Recipe: Gluten Free Cherry Almond Cake

July is the month for cherries in New York State and it’s almost here! Give this one a try when you have some fresh sweet cherries.

Gluten-free Cherry Almond Cake

Ingredients

  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 6 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 28 large fresh sweet cherries, pitted and halved
  • 9 tablespoons almond flour
  • 9 tablespoons coconut flour
  • 2 tablespoons tapioca flour
  • ¾ cup maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/3 cup extra light tasting olive oil
  • 2/3 cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 large egg

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Prepare a deep dish pie plate, or 9 X 9 square cake tin, with high sides, or a similar sized baking dish.
  3. Melt the butter in the maple syrup using the microwave on 50% power for 1 minute (This can be done in your baking dish directly if it is microwave safe.)
  4. Arrange the cherry halves evenly in the maple syrup and butter.
  5. Add the rest of your ingredients to a bowl and whisk vigorously.
  6. Allow cake batter to sit for 2 to 3 minutes to thicken up.
  7. Pour cake batter over the cherries.
  8. Bake for 50 minutes or until a knife or tooth pick inserted comes out clean.
  9. Serve warm or cold, it’s delicious either way.

The Monthly Recipe: Gluten Free Pineapple Upside-down Cake

I love to make desserts that pair fruit and nut flours in some way. They are rich, delicious, and satisfying. This is a classic that is particularly popular in my husband’s family, with a little bit of an update – it’s gluten free and cane sugar free.

I made a few test cakes. The first, with the triple flours, was delicious but could have used a little more baking time. Plus, it boiled over a little in the oven.

The second, I used my old stand by almond sponge cake and cut back on the butter and maple syrup with the pineapple. This time I put it on a pizza tin, but didn’t need to. It was okay but it didn’t thrill me with the flavor the way the first had. I’d also forgotten to add the rum flavoring.

The third version was like the first, but I used fresh pineapple, cut the recipe to one fourth, used a deep casserole, and used the full baking time. It had a little trouble coming out of the casserole, but I didn’t mind. The flavor is the most important part. J

(Adapted from the recipe for Pineapple Upside-down Cake in a very old Betty Crocker cookbook.)

Gluten-free Pineapple Upside-down Cake

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup butter
  • ½ cup maple syrup
  • 1 – 20 ounce can sliced, diced, or crushed pineapple, drained (I used fresh the last time)
  • ½ cup each almond, tapioca, and coconut flour
  • ¾ cup maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/3 cup extra light tasting olive oil
  • 2/3 cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon rum extract
  • 1 large egg

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Prepare a deep dish pie plate, or 9 X 9 square cake tin, with high sides, or a similar sized baking dish.
  3. Melt the butter in the maple syrup using the microwave on 50% power for 1 minute (This can be done in your baking dish directly if it is microwave safe.)
  4. Arrange the drained pineapple evenly in the maple syrup and butter.
  5. Add the rest of your ingredients to a bowl and whisk vigorously.
  6. Allow cake batter to sit for 2 to 3 minutes to thicken up.
  7. Pour cake batter over the pineapple.
  8. Bake for 50 minutes or until a knife or tooth pick inserted comes out clean.
  9. Allow to cool five minutes.
  10. Using pot holders, turn out onto a serving dish. (If you’re not fussy, you can just scoop out portions when it’s cool enough.)
  11. Serve warm or cold, it’s delicious either way.

The Monthly Recipe: Coconut Raspberry Almond Flour Cake

Coconut Raspberry Almond Flour Cake

Coconut cake is traditional in our house for Easter but I’ve gotten away from the regular box mixes and sugary frostings so here’s this year’s version, using an almond flour sponge cake and cheesecake mousse. It reminds me of the old raspberry zinger snack cakes. J

Ingredients for Cake

  • 5 large eggs (separated)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 9 tablespoons maple syrup
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 6 ounces almond flour (about 1 1/3 cups)

Filling

  • ½ cup Polaner raspberry all fruit

Cheesecake Mousse Topping

  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup, (or sugar)
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla or coconut extract
  • 3/4 cup whipping cream

Fresh Coconut Topping

  • Meat of one coconut grated or a cup of bagged grated coconut

Directions

  1. Make the filling first and chill –
  2. Soften an eight ounce block of cream cheese on the counter for a couple hours or in the microwave on fifty percent power for one to two minutes.
  3. Mix with 1/4 cup maple syrup, or sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon extract.
  4. Whip 3/4 cup whipping cream and fold in.
  5. Chill completely.
  6. To make the cake –
  7. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  8. Prep 2 8-inch or 9-inch cake pans by greasing and lining with parchment paper.
  9. Separate the 5 eggs into 2 mixing bowls.
  10. Mix the maple syrup into the egg yolks then stir in the vanilla and almond flour.
  11. Using a mixer, beat your egg whites and salt until stiff peaks form.
  12. Fold the egg whites into the egg yolk mixture, about one third at a time.
  13. Separate the mixture into the two prepared pans and bake for 22 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  14. Cool for ten minutes then turn out onto a plate and cool completely.
  15. Sandwich with jelly.
  16. Just before serving, frost cake with cream cheese mousse and sprinkle with grated coconut.
  17. Enjoy!

The Monthly Recipe: Homemade Very Veggie Chili

Homemade Chili

When I was growing up, our family chili recipe was very simple – one chopped onion, a pound of ground beef, 28 ounces crushed tomatoes, 3 15-ounce cans of dark red kidney beans, salt, and a tablespoon or so of McCormick’s chili powder.

Then a friend told me that she grated carrots into tomato based things like chili to add more veg and my chili has been developing ever since. I love red bell pepper, but my husband can’t stomach it. I found riced cauliflower was a fantastic way to hide more veggies in it. Black beans and corn have been other options over the years. Here’s the latest version.

Be warned, it makes a BIG pot, but I love taking it to work for an easy and flavorful lunch and we don’t mind leftovers. It easily serves the three of us for two meals.

Also, watch out for the type of chili powder you use – I’ve picked up two chili powders recently and found they were blends, one with added sodium. I’m used to a fairly mild but completely chili based powder. Also, if using a hot chili powder, like McCormick’s Chipotle Chili Powder, I use half as much. I also cook low sodium so all products are reduced, low, or no sodium and we are used to that. Adjust to your tastes.

Homemade Extra Veggie Chili

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and coarsely grated or finely chopped
  • 1 pound ground beef or venison
  • 1 package of riced cauliflower (I like to precook this according to package directions, but it probably isn’t necessary. It just make take a few extra minutes to bring the pot to a boil.)
  • 1 15 ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 15 ounce can tomato sauce
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1 can dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt

Directions

  1. Spray a 4 quart or large soup pot with cooking spray and pour in the olive oil. Heat over medium low heat.
  2. Dice the onion and add to the pot.
  3. Grate the carrot in and stir it around.
  4. Cook on low for about five minutes then push the veggies toward the sides of the pot.
  5. Turn the heat up to medium.
  6. Put the meat in the center and chop it up with a spatula or large spoon, stirring in the onion and carrot as you go. (I like to get the meat fairly fine and the veggies help break it up.)
  7. Brown the meat thoroughly, stirring regularly, about five to 8 minutes.
  8. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir thoroughly. (If it isn’t “soupy” enough for your taste, just add another cup of water and it will loosen up but not really lose any flavor.)
  9. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to simmer.
  10. Simmer for about an hour.
  11. Check for seasoning and adjust as necessary.
  12. Serve as is or with grated sharp cheddar cheese, sour cream, avocado or guacamole, and/or tortilla chips.

The Monthly Recipe: Almond Flour Gingerbread Sponge Cake

I’ve been playing with an almond flour sponge cake recipe I love, mostly because our hens have been inundating us with fresh eggs and this uses quite a few eggs, but also because it’s simple, has less sugar, and is gluten free.

I tried to turn it into a chocolate cake by replacing some of the almond flour with Dutch process cocoa powder. It was an utter failure, almost no chocolate flavor at all.

Then I had the idea to make it a gingerbread cake with the simple exchange of some molasses for part of the maple syrup and the addition of ginger and cinnamon.

OMG! This was so good that I couldn’t wait to share it! It is moist, tender, springy without being chewy, rich, and full of flavor. I like it with applesauce but my daughter likes it with whipped cream, so we had both. I actually like the texture better than traditional gingerbread cake.

I highly recommend you try it at the next opportunity. You can use nearly any type of pan, from a pie plate to a cake tin or a springform pan. I would line the bottom of the tin with parchment paper to make it easier to get out though.

Almond Flour Gingerbread Sponge Cake

Ingredients

  • 5 large eggs, separated
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¾ teaspoon ginger
  • ¾ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup molasses
  • 5 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 6 ounces almond flour (About a cup and a half.)

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Prepare a 9-inch cake pan, a 10-inch springform, or a similar size tin by buttering or greasing and lining with parchment paper.
  3. Separate the egg whites from the egg yolks, making sure no egg yolks break. I do this over a small bowl one at a time then put the egg yolks into a large bowl and the egg whites into my mixer bowl.
  4. Sprinkle the salt over the egg whites and whip them on medium high speed into stiff peaks. I use a stand mixer for this. I have heard you can do this by hand but I would never try it, my arm would be useless for too long afterward, if I ever even got there. A hand held mixer should also work fine.
  5. Mix the rest of the ingredients together in the bowl with the egg yolks.
  6. Now, gently fold the egg whites into the egg yolk mixture, always lifting from the bottom and in one direction. I’m right handed so I lift toward myself with a rubber spatula as I turn the bowl with my left hand.
  7. Pour the light and fluffy batter into the prepared pan.
  8. Bake for 40 minutes or until it pulls away from the sides and the top is springy to the touch.
  9. Allow to cool.
  10. Serve with applesauce and/or whipped cream.

The Monthly Recipe: Toasted Oat PB & Cocoa No-bake Cookies

I’ve been wanting to try a classic no bake cookie recipe with maple syrup instead of sugar using oats that had been toasted in order to partially cook them. (Okay, so technically the oats are baked, but the cookies themselves are not.) I started by doing some research into pre-existing recipes. The main problem I had was – there were so many of them! And they were all a little bit different. Various recipes changed the ratios on the sugar, cocoa, and peanut butter, not to mention wildly different amounts and kinds of milk and butter or oil. Which way to jump?

I decided to start with a basic recipe that went high on the cocoa powder and peanut butter and sub in the maple syrup. I went with the recipe from Simple Joy. (Original recipe at https://www.simplejoy.com/chocolate-peanut-butter-no-bake-cookies/ ) I did cut the recipe in half and toasted the oats ahead. They turned out good – fudgy and rich with tons of peanut butter and chocolate flavor. The consistency was the only problem, they aren’t going to be able to sit out. These need to be stored in the fridge.

In putting the maple syrup in, I did a little research on making fudge with maple syrup too, and decided to cook the maple syrup a little longer to get a temperature that should set up better. The maple fudge recipes from Canada called for bringing the maple syrup to 236 to 240 degrees. I only went to 223 and didn’t cool it before I beat the air in. However, I did add cold peanut butter from the fridge which cooled it considerably.

I may play with this recipe some more in the future, but here’s what I came up with.

Toasted Oat PB & Cocoa No-bake Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cups quick cooking oats
  • 1 cup maple syrup
  • ¼ cup whole milk
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ½ cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

  • Preheat the oven to 375.
  • Spread the oats on a large, clean cooking tin with an edge.
  • Bake for seven to nine minutes, stirring after every 3 minutes, until the oats brown.
  • Set them aside to cool.
  • In a medium pot, stir together the maple syrup, butter, and milk.
  • Bring to a boil over medium high heat, stirring gently but continuously.
  • Boil at a full rolling boil for approximately 3 minutes, stirring lazily.
  • Remove from heat and stir in the peanut butter and vanilla.
  • Stir, stir, stir until it turns nice and glossy.
  • Now stir in the oats.
  • I used a medium cookie scoop to drop these onto parchment paper and they sat right where I put them, no running away.
  • Cool at least 30 minutes.
  • I cut the parchment paper into squares around the fudgy cookies and stored them in the fridge. This made 18 large no-bakes.

The Sunday Recipe: Pumpkin and Maple Bread Pudding

This has become a family tradition. It’s adapted from Flavor Mosaic at https://flavormosaic.com/pumpkin-praline-bread-pudding/. I changed the type of bread, spice blend, substituted maple syrup for sugar, used unsalted butter, and halved the sauce. (Also using maple syrup in the sauce.) Our local grocery sells 1 ½ pound sourdough loafs so we always get to enjoy sourdough toast that weekend as well.

Pumpkin Bread Pudding

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 pound of sourdough bread
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup half & half
  • 1 15-ounce can pumpkin puree
  • 1and 1/3 cups maple syrup
  • 4 large Eggs
  • 2 tablespoons extra light tasting olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/16 teaspoon (or a large pinch) of ground cloves

Sauce

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 4 ounces pecan halves, toasted THEN chopped

Instructions 

  1. Butter a 9 x 13 baking dish with the one tablespoon of unsalted butter.
  2. Dice the bread into approximately 1 inch cubes.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs.
  4. Add the maple syrup, heavy cream, half& half, and pumpkin, stirring between each addition.
  5. Now add the melted butter in a thin stream, whisking all the while.
  6. Stir in the vanilla and spices.
  7. Slowly pour the batter over the bread pieces in the baking dish.
  8. Press bread down with a spoon to cover all the bread pieces.
  9. Refrigerate at least one hour but preferably several hours, even overnight.
  10. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 for about 1 hour.
  11. While the bread pudding is baking, toast the pecans gently and chop.
  12. Then make the praline sauce.
  13. In a heavy saucepan over medium heat, stir together the butter, heavy cream, and maple syrup; bring to a low boil.
  14. Reduce heat to low and simmer until the sauce thickens, about 5 minutes.
  15. Sprinkle pecans over bread pudding then drizzle with sauce.
  16. Serve warm or cold.
  17. Whipping cream is a nice addition.

The Sunday Recipe: Great-Grandma’s Soft Buttermilk Molasses Cookies

This is an old recipe handed down from my great-great grandmother and adjusted many times over the years. The version I was originally given by my mother had the cloves and allspice crossed out and the baking soda reduced. I stick to ginger and cinnamon, but I did try using the full amount of baking soda recently and regretted it. I think it tastes better with a little less. It’s a very friendly dough that can be scooped and dropped or add a little more flour, roll out, and cut beautiful cookies for decorating.

I highly recommend letting a stand mixer do the work for these cookies, but don’t double the batch. Your mixer can’t handle it, trust me. 😉 My daughter likes to use a basting brush to sweep away any excess flour before baking to make the cookies picture perfect.

Great-Grandma’s Soft Buttermilk Molasses Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup molasses
  • 1 cup of buttermilk (full fat preferred)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 3 teaspoons ginger
  • 5 and 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

Directions

  1. Cream the butter and sugar together.
  2. Mix in the molasses.
  3. Blend in the buttermilk.
  4. Mix together the flours, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and ginger.
  5. Stir into the liquid ingredients.
  6. Chill for a half hour or longer.
  7. Preheat oven to 350.
  8. Prepare a pan with parchment paper or non-stick cooking spray.
  9. Scoop out with a cookie scoop and drop onto a dish of granulated sugar then pick up with the back of a spoon.
  10. Drop off onto the tin then flip over so the sugar is right side up.
  11. Alternatively – roll out on a floured surface and cut out with floured cookie cutters.
  12. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes.
  13. Cool and enjoy or decorate with icing.

The Sunday Recipe: Quiche

Sorry, this recipe is decidedly traditional – gluten and all. Don’t worry, I’ll be back to the gluten free soon. I tried a quiche last weekend but I wasn’t satisfied with how it turned out so I did a little research, talked to my mom, and tried again this weekend. The first time I used fried uncured pancetta, and it was tasty but it sank to the bottom, along with the cheese, leaving a fluffy egg top mostly devoid of the bits that make it better. My mother suggested sprinkling the meat on the top. I thought maybe if I grated the cheese finer and mixed it into the egg and cream before pouring it into the crust that would help. I also ended up using Canadian bacon, which is lighter than the little cubes of pancetta. Both tasted delicious but I think I’d like a little bit more egg and less cream. I might try an egg bake soon that does that.

Meat and Cheese Quiche

Ingredients

Crust

  • 1 cup Unbleached All-purpose Flour
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon Spectrum Palm Oil Shortening (Or shortening of your choice.)
  • 3 tablespoons cold water

Filling

  • 4 ounces baby Swiss cheese
  • 4 ounces fried pancetta (second quiche I diced up 3 ounces Canadian bacon)
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped onion
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 4 large eggs
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)

Directions

  1. Measure 120 grams or 1 cup of flour into a bowl.
  2. Add the ¼ teaspoon salt and stir together.
  3. Cut in the shortening. (If you don’t have a pastry blender, get one, but two knives will work. You can also pulse in a food processor.)
  4. Pour in the water and mix then press together into a disc of dough.
  5. Place between two squares of parchment paper, flouring below and on top of the dough.
  6. Roll the dough out into a large circle.
  7. Cut and tack pieces onto any place that cracked, using a little water and flour after.
  8. Gently peel the top parchment off.
  9. Put pie plate onto dough face down and slide hand under the parchment then flip the whole thing over.
  10. Peel off the parchment.
  11. Ease dough into pie plate.
  12. Turn edges back and flute the crust.
  13. Chill for at least 30 minutes in fridge.
  14. While chilling dough, preheat oven to 425.
  15. Dice onion and Canadian bacon, if using.
  16. Grate cheese.
  17. Whisk eggs, cream, and seasonings thoroughly.
  18. Stir cheese in.
  19. Pour egg mix into par-baked crust.
  20. Sprinkle with ham and onion.
  21. Bake at 425 for 15 minutes.
  22. Turn oven down to 300 and bake 30 minutes.
  23. Cool at least 10 minutes before cutting.
  24. Enjoy!

The Sunday Recipe: Wild Blueberry Tart with Almond Crust

Tarts have been big in my house this year. Easy to make with a gluten free crust and relatively low sugar, they are perfect for a fast and easy dessert. I had a yen for blueberries the other day and found wild blueberries in the freezer section of our local grocery store so this week’s recipe is a wild blueberry tart.

Wild Blueberry Tart with Almond Crust

Crust Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 160 grams or 1 1/2 cups almond flour

Filling Ingredients

  • 16 ounces or 3 cups blueberries, defrosted
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon tapioca flour (mixed with 1 tablespoon water)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Prep your tin if needed. (I used a non-stick 9 inch tart pan but an 8 X 8 tin, greased and lined with parchment paper, will work just fine.)
  3. Heat the 2 tablespoons of butter in the maple syrup for 1 minute on 50% power in the microwave then stir to finish melting.
  4. Add the pinch of salt and almond flour.
  5. Stir to combine.
  6. Turn out into your tin and press evenly out to the sides and up a half inch.
  7. Bake at 350 for 10 to 12 minutes.
  8. Meanwhile, combine all the filling ingredients except for the dissolved tapioca powder in a medium saucepan.
  9. Bring just to a boil over medium high heat.
  10. Stir in the tapioca flour and keep stirring for 30 seconds to a minute as it thickens.
  11. Remove from heat.
  12. When the tart shell is ready, fill with the blueberry filling.
  13. Bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees.
  14. Allow to cool before serving.
  15. This is best served the same day or the next because the almond pastry will soften if left for two days. Not a deal breaker, but it’s nicer when crisp.

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