Gluten Free Linzer Cookies

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Holiday Cookie Guide

When the holidays come around, I want to give everyone I know something special, but can never think of something to get them. As a young lady, not so fresh out of college, trying to make it on my own, I find it is hard to stay on a budget and get all of my loved ones something they will enjoy. That is, until I realized that all I needed was some sugar!

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Holiday treats are the easiest thing to prepare! It is a fun way for me to get creative and festive, while also stretching my ever thinning dollar. For those of you that aren’t culinary savvy, there are boxed mixes by the hundreds all neatly arranged in a single isle at your local grocer. I find, most of the boxed mixes are even more affordable then making things from scratch.

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I truly love to bake though, so I decided do it the old fashioned way. By doing that I also ensure that the goods I’m making are more wholesome, organic, and don’t have any funny chemicals in them that we all can do without.

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I also love that you can cater to peoples dietary needs so easily these days. I find EVERY party I go to there is nothing for me to eat. It can be really draining because I always stick out like a sore thumb and have to explain why my plate has nothing on it but some dried out crudite thirty times. By bringing holiday treats that are low-key gluten free or vegan (or both!) you are not only helping yourself out, but are helping out those who are on special diets, but hate being the odd man out. I mean, when your dairy-free cookies are devoured, but the butter creme frosted yule log remains, you know your doing something right! You’re also helping others by bringing healthier choices. Talk about giving in the spirit of Christmas 😉

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Without further delay, my holiday favorites! These are truly great recipes. You can also make a lot of these interchangeably with or without gluten and dairy, as I have listed.

HOLIDAY TREAT GUIDE:

  1. Shortbread Cookies. HERE they are gluten free; HERE they are not.
  2. Truffles. A no brainer. Swap out dairy with coconut mylk.
  3. Gingerbread. HERE is gluten free cake; HERE is gluten filled.
  4. Brittle. This version is nut-free.
  5. Ina Gartens Brownies. They are a little more laborious, but amazing. Easily made Gluten Free (because there is so little flour).
  6. Brown Butter Cookies. Swap 1/2 cup of salted caramel into the batter for the white sugar, you won’t regret it.
  7. Dorie & Pierre’s Cookies. Dorie Greenspan is a cookie specialist. She once gave me her book, Baking Chez Moiafter giving her family a quick lesson on how to froth milk. She is a very down-to-earth Connecticutian and her peace cookies are the perfect family recipe.
  8. Madeleines. I have yet to met someone that doesn’t like them.
  9. Salted Caramel Tartlets. Make small ones so people won’t feel guilty diving in.
  10. For those Holiday Birthdays, ANY of Linda Lomelinos Cakes will be both instagram worthy, as well as taste worthy. Fair warning, they are intricate so be prepared to spend a lot of time on them.

 

 

Hope this helps!

Happy Holidays,

Jocelynn 🎄

DIY Pumpkin Spice Latte

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There is something very comforting about the classic New England pumpkin latte. To me, it is a nostalgic flavor of fall. On the weekends, Im usually too tired or cozy to get out and get one. I also love love love making my own! Making lattes are a very personal experience for me, since I am in the coffee industry.

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It is actually somewhat affordable to have your own coffee set up these days. Affordable espresso machines that actually produce a quality product are really few and far between, but I am really happy with my ROK. It is a completely manual machine which the barista in me loves. The challenge of producing a quality espresso from a machine like this is not a challenge most are up for so I recommend the Nespresso machine for the average joe maker. Shot after shot, the Nespresso is absolutely consistent in flavor, texture, timing and the crema is always perfect.

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For this DIY Pumpkin Spice Latte you will need:

Intelligentsia Black Cat Espresso (now available at Target!)

Almond Milk

Pumpkin Pie Spice Mix

Pumpkin Syrup (recipe below)

The latte recipe is all about the gear you have. If you don’t have an espresso machine with a steam wand (like me) then you can buy an inexpensive milk frother. They sell them everywhere, check out amazon or any store that sells coffee equipment. Heat your almond milk in the microwave until it reaches 150 F which is about a minute and a half. No not over heat! If you do your milk will taste funny. While the milk is heating, pull your espresso shot. Put 1.5 T of the Pumpkin Pie Syrup in the bottom of your preheated cup. Pour the espresso over it and stir together. After a quick froth of the almond milk, pour over the espresso top with a dash of spice and drink immediately.

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Pumpkin Syrup:

1/4 c Organic Canned Pumpkin

2 t Maple Syrup

1 t Pumpkin Pie Spice

dash of hot water

Whisk ingredients together until combined.

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Gluten Free & Dairy Free Pie Crust

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I am definitely having end-of-summer blues! It has been an amazing summer here in Connecticut and it is tough to believe it has just about ended. Lucky for me, pie season is right around the corner. With the days getting (slightly) cooler and a freezer full of blueberries, I decided to buckle down and create an incredible pie dough that was worth its weight in the gluten-free community.

For those of you who know what a challenge that is, worry no longer! Make this recipe and you will impress even the gluten-loving in your life! I advise two tricks to this delicate dough; first get the right flour. While moseying down the organics aisles, I discovered that Bobs Red Mill has a new 1 for 1 flour. Let me be the first to tell you, it is OUT OF THIS WORLD. Use it! Second, and this is a given for most bakers, do not over work the dough. The more crumbly, the better.

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Gluten Free Pie Dough: 

2 1/4 c Bobs Red Mill Flour

1 T Sugar

1 c Organic, All Natural Shortening

1 T Apple Cider Vinegar

1 Pinch Salt

Ice Water

Dash of Nutmeg

Almond Milk (for “egg wash”)

Sugar for Top

For the Inside:

4 c Blueberries

1.5 c Sugar

1 T Lemon Zest

2 T Lemon Juice

2 T Cornstarch

For the crust, combine all dry ingredients. Add the shortening then flake and rub until the dough is crumbly. Add three tablespoons of the ice water mixed with the vinegar a little at a time, until barely combined. Form into a disk and chill for an hour. Halve and roll out the dough between two pieces of parchment. If the dough becomes sticky, pop it in the freezer for a minute to chill. Once rolled out, put the top in the freezer, lying flat. “Butter” and sugar the pie dish, put the bottom piece in, and place in freezer. Now, start the filling. Thaw blueberries a little, and combine all ingredients. Put in middle of pie and put the top on. Crimp together the top and bottom. Wash the top with the almond milk, and sugar the top. Make cut outs if desired, or just make a few slits.

Preheat the oven to 350 F and put the pie in the freezer until the oven is ready. Place a piece of foil down to catch any blueberry juices bubbling over. Put the pie in and bake until top is golden and juices are bubbling; about 1.5 hours. Cool for at least four hours and enjoy! This delicate pie tastes amazing with a coconut milk ice cream.
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Lemon Tart with Salted Pecan Crust

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Spring emits feelings of lightness; airy, warm days that bring flowers to our garden and happiness in our lives. Citrus season is here, so in that honor I have whipped up a very easy, wholesome lemon tart. This tart has an incredible nut crust that adds a salty crunch to the music. In the curd, I used Eureka lemons. They are notorious for being extra juicy and tart; exactly what I needed to contrast the crust. The curd is subtle in sweetness, so as to not be overbearing. I find that a lot of lemon curds seem to taste like sweetened custard. Being a culinarian, I like my sweets to have a luscious texture and sharp flavor a.k.a mouth confetti. Every sweet treat should be a cause for internal celebration!

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Lemon Tart:

1/2 c Eureka lemon juice

1/2 Lemon Zested

1/4 c Coconut sugar

6 T Earth Balance

3 Egg Yolks + 2 Whole Eggs

1/4 t cornstarch (or arrowroot)

Crust:

1 c pecans

1/4 c hazelnuts

3 T raw honey, warmed (or maple syrup)

1 t sea salt

1 dash cinnamon

1.5 c olive oil

Grind the pecans and hazelnuts. Add in the remaining ingredients and “rub” the crust together like you would a biscuit dough. If  it is too dry, add more olive oil until it can stick together. Press into the bottom of your tart shell and bake in the oven at 350 until slightly golden, about 10 minutes. Remove.

To make the curd, whisk the sugar, eggs and starch in a pot. I recommend making a slurry with the cornstarch, or sifting it on-top of your wet ingredients before whisking it in to prevent lumps. Once combined, add the lemon. Whisk constantly until it is thick and creamy. Once it starts to resemble a freshly made pudding, remove from heat and whisk in the earth balance. If you wait until it gets too set (too thick) you will overcook the curd. You should be able to coat the back of a spoon with it before removing it from heat. Strain it if you notice it has some lumps, or if you are in pursuit of curd perfection. Pour filling into tart shell. Pop back into the oven and allow the curd to set. About 20 mins.

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Gluten Free Shortbread Cookies

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When I saw the front cover of the recent Bon Appetit I was floored, and slightly jealous; those lavender wreaths were astonishing and beautiful. I had to have my fix of all the holiday fun, so I set out to make a gluten & dairy free shortbread that didn’t taste like sawdust.

Vanilla Shortbread: (Gluten & Dairy Free)

2.5 c AP Baking Flour (King Arthur GF is the best for this)

1/3 c Almond Flour

1 c Earthbalance Butter

6 T Coconut oil (unrefined & solid)

3/4 c Sugar

1 tsp Vanilla Bean Paste

1 egg yolk

A few teaspoons of cashew milk (just to bind the dough a bit)

Whisk together flours. In a separate bowl, ‘cream’ butter, coconut oil and sugar. Add egg yolk and vanilla and whisk again, just until combined. {Note: the earth balance will not cream and lighten as well as butter, so don’t over whip it in attempting to accomplish such. Whip for just a few minutes}

Add in Flour, a cup or so at a time. If the dough is too dry, add a touch of cashew milk. The dough should come together without much struggle. Pop in the fridge overnight, or freezer for an hour.

Preheat oven to 350. Cut dough in half, put half in the fridge and roll out dough between parchment until about 1/8” thick. Cut your shapes and gently remove them from the board to a flat surface that you can move to the freezer (like a tupperware top or a plate). Freeze each batch of cookies for about 10 mins before popping in the oven. This will truly make a huge difference in how they bake, so do not skip this step. To keep production going, keep cutting and stacking up the cookies. I stacked them on top of each other, but if you feel that they will stick together, put parchment paper between them. Bake for about 12 mins, checking for a touch of browning on the corners. remove and cool. Once totally cooled, stack in preparation for icing.

Royal Icing:

3.25 c Confectioners Sugar

2 Egg Whites

Sift the confectioners sugar into a bowl. On high, whisk the egg whites into the sugar. Keep whipping the icing until it resembels marshmallow fluff. To soften it a touch, add a teaspoon of water. It will start to dry out, so use immediately or cover with plastic wrap, both directly on top of the icing and over the bowl. Put in fridge until ready to use. When ready to use, bring the icing to room temp. Add a teaspoon of water and re-whip to bring it back to liquid state.

Dip entire cookie in and allow excess to drip off a bit. Flip and rest cookies on a flat surface. Decorate immediately. I used crushed pistachio, lime zest, sugared rosemary and rose petals for garnish. Allow icing to completely dry and serve, or box up for your next party.

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Gluten Free Gingerbread

I have all of these celebratory memories of my mothers fantastic gingerbread cake from my childhood. It was always such a satisfying dessert for me growing up; topped with fluffy clouds of her thick, homemade whipped cream. An ever-present reminder … Continue reading

Blueberry Pie with Almond Crust

Recently, we went blueberry picking at a friends. Well after getting home and washing the 15 pounds of blueberries we seemed to accumulate, I began getting crafty. Continue reading

Lemon Maple Shortbread

These cookies are a delicious, refreshing treat from the everyday. I have always adored shortbread; it was one of the first things I’ve learned how to bake. This is a fun and interesting take on the traditional recipe.

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Lemon Maple Shortbread: Makes 2 dozen

8 oz Cake Flour

8 oz AP Flour

1/2 t Salt

11 oz Butter

6 oz Brown Sugar

6 oz Maple Syrup

1 Lemon (just zest)

1 oz Lemon Juice

2 oz Egg Yolks

Cream butter, and zest. Add in the yolks, syrup and juice. Slowly add in the sifted dry ingredients. Chill the dough for an hour. Preheat the oven to 350℉. Form into circles of about 1/4 inch in thickness then bake for 20 minutes or until the edges are golden brown.

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