The Cookie Cupcake

The Cookie Cupcake

Can’t decide between a cupcake or cookie?  You can have your cookie and cupcake with this innovative twist on the classic, the “Cookie Cupcake.”  Not a keen cupcake decorator?  When it came to testing out my brother’s birthday cupcakes, I have to admit they weren’t beautiful.  Luckily, I have discovered the easiest way to decorate a cupcake that is sophisticated looking, and so easy, a little kid could do it!

The Cookie Cupcake

The process is more simple than anything you’ve frosted before – you basically glue a cupcake and cookie together with chocolate.

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Savoiardi (Italian Lady Fingers)

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When the annual Café Cultural, at my brother’s school came up, we were delighted to share our Italian heritage with the traditional Italian savoiardo.  Savoiardi are an Italian dessert that are similar to Lady Fingers, but since they are Italian, they are double in size.  As it turns out, I was very lucky to have used my Sicilian great grandmother’s recipe.  In Italy, people will usually buy savoiardi, and since it is a dry sponge-like cookie, Italians will dunk it with their coffee for breakfast.  My mother and grandmother tell me that my great grandmother would actually make her own savoiardi, and as a treat, would make it for her children and grandchildren.  When she came to America, her original recipe went from “strutto” (lard) to Crisco (instead I used Spectrum’s Organic Shortening).

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Savoiardi are extremely easy to make and require few ingredients – eggs, all purpose flour or Bob’s Red Mill 1-to-1 Baking Flour, sugar, baking powder, shortening, vanilla extract, and lemon zest/juice.  As I mentioned before, they’re dry and lemony, and taste just like they were from Italy!  They’re topped with granulated sugar, which adds a crunch.

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I initially was going to pipe the savoiardi batter, but decided not to, and do it the rustic way that my great grandmother would have done.

Method:  Fill a heaping spoonful of the batter.  On the greased or parchment lined pan, spoon out some of the batter with your finger in an up and down motion while sliding the spoon the opposite direction.

The savoiardi end up looking slightly different each time, but that’s the beauty of it!

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The children at my brother’s school event, Café Cultural loved it, and you will too!

Savoiardi (Italian Lady Fingers)
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Italian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 24
 
Ingredients
  • 6 extra-large eggs*
  • 3 cups all purpose flour**
  • 1 cup sugar + more for sprinkling
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ lb shortening
  • 2 or more tsp vanilla extract
  • a lot of lemon zest
  • a touch of lemon juice
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Mix sugar with shortening on high speed.
  3. Beat in one egg at a time also on high speed.
  4. Add flour and baking powder, and mix until fully combined.
  5. Add vanilla extract, and lemon zest/juice.
  6. Pipe with finger on rack (mentioned in detail above recipe).
  7. Sprinkle sugar before baking.
  8. Bake for 15-25 mins.
Notes
*If eggs are just large, use less sugar.
**If you want to make them gluten free, use 3 cups Bob's Red Mill 1-to-1 baking flour.

 

 

Oatmeal Cookies (gluten free, dairy free, refined sugar free)

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Oatmeal cookies are a staple recipe in American homes, but a lot of times, these cookies are overly sweet and buttery.  So what better way to start the year than with some good old healthy oatmeal cookies?  Don’t worry, they don’t taste off or unrecognizable.  In fact, they taste just like normal oatmeal cookies, but without any of the bad stuff!

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I was determined to make oatmeal cookies that were enjoyable yet had good, wholesome ingredients.  For sugar, I used coconut sugar because it has a rich and caramel like flavor, but doesn’t compromise the consistency of the cookie.  Coconut sugar also has a low glycemic index (35)!  I like to add some maple syrup, which has sources of calcium, magnesium, and potassium.  In addition, the flour blend along with the oats is full of protein and fiber.  Since coconut oil can have a strong flavor in cookies, I use a coconut oil that has a less intense coconut taste from La Tourangelle.  For chocolate chips, make sure they do not have any milk products if you’re sensitive or allergic.  Also, it’s best if it doesn’t have soy lecithin because it can contain traces of milk.  I use Enjoy Life.

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These cookies are hearty, grainy, and with the perfect amount of sweetness.  They don’t take long to make, and are perfect for a snowy day!

Oatmeal Cookies (gluten free, dairy free, refined sugar free)
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: gluten free, dairy free, refined sugar free
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 32
 
Ingredients
  • ½ cup coconut oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 50g millet flour
  • 50g potato starch
  • 50g sorghum flour
  • 40g brown rice flour
  • 20g hazelnut flour
  • ½ tsp xanthan gum
  • ⅔ cup coconut sugar*
  • 2-3 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 3 cups gluten free oats
  • 2 handfuls of chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, beat coconut oil and coconut sugar until creamy.
  3. Add in eggs and vanilla, and mix.
  4. Add combined flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt with electric mixer.
  5. Add oats and chocolate chips.
  6. With a cookie scooper, place the dough onto a lined cookie pan and lightly press down on the dough.
  7. Bake for 10-15 minutes.
Notes
*Can be replaced with normal granulated sugar, but it will not be refined sugar free.

 

Rustic Italian Ricotta Cookies (gluten free, dairy free)

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Ricotta cookies were the dessert of my childhood – I remember coming home to the smell of sweet ricotta, lemon, and aromatic vanilla.  But when I became dairy free, that family cookie recipe was difficult to replicate.  For all I knew, I would never be able to taste those special cookies again…

Until now.  After altering the family recipe several times, and discovering Kite Hill’s ricotta, I was able to enjoy ricotta cookies again, and now share it with the gluten free and dairy free community.

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These ricotta cookies have a light and crusty outside, but are airy and soft in the inside.  They’re sweet, with subtle flavors of vanilla and lemon.  To make this recipe as delicious as it can be, you might want to try to use a good quality vanilla extract, such as Nielsen-Massey, since they have more vanilla flavor than alcohol.  Also, if your diet includes dairy, then you can swap the Kite Hill ricotta with normal ricotta.

They’re delicious out of the oven, as well as the next day!  Long live the tradition of the ricotta cookies!

Rustic Italian Ricotta Cookies (gluten free, dairy free)
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Dairy free, Gluten free, Italian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 20
 
Ingredients
  • ½ cup vegan butter (I use Earth Balance)
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 8 ounces Kite Hill ricotta (dairy free)
  • 1-2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1-2 tsp lemon juice
  • 100g brown rice flour
  • 75g white rice flour
  • 55g potato starch
  • 50g millet flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, with an electric mixer, mix the butter and sugar until creamy. Beat in the egg. Stir in the ricotta, vanilla extract, and lemon juice.
  3. Combine the flours, baking powder, and baking soda, and mix into the wet mixture.
  4. If you have time, refrigerate the batter for an hour.
  5. Scoop the batter with a cookie scooper, and drop onto the prepared cookie sheet.
  6. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Let the cookies cool for 5-10 minutes.

 

How to Marbleize Cookies

Despite the winter holidays passing, cookie decorating is a great skill to have for anytime of the year.  My favorite technique is marbling them!  It’s pretty, and wonderful for any occasion.  Decorating cookies is a great skill to have because you can do it for anything, and it’s impressive!  The marble technique is really easy, and elegant.  My friend and I made and decorated cookies for a bake sale of the Make A Wish Foundation Club in our school.  Together, we made Martha Stewart’s royal icing which is actually gluten free and vegan depending on the meringue powder you use.  Everyone was so amazed by how beautiful they all were!

So, are you ready to marbleize some cookies?

Instructions:
Step 1:  Separate a quarter of the icing, and dye it with food coloring.  (In these pictures, we did not use natural food coloring.  If you want to, I recommend these.)

Step 2:   After making your icings, fill a bottle for each color you use, such as these.

Step 3:  Make a border with the non-dyed icing, and fill the inside in zig zag motions.  Border the outside of the cookie slowly, and exerting even force throughout.  Then, pipe zig zags with the icing within the border, leaving some spaces blank.

Step 4:  Using a toothpick, even out the icing, covering the negative spaces.  After smoothing it out as much as possible, gently tapping the cookie on the counter top to make the icing settle.

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Step 4:  Using the colored icing, pipe an asterisk onto the wet non-dyed icing. 

Step 5:  Starting on a colored mark on the outside, use your toothpick, and slowly circle around the cookie, and into a spiral shape toward the center.  This will create a marble look.

Step 6:  Let the icing settle.

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And there you have it – gorgeous, festive, and impressive marbleized cookies!

 

Kitchen Sink Chocolate Cookies Autumn Style (gf,v)

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I am a fan of chocolate, pumpkin, and oats, so why not combine them in a cookie?  My kitchen sink cookies  are all of the things that make up Autumn.

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… with deep flavors of chewy oats, rich cocoa, and subtle flavor of pumpkin, these cookies are perfect.

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They’re wonderful for a quick snack and can be made with so many variations to make it your own.  Some things to add many be some pecans, nutmeg, pumpkin spice – there are endless possibilities!

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You’ll love them!

Kitchen Sink Chocolate Cookies Autumn Style (gf,v)
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Gluten Free, Vegan
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 16
 
Ingredients
  • ¾ cup gluten free flour blend
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ⅓ cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp flaxseed meal
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • ⅓ cup pumpkin puree + 1 tbsp water
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¾ cup rolled oats (I use Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Oats)
  • ½ cup chocolate chips
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees f.
  2. Beat sugar, oil, flaxseed meal, and pumpkin puree (with water) together. Mix in vanilla extract.
  3. Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Mix with wet ingredients.
  4. Fold in the rolled oats and chocolate chips. *
  5. Scoop out the dough with cookie scooper 2 inches apart on parchment paper.
  6. Bake 10-12 minutes.
Notes
*this batter can be refrigerated for up to 3 days, and be baked later on.

 

Dark Chocolate Walnut Cookies (gf, df)

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The weather outside is getting colder, and what does this mean?  More chocolate. These cookies are perfect for just that – days that are not too hot, but not too cold.

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Chocolatey, rich, deep, and slightly nutty (with an option of spice too) are a a wonderful combination for a delicious cookie.

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I have tried these cookies several times, and in different ways.  I loved the taste of adding a dash of red pepper to the cookie batter, because it just boosted the chocolate flavor even more.  Also, for those who like their cookies on the softer side, try baking these cookies for around 10-12 minutes. They are made with flours that are usually handy in a gluten free kitchen.  If not, just replace the rice flours with a gluten free flour blend.

Enjoy!

Dark Chocolate Walnut Cookies (gf, df)
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Gluten free, Dairy free
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 28
 
Ingredients
  • ¾ cup brown rice flour
  • ½ cup white rice flour
  • ¼ cup almond flour
  • ½ cup cocoa flour
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup canola oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts
  • 10 oz melted dark chocolate*
  • optional
  • a dash of red pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees f.
  2. Melt chocolate at 30 second intervals for 2 minutes 30 seconds.
  3. Mix eggs, sugar, oil, and vanilla extract. Then slowly add in melted chocolate.
  4. Add flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.
  5. Fold in walnuts.
  6. Scoop out batter with cookie scooper and place on parchment paper 2" apart. Lightly press down.
  7. Bake for 14-16 minutes.
Notes
* I used 80% dark chocolate and used ¾ cup sugar. However, if you do a lower percentage, it is more sweet, so add less sugar.

 

Chocolate Chip Cookies (gf, df, and paleo friendly)

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One of my friends kindly made me some gluten free dairy free chocolate chip cookies from Simple Mills, a healthy mix company.  Their products feature simple, minimalistic ingredients such as almond flour, coconut sugar, etc..  When I tried their chocolate chip cookies,  I fell in love.

So, I rushed home, determined to make my own version and perhaps, even better!  And I did.

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This classic recipe is super easy, and could be made with the ingredients in your household.   Also, there’s a paleo option!

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To compare tastes, I also made Simple Mill’s chocolate chip cookies.  Their cookies were sugary and crunchy, while mine were hearty and had more depth in flavor.  Overall, it depends on what you prefer in a chocolate chip cookie!

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Enjoy!

Chocolate Chip Cookies (gf, df, and paleo friendly)
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Gluten free, Dairy free, Paleo option
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12
 
Ingredients
  • ⅔ cup almond flour
  • ⅓ cup coconut sugar
  • ¼ cup arrowroot powder
  • ¼ cup coconut flour
  • 1 tbsp granulated sugar*
  • ¾ tsp baking soda
  • 1 tbsp flaxseed meal + 1 tbsp water
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tbsp melted vegan butter or coconut oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • chocolate chips (however much you want)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Mix flaxseed meal with water let rest for 3 minutes.
  3. Mix wet ingredients in bowl.
  4. Mix dry ingredients in separate bowl.
  5. Put dry into wet. Stir.
  6. Bake in oven for 14-16 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes.
  7. Eat!
Notes
*if paleo, skip this ingredient