Gluten Free Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookies

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It might seem that I am on a chocolate cookie kick. And that might actually be true. But, I really think the universe is lending itself to chocolate cookie situations. It’s a circumstance beyond my control. Who I am to mess with that?

This time around, I made Gluten Free Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookies. Mexican Hot Chocolate is simply spicy hot chocolate. The spices lend a lovely warmth to the creamy, rich chocolate. And they do the same in the cookie form.

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These cookies are crunchy and chewy, rich with chocolatey flavor. They have a little kick from cayenne and a lot of warmth from cinnamon.

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And, let me just tell you how delicious they are with ice cream sandwiched between two of them. I can barely think straight and think of that at same time!

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I just know you’re going to love these! They were perfect accompaniment to Taco Night.

Gluten Free Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookies

2 1/2 C powdered sugar

1/2 C unsweetened cocoa powder

2 t Saigon cinnamon (it’s a bit stronger in flavor than “regular” Ceylon cinnamon)

dash cayenne pepper

1/4 t Kosher salt

1 T cornstarch

3 egg whites (or 9 T All Whites)

1 t vanilla extract

1 C bittersweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350F. Add parchment paper or a Silpat (I used both and the parchment paper worked better with this recipe) to a baking sheet.

Sift together powdered sugar, cocoa powder, cinnamon, cayenne, salt, and cornstarch. In a separate bowl, whip the egg whites until frothy, about one minute. Add vanilla and mix together. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix together. Mix in the chocolate chips. Drop onto your prepared pan, about one inch apart. Bake for 15 – 18 minutes (mine took 16). Let them cool completely before removing from the pan.

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Enjoy with ice cream! Or systematically eat them one by one, while standing over the sink, and hoping that no one sees you. Either way.

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Enjoy! Disfrute, mis amigos!

Kristin

Shark Week Cake

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In case you live under a rock and didn’t know, it was Shark Week a few weeks ago. We go bonkers for Shark Week in our house. My husband and I have been watching it for years, even before kids. It’s a thing. And now, it’s a thing for our kids. For this year’s, I prepared an entire homeschool session based around sharks. We checked several shark books out from the library, I had the boys watch a show on different kind of sharks, we went fishing, and I made cake. Because…cake. I tried to get them to eat fish for dinner, too, but they were having none of that. #moreforme

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I had so much fun making this shark cake. Honestly, I have fun making any cake, but this one was especially fun for me. Cake. Icing. Sharks. Cake. Sprinkles. Icing. Cake. Sharks.

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I made a one-layer (soooo, basically no layer(s)? not sure, too meta for me) vanilla almond cake, with a creamy, vanilla almond frosting.

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I used the I Am Baker method of swirling the frosting into rosettes and added some extra “waves”.

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I made blue toned white chocolate shark fins, used white pearl sprinkles for bubbles, and used dolphin and fish sprinkles.

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Shark Week Cake

Cake:

Recipe adapted from: White Cake Recipe, goodiegodmother.com

**The recipe below makes a one layer 8 inch cake**

1 C sugar

1 1/4 C flour (APF)

1 t baking powder

1/2 t kosher salt

6 T canola oil

1 T egg white (I always have liquid egg whites on hand)

1 t vanilla extract

1 t almond extract

1 C milk (I used coconut)

Sprinkles

Preheat your oven to 350F. Grease one 8-in cake pan and set aside.

Combine the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Whisk together the wet ingredients in a smaller mixing bowl. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Add sprinkles (I used green and blue) and mix together. Pour into prepared cake pan. Bake for about 30 – 35 minutes or until the center of the cake springs back when touched (mine took 30). Cool the cake for 10 minutes before letting it cool on a wire rack.

Frosting:

Recipe adapted from: I Am Baker, Whipped Vanilla Buttercream

**Recipe has been halved**

1/2 C (1 stick) butter, softened

1 t vanilla extract

1 t almond extract

3 C icing sugar (or more, as needed)

2 T milk (more or less, as needed)

pinch salt

Blue food coloring (I used Americolor Sky Blue)

Purple food coloring (I used Americolor Electric Purple)

White chocolate

Sprinkles

Beat the butter in bowl of stand mixer on medium to high speed until light and fluffy, for about 3 minutes. Add the vanilla and almond extracts. Turn the mixer to low speed to slowly add in the icing sugar. Whip for at least 6 minutes on medium high. Add food coloring and mix until fully integrated. Add more milk to the frosting, if too thick. Add more icing sugar, if too thin.

For the white chocolate shark fins:

Place a sheet of parchment paper over a pan. Melt white chocolate chips on the top of a double boiler (microwave will also work, I just find a double boiler more consistent). Whisk until smooth. Add a few drops of food coloring and whisk again. Once smooth, spread out onto the parchment paper. Place in the fridge until hardened. Once it is, use a very sharp knife to cut shark fin shapes.

To assemble:

Place the one-layer cake onto your serving platter. Scoop the blue frosting into a piping bag, fitted with a 1M tip. I didn’t need a coupler. Make frosting rosettes all over the cake. Once it is covered, go back and add a few flicks of frosting, for “waves”. Stick white chocolate shark fins into icing, add a few pearl sprinkles around it, as “bubbles” and sprinkle the entire cake with fish and dolphin sprinkles.

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El fin. <– get it?

Enjoy!

Kristin

Dinner Tonight: Hot Chicken Salad

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I am a southern girl. I’ve got sweet tea running through my veins. I’m pretty sure I’ve also got fried chicken and greens in place of some other vital organs (clearly, vestigial). I spent every Thanksgiving of my youth in South Georgia, where I learned a lot about southern cooking, baking, and good ol’ southern hospitality from my darling Grandma and Granddaddy. The other side of my family resides in North Florida, which may as well be South Georgia, if their food and accents have anything to do with it. My precious Grandmother (she chose that name for us grandkids to call her because she didn’t want to sound “old” 😀 ) also had an abundance of southern recipes for me to learn – Perfect Macaroni and Cheese, Cranberry Cream Cheese Salad… Needless to say, it’s in my blood. It might just be my blood. And I’m so glad. Southern food makes me ridiculously and deliriously happy (see: food related memories).

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Exhibit A: Actual casserole from potluck

My family went to a church potluck a few weeks back and I couldn’t think of anything other than a southern casserole to take. That’s what I always looked forward to at my Sunday church potlucks, growing up. I’d beeline straight for those casseroles. Those were (and are) always the best. I know not everyone is on the Casserole Train (choo choooo), but I am the Conductor, and I’m am hoping they’ll change their mind after trying this recipe.

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I got this Hot Chicken Salad recipe from my Mom, who got it from my Grandmother. My Mom told me that this was one of my Grandmother’s go-to recipes for her Ladies Luncheons. I love picturing my beautiful Grandmother in the 1940’s, with her beautifully made up face and coiffed hair, in one of her fancy dresses, and serving up this delicious casserole to her gal pals.

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This casserole is filled with tender chicken, crunchy celery and bell peppers, salty potato chips, melty cheese, toasty almonds. I meannnnnnn… I have seen this recipe with mushrooms and water chestnuts (blech!), but I love sticking to what my Grandmother did. It’s a link between me and her past. I did make a few changes, but it didn’t alter the integrity of the original recipe.

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Hot Chicken Salad

1 pkg. dressing (some of you may call this “stuffing”)

2 chicken breasts, cooked and cubed (I cooked them in my crockpot and shredded them)

Chicken broth

2 C chopped celery

1/2 t salt

2 T grated onion (I chopped mine and added a bit more)

1/2 C green bell pepper

1 C mayonnaise

2 T lemon juice

dash Worcestershire sauce

1/2 C shredded sharp cheddar

3 C crushed potato chips

1/2 C toasted almonds

Preheat the oven to 325F. Put the dressing into a bowl and add enough broth to moisten it all the way through. Combine all the ingredients from dressing to Worcestershire sauce together and place in greased 9×13 pan. Top with the cheddar, potato chips, and almonds.

Bake for 30 minutes. Leftovers are even better!

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This is best enjoyed with a Mason jar full of sweet tea. And probably some kind of cobbler, fresh out of the oven, or freshly churned peach ice cream for dessert. Just a friendly suggestion. 😀

Enjoy y’all!

Kristin

One Bowl Chocolate Cookies

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I told you I hadn’t stopped baking. And, now I’m back!! Back with a yummy recipe for some super flat (but SO flavorful) chocolate cookies. These came by way of an accident. Not so much in the sense that I was making spaghetti and “oops I made cookies instead”, which has, incidentally happened. But in the sense of, they weren’t supposed to look like this, flat as a board. But the flavor is so good! So there you go. Bake them at your own risk. As you should with all the recipes I come up with. Consider yourself adequately warned.

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One Bowl Chocolate Cookies

Recipe adapted from: food.com

12 oz bittersweet chocolate chips (separated into 2- 6oz piles)

1/4 C butter

3/4 C brown sugar

2 eggs

1/2 C flour

1/4 t baking powder

Melt 6 oz. of the chocolate in the microwave, using 30 second intervals. Stir until chocolate is melted and smooth. Be careful not to overheat the chocolate. Add butter to the chocolate and and mix well until melted. Stir together the brown sugar, eggs, flour and baking powder and mix well. Add the melted chocolate. Stir in the second 6 oz. of chocolate chips. The batter will resemble chocolate pudding. Drop by spoonful onto an ungreased (I used a Silpat) baking sheet. Bake at 350F for 12-13 minutes. Cool for 1 minute on the baking pan. Transfer to wire rack to cool completely.Store in airtight container. Eat within a few days.

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I have to tell you, I had a little batter left over (and I didn’t want to bake another round on the baking sheet) and I poured it into a little ceramic dish and it baked up like a cake. And it went over really well (with myself). So, if you feel so inclined, you can actually use this batter for a cake-like variation.

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I don’t have any pictures of said “cake”, because it was my from my own private stash…the sort I eat while my children aren’t looking.

Enjoy!

Kristin

Tropical Pavlova

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You know how these days are called the “lazy days of summer”? You know that term? Welp. That’s me. Lazy in the bloggy sense. I’ve been cooking and baking and taking pictures and eating, but that’s it. But, I’m here now. When it counts. With a delicious recipe for you. It’s super fresh and summery and I didn’t even wait until the season has passed to share it with you. That should count for something. Brownie points, maybe? Yes, perhaps I deserve a brownie. Get on that.

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I made (for you, for me, for everyone) a Tropical Pavlova. A Pavlova is a dessert that simply consists of meringue, whipped cream, and fruit. How could all that goodness be bad? It was created (possibly by the Australians, possibly by the New Zealanders) for the Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova. I mean. This woman, who was already super, ridiculously talented in the world of ballet, had a freaking dessert named after her. #goals

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Anywho, this dessert just works. The meringue shells are crunchy and light in flavor, chewy on the inside (in a perfectly stick to your teeth kind of way), the whipped cream is fluffy, and the fruit is so refreshing. It works in the same kind of textural way that Banoffee Pie works. This is also a gluten free dessert. Bonus.

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This is a picture-perfect dessert for this ridonk hot summer. I will say that it is not delicious as a leftover (source: I’m eating it now). The delicate meringue shell has broken down into a sloppy mess. The whipped cream and fruit, however, has remained amazeballs (is that said anymore, I need to know).

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Make it. Chances are, you’ve got almost all the ingredients in your kitchen now, and if needed, you can switch out the fruit.

Tropical Pavlova

Recipe adapted from: America’s Test Kitchen

4 large egg whites, room temperature

3/4 t vanilla extract

1/4 t cream of tartar

1 scant C sugar

2 mangoes (peeled, pitted, cubed)

2 kiwi (peeled, sliced, quartered)

1 papaya (peeled, seeded, cubed)

Simply Squeeze Coco Real Cream of Coconut (or make your own)

3/4 C shredded coconut

2 C heavy whipping cream

2 T sugar

1 t vanilla extract

Adjust your oven rack to the middle and preheat your oven to 200F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Determine what size you want your shells to be and trace two circles in that shape. I did one a little bit bigger than the other. Using a stand mixer and whisk attachment (handheld is also fine), whip egg whites, vanilla, and cream of tartar for one minute on medium speed. Switch to medium high speed and whip for another minute. Gradually add the sugar and whip until the peaks are stiff and glossy (one or two more minutes). Separate the meringue between the two circles on the baking sheet. Spread evenly. Bake for about one and a half hours, and then turn off the oven and let the meringues sit for about two hours.

Meanwhile, chop up the fruit and set aside.

When meringues are out of the oven, prepare the whipping cream. Pour cream, sugar, and vanilla into a stand mixer (with whisk attachment), and mix for about one minute on medium speed. Increase to high and whip for about three minutes. You can store the whipped cream for up to a week in the refrigerator. Re-whip, if necessary.

To assemble, place one meringue shell (the larger, if that’s the route you took) on a serving plate. Spread almost half of the whipped cream on top, followed by almost half of the chopped fruit. Drizzle the coconut cream and sprinkle some of the shredded coconut. Put the second meringue shell on top of that, and repeat. This was easy to cut into slices.

Enjoy! I will be dreaming of this all summer!

Kristin