August 23, 2017

Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix

Cookies…such a lovely tradition of giving during the Christmas holidays.  There are cookies to make for exchanges. There are cookies to make to fill tins and baskets that are given to friends and loved ones.  There are cookies to make for the cookie monsters in your own home!

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Chocolate Chip cookies seem to be a big-time favorite; how about at your house?  My recipe for Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies starts off with making a basic mix. This is a great recipe to double (even triple!) so that you can make a batch AND have the basic mix ready to quickly throw together another batch!  Or perhaps you could take the second batch and put into a large Mason jar and gift someone with it! And we (the grandkids and I) have been known to leave out the chocolate chips (oh!no!) and substitute another mix-in such as mini M&M’s or some chopped nuts.   Here are a couple of recipes I found on the web for various types of mix-ins; some of these are so interesting!   Have fun!

relish.com – Chocolate Chip Cookies 7 ways
FoodNetwork.com – 10 mix-ins to update your Chocolate Chip cookies
huffingtonpost.com – 12 ways to make your Chocolate Chip cookies even better

Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookie MIX
(makes approximately 4 cups; enough for 4 dozen cookies)

ingredients:
2+1/4 cups good quality all-purpose gluten-free flour blend
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
3/4 cup coconut sugar (or table sugar)
12 ounce bag semi-sweet chocolate chips

directions:
place all ingredients (EXCEPT for the chocolate chips) into a large bowl and whisk together well.  if using immediately, pour in the chocolate chips. if not, pour the mix into a storage jar and add the chocolate chips right on top; seal well.

♥   ♥   ♥   ♥   ♥

Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

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ingredients:
1 batch of above GF Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix
8 tablespoons butter (unsalted), room temperature
2 extra-large eggs, room temperature
1+1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract (NOT imitation, please!)

directions:

  • preheat oven to 325.  line two (2) large baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside
  • using a hand or stand mixer, beat together the room temperature butter and eggs ‘til thoroughly incorporated; stir in the vanilla
  • pour 4 cups (or one batch) of the Cookie Mix into a very large bowl. by hand, stir in the liquid ingredients to thoroughly blend
    add the chocolate chips (or mix-in of your choice); stir ‘til evenly distributed
  • drop balls of dough (approximately 1+1/4″) onto the prepared baking sheets.  place the baking sheets (one at a time) into the freezer for 5 minutes to firm up
  • after the chill time, put cookies (one sheet at a time) into the oven
  • bake for 12-14 minutes (depending on the size of your dough balls) or ‘til the bottoms are beginning to brown
  • remove from the oven. (I carefully lift the parchment from the cookie sheet directly onto a cooling rack—works beautifully!)
    when cookies are thoroughly cooled, store in an airtight tin or jar.  whether you and your loved ones eat ’em or share ’em…enjoy!

*To make these cookies dairy-free, simply substitute 1 stick of butter-flavor shortening for the 8 tablespoons of butter; and purchase chocolate chips with no milk or milk products.  I use the Ghiradelli or the Enjoy Life brands.

 ♥   ♥   ♥   ♥   ♥

Merry Christmas from Mr. hayden and I!

God loves you ♥  (Don’t ever forget that!)

♥  coleen

Gingerbread Cupcakes

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For our family’s Thanksgiving Feast (as the grandchildren call it!), we always divvy up of the different dishes that make up our spread.  This year, Robert and I are hosting the Feast at our home, so mine is the turkey to prepare (I always use Alton Brown’s Brined Turkey recipe), along with gluten-free gravy and the stuffing (see my recipe I shared here a couple of weeks ago).   My daughter, Kassia and her mother-in-law Mary Ann are divvy-ing up the sides and salads!  And we each are making a dessert…these spicy-sweet Gingerbread Mini-Cupcakes are my contribution.  Oh, they are so darling!  And just the perfect mouthful (and I mean FULL).  <Of course you certainly could make these in a standard cupcake size, too!>

For those of you who are just beginning to follow the path of gluten-free baking, try this recipe.  When I first made these cupcakes, I used a ‘gf all-purpose flour blend.’ You can pick up a box in the gluten-free section of almost any grocery store. However, if you have a pantry filled with jars of different gluten-free flours, I used ** 1/2 cup brown rice flour, 1/4 cup tapioca flour, 1/4 cup potato starch, 1/4 cup hazelnut flour).  Note that these cupcakes are dairy-free if you prepare them with coconut oil…and of course no whipped cream!

This is a quick recipe to pull together…and the mini-cupcakes only take 10-12 minutes to bake.  We will have ours with Spiced Whipped Cream (see the recipe  here).  But they are equally yummy with a cream cheese frosting or a simple buttercream frosting, too.  Enjoy!

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Mini Gingerbread Cupcakes

ingredients:
1+1/4 cup gluten-free all purpose flour blend **(see above)
1+1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons butter, room temperature (I used coconut oil)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup molasses
1 egg, room temperature
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup boiling water

directions:

  • set out the butter (or coconut oil) and egg to come to room temperature
  • fill muffin/cupcake tins with liners (mini = 30; regular = 12)
  • preheat oven to 350
  • mix flour(s) and spices together in a small bowl
  • with mixer, cream together butter (or coconut oil) and sugar
  • add egg, then molasses; beating ‘til nice and creamy
  • microwave the water in a measuring cup ‘til boiling; remove and <carefully> stir in the baking soda; set aside to cool slightly
  • add the dry ingredients to the mixer bowl, and blend for about 1 minute ‘til it all comes together
  • continue to blend while pouring in the water; beat for an additional minute or so (batter will seem thin but it very quickly thickens up)
  • fill lined cupcake tins about 3/4 full with batter
  • bake minis for 10-12 minutes (regular-sized for 20 minutes), or ‘til firm to the touch and slightly browned
  • take pan from oven and immediately remove cupcakes to a cooling rack
  • once completely cool, frost as desired

 ♥   ♥   ♥   ♥   ♥

God loves you!  ♥  (Don’t ever forget that!)

♥  coleen

Pesto Chicken Broccoli

Look what someone who loves me gave me today…oh! happy me!

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My daughter, Kassia, lovingly gifted me with a jar of her healthy but-oh-so-yummy pesto (and luscious balsamic reduction)!  This is precious stuff…what to make, what to make?  Eventually, I just decided to keep it simple: I took a couple of tablespoons to marinate one pound of chicken tenderloins, which we then grilled. Then cooked up some gluten free pasta, steamed a head of broccoli, and sauteed some mushrooms and onions.  And combined it all together with an additional few tablespoons of pesto.  So yummy!

Kassia graciously is sharing her pesto recipe with us today…. This recipe is vegan and dairy-free (along with being intrinsically gluten free, soy free). Her secret ingredient?  Nutritional yeast.  Yup! Don’t knock it ‘til you try it! (Oh, speaking of trying it…dust your freshly popped popcorn with it!) Here’s a fun link loaded with lots of good info about nutritional yeast, or noosh, and some ideas where to purchase it.  As is, this recipe is dairy-free and vegan.  We topped off the finished dish with some freshly grated Asaiago cheese.  Enjoy!

Pesto

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ingredients:
1/4 cup pignoli (also called pine nuts)2014-08-10 17.47.41
1 tablespoon finely minced garlic (she uses jarred garlic, like her momma!)
2 cups fresh baby spinach
1 cup fresh basil (leaves only)
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast flakes
juice of 1/2 small lemon
1/4 cup+/- extra virgin olive oil
sea salt, freshly ground black pepper
freshly grated parmesan or asiago cheese, optional

 

directions:

  • in a food processor, process the pignoli  and garlic until minced
  • add the spinach, basil, nutritional yeast and lemon juice; process by pulsing until spinach is finely ground
  • with food processor running, s-l-o-w-l-y pour the oil down the food chute ‘til all is well incorporated
  • season with salt and pepper, to taste
  • this will make approximately 3/4 cup (about 12 tablespoons) of pesto. I only used 5 tablespoons in the entire dish pictured above which made 4 generous servings!

♥   ♥   ♥   ♥   ♥

God loves you!  ♥  (Please don’t ever forget that!)

♥  coleen

GF Strawberry Muffins

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So, I don’t know about your area, but we have had strawberries in abundance here in upstate NY…and they have been beautiful and fragrant and delicious!  My granddaughter, Kaylie Joy, just LOVES strawberries!  I had made a batch of these muffins and when she tasted one, she asked if we could bake some together…how could i say ‘no’?!  We actually doubled the ingredients and it worked very well. And we baked them up as a dozen standard size muffins and 3 dozen mini-muffins.  In either size, they baked beautifully!

kayliemuffins
This recipe (adapted from a similar one over at the Spunky Coconut – one of my very favorite gluten free, refined sugar free blogger/bakers) fits well into our healthy but-oh-so-yummy point of view:

  • uses honey or agave nectar and liquid stevia rather than refined white sugar
  • are gluten free with protein-rich almond flour and a bit of brown rice flour replacing wheat flour

Strawberry Muffins

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ingredients:
2 cups almond flour
1/2 cup brown rice flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon finely ground sea salt
1 cup fresh strawberries
1/2 cup coconut oil, liquified
1/3 cup honey or agave nectar
6-8 drops vanilla liquid stevia
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 large eggs, at room temperature

directions:

  • preheat oven to 350
  • line muffin cups with paper liners
  • wash and dry strawberries; chop finely (not mushed, but small)
  • sift together the dry ingredients; set aside
  • pour liquified coconut oil, sweeteners, and extract into bowl
  • using electric mixer, beat for one minute, then add eggs one at a time
  • slowly add dry ingredients, beating just ’til thoroughly combined
  • by hand, gently fold in finely-chopped strawberries
  • scoop into muffin cups, filling almost to brim
  • bake at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes
  • immediately remove from muffin pan onto cooling rack; allow to completely cool

tip: Coconut oil needs to liquify in order to be blended into a batter. Depending on the time of year (summer..no problem; winter…a problem) you might need to warm it up. You could either scoop out the required amount of coconut oil and place it in a glass measuring cup on your stovetop as the oven preheats. Or it can be microwaved for approximately 30+ seconds (depending on the quantity you need) and then stirred. Either way, add it into your mixing bowl and combine with other liquid ingredients prior to adding room temperature eggs.

♥   ♥   ♥   ♥   ♥

God loves you!  ♥  (Don’t ever forget that!)

♥  coleen

Raspberry-Lemon Cookie Cups (paleo, dairy-free, gluten-free)

We recently celebrated the birthday of one of my favorite people in the whole world—my daughter, Kassia!  She continually inspires me with her healthy eating lifestyle.  She endeavors to feed her loved ones (and the rest of us!) with the best quality foods she can find.  So I wanted to {attempt} to do likewise for her.  This healthy but-oh-so-yummy dessert is one that she had mentioned looked good* …and it was!

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These cookie cups are raw…but could also be baked if you prefer.  They have no refined sugar in them, nor any dairy, and are also gluten-free.  They fit perfectly into a paleo-style eating plan, too!  And they are vegan!   They are very delicate, though…so keep the shells refrigerated ’til just ready to serve them.  Then pipe (or scoop) the delicious filling into them, top with a lucious fresh raspberry…and serve.

So, next time you find yourself needing to find the perfect dessert that meets the dietary needs & wants of your guests…try this!  We thoroughly enjoyed them.  Hope you do, too!

Lemon-Raspberry Cookie Cups

raspberry

ingredients:

2 lemons, zested and juiced (you will need the zest from both along with 1 tablespoon of juice)

cookie cups:
1 cup almond flour
1/2 cup coconut flour
2 tablespoons 100% maple syrup
2 tablespoons coconut oil, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 of the lemon zest
pinch of salt

raspberry filling:
2 ounces freeze-dried raspberries
1 can (14 ounce) coconut cream, full fat variety
1 teaspoon sweetener of choice (I used maple syrup)
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
12 perfectly ripe raspberries

directions:

cookie cups:

  • line a standard size (12)  muffin tin with plastic wrap (this is a little tricky and will shift around a bit; that is expected
  • zest and juice the lemons; set aside
  • place all of the ingredients for the cookie cups in your  food processor.
  • pulse ’til well-blended and the mixture starts to come together
  • use a 1-1/2 inch or 2 inch cookie scoop (about 2 tablespoon size) and  divide the mixture up into the lined muffin tin
  • gently press mixture into each cup along the bottom and about halfway up the sides. I used my ‘barely damp’ fingers to do this
  • chill the cookie crust cups in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours (or even overnight)

raspberry filling:

  •  pulse the freeze dried raspberries in your food processor ’til finely ground (you will have a powder); set aside
  • remove the can of coconut cream from refrigerator and drain off any liquid…but not the cream! then scoop out all the thick coconut cream into the bowl of your stand mixer.
  • using the whisk attachment, whisk for about 30 seconds; then add in the sweetener and vanilla. continue to whisk until fluffy (about a minute)
  • (with mixer OFF) slowly add in the raspberry powder using a sifter or small sieve.  you can discard the dried raspberry seeds that remain in the sieve…or add ’em
  • start up mixer again, on medium speed, and whisk ’til well blended and fluffy
  • gently remove cookie cups from muffin tin, using the plastic wrap to lift them.  place on serving dish and pipe or scoop the raspberry filling into each, dividing equally among the 12 cups.  top each with one perfect raspberry and a pinch of the leftover lemon zest
  • (for best texture) serve immediately

♥    ♥    ♥    ♥    ♥

God loves you!  ♥  (Please don’t ever forget that!)

♥  coleen

* I used this recipe as my guideline and made adaptations.

 

Fruit Crisp

Nothing says summer to me more than the fruits that are available just during this season!  Blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, peaches and plums; oh my!  My most favorite is cherries; I just love cherries!  They are not in season for very long so indulge while you can!  We are!

Here on our At Home with GCH blog, Monday’s are always focused on healthy but oh-so-yummy! recipes. This week I have a recipe for a delicious, light Fruit Crisp featuring some of these great in-season produce. Our featured ingredient(s) this week are peaches and cherries!!!  Here are a couple of links to the  nutritional value along with some incredible health benefits  of these delicious fruits (peachesand cherries)—besides the fact that they are just yummy!

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This is delicious served with a dollop of whipped cream…or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.  Enjoy!

Summer Fruit Crisp

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ingredients:

3 large peaches, sliced
1 cup (18-20) cherries, pitted* and halved
1/2 cup raspberries (optional)
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
3/4  cup oats
3/4 cup almond flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons cold butter, cut into cubes

directions:

  • preheat the oven to 375
  • cube up the butter and place in refrigerator until ready for it
  • in a baking dish or pie plate, toss the cut-up fruit with 1 tablespoon of the sugar and the almond extract; set aside.
  • place the oats, 1/4 cup sugar, almond flour, cinnamon and salt into the large bowl of a food processor.  pulse a couple of times to combine.
  • add the cold butter, pulsing just until it comes together and forms clumps.  (of course, you can mix this by hand, too!)
  • mound the oat mixture on top of the prepared fruit being sure to cover it completely; bake for 35 to 40 minutes
  • serve warm or cold

*  Here is how I pitted the cherries—with a drinking straw.  Yes, ma’am!  Now I am a girl who l-o-v-e-s her gadgets!  And, of course, you can go out and buy a cherry pitter.  But sometimes simple is the better answer.  And besides, then one can save her pennies to buy an incredible kitchen tool!  ;-)

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Just do it like this:
– remove the stem from a cherry
– place the end of the straw over the indentation of the cherry
– firmly, but gently, wiggle the straw straight through the cherry; the pit will pop right out!  Easy-peasy!

 ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥

God loves you!  ♥   (Don’t ever forget that!)

♥  coleen

Gingerbread Cupcakes

Many of you have gone on Spring Break or are anticipating taking a vacation this summer. It is a time to refresh spirit, soul, and body. Over the next couple of weeks, our faithful bloggers will be taking a ‘spring break’ from writing so that they can come back to us refreshed and freshly anointed.
However, Girlfriends’ Coffee Hour website won’t ‘go black’! We will be revisiting some of our favorite blogs and daily devotions which have blessed us in the past. We pray that each of you, our faithful friends and readers, will continue to start your day meditating on the devotionals and songblogs, and be encouraged and blessed.

Let’s give each of our bloggers a big round of applause, a hug,
and the rest they so deserve. God bless you, ladies!

2014-11-30 20.38.40

For our family’s Thanksgiving Feast (as the grandchildren call it!), we always divvy up all of the different dishes that make up our spread.  This year I was happy to prepare a side dish (Quinoa Veggie Salad w/ Orange Vinaigrette), the beverages (one <adult> choice of which was Apple Cider Sangria), and a dessert…these spicy-sweet Gingerbread Mini-Cupcakes. Oh, they were so darling! And just the perfect mouthful (and I mean FULL).  <Of course you certainly could make these in a standard cupcake size, too!>

2014-11-27 13.11.15

For those of you who are just beginning to follow the path of gluten-free baking, try this recipe.  When I first made these cupcakes, I used a ‘gf all-purpose flour blend.’ You can pick up a box in the gluten-free section of almost any grocery store. However, if you have a pantry filled with jars of different gluten-free flours, I used 1/2 cup brown rice flour, 1/4 cup tapioca flour, 1/4 cup potato starch, 1/4 cup hazelnut flour).  Note that these cupcakes are dairy-free if you prepare them with coconut oil…and of course no whipped cream!

This is a quick recipe to pull together…and only takes 10-12 minutes to bake. We enjoyed ours with Spiced Whipped Cream (see the recipe from last week’s blogpost here).  But they would be equally yummy with a cream cheese frosting or a simple buttercream frosting, too.  Enjoy!

2014-11-29 22.51.34

Mini Gingerbread Cupcakes

ingredients:
1+1/4 cup gluten-free all purpose flour blend **
1+1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon salt
4T butter, room temperature (I used coconut oil)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup molasses
1 egg, room temperature
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup boiling water

directions:

  • set out the butter (or coconut oil) and egg to come to room temperature
  • fill muffin/cupcake tins with liners (mini = 30; regular = 12)
  • preheat oven to 350
  • mix flour(s) and spices together in a small bowl
  • with mixer, cream together butter (or coconut oil) and sugar
  • add egg, then molasses; beating ‘til nice and creamy
  • microwave the water in a measuring cup ‘til boiling; remove and <carefully> stir in the baking soda; set aside
  • add the dry ingredients to the mixer bowl, and blend for about 1 minute ‘til it all comes together
  • continue to blend while pouring in the water; beat for an additional minute or so (batter will seem thin but it very quickly thickens up)
  • fill lined cupcake tins about 3/4 full with batter
  • bake minis for 10-12 minutes (regular for 20 minutes), or ‘til firm to the touch and slightly browned
  • take pan from oven and immediately remove cupcakes to a cooling rack
  • once completely cool, frost as desired

 ♥   ♥   ♥   ♥   ♥

God loves you!  ♥  (Don’t ever forget that!)

♥  coleen

Christmas Morning Breakfast

♪♬♪ It’s the most wonderful time of the year! ♪♬♪ Here we are…approaching Christmas Day!  Still many tasks to accomplish here!  How are you doing with your lists?  Lots of items checked off?  I am getting there…

  • game for the grandkids✔
  • Robert’s birthday card
  • gift for upstairs neighbor ???
  • a few additional stocking stuffers
  • waiting for 3 packages to arrive ✔✔

and groceries for:

  • Robert’s birthday dinner ✔
  • Christmas Eve with MKEKLR ✔
  • Christmas morning ✔
  • Aldi list

But amidst all of these details, what joy is ours as we contemplate just HOW MUCH God Almighty loves us!  He cared SO MUCH for us that He sent His precious Son to the earth to be born as a human and to live amongst men.  Ultimately, to sacrifice Him to redeem and save us so we could be called His children!  Hallelujah…what a Savior!

I pray for you (and me, too), my friends, that we will keep our priorities in order.  Even if there were no Christmas tree decorated with glittery ornaments and special momentos…if there were no carols to sing…if there were not piles of beautifully wrapped presents under the tree…we would still have MUCH to be singing God’s praises and thanking Him for as we remember the reason for the seasonJesus our Savior.

For unto you is born this day
in the city of David a Savior,
which is Christ the Lord.
Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace, good will toward men.
Luke 2:11,14

 *    ♥  ~  ✝  ~  ★    *

Here’s our menu for a simple Christmas morning breakfast:
fruit salad
mini quiche
spicy Thai tea

The best part about this breakfast will be that it can all be prepared ahead of time!  When we are ready to eat, just pop some mini-quiche into the toaster oven to reheat, dish out some of the fruit salad, and pour beverages; love it!  Oh!…there is one important tip to success with these mini-quiche: the fillings (veggies and meat) should be cut up fairly small.   Whenever I make this recipe, i quadruple (yes, i DO!) the ingredients.  These little two-bite quiches freeze beautifully.  Enjoy!

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Mini Quiche (makes one dozen)

egg filling:

3 large eggs
1/2 cup milk (I used coconut milk)
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper

  • whisk these 4 ingredients together, thoroughly blending the eggs
  • pour into a container with a spout (for ease in filling muffin tin) and set aside

Spinach&Swiss with Bacon

1/2 cup frozen chopped spinach, defrosted
2 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
4 tablespoons chopped onion
1+ tablespoons dried dill or tarragon
1/2-3/4 cup finely grated Swiss cheese

place spinach in colander, allow to defrost, and then squeeze dry (with your hands); set aside preheat oven to 375
grease with melted butter (or spray with cooking spray) your mini muffin tin; be thorough
cook bacon, cool, and crumble
saute onion in a bit of the bacon drippings until soft
when done, mix with spinach and herbs; let mixture cool
evenly distribute the veggies, the bacon, and the cheese among the muffin cups; these should be at least 1/2 full
then carefully pour the prepared Egg Filling mixture into each muffin cup. fill almost full but do not overfill!
bake for approximately 12-15 minutes until the eggs puff and are lightly golden brown
remove from oven; let sit for 10 minutes, then carefully remove from muffin tin. if you have thoroughly greased your muffin tin in preparation, this shouldn’t be too hard. I used a small, flexible spatula—but a teaspoon or small knife will do—and just run it around the edge of each quiche to loosen. serve immediately.

Broccoli-Cheddar with Ham

4 tablespoons chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped broccoli (cooked and cooled; I used frozen)
1/2 cup cooked ham, chopped small
1+ tablespoons dried crushed rosemary or marjoram
1/2-3/4 cup of finely grated sharp Cheddar
coconut or olive oil

preheat oven to 375
grease with melted butter (or spray with cooking spray) your mini muffin tin; be thorough
cook ham cubes for 2-3 minutes, set aside to cool
saute onion in a bit of olive oil until soft
when done, mix with broccoli and herbs; let mixture cool
evenly distribute the veggies, the ham, and the cheese among the muffin cups; these should be at least 1/2 full
then carefully pour the prepared Egg Filling mixture into each muffin cup. fill almost full but do not overfill!
bake for approximately 12-15 minutes until the eggs puff and are lightly golden brown
remove from oven; let sit for 10 minutes, then carefully remove from muffin tin. if you have thoroughly greased your muffin tin in preparation, this shouldn’t be too hard. I used a small, flexible spatula—but a teaspoon or small knife will do—and just run it around the edge of each quiche to loosen. serve immediately.

filling variations (choose one from each category)

veggies: (1/2 cup) of either sauteed mushrooms, peppers, seeded tomatoes, zucchini, butternut squash (this is a great way to use up bits of leftover veggies in your ‘frig!)
cheese: (1/2-3/4 cup) of your favorite Cheddar, Monterey Jack, goat cheese, Gruyere, Parmesan, Fontina, Provolone, Gouda
herbs: (1+ tablespoon) of your favorite: parsley, chives, tarragon, basil, dill, rosemary, marjoram
meat: (1/2-3/4 cup) finely chopped ham, cooked&crumbled bacon or breakfast sausage, prosciutto

♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥

God loves you! (Don’t ever forget that!)
Merry Christmas to you and yours!  ♥ coleen

Thumbprint Cookies

It is the season for cookie baskets and cookie exchanges. How many dozen cookies have you made already? How about you, Coleen…(you ask?) Ummmm, zero….well, ‘til these! (I know, I know…better get on it!) Yup, part of my plan for this week. Here’s what I am hoping to accomplish.   I would LOVE to hear what varieties you are making for your loved ones this year!!!

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Mexican Wedding Cookies (Snowballs)
Gingerbread Hearts
Pignoli Cookies (here’s my recipe)
Chocolate Chip Oatmeal
Italian Almond Cookies (Robert’s constant request-here’s my recipe)
Spritz (my all-time, hands-down, yes, please! favorite)

But these are where I started. I just love thumbprint cookies! Most of you know that I bake/cook gluten-free. These also are paleo, dairy-free, and refined sugar-free. (Hope that is helpful to a few of you!) And all of that helps to keep these within my healthy but oh-so-yummy POV!  Enjoy!

Thumbprint Cookies

ingredients:2014-12-14 21.36.14
1/3 cup arrowroot flour
1/3 cup almond flour
1/3 cup coconut flour, sifted
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
5 tablespoons coconut sugar**
1 tablespoon water
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg, room temperature
all-fruit marmalade or jam (I used ginger/orange and raspberry)
1 egg white beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash
1/2 cup finely chopped nuts (I used walnuts)

directions:

  • preheat oven to 350
  • line baking sheet with parchment paper
  • in a large bowl, whisk together dry ingredients (first 5)
  • in mixer bowl, combine the wet ingredients (next 4) for 1 minute
  • add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and combine with mixer
  • take tablespoon-sized balls of dough and quickly roll into a ball
  • dip into egg wash and then run through chopped nuts
  • place on lined baking sheet about 1″ apart
  • make an good-sized indentation with your thumb (or a wooden spoon handle)—but don’t poke through the bottom
  • fill the indentation with about 1/2 teaspoon marmalade/jam
  • bake for approximately 15 minutes ‘til just lightly browned; remove from oven
  • carefully transfer to a cooling rack
    makes 15 to 20 cookies

** NOTE: these are on the not-so-very-sweet side…you may want to add additional sugar!

 ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥

God loves you!  ♥  (Don’t ever forget that!)

♥  coleen

Mini Gingerbread Cupcakes

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For our family’s Thanksgiving Feast (as the grandchildren call it!), we always divvy up all of the different dishes that make up our spread.  This year I was happy to prepare a side dish (Quinoa Veggie Salad w/ Orange Vinaigrette), the beverages (one <adult> choice of which was Apple Cider Sangria), and a dessert…these spicy-sweet Gingerbread Mini-Cupcakes. Oh, they were so darling! And just the perfect mouthful (and I mean FULL).  <Of course you certainly could make these in a standard cupcake size, too!>

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For those of you who are just beginning to follow the path of gluten-free baking, try this recipe.  When I first made these cupcakes, I used a ‘gf all-purpose flour blend.’ You can pick up a box in the gluten-free section of almost any grocery store. However, if you have a pantry filled with jars of different gluten-free flours, I used 1/2 cup brown rice flour, 1/4 cup tapioca flour, 1/4 cup potato starch, 1/4 cup hazelnut flour).  Note that these are dairy-free if you prepare them with coconut oil…and of course no whipped cream!

This is a quick recipe to pull together…and only takes 10-12 minutes to bake. We enjoyed ours with Spiced Whipped Cream (see the recipe from last week’s blogpost here).  But they would be equally yummy with a cream cheese frosting or a simple buttercream frosting, too.  Enjoy!

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Mini Gingerbread Cupcakes

ingredients:
1+1/4 cup gluten-free all purpose flour blend **
1+1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon salt
4T butter, room temperature (I used coconut oil)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup molasses
1 egg, room temperature
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup boiling water

directions:

  • set out the butter (or coconut oil) and egg to come to room temperature
  • fill muffin/cupcake tins with liners (mini = 30; regular = 12)
  • preheat oven to 350
  • mix flour(s) and spices together in a small bowl
  • with mixer, cream together butter (or coconut oil) and sugar
  • add egg, then molasses; beating ‘til nice and creamy
  • microwave the water in a measuring cup ‘til boiling; remove and <carefully> stir in the baking soda; set aside
  • add the dry ingredients to the mixer bowl, and blend for about 1 minute ‘til it all comes together
  • continue to blend while pouring in the water; beat for an additional minute or so (batter will seem thin but it very quickly thickens up)
  • fill lined cupcake tins about 3/4 full with batter
  • bake minis for 10-12 minutes (regular for 20 minutes), or ‘til firm to the touch and slightly browned
  • take pan from oven and immediately remove cupcakes to a cooling rack
  • once completely cool, frost as desired

 ♥   ♥   ♥   ♥   ♥

God loves you!  ♥  (Don’t ever forget that!)

♥  coleen