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”

Pavlovas: Mango + Coconut & Caramel Banana

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Lesson yesterday: don’t make assumptions or let anticipation hold you back.

My lesson of course comes from food, it’s part of my self-expression.

I’ve told myself for a long time I don’t like meringue. And although I was excited to make these pavlovas today, it was not because I wanted to eat one but because I thought they were beautiful.

My anticipation was that I wasn’t going to like them. How often do we do this? Judge something/someone/an experience before we try it? I can think of countless instances in my life where I’ve done this, where I have held off on something because of my anticaption of how something was going to taste or feel or how a conversation may go. It is very often self inflicted and limiting.

Because these were delicious and my anticipating thoughts would have denied me of trying and enjoying this. Just as anticipating thoughts can hold us back from our dreams and potential. Or we deny ourselves friendships and connections because we are quick to judge or have a pre-conceived notion of how someone might be.

Sometimes we just have to stop anticipating and step fully into and embrace what is happening.

What made these so good?

I think the texture, I can’t even fully describe it, plus the flavor of the maple sugar, it all was just amazing.

IMAG4118Have fun. Play around. Try out different flavor profiles. Like:

Lemon Curd + Fresh Blueberries

Chocolate Ganache + Raspberries

Cherries + Toasted Almond Slivers

Caramel Apple

Lavender Blackberry

Get Creative!

Paleo Pavlovas

Pavlovas

  • 5 oz. egg whites (about 4 eggs)
  • 1 cup maple sugar
  • 1 tbsp tapioca flour
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar

Whipped Cream: 

  • 1 can coconut milk (refrigerated overnight)
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Topping: 

  • Mango Curd (click the link for recipe) +
  • Toasted Coconut Flakes (bake @ 350 for 5 to 10 minutes)
  • Honey Fried Bananas (cook in a skillet, drizzle with honey, brown) +
  • Paleo Caramel

IMAG4114Let’s Make it happen: 

Separate eggs while cold, then allow them to hang out until they reach room temperature.

Preheat oven to 300.

Beat the egg whites on high. Once peaks start to form, slowly add in the maple sugar, a little at a time. Keep beating until it is glossy and the meringue doesn’t feel gritty to the touch. Add the vanilla and tapioca flour. Mix briefly, just until incorporated.

Lay a piece of parchment down on a baking sheet. I used an angled spatula to make four different meringues. I smoothed each into a circle. Then put another layer on top and smooth it out, as well as building it up on the sides to make a well in the center (so the topping could fit in). I repeated this with all four.

Place in the oven and bake at 225 for an hour and a half. Turn the oven off. Leave the pavlovas in the oven to cool down.

While they were baking I made the whip. Simply remove the solids from the coconut milk and beat with vanilla and honey.

Make the mango curd. Toast some coconut.

Fry up the bananas. Make caramel.

Now you are ready to assemble!

Dollop whip cream into the center of each. On two of them, smear mango curd and sprinkle on some toasted coconut. On the remaining two, drizzle caramel, layer on bananas, drizzle a little more caramel.

Just like that you’re ready! Eat and enjoy! Have fun

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Gluten-Free Samoa Brownies

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Last of the brownies I dressed up the other day!

First I started with plain old brownies, nice and gluten-free (I made them with coconut flour). Next I made caramel and topped them off with that. Finally I added toasted coconut, drizzled some chocolate and made Samoa ones.

I will confess, as a child I loved some girl scout cookies. My favorite? Hands down my favorites were Samoa. Actually I think they were the only ones I ate, quite sure I refused to eat any other kinds. Regardless they were good and I was satisfied.

Now I obviously don’t eat girl scout cookies, but that doesn’t mean, I can’t use their tasty cookies as inspiration, right?

Absolutely! After already making caramel, these were a breeze to make and assemble. If I were to do these over, I could dip the bottoms of the brownies in melted chocolate. Make them a little more legit.

And I’ll admit I am also a weirdo on chocolate. I like chocolate in candy and that’s about it typically. I hate chocolate cake (actually I dislike all cake, it’s never been my thing, note as a child my granny made me a cherry cheesecake on my birthday instead of cake). I don’t really like chocolate ice cream. And I am not really a fan of brownies, which is why I finally figured out is the reason I’ve never posted any. Regardless, I was on a mission. And these were freaking amazing, but I probably could have just nibbled on the coconut caramel. I love toasted coconut. Zach had me put some on a banana for him. I personally would dip an apple in some. Feel free to play with and use the coconut caramel in other areas.

Gluten-Free Samoa Brownies Continue reading “Gluten-Free Samoa Brownies”

Salted Caramel Gluten-Free Brownies

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Happy Tuesday Beautiful People!

Thank you for tuning into the blog today. Yesterday I shared a post on brownies. My first ever brownie recipe on this website. I couldn’t just do one small post. Or just make plain old brownies. I had to dress some of them up.

So I kept some to make ice cream with. I made two with salted caramel (what you’re experiencing right now) and two surprise ones (coming Thursday). I also did a brownie in a mug (coming Friday).

There are so many ways to doctor up your brownies. I was contemplating whipping up a goat cheese cream cheese frosting, folded in with Brittany style oreos, you know Cookies N’Cream brownies. I also thought of making a goat cheese blend to swirl in with blackberries. But I am a caramel girl at heart. I’ll admit, I have gone round and round with making it. Half the time it works out. Half the time I get burnt (and I do mean physically as well, I’ve taken some knarly burns from hot caramel). This caramel was easy and turned out like a dream. I was over-the-moon happy with the results.

Sprinkle a little sea salt over the top. What more could you want?

I made the caramel afterwards, otherwise, I would have played with swirling some into the brownie batter. You filling it. If you want to try, give it a go. Pour in half the batter. drizzle in caramel. Pour on the other half of the brownie batter.

These were excellent with the coconut flour, but I would be interested to see them with almond flour. If you need dairy-free, swap the butter for coconut oil, I had more butter on hand than oil.

Be warned: these are rich! You do not need very much.

IMAG3665Salted Caramel Gluten-Free Brownies Continue reading “Salted Caramel Gluten-Free Brownies”

Caramel Pear Cheesecake

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Normally I am an apple girl. The other day, while I was conceptualizing my macadamia nut pie, I also had a yearning to make a cheesecake. But I always do apple, why not pears. Why not a caramel pear.

This turned out super rich and decadent. My only tweak would be to do a thicker cheesecake layer. Which I have adjusted for here. But Bob and I both voted that this was absolutely delicious, especially with the nut crust.

Crust:

  • 1 1/2 pecans
  • 2 tbsp butter or ghee or coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

Cheesecake Filling: Continue reading “Caramel Pear Cheesecake”

Caramel Apple Pizza

1525376_10101096367403203_7238498976344723174_nOkay so obviously change is in the air. It is October. The leaves are beginning to change. The temperatures are dropping. Last week we had a rad eclipse. Symbolism everywhere. Do we embrace the change or fight it?

“I feel like change, even if it is by choice, is like when I went skydiving. That moment in the doorway. Exhilarating and the full range of emotions. Fear, anticipation, nervous excitement. You can stand there but at some point you have to leap. I remember standing with my eyes closed and then I called myself out for being a chicken shit and opened them to experience the jump. You may be resistant to go to the door. But at some point you will have to make the leap. What if I fall? But what If I fly/soar type stuff. How do you embrace change? Keep your eyes open and soar into the unknown. Jump” ~Me on Facebook

New hair pre-contacts
New hair pre-contacts

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Turtle Cheesecake

I think this is the last cheesecake I am going to post, as I’ve posted many (and I even skipped the Chocolate Strawberry one)!

I notice if I make one, then someone else will see it. Or the people I give it to (minus Tab who is going to just savor it herself), share it with others. Or I will post it and people I know will see. See the cascading, snow ball effect? That way I end up (which I already have), making a bunch.

Plus me being the uber creative spirit/unbelievably stubborn person that I am, I can’t just make the same one. Each time I want to make a different variety. So when my friend Heather commented on one of my photos, I was devoted to making her one. So initially I think: what would I want to eat. Note my favorite cheesecake (actually my favorite food) is cherry. But my instinct was turtle. Growing up I loved some caramel. I remember one year my family was obsessed with the Ritter’s Frozen Custard we got in town (I come from a family of ice cream fanatics) and for my birthday I got a Turtle Ice Cream Cheesecake. Holy decadence!

So I set out to make the ultimate, tasty turtle cheesecake. The caramel is a link to the Urban Poser. She has created the best caramel sauce period, so click the link and make it, I am not going to mess with perfection.

Turtle Cheesecake

Crust:

  • 1 1/2 cups pecans
  • 1/8 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil or ghee

Continue reading “Turtle Cheesecake”