The holiday season is in full swing! Like most of you, I’ve been so busy with the season, cooking up a storm, entertaining guests and getting ready for Christmas. I have some advice for you! Slow down. Enjoy your family and friends. Savor the moment! Why not take a slower pace this weekend and start the day with these decadent gluten free apple fritter pancakes:)
They are actually really easy to make, because of this wonderful gluten free pancake mix from XO Baking Company that I found at Home Goods! You can also find it on Amazon, but at double the price. Yikes. Whenever I see it on the shelf, I buy every box!
As you know, I make as much as I can from scratch, but this mix contains simple ingredients and lightly sweetened with pure cane sugar. It’s gluten free base is cassava flour, potato starch and coconut flour. This great combination of ingredients produces a beautiful, fluffy pancake!
I bored a few weekends ago and was inspired by my last Honey Crisp apple to make an apple fritter pancake. I just chopped up the apple into small bite sized pieces and roasted it up with a little butter (or coconut oil), cinnamon and brown sugar for about 10 minutes.
While the apple is cooking, make the pancake mix per package instructions. Carefully, fold the apple mixture into the pancake batter.
To make, add butter or coconut oil to a hot cast-iron pan or skillet…I like to add a little extra to make the pancake more crispy! Use 1/4 cup of batter per pancake and flip when tiny bubbles form on top. I enjoyed these with pomegranates and plenty of maple syrup. Enjoy these on a chilly morning, savoring some calm, with family and friends!
These last few weeks have been a rollercoaster ride! Lots of ups and downs, a wedding and birthday, travel and fun, mixed in with one head cold, a life changing diagnosis and the stomach flu:/ Oh, but I digress…. In the midst of the carnival ride that is my life, I had the opportunity to make a birthday cake for Jason.
Jason turned 46 this year and when I think of the 28 birthdays we’ve shared, there is one element that remains constant……No fuss. He’s just not into the fanfare, the parties and the singing (ok, maybe just a little). This year, created an added challenge, when he also happened to get a nasty cold. This would be a mellow celebration, if ever there was one!
My solution? I would bake Jason a simple birthday cake from scratch. Even if his poor taste buds were malfunctioning, I figured a cake could save the day:) I had made a fantastic cake last year using ricotta cheese and almond flour. This would be the perfect base for my gluten free chocolate cake! I decided to adapt the recipe and make it my own, with the addition of a finely grated chocolate bar and some raw cacao powder.
The key to infusing rich, chocolate flavor into the cake, is to use your favorite chocolate bar. I prefer 70% semisweet cacao, which is rich and dark. Because you are mixing the chocolate into a bland mix of ricotta and almond flour, the richness of the chocolate, is tempered. It creates a balanced and lighter batter. So, even if you are not a fan of dark chocolate, I would still recommend it!
Another important element is grating the chocolate as finely as possible. I have this lovely microplane grater, which is also ideal for citrus zest, garlic and hard cheeses.
There is some patience required at this step, but it actually, only takes about 5 minutes of time! It’s so worth it, I promise! I also added a small amount of raw cacao powder to the mix. I recommend raw organic cacao.
It’s worth spending the extra money. It’s potent, unsweetened and will last a long time!
We were so excited to eat it, I barely let it cool. I added a small scoop and we enjoyed it warm. It was yummy and not too rich;) I even had it for breakfast the next day! So simple and delicious! Enjoy!
Whisk the eggs and sugar for a few minutes and then add the almond meal. Add the melted butter to the mixture. Add the ricotta, mixing it well. Then add the brown rice flour, grated chocolate and cacao powder. Pour the batter into a greased pie dish and bake at 350 degrees for about 20-25 minutes. You can enjoy it warm or at room temperature. The flavors seem to be more rich and flavorful at room temperature. Store any leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 3 days! Enjoy!
I have been on a Mexican cooking adventure lately! Growing up in a large, Mexican American family, we celebrated Christmas with Mexican food. This food is integral to my upbringing and to how I continue to celebrate the holidays! Now that the holidays are over, I’d like to share with you this powerhouse cookie that you can enjoy, all year!
Tamales, enchiladas, pozole, beans…..yum! This year, it was just Jason and I celebrating Christmas Day, so I decided I needed a simple dessert that we could enjoy for at least a few days past the holiday. I decided to stick with the Mexican theme and make Mexican Chocolate Cookies. Something about the richness of the chocolate and the intensity of cayenne spice appealed to me. As an added bonus, chocolate is one of the easiest desserts to make gluten free!
I had found a couple good recipes on the internet in the last couple months, so I took a risk and combined them into my own recipe. The base of the cookie was simply almond flour (or any nut flour), cacao powder, cayenne, cinnamon, vanilla (Mexican, of course!), semisweet chocolate and caster sugar.
If you are not familiar with cacao, be sure to make sure to use this and NOT cocoa! It’s not the same!
Raw cacao is made by cold pressing the un-roasted cacao beans, keeping the living enzymes intact and removing the fat. This helps to maintain the nutritional benefits, including the high antioxidant levels. It also allows you to be in control of the amount of sugar you use, be cause it is unsweetened. Also, be sure to use caster sugar. It’s super fine and helps keep the texture less chunky. I also added baking soda and baking powder, to help get the cookies to rise and an egg to moisten the dough. You might think that the one egg is insufficient, but it comes together quite nicely if you use your hands. Go ahead! No one is looking;)
Once the dough is fully incorporated, add the chocolate chips. I made the mistake of not chopping up my chocolate chips. I recommend chopping the chocolate chips up, as finely as possible.
It will melt into the dough more uniformly and add a more gooey texture. Now, form your dough into a ball, cover it with plastic wrap and chill it in the refrigerator for at least a half an hour. One of the recipes that I read, included these instructions, so I’ve added them here….not sure if this is necessary, but they turned out yummy, so I’ll leave it up to you, if you decide not to include this step!
Once the dough is chilled, you can start measuring out large, tablespoon sized, balls of dough onto a parchment lined cookie sheet. You don’t want them to be too big. At this size, they cook up nicely. Also, considering their rich flavor, anything larger, might be overkill. Once they are lined up on the cookie sheet, you can gently press down on them to flatten them out. While you are in-between batches, be sure to keep the dough chilled:)
They only take 10 minutes or so to bake up. Straight out of the oven they are sublime. Rich, spicy with intense chocolate flavor, these are not for the faint of heart. Of course, you can tame them down a bit by using less cayenne or by using milkchocolate chips, but I urge you, to give these a try! I found them to be a medium spice level. My husband thought that they were mild. That being said, adjust accordingly!
By serving them up warm with a scoop of vanilla or coconut ice cream, you can greatly reduce the heat level, as well! They keep well for days without getting to crispy.
Mexican Chocolate Cookies (GF, Grain Free)
A rich and spicy adult cookie, best served warm, with a scoop of vanilla or coconut ice cream!!
1 1/2 cup almond flour or nut flour of your choice
3/4 cup raw cacao powder
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cayenne powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips, chopped
1 egg, beaten
1 TBS vanilla extract
Mix all ingredients in a large bowl, using your hands to carefully blend. When dough is fully mixed, roll it into a large ball, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Scoop dough into hefty 1 TBS sized balls and place onto a parchment lined cookie sheet. Lightly flatten each cookie with the back of a spoon. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-13 minutes. Do not overcook. Enjoy warm with ice cream of your choice. Will keep, covered, for 5 days.
Adjust heat according to your preference, by reducing the amount of cayenne or using milk chocolate chips;)