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!
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.
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.
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 😉
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:
- Shortbread Cookies. HERE they are gluten free; HERE they are not.
- Truffles. A no brainer. Swap out dairy with coconut mylk.
- Gingerbread. HERE is gluten free cake; HERE is gluten filled.
- Brittle. This version is nut-free.
- Ina Gartens Brownies. They are a little more laborious, but amazing. Easily made Gluten Free (because there is so little flour).
- Brown Butter Cookies. Swap 1/2 cup of salted caramel into the batter for the white sugar, you won’t regret it.
- Dorie & Pierre’s Cookies. Dorie Greenspan is a cookie specialist. She once gave me her book, Baking Chez Moi, after 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.
- Madeleines. I have yet to met someone that doesn’t like them.
- Salted Caramel Tartlets. Make small ones so people won’t feel guilty diving in.
- 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!
Hey guys, I posted a new recipe on Food 52! Food 52 is an amazing recipe sharing community that I am in love with. If you are looking for something healthy to cook tonight, head over to Food 52 for … Continue reading
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!
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)
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.
Herb Shortcake with Roasted Heirloom Strawberries
Many of my gluten free baking recipes have been, or are easily adapted, to be vegan. This shortcake recipe is simple, just how I like it, but more importantly tasty.
On another note, it is a major growing season here in the North East. I used herbs and heirloom strawberries from right outside which is so refreshing; No trips to the market were necessary! For the herb shortcake I used lemon balm and spearmint. This added a complex flavor to the cakes which I was rather fond of. The heirloom strawberries are much smaller then what you will find in the market, but they are sweeter and full of flavor. I prefer them over the strawberries that you find in regular grocery stores and I recommend trying to grow them in your garden.
Vegan Herb Shortcake:
1 c Bob’s Red Mill flour
1/3 c sugar
1/4 t salt
1 1/2 t baking powder
3 T Smart Balance Light (vegan butter alternative)
1 t vanilla
3 oz. Coconut milk yogurt
1 sprig each of Lemon Balm and Spearmint
Preheat oven on Convection to 350°F. In a bowl combine dry ingredients. Scoop in the 3 Tablespoons of butter alternative. With your hands, rub the butter into the flour mixture until it is mealy. Add in the vanilla and yogurt. Wash and chiffonade the herbs then add to the batter. Spoon the batter onto a greased cookie sheet. Sprinkle sugar ontop and bake for 10 minutes or until the bottom is golden brown.
Wash the strawberries, remove the tops and quarter them. Sprinkle desired amount of sugar (I used 1 tablespoon) onto the berries. Roast them on a baking sheet for five minutes while your cakes are baking. Scoop onto a halved shortcake with fresh lemon balm. A wonderful summer treat.
Last weekend, I worked with a friend and great chef, Johnny Spero. His collaboration with chef Erik Bruner-Yang of Toki Underground brought an eight course storm of New American Fusion (this being my impression of what the food was and … Continue reading
Breakfast; oh, how I love it. It truly is a great part of the day.
Sunday breakfast has always been a big deal in my family. Every Sunday we all gather into the kitchen, the kids pile ontop of my mom on the couch to watch cartoons and news while me and my dad whip something up. We always have french toast, chocolate chip and dried cranberry pancakes, waffles, locally made sausages and uncured bacon and, my favorite, eggs.
He makes the best eggs! Poached, over-easy, omelets with veggies from our garden. He knows his way around a fry pan. I definitely gained an appreciation of how delicious they can be from him. I just anticipate our breakfasts so much sometimes. Always think of great new recipes to try, new ingredients to use. We have a lot of fun with it.
Sometimes even my mom gets involved; though it’s usually just my dad who makes breakfast. Once in awhile she’ll wake up really early and make morning glory muffins or her famed pudding rolls. They are very similar to monkey bread, but bigger and with pudding baked into them!
I always whip out the espresso machine too and practice my latte art. As italians, we all love our espresso drinks. I have yet to get the technique down, but it’s a lot of fun and my mom appreciates a great latte drink regardless.
If you don’t do so now then give it a try! Next Sunday invite some friends over or make a breakfast for your family. I promise it will be a memorable meal.