FLOURLESS ALMOND COCOA BROWNIE

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted (or coconut oil)
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup turbinado sugar
3 large eggs
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup almond meal
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons shredded unsweetened coconut or sunflower seeds, optional


Butter an 8×8 inch cake pan. Place the baking rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Whisk the butter and cocoa powder until well incorporated. Add the sugar, eggs and almond extract.
Whisk well to combine.

Combine the almond meal and baking powder in a separate bowl. Stir them into the wet mixture until you obtain a smooth uniform batter.

Transfer the batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle the coconut or sunflower seeds on top, if using.

Bake until set, 20-25 minutes. Cool completely before cutting into bars.

Serves 8

COFFEE WALNUT COOKIES

Thin, light and crunchy with a bright coffee aroma. Good anytime you need a mood enhancing sweet fix.
 

2 egg whites

1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon turbinado sugar

Pinch salt

1/2 tablespoon instant coffee

1 cup ground walnuts

1 tablespoon flour (AP, whole grain or GF)


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

Using an electric mixer with a whisk attachment beat the egg whites until stiff. Gradually add the sugar, salt, and coffee while continuing to beat until combined. Fold in the walnuts and flour.

Spoon small amounts of cookie mixture (1.5 to 2 tablespoons) onto the prepared baking sheet, about two inches apart. Bake them until firm and crunchy, about 25 to 30 minutes. Cool the cookies completely and gently peel them off the parchment using a spatula.

 

Makes 12 cookies

CAROB BROWNIES

Carob is naturally sweeter than cocoa and makes rich-tasting brownies without using a lot of sugar.
 
1/3 cup carob powder
1/4 cup brown rice flour
1/4 cup tapioca starch
1/8 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup turbinado sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup chopped pecans, optional

 


 

Place the oven rack in the middle. Preheat the oven to 335 degrees F. Line an 8-inch square pan with parchment paper.

Sift the carob, brown rice flour, tapioca starch and salt into a large bowl. Whisk to combine. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, whisk the butter and sugar. Add the eggs and vanilla extract, and whisk well enough to incorporate all the ingredients.

Add the dry ingredients to the egg mixture and whisk well until shiny and smooth. Fold in the chopped pecans, if using. Pour the batter in the prepared pan. Bake 25 to 30 minutes, or until set.

Let cool before cutting.

Serves 6 to 8

BREWER’S YEAST CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

Brewer’s yeast adds a boost of B vitamins, extra protein and a pleasant bitter-sweetness to the cookies. If bitter is not your thing, cut the amount  in half.

 

2 cups brown rice flour

¼ cup wheat germ

2 tablespoons powdered brewer’s yeast

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

4 ounces unsalted butter, softened

1  cup turbinado sugar

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips

 


 

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Combine the brown rice flour, wheat germ, brewer’s yeast, salt, and baking soda in a large bowl.

In a separate bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Whisk in the eggs and vanilla, and pour over the flour mixture. Combine well and fold in the chocolate chips. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 20 minutes until the dough is firmer.

Drop small balls of dough the size of two tablespoons on the cookie sheet, about two inches apart. Bake them until golden but still soft in the center, 11 to 13 minutes. Transfer to a rack and let cool.

Makes about 18 cookies

NO-BAKE CHOCOLATE OATEMAL BARS

4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/3 cup nut butter
2 cups quick oats
1/4 cup finely chopped nuts (optional)

 


Butter a square 8-inch pan. Set aside.

Place the butter, milk, almond extract, sugar and cocoa powder in a medium saucepan. Melt over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is boiling heartily.

Remove from the heat. Stir in the nut butter until well incorporated. Stir in the oats (and chopped nuts, if using) until well coated.

Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan and smooth it out evenly with a spatula. Let cool down a bit. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 3 to 5 hours before cutting into squares or rectangles.

Makes 12 squares

CHESTNUT CREAM ECLAIRS

Pâte à choux
1 cup water

1 stick unsalted butter

2 teaspoons sugar

½ teaspoon salt

1 ½ cups all purpose flour

4 large eggs

Chestnut Mascarpone Filling

¾ cup chestnut spread (crème de marrons)

2/3 cup mascarpone

Chocolate Glaze

4 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons milk

2 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped

 


 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter a large baking sheet.

The pâte à choux

Bring the water, butter, sugar and salt to a boil in a medium saucepan. Stir well. Lower the heat.

Stir in the flour and keep stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until you obtain a thick mass of dough that detaches from the sides of the pan. Transfer to the bowl of a stand mixer and let cool 5 minutes.

With the paddle attachment on, add the eggs, one at a time, and work the dough until it looks like thick, sticky cake batter. This should take 2 to 3 minutes.

Transfer the dough to a pastry bag or Ziploc bag and pipe 2-inch rounds or logs onto the prepared pan, leaving 2 inches between puffs.

Bake the puffs 25 to 35 minutes, or until they are golden and sound hollow when tapped or shaken. The best way may be to test taste one to make sure it is not dough-ey in the middle. For me, getting perfectly golden and hollow puffs took exactly 32 minutes.

Let the puffs cool to room temperature on a rack before filling them.

The filling

To make the filling, simply stir the chestnut spread and mascarpone well in a medium bowl until you obtain a light brown cream.

Cut the puffs in half lengthwise using a serrated knife. Fill one half with the filling using a spoon. Place the other half on top.

The glaze

To make the glaze, heat up the butter and milk over medium heat in a small saucepan until melted. Reduce heat to low, add the chopped chocolate and whisk until melted. Remove from heat.

Glaze the top half of the puffs with the chocolate glaze. Refrigerate for 1 hour before serving.
 
Makes 24 mini éclairs.

CHOCOLATE TAHINI CRACKERS

1/2 stick butter, softened
1/4 cup tahini, stirred
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup agave syrup
2 eggs
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 ¾ cups whole wheat flour

 


 
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.

In a large bowl, whisk the butter, tahini and salt. Add the agave and eggs and whisk agin until well combined. Incorporate the cocoa powder and stir some more. Finally work in the whole wheat flour and form a homogeneous ball of dough.

Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough into a thin layer, about 1/8-inch thick. Cut into small circles using a cookie cutter and poke holes in each cracker with a bamboo skewer or fork.

Place the crackers on the prepared baking sheet, about 1/2-inch apart. Bake until hard, about 17 minutes.
 
Makes 30

WHOLE WHEAT OLIVE CRACKERS

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2 tablespoons grated parmesan
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup water
2-3 tablespoons chopped black olives or tapenade
 


 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients (first four). Add the beaten egg, olive oil, water and chopped olives. Work the mixture into a dough ball. Add a little more water if the dough feels too dry. Knead for a few minutes.

Using a rolling pin, spread the dough a little over 1/8-inch thin on a lightly floured surface. Use a cookie cutter or knife to cut the crackers into desired shape.

Transfer the crackers to the prepared cookie sheet and bake them until crispy, 18 to 20 minutes. Let cool on a rack.

 
Makes 50 crackers

DECONSTRUCTED BAKLAVA CUPS

5 phyllo sheets
Cooking spray or melted butter

1/2 cup walnuts
1/2 cup pistachios
1 tablespoon unrefined brown sugar
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon orange blossom water (optional)
1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

2 tablespsoons warm honey
 


 
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray.

Cut the stack of phyllo sheets into circles the size of your serving glass. Place the circle stacks on the prepared cookie sheet. Spray the top of the phyllo circles with cooking spray or brush them with melted butter. Bake them until golden and crispy, 5 to 10 minutes. Take out of the oven.

Meanwhile, place the walnuts, pistachios, brown sugar, melted butter, orange blossom water (if using) and pumpkin spice in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse a couple of times to mix and chop the ingredients.

Place half of the nut mixture in a glass, top it with half of the crispy phyllo circles, then the rest of the nut mixture and finally the rest of the phyllo.

Pour the warm honey over your stacked baklava. Enjoy lukewarm or at room temperature.
 
Makes 1 large cup. Serves 2.

MILLET COOKIES

1 ¾ cups millet flour
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon baking powder
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 egg
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
¼ cup agave syrup
¼ cup chopped walnuts, pecans or hazelnuts

2 tablespoons coarse sea salt, for topping the cookies

 


 

In a large bowl, whisk the flour, salt and baking powder. In a separate bowl beat the butter, egg, vanilla extract and agave syrup. Stir the liquid mixture into the flour then stir in the nuts.

 

On a lightly floured surface, shape the cookie dough into a log, about 12 inches long — if the dough is not firm enough to shape into a log, refrigerate it for 10 minutes then try again. Wrap the log in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours.

 

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

 

Slice the log into 1/2-inch cookies and place them on the prepared baking sheet, about 2 inches apart. Encrust each cookie with a small amount of sea salt. Bake until lightly golden, 11 to 12 minutes.

 

Makes 16.