Peanut-Butter, Crunchy Peanut, Chocolate-Chunk Cookies .....

Now that's a mouth-full!  And it should be!  I am so thrilled that this recipe-creation of gluten/dairy-free peanut-butter cookies turned out to be so incredible!  


My two favorite food-groups -- nuts and chocolate!  I was originally working up this recipe to make cookies for the kids -- but I think they turned out to be quite decadent in a grown-up sorta way too!  I made a batch yesterday for 'goĆ»ter' which is the snack that French children have when they get home from school (it usually consists of something chocolate!) to eat while doing their 'devoirs' (homework).

This afternoon I made a second batch, adding the chocolate chunks and chopped peanuts.  My oldest son is home early from school (there was no Latin today, as his teacher is away skiing.....I did mention this is France right?  'Vacances' is a priority!) So he and I will share the half dozen that are just about to come out of the oven. 
.... (he will have 5 and I will only have ONE .... really.  I promise.)

Here it is:
1/2 cup organic raw sugar
1/2 cup vegan organic margarine
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 egg
1 1/4 cup rice flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped peanuts
As much as you want -- chopped dark chocolate chunks -- go ahead--live a little! 
  • Beat the butter with the sugar, peanut butter and egg until creamy-- about 2 minutes. 
  • Mix together the dry ingredients - flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. 
  • Stir the dry ingredients into the sugar butter mixture and add chopped nuts and chocolate chunks.

It helps to chill the cookie batter for about 30 minutes before you roll into small balls.  Press down with a fork.  Bake on parchment paper for 15 minutes or until golden.  

Cool ---- EAT.

 Big glass of milk, icy glass of tea or coffee..... have one..... or six. 

 Bon Appetit!

Orange ~ Financier ~ Cake .....

If you are a fan of the French 'cookie' called a Financier, then you will be crazy for this sweet orange infused almond cake.  Traditionally, the Financier (which got it's name from the patisseries located near the Paris Stock Exchange in the late 19th century and made in rectangular forms to resemble bars of gold .... ) is made from blanched almond meal, egg, sugar and a large portion of butter.

My version, beyond being cake and not a cookie, is also different in that I used gorgeous and sweet 'blood-oranges', the juice and the zest, to flavor this moist and lovely textured cake. My recipe is also gluten and dairy free so that everyone can enjoy it!

Blood-oranges make an appearance in the markets from December to March, commonly grown in Italy, now easily available in the US and other areas; they get their maroon 'blood' color from growing in the cool low night temps of late winter and early spring.  I love blood-oranges!  They are great in some many dishes and talk about stunning!

 ~ Blood-Orange ~  Almond Cake

2 cups raw sugar 
1 cup melted vegan, organic margarine
1 tsp. vanilla
4 eggs
3 cups almond-flour (meal)
1 cup gluten-free flour blend or rice flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 cup squeezed blood-orange juice (about 5 oranges)
1 tbs. fine zest

Beat the melted margarine with the sugar and vanilla, slowly add the four eggs and continue to beat for 3-4 minutes. In a separate bowl blend almond flour, gf flour and baking powder.  Add flour mixture to beaten egg and sugar mixture and beat for another minute before adding orange juice.  As a final step, blend in zest.

You can use any form you have.  I used large (cup-cake size) cardboard hexagon shaped forms, but as you know I am a huge fan of silicon baking forms.  So depending on what you use, the cakes will cook at 350 degrees for 15 minutes for tiny forms to 35-50 minutes for a full cake size.  

Just watch and when they are golden and 'cracked' they are done!  

 The outside is slightly 'crisp' and the inside is dense and moist!

Blood-Orange, Almond, French-Financier-style C-A-K-E ......


~ Spring ~ Eggs Benedict

Eggs Benedict ....  not something normally on the menu for those of us not eating gluten or dairy ...  but this past weekend it was a craving of mine.  

I think I associate this Sunday-Brunch dish with S-P-R-I-N-G!  I love any egg dish with fresh herbs!  At the moment -- herbs are the only thing growing outside!  I just re-planted my kitchen window herb table ... ready for snipping!

It is also a dish that some reserve for ordering out because the concept of making 'Hollandaise' is daunting; visions of lumpy, curdled, or greasy off-white sauces come to mind.  Also, you might assume that there is milk or cream in the sauce, there isn't, and as you will see, you can use a good quality dairy-free margarine instead of butter.  

Gluten & Dairy-free Eggs Benedict with Jambon and Fresh Herbs.

Yum!  Here it is!

For the sauce:

4 egg yolks
1 tbs. lemon juice
1/4 cup nice quality, organic, vegan margarine
Fresh herbs; chives, parsley, lemon thyme.....

Melt the margarine in a small sauce pan.  In a bowl, whisk egg yolks well.  'Temper' the yolks with a small drizzle of the melted margarine while whisking and then add the yolks to the rest of the melted margarine, while whisking.  Don't worry if it gets lumpy -- but keep the heat low and add the lemon juice.  Season with salt and I also added chopped chives this time.

Hint -- if the sauce gets too thick or lumpy or 'breaks' add up to a tablespoon of hot water and whisk it smooth again.

For bread -- if you can get gf muffins that's fabulous.  I used a gluten-free baguette made by a company called 'Schaar'-- it is so good!

Poach eggs to desired done-ness.  Here is a link for perfect poaching if you need a few tips!

Top 'buttered' toasted bread or muffins with  poached eggs, sauce and 'Jambon' -- this time I had Jambon Bayonne found here in France, a thin smoked ham which is similar to Prosciutto.  Fresh herbs add fresh garden flavor with the slightly tart lemony sauce!

Really, the Hollandaise is the most 'difficult' part of this dish -- and see how easy it actually is?

In the spring I also make it with fresh steamed asparagus and use smoked salmon or artichoke hearts too!  Perfect spring breakfast ...  or Easter Brunch!

What's your favorite version?