Category Archives: Baking

Monday Menu: Go Nuts

Almonds, a favorite nut of mine, are rich in plant omega-3 fatty acids; vitamin E; magnesium; fiber; heart-favorable mono- and polyunsaturated fats; phytosterols. But the health benefits are lessened, when if like me, you call peanut m&m’s  protein and eat candied almond by the handful.

Over the holidays, I decided to swap out the store bought for an equally delicious and healthier version of cocoa dusted almonds – sans butter or oil – that still satisfies a salty sweet tooth.


Cinnamon Cocoa Almonds
3 cups of raw almonds
1.5 tbsp of agave syrup
3 tsp of Dutch-processed cocoa
1.5 tsp of cinnamon
.5 tsp of nutmeg
sprinkle of salt

This couldn’t be easier to make or more delicious!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a medium size bowl, combine almonds and all ingredients.  Stir so that almonds are fully coated.  Taste and adjust for a more chocolatey or cinnamon-y flavor.  
Scatter on a parchment paper covered pan.  Bake for 15 minutes.  Remove from oven; almonds will have a glossy sheen and feel slightly sticky.  Sprinkle with salt and allow to cool for approximately 5 minutes.

Thanksgiving Recipes: The Best of the Web

Thanksgiving is just over two short weeks away and what better time to try new recipes than a holiday that is almost entirely focused on food?

We spend with a casual feast and a huge crowd of family and friends. Everyone signs on to bring a dish or many dishes and just as quickly as they are put out they starts to disappear.

In years past I have always left the cooking to my mom, but this year I am excited to try some new recipes.
Here are some of my favorites:


Source (L-R): Caramel apples, Roasted Squash, Biscotti, Meatballs, Hand Pies, Brussel Sprouts, Cauliflower

I love the idea of mixing savory with sweet, and the fall produce that is featured during Thanksgiving is a perfect opportunity.

I love the saltiness of cheddar paired with a crisp apple, the tartness of cranberries with a perfectly seasoned turkey, fresh aromatic herbs with the depth of autumn squash.

What are your Thanksgiving favorite recipes?

Whether you’re ordering in take-out Chinese, have a Whole Foods Thanksgiving, or hostessing like Martha, I hope you have a delicious, simple and stress free Thanksgiving!

Gluten Free Double Chocolate Orange Biscotti

If we’re being honest, any time of the year is a good time for cookies, but the start of Fall seems like an especially good time for cookies that are meant to enjoyed with a cup of coffee, tea, or hot cocoa.

This little cookie is inspired by the season and full of flavor, so really 1 or 2 (or 3 or 4) is enough.

Gluten Free Double Chocolate Orange Biscotti
1 cup blanched almond flour
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 tablespoon GF corn starch
1/4 teaspoon of baking soda
1/8 teaspoon of Kosher salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon of agave nectar
1 tablespoon of fresh orange juice
1/8 cup dark chocolate chips
1/8 cup pistachio nuts
1/4 teaspoon orange zest
Sprinkle of sugar
Set oven to 350 degrees
In the bowl of a food processor combine the almond flour, cocoa powder, corn starch, baking soda and salt.  The ingredients will pulse to be even finer and fully integrated.
Then add the orange juice and the agave syrup and pulse again until the ingredients start to form together into a ball. (Helpful hint: scrape with a spoon the batter away from the edges).  Add the pistachio nuts, the chocolate chips and orange zest and pulse one more time.
Pour all of the ingredients onto a cookie sheet with parchment paper.  Use your hands, or the parchment paper to guide the dough into a loaf shape, about an inch tall and 8-10″ long.  Bake in the oven for 15 minutes at 350 degrees.
After 15 minutes, remove the pan from the oven and allow to cool – for about 15 minutes.  Then with a sharp knife cut the loaf in a diagonal and if you’d a little extra sweetness, sprinkle with sugar.  Then separate the slices cookies by a few millimeters and rebake for another 15 minutes at 300 degrees.
Finally, you know what to do… eat and enjoy!

Fig Season

Figs are funny kind of thing, well, not in the ha ha sense, but funny in the way that I never really knew what they were or what they tasted like.  I was definitely not a Fig Newton kind of kid, not fun enough.  But, now, my, oh, my – figs are such lovely delectable bites.

They’re delicious, not too sweet, full of flavor and pretty rich for a fruit, and right now they are in season… So, hello, don’t wait around too long, go and find some or make a delightful little snack – after finishing the blog 🙂

Some fig inspiration:

How amazing would homemade jam be?  Then you could make your own homemade Fig Newtons!

Fig Jam from Delicious Shots

Fig and Pig, Pig and Fig!  Open faced fig and prosciutto sandwich?  Molto bene!

Italian Fig Sandwich from Spoon Fork Bacon

Ooey, gooey cheese and drippy, sweet figs.  Seriously, this is the kind of “snack” I’d eat by the spoonful.  Is that bad?

Brie with Figs and Almonds the Enchanted Cook

This recipe is happening!  Gluten free and figgy!

Fig and Quinoa Cupcakes from The Cupcake Blog

The piece de resistance!  How stunning is this cake?  What a beautiful finale this would be for a dinner party.

Fig, Mascarpone and Pistachio Tart from Desserts for Breakfast

Have you tried figs, would you?  Are you intimidated by this “strange fruit”?

Some figgy history, from Serious Eats: The fig tree was a common theme in the Bible, and the Egyptians considered figs to be sacred, often burying the dead with baskets of figs. In ancient Greece, Plato wrote that athletes were fed figs to make them stronger. Fig culture spread to the northern Mediterranean and Adriatic shores until it reached southern Italy, and then the rest of Europe. When the Spanish planted figs in Mexico, and the Franciscan monks moved northward with pockets full of figs–that’s when they came to the States.

Gluten Free Honey Apple Bread

I have a serious love for apples, and not just any old kind, my personal favorite is Honeycrisp apples.  They are a little tart, a lot of sweet, and only available in the fall.

Well, what do you know… it’s the fall and it’s Rosh Hashanah time and so there is barely a time that’s better for apples and honey than right now.

This easy recipe is great to have a round during a long holiday weekend, or to use up your favorite apples.

Gluten Free Honey Apple Bread
In a small bowl
2 cups Gluten Free Flour (Namaste Brand)
2 tbsp ground flax seeds
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
In a large bowl
1/2 cup of canola oil
1 apple sauce cup, about 4 oz.
2/3 cup of honey
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cup of chopped apple, or about 1 large apple (Honeycrisp) – I like it really apple-y
Sprinkle of cinnamon and raw sugar

In a small  bowl sift the dry ingredients and set aside.

In a large bowl, mix with a whisk the oil, honey and apple sauce.  Here’s a tip first pour the oil, then when you pour the honey out of the same measuring cup it will slide right out.  When mixing you may need to give it a little muscle to break down the stickiness of the honey and to have a smooth liquid base.  Then add the vanilla and eggs.  Mix until fully combined.

Then slowly combine the dry ingredients into the wet.

When the two sets of ingredients are fully incorporated add the chopped apples and give it a good stir so that the apples get covered in batter.

Pour the batter into an oiled 9 x 5 pan, and bake for 55 – 60 minutes at 325 degrees.

This little bread isn’t too sweet and so it makes for a great breakfast or snack.  Try it warm with some butter, or cheese, or nut spread.


Gluten Free Apple Muffins

Easy holiday, or anytime recipe, no dairy, no gluten, no sugar, no mixer!

Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, is quickly approaching and I am excited for the many baking opportunities.  It is customary to wish people a “Sweet New Year” and even more customary to enjoy the sweetness of the season’s bounty of fruits, particularly apples, with honey.

Frankly, I could eat apples and honey any time of day or year, but I realize that to snack or travel too far with this sweet snack can become a bit of a sticky situation.  So, instead, we have muffins.

Gluten Free Apple Muffins
1 1/2 cups of GF all purpose flour (Namaste brand)
1/2 cup of GF Oats
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon of Kosher salt
1/2 cup canola oil
2 eggs
2 4oz. containers of unsweetened apple sauce
1/2 cup of agave syrup
1 large (Braeburn) apple grated
1/4 apple chopped and cinnamon for garnish
Set oven to 325 degrees

In a medium size bowl mix the flour, oatmeal, baking soda and cinnamon and salt.

In a separate larger bowl mix the canola oil, agave syrup, and vanilla extract.  Add to that the eggs and whisk by hand.  Then add the apple sauce and continue to mix.

Then using a box grater, grate a large apple into the wet ingredients.  I used a Braeburn apple, which has a sweet but tart flavor, but you could use whatever kind of apple you most prefer.  Fold the grated apple into the wet ingredients.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet and continue to stir, stopping when the dry ingredients are completely incorporated and before you over mix.

Scoop large spoonfuls into muffin liners and then you can add slivers of chopped apples and a sprinkle of cinnamon to the top.  The apple sliver remind me of shark fins, but taste delicious, and serves as a hint of all the amazing apple goodness inside.

Bake for 25 minutes and then enjoy.  These are delicious alone, or with a pad of butter, smear of almond butter, or maybe even a slice of sharp cheddar.

This will be the first of many sweet things as we move into fall!


Triple Chocolate Cupcakes – Gluten Free/Dairy Free

Sometimes you just have to do your sweet tooth a favor, and by favor, I obviously mean indulge its cravings and drown it out in chocolate.  That’s pretty much the deal with anything that is triple chocolate, like these triple chocolate cupcakes.  I made them for a family gathering, because I wanted to accommodate everyone’s dietary restrictions, even if cupcakes typically fall outside of a diet.  And, the beauty of these cupcakes is that, even though they are dairy and gluten free, they are awesome!

Triple Chocolate Cupcakes
adapted from Elana’s Pantry, which is an amazing resource for anyone exploring GF baking


¼ cup coconut flour
¼ cup cocoa powder
¼ cup vegan chocolate chips
¼ teaspoon kosher sea salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
3 eggs
¼ cup canola oil
½ cup agave nectar
Set oven to 375 degrees

Here’s the thing, with gluten free baking you might come across ingredients that seem a little “ehh” or just plain weird.  Frankly that is how I felt about the coconut flour, mainly because the smell and taste of coconut reminds me of a bottle of Banana Boat, but this high in fiber flour has no such smell or taste. So fear not!

Moving on… In a medium size bowl combine the coconut flour and coca powder, salt and baking soda.

In a separate and larger bowl, blend the oil, eggs and agave.  Then slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet, and add the chocolate chips.

Scoop about 1/4 cup of batter into muffin wrappers and bake in a 375 degree oven for 20 minutes.  Check with a toothpick to make sure they are done and fully baked.

While the beautiful and very chocolatey cupcakes are cooling, get to work on the frosting.

Vegan Chocolate Frosting


3/4 cup dairy-free spread (Earth-Balance is also soy-free)
2 2/3 cups powdered sugar
6 tbs unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp vanilla extract

In a medium sized bowl mix the coca powder, and powdered sugar over the spread with a spoon.  Add the vanilla and then use a blender to fully incorporate and achieve the soft, whipped consistency of butter cream, you know without the butter.

Pour yourself a big, BIG glass of milk/soy milk/rice milk/almond milk and enjoy!

Hungry for the Weekend

My mom is here this weekend and so, like whenever someone visits from out of town, we will be doing a lot of eating at restaurants.  It can be a lot of fun to try new places, sample new dishes, and indulge in flavors I am unfamiliar with.

What is interesting about food, is how closely it is tied to family.  I suspect, that while walking through the Farmer’s Market, or Eastern Market, or when sitting down for brunch, we’ll likely talk about memories that are tied to food, and create some new ones at the same time.

This week’s Hungry for the Weekend features some food inspiration and some food for thought.

Bon Appetit

If you, like me, are hungry for the weekend please, enjoy these links:

Have a delicious weekend!

Gluten free Blueberry Crumble

We are having a major blueberry moment in our house.  Yesterday we went through two pints of blueberries.  That is a lot, FYI.  Luckily for us, blueberries are like natural vitamins for your body when you consider their health benefits: packed with cancer-fighting, anti-aging, eyesight-saving and disease-fighting antioxidants.

So, last weekend when we were having a BBQ Birthday party and my sister-in-law’s house I went for the perfect summer dessert, blueberry crumble, made gluten free and dairy free to accommodate everyone’s needs.

Ingredients: Blueberries, Lemon Juice, Sugar, Gluten Free Flour Mix

2-3 pints of blueberries
1/4 lemon, squeezed
1 tbsp corn starch
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 brown sugar
1 egg
1 cup gluten free flour mix
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp baking soda
4 tbsp dairy free “butter spread”
*Extra butter for pan

In a large bowl wash and rinse all of the blueberries, and keep an eye out for any pesky stems.  Shake to dry and then add the lemon juice, sugars and cornstarch.

Gently mix the berries and sugars and allow it to set for a few minutes.  The juice will begin to form, and the cornstarch will take effect to keep it from getting too thin.

After about 15 minutes pour the blueberries into a “buttered” pie dish and use the now empty bowl to prepare the crumble.  (Don’t bother washing the bowl, there is some goodness stuck to the sides!)

With your rings off, mix with your hands the flours, sugars, and egg.  The mix should be “crumbly” and hold a small shape if you were to pack it with your fingers.

Pour the topping on top of the blueberries, leaving about a half inch of blueberries at the edges.  Dot the top with small pieces of “butter”.

Bake in 350 degree oven for 40 minutes, or until the top is evenly browned and the blueberries’ juice is bubbling and bright.

Sooo good!

Share this with friends, family, or eat it all by yourself – this is a perfect, healthy forkful of summer in every bite!

Hungry for the Weekend

It is totally feeling like summer in these parts, which is to say, it is hot and in the afternoon it rains and then becomes shockingly humid.  But summer also means the arrival of the cookout, the barbecue, the appointing of the Grill King.

I am missing my family’s Father’s Day celebration, which makes me more than a little sad, but I know I can share a burger and a dog with dad anytime – and for that I am very grateful.

American Gastronomy Map by LucyLovesThis via Etsy

This week’s Hungry for the Weekend features lots of local (to DC) food events, and a good sampling of food humor and inspiration.

If you, like me, are hungry for the weekend please, enjoy these links:

Have a delicious weekend!