Tag Archives: ina garten

Gluten Free Ultra Minty Thins

Once upon a time, there was not one adorable little Girl Scout in a five-mile radius who had not sold us Thin Mint cookies.  Apparently we became such a familiar sight that when the munchkins saw us walking toward the store entrance where they sold the crack cookies, they started piling up the Thin Mints in anticipation.

Our entire freezer was stuffed with Girl Scout Thin Mint cookies.  Undoubtedly a 12 step program was probably in order.  But that was then. Continue reading


Baking Wreck: The Fallen Gluten Free Angel (Cake)

GF angel cake wreck; tunnel meets too much chocolate glaze

Like calculus, there are some things that defy staying cemented in my brain.  Like the difference between  chiffon and angel cake.   I thought they were both of the sponge-ish variety and kind of the same – only different.  If you want to read up on chiffon, Google a guy named Harry Baker.  Seriously, that’s his name.  He was the dude who developed the chiffon way back in the dark ages and guarded his top-dog secret ingredient until he met that siren called Betty Crocker.  By the 1940s, chiffon was a cake that everyone was writing about.

The big obvious difference is that angel cake has no fat in it, just a boat-load of sugar.  The chiffon has oil and yolks.  Think hybrid – a sponge-ish cake that looks a lot like an angel cake, but has the flavor of a yellow cake.

Chiffon and angel were the dressy cakes in our house.  Mom made those for parties, gifts, and Hadassah meetings or holidays.   My mother taught me all kinds of baking, but never how to do the chiffon or an angel cake.  Somehow I got the idea that they were complicated enough that I didn’t dare to try to make them. Continue reading

The Alternative to Fruitcake: Little Drunken Fruit Cookies


One nightmare holiday so long ago it makes my brain hurt thinking about it – when rotary dial phones were still alive and pay phones were the equal of calling someone on the fly, we thought making homemade fruit cakes would be a great idea for holiday gifts.  Right after Thanksgiving we bought all the ingredients.  That we had to have an adult buy the booze for us since we were not yet 21 years old didn’t even make us flinch.  And yes, these were the ancient days when 18 was still a child according to the law.   I think this might be the only time the in-laws went out and bought liquor for us on purpose.

We chopped and soaked and baked loaf after loaf of fruitcake and drowned them in cheap brandy and rum, wrapping them in towels and sealing them in plastic bags.  Every few days from Thanksgiving to right before Christmas we would pour more Brandy and Rum over them wrapping them back up in their liquor soaked towels to cure some more.  I bet our place stank like a pub by then, but we were immune and no doubt a bit snockered on the fumes.

Finally, the holiday arrived and we gifted everyone we knew with a loaf of homemade fruitcake loaf.   Oddly, some of those people no longer send us holiday cards – we’ve lost touch.  I never braved constructing a fruitcake again.  That is, until now.   Thumbing through some Ina Garten TiVo episodes of Barefoot Contessa, I almost deleted this episode, but thankfully stayed tuned.  I’m glad I did because everyone at her fabulous party seemed to be devouring these little goodies.  Perhaps soused little fruit cookies were the ticket so I studied the recipe and modified it to be gluten free and slightly more drunken. Continue reading

Cookie Couture to the Rescue


It was nearing the end of the baking marathon.  I’d been anticipating making my all time favorite cookie, Snowflake Bakery-like butter cookies pressed into shapes and dipped in chocolate with holiday sprinkles.  Along with Half Moons, these were another favorite cookie when I was a little girl and Snowflake Bakery was my Mecca.

As I stuffed the dough into the press the mechanism stalled and cracked.  The very Grinchy cookie press  pushed out half formed cookies and then just snapped, spraying plastic shards all over the kitchen.

Never one to leave any cookie dough to wallow without purpose, I chilled the remaining dough until it could be cut into slices with fluted edges.  Baked and cooled, dipped in tempered chocolate and dusted with holiday sprinkles, they still looked a little like bakery cookies – if your bakery was maybe located on Sesame Street and supplied by Easy Bake Oven Elves.

But it didn’t matter.  They tasted like a holiday cookie should – over the top good. Continue reading