers.  I ate my fill at the NY Chocolate Fest a few months ago, where I grabbed Paul A. Young’s Adventures in Chocolate, which I have been pouring over with hungry eyes (check out my Spicy Mexican Mulled Wine Cocoa play on one of his recipes).

I don’t think chocolate has to always be the center of the sweet, though, so when stretching my cranium for my bloghop contribution, I wanted a rich, spicy and subtle alternative to the abundance of chocolate this time of year.  Luckily, Young is a master at making a variety of complex, versatile chocolate desserts – I highly recommend his book as a present for the Valentine in your life.

The result?  This tea bread is of my new favorite recipes, and one that will be a staple in my hosting repertoire.  I bake delicious things all the time, but this I will serve with particular love.  Laden with fruit captured perfectly in a dense, spicy cake, the chocolate compliments the other flavors and the tongue finds it in just the right moments.  It’s solid without being heavy.  Exactly what you want in a fun take on a traditional British tea bread.  I’ve adapted it to be gluten free and, if you use dark chocolate, it’s naturally dairy free in Young’s original recipe.  I adjusted here and there for what I had in my pantry and to make sure the gluten-free flours could hold up.  I used puer tea as a nod to my friend Louis, who’s visiting from out of town and with whom I first drank puer years ago in San Francisco.  I’ve given slices of it out wrapped in parchment like little gifts from a Dickens novel.

Sh*t, I’m getting all romantic.  Here’s the blasted recipe.

Chocolate Ginger Puer Tea Bread

Chocolate Ginger Puer Tea Bread

based on Chocolate Ginger and Cardamom Tea Bread from Paul A. Young’s Adventures in Chocolate

Note: you need to soak the fruits overnight!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup / 5.5 oz crystallized ginger, chopped
  • 2/3 cup organic seedless red raisins
  • 1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • zest of one large orange
  • 6 Tbsp organic light brown sugar – Young suggests muscovado, which is divine but more expensive.  Take your brown sugar a step up and buy organic and it will have a flavor and texture more on par with muscovado)
  • 2/3 cup plus 1 Tbsp strong tea – I used puer, which is a very dark, earthy tea.  Have fun with any spicy, strong black tea you like
  • 1 large organic egg + 1 egg yolk, at room temperature and beaten extremely well
  • 2/3 cup brown rice flour
  • 2/3 cup tapioca starch
  • 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 3.5oz bar 70% dark chocolate, coarsely chopped – I used Divinebecause it’s fair-trade, 1 bar is exactly 3.5 oz, it’s not overly expensive and I hadn’t tried it before.

Directions:

  • In a medium bowl, combine ginger, raisins, nutmeg, orange zest, brown sugar and tea.  Mix to combine, cover and let sit 8 hours or overnight.
  • When ready to bake, preheat oven to 325° and line a 8×4 inch loaf pan with parchment.
  • Add beaten eggs to fruit and mix thoroughly.  Add flour and incorporate completely.  Stir in dark chocolate.
  • Pour into loaf pan and smooth out the top.
  • Bake for 80-90 minutes, cool for 30 minutes before carefully removing from pan.

Young suggests wrapping the cooled cake in clean parchment and a kitchen towel and letting it sit for 24 hours.  He overestimates the layman’s patience, I believe.  I cut into this baby 1 hour after it was done baking and it was divine, but the wrapped pieces did taste even richer then next day.

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February is #chocolatelove month!
Please check out the recipes from the other co-hosts and peruse links below!

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Please join in on the #chocolatelove fun by linking up any chocolate recipe from the month of February 2012. Please link back to this post, so that your readers know to come stop by! The twitter hashtag is #chocolatelove.

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.

How To Make Just 6 Chocolate Chip Cookies (gluten-free)

6 Chocolate Chip Cookies... the whole batch.

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…

Ingredients:

  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter, soft
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 Tbsp dark or blackstrap molasses
  • 1/4 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/4 cup arrowroot or tapioca starch
  • 1 Tbsp flax meal
  • 1/4 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 Tbsp chocolate chips
  • 3 Tbsp slivered almonds, pecans, walnuts, oatmeal etc.

Method:

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.

NY Chocolate Show 2011: These Are a Few of My Favorite Things

If you’ve never been to a food show or festival in NYC, they can be quite a spectacle.  They’re usually a bit oversold, and ticket-holders scarf down samples with relatively little thought and stand in long lines for freebies, even if they’re not sure what it is they’d be getting for free.  They “flit”, as I like to say.

I’ve been accused of taking these events a bit too seriously, and I totally admit my part in this, but it’s because I take the joy of food seriously.  Yes, I get that some people just wanna eat a huge variety of tacos or bacon or frozen yogurt on their Saturday afternoon.  But me,  I want to talk about the ingredients in the taco, the source of the bacon or, in this case, the dozens upon dozens of facets that make chocolate so indulgent, sensual, fulfilling and just plain fun.  I want to stroll, not flit.

I have a feeling a few of you out there might feel me on this.

I attended the New York Chocolate Show with a chef friend not allergic to dairy so we could sample and chat and chew to our hearts’ content.  Here are a few of our favorite things:

Håkan Mårtensson of Fika NYC

Okay, seeing someone sculpting chocolate just makes me happy, especially when it’s Håkan Mårtensson of Fika Espresso Bar.  Håkan finds a lot of inspiration in fairy-tales and folk lore, apparent both in his sculptures and in the playful nature of the  luxurious chocolates he’s created for Fika.  Amongst the teeming amounts of truffles and hands grabbing for whatever they could get, it was a glorious moment to just watch his hands moving, unraveling a bit of imagination and observe others who stopped for a few minutes, mouths empty, to just take it in.

Fika also makes an incredible whiskey and citrus jam that knocked my socks off.

Gnosis Chocolate

This was my hippie-heart’s favorite find of the festival: raw chocolates that are free of sugar, dairy, gluten and soy, packed with nutrient-dense superfoods and sourced from fair-trade purveyors from all the places you want your chocolate to come from.  And, oh, right, they’re DELICIOUS!  Some of my favorite were the Fleur de Sel, Peppermint, Almond Fig Spice and Mayan Heat.  Options wildly off the cuff: Powerchock (“with superfoods for maximum protein assimilation and physical prowess!”), Sacred Feminine (“Let the herbs in this bar support every stage of a woman’s cycle”) and EnWhitenment (“White Chocolate w/o dairy, soy, or refined sugar. Become EnWhitened!”).

They were so yummy I bought a bunch of bars for stocking-stuffers (crossing my fingers that my family only skims these posts now and then).

Check them out: their brand, vision and contribution to health through deliciously sweet chocolate has my humble little thanks and stamp of dusty approval.

This

I think it was at Jacques Torres.  I’m not quite sure, I’m horrible at taking notes.  And this little gem of a sculpture wasn’t getting as much attention as I felt it deserved, it being somewhat high for people to see and the samplings below taking focus. But it made me happy.  This photo will most likely be the screensaver of something or another in my office soon.

No Chewing Allowed

I couldn’t sample this, but my show-mate did note this as one of her favorites, one of the few she remarked upon later as being stellar in simplicity and taste.

Demo by Paul A. Young

Call me a dork, but the whole reason I go to shows / events is to learn things about food.  I chat up artisans and whomever about why their product makes their tale wag: why are you passionate about what you’re making?  Because if you’re not passionate about it, I just can’t relate (unless it’s Halal after a night of drinking or something, of course.  Food isn’t always art, sometimes it’s just damned good food.  Or sustenance.  You know where I’m going with that, right?).

 So my favorite time spent at festivals is often in watching the demos.  I had not heard of Paul A. Young Chocolates or his book, Adventures in Chocolate, before.  But Young sold me easily because (a) his presentation had the ease of someone who knew their trade extremely well and didn’t have to put on airs to impress anyone (b) his creativity in flavors was exciting and (c) the mulled-wine hot chocolate I sampled after was like everything good about winter and the holidays in a tiny cup, and I’m an even bigger nerd for the holidays than I am for cooking demos at food festivals.

I couldn’t sample any of Young’s truffles (a pumpkin, one with port and Stilton cheese, and I forget the 3rd) but my show-buddy was delighted by them.  And I was so curious as to what I could eat of his recipes that I bought the book, and am psyched to really begin my study of chocolate.  As a dairy-freer, it’s something I’ve stayed on the sidelines of before: how can you make a ganache without cream?! I’m ready to find out.

I was so intrigued that I made a camp-fire version of the mulled wine hot chocolate while in Vermont last weekend, literally on an outdoor grill.  I used some leftover Mexican chocolate I had ground with cayenne, cinnamon and nutmeg, some leftover dark Ghirardelli chocolate from S’Moresing, and a bottle of Malbec.  Not exactly the posh British original, but it was damned warming and satisfying around a campfire in 30 degree weather after a long drive and racing ATV’s through the chilly forest (recipes from that trip coming).

Oh, the Mulled-wine Hot Chocolate is on page 116 of Adventures in Chocolate.  I suggest grabbing it.  Would make a great Christmas gift too.

And just some pretty things:

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Gluten-free Chocolate Mint Beef Empanadas

Beef Empanadas with Chocolate Mint

My favorite NYC restaurant makes empanadas to die for – filled with beef, raisins and olives and encased with a flaky, crumbly crust.  Now and then I indulge, even though they’re packed with gluten, because they’re just so damned good!

So when putting together my menu for FoodBuzz’s 24×24 dinner party, I decided it was time to make these puppies gluten-free.

My proposal was a “Scarborough Fair Summer Supper Party”, where each dish would be created around an herb or bunch of herbs.  For the empanadas, chocolate mint was to be the herb.  Yes, this is an herb that I have growing in my window box that tastes both like chocolate and spearmint.  It’s divine in so many ways.  So I decided to go with a classic filling of beef, onions, garlic, raisins and olives but, to highlight the mint, also added cocoa, cinnamon and honey.

They had my guests drooling and my roommate so ready for more that after I post this I’m back into the kitchen to whip up another batch with the leftover meat.  The filling is both sweet and spicy, the crust flaky yet solid.

They’re completely gluten and dairy free, and full of flavor.

Ingredients: filling

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup diced white onion
  • 3 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1 – 1 1/4 lb ground beef – the higher quality the better, obviously!
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 Tbsp cocoa powder
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • 1/2 cup chopped green olives
  • 1/2 cup white raisins, soaked in warm water and drained
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 Tbsp chocolate mint

Directions: filling

  • Heat the oil on low in a heavy saute pan or stockpot.
  • Add the onions and garlic and cook on low until soft.
  • Add the red pepper, paprika, salt and cocoa and cook until incorporated.
  • Add beef and saute for about five minutes until just brown.
  • Add the water and cook until it boils down and the mixture is soft but not watery.
  • Add the olives, raisins and chocolate mint and stir to incorporate.
  • Remove to fridge and chill for up to 24 hours to let the flavors meld.

Ingredients: Dough

  • 2 cup brown rice flour
  • 1 cup quinoa flour
  • 1 cup tapioca starch or arrowroot
  • 2 tsp xanthan gum
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 20 Tbsp Earth Balance Butter or unsalted butter, cubed
  • Up to one cup ice cold water

Directions: Dough

  • In a food processor, whip all flours, xanthan gum and salt together to combine.
  • Add the cubed Earth Balance and pulse to combine until the butter is wrapped in flour in little pea-sized clumps.
  • Slowly add the water, bit by bit, until the dough comes together into a ball but is not wet.

Assemblage:

  • Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
  • Line baking sheets with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray / wipe with oil.
  • Turn the dough out onto a floured board (I use rice flour when rolling pastry).  Work with one quarter of the dough at a time.  Roll to 1/8 inch thickness, constantly turning, flipping and re-flouring the board as necessary.  Cut into 4″ rounds.
  • Place dough on sheets and put about a tablespoon of filling in the center of each.  Wet the edges of dough and fold over and press to seal.  Crimp edges with a fork.  Repeat until you have about 30 beautiful little empanadas.
  • If desired, wash the top of the empanadas with an egg beaten with a little water to make them glossy and bright.
  • Bake for about 8 minutes, turning the sheets halfway through.
  • Cool slightly before serving.
  • Prepare to be wowed.

 

Dairy-free Molasses Cookie Coffee Ice Cream Pie! A Recipe Swap!

Coconut Milk Coffee Ice Cream in a Molasses Cookie Crust

Did I stay in nights this weekend to make cookies and coffee ice cream?  Yes, yes I did, and I’m not ashamed to admit it.  Nor am I ashamed to admit that I ate the piece of ice cream pie in the photo above as I started typing this entry – at 11am on a Sunday morning.  And another one later at night while watching True Blood.

I have no shame because this dessert – coconut milk coffee ice cream in a molasses cookie crust – is one of the most insanely delicious things I’ve ever made.  And it happens to be gluten-free, dairy-free  and sweetened only with date sugar, molasses, maple syrup and honey.

Other than watching movies and walking miles on end, this weekend was devoted to a BURWELL GENERAL STORE VINTAGE RECIPE SWAP!  Yep, it’s that time again, when a group of twenty or so bloggers get sent an old recipe that we each have to adapt, changing at least 3 things about the ingredients or process.  This month is an already gluten-free molasses cookie!

Please check out the other swappers!!  It’s always incredible to see how a talented group of inspiring chefs take one idea and run with it.  Details and links are below the recipe.

So, I actually didn’t really want to alter much of the recipe, as it looked simple and delicious.  I just changed the combination of flour and used date sugar instead of white sugar and a little maple syrup, bourbon vanilla and cocoa powder to add even more depth. 

The result?  These cookies taste incredible!  Soft, almost cake-like, and you can taste everything in them: the molasses, cocoa, vanilla, maple syrup and coffee.

But my version looked horrible.  Puffy, no spreading, rough.  I told my roommate they too closely resembled deer turds.  So I needed to take them a step further.  What to do with delicious but ugly cookies?

PIE CRUST!! And what better to put into the pie crust than coffee ice cream?!?!

So I followed the recipe in Simply Gluten and Sugar Free, using honey as a sweetener and maple syrup instead of Stevia.  An overnight chill and 20 minutes in my ice cream maker, and voila! One of the best desserts I’ve ever made and a new favorite.

I’ve been chomping down too many of these cookies this weekend.  And ate that pie with a huge pot of tea made with leaves my friend Jonathan gave to me from a monastery in China.  It think it’s time to get my Physique 57 on and then walk the 8 miles to my yoga studio.  So while I go do that, I leave you…

Coconut Milk Coffee Ice Cream Pie!

Coconut Milk Coffee Ice Cream Pie

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup coconut flour
  • 1 1/2 cup brown rice flour
  • 1 cup sticky / sweet rice flour
  • 1/2 cup arrowroot starch
  • 2 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup shortening
  • 3/4 cup palm or date sugar
  • 2 eggs, thoroughly beaten
  • 1 cup dark molasses
  • 3/4 cup coffee, cold
  • 1 tsp bourbon vanilla extract

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350°.  Butter or grease thick baking sheets.
  • Sift together all dry ingredients in medium bowl.
  • In the bowl of a standing mixer with the whisk attachment or with a hand mixer, cream the shortening and sugar until smooth and fluffy.
  • Add the eggs and molasses and beat to combine.
  • Add the vanilla to the coffee, then add dry ingredients alternatively with the coffee, starting and ending with dry.
  • Drop in tablespoons onto sheets, flatten, and bake for about 15 minutes or until slightly soft.

To make into an ice-cream pie, simply crush about 16 of the cookies in a food processor and press into a shallow pie plate.  Place in the freezer to harden while you either process your ice cream or melt some store-bought ice cream to pour in.  I made and LOVED the recipe posted on Simply Gluten and Sugar Free.

Recipe Swappers
Lindsay is a gem with honesty and simplicity written into her recipes. She loves Oregon, its ingredients and Portland’s lifestyle, and it shows.
Chef Dennis. A veteran chef in his own right, we are lucky to have his Italian Lemon Pear Cae contribution to the swap.  The rest of his fantastic food blog can be seen at morethanamountfull.
Mari lives in Oregon wine country and is a budding wine connoisseur.  I fell in love with her use of Pinot Gris in the glaze for her (gluten-free!) Lemon Cake swap, which was her inaugural recipe with us. Visit her at The Unexpected Harvest.
Boulder Locavore’s  starting point for the recipe swap is always a local-seasonal-organic combination, though her love of international cuisine and cocktails often work their way into the mix!
Joy, holding down a dairy-intolerant household, doesn’t let that restrict her love of flavors and food, in fact, I think it inspires her to do what she does. When you visit her blog, be sure to check out her “ubiquitous about page” and the balcony gardening category.
Monique has been food blogging since 2007, her Fat and Happy blog is about food, recipes, cooking, baking, drinking, eating and friends! As the former owner of the Monkey Bean Cafe and Bistro, she still loves to create recipes from scratch. If you send her an unusual ingredient, she’ll create a recipe for you!
Shari Good Food Week is almost like my diary as I search for a house, plan the perfect veggie patch, stumble through farmer’s markets with my eye half open (because you need to be there at 6am to get the fresh eggs), gather family and friends around a shared table, laugh out loud and enjoy life to the fullest! Blogging from Canberra, Australia, I hope to bring a different perspective to the Recipe Swap.
Priya is also joining us from Australia. She’s a vegan who loves baking, cooking and eating, having chosen the lifestyle after being a vegetarian most of her life. She caters hand-crafted vegan and vegetarian food, and also delivers hand-crafted  vegan and vegetarian cookies and cupcakes.
Jennifer‘s tag line says it all: Life is too short to eat bad food.  At her blog, Adventuresome Kitchen, you will find a passionate food-type, feeding her family amazing meals and living to blog about it. Jennifer joined in at Grandma’s Chicken Pie and Drop Biscuits.
The Cake Duchess.  The name says it all, and Lora’s recipes are rock solid, creative, decadent, inspiring. What other adjectives can I throw at her?  Her innaugural recipe was Grandma’s Chicken Pie and Drop Biscuits, a rare savory recipe for her to develop.
Pola is a new blogger from Italy, transplanted to the cold Midwestern plains. After years of calling mom to check on cooking times and temperatures of family Italian recipes, she started writing them down. In the process, she is hoping to help new friends discover how to cook simple and authentic Italian food.
Mary is a lifelong resident of the San Francisco Peninsula and was diagnosed with Celiac Disease in 2007. Her search for a gluten-free chocolate chip cookie that didn’t taste, look or feel gluten-free inspired her blog and she’s been happily baking ever since.
Jamie blogs at Random Acts of Food and has a love for food that only an Italian could! She enjoys cooking and baking in all cuisines for her family and friends.  Originally from Long Island, Jamie now resides in Boston with her amazing fiance.
Crissy and Lauren are two So Cal natives and recent college graduates who are embracing their passion for all things culinary in their Little Yellow Kitchen. They blog at From The Little Yellow Kitchen about maintaining a balanced diet of equal parts healthy, savory, and sweet.  From a zesty Chocolate Mojito Key Lime Pie to a nutritional Rosemary Parmesan Kale Chip snack, this kitchen has it all.
Claire blogs with Texas pride from Dallas. She loves chicken fingers, Law and Order SVU and is left handed. We are excited to have her!
Sabrina Modelle  is the girl behind The Tomato Tart, a blog about the unadulterated love of food and cooking. Farmers markets, ethnic groceries, high-end restaurants and tiny taquerias all provide inspiration for the Northern California native who was raised in a French family with food at the center of life. From rich chocolate cakes to vegan curries, the Tomato Tart is full of flavor both figuratively and literally and like food, best enjoyed with a nice glass of wine.
Nicolle writes the joyful Rhythm of the Seasons from Boulder, Colorado and is looking forward to offering more recipes and menus as the spring, summer and harvest seasons heat up.
Linda is an award-winning journalist, food writer and nutritionist and Founder/Editor/Publisher of EENews, for sustainable food and sustainable life. She has written 20 cookbooks that have garnered prizes including the James Beard for one she wrote with her daughter, Katherine West DeFoyd, entitled Entertaining 101, Doubleday. Their follow-up book, Stylish One Dish Dinners, Doubleday, was also nominated for a James Beard prize. Her ground-breaking book, Bread in Half The Time, Broadway Books, was named the Best Cookbook in America by the prestigious IACP, The Julia Child Award.

Jaclyn is a writer, baker, perpetual daydreamer and the author of the cooking and baking blog Food+Words. She has a degree in Creative Writing and is currently studying Baking and Pastry at Le Cordon Bleu. Jaclyn loves poring through old cookbooks she inherited from her grandmother and reinterpreting those recipes with modern, updated twists. Jaclyn has a panchant for baking, laughter, a nice glass of Riesling and anything lemony.
Alli is a research nutritionist by day, transforming into a creative cook by night. She lives in Seattle and scours through her piles of cookbooks, magazines and restaurant experiences for easy ways to transform recipes into healthy and flavorful dishes.
Rachel Saunders is the owner of Blue Chair Fruit and author of The Blue Chair Jam Cookbook. She produces all of her jams and teaches classes from her space in Oakland, California.
Lana is a native of Serbia, who has finally found her home in Southern California, after living for ten years in Michigan and ten years in Ohio. She is mother of three girls and wife to a token household male. her blog is a place where the love for words meets the love for food, a place where family and friends, old and new, gather around the virtual kitchen to reminisce, laugh and cry.
Emily thinks that no matter what it is, all foods taste better when made with love. From growing up in North Carolina with a Palestinian father with a passion for food and an American mother who really did not, to being the holiday sous chef to her real-chef brother, to moving to Brooklyn, the love of a good meal pumps through her veins. From her CSA to nostalgic junk food cravings, from the food truck to the fine dining scene, kitchen inspiration is around every corner.
Alex: I live in Seattle and while I have a typical desk job, my heart is in my home, baking, cooking and eating! I love reading about what other people are creating, so I decided to share my own creations. My blog is about food, but also things that I generally love in life. Since I love eating, I also have a huge love of fitness…so I can eat more!
Shumaila:  After I got married in March, 2010, and shifter to a town where take-aways and restaurants are next to none, I started cooking for the first time in my life. I have always loved baking, but cooking to me was completely new. I started experimenting with recipes for my husband and myself and found blogging the perfect way to keep track of things in the kitchen and also a way to document my first year of marriage. Being Indian, I also started a weekly blog posting “Garam Masala Tuesdays” to try, to the best of my knowledge, to explain the Indian recipes I try at home. I blog from Arizona, USA.

American Noir Cupcakes – A Tribute to Raymond Chandler’s “The Big Sleep”

THE BIG SLEEP Cupcakes - Dark chocolate, bourbon, smoky cherries and coffee. To die for.

 Agnes Lowzier: Is Harry there?
Philip Marlowe: Yeah, yeah, he’s here.
Agnes Lowzier: Put him on, will you?
Philip Marlowe: He can’t talk to you.
Agnes Lowzier: Why?
Philip Marlowe: Because he’s dead.

A few months ago two people who don’t know each other inspired me in their own ways to create this, the most dangerously delicious of cupcake recipes.

The first was a man I was dating who had a healthy obsession with American noir, both in film and novel form.  He had loaned me Raymond Chandler’s debut novel, The Big Sleep.  Our beloved protagonist, detective Philip Marlowe, drowns himself in whiskey, smokes cigarettes like a champion and downs coffee to keep it all clear.  Blood is shed and it’s Marlowe’s job to wade through the beauties of the underworld to find out where it all began.

Sounds like the makings of a very sultry dessert if you ask me…

…And a gluten-free one, of course.

The second vessel of inspiration was Kelly over at Ingested Read.  A bookworm and baker like yours truly, Kelly creates recipes inspired by whichever book she’s currently devouring.  I’d contributed Little Red Velvet Riding Hood Cupcakes, Hansel and Gretel Grown-Up Gingerbread and Curious George Banana Bread to her site(all gluten-free and delectable).

But it was time for something sexy.

So after a few months on my mind these cupcakes finally made it to the light.  Last week, in the dim glow of my steamy NYC kitchen, barefoot and a bit sticky, I hollowed out dark chocolate cupcakes, filled them with a cold cherry that had been soaking in smoky, bourbon-laced dark blueberry syrup, and topped them with coffee, whiskey and vanilla frosting and a candy cigarette.  Sweet, smoky, dark and with a tiny punch of alcohol.  Cheers to you, Raymond Chandler.

Cherry Filled and Dangerous

The result?  Cut it down the center, and between the dark chocolate layers oozes a blood red cherry.  The frosting is light and fluffy and offers a one-two punch to combat the bourbon kick of the fruit.  All the flavors meld together… let’s just say you may be inspired to go walk in the rain, or sit in a dim bar, or throw on a mink shawl and shimmy down the street in heels.

Notes: I made two chocolate cake recipes – the gluten/dairy free one you see below and a basic chocolate cake from Real Simple.  I soaked my cherries in smoky blueberry syrup from a recipe I recently made for a Burwell General Store Recipe Swap.  If you need your frosting to be dairy-free, I suggest my favorite Fluffy Vegan Frosting with the addition of the coffee in the recipe below.  These cupcakes are best fresh.

The Big Sleep Cupcakes

Ingredients: Cake

  • 2 cups gluten-free cake flour
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened Dutch cocoa
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 cup vegetable oil (I used safflower)
  • 3 eggs at room temperature
  • 2 tsp bourbon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cup almond milk thickened with 1 Tbsp soy sour cream or cream cheese or 1 1/2 cup whole cow’s milk
  • 1 tsp chocolate extract (optional)

Ingredients: Cherries

I used the smoky blueberry syrup I created last week.  For a quick alternative, try this:

  • 24 ripe cherries, pitted
  • 2 cups blueberry syrup or 1/2 cup blueberry jam dissolved with 1 cup cranberry juice
  • 1 tsp chipotle powder or paprika
  • 3 Tbsp bourbon or whiskey

Directions: Combine all ingredients and soak for at least 24 hours.

Ingredients: Frosting

  • 1 Tbsp instant coffee dissolved in 1 Tbsp hot water
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1lb box powdered sugar
  • 2 cups unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 3 Tbsp good whiskey or bourbon

Directions:

  • Line 24 cupcake tins and preheat oven to 350°.
  • Sift together flour, cocoa, soda, powder and salt.
  • In a standing mixer with the paddle attachment (or with a hand mixer) beat oil, sugar and maple syrup on medium/high until thoroughly combined and smooth.
  • Add eggs one at a time and beat to combine.
  • Beat in vanilla and chocolate extract.
  • Reduce speed to low and aternate the flour and almond milk, starting and ending with dry, until all are just combined.
  • Fill tins 3/4 of the way full and bake for about 18-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out smooth.  Cool completely.
  • When cool, use a teaspoon to hollow out a space from the top of the cake enough for one cherry.  Fill each cupcake with a cherry and drizzle with a little sauce (this should soak into the cupcake a tiny bit.

To make the frosting: beat the butter on high until light and fluffy.  Slowly add the powdered sugar and beat until light.  Add the whiskey, vanilla and coffee and beat to incorporate.

Decorate!  Pipe or use a small icing spatula to glob as much frosting onto the cakes as possible.  Decorate with dark sanding sugar or a candy cigarette.  Enjoy with a cool glass of sweating bourbon.

Yum.

Carob Cupcakes with Almond Butter Filling

This is what I made last week.

Carob Cupcakes with Almond Butter Filling

This is where I was this weekend.

On Lake Moore in Warwick, MA

This is who I made them for.

My gorgeous friend.

Life is good.

Happy Belated Birthday!

My dear friend suffers from food sensitivities far worse than I am currently dealing with, and I wanted to make her something special in celebration of a reunion with good friends and a birthday of hers that passed too long ago when I wasn’t nearby to celebrate with her.

This is an only slightly adapted version of her Chunky Cake that I made with her a few weeks ago.  I simply upped the ghee content a bit, fussed around with a few measurements and put some creamy almond butter in the middle.

They are FREE OF: sugar, flour, soy, chocolate, caffeine, nuts

Here’s how you can make them!

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cup ground flax meal
  • 1 cup carob powder
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 tsp bourbon vanilla
  • 3/4 cup ghee or clarified butter, melted
  • 1 1/2  cup warm water
  • 1/4 cup smooth almond butter, optional

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Line 24 muffin cups or heavily grease an 8″ cake pan.
  • In a large bowl, mix ingredients in the order above, adding water gradually at the end, whisking throughout.
  • For filled cupcakes, pour in enough batter to cover the bottom of the pan by about 1/2 inch, then dot 1 tsp of almond butter in the center.  Cover with more batter until about 2/3 full.
  • Bake cupcakes for 16 minutes and full cake for 40 or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Almond butter filling

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