Gluten-Free Vegan Lemon Blueberry Cookies

20171206_180748I love lemon. I think I’ve shared that a few times on here. I especially love some lemon curd. I could just nibble on some lemon curd.

I had someone contact me to collaborate on some vegan cookies. Granted gluten-free is my focus, I started brain-storming on cookies that were gourmet, vegan, and gluten-free. My initial idea was lemon lavender with white chocolate. One I prefer white chocolate over chocolate and I have finally found a white chocolate recipe that works really well. Plus I have really liked baking with lavender the last ten years. If used properly, it’s a nice subtle surprise. You don’t want it to be too overpowering. No one like to feel like they’re eating flowers. However, the perfect amount, is just right to have people intrigued. What is that other flavor I’m picking up?

The cookies were soft, which is exactly how I like my cookies. However, in the baking business, especially wholesale, you have to take into consideration: packaging, handling, storage over time. And these cookies would have crumbled or not held up over-time.

Back to the drawing boards. I did not want to give up on the lemon. It’s refreshing to me. I tried a glazed cookie (click the link to get it). Delicious, but not able to withstand the wholesale world. I thought of thyme, that could be lovely. But likely only to attract foodies and not your average person. We wanted a cookie that could be kid-friendly as well.

Blueberry.

Blueberry and lemon are also a beautiful pairing. Plus the blueberries would add a beautiful color. Something else to consider in baking is the aesthetic and visual appeal. I don’t want to offer 3 cookies that all look similar. You need some pop and color. The blueberry could add, some much needed color, especially in a sandwich cookie. I found a recipe inspiration that I could  convert to be both gluten-free and vegan.

The result?

My favorite of all the gluten-free cookies (which was about 7 or so) I made. The flavors were heaven. The texture of the cookie was great. The ratio of filling to cookie, awesome. Half a cookie was good for me!

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Gluten-Free Banana Fosters Scones

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Bananas are hit and miss with me, I will confess. My husband loves them pretty much anytime, but I am particular about my combos. For instance, I’ve made some banana almond butter cookies lately, they’re good, but not my thing. I like bananas and I like peanut (almond) butter, just not together. I do really enjoy caramel together. Maybe because I love caramel at all times. I guess I just realized I would probably take caramel over chocolate. I made some banana fosters danishes and saw a recipe on pinterest for some scones and had to tweak them to fit the gluten-free mold.

Sometimes I like to try out other bakeries to see what’s out. To get inspired. Granted I did make these scones before then, but I got a Banana Fosters Cupcake for Zach from the Flying Cupcake in Indianapolis. It just solidified the fact that I do indeed enjoy some bananas/caramel combination.

And I will not lie scones have been hard for me in the part. I generally try to make them dairy-free as well with coconut oil, but I do sometimes use butter, so I made these more traditional and they held up a lot better. Sometimes I can produce some really beautiful/delicious things, but there are a good a lot of things that give me challenges. Some have taken years to find something workable-like pie crust. And bread. Don’t get me started on bread-it is by far my biggest gluten-free baking challenge. I have worked as a conventional baker. I can make many good things, including traditional bread. But gluten-free? That is another story. There is no elasticity or stretch in the same way. I’ve been watching the British Baking Show. It really made me want to try some babka and braided breads. I did make a nice pumpkin swirl one. However, the dough was not easy to work with or to shape properly. It tasted FANTASTIC, however. Gluten-free baking (especially because I only use tapioca, coconut and almond flour-occasionally arrowroot and every once in a while cassava when I order it), it a lot of trial-and-error. It takes a lot of preservation. You can’t be apt to giving up because sometimes it has taken me 5+ times on a recipe to get one that I’m fully satisfied with the texture and flavor.

These, these I like.

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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.

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Super Simple Truffles

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Back to yet another component of the delicious Thanksgiving cake I made. I recently started my adventures into truffle making. It all began with a coffee toffee truffle (see the picture below).

For the Thanksgiving cake, however, I wanted something simple, not to over-power the other elements. These were SO easy to make.

The plus of truffles, besides being gorgeous, is that you can make a variety of flavors. Next I really want to make a caramel truffle. All chocolate is a little too rich for my personal taste, but adding other flavors, that would be my style. Maybe a lemon white chocolate. Or chocolate cherry. Or chocolate raspberry. Or a coconut. Or an Almond Joy inspired truffle.  Or an orange chocolate, just zest some orange into the ganache. So many options.

Super Simple Truffles

  • 8 oz. Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips
  • 3/4 cup coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp maple
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 tbsp organic powdered sugar

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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!

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Loaded Cauliflower Casserole

20171015_125314Happy Wednesday y’all! Sorry it’s been so long since I posted, been super busy baking it up and trying to expand my market, developing new recipes. I do a stock pile of recipes to share with you all, though.  Today, though, I had to start with this one for Loaded Cauliflower Casserole.

I prepped this on a Saturday, it was super easy, and then just baked in on a Sunday afternoon for the Lions game (my husband is from Michigan, meaning they are die-hard Lions fans). It was so simple, yet so good.

My husband may have even tricked my sister-in-law into eating it. She may be a slightly picky eater, so he told her after eating it, that it was cauliflower and not potatoes. And she did say it was good, so I would consider that a win!

I added chicken for some added protein and so I could make just one single dish. I love one skillet or one dish meals. It makes cleaning up a lot nicer too.

Loaded Cauliflower Casserole

  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp cream cheese
  • 2 chicken breast
  • sea salt and pepper
  • Italian seasoning
  • 6 slices bacon
  • one bundle green onion
  • 1 cup shredded cheese

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Crispy Honey Garlic Chicken

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My whole life I have enjoyed cooking. I think I get type-cast as just a sweets, baking type. Or I slip comfortably into the that role and let my husband hold the savory side down.

But I do love cooking, I always have.

I remember growing up, I liked to be in the kitchen. I recall one time, being in the kitchen, making something with mushroom, pretending I had my own cooking show. My father yelling, “who are you talking to?” And then whispering the rest of my broadcast.

Growing up, family meals were essentially. We sat down for meals together. It wasn’t very often that we ate out. We ate at home. And my father is a bomb cook.

So cooking is essential to me.

It is important for Zach and I to eat together. It is rare that we eat out as well. With him being a chef and me a baker, it is a no-brainer that we love home-cooked meals.

I have been slacking slightly on the meal front, in that I will generally eat the same things. Cabbage. Hash. Sweet potato fries. Zach and I will rotate the same things.

It seems the last few years, that my creative energy all pours into my baking.

This past week I got back to my savory roots. First with this honey garlic chicken and mashed cauliflower. Then tortilla soup. Then pulled pork.Then some creamy spinach stuffed chicken. It felt great to being back in the kitchen, making some new dishes.

And this dish?

The flavor was on point. It was spicy, but the honey was just what it needed. And pork rinds are my favorite for breading chicken.

So good.

And gouda mashed cauliflower on the side? Perfection. I will have that recipe next week. Also this made plenty of chicken and we had left-overs.

Crispy Honey Garlic Chicken: 

  • 3 chicken breasts, cleaned and cut into strips
  • 2 cups pork rinds, ground finely
  • 4 tsp pepper
  • 4 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp ginger
  • 2 tsp thyme
  • 2 tsp sage
  • 2 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tsp cayenne
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup raw, local honey

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