Tag Archives: sweet

Double Dark Chocolate Cake Truffles for my Valentines (gluten and dairy free!)

For my Valentines... love Jacqueline

Shy confessions, Bloggereaders,

  1. I can be accidentally romantic.
  2. I haven’t been single on Valentines day in over 10 years (Big Sis said, “cry me a river”).
  3. I am reluctantly thankful for cake pops.

Valentines Day is not a huge marker in my book.  For the majority of those 10+ years Ruark and I went in and out with celebrating depending, honestly, if we felt like it or not.  We had started dating when we were so young, and found plenty of moments to show each other how we felt.  And in general I’m not a big fan of commercially-fueled tokens.  Two years ago the man I was with was away for work and had his friend stop by with a huge bouquet at the theatre I was working at.  Last year new boyfriend and I had no plans until mid-morning, when he called where I was out of town working and sweetly said, “I’m thinking it’s Valentines Day and you’re my Valentine, so we should be together tonight”.   I trained it back to NYC.

So this year, being single, I’ve been more contemplative about the love in my life in general.  Not at all mournful, just reflective.  I have so much love, so many people I’m surrounded by who have full, generous hearts, that I feel more in love than ever.

Oh, the 3rd point up there?  A few months ago I had to develop a gluten-free recipe for Valentine Cake Pops for Easy Eats.  Two weeks ago I made 75 chocolate chip and lemon zest cake pops in the shape of Winnie the Pooh honey pots for a baby shower.  They were cute, but not as adorable as I’d wanted them to be for the mom-to-be.  And they took me eight hours! Lastly, for the first Milk Bar Mondays swap last week I made Carrot Cake Truffles, which are essentially cake balls (and one of my favorite super-sweet recipes).

In the beginning of this road with cake pops, I was often cursing, whining, or whinging.  But the result of all the frustration?

Moments of joy this morning as I deftly baked, blended, dipped, flipped and formed these truffles.  I had some cake I’d been experimenting with (a new flour blend), some leftover liquid cheesecake, some bags of chocolate and lots of fun things to toss truffles in.  I found myself smiling in the silence of my kitchen, thinking about those I’d be wrapping and gifting these for.  They look so cute all ribboned up.  And, they were actually pretty easy.  I enjoyed making them.

While made of cake, these truffles taste a bit more ganache-y because of how dark, rich and buttery they are.   I tossed them in ground walnuts, dark cocoa powder, raw cacao nibs, and some candy hearts I had leftover from the Easy Eats recipe.  It was a very romantic morning in my kitchen.  I was in love with the natural light pouring through my windows and my ancient camera that was snapping away.

I hope you have a lovely Valentines Day, Bloggerreaders.  But more than that, I wish you much peace, love and sweet, sweet life… always.

– Jacqueline

Freshly rolled truffles

Double Dark Chocolate Truffles

Makes about 30 truffles

Ingredients:

For the cake:

  • 12 Tbsp unsalted butter or butter-flavored Earth Balance
  • 10 Tbsp cocoa powder
  • 2 large eggs at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup gluten-free flour (my blend was 1/3 cup brown rice and 1/3 cup tapioca starch plus 1/2 tsp xanthan gum)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup ground raw walnuts (optional)

For the Truffles:

  • About 4-6 Tbsp liquid cheesecake or prepared frosting of choice
  • 6oz dark chocolate (I used 70%)
  • Ground nuts, candies, cocoa powder, crushed cookies or cacao nibs for coating

Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 350°
  • Grease an 8×8″ cake pan (I prefer glass)
  • In a small pot on medium heat, melt butter.  Whisk in cocoa until smooth.  Turn off heat and allow to cool slightly while you continue.
  • In the bowl of a standing mixer with the whisk attachment or with a hand mixer, beat eggs on high until creamy, about 45 seconds.  Add the sugars and beat until thoroughly incorporated with no traces of sugar, 2-3 minutes.
  • With the mixer on low, slowly stream in butter/chocolate mixture.  Beat until incorporated.
  • Slowly add flour and salt.  Mix on low until incorporated.  Stir in walnuts.
  • Pour into pan and bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out relatively clean.
  • Immediately turn out onto a baking sheet and break up into pieces.  Allow to cool completely.
  • When cool, return to standing mixer with the paddle attachment.  Paddle on medium/low until completely broken up.  Add liquid cheesecake or frosting 1 Tbsp at a time, until the cake comes together and you can easily roll a piece into a firm ball without it falling apart.
  • Roll batter in quarter-sized balls, placing on cookie sheets lined with wax paper.  My batch made 30.
  • Place all toppings in bowls (shallower and wider the better).  Melt chocolate in the microwave, first for 1 minute, then stirring to melt completely, then for another 30 seconds if the chocolate isn’t smooth enough (it should be fluid but only warm to the touch).
  • Quickly use your fingers to lightly coat each ball in chocolate, then toss into topping bowls, up to three in each bowl.  Shake / lightly toss the truffles to coat completely, then return to wax paper-lined trays.  Repeat with remaining truffles until done.
  • Refrigerate at least 10 minutes before packaging.
  • Share with those you love.  Or freeze them and slowly eat them by yourself, one by one…

I heart you Bloggerreaders

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Gluten-Free, Milk-Free Gingerbread

Gluten-Free, Milk-Free Gingerbread

Years ago I inherited a gingerbread recipe that sent my taste-buds flying.  It was a dear friend’s mom’s, and I remember the first time I made it for a group of friends.  Back then, I was relatively unfamiliar with basic cake techniques, and the idea of “starting and ending with dry” seemed practically scientific.

The cake got raves.  But after that first time, I couldn’t eat it.  My milk allergies had gotten worse.

Fast forward ten years later and I made the recipe my own.  I think actual ginger-bread is too often overlooked in favor of its cookie-d cousins.  Which, trust me, I enjoy thoroughly.  But there’s something so homey and warm and New England holiday about it that I particularly love.

Substitution ingredients are below, but this blend of ingredients produced a moist, perfectly sweet, highly-spiced cake that I ate way too much of as soon as it was cool enough to slice.

Notes: I used butter, but not milk, substituting with unsweetened almond milk.  To make completely dairy-free, substitute the melted butter with melted butter-flavored Earth Balance.  You can use regular all-purpose flour (2 cups) if you don’t have gluten problems, or substitute with a gluten-free mix of your own.  I use less xanthan gum in this recipe than you might expect – if you want to omit completely, just add 1 Tbsp of flax meal. 

Another time I made this recipe I used 1 cup white rice, 1/2 cup tapioca, 1/2 cup sorghum and 1/4 cup millet and it worked well too!

Top with unsweetened coconut milk whipped cream for a special holiday treat!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup white rice flour
  • 1/2 cup quinoa flour
  • 1/2 cup gluten-free oat flour
  • 1/4 cup tapioca starch / flour (or arrowroot starch)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 cup melted butter (or melted Earth Balance to make dairy-free)
  • 1 cup molasses
  • 1 egg, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar and enough unsweetened almond, soy or cow’s milk to make 1/2 cup of liquid total
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup hot water

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease and flour an 8-inch square baking pan (preferably something thick like a Pyrex dish), set aside.
  • In a measuring cup, heat the milk and vinegar so that it’s slightly warm.
  • In a large bowl (or the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment), add flours, tapioca starch, salt, baking powder, baking soda, xantham gum and spices.  Stir/mix/whisk quickly to combine.
  • Make a well in the center and pour in this order: molasses, maple syrup, melted butter, egg, and milk/vinegar mixture.
  • Stir/mix together until combined.
  • Add hot water and beat until combined.
  • Pour into pan and bake for 40 minutes or until slightly browned on top and slightly springy when you press it with your finger.
  • Cool for 15 minutes, then loosen from the pan with a knife and invert onto cooling rack.
  • Cool completely before slicing.

Decorate with sifted powdered sugar and whipped cream (either cow cream or coconut milk are delish!)

Rosemary Lavender Apple Galette

Rosemary Lavender Apple Galette

I was a very lucky little Dusty Baker in that I spent the majority of this past weekend surrounded by fancy food and scrumptious cocktails.  The Food Network New York City Wine and Food Festival definitely didn’t disappoint in either of those categories.

But, hey, I’m not a pastry chef.  Yes, I spend most of my time dreaming about alternative flours and wishing I were in a kitchen and not on a computer.  And maaaaaybe I find the things actual chefs do with pastry incredibly sexy.  But fancy-pants, personally, I am not.

So I was particularly at home when attending the Beekman Boys’ demo at the Grand Tasting on Sunday.  Farms?  Goats?  8-minute pastry?  Put the kettle on, boys, I’m stopping in.

The Fabulous Beekman Boys – otherwise known as Brent and Josh – own a farm upstate.  They bought it as weekend retreat before they both lost their jobs and needed to turn it into a mortgage-paying enterprise.  NYC foodies by nature, they turned their inherited goats (80 of them) into a soap-making machine.  Then cheese.  Then the rest is history.

Now they’ve got a new book out, following their documentary-like show on Planet Green, and are cornering the heirloom recipe market in all that’s old-school and tasty.

Which is exaclty what their demo was – old-school and extremely tasty.  With casual banter and a genteel charm, they made a galette with nothing more than a heaping cup of flour, a stick of butter, a fistful of sugar, a splash of milk, a rough chop of rosemary, some drizzled honey and some apples.  A recipe so easy you don’t need to write it down.  Which I didn’t.  Until this post.

What I shared with them (as I sat with a happy smile in the front row) was a love of lack-of-recipes-recipes.  Many that I’ve inherited from my family contain “a soup-spoon of butter” and “enough water to dissolve the yeast”.  I’ve made pastries alongside my Tia that may be two eggs and a cup of flour away from the original… and seem to work as amounts are remedied during the eye-ball process.  I love the feeling of just throwing things in a mixer, and the intuition that comes from just knowing how a basic pastry works.

It was also fitting that they described this as the perfect thing to whip together when a friend calls to say they’ll be stopping by on their way home from church… in about ten minutes.  Because as I wrapped up an article this morning I was just about to strap on my apron when an out-of-town friend asked if she could stop in… and that she had just parked her car down the street.  We had inherited some apples from my neighbor.  I always have flour, butter and the like on hand.  And I still have rosemary growing in my window-boxes.  I could throw this together in eight minutes.  So I did.

So this recipe is yours for the adaptation.  I used my standard gluten-free cake blend as my flour, palm sugar as my crust sweetener, and the rest of the leftover lavender-honey that I had on my shelf (from my current prosciutto-cheese-basil-melon-honey obsession that’s sadly going out the window along with the summer rain).  Use whatever fruit or savory ingredient you have on hand.  Add or omit sweetener as you see fit.  Grab whatever herbs from your garden or window box that sound exciting.  And enjoy the simple, homemade creation that is truly yours for the baking.

My piece... consumed with relish...

Ingredients:

  • 1  heaping cup flour (a basic gluten-free / gluten-free cake blend works perfectly)
  • A handful of sugar (I used palm sugar)
  • A dash of kosher salt
  • 1 stick of unsalted butter
  • Milk (I used unsweetened vanilla almond milk)
  • About 4 apples, peeled, cored and sliced (or comparable amount of fruit or savory veg)
  • Lemon juice (optional)
  • 1 Tbsp finely chopped rosemary
  • 2 Tbsp honey or however you want to sweeten the fruit
  • Dried lavender florets, optional
  • Egg white, yolk or milk to wash

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 400°.  Line a baking sheet with Silpat if desired.
  • In a large bowl, mix flour, salt and sweetener.
  • Cut butter into thin slices and toss in.
  • With a fork, blend flour mixture and butter until flaky.  They pointed out that most recipes say “pea-sized”, but with the fork method it’s more flake than pea.
  • Add enough milk, slowly, pulling together with fork until the dough just comes together.
  • Roll on a floured surface until thin, either into a round or somewhat rectangular shape.
  • Transfer to baking sheet.
  • Sprinkle the center (leaving about an inch on all sides) with rosemary.
  • Optional: toss apples with about 2 Tbsp lemon.
  • Fill crust with apples, leaving a lip around the edge.
  • Drizzle with honey or sugar.
  • Fold the ends in to make a rounded crust, making sure there are no holes in the dough, and press to meet.
  • Wash with egg or milk.
  • Bake about 25-30 minutes, until lightly browned.
  • Serve warm, preferably to drop-in guests.

Picture perfect.

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!

Easy Cobbler Bread Pudding – Gluten, Dairy and White-Sugar Free!

 

Easy Cobbler Bread Pudding

Life is delicious.  As a gluten-freer, I sometimes miss bread-heavy meals and spongy caked desserts.  I equally miss Belgian waffle breakfasts and stuffed French toast.

So last night when I got home from listening to some stellar bluegrass (high-fives to the Six Deadly Venoms) I decided to make myself the best of both for breakfast: bread pudding.  Gluten-free.  Dairy-free.  Easy to throw together.  With no white sugar (I rarely consume it). And celebrating end-of-the-summer fruits.  A toss between cobbler, baked pancakes (I’m obsessed) and bread pudding.

Success, people, success.

This recipe is an insane journey of color, texture and flavor.  I used ripe blueberries and summer peaches along with dried apricots to give the fruit some va-va-voom.  The gluten-free bread base was soaked overnight in eggs, almond milk, vanilla, cinnamon, lemon extract, hazelnut extract and just enough honey and maple syrup to sweeten the load slightly. And topped with slivered almonds, the texture was smooth with a tiny crunch.

The next day I quickly boiled some fruit, threw it together and baked it for 45 minutes.

You  can alter the recipe by doing what I did – playing with what you have in your pantry and adjusting to your allergy needs.  Omit the nuts completely if you want!  Add some fresh lemon zest (though I highly recommend having lemon oil on hand for recipes like this – it’s the Italian and Portuguese baker in me).  Play with extracts and spices to your heart’s content.  As long as you have the same basic proportions, you’ve got this delectable fruity, bready piece of heaven in the bag.

If you’ve got problems with sugar, though, I will confess that I’m a bit shaky as I’m typing this, having eaten my serving.  But I also just drank an entire pot of green tea.  So it’s anyone’s guess.

As a hearty breakfast this recipe will serve four.  But top it with your choice of ice cream after a long meal and it’ll satiate six.

If you’re going to put it into wine glasses like I did, make sure it’s cool, people.  Live and learn, right?

Chock full o fruity, bready, nutty goodness.

Ingredients:

  • Six slices of gluten-free bread at room temperature.
  • 4 large eggs.
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk.
  • Honey, maple syrup or both to make 1/4 cup.
  • 1 tsp cinnamon.
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract.
  • 1/4 tsp lemon extract.
  • 1/4 tsp hazelnut extract (or almond).
  • 1/4 cup chopped nuts (I used slivered almonds).
  • 3 small peaches or plums.
  • 1 pint blueberries.
  • 1/4 cup chopped dried fruit (I used apricots).
  • 1 tsp fresh, chopped mint.

Directions:

  • Place bread in a square Pyrex pan, 8″ or 9″, overlapping bread as best as possible.
  • In a small bowl, beat all the ingredients from the eggs to the extracts, in that order, whisking continually.
  • Pour over the bread and flip bread so that all is soaked in egg mixture.
  • Leave overnight to absorb.
  • When ready to assemble and bake, preheat oven to 350°.
  • Rinse, peel, pit and dice the fruit.  Place in a small pot over medium heat and heat until the blueberries burst and the fruits soften.
  • Stir in the dried fruit and mint, and pour over bread mixture.
  • Bake for 45 minutes until the bread rises and the fruit starts to bubble.

Warm and bubbly and gorgeous.

Hurrican Irene Erosion – a Decadent Dairy-Free Dessert

Honeybun Ice Cream with Fruit Compote and Macarons

This dessert is incredibly happy-making.  Honeybun ice cream made with coconut milk, topped with stewed fruit and a French macaron – divine. It was the perfect conclusion to my FoodBuzz 24×24 Scarborough Fair Summer Supper Party.  Laced with lavender honey and infused with spearmint, it’s both sweet and refreshing at the same time.

Oh, and why is it named Hurricane Irene Erosion?  Because my lavish summer supper party poolside in Connecticut became a rainy dinner for seven in my apartment in NYC because of the impending doom of Irene that – gasp! – dropped a twig on my car.  Check out the post on the party.

The ice cream itself is incredibly creamy, silky smooth and just-sweet enough without being overbearing.  It’s made with a base of egg yolks and coconut milk tempered together to make a rich custard.  Sweetened only with honey and vanilla, it’s a healthy version of the classic for those of us with milk allergies.

The photos don’t quite do it justice – let’s just say if you make it you won’t be disappointed.

Oh, and the entire recipe is gluten and dairy free. 

I’m not going to put a macaron recipe up here – they’re not easy to make.  This was my first successful attempt after 5 failed tries.  It took my interviewing Jill Colonna of Mad About Macarons and a pastry class at Dessert Truck Works to get it right.  So I’ll let you explore those options if you want to tackle macarons, or suggest my Rosewater Lavender Shortbread.

Hurricane Irene Erosion

Ingredients: Ice Cream

  • 2 cans full-fat coconut milk
  • 5 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup honey – split
  • 1 tsp gelatin

Directions:

  • Bring a pot of water to a simmer and place a large metal bowl on top in old-school double-boiler style.
  • Place coconut milk and vanilla in the bowl and heat until hot but not boiling.  When warm, add 1/2 cup of honey and whisk to combine.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk egg yolks.
  • Temper the eggs by whisking about 1/2 cup of the warm coconut milk into the egg yolks.  Make sure you whisk continually so that the eggs don’t clump.  Repeat two or three more times until the egg yolks come up to temperature, and then add the yolk mixture to the bowl of milk.  Whisk together over just-simmering water until the mixture thickens slightly.
  • Sprinkle the gelatin on top and let it dissolve slightly, then continue to whisk until incorporated.
  • Remove mixture to cool and then refrigerate for at least four hours or overnight.
  • Make according to the directions of your ice cream maker, or pour into a wide pan and stir every half hour for about four hours. When the mixture is just coming together, swirl in the remaining honey so that it remains in streams in the ice cream. I used honey infused with lavender, which was quite delightful.

For the Fruit:

I used a pint of black plums and two ripe peaches.  I simply stewed them with a teaspoon of gelatin over medium heat until they boiled down a bit, then cooled them to gel.  When completely cool, I stirred in two tablespoons of fresh spearmint.

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.

Mango Mint Creamsicles

Mango, mint at a bit of strawberry

“Say hello to my little friend”

That little quote barely beat out “how town, summer in the city” for how I wanted to start off the introduction of these little frozen treats to you.  New York City is sweltering in the summer, and as I work primarily from home I’m usually confined to the corner of my bedroom next to the air-conditioner, where I am right at this moment, staring out the window at the pigeons lining the sill  20 feet opposite me, occasionally staring over my shoulder out the other window for a view of the beautiful trees that line my street and a glimpse of the clear blue sky.

I live in Washington Heights, where the sound of kids playing in the streets and the twinkling song of the ice cream man melds with the smell of families barbequing along the river.  It’s nifty.  But I can’t indulge in the ice cream sandwiches and red, white and blue popsicles that everyone seems to enjoy as they watch the sun go down on the Hudson.

But it doesn’t make any difference, because now I have MANGO MINT CREAMSICLES!

The mint is from my little window box, where in some miraculous way some herbs that I had planted there last season toughed it out through the months of ice and snow and came back even healthier in the Spring.  Spearmint and Chocolate Mint grow like mad, and they added a refreshing jolt to this simple combination.  The mango was juicy and ripe, from Fairway Market on 132nd street, my ultimate favorite large-scale grocer in the city.  The honey is local, and the yogurt is goat, from upstate. 

Sugar-free, gluten-free, cow-dairy-free.  Full of flavor and oh so easy to make.

Simple ingredients, awesome result.

Hot town… hot dang these are good!  So say hello to my  naturally sweet, ultra refreshing little friend.

Flecks of fresh mint make this an incredibly refreshing treat!

Ingredients:

  • One mango, peeled and roughly chopped, with about 2 Tbsp chopped into tiny pieces.
  • 1 cup of yogurt, plain (I used goat)
  • 1 cup of milk (I used unsweetened vanilla almond milk)
  • 1 Tbsp honey, optional
  • about 5 strawberries, optional
  • 3 drops yellow food coloring, optional
  • 1 tsp freshly chopped mint (I used a combo of spearmint and chocolate mint)

Directions:

  • Combine all ingredients but mint and 2 Tbsp reserved mango in a blender and blend until smooth and frothy.
  • Divide reserved mango and mint into fourths.  Add half of each to the blender and stir.  Use 1/4 of the reserves to put a few pieces of each in the bottom of each popsicle mold.  Fill with puree, then top with the last bits of mango and mint.
  • Freeze until good and hard.

Makes 6.

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.

100th Post and My 30th Birthday Fig and Blueberry Pie!

100th Post 30s Fig and Blueberry Pie!

Today I celebrate two milestones – my 100th post as The Dusty Baker and my 30th birthday!

Such times invite reflection.  I’ve been told by many people that all the things you struggled to discover about yourself throughout your twenties come together in your thirties.  I don’t regret one second of my twenties.  For during that time I graduated college, dated a man for almost 9 years who is now my best friend, formed strong relationships with my parents and siblings, conquered 2 serious battles with my illness, moved to and fell in love with New York City, lived in 6 different apartments (one in Ohio!), discovered a serious relationship with food, performed in some incredible pieces of art, been loved by some very special people and, yes, struggled to figure out who I am, and who I want to be.

And I’m feeling pretty at peace with who I am, and what’s to come.

I started my first blog while I was going through the last stint of my illness.  After some trial and error, I rethought of my mission and rebranded myself as The Dusty Baker, and launched this blog in October of last year.  Sometimes it’s been a top priority, other times it’s taken a backseat to shows and other work.  But throughout I’ve discovered an incredible community and forged connections with some passionate people across the globe:

  • FoodBuzz and the hundreds of bloggers I get inspiration from.
  • The Burwell General Store Recipe Swap that makes me think outside of the box and connects me with some ridiculously talented chefs.
  • Bromography – a NYC foodie website where I contribute The Dusty Review and other food-related articles.
  • Frosting for The Cause, where bakers contribute recipes, baked goods and a small monetary contribution daily that are dedicated to someone who has suffered from cancer.  My date to post is September 11th, the 10-year anniversary of the event that shocked my city and changed the course of politics, economics and warfare in our country.
  • Intercaketuality, a book-inspired website where I can contribute recipes inspired by books and stories that have captured my fancy.

So right now I’m off to a morning at a spa, then picking up a dear friend who’s visiting me for the week, and tonight I’ll dinner and drinks at my favorite restaurant in New York City (Mundo in Queens – check it out!) with a few of my nearest and dearest.

Oh, and then there was pie.  For breakfast.  Yes.

For some reason a rustic fruit pie or tart is what I want to celebrate with on my birthday.  I don’t often celebrate this day too extremely; sometimes I pick peaches and make jam, or make dinner for my family, or order take-out. It’s usually just a good time for reflection and the company of a friend or two.  But when I think of “who am I, in a pie!?”, simple pleasures come to mind:

A gluten-free, simple crust of whole grains with a tiny bit of natural sweetness.  Fruit that’s ripe and luscious.  Figs are often in season this time of year, fitting because my first taste of fresh figs was with my father and grandfather at his home in Portugal, and they’ve held a special significance since then.  A little bit of attention and some heat and I’m happy.  Like this pie.

Pie! For breakfast!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/2 cup quinoa flour
  • 1/4 cup ground flaxseed meal
  • 1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp sweet white rice flour
  • 1/2 cup arrowroot starch
  • 2 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 Tbsp date sugar + more to taste
  • 1 cup / two sticks unsalted butter, cubed small
  • 1 pint of blueberries, rinsed and stemmed
  • 160z container of green figs, cut into thirds length-wise

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Place the flours, starch, xanthan gum, salt and 2 Tbsp date sugar in a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a food processor.  Pulse to combine.
  • Add the cubed butter and mix on low / pulse until it starts to come together into a ball.  If too try, add ice-cold water a tablespoon at a time until it just pulls together.
  • Press into a pie plate (I use a spring-form tart pan for gluten-free crusts).
  • Blind-bake for 15 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, toss stemmed and rinsed blueberries in 2 Tbsp sweet sticky rice and 1 Tbsp date sugar.
  • When done, remove crust from oven, fill with blueberries, and arrange figs artfully on top.
  • Bake for 30 minutes or until the fruit is soft and the crust is lightly browned.

Figs!

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