Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookies

Okay, I can hear everyone already…. another chocolate chip cookie recipe? Really? Is it needed? BUT IT SO IS! These are so amazing that I made one batch and then a week later I made them again! I mean come on, look at the amazingly creamy texture of this cookie dough:

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Needless to say, I definitely had to steal just a pinch of this cookie dough before I baked it into cookies!

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The end product was just as amazing though! The cookies spread out quite a bit, so make sure to space them out! But they come out very thin! This makes them ideal for a lot of things: ice cream sandwiches, plain by themselves, layered with greek yogurt as a parfait… you get the idea! Check them out and let me know your thoughts, but I think they are great for this time of year and making the perfect gluten free, and dairy free, ice cream sandwich. I sadly haven’t gotten any photos of those because they tend to go pretty quickly….

Recipe:

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter

1/2 cup stick butter, softened (I used earth balance)

1 egg

1 cup millet flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill)

1/4 cup corn starch

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp kosher salt

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl until dough forms. Scoop spoon sized cookies onto a baking sheet, ensuring that they are spaced far apart as they will spread.

Bake for 10-13 minutes, or until golden brown, and enjoy!

Stuffed French Toast

One of my dear friends was planning to come over for brunch after church one Sunday. I thought about what I could make and wanted to take the opportunity to cook something simple, because I knew we would be hungry, but something more fun that I would normally cook. I started with waffles, then moved to french toast. And then I thought, why stop there? Let’s make it stuffed french toast!

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Thus, I looked what I had in my cabinets and came up with this creation which was delicious and decadent! I used cream cheese filling for the middle and then corn chex to create a crunchy outside.

Next, you get to make little cream cheese sandwiches and then cook them like regular french toast.

The best part was of course topping them with syrup and tons of fruit! We had blueberries, strawberries, and bananas! It was a delicious brunch. My favorite part was that it was simple to put together so we were able to have a great conversation while I was cooking and then get to enjoying the food quickly! We both had a great time!

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Recipe:

4 slices gluten free bread (I used Rudi’s)

1 egg

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tbsp almond milk (I used Silk)

2 oz. light cream cheese

8 walnuts, chopped

1/2 tbsp powdered sugar

1/3 cup corn chex, crushed

extra: butter for the pan

In a small bowl, whisk together egg, cinnamon, and almond milk. Next, in another small bowl, mix together the cream cheese, walnuts, and powdered sugar. In yet another small bowl, crush the corn chex.

Set out the 4 slices of bread. On two of the slices, evenly distribute and spread on the cream cheese mixture then add the other slice of bread to the top like a sandwich.

Prepare your skillet by turning on the heat to medium low and melting a half tablespoon of butter in the bottom.

Dip the cream cheese sandwiches in the egg mixture, making sure to coat both sides, then into the corn chex flipping to get the cereal on both sides, and transfer into the pan. Do the same with the other sandwich. Then cook the french toast sandwiches until they are golden brown on one side, flipping to the other side, and then cooking to golden brown on the other.

When cooked, transfer to a plate, slice in half, and serve! You can add syrup and fruit or just enjoy it plain!

Scones

I love perfecting new recipes and starting from a really simple base recipe. That’s what I did with these scones. I took a generic scone recipe I found from an old 1980’s cookbook at the library and altered it to make it gluten free, dairy free, and delicious!

I have tried making scones several times, but I think the addition of applesauce to this batch really is what sealed the deal! My previous batches have come out dry and flaky, which while still tasty was just not the texture I wanted. It wasn’t until I started trying the applesauce that I found the right texture to my scones.

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Of course, in keeping with the cabinet clean out, I used dates and walnuts because that’s what I had on hand. However, feel free to use about a half cup of whatever mix ins you prefer! If you try something else, definitely comment below and let me know what you enjoyed! I think in my next round I want to try chocolate chips and orange or even lemon and dried apricots! I can’t wait to try them out!

Recipe:

1/4 cup almond milk (I used silk), + 1 tbsp lemon juice

2 cups gluten-free flour (I used Cup4Cup)

1 1/2 tbsp baking powder

1/2 tsp kosher salt

1 tsp pumpkin pie spice

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4 cup sugar

6 tbsps cold stick butter, chopped (I used earth balance vegan spread)

1/4 cup honey or agave nectar (I have used both on this recipe and they both work great!)

1/3 cup applesauce

optional:

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

8 large dates, chopped

1 tbsp turbinado sugar

Prep: Whisk together the almond milk and lemon juice and let sit for 5 minutes. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and sprinkle a little bit of flour on the parchment paper.

Mix the flour, baking powder, kosher salt, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, and sugar in a large bowl. Add in the chopped butter and mix with a fork until combined. Add in the honey, applesauce, and milk mixture until doughy. Next, gently fold in the mix ins if desired. Feel free to experiment!

Spoon the dough out on to the parchment paper and pat the dough into a round pizza shape that is about 2 inches thick. Sprinkle with turbinado sugar if desired. With a floured sharp knife, slice the dough into 8 triangles, similar to what you would do with a pizza.

Spread out the triangles on the baking sheet and pop in the oven. Bake for about 15 minutes or until they are golden brown. Cool on the pan or wire rack to cool completely.

Biscottis

In cleaning out my cabinets in my apartment, I had half used bags of several different kinds of gluten free flours. I started thinking about what I could make and decided I wanted to attempt biscottis for the first time.

For some reason, I thought they would be super difficult to make, but they were surprisingly easy! While I decided to pull them out a little earlier so they wouldn’t be completely hard, they were the perfect addition to a nice cup of coffee!

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The recipe will make a standard biscotti or you can add in some delicious mix in’s! I had walnuts and dates on hand, so I just chopped those up and added them into the dough. Since there is no sugar in the recipe, the dates added a bit of sweetness that was perfect!’

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Recipe:

1/2 cup oat flour

3/4 cup millet flour

3/4 cup almond flour

1/4 cup corn starch

1 tbsp baking powder

1/2 tsp kosher salt

2 tsps xanthan gum

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tbsp lemon juice with enough almond milk to fill up to 3/4 cup of liquid

4 tbsps honey

1 tbsp oil

2 tsp vanilla

optional:

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

8 dates finely chopped

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. Add in the lemon and almond milk mixture, honey, oil and vanilla. Stir until combined. The dough will still feel very thick, which is exactly what you want.

Place the dough onto a lined or greased baking sheet. Shape the dough with your hands into a long loaf that is about an inch- 1 1/2 inch high, but no more than 2 inches. Once you have a shape, use a sharp knife to slice the dough horizontally to make each biscotti. For me it made about 20.

Using a large sharp knife, carefully but firmly slice across the dough horizontally to make 20 cookies.

Bake the sliced loaf for 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven, separate the slices, and lay each on its side. Bake the slices for 8 more minutes. Remove the pan from the oven, flip the slices over, and bake for another 8 minutes.

Remove from oven again once both sides are slightly golden and cool on a wire rack.

 

Dairy Free Buttermilk Brownies

One of my closest friends recently bought a new home with her husband and to break it in, she invited a group of us over to have a girls night! She graciously offered to cook for all of us, and made an amazing dinner with salad, veggies, and caprese chicken! It was fantastic and naturally gluten free, so I was a fan!

Before I went over for dinner, I asked what I could bring to help and she asked if I could bring dessert. Since I love baking, I jumped at the chance. I thought a full pan of brownies would be the perfect addition to the girls night!

I love brownies by themselves, but I felt like this celebration needed something extra to make them perfect for the occasion. About 5 minutes into the baking, I added crumbled Heath bar topping for a toffee crunch on top of the brownies. This was the perfect sweetness to the brownies without adding in my regular go to: more chocolate.

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Although you can always eat them plain, you can also wait until they cool and sprinkle them with powdered sugar! This is a great way to add some fancy to an easy dish!

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Recipe:

2 cups sugar

2 cups gluten free flour (I used cup4cup)

1/4 tsp salt

4 tablespoons cocoa powder

1 cup water

1/2 cup oil

1/2 cup butter (1 stick) (I used earthbalance)

2 eggs- room temperature

1/2 cup almond milk (I used silk) + 1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tbsp baking powder

1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine the 1/2 cup almond milk and 1 tablespoon lemon juice in a cup and let it sit for 5 minutes. In the meantime, measure the sugar, flour, salt, and cocoa powder into a large bowl. Next, boil together the water, oil, and butter in a small sauce pan. Once at a boil, add the mixture to the dry ingredients and stir.

Once combined, add in the two eggs, almond milk mixture, baking soda, baking powder, and vanilla, and stir until mixed.

Pour into a 9×13 pan and bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes. Let cool before cutting and then serve.

 

S’mores Pop Tarts

I have been working on a crust for gluten free poptarts for a while now. It has been harder than I expected to get to the right combination for the S’mores poptart. Most recipes I saw online were a simple adaptation of a pie crust. Now I like pie as much as the next person, but the poptarts I made with a pie crust, didn’t really turn out to be that portable or delicious. They were really buttery, but did not quite offer the texture I was hoping for. Now I will spare you the details of the different changes I made, but after a few tweaks with different doughs, I settled on the one listed below.

This dough is flaky and sweet, and a great compliment to the filling, while not being a complete crumbly mess. I made the recipe with dark chocolate chips from Enjoy Life, because I really like the taste! However, you can use regular chocolate chips if that’s what suits your fancy!

Recipe: (makes 4 large poptarts)

for the crust:

1 cup gluten free flour (I used cup 4 cup)

1 tbsp sugar

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup butter (I used earth balance for all butter measurements)

2 tbsp almond milk + 1/2 tbsp lemon juice (and let sit together for 5 minutes to make a dairy free buttermilk)

1/2 cup crushed graham crackers (I used Schar brand)

 

for the filling:

1 tbsp cocoa powder

1 tbsp brown sugar

1 tbsp almond milk

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 cup chocolate chips

1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup marshmallow creme

 

for the frosting:

1/3 cup chocolate chips

1 tbsp butter, melted

1 1/2 tbsp light corn syrup

 

Mix together the flour, sugar, salt, and graham crackers. Cube up the butter and then mash into the flour mix with a fork. Once combined, pour in the almond milk 1 tbsp at a time until the mixture forms a dough. You may not need all of the liquid. Put the dough in the fridge and let it sit for about 30 minutes to an hour- or overnight if you want to pre make it. After it is chilled, roll it out with a rolling pin on parchment paper until it is about 1/8 inch thick and a large rectangle. Use a pastry cutter or a perry knife to slice the dough into 4 even pieces and separate. The pieces should be long rectangles that can be folded over to create the poptarts. Carefully transfer the parchment paper with the dough slices on top to a baking sheet.

Next, in a small saucepan, or in the microwave, melt the chocolate chips on low. Slowly stir in the cocoa powder, brown sugar, almond milk, salt, and vanilla and continue to stir on low until all mixed. If doing this in the microwave, you may need to heat it up a few times to make sure it is all melted together.

Once cooked, spread about a tablespoon of the melted chocolate onto half of the cut out dough. Make sure to leave a border around the edge for sealing the poptart. Top the chocolate with a tablespoon of the marshmallow cream. Continue with each of the dough pieces. After each one has the filling, fold over the dough and press around the edges with a fork to seal them. Prick with a toothpick on the top before baking.

Preheat the oven to 375°F. While the oven is preheating, let the poptarts sit in the fridge to solidify. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown. They will be slightly puffed up still, but they will flatten as they cool. Transfer to a wire rack once stiff to let cool completely.

While the poptarts are cooling, melt the butter and the chocolate chips in a microwavable bowl or in a small sauce pan. Stir in the corn syrup. Once the poptarts are mostly cooled, spread over the top as the frosting. Once they have cooled enough to eat, enjoy! If you plan to store them, let the poptarts sit for another 30 minutes or so before packaging to let the frosting harden.

 

 

 

Road Trip Recap: Raleigh, NC

In an attempt to make a the long-ish drive from DC to Atlanta enjoyable, my mother thought we should do a stop over somewhere on our way. I had always heard that Raleigh was a great city for gluten free food and I have also always wanted to live in North Carolina. So stopping over in Raleigh for an extra day seemed like the perfect fit!

The first day we stopped at the Red Bowl Asian Bistro for dinner. They had a small but good selection of gluten free options for dinner. We split the chicken lettuce wraps which already came preportioned in crunchy romaine lettuce for an appetizer and then the pineapple chicken with brown rice for dinner. The pineapple chicken was great and I enjoyed the simple sauce that they had with the dish. They also had gluten free tamari soy sauce to use, but it definitely wasn’t needed with the entree!

The next morning we enjoyed a great hotel breakfast! The Hilton Midtown did an amazing job of having gluten free options. The chef at the buffet whipped up a delicious made to order omelet with tons of veggies and of course bacon. I put together a bowl of fruit, sprinkled it with some cinnamon and got a cup of coffee. It was a delicious and filling breakfast to enjoy after my long run around the area!

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We spent the rest of the morning at the State Farmer’s Market. We got to sample fresh fruits, veggies, cheeses, and salsas from local farms. I know I ate my fair share of strawberries, but they were too good to pass up!

Then we took a quick 30 minute drive out to Benson, NC to visit JP’s Pastry and pick up our order. Although many local businesses carry their products, we called in an order and they were kind enough to let us come pick up our assortment of pastries only a few hours later! We loaded up on gluten free goodies to last us through the next couple of days. While we were there, the owner was kind enough to come out and talk to us about how their bakery is certified gluten free, his training and history with baking, as well as their growth and availability in the Raleigh area. It was an incredible experience and fantastic customer service. I cannot wait to go back again. Definitely check out their facebook and instagram page so you can drool over all of their creations!

On our way back, we had to stop at a nearby park to eat the incredible funfetti cheesecake bars. We just couldn’t wait to try them and they definitely didn’t disappoint. They had the same flavor of funfetti cake that I always remember with a delicious crust!

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While we were at JP’s Pastry, the owner Joe, suggested that we try out ORO Lounge and Restaurant for dinner since they just came out with their spring menu. My mom and I saw risotto on their menu and were sold! Although it was a tapas place where we should have ordered multiple plates and shared, we both were dying to try their fig and goat cheese risotto, so we each got our own bowl. It was so creamy and the figs added a pop of sweetness to a great dish.

 

While in Raleigh, we tried a few different coffee places. While most of them were nothing to write home about, that is not the case with Liquid State. This adorable coffee shop at the edge of the North Carolina State University campus had tons of creative options along with soy and almond milk as dairy free alternatives! The almond milk latte I got was perfect! It was nice and hot and didn’t need any sweetener. In case you needed any other reason to try it out, they even have gluten free treats from JP’s Pastry. It is definitely worth stopping by. You can walk around the campus while enjoying your coffee, or bring your laptop and catch up on e-mails in their cafe.

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Over the next several days we ate our amazing goodies from JP’s Pastry. We had the strawberry muffins, which were light, fluffy, and unlike any gluten free muffin I have had before. We had the almond scones a few days later and they were still packed with a great almond flavor and tasted fresh baked. The frosting to those really sealed the deal! They were both items that I would go back and get again.

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In the desserts section, we tried their oatmeal cream pie, blondie, and brownie! The oatmeal cream pie is a must! It was so moist that it fell apart while I was eating it. Seriously, so good! We saved the brownie and blondies for the following week and may have added some dairy free ice cream to them. I loved the blondie! It was amazing! The brownie was my mom’s favorite though. Honestly, my guess would be that you really can’t go wrong with anything from their bakery.

Overall, the trip to Raleigh lived up to its expectations. We enjoyed ourselves and ate great gluten free foods from beginning to end and even a few days later!

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