All posts in baked goods

Banana Bread: {paleo, gf & no sugar}

What to do with a ton of bananas on a rainy Saturday morning?  Make banana bread obviously!

I topped these little warm loaves of heaven with organic ricotta, warmed honey and toasted coconut.  Good Mornin!

I LOVE  baking….I have so much fun experimenting with alternative flours and substitutes for sugar (honey, apple sauce, maple syrup etc).  Anyone who knows me, knows I can not follow a recipe for the life of me… so I used this wonderful  recipe here and included coconut flour and Bob’s Redmill biscuit flour for a little extra lovin fluff!

I think the bananas were plenty sweet to I did not bother adding the honey to the recipe.

Paleo Banana Bread:

3 mashed bananas (1.5 cups)

3 large eggs

1 T vanilla

1/4 cup butter

1 cup almond meal

3/4 cup coconut flour

1/4 cup Bob’s Redmill Baking Flour

1/2 t celtic sea salt

1 t baking soda

Blend first 4 ingredients.

mix in dry ingredients

scoop bater into a greased loaf pan  (I used minis)

Bake at 350

55-65 minutes for loaf pans, about 35 minutes for minu loaf pans


Chocolate Fudge Cookies with Mint Chips (flourless)

oh yeah baby… easy peasy, chocolate, few ingredients, mint… whipped these bad boys up in 30 minutes before heading to our family’s Christmas Eve party.  Oooooey gooooey fudgey goodness.  They crinkly down a bit when cooled, but I promise you, they taste much better than they look.


Combine and mix well 2 1/4 cups Confectioners Sugar, 1/4 t salt, 1 cup Cocoa Powder, 3 Large Egg Whites, 2 t Vanilla Extract.  1 cup Peppermint Chips

Preheat the over to 350

After mixing the ingredients well, let it rest for a bit.  I found the second batch turned out better when they waited for the first batch bake.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. 1.5 inch circles about 1 inch apart, sprinkle with peppermint bark chips.  Bake for 10 minutes.  Cool completely on the pan

NOTE:  when I do not use peppermint I add 1 teaspoon of espresso powder to the dry ingredients.  This brings out the chocolate flavor.


Bourbon Bread Pudding

What else to do with Cinnamon Bread (gluten free), Bourbon, Eggs and Heavy cream on hand than make BREAD PUDDING!?

I completely winged the recipe and I gotta say it tasted great, however I made the mistake of   baking them in mini bundt pans.  They did not come out well… I should have known that.  Next time I’ll bake in a casserole dish.


Combine 4 Eggs, 1.5 cups Heavy Cream, 1/2 cup Raw Sugar, 1/4 cup Bourbon, 1 T Vanilla. Mix in 4 cups Cinnamon Bread cut into cubes (I used gluten free)

Bake at 350 for 45-55 minutes




Pecan Cupcakes with Maple Buttercream Frosting

Last night we celebrated Morgan’s birthday…a dear friend who is so fabulous in every way… she’s loving, smart, loyal, caring, funny and easy going – I know, a catch right?!  The plan was to start at my apartment with Light Bites, Moscow Mules and Cupcakes before making our way down the hill to a few dive bars… well we ended up talking well into after the time for last call… That’s what happens in good company, you loose track of time.  Sending much love to my wonderful girlfriends!

Loving the use of almond meal lately in place of regular white flour.  It adds so much more depth, texture, flavor and not to mention is better for you than wheat.  Almond are packed full of vitamins and minerals whereas nutritionally, wheat flour doesn’t have too much to offer.



2 eggs, 1/3 cup maple, 1 t lemon juice, 1/3 cup safflower oil, 1 T vanilla

1 t baking soda, 1/2 t salt, 1 cup almond meal, 1/2 cup sweet rice flour (can use only 1.5 cups of almond meal if you do not have rice flour)

Mix the wet with a fork. Mix in the dry.

Makes about 9 cupcakes.  Probably would have been 10, but I ate a lot of batter 🙂 (hey, the eggs were organic and local, it’s all good!)


1 cup butter, 1/2 t salt, vanilla, 1/2 cup powdered sugar, 6 T maple syrup

Mix in a blender until smooth – adjust the ingredients to get the correct smooth consistency .



When Life Hands You Lemons…

…Make Dessert

A client of mine recently gave me 20 lbs of lemons from their yard and asked me to surprise them with some gluten free treats.

Lemon Pound Cake 
Lemon Curd

I’ve been wanting to make gluten free pound with rice flour for some time now and knew adding lemon zest and juice would be a good option.  And since pound cake doesn’t call for very much lemon, I made lemon curd too, which could be spread on the pond cake too!

Gluten Free Lemon Pound Cake
served with creme fraiche, honey and figs

1 cup sweet white rice flour
1/2 cup sorghum flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 t baking powder
1 t Xanthan Gum
1 cup butter at room temp
1 cup sugar (I used coconut sugar)
4 eggs
2 t vanilla

Preheat 350
In a bowl combine the flours, cornstarch, xanthan gum, baking powder and whisk to incorporate.
Beat Butter until creamy and smooth
Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes
Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each egg
Add the vanilla and blend until completely incorporate
Add the dry ingredients to the wet and blend until fully mixed
Grease a pan and flour with gluten free flour
Cook for 40 minutes
Cook for 10 minutes before removing from the pan to cool completely

 Lemon Curd
Fresh Lemon juice gives this traditional English spread a light flavor.  It’s wonderful on scones, cake fillings, fruit tarts and pancakes

This recipe is easy to double, even quadruple.

Makes 2 half pints
6 egg yolks
3/4 cup Sugar (I used coconut sugar)
1/4 cup plus 2 T fresh lemon juice
9 T butter at room temperature

Place a fine-mesh sieve over a medium bowl.
Combine the egg yolks and sugar in a large, heavy nonreactive pan and mix for a minute or 2 with a wooden spoon until the mixture is uniform.
Add the lemon juice and butter and place over medium-low heat.
Stir consistently until the mixture thickens, about 5-8 minutes
Do not allow it to boil
The curd is ready when it coats the back of a spoon and you can draw a line through it with your finger

Immediately strain the lemon curd into the bowl, then pour into the jars.
Cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate.
The curd will thicken as it cools
will keep for 3 weeks in the fridge.


Aunt Izzy’s Brown Sugar Nut Shortbread

baked goods 0 Comments
I can’t believe I’ve lived 26 years without these, how did I ever survive!?
Someone tell me, honestly, is there anything better than butter, sugar and nuts melting in your mouth?

I was introduces to these little bites of heaven at The Royal Wedding Tea Party Izzy and Mindee hosted.
Mindee is so creative.  She served these in tea cups as party favors to guests as they left.  I finished mine before I made it to the car.
card reads: “You’re my cup of tea! xoxo, Mindee”
2 cups flour
1 cup pecan pieces (I used almond meal because that’s what I had on hand)
pinch of salt
1 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
Preheat oven to 300
Grind the nuts.
Combine nuts, flour and salt
Cream the butter and sugar
Mix in nut mixture
Serving Options:
Either Press down into an 8 inch spring tart pan or use baking papers.  Mold with your hands to fit the shape of papers you choose and prick the tops with a fork.  I’ve used squared like shown in the picture, round and oval. 
More Photos from The Royal Wedding Tea Party

Silver is polished and China is placed
Cream and sugar is served along side jam and my mom’s scones on cake stands

Beautiful assortment of tea sandwiches

Nana serving herself tea sandwiches
The Royal Wedding is played on TV while we eat, drink and laugh

Momo’s Date Drop Cookies

baked goods, nuts 2 Comments

This cookie recipe has been passed down in our family for years.  Momo is my great Grandmother on my mom’s side.  A family gathering is not complete with out a batch of Momo’s cookies served.

My mom, Aunt Izzy and Nana were headed on a road trip for Mother’s Day and I sent them on their way with a box of Momo’s and Brown Sugar Nut Shortbread cookies to munch on in the car.  My favorite cookies for my favorite women!

A few things that make these cookies extra delicious:
Surprise, there’s a nut in the date!
Sour Cream in the dough
Browned Butter frosting

The browned butter frosting is SO delicious!  
Rich, sinful, and unexpected- you’ll love it!

I’ll admit, they are not the most aesthetically appealing cookies.  But, you’ll forget all about looks the moment the first tastes of browned butter and sweet date hits your lips.  Anyway, didn’t your mother teach you, true beauty is on the inside.

Also, check my notes below the recipe.  I had a few mishaps…

1/4 cup butter
1/2 t vanilla
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 1/4 cup flour
1/4 t salt
1/4 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 cup sour cream
1 egg
2 1/2 dozen (about 30) Medjool dates
Pecans or walnuts.   Same number nuts as dates

1/4 cup butter
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 t vanilla
(little water if necessary)

Preheat oven to 400
Stuff the dates with a nut and set aside
Combine the dry ingredients into a bowl and set aside
Cream the butter and sugar
Add the egg and mix until just combined
Add the dry ingredients, alternating with the sour cream
Wrap dough around the date
Bake for about 10 minutes
Cool on a sheet for a minute or two before transferring to a cooling rack

Meanwhile, make the frosting.
Melt the butter until brown
Add the sugar and vanilla
If looking a little too thick, add water, a tad bit at a time.
Frost the cookies and enjoy! I know you will!

1. When wrapping the date with dough: You don’t need to use too much dough.  It is alright if a little date is peaking through the dough.  The dough will melt around the date while cooking.  I made the mistake of wrapping too much dough around the dates the first time I made these)
Also, the dough is also sticky, that’s ok, it’s suppose to be.
2. When Browning the butter: This is tricky.  You will be waiting for the butter to go from melted to browned for what may seem like an eternity.  Then, the second you get board and turn your back on the stove it’ll burn! So, eyes on the melting pot of butter at all times!
3. They can last for a week in an air tight container.  I know this because I sent a box to Europe to my favorite Turkish mom for Mother’s Day,  and were still tasty when they arrived a week later (well, most importantly, no one got sick!).  The date and nuts remind me of flavors in Middle Eastern recipes too.


The Best White Chocolate Chip Macadamia Nut Cookie…


Have I mentioned I’m obsessed with salty-sweet treats!? ;o)
The salty flavor of the nuts go so well with the sweet white chocolate flavor, purely sublime!

As you may know, I eat gluten free. And in an attempt to not outgrow my clothes I choose to cook all the yummy treats I give my friends “non-gluten free” so I wont be tempted to over eat.
Well, that theory failed. I ended up eating half the dough before having a chance to bake all the cookies- and I have a feeling you’ll do the same :o)

This is a must try cookie recipe, and not to mention, super easy to make!

melted chocolate chips = heaven on earth

The Best White Chocolate Chip Macadamia Nut Cookies
(Recipe was definitely adapted from this lovely blog)

Makes 3 dozen (1 dozen if you eat dough like me!)

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 t vanilla
1/2 t salt
2 eggs
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 t baking soda
10 oz white chocolate chips
1 cup macadamia nuts, chopped in chunks

Preheat 375
In a large bowl beat the butter, sugars, vanilla and salt.
Add the eggs and beat well
Stir together the flour and soda, gradually add to the butter mixture
Stir in white chocolate chips and nuts.
Drop teaspoon size balls onto ungreased cookie sheets.
Bake for 8-10 minutes
Cool slightly on cookie sheet before allowing to cool completely on a wire rack.

Note: take the time to cook in small batches and rotating the cookie sheets halfway through baking. This will ensure evenly baked cookies.

Bu bu bu bundt Cake

Apple Spiced Bundt!

This Cake was so delicious I had to make it twice in 2 days.

On Saturday I made it for the guys that run the garage I park my car in. You see, in San Francisco it is very rare to find a garage (conveniently open 24 hrs- steps from your front door) that charges less than $250 a month. Not wanting to pay that much, I offered to pay $200 and bring them baked goods every week! They happily excepted the offer!
And here we are at week 2 with a delicious bundt cake (week 1: white chocolate chip macadamia nut cookies).
After licking the bowl and spatula clean- it was not hard to decide what dessert to make for a dinner party I was attending the following night….
So moist it just melts in your mouth

There is a nice, surprising layer of Apples and Walnuts in the middle


…but not for long

Apple Filling:
2 cups chopped apples (peeled)
2 cups chopped walnuts (pecans too are nice)
1 T Sugar
1T cinnamon

Cake Batter:
2 1/4 cup gluten free flour blend
1/4 cup almond flour
1/4 cup coconut flour
1/4 buckwheat
1 1/2 t xanthan gum
1/2 t baking soda
1 t cinnamon
1/4 t nutmeg
1/8 t ginger and cloves
1 T baking powder
1/2 t salt
2 cups sugar
1 cup safflower
1/4 cup apple cider
2 t vanilla
4 eggs

Preheat 350
Grease a 10 inch Bundt pan and aside
Sift dry ingredients
In a large bowl combine sugar, oil cider, vanilla and eggs
Beat at medium speed
Stir in flour mixture

Spoon a layer into the pan
Sprinkle with apple and nut mixture
Top with remaining batter

Bake for 50 – 55 minutes
Let cool for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack
Cool completely before adding sugar or glaze
Sprinkle with powdered sugar

Apple Cider Glaze:
1 T Apple Cider
1 t lemon juice
1 T softened butter
1 cup powdered sugar


More Power to You

Finally a Truely Powerful, Full Protein, HEALTHY Energy Bar!

not to mention, they’re vegan, gluten free and NO sugar added- well a couple chocolate chips :o)
I’ve been experimenting a lot lately with making healthy power bars and while these are super healthy, they are still packed with calories!
Healthy, complex carb, whole, natural, good-for-you calories that is!
I had one at 4pm before a 5pm workout and didn’t eat again for the rest of the night…!

So, if you have ZERO self control like me and can’t have treats in your home- share these with your active friends- they’ll love ’em!
I’ve been giving my creations to my brother and his 2 roommates (all active, athletic dudes) to sample and they loved ’em- even for breakfast!
Quickly, let’s go over the ingredients and their health and medicinal benefits:
Quinoa: full protein, fiber, iron, magnesium (improves the flow of blood and oxygen throughout the body)
Oats: so many reasons just look here
Almond Butter: protein, magnesium, potassium (important electrolyte), healthy fats and gives you long lasting energy and actually reduces your GI (just read this on almonds!)
Chocolate and Espresso: Fast energy
Brown Rice Syrup: natural sweetener that does not spike your blood sugar levels the way white sugar does. It’s a complex sugar that dissolves easily in the bloodstream plus it’s a complex carb, meaning it will take your body longer to digest- all reason why it’s a better sweetener than white sugar.
Here it is, and super easy:
1/2 cup Brown Rice Syrup
1 stick of Vegan Butter (the only not-so-good ingredient)
2 cups cooked quinoa
2 cups rolled oats
1/4 cup ground flaxseed
2 T vanilla
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup almond butter (peanut butter is fine too)
1 T ground espresso
Preheat oven to 350
cream the butter and brown rice syrup
stir in the vanilla then the cooked quinoa, oats and flax
Bake in a greased 9×13 pan for 20 minutes
Let cool
Meanwhile, in a double broiler melt the chocolate and peanut butter
Stir in the espresso (optional)
Spread over your oats.
Let cool completely before cutting (I even keep mine in the refrigerator)
Enjoy- now go climb a mountian!

Nonna’s Biscotti

Gluten/Sugar Free and Vegan Almond Biscotti

My Italian grandmother would be disappointed to see what I have done to the family biscotti recipe. But, in my defense, it’s 20-10 and with new research coming out showing the negative effects wheat and sugar have on our bodies, I felt the need to make a few adjustments.

I have recently cut gluten and sugar (except from fruit) from my diet, and I feel great. I have more energy and I’m not bloated and gassy anymore (symptoms of having a wheat allergy).

80% of people are sensitive to wheat, to some degree. I recommend you try just a week with no gluten (and sugar if you really want to take the challenge). I guarantee you will be amazed with how great you feel. Don’t be discourage, there are plenty of things you can still eat (check them out).
I saved some for myself and put the rest in a jar for my brother!
What’s a girl to do with a studio full of cookies anyway?
2 sticks of vegan butter
1 t almond extract
1 t vanilla extract
1 cup of unsweetened applesauce
1/2 Amaretto
3 1/2 cups of G.F. Flour
1 t Baking Powder
1 t salt
1 cup slivered almonds
Preheat 325
In a mixer, cream the butter
Add the extract
While the mixer is on, slowly add the applesauce and liquor
It will not blend together completely, no worries
Sift the dry ingredients and add to the wet ingredients.
You may want to add a little flour if your dough seems too sticky
On a floured surface, roll the dough into logs the size of a broom handle
Bake for 30-33 minutes
Remove from the oven and cut them at a diagonal, about a half inch thick
Turn cut side up and return to the oven to continue baking for about 10 minutes
Cool on a rack
Yields about 30 Biscotti.
I calculated about 55 calories per cookie, and 2 grams of fat! Woohoo!

How Sweet it is to be Lavender

Sweet & Salty = Perfection!
I have been having a recent obsession with sweets sprinkled with salt!
The 3 flavors here (sugary sweetness, earthy lavender and savory salt) make these shortbread cookies little bites of heaven!  
Lavender and salt are optional here although I think it really adds a special touch.  
The added lavender and salt bring these cookies from a 7 to a 10!

I become weak in my knees when I bit into these!
Basic shortbread recipe adapted from Martha Stewart
Makes about 4 dozen
1 cup (2 sticks) of butter (I used Earth Balance)
3/4 cup confectioners’ suger
1 t vanilla extract
2 cups sifted all purpose flour (I used whole wheat)
1/2 t salt
1/4 cup edible lavender (more or less depending on personal preference)
Fleur de sel for garnish 
Cream butter, sugar and vanilla until well combined and fluffy.
Chop up the lavender a bit into smaller pieces.
On slow speed beat in flour, salt and lavender until combined.
Wrap doug in plastic wrap, chill for at least 2 hours.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to 1/8 inch thick.
Any shape or size cookie cutter will do.
Cut with cookie cutter and place onto an ungreased baking sheet, chill for 30 minute
Heat oven to 300 with rack in the center.
Prick the cookies with a fork.
Sprinkle with Fleur de sel (or good Kosher salt)
Bake until edges are just brown, about 18 minutes
Cookies will keep in an air tight container for up to 5 days- but I guarantee you’ll eat them all up before then!

Choose the Flavor, Fruit Jam Bars

I love making these bars because they are simple to make and so delicious.
My mom has been making these for as long as I can remember.  Every summer she makes homemade raspberry jam, and always makes a batch of these bars with her jam.

You can use any flavor jam you fancy.  You can also keep it seasonal, I like using rhubarb or strawberry jam in the spring, fig jam in the fall and Meyer Lemon jam in the winter.
This recipe only has about 5 ingredients, and to add to its simplicity, you don’t even need a mixer!
This recipe easily doubles to make a big batch for a party.  1 1/2 x the recipe fills a rimmed cookie sheet.
1 cup Earth Balance (regular is fine too)
1 cup sugar
2 cups whole wheat 
2 cups coconut
1 cup chopped nuts (walnuts or pecans)
1 pint of jam
Preheat 350. grease 8×8 pan
Cream first 3 ingredients 
Add coconut and nuts
Pat 3/4 of the batter into your pan.
Bake 15 minutes
Spread on jam
Crumble remaining batter
Bake 20-25 minutes more

Amaretto Persimmon Bundt Cake

O My Gosh- I have never eaten the batter of anything like I did this! Maybe it was all the liquor that had me licking the bowl clean!

The first time I had a Persimmon Bundt Cake was when my brother Chad (a P.E. teacher at an elementary school) was given one as a Holiday present by a student’s mom.
By the time I finished the cake there was still one more week left of Chad’s Winter Break- which meant I had to wait an entire week before getting the recipe from “The persimmon cake mom”!
During the first week back to school Chad brought me a bag of persimmons and a note that read: “Google Fuyu Bundt Cake”
Ah, yeah!
Thank you Mrs. Persimmon Mom!

The “Fuyu Persimmon Bundt Cake” recipe is everywhere on the internet, and was orignally published in Sunset Magazine in Oct 1978!
Wow, It’s been around for quite awhile- which is why I decided it definitely needed a facelift!

I changed the recipe around a bit to make it healthier and amaretto infused.
My version is Gluten Free and vegan.
I used Gluten Free Flour made from potatoes, which I find can taste a little too starchy. So I went extra heavy on the spices and liquor to cover the starchy taste.
Bob’s Red Mill is a fantastic brand that carries wonderful whole grains, oats, TVP, and all the baking ingredients you could possibley need.

Recipe somewhat adapted:

Preheat oven to 350
Grease and flour a bundt cake pan.

Combine and set aside:
3 cups of chopped Persimmons
2 t Baking soda
1/2 cup Amaretto Liquore (optional)

Beat until smooth
1/2 cup Earth Balance Butter
1 cup of brown sugar
2 eggs – Egg Replacers
2 t lemon juice
3 t vanilla
Mix into the persimmon mixture.

2 cups of Gluten Free Baking Flour (optional, can use regular flour)
1 t baking powder
1 t salt
1 t ground cloves
2 t cinnamon
1/2 t nutmeg
Stir into the persimmon mixture

(chopped walnuts or raisins are a nice optional addition, 1 1/2 cups total)

Pour into prepared bundt pan.
Bake at 350 for about 50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Cool in pan for 15 minutes before turning onto a cooling rack

I thought the Bundt looked a little, well, boring.
So I made a glaze to drizzle on top

1 cup powdered sugar
Add Agave (or maple syrup) and Amaretto A LITTLE BIT at a time until you get the right consistency- not too runny or it’ll run right off your cake!

I like Big Bundts!


Chocolate Cake

This cake is really great and so simple to make!
I added slivered almonds just for a little decoration
I love this recipe because you don’t even need an electric mixer to make the batter.

A few changes I made:
The recipe calls for 2 cups of sugar, but I think that’s a little too much, I halved that and it still tasted great, plus it’s healthier.
Instead of 2 cups of water, I used 1 cup of soy milk and 1 cup of water- I think that makes it a little smoother.
Batter recipe somewhat adapted from The Vegan Connection
3 cups of flour
1 cup of sugar
2 t baking soda
1 t salt
1/2 cup of coco powder
3/4 cup of vegetable oil
1 T vanilla
1/2 T almond extract
2 T cider vinegar 
2 cup of cold water
Preheat 350 degrees
In a bowl sift the flour
In a separate bowl combine the wet ingredients
Combine all ingredients and mix well with a wooden spoon.
Stir for about 2 minutes until there are no more lumps.
Grease and flour your baking pans (I love doing this- I think it looks so pretty)
I used two 9 inch round pans
Bake for 30 minutes
cupcakes: 20-25 minutes
9×11 inch: 50 minutes
Sheet pan: 40 minutes 

It’s important that your butter is at room temperature when you make the frosting.
I also add 1/2 a Tablespoon of almond extract because I knew I was adding the slivered almonds for decoration.  Otherwise, just use 1 Tablespoon on vanilla extract.
Also, I doubled the frosting recipe because I was making a layered cake and wanted lost of frosting.  No need to double the recipe for cupcakes or a flat cake…
1/2 cup of Earth Balance butter 
2 cups of sifted powdered sugar
1/2 T vanilla extract
1/2 T almond extract
2 T soy milk
1/3 cup of coco powder
In a mixer combine the softened butter and sugar until smooth.
Add the remaining ingredients.
Add a little more soy or sugar 1 tablespoon at a time if you need to reach the right consistency.
Using a metal butter knife (I find that works rest) frost your cake.
at this point a added slivered almonds (optional)
Enjoy without guilt!