Well. I was going to bypass any excuses and “oh wow it’s been awhile”…until I saw it’s been almost a YEAR since I last posted. My bad. Hope I get some credit for making it back before a full year … Continue reading
On Sundays there’s a Spanish channel that plays Dexter reruns- that is, they play Dexter in English but the commercials are still in Spanish. It’s the best of both worlds; I get to watch Dexter and learn Spanish. Of course what I’ve learned is limited to selling you AT&T and why you should eat Taco Bell and Pizza Hut. I was in for a treat today though. Several years ago there were some clips from a comedian named Anjelah Johnson that floated around the interwebs, most notably the nail salon lady and Bon Qui Qui. Well apparently they have combined the two to create a music video- yes, a music video! And they played it during a commercial break. Bon Qui Qui has her own music video for a song called “No Boyfren”. Google it. You’re welcome.
While that little gem should be enough for you, I highly doubt you came here just for that. This week I was approached by someone who saw my paleo chocolate chip cookies and was wondering if I could make them without eggs. Her daughter is allergic to eggs (among other things) and has pretty strict diet restrictions. Most paleo baking relies on eggs to bind ingredients together since that’s usually a job for gluten. I did some searching and came across this recipe from Elana’s Pantry. I made a few adjustments based on the ingredients I had and was pretty pleased with the results.
Chocolate Chip Cookies (Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Egg Free) ~18 cookies
- 3 cups almond flour*
- ½ tsp. sea salt
- ½ tsp. baking soda
- ½ cup grapeseed oil
- 1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
- ½ cup honey
- 1 cup Enjoy Life chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 350*. Mix the dry ingredients together in a bowl. Whisk the wet ingredients together in a separate bowl. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until combined. Fold in chocolate chips. I did this all by hand, I think an electric mixer might lead to over mixing. Use a cookie scoop to drop dough onto a cookie sheet. Bake for ~8 minutes. These are soft cookies, so if they look like they need a little more time to set (1-2 minutes) then leave them in for a little longer. Just don’t let them burn! Let them cool for a minute or two on the cookie sheet before you move them to a cooling rack. They will firm up as they cool off.
*If you read Elana’s Pantry’s recipe, she will say to not use Bob’s Red Mill almond flour. That happened to be what I had on hand, so that is what I used. My measurements are based on using that almond flour.
A couple of weekends ago, I had the pleasure of baking for another wedding. The bride’s family and mine have been friends for about 20 years now. There’s a long history of swim meets, 4th of July fireworks and homemade ice cream, and both of our families even moved around the same time to the same area when we were in junior high. And then we started over on a new swim team in the new neighborhood (see the central piece here?). After high school we continued to A&M, and then both became teachers- although in different cities.
The couple wanted cupcakes and settled on four different flavors: strawberry, snickerdoodle, red velvet, and chocolate with peanut butter frosting. I don’t always get to watch people eat the cake after I set it up, so it was fun to watch the cupcakes disappear at the wedding. I wish I could take credit for the signs on the cake table, but that was all the bride’s doing. The entire wedding was absolute gorgeous and I loved being a part of it!
Gluten has become quite the buzzword these days. At first you heard it constantly from the gluten free camp, but now the gluten eaters are vocalizing their opinions on this tiny little protein. The most annoying part (to me at least), is that so many people on either side can’t even tell you what IS gluten! People. If you’re going to throw around random studies, articles, and arguments, you should probably at least try to educate yourself on what you are talking about. I am not here to tell you whether you should be for or against gluten, but rather to help you form your own opinion. This is the science teacher side of me coming out.
This video by America’s Test Kitchen gives a good visual of gluten, as well as explaining what it is along with some of it’s properties. Don’t worry, it’s only about 3 minutes long. You probably spend more time looking at funny cat memes.
Obviously gluten has a pretty significant impact on baking, which makes it my problem. If you’ve been following my blog you probably know that I bake cupcakes with and without gluten. I realize I’m playing both sides while most sites will cater to one party or the other. As for myself, I choose to follow a gluten free lifestyle and I will gladly answer why if you ever care to ask me. But you probably don’t care and are not here for that. The reason I still post “gluten” desserts right along with the gluten free desserts is for this: Enjoyment.
Most of the events and moments I bake for are celebrations, everything from weddings, bridal showers, birthday parties, graduations, baby showers, gender reveal parties…you get the idea. People are celebrating someone or some achievement/moment in someone’s life. You should not be so fixated on FOOD that you miss enjoying the moment. (To clarify, I’m not talking about people who have medical concerns.) I have several customers who do prefer gluten free desserts for one reason or another- and that’s fine. I’m the baker, I’m the one who has to deal with the process whereas they’re concerned about the final product. Can you really tell the difference between these cupcakes? Both are chocolate cupcakes (though one is dark chocolate), but only one is gluten free.
My point is that for all the commotion that gluten has caused, it still remains a mystery to most people. All I’m asking is that you educate yourself before telling others what they should or should not eat. Chances are, if there’s cake you should be celebrating and not analyzing the food!
I’m going to pretend like it hasn’t been a month or so since my last post. Because it’s now May. I feel like May kind of gets screwed because that’s when everyone starts counting down to summer. And by everyone, I mean students and teachers. That’s how I view May…a gateway to summer. I had been baking every weekend since February and thought last weekend would be a little break…until I was approached with a cake request that was different from what I normally do. Of course I couldn’t say no. I was asked to do a CrossFit cake, which I’ve done before, but this one was all fondant. Now I know how to make fondant, and decorate with fondant and gumpaste. It’s just my personal opinion that it doesn’t taste that good and that regular frosting is better. Fondant usually wins in the looks department though (I guess that means buttercream has a great personality.) Anyways, I hadn’t made a fondant cake since I took a cake decorating class four years ago. I will say it is much easier to do fondant than pipe buttercream!
First I made a kettlebell out of rice krispies treats. This was to go on top of the cake. It took me about 20 minutes to shape the rice krispies into a kettlebell, a lot less stressful than trying to make one with cake. I covered the bell and handle in fondant separately, and then attached the handle to the bell with toothpicks. I cut out a 4-0 and glued it to the front (birthday boy was turning 40). Edible glue y’all…basically sugar water. I also made jump rope handles out of gumpaste. I did all of this the day before I made the cake, so it would have time to set.
I baked two 8″ cakes and leveled them off. I placed one cake on the large cake board and covered it in buttercream, then fondant. I put the second layer on an 8″ cake board and covered it in fondant as well. Then I stacked the second layer on the first layer, but slightly off center to represent stacked plates. I cut out “Happy Birthday” in gumpaste and adhered it to the two layers. I also added letters and numbers on top of the cake to add some detail of the plate. I added the kettlebell on top, glued the jump rope handles with frosting, and added a fondant rope to the handles. I left some of powdered sugar on the kettlebell and the cake because it looked like chalk. That’s it! I love how bright this cake is!
I’d say February does a pretty good job at kicking all those January health goals to the curb. First you’re hit with Valentine’s Day, and then Mardi Gras and the rodeo (well, for those of us residing in Texas). Diets don’t stand a chance. However, you can’t help but get caught up in all the festivities. I personally love this time of year. Mardi Gras and the rodeo are both ongoing events and lend themselves for a lot social activities. It’s just fun! With Fat Tuesday coming up I figured King Cake Cupcakes would be the perfect cupcakes to bake!
I found this recipe over at The Virtuous Wife. Best thing about it? You use crescent rolls. Seriously can’t get much easier than that. Delicious treats don’t have to be complicated recipes, most of the time simple is better! The only down side to these is that the recipe only makes eight, although they are large. But MAN are they tasty! I actually preferred the bread flavor as opposed to a sweet cake- I felt like it balanced out with the filling and glaze. My taste testers told me it was even better with a cup of coffee. You could always experiment and try different fillings…so many possibilities.
King Cake Cupcakes (~8 cupcakes)
- 2 tubes of crescent rolls (seamless dough sheets work best)
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 Tbsp. cinnamonFilling:
- 8 oz. cream cheese
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extractGlaze:
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
- 1 Tbsp. water
Preheat the oven to 375* and grease your cupcake pan. With a mixer, cream together the ingredients for the filling (cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla). In a separate bowl whisk together the sugar and cinnamon. Lay out the crescent roll sheets and cut each tube into four squares.
Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar mixture onto the squares (divide it evenly until there’s no more).
Add about 1-1.5 Tbsp of filling to each square. Try to spread it longways.
Roll up each square longways (hot dog style). Pinch the edges together. Fold the left side over the middle, then fold the right side over the left. You’ll end up with what looks like a cinnamon bun. Place it in the cupcake pan.
When you have all the rolls in the pan, cover the pan with foil. Bake at 375* for ~12 minutes. Remove the foil and continue baking another 12 minutes. Let it cool for 5-10 minutes in the pan before removing them.
While they are cooling, make the glaze. Combine all ingredients for the glaze in a bowl. When the cupcakes have cooled, drizzle the glaze over the cupcakes. I put wax paper under the cooling rack they’re on because the glaze drips down. Add sprinkles of your choice!
I feel like watching the Winter Olympics is a little more authentic now that it actually feels like winter here. This whole ending-the-day-at-the-same-cold-temps-we-started-with is a very odd occurrence in Texas. We’re used to it warming up as the day goes on…not be cold and stay cold! I don’t remember ever having an ice day growing up, and we had two in the past two weeks. People even claimed to have seen snow this morning, although I saw nothing. I was also completely bundled up and running to my classroom before the sun was up, so maybe I missed the four flakes that were floating down. This weather tends to make people feel BLAH and being cooped up inside for longer than you’re used to can also lead to more snacking. Well no fear! I have some chocolate chip cookies for you today that aren’t entirely guilt free, but they are gluten free, dairy free, and sugar free. I took some to a Super Bowl party and by the time I left they were all gone. Chocolate chip cookies can cheer anyone up, even if it’s cold, rainy, and cloudy outside!
Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies (Primal Palate)
- 3 cups almond flour
- 1/2 cup coconut oil
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 1/2 cups Enjoy Life Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine dry ingredients together in a medium sized bowl. In a separate bowl beat eggs, maple syrup, and vanilla extract with a hand mixer.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry, and mix until well combined. Melt the coconut oil and pour it into the batter. Mix until well combined. Fold in chocolate chips. Scoop cookie dough onto a greased baking sheet. Bake for 12-15 minutes. It makes about 2 dozen cookies.
Last weekend I ran my third marathon, but the main reason I’m telling you this is because of the name on my bib. I honestly don’t remember giving them this name. The lady handed me my bib and said, “You’re cupcake?!” Why, yes…yes I am, but how do you know that? Apparently I was feeling clever when I registered.
Which brings me to cake. I’ve witnessed my share of baby’s first birthday cake. The idea of a smash cake is pretty ingenius- the baby gets their own cake to dig into, while the other guests can eat their own baby germ free piece. And it makes for cute pictures. However, the majority of the babies I’ve seen do not dig in and make a mess of the cake! They are not taking advantage of this. I know plenty of adults that would love to attack a piece of cake. But anyways. This was a Mickey Mouse smash cake I did recently. Vanilla cake with buttercream frosting- babies don’t have many preferences by one year. Have you ever seen a kid really smash a smash cake?
I have a confession to make.
Let me preface this with the fact that I am a fan of BSpears and Gaga. You can say what you want, but I enjoy singing and dancing around to their songs. It’s Britney, bitch. Until recently I had been of the opinion that Miley should have stopped after Party in the USA (much like Billy Ray should have stopped after Achy Breaky Heart). However I think Miley might have outdone BSpears and Gaga in regards to their latest albums. Yeah, I said it. Although “We Can’t Stop” probably goes in my Top 5 Worst Songs of 2013, the rest of the album is actually pretty catchy. It doesn’t top Circus or Fame…but if we’re going off most recent releases, I think Miley wins.
Now that I have that off my chest, I can share my paleo treats of the week. I had some leftover pumpkin, so I just googled until I found a good pumpkin dessert recipe. My main criteria was that I had all the ingredients because I didn’t feel like going to the store. Lazy? …..or efficient? Definitely efficient. I found this recipe over at Against All Grain. I made a few tweaks based on the ingredients I had and was pretty pleased with the results. I especially liked the frosting- it’s hard to do a good paleo frosting! These cookies are chewy and taste exactly how a spice cookie should. Enjoy!
- 2½ cups almond flour
- 2 Tbsp. coconut flour
- 2 tsp. cinnamon
- ½ tsp. ginger
- ½ tsp. baking soda
- ½ tsp. nutmeg
- ¼ tsp. cloves
- ¼ tsp. sea salt
- 1/3 cup honey
- ½ cup pumpkin
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 2 Tbsp. honey
- 4 Tbsp. coconut butter
- 4 Tbsp. coconut milk
- 1 tsp. butter
- 1 tsp. vanilla
Preheat oven to 350. Mix together the dry ingredients in a bowl. Blend the honey, pumpkin, egg, and vanilla in a food processor. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture. Use a cookie scoop to make small balls and place on your cookie sheet (either line cookie sheet with parchment paper or grease it). Use a glass with a flat bottom to flatten each cookie. Bake for 15-16 minutes at 350 degrees.
HELLO January! I don’t know where you are, but given the new reports it sounds like it’s just cold everywhere. Sure does make going back to work/school a little more difficult. I read somewhere that January 6th is the saddest day of the year. I mean, I get it. Cold gray weather, returning to work after the holidays, everyone is trying to stick to new resolutions, yada yada yada. But it’s kind of crazy that they can monitor and “calculate” the saddest day of the year. I wonder what day is the happiest.
Anyways. I enjoy the cooking and baking over the holidays, but back to work means back to meal planning/prepping for me. I know I’m a bit extreme to use a spreadsheet to get meals and a grocery list together and that not everyone may jive with that. However, prepping just one of your meals can save you a lot of time during the week. These waffles are super easy to make and then all you have to do in the morning is pull one out and heat it up! Plus you’re sneaking in some veggies in there. Think of these as zucchini spice bread in waffle form. I found this recipe over at The Saffron Girl, and they turned out really well.
Paleo Zucchini Waffles
- 1 medium zucchini
- 3 eggs
- 2 Tbsp. coconut oil
- 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon coconut flour
- 1/2 cup almond flour
- 1/2 cup coconut milk
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp. ginger
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 1 tablespoon honey (optional)
Turn your waffle iron on. Using a food processor, shred the zucchini. Switch the shredding blade to the regular blade (is there a technical name for that? You know what I mean). Add the eggs, coconut oil, and milk to the zucchini and blend. Add the dry ingredients and blend until completely mixed together. If you’re using honey, add that in now. Pour into the waffle iron and bake accordingly!