All posts in dessert

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


Mini Reese’s Cookies

chocolate, dessert 0 Comments

I made these for a friend who loves Peanut Butter Cookies.  I thought, why not spike them up a bit, because who doesn’t love chocolate peanut butter cups!?.
I found Mini Mini Peanut Butter Cups in the Whole Foods bulk aisle.  You can also buy them here.

I adapted the Cookie Recipe From Joy The Baker

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 t baking soda
1/2 baking powder
1/4 salt
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup smooth peanut butter
1 cup light brown sugar (lightly packed)
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups mini peanut butter cups
Raw sugar to sprinkle

Divide Racks in the top and bottom thirds of oven
Preheat to 350
Whisk together the dry ingredients
Beat the butter on medium for a couple of minutes until nice and smooth
Add the peanut butter, continue beating until nice and smooth
Add the Sugar and continue mixing well
Add the eggs one at a time
With a spatula scrape down the mixture to the center of the bowl
While mixer is on med speed, slowly add the dry ingredients
Don’t over mix
Stir in the mini peanut butter cups

Roll the dough into Tablespoon size balls
Drop on cookie sheet, leaving them 2 inches apart
Sprinkle with raw sugar
Put 2 cookie sheets in the oven and bake for 12 minutes, rotating them halfway through
Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet before transferring to a cooling rack
Be sure to cool the baking sheets between batches.  A trick to cool a baking sheet quickily is by running the backside under cold water.


Holy Sweet!

Here’s the Scoop:

The Flavor is Vanilla
Oreos are my Childhood Favorite
Smothered with Skippy is my Guilty Pleasure 

I was introduced to this amazing Oreo Skippy combination by a friend when I was feeling a little blue…

I’ve been wanting to reinvent my Oreo Skippy obsession for some time now and that’s when the Ice Cream Sandwich idea came to mind!  
I made the cookies gluten free.  
Believe me, no one can tell, they are HEAVENLY
Wrap them in parchment paper, tie with baker’s yarn and store in the freezer. Could last at least a month in the fridge, but chances are, you’ll finish them in a week!
Gluten Free Cookie Recipe Adapted Here
I added about 3/4 cup of cocoa powder and a couple tablespoons of milk to moisten them a bit

Honey Almond Cakes

When life hands you eggs, split them!

Last weekend I made LemoCrème brûlée for 8 people and hollandaise sauce for my brother, leaving me with a hell of a ton of egg whites!
There was no way I was going to let a hen’s hard work go to waste, so whether to use the whites or not was not a question.  Thinking of how to use them though got me very excited!
I have been wanting to make the little French tea cakes called financiers for quite some time now, and they call for only egg whites, how perfect.

I looked up a ton of recipes and combined a few to make my own amazingly moist delicious, sugar/gluten free version!
I have to admit, I am very proud of how well these turned out!!!

  Not to mention, they are as cute as can be! 
I baked half the batch with slivered almonds sprinkled on top.
This is a good option too, especially if you want to make these to bring somewhere.

These are so easy to make, you don’t even have to get out your mixer.
I used a ton of almond extract by accident because it came out really quickly! But it ended up making them taste amazing!

1 1/2 cups Almond flour or Almond meal (I used a combination of both)
1/4 Gluten Free baking flour
1/2 t salt
3/4 cup Honey
6 T Butter, melted
1 T almond extract
1/2 cup egg whites

Preheat the oven to 350
Combine the flours and salt in a bowl
melt the butter and add the honey, mix well to combine
Add the honey mixture to the flour mixture and whisk
Slowly pour in the egg whites, mixing well after each little pour
Add the Almond Extract

Line mini cupcake pans with papers
Add a tablespoon of batter to each paper
Bake for 15 minutes
Allow to cool in the pan for 5 minutes before allowing them to fully cool on wire racks.

Yogurt Honey Topping:
Mix plain Greek yogurt with honey.
wow did I even need to say that?

All week for breakfast I enjoyed baked egg whites and spinach in ramekin,
 topped with cherry tomatoes, avocado and feta- delish.


Strawberry Sunday

There are few things in life better than waking up on a Sunday with absolutely no obligations and plans.
To have the whole day to do whatever makes you happy… How often does this happen, really!?
I love a culinary challenge and any opportunity to get creative in the kitchen.  I thought, “Well, I have a big carton of strawberries, why not make every meal today involve strawberries somehow!?”
And that’s what I did: created, cooked and indulged in 3 meals plus dessert!
Baked Strawberry Oatmeal Crumble


Melting Cambozola, Strawberry and Thyme Crostini

Seared Ahi Tuna with Strawberry Salsa
Chocolate Lava Cake with Strawberry Coulis
What a delicious Sunday!

I’ll write down my recipes before I forget, and post soon.


Pick Me Up Rice Pudding

When you’re feeling a tad down in the dumps, there’s nothing better than a little warm creamy sweetness to get your happy pheromones jumping :o)
Rice pudding does the trick
I’m in Turkey and midway through my month long hiatus from reality (aka work and responsibilities) when I started feeling a little anxious.
The thoughts like, “What the hell am I doing?  I can’t just leave for a month? I have a life back home, emails to return, clients to cook for, responsibilities, bills to pay” started haunting me.
We had plans to go horseback riding in an hour and I knew I needed to calm my nerves before hopping on a horse.
At this point my stomach is turning, though I hadn’t eaten all day, and the only thing sounding appetizing is a bowl of creamy rice goodness.
Luckily for me, this is a specialty in Turkey and sold at every corner bakery.

1/2 cup short grain pudding rice (I used sweet rice) rinsed thoroughly under running water
8 cups full fat milk
1-2 t vanilla extract
2 T rice flour
*Get creative with this: chopped nuts on top. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Use coconut milk and sprinkle with shredded coconut

Place the pudding rice in a deep, heavy pan, pour in enough water to just cover the rice and bring to the boil.
Lower the heat and simmer the mixture for 5-6 minutes, until the water has been absorbed
Pour in the milk and bring to the boil, stirring, then lower the heat and simmer until liquid begins to thickens
Add the sugar, stirring all the time until the sugar has dissolved, then stir in the vanilla a simmer for a further 15-20 minutes
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400
In a small bowl, moisten the rice flour with a little water to make a smooth paste
Stir in a spoonful of the hot liquid
Add the rice flour mixture to the pan of rice, stirring all the time to prevent lumps
Once the liquid has thickened a little, transfer the mixture to a large ovenproof dish and bake in the oven for about 25 minutes, until the pudding is lightly browned on top
Remove the pudding from the oven to cool, allowing a skin to form on top

Bodrum, Turkey

Cals: 365, Protein: 12, Carbs: 50, Fat: 13



dessert 0 Comments
Sweet, Sweet Heaven

Is it sad that what I was looking forward to most about a month spent in Greece and Turkey was the baklava?!
The first photograph taken in Turkey was of me eating baklava
So it only makes sense to continue my obsession in the USofA!
A little time consuming to make, but simple once you have all the ingredients prepared and ready to assemble
I use walnuts like the Greeks
Pistachios are used in Turkey
I served them plopped down in the middle of a cupcake paper

Recipe is courtesy of Florence Stamos.

A baklava factory in Turkey
I asked for one piece and they would not let me pay for it.  They insisted that one piece is always a present and they don’t charge for it :o)
 “do not disturb”

Just a typical walk through Istanbul


Lemon Torte

I have been craving lemon poppy seed cake… 
…so when my friend’s mom, Rosco, gave me a bag of Meyer lemons from the tree in their backyard, I was more than anxious to get home to my cookbooks…

Rosco is so loving and generous and insisted that I take home with a bag full of lemons.  This recipe only takes 4 lemons and I can not wait to try more recipes with the remaining 20 something lemons!
Serve along side bowls of whipped cream and fresh berries.  Simply whip heavy cream with a little sugar and lemon zest.  I used one of those little hand held, battery operated, frothers that are used for milk in your coffee.  Light and easy to transport to a friends house and simple to clean.

I’d hardly say I adapted the recipe from Miss Dahl’s Voluptuous Delights Cookbook
I changed it around to make it a bit healthier (in my opinion) and ended up with extra batter.  This actually worked out for the better.  I filled 2 little dishes with the remaining batter and was able to enjoy a sample size for myself before bringing the torte to a friend’s house the following day.  It would have been painfully difficult to look at this torte on my counter for a day and not be able to try it!

I substituted honey for sugar.  1 cup for 1 cup is the same in recipes.  Though, you want to pay attention while baking that it does not brown too quickly (honey will do that).  Also, I added a 1/4 t of baking soda to neutralize  the acidity from the honey

1 1/2 sticks butter
1 cup honey
6 eggs separated
3 lemons, zest and juice (3/4 cup juice)
2 cups blanched almonds, ground
1 cup cornmeal
1/4 baking soda

Preheat 400
Grease and flour a 9 inch springform pan

Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl and set aside 
Cream the butter and honey

Add egg yolks one at a time, while dropping the whites into a separate large bowl
Whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form
Add to the butter mixture
Fold the dry mixture into the wet mixture with a spatula
Bake in the oven for 10 minutes
(with a cookie sheet on the rack below incase batter drips through the springform pan)
Turn the oven down to 285 and cook for another 40 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

When using honey instead of refind sugar you need to adjust cooking times and temps.
If you use sugar:
bake at 300, not 285
bake for 40 minutes not 35
you will not use baking soda

 cornmeal gives this a nice texture and makes this gluten free
 Cool completely on a rack before removing it from the tort pan

Almond and Coconut Berry Tart

I’ve been waiting for an excuse to experiment with coconut flour and coconut butter for some time now.
So, when my friends and I decided to take a trip to Tomales Bay to BBQ oysters, I thought, “What better opportunity?  If I happen to not like oysters, I’ll still have an entire tart to enjoy!”
Well, I happened to love BBQ oysters, especially the butter and hot sauce smothered on top (check out the BBQ here)

Not only is coconut flour gluten free, but it’s high in protein and fiber too.  Coconut butter is a good substitute to cow’s butter if you are looking for a vegan option.
Coconut flour and honey make this delicious dessert vegan and gluten/sugar free!

For the Crust:
2/3 cup Almond Meal (our almonds ground to a powder)
2/3 coconut flour
1/3 cup honey
3/4 cup coconut butter

For the Ganache:
12 oz good quality chocolate chips
1/4 cup coconut butter
3/4 cup almond (rice or coconut) milk

Preheat the oven to 350
Butter a spring tart pan
In a food processor combine the crust ingredients.
Do not over process, it will look a little dry, that is fine
Pour the mixture into the pan and press firmly down
Bake for about 7-10 minutes until lightly brown

Meanwhile make the ganache filling
In a double broiler melt the chocolate chips
Remove from the heat and add the butter and milk
mix well until well incorporated

Pour the chocolate ganache mixture over the crust and return to the oven for 15 minutes
allow to cool completely on a wire rack
Add berries
Top with shredded coconut (optional.  After I did this I thought it looked a little silly.  But it is a nice reminder to the eaters that coconut is incorporated in the crust and chocolate ganache too!)
I let mine sit over night on on a cooling rack and in the morning added the berries.
I added one nice line of berries along the border, pressing down a bit to hold them in, and then filled it in a little more casually.   I like food to look and more natural and not so uniform and perfect, but it’s up to you.  A mixture of berries would be lovely too.


Thai Coconut Rice with Fresh Mangos

Asian, dessert 0 Comments
 My favorite Thai dessert!
Super easy to make for a crowd, this recipe can even be tripled
and made way in advanced

Picture I took while in Thailand
Served in little banana leafs 
Enjoy warm or at room temperature 
Somewhat adapted from the Food Network 
Yields 6 servings
1 T olive oil
1 1/2 cups basmati rice
1 (14 oz) can unswetened coconut milk
2/3 cup water
1 t salt
1 large ripe mango, peeled and cubed
coconut for garnish
In a large sauce pan heat the oil over medium heat
Add the rice and stir to coat
Add the milk, water and salt
Bring to a boil and, cover and simmer for 20 minutes, or until all liquid is absorbed
Remove rice from the heat and fluff with a fork
Place the lid back over the rice and allow to steam for 5 minutes
Put out onto a serving dish, top with mango cubes and garnish with coconut
yumyum this is dangerous


Carmel Graham Cookies

dessert, vegan 0 Comments

My Aunt Izzy is the inspiration behind my love affair with food and cooking.  I have many childhood memories of summers spent in the kitchen whipping up treats with Izzy and Mindee (my cousin).
These Graham Crackers were a favorite of mine and Mindee’s and were requested often.
With only 4 ingredients, these tasty treats are super easy to make, even for kiddies

24 Graham Crackers
1 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 1/2 cups chopped nuts

Preheat oven to 350
spread 24 graham cracker on a cookie sheet
In a heavy sauce pan, over medium heat, melt the butter and sugar
Bring to a boil. allow to boil for about 5 minutes
Pour evenly over crackers
Sprinkle with chopped nuts
Bake for 10 minutes
Cool for 10 minutes
Cut between each square


Rhubarb Bars

dessert, nuts, vegan 0 Comments

I have been wanting to experiment with rhubarb lately so I thought a good place to start would be with my mom’s basic jam bar recipe (see here)
Another inspiration for making these bars is that I’m still working on using up the lb of slivered almonds left over from an event I catered 3 months ago.

I don’t often feel this way about recipes I come up with, but I must say, I whipped up a couple tasty things today (Rice with Broccoli, Pesto and Pine Nuts too)!

2 sticks butter (can use earth balance to make vegan)
1 cup sugar
2 cups flour
1 cup coconut
2 cups Almonds (ground)

Rhubarb Filling:
3 cups Rhubarb chopped
2 T Lemon
3/4 cup sugar
2 T cornstarch

Preheat the oven 350
Grease an 8X8 pan

Cream the first 3 ingredients
Add the coconut and nuts and mix
Pat 3/4 of your dough into the bottom of the pan and bake for 20 minutes
In the meantime, make the Rhubarb Filling
In a large sauce pan cook the rhubarb and lemon until nice and tender, about 10 minutes
Add the sugar and cornstarch and turn up the heat.
Continue cooking for 1 minute
Spread over the baked dough and crumble the remaining dough over the rhubarb mixture
Bake for an additional 20-25 minutes

Cool completely on a wire rack before cutting


Ganache Bars

Bars are great to make for parties and events, especially when you are tight on time.

I made these just with the few ingredients I already had in the house for a 1 year old birthday party!
Unfortunately, Milo is too young to enjoy such indulgences, but one day…
Milo playing in the box

I made these Gluten Free, using almond and coconut flour, if you would like to use white flour follow this recipe for the crust.
2 sticks Earth Balance butter (for vegans, otherwise regular)
1 cup sugar
1 cup almond flour
1 cup coconut flour
2 cups shredded coconut
1 cup chopped almonds
Chocolate Ganache Filling:
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
12 oz semisweet chocolate chips
Preheat the to 350
Grease a tart pan, I used 9 inch square. Anything about that size will work.
In a mixer, combine the butter and sugar until smooth.
Mix in the flour and then the coconut and chopped nuts.
Press 2/3 of the batter into the pan
Bake for 20 minutes
In the meantime, make the chocolate ganache
Warm the milk and melt the chocolate chips together in a double broiler.
Pour the chocolate mixture over the crust
Crumble the remaining batter over the chocolate
Return to the oven for 15 minutes
Cool on a wire rack
Birthday Boy!


Coconut Cupcakes

with cream cheese frosting and a surprising bite of chocolate inside

I decided to make these mini for a friend’s birthday celebration…bite size anything is just more fun, and maybe even guaranteed to taste better!
Plus, mini-ness helps with portion control, because 7 mini really equals one regular size cupcake, right? ;o)
Morgan’s Surprise Birthday, slash, Going Away Party!
Make a wish!
Enjoying cupcakes!

We go back to Elementary School!
Love you, miss you, kiss you!
Adapted from Martha Stewart
Makes 12 cupcakes (24 mini)
1 1/2 sticks butter, room temperature
1 cup sugat
2 eggs
1 t vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 t baking powder
1/4 t salt
1/2 cup milk
Chocolate pieces, about 1/2 cup (optional)
8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 t pure coconut extract
2 cups flaked coconut
Sprinkles (optional)
Preheat oven 350
line muffin tins with papers
Combine the flour, salt, baking flour, set aside
With an electric mixer on medium speed, beat 1 stick butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
Beat in eggs one at a time
Reduce speed to low
Slowly add flour
Add the milk
Spoon into muffin tins, 3/4 full
Top each with a chocolate piece
Bake about 15 minutes, until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean
cool on wire rack
Meanwhile, with mixer on medium, beat cream cheese and remaining 1/2 stick of butter, confectioners sugar and coconut extract.
Frost cupcakes, sprinkle with coconut
note: If you are piping the frosting, like I did, add the coconut to the frosting and beat until well mixed, about 10 seconds. then pipe onto cupcakes

Make a Wish
Family comes to really make the surprise special!

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.