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Gluten-Free Pistachio Fig Pinwheel Cookies

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Have I got a good recipe for you today! Remember the Peach Curd Bars I made in the fall? Pamela’s Products asked if I would like to develop another recipe especially for the holidays using their Gluten-Free Sugar Cookie Mix. I’ve been wanting to try making pinwheel cookies for ages. Confession: I kind of hate rolling out cookie dough. It’s time consuming and messy. (We won’t talk about the perfectionist in me that rears her ugly head when I get the kids involved. Ahem.) So I thought I would experiment with the Pamela’s sugar cookie mix using some of our favorite holiday flavors.

gluten free pistachio fig pinwheel cookies

The mix lists cassava flour as one of the ingredients. Cassava is also known as tapioca. The cassava flour is different than tapioca starch, which is another ingredient in the mix too. This is fascinating to me because we use cassava flour a lot in other capacities in our Brasilian cooking. I think it’s the cassava that sets this mix apart from other recipes I’ve made and GF sugar cookies I’ve sampled that were made from mixes. The baked cookies have the characteristic sweet flavor, but the texture is phenomenal. I don’t like soft sugar cookies, sadly. They are too doughy for me. I prefer cookies more like sables – a sandy, crisp texture that melts in your mouth. These cookies definitely have that texture going on. And the promise of no cracking held up. This sugar cookie dough is a dream to work with. I didn’t believe the claim that it didn’t crack. I really didn’t. Gluten-free cookie dough is finicky on a good day. This dough rolls out perfectly. No cracks – love it!

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Gluten-Free No-Bake Cookies #fbcookieswap

gluten free no bake cookies
This year I decided it was time I participated in the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap. It was so much fun and I’m glad I did it. Julie Deily and Lindsay Landis organize the event every year, matching up bloggers all around the country (and world!) to swap cookies with each other. The swap raises money for Cookies For Kids’ Cancer. I made these Gluten-Free No-Bake Cookies to ship to three other bloggers (Johnna, Elle, and Rachel), and received a dozen cookies from three different bloggers. So much fun! I loved each and every one I received – GF Chocolate Dipped Pecan Praline Biscotti from A Sassy Southern Yank, GF Peppermint Bark Cookies from La Casa de Sweets, and GF Gingerbread Chocolate Chip Cookies from Flippin’ Delicious. We loved getting cookies in the mail and it’s especially nice that Julie and Lindsay made the effort to match up gluten-free bloggers together so we could enjoy the cookies too.

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I loved no-bake cookies as a kid, and haven’t made them for years. These are actually more like a cross between candy and cookies, but when I tasted them, they reminded me of the no-bakes we used to make all the time. The difference is no peanut butter, and the addition of dried fruit and nuts, which makes these really great for the holidays. And they are even easier than the traditional no-bake cookie recipe. When I was making granola bark last month, I realized I had made way too much granola and that my baking cupboard was more than well-stocked with chocolate for the high baking season. So I decided to try out my idea for gluten-free no-bake cookies and see how it went. I was just sort of craving a hearty treat that didn’t require much effort – kind of an instant cookie. These couldn’t be easier to make – melt the chocolate, add coconut oil and granola, stir well, drop onto a baking sheet, drizzle with white chocolate, and the final touch, a sprinkling of flaked sea salt. The salt really makes these taste special. (more…)

Roasted Butternut Squash Dip

Roasted Butternut Squash Dip
Every recipe I share with you has some sort of story. Sometimes it’s the story of an old family recipe, other times it’s a brand new story still in the making. This one is an in-between-story recipe. When I was a newlywed, I catered an open house during the holidays. (I mention that time period a lot because it was a pivotal moment for me in my culinary development.) I made a bunch of appetizers for the open house and many of the recipes I made have since become yearly holiday traditions at our house. I think I’ve shared quite a few of the recipes I made for the open house already, but this is one for Roasted Butternut Squash Dip is one I’ve neglected to share. Neglected is definitely the right word – forgive me! It’s one of my favorite dips (or spreads) and is insanely popular whenever I make it. People raved about it at that open house and I was sort of stunned that they loved it so much. It was definitely one of the most popular items on the buffet table. The recipe is so, so simple – it’s one of those really good, basic kinds of recipes that you don’t really think much of, but then you taste it and it’s suddenly the greatest thing ever. It’s the simplicity of using good, seasonal the ingredients that makes it so wonderful.

Roasted Butternut Squash Dip
I have long since misplaced the original recipe and can’t for the life of me find it on Epicurious.com where I originally found it. I’ve made a few changes here and there – adding a few of my own touches – and it’s become my own recipe now. I’m pretty sure I upped the goat cheese to butternut ratio too. (Of course I did.) Fresh rosemary and nutmeg perfectly compliment the squash and goat cheese. (more…)