Tag Archives: sweet

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

Vintage Recipe Swap – Sweet and Spicy Blueberry Molasses Jam Cookies

Ginger Molasses Cookies with Blueberry Ginger Lime Jam

I love the food-blogging community.  For the past few months I’ve been taking part in a Vintage Recipe Swap with Burwell General Store.  We’re sent a recipe and have to alter at least three things about it, then blog our creations on the same day.  I am always incredibly impressed with what the other bloggers post.  They’re truly inspiring, culinary masters that I have so much to learn from.  Please check out their sites (links at the bottom of this post).

This month’s swap is a Jelly Cake.  Check it out:

After my disappointment with last month’s Baked Potato Cakes I knew I wanted to make something decadent this month.  Something that would take some planning and patience and love.

This recipe is wonderfully simple in theory – two cakes sandwiched with jelly.  And I loved that the second cake was spicy with cinnamon, cloves and allspice.

So I decided to make only a slight variation on this classic idea with an easy blueberry jam nested in the middle of gluten-free ginger molasses cookies.  I love how versatile and mobile cookies are.  And while lying in bed, sleepless, one night, I thought how I could try the jam between two round cookies and also try it with the raw dough pocketing it before baking, much like an Italian or Polish pastry cookie.

It took three days in short bursts to make this recipe, which actually made it more relaxing of a process.  One morning I made the Blueberry Ginger Lime Jam.  I loved the fresh, organic blueberries I found at the market and figured I’d spice them up with a bit of ginger and fresh lime juice and zest.  I also made a smoky blueberry sauce with paprika that I then made into a martini.  Delish.

Smoky Blueberry Martini

The second day I made the cookie dough, then stuck it in the fridge and rolled and baked the next morning.  Fully refrigerating dough is a crucial step when making cutout cookies, especially when they’re gluten-free, in order to keep a clean shape and consistent texture.  In my earlier days I thought I could get around a few steps and still have incredible cookies.  Now I know that refrigerating dough, using parchment paper, keeping my gluten-free flours cool and rolling evenly are important keys to mastering this.

The result is a rich, spicy ginger cookie sweetly flavored with dark molasses.  Making them into pocket cookies yields a softer, pastry-like cookie, whereas the rounds have the perfect amount of gingery jam between.  They have a soft mouth feel, and hit you in two stages – first the spicy ginger cookie, and then the rich jam.  I love them.  Love love love.

Note: In this recipe I’ve measured out my preferred gluten-free flours and added some flax seed meal for fiber (it also helps baked goods gel a little bit more too).  All that’s important is that you have three cuts of gluten-free flour.  I recommend keeping your flours in the fridge as they stay fresher longer – it also helps when making a pastry like a cookie that needs to stay tight.  I also usually refrain from mixes that are high in potato flour or starch and only use one kind of flour – usually white rice.  Check out my gluten-free flour blends page for more ideas.

Another note: I used two types of molasses and maple syrup because I had small amounts of each and like using what you’ve got instead of purchasing excess.  Just make sure you have 3/4 a cup of molasses.

Buen provecho!

Sandwich and Pocket cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cup white rice flour
  • 3/4 cup quinoa flour
  • 1/2 cup millet flour
  • 1/4 cup ground flax seed meal
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup blackstrap molasses
  • 1/4 cup unsulfered dark molasses
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 egg

Directions

  • In a small bowl, sift together the flours, flax seed meal, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and xanthan gum
  • In a standing mixer with the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  • Add molasses and maple syrup and beat to combine.
  • Add egg and beat to combine.
  • Slowly add in flour until combined.
  • Divide in half, flatten into disks and individually wrap in plastic.  Set in refrigerator at least two hours or (preferably) overnight.
  • When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350°.
  • Line 4 cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  • Flour work surface with rice flour and roll disk to 1/4 inch thick, rotating dough regularly to prevent sticking (re-flour board as necessary). Cut into circles about 1 3/4 inch in diameter.
  • Bake for 12 minutes or until still slightly soft on top.  If you prefer crispy cookies, bake for 16 minutes.
  • Remove from oven and flip upside-down on a cool cookie sheet or flat work surface.  With the bottom of a shot glass or a small spoon, press a small circle into the bottom of each cookie.  Allow to cool completely.
  • When cool, fill 1 cookie impression with about a teaspoon of your favorite jam (mine was Blueberry Ginger Lime Jam) and use a second cookie to sandwich, repeating until all are done!

Store in an airtight container (preferably in the refrigerator) until ready to serve.  Alternatively, you can cut squares of dough, fill with jam, and make pocket cookies.  These will be a little softer and cake-like. 

Jam-filled sandwich cookies

Check Out the Other Creations From The Recipe Swappers!

  • CM is our Burwell General Store leader.  A food producer and writer, she’s based out of L.A. and has worked with the Food Network and Saveur, amongst many others.  Those are just my two favorites :)  Her site is, of course, divine.
  • Lindsay puts amazing honesty and simplicity written into her recipes. She loves Oregon, its ingredients and Portland’s lifestyle, and it shows.
  • Chef Dennis is veteran chef in his own right.  The rest of his fantastic food blog can be seen at morethanamountfull.
  • Mari lives in Oregon wine country and is a budding wine connoisseur.  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, 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, and her first recipe was a BLT-inspired chicken pot pie!
  • Shari is our first International participant!  Writing from down under, we cherish her voice in the swap because she brings the results of additional recipe challenges; the seasons are flipped from where most of us are blogging.
  • 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.
  • The Cake Duchess.  The name says it all, and Lora’s recipes are rock solid, creative, decadent, inspiring.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Crissy and Lauren are two recent college graduates who are embracing their passion for all things culinary in the smallest yellow kitchen that ever was.  Their balanced diet of equal parts savory and sweet helps them add a little zest to what they do best!
  • Claire blogs with Texas pride from Dallas. She loves chicken fingers, Law and Order SVU and is left handed.
  • Nay blogs about food at Spicy Living from Portland, Oregon, and joined in on the Lemon Cake swap.  She incorporated lavender and lemon into cupcakes with cream cheese frosting.
  • Cindy, food lover, all-around awesome person and her knowledge about US restaurants is almost encyclopedic. Check out her quirky and fun blog.
  • Sabrina Modelle blogs at The Tomato Tart from the San Francisco bay area, and for her first swap (the Lemon Cake) she made a Brown Sugar Lemon Rosemary Cake with Rosemary Caramel.
  • 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 a saucy Texan with an encyclopedic knowledge of food. She’s published many cookbooks, won many awards, and has been the source of many belly laughs. When she’s not writing books, her latest creations can be found at Everybody Eats News.
  • Tricia is the founder of Pietopia, an annual pie contest that asks “What does your life taste like, in a pie?” and her beautiful work as an eating designer and blogger can be found at Eating Is Art.
  • 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 has a panchant for baking, laughter, a nice glass of Riesling and anything lemony.
  • Merry-Jennifer is a physician, a writer, a wife, a mother of two, and the author of the food blog The Merry Gourmet. She focuses on family-friendly original and adapted recipes – with an occasional cocktail recipe thrown in for balance.
  • Alli has a master’s degree in Nutrition and blogs at An Open Cookbook from Seattle, Washington. We met recently at BlogHer Food in Atlanta, and immediately hit it off. A warm welcome to her!
  • 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.

Blueberry Ginger Lime Jam and Smoky Blueberry Sauce with the cookies

Nutritional breakdown from Cook, Eat, Share

Gluten-Free Ebelskivers

Gluten-free Ebelskivers!

For some reason listening to Nina Simone seemed appropriate when making Ebelskivers alone in my apartment last week.  Being that Nina is neither from Denmark nor filled with jam, I don’t know why this was so.  Maybe sweet cinnamon, sugar and molasses made me think both of the blues and pancakes??  Or strong coffee and whiskey?  Mine is not to reason why… just to bake and sway slowly and enjoy.  Which I did.

My friend Abigail loaned me her cast-iron pan for these little treats recently, and I had a feeling “waiting” for a brunch crowd was going to test my patience too far. So these got simply rolled in cinnamon and sugar and were served atop whipped cream with chocolate macaron shells, hazelnut cookies and cherry compote at a dinner party I attended later in the evening.  I should have taken pictures of the whole caboodle, but let’s just say a few bottles of Prosecco had made their way around the room by the time dessert was plated.

Abigail also gave me her recipe, which is a basic pancake recipe but where the smart (and culinary-school trained) lady specifies separating the egg whites and yolks and beats the whites to stiff peaks, giving the pancakes a lot more lift and chew.

I simply adapted by using my gluten-free cake flour blend and changed / added a bit here and there. And I learned from a few floppy results how to get the pancakes as round and fluffy as possible!

Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 cup gluten-free flour (I used my standard cake flour blend)
  • 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs, separated
  • 1 3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 Tbsp soy sour cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 4 Tbsp melter butter or cooking spray

Directions

  • Sift flour, xanthan gum, baking soda, baking powder, salt and sugar in a large bowl.
  • Lightly whisk the milk and soy sour cream until smooth (this somewhat replicates buttermilk).
  • Add cinnamon and vanilla.
  • Lightly whisk the egg yolks and then whisk into milk mixture.
  • Combine wet with dry.
  • Beat egg whites into stiff peaks and then fold into batter.
  • Melt butter and wipe with a pastry brush into Ebelskiver pan, then set over medium/high heat.  If using cooking spray, spray liberally.
  • Bring to a medium/high heat and fill 3/4 way with batter, making sure to note where you’ve started and ended to make turning easier.
  • Using a miniature frosting spatula, tongs, a 2-pronged fork or miniature spatula, flip Ebelskivers when they are just starting to pull away from the pan and browning on the bottom.  I’ve found confidence and the grace of a ballerina help when turning them without the batter messing all over the pan.  Standing with one foot slightly raised and toes pointed somehow also contributes to success. As does giving yourself an extremely low curtsy afterwards in celebration.

Now, I simply tossed mine in cinnamon and sugar and they were divine.  On a more ambitious day (or when trying to impress an overnight guest who’s daring to stay for brunch) I might put a drop of jam or lemon curd into the center. Ooh, or dark chocolate (for them, not me).

I found the result to be a lovingly fluffy, chewy pancake, rather neutral in flavor as one must be.  Mixing some ground flax seed and diced ginger might be delightful.  Hmm… now I’m hungry.

Round and fluffy and delicious

 

Chunky Carob Cake – Ridiculously Allergy Friendly!

Chunky Carob Cake

There are few names I’d put on my “soul-mate” list.  Nina Simone.  William Shakespeare.  James McAvoy (did you SEE X-Men First Class?  Totally redeemed the franchise from Wolverine and washed the bad taste of Bridesmaids out of my mouth).

In all seriousness, while I am surrounded by so many loving, special people, I am particularly grateful for my dear friend Lyndsey – a soul-mate if there ever was one.  We met through my college boyfriend over a dozen years ago, and aside from the many things we naturally had in common, we shared a history of chronic illness.  There’s no way I could summarize our friendship – but let’s just say we’ve been an ear, a shoulder, a hug, the voice on the other end of the phone that won’t hang up… I don’t know where I’d be without this woman.

So on my quick days off I scooted my little blue car down to DC to visit her and her husband, two of my favorite people in the whole world!  

Lyndsey is still suffering greatly from her illness and deep digestive problems, and her diet completely eliminates grains, sugar, chocolate, fruit, any sweeteners, caffeine, alcohol, certain meats and fishes, fried foods, certain vegetables and is pretty much devoid of any sweet indulgences. I lived like that for several years but never as long as she, and don’t know how she hasn’t gone ballistic on a grocery store or restaurant by now.

But carob! Oh, yes, Lyndsey can have carob!

So the other morning she showed me how to make her “Chunky Cake”.

This cake is chocolate-free, sugar-free, grain-free / flourless, oiless, nut-free, low-carb, high-fiber, low-glycemic.  Really.  It does have ghee (clarified butter) so it’s not dairy free completely, but you can easily substitute with coconut oil or a fat of your choice.

And it’s incredibly easy – all ingredients mixed in a bowl and poured in a pan!

I was amazed at how light and airy the carob cake came out, while still packing a delicious aroma.  I’m going to have some fun experimenting with the recipe at home, using coconut products, tucking the batter around almond butter, soaking vanilla beans in almond milk.  But for now, here’s the original recipe.  Enjoy!

Moist and light Chunky Carob cake

Ingredients:

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cup ground flax
  • 1 cup carob powder
  • 2 cups warm water
  • 1/2 cup melted ghee
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp cloves

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 325°.  Heavily grease a pie plate or single cake pan.
  • Mix all ingredients in a large bowl (in no particular order) with a whisk until thoroughly combined.  The resulting batter should sort of glop a bit off the whisk and not run completely smooth.  Because of the goopy result of using flax, Lyndsey describes it as “falling like boogers”.  One of the thousands of reasons why I love her so much.
  • Pour into prepared plate and bake for about 30 minutes, or until a toothpick or fork inserted comes out relatively smooth.

Baked Potato Cakes – Gluten and Dairy Free Recipe Swap!

Baked Potato Cakes

This is my second contribution to the Burwell General Store Recipe Swap. And it’s a very, very dusty recipe.  Lately I’ve been busy baking for various things, doing shows, keeping sane, and visiting with friends from out of town.  So I put this recipe off to the last minute, and when it (obviously) didn’t come out perfectly the first time, I just sorta shrugged and went on with my day.  I’m definitely a very dusty person in general right now :)

Not the best way to start out a post on “check out my recipe!”.  Keep reading, it all works out in a way, promise.  And next month I’ll have more time in my own kitchen to contribute something stellar.

Quick fill-in: Every month CM sends a group of about 30 bloggers / bakers / chefs a recipe from a charming old cookbook and we have to change at least 3 things about it and post our creations on the same day.  It is incredible to see the variety that comes from this swap – sweet things made into savory (and vice versa), gluten-free, health-conscious, fully-fatted.  Please support the other bloggers (and check out their responses to this swap) by going to Burwell General Store.

Honestly, I wish I had a bit more time with this recipe!  The recipe itself is rather simple – mashed potatoes are blended with donut basics and then fried to perfection.  But I’ve (a) been extremely busy (b) wanted to keep the donut idea of the recipe intact (c) LOVE making donuts (d) didn’t want to have to fry anything and (e) didn’t want to buy a donut pan.

The original recipe

So I found a recipe for donuts baked in muffin tins from Mrs. Field’s Secrets and hoped for the best in the procedure.  Now, mine did not come out as beautifully as the ones in their picture, which were smooth and perfect on top and light enough that they could be filled with jam.  And these neither look nor really taste like donuts (though I could see the original recipe working quite well).

But that doesn’t mean these aren’t tasty.

And as they’re made with (primarily) potato flour and contain NO dairy or oil, they’re not half bad for you.

Served with lemon curd

Last year a cooking buddy thrust the term “rustic” on me, and I now place that on most of my creations that are scrumptious but make me laugh when I look at them.  These are one such recipe.

I’d suggest serving these as a dinner side as they’re rather savory (they sort of remind me of a cornbread).  They’re really dense and chewy, slightly sweet and with a light and crusty top.  I had made some peach jam to pipe inside of them but they were so dense I couldn’t pipe it in!  So I slathered a bit of lemon curd on and they were even more tasty.

And, these are gluten and dairy FREE!  So there.

Here you go.  Baked Potato Cakes.  Swapped.

Ingredients

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 3/4 cup potato flour
  • 1/4 cup starch (I used tapioca, but arrowroot would work too)
  • 1 1/2 cup gluten free flour with xanthan gum
  • 1/2 extra tsp xanthan gum
  • 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1  cup unsweetened milk of choice (I used almond milk)

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly spray 12 muffin tins with cooking spray.
  • Beat eggs in mixer with paddle attachment until slightly frothy.
  • Add sugar and beat until smooth.
  • Slowly add in milk and beat to combine.
  • Add all dry ingredients and beat to combine.
  • Fill 2/3 way up in 12 greased muffin tins.
  • Bake for 18 minutes or until lightly brown on top.

Lemon Poppy Butter Cookies

Lemon Poppy Cookies

This is another version of buttery shortbread cookies I’ve adapted from the Rosewater Lavender Shortbread that went over very well at an event last weekend.  I altered the recipe just a tiny bit – adding fresh lemon juice and poppy seeds and altering the amount of flour, as well as used arrowroot starch instead of cornstarch, which I didn’t have in my apartment (SO nice to be baking in my kitchen again).

These cookies are incredibly easy and only require a few ingredients.  They’re delicate with a buttery crumb, a nice tang and a sweet finish.

Lemon Poppy Butter Cookies

Ingredients

  • 20 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 cup white sugar plus more for dusting
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 cup arrowroot or cornstarch
  • 6 Tbsp lemon juice
  • zest of two lemons
  • 1 Tbsp poppy seeds

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350°.  Line thick baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • In a standing mixer with the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar until fluffy.
  • Add eggs and beat until combined.
  • Add lemon zest and juice, beat to combine.
  • Add starch, 2 cups of flour and poppy seeds.  Beat at medium speed until combined
  • Continue to add flour until the dough comes together into a ball and does not stick.
  • Place dough in refrigerator for 30 minutes or until cool.
  • On a well floured surface, work with the dough 1/4 a batch at a time, lightly kneading flour until smooth and not sticky.
  • Roll into 1/4 inch, cut with cutters and use a spatula to transfer to baking sheets.
  • Dust with sugar.
  • Bake for about 20 minutes, rotating pans halfway, until just browned at edges.
  • Cool on racks completely before storing.

Makes 36 medium cookies.

Notes: This recipe can easily be made gluten free by substituting the flour and arrowroot with a gluten-free proportion of 1 cup white rice flour, 1/2 cup quinoa flour, 1/2 cup arrowroot, 2 Tbsp tapioca starch and 2 tsp xanthan gum.  This is the mix I have on hand for cookies, making enough for several recipes at once.

Rosewater Lavender Shortbread

When traveling to perform, I get to glimpse into the lives and the vibes of different homes and cities. I’m currently performing in The Enchanted April at the Hampton Theatre Company and living in the director and producer’s peaceful, beautiful house right on the bay. It’s filled with plants and artwork from all over the world.  I take their dog, Mia, on morning walks past fields of flowers and houses with perfectly manicured laws.  From my attic suite (which makes me feel a little Louisa May Alcott as I write and draw), I can see water. When I open the window, the scent of flowers fills the rooms.

I feel extremely fulfilled from working with this character and this incredible cast, who have been so warm in welcoming me into their lives. And with some time to spare during the day (with rehearsals coming to a close), I’m baking some cookies for concessions. I couldn’t quite put a gluten-free, allergy-friendly cookie out there (both to limit costs and appeal to the appetite of this particular audience), but knew my contribution had to be something special.

The show is about four women who escape from their troubles in rainy London to a castle in Italy, where “in April it is simply a mass of flowers” as “bushels and bushels of wisteria” flank the terraces.  Eventually, they all find their happy endings, their hearts warmed by the Italian sunshine, the “unusually fresh” sea air and facing their demons amongst the company of strangers who soon become friends.

So my contribution is a traditional English shortbread cookie, laced with rosewater and dried lavender.  Simple ingredients, a little time and patience, and a beautiful, garden-scented result.

Rosewater Lavender Shortbread

Ingredients

  • 20 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened (I used Kerry Gold for the higher fat content)
  • 1 cup white sugar plus more for dusting
  • 2 eggs (plus egg whites for brushing)
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 cup cornstarch
  • 2 scant Tbsp dried lavender flowers
  • 3 scant Tbsp rosewater

Directions

  • With a hand mixer (or in a food processor) beat butter and sugar until smooth and fluffy, about two minutes.
  • Add eggs and blend to combine.
  • Add flour, cornstarch, lavender and rosewater and mix just until a dough ball forms.
  • Remove from mixer, separate into two balls and flatten into disks.  Wrap in plastic and put in refrigerator for at least one hour.
  • Preheat oven to 350°
  • Line baking sheets with parchment paper and flour work surface.
  • If the dough is still too soft, knead in a little more flour.
  • Roll each disk into 1/4 inch thickness.  Cut into desired shapes (I made both 1 1/2 inch and 2 inch cookies with success, both with round and fluted cutters.)
  • Use a spatula to transfer to lined sheets, wash lightly with egg white and sprinkle with sugar.
  • Bake for 15-20 minutes (depending on size), switching racks halfway through baking, until slightly golden at edges.

Notes: I made two sizes (one to sell and smaller ones with the extra dough).  Other than rolling the smaller size a bit thinner and baking for a shorter amount of time, they came out with equally beautiful results.  The pictures above are of the larger ones that I brushed with egg white before sanding with sugar.  The picture below shows the smaller cookies that weren’t brushed.  To keep with the traditional sheen of a shortbread, I think from now on I will not egg wash the cookies before baking.

Smaller version of Rosewater Lavender Shortbread

My (Broken) Heart in a Pie

(Broken) Heart Pie

Broken hearts are messy.  As is this (Broken) Heart Pie.  In my mind my submission for Pietopia’s friendly competition which asks “what does your life taste like, in a pie?” was a bit more elegant, a bit more pulled together.  But I guess that’s the thing about a broken heart in a dusty kitchen.  Things aren’t always going to come out the way you had hoped.  And that’s okay.  Just like I will be.

So, “what does my life taste like, in a pie?” 

Red fruits, lots of them; rich and luscious and sweet and syrupy.  Candied nuts.  Ginger.  Cinnamon.  Molasses.  Warm flavors.  All things ripe and sweet and full of color and bursting with love.  For as much as my heart is very much broken, it is still bursting with love.  Both for the person who broke it, and for myself.  I’ve never been in such a humbled position.

So, the creation.  I decided to cut myself some slack and not make homemade ginger molasses cookies, as I’m not in my apartment with my arsenal of tools.  I picked up a box of Ginger Cookies with Sliced Almonds from Pamela’s Products.  They’re very moist and gluten and dairy free, so all I had to do was crush them, mix them with about 3 Tbsp of melted unsalted butter, press into a pie plate and bake for a bit.  I should have bought two boxes, to make a fuller crust, or gotten off my tush and made a pie crust as I have dozens for times before.  But again, dusty.  So the crust only covers the bottom and slightly up the sides.

I guess this is more like a (Broken) Heart Cobbler.  Same difference.

The recipe for the filling is below, and I suggest your favorite sweet crust – using a ginger snap or molasses cookie seems to suit these fruits perfectly.  And because of the cookies I used this pie was gluten-free.  And had I used Earth Balance instead of the butter in the crust, it’d be dairy-free too.

While I only had a small bite of the final product, I can promise you this pie (cobbler, whatever), is very luscious, very sweet, and almost sanguine.  The cast* gobbled it down after our run-through tonight and seemed pleased, saying they were fortified with the fruit and nut combination, and it disappeared quickly.

I didn’t tell them the name: (Broken) Heart Pie.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups fresh cherries, pitted
  • 1 1/2 cup fresh, sliced strawberries
  • 1 cup fresh raspberries, whole
  • 1/2 cup dried, unsweetened cherries
  • 1/2 cup candied almonds (I used sweet cinnamon almonds roasted from Whole Foods, but here’s a solid recipe from Food.com).
  • 1/2 cup sugar, honey or some form of sweetener
  • 4 Tbsp cornstarch, tapioca starch or arrowroot
  • 1 pie crust of choice

Directions

  • Prepare whichever pie crust you prefer, and blind-bake it (bake it without anything in it) until done.  Remove from heat while you prepare the filling.
  • Place the pitted cherries in a large, preferably non-stick pot or dutch oven.  Bring to medium heat and allow some of the cherry juices to reduce, around five minutes.
  • Add the raspberries and strawberries, and continue to cook until the mixture first bubbles with juice, and then begins to reduce, about 8 minutes.  You want the mixture to still have some juice, but not so much that it’s overwhelming the fruit.
  • Remove from heat.
  • Whisk together the sugar and starch, and pour over fruit.  Mix thoroughly until incorporated (if you’re using honey, add that first and mix in, and then the starch).
  • Return to low heat and continue stirring gently until the mixture thickens.
  • Remove from heat and allow to cool.
  • When almost cool, stir in dried cherries and almonds.
  • Fill crust.
  • Set in the refrigerator until completely chilled before serving.

*Shameless plug: I’m performing in Enchanted April at the Hampton Theater Company, running from May 26th to June 12th in Quogue, New York.  If you’re near the Hamptons, please come check it out. It’s a darling show with a lot of heart, and some really challenging and fulfilling moments for me onstage.  And I’ll be selling garden shortbread cookies at the concessions.

Insanely Healthy Sweet Potato Flax Muffins

Insanely yummy, healthy Sweet Potato Flax Muffins

Yesterday morning I awoke to Autumn, not Spring, dripping its way down my New York City windows.  It was chilly, much more so than I’d want for a May morning. And though I had very little time to get a bunch of stuff done before yet another commute east for rehearsal, I found myself craving something grainy and warm.

And luckily there’s always time for… muffins!I love making muffins because of how easy and versatile they are.  I obviously wasn’t going to go out to get any ingredients, and I didn’t have an apples or rotting bananas on hand.  So I scoured my pantry and found an old can of sweet potato puree left over from my waffle experimentation.

Voila!  Naturally gluten-free, these muffins are chock full of fiber with flax seed meal, have a little boost of protein with quinoa flour and contain no processed white sugar.  You can also easily make them dairy free (directions below).  They’re moist and dense, but not very sweet.  Because of this you can toast one up for breakfast or serve as a dinner “roll”.  If you need them sweeter, I suggest slathering with some jam or dunking in maple syrup or honey.  Butter is also delightful… mmmmmmm…

Yields 12 insanely delicious muffins

Ingredients

  • 1 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/2 cup ground flax meal (not flax seeds)
  • 1/2 cup quinoa flour
  • 1/2 cup arrowroot or potato starch
  • 2 Tbsp tapioca starch
  • 1 tsp xanthan gum
  • 2 tsps baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
  • 1 cup sweet potato puree
  • 4 Tbsp butter or Earth Balance, melted
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk, soy or cow’s milk
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 400°.
  • Line 12 muffin tins with liners or spray with cooking spray.
  • In a large bowl, whisk all dry ingredients until thoroughly incorporated.
  • In a smaller bowl, mix eggs, sweet potato puree, maple syrup, butter and milk thoroughly until smooth.
  • Fold the wet ingredients into the dry until just incorporated and a bit lumpy.
  • Fill evenly into tins and smooth with a spoon.
  • Bake for 22-25 minutes or until slightly browned on top.

Yields 12 muffins.

For nutritional info please go to this recipe on CookEatShare.

Yummy, moist and slightly sweet Sweet Potato Flax Muffins

Recipe is loosely based on one by Michelle at TasteAsYouGo.  Please support her blog!

Caramel Apple Cake Pops (gluten-free!)

Caramel Apple Cake Pops

This is my first recipe post joining Christianna and a delightful crew of bloggers for the Burwell General Store Recipe Swap!  The premise is that bakers/bloggers take a recipe that Christianna passes along and, changing at least three things about the recipe, adapts to their whim and fancy.  Fun, right?!?!  I’ve enjoyed many happy moments paging between the incredible foodies and they’re takes on an old, homey recipe.  It’s just inspiring to see how imaginative people who truly love food can be.  Please check them out at Burwell General Store!

This month’s recipe: Ozarkian Taffy Apples

The caramel apples I remember from my youth were sticky and delightfully, sickeningly sweet; a rare treat reserved for fairs and trips up north to quiet New England towns during the hot summer.

But now I’m an adult.  Living with gluten and dairy allergies, hypoglycemia and a waistline that has started getting smushy since this Dusty Baker thing entered my life!  For the sake of my digestive health, the way my body feels and how I feel in it, I needed to develop a recipe I can feel confident in.  And I did!

Caramel Apple Cake pops!! I’ve seen these floating around the internet food world and, of course, at Starbucks.  They look like a nap to me (as in, if I ever ate one I’d probably clean every apartment in my building, write a novel and then crash for two weeks in exhaustion).  But they’re adorable.  So, I made a healthier cousin to the caramel apple that retains the yummy-tastiness and the visual appeal.  Gluten-free, dairy-free, white-sugar-free, and delicious.

I used my gluten-free cake flour blend because (a) it’s blended already! and (b) it has a lot of starch so will hold together well and support a good amount of moisture.  If you don’t have the time or know-how to blend your own flours, use an already mixed blend like Bob’s Red Mill or King Arthur and simply add 1/2 tsp xanthan gum per cup of flour you use.

To cut down on the fat of basic apple bread/cake recipes, I used apple sauce instead of oil which provided moisture and upped the apple taste.  And to get rid of the white sugar completely, I used pure maple syrup in the cake and sucanat in the caramel.

Speaking of which: next big problem –  candy coating!!  I’m not good with candy.  I mess up “easy” peanut brittle.  My carob coffee and carob coriander candies definitely are yummy, but they don’t involve thermometers or “soft ball” stages.  And I had vowed against white sugar.   So slowly-caramelized sucanat was the best this Dusty Baker could come up with (made while I clicked my cowboy boots on my crumbling linoleum floors and danced to Michael Franti, Dusty style).

Apple Cake Bread

Honest results? My roommate and I loved the cake.  So much so that, while we enjoyed the pop of the caramel candy crunch, it was the cake that took such precedence that we agreed we just wanted to eat MORE CAKE!  It is incredibly moist, and the sweetness seems rich yet light and not overpowering.  If you choose to make the cake on it’s own, I recommend adding a drizzle of maple syrup on top of the cake while uncooked in the pan, and then swirling it with a fork.  This will give the top a great color and caramelization.

But if you want to continue on in making an adorable, caramel-apple miniature with a sweet crunch, continue with rolling this incredibly mushy bread into a ball and drizzling with sucanat caramel coating.

Oh, and according to the nifty nutrition converter at CookEatShare, these only have 57 calories a pop!! Take that, Starbucks, with your 300 calorie woppers!  Thank DOG I didn’t know that when they were sitting in my kitchen!

Caramel Apple Cake Pops

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups chopped apples (I used one Granny Smith and one Braeburn, which came out to a little more than two cups once they had been peeled, cored and chopped)
  • 2 1/2 cups gluten-free cake flour
  • 1/4 cup ground flax seed meal
  • 1/4 cup finely ground almond flour
  • 1 Tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup apple sauce
  • 3/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 cup sucanat
  • 4 Tbsp boiling water
  • 1/2 cup finely ground walnuts (optional)
  • 18 candy sticks
  • A foam block or other way to keep the pops upright while cooling

Directions: Cake

  • Preheat the oven to 350°
  • In a large bowl, whisk together your flour, flax, almond flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  • In a small bowl, whisk the eggs thoroughly until creamy.  Add the apple sauce and maple syrup and whisk to blend thoroughly.
  • Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix with a fork or spatula to combine.
  • Fold in the apples.
  • Bake in a lightly greased loaf pan for 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  • Cool for 5 minutes in pan, then turn onto wire rack and cool until just slightly warm.

Directions: Assemblage*

  • In a small saucepan over medium/low heat, combine water and sucanat.  Slowly let this melt and combine until it forms a dark syrup.  It should trickle when you pull it from a fork, but in small clumps rather than a stream. This took me about 15 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, cut the cake into chunks in a large bowl and smush with your hands until broken.  Roll into 1 1/2 inch balls and place on a plate.
  • When the caramel is smooth, poke a candy stick into the center of a ball to make an indentation.  Then remove the stick and dip in the caramel, and reinsert.
  • Drizzle the cake pop with caramel and press into nuts, if desired.
  • Repeat until all the pops are assembled, or until you’ve eaten all the mushed up cake in the bowl and then blamed its absence on your roommate’s cat.  Wait, what?

*I’m glad assemblage is a real word

Apple Cake Pops

Check Out the Other Creations From The Recipe Swappers!

  • Lindsay puts amazing honesty and simplicity written into her recipes. She loves Oregon, its ingredients and Portland’s lifestyle, and it shows.
  • Chef Dennis is veteran chef in his own right.  The rest of his fantastic food blog can be seen at morethanamountfull.
  • Mari lives in Oregon wine country and is a budding wine connoisseur.  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, 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, and her first recipe was a BLT-inspired chicken pot pie!
  • Shari is our first International participant!  Writing from down under, we cherish her voice in the swap because she brings the results of additional recipe challenges; the seasons are flipped from where most of us are blogging.
  • 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.
  • The Cake Duchess.  The name says it all, and Lora’s recipes are rock solid, creative, decadent, inspiring.
  • 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.
  • Crissy and Lauren are two recent college graduates who are embracing their passion for all things culinary in the smallest yellow kitchen that ever was.  Their balanced diet of equal parts savory and sweet helps them add a little zest to what they do best!
  • Claire blogs with Texas pride from Dallas. She loves chicken fingers, Law and Order SVU and is left handed.
  • Nay blogs about food at Spicy Living from Portland, Oregon, and joined in on the Lemon Cake swap.  She incorporated lavender and lemon into cupcakes with cream cheese frosting.
  • Cindy, food lover, all-around awesome person and her knowledge about US restaurants is almost encyclopedic. Check out her quirky and fun blog.
  • Sabrina Modelle blogs at The Tomato Tart from the San Francisco bay area, and for her first swap (the Lemon Cake) she made a Brown Sugar Lemon Rosemary Cake with Rosemary Caramel.
  • 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 a saucy Texan with an encyclopedic knowledge of food. She’s published many cookbooks, won many awards, and has been the source of many belly laughs. When she’s not writing books, her latest creations can be found at Everybody Eats News.
  • Tricia is the founder of Pietopia, an annual pie contest that asks “What does your life taste like, in a pie?” and her beautiful work as an eating designer and blogger can be found at Eating Is Art.
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