Gluten-Free Vegan Lemon Lavender Cookies

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Happy Thursday you all! Hope you are having a wonderful week as we gear up towards the Holidays coming up. This is a wonderful time of year to make cookies. I LOVE lemon. Like I could just nibble on little bits of lemon curd. I recently paired lemon with some blueberries, great combination. I also really enjoy lemon with lavender. The key is to have just the perfect amount of lavender. You don’t want it to be too in your face. Or too florally, like you are eating flowers. You want just a touch, so people are intrigued. Hmm… what’s the extra flavor I’m getting? We’re going for curiosity, not disgust.

These cookies are delicious on their own, they are nice and soft, but I added a little glaze to make them a little more festive and to get a tinge more lemon taste. SO good. It is very refreshing. They could be a nice little food gift if you know someone who needs vegan or gluten-free eats.

However, I was designing this recipe for someone interested in collaborating on vegan cookies. They were too soft for freezing or shipping, so they didn’t fit the bill on that. But they are my favorite vegan cookie I made (granted I really enjoyed the ones with white chocolate again- I definitely prefer white chocolate over chocolate). This cookie base could also be used for an assortment of other flavors. Maybe switch the lemon for orange, fold in a few cranberries (that’s a wonderful flavor combo for this season). Or maybe switch the lavender for the thyme and keep the lemon. Or maybe switch the lemon for lime and add some white chocolate. Who knows there are all kinds of different flavors you could do and you could rotate them throughout the year seasonally. Maybe freeze-dried raspberries and white chocolate. Who knows. Get creative with it. Use the flavors YOU like.

Lemon Lavender Vegan Gluten-Free Cookies Continue reading “Gluten-Free Vegan Lemon Lavender Cookies”

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Naked Banana Toffee Crunch Cake

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Man I have been completely slacking on my posting lately. Evidence being that I made this cake in October for Zach. I have been baking more than I’ve been making new recipes or taking pictures. But I do have some stocked up to share with you. Beginning here.

I have the most amazing husband (see the bearded, Bob Ross-ish haired handsome man above). This cake I made for him. He doesn’t really do celebrating or holidays, his birthday included. However, he entertains me and lets me bake for him anyways (so long as I made one for his frat boys too, which I did). His favorite flavor: banana. I had seen a cinnamon frosting and thought that sounded delicious (recipe adapted from Country Cleaver). I had also recently made my first batch of coffee toffee and had some leftover. So I just sprinkled a little of that over the top. Which was the perfect addition and his favorite part.

I would vote it my favorite gluten-free cake I’ve ever made (although lately I made a sweet potato-molasses-cake which I will be posting). I’ve always focused on making them designed pretty and never really made very many layered cakes. My dear husband sliced this cake for me, so that it had beautiful layers. A perfect amount of frosting to cake each bite.

It was delicious and hope that you all like it too!

20171020_181748.jpg Continue reading “Naked Banana Toffee Crunch Cake”

Gluten-Free Pita Bread

20170928_182335.jpgIt has been on my list to make pita bread for some time.

I think it may have  started when Zach and I lived in Champaign. They have a plethora of restaurants, which meant we pretty much had the option to eat our way around world cuisines. Zach loved this one restaurant, that we could get chicken swarma at. Chicken swarma is one of Zach’s favorite things. I had no clue what he was talking about, but I tried some anyways, what could it hurt? It was good! But is the usual with us when we eat out, I go ahead and get the bread and give it to Zach. In this instance they served it with pita.

Seed planted.

Then I made some naan bread with butter chicken. I was so happy with the results, I next set my eyes on pita bread.

And a few weeks ago, I finally made some!

I remember as a child my mother would make us pita sandwiches, stuffed with my favorite sandwich things: lettuce, cheese and salami.

So my excitement when they puffed up while baking and actually had a pocket was beyond.

My mind was swirling.

I’m going to make my own chicken swarma finally.

I’m going to make my own sandwiches. What can I fill those pockets with now?

I can make pita chips.

Options. I had options.

And so do you. Go wild with these guys. Continue reading “Gluten-Free Pita Bread”

Gluten-Free Salted Caramel Cupcakes with Macarons

IMG_20170704_130933_124.jpgMonday I wrote about making cupcakes for my cousin’s wedding this upcoming weekend. Last week I made some samples for the 4th. I was a little bit nervous and super excited. Nervous because I’ve never made a cake or cupcakes for a wedding (actually the only things I’ve made for a wedding, were the 9 cheesecakes I made for our wedding reception). Excited to make something for a wedding. nervous because I kept repeating to myself to be delicate and patient while making them. Delicate, graceful. These are not often words I associate with myself. In the kitchen I would describe myself as a beast. I work quickly and efficiently, usually because I have to crank out a bunch of work in not a lot of time. I flow from one thing to the next. So I kept the word delicate in mind. And tomorrow when I make these again I will repeatedly keep telling myself to slow down and take my time.

I wasn’t sure what kind of cupcakes I wanted to make for the wedding. Chocolate was a guarantee, they’re my grandpa’s favorite and they are serving regular chocolate cupcakes at the reception. They’re also serving vanilla and red velvet. My initial idea was to do vanilla but a cupcake with a twist. I just don’t understand the rave for red velvet, it’s chocolate cake with a bunch of food coloring, or at least that’s my perception. And to make one’s that I was satisfied I would have to use beet juice, since I don’t use food coloring, so I vetoed the gluten-free red velvet (sorry).

I searched and searched my Pinterest for some flavor inspiration. I finally settled on salted caramel. I personally love caramel. I love it in my ice cream. I enjoy putting it on or in my pies. I like it in cookies. The list of what I’ll do with caramel is lengthy.

Initially it was a no-brainer to fill the cupcakes with caramel and drizzle some over the icing. It then popped into my mind to make little caramel filled macaron’s for the top. It wasn’t special enough, so I gave myself a big task. Macaron’s are pretty tricky and technical to make. I made them at a bake house I worked at in Champaign. And I was going to make them at home with out molds for them, just free piping them on parchment. They turned out delicious and the groom told me they were the best thing. I mean all the flavor and texture were there, but I felt I maybe over-beat the meringue, as I did not obtain the desired feet. I took note on this and will change it tomorrow.  I am determined to make beautiful little macaron’s.

Again these aren’t Paleo because I am feeding a larger more general audience, I used organic powdered sugar for the macaron’s and the frosting, fill free to change the frosting. I have yet to make a French macaron without the powdered sugar  that I was completely happy with (I’ll put it on my list, I’ve tried with maple sugar and they were ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS, just not technically sound).

These were all gone first and relatively fast once I showed up, so I actually cut the vanilla cupcakes and decided to focus on the Salted Caramel and chocolate. The base is just a vanilla cake though, so you can just forget the caramel and cookies and make plain vanilla cupcakes. Or try another flavored frosting. I really wanted to do a vanilla cupcake filled with lemon curd, topped with blueberry frosting. I didn’t think this would fit everyone’s taste buds, and the other options would be more of a crowd pleaser.

Salted Caramel Cupcakes with Caramel Macarons Continue reading “Gluten-Free Salted Caramel Cupcakes with Macarons”

Gluten-Free Brown Butter Cinnamon Cookies

This beautiful Kitchen Aid has been taunting me for months now! I have a pretty amazing family. Yes I have a big, kind-of-crazy, kind-of-loud, opinionated family. But that is all families. They are also tremendously loyal, loving, generous, creative, their-for-each-other, and just freaking awesome. For our wedding reception my grandparents and my father’s siblings all got me a Kitchen Aid mixer. Not just your run-of-the-mill mixer, but a beautiful golden one. It has been in a box since October. For a baker, this is a major tease. To have such a jewel in my possession, yet unable to use it.

Now why have I not been able to use it? If you are unfamiliar with me or this site, I have been living in a frat house the last few months. We had to break a lease in another city and just last week I moved into a new tiny house (studio apartment) with my wonderful husband. Someday I am sure we will look back at our first year of marriage: moving multiple times, living in a tiny space, traveling, adjusting to married life, changing jobs, and living with a bunch of 20 year old frat boys ALL while we were newlyweds as hilarious.

So now that we finally have our own space, I was excited to unpack and get settled in (we both were, which is probably why we were fully moved and box-free by Saturday). I will admit that this mixer was probably the second box I unloaded. I couldn’t help myself, for so long it had called for me and I had to see what it looked like on the counter………..out of that box.  

Once I got it out though, I was faced with a tough decision: what to make first?

One would think a pie, since it is my slight obsession. But I actually went traditional. It is December after-all, so I went for cookies. Plus it was a beautiful snowy Sunday, I had a bit of a cough that kept me in, rather than playing outside in it. It seemed to be the perfect timing to work on some delicious cookie recipes.

Our apartment filled with the smell of ginger and cinnamon. Which brings me to today’s post. Brown Butter Cinnamon Cookies. I don’t know what it is, but browned butter is freaking delicious. So when I found a recipe, I decided to tweak it. Make it gluten-free, friendly-up the sugars and see what happened. Continue reading “Gluten-Free Brown Butter Cinnamon Cookies”

My Favorite Gluten-Free Pie Recipes

Happy Thursday, wonderful people!

I hope you are all having a marvelous day and week!

I adore making pies. I don’t know what the affinity is, but it started at a young age. I have always been an artist. And now as my art has morphed into pies, there is something about the fluting, topping and flavor creativity that sucks me in.

Last Monday I wrote about refining my vision to make just pizzas and pies. Wednesday I posted my favorite pizza recipes (feel free to click the links to check them out). Today I give you my favorite pie recipes!!!

Continue reading “My Favorite Gluten-Free Pie Recipes”

Carrot Cake Pie

20150804_190911 (1)Last week (and a lot lately) I talked about my quest to let go a little bit more, allow for help, and to collaborate with some truly rad individuals. I have been on a roll! I painted another canvas with my artsy soul-sister Julie. I got invited to contribute some art to an adult coloring book. My sister-in-law booked me for a Neverland mural in the twins’ bedroom. Opportunities and collaboration are in the works and it makes me excited to just think about the potential.

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My collaborating partner Cathy and I at last year’s Farm to Fork Dinner

Sunday I met with the Yogi baker Cathy again so we could work on some more pies for our Farmer’s Market Farm-to-Fork Dinner coming up next week. Last week we met at her house to work on a chocolate avocado pie and the gem featured in today’s post, Carrot Cake Pie. And the past week she came over so we could experiment with a Fig Pistachio Goat Cheese Pie. Yumminess.

Now, however, I have a confession: last week when I went to Cathy’s, my first attempt at this pie was a complete flop. I walked away flustered, embarrassed that me (a baker) made it, and ready to try again. Not doing me best is not an option for me. And what I looked at in the skillet was a chalky mess. Something expected when people think gluten-free. It was not a representation of what I do or how my food taste. I was on a mission. A mission for redemption. When I gave round #2 a go, I could FEEL the difference. What I was creating was going to be drool-worthy. The texture I nailed. The smell while it baked, was divine. And then the ecstasy on my taste-testers faces told me I totally succeeded in my mission. Not to mention, my two-year-old twin nephews couldn’t eat it fast enough either.  Continue reading “Carrot Cake Pie”