GLUTEN-FREE BLONDIES

¾ cup almond butter or natural peanut butter, at room temp

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

½ cup honey

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

2 large eggs

1 cup minus 1 tablespoon white rice flour

1 tablespoon tapioca starch

1 teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon salt

½ cup semisweet chocolate chips

 


 

Position the baking rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease an 8-inch square pan and line it with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk the almond butter, softened butter, honey, and vanilla until well incorporated. Add the eggs and whisk until you obtain a smooth and shiny batter.

Whisk the flour, tapioca starch, baking powder and salt in a separate bowl. Fold the flour mixture into the almond butter mixture. Fold in the chocolate chips.

Spoon the mixture into the prepared pan. Smooth the surface with a spatula. Bake for 30 minutes or until the blondie is set and the top is crunchy.

Let cool. Unmold and cut into squares.

Serves 8

gluten-free blondies with almond butter and chocolate

SFOUF

Sfouf, also called sellou or slillou, is a nutty toasted snack made during Ramadan. It is in coarse powder form and packed with nutritious ingredients, which are supposed to give fasters stamina, like an energy bar. It is eaten with a spoon, a bit like dry cereal from a bowl.
1 cup whole wheat or brown rice flour
2/3 cup sesame seeds
2/3 cup lightly salted roasted almonds or peanuts
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon anise seed
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted

 


 

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Place the flour in the skillet and toast it, stirring frequently, until lightly browned and nutty smelling, about 10 minutes. There will be a lot of smoke emanating from it, which is not to worry about. Transfer to a large bowl. (If using a larger quantity of flour, you’ll need to toast it longer.)

Toast the sesame seeds over medium heat, stirring frequently, until golden and fragrant, 2 to 4 minutes.

Place the sesame seeds, almonds, brown sugar, anise seed and cinnamon in the bowl of a food processor and grind them into a coarse powder. Add this mixture to the toasted flour and mix.

Stir in the melted butter and toss a couple of times to break any lumps. Serve at room temperature in small bowls and enjoy by the spoonful.

Serves 4
sfouf

BAGHRIR

‘Baghrir,’ aka, ‘thousand-hole pancakes’ are almost lacy with holes throughout the surface. They are traditionally topped with a warm sauce of melted butter and honey that gets completely soaked up into the holes, yielding moist, pleasantly soggy pancakes. Chopped nuts and dried fruits make an excellent garnish for these pancakes.

 

For the baghrir
2 cups fine semolina or cornmeal (preferably semolina)

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 (1/4-ounce) package active dry yeast

¼ teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon sugar

1 egg

1 cup milk, warm but comfortable to the touch

2 cups water, warm but comfortable to the touch

 

For the syrup

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

½ cup honey (preferably orange blossom)


Add all the ingredients for the baghrir to the container of a blender and blend until a homogenous batter is obtained. Transfer the mixture to a glass bowl, cover and allow to rest 30 minutes.

Heat a medium skillet over medium heat until very hot. Stir the batter, pour a ladleful of batter onto the skillet and cook until its surface is porous and the batter dry, 1 to 2 minutes. Baghrir cooks on only one side so there is no need to turn it over. Repeat until you’ve used up all the batter.

Prepare the syrup by melting the butter and honey over low heat until hot and sizzling, 2 to 4 minutes. Top the baghrir liberally with syrup and serve immediately.

Store remaining baghrir coverered in the refrigerator and reheat it before use.

Makes 8 to 12

WHOLE WHEAT MOROCCAN BISCOTTI

These cookies are twice-baked and known in Morocco as fekkas. They are crunchy and totally delightful.

1/4 cup golden raisins

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/3 cup honey (or brown sugar)

1 teaspoon almond extract

1 egg

1 cup whole wheat flour (or 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour)

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/3 cup pistachios or almonds, coarsely chopped

2 tablespoons sesame seeds*

1 1/2 tablespoons aniseeds*

 


 

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Soak the raisins until plump, 10 to 15 minutes. Drain and pat dry.

Mix the oil, honey or sugar, and almond extract in a large bowl. Beat in the egg.

Add the flour, salt, and baking soda. Mix with you hands until well combined. Mix in the raisins, pistachios or almonds, sesame seeds, and aniseeds.

Shape the dough into a 10- to 12-inch log. Wet your hands with cold water if the dough becomes too sticky.

Bake on the prepared cookie sheet until risen and firm, 30 to 35 minutes.

Remove from the oven and let cool, 10 to 15 minutes. Cut the log diagonally into ½ to ¾-inch slices.

Place back on the cookie sheet and bake until hard, 6 to 7 minutes per side.

 

* If you prefer you can toast your seeds for a few minutes before adding them to the dough.

 

Makes 15 to 20 cookies

VANILLA MELON BUTTER

 

2 large ripe cantaloupes

¼ cup water

1.5 cups turbinado sugar

1 vanilla bean, split and scraped

Juice of 1 lemon


Cut the melons in half and remove the seeds and strings. Scoop out the flesh in small pieces.

Bring the water and sugar to a boil in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan. Add the melon pieces and cook them over high heat for 10 minutes.Transfer to a blender and puree until smooth.

Place the pureed melon back in the pot. Add the vanilla bean (seeds and pod) and lemon juice. Bring to a boil again. Reduce the heat and simmer the puree until reduced to a third of its original volume and appears darker and thicker, about 2h30 min.

Remove from the heat. Let cool. Transfer into clean jars with a tight-fitting lid. Refrigerate.

Consume within 4 weeks.

Makes about 2 cups.

EGG-FREE, GLUTEN-FREE BROWN RICE PANCAKES

These brown rice pancakes are egg-free, gluten-free, enriched with flax seeds and most satisfying. The batter works great for waffles too. Simply top them with your favorite syrup and fruit, and enjoy!

¾ cup milk
½ cup plain yogurt
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon agave syrup
1 cup brown rice flour
1/3 cup golden flaxseed meal
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon butter, divided into 6


Whisk together the milk, yogurt, vanilla extract and agave syrup.

Combine the flour with ground flax seed meal, salt, cinnamon and baking soda. Add them to the milk-yogurt mixture and whisk well to combine. (If the batter looks too thick, add extra milk a little at a time.)

Heat a skillet over medium heat. Melt 1/6 of the butter on the skillet and ladle batter onto it, spreading it slightly by twirling the pan. Cook a few minutes per side. When the edges look stiff and slightly browned, it is time to turn over the pancake. Repeat until you’re used all the batter.

Makes about 6

PECAN TORTE

2 cups shelled pecans
¼ teaspoon salt
1/2 cup honey
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter an 8-inch springform or non-stick tart pan.

In a food processor, grind the pecans to a coarse meal.

In a large bowl, combine the ground pecans with salt. Whisk in the honey, eggs and vanilla extract until well combined.

Pour the batter in the prepared pan . Bake until set and lightly browned, 25-30 minutes.

Serves 8

BAKED STUFFED APPLES

4 Gala, or other baking variety, apples
¼ cup chopped dates
¼ cup golden raisins
¼ cup chopped walnuts or pecans
1 tablespoon brown sugar
½ tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon coconut oil or unsalted butter, divided in four
1 cup apple juice or cider


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Core the apples, making a hole about an inch wide, removing all seeds and leaving the bottom intact.

Combine the dates, raisins and walnuts with the brown sugar and cinnamon in a bowl.

Stuff each apple with the fruit and nut mixture and mound some on top. Place a quarter of the butter on each apple.

Place the apples and the apple juice in a rimmed baking pan pan. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. Discard the foil. Baste the apples with the pan juices and bake for another 20 to 25 minutes.

Serve warm or cold with ice cream or whip cream.

Serves 4

BAKED OATMEAL

1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1/3 cup unsweetened shredded coconut*
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon baking powder
A pinch of salt
1 cup fresh or thawed frozen raspberries
1 medium apple, peeled and chopped into bite-sized pieces
1 cup milk
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ cup sliced almonds, optional


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the baking rack in the middle of the oven. Butter an 8×8 cake pan.

In a large bowl, combine the oats, coconut, cinnamon, baking powder and salt. Toss in the raspberries and chopped apple.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk, maple syrup, egg and vanilla extract.

Add the milk mixture to the oat mixture and lightly fold to moisten the oats. Transfer into the prepared pan. Scatter the sliced almonds on top, if using.

Bake until the surface is golden and the oatmeal looks almost as set as a cake, 30 minutes. Let it cool a little.

*If you don’t like coconut, use 1 1/3 cups oats instead of the suggested 1 cup oats and 1/3 cup coconut.

Serves 4 to 6

OMELETTE AUX FINES HERBES

2 large eggs
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 tablespoon minced fresh tarragon
1/2 tablespoon minced fresh chives
1/2 tablespoon minced fresh chervil or parsley
1 teaspoon unsalted butter


Crack the eggs into a medium bowl and season with salt and pepper. Whisk the eggs well using a fork. Add the tarragon, chives and chevril and whisk some more.

Heat a medium frying pan over medium heat until hot. Melt the butter until it sizzles. Add the eggs and spread them evenly by lightly twirling the pan. Cook until the omelet is set, browned at the edges and all (or most) liquid is gone, about 1 minute. Using a spatula fold the omelet over in half and transfer to a plate.

Serves 1