Friday, 26 December 2014

Orange and Nutmeg Spiced Amaretti Cookies {Paleo, Gluten-Free, Grain-Free}

These cookies are bomb. I have no eloquent intro for them. No poetic prose or fancy phrases. Nothing more needs to be said about these little guys except that they are awesome. They are mini sandwich cookies that are crispy on the outside, perfectly chewy on the inside and filled with a chocolate orange peel ganache. Sound fancy? Yup. Hard to make? Nope. All you need is a food processor, an oven and your regular baking supplies! These cookies have become a staple in my house over the past month, gracing the table at gatherings and filling cookie tins galore. Hopefully they become a favourite amongst your friends too!

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Homemade Almond Paste {Paleo, Refined Sugar Free}

For those of you on the marzipan/almond paste bandwagon, this one is for you. The topic of this delicious treat may have bakers and baked-good-eaters alike to take sides, but I am all for it. For those of you marzipan haters, more for me! Almond paste is so versatile. You can stuff chocolates with it, make cookies, cakes, pies, tarts and you name it out of it. Almond paste differs from marzipan in a few ways. The paste contains no rosewater and has less powdered sugar than its firmer, whiter cousin, marzipan.  I made mine with a hint of rosewater however, since I think the flavour compliments the almonds and almond extract.

Making almond paste is super easy, requires very little time and has barely any cleanup! The best part is, you can control how much / what type of sugar goes into it. The paste keeps in the fridge for about a month and up to 6 months in the freezer, so long as you've wrapped it nicely. Use this paste in your next baking project and you'll never go back to buying it from the store!

Delicious Egg Nog {Paleo}

Egg Nog is an essential part of December, no questions asked. I don't drink much of it, but come December, I need a glass or two and a plate of crisp ginger cookies to get me in the holiday spirit. Throw in a touch of rum and a fireplace and you're set! Nog is easy to make, but if you take the time to hunt down some quality ingredients I promise it will be worth it! I used raw milk and and raw cream, which made it super thick, creamy and fresh. Whipping the egg whites makes it even more of a treat, as it lends a light fluffy texture to the thickness of the milk.  Almond milk helps cuts the denseness as well and adds a nutty flavour that compliments the nutmeg. Play around with the spices and sugars, as different levels and types of sweeteners will all yield equally delicious yet different results!

Friday, 5 December 2014

Pear Apple Cranberry Crisp Spiced with Nutmeg {Paleo, Grain-Free, Gluten-Free}

It's officially December. This has many different meanings for many different people, but for me, it means great company and even greater food. My oven is now on practically on at all hours of the day as I crank out cookie after cookie and all other types of sweet treats. Once in a while I do take the time to cook main courses too, although those images and recipes never quite make it to the final copy of these pages.

We had a few friends over for dinner the other night for a "just because" kind of get together. Since we have pescatarian friends the spread was an array of veggies, salmon and of course, grass fed beef. To finish, I had an assortment of cookies that have been churned out of my kitchen in the past few days along with a fresh and delicious crisp. All in all, it was a nice quiet evening.

I love crisps so much no matter what time of the year it happens to be. To me they are a great way to feature seasonal and local fruit and play up their flavours with a little spice. Since we're reaching the tail end of pear season in Vancouver, I decided to use some beautiful pears and pull out one of the dozens of bags of cranberries I have frozen away. (Imagine two garbage bags full of fresh cranberries, then picture how that would look in Ziploc bags stuffed into two different deep freezes.) I added an apple for texture and moisture and because I found a nice one at the market. Toss all of that with a little melted butter, cinnamon, coconut sugar, homemade vanilla and some freshly grated nutmeg and you have a fall/winter crisp. I topped it with a mix of shredded coconut, almond flour, slivered almonds and butter to make a crisp yet tender crust, almost like a cookie. The finished product is a tribute to the start of winter, from the red and green colouring of the fruit to the aroma of the nutmeg and vanilla. Finish it off with dollop of ice cream, whipped cream or coconut cream to really get into the Christmas spirit!

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Ginger Molasses Crinkle Cookies {Grain-Free, Gluten-Free}

When the weather gets nippy and the leaves are no longer crunchy, I crave cookies. Well honestly I crave cookies all the time, but come late November I get a hankering for rich buttery cookies or deep dark chewy cookies spiced to perfection. I'm embarrassed to admit how long I will spend wandering around downtown looking for a cookie worthy enough to be consumed with a pot of tea or a cappuccino, so instead I'll just pretend that that doesn't happen on the regular and that I simply buy a cookie and be done with it.

Ginger cookies are a pretty big deal in my family. My grandma makes some stellar ginger molasses cookies, which rival her delicious whipped shortbread. They disappear pretty quickly when we receive that tin of treats in the mail. They are however, stuffed with flour, tons of sugar and sulphured molasses. (But I eat all of them anyways!) My version will satisfy any chewy ginger cookie craving, without the white sugar or flour! They still crinkle, have deliciously crisp edges and they're still oh so chewy on the inside. Promise.