Posts Tagged ‘gluten free baking’

Élan’s Top 5 (highly debatable) Entertaining Rules


The last installment in our Entertaining Rules series comes just in time for your Thanksgiving prep! Élan is our resident baking guru, she is especially gifted with gluten-free and vegan delights in the most creative flavor combinations. Horchata cupcakes, almond cake with Thai iced tea frosting, strawberry margarita cupcakes, all GF and vegan too. A talented cook with a gift for organization. xo, LEH


Élan’s Top 5 (highly debatable) Entertaining Rules

1. Make dessert something to look forward to. I’m a sucker for a good dessert, but I’ll pass it up if it’s not worth the indulgence.

2. Make an organized to-do-list. A step-by-step shopping and prep list will give you a better sense of what you have to do (and how much you can prep beforehand!).

3. Make your expectations clear. As a partygoer I’m always happy to bring something, but I hate the idea of bringing something totally superfluous or something the host already has. If you’re throwing a party and guests ask/offer to bring something, point them in the right direction.

4. Let your iPod rip. Create a playlist beforehand worthy of the atmosphere you want to create. That way you can hit play as you finish getting ready and not worry about that recording of you playing Dorothy in high school spoiling the mood.

5. Enjoy yourself! No one’s judging you on the fold of your napkins or if the wine is served a degree or two in the wrong direction. If you’re having fun, your guests will, too.

Wheat-Free Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins


By Lydia Ellison


They don’t look like much but are the most fantastic seasonal muffin/cakes you could ever hope for. They are like biting into a sweet and spiced trip to the pumpkin patch on a crisp fall Saturday. They may not be photogenic but it’s inside that counts anyway right.


This recipe is also from my mom’s best friend Laura, click here to read abut her amazing Sweet Mint Tea. Laura is allergic to wheat so her sister Cathrine (a really fantastic baker) adapted this recipe to be wheat free, back in the 90’s before wheat free baking was at all in the zeitgeist! Now there are all kinds of wheat free baking flours but back then it was all about rice flour. Fortunately, rice flour or brown rice flour works well in this recipe. It gives the muffins this dense spongy, moist texture that is rarely achieved in GF baking. My Mom and I have health-ed up the recipe a bit over the years but you can’t tell the difference at all.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

1 16oz can of pumpkin puree (or freshly roasted pumpkin puree)

1 cup sugar

1 1/2 cup flour or rice flour (I use brown rice flour)

2 eggs

1/2 cup oil (I use coconut oil, melted)

1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice mix (I use more)

1/2 tsp (scant) baking powder

1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips (I used Callebaut 60%  bittersweet disks which were divine but harder to find)

Heat the oven to 350 degrees and grease the cups of a cupcake pan. Mix first all the wet ingredients together until smooth and then fold in the dry ingredients until just incorporated. Add the chocolate chips. Bake about 25-35 minutes, until a knife come out clean. Muffins will be dense and moist.

Chocolate, Oatmeal and Apricot cookies

Chocolate, Oatmeal and Apricot Cookies

Chocolate, Oatmeal and Apricot Cookies

By Lydia Ellison

When my Martha Stewart Living magazine arrives in the mail each month I have a special ritual. I make tea and snuggle on my sofa with my magazine and some sticky tabs and get lost in the pages of eggshell blue excellence. Last month I received my March issue and read it in this aforementioned fashion and when I got to the last page, the “Cookie of the Month” page, I was struck by inspiration. I got up off my sofa and went to the market so I could immediately make cookies (this is very rare, I hardly ever bake.)

Now I should admit I had been craving oatmeal cookies for awhile… I am an oatmeal-raisin person, not usually an oatmeal- chocolate cookie person but the MSL March “Cookie of the Month” was the perfect balance between the two, Oatmeal Cookies with Dried Apricots and White Chocolate! It sounded amazing and I had all the ingredients except for white chocolate and apricots. I made them with gluten free baking mix instead of regular flour (most oats are gluten free) and they worked perfectly! Moist and fluffy on the inside and crunchy and crisp around the bottom and edges.  I substituted half the white chocolate with unsweetened dark chocolate to cut the sweetness of the white chocolate and cut down the vanilla extract but added my signature almond extract instead. They were fantastic! Drew and I ate 3 cookies each right before dinner (in lieu of a salad course you could say) and later that evening our friends devoured the rest of them at a Top Chef viewing and never once suspected they were gluten free. Success.

You can of course make them with normal flour if you and your loved ones are not sensitive to gluten.

Chocolate, Oatmeal and Apricot Cookies

Adapted from Martha Stewart’s recipe

Makes about 4 dozen (I froze half the dough and baked them off the next week)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (or Gluten Free Baking Mix)
1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oatmeal
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed light-brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2 large eggs
4 ounces white chocolate chips
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
7 ounces dried apricots, preferably California, chopped (1 1/2 cups)


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix flour (or GF baking mix substitute), oatmeal, and baking soda in a medium bowl. Cream butter and sugars with a mixer until light and fluffy. Reduce speed to low. Add salt, vanilla and almond extracts and eggs, and beat until well combined, about 1 minute. Add flour mixture gradually, beating until just combined. Stir in chocolates and apricots. Cover, and refrigerate until cold, about 30 minutes.
2. Drop heaping tablespoons of dough onto parchment-lined baking sheets, spacing 2 inches apart. Bake until cookies are golden brown around the edges but still soft in the center, 14 to 16 minutes. Let cookies cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire rack; let cool. Cookies will keep, covered, for up to 1 week.