Tag Archives: baking

Pineapple Express: Gluten Free Pineapple Upside Down Cake


Once upon a time I hated pineapple upside-down cake.  It tasted and looked like  Jiffy Mix met a can of sweetened pineapple, went out on a really bad date and fell into a deep dish, head first.

I’d forget after a while and make it again like it was something new and different.   And I still didn’t like it.  Even when I moved  past Jiffy Mix to decent yellow cakes, fresh pineapple and caramelized sugar, it still lacked something. Mostly it reminded me of school lunch fare.  Beige.

Still, I was hopeful that I might try just one more time (hope springs eternal or my brain is wired like Dilbert).  And I’m glad not only that I did, but had the foresight to write it all out as I was making it up. Continue reading

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Oat Tales: GF Oat Cookies with Coconut, Pecans and Raisins

Oatmeal is a lot like Uncle Fergus – you either love him or run for your life when he shows up at the door.

I grew up hating all things oatmeal. When I was forced to eat the stuff, it was like chewing the inside of the sofa stuffing (don’t ask how I know that). Perhaps it had something to do with the fact that the same Quaker Oats container sitting on the pantry shelf had celebrated more birthdays than I had.

I met my first commercially made oatmeal cookie when I bought school-lunch the day the new cafeteria opened.   I loved cookies, but this thing was dreadful. Soft, squishy and stale, it was the color of tired beige with tiny dark specks.  Oats and I were finished.

That is, until I grew up and found out that oats were actually tasty. My mother-in-law, the original granola queen, used oats as much as she used lemons or mayonnaise (which in her house is a food group). She taught me the rules of food-cooperatives and how to chase the good stuff – think organic mills before organic was a type of certified product. Continue reading

Good News! It's a Very Lemon Tart, Gluten Free


Captain Awesome grew up in a family we affectionately refer to as the  Lemon Loving clan.  He and his parents love lemon tart more than chocolate.  Yes, indeed, gasp.  But true.  So recently, after we carted some pretty Meyer lemons home from the market, I thought I would make him a very lemon tart.

Three many tarts later I finally have it.  The first one was a candidate for  baking wreck of the week.  A little too much cornstarch and the lemon filling was smooshy bitter.  The second one was better, but the crust was rather like chewing crust-jerky.  And the filling was still bitter and slightly chewy.  Not what you want in a lemon tart.  Too much pith and brimstone.

The third time was the charm.  This one is so perfect I want to bronze it.  Half the tart is still in the refrigerator but I know it won’t last the day because Captain Awesome already had a piece for breakfast. Continue reading

Flourless and Gluten Free Double Shot Espresso Cookies

I like chocolate.  I like chocolate cookies.  I especially like chewy chocolate cookies.

This recipe is inspired in part by Francois Payard’s Flourless Chocolate Cookies and a top-dog-secret recipe from the pastry chef at The Beverly Peninsula Hotel who gave us the recipe after we begged (literally) for months – a long time ago.

Even then, the recipe was faxed to us exactly as they use it in a hotel kitchen which feeds hundreds daily.  That meant my choice was to either make enough for the entire apartment complex or work on my math skills to convert it to a tiny kitchen recipe.  Since I didn’t have 85 pounds of cocoa in the cupboard, I had to break out the abacus. Continue reading

Baking Wreck: The GF Croissant that Wasn't

Photobucket19 hours of labor later

They look quite like about-to-be croissants in this photo.

Those three in the back were set to become little pain au chocolat.  It took over 19 hours to make them that pretty.  First there was the top dog secret dough prep by Captain Awesome.  Then came the chilling, then the folding, then the chilling.  That included making sure the marble board was ice cold for each turning so the result is a zillion layers folded in loaded with good unsalted butter.  They were left to rise, slowly overnight, ready to bake in the wee hours of the morning.

Captain Awesome is on a mission to create a gluten free puff pastry and croissant that reminds him of Paris.  These little pastries came out of the oven looking like perfect little gluten free imitations of a French croissant.  Small, crispy, flaky on the outside and the smell would have made you swoon with lust.  For croissants, that is. Continue reading

Mom's Brownies, Gluten Free and Valentine Easy

Mom baked tons of goodies, but none more frequently than her brownies.  She was the entire welcome wagon for the growing neighborhood back in the mid 1950’s and would bring a plate of brownies to every new family.  We loved when she made brownies because the crisp edges had to be carved off before being given away.  Though the pan was square and she hacked off an edge for each of us, we still managed to fight over them.

adabrownieEThankfully, the recipe made its way into print in the 1964 Syracuse Hadassah Cookbook, and was called Ada’s Brownies – a riff on Ate a Brownie (my dad’s odd sense of humor).   Otherwise, none of us would have ever known what went into her recipe  because she never bothered to write them down.  The book is long out of print, but I still have a copy tucked away. Continue reading

World Nutella Day: A Simple Gluten Free Valentine Kiss

PhotobucketMeringue Kisses with Nutella

February 5th is World Nutella Day.   What better way to celebrate than to make these little Meringue Nutella Kisses sandwich cookies.  And read about  World Nutella Day here. Right behind my birthday and Valentine’s Day, no one should overlook World Nutella Day.

And speaking of Valentine’s Day, it is right around the corner.  These Meringue Kisses with Nutella filling are just what you’re looking for.  I bet you have all the ingredients in your house already.   The big secret is that they look like they took hours to make, but don’t.  Easy and elegant.  It’s the  perfect gift for the one(s) you love.

Wrap them up in cellophane with a red bow, or serve them for dessert.  They last for days and taste great with a little bit of espresso or tea. Continue reading