crackers 2

Parmesan and pine nuts Shortbread (gf)

pinenuts crackers

It was right after I put my daughter for a bedtime,and like any other kid she remembers,that she is hungry,she wants to pee,she is thirsty,right before she has to go to sleep! I’m pretty much sure,I’m not the only one experiencing that every single night. So I made sure,she fell asleep,and decided to drink some wine to calm me down a bit…Yes,ladies and gentlemen, I’m one of those,but I always drink responsibly!

 

As I was pouring some wine in my glass,I felt I was missing something. That poor wine was all alone,without any cheese platter,or grapes! Then the pinterest search began! I was looking for something cheesy,herbaceous and crunchy,and I was lucky enough to find that incredible recipe from Savory Simple. Easy,scrumptious,cheesy and herbaceous shortbread! The addition of the pine nuts gives a beautiful crunch.

Ingredients

  • 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3 ounces grated Parmesan (grate it yourself for the best flavor)
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves
  • 1/4 cup  pinenuts
  • 1 cup gluten free all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon water

 

Instructions

Place the butter in the bowl of your stand mixer with the paddle attachment and mix on medium-low until becomes creamy.
Add the parmesan, salt, pepper, rosemary and gluten free flour one at a time until evenly combined. At the end,add the pine nuts.
Add 1 tablespoon of water to help bring the dough together.
Place the dough and wrap it in plastic wrap and shape it into a log. Chill until firm, at least 30 minutes.

 

cracker dough

 
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Take the dough out of the freezer,unwrap it and slice it into a 1/2 an inch.
Place the crackers on a sheet pan and bake for approximately 22-25 minutes.

crackers

crackers 2

Nectarine and ginger galette

Nectarine and Ginger biscuit galette (gf)

Nectarine and ginger galette
Nectarine and ginger galette

Spring has come with its warm weather,short sleeved shirts and fruity recipes! Each season has its beauty,but spring here in Las Vegas,comes a little bit earlier,but is still enjoyable.

One thing I truly love,when days are warmer,is taking my daughter at the park for picnic,playing and make her so exhausted she would beg me going home. Yes,I know… I’m pretty much sure,though every parent is thinking the same way as I do. Your little ones playing and getting some Vitamin D from sun,always with sunscreen protection,and you get the satisfaction of getting your little fireball tired,therefore everybody WINS!

Some of the snacks we are taking with us in our picnic,is homemade biscuits, a great recipe I found from your homebred mom which I tweak as usual, and my peach lemonade iced tea. So light and refreshing, it keeps you going!

One day,after our picnic, an idea came to me: “What if I combine the biscuit dough and the fruit in one recipe?” That’s home the nectarine and ginger biscuit galette was born. Really easy to make,don’t let the number of steps fool you,I just love to be organized! Juicy and aromatic nectarines,with the warmth of cinnamon and the bright kick of the ginger,all packed in a buttery,flaky biscuit dough. This hybrid is a result of a greedy food lover,who can’t make up her mind whether to make just biscuits with macerated nectarines or fruit tart,and loves flavor combinations that are fresh and unusual!

INGREDIENTS:

Makes 2 6-inches galettes

For the filling

  • 4 nectarines,ripe
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh ginger,shredded
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons fresh orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon Amaretto
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 tablespoon butter,room temperature (Wash,peel and cut the nectarines into 1 inch cube. In a medium bowl add all the ingredients except coconut and butter. Mix very well and set aside.)
    For the biscuit dough
  • 2 cups brown rice flour
  • 2/3 cup arrowroot flour or cornstarch
  • 1/3 cup tapioca starch
  • 1 teaspoon xantham gum
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup banana,mashed
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup cold butter,cut into cubes
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 egg,beaten

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Preheat the oven at 400 F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
  2. In a food processor,mix together the flours, sugar, baking powder and salt. Cover counter with additional gluten free flour to make rolling easier. Add in cold butter and mix together until crumbly and pea sized.
  3. Add in egg,smashed banana and milk. Mix until a cohesive dough forms(will be slightly sticky) Cover counter with additional gluten free flour (or just cornstarch)to make rolling easier. Roll out dough to ½ inch thick.
  4. Fold dough into thirds lengthwise.
  5. Fold dough into thirds crosswise.Roll out to ½ inch thick and repeat process two additional times.
  6. Divide the dough in two,and roll out the dough into a 6-inch circle. Transfer the dough to the prepared baking sheet.
  7. Spoon the fruit (not the juices) into the center of the dough leaving a 1-2 inch border all around. Sprinkle with the coconut on top of the fruit.
  8. Gently fold the edges of the dough over the fruit. Press gently to seal the edges. Brush the edges of the dough with the beaten egg and sprinkle with sugar.
  9. Bake for 18-20 minutes until the crust is golden brown. In a small sauce pan,add the liquid from the fruits and the butter.
  10. Let it simmer for 3 minutes and remove from the heat. When the galettes are ready,drizzle with the sauce

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

CHERRY CABERNET CUPCAKES

Chocolate and cherry-red wine cupcakes (gf)

cherry cupcakes
It’s still winter time,the sky is grey and moody, with cold and rainy weather, and the low temperature makes you want to stay home,sleepy and cuddle up! All we need is a cup of rich and creamy hot chocolate or a full glass of full-bodied red wine at night to relax after a long day,while kids are finally asleep! Whether you are a stay-at-home parent or a working mom or dad,we all deserve occasionally a special treatment.
What’s better than the chocolate and red wine combination? The one ingredient compliments the other and both marry so perfectly together. The chocolate-cherry red wine cupcake will definitely steal your heart! These are no your ordinary cupcakes.There is plenty of alcohol,in those cupcakes,so these are not for kids.
Once you sink your teeth into it,you get the deep chocolate flavor with wine undertone,rich cherry and red wine filling with a silky cream cheese frosting. There is something special about that cherry-wine filling. It’s like a present inside a delicious little package! These sweet goodness will satisfy the most refined tastebuds.

CHOCOLATE CHERRY AND RED WINE CUPCAKES (GLUTEN FREE)
INGREDIENTS
• 1 cup sugar
• 2 eggs
• 1¼ cups gluten free all-purpose flour
• 1 tablespoon baking power
• 2 tablespoons dutch process cocoa
• ½ cup whole milk
• ¼ cup reduced wine *how to in notes*
• ½ cup unsalted Butter (melted and cooled)
• 2 tablespoons oil
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


 

INSTRUCTIONS
1 Preheat your oven at 350 F. Line your muffin tins with cupcake liners.
2 In mixer bowl beat sugar and eggs, until smooth and creamy
3 Add in flour, baking powder and cocoa
4 Pour in milk, wine, butter and oil.
5 Beat for one minute until smooth
6 Mix in vanilla on low speed
7 Fill lined cupcake pans with 3 tablespoons batter
8 Bake 15-18 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

NOTES
1 cup red wine (I used a Cabernet Sauvignon
Boil one cup of red wine until it reduces in half (about 10-12 minutes on medium low heat)

FOR THE CHERRY-RED WINE FILLING:

• 1 cup red wine
• 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
• 1/3 cup cherries,pitted
• 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch

1. In a saucepan add the first three ingredients. Reserve a teaspoon of the red wine.
2. Let it reduce on low medium heat for 10-12 minutes.
3. At the end,mix the reserved red wine with the cornstarch and add it in red wine-cherry reduction.
4. Remove from heat.
FOR THE VANILLA FROSTING:
• ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter (set at room temp about 10 minutes, but should still be cool)
• 8 oz. cream cheese (directly from fridge)
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (always use pure vanilla extract if possible)
• 4 cups powdered confectioners sugar
• 1 to 4 Tablespoons heavy cream, heavy whipping creamDirections:

INSTRUCTIONS:
1. Place butter in a large mixing bowl and beat until smooth. Add cream cheese and blend until fully combined and smooth, about 30 seconds.
2. Add vanilla extract and powdered sugar and blend on low speed until combined. Increase to medium speed and beat until it begins to get fluffy.
3. Slowly add the heavy cream, a little bit at a time until desired consistency is met. (Don’t add too much if you want the frosting to stay in place when piped on cupcakes.)
4. Beat until fluffy, about 1 minute.

ASSEMBLE:

Core out the cupcakes.
Fill each cupcake with the cherry-wine filling.
Top it with the vanilla frosting,and drizzle with some of the filling on top.

CHERRY CABERNET CUPCAKES

avocado chocolate cookies

Soft chocolate avocado cookies (gf)

Avocado&chocolate cookies

I know that it sounds weird,but it does work. Really! Soft  cookies with the addition off the nutritious avocado and the richness of chocolate. My daughter and I loved them,my husband on the other hand was quiet skeptical and he didn’t want to try in the beginning. “Avocado is for guacamole,not for cookies!” I’m pretty much sure,he wasn’t the only one!

Well.. You can’t make a decision until you give it a try! And finally he did… He was so surprised that chocolate and avocado go well together, and you don’t taste the avocado. Finally,he got convinced.

That reminds me of the chocolate avocado mousse I made while ago.

I found the recipe from an exceptional blog,and I fell in love with these cookies! Of course,I couldn’t help myself and I made couple of changes.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 Medium Ripe Avocado
  • 5 tbs Honey
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • ½ cup Almond Butter
  • ½ cup Cocoa Powder
  • ¼ cup Chocolate Chips
  • Zest from one orange

INSTRUCTIONS:

Preheat your oven to 350 and prepare a baking sheet with parchment.

Cream together the avocado and honey until smooth. Then add the egg and mix until no lumps remain.
Next add the almond  butter and orange zest and slowly add the Cocoa Powder 2 tbs at a time. If the mixture looks too sticky, leave 1 or 2 tbs out. You want the consistency to be smooth just like the peanut butter.
Stir in the Chocolate Chips by hand and put the mixture in a plastic sandwich bag. Cut a hole the size of a nickle in one corner and squeeze out 1 inch rounds onto the parchment.
Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the middle of the cookies look set.

avocado chocolate cookies

almond cookies

Cashew and white chocolate almond cookies (gf)

almond cookies

 

There is always an excuse for baking some cookies. Whether is Easter, Christmas,Mother’s Day or summertime I,personally always find an excuse to make something sweet,a cake,cookies or doughnuts,to company my morning coffee. Nobody wants to begin his/her day with a plain coffee and an empty stomach!

Fragrant,soft and nutty,these cookies are simply gorgeous! The white chocolate flirting with the cashews and the floral notes of orange come along. I’m telling you,these cookies are out of this world scrumptious! My picky daughter ate them with her milk and she loved them! So simple to make and a great way to make your little ones help you. Besides, what’s baking without a messy kitchen?

 

almond cookies2

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups almond flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 whole egg
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate
  • 1/2 cup cashews,toasted and chopped
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest

 

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven at 375 F.Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Combine almond flour,baking soda and sea salt and set aside.
  3. Mix vegetable oil and maple syrup in a mixer until creamy but not fully incorporated, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add whole egg,egg whites,orange zest and vanilla extract,mix for 2 more minutes.
  5. Slowly add dry ingredients to egg mixture and mix for 1 minute.
  6. Add white chocolate chips and toasted cashews and mix with a spoon until well combined.
  7. Place large rounded tablespoons onto prepared baking sheets,about 1 inch apart. Flatten slightly,to 1-inch thickness. Bake until set and golden, about 15 minutes.

 

almond cookies 4

pistachio cake with strawberry tiopping

Strawberry upside down pistachio cakes (gf)

 

Some of the goods I got from my vacation in Greece, was organic,non-GMO( luckily,Greek seeds are not GMO yet!),raw pistachios. There is a huge pistachio production in Greece. The aroma and the taste are so unique and delicate,certainly that differentiate from the other type of nuts.

Did you ever had a whole bunch of ingredients,of what seems to be,unlikely ingredients,that surprisingly work perfectly together?That’s what happened to me,few weeks ago. A pound of pistachios and a can of strawberry pie filling were still sitting on the pantry and starring at me. It didn’t take long before I realize it was about time to marry those to and make something otherworldly and mess worthy!

Truth is,I’ve never EVER used can of pie filling. I bought it,just because..No reason why! I know I’m not the only one buying things from the super market you were not thinking about! I put lemons in the party as well. I love lemons,and their acidic and bright flavor would definitely level up the cake.

As a base for my cake,I used the same from Toblerone cakes . Airy,fluffy and moist with the beautiful caramelized strawberries on top and the fragrant lemon.

 

 

pistachio cake with strawberry tiopping

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • zest and juice of a lemon
  • 1 cup rice flour
  • 1/2 cup corn starch
  • 1 cup pistachio,finely ground
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 can cherry pie filling

DIRECTIONS:

Heat the oven at 350 F.
Put your cupcake liners in your cupcake tin.
In a medium bowl,whisk with a hand mixer,the eggs and sugar until becomes pale and creamy.
Add the olive oil,the yogurt,vanilla extract,zest and juice and whisk again.
Add the rice flour,corn starch,ground pistachios,salt and baking powder,until thoroughly incorporated.
Add a tablespoon of cherry pie filling in each well of the muffin tin.Fill up 2/3 of the tins and bake for 15-20 minutes.
Let them cool down an flip the muffin tin.

 

pistachio cake