Italian Almond Cakes

Somehow I never tire of the amazing array of summer fruit and my need to find new ways to showcase them. These almond cakes are a perfect backdrop to whatever fruit looks good to you! My family says I have been overdoing it with the fresh currants, so I used peaches and raspberries. If you do stumble across fresh currants, they are an amazing addition to desserts and even oatmeal.


1/2 cup cane sugar

4 eggs

1 lemon, zested

1 lime, zested

2 tbs. lemon juice

2 tbs. lime juice

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract or flori di Sicilia (Italian citrus and vanilla extract)

1/2 cup olive oil

1 cup blanched almond flour, sifted

1/2 cup millet or sorghum flour

1 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. sea salt

1/2 tsp. baking soda

Method of Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a muffin tin with papers or use mini panettone molds.
  2. Using the whisk attachment, beat the eggs an sugar until pal yellow in color and fluffy.
  3. Add the lemon and lime zest, lemon and lime juice, olive oil, vanilla extract (or fioria di Sicilia). Beat lightly.
  4. Add the almond flour, millet flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir until just combined.
  5. Divide the batter evenly among muffin tins, filling 3/4 full.
  6. Bake 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Valentine’s Day Shortbread Hearts (GF, DF)

IMG_7267.JPGAre you looking for some treats to make for Valentine’s Day or to warm up on a winter day? Well look no further, as these cookies are amazing! They are not complicated and when dipped in melted dark chocolate, they are a decadent dessert. I dipped mine in chopped pistachios, unsweetened coconut, chopped crystallized ginger and roasted cacao nibs.

Makes 12 medium sized hearts and 8 tiny hearts


1/2 cup coconut oil, room temp. ( you could also use soft unsalted butter)

1/3 cup maple syrup

2 tbs. cane sugar

1 3/4 cup gluten-free flour of your choice

1/2 cup blanched almond flour

1/4 tsp. salt

1/2  tsp. vanilla

Method of Preparation:

  • Place the coconut oil (or butter) in a mixing bowl and mix until soft and creamy.  Add the maple syrup, sugar and vanilla extract and mix for 2 minutes to get some air into the mixture.
  • Using a wooden spoon, stir in the gf flour blend, almond flour and salt.
  • Form dough into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap and flatten.
  • Chill for 30 minutes
  • Preheat oven to 350 F.
  • Line a sheet pan with parchment
  • Roll out the dough between two sheets of parchment to 1/4″ thickness. Cut out hearts using a cutter.
  • Place on parchment lined sheet pans and bake for 15-16 minutes or until edges begin to brown. Cookies will harden as they cool.
  • Melt chopped dark or bittersweet chocolate over a double boiler or in a microwave on low.
  • Dip the edges of the cookies in the chocolate and sprinkle with desired toppings such as chopped nuts or coconut.


Coconut Rice Pudding

I think I am the only one in my family who likes rice pudding. I find it comforting and warming on cold winter days. I cooked this one with cinnamon sticks and Meyer lemon zest, but you could also use orange zest, ginger and star anise to give it some added spice.

Serves 4


1/2 cup short-grain or Arborio rice

3 cups non-dairy milk ( I used vanilla soy milk)

1 1/2 cups lite coconut milk

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. vanilla

Toppings: a little brown sugar, flax or chia seeds, berries, dried fruit, nuts and cinnamon.

Method of Preparation:

  1. Using a colander, rinse rice under cold water.
  2. Place the rice in a medium sauce pan; add the non-dairy milk, coconut milk, salt, and vanilla.
  3. Bring to a boil.
  4. Reduce to low and partially cover. Cook until under and most of the liquid will is absorbed and the mixture looks like thick porridge.

Serve warm

Heather’s Gluten Free Oat Bread

When I lived in Seattle after college my good friend Heather, made this lovely oat bread every week. I will always have fond memories of eating it, still warm, surrounded by some of my closest friends in our little kitchen in Pacific Northwest. This recipe is adapted from the Moosewood Cookbook by Mollie Katzen as well as from Mary at the blog Bare feet in the Kitchen.

makes 1 loaf

1 cup brown or white rice flour

1 1/4 cups oat flour (I used King Arthur brand)

1 cup tapioca or potato starch (or a combination of the two)

2 tsp. instant yeast

1 1/2 tsp. Kosher salt

1 1/4 tsp. xanthan gum

3/4 cup unsweetened almond or soy milk

1/3 cup honey

1 tbs. maple syrup

1/4 cup  & (1 tbs. to brush the top) butter or ghee

3 large eggs, room temp.

Method of Preparation:

  1. Grease a  8 1/2 x 4 1/2 loaf pan.
  2. Place the rice flour, tapioca and/or potato starch, yeast, salt and xanthan gum in a mixing bowl.
  3. Warm the butter on low until fully melted. Add the honey and maple syrup and set aside.
  4. Using an electric mixer, gradually add the warm almond or soy milk into the dry ingredients. The mixture will look dry and crumbly, but should come together as you add the melted butter mixture. Beat until thoroughly blended.
  5. Add the eggs one at a time, being sure to mix well after each addition.
  6. The batter will look like thick pancake batter rather than the smooth dough you may be used to when making bread.
  7. Beat the mixture of 3 minutes to give it some air.
  8. Leave the batter in the mixing bow, cover with a clean towel and let rise somewhere warm. This mixture will not double in size, but it will get a small amount of rise.
  9. After 1 hour or 2 hours, when the batter looks like it has risen small amount, pour it into the greased loaf pan.
  10. You may need to use wet hands to smooth the top of the batter.
  11. Lightly sprinkle the top with gluten free rolled oats
  12. Cover the pan with a towel and let rise in a warm place for 45 mins- 1 hour.
  13. Preheat over to 350 F
  14. Bake 25-30 minutes until lightly brown and a toothpick inserted in the center of the bread come out clean.
  15. Melt 1 tbs. butter or ghee and brush the top of the loaf. Place it back in the oven for 3 minutes to brown a bit more.

Viennese Matcha Shortbread

These little biscuits are adapted from a recipe from the famed Laduree in Paris. I love the green tea flavor in these simple cookies and it has some added health benefits too!



1/2 cup & 5 1/2 tbs. unsalted butter ( I used a rich European butter such as Plugra)

a pinch of kosher salt

2/3 cup confectioner’s sugar (plus more for dusting)

4 tsp. match powder

1 egg white (room temperature)

1 3/4 cups unbleached cake flour

*Piping Bag and medium star tip (size 4 mm.)

Method of Preparation:

  1. Cut the butter into small pieces. Soften the butter over a pan of gently simmering water. Using a spatula, mix butter until soft and creamy. Add the salt. Remove from heat and use a whisk to incorporate the confectioner’s sugar, vanilla and egg white.
  2. Preheat oven to 300 F.
  3. Sift the cake flour and match powder and add to the mixture, stirring until creamy and well mixed.
  4. Place the batter into a piping bag with a star tip. Pipe the cookies in a zig zag pattern on parchment lined sheet pans. The cookies should be 1 1/2 -2″ in size.
  5. Bake until biscuits begin to brown just a bit on the edges, about 15-20 minutes.
  6. Dust lightly with confectioner’s sugar.





Oranges in a Star Anise and Cinnamon Syrup

Oranges are the star of the show in the middle of winter. I prepared these oranges as a bright addition to our Sunday brunch. They would also make a lovely dessert with espresso and biscotti. Save the syrup in the refrigerator and you will be all set for your next cocktail.



8 oranges – I uses a mix of naval, Cara Cara, and blood red

1  1/4 cup sugar

1/3 cup water

4 star anise pods

6 peppercorns

4 cinnamon sticks


Metod of Preparation:

  1. Peel 2 oranges with a paring knife or sharp vegetable peeler. Make sure most of the white pith if off each peel. Cut into thin strips the size of matches.
  2. Fill a small saucepan with halfway water. Bring to a boil and add the orange peel. Cook for 5 minutes; drain and set aside.
  3. Cut a slice off the top and bottom of each of the remaining 6 oranges, exposing the fruit beneath the peel. Holding the orange firmly on a cutting board, slice off the peel in wide strips, cutting off the pith and membrane with it to reveal the fruit sections. Cut the orange crosswise into slices 1 inch thick and place in a large, heatproof bowl. Remove seeds as necessary.

4. In a heavy sauce pan, combine the sugar and water, star anise, peppercorn, and cinnamon. Place pan over medium heat, bring the mixture slowly to a boil. Stir to dissolve the sugar and cook until the the syrup has slightly thickened, about 10 minutes.

5. Add the reserved cooked peel. Pour syrup over oranges and serve.

Gluten Free Gingerbread Waffles for a Snowy Day

I am not quite done with holiday flavors as they are perfect for cold snowy days like today. I topped the waffles with warm cranberry compote and some pomegranate seeds, but you could serve them with butter and maple syrup.


4 tbs. coconut oil, melted

2 cups of gluten free flour of your choice (store bought or I use this recipe:

1/2 tsp. xanthan gum if you mix does not contain it

1 tbs. baking powder

3/4 tsp. baking soda

1 tbs. ground flax seed

1/2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. ground ginger

2 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg

3/4 cup brown sugar or palm sugar

1 1/2 cups buttermilk

2 eggs

1/4 cup molasses

Method of Preparation:

  • Melt coconut oil over low heat and cool
  • In a medium bowl, whisk the gluten free flour, baking powder, baking soda, flax seed, salt, ginger, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, nutmeg and brown sugar.
  • In an another bowl, whisk the buttermilk, eggs, molasses and cooled coconut oil.
  • Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
  • Cook according to the directions of your waffle iron

Serve with cranberry compote (see recipe below)


Cranberry Compote


2 cups cranberries (fresh or frozen)

1/3 cup honey or maple syrup (you may want more depending on your taste)

1 cup water

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 orange, zested and squeezed

3 1/2 tsp. arrowroot powder

Method of Preparation:

  1. Rinse cranberries and place in a small saucepan
  2. Add the honey, water, cinnamon, orange juice and zest.
  3. Begin to heat the mixture and slowly add the arrowroot powder while stirring.
  4. Continue to cook the sauce, stirring often, until it’s slightly thickened and the cranberries begin to pop.