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

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

CHEWY GLUTEN-FREE CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

2 cups brown rice flour

¼ cup corn or tapioca starch

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

5 ounces unsalted butter, softened

3/4 cup  turbinado sugar

2 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, corn starch, 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 mix in the chocolate chips. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes until the dough is firm.

Drop small balls of dough the size of a tablespoon or two on the cookie sheet, about two inches apart. Bake them until golden but still soft in the center, 11 to 12 minutes. Transfer to a rack and let cool.

Makes about 20 cookies

BAKED CHEBBAKIA

Chebakia is a Moroccan dessert with an intricate design typically served during Ramadan. This is a baked version of the fried original.

1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon (preferably unhulled) sesame seeds, plus more for sprinkling
1 teaspoon anise seeds
¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons unrefined brown sugar
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 ¼ cups whole wheat flour
1/8 teaspoon saffron threads
¼ cup orange blossom water
1 1/2 tablespoons white vinegar
¼ cup olive oil
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 egg, slightly beaten
12 oz honey


Toast the sesame and anise in a medium skillet over medium heat until fragrant, 5 minutes. Grind them in a food processor into a powder.

Transfer the ground sesame and anise to a mixing bowl. Add the turmeric, cinnamon, salt, brown sugar, baking powder and flour. Whisk to combine.

Crumble the saffron threads into the orange blossom water and let steep for a few minutes. Add to the dry mixture. Add the rest of the ingredients except the honey. Gather the dough and lightly knead it for a minute or two. Shape it into a ball, cover it with plastic wrap and refrigerate it for 20 minutes.

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

Remove the dough from the refrigerator and roll it out with a rolling pin to about 1/8 inch thick. Using a butter knife or a fluted pastry wheel cut the dough into rectangles about 2.5×3 inches. Cut 4 lines lengthwise on each rectangle without getting to the edge. The cuts should stop about ¼-inch from the edges. Fold the rectangles lengthwise the way you would a paper fan (by alternating forward and backward folding motions). Pinch the ends together and push them in slightly. This should fan out the strips. If necessary, manually separate the strips to fan out the cookie some more. (Alternatively, you can cut the dough into strips, stack them up and pinch the ends.) Place on the prepared pan. Gather the scraps and repeat until you’ve used up all the dough.

Bake the chebbakia until crispy and golden, 25 to 30 minutes.

Five minutes before the chebbakia is cooked, warm up the honey in a medium pot over low heat. As soon as you take the chebakias out of the oven, place them in the warm honey for about 10 minutes, turning them once. ( I keep the stove turned on at very low heat to keep the honey warm and runny.)Using a slotted spoon, transfer the soaked chebbakias to a plate. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. Allow to cool before enjoying. Store leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature.

Makes about 20 cookies.

chebbakia

FLOURLESS BLACK BEAN BROWNIES

1 (15-ounce) can no-salt-added black beans, drained and rinsed

1/4 cup cocoa powder

3 large eggs

1/3 cup melted butter

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips


Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter an 8-inch square baking pan.

Place the black beans, cocoa powder, eggs, butter, vanilla, salt and sugar in the bowl of a food processor and process until puréed. Stir in the chocolate chips. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan. Bake the brownie until a toothpick comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool and cut into squares.

Serves 6 to 8

Adapted from wholefoodsmarket.com

MOROCCAN JAM COOKIES

1 ¾ cups white whole wheat flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
7 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 egg yolks
Strawberry or raspberry jam for filling the cookies
Confectioner’s sugar for dusting, optional


In a bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

In a mixer fitted with a paddle, beat together the butter, sugar and vanilla until creamed. Add the egg yolks, one at a time. Beat. Add the dry ingredients and mix.

Transfer the dough to a floured surface, knead briefly. Divide into 2 pieces and flatten each one into a disc. Wrap each disc in plastic and refrigerate for 20 minutes.

Heat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Roll 1 disc of dough at a time to 1/8-inch thickness. Using a cookie cutter, cut out the cookies and transfer them onto the parchment paper lined pan, leaving 1 inch between cookies. Using a smaller cookie cutter cut out the centers of half of the cookies. Reroll scraps and repeat.

Bake until golden, 12 to 15 minutes. Let cool. Flip bottom half the cookies over; top each one with 1 teaspoon of jam. Dust the top halves with confectioner’s sugar and place on the bottom halves.

MAKES ABOUT 15

Moroccan jam cookie sandwiches

GLUTEN-FREE BROWNIES

6 tablespoons unsalted butter
10 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips
2 large free-range eggs
1/3 cup turbinado sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup tapioca starch
1/8 teaspoon salt


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

Melt the butter and chocolate in a large glass or plastic bowl in the microwave for 1 ½ minutes, stirring at 30 second increments. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, lightly whisk the eggs, sugar and vanilla extract, just enough to mix them (no need to aerate the eggs).

Add the egg mixture to the chocolate mixture and whisk well. Sift in the tapioca starch and salt, and whisk well to incorporate the ingredients. Pour the batter (which should be pretty thick and sticky) in the prepared pan. Place on the middle oven rack and bake 20 to 23 minutes, or until set but not completely dry.

Let cool and enjoy.

Serves 6 to 8