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Unless otherwise noted, all recipes on this blog are free of gluten, peanuts, soy, corn, tomatoes, potatoes, shellfish, cane sugar, oranges, and yeast. Most recipes are also free of egg, dairy, and tree nuts (if used, reliable substitutions will be provided for these when possible). Check out my recipe index for a full list of recipes by category. 

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Entries in Recipes: Desserts & Sweets (51)

Monday
Dec102012

Gluten-Free Maple Syrup Pumpkin Pie with Flaky Gluten-Free Pie Crust (GF, cane sugar free)

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Gluten-free pie crust.

These words struck fear in my heart for years. I tried, and tried, and tried. And each time, I was like "F***!" when I had another crust that just wouldn't roll correctly, was dry and sandy, was tough and chewy, or was just plain weird.

Then back in May, something happened. I made a crust I was happy with. Then I made another. And another. It was reliable. Easy. Delicious. FLAKY. And now I will share it with you, filled with a delicious maple syrup-sweetened pumpkin pie filling. I've made this pie time after time this fall, and it is always a winner with everyone who tries it. I like it best as leftovers, pulled from the fridge and eaten for breakfast.  Continue for the recipe!

the tools to make the pie

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Wednesday
Nov212012

Cashew Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies (gluten-free, low sugar)

Cashew Butter Cookies (gluten-free)

I bake a lot. When I'm stressed, I bake. When I'm sad, I bake. When it's chilly outside, I bake. When I'm bored, I bake. It's a little excessive sometimes, actually, but much to the benefit of my the people in my life. The other day, sure enough, the urge struck and I needed to satisfy it. I hadn't tried my hand at a nut butter cookie for a while so gave it a go. After some research and brainstorming, I whipped together this recipe and it was a total hit! Not only is the dough totally bomb, the finished cookies are both beautiful and delicious. Crisp on the outside, soft and a little chewy on the inside, and with a nice subtle cashew butter flavor. And best yet, they stayed a little chewy and moist for three days. None of that dry, crumbly cookie business here. Instead of sweetening it with a ton of cane sugar, I used a combination of coconut sugar and maple syrup. This combination creates a great flavor that isn't too sweet and carries far less sugar and calories than a traditional recipe.

I took some of the cookies to school the other day and shared them with my fellow acupuncture students. Everyone loved them! In fact, a couple of people declared that they wouldn't have ever guessed they were gluten-free. I hope you like them as much as I did. 

Cashew Butter Cookies (gluten-free)

Cashew Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies 

yield: approximately two dozen cookies

This recipe calls for a blend of four flours, which may seem like a lot, but it makes a great mix. Sorghum and brown rice flours are both easy to find and affordable. Arrowroot flour and arrowroot starch are the same thing, but just go by two different names. Same with tapioca flour and tapioca starch. Arrowroot and tapioca are interchangeable in this recipe, so feel free to use whichever you have in your pantry. There is not a substitute for sweet rice flour, so try to get your hands on some. Look in the gluten-free flour section, or for the best deal, the Asian food section of your local grocery store or better yet, an Asian grocery store. Sweet rice flour is also known as glutinous rice flour, but don't be scared - it doesn't contain gluten! Sweet rice is often called glutinous rice because it is really sticky stuff. That's why the flour is so great - it helps hold things together and keep things moist and chewy. 

  • 1 cup sorghum flour
  • 3/4 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/2 cup sweet rice flour
  • 1/4 cup arrowroot starch/arrowroot flour or tapioca starch/tapioca flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup softened butter
  • 1/2 cup smooth roasted cashew butter (feel free to substitute equal amount of another nut butter)
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar (feel free to substitute an equal amount of granulated palm sugar or another variety of granulated sugar)
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons gluten-free vanilla extract
  • 1 10-ounce bag chocolate chips 

In a medium bowl, whisk together flours and starch, baking powder and baking soda, and salt until light and well-mixed. Set-aside

In a large bowl, cream together butter and cashew butter until smooth with a handmixer or in a standing mixer. Add coconut sugar and maple syrup and continue to mix until smooth. The coconut sugar will not dissolve the same way and get totally creamy like granulated white sugar, so don't be surprised if there are small gritty pieces of coconut sugar. That's okay! Then add eggs one at a time and vanilla. Mix until everything well-incorporated. 

Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients gradually, mixing on low and scraping sides as necessary, then turning up to a higher speed to fully incorporate all the ingredients. Then add chocolate chips and mix one final time.

I think the dough bakes up better after it has had the chance to rest for a few hours, or even better, a whole day or two or three, in the fridge. Something magical happens to cookie dough as it continues to sit, the flour absorbs the moisture and I think it results in a chewier cookie. So at this point, I suggest covering it with plastic wrap and putting the bowl in the fridge and letting it hang out for a bit. But if you want to bake it right away, that's fine too!

When ready to bake, pre-heat oven to 350º F. Line a baking sheet with parchment and scoop dough by the heaping tablespoonful onto the baking sheet. Bake for approximately 12 minutes, or until edges are just browned and the middles are still slightly soft. Let cool on a baking sheet for 5 minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack. Bake in batches until all the dough is gone!

Store in a tightly sealed container or plastic bag for up to 3 days. 

Monday
Apr022012

A personal tale of overindulgence and a recipe for Totally Loaded Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

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[Trigger warning: depression, thoughts of self-harm, and intimacy are brought up briefly in this post. You wouldn't expect it in a post about cookies, but there it is. Wanted to bring it up for individuals for whom these topics may be triggering.] 

During my time away from the blog, I made a lot of cookies. And by that I mean two batches or so every week for about two months. In retrospect, I believe I was possessed by a cookie demon, an apron-clad creature that breathes flour from its nose, has beaters instead of hands, and whose eyes are glazed sticky sweet with honey. My kitchen became host to mixing bowls in the sink, flour on the floor, and a tin of cookies on the counter at all times. I fed my housemates cookies. I bestowed cookies upon friends. I wooed with cookies. Yes, wooed. And of course, I consumed many of them myself. 

My baking bonanza was part of a larger pattern of self-indulgence that started last fall. I had been weaning off my drugs since last October after two years of heavy antibiotic treatment for Lyme Disease and related tickborne co-infections. My doctor had told me that I was in remission, and we should try running an experiment to see how my body behaved without treatment. I took my last pill in late November. In a somewhat reckless (yet well-deserved) move, I celebrated. Caution, moderation, and self-control are not my natural and preferred methods of approaching the world. I've had to develop them in the last few years out of health-related necessity, and I managed to drum up gumption that I didn't know I had. I was so tired of regulating myself. So I threw care to the wind. I let go. I cheered myself with wine and coffee and all number of things that I had forbade myself from partaking in the last 4 years, returning to a slightly amended version of my habits of old. Concurrently, I indulged my heart and body, spending obsessive amounts of time in a blissed out haze of crushy giddiness with a pleasure rebel of equal measure to me. I laughed more than I'd laughed in years, shaking up the dust and cobwebs from prior years of sick sorrow. I fed parts of my soul that had lay hungry for far too long. 

It was all so needed, a medicine all of its own. I knew all of that was a recipe for inevitable intense consequence, but I didn't care. I wanted to experience every moment the present so badly, so I did. 

Everything hit an unfortunately timed wall in the desolate grey of mid-February, a tsunami wave of intrinsically cyclical circumstances. Cookies, wine, and losing time in starry-eyed explorations were replaced by new antibiotic regimens, detox baths, and days lost in battling Herxes from Hell. I was in physical and emotional crisis. My behaviors had fed my soul, but had also fed all the sleeping bugs in my system and brought them back to life. I had symptoms I hadn't experienced in months and years. I felt nauseous from the drugs in my system and the lonely pit in my stomach.  My head throbbed and shooting pains transversed my flesh. Worse yet, my swinging manic depressive cycles joined forces with a wicked Bartonella brain freakout and an aching heart, forming an unholy trinity of psychological destruction. Thoughts of self-harm wracked my brain, unlike any I'd had in years. It was terrifying. I couldn't eat, I couldn't sleep, nights were silent and solitary. I struggled to unravel the pain, grappling to discern what to attribute to the flare in my illnesses, or to side effects from the pharmaceuticals, or to the deep depression, or to the unraveling of intimacy. I was plagued by frustration for taking everything "too far", indulging "too much", feeling "too deeply". I thrived at very little other than taking my pills, crying, watching Netflix, and writing depressing poetry.

What a clutsterf***.  

hellobeautiful

And yet, the old adage remains: time is the great healer of all things. Within a few weeks, a switch had flipped. My body began to acclimate, my depression started to lift, my lonliness slowly subsided. Some light poked through the clouds and I flocked to it. And now, I'm feeling pretty good, all things considered. Matters of the body, mind, and heart have all achieved a certain level of balance and redefinition and appreciation. Times like this are for learning, growing, and self-reflection. It takes patience and faith and hard work. Sometimes it sucks. But in my experience things usually end up better after a bout like this. And thankfully, they have. 

I'm not baking many cookies right now. My tendancy to overindulge doesn't bode well with the way antibiotics effect my body, so I'm putting on the brakes the best I can. But have a storehouse of recipes from my winter baking binge to revisit. I made these little love nuggets last weekend for a potluck, to great delight of all who ate. They are loaded with all kinds of stuff, a celebration of all the ways I like to overdo. But the gluttony is tempered by whole grains and healthy fat and sensible sweeteners. It's the sort of balance I am trying to achieve. 

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Totally Loaded Oatmeal Raisin Cookies  (gluten-free, dairy-free, cane sugar-free)

yields 3 dozen 3-inch cookies

In addition to boasting whole grains, raisins, cashews, and coconut, these cookies are totally loaded with protein, fiber, and amino acids. Sweet.

A few tips on the fat. Make sure to use softened - not melted - coconut oil. If you are a butter eater, an equal weight of butter can be substituted. Also, chill the dough in the fridge for 3-4 hours before baking. Why? Chilling the dough hardens the coconut oil and shortening, so it doesn't melt as quickly while the cookies are baking. Instead of spreading out like weird pancakes and ending up lacy and thin, cookies baked from chilled dough spread gradually and end up slightly chewy in the middle and crisp on the outside. Totally worth the wait, trust me. And besides, it gives you lots of time to sneak into the fridge and eat spoonfulls of dough. Because duh, why else bake cookies?!

  • 90 grams / 0.75 cup quinoa flour or amaranth flour*
  • 60 grams / scant 0.5 cup arrowroot starch or arrowroot flour (equal weight of tapioca flour or tapioca starch can be substituted)
  • 40 grams / 0.25 cup buckwheat flour 
  • 5 grams / 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 5 grams / 0.75 teaspoon salt
  • 9 grams / 1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 150 grams / 0.5 cup + 3.5 tablespoons softened virgin coconut oil 
  • 75 grams / 0.25 cup + 2 tablespoons palm shortening
  • 170 grams / 1 cup palm sugar (or equal weight of another granulated sugar, such as coconut sugar)
  • 80 grams / 0.25 cup maple syrup
  • 2 large eggs
  • 8 grams / 2 teaspoons gluten-free vanilla extract
  • 290 grams / 3 cups gluten-free rolled oats
  • 225 grams / 1.5 cup lightly packed raisins
  • 85 grams / 1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 100 grams / 0.75 cup toasted chopped cashews

In a medium bowl, whisk together flours, baking soda, and salt until well combined and light. Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream coconut oil and shortening until smooth and fluffy. Then add sugar, maple syrup, and vanilla and beat until smooth (some sugar granules may remain, that's okay). Add eggs and mix just until they are evenly combined. Gradually add flour and mix until evenly incorporated.

Then fold in oats, raisins, coconut, and cashews with a large sturdy spoon or spatula. Cover dough with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 3-4 hours.

Heat oven to 350º F and line baking sheets with parchment. Scoop chilled dough onto a baking sheet, leaving 3 inches or so between each cookie. Bake for approximately 16 minutes per batch, rotating pans half way through if baking two sheets at a time. Cookies should still be soft in the middle but browned around the edges, then remove from oven.

Let cool for 5 minutes before carefully transferring cookies to a wire rack to finish cooling. Store cooled cookies in a well-sealed jar, container, or bag at room temperature for up to 4 days (although they won't last that long).

 

*Flour Power! If you can't find quinoa or amaranth flour for purchase, or if you want to save some ching, grind your own. Simply place whole quinoa or amaranth grains in a high powered blender like a Vitamix or a coffee grinder, and grind until you create very fine flour with an even texture. So easy and so fresh!

Friday
Nov252011

Honey-sweetened Gluten-free Mesquite Chocolate Chip Cookies with Sea Salt

Gluten-Free Mesquite Chocolate Cookies with Sea Salt
It's happened: winter is slowly setting in on Minnesota. Last week Saturday the yards and streets took on the familiar white layer of fresh snow. Within a few days the snow had melted, which was good - the abundance of fallen leaves on the grass dyed the snow a strange yellow color. It looked like packs of dogs descended upon the neighborhood and lifted their legs on every inch of snow. Hopefully everyone will rake up their leaves so that unfortunate discoloration doesn't repeat itself when another inevitable snowfall arrives.

 

Yellow snow aside, I experienced a surprise flutter of excitement with those first flakes. My relationship with Minnesota winters is historically a tenuous one, but I feel differently this year. My body is healthier and stronger, cold weather doesn't seem like torture, and I'm actually looking forward to talking walks on bright winter days and hearing the crunch of snow underfoot. I just moved back into the Seward neighborhood of Minneapolis last week, my favorite neighborhood, and the beauty of this place in the winter is making me giddy. This is my third time living in Seward since moving to Minneapolis in 2004, and I feel like I'm returning home. Literally - I lived in a duplex directly across the street  from 2005-2006 and lived in another duplex two blocks north from 2007-2009. Seward is the kind of neighborhood where people bike and walk all year round, where the ice rink in the park is regularly used, and where freshly made snow people line the front yards. The neighborhood is nestled between the Mississippi River and railroad lines, and the quaint houses reflect its modest, blue-color upbringing. My favorite food co-op is three blocks from my front door, bike paths abound, a community park and a Montessori school are on the other side of my block, and people wave when they pass each other in cars. It's wonderful. Once the snow falls again, I'll take some photos. 

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Saturday
Nov192011

No-Bake Sweet Potato Pie (gluten-free, vegan, low-sugar, grain-free, nut-free)

 No-Bake Sweet Potato Pie

The original recipe for this pie was published in my 2011 recipe calendar A Year to Eat Freely. It was a really fun recipe project that I had for sale through Etsy. While I won't be publishing another calendar for 2012, I really enjoyed the learning process and experience of creating the first calendar. 

I made a few tweaks to the original recipe and wanted to share it with you. It is different than a traditonal sweet potato pie that is baked, but has its own distinctive flavor and texture that is very good. It would be perfect for your holiday table. 

If you are looking for other Thanksgiving pie or bar ideas, check these out:

This recipe is linked to Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free's Slightly Indulgent Tuesday.

 

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