10 Last-Minute (Healthy) Holiday Cookies

‘Twas a week before Christmas, and all through the house….everyone was freaking out because they have barely started preparing for Christmas and there are still presents to be bought and wrapped, a tree to finish decorating, and – most importantly – cookies to be made!

Come on…I know it’s not just me.

I’m afraid I’m of no use when it comes to your presents and your tree, but boy do I have some cookies for you. All of these are easy to make, require normal pantry ingredients (assuming you have almond flour in your pantry!), and produce very few dirty dishes.

 

1. Five-Spice Cutout Cookies

(obviously, it’s probably best to use non-Valentine cookie cutters…unless you really, really love Christmas)

Grain-Free 5-Spice Cutout Cookies

 2. Cranberry Orange Shortbread Bars

Grain Free Refined Sugar Free Cranberry Bars

3. Four-Ingredient Chocolate Coconut Truffles

raw vegan chocolate coconut truffles

4. Mini Whoopie Pies

(sub in holiday sprinkles instead of multicolored ones for extra festiveness)

Gluten-Free Mini Whoopie Pies

5. Grain-Free Gingerbread Cookies

Grain free Paleo Gingerbread Cookies

 6. Double Chocolate Cherry Oatmeal Cookies

Gluten Free Double Chocolate Cherry Oatmeal Cookies

7. Grain-Free Lemon Pound Cake

(ok technically not a cookie, but cakey breads are kind of vital to a good holiday cookie platter, right?)

Paleo Lemon Pound Cake

8. Peppermint Truffles

Gluten free and Vegan Mint Truffles

 9. Grain-Free Snickerdoodles

Grain-Free Snickerdoodles

 10. Pecan Tart Bars

(instead of a tart pan, use an 8×8″ baking dish and cut into bars)

Grain-Free and Dairy-Free Pecan Tart

 

And a bonus….

11) Thick and Soft Grain-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

(because it’s always chocolate chip cookie season)

(and also, because you can swap in the mint-chocolate mixed chips or some of those new filled chips for the standard chocolate chips)

The BEST Grain Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

OK, so while we’re on the subject, tell me:

What is your absolutely favorite, can’t-miss, to-die-for holiday cookie?

Grain-Free Gingerbread Cookies

Grain Free Gingerbread Cookies (Refined-Sugar free, Dairy-Free)
There is absolutely nothing better during the holidays than a pungent, spicy gingerbread cookie. These aren’t the tense, crispy cookies that put the “snap” in gingernaps; this version is soft and airy, snappy only in flavor.

It’s always dangerous when I get something in my head that I can’t get out, because it usually ends up with every surface in my kitchen covered in  grain-free gingersnaps. After countless batches that just weren’t right, I finally figured out that the secret is tapioca starch (If you prefer not to use it, there are alternatives in the recipe notes). It softens and tenderizes the cookie, making it pillow-y soft when you bit in to it. Typically, cakey cookies aren’t my thing, but as a certified lover of dense, chewy cookies to say that these are delicious should mean something.

If you happened to be checking the site on Saturday afternoon, you may have had a sneak peek of these cookies, and I hope the half-baked, recipe-free post that I published accidentally because I can’t read button labels in my current state of sleep deprivation and burnout sufficiently whetted your appetite.

So, now that I have left you hanging since last weekend, I guess it’s time to actually share the recipe with you. Here you go!

Grain Free Gingerbread Cookies (Refined-Sugar free, Dairy-Free)

Grain-Free Gingerbread Cookies

Yield: 20 cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup blanched almond flour
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 2 Tablespoons tapioca starch or arrowroot powder (see note)
  • 1 Tablespoon Natvia (granulated stevia), or raw or coconut sugar, plus more for garnish (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • Rounded 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1 Tablespoon butter, vegan butter or oil, melted and cooled slightly

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Cover a large baking pan with a nonstick pad or parchment paper and set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients (almond flour through cloves). Set aside.
  3. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients (eggs through butter or oil).
  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir to thoroughly combine, scraping the sides and buttom to make sure all ingredients are incorporated. If your batter is too thin, set aside for 5 minutes to allove the coconut flour to absorb the liquid.
  5. Use a spoon or cookie scoop to make 1 Tablespoon balls of dough and place about 2 inches apart on the cookie sheet. Sprinkle tops with additional sweetener if desired.
  6. Bake for 13-15 minutes, and cool 5 minutes on cookie sheet before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Notes

If you don't want to use tapioca/arrowroot, or don't have it on hand, add 1 additional Tablespoon of coconut flour to replace it.

http://acleanbake.com/2014/12/grain-free-gingerbread-cookies.html

*As a Natvia partner, I was provided free samples of the Natvia I used for this recipe. However, it really is a great product, and I was not asked to develop this recipe to showcase it – I just really like it!*

Peppermint Truffles

Vegan Gluten Free Mint Chocolate Truffles
There are some who contend that a dairy-less truffle is not a truffle at all, and in my previous life – as in before I had to worry about everything I ate, not, like before I was reincarnated or anything – I certainly would have agreed.

This will be my first holiday season eating completely gluten/dairy/sugar free and I am determined to drag everyone else down with me. If I can’t enjoy myself, neither can they!

I’m kidding, OF COURSE. Quite the opposite, in fact. It’s a lot of fun to create recipes that everyone loves, and which love everyone(‘s stomachs). These truffles are one of them.  Unless you’re allergic to tree nuts in which case, don’t eat these.

The base is soaked cashews, which are blended up into a thick, creamy paste before adding the new other ingredients. The recipe is incredibly simple: 5 ingredients, one bowl (blender/food processor), and no baking time. If you prefer, you can even make these with all raw ingredients, but either way they are naturally vegan and gluten-free and taste great!

Gluten free and Vegan Mint Truffles

Peppermint Truffles

Yield: 12 truffles

Ingredients

  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • Pinch salt
  • 1/4 + 1/8 teaspoon peppermint extract (see note)
  • Jimmies, melted chocolate or additional cocoa powder for garnish (optional)

Instructions

  1. In a heatproof bowl, cover the cashews with boiling water and allow to stand and soak for 30-60 minutes. The longer they soak, the smoother they will get when you puree them.
  2. Drain the cashews and put them into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse several times to chop them up, then process until mostly smooth.
  3. Add remaining ingredients and process in 15-30 second increments, scraping down the bowl in between, until completely smooth.
  4. Scoop the mixture into 1 Tablespoon portions and roll them into a ball. Either press into your jimmies or cocoa powder to coat, or dip in melted chocolate, shake off the excess and allow them to set on a tray covered in parchment paper at room temperature or in the fridge, until solid.

Notes

If you object to using artificial sweetener such as peppermint extract, you can feel free to use fresh mint leaves to taste. Simply add them with the cashews and puree them in the food processor until smooth. If strictly vegan, replace honey with other liquid sweetener.

http://acleanbake.com/2014/12/vegan-raw-peppermint-truffles.html

 

Cranberry Orange Shortbread Bars

Grain Free Refined Sugar Free Cranberry Bars
These bars were an accident, in the same way that penicillin was, but minus the infection-killing properties – a happy accident and a recipe that I plan to make again and again.

Over the post-Thanksgiving weekend, I had some left over pie crust dough from my obsessive testing and tweaking of this recipe, and at the same time was fighting with Bryan over the last of his mom’s absolutely addictive cranberry sauce that tastes like candy. I was reluctant to make more of the cranberry sauce because a) it never comes out quite like hers and b) there are 2 cups of sugar in her recipe so that’s why it tastes like candy. Because it literally is. Every time I took a bite I thought “ZOMG THIS IS SO GOOD WHO CARES IF I AM PUTTING DESSERT ON MY TURKEY” but after the leftovers were gone, I figured the way to justify making more was to actually put it in a dessert.

The cranberry filling in these bars is inspired by the famously addictive cranberry sauce, especially the complementary orange flavor, but with no refined sugar (instead, the filling is naturally sweetened with honey) and sandwiched between a shortbread-y crust and a buttery streusel. I can’t make a bar cookie without a streusel apparently. I’m assuming you’re ok with that?

Can I just cut to the chase and tell you that these things are exceptional? I know I always say this but you really, really can’t tell these are free of gluten, grains and refined sugar. You will not miss them. I can’t wait to share these with family and friends this holiday season, and I hope you’ll do the same!

Cranberry Orange Shortbread Bars

Cranberry Orange Shortbread Bars

Yield: 16 small or 9 large bars

Ingredients

  • 1 grain-free pie crust (do not prebake)
  • 4 cups fresh whole cranberries
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 clementine orange
  • 1/4 cup raw or coconut sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • Pinch salt
  • 3 Tablespoons butter, vegan butter or shortening, softened to room temperature and cut into small cubes

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 and grease an 8"x8" baking dish.
  2. Prepare the pie crust dough and press into the baking dish in a single layer.
  3. Bake the crust for 10 minutes.
  4. While the crust is cooking, make the filling by cooking the cranberries, water, honey and cinnamon over medium heat until it starts to bubble. Add the juice of the clementine, then discard the remaining inner flesh. Thinly slice the peel and add it to the pot with the cranberries. Cook for 15 minutes until the mixture is thickened, stirring periodically to make sure nothing is sticking to the pot or burning.
  5. While the cranberries are cooking, make the streusel topping: In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the raw or coconut sugar, cinnamon, almond flour and salt until evenly combined and no clumps remain. Use a pastry blender or a fork to cut the butter into the dry ingredients until it is broken into small chunks (the size of gravel or baby peas).
  6. When the crust is done pre-baking, remove it from the oven (do not turn off the oven) and pour the cranberry orange mixture into the pan. Smooth into an even layer, and then sprinkle the streusel evenly over the cranberry mixture.
  7. Bake for 30 minutes or until the streusel begins to turn slightly golden and the crust layer is cooked through.
  8. Cool completely before slicing. For cleanest slices, chill in the fridge or freezer before cutting, use a very sharp knife, and wipe the blade between slices.
http://acleanbake.com/2014/12/cranberry-orange-shortbread-bars.html

Double Chocolate Cherry Oatmeal Cookies

Gluten Free Double Chocolate Cherry Oatmeal Cookies

Hooray for Christmas Cookie Season! The holiday season is great and all, but cookies are the real reason for my excitement this time of year. It’s what gets me out of a warm bed to face a cold day. If there were some sort of cookie-centric holiday in February (Valentine’s Day cookies aren’t enough of a thing, don’t you think?), I wouldn’t mind the winter so much. Maybe. Probably not.

Let’s kick off the cookie-baking season right: with a ridiculously quick and easy one bowl drop cookie that tastes as decadent and rich as you would expect from cookie with “double chocolate” in the name.

They have a crisp outer shell that is SO satisfying to bite into, and contain a soft and gooey center that melts in your mouth. The chocolate chips are creamy and the dried cherries and oats are chewy; the sweetness of the chocolate chips and cherries balances out the super dark chocolate flavor of the cookie dough itself. These cookies are, in sum, everything you need this time of year.

The recipe is just a click away. Today I am guest posting for a friend who is tackling her first week back at work after maternity leave, and needed some time to get back into the swing of things. So, get the recipe for these can’t-miss cookies over at The Lean Green Bean. And don’t forget to say hi to Lindsay while you’re there!

Gluten Free Double Chocolate Cherry Oatmeal Cookies

Turkey and Roasted Sweet Potato Spinach Salad with Cranberry Vinaigrette

Turkey and Sweet Potato Spinach Salad with Cranberry Vinaigrette

For a country whose claim to fame across the rest of the world is its per capita excess of calories, a holiday devoted to the glorification of gorging oneself doesn’t seem – in my overly pragmatic and highly cynical mind – quite…right. Perhaps at one time, when scarcity was the norm, celebrating with a feast made perfect sense. But now in The Land of Plenty and Then Some, what symbolism remains to justify yet another binge?…Or so I foolishly asked myself in anticipation of Thanksgiving dinner.

It all seems like a somewhat silly tradition on paper (except that I do enjoy carbs) until you actually sit down at the table.  It is a meal that brings people together across state lines, across town lines, and in this year’s case, across DSL lines. This year, I celebrated Thanksgiving in person with my in-laws and, at the same time, via Facetime, with my family in San Francisco. The San Francisco group had a Traditional Meal Plus (the plus being brisket, macarons, egg rolls, and a host of other delicious-looking homemade delicacies, including a very impressive charcuterie plate, which my brother was in charge of, took very seriously, and by the looks of it, did an excellent job with.).

But it’s not like we in Chicago exactly settled. Far from it, in fact. My mother-in-law made a killer turkey and her to-die-for cranberry sauce. My sister-in-law made mashed sweet potatoes that would make a grown man weep and a classic green bean casserole. I made stuffed acorn squash, sautéed green beans, cornbread, grain-free apple-cranberry pie and my favorite pecan tart.

Ok, so maybe the meal is very much about the food. Speaking of which, let’s move on to the universally-recognized Best Part of Thanksgiving: the leftovers.

Turkey and Sweet Potato Spinach Salad with Cranberry Vinaigrette

There is something comforting in the act of consuming these particular leftovers that both prolongs those warm and fuzzy feelings we experienced while gathered around a table that barely stays standing under the abundance of food, and reassures us that, hey, we’re not the gluttons we thought we were because there is SO MUCH MORE we could have eaten the other night!

It may seem like blasphemy to put these sacred leftovers in a (gasp!) salad, but this isn’t some wilted-lettuce-rabbit-food concoction. It is a hearty entree salad topped with a bright (both to your eyes and to your tongue), sweet and tart dressing worthy of a ration of Thanksgiving leftovers, and I know this for sure because this dish was endorsed by none other than my husband, who treats Thanksgiving leftovers like the last meal he’ll ever eat, to be doled out with care and eaten with purpose. But, I suppose if you really objected to using your Thanksgiving leftovers, you could use any old shredded turkey breast (or even chicken), and you can sub really most of this salad (swap out pepitas for pecans, or sweet potato for butternut squash, for example), but for the true Thanksgiving-In-A-Salad experience, I would suggest going the leftover route.

Turkey and Sweet Potato Spinach Salad with Cranberry Vinaigrette

Turkey and Sweet Potato Spinach Salad with Cranberry Vinaigrette

Turkey and Roasted Sweet Potato Spinach Salad with Cranberry Vinaigrette

Yield: 2 small or 1 large salad

Ingredients

  • I medium sweet potato, washed and cut into small cubes (peel if you want; I left the skin on)
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoon olive oil
  • Pinch salt
  • Pinch pepper
  • Pinch garlic powder
  • 1/2 small white or red onion, sliced very thinly
  • 2-3 cups white or apple cider vinegar (or more as needed)
  • 2/3 cup whole fresh or frozen and defrosted cranberries
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 Tablespoons white wine or apple cider vinegar
  • Pinch salt
  • 2-5 cups baby spinach, or sub arugula, kale or other leafy green
  • 2-3 Tablespoons raw or roasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds; see note)
  • Shredded leftover roasted turkey breast

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350. Line a large baking sheet or pan with parchment paper or a nonstick pad and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, toss, the sweet potato with the olive oil to coat. Add the salt, pepper and garlic powder and toss again to distribute the flavors. Spread the sweet potato cubes in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet or pan and make sure the pieces are not too crowded (otherwise they won't crisp up).
  3. Roast the sweet potato for 35-40 minutes or until edged are brown. Remove from oven and set aside to cool completely on the pan.
  4. In a small bowl or jar, cover the onions with vinegar until just submerged, and allow them to sit for 15-30 minutes. This takes away some of the bitterness and quick-pickles them. Drain before using.
  5. To make the dressing: In a small bowl, microwave the cranberries for about 30 seconds, until they begin to soften and release their juices. Transfer to a small blender and add the olive oil, maple syrup, vinegar and salt. Puree until smooth. Taste and, if desired, add additional maple syrup. The dressing will be thick so if you would like to thin it out, add water, a teaspoon at a time, blending in between additions, until it reaches your preferred consistency.
  6. To assemble the salad: Layer the greens under the toppings (cooled sweet potato, seeds, onion, and turkey) and drizzle with desired amount of dressing.

Notes

If you don't have pumpkin seeds handy, feel free to substitute pecans, walnuts, pine nuts or even hazelnuts.You can also substitute butternut or acorn squash (or even pumpkin) for sweet potato and chicken breast for turkey.

http://acleanbake.com/2014/12/turkey-and-roasted-sweet-potato-salad-with-cranberry-vinaigrette.html

8 Easy Last Minute Recipes for Thanksgiving

If you’re like me, you are probably putting your shoes on as we speak to run to the store in a panic because, despite planning your Thanksgiving menu in your head, you couldn’t bring yourself to face the crowds of cranberry-hoarding Thanksgiving enthusiasts swarming the grocery store for the past couple weeks. Luckily, all of these recipes are quick and easy crowd-pleasers that you can whip up for tomorrow, and no one will ever know that you haven’t been meticulously preparing for weeks!

Clean Thanksgiving Recipes

Grain-Free Skillet Apple Pear Crisp

Grain-Free and Vegan Pie Crust

Cranberry and Wild Rice Stuffed Acorn Squash

 Grain-Free Pecan Tart

Clean Thanksgiving Recipes

 Gluten-Free Rosemary and Olive Oil Cornbread

Paleo Pumpkin Pie

Roasted Pears with Oat Crumble

Single-Serve Pumpkin Pecan Chocolate Chip Cake

 

Cranberry and Wild Rice Stuffed Acorn Squash

Cranberry and Wild Rice Stuffed Acorn Squash

I promise to spare you another rant today. I’ll get straight to the Thanksgiving-y recipe without the massive dose of judgmental and self-defensive prose that I subjected you to yesterday.

Here’s the basic premise of this recipe: not everyone likes or can eat the standard Thanksgiving dishes. Turkey is no good for vegetarians, mashed potatoes give carb-sensitive stomachs a hard time, and don’t get me started on the amount of sugar in sweet potato casserole. It’s actually pie, so let’s all just admit (but continue to embrace) that we get to eat pie for dinner.

Oops… I said I wouldn’t get all judgy. I don’t mean to, but the holidays are a frustrating time for me that I associate not with parties and joy, but with stomachaches and awkward conversations about how while I appreciate the hard work you put into making this beautiful dish, I simply can’t eat it and it’s nothing personal. Anyone with any food allergies or intolerances: am I right? Last year, I quickly got uncomfortable being so high maintenance and tried to just eat normally, and man did I pay. By January 1st, I was completely miserable, mentally and physically, and that’s a terrible way to start a new year.

Cranberry and Wild Rice Stuffed Acorn Squash

So, this year, I am thinking ahead and this is one of the hearty and tummy-friendly side that just about any one can eat. It’s gluten-free, vegan, nut-free and egg free. You can remove the wild rice if you would like to make it paleo-friendly, though technically wild rice is not rice at all (though it is a grain).

Speaking of the rice, make sure you cook it really, really well so that it is very soft and the grains are split open. It will dry out a little during the baking process so it’s better to start with soggy wild rice and end up with the right tender, chewy texture than start with the right texture and wind up crunching on nearly-raw grains.

Oh, and quite obviously, this is a great anytime winter dish, not just for a holiday meal. In fact, it works for breakfast, lunch or dinner, and with a runny egg on top, it is pretty close to perfection.

Cranberry and Wild Rice Stuffed Acorn Squash from ACleanBake.com

On an unrelated note, you may have noticed that things look a little differently around here, in a noticeable way that you can’t quite put your finger on. The short answer is that I moved my blog to a new framework (from blogger to wordpress, for those who care about these sorts of things), and with it came some formatting and admin changes. What didn’t come over is all of the comments from the previous iteration, so I apologize if you no longer see a comment you left me in the past. I DID NOT delete any comments intentionally; I love hearing from each and every one of you, so please keep them coming.

You may also notice that recipes are formatted differently. The upside, besides being able to more quickly scroll down to the recipe, if you choose to skip the narrative (I’m not offended), is that you can now easily print the recipes using the highly visible button to the right.

I am gradually going through and trying to reformat the stuff that got a little wonky in the transition, like the missing pictures in some posts, so thank you for your patience, and please don’t hesitate to drop me a note if you encounter any problems or bugs on the site.

Cranberry and Wild Rice Stuffed Acorn Squash

Ingredients

  • 1 large whole acorn squash, including seeds
  • 1/4 cup uncooked wild rice
  • 1-2 Tablespoons raw pumpkin or pine nuts (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons olive, or other healthy oil
  • 2 heaping Tablespoons dried cranberries
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • Generous pinch cinnamon (about 1/8 teaspoon, or to taste)
  • Pinch salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. Cut the ends off the acorn squash and then cut in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds and set aside (do not discard!). Brush the squash with olive oil and roast, skin side up, for 30 minutes or until al dente. Remove from oven and set aside to cool slightly. Leave the oven on.
  3. While the squash is baking, boil the rice over medium high heat until very soft (the grains will begin to burst). When ready, drain and set aside. It should yield about one 1/2 cup of rice.
  4. Clean the seeds from the squash, discarding any of the vegetable flesh that may be left over. Pat dry.
  5. In a dry pan, toast the seeds for about 5 minutes, stirring or shaking frequently. If your squash didn't produce many seeds, add raw pumpkin seeds or pine nuts for a total of about 3 Tablespoons of seeds/nuts.
  6. Once the seeds start to smell nutty and turn golden, add oil and toss to coat.
  7. Add the cooked/drained rice to the pan and stir to combine with the oil and seeds.
  8. Turn off the heat and add the cranberries (stir to combine), and then the allspice, cinnamon and salt. Stir well to make sure the seasoning evenly covers all of the ingredients.
  9. Divide the rice/cranberry filling evenly between the roasted squash halves.
  10. Bake, stuffing side up, for 40-50 minutes or until squash is golden brown and fork tender.

Notes

1) This recipe can easily be multiplied 2) If the squash or filling begins to brown too much before the dish is cooked through, cover loosely with tinfoil for the remainder of the baking process.

http://acleanbake.com/2014/11/gluten-free-vegan-stuffed-acorn-squash.html

Rosemary and Olive Oil Cornbread

Gluten-Free Rosemary and Olive Oil Cornbread

Hello from Dallas! I just landed and am here for a business trip where I will – as I do all day, all evening and all weekend – talk to someone about food. During the part of the flight down here where they won’t let you use your laptop, I got to reading a recent issue of The New Yorker, a magazine I haven’t read in years because if it’s not about food, who has the time?

But this issue was about food and our changing and sometimes-inexplicably-contradictory food culture. I started with an article that was recommended to me about how nearly 1/3 of the population has self-diagnosed themselves as gluten-intolerant (not, of course, including the approximately 1% of the population that has been diagnosed with celiac – a miserable condition which, it should be noted, the author never calls into question) and vowed to eliminate the protein, which many of them don’t even know what it is, from their diets, suggesting in no uncertain terms that we might all be jumping to vilify wheat without any real evidence when the problems may lie elsewhere in our modern diets. But it was so well written and simultaneously engaging and enraging that I started from the beginning of the issue and read it cover to cover.

There was a great piece on the evolution of food from necessity to status symbol in which the author contends that food “used to be about where you were from” and now, for many, is a form of cultural currently; a measure of your hipness. Oh, you didn’t have a kale and algae smoothie for breakfast this morning? Gosh, it must be hard to be you.

I know that, in both cases, I am the prototypical elimination-diet-following food snob to whom the respective authors refer and implicitly criticize. And, while I deny none of these charges, to their judgement, I say: suck it. (Yes I just used “prototypical” and “suck it” in the same thought. 10 points for bridging the literacy/snark divide?) Isn’t there some value in knowing your body and educating yourself about what you’re putting in it and doing what you feel in your gut – literally – to be right? You don’t have to answer that. I know that if you are reading this, I am probably preaching to the choir. No one is actually saying gluten-free cake is a health food, but it sure is a pleasure to eat a slice of cake without feeling like absolute garbage for the next 2 days.

Aside from the (perhaps overly defensive) critique of their assumptions about people like me, I also take issue with the idea that food, however shmancied up, isn’t still the same anchor of family, togetherness, and cultural identity that it once was. Isn’t that what we are going to celebrate on Thursday? People aren’t going to gather around their artisanal chia loaves, they are going to gather around their turkeys. They are going to remake the same reliable recipes they trot out and look forward to year after year, maybe since childhood. There’s nothing wrong with a tradition evolving, but let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater. Updating a recipe isn’t a bastardization, just like recipes of yore aren’t always, um, not vomit inducing.

Gluten Free Rosemary and Olive Oil Cornbread

And with that, I give you my totally-bastardized-but-maybe-with-good-reason cornbread. Yes, it contains corn, but it is also gluten-free, made with whole grain millet flour instead of all purpose, and it tastes just as good. I made about 7 loaves of this, and the first four were deemed “kind of bland” because I was determined to eliminate the sugar that is in most recipes, which seems sort of superfluous in cornbread (is the meal, with all of its luscious desserty pies and tarts not sweet enough already?) from this recipe entirely. Whenever something is bland but healthy, the answer, in my opinion, is always the addition of herbs. In this case, I thought rosemary would work well, but you could most likely also swap in thyme or sage, or any other leafy/twig-y flavor that you would also have no problem shoving inside a turkey. The other change I made is to use olive oil instead of the traditional cornbread fats, butter or flavorless (such as canola) oil. Olive oil does leave its mark on the loaf, but in a good way – if you like olive oil. If you don’t, either use a weaker version, like virgin, in which the taste is not so rich, or a flavorless oil of choice.

So tell me: what are your Thanksgiving meal traditions? What do you like to tweak? What would you sooner give your firstborn than change about your meal?

Gluten Free Rosemary and Olive Oil Cornbread from A Clean Bake

 

 

Gluten Free Rosemary and Olive Oil Cornbread

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup coarse-ground cornmeal
  • 3/4 cup millet flour
  • 1/4 cup tapioca flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon coarse sea salt (or to taste)
  • 1 Tablespoon rosemary leaves
  • 1 Tablespoon honey
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (use virgin oil if you want less olive oil flavor)
  • 3/4 cup almond milk, room temperature
  • Sea salt to garnish (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F and grease an 8"x8" baking dish. Set aside.
  2. In large mixing bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, millet flour, tapioca flour, baking soda, salt and rosemary. Set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the honey (microwave for 10 seconds if you are having trouble stirring it), eggs, olive oil and almond milk.
  4. Pour the wet mixture into the dry and stir to combine. The batter will be a little soupier than traditional cornbread.
  5. Pour batter into the prepared baking dish and garnish with additional sea salt if desired.
  6. Bake for 25 minutes, or until golden brown around the edges and a tester comes out clean.
http://acleanbake.com/2014/11/gluten-free-rosemary-and-olive-oil-cornbread.html

Grain-Free Pecan Tart

Deeeeeeep breath.

Now exhale.

Here we go.

The wedding is over, the tropical(ish) mini honeymoon is behind us, and it’s barely breaking double digit temps here in Chicago. Talk about a reality check. And as though that wasn’t enough, by some freak accident of fate and misery, we had no heat or hot water from Sunday afternoon to Monday at lunch time, which – for someone who likes baking with a gas stove or, you know, generally not dying of exposure – was kind of a bummer.

Grain-Free and Dairy-Free Pecan Tart

Luckily, I made (and remade, and remade again) this tart just in time before the gas line imploded or whatever, so Thanksgiving is saved! I know I might be giving myself a little but too much credit with the whole saving-Thanksgiving thing, but could you just give it to me this one time in honor of my not-entirely-defrosted-yet fingers and toes?

I don’t quite know how to say this but this tart is one thousand percent worth the credit. It’s entirely grain free and sweetened with dates and a tiny bit of maple syrup, but the crust is moist and flaky, the pecans are crunchy and toasted, and the filling can only be described as creamysilkysweetbutnottoosweetmildlycaramelydeeprichperfection. You know what I’m saying.

Grain-Free and Dairy-Free Pecan Tart

Grain-Free Pecan Tart

Yield: One 9" Tart

Ingredients

  • 1 homemade grain-free and vegan pie crust (Get the recipe here)
  • 8 large pitted medjool dates (soaked in hot water to soften if necessary)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 Tablespoons molasses
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup vegan butter or shortening, melted and slightly cooled
  • 1 cup large pecan halves

Instructions

  1. Prepare the crust dough and put it into a 9" tart pan with a removable bottom. Chill in the refrigerator for a minimum of 30 minutes, then preheat the oven to 350F. Once preheated, transfer from the fridge to the oven without letting it warm to room temperature and bake for 12-15 minutes until the edges begin to turn slightly golden. Remove from oven and set aside; do not turn off the oven.
  2. In the bowl of a food processor, puree the dates, eggs and molasses until the dates are liquified.
  3. Add the salt, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg and pulse a few times to combine.
  4. With the processor running, add the melted butter in a thin stream.
  5. Pour the batter into the pre-baked crust and gently smooth into an even layer. Arrange the pecan halves in a single layer on top of the batter.
  6. In the oven that is still heated to 350F, bake for 25 minutes, or until the crust has turned a deep golden brown and the batter has turned from shiny to matte. A tester may not come out completely clean, but it should only have a few crumbs on it at most.
  7. Remove from oven and let it cool and set on a wire rack before removing it from the pan.
http://acleanbake.com/2014/11/grain-free-pecan-tart.html