Tag Archives: gluten free 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

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

Little Valentine, Big Flavor Cocoa Cupcake, Gluten Free



During the stone age years of our marriage, Valentine Days were spent trying to create the perfect romantic day.  Now we call them fodder for amusing blog posts.

  • There was the embarrassing Joan Walsh Anglund year (look it up).
  • There was the year of the trail of chocolate boxes, empty aside from clever notes on where to go next, eventually leading to a hotel 45 miles away in the middle of a blizzard.
  • There was the year we learned to make a soufflé and never read the directions all the way to end to know you couldn’t wait 20 minutes to bring it to the table.
  • There was another year when someone couldn’t figure out which size Godiva heart box I wanted so he bought them all and we ate chocolate until way past Easter.
  • There was the year we went out to dinner at a place that charged just slightly less than the French Laundry and thought it was the French Laundry.  It was not.
  • And then there was the year when roses were too expensive so I got a blender instead, which if you are Captain Awesome, makes perfect sense.

As the years moved on, we settled for making Valentine’s Day all about the food, and not food from a restaurant.  Who needed to dine with 80 other strangers and eat stuff that was over the top in looks and ordinary in taste? 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

Xanthan Gum?

Melissa asks what the heck does xanthan gum do and why is it so expensive?

Well, Melissa, x-gum is the glue that holds all kinds of stuff together, including baked goods lacking gluten. This little bottle to the right is what sits on my shelf (for now).

X-gum is a nasty little marriage of controlled man-made bacteria that is fermented with sugar and derived from corn.  According to WebMD, x-gum is used therapeutically to help constipation, diabetes, dry mouth and cholesterol.

And yet it thickens stuff.  It is what chemistry geeks would call a foaming agent in baking and a structural cornerstone once baked.  It mimics gluten in GF baking and stabilizes the baked good.  Keeps the gluten free cookie from crumbling, actually. Continue reading