Quinoa Blondie Bars

gluten free / dairy free / refined sugar free / vegan option

So, last week was my daughter’s last day of K4. It was an emotional week for everyone. I’m talking tears everyday, this is the worst thing to happen to her EVER kind of emotional. And I honestly wasn’t much better…..Amira has been blessed for the last two years to attend the Schlitz Audubon Nature School outside of Milwaukee. It is a truly unique program where they spend the majority of their day out in nature learning about our world and the skills they will need to become active members of our society. To put it in perspective, they spend more time outside in the 9 month preschool program than they will cumulatively until they graduate highschool. This program has taught her to respect all that nature offers and to see what a small but integral part she plays in our world. They learned multiple languages through song, learned how to identify plants and animals and learned all the basics of a preschool program through the lens of nature. Needless to say, she was beyond sad to be done, as was I. So, like any good southern born girl does when she is sad I baked up a storm! And these quinoa blondie bars were one of my faves. The recipe below is based off a traditional blondie bar recipe I picked up years ago. Each time I made them (4 times to be exact) I made an adjustment to make them a healthier dessert option. Whether it was changing the sugar or eliminating the butter and eggs they turned out moist, gooey and delicious!!  And since vegan is the most earth friendly way to eat, they are a perfect way to end our nature school adventure! Enjoy!! NOM NOM

Ingredients

2 large eggs or flax seed eggs if making vegan

3/4 cup almond butter, room temperature

1/4 cup butter or butter alternative, softened

3/4 cup of coconut palm sugar

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

3/4 cup quinoa flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1 cup of dark chocolate chips, I use Enjoy Life Vegan Chocolate Chips

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line an 8-inch-square baking pan with parchment paper or foil. The paper should overhang a bit on opposite ends. Coat with butter or cooking spray.
  2. Whisk quinoa flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl and set aside.
  3. Beat butter and almond butter in a stand mixer until creamy. Beat in eggs, coconut sugar and vanilla.
  4. Mix the flour mixture into the wet ingredients until just combined. Stir in chocolate chips. Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan.
  5. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with just a few moist crumbs on it, 20-25 minutes.  Cool completely before removing from pan. Once it is cool lift the parchment out and transfer to a cutting board. Cut into squares. Should be approximately 16 bars.

 

 

 

Lavender Cookies

Spring is officially here! And that means crazy indecisive weather that in one breath makes you put on your parka and rain boots, grab your shovel with one hand and your umbrella with the other. Those days are punctuated by beautiful sun filled days where you throw open your windows, smile and run with (or without) your kids to the nearest park. For me, there is also a dramatic increase in the amount of socializing or entertaining once spring arrives. Mostly because with two young kids we spend most of the winter months huddled in our houses battling one illness or another or waiting out the current snow storm.  But also because for this foodie spring also screams BRUNCH! Mimosas, quiches, fresh fruit and beautifully light and delicate desserts like these lavender cookies. This recipe came from my mom by way of the Herb Society she belongs to. They are buttery soft with a lovely undertone of lavender. They are perfect for bridal showers, baby showers or just brunch with friends! Oh, and they are SO good I recommend doubling the recipe! Enjoy!! nom nom

2 cubes of softened butter

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

1 egg

1 tsp of grated fresh lemon zest

1/4 cup culinary lavender buds

pinch of salt

2 cups GF all purpose flour; I am still perfecting my all purpose blend so I used King Arthur’s GF all purpose flour.

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Mix butter, sugar and egg with mixer on medium speed. Add dry ingredients and stir to make very stiff batter.
  3. Drop by the spoonful onto parchment paper. Bake for 12-15 minutes until cookies are slightly brown around the edges. They are best if slightly underbaked. Let cool for a few minutes then move to wire rack to cool completely.

 

 

Chocolate Coconut Cookies

gluten free / dairy free / flour free / grain free / refined sugar free

In the excitement of Easter and the beginning of spring break last week, I completely forgot to post the recipe for these amazing chocolate coconut cookies. I was introduced to these cookies by a girlfriend of mine and they are my go to cookies when I am jonesing for a sweet and have no time to bake. Enjoy! nom nom

Prep Time: 10 minutes       Bake Time: 12-15 minutes

Makes 12

1 1/4 cup unsweetened coconut, shredded

1/3 cup coconut sugar

1/4 cup coconut oil, melted

1 egg or flaxseed egg

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1/4 cup chocolate chips; I prefer dark chocolate but any type will work!

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together coconut, coconut sugar, coconut oil, egg and vanilla. Fold in the chocolate chips.
  3. Roll dough into golf ball size balls and place 2 inches apart on baking sheet. Lightly flatten with your palm or flat side of a measuring cup.
  4. Bake until edges are golden brown, 12- 15 minutes. Let cookies cool before handling.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

gluten free /grain free /dairy free option vegan option /vegan option

It’s cookie time!!!!! One of my first and most beloved memories I have as a child is making Toll House cookies with my dad. He would sit me on the counter in the kitchen and I would watch with anticipation as he creamed together the butter and sugar, my legs swinging more excitedly with every stir  until the moment arrived to add the chocolate chips and get a taste of the dough. yes, yes….I know its bad to eat raw dough but it’s SO freakin’ good. This was a Friday night tradition in our house until I left for school and remains one of my favorite desserts. It is also hands down the best (albeit the only) thing my dad makes. My mom and I are convinced its because he is strong and can stir the dough until it is so smooth and creamy that the cookies literally melt like butter in your mouth. So, needless to say I have been searching for a chocolate chip cookie recipe that could not only live up to the beloved Toll House cookie and all the memories it carried but be better from a nutrition standpoint and delicious enough to be a favorite of my kids for years to come. The recipe below may very well be THE ONE.  I found it on Pinterest via the blog Texanerin Baking.  The only change I made was to not use brown sugar and to use coconut sugar instead. It’s a fantastic recipe in my opinion as it is gluten free, refined sugar free and grain free with a dairy free option! And the cookies….OH MY LORD. They are chewy, soft and the sweetness is mild because of the coconut sugar used. They are simple to make and if you don’t regularly use coconut or almond flour in your cooking you can just run and get the specific amount from the bulk section of your grocery. Enjoy!! And check back tomorrow because I am going to make these cookies using dark chocolate chunks and chopped nuts! nom nom

Update……These cookies are perfect to make ice cream sandwiches!!! We used So Delicious Vanilla Coconut Milk Ice Cream. I used a small ice cream scoop and placed 3 scoops on one cookie, placed the second cookie on top and applied light pressure to the top cookie to spread out the ice cream!!!! So good!!!!!

1 egg or flaxseed egg

6 TBS almond butter, room temperature

1 cup almond flour

1 tsp baking soda

1/4 cup coconut flour

3/4 cup of coconut sugar

1/4 tsp salt; I prefer fleur de sel

1 1/4 cups of chocolate chips, I use Lily’s dark chocolate baking chips

1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

6 TBS butter or butter alternative; room temperature

  1. In medium bowl, whisk together almond flour, coconut flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  2. In stand mixer, beat together butter and coconut sugar on medium speed until well blended
  3. Beat in almond butter and vanilla on medium speed until combined. Slow mixer to low speed, add in egg  and mix until throughly combined. Add in the flour and mix until combined. Add in chocolate chips.Place dough in the refrigerator for an hour or until firm.
  4. Preheat oven to 350. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  5. Roll dough into balls that are slightly larger than a golf ball. There should be approximately 14 cookies. Place 2-3 inches apart on the cookie sheet. With the flat side of a measuring cup or your palm lightly press the cookie balls into discs. Bake 12-14 minutes or until center of the cookie no longer appears wet and the edges are slightly brown.
  6. Remove cookies from oven, place on wire cooling rack and let cool completely before eating.