Tag Archives: dessert

My most favorite cookie: Classic Oatmeal Chocolate Chip.

Gluten-free option | Dairy-free option | Soy-free | Nut-free

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Oh, Classic Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways:

I love you before you ever get into the oven. I love you straight out of the oven. I love you 3 days later–though you rarely last that long.

I have loved you dairy-free.

I have loved you with a bit of flaxseed added to the dough when my milk supply was suffering.

I loved you in Switzerland with chopped-up Swiss chocolate bars when we were desperately homesick for something that tasted familiar.

And now, I love you gluten-free.

Suffice it to say, friends, these cookies are favorites around here. And I have made them SO many different ways during SO many different phases of our lives, and they’re always delicious. One of the many things I love about the recipe is how easy and straightforward  it is–almost everything is whole cups or teaspoons, so it dirties fewer utensils and I now have the recipe memorized–so I don’t want to make it too unnecessarily complex with lots of different measurements. I’ve been trying to think of how to best post this recipe with all of the variations we’ve done to accommodate various changes in diet over the years, and I hope that this is the best solution. Bear with me!

Classic Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Original recipe here

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temp
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 3/4 cups old-fashioned oats (if you live in a humid climate, like I do, where cookies are prone to spreading, I’ve found that 2 cups old-fashioned plus 3/4 cup quick oats help the cookies maintain their shape and thickness best)
  • 2 cups chocolate chips (we use half milk, half semisweet)

Nursing variation (has helped me and several friends boost breastmilk supply):
Substitute 1/4 cup flaxseed meal for 1/4 cup of the oats (quick oats, if using).

Dairy-free variation:
Substitute Earth Balance soy-free buttery stick for butter. Decrease salt by 1/4 tsp. Substitute 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 cup Enjoy Life semisweet mini chips for the chocolate chips.

Whole-grain variations:
Substitute whole-wheat pastry flour for all of the all-purpose flour, or use 1 cup white whole-wheat flour and 1 cup all-purpose flour.

Gluten-free variation:
For the flour, substitute 2 1/4 cups (note the extra 1/4 cup) gluten-free baking blend and ensure that all remaining ingredients are gluten-free. Because we’re always trying to get more fiber into this new gluten-free diet, we use 1 1/2 cups Cup 4 Cup brand all-purpose flour (the blue bag) plus 3/4 cup Cup 4 Cup brand Wholesome Flour (the green bag) because it contains brown rice flour and flaxseed for more fiber.

  1. Preheat oven to 350 and line baking sheets with parchment.
  2. In your stand mixer, cream together butter and sugars. Beat in eggs and vanilla until light and fluffy.
  3. Mix in salt, baking soda, and baking powder.
  4. Add all remaining ingredients and mix until just combined.
  5. Spoon 2-Tbsp-sized balls of dough (I use a dough scoop) onto cookie sheet and bake 10 minutes or until golden around the edges and set in the middle. Cool on the cookie sheet a few minutes before transferring to cooling rack. Makes about 3 dozen.

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Fresh strawberry gelato.

Soy-free | Gluten-free | Nut-free | Egg-free

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More fun strawberry stuff!

I have another tasty strawberry ice cream recipe on here that takes less time, so if you’re just hankering for homemade strawberry ice cream NOW, go check it out. BUT–here’s the trouble with strawberry ice cream: it gets icy. The water content in those delicious berries is so high that it’s hard to get homemade ice cream to stay creamy after freezing without a little work. Enter this recipe. If you want silky, strawberry-y cold deliciousness, this is it.

Once upon a time (two years ago), there was a family living in Switzerland. The family loved ice cream–especially gelato. And one of the children in the family especially loved strawberry gelato. In the six months that family lived there–and the summer they spent there the year before–this little girl only ever ordered strawberry gelato. And this was a lot of times, because we (I mean they) lived down the street from a Swiss ice cream shop called Movenpick, and we spent weeks in the grips of a record heat wave with no air conditioning, so we often had literally no other recourse but to eat gelato multiple times a day during that period. (It helped that the ice cream shop was across the street from the fountains we played in to keep cool.)

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(That’s her on the left with her signature pink strawberry gelato scoop. The oldest daughter always got something chocolaty–girl after her mother’s heart–and the youngest was still allergic to dairy, so her kind and selfless mother usually got sorbet, which was also amazing, to share with her.)

Ever since getting back to the States, this little girl, who’s always been on the choosy side anyway, has been asking for gelato, and where we live, there just isn’t any to be found. So when I found a recipe for fresh strawberry gelato on one of my favorite resources for delicious recipes, I got pretty excited.

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Though the amount of actual work is pretty minimal, it takes a bit of prep and planning, so I was working on it last night, and happened to read in the blogger’s “backstory text” (whatever you call this stuff I’m writing right now that you always scroll past to get to the actual recipe) that she had never actually been to Italy to try the real thing. Being that we’re total gelato snobs now after our own travels through Italy and living in a country that borders Italy and houses lots of Italian transplants, this got my husband and me worried. But the work was pretty much done, so we were committed.

As he poured it into the ice cream maker, though, Husband kept IMG_2442licking his fingers. And as it came out of the ice cream maker and he put it in the container to freeze, he couldn’t wait to lick the spatula. And when we finally got to scoop it into our bowls and eat it for ourselves, it was a hit. My middle child, understandably the strawberry gelato expert–who also happened to be wearing a matching pink Swiss cow shirt at the time, so she must know what she’s talking about–proclaims it mid-bite-thumbs-up perfect. My husband, who also often ordered fruity gelato flavors, says it’s not Italian gelato, but it’s really good ice cream. My oldest and I always preferred chocolate–or else I was eating sorbet–so we’ll defer to them.

The verdict? We’ll call it gelato* with an asterisk. It’s really really really good ice cream, without the iciness you so often get with the homemade stuff, and in any case, it’s certainly cheaper than a trip back to Giolitti in Rome. But if you get the chance, definitely try to get to Giolitti. Maybe this’ll hold you over until then.

Fresh strawberry gelato* (or at least just really good ice cream)

Original recipe here

  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 1/2 cups sliced ripe fresh (or frozen from fresh and then thawed) strawberries
  1. In a medium saucepan, whisk together sugar and cornstarch. Slowly whisk in milk and cream.
  2. Place the pan on medium heat and cook, whisking constantly, 5-10 minutes or until bubbling and thickening.
  3. Pour into a medium container (a 4-cup measuring cup worked great for us), press plastic wrap to the surface of the mixture, and refrigerate to cool completely.
  4. Puree the strawberries until smooth.
  5. Pour the puree through a fine mesh strainer into the cream mixture, using a rubber spatula to press the liquid through while the strainer catches the pulp and seeds. (Or at least most of them.) Stir well.
  6. Press plastic wrap to the surface again and refrigerate several hours or overnight.
  7. Process in your ice cream maker as directed. Transfer to an airtight container and freeze at least 2 hours until fairly firm before enjoying. (Trust me, it’s worth the wait.)

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Fresh strawberry muffins. (And how I keep my strawberries fresher longer.)

Dairy-free | Soy-free | Nut-free

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It’s strawberry season again! At least in Florida. Right here in our own county we have some of the nation’s biggest and best strawberries–the epitome of delicious local produce. So last year we started a family tradition of going strawberry picking at one of the many u-pick farms nearby. Last year we thought we did pretty well with 11 quarts; this year, after only an hour and a half, we ended up with 25 quarts! (Including the quart that my youngest filled with her strawberry tops once she realized that she could eat the strawberries she was picking…)

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It took over an hour and a half to wash and cut all of those strawberries! So of course after all that effort I wanted to keep them fresh as long as possible! Here’s how I did it: I filled the big bowl of my divided sink with a few inches of water and added a couple drops of Thieves essential oil (a blend of spice oils with proven antimicrobial properties–the story goes that during the Black Plague, spice traders realized that the spices with which they were in constant contact protected them from the disease, so they used their immunity to loot the homes of Plague victims, hence the name Thieves) to disinfect the berries; I also added several drops of Lemon essential oil, an antioxidant, to keep the berries from going bad as quickly. Then I dumped in a box, which was probably 8 quarts’ worth. After each box I drained the sink and started again with the water, oils, and berries.

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These oils are therapeutic-grade, so they’re very potent; a little bit goes a very long way! Because I didn’t need to use much, there was no weird lingering taste on my delicious berries, and the ones I didn’t freeze stayed as fresh as the Friday I cut them for the entire weekend–because that’s all it took to eat them.

Now I’ve got over a dozen quarts of fresh-frozen berries to find delicious things to make with! I’ll definitely be making fruit leather, popsicles, ice cream, and smoothies, but I wanted to try something new this year. These muffins are perfect for a spring morning. They complement and retain the sweetness-with-a-touch-of-tart of the strawberries. They use refined sugar, so they’re not clean, but I did use whole-wheat pastry flour to make them a little bit healthier and more filling while keeping them light. And they’re dairy-, soy- and nut-free!

By starting the oven at a high temperature and then reducing it, you get a great puffy crown on the muffins that leaves them very light and delicious. This recipe makes about 18 regular-sized muffins, or I did a dozen regular and another dozen mini muffins.

***Note: Canola oil is easier in this recipe, but as I had run out, I used coconut, and it lent a delightful depth of flavor to the muffins and left my whole house smelling incredible. However, unless your strawberries AND eggs are completely room-temperature, you’ll have a solid lumpy mass on your hands; I had to warm the oil/strawberry/egg mixture in my microwave at half power for several 30-second interval to get everything the correct consistency again.

Fresh Strawberry Muffins:

Original recipe here

  • 3 cups whole-wheat pastry flour or unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 4 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 1/4 cups canola oil or melted and cooled coconut oil (see Note above)
  • 2 1/2 cups fresh (or frozen from fresh–not storebought in a bag frozen–and thawed) strawberries, sliced and slightly mashed
  1. Preheat oven to 425 and lightly grease the wells of your muffin tins with soy-free cooking spray.
  2. Combine dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine eggs, oil, and strawberries, mashing with a fork if desired to get smaller strawberry pieces.
  4. Add liquid ingredients to flour mixture and stir until combined. Do not overmix.
  5. Spoon 1/4-cupfuls (for standard muffins) or 1/8-cupfuls (for mini muffins)–a triggered ice cream scoop works great–into the wells of your muffin tin.
  6. Bake at 425 for 5 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 and bake another 15-19 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

 

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Clean(er) flourless brownies with fudge frosting.

Gluten-free | Mostly clean eating | Soy-free | Nut-free | Egg-free | Dairy-free option | Vegan option

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If you’re looking for a healthier treat (maybe for Valentine’s Day?) that still tastes just as rich as sinful, these might just be it. They’re moist and fudgy (especially with the fudge frosting!), without all the butter, flour and (most of the) refined sugar (depending on which brand of yogurt you use; more on that later).

Now, I will say that these are not something I would make when I’m having a spur-of-the-moment chocolate craving because they require a lot more planning and time than my one-bowl delicious brownies, but when you’ve got a chocolate craving AND you’re trying to work around dietary restrictions, the little bit of extra work makes it worth it. Plus I don’t feel like a total blob after eating a couple of these–and it’s much easier to stop at one or two with these than with my usual go-to recipe because they’re so much richer. So wins all around!

As for the brand of yogurt, this is important: You need to find a vanilla Greek yogurt that’s pretty thick. I like Oikos Triple Zero, but wound up using an organic variety that happened to have refined sugar in it instead of the stevia because I wanted a truer flavor; either way, you usually need two of the small cups to make this recipe. If you’re going dairy-free, you can try a coconut yogurt, but your ordinarily-very-thick batter will be thinner, which may affect baking time, so keep an eye on it. Borderline underdone is better than the alternative. If you do try the coconut yogurt, please let me know how it goes! I just couldn’t do coconut yogurt when I was dairy-free: not enough protein to warrant the expense and all the sugars. But when that’s what you’ve got to work with, I totally get it, and I would love nothing more than for these to work for you!

Cleaner Flourless Brownies

Adapted from here

  • 1 1/2 cups Enjoy Life semisweet mini chocolate chips, or similar, divided
  • 3 fl oz (1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp) melted virgin coconut oil (measure after melting)
  • 1 cup vanilla Greek yogurt or coconut yogurt (see note above about brand)
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 cups oat flour (blend or process regular oats in a blender or food processor until fine)
  • Fudge Frosting (below)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 and line a square baking dish–8×8 or 9×9–with parchment, then lightly spray with soy-free cooking spray.
  2. Place melted coconut oil and 1 cup of the chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave in 30-second intervals, stirring in between, until chips are melted. (Should take only 2 or 3 rounds in the microwave.)
  3. Pour melted chocolate into a medium mixing bowl and add yogurt; mix well. Stir in vanilla, salt, and baking soda.
  4. Stir in oat flour until incorporated, then fold in remaining 1/2 cup chocolate chips.
  5. Spread mixture (it will be quite thick) evenly in prepared pan, then bake 28 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean.
  6. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely in pan, then frost with Fudge Frosting (below).
  7. Frosted brownies will keep on the counter in a sealed container up to a week.

Fudge Frosting

Adapted from the more time-intensive version I made here

  • 1/2 bag Enjoy Life semisweet mini chocolate chips
  • 2-4 Tbsp coconut cream,* or similar amount of yogurt used above, or combination

*Coconut cream: refrigerate a can of coconut milk several hours, until it separates. Remove the can very carefully, without shaking it, and open it without disturbing the cream. Carefully spoon the cream from the top of the can, reserving the coconut water at the bottom for later use in a smoothie or something.

  1. Place chips and coconut cream or yogurt in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Heat while stirring constantly, until melted and incorporated.
  2. Add more cream or yogurt until the mixture reaches a smooth, medium consistency. You want it to be not too thin but still spreadable. I started with a couple tablespoons of coconut cream because that’s all I had, then added yogurt a tablespoon at a time.
  3. Pour into a bowl and chill in the refrigerator a few minutes until just set, then remove, stir, and spread evenly over the cooled brownies.
  4. Allow to set–may take up to an hour–and then cut brownies into 16 squares and enjoy!

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Chocolate Frozen Custard.

Gluten-free | Nut-free

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Today is National Chocolate Ice Cream Day! Last week was National Donut Day… I tend to wonder who it is that makes these arbitrary holidays, but regardless, if it means tasty food I’m all about it.

I found this recipe on Serious Eats awhile back and pinned it for a special occasion; I think this counts, right? I love frozen custard–you know, the soft, melt-in-your-mouth creaminess that you can find at Shake Shack, Culver’s, and the like. I never understood why it was so much more expensive than normal ice cream… until I read the ingredient list. Those egg yolks! But I tell you: they make it. We’ve made quite a bit of ice cream in our little Cuisinart over the years, and this is the one homemade ice cream that doesn’t turn to a block of ice in the freezer if we don’t eat it all in one sitting. (Which, trust me, you won’t; it’s rich, even for a self-professed chocoholic and ice cream aficionado like me!)

My oldest says this tasted like “brownie ice cream.” Yep.

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Chocolate Frozen Custard

Original recipe here — recipe below doubles it because I promise you’ll want more!

  • 8 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup light (clear) corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  1. In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, corn syrup, and cocoa until well incorporated. Carefully whisk in cream and milk until well blended.
  2. Heat on medium-low (but closer to medium) several minutes, whisking frequently, until 170 degrees–or until thickened enough that a custard forms on a spoon when you dip it in and a finger swiped across the back of the spoon leaves a clean line. (It sounds weird, but I bet it’ll make sense when you do it.)
  3.  Stir in salt and vanilla.
  4. Pour through a fine mesh strainer into a freezer-safe airtight container, and chill in the refrigerator several hours, until very cold–40 degrees or so.
  5. Churn in your ice cream maker according to your appliance’s directions.
  6. Return to your freezer-safe container and either serve immediately or freeze about 1 hour to firm up a bit.
  7. It tastes best within a couple hours of being made.
  8. Optional: if you want to make a “concrete,” finely chop toppings like M&Ms, Oreos, brownies, etc., freeze until hard, and then add to the ice cream maker during the last 2 minutes of churning. Enjoy it right away!

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Paleo Blueberry Scones.

Paleo | Vegan option | Gluten-free | Dairy-free | Clean eating

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I have always loved scones. Something about the bite being firmer than a muffin but still moist, and so flavorful.

Because of the time we spent in London exactly a year ago now, when a Teacher Appreciation Week breakfast was proposed with an English tea theme, I jumped at the chance to spearhead it! I ordered scones, English muffins, and bread from our Publix bakery; my mom sent homemade jam and marmalade; I displayed all the British children’s books I’ve amassed over the years (a LOT of books); and we had toasters and teas for the teachers to help themselves to. But I knew some teachers (my daughter’s included–yes, I’m biased) can’t have traditional bread or scones because of allergies and intolerances, so I sought out an allergy-friendly scone recipe for them.

I found it. Oh boy, did I find it! They were SO good, and they were gone SO fast. With our new farm-fresh blueberries, I just had to make them again! The texture is a little less dense than normal scones, but no less delicious: not too sweet, and so flavorful.

Paleo Blueberry Scones

Original recipe here

  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1 1/2 cups almond flour or macadamia flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 large eggs (for vegan, use 2 flax eggs)
  • 3 Tbsp. maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup coconut milk, room temp
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted and cooled
  • 3/4 cup blueberries
  1. Preheat oven to 350 and line a baking sheet with parchment.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients.
  3. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the liquid ingredients.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry. The mixture should be slightly crumbly but stay in one mass. If your mixture is too dry, add a couple more drops of coconut milk.
  5. Gently fold in blueberries.
  6. On a wax paper-lined cutting board, form the dough mass into your favorite scone shape. I form it into a square about 3/4-inch thick all around, then use a large chef knife or offset spatula to cut it into 6 rectangles. Halve each of those into a triangle and you’ll end up with a dozen triangles about 3-4 inches to a side.
  7. Carefully use the knife or spatula to lift each scone onto your baking sheet, spacing a couple inches apart.
  8. Bake 16 minutes or until just golden.
  9. Let cool completely before enjoying!

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Paleo Chocolate Mug Cake.

Paleo | Clean eating | Dairy-free | Soy-free | Gluten-free | Nut-free

Sorry I’ve been kind of absentee lately… We’ve been starting to update our house, so instead of writing blog posts I’ve been pinning faucet designs and pricing granite.

In related news, here’s something for those nights where you feel like there isn’t enough chocolate in your whole house to possibly undo the doozy of a day you just had.

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It’s quick and easy to whip up, and gives you the rich, chocolaty, fluffy cake you need to decompress (and yes, it totally has a real cake texture, unlike most other microwave mug cakes I’ve tried, and somehow does it being gluten-free!) without the ill effects of a sugar binge.

And tonight I added a few drops of peppermint essential oil, and got myself a warm, gooey, Thin Mint cake! Keep this idea in mind for National Mint Chocolate Day on Friday!

Paleo Chocolate Mug Cake

Original recipe here

  • 2 Tbsp. coconut flour
  • 2 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa or cacao
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 egg
  • 2 Tbsp. coconut or almond milk (unsweetened)
  • 2 Tbsp. melted coconut oil
  • 2 Tbsp. pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • optional: 2-3 drops peppermint essential oil
  • up to 2 Tbsp. dairy-free mini chocolate chips (I use Enjoy Life)
  1. Spray the inside of a mug with soy-free cooking spray (I use PAM for Grilling).
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together dry ingredients.
  3. Add wet ingredients and mix until very well combined. It might turn rather thick as the coconut oil re-congeals in contact with the cold ingredients. Stir in chocolate chips.
  4. Pour into mug. Microwave on high for 2 minutes 30 seconds, but start checking it at around 2 minutes. As soon as it stops expanding, it’s done. In my book, a little under-done is way better than overdone.
  5. Allow to cool a few minutes before enjoying, perhaps with a dollop of So Delicious CocoWhip and a few more mini chocolate chips!

We’re part of Tater Tots and Jello’s Link Party Palooza!

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