My mom came over this week for a belated Mother’s Day lunch and as I always do when anyone comes over, I wondered (worried about) what I should make. When planning a meal, I almost always think of dessert first because that’s the fun part. I hadn’t baked scones since last summer, and I had a few cups of organic strawberries in the fridge I needed to use up, so the scones definitely had to be strawberry. This is a recipe I’ve baked many times and it’s adapted from this recipeon the blog Sarah Bakes Gluten Free.
1 3/4 cups gluten free flour blend, plus more for dusting the counter
1/2 cup sugar, plus more for sprinkling on top of scones
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
scant 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
5 Tablespoons of chilled Earth Balance soy free vegan butter, or another dairy free alternative such as palm shortening
1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk, plus more for tops of scones
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup sliced strawberries
Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a baking pan with a Silpat or parchment paper.
In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Cut in the vegan butter with a pastry cutter until butter is pea-sized. Pour in the almond milk and vanilla extract and knead with hands until combined. Fold in the strawberries.
Turn out the dough onto a floured countertop. With floured hands, shape and flatten the dough into a 12 inch diameter circle. With a floured knife or pizza cutter, cut the dough into 8 wedges and place onto lined baking sheet. With fingertips or pastry brush, moisten the top of each scone with almond milk and then sprinkle sugar over the moistened tops.
Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Allow to cool slightly and enjoy.
Note: To warm up a day old scone, place in a toaster oven for a few minutes. These freeze well.
Oh, and if you want to know what else I made for lunch when my mom came over: Shallot, Portobello, and Spinach Crustless Quiche (dairy-free) and a tossed salad with homemade vinaigrette. (Plus watermelon and cherries.)
I wish I could remember exactly when I began baking biscotti, but it was definitely when my kids were very small. Even though I grew up in an Italian-American family, I knew no one who actually baked their own. My Grandma Corriero bought hers at the supermarket and those were the only ones I’d ever tried. (They definitely tasted store-bought.) But one of my Moosewood Cookbooks had a recipe for them, so I made them on a whim once and have loved biscotti ever since.
My two favorite aspects of biscotti are: you pretty much can’t ruin them and they are so easy!!! I am an impatient, lazy cook and baker, so I go with easy recipes whenever I get the chance.
Here is my biscotti recipe, adapted from Moosewood.
1/4 cup vegan butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2 teaspoon freshly grated orange (or lemon) peel
1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts, almonds, or pecans
2 1/4 cups gluten free flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
Preheat the oven to 350 and line a baking sheet with a Silpat or parchment paper.
In a mixing bowl, cream together the vegan butter and the sugar, add the eggs, vanilla, almond extract, and grated orange peel. Fold in the nuts.
In a small bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to wet and and mix until blended and dough holds together when pressed with floured hands. This dough is meant to be on the stiff side.
Scoop the dough onto a lined baking sheet and shape into a log, about 12 x 3 inches. Press down and flatten until it’s about 14 x 4 inches.
Bake for about 25 minutes, or until dough is firm and just starting to brown. Remove from oven, allow to cool for 10 minutes, and then transfer log to cutting board. When cool enough to handle, slice crosswise into 3/4 inch pieces. Lay each piece cut side up on the baking sheet, bake for 10 minutes, flip, and bake for another 10 minutes. Cool on a rack.
The biscotti will last in an airtight container for a couple of weeks or in the freezer for a few months.
You can add fruit or chocolate chips instead of nuts. You can also add 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon or nutmeg.
Last year, right before our birthday (Alan and I share the same day), I began looking for a cake recipe that I would actually like. I’m not much of a cake person–I like not-too-sweet chocolatey, creamy or fruity desserts and pies–as long as they are free of gluten and dairy. I started thinking about flourless chocolate cake and came across several that looked tempting. I decided on one from The Spruce Eats and gave it a try.
It was so easy to make and IT WAS DELICIOUS!!! I made it again at the end of September when some friends came for dinner and again at Thanksgiving. Then I forgot about it until last week when I suddenly wanted dessert and couldn’t think of anything to make, until, suddenly, the vision of flourless chocolate cake danced in my head! It was just as delightful as I remembered, so I am sharing it with you. (Recipe slightly adapted from The Spruce Eats)
Flourless Chocolate Cake
1 cup or 6 oz dark or bittersweet chocolate bars broken into chunks or chips
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup sunflower or other mild-flavored oil
1 Tablespoon brewed coffee or just use water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
4 large eggs
1/2 cup of cacao or cocoa powder
About an hour before, set eggs on counter so they’ll come to room temperature.
Preheat oven to 350 F and oil either an 8-inch springform pan and line with parchment paper or a 8 or 9 regular cake or tart pan (if you’re feeling lazy).
Carefully melt chocolate in the microwave or stove top on super low heat, stirring often to prevent burning/scorching. (Yep, I’ve done it!)
Transfer melted chocolate to mixing bowl, add sugar and blend with mixing paddle. Add in the oil, coffee or water, cinnamon, salt, and vanilla.
Add eggs one at a time, stirring after each addition.
Add in the cocoa powder and mix well.
Pour batter into pan, even out with a spatula, and bake for 30-35 minutes or until the top has a thin, shiny crust and toothpick comes out mostly clean.
Place pan on wire rack to cool. When cool, if using a springform pan, unlatch the side and invert the cake onto a plate. If using a regular cake pan, just serve and enjoy!
Last month I started craving ginger-molasses cookies and couldn’t stop thinking about them. And when that happens, there’s no stopping me. I have no problem with follow through–I am going to bake those cookies. After looking at lots of recipes online, I came up with my own version.
When Alan saw them, he said they looked perfect, but the biggest compliment followed his first bite when he said they tasted just like “the real thing”. For all of the gluten free and dairy free bakers out there, you know that is the ultimate goal: to make it as good as the real thing.
If you are a person who eats gluten free and dairy free, you know how rare it is to find a cafe or restaurant that offers pastries and baked goods that you can indulge in. So often places may offer a gluten free option, but it contains dairy. Or it’s vegan, but it contains wheat or spelt flour. (I’m looking at you, Greenstar!) I keep hoping things will change, and that chefs everywhere will discover that it is very possible to create interesting and fabulous things to eat without gluten and dairy. Anyway…the next best thing is to make your own and bring it along when you’re meeting a friend for coffee, so you won’t feel left out of Normalville.
Here is an easy and delicious scone recipe, in case you’ve been hankering for one like I was. These are gluten free vegan scones adapted from a recipe found on the blog Sarah Bakes Gluten Free. It’s a great starting point, and I’ve been known to add lemon or orange zest, cinnamon, pumpkin, nuts, dried fruit to make all kinds of scones. Last time I made them, I doubled the recipe and then made half of the dough with blueberries and half with chocolate chunks.
Gluten Free Vegan Scones
1 3/4 cups gluten free flour blend
1/2 cup sugar, plus more for scone tops
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons Earth Balance vegan butter (I use the soy free version)
1/2 cup almond milk plus more for scone tops (or other non-dairy milk of choice)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, dried fruit, chopped nuts, chocolate chips or chunks or a combination
Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line baking sheet with Silpat or parchment paper and set aside.
Mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Cut in vegan butter using a pastry cutter until the butter is pea-sized. Pour in the milk and stir to combine. Add in the fruit/nuts of choice.
On floured surface and with floured hands, shape dough into a 12 inch circle. Cut dough into 8 triangles and place on lined baking sheet. Dip fingers in almond milk and wet tops of scones. Sprinkle with sugar.
Bake 16-18 minutes or until golden. Allow to cool on rack before eating. Store in airtight container.
I was first introduced to baked oatmeal many years ago by my Mennonite in-laws and I’m forever grateful. It was a revelation! A breakfast unlike any I’d ever had: in between a soft, custard-like cake and a bowl of oatmeal. Only it stuck to my ribs longer because it contained eggs, butter, milk, and sugar.
If you know me at all, you know I can’t eat dairy, so I altered a recipe I found in a Cooking Light magazine. This is what I fed to my two kids several times a month and they gobbled it up happily. They would even eat it left-over the next morning. Recently, I made it for Alan, who’d never tasted Baked Oatmeal before, and he liked it enough that he ate it left-over the next morning as well.
So here it is:
If you’re feeding more than two or three, I’d double the recipe and put it in a 9×13 baking dish.
2 cups rolled oats (mine are gluten free)
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 cups milk ( I use dairy free milk, such as almond or cashew milk)
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 tablespoons butter (I use coconut oil, vegan butter, etc.)
1 large egg, beaten
Preheat oven to 350. In large bowl of a stand mixer, combine milk, applesauce, melted butter or coconut oil, and egg. Mix well. Add in the rolled oats, brown sugar, and baking powder. Mix until combined. Pour mixture into a greased 8×8 baking pan. Bake 20-22 minutes. Serve warm.
Wasn’t that simple? I hope you like it as much as we all do!
In January, I marked five years of eating gluten free. Food restrictions are challenging, can cause stress (what am I going to eat) and friction with family or friends (a little bit won’t hurt you will it?), but, if looked at through a positive lens, can take you on a lifelong adventure of learning and experimentation.
Hands down, the thing I miss most from my old life is real bread. Fresh, artisan loaves of ciabatta, focaccia, boule, baguette made with local, organic flour in a bakery right down the road…OK I’ll stop torturing myself now. One of my early purchases was Gluten-Free Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. Let’s be honest, nothing will ever quite taste like bread full of wheat and gluten yumminess, but the breads I’ve made with this cookbook definitely satisfy my cravings. The deal with the “five minutes” is that you mix up the flour blend and then make the dough and store it in the fridge. Then any time you want bread, it takes five minutes to shape the dough, let it rise, and bake it. I love refrigerator doughs! So, if you’re gluten free, I recommend you get a copy of this book.
My favorite sandwich/toast bread, however, was given to me by a good friend back in 2014. And this is the recipe I will share with you here.
Ellie’s Gluten Free/Rice Free Multigrain Bread
1 cup millet flour
1 cup tapioca starch
1/2 blanched almond flour
1/2 cup brown teff flour
1/4 cup sorghum flour
1/4 cup flax meal
2 3/4 teaspoons xanthan gum
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon molasses
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 1/4 cups hot water (110-115 degrees F)
2 tablespoons honey
2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
Combine dry ingredients, mixing until evenly blended.
In separate mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, oil, molasses and vinegar.
In small bowl, combine honey and hot water. Sprinkle in yeast and stir to combine. Allow to proof for 7 minutes.
When yeast is bubbling, add wet ingredients to dry while mixing on low speed (about 30 seconds), stopping to scrape bowl to ensure even mixing.
Add in yeast mixture and mix on medium for 2-3 minutes or until dough is smooth, making sure to scrape bowl occasionally.
Pour dough into a parchment lined, well-greased, metal 9×5 bread pan. Cover with cloth or plastic wrap and allow to rise for 30 minutes. Remove cloth when bread has risen enough to almost touch it. Allow to rise another 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375 F.
Bake 35-40 minutes, until firm all through.
Remove loaf from pan and allow to cool on wire rack.
I’m getting ready to celebrate five years of gluten-free living this January 1st. That’s something I wish I wasn’t celebrating because it’s a pain in the neck to live this way, except that I’m much healthier because of it.
My tale of digestion woes stretches back to early childhood when I developed a strong aversion to cheese. My mother thought I was just being picky, but it wasn’t only the smell of cheese I wanted to avoid, it was the way it made me feel: sick to my stomach.
Eventually, Mom just made me pasta and marinara sauce while the rest of the family had lasagna or manicotti. She left the parmigiana off my chicken on Christmas Eve and I picked most of it off my pizza.
As I got older, we figured out that butter caused my stomach to be upset too. On popcorn, in baked goods, etc. Then in my mid-teens, milk and ice cream started in. I was in denial. I hadn’t heard the term lactose intolerant at that time and the first doctor I went to asked if I could be pregnant and then mis-diagnosed me with IBS. What a joke! But after I switched to soy milk and found Lactaid at the grocery store, my symptoms eased a bit. I thought I’d be able to have the occasional ice cream treat, but I was wrong. I had to keep upping the dose of Lactaid and sometimes it still wouldn’t work. So I adopted a dairy free life for the most part. Every once in a while, I’d still cheat and have a bit of ice cream or a baked good with butter or cream and then I would pay for days afterward: nausea, gas, bloating, diarrhea. It was lovely. At twenty-seven I finally told myself dairy and I were not meant to be and enough was enough.
Dairy was the first component. The second was gluten. Since I was a kid, I noticed I’d get heartburn after I consumed baked goods and sometimes nausea as well. But what I never wanted to associate with my diet were my headaches. Often they were migraines, but not always, I had headaches between 2-5 times per week with some becoming so debilitating I would lie on the sofa with the curtains drawn just waiting for the day to end so my pain might lessen. When my kids were little, it was difficult to keep their noisiness to a minimum so I could rest. This was my life and I wished it were different.
Since I read all the time, I tried to find information about headaches and what might lessen their frequency and intensity. After much research and deliberation, I decided to give up gluten at the beginning of 2013. That was such a hard decision! I LOVE bread. But I knew I at least needed to try to improve my quality of life. People thought I was crazy or just on some fad diet, but I assured them this wasn’t about weight loss or wanting to eat on trend.
The first few weeks were like any other new diet plan–super hard! I didn’t know how to substitute anything, so right away I began searching the web for gluten free blogs, magazines, cookbooks, etc. I tried prepared flour blends and made my own. I tried several brands of pasta and bread. And I baked and cooked and baked some more. So many recipes were flops, but some were great.
One of my favorite blogs then and now is Sarah Bakes Gluten Free. If you need a birthday cake, some cupcakes, a batch of cookies, pudding, popsicles, etc., Sarah has you covered. She has her own flour blend that is easy to mix up, but her recipes will work with other gluten free flour blends as well. It’s a solid bunch of recipes you can rely on and I highly recommend her.
I’ve also made recipes from the Gluten Free Goddess blog. There’s a chocolate gingerbread recipe that’s to die for, as well as a peanut butter chocolate chip ice cream recipe that has a coconut milk base. Yum!
One very American recipe that up till now I haven’t been able to find is a great gluten free chocolate chip cookie. Until this week! I purchased two of Danielle Walker’s Against All Grain cookbooks. She has a Real Deal Chocolate Chip Cookies recipe made with almond and coconut flours. I made them Sunday just to see what all the fuss was about. Oh my goodness. Deliciousness! No heartburn, no sugar crashes, no overpowering brown rice flour or sorghum flour aftertaste. Just a really good, actually healthy cookie that I am thrilled about. Here is the link to her Real Deal Chocolate Chip Cookies recipe. (The only thing I’ll do differently next time is use half the salt.) They’re still amazing though, just the way they are.
“Mother took the pie out of the oven and it hissed fragrant apple, maple, cinnamon steam through the knife cuts in the top crust. She was making her world beautiful. She was making her world delicious. It could be done, and if anyone could do it, she could.”
― J.J. Brown, Death and the Dream
The day before Thanksgiving, I baked a grain-free pecan pie from Gluten Free and More Magazine and I told you I would share photos if it came out right. Well, I’m happy to report that it came out beautifully and it tasted scrumptious even four days after Thanksgiving when I finally got around to trying it.
The crust came together easily, with few ingredients and pressed into the pie plate without crumbling. It cracked, but was moist and it was easy to repair and crimp the edges.
The filling just mixed up in a bowl and then was poured into the crust and baked.
I am going to use this pie crust recipe for all sweet pies from now on. Apple is next on my list, and raspberry after that.
“America has developed a pie tradition unequivocally and unapologetically at the sweet end of the scale, and at no time is this better demonstrated than at Thanksgiving.”
― Janet Clarkson, Pie: A Global History
Today I spent time cooking, baking and being with my son. My goal-setting nature wanted me to put everything aside except my preparations for the craft show on Saturday. That part of me reminded me of the number of days until the show and how much I need to accomplish, but my heart told me otherwise.
I needed to spend time with my son. I needed to see his face, hear his voice, listen to how he’s been, watch him practice his bass, just catch up with him and what’s happening in his world. It’s been a while since I gave him a ride anywhere, but his own car needs brakes and he’s driving it as little as possible.
So I picked him up, drove him to my house and he helped me bake chocolate chip cookies–his favorite. Then we ate dinner together with Alan. They ate slow cooker chicken pot pie and I ate a vegetarian, gluten free version. After we cleaned up dinner, we picked up our Canasta game where we left it last week. We played for an hour, with Judah winding up in the lead. Hopefully, next week we can finish it.
On the way home, we talked about relationships in an honest, grown-up way and I was amazed and proud of this young man sharing his heart and being so full of understanding and love. After I said goodnight, I drove home without the sad emptiness that usually accompanies parting from my kids. It was the kind of day that held beauty and grace in it and I am thankful for the opportunity to live it.